Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blog Mix-tape Vol. 1

Around the next time a blog post is due (on the Western, sometime after MEA break), you'll also be asked to leave comments on at least three other blogs. I was very impressed with the variety and quality of the first blog post -- I wanted to highlight several for you here so you have someplace to start when it comes time to read blogs and leave comments.

First, Dan nails exactly what I hope to see more people do with their blogs -- he takes a moment we never talked about at all in Citizen Kane, gives us an image of it, and analyzes it in insightful, engaging manner. Elsewhere in 1st hour, Brent takes Juno to the woodshed.

Lots of interesting posts in 2nd hour -- Bill analyzes the opening scene to a recent film called Mongol, Matt K. compares Mark Wahlberg's character in Four Brothers to Metallica's James Hetfield (circa 2008, not Master of Puppets-era Hetfield), Oliver does a great job taking the subject of his journal #2, All the King's Men, and comparing it to Citizen Kane, Grant makes a great Scrooge reference and comes up with the best blog title I've seen so far, and Matt S. writes fondly of villains in film.

On to 3rd hour: Andrew has an interesting theory about Rosebud, Jack has some interesting observations about lighting in Kane, Andy talks about "Trash Cinema" and links to a clip of a Turkish Rambo. Really. Also, Hilary has a hilarious takedown of Never Back Down. Jared raised my blood pressure with his post about his dislike of black-and-white movies, but at least he was honest and articulate. I'm sure this subject will come up again. Lastly, Dan analyzed one of my favorite scenes from one of the funniest movies ever, This Is Spinal Tap. Hello Cleveland!

6th hour: Connor talks about color symbolism in The Sixth Sense, Stephen talks about his love for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Johanna provides a thorough, insightful analysis of Kane.

Strong work, people.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Post your URL in the comments to this post

One of my goals now that you guys are blogging is to get myself back on track in the blogging department. This is where I normally post my thoughts on whatever movie I've recently seen. As you can see, I haven't posted in awhile -- the birth of a first child will do that to you, I guess. Still, I plan to try a return to normalcy (ha!) soon, at least in the movie-watching department. Hopefully my next blog entry will be about the new Coen Bros. film Burn After Reading, which I want to see this weekend.
The main reason I blog, as I outline in the "About Me" section, is so that I can have some lasting, concrete impression of a film that is there forever and that I can refer to whenever I'm trying to recall a film I've seen. There are tons of other reasons, though, like this one, posted in response to a quiz here:

Because I wanted to engage with fellow cinephiles and movie lovers. I like posting my thoughts as a means of engaging in a discussion. And sometimes I like it because I just want to trade jokes or quips with someone to brighten my day

Hopefully you'll find you're own unique reason to blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Film noir blog post due Wednesday

Look at the guidelines in the Western blog post announcement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Western blog post -- Yeeehaaww!

OK, so for a refresher, here are the posting guidelines, taken directly from the blogging assignment from the beginning of the semester:
o Discuss/analyze an important scene
o Expand on a discussion question from class, whether from a film or a reading
o Make a connection to the real world/current events
o Discuss/analyze an aspect of cinematic style important to the film(s)
o Discuss/analyze a topic or theme important to the film(s)
o Relate it to another film, either from class or personal viewing
o Discuss ideas for future viewing inspired by the film(s)
o Answer film-specific questions that might be posted on my blog
Notice that you can write about one specific film, or both (Stagecoach and Unforgiven) -- there are few limitations on this, as long as you're writing something interesting and it's related to the Western. Note that "interesting" usually doesn't include things like "This movie rocks/sucks because ..." Use your personal voice, but use your brain, too. You want to write something that an audience will find thought-provoking.
Don't forget -- comments on at least three different blogs are due Friday!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Film review due Thursday -- student sample

So you've seen how the pros do it with the review of No Country for Old Men, now take a quick look at how your peers do it. Here's a link to a review done last semester. Note how it starts strongly, even though it's nothing fancy:
In the wake of World War II and the fall of Korea and China to the communist empire abroad, the American media became obsessed with the penetration of communists into the United States. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962) is an example of this fear felt by many Americans, at the
threat of losing the basic principles on which their country was founded.

The writer sets up the historical context of the film in one sentence, then mentions how the film fits into that context in the next. A few sentences of plot summary follows (note how both the character's and actor's names are used). After that, the writer spends most of his time talking about the thematic content of the film, since that is what most significant, though he also mentions a particular special effect as well. All in all, a very solid review.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

There Will Be Blogs

So in case you're wondering what you're supposed to be doing for journal #1, I'm posting a few links to good examples from last semester:

Here's a good one on Eastern Promises -- note that it includes a link to the review, quoted excerpts from the review, and an image (the trailer). You should include all of those in your entry (video is optional, but include at least a still image).

And here's another one on Michael Moore's Sicko -- again, it has all three of those items mentioned above that help make the entry more engaging for the reader. In case you need any refreshers on how to do things like include an image, etc., here's a link to the Blogger help site, which is very user-friendly.

Also, note that the the writing isn't stiff or formal -- you can feel the
writer's personality, which is one of the great things about blogs. Yes, I know this is an assignment, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun with it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"I've been teaching the same class for the last 5 years, and in no way is that depressing."

I really mean that, too, because it's not the same class every year. Not only do you, the students, change, but every semester I tweak at least a few things in a never-ending effort to create the best possible class experience for you. I alter assignments, I swap out films, and this year, for the first time, I'm adding a class blog. My Edline page will be the home for checking your grades and the assignment calendar, as well as printing out assignments if you (perish the thought) lose your first copy. But this is the place to go for regular updates about the goings-on of recent classes, important links, polls, and sometimes, just fun posts that I whimsically add. The most important feature of this page, though, is that it will house the links for all of your blogs. This way, you'll be easily connected, not just to the blogs belonging to students in your class, but all The Art of Film I classes. The goal of the blog project is to generate an ongoing, illuminating and fun conversation about film. In order to do that, you'll have to check back here frequently. For now, check out some of the links, participate in the poll, or even comment on this entry. Stay classy.
Post your blog info in the comments to this post. Don't use your last names, just first name and last initial. Don't forget to title your blog, too.