Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Raise Money for Fund Martina's Tisch Asia Experience | YouCaring

Raise Money for Fund Martina's Tisch Asia Experience | YouCaring

Hello family, friends and fellow humans alike. I'm ecstatic to announce that I'm accepted to NYU Tisch Asia. This journey of pursuing my deep passion for filmmaking is taking me all the way to Singapore! I’m working diligently on financial aid and student loans to fund my tuition and I'm reaching out for help with travel and living expenses in Singapore. I know, $20K is a big number, tell me about it, but any little bit helps! I would love to have your support, whether it's financial or just passing the word on! I will post pictures and keep you posted on my journey to grad school in Singapore.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"This Rock has been waiting for me my entire life.”


127 hours

Directed by Danny Boyle


Although I am familiar with the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place based on rock climber Aaron Ralston’s true story, I wasn’t automatically drawn to see a film about a rock climber trapped under a boulder until I found out Danny Boyle directed it. I always enjoyed his films because he is a creative storyteller who has always had a distinctive cinematic style. Boyle described this film as “an action movie with a guy who can’t move.” I was interested in particularly to see how he would keep us engaged through out the film with just has one main character.


Although this film was hard to watch, it touched on some very interesting philosophical ideas about the human ego. The boulder for Aaron didn’t just trap him physically but became a striking analogy for the crossroads he had reached in his life. The boulder represented an opportunity for Ralston to humble himself enough to see what’s really important in life. It gave him the foresight to see his purpose and gave him the courage to survive by any means necessary. Boyle emphasize Ralston’s emotional journey by using lots of camera tracking extreme close ups and vibrant color saturation, making you feel that you were under that boulder with him. The product placement in the film seemed to make reference to the larger role consumerism plays in modern society and emphasize how disconnect we are from ourselves. I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite film made by Boyle, but I believe he stayed true to his point of view and I will always respect his filmmaking.


Edited by Hester Bennet

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The 2010 Matrix


Inception

Directed by Christopher Nolen

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who loved Inception those who did not. I fortunately am one of those people who loved it. There are very few films that leave me in utter bliss that make me want to go out and make everyone I know to watch it just so I can talk about it. Midpoint through out the film I whispered to myself “This is it!” I have been waiting in anticipation for almost a year for the release of this film. The last time a movie blew my mind like that was when I went to go see The Matrix 1999. Much like The Matrix, I walked in the theater not knowing anything about the storyline. It just had cool special effects that I haven’t seen before and attractive actors, enough to get a girl to the box office on opening day.


In Hollywood more times then not the films that are made for blockbuster success usually are not unique and lack creativity. When something as clever and interesting as Inception comes out it not only sets the bar high for moviemakers, but makes the audience a little smarter too. Christopher Nolen is a director that always seems to give you something you weren’t exactly expecting and didn’t know you needed. He is known most for Batman Begins and The Dark Night, but he wrote Inception almost 10 years before it was released. The difference between brilliance and ordinary is the ability to take and idea and not only see it through, but look at it from all angles, take it apart, but it together until you make it your own version of perfect. The reason why films like this are so mind-blowing is because it takes simple idea that most people have thought about in passing, but brings a specific depth and development that make it spectacular. There are points in the movie that seem a little too complicated and too confusing, but not anything you can’t fix by watching a few more times. Needless to say it went above and beyond my expectations.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wax on... Wax off

The Karate Kid

Directed by

Harald Zwart

We are all familiar with the Karate Kid plot formula. A new kid in town gets bullied at school and he wants to learn how to defend himself. He then meets an unexpected teacher and friend that teaches him the ways of kung fu through unconventional training. There is a tournament at the end of the film where he then has to confront his bully and win against all odds. It’s a classic underdog overcomes story, complete with a cheesy love story subplot and hokey predictable ending.


When someone told me they were making another Karate Kid movie, with Jackie Chan I rolled my eyes. But then they assured me that the film was going to be good. Still skeptical, I decided to check it out for myself and I have to say the film was really cute. Jaden Smith was charming and funny as Dre Parker. He must have learned his comedic style from his father, because he not only looked just like Will Smith, but acted just like him too. It is clear that the little guy has talent, but sometimes it felt like he might have been too mature for his own age. Although I have conversations with my own 12-year-old nephew that proved to be more sophisticated than some adult conversations, so I could be wrong. I look forward to seeing him grow up, and if they ever decided to make a Boondocks movie, they already have the perfect kid to play Reily!


Taraji P. Henson’s played the role of Dre’s mother. Most people remember her in her in what I like to call her “cross over movie”,The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), but I will always remember her as Yvette in Baby Boy (2001). Much like Queen Latifah, Monique and Jamie Foxx, Henson is on her way to A list celebrity status. I'm always happy when people of color cross over into more mainstream success. She always plays the same feisty character, but she carries it with sincerity.


As for Jackie Chan, he has never really appealed to me. I always liked his fighting scenes but he just always seemed like a character, Chinese exploration if you will. He put the character away and beefed up the acting and it was really nice to see for a change. I definitely judged this movie way too soon and I am happy to admit when I’m wrong. I like the fact that a single black mother moves to China, breaking stereotypes and clichés on so many levels. They kept the basic plot and small details that where in the original film but incorporated enough twists to make it distinctively different.




Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Grown-up Finally Grow Up


Shopgirl 2005
Directed by Anand Tucker

Shopgirl is a story about a young women named Mirabelle, played by Clare Danes, who finds herself in a love triangle with Ray Porter, a wealthy older man (Steve Martin) and Jeremy, a struggling young musician (Jason Schwartzman). For the most part the film is about how life experiences catapult your own personal transformations.

The film takes place in Los Angeles a perfect juxtaposition to the story and to the character of Mirabelle. They couldn’t have gotten a better actress to play her. I have been a fan of Clare Danes ever since the TV show My So Called Life (1994). She is one of those actresses that plays the same character but it does't matter because you basically love her. She has a simple quiet type of beauty that is rare for actresses her age. As I am hanging on to the last year of my 20’s I can completely relate to Marriblle. Like most of us, she is just trying to find her way through the world. There is nothing really extraordinary amazing about her. She is ordinary and almost boring, which makes her so relatable.

Although I could relate more to Marribelle, my favorite character is Jeremy. We remember Jason Schwartzman from Rushmore (1998) and most recently in Funny People. His comedic abilities bring the character of Jeremy to life in this otherwise drama based film. Jeremy is the poster boy of the 20 something male. He is every good and bad date you will ever have. He is the guy whose number you delete and then try to find when your drunk and lonely. He is the guy with the most potential the the least amount of motivation. Jeremy is the single women's boyfriend.

Overall, the film and characters held the story together enough that the narration wasn't necessary. It wasn't even from a personal perspective which seems a little off putting especially since it was about someones personal journey. The film is based on a novella written by Steve Martin, so I think the print to screen transition was perhaps a little too literal. Thankfully even with the narration, it's still one of my favorite films. I have come to realize that most of my favorite films are not coming of age movies, but coming in to yourself stories, and this one is no exception.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Neo Noir goes to High School


Brick (2005)
Directed by Rian Johnson

Brick was about Brandon, a flawed and morally questionable hero played by Joseph Gorden Levitt. He investigates the disappearance of his girlfriend by digging deep into the underworld of high school crime. The story followed all the classic Film Noir characters with witty and cheeky dialog. The unlikely combination of a modern day suburban high school setting and the Film Noir storyline is what made this film so exciting. The contrast between the two was so apparent it was comedic. One of my favorite scenes in the film is the conversation between the high school crime lord, “The Pin” and Brandon. They sit at the kitchen table and The Pin’s mother asking Brandon if he wants Country Style Apple Juice. Sure, you could say that its completely unrealistic, but you can’t tell me having the crime lord’s lair in his mom’s basement isn’t funny.

I haven't had much interest in watching classic 1940’s Film Noir. However, with such amazing Neo Noir films such as Memento 2000, LA Confidential 1997, Basic Instant 1992, and Mulholland Drive 1996, and now Brick, I might just have to give the classics a shot.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Amuse Bouche - Rent it!

Miracle of St. Anna (2008)
Directed by Spike Lee

Being one of the most well known black directors, I can't help but support Spike Lee's films, but I haven't always enjoyed them. He has a tendency of being a little too preachy. Over the years he has grown from a young director into a house hold name. I remember seeing this particular film in the movie theaters and really enjoying it. The culture mixes of German Nazi's and African American soldiers and tying in a modern day murder was brilliant! Bravo Spike! Too bad it wasn't more successful in the box office.


The White Ribbon (2009)
Directed by Michael Haneke

Talk about a snooze fest!!! I really want to be one of those people who love abstract deep films, but I accept that some things might just go over my head. I sat through the whole film waiting for something interesting to happen and then it ended. Its also subtitles so it requires reading, but I'm sorry, if you want me to read a movie the plot needs to be interesting too. Although to its credit, after sitting for about an hour, I realized the the cinematography was stunning! Leave it to a photographer to notice that.

Greenberg (2010)
Directed by Noah Baumbach

I am happy to see Ben Stiller try to branch out from slap stick comedy. I also enjoyed the cameo appearance from Merrit Wever who plays the lovable Zoey Barkow from Nurse Jackie.
Baumbach is known for making dark comedies about middle age crisis. If you liked The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) or The Squid and the Whale (2005) then you will enjoy this one too.




Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Directed by Tim Burton

I was so excited to see Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. It seemed like such a good combination, but the quirky amazing brilliants wasn't there. No wonder he left Disney in the beginnings of his career. He should have never went back! So it is confirmed! Tim Burton + Disney = a movie that sucks



Clash of the Titans (2010)
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Its funny how 20 years later with advanced technology and special effects and the original is till better.




The Hurt Locker (2008)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
I never get to see films before they won best picture. Perhaps I should have seen this before all of the hype because the whole time I was looking for the star quality that everyone seemed to have found. Don't get me wrong, this story was something that I never seen before, but I'm also not a huge fan or war movies either.





Shutter Island (2010)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Out of respect for an amazing director like Martin Scorsese, you can't help but go see Shutter Island. Its far from his best work, but it does sill have all the qualities and sensibilities of his films. The ending turns you for a loop and not necessarily a good one.