CineMathematics or CinemaThematics. Your choice

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sundae New Year's Eve

In 6 hours it will be 2008. I haven't seen nearly enough films to actually compile a Top 10, though I can tell you right now that the numbers 1 & 2 (I'm not sure of which is in which position) are Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light and John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes. Reygadas may be the most spiritual filmmaker working today, and Turturro has an incredible eye for depth within his frame.

On this, the last Sundae Monday of 2007, I look both backward and forward. In honor of Time's Man of the Year, I present this:

And then my look ahead is at my most anticipated film of 2008:

I have watched this trailer dozens of times and it never fails to amaze and excite me. I especially love the prevalent duality that I'm sure will make the film at least worth watching. Happy 2008!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sundae Boxing Day

In honor of Boxing Day, I present the greatest boxing scene in cinema history. Enjoy this with your servants, who you have given the day off.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's a Wonderful Sundae Monday

As a last little bit for my It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon. First, I would like to thank everyone who participated and everyone who read. Second, a Blooper Reel!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon

Welcome, folks, to the It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon. There will be posts throughout the day on my various takes on the cinematic "classic" It's a Wonderful Life. I happen to think it's overrated, and I will spend my posts attempting do deconstruct various aspects that annoy me about the film, including a more feminist perspective on the world without George Bailey and a look at various inconsistencies which tug at the string that hold It's a Wonderful Life together. This post will be updated throughout the day with posts from all over the internet. If you wish to contribute, simply write a piece and let me know either by commenting on this post or by emailing me at Enjoy the reading.

Jacqueline over at Another Old Movie Blog writes about George and the housing crisis.

I examine Mary in the world without George.

M.A. Peel looks at how angry George can get.

Weepingsam at The Listening Ear gives a wonderful defense and analysis of the film.

Labels: , ,

It's a Logical Life

This a contribution to the It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon. Enjoy.

This may just be me, but some things about the logic of movies bothers me. People doing stupid things annoy me to no end, though I've been working on that to great success. However, if a film's internal logic breaks down and we're supposed to simply accept it, I find myself questioning what happened.

At the beginning of It's a Wonderful Life, Clarence is called upon by higher angels. He is told that George Bailey will throw away God's greatest gift at 10:45 Earth time. Clarence remarks that this gives them 1 hour to be properly introduced to George Bailey (and yet Clarence is George's Guardian Angel? Sounds a bit fishy). Given the blurry introduction and pause later in the film, it is clear that we see things from Clarence's perspective. Clarence may see more, but there is nothing we see that Clarence does not see. Clear? Ok, jump 75 minutes into the movie and we get to the day in question, when George will attempt suicide. I wouldn't question something like this except it sorta plays as a MAJOR PLOT POINT! Considering how much time is given to the romance of George and Mary, this problem ends up significant. I can appreciate time condensed with the magic of editing. A man's life is summed up in 75 minutes. However, you can't make the 75 minutes it takes to tell the story take 60 minutes. In this light, the romance of George and Mary, a very impressive screen romance, seems unnecessary or frivolous. A man's life is in danger, yet the only being who can save him is delayed by learning about how George met his wife?

I don't get Nick. Nick is the bartender at Martini's bar, and in the world without George, he owns said bar instead of Martini. He is a gruff character, and without question he throws Mr. Welch out of Martini's bar. We don't know anything about Mr. Welch. He could come to the bar everyday after work, yet Martini doesn't care. But we're not supposed to question this. In the world without George, Mick throws Mr. Gower out for panhandling and George for just being strange. Nick is supposed to come off as cruel here, indicative of the world of Pottersville. Yet there is nothing here that seems different about Nick. In this case, the world is no different with or without George, yet we are supposed to think the world is different. There is little doubt that Nick would throw a stranger out of Martini's bar is they acted as strangely as George in Nick's bar. Why is this supposed to be so shocking?

Labels: , ,

Wanna Play Old Maid?

This is my first entry to the It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon. Enjoy.

The world without George Bailey is inherently inferior world. Mr. Potter owns the town, Mr. Martini cannot his house and bar, and Ma Bailey is an old maid with a boarding house. George witnesses all of this first hand. Uncle Billy is in an insane asylum. Surely this is the worst thing that has happened on a personal level, right? This should be the thing that George shouldn't want to hear. His beloved, lovably goofy uncle has been driven to insanity.

And yet there is one thing that Clarence doesn't want George to know about the world without him. It's about his wife, Mary. You see, without him, she's an *GASP* old maid. This is something that George simply cannot take. The question becomes, why is this the worst thing that can happen to Mary? The beginning of the romance was an uphill battle for George. Sam Wainwright was, as has been mentioned multiple times in the first hour of the film, very interested in Mary. Mary's mother was very excited about Sam. Couldn't Mary be married to Sam?

That is one of the keys to my disappointment with It's a Wonderful Life. The world without George Bailey is exaggerated to such a crude extent that it loses all meaning. It also refuses to show anything truly horrible. We never see Potter reveling in his wealth. We never see Uncle Billy in the madhouse. We only see Mary without a husband. There is nothing more horrible here than a wifeless woman. This is an example of Frank Capra's candy-coated worldview, and in this case it fails.

Capra likes to paint a sympathetic view of America, showing the small towns as idyllic places where the people in communities help themselves and each other. Often this look at American is entertaining. It gives people like Henry Fonda and James Stewart an opportunity to charm audiences and it makes for simple entertainment. It's certainly a pleasant way to spend 2 hours. But when everything turns sour, the sugar sweet world just tastes wrong. George Bailey's life is useful, of course, but he doesn't need the stability of the world to show that. Mary doesn't need to be an old maid if she doesn't have George. But Capra makes her that way, and that's just not fair.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Sundae Monday Holiday Special

Real life has taken over, leaving my poor blog to suffer. And at the worst time too, what with this It's a Wonderful Blog-A-Thon coming up THIS SUNDAY!!! My how time flies. But alas, I've been up to my ears in Huguenots and Roman elegies, with barely time to watch movies (expect a post on Silent Light in the relatively near future. It's too good to be left unpraised).

I hope you're feeling that holiday spirit. I know I am. Decorations have been coming up and my resistance to all things Christmas has been falling down (well, except the massive commercialization part). With Chanukah ending tonight, it's important to remember that there's more than just Christmas out there. I hope you take a moment to remember the ever important Life Day ceremonies going on all across the galaxy right now...

Labels: ,