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|Wednesday, June 14th, 2006|
Please post a response to the following ANONYMOUSLY!
Looking back over the term, what are your overall thoughts towards this class? What did you feel you got out of this class (if anything at all)? What did you like best about it? What did you like least? Did you like the variety and selection of films? Suggestions?
What films meant the most to you?
What else do you think Mr. Leibner needs to know?
|Tuesday, June 13th, 2006|
AMORES PERROS (2002) by Alejandro Inarritu
Three lives who normally would have NOTHING to do with each other become fatefully intertwined after a horrible car accident.
Analyze how Inarritu uses the cross-cutting techniques to "tell" each of the stories and examine how they are similar.
Best quote: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." How does that idea relate to everything in this film. What purpose do the dogs serve? What is the idea of love that is threaded throughout the film? Why is the movie called what it is...particularly pay attention to the symbolism of the traslation ""LOVE'S A BITCH".
You can also speak of all the editing, camera angles, dialogue and structure in how Inarritu pulls off this amazing Mexican film.
|Monday, June 12th, 2006|
CINEMA FINAL EXAM
GREAT NEWS! You have been selected to teach next semester's Cinema Class. You have to choose SIX FILMS from the list of 35 films we've viewed this semester. In a type written 1,500 WORD essay (SIX PAGES!) you have to explain WHY you would select these films.
These aren't necessarily your favorite films! Choose based on what you want your students to learn about the art of cinema based on your selections. Think about the cool things we learned about style, structure, editing, photography and story. If you were to choose SIX FILMS, what would be the best ones to teach your students and WHY?
DUE: FRIDAY, JUNE 16
MURIEL'S WEDDING (AUSTRALIA)
WEST SIDE STORY
WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE
"THE BOX" (HONG KONG)
HEAVENLY CREATURES (NEW ZEALAND)
TIME AND TIDE (HONG KONG)
CITY OF GOD (BRAZIL)
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
MENACE II SOCIETY
HANA BAI (FIREWORKS) (JAPAN)
MEMORY OF A KILLER (THE NETHERLANDS)
DARK WATER (JAPAN)
"FOREVER" (HONG KONG)
"DUMPLINGS" (HONG KONG)
28 DAYS LATER (UK)
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (KOREA)
MY SASSY GIRL (KOREA)
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
AMORES PERROS (MEXICO)
|Friday, June 9th, 2006|
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF A SPOTLESS MIND (2004) by Michel Gondry
This is a stunningly beautiful love story.
The film is very complex as it probes into our very minds to figure out WHY we love the people we love and how our memories DEFINE who we are. Joel wakes up one day and decides not to go to work. He meets a beautiful, wacky woman named Clementine at the beach. We don't know it at the time, but all else that follows is a flashback to a break-up of this very relationship. When we return to the "present" time, we find Joel and Clementine refind each other, but now have the knowledge that they were together and "hear" the very things that start to drive each other crazy about each other BEFORE they start the relationship. They learn what is going to make them break up.
This is hardly a normal Jim Carrey movie. The writer, Charlie Kaufman, deals with how our brains dictate everything we know, feel and sense. The brain manipulates us and we have to live our lives BELIEVING what our brain tells us to believe, but WHY do we trust our perceptions at all????
Consider all the striking scenes in the film. This film takes us into Joel's past memories and into the heart of his unconscious as he tries to seek out and "hide" Clementine once he decides in the middle of the memory erasing procedure to halt it, but can't. We see scenes of Joel's childhood which help explain the man he has become. We can now see the reasons he fell for Clementine in the first place.
This movie is about love and how vague and nebulous it is. Why do we love whom we love? How is the film VISUALLY representitve of Memory and HOW WE INTEGRATE IT INTO OUR LIFE. Describe certain sequences and WHY they are depicted that way.
|Thursday, June 8th, 2006|
This just in...ANOTHER REMAKE
Guard brothers tell scary 'Tale' at DreamWorks
Tom and Charlie Guard are in talks to tell "A Tale of Two Sisters" for DreamWorks. The atmospheric horror thriller would mark the feature film directing debut for the British brothers and is based on a remake of Kim Jee-woon's 2004 Korean boxoffice hit "Janghwa, Hongryeon." The latest DreamWorks horror tale follows the studio's boxoffice success in 2002 when it rang in the Asian remake craze with "The Ring." Kim's original film is based on a classic Korean folk tale infused with '70s Brit horror. The DreamWorks version centers on modern-day teenage sisters Anna and Alex Rydell who return home from a mental hospital only to find their recovery unraveling because of a cruel stepmother, clueless father and a lingering ghost. Production is expected to begin this fall.
|Wednesday, June 7th, 2006|
ADAPTATION (2002) by Spike Jonez (written by Charlie Kaufman)
Like ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF A SPOTLESS MIND, Charlie Kaufman wrote this film to meditate on the nature of reality and how our brain dictates EVERYTHING we perceive, think and feel.
What makes ADAPTATION so incredibly strange and appealing is that the "writer" Charlie Kaufman uses Nicholas Cage to not only play him charged with writing a film. And not only that, Charlie Kaufman gives himself a "twin" brother, Donald, to further twist the idea of who we are. There's a lot of illusion and confusion involved. Explain how it is used to further the ideas of the film.
Consider all the different meanings of "adaptation" that is used in the film (both in terms of Evolution and how a writer has to turn something into a movie...the plot devices used to advance a movie about a screenwriter writing a film about a book of an author who seeks to tell the story of a man who is telling a story about orchids...the different personalities of "Charlie" and "Donald" Kaufman...what is "real" and what isn't and what is "art" and what is "life"...
This film goes through multiple time trips, character switches and huge IRONY to get to the ending. Describe the voyage we're taken on.
AUDITION (2000) by Takashi Miike
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty....
Yeeeeesh. What a head-trip. AUDITION is a difficult film to discuss because there are MANY different interpretations about its meaning. Let's at least get at the set-up to see if that helps.
A middle-aged man whose wife has died seven years earlier believes it's time to get married again. His friend convinces him to hold a phony movie audition in the hopes of scoring a wife. Well, what sort of woman was he after? What is his attitude towards women? What is it that attracts him to Askami?
This movie starts off slow but then hits you hard repeatedly until the extremely shocking conclusion. Why did Miike do this to the audience? What expectations did you have for this film? What are the disturbing scenes and why are they so powerful? Love itself is a character in this film, but HOW is it depicted? What about those sequences of extreme sadism. WHY?
Think about the points in the film where you are confused between reality and fantasy. What do they reveal about the man's and Askami's character? The movie keeps turning back on itself as if looping. Why? What is shown in the end with the final dialogue Askami says to him? Do we ever know what is real?
At the beginning of the film when the man and his son are fishing, he says, "I'd rather have a real live girl rather than a fantasy fish."
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty....
|Thursday, June 1st, 2006|
You are to analyze the horror techniques of THREE of the horror films we've seen:
JAWS, DARK WATER, FOREVER (this was the short about the man who takes care of his wife while holding the hostage) DUMPLINGS (the short about the woman who eats fetus's to stay young), 28 DAYS LATER, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, CARRIE and AUDITION.
This is a 750-word composition. Remember, to BE SPECIFIC in naming the sequences or techniques you observe and then EXPLAIN FULLY why the filmmaker chose to do it that way. You must analyze the effect of it on the viewer.
It is not enough just to identify "cool camera shots". (For example you need to be much more specific like: "When Carrie and her dream date Tommy begin to dance at the prom, the camera starts slow swirling around them. By the time they share their kiss, the camera is going quite fast making us as dizzy and caught up in the magic moment as Carrie. This will set us up for the horrible reality which is about to happen.")
Due: Friday, June 10.
|Wednesday, May 31st, 2006|
MY SASSY GIRL (2001) by Jae-young Kwak
DO YOU WANNA DIE?!?!?
Kyun-woo is in love. This is not a typical romance. Explain how this Korean film is a drama...a comedy...a tragedy...
What makes this film different and unique from an American romantic film? Oh yeah...notice how Kyun-woo's love interest was never given a name!
Oh yeah...the American version comes out later this year.
|Saturday, May 27th, 2006|
MAKE UP MOVIES
If you are failing, you need to see 3 extra films.
CAVITE is no longer playing
You can see:
DISTRICT B-13 the spectacular French action film...it's playing at these 3 places...
111:20, 1:20, 3:20, 5:20, 7:40, 9:50
NuWilshire 14th Street and Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica
11:45, 2:15, 4:45, 7:30
Long Beach UA Marketplace
Call 800 Fandango #509
12 AND HOLDING @ Santa Monica Mann on the 3rd Stree Promanade
12, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 10
RUSSIAN DOLLS at Laemlae's Fairfax (@ Beverly and Fairfax)
Sat SUn Mon 2:00 pm, 7:10 pm
WATER at Monica (@ 2nd Street off the Promanade)
sat sun mon 1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 9:55
HARD CANDY at Regent Showcase @ 614 N. Labrea South of Santa Monica Blvd.
THE PROPOSITION at Westside Pavillion (Mall on Pico Blvd. btwn Westwood and Overland)
sat sun mon 11:15, 4:30, 7
I will give more films next week. Try and see CAVITE. UNITED 93 counts. More later
|Friday, May 26th, 2006|
CARRIE (1976) by Brian DePalma
Cinderella gone bad.
Look at the stupendous photography and editing (both visual and sound) and examine what made CARRIE such a successful film. There are so many wonderful moments, pick and choose something to elaborate on.
What elements of horror were there? Perhaps comment on how EACH CHARACTER was developed and played a role in creating the mood and tone of the tale. How does blood and sex and God all play a role in this film?
The best horror takes our worst fears and sets them in an ordinary setting. Also, it makes us re-think what scares us and WHY.
|Wednesday, May 24th, 2006|
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (2002) by Hongryeon Janghwa
Wow! Pretty confusing, huh? What is real and what is not? Who killed who? Clues- why was the "stepmom" in the house when the mother was still alive? (Think about the pictures and the uniform you saw her wearing). What was Sumi accusing her of at the top of the stairs? Why did she tell Sumi she would regret that moment?
How much of the first 3/4 of the movie was real? Whose perspective were we seeing? How did Sun Yeong actually die? How did their mother die? In what sense had Su-mi been "sick"? Why does she see herself as both the protector of Sun Yeong and also as the Stepmom violently attacking Sun Yeong?
Remember, as in all Asian horror films you've screened, nothing is straight forward. There is a long time spent building up to the climactic situation and it is ALL BASED on what has happened in the past. The ghosts haunt the world and speak to the specific PSYCHOLOGY of the characters. Think in terms of metaphors. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS was made by the same director as MEMORIES which you saw at the beginning of the term about the father who "forgot" he murdered his wife.
What is the movie saying about Su-Mi's psychology? How has she responded to the trauma she experienced?
How did the director keep you in a state of suspense and ambiguity? What did he do to make you unsure of what was going on? What cinematic techniques were used to tell this story?
|Friday, May 19th, 2006|
28 DAYS LATER (2003) by Danny Boyle
This British horror film was not shot on film...it was shot on hi-definition digitial. You can probably see that now. Describe what made this film effective (if you thought it was)? What key scenes stood out? How did photography and editing play an essential part in the "horror"?
Again, if you thought this film was different from other horror films describe how and why.
ps...this director did the film TRAINSPOTTING, the brilliant Scotish heroin film we'll see later in the year.
|Wednesday, May 17th, 2006|
"Dumplings" (2005) By Fruit Chan
What made this film horrifying? What pushes it beyond what you'd expect? Is it scary or funny or both?
What sequences do you remember and how did Chan achieved the effect(s) he intended?
|Friday, May 12th, 2006|
DARK WATER (2001) by Hideo Nakata
The Ring was an international sensation, but it first came out in 1998 as RINGU by Hideo Nakata. He subsequently did the sequel RINGU 1 and the prequel, RINGU 0. DARK WATER was never given a release in American, although the re-make will come out this summer. When you compare the Japanese horror films to American ones--what is the difference between the two cultures?
Look how long it takes the story to get going. What are the elements that begin to make it creepy? How does the tension begin to build and build?
For a clue about the psychology of the film, reflect on what is scary sometimes about Motherhood? What are the responsibilities and what are the things all Mom's fear for their kids? What was in the Mom's past that set you up for what will happen in the film? Compare the two little girls. What is the significance of that last little segment that takes place 10 years later?
Some of the scariest films of all time are not about monsters that come at you, but the monsters that come at you from within.
|Wednesday, May 10th, 2006|
JAWS (1975) by Steven Spielberg
This is the modern day monster movie that became the biggest grossing film in Hollywood history.
Spielberg was only 24 years old when he made this. He sets this film up by creating three very distinct characters who will go to battle with "the monster". Spielberg also does imaginative things with the story. Notice you never see the shark to almost half way through the movie. It is all done with the "effects" of the shark. Why does he take his time in revealing it?
He also makes this shark more than just a shark. How?
What scenes stood out because of their construction or suspense? This film has been immitated countlessly over the last 30 years, but few have surpassed it.
|Tuesday, May 9th, 2006|
You are to write a 750 word paper (three pages) where you discuss the cinematic qualities of THREE of the following films.
MEMORY OF A KILLER
HANA BAI (FIREWORKS)
MENACE II SOCIETY
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
TIME AND TIDE
CITY OF GOD
Make sure you write about HOW the filmmakers "tell" their story using editing, photography, structure and story that makes them unique and interesting. BE SPECIFIC when naming certain sequences and EXPLAIN WHY the filmmaker chose to do it that way. What is the effect on the viewer?
PROOFREAD your paper and DON'T SUMMARIZE the films!!!
DUE: MONDAY, MAY, 15 .
|Friday, May 5th, 2006|
BROTHER (2001) by "Beat" Takeshi Kitano
Anaki, a Yakuza (Japanese mafia) gangster is exiled to Los Angeles after his crime boss is murdered in a Tokyo gang war. He ends up in South Central and organizes his own gang implementing Japanese methodology. This film takes from both Japanese gangster culture and "Hood" gangster society.
What sequences were most effective and why? This movie is a blending between Beat Kitano's HANA=BI style and American gangster style. He uses techniques of both in the film.
Remember, the Japanese of a "code of honor" that comes from samurai society. There's a lot of things the Japanese do that seems completely foreign to the Los Angeles gangsters. Explain the meaning of the ending of the film and why Anaki does what he does.
|Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006|
CITY OF GOD (2003) by Fernando Meirelles
Set on the mean streets of a Rio de Janeiro, Brazil slum (in the "Cidade de Deus" housing project), this film follows two boys who grow up down differing paths (stretched across over 15 years, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s). One, Rocket, becomes a photographer, the other Lil' Z, becomes a drug dealer. The film follows their paths through a series of short stories, as we learn about the violent, often short lives of those wrapped up in the dangerous world of drugs and crime on Brazil's cruelest area.
Using a variety of inventive structure and photographic techniques, explore how CITY OF GOD "tells" its multiple tales. The stories are not necessarily in chronological order. They keep weaving back on themselves. "The Story of the Apartment" shows who lived in the apartment over time and what happened there. We follow many characters: Rocket, Lil' Dice, Goose, Benny and Knockout Ned through three different time periods. Explain SPECIFICALLY what you found intriguing.
|Friday, April 28th, 2006|
TIME AND TIDE (2001) by Tsui Hark
This Hong Kong gangster film is quite complicated in plot, but visually quite striking.
Tyler gets a woman pregnant who doesn't want anything to do with him, despite his best efforts. He takes a job as a bodyguard. Meanwhile, Jack is a former gangster trying to run away from his past. His wife doesn't know anything about his former life where his gang tried to rub him out. Because they tried to betray him, Jack takes their money and they come after him in Hong Kong.
The two stories dovetail together. The final sequence with Tyler delivering Jack's wife's baby is remarkable.
Analyze the use of the camera to tell this story. The camera is all over the place and it helps tell the story in a remarkable way. Explain sequences you liked and why. What makes this gangster film unique?