Thursday, March 21, 2013

Scary Movie

Scary Movie is a horror comedy film mixed with parody and satire. The director is Keenen Ivory Wayans, producers Eric L. Gold and Lee R. Mayes, and writers Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans,  Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, and Aaron Seltzer. The movie was released in July, 7, 2000. The small group of teenagers in the film are played by Shannon Elizabeth (Buffy), Regina Hall (Brenda), Marlon Wayans (Shorty), Shawn Wayans (Ray), Lochlyn Munro (Greg), Jon Abrahams (Bobby), Anna Faris (Cindy), Cheri Oteri (Gail Hailstorm), David L. Lander (Squiggly), and Dave Sheridan (Doofy). 
The movie starts off with a teenage girl named Drew Decker (Carmen Electra) receiving strange phone calls while at home alone one night. Decker realizes the strange phone calls are of Ghostface. The killer then pursues her and Decker flees to the street where she gets ran over by her parents' car. The film is centered around six teenagers. The following day Cindy, her boyfriend Bobby, friends Ray, Brenda, Greg, and Buffy grieve and reflect on Drew's death. News reporters flock to the high school to report the murder and the mysterious whereabouts of the killer.Gail Hailstorm, a cocky news reporter, befriends Buffy's mentally disabled brother "Special officer" with hopes of learning more about the investigation. The group began to receive strange and threatening messages. Cindy discovered a note on her desk that read, "I know what you did last Halloween". One year earlier Cindy and her friends hit a man while driving down a highway and disposed the body down at the pier. They realized the killer was after them for revenge. As hard as they tried to hide and stay together, Ghostface refused to let plans on killing them fail. Greg was slain at Buffy's beauty pageant, Buffy  was decapitated in the locker room, and Brenda was stabbed to death by the killer and the audience in the movie theater. Cindy throws a party with the mentality of greater strength in numbers. The killer makes his move and stabbed Bobby. Cindy immediately came to his aid and grabbed her gun. Shorty (Brenda's brother) told Cindy and Bobby that everyone is dead. Ray Bobby and Cindy struggle to live. 
Scary Movie payed homage to several films such as Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The Wayans brothers poked fun at many films and programs from the 1980's and 1990's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, Friday the 13th and Dawson's Creek. The central characters are all parodies of characters from other teen horror flicks. The mask that the killer wears is based off of the movie Scream. The only difference with this ghost face is that it has a distorted face. The auto accident is straight out of the movie I Know What You Did last Summer. The character's name Buffy is taken from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character Buffy was played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who also starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Drew Decker   is based on Casey from Scream and is the first killed in the movie. Doofy is a spoof of Deputy Dewey from the Scream movies. Cindy is based on the main character Sidney from Scream. Bobby Prinze is based on Billy from Scream and his character's last name Prinze is taken from the actor Freddy Prinze, Jr. who played in I Know What You Did Last Summer.  Ray is based from the film I Know. Brenda Meeks is based upon Maureen from Scream 2 and from Friday the 13th. Shorty Meeks (brother) is based on Randy from Scream. Ray Wilkins is based on Phil from Scream 2. The names of the characters are spoofs of the characters in horror films. Gail Hailstorm is based upon news reporter Gail Weathers in the Scream film. The last name Hailstorm is a joke on the real character from Scream.  I love how the producer mimics the story line from all horror film franchises and meshes it into one hilarious movie. This type of humor is called a parody which imitates the style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. Satire is especially evident throughout this film. Satire is human vice or folly attached through irony, caustic wit, or sarcasm, used to attack. Satire and its uses do not necessarily have to be funny. Mis en scene really did help objectify the story. From the dull-witted characters to the framing of the shot, it all came together to create a silly movie. Sound was an effective tool because its transition from one scene to another went smooth and the process of taking scenes and bringing them together. Sound effects were used to complement and reinforce. The camera positioning was also used in a funny manner. Such as when Cindy begins to scream and the camera gives us a close up of her face and the camera lens hits her forehead, she stopped screaming and said "Ouch!". Lighting and shadows helped set the mood. In the first scene of the movie, as Decker is running through a grassy field, the only light there is is that of the moon. The victims always died in the dark or in a shadowy area then there were those moments that ghost face would mop the evidence right behind the clueless teenagers. If you enjoy parodies, then I recommend that you watch this movie. I give this movie a 3.5.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Super Fly

Super Fly is a 1972 blaxploitation film and the genre is classic action and adventure. Super Fly is directed by Gordon Parks Jr., produced by Sig Shore, and written by Phillip Fenty. The film was released to theaters on August 4, 1972 and has a running time of approximately 91 minutes. Geoff Andrew from Time Out said the film was, "One of the most successful of the early '70s blaxploitation cycle". Ron O' Neal plays Youngblood Priest, Carl Lee plays Eddie, Fat Freddie and the dealer are played by Charles McGregor and Nate Adams. Julius Harris is the scatter, Sheila Frazier as Georgia, Polly Niles as Cynthia and Yvonne Delaine as Mrs. Freddie. The robbery victim in the film is played by henry Shapiro, K.C. as the pimp, and Jim Richardson as the junkie. Youngblood priest is a successful drug dealer residing in New York City, the capital of the world. Priest meets Fat Freddie and Nate Adams in his apartment to make their payments. Priest gives them a gun to go rob a mafia member after Fat Freddie discovers he is short on money. Priest tells his partner in crime Eddie he wants to leave the business, but after he scores big. He wants to gain one million dollars in four months. Eddie agrees to join Priest in winning big. Scatter, a friend and mentor to Priest, owns a restaurant and a retired drug dealer. The band The Curtis Mayfield Experience perform at the restaurant . Priest and Eddie arrive to discuss share his plans with Scatter and askes to provide him with thirty kilograms of coke. Eddie angers Scatter and next thing you know Scatter has a gun to his head because he said he couldn't help with providing the drug. Scatter finally changes his minf and they agree to a meeting time. Later, the three talk over a beer when Priest accidentally reveals to Freddie and Nate that he is picking up coke frome Scatter. That evening he has a romantic date with Georgia. The follwing day Freddie is arrested for assault and is forced to confess to narcotics detectives who found cocaine in his possesion. Freddie tells police about  Priest and Eddie and how they planned on picking up a key of coke from Scatter. Later on Freddie is released and tries to hid eout but gets hit and killed. Meanwhile at the park, Priest tells his lover Georgia how much he wants to leave his New York life behind and start a new adventure with her. A suprised Eddie and Priest see dectectives as they arrive to pick up a key of coke from Scatter. Eddie is arested while Priest tries to escape by walking down a dark alley only to be ambushed. The detectives make a deal with the pair and tell them they can operate but must make payments of $10,000 a month. Priest feels  uncomfortable, but Eddie happily agrees saying that 'the man' is on our side. After this scene there is a classic photo montage scene with Pusherman - Curtis Mayfield playing. While waiting for a potential buyer in a Harlem bar, three activists approach him but Priest isn't falling for their scam. The buyer arrives and they make a deal. By this time Priest has another girlfriend Cynthia. The pair get in an argument. Scatter arrives at the apartment to ask Priest for $20,000 in cash as he must leave town. Scatter is arrested shortly after and Priest meets with two mafia contractors to discuss business. Priest askes them for a contract for murder, his insurance policy. Priest tells Eddie the news that Scatter was killed, but suggests foul play and that the police were behind it in order to use him and Eddie to make larger buys and to stay in business. Priest desires to flee and get his half of his money.  Eddie gives him his money and in turn tells the police Priest is gone with a briefcase full of money. Priest exchanges the briefcase with a disguised Georgia, however by the time he makes it to the car the police are there. They detain him until narcotics police arrive but Priest has the assurance that his money is safe as Georgia is walking away. The finale scene is gripping and out of the ordinary.
Priest (Ron O'Neal) is a drug dealer hoping to leave the life behind after making one last big score. he is tough, but exposes his heart to two women Georgia and Cynthia longing for new life without really getting the details. His personality fits like one who would slap a bad guy down yet he also has a gentleness. Eddie is his partner. Their empire consisted of fifty people, whom are considered "family". Priest wants a life of normalcy and Eddie suggests that he makes one million dollars before he leaves. "Never a dude like this one! He's got a plan to stick it to The Man!" is the tagline to the movie. The phrase "stick it to The Man!" The man here is refering to the "suckers" and crocked cops. Priest and Eddie lead the lives they live is because there is little else for young black men to do and they refuse to play ball with the largely white institution figures that have been holding their communities down for so long. Without growth in the black communities, drug dealers and pimps are purely a part of daily life.
The role of Priest is intresting. The idea of a straight haired, light skinned actor and his calm energy soft spoken and cleverness as a drug dealer took the character to another level. Overall he portrayed some stereotypes yet infused the character with a hard-edged valour. The music in this film is phenomenal. Mayfield's soundtrack plays through many of Parks' long cuts and wide shotsallowing Priest's car to fill the frame and give a sense of smoothness to the grimy streets. Their wardrobe has a 70's feel . There is even a tangled-legs-in-bathtub love scene. The overall movie is like a drama in that it does'nt contain much violence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Favorite Movie: Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward is an American drama/romance film based on a book of the same name written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The film was released in October 22, 2000. The film made $32.8 million, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The director of this movie is Mimi Leder. Leder was born January 26, 1952 in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her father Paul Leder was a director, producer, actor, writer, and editor. Therefore Leder's interest in film sparked. She  was the first woman accepted to study cinematography at the American Film Institute. Leder began her film career as a script supervisor on films such as Dummy, The Boy Who Drank Too Much, and NBC's TV series Hill Street Blues. She then went on to direct and produce a short film called Short Order Dreams. Leder received attention for her work and was given the opportunity to direct an episode of L.A. Law. Later she was nominated for four Emmy's for directing episodes such as Crime Story, The Bronx Zoo, Midnight Caller, and China Beach. Leder's break came in 1994, when she was hired to direct the successful drama ER. In 1997 Leder received a job offer from Steven Spielberg to direct The Peacemaker. It was the first motion picture produced by DreamWorks. Leder continued working for DreamWorks and directed Deep Impact, and Pay It Forward in 2000. Pay It Forward takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eleven year old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is given an assignment by his seventh grade social studies teacher Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey) to change the world for the better. McKinney's plan is to willingly do a good deed for three  different people in hopes that it creates a branching tree of good deeds. Though this bright young boy had a big heart, he lacked a stable home environment. His mother Arlene (Helen Hunt) was an alcoholic working two jobs to support her son and his father Ricky (Jon Bon Jovi) left them. McKinney's first good deed is to let Jerry (James Caviezal) a homeless man sleep in the garage. In return Jerry does car repairs for Trevor's mother. Arlene paid Jerry's favor forward by forgiving her own mother Grace (Angie Dickinson) for her mistakes in raising Arlene. Then Grace, who is homeless, helped a gang member escape from the police. The gang member then saved a girl's life, and the girl's father gave Chandler his new car. Next, Trevor targeted Mr. Simonet, Trevor's teacher, and set him up with Arlene on a romantic dinner date. Trevor and Eugene fight over her alcoholism, which led Trevor to run away. The incident once again united the teacher and Arlene. They eventually find the boy. The fresh relationship between Arlene and Mr. Simonet turned sexual. Arlene accepted Simonet regardless of his disfigured complexion. Their feelings and affection for each other grew. Their relationship came to a sudden stop when her alcoholic ex-husband returned begging to be welcomed back into their lives. Mr. Simonet gets angry due to Ricky's lies and Arlene's tendency to give in. Mr. Simonet later confessed to Arlene that his burnt skin was from his father intentionally burning him. Arlene learned her lesson with Ricky and left him. Chandler, a Los Angeles journalist, traced the root of these random acts of kindness to Trevor. Chandler conducted a recorded interview  in which Trevor described his hopes for the "pay it forward" project. The remainder of this film is more sweet than bitter. As A.E. stated in his poem, "Smart lad, to slip betimes away
                                                         From fields were glory does not stay
                                                         And early though the laurel grows
                                                         It withers quicker than the rose".
I was impressed with this movie from the lighting to the moral of the story. When Trevor's teacher tells the students about the "pay it forward" project I felt like that was unrealistic. How can a teacher assign a student to change the whole world? I realized that all it takes is one individual to transform a life and so on. The person doesn't necessarily have to impact six billion people, as long as they are being involved in their community. It is more profitable to give than it is to receive. The statement rings true especially this Christmas season. The film also taught me acceptance and perseverance. Fight for what you love and never back down. In the midst of Trevor's troubles he persevered and went beyond the call of duty. Trevor found a way when no one else would. The reason Trevor chose Mr. Simonet as one of his first deeds was because Trevor lacked a father figure in his life. Trevor tricked his mother and Mr. Simonet  into a dinner date in hopes that they fall in love. Furthermore, Arlene was a heavy drinker as opposed to his teacher. The teacher would be a better influence and keep Arlene away from drinking. Arlene in turn was afraid to let any man in her life because she was too afraid of getting hurt or she felt unworthy of it. She was so used to being treated badly by her ex-husband that she has been accustomed to it. Their relationship quickly escalated and Arlene learned to accept Mr. Simonet the way he was. To her looks did not matter. Acceptance also led to forgiveness. Arlene paid it forward by forgiving her mother for the way she grew up. Arlene forgave her mother in order to move forward. Arlene did not accept that whatever happened to her was acceptable, but to reflect, look at it for what it is, learn from it, and move on. These life lessons apply to real life. The acting was exceptional.  No one could have played Trevor better than Haley Joel Osment. Helen Hunt was a really good actor as well as Kevin Spacey. The lighting was substantial however it could have been better. Lights and shadows help set the mood. I didn't see that in the movie. The camera positions and angles were exquisite. Camera angles were awesome in the last scene. Overall this movie was phenomenal and uplifting.     Movie Rating: 5

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story directed by Bob Clark is a Christmas season classic. The Christmas film based on the novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Sheperd. The setting of this story is Hohman, Indiana in the 1940's. Nine-year old Ralph "Ralphie" Parker, played by Peter Billingsley, desired one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun. So Parker used various schemes to convince his parents to get him this gift. In all his pursuits, Parker got the same objection, "You'll shoot your eye out". The antagonist is Scut Farkus played by Zack Ward and his acomplice Grover Dill played by Yano Anaya. The trouble-makers harrass and chase Ralphie and his brother Randy Parker (Ian Petrella) throughout the neighborhood until their mother (Melinda Dillon) broke up the fight. Dillon spared Ralphie punishment by telling their father a lie. Ralphie's bothersome encounters did not shake him from what he wanted most. The anxious and excited Parker brothers arose Christmas morning to the presents under the tree in hope that they would get what they wanted. To his bewilderment Ralphie saw no BB gun in sight. It seemed like all that was left now was gift wrap, until his father (Darren McGavin) pointed out one last unopened gift. The gift contained his BB gun. Ralphie did what any other boy would do. He tested his new gun in the backyard.To his regret a ricochet hit his glasses and knocked out a lens. Ralphie made up a story so his parents wouldn't find out what really happened. On Christmas night Ralph and Randy are laying in their bed as the voiceover states that this was the best present he had ever and will ever recieve.
I love the film The Christmas Story written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark. The Christmas film I believe captures the essence of a nine year old in the Christmas season. Every child or adult experiences at least once something that they really desire for Christmas. I enjoyed the music and the actors did a phenomenal job. They played their parts well enough. However the lighting could have been better and the camera angles. This film recieved a 89% which is why i give it a 5.

Monday, November 26, 2012


My favorite horror suspense film would have to be Halloween written and directed by John Carpenter. The Edinburgh University Film Society said, “Perfect entertainment for the night of October 31st in any year”. The lead role was played by then unknown actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Janet Leigh who starred in Psycho. Curtis otherwise known as Laurie Strode is accompanied by her friends Nancy Stephens and P.J Soles just to name a few. The story began in Haddonfield, Illinois 1963 Halloween night with a young boy by the name of Michael Myers and his older teenage sister Judith Myers. The boy’s twisted mind leads him to stab her sister to death. The knife he stabbed her with would be his signature. Laurie Strode has not even a faint memory of the mishap. In the same town exactly fifteen years later high school student Strode is portrayed living a normal teenage life; settled in a quiet family-friendly neighborhood, loving parents and many friends, and intelligence giving her a bright future. Strode experiences bizarre encounters with a man wearing dark blue overalls and a white mask, but they never verbally communicate. The masked killer was her estranged brother Michael Myers who has returned to capture his sister, the only family he has left. Later that evening startled and unnerved Strode went to a friend’s house to help baby-sit. Myers slowly began to hatch out his plan murdering her friends. Vulnerable Strode fought for her life and survived, however her killer had survived as well. The movie ended with Strode alive but living with the succumbed uncertainty of Myers still lurking in the dark. The film was released in theaters October 25, 1978. Little did we know the film would become a franchise. The Halloween classic that was made with a $325,000 budget, grossed about $70,000,000 worldwide. In 2008, Empire magazine chose the movie as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. Halloween received a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

When October sets in and Halloween comes around, this film is a must see. I love this film because it captures the essence of everything that makes us fear and the danger of what is lurking in the closet. The first scene showed a long shot of the Myers’ house. I also noticed how much of mis en scene was used to help objectify the Myers’ house. The late night wind flowing through the trees and the lighting really helped set the mood. The camera lens made me feel as though I was the killer because his eyes were like the camera hiding behind the mask. I loved that effect because I felt like I was in the killer’s mind; Stepping into his shoes provided me with a whole new outlook. Sinister music played after Myers stabbed his sister which reinforced the mood. The strong use of sound, music, lighting and camera view lead me to believe this was a movie worth watching and I was correct. I thoroughly enjoyed Halloween and it satisfied my craving for fear and that adrenaline rush. The next scene showed Laurie Strode walking to Haddonfield High School. I was impressed by how real the scenery looked as far as the fall leaves and gloomy skies because the entire movie took place in the spring. I also enjoyed the rawness of the characters. Although this movie was made over 30 years ago I can relate to those teenagers. In one hand I experienced being in the eyes of the killer as well as feeling like the victim Laurie Strode. There were times in the movie I felt as vulnerable as her. I felt like I was right beside her. John carpenter did a phenomenal job choosing the main character. In this role, Jamie Lee Curtis was likeable, relatable, and charming. In the ending there was a major sound bridge. This effective tool helped to restate the fact that the killer could be hiding anywhere and may come back. The sound of Myers breathing as scenes transition from the living room to the bedroom to the street, etc. complement the sense of mystery and suspense. Overall this timeless classic engaged every molecule in me which is why I give this film a five. If you want a good scare, watch Halloween!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Movie Rating

Movies are ranked by 5 through 1, one being the worst and five being the best.

5 = Brilliance
4 = Good
3 = Fair
2= Poor
1 = Horrible

I look for the quality of the film in the following ways: Actors/Actresses, lighting, camera, sound, and the moral of the story

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The 2001 neo-noir film Memento directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Jennifer and Suzanne Todd , received an AFI Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year in 2002.  The story is about  Guy Pearce (Leonard Shelby) an ex-insurance investigator who's memory is cut short after suffering a head wound one night while his wife (Jorja Fox) was being murdered. The tragic incident resulted in Pearce searching for his wife's killer. In the beginning Shelby wakes up in a motel room. We then see his inked body riddled with messages due to his short memory span. In the days of being an investigator, he explained how he was assigned to determine Sammy Jenkins (Stephen Tobolowsky) mental condition, who also suffered memory. In hopes of reviving his memory, Mrs. Jenkins (Harriet Sansom Harris) repeatedly asked Mr. Jenkins for her insulin injections.Unfortunately his memory did not come to light furthermore Mrs. Jenkins died from an overdose. An anonymous caller, later known as Teddy (Joe Pantoliano),calls Shelby. Pearce shared with him his mental condition and in exchange Teddy identified the second attacker as Jimmy Grantz (Larry Holden). They meet and the undercover officer gives Shelby directions to the place Jimmy Grantz is at. Pearce attacked Jimmy, put on his clothes then took a picture of his naked body. The puzzling story line converges from black and white to true colors as these events lead to the unforeseen ending.
Memento is unlike any other film that I have seen. I was exposed to new actors. The first time I ever heard about the movie was in film class. As I watched the plot progress I realized the movie was not in chronological order. The black and white sections went forward as the colored scenes reverse. This film is unsettling to the point you are on the edge of your seat. The movie was definitely a mind bender. The disorder of events makes you think hard and pay attention. To most teenagers as myself, this is not a film we probably would watch but for a movie lover it is a must see and. I loved this movie and I totally recommend it. It was like a puzzle putting all the pieces together and in the end it all makes perfect sense.
Movie Rating: 4