I’m Not There – PARREÑAS, Miguel

I love music (Well, who doesn’t?) and for the final film to be about music seriously made me happy and when I heard that the film would be about Bob Dylan, I even got more interested simply because I only knew Bob Dylan as a musician and had nothing about his story and background.

First off, as the actors were first shown in the first few minutes of the film, I noticed that Cate Blanchett was part of the cast. And so the whole duration of the film, I was actually looking for her and soon before the film ended, my classmate randomly told me, “That’s Cate Blanchett.” And all I had for a reaction was, “Ah, oo nga no!”

I was really amazed at how the actors were chosen. Woody sounded really great while he sang songs while travelling. Jack was played by Christian Bale, who was really thin by the way. I have always viewed Christian Bale as a badass actor who only portrays badass characters like Batman. And in this film, he may not look exactly like Batman but the attitude was definitely there. And yes, his role as Jack Collins was really effective. Next is Jude, played by Cate Blanchett, was definitely one of favorite characters in the movie. Her acting and role just blend in too well for the film to the point that I did not even recognize that it was Cate Blanchett herself. Hahaha! For me, Jude basically had the “swag”.

So the whole duration of the film, I was just taking in almost everything that the film gives me and lucky enough, it flowed right into my brain like Stormtroopers marching mindlessly towards their ships. Hahaha! The plot was just so smooth even though it tackled one story but with different perspectives. I loved how the film had different perspectives but was still able to hold everything together! The reason why I also liked the film was because since it covered different perspectives such as a kid, a young man, an adult and an old man, it gives an impression that Bob Dylan is everyone. Or like everyone is capable of creating good music. Or like at some point, we too have experienced what Bob Dylan experienced. For this particular aspect of the film, I found it similar to V for Vendetta. When Eevee was talking to Inspector Finch in the last few scenes, she told Finch, “He was Edmund Dantes. And he was my father and my mother. My brother. My friend. He was you and me. He was all of us.” The ending of the film almost gave me goosebumps after finding out that it was somewhat similar to V for Vendetta’s ending.

Out of all the ten films that we’ve watched in class, this is probably the best I’ve seen. I know that I enjoyed Inglorious Basterds but that film was quite easy and straightforward. I’m Not There focused on a musician that I really admire and his life was presented in a creative way that somehow capture’s a slice of everyone’s life as well. I could probably say that this is the film that I appreciated the most out of the ten.

8 1/2 – PARREÑAS, Miguel

Okay, we all probably wondered why the film was entitled 8 ½  and I too got intrigued as to why the film was entitled as such. Soon, I learned that the film entitled as such because of Fellini’s film after typing “8 1/2” in Google. With just that, it really does sound personal and very straightforward in telling who Fellini really is and what his story is about.

Anyway, when the film started I just had a bad feeling that I’ll end up not appreciating this film, again, simply because it’s black and white and it has subtitles! When a film is black and white, I easily lose interest simply because I appreciate films more if they come in color. But when I noticed that 8 ½ not only comes in black and white and it comes in Italian, I just lost it. So not only do I get bored easily, it also tries to hurt my eyes. So, few minutes into the film I find my eyes closing down on me but when I noticed how the story seems to be similar to Brazil, I suddenly got up and tried to take in whatever the film shows.

For me, Guido is actually a really cool character. Not only does he posses the traits of douchbaggery, he even has a lot of women around him. Now I’m not implying that women prefer douchebags than real men, it’s probably because they see something in Guido that really fascinates them. Guido is in fact the only character in all films we’ve watched so far that I find very similar to me. (Minus the women, though. Please take note.) Guido, like I said earlier, is like a douchebag who just wants to have fun but does not take note of the people around him. He likes to hangout with women and sleep with them even though he is already married. He likes to do things that usually make him break the rules. He probably enjoys the adrenaline of breaking the rules and hiding from the consequences. And one of the similarities that I find really evident in both of us is that we have a strong Catholic background and yet we forget what learned from it. In the film, it’s almost every 2-3 scenes that religion is being depicted as if rubbing to the viewers’ face how Guido’s insolence knows no bounds. However, the story of Guido seems to be similar to Sam Lowry’s story as well. Both try to live their lives to the fullest and will try to do anything just to be able to do so. Both characters’ dreams actually tell the viewers straightforwardly what they really want but these characters had their own ways in trying to make their dreams reality.

So, I ended up liking the film a bit because I found similarities between Guido and myself. Even though I got discouraged by the film being a black-and-white and a subtitled one, it was still able to grab my attention. Plus, if I may compare it to Masculin Feminin which happens to be subtitled and black-and-white as well, I would rather go for 8 ½ as it has a very clear plot and smooth dialogue. Not only that, I was also able to relate Guido to Sam Lowry. And lastly, I don’t really know how to explain it but I really found 8 ½ ending quite nice because it is as if it becomes the “saving light” for Guido and all his wrong deeds. If the film started with Guido in a really terrible situation, the ending was made in complete contrast with what Guido was experiencing in the first few minutes of the film.

Inland Empire – PARREÑAS, Miguel

If “Disturbing” was the word for Eyes Wide Shut, I was just left with “What the hell did I just watch?” after watching Inland Empire. It’s a 3-hour film which I find very very weird. In fact, the weirdest of all the films we’ve watched so far. Inland Empire for me was just full of details that I do not even know where to start. Plus, the scenes and dialogues are all weird and almost had no sense. It is definitely a film that I won’t be watching again simply because I know that I won’t be able to get it anyway.

Although I did not like the film that much, there were things that still bothered me. First was the dialogue between the main character and the old woman. I found that dialogue very dragging and boring. The main character says something and it takes forever for the old woman to process what she said and even a longer time to say something in reply. Plus, the dialogue did not make any sense to me at all. They were clearly talking about something and then switched to another topic. It’s like asking, “Do you like potatoes?” and you get an answer like, “I like the color of your cows.” Some scenes establish a good point and a topic but then get messed up by another which is a totally different one.

Another thing that I found really weird was the scenes with rabbits. I do not know why exactly do the film needs to keep on coming back to the same scene with the rabbits. And again, the weird dialogue comes into play. I remember one rabbit asked another, “What time is it?” and the other one replied back, “I think it’s color red.” And I was like.. WHAT?! The rabbit scenes, no matter how weird they are, they seem to be connected with whatever it is that is happening with the main character. Nonetheless, I still find them annoying.

Despite having a lot of things to get annoyed at, I found the scene with the asian girl really funny. The dialogue basically did not contain any sense but it seriously made me laugh. And what was even funnier was that they were all talking while the main character slowly dies infront of them. I also found the line, “You dyin’ lady?” very very funny. Isn’t it obvious!? Also, the scene where the girls suddenly danced Do the Locomotion (Not sure though if that was the real title of the song) was quite funny because in the middle of a film which I barely understand, suddenly there comes a dance number of a song which I find really annoying in a good way. It was annoying in a good way because right after we watched the film, I kept on singing, “Dooo the locomooootion..” with hand gestures and claps.

Towards the end of the film, I really got lost with what the true ending was before it actually finished. When the main character died while the homeless people were talking nonsense, I actually thought that that was the ending. But then as the camera dollies out, it turns out to be a film being made. So obviously, when she “died”, it wasn’t the true ending. However, it looked really weird when the main character suddenly “changed” and acted really strange. She just walked and went through all sorts of doors, including the room of the rabbits. Soon after, the film just ended after a few weirder scenes.

Sadly, Inland Empire seems to be the film that I did not appreciate the most among the 8 films we’ve watched so far probably because I did not get almost everything that the film tried to show me. I really had a difficult time trying to digest the information plus I got annoyed at how the movie went. It’s not the typical “annoyed” I experienced with F for fake, Brazil or Barton Fink because the film basically just left me with almost everything to think about. I was not able to understand even the majority of the film. The composition actually made it really difficult for me to understand. To me it was a balance between boring and funny but I still failed to understand it as a whole.

Eyes Wide Shut – PARREÑAS, Miguel

“Disturbing” seems to be the best word to describe my experience with Eyes Wide Shut. The scene started with Nicole Kidman half-naked (or perhaps completely naked) and right away it gave me feeling that this film would probably lean towards sexuality. And it did! The reason why I found it disturbing was because the film straightforwardly showed people having sex. I seriously did not expect to see that in a film, much more in a film we have to watch in class. I really found the film disturbing not just because of the naked people doing it but the plot really got me interested. I was disturbed in a way that it kept me curious the whole time. Although I have to admit that in the first few scenes, things were a bit boring. However, when things start to escalate between the couple (Nicole and Tom), I started paying attention again.

It started to become really serious and quite funny when the couple smoked pot. Suddenly Alice turned really wild and quite angry at Bill because of what they experienced in the party of the Zieglers. At this point it was quite funny because I noticed how women tend to overreact to simply things that occur in a party. I don’t mean to offend anyone but this seems to be the usual case of men who go to parties and share whatever happened to them with their girlfriend or wife.  It’s a party and both men and women are present and expected to mingle. Alice, on the other hand, just saw things in a different way and blamed everything on his husband. I don’t know if these sudden bursts of feelings were caused by the pot but to me it looked like Alice had kept her feelings for too long and she just had to let them go. And this actually became the trigger of the most disturbing yet exciting part for me.

Skipping to the orgy scene, at first I thought they were a cult worshipping Satan and that they have the women as their sacrifice. But no, I was quite shocked when it was actually a ceremony of some sort to start the high-end orgy. There were quite a few questions that suddenly popped in my mind. How did Bill end up in this situation just because of a quarrel with his wife? Is it because of his “visions” of his wife having sex with the sailor? Who are these people and why do they have to wear masks when in fact, most of them know each other already? Why do the girls also have to wear masks? These were simple and immediate questions circulating in my head but the thing I was so much concerned about was how Bill forced himself to be part of the cult and even tried to learn more about it. Honestly, it felt like he was doing a Mission Impossible of some sort, but less action. At this point, I was seriously recalling the characters I saw in the in the first scenes and tried to determine whether they were part of the cult. I can’t really express my excitement as Bill tries to uncover things that might even cost him his life but I have to admit that I love this part because of the mystery that the cult presented. As I continued to imagine whether or not some people were part of the cult, the film Hot Fuzz just appeared in my head. It’s not about a couple but it is about an officer who happens to get assigned in a town where a cult of old and influential people sort of rule over the town. Like Bill, the main character also ends up risking his own life just to learn more about the cult and at the same time, the cult itself fends him off.

Towards the end of the film, things seem to fall apart for Bill. The visions still continue and he feels threatened by the people whom he doesn’t even know. Bill just actually wanted to do something different that could probably keep the visions off his head but instead he gets himself in trouble by stumbling upon a cult of powerful and influential people. What also bothered me towards the end was the question, “Was his wife REALLY present in the orgy?” She probably is, based on the mask that Bill used when he was in the orgy. After seeing the mask on their bed, I had the feeling that she REALLY was present but at the same time maybe not. This is what I liked about this film, it leaves me with facts and ideas together with the choice of whether to believe it or not.

Masculin Feminin – PARREÑAS, Miguel

Coming from Repo Man, I somehow knew that Masculin Feminin would still point towards the youth but only with a different topic or concern. Masculin Feminin is basically a “love story” between Paul and Madeleine, however, their so-called love story seems to crumble down as both man and woman get concerned with different things. The film was able to point out how both man and woman of the youth try to be someone who they think is “cool” but in the end, it was ironic how this became the reason for their downfall.

Madeleine is a typical young woman trying to explore different things the world has to offer. However, it seems that she lives in a world where violence and sex become serious issues that she fails to do what she wants and gets captured in the net of these issues. In the film, the topic of women and sex become quite offensive even from my own point of view. There were even scenes in the film where men would talk about getting in bed with the women including Madeleine. I understand that sex talk can be quite interesting at times but at the same time it can also be offensive. Paul and his friends find it cool and funny to talk about this issue but the women probably get offended even if don’t show it. Seeing how things in the film seem to favor the side of men and how superior they are, I immediately thought that the women would most likely be the one hiding in the shadows of men. And this was clearly seen in Madeleine. In some scenes, she really remains strong but submissive to men like Paul.

Towards the end of the film, there was one thing I realized about both men and women. Men tend to climb up the ladder of superiority while women just try to be themselves. As men continue their pursuit of superiority, they lean towards the bad influences while women continue to remain stable, confident and strong. And there were parts of the film where this is quite evident. Paul would normally vandalize things and answer back at anyone with a bitchy attitude. Women, on the other hand, including Madeleine, continue to live a life that is good and would really be beneficial in the future. It is funny how the film started with a man smoking a cigarette while reading a book. Right from the start, it showed how men are so proud of themselves. But towards the end of the film, it was ironic how the man (Paul) dies and Madeleine gets to speak last. Also, the ending had “Feminin” and then turned into “Fin” as if saying that women will have the last words.

The film is old and still in black and white. I hate to admit that it really lowers my interest in the film if ever it comes in black and white. It’s not that I really hate them but I just appreciate films more if they are colored. Anyway, the problems I had with Masculin Feminin aside from it being monochromatic, were the scenes cut in a different way. It’s like these scenes were supposed to be sentences but did not have a punctuation mark. Plus, unusual sounds tend to pop out of nowhere. In a film where I feel I need a lot of deep thinking to understand it, I really take note of almost every single detail I see both in the film and how it was made. Masculin Feminin’s cuts were really weird and most of them left me hanging. The sound effects did not lower the quality of the film but it was successful enough to distract me, if that was its main purpose.The conversations were a bit slow as well making the film a bit boring and dragging for me. I honestly had a hard time understanding the details due to these concerns however I was lucky enough to understand even just a few of its messages. I did not like the film construction-wise but I really did appreciate its points and messages pertaining to the youth of both then and now.

Repo Man – PARREÑAS, Miguel

Repo Man started with a really awkward yet funny scene. I don’t know why I kept on giggling after watching a stoned or drunk old man get pulled over by a policeman who interestingly enough vanishes after opening the trunk. The old man even told the officer, “You do not want to see what’s in there.” which I myself would have opened as well if I were the officer. (Out of curiosity perhaps) It was funny and weird for no reason but it still gave me a feeling that something exciting is going to happen in the next few scenes.

Few of the things I liked about Repo Man were the lack of quality in special effects. Yes, I really did find that very funny not because it had poor editing and effects but because that lack of editing and effects added to the funny and weird scenes’ tension and excitement. One would obviously laugh at the effects but soon enough he will notice that maybe it was not funny because of the effects but because the effects and the editing fit right into the scenes. A good example was shown right off the start when a flash of green and smoke coming off from the officer’s boots. Yes, we get that the officer was incinerated but it looked funny because it was able to deliver perfectly.

Aside from the effects, the characters really maximized the bad and rebel language. Profanity made the film funny, again not because profanity appeals to the youth but because the characters used it in such a way to escalate the emotion and excitement. I seriously laugh and giggle when Otto just uses the F word to piss someone off or just to answer back with an attitude. I mean I get that this is a punk rock film but putting that aside, it still gives off a funny and rebellious attitude. It’s like watching South Park live. Some characters just needed to get the F word for being and idiot or for being plain stupid.

The film was definitely easier to grasp compared to the previous films we watched. We all know that the film pertains to the youth and it successfully delivers the message. In fact, the youth can be symbolized by Otto himself. Otto had fake IDs to get drinks, smoked cigarettes, used profanity like common language and basically gets into every single trouble he can. Also, the youth today want the easiest things. They want an easy job for easy money and almost anything that would spare them the hard work. They would join contests and all sorts of events just to earn quickly. In effect, they patronize anything that the media feeds them and in the future, they fail to be independent.

Repo Man may be just a film for anyone but it still has an important message that even people of today still fail to notice. Life is hard and most of the time it gives us the F word to exaggerate how difficult it is to live. However, we should not live with just that. Otto wanted the easy way out and he basically captures everyone, especially the youth’s desire to just live a normal and easy life. If we so much desire for the things that do not even help us improve ourselves, we might as well be given the F word and be incinerated like the others.

 

Barton Fink – PARREÑAS, Miguel

Watching Barton Fink gave me a weird feeling. When I saw John Turturro, I thought that his role would be a funny one probably like Phantom from You don’t mess with the Zohan or Agent Simmons in Transformers. Sadly, few scenes into the film, I did not see John Turturro smile or even crack a joke. Soon, I realized I had to set aside his funny roles and concentrate on a different and probably a more serious role as Barton Fink.

And it really was a serious role because it got me crumpling my forehead and thinking about the scenes instead of laughing.Few scenes into the movie, I noticed that I already got lost in the film’s plot. What really messed up the scenes for me was when Audrey slept with Barton and when Barton woke up, Audrey was already dead. It did not show how exactly Audrey was killed but all we know is that Barton is the immediate suspect. After this particular scene, I realized that the things that are happening to Barton have something to do with his state of being conscious and unconscious. And his encounter with Audrey clearly showed that Barton Fink is in a messed up state of mind. Before he went to bed with Audrey, Barton suddenly hears sex or erotic sounds next door which probably speak of his intentions and desire for Audrey. However, the sounds are weird as well. I could not determine whether they are hurtful or pleasurable sounds. Soon, he wakes up with Audrey dead beside him. At this point, I really thought that Barton’s imagination or sense of being conscious and unconscious needs immediate attention.

And then Charlie appears, a friend who lives next door who I am guessing to be yet another figment of Barton Fink’s imagination. When I first heard Charlie’s voice, Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove just snapped into my mind. And yes, I saw a bit of Pacha in Charlie. Pacha was a normal citizen with a family but then Kuzco just kept on making a mess. The similarity is almost of equal weight between Charlie and Pacha. Charlie is a good and responsible friend to Barton Fink. (Well, that is what I saw in Charlie.) Whenever Barton is in trouble, Charlie is always there to clean up the mess. (This includes taking care of Audrey’s body when Barton Fink was in a really tight situation.) It is as if Charlie becomes the conscience of Barton Fink right after Barton Fink does something terrible. Another scene would be when the whole building as on fire and Barton Fink was in a state of panic and yet Charlie remains calm even after killing a person and with all the heat. Right then and there, I realized that Charlie really is like the good and calm state of mind of Barton Fink.

The film ended with Barton Fink in the beach and staring at a woman. We obviously know that the whole scene is similar to the picture that Barton Fink had in his room. There were a lot of things that can be drawn from this scene like symbolisms and possible messages of the true ending of the film. However, what got me really interested was when the shot was almost similar to the picture and right before the film ends, a bird suddenly dove into the water. I really do not understand why that happened. I do not know if that was even intentional but if it was not, then perhaps it meant for the ending to be funny or something. Probably it meant for everything that happened to Barton Fink to be a joke. Until now, despite having a few additional comments from friends, I still do not get why use that kind of ending.

For me, the whole film was a test in trying to determine whether or not Barton Fink was imagining things. There were scenes that I really found disturbing and difficult to understand as they fall right between fantasy and reality. Nonetheless, the film was fun to watch and did a goob job at keeping me interested even until the end. Yes, especially the ending scene.

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