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Ken Bernoska
Works at Bandit Hat
Attended University of Wisconsin-Waukesha
Lives in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin


Ken Bernoska

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I am in love with cinema schnooks; my favourite being C. C. Baxter (C for Curtis, C for Calvin) from The Apartment. He is a decent enough guy, or goy to hear his neighbors speak of him, if only for his pitifully passive nature being so manipulated by the powers at be around him to drag him tangent to their careless carousing and indulgent way of living.

The movie itself has a lot going for it. The vast endlessness of the 17th floor where he works emphasized all the more by the use of a drastically wide aspect ratio (2.35:1, shot in Panavision the opening credits read). The visual impressiveness at once seems to put Baxter in his place while subtly ostracize him to the audience. What did this schmo do to earn a movie that looks this good? The camera places him in the centre of the frame simultaneously singling him out and rendering him minute with respect to the world around him.

It would almost be a crime not to mention the eponymous apartment itself which may be one of my favourite sets in all moviedome. Alright, the War Room from Dr. Strangelove, the Belafonte from Life Aquatic... there are some others that have it beat, but like The Simpson's house it in my mind is the perfect image of domesticity and the model for which I base any potential living space.

"This place is a palace... I live in a single room above a bowling alley and below another bowling alley."

The Apartment synthesizes a good deal of what I enjoy from a lot of current working directors. The compositions and camera movements can pretty much go toe-to-toe with any pre-Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson. [Though speaking of Wes, it is hard not to be excited to see him play around with aspect ratio recently; as mentioned Moonrise Kingdom wouldn't be half the movie it is without that awesome rooftop sequence at the end, and a lot of it has to do with the 16x9 frame; not to mention using the academy 1.37:1 frame for the upcoming Grand Budapest Hotel puts me in stitches every time I see the trailer.] C. C. Baxter is every bit the schnook as Larry Gopnik or Llewyn Davis or poor Ted  from Burn After Reading. What I think sets Baxter apart is he tends to have much more agency when navigating his schmo life that some of his Coen contemporaries. While Coen protagonists tend to suffer because they have some self-selected moral tennet and then ultimately act to compromise themselves, Baxter isn't weighed down by moral baggage so with it excises any looming existential destruction. Doubtlessly existential destruction is a large part of the appeal of a schmuck Coen protagonist, so I would never argue that their movies are the worse for having it. I think they are great, masterful. What I would claim, however, is that C. C. Baxter would be no better and is actually better served, if in fact defined as a schnook by his lack of any moral backbone.

Suppose I leave it at that. In fact I am really regretting spending all this time on hapless Baxter when Shirley McClain's Mrs. Kubelick is by far much more interesting. But that will have to be an over long post for another time.

Here's looking at you, dear readers.
Just remember to leave the key under the mat.

-Ken Bernoska
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Ken Bernoska

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Almost every scene messes around high lighting contrast. Our warehouse will essentially have the same lighting conditions. This and Reservoir Dogs are the two best examples, off the top of my head, of filmmakers who deliberately incorporated the high contrast warehouse-to-outdoor shots into the fabric of their movies.

Punch Drunk Love- The Harmonium
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Ken Bernoska

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The internet seems to have lost the version where this was a full back tattoo. Shame.
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Ken Bernoska

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Two missing fucks.

How important is PG-13 for The Social Network?
How important is it to be talking about The Social Network in 2014?
Who's to say?

But there are some missing fucks that I would like to account for. On the supplementary features disk included with the bluray there is a short feature detailing the excruciating process in which the audio mix came together per David Fincher's direction. Ren Klyce tells us he had to consider the mix on a word by word basis (in a Sorkin scripted movie... here's all the Oscars just for putting up with that task) and then once finished was told to strip it down to the syllables; creating a canvas sources from dozens of takes and countless deliveries. My hat is off to him. The mix in this film is spectacular. The opening scene in a bar and a later scene in a club give us just enough to hear and to be engaged with the but never enough to feel involved. The audience is straining to eavesdrop, to pick out of the ruckus this couple breaking up (exploding in the most spectacular way) or experiencing the foundation being set for a billion dollar company. In that way the mix is seamless, mostly.

And midst all this subtle and deft engineering there are a couple noticeable hiccups; specifically two hickups. It wouldn't bug me (it does bug me, but only a little) but the audio seems to have been vetted on a syllable by syllable basis with the exception of these two microscopic moments. I noticed it the first time I watched this movie a couple years ago, and I remember thinking at the the time "How odd...." Having just watched it a second (and then third) time along with the supplemental features those two blips are stuck in my brain. Finally, there was a section in the making-of featurettes which sealed it. In a segment showing the magic behind the face-swapping between the actors playing the Winklevoss twins we get, definitively, our first missing 'fuck'. It can also be clearly seen in the finished film. There is clearly a 'fuck' given only to have been taken away in post. Earlier in the bar there seems to have been another fuck which doesn't quite make it into the movie. Behind the scenes in one of the deposition scenes a character delivers an aptly timed "Are you fucking kidding?!", and in the movie its an impotent grunt. There are a lot of places where the 'fucks' are felt but not heard. So, where did they all go?

There is one place in the film where a 'fuck' finally slips through. It is a reference to Zuckerburg's 'fuck-you flip-flops'. It is thrown out quickly and swept away in everything else Eduardo wants to get out. In a way it would make sense that Eduardo's failure to be direct with Mark up to this point also costs the movie's only 'fuck' all of its impact. It is the antithesis of the one 'fuck' from Xmen: First Class, and in a way completely perfect for what its used for. The movie had to actively fight to make it there and did so at the expense of several other moments.

So, was it worth it? Were those missing fucks given up for the sake of the one? Is PG-13 that valuable? Grossing $220 million dollars with two technical blemishes later on a near perfect mix, I'll leave it up to debate. Still, I know where those two fucks are, and David Fincher almost certainly knows where they are. One can only hope imagine the thought of which would no doubt keep him up at night as it has done me.

Until next time, Dear Readers.
Good Night, and Good Luck

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Ken Bernoska

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This is the song for the sound behind the (tentatively tilted) Seizure Machine.
The wub-wubs will be repeated and cranked up during the sound tests. At the end we reveal the song behind the wubs.

The xx - Islands
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Ken Bernoska

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The Ear Cutting Scene

Reservoir Dogs - Ear Scene
Ken Bernoska's profile photo
The shot starts at 2:10
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Writing, Directing, Shooting, Editing, Producing, Watching, Dissecting, Critiquing, Loving
  • Bandit Hat
    A one man film/videomaking enterprise.
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Filmmaker. Philosopher. Gentleman.
  • University of Wisconsin-Waukesha
    General, 2009 - 2011
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Philosophy, 2012 - 2012
Basic Information
Whelan's has really come into it's own since moving into the larger space. They have something like 4 different kinds of chai lattes. Sit in the front for the classic Ice Cream Parlor setting, or go a little further back for a very well dressed, intimate lounge to chat over chess with a friend.
Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
1 review