Monthly Archives: March 2014

Chapter 8 Editing Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is a must see movie about an African-American head coach’s (Denzel Washington) first year coaching a newly racially integrated high school football team. Against much opposition and against the odds the racially diverse players set aside their differences in order to form an amazing football team that is a force to be reckoned with.

This films superb editing helps show a range of emotions from anger to sadness through an extremely difficult time in these young people lives. The editing is also used in order to show spatial and temporal changes in a smooth and appealing way. The way in which this film is put together also shows continuity in editing, to help the film flow and feel more natural.

The scene I picked shows spatial relationships between shots as well as temporal relationships between shot. In opening it shows the coach in front of the team from POV of one of the players in the back, you see the coaches face in focus clearly as silhouettes of the player’s heads move past showing that the team is all standing in front of the coach facing him. Then as the scene progresses the shot is shown from behind the team again to show the coach only this time farther back and elevated in order to show the whole room; here this shows the type of space the team is in and how they are occupying it. The scene then moves to the playing field where the players are training, this manipulation of time starts with an ellipsis to let us know that some time has passed from the church to the field, and then a montage begins. The montage shows several different training exercises and times if day all compressed into one, making the passage of time over a few hours happen in just minutes, without leaving out any major information.
A shot/reverse shot that is extremely good at showing spatial manipulation, as well as the way editing can display emotion is when the team is in the gym for their first meeting. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQaFjvUQIng) The coach and Petey have a conversation whch occurs in a shot/reverse shot layout, where the coaches face is shown when he is talking and then Petey’s during his reaction. Each time we switch to the view of Petey his emotion and reaction is clearly displayed on his face based off of what the coach is saying; we see confusion and helplessness, as well as a little bit of scaredness. An Iconic moment from the movie that uses shot/reverse shot technique is the “Left side Strong Side” scene, and almost anyone who has scene the movie will be able to recall this moment.

Editing in Remember the Titans helped in tremendous ways to show the emotion in a time during integration and to show the manipulation of time and space in order to better understand the movie.

Blog post 7; Gerard Butler

This weekend I went to the movies to see the second installment to the action pack movie 300, 300 Rise of An Empire. Although the story was from a different point of view of war it required the audience to have knowlege of the previous movie. The main character of the first movie was King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler. Through out Gerard Butlers career he has played a few diverse roles but usually he is typecast to play the same stong male character. In 300 he plays the King who will die for his men, shows no fear, and will do anything to defend Sparta from the take over of Russia. He has also played in Nim’s Island which was targeted to a family audience, as well as voice overs for both the How To Train Your Dragon animated movies. P.S. I Love You, which was another one his more known films, shows a softer said of his acting. This movie focuses of a young married couple who love eachother deeply but seem to have been arguing a lot and after his sudden passing from a brain tumor the wife recieves period letters for her late husband that were set up to be delieved to her after his passing with ever letter ending in P.S I Love You.
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This movie showed that Gerard can also play romantic roles as well as his super masculine roles. In recent years he has played a former presidential guard who has to save the president from a terrorist attack in Olympus has Fallen and a revenge seeking husband in Law Abiding Citizen. Up coming films of the actor are going to be similar to these I’m guess because he plays a really good strong male character.

Blog Post #7 – Ray Gnagey

For this weeks blog post I’ve decided to talk about an actor who I find to be extremely talented, Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy got his first major film role in Black Hawk Down, where he played a minor character ‘Twombly’. He isn’t seen very often in the movie, but his character is part of the army squad that gets stuck and has to fight to survive. While Hardy seems to generally play a macho male character in the majority of his movies, he is versatile with the personality he brings to those macho characters. In ‘Bronson’, Hardy plays Charles Bronson/Michael Peterson, a crazy man who becomes ‘Britain’s most famous criminal’. Tom Hardy portrayed the bizarreness and aggression that Bronson actually had which lead to critics praising his performance.

Image Tom Hardy as Twombly

His breakout role as Eames in the hit film Inception again saw him play a macho male figure, however this time his character had a sense of charm. This role also saw him win the BAFTA Rising Star award. Also, by working with Christopher Nolan, his portrayal of Eames most definitely helped him in becoming the main villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (another macho character). Another pattern with Tom Hardy is that he has so far played in quite serious movies, most of them being dramas which require more depth in an actor’s acting. Hardy spoke of his excitement when he finally got a chance to play in a comedy when he was casted in This Means War, where he plays an Interpol/CIA agent who fights against his partner (Chris Pine) for a girl (Reese Witherspoon). In this movie, AGAIN Tom Hardy is a macho male figure, since he is an Interpol/CIA agent. However, this is the first time the tone of the movie was light and funny and Hardy excelled.   

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Perhaps his best performance as an actor came when he played the character Tommy Conlon/Riordan in the 2011 film Warrior, alongside Joel Edgerton (Brendan Conlon) and Nick Nolte (Paddy Conlon). In the movie, Tommy Conlon is a ex-marine hero who went AWOL on his army group who returns home to a torn apart family. His father Paddy is a recovering alcoholic, and his brother Brendan is a High School physics teacher with financial problems. Tommy and Brendan both join an MMA Sparta tournament as they both grew up as wrestlers. The movie is focused on the relationship between this family, and how it all comes together in this MMA tournament where Tommy and Brendan end up as finalists and have to fight eachother for a $5 million dollar prize. While Brendan needs to money to keep his house, Tommy pledged his winnings to his army buddy’s wife. Tommy reaches the final with ease, while Brendan struggled and required a shock victory to get there. So as an audience you assume Tommy is going to win, however, it doesn’t end up that way and the final fight is full of deep emotion due to the exceptional performances of both Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. 

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Tom Hardy is several movies on the way for 2014 and 2015, and has already been exceptionally praised for his 2013 film Locke. He is set to become the new Max Rockatansky in the Rebooted Mad Max, Elton John in the movie Rocketman, and will be playing the main character the film version of the Tom Clancy video game Splinter Cell.

Ray Gnagey

Shailene Woodley: The Next [insert name here]

Every year it seems as though Hollywood is attempting to shove a new it girl down our throats (which is silly, since we can and NEED more than one at a time): last year, it was Jennifer Lawrence, and this year appears to be Shailene Woodley’s to shine. My first experience with Woodley as an actress, that I could recall, was her leading role on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” a show that I can honestly say was one of the worst things I’d ever had the displeasure of watching. The acting was awful, the writing was awful, and I was sure that everyone involved would go on to have supporting roles in LifetimeTV movies for the rest of their short-lived careers. And yet, 6 years later, it’s my opinion that Shailene is probably one of the most talented actresses in her age bracket, only second to Lawrence. Below is a clip from Secret Life:

As you can see, the show is terrible, and it’s understandable that I’d assume anyone involved just couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag. Honestly, I don’t even think Meryl Streep could make that dialogue work. However, in 2011, Shailene had her breakout role in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” where she not only held her own, but out acted George Clooney (which may or may not be a big deal depending on your feelings towards him). Upon watching it, I couldn’t believe this was the same girl that had been “acting” on that ABCFamily series. She played the role of Alexandra with ease, and the only reason she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar is because the Academy lost their minds that year and decided to nominated Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids,” seriously.

Being the gracious human being that she is (and because she was under contract), Shailene returned to her day job over at Secret Life, where she was still absolutely terrible, leading myself and others to wonder whether or not “The Descendants” was just a fluke. With her next film, “The Spectacular Now,” she once again impressed as Aimee Finicky, a shy, somewhat nerdy girl that falls hard for Miles Teller’s Sutter Keely. As an actress, she brings a sense of truth to every role she plays. It doesn’t feel as though you’re watching someone act, and from the clip below it’s apparent that she and Teller have amazing chemistry, making it seem as though you’re just watching two teenagers have a conversation. This character was also a complete 180 from Alexandra in “The Descendants,” who was a much feistier teenager.

With two well-received indies under her belt, she’s followed the career trajectory of Lawrence to leading the film adaptation of best-selling YA series “Divergent.” Having seen the film this weekend, I’d say that Woodley’s performance is the best thing about it. The script, while not the best, plays to her strengths, and the vulnerability and honestly she brings to the table as an actress makes it easier for the audience to believe in the world and premise (a good thing, since the whole idea behind the books is shaky at best).

Up next, Shailene will return to her pseudo-indie roots with the lead in yet another YA adaptation, this time for John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” where she plays Hazel Grace Lancaster. The film is a love story about kids with cancer, but it’s not a cancer story. If the trailer is any evidence, she will break the hearts of the public and hopefully members of the Academy so that they can finally give her the Oscar nomination she should’ve gotten 2 years ago:

Chapter #7 – Acting – Daniel Day Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is an academy award winner who is regarded as one of the best actors of all time. Acclaimed for his method acting that brings realism to the screen, Daniel Day-Lewis is hands down the best actor around now. Noteworthy movies he has made are My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, and Lincoln. To understand the brilliance of Daniel Day-Lewis let’s analyze a couple of his famous scenes and his role in There Will Be Blood.

There Will Be Blood

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In preparation to portray Daniel Plainview, a mineral prospector turned millionaire oil tycoon, Lewis spent all hours of the day in the role. Lewis’ character is a ruthless cynical man in pursuit of wealth and gives little importance to his family and to others. Another dynamic of Plainview and of There Will Be Blood is the hatred of the town minister Eli Sunday who is portrayed by Paul Dano. Paul Dano wrote about his first encounter with Daniel Day-Lewis when he arrived on set for the movie. In the blog Dano states that as soon as he approached Lewis to greet him Lewis was already in character and talking to him with hatred in his voice. This approach is called method acting. Daniel Day-Lewis is known for using this technique to bring convincing human behavior to the screen and it is why his films are very successful.

Many of the scenes that bring realism of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character to the screen are close-ups. As we can see in this scene, Day-Lewis is confessing (against his will) that he has abandoned his deaf child in pursuit for his wealth. This scene was improvised and even when being physically slapped Daniel does not break character and continues to stay in character in a brilliant manner. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBYTKsYTn5o 

In this second scene, Daniel Plainview is visited by Eli Sunday who is desperate for money. Eli tells Daniel that there are some oil deposits underneath his land, unfortunately Daniel already knew this and had already extracted it. The rugged and old look that Day-Lewis puts on brings realism to this major role. The convincing human behavior characteristics (twitching, limp, and mean look) Lewis brings to Plainview make this movie very dramatic and realistic. This is why he is an award-winning actor. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UejQlR-P9E 

 

Flight Blog #7

      I chose this movie because of what is going on with the world. Flight 370 has crashed and it is no where to be found. In Flight, Captain Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington is piloting a plane that had malfunctioned a day after a hard night of partying. He should not have been flying that plane because he was drunk and high off cocaine. When the plane began to malfunction though he made heroic efforts for the plane to land in the fields. There were 6 casualties, but he saved close to 100 people when he somehow landed the broken plane. 

     Denzel’s character comes into his own throughout this movie. He is a chameleon actor because he able to play multiple roles in movies. When he acts he really gets into the movie and the viewers can grow an emotional bond with Washington’s roles. In Flight Captain Whitaker is a alcoholic. He is about to get his wings taken away, he will probably go to jail, and he can not have a drink. His drinking problem starts with one and then goes to many. Many alcoholics who watched this can learn a lesson from this movie because everything was taken away from him. Although Whitaker is in a down slump throughout the plot of this movie Denzel’s personae makes it seem that he will get out of trouble and come out on top. It is necessary for Denzel to act like this throughout the movie because as a pilot confidence must be up at all times. Even after he crashed he believes he is right because he saved all those people.

When going through this battle with alcohol Washington’s character almost puts us in our battle of our addictions on screen. I believe his girlfriend in the film helps enable and help him at the same time. She her self is a recovering addict. All of these actions go perfectly with the movie though. At the end Captain Whitaker is faced with a decision that was made by the Flying Association. He has the opportunity to place blame on a fallen coworker, but he chose to take the blame for himself and suffer the consequences. Even though he was a reckless pilot he was still able to save people. He was a hero, but then when the world knew of his drinking problem he was a zero. This court case brought the pilot to rock bottom, and the fact that he got drunk before the court case made him realize he had to finally start telling the truth. Captain Whitaker had confessed to everything, and now will be spending sometime in prison. 

This movie was very good because it was another strong performance from Denzel Washington. He developed his character and his story throughout the film. At times I forgot he was acting because of how the character was suffering, and going through his problems. The way he was dealing with the incident was common and he wanted space. When he felt accountable he began to drink. Denzel Washington is a great actor and I would recommend this movie to others.

-Ketan Kumar 

 

Keanu Reeves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A3f4leYc54&hd=1

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Although I like Keanu Reeves as an actor, I do have a problem with him. It seems that in his recent work he plays the same type of character in the recent movies I’ve seen him in. He’s basically emotionless man or the cool guy. Maybe it just so happens that the films I’ve seen him in, he plays a similar character. But this is all I can say about him. The Matrix trilogy he plays Neo, the one, cool guy who learns martial arts and kicks all the bad guys’ asses. He has this cool “I’m a badass” attitude throughout the trilogy. Later on I saw him in Constantine where he plays an individual who can see angles and demons and ends up fighting them. Once again he’s has this “cool guy” personality to his character. Next up, The Day the Earth Stood Still. Keanu Reeves plays an alien messenger, expressionless. He talks the same way he talks in all his other roles. This I have come to realize is Keanu Reeves, he is emotionless. He basically is the same person in every role he plays. Just watch all the trailers to all these movies. I bet if you cut together clips from these movies without knowing the movies beforehand, it would be tough to tell that they were different films. What really did it for me were recent films, Man of Tai Chi and 47 Ronin. He ONCE AGAIN plays some emotionless dude who knows martial arts. He was basically Neo again. The only film I have really seen him have emotion is was the one that basically launched his acting career, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. When I came across this film I was so surprised to see him express any type of emotion at all. Seriously, what happened to Keanu Reeves? And yet, I like his “I’m an expressionless person who knows how to fight people” role. 

Matrix Reloaded Trailer

Matrix Revolutions Trailer

Constantine Trailer 

The Day the Earth Stood Still Trailer

Man of Tai Chi Trailer

47 Ronin Trailer

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure Trailer