Excellence in Direction: Boogie Nights

One of my overall favorite technical pieces of film is the use of the tracking shot, and the first scene I think of when it comes to the tracking shot is the 3 minute opening shot of Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant Boogie Nights. The thing about this scene is that it is great for reasons besides just the use of the tracking shot. The purpose of this scene is to introduce you to all of the characters in this large ensemble cast. When you take the idea of this mass introduction and apply it to the period of time that this film takes place in, then the end result is this scene.

Everything about it is just perfect. You start with the odd sad clown music and transition from that right into the music of the 70’s as the camera makes its way into the nightclub, introducing you to all of the characters along the way.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is excellence:

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Fanny and Alexander

Five hours and twenty minutes. That is the longest time commitment that I have ever given to a film, and that was the commitment I gave yesterday to watch Ingmar Bergman’s magnum opus Fanny and Alexander: The Television Version. Fanny and Alexander tells  the story of the Ekdahl family as it goes from character to character highlighting their joys and their woes. While each character is given their moments to shine eventually the film ends up focusing on one subset of the family: The father Oscar, the mother Emilie, and the children Alexander and Fanny. They have the greatest amount of trials and tribulations during the several years that the film follows. With this family you have a diverse group of personalities that compliment each other very well and result in a believable relationship between the parents and children. I will refrain from saying much more regarding the plot for now just so I don’t spoil anything. So If you don’t want anything about the plot told to you, then you should stop now. But still you should know that this film is a masterpiece. Continue reading

Adaptation

 

Charlie Kaufman is the greatest writer working today. That is a fact that I realized after watching both this and his directorial debut Synechdoche, New York. Kaufman has the ability to craft the most unique and engaging stories that capture you and proceed to amaze you and leave you in a state of awe. To compliment his masterful writing you have the excellent directing from Spike Jonze, a common collaborator of Kaufman. That is the exact case when it comes to Adaptation. What you have here is the story of himself, Charlie Kaufman, as he was adapting a book into the movie that you are currently watching. Of course there are clear fictitious pieces that enhance the story but for the most part it is the true struggles of a writer who is having trouble. Continue reading

Everything Must Go


My personal favorite type of film is the character study. Now, from all of the character studies that I have seen I have observed a few key traits that make it good. First of all you need a phenomenal main performance, then comes the great supporting performance, the very minor but still interesting plot, an excellent script, and a worthwhile pay-off. Of these five things I would say that Everything Must Go has about one and a half of them. It definitely has the minor yet interesting plot, and it has a pretty good main performance along with one good supporting role. Other than that there are literally almost no redeeming factors to this film. Continue reading