Fight Club, The Aesthetic Values pack a punch!

A theatrical poster made for the 1999 film "Fight Club".

A theatrical poster made for the 1999 film “Fight Club”.

For my last blog post, I decided to pick the movie 1999 “Fight Club” which was directed by David Fincher, and produced by Art Linson. The movie was based on of the 1996 novel written by Chuck Palahniuk which titled the same name as the movie. This movie starred the likes of Edward Norton who played the main character who remained nameless throughout the film. Also, this movie featured Brad Pitt who plays Tyler Durden and Helena Bonham Carter who plays Marla Singer. Norton and Pitt form Fight Club as a way for grown men to be able to have a group of their own, just like the groups that Norton’s character attends earlier in the film. Norton’s character attends meeting for many groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous, Testicular Cancer, etc.

Norton’s character has insomnia and also attends these meetings as way for himself to meet people who are suffering with their own problems. Also, I feel Norton’s character attends these meetings to have a group of people who care for him and accept him for who he really is, even though he is lying about having testicular cancer who having any other problems. Norton then meets Marla Singer who also attends these meetings as way to go somewhere and be accepted and cared for by people. He then agrees with Singer to split up the meetings they go to each week. Singer agrees to split up her meetings with Norton. While on a business trip, Norton meets Durden who admits he is a soap salesman and gives Norton his business card.

As the movie goes on, Norton’s apartment catches on fire and blows up. Later in the movie, we find out Durden commits the crime so he can make Norton his accomplice in a new phase he has in mind called “Fight Club”. Norton’s character ends up moving in with Durden in a broken down mansion looking house. Marla who has been trying to get a hold of the narrator, ends up finding out where he has been staying and asks Norton to help her. Durden answers the phone after Norton forgets to hang up on Marla, and from that point on Marla and Durden become sexually involved. Fight club begins and starts out small but as the word gets out, the club gets bigger and bigger and starts ending up in multiple cities around the U.S. The club ends up becoming the anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization called “Project Mayhem” who start committing crimes all around the U.S. Norton admits to Durden that he wants to be more involved in Project Mayhem however Durden then disappears.

As a failed mission leads to a member of the group being killed, Norton begins receiving attention that he is actually Tyler Durden. When Norton falls asleep, he realizes when he awakes that Durden has actually been in control of his body. When Norton wakes up, he finds out that Durden’s plan is to erase all debt by destroying all the major credit card companies around the U.S.  When Norton finds out where one of the buildings are that are filled with explosives, he tries to remove the explosives, however Tyler catches him and ties him up to a chair to watch the destruction from a safe building. Norton realizes that him and Durden are sharing the same body, he then shoots himself in the mouth and instantly kills Tyler.

Norton ends up with a huge bullet would in his face but uses a towel to stop the bleeding. Marla is brought to the building and the movie ends with her and Norton holding hands watching the credit card buildings blowing up and falling to the ground.

This movie may have had the best aesthetics from any of the movies I watched in class this semester. The color scheme for Project Mayhem always seemed to be dark which I feel shows the mischief that the group is up to as a whole. Also, during the many fights that take place in Fight Club, a lot of the characters are kept in the dark with one or two lights only being used to keep a dark and unseen aspect to the club. I feel that resembles the club, because the club is supposed to be kept a secret and not to be mentioned to anybody. Also, I think the camera’s were used exceptionally well throughout the fighting scenes because it shows like an old “gladiator” look to it showing who is the better fighter during the fights. I think the quick-moving camera throughout the flights and traveling that Norton’s character does is used well to show the pace of the scene and how important finding Durden was to Norton’s character.  Also, in the beginning of the movie during the credits, a brain’s neural network is shown to show what the inside of the narrator’s brain looks like with his fear impulse when it meet’s his decision-making process. Overall this movie was filmed great with its color scheme, and a lot of the camera angles and other aesthetics used made this movie even better when I saw it for the second time.

First here is an interview I found done by Interview Magazine with director David Fincher and actor Edward Norton on Fight Club as a whole and what their opinion’s on the movie were: http://www.edward-norton.org/articles/innov.html

Second here is a video interview I found on YouTube done with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt about Fight Club and what they hoped the movie would end up being: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VaA6_CDRyY

I hope you enjoyed this blog as this will be my final post. I hope reading my opinions on movies I have watched this semester has allowed you to check out some movies you may have never seen before, as well as look more into the aesthetics of movies rather than just the action scenes and the plot itself.

Thanks for reading this post and my blog! -LH

American Psycho, a great movie with even better aesthetics.

A theatrical poster made for the thriller "American Psycho".

A theatrical poster made for the thriller “American Psycho”.

American Psycho is a 2000 American Cult Drama film that was based on a novel with the same name  written by Bret Easton Ellis. The movie was directed by Mary Harron, and was debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in April of 2000.

The movie is  about a wealthy investment banker named Patrick Bateman that is living in Manhattan in the late 1980’s. Bateman who was played by Christian Bale, has a life that revolves around work, dining at trendy New York restaurants, keeping up his appearance with his fiancee Evelyn, and his shallow group of friends, whom most of them he actually dislikes.

Later in the movie, we learn that Bateman secretly becomes a serial killer when he becomes jealous of Paul Allen, who is an acquaintance of Bateman’s in the movie. Bateman first kills a homeless man and his dog when he becomes jealous of Allen and his superiority over Bateman. Later, Bateman lures Paul into his apartment and kills him with an axe, while listening to the song “Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News. Bateman then send a suitcase to the airport, and tells people that Allen had to go to London for a business trip. Bateman then has to deal with the questioning of detective Donald Kimball, who has been assigned to ask for any leads for the missing Paul Allen. Bateman begins lying to Kimball, telling him that he hasn’t seen Paul Allen and that if any new news comes up he would let the detective know.

Later in the movie, Bateman ends up killing prostitutes and models who he originally meets with to have sexual intercourse with. As Bateman’s craziness continues in the movie,  he later kills an older woman he meets at an ATM, and eventually shoots a bunch of cop cars’ gas tanks during a chase which causes the cars to blow up.

Bateman then enters an office building that he mistakes for his own and calls his lawyer Harold, whom he confesses in a voicemail that he is Patrick Bateman and that he is a serial killer. At this time, his secretary Jean finds a notebook in Bateman’s office,  filled with pictures of murder and rape.

Bateman then sees his lawyer at a restaurant, and confesses to him that he is a serial killer and that he wants to be turned into the authorities. Harold mistakes Bateman for another one of his colleagues named Davis, and laughs at the confessions Bateman makes. He also tells Bateman that he had just had dinner with Paul Allen in London only 10 days ago, so that murder of Allen couldn’t have happened. The movie ends, with Bateman realizing that he will not get the punishment he deserves and that he will continue to conflict his pain on other victims.

This movie’s aesthetics are superbly done, starting with color scheme used for Bateman and his activities he does. Bateman in the beginning of the movie is always shown during daylight and bright colors such as white, tan, and yellow. He wears a lot of the same color suits when he is at work, however he is made out to be a very sophisticated individual. Bateman later in the movie is given a lot of darker colors, such as black, grey, and dark blue and I think that resembles the murders that he commits later in the movie.

The camera shows a lot of angles in the movie especially during the sex scenes. During these scenes, the camera is shown tilted upwards towards Bateman to show his “superiority” over the prostitutes that he pays for sex. Also, during the “chase” scene of one of his paid prostitutes, the camera is shown from above when Bateman drops his chainsaw to kill the prostitute as she tries to escape from Bateman. I feel that both the colors and camera angles help show the personality of Bateman and how he changes throughout the movie. In the beginning, Bateman is portrayed as a sophisticated entrepreneur of a man, but when he gets involved with murdering, he is then shown as a bully of some-sort.

Here is an interview I found on Indiewire.com that was done with director Mary Harron back in 2000 on American Psycho when she was nine-months pregnant. I hope you enjoy it! http://www.indiewire.com/article/decade_mary_harron_on_american_psycho

I hope you enjoyed my review on American Psycho and my thoughts on the aesthetics as well as the background on the plot of the movie as well. Thanks for reading!
-LH

Sweeney Todd, a musical thriller with significant aesthetics!

A Theatrical Poster made for the 2007 movie Sweeney Todd.

A Theatrical Poster made for the 2007 movie Sweeney Todd.

The 2007 musical horror film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, was a great movie filled with acting, singing, and a lot of great aesthetics used throughout it.  The movie was directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard Zanuck.

This movie that was a remake of the 1979 musical created by Steven Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, I felt was a terrific movie to watch and was filmed brilliantly with many different color schemes and actions scenes throughout it.

The main plot of the movie is about Sweeney Todd originally Benjamin Barker, who is back in London after serving a jail sentence for crime he did not commit in the 1830’s. Judge Turpin was interested in Barker’s wife, and simply falsely labeled a crime to Barker to get him out-of-the-way. 15 years later Barker is back in London after escaping prison, and decides to become a barber in town once again. He soon learns from Mrs. Lovett, that his wife Lucy had poisoned herself when she was raped by Turpin when Barker was in prison. Lovett also tells Todd that his teenage daughter Johanna is now Turpin’s ward.

Lovett allows Todd to use the upper part of her Meat Pie Shop as his Hair Cuttery. Todd vows revenge on Turpin for what he had done before, and begins making a name for himself in town as the “best barber”. Throughout the movie, Todd continues killing countless customers with his razor, and Mrs. Lovett uses the bodies for her meat pies, which later becomes a hit delicacy among the town.

Todd’s close friend and sailor Anthony Hope sees Johanna and becomes interested in her and wanting to be with her. However, Turpin finds out of his interest in Johanna and warns Anthony that he will be disciplined if he doesn’t stay away from the girl. Turpin ultimately sends Johanna to an insane asylum to keep her away from Anthony. Anthony decides to come up with a plan to get her out and eventually does free Johanna from the asylum. Turpin’s accomplice Beadle Bamford comes to Mrs’. Lovett’s shop to tell her about the complaints coming from townspeople about the smell coming from her chimney. Todd distracts Bamford and offers him a free shave, in which Bamford is killed later by Todd.

Johanna is then taken to Todd where he keeps her hidden in a safe casket that is in his shop. A local stranger who has been keeping watch of the shop’s successes arrives, and threatens to snitch on the plan that Todd and Mrs. Lovett have together. She too is also killed by Todd and dumped to the cooking room. Turpin arrives and is persuaded by Todd to get a shave to attract more women. Todd eventually shows his true self to Turpin and begins stabbing the judge violently in the neck, his throat is slit and he too is dumped to the cooking room.

Todd spares the life of Johanna and tells her to forget his face and to start a new life. He hurries to the cooking room when he heard Mrs. Lovett scream after a still alive Turpin tried to grab her. Todd notices the body of the stranger and realizes that it was actually his wife Lucy. Lovett confesses to Todd that she misled him to think Lucy was dead, because she too loved Todd. Todd begins manically waltzing with her and later throwing her into the furnace and locking her to die inside. Toby, the teenage boy who is brought in by Lovett to help work for her as a waiter, grabs Todd’s razor and slits Todd’s throat leaving him to bleed to death while holding his dead wife Lucy.

This movie had great aesthetics throughout it, especially with the color schemes used in it. A lot of the colors were dark and cold to show the personality that Todd has after he seeks revenge on Judge Turpin. A lot of black, grey and white were used in the Barber Shop to symbolize the coldness in Todd’s heart and fact that death would approach any person that walked into that barber shop. Also, a lot of different camera shots were used in the movie, such as from above, from the ground up, and from other angles as well.

I think that the aesthetics played a big role in making this movie a successful one. A lot of the dark colors made it hard to see the characters, however I think it showed the personality of a lot of the characters in the movie. The setting of the movie was in London, which is usually a dark and rainy place. I think the colors helped show what London was like in the 1800-1900’s. Also, the movie has a Gothic look to it, which seemed common in London during this time period. A lot of the wardrobe’s for the characters also helped show their personality too. Todd and Lovett usually were seen wearing white, black, and grey to help with color scheme in the movie.  I feel overall this movie had great aesthetics and played a big role in helping show the movie in the London setting, the Gothic look, and the story of an enraged serial killer.

Here is an interview I found from the New York Times newspaper with Director Tim Burton, in which Burton talks about Sweeney Todd and the aesthetics that went into it. I hope you enjoy it! http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/movies/moviesspecial/04gold.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Thanks for reading, and I hope after reading this you understand the aesthetic values used in Tim Burton’s musical horror “Sweeney Todd”.

-LH

Eraserhead, a movie with great aesthetics throughout it.

The theatrical poster for Eraserhead.

A theatrical poster made for the body horror film, Eraserhead.

The body horror film Eraserhead was directed and produced by David Lynch and was released in theaters in April of 1977. This movie by far was one of the weirdest movies that I have seen in my life, however the weirdness in the movie also gave its own sense of creativity which is why I ended up enjoying the movie at the end of it.

Lynch’s movie Eraserhead was part of the Midnight Movie Series which was a main reason why it was a successful movie. The movie originally would be shown in movie theaters at midnight to test it out with a smaller audience and to see if it got a good reaction by the audience.

The movie was kept at the midnight time and later was shown during times throughout the day. The movie has a lot of great aesthetics throughout it, which added to the suspense and horror in the film itself. Lynch used a lot of dark colors throughout the movie to add to the scary atmosphere the movie had to it, and I believe that the dark colors helped the movie be a success. In the main character Henry’s apartment a lot of black, grey, and white colors were used to show the type of character that Henry was.

Henry was a character of quietness, shyness, and had a lot of spookyness to him as well. Lynch had Henry dressed in a black suit jacket, black pants, and a white dress shirt to add to his character. His hair was also tall and looked like a flat-top or an afro.

Lynch also had a lot hallucinations throughout the movie to add to its aesthetic value, and to give the movie more suspense and thrill to it. The hallucinations involved other characters in the movie, such as Henry’s attractive neighbor, his girlfriend, and “the Lady in the Radiator”. Lynch used a lot of “sperm” inspired characters and objects in the movie which gave the movie a gross effect to it as well as weird.

Later in the movie, Henry is seen trying to take care of his new premature child who he had with his girlfriend Mary X. The child is resembled as a lizard-looking creature that is later killed by Henry due to his craziness and lack of wanting to deal with the creature anymore after he cannot sleep due to the child continuing to cry and whine.

Lynch also had a very eerie soundtrack in the movie which consisted of tunes played on an organ, and a lot of sounds created by everyday objects. The radiator in the movie had air always being compressed, a lot of wind was used outside of Henry’s window of his apartment, as well as digital computer sounds too. I feel the soundtrack expressed the type of world that Henry was shown to be living in, which added to the movie’s effects as well.

Also, a lot of camera shots were used too to make the movie look like it was meant as a SCI-FI flick of movie. There are scenes during the hallucinations where Henry’s head was floating in the air where a lot of camera shots had to be changed to show different angles of the scene. I feel that camera angles added with the eerie sounds, and the explicit objects used with the characters could have forced members of the audience to feel nautious while watching this movie.

I feel that this movie started the whole “body horror” genre and Lynch used aesthetics to his advantage for this movie, because the aesthetics were superb throughout Eraserhead and helped this movie be a good starting point for future “body horror” films to be made.

Here is an interview that I found between writers of the Soho Weekly News and director David Lynch about the movie Eraserhead and his opinion of the movie as a whole. I feel this interview gives an expert opinion of the movie and what went through Lynch’s mind when he made Eraserhead. http://www.thecityofabsurdity.com/intsoho.html

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and will go out and check out David Lynch’s Eraserhead, and possibly add it to your movie collection.
Thanks for reading!!
-LH