Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

Death by long edit!

First draft of film studies coursework due by Friday. Argh!

Let me explain the brief. We've got to do two different pieces of coursework, one on narrative structure (and if you know what that means, please somebody tell me) and one on micro-elements (that's editing and lighting and stuff). One of them has to be rom com. One of them has to be horror. Well, no, they can be any genre, but our teacher just so happened to choose my two least favourites. Which sucks.

Especially, as far as I understand the narrative one, I know I have a great essay in me about how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid subverts the genre expectations of the western. I'd focus on fifteen minutes in the middle, after the train robbery. The sherrif is trying to raise a posse - unlike your horse-opera, he fails and his stand is taken over by a bicycle salesman. And to rub salt into the wound, our heroes aren't "halfway back to Hole in the Wall already", they're sitting nearby and eating it up with a spoon. Next scene - Sundance and Etta. Again, when he turns up in her room it leads you to expect the worst, but again it leads us down a blind alley. I'd finish with the "Raindrops Keep Falling On my Head" bit. One of the most romantic scenes of all time. Between Butch and Sundance's girlfriend. Surely that can't be right.

I could even mention Sundance's response to seeing them together:
S (threatening?)- "You stealing my girl?"
B - "Yeh, what about it?"
S (after a pause, in which we expect them to fall out, or argue, or kill each other) - "...take her..."

The whole premise of the film is "wrong" - our heroes are being hunted by the law, but unlike all the other Western Heroes, who stand their ground, they turn tail and bolt.

'Tis a crying shame, because it'd be great. But oh well, that's the second essay.

No, the most pressing concern is the "micro-elements" one. Now, we're doing rom-com and horror, and we can write either essay about either genre. But it makes far more sense to do the story of the rom com and the ministudy on a suspense sequence from a horror film; I just can't see it another way around. Though actually, I feel quite a good macro essay on the horror film I finally picked coming on.

The precice instructions - I've got to pick on one or two aspects of filmmaking, such as mis-en-scene/lighting/camerawork/whatever and pick a 5-7 minute sequence where they're used to great effect, to create suspense or something similar.

Anyway, as you may know I don't like horror movies. The first seven minutes of Scream and the first half of Psycho, as watched in the lesson, are about as much as I can take. I had a look through my family's meagre collection, and drew blanks. The scene from Sleepy Hollow (when the horseman comes to the house with the little boy) was far too short, as were both bits from Sixth Sense. Ugh! I gave up on The Others. Because I had other homework to do. And certainly not because I chickened out of watching the second half. Certainly not.

I consulted my parents, and dad said - "What you need is Alien." I nodded dutifully, and felt a bit bad as he rung round all his friends and workmates to rustle up a copy, then went into town and purchased the whole Quadrology boxed set. So I watched it last night, and it was quite good - the Nostromo is obviusly designed by the same company who built Sam Lowry's city in Brazil, all pipes and steam and wires. And ducts ("Ducts...why does it always have to be ducts?" to quote Sig. Weaver in Galaxy Quest.) Though I must say, standards are "slipping" in the world - no way was it 18 material. 15, surely, by these days standards?

One day I'm gonna make a bumper list of the scenes everybody knows. You know, the Shower Scene. The Bit From Battleship Potempkin. The Ear. The Horse's Head in the Bed. Singing in the Rain. Rosebud. Nobody's Perfect. And from Alien, the scene over dinner...

And now I'm watching the same few minutes over and over again, in which a minor character goes off in search of a cat and is menaced by a series of scary loooong edits. I'll post the whole thing when it's finished properly.

PS - OK, so I was bad. After a few dedicated days of standing next to people with streaming colds I realised my immune system was just too strong, and I'd be lucky if I got another day off this side of April. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, I decided twice in a week for one film was far too much and I'd wait till I was next ill to watch this again. And I did wait a week, ok? I saw it last Tuesday and I managed till Wednesday before giving up. Though I was right to want a day off. I saw the first hour (right up until Mr Blonde shows them what's in his trunk) before tea Wednesday, then hung around for another hour in the hope the person who'd stolen the tv would let me have it back They didn't. I then spent the rest of the evening with a friend; I pity them, for I was rather...twitchy. But not as twitchy as this evening, in which I came home late from school and watched the second half over tea (yup, you heard me, over tea. Not the best five minutes to pick, I know...). Well, I say second half. I watched all of it until the last, what, 40 seconds when they dragged me out of the house to spend an hour in another friend's company. And then when I came in, I watched the very very very end. And I sat through the entire credits, to make switching the TV back on seem worthwhile.

Comments? Well, this time I really did grin all the way through. The lines are just so great - Eddie's retort that Mr White has become Mr Compassion sticks in my mind along with, oh, every time Mr Pink opens his mouth to speak. Though I've come to a decision. The slight unease I felt from the end of Mr Orange's flashback onwards was not caused by continual thinking about it. It's because I genuinely have issues with the ending. Perhaps it just feels...too contrived...or the scene between Marv and Freddie is just unbeatable and it's all downhill in the warehouse after that...or maybe it's because the flashback's so good, and I get so into it that coming out's a disappointment...or possibly ending the flashback with Messrs O and W in the car from the start again is too big a jolt...I have no idea whatsoever. It just doesn't feel satisfying.
Updateish: after continuing to think about it constantly, I think it's because every character, every line and situation apart from Orange is played for laughs. Think about it - he only has serious lines in a script full of screamers, and his scenes are alarmingly comedy free. That's not bad, it's just that having such a chunk of sustained seriousness affects me so much that it feels weird going back to the warehouse.


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