Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pie in the Sky

A dream, but it would never be reality! This was a project for my Magazine class. I had to come up with a new idea for a magazine. It was really difficult to pitch because it wouldn't really sell. But I tried. I'm always sneaking in classic films in homework whenever possible.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Out of the Past, Into the Now ~ M




A Graphic Novel based on the film by Fritz Lang
Illustrated by Jon J Muth
192 Pages

I went to my local Barnes & Noble on Wednesday, doing market research for my magazine project, and I was sidetracked by the pretty table with various new titles. All of a sudden, as I'm browsing the array of covers, I spot a big "M". My jaw dropped as I picked up a graphic novel illustrated by Jon J Muth based on the Fritz Lang film M (1931). I had to put the book down and turn away otherwise I would have immediately spent money I don't have to purchase it! I blanked on it for the rest of the day, until the following morning the shock returned and I texted my friend Kevin about it. Once I got to work, I ambushed my other friend Frank about it too. Anyone I know who would appreciate this revolutionary new book had to know. Frank pointed out that the book comes with a DVD of the film! Ahhh!!!! Must... get... book... NOW! I put it on my wishlist and as soon as I come into a few more dollars I'm buying it. I had recently saw the film and was very impressed by Peter Lorre's performance and the political view of the clashing of different classes and the abuse and distrust of authority. The only thing I was put off by was the amount of smoking (some actors disappeared through clouds of cigarette smoke). I can't wait to get this book and see how a modern illustrator reinterprets this story!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Marty (1955) ~ Script Review

I am currently in the midst of a very chaotic semester. So I'm sure most of my posts will be my script reviews for class, which at this point are exclusively for classic films. Here is the one I wrote for one of my all-time favorites, Marty (1955).
I simply adore this film. Today this film couldn't be made, but it should. Marty, is 34-years old. All of his siblings have gotten married and now the pressure is on him to find a girl. He’s plain ugly and that gets in the way of his search for someone genuine, kind and who can love him for him and vice versa. Finding a mate is one of the most difficult tasks we have these days and Marty has a doozy of a time. We learn straight off the bat, what his problem is. As he's taking orders at the butcher shop, little old Italian ladies are telling him he should be ashamed of himself for not being married already. But what's excellent about the writing, especially his dialogue, is that he is so upbeat and optimistic about life that we don't feel bad for him. Rather, we want him to find someone because we care, not because we think he's pathetic. That is a sign of a really well-written and well-developed character! I love the inciting incident. At a ballroom, a rude doctor offers Marty $5 if he’ll take his plain jane date off his hands. Marty downright refuses, the doctor gets another stag, the plain jane refuses the replacement stag. Marty approaches her afterwards and they begin to connect.. Only a genuine guy would refuse the money, feel bad for the girl and try to cheer her up by asking her to dance. It shows us his motivations are completely unselfsih. It also sets us up for the major problem ahead, keeping the girl. And we root for him, through the story. He stumbles in his relationship with Clara. He runs on the mouth but she’s patient with him. His biggest challenge though is his mother who turns on him. She fears being alone for the rest of her life and knows Marty’s love interest will take him away.. His friends also turn on him, scared that they’ll lose their parter in crime in their sexual escapades. When Marty stands his ground and fights for the girl in the end, we know he’s come full circle.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Charade (1963) ~ A Second Chance

My co-worker and friend, Frank, was taken aback by my 2 out of 4 stars rating for the Grant/Hepburn classic Charade (1963) (see post Movie Overdose). I didn't quite get it when I watched it and promptly taped over my recording of it with other things. But since then I thought that this film deserved a second chance and I was willing to give it one. For my Screenwriting class, I decided to read the script and do a one-page response in hopes that I could appreciate this film for what it is. And lo and behold, I did! Here is my response for class.

I never quite understood this movie but because it came up on very high recommendations, I thought I'd give it another try by reading the script. One of the things that I believe draws people to this film is it's visual appeal. Alps, Paris, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, museums, outdoor cafes, boat rides on the Seine. It's all very glamorous. The script is written in this style too. Lots of setting descriptions as well as visual depictions and character renderings. This story is driven by witty dialogue. The repartee between the two main characters, Peter and Reggie, who are falling for and fighting with each other at the same time keeps the story interesting. It is also at its core a mystery. I realized that a mystery needs visual clues as well as spoken ones to function. A description of an empty apartment, various passports, writing on the carpet next to a dead body, etc. Plus we need to be tricked. A good mystery should have us thinking one person is the culprit and then have us fooled until Act III when we learn who it really is. The protagonist, Reggie, is absolutely clueless about everything that is going on but since she's so in the thick of things she is forced to feel her way around situations. What drives her is her basic gut instincts about people. I think in this way the audience has more of a connection with her. Almost as if we felt beholden to take care of her because she is in such a vulnerable position. And we start to dislike people who we think are working against her (Peter) and people working for her (Bartholomew) only to have things switched up at the end! Also, what keeps it a funny movie as well as a thriller is the absurdity the characters are given. Reggie's dialogue is absurd which gives it a comedic element in contrast with the life-threatening situation she's in. After reading the script, I came upon a new found appreciation for this classic.

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