Wednesday, March 6, 2013


My movie review for Titanic

Movie Genre: Romantic Tragedy

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

Titanic is a deep ocean romantic tragedy based on the real story of the Titanic and how it sank to the ocean floor after striking an iceberg. The story start with treasure hunters in small submersibles peering at the seafloor wreckage. With a single minded purpose, they scavenge the debris for the most coveted of all jewels, the Heart of the Ocean. The dazzling blue diamond belonged to a woman named rose, the narrator of the film. As she recants the tale of the titanic, the crew eagerly listens on and it morphs in to a rendition of her story.

In total melancholy, Rose tries to kill herself by jumping off the ship's deck. Jack talks her down just in time. She quickly falls in love with the man and secretly pursues an affair against her fiance, a man she does not love.

Like in real life, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink. The passengers foolishly down played the threat of the ship actually sinking and amid the hubris make many mistakes. Ignoring all danger, the crew under fill the lifeboats. To make things worse, there aren't even enough life boats for all the passengers! They hadn't even conceived of the idea that the Titanic, as a man infamously remarked, "God himself could not sink this ship".

Within a short while, the coldest fate befalls the passengers. As reality strikes  the crew panic like wild animals as the dark abyss of the ocean engulfs the passengers.

Spoiler Alert (Scroll down)

Jack and Rose miraculously survive the sinking of the ship and escape the suction caused by the capsizing juggernaut. The freezing cold ocean provides no safe harbor for the lost souls fighting to survive. Although they survived the capsizing, the ocean quickly took them under. While Jack ensured Rose's survival, it came at the cost of his own life. In his final moments, he grasps to Rose's hands. His body is submerged and soon falls dead to extreme hypothermia. Rose let's him go and his lifeless body glides in to the watery depths that claim his soul.

The Titanic is a movie that you can watch many times and still love.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


My movie review for Contact

Movie Genre: Sci-Fi

Grade: B, by Matthew Felsted

Contact is a powerful sci-fi cosmic mystery movie. Based on the real life organization founded at Berkeley University, the radio telescope facilities of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), and how it discovered a anomalous "WoW" Signal.

Throughout the movie, a female scientist passionately leads the world to decode the secret alien transmissions which ultimately lay the blueprints for building a colossal machine. The first machine is destroyed by religious terrorists, but is revealed that a billionaire secretly built a second one in a hidden location. She volunteers to be a test subject of the machine. The machine is initiated and by its motion it rips a hole in the fabric of space-time and she is taken on a time-warp journey through a wormhole.

When she returns, no one actually believes her story. No matter how emphatically she pleads, the skeptical audience refuses to believe her. They scrap the mission and cancel the machine.


My film review for Amadeus

Movie Genre: Drama

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

The story of the historic prodigy and musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, is narated by a murderous madman and rival to the great composer. His name is Salieri and he pushes Motzart to his weary death by depriving him of sleep for many days. Whether or not this is historically accurate is unknown. The cause of Motzart's death in reality is a mystery and the location of his body unknown. He was burried in a lowly and degrading burial pit along with hundreds of other low class commoners - a class to which he did not belong.

To get an idea of the caliber of this man's genius, listen to this beautifully mournful masterpiece by Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, The Requiem:

Finally, the movie trailer:

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Movie Genre: Anime

Grade: A- (because it is a Cult Classic), by Matthew Felsted

Until now, my exposure to Anime has been limited. While I have many friends that praise the popular form that originated in Japan. Anime tends to be computer-animated or hand-drawn and are cartoon like, yet have intellectual appeal. You can learn something about a movie by looking at it's box office gross. According to Box Office Mojo (, Howl's Floating Castle, originally titled Hauru no ugoku shiro (IMDB), pulled in $4.7 million domestically, and amassed nearly $230.4 million in other countries. This tells us that this movie is exceptionally popular outside of the USA, with nearly 98% of it's revenue coming outside of the country. Out of 62,776 votes given by online users, the film scored a rating of 8.1 out of 10, (IMDB). The film was released in 2004.

The story is about a young women that is cursed by a bitter witch. To deal with her problems she turns to a wizard. Like the title suggests, the wizard's home does indeed travel. It has a magical door that can open into any one of four different locations. One location the door leads to a kingdom with the door being connected to a house on the outside, but on the inside it’s still the moving castle. In the other locations, the door opens to the wilderness were the castle is moving at the moment, and another to a mysterious and dark realm. The last door is unknown. Her name is Sophie and the wizard's name is Howl. She is a young girl, just 18 years old when she embarks on her journey.


  • Sophie
  • Howl
  • The young child (apprentice)
  • The talking flame
  • The magical hopping post scarecrow with a turnip for a head
  • The evil witch

Some vague references:
  • Symbolism
  • Religious Elements
  • Philosophical Appeal

Weak connections to concepts in philosophy: 

  • Taoism - 5 parts and principles
  • Ghandi - Peaceful opposition
  • Existentialism - Existence before essence
  • The Grand Inquisitor- The inquisitor: class of mages that rule over kingdom?
  • Siddartha- Life struggles, aims, and lifestylesTouch the Earth- Nature and God
  • Animus: Individuation and social relationship

Bruce Almighty

My movie review for Bruce Almighty

Movie Genre: Drama

Grade: C, by Matthew Felsted

Bruce Almighty is a entertaining comedy starring Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman. Bruce, an aspiring news anchorman in his late 40’s has a day where everything goes wrong. Not only does his most hated coworker steal the anchor position, Bruce is fired the same day. Things continue to get worse when he is beat up by a gang of Mexicans after helping a homeless man which brings him to where God invites Bruce to use his powers.

Bruce’s character sees himself as the center of the universe before and even after he gains his super powers. He demonstrates a lack of restraint when he explodes in a tantrum on live tv coverage when he learns his coworker got the position he wanted. When he has his superpowers, he uses it to get the position he wanted, instead of helping people. While his girlfriend is expecting him to propose, Bruce instead throws an elaborate celebration with a surprise to his girlfriend that turns out to be only a promotion for Bruce.

Barton Fink

My movie review for Barton Fink

Movie Genre: Film Noir

Grade: B-, by Matthew Felsted

                In this film the Coen Brothers take us on yet another dark and chilling path. Like other films they have made Barton Fink contains elements of film noir. Barton Fink is about a writer that finally gets his big break in Hollywood, a break that he tries at first to refuse, but eventually succumbs for financial reasons. He is commissioned with the task of writing a wrestling story but while he writes it he has to live in a hotel. His new residence is hotel hell, a miserable place where he meets his next door neighbor after reporting him to the front office clerk for being terribly distracting with his screaming. His name is Charlie Meadows and he has obvious problems. The hotel in many ways represents hell. Every time Barton Fink starts to write something distracts him. The wall starts peeling and the strange goo drips out. Typical of other movies from the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink descends into a darker world after a female writer he sleeps with is murdered. It is later revealed that the murderer is Charlie Meadows.

                I give it a B- for being so morbidly depressing. Nonetheless the experience created by this chilling tale is unique and may will give a strange but pleasing feeling.


My movie review for Armageddon

Movie Genre: Action-Adventure

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

It is a catastrophic emergency that brings the main characters together in the film Armageddon. They are united in an urgent quest to save the world. A shower of meteorites alerts the world in an instant of the presence of an impending threat. Instantly, the vast destruction of the fore running shower alerts local authorities, where the news rapidly proceeds to climb up to the Pentagon, confirmed by the Navy, and disseminated through out the entire world by the press. The leadership theme is characterized by strict and formal military authority once it has reached the Pentagon, where a quick judgement call rules out the possibility of a hostile attack, delegates information and shares authority with Nasa. As a contrast from the formal and strict authority of the Pentagon, Nasa orders it’s organizational power on expertise.
The crisis proved to be a threat so great that it is believed an impact from the main asteroid would eradicate virtually all life on Earth. To discover how to deal with the threat the primary expert at Nasa called a meeting of the most gifted astrophysicists and they each took turns speaking and presenting ideas until finally one man spoke up and suggested drilling a hole in to the asteroid and detonating a nuke to split it and divert the resulting debris from Earth.

The main characters are all “rough necks”, oil rig field workers that handle drilling operations in all major environments. They were hand selected by the experts at Nasa.
The main characters do not exercise their true leadership roles and responsibilities until they are put in a rocket and sent up towards the asteroid.
Five main themes are present in the film. After reflecting on the themes, I have narrowed the prevalent ones down to the following: the Achiever, the Activator, Analytical, Command, and Maximizer. Each major player in the film is selected as part of an elite group, with nearly all of them having the Achiever theme. A select few key members serve as the Activators, the main expert at Nasa that gets everyone started and working together, and also Harry Stamper, the boss of the rough necks. The Analytical crew includes the astrophysicist that comes up with the solution to drill into the asteroid, and one of the unusual members of the rough neck group. The member is an MIT grad, that received a double doctorate (according to him) by the age of 22, and has an unusually high IQ. Again, Harry Stamper is in the Command theme, and the overall space agency is has a bent towards the Maximizer theme of leadership. They thoroughly searched all around the world to find the top experts, and then maximized their talents through accelerated and rigorous training.
To quickly review the dominant themes presented in the movie: The Achiever (mit grad genius, Nasa board of experts all graduated top of class), Activator (main expert, the boss), Analytical (Mit Grad), Achiever theme Command (Harry Stamper), and Maximizer.