Blog Post 8

Donnie Darko (Directed by Richard Kelly) – Expectations from Reviews


Before watching Donnie Darko (a film that I have never watched before on account of everyone I know having already watched it) I read three reviews. The first was by Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian ( written in October 2002. From this review I gathered that the film would be in the tradition of other ‘adolescent angst in leafy suburbia’ movies. He praised the film’s originality but also commented that it was also somewhat flawed, as it was not entirely coherent. The second review I read was by Elvis Mitchell for The New York Times ( written in October 2001. He commented that it echoed John Hughes’ works (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club…), but was darker…and not quite as good. He summarised that is a film that aims high but falls slightly short of the mark. Anthony Quinn writing years later than the film’s original release in February 2009 ( for The Independent similarly states that it is an ‘oddball’ movie that is recognisable as the work of a first time filmmaker. After reading these reviews my expectations were lower that they were after having heard about the film from friends. I was anticipating a slightly disappointing and confusing film.


After watching the film I felt that the reviews were slightly unfair. Yes, the film was ambitious but it was also emotionally complex. The character of Donnie could have easily become a cliché but Jake Gyllenhaal is a compelling actor who was able to prevent him becoming irritating. Another standout performance was by Patrick Swayze as the sinister Jim Cunningham – self-help guru, bullshit merchant and paedophile. I found the film to be cinematographically interesting and evocative. The soundtrack also fitted the mood and tone of the movie (although I do find Gary Jules’ rendition of ‘Mad World’ slightly maudlin). The psychological thriller aspect of the film I can see is slightly flawed. The question of who Frank is was answered by the end, as was where the aeroplane engine came from. However, the relevance and story behind Grandma Death I felt was somewhat abandoned by Kelly. I realise that many psychological thrillers are left on a certain note of mystery but this part of the plot was just left hanging slightly limp. Having said that, the fact that I was left thinking and mulling over the film after I had watched it shows to me that it is a decent film. I enjoyed it, and although I do agree with the critics that it had its flaws, I nevertheless found it to be engaging and moving.


Black Swan


For this blog, I chose the film, Black Swan, Directed by Darren Aronofsky. This film stars, Natalie Portman.

Because Natalie Portman received so much hype and acclaim over this film, I was a tad apprehensive. I am not the biggest Portman fan myself, so I felt as though some of the reviews of the film seemed hyperbolic. But after watching the film, I feel very differently.

I was able to suspend disbelief almost instantly. The level of acting in this film is amazing. Portman does an outstanding job translating this character on the screen. I found myself confused and emotionally distressed quite early on in the film (in a good way), and this was carried with me throughout. Portman’s portrayal of a young dancer on the cusp of her big break was scarily honest, and emotionally jarring in a way that many actor never achieve in their careers.

I’m not sure if my low expectation informed my utter amazement with the film, but I was indeed, utterly amazed with Portman’s performance. Her celebrity certainly did not harm my viewing of the film at all.

Blog Assignment #5- D. Scott

Dwayne Scott                                                                                                                        4-7-14

Momento: Step Outline (First Hour)


(Momento is possibly the toughest movie to create a step outside for. It is tough to determine what order the sequence of events are playing in.)

  1. Man killing another man and taking a picture of it (in reverse).
  2. Character Meets a man who gets in the car, his window is broken. They are heading to a rusted up building because he has a lead on it.
  3. The man he is with, teddy’s, picture comes out of main character’s pocket telling him to kill him. Kills man, in regular motion.
  4. Leonard, the main character, has a conversation with a guy at a credit window, telling him to look out for teddy and don’t hold his call for teddy. Until it zips back to room with him explaining how to take care of his short term memory loss.
  5. The name Sammy Jankin is marked into his skin, he places his received a package from Natalie.
  6. He discovers that Teddy is the man who raped and murdered his wife.
  7. It takes us back through the moments leading up to the murder (leonard kill teddy)
  8. Leonard on way to see Naatalie. Brings us back to how he gets the envelope on john G.
  9. Zips back to lunch with teddy, to looking for his key, to lunch with Natalie.
  10. Sammy Jankin was a case where a man lost his memory, Leonard studied this case called anterograde amnesia. Sammy seemed like he remembered Leonard.
  11. Back to Natalie’s bed. She said she is helping him because he helped her. Says he will not remember her next time he sees her. She says she thinks he will and kisses him. He walks out in the morning and teddy jumps on the hood of his car.
  12. On the phone (in present), Leonard talks about how one can learn to conditioning not by memory but by instinct.
  13. Shows when he enters Natalie’s house. Focuses on a picture of a man tied up and bleeding, Dod, who hit her… Natalie lost her husband to a “teddy”, says she’ll help him find john g.
  14. The Sammy study didn’t work. The condition was not physical but psychological.
  15. Leonard didn’t kill Dod, had him tied up and beaten. Teddy shows up and brings him to Natalie’s house.
  16. Leonard is sitting in an apartment and decides to take a shower. Dod walks in, a fight breaks out, Leonard ties Dod up takes his gun and calls teddy.
  17. Study proved you can’t torture a man into remembering.
  18. Dod pulls up to Leonard on the road and starts shooting at him.

Maine’s Suspect (Sustina)- D. Scott

Dwayne Scott                                                (Sustina)                                                          4/1/14

Maine’s Suspect

There stood the usual suspect,

a Latino man with his back

pressed against the glass window of the china shop

on the corner of Gerald & Main

being questioned by two police officers

as he eagerly waved for the bus to stop.


– It didn’t. Buses rarely stopped

for anyone. People suspected

that it was due to their skin color. Officers

had to flag down buses to get them to come back

and pick people up. Things were screwed up here in Maine.

-Another cop showed up. Three cops encompassed the china shop


inching closer to the young man. People shopping

gravitated to the city’s sidewalk to stop

and enjoy the show. Maine’s main

attraction on a Saturday afternoon: “Suspect

vs The Justified.” The Latino man looked back

through the glass and saw the reflection of an officer’s


hand just before it smashed his head through the window. The Officers

stepped back to assess their spectators, all white shoppers,

all quiet. The Latino man’s lacerated face looked back

to see a bus with its doors open, stopped,

and it’s driver signaling to come. He suspected

nothing and bolted for the bus that lit up, “Next stop: Main


Street.” Immediately, he began to regret moving to Maine.

he was constantly being treated differently than the other co-workers in the office

and had no clue as to why he raised all of this suspicion.

The Latino man stared out of the window as the bus accelerated past the shops.

The bus kept accelerating, not even stopping

for a red light. The passengers scrambled to the back


of the bus. They knew that he’d come back.

The “Transit Bus Slaughterer” had been the news’s main

story for three weeks non-stop

and the Latino man every officer

was after. The bus driver pulled into an old abandoned sweatshop

factory building and suspiciously


reached behind the back of his seat, pulling out the same gun that the officers

use, and picking off every shopper on the bus. The maniac

looked at the Latino and said, “Don’t stop anywhere. You’ll be the first one suspected.”