Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The Hitch-Hiker is a film noir type movie, much like last week's film - Double Indemnity. However these two movies, while being classified within the same genre, have many vast differences as well as similarities. First of all, both movies follow one particular story of the killer(s) and his/her victim(s). Very few murders actually occur throughout the course of the film. The killer(s) are on-screen the most out of all of the characters. Excluding stylistic choices like dark shadows over the face, etc. this is where the similarities end.
The films have pretty relevant differences. Double Indemnity follows the story of a man who has never dreamed of killing before who is tempted to do so after being seduced by a manipulative femme fatale. Hitch-Hiker, on the other hand, is simply 2 men being kidnapped by a killer/robber. Double Indemnity is psychological in the sense that Neff believes he is doing justice in the name of love, creating a moral grey area. The battle is mostly between the minds of Neff and Phyllis. Double Indemnity is simply a killer, with a supposed troubled past, who uses guns to get what he wants. The battle is between the killer and his victims who desperately try and escape.
The fact that both these movies are classified as film noir is interesting. I thought the movie was alright, not much depth and nothing impressive. Nor was it awful. The story, acting, etc was solid, just too plain and simple for me. 3/5
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Women play a very interesting role in this film noir classic. First off, its important to remember that this a time where men were the dominant voice in the family while females often lived a quiet, submissive life as a housewife. You can see this culture shine threw particularly in the scene where we meet Lola's boyfriend, Nino. Nino bosses her around with little to no struggle of resistance from her. While Lola and Walter agree that Nino comes off as mean and hostile, she seems to have no problem with the bossy behavior. Now, obviously, the lead actress is a different case. She at first comes off as desperate and weak. In need of a loving man in her life. She wants to kill her husband so she can live with Walter. However, at the end she pulls the rug under our feet and turns out she has manipulated the whole situation for her own selfish satisfaction. This is the femme fatale of the picture, the evil seductive lying woman. This is an interesting viewpoint of females in an era where men control the household. She uses her charm to get what she wants and won't hesitate to kill. Well, actually she does hesitate for Walter, maybe she is the dependent, desperate female deep down. Great movie 4/5
It is hard to identify the true genre of M for several different reasons. First off, the film was created before genre conventions were established. Thus, as a result, many different scenes have different vibes and style that is not modern conventional genres (Horror, comedy, etc). The film also lacks a soundtrack that would help establish the mood of the film. Some would argue that it is a horror film because the film is about a serial killer. However, I disagree with this label because the film does not revolve around the children's and mothers' point of view. It does not try to invoke the same fear and suspense that the characters experience in the film. Some also label it as a melodrama. I also disagree with this because the film does not emphasize the emotions of the characters. You dont feel any personal connection to any particular character in the film. Rather, the film tells a story that involves many different characters with different intentions. It is for this reason that the film, in my opinion, is a criticism on society as a whole, not on any particular individual. The ending is the pinnacle example of this theme, where the killer argues that at least he isn't lazy and selfish like the other criminals. That it is beyond his control. Even when the lawyer argues it is unlawful to kill him, the crowd of criminals rush towards him to kill him anyway. Pretty decent movie overall, although I felt some parts dragged on for too long. If I were to see this movie back when it was released, however, I dont know if I would have had that opinion considering its one of the first movies ever. 3/5 in my modern eye.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
This film is almost 90 years old, yet its entertainment value has not began to decay. Timeless may be a good description. This is largely in part due to the carefully choreographed stunts, physical comedy, and editing techniques that creates laughs, excitement, and surreal visual effects. One scene in particular that I will analyze is the "pool table scene."
In this scene, the thieves plan to kill Sherlock Jr. by making him hit an explosive cleverly disguised as a 13 pool ball. The thief demonstrates by throwing the ball out the window and the camera then cuts to a separate scene of a vague object hitting the ground and exploding. This way, the producers of the film were able to get the message across without actually building a 13 ball grenade. They then invite Sherlock Jr. to play a game of pool. Sherlock Jr. manages to hit every single ball with expertise without ever scraping the 13 ball. He hops over it, grazes mere centimeters around it, hits the balls touching it, etc. The thing that makes this impressive is the still camera angle showing this all in one shot. This decision was wise because it shows you that the expert-level pool playing is real and not just "movie magic" with lots of cuts and different angles.
I loved this movie. The stunts were genius and entertaining. The editing pushed the limits of what movies could do (i.e. the scene where he jumps 'inside' the movie screen, or the scene where his dream ghost exits his body). An influential piece of cinema for sure. 4.5/5
I love movies and have for a long time. I am the token "movie buff" within my group of friends. I like the idea of creating whole new worlds to explore and travel within. Creating alternate versions of our reality that are both conceivable and surreal images non-existent in our reality. A moving painting. I hope I get to watch awesome films in this class that I have not seen before, as well as learn many editing, filming, acting techniques. I also look forward to debates and differing viewpoints from other students in my class.