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March 2011

A INEM NN


Table of Contents

4 6

Red Riding Hood

8

Oscar Review

The Adjustment Bureau

10 12

Andy Warhol in Film

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Paul

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Vampire Diaries

Pretty Little Liars


Cinemann: Volume VI, Issue 7

Editors in Chief

Andrew Demas Maggie Reinfeld Senior Editors

Matt Taub Alexandra Saali Faculty Advisor

Deborah Kassel

Associate Editors

Katie Cacouris, Tucker Caploe, Jessica Chi, Zoe Kestan, Staff Writers Alice Taranto, Sam Torres, Charles Sherr, Emma Specter, Hannah Jun

Contributing Writers

Rachel Buissereth, Anise Charles, David Feuerstein, Jacob Frackman, Abigail Greenbaum, Bennett Heller, Noah Margulis, Jay Palekar, Savannah Smith, Rachel Simerka-Smith, Henry Warder

Letter From the Editors Dear Reader, Welcome to Cinemann’s seventh issue! T.V.’s guilty pleasures ruled this month’s ratings as Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries left us speechless with truly mesmerizing episodes. With awards season fizzling away, new films such as Red Riding Hood and The Adjustment Bureau turned out to be more disappointing than satisfying. We have hope that next month’s movies will be more worthwhile. Follow our magazine at issuu.com/cinemann. If you would like to write for Cinemann please contact us! Yours Truly, Andrew Demas and Maggie Reinfeld

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The Oscars:A Review

The Show

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by victoria mckaba

When it was first announced that James Franco and Anne Hathaway would be hosting the Oscars, they seemed like an odd pair: movie stars stepping into a role most often filled by comedians or TV hosts. But as the Academy Awards began, it looked like the unusual move had paid off. And it did – for about three minutes. Franco and Hathaway opened the show with a seriously funny video sketch. Both are very talented comic actors – emphasis on “actors”. The problem is that delivering entertainment in a taped piece requires a much different skill set from interacting in front of, and with, a live audience. And once they began speaking live, it became clear this experiment had gone wrong. Whether it was nerves or inexpe-

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rience, their delivery was off from the get-go. Franco seemed to retreat into a haze in which he smirked, squinted, and clasped his hands in front of him. Hathaway was nothing if not enthusiastic, singing about Hugh Jackman, changing outfits, recovering from a gaffe by saying, “Flub! Drink at home!” and giving a loud “Woooo!” to more than one presenter. There were few Hollywood insider jokes, making this year’s Oscars unusually staid. Robert Downey, Jr.’s drug days were mildly reviewed with little reaction from a jaded audience who has heard them for several years already. And there was one feeble shot at troubled actor Charlie Sheen when Franco appeared in drag.Even a five-second video appear-

ance of hipster president Barack Obama commenting on his favorite film song, “As Time Goes By”, fell flat. Aside from the nightmarish hosting and unfunny jokes that left awkward silences throughout the crowd, this year’s Oscars still had a few small moments. For instance, Supporting Actress Melissa Leo dropped the f-bomb, triggering a bleep. However, the show’s true redeeming moment was not until the very end, when Staten Island’s PS 22 fifthgrade choir (famous via YouTube) gave a transporting performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” After a long night, it was good to see a little magic, a little sweetness, and some performers giving it their all.


Grand Theft Oscar: 2011’s Biggest Snubs by daniel ehrlich

Best Director: Tom Hooper won Darren Aronofsky should have won Here’s another snub that deserves little explanation. Aronofsky, as well as David Fincher, the Coen brothers, and Christopher Nolan, have consistently shown an aptitude in reaching the right visual and emotional tones in the films they helm. Tom Hooper has barely proven himself and was lucky enough to be working with a cast that could likely turn in excellent performances with very little direction at all.

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Best Film: The King’s Speech won ANYTHING ELSE should have won This was the biggest disappointment of all. The Oscars strived (albeit, unsuccessfully) to move towards the future with this year’s awards, with young hosts and even bits about futuristic technology. However, the Academy showed its inability to connect with the younger generations by honoring a by-the-numbers historical drama rather than films that epitomized the tech world in which we live (The Social Network), pushed boundaries both technically and emotionally (Black Swan and 127 Hours), or closed a franchise dear to those who grew Best Original Screenplay: up watching it (Toy Story 3). Many The King’s Speech won have recently said that the Academy Inception should have won Awards is a show in dire need of a I’ll keep this one short: Inception was change in direction, and this category widely regarded as one of the most proved this most of all.

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Best Original Score: The Social Network won Tron: Legacy should have won Tron: Legacy wasn’t a great film by any means. However, as far as score is concerned, it was brilliant. As a big Daft Punk fan, I may be a bit biased, but then again, I also really like Trent Reznor’s work with Nine Inch Nails. Tron: Legacy’s score saw its futurism expressed through Daft’s robotic bleeps and bloops. However, the epic scope of the film was sonically represented quite effectively as well through the traditionally orchestra-based music that accompanied the more electro sounds. It is called “best original score”, and in terms of originality, Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy was the best of the year.

original films of the year, while The King’s Speech simply followed the motivational drama template while adding a few original touches. This was truly one of the largest travesties of the Oscars of this year.

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Best Film Editing: The Social Network won 127 Hours should have won On a night where the superb film 127 Hours was systematically and consciously unrecognized, this was a smaller category that would have, at least somewhat, made up for the snobbery. A traditional dramatic narrative like The Social Network isn’t remarkably edited; it has some cuts, transitions, etc. However, 127 Hours was quite untraditional, what with its energy and blending of stationary shots with original and exciting action sequences. This category isn’t all-important, but it would’ve been nice to see this great movie recognized.

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Red Riding Hood

When I thought of Red Riding Hood, automatically the childhood tale of a wary girl outsmarting a Big Bad Wolf came to mind. The story, though, has changed considerably over approximately 700 years of existence in dictation and interpretation. Red has been portrayed as naïve, cunning, and in some perceptions, sexual. As far as dictation is concerned, the general theme of Red Riding Hood stays the same. The grandmother is often replaced with some kind of monster (a wolf, or ogre, etc.) and the concept of Red Riding Hood emerging from the “grandmother”’s stomach is present in several other similar tales such as Peter and the Wolf from Russia, or The Wolf and Seven Young Kids by the brothers Grimm. The most dramatic variations are interpretations. The first is that of a damsel in distress, who is once again rescued by a burly man, i.e. the woodcutter who dissects the wolf in order to save Little Red and her grandmother. This view seems to enforce the ancient stereotype that women are dependent on men for safety, security, etc. The second is that Red was able to help herself by recognizing that some monster has replaced her grandmother. The message in this theory is more modern, and depicts women as independent and capable of fixing difficult situations. And lastly, and in my opinion the most interesting variation, is that the story, instead of having positive undertones of the benefits of being cautionary, has undertones of Red’s sexuality. The origin of the theory of sexual undertones in the story originate from the color of her cloak, which is deemed provocative and is sometimes thought of as having to do with puberty. While this idea seems stretched because none of the versions of the tale told today seem to have overtly sexual messages, it’s possible that they are there none the less, or that they were more prevalent in early versions. In the most recent telling of the story displayed as the movie Red Riding Hood, the tale’s main character is was meant to exude such sexuality. Red battled passions, social demands, and deceit in order to uncover who the werewolf is, in the movie. Unfortunately, the movie, whose advertisements suggested a more sexually charged, violent, and intriguing version of twilight, was a disappointment. Instead it was more of a Nancy Drew tale, whose sundry dramatic stares and ominous music were more suggestive than its actual plot.

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by emma garcia


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by hannah jun

Have you ever felt your life was out of your hands? Controlled for better or worse by your peers, your family, your situation, or... a bureau of mysterious suit-wearing men? The Adjustment Bureau grapples with the idea of how much free will and chance mankind actually deals with. The film tells the love story of an up-and-coming spontaneous New York City politician, David Norris (Matt Damon), a professional dancer, Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), and their battle with fate for love. Destiny in this film takes the form of the Adjustment Bureau, a group of mysterious men (Anthony Mackie, John Slattery,

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and Terence Stamp) who make sure humanity stays on track with the “plan” that has been set out by the Chairman, an all-omnipresent and omniscient figure. When, by chance, David discovers their existence, he is silenced under threat of “reset” (a form of lobotomy) and forbidden to see Elise. The Adjustment Bureau was directed, co-produced, and written by first time director George Nolfi, who wrote the scripts of Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum. For a debut film, The Adjustment Bureau hits all the technical marks of a good movie. With a variety of close and long-range camera

shots, cinematographer John Toll binds the movie’s motifs of doors, passages, and lost important nuanced details. The film’s acting is strong with a tangible exciting chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. It is also entertaining and interesting to see the interaction between the Adjustment Bureau men who seem and act quite human until their powers prove otherwise. For them, every human action, whether calculated or spontaneous, is just a set of choices in their notebooks as they try to manipulate the people. For them, the love between Elise and David isn’t anything special or fated


because, well, they are the fates and they’ve decided it is not to be. The most enthralling element of The Adjustment Bureau is hands down the premise and implications of the story. The idea that a group of people is superior to other orders of humans has been around in film for decades. However, the film gives the concept a refreshing jolt with the idea that an antagonist organization has divinity. It is not merely human desires fighting for supremacy. In The Adjustment Bureau, David and Elise are fighting “God’s plan” and his “angels” to be together. The film’s creativity climaxes when Bu-

reau member Thompson tells, with Judeo-Christian implications, the history of the Adjustment Bureau in line with the chronicles of western civilization. As a history junkie, it was a delight to watch. However, the film falls short on the cusp of a great movie partially because of its lack of gusto to follow through the implications of destiny vs. free will. The ending of the movie is “happy” but it is by no means the most interesting or realistic for the course the film initially sets out. Yet, with a strong, reliable cast of actors, the blow of its typical ending is softened. The romance between

Matt Damon’s and Emily Blunt’s characters was cliché, but still fresh enough because of the quick-witted dialogue and tender acting from both parties. The Adjustment Bureau is a good movie not because of the romance component, but rather for the philosophical implications it makes and the thrill of watching a man literally fighting destiny. Overall, The Adjustment Bureau is a thought-provoking thriller that asks the age-old question of what wins out: fate or free will?

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paul

L U PA

by valerie bodurtha

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I knew Paul would be funny even before I stepped into the theatre. Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig were all in it. I hadn’t expected it to be so clever. Only a true nerd would understand all of the references in it. There were tributes to Star Wars, Star Trek, Back to the Future, and, of course,

ET. All of the seats in the theatre were shaking as the owners convulsed with laughter. I, myself, was laughing my head off. And it was fun to see Paul stopping at a gas station and ordering Reese’s Pieces, homage to ET. There were actually so many classic actors in the film. Sigourney Weaver


run and they had to help him. Clive was unsure at first, but Graeme welcomed him on board. There were a number of gross jokes at this point, but it wasn’t overdone. Paul is about the three of them escaping. They were running from the government, some rednecks whose car they crashed into, and when they abducted Ruth (Kristen Wiig), they were running from her father. She caught a glimpse of Paul and they had to take her with them. The plot was as everyone expected it to be. Alien on the run, secret government branch after them, and so on. However, there were some differences. For example, some wondered why Paul looked so much alike to the idea of an alien we have now. Large head, smallish body, and weird-shaped eyes. The movie had an explanation for that. Paul

said that the government, when he was in captivity, had leaked pictures of parts of him, so that when his kind made contact, the people of Earth would be ready. The movie was just an all-around goofy, sidesplitting, and well-placed comedy. There were even a few good explosions in there. My personal favorite part was when, in a flashback to 1980, Paul was talking to Steven Spielberg about his abilities. He said that he could heal people with a touch and Steven seemed very interested. Paul is a good movie for sci-fi fans, but it is still funny for those who won’t get all of the references. It has a generic plot, but it makes up for it in all of the hilarious and lovable characters, clever writing style, and, as usual, hysterically funny jokes.

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played the big bad guy, with Jason Bateman as one of her agents. Jane Lynch even had a role as a waitress, with many inside jokes like, “I’m much taller when you see me standing up.” She said the same line on Saturday Night Live. Seth Rogen played the usual funny man, with jokes that seemed endless. Kristen Wiig played the love interest of the main character, Graeme (Simon Pegg). Bill Hader played a cop again, probably a tribute to his legendary role in Superbad because Greg Motolla directed both movies. The movie started off with two nerds at Comic Con, Graeme, and Clive (Nick Frost). This delightful pair came from England to tour all of the important UFO sighting areas. The rented an RV and drove around the country. They met Paul (Seth Rogen) when his car crashed. He told them he was on the

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A

ndy Warhol in Film

by abbe klein

Andy Warhol is known as the ultimate American iconographer, using American consumerism to create profound art. Campbell soup cans and Brillo pad boxes are examples of the products he replicated into distinguished pieces of art. Warhol was a commercial artist that used updated techniques in art, filmmaking and photography. Now available for viewing at the Museum of Modern art is Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures, an exhibit dedicated to the multiple screen tests Warhol made in the mid-1960s. Screen tests are typically filmed when a film director is trying to determine an actor’s suitability for a certain role. To express his curiosity and passion for celebrity culture, Warhol made many screen tests featuring several famous artists. Edie Sedgwick, Dennis Hopper, Susan Sontag and Lou Reed were among the many that were filmed, and some were invited to Warhol’s studio in Manhattan (also known as The Factory) to be tested. The first actors Warhol filmed were requested not to speak or move, in order to create what Warhol referred to as Living Portrait Boxes. Warhol would use this method as he filmed, or he would leave the actors alone, letting them choose what to do. The portraits were filmed at the customary speed for sound film (24 frames per second). However, Warhol requested that the portraits were to be displayed at 16 frames per second, the average projection time for a silent film. The outcome is a slow pace in the little movement that was filmed. As they play on a continuous loop, many of the moving portraits can be mistaken for black-and-white photographs. The eerie effect of this technique makes walking into the darkened gallery haunting. In addition to the portraits, there are three of Warhol’s feature length films being shown at different times: The Kiss, Sleep and Empire. Warhol’s moving portraits display not only his zeal for celebrity culture, but his brilliant aptitude as an artist as well. Only Warhol was able to capture American culture in varied forms.

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Pretty Little Liars Cinemann 14


by savannah smith

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rom the night the first episode was released back in June, Pretty Little Liars has been a hit among teenage girls. Not only did the story originate from a New York Times bestselling chick-lit young adult series, but equipped with gossip, a plethora of hot guys, a theme song you can never seem to quite get out of your head, and plenty of cliff-

hangers and surprises, the show easily keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The story follows four Rosewood, Pennsylvania high school girls: Aria (Lucy Hale), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Emily (Shay Mitchell). What do these four girls have in common? Last year, their best friend Allison was mur-

dered. Another thing they have in common: they’re all keeping secrets, secrets only Allison knew. And now someone who goes by the name “A” keeps sending them messages threatening to expose their secrets if they don’t do exactly what “A” says. If you’re thinking this sounds a bit like Gossip Girl, you’re right, it does. However, they are more different than deviantart

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they do in the TV show. And the show from about episode four onward has continued to create storylines, characters, and events that never appear in the series. The TV adaption features the four girls as a tight-knit group of best friends, while their book counterparts only really speak to one another on an occasional basis. One major problem the show continues to have is character dropping. Lots of characters seem to just disappear once their storyline is over, especially the love interests (male and female). Unless they’re one of the principles (or a family member of one of the principles), don’t get too attached to a character on this show – they’re likely to be gone shortly. Even worse, the show seemed to drop the plot of “A” and her blackmailing for a while. The show got so caught up in the girls’ romantic

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they seem. Gossip Girl is all about the glamour, parties, money, and, well, gossip. Pretty Little Liars focuses less on the parties and glamour (although the book version does spend a lot more time mentioning and describing all that) and more on the secrets, the friendships between the girls, and the relationships they go through. Often it almost seems like the show and the book series are entirely separate entities. Sure, they involve the same characters and for about the first three episodes they have the same plot, but that’s just about where the similarities end. Other than the main, over compassing plot, the book and the show go in completely separate directions. In the books, the girls come off as much more obnoxious and scheming than

lives and Allison’s murder that the writers seemed to forget that “A” was supposed to be the main attraction. For all its negatives, the show does do some things well; it always manages to leave the viewer wanting more. The plot is engrossing and somehow manages to make the viewer feel some sort of sympathy for these girls who, in the past, were quite mean. The show also includes the LGBT community. Emily is a lesbian, and all of the girls completely support her and stick up for her when a negative comment is made about her sexuality. Pretty Little Liars makes up for its lack of substance with its ability to tease and make viewers count down the days until the next episode, making it the ultimate guilty pleasure.


s e i r a i D e r i p m a V m

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As it begins to wrap up its second season, The Vampire Diaries still has a tight hold on viewers – whether they were originally fans of the books, or newcomers to the television show. Though the series differs greatly from the novels by L. J. Smith, the actors’ skill and well-developed plot have a popularity the books never quite possessed. The writers played it smart, choosing actors who perfectly embodied popular tropes in teen culture. Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is the likeable heroine. Different from other more passive female leads, her character is brave and can fend for herself. Her relationship with Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) is sweet and romantic. He is one half of the perfect male lead – stoic, protective, and always willing to sacrifice himself for Elena. Damon Salvatore (the irresistible Ian Somerhalder) plays the part of the dangerous, sarcastic brother, and reigns in fans who would be easily bored by Stefan’s good-boy behavior. The show is chalk full of complex, suspenseful relationships, including the ones between the brothers and between Damon and Elena. Early on, the chemistry between Elena and her boyfriend’s brother came across clear on screen, and the writers have toyed with it for nearly two seasons without coming to any conclusion. It seems the show understands the art of keeping audiences around – the longer they wait before bringing the two together, the more intensely viewers will stay hooked. The relationship between Damon and Elena’s doppelganger, Katherine, adds yet another element to the complicated web of character relations. Every actor in the show has a lovable, enthralling

connection that adds to the allure of the dramatic plot. The three leads are not the only beloved characters. The show possesses a strong belt of secondary characters, all of who are well developed and possess their own strong fan base. The show is not afraid to kill off characters, and does so without discrepancy. Many lovable characters, who it seemed would stick around for a long time, vanished bloodily from the show after only a few episodes. In addition to the actors’ skill and likeability, the show’s plot has a rapid pace that doesn’t dare bore fans for even a moment. Each week is filled with cliffhangers and plot twists, and includes more than enough action to keep the romantic naysayers interested. While many shows begin to sink in quality during their second season, The Vampire Diaries uses the terrifying cliffhanger from the season one finale to keep the show as intriguing as ever during its second year. Though some fans of the books are angered over the show’s many alterations – characters’ switch in age and gender, pieces of the plot rewritten altogether – others agree that the changes are better suited for television. Fans of the show who later tried the books argue that the show simply handles the events better overall. Though the show could be considered just a guilty pleasure, it is well crafted and truly exciting to watch. It seems as if it will end its second season with as much positive feedback as the first one received, and hopefully the third season will remain as strong as the seasons before it.

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Cinemann March 2011