Thursday, April 12, 2007

Film Noirs

I have been watching a lot of Film Noirs from the 40's. I started noticing the difference between the more expensive films ($14.99 each) and the cheaper films (18 for $20). The big budget Hollywood Noirs that have the big name actors are not as good as the low budget B Noirs. In the big budget films there is a lot of attention given to setting up the characters and the situation. They begin making sure that the stars are introduced and shot in a flattering manner. This is not necessary for the genre. The scripts are also more convoluted and the pacing is generally not as tight although the endings tend to be good. The low budget B noirs on the other hand are great, with the exception of some bad third-act twists. They are able to get right to the conflict and usually the main character is put in a predicament. Due to lower budgets, the film is reduced down to less characters, and more scenes cut together to tell the story rather than dialogue and expensive shots. The audience is engaged by putting the pictures together and extracting the story themselves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

the most hated family in America

Here is a BBC2 documentary about the Phelps family - the church who picket soldier's funerals. It's pretty good. I really like the documentarian.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A movie quiz

You've all probably seen Professor Irwin Corey's Spring Break Movie Quiz at the Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog. I thought they were interesting questions and if anybody wants to answer them, they could. I'll post my answers in the comments section in a few days.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

14) Your favorite aspect ratio 1

5) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?