I’m Not There – AFRICA, Miko

Initial reaction: OH GOD, OH GOD, ANOTHER BLACK AND WHITE FILM. šŸ˜¦ To be honest it hurts my eye, seeing only black and white. I don’t know why. But the first few scenes were bearable and then I was so happy to see color back. And I liked this effect from the movie, the casual shifting from colored to black and white and vice versa.

Some initial notes that I took down while watching the film: WHERE IS BOB DYLAN?! I thought this movie was about him, but where is he? Also, I liked how the 11yr old “Woody Guhtrie” was so experienced for a kid, or at least how he made us or his companions feel. I mean, the way he speaks, his experiences, and what nots. I found this interesting for an 11-year old boy. Another thing, I kind of noticed was how this film was like Inglourious Basterds in a way that it has a lot of different plots. Only difference is, the movie did not go into one ending.

So this movie was about Bob Dylan but instead of seeing Bob Dylan, we saw 6 different characters, with issues of their own, problems they have to face, they all have their own demons. And what I like about this movie is that I didn’t really actually need to know what Bob Dylan’s beef was or what was happening or what happened to him, to really appreciate this film. If one would take the film as it is, it’s still an awesome film. I think the background info on Bob Dylan was already a bonus for the viewers. I like Cate Blanchetts’s character. Though I found it weird that she was playing a male role. Anyway, I thought her character was very devious and just won’t sell out. He wanted to do what he wanted to do. I just loved how he change his music and didn’t care for the boo-ing he got. Also! I remembered F for Fake when Jude Quinn was in the car and it was as though the reporter guy was finishing his sentences for him.

I kind of didn’t get Christian Bale’s Jack Rollin character towards the end. The speech he gave, which I think was very controversial and stirred up the audience. And yup, I didn’t know or get why. (maybe I spaced out on one important info)

Personally I love Heath Ledger. I think he’s a great actor, and once again he never fails to prove me oh so right. But I think that this particular “story” is more about the story of their marriage; Robbie and Claire’s. And how it is kind of compared to the Vietnam War. I remember how Claire was so shaken up with the news on tv that the war was over and then what comes next was the unraveling of their relationship. I thought they were a good couple, but as all relationships go through, somewhere at some point something goes wrong and something did go wrong, and as soon as they both noticed it, it was gone and over.

All of these observations were made while watching the film; having no prior knowledge about Bob Dylan. After reading up some stuff, it was so amazing and it kind of enlightened me a bit, that all 6 characters were a part of Dylan’s life. The boo-ing of Jude Quinn in London, was alluded from the boo-ing Dylan got. Jude Quinn’s motorcycle accident, Robbie and Claire’s divorce which included fighting over the custody of their children. Oh I can only imagine how nice it would’ve been for solid Dylan fans too see and experience this movie!

Overall, I think the movie was amazing as it is! Incredible actors, great plot, even greater execution! Thumbs up!

81/2 – AFRICA, Miko

Yet another black and white film for my eyes! And with great luck, yet another sleepless night the night before. But to my surprise this was a lot better than the previous b&w film; Masculin Feminin. I understood this better than the latter. What was even more interesting for me was from the first scene it already reminded me of Brazil! The dream sequence! Brazil’s dream sequence was some kind of an escape, and I think that it was the same for 81/2. From escaping the smoke-filled car, then flying to the sky. Also the beach scene where the main character’s foot was tied to a rope like a kite. This made me laugh because it resembled Brazil an awful lot.

I like this movie better mainly because, for me, it’s so much better than Masculin Feminin. (yes, I compared Maculin Feminin to 8 1/2 mostly because they’re black and white.) I understood this better than the latter. I think this film is lighter in mood, and message, for me that is.

I noted some things that caught my attention. Personally I think they caught my eye because they reminded me of some films I’ve watched before in class (excluding the already stated film above) and maybe because I found the movie sarcastically funny, I really don’t know why.

(1) I think that Guido is a lot like Barton Fink. He doesn’t listen. I loved how he was so nonchalant and could not care less about his mistress’ stories and her actions, and her in general. I thought it was very funny how he made sounds whenever Carla told stories about her husband. (2) The scene where Guido met with the Cardinal for the first time at the well. It was so funny because it was as if he was the only one still confused with everything. I saw peace in the Cardinal and his friends. I mean, they were so peaceful they just sat there and appreciated the sound the special bird made. This is also a support of some sort to my previous statement that Guido doesn’t listen; not only to his mistress but to everything around him. It’s as if he has his own world. (3) I think the reason why Guido is not listening is because all he hears is nonsense and he’d rather be deaf than to reconsider what he does not like. I mean, throughout the film the sudden outburst of people just irritates me. A guy goes to Guido, talks to him, shouts, pleas, then leaves, then another comes, and so on and so forth. I found this very irritating yet it was fascinating because of the way it was shot or at least planned to make the viewer also relate or feel with the lead character was very effective. Going back to the issue of too much people just getting on his face, I don’t think this was helpful mainly because he was at a loss already and surge of people just confused him more.

Towards the end of the film, like Brazil, the thin line between reality and fantasy is slowly disappearing. The two realms are slowly merging with one another. I got lost towards the end of the film. I can’t figure out if everything was all in his head or not.

To sum up everything I loved the movie! It was better. It was a feel good movie for me. (because for the past 3 sessions, my brain has been eff-ed up to death)

PS

As I have always said in my blogs, or in most of them, I did research about post-modern films and I happen to have stumbled upon this. And the title 8 1/2 is such because it is Fellini’s 81/2 movie. He has half a film because he co-directed one movie, and if I remember correctly he had 6 full lengths, 2 shorts and the said 1/2 movie. šŸ™‚

Inland Empire – AFRICA, Miko

CREEPY. The perfect word to describe the overall feeling I got from watching the movie. I mean, it was just scary and full of suspense and just weird in all levels! Before watching the film, sir has been so hesitant in showing this to us and describing the movie like a bad hit of LSD of some sort. And I thought to myself, maybe if I give this movie a chance, unbiased and no negative notions, maybe it won’t be as bad as sir described. But, I was wrong. I tried giving it an unbiased view, but everything I saw just confirmed everything sir said about the movie.

I think just like most parts in Eyes Wide Shut, the film wants the viewers to feel more than to understand. I mean, if one would try and understand fully what Inland Empire is all about really, I think, Rocket Science is better and easier to learn. What I’m trying to say is that, the film focuses more on drawing out emotions from viewers. In my case, I just found every scene of this movie creepy and scary! The old lady neighbor of Nikki Grace! She is just so creepy! The way she glares! Ā And her facial structures alone just gives this “old witch” effect. Her cheek bones are evident, her eyes are old and big, her hair, just so creepy! Also the TV show where the weird bunny headed people are just creepy. I got what sir said that even without understanding what the bunny people are saying, we would get that it is a sitcom of some sort because of the occasional “crowd laughter” which is evident in most sitcoms.

What I find interesting most is that Inland Empire was only mentioned once in the movie and it was just stated as a place of some sort. I don’t really know what it is, or where it is exactly. Even before that certain scene came up, I was already thinking, “how can this be in any way related to an Inland Empire, whatever that is” and then, given that scene, my questions still weren’t answered. This movie just left me mouth wide open. I didn’t get a single thing! But to be honest, the first few minutes of the film I still understood the story. And the scene that turned everything around was the scene where the film shows that the “person who disappeared where she wasn’t supposed to disappear” was in fact Nikki herself. And I was like, WHAAAT. WILD. Everything just went out of hand from there! Then the set house became real, and so was the outside. Suddenly, the studio setting became a suburban village. Even this blog entry is very untidy, no sense of order, just ideas coming out of my mind to the keyboard. And I like it just the way it is. I would also like the readers to feel the emotion that the movie made me feel.

I loved the ending part where we everything was finally understandable, where we all thought that finally, it was revealed that it was all part of the shooting of the film. But to everyone’s surprise, nope, it’s still a cycle. Just like the earlier scene the “twist” scene, may I call it. Here we see that Nikki now somehow becomes a part of the Weird Rabbit Sitcom where she was the one the rabbits heard coming. I like this scene because it effs up my mind even more.

Overall, I liked the movie because it was very successful in sending out the emotion it aims to give. Thumbs up for this movie, even though I really didn’t understand it.

Eyes Wide Shut – AFRICA, Miko

Eyes Wide Shut. I found this title very interesting. Eyes. Wide. Shut. Can you imagine how to do that? It’s shut, how can you say the eyes are widely shut? I don’t know. But good job for a good title, really caught my attention. Moving on to more useful things to talk about, generally I found the film very interesting and surprising. I was surprised because I thought it was a romantic-comedy movie about husband and wife with their marriage and family, etc. But a jolt to my unsuspecting viewer eyes, Nicole Kidman’s back area completely took me by surprise. I was literally at the edge of my seat. Ā And then I was like, “meh, maybe that’s all what the movie’s gonna give me.” But no, it just keeps on coming. I just can’t find the words with what I felt with the mansion orgy thing. It’s, may I call it, such a culture shock for me. Anyway! Moving on, I liked the emotion that the whole movie made me feel all throughout. It was somewhat heavy, especially the part where Nicole Kidman told Tom Cruise that she almost had an affair with the said Navy Officer in her mind(I guess). I felt very sad and devastated, and at the same time I felt he kind of deserved it. He has thisĀ eff-you-Im-a-succesful-doctor-I-have-a-loving-and-faithful-wife-which-in-a-million-years-you’ll-never-getĀ aura that he emits that made me say, “buti nga sayo, presko mo eh.” I felt sad for him because he did trust his wife, he thought that he was so lucky that she loved him so much that at any point in their relationship, no matter what happens, no matter what shit they got themselves in, he was so sure that his wife would always be there; always faithful and loving. But then and there, he was proven wrong. It must’ve hurt. A lot. And I felt the emotion the feelings that the scene conveyed or at least wanted to show. And it was a little too much to swallow. And then all the events that happened after was just, woah for me. I mean, having heard that news from his wife, and then the daughter of his recently passed patient confesses her “love” for him and his almost hook-up with the hooker, everything. I think was just rubbing salt on a fresh wound. (did I say it right?) I mean, everything just leads up to sex but somehow it just gets interrupted and he never actually gets his “revenge”

I also liked the scene where Alice asked how she looked, and without even glancing at her, Bill answered “perfect” I think it supports my arguement above, about him being “presko” and confident and all. I think he needed a wake up call, or a shock, he needed to be unsure, to be scared and funny as it may seem, it did happen to him. He suddenly became unsure of himself, he was curious, he cared, he woke up.

Also! The music! I noticed the music from the starting scene, the classical ,music was repeated I think during scenes where it’s a normal day for them. Their regular routines are presented or is accompanied by the soothing music. But at some parts, especially in the Sex Mansion (is it okay if I call it that?) the creepy piano sound thingy, just gives me chill and it’s exactly what the scene wants us to feel, it’s the ambience it sets off. And I think the music was just superb and it just complimented the scenes and the movie in general.

Well, I’m all out of things to say, I think the movie was really great and that though I was not really expecting any softcore stuff in a classroom setting, it was a good movie. šŸ™‚

Masculine Feminin- AFRICA, Miko

Never in my life had I imagined myself watching this kind of film. By “this kind of film” I meant black and white, French and very outdated. This is the first movie I have seen in black and white, not countingĀ KingPin: The Asiong Salonga StoryĀ which I thought was intentionally made to be black and white. If I remember correctly this was set on the 60’s or around that era, and I think priorities and orientation, in terms of growing up, environment, etc, are very different from ours. I mean 21year olds then worry about politics and how their government handles things. Well, this was shown as the men’s concern because I think the movie was kind of sexist when it tries to show what priorities women back then had. They were vain, models, pop singers, etc which had no knowledge of any sort to what is happening to their country. For instance that interview from the guy in IFOP, I found very funny because the questions were laid out as politics-pop-culture-politics-pop-culture, what’s funny is that the interviewer would ask the young lady questions about pop-culture and then get an answer, a good one but then he quickly changes the question into a more serious note, then the girl wouldn’t have any answer. This I thought could also relate to youth these days, only a few number of us really are interested with what’s going on with our government, to our country per se. I’m not really sure of what the movie is saying, but I took the movie as it is. A young boy falling or at least he thinks he’s fallen in love with a girl, and vice versa, then ending in a tragic death of the boy.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t quite like this movie as much as I did the others. I was impatient with this movie, maybe because I didn’t get any sleep the night before, and it was unfair of me to do that and if given a chance, I’d give this movie another shot, but I think, me having no sleep was a part of the movie experience and I found it really hard to really grasp everything the movie is giving. Given I know little about the 60’s and what happened back then, I really found it difficult to understand or to even recognize the stuff they were talking about. And the scenes or the chapters confused me. Yes, I get the main plot, itā€™s moving, but maybe because of theĀ  jump cuts, which I was not very used to seeing, just got me lost in a whole new world.

I liked the scene where Paul was asking out Madeleine. I found this especially nice because of the sincerity and the way it was directed, I guess. I liked how Madeleine was clearly playing with Paul, and doing things over and over, like she keeps on brushing and then ā€pompingā€ her hair. I also liked her line ā€œDoes going out mean going to bed?ā€ I donā€™t know why I liked that line, but it did catch my attention. I found it funny also because he really did mean going to bed, because he was obviously taken by surprise and couldnā€™t even speak.

I am at a loss. This is the most difficult blog I had to write, mainly because I am writing about a movie that I didnā€™t quite like. Maybe the movie was too hard, and too difficult for me, and too much of a challenge for me. Though this was not a very pleasant experience for me, I still think it was a good exposure for me seeing that kind of movie!

PS

I had this experience of familiarity when I heard that Goddard was the director of this film, because I kind of stumbled upon him when I was researching about Post-modern films! Wala lang.:))

Repo Man – AFRICA, Miko

Surprised. This is the exact word to describe how I felt seeing Repo Man for the first time. Given the introduction that it was a punk rock movie, and that we should look out for what it want to say about the young, the do-not-open-the-trunk scene where the police officer got incinerated just caught me off guard. It was funny, yes. But I had this different notion or I expected the movie to be of different genre. I found the movie very interesting and funny most especially coming from having seen Barton Fink, which as I have said, a slow movie for me, Repo Man is just on a completely different pace. I was almost always at the edge of my seat. There was no dull moment for me, like I was always expecting something to happen.

A few things I noticed while watching the movie was how there was a significant change in Otto’s character. From the start of the movie, we could see that he has this rebellious aura and with matching punk rock look. But when Bud took him in as a Repo Man, the change was gradual and it was shown in the movie. First he was riding the car in his normal punk rock outfit, then the next scene he’s wearing only a white shirt, and then the next scene his silver earring was gone, then change in pants, then boom he’s in a suit like a real Repo Man. I first noticed this when Otto was home, he opened the fridge and took a can of “food” out. At first I was like, “hmm that’s weird” and then Bud and Otto getting a “drink” which is literally named as drink, I got it. On how things or merchandises are generic. I think this is to reflect on mass production. That There’s no more really originality and uniqueness in the things that u9get produced or just things being so mundane in contradiction to what Bud believes, “Life of a Repo Man is always intense”

Being told to look for what it tries to tell the young, I kind of noticed it in the supermarket scene where Otto’s boss told him that you never listen. I think that this scene poses a problem that most teenagers think or experience; miscommunication Ā with their elders. Another thing I noticed was that the young or teenagers were inclined to doing “odd jobs” like Otto’s friend, from a sales clerk, to a vacuum boy, etc. He jumps from one job to another, which I think also shows how teenagers or the young generation is trying to be independent and all. Speaking of being independent, I think Otto has done a good job donig that seeing that his parents are kind of, hypnotized by the TV,which coincidentally shows aĀ ReverendĀ of some sort. And I kind of don’t want to go discussing on that grounds but maybe it says something about religion and how it hypnotizes you and stuff. I don’t want to elaborate anymore I might offend someone already. Anyway, and I kind of liked how Otto’s parents were very nonchalant and it made me realize that maybe teens are rebellious, and wild, and does bad things is because most parents couldn’t care less. In addition, I think this is also what subjected Otto to the change, because he saw a father figure of some sort or just someone to look up to, in Bud which I think really caused the change in Otto’s character.

I can’t really grasp or understand the recurrence of the Punk Criminals in the movie, but in a way maybe they represent the teens rebellion per se. I like how they always say let’s commit crime or something, or let’s do bad things which kind of represents or shows the heat or passion of young people. Also, the car scene where the bald punk rocker wanted to get away and be married with the girl, and how he says that it’s what everybody is doing and that may be the right thing, etc. And then how quickly he changes his mind or isĀ embarrassedĀ by his proposition that they decided to just go on doing bad things. Maybe this shows how at some level teenagers do know their responsibilities and what’s right and wrong, but the fact that the peers and their environment have a strong impact on their nature, makes it hard for them to make decisions.

This movie was so interesting in so many levels! I really really liked it, I enjoyed watching and it was just fun. I had a good laugh, and it also made me think. So, good job! Loved the movie! šŸ™‚

Barton Fink – AFRICA, Miko

Watching Barton Fink was a good experience. Though I must admit this is by far the hardest movie I’ve seen in class. It’s especially hard for me because being in a classroom setting there are some expectations to fill and some notable things to look at and talk about. But in this movie, it was pretty straight out for me. At some point I had a feeling of watching a “regular” movie, as compared to Brazil or F for Fake.

Talking about symbols, I did notice a couple of things. (1) The clip where the waves crash to a big boulder on the beach. (2) the mosquito in the room. (3) the peeling off of the wallpaper. (4) the woman on the beach picture. I think that number one is to show surprise of some sort. Because this clip was first shown or was first seen when Fink’s agent told Barton that he got a 1000$ a week offer from Capitol Pictures. And of course this is a shock because he just got “famous” because of a job well done from his play. I found the mosquito’s only significance when Fink woke up after having a “good-time” with Miss Audrey and hearing the mosquito buzzing again and seeing it feeding on Miss Audrey. He kills it then he discovers that she is dead. And I liked the blood pool that was created from killing the mosquito and then the blood pool of Miss Audrey getting noticed. At a certain point I am very much tempted to connect or relate Miss Audrey as the mosquito. The mosquito kind of keeps Fink on the edge, and almost always keeps him up at night. On a similar note, I think Miss Audrey has given Fink something to think about every night. Also, Fink has shown great interest with Miss Audrey. He asked her out, using theĀ I-don’t-know-anyone-hereĀ card. Also he showed great care for her well being and her keeping up with the so calledĀ Greatest Novelist of their time; Mayhew.Ā I only noticed this at the end when Mundt was finished killing off the two detectives, he was talking to Fink and his ears just leaked which reminded me of the wallpapers and the glue that was leaking off. I might be over analyzing this but in a sense, the wallpaper is used to cover and decorate an empty and ugly wall. And in the movie, the wallpapers were coming off just like how Charlie was slowly peeling off his friendly-neighbour character and slowly revealing who he really is; Madman Mundt. The picture in the room, the one with the woman on the beach, I think, this is significant in a way that, if you look around the room, it’s the only thing pleasing to the eyes. It’s in contrast with everything inside. And as plain as the room can get, it’s the only “view” Barton can see. Now that I’m talking about the room, I kinda seem to relate it somehow to Sam Lowry’s new office at the Info Retrieval. It’s small, cramped, plain, enclosed and ultimately, I think both are not conducive environment for work. I think, personally that in Barton Fink’s case, I think the “empty” room symbolizes or in a way makes visible the “emptiness” of his mind with regards to writing.

All in all, I found the movie very slow which worked in such a way that the movie completes the watching experience by making me feel what the main character feels having a writer’s block. The movie was good!

P.S.

Seeing Turturro in this movie, with the character he’s playing, I must say, I admire him because of his versatility and skills in acting. I always remember him as Phantom from Don’t Mess With The Zohan movie and also in Transformers. And given these two movies, and then Barton Fink (which is a totally different film, and might I say, genre) he just pulled it off. He was so effective even twith the images of him as other characters in my head.

 

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