When many people think of Disney movies, their minds might go towards the token Princess movies, maybe the classics such as The Jungle Book and The Lion King, or perhaps the many wonderful Disney/Pixar collaborations. Just last year, however, Disney brought us a film that not only rivals the quality of the classics with the same heartwarming story and lovable characters but also goes to infinity and beyond in just about every way that we expect from their live-action films as well. Because of that, Zootopia is not just a kid’s film, but a family film that every viewer can enjoy and relate to; this one improves upon that notion by allowing kids to have fun while provoking adults to think more so than most other animated films will warrant. In my opinion, this film is a great example of how movies can balance not only just a relevant and relatable narrative but also subtle and smart comedy that allows the story to thrive as what it’s meant to be at heart: fun!… Continue reading “Zootopia Analyzed: Disney’s Timely New Classic”
DreamWorks Animation is a popular and continuously growing competitor of Pixar, Blue Sky, Disney Animation, etc. at the forefront of modern animated films. With iconic films such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks have turned box office hits into massive franchises totaling over 1 Billion Dollars in box office gross… each.With those films stealing the spotlight, however, it’s also important to remember the smaller films that DreamWorks Animation has made- and even though these films might not be remembered to be the “classics” that Shrek or Madagascar are in the animated films world, they are still important to watch and enjoy as they’re responsible for helping earn DreamWorks the status that they have…
There are so many movies released in theaters each year, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount to choose from- even more so since you can’t always know if they’re good or not. Sometimes, it’s easy to look over a great film, and this goes for foreign films especially. Many people are disdainful to the idea of watching foreign movies, as they must either deal with reading subtitles or watching a poorly done dub. Not only that, but often times, foreign films have names that make little to no sense to viewers who only speak English; and are sometimes difficult to find. Although there are many obstacles when it comes to finding a foreign film to watch, in the end, many times the struggle is worth it…
With the releases of major blockbusters such as “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “X-Men: Apocalypse,” etc., I thought it would be fitting to take a step back into some old school cinema. Over Christmas break, I picked up the Steve McQueen collection on Blu-ray at Best Buy on sale, and I watched them all to try to appreciate some “classic” films. Admittedly, they don’t all hold up to my spoiled, CGI-ridden expectations, but I could definitely find things to enjoy in them. One of these films we have at IU Media & Reserve Services, and the most recent film I watched from this collection was called “Bullitt,” which IMDb describes as “an all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.” Here are my thoughts on the film…
I watched this movie about 3 days ago, but wasn’t sure exactly what to think of it for the first few days. Recently, I’ve thought about this film a lot and many aspects of it have now been made clear to me. I won’t lie to you, I was slightly disappointed while watching it because I was told this is “one of the best car-chase films ever” (thanks, Dad). That statement could not have been more misleading. Don’t go into this film expecting a car chase movie; actually, don’t go into this movie expecting anything at all. In this little review, I will discuss the film in-depth without spoilers, and talk about why this film may just be a masterpiece. As I mentioned, I was initially disappointed with this film because it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I wasn’t really able to follow the story and I’m still wondering exactly what all happened; I also asked myself at the end “what was the point of that?” After watching it, I knew that there were things that I was missing (not just in regards to the story itself, but the film as a whole) and I wouldn’t feel right writing an “okay” review for this. The more that I think about this film, the better it gets and now I want to talk about why. “What was the point of that?” Like I did, you may also ask yourself after watching the film… and the point is that there really isn’t a point; more specifically, the point is just to show what police officers do on a daily basis. This film isn’t meant to be an action-packed extravaganza, but rather just to show a day in the life of a cop with extreme realism (I suppose… I’m not a cop so I can’t assume it’s super realistic but I definitely got that vibe). This wasn’t obvious to me until I thought about it a lot and even did some research online. To make this film seem real, the doctors and other extras in the movie weren’t actors but real people. There is a scene in an Operating Room, which feels very real and not like your average film because they hired real doctors to perform here to emphasize the realism.
There is one scene in which Bullitt’s wife sees a murder victim in a house and freaks out about it, confronting Bullitt, commenting on if seeing this everyday is making him numb to everything else. One of the things that stood out to me here is the camera angle. Simple over-the-shoulder shots are common in films; they allow you to see one person’s face while recognizing the position of the other. In this scene, an over-the-shoulder shot was used, but the camera was so low that Steve McQueen’s shoulder blocked the mouth of his character’s wife. As I watched this, I was bothered because the cinematography/directing here seemed so lazy and misplaced, but as I thought about it I realized how brilliant it was. During that whole scene, the actress’ eyes (and voice) were the only things that showed us her emotion. We couldn’t see her mouth, so like Tom Hardy’s Bane, the emotion in her eyes is all we could perceive. This is actually a recurring “theme” throughout the film; Steve McQueen didn’t have much dialogue in the film at all, thus he had to use body language and facial expressions (especially with eyes) to convey emotion. The character of Bullitt is a stone-cold, tough-as-nails cop because he deals with these hard cases every day, like his wife mentions. He has become accustomed to seeing death and dealing with it like any other thing in life without making a big deal out of it, which makes this day not stand out to him at all, even though his wife is beside herself at what she saw. Remember what I mentioned about the eyes when we didn’t see the mouth? There is a saying in writing and in film to “show, don’t tell.” The scene with the wife and the strange but brilliant camera angle exemplifies this saying- literally in the fact that we can see her eyes but not her mouth. The whole film is a “show, don’t tell” example because we see so much more than we hear, as far as dialogue goes.
There is very little talking, but a lot to be seen (not even to mention the absolutely gorgeous cinematography and directing which far surpasses many films these days), which immediately reminds me of “Drive.” If you’ve seen Drive, you know what I’m talking about. There is hardly any talking in Drive, and everything that you can take from the movie is what you see. Many people also went into that movie with the wrong expectations: wanting a “car chase” movie as well only to end up receiving a movie that was smarter than they were (but no offense if you didn’t like it. I’m mainly talking about the lady who tried to sue for her lack of enjoyment…). Also like Drive, the emphasis on character and not just story gives this film a very intimate feel to it, which allows the audience to feel for the main character on a more personal level. By common definition, this may not be the most “entertaining” or “enjoyable” film to watch; it’s one of the few that I’ll sit down and expect not to be merely “entertained” while watching it, but will be amazed while thinking about how well-made it was afterwards. Not comparing the film with this other material (as to not offend anybody), but like Holy scripture, many people don’t just sit down and read it for light reading or entertainment. They read to be able to take something away afterwards and I think there’s a lot to be taken away from this film- more so than what just meets the eye for sure.
Many may pass this film off as a simple cop drama, but it’s so much more than that. This is one of the best cop dramas I’ve seen- not for the story, but for the filmmaking genius. The part of the film that really drove the main idea of realism home for me was one of the last shots of the movie, of a bumper sticker that read simply “Support Your Local Police.” This reemphasizes the idea of realism in the film, that the people in the film *are* your local police in what they do every day- which is what this film represents. To me, the story was good, and the acting was great but the directing was incredible. Now go watch this film and come back and read this again and think about the movie and I hope it grows on you as much as it did for me. I hope you can have as great of an epiphany as I did! Thanks for reading and be sure to check this film out at IU Media & Reserve Services. /BS
“Party Girl” (1995), Parker Posey’s feature debut, has the dubious honor of being the first commercial comedy-drama film to be broadcast in its entirety over the internet. Over twenty years later, deep in the internet age, it still provides plenty of #inspo fodder for blogging aesthetes and fashion magazines due to the remarkable work of its costume designer Michael Clancy. Indeed, Clancy’s genius (in conjunction with Posey’s performance, the ‘90s house soundtrack, and the high school existentialism)
is what draws me back to this movie every few months: his intentional design work creates readable surfaces throughout the film–the clothes become a text, in a (tactile?) sense.
Posey’s character Mary is epitomized in reviews as a wayward girl whose only preoccupations are amassing a couture wardrobe and attending “it” functions. That is, until she’s arrested for hosting an illegal rent party and must pick up a clerk job at the library to cover bail. She’s a reluctant worker, but finds over time–through acknowledging the potential Sisyphean value of the drudgery–that she may have an innate skill for library work. She also strikes up a romance with the falafel vendor on the corner, all the while turning look after look, in the stacks or at the club. Continue reading “the Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 2 : “Party Girl”, Adornment, and the Sublimation of Femme Intelligence”
This week at the IU Auditorium, the Tony Award winning musical, Once will grace the stage. The musical is actually based on the Academy Award-winning film which was written and directed by John Carney, Once. The film and musical take place in Dublin, Ireland and tells the love story of an Irish man and a Czech-immigrant woman as they write and record music together. The films soundtrack is filled with songs written and performed by the actors themselves, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. If you are looking for a film that tells a captivating story, and is both beautiful on the eyes and the ears, then Once is the film for you.
At Media Services we have two copies available for checkout in our Browsing section! http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/7510725
Regardless of if you have seen the film or not (you definitely should, it is phenomenal), from someone who has seen the musical before, it is definitely worth going to see. Once is a very unique musical, in that all the actors and actresses play their own instruments on stage, so there is no band or orchestra accompanying their singing—it is quite impressive. Additionally, the entire musical takes place on one set—a bar, which is actually operating so that before the show or during intermission, those seated on the ground floor can buy a drink on stage and actually see the set up close. If interested in seeing this musical, tickets can be purchased through the IU Auditorium. Once will be in Bloomington Tuesday April 19th, and Wednesday April 20th this week. For more event details visit: http://www.iuauditorium.com/events/detail/once.
Once you have seen Once, either on stage or from watching the film, if you are looking for another musically-centered movie, also written and directed by John Carney, then check out Begin Again. It stars Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine, and tells the story of a struggling music producer who discovers a talented singer at a bar. They then decide to collaborate together on an album they record outdoors, all over New York City. Media Services also has two copies of this film available for checkout! http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/14784096
Every month at media services, we put up a display of media items that represent the given month. While there are many things happening in April, we decided to highlight some of the biggest and important ones. Listed below are five categories with sample DVDs linked alongside.
Held online on April 12th this event is a worldwide celebration of Indiana University. It will include binge-watching, social media engagement, IU gear and gift-giving extravaganza.
Autism/Parkinson’s Awareness Month
April is also Autism and Parkinson’s Awareness month. Events and ceremonies will be held to shine light and to promote awareness, acceptance and draw attention to the tens of thousands facing a diagnosis each year.
The English language abducted the word “queer” from the Germans around the time English became an entity of large scale language abduction in the 16th century. It was a word that meant some Derridian amalgamation of strange, odd, peculiar, and eccentric as well as referring to something suspicious or “not quite right” and a person with a “mild derangement” exhibiting “socially inappropriate behavior.”
As a verb it meant to spoil or ruin. Continue reading “Two or Three thoughts on “Gay Film””
When I first saw the film “Matilda” with my family in 1998, my brothers insisted that I looked just like her. Though they meant it as a gendered taunt, I was all too happy to accept it–”maybe,” I thought, “that means I have powers, too.” Matilda became for me my first model of feminine power: as a young queer boy unsure of my place in the sexual social order, I considered her telekinesis to be a gift bestowed upon her, a manifestation of her hyper-intelligence coupled with a blatant disregard for the (gendered) status quo. Since then, I’ve continued to find myself in women’s stories.
Like most other queers I know, I have a soft spot for media that utilizes grand aesthetic, artifice and exaggeration: give me a strong look and a flashy dance number and I’m in. To me, it’s a refusal to play by patriarchy’s cultural game–what good are limiting notions of realism and reason when they’re aggressively masculine and heteronormative? When asked to list some of my favorite movies (whether it be for a class icebreaker or a dating site), I can quickly rattle them off : “Muriel’s Wedding,” “Party Girl,” “Clueless,” “The Craft,” “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion.” All comedy-dramas, all female protagonists, all brimming with women exhibiting themselves boldly. As with “Matilda,” I watch and see these characters dressing/expressing themselves in ways I wish I had the nerve to (silk blouse, faux leopard jacket and red hotpants? Sign. me. up.).