Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Blancanieves is about about the daughter of a very famous bullfighter, whos wife died giving birth to her. She is named after her late mother, Carmen. Her father is injured in the bullfighting ring - suspending him to a wheelchair. Most of her life she grows up under the care of her step-mother who is cruel; making her do hard work around the house, forcing her to sleep in a dirty basement on the floor, prohibiting her from seeing her father, and many other things. Her step-mother eventually kills the father and attempts to kill Carmen as well. Luckily, she is saved by a team of bullfighting dwarves, although her memory is now gone. 

The first, very obvious stylistic choice you notice is the fact that it is presented as a silent film despite being made in 2012. I honestly dont know what the intention of this was, maybe the director wanted to give a homage or maybe he felt his story would best be told in this style. I also noticed the music was sometimes reminiscent of that time period and sometimes modern. I noticed a use of the theremin - which was used commonly for "creepy" scenes in old sci-fi films. I liked how the text wasnt only used for dialogue or to explain time passages, but also stylistic ways like showing the names next to the dwarves and when Carmen is looking Pepe and a single "?" appears on the screen. 

At some point, you'll begin to notice the obvious allusion to Snow White. Everything from the evil queen, the apple, and the 7 dwarves are all reflected in this movie. I believe the director wanted to make this movie a Spanish-themed retelling of Snow White. Even though the fairy tale is referenced in the film itself as well. I wasn't very thrilled by this decision, as I was expecting something new when I watched this movie. Then again, it was different enough to hold my interest and still entertaining at parts.

The editing was pretty good in this film. Even subtle things like- the skull that flashes on the screen in the beginning when the father is mauled by the bull is the same skull that is overlayed on the apple the step-mother gives to Carmen. There was an excellent montage of clips perfectly synched to the clapping music of footage from the film showing that Carmen has regained her memory of past events. All the cinematography was solid, and convincing acting despite being mute. The film making itself was all pretty solid overall, but nothing terribly interesting to me personally.

Overall, this movie was alright for me. Nothing too great, didn't really encapsulate my interest. The story wasnt interesting or different enough for me - it felt very plain and predictable with no turns keeping you on edge. Again, the story was basically just a retelling of Snow White, in a 1920s mexican setting. Same with the cinematography - solid, just not extraordinarily impressive. I felt the obvious limitations that come with a silent film in this day and age were not compensated properly - visually and audibly - to appeal to most people. Personally, I feel that if you are going to make a silent film in this age, at least add a unique, modern twist. 3/5


ZDT has an interesting take on gender roles. Firstly, the woman is the main protagonist and sort of an underdog hero because her ideas are ignored by the "higher-ups". Her personal life comes into play briefly but she has an undying obsession with catching Bin Laden - showing she has at least some sense of nationalism. She also seems to have no objection to the torture of the terrorist they hold hostage, showing she leaves her emotions out of play when it comes to this. These are all very unusual traits of the typical Hollywood female. Shes strong, independent, and a leader in her own right.

This movie couldnt really hold my attention, but thats probably because I never had a strong interest in politics. I really enjoyed the Osama raid however, mainly because the lack of music and first person views gave it a realistic intensity. 2/5 for movie. 5/5 for the raid.


This movie was of an interesting style. There were definitely elements of horror - as you can see from the picture above. But the story also had a message about greed and revenge. In this way it can be seen as a fable. The GHOST in this film is exactly what makes the genre hard to define. The GHOST isnt merely there to scare and shock the audience, the GHOST symbolizes an entity that seeks respite from a tragic event. The narrator even says the GHOST is like this, comparing it to a blurry photograph. Perhaps the GHOST wasnt meant to be taken literally, but as a metaphor for karma and the past coming back to haunt you.

I overall liked this movie. It had an unusual feel and the slowly unfolding story kept me interested. 4/5

THE PIANO (1993)

The relationship between Ada and George is a very complicated one, and it drives the plot. It is at first glance immoral because George is forcing her to do things she normally wouldn't allow just so she can get back the one thing in this world she loves. Not only that, but she is married - unhappily so however. However I think there is more to it than what's on the surface. Her entire life, she's only been able to comfortably communicate with her music. George only wants to touch and grope her when she plays. George could just have easily done so without the piano playing, but he finds her most beautiful when she plays. Yes, George has sex with her when shes not playing, but he quickly regrets it the next day and confesses to Ada that he has feelings for her, despite never exchanging any words. Perhaps George an Ada share an unspoken bond through music.

I thought this movie, while solidly scripted, was just not for me. I dont really enjoy romantic dramas or period films and this movie provided nothing special to motivate my interest. 2/5