30 October 2013

There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods

          So, this is something new I'm going to be adding to my blog.  I'm going to start posting some of my favorite poems.  I have mixed feelings about poetry.  Some of it I really like; other of it does not make any sense.  As a whole, I'm not a big poem guy; there are just a few that catch my attention.  Take this first poem for example:  I really like the first 5 lines (and will italicize them) but the rest of the poem I could care less for.

          This poem is called "There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods" and it is actually part of a longer, narrative poem called Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.  I have not read anything from that.  It was written by George Gordon Byron.  Anyways, here it is:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean--roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin--his control
Stops with the shore;--upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,--thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,--thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: —there let him lay.

By: George Gordon Byron

          I just really like nature, being in the outdoors.  I like going out by myself, away from everyone and everything.  It's great.  And I stole this poem from HERE.

     But that's just my opinion...

18 October 2013

Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  Bullied high schooler Carrie discovers she has supernatural power and fights back.  I've been waiting to see this movie for a long time because I'm a fan of Chloë Grace Moretz.  And I barely watched the original with Sissy Spacek for the first time the other week.

          I'm fairly open-minded when it comes to remakes, but I feel that the new Carrie is unnecessary.  I like remakes that change and reinterpret the original.  However, the new one does not do that.  It is essentially the same movie.  It even has a lot of the same dialogue, which I assume came from the book.  The only real difference is that the new one has less nudity and more special effects.  I feel if you're going to remake something, make it your own, don't photocopy the original.

          With that said, I liked both movies.  (But I would say that I liked the original better).  I wasn't too impressed by them, but I can see why the original is a classic.  My problem with the story is that there is no real character arcs in either film.  The characters are the same at the end of the movie as they were in the beginning.  While I was watching the '76 version, it reminded me of a joke and that we're just waiting for the punchline.  There's no real change in story, character or anything.  Carrie could just be the first act of a three act film.

          One of the reasons that I think the original is better is because of Sissy Spacek.  She was perfect for the role.  She's kind of creepy looking; she's also small and weak.  She's totally the type of person that would be bullied in high school.  And her being weak makes the climax that much better.  Chloë, on the other hand, is not that.  She's really pretty and doesn't look like an outcast.  And she's a lot stronger person that Sissy.  I've really only seen Chloë in Kick-Ass and Let Me In and she plays strong characters in both of these; so it was hard for me to imagine her taking crap from people.  Don't get me wrong, she did a good job; she was just miscast.

          And I felt that in the original, Carrie and Tommy had way better chemistry than they do in the remake.  When they were at prom, I thought Wow, he's really enjoying himself with Carrie.  What a nice guy.  I didn't get that at all in the remake.

          The climax starts off better in the original, but ends better in the 2013 remake.  It was so creepy/terrifying to see Sissy Spacek wide-eyed, closing all the doors; the split screen was effective.  But, fire hoses aren't that scary.  The remake was better because of the advanced SFX; Carrie really was able to display her telekinetic powers.

          So, overall, both are decent films, but I think I liked the original a little better.  The remake isn't bad, it just doesn't bring anything new to the table; so, to quote Col. Stars and Stripes:  "What's the point?"  Oh, I also liked the original ending better.

     But that's just my opinion...

15 October 2013

The Wolf and the Ewe (2011)

          This is a BYU short film that I saw a few years ago and recently rediscovered.  Unfortunately, it was made before my time so I was not able to work on it.  But, I really like it so I thought I'd share it.

     Watch it HERE.

          I really like the visuals.  And it's in Romanian, so that's cool too.  It also has werewolves and it's Halloween, so there's that.  Enjoy.

     But that's just my opinion...

02 October 2013

Nobody's Business (1996)

          Essential plot rundown:  Filmmaker, Alan Berliner, tries to find out more about his family history by interviewing his father.  I had to watch this for a documentary class I'm taking.  And I don't write a lot about the movies I watch in class so I thought I'd do this one.

          I have mixed feelings about this film.  I liked some parts and disliked others.  First of all, I liked the style.  Alan takes the audio from the interview with his father and plays it with archival footage, home movies, b-roll and photographs.  Other than making for a visually interesting film, I think that the video grounded the interview in reality.  It made Alan's father, Oscar, and the people he was talking about real and not just some person from a story.  He also adds a lot of sound effects that add to the style.

          However, after a while, the style starts to get boring and repetitive.  The film is only an hour long, but he uses the same sounds and footage over and over again.  I think it would have worked a lot better if the film had only been 20 minutes long or so.

          I also felt like Alan was trying to manipulate me.  Because we actually see very little of the interview, I felt like he was editing sound bites together out of context.  Without a visual cue, audio can be edited together to make the speaker say anything the editor wants.  And I felt like this was happening.  I'm sure an audio professional could listen to it and hear if there were changes in the audio that would indicate that they were taken out of context, but I can't.  But I sensed that they were.

          And the interaction between Alan and Oscar felt off to me too.  They seemed to be getting mad at each other for no real reason other than to spice up the interview.  Alan seemed like he was provoking his father into getting excited.  I don't know, that might as well be how they really interact (and it probably is) but it seemed like to was a little staged and unnatural.

          But, overall, it's a decent documentary.  It was interesting to learn about Oscar and I could relate to him.  I liked the style but it eventually became redundant.  It's worth watching, but not a must see.

     But that's just my opinion...