Friday, February 27, 2009

Citizen Kane - Memorable Shots

So we are halfway through Citizen Kane (I think) and I thought this would be a good time to write down all of the shots I considered to be interesting. Since we aren't done with the film yet, the list will probably grow and I'll create another post for them.

A man shrouded in darkness- Just after the newsreel in the beginning ends, the chief newspaper guy (I do believe that was his professional title) stands in complete darkness except for the light from the projector hitting him. This particular image is imprinted on my mind and regardless of whether I end up liking this movie or not, that shot will always be one of my favorites. The entire room is filled with men who are both literally and figuratively "in the dark". The small glints of light represent the little amount of knowledge they have about their subject.

Building on fire?- I wasn't sure if I was over-analyzing this but a short chat with Mr. Bennett convinced me that I was on to something with this one. Just before the scene where C.F. Kane writes out the "promises" he plans on keeping at his newspaper, there is an interesting transition. First we see an exterior shot of the building, and then as it fades, fire from an oil lamp is clearly visible in one of the windows. This proves to be from an oil lamp in the next scene, but if you freeze the picture during the transition, it really looks as though the building is on fire. I felt that this was foreshadowing of how very soon, Kane's life is going to be pulled from under his feet and he will begin to suffer.

Knock off that racket!- The scene where Kane's mother is signing off her son to be taken away, you can see a young Kane playing in the snow through the window. You can hear his joyful cries of glee even from far away. His father, then shuts the window that is housing his son, and the noise stops. When I first saw this, I knew it was probably important. I could go through what it means, but I feel it would be redundant since we have already gone over it in class and it is even up on Jimmy Cassidy's blog.

Come a little closer, you look so small from back there- This is another one we went over in class, but I'll mention it anyway. The scene where Kane is signing over his newspaper and he slowly walks to the back of the room, suddenly seeming so tiny in comparison to the two men in the foreground. This is just something I took notice of as being important, and when it was mentioned in class I felt happy because I was right. Yayyyyy.

Ah crap.- In a scene we watched today, Kane's alleged love affair with "singer" Susan Alexander was brought to his wife's attention by Boss Gettys. As Gettys, Susan, and wife Emily are having an obviously heated discussion, Kane can be seen in the background, smaller than everyone else, face covered by shadows. Previously in the movie, the news men covered in darkness represented how little they knew. This darkness I felt represents what Kane was feeling about being caught. Think about when you were a kid and you did something bad, and you knew you were going to get in trouble for it. You'd think about staying away from the people who could yell at you and just kind've hide so maybe they won't find you. Seeing Kane standing in the background, looking so small and with his face covered (possibly in shame), this was the picture that came to mind.

That's all I got for now. See ya.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Rambling -- What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

Turns out it was a flesh eating virus. Nah I'm just kidding, although given the things Gilbert has to put up with, he might take a flesh eating virus as a win. To those of you teens who complain about dealing with your annoying parents and maybe some bothersome siblings, you should go ahead and watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Gilbert is a young man who is being severely limited by his family that consists of a morbidly obese mother, an autistic brother, and two frustratingly unappreciative sisters. With a life so consumed by taking care of his family, the only time Gilbert has for himself is when he delivers groceries to Betty Carver, although the groceries aren't the reason she calls him, if ya know what I mean. When Gilbert finally does find a girl that he likes, Becky, he tries as hard as he can to start his own social life, but his family continually gets in the way.
I really wanted to like What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and there were some moments I genuinely enjoyed, specifically whenever Leonardo Dicaprio was on screen. However, the film is so drowned in mawkishness that I didn't find myself enjoying it. Johnny Depp, who plays Gilbert, and is one of my favorite actors, was vastly disappointing if I must say so. I was looking for him to really grab this movie by the horns and steer it in the right direction, but he couldn't get a good enough grip. His scenes with Becky (Juliette Lewis) were absolutely disastrous and I found myself pulling my hair waiting for them to end. The one bright spot in this movie that makes it somewhat worth watching is Leonardo Dicaprio's performance as Gilbert's autistic brother Arnie. His scenes were the only ones where I felt interested and they actually made me watch this movie through and through. As someone who has a relative with down syndrome, I tend to be a sucker for movies that explore mental disabilites.
I didn't really analyze What's Eating Gilbert Grape as far as direction and writing goes, because I had a headache and was just looking for a movie to pass the time. I probably should had just taken a nap. In other words, forget what I said in the first paragraph, I don't suggest anybody watches What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

A favor to ask

This isn't regarding the class, I just need help with something if you get the chance. For some reason when I try to visit my other blog I am told that the internet could not find my page and the "operation was aborted". Could somebody try to visit my blog and see if it works on their computer, in case it is just mine? Thank you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grand Illusion

This is more of a rambling than a review.

After a suggestion from Mr. Bennett, I rented Grand Illusion through the wonders of Netflix. The first thing I did was do some research on the film to get some background on it. I found that in 1937 it became the first foreign language film to be nominted for Best Picture, and only a handful of movies have achieved that to date. With that, I put the movie in my queue, and I just got it in the mail today. I just finished watching Grand Illusion about five minutes ago so the experience is fresh in mind. I tried really hard to pay attention to everything that appeared on screen so that I can analyze the work intelligently, but I encountered a problem. I found it difficult to read the subtitles of the film and take notice of what was happening in frame at the same time. I should have figured this was going to happen, because it has occurred before with Pan's Labrynth, City of God, and Profondo Rosso. So unfortunately, I was not able to see if anything earlier in the film had significance later in the film, unless it was spoken and appeared in the subtitles. I still found the film enjoyable, but if anything a little farfetched. Call me crazy, but I didn't get the feeling that the French were being held captive at all. There were moments when it seemed as though the Germans and French were equals. Perhaps this was the message of the movie? I found De Boeldieu's relationship with Von Rauffenstein to be rather intriguing, considering they were Captain's on opposing sides of the war treating each other with the respect and care one would give to their brother.

In the future I will have to give Grand Illusion another viewing so that I can pay more attention to what is happening on screen, now that I am familiar with the film. At this point I can say I found the film to be enjoyable and I would willingly watch it again. Oh yea, I'm also unsure as to what the "Grand Illusion" of the film was. Was it Marachel and Rosenthal's escape thanks to the distraction caused by De Boeldieu? They should call it the "Grand Misdirection" then.

Monday, February 23, 2009

81st Academy Awards

The Academy Awards were held yesterday and so we finally have the definitive answer to which film is the best of the best of 2008. Although I don't agree with some winners, for the most part there were not many surprises. The ceremony itself had lots of potential to become the most enjoyable Academy Awards in a very, very long time. Hugh Jackman's energetic and hilarious opening number really started the show off with a bang and gave me hope that things this year would be easier to watch. But of course, you can't have an Oscar ceremony without several boring, unnecessary montages. This year they decided to create a different montage for every genre of film. The only one worth watching was Judd Apatow's comedy montage starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as their characters from Pineapple Express. Turns out the skit was actually a lot funnier than Pineapple Express.
The second absolute disaster and by far the worst change made to the functionality of the ceremony was the presentation of the acting awards. Rather than have two people come out and introduce the nominees with clips of their performances, we were instead forced to endure an introduction to the FIVE presenters, and then listen to ALL FIVE PRESENTERS give long and uninteresting monologues about the nominees, and then NOT SHOW US A CLIP. Who was the bright light that thought of that idea?! Not everybody gets to go out and see most of these films, so they enjoy seeing the 10 seconds clips. But no, the Academy basically just said that if you didn't see the film, then screw you. Wouldn't you have been a lot happier if you got to see Heath Ledger's performance shown one more time? Atrocious.
And lastly: Sean Penn?!?!?! I cannot fathom how Sean Penn could have possibly been better than Mickey Rourke. Granted I haven't seen Milk, but I did see The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke actually brought tears to my eyes. I had to force them back to keep them from rolling down my cheeks. The last time I cried at a film, I was 7 and watching Air Bud. Plus, Penn has already won an award. If the race in an acting category is that close, the scale should tip in favor of the person who hasn't won an award yet. That could just be how I feel about it, but I think it makes sense. This could actually be the final nail in the coffin for the Oscars, and at this point I don't see myself ever watching them again. They are simply too full of themselves to recognize what the audience likes rather than what they like. Anyway, here is a list of basically all the winners at the 81st Academy Awards.

Best Animated Feature - Wall-E

Best Achievement in Visual Effects- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (should have gone to The Dark Knight)

Best Achievement in Sound Editing- The Dark Knight

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing- Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Song- Slumdog Millionaire for "Jai Ho" by A.R. Rahman

Best Original Score- Slumdog Millionaire - A.R. Rahman

Best Achievement in Makeup- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Achievement in Costume Design- The Duchess

Best Achievement in Art Direction- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Achievement in Editing- Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Cinematography- Slumdog Millionaire (should've gone to The Dark Knight)

Best Adapted Screenplay- Slumdog Millionaire - Simon Beaufoy

Best Original Screenplay- Milk - Dustin Lance Black

Best Achievement in Directing- Slumdog Millionaire - Danny Boyle

Best Supporting Actress- Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor- Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight

Best Actress- Kate Winslet for The Reader

Best Actor- Sean Penn for Milk (should've gone to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler)

Best Picture- Slumdog Millionaire

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Bruges


Have you ever been to Bruges? Well I haven't. When looking up a place to vacation, my family isn't looking at the brochure that says "Visit beautiful Belgium!" The city of Bruges is a medieval town with beautiful buildings and canals, but if you aren't held over by sightseeing, you probably won't want to go there. They don't even have a bowling alley. Being so obscure and unknown to most, it turns out to be the perfect place to, I don't know, hide out a couple of hit men who messed up their last job? That's exactly what Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) decided to do. After an unnecessary victim was claimed on their latest hit, Ray and Ken (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) are ordered by Harry to hole up in the little known city of Bruges in Belgium. While Ken has no trouble enjoying the gorgeous scenery, Ray hates everything about the city as he frequently expresses in rather vulgar terms. It could be that Ray is just upset because it was he who made the mistake on the job, and the guilt is destroying him on the inside. Not even a date with beautiful Belgian girl Chloe (Clemence Poesy) or a comically racist dwarf (Jordan Prentice) could cheer him up. After a few days in Bruges, Ken receives a phone call from Harry, and we discover that the reason the two men were stationed in the secret city is not as simple as it seemed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Favorite Movies Of All Time: 5-1

Here you go, my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I mentioned that numbers 25-6 are likely to change over the years, but I highly doubt these are going to drop out of the top 5 any time soon.

5) Saw (2004)- Even though it spawned less than average sequels, the first Saw was one of the most original horror films I had seen in years. It accomplished something that I never thought was possible: create a killer that the viewer actually, well, agrees with. John Kramer was a nice average Joe who just wanted to help people and all he got in return was an inoperable frontal lobe tumor. As Jigsaw, he spread a message that is one you can actually be sympathetic with. "Those who do not appreciate life, do not deserve life". Although it is a bit extreme, it makes a whole lot of sense doesn't it? Not like Freddy Kreuger or Jason Voorhees, who are formally dead people coming back for revenge. That doesn't make any sense. What I really liked about Saw was that although there were numerous deaths, the movie focused more on the mystery than it did the killing. The sequels lost sight of this and became all about the gruesome aspects of the plot.

4) Young Frankenstein (1974)- This is how spoof comedy is done! I see movies nowadays like Disaster Movie and Epic Movie and it makes me ashamed to be an American. Only because it sickens me to think movies like that could be made and actually make money! It doesn't paint a nice picture of the American people. Those movies call themselves spoofs but I just call them disgraceful. Mel Brooks was and will always will be the king of the spoof comedy, and Young Frankenstein is his crown jewel. Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman are priceless and although I've seen the movie about 20 times, they still crack me up.

3) The Shining (1980)- Hands down the best horror movie of all time, period, end of story, no ifs ands or buts about it. Stanley Kubrick's mastering of the tracking shot gave the film the eerie sense of creeping evil around every corner, and it scares the living daylights out of me. Jack Nicholson's diabolically insane Jack Torrance is the epitome of horror. Even though Shelley Duvall over-acted her role a disgusting amount, Nicholson countered it by being perfect. Kubrick captured the essence of what truly horrifies people and executed it flawlessly. Watching people get killed is not what is scary, but rather the sense that someone is about to be killed. There is only one on screen murder in The Shining, and it is quick and done rather tastefully.

2) Memento (2000)- Story-telling at it's finest. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's tale of a man with short term memory loss searching for his wife's killer is intriguing and perfectly executed. The unique style in which the story is told has never been paralleled, making it a true masterpiece. After 10+ viewings, Memento remains potent and effective

1) A Clockwork Orange (1971)- I don't know if you figured it out yet, but I am what you would call a "Stanley Kubrick fan". There is no argument in my mind that A Clockwork Orange is among the greatest films of all time. The first time I watched it, I was shocked. I was shocked that the content of the film was able to be released in 1971. This was pretty intense by today's standards. After some research I discovered that A Clockwork Orange was originally rated X, incited riots, and caused Kubrick and his family to receive numerous death threats. I guess it wasn't as accepted as I thought. Small fact: 1972 was the first year Jack Nicholson presented the Best Picture Oscar. Although he was a rather small name at the time, no highly regarded actor would present the award on the off chance A Clockwork Orange won. They did not want to be associated with the film. So, Nicholson was asked and he accepted. If you ask me, there were two atrocities that took place at the 1972 Academy Awards. 1- Malcolm McDowell was not even NOMINATED for the Best Actor Oscar. That has to be the most egregious snub in Oscar history. 2- The French Connection beat A Clockwork Orange for Best Picture. I've seen The French Connection. It was unbearable. And it wasn't because I didn't want to like it because I didn't want it to be better than Clockwork. I truly found it impossible to watch. After reading the novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, I only grew to love the movie even more. In the translation to film, Kubrick only lost the meaning of the film in that he left out Chapter 21. Other than that, it was a perfect translation and an absolute masterpiece. I've introduced multiple people to A Clockwork Orange and they are all glad I did.

That concludes my list. I hope you find something that we have in common. Following is a list of runners up that just missed out on being in the Top 25.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)- Johnny's charisma and the adult fairy tale plot are extremely entertaining to watch, but Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley make parts of the movie (and both sequels) unwatchable.

In Bruges (2008)- Excellent film with excellent performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson and an excellent script with an excellent resolution. Just, excellent. The only thing keeping this out of my 25 is that I've only seen it once, so I don't know if it has lasting power.

V For Vendetta (2005)- The character V is down right cool and his cause is one to believe in. My only qualm with the film is its length and its lasting power. After a few viewings I wasn't as in love with it. I still think its enjoyable and I watch it when it's on, but I wouldn't call it a favorite.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)- My relationship with this film is really strange. The first time I saw it in theaters I was like, "wow, that was amazing". I loved everything about it. I loved Burton's style, Depp's performance, the music, and hell I even liked Helena Bonham Carter (I do not care for Helena Bonham Carter). The second time I watched the film, I discovered I did not like it nearly as much as the first. I was close to even saying I didn't like it. Then I watched it a third time, and it was amazing again. I watched it again recently, and it was just OK. So I guess depending on my mood, this movie could make the list, but it is far too volatile to be placed on the list permanently.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Favorite Movies Of All Time: 15-6

Hey everyone. This is the second half of my list of favorite movies of all time. I'd like to reiterate from the first post that this list is highly tentative and will most likely change over time. But at this moment, the list is correct.

15) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)- Perhaps the best adventure film of all time, this Indy flick is my favorite of the franchise. Perhaps it's Sean Connery's delightful accent.

14) American Psycho (2000)- Christian Bale is terrifying and hilarious in this satirical look at the world of yuppie businessmen.

13) American History X (1998)- The captivating performance by Edward Norton and the sensitive subject matter made American History X one of the most enjoyable movie watching experiences of my life. It also presents an answer to the question of how far people are willing to take racism before they realize it isn't helpling anyone. The first half of the film almost justifies the reasons for racism and actually convinces you that it is OK. But in the latter half of the film, after Norton gets out of prison, reason enters his mind and thus fills the movie sending a powerful message to the audience. If the ending doesn't leave you feeling like you just got punched in the gut, you are made of stone.

12) Hairspray (2007)- Yea that's right, you got a problem with that? I've seen this movie 10+ times and I still like it just as much as I did the first time. Shutup. I am not!

11) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)- I dare you to watch Anchorman and not sprinkle some lines from it into your daily life. I remember when this first came out everybody and their mothers was speaking in a deep voice and saying things like "Milk was a bad choice!" It didn't even have to make sense in context, but we'd say it. It also marked the beginning of Judd Apatow's reign as the King of New Comedy.

10) Full Metal Jacket (1987)- This time Kubrick takes on the Vietnam War and, as usual, he delivers with something special. Taking you from the moment someone arrives at boot camp all the way into battle, the atrocities of war are evident throughout. Vincent D'Onofrio's final stand of insanity is heart stopping, and poor Matthew Modine never did anything worth watching again.

9) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)- "Ni!"

8) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)- Talk about a fantastic ending. There is never a better feeling than when good overcomes evil and all in the world is put right. Probably because it never happens in real life, so when we see it in film, we eat it up like Thanksgiving dinner. If it wasn't for Forrest Gump, this movie would have won the Oscars it deserved. Don't get me wrong, I liked Forrest Gump, but only like the first 2 times I saw it. I've seen Shawshank about 8 times and I still love it.

7) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)- I don't care if author Ken Kesey refused to watch this movie because it changed so much in the translation to film, I could watch this movie for him and let him know that it's fantastic. As a matter of fact, I found it to be an improvement on his book. Take that, Mr. Kesey. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest became the first film since It Happened One Night in 1934 to win the big five Academy Awards (Best Screenplay, Actress, Actor, Director, and Picture). And come on, you gotta love Jack.

6) The Dark Knight (2008)- Yea I know it's still early and that in a few years I will probably drop The Dark Knight on the list, but for now I'm still crushing like a school girl on it. Like Iron Man before it, The Dark Knight proved a superhero movie doesn't always have to be thought of as a mindless action flick. I find it to be one of the best crime epic's I've seen, and I am looking forward to hearing Heath Ledger's name announced as winner of the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award on February 22nd.

Come back tomorrow for the SUPER RIDICULOUS CRAZY CONLUSION OF MY LIST!! Nah it won't be that crazy, but come back anyway.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Favorite Movies of All Time: 25-16

Hello loyal readers. I felt like posting today but I didn't feel like doing a full on review. Instead, I thought I'd have some fun and create a list of my top 25 favorite films of all time. Now this list is highly tentative and will most likely change soon. But right at this moment, as I type this, what I have now is what I truly feel. You will see a wide array of movie genres here and some of the films may surprise you. My top 5 favorite films were judged based on entertainment value, lasting power, and technical achievement. Movies 25-6 are based more on entertainment value and lasting power. I didn't judge them all based on technical stuff like directing and writing and things of that nature. So when you see that Anchorman is rated higher than Paths of Glory on my list, it is obviously because I just find Anchorman to be more enjoyable to watch. If I had based that decision on direction, obviously Stanley Kubrick would blow Adam McKay out of the water. I decided that to stretch this experience out and to keep you from having to read one super long post, I will just list numbers 25-16 today.

25) Paths Of Glory (1957)- Stanley Kubrick's second major film about the cruelty of man is not just thought provoking but a thrill to watch.

24) The Birdcage (1996)- Two words: Agador Spartacus. Hank Azaria's famous supporting role is just the icing on the cake of this hilarious movie that has had me laughing since I was a little boy.

23) Secret Window (2004)- It's not the most original psychological thriller, but even after numerous viewings I find myself more than satisfied by the resolution. Revenge is a sweet, sweet thing.

22) Iron Man (2008)- One of the biggest blockbusters of 2008, Iron Man was one of the greatest superhero films ever made. It proved that a big budget action flick could be both intelligent and unabashedly fun. It also helped revive Robert Downey Jr's career...big time.

21) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)- Michel Gondry's exploration into the agonizing world of love is engaging throughout and filled with top notch performances. Jim Carrey at his absolute finest.

20) Ghostbusters (1984)- Ah Ghostbusters, my first love. Well, the first movie I ever loved. My big brother groomed me to like this movie when I was extremely young and it just stuck. I used to have the outfit and a proton pack and everything. I miss childhood. Nevertheless, the movie is still hilarious. Don't worry about the sequel. Even Bill Murray said he didn't like the sequel.

19) The Big Lebowski (1998)- "That rug really tied the room together". Enough said.

18) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)- Another Kubrick gem, this satire garnered 4 Oscar nominations including Best Writing, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. You are guaranteed to laugh at at least one of Peter Sellers' 3 great performances. Dr. Strangelove is also the movie that brought the famous line "Gentleman you can't fight in here, this is the war room!"

17) Fight Club (1999)- I can't believe I went 10 years without seeing this movie. After the first time I watched Fight Club, I was mildly impressed, but I didn't get the hype. I watched it again the following day and I realized that "wait a minute, this movie is friggin GREAT!".

16) Clue (1985)- This could probably classify as a "guilty pleasure" of mine, although I don't feel guilty about it. I've seen this movie about 9 times and I still love every minute of it. If you love the game like I do, this movie is going to be in your list as well.

Check back tomorrow (probably) for numbers 15-6!

All Quiet On The Western Front - Just An Overview

In class today we just finished watching the classic All Quiet On The Western Front. It was released in 1930, which officially makes it the oldest movie I have ever seen (the previous record holder being It Happened One Night (1934) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) before that). It won Best Picture in 1930, and I guess I could see why. The direction and writing really were something to behold, and with the help of my teacher, I don't think I missed anything. The only problem with the movie though, perhaps isn't even really a problem with the movie. It's a problem with me. I am a victim of the 21st century, so AQOTWF was noticably dated to me. I was very aware of the fact that I was watching a film made 79 years ago. With that in mind, I understand how this movie won Best Picture, regardless of whether I fully appreciate why it won Best Picture.

He's Just Not That Into You


February is probably my least favorite month of the year. It is the time when movie studios are caught in the middle of their release schedules. Their Oscar nominees have all hit theaters back in December, and they have to wait a few more months until they could release their blockbusters. So February is the time where movie studios dump off their below average work and hope that their garbage smells better than everyone else's. This means we get movies like The Pink Panther 2, another Friday the 13th, and a whole mess of lousy romantic comedies. Every now and then you do see a genuinely good film in February, such as last year's surprisingly good romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe. I should have known it would be too much to ask for consecutive February's with smart, original films with actual entertainment value to boot. He's Just Not That Into You, based on the popular self-help book by Greg Behrendt, is original but noticably ostentatious and desperately lacking the ability to keep my attention for more than four minutes at a time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rescue Dawn

Over the weekend I watched the Werner Herzog film Rescue Dawn. The story followed Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), and American pilot who gets shot down over Laos in the time before the Vietnam War. Dengler is taken into captivity at a Laotian prison camp where he meets Duane (Steve Zahn) and other Americans who were taken. As soon as he arrives, Dengler begins to plan his escape using knowledge he's accrued since he was a boy. But even if he makes it away from the machine gun wielding guards and the bamboo tower, he must also escape the real prison: the endless jungle.

I wanted to see Rescue Dawn because I am a big fan of Christian Bale. I think he is the best actor of his generation and it is only a matter of time before he wins an Academy Award. I was a bit disappointed with his performance in this film however. As his character is being detained, Bale walks around smirking and not seeming very alarmed. If I was just shot down over a Laotian jungle and was being led some place against my will, I'd be pretty freaked out. After the first 40 minutes or so, his performance progresses into something different that seems more like the Christian Bale I know. Still not his best work, but at least he salvaged it.

The primary factor that rescues Rescue Dawn is director Werner Herzog. At no time does he make the jungle seem forgiving to Dengler. In every film I watch I try to look for the one shot that I will always remember. I always keep an eye out for the shot that makes me say "wow". It could be an entire scene, and it could be a single frame. In the instance of Rescue Dawn, this shot came when Dengler was wandering through the jungle. Now in Laos, everything in nature is bigger. The bugs and trees are 3 times too big, and the leaves on the trees are big enough to cover a human head. At one point, Dengler sees a helicopter flying overhead. He tries to signal it down, but the helicopter instead fires at him thinking he is an enemy. As the helicopter flies away, Dengler stands up and just beyond him you see one giant leaf from a tree. The camera stays on this shot for about 20 seconds, and it took me 15 seconds to understand what I was seeing. I noticed that in this shot, the leaf didn't look too big, Dengler looked too small. He looked like an ant standing in tall grass that would be impossible for him to navigate out of. If I didn't know this was based on a true story, that shot would have convinced me he never would get out of the jungle.

In the end, I'd give Rescue Dawn a 7/10 because although Bale was unimpressive, the direction and the inspirational story of triumph are something to behold.

First Film Class Post

Hey everyone. This blog was created for a class I am taking at school, so if you happen to not be a classmate of mine and you want to read some actual reviews, please visit my other blog Nick's Movie Reviews at URL