Flippin Sweet Dude

December 1, 2014

Amedeus

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , — erika @ 12:27 pm

Amedeus was an epic film, as it was epically long and painful. While I’m sure that there was many historically significant events, I am not a history buff and don’t know what it based on truth or not. I’m sure some music majors and historians would like to view the film, perhaps just once in their lives, however the potential audience for really enjoying the content of this film must be extremely narrow. I do find classical music very enjoyable, and the time period is interesting, however the making of a 3 hour movie for his life is a bit of a stretch.

One element that I found very interesting was the way that the story was presented. The use of Antonio Salieri’s retelling of his life was a great way to present the storyline. This allowed us to view his emotion, in the way he told the story on screen, as well as the perspective of the other actors playing out the scenes. This dual perspective gave added voice to the presentation, and gave us a type of stereo vision, allowing us to understand it much better. The switching from Salieri’s first hand dialog, to the long scenes of the events allowed for better attention span, as well as broke up the story into logical pieces, making it a bit easier to comprehend what was going on though the story.

The basic storyline of the film is the telling of the lifespan of Mozart through Salieri’s point of view. We start with Antonio, in a mental hospital of some kind, telling of Mozart’s early childhood. We learn of his music skills as a prodigy, as his father drags him all over showing off his talent. As he matures, he ends up working for many folks, composing music and full operas. His relationship with his father sours, and eventually becomes a problem for his wife as well. His appetite for women, poor financial planning and spending, and not following social norms causes friction between his employers and wife for most of his life. His father passes away, which is clearly a tough time for Mozart. Salieri secretly hires Mozart to write his (Mozart’s) own funeral march, and plans to knock off Mozart at some point.

As I watched this film, I’m unsure why Mozart’s laugh, which was peppered throughout the entire dialogue, was so obnoxious and painful. His emotional and witty laugh was unusual at first, and even playful in parts of the show, however after 3 hours of hearing the laugh, it was clear that he was insane. It was unclear what point this was making, if Mozart really did have this crazy laugh, and it was trying to be historically accurate, or if this was a tool to show Mozarts playfulness, immaturity, unpredictability or instability. This film was dialogue driven and as it was broken up with scenes from opera’s you could still feel the animosity between Salieri and Mozart even when they weren’t communicating directly. I did find the music enjoyable and really had no idea how many pieces Mozart had composed that I have heard before.

At the end of the film you see the priest who is supposed to be there to absolve Salieri of his sins is overcome with the story he has just heard. Salieri points out that it was in fact God who took Mozart away and let him continue living for 32 years full of mediocrity. Salieri claims he is the Saint of Mediocrity and can absolve all the mediocre souls out there. His obsession with Mozart has ended up taking away what joy he could have had in life. This was a unique film that I will probably never watch again.

November 18, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , — erika @ 7:50 pm

There are many Marvel movies that I really like to watch, but Guardians of the Galaxy was not one of them. Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand where this movie was supposed to go. Maybe it was because you have to read the comic books so that you have a better knowledge about what the movie should be about. I was not a big fan of this movie. Let’s start with the beginning. This movie starts with Peter Quill, a young boy with a dying mother. His mother dies and he runs from the hospital crying with a present she told him to open when she is gone. He collapses on the hill and is promptly abducted by a space ship. What??? Where did that come from? Fast forward 25 years and you have a man who likes to steal objects and sell them on the black market in the galaxy to anyone who will offer the best price. He also has no qualms about turning on those he should be working with.

I usually enjoy the genre of science fiction, but this one left me wondering what the plot really was and feelings of confusion thinking that the general theme seem to change. I took my teenage sons to this movie and they asked me what the point of the movie was supposed to be. I thought they just liked going to movies for the action, who knew my picking apart and analysis of movies was going to rub off on the whole family. Peter Quill, who wants to be known as Star Lord, has not instilled in me a sense of the protagonist in the movie that I want to root for. He seems more like the loner kid who just hasn’t grown up and wanted to know why he was kidnapped and what he is doing in the galaxy. The only memento that he holds onto is the tape walkman (that yes, I had as a kid) with the tape that his mom made him of 80’s music. Keeping the movie real to when you see Peter first as a kid in the late 1980’s. I had a feeling that the movie was stuck in a cycle of continuing to be in the “all is lost” phase of the movie beats.

I did however, enjoy the special effects in this movie. You have the computer generated walking, talking, raccoon named Rocket, and Groot the humanoid tree creature with the limited vocabulary of “I am Groot”. Groot kept being left out in decisions and the discussion of splitting the money that could be made, but I found myself wanting him to go farther and succeed. He was the creature I wanted to win and root for. I enjoyed the part towards the end where Groot saves them all by growing around them with the sparkling little lights around him. You knew he was going to sacrifice himself for the group. This movie did stay true to the thought that there are many different kinds of races out in the galaxy waiting for us to know and have relationships with. I was frustrated hearing at the end that the group that kidnapped him knows who his father is and was supposed to bring him to his father. I’m sure there will be a sequel that I won’t care if I go see.

August 30, 2014

Batman Begins

Filed under: FlippinSweetBlog — Tags: , , , — erika @ 7:49 pm

As I started to watch Batman Begins this week I realized that I had not watched it before. I haven’t been a big fan of Batman movies in general, as I find them to be dark and depressing. The lighting used in previous Batman movies I have watched leaves me feeling depressed after watching a couple of hours of dark, dismal Gotham City. That being said I found that I quite enjoyed watching this movie to see how the story of Batman began. I enjoyed the use of flashbacks/nightmares to be able to see Bruce’s point of view growing up.
This is the first movie I have watched after discussing what screenplay beats are and how they work through the movie. Batman Begins starts with a rich, privileged Bruce Wayne who is afraid of bats due to the trauma of falling down an old well. He feels guilty for the death of his parents and you can see that the theme is going to be him finding himself and becoming a legend. He doesn’t care for crime and sees that there is plenty of injustice going on where he lives. His parents being killed in the alley is what starts him on this journey along with not being able to have vengeance on their killer.
The B story starts with introducing new characters like Dr. Crane. You are not aware of how he is going to tie into the story until closer to the end. You also have the lack of romance that Rachel feels for Bruce. She doesn’t see a change in him and just sees him as a playboy. I enjoyed watching him try to see what kind of disguise he was going to use and all of the gadgets and toys. He has kind of an high point when he catches Falcone and his goons, but he is still not accepted as part of the “good guys”.
Then there is the lurking detail of who Dr. Crane really works for and what the real end goal is supposed to be for the criminals. Ra’s Al Ghul shows up as really being the mentor who taught him quite a few of the tricks and fighting skills Bruce now uses to try to help restore Gotham into a good city again. Ra’s was always commenting on how Bruce would never look at his surroundings and that his compassion was not a good thing. He is left for dead in his burning house while Ra’s is about to unleash his terror on the city of Gotham to bring about it’s destruction.
Alfred comes to be his cheering section and shows he hasn’t given up on Bruce as a person. He quotes Bruce’s father from the beginning of the movie, “Why do we fall?, so we can learn to pick ourselves up.” To me that is the kick in the butt Bruce needed to remember he wasn’t finished and could still keep trying to make the city a better place. It was the “dark night of the soul” part of the movie. Obviously he is able to save the city itself from complete destruction that night. He is the hero and on his way to becoming a legend. In the final image you can see him boarding up the old well where he fell years ago and Rachel is now seeing him in a new light. There are no big romantic fireworks, but he has changed. He isn’t looking for revenge any more. He is doing what he can to help rebuild a better Gotham City.

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