Chasing Liberty and First Daughter (2004)

Two of my chosen movies for my comparison essays are,

Romance, the feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. What is love? An intense feeling of deep fondness. Shakespeare once quoted, “Love looks not only with eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” (Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1.1.231-2) Chasing Liberty and First Daughter, was both American romantic comedy which were released in almost the same time in 2004. Both of these movies caught my eyes. Chasing Liberty, American romantic comedy film starring Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode. First Daughter is American romantic comedy released by 20th Century Fox which stars Katie Holmes and Marc Blucas. The passions and devotion of love has made these two movies an absolutely worth watching movies, especially the similarity in their narrative structure.

Chasing Liberty, Anna Foster has never had an ordinary life. At eighteen years old, she is the most protected girl in America; she is the First Daughter. But, she’s too frustrated with her overprotective father which is the President of the United States of America, Anna makes a deal with him that only two agents are allowed to guard her while she attends a concert in Prague. However, when she finds out that her father broke his promise, Anna gets extremely angry and goes on the run with Ben Calder, a handsome photographer which she runs into outside of the music club. Later, they travel together with the intention of going to the Love Parade in Berlin. But, Anna didn’t told Ben who she is but more importantly, Ben hasn’t told her who he is. Both of them do not know each other’s identity. Ben is supposed to keep an eye on the rebellious girl but falling in love with her wasn’t something he expected to do. Romance blossoms between the wild Anna and the cool, Ben as they travelled through Europe.

In the other hand, First Daughter, Samantha MacKenzie, was a daughter of the President of the United States, who enrolls at a college and develops a relationship with another student which is James Lansome, a secret service agent, undercover as a college student, Marc Blucas. The movie narrates a student who deals with exams, first love, and national security issues in this teen-oriented romantic comedy. Samantha MacKenzie is a seemingly ordinary because no one knows that her father happens to be the President of the United States. Samantha, however, would prefer to be as invisible as possible as she begins her studies at Redmond University. Then, she asks a favor of her father. She asked him to remove the two secret service agents who follow her everywhere. Her father agrees but then she doesn’t know that her father, the president sends in a young undercover agent, James which is Marc Blucas. Samantha and James became friends and later, love started to blossom between both of them.

Both movies has their best quote,

Chasing Liberty, “Moore to her father in the Oval Office: “You had that restaurant swarming with all your Secret Service. You ruined my date, and now I’m going to die before I ever get to third base! … I mean, second.”

First Daughter, “Holmes teases her love interest: “One quick call to the FBI or the CIA and I can get your blood type, third-grade class picture and satellite pictures of your ex-girlfriends’ homes.”

Both of these movies share the same narrations, the overprotective father, and the agents that the father sent without the daughter noticing. Then, they started to look for freedom outside their pampered world because they feel trapped in the White House and looking for something more exciting. Then, boy meets girl, girl meets boy and fell in love with agents. Both of the movies highlight the problems that famous people face with being hounded by the paparazzi. In the film Samantha mentions that the only time she had privacy was in utero. This reminded me of the famous quote by Queen Elizabeth’s favourite governess Marilyn Crawford, who said “Royals are only private in the womb.”  However, there are basically two particular scenes that are similar, which are the beginning of both of the movies and the last kissing scenes of both movies.

Beginning of these two movies are so similar, love how their similarity in their trailer leads me to go further into these two movies deeper. Chasing Liberty, Moore is shown dancing around an ordinary bedroom, and then the shot zooms out the window to show the White House. The overzealous Secret Service spoils her date in a fancy restaurant. A befuddled Harmon, as the most powerful political figure in the world, awkwardly asks his cabinet advisers what his daughter meant by “getting to third base.” Both of these movies are so similar, guess there are just very slight differences in the movies. As for First Daughter, Holmes is shown talking to her parents in an ordinary room, and then shot zooms out the window to show the White House. The overzealous Secret Service spoils her swimming party. A befuddled Keaton, as the most powerful political figure in the world, awkwardly tries to comfort his daughter by pretending to have baked chocolate cake.

Another similarity of these two movies is the two last kissing scenes of both the movies. Chasing Liberty has the last kissing scenes which took place in an opera house in London. The last kissing scenes were also predictable as the First Daughter.  Love the part of the scenes when the security agents came in, and he said,” Will they kill me if I kiss you?”, and Anna replied, “They won’t, I will if you didn’t kiss me”. Then they started kissing and then opera songs are played. It’s wonderful, how the kissing part and the opera by “Nessun Dorma” blends in so perfectly when they started to kiss. Both of the kissing scenes are almost alike, like girl meets guy, talks then kiss. First Daughter, the last scene of the movie, the last kissing scenes which is also the high point of the movie, although it was still predictable as hell, was the last kissing scene between Sam and James, wherein they meet each other halfway across the hall and finished speaking just in time for their lips to meet. That part was pretty good and so were the next 2-3 lines of dialogue that followed it.

Patterns create expectations which can be manipulated to create aesthetic responses. There are so many patterns in both of these movies, both of the colour movies, there’s beginning, and middle and ending of the movies like the time when they got to know each other, as a photographer and another as a college student. Both of the President’s daughters find out about the secret service agents that The Presidents sends out to keep their daughter safe. Later, the ends parts, when both of them leaves and later meet up again. There are more identical patterns like, both of the white house, view from outside of the white house and etc.

Genre

Both of these Chasing Liberty and First Daughter have the same genre, romantic comedy. However, Chasing Liberty is much more entertaining. A little more comedy would be nice, but there are some laughs sprinkled throughout. It is nice to finally see Moore playing someone her age, and not one of the small percentages of people that have to deal with death as a teenager. Chasing Liberty succeeds best when it moves from location to location, bringing in some new characters and new environments. Glued together by the tension that evolves between Anna and Ben, what results are a nice little love story that never gets too serious but avoids being goofy as well. The chemistry between Goode and Moore is quite good, though a little more depth into Ben’s character would have been nice.

Of course, like most romantic comedies of this nature, the ending is very predictable. Most of us probably able to guess the ending long before it arrived, including the “You lied to me speech,” the “I lied, but I still love you speech,” and the reunion scene to cap everything off. Chasing Liberty does draw itself out at the end, but it can only be expected. Chasing Liberty is a fun little movie that has its moments. Moore’s character is a little over-the-top at times, but she still makes for a good lead character. A few funnier scenes would have been nice, but as a romantic comedy, Chasing Liberty is fairly entertaining.

Likewise, the “First Daughter” might have had a chance too. The movie could still have had a romance in it without bowing down to every cliché a romantic comedy can have, from the “I just want to be a normal girl” speeches to the exquisite ballroom scene at the end where the girl is undoubtedly going to end up with the guy. There’s a lot more to college than meeting the perfect person, and the movie could have capitalized on all of the potential the concept of the story had.

Conclusion

 In brief, love; brought two peoples from different status together and fell in love with each other. That’s basically how these two movies are about, two of the best romantic comedy back in 2004. Both of these two movies are actually something like the “Cinderella” movies too, because, both kind of like has restrictions and the not allowed to this and that and later, meet a prince (hero) of the film and fell in love.

References

 http://www.filmjabber.com/movie-preview/first-daughter.html

http://www.filmjabber.com/movie-preview/chasing-liberty.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360139/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361620/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chasing_Liberty

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Daughter_(2004_film)

http://www.screenit.com/movies/2004/chasing_liberty.html

http://www.joblo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66615

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Bringing Up Baby(1938) is an American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Kathryn Hepburn and Cary Grant. As always, comedies are usually entertaining and always make the audience laughs. In the romance comedies of Bringing Up Baby, it started with the death world of Cary Grant, which is Dr. Huxley. This movie started in museum and ends in museum too.

David Huxley, is a zoologist who’s looking for the missing bone of a dead dinosaur. He has a fiancée, Ms. Swallow who is kind of living in the death world like him too. She doesn’t want honeymoon after their marriage. Then, he meets Kathryn Hepburn, Susan who is the total opposite side of his fiancée. She’s alive and full of surprises all the time. She’s actually like the missing bone that he’s searching for, which is the fun and excitement in life. Susan come into his life and started messing around, creating troubles and etc. Then, Susan has a Baby, the leopard; the “alive” animal compared to his “dead” dinosaur. Susan has a baby. Susan’s baby, the leopard. She can have baby! Because she’s alive but somehow, Dr. Huxley can’t because his dead worlds are all around him and he lost his “bone”. The bone, symbolized his penis. He lost it which makes him turns back into a child.

Susan leads David into her world and slowly bringing him into her “alive” world. As they go together, many things happen and he started to grow up. Example, (1) David loses his glasses, which means his dignity and intellectual. Then, (2)he loses his clothes and at the same times he sort of turns into “gay” and later lost his identity as Dr. Huxley to Mr. Bone. He loses his bone, his identity, his fiancée and almost everything he has before he knows Susan. Susan leads him with her way that changes him and indirectly bringing him into “rebirth” process. There’s this scene where they (3)fell into the water together and get wet together. After they came out from the water, it’s like Susan has already washes off his dead world and brings him into her world. The image of rebirth can be seen in that scene.

Scene 1,

Scene 2,

      However, towards end of the movie, he became a hero. He tries to save her from the wild leopard which they thought its baby but it’s not. He gradually became an adult throughout the process of losing his gender, name and he earns his new identity and became alive. It would totally be the opposite side if he marries Ms. Swallow. He’s now capable of saving someone. He’s no longer a child. He grows.

In Bringing up Baby, girls meet boy, instead of boy meets girl. She’s the savior of Dr. Huxley. If it’s not her, he would able to grow and enters into adulthood. Moreover, I as an audience find that Susan is such a strong and powerful character. She’s capable of turning a kid into adult. Throughout Bringing up Baby, there’s no any sexual scene. However, there is a scene in the film when Susan rips his jacket, David rips her dress and they walk together and then he puts his hand on her. It’s very sexual in a way.

     But there’s this great deal of humour like the torn coat and gown scene. There is also a great deal of humour in the dialogue. Hepburn in particular is hilarious when she speaks and completely twists everything others say, getting them completely muddled as she manipulates to get her way. There’s no doubt that the story of Bringing up Baby is essentially silly. But that’s why it is so funny. I love how Susan, kept on bringing troubles again and again to Huxley.

Work Cited

http://whitecitycinema.com/

http://www.themoviescene.co.uk/reviews/bringing-up-baby/bringing-up-baby.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029947/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9uUJQRzh4k

http://www.filmsite.org/brin.html

Spirited Away (2001)

I’m not a big fan of anime but there’s something about this anime that I love about. I love how Hayao Miyazaki arranges the sequence of this anime (Spirited Away) so perfectly. He conveys it so good. He is also known as one of the greatest and admiring animators in Japan. And, that earns him the title of “Walt Disney of Japan”. The most successful film in Japanese history, “Spirited Away” One of the best anime back in 2001.

“Spirited Away”, story about a young girl, Chihiro who went into the tunnel ; entrance to the spirits world and begins her journey to become an adult. The greed and curiosity changes her parents into a pig, which then require her to save them.

In order to save her parents, she is forced to work under the evil witch, Yubaba. Yubaba owns the bath house and also she kind of like queen of the spirits world. Then, she meet Haku, the River Spirit. She’s lonely, lost and alone. There’s no one there for her except Haku. Later, friendships begin to blossom and Haku leads and begin to travel the ‘spirits’ journey with her.

Anime simply means a Japanese style of motion-picture animation, characterized by highly stylized, colourful colours, futuristic settings, violence, and sexuality. Usually, anime are more famous to the young adult compared to the child. This is because, sexuality are the main elements in anime. The way it’s conveying, child do not understands but the adults get the point though. Example, when Haku is badly injured. He is covered with blood on his body and blood seen dripping from his mouth. Chihiro still hugs him and wants him. There’s sexual content in it.

In order to save Haku and her parents, Chihiro unconsciously became stronger and she grew through the process. She’s slowly getting braver and there’s no more cringed to her mom. She’s now taking her own journey and responsibilities.

However, with the visual usage of colours in anime, the contrast, lighting and etc, like light or dark, high or low are all adjustable to emphasize the effects. It must take into counts as it all does bring certain ideas in certain scenes. Example, like the whole “Spirited Away” background is taking the old Japan into a count. It resembles the old Japan and the modern Japan cultures. Before the tunnel, traffic is so modern. Then, after the tunnel the statues and the abandon theme park resemble the old Japan.

BEFORE TUNNEL ; NEW JAPAN

AFTER TUNNEL ; OLD JAPAN

Moreover, the narration in “Spirited Away” started when Chihiro going to enter the “spirit” world. Before (in the four-wheel drive), she’s depressed, don’t want to go the new schools, and wants the old friends and her wilted flowers. Later, she changed and become someone who’s totally the opposite side. She managed to adapt the “spirit” world and live in it. New environment are no longer a threat. She changes from the scene where she’s at car and the scene where she’s trying to save Haku, the giant baby, no-face and her parents. She’s seen been going through a maturity process.

The characters in “Spirited Away” and another anime are almost at the same which is the exaggerated facial expressions. All anime character are usually looked almost the same to me, like big eyes, cute face, handsome and etc.

 

However, names are also important in characters in “Spirited Away”. Chihiro, the name is like an identity. Yubaba, the witch had stole part of her name and called Sen. She must not forget her former name, or else she will be trapped in the ‘spirit’ world forever.

Lastly, the sub-genre of anime are like shonen and shoujo, focusing different sexes of audience or other genre such as adventure, like “Spirited Away”, actions/fighting like, Bleach and etc. Basically, to me genre is kind of important for me when it comes to anime, as a female myself, I’d rather be choosing romance genre rather than action genres. Actions don’t fancy me. But, still different people do have different preference in their movie genres. It depends on own perspective and preference, I believe.

I’m not sure about the really “must see” anime films because I might not see them all, but as far that I’ve seen. There are one, as I remembered watching which I find it a ‘must see’ anime. When I was a child, I remembered I always ask mom to tied me the signature hairstyle. Two-buns.

SAILORMOON!🙂 Watch this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyqxUP8QFjM

WORK CITED

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away

http://www.sparknotes.com/film/spiritedaway/themes.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyqxUP8QFjM

https://www.google.com.my/search?q=spirited+away&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=lQyiUJeEBoHQrQfqy4HoBw&ved=0CEYQsAQ&biw=1024&bih=424

Classical Hollywood; Citizen Kane (1941)

 

It all started with a progressively deep and long shot of the young little Kane through the window with the mother appearing on the left and calling him at the very first scene of the film.

 

MRS. KANE : (calling out) Be careful, Charles!

THATCHER’S VOICE : Mrs. Kane

MRS. KANE : (Calling out the window almost on top of this lungs)

Pull your muffler around your neck, Charles

Then, there’s this long uniterrupted shots or lengthy takes of sequences when the camera continues to move as they walked to the table. Mrs. Kane and Mr. Thatcher were sitting at the table on the right side while Kane’s father standing far left. This is one of the best and powerful scenes from the very first scene of the film. The backlighting in the shot were so good between the little Kane and his parent and the banker, Thatcher through the window frames. Then, through the images of the adults talking and signing the papers, we can see the little Kane as the subject of the discussion through the window which keeping the boy in extreme long shot throughout the scene. He’s playing with the snow and did not know what his mother is about to do to him and his childhood.

Later, there’s this scene when..

KANE’S FATHER : Mary, I’m asking you for the last time – anyone would think I hadn’t been a good husband and a —

Mrs. Kane looks at him slowly.  He stops his speech.

As an audience, we can interpret that Kane’s father has no power in making any decision. Including the decision for his son, little Kane. His wife, Mrs. Kane is more powerful and stronger than him. Instead, you can feel the greed from him.

When, Mr. Thatcher and Mrs. Kane signed the document,

THATCHER : The sum of fifty thousand dollars a year is to be paid to yourself and Mr. Kane as long as you both live, and thereafter the survivor – Mrs. Kane puts pen to the paper and signs.

He’s like one people with two personalities in a sense. At first, he is kind of like worrying about his son. The next second, right after the fifty thousand dollars to be paid… He’s somehow becoming another people.

Lastly,  Mrs. Kane stands up and opens the window.. Still, Thatcher continues talking. However, while Thatcher is talking besides her, she actually heard the overtones of little Kane, which is the overlapping voice between the happy little Kane playing and Mr. Thatcher talking. And also, the sparse use of revealing facial close-ups shots, that I find the shot very interesting. That’s when she knew she have to let go of him physically but mentally, she can’t let go of him. The scene, expressed her feelings so strongly. That she’s will be missing him and his voice after losing him, later on. I can feel her pain that she’s expressing through her voice/shouts.  Even myself as a spectator, feel the pain she’s about to go through. We can see her face, full of despair, sadness and pain! That’s how strong the scene is!

Hence, the very last scene before little Kane left his home to a better place with Mr. Thatcher. We can see the snowman is between him and the Kane’s old, shabby, two-storey house. With sled on his hand, it’s like he has to give up his love with his parent, childhood and poor life and better has yet to come.

Adulthood..

Charles Foster Kane:  “As Charles Foster Kane who owns eighty-two thousand, six hundred and thirty-four shares of public transit – you see, I do have a general idea of my holdings – I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars.”

He just becomes rich and powerful. Leaving home, are not bad after all.

WORK CITED

http://cinephilefix.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/strokes-of-light-and-shadow-the-impact-of-citizen-kane/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZE6LB_DhdI

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033467/plotsummary

http://www.sparknotes.com/film/citizenkane/summary.html

http://www.filmsite.org/citi.html

Lulu’s “Pandora Box” (1929)

Lulu’s “Pandora Box” 1929

Lulu, better known as Louise Brooks, the beautiful actress in Pandora Box’s with her all time signature hairstyle, her short “boyish” hairstyle. Also known as the famous “black helmet”? I love her expression in her acting. It’s impressive on how she able to deliver her expression so well although it’s during the silent film time. She is one very classy but seductive young woman whose raw sexuality that ruins her at last. However, that eventually made the actress a star!

Her performance in Pandora’s Box inspired powerful reactions from the public and the censors. Pandora’s Box starts with a very bad beginning. When the film first premiered in Berlin in February of 1929, critics and the movie going public were largely unacceptable.

Some thinks that Pandora’s Box should not be published. Like Iris Barry, who started the Museum of Modern Art’s film department, he said that the museum of his will never acquire a copy of Pandora’s Box, because “it had no lasting value at all.”  (Barry). There is no value in Lulu’s film, he said. However, there are mixtures of different opinions from different viewers.

In other hand, like myself as a viewer, I personally think that Pandora’s Box is one of the greatest silent films back then. It’s so powerful from her looks, her acting, her face and she’s a sex symbols! The hotness in her is indescribable.  That’s what makes her film so powerful. She’s sexy! Her black shinny bobbed hair, the richness of her dark lipsticks, and most importantly, her sexy pair of eyes. Her pair of seducing eyes is what makes you fall into her trap. That’s her motive! Be careful! She’s one very seductive woman. Everything about her is sexy. I love the shot where she’s seducing Dr. Schon in the storage room. Dr. Schon then could not resist her seduction and fall for it. Even myself as a viewer, love her body movement in that part of the film. The porcelain quality of her skin.. Her leg!  SEXY HUH!

In the same scene, she’s also dangerous because she still flirts with Dr. Schon. Although, she already knew that he’s getting married. She is one very horny young woman who needs sex and she doesn’t care whether the man, she’s flirting with married or not. That’s dangerous for other woman.

Based on my own perception of the Pandora’s Box, I think it shouldn’t be banned. It represents such a great art in film back then. Public should able to see the perfection of this film. This is one great production. When I’m watching Lulu’s films, I feel like I’m in her world. The illusion is like a dream. And, I’m like in the film with her. Ah, love that feeling though! One of the greatest films! The sequence is properly arranged. Everything is in order. Therefore, I think it shouldn’t be banned or cut.

Work Cited

“Pandora’s Box (1929)”. imdb.com. Web. 12 Oct 2012.

Pandora Box 1929. YouTube. YouTube, 5th Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Oct. 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6TF7r8bu4M

” San Francisco Silent Film Festival”. Web. 11th Oct 2012.

http://www.silentfilm.org/pages/detail/1649

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

The first screening was awesome! Mr. Rey showed us two great short films which is “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and the “Night and Fog”. Both films have its way to convey their message in the film. However, I choose “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” for my Essay Topic 1. Somehow, I love this film more than the “Night and Fog” because I find “Night and Fog” really disturbing by seeing how they treated the innocents people so cruel.

First of all, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is about a civilian prisoner which is about to be hanged from Owl Creek Bridge. The exposition of this film is shown in the first few minutes of the screening which is the note that stated “Order! Any civilian caught interfering with the….” This note simply allowing the audience to know what is happening during the first few minute of the film. Then, the bird chirping sounds are heard. Later on, the soldiers then slowly bring me into the scenes through the trees and bridges.

Then, I saw the robotic soldiers, this man; the civilian standing there with his feet and hand tied up. There’s no escape except his mind. He’s thinking about his wife. When the clock starts ticking, he’s flashing back all his memories with his wife and kids before he’s hanged. I felt really upset as I am a very emotional person. I can’t stand even another death in my eyes. Whether it’s in a film or not, still it’s a death. At that moment, I thought he can’t make it anymore. But, suddenly the rope saves his life. I’M HAPPY FOR HIM!😀 He fell into the river and managed to swim through all the bullets. The scene is surprisingly funny because after all the bullets. He’s still alive. Damn. My mind was thinking, “How did he manage to get through that? That’s really awesome but still seems a little weird to me.

After all his long and boring runs, he reaches home and saw his wife standing in front of their house and he then ran as fast as he can to hug his beautiful wife. When he’s just about to feel the warmest hug from his beloved wife, BANG! He died! Very very sad ending. I guess everyone thought he’s gonna make it. But yeah, it’s just a beautiful dream. The only places he can escapes are his mind. His memories are the only things left. The beautiful dream.