Exam – U.K. – 2009 – Written & Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

Exam is definitely a puzzle for your brain. Suspenseful, complex, intelligent, absolutely fantastic. It really keeps you guessing the entire movie, leaving you with an ending you wouldn’t expect. The Film takes place in one room with 8 candidates, an armed guard, and a man called the Invigilator. The candidates are competing for a job “the ultimate job”. They are given three strict rules; 1. you can not talk to the guard or the Invigilator, 2. Do not spoil the paper in front of you, on purpose or by accident, 3. you cannot at anytime or for any reason leave the room before time is up. Break any of these rules and you will be immediately disqualified. They have 80 minutes to answer one question. Problem is when the timer starts and they turn over their papers, they’re blank. It doesn’t take them long to discover that they can speak to each other, and soon they decide to work together to find the question. Even though they are “working together” to find this all important question they are still very much working against each other, making use of every opportunity to sabotage one another.

This film really gives you an interesting glimpse into the human personality. You must have ambition to reach the ultimate goal, but do you sacrifice your moral values to achieve it? Where do we draw the line? Is there a line? Do we care about the line? How or what makes you decide which is more important; personal gain or compassion? This film asked all of these questions, and I thought, dealt with them in a unique way. This film deserves a second viewing, there are a lot of subtle details you can’t help but miss the first time. Though the first view will be the best because you won’t know whats coming.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life – France – 2008

Written & Directed by Remi Bezancon

This was a heartfelt reflection of chaotic family life, it is over all witty and personal. I related to most of the characters in the film as I could find bits of myself and my family in them without really trying. I really enjoyed this film, it reminded me of home and the path most of have taken from the innocence of childhood into the turmoil of adolescence coupled with the feeling of under appreciation on into the discovery of adulthood, and the disappointment of old age and loss. The complexity of the relationships amongst the characters was very engaging; how they interacted and overlapped.I thought the story was wonderfully written and the plot was brilliantly executed with the help from the strong performances from all three siblings.

When Fleur lost her virginity to Sacha I really felt for her, this scene was really suspenseful. You almost knew it was coming, but you’re still holding out for her “don’t do it, don’t do it!”  and the little girl Fleur watching teenager Fleur close the door, watching the blood ooze from under the door, and then little Fleur turning and walking away never to exist again. Very symbolic, very well produced, visually powerful and emotional. Funny parts too though, Mom dancing in the den listening to her records smoking the pot she had confinscated from Fleur. The scene where the boys are reconnecting with Dad over a bottle of vintage wine was very sweet.

So after all of it I believe the message I took from it was you can hate your family and love them at the same time, family love is the spine of your life, and when you realize what a fortunate gift it is to have then you can truly appreciate them.

Individual results may vary. . .


Outrage – USA – 2009 – Directed & Written by Kirby Dick

Outrage is filmed as a documentary focusing on the hypocrisy of closeted homosexual U.S. politicians who actively campaign against gay and lesbian rights. Some of these legislative rights include their right to adopt children, their right to be married, and their right to be protected from hate crimes.

While this film was incredibly revealing and informative, it wasn’t all that interesting. It more or less begs the question “Does the media have the right to out these politicians?” Granted the level of double standard involved is huge, but should the media be taking the lower hand by using these politicians secret lives to get ahead? This makes me wonder, if the media wouldn’t make such an issue maybe these homosexual law makers wouldn’t feel so pressed to vote against the anti – gay legislation in order to gain favor with the public and, in their mind, protect their good name. If they weren’t under the microscope maybe they wouldn’t feel they needed to prove either way about their sexuality, just be, and vote for what they feel is appropriate. However, I do believe if the general public didn’t eat it up like candy the media wouldn’t have a reason to produce such information. There has to be a market for the product to be successful, and in this age of gossip magazines there is absolutely a market. So ultimately if we want to change this cycle I believe it has to start with the general pulic NOT creating a demand for peoples lives to be invaded then maybe the media will stop, but I digress.

Monday’s discussion involved further exploration into the rating system and the discrimination evolved.

There is a very large double standard that comes into play over homosexuality and heterosexuality in film. As it stands now in the U.K. it would be illeagal to judge homosexuality with more harshness than heterosexuality because of human rights legislation. This, however, is not the case in the U.S. Homosexual love in films is viewed as immoral, disgusting, and almost every bad name in the book, and will be given a much more restricted rating than, lets say for instance, a film where a woman is being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted as long as it is a man doing it. So as long as the abuse is heterosexual it has the potential to be given an “R” ,for restricted, where as a film with a consentual gay sex love scene it will almost always be given an “nc17”  rating ,no children under 17, the most restricted of movie ratings, and recently taking the place of the “x” (explicit) rating in some instances. This is absurd and disturbing. Basically this point of reference for ratings carries the message “yes I would rather myself or my adolecent child watch a film with rape, sex, or violence, as long as it’s heterosexual, before I would want myself or my child to watch two consenting adults of the same sex make love, be naked together, or kiss.” I would also like to state that not all heterosexual sex is ok either. Ususally if the woman is really enjoying the experience, nosie making, moaning, facial expressions – that’s not allowed either. I’m not sure which is worse; we don’t want to see gay sex or that we don’t want to see women enjoying sex.

For the official first day of film studies class we discussed a film we had watched as a group “This Film is Not Yet Rated”  We were given the assignment after our discussion to then write a brief essay describing what we got out of the film and the discussion. This post is that essay.

This Film is Not Yet Rated – Directed by Kirby Dick

After watching “this film is not yet rated” it has come to my attention how shamelessly the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) goes about assigning ratings to films. Before this film I never questioned them,  barely a second thought to which films got which ratings, and why. That has all changed.

It has been brought to my attention how structureless the MPAA is, no rules, no guidelines, no basis for comparison. This I feel is unfair, wrong, and unprofessional. “They” say the board must be kept secret to protect them from being swayed into bias, but as demonstrated in this film it seems as though the MPAA board members are really close friends with the film industry reps. Hmm. . .

Now I could write a whole page on the double standard applied to films regarding sex and violence, but I’ll keep it short by saying that films with sex almost always get the harsher rating compared to films with gore and violence. After being made aware of this I can’t believe it’s true! What kind of person would allow young adults to be exposed to extreme gore and violence before letting them watch a film with sex or sexual pleasure? The United States MPAA ratings board, thats the kind.

Ready to go!

This is my first official post to the site. Finals are over for Pellissippi State students in Knoxville, tn and i am ready to get on that plane that will take me to one of the best summers of my life. Still have some packing to do. . . OK i haven’t started yet, it doesn’t matter though nothing short of my untimely demise will keep me from getting on that plane!