This critic has heard much about the Grimm brothers Red Riding Hood, why it hasn't been touched by Hollywood is beyond me. You usually have the candy coated Red is the heroine version. Finally, we see the real and rough cut, or the director's cut if you will, as they intended all that time ago. We have the wolf on stage running to Grandma's to beat Red. He does and the SFX are quite gruesome, the screams are so real. This crew has done their homework and it makes you wonder how they did it. I see no sort of trickery.
The costuming is also quite stunning, Riding Hood’s cape is a richly, satin lined red velvet that looks blood red as it moves under the lights. Now, as wolf wipes the blood off his lips and dons Granny's nightgown, Red comes bouncing up the path. He slides into her bed with just seconds to spare as Red knocks on the door. A low howl emits from the stage and something isn't right. The wolf looks... Well, Red, being Red, enters her grandmother's home. She calls for her and again a low howl. But the director is a genius! Red doesn't even utter a word and the wolf jumps up and gobbles her up.
Oh my, this... This is real! The wolf is looking around for another meal. He hops down. Where is the huntsman? Wait, I have a knife in my bag. I dig around and pull it out, hooking it into my belt. But he's already eaten someone on the first row and the orchestra has scattered. This was apparently not planned. Oh this is so terrible! Everyone is running and screaming!
"Calm down everyone!" I shout but it is no use panic has taken hold. A candelabra has been knocked from the stage into the now empty orchestra pit. The wolf is not looking in my direction so I run to retrieve it. I heft it. It is much heavier than it looks. I swing it a couple of times, the wolf has his back to me, and I have found the balance to my weapon. I run up the aisle and whack the wolf. He is preoccupied with his next victim. I whack him again for good measure and he falls.
The young girl under him is screaming and crying. I yank on her repeatedly and at last free her. She runs away, typical. I roll the wolf over and wonder if it really is like the story. Will I find a whole Granny and Red and where is that bloody huntsman? I figure it's worth a shot. I pull my knife from my belt and slam it to the hilt through bone and sinew. It's not very neat but dammit I'm not a doctor, I just played one on TV once. Sure enough, a spry granny and Red spring out! How is that possible? But who am I to question the powers that be? We lost 15 to that vicious attack. Wolf didn't eat them but he tore them to a bloody pulp!
(This story was for an Honors Seminar course. I had to imitate a theatre review of Red Riding Hood. Hope you like it!)
I Am Legend stars Will Smith (LTC Robert Neville), Alice Braga (Anna), and Charlie Tahan (Ethan). Francis Lawrence directed. This film marks the debut of Willow Smith as an actress. Never, ever use a virus to cure anything.
The first few minutes of the movie are all there is to Act I, we get Emma Thompson’s uncredited character talking about curing cancer; then we get three years later and someone running a Mustang through the very overgrown and deserted streets of a city. If we are to look at it like a book, it’s more of a prologue. Right about here is where we get the first flash back and part of the story behind why the streets of New York are deserted. The second turning point is well into Act II when Sam gets bitten by the infected dogs and Robert has to kill her. He breaks and finally loses himself. He goes on a vengeance fueled rampage killing the infected. That’s about where we have the next turning point. He’s rescued by another survivor. Act III begins here. Anna talks about God’s plan and Robert hears the infected coming. Robert realizes that Anna is indeed the one that is meant to be the courier of the cure. The climax is reached here. He ends up blowing himself up as well as his lab to give Anna and Ethan the chance to live. Anna and Ethan do make it to the colony of survivors in Vermont.
Some of the best shots in the movie are the medium shots of the action. It gives a feel of actually being there and the immediate sense of urgency. All of the shots are spectacular. The over the shoulder shot when Robert and Sam are hunting the deer was great. Gives good perspective of how it feels to hunt. The long shot of Robert pulling up to his house which is actually several yards away was another good shot. The low camera angles when Robert is moving around the house make it seem to be from a child’s view, which works. I think the low angles also add more of a dramatic element. The lighting in the lab was excellent. There was a lot of directional lighting in the interior scenes. In the videos store we get a shot that includes Robert but he’s not the focus of the shot. The mannequin to his left is the object of the shot.
A majority of the transitions are cuts. The one exception, Robert loses consciousness while hanging upside down. The scene fades out, the next fades in and it’s gone from day to almost dusk. The scoring was great as well. The effects were outstanding, especially when the infected grabbed onto Robert and followed him out of the window. The beating the head on the concrete was excellent. They used people for the infected yet, there are just some things we can’t ask actors to do. I don’t think it could have been done any better. The costuming was excellent. The infected were appropriately grubby. Good consistency with Robert’s clothes from scene to scene. Even though this was released in 2007, the effects are still believable.
What are the Deathly Hallows besides a clever way to distract Harry and
company? (Imagine a deep drawling voice of a grandfather beginning a fairy
tale.) The legend goes … no, sorry, not really. The Deathly Hallows consist of
three objects that will allow the owner to cheat death: the Resurrection Stone,
the Cloak of Invisibility, and the Elder Wand.
Daniel Radcliffe and company appear in the final installment of the “Harry
Potter” saga. How closely does this movie follow the beloved final book in the
epic series from J.K. Rowling? In my opinion, as a fan, pretty darn close! With
a few discrepancies, mostly minor, director David Yates and screenwriter Steve
Kloves did a fantastic job of sticking to the book. Beginning with Voldemort’s
theft of Dumbledore’s Elder Wand (The final element of the Deathly Hallows,
remember that, it’s important later!) and the gentle reminder of Dobby’s death
at the end of part one, and giving us the epic battle at Hogwarts* when all
hell breaks loose. This film did not disappoint; however, there were some
minor flaws that the discerning “Harry Potter” connoisseur would spot.
The first minor flaw we saw was at the Shell Cottage. Shell Cottage is the
home of the eldest Weasley, Bill and his new wife Fleur. (They were
married in part one!) It is also a safe destination for the Order of the Phoenix.
No discussion of Griphook, the sword and what to do. This is a good thing. It
would have disrupted the flow of action in the movie. So, yay for this flaw!
Gingotts* didn’t go right if you’re a purist. The ride through the vault area felt
condensed. If you’re a purist and you watch this movie, you’ll notice that Ron
casts the “Imperious” curse* rather than Harry. This bugged me a lot more
than it should have. It was line reassignment that was unnecessary. In the
book, Harry has the idea to ride the dragon to safety. However, in a clever line
reassignment, Hermione has the idea. It made Hermione a stronger female
lead. But, the Gringotts scene turned out better than the audience could have
All of Harry’s visions in the movie cover what couldn’t be used from the
book. This worked well to help keep the pace of the film. It also helped explain
the depth of the connection between Harry and Voldemort* for those that have
not read the book.
The final moments of everyone’s least favorite professor happen in the wrong
location. Yet, it was rather moving. We finally see Snape* issue a few kind
words to Harry, “You have your mother’s eyes.” He also demands that Harry
take his tears. Uhm, okay. It should have been gray strands of memory rather
than tears. If you’ve not read the books, here’s where we learn a few things
about Lily Evans Potter* as well as Severus Snape. Snape should have died in
the Shrieking Shack*. But hey, who wanted to see the Whomping Willow* on
screen again anyway?
“The Battle of Hogwarts” will be talked about for years to come! Well, it
would be in Harry Potter’s world. Okay, who am I kidding? Potterphiles* will
be talking about how much detail was cut, and whether or not they liked it or
loved it. However, the rest of us will be talking about how HP8 beat the pants
off The Twilight Saga: Eclipse for midnight showings. It raked in $43.5
million in just a few hours. That takes in all the midnight showings across the
country. That’s right. Just in the US alone. The figures are staggering when
we take into consideration the rest of the world! Way to go Harry!
As for me, I will be going over that epic battle in my head until it’s out on
DVD. The battle didn’t play out on the big screen as it did in the book. We
didn’t witness Percy shielding the body of Fred as the fighting raged on.
Instead, we see this afterwards in the Great Hall, which functions as the
infirmary. We see an abbreviated battle. Again, it works. The battle in the
book occasionally lagged. But, J.K. Rowling crams in so many details that it
doesn’t translate well. If we had gotten it exactly like the book, it would have
dragged the movie’s pace. Another win for Mister Kloves!
The final pieces I will make my comments on are the separation of
Voldemort from Harry, or Harry’s “death” and the death of Voldemort. Come
on, if you’re surprised that Voldemort dies then you’ll be surprised that there
won’t be any more movies!
There were several sniffles spotting the midnight showing as Harry realizes
he has to die. Now, we were expecting it right? Well, those of us that bothered
to pick up the book anyway. Great execution on the part of Mister Yates and
Mister Kloves. One hitch though… invisibility cloak*. Where was the
invisibility cloak and why did the director and screenwriter make Hagrid hold
Harry? He should’ve been on the ground. I was curious to see how the
invisible Harry attacked Voldemort. But, thanks, they cut that out.
The final battle between Harry and Voldemort was better than I expected.
The strength behind Harry’s spell shows the power he had without that tiny
part of Voldemort inside. He beat him by sheer determination. Oh, and Neville
helped, I suppose, when he killed Nagini, Voldemort’s last horcrux* and
ginormous snake. The shock on Voldemort’s face was exactly like what I, and I
think countless others, imagined it would be. “What? A boy defeated me? And
not even a Pureblood!” At least I imagine that was what went through his
This is where I will leave you. There is a bit more but I want you to enjoy
the movie as I did. For the love of all things Potter, one Muggle* to another, live
long and prosper. Oh, wait! That’s Star Trek!
*Here is your “Harry Potter” glossary (From harrypotter.scholastic.com)
Gringotts – The wizard bank in London, with vaults far below the streets, run by goblins.
Hogsmeade – The only completely magical village in Britain. Hogsmeade is not far from Hogwarts and has an array of wonderful shops including Honeyduke’s sweet shop, the Three Broomsticks pub and Zonko's joke shop.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – The best school of its kind in the world. Hogwarts is in a secret location somewhere in the North of Britan The four greatest witches and wizards of the age founded Hogwarts more than a thousand years ago: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. They built a remote castle, far away so that witches and wizards could train in safety. Pupils attend from age eleven for seven years of rigorous training in the art of witchcraft and wizardry. There are a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts and everything keeps moving around, so things are not always in the same place.
Horcrux – An object in which a person has concealed part of their soul.
Imperius Curse – Spell to control another person completely, using the incantation “Imperio.” One of the three Unforgivable Curses, it can be resisted only with great mental effort.
Invisibility Cloak – Magic cloak granting the wearer invisibility.
Muggle – Person totally without magical powers. Muggles live in ignorance of the world of wizards and witches. (I encourage anyone to look this word up online, UrbanDictionary.com and Dicitionary.com)
Potter, Lily – Harry's mother, born to Muggles but married a wizard. Lily is the sister of Petunia Dursley who is decidedly un-wizardly.
Shrieking Shack – Supposed to be the most haunted building in Britain. Situated in the town of Hogsmeade.
Snape, Severus – Potions master at Hogwarts. He is tall and thin with sallow skin, greasy black hair and a hooked nose. He hates Harry Potter. Head of Slytherin house.
Voldemort, Lord – Evil Wizard greatly feared by wizarding folk. His dark reputation is such that his name is hardly ever spoken out loud. Most wizards will only refer to him as He-Who-Must Not-Be-Named or You-Know-Who. Disappeared from view after the death of James and Lily Potter, following a battle that left Harry an orphan and bearing a lightning scar on his forehead. (Also known as Tom Riddle)
Whomping Willow – Large tree in the grounds of Hogwarts that hits anything that comes too close.
NOT FROM SCHOLASTIC –
Potterphiles – The media name for fans of Harry Potter, whether it is the book series or the movies. I’d rather like to think that it’s a term of affection given the fans. Sadly, I couldn’t find the outlet that first used this term!
Written and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola, (his last project was Hellfjord, a Norwegian TV comedy), this lovely little picture earned its R rating. With Jeremy Renner as Hansel, Gemma Arterton as Gretel and Femke Janssen as Muriel, these stars are all familiar with CGI effects. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is full of action packed ass kicking sequences, blood, guts and swearing.
Wirkola’s plot starts with the story most everyone has heard growing up. A little boy and girl are left the forest. They wind their way through said forest and stumble upon a house made of candy. The children are let inside, captured and the witch holds them captive. The witch feeds young Hansel (played by Cedric Eich) candy to fatten him up. Young Gretel (played by Alea Sophia Boudodimos) cleverly picks up a nail, picks the padlock on her chains and the brother and sister begin their lives as witch hunters.
Fast forward “many years later” and Hansel and Gretel have made a name for themselves tracking and killing witches. But you have to wonder how the witch didn’t kill Gretel all those years ago in the battle for freedom. The duo arrive in town, at the request of the mayor, just in time to save a young woman from being burned. Children have gone missing. The town thinks this woman is the witch. Hansel saves her, Gretel breaks Sheriff Berringer’s (played by Peter Stormare) nose and they pow-wow with the mayor. They are in the pub where they meet Ben (played by Thomas Mann) and receive a message from the Grand Dark Witch. One of the sheriff’s men returns and explodes. “The curse of Hunger for All Crawling Things. I fucking hate that one,” Gretel says as the entrails hang, and blood drips, off her. Hansel has used young Ben as a shield.
They go hunting, catch a witch, try to save a girl and Hansel and Gretel get separated. Gretel is set upon by Sheriff Berringer and more of his men. She is rescued by a troll named Edward. When she asks why he helped her he replies, “Trolls serve witches.” The brother and sister learn what really happened to their parents after meeting up in the forest where the movie starts. With the help of Mina (played by Pihla Viitala), the young woman Hansel saved, Hansel is able to locate and free his sister after she is captured by Muriel. But stop here I will! Spoilers. But one of the best lines from the movie ends it. Gretel, “I hate to break it to you, it’s not going to be an open casket.”
When Hansel comes upon the witch’s house that started the whole ordeal he utters the line, “Whatever you do don’t eat the fuckin’ candy.” It is possibly one of the best lines in the movie that was previewed in the red tail trailer making rounds on the internet when this handy thing was “Unrated.” Besides the swearing, which there are a lot of f-bombs, it seemed like a novice filmmaker just randomly stuffing them in. Not to mention the brief nude scene, more later on that. The plot was fairly sturdy but there were spots that could have been a little better. The pub could have been so much more than it was. There was potential for comedic scenes but it wasn’t used and for a comedy writer, what a missed opportunity. Jeremy Renner’s performance was really good. He took a pounding in the action sequences and for the age difference between the leads, well, you’d never know he’s hit the big 4-0. Gemma Arterton’s Gretel was a great performance. There was chemistry between them but not sexual chemistry. The casting decisions there worked well. The choice for Mina however, was a bit lacking. She did a good job in her role but there was no chemistry between Mina and Hansel, not like there was with Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in The Avengers. Although it takes a certain type of female to match Renner, Rachel Weisz didn’t have the chemistry required for the break neck action, and supposed sexual tension, in The Bourne Legacy. But then, the story was about revenge, which Hansel tells us “revenge is good but it won’t bring [their] parents back” and not love. But a random implied sex scene that lacked anything but awkwardness helped earn this movie it’s R rating. If you want a good blood and guts shoot’em up with leather, corsets and plenty of steampunk then this is an excellent movie to see!
This poem is included in a collection of poems entitled Late Wife in section three “Late Wife: Letters to Kent.” Claudia Emerson is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet for this collection. This collection focuses on a woman leaving one marriage and finding another with a man that has lost his wife to lung cancer.
“Driving Glove” is an elegy. An elegy, I admit I had to look up. We didn’t cover it in class. It’s a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead. It’s not set up in stanzas nor does it have a rhyme scheme. The rhythm and meter of this poem is trochaic pentameter. An elegy can, however, have its own meter but it doesn’t appear here.
The imagery of the glove is quite literal. Ms. Emerson gives a great description of a glove long forgotten that is also well worn. “It still remembered her hand, the creases where her fingers had bent to hold the wheel, the turn of her palm, smaller than mine.” (870) It’s obvious from the poem that some tragedy befell the owner of the glove but the reader doesn’t get to know what it is. This poem is not lyric but narrative. It’s telling the reader about something that happened to the speaker after returning from a shopping trip. The speaker describes the junk in the trunk that her husband obviously had yet to remove from his loss. The speaker even mentions that the glove is a reminder of that loss. “There was nothing else to do but return it – let it drift, sink, slow as a leaf through water to rest on the bottom where I have not forgotten it remains—persistent in its loss.” (870) The only simile is seen in the previous quote, comparing the glove returning to the bottom of the trunk to a leaf through water to the bottom of a puddle or other small body of water, although a body of water is never truly mentioned in the poem.
It is my belief that this poem represents small reminders of a past life, one that didn’t include the speaker. It seems to me that she is sad that this woman is a persistent reminder by small things in this new life. Some of the junk in the trunk: ragged maps, possibly from long ago road trips and a broken umbrella, perhaps her favorite. The husband has also retained his late wife’s car that his new wife is now using. Does he not want to let go of his late wife? Is that the reason behind all the junk in the trunk that allows this driving glove to shuffle to the surface? Along with the sadness I sense a little bit of pain from the speaker. It’s as if she hurts with all the old reminders there are in the trunk of her car, even though the car was not hers to begin with.
The junk in the trunk makes me visualize a hoarder’s stash; the layers and layers of junk that they hold on to. I don’t think this is what the author intended. I think she intended to let us see the unspoken pain of the little reminders. The speaker is not the first wife of this man and the tragic loss of his love is there in the little things, the ragged maps, the broken umbrella and the driving glove, still in the shape of her hand. We can almost feel that little twinge as the glove is described, a kind of disconnected affection.
In conclusion, this poem is an elegy from a collection of elegies and that collection won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2005. It has meter consisting of trochaic pentameter and is about the pain and loss of a beloved wife, the one that came before our speaker.
Emerson, Claudia. "Driving Glove." The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. Tenth. New York: Norton, 2010. 870. Print.
Melvyn James Kaminsky was born 26 June 1926 to Maximilian and Kitty (Brookman), the youngest of four children. Maximilian, a Jewish immigrant from Danzig, died suddenly when Mel was just two years old, leaving his mother Kitty to work ten hours a day in the garment district to provide for her family. She also had to bring extra work home at night to make ends meet until Mel’s brothers were old enough to work. By the time Mel was 14 he had learned to use comedy to help him cope with being small in stature in the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) slums where they lived. He learned the drums and began playing gigs for pocket change. He went to college for only a year before the Army drafted him; Mel became a member of the early edition of explosive ordinance disposal and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war Mel worked the borscht circuit but another Kaminsky, no relation, worked that circuit and, after a case of mistaken identity, Mel took the professional name Brooks. His first shot at stand-up comedy came when he filled in one night for an ill comedian. He began his acting career in Redbank, New Jersey, worked in radio and held the position of social director at Grossinger’s in the Catskills. In 1949 he was asked to write material for NBC’s Broadway Review by his friend Sid Caeser. Sid paid Mel out of his own pocket. Mel also worked on Your Show of Shows with other writers like Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and Neil Simon. After several years of kicking around in New York, Carl Reiner went to Hollywood and Mel Brooks followed. The year was 1960. The same year they made an LP of their “Two Thousand Year Old Man” interview and it sold over a million copies.
Among Mel’s many achievements to date is the NBC show Get Smart, the movies The Producers, Blazing Saddles, To Be or Not to Be, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men In Tights. And who knew that Mel Brooks had a fan in George Lucas, who reportedly loves Spaceballs despite Star Wars being the subject of Mel’s satire.
Mel Brooks always pushes the satire envelope. In Blazing Saddles the greedy white man pits himself against a “dumb” black man that is made sheriff in the hopes that he will end up dead and the town will fall apart so the land can be snatched up. Wait, a black sheriff in the Old West? Yeah, Brooks went there. It’s a situation, no matter how you slant history, that would never have happened. Black Bart almost had himself a spin off TV show but it didn’t happen for some silly reason or another, such a shame, it would have been hilarious! Cleavon Little played the part of Bart very well using the stereotype of black men at that time to his advantage to save the town.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights poked fun at another big 1990’s film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It had another hallmark of a Mel Brooks film, besides being hysterical, it had the must have a Jewish character, Rabbi Tuckman. Obviously a great stand in for Robin Hood lore’s Friar Tuck. This movie went to the point of lampooning the 1938 Errol Flynn version by putting all the men in tights that matched. Sometimes in the odd detail that the funny is found like in Maid Marion’s Everlast chastity belt and the “key” Robin has. After all, Robin of Loxley and Marion of Bagel were made for each other. See what Brooks has done here? Sometimes it may come down to the names of characters. But the funny is there.
In another film Spaceballs we have a seemingly Jewish styled character in Yogurt. He’s the stereotypical “Jew” concerned with the money magic of merchandizing! Yet, the audience only sees the spoof on Yoda, the Force, lightsabers and the Wizard of Oz. One thing that really makes this film successful is that there is an underlying love story. Not Prince Valium and Princess Vespa but Lonestar and Vespa. It’s funny because they spend the whole movie not broaching the subject of attraction and when Lonestar finds out he’s an “honest to God prince”, Vespa chooses him rather than the “pill” Valium. Pizza the Hut, voiced by Dom DeLuise, is also pretty funny
One thing that Mel Brooks does is to make sure the audience knows that what they are seeing is just a movie is play to the camera. He has the character look right at the camera, something that Cary Elwes’ Robin of Loxley does often in the presence of Prince John (Richard Lewis) or the Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees). Whether it’s a raised eye brow or a line delivered the audience knows! The crowd at the end of …Men in Tights exclaims “A black sheriff?” To which Ahchoo promptly replies, “Why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles!” The young kid running through the forest screaming that the sheriff’s men were giving chase screams right into the camera and again after Robin trounces them, saving the young man.
Mel Brooks is not afraid! All he wants to do is entertain the masses and he does it well with the help of some friends. He has repeat offenders in his movies. (I think the only other current Hollywood director that has a noticeable favorite is Tim Burton!) Amy Yasbeck is featured twice. A right favorite, appearing in three Brooks films, is Dick Van Patton. But perhaps the one actor that was cast the most in Brooks’ films was none other than comedy great, Dom DeLuise appearing in six movies. Cloris Lechman and Gene Wilder also make the list of repeat offenders to work with Brooks. A funny story about Gene Wilder and Young Frankenstein, Wilder worked with Brooks on the script and starred in the film under the condition that Brooks not make a cameo in it. That happens to be a great movie too.
Bibliography "AVClub.com." n.d. 10 March 2013. <http://www.avclub.com/articles/mel-brooks-on-how-to-play-hitler-and-how-he-almost,89843/>.
"EBSCOhost.com." n.d. 2013. <http://0-web.ebscohost.com.iii-server.ualr.edu/ehost/detail?sid=42a219c6-a0ca-43fd-81e0-286ea133190d%40sessionmgr111&vid=4&bk=1&hid=120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=brb&AN=203033188>.
Mel Brooks. n.d. 10 March 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000316/?ref_=sr_1>.
The women of The Help, Minny, Aibileen, Skeeter, Celia, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Hilly are all in different circles. The men folk are rarely seen, when they are they were with their wives. Minny and Aibileen were not the only oppressed women in the film. Skeeter was oppressed by her mother and the need to keep up the Jackson, Mississippi standard of getting a husband, not working, and having a maid. Yet in the end she understands Skeeter and finally lets her daughter live her own life.
Minny and Aibileen are oppressed and not given equal treatment because of their skin color. It’s this oppression that leads Skeeter to have the brilliant idea for her book. She wants them to tell how life really is. Minny is a “sass mouth” black and decides to join Aibileen and Skeeter. These are non-traditional roles and not realistic for the time but they make a great story. More typical roles are assigned to Charlotte, Elizabeth, Skeeter, Hilly, and Celia. How is Skeeter in a typical role? She still follows the wishes of her dying mother. But she asserts herself and breaks free. Celia is type cast as white trash by all of the other women in Jackson and is treated as a sex object. In the fundraiser scene we see both by her actions and her manner of dress. The men look at her and the help talk about her saying the women better hide their husbands. Charlotte is stuck as the frustrated mother. Her daughter is still single when all of her friends are married, whether happily or not. Granted we see a change in Charlotte at the end and that is more realistic.
Elizabeth is stuck under the oppression of Hilly. Hilly is a down right bitch, with all capital letters. She pushes people around and thinks she’s the best person out there. She makes decisions for Elizabeth and Elizabeth doesn’t say anything to her. This is surely a realistic situation. Of the women in the film Hilly is depicted as the most powerful because of the hold she has over people.
Skeeter empowers the help with her book. Still, the film is not a very realistic situation in the middle of the civil rights movement and in Jackson, Mississippi of all places. The only equal treatment in this film is when Skeeter is with Minny and Aibileen, when the help is all together, or when the whites are together. There are several moments of inequality between the women. Hilly treats everyone like they are beneath her and she elevates her friends in the presence of the help. She is particularly mean to Celia.
The portrayal of women in this film is accurate to the period. Children in the well to do families of the south really did get raised by the black maid. Some of these women did spend their time in the Junior League and organizing fundraisers. They knew no other way. It had been passed on for generations and didn’t show any signs of changing.
My Week with Marilyn is based on diaries and the book The Prince, The Showgirl and Me by Colin Clark, directed by Simon Curtis and screenplay by Adrian Hodges. The cast includes Michelle Williams (Marilyn Monroe), Kenneth Branagh (Sir Laurence Olivier), Eddie Redmayne (Colin Clark), Emma Watson (Lucy), Dame Judi Dench (Dame Sybil Thorndike), Dougray Scott (Arthur Miller), Julia Ormond (Vivien Leigh), Zoë Wanamaker (Paula Strasberg), and Dominic Cooper (Milton Greene).
Kenneth Branagh plays Sir Laurence Olivier who is unquestionably one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. Sir Olivier’s goal in this film is to work with and seduce Marilyn during the production of The Sleeping Prince (the name of the actual production was The Prince and the Showgirl.) His obstacles are his age, his training background, and the object of his attention, Marilyn herself. Sir Olivier thinks that Marilyn is one of the most beautiful, and talented, woman in the world. Yet he discovers she doesn’t have the training that he has and she’s a “method” actor. He dislikes the “method” and realizes that Marilyn in person is not the Marilyn that is on the screen. His grand illusion of her is crushed and he obviously abandons any thoughts of her at all beyond making the film.
He sees himself as a teacher to the young Marilyn and figures out that he can’t change who she is. Sir Olivier is greatly influenced by his classical theatre training; he believes all actors should be trained. He changes through this film by realizing he can’t change Marilyn and that he can’t seduce her. (She had taken a shine to Colin Clark instead.) His frustrations with Marilyn fuel a lot of his actions. He feels that making the movie with Marilyn will make him feel young again and he realizes that he is wrong.
Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark, the man who told his story. His goal in life is to work in film. He wants to do anything to get a foot in the door. So, he goes for an interview and keeps returning even after he is told there is no work. They appreciate his tenacity and hire him as a third assistant director. Colin faces his father’s disapproval. But his mother is sure that the studio will love him and make him a director within the week. His love for the cinema comes from spending every Thursday night in the cinema finding refuge from his family of over achievers. His father was historian Kenneth Clark and his brother a former Conservative MP and minister. He views himself as the disappointment in the family. He tries to not be like his family. Colin has the need to fit somewhere and he wants it to be in the film industry. He strives to be successful (like the rest of his family but in his own medium.)
Colin grows just in the short time that he has with Marilyn. He experiences love and heart break all at her hands yet he remains her friend. He also becomes a friend of Sir Olivier just by being the overachiever he was raised to be.
There isn’t really a message in this film. It tells the story of one week that Colin Clark had with a Hollywood icon that no one would otherwise know about. Most of us have grown up knowing the name Marilyn Monroe and who she was as an actress but this movie gives insight into Norma Jean Baker, the real person behind Marilyn Monroe. It communicates how the world saw this blond bombshell and how the intimate moments of Marilyn and Colin really show her insecurities, worries and needs. She really needed to be loved for who she was off screen and that was not how people loved her. They loved the created creature.
Who absolutely LOVED the 100th episode of "Castle"? I did! The shouts out to Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock (all though it was through storyline...)
Rear Window directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart (L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies), Grace Kelly (Lisa Fremont), Wendell Corey (Det. Doyle), Raymond Burr (Lars Thorwald), and Thelma Ritter (Stella) and it was released in 1954.
A photographer with a broken leg has weeks to watch his neighbors from the window in his apartment. There is a heat wave going on and all the windows are open so he has a birds’ eye view into the private lives of his neighbors. He observes what he thinks is a murder. Jefferies (Stewart) calls on a war buddy, now a detective, to investigate. Jeff insists what he’s been observing is a crime and includes his girlfriend Lisa (Kelly). Lisa gives good insight into the activities of the missing wife. But Doyle (Corey) proves that the wife indeed left. One of the neighbors has a dog that ends up dead and it seems that this is really the only crime that has been committed.
Alfred Hitchcock was like a lot of other directors in Hollywood at that time and had actors he preferred to work with and James Stewart was one of them having appeared in Rope (1948), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), as well as Vertigo (1958). Hitchcock also worked with Grace Kelly in two other films Dial M for Murder (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955). One thing that stands out is the often uncredited cameos that Hitchcock makes in his films. In Rear Window he’s in one shot in the songwriter’s apartment winding a clock. In this film he shoots just from Jeff’s apartment giving the viewer the only point of view that is needed. If there had been any other shots incorporated into the film it wouldn’t have been quite as affective. If the viewer had actually been inside the Thorwald’s apartment there would have been no mystery or suspense in the disappearance of Mrs. Thorwald. Hitchcock also seemed to prefer adapting novels or short stories, Psycho, for example is based on a novel by Robert Bloch and Rear Window, is based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich.
One of the themes that often is present in Hitchcock films, when mistaken identity isn’t involved, is the psychopathic killer. The viewer sees this in this film as well as one of Hitchcock’s other famous films, Psycho. In Rear Window, the killer’s identity is revealed early in the plot but it is never confirmed until the end when he is finally caught through the team work of Stella (Ritter), Lisa and Jeff. In Psycho, it remains unclear who the murderer is through most of the film. Is it Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) or was it “Mother” whom we never really know if she is alive or dead although three different actors voiced Norma Bates (Virginia Gregg, Paul Jasmin, Jeanette Nolan). In Rear Window, the viewer can see, in Jeff’s point of view, there is some kind of strife in the relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald. Jeff watches with interest. It rains and that’s when Jeff notices that something is really wrong. The viewer also knows something is up because of the strange behavior of Lars Thorwald.
Alfred Hitchcock’s career as director started in 1922 with an unfinished film, Number 13. After forty-nine previous films Hitchcock became known for his macabre and suspense filled movies. Rear Window is his fiftieth film, including shorts. His sense of suspense is well developed by now and he is playing with camera angles and story point of view. All of his other movies take place in multiple locations but Rear Window is shot entirely from Jeff’s apartment. The viewer never sees more than the interior of the small one room except for the small glimpse of the bathroom when Lisa opens the door to go in and out. Never are the other lives entered into, not even when Lisa and Stella exit the apartment to investigate the flower bed. Hitchcock has successfully contained everything in the movie in that little room. His view on law and punishment is shown in this film when Jeff feels that the crime must be uncovered and will do anything in his power to make certain of it, as Hitchcock’s father called the police on him for a small, childish crime when he was little. This most certainly put in Hitchcock’s mind a firm sense of right and wrong. His sense of the macabre may have been his own version of rebellion against his Catholic upbringing.
This MTV Films picture is directed by Kimberly Peirce and is co-written by Mark Richard and Kimberly Peirce based on conversations with Peirce’s little brother who joined the military after 9/11. Starring Ryan Phillippe (Brandon King), Channing Tatum (Steve Shriver), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tommy Burgess), Victor Rasuk (Rico Rodriguez), Abbie Cornish (Michelle), Linda Emond (Ida King), Ciarán Hinds (Roy King), Timothy Olyphant (LT COL Boot Miller), Quay Terry (Al ‘Preacher’ Colson), Rob Brown (Isaac ‘Eyeball’ Butler), Josef Sommer (Senator Orton Worrell) and Matthew Scott Wilcox (Harvey).
In this film, director/writer Peirce and writer Richard, explore the phenomenon that swept through many military units from 2003-2009. That phenomenon was “stop-loss”. Brandon King (Phillippe) is a Staff Sergeant in the 110th Infantry and is on his last tour in Iraq with his best friend Sergeant Steve Shriver (Tatum). Both Non-Commissioned Officers are due to ETS (Expired Term of Service) upon return from their tour. But as they are turning in their gear and expecting separation orders they are instead handed transfer orders. Brandon wants to fight the stop-loss and goes AWOL (Absent Without Leave) to try to contact Senator Orton Worrell (Sommer).
I loved how this film started out with the documentary style aspect all from the Soldier’s point of view. They were “in charge” of the camera and it delved into the real life of a deployed Solider. It also looked at the trouble that some Soldiers had readjusting to civilian life with the character of Tommy. If anyone wants to know what a majority of Soldiers felt like that got the “stop-loss” order than this is the movie. The fact that it was based on interviews with Soldiers gives it weight. It wasn’t written by someone unaffected by the Global War on Terror (GWOT), it was written by someone that had a vested interest in telling the story.
Stop-Loss is a realist film. How can it not be? It did in fact happen to thousands of MOS critical Soldiers. The movie was filmed on location in Texas and in Morocco to give it the feel of being in Iraq. As much as they wanted to film in Iraq for obvious reasons they were unable to go on location there. It fits in to the Drama category, with some moments of funny, and handles heavy subject matter. Tommy’s suicide and the journey of SSG King in his search for answers, which he eventually finds in the sense of duty he feels to his troops. The dialogue is flowing and natural.
This movie is as relevant today as it was when it was filmed. Continued engagement in prolonged conflicts stretches thin our forces, and the need to recycle them, ends with “stop-loss”. The whole filming style Peirce used was to give it documentary feel and put the viewer in the Soldier’s shoes, to feel the frustration at being done with your contract and then being told “no, you have to stay.” The special effects were appropriate to the realistic combat scenes. There is no question that this movie is full of realism. Hats off to Kimberly Peirce and Mark Richard for producing a fine film that feels real enough to this Soldier.
College graduate, Army vet, single mom, Husky mom, Movie lover, writer