Sunday, May 29, 2016

Silent Sundays: The Oyster Princess (1919)

“An hour-and-a-half have passed and I still don’t have a husband.”
            What is it about women and wanting to desperately get married? Not all women are like that I know, I know, because I am definitely not one of those women. I would be perfectly fine with being a spinster living by myself for the rest of my life (such a happy cheerful person I am. Be my friend!). Maybe because I would not mind living out my days as a lonely old spinster I do not understand why some women are desperate to get married. Honestly planning a wedding would be my worst nightmare ever while someone women have been dreaming about their big day literally their whole lives.
            While I do not understand the appeal of desperately wanting to be married to do understand that decades and decades ago, let’s say in the early 1900s women were desperate (or needed to because of evil society) to get married because of possibly money and possibly for some sort of stability. Of course love could be involved in their desperation. And, if any silent films or films from the 1920s-1950s are to be believed, men were sometimes just as desperate to marry the girl of their dreams. Most of the films that have been made where marriage is the concern involves a woman. The silent film The Oyster Princess has that kind of plot but with a very funny and very silly twist.
            Ossi Quaker is a spoiled rich girl. Her father is known as the Oyster King. He has literally hundreds of servants under his employ at his beck and call. One day while Quaker is dictating a letter a servant comes into the room proclaiming that Ossi is having a fit throwing newspapers all over her room in rage. Quaker finds out that his daughter is upset because another rich girl she knows has married a count. To combat this issue Ossi goes to a matchmaker to try to get a husband. The matchmaker decides to give Ossi to Prince Nucki. Nucki is in heavy amount of debt and does not really want to get married.
            The matchmaker goes to Nucki’s house to tell him about the match. Nucki sends his friend Josef to take a look at Ossi. Ossi in the meantime has been going crazy. She complains to her father that it has been a half hour and she is still waiting for her husband to come. She goes into a fit again with throwing things. Josef eventually shows up. The butlers and servants in the house bow to him. One of the servants asks for his card and since the jacket belongs to Nucki Josef gives the servant Nucki’s card. Ossi is beyond excited when she sees the card says Prince Nucki on it. She is not impressed when she sees Josef, she thinks he looks stupid but in her complete and utter desperation to get married she rushes Josef off to get married in a hurry. Quaker gives his daughter a “small” wedding party with a few close family and friends. Their house is totally filled with people.
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            Nucki has gone out on quite a bender. He is drunk and brought to a place to sober up. Ossi happens to be there taking care of some other drunks with a group of her friends who are against drunks. All the women are immediately taken with Nucki. Ossi winds up the lucky girl and she and Nucki fall in love. They are soon both upset that they cannot marry each other since she has married Josef. Josef comes through though. He tells them both that he put Nucki’s name down on the registration.
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Image result for the oyster princess 1919

            The Oyster Princess was really funny. I would love to see this on a big screen somewhere to hear what parts people laugh at. The film was directed by Ernst Lubitsch who would become known for some of the greatest comedy films in the 1930s and 1940s. His direction with the story was perfect. I know I went on a rant with how I do not like stories that have to deal with women and even men desperately wanting to get married but The Oyster Princess was actually enjoyable because it was so silly and so outrageous. I wish films with this type of story were made today. If you like Ernst Lubitsch and like silent films I definitely suggest watching The Oyster Princess. It is currently available to view in full on YouTube. 
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

“You are all my children, and you're lost because you follow blind leaders. These false gods, systems of the weak, they've ruined my world. No more.”

            Ever wonder where all the superpowers the superheroes have in movies comes from? Like, heck, how did that kid get laser beams coming out of his and this girl have the ability to read minds or another girl get the ability to practically suck the life outta people with just one touch? Who was the first person to show signs of being a “mutant” or someone “special”? X-Men: Apocalypse shows the origins of where it is believed the first mutant originated and how he comes back and almost destroys the world.
            The first mutant is believed to have been En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) in Ancient Egypt. He had amassed a great following and was just about to transfer his powers into a younger pharaoh when a few of his followers betrayed him. The disloyal followers caved the tomb in and buried En Sabah Nur and others in the ground for what was supposed to be for all eternity.
            Flash forward to Egypt in 1983. CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) has been researching this legend of Nur. She finds an entrance to the buried tomb underneath a modern Egyptian market. When she climbs down she finds Nur Worshippers trying to resurrect Nur. They are successful. Their success brings with it a seismic wave that can be felt all around the world.
            In the United States Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is running his school for mutants along with Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult). He has not seen his fellow mutants Erik (Michael Fassbender) or Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) in years. He has no idea where in the world they could be. In the years since they were last together Raven has been trying to save mutants around the world and Erik has been living quietly and secretly in Poland with his family.
            Nur, or Apocalypse, begins to assemble mutants to begin to make the world the way he believes it should be. He believes the world has lost its way and wants to change that. He finds a young Storm, Archangel, and Psylocke (Olivia Munn). Through some unfortunate events Apocalypse is able to recruit Erik to his cause.
            Much like Captain America: Civil War, the mutants battle each other. It is Xavier vs. Erik for some time. Xavier knows that Erik is a good man who has just had rough times and truly does not want to hurt anyone. And as in Civil War, young mutants/superheroes are allowed along to help fight Apocalypse from taking over the world.
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            There are a lot of other side stories running throughout X-Men: Apocalypse but for the most part I have written up the main and most important plot of the story. The side stories are good and interesting such as the arrival of Scott Summers, the manifestation of young Jean Grey’s mental powers, Quicksilver saving everyone in the school before it blows up, and Quicksilver’s quest to find his father Magneto.
            The cast of X-Men has been great since the franchise began. Every one of the characters is perfectly cast. I still find it awesome that Jennifer Lawrence is playing a superhero. The girl is such a good actress she can literally play anything and be great. Michael Fassbender is perfection as the younger Magneto. I liked seeing Olivia Munn as Psylocke. I think she is an actress that has potential to become very good and maybe even have a future as a Sci-Fi/comic book-movie actress. I would really like to see Psylocke in another X-Men movie. When I found out Oscar Isaac played Apocalypse I was actually stunned because I could not even tell it was him! I love Isaac as an actor he is another actor I think has a great future ahead of him when it comes to his acting and the roles he can play. He has played so many different types of characters in so many different types of roles. Isaac did a fantastic job as Apocalypse. I would love to see him another action/comic book-story movie, just this time as a good guy. Rose Byrne is one of my all-time favorite actresses. She is truly so versatile with whatever role she is in and fits in so well in the Marvel superhero universe even if she does not have any powers.

            X-Men: Apocalypse was a good movie. The story was interesting and the cast and characters were awesome. The movie did not get good reviews; a lot of reviewers were on the fence about it. I can definitely see why. There is such an insane amount of generic superhero movies out now. As I mentioned, the plot reminded of Captain America: Civil War with the mutants facing off against each other. I feel like how many times can these superheroes save the world using their powers to save the world? I also see like the world needs a break from superhero movies for a while but they make so much money so that will never happen. X-Men: Apocalypse is worth seeing if you enjoy comic book and action movies. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Room (2015)

“You're gonna love it.”
“The world.”

            As we grow and become aware of the world we learn it is a scary place. Wars, violence, corruption, rape, kidnappings, gangs, bad people, etc. I have been fortunate enough all my life to have lived in a nice town and a nice neighborhood where violence and bad things are minimal. For as long as I live I will never forget the day when my parents put some fear into me about being out at night. I was a teenager working at the local mall. I would work closing hours at Old Navy and would not get out until after 11pm some nights. Sometimes I would have to park far away from where the employees exited the store. When I worked my first night shift my dad told me not to leave without anyone else and to have my key out between my fingers in case someone were to grab me I could punch them with the key as well as my fist. I realized then that the idea of kidnapping was extremely scary. When I think about it now it makes me shudder with fear. I never walk alone outside at night without someone. If I come back late at night from somewhere I run the few feet from my parking space to my house. Some nights there may not be spots in the parking lot across the street and I have to park down a hill. That freaks me out so bad because there are trees across the street from the parking spots down the hill and I am always afraid someone is in those tree waiting to grab me. I run like hell to my house when I have to park down the hill at night.
            I was hesitant to see the movie Room because it does deal with a woman who had been kidnapped when she was a teenager and forced to live in a shed where she could not escape. That is one of my worst nightmares and I am sure I am not the only one who feels the same way.
            The story is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack Newsome. He lives in a shed with his “Ma” Joy Newsome (Brie Larson). Jack has known nothing but the room he is confined to for his five years of life. Every morning he wakes up and says hello to everything in the room. Ma makes him breakfast, they watch TV, she makes sure he exercises, and other things. Ma and Jack are being kept in the room by a man simply referred to “Old Nick.” Joy always makes Jack hide in the closet for the night whenever Old Nick comes to the shed. She will not let Nick touch Jack.
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            Joy tries to tell Jack the truth about the outside world and he freaks out on her. He yells at he that she is a liar. The poor kid has no concept of anything but the room. After this spat, Joy decides it is time for them to be free of the room and Old Nick. Joy tries to make that Jack is sick so that Old Nick will take him to a doctor. She wants Jack to tell the doctors who he is and who is mom is. Old Nick refuses to take Jack to the doctor when Joy tells him Jack is sick. She comes up with another plan to have it appear Jack died in the middle of the night from his fever. She has Jack practice being rolled up in a rug and have Old Nick take it away.
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            The plan works and Old Nick puts the rug with Jack very much alive in it. Jack is to jump out as soon as he can and run and yell for help. He does so but he waits too long to jump out and Old Nick sees him. Fortunately, there was someone out walking their dog and saw everything going on. Nick leaves Jack with the man and rides away. The police come and they figure out where he is from and are able to save Joy as well.
            Adjusting to the outside life is very difficult for both mother and son. Jack is socially awkward and shy around people and will not let Joy out of his site. Joy has issues of her own when people start questioning her about her time in the room and having Jack.
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            Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay were incredible. Larson completely, 100 percent deserved her Academy Award for this role. You could feel all her anger and sadness and happiness and want. You can just see her tremendous talent in every one of her scenes. Tremblay seems like an old soul. It is as if he is an experienced actor beyond his years. Both Larson and Tremblay are tremendous acting talents. I am so looking forward to seeing them in future movies.

            Room is a good movie. I say good and not excellent only because it felt slow and the story was nothing to really write home about. I could be saying the story really is not that great because I found it unsettling and not in the very good way. I felt so awful and so sad for Joy and even worse for her parents. One of the reasons I am so terrified of being kidnapped is because I think of my parents and family and how devastated they would become. What makes Room a movie that needs to be seen is the acting. Besides Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay the rest of the cast is great.  Room is worth watching at least once for the cast.  
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Silent Sundays: A Woman of Paris (1923)

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“In the magic city of Paris, where fortune is fickle and a woman gambles with life...”

            What is it about love that makes people do crazy things? Especially in films people seem to do insane things when they are in love. Like, I get it there needs to be drama so relationships and love are heightened beyond measure. I always understood that concept that everything needs to be heightened for film stories to get people invested and interested but I never really pondered the idea of why characters in films, such as god awful chick flicks and more classic sophisticated dramas, do outrageous things for love until I watched Charlie Chaplin’s 1923 film A Woman of Paris.
            Marie St. Claire (Edna Purviance) has been locked in her room by her stepfather. She wants to leave to be with Jean Millet. The two plan on leaving the following morning for Paris where they will be married. He has come to talk to Marie so they can prepare for the following day. The stepfather sees that Claire has left her room by climbing out the window and locks her out. After their walk Claire realizes she has been locked out and Jean knocks on the door. The stepfather tells Jean that he sure Jean can give her a place to stay for the night. Jean does not think it will be a problem with his mother to make up a bed for Marie to stay in for the night. Unfortunately, his parents, for some unknown reason, do not like Marie and do not want her to be in the house. Jean gives Marie money to get their tickets for the next train out of the village to Paris while he goes back to his home to get his things. Jean’s father tells him that he does not want to see him again. All Jean wants to do is say goodbye to his parents. He says goodbye to his mother and when he walks over to his father who is seated in a chair he finds his father has suddenly died. Marie calls the house from the station and Jean tells her what has just happened and that he wants to postpone the trip.
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            A year later Marie St. Claire is living the good life in Paris. She is always seen on the arm of a wealthy man named Pierre Revel (Adolphe Menjou). Pierre is the wealthiest bachelor in all of Paris. He always takes Marie out to a nightclub and has her put up in a grand apartment with the best clothes. One day Marie’s friends see an engagement announcement that Pierre is getting married to a woman who is not Marie. When Marie finds out on her own about her love she is upset and does not feel like seeing him that night. She is invited to a party and given an address. The friend does not know which side of the road the house is located so Marie takes a chance and goes to what is the wrong one at first. But the wrong house brings her face to face with Jean after a year. He has become a painter and lives with his mother. Marie has changed a great deal in a year she is not at all like the girl Jean had fallen in love with. Marie puts on some airs and tells Jean she wants him to paint her portrait.
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            After several weeks of working together, Jean has fallen in love with Marie again and wants to marry her. Marie is unsure of what she wants most in life, marriage or luxury. She wants a real home but she has become so accustomed to living in luxury she is not sure if she wants to give that up. When Marie tells Pierre she is unhappy he just laughs at her. She tells him that they cannot go on seeing each other because she loves Jean.
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Image result for a woman of paris 1923
            Jean’s mother does not want her sun marrying Marie especially after seeing what she has become. He promises his mother that he will not marry Marie that he only proposed to her out of weakness. Just as Jean said those words to his mother Marie had walked in and heard everything. That night Marie calls up Pierre that she will still go out to dinner with him. Jean is greatly upset by Marie overhearing his conversation with his mother. He loads his gun and finds Marie with Pierre at the nightclub. He has a note brought over to Marie that he wants to see her one last time but Pierre is the one who gets it. Pierre invites Jean over. Soon the two men are in a scuffle. Jean runs away and fatally shoots himself. His body is brought up to the apartment he shares with his mother. The mother is beyond upset that her son is dead. She takes his gun and goes to Marie’s place wanting to kill her. When the mother gets the apartment she learns that Marie has gone to see Jean’s body. Seeing Marie crying over her dead son softens the old lady’s heart because she sees that Marie really did love her son.
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            Sometime later in a small village Marie and Jean’s mother live in a small farmhouse with kids Marie has taken in to care for. While on the road heading into town a car drives passed her. In the car is Pierre Revel and his friend. The friend asks whatever happened to Marie and Pierre responds that he does not know.

            A Woman of Paris is very good. Charlie Chaplin was not the star of this film. He has a very small cameo where he almost unrecognizable. Chaplin just wrote and directed A Woman of Paris. I think he did an excellent job. Chaplin was just an all-around brilliant filmmaker from his acting, to his writing, to his direction, and even to writing the music for the film. A Woman of
does not have the greatest of stories but it is not boring or hard to sit through. I think what makes the story not boring or hard to sit through is because of Chaplin’s direction and the excellent acting by Edna Purviance and Adolphe Menjou. I would have become bored with the film very easily because of its dull plot with a kind of love triangle had it not been because of the kind of humility and sadness of it and also as I said because of the acting.  I definitely suggest watching A Woman of Paris especially if you like silent films and if you really like Charlie Chaplin. It is currently available to view in full on YouTube. 
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