Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pleasantville Revisit

Surprisingly I haven’t previously watched Pleasantville when it came out in 1998. The television, or the idiot box as Pierre Delacroix from Bamboozled would say, wasn’t a frequent babysitter as I was growing up, in result, I lack movie cultural significantly. Pleasantville was a very enjoyable movie; the soundtrack for the film is excellent. Masterpieces such as “At Last” by Etta James and “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck Quartet, are a few of my all time favorite songs. The way the music score complimented the flow of the movie is brilliant. For example, “Take Five” fits so perfectly during the scene when Tobey Maguire’s character frantically enters the local soda fountain owned by Mr. Johnson to finds everyone to be dead silent looking at him. They all had curious questions of what exists outside of Pleasantville. Tobey’s character attempts to describe the customs of the 1990s, what the true occupation of a firefighter is and roads outside of Pleasantville don’t continue in an infinite circle. He continues to tell stories of classic novels such as The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn to his strongly captivated audience. The soundtrack, “Take Five,” is so fitting for this moment because the distinctly different yet catch tune emphasized what the citizens of Pleasantville were experiencing.
The idea of color in this movie reminds me of the concept of color in the novel Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Where black, white and grey represents dull living in contrast to colorful life. There is a social reference in the film about segregation, a shot of a shop or restaurant with a sign stating No Colors. The literally and figurative meaning of this sign is priceless. The impact of color in all these forms of medias helped me realize that I too can utilize color more to invoke an emotion and to relay a deeper meaning in my art. Overall I love this movie, for more than just my love for vintage 1950s lifestyle, but for the historical revisit, the satirical elements and the underlying message of there is no right way to live life. Yes we might live in a dysfunctional world, but the beauty of life is moving and passionate.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mythic Fiction and Contemporary Urban Fantasy

Big Fish directed by Tim Burton was such a delight to watch. The film was a nice break from the very extreme movies I have been watching lately. Even though the movie contains fantasy like details, its still light hearted. The story revolves around the main character Edward Bloom and his son who struggles to understand his father. Will, Edward's son, doesn't believe any of his father's stories and finds it annoying his father can't states a simply true fact about his life. Edward Bloom argues that he has been stating fact all this time and says to his son that he can't accept him for who he is, a storyteller. Will wants to understand his father because he is soon to have a son and doesn't want the same problem occur to him. When Edward is in the hospital on the brink of death, he ask his son to tell a story about how it all ends. Once so, Edward passes away with happiness that his son finally understands him and his passion for storytelling. Edward Bloom continues to live on through his stories. This is just the underlying story line. The southern gothic fantasy stories Edward Bloom lives is like a dream. The town he comes across by going through a treacherous road has a familiar eeriness of the underground town in the film The Boy and His Dog. But much more pleasant and no killer robot Michael. The town, Spectre, has the delightful and whimsical qualities of Rivendell in the novel the Hobbit. Another detail of the film I like is the idea of a monogamous relationship. Edward Bloom encounters the love of his life and does everything possible to get the chance to see her again. The daffodils part is so pretty but also creepy. When Edward rebuilds Spectre after bankruptcy, Jenny makes an advance onto Edward which he turns down because he is only in love with one woman and wishes to remain faithful to her. As fluffy and dreamy Edward's love for Sandra, it is a pity monogamy is such a frivolous idea in modern culture.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Being John Malkovich

Incredibly strange movie, I wasn’t quiet sure what to expect from this film directed by Spike Jones, but I was definitely not expecting this. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I liked how the movie was going but towards the end as things got crazy, I found myself laughing. I dislike Craig’s personality; he is very selfish and unfaithful towards his wife, actively persuing Maxine at the work place. The whole story is out of this world, people working on Floor 7 ½, people jumping through a portal to be John Malkovich and a married couple in love with the same person. Everyman for himself is portrayed frequently in the movie. Charlie Sheen cameo in the film is a laughable element. There is a replacement theme within the movie. Lotte replacing her want of children with pets, Craig replacing his puppets with actual people, and eventually people replacing people. Being John Malkovich is a major overload on content, the deteriorating marriage between Craig and Lotte is already a conflict, now throw in the challenges of prolong life. The character development of Maxine is a little bit surprising; she is portrayed to be a manipulative diva and grows to feel love with Lotte essentially softening her character. The ending was satisfying. Maxine and Lotte together raising their indirect child with Craig trapped in the little girl’s conscious.  One pondering thought about the outcome of the film was why was the ending unfavorable to Craig only? Being John Malkovich was one of those movies that left me saying, what did I just watch? but in a positive way.