Pitch Perfect (2012)

31 Mar

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I went through my watch list on IMDb last night and two films from year 2012 caught my eye. The one I am going to talk about today is Prefect Pitch. This motion picture was directed by Jason Moore, which you probably only heard of him from directing the TV series, Dawson’s Creek, from 2001 until 2002. This is his first feature film and honestly, I think, it is quite mediocre. Do Not let the IMDb rankings fool you – because they are incredibly good, or the cast which at first sight might seem impressive, but it is not.

Our protagonist is a freshman at Barden University, named Beca, starring Anna Kendrick who you might remember from the Twilight saga. Beca is a rebellious young adult, who comes to Barden only because of her controlling father, who is against the only thing she wants, to go off to LA and get a job in the music industry. So daddy makes a deal with her, that if she truly gets involved in college life and by the end of the year she still hates it, then he is going to help her move to LA. Some other incidents happen; one especially involves a shower duet of David Guetta’s – Titanium, which makes Beca decide to become a member of the Barden Bellas. What are the Barden Bellas, one may ask? Well friend, they are a collegiate, all-girls a cappella singing group, stuck on old female pop music. In other words they are a Glee club and believe me when I say this, from this point on, this film is full of Glee. If these characters are not singing, they are either trying to overrule or sabotage each other and of course fixated on some singing competition.

What I did enjoy in this film is the idea of the battle of the sexes. In order to win the a cappella competition, these girls must defeat a rival all- male a cappella group. Put the protagonist’s love interest in the rival group and Boom, you have a contemporary Romeo and Juliet situation. There are elements such as these, that would make this musical comedy as good as it claims to be (another one would be that it is an adaptation of Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction novel, also titled Pitch Perfect), but the mediocre acting, narration and even filming of it, just makes this film a Hollywood mainstream teen comedy – which is making me have flashbacks of Hillary Duff’s films. What is truly well done are the singing scenes. They are well fimled, good choreography and singing, but the songs are as mainstream as this film.

You can make a game out of counting how many sex and misogynist jokes the character s, Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) make, or how many times you hear, “We play music without any instruments. It’s all from our mouths. “. Still you go through with it all waiting to see one of the teams win aaannnnddd it does not happen. I am not going to ruin the ending for you guys, but if you do decided to watch this film I suggest you do not over think it and just enjoy it as it is.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

28 Mar

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I feel obliged to start this new post with an apology, because I skipped blogging for a few weeks. So here it goes: “Sorry I have not wrote a thing since February, I am still at University and had to prioritize my studies, but Spring Break is here so I am back.” To avoid this in the future I decided to make a blog time table, so you guys will get new posts every Thursday and Sunday. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get back to movies.
After reading Dracula, I continued on the line of gothic monsters and their adaptation to film, so this week I decided to talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). This is the first adaptation for the screen of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). This is an American film, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Fredric March as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde, role that will earn him his first Academy Award.

Both the film and the book made me feel like I was being attacked by an arsenal of Freudian theories. The film especially, starting even from the first scenes, in which we are shown Jekyll lecturing at the University about issues concerning the self. I was like, just give him a beard and a pair of glasses, and you are done with it. After that it goes on about the repressed self, showing Jekyll as the Son figure who desires his fiancée, Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart), but he is stopped from fulfilling his wishes by the Father figure, General Sir Danvers Carew (Halliwell Hobbes). Like a child who wishes to fulfil all its needs and escape punishment, Jekyll creates a potion, which brings out the evil side of the human self, and names him Hyde. The film also re-enacts the Madonna-Whore Complex by presenting the character of Muriel as the virginal figure and that of the bar singer, Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins) as the whore figure. Because of its open sexuality and loss morality, the whore figure is destroyed in the end by the monstrous Hyde. What I found interesting is that in the novel, these female characters are missing and there is a constant male dominance concerning the plot.

The story is presented from Mr. Gabriel John Utterson’s point of view, which is Jekyll’s friend and lawyer, and he analyses the mysterious character of Mr. Hyde, especially after Hyde murders Sir Danvers Carew, action which happens at the ending in the film. Also the character of Sir Danvers Carew gains more importance in the movie than it has in the novel, and Mr. Utterson’s character is completely erased from the film. I found the script of the film quite well written and helps to point out the Freudian theories, and if Nosferatu was a silent film, this one, is one of the first to have sound. The acting gets better, not so exaggerated as the ones from the silent era, and the special effects are hilarious. I found the character of Hyde quite funny looking, just as the novel describes him, like an ape. What did you guys thought of it? What is your favourite adaptation of the novel? Please Comment and let me know.

Nosferatu (1922) Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens  

17 Feb

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Like most folks in their youth, I had my gothic phase and due to certain circumstances I had to relive it recently – but without the fun stuff like dark clothes and makeup. The topic I will be revising today will be the myth of vampires and its entrance in the cinematic world. Why vampires you may ask? That is because, as I said above, I recently got into gothic again, but only literature wise. After reading one of the first novels presenting the myth, which is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1897), I went in the search of the first adaptation of the film, which is F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” from 1922.
The interesting fact about this film is that due to copy right issues the director had to change the names and certain scenes from the novel, even so the film was destroyed because it did not receive authorization, but a few copies were saved. Because of this now there are a few versions of Nosferatu and there are some discontinuities in the film due to the lost or damaged footage.
It does not follow the exact story line of the novel and many of the important characters are either eliminated completely – such as Quincy Morris – or their importance is being minimalized – such as Abraham Van Helsing. This gives it a more simple feeling, easier to be understood by the mass audience of the time.
The film is a silent classic in which we are presented with the freshly married couple, Ellen (Greta Schröder) and Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim), that are separated while Hutter goes to Transylvania to take care of estate business with Count Orlok (Max Schreck). My opinion about it was, that the exaggerated gestures and the narrative made the film seem like a parody of the novel, but the use of German Expressionism and the aesthetics of the actors gave the feeling of fright that this sort of genres should.
This great combination of humour and horror is what makes this film unique. If you are a vampire fan and you are upset with what Hollywood has done to them lately, then I suggest you try and watch this film. It is a great change of pace from all the modern technology and special effects and reminds us all, what vampires are all about. Other films that I suggest you check out are:
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
• Vampyr (1932)
• Dracula (1931)

And my favourite adaptation – Dracula (1992)