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All reviews - Movies (10)

Nothing really happens

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 3 March 2012 09:18 (A review of Beau Travail)

On one level this film is slow moving and uneventful. However, this is a story stripped to its basic framework. The narration provides minimal information to the understanding of the story (You could watch without subtitles and still get the idea).

It is this stark minimalistic style that distills the story to its basic essence. This is the classical representation of Old Bull vs Young Bull (hyper-real representations of masculinity). Our aging bull protagonist, Galoup, is stuck between the irrelevance of age and the strength of youth. These relationships are cerebral as they only live in the mind of the Galoup.

Sentain (our young bull) is a new arrival in Galoup's unit and his presence is benign. Sentain is quiet, reserved, well liked and heroic. Thus the commander's hatred of Sentain is confusing. The film provides us with little or no facts about the commander's motivations. Thus the viewer feels compelled to fill these gaps with their own assumptions becoming another aspect to the cerebral process. Because at the heart of this film is a story of the workings of the mind, thoughts and feelings leading to action and madness. How the introduction of something new (the other) into our lives can provoke powerful emotions. While (the other) remains unaware of their effect on those around them.

The relationship of two men, is only the relationship of one man's thoughts and obsessions, a psychodrama of quite isolation.

Much has been said about this film's poetic beauty as it focuses most of its time on landscapes and the human form. Some have called this erotic or misclassified the film as homosexual. The erotic nature is unavoidable as much as any representation of masculine ideals would be erotic, aside from a moment of nudity, this could been rated G. Any homosexuality in this film isn't even something that is implied and misses the point of the film, one of classical mythos, contemporary ideals of masculinity and how those ideals lead to destruction.

Aside from all that, nothing really happens!

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Random Thoughts on Film...

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 4 February 2012 12:34 (A review of Drive (2011))

There are a number of descriptive terms that I dread hearing about a film. The first is that of any American film considered "avant garde action" and I typically figure that most of the praise is from the Godfather Trilogy zombies who somehow managed to pry themselves away from their shrines only long enough to consume the message boards of various movie sites.

Ah... but the worst tag any film can get is that of "Neo-Noir". As that description covers everything from Batman Begins to rape-revenge films bordering on snuff... I figure that on ether side of the scale I'll be left wanting to run from the theater screaming.

I say all that because "Drive" is a very stylish action film that pays homage to the great Neo-Noir films of the 80's. This is done without some type of hyper-real over stylized mockery or any sense of irony. No, there is no 'director's inside joke' to get with this film... or ironic take on another film or anything else that, unless you follow the directors blog, you just simply won't understand. If there is a message behind this film it is simple "Don't you remember when movies used to be good?".

Instead here is an action film that feels very much like an 80's film. From the Mad Max-like main character with no-name to the staging the of the sets reminiscent of early Cohen Brothers.

The script as a whole only gives us enough information to present a cohesive film. There isn't the need to over embellish the storyline for Oscar sympathies or the attention deficit crowd.

So in conclusion, yes... Mr Refn, I do remember when films used to be good and I'm glad you made one hell of a beautifully crafted piece of work.

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Not the feature film

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 31 January 2012 08:18 (A review of Das Experiment)

Just as an FYI to everyone who is linking to this item. This is a animated short film that was made prior to the feature length 2001 "Das Experiment".

There aren't very many movie posters for 9min animated films.

Yep, same director and same actor but here is the link:
[Link removed - login to see]


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Just a note...

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 5 January 2011 10:16 (A review of The Believer)

I watched this because I had heard that it was better then "American History X"... which it is not and I'm rather surprised that the two films could be compared to each other.

I'm also pretty surprised that after "Homicide" (1991) got trashed by critics for being 'yet another film about a Jewish man hating Jews', that this film was so well praised.

Sure the acting is good but really... ??? Cultural self-loathing and the rise of gangs based on hate and brutality... you can't really compare "American History X" to this film.

So, while I liked this film... I can't score it very high. The story wasn't very original and didn't give enough insight ether into the main character or the world at large. The end of the film feels hurried together and escapist.

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Heartfelt and warm for a Soulless film

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 23 October 2010 09:11 (A review of Cold Souls)

"Cold Souls" While living without a soul isn't quite as great as advertised... finding that someone is enjoying your soul more then you ever did can be unsettling. A very quiet and subdued movie. There has been some mention about it being a scathing critique on consumerism (partially true) I found the film to be far more heartfelt and well... warm :)

~ Just a Note

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Obscure Australian 70’s Horror

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 30 September 2010 08:17 (A review of Patrick)

Obscure Australian 70’s Horror

This isn’t a bad film, even got nominated for a Saturn Award but it’s not a great film, it didn’t win. This is a fairly standard low-budget 70’s horror. Minimal special effects and an even smaller death count. The creepiest elements to this film besides Patrick’s mono-brow are the torture of a small frog and some inappropriate touching. Things that might have been shocking to a 70’s audience, yet simply no longer evoke the same effect. Thus it never manages to create a truly creepy atmosphere nor does it sink to a level of cheese that would have given this film a cult following.

I liked the rather tame approach but it’s not something I would recommend to anyone who isn’t a fan of the obscure Even die-hard horror fans might want to skip this one. Instead stick with “Burnt Offerings” or “The Changeling”.

Favorite line from movie “We tend to attract certain types - lesbians, nymphomaniacs, enema specialists...” ya… now you want to watch it, don’t you? Well, at least you have been warned.

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Absurd Low-Budget Offbeat Comedy

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 30 September 2010 08:03 (A review of The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell)

Post-Apocalyptic Comedy.

A docu-drama of a future history. Telling us the story of the brave adventure of the future forefathers first steps in rebuilding "New America". This satirical story is told through various re-enactments, interviews with historians and important clips such as "Why do we celebrate Cannibalisms Day?".

This is a fun and often nonsensical movie that offers few belly laughs. Instead the humor is dry and often dark. It does this without resorting to National Lampoon's 'bad joke gone too far' typical brand of humor (read: no fart jokes or gratuitous topless babes).

In brief: Mix the absurdity of "Southland Tales" with the grit and sweat of "Six-String Samurai", toss in some "Bad Taste" bake in the Florida sun and serve on the beach. If you have not seen any of those films or hated them, you might want to pass on this film. For the rest of us comes another 'it is the end of the world, and I feel fine' kind of comedy.

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Fish Tank (2009) review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 30 July 2010 12:14 (A review of Fish Tank (2009))

Synopsis: Everything changes for 15yr old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Randomness: This film was Katie Jarvis’s first roll as an actress.

Why I Rented this: The film received quite a bit of press and one of my favorite blogs had good things to say about it. Even with all that. I was rather skeptical of the film and didn’t rush to put it at the top of my queue.

Thoughts: I am actually not sure if I have ever seen a film that captures the frustrations and conflicts of adolescence quite so well. Just when the kitten stickers are starting to fade off the walls of a child's room, a world of sexuality and hidden meaning comes crashing in. Mia rebels, acts out, and it seems that every choice she makes is foolish or counterproductive. When a male figure is introduced who can possibly treat her like the child-self, which she feels slipping away, and who also sees that she is becoming a woman, Mia seems almost destined for utter ruin and destruction. She is on the cusp of being capable of anything, something that is disturbing not only to Mia but to the viewer as well. The symbolism in this film can be a bit heavy but I think that this allows the viewer to see the world through an adolescent's eyes. These images work well with the rundown environment filled with disposable commodities and hopelessness.

Conclusion: I truly love this film and plan to watch it again even with the rather disturbing elements. Andrea Arnold did an excellent job with this film and it deserves every award and special mention that it has received. If your looking for a gritty film to counter other films about adolescent youth that feel exploitive, then this is by all means your film.

Also See: [Link removed - login to see]

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Literary Drama

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 27 July 2010 12:24 (A review of Poison Friends)

Poison Friends (2006)
[French with English Subtitles]

Synopsis: “A sharp examination of university life, Poison Friends is a psychological drama with a wry edge.”

Why I Rented this: Another of his films showed up on my Cannes films list. Writer for “A Christmas Tale” (2008) and I like to watch directors previous works before jumping into anything recent. Ha! And yes… the synopsis got me curious.

Thoughts: This film doesn't necessarily cover any new territory as the roles and relationships of the academic, the intellectual and the artists have always been questioned. Perhaps summarized in literary terms as those that teach (the purist), those that understand (the critic) and those that do (the artists/writer). Yet, it is impressive that this film has made an effort to explore these relationships in a narrative. In the end, I think that it is easy to come away from the film with the sense that there were clear villains and heroes. The more difficult path to take is that one mans fanatical genius inspired and destroyed. That the pure ability to think effects the physical world and that perhaps our successful students are the ones that have failed… acting out lives chosen for them and dancing in step with what ‘you should do’. The actor and writer are performing their crafts before an audience but who is the director?

Conclusion: If you like French films and/or films dealing with more then the superficial world of academic life then I would recommend this film. Nice to see a film that doesn’t focus on some kind of frat house socialization.

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Sugar and Style

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 27 July 2010 12:05 (A review of The Curiosity of Chance)

The Curiosity of Chance

Independent gay in high school film.

This is a very cute and stylish film focus on Chance Marquis and his homophobic jock rival. While the 'hip 80's international high school' is implausible, it works well as a sugar coated 'every high school' in a decade of fashion disasters and good music. The actors may not look their ages (See Grease for geriatric going on 17) they play interesting and colorful characters that only mildly border on stereotypes. For the most part Chance is comfortable with his sexuality, keeping this film from becoming yet another 'coming out in high school' film. The "hellish" events are rather tame and so are Chance's methods of dealing with these events. Keeping this film firmly set in 'light hearted' and giving us something to admire. Over all this is a fun and harmless film. It's sugar coated sweetness may not be filling, but it won't leave you feeling sick. In other words Brain Candy!

Only recommend renting if you like cute/sweet movies and prefer your 80's with rose tinted glasses.

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