Monday, October 19, 2009

A Manic Monday

Today is a special day at the high school.  It is an inservice day, which means that the students are off and we, the faculty, are at school learning how to be better teachers.  It is a great idea, because it gives us work time and really does help us grow as educators (you don't want a dunce teaching your kids afterall) but at the same time, I wish I was home in bed still like the students.  I will say that my first seminar today on 21th Century Learning skills is very interesting, though not really going through things I haven't done before.  In fact, we are creating blogs right now.  You already know that I am a MASTER BLOGGER (imagine that spoken by Ian McKellen as if he were saying "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!")...and we also know that I love the parenthesis.  So I'm going to cover my first movie related post while all the other teachers are figuring out how peg A fits into hole B.

This weekend I saw a film that's trailer has haunted me since I first saw it on pay-per-view back in elementary school.  It is Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder, which almost turned out to be as disturbing as I had always imagined the film would be.  For those of you unfamiliar, it tells the story of Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) who is a Vietnam vet who appears to be seeing strange and frightening images around him as he attempts to go about his normal life and it all seems to be tied into a specific night in Vietnam during the war.  When he discovers that all of his old war buddies are seeing the same things, he begins to suspect conspiracy.  The trailer is attached below:



If you watched the trailer, you can see that the film promises to leave a lasting impression with you and I must say that it certainly did.  I was surprised at the disturbing images of screaming heads, eyeless faces, and strange slimy beasts that I saw and even more surprised by what I didn't see.  Much like the shower scene in Psycho, Lyne paces the shots and editing that you see so little, but just enough to where your mind can fill in the blanks with the horrors that it can imagine. It has been said that this film has inspired the video game Silent Hill as well as the visual style of several films (Event Horizon and In the Mouth of Madness come to mind) and I was very impressed with how it made me feel.  I almost dreaded every scene change and every new character that was introduced because I never knew when the story was going to swing into another vision of horror, which gives the viewer a real impression of what it must be like to have to live with horrific hallucinations and flashbacks.  That shows the artistry of the filmmaker more than any cheap 'jump scares' ever could (though I'm not against the 'jump scare', I'm sure I'd fill a horror movie with them if I was making one).  So I highly recommend Jacob's Ladder to anyone who enjoys a thriller that is just a little off and makes you think a little harder.  Be warned viewers, it is not for the squeamish.

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