Dear students

Welcome to English 124 and our blog. This blog will provide you with the materials we will be using in class for your review. Here you will find the power point presentations, videos and blog comment assignments to be used in class. I hope it will also be a good place to comment about films that you have watched and liked or disliked. Please feel free to comment on the progress of our blog. If there are sites you feel are important to include in our blogroll, feel free to suggest them so that they can be included.  I’m looking forward to a very enjoyable summer.


11 thoughts on “Dear students

  1. Carolina M Vargas
    Movie Blog #2 The Gladiator

    The movie The Gladiator, set in roman times, directed by Ridley Scott; written by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson, based on the story by Franzoni, premiered on May 2000. It stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Moller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Richard Harries. The film claimed five Oscars at the 73rd Academy Awards including: best picture, best actor, best sound mixing, best visual effects and best costume design.
    In the film, The Gladiator’s opening scene we can see General Maximus (Russell Crowe) at the final battle of a 3-year campaign against the Germanic tribes. Maximus leads Rome to victory, and is extremely happy because he believes he is going home to his wife and child. Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) calls on Maximus to inform him that he intends to give his power to Maximus. Maximus is to become the protector of Rome and give back the power to the Senate, Rome is to be a Republic again. When Marcus Aurelius informs his son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), of his decision Commodus murders his father and orders the execution of Maximus and his family. Commodus is now the emperor of Rome. Maximus escapes his captives, though wounded, and reaches his home where he finds his wife and son staked to a cross and burned. Soon after Maximus is taken by a slave trader and sold to Proximo (Oliver Reed) somewhere in North Africa. Maximus losses his name and is known as The Spaniard, and is forced to fight as a gladiator. Maximus goes from arena to arena fighting and killing until he is able to reach Rome. In his first fight in The Colosseum, they are to reenact the battle of Carthage, where the barbarians are supposed to lose. To the crowds and emperors surprise the barbarians win the fight, the emperor decides to go down to the arena and congratulate the Spaniard in person. Commodus goes into shock when the Spaniard reveals himself as Maximus, the emperor knows he must deal with Maximus. Lucille (Connie Nielson), emperor’s sister and once the lover of Maximus, visits Maximus and tells him that he must kills her brother and return Rome to its glory. Lucille and senator Gracchus (Derek Jacobi) make a plan to free Maximus, gather his army and take Rome from Commodus. The emperor learns of his deceiving sisters plan, he orders his army to incarcerate senator Gracchus and capture Maximus. The emperor has staged a fight between the gladiator and himself, before going to the arena Commodus fatally wounds Maximus. As they fight Maximus is lingering between the carnal and spiritual world, he has glimpses of his home and his family, Maximus kills Commodus. He tells the army to release his men, the gladiators. Before his death in the arena, Maximus tells senator Gracchus of Marcus Aurelius dying wish, to return power to the senate and make Rome a republic once again.

    The magnificent Gladiator is a sprawling, enthralling Roman orgy of blood, passion, betrayal and revenge. It is monumental movie-making: visually thrilling, technically astonishing, and emotionally engaging.
    In my opinion, The Gladiator is a great film. The cinematography, whether depicting the bone crunching, flesh tearing horrors of battle both in the real world as in the gladiator’s arena to the imperial decadence of Rome, is outstanding. But for me the star of the movie is Russell Crowe, he completely embodies the role of Maximus as a roman general and the Spaniard as a gladiator. Crowe’s manly good looks, pained face and that husky voice gave life to the character.

  2. This movie is about Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Bilbo joins the company in an unexpected journey through dangerous lands of the Middle-Earth where they must fight against Trolls, Orcs and other magic creatures. Hobbit movie time an unexpected trip is 3h 2m. In the movie are 19 chapters in Hobbit. The movie hobbit was filmed in New Zealand in the year of November 28, 2012. The director of the movie Hobbit is called Peter Jackson was born in New Zealand on October 31 in 1961.
    What I liked about the hobbit movie was because Gandalf chooses him as the tenth quarter of the company to help the dwarves find the ark stone and Thorin doubts about bilbo then I felt good in a scene that Thorin tells bilbo I should never doubt him. What I do not like about the hobbit movie is because of the sentimental songs that break my heart because when you lose a friend with whom you have got along very well because the song appears in the sadness scene.

  3. Carolina M Vargas
    (500) Days of Summer

    (500) Days of Summer, directed by Marc Webber, made its debut august 2009. The films estimated budget was $7.5 million, and it grossed around $60 million worldwide. (500) Days of Summer is an offbeat eccentric romantic comedy, about a woman named Summer (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn’t believe in love. Her counter-part is Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is essentially a hipster that’s much too eager to fall in love. Though a romantic comedy the story is not really about love, but of a heartbreak, and it does not have the typical happy ending. The story is narrated not by Tom, but it is his perspective on love, life and Summer. The film does not follow a linear order, but instead bounces back and forth for 500 days to explain Tom’s “love story”.

    In the beginning of the film, there’s a disclaimer that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The disclaimer states: “Author’s Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.” Though the movie is not based on reality, one of the screenwriters had recently been dumped by his girlfriend, and hence wrote (500) Days of Summer. The film begins on day 488 with the image of Summer and Tom sitting on a bench on a park looking content, Summer has a wedding ring on her finger. Though the ring wasn’t given by Tom. We learn early on that Summer breaks up with Tom on day 290, which catapult’s him into 210 days agony and misery. From this moment on the film goes back and forth through those 500 days of Summer. We can watch as Tom falls madly in love with Summer, how the spend their days together, going to th movies to watch old films, visiting record stores and buying vinyl’s, going out and my personal favorite going to Ikea and pretending that they are in a relationship and warehouse is there home. The glorious day, for Tom, when they first have sex. As we see all the good moments, we also bear witness to the end that Tom never saw coming. From this point on the story takes a turn we are shown the effects of being heartbroken. The denial, the hurt, the hate and the overall uncleanliness. As the film comes to an end there are less memories of Summer, letting us know that Tom is finally over her and ready for the next love. As the movie plays out and we witness the demise of what Tom thought was love, I can’t help but feeling that I can relate to both characters. Most of us have fallen in love and had our heart broken, just like Tom. Some of us haven’t been whole heartedly in a relationship just because we couldn’t commit, just like Summer.

    When I first saw the film (500) Days of Summer, I was 19 years old about to turn 20. For me it portrayed what love was supposed to be, while the relationship worked of course. It was a fun, exciting, weird and unique relationship, it was what I wanted to have at some point in my life. In my opinion Zooey Deschanel, plays the character of Summer to perfection, which solidified her onscreen Persona. She is coy, she is witty, she is fun, she is beautiful, she is enticingly weird, she is quirky and she’s impossible not to fall in love with. From her doe-eyed stares, to her singing karaoke, she is the personification of Summer Finn. On the other side, we have Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom, sincerely what’s not to love about him. One review described the film as “the first great cinematic romance of the Facebook generation

  4. Christian Velez Vidal
    The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    This psycho thriller movie, directed by Jonathan Demme, shows you how F.B.I. trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) tries to solve the case of an infamous serial killer named “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine) with five victims dead under his belt. While Clarice is still a trainee, Jack Crawford (Scott Glen), her leader, sends her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), another serial killer responsible for cannibalizing his victims. As Clarice starts to question Dr. Hannibal, she begins gathering information to help her solve the clues for the case of “Buffalo Bill”.

    This movie is one of my all time favorites since I’ve always found interesting the stories of serial killers and their behavior. In this movie, they show you how this murderer thinks and uses his thoughts to execute his victims. I find very interesting how their psychological world can be so horrifying but clever. In the movie, Clarice realizes how the mind of these people can function similar to that of another serial killer which at the end of the movie helps her find “Buffalo Bill”.

  5. Reggie E. Rivera Mulet
    American Psycho (2000)
    Directed by : Mary Harron

    American Psycho is a comedy-psychological-horror film starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman. A young and handsome professional who lives two lives. Lawyer by day and serial killer by night. Very narcissistic and always seeking approval of others. Bateman loves to rape, kill and eat human flesh off of his victims. One of his victims was Paul Allen, a business partner who Bateman was obsessed with his possessions. From the fabric and make of his suit to his watermarked business card. Bateman had a strong worry to whether or not he fits in between his other successful co-workers or his he even “cooler” or richer than them. He was so in love with himself that he videotaped every time he raped and killed someone to play it back so he could watch it as many times as he liked. He became so insensitive that nothing meant anything to him anymore. His world was so full of insecurities and upper-imaging that he destroyed every single bit of indivituality in his system for good. So much that he finally killed Paul Allen with an axe to the face after he invited him over for dinner. Patrick Bateman represents the upper-class and how its role takes place in society. Wealthy individuals who seek acceptance of others and be as superior as possible. I love this film because it makes you think a lot, captures your feelings and sucks you into the characters’s mind .It’s scary to think that there are people like Patrick Bateman living in our world… around us.

  6. Yandel Irizarry
    The Truman Show

    The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir, starts with an insurance salesman called Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) who discovers his whole life was controlled and simulated to create a reality TV show. Truman realizes he was raised by a corporation invented by Christof (Ed Harris) to develop what it’s now a live program watched worldwide. He has spent his entire life in the seaside town of Seahaven Island, which in reality was a giant set established near Hollywood. This set is filled with actors surrounded with state of the art technology to simulate day/night, weather conditions, and thousands of cameras to watch him. Although Seaheaven is a vast creation, Truman manages to reach the edges of this set by crossing the ocean he fears. The producers of the reality show discouraged Truman from leaving Seahaven by giving him a terrifying and thrilling moment in his childhood, turning him aquaphobic after the “death” of his father actor on a boat “accident” caused by the fake storm, and by constantly broadcasting and printing messages of the dangers of traveling.

    Eventually, Truman starts noticing unusual events like a spotlight falling out of the sky, a radio frequency that describes his movements and the rain that only follows and falls on him. Truman spots a man who recognizes as his father. His father-actor went back onto the set, but other actors quickly drag the man away. After this suspicious sequence, that night Christof lost sight of Truman, making him cut transmission for the first time ever after almost thirty years broadcasting live. Later on, Truman was found sailing out of Seahaven, facing his fear of water. Christof resumes the broadcast with a lightning storm trying to flip the boat with the simulated waves, but the attempt to fetch Truman fails. The program executives were afraid that Truman could die on live television, but Truman manages to persist. Realizing he cannot dissuade Truman any further, Christof ends the weather simulation.

    Truman continues to sail after the intense storm, until his boat strikes the wall of the dome. He finds an exit door, but Christof, speaking directly to Truman through a big Seaheaven speaker system, tries to convince him to stay, stating there is nothing else behind these walls, no more truth in the real world and that by staying in his artificial world, he would have nothing to fear. Truman considers this, and the he says: “In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night,” takes a bow, and leaves. The viewers cheer Truman’s actions, ending Christof’s reality show.

    I love this film, the power and creativity of its script made The Truman Show a masterpiece never seen before. The movie gives you and ending so satisfying that you as a viewer can see the movie viewers cheer as same as you would do. A big acting community in Florida, and tough decision men took the film to another level, their cleverness and pre-production strategies reduced their movie budget to 60 million, and still became a great success earning 260 millions in the Box Office. A movie to reflect and to empathize with Burbank, a satirical sci-fi film that made viewers analyze the circumstances and actions around Truman “fake” life to fulfill Cristof’s ambition. It makes us think about the ethical perspective and the complexity of how “we accept the reality we are presented with.”

  7. Esteban Calderon Rosado
    Spider- Man 2

    Spider-Man 2 was directed by Sam Reimi and was released in 2004. The movie serves as a sequel to the first Spider-Man movie. In this installment we see how Peter Parker continues with his powers and does his duty to serve the city of New York. As a result of the first movie his best friend Harry Osborn had a father named Norman Osborn and this was the green goblin, the archenemy of spider-man. When Harry learned that his father was the green goblin and that he had fought spider man, his hatred for him was immense since he thought he killed his father. In the second movie this hatred continues, Peter Park by hiding his identity to protect the people he loves, lies very often and this causes distrust and irresponsibility in him. which causes the disappearance of their powers for a while. Since he had to know who he really was and accept his responsibility. after all this event he meets a scientist called doctor octopus. (that’s his villain name). This scientist wants to innovate clean energy and make good use of science, but in practice there was a tremendous failure and caused the madness in the doctor to have more energy to finish his experiment. Peter Park was in the lab when the accident happened. in the plot of the spider-man movie he had meetings with doctor octopus. And one of the most epic battles was his fight on the train, that fight was incredible since there were hostages on the train and the action of the scene was well balanced. At the end of the movie, Spider-Man has to fight for the last time with an archenemy and save New York and his girlfriend who had been kidnapped by Dr. Octopus.

    Already given a brief summary of the movie, I think it is the best spider man movie yet. because we see all the development of the main character through the movie. It is not that he wants to despise the work that the actor tom Holland has done but, Tobey did an incredible job with this character and we can see it through the course of his films. I bring this issue as a topic of discussion because many people think that Tom Holland is the best spider man. In my opinion he has done a good job with his character, but even Tobey is the best spider man. because of the fact that I could feel like a child back then how difficult it was to have super powers.

    And in a part of the spider-man movie his uncle Ben tells him: “with great power comes great responsibility” at that moment I could feel that it was true. And today when I see that saga again I still like it more and more as they built this franchise. When I ask people why they like Tom Holland more, they don’t know what to answer about it and they always say that those who like or say that Tobey is better is because they are nostalgic, and the truth is that they don’t. They are both good actors, but if you talk to me more about developing a character, without a doubt I choose Tobey over Tom. At the end of the day they are excellent actors that I admire, but we must recognize points of view to clarify minds.

  8. Javier Martinez Yordan
    Lord of the Rings The Two Towers.

    Lord of the Rings The Two Towers was released on 2002 directed by Peter Jackson. The film takes place after the Fellowship of the Ring was splits up. After the Uruk Hai ambushed the fellowship and Boromir was killed. Two Hobbits, Merry and Pippin were kidnaped and were to be taken to Isengard. Frodo and Sam embark on their journey to into Mordor and destroy the ring of power. Meanwhile Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are searching for Merry and Pippin and save them from the Uruk Hai. As they search for the two little Hobbits, they meet inside the Fangorn Forest Gandalf the White, who they previously knew as Gandalf the Grey before he fell in Moria. Frodo and Sam meet Gollum, who becomes their guide into Mordor. After, Aragorn and his two friends reunite with Gandalf the White. They ride to Rohan to take away the curse Saruman has given to the king. Saruman bewitched the mind of the king, controlling his every action and clouding his mind. Gandalf was successful at breaking the curse. Saruman becomes angry and orders his army to march and attack Helms Deep, an old fortress for Rohan. As the men wait for the inevitable fate, their hope slowly fading away, when suddenly elves arrive to aid men and bring back the old alliance they had once before. After, the men and elves fight off the enemy for several hours until reinforcements arrive and they defeat the enemy.

    Now, what makes this film good, apart from having one of the best battle scenes in all of cinematic history, is that it’s not a slow film. There is action from the very beginning. It also introduces new characters from Rohan such as Theoden, Eowyn, and Eomer. The movie allows us to see how characters from the first film develop as the story progresses. You can see how these characters come from being just simple companions to becoming friends. As the film progresses, you see little by little, how the ring of power consumes and controls Frodo. As well you can see how Merry starts maturing and sees the world in a different way, causing him to stop acting childishly. The film shows how the Hobbits leave their home and how their view of the world changes drastically because of it. At the begging of the movie, you see Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli running after Merry and Pippin. They are injured from the battle in the first movie showing us that they are worriers. Now, the best part of this film is the Battle of Helms Deep. You must be wondering what makes this battle special. What makes the Battle of Helms Deep so special and different from any other battle in a film is that it has about 30 to 45 minutes of build up. You see how different characters see the army marching and when you first see it when Merry and Pippin are on top of the tree and glance at the Uruk Hai army marching out of Isengard. The second time you see the Uruk Hai army is when Aragorn is ridding to helms deep. This pretty much gives a small look at the amount of orcs the had not only that but it also emphasizes that it took more than one day for the Uruk Hai to arrive at Helms Deep. Then we see the scene where men and elves are waiting for the Uruk Hai to arrive but there is no music score at that moment giving a field of what the felt at the moment just sitting still waiting. You see the army from a far and you can see how outnumbered they were the good guys were hanging by a thread. That shows that the good guys don’t have it easy also you see that men and elves don’t have any type of advanced weapons unlike the enemies army. What makes this scene good is that everyone is at the same place and have the same purpose to defend the people behind those walls. As the battle progresses there is another scene where there was no music score just the sound of the blades arrows flawing around the screaming of men letting the audience know that that’s how the people at the battle felt.

    Most people consider The Two Towers the best from the Lord of the Rings trilogy because of all those little details. The fact that as the battle progresses and it moves to different parts of the fortress you still see the main characters fighting together side by side. Even though good won over evil at the end film the characters new that this was a victory but that it was far from over and that they had a many battles to come. The film shows how Tolkin in his novels showed that no matter how dark the situation is or hold difficult good always wins over evil.

  9. Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, directed by Guy Ferland, is based on the life story of Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen, who moved to Cuba with her family in 1958. Thus, the “Based on True Events” title. In November 1958, the American teenager Katey Miller moves with her parents and her younger sister to Havana. Her father is an executive of Ford and moved to Cuba, and Katey is an excellent high school senior student that misses her friends. The family lives in a fancy hotel, where Katey accidentally meets the local teenage waiter Javier Suarez. Later she sees Javier dancing in a public square and they become friends, but he was fired from the hotel because her acquaintances had seen them together. Katey invites Javier to participate of a Latin Ballroom Contest in the local Palace club to help him to raise some money, and she secretly meets him in the La Rosa Negra nightclub for rehearsals. Later they fall in love for each other in times of revolution. Katey’s father works underneath an American company in Cuba, so when Batista flees the country, it leaves Katey’s family in a position where they must leave as well.

    I remember growing up and watching this movie because of how I once fell in love with the original movie, although the Havana Nights version had taken my heart. Havana Nights showered more cultural aspects into the story, not only making it about love rather than the actual plot adjusting to the series of events that lead to their farewell. It’s well acted with a great cast that doesn’t disappoint and the dancing is terrific, although neither of the main characters knew how to dance outside of the script. And what a treat to revisit the unforgettable Swayze who was still fabulous in his fifties only 4 years before his untimely passing coming into play a “Yoda” type role in the movie, just to fulfill the original Dirty Dancing movie. The clothes and cinematography make me yearn for my childhood. Everything was choreographed to fix the culture, to fit the Hispanic vibes and what it means to actually dance casual but appropriately different than what other dancers would condone.

    In most people’s eyes, Havana Nights doesn’t live up to expectations that the original Dirty Dancing had implied, but what movie can actually live up to it’s original? To me, Havana Nights is it’s own story line with merging similarities of the love story but other than that, Havana Nights isn’t a sequel rather than a movie of it’s own with an amazing soundtrack, captivating dance moves and a list of terrific actors. Although, it doesn’t capture the “happy ending” of a true romance movie. In the end, Katey and Javier make separate ways due to their different lives although Katey’s “dreams had changed.” It leaves you wanting more, it leaves you wanting to see them come together in the future, but (spoiler) they don’t. To some, that’s a good way to end a movie, give the audience wanting more, but to me, a hopeless romantic, I live for those moments of happiness among the characters. This is a movie I grew up watching over and over again, on a rainy day, until I can quote the entire movie. My overall rating ⅘ stars.

  10. Good Morning professor,

    Carolina M Vargas Sanabria
    Student # 201-50-8138
    Course: Ing 124 Sec. 003

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