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The fields of golden wheat extend into the distance. The sky is a pale blue, the clouds, locks of red tinged with glowing orange highlights. Within the forlorn expanse of an Autumn farm in the American Heartland, hundreds of men and women work the land. High upon a hill, as a God sees his children, the farmer watches with a casual indifference. He drinks a glass of whiskey while an old man picks away at a typewriter. It is a scene common during the early years of the 20th century and one stunningly recreated in Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick's haunting and tragic period film. Malick's films are among the most beautiful ever created, and this piece, the second out of only six, is peerless, a film whose beauty and magnificence is without fault. Every shot is a painting, recreating the world of pre-WWI America in a way that has never been equaled before or since. Each costume, the works of the great Patricia Norris, is disturbingly accurate. The scenes are perfectly built by the legendary Jack Fisk, and framed in the way that only the masterful Terrence Malick can achieve. Director of Photography Nestor Almendros is at his very best, delivering shots beyond anything I have ever witnessed outside a Malick film. Every facet of Days of Heaven is perfect. It is simply one of the most beautiful films ever put to celluloid and I can't recommend the great blu ray transfer enough.
Like many other Malick films, the true joy of Days of Heaven is the visuals. But the story here is one both personal and grandiose. Bill (Richard Gere in his best role) and Abby are an unmarried couple who pretend to be brother and sister. When Bill accidentally kills a man in the coal plants of Chicago, he and Abby flee to the wheat fields of the American heartland. There they take work at a farm harvesting wheat. Working back breaking labour day in and day out, the couple, and their "sister", Linda, ache to leave the farm and make it big. But the owner of the farm has other plans for the couple. He falls in love with Abby and invites the siblings to stay on after the harvesting season, not knowing that Abby and Bill are together. Abby is unsure, but Bill learns that the farmer is set to die in a year. Wanting the remains of his fortune, Bill convinces Abby to marry the farmer. Of course things don't go as planned, and as jealousy and frustration sets in, mistakes are made. Everything is brought to a head a year later in a shocking and tragic conclusion that radiates a sort of terrible beauty and will not be soon forgotten.
Days of Heaven is a film much less blunt than Malick's recent Tree of Life, but that doesn't mean it is any less profound. Watching the film one contemplates the effects that greed can have on a man. Set over the course of a single year, the film's characters grow like the wheat in the farmer's field, and are eventually cut down by forces far beyond their control. Malick's films are divisive, with some hailing his works as the greatest in cinema's history. Other label his films as, "Pretentious, boring and a chore to watch" (Thanks IMDB forum goer). Suffice to say if you are looking for action or intensity then you won't find it here. Malick's films engage through visual splendor and through the complex themes that are woven throughout usually simplistic plots. While Days of Heaven isn't nearly as hard to watch as Tree of Life, if you are the type of person who chats on Facebook while texting your best friend, watching a movie, doing homework and contemplating what your outfit for the next day will be (ie, you are a teenager), then this movie probably isn't for you. If you enjoy letting your mind engage a piece of art in ways that don't require the shedding of blood and/or strobe lights, then this film is among the greatest I have ever encountered. Regardless of personal preference, few can argue the sheer artistry and craft that went into the making of this film. It was a joy to watch, and certainly among the most thought provoking films out there. I loved it.
For more go to: http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Setho10/
19Sep 11Regency's new film starring Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy was recently stopped due to the writer Harlan Ellison claiming that his idea was used in the film without his consent.
This is not the first time the author has sued a motion picture as he did sue The Terminator after claiming that the film was based on two episodes from his 'Outer Limits' series.
Full Article: http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/copyright-curmudgeon-harlan-ellison-sues-to-halt-release-of-new-regencys-in-time/
12Sep 11...Invasion of the Body Snatchers?
Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers starts with the sound of 1950's B-Movie music as a direct homage to the original, Don Siegel, 1956 version of the film which used the same type of music. We also hear the noises the aliens make later in the film, this is to enter the sound into the viewers subconscious, as if the 'problem' of these aliens was apparent before the pods arose. Showing that the problem was bound to happen, it was just waiting to break out. The opening scene is filmed in rainy weather; Kaufman in this scene is using a pathetic fallacy, as the miserable weather reflects the personality of the city itself. The seemingly natural sights of the plants developing is challenged by screeching sound effects that leave the audience feeling uncomfortable, this gives the audience the feeling that the plants are things to be afraid of and you could argue that the audience could see them as the 'bad guys' of the movies from this scene.
Later we see a woman walking with some children. She walks past another woman who looks over her shoulder back at her in an odd fashion. These over the shoulder movements are a re occurrence in the film and are used to make the viewer feel uneasy, as if they are being watched at all times. The next shot is tilted looking at a Priest on a swing. This could be a comical image but instead due to the jarring sound of the swing hinges and the swinging point of view shot it makes for a very creepy and almost disturbing scene.
Tilt shots are used throughout the theme causing confusion and uneasiness for the viewer. It could also represent corrupt characters in the film, for example when the character of Dr. David Kibner is walking towards a car the camera angle is tilted, when he gets into the car we find that he has double crossed some of the other characters.
The scene in the kitchen is supposed to be comical, with the amusing background music and the topic of rat faces. However this scene is as uncomfortable as in many other key scenes. In this scene we see the employees of the kitchen exchanging glances. We later find that the two were silently scheming to vandalism the character of Matthew Bennell's car. The men break the windshield of the car and this distorts what can be seen from within this man made device. This represents that from within the manmade culture and environment the nature cannot be seen as it should be seen.
Later in the film we see the character of Matthew cutting exerts from a newspaper. On this newspaper are headlines relating to the start of some sort of plant life form. This shows that despite reading and paying special attention to the news Matthew is still oblivious to what is happening right in front of him. This could represent city people in that time period in real life.
During a suspenseful scene in the film the suspense is broken by the sound of a clock chiming. The camera than pans straight into the clock giving it a huge amount of emphasis. This is to represent the fact that it is only a matter of time before the characters will have to give in and sleep, to convert to the 'pod-people'.
The scene in the laundrette the build up shows places that would not be out of place in China. It also has very oriental sound effects. This is done deliberately by the director to make you feel as if you are actually in another country. This has the effect of that the audience feel now that the pods could be spread across the world.
During a conversation between Matthew and Elizabeth, Matthew says: "Forget that you think he is a psychiatrist." The clever choice of words ("think") relates to the contextual issue of corrupt self help specialists.
The cameo given by Kevin McCarthy is used as homage to the actor and the original film. You could also argue that it shows that the film is respected being re-made. However it could also have some serious undertones as the first time this character said the words: "You're next" it was relating to contextual issue at the time. This means that the issue related to the first time these words were used is still an issue in 1978.
Towards the end of the film the audience are given, what seems to be a happy ending, with Matthew checking out the boat to see if they can escape. The scene is accompanied with the song Amazing Grace. The lyrics of the song fit the film perfectly. The fact that they can escape on boat is also significant. As plants need roots, and the people are now plant people, leaving by boat takes away the roots to the Earth. This shows that to escape from the threat we have to change our ways and break away from our habits and everyday activities.
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