Thursday, 28 November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

FREE POST: Blue Jasmine

    Blue Jasmine is the last Woody Allen movie, starring Cate Blanchett in the lead role. She acts spectacularly in this film and is a considerably talented actress. The story takes place in San Francisco and New York, and tell the story of this woman, Jasmine French who was married to a successful business man who then turned out to be a corrupt thief, who stole a lot of money. He is sent to prison, all their money is gone and all their possessions are taken from them. Jasmine is left with nothing, and is a very unstable and troubled character, who has spent her whole life living the dreaming, letting everyone do everything for her. She goes to live with her sister in San Francisco, and finds herself in a working class society, which is very different to her usual upper class lifestyle. There are many events that occur, and Jasmine becomes more and more unstable and even psychotic. As not to ruin the rest of the movie, I shall not say anything more, but I sincerely think that it is worth seeing. Cate Blanchett gives a remarkable performance, the movie itself is witty, funny, but also rather dramatic, sad and moving. A real success in my opinion and this film is a masterpiece we've been waiting for, seeing as the last few Woody Allen movies were all a bit deceiving. 
 We can compare the scenario to an old classic called A Streetcar Named Desir starring Marlon Brando, but it is different and the director puts in his own style and sense of humour. All in all this movie is a must-see and what really defines this movie is Cate Blanchett's  incredible performance.

Monday, 11 November 2013

POST 8: GAME OF THRONES (Your Choice of a Film or Series dealing with the notion of 'Power')

     I have chosen this series because it deals with several forms of power. This series is all about power, where it comes from and what different people do with it. The notion of power is seen mainly through political power and royal power, but can also be seen with supernatural power (dragons,etc...). What I really love about this series is that no one is safe, everyone's power is changeable in the blink of an eye, and characters are continually being killed off, no matter how important they are. This means that you never know what to expect, you are always surprised and can never predict what's going to happen next. 
       Game of Thrones was first and foremost a series of books written by George R. R. Martin. These books were then transformed into an extremely popular TV series by HBO. There are three seasons already made, and a fourth shall be coming out in May 2014. 
   The story is based in an imaginary world, in which there are seven kingdoms. It can easily be compared to the atmosphere in Lord of The Rings, being full of mystical creatures and big battle scenes. It relates to the form of power through several ficticious realms and monarchs. Practically each character is fighting for their right to be king or queen. Even when you think that a character has absolute power, there's always someone planning to take it from him. There are mainly four separate families: House of Stark, House of Lannister, House of Baratheon and House of Targaryen. Through the stories of all these families and many many many characters, we can ask ourselves several questions about power. For example, what connection does it have to morality? How does it affect people's behaviour? What is the real definition of power? Is it political, military even supernatural? Where does this power come from?


   Each character represents a certain form of power, it can be bravery, loyalty, love, intelligence, honesty, physical strength, moral strength, supernatural gifts and many more. The theme of revenge is often brought up in this series, and the determination of getting back what is rightfully their's.

    Some find that this series contains too much nudity and can be rather boring at times, because the episodes are quite long (1 hour) and there are very long scenes in which there are only two characters talking. But there are also very intense and epic moments, there is a lot of drama. 
   This series is very entertaining, and that's the main goal of any kind of entertainement: to entertain. There are also a lot of questions asked in this series about power and what is truely important in life. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

POST 7: THE NOTION OF POWER as exemplified in Brian De Palma's Redacted movie

The film Redacted, directed by Brian De Palma in 2007, deals with the very controversial issue of the war in Irak. It shows very graphic and horrifying images of American soldiers in the Middle East. This film is based on real events, making it even more alarming. It wants to criticize not only the bad behavior of American soldiers, but also how the truth his hidden from us by the media. In one of the trailers it says:
 "Truth is the first casualty of war." 
This movie is filmed as if it were an American soldier who was filming everything with his own camera, creating a very realistic feeling, making it even harder to watch.
This film is extremely shocking and polemical because it shows the gritty truth, it shows unimaginable things, things that have been kept from us. It can be related to the notion of power because it denounces America's role in this war, how they abused their power to behave extremely badly. It also denounces the horror that was happening and that the media wasn't showing us, this is a kind of power, the power of knowledge and awareness. Technically the media isn't the one to blame, it is the government that controls the media who is really to blame. So we can talk about censorship, and legal restrictions. 

This film is about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers with shocking images that will leave some viewers in tears.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

Made in a deliberately episodic form, Redacted tells various stories about the war in Iraq, ostensibly from different viewpoints. One film portion by a French filmmaker tells the story of U.S. soldiers watching over checkpoints. In another episode, a superior soldier makes a casual mistake dealing with garbage that was set out in a road and is blown to bits. It's all leading to the pivotal rape and murder of the pretty girl who is discovered by the soldiers on a raid of an Iraqi house in order to find evidence. One night, the drunken and mostly morally lost U.S. soldiers discuss going back for the "skank" whom they saw in the house they raided. One soldier straps a camera to his helmet, and the footage of the girl's rape is secured.

The rest of the film mostly deals with measures taken by the army against the criminals. A final scene has a soldier from the criminals' unit confessing to his friends a war story that he will never forget: the plundering and murder of the Iraqi girl.

REVIEW: (All Movie Guide)
In the years following the start of the second Iraq war, numerous filmmakers tried to grapple with the thorny issues at play there. But few made quite so clinical an approach as Brian De Palma in Redacted. Since many of those films were considered misfires, a different approach might not be such abad thingDe Palma presents an array of media -- a French documentary, an al-Qaeda website, a blog by a soldier's wife -- as if stockpiling evidence for a trial designed to determine some kind of universal truth. The story's backbone is the amateur footage shot by a soldier named Angel (Izzy Diaz), who hopes to parlay his observations into acceptance at film school after returning home. Through this we meet the five central characters. All of this is fictitious, of course, leaving Redacted in the category of "fictional documentary." The results can feel simplistic and on the nose, but that's partly intentional. De Palma's scenario is constructed specifically to have an every-soldier feel to it, dealing primarily with the brutal rape of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family. In this way, De Palmaindicts all American soldiers in all wars (accusations of such behavior ran rampant in Vietnam), and even the very mentality engendered by invasions and occupations, regardless of who's doing the invading/occupying. Nor does he let the locals off the hook, intimating that they look the other way when roadside bombs kill American soldiers. De Palma's serious purpose doesn't mean he's overcome by sobriety, however. Some of the camaraderie among soldiers is disturbing, but some is downright funny. In all, the cast of unknowns convinces us they're real grunts just caught up in a cycle far bigger than they are, one that has repeated down through the decades, where no one is really innocent.