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Ade
The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life (2008)

This French drama, by turns heartwarming, humourous, tragic and uplifting, centres around a family, focussing specifically on five key days and events in their lives. Well acted, nicely paced, thoroughly engaging, and with a great contemporary soundtrack too - a nice all-rounder. I loved it.
Julie
QUOTE (widowspider @ Jun 22 2010, 09:33 AM) *
Who didn't?


I love that the immediate response in my head was 'didn't we all?'.
widowspider
QUOTE (Julie @ Jun 22 2010, 03:07 PM) *
I love that the immediate response in my head was 'didn't we all?'.

This is why we are friends.
blackcherry
QUOTE (Serafina_Pekkala @ Jun 22 2010, 12:26 PM) *
Dominic Cooper looks like a fucking chimp. Cannot abide him and his frog eyes. He has ruined a load of films for me.



David Morrissey was one of the better ones.


I share your ire at Dominic Cooper.

And ahhhh David Morrissey wub.gif
Ade
I've Loved You So Long

The trickle-fed truth at the film's core is somewhat depressing, but the deliberately slow pace and solid acting all round (not least of all an excellent Kristin Scott Thomas) make this a compelling drama nonetheless.
Outatime
QUOTE (Ade @ Jun 22 2010, 11:13 PM) *
I've Loved You So Long

The trickle-fed truth at the film's core is somewhat depressing, but the deliberately slow pace and solid acting all round (not least of all an excellent Kristin Scott Thomas) make this a compelling drama nonetheless.


I found I could only enjoy it if I didn't think about the logistics of the whole thing too much. If I thought about logistics I just got confused.
Serafina_Pekkala
Breaking the Waves

An astounding, bizarre and heartbreaking film. Okay - Bess is a bit daft but Emily Watson makes it believable and rightly won shit-loads of awards. Her portrayal of mental illness is pretty full-on but rings true to a lot of people who have had to deal with the unsympathic willful nature that accompanies breakdowns. Therefore, a great antidote to all those manic pixie dream girls and their self-indulgent 'depression' bollocks.

Stellan Sexigard is also perfectly as the dashing yet creepy Norwegian - you can see why he would have a hold over someone so fragile*. My favourite performance overall was the late Katrin Cartlidge as her ever watchful kind hearted but sorrowful sister-in-law. You feel for her more than anyone because she knows the whole marriage will end in tragedy and she can't stop it.

The Scottish setting and the Wee Frees (yes - that religious bit was not really that made-up, actually) gives it a real eerie yet truthful quality - particularly for those resident north of border. Even down to the McEwan's cans and dancing the Dashing White Sergeant - mandatory at any wedding until very recently. Not just because it looks like an actual documentary from the 70s. All the little details - the title cards of each section (a very Danish preoccupation) along with classic 70s rock (The Faces, Jethro Tull, T-Rex). Funny to see a Scottish set-film that isn't all twee or hipster posteuring or just all wrong.

The ending descends into some implausible melodrama at times and some of the minor characters seem a bit 1 dimensional but overall - it works.

*plus - you get to see his cock. Fnar.
Zoe
I burst into tears five minutes after the film finished, which is a unique emtional reaction for me.

Really amazing stuff.
Serafina_Pekkala
It is powerful. And lingers in thought - both for good and for bad.
monkeyman
Ponyo
Just lovely. It's really pretty and wonderfully animated, the art aesthetic is great, the story is great and full of quirkyness and there's lots of funny little moments. Wonderful film. Though Liam Neeson just shouldn't do voice work, he's awful at it.
dandan
woo for 'breaking the waves' and 'ponyo' - two very different seaside tales...

(boo for the english 'ponyo' dub, though)



blood the last vampire - don't forget the sword...

1966, japan. saya, part of covert team who destroy demons, is sent into a highschool on an american air-force base; a couple of bodies, bearing the hallmarks of having been slain by blood drinking demons have been found. saya needs to find the demons before they kill again...

the middle segment of what was originally conceived as a three part tale: unfortunately financial restraints dictated that this was the only part which was ever produced. well, as much as i'd love to fret about how i'd liked to have seen something more made of this, and i'm not talking about the craptastic live-action adaptation, i shall instead say that this is forty-eight minutes of great anime. well, maybe some of the voice talent isn't quite up to scratch, but the rest of it is super.

this is a beautifully designed little anime; the mixture of 3d cgi and standard 2d animation works incredibly well and the locations and characters are beautifully designed and rendered. and who doesn't enjoy watching demons get sliced up with a big sword?

good stuff...



duel to the death - if god stands in your way, kill him...

every ten years, a duel to the death takes place between china and japan: winning is a matter of great honour in the world of martial arts, as well as national pride being at stake. this duel is to be fought by ching 'the lord of the sword' (damian lau) and hashimoto (norman chu): two fighters who have spent their lives in schools or monasteries training and are now ready for the ultimate test of their skills. this tournament, however, is in jeopardy: a japanese monk, kenji (eddy ko), under orders from the shogun, is working on a plot that extends beyond a simple duel...

'duel to the death', ching siu-tung's 1983 directorial debut, is one of my favourite films. more prolific as a stuntman, then an action director, ching's directorial output has been lean, but with a few notable high points; the 'swordsman' trilogy and 'a chinese ghost story' being his most famous and lauded works, as a director. meanwhile, as an action director / choreographer, zhang yimou's 'hero', 'house of flying daggers' and 'curse of the golden flower', john woo's 'a better tomorrow 2' and 'the killer', as well as stephen chow's 'shaolin soccer', account for his most notable projects. i, for one, would say that his greatest work.

the narrative of 'duel to the death' gets a bit of criticism, something i would blame on a myriad of poorly subtitled releases; being on my fourth different version of the film, and a fifth set of subs, i'm pretty sure i know the film inside out and have no trouble with the perceived intricacies or lack of them. the film's main narrative thread is pulled one way, then another by a cluster of sub-plots, which work well with the, perhaps not obvious, main theme of the film. the theme being the pursuit of honour at all costs, the pain and misery which it ultimately seems to bring on all involved. from the institutionalisation of children, either in schools or monasteries, raising them to be men who know little else, but talk of pride, victory, honour and have no ambition but to gain these accolades or die trying, regardless if they are killed, have to kill, betray their family or country to do so. these themes are explored with the relationship between ching and hashimoto, this pair and their teachers / masters, and between master han (paul chang) and his daughter, sing lam (flora cheung).

as a production, 'duel to the death' seems ahead of its time; the use of location, lavish sets, a great soundtrack and some pretty lush cinematography add an epic quality to both narrative and production. still, what really makes this film so special is the action sequences. here is where it really comes into its own and shines.

in terms of wu xia, the swordplay, wire-work and aerial choreography are all top notch: this is what ching siu-tung excels at. however, the added extra here are ninjas: almost every bit of ninja mythology is exploited and the result is an absolute treat. nice reversed footage of them jumping, to the giant ninja who splits into five, ninjas getting sliced in half, moving through the air, under the ground, throwing shuriken, hanging from kites and using ninja dust; it's all here and it's all amazing. swift editing, bits of animation, some really nice camera tricks and the skills of the unknown performers in black, are all used to great effect.

the final twenty minutes of the film, which begin with hasimoto confronting the monk, kenji, followed by ching's duel with the ninjas in the forest and, ultimately, the duel between our two main characters is a non-stop exhibition of how choreography, performance, cinematography, editing and stylisation can be employed to create something spectacular.

a classic. highly recommended.



feel it... say it... - the love from their lovers is bleaching...

dr zmong (eric kot) and nurse ma (candy lo) run a vd clinic. they work well as a pair, sorting out the "organs" of their visitors and attempting to help them with their problems, which have led them down the road that ends with vd. although, their own lives aren't going quite as well as their clinic: faye (tiffany lee) and to (anson leung), dr zmong's uber pretty, actress girlfriend and nurse ma's pretty boy, stuttering masseuse boyfriend have discovered that they really, really want to jump into bed with each other. will the collapse of their personal lives result in the collapse of the clinic or will it drive dr zmong and nurse ma even closer together? i think you can probably guess...

this was a film which i liked more and more as i watched it. although, there were times when i wondered if it was worth watching at all. so, at the end, i kind of liked it; but, for the first third i was hardly engaged and during the middle third i felt like doing a little fast forwarding. hardly a glowing recommendation. still, fleeting appearances from sam lee and chin kar-lok, as patients, and tats lau, as a supplier and friend of the clinic, kinda made it watchable.

so, yeah, err, not a very good film.
Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (monkeyman @ Jun 23 2010, 11:35 AM) *
Though Liam Neeson just shouldn't do voice work, he's awful at it.


Thank You - totally agree.

My wee niece liked Ponyo but I'm sure she wasn't as enthralled for this reason. Howl & Totoro had wonderful English language versions and perfect casting. She likes those better although her favourite is Kiki (her Hallowe'en costume).

I wish my name was Candy Lo.
blackcherry
QUOTE (Serafina_Pekkala @ Jun 23 2010, 10:54 AM) *
It is powerful. And lingers in thought - both for good and for bad.


I couldn't agree more. I have never had such a strong emotional reaction to a film as I did to that and although it makes me cry every time I watch it, it is still my favourite film. I wrote about it for my MA dissertation so have watched it many many times, looking at different aspects. There are so many interesting things about it aside from the superb acting that it still remains my favourite film.

But really, it's naked Stellan that is lingering in your mind, isn't it?
Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (blackcherry @ Jun 23 2010, 12:59 PM) *
But really, it's naked Stellan that is lingering in your mind, isn't it?


Busted!
Ade
Fine, Totally Fine - "Ghoooost!"

Delightfully bonkers and sweetly effecting comedy from director Yosuke Fujita - I can see this becoming a regular re-watch favourite. I'm a little dismayed to discover that as yet there are no other films by the director available. However, on a plus note, the trailer for Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers looked even more joyously off the wall - I shall be seeking it out soon.
Zoe
'The Princess and the Frog' (2009)

It's no 'Beauty and the Beast' or 'The Little Mermaid' (the songs and the jokes just aren't on that level), but it's still very good.
Serafina_Pekkala
Red Hill

Part of the EFF. A superior Aussie crime thriller with modern cowboys, revenge and plenty of tense action. Reminded me of brilliant Neo-Noirs like "One False Move" actually. I wanted to see one film but it was full - so I jumped on this and it was brilliant. This is the best part of the film festival - surprise accidents of nice.

Anyway - Jason Stackhouse is a cop with an Aussie accent (careful now, Zoe) and he just moved to this 2-bit town near the legendary Snowy River (my guess from landscape) cos his missus is preggers. A renowned local crim escapes and comes a-looking for some justice. The various stock-character of locals are made up from actors you will recognise from every Aussie film and TV show ever - "oh - he was in ... Neighbours/Water Rats/The Dish" etc. The grizzled old tough guy, the nice friendly softy, the taciturn abrupt one, the wise old farmer, young rookie. But all done rather well and much more interesting that ponderous stuff like Jindabyne Also - Ryan did extraordinarily well and is very capable of holding his own on screen.
logger
Live And Let Die

It's a pity Black Dynamite can't team up with Roger Moore's Bond.
dandan
hero - all under heaven...

namless (jet li), a lowly provincial official, is escorted to an audience with the king of qin (chen dao-ming). he has earned this right, by slaying three assassins, feared greatly by the king; broken sword (tony leung), flying snow (maggie cheung) and sky (donnie yen). namless reveals, to the king, how he managed to dispatch three such notable rivals, but the king suspects that all is not as it seems...

as many people have already declared; having zhang yimou direct a wu xia epic, with cinematography from christopher doyle and choreographed by ching siu-tung, starring jet li, maggie cheung, tony leung, donnie yean and zhang ziyi, is a most mouth watering prospect. it's been a good few years since i first watched this, in fact zhang has churned out a couple of other wu xia flicks on the back of this to make himself a little trilogy, in the meantime. in all three of these films there is plenty to like, but none of them are without short comings: although i think 'hero' is almost universally accepted as the strongest of the three films.

first things first. 'hero' is a visual treat. doyle's cinematography, the vast array of stunning locations, the use of colour to define the mood / theme of each section of the film and the costume / production design are all second to none. ching siu-tung's fluid, wire-heavy, dance-like choreography is perfect for the film, although it, along with a healthy dose of cgi in places, may annoy and irk some viewers. apart from a couple of less convincing bits of cgi, which are forgiveable, i was okay with everything; oh, apart from maybe one bit of the jet / donnie fight, when donnie holds his spear under his raised leg, which just came across as being a bit daft.

the cast are all pretty strong; although chen dao-ming and zhang ziyi are worthy of special mentions, and having tony leung and maggie cheung on screen together again is rather glorious.

as for the narrative, the 'rashomon'-esque structure works incredibly well, although there is room to critique the over all narrative arc. the attempt to kill the king of qin is also dealt with in chen kaige's earlier film, 'the emperor and the assassin', which is more of a historical drama, than 'hero'. still, despite the fantasy elements, which manifest themselves only during action sequences, the film is still has, at its heart, the king of qin. qin was a man who did great things to unite and advance china as a nation, but he did so with an uncompromising, iron fist, burning books, crushing any signs of dissidence and killing thousands as the kingdoms were united.

for zhang yimou, a film-maker who has often been seen as a critic of the present chinese administration; it seems very strange that he would make a film which appears to endorse a totalitarian system, discounting human rights in favour of re-unification and so fourth. one does tend to think 'hmmm', if considering such thoughts when the film reaches its conclusion...

any hoo, despite the perception of a very questionable closing message, it's a bit of a gem...
Zoe
He's Just not that into You (2009)

Better than I thought it would be, mainly thanks to the engaging central romance between the equally adorable Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin. The intertwining stories around it were interesting to varying degrees, and it had its moments.

Fundamentally it's about the good advice we all know to be true (but ignore), the terrible advice we cling to, and classic relationship mistakes and over-analysis; but it ultimately cops out.

I'm not surprised a romantic comedy didn't smash the central notion of the myths surrounding relationships created by romantic comedies, but I'm kind of disappointed that it identified, ridiculed, and then ultimately used them all.

I'm afraid I believe we're all the rule, not the exception.

Still a decent rom-com, but it's final lack of balls means it's not in that small minority that rise above the genre.
Hobbes
QUOTE (dandan @ Jun 24 2010, 07:15 PM) *
hero - all under heaven...

any hoo, despite the perception of a very questionable closing message, it's a bit of a gem...


Totally agree. I saw that film in the cinema and was completely blown away: the beauty of the backdrops is stunning, the fight in the orchard and (of course) on the lake stand out for me, they are a joy to behold. I really need to watch this again. I seem to remember thinking I liked it way more than Crouching Tiger at the time, but I haven't seen either in years so I fear that may be a rash judgment to make again.
dandan
i like it more than 'crouching tiger, hidden dragon', although it may not have existed without it...




niagara - well, she sure got herself an armful of groceries...

ray (max showalter) and polly (jean peters) arrive in niagara for a bit of delayed honeymoon fun, although they find that their specially reserved room is being occupied by george (joseph cotton) and rose (marilyn monroe). after this initial understanding, ray and polly become somewhat concerned with rose's provocative behaviour, which reveals george's paranoia and short temper. although, it isn't long before polly discovers that george isn't so paranoid and rose is plotting to do away with him: not what one wants to get caught up with on a honeymoon...

you know, i think i like the idea of this film a lot more than i like this film. thinking back to it, i picture marilyn dancing in the parking lot, before cotton comes and smashes the record, then i picture her in her waterproofs, being all seductive and evil. basically, i think my appreciation of marilyn as a foxy young lady, outweighs the fact that it's only an okay film, at best, when one gets over the marilyn factor.

so, yep, basically a failed, technicolor noir, that just doesn't quite hit the spot. i do love the original 'variety' review, though; "The camera lingers on monroe's sensuous lips, roves over her slip-clad figure and accurately etches the outlines of her derriere as she weaves down a street to a rendezvous with her lover. as a contrast to the beauty of the female form is another kind of nature's beauty - that of the falls. the natural phenomena have been magnificently photographed on location."

a derriere that is, indeed, a natural phenomena...
Serafina_Pekkala
It is only okay but MM looks fabulous and makes me happy not to be a skellington match-stick lady.

Evil - In the Time of Heroes.


I didn't see the first one (Evil) so at a loss here - but I might just seek it out. Basically, as part of the Ed Film Fest, I decided to see whatever was on and got a crazy Greek zombie movie. I am glad I did this.

The movie is very silly and much in the spirit of SotD. Okay - the daft plot is a bit muddled and there is immense 'eh?' all round (some scenes made Greek audience members laugh like bastards). Something something about a magic cave that makes Hellenic zombies and Billy Zane is a monk and he carries a white cube and travels in time to them 300 days (complete with black/white/red motifs). One of the 'heroes' kinda of looks like a Greek Keith Allen in a football shirt and has Capt Jack qualities. Another (super soldier Vakirzis) is like a Greek Ioan Gruffudd and can outrun bullets. He dresses up as his mother in one scene which is profoundly goofy and weird. The others are all crazy too. Some excellent noses on display too - we can see Greece is the home of the classical profile. One dude looks like a cross between Harris from Neo Nachos and Adrian Brody. Recommended for zombie fans.
Sostie
QUOTE (Serafina_Pekkala @ Jun 25 2010, 01:44 PM) *

Evil - In the Time of Heroes.


I didn't see the first one (Evil) so at a loss here - but I might just seek it out. Basically, as part of the Ed Film Fest, I decided to see whatever was on and got a crazy Greek zombie movie. I am glad I did this.


The first one is OK..ambitious is the word I'd use. Been after a subbed copy of this for ages
omni
The Killing Fields - Truly one of the best films I've ever seen about the human cost of the American war machine. Dr. Haing S. Ngor (winning an Oscar for his first acting role) carries the movie the whole way--his performance leaps off the screen in a way that I don't think I've ever seen. That he would be willing to relive even a second of his torture under the Khmer Rouge is just astonishing and yet perfectly understandable at the same time. The story needed to be told. The only drawback to the film is any time Sam Waterston is on screen alone, trying on one of ten different accents. The whole thing is made all the more tragic in light of Ngor's senseless murder in 1996 by Asian gang members in LA. If you haven't seen it, put it at the top of your list and break out the Kleenex.
dandan
becket - you have an obsession about him that is unhealthy and unnatural...

an adaptation of the play 'becket or the honour of god', by jean anouilh, inspired by the story of henry II (played here by peter o'toole) and thomas becket (richard burton), but also by a relationship between two members of the theatre company where anouilh resided.

in 'becket', the titular character begins the film as the saxon protege and hard drinking, womanising companion and confidant to the king. whilst away in france, henry learns that the archbishop of canterbury has passed away and, in an attempt to place someone he trusts in a position which had been causing him a bit of strife, offers the vacant role to becket. however, after accepting the role, henry finds a man who was once his closest ally allied to god and the church; then, after a priest is put to death without ecclesiastical procedures being adhered to, henry finds himself in conflict with becket.

what a cracking film this is. ignoring the historical inaccuracies: this isn't meant to be a historical biopic, it is a fantastic piece of cinema. the story of two men who are, essentially, in love with each other, but at odds and cannot seem to find a resolution; the development of the two characters is handled with aplomb. apparently an extremely faithful adaptation of the play, on the whole, the screenplay won an deserved oscar for edward anhalt.

filling the two roles, o'toole and burton put in performances which i would say are the best i have seen them in - they were both nominated for best actor oscars; it would've been a shame for one of them to have won, as they are equally incredible. the dvd has a commentary with o'toole and mark kermode, which is pretty fantastic. o'toole, is brilliant, ignoring kermode for huge swathes of the film, just chatting about what he fancies and shedding a tear or two as he watches burton in full flight. quite magical. the two of them work so well and seem to have had so much fun bouncing off each other and producing such fine performances.

as well as that oscar win and those two nominations; peter glenville, who had directed lawrence olivier (becket) and anthony quinn (henry) in the broadway version of the play, was nominated for best director, the film was nominated for best film, art direction, cinematography, costume design, editing, score and sound. oh, and sir john gielgud also cropped up with a best supporting actor nomination for his role as king loius vii.

bloody brilliant, an absolute treat.
Serafina_Pekkala
Burton was awesome. You see this when you look back. What do we have now? Russell Fucking Crowe. I prefer my womanising drunks to have actual talent.
dandan
indeed he was...



deadgirl - ...

rickie (shiloh fernandez) and j.t. (noah segan) cut class and head off to drink beer in the sun and generally screw around, eventually making their way to have an explore of an abandoned insane asylum. after being chased by a guard dog, the pair end up in an annexe of the basement, where they discover a girl (jenny spain) chained to a table. j.t. suggests that they have sex with her, but rickie refuses and leaves. the next day, j.t. makes rickie return to the asylum; telling rickie the girl is some kind of zombie, having failed in a couple of attempts to kill her.

rickie wants nothing to do with the girl and, after discovering that j.t. has invited another friend to join him in raping deadgirl (as she is now known), he sets out to free her, but these things never quite go to plan and trouble brews...

so, yeah, a pretty dreadful film, about a dreadful bunch of characters, doing dreadful things. yep, this was a film which rubbed me up the wrong way. it was dull to watch and just came across as some nasty boys making a film where they attempt to shock, whilst harbouring pretensions that they're being clever and twisted and blah blah blah...

it's not that i particularly mind the central premise or take offence in a 'ban this sick filth!' stylee; it's just that i thought it was a poorly executed piece of crap, which revelled too much in saying 'ooh, check us out, we're being well edgy with our film about raping a zombie chick, but look, we're also being cool and making like a comment on society and the kids and peer pressure and stuff'. in fact, they made a shitty film, which will simply appeal to people who want to say to their mates 'ooh, i saw this really sick film the other day...'

not one i'd recommend...
logger
Land of the Lost

Alright for a kids' film, if a little too crude, but I did expect more from Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. Other than that Anna Friel looks cute and I liked the way her clothes disappeared as the film progressed.
Crutch
Lifeforce - Classic sci-fi-vampire-zombie-masterpiece. It impressed me much as a child and probably impresses me even more today. Aged very well.
sweetbutinsane
Bubble Boy

So, so silly, but I really enjoyed it.

FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAAAAAA!
Serafina_Pekkala
Der Baader Meinhoff Komplex

A blustery but ultimately simplistic thriller charting the rise and fall of the Red Army Faction during the 1960s and 1970s - based on the book by Stefan Aust. Despite excellent performances from the Tina Fey-esque Martina Gedeck as Ulrike Meinhoff and the sultry Johanna Wokalek as the firebrand in eyeliner, Gudrun Esslin - the film attempts to cram the whole of the RAF activity into 1 film. A tall order indeed. I don't think anyone has pulled off a Marxist terrorist movie - as Patty Hearst was saved mainly by Natasha Richardson. And Munich by Eric Bana.

In this movie - firstly, there is too much to include e.g. too many characters. Yes - the RAF contained many many moody looking German chicks in trenchcoats but I was loosing track pretty sharpish - Petra, Astrid, Irmgard, Peggy and Ingrid were all pretty changeable. And the use of renowned German-language actors (including Bruno Ganz as the security man in charge, Alexandra Maria Lara and Vincenz Kiefer, the well-fit cross between Daniel Craig and Dexter Fletcher) was just distracting. Ganz was supposed to tie it all together I guess and serve as a cipher for the audience. I love a bit of Ganz but this didn't work as a device. Complex matter like this needs very specific narrative and 'chronology+wise character' approach is hit and miss . See Zodiac or Mesrine Pt I and Pt II for how to tackle a big-assed tale in suitable form.

These movies serve as a good comparison because demonstrate how to portray character motivation within a large and sprawling structure. Without knowing WHAT drove these people - how are we expected to understand the story? Basic observation I know but one key problem with this film. The characters are very much without dimension. Partly - this isn't the filmmaker's fault. The motivations for the RAF attacks may have been rooted in the works of Mao and Gramsci (the attacks on the 'superstructure' is a Neo-marxist ideas seen in the target of Springer Corp - basically the equivilent of Rupert Murdoch's empire today) but it was hard to discern - sometimes, even for the terrorists themselves.

Also - as well - it was often just carnage under the loose guise of political agitation. This is by far evident in the character of Baader (the man described by Jean-Paul Sartre as basically 'a prick') ; who was far more versed in comic culture than the works of Engels. The ex-rent boy was a drifter and general sociopath with very wishy-washy ideals anyway. However, here is played as sort of maverick early Nic Cage crazy who shoots guns whilst driving - Wooooot!! *bang* See - one dimensional.

The more intellectual Ulrike Meinhoff is muddle in the film too - we are led to believe her decline into fugitive was generated by dismay over being a bored housewife with a cheating husband. Also, the process where she abandoned her children is not understood either. Ultimately - all the characters come across as whiny and self-important and deluded. Particularly in the court trials. Which of course - they were often as not - but this doesn't help the film and why we are supposed to be interested in them.

Also - there is time and other shifts to consider. RAF was very much of a time. Aside Liberal American college students and intellectual relics from the 70s - few people today can actually identify the grandiose ideas and idealism in all this in carnage. Not since the fall of the USSR especially. The script talks like some early 80s Brechtian undergrad script (often taken from Meinhoff's words) - talk about the 'Imperialist pigs' and 'the system' and 'agitation'. When one person calls another a "reactionary" - I was reminded of Rik from The Young Ones and his People's Poet. Why did they rob banks? Some useless remark about something something re-appropriating the capitalist scum money something etc. This was the only real time political justification was used and I felt like I was being hit on the head by a hammer and sickle marked "freedom from tyranny". It was all rather redundant.

Terrorism today is less about transmitting ideas and making abstract statements about politics. The reasonable conditions experienced by the inmates in Stammheim prison seem odd in comparison to places like Guatanamo Bay - along with being feted as some kind of heroes. Their self-destruction is indulgent and smug and in the end - I stopped caring about how they were hard-done-by. Hunger strike is not viewed as a means of expression today - it is merely a form of prolonged suicide that causes pain to all sides and advances nobody. See Steve McQueen's Hunger. We can only really see this from hindsight perhaps which again effects the subject matter. It seemed like a pointless waste of time all round but not in the way expressed in Hunger. Even that Marxist dinosaur Gadaffi has agreed to pay compensation to victims of the IRA weaponry he supplied. The human cost is not expressed appropriately in this movie.

I thought the portrayal of Middle Eastern terrorists and the cultural clashes; particularly associated with the (dominant) role of women was very interesting. There was a curious 'solidarity' between 'Comrades' across borders - yet today, we have a very fragmented picture of religion and gender roles - even though Israel is still very much at the centre. Funny how things change, eh? Also the view of Iran as a capitalist monster - lost in time. Christopher Hitchens (himself a 'champagne socialist' of old) has an interesting take if only for the added information relating to the story - the man who shot the protester at the beginning was a Stasi agent. And noting that some were always driven by dark motives like Horst Mahler, founder member of the RAF and today a vocal Holocaust denier and Neo-Nazi politician.

In summary: Difficult story with some charismatic performances but ultimately, confused in execution (arf).

(apologies for confuzzled grammar - I have a headache!)
logger
I only got about an hour into it and gave up.
Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (logger @ Jun 28 2010, 12:58 PM) *
I only got about an hour into it and gave up.


I could tell you what happened anyway so you don't have to bother.

The RAF robbed more banks cos of Vietnam or capitalism or cos someone died like Che. Then some more people died - one man in a Tyrolean jacket. Some of the characters went to prison, show-boated in court, fell out with each other and even got prison haircuts to indicate time has passed. Some other characters shagged each other and failed to get the others out of prison in spectacular fashion and ended up killing people in Sweden instead. The Sweden-shagging-killers didn't know the other big-wig prisoners because they were 'the next generation'. So the original prisoners (Baader, Meinhoff, Ensslin and others) killed themselves - or where killed by 'the system' by their own hand. I dunno.

Zoe
Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Great fun and true to the spirit of the original stories (which I adore).

A very clever update, I look forward to the inevitable sequel.
Serafina_Pekkala
I was apprehensive at first cos it's Ritchie but since a few genuine SH fans have loved it (including Z) - I will seek it out. Pity I missed it in cinemas.
Zoe
They're different characters, but a straight transfer of Doyle's Holmes would be pretty laughable to a modern audience.

They get the spirit right, and the story, and (perhaps most key) the relationship between Holmes and Watson.

Nice nod to Watson as narrator at the end of the film, I hope that's a device from the stories they chose to employ in the next film.

It really is jolly good fun, and recognisably British. Something modern family action films ('The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen') have failed to achieve in recent years.
dandan
a couple of months back i watched 'in love with terror' a documentary about baader-meinhoff and the raf. their story is pretty simple. a morrisson-doherty style wanker who, instead of singing in a rock'n'roll band, decided to fight the capitalist pigs. he soon teamed up with a bunch of designer anarchists and then, with a disaffected, middle-class magazine writer, who felt ashamed of her bourgeois past and just wanted to belong to something, anything...

the documentary featured interviews with prominent figures, including the guy who was chancellor at the time, the ex-head of police and a clutch of surviving rafs...

basically, it boiled down to showing them as a bunch of fucking tossers. they weren't in love with terror, they were just a nasty little clique, filled with fucking pretentious wankers, who thought they were the coolest bunch of revolutionaries the world had ever seen. they were not, even speaking now, i wanted to be able to scream at the tv how they should just shut the fuck up and i seriously wondered if they weren't all delusional as, if they could only hear what they were saying, they'd be so embarrassed that they'd probably want to do a baader on themselves.

not one member of the raf came across as anything other than a prick, either when looking at the historic footage, the transcripts of the letters they wrote, their behaviour in and out of court / prison.

the only good thing to come out of the whole sorry affair, was the modernisation of the german police force.



i'm pretty sure that i wouldn't enjoy watching the film, even if it does portray them as the hap-hazard bunch of losers that they were...
Sostie
My Name Is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure

I remember some years ago, there was talk of Quentin Tarantino having a stab at a Modesty Blaise film. The new wunderkind on the block giving his interpretation of a classic French comic strip about a foxy french secret agent. This was exciting(ish) news. Then nothing.

Many years later, in the early hours of the morning on BBC2 I finally saw the film (which I didn't know had actually been made). Tarantino now relegated to Executive Producer, the film was eventually directed by the man that made From Dusk Til Dawn 2 and the couple that wrote Batman Forever. Promising eh?

English actress Alexandra Staden (who?) plays Modesty, who works in a casino. Some robbers attempt to rob said casino. They have to hang around and wait for someone to open the vault so head robber challenges Modesty to a game of roulette. Each time she wins 3 games a hostage can be freed, each time he wins one, she has to tell him about her early life, because he finds her, ooooooh, strange and mysterious (she's actually just bland and pouty). Suffice it to say her back story isn't really that interesting, and involves an little girl who can't act very well saving a sub-Mr Miyagi type wise old man in war torn Eastern Europe. After she tells her dull story Modesty has a quick bout of fisticuffs at the end.

What a fucking waste.
Serafina_Pekkala
^ I am also a MB fan of books (who else cuts gems for a hobby?) and haven't seen that film. I don't want too. And the version with Monica Vitti is a bit rubbish too. I always thought Morena Baccarin (the perfect initials!) would perfectly fit the character as they look very much alike from description.

QUOTE (dandan @ Jun 28 2010, 01:31 PM) *
a couple of months back i watched 'in love with terror' a documentary about baader-meinhoff and the raf. their story is pretty simple. a morrisson-doherty style wanker who, instead of singing in a rock'n'roll band, decided to fight the capitalist pigs. he soon teamed up with a bunch of designer anarchists and then, with a disaffected, middle-class magazine writer, who felt ashamed of her bourgeois past and just wanted to belong to something, anything...

basically, it boiled down to showing them as a bunch of fucking tossers. they weren't in love with terror, they were just a nasty little clique, filled with fucking pretentious wankers, who thought they were the coolest bunch of revolutionaries the world had ever seen.


The very very same. And Ensslin seemed far more influenced by Nico than Zapata - hence she was constantly pouting and calling people 'baby' and 'urban guerillas'. I think we all agree with Sartre. Bunch of pricks.

Apparently Bettina, Ulrike's daughter soundly condemned the film as glamourising thuggish wankers - see here for more commentary. The prison guard's testimony being very telling indeed.
blackcherry
I watched The Losers at the weekend: predictable but fun. Also, Oscar Jaenada is seriously swoonworthy.
logger
QUOTE (dandan @ Jun 28 2010, 01:31 PM) *
a couple of months back i watched 'in love with terror' a documentary about baader-meinhoff and the raf.

I saw something like that a very long time ago, so I have no idea if it's the same thing, but the film does seem to want to appeal to the type of wadicals that BM draw to them, whilst also trying to compete with modern Hollywood thrillers. I kept wanting Nic Cage to turn up as an undercover cop.
widowspider
QUOTE (omni @ Jun 25 2010, 03:49 PM) *
The Killing Fields - Truly one of the best films I've ever seen about the human cost of the American war machine. Dr. Haing S. Ngor (winning an Oscar for his first acting role) carries the movie the whole way--his performance leaps off the screen in a way that I don't think I've ever seen. That he would be willing to relive even a second of his torture under the Khmer Rouge is just astonishing and yet perfectly understandable at the same time. The story needed to be told. The only drawback to the film is any time Sam Waterston is on screen alone, trying on one of ten different accents. The whole thing is made all the more tragic in light of Ngor's senseless murder in 1996 by Asian gang members in LA. If you haven't seen it, put it at the top of your list and break out the Kleenex.

This film breaks my heart, but is truly incredible.

QUOTE (Zoe @ Jun 28 2010, 01:21 PM) *
They're different characters, but a straight transfer of Doyle's Holmes would be pretty laughable to a modern audience.

They get the spirit right, and the story, and (perhaps most key) the relationship between Holmes and Watson.

Nice nod to Watson as narrator at the end of the film, I hope that's a device from the stories they chose to employ in the next film.

It really is jolly good fun, and recognisably British. Something modern family action films ('The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen') have failed to achieve in recent years.

I'd agree with that 100% - I was skeptical of watching it, but really loved it when I did. The relationship between Holmes and Watson was excellent and both actors surprised me.
maian
Toy Story 3

I think I lost all claim to not being a Pixar fanboy when I got up at 7am on the Sunday of Glastonbury to queue for the first screening (which was at 11am). I was first in line (unsurprisingly) and got to choose the best spot.

I won't say too much, since I've been traveling all day and might not be able to get all my thoughts out in a coherent manner (and even I am sick of my fawning Pixar reviews at this point), but I loved it and found myself in tears several times during the course of the story. Particularly the last ten minutes, which feature some of the series' most heartbreaking moments that deal beautiful with the themes that have driven the series; friendship, aging and the power of the imagination.

As an individual entity, it doesn't quite hit the same highs that Toy Story 2 did, mainly because the plot reuses a lot of elements of that film (a false utopia, toys corrupted by their experiences, a finale set in a mechanised environment) even if those same elements are refined and executed flawlessly, and are often used to comment on the way in which Andy has left his toys behind. As a continuation and culmination of a story that started 15 years ago, it is exemplary. It takes these wonderful characters and gives them the send-off they deserve without cheating the audience by abandoning the ideas that were built into the series from the very beginning. It understands the debt owed to people, like myself, who have grown up with these toys and this studio and want to see right done by them. And it is.
Kick in the Head
QUOTE (maian @ Jun 28 2010, 06:40 PM) *
Toy Story 3

I think I lost all claim to not being a Pixar fanboy when I got up at 7am on the Sunday of Glastonbury to queue for the first screening (which was at 11am). I was first in line (unsurprisingly) and got to choose the best spot.

I won't say too much, since I've been traveling all day and might not be able to get all my thoughts out in a coherent manner (and even I am sick of my fawning Pixar reviews at this point), but I loved it and found myself in tears several times during the course of the story. Particularly the last ten minutes, which feature some of the series' most heartbreaking moments that deal beautiful with the themes that have driven the series; friendship, aging and the power of the imagination.

As an individual entity, it doesn't quite hit the same highs that Toy Story 2 did, mainly because the plot reuses a lot of elements of that film (a false utopia, toys corrupted by their experiences, a finale set in a mechanised environment) even if those same elements are refined and executed flawlessly, and are often used to comment on the way in which Andy has left his toys behind. As a continuation and culmination of a story that started 15 years ago, it is exemplary. It takes these wonderful characters and gives them the send-off they deserve without cheating the audience by abandoning the ideas that were built into the series from the very beginning. It understands the debt owed to people, like myself, who have grown up with these toys and this studio and want to see right done by them. And it is.


I was one of the very last people in to the first screening, so JUST squeezed in.

It was undoubtedly impressive bringing back the characters after so long and for it to feel like a genuine continuation (and conclusion?), as if it was always their intention for the story to evolve so naturally.

I agree though that it does share a lot with Toy Story 2, but ultimately it rankled with me a bit more, in the sense that it felt almost like a complete retread, both narratively and thematically, with some segments feeling particularly familiar alongside other Pixar works. With little originality and only a few good gags, it rests largely on heart to see it through, which it certainly has in buckets, particularly in the final act. Ultimately, it's a good, entertaining episode that does justice to the previous two movies, but, apart from some pretty exciting action beats and gut-wrenching moments towards the end, it's Pixar Mild. In my personal grand Pixar list, it's better than the over-rated Up and The Incredibles, but not on par with Ratatouille or Wall-E.

Other than that, the 3D is good - immersive rather than showy - but the short beforehand, Night & Day, is naff.
maian
QUOTE (Kick in the Head @ Jun 28 2010, 11:43 PM) *
I was one of the very last people in to the first screening, so JUST squeezed in.

It was undoubtedly impressive bringing back the characters after so long and for it to feel like a genuine continuation (and conclusion?), as if it was always their intention for the story to evolve so naturally.

I agree though that it does share a lot with Toy Story 2, but ultimately it rankled with me a bit more, in the sense that it felt almost like a complete retread, both narratively and thematically, with some segments feeling particularly familiar alongside other Pixar works. With little originality and only a few good gags, it rests largely on heart to see it through, which it certainly has in buckets, particularly in the final act. Ultimately, it's a good, entertaining episode that does justice to the previous two movies, but, apart from some pretty exciting action beats and gut-wrenching moments towards the end, it's Pixar Mild. In my personal grand Pixar list, it's better than the over-rated Up and The Incredibles, but not on par with Ratatouille or Wall-E.

Other than that, the 3D is good - immersive rather than showy - but the short beforehand, Night & Day, is naff.


(Note: Bits in spoiler tags are not major, but they do refer to specific moments and gags in the film which I feel would be best left unspoiled for those looking forward to seeing the film.)

I think that retread might be a bit much. I thought it was more a case of nodding towards the earlier films and using those earlier elements to comment on the way in which the characters have progressed (or the ways in which they have stayed the same and the world around them has changed) such as the reprise of Woody calling Buster to act as his trusty steed, only for him to now be a tired old dog rather than an energetic puppy. I also thought that by invoking earlier scenes from the series it was able to offer contrasting viewpoints and experiences, particularly Lotso's flashback, which was essentially "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 but with the toy in question becoming a cold, embittered monster rather than a sad, broken creature as Jessie was. It did revisit a lot of similar themes, but I felt that it wasn't so much a case of going back to the same well as making the well deeper.

I thought it had its fair share of good gags, particularly the stuff with Buzz being set to Spanish mode and the wonderful sight gag of having Mr. Potato Head attach his limbs to a pancake. His movements during that sequence were inspired. I want to reserve judgement about the overall quality of the script until I see it again in a cinema, though, since I feel like a missed a lot of lines due to the ultra-heavy bass that kept kicking up from the Acoustic Tent.

There was also a darkness to it that I thought really set it apart from the other entries in the series. Sure, the stuff in the first film with Sid and the mutant toys was creepy, but there was something genuinely disturbing about

I loved Night & Day, but then again we've disagreed on Pixar shorts before (as well as the relative qualities of their features. I would put Up above WALL-E and The Incredibles above Ratatouille). My only complaint with it would be that it hammers its message home far too heavily with that radio broadcast towards the end. Other than that, I thought it was really sweet and quite lovely.

I had a fairly in depth discussion about the 3D with one of my friends and we both agreed that it didn't need to be in 3D. Much like the 3D in Avatar, it was so well-integrated that you didn't notice it was there, making it seem as if you were just watching a 2D film. 3D only really works when it is gimmicky (My Bloody Valentine being a perfect example) since it offers something different to the cinematic experience, albeit a cheap and silly addition. Immersion begins and ends with the story.

Edit: I forgot to mention in the capsule review, but the voice acting is, once again, brilliant across the board. Ned Beatty is brilliant as Lotso Huggin Bear, and there's a nice, broad cast of supporting characters, some voiced by big names, but the film doesn't make a big deal about it. Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants is great fun.
dandan
the spritual trinity - father, son and good ghost...

kuei (kent cheng) and, his wife, mun (pauline wong) own and run a shop selling death money, incense, lanterns and other funerary goods. their son, yuen kao (gam sap-yee), is experimenting with electricity and tries to build a machine which will successfully capture good vibes from the atmosphere; what he actually ends up capturing is shu wen (bonnie fu), a good spirit, on her way to the afterlife. all seems well, when yuen kao persuades his parents to allow shu wen to stay with them, until the autumn festival when she can finish her journey, but trouble is on the horizon, when their ghost-hunting uncle lung (lam ching-ying) and his daughter, hsiu shuen (gigi lai), arrive. still, it seems like shu wen may be okay, as lung seems keener on stealing mun away from his brother, than catching ghosts...

despite the crappy winson dvd being fullscreen and deciding against subtitling little chunks of the film, this was rather enjoyable fare. a bit of ghost related tomfoolery, sandwiching a bit of comedic family melodrama: all good. kent cheng and pauline wong make a good pair, with a 'chubby, loser husband, foxy wife' dynamic, whilst lam ching-ying does a variation on his usual sifu / master / monk / taoist priest shtick. there's also a couple of good battles between the red jacket ghost (hon chun) and pretty much the rest of the cast, which are fun.

all in all, very watchable. i actually wouldn't mind a remastered version with some proper subs...
Ade
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel

It was rather good fun, but nothing overly amazing. At 80 minutes it's fairly short, but any longer may have meant a thinning out of ideas. Worth another gander though.

eta: Reminded me a little of SOTD in it's shift in tone. Also, one or two certain references will make some folks here smile.
Julie
I don't think I properly appreciated Kill Bill Vol. 1 the first time I saw it, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it now. I think it has something to do with the way the whole western genre has grown on me in the past few years. I really like this movie.
Sostie
Hot Tub Time Machine

A film that made me nostalgic for 80's teen movies NOT the 80's itself. Hair metal (Motley Crue, Poison etc) never really took off here (thank god), ski trips were not common, we never had MTV etc - these are things we in the UK only really experienced through the 80's teen movie. Even getting drunk was a rite of passage at a earlier age in the UK . It's not so reminiscent the John Hughes teen flicks (though there are nods toward Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink), but the films that went straight to video over here (some of which also starred John Cusack) - Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, Summer Rental, numerous Frat house films etc.

Some great lines, a good cast and a great turn by Crispin Glover as a one armed bell hop. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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