Hailey Blogs About the Movies

I just really wanted to share my passion for film with all the beautiful movie lovers of tumblr.

I am SO sorry

I haven’t been posting.
I just haven’t been able to go to the movies lately.
I’ll start doing some throwback Thursday reviews.
Thank you so much for sticking with me and still following me.

I took my mom to see Mud and she loved it

My mom really only likes comedies and romantic movies but I wanted to go see Mud and to get her out of the house so she surprisingly agreed to come with me.

Mud stars Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon but the movie really revolves around two young boys who find the fugitive Mud, played by Matthew McConaughey and agree to help him connect with the love of his life, Juniper, played by Reese Witherspoon.

I went into the film assuming the movie was about Mud but it is so much more. It’s about the time when children learn that love is not all they think it is as the main little boy’s parents go through a separation, he gets his heartbroken by a girl at school, and even Mud and Juniper’s relationship isn’t all it seems. It’s that moment when you’re a kid and you realize everything Disney has told you about love is much more complicated.

I thought that was an absolutely brilliant lesson and the way it was delivered through the boy willing to do anything to help Mud because Mud is in love. Mud’s love is so important to the boy because then his definition of love isn’t completely destroyed. However, all of the events with Mud force the boy to reevaluate what love actually is and be okay with this change.

The best friend to the boy is brilliant by his willingness to stick by his friend through everything and really shows what it means to be a best friend. The writer/director Jeff Nichols did a wonderful job showing how children will help someone in need regardless of circumstance. Children do not judge. If someone needs help then they help. I loved the innocence and the spirit the two boys had.

Michael Shannon was incredible as always as the best friend’s uncle. He could have easily been absent and uncaring as an uncle who was stuck with his brother’s kid but instead he compassionate. watchful, and  an incredible guardian. Not to mention, his constant innovation to make diving for clams easier was just awesome and showed how unassumingly smart he is.

The cast was perfect and the characters were incredibly complex and well-rounded. It was refreshing to have a story full of characters that could totally exist in the real world.

If you ever get the chance in the future, go see this movie. Seriously. Although it’s a small, indie film, it’s one of the best ones that have come out this summer. And my mom loved (and she never likes anything like this).

Okay guys

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote a review but I’ve been busy with summer class. BUT that’s finally over, so in the next few days I’ll have reviews about Mud, Monster’s University, and Man of Steel. My Man of Steel review will be short since it’s been so heavily reviewed.

Movie review in a minute

Go watch Pitch Perfect. It’s a really funny movie with the always perfect Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson. The film was written by Kay Cannon, who does a brilliant job showing ladies can be funny and they don’t need men to do so. Obviously there are men in the film, the rival acapella group for the Bellas but they are not what the film is about. Pitch Perfect joins the ranks of films that are feminist in a positive and empowering way.

Woot woot

avengingactress92 started following all-the-movies

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I like all-the-movies better than screen-squatter, so yeah, new name, don’t be confused.

Hey guys!

If there is a movie you really want me to review and I haven’t done so already, let me know and I will gladly write about it!

Now You See Me isn’t Just Some Magic Trick

It’s taken me a bit longer than I thought to write this review because I wanted to see the movie one more time before I wrote about it. I really wanted to digest everything I saw because there was a lot to take in.

I first saw the trailer for Now You See Me at the screening for The Great Gatsby. The trailer intrigued me. The movie looked like a fun summer movie with a really impressive cast. (I’ve been wanting to see Melanie Laurent, from Inglorious Basterds, in something else since that film.) So I was excited for the film because I always like in the summer when the movies are more entertaining than serious melodramas vying for an Oscar. 

I asked to go see the movie when my family was taking me out for a belated birthday dinner. I was nervous about everyone was going to like it and how good Now You See Me was going to be, especially because my dad really wanted to see Star Trek: Into Darkness, which I knew for a fact is a really good movie. So I went into the theater anxiously waiting for the movie to start praying it would be, at the least, an entertaining film.

I have to say this movie really exceeded by expectations. I was so pleasantly surprised by this film. The story revolves around four magicians known as The Four Horsemen who keep pulling off elaborate heists as the FBI and Interpol try to catch them. The film is full of twists and turns and magic and Mark Ruffalo as the stumbling FBI agent and Melanie Laurent as the Interpol agent are the center of the story.  The cast is incredible. Laurent shines as the agent trying to figure out what The Horsemen are trying to pull off but also enamored by their magic tricks and with magic itself. I absolutely love Mark Ruffalo, he personally made me love the Hulk again. Ruffalo shows his depth as the absolutely overwhelmed but tenacious agent. As for The Four Horsemen, everyone was just magnificent. Each Horsemen has their own specialty, Jack Wilder, played by Dave Franco, is a master of slight of hand (and pickpocketing). Franco certainly has had an interesting career, with credits such as the last season of Scrubs, which as terrible as the season was, Franco was very good in, and 21 Jumpstreet, which again he proves that he is funny and talented. In Now You See Me, Franco proves that he be more than comic relief. Though he does get as much screen time as the other characters, he really left me wanting to see more of him and in my opinion, proved why he is the better brother in this film. Woody Harrelson is just a charming and funny as ever as Merritt McKinney, the “mentalist”, and the film’s comic relief. I have always been a fan of Jesse Eisenberg, Zombieland is one of my favorite movies, and even though the character is reminiscent of his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, I liked the role nonetheless. Eisenberg plays Daniel Atlas, the incredibly talented street performer, as well as the sort-of group leader. Atlas’ one-time assistant, Henley Reeves, played by Isla Fischer, rounds out the group as the magician who pulls off life-risking tricks. Fischer is charismatic and proves that she just because she wasn’t born and raised in America doesn’t mean she can’t pull of the accent. I think this is Fischer’s time. She is incredibly talented and I have always liked her roles. I know that Confessions of a Shopaholic isn’t exactly cinema gold but she has been in successes such as Wedding CrashersRangoThe Great Gatsby, and the newest season of Arrested Development

Of course the film also features legends Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Freeman plays Thaddeus Bradley, a former magician who reveals how magicians do their tricks and Caine plays The Four Horsemen’s sponsor, Arthur Tressler. The two are as perfect as always in their roles and as much I love Freeman, it was fun to hate his character as Thaddeus tried to reveal the Horsemen’s end goal.

Like I said earlier, I was pleasantly surprised by this film because it was more than entertaining, it was also clever and the twists and turns were fresh. It is very hard to surprise me because I have seen it all and movies, regardless of how well-written or clever they are, usually have the same ending. This movie REALLY surprised me and I loved it. I mean when you think back it’s so obvious because the theme of the film, “The closer you look, the less you see” really reveals a lot but of course you do exactly what the film wants and looks extremely close. 

Now You See Me wasn’t perfect of course, the forced romance between Ruffalo and Laurent was uncomfortable and unnecessary and I wish the film was centered a little more around The Four Horsemen and not the chase after them, but it is understandable because there is supposed to be an element of mystery, nonetheless, I wouldn’t have minded more scenes with The Horsemen. The ending is also a little quick because the film felt it necessary to end on the romance instead of going more in depth to what The Four Horsemen were doing, which again might be because the filmakers wanted to keep an element of surprise but I would have enjoyed an ending that wasn’t centered on the incredibly fake and forced romance. However, this film is not for those who like to multitask or be on their phone while watching because it is focused around paying attention and looking for any possible clue as to what is actually going on and that is so refreshing because movies now expect you to only be paying half attention so their plots are watered down versions that can be easily followed if the viewer starts paying attention half way through.

This film is definitely on my list of recommendations to go see because not only is it fun, entertaining, and a good summer movie, it is also an incredible ride and highly impressive for a movie in its summer slot. I would give the movie a seven and a half out of ten. It is so well done for a movie I thought was just going to be okay. I am so thrilled that it turned out to exceed all of my expectations and was a film based on wit and actually, you know, watching the screen.

I will post about Now You See Me


Wes Anderson Redeems with Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson is hands down one of my favorite filmmakers. His style of comedy, the way he handles his subject matter, and how unique his films are is always refreshing. This doesn’t mean, however, that all of his films are good. The Darjeeling Limited is an example of how Anderson sometimes misses the marks. I would also add The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou but that film is actually quite good and just misunderstood when it first came out. The reason the film wasn’t widely received is because compared to its predecessor, The Royal TennenbaumsThe Life Aquatic didn’t really have the same vibe.  This might be due to the fact this was the first film Anderson wrote without his writing partner, Owen Wilson.

So after the failure of The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson came out with the incredible Moonrise Kingdom and officially redeemed himself. Moonrise Kingdom is a sweet story of an unusual and misunderstood boy who runs away from his boy scout camp because he feels he just doesn’t fit in. He then later meets up with a girl he met earlier in the year at a Christmas pageant. I think Chistopher Orr of The Atlantic put it best when he wrote Moonrise Kingdom ”captures the texture of childhood summers, the sense of having a limited amount of time in which to do unlimited things”. Anderson always focuses on family dynamics but in Moonrise Kingdom (2012) he seems to focus more on how fleeting childhood can be and how fast kids try to grow up.

Moonrise Kingdom boasts an impressive cast of accomplished actors, such as Tilda Swinton, Francis McDormand, Edward Norton, and Bruce Willis. The strange thing about Moonrise Kingdom is that Anderson only uses two of his regulars, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. Regardless, the cast is incredible and this is one of Bruce Willis’ best performances. He is sympathetic, funny, understated, and extremely relatable. It was an incredibly refreshing role to see Willis in. Edward Norton is just fantastic as well as the Boy Scout’s leader and really shows the different roles he can play. Francis McDormand and Bill Murray just shine in their roles as a disconnected married couple. Jared Gilman as Sam, the boy who runs away, and Kara Hayward as Suzy, the girl who meets Sam, rise to the roles of unhappy adolescents trying to convince the adults around them they are not crazy or bad kids, they are just trying to find themselves.

Wes Anderson in undoubtedly the King of Mise-en-Scene because this entire film is steeped in meticulous shot composition and saturated in red and yellow, enhancing and strengthening the tone and ambiance of a Wes Anderson film. There is always so much attention to detail in Anderson films that he really creates a story within his own world instead of creating a story in the world the viewer is used to. It’s almost as if he creates universes similar but quite exactly our own.

Moonrise Kingdom is quirky and fun but also very serious but the seriousness never feels odd or out of place when the mood switches. Anderson is a true master at balancing drama and comedy. The film is an excellent coming-of-age tale but is also more than that. The story has many facets and is relatable to everyone and everyone. I enjoyed this film so much, as I usually do with Wes Anderson’s films, that I have to give it a nine out of ten. I highly recommend this film and any other Anderson film for that matter.

Thanks for reading. Come back soon for a review on Now You See Me.

The Highly Entertaining But Kinda Missing the Point Gatsby

Now I haven’t really done the best job of keeping up with this blog like I said I would but to make up for that I will be writing three reviews tonight and tomorrow. There was supposed to be one about Moonrise Kingdom but that will be up later along with a review on the new film Now You See Me. But right we are going to focus on The Great Gatsby.

I went to see The Great Gatsby on my birthday because I absolutely love the book, I have read probably a dozen times, and was SO excited when I found out they were making an adaptation. (I am aware of the adaptation with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford and I do love that one too). I wasn’t so excited though when I found out Ba Luhrmann was going to be the one directing the adaptation. Now I love Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet as much as the next person but that is because of their over-the-top nature and just how ridiculous they are. Moulin Rogue! is a really heart wrenching story but it drags and Romeo + Juliet we all know is creative but silly. I don’t even want to get into Luhrmann’s other film Australia because it is just such a catastrophe.

But even after all that I was still hopeful, and then the worst thing that could ever happen happened. They casted Tobey Maguire. Mr. Maguire has many offenses against him including bad acting, ugly crying, and Seabiscut. But his worst offense his the desecration of Spiderman so to me the worst thing that could ever happen to the adaptation of my favorite book happened. I thought (and still think) Ewan McGregor would be the obvious choice for Nick, the Narrator and considering he and Luhramann had worked together before, I thought it was a no brainer, apparently I was wrong. If I could remake this movie, with all of its faults, the only thing I would do would be to cast McGregor instead because honestly that in of itself would greatly improve the film.

With regards to the film itself, at its very core it is entertaining and film’s are meant to entertain, therefore on some level The Great Gatsby is a success. It is also a very faithful retelling of the novel, which is rare but definitely adds bonus points to how I feel about the movie. However, grievances I have are the following; the fact the Narrator is telling the story of the summer he spent with Gatsby from a Sanatorium (a sort-of mental institution), yeah I’m sorry what? How does that make any sense? Why does he need to be narrating from anywhere? Why can’t there just be a narrator? And to top it off, Nick’s opening narration sounds like he is really old and he his reminiscing about his life, but he’s not even old! It’s absurd and bizarre and although the character is the narrator, there is a thing as too much narration. There were maybe three or four scenes that weren’t narrated. That’s just too much. An example of a good balance of narration look at The Royal Tennenbaums.

There were also faults in the fact that there was so much heavy handed symbolism> The director makes it so obvious what the audience should be paying attention to and what’s important and what that symbol means that I felt like he thought we were dumb and uneducated and that really turned me off. 

But it wasn’t all bad. Leonardo Dicaprio was genius as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan actually made me sympathize with Daisy, which took me by surprise because I can’t stand Daisy in the book. So the acting was really top notch and I wasn’t even that bothered by the hip-hop music in the 1920s (and this might be due to the fact I am used to Luhrmann’s films) but the music did have a jazzy, sexy feel so it still managed to catch the tone of this time of decadence and extravagance. 

But there was still something missing. It felt as though Luhrmann was so obsessed with pointing out how poorly Gatsby fit into high society that he completely ignored the issue of how old money people treated new money in the 1920s. Now obviously we saw moments when it’s mentioned Gatsby doesn’t really fit in because his wealth was inherited and his mansion is even on the “wrong” side of the Hamptons, however it felt as though this was pointed out because of the jealousy of Gatsby trying to win Daisy back. It’s disappointing the issue was glossed over and I wish it had been explored more because it’s such an interesting problem that arose during this time of abundance and wealth.

Keeping everything in mind and how well The Great Gatsby was adapted, I would have to give the film a seven out of ten because of the entertainment factor and it’s unique adaptation. 

Definitely An Unexpected Journey

So after a couple days of digesting a movie a ginormous as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I now feel confident enough to to justly review the movie.

Peter Jackson’s retelling of the J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was definitely unexpected. Let’s start with the good. The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. Even in the regular frame rate, the picture was stunningly clear. The saturation was also a plus. It was a very pretty film to watch. Secondly, I love Martin Freeman. He IS Bilbo Baggins, right down to the core. His portrayal of the hobbit was just perfect. I truly believed he was Bilbo. The cast in general was just full of superb acting, though that’s what you get when you stock your cast full of actors from the BBC. Ian McKellen was excellent as Gandalf as always. The dwarves were led by the talented Richard Armitage who played Thorin. The cast also included James Nesbitt as Bofur, Aidan Turner as Kili, and Stephen Hunter as Bombur.

So the acting was very good and the film was visually very appealing. The most crucial part of any film is the story. The story was not bad. It definitely felt like Tolkien since there was a lot of attention to detail but there were some elements that I just did not like. I appreciated the way Jackson opened up with Old Bilbo narrating the story and eventually revealing the story is being told to Frodo. I did not like Frodo’s cameo. It felt very forced and like it was only there to appeal to the members in the audience who loved Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. I understood he was trying to reveal that Bilbo was writing his story on the day of his 111th birthday, the same day he leaves and Frodo’s adventure begins, but something about it just did not feel right.

I also was not a fan of the Pale Orc having a bigger story arc in the movie then he did in the book. It seemed as though Jackson was trying to create more action and tension than there was in the first part of The Hobbit because he wanted it to be more action-y. This, took away from the feeling of a true Lord of the Rings feel. There did not seem to be as large of an emphasis on plot because when there was actual plot it moved very quickly. However, I did love that Jackson decided to expand Radagast’s (Slyvester McCoy) story farther than what we read in the book. His storyline helped really enhance the plot and it was interesting to see another wizard beside Gandalf and Saruman, especially another good wizard.

The film was good but not great and thinking about it, I would say it is like The Two Towers for me considering that movie is really good but it is not my favorite (or I think) the best out of the trilogy. 

How Jurassic Park Taught Me to Love Movies

As the spring semester of my sophomore year comes to close, I cannot rightfully end the semester without writing about my all-time favorite movie Jurassic Park. The film, directed by Stephen Spielberg, came out in 1993. A very brief synopsis of the film is as follows: during a preview tour with several specialists in the field of Paleontology and Mathematics, a theme park featuring real dinosaurs, suffers a major power breakdown that allows the cloned dinosaurs to run amok.

Before Jurassic Park Spielberg had directed JawsClose Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Color Purple to name a few. So by the time directing Jurassic Park arrived, Spielberg was already an established director. Spielberg seemed like an obvious choice for Universal Studios to take on such a massive film and he did such a fantastic job.

One of the reasons I love the film so much is because it was one of the first movies to use CGI. Spielberg wanted the audience to have the same reaction to seeing the dinosaurs for the first time as the characters in the film, which led them to the addition of CGI and this was the first film to use digital surround sound. But Spielberg was worried that computer graphics meant Nintendo type cartoon quality. He originally only wanted the herd of Gallimimus dinosaurs to be computer-generated, but upon seeing ILM’s demo animation of a T-rex chasing a herd of Galamides across his ranch, Spielberg decided to shoot nearly all the dinosaur scenes using this method. For 1993 the graphics are quite breathtaking. A viewer watching this movie has the feeling that he/she is looking at a real dinosaur.

The first time we see the dinosaurs, the viewer is taken aback. Up until this point we have been following the main characters Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, John Hammond, and Dr. Malcom since their arrival to the exclusive island housing these genetically cloned dinosaurs. The camera, in one fluid sweeping track, follows the jeeps the characters are in until the jeeps stop and Dr. Grant and the others spy the Brachiosaurus’. The camera switches between a close up of Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler’s face. This leaves the audience really yearning to see the dinosaurs. The audience finally gets their wish when the camera pans to reveal the very breathtakingly real (for that time) dinosaurs. Now the GCI looks very silly and fake, but for then the dinosaurs look very real. They are tall and majestic against an equally CGI’d background. The scene is quite impressive for 1993.  

However, not all the dinosaurs are CGI. The production team did use animatronics for the famous T-Rex and menacing Velociraptors. Watching the film and intently studying the differences between the CGI and animatronics dinosaurs, I find the animatronics dinosaurs to be more real. This might be because I am watching the film in a decade of extremely advanced CGI or because I usually prefer animatronics to CGI in general.

The scariest scenes in the film are hands down the scenes when the two children are trapped in the kitchen with the Velicoraptors and when the T-Rex is attacking the jeep the children are in. These scenes both use animatronics. The look and movement of the animatronics is just more menacing and realistic. The texture of the dinosaurs is also really astonishing. One can almost feel the texture of the skin of the dinosaurs. As the Velicoraptors are stalking the kitchen looking for the children the viewer can feel the extreme fear of the children due to the menacing threat that at any moment the Velicoraptors might catch the children. However, the most fear inducing aspect of the scene is John Williams’ score.

John Williams is a VERY talented composer and has worked with Spielberg on Jaws and the Indiana Jones films and with George Lucas on the Star Wars films. Williams is a master at evoking a certain emotion from the audience using the most simple of melodies. His music flows intricately and masterfully from an upbeat, happy tune to a very ominous and foreboding warning. His music greatly enhances such scenes as the T-Rex chase scene to the joyous moment when viewers first see the dinosaurs. Many people forget how important music is to a film. It can either bring the movie to a whole new level or weaken it due to poor melodies and tunes. Without Williams score on this film, Jurassic Park would not be as strong of a film.

Jurassic Park is one of my favorite films because of its dutiful attention to detail. The push to create new technology in order to enhance the viewing experience for viewers and the wise choice for John Williams to score the film are little details that make the movie so wonderful. I think Jurassic Park is sometimes under appreciated, but what people do not understand is what the film did for the world of CGI and all the opportunities and possibilities its invention opened up for the world of film.

Hot Fuzz; the Story of a Bromance

One of my favorite movies is Shaun of the Dead and Simon Pegg is one of my favorite actors so in only seemed natural to watch the movie Hot Fuzz (2007) in order to see how it compares to Pegg’s other movies. Honestly, I think Hot Fuzz is my favorite. It is one of those films that I have watched so many times, and I still notice something new each time. There are so many subtle details and references, that it is a film that needs to be viewed more than once. Directed by Edgar Wright and written by Simon Pegg and Wright, Hot Fuzz is smart, witty, a parody cop movie in a refreshing way, and is still incredibly funny.

Hot Fuzz (the short of it) is about a highly successful London cop, Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Pegg) who gets transferred a small town and gets paired with a witless partner, PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). This reassignment proves good for Angel because he and Butterman stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents and events.

A more detailed description includes Frost being reassigned to this small town because he is too good a cop and is making all of his fellow police officers and superiors look bad. So his new colleagues immediately dislike him because they think Angel is there to show them up. The only one who likes him is Butterman. Butterman is in awe of all of the action Angel experienced in London. So Angel, reluctantly, takes Butterman under his wing and together they unearth a dark secret about the town.

Both Pegg and Frost are brilliant comedic actors in general and in this film specifically. Their comedic timing only strengthens Hot Fuzz’s witty style. They really know how to keep the movie flowing and they have a very good ability to vie off each other’s energy. Their off screen friendship definitely seems to help with their on screen chemistry because when you are as good of friends as these two are off screen, you know their style and how to keep the comedy flowing.

Wright has directed a number of successful films along with Shaun of the Dead. So it makes sense why this film has a similar feel to Shaun of the Dead because both are really smart, satirical films that parody of a specific type of film. Shaun of the Dead is a parody of zombie films like Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later, while Hot Fuzz parodies cop films Bad Boys IIDie Hard, and Lethal Weapon. Ironically Sgt. Angel is the character that has most of the clichés cop movie lines but is unaware of this due to his lacking repertoire involving cop films. So, Butterman, who is so totally immersed in cop movies, stands by while Angel says all of these classic one-liners, such as “Shit just got real” and “Punch. That. Shit”.

Both films were written by Pegg, which would also explain why the two movies are so similar. Pegg has a very clear writing style that combines wit, humor, a specific knowledge of film and its genres, and seriousness. Hot Fuzz is a very funny satirical film that is also very serious at times. The film can move from really funny to really serious in just one line, which is what makes the film so brilliant. A couple moments in particular are when Angel is fighting off this giant brute and the moment is tense because the brute is trying to kill Angel. Angel manages to knock him out and the mood changes from serious to funny in an instant because Angel says, “Playtime’s over” and knocks him out. It is a very funny moment of comic relief done right. The other very serious moment that turned funny in an instant is when Angel discovers the Neighborhood Watch Association is actually a group of murderers. They are all chanting something in Latin. They are shrouded in black cloaks and have flashlights lighting their faces. It is all very creepy and uneasy. Once the chanting subsides, one of the female members starts discussing town events. She mentions that a couple had twins and when the shower will be held. It is all light-hearted and a complete 180 from the moment before. The effect is a fit of laughter.   Pegg is clearly as talented as a writer and he is an actor.

Some very interesting scenes visually would be when the murder of Martin Blower is happening, the scene chronically Angel’s journey to Sanford, and the beginning of the final showdown with Neighborhood Watch Association. The scene involving Martin Blower’s death the viewer watches see parallel actions going on. One scene follows Angel and Butterman spending the night watching Bad Boys II and Lethal Weapon. The other scene is Martin Blower being murdered in his home. The actions in each scene mimic and parallel each other. When the murderer hits his victim on the head, the movie cuts to Angel falling down into a chair. Then Angel says the line, “You have to be pulling my leg,” and the shot cuts to the murderer pulling his victim (by his legs) into a kitchen.

The scene after Angel has been reassigned to Sanford, we follow his train ride and subsequent rides until he reaches his hotel in Sanford. The viewer starts off seeing the hallway of what is most likely the Police Station and hear the voice of Angel’s new boss, Lt. Frank Butterman. As his voiceover plays, the shot then fades into Angel packing for his new position. The camera cuts to a picture of Angel as a child and then a car passes in front of the lens of the camera and the shot is now outside. Angel is standing in front of his apartment building and once again we hear the voiceover play. A taxi pulls up and the viewer gets a close up of the Taxi sign. As the voice over continues to play, the scene fades in and out of Angel on a subway car and then another train. The camera then makes a series of quick cuts of Angel’s head on a window, a plant on the table in front of him, a different perspective of him looking out the window. Then another quick cut of Angel waiting for the next train, it’s light out; the shot quickly cuts to dusk, angel has fallen asleep. Then another cut as a train goes by and he is jolted awake. Then a quick succession of cuts of Angel, plant, taxi. All of these cuts are happening in rapid succession and create a very dynamic viewing experience. The journey then reverts back to how it began with soft fades and the light going in and out on Angel and the scenery around while he is in the taxi and on the last leg of his journey. The different type of editing techniques illustrates the contrast of the parody nature of the film and how it is still its own unique movie.

The best scene that illustrates how Hot Fuzz is a parody is when Butterman and Angel decide to take on the villagers on Sanford. Once Butterman joins in the camera moves between quick takes of the Butterman and Angel and the people of Sandford shooting at each other. The moment when Butterman and Angel have taken down the people in the square, the camera movement mimics that of one someone would see in a cop film. The camera circles Angel and Butterman after they have taken down the doctor and Angel says, “You’re a doctor, deal with it” in a very breathy, cop film voice. The camera continues to circle them and feature the two of them together in the frame from different angles as they discuss what to do next. It is all very cliché but works for the film because Hot Fuzz is trying to parody but in a refreshing way.

This film is a genuinely good film. I think it is even a great film because every element of filmmaking comes to together in a smart, cohesive manner. Hot Fuzz is a bitingly satirical film that is hugely entertaining that everyone should see at least once because it is a very well made film and to be honest, those are very rare know-a-days. The film is a very smart film in its writing, editing, and directing. All the elements work together so perfectly to make one fluid, continuous movie.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead…or are they?

In my Lit class, we have been discussing Existentialism on and off for the past couple of weeks. During one of these discussions, the subject of writing from the point of view of an obscure character came up. So naturally we discussed the play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. I had read this play in high school and greatly enjoyed it so I wanted to watch the movie and see how the themes fate and destiny, and whether we can really ever escape it, are portrayed in the film adaptation.

The film Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), directed and written by Tom Stoppard, follows the characters Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) and Guildenstern (Tim Roth) from Hamlet. The story is really about fate and whether we really have control of our lives because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern keep reliving their life from the beginning of their journey to see Hamlet and ends when they are ultimately hanged. The story is more focused on the idea of fate and how we are merely players in the game of life. However, the film is very playful. It is playful with its dialogue, its editing, and story. Stoppard really draws the viewer in with witty and clever dialogue, and through a surprisingly engaging story told via the point of view of two very minor and insignificant characters from one of the greatest stories of all time.

The film begins by following Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on a journey somewhere yet unknown with Rosencrantz decides to start flipping a coin. Each time he flips the coin, it lands heads. In the beginning it seems to just be a random occurrence that it lands heads so many times. But after 76 times of landing heads, Rosencrantz begins to think it means something while Guildenstern thinks it is just random. Of course the coin landing heads so many times is NOT random. At the beginning of the film it may be unclear as to why the coin never lands tails, but by the end it is evident that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are stuck in a type of limbo that affects the outcome of the coin. The coin landing heads may also allude to the fact that they both end up getting hanged.

What is interesting about the film is how it is structured. The film is linear, per se, but the transitions between scenes are discontinuous, much like how I would imagine life in Limbo to be. An example of this in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is when they are watching a travelling show and then suddenly the camera cuts to them in a castle draped in curtains that have fallen upon them. Also in the castle, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to leave the room they magically appear in only to end up at the opposite entrance of the room. They are trapped within the room because they are unable to make other choices outside of what fate had laid out for them. Even though the idea of their limbo is to try to figure out what they did wrong and change it. The editing style is definitely unique and supports the idea that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in some type of supernatural place.

The ending line of the film, “There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we’ll know better next time” suggests the two are stuck in a cyclical Limbo in which they are forced to relive their lives over and over again from a certain moment. There are other lines through out the film that allude to the fact that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are, in fact, dead. For one, there is the title of the film, the fact Rosencrantz and other people keep mixing up their names, and they can’t remember what the first thing they did that day was.

The best scene in the movie is when they are playing the game, “Questions”, which is when two people keep asking each other questions and the game ends when one of the players says a statement or asks a question with rhetoric. The point of this scene, besides being very visually interesting to watch, is to play with the idea that questions are more important than answers. If you ask the right question, then maybe you will begin to better understand life and its meaning. The scene is very visually interesting because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are playing this game on a badminton court and are acting like there words are volleys. So each time they lob a question, they move across their side of the court. The scene juxtaposes a very playful game with a very serious message about life and its purpose.

What makes this film so strong, other than the script, are the actors (Oldman and Roth). Their portrayal of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being stuck in some sort of Limbo is believable through their body language. Even the subtlest movement fits so perfectly in the story because each little facial tick or shrug tells just as much as what is said. In Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead what is said is just as important as what is left unsaid.

The film is really a brilliant adaptation of an equally genius idea to take on a story from the point of view of a seemingly unimportant character, or characters in this case, about how fate is something we can never escape or change.