contribute?Do you want to contribute anything to this site? This can range from linking it and spreading the word to writing an entry yourself! If you would like to write an entry, comment on a blog entry and I'll get back to you.
sub-sitesI have two image blogs that are spin-offs of this blog. One is dedicated to intertitles and another is dedicated to close-ups.
The Soul of Cinema
links inTo link this site, you can use a text link or the button below. If you use the button, do not direct link.
links outPlease check out the following sites; they are all worth a visit. If you own a website related to movies and would like to exchange links, comment on an entry stating so and I'd be more than happy to link you here.
Thomas More's Movie Room
The Large Association of Movie Blogs
searchYou can look up directors, actors, titles, countries, and years through the search box or click the category you want to look under.
Sunday - November 29th, 2015Intertitles and Close-Ups
Mary can’t believe that there is a new post too!
I haven’t been blogging here in awhile but I do have two “subsites” that I have been working on. One is dedicated to intertitles and another one is dedicated to close-ups so please take a gander! There are oodles of gifs for your pleasure.
Currently I’m trying to collect as many intertitles as possible for a potential project so if anyone has any film recommendations (based on intertitle styles), please leave a comment.
See ya around!
Thursday - August 20th, 2015Top 5 favourites from each decade
My friend, Kathryn, wanted me to share with her my favourite films going by decade (top 5 + honourable mention allowed), which I thought would be really fun to do. It also gave me an excuse to blog, hahaha!
These are the movies I would watch over and over again. If a certain decade is missing or if there aren’t 5 films listed, it’s because I don’t have any films to list. I didn’t list them in order of preference but by the year they were released.
While working on this list, I realized that it’s hard to really pick a favourite because sometimes I’d be like, “UGH, HOW CAN YOU BE SO PEDESTRIAN.”, but realized that was stupid of me to even judge myself or care about what others think. A lot of these films are ones I haven’t watched recently, so I wonder if I’ll still like some of my “favourites” if I rewatched them. For example, I adamantly disliked Hitchcock’s Notorious when I first watched it but after rewatching it a few days ago, now it’s one of my favourite Hitchcock films. It’s also possible that I might like other films more than the ones listed but I don’t remember them that well and need to rewatch them to jog my memory.
Some decades were incredibly hard to do because there were so many favourites, such as the 1920s-1950s. I even told Kathryn about how hard it was and she told me how she imagined herself on a deserted island and how she tended to lean towards happier films so that helped me a lot because I knew that that is what I would have done too. But as someone who is quite sentimental, I had to make sure that films by my favourite actors and directors had to be on this list because if I was on a deserted island, I will need my dose of those! I guess that sort of skewed how I chose films because I would think “Well, there is a Hitchcock film from this decade, so maybe I don’t need another Hitchcock film? What would be the one Hitchcock film I’d pick over all else?”
Here is the list! Can’t wait to see yours, Kathryn! (And I’d like to know what you think of my list, if you have the time to respond.)
Saturday - May 16th, 2015And more films…
I’m not doing such a bad job with my film watching! Also, I plan to do a Thin Man marathon soon… or maybe a Fred and Ginger marathon. I hope I’m up to it! I WILL BLOG ALL OF THIS. I MUST BLOG.
I thought that seeing all text posts was depressing so I decided to put pictures of movie posters. Once I’m I grad school, I hope to write more thorough posts… or at least ones with screenshots! I have a feeling that my blog posts are going to be just like this though, haha~
I seem to be watching Fellini’s self-referential films for some reason — I’m not doing it on purpose but the ones I happen to pick up are the ones that reflect Fellini. Or are all of his films like this? What do I know since I know nothing about Fellini!
The first time I watched Laura, I remember that I wasn’t really impressed. I found it rather dull and kind of boring and the only thing that got me going was Gene Tierney’s gorgeous face.
The Razor’s Edge (1946)
I was SO looking forward to watching this film (I mean, look at that cast!) because I’ve read so much about Gene Tierney’s performance in this film, but I didn’t really enjoy the film. I wouldn’t mind watching it again, but overall, I felt indifferent about it. I’m surprised by this because the cast is superb and I love film adaptations of W. Somerset Maugham’s works but I found the story to be dull. Thankfully the acting kept me going because Herbert Marshall was elegant as usual as Somerset Maugham, Clifton Webb was great and elegant as always, and Anne Baxter was flipping amazing as Sophie, especially during the scenes after her character loses her child and husband. I thought Gene Tierney was alright until the end when you saw the vehemence when her and Tyrone Power’s character talk about Sophie’s death because she totally stole the scene. What is so amazing about Gene Tierney is that she is one heck of an actress and she has the face of an angel so she excels at playing scenes and characters where the most ugly parts of the human psyche is exposed. What I was surprised about was Fritz Kortner’s appearance in this film because I never thought I’d see him in an American film. It was like how I felt when I saw Alexander Granach in Ninotchka because I associate German silent films to Kortner. I see Kortner as one of the best Expressionist actors so to see him play his role in The Razor’s Edge with subtlety was really a treat to see. I thought that his acting alone made the film worth watching.
Image credit: Wikipedia.org
Monday - May 11th, 2015More film watching
I’ve been naughty and have been rewatching some films. I can’t always get myself to watch new movies — I don’t know why!!!
The Age of Innocence (1993)
First of all, I did like the film, but there were things that I felt were slightly off because of the casting of the main characters. Day-Lewis, Pfeiffer, and Ryder are great actors but I guess that I imagined these characters a certain way that I couldn’t get passed the cast. However, I do think that it says something about how great these actors are because I started seeing why these actors were chosen for their parts. Pfeiffer was graceful, the way I imagined Ellen to be; Ryder occasionally looked so sweet and innocent, which is how I saw May; and I started to get over Day-Lewis’ hair because I always imagined Newland to have a more slicked down hairdo. My ideal cast would have been John Barrymore for Newland, Mary Astor or Vivien Leigh for Ellen, and… oh May is such a hard one! Maybe Lana Turner? Joan Fontaine? Ooooh maybe Lillian Gish?!?! I think Lillian is the one I’ll stick with for May!
Since I do not know much about Chaplin’s personal history, I don’t really have anything to compare this film too, which I am actually glad about because knowing too much about Chaplin could have made me dislike the film because all I would be doing is moan about inaccuracies or wonder why they left certain things out. But maybe the film isn’t riddled with inaccuracies since Chaplin’s daughter is in the film and I doubt she would have been in it if she strongly disagreed with it. I don’t think the film itself is made well (it is ok but I had some issues with the way they edited it), but the acting was phenomenal!!! I also loved Mary Pickford’s hair in the film and even though she wasn’t portrayed in a good light, it is true that Chaplin and Pickford did not get along so I wouldn’t be surprised if Pickford was nasty to Chaplin.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
I’ve wanted to rewatch this movie for some time and I finally got around to it! The last time (and only time) I watched this was in 2007 or 2008 and my mom told me that she enjoyed this movie a lot and that I should watch it. I loved this movie back then because I thought that it was hilarious and fell in love with Gene Kelly’s dancing. I still love the same scene, which is when The Dueling Cavalier‘s sound synchronization goes out the window; it is one of the most hilarious scenes I have seen in any film that I’ve watched.
On the Town (1949)
Around 2008 or so, I did a Gene Kelly marathon where I would hunt down as many Gene Kelly films as I can and watch whatever I could get my hands on. After several years passed, my memory of these films waned but I remember that back then, there was a film that I considered to be better than Singin’ in the Rain in Gene’s oeuvre. The thing is, I don’t remember what the movie was called but I thought that it was this film or It’s Always Fair Weather because I remembered sailors, Frank Sinatra, and Cyd Charisse.
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
This is the first Bette Davis film that I’ve ever watched and the first time I watched it, I hated it! I hated the film, I hated Bette Davis, and I was a raging madwoman and didn’t understand the hype about this film or Bette. Well, things have changed over many many years and I think I’ve watched more Bette Davis films than Joan Crawford films >_>; I used to say that I love Joan more than Bette but I’m not too sure anymore!!! I now love them both and they’re brilliant in their own ways.
Robin Hood (1922)
I know the basics about Fairbanks due to reading a bit about Mary Pickford but I never watched any of his films because I had this odd abhorrence towards them for no good reason. I think it’s because I felt as if the kinds of films he was known for wasn’t my type but… I WAS WRONG! My reluctance to watch a Fairbanks film ended up being the way I felt about western films: my feelings towards them were completely irrational.
Before I start rambling about the movie, CAN WE PLEASE DISCUSS BELA LUGOSI AND ALEXANDER GRANACH BEING IN THIS FILM?! I was working on my “art project” (paper chain) while watching this movie and when the film started and the credits came on, my eyes went straight for Bela Lugosi’s name and I was like, “WTFBBQQQQQQ?!?!”, because I’ve watched this film probably 10+ times and I never noticed. When the credits came on at the end of the film, my eyes went straight for Alexander Granach and once again I had the same exact reaction as I did to Bela Lugosi’s name. HOW IN THE WORLD DID I MISS THIS THE LAST BAZILLION TIMES THAT I HAVE WATCHED THIS FILM? HOW?! I always associate Alexander Granach with German silent films (never forget the pig exit in Schatten) so to see him in an American film (and a talkie at that!) had my head reeling.
Saturday - May 2nd, 2015Some quick thoughts
Since I got into grad school, I figured that I should brush up on my film knowledge before heading off because I say the following phrase too often: I’ve heard of the film, I know some things about it, but I haven’t watched it. Because of this, I am going to watch some films from my to-watch list. It’s about freaking time that I watched some of these!
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
The Misfits (1961)
Sunday - February 22nd, 2015The Imitation Game ; 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
Today is the day of the Academy Awards and I went to watch The Imitation Game with my cousin. I didn’t know much about the film, except that Benedict Cumberbatch was in it, so I didn’t really care for it because nothing about it caught my interest and the title didn’t catch my eye either. I also didn’t know about Alan Turing, who I now find to be a very fascinating figure after reading about him after hearing an interview with Cumberbatch on Fresh Air. If it wasn’t for Fresh Air, I would have never watched this film. Thank goodness for my commute coinciding with Fresh Air on KPCC because I very much enjoyed this movie and the interview made me understand some scenes a bit better, such as the scenes of Turing running.
I jokingly hate on Cumberbatch due to his popularity on Tumblr but after listening to his interview on Fresh Air, I could see his appeal. I loved the interview and he did a great job selling this film (intentional or not) so I was itching to watch this movie and was curious about Cumberbatch as an actor since I’ve never seen him act. I never even heard his voice until the interview! I also like to hate on Keira Knightley for some irrational reason — I found her to be rather annoying in movies — but I realized that I should stop hating on her because I thought she was good in A Dangerous Method and I liked her a lot in this film. I always found her to be very pretty but in this film, her looks didn’t overshadow her performance, which I found to be nice since I stopped seeing her as just a pretty person but as an actress. It’s rather dehumanizing to just care about looks, no? So it’s nice that I wasn’t just like, “Oooh she is so pretty!” but more like, “Gosh, Joan Clarke is a fascinating character!”
What I loved about the movie was the script because at the beginning of the movie, Turing (Cumberbatch) says in a voice-over, “If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things […] When I am finished — when I have told you that I am finished — you are free to think whatever you like. But until then, you will trust that while this story will be hard for you to understand, everything I am saying I am saying for a reason. […] Pay attention.”
I also LOVEDDDD the movie because of the portrayal of Clarke. The film made me think that Clarke was a person of note, brought to the forefront of how women were seen during the 1930s-1940s, and I even wondered why there weren’t movies about Clarke when she was as much of an interesting person as Turing. Like holy cow, this woman was brilliant but society was not appreciative of her intellect because she was a woman and I felt that the movie made sure that the viewers were very aware of this. Yay feminism!
Some people seem to have issues about this film because some people might say that this film doesn’t put enough emphasis on Turing’s sexual orientation but I liked that it wasn’t all ~in your face~ about it because I saw the focus of this film to be about language and what it took to break the Enigma. I can see why people might be upset because it might not be… gay enough (?)… but what I thought was good about the film was that it might open up people’s minds about a sexual orientation that isn’t heterosexuality. It portrays a man who had to suffer for something that was seen as a crime and it’s heartbreaking to see a brilliant man turn into a shell of himself at the end of the film and I hope the film makes people who are against homosexuality to think that people who are gay are not bad and aren’t sinners or what have you. One can’t help but think that it’s wrong that Turing has to go through “hormone therapy” because what he did was seen as indecent. Just because someone is gay, does it mean that it is right to ruin a brilliant man? I’d say, “Nope nope nope.” When Turing asks Detective Nock, “Am I a war hero? Am I a criminal?”, Nock says that he can’t judge him and while Turing realizes that Nock can’t help him with the criminal charges, at least Nock acknowledges his indecision, which I see as a reflection of the possibility for people to open their minds about homosexuality. I found Turing to be a likeable character, which I think makes homosexuality more approachable (erm… I don’t know if I’m phrasing my thoughts well) to people who might be uncomfortable about it. A small step, but an important step in my eyes. Just my opinion.
Should this film win the Oscar for best picture? In my eyes, no. Out of the Best Picture films that I have watched (Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and now The Imitation Game), I think Birdman should get the Oscar but I think that Boyhood will get it. Or maybe Whiplash? I don’t know what Whiplash is about (Except that it’s about a drummer? That’s what I gathered from a quick glance of the poster.) so maybe that will win? If American Sniper wins, I might roll my eyes. Actually, I’m pretty sure I will. I’m so judgmental, hahaha!
Anyway, I really, REALLY enjoyed this film and I want to rewatch it. I wouldn’t mind buying a DVD of it if it has good special features!
IMDb Link: The Imitation Game
Monday - February 10th, 2014A Night in Casablanca ; 1946
Director: Archie Mayo
This is my first Marx Brothers movie and I thought it was ok. I still haven’t watched Duck Soup so I’m definitely not writing off the Marx Brothers as “not my cup of tea”. For the most part, I found this movie quite dull even though I adored Groucho Marx’s lines and found the gags in Count Pfferman’s (Ruman) room (when the “Count” is trying to pack) but they weren’t enough to entice me to make me want to watch another Marx Brothers film right away.
I don’t really have much to say, although surprisingly enough, I was very much put off by the last scene when the Marx Brothers’ characters chase Beatrice (Verea). I know that several old Hollywood movies make people side eye them (well, current movies too) but to see a woman express her want for a romance and have to run away from three lustful men scared me. I knew that it was meant to be comical, but I found it so disturbing and frightening that it left a really bad taste in my mouth.
Random, but it was amusing to see Sig Ruman play a Nazi because I will forever associate him with Colonel Ehrhardt from To Be or Not to Be.
IMDb Link: A Night in Casablanca
Tuesday - February 4th, 2014Pi ; 1998
Director: Darren Aronofsky
I was very surprised that I enjoyed this movie. Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about what kind of movies I like. I know that for the most part, my genre of choice is romantic comedy and that I prefer narrative films, so I figured that I like anything that is mainstream and easy to watch. When I was in high school and during part of my college days, I suffered from special snowflake syndrome and wanted to watch obscure movies that no one knew about or cared for non-linear and foreign films. Part of that phase did stem from me being interested in them, but my intentions weren’t very pure and I think I cared more about the cool points than actually educating myself. Anyway, it’s been awhile since I watched anything that was “challenging” (unless Quentin Tarantino’s works falls into that category) and to my surprise, I enjoyed Pi immensely. I think it’s the editing style that kept my attention the entire time because the quick cuts and close ups made it feel as if the pace of the movie was going faster. I also liked that technique in another Aronofsky film, Requiem for a Dream (2000), because I think that it made habits look cold and calculated, which for the most part they are because we always do certain things a certain way at a certain time.
As for the story, it was captivating for me because it was about a man’s search to find out a pattern behind the stock market and the obsessive quest is enjoyable (uh… painful?) to watch. I liked seeing how this obsession ruins Max’s (Gullette) physical body and his mental state and how his search for an explanation runs him into trouble. The closer he gets to the truth behind the numbers, the more he cannot handle it physically or mentally because perhaps it is as if he is playing with fire and his headaches and paranoia are all signs for him to back off something that is beyond his control. The way the movie played out and how it ended reminded me of people’s quest to understanding the world and believing in God. Whether or not I believe in God or believe people should believe in God is beyond the point of the post, but when I talk to people who believe in God or even just a higher being, many say that it is faith and that it’s not about trying to find an explanation for everything. Believing in God gives them a sense of lightness and comfort, and it reminded me of how Max ends up in the end. I see Max as finally being content once he gives up trying to find numbers/explanations for everything and can just enjoy being. Or maybe he’s content because he finally understood the numbers and also because he has learned to stop thinking about it and just accepting whatever he has learned in his quest.
On a side note, I also couldn’t help like the film since it mentions the Kabbalah because in my favourite manga series, X, the Kabbalah is shown in the artwork and also in connection to the tech savvy character, Satsuki. Sort of a connection to this movie, ey?
IMDb Link: Pi
Monday - January 20th, 2014Jackie Brown ; 1997
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Someone told me that this Quentin Tarantino movie was a movie that non-Tarantino fans were a fan of. I think the person told me this because I probably mentioned that I’m not a Tarantino fan but here is the deal: I’ve enjoyed every single Tarantino film that I’ve watched but I’m too much of a pretentious person to just out-right say that I’m a fan. Actually, nix that: last month, I declared that I am a Tarantino fan. I don’t even know what my own deal is and why I stupidly refused to say that I’m a fan of his works even though I like his movies so much. Well, I don’t know why non-Tarantino fans see Jackie Brown as something different but it sure wasn’t anything different for me because I enjoyed watching this movie just as much as I enjoyed watching any Tarantino picture.
As usual, the script and casting was excellent, which I take as a given for any Tarantino movie. Like Ernst Lubitsch, I see Tarantino as a director who puts the oomph in their pictures through a superb script and a great cast. Cinematically, I would say that both directors are on par (for me) because while the effects of the mise-en-scène and camera movement isn’t overt, watching any of their films closely makes one more aware of how much control they have over every aspect of their picture and how knowledgeable they are of the filmic language. Of course, Tarantino has a more non-traditional approach to story telling and editing, but I never found his movies to be jarring or difficult to follow. Surprisingly enough, I find his editing style quite easy to follow and even though scenes may be shown in a non-linear fashion, I can’t think of any other way those scenes should have been shot. For example, in Jackie Brown, the Billingsley bag switch segment was PERFECT. By showing what happens to the four different character in succession through each character’s perspectives, you pick up bits and pieces of what’s going on and eventually, everything makes sense. When I saw Jackie (Grier) coming out of the dressing room all frantic, I didn’t understand what was going on. Did something go wrong? Did I miss something? And why did she leave that bag behind? But after I saw Max (Forster) pick up the bag and then saw Jackie using her supposed frazzled state of mind as an alibi at the police station, I was like, “OHHHHHHHHH! It all makes sense!”
And another thing, how could I dislike a movie that shows lipstick that has been rubbed off from a kiss? All in all, definitely liked this movie and would recommend it to anyone. I’m starting to wonder if there is going to be a Tarantino film that I dislike. Oh wait, there is only one more to watch. TIME WILL TELL.
IMDb Link: Jackie Brown
Thursday - January 9th, 2014Pitch Perfect ; 2012
Director: Jason Moore
I had to think a lot about this movie and what I would write about. At one point, I wanted to just post “WTF” in big letters, but then I figured that I’d regret writing that when I look back at my entries because I wouldn’t remember why I wrote “WTF”. It would be like the time when I looked back at diaries I’ve written when I was in elementary school and I’d see entries that said, “I’m so mad right now that I’m not even going to write about it because I’m so angry.” Now I look at those entries and wonder what I was so mad about.
While watching this movie, the only thoughts I had throughout the entire film was, “What in the world? What is this? Is this real? WTFWTFWTFWTF.” I couldn’t understand this movie at all and I didn’t get why. I wasn’t sure if this movie was a comedy or what because I think I chuckled nervously throughout the movie. It was just THERE and my brain couldn’t make head or tail out of it. I was still very confused by it for several days and one day, while I was sitting in a tub, singing very badly, several thoughts about this movie popped up. I started to wonder if my brain was so used to thinking, “ANALYZE ANALYZE ANALYZE” that I couldn’t relax and enjoy it. Another thought was that I watched so many old films that I’m stuck in the bygone era and can’t understand contemporary comedy. I remember thinking that the dialogue was crude and I disliked a lot of the jokes, which made me think that I was unconsciously comparing old comedic films to current ones. Some would attribute it to political correctness but many of the jokes rubbed me the wrong way, which surprised me because I didn’t think that I was an overly politically correct person. I don’t think that I was being snotty while watching this movie and I wasn’t planning on comparing it to other movies as well, but this movie came from left field and I had no idea what was going on and how to digest it. Even my raging dislike for a cappella didn’t overcome this confusion by making me think an irrational thought such as, “I HATE THIS FILM BECAUSE OF A CAPPELLA, END OF STORY.”
Another thing that startled me was that I felt that many aspects of the movie, particularly sets (location?), camera movement, and acting was like a B-movie. It was hokey, borderline bad, and the only thing that made it visually good was the crisp quality of the picture and the colors. When I say colors, I don’t mean a beautiful or brilliant use of them, à la Sirk, but that everything was evenly lit so the colors looked nice, like a nice family photo.
And I just have to add, I really, REALLY detested Bumper (DeVine). I guess I can’t hate on Adam DeVine because he was successful at making me want to punch Bumper in the face, but his character was like Barry in High Fidelity (2000), except that I grew to tolerate Barry but I never grew to tolerate Bumper. I know that he’s supposed to be a character to either dislike or laugh with, but I found him overbearingly obnoxious that I wondered how DeVine could make a character so annoying.
I’m still not too sure why I was so thrown by this film, but I can say that I don’t want to rewatch it on my own time. If my friends all agreed and said that they wanted to watch it, sure I’ll watch it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t think it was a huge waste of time and maybe if I do rewatch it, I might like it immensely, but my first impression of this movie was bewilderment, which is a feeling that I have never gotten from a film until this one.
IMDb Link: Pitch Perfect