Thursday, September 19, 2013

Der Untergang / Downfall (2004)

I'm a curious person, and I'm most curious about controversial things. Nazi-themed movies are one of my favorites because it opens my mind about what actually happens during those horrible World War II. I've watched Schindler's List, The Pianist, and the more recent, Inglorious Basterds. All have similarities about the explicit violences and the portrayal of the victims, be it Jews or Polish. Downfall, however, chooses to portray the man behind the war, The Fuhrer himself.

The movie takes place in Fuhrerbunker, underneath Berlin, where Hitler and his followers hid during the Soviet Army attacks to bring an end to World War II. From this bunker Hitler and his generals are still able to send orders and attacks to the Soviet Army via telegrams or telephones. The film has grim ambiance because many of the scenes happens in the bunker, with narrow hallways, closed rooms, thick iron doors and dim lights. It certainly fits with the war theme, where an explosion sometimes would happen and shake the bunker.

During this dreadful time, Hitler's generals have known that the war is lost. German troops everywhere have been cornered or killed by the Soviet Army. They can't mobilize enough troops to make a retaliation, many of the troops and civilians have been evacuated out of Berlin. The Fuhrer chooses to stay. He insists that he will fight, or face his downfall. But he won't surrender. To him, surrender is a treason to his 'superior' descent.

In many of the scenes, we can see that at this point in the war, Hitler doesn't seem to care much of the civilians. He only cares about his Reich and what may become of it. He doesn't mind sacrificing his civilians as long as he can keep his Reich.

Bruno Ganz's dramatic acting deserves a standing ovation. Through his acts, we are able to see Hitler's vulnerable state. He is angry, he blames his generals and his troops, he punished everyone who suggested him to surrender, he is desperate to win this impossible war, he is illogical at his final hours. He keeps talking about the troops that no longer have neither power or units to attack. He can't accept the fact that he already lost the war. He commits suicide with his recently-wed wife, Eva Braun, in the bunker.

The Goebbels family
Despite all the atrocity Hitler did, there are a lot of people who are faithful to him until the end. His generals, his troops, his secretaries, are gladly die for him. In his final days, a lot of people persuade Hitler to leave Berlin because they don't want to lose their Fuhrer. It's amazing to know that there are people who actually believe in The Reich and Hitler's government. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, was ordered to evacuate by The Fuhrer but he refuses and choose to die with him. His wife, poisons their six children, and they proceed to commit murder-suicide because they can't stand the thought of living without national socialism (Nazism). In some of the scenes, the Goebbels children are shown to be very close to their Uncle Hitler. They even sang for him on his birthday.

It's interesting to see a different view of the Nazi and World War II. This movie is based on 'Memoirs', a book written by The Fuhrer's secretary, Traudl Junge, who was with The Fuhrer at the bunker but then evacuates minutes before Soviet Army breach the bunker. It's a different view of The Fuhrer, and to me, it's exciting.

You probably know this particular scene, it has been parodied so many times for so many events in so many languages. I'm just saying, it's worth it to see the actual movie.

The Man From Earth (2007)

I watched this movie based on my work mate's recommendation. This is one of the movies that contains 95% of dialogue in it. I feel rather odd by the fact that I don't lose my interest to the movie, because I mostly do. Maybe because the discussions is intense with emotion and scientific possibilities that I ended up excited during the whole movie.

The Man from Earth brings out a thought-provoking idea. The main character, Prof. John Oldman is actually a prehistoric caveman who has lived through all process in human history. He moved around every ten years or so to avoid society's suspicion that he doesn't age. When his colleagues grinds him to tell the real reason he's moving away, he decided to tell them his story. At first he discussed his story as a scientific theory, saying hypothetically that human can regenerates their cell perfectly so they can live forever. His friends: Harry, a biologist; Edith, an art history professor and devout Christian; Dan, an anthropologist; Sandy, a historian; Dr. Will Gruber, a psychiatrist; and Art, an archaeologist starts to discuss the possibilities from their own field's point of view.

The whole movie is basically a scientific forums. A discussion between scientists from their own specialties about human existence and evolution. It's interesting to watch if you like thought-provoking movie. I would suggest you see this with friends or family who share the same interest because there's a certain aspect of the movie, like when the characters discuss about religion, that might frightened or maybe anger the unintended audiences.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Right after Harry Potter franchise came to and end, I saw this movie trailer starring Emma Watson and I fall in love instantly with the movie. Back then, I was still pretty much interested in indie-like movies like Juno, Paper Heart, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. When I saw the trailer of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I noticed the camera, the light, the mood, it was so high-school-project type of film, I had to watch it.

My snap judgement didn't fail me because this movie is as awesome as I thought it would be. After seeing Emma as Hermione Granger for almost 10 years, it is refreshing to see her act as a senior high school with bad grades and a reputation. It is surprising, but she manages to capture the soul of Sam very well. Watching Ezra Miller didn't hurt one bit. He is charming, handsome, and a talented actor. Kind of like Neil Patrick Harris with a tad more fabulous-factor. The Charlie character has an interesting personality to watch. He is an outcast because he has very low self-esteem and very shy around people. I would say he is introvert at first glance, but there is actually more to the stories than just being introvert and shy.

The story itself is also interesting. We have seen a lot of high-school themed movies. We have the love story kind like High School Musicals and the naughty kind like American Pies. However, The Perks of Being A Wallflower opens a whole new dimension to the high school world other than pretty girls/boys and famous sorority parties. Audiences are presented with friendship, love story, high school drama, rebellious students, unique talent shows, prom dances, late night adventures, and even graduation ceremony. The whole high school experiences that most of us seems to forget are shown here from Charlie's point of view.

For me personally, it's not a family movie, so I wouldn't want to watch this with my family. Not because there will be an awkward scene to share with parents, but mostly because it speaks more to young audiences. I would recommend watching this movie with your friends because it might spark some high school memories. :)

Living The Dream(?)

Gee, I really should have done a better job writing my blog. I saw the archive and realize I only wrote ONE post in August. Although, I know that August is not my best month so I might not be in the mood.

The Story
Anyway, I have been having some dreams lately about my childhood friends and some old scenes I remembered from my better days (Or should I say easier days? Hmm..). It got me thinking of a pretty awesome quote (as written in the picture above. :p).

I always thought that we're not supposed to do things we don't want to. There are many quotes to support this thought, like: "Do what you love and love what you do.", "Do what you love and the money will follow.", "The future belong to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.", "Follow your dreams, they know the way.", and one of my favorites from my favorite idol, "Dream, believe, and make it happen." I have been living by these quotes ever since I know dreams can come true. Obviously, the path is not always easy. There are bumps along the way, some higher and tougher than others.

Now, here I am. I managed to do my dream job, in a city I've always dreamt to live in, living a certain lifestyle I used to imagine when I was a teenager. I literally am living the dream. But, here's a question: aren't people who live their dream supposed to be happy?

What ifs
I am somewhat superstitious. I'm open about zodiac preferences, palm-reading, and dream interpretations. So, naturally, when I'm dreaming about something I worry about, I look it up in You know, just for fun, in case the interpretation is something positive. But even if it's not, I like knowing the possibilities. :)

The website said that having a dream about your childhood, "...signifies regression into your past where you had no responsibilities. You may be wanting to escape the pressures and stresses of adulthood." Now that triggers another question in my head, "Am I under pressure and/or stressed?" My answer is, "Maybe."

I am left thinking, "I am living my dream. I am satisfied, but not exactly happy. What if I do the other one? What if it makes me happier? What if it doesn't?" There's just so many what ifs I keep losing track.