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Monday, February 28, 2011

american beauty

my name is lester burnham. this is my neighborhood; this is my street; this is my life. i am 42 years old; in less than a year i will be dead. of course i don't know that yet, and in a way, i am dead already.

american beauty is about people who take life for granted and don't realize how good they have it. the characters that really stood out to me the most, and had the most meaning in the film, were the leads played by kevin spacey and annette bening. lester burnham (spacey) is your typical man in his early 40's. has a good job, a wife and daughter, lives in the suburbs, but overall is unsatisfied with life. events transpire, one including an infatuation with his daughter's friend, and he starts to realize he wants to travel back to the good ol' days where he was young, partied, and did whatever he wanted to do without any responsibility. so he quits his job, starts working out, buys a new car, etc. his wife carolyn is the career driven, over-achiever, who lives for what society perceives as "perfection." there are many more characters and a lot more to the film's plot than i have explained, but i think it's really the whole meaning of the film that i want to talk about.

american beauty is one of the greatest film masterpieces of all time. sam mendes' direction was superb, the acting by kevin spacey and annette bening was phenomenal, and the script was beautifully written. those were the first things that came to my attention after seeing american beauty for the first time. seeing it a second time was a much more profound experience. to me it's about how easily we can lose perspective on life, and how we completely take advantage of the things we are truly blessed with. instead we choose to get lost in worldly possessions and our own personal success. we lose sight of others, our loved ones, friends, family. we lose sight of the beautiful things that god put on this earth for us to truly marvel at. anyways, the point of this film is how easily we can miss the true meaning of life. for a moment it's here, and the next moment it's gone. we need to appreciate what has been given to us, appreciate the people who have blessed our lives, and to never get confused with how the world expects us to live and act.

i had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. first of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... for me, it was lying on my back at boy scout camp, watching falling stars...and yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street... or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper...and the first time i saw my cousin tony's brand new firebird...and janie...and janie...and...carolyn. i guess i could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. sometimes i feel like i'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... and then i remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and i can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little have no idea what I'm talking about, i'm sure. but don't worry... you will someday.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

best of the 83rd academy awards

the oscar's turned out to be really good this year! anne hathaway and james franco did an alright job, played it safe i thought... kept it classy and non controversial. quite thrilled with the results and the dresses were gorgeous!

the winners of the most anticipated awards
best actor: colin firth

best actress: natalie portman

best picture: the king's speech

best adapted screenplay: the social network, aaron sorkin

best original screenplay: the king's speech, david seidler

best cinematography: inception, wally pfister

best art direction: alice in wonderland

best dressed
halle berry

natalie portman

jennifer hudson

anne hathaway

scarlet johansson

amy adams

hailee stenfeld

mandy moore

Saturday, February 26, 2011

harry potter: character development

there are many elements that make the harry potter series stand out more than any other series, one of them being character development. the characters in harry potter gradually grow and mature as the story becomes more in depth and in that way readers get more involved with the story. they begin to relate to and understand what the character is going through at that time. the characters learn to face their fears through hardships and they learn the difference between what's right and what's wrong. in that way, they find their own inner strengths, weaknesses, and a stronger sense of self which are more or less issues that we muggles encounter in our own lives.

harry potter

since the beginning of the series, harry has always had a strong sense of what's right and what's wrong. that characteristic brings him the most success with overcoming obstacles earlier on (along with some help from dumbledore and his friends). his character truly starts to develop when he is faced with some of his greatest challenges such as overcoming his anger, temptation, ridicule, lack of support and, in some cases, arrogance. from the order of the pheonix on, you really start to see his weaknesses and hardships emerge. the more trials and the more adversity he faces, however, the stronger he becomes.

hermoine granger

hermione granger is known for her academic knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of people's weaknesses. the way her character develops isn't from any new-found talents, but the way she uses the talents she already has. the first book clearly shows her as the pushy know-it-all which she constantly uses to her advantage in order to prove to everyone that she is the smartest student. however hermione learns that being the smartest isn't what's important. it is how she uses her knowledge to help her and her friends successfully defeat the dark lord and overcome all adversity.

ron weasley

ron is known as the best friend who always has harry's back. in the beginning, ron appears to idolize harry and believes him to be the one with all the answers (kind of in the same way as harry looks up to dumbledore). as the story goes on, ron starts to realize that harry is more or less just as human as he is, and in that realization, ron learns to rely on his own strength and courage in order for him, harry, and hermoine to defeat the dark lord.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

all about quentin tarantino

quentin tarantino. even his name is just pure awesome. what a fantastic, fantastic director. not only is he a director, but he screen writes his own films as well. and if any of you have had the pleasure of seeing a tarantino film, you already know he has such a way with words. so catchy, so hardcore, so stylish, so...tarantino. i have found most of his style and inspiration comes from spaghetti westerns, chinese martial arts & japanese drama (mainly in kill bill). some of them have an italian-mobster feel to them as well.

[all his movies have great examples for each category shown below but i'm just gonna use one or two each.]

i loved the cinematography in reservoir dogs. i just thought it was so clever to have a huge chunk of the film in one place. in this case it was a broken down warehouse.

reservoir dogs

i think what really makes him stand out would definitely be his talent in writing. yes, his directing is amazing, all the angles, lighting, all that. he never misses a detail. but his films thrive on his long, drawn-out dialogue between the characters.

inglourious basterds

Monsieur LaPadite, are you aware of the
nickname the people of France have given

I have no interest in such things.

But you are aware of what they call me?

I'm aware.

What are you aware of?

That they call you, "The Jew Hunter".

Precisely! Now I understand your
trepidation in repeating it.
Before he was assassinated, Heydrich
apparently hated the moniker the good
people of Prague bestowed on him.
Actually why he would hate the name,
"The Hangman", is baffling to me
It would appear he did everything in
his power to earn it. But I, on the
other hand, love my unofficial title,
precisely because I've earned it.

The feature that makes me such a effective
hunter of the Jews, is, as opposed to most
German soldiers, I can think like a jew.
where they can only think like a German,
or more precisely, a German soldier.
Now if one were to determine what attribute
the German people share with a beast, it
would be the cunning and predatory instinct
of a hawk.

But, if one were to determine what attributes
the jews share with a beast, it would be
that of the rat.
Now the Fuhrer and Gobbles propaganda
have said pretty much the same thing.
Where our conclusions differ, is I don't
consider the comparison a insult.
Consider for a moment, the world a rat
lives in. It's a hostile world indeed.
If a rat were to scamper through your
front door right now, would you greet it
with hostility?

I suppose I would.

Has a rat ever done anything to you to
create this animosity you feel toward

Rat's spread disease, they bite people -

Rats were the cause of the bubonic plague,
but that was some time ago. In all your
born days, has a rat ever caused you to
be sick a day in your life? I purpose to
you, any disease a rat could spread,
a squirrel could equally carry.
Yet I assume you don't share the same
animosity with squirrels that you do with
rats, do you?


Yet, they are both rodent's, are they
not? And except for the fact that one
has a big bushy tail, while the other
has a long repugnt tail of rodent skin,
they even rather look alike, don't they?

It is a interesting thought,
beer Colonel.

However, interesting as the thought may
be, it makes not one bit of difference
to how you feel. If a rat were to scamper
through your door, this very minute,
would you offer it a saucer of your
delicious milk?

Probably not.

I didn't think so. You don't like them.
You don't really know why you don't like
them. All you know is, you find them
Consequently, a German soldier, conducts
a search of a house suspected of hiding
jews. Where does the hawk look? He looks
in the barn, he looks in the attic,
he looks in the cellar - he looks
everywhere, he would hide. But there are
many places it would never occur to a
hawk to hide. However the reason the
Fuhrer brought me off my Alps in Austria,
and placed me in French cow country today,
is because it does occur to me. Because
I'm aware what tremendous feats human
beings are capable of once they abandon
(Changing tone)
May I smoke my pipe as well?
The Farmer's cool facade is little by little eroding.

Please, Cononel, make yourself at home.

kill bill 2

As you know, l'm quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology... The mythology is not only great, it's unique.

[who still has a needle in her leg] How long does this shit take to go into effect?

About two minutes, just long enough for me to finish my point. Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race. Sorta like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plimpton.

Aso. The point emerges.

You would've worn the costume of Arlene Plimpton. But you were born Beatrix Kiddo. And every morning when you woke up, you'd still be Beatrix Kiddo. Oh, you can take the needle out.

[does so] Are you calling me a superhero?

I'm calling you a killer. A natural born killer. You always have been, and you always will be. Moving to El Paso, working in a used record store, goin' to the movies with Tommy, clipping coupons. That's you, trying to disguise yourself as a worker bee That's you tryin' to blend in with the hive. But you're not a worker bee. You're a renegade killer bee. And no matter how much beer you drank or barbecue you ate or how fat your ass got, nothing in the world would ever change that.

true romance

I had to come all the way from the highway and byways of Tallahassee, Florida to MotorCity, Detroit to find my true love. If you gave me a million years to ponder, I would never have guessed that true romance and Detroit would ever go together. And til this day, the events that followed all still seems like a distant dream. But the dream was real and was to change our lives forever. I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he'd say, "that's the way it goes, but don't forget, it goes the other way too." That's the way romance is... Usually, that's the way it goes, but every once in awhile, it goes the other way too.

Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn't have named our son Elvis.

i love directors who use a lot of the same actors in all of his films. he tends to use samuel jackson, uma thurman, tim roth, eli roth, and michael madsen a lot. a few other examples of other directors that do that are martin scorsese (dicaprio, day-lewis) and david fincher (brad pitt). i loved the cast tarantino chose in pulp fiction and jackie brown.

pulp fiction
john travolta & samuel l. jackson

uma thurman

bruce willis

tim roth

jackie brown
pam grier

robert di niro & samuel l. jackson

robert forster

michael keaton & michael bowen

DIRECTING (angles, details, etc.)
tarantino's trademark trunk-shot angle is found in almost all of his films:

death proof

reservoir dogs

pulp fiction

kill bill 1

quentin tarantino is known to use ennio morricone a lot. morricone's work is found mainly in kill bill 1 & 2, inglourious basterds, and sometimes in death proof.