Friday, March 27, 2015
Spike Lee's Crookyln gives the viewer a look into the life of an African American family, living in the infamous Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of New York City. Initially when I watched this film I thought back to another one of Lee's movies: Do the Right Thing, which I had seen in my English class last year. The primary reason for my discontent with this film was that it lacked a true storyline, and Crooklyn seemed to have the same problem. This actually makes me think of Badlands as well, which I also criticized for not having much of a plot. As I said in my blog post: "Things happen, people go places and do things, say things, but I can't help but wonder what the point of it all is." I felt a similar way with Crooklyn, but then I also realized something. Maybe that is the whole point of it all. Spike Lee intended to show what life is like for a typical black family in Bed-Stuy.
Not only does this film remind me of the aforementioned titles, but a tv that I watched a few years ago popped in my head as well: Chris Rock's Everybody Hates Chris. Much like Crooklyn, this series takes the viewer into the life of a family residing in this community, highlighting the hardships that they faced. Both families were large, often relied on food stamps, and were treated poorly by white people. The parents often argued, as well as the brothers and sisters. Both Chris Rock and Spike Lee did a fantastic job of portraying the average lifestyle in this trouble-ridden district. Crooklyn mainly focuses on Troy, who can be considered the oddball in her family. The cinematography communicated this well by showing shots of her sitting a great distance away from everyone else during meal times, and of her being sent to the store by herself. Clearly she is more mature than her argumentative brothers, which explains why she is given these tasks. This also makes me think of how different life is in the inner city compared to that of the suburbs, and also the variations between this decade and the 1970s. Nowadays, it would be concerning to see a young child walking the streets by themselves, but back then I guess it wasn't a big deal.
As the movie progresses, the Carmichael family heads down south for a vacation. They leave their urban hometown for a much more relaxed rural atmosphere, which Troy is not accustomed to. She definitely wasn't happy to be there from the beginning, and was even more put off by the fact that she had to stay there for a few days after the rest of her family went back home. Coming from the suburbs myself, I would've been more than happy to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the lush green landscape of the south, but remember, the city is where Troy grew up. It was all she knew, all she was used to. For her, the city was the place to be - the action, the drama, the excitement. Her aunt's home was just too boring. As the period came to an end, she was finally on her way back home. I bet she was happy.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
The breakfast club has nothing to do with breakfast!! A very diverse popularity groups found themselves together during a Saturday detention. Throughout the movie the moods of all the characters changed drastically! They went from hating eachother [each other or one another? Either way, two words] to feeling a sort of sympathy [sympathy or empathy] for eachother after understand their circumstances. This movie described a group of kids of different backgrounds coming together and sharing a one purpose or theme [what is a theme and how is "punishment" the theme?] which was punishment. One thing that I didn't like while watching this movie is how it ended without seeing the way they would act towards eachother in school the next day. I felt that this was important because the whole concept of the movie was to see how all these different world would collide. I felt that the movie lacked this important factors of the overall outcome in the movie.
I have given you credit for this post in powerschool; however, I hope you will consider this simply pre-writing and collecting. I don't think you will want your grade to remain as is. This post is rather haphazard and slapdash. It does not reach the minimum length requirement, it contains many typographical errors, and the depth of analysis is lacking. In other words, you can do better Alethia.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
As I mentioned in my previous post, the five students featured in this film all came from vastly contrasting backgrounds, but over time they began to assimilate. On the surface, they couldn't possibly be more different from each other, but as the hours went on, I quickly began to see that they weren't so different at all. There is no doubt that their relationships with/perceptions of each other had changed for the better, and as the film progressed, the message became clearer and clearer that they all struggled with something:
Claire was always under constant pressure from her so-called friends, whom she followed after instead of being herself.
Brian nearly killed himself over an F in his shop class, fueled by the pressure his parents put on him to consistently earn high grades.
Bender also had tensions between his parents, driven by his abusive father.
Allison not only was a basketcase, but she utilized her personality to compulsively lie and sneakily steal items from other people, both of which she did very often.
Andrew might have seemed well-put-together, being an athlete on the wrestling team, but he never let his true self show. He always behaved how other people wanted him to, never taking the time to think for himself.
All of this goes to show that no one is perfect. Even though Brian and Claire, for example, appeared perfectly fine on the outside, they were carrying an emotional burden on the inside. If it weren't for the Saturday detention, none of these details would have ever surfaced, and all of the teenagers would have carried on with their normal lives. This brings me to a lingering question: what is going to happen on the Monday that everyone returns to school? Claire was wondering the same thing, because while the five of them now understand each other so much more deeply, the rest of the world still views each of them as their stereotypes. Nothing less, and nothing more. That, my friends, is the true evil of stereotypes at its finest.
Monday, March 16, 2015
The movie Bonnie & Clyde was aj interesting movie because it showed what a real ride or die was. The bond that they had was inseparable. Bonnie was a waitress while Clyde had just recently gotten out of prison. Bonnie was immediately fasinated with Clydes past. He sees Bonnie as someone simpatico to his goals in life. Ever since they met each other they have gotten close and they had so much trust that Clyde decided to let Bonnie join him in his life of crime. Throughout this life of crime none of them leave, they hold each other down until the end. I don't like how in the ending they killed them after being throug so much together. They could've handled the situation differently. This moviekeptmeon the edge of my seat because after every robbery I thought that they would get caught butto my surprise they didn't until the end. I would like to have the type of bond they had because they never gave up.
They journeyed through the Midwest on their killing spree starting a new life together. In a way Kit saved Holly from a dead hometown that she wanted badly to escape [is this true?]. One thing that I found very interesting was the contrast between the two characters. Kit was a more of a rough greaser type of guy that wore a leather jacket [denim actually] and cowboy boots, meanwhile Holly was calm and quiet and wore flower print dresses and sandals.
In a way you can say that their greeting was the introduction where two worlds collide. Although Kit and Holly were recognized as dangerous and professional [???], they still were admired for their "bravery and courage" for doing everything they did. After their capture during their adventure Kit was immediately not so sure about this] put to death by the electric hair, and Holly received jail time then later married her lawyer's son.
Recall/retell, not much voice coming through, Alethia.
I really enjoyed watching the movie Chicago. I liked how Roxie and Velma were constantly fighting for fame and for them to get out of jail and out of the death row. Roxie is in there because she was sleeping with a man other than her husband in order to become a star, but once she realized he only said that to sleep with her she ended up killing him. Velma is in there because she killed her husband and sister when she walked in on them sleeping with each other. I liked how when all the women were saying what they did they were singing and showing what they did with the other dancers. It was crazy how they became so focused on being famous and having all the fame that they started to forget they were in a life or death situation. Since this is what Roxie always wanted she made any lie just to keep the fame. At one point in the movie she faked being pregnant because the press started noticing her less. This movie really kept my attention because it kept me wondering about if Roxie was going to get away with murder and of her husband was going to leave or stay after he found out the truth. Even though it was a musical it was an interesting movie.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Malcolm X (1992), directed by Spike Lee, was a powerful film and I enjoyed watching it. I was hoping the movie wouldn't be a boring history movie and I was not disappointed. It was very intriguing and kept my attention the whole time. I knew who Malcolm X was, however, I never really learned much about him in school. I was glad that I was able to learn more about his life. Malcolm X was a legendary African American leader, whose life we were able to watch from his tragic childhood to his assassination. From his father being killed by the Ku Klux Klan, wrongly labeled as a suicide and his mother being placed in a mental institution, Malcolm and his siblings became wards of the state. Malcolm was very smart in school but told from a racist teacher that he couldn't become lawyer because of the color of his skin. Later on Malcolm Little becomes Malcolm X and a minister and human rights activist.
The ending of the movie was shocking and sad as we saw Malcolm X violently assassinated. Leading up to the assassination Malcolm receives many death threats and firebombs are even thrown into his house putting him and his family in danger. Fortunately, everyone was safe. However, the death threats wouldn't stop. He decides to speak publicly at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965 where he is assassinated.
I also want to add that the acting in the movie was fantastic. I felt that Denzel Washington did a great job at portraying Malcolm X. My only reason for possibly not watching it again is because of how long it was (about three and half hours), but I really liked it overall.
When We Were King (1996) is a documentary about the 1974 heavyweight championship between the underdog challenger Muhammad Ali [arguably past his prime and former heavyweight champion of the world] and the [then reigning] heavyweight champion George Foreman. The fight took place in Zaire on October 30, 1974. Throughout the film we see Ali and Foreman's boxing match that ends with Muhammad Ali defeating the champion George Foreman. Ali is able to knock-out the exhausted Foreman in the eighth round of the fight.
Honestly, this film did not pique my interest at all. I couldn't really follow along with it because of this. When I tried to focusing my attention back on the film, I didn't even know what was going on. I don't really enjoy documentaries and being sports related made me even more uninterested [less interested?]. I guess the actual fight was somewhat interesting, but boxing just isn't interesting to me. I understand the appeal to most of the class and others but its just not a film I would watch [What about the drama surrounding the event? What about filmmaker Spike Lee's claim that Ali is an often forgotten hero, who was more than just a phenomenal athlete? What about connections between this film and Malcolm X? And finally, what about the music?].
I actually liked The Bad News Bears(1976). It's not one of my favorite films but I did enjoy watching it. We got to see the theme of the underdog rising again. Former minor-league baseball player, Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), now an alcoholic who cleans pools, becomes the coach for team of the worst players. The Bears team was pretty awful and was made up of mostly nonathletic kids. As Buttermaker realizes how terrible the team is he convinces Amanda Whurlizer (Tatum O'Neal), who used to be trained by him and is pretty good at pitching to join the team. The film had a good mix of comedic and sad scenes to make it a likable film in my opinion.
We saw as the theme of the underdog appears again in this film. The Bears start off as the worst team until they add two new good members Amanda and Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley). The Bears started making their way to the top until they reached their final game against the Yankees. We saw good character development in Buttermaker during the final game. As he becomes more competitive with Yankees coach Roy Turner (Vic Morrow), he only keeps in the good players on the team while other players are stuck as the benchwarmers. However, when he sees the result of Turner's son Joey being hit by his father, holding onto the ball until Engelberg gets a home run, and ending up leaving the game and dropping the ball at his father's feet, Buttermaker realizes how competitive he has become. This leads to Buttermaker letting the other players on the field, giving everyone a chance to play. They ended up playing well together, but did not end up winning. Even though they did not achieve the victory they wanted they were still proud of themselves. Overall, I thought it was a good movie and might watch it again.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Friday, March 13, 2015
This movie was another look into the apparent problem of celebrity in criminality in American culture. After Kit is taken in, the police practically idolize him, get all sorts of souvenirs from him, get him to sign things, ask him all sorts of questions, even the chief of police talks about how swell of a person he is. But that last one brings up another interesting thing about Badlands, that good people can do bad things, but are they still good people? Kit did all that he did, in his own mind, for Holly, and it just got out of control. A good question to ponder after watching this movie, is after all that happened, are Kit and Holly good people, or bad?
Chicago is one of my favorite musicals, with awesome songs and great dancing, it also finds an interesting way to make each songs both diegetic and non-diegetic, which isn't easy to do. In the end, Chicago is sort of an allegory of criminals being made into celebrities, and what better setting for this is in Chicago in the era of Al Capone?
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I feel like the internet does make people dumber because it doesn't always have true things up there or half of the truth. my proof is that "people who read text studded with links,the studies show comprehended less than those who read traditional linear text". It also said "people who watch busy multimedia presentation remember less than those who take in a more sedate and focused manner". This is what I believe because I see people now a days that can talk about a tv show but in school and cant explain whats going on.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Rebel Without A Cause (1955), I thought was a strange movie. However, I really liked it. The film revolves around 17-year-old Jim Stark (James Dean) who is a rebellious teenager that moves to a new town because of his troubled past. In his new town, he meets Plato (Sal Mineo) and Judy (Natalie Wood) who also have troubles at home.
Plato was abandoned by his father when he was very young. His mother is also not around much leaving him with the house maid. Plato quickly becomes friends with Jim when he goes to school and sees Jim as his father figure. I mostly liked Plato's character (except for the killing puppies) I felt bad for him. I blame his parents for his messed up head. I was sad at the end of the movie when he ended up getting shot and killed.
Judy thinks that because she is no longer a little girl her father doesn't show her any affection anymore. She doesn't really like Jim at first and calls him a yo-yo. Then as she gets to know him better she starts to like him. I didn't really like her character that much because she seemed to get over her boyfriend's death too quickly. I started to like her somewhat at the end.
The "Chickie run" was a dumb idea but I don't think Jim should take the blame for it because it was Buzz's (Corey Allen) idea. Buzz was an idiot, even though he did tell Jim that he liked him. He also explained that they were doing the run because Jim "had to do something." It probably has to do with pride but it was really ignorant of them to do it.
I also found it weird that James Dean died in a car crash a month before this movie was released. I found it even more shocking when I read that the two other leads Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood also died tragically. Sal Mineo was stabbed to death and Natalie Wood drowned.
Overall, I really enjoyed Rebel Without A Cause and would watch it again if I had the chance.
I really hate musicals with a passion, with the exception High School Musical, but the film Chicago was a pretty decent musical. The storyline to the film was pretty interesting. In the movie I liked the fact that every new character in the movie had a different song. This made the movie more interesting. I also like how the songs reflected on the mood of the movie. They all represent an event in the movie. The plot of the story was very convincing. It looked like Roxie was clearly innocent until she shot the guy in the chest. It seemed like she got too ahead herself and her dream got the best of her. Clearly Roxie just wanted to be famous. She got her fame by residing in jail which was riveting because she actually loved the publicity. This movie had so many themes not only coming from the main character. The movies was about murder, love, lust, betrayal, pride, thirst for fame and so much more. This movie was ultimately interesting for a musical.
I usually hate musicals because I feel like there is way too much singing, but when I watched this movie in class I honestly enjoyed it. It was an awesome movie with a catchy soundtrack. Roxie Hart (played by Renée Zellweger) is the main character [protagonist] and also my favorite character. Roxie was so determined to go into show business that she would do anything to be in the spotlight, even kill a man!
My favorite act had to be the part when all of the girls in the jail were telling their stories and why they were arrested, "The Cell Block Tango." [What did you find appealing about this particular number?]
It sucked that Roxie risked everything she loved doing because she killed her husband. She had to give up her job that she loved to serve time in prison with a bunch of other women and with that comes jealousy and drama. Her career started and ended so fastly and she gad to deal with that in prison.
As a young man Malcolm Little got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He rose through the ranks of a New York crew led by West Indian Archie. When life in Harlem became too dangerous, Malcolm returns to Boston, where he becomes a house burglar and is eventually arrested.
In prison, Malcolm transforms himself, converting to the branch of Islam promoted by the Nation of Islam led by "the Honorable Elijah Muhammad", which has already converted a number of Malcolm’s siblings. Inspired by the faith, Malcolm stops using drugs; he reads actively, prays, studies English and Latin, and joins the prison debate team [although this may all be true, were all of these activities documented in Lee's film?].
[This a big leap Keala; however, I do not necessarily want or need a play by play. I would like to hear more of your thoughts on the events being portrayed.] The Nation of Islam’s frustration with Malcolm intensifies, and Malcolm begins receiving death threats. After a divisive argument with Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm leaves the Nation of Islam. He uses his fame to found his own organization, Muslim Mosque, Inc. He sees his organization as more politically active [politically active or inclusive?] than the Nation of Islam. On a trip to the Middle East and Africa, Malcolm discovers what he sees as true Islam. This version of Islam contrasts with the version of Islam he has been teaching. By the end of his life, Malcolm X is an international figure, welcomed by foreign leaders and committed to Islam as a religion that can alleviate the racial problems of the United States. He is assassinated in 1965. I loved the songs played [Keala, do you know which Sam Cooke song is played leading up to the scene where he is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom. Possibly an examination of its lyrics in relation to what is happening on screen would be in order?] that supported this movie and the realness displayed in the family of Malcom X. The music and film went together perfectly and had a powerful effect on the viewers which I believe was the point of the movie. To teach a lesson, prevent horrible things like this from happening, and change to view and perceptions of some people.
I initially disregarded the film as a clearly pointed form of propaganda. However, as the film continued and Malcolm evolved from a radical supremacist into a truly peaceful advocate for equality, I realized that my initial assessment was inherently flawed. I realized that the film wasn't actually about Malcolm's actions and beliefs while involved with the civil rights movement, but rather about the struggles and obstacles Malcolm had to overcome in both his struggle for survival and his struggle to find his true path in life. Understanding now what Spike Lee was trying to express in this film, I believe that he created a truly exemplary film.
Lee does an exceptional job of portraying Malcolm as a truly understandable character, one that viewers regardless of personal opinions can understand and sympathize with.
To be honest, I wasn't very excited about watching "The Bad News Bears". The prospect of watching a film about a little league baseball team wasn't very appealing to me. But I found this film to be surprisingly funny and insightful. The plot of the film is your conventional "underdog" story in which an unskilled little league team, "the Bad News Bears" are coached by Morris Buttermaker, a washed-up minor league baseball player and alcholic who cleans swimming pools. This match is a recipe for disaster, as the Bears continue to lose game after game. Realizing that the team has nearly no chance of winning, he recruits his former step-daughter, Amanda, an extremely skilled pitcher (Yes! girls rock!) and Kelly Leaks, the local motorcyclist and rebel, an equally good player.
With these new additions to the team, the Bad News Bears start winning more and more games, until they are set to face the best team team in the league, the Yankees, coached by the competitive Roy Turner. By this point in the film, Morris has become hell-bent on winning and completely disregards the feelings of all of the team. He encourages Kelly to do most of the work on the field, which creates resentment towards him from the other teammates. When Amanda tries to develop a fatherly relationship with him outside of baseball, he completely writes her off, even throwing beer in her face. At the end of the movie, Coach Turner's son, Joey, purposefully sabotages the game after his father slaps him for disregarding his orders. This event makes Morris realize that he has become as competitve as Turner, and lost sight of all of the positive aspects of the game. Subsequently, Morris allows Amanda and other low-level players to participate in the game.
In the end, the Bad News Bears lost to the Yankees by a narrow margin (7-6). The Yankees gave their respect to the Bears by saying that although they were very skilled players, they had a lot of "guts". The film ends with a happy celebration. I really liked this movie because it was light-hearted and funny, but conveyed a powerful message. This movie really shows the importance of bravery and the willingness to take risks. One of my favorite sayings is, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." No matter where you start from, you have the ability to become better. Everything lies in the attitude that you bring to the table and your willingness to simply try. I am very happy that I watched this film.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Opposed to the documentaries we watched in this class, this was the only one I liked because I really wanted to learn and know more about the fight between champion George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. This documentary explores the relationship between African-Americans and the African continent during the Black Power. In the documentary, I noticed Ali was doing a lot of "talking" about Foreman. Maybe because he knew he were going to win. Foreman didn't have much to say, unlike Ali. I liked how Ali was talking about winning because he proved his point and just didn't talk about him winning. Some people just talk about things, but don't never accomplish it.
If I remember correctly, this was another film that I actually missed the beginning of, but that did not hinder my understanding of the film. I found myself not being able to sit comfortably in my seat after seeing the struggle of people of color in the mid 1900s [elaboration please].
From beginning to end, Terrence Malick's "Badlands" (1973) kept me on the edge of my seat. I can't say that I really liked or disliked the movie. I would describe my attitude towards this film as fascinated, especially since the events are inspired by a true story. In my opinion, the strongest elements of this film are the cinematography and the creation of mood. From the moment that Kit (Martin Sheen) is introduced at the beginning of the movie, the viewer gets the overwhelming feeling of creepiness and danger, especially when he shows romantic interest in 14-year old Holly (Sissy Space).
As the events of the movie unfold the mood becomes even more frightening and bizarre after Kit unexpectedly kills Holly's father after he refused to let them be together. Subsequently, the couple hides out in a remote location in the woods and then goes on a road trip across the North Dakota Badlands. Throughout the movie, Kit kills individual after individual, never seeming to think before he pulls the trigger. In a weird manner, Holly seems to be almost desensitized to Kit's violent actions and the absurdity of the situation. Eventually, Holly wakes up and decides to abandon Kit and surrender to the authorities. In the end, Holly goes free and Kit is sentenced to death.
Connected back to the theme of criminality and celebrity, although lesser known than Bonnie and Clyde, the real life couple that inspired "Holly and Kit" are well known today as well. Bruce Springsteen's album "Nebraska" was inspired by the story of this couple. Like I said in a previous post before, the public has this extreme fascination with criminals and tends to glamorize their actions.
Bonnie and Clyde are arguably one of the most notorious couples in American history, particularly for their life of violence and crime. Before viewing this film, I only knew tidbits of information about this larger-than-life duo. After viewing this film, I had a better understanding of the story of Bonnie and Clyde, and how the time period factored into the lifestyle that they lived. As a history buff, it was pretty cool to see a depiction of 1930s Depression era Texas from the clothing to the cars to the style of the buildings. For a film of its time period (1967), the cinematography was pretty good.
In my opinion, the strongest aspect of this film was the character development and use of setting to tell a story. In the film, Clyde was an ex-convict and Bonnie was a bored waitress. The dismal atmosphere of the Depression and the lack of opportunities in their environment, especially for Bonnie, were a major reason why Bonnie and Clyde started robbing banks. For example, the scene in which Clyde shot up the farm house that had been foreclosed on by the bank showcases the general feeling of rage that permeated throughout the Depression era. For Bonnie and Clyde, robbing banks wasn't just for the money (in fact, they only robbed small banks), it was about feeling like they were "somebody."
This idea of feeling like "somebody" connects directly to the theme of criminality and celebrity we discussed in class. Through their criminal exploits, Bonnie and Clyde attained notoriety and became one of the most notorious couples in history. Although the idea of being a criminal is generally viewed as negative in society, it is hard to refute the fascination that the public has with criminals. Think of all the crime investigation shows and murder trials on television. They are shocking to watch, but you can't seem to turn away from the channel. As a whole, I really enjoyed this movie because it gave a strong backstory to Bonnie and Clyde, and showcased their human qualities, as opposed to the glamours of their criminal exploits.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
As weird as this sounds I like how she would do anything to be famous and at least tried to find ways into becoming famous. This musical is something new. No matter how "old" it is. Musical would be how two people fall inlove but they can't because their families don't like that idea but Chiago is about how every women is for herself and at the end a strong friendship what was created.
Chicago, a 1975 musical, has a big twist and it has a lot of turns. Personally, being on stage and doing musical you like having good songs to show what does on in the play. Its a goo way to not get the crowd super bored.
Often, books are made into films, such as the Hunger Games series. Let's say I watched the movie without reading the book first; this is commonly taboo for fans of any book series because of the significant discrepancies between the two. Movies tend to leave out crucial details, which disappoints avid readers, sometimes changing the entire point of the movie. But if I never read the book to begin with, I would've never known what was missing.
In the past five to ten years, Marvel has made a plethora of its age-old comics into modern-day movies. To many adults, who read these comics during their childhood, these movies are very appealing. Just think: they get a chance to see some, if not all of their favorite characters "come to life" in cinema. On the contrary, this experience can be less exciting for teenagers like me, since these comics came well before I was even born, many of which I have never even heard of. The few times I have gone to the theater with my dad to see these kind of films, I was left slightly, if not totally confused until he explained the plot. Sure the effects were cool, the cinematography was well-executed, but since the storyline wasn't clear to me, all of the pizazz didn't matter. Ancient films like Psycho, The Birds, and even Alien may be considered antiquated to some people, but their "bare bones" style definitely appeals to me since I understand the majority of the scenes.
There aren't many movies in which the viewer can fully grasp every single concept displayed, and this certainly isn't done by accident. As a ThunderClap filmmaker myself, I know firsthand how important it is to keep the viewer guessing, to a certain extent at least. You don't want to tell them all of the details, but you don't want to leave them confused either. In the end, it's all about striking a balance.