Reminder: Midterm is on Thursday 3/24

Please remember to arrive on time for our midterm on Thursday 3/24 at 11:30 am. The take-home portion of the midterm was handed out in class, but if you lose it, you can find the essay questions and related information under the “Midterm Exam Info” under “Documents” above. This page has links to suggested readings for the take-home essays as well as thumbnails for films we’ve watched. For the short answer part of the answer, I will pull thumbnails from the Midterm Exam Info page. Please be sure to review the weekly handouts prior to the exam. Also, if you want to refresh your memory of the different films, you’re welcome to use the clip links located under “Screenings.” Here is a link to clips from a Simpsons  episode with parodic references to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941).

Lastly, the next paper assignment (a film review) has been uploaded under Documents/Papers above. I will hand out a paper copy of this assignment in class.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

One of my most favorite film opening scenes is that of the superhero film genre from X-Men: Days of Future past based off the famous comic super hero team of the same name. The opening scene depicts the mutants and the story’s main characters in a war-torn future where they are hunted down by sentient robots known as Sentinels. Their purpose is to hunt, capture and/or kill the mutants and X-Men alike. What I came to love most about this scene was how it it opens up using the time frame of the X-Men characters of the original trilogy( Hugh Jackman/Wolverine, Hallie Berry/Storm, Patrick Stewart/Professor Xavier, Shawn Ashemore/Ice Man) in an apocalyptic setting as opposed to different characters playing their parts.

This entry in the film series adapts the comic’s 1981 story line by combining the main cast’s younger and older selves together to deliver a powerful ensemble of strong acting and story telling making it the most iconic installment in the series. It was a dual sequel that later acted as a retroactive continuity piece rather that outright completely reboot the franchise as a whole. This film is among one of the final times the original cast would reprise their roles as X-Men.



Spectre Opening Scene (By Christopher Ally)


007 is what people call James Bond and I can honestly say that his movies are licensed to kill as well. My all time favorite so far has to be “Spectre”, especially the beginning of the movie. During the beginning of this movie there was a complete different take on who James Bond was. It all started off with the Dia de Los Muertos parade. A large crowd surrounded a man walking the opposite way in all white. People including myself thought it was Bond but of course it was not that easy. The camera then makes a sudden swing to a man in a black outfit with a skeleton body on it and a woman in a dress. They walked up the stairs to her room where Bond shows his true identity. This is were all the suspense begins. Bond walks out the door and walks away as if he’s just going on a stroll. That isn’t the case, he then pulls out a gun while he was on roof tops after leaving the woman’s room. By doing this he has identified that the enemy was close. He point his gun to the window and all eyes are on the edge of their seats to see what he does. It is all about anticipation and that is what Bond does well in this movie. My attention was grabbed immediately by the parade and the only people walking to other way.

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

The movie Inglorious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth, is an action dramedy film about World War II and the Nazi party. The inglorious bastards are a group of soldiers that are sent out on a mission to kill Hitler and end the Nazi regime.The movie also stars a young Jewish woman named Shoshanna Dreyfus who, at first, escaped Nazi persecution and after a few years was able to change her identity and become the owner of a movie theater in France. The theater catches the interest of the Nazis and they decide to hold a premier for a Nazi movie with Hitler himself on the guest list. One more star of the movie is a Nazi colonel named Hans Landa, also known as the “Jew hunter,” who was the man that killed the Dreyfus family leaving Shoshanna running away for her life.

The opening scene starts off in 1914 with a French family, the LaPadites, working in their country home in until Nazi military cars show up. Hans Landa steps out of the vehicle to talk to the father, Perrier, and questioned him about Jewish families under protection in the area. Colonel Landa already knows that the LaPadites have Shoshanna’s family hidden in the house, but he plays around with Perrier all the same. Toward the end of the scene, he gives Perrier an option to give up the hidden family to spare his own, or he kills everyone in the house. Mr. LaPadite has no choice and sadly gives up the family leaving the general to bring in his guards to shoot the floorboards killing everyone but Shoshanna who manages to escape.

I believe the opening scene is considered a “hard opening” because of its suspense and the final impact. The colonel only slightly reveals that he already knows that the LaPadites are hiding the family, but throughout the scene one is still hoping that Perrier will pull off the lies. The viewer also feels mixed emotions in this one scene. Feeling saddened by the Dreyfus’ murder and that Shoshanna lost her loved ones, but relieved that at least she was able to escape. Feeling good about Perrier’s valiant attempts to save the Dreyfuses and feeling horrible about Perrier’s tough position and his final, inevitable betrayal of the family. Lastly, feeling anger and hate toward Colonel Landa and his disgusting actions, but feeling impressed by his cunning and intelligence.

Opening scene videos in order:



Homework #2: The Italian Job (1969)


The Italian Job (1969)

The Italian Job is one of the most memorable openings to a movie I have seen.  In short, they destroy a Lamborghini Miura. What is really interesting about it is the composition of camera shots and the surprise that comes when it crashes. The camera shots for the first minute or two are accompanied by lovely music and shots that indicate not even a touch of danger. The opening credits roll in and we start to see from inside of the car. Personifying the person inside, not as good or bad yet, but as on their way to a meeting. A person of wealth on their way to a meeting. Credits continue to roll in and we see out the front of the car, the driver carving corners. Taking the racing line when safe but not a touch of danger in the Italian mountains. Then the driver goes into a tunnel, the music stops and the engine roars and echos in the tunnel. As the car fades into the darkness we get a sense that it may be going bad or we may just be fading to black. Then the tire screeches and the explosion. The Miura totaled. It would almost be a crime today to crash one but back in 1969 it was like crashing any modern sportscar. To top it off we see that not only was a crash but a setup as the bulldozer pulls the car out of the tunnel. The driver looks over to the man who clearly is the boss and then pushes the car over the edge of a cliff into a stream. We then see the car be torn apart and the men take off their hats in a statement of respect. Why does this stick with me? I’m not sure. Maybe its the elaborate plan it took to kill one person. Maybe its the fact that they destroy a cool car. I’m sure that the whole presentation of the scene and the prolonged surprise add to the effect. I enjoy the scene for its dynamic range from pleasant to horrible all in a matter of seconds and it never shows any death blood or gore on screen. The setup looks professional, maybe that is the point.

HW#2_Star Wars: The Force Awakens—–Hao H.——-

Opening of Star Wars the force awakens is quite an experience, not only is it memorable, it leaves an impact on how the movie will play out.The Resistance and The First Order are both after a map that led to Luke skywalks’ location. Pilot, Poe Dameron, was sent to the Jakku to recover the map piece from Lor San Tekka, but Kylo Ren and the First Order were close behind. As the stormtroopers attacked, Poe Dameron and gave the map piece to his droid BB-8, who fled into the desert. Kylo Ren had traveled to Jakku personally and laid siege to the village, executing everyone and taking Poe Dameron prisoner. From the beginning you have a sense of suspense that keeps building up, then the action takes place, a sense of rush goes down your spine as you see Poe Dameron gets captured. Looking at Kylo Ren stops the blaster bolt scene, right always you knew that this person was powerful from doing a simple movement to stop the blaster bolt: An energy beam was stopped mid air, it doesn’t get better then that; there was also a change in beat when Poe Dameron started to joke around while he was captured. It is exciting and amusing; the opening made it all happen.

Deadpool Opening Scene

Deadpool is a super hero film based on the marvel comics. It was directed by Tim Miller and starred Ryan Reynolds as deadpool. The film is about a former special forces operative who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wade Wilson the special forces operative is then approached by a recruiter from a secret program offering the cure for his cancer. Although he was hesitant at first Wade decides to go to the laboratory and is injected with a serum. The serum awakens mutant genes and Wade discovers he is being used to be sold as a super powered slave. After confrontations with Ajax,  Wade is left for dead but he isn’t and his hunt for Ajax ensues.

The opening scene stood out to me because deadpool is shown inside a van but there are no clues as to how he got in the van. Eventually though we see him fall of the top of a highway and landing inside the van, where a fighting scene takes place. As he is fighting the guys in the van he cracks some jokes here and there and we see a horrific scene where a guy cleanly gets his head cut off by a bicycle chain. The opening scene adds all the aspects I love in a film which are comedy, action and gore. What really pulled me in and kept me watching attentively were the jokes being made while all the action was going down. Miller uses the original comic character and portrays him just the way he is and gave the comic fans just what they wanted.





HomeWork #2 Pulp Fiction -Yahir


The opening scene that I chose was Pulp Fiction’s. This movie being one of Tarantino’s most  recognizable and impactful starts out with the two characters Pumkin and Honey Bunny eating breakfast at a diner. Pumkin then gets the idea to rob the place when he realizes that robbers never rob restaurants. Honey Bunny his girlfriend becomes excited with the idea and soon the two pull out their guns and rob the place.

I find this opening sequence so interesting for many reasons. The first is that it just kind of starts abruptly. Tarantino stated numerous times how he did this on purpose to set the tone for the non-linear narrative of the film. The two after discussing plans to rob the place seem to start getting really turned on by each other by the idea of the act.  In the end of the film we see the continuation of this scene and what proceeds after it and it ties the end of the narrative of the movie.  This scene is very non conventional like the rest of the movie and immediately dives right in to the story. We don’t really know much about these two characters, but it’s sort of explained as you see their dialogue unfold. We get an idea about who they are and what they do based on their plotting of their next heist. After some convincing Honey Bunny agrees to rob the diner and the two engage in a passionate kiss before they rob the place.

Another interesting thing to point out is the reasons for the non-linear narrative in the story. In this opening scene we get Pumkin and Honey Bunny’s perspectives but when we catch up to them later in the movie we get the overall perspective thanks to the other characters later introduced.

HOMEWORK#2 Natalie Rodriguez, Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan (1988), was written by Robert Rodat and directed by Steven Spielberg. Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks is set in World War II. It’s about Ryan James Francis, a solider, who’s mother had lost three of her sons in the war except for Ryan, her last surviving. A mission is given to Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and other Soldiers to get Ryan out of the war, if they find him and get him home safely.

The Opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is actually a famous one. It’s Starts in 1944 during World War II’s Invasion of Normandy on Omaha Beach. It can definitely be considered a “hard” opening scene because the action is immediate. It leads from minutes of nervous, frightened soldiers to sudden realistic explosion of bombs, shots firing, gushing blood, open wounds, slowly dying and dead Soldiers for around 20 min. It leaves the audience with uneasy feelings of not knowing when it will be over, and asking just how the rest of the story will play out.

What’s compelling in this opening scene is when the soldiers begin to pray, and as they are praying the scenes go from one soldier to the next. You can see the sadness and them holding on, more like strongly and literally holding on to their faith. The one soldier who was laid out on the ground, with his intestines out of his body crying out loudly through the explosions, “Mama.” was the most heartbreaking thing to see. You can only imagine in real life, dying in war at a young age crying out for your family hoping to some how have them hold you and tell you everything will be alright, and hear them say what’s happening is not really happening. The opening alone can definitely make you tear up without having to get invested in a character first.