Monday, December 6, 2010

The Hurt Locker Film Response

        The Hurt Locker was a good movie, if I had to personally rate it, it would be a nine out of ten.  I enjoyed the whole experience, the morals, and the cinematography of the movie, but I disliked that some parts of the movie were slow.  I tend to prefer high action movies, but I appreciated this movie and I could understand how it won the Academy Award in 2010.  The Hurt Locker was directed by  Kathryn Bigelow, and it won the academy award in 2010.  It is about a team of soldiers that defused bombs during the Iraq War.  This movie displayed the hardships, struggles, jubilance, and sorrow of Modern Warfare in modern day society.

 As I have said before the Hurt Locker was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and she was the first female director to win an Academy Award in Best Picture and Best Director.  The movie was made to display the work that Americans face in the modern day battle field of Iraq.  The main characters take part in an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team.  Some thematic threads of the movie are trama, regret, and death, which are all characteristics of war.  For example after Thompson is killed by  the explosive, San Born is seen staring at Thompson's locker with all his possessions.  And another example is when Eldridge shows the therapist that Thompson could be alive if he just pulled the trigger.

        The Hurt Locker is based on accounts of Mark Boal, who was a journalist during the Iraq War.  His goal for the movie was to portray the events of the War in Iraq that one can not see at home on the news because of censorship.  Bigelow was mainly interested with the phsycology that makes a person want to go towards a bomb, when that bomb can kill them in a second.  The actors for this movie were Jeremy Rener (James), Anthony Mackie (Sanborn), and Brian Geraghty (Eldridge).  Bigelow was able to find Iraq refugees in Jordon and cast them into her movie, such as the suicide bomber towards the end.  Casting Iraqies gave the movie a more realistic effect.  The principle photography of the film began in 2007 in Jordan and Kuwait.  Security was a major issue thats why they were unable to filmin Iraq because their security team couldn't garuntee them saftey from snipers.  Bigelow wanted the movie to be as realistic as posible and she wanted somewhere that resembled Baghdad, thats why she choose Jordon and Kuwait.

       I personally enjoyed the cinematography throughout the movie.  For example I liked how they used the camera on the robot in the opening scenes of the moving to give the viewer a POV shot of what the bomb looks like from a robots perspective.  The cinematography was extremely realistic, such as the bomb scene at the beggining of the movie.  The bomb scene also has the red blood of Thompson splattered all over the face of his helmet halfway through his jump as the sonic bomb pushes him through the air.  Bigelow used four 16mm cameras to capture multiple perspectives.  The lighting throughout the movie was relatively excellent.  When the team had to go investigate the car bomb at night I highly dislike the lighting, for my sense of direction became disoriented.  In that scene the soldiers walk off into the dark and the viewers cant see a thing, but that added to the mystery of their embarkment into an unforgiving mission where Eldridge would get shot in the leg.

       I enjoyed the editing in this movie.  The editing was usually fast paced when there was action, such as when James is defusing the bomb at the UN.  The editing was also phenomenal when James and Sanborn were fighting after the sniper battle, and the fast paced cutting displayed the fight scene quiet nicely.  The sniper scene was edited very well, for some of the shots were dragged out for a long period of time to display the suspense of a sniper battle.  When the shell casing dropped after Sanborn fired a lethal shot towards the insurgent displayed just how good the editing was.  The ping as the casing hit the floor allowed us to dwell in the moment and foreshadow that Sanborn had hit his mark.  Although in this scene I did not like how after Sanborn hit the man, the dead man was able to lie out the window.  This is highly unrealistic for the barret 50 cal round traveling around the speed of sound would have pushed the dead man back against the wall.

      The score of the movie was based around the style of a documentary, yet action movie.  There were a lot of POV shots that set up the mood and what the characters were thinking.  Some repeating styles were close ups to display the moods and feelings of each character.  For example at the end when Sanborn is crying and telling James that he cant take being in Iraq any more the close up of him crying allows the emotion to be depicted to the viewer as a high amount of distress and melancholy.  Some syncronization that was used was when Eldridge and Sanborn are trying to kill the man holding the cell phone at the beggining of the movie.  The fast pace syncronization of cuts portrays the urgency to kill the man with the cell phone, before he explodes the bomb that kills Thompson.
        I think that the script was very good, for it displayed the hardships and sorrows of modern warfare in Iraq.  The narritive structure of the movie was to depict the hardships that war has on soldiers in the modern battlefield.  For example movie opens with a quote and all the other letters fade except for the words "war is a drug".   This quote foreshadows how James feels about war, for after he goes home he is not fit for suburbian life.  For James war is a drug, and that is the reason he goes back to serve another 365 defusing bombs.       
      The genre of this film can be many things for it can be a war drama, pshycological, or a thriller.  The war drama genre is determined by the movie, in its whole entire escence pertaining on the life a bomb squad in Iraq.  The film meets the physchological genre, for James somehow loves war and he loves the feeling of being at the edge of life and death.  Bigelow herself was interested in what motivated soldeirs to go "towards the bomb everyone else was running away from".  This movie fits the thriller genre, for the team is always put in life threatening situations.  For example when Eldridge gets captured towards the end of the movie, it is a thrill to see James and Sanborn attempt to rescue Eldridge from the insurgents. 

       Over all this movie was extremely powerful.  One of my favorite moments as seen to the left is when James tells his son that "there are some things in life that you come to love" and for James he loves war.  After this scene when James is seen in a bomb suit on another 365 day tour.  This scene brings the movie in a full circle for to James "War is a drug" that he loves.  This movie portrays the lives of the war well, and even though there are some slow parts the cinematography, acting, set, plot, and special effects make the movie an Acadamey Award winning movie.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finding One's Trueself Critique

Me, John, and Waris did our version of a romantic comedy.  Our working plan was to use Waris's script and produce a film.  We decided to use John as one of the main actors, while  me and waris were the directors/ cinematographers.  We wanted to create a film that was funny, but at the same time romantic.  I tend to prefer comedy, thus this movie contained components of comedy.  I also enjoy action movies, thats why we put the fight sequence into the short film.  We wanted to be as authentic as possible, and we tried, but since this was our first movie it wasn't a spectacular film.  The audience that I believe that this film is intended for are teenagers, for there are some questionable and semi-inapropriate content in the film (especially the condom scene).  I thought this movie was a good idea, for the amount of casting was low, and the locations were all available.

In this film I was the director, cinematographer, actor, and editer of the film.  Although we did all share the roles of directer, I shared the role of cinematographer with Waris Allie.  Some problems that I had as cinematographer were crossing the 180 line, poor movement of camera, and lighting issues.  We solved some problems in the edit, or we redid the scenes.  We redid some scenes up to 5 times, and sometimes we were just getting in different angles, and shots.  Lighting was a very hard problem to tackle, for lighting throughout John's house (location of the boys house) was poor, and sometimes we were filming at night or during the day.  When we filmed as the sun was going down, continuity was a problem, for the lighting was different in some shots.  As an actor I had problems with costume.  We didnt decide that I would play the role as stalker ex-boyfriend till the day we started filming. I didnt have the attire to wear, so I just made the most of what I had.  It turned out well, but it would have been better if the costume was better.  The main problem that arose in our film was the days that we were all available to shoot.  We didnt start filming to late, and sometimes we were all busy.  Anissa was a main actor that we didnt have available after the first day of shooting  Thus changes had to be made and we got rid of the last sequence, but that didnt matter too much since it didnt have a major impact in the outcome of the film.  It was good that we had Anissa, because without her we wouldnt have had a film at all.  John had to beg her to act, and we were all glad that she was able to do so or else we wouldn't have had a film.

Script/ Narrative/ Story
I felt that the story developed well in the beggining, but when we transitioned to the shcool it seemed a little akward.  The middle worked out perfectly, but the end felt a little too rushed for me.  For the theme of our movie it was good that we had our actor "Ms. Tuite" state "the theme for today is finding one's true self can lead to happiness".  I think this transfered over to the audience well, for it was stated towards the beggining of the film.  I think that the dialogue was as concise as possible.  It became a little generic once Ms. Tuite stated the theme, but i believe that this helped the movie.  And without this part it would seem odd why John fell asleep mumbling the theme to himself.  I believe later in the movie the climax after John got knocked out was unique and effective, for the dream sequence was pretty funny to many people.  We decided to change the script and put it into a dream, for it seemed to racy if it was real life.  In my edit though I restated the dream to ask the question maybe the dream wasn't really a dream, or the dream might actually ocur later on.

Casting/ Acting
Our actors were a vital part of our film, and I think all their performances were outstanding.  The ex-stalker role was supposed to be played by Daniel Afieaki, but it didnt work our so i became the ex-stalker.  It wasnt as effective with me as the exstalker for Im not as big, nor did i have the clothes, but I think i didnt a nice job in making it work.  I think that John played a good role as the shy kid who didnt really have a life, and his whole life was a boring routine that occured over and over again each day. I think that Anissa played a great role as the troubled girl who was also a kick ass girl that could beat up even scarey people.  Her fight scen was very nice and it was way more realistic than my fight scene.  That was a major problem with my scene was that I punched over John's head which looked horrible.  I think that we just had problems portraying our characters to display the emotions that they felt.  Some acting seemed a little over exagerated and slightly akward, but it seemed to flow nicely in the edit. Although we argued throughout the production, our arguing bettered the movie in the compromises we made as a team.  Once and a while an actor would look at the camera, or messed up, but that was usually fixed in the edit or retaped. 

Staging and Props
A major problem with our set was that it was the hottest day of the year when we decided to shoot our outside shots.  This caused for a lot of anger and short tempers for the heat was extremely intense on all of us.  I think that all our props were good.  Such as when we had John working on his homework he was holding a pen and was looking down at a piece of binder paper.  He was also working at a table and that provided good staging.  For the bathroom scene it was an actual bathroom, and we used a toothbrush. The scene where he was getting up, wasnt the best staging, for he was getting up from pink sheets which seemed odd since he is a boy.  But he told us that he actually sleeps in the bed, and that the pink sheets were his sisters who went to college.  For our outside scenes during the day they were all good, for the lighting was prefect and there wasnt any cloud cover. 

Lighting/ Titles and Credits
Lighting in our movie was a major problem that we struggled with throughout the movie.  Lighting inside the house was difficult, for there wasnt light everywhere throughout the house, and the lights at our location gave off an orange glow that seemed unproffesional. Lighting was also a major problem when we did our night scene at Allen elementary school.  The only light that we had was the street light, and it didnt fully illuminate John and Anissa's faces.  As they skip off into the night the camera looses them against the darkness, for there was no lighting as they got passed the street lamp.  I think that the title was very nice and I used live type to create it.  I beleive that it was effective, although it didnt seem extremely professional.  The ending credits were effective, for it scrolled down and was similar to many professional movies. 

Sound/ Camera Operation
I felt that the camera operation was executed effectively throughout the scene.  Some shots seemed a little ametuer due to the crossing of the 180 line, and some zooming that was a little too jumpy.  The panning and tilting were all smooth throughout the film, which was very nice in adding to the quailty of the film.  This shot in the picture to the right was effective, for it showed the main character's apparent love for each other in the close up on their hands holding onto each other.  Then fading to black and white was nice finishing touch.  I added the sound of the camera snapping, to add to the idea that this moment would be remembered by both the main characters forever.  Music was a hard

Editing for my film took a long time.  I had added filters into the beggining when John looked at Anissa, for it was unclear who he was looking at and what made it worse was that Anissa and Kristen (the girl next to Anissa) were both wearing yellow.  I enjoyed the editing process the most, for i got to control the whole movie and how it would look like in the end.  I also decided to use the Pow filter in the fight sequence, for my punch unrealistically went over John's head and created a highly unrealistic effect to the film.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Documentary Prepro-

Purpose: How religion turned a kids life around, and how he now gives back to the commnity. 

Contacts: Armondo Perez

Interview Questions: 
Tell me your life story?
Why did you go to Juvinile Hall, and how was Juvinile Hall?
How do you give back to the community?
What current events are you doing; for example college, a job, nothing?
What or who inspires you?

General Flow: 
The beggining maybe still images of his life as he narrorates in the background.
The middle will show some of the interview, while he narrarates more of his past and flash to pictures or footage.
The end will be what he is doing now in life, like the work he does with kids.  End with his passions.

Shot List:
Shot of him in the interview mid shot.
Rack Focus Shot, Different angles and positions of cameras of him coaching and playing basketball with the kids he outreaches to.
Wide shots, panning, possibly dollying of his garage where he does an intern program to teach kids how to fix cars.
Close up shots of his passions such as his car and motorcycle.

Use narration from the interview throughout the movie.  Always using his voice.  It is highly unlikely that I myself would include my own narration.

Intro:  Still image of when he was young, slowly progressing.
Possibly footage of when he was younger

Closing:  Driving away into the sunset, or sitting on a beach with his wife as the sun goes down.  Possibly dunking on a kid if i wanted to make it funny. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Short Documentary Review "Jamie Thomas"

Jamie Thomas is a professional skateboarder who co-owns Zero Skateboards and Fallen Footwear.  Jamie Thomas was born on October 11, 1974.  This documentary was shot by fuel TV and is called Firsthand.  As Jamie Thomas and his team (Zero) tour the mid west they go through autographs, signings, and most importantly they get to skate.  Skating takes a lot of cameras.  To get all the action that occurs throughout their run, there are one, two, or even more camera men posted at every obstacle.

In the beginning of the documentary Jamie was recently hurt while skateboarding, and has to attend physical therapy for his knee.  The color tint of this scene portrays the gloominess that Jamie feels from being unable to skate.  A wide shot is also used to display the sign in the front to explain to the viewer where Jamie has to go. 

 This shot creates an intimate shot of Jamie and his kids as they play at their home.  Jamie has three kids and enjoys spending time with them.  Jamie narrarates throughout most of the documentary, which creates a more personal touch.  The cinematographer in this shot fully utilizes the time of day, for the setting sun adds to the intimacy of the shot.

Jamie tattoos while he is on the road.  He usually tattoos his team members.  In this shot fast fowarding is used to fasten the pace on the slow parts and wait for the finish project.  Then during this fast foward we see the passing of time on the clock and outside as the camera fast fowards on the sun rising outside the motel.

As Jamie heals he is able to skate once again.  Typically this shot would be bad camera work, since Jamie is whited out by the outside light.  But in this shot the cinematographer utilizes the white out to symbolize the light as healing and benevolent, for Jamie is starting to regain his ability to skate.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baraka Film Response

I personally enjoyed the film Baraka.  Baraka is a nonverbal film that was reported to use a $4 million dollar budget, where Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson with a three-person crew, took 14 months and 24 countries to make the film. The film is titled Baraka or "breath", because the images and the sequences of shots take one's breathe away.  Everyone in the world breathes, thus the movie displays the breath of the world and its breathtaking features and inhabitants.

I believe that the planetary view of the film express a critique of the cliche good and bad of the modern world.   The movie displays the "good" wondrous nature the modern world still holds.  The beauty of breath taking shots such as this one shot in Bali Indonesia portrays some of the natural wonders of the world.  Shots such as this give the viewer a perspective on the true beauty of nature, and that beauty doesn’t always come in human form.  This film counters many films that use action, people, and words to portray the life around us all.  This film brings us all around the world as we examine the far reaches of the world.  The opening shot of the movie shows us that the breathe of nature is everywhere.   The monkeys bathing in the hot springs create a sense of tranquility and peacefulness in the coldest and harshest climates of Japan.  Nature seems to become surreal in the monkey’s tranquility.  The cinematography is main item of the movie as camera work such as; trucking, panning, tilting, zooming, and many other techniques are used to take our breathe away.

While at the same time the movie displays a modern artistic view of the somberness in the poverty of the modern world.  The transitions are also very powerful in the movie.  After this scene the plot goes to a cemetery made of all white.  The editor maybe trying to convey the fact that poverty seems to be as somber as death, yet there is still lots of poverty in the world today. The use of music was also a key feature in this movie to convey the feelings the directors were trying to get across.  The music would add to the tone of poverty, majesty, or sadness throughout the novel.  Although it displays poverty, it also displays the joy that children are still able to attain.  I believe that the main point of the movie was to contrast the wonders of nature with urban life in the modern world.    

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Short Film Treatment #1

Both attend High school, it's the first day of school. Two characters are both sophmores.  Boy sleeping in his bed.  Girl sleeping in her bed.  (All their action parallel from this point on).  Alarm goes off at 7 am and they both hit their clocks aat 7: 02 to turn it off.  They both get up walk to their kitchens and eat breakfast.  They both wait at the same bus stop with headphones in not paying attention.  Their friends come and they say high and talk.  Both get on the bus.

They sit and talk on the bus with their own friends in their own groups.  Both get off the bus and walk to school with their own group of friends.  Bell rings and everyone goes to their 1st period class.  They both walk into their designated PE locker rooms.  (now parallel action stops)

Boy look around and walks in everyone is changing.  Goes to his PE locker, stops in front of it stares at it.  Then stares at everyone around him.  Pulls out his phone to see if he has any text messages.  There are none.  The only text messages hes got are from his guy friends.  He heaves a sigh and puts his phone back inside his pocket.  Puts his arm on the locker and leans on it for a few seconds.  He dresses into his PE clothes and.  Walks outside into the gym where everyone is.  He approaches his friends and they start talking.

PE class boy is talking with his friends.  Boy seems to space out for a short period of time.  The girl comes out of the other locker room talking to her friend.  Boy looks at the girl, seems shocked and admires her beauty.  Then the girl looks away from her friend and toward the boy, their eyes connect.  A connection is made in the way their eyes are locked on each other.  They stare in each others eyes for a minute.  They both then instantly look away at the same time and blush.  They both go back to talking to their friends, and ocasionally exchange glances at each other without the other person knowing.  PE teacher calls roll and everyone lines up in their assigned positions, teacher announces that dodge ball going to be played.  Everyone goes against the wall and boy on one end of the line and girl on the other end.  Teacher randomly pics teams, boy gets on team one and girl gets on team two.

Teams seperate and Boy in group with his friends laughing and giggling, occasionally looks at girl.  Girl in group with her friends and laughing and giggling, occasionally looks at boy.  As they are talking to their friends they both space out and think about holding hands, jubilantly, and walking down the hallway together hand in hand.  Teacher blows whistle they both come back to reality.  They both spread out on the court with everyone else.

Teacher blows whistle and game starts.  Boy and girl both rush to the middle of the court to get a ball.  At the same time Boy picks up a ball and girl picks up ball.  They see each other across the court and both wind up their arms to throw.  Looks like they are aiming for each other and will hit each other.  They both at the same time release the ball.  One ball spirals through the air and hits a random person on the boy's team, because girl actually aiming for another person.  The other ball spirals through the air and hits the girl in the face, mostly in the eye area.  She is thrown backwards onto the floor due to the force.  The boy looks shocked because he thought she was aiming for him and wanted to get her back.

Teacher blows the whistle and everyone rushes to help the girl.  The boy gets to the girl first and puts out his hand to help her up, but she ignores it.  She gets up with the help of her friends.

The boy then stares at the girl as she walks off the court with the help of her friends.  The girl slowly turns around and stares at boy looking extremely angry.  Her friends look at him to and give him the evil eye.  Boy (standing alone) cringes and walks away towards the locker rooms embarresed and now thinks of them walking jubilantly hand in hand into the sunset, but only her with a black eye.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Amelie Textual Analysis

Amelie Screen Shot #1

2.  There is imagery when amelie takes a picture of a bear cloud when she was little.  There is also high lighting and bright colors.

3.  I feel that the directers intent is to allow us to see Amelie's innocence when she was a child, for all children make different things out of clouds.  The bright shot and colors allows us to feel the lightened mood in this scene.

             Amelie Screen Shot #2

2.  There is characterization in Amelie as being sneaky and sly in this scene as she steals her father's gnome to be take around the world by a flight attendent, for he has always wanted to see the world but wont travel since his wife died.  The dark coloring and lighting also adds to the sneaky and slyness of the scene.

3.  The directer intended for Amelie to steal the gnome, because he wanted to show the compassion and love that Amelie has for her father.  The directer used this scene to add to the characterization of Amelie as being a person who does more things for others, rather than herself.


                   Amelie Screen Shot #3

2.    The directer uses sound by not using any words to display the emotion in the man reconnecting with his lost toy.  The actor's emotion allows us to see that the toy that Amelie gave back to him made a deep impact on his emotions and thoughts.

3.  The directer included this to reidorate that fact that Amelie likes helping others.