Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Altman Blog

Of all three films we saw directed by Robert Altman, I would have to saythat The Long Goodbye was by far my favorite. I just couldn't get enough of the low bass tone of Marlowe's narration in the first scene when he is walking out of his door to get food for his cat.
The style of this film is extremely cool in my eyes, I'm not quite sure how to put it though. Marlowe's character is so laid back and suave that he is just fun to watch, especially his smart ass comments in tense situations. He just puts a sarcastic spin on everything, his general attitude towards problems is just extremely fun to watch for me.
Altman uses a very noticeable camera method in this movie in particular, smoky lenses. The smoky lenses he uses are very effective in giving that chill, smooth, smoky look to the scenes, rooms, and settings. This is crucial to setting the mood for most of the shots.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Coen Brothers Post

Fate vs. Choice

Most prominent in No Country for Old Men, the seperation of Fate vs. Choice is ever present, the argument always seems to be wether fate caused everything to happen or wether it was solely choice of taking an action.
Carla Jean and Anton Shugar are excellent examples of the opposites of the spectrum, Anton believes in fate causing everything to happen as it should while Carla Jean on the other hand, believes strongly that choice must be made for an action to take place.
In Raising Arizona, Edwina's inability to bear children could be argued as fate, which sent her to steal the kid, or wether it was purely the choice to do so as to why they stole the kid.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The primary trait of Kurosawa's directing that I decided to observe and analyze was his use of sound and music. Kurosawa fancied using no-diagetic sound in order to achieve his emotional responses and mood differences by the sound. Ran is a very good example, in the first battle scene at the third castle, Kurosawa decides not to use the sounds of dying and clashing metal, instead he decides to utilize a softer, dramatic score in order to achieve a hazy like mood, a type of "dazed and confused", if you will.
Also in Stray Dog, he uses music in the black market scene. He articulates the repetitiveness of the scene and the emotions of the young detective by putting a light but rushing musical score in the backround of the scene in the black market.
This is also present in Yojimbo, a light dancy tune is played in the street scenes as almost a comical feel is achieved when the samurai is just kinda walking and doing his thing in order to take advantage of the two warring groups.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk was probably my favorite of the 3 films that we watched for the Ridley Scott director study. This is probably accredited to the modern-day warfare and military aspect of the story and the setting of the conflict.
The first thing I noticed was the non-diagetic sound, alot of music was used during this film that wasn't necessarily a score or strictly instrumental. As an example, when the black hawk helicopters were taking off voodoo child came on and played throughout the sequence on the way to the Bacqueratt market.
Scott also used a fire-hosing camera technique (handheld), to enhance the effect of chaos and stress on the soldiers.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Gladiator has been by far one of my favorite movies for a while now, not only because of the bloody intense action sequences like the first battle in the forest, but also because of the way Scott keeps bringing up the key elements of the plot throughout the story line.
The main reoccuring theme that i notice continually popping up during the story is the flashback scenes to where Maximus's plantation where his family is hanged and burned. This scene is first burned into our minds by the heartwrenching picture of Maximus crying and cluthing the charred foot of his son when he finds the bodies of his family hanging and burning in front of his home on his plantation. Scott finds places in the story to bring back that scene, usually in times of great pain and turmoil for Maximus like when he is being transported in the slave cart, or when he is wounded but still kills Caesar. He kind of walks into this daze and then remembers his family, its almost like the memory of his family is the only thing driving him to continue pushing on and living. However in the last scene when he kills Caesar, I think his flashback is him going home to his family by dying and rejoining them in death. Scott gives Maximus a driving force during the story to keep going through these flashbacks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven shows many thematic elements found in other well known movies by Scott like Gladiator with notable skill in Scott's use of visual and sound effects to emphasize emotions and significance of scenes.
From a visual aspect, Scott continually uses slow motion and dramatic visual effects to emphasize the dramatic tone of the scene. He uses this in Kingdom of Heaven frequently during battle scenes for a cool violence look too which is very Ridley Scott-esk as seen in his other films. This shot technique almost forces us to slow down and pay attention to the details instead of hastly trying to comprehend whats going on in the massive action scene.
Scott also uses a type of muting in the sound the simulate a feeling of seperation from the scene going on around the character, almost like an out of body experience, which takes the viewer out of the mayhem as well for a second.
Wether it be visual or auditory techniques, Ridley Scott displays his direction style in Kingdom of Heaven in full swing without a doubt.