Category Archives: Movies

Literary Analysis

I’m watching Pulp Fiction, and I started to notice extra details like shot selection and scene construction, and character development.  So now as I’m watching the movie, I’m spotting them, and looking them up on another website to learn even more about them.

I’m using film theory and literary analysis, by choice.  I feel so mature.

The Prestige

Christopher Nolan is amazing.  He might be my favourite director.  I watched The Prestige solely on the merit that he directed it.

Anyway, The Prestige is about a feud between two rival magicians who go to great lengths to both outdo each other and to ruin each other.  It was really good.  Like most Nolan movies, both worthy and necessary to re-watch.

This might count as a spoiler… Read the rest of this entry

Movie Previews

I saw Alice in Wonderland recently, and when the first preview was an obvious kids movie, I wondered, will they play kids/family movie trailers first, and then go from there into movies that will have less appeal for kids? I thought this would be smart, because then if kids decide to play the nagging game: “That looks so cool! Can we see it? I wanna see it! Mommmmyyyy!!”, by the time the movie itself starts, they’ll either have been shushed into being quiet, or at their vocal chords would completely give out. And everyone could enjoy the movie.

But they ruined it for me by playing ALL previews for kids/family movies. Seriously, a Toy Story 3? That’s weak.

Avatar

I saw Avatar recently. Fantastic movie, by the way. Anyway, what struck me as noteworthy was the social commentary. On another planet, a mining company has hired mercenaries to help them procure a rare and valuable metal from the sentient species of the planet. The company manager is only concerned with profit, and the general is a war-hungry American. When the native populace refuses to cede their land, the mercenaries attack mercilessly. The message is essentially, “One way or another, we’re getting what we want.” It seemed like a pretty obvious commentary on the Iraq war, and how the Americans bullied until they got their way.

That wasn’t all, though. A friend pointed out the commentary on the environment. The humans were very destructive, and did not appreciate the connections between species of the planet (one of the main themes of the movie). That was a trait that only the native species seemed to possess. The point is developed further (for instance, why the humans were on this planet, and even social values) and I can’t believe that I missed this at the time. It reminded me of my disenchantment with the human race, especially shortly after the Copenhagen summit, where Canada’s political leaders offered so little that I was ashamed to be represented by them.

It seemed that most nations were either finger-pointing (“They caused this problem, so why should we pay for their mistakes?”, or leveraging (“Are you really asking us to commit this much? Country X has committed far less. We can’t afford such disparity.”) Fine, so money’s a concern. This really won’t do much good unless the whole world comes together.

I need to figure out how I can be part of the solution.

B-Movies

A while back, I watched a couple movies in one night: “Tank Girl” and “Happiness”.

Tank Girl was an obvious B-movie. Or maybe a C-movie. I didn’t like it much, so I started getting philosophical, if you can call it that, about the movie. For starters, was this movie an intentional B-movie? Or was it just poorly made? If it’s poorly made, but “works” as a B-movie, does that make it any less bad? Is that worse than intentionally being a B-movie? I know there are people who really enjoy B-movies, so it’s possible that filmmakers write low-budget films with this audience in mind. And maybe bad movies are rescued by B-movie likers, to some extent.

Back to Tank Girl, I thought in-depth about the individual scenes, directing decisions, and so on. If I’d had a pen at the time, I might have considered writing down more of these specific thoughts. I kind of enjoyed the metamovie.

Happiness was a movie about sexual dysfunction. It was kind of unsettling at parts, like when the pedophile father tries to slip his son’s friend a sedative. I don’t get uncomfortable by much, but this hit a “wrongness” level that made me not want to watch. There were some metamovie moments here, too, like when the father gives his son the sex talk, I thought about how awkward it would be, as an actor, to give the sex talk.