10 July 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- Road to Perdition

Adding my two cents (if it's even that much) to The Film Experience's ongoing Hit Me With Your Best Shot series.  This week's film is Road to Perdition, one of my top favorite films.  Without further stalling...

Meet Maguire
 This is the last shot of Harlen Maguire's introductory scene.  I was going to choose the vertigo shot with him under the bridge, but this one has more resonance in the film as every violent action involving Maguire includes windows.  Still not sure on the significance of that, but it's there -- this scene in the apartment, at the diner, in the hotel/street, and at the lake house. 

Another reason I love this shot is that it mirrors Mike Sullivan's final scene:  the dusty light sweeping in the windows, the camera, the rush of the train and water, someone leaning over a dead/dying man... 

And finally, you could easily take any shot/frame from this film and it'd be worthy of discussion and admiration.  Conrad Hall was a master of photography and his collaborations with Sam Mendes will stand the test of time as examples of how to shoot a movie.  American Beauty was gorgeous, but the palette was expanded with Road to Perdition.

The whole film is poetry in motion.

Writing Elsewhere...

I haven't been updating much as I've been occupied with other writing -- the kinds that earn me the money.  But I'm trying (again) to get back on-board with new posts every few days.  I'm writing anyhow, so it should be easy enough to fit a little bit of movie writing in there too.

We'll see...

27 February 2012

Early Bets: "Lincoln" in 2012

Since everyone's still on last night, I'm going to predict that Steven Spielberg and his "Lincoln" will be big Oscar winners next year. Of course, he and it are the perceived frontrunners, so I'm sure something will come along to knock it off. Maybe Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."

Anyhow, since "War Horse" had a good nomination showing (more indicative of support than wins), I expect "Lincoln" to possibly fall into a "making up for last time" Oscar run that happens.

Future three-time Oscar winners?

So I'll go out on a limb and say "Lincoln" will get 12 to 13 nominations and win Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Score (the same 7 "Schindler's List" won), and maybe Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis.

There are three things hurting Day-Lewis from winning (albeit, this is a year out): 1) He won for "There Will Be Blood" in 2007, 2) He has two Oscars already, and 3) No actor has ever won for performing in a Spielberg film -- top-of-my-head guess is something like 0 for 9.

But it *is* Daniel Day-Lewis, and he *is* playing Lincoln, so it's hard to not get on the bandwagon.

Uncanny, really...
Let the 2012 Oscar season begin...

01 February 2012

The Role of the Outcast: Frankenstein and Full Metal Jacket

Although separated by 56 years and different genres and directors, both James Whales’ Frankenstein (1931) and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) address the issue of how creating an outcast – and taking away their identity––will cause the outcast to lash out at society. In Frankenstein this idea is showcased in the main plotline: Dr. Frankenstein gathers various body parts to create and bring to life a Creature only to have the Creature turn against him and society. Full Metal Jacket approaches the issue in the main plotline of the first portion of the film: Sgt. Hartman (or the Marine Corps) takes good-natured Pvt. Pyle and turns him into an anonymous being and then an uncaring killing machine, only to have Pyle turn on Hartman. While the films differ in how their outcasts are created––Frankenstein emphasizes a physical creation while Full Metal Jacket explores the psychological––both come to the same conclusion: taking away personality or sense of identity is wrong and the consequences of doing so are dire. Yet the films also suggest that outcasts can be subdued, either by society (as in Frankenstein) or by their own hand (as in Full Metal Jacket).