Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Sound of Music - Reaction

A well done family film about a nun/governess and her family in Austria during the coming of the third Reich. Includes a love triangle. This film is a musical, containing songs with good lyrics and good choreography and that are so catchy they made their way into our common cultural knowledge (i.e., I recognized many of them though I'd never seen the movie before). The setting--Austria--is beautiful and offers many opportunities to see expansive vistas. The cinematography is likewise good. Though the movie is long (three hours), the length didn't bother me. In short, it's a good quality movie that's rightly called a classic and it's no wonder the film is one of the top grossing films of all time and a winner of five Oscars.

I want to record in particular that the puppet scene is a lot of fun.

The movie is mainly about family and "about freedom, hope, and facing our lives and future with a positive outlook", as one reviewer said. Also, some songs/relationships involve traditional gender roles; others have more female empowerment. Many reviewers claim the movie and its themes are too sugary / syrupy / "schmaltz"-y, but it didn't seem to bother me.

I learned a lot about the film from reading about it afterwards and from listening to the commentary track.

  • The screenplay was based on a fictionalized musical based on the true story book written by the Von Trapps themselves.
  • The movie was made for a lower budget than I thought. For instance, they filmed some scenes on a stage so they didn't have to pay people overtime to film in the house at night. (But, yes, some scenes were filmed on location in Austria.)
  • Some dubbing of the singing occurred, though not much.
  • Most of the children got taller during filming -- visual tricks were used to minimize this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8 Mile - Reaction

A not-bad film about a rapper in an impoverished side of Detroit trying to find his voice. The first half of the film shows him idling around, with nothing really happening, which I suppose is an accurate reflection of life in that community. Sadly, however, I was disappointed that not much more happens in the second half. Nevertheless, I appreciated the movie's portrayal of a world I have no familiarity with, and the movie's exploration of attitudes in that community to jobs, women, and money.

I wish I knew more about the rapper's final status with his girlfriend.

Writing this response far after the fact, I vaguely recall liking the rap battles (both in the movie and in the special features).

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - Reaction

A good fantasy movie with high production values. Whether computer graphics or costumes, it's clear they paid attention to detail. (Indeed, the film won an oscar for make-up.) I wouldn't call it an epic because an epic feels long, grand, and complicated. This movie is about as complicated a story as you can tell a child. The characters are straightforward. And, although long, it doesn't feel long. Furthermore, during the first half of the film, the kids are just looking for their brother, which is not really a traditional epic quest.

I found something odd about the way the real animals are animated, but I'm not bothered by the fake animals and monsters. I thought the monsters in particular were animated very well. Also, the fawn's acting was adorable.

Despite the PG rating, the movie is dark at times and I don't think it's entirely appropriate for kids.

There's an obvious Jesus allegory here. Also, I couldn't believe there's a Santa-Clause/Father-Christmas figure. (I haven't read the book since elementary school, and completely forgot about it.)

It's interesting to hear the commentary by the child-actors. By listening to the commentary, I also learned the film was shot generally in order according to the script--an unconventional choice--to make it easier for the kids to act, and because the kids grow over time.