Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Review 4.5/5

Let me be the first to say that watching this film, I realized that the marketing for this week's movies has been off. "The Expendables", contrary to popular belief, is not the manliest movie being released this weekend. That title belongs to Edgar Wright's comic book adaptation "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World". Why? Because unlike "The Expendables", a movie about shit blowing up with the action stars of yesteryear running around, "Scott Pilgrim", like it's graphic novel counterpart, is a movie about growing up and being a man. Like my colleague Kristen Sales, the comics the film is based on affected me emotionally and personally. Not only is the story very sincere and heartfelt, but it's also hilarious. For my money, not only is "Scott Pilgrim" one of the most visually stunning films of the year with some of the best action sequences in a movie this year, but it's also the most heartfelt and hilarious comedy of 2010. In fact, it's the funniest movie I've seen in years. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

There Will Be Blood - A Shakespearean Analysis

This is an enormous thesis paper I wrote on Paul Thomas Anderson's epic masterpiece "There Will Be Blood" my freshman year at UT Austin. To this day, it's the singular piece of writing I am most proud of. Enjoy! Screenshots courtesy of and tumblr. Works cited coming soon when I find the original document file.


The opening titles begin to roll, accompanied by a void of silence. Then, a dissonant chord builds, the crescendo of the unnerving sound rising softly from the silence, building until it drowns out your own thoughts. Out of the darkness, an image slowly fades in with the music and finally becomes clear just as the volume reaches an almost unbearable level; a sweeping wide shot of the landscape of a rocky desert mountain range. But just as soon as the image fades in, the music goes into a decrescendo, and suddenly we are in a small cave in the ground, watching a lone man hammer away at the rock with his tools. He never speaks, and the music goes completely silent for the next eight minutes as we watch him dig for silver in this tiny hole in the ground. We hear nothing but the sound of whatever touches the dry and rocky surroundings; be it his pick-axe striking the stone walls of the cavern, his breathing and sighing through his nostrils, or just the sound of wind and footsteps against the desert ground. It isn’t until he drags himself to the assay workshop after accidentally falling into the hole and breaking his leg that we return to the wide open space that surrounds him; and thus return to the music that introduced us to this place.

The contrast between the environments in the opening scene sets us up for the larger exploration of the contradictory narrative elements of There Will Be Blood, and how this contrast between epic qualities and the claustrophobic narrative define the Shakespearean nature of the film.