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Lucas Ashland
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I'm really looking forward to watching the new Malick film. It looks like it got bad reviews though...
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2013 on New works at Geog/Film
The film I enjoyed the most was Badlands. I think I would gladly rewatch any of the Terrence Malick films we saw in class. The way he films nature is really pleasing to watch. I liked how his stories focused on the relationship between two characters and how the relationship between these two characters evolved and played out over the course of the movie. I think I just really enjoy road movies as well as coming of age stories. Maybe a theme for the next film class could be road movie? You could show movies like Easy Rider, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Road...I think Taxi Driver is kind a road movie too.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2013 on Assessing the films at Geog/Film
I enjoyed the film even though it had a darker and wasn't as light hearted as the other two films we watched by Jarmusch, especially in the way each film ended. In Stranger than Paradise there wasn't a happy ending, but it was ironic and slightly funny how each character ended up alone at the end. The five plots in Night on Earth each had an unexpected and comical ending. The ending to Broken Flowers wasn't quite as satisfying as the previous two. There wasn't much comic relief or ironic twist to the ending of Broken Flowers. Maybe the irony was that Don ended up not resolving the mystery of who sent the letter or that he ended up chasing a guy he thought was his son, a son he did not car about at the beginning of the movie. In any case, it was not as satisfying of an ending of his other films.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2013 on General discussion of BROKEN FLOWERS at Geog/Film
After we watched Stranger than Paradise and talked about the long take, one of the first movies I thought about was Children of Men so I was glad that we ended up talking about it in class. Children of Men was one of the few movies that I've seen multiple times in theater. For me, the long take makes me feel more involved with the movie because I start to feel like I am actually there watching the action unfolding. We also talked about the shaky, hand-held film cameras in class and how the effect of shaky looking film makes the movie seem like it was being played in the news or something like that. I don't think it is a superior way of filming or arranging a movie, but I felt like it was the perfect artist choice for the way Children of Men since the movie was trying to make the audience feel like the events in the movie could be true or could actually happen in real life.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2013 on Supplemental material: on pacing at Geog/Film
This movie reminded me of TV version of a bottle episode, where almost all of the eposide is shot from the same interior place. Like the "Chinese Restaurant" episode of Seinfeld, or the Family Guy episode where Brain and Stewie get trapped inside of bank vault for basically the entire episode. It's interesting that these sorts of episodes become some of the most beloved episodes of the series. Night on Earth is almost like 5 different bottle TV episodes all woven together into one movie. The movie works well as a comedy because it forces characters with completely opposite backgrounds to interact in a closed and close space. The way this movie was filmed allowed the viewer to observe the many awkward moments between the two characters as they learned and attempted to interact with each other.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2013 on General discussion of NIGHT ON EARTH at Geog/Film
The minimalistic style that Jarmusch used in this movie was really enjoyable, especially compared to the films we watched by Wong Kar-wai. The abundance of stylistic scenes and filming methods by Wong were often a little overwhelming for me and distracted me from an already confusing storyline. I liked how Jarmusch was able to tell an interesting, quirky story without really trying to impress the audience with over-the-top visual tricks. For some reason I think of Jarmush's movie as being like meat and potatoes. His movie was somewhat simple, but easy to enjoy and comforting in its simplicity.
Like others have already said, Independent movies usually aren't well funded movies because they haven't gotten the backing from a major movie studio. Directors who set out to make a film are either dealing with an odd storyline or subject matter or they don't want to be controlled by the outside decision maker of a rich movie studio. They also might have a unique way of filming a story which could be why they chose are aren't chosen to get money from a movie studio. I think the case with Stranger than Paradise is that Jim Jarmusch had an odd storyline that probably didn't look good on paper and he had an interesting way of filming the story by having really long scenes without breaks. These are just a couple reasons why he likely didn't get funded or want to get funding from a major studio. In short, I think the major factors that make a movie independent are an odd storyline dealing with issues that aren't normally filmed and are also filmed in interesting ways (i.e. really long scenes without cuts). Some filmmakers that come to my mind are Harmony Korine, Guy Maddin and David Cronenberg.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2013 on What is "independent film"? at Geog/Film
For a majority of this movie I found myself thinking, "I have no idea what's going on right now in this scene, but, visually, it looks amazing." That's how I how felt about the fighting scene as well. The fighting was confusing as I couldn't tell who was who. I wasn't sure who was winning or losing. I also couldn't remember, or figure out exactly why the fight was going on. But I feel like this feeling fits into the way the rest of the story was told: through close-up, tight shots and evoking a general sense of confusion. I love the scene where the riders first appear on horseback, and how they almost appear out of nowhere from the all-yellow mountain. The basically unnatural yellow color of the mountain combined with the fact that it looked like these men on horseback appeared out of nowhere really added to the sense of surrealism in this movie.
Ashes of Time Redux had some of the best of the best imagery out of the three films we watched by Wong Kar-wai. The bright yellow colors and open scenery made the images on the screen really enjoyable to take in. I think the fact that I watched the movie from the comfort of my own house allowed me to enjoy the movie more than I would have if I was forced to watch it all in one sitting. The fact that I could pause the movie and come back to it later allowed me to get less stressed out about the difficult/impossible to understand storyline. The music of this film was disappointing to me because I felt like there were several moments when the music didn't really fit in with the natural, scenic imagery I was seeing on screen. It was mostly the dramatic synthesizer sounds that I felt really took me out of the movie. I think acoustic instruments only should be used in a film like this. Days of Heaven is a perfect example of how instrumentation and soundtracks should sound like in a period piece film. But then again, Wong was trying to break a lot of cliches with this film, so maybe there was a reason behind using the synth in the soundtrack.
The hardest concept for me to grasp is the aspect of composition and how one can tell if a shot has a vertical, horizontal or other type of composition. I think we mentioned something called a binary composition and I'm not really sure what that is either.
In the Mood For Love is definitely one of those movies that I will have to watch over again to truly appreciate and understand what all was going on in the movie. Constant reoccurring themes kept coming up in the movie, such as the slow motion scenes where the music would change to a dramatic cello waltz, and these scenes would sort of leave me feeling confused, wondering what the significance was behind the dramatic change in mood. These moments of confusion took my attention away of the movie as a whole, and I instead focused on what these individual scenes meant. I think now that I understand the plot better and what these slow motion scenes are all about, I will be able to enjoy the movie more my second time through so I'm not feeling confused the entire time.
I definitely felt a distance from these characters even though I was constantly exposed to images of the characters in intimate moments. Creating this illusion must be difficult because filming was consistently done in close-quarter and intimate settings such as a family home or in an alleyway. I felt that the technique of filming a hallway, but hearing the characters speaking somewhere out of frame was an effective way to make me feel distant from the characters. I almost felt like I wasn't allowed or supposed to be in on their conversations, but instead I just happened to be there, eavesdropping on peoples lives and conversations.
Toggle Commented May 15, 2013 on IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE: So close, so far at Geog/Film
Did anyone else find Wong's music choices interesting in Chungking Express? There were several American songs like California Dreamin' and there was a Chinese cover of a popular song from the 90s I think. It was weird to hear American songs in a movie that was mainly in Chinese, and it is odd to see how much of an impact American music has had on other cultures. It would be pretty rare to hear a popular song from Hong-Kong in an American movie.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on Open thread at Geog/Film
I think "blatantly expressive" means that Wong Kar-wai often neglects the more subtle techniques of m-e-s, and instead uses dramatic, and somewhat obvious maneuvers to make his point, visually. Like Lauren said, Wong often shoves the meaning or focus of the scene right under our noses. Like others have already pointing out, the shots with long exposures, which create a distorted effect on objects in motion, are the uses of m-e-s that stick out the most to me. These images look so unnatural and almost cartoony, and they are "blatantly expressive" because the viewer instantly knows that something weird is going on in the scene. Whereas less subtle m-e-s techniques such as an interesting camera angle, lighting or color scheme may not jump out to the viewer right away as being intentional or as trying to convey something artistic.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on Wong Kar Wai and "expressive" cinema at Geog/Film
Chungking Express was an interesting movie to watch, especially because it was an extreme contrast to the Terrence Malick movies we just finished Watching. While Malick's films showed the viewer wide open landscapes and scenery, Wong Kar-wai's film felt claustrophobic and the settings seemed small and cramped in comparison. Wong Kar-wai's film seemed to be filmed mostly at night, especially in the first half, but Malick tended to film most of his films during the day. It is interesting to look at these two different styles of filming movies that have to do with dealing with depression and loneliness.
Would it be a good idea to include stills from the films in our essay?
Toggle Commented May 3, 2013 on First Thematic Essay at Geog/Film
In terms of mise-en-scene, one of the things that unite Malick's films are his frequent use of open form in outdoor, natural scenes. In Badlands, the scene where Kit and Holly were in the field with the windmill and the couple is a good example how Malick carefully arranges objects in the frame. In this particular scene, Objects are arranged by height and have an even amount space between them. I felt like artistic and careful arrangement played a central part in all three of the Malick films we watched. It's difficult to tell if there were other authors that contributed to Malick's signature. Perhaps his camera crew and directors of photography had an impact on his work. I doubt that Malick personally decided on every single angle of every shot, so I think the director of photography helped decide on camera locations and and shot types.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2013 on Reflecting on Terrence Malick's films at Geog/Film
One of the things that stood out most to me while watching this movie was how well it put me into the mindset of what it must have been like to be one of the first people to explore and discover the New World. I think the underwater scenes in the beginning and the shots of the natives playing in the fields gave the viewer a sense that this place was already a civilized, well-adapted society. Then when the large boats appeared near land, I felt like I was watching strange, unnecessary invaders arriving on land. It was interesting to be put into the position of thinking about what it must have been like, for both the settlers and the natives, to experience the interaction between these two cultures.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2013 on General discussion of THE NEW WORLD at Geog/Film
For me, the most interesting thing we talked about this week was how film tends to be shot in analogue format, and even digital film cameras shoot in a way that replicates analogue film. It would be interesting to learn about the after effects they do to the film after shooting a scene and what the process is behind that. Like some people have already posted, I'm still a bit confused about what it means for a film to be open or closed frame. I understand that the definition for a closed frame is one where every scene is carefully composed and deliberately constructed. But at the same time it is difficult for me to think of a movie this is carefully constructed and closed framed since most movies pay such close attention to fine details.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on The shot and the frame at Geog/Film
My impression of Days of Heaven is that it was one that was easily enjoyed on the first viewing, but I feel like if I watched it over again I may enjoy it more than the first time. It took me a good thirty minutes to figure out what was actually going on in the movie between the farmer, Bill and Abby. I actually had to look up what their names were on wikipedia while watching the movie because the film never seemed to reference their names. There are also details from the reading from this weeks chapter that I never noticed in the movie. For example, I never thought about how the film could be an almost, "antiwestern" and how the movie sets itself up to look and feel like a western but fails to follow through with western cliches. I would also be able to focus more on the music and scenery the second time I watch it because I wouldn't be so lost about what the overall plot is supposed to be about.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on General discussion of DAYS OF HEAVEN at Geog/Film
Different people are affected by different aspects of a film, so I think the impact of music will vary from person to person. In the Days of Heaven, music seems to be especially powerful because there is not a tremendous amount of character acting or other details in the film to direct the viewers emotions or feeling about the film. I had a hard time figuring out what made the soundtrack from Days of Heaven so unique from other films since most films use music to enhance the mood of a scene. For example, scary movies will use ominous, haunting sounds to indicate that something scary is about to occur. I think what sets the soundtrack of Days of Heaven apart from other movies is that the music is used more subtly than that of scary movies for example. The book talks about how the classic music score, "the aquarium" is used to give a more upper class feel and uses the folky guitar music for the train scene with the underclass workers. The fact that this movie combines music from different genres such as classical, modern classical and folk is another factor that sets it apart from other movies. I think that sounds being in the frame simply means that they have an important impact of the mood, time period as well as many other factors of a movie. Like I mentioned earlier, I think that some people pay more attention to the soundtrack of a film than others. I think for a majority of films, the music seems very generic and can easily get lost in the background and are easily forgettable. But for other films, maybe more artistic films like Days of Heaven, the music can the effect of drawing the viewer more into the film. For this movie specially, because there wasn't a lot of dialogue in the film, the music tended to play a strong role to fill that void.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Sound and mise-en-scene at Geog/Film
The interpretation I have of the quote is that Malick never makes it perfectly clear who these characters are, but he uses m-e-s techniques to let the viewer interpret for themselves who Kit and Holly really are. One example we talked about in class is how we see Holly alone in her room playing with her dog. The m-e-s in this scene nonverbally tells the viewer that Holly is a young, playful girl who is sort of in her own world. A lot of movies may rely on dialogue to make this point obvious, but Malick tends to rely on imagery to convey information about the characters on screen. I agree with the author that we as viewers never have a clear sense of Kit and Holly's identity. One of the fun things about the film is that we can slowly see their identities change throughout the film as they encounter new circumstances. One frame that sticks out to me that really shaped my view of Kit is when he is trying to find a level spot on the ground to spin his glass bottle. He is unsure where to go next, which doesn't seem to match up with the decisive and sure of himself Kit that the viewer has been exposed to prior to this scene. The fact that he can no longer trust his own judgement shows the audience how lost Kit has become during his journey.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2013 on Who are Kit and Holly? at Geog/Film
I am sort of in the same boat as Anna. While it is fairly easy to analyze m-e-s when we pause the movie, it hard to think about all of the different aspects of m-e-s while scenes are rapidly changing. Another thing I am having difficulty with is figuring out if a director is intentionally using a m-e-s technique or if he uses an interesting camera angle just because he thinks it looks cool or something. I think that semiotics is the most difficult thing for me to think about while watching a movie. It's hard to tell when a director is using symbolism or when an object just happens to be in a scene.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2013 on A closer look at m-e-s at Geog/Film
I really enjoyed Badlands even though I was left feeling slightly confused depressed by the end of the film. The great part about this movie is the way Malick interprets and recreates dull, rural life in North Dakota during the 1950s yet at no point during the movie did I feel bored or uninterested with the story. The movie is educational in a lot of ways in that one is able to see a non-leave-it-to-beaver description of day-to-day life during 1950s. I would definitely see this movie again because the pleasing aesthetics of the movie as well as the interesting pacing and character development.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2013 on General discussion of BADLANDS at Geog/Film
This image from "The Trip to the Moon" is my favorite scene from the movie. The actors legs from about the ankle down are covered by mushrooms and foliage in the foreground to give the illusion of depth to scene. The lighting is high-contrast and complex which is appropriate since they appear to be in a cave of some sort which is supposedly being lit by the bright light source of the doorway of the cave in the background. I love how they are wearing the same outfits that they were wearing while they were on earth. The fact that they didn't need special suits or equipment (besides the umbrellas) made it seem like the moon is a very approachable and easily explored area. The inclusion of the gigantic mushrooms in this scene exemplify the quirkiness and imagination of the director, and it also captures the interest of the viewer making them excited about what mysteries and wonders the moon must be hiding.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2013 on Mise-en-scéne readings at Geog/Film