Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jim et Jules

Jules et Jim was one of the most visually appetizing movies for me that I have seen since Pride and Prejudice.
I was swept away with the continuous motion and the constant playing with angles. Watching a movie by this director is a wholesome delight. His is like a small child exploring all the ways to do something and then turning them into cohesive elements.

The film itself almost did not fit the storyline; the director was really doing two different things. That film was creative and should not always be the same thing. Those great shots are the moments captured by accident. I bet when Fran├žois Truffaut filmed them sprinting that he did not know it would become an icon of film.
He was showing us a movie about a favorite book of his. He promised that if he ever became a director that he would make the book into a film. I can truly understand why. The characters were each definite but yet intertwined by the others vices. Jules and Jim orbited Catherine. For her gravitational force alone was enough to keep them wanting. She never really pulled them in though she just kept the around.

By the end of the movie we saw that Catherine was a fickle person that never really loved Jules or Jim. Whenever she felt that she was not the center of attention she did something crazy. She would slap Jim, then she tried to shot Jim, and then by the end she killed him. Why? Why would Catherine go that far? Because all she really had was that attention. I have had the privilege of knowing someone like this. Their world rotated around themselves and the people around her were only there to pay homage to her. In the end it did drive her to her death. For what is left when the only thing left true loneliness strikes? Nothing and that is exactly how that person felt, nothing.

By the end of the film I was in Jules shoes ready to cry. My heart sank faster than the car could fall off the bridge. Threw the entire movie I could love and hate Catherine at the same time. When it was all over all that Jules had was his little girl. It was enough to make a man loose his mind. The music at the end was very unfitting I thought. I really loved this movie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The dark resiedes in all

Film Noir to me is a very brittle thing. The film Double Indemnity was a very boring it was an intellectually dull film. I think that for me film noir has to have a very intellectual twist. Many of the characters in the typical Noir are transparent: the fem-fatal you know is evil, the lead character is evil also and there is really no need for a good character for a switch up. I believe that the neo-noir films; the ninth gate and seven. Each of these films demonstrates great character depth with a heightened level of competency that makes the characters cool. The plot in each of these movies was very thick and it entrances the watcher.

The ninth gate is one of my favorite films. I grew up a southern Baptist so the word Satin was not allowed. So naturally when someone makes a movie about him I was eager to watch. The film is introduced in darkness like all film noir. A man is hanging himself. The main character, Dean Corso, is casually ripping people off for a great piece of literature. He then acknowledges his corruption in the very next scene by taunting a competing buyer. The fem-fatal I am a little confused about because she could be either the devil worshiping Aires or the demon woman that he hooks up with in the end. The majority of this movie is shot in light but only during darkness in the movie do the real creepy things begin to happen. The demonic twist is just what this noir needed to rope me in. Plus the over enormous amount of competency displayed by Corso makes him extremely cool. Spoiler Alert the watcher is supposed to assume that he meets Satin in the end.

Se7en is one of the darkest films that I have ever seen. The catholic in me was intrigued by the tie to the seven deadly sins. The tow lead detectives Mills(Brad Pitt) and Sumerset (Morgan Freeman) are extremely competent characters. Mills is the simple detective with a wife at home and Sumerset is a cop that has been on the job for way too long. Sumerset is jaded by all the crime that he has seen. He has devolved a hard shell to keep him from succumbing under the torture of the job. They each see the atrocities of the crime and judge it as wrong. Oh but the killer he sees this. His whole point about killing is that to make people see the darkness or wrong with in them. His final tactic is to show the detective that human nature is evil, that given the right catalyst even Mills can commit a crime like murder. In the end he was right.

These two film noir highlight the darkness in human existence. They capture what Noir and make it a sort of social commentary. The point of Noir is that we are all a little evil on the inside whether we want to face it or not.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Noir is not for me

Double Indemnity to me was transparent and boring. The element of film Noir such as the fem-fatal, the darkness of the characters and the darker lighting are not appealing to me. I can appreciate this in a historical context because it was revolutionary for people to fully acknowledge the darkness of society buy in today where people fully recognize the duality of man there is no luster.

The only type of cool in this movie was competence which was more fully demonstrated by the character Keyes. He is also cool because he transcended the norms of corrupt around him. He had the ability to see so bad and yet so good all at the same time. He is a little man that is to be admired

Walter to me is a man that is not satisfied with his place because he is much smarter but likes the fruit of his labor. He is able to see past the system for its cracks and sees his one chance to prove his intellectual superiority and to profit at the same time. He knew that Phyllis would betray him; he knew her plan and still went along with it. The temptation of surpassing those above him in intellect and money was a little too much. Keyes was blind to him because he was looking for another good man but his hope blinded him. It was poetic the last scene where keys lights the cigarette for Walter.

Phyllis now she was a dilly of a pickle. She was unattractive and not sexy to least bit. I don’t even think that Walter really loved her as much of the idea of taking the treasure of a rich man. Her character was the most transparent of them all. She is a Black Widow; she uses her mate until she has no use for them and then kills them. In the end I was happy to see her die; I would have done it earlier. I know he was waiting for the money but she got pretty annoying towards the end.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Naruto and V

I was watching The Big Bang season one, and I was thinking of how the idea of cool influences others' decisions. On one episode, the main character Leonard said something very profound. “Girls like Penny don’t get with guys that have time machines" (life size model from the original movie). That to me says something about cool. We must conform ourselves to what is cool so that we can achieve social norms, such as a hot girl friend in this scenario. Leonard thoroughly believed that he had tp give up his ways of being a nerd and start being more normal. In the end he realizes that he is cool in his own way. It takes Penny to convince him of it, and she is cool in his eyes.

A movie that has a good example of imitation of cool would be The Sand Lot. The kids in the movie emulate Babe Ruth. The imitation of Ruth adds great humor to the movie and leads to significant character devolvement. They also do a great job in putting Babe Ruth, their star of cool, into context throughout the movie.

I believe that there is an abstract way of looking at this. What if a person embodies the thoughts and values of an entire group of people and others imitate him in an act to show support? I believe that V for Vendetta would be a good example of imitation cool. V is a man that embodies the values of the oppressed, the citizen, and the used. By the end of the movie the majority of the people imitate V so that they can seek the justice that he represents. It is a very powerful scene seeing people all dressed as V storming Parliament.

The last imitation of cool I would like to talk about is Uzumaki Naruto. Naruto’s whole quest throughout the series is to become Hokage. He follows in the fourth Hokage as a rite of passage. His teacher and master is the same as the teacher of the fourth Hokage, which was his father. Naruto’s best attack is a variation of his father's. He never finds out that the fourth Hokage was his father, but he eventually surpasses him in power.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My name is Bond, James Bond

My voice of cool is not a movie star, singer or animated character; the voice is my Pop’s. He is a man that has always appeared to me as a very cool person. I value his thoughts and opinions on almost all issues. His words gave me the support that I needed to become the person that I am today. Since there is no way that I can show him to you then I will relate him to the movie characters that he most resembles. My Pop is courageous, strong, and a leader. His life is one that is full of adventure, love, and achievement. He is known as a man of his word, and everyone who knows him has a great amount of respect for him.

My Pop is like Sean Connery in James Bond. His suave physique gives of an air of cool, no woman, armed man, or dagger hat could stop him. He is known unamomiously as an international man of mystery. My Pop guides me threw those tough situations where I just don’t know what to say. I have a push behind me to do some of the things that I'm afraid to do. I sometimes think he has a British accent too, but that is just because I am a fan of their accent. With him I have the support to go out and face the challenges that are troubling me. The best example that I can think of is when I was kayaking down the Buffalo River. I was the first one to make it to the bluffs and I hesiteated like any sane, rational person would when faced with a 35 foot drop. Pop stood there beside me saying “Go! Just don’t think; do!” So I did, but everyone else came to their senses and climbed back down. I was applauded by the girls passing by. I am not one to be fed lines because that would actually require thinking about what I said first ,and that is just not my style in conversation (it has gotten me into a lot of trouble).

I first discovered this voice when I went to Subiaco. I was alone, and I needed advice but was a little too proud to call. The voice became a constant help because I knew no one, and I had to have confidence. It paid off: I made Vice President of the Freshman class because I was very well liked by most. I also had an upper hand because my nervious habbit is to talk nonstop. Everyone there was new, and they liked having some one to talk to.

I still from time to time have those moments when I am scared and just need that reinforcement, so I have my vivid hallucination of Pop (Shawn Connery) standing there telling me just to go for it because I only live once.

Monday, February 9, 2009

That will be the day, when we are all like Rick

I am going to take a bit of a different approach to why Rick (Humphery Bogart) is cool. At the beginning of the movie Rick's Cafe America is the place to be. It is the glimmer of hope that so many cling to, and to many it may be as close to America as they come. So what do you have to do to get in? You have to know or appeal to Rick. So right off the bat we are trained to think that Rick is cool. Then some of the first images that we see of Rick are of a man sitting alone smoking. We find out that he does not drink with customers and he does not care where you are from or how powerful you used to be. Again this adds to the idea that Rick is cool, He is the guy you want to know.

Rick's hard shell and rough physique is transparent because all that it truly says about Rick is that he was hurt once or that he once stuck his neck out on the line and he will never do it again. From that moment you that, you want to empathize with him and see him develope into a softer character because we want that sort of hope for all people. The audience is now accepting of the idea that Rick is cool but he becomes more cool in the viewer's eye because they can relate to him. And why would you not want to be able to relate to Rick? Because he is a guy you what to be like .

When Ilsa comes into the picture it makes sense. He was a man hurt by love. You begin to say to your self that you know what that rejection is like. As a viewer you want to believe that something will open his heart back up again. That there is some way to ease the pain, that by watching you will be able to ease your own pain.

During the film when ever Rick is faced with this, the possibility of unrelenting happiness, he turns it down because he is willing to sacrifice his love so that another might enjoy it. It is a very virtuous notion (to me it is a cop out). Each person in the theater is now questioning whether they would do the same for some one else. They hope they would because everyone wants to be that cool. They want to be so cool that they would give up what they cherished most so some one else could have it. So that they could transcend the values of a rationally interested society.

My point is that we think that Rick is cool because we as individuals hope that we could act with the same values and courage that Rick did. We all seek the idea that there is always something more than what we want most. That at the heart of it all there is a value that will transcend personal wants.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Dogs

Humphrey Bogart defined what it meant to be a man during the WWII era. The example he set is seen in many of my favorite macho-men characters. Men are supposed to be rough on the outside, and when you truly are allowed in, they are to be of great character. I grew up under such a man and it is a hard act to follow, yet there is example after example in film. So I would like to touch base on just a few of my personal heroes in film, my tribute to manly men of film!

You first have to define what makes a manly man. So here is my criteria, although others may differ. The man must be very rough and may come off as indifferent and neutral. Also, the man must have a turning point in his past that was the cause for him being rough. His turning point in a film must be a moment when he can finally gain the ability to empathize again.

The first comes as no surprise to those that know me, and that is Clint Eastwood. His work is a follow up to many old famous detectives, one of which Humphrey Bogart played in The Big Sleep. The entire Dirty Harry premises is based off of the idea of the rough, manly man. In his latest role in Gran Torino he is the macho man that I described. Tough on the outside, but play-dough to his values on the inside.

The last man I will talk about is an actor that comes under a lot of criticism for his beliefs and especially his height. You have it folks, it is Tom Cruise. I emulated him when I was little, and my favorite movie of his is and will always be Top Gun! It is the true testament to 80’s masculinity. I will most likely get railed for saying this, but it is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bat, Snake and Naruto

I am going to start with one of my favorite types of cool that we saw in the movie The Public Enemy. Tom Powers was one of those wonderful villains that you just can’t help but love. His swagger, his confidence, and last but most certainly not least, his insanity.

I would like to touch on just a few of my favorite bad souls of film, books and manga. Let me begin with Batman, not The Dark Knight, but Batman. In this 80’s-rific version of Batman, Jack Nicholson plays The Joker. Now I am not saying Heath Leger did a bad job; the two different portrayals of The Joker were both amazing in their own respects. He had the laugh, the smile (of course), and the confidence to make him cool.

In literature I think I will choose Professor Snape from Harry Potter. He was so freaking cool. He jumped sides in the book series about a gazillion times, but in the end he was good. So much so that Harry named his kid after him. Even his back story was awesome! He was a master of potions and probably the second smartest character in the series. If it wasn’t for him, then I am willing to bet that not so many readers would have liked the series so much. So let me recap with Snape: he had the evil grin and he had to be insane to go be a secret agent amongst Lord Voldomort’s ranks.

Not many people know the last character, but I am going to ramble about him. His name is Sasuke from the Manga Naruto. He is a character shrouded in darkness. His entire family was murdered by the older brother that he loved. He is confident and swift and still believes that his only purpose is to get revenge on those that caused the death of his family and clan. He is looked up to by all because of his success, looks, and ability, but he has hatred in him that darkens his heart. I believe that he will eventually destroy himself just as Tom did. The similarities between Tom and Sasuke are a little uncanny. If you would like to read the Manga Naruto then click here.