Thursday, August 28, 2014
Few films pack the power to scare you straight and make you think twice about indulging in the illicits like "Requiem for a Dream," Darren Aronofsky's visceral attack on the senses via cinema. Last night, our CineVerse group performed a toxicology report and deduced that this film tested positive for the following ideas:
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Excited to learn what's on the calendar for CineVerse in September and October? Curious to know what Shocktober Theater films have been slated for the weeks leading up to Halloween? The schedule for the next two months is posted and ready for viewing by visiting http://1drv.ms/1lkq5YP.
"Monsieur Lazhar" isn't your typical teacher-student type film. In fact, it's better than most movies depicting some form of classroom conflict because it doesn't try to dumb down the message or emotionally puppeteer us with overdramatic situations, dialogue or music. Here's how our CineVerse group graded this school-based picture:
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY FILMS ABOUT TEACHERS, SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS. HOW DOES THIS MOVIE APPROACH THIS SUBGENRE DIFFERENTLY AND IN FRESH, UNEXPECTED WAYS?
· The chrysalis: this is a transformational time for the students, between two teachers (the one who committed suicide and Mr. Lazhar); he represents their chrysalis stage as pupa before they (hopefully) transform into beautiful, mature butterflies.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Plus: stick around for a preview of the September/October CineVerse schedule.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Twenty years since its original theatrical release, "Hoop Dreams" still packs an emotional wallop, as evidenced by its impact on our CineVerse audience last evening. Here are some of the observations our group shared about this amazing fiilm:
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Note: due to the long runtime of the film, CineVerse will start promptly at 6:45 p.m. and conclude at 10:15 p.m. this evening to allow enough time for discussion.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" is chock full of crunchy nuggets of content--including cultural context, themes and symbols that leave the viewer satiated. Our film group devoured this 40-year-old feature with delight, and came up with these observations:
- Americans were growing more suspicious of authority and distrustful of government in the wake of Watergate (in fact, the Watergate cover-up was exposed just prior to this film’s release), the Vietnam War, the Warren Commission findings and the assassinations of major leaders
- There was a pervading, brooding sense of paranoia and cynicism in the culture, and conspiracy theories were becoming more popular to explain political mysteries
- Many Americans felt helpless to affect change and ignorant of what might really be going on
- Executive Action (1973)
- Day of the Dolphin (73)
- The Parallax View (1974)
- Chinatown (1974)
- Three Days of the Condor (75)
- All the President’s Men (1976)
- Capricorn One (77)
- Winter Kills (79)
- He’s actually not very good at his craft. As Roger Ebert put it: “Here is a man who is paid to eavesdrop on a conversation in a public place. He succeeds, but then allows the tapes to be stolen. His triple-locked apartment is so insecure that the landlord is able to enter it and leave a birthday present. His mail is opened and read. He thinks his phone is unlisted, but both the landlord and a client have it. At a trade show, he allows his chief competitor to fool him with a mike hidden in a freebie ballpoint. His mistress tells him: ‘Once I saw you up by the staircase, hiding and watching for a whole hour.’” Additionally, his actions may have resulted in the deaths of a mother and child. And throw in the fact that he’s a hunter who has become the hunted; a surveillance man who is now being watched and bugged himself.
- He’s a bland, quiet, lonely, anonymous man who has very little to distinguish him as distinctive, other than his saxophone and jazz records.
- He’s fixated on maintaining his privacy, yet ironically works as a wiretapper invading other people’s privacy.
- He’s fittingly named: “Caul” means the membrane that enwraps a fetus, and also mean’s a spider’s web.
- We “Caul” like images of various sheets, opaque surfaces and membranes throughout the film: consider Harry’s see-thru raincoat, the plastic curtain inside his office, the telephone booth he stand inside, the glass partition separating the hotel balconies, and the shower curtain.
- Privacy, and the limits to which we can enjoy and assume it. Coppola was quoted as saying: “I wanted to make a film about privacy using the motif of eavesdropping and wiretapping, and centering on the personal and psychological life of the eavesdropper rather than his victims. It was to be a modern horror film, with a construction based on repetition rather than exposition, like a piece of music. And it would expose a tacky, subterranean world of wiretappers: their vanities and ethics."
- Guilt, and the extent to which we are personally responsible for the well-being of others through our actions, even if we don’t intend them harm.
- The dangers of relying too much on technology. This story has been called an “Orwellian morality play” in which technology is employed against the person using it.