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Days of Heaven Film Review by Setho10

The fields of golden wheat extend into the distance. The sky is a pale blue, the clouds, locks of red tinged with glowing orange highlights. Within the forlorn expanse of an Autumn farm in the American Heartland, hundreds of men and women work the land. High upon a hill, as a God sees his children, the farmer watches with a casual indifference. He drinks a glass of whiskey while an old man picks away at a typewriter. It is a scene common during the early years of the 20th century and one stunningly recreated in Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick's haunting and tragic period film. Malick's films are among the most beautiful ever created, and this piece, the second out of only six, is peerless, a film whose beauty and magnificence is without fault. Every shot is a painting, recreating the world of pre-WWI America in a way that has never been equaled before or since. Each costume, the works of the great Patricia Norris, is disturbingly accurate. The scenes are perfectly built by the legendary Jack Fisk, and framed in the way that only the masterful Terrence Malick can achieve. Director of Photography Nestor Almendros is at his very best, delivering shots beyond anything I have ever witnessed outside a Malick film. Every facet of Days of Heaven is perfect. It is simply one of the most beautiful films ever put to celluloid and I can't recommend the great blu ray transfer enough.

Like many other Malick films, the true joy of Days of Heaven is the visuals. But the story here is one both personal and grandiose. Bill (Richard Gere in his best role) and Abby are an unmarried couple who pretend to be brother and sister. When Bill accidentally kills a man in the coal plants of Chicago, he and Abby flee to the wheat fields of the American heartland. There they take work at a farm harvesting wheat. Working back breaking labour day in and day out, the couple, and their "sister", Linda, ache to leave the farm and make it big. But the owner of the farm has other plans for the couple. He falls in love with Abby and invites the siblings to stay on after the harvesting season, not knowing that Abby and Bill are together. Abby is unsure, but Bill learns that the farmer is set to die in a year. Wanting the remains of his fortune, Bill convinces Abby to marry the farmer. Of course things don't go as planned, and as jealousy and frustration sets in, mistakes are made. Everything is brought to a head a year later in a shocking and tragic conclusion that radiates a sort of terrible beauty and will not be soon forgotten.

Days of Heaven is a film much less blunt than Malick's recent Tree of Life, but that doesn't mean it is any less profound. Watching the film one contemplates the effects that greed can have on a man. Set over the course of a single year, the film's characters grow like the wheat in the farmer's field, and are eventually cut down by forces far beyond their control. Malick's films are divisive, with some hailing his works as the greatest in cinema's history. Other label his films as, "Pretentious, boring and a chore to watch" (Thanks IMDB forum goer). Suffice to say if you are looking for action or intensity then you won't find it here. Malick's films engage through visual splendor and through the complex themes that are woven throughout usually simplistic plots. While Days of Heaven isn't nearly as hard to watch as Tree of Life, if you are the type of person who chats on Facebook while texting your best friend, watching a movie, doing homework and contemplating what your outfit for the next day will be (ie, you are a teenager), then this movie probably isn't for you. If you enjoy letting your mind engage a piece of art in ways that don't require the shedding of blood and/or strobe lights, then this film is among the greatest I have ever encountered. Regardless of personal preference, few can argue the sheer artistry and craft that went into the making of this film. It was a joy to watch, and certainly among the most thought provoking films out there. I loved it.


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MOVIE NEWS! - Harlan Ellison Sues New Regencys In Time

Regency's new film starring Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy was recently stopped due to the writer Harlan Ellison claiming that his idea was used in the film without his consent. This is not the first time the author has sued a motion picture as he did sue The Terminator after claiming that the film was based on two episodes from his 'Outer Limits' series. Full Article:

How are themes and ideas displayed through the narrative in the 78 version of...

...Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers starts with the sound of 1950's B-Movie music as a direct homage to the original, Don Siegel, 1956 version of the film which used the same type of music. We also hear the noises the aliens make later in the film, this is to enter the sound into the viewers subconscious, as if the 'problem' of these aliens was apparent before the pods arose. Showing that the problem was bound to happen, it was just waiting to break out. The opening scene is filmed in rainy weather; Kaufman in this scene is using a pathetic fallacy, as the miserable weather reflects the personality of the city itself. The seemingly natural sights of the plants developing is challenged by screeching sound effects that leave the audience feeling uncomfortable, this gives the audience the feeling that the plants are things to be afraid of and you could argue that the audience could see them as the 'bad guys' of the movies from this scene. Later we see a woman walking with some children. She walks past another woman who looks over her shoulder back at her in an odd fashion. These over the shoulder movements are a re occurrence in the film and are used to make the viewer feel uneasy, as if they are being watched at all times. The next shot is tilted looking at a Priest on a swing. This could be a comical image but instead due to the jarring sound of the swing hinges and the swinging point of view shot it makes for a very creepy and almost disturbing scene. Tilt shots are used throughout the theme causing confusion and uneasiness for the viewer. It could also represent corrupt characters in the film, for example when the character of Dr. David Kibner is walking towards a car the camera angle is tilted, when he gets into the car we find that he has double crossed some of the other characters. The scene in the kitchen is supposed to be comical, with the amusing background music and the topic of rat faces. However this scene is as uncomfortable as in many other key scenes. In this scene we see the employees of the kitchen exchanging glances. We later find that the two were silently scheming to vandalism the character of Matthew Bennell's car. The men break the windshield of the car and this distorts what can be seen from within this man made device. This represents that from within the manmade culture and environment the nature cannot be seen as it should be seen. Later in the film we see the character of Matthew cutting exerts from a newspaper. On this newspaper are headlines relating to the start of some sort of plant life form. This shows that despite reading and paying special attention to the news Matthew is still oblivious to what is happening right in front of him. This could represent city people in that time period in real life. During a suspenseful scene in the film the suspense is broken by the sound of a clock chiming. The camera than pans straight into the clock giving it a huge amount of emphasis. This is to represent the fact that it is only a matter of time before the characters will have to give in and sleep, to convert to the 'pod-people'. The scene in the laundrette the build up shows places that would not be out of place in China. It also has very oriental sound effects. This is done deliberately by the director to make you feel as if you are actually in another country. This has the effect of that the audience feel now that the pods could be spread across the world. During a conversation between Matthew and Elizabeth, Matthew says: "Forget that you think he is a psychiatrist." The clever choice of words ("think") relates to the contextual issue of corrupt self help specialists. The cameo given by Kevin McCarthy is used as homage to the actor and the original film. You could also argue that it shows that the film is respected being re-made. However it could also have some serious undertones as the first time this character said the words: "You're next" it was relating to contextual issue at the time. This means that the issue related to the first time these words were used is still an issue in 1978. Towards the end of the film the audience are given, what seems to be a happy ending, with Matthew checking out the boat to see if they can escape. The scene is accompanied with the song Amazing Grace. The lyrics of the song fit the film perfectly. The fact that they can escape on boat is also significant. As plants need roots, and the people are now plant people, leaving by boat takes away the roots to the Earth. This shows that to escape from the threat we have to change our ways and break away from our habits and everyday activities.

How has Danny Boyle used cinematography and editing to convey meaning in the....

...opening sequences of "28 Days Later"? The film starts with a montage of violent images captured by CCTV and steadicam cameras. CCTV and steadicam cameras are used to show realism that the audience can relate to. Danny Boyle started the film with violent images to set the tone of the film and to get the audience on their toes immediately. The editing of the montage is very fast adding to the sense of panic that the images already supply. The images cut from place to place showing that the violence is wide spread. Knowing that this film is about a zombie outbreak, you would assume that the images relate to the zombies. However they do not. Despite the images not linking to the zombies in the plot the images give a clear idea of carnage and chaos to the viewer from the offset. Orange smoke is shown early on in the montage. Boyle has used this color to symbolize the danger and bloodshed that is to follow in the rest of the film. The first few images are of the police having the upper hand on the rioters; however the following images show the police being overthrown. This images being in this order has particular importance as it shows the audience as being powerful and then being beaten. Police are known to the audience as being the strongest force there is, however the fact that the rioters overthrow the police shows how powerful the movement or people are. A few of the images are reused to emphasize their symbolism. An example of one of the images repeated is the one of a burning man being hit with a pole. This image is reused because again it symbolizes the chaos that ensues. Following the montage the camera pans out to show that there are numerous television screens displaying these images. As the camera zooms you see a chimpanzee is tied down watching these screens. The way the chimpanzee is laying down has some biblical symbolism as the way the chimp is laying resembles the way Jesus laid on the cross. Danny Boyle has used this pose to show the chimp or primate as being powerful or as powerful as Jesus. The power is the power to wipe out the human race; this theory, relates to evolution and the circle of life. This theory shows that primates evolved to create humans and now they are going to destroy them. The following sequences start with a group of animal activists trying to release the chimpanzees from their captivity. The room that the chimpanzees are held in is very dark but for the light that is shining down on the chimps. Boyle has used this lighting to emphasis the chimpanzees' importance to the human race's survival. There is also a small flashing red light that can be seen in the corner of the room. Boyle uses the color red to slowly prepare the audience in their subconscious mind for the violence that is to come in the rest of the film. In the conversation with the scientist the flashing red light is still visible throughout the dialogue. The animal activists when shown are shown through the glass of the cages. This distorts their faces to make them look almost like the zombies. These subtle hints of blood and zombies build tension for the viewer which makes for much more intense viewing. The distortion from the glass also symbolizes the activists confusion as to whether they should open the cages or not. At the start of this scene the animal activists are wearing black balaclavas and an all black costume. The scientist is wearing predominantly white. The two colors represent two choices. The 'black' choice is the choice to let the chimpanzees out of their cages. The 'white' is to keep them in their cages. When the activists get to see the chimpanzees showing their rage they remove their balaclava. Once the balaclava has been removed the lighting on the activists only lights one side of their face. Danny Boyle has used this to show that the activists are unsure of which choice they should make; whether to let the chimpanzees out of their cages or not.

How does John Boorman trigger emotional responses from the audience?

Deliverance - (1972) John Boorman triggers a lot of emotions from the viewer using Mise-en-scene, editing, shot types and most importantly sound. This short essay will look into these elements focusing on the Dueling Banjos scene. The Dueling Banjo Scene: The Dueling Banjos scene is an iconic scene in Deliverance in which the four main characters find a remote village just off the river and they are greeted with hostility. This hostility is slowly broken however when one of the four starts tuning his guitar, one of the children of the village, an odd looking boy plays the same cord in return. This sparks the guitar player to return with another, more sophisticated note. This continues back and forth until an actual song is composed. The song itself is slow starting, as the film is and then it builds up to an almost hyper climax, just as the film does. The scene like many others has a hidden agenda and although the audience experiences happiness, this is only used against them in the most part as they are always shocked to what is around the corner. The hostility shown before the song is played could the result of lack of communication from the hillbillies. The audience are scared at first glance of the hillbillies. This is because when we first see these hillbillies, the four main characters are mocking them; they do not know that one of the hillbillies is actually around the corner. The audience can see this figure walking sneakily towards the four and this scares them for fear that they will be caught mocking them. The hillbillies then subtlety, maybe without realizing start to crowd the four outnumbering them considerably as they talk about driving their cars to the destination. This makes the audience feel trapped and even more nervous and scared. But the song then misleads the audience to feel happiness as the song makes everyone smile, and some dance. As the song starts to build the guitarist gives the boy looks of confusion, almost like he doesn't know what he is getting into, just as the four do not. The audience at this point are nervous of what is going to happen in regards to the hillbillies, this is because of the way they look and appear. It is also due to the way they were introduced into the scene and seem to have multiplied very quickly. The boy when playing seems to be looking directly into the camera although it is hard to tell. This again adds to the audiences sense of uneasiness and nervousness. This feeling is slightly hindered when Burt Reynolds' character talks to one of the hillbillies almost aggressively slapping the hood of the car and then removing his jacket to reveal his arms. This makes the audience feel a slight relief that there is a powerful figure there to protect the four friends. The song then moves on to build more, as the scene does in sync. It then cuts away again to tow of the men talking negatively about the people saying that they have a 'genetic deficiency.' Again they are almost caught by one of the hillbillies who are walking towards them from behind. This, as before makes the audience feel the fear of being caught. When the hillbillies talks to one of the men it is inaudible which adds to the fear as the audience do not know whether what was said was heard. The focus is then switched back to the song that is being played and the boy again seems to be looking into the camera from above. The fact that he is above the camera makes him seem more powerful and a larger threat to the audience. This treat is then spoiled as a smile erupts from the boys face, this relieves the audience (for lack of a better term) and the fear that they were experiencing before is starting to go away. This is backed up by the inaudible man from earlier is shown laid back and whistling to the tune. One of the hillbillies then starts a strange but happy dance and a shot for all of the four friends is shown, each of them smiling. Soon everyone is clapping along and the audience start to feel happiness and a light hearted amusement. The song builds and builds until eventually the boy takes over the whole song with an extremely complicated solo. The boy is now smiling excitedly and the audience now feel they can finally relate to him. The words 'I'm lost' are then spoken, a good way to describe the audience at this moment in time; lost. The final note of the song is accompanied by a 'squeal' from the guitarist. A noise that for people who know the film could find chilling. Actual conversation follows the song and the guitarist reaches his hand to shake the boys. The hand shake is not returned; in fact the boy completely refuses it turning his head to look away, he then rocks on his bench in anger of maybe fear. The music, laughter, clapping, dancing and smiling is then cut to a halt and all the audience is left with is background noise. This massive switch in emotions makes them much more prevalent than they ever could have been. At this moment the audience feel confused, tense and they feel the fear that the scene opened with, only now more raw and shocking. - Jacob Locke Agree?/Disagree?

MOVIE NEWS! Trust Christopher Nolan - Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy has said that he has been reading comments that have been made about the up and coming 'The Dark Knight Rises' and has felt that is very hard to realistically portray the character (Bane) as he appears in the comic books. Here I do agree with him, it's simply unrealistic to expect Tom Hardy to be 400 pounds in the film and he has gained a a lot of weight in for the role. say that Hardy understands the fans love for their superhero icon and that whoever steps into any role related to that will be scrutinized. The released of images of Catwoman are receiving the same type of scrutiny. Scrutiny will always follow the Batman franchise around but I think now that we should be trusting of Nolan as he has proved us wrong before. When fans first saw The Scarecrow and The Joker there was the almost the same reaction, it was only when more trailers started to come out for the films that people started to see that they were going to work and the changes to the characters were necessary for them to be implemented into Nolan's vision of Gotham. Full Interview: