Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bugsy Malone

Who ever came up with the idea to make a musical about gangsters let alone one starring solely child actors? The zaniness doesn't stop there. The children in the movie use marshmallow launchers instead of guns, go out for sundaes instead of drinks, and drive pedaled powered cars instead of full sized automobiles. Through all of its conventions, however, Bugsy Malone is able to create a unique, highly moral, and light-hearted gangster-musical for the whole family to enjoy. 
It deals with the ideas of the gangster genre very interestingly. First and foremost, the idea to use only children in the film really impacts the themes and tone of the entire movie. By using this children's world in place of the darker and grittier real world, the film makes the morality of decisions clearer. It shows the American Dream in a way where there are tons of different possibilities and places to go and it's all based on the decisions that these kids make. It creates a nice ending message for kids watching the movie:

"You give a little love and it all comes back to you, you know you're gonna be remembered for the things you say and do."

Furthermore, the use of dubbing the kid's voices in song with older adult counterparts was a very bold and thoughtful idea. To me, it added to the impact of what these characters were saying in song. It made the ideas they presented, such as the busboy's dream of becoming a dancer, have much more merit and weight. It weighted down the songs almost to stand out from the rest of the film even more. 
The "Real" world

The use of a "backstage" world and a real world in the film also worked really well. There were multiple conflicts in the movie, the one between the mobsters and the one with the performers- the dreamers. The actual songs used for each of these worlds also varied slightly in their themes and style. The "backstage" songs typically had to do about hopes and dreams, such as the dream to go out to Hollywood to be an actress; whereas  the songs in the real world had to deal with solving actual physical problems, like when Bugsy Malone gets together a team of unemployed children to help him steal some marshmallow guns. It becomes really interesting by the end of the film once the two worlds overlap. In addition to this, the fact that Bugsy was able to be a drifter and go between both of these two worlds really allowed for a more educated look on the world of Bugsy Malone.
Worlds collide! Can they be together?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tokyo Story

First, I'd like to apologize that this was not posted earlier.

Ozu's Tokyo Story really shocked me. I did not have any idea of what to expect and by the time the credits rolled by, I had undergone so many different things and was really searching within myself for some meaning in these things and in life. For some reason, which I didn't know at the time and had to really search for as the credits rolled, all of this- everything that had occurred in the movie really had a resonance within me. Tokyo Story was really a movie to me which got better the more I put into it.

I really thought the idea of cutting out to static landscape shots was a really interesting choice like mentioned in the reading. For me personally, it served as a time for me to reflect on what was going on in the movie as well as how it related to me. This action was a very meditative on at least for me while I was watching it. It also helped separate up the actions of the film nicely and really gave a larger scope to the events of the piece- as in they occurred in a realistic time frame instead of all at once.

One of the reasons the movie was so successful for me was the use of the everyday. I was really able to sink myself into the film and grasp what was going on due to how normal everything felt. I really listened truthfully much more and was able to reach my own conclusions and feelings based on what was going on. The movie functioned transcendentally very well for me because of its use of the everyday and the implications of it above all else. I've never seen any movie like this before- it has lots of "imperfections" (it strays from traditional conventions) yet because of it and everything else it is able to impact me in a novel way.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Annie- A Gangster Film. Annie Get Your Gun?

At a first noncritical viewing of the film, it is very hard to see Annie as a Gangster film in the slightest. It seems to just be a story about an orphan girl with the heart of gold who is later rewarded for her good deeds in the form of being adopted by a wealthy tycoon-Rockefeller-type fellow who she changes for the better. It almost appears to be a story about the American Dream and the idea that anyone can move up from rags to riches.

However, that is in fact a theme very common in the Gangster genre itself. The film is set during the Great Depression and prohibition era- a time where amongst all this poverty the fortunate few- which included the gangsters ruled supreme. It was a time where people were allowed to grow massive and greed was able to flourish. There was a notion amongst the elite that "the world is your's" which is seen in Scarface. However, these ideas are ultimately misguided and only lead to suffering down the road. In the gangster films we watched, these ultimately cause the downfall of plenty of men. They had an apetite that could never be filled and ate themselves to death. In Annie, Warbucks originally has a very capitalistic and drive for this American Dream where enough was never enough; however, Annie ultimately helps him see the error of his ways and move past this. During this period of his life early in the movie, despite all of his success, he is depressed and lonely. It doesn't matter how much he had because he doesn't have anyone he loves to share it with. In Annie, he is able to recover from this and change for the better without having to go completely off the deep end in his hunt for more power.

The songs in the movie are a very interesting thing to look at. The film starts off with Annie pining for her parents to come back eventually in a slow and sweet ballad. It truly helps establish the mood of the film along with the tenderness and purity of her character which is pivotal to the story. I think the use of songs actually helps drive the narrative forward. The film would truly be missing something without its songs. Despite the hardships these kids face, they are still able to sing and have fun. It shows that even in poverty there can be fun and happiness and you are true of heart. It helps bring across a sincere message and tone for the film.

It's a dirty world but it's happy!