Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Father Knows Best

After my father telling me to watch American Psycho for years, I finally decided that last night was the night, proving that sometimes the best movie watching comes on a whim. I should have know my dad would be right. He has shown me most of my favorite films including V for Vendetta, all the classic 80's films like Jaws and Jurassic Park, and even Moulin Rouge! 
I think the thing I liked the most about American Psycho was the fact that it was directed by Mary Harron, a woman. Number one, I just like seeing female directors, frankly there needs to be more of them. And number two, I found it surprising for the kind of film it was. For the fact that it was bloody and twisted while still managing to be fun. It is a shame that I have to feel surprised or happy or any emotion like that because I should expect woman to be able to make films that rival the gore of Tarantino's. After doing a bit of reading about the film, I really respect Harron and the choices she made, especially to cast Christian Bale. Seeing the film with the studio's choice of Leonardo DiCaprio would have been interesting and he could no doubt have pulled it off, but it would have been a different film. It is Bale's pure dedication to his characters, if nothing else, that makes him so compelling to watch.
These eyes have seen too much
Bale was incredible, as always. I think the best part of his performance was the fact that you did not necessarily hate Patrick Bateman, but at the same time you feel absolutely no sympathy for him. Bale's meticulous acting style makes him a perfect choice for this role. Personally, no one else really stood out except for maybe Willem Dafoe. He does crazy eyes really well, but not as well as Claire Danes.
We are watching this film in my Comedy in Film class and I believe it fits based on the ideas of social commentary and the actual laughter produced by some of the scenes. I feel like once we talk about it I will have more to say, especially since the ending was one of those that hurt my head. It reminded me a lot about the way I felt after watching A Beautiful Mind. Except for, you know, less teary.
 I love films that create discussion the moment the credits start rolling and the way you go back and question every scene. What does it mean to be crazy? What is real and what is not? The big question I always ask myself is, does it matter? The only thing I do know about American Psycho is that I look forward to watching it again. And calling my dad to thank him once more.
Review: No milk needed 

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Beginning of the End

This semester is the beginning of many last firsts for me. Today was my last first day of school since after I graduate I am not going to grad school-at least not yet. It's weird for me, especially being a person who actually enjoys school and looks forward to going to class. I like checking the box marked "student" when asked my profession, it gives me an identity. And soon that will be gone. Who will I be in 4 short months? Hopefully the answer is "happy", but only time will tell. The one thing I do know is that I am going to enjoy every minute of the time I have while I am here. These really have been the best days of my life; I did not believe it would be true when I was told that freshman year, but there is no denying there is no fun like being surrounded by people your own age with limited responsibilities and no parents.
Since I am done with both my major and my minor this semester I decided to take classes that would be applicable for my future career aspirations, yet also looked fun. One is called "Communication & Film." It is about what films teach us and how we communicate through the medium. So far the professor seems great and I am really excited about it. The best part? For homework I have to watch three films a week of my choosing and keep a journal about them. Which is perfect because one of my many goals for myself this semester is to blog more and watch more movies. The catch is the films for this class have to be mostly documentary and/or ones that make you think and step outside your cinematic comfort zone. Any recommendations would be welcome because I think the hardest part for me will be picking films to watch. I have already begun scouring the documentary category in Netflix for movies for this week which is always a good place to start.
My other film related class is "Make em Laugh! Comedy in Film," which consists of watching comedy movies two times a week and talking about them. We are going to be watching a bunch of great films over the semester including Duck Soup, Bringing Up Baby, Fargo, and Rushmore as well as some others. I am excited to expand my comic repertoire. Plus I love the professor who's teaching the class, this is my third time having a class with her. Today we started the class off by watching The Gold Rush directed by Charlie Chaplain. It was the first full length Chaplain film I have watched. I like seeing how a genre evolves and yet remains the same over time like the one scene where the pretty girl waves to Chaplin and he looks around thinking she could not possibly be referring to him. A scene like that is common to the point of over done in films of today, but in 1925 it was new to cinema.
As a second semester senior, I have more than paid my dues so having two fun classes (besides my other class which is yoga) is what I get for killing myself every semester previously. I think I have earned it. Plus, I am going to need all the free time I can get this semester so I can apply for jobs. Which is terrifying. I have already written one cover letter which I am plenty excited about because right now I am all about the small steps. Post-grad life will come soon enough, but  for right now my motto is YOSO: You Only Senior Once.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I have no excuses for my appalling lack of blogging this semester...well actually I have a million excuses and all of them have to do with me being in my senior year of college and trying to do a ton of work while also having a social life and then coming home for break and having no computer/internet. But onward and upward. It is always my goal to write more in the new year so here is me attempting to reach that aim.
It is a shame too because I have seen so many good films this semester and it is going to be hard to accurately capture my feelings towards all of them. I think in order to preserve my sanity I am going to do a new movie post first aka movies that I have seen recently and more importantly ones that are nominated for awards. Therefore this post will not include Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2 (which I absolutely loved),  The Perks of Being a Wallflower (captured the feeling of the book amazingly), Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kings (by far the most enjoyable of the series), Looper (not what I expected), Skyfall (one word: fun), Stardust (deviated from the book, but plain fun), and lastly The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (good, but long). I am going to focus on Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Argo.
1.) Silver Linings Playbook- David O. Russell
I really liked the performances of this film. I had no expectations for Bradley Cooper except what I kept hearing from reviews so I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional dept of his performance. I always love Jennifer Lawrence and I was not disappointed; the more clips I see from her at award shows the more I appreciate her role in the film. However, overall, and compared to the other films I have seen I was not as impressed. Sure I was a bit teary by the end and I rejoiced and felt uplifted, but I was underwhelmed. I think that is the thing for me: it stands up, but not comparatively. If I was not in the theater thinking about Les Misérables playing in the next theater then maybe I would have liked it better.
Review: Needs milk 

2.) Les Misérables- Tom Hooper 
I feel like it is unfair for me to write about any other films right now because I am listening to the soundtrack as I write this. I loved Les Misérables.  It was a long movie especially when my theater played it with 30 minutes of previews (to the point where the audience was groaning with each one), but most every moment of the film was necessary in the creation of the incredible story of Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman with more conviction than I could ever imagine. The same can be said for Anne Hathaway and "I Dreamed a Dream" for which I had chills throughout. Each actor was chosen perfectly and the nominations were well deserved for both actors mentioned above. It is definitely Anne's award to lose. One brilliant stroke of casting was Helena "I-am-actually-a-little-bit-crazy" Boham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers. I could imagine no one else in those roles and they made every scene they were in while providing welcome comic relief. Also, Eddie Redmayne was wonderful as Marius. He could have been reduced to the lovelorn dope ala Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony in Sweeney Todd, but Redmayne manages to hold his own. His performance of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" thoroughly impressed me while still managing to bring tears. It is one of those films that I cannot wait to see again and for that reason alone it gets a perfect score from me. It makes me feel sorry for all the bad things I said about Tom Hooper for The King's Speech. In my defense, I was team Fincher and The Social Network that year. Sorry about that, Tom.
Review: No milk needed

3.) Beasts of the Southern Wild- Benh Zeitlin 

Beasts was an unconventional film and I still cannot decide if I liked it completely or not. I thought the acting of Quvenzhané Wallis was incredible especially for her young age. It makes me wonder if the choices she made are conscious ones and she is really that good or if she just has a natural talent and likability as a child. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if her career goes anywhere from here. The film itself was rooted halfway between reality and fantasy which I liked, it just sometimes got too fantastical for me. That being said, the story still managed to be moving and beautiful. Zeitlin manages to make a film about an entire state feel small and intimate by showing it through the eyes of a little girl. I also have a soft spot in my heart for films about New Orleans since it remains my favorite city in the United States.
Review: Soggy & 1/2

4.) Argo- Ben Affleck
I have gained so much respect for Ben Affleck through his directing career. He really knows how to make great films-and he can even act in them. Having read the story from the Wired article I knew what was going to happen, but that did not mean I was able to breathe. The pacing and camera angles kept the suspense up and was heightened by Alexandre Desplat's score. I do wish some of the more minor details of the story were included, I felt like the setting up of the fake movie and studio seemed to not have enough background and I wanted more training of the hostages on their covers, but now I am just being nit-picky. The credits were a lot of fun too, I love anything that tricks the majority of the audience to stick around once the movie ends-something I do regularly. I think I liked Argo so much because of the "making a film" aspect; everything about Hollywood and filmmaking fascinates me, even if it was all fake. Add that together with my other favorite thing, history, and I am sold.
Review: No milk needed

So which film will win a Golden Globe? I would like to see Ben walk away with some hardware since he does not have a chance at the Oscar and since Hooper already has an Oscar (although I would not mind him winning). And even though I have yet to see Django Unchained improbable as it is, I would love for Leo to win something. Anything to make up for the Academy's disregard for him. Anne should win for Les Misérables and do not even get me started on all the awards I believe Homeland should win for acting because that should be another post all together. The second the red carpet begins I will be live tweeting so if you want more of my opinions and are not sick of me yet, read more there.