Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

MIDG Podcast #2: The Good And The Bad

Posted 20 Apr 2014 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill & Ezra Stead

 

Jason and Ezra discuss the basic elements of good and bad film. From dramas to comedies, action to science fiction, good and bad movies come in many forms and take on many critics. Here are just a few examples as we ponder the idea of what makes a good film good and a bad film bad.

 

 

 

 

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The American – A Silent Prayer

Posted 30 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

The American, USA, 2010

Directed by Anton Corbijn The entire The American film feels like artwork.

This is a film that exists nervously in the pits of our stomachs. Director Anton Corbijn knows the value of undue paranoia and cleverly exploits his characters’ emotional states, birthing a labyrinth of intrigue and questionable motives. Butterflies are present throughout the entire film, existing as both a motif and symbolism for our lead character’s life. He has a butterfly tattoo on his hand; he falls asleep reading a book regarding butterflies. People begin to know him by this trademark. In fact, it’s one of only a few truths we have about him: he’s interested in butterflies, he kills people for a living, and his weakness (like any classic movie character) is love, and in a film as patient and caring as this one, we’re afforded the time to focus on all of these truths.

The story itself is fairly simple: an assassin hides in Italy while conducting his last assignment. He is given a task by his boss, Pavel (Johan Leysen), to assist another assassin with a weapons exchange. He builds her a gun. During his stay, he befriends a priest and a prostitute. The dynamic in all of these relationships is the existence of sin. Despite the warm world that Corbijn creates for us, there is an underlying sense of dread throughout the project. He assigns a color palette to the film from the first frame, using warm earth tones to put his audience at ease. Our prostitute is given her own opposing colors, and by the end we don’t know which spectra to trust. It’s the understanding of small detail that Corbijn shows that is the genuine pay-off for his audience, if we pay close attention. Read More

The Tree Of Life

Posted 10 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Tree of Life, USA, 2011

Written and Directed by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is a beautiful and extraordinary film that will undoubtedly remain one of the best of this year or any other.

Terrence Malick is a truly extraordinary and enigmatic filmmaker; over the course of the last 38 years, he has directed only five films, each one of which is widely regarded as a consummate masterpiece. The beauty and complexity of his images are almost in a league of their own. Between the sheer cinematic perfection of his work and its anti-prolific output, he is reminiscent of perhaps the cinema’s greatest auteur, the late Stanley Kubrick. His latest film is likely his best work to date (I still haven’t seen 1978’s Days of Heaven, widely regarded as his greatest achievement up until now), and it certainly feels like his most personal, while simultaneously tackling the huge metaphysical ideas of Kubrick’s own greatest work, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The Tree of Life is a staggeringly ambitious film that evokes not only the monumental beginnings of all existence in the universe, but also the tiny, specific details of ordinary lives; the result is a flawed but profound epic on the scale of 2001 with the emotional resonance that Kubrick’s more detached approach is often accused of lacking. It is also a film that deserves comparison to Darren Aronofsky’s extremely underrated masterpiece The Fountain (2006) in its themes of the interconnectedness of all time and space and the way in which we are all affected by forces beyond our control and understanding. It is the rare film whose flaws only make it more intriguing, since life itself is flawed and disconnected in much the same way. Above all, while comparisons can be made to other masterpieces in Malick’s own career as well as those mentioned above, this is a wonderfully unique and original film, with a style and voice unlike any I can recall. Read More

Faces Of The Street – Two Short Films From Minneapolis

Posted 16 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Grinning Faces, USA, 2010

Written and Directed by Noah Tilsen

Street Hassle, USA, 2010

Written and Directed by Roger Davidson

Grinning Faces is a disturbing and impressive film debut from Noah Tilsen.

Here we present a look at two films that many people will not only not “get,” but may have some difficulty in even seeing for themselves, as they are not widely available for viewing as of yet. Noah Tilsen’s Grinning Faces and Roger Davidson’s Street Hassle are two micro-budget indie shorts, both approximately 30 minutes long, made by two of the more promising filmmakers currently at work in the Twin Cities of my home state, Minnesota. Both films are dark (both in cinematography and content), stylish and disturbing, with a bit of gallows humor and a strong sense of impending doom and madness. It is this reviewer’s opinion that short films are too often overlooked, and I try to rectify this oversight by occasionally reviewing them here; in fact, my first article as an official writer for this site was a lengthy analysis of one of my favorite films, Luis Bunuel’s 16-minute masterpiece, Un Chien Andalou (1929): http://moviesididntget.com/2011/01/17/un-chien-andalou-kill-your-symbols/

Full disclosure: though I had nothing directly to do with the making of Grinning Faces, several of those both behind and in front of the camera are friends or acquaintances of mine, which is also true of Street Hassle; additionally, I have a minor, non-speaking role in Hassle, though my influence on the film is so minimal, I feel that it is not a conflict of interest for me to review it here. I thought it best to be up-front and honest about this, and I will do my utmost to provide unbiased reviews of both.

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Hanna

Posted 04 May 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Hanna, USA / UK / Germany, 2011

Directed by Joe Wright

Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character in Joe Wright's Hanna. The most disappointing thing about Hanna is that the theater wasn’t crowded: less than half full, and everyone there loved it. Opening night, no less. Perhaps everyone went to see David Gordon Green’s Your Highness instead? Even so, the people who opted for Your Highness probably wouldn’t make up the proper crowd for an arthouse thriller directed by the man behind Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Atonement (2007). This is purely speculation, as all tastes are different. I’ll certainly be seeing Your Highness at some point, but I’m paid to. So, that point is probably moot, too. Regardless, the fact that the theater had elbow room, room for me to store my bag in another seat, and only a total of probably forty or so people … it’s a bit depressing. Read More