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Category: movies

01/29/09 10:36 - ID#47555

A Movie I Want To See

I'm not much of a movie person. Not because I don't like movies, but because I don't like to go alone. I see movies so little that I disconnected my DVD player, which is sitting in a box somewhere in my apartment. The last movie I saw was Transformers on Blu Ray at Dad's house (Megan Fox is pretty much flawless - but that's a subject for another journal).

There is one movie I really want to see, though, enough that I might dig up the DVD player or go to Circuit City and like a vulture pick at whatever Blu Ray offerings they might have.

Bullitt (1968)

I don't know whether it is biological or not, but when you combine an insubordinate S.O.B. of a cop, a souped up sports car, and the mob, I'm sorry but I can't resist. I love Dirty Harry and The French Connection too. I love these late 60's, early 70's cop movies, especially when the protagonist is somewhat checkered. I'll say it again - I love the anti-hero. On the modern front, I loved Vic Mackey and Shane Vendrell in The Shield (too bad the show is over).

When I brought it up to Josh one day he didn't sound so enthused, but when he learns the diegetic space is San Francisco I think he will be on board. I have to own this movie!
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Category: movies

06/27/08 03:36 - ID#44803

The Dark Knight


Just don't want to spoil anything for people unnecessarily.

I'm usually not one for the movies. It isn't that I don't like movies - I just don't like going alone. Same thing with going out for a meal. But for this one, The Dark Knight, I'll go alone and sit next people I can't stand one bit.

The hype machine is already starting, and I am getting swept up in it. Rolling Stone has a review online already! It is a glowing review, and people are cynical about it due to Ledger's death. Could that manipulate a critic's opinion? I'm not sure.

From what I've seen, Heath Ledger's Joker is miles apart from Jack Nicholson's Joker. I love the idea of the Joker being gritter, absolutely frightening, with no remorse at all. I also hear that Harvey Dent's transformation into Harvey Two Face is quite compelling.

I remember in '89 when Batman came out, and Dad had just bought an awesome stereo (I currently own it, lol). I remember the special effects being amazing, boom boom, and myself being so engrossed in the film. I love superhero movies. I should probably try Batman Begins....
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Category: movies

07/06/07 03:53 - ID#39966

Sex And The City Movie!

Yes, it's true! The shittiest show in the history of Television is going to make it to the big screen! Rejoice!

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Category: movies

03/11/07 05:29 - ID#38420

300, and Why the NYT is Wrong

Yes, I really do believe that it is just a movie. It's not meaningless, as we can all take from a movie what we will, but in the end it is not any kind of political statement. Since my position has been called ignorant (e:paul,4918) I feel I have to explain myself.

I did actually take two film courses while attending UB. One dealt with music in the movies, and the various ways in which music can be used to evoke emotions or make what we see on the screen more powerful. The other was actually in the History department, and in the course we had to watch a movie during Tuesday's class. By Thursday's class we had to have a report on the movie and how we thought it followed along with the themes of the day. The Empire Strikes Back was the most memorable of the films, obviously dealing with Cold War themes.

So while I am no expert on film by any means, I do know something about how ideas like this are formulated in the heads of academics and film critics when they review a film. I also know the difference between a film which INTENDS to speak about certain political themes versus a film that people take and apply their own interpretation to, whether it makes any sense or not.

The material for the film is taken from a Frank Miller work which was done before Bush or Iraq even took place. Unless he was a very special person there is no possible way for the work to have intended to address those themes, and even if that was the intention it would have been done poorly, as there are a myriad of ways to interpret Bush in that context.

M. Faust of our own beloved Artvoice doesn't buy it either. In his review of the film he mentions that he talked to the film maker, Zack Snyder, about this very topic. Here's a cut from the review:

"I guess that's unavoidable," he sighed. "I'm not going to pretend to be like, 'What's that, Iraq? There's a war going on? What are you talking about?' That's a reality of the world. I tried to make a movie that looks at the nobility of conflict, that asks if there is such a thing. I didn't do it in relationship to what's happening now because I don't have that much foresight - I wish I had. The point is that there can be nobility in sacrifice. Does that give context to sacrifice that we've maybe lost in the muddle of our current situation, is there a way to get that back? And also the story is 2,500 years old. Does history have some bad habit of being a big circle? Yeah. But is that part of my design? I don't think so."

The film maker himself says he didn't make the movie with the current problems in mind, and that he couldn't have in the first place. That is enough to satisfy my own curiosity about the intention of the film, and to not believe anyone who attributes something to the film that was never intended.

Does that mean that the film has no meaning? No, no way, the story behind it is incredible. No less a man than Jack Valenti said that the most important part of a movie is telling a story. The movie studios are fortunate to have a reviewer like the dude at the NYT because that increases the buzz and adds a financial boost to the revenue the film brings in. Of course a movie studio wouldn't do anything to stop the debate. Like any other industry their goal is to make profit on films.

Think about Norbit for a moment, a film that the critics absolutely thought was terrible. It has actually ended up bringing in at least $80 million so far, not too bad for a shitty movie. The movie studios don't necessarily have the academics/critics in mind all the time because they are notoriously hard to please compared with normal people. All this review did was make a bunch of people rich by injecting his own bullshit into the theme of a movie, and I'm sure the guy will get a nice fruit basket on Monday for his effort. Whatever we take from it is fine, and we can learn many things from the Spartans, but let's not talk about something that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie being a central theme.
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Category: movies

09/29/05 10:42 - ID#23581

Exorcism of Emily Rose

I saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose last night. I went into it thinking it would be a thriller, but it really wasn't. The movie centered around the trial of the priest who performed the exorcism on Miss Rose. Rather than give you details about the movie itself, I will show you information I found about the REAL Emily Rose, whose name was Anneliese Michel.

Anneliese was born in September of 1952 in Bavaria. Her life was unremarkable in that she was a happy child, religiously nurtured, and in all other ways normal. However, at the age of sixteen, Anneliese was afflicted with the first of many of what her parents came to believe were demonic attacks. Her body went rigid, and she was unable to call out to her parents for help. She shook violently without control of her actions. Her parents took her to the Psychiatric Clinic in Wurzburg, where she was diagnosed with Grand Mal epilepsy. Medication was prescribed, and she was given treatments, but the attacks didn't stop.

She began seeing what she described as demons, visions of terrible creatures, during her everyday life. After a while she could hear them as well. She only spoke to her doctors about the visions once, telling them that the voices had begun giving her orders. For five years Anneliese went for medical treatment with no discernable benefit. In fact, the attacks were getting worse. Her behavior degenerated into something wholly unlike the child everyone knew. She insulted and beat other members of the family, often biting her three siblings. She refused to eat normal food, as the demons she heard would not allow it, and ate spiders and coal, often drinking her own urine. She slept on the floor and was given to fits of screaming and breaking religious icons such as the family's crucifixes and rosaries. Her behavior grew steadily worse as she began acts of self-mutilation. Tearing off her clothes and urinating on the floor became common occurrences in the Michel home.

In 1973 her parents began a fervent and desperate search for a priest to perform an exorcism. All the churches they approached denied their requests, explaining that the criterion of proof for possession had not been fulfilled. In order for a person to be deemed "possessed" and receive an exorcism, according to the Catholic church, there are a number of signs that must be observed. The afflicted person must exhibit at least three signs for permission to be granted. The signs of possession are varied, but among them are the afflicted displaying abnormal strength, paranormal powers such as levitation or telekinesis, and the knowledge of a language they've never studied.

By 1974 the Michel family won the sympathy of Pastor Ernst Alt, who believed the child was truly in danger from demons. He petitioned the Bishop of Wurzburg, Josef Stangl, with no success. The Bishop suggested that the child live a more holy lifestyle to find inner peace. Alt tried again a year later, this time providing verification of the signs of possession in Anneliese. Bishop Stangl relented and assigned Father Arnold Renz to perform the exorcism rite with Alt assisting. The rite of exorcism to be performed was the "Rituale Romanum."

Exorcism, though long considered one of the church's dirty little secrets, is neither a religious ceremony nor a sacrament. It is a rite in which the priests confront the demon in the afflicted's body and demand that it show itself. Once the demon is revealed, the priests attempt to use their own faith to drive it out of the innocent. The Rituale Romanum was first written in 1614 under the auspices of Pope Paul V. It remained largely intact and in use for exorcism with only minor changes in definitions to distinguish between possession and mental illness in 1952. Through repeating a set group of prayers, the Litanies of the Saints, Pater Noster, and the 54th Psalm, as well as the accompanying Gloria Patri, Anima Criste, and Salve Regina, two priests, a medical doctor, and members of the afflicted's family engage in a lengthy and often physically exhausting trial in which the priests attempt to expel the demon. The rituals are open to interpretation as exorcists are free to add in other aspects of the rite as they deem necessary.

Beginning in September of 1975 Anneliese endured two rites a week, during which time she exhibited violent behavior toward any within striking distance. She spit and bit, cursed and struck those around her, often having to be restrained by as many as three full-grown men. The rituals, however, seemed to be working. She was able to return to school at the Pedagogic Academy in Wurzburg and take her final exams. She even was able to return to church. However, as time passed, her condition deteriorated again.

During the final round of exorcisms Anneliese stopped taking food for several weeks. Though she grew emaciated, she still exhibited unbelievable strength and spoke in the voices of those she claimed inhabited her body. Among the demons who claimed residence were Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, a disgraced Frankish priest from the 16th Century, a host of other damned souls, and even Lucifer himself. Her knees ruptured due to the more than six hundred genuflections she compulsively performed. By June 30th, 1976, she was so emaciated and weak that she could not stand. Her parents, however, held her up and helped her perform the genuflections.

It was late in the day on July 30, 1976, when Anneliese turned to the priests and said, "Beg for absolution." It was the last statement she would make to them. To her mother she simply said, "Mother, I'm afraid," and then collapsed and died. Her mother recorded her daughter's passing the next day while Alt informed the authorities. An investigation immediately began into her cause of death. Both priests and her parents were charged with negligent homicide.

Two years later the case was finally brought to trial. Nearly forty hours of audio tape of the exorcism was played before the court. Testimony was heard from witnesses who had no doubts of demonic presences in the girl. But in the end it was the coroner's report that Anneliese has starved to death that proved to be their undoing. It was determined that admitting her to a hospital where she'd have been fed through a tube, even one week before she died, could have saved her life. They also asserted that, by introducing the concept of demonic possession, the parents and priest provided a scapegoat for her behavior, which allowed her to misbehave all she wanted to without fear of consequence. Though convicted, her parents and the priests received a light sentence of only six months in jail and probation.

The story, however, continued to capture the imagination of those that knew the girl or heard of her plight. Many claimed that her body could not have been at rest after such an ordeal, leading officials to exhume her corpse eleven years after her death. When it was determined that it had, in fact, decayed at the proper rate for one dead eleven years, she was recommitted to the ground. Her grave became, and remains, a place of pilgrimage and religious importance to those who believe that the brave girl lost her life fighting the forces of darkness.

Following the death of Anneliese the church recanted their permission, stating that she was merely afflicted by mental disorders. In 1996 the Pope removed Rituale Romanum from the approved list of rites and replaced it with his own, called "The Exorcism for the Upcoming Millennium."

Anneliese Michel was a fresh-faced girl of sixteen when her life suddenly jolted out of her control and only twenty-three when she died. Whether or not she was possessed by demons is open to debate, but nothing can diminish the tragedy of her passing. While The Exorcism of Emily Rose bears the legend "based on a true story," respect must be given to the actual people and events on which the story is taken. Audiences should not forget, while they are being entertained, that no matter what their beliefs, Anneliese Michel, the real "Emily Rose," was no fictional character.

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