Posts tagged conflict

Review: Ruby Sparks (Soundtrack)

A great film can be ruined by a bad soundtrack. This is not the case with the music of Ruby Sparks. The musical accompaniment creates a fantastic emotional backdrop to the story of Calvin and his dream girl Ruby Sparks. Nick Urata’s score brings together moments of wonder and delight mixed with subtle undertones of dramatic melody.

We start off listening to some of the main ideas of Ruby Sparks, many of the themes, moments, and characters get their own melodies that carry through the rest of the soundtrack. “Creation” whose melodies continue to haunt the rest of the album feels like a light-hearted version of  what you would hear in a Frankenstein film. Large and powerful scores of violins surround a melody that is born from the chaos. The short, abrupt beginning tracks of the soundtrack serve as a sort of introduction, pieces of a puzzle given to us so that we can use them to further understand the rest of score. “Ruby Sparks” a melody that appears constantly throughout the album is full of energy and hope with a soft foundation of conflict. Nick Urata combines the two flawlessly in a way that defines exactly how Ruby is on screen.

The french songs in the soundtrack blend well with Urata’s score. Their energy is through the roof with themes of hardship and pain hidden under the surface (behind those french lyrics). The french adds a fresh feel to the soundtrack. Using the songs to punctuate emotion and create a sense of joy.

As it continues the soundtrack uses it’s foundations and explores the world. It tells a story with it’s melodies that builds and builds. More and more aggravation and despair become apparent and abundant until at the end is a bursting point. It all falls apart. In pieces it regroups and becomes whole again.

This is what a good soundtrack sounds like.

4 Splashes out of 5

Review: Pariah

A film that will surely be missed by the masses but is a film that everyone should see, Pariah will make you laugh as easily as it will break your heart.

Alike (Adepero Oduye) plays a young child prodigy who is coming to terms with her sexuality. She hangs with her best friend and confident Laura whom is always trying to push Alike into situations that echo her own experiences. The conflict here comes with the world around Alike not accepting her for who she really is. They give mixed signals, hateful remarks, and plain violence towards her for her sexual preferences. Her mother especially actively tries to “make her normal.” by finding her friends, buying her feminine clothing, and continually trying to pry into her life.

What is so brilliant about Pariah is the cross between the humor of the situations that take place and the complete seriousness of them. Many films take awkward moments and either leave out the seriousness all-together or they have a moment be so serious that it loses some of it’s true meaning. The natural experiences of Alike throughout Pariah are amazing to watch from start to finish. The stylistic camerawork along with some high-class child acting easily help you grasp the mindset of a girl as she fights her way through high school coming to terms with the world. There is a small sense of documentary style here with the manly handheld camera and rawness of the performances. With that Writer/Director Dee Rees creates a world that sucks the viewer in without seeming tedious and overbearing. Beyond Alike the parents continual conflict helps divide the household to more believably separate their mindsets. The other supporting cast also help to build up and tear down Alike by giving incredibly believable and in some cases horrifying performances.

For a near perfect movie, with minor plot holes (when does this straight-A student study?) First time feature maker Dee Rees should be more than proud of this piece of art. A film that should should be more widely seen and more widely revered as one of the best films from 2011.

9.5 Poems (out of 10)

Contest - Free Screening Passes - “In The Land of Blood and Honey”

Welcome back to the land of the living! Happy New Year! We are back! And starting off strong with a contest for Admit-2 passes for the new Angelina Jolie film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” The screening will be…

This Wednesday - January 4th - 7:30PM - Ritz in Philadelphia

Email “" with the Subject "Blood and Honey" for your free tickets! (Deadline is Tomorrow at Midnight!)

Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the ‘90s. This bold new film illustrates the consequences of the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict. IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY features a completely local cast, most of whom were children of the war. The film was simultaneously shot in English and their native language. During the time of the war the language spoken was Serbo-Croatian and is now referred to as BHS. FilmDistrict will release the English language version on Dec. 23, and it opens in Philadelphia on January 6.

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Review: The Future

Is 40 the new 50?

Jason and Sophie (Hamish Linklater & Miranda July respectively) are content living their bland, boring lives in Los Angeles. Jason is an Information Tech guy and Sophie teaches dance to little kids. They got lazy with their ambitions and goals, never really wanting to do anything extraordinary with their lives. It’s not until they decide to adapt a cat (a fucking cat) that they re-prioritize their lives.

All of a sudden, they go from being 35 to 50 (mentally). And both characters decide they need a drastic change; so they quit their jobs and aim for something greater, with little success. This little feline, with one paw in a cast, inadvertently derails these two people into doing something meaningful.

As I watched these two people go throughout their lives, I couldn’t help but feel like this could be me in 10 years. Showing what it’s like to have creative impulses and not know where or how to direct them at times. This film also adds to the argument of LA being a soul-sucking, creative void. Setting the film in Brooklyn or Philadelphia wouldn’t have the same tone or affect on the film or the characters.

Miranda July’s direction was subtle. Most scenes involved the actors doing their jobs and taking the characters to a new place through interactions with other people, letting the scenes basically carry themselves. The audience is meant to focus on these people and their reactions to situations rather than everything else in the film.

The moral of the story; Don’t wait for things to happen. Get off your ass and make them happen, cause one day you’ll wake up and you will be 50 smoking pot in your parents basement or at a dead end job wanting more with your life and wishing you didn’t stick around and watch it fade away.

7 Paws out of 10

Review: Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh was a complete surprise in 1966, when Disney first visited the “Hundred Acre Woods”. I find it hard to believe that Disney is taking the risk of
bringing it back considering how animation tastes and technology has changed since then. After seeing it though, I have no reservations in saying that it is the best animated film I’ve seen this year.

It would be easy to miss this film; its only an hour long, its being released the same weekend as one of the biggest film franchises of all time (if you don’t know what movie I’m talking about, come out from under that rock please), and who knew Pooh was even coming out in theaters?? Despite all these obstacles to box office success, I would bet big that it will be on the shelf of every kid under the age of five when it comes out on VHS… I mean DVD… I mean Blu-Ray.

I will warn viewers over the age of fifteen, this film lacks the drama or conflict you may be accustomed to. Pooh has its own sensibility, very focused for its target audience, purposeful on the part of Disney and reserved. The iconic characters all have this wonderful energy to them. Their interaction with the
narrator feels natural and playful, even when they break the 4th wall consistently. This metaphorical storytelling lends itself to the content perfectly.

The film has a wonderful soundtrack, with lots of music from the characters. I really wasn’t expecting Zooey Deschanel, who sings a few original songs, she is a pleasant surprise indeed. Disney again plays to its strength of giving the family audience an in-depth experience with lots to like. The themes in the story are all focused on the characters. Its fair to say that each character has specific boundaries that while clear, causes adults to lose interest, but probably won’t bother kids. Essentially, the characters feel repressed because they have nothing other than their basic “traits”. Its not by accident of course, but it is a drag.

Despite these “kiddie” issues, I was thoroughly entertained with Pooh. Its beautiful to look at, with its classic hand drawn style and color pallette. It was fun to watch and has themes that are rarely touched on in Children’s Films. It’s way better than Cars 2.

8.5 Hunny Pots out of 10.

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