Friday, February 4, 2011

'Love and Other Drugs'

I am continuing my "recent production overviews" with "Love and Other Drugs". We decided to see the film after our hospital visit in order to get rid of the hospital mood on us. That is funny because the plot of the film is quite related to hospitals and diseases but i didn't know that. There was nothing so special about acting or the audio and also because of my own life experiences with neurological illnesses i was more drown to the plot. So I guess this time i will focus on that.

The film is a love story of a young women with a Parkinson s disease and this guy who works for Pfizer one of the biggest drug company which also produced viagra. I live with someone who has CDBG which is a neurological disease worse than Parkinson but also presents similar symptoms. I know very well how it is like to be next to that person under every circumstances. There is no vacation out of that. The simple things that a normal person wouldn't even notice are challenges for us and everyday is a big struggle, surviving through each day is a big accomplishment. I also know how it is like being abandoned by your friends and close relatives because you are sick or you are with a sick person. People think it is too hard to deal with you. They run away. And even tough you know that they will escape you still let people in hoping the opposite. Unfortunately you end up regretting that.

I think these issues were tried to be reflected through the Maggie character. She fears that someone you love would not be brave enough to stay with you in your hard times. She will see that people are selfish even if they 'love you'. I feel like the word love and friendship have been emptied out. Well... with these concerns in mind she prefers to keep love away. She knows that she will be hurt.

On the other hand, we are introduced to the guy who is a dickhead and incapable of really seeing her as a person. Instead, for him, Meggie is this cool hot chick whom he can have fun without any responsibility. His mind will change though.

The film also tries to be critical on drug production, consumption and health care system and so on. On one hand there are people who can not reach the help they need, who can not afford the essential medication. On the other hand tons of money is being spent on viagra research. I also know how it feels being out of medication and money to get the help or how hard to even reach the medication that you are looking for. The health care system in many countries does not provide you the real support you need and i live in one of those.

I can say that it is nice that the film is trying to deal with these issues and it is a very creative way of telling a love story but it must be added that it does this very on the surface. The viewer cannot experience the suffering of a Parkinson s patients or other people who cannot afford the medication. Due to these aspects I can say that it is very light and too Hollywood:). But on the other hand it can be a good introduction to some people who has never thought about these. You never know what is waiting for you in your life even today.

gotta go to the hospital now:)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

searching for the perfect home: Away We Go

On a nice, snowy, and white afternoon, we watched Away We Go , a movie by Sam Mendes.
It was an OK movie, kind of ruined the chance to become way too better than it is.

It is about a young couple having a baby and searching for the perfect home for their family. They visit various friends and family in different cities to find out where to settle down. So in other words it is a road movie; throughout a journey they manage to solve their issues. I like this kind of approach. It brings a dynamism to the movie cause as the locations change everything changes. However, i think this movie was weak in reflecting the change in locations. Use of space and the different characteristics of the cities and their effect on people could be portrayed better i think. And the idea that they arrive to a new city could be visualized better. For instance i liked that in the movie Up in the Air, where each city is introduced with a view from the plane creating really nice patterns.
Instead of the environment, there was more focus on the variety of people they meet in each location. But as Şeyda said after the movie, they were too caricatured, too extreme. It was funny to some extent but i don't think it was that much necessary to make the point that it wasn't for them.
What i liked most about it was the music, mostly performed by Alexi Murdoch. It was so soft and sensational, upgrading the whole atmosphere of the movie.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

it is nice to remember how great 'Amelie' is!

Yesterday night was impossible to sleep, thanks to mom's health condition. So i decided to watch a movie with her thinking that it may help her calm down and sleep. Well, it didn't work the way i imagined. On the other hand, it worked for me to remember the movie Amelie by  Jean-Pierre Jeunet and get rid of all the annoying feelings i associated with it because i had to listen to its soundtrack million times at the design studio during university. I have totally forgotten how good that movie is.

Everything about it is so unique and shows signs of genius minds. I don't know where to begin and what to point out. I guess, better start with the topic.

I loved it cause how Amelie helps people is so poetic; very personal and well thought without showing off and waiting for an appreciation. She does that because she wants to. It was nice to see how she figures out and plans how to help each character. I don't think they were predictable so the movie was flowing as you watched. I also loved how Amelie turned out to be the way she is, a good person, despite all the negative things happened during her life, especially despite her lonely childhood and the dramatic death of her mother. It was inspiring to see that it also is in our hands to define our personality.

I think the characters were so original and also realistic. And how each character was introduced to the audience was one of the elements i loved most: This is X, she likes this and that, and dislikes this and that. The images explaining these statements were so striking as well. This kind of introduction was so direct and effective for the audience to comprehend the essence of each character.

Speaking of images, the atmosphere created and the photographs were so captivating. I loved the use of various flowing images in illustrating a mind thinking on something. I also loved the transitions in the movie: between reality and fantasy, and between slow and fast shoots.

When it comes to the audio, I have always loved hearing a narrator in French in movies. Every language has a melody i believe, and i especially love French and Spanish, though i don't understand them. It is a perfect element for me to feel a connection to the movie i am watching. Thank god that it was so dominant in Amelie cause as i mentioned i am really fed up with the soundtrack :)

I guess i covered the major elements i loved. i seriously recommend all to watch at least once in a year :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

'The Social Network'

Finally i will write on a very recent production:)When i was doing my Bachelor i was so good at following what s going on in the present. I followed what was being screened in the movie theaters around the world as well as in Turkey very closely. I was a dedicated viewer of film festivals in Ankara. However i changed in the last couple of years and stopped being interested in the present. I moved to Sweden in 2008 and i guess that had an effect on this. It is a big deal to go to the movies or a concert in Sweden if you are a student living on a limited budget. It is four times more experience than it is in Turkey. Both this and also the film courses i was studying made me be more interested in the old films. Well... But now i am back in Turkey and kind of miss my old habits. I was curious about this 2010 film "The Social Network" (directed by David Fincher) telling the creation story of Facebook.

It won many awards already for the best leading actor, supporting actor, director, screenplay, best use of music and so on. Also it has Golden Globe nominations which i don't care.

I liked the film in general but i find it ordinary. There is nothing special about it. The acting is good especially the two main characters performed by Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. I also liked the screenplay. It flows and the characters talk fast which i like. It is more musical. But I am not impressed by the use of music. I can say the same thing for the photography as well. In addition i especially did not like the row race scene at all. It has nothing to do with the rest of the film stylistically. It didn't make any sense to me.

Well... to sum up i can say that it was fun to watch and i recommend but i didn't find it impressive.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Extract: so many weirdos around

We finally managed to organize a cosy movie night here. Just us (Seda, Şeyda, Hamide) and Feride and a projector :) So we turned one of the walls in the living room into the screen and had our little cinema. It will be wiser if we push the couch a bit backwards to avoid the neck pain next time!
Anyway, we were in the mood for having a nice time and laugh since it was also a New Year celebration. I chose the movie Extract, by Mike Judge. When i see Jason Bateman is in a movie, i am %99 sure that it is gonna be a good choice. Probably mainly because of the TV series Arrested Development :) And i wasnt wrong. It was really funny. It was about a man having problems at work and at home. What made it funny was the weird characters, their approach to these issues were absolutely so stupid :) So i recommend it. Here is the trailer:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

hmm... i love you "When Harry Met Sally"

There are some films that we wanna see time to time again and again. When Harry Met Sally is that sort of a film for me. Strange that i don't remember when was the first time i saw it since i fell in love with every aspect of it. Well i guess a month ago i was feeling depressed thus it was time for me to see When Harry Met Sally once again. And no! still not tired of it.
I love the script the cinematography, the costume, the acting, the sound, the colour, everything. But i am gonna write about the sound because i am obsessed with sound. Besides that aspect is neglected. some one has to deal with it:)
When Harry Met Sally is written by Norah Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner in 1989. The music is adapted and arranged by Marc Shaiman. Also Harry Connick, Jr. arranged and performed. I am not gonna give you the plot. That can be your suprise and i am not interested in writing about plots at all. 
The scene i have selected is about two people discovering that they could be good friends or maybe more and that is kind of surprising and interesting for them. This new discovery and adventure is also being expressed by the sound. 

The scene starts at 1.25 and ends at 2.25

The scene starts with Harry and Sally on the street in New York walking together. They had nice time in a café in the previous scene and now they are out having a walk and continuing the conversation.  The song ‘It had to be you’ accompanies the scene. It is performed by just a piano. There are no lyrics this time. The movie starts with this song but at that time we hear the lyrics as well. So we have already been introduced to the song and we hear the song several times in the movie including the romantic happy ending. Also the line ‘It had to be you’ is so dominant. So this is the song of ‘When Harry Met Sally’. What I mean is the song is associated with their love story. The characters don’t know yet but they will fall in love with each other and this song will be the clue to what is in the air or what is coming. It is also associated with the connection they have. When they talk the conversation flows. Harry is funny and Sally is very interesting and challenging. The conversation they have is tasty for everyone. Both they and the audience enjoy it very much. The song also emphasizes this connection as well.  And since this conversation and the connection they have should be emphasized the lyrics disappears and just soft and quiet piano music stays in the scene. But we know the music implies; yes! you are right for each other, ‘it had to be you’. I believe also the tempo of the song is slowed down to support the mood. In addition to these, the movie’s location is New York and it is autumn. I personally associate NY always with jazz. Jazz is romantic especially the jazz standards and this specific song. Also autumn can be considered romantic as well; at least I can say that jazz standard and autumn and NY were used deliberately to enhance the romantic mood of the movie. The diegetic sounds are heard in the scene as well because they are walking in the street in NY. Thus diegetic sounds together with the visuals locate the spectator in the street (Bordwell, 278). Also towards the end of the scene when Sally asks; ‘would you like to have dinner with me some time?’ (Because she liked the conversation), one can observe a dialogue or question in the piano music as well. Then Harry answers so as the music. Then they agree on having a dinner and also becoming friends. Musical structure of the song and the nuances follow these. As they leave, the song ends quietly and softly. So in the scene music makes an external comment on the scene. It creates a romantic mood although the conversation they have is not romantic. The music emphasizes the connection they have. The music is not romantic because of the content of the conversation. So the song says something which is not said by the screenplay. It adds something to the scene. It makes us to interpret the scene as a romantic scene.  On Youtube I have seen a clip which is called Horror Trailer of When Harry Met Sally. All the songs have been changed with scary songs and effects and although the visuals and the dialogs are the same the movie actually looks like a horror movie. That is a good illustration how the music adds something to a scene and reshapes it. The music in this scene can also be associated with the characters’ emotions. Maybe they don’t think that he or she is the one as it is said in the song but they obviously liked the time they had together. They feel nice. Maybe they are questioning whether they like each other or not. 
To sum up, In When Harry Met Sally, again the music/sound has several functions. It has formal function, narrative function, emotional function and so on. In the scene from When Harry Met Sally, even tough we don’t hear the lyrics we perfectly know what the lyrics are. So the message is still there. There are direct or indirect connections with the lyrics and I agree with Larsen's idea that spectators always force themselves to find metaphors. No matter what, the music/sound changes the scene and the scene change the music/sound as well (Bordwell, 275). They collaborate together to create new meanings intentionally or non-intentionally. Cook says ‘…they create a new experience of each’ (Cook, 73) and he disagrees with the idea that music is the servant of the visuals. I know that film sound/music was neglected for a long time. I think it still can not be seen as important as the visuals or screenplay or actors. But I completely agree with Cook. They constantly support and change each other. Realizing and experiencing this is so fun.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Date Night

I have seen 'Date Night' the other day. I was looking forward to it actually since i love Steve Carell and Tina Fay so much. I adore '30 Rock' written by Fay. Well anyway... i find the film entertaining and funny. I wasn't expecting much other than a smile on my face and i got that.

What i especially like was the fact that it doesn't push so hard to be funny. Also it starts quite slow and you like it. I wouldn't complain at all if it would have continued like that.

I don't feel like writing more on this film though:) But i recommend.