Category Archives: Films
Over/Under – Platoon and Jarhead
In Over/Under, the Blog writers will discuss two similar pieces of film, music, book, or other culture and which of these is overrated by the popular consensus and underrated by most people. Feel free to comment below with your own views!
In my eyes there are two types of movie watchers:
1. Those who wait to buy their favorite on DVD, and then watch it three more times along with all the special features…..
2. And those who don’t.
You could also divide up the movie-watcher population another way:
1. Those who think Twilight was a genuinely good movie…..
2. And those who don’t.
For a long time I have loved the documentary style of filmmaking. Few other kinds of cinema can change the world as quickly or be as entertaining. Two of my highest loves are film and journalism, so logically adding the two together suits me greatly. I had planned on possibly writing reviews on some of these films, yet I instead decided it would be more useful to aggregate them together to talk about the ones I planned and others that I think you should see as well.
Some of you are probably wondering why that title is on the by-line; after all, “raising hell” isn’t exactly a phrase of pure etiquette. The film, if you haven’t seen it, is a French piece from 1959. Its title directly translated to English is “The 400 Blows”, but it loses the cultural meaning of the phrase. More appropriately translated, it would mean something awfully similar to “raising hell”. It is about a young boy who causes trouble in his Paris boy’s academy, his Paris flat home, the outskirts of Paris, and just most of Paris in general. It is a story of a boy thrust into thinking like an adult when he discovers his mother’s affair and is sent to a juvenile detention academy when he makes the wrong decision. It is about filmmaking itself, albeit indirectly.
By now, cinephiles should expect their standard Clint Eastwood film a year. Consistently proving himself as the most efficient director in Hollywood, Eastwood has averaged a movie a year since 1997, shooting with small budget and using a minimal number of takes. Rest assured, however, the quality of his films haven’t suffered, constantly garnering Oscar nominations and critical acclaim. Although there are occasional disappointments like “Invictus”, his foray into directing is easily superior to his acting ability (but don’t get me wrong, he’s one of my favorite actors and personalities ever).
This year, we are graced with “J. Edgar”, a biopic centered on the infamous J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director who was at the forefront of events during the first half of the 20th century. His controversial, albeit productive methods had an unmatched impact into the practices and discipline of American law enforcement. His use of the media was savvy, putting himself as the premier face of the Justice Department, and his mind justice in general. Creating a database of fingerprints and pushing for the establishment of national laws regarding crime, the full legacy of Hoover as a crime fighting innovator can never be estimated.
To me, modern horror films have always been one of my least favorite genres. It’s not because I’m easily scared, but rather that many of them, in my opinion, are filled to the brim with endless clichés that seriously take me out of any chance at being entertained. Sure, I know I should be suspending my disbelief when I watch a movie but this genre is just too much for me most of the times. My favorite classical horror movies include The Shining, Halloween, and Scream. Arguably, these three helped formed some of these clichés I mentioned but it’s slightly more tolerable because they were among the first to set the standard.
The best kind of film is the one that surprises the viewer. At times, I’ve went into a film with low expectations and have come out with a low opinion, and sometimes I’ve gone in with high expectations that are met. Other times, however, I’ve gone in with low expectations and have come out with a high one, or vice versa. Whenever I went to see Moneyball, the new baseball drama in theaters, I was expecting to see a good movie. It’s written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List), so the film promised to have great, overly intelligent monologues and heartfelt emotions. I expected to see Brad Pitt perform the standard Brad Pitt, though I must admit I that it would be a bit lackluster. Needless to say, however, I was entirely wrong.
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
** out of *****
For it’s time thought to be controversial, this film explores relationships, specifically sexually. It attempts to expose the different ways people use portions of their relationships and the ways people can belong to one another, without truly belonging. It exemplifies human nature in respect to finding “the one” and being tied down.
**** out of *****
Directed by Brian DePalma, this thriller outlines the story of a journalist who witnesses a murder in the apartment across from hers and attempts to alert the authorities. The murderess, a once conjoined twin with multiple personalities, and her “husband” or doctor hide the murder with all of their ability.
As I settled in my seat with three friends to see Contagion, I couldn’t help notice the theater was well filled. This normally wouldn’t come as a shock. After all, the film boasts a slew of stars from Matt Damon to Kate Winslet and has an interesting premise. What makes it unusual is that people wanted to see this premise, basically a world pandemic that hyperlinks all over the globe, on a weekend forever stricken by a somber tone. The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has been all over every media outlet in the weeks leading up to it, so one would expect the vast majority to spend money to escape the sadness. Instead, Contagion earned $23.1 million, nearly ensuring it will soon pass its $60 million budget. Although the film is about a pandemic disease, it by no means leaves you in a lower state of sadness, but I don’t wish to spoil the film.