Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bugsy Malone

Bugsy Malone was pretty disturbing, because of the child actors trying to play the role of adults. There are reasons why the film doesn’t work with child actor and there are also some reasons that do work with the idea. There is also the idea of the American Dream in this movie which is brought up a lot and which plays a big role in the story.

The reason the kid actors were creepy was because they would do adult activities and say adult phrases that shouldn’t be done by a child of their age. Some of the girls would walk around with babies as if it were their daughters. For many reasons this world that the director Alan Parker created will haunt me for a while. For many of the kids this was their first film ever, with the exception to Jodie Foster who played Tallulah. Surprisingly the performances by most of the kids were very good which leads me to my second point, which is what worked with the child actors.

            Besides the fact that it was strange seeing the kids act like adults there were many comedic parts of the film because of that. One of the funniest parts was at the end when everyone gets pied, which will be brought up later when I talk about the American Dream Idea. Another aspect of the children character roles that was interesting was how it let adults watching the film analyze an adult situation in a totally new way. Instead of thinking every action is totally acceptable like in film like The Godfather because they’re adults, now we look at it with a new filter.

One critical part of the story, which isn’t clarified at all, is the question of weather or one dies or not when they get pied. My theory is that they do die because throughout the film until the very end all the characters disappear when they are pied. At the very end if you watch closely you can see that Bugsy and Blousey don’t have any pie on them at all. I think that it’s supposed to be a happy ending to a tragic story.

            The American Dream is the last thing I want to talk about in this Blog post. The reason it’s so important to the story is because there are a lot of minor characters like the little black janitor who wanted to be a dancer for Fat Sam. All of these minor characters led up to what made the ending so sad when everyone dies except Bugsy and Blousey. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shaun of the Dead

The film Shaun of the Dead is a perfect movie to watch if you want a good mix of screwball comedy and the zombie genre. The screwball comedy genre hasn't really ever been mixed with the zombie genre, which is actually what makes the film also a comedy.

The Zombies in Shaun of the Dead are actually pretty tame compared to most zombies in other films. The do get smarter throughout the film; however they aren't quick and very strong. A good way to describe them is slow moving human eaters. A take on zombies that is very different from the ones in Shaun of the Dead are the zombies in I am Legend. Those zombies are very intelligent and are stronger and faster then humans. They also are the more common type of zombie when it comes to functionality. Like Night of the Living Dead and other standard zombie films they grow more intelligent and also seem to only notice humans when they speak and make lots of noise. The reason I say this is because when they walk to the Winchester Tavern they all act like zombies and they go unnoticed; however, when the fat friend talks on the phone the zombies observe them. These Zombies also turn good at the end, which is done is some zombie films, however, there are plenty that stray from this idea completely. A film that uses similar aspects to this is the zom-com Fido. In Fido a collar controls the zombies, which is sort of how they handle them in Shaun of the Dead.

The screwball Comedy part of Shaun of the Dead is what I think is what makes the movie such an intriguing story. Hardly before Shaun of the Dead were there any well-made Zombie Comedy, and this was actually one of the first. It’s twisted and dark because it’s meant to be funny that he is in a situation were he has to shoot his mom and let his best friend fend of a storm of zombies.

I agree with Pifer’s idea that Shaun functioned like a zombie in a way because of the fact that he was letting his life fall to bits and pieces and his relationship was going down the drain. The fact that he was forced to make decision for his loved ones when the zombie attack happened actually helped him restore his lost relationship and strengthened his work ethic. This is a great zom-com and I suggest everyone to watch it!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


The musical Annie while it still takes place during the gangster era, it has a new refreshing and quite different from the dark gangster genre films we've been watching. It's light hearted and almost comedic sense of the gangster era is what makes the musical have a unique feel.

The reason this film was such a success was because it was an integrated musical. The singing, dancing, and acting were all part of the success to the film and fit nicely in the musical gangster genre. The singing and dancing actually help tell the story. There are five main idea to the story: American Dream, Greed, Ambition, Poverty, and Prosperity. 

The first one; American Dream, is sort of what the whole film is about. Annie, an orphan, wants to be loved and cared for by her parents, who are sadly dead. The song "Tomorrow" is all about how she waits for the day when she will finally have that perfect American Dream situation with a family. 

The second phrase is Greed, and with greed is what drives Miss Hannigan to act so cruelly towards the children. Mr. Warbucks was living at the standard for money first. A song that goes well with this theme is, "It's the Hard-Knock Life." The lyrics to the song have words like, "I've made me a fortune, That fortune made ten, Been headlined, And profiled, Again and again." The Billionaire Warbucks used to be a greedy man who was only living for cash flow.

The third word is ambition. Lily, Rooster, and Miss Hannigan all sing the song, "Easy Street." What some of the lyrics in the tune are: "Easy street, Easy street, Where the rich folks play, Yeah, yeah, yeah, Move them feet." All three of them were hungry for an easy rich life and ambitious for money.

The fourth part of the movie is poverty. Poverty was probably the largest problem for most of the characters in the film, primarily the orphans. A song that goes well with this theme is, "It's a Hard-Knock Life" because it's about the children's struggles. The film was based in the 1930's when the great depression happened.

The final is prosperity. The song that goes best with this is, "Something was Missing." In the last verse of the song Mr. Warbuck says, "Who'd dream I would find it, In one little girl? Yes, something was missing, But dreams do come true, That something is no one.....but you." He was talking about Annie and how lucky he was to have her stay with him and how she had made him a better person.

The film does stray into the realm of spectacle. For instance in one of the final scenes of the movie, Annie is being chased up a draw bridge by Rooster and the way she gets rescued by the body guard is pretty hard to believe. The whole film is pushed reality; however, that is also what makes it fun to watch.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scarface vs. Miller's Crossing

The original Scarface is what gives the gangster genre all of its little things that make it unique. For instance the dominant main character who fears nothing, not even death, or the violent gun chases through city streets all make up this intriguing genre. The mafia or mob in the film Scarface was portrayed as power hungry men, which isn't to far off from what it was for real. The purpose of the film was to show how horribly out of control the streets of American city had become; overrun by these gangsters. In 1994, it was put in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and called "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant." The character of Tony Camonte was also later ranked at number 47 of AFI's top 100 film heroes and villains character list. 

The character Tony Camonte was designed to represent the most stereotypical gangster there ever was. As a result of the film's outstanding success he did become the standard gangster for all future gangster films, including Miller's Crossing. There were many similarities between the two films, as a matter of fact the Coen Brothers probably referenced the film more then once when writing and shooting Miller's Crossing. One example that really stuck out to me was lighting a match on the police officers metal badge. Both Tony Camonte and Tom Reagan did this to show how powerful and how fearless a gangster really was. Miller's Crossing is a revisionist film.

The Hollywood Production Code of Ethics played a very big part in the film, because it was considered very violent at the time. Prior to this film there was hardly anything as violent as this. For the film Miller's Crossing the Coen Brothers didn't have to worry about any of this. The violence is almost to much for even today's normal standards; however, it's allowed because of the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA is basically the association that rates all the films, and Miller's crossing is perfectly acceptable. 

I'd consider Miller's Crossing a traditional classic gangster styled film because just like in the original Scarface they portrayed the gangster characters as violent, fearless men. The Coen Brothers did not play with the conventions of the gangster genres; however, they instead followed the iconography of traditional films like Scarface. Neither film had dominant female characters. They all wore suits and many of the gangsters carried guns. In both films there is a peculiar dynamic relationship between brothers and sisters. 

I recommend scarface if you are looking for a classic gangster styled film, but it can be very difficult because its so out dated and because the audio is very poor. Miller's Crossing is a good film to watch if you are looking for a film with a lot of violence; however the actual story itself to me seemed poorly written.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Search for Josey Wales

In the Searchers and In The Outlaw Josey Wales, writer Robert Sickles does an analysis on the two. He talks about how the two films are well known and loved by a wide audience, however, John Ford's film the Searchers is more of a critics favorite. The Outlaw Josey Wales on the other hand has grown to be an audience favorite. The reasons I believe this is the case is because Josey Wales is similar to today's westerns compared to the searchers where it is a much older film that is not as standard. In the Searchers the Indians are portrayed as a bunch of savages that ruin everything.

When looking at history this is clearly just not the case at all. The white settlers are actually the ones who brought havoc and ruined the west. In Josey Wales the indians are of course less of a conflict until the end; however, even when they are Josey is able to talk and make peace with them. In the Searchers the Native Americans don't even try and talk, they just invade the house and kidnap and kill the innocent family. The critics may love the classic John Ford film; however, TV would much play a fan favorite rather then a considered classic.

Both Josey Wales and Ethan were outlaws and they also were the films main protagonists. Ethan is a character who is stubborn, arrogant, and very cocky. He is all about proving people wrong and maintaining his top dog sort of stature he puts on while in the presence of others. Josey on the other hand is about revenge for what the Union Raiders did to his home and family. After they murdered and burned everything he he owned and loved he decided to join the confederate army. The central part of the film begins after the south has lost the civil war. He is much more of a conservative man kept to himself that has morals; however, isn't going to talk any sort of bullshit. The two characters are very unique and contrast each other; however, they both have similar goals and were able to accomplish them in their own specific ways.

In all I enjoyed The Outlaw Josey Wales more then The Searchers. They both have some memorable qualities about them, for instance: Josey always spits his chewing tobacco and Ethan has a great quote, "that'll be the day." They are both good films to watch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Film Aesthetics Test!

Hello You have two choices for the test! Either write a 400 word response to Space in Film. Or complete the Word Search in 24 hours within the handout was given. Good luck and Enjoy!