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falderal : a moving images blog

Archive for January, 2014

Jackie Brown ; 1997

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Actors: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro
Country: U.S.A.

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

Pitch Perfect ; 2012

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Director: Jason Moore
Actors: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson
Country: U.S.A.

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