All posts by Matthew Schneiderman

Central Park Five

I watched this documentary after the presentations on Tuesday and was very intrigued by the whole incident. I thought that it was a very strong and compelling documentary that really captured my attention. I couldn’t help to be frustrated with the way the five were being treated when brought into questioning and how the detectives handled the whole situation. It reminded me of the Amanda Knox case in which the officials questioned the suspect for long hours, breaking them down and exhausting them in order to get the report they wanted. The case was mishandled and as a result five lives will never be the same.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

I thought this documentary did a good job in revealing just how much advertisements can influence movies. When I watched movies growing up I never associated  a familiar product with marketing. I just figured that it was put in there by choice rather than to sell something. What I found astounding was how some brands even had their product affect some of the dialogue in a movie.  I feel that advertising in this way is kind of annoying and more subliminal in getting people to buy their products. Although I understand that many films, especially block busters, need these advertisers in order to achieve a budget of high magnitude, I feel that it is not right to get in the way of the director’s artistic process.

The Hunting Ground

One thing that I thought was interesting from the piece was how much these large Universities acted like a business. Just like large scale companies, Universities try to cover up any controversy or events that may make them look bad and sweep it under the rug. For example, if a school has a high percentage of reported rapes, many parents may be hesitant about sending their child there. This leads to many faculty discouraging students from speaking out in order to keep the information from reaching the public. Another thing these schools fear is that those who are falsely accused of rape will sue the University. As a result, the school becomes more hesitant when taking complaints and questions the victims.

In addition, frats have had many instances in which rape cases were reported. Colleges however are very lenient when it comes to punishing the frat and those in it. This goes back to the point about the school being a big business. Frats offer a lot to a school. This includes alumni who eagerly donate money and are very active in the spirit of the school. If frats start being thrown off campus, alumni would be outraged and stop giving money.

Rape on college campuses is a very hard problem to address. If faculty starts speaking out, they run the risk of getting fired, as shown in the documentary. By filming this piece and screening it around college campuses, we are taking a step in the right direction.

The House I Live In

After watching The House I Live In, I couldn’t believe the jail time that many of the inmates were getting. There have been countless murder cases, even horrific ones, in which the offender had a lesser sentence than some of the mentioned drug dealers and addicts in the documentary. I couldn’t believe that some people can even get a life sentence on a drug charge alone. It was astounding that one small mistake can destroy one’s entire life. Many of the drug offenders should have been helped and treated instead of being thrown into a prison and transported far away from society.  I don’t think it is right to treat these people the same way a murderer would be treated and labeling the offender as a bad person. Most of the time the person was not raised in the best environment and is doing what he can to survive. With these kind of charges, it is scary that cops will do whatever it takes to bust as many people as they can in order to receive a higher pay check. In the documentary, police officers would get paid overtime for additional cases and filling out the paperwork that goes along with it. This documentary really opened my eyes to the unfair ways people with drug charges are being handled. They shouldn’t just be banished from society as a way of dealing with them. I hope change comes soon and we, as a country, figure out a better way of dealing with the war on drugs.

Grand Budepest Hotel

After watching the Grand Budapest hotel over break, I was amazed about how they were able to create such an amazing look to the movie from the sets to the color. After looking up videos of behind the scenes of the movie, I was able to find a youtube video that shows some of the shots in the movie with and without the effects. While watching I noticed that besides for the great amount of color correcting in each scene, there are also many miniature and CGI- created structures. In the movie, they also used a lot of matte effects and green screen technology. A lot of the movie used green screens in order to fit the characters on a miniature and in front of CGI animated structures. I also though it was interesting that they added stop-motion in the sledding scene which gave the scene a special look.

Foley Artists

I thought the video we watched in class a few day ago about the foley artists was awesome. I learned a lot about how much sound really can add to a movie/ cartoon. I thought it was very cool how the sounds from these cartoons came from objects that had nothing to do with the sounds in which they were producing. When I used to watch cartoons, I never perceived the sound of the wind, footsteps, and other subtle sounds to be anything other than what they were in the cartoon. The fact that elaborate objects were created to imitate these sounds is truly amazing. Sometimes when I heard the sound from the object, it was hard for me to picture what sound it was supposed to be representing. When the sound was synchronized to the image however, it became clear and really helped emphasize the actions of the characters. I also couldn’t believe that someone ever was able to come up with the idea of hanging a slinky from a ladder to create the Star Wars laser gun sound.

Birman Long take

As Birdman has just won best picture, I think it is appropriate to comment on an interesting aspect of the movie; its use of the long take. After watching the behind the scenes of Children of Men, it is obvious the amount of preparation and precision that is needed to pull a scene like this off. This scene however was only 4 minutes. Birdman was filmed over 90 minutes with what seemed to be one long take.  According to an article, however, while there were very long takes used, the director was able to use tricks to make it seem like there were no cuts throughout the entirety of the movie. For example, they would cut in the middle of a pan, which made the scene look seamless to the viewer. I thought this was a very cool and unique aspect that really added to the movie.

Sound Article

After reading the sound article by Steven Johnson, I am amazed about how sound transformed into what it is today. Something I found interesting is how many inventors imagined how their inventions would be used in the future of society. For example, Leon Scott de Martinsville invented the phonautograph, which would etch out waves according to what was said into the hornlike apparatus. Scott thought that in the future, we would learn how to read these waves, almost like a second language. This was a good idea in the sense that it could transcribe what a person was saying; however, it had a shortfall in that no one was going to learn a new language to read it.

Another interesting example was the thought Edison and Bell had for their invention’s future usage. Edison had invented the phonograph as a way of sending audio letters through the postal system. Bell had envisioned the telephone as a way of listening to music, with an orchestra on one side of the line and the person on the other. These two inventions were actually used for reversed reasons. The telephone was used for communication, while the phonograph was used to listen to music.


While watching this movie, I thought it was really unique and creative how Oliver Stone structured the film. While focusing on Jim Garrison’s case, Stone strategically plays real life footage from the 60’s that really added a sense of realism to the move. The movie was almost filmed like a documentary with real footage and opinions expressed from  those in the movie. I thought it was also interesting how Stone filmed scenes with his own actors and added black and white filters to make the scene seem as though it was real life footage. In the movie, Stone successfully was able to point out the discrepancy’s in the assassination case. Although Garrison was not able to convict Claw Shaw, he made it obvious that the story of Lee Harvey Oswald held water and that there must have been more than one gunman.

Battle Algiers Realism

While watching the Battle of Algiers, I knew that the events surrounding the movie were based on real life events, but I had no idea that some of the characters were actually real life people. Ali, for example, actually was a real life FLN guerrilla and was known as the hero of Casbah. General Mathieu was also based on the French general Jacques Massu. In the movie, the Algerian women who dressed up in Western clothing and bombed the french establishments also actually happened. I found this out from an interesting article about the movie. The article also explains some of the things that the movie had left out such as insurrection that was taking place in the rest of Algeria.