There Will Be Blood

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So today’s Film Friday features the 2007 film ‘There Will Be Blood.’ Whoa. Hold on to your cowboy hats for this film. The wikipedia synopsis runs as follows:

Silver miner Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) leads a hardscrabble life with his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier). When he hears about oil oozing from the ground near the Western town of Little Boston, Daniel takes his son on a mission to find their fortune. Daniel makes his lucky strike and becomes a self-made tycoon but, as his fortune grows, he deviates into moral bankruptcy.

At it’s core, yes, it’s a story of the rise from rags to riches– and that has a real pull for me, as well as most Americans watching it. It’s that American dream that we’re all told to strive for, it’s that thing that will make us great and give us all the happiness in the world. But, with so many drama’s, not everyone gets that happy ending.

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I love this photo of Daniel Plainview and Walter White. Both men who started at the bottom, full of problems, who no one would have rooted for, but the brilliant writing and gorgeous filmmaking suddenly has you rooting for them. And even as they do terrible, awful things, part of you is still rooting for them. I will say, though, that Walter White at least you stay hoping he will make it out okay, Daniel Plainview you end up almost just watching the train wreck. You still have to admire the man, but boy, do you not want to sit down and share a beer.

Besides an incredible story, this film is also breathtaking to watch. As you can see from the above diagram, someone has broken down many of the scenes and shown how beautifully rendered they are. The composition is fantastic. At no point are your eyes not overjoyed with the beauty you’re seeing. It’s really masterfully shot. And the score! Phenomenal. I feel like the score is, in and of itself, almost a character. It helps drive the story forward and reminds you that you are watching a drama– this is not some random happenstance of events. You are watching LIFE unfold, and it is not always pretty. This is not a happily every after story your mother told you at bedtime, this is a Grimms’ brothers fairy tale to warn you of how not to be.

If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out.

Declicous Necks

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I just came from SXSW in Austin TX. If you aren’t familiar, it is a film, music, and interactive festival. There were a couple films I worked on in the festival so I was excited to go and see them premier.

One is a short USC thesis doc that premiered at the edu portion of the festival. (SXSWedu is an educational festival that happens before SXSW proper).  The other is a web series MISS MUSTARD GLADE that was sponsored by Subway (the sandwich place) and can be found on My Damn Channel; the mini web series was premiered during the festival.  I confess I ate more Subway pizzas during the fest (they gave them out for free) then I ever plan on eating again in my life!

http://www.mydamnchannel.com/subway/miss_mustard_glade___subway_fresh_artists_2014/missmustardgladeepisode1_11886

But the picture above, and the link below, takes you to the website of my favorite movie from the festival: What We Do In the Shadows. This mockumentary was absolutely fantastic.  I honestly can’t think of any way that the film could have been better. It’s about a bunch of vamps who are flat mates and some of the events they go through.  It’s brilliant.

The director was at the screening and we had a Q&A afterwards with both the director and one of the vamps via skype.  The actor was in character and we were able to ask his vamp self questions.  The director introduced the film as a documentary, and refused to entertain any questions as if it were not factual. It was humorous to watch when certain audience members tried to ask the usual stuffy film questions and were rejected by the director.  If you get a chance to see the film, you really should check it out.  You won’t be disappointed!

http://www.whatwedointheshadows.com/

The Lunch Box

I just watched a heart-wretching film entitled the Lunch Box that centered around (can you guess it?) a lunch box. Set in India, but possibly created in by the French, this film follows two strangers lives and watches them come together through this lunch box. It’s extremely gripping and compelling throughout the film as they exchange notes via the lunch box.

It really is amazing how much writing down one’s feelings frees you up to say what you really mean. I feel that blogs are much the same, you are able to say the things that you ordinarily wouldn’t dare, or don’t want to say. Many people use them as a quasi diary, while others use them to share who they are to a world that might never see them otherwise.

I loved how the film took a common place occurrence in India, that of the lunch box service, something foreign to people who don’t live there, and used it to craft a film about emotion and love. The film really makes the point that the simple kindness’s we can do for one another come back to us and can make such a difference in people’s lives.

I highly recommend this film.

Wistful Whistler

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This is part of a painting by James Abbott McNeil Whistler.  He is my favorite artist. I once had the opportunity to visit the Freer Museum in Washington DC which houses a large collection of his paints.  I could have stayed all day staring at his work– his pieces really resonate with me.

Today I realized why that is.  Do you see the model’s wistful, sad expression?  That is how I feel today.  I know I have no business feeling that way, but that’s how I feel, and I think Whistler captures that expression and sentiment so perfectly in his work. 

I just got finished on a film set and I find so disheartening at the end of the day when I realize I haven’t made any friends or forged any great connections because I sometimes really suck at talking to people.  I can just be the most awkward duck.  Maybe it’s because I overthink everything and in the moments of indecision about what I should say next I say nothing. And continue saying nothing.  Or try and break the silence and end up asking a stupid question. It just sucks.  I feel like it makes me seem like the most boring, one dimensional person on the set.  I don’t even know if I would want to talk to me, I find me so lacking in social skills.  I script supervise and it can be a very lonely position, no built in buddy to chat with. Maybe it’s just because I’m in that watchful, thoughtful frame of mind that I find it hard to switch gears and be “on”. Because I can be a major charmer and make friends with ease, I just can’t on set.  I’m all business and no pleasure.  And at the end of the day (or weekend) it can really bug me.

So, yes, dear internet, you get to hear my sad pity party rant about how I can suck at being friendly.  Thanks for being there blogosphere. Good strangers it’s nice to have someone to tell– I can’t share this sentiment with my friends or husband because they don’t understand. They say “but you’re so friendly” “just talk to people” “don’t worry about it, you’re fine” “just be more friendly” but it doesn’t seem that easy.  I try to talk but have nothing to say.  I just want it to feel more organic and less forced. 

I probably just need to get out of my own head.

Theater Thursday

So I’ve decided to start a segment on my blog called Theater Thursday where I discuss a movie, movie logistics, a beautiful theater, something along those lines. (You know, give my 3 readers something to actually read every week.)

I am on USC’s campus almost every Wednesday night and they play an open to the public film and I like to check them out. I’ve see some really great films and docs… And I’ve seen some really terrible ones.

The one I went to tonight, and left after 30 minutes, was Romania’s selection to submit to Cannes, the Toronto film festival, and had a bunch of other things listed in the “why to see this movie” bit of the description.

I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s because I’m married to a cinematographer or because I script supervise for a living, but it don’t have patience for shoddy camera work. It’s not artsy to me, it’s just poor craft, and I have no desire to watch it. At all. So you will not be getting a review of Child’s Pose from me. I’ll have something better next week (hopefully).