The Great Gatsby

17 Apr

As a follow up post to upcoming films I want to see, I forgot to include The Great Gatsby.  This adaptation from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, this is actually a remake of the film “The Great Gatsby” which starred Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the same director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo+Juliet, I now see the similarities of cinematographic style between the three films.  As a big fan of his adaptation of Romeo+Juliet, I am very excited to see how he takes on the Gatsby film.

Though it has been a while since I have seen the first Gatsby moive, I remember the pacing of it being rather slow and dragging along.  Just from the preview of this movie, it seems like pacing has picked up and the drama, sex, love, violence, and scandal have been amped up as well.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Toby McGuire as Nick Carraway, and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan.  I think that DiCaprio and Mulligan are excellent choices to take on these roles.

Also the sound track to this film seems great, very modern but fitting to the time/setting of the movie.

I cannot wait to see this in theaters May 10, 2013!

Looking forward to…

11 Apr

42The Jackie Robinson Story: Opening tomorrow this is the true story of Jackie Robinson and how he broke the major league baseball color barrier by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  I have never been one who is a fan of baseball or baseball films for that matter, like The Natural, but this movie looks like it has potential to be a great baseball flick.  see trailer

TranceNow playing, a psychological thriller about a conspiracy to steal artwork at an auction and the use of hypnotherapy to recover a memory about where to find the missing art.   Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, the opening Olympic ceremony, 127 Hours) and featuring Rosario Dawson, James McAvoy, and Vincent Cassel.  I love stories like this, ones that are very twisted and complex where everyone is playing each other, this looks like a very “edge of your seat” movie—though I may have to look away with some of the torture scenes because they look really gross and bloody.  see trailer

This is the EndComing in Summer 2013.  Featuring a great ensemble cast of James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and appearances by Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari, Rihanna, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling and so many more.  It is about six friends trapped in a house after some strange happenings occur in LA and all the crazy happenings that follow.  Looks hilarious!  see trailer

Les Miserables

7 Apr

les miserables

Les Miserables
by Tom Hooper

After all of the hype surrounding this film I finally sat downto watch to see what all the commotion was about.  I was weary at first with watching a film called “The Miserable” knowing it would defiantly be depressing.

From Guys and Dolls to Footloose, Billy Elliot, and more recently Hairspray and Mama Mia, it is always interesting to see crossover from books to film and sometimes even more so from theatre to film (and the other way around with theater and film).  The story mainly follows the life of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and through his interactions with the other characters we learn more about his life, the lives of the other characters and the hard times in 19c France.  I did enjoy how each of the different stories intertwined and all the characters were connected; a six-degrees of separation kind of story if you will.

Though I have never seen this as a play before (but I have seen plays), I think that the way this was filmed added a new element of viewer engagement that a play could not have done.  For me, what worked well about this, as a film was the use of camera angles and how the viewer could better see symbolisms.

For instance, when the camera follows Valjean’s torn up parole paper in the wind we get a birds eye view of France, setting the overall stage—the master shot.  Though it seemed that some people did not enjoy the singing-en-scene, to the camera, I thought that made it more organic and felt more like a play.  Also I liked that it added the element of making the viewer feel like a character in the film, thus engaging them more in the story.

Similarly, by having the camera move around and act like it is hiding in the bushes or moving about the house (when Carter and Cohen are singing “Master of the House”) we feel like we are there in the scene following the action as it unfolds and not just watching it in the audience.

Also, by bringing this story to film we are better able to see symbolic elements that perhaps we could not get from a play.  Many times we see Javert walking on the edge of buildings, and it may seem strange at first glance, but the film allows us to see his struggle, he is constantly walking a thin line.  Likewise, the use of the pan-up shot shows his power and authority, while the pan-down shows is insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

I really enjoyed the cast, and thought that all of the actors were well fitting, even Mr. Russell Crowe—I found him to be better than the suggested negative reviews out there.  I was also impressed at the emotion that came through while singing; I really felt the sorrow of Anne Hathaway as she sang “I Dreamed a Dream,” and when Hugh Jackman sang as he faced multiple hard decisions, and when Eddie Redmayne was singing after the barricade fight scene and when Samantha Barks (Éponine) sang about her unrequited love.  However, after all of the buzz around Hathaway, I was a little bummed at how little we see of her in this film.

Also, I really enjoyed the comic relief of Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thénardier) and even Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier).  Though I am not one for Cohen’s comedic style I found him to be the perfect fit for the role.

The only thing that I found to be un-enjoyable (other than the depressing tone) was the pacing; it was rather strange.  It was like the story itself moved fast and slow simultaneously.  Sometimes the scene would change rather quickly and it was like “wait a sec, what just happened how did we jump to this point in time” but other times it was like “ok move on, what is next?”

Though seeing this film once was probably enough for me, I did appreciate the uniqueness that Tom Hooper brought to the telling of this story.

 

http://screenrant.com/les-miserables-reviews-2012/

Commercial Break

7 Apr

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

 

one of my favorite commercials out there 🙂 … touch or tackle?

Carytown French Film Festival: Short Films—Part Deux

25 Mar

I unfortunately missed the first two shorts on both days but I did catch the end of Je t’attends toujours (Day 2) and it seemed to have a good mix of thrills, drama and an exciting storyline.  However I wan not sure if it was a true story or a mocumentary.

 

Day 2.

Un week-end a Paris: (A weekend in Paris):  Not too sure of what this was about because my French is very limited and there were no subtitles, but the girl in this film was adorable.  I think the premise was something like they pretend to go to Paris but go elsewhere in search of something—but of what I am not sure.  It was rather slow paced in the beginning and though it was strange how most of the beginning was exterior shots of buildings and scenery accompanied with voiceover, I think that subtitles would have clarified this situation.  So due to lack of subtitles, I give this a B-.

 

La Baleine et moi (The Whale and me): A documentary about a former free-diving champion and her encounter with a whale and its baby.  I found this documentary to be rather eccentric and rather atypical of a usual documentary.  In a way I found it to be kind of incomplete or lacking something that I cant quite put my finger on.  Though I really liked the film of the whales, I give this a C+ for incompleteness but an A for the whale footage and underwater scenes.

 

Dead: Another kind of strangely unique film like Je veille sur vous from the first day.  I think that the dad (the leading man) in this is dead/a ghost, but it could be that he is just not around as much and now wants to be a better father? Not too sure.  The special effects were well done and the story kept you on the edge of your seat of what would happen to the baby.  I give it a B.

 

Monsieur Leroi: Very fitting film for the time of unemployment and the stresses of interviews.   A man Mr. Grabin has finally got an interview after a long time of searching for a job.  What starts as a typical day, turns in to a rather odd interview.  Comical, unique, and peculiar, I give this film A+.

 

Palmipedarium: I found this film to be rather weird and not that enjoyable.  It seemed rather dark and kind of scary.  There were times where I thought I might have the story figured out and other times where I was surprised by what happened. The animation however was satisfactory as well as the editing.  So for animation and editing I give this an A but overall I say C.

 

Time to split: Though it was a rather usual story, about a couple with a child who split up and may or may not get back together, I love split reality films showing things happening for two people at the same time! I liked how the line dropped down through the film and split the story.  This was so well filmed and edited, and I like how the way it was divided split screen made each segment look like frames in a filmstrip.  Overall I give this an A+.

 

*flim descriptions taken from this year’s festival program*

Carytown French Film Festival: Short Films

25 Mar

Another great year of shorts! While each film shared its story differently, some common themes among the films were humor, love, life and death to mention a few. Some films were very well done, others were strange and still others felt kind of out of place, yet all were entertaining to watch.

 

Day 1.

Je veille sur vous (I’m watching over you): I will say that the cinematography and audio were well done.  However, I was not really sure of the storyline.  I think that the man was living through memories of his past.  His wife had certainly died but I wasn’t sure if the kids were his kids and had died young or if they were his kids and had grown up and left him or if they really were neighbor kids.  It was a little strange and creepy but it was cool to see how he remembered things through recordings and then painting silhouettes to make it seem like there were people in the house.  It was an interesting film concept, but make take more than one look to fully understand, I give it a B.

 

Micha Mouse: It started out a little slow, but picked up as the story moved on.  The old age makeup was definitely noticeable but I think that overall it worked with the extreme makeup and costumes (and hair) that are seen in the flashback.  *Set in NYC during the late 1920s, this biopic recounts the life of a certain Walt, a cartoonist, and the real life of one of his fictional characters.  It was very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Not really a spoof, maybe more of a homage, but it was certainly a new perspective on how a very recognizable character came to life.  I give this film an A.

 

Catharsis: Great acting, filming and editing.  Had an Inception feel, movie about a movie/dream within a dream.  But it also kind of reminded me of Fellini’s 8 ½ a little bit.  A man so tortured by his unfulfilled dream to be a director causes great unrest and makes for tremendous internal conflict.  With moments of humor, drama, thrill, sadness the film shows his struggle to find sanity and get back to reality and to the girl he loves.  I give it an A.

 

Les Perruches (the Parakeets): A bittersweet story about two friends, Laura and Lili, who has cancer.  Lili, troubled by the loss of her hair and uncomfortable with the hospital wig cannot bring herself to go out.  Laura gives here a makeover and dresses up as well so Lili won’t feel alone.  Feeling rather out of place a first the two walk the streets and run in to some rather unusually dressed men and it changes their course of events.  I truly loved everything about this movie and the message how one small change can alter your look on things.  I give this an A+

 

No comment: A 4-minute comedy about a girl’s encounter with two very different men and her thoughts about men picking up women etc.  Though the filming looked a little amateur (like it was being shot handheld) and the audio was a peaking a little in places the story still was still terrific and I give it an A.

Bonjour! French Film Festival: Carytown

21 Mar

The French Film Festival, in its 21st year, has returned to Carytown, RVA.  Put on by two local colleges, University of Richmond and VCU, this annual Film Festival draws in huge crowds to the Byrd Theater and Carytown.  With Master Classes to attend and films from feature films to documentary and short films, there is much to see and do at the event. 

I first attended the festival last year and was blown away by the event.  Not only did I enjoy the movies that I saw, but also I loved experiencing an aspect of French culture and learning more about film history and French film history.  I could talk, and talk, and talk about my time at the event but I will just mention some of my favorite highlights of the event.

At last year’s event, they showed a special piece of film history—George Méliès’ The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.  The film was restored and it was really fascinating to see a film from one of the first filmmakers.

While at last year’s event, I attended the 20th Anniversary Special Screening of Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano.  The premise of the story was interesting, minus the fact that Cyrano and Roxane were cousins, it was an interesting twist on a love story.  Cyrano is very much in love with Roxane but is sure that she will reject him because of his rather large nose so he expresses his love for her anonymously in a series of letters on behalf of his friend Christian.  For me the film was nice to see how this crazy love mix-up unfolded but the film was rather slow paced and some scenes were very drawn out.

Another interesting feature film was Poupoupidou, a mashup of a JFK and Marilyn Monroe story mixed with a murder case.  A writer, Rousseau is a best selling crime novelist with a case of writers block.  Candice Lecoeur is a local beauty that believes she is a reincarnate Marilyn Monroe.  She is found dead in this small, rather cold village in France and declared dead by suicide but Rousseau does not buy that and uses the case for inspiration for his book. 

However, I think that my favorite films of the event were the short films.  All of them were very well done—specifically Voûte plantaire.  It is about 

“ [A] rich, orthopedic surgeon [that] has decided to end his life.  Unfortunately, his plans are thwarted when he meets Julie and Camille, two young sisters who come out of nowhere and show him a very different outlook on life.”

What started as a normal, semi-comical film (drama-edy), became weirder and twisted (in a good way, sparking more interest) making the story more complex as the film progressed.  What made this film great was the ending!  I won’t give anything away, but it was like a complete 180, pulling a Chris Nolan Memento-esque moment.  My review, in one word, Brilliant! I love movies like this that make you ponder the unknowns and the “what ifs” like Run, Lola, Run or Sliding Doors.

Another favorite was a short comedy called It is MiracuľHouse.  It is about a man whose mother is in the hospital and she wants to be examined by Dr. House, from the TV show House.  Her son desperate to cure her finds a look alike, Stéphane Freiss, to imitate Hugh Laurie as Dr. House.  A terrific comedy with a genius cast made for a very enjoyable story. 

I enjoyed all of these films so much because their underlying stories translate in any language.  Love, desperation, happiness, acceptance, loss, comedy so on and so forth, are all emotions that anyone can understand and relate to. 

I am very much looking forward to this year’s Film Festival and cannot wait to see the short films 🙂 !

 

*film synopsis gathered from last years program*

PENNY-CAAAN!

20 Mar

Cougar-Town

With its return to TV, TBS has brought back another show from the beyond and I am so glad that Cougar Town is back!  I will admit that when it started out I just watched it because it came on after Modern Family (another great show).  But as the weeks went on I found myself paying more and more attention to the characters and what happens with the Cul-de-Sac Crew in each episode. 

I like seeing Courtney Cox in a different role from that weird Dirt show she was on and Friends; though I do miss that show and Monica.  Cougar Town is a funny show that is easy to watch with likeable and often relatable characters.  Even though it is mainly a show that is meant to entertain, underlying tones of divorce, dating, life in your 40s, college, friends, family, marriage etc. humanize the show making it more than a “fluff-comedy.” Even more than that, I think that the dynamics of the character relationships put the “fun” in this dysfunctional group and are what really make the show work.  

Though I still don’t really get why the show is called Cougar Town, because they aren’t really looking for younger men, well with the exception of Barb, I look forward to my Tuesday nights, waiting to see what will happen next.

Andy/Ellie Torres

     -Stan Torres (son)

Laurie Keller (worked with Jules)

Grayson Ellis (now married to Jules)

Jules/Bobby Cobb (divorced but friends)

     -Travis Cobb (son)

Tom

 

*Adding some more humor to the show, I like that the majority of the characters have been on Scrubs or have appeared in episodes of Scrubs (Jules, Ellie, Jules’ Dad (Chick) , Tom and in the Hawaii episode Sam Lloyd ad Ted Buckland) 

 

Hello, & Welcome!

20 Mar

Hey all, Elizabeth here.

I have always loved film and TV and everything associated with them so I figured why not write about it!? 

I consider myself to be a self-proclaimed critic.  I find myself always picking apart films and looking up actors on IMDB looking at filmography, interesting trivia, goofs etc. while I am in the movie theater or watching at home.  

Watching Reelz Channel and looking at IMDB are two of my favorite places to get all the movie info.  E! is another channel I watch to get good Hollywood inside info and gossip though most of it is about fashion or the Kardashians—no dis my guilty pleasure is watching all things Kardashian.

The tone of this blog is just how I feel about trends in cinematography, and movies and TV in general. I love discussing film, TV, behind the scenes, actors, directors etc. and discussing differing views of these, so please feel free to comment and give your opinions and I will respond when I can.

So lets get rolling, 3…2…1 action!