Thursday, September 17, 2009

Film Comparison: Picking Battles Depends the Century

Jude 1996
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Revolutionary Road 2008
Directed by Sam Mendes

Jude is a British film about a man who fell in love with his cousin and they lived out of wedlock during the Victorian period. I felt perplexed through out the movie because I couldn’t get over the fact that they were social outcasts, not because they were cousins, but because they weren’t married. I know this sounds terrible to say, but in this case I just feel like they needed to suck it up and get married. Perhaps I can’t really understand this movie because I’m too far removed from this old fashion concept. Some could say people living out of wedlock in the Victorian age, would be equivalent to gay couples unable to get married today. However, I wouldn’t be one of those people. You have a choice if you want to get married or not, but you don’t have a choice if you are gay, or a different nationality. I’m all about standing up for what you believe in, but for me, the fight for staying single isn’t a worthy one. What’s the point of all that sacrifice if you end up losing the people you love? I couldn’t really grasp the concept of Jude, but I respect the emotional journey.

Jude’s co-star, Kate Winslet is also in the movie Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by her husband Sam Mendes, who is famous for telling the emotional journey rather than a plot driven storyline. His films have always been a nice breathe of fresh air for me. Not only are his films visually stunning, but also he says a lot without saying anything at all. Too many characters in films talk too much about what they are feeling.

Revolutionary Road is a perfect example of how Mendes tells a story with what is left unsaid. The film is about a married couple in the 1950’s who saw themselves as different then everyone else, but soon succumbed to the an unfulfilled suburban life. In a lot of ways this film has similar characteristics as Jude. In both films, the characters undergo social pressures but deal with the pressure slightly differently. However, both films, the couples meet a breaking point that tears them apart. The time period difference aloud me to relate more to Revolutionary Road. I also liked that the emotionally oppressed feelings the characters have are reflected in the overall look of the film. The pastel and washed out color palette I felt was thoughtful and appropriate.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There is funny “haha” and then there is….hmmm

Funny People 2009
Directed by Judd Apatow

Funny people is yet another movie made by the Judd Apatow stoner comedy franchise, fusing cock jokes with life lessons. Movies like Funny People are like those dance movies, you appreciate them trying to include a plot, but really you just came to watch amazing choreographed dance sequences. You expect offensive ‘TMI’ jokes and cameo appearances from your favorite young up and coming comedians. However, Apatow always blurs the lines of comedy and drama seamlessly, catering to multiple audiences. Funny People, unlike previous Apatow movies, is more drama and less stoner with an all star funny cast of comedians like Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, and Aziz Ansari. It’s a film about a successful self-involved stand up comedian who has a near death experience that makes him reevaluate his life. Although I enjoyed the sour sweet ending, the premise of the movie seemed a bit contrived and unrealistic. The best parts of the movie are the interactions between the roommates, a group of up and coming struggling comedians. Not only because they are hilarious, but I have a huge respect for the struggling career of a beginning artist.

The more I thought about this movie the more I realized how many movies like this are being made. It’s fascinating how the movie studios catch on to a certain genres for a few years because they discover a specific formula that will have blockbuster success. I saw an interview with Seth Rogan and he said that he makes movies he thinks his friends would like to see, not movies studios want to make. Seth Rogan’s friends I’m assuming consist of single white males from the ages of 20 – 50 who sit around, smoke pot, play video games and talk about sex. The studio executives are not too much different. That being said, it obviously easier for Judd Apatow to get a movie made then lets say a women who wants to tell her own story from a different point of view. That’s not to say that other films made by women or people of color don’t get made, it’s just a much smaller amount. The people in a position of power always seem to be rich white men. I know, such a cliché statement, right? That being said, a true artist holds their own cards by staying true to their artistic voice and doesn’t allow studio executives, or anyone else to stand in their way. A time will come that the industry will find a new genre and I’m optimistic that more untold stories will have their moment on the big screen.