I’m Not There – YAP, Alaine

This last film we watched, I enjoyed. I enjoy films that open you up to new ideas and makes you think. This film was able to do that to me. The beliefs and ideas that the different characters had were interesting. From what I’ve seen in the film and read on some online articles, these different characters’ lives are all parts of Bob Dylan’s own life which is who the film was really about.

My favorite character would have to be Woody – the boy who was out of his own age. He was such a free-spirit who knew about what was going on around him and is not afraid to join in or sing it out. I bet he was a fine lad to talk to. It was sad that he was kept in a juvenile facility. His face, when the call came from the facility looking for him, was just heartbreaking. Christian Bale, as Jack Rollins, I loved. Simply because it was Christian Bale and he was cute so I was kind of biased with that. And then there was Heath Ledger who immediately turned my mind’s focus to the Dark Knight film.

Okay, while watching the film and after seeing the character of Jude, I was already unsure of him. All throughout the film I kept staring and watching his every move. And then it hit me, I saw in the opening credits Cate Blanchett’s name. Jude was played by Cate Blanchett. And I assume she was really meant to portray a guy’s role. I was blown away at this realization. I was so amazed at her performance. I can’t even explain how much I was astounded.

I wasn’t able to grasp everything about the film. There were some dialogues I missed, some points I didn’t digest properly. I think I would have appreciated it more if I were a fan of Bob Dylan. But just a normal viewer like me would be able to appreciate the stories told in the film. From it I could already tell that he was a very deep person, not conventional, and quite interesting. I found his whole story very bittersweet. His relationship with his wife I found very disappointing but obviously he was a loving father to his children, to the way he found enlightenment in Christianity. I’m not sure if Bob Dylan really has a drug problem like how Jude is portrayed, but that part’s sort of sad as well like what happens to most artists. I hope he doesn’t end up in an apartment somewhere dead on the floor because of it. That would just be too cliché. And to think he’s not one to conform.

I would definitely love to watch this movie again. But I would probably read up on some Bob Dylan facts first just to fill in some contingent difficulties I had while watching the film. In summary, I think showing this as our last film in class was a good idea. It wasn’t dragging, boring, nor anything negative. It was actually quite interesting and fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Even the way the film was shot was, for me, perfect in every way.

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8 1/2 – YAP, Alaine

This film experience was a bit odd to me. Warned that the title of the film is not in any way directly or indirectly taken from the film, I was already hesitant to view it. I didn’t really like films where there are ends I couldn’t tie up or having random items just for the heck of it but is made to seem so important in the movie. And so the title is already something of a downer for me.

I got the plot. It was sort of similar to Barton Fink – mental block, couldn’t come up with a new idea for a project, high expectations, and all that. There was also the issue of having an affair. Guido’s affair, though, was more inappropriate as he was a married man.

I loved the character of little Guido. His childhood seems so interesting. He seemed like a good kid growing up. He had parents who really took care of him and loved him. I saw an example of how punishments were done back then – kneeling on the floor scattered with some rock salt I assume. And the emphasis on religion back then was something that really shocked me. The scene where little Guido was confessing that he didn’t know what the Saraghina was and that it was bad, then the priest just left him with much disappointment and disapproval of him.

But the character of adult Guido was something that irritated me. I hated that he would continuously lie. I’m sure nobody likes such a person. But he just keeps on layering and layering his lies with other lies. He’s leading on other people who could do much better things if he would just tell them the truth. I personally dislike someone who is such. They’d be a huge waste of my time. I felt sad for all those people who believed in him, especially the old man who was part of the production crew. But what I really hated the most was his nerve to lie face to face to his wife. It was amazing how much he tried to cover up his affair.

I found it hard to follow those moments when the film would turn into Guido’s fantasies. I wasn’t sure how to interpret them – the scene where Guido saw his parents and when his dad went down the grave, his mom kissing him passionately on the lips and suddenly it was his wife; I wasn’t able to get what this shows about Guido’s character. Also the scene where Guido was surrounded by women who were treating him like when he was a child, and then all of a sudden he becomes a “macho man”, using a whip to keep these women in line. And I got really thrown off my seat when he shot himself during the huge interview. I really thought it was real.

To conclude, I wasn’t able to get the movie that much I guess partly because I slept late and I found it boring. I eve found myself drowsing off during a few moments. But I bet even if I watch it again when I’m in a better mood, I still wouldn’t be able to totally give my whole attention to it.

Inland Empire – YAP, Alaine

This film is something I wish I had not experienced. I don’t even know what to say about it aside from it’s like a really messed up attic made even more messed up by a tornado. All throughout the film I was worried of what I was supposed to write about for my blog entry with such a movie. It was definitely a first for me. I got the flow of the story in the first half. I could still point out when the film was showing reality or the shooting of the film inside. I started to lose track of what was going on after the sex scene between Justin Theroux and Laura Dern. After that I just went through the film not even bothering to get a grasp the connection between everything.

I get chills down my spine when the sitcom of the weird rabbit shows. First thing I asked was why rabbits? All I knew about them is that they’re cute, fluffy, and they reproduce quite fast. I found it really creepy. The way they move so slowly was irritating.

There seemed to be another blur on fantasy and reality that happened in the film regarding Laura Dern’s character in the movie she is starring in similar to the one in Brazil.

It was really insane when all of a sudden as Laura Dern was dying, I see a camera on the top side and what went through my head was, “Oh my God, You gotta be kidding me.” I was already eaten up by the absurdity of what was happening during the death scene and then suddenly I found out it was part of the act. But it wasn’t the end yet. Laura seemed to be still caught up in some strange trance. In this part, everything started to connect; the seemingly separate scenes of the rabbit, the Phantom, the girl in the opening scene staring into the TV, but still nothing made sense to me.

In the end, I wasn’t sure which parts of the film really happened and which ones were all in Laura Dern’s head, or if Laura Dern is even real. This would be the first film shown in class that I would admittedly say I disliked. It got me so confused and I didn’t get a point in the end. Maybe I found some of the scenes funny, and loved some of the clothes and shoes Laura Dern was wearing, but that’s it. I’d never watch this film again. But I would surely recommend this film to my deep thinker friends who might enlighten me somehow about this film.

I’m surprised that this film was just recently released in 2006. I thought it to be a nineties film. I wonder how other people reacted after seeing this mind-blowing film. But my biggest wonder is whether Lynch meant for his movie to not make any sense at all and see how many people would pretend to “get it” and call it brilliant. That would be interesting.

Eyes Wide Shut – YAP, Alaine

When I saw the first scene in the film I instantly realized that I’ve already watched it before. I wasn’t able to finish it though. I only got through half of it. The first time I saw it I remember being shocked by the scandalous revelations being made and done by the couple. I was surprised atAlice’s confession of having a fantasy with another man, but this was probably because I couldn’t imagine anyone who would cheat if your husband was Tom Cruise. I understoodAlice’s concern of her husband being a “babe magnet”. He’s good-looking, rich, and a doctor. I think any girl would worry at times. It’s ironic how this paranoia of Alice was what led Tom Cruise to actually try to cheat on her. You could say that she brought this upon herself.

I loved the scene where they were smoking pot and was about to have sex but then the moment was ruined. That scene sort of showed that women are over thinkers and will only see the negative sides of a comment intended to flatter. Similar to most posts you would see in 9gag. I found it a bit offensive but funny looking at how crazy Alice was being.

Bill, I felt sad for. I didn’t think it was his fault girls are attracted to him and he really didn’t do anything with those women anyway. But because of his wife’s own indirect infidelity, he was thrown off his own “good husband” role. He started to become desperate to have revenge on his wife. He was so desperate he paid for a whore, went to a sex club, and maybe even considered Mr. Milich’s daughter. In his path for revenge he put in line his life and even his family’s. He almost had sex with a woman who was found to be HIV positive, his family’s life is threatened when he tried to pretend to be part of the exclusive club, and even his friend’s life was harmed. Going through all of this just to get back at his wife for a “fantasy” seems to me as having too high a price to pay. Also, I admire how Bill was always, always, a gentleman throughout everything; paying the hooker despite not getting into bed with him, asking the woman from the exclusive club to leave with him, and other stuff. It made me laugh.

What I wasn’t sure about in the movie was the climactic scene when Tom Cruise saw the mask on the bed. I wasn’t certain whether it was real or all in his head. This was because when Alice woke up, I don’t think I noticed her ever looking at the mask. She even had a confused face as to why Bill was crying. The mask I think symbolizes the guilt Bill is carrying but I won’t get into that anymore. It amazed me how “good” Bill is that no matter how many times he was presented with the opportunity to cheat, he seems to be incapable of doing it.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. It was something you can pick a good lesson from about marriage. I found it new seeing Tom Cruise in such a serious film. I’ve always been used to him playing action roles. But I definitely think he nailed his part here.

Masculin féminin – YAP, Alaine

After Barton Fink I didn’t think we’d be tackling films that were going to be any harder than that, and then came Masculin féminin. Watching the film as it is, I’ve been able to grasp the story. It’s a boy-meets-girl story though this one had a tragic ending with the boy ending up dead. But it’s surely an inevitability that fairy tales never mention after they say “…and they lived happily ever after.”

Obviously this film was made to relate to the youth. It was about teenage love, chasing dreams, voicing out opinions about politics. Like in Repo Man, teenagers have the most spirit, opinions, and thoughts about a lot of matters. This was shown by the Paul and his friends when they would vandalize cars or walls whenever they see or hear something worth protesting about. There’s also the curiosity and focus on the opposite sex and sex itself. There are a lot of scenes where Paul and his friend would talk about breasts and then there’s Paul wanting to sleep with Madeleine. The topic of birth controls also came about which I think is something smartly brought up in such a film given that it’s during the teenage years when curiosity and hormones starts kicking in. Opinions were asked in the film regarding the use of it and what it was. Most of the answers were shy and conservative, typical of teens when talking about such matters. One of my favorite scenes in the film was the one in the café and Paul reenacted the man who came in asking for directions. He said he was putting himself in the other man’s shoes. It was so random. I’m not really sure what it tells about the youth, whether they are open people who try to see the world from different perspectives or just spontaneous and doing whatever they feel like doing

One thing that bothers me about this movie is the way it was filmed. There were instances when there’ll just be some numbers and texts shown. I also found it curious the way it was shot, especially in dialogues between the characters. They would focus on one character’s face for so long and they would just stare and act repeatedly. Like when Paul and Madeleine were talking, she would just keep fixing herself up and he will just keep on puffing his cigarette. I found it to be very sincere and yet annoying at the same time. This scene was sort of repeated by Paul and Madeleine’s friends near the end of the film. I’m uncertain what it was trying to show, but what I thought of was maybe it shows how teenagers experience the same typical problem of love and all that. I’m not exactly sure.

There are also the odd firing sounds that come up randomly in the movie. I haven’t really noticed what happens before or after it comes on. I’m thinking the characters must have said or done something, maybe a pun or an insult or whatever. I don’t really know.

Overall, I didn’t dislike the film. I’m indifferent to it. I liked the characters though; I think they did their roles justice. But I honestly wouldn’t watch this film again.

Repo Man – YAP, Alaine

Out of all the films we’ve viewed in class, this one is by far my favorite. Despite its low quality effects, I loved the film because it was very light compared to the other movies we’ve watched. I didn’t have to rack my brain so much. After having watched Barton Fink, this movie was really a huge reliever for me.

This film was more relatable for most of us, I guess, since the main character was a teenager going through those rebellious years. Otto had a fake ID, drinks, gets into trouble, cusses, and talks back, typical of most teenagers. Most people say that this is when kids are at a lost and try to “find” themselves. I guess it is true. Being eighteen most of us had to already prepare for our future: find a good college, pick a course that we want to focus on, sometimes we go into something we’re not even sure about yet and just hope it sticks. I think this is what Otto did in the film, went into the repossession business unsure. But it was a fast way of earning money. Isn’t that what most teens want? A faster, easier way? Otto was a great representation of teenage angst. Doing all things illegal or forbidden thinking he doesn’t need anybody else but himself. Funny is despite trying to put up a tough exterior, there are parts in the film where his “kid” side shows. Like when the going gets tough, the shoot out, whenever they try to steal cars, and all that, Otto would panic and cry out like a little kid, not knowing what to do.

Eventually in the film, Otto starts to trust in other people, in his repo family. You can say that he’s starting to grow up and understand the world better. That life is better with relationships. You can see this in the way he cared for his friend Bud, and when Debbi was in trouble in the office. But of course, he was still a kid. In the end of the film, he had a choice between a woman vs. aliens, he chose the aliens. So funny.

A detail I found to be hilarious in the film is how their consumable are all generically labeled. I first noticed it during the supermarket scene when Otto and his friend were stacking cans. All the products in the grocery were packaged similarly – white and blue. I’m not really sure why this is, but my theory would be in relation to it being a low-budget film. Maybe they didn’t have any sponsors?

Though I don’t really know how Alex Cox could make such a movie concerning repo men and aliens, I mean the two are just way different to even think about at the same time. I admire his imagination for it. I’m not really sure if I’m supposed to learn something regarding the whole aliens at the back of the trunk thing, they weren’t even shown in the movie. I’m guessing it’s just something to help keep the audience at the edge of their seats. Drag them along through the whole film hoping these aliens would have some sort of major significance. But I really didn’t find any. I mean it’s a significant part of the film, but anything deeper than that I got none.

Barton Fink – YAP, Alaine

My initial reaction after watching the film Barton Fink would have to be “What the f*ck?” Forgive the language, but it’s seriously what went through my mind. I got the story. I got the flow. And I also knew there were a lot of underlying messages in it but I hated how I couldn’t even grasp a single one. It wasn’t because I wasn’t paying attention but because my thoughts about it were all scattered. There were so many things I had to focus on: the peeling wallpaper, Charlie, the picture of the lady in the beach, the crashing waves on the huge rock, the box, and a lot of other stuff. I always try to figure out the significance of things whenever I watch a film, and this movie is just filled with so many items that really test your wits.

As said in class, it was advised not to focus on what I think are symbols in the film. This, I think, is pretty hard to do especially since we usually relate everything we hear, see, and experience with our own past experiences and we relate and extract more meaning from that.

Barton Fink, as a character, I found him to be very passionate and selfish at the same time. In the film I already notice the irony of his role being a playwright who writes about the common man but he himself doesn’t even want to relate or listen to the common man. He’s full of admiration for them and their lives and yet he doesn’t even know any stories about a common man’s life. You can see this when his neighbor, Charlie Meadows starts to converse with him and all he could mutter in reply were quick, short phrases. And when Charlie tries to share some stories with him, he cuts him off. He obviously has a lot of opinion and ideas in his head made funny by his huge hair all tangled up which probably also shows how all his ideas are all disorganized. I understand his intense passion for writing, for wanting to be able to make a produce a really successful play – “the creation of a new, living theater of, about, and for the common man!”

I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but during the play one of the actors said in one of his lines, “I’m blowin’ out of here, blowin’ for good.  I’m kissin’ it all goodbye, these four stinkin’ walls, the six flights up…” It’s kind of funny since when Barton checked in the hotel Earle, his room is sort of box-like and is also six flights up, room 605. He also really didn’t want to stay inL.A.so the line sort of applied to him as well. And when Chet told Barton that he’ll keep his eyes “peeled”, I’m not sure if that has something to do with the peeling walls, but could be. There are just so much things I can’t help but connect in the film ‘cause it might give me some idea of what “revelation” I should be having by the end of it all.

Now, given a few days to think about and digest the film, I’m still as baffled as I was before. No new realizations at all. I don’t hate the film, I liked it for the fact that I know it’s something clever and the acting and the plot is quite interesting, I just hate myself for not being able to “get” what the Coen brothers wanted its audience to understand. Unless it’s the similar feeling of a “writer’s block” that they wanted to produce then, I guess they were pretty successful in making me feel that way.

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