McDaniel Film Screening Guide, Part 5!!!

The Apparition (11/30)


I did not see this one because, well, it was paranormal movie #20 from this year. 

But based off the trailer—

This movie looks absolutely horrible.  Granted, the trailer is a mess of editing but they could have avoided more cheese factor.

“There is a scientific theory that ghosts are the product of the human mind.”

Yeah, already zoned out after that.

The acting looks atrocious.  Poor Tom Felton of Draco Malfoy fame.  We know you’re a good actor, but this doesn’t help you.  At all.

The “scary” scenes shown in the trailer are just not.  A guy wakes up to see himself on the ceiling above himself.  Huh.  A girl sees a door slide, literally, into a wall? Eh.

Paranormal movies are only good when they really explore the presence of something other-worldly in the reality of human existence. Paranormal Activity uses it well by placing the plot in an average household, helping us to relate to the story. The Apparition seems too weighed down with CGI, special effects, and shock factor to make it relatable.

But what did everyone else think?

Rotten Tomatoes: 4%

Metacritic: 18/100 

Result: Don’t ever see.  Ever.

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A Conversation with President of Film Club Nick Kouhi

This is Part Three of an interview I held with Nick Kouhi. In this final part of the interview we talk about superhero movies, favorite directors, and generally get off topic. Read the fun below!

Empire Strikes Back or New Hope?

I’m going to go with Empire. Funny thing is that I didn’t like it as a kid. I was very adverse to violence as a kid so when Luke got his hand cut off, I didn’t like it. But over time it grew on me.

Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?

Sean Connery. Both of them are James Bond but only one of them is Indiana Jones’ dad.

Citizen Kane or Vertigo?

It’s a tough question. I love Citizen Kane. I know some say it is boring and unengaging. But it is important because it is meant to be a jigsaw puzzle that is never solved. I think the  joy of Citizen Kane is that all the pieces and all the little details that Orson Welles put in there and the fact that he was so young and accomplished this. It is so inspiring. I still love the movie a lot. In terms of sheer storytelling power, I have to go with Vertigo. I like to think of it as Hitchcock’s art movie. It’s sad, beautiful, creepy. I could go on and on about the movie like the score, cinematography, and the ending. It’s the perfect ending to a Horror/tragedy with a little more creepiness. So, Vertigo would be my answer.

The Dark Knight or The Avengers?

The Dark Knight easily. I like Joss Whedon, but the amount of hyperboles surrounding the film is a little much. I think The Dark Knight set the stage for comic book movies to come. It is very dark. It doesn’t have a happy ending. It doesn’t compromise. The interesting thing is that The Dark Knight Rises was no one near as good as The Dark Knight because the villains, their thing was to blow up Gotham, but in The Dark Knight they wanted to prove a point about human nature, that human beings were inherently primal and savage. It made it feel different than super hero movies that came before it and after it. It still can’t be beat. Maybe one day. They had a chance with Zach Snyder’s Watchmen, but they blew it.

Yeah, with Watchmen I feel like they got the comic flair right but they left a lot of important events out like the cutting between Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Ozymandias and the New York City people at the newsstand. Then you see them die. It is interesting seeing what flawed beings do in their last moments alive.

Yeah, the movie is an interesting case where it tries to stick close to the source material but misses the point entirely. It is normal people faced with normal consequences. It was a vast disappointment. I tell anyone who didn’t like the movie to read the book.

I really liked how The Comedian was portrayed in the film, same with Rorschach.

For me, I really liked how Dr. Manhattan was portrayed. He is extremely stylized, especially the sequence on Mars. But it makes sense because the character thinks differently than us, hyperawareness. Why couldn’t the rest of the movie been like that? It was a missed opportunity?

Yeah, my big gripe with The Avengers is that, with The Dark Knight you can keep rewatching it and pulling new things out of it, but with The Avengers, it just loses its brilliance on rewatches. The first time I saw it I was wowed by the action sequences and the effects and how Whedon was able to throw together multiple feature film superheroes into a cohesive group and story. But the second time, the amount of jokes in the film got annoying and some plot holes became more glaring like are they seriously not going to get suspicious of Loki not escaping when Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man fight each other, really?

The scene where Thor comes down with the hammer on Captain America’s shield and the whole forest gets wiped out. I remember watching that in the theater and calling bullshit on that one, especially when we see the hammer on Hulk later. So if we use logic here. The hammer is stronger than the Hulk, the shield is stronger than the hammer, ergo the shield is stronger than Hulk. How does that make any sense? It is a good movie, not a bad movie by any means. I do respect that Joss Whedon puts a little life into this formula and I think that is what he is great at. But when you look at it, it is just the basic superhero archetype. This bad guy wants to come to Earth and take it over, the heroes don’t like each other, someone dies, they stick together, then they save the day. I’ve seen that story dozens of times. It’s a good movie but nowhere near as good as The Dark Knight.

Hitchcock or Kubrick?

It’s a tough one. It’s like choosing between Malick or Nolan, or Bergman or Fincher. They both contribute so much to film. Hitchcock basically made the suspense genre, the way he edits scenes, the way he paces scenes. And yet he is still not a hack, he is an auteur. He’s a brilliant director. But I got to go with Kubrick on this one. If just for the fact he created Dr. Strangelove. His contribution to cinema is just as big as Hitchcock’s if not more. 2001: A Space Odyssey. I know a lot of people don’t like it today, but a lot of the science fiction genre owes a lot to it. The Shining is incalculable for the horror genre. Paths of Glory. Eyes Wide Shut which is severely underrated. But why I love Kubrick is because he has the same theme in every one of his movies: showing pretensions that human beings assume and then tears it away, showing the inner humanity. Even though I’m not personally crazy about Clockwork Orange, ideologically it repulses me, but I think it is in there too. He still has the trademark cinematography, the pacing, the use of the camera. You can watch a Kubrick scene, pause it, and talk about it frame by frame. The only other filmmaker I have felt comes close to the originality and unity is Terrence Malick.

I completely agree.

And yet he is so different. I think my heart does go to Hitchcock, but Kubrick, he expanded film grammar if not more so.

Malick is my favorite director of all time. When I grew up and was able to understand film more, The Thin Red Line changed me. It is completely unlike any other war movie.

The first Malick movie I saw was Badlands. It’s his most conventional movie. It was creepy and I thought it was okay. Then I decided to give Days of Heaven a look, and Days of Heaven was a period piece and beautiful, but it completely took me by surprise by how immersive it was. Many films try and tell the best story they can tell, but few feel rooted in an environment that they are so rich with detail. Wes Anderson does the same, crafting a specific view of the world with each film. Same with Kubrick. Malick, in Days of Heaven, uses so many little details in the film that add so much depth. Sometimes I just watch parts of it to bring me to a good place. There are very few movies I have seen that are like it.

I just bought it on the Criterion Collection. There are so many scenes where I was just in awe by their beauty—like when the Locusts come.

Yeah, I remember we screened that in Film Club last year and it was kind of our gamble. We had screened Shawshank and Rushmore. Then we decided to show Days of Heaven. It’s not a very conventional movie. So, after the film was finished, someone raised their hand and asked, “When was this movie made?” 1978. “Holy shit I thought it was made in the late 80s.” It’s just that kind of a movie. If you know about the 70s, then you can see some elements of the 70s like the cynicism. But, overall, the film is timeless. The amount of details he puts in like the guy dancing on the plank. One of the scenes that have always stuck with me is the early morning before the harvest when they’re all reading the bible. It’s very solemn, not very long. But it is almost like he reveres nature as a church. It is a gorgeous moment. It isn’t for everyone. But I love them. I would love, one day, to meet Terrence Malick. I would just like to thank him.

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MOST ICONIC FINAL IMAGE: Planet of the Apes, 1968
Planet of the Apes IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (25 votes)
2001: A Space Odyssey  IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (20)       
The Breakfast Club  IIIIIIIIIIIIII (14)
The Shining  IIIIIIIIIIIII (13)
400 Blows  IIIIIIII (8)
Sunset Bolevard  IIIIIII (7)
Melancholia  IIIII (5)
The Graduate  IIII (4)
Butch Cassidy  III (3 tie)
A Clockwork  III (3 tie)
(102 votes)

Although I love the final image in Planet of the Apes, I would have to say my favorite image is that of The Thin Red Line. That desolate rock with a piece of grass sitting on it, in the middle of a watered down beach. I think it speaks to the trials of ordinary men in war, trying to fight against extraordinary odds: human nature. 


MOST ICONIC FINAL IMAGE: Planet of the Apes, 1968

  1. Planet of the Apes IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (25 votes)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey  IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (20)       
  3. The Breakfast Club  IIIIIIIIIIIIII (14)
  4. The Shining  IIIIIIIIIIIII (13)
  5. 400 Blows  IIIIIIII (8)
  6. Sunset Bolevard  IIIIIII (7)
  7. Melancholia  IIIII (5)
  8. The Graduate  IIII (4)
  9. Butch Cassidy  III (3 tie)
  10. A Clockwork  III (3 tie)

(102 votes)

Although I love the final image in Planet of the Apes, I would have to say my favorite image is that of The Thin Red Line. That desolate rock with a piece of grass sitting on it, in the middle of a watered down beach. I think it speaks to the trials of ordinary men in war, trying to fight against extraordinary odds: human nature. 

222 notes 

Film Club Schedule for October

Like watching horror movies whenever you can when October rolls around? Now is your chance by attending the next three McDaniel Film Club screenings on campus!

The club meets for a film every Thursday and Saturday at 7 PM in either Decker Auditorium or Lewis 323. So check both!

Rosemary’s Baby (10/18) That’s tomorrow night!!

Have always wanted to see this movie.

It’s directed by Roman Polanski so it’s an extraordinarily safe bet to say it will be an amazing film. He’s done the brilliant Chinatown andThe Pianist.

From the trailer itself, it looks to be filled with gorgeous imagery and creepy elements of witchcraft.

The Exorcist (10/21)

It doesn’t get better than this one. It has always been heralded as the best horror movie of all time, right next to The Thing.

It’s the movie all paranormal movies try and copy off of.

Don’t miss it.

The Evil Dead (10/25)

This isn’t really a scary movie. It’s more of a comedy so go ready to laugh at the death of stupid teenagers.

Even though it is, arguably, a bad film at its core, it was heavily influential on B-movie horror to come, especially the use of perspective in its camerawork.

House (10/28)

It doesn’t get any weirder than this. Prepare to laugh and have fun with this film as well.

Undeniably, there are plenty of creepy and disturbing images in this film, but the campiness and weird factor outweigh it. It’s a great B-movie to enjoy.

Personally, I didn’t like the movie, but you need to see it to believe it.

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Top Five Films with President of Film Club Nick Kouhi

In Part Two of my interview with Nick Kouhi, he shares his Top 5 films. Then we get off-topic about Kurosawa.

What are your Top 5 Films?

5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Because it makes me laugh so much and I’ve always enjoyed it.

4. North by Northwest

Classic Hitchcock movie. It’s phenomenal and who doesn’t love Cary Grant, that suave bastard.

3. Chinatown

It is such a brilliantly cynical script. Such a good movie.

1 and 2 are usually interchangeable. If I’m having a good day and feel optimistic, then it is one movie; If I’m feeling pessimistic, it’s another. So today, 2 would be Dr. Strangelove because if you’re going to be pessimistic, might as well laugh while you’re doing it.

1, today, is Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru. It’s a Japanese movie from the 50s. It is about a bureaucrat that has stomach cancer and what he is going to do with the last few months of his life. It is an incredible movie that you think is going to fall into sentiment, but it isn’t too sappy and it earns its ending. It’s about the ultimate balance between doing something good for the world while still doing something good for you. When you find that, that is the apex of living. It is so gorgeous, so beautiful. It is so moving.

I feel so guilty because I haven’t seen any Kurosawa movies before. He did Seven Samurai, right?

Yeah, he did Yojimbo too. I hadn’t seen any Kurosawa before a couple years ago until I watched Ikiru on Netflix and it blew me away. Then I watched Seven Samurai and Roshomon. He’s great. Kurosawa is the epitome of great art and entertainment. His movies are great stories and very involving, but he is so patient telling his story and he trusts his audience so much that they transcend mere popcorn films. They say things about humanity, social norms, morality. He’s worth a modern look.

If you could suggests one Kurosawa movie to get me into his films, what would it be?

You can’t go wrong with any of his samurai movie. Seven Samurai is a great one. It’s long, but it is amazing. Honestly, I would start with Roshomon. It’s 80 minutes long. It is a great movie and has some great set pieces. Then try Roshomon and Ikiru.

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