Sunday, December 31, 2017

Jonah Nazier Galan- Crooklyn

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Crooklyn Dir. Spike Lee

Feat. Zelda Harris (Troy), Alfre Woodard (Carolyn), Delroy Lindo (Woody), Spike Lee (Snuffy)

Universal Pictures, 1994

    Crooklyn, a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. The film takes place in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York during the summer of 1973. The time period was right before the crack epidemic had begun, in the early 80's and late 90's. The introduction of the film begins with an upbeat rhythm and vibrant color palette in contrast to the film, Winter's Bone which began with a country rhythm and dull color palette. The film is remarkable through its aspect of choice. The title choice, sing choices throughout the film, and more importantly the choice for the film.

   Spike Lee is well thought out. He wanted to focus on the truth of Brooklyn, New York, opposing the stereotypes that it's given. That the reason for the film title, Crooklyn. The film title was not of his choice, it was the title stamped by the majority through their negative views upon the town. Through their lens, Brooklyn is seen through violence, drugs, death, and minimal opportunity for success. However, Spike Lee challenges the viewpoints with the reality. Kids were still doing kid activities like jumping rope, bantering, listening when their parents called them in for dinner, racing bikes, and hassling adults. Then comes the dinner scene where a black family as a whole is having dinner together both parents and all children enjoying the precious moment of joy. This fights the stereotype of the father never being there. Yes, viewers might be awaiting the point where it turns into "Crooklyn", but it never happens. The only hardships experienced are bills being unpaid, tight budgets, disagreements and disputes, and death. However, they are overcome together, as a family. A powerful frame of the introduction is the scene of an afro. He made sure to place this in the film to represent originality and origin.

    Spike Lee does a great job using various techniques to portray a deeper message. As the family takes a family trip to the south, they arrive at aunt Song's home. As soon as they enter the home, the movies become difficult to view as if it was stretched out too much. This was the use of an anamorphic/fisheye lens. It was to help portray confusion to the audience, the family is unfamiliar with the environment so the lens is helping the audience to understand the sense of awkwardness. The music choice was very well done as it created additional emotion and tone to make a stronger connection to the film. During the end of the film, as the funeral was going on, "Things will get brighter" is playing non-diegetically.  I felt the reason for this is to tell the audience that death is a very tragic moment indeed, however as a family it can be overcome and everyone will be able to see the brighter picture.

    I would personally recommend this film to the majority who lack the bigger picture upon culture. The reason for so much culture conflict is due to the lack of understanding that we are all similar in the problems we face and the trials and tribulations we go through. The only difference is the options we are granted whether they be for better or worse.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Winter's Bone | Aleesa Martins

Winter's Bone Dir. Debra Granik
    Feat. Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly), John Hawkes (Teardrop), Dale Dickey (Merab), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin), & Lauren Sweetser (Gail)

       In Ozarks, Missouri, 17 year old, Ree Dolly is the parent of the house. She takes care of her two younger siblings and family problems while her father is M.I.A. and the mother isn't psychologically there. Red goes through a series of events finding out where her father is. She seeks help from her uncle "Teardrop" who actually comes off as a cold-hearted person, at first he does nothing to help Ree figure out what happened to her father. Ree only has one person who she can actually confide in and thats her best friends, but when she tries getting help the husband of her best friend is a little hard to get some help from. As Ree takes it upon herself to find out about her father, she gets herself into a lot of trouble. After, getting into an altercation Ree takes a step back from all the searching. It turns out she wasn't the only one searching for Jessup Dolly (Ree's father), he was being searched for by the police. As time goes on the women who jumped Ree propose a deal. The proposal wold be hard for Ree to complete, emotionally and physically, but would relieve her from all the stress and problems going on.

        Overall, I thought this movie was very interesting there were never an moments where I got bored watching it. The directors and producers brought the book to life very well, they made sure it was understandable and it didn't feel like any parts were skipped. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone. Even though I found it ironic that her uncle's name was Teardrop he turned around at the end and helped find out where his missing brother was and he became close with Ree and her siblings.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Crooklyn By: Henry Seyue

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Crooklyn Dir. Spike Lee
Feat. Zelda Harris (Troy Carmichael), Alfre Woodard (Carolyn Carmichael), Delroy Lindo (Woody Carmichael), Spike Lee (Snuffy)
Universal Studios, 1994

     After my third full viewing of Spike Lee's 1994 dramedy, Crooklyn, I've developed a new love for this film. I've previously ranked films like Jungle Fever, Mo' Better Blues, School Daze and Do The Right Thing far ahead of Crooklyn, but after my latest viewing, I have seen the error of my ways. Not only is Crooklyn on the same level as the aforementioned Spike Lee Joints, but it might actually trump these films (with the exception of Do The Right Thing). Some things that make this film especially good is its soundtrack, its purposeful lack of structure, it's humor, and its strong character development. The culmination of these things makes this one of Lee's most well rounded films which says a lot about a director of his caliber.

    This is perhaps the most sonically pleasing film I've ever watched, second only to Randall Kleiser's Grease. The soundtrack of this film is masterfully chosen so that a false sense of nostalgia is created within the viewer, and the music is so skillfully intertwined into certain scenes that in a way it almost narrates said scenes. Notable hits like Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", The Jackson 5's "ABC" and The Chi-lite's "oh girl" are used to give the viewers something that they are familiar with. The film takes place in 1973, many viewers today are likely unfamiliar with the events of the 70's so what the music does is create a sense of familiarity with the time period through familiar music. This allowed me to better put myself into the film, as though I had been alive during the films events. The soundtrack of the film also serves as more than entertainment in certain scenes where it sets the tone. An example of this powerful use of non-digetic sound occurs when Troy heads home from her cousin's house. The scene is set by the Jackson 5's "Never can say good bye". I can't imagine a song more fitting for this departure, as it elicits strong emotions from the viewers. Given the relationship that is created between Troy and her cousin, nothing better sets the sorrowful tone needed to relay the level of heartbreak caused by the separation. The soundtrack also does a great job as a device to send implied messages to the audience. When the matriarch of the film dies it isn't even explicitly announced in the film, the scene begins with the instantly recognizable "ooh child" by the JB's, and it is simply implied that death has occurred. This may be overlooked as something simple, but I think it is brilliant because music extracts more emotions from viewers than lines from a script, along with the fact that the song is perfectly placed in the context of the film.

      One thing about Crooklyn that can be seen as either positive or negative is that it begins with a lack of structure. When I say lack of structure I mean that for maybe the first 30-45 minutes of the film it isn't really setting us up for anything. Nothing is being foreshadowed, there isn't really an established antagonist with overwhelming relevance in the film, there isn't really an established main character (it could've either been Troy or her mother), and it overall doesn't feel like it leads to anything. This may seem boring to some viewers but I think this is done for a purpose, especially in a film that has the title of a potential documentary. We know that the film takes place in the Bed-ford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Lee is native to, so him wanting to show us his perspective of Crooklyn might actually have some purpose in the film. I believe the beginning of the film is mainly Spike Lee showing us Brooklyn from his eyes as a kid in 1973. This is slightly before crack would enter the community so what we see is minimal hardships. Kids were still doing kid activities like jumping rope, bantering, listening when their parents called them in for dinner, racing bikes, and hassling adults. The biggest problems in the community might have been the occasional shoplifter or bully (like peanut). This tells the viewers that Lee actually see's Brooklyn positively in-spite of the film's title. Seeing that the film begins almost like a documentary of Brooklyn in the 70's, viewers might be awaiting the point where it turns into "Crooklyn", but it never happens. That leaves me to believe that the title of this film isn't from Lee's perspective of Brooklyn looking inside out, it's from the perspective of an outsider looking in. The events in the movie may seem absurd to an outsider, thus calling it Crooklyn, but in the eyes of Lee, it's simply Brooklyn like we see in the Structureless beginning of the film.

Personally speaking, I don't think Spike Lee has many Crooklyn-esque films left in him. Crooklyn is a must watch for any body who is as big a Spike Lee fan as I am because of its simplicity. This film is no Malcom X, or Chiraq because it isn't as structured or as serious toned. It has its serious moments but even those moments are delivered in a more subtle manner than what is typical in most Spike Lee Joints. I would recommend this film to anybody who lived their childhood in the 70's because I believe it really captures the essence of what 70's life was for the average black person. I would also recommend this film to anybody who understand the value of music in a film. I cant stress enough that the soundtrack of Crooklyn is by far its biggest strength and adds to the films appeal. I would give Crooklyn a strong 8/10. This is a 3 point increase from my previous rating, which means that if you truly want to understand the beauty of Crooklyn you might have to watch it a few times like I did.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Aysia Starr Crooklyn Blog

“Crooklyn” follows the story of the Carmichael family struggle to stay together as one as they experience a unique summer in their overpopulated yet comforting Brooklyn neighborhood, nicknamed Crooklyn. The nickname is symbolic to the actual city, which depicts crime. However, there wasn't much crime in the film at all. It’s set in the summer of 1973 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Lee himself grew up. Nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) is the only girl in a brood that includes four rowdy brothers. Though often put-upon and teased, Troy is tough, clever, funny and every bit the daughter of her equally strong-willed mother, Carolyn (a radiant Alfre Woodard). More so than any other film Lee has directed, Crooklyn is wholly interested in the inner-life, motivations and perspective of its female characters. Even Woody (Delroy Lindo), the family patriarch and easily the most fleshed out male character in the joint still feels like an afterthought compared to how focused the narrative is on Troy and Carolyn. When Troy goes to visit relatives over the summer, Lee employs when this film happens to be discussed technique of altering the framing.  The picture looks squeezed together, meant to represent how Troy, a born-and-raised New Yorker experiences the expansive suburbs of the American South. It’s incredibly distracting, but also endearing as it’s an example of how the movie isn’t afraid to be fully in this girl’s journey. Troy comes home to a tragic event, leading to her spike in responsibilities, and with a household of boys, all of the weight lies on her. Lee's choice of actors is a complete success. The children seem like siblings, and interact in a natural, habituated way. Alfre Woodard, as Carolyn, finds the right balance between wife, mother, and overtaxed human being. She makes the character into a good person without ever laying it on too thick. Delroy Lindo is a surprise as the father. There are scenes late in the film where Woody's tact and empathy have to fill enormous voids, and they do.

"Crooklyn" is not a neat package with a tidy payoff at the end. It contains the messiness of life. As it ends, the children are still children, and whatever life holds for them is still ahead. Most movies about children insist on arriving at a conclusion, when childhood is a beginning. This film is not in any way an angry film, but thinking about the difference between its world and ours can make you angry, and I think that was one of Lee's purposes here. For this reason, I recommend everyone to see this movie so you can see Lee’s bigger picture.


Crooklyn Dir. Spike Lee
Zelda Harris (Troy), Delroy Lindo (Woody), Alfre Woodard (Carolyn), Calton Williams (Clinton)
Universal Pictures, 1994.

Spike Lee’s 1994 film Crooklyn was mainly from a young girl named Troy’s point of view. Troy lived with her mom, dad, and her four brothers in a Brooklyn, NY. The mom (Carolyn) was a teacher, and the father (Woody) was an aspiring jazz musician. With the children’s parents being absent from home for a good portion each day, it was often up to them to occupy themselves. Mainly, the boys played with the boys, and that left Troy to find some girls in the neighborhood to play with. It came summertime, and that meant Troy’s mom would be teaching summer school a lot, and her dad was continuing his career. This left them to worry for Troy, and think she would get herself into trouble with all the time she had on her hands, and no adults to watch over her. She was sent to her aunts in a quiet town in Virginia, and here is where we found out what type of person Troy really was.
When Troy first found out that she was going to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin she was very hesitant. She did not want her parents, and siblings to leave her. Over the course of just a few days, Troy grew very close to her cousin Viola; they did many things such as: ride bikes, play in the sprinkler, and run around in the yard. Troy also grew close to her aunt, and uncle. She had to adapt to a new life style. For example, her aunt took out her braids, and also gave her some new “white girl” clothes like a very ugly sundress. Carolyn (Troy’s mother) wrote to her, telling her how much she misses her and hopes she is doing well. This when I think Troy started to become homesick. Troy would go home after a few weeks, and she did not leave her aunt on a good note. She left after her aunt scolded her for suffocating, and killing her dog. Her uncle offered to take her to the airport, and send her back to New York. It was difficult for her to leave her cousin, who she became very close with over the course of a few weeks.
Troy returned home to some disheartening news. She found out that her mother was sick, and would be in the hospital for a few days. She immediately went to visit her when she returned home. This was a different scene from before, because Troy was more down to Earth. It seemed like Troy was at the point where she would put her family before everything now. She also was a bit more mature. Troy was devastated when she eventually found out that her mom had cancer, and later died.
This movie was alright. At first I did not think I was going to enjoy it, but in the end, it proved me wrong. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves a movie where the theme is family values. This was definitely one of them; whether it was Troy or her parents. Although they were quite rambunctious, Woody and Carolyn did a great job of shaping their kids to be very respectful. They were a family to believe that love is more important than anything. They did not have much fancy things, but they had food on the table, and roof over their head; that is all that mattered to them.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Lee, Spike, et al. “Crooklyn”. Universal, 1994.
Zelda Harris (Troy), Alfre Woodard (Carolyn Carmichael), Delroy Lindo (Woody Carmichael), and Spike Lee (Snuffy).

“Crooklyn” follows the story of the Carmichael family struggle to stay together as one as they experience a unique summer in their overpopulated yet comforting Brooklyn neighborhood, nicknamed Crooklyn. The nickname is symbolic to the actual city, which depicts crime. However, there wasn't much crime in the film at all. It’s set in the summer of 1973 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Lee himself grew up. Nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) is the only girl in a brood that includes four rowdy brothers. Though often put-upon and teased, Troy is tough, clever, funny and every bit the daughter of her equally strong-willed mother, Carolyn (a radiant Alfre Woodard). More so than any other film Lee has directed, Crooklyn is wholly interested in the inner-life, motivations and perspective of its female characters. Even Woody (Delroy Lindo), the family patriarch and easily the most fleshed out male character in the joint still feels like an afterthought compared to how focused the narrative is on Troy and Carolyn. When Troy goes to visit relatives over the summer, Lee employs when this film happens to be discussed technique of altering the framing.  The picture looks squeezed together, meant to represent how Troy, a born-and-raised New Yorker experiences the expansive suburbs of the American South. It’s incredibly distracting, but also endearing as it’s an example of how the movie isn’t afraid to be fully in this girl’s journey. Troy comes home to a tragic event, leading to her spike in responsibilities, and with a household of boys, all of the weight lies on her. Lee's choice of actors is a complete success. The children seem like siblings, and interact in a natural, habituated way. Alfre Woodard, as Carolyn, finds the right balance between wife, mother, and overtaxed human being. She makes the character into a good person without ever laying it on too thick. Delroy Lindo is a surprise as the father. There are scenes late in the film where Woody's tact and empathy have to fill enormous voids, and they do.

"Crooklyn" is not a neat package with a tidy payoff at the end. It contains the messiness of life. As it ends, the children are still children, and whatever life holds for them is still ahead. Most movies about children insist on arriving at a conclusion, when childhood is a beginning. This film is not in any way an angry film, but thinking about the difference between its world and ours can make you angry, and I think that was one of Lee's purposes here. For this reason, I recommend everyone to see this movie so you can see Lee’s bigger picture.

Crooklyn-Stephen Collins of the two Spike Lee movie to be rated PG-13. Kinda surprising. Is it a good film? Yeah. Is it Spike Lee's best film? I don't know, but it is pretty good. [Agreed  -  I always like to say a mediocre or even a bad Spike Lee film is generally better than most stuff out there  -  but that's just me.  Or is it?]

Crooklyn is set in Bedford-Stuyvesant [Technically Fort Greene which neighbors Bed-Stuy  -  Bed-Stuy was feat. in Do the Right Thing   -  Spike Lee grew up in Fort Greene and Mr. Monahan lived there prior to moving to New Haven] area part of Brooklyn and follows a black family living in 1973. It follows a young girl Troy and her family with her strict mother and struggling musician father [good]What sets Troy apart from her siblings?  How large is her family and other than her father's struggles what is the dynamic?

Crooklyn is fine...I guess. I liked it enough but wasn't amaze by it [Not even its soundtrack?]. I liked that...liked Do the Right Thing it take place a suburb area. While that took place during a day, this takes place during several months and focus on a family relationship, mostly a daughter-mother relationship.

I do admire the relationship between Troy and her mother. I felt they have a strong relationship together and felt like a real daughter-mother relationship. Zelda Harris was great as Troy and Alfre Woodard was great as her mother, Carolyn. I also like the father (Delroy Lindo). The brothers character were not that interesting, but I like they weren't based on stereotypical characters tropes.

I glad I saw Crooklyn. It has a nice mother-daughter relationship with Troy and Carolyn, play incredibly well by Zelda Harris and Alfre Woodard. I like suburban area the film set in. I don't think it's Spike Lee's best, but definitely up there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Shanelle Lester Winter's Bone

Image result for winter bone

Winter's bone a 2010 thriller filmed that feature some great actors Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly), John Hawkes (Teardrop), Dale Dickey (Merab),  Lauren Sweetser (Gail), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin), Thump Milton (Ronnie Hall) and many other great actors. Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for best female actor and John Hawkes was nominated for best supporting actor. Although this movie wasn’t as good as the trailer portrayed it as and the actors didn’t win the awards, their dedication and outstanding acting in this movie showed paid off giving them the chance to receive awards as their acting careers starting to gain credit.
Only age seventeen when Ree Dolly is left with the responsibility of motherhood towards her two younger siblings. Unresponsive, mental ill mother and a criminal dad ree is left to face a challenge of doing all she can do to manage the household. Unwanted news is delivered to Ree from sheriff baskin regarding her father and how of he doesn’t show up to his court date they lose their home. With a house up for bond and her dad disappearance ree ends up setting out on a dangerous, risky quest to find him. With her family fate resting in her hands ree stops at nothing to find her father and save their house. On her journey to find her father ree challenges the code of silences to keep your mouth close and stay in your own lane.To find her father ree has to step into her father's footsteps following the trail into a world she wasn’t prepared for a world where violence frequently happens, meth is used commonly and people are sworn by codes of secrecy and loyalty towards the people they know and trust the most.
Having the same blood as you makes us family and should mean something ree had said, so she starts by talking to her meth addicted uncle teardrop and with a threaten voice and a violent solution to getting ree to shut her mouth she finds nothing she needs from her uncle and goes deeper into the world talking to people that worked with her dad and a crime boss thump milton. When thump refuses to talk to ree or give her any information the only things she’s been informed of is warnings to stay away and mind her business. When jessup ree dad doesn’t show up for his court many stories start to form that either he disappeared to skip his court date or that a fire broke out in a meth lab and he died. A bondsman Tate Taylor comes looking for jessup but ree tells him that her father must be dead because Dolly’s don’t run from their problems they face them. Still determined to find out the truth about what happen to her father ree returns to talk with milton and soon takes a beat down from the women in their family. Surprisingly teardrop shows up and rescued her informing her attackers that she will keep her mouth shut. While driving ree home teardrop lets her know that her father jessup was killed because he was going to tell the law about the other people involved with making meth. A few nights father one of ree attackers offers to take her to show her where her father body is they take her on a rowboat showing her where her father body lies. They tell her to put her hand in the freezing water so she may cut off her hands and show to the law as proof that he’s dead. Ree ends up taking the hands to the sheriff in a bag telling him that someone flung them onto the porch of her house so she wouldn’t tell on the people that actually brought her there.
The bondsman man tate ends up coming back to her house giving tree the cash portion of the bond that was supposed to be for her father but is now hers.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Winter's Bone Blog - Karina

Winter's Bone is a (2010) drama film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly and John Hawkes as Uncle Teardrop. Winning several awards, Winter's Bone is focused on a female protagonist which Lawrence plays. In the film, Ree lives with and cares for her two siblings: Sonny and Ashlee as well as their mother Connie. Ree is on a search for her father, Jessup because they are in danger of being homeless considering Jessup was in the drug business. Jessup had the responsibility to show up to his court date but did not. The tone of the film is very cool tone which makes the film more mysterious and cold.

In the beginning of the film, the setting was Ree's house, peaceful and quiet until the sheriff shows up and ruins the mood. He explains that Jessup put their house on the line of being taken away unless he shows up to court. Clueless, Ree tells the sheriff that she will find her father herself. She starts by visiting Teardrop, Jessup’s brother, and eventually heading to a local crime boss. At Thump Milton’s house, he refuses to see her and tells her to leave the situation alone but becomes suspicious. Having a week left, Ree decides to go back to meeting up with Milton, instead she gets beaten up by relative’s of his family until Teardrop saves her. Teardrop later informs her that Jessup had passed away in a meth lab accident and that he doesn’t know who killed him. Ree did not believe him and even though she told the house collector that Jessup was dead. Ree believes that her father is dead when the women that fought Ree showed up. They truthfully told Ree that Jessup was dead and his body was dropped in a river. After telling Ree, they advise her to go with them so that they can show her evidence of her dad. When they arrive at the lake on a canoe, they tell Ree to reach down and pull up her father’s bone. After hesitating, Ree finally does it and surprised that it is her father. When realizing, one of the women shows Ree a chainsaw and tells her to cut of her father’s hands as proof to the sheriff. She protests that she does not want to and so one of the Milton women takes action into her own hands. She tells Ree to hold up Jessup’s arm so that she can cut it. After cutting his hand, Ree quickly lets her father’s body float back down in disgust. The woman tells Ree that she needs both hands as evidenced and so Ree grabs her father’s body again and the woman cuts off the other. The scene ends with the woman wrapping both decapitated hands in a sack. The next morning, Ree shows up to the police office and hands the sheriff the evidence.
At the end of the film, Ree and her family got to keep the house and got some of the extra bail money. Ree, Ashlee, and Sonny all sit on the porch while Teardrop talks to them. He tells Ree that he knows who killed him and walks away suggesting that he will get revenge for his brother.

This film did not interest me at first but as I watched it, it revealed a good story and plot. The characters played their roles well and I would recommend this film to someone who likes drama films.

"Winter Bone" by Juwan Sims

The 2010 movie Winter's Bone directed and written by Debra Granik. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as the main character Ree Dolly. A teen girl who family life is complicated with her mother mentally ill to the point she is unresponsive, her father who was a drug dealer that almost compromise Ree’s life with a looming threat of bond collectors taking their house and land, and dealing with her younger brother and sister. This film goes through the themes of poverty, sneaky communities, and self sufficiency.

I personally didn’t enjoy the movie, it wasn’t bad just not something I would enjoy, the movie to me was Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) going to all the houses that she know is associated with her father and asking if they had seen him with banter between her and the person house she just went to. While in between it shows Ree making sure her little brothers and sister are well taken care of and help them take care of themselves by teaching them how to cook and hunt. The only interesting things that happen was when Ree first went to Thump Milton (Ronnie Hall) and she was meet by his wife and was told he wasn’t going to help and she should stop looking for father. The second time Ree was jump by the women of the family and later had to be saved by her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes). The last that I found interesting in the whole movie was when Ree finally found her dad but he was dead and underwater. She also had to cut off her father arms which is pretty mess up but she has to so the people know that her father is truly dead.

Crooklyn By:Anthony Ruggiero


Crooklyn is a 1994 coming of age/comedy drama directed by Spike Lee. The cast includes Spike lee as Snuffy, Zelda Harris as Troy, Alfre Woodward as Carolyn Carmichael, Delroy Lindo as Woody Carmichael, David Patrick Kelly as Tony Eyes, Jim, Patrice Nelson as Viola and Frances Foster as Aunt Song. 

Crooklyn starts out showing the whole neighborhood that the main character Troy lives in. It then turns to Troy and her family in their home with her mom making dinner. The movie starts off all happy until Troy's mother Carolyn finds out that Woody her husband has been bouncing checks from the bank and he leaves. The best moment of the movie happens when Woody and Troy are sitting on the front stairs talking about what happened and Troy suggests that Woody take Carolyn as a kind of sorry plea. Soon enough Woody comes home and starts bossing his kids around instead of being more relaxed with them. Woody then tells them that they are going on a road trip to visit his sister Aunt Song. When they are there Troy decides to stay and hang out with her cousin Viola. At first it seems like the two don't like each other but soon you find out that they do like each other and get along very well. Troy receives a letter from her mother on her birthday with a plane ticket to go home whenever she wants. She decides to go home after Viola and Aunt Song argue. When she gets home she discovers that her mother is sick. Everything seems okay until Woody goes into the room where Troy and her siblings are watching t.v and tells them that their mother cancer. Soon after Carolyn dies and troy does not want to go to the funeral because she is grieving. At the funeral Snuffy and his crew make fun of Troy's brother telling him that his mamma is dead and she goes outside and wacks him with a baseball bat. At home Troy starts to breakdown and cry in her fathers arms right after throwing up. The movie ends with Troy becoming the new women and boss of the house and the care taker for her siblings. 

The movie was actually surprisingly great, I really loved it and the way that Spike Lee directed it. The outcome was great and I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did. The movie sort of reminded me of Do The Right thing.  

Winter's Bone-Stephen Collins

Winter's Bone...the movie the put Jennifer Lawrence on the map and it really shows. Her performance is the best part of the movie. While it's not a great movie, it really entertainment and really well written and directed.

Winter's Bone is a good movie, but I didn't love it, but I was mostly entertained. It's probably Jennifer Lawrence's best work as Ree, a 17 year old trying to take care of brother and sister and her sick mother and find her lost father.

Winter's Bone has Jenifer Lawrence's best performance. Lawrence gives her all and sometimes it feels she not there. Also, John Hawkes as Teardrop delivers a great performance.  There not a lot of memorable characters, but there are two stands out.

The movie has a great eerie sense to it that makes the environment more scary. There is also a very good score that help to give this feeling. The environment is very rural and helps explains the character's emotions and actions.

Winter's Bone is a movie I don't have a lot of thoughts on. It's have Jenifer Lawrence's best performance, a good performance by John Hawkes and good rural environment  that help the character's emotion and action. It probably worth checking out a least once.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Alien | Aleesa Martins

      Alien Dir. Ridley Scott
Feat. Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), John Hurt (Kane), Yaphet Kotto (Parker), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Ian Holm (Ash), & Bolaji Badejo (Alien).

         Imagine being told to go on a mission to space to bring back an alien to be studied on. How would you feel? Would you agree to go on the trip? This film had it's confusing, surprising, and some on-the-edge scenes. For example they're on a big space craft and in a scene where they're looking for an alien, that got in, there a room that looks as if it's raining. That scene didn't quite add up because after so much time wouldn't the water begin to flood that room or the space craft in general? Besides that confusing scene the movie surprised me to how well it was made realistic, from how the aliens looked to how the captain turned out to not be human. Another scene that was thought of and shot really well was chestburster scene. This movie deserves some credit for those scenes because technology and just ways of filming were very different back then.
       I enjoyed the movie for the most part, I'd recommend it to someone who enjoys sci-fi movies of that sort. Like I mentioned before for a movie that shot in 1979 it was filmed well. I wouldn't put this movie in my top 10, but it's definitely not a movie that I would tell someone it's not worth watching.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Winter's bone by Siramad Gonzalez

Winters bone (2010)
Dir, Debra Granik

This film Winter's bone has a lot of powerful scenes. The film begins as 16 year old Ree Dolly is with her horse as she is walking she gives the horse to her neighbor because Ree can't afford the horse expenses. While her neighbor accepts the offer Ree begins to walk to her house where her 2 siblings and her mother live. She has a younger brother and sister , In the film you start to notice how her mom doesn't speak and isn't able to do much. Ree is the head of the household since her Father isn't in the picture. While, Ree is in her front porch a cop car approaches and with confusion Ree ask why is the officer at her home. The , officer continues and talks and tell her how her dad needs to show up to court because if he doesn't show up to court the state will take the families house away since that is the deal her father and the judge made. When Ree hears this she is in total shock and needs to find her dad before its to late.She goes on the hunt to find her dad where she goes into dangerous places. She ends up getting beat up by a group of people. At, the end of the film she ends up finding her dad dead and to proof that he is dead she has to cut his hands off and send the to the sheriff. She ends up doing that and she gets to keep her house. The film to me was very interesting. It had many scenes that were unexpected like the film started really calm then it escalated very quickly. It was a film that you could watch over and over again and still enjoy it like you did when you enjoyed it for the first time.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Winter's Bone By: Anthony Ruggiero

Winter's Bone is a 2010 indie/thriller film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly, John Hawkes as Teardrop, Dale Dickey as Merab, Garret Dillahunt as Sheriff Baskin, Lauren Sweetser as Gail, Kevin Breznahan as Little Arthur, Ashlee Thompson as Ashlee, Sheryl Lee as April, Isiah Stone as Sonny and Tate Taylor as Satterfield.

Winter's Bone is about a 17 year old girl (Ree Dolly) who takes care of her mentally-ill mother, her two younger siblings and twelve year old sonny and six year old Ashlee. Ree trains them how to hunt and basically survive in the living conditions that they have. In the movie a bail-bondsman shows up at the house that Ree and her family live at and tells her that her father has skipped his court appearance. Ree is told that her house is gonna be taken away as part of the payment on the bond. Ree tells the man that her dad is dead and the man tells her that if she can prove that her father is dead she can keep the house. Ree sets out on a quest to find her "dead" father with the help of her uncle Teardrop who she is afraid of. During the journey Ree gets beat up by the Milton Women who are apart of the Milton Clan. Later on the Milton Women go to Ree and tell her they can take her to her fathers bones. They take her to a pond where Ree takes her fathers hands from his dead body. Ree takes the severed hands to Sheriff Baskin and she and her family get to keep the house while also being able to claim a large sum of money from her fathers associates. Teardrop ends up being accused of killing Jessup (Ree's father) and the movie ends with with Ree's little sister playing her fathers banjo.

Overall I thought the movie was a good one but at times it was really boring. It failed to keep me interested throughout and the only thing I really liked was the character development. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Rednecks #domdemilo

Winter’s Bone Dir. Debra Granik
Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly), John Hawkes (Teardrop), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskins), Dale Dickey (Merab)
Roadshow Pictures, 2010.

Debra Ganik’s 2010 film Winter’s Bone entails a family who is broken. Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly) lives in the typical “backwoods” “redneck” town with her two younger siblings and her sick mother. Her father is absent from the film because he is supposedly either dead, or in prison for allegedly cooking up crack and methamphetamine. Instead the father figure in her life is her uncle who is commonly known as “teardrop.” Now teardrop might seem like the father figure in Ree’s life, because he is the only older man who she can go to if she needs help, but he does not portray a sincere and loving father figure. At the beginning of this movie, teardrop advised Ree to not go out and ask people if they know her father’s whereabouts, but she did not listen. From beginning to end, Ree does everything she could to protect her brother and sister.
One day, as Ree was outside in the front yard, she was approached by a sheriff who came to inform her that if she could not find her father or prove that he was dead, her family’s house would be put on the market. Ree would not back down; she had to do everything to save her family. She did everything alright. Ree went through hell and back along her journey to find her father’s remains. She went to a woman Merab who was her cousin, and asked to talked to her husband who advised her to stay away from the property, or else there would be trouble. She followed her orders and went home. Later on, Ree’s cousin came to talk to her, and he told her that if they did in fact lose the house he would take one of her siblings in, and their other cousin would take the other. Ree hated the idea, and voiced her displeasure, and then continued on her journey of desperation. Ree eventually went back to Merab’s property. She was met by her and her sisters who hit her in the face with some type of sharp object, and stomped on her once she fell to the ground. All the sisters took the bloodied Ree into their garage where the whole family gathered to talk with her.
Someone came to rescue Ree and take her home. Surprisingly that person was Teardrop, the man who swore at her and smacked her in the beginning of the movie. At this point in the movie, everyone knew that Jessup (Ree’s father) was dead, and teardrop told her that if she finds out who killed her father, not to tell him because that would infuriate him, and he would then kill his brother’s assassin. I could see Teardrop doing this, because he was stopped by a cop with Ree in the car, and when the cop approached the vehicle teardrop had his gun ready to shoot. In short, teardrop was a savage, and gave no f****; when it came to his family, he had their back.
Time was money, and Ree knew that she had to find her father’s bones in order to save the house. Merab and her sisters –the ones who previously beat Ree–  scame to the house and said they would take her to where the father’s bones were. They took her to a deeply wooded area, that had a lake in the middle of it. Ree then found where her father’s body was and cut off both of his hands. Within 24 hours Ree went to sheriffs office to prove to that her father was dead.
Ree’s mission was a success, and the family was allowed to remain in their house. In addition, the sheriff told her that when Jessup was in jail someone paid off part of his bond, and that the leftover bond money was now Ree’s to use to support her family. Although we did not find out who the father’s killer was, I believe it was Merab’s husband. The first time Ree went to the house, Merab immediately pushed her away. Then, when she was brought to the garage, he was the first one to say “I do not want to be here when he gets here.” He was referring to Teardrop. You can assume that he does not want any contact with teardrop, because if he killed him and teardrop found out, well he is dead meat.
Throughout the movie, Ree was portrayed as the "female protagonist." She acted as the father like figure for her siblings, and she would not let them or herself down. Ree did let her ego over power her along the way though. She was often very arrogant, cocky, and did not think before she spoke. This is why she fell into trouble with both Teardrop and Merab. I would definitely recommend this film to someone, because at first, it might not seem like an intriguing watch, the action did come around. You also learn a valuable lesson from this film: do not let your ego speak for itself.

Family Values in Ozarks

Director: Debra Granik
Writers: Debra Granik (screenplay), Anne Rosellini (screenplay) 
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt

Winter's Bone is a 2010 film that depicts a young woman's determination to keep her family together. Caught almost literally between a rock and a hard place, Ree Dolly’s (Jennifer Lawrence) life in the brutal yet beautiful Ozarks, an unyielding stretch of south-western Missouri, is one that would test the hardiest teenager. Her father’s only bankable skill is his ability to cook meth and he’s long gone, leaving her to care for her glassy-eyed, emotionally hollow mother and her younger brother and sister. His court date is due, and if he fails to make good on his bond and show up at court, they’ll be homeless and left to suffer. This sends Ree on a treacherous journey filled with boldness, beatings, and druggies in order to find her father and restore the security of her family's home.

       One important theme is one we discussed in class. "Norms" and "Taboos". An evident norm in Ozarks is that everyone minds their own business and things are kept on the hush. Also, women don't seem to really have a large voice here. Ree breaks these norms when she goes around looking for information on her father, Jessup's, whereabouts. She goes door tapping and searching for dangerous men by herself searching for answers. This even earns her a good beating once. When she does this she is performing a "taboo", or going against the norms. This film really exemplifies this theme.

       Addiction is part of the scenery in Winter's Bone as well. Almost everyone in the little mountain community is smoking or snorting something. When Ree confesses to a neighbor that her father was cooking crank, the woman replies, "They all do now. You don't even need to say it out loud." Drugs are so pervasive that offering them has become a common backwoods courtesy, like bringing food to a sick neighbor. After Ree's uncle, Teardrop (John Hawkes), balks at helping her, his wife presses a joint into her palm and apologetically tells her, "Here's a doobie for your walk." Little Arthur, her father's pal, turns her away completely. "You want a line?" he asks. "You want to blow some smoke?" She doesn't. "Then I guess we got nothing for you! Go on!"

     Overall, most movies of such cultural crisis will call up a hero who can, with sharp shooting, cleverness, and relentlessness, overcome the villains. The hero’s motivations and convictions are usually forgettable the story’s just an excuse for wild stunts and spectacle. Thoughtful storytelling and character development are a surprising bonus if they occur at all, but Ree’s a far more human hero, distinguished by her selfless courage. Her actions are about identity, not excitement. Nothing here happens for the sake of a gratuitous thrill. Everything is rooted in Ree’s love for her family, and this was the most enjoyable part of the film for me.

Winter's Bone

Granik, Debra. “Winter’s Bone.” (2010)
Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly), John Hawkes (Teardrop),  and Dale Dickey (Merab)

As an adaption of Danielle Woodrell’s 2006 novel, “Winter’s Bone” explores many themes through one 17-year-old journey to find her drug-dealing father. Ree Dolly is forced to be the primary caretaker of her mentally ill mother, 12-year-old brother, and 6-year old sister. She tries her best everyday to make sure they have something to eat, something to drink, all while teaching them basic survival skills because no one knows what tomorrow may bring. Ree’s father, Jessup, has been gone for some time and is nowhere to be found. He’s out on bail following an arrest for manufacturing “crank,” a strong CNS stimulant. Sheriff shows up at her doorstep threatening that if Jessup doesn’t show on his court date, then they will lose the house because it was put up as apart of his bond. Ree sets off determined to find her father, following his footsteps into the world. She encounters many things a typical 17-year-old wouldn’t even think of, such as common drug use, frequent violence, and people who are brought together through loyalty and secrecy. She starts with her Uncle Teardrop, who is addicted to meth and marijuana. She then venture out to find further family and close friends who might be able to help find her father which brings her to their local crime boss, Thump Milton. He refuses to see here and the only information that Ree can come out with is that Jessup dies in a meth lab fire. When he fails to turn up on trial day, a bondsman comes to tell Ree she has about a week before the house is no longer theirs. Ree, who thoroughly believes that her father is dead, swears that she can prove her family passing before the house is gone. Ree tries to see Milton again but is beaten by the women of the family. Teardrop rescues Ree and tells her predators that “she won’t say anything to anyone.” A few nights later, her attackers come by to help Ree, telling her that they will take her to her father’s body. They take Ree out in a rowboat o a shallow area where her “daddy’s bones” lie. They make her reach in to grab both of his hands and they use a chainsaw to dismember the extremities and put in a burlap sack as proof. Ree takes them to Sheriff saying someone flung them on her porch recently.
This film explores many themes, from your ego, to family ties, to being alone and being a female in a man’s world. Ree was a strong protagonist from the beginning. She’s taking the place of mom and dad, for both figures are absent. She further fulfills the father figure by venturing out to find out about her father, enduring physical and emotional pain. Her ego almost consumes her, for at one point in the film. Her neighbors offer to raise one of her siblings to which she quickly shuts down. This was not the best decision in my opinions. However, she’s quickly put back into place as a woman, for many men recognize her courage and remind her of where she stands in comparison to them. Blood is bloods, and typically that means there’s inferred respect. However, in this movie, it seems that family ties don’t mean a thing, for when Ree crosses a line, a relative, like Uncle Teardrop, is quick to choke her and remind her that crossed the line.

The film wasn’t particularly my favorite so it wouldn’t be my first to recommend. Indie film drama mysteries aren’t necessarily my favorite movie genre.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jonah Nazier Galan- Winter's Bone

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Winter's Bone Dir. Deborah Granik
Feat. Jennifer Lawrence (Ree Dolly), John Hawkes (Teardrop), and Garrett Dillahunt (Sheriff)
Roadshow Pictures, 2010

On June 11, 2010, the debut of Winter's Bone occurred. With an absent and missing father and a withdrawn and depressed mother, 17 year-old Ree Dolly keeps her family together in the dirt poor rural Ozarks. She then faces a life changing conflict when the local Sheriff Baskin tells her that her father, Jessup put up their house as collateral for his bail and unless he shows up for his trial by next week, they will lose it all. Having prior knowledge that her father is involved in the local drug trade and manufactures crystal meth, she goes on a hunt for him. However, everywhere she goes the message is the same: stay out of it and stop poking your nose in other people's business. She refuses to abide, even after her father's brother, Teardrop, tells her he's probably been killed. She continues, putting her own life at risk, for the sake of her family until the truth, or enough of it, is revealed.
The film commonly know as the adaptation of Daniel Woodrell's 2006 novel, presents many moments that drew my attention for analysis. As the film's opening scene begins with a lone women singer and dull color pallet, it gave prior insight as to the tone of the film. It told me the movie would be slow paced as well as a reference to the setting, country area in the woods. As the movie continues, we are then presented with Ree Dolly giving her horse up to her neighbor to take and nurture as she is incapable of doing so due to lack of funds. This was our first encounter with I presume to be her guardian angel or mother figure. Another but ironic guardian angel of Ree’s is her very own Uncle, Teardrop. When are was jumped by Alice and her two sisters, and taken to the barn, Teardrop was the one to send her free. During that scene it was set up as a one versus many duel, however there was a sense of Teardrop having the leverage. The reason for my analysis is that there was intimidation and fear of the many. Even as Thump’s posse being armed while Teardrop was vulnerable, they still feared upon the man.
One theme we discussed before and during the critical viewing of this film is that of norms and taboos. It is evident that dealing with narcotics is the norm to make money and survive in Ozarks of Missouri. Another norm that is repeatedly stated to Ree Dolly is to not poke your nose into anybody's business, however, as stubborn as Ree Dolly is she commits a taboo. Constantly breaking this rule. even after her uncle Teardrop (played by John Hawkes) reveals that he might have been murdered. Ree confronts this local norm and becomes a strong female protagonist through that and her ability to raise her siblings on her own. She also acts as the provider of the house which is traditionally the man of the household, however have a non-responsive mother and a missing father, she must fill that void. This can be seen through many occasions throughout the film, from Ree chopping the wood, providing food on her siblings plate, holding all responsibility for the household, and importantly finding a solution to the big issue. I would describe her as the black sheep or taboo of the movie as she opposes many of the neighborhood's norms and wishes. Another norm that was prevalent is that men are held more superior than women. This is seem in multiple occasions from Teardrop commanding orders from his wife and choking Ree Dolly for not listening and wanting to risk her life for answers.
One scene throughout the movie that caught my eye was the short black and white clip of the squirrel and birds in the woods, with chainsaws echoing, as they cut down the trees. This presented symbolism. The chainsaws cutting down the trees, are taking away the squirrels and bird home from them leaving them to in a corner of vulnerability. This can be seen as  Ree Dolly and her family as the animals and the Justice system and bailsman as the chainsaw slowly chipping away at their home as time progresses slowly leaving them with nothing but vulnerable.
For the closing scene, when Teardrop comes to a realization of who Jessup Dolly’s killer is, it lead to much speculation. Personally, I feel that Teardrop himself had kilt his own brother. I say this because The neck tattoo that he had looks to be the mark of Cain, linking back to one of the oldest stories of fratricidal jealousy. It may explain why Teardrop, has a volatile and ruthless nature. This helps explain how Ree recognizes this truth at the end of the film by offering Jessup's banjo to Teardrop to keep, which he then briefly picks and hands back, saying his brother was always better. As he leaves Ree's porch, Teardrop then claims he knows the killer after all.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Man on Wire (2008) - Jack O'Brien

Man on Wire (2008) is is a British Noire Documentary that follows Philippe Petit's famous wire walk of the twin towers in 1974. The film was nominated for, and won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary. The film was directed by James Marsh and based on the book of the same name by Philippe Petit.

The film is at heart, a documentary, because of this, it is difficult to evaluate its themes. Any moral ambiguity the characters posses are real people, these are their real motivations and justifications for their actions. The real note here is that Philippe and his cohorts make no attempt to justify. They understand the illegality in their actions, but they explain that they pressed on in the name of art.

Petit's stunt was dangerous, and in a way, beautiful. The way it is presented throughout the course of the film lends the viewer to believe with impartiality that it was a work of art rather than a crime. The Noire presentation of the history, panning, and execution of the long-winded and long anticipated feat of wire walking the Twin Towers lends viewers to see this as a secret, beautiful thing, rather than what would be called in today's world an act of terrorism.

I don't think there is much else to say. I believe that Petit's act was beautiful. I think that the documentary frames it as such and does it well. Man on Wire is well deserving of its Academy Award and hopefully becomes a classic.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Alien By Shanelle Lester

The 1979 movie Alien featured an interesting, story filled with plot twists and betrayal  survival and leadership were put to the test. Each of the characters has their own responsibility that they have to attend to. Each of them will have to learn to stay in their own lane handling what they came on the ship to do and not get in the way of anyone’s else's job. This movie featured the characters of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Kane (John Hurt), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Ash (Ian Holm).
The crew members of a commercial starship Nostromo are awakened from their cryo sleep capsules halfway through their journey back to planet earth. They were woken up to investigate a “distress call” from an alien vessel  -  I use quotes here because it is later revealed that it was a warning sign to stay away and that they were purposely sent there by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. While going to investigate what they think is a call for help but really is a warning, they run into a rough landing on the moon which calls for the ship to be fix. Three of the crew members had went off the ship on the moon in search to find the distress call and help. The movie starts to take a drastic turn when krane discovered a neats full of eggs with aliens in them. The egg starts to hatch and jumps on the crew member face leaving ripley to have to make a hard decision of leaving him to die for the safety of the other members. Eventually ash opens the shuttle letting them inside, once krane has recovered and they thought that the alien had died everything went back to normal ash was a hero was letting krane back inside to save him. But instead he made a decision which put everyone in danger. During lunch krane has met his death when the alien popped out of chest. Along the way one by one they all met their death. One minute they're alive trying to survive and the next their dead without a trace. Ash was loyal, he wouldn’t let krane die, we went against ripley orders to ensure that they can get the alien off of krane face. We were wrong ash was a robot who knew all of this was going to happen. He went against them leaving everyone to die but one. Ripley was the only survivor.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Hughes, John. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” (1987)
Steve Martin (Neal Page) and John Candy (Del Griffin)

Talk about stranger danger! In this brief holiday classic, Neal Page (Steve Martin) is just trying to get home to Chicago to see his wife and kids in time for Thanksgiving, although this soon becomes a much more difficult task. As his misfortune continues, public transportation seems to fail him in great magnitudes and finds himself desperate just to find a place to stay for the night, he ends up having to follow a man that stole his taxi that same morning Neal is forced to bunk up with the extremely talkative Del Griffith (John Candy), whom he finds deathly annoying. Although the close bunking he shares with the man is not nearly the worse experience he would have in the following days. He goes through trials that comes with the insanity of the holiday season tied along to a man he can not stand, but while going through this process the two unlikely friends share a few laughs and stories. By the end of the film Neal is more than ever ready to go home, he gets on the train and starts his journey. He has no watch, no money, no phone, and most of the clothes off his back had disappeared, but realization soon hits him as he notices that Del was not actually going home. The irritating stranger he had come to know was not able to return home to a huge Thanksgiving feast, he had no one to share his joy of survival with. With this realization in mind Neal brings his new friend back to have a meal with his loving family.

The relationship that is shared between the two is immense, and this quickly became more than just two guys trying to make it back to Chicago, it is a heartfelt story  of sharing love and joy not only in the winter months, but all year round. If anything should be taken from this movie, it should be the fact that a person is not how they appear, there is more to everyone then what they show. In this case, the large taxi stealing, shower curtain rings selling man who seems very disorderly and messy, but he is actually just a poor lonely widow.