Holy Motors (2012)


Today you have nine appointments; you need to get ready for your first we will be arriving shortly. There is not much of a right or wrong to the understanding of Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (2012). When considering this film the only thing that truly makes sense is that the film has a philosophical meaning to it.

From the opening scene the viewer is completely lost; Carax himself wakes up in a bed, approaches a wall covered in trees and minstrelsy grows a key from his finger to open this wall. Once the wall is opened we see Carax in a cinema watching his own film Holy Motors and we are introduced to the main character Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), who lives his life riding around in a limo creating different personas for each different appointment. Each appointment is a new situation for Oscar to simply confuse us even more through his bizarre actions. By the end of the film you are unsure how he is even alive or if he is alive due to the fact that he dies multiple times but just stands back up as if he is immune to death.

Throughout we contrast two different options; these options are theater performer or movie actor. We see signs that Oscar enjoys being in front of a camera when he is in the cemetery dressed as a troll and is performing for the photographer. Though in the end you are left to believe that Oscar is simply a stage performer; due to the constant change of costume and the fact that he cannot die.

The philosophical idea is seen in this film through the aspect that nothing is every clearly stated as true or false. In the end we do not know what exactly Oscar’s job is or if he has any sort of family. All we know is he rides around all day long in this limo living different personas for no apparent reason. We are simply left to debate whether or not he was an actor or not and if so what he acted for.

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Italian Cinema Has Left Me Quite Confused…


This week we went a little deeper into Italian Cinema. The two films we watched were Red Desert (1964) and I Am Love (2009). These two films I will say did not strike me as interesting compared to the films we watched the week before. I believe the biggest reason for this is because Red Desert left me feeling like I had just read a book in a foreign language. I understood nothing from this film. I Am Love was a little bit better but I still had to read a summary afterward.
Even though I was not able to make much of an understanding out of these two films I did notice that in both of these movies the main characters were women. Each of these women seemed a little messed up; both had affairs on their husbands and left them hanging.
Another thing I noticed in these two movies were there seemed to be a lot of long scenes, whether it was long takes or a lot of cuts making the scene long. I Am Love really did this a lot; the driving seen up to Antonio’s house was a lot of different cuts of the drive up the mountain when in a normal movie you would have two quick shots of pulling out of one location and into the next location. Then another I really noticed was the scene where Emma tells Edoardo that she is in love with Antonio, I can see where this scenes length would help foreshadow that Emma is going to tell Edoardo this. But I do believe that this may be a typical Italian thing to have long scenes during the movie.
I cannot say I quite enjoyed either of the films but I can see how the two films relate to each other. I also feel like I learned a little about stylistic aspect of Italian Cinema as well from these two films.

Italian Cinema & Neorealism Period


Starting in the mid-1940s and ending in the early 1950s was a time known to many as the Neorealism period. Cinema took a turn and was the “new way” of representing the true reality of war-torn Italy. During this period the cinema was about the problems people had after World War Two. People faced a rugged war-torn society; most of the country had been destroyed in the war. With this cinema changed to who the problems that society had after the war and used natural resources when shooting these films; on location shooting, natural light, and sound were big things when it came to the Neorealism period.

The styles of the films were similar as we notice in Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero and De Sica’s Bicycle Thief. Although the two films take place in different countries they both possess the same sort of functions. They are both shot on location with natural lighting and sound, along with this they are both about a family whom has been affected by the war.

Germany Year Zero is a film that takes place in Germany after the war, following the main character Edmund Kohler who will do anything to support his family by working shady jobs and stealing the smallest of things just to make sure his family is better off. The second film Bicycle Thief is a film that takes place in post-war Italy. The film portrays the life of Antonio Ricci a father who is not very well off and trying to survive. This like Germany Year Zero is about the struggle to survive in post war surroundings. Ricci has finally found a well-paying job and needs a bike to do such job. However his bike is stolen and the movie is about the struggle to find his bike and how he must keep calm to keep his family upright in such a harsh time.

In the end of both films we see one of the last noticeable themes to the Neorealism period. Neither of the films had a happy ending, mainly because this was not a happy period in time and the artist were trying to portray a realistic image of what had and was happening. In the end of Germany Year Zero Edmund commits suicide due to his belief that he had failed and in Bicycle Thief Ricci does not find his bike and lets his son whom looks up to him down by attempting to steal a bicycle from another man. Both show the harsh environments of the time period, the struggle to survive, and keep a family together and well.

Contrasting Cocteau & Godard


After watching two French films that I had never heard of I have a much different outlook on the French Cinema. Beforehand I sat dreading the day, for I was going to have to watch two French films and the stereotyping I had heard of French Cinema was not the best. The two films I watched were first The Blood Poet (1932, Cocteau) and the second, Band of Outsiders (1964, Godard).
The Blood Poet was more of what I expected from French Cinema, I had no idea what was going on, it was very odd, and didn’t strike me as a great film at first. I was also confused on the title and why the word “Poet” was used. After the showing and a discussion I realized that this film was meant to be a poem acted out on screen. This really changed my outlook and understanding of the film itself as it was very similar to a poem; you really have to dig deep to understand what the author or in this case director is trying to convey. I believe the director of this film was trying to show us how the art of poetry can been seen in other ways besides reading it from a piece of paper.
Godard’s Band of Outsiders was in a way much different from The Blood Poet but also a lot alike. I say this because Cocteau’s film had no dialogue and did not have much of a flowing narrative. However they were alike in the sense that conflict drove the story. Yes, Godard’s film did have dialogue but it was not necessary to understand what was going on. Body language could just have well told the entire story without dialogue. I believe that this is a major factor in French Cinema; the stories are told very well through the acting and roles of the characters.
I believe from watching these two films back to back you can really gain a lot of knowledge about French Cinema and how the French make their films. In the beginning I was not much of a fan but in the end I really have gained a little taste for the French Cinema and would not mind viewing more films to better understand the way the French films are made and how they have affected other cultures cinema as well.

Lockout Movie Review


Movie Title: Lockout

Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger

Release Date: April 13, 2012

IMDb Official Rating: 6.1/10

My Official Rating: 8/10

 

When I checked my local movie listings the other night to see what was showing I realized that I had seen just about every movie in theatres and the ones I had not seen did not look that great. So my girlfriend and I decided just to rent a movie on OnDemand.

We flipped through and everything I looked at she disagreed with and we all know it’s up to the girl; well I finally found one and that movie was “Lockout” she agreed with it and said it looked alright. So we ordered it and started watching.

This movie was crazy; it was a movie full of insane people running around killing each other and the guards. The main plot was a man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is sentenced to jail until the President’s daughter is trapped onboard this spaceship/jail with a bunch of crazies. They send him up into outer space to this jail to find Emilee the President’s daughter and bring her home safe. The movie goes from here and they run into some very weird people and have to fight to survive.

When I first turned it on the beginning was supposed to be futuristic and the quality was very crappy and I thought to myself if this looks like a dumb videogame the entire time I am going to be ticked. But it seemed like the director was playing a practical joke on the audience because after that the movie was spectacular.

I would totally recommend this to anyone who likes movie that keep them on their toes and incorporate a little mysterious back story. I would for sure watch this again and I am very upset that I did not see this while it was in theatres because the surround sound and big screen would have made this a million times better.

 

Wanderlust Movie Review


Movie: Wanderlust

Director: David Wain

Release Date: February 24, 2012

IMDb Rating: 5.7/10

My Rating: 3/10

I got off work one night and was in need for a good laugh so I decided to go to the movies. I chose Wanderlust and after seeing it I wish I had not chosen this movie.

Wanderlust is about a Manhattan couple, George and Linda, trying to find their way after George, bread winner of the family, loses his job. On their way to his Brother Rick’s house where they will live and work, they run across a commune called Elysium where the members welcome them with open arms. They spend the night feeling like they never had before. Seth, the leader, asks them to stay but they continue on to Rick’s house. Eventually George explodes and takes Linda back to the commune. They promise to try the hippie lifestyle; including becoming vegan, sharing everything, and free love for all, for two weeks before making their final decision. Soon Linda gets into the lifestyle, while George starts to regret coming.


Other than a few witty lines here and there, there’s not much else that’s good to say about this movie. During the movie if there was a funny scene it would typically stretch out like your normal stupid “Family Guy” episode and you just sit there hoping it will end soon. But other than the few times the jokes were funny, I just looked at the screen bored. Also I thought that the crazy amount of EXTEREMLY graphic nudity was very distasteful. I mean they leave NOTHING to the imagination, except when it comes to Jennifer Aniston. I’m thinking she made a deal with the directors and producers to avoid every man in America seeing her assets. Normally I don’t care about watching R rated movies with my little brother, but I would never allow him to watch this. Honestly, if you want to know the plot, just look it up on Wikipedia. This movie is not worth the time.

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review


Movie Title: The Dark Knight Rises

Director: Christopher Nolan

IMDb Rating: 9.0/10

My Rating: 9/10

Let me say one thing. I love Christopher Nolan’s work. He’s the kind of director, screenwriter, and producer that I’d like to be one day. But after The Dark Knight, I thought he really couldn’t finish this Batman trilogy without some disappointment.

 

Thank god I was wrong. This movie will blow your mind.

 
It has been 8 years since the events of The Dark Knight. Gotham City is peaceful and the streets cleaned of the bad guys thanks to the Dent Act inspired by the late Harvey Dent. Bruce Wayne has since retired from being the batman and hides himself in his mansion. But the actions of a new terrorist, Bane, threatening Gotham City brings him back out of retirement. If I tell you much more than that, it will ruin the movie for you.


This movie will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes. The story is very well-developed, with many plot twists that are thrown at you; you never truly know what will happen next. Just when you think you have it figured out, something new happens and changes everything. Every scene ties together and interlocks with all the other events in the movie and even some in the previous films. I love Catwoman’s character development throughout the movie. It was a good kind of unexpected for me, and Bane really has the Joker vying for the best villain of the Batman trilogy.

This movie ended the Batman series in the best way it could have ended. I suggest you watch the first two movies again before seeing this one so you can keep up with some of the important plot details before seeing it in theaters. This movie is worth every penny. You won’t regret it.