Saturday, March 31, 2007

Come get it in the yarbles!: A scene analysis.

The final project that I was assigned in the Film as Literature class was a shot-by-shot analysis of a scene of my choice. We were studying Kubrick at the time, so we were restricted to his films, which wasn't a problem, of course. In doing this assignment, I discovered an incredible method for probing deeply into a scene, for gaining a greater understanding of how it affects and reflects the rest of the film.

It's a lot of work, so it isn't something you do casually. However, for that particular scene that you love, that scene that makes you want to watch the whole movie for the umpteenth time, it can truly enhance your appreciation and understanding.

Essentially, it consists of watching the scene in slow motion, and separating it into the component shots. Descriptions are written along certain parameters, which you shall see. From these observations, conclusions can then be drawn on various subjects such as tone, point of view, and character. It was a pain in the ass to do, but when it was done I felt it had been very much worth the while and trial. I bring it up here because it may come in handy during a future discussion here at the Club.

The scene I chose was from A Clockwork Orange. I won't describe it here because I do so in the analysis. The analysis comes in two parts. One part was done on Excel, and was the actual shot-by-shot descriptions. The grid form is very handy for this part of the exercise. The other part was better served by Word. It gives an introduction, a scene description, and the conclusions drawn from the observations. Naturally, the Excel part goes in the middle. If you wish, print it out and read it that way.

Here is the Excel part.

Here is the Word part.

I'd be interested in knowing what you all think of the process and its possible value to this blog, as well as your thoughts on this analysis in particular.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Royal Tenenbaums - Intro (April 07)

"Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?"

(Yeah, I know it's a day early. I won't be around tomorrow.)

I'll be back on the 15th with the discussion post. I'm not giving you anything particular to watch for or think about beforehand because if it's your first time, I don't want you to be unduly influenced. But you might get a general idea of what you're in for from my reasons for choosing this movie:

1. I wanted a comedy, because I didn't think comedy was much discussed during movie madness, and this is my favorite one. I'm a huge fan of Wes Anderson and also of the Stiller-Wilson pairing. Not to mention Gene Hackman, who is always brilliant but I think especially so in comedy. He's at his funniest here.

2. I thought it would be a fun movie to talk about because I think it'll get a wide range of reactions from love to hate to boredom.

3. I'd love it if this movie got a few more fans. I'd be curious to know who's seen it before and who hasn't. I hope everyone will watch it again anyhow.

4. Cause Looney said this is the one I should pick.*

*Just kidding Brad!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"You can urge her in one direction"*

*Name that movie!

So it's a lot of pressure picking the first movie. Cause what if I pick something lots of peeps hate, and then they're all, well that was dumb, and the whole thing crashes before it gets off the ground? On the other hand, I cannot possibly pick something everyone will like, and even if I could, that doesn't make for a very lively discussion, does it?

"You know that awesome part with the helicopter?"
"Yeah, that part was awesome!"
"Yeah, that's what I thought! Awesome!"

So I'll be going with my own opinion and the movie I think will make for the best discussion. But if you'd like to apply a little peer pressure between now and when I pick one next week, here're some of the movies I'm considering:

Best in Show (Theme: improv, when done well, is the funniest kind of funny)
The Royal Tennenbaums (Theme: dark comedy's thin line between hee and ew, plus this is my fave comedy)
Fight Club (Theme: I wish I could write this snappy)
Equilibrium (Theme: just as excellent writing can happen in genre fiction, excellent acting can happen in genre film)
The Quiet Man (Theme: John Wayne so totally is not useless! And comedies that stand up even after the content is dated)
Charade (Theme: no theme really, I just always get this confused with every other Audrey Hepburn movie and wouldn't mind watching it again)
O Brother Where Art Thou (Theme: how some things based on the Odyssey, like this movie, can be great, while others, like Cold Mountain, suck)
Rebecca (Theme: you don't need a theme when you've got Olivier)
Elizabeth (Theme: how important is technique versus story? Can excellent acting and gorgeous shots make up for gaping internal logic failures?)

Friday, March 23, 2007

And Jen Shall be the First Freak to Pick a Film

Okay, here's my proposed structurel:

New films are named on the first day of the month. The designated Filminati member will create a post with the name of the film, as well as any things you want the rest of us to think about and/or watch for while viewing. So Jen, on (or before, since you're the first) March 31, you post your movie choice.

Discussions about the film begin on the last day of the month. Whoever chose the movie creates a new post on the last day of the month to start up and lead the conversation in comments. So Jen, you do that on April 30.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to do a film-related post to spark conversation, by all means do it! Except for when the conversation about the month's movie is rolling along at a good pace, of course. Perhaps the first week of each month should be left to the official movie, but once things die down there, let's fill the space.

If you see any serious flaws in this plan, please don't hesitate to point them out to me. No, not flaws in me, flaws in the plan.

So the big question is, who wants to do next month? First one to say, "Me! Me! Oh, please pick me!" in the comment to this post goes next.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Life isn't like in the movies. Life... is much harder."

That's a quote from one of my favorite movies, Cinema Paradiso, and I thought it fitting to be the title of the first post here at the Film Freaks Film Club blog! We're still hashing out details, seeing how I just came up with the idea today, but the gist is right up there under the blog title: We pick films. We watch films. We talk about films. We're that cool.

On a regular basis (I propose monthly?) one member will be the designated film chooser. The film is posted here (on the first of the month?) and we have a certain amount of time to watch it (again, perhaps a month?). Then we talk about the film here, in the comments, with the discussion being led by the designated film chooser.

Cool, huh?

Right now we're doing a sort of "open enrollment," so if you want to be a member let me know by posting a comment here, or by posting a comment on my other blog, Boiled Dinner.

I'm going to say that for the open enrollment, you have to either have participated in Movie Madness, or I have to know you.

If I don't know you, let's just say you have to participate in one round as a watcher/commentor before you're able to be a contributor. Sound fair? I'm just anticipating this becoming the most popular thing ever in blog history, so I want to be able to weed out the looneys. Oh, sorry Looney! I mean the crazies.

This is going to be too fun.

Oh, one more thing, I say that for the labels, we put the genre of the movie (unless it's a general post, then we can put, um, General).