Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Great Scenes: “Goodfellas”

Jimmy Conway smiles at Morrie from afar, knowing the poor bastard juster walked into the wrong bar. But he’s in no hurry. Before whacking him, Jimmy takes a moment to enjoy a few drags off his cigarette. Scorsese’s use of slow motion, combined with De Niro’s über cool performance and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” makes for one hell of a memorable moment in cinema.

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Great Scenes: “Good Will Hunting”

Often regarded as the actor’s best performance to date, Williams delivered a scene-stealing performance as Sean Maguire in the modern classic, Good Will Hunting. Williams proved he can pull of a dramatic role just as easily as he could a comedic one in the turn that landed him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. One scene starts out with him being all casual and friendly; he briefly snaps, losing himself in anger, before a sad gaze eclipses his face. In this marvelous acting case study of a scene, Williams displays an array of emotions within minutes.

Great Scenes: “Cinema Paradiso”

I don’t think there’s any film that captures the magic of going to the movies like Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso”. When people ask me why I still go to the movies as opposed to watching them online, or renting films, I find it hard to put into words. There’s a certain warmth and comfort I feel at a movie palace. Going to the movies is to share a mutual experience with an entire audience. For the briefest of moments you become part of an entity. The audience laughs, cries, and screams together. The connecting feeling of living through the same exact  experience as the stranger sitting next to you is sadly being destroyed by technology, which in this case, disconnect us. Every time a cinema closes down, I think of this marvellous film and it’s bittersweet musical score. In this heartwarming scene, the audience gets kicked out of the theatre for refusing to leave after a film screening. What happens next is as magical a scene as seeing an entire seated audience laugh or smile at the same moment in time and space.

Great Scenes: “2001: A Space Odyssey”

It is very hard to argue against “2001: A Space Odyssey” when you think of cinema’s greatest achievement. Personally, I think it is one of the greatest works of art regardless of the medium. What Stanley Kubrick achieved here is comparable with the work of DaVinci, Shakespeare, Mozart, and all the greatest artists to come out in human history. The meaning behind most of the film is open for interpretation, which is why it has stood the test of time. However, it is the final chapter in his film that has most viewers scratching their heads in awe. Seeing Dr. Dave Bowman age in a spotless room may be the most disturbing scene in the film. He sees himself growing old and then he becomes old and sees himself getting older before he becomes that and ends up in his death bed. We are only here for a fraction of a fraction of second. The human race is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I believe this scene evokes something our mind tends to block out throughout our daily lives. Most of the time we spent is being dead or not yet born, and while we’re alive, time consumes us and before you know it, your life is over.

Great Scenes: “Psycho”

After stealing $40,000, Marion attempts to leave town. She imagines how the conversation between her boss and the rich businessman would play after they discover her misdeed. I love how at first she seems worried, even scared, but then a creepy smirk curves her face. It’s almost like she intentionally throws a disgusting insult her way to villainize the businessman in her mind. The smirk is very subtle, and for the briefest of moments, it feels like Marion is the antagonist.

Great Scenes: “Do the Right Thing”

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Up to the film’s shocking climax, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” plays like a documentary on everyday life in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. We get to know the inhabitants through their interactions on a single hot summer day. Lee uses carefully picked out music, dialogue, and artistic scenes full of energy to connect the micro storylines of individuals within the plot. When everything finally merges leading to the controversial and explosive riot scene, the viewer finally realizes the grand message.

Lee structures the plot by demonstrating how an insignificant conflict can ascend into an all-out riot. It all starts with a customer boycotting an Italian pizzeria for not including African Americans on the restaurant’s wall of fame. When he meets up with another angry customer who walks around with a loud stereo they decide to face Sal the owner. The volume is amplified, a baseball bat is smashed against the stereo, and before you know it a fight breaks out.

When the police arrive and brutally murder a young black man, the gathered crowd fuels into a frenzy of rage. One of Sal’s employees directs the fury away from him by shattering the pizzeria window with a garbage bin. Mob mentality leads the crowd towards an Asian American trying to fend off people from his supermarket. “Do the Right Thing” is about how clashes exist where there is culture diversity. Without taking any sides, Lee objectively puts the viewer on location; in this case it’s Stuyvesant Avenue.

Great Scenes: “Dog Day Afternoon”

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Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” is based on an actual bank robbery that took place three years prior to the release of the film. Al Pacino played bank robber Sonny Wortzik who on August 22nd burst into a Brooklyn based bank for a run-of the-mill robbery only to end up surrounded by dozens of armed police officers. Hours after the failed heist, crowds gathered around the bank. Once the media joined the circus it became the hottest event on live television.

Sonny would frequently leave the shelter of the bank to negotiate and shout abuse at the gun-pointing cops. Meanwhile Salvatore Naturile (Cazale), his slow witted accomplice, would keep an eye on the held up hostages.

The most memorable stand-off in the film finds Sonny outside rejecting an offer made by Detective Moretti (Durning). Sonny then takes a rebellious step closer to the crowd and yells, “Attica! Attica!”, referring to the 1971 prison riot that took place in New York City where the police showered the inmates with bullets. The crowd then responds with a loud roar making Sonny momentarily their hero. This powerful scene is the turning point of the picture for it marks a sudden shift in power from the cops to the robbers.

“Dog Day Afternoon” is a quintessential New York film that explored the tension galore between sexuality, crime, law and the media in the 1970’s. The film was shot on location on Prospect Park West between 17th and 18th Street, south of Park Slope, Brooklyn.