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logger
Southland Tales

Really enjoyed it, I didn't think I would until fifteen minutes in and I got it. Anti sci fi satire (or is that anti satire?) on the media's representation of reality and its knock on effect on language, iconography and ideology. As for the puzzle/riddle, that just seemed like a bit of a fuck you to the Donnie Darko hype.

I'm surprised so many people hate this film, and they do. Sure it's a mess, it lacks a bit of finesse and doesn't quite have the stamina for its overlong run time but it was nowhere near the horrible disaster I was expecting. Despite its flaws, and because of in some respects, I think this is a fine film that doesn't take itself as seriously as some people seem to think (maybe it's anti art). I laughed a lot. I think I may have to buy the dvd.
dandan
moscow, belgium - pico bella...

matty (barbara sarafian) is forty-one, a mother of three, who works in a post office; her husband, an art teacher named werner (johan heldenbergh), left her for one of his students around six months ago. matty goes through the day to day with little excitemnt, spending her friday nights in the bath with a joint and a glass of red wine, hoping that werner decides to come back.

one day, when out shopping, she has a minor collision with a truck; and so she meets johnny (jurgen delnaet), a likeable jerk, who lives with his mother and is twelve years her junior. after a stormy introduction, matty soon finds herself being won over by johnny's doltish charms, but things are never straight-forward in matty's life...

well, this was a film that i didn't really know anything about, but added it to my list of films to watch as it sat nicely in my schedule. and, to be honest, it was quite a little treat. the film is a nice blend of comedic drama, played out by a strong cast of characters and performers: barbara sarafian puts in a great performance and i also think that anemone valcke, who plays matty's oldest, vera, deserves a mention. and, not just because her name is anemone...

sure, it is a little bit soap opera, at times, but its still a nicely executed affair with a good atmosphere.

good stuff...



alone in four walls - now is the time for an iron hand...

in russia, boys who break the law, but are too young to go to jail, are sent to state run reform schools. as one boy comments; they're like army camp with lessons. the boys who populate these schools may have stolen, been fighting or even committed murder: regardless of their crime, they have all ended up in the same place.

in the school, the boys seem live life in an extremely regimented, ordered and disciplined fashion: something which i can only assume institutionalises them for life. the fact that a couple of them make a point of stating that they need to stay in order to finish their schooling, as they don't have the will power to do so otherwise, and the fact that ninety-one percent of them will end up in a prison for adults, seems to lend credence to this thought.

the film is a fine watch and it gently allows the boys if focusses on (and a couple of family members) to tell their stories and talk about their thoughts on their life. unfortunately we don't get to hear any of the school staff, except for a couple of words from the dentist and nurse, and with the lack of narration or commentary the question of institutionalisation is never raised. a shame...

good stuff...



the gospel of caesar - third time lucky...

francesco carotta is a linguist who has spent the last ten years researching a theory that the gospels, specifically that of mark, is actually based on the life of julius caesar. a pretty far out theory, or not, as the case may be...

with a distinct lack of evidence for jesus in non-christian texts, the existence of christ as a historical figure has long been the subject of debate. despite this, somehow, the christian religion took hold of the ancient world and managed to expand in an extremely dramatic style until is permeated the roman empire. using early christian iconography, his extensive research on the linguistics of the earliest known versions of the scriptures and historical accounts of the death of caesar, carotta (along with a catholic priest, pedro garcía gonzalez) builds up, what appears to be a highly credible case.

carotta analyses the work of mark alongside histories of caesar and, more specifically, depictions of his death. these studies seem to present an almost endless string of correlations between the words of christ and caesar, the language that is used to describe the pair and the people who featured in their lives, painting a picture of how the worship of caesar, as a religion, was re-packaged in a form that we know as christianity.

quite frankly, it was a bloody good arguement...

although slightly clunky at times, the documentary builds up a quite amazing case for carotta's theories. and, by it's conclusion, i'd forgiven it any short-comings and had been thoroughly engrossed in it.

very good...
melzilla
Ghost Town


I really enjoyed this film. I guess it could be said that it's a pretty lightweight romantic comedy with touches of cheesiness, but for me I thought it was well written, funny, and its ideas about living life to the full and losing people you love were really quite touching and sweet. If I could criticise it at all I'd say it perhaps got a little too serious or preachy towards the end but, on the whole, a really enjoyable film and a perfect choice for Gervais. (If you're not a fan of his, however, I'd definitely give it a miss.)
maian
The Something of Boris

Not as good as Casino Royale by some stretch of the imagination but still a reasonably entertaining night at the cinema. It's quite action-packed, suggesting that the producers' odd claim that it contains 50% more action than Casino Royale is more than just hyperbole, and it speeds along at a fair old pace. However, although I enjoyed the action on a visceral level, it didn't really grab me emotionally as the violence in Casino Royale did. In that instance, you felt like Bond was getting hurt every time he did something. Here, he literally does the impossible and barely sustains a single scratch.

Also, though Martin Campbell may be a journeyman director, at least he could assemble at action sequence in a way which was exciting but also understandable. Marc Forster, who is an ahem 'proper' film-maker and quite well-liked critically, despite directing both Stay and Stranger Than Fiction, can't do this quite so well. He sacrifices clarity, which to my mind is the most important thing in action films, for intensity and you end up with action scenes that are quite exciting but also a little bit distancing. Which is odd, since the action sequences were choreographed by Dan Bradley, the guy who did the Bourne films and I thought those films had the perfect balance of clarity and intensity.

That would be fine if the rest of the film moved towards the more fanciful aspects of the Bond franchise but it still insists on retaining the low quip quotient and gritty look of the previous film, so it ends up straddling the two and not really excelling at either.

The story's not great either, but who goes to see a Bond film for the story? The action makes up for these deficiencies enough that it kind of doesn't matter that the whole thing ends up feeling rushed and somewhat incoherent. Daniel Craig is great as Bond again, Mathieu Amalric is also very good as Dominic Greene, managing to be a suitably sleazy and nasty Bond villain, even if he really doesn't convince as a physical threat next to Craig.

It's not a bad film, I did enjoy it a lot, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped and I think that it doesn't do well what its predecessor did, yet throws in a bunch of stuff that it also doesn't do all that well.
dolfyn
QUOTE (zeden @ Nov 4 2008, 03:23 PM) *
Saw V
"You'll never guess how it ends!"
Maybe they'll even do Saw XI : Saw in the Hood...

QUOTE (Rua @ Nov 4 2008, 09:16 PM) *
Saw: Escape from Guantanamo Bay?

QUOTE (Ade @ Nov 5 2008, 05:45 AM) *
Saw: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Franchise?

QUOTE (maian @ Nov 5 2008, 05:55 AM) *
I'm looking forward to Saw IX: Jigsaw's New Nightmare. Though not as much as Saw X: Electric Boogaloo and Saw XI: Jigsaw Vs. Jason.

QUOTE (logger @ Nov 5 2008, 09:01 AM) *
How Jigsaw Got His Groove Back?

QUOTE (fatseff1234 @ Nov 6 2008, 09:43 AM) *
Disney On Ice presents: Saw
Or
Saw: The Musical.

laugh.gif

Saw XV: The Revengening, This Time It's Personal!


Feel the love.
dolfyn.
happy.gif
NiteFall
I watched Corners of Horace today. 3 times. And got paid to do so. It's not as good the second and third times. Or maybe that's just from my having to watch them with only a 30 minute gap between each performance.
dandan
kinogamma - parts one and two; 'east' and 'far east'...

having directed a couple of features, siegfried, has turned his hand to something a little different. in his own words, these films are like "poetry" and "his expression of love for humanity".

what they actually are, are two seventy-five minute collections of footage he shot in moscow, tallinn and eastern europe: part one, and afghanistan, india and their surrounds: part two. the footage is, at times, rather beautiful and usually always interesting to look at; essentially it's views from planes, cars and trains, places and people watching. there's also a nice soundtrack and the editing plays with both the sound and vision to good effect on the whole.

between thirty and forty people turned out to watch this: after around ten minutes, of narrative and narration free images, the first people started to leave. by the end of the first film more than a dozen had left. during the five minute break which divided the two seventy-five minute parts, a few others seemed to make the same decision. during part two, when more people came to the conclusion that, yes, it's the same as part one, but with different locations and people, they left. either that, or they'd just had enough...

i, quite frankly, really enjoyed the first part, but found the second part much less watchable: maybe it was fatigue as i found myself drifting around the edge of consciousness during the final thirty minutes. well, it did end and between ten and twenty people remained to hear a few words from the director and a super short q&a.

not for everyone, but part one is worth a watch...



mermaid - i'm a moon girl...

alisa (masha shalayeva) grows up in a small town by the sea, fatherless, with her mother (mariya sokova) and grandmother (albina yevtushevskaya). alisa believes that she can grant wishes, but when they come true something bad happens. one day, after a solar eclipse, alisa decides that she is going to stop speaking. she does, confounding her mother and soon finds herself in a school for the disabled. moving on a few years, after believing that she has caused a typhoon which destroyed her home, alisa, her mother and grandmother up sticks and head to live in moscow. things don't go too well for alisa, at first, but she soon finds a special someone; sasha (yevgeni tsyganov), when they both jump from the same bridge...

well, i really enjoyed this. 'mermaid' is an off-kilter fairytale from russia, which has some rather nice qualities. one thing which struck me, at around two thirds of the way through it running its course, was that i'd had very little idea where it was heading for large swathes of its running time, which continued throughout. as well as this, the film is well acted by all involved, who seem to relish the interesting characters whom they portray. also, take note of the name yevgeni tsyganov; i hear that he's going to be the russian gael garcia benal before too long...

as russia's entrant to the 2009 oscars, i hope that this film gets some decent exposure.

good stuff...



klass - i like the way you said that...

kaspar (vallo kirs) is a relatively new addition to his class at school, having moved from the country to get a better education. he's blended in easily with the in crowd, led by the obnoxious anders (lauri pedaja) who, along with his minions, takes delight in making joosep's (part uusberg) life a misery. when kaspar eases off joosep, he soon finds that he is now just another target for anders and his cronies. despite developing a friendship with joosep, life becomes worse for kaspar very quickly and he soon finds his burgeoning relationship with thea (paula solvak) deteriorating alonside his social standing...

well, i think this is my first estonian film and, technically, it's pretty good; the hand-held camera and slick editing make the film, on the whole, very watchable, even if there are a couple of clunky moments. however, the film is by no means a pleasure to watch, in terms of its content.

sure, the relationships between the class of teenagers is handled pretty well, but intensity of the bullying which is portrayed is, quite frankly, just nasty.and, it's not hard to guess which direction things are heading, there's various signposts along the way and it's almost impossible to read anything about the film which doesn't say something along the lines of 'estonia's answer to 'elephant''. see, it just happened again...

so, whilst the film does have some merit, i'd say that the style is ultimately superior to the substance. and i'd find it hard to recommend...

reasonable...
dandan
one minute to nine - which actually started at a minute past...

'one minute to nine' follows wendy maldonado as she spends her last few days with her family: she is due to start a ten year stint in prison, having accepted a deal from the prosecution.

when wendy married aaron, aged sixteen, she didn't realise that he would inflict almost two decades of horrific domestic abuse upon her and the children they would have together. one day, this got to be too much for wendy and randy, her eldest son, and they killed aaron.

well, this was an engrossing, but rather depressing viewing experience. it is impossible not to feel for the maldonado family, after the dreadful abuse they suffered. and, the legalities of the case, along with the decision that wendy and randy take - i.e. accepting the prosecution offer and not taking the case to trial - leave you with a lot of questions about the morality of the legal system, the action that the pair took and their subsequent decisions. a dreadfully sad affair...

good stuff...



out of time - sometimes i feel like a slave...

'out of time' focusses on four small shops, in austria, which are struggling to survive in the world of modern commerce. an old man sits in his pharmacy, whose shelves are half empty, musing about the day he started working there as a fifteen year old; he is now eighty-five. a couple plod through the day, working in the shop which sells and repairs the leather good which they also make. a shop his grandfather opened. a woman works in a button shop, bemoaning the fact that her life was ruined when she married the button king around forty years ago. and, a couple who own a small local butchers ponder their impending retirement...

this was kinda lovely. although the bitter rants of the button queen and the warmth of the butchers are comedic and sweet, respectively, they are not the stars of this documentary. the couple who own the leather goods store, pondering their lives, philosophising about why they are still going, whilst all the time working on repairs for an eccentric collection of customers or just falling asleep at their desks: they are, quite simply, a beautiful pair of people. then there's the old guy who misses his wife and mother, bemoaning the demise of his business, but also seeming happy to accept the inevitable closure of his shop; if you're not moved when he has a moment of emotion, you're dead inside...

a lovely little film...



drifter - god and spirits...

an arty documentary from photographer, turned director, cao guimaraes that focusses on three wandering drifters in brasil. there's very little talking, barring the incoherent rants about god and the spirits from one of the drifters, but the film is rather beautiful to watch, even though the languid pace may not be to everyone's tastes...

good enough...



(how) to be dead - cómo estar muerto / como estar muerto

manuel ferrari creates an odd film: he follows three young men as they bunk off school / college, hang around, drink coffee, hide from classmates, chat up girls and, in one case, seem to be pretending that a kidnapping has occurred in order to get some money.

when ferrari discovered that his three actors were friends in the real world and all shared a background, working in advertising, he filmed interviews with them talking about their work and intersperses them in the film.

so yes, it's a little non-conventional, but very watchable. the fact that it is beautifully filmed in grainy, high contrast, black and white is a contributing factor, but the presence of the three leads; ines efron, ignacio rogers and julian tello, also helps.

not your average film and definitely an above average watch...
Ade
Bantumweight Wallace

Most enjoyable. The action scenes certainly upped the ante with some dizzying set pieces, and yet it didn't feel as action-packed (to my mind at least) as the makers had claimed - I couldn't help but feel that Casino Royale remains the more impressive on that score (the parkour/construction site chase still stands out for me as the benchmark set for this new era of Bond films). Maybe that's just me.

Plot-wise, I didn't think it was quite as lacking in plot (when measure against Casino Royale) as some reviews had led me to believe, but it did lack a little something, and I have to agree with Ed's point about a certain lack of clarity - there were a few points during the film's slower moments that my mind started wandering a bit. The ending seemed to fizzle a little bit too, I felt.

Nevertheless, it was a solid enough Bond outing, and Daniel Craig has well and truly set his stamp on the character.
logger
I'm about half way through Casino Royale and I have to say I much prefer the leaner, more vibrant, more sophisticated Boris.
Atara
I want more Daniel Craig Bond NOW!

I might be going to see QOS again tomorrow, fun times.
dandan
tea fight - tea is just tea...

kei yagi (teruyuki kagawa) has turned his back on tea. a descendant of a man who travelled to china and became embroiled between the battle between the men and women who had their own special golden teas: when the golden tea of the men inspired violence, they wiped out the females and their golden tea.

generations later, kei, the owner of a tea shop and a mean tea maker in his own right, turned his back on the golden tea which had been passed down through his family line; blaming its curse for the death of his wife. now, mikiko (erika toda), kei's daughter, is showing an interest in tea and, in particular, how the curse of the golden tea can be broken, if she battles against the male golden tea in a tea fight! and so mikiko sets off to taiwan, to seek the male golden tea, which is traded by the unscrupulous yang (vic chow), who runs a black market tea trade...

well, with this taiwanese / japanese co-production, wang ye-ming makes his directorial debut and creates a fun, slightly absurd, drama, with elements of myth and fantasy gently woven in to its fabric. the film is a pleasure to watch, taking the ceremony and philosophy of tea preparation and drinking to an, almost, abstracted extreme, with a knowingly playful sensibility.

the film looks great, from it's animated introduction, idyllic portrayal of kyoto and the contrast of an urban, cosmopolitan taipei. then, there's the tea: with a variety of ceremony being shown, i don't think i've ever been as thirsty for a cup of pale, golden jasmine tea...

teruyuki kagawa and erika toda are solid, whilst boy band star vic chow puts in a good shift. it was also nice to see eric tsang crop up, with chang chun-ning, yoshihiko hosoda and jin shi-jye providing solid support.

good stuff...



wellness - a paradigm shift in healthcare...

thomas lindsey (jeff clark) is a salesmen for wellness; a pyramid selling corporation which seems to be taking more money from him than he is pulling in. travelling around, thomas tries to work his way up the managerial ladder, but finds himself struggling against a system which is designed to suck all but a few dry...

well, i suppose this is a comic drama which, due to the ineptitudes of the central character seems to have garnered a few comparisons to 'the office' and david brent, although this isn't quite accurate. lindsey is a far more sympathetic character than brent and his ineptitude isn't gilded in an unhealthy blindness to his own short-comings; lindsey's downfall is his belief that he can succeed in a environment which is designed to skim money from him and those who he is trying to persuade to buy in to it.

sure, there are moments of comedy, some of which leave you feeling rather uneasy and others will make you chuckle freely. the avoidance of hyperbolic situation comedy and the embracing of a more subtle downward spiral are where the film gains its strength. and, without a doubt, jeff clark deserves a huge amount of praise for his fantastic portrayal of thomas lindsey: featuring in practically every shot of the film, he is utterly convincing as the doomed protagonist.

good stuff, indeed...



carts of darkness - those stairs are killers...

murray siple was a keen snowboarder and used to make films on the subject until a car accident rendered him quadriplegic. having moved back to north vancouver and spent a few years getting back some of his freedoms, he bagan to take notice of a small community of homeless bottle-collectors. this mini-community would use shopping carts to collect recyclable bottles and, as murray would discover, some of then used to race them down the hills which run through the neighbourhood. in another step in his recuperation, murray got behind the camera to film these cart racers and get to know who they are...

now, this was a fun, sad and interesting little doc. it is also quite a simple one: murray simply gets to know a little bit about a couple of these guys, some who just collect bottles, others who pursue thrills racing carts down hills at speeds approaching 70kmph. so, there's no huge depth to the film, but in developing trust and friendship with these characters, murray shows a glimpse of a life that is usually hidden or ignored, whilst also striving to capture some of the thrills he once enjoyed on a snowboard.

a nicely made little film...
dandan
blind loves - would you like to see it?

peter, miro, monika and zuzka are all blind. peter lives with his wife, playing piano at a school for the blind and partially sighted. miro is in love with a girl who is partially blind; her parents don't approve, but her pregnancy cements their relationship. monika lives with her husband, who is also blind, and they are preparing for the birth of their child. zuzka is a teenage girl, like any other, she's bout to change schools and wondering about the changes she will face. in the meantime, she spends a lot of time chatting online with a boy who doesn't know she's blind and she worries about telling him...

well, this czech documentary, from director juraj lehotsky, is a beautiful and heart warming affair. simply, unobtrusively viewing his four subjects, he crafts a film which comes across as a strange mixture between documentary, cinema verite and fantasy. probably my favourite of the film festival thus far and another film which has been submitted for oscar consideration...

a real treat.
Everlong
Quantum Of Solace

Finally saw this. As per several bond films, the plot is poo, but what makes a bond film is the action and performances, and both were superb. Craig is fast becoming one of my favourite Bonds, and the Olga Kurylenko (sp?) Makes a very good gritty bond girl. The New baddie was better than Le Chiffre from casino royale too.

Dench was great again as M and the new Tanner was more assistant-like than before.

Liked the Goldfinger-esque death too Agent Field's Death was just like death-by-gold-paint in Goldfinger. By this i mean her body draped over the bed.

Overall 8/10
Atara
Fields had the silliest voice ever.
sweetbutinsane
Howl's Moving Castle

Best animated film I have watched in such a long time. I loved all of the characters (I still can't decide who I like the best out of Howl, Calcifer, Turnip-head and Heen), the animation was gorgeous and the plot kept me so completely enthralled that I was quite gutted when it finished.

I think it's safe to say that I absolutely adored it! happy.gif
Rebus
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Still trippy, still brilliant.
Sostie
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
France's version of 007 (apparentley the books pre-date the Bond series and produced some films in the 50's and 60's) gets an update/parody treatment, and it's great fun. Jean Dujardin plays OSS177, a smug, suave, sexist, culturally ignorant secret service agent sent to Cairo to investigate the death of his partner and the disapprearance of a Russian ship. It looks marvellous - the set design, costume, even back projections are spot on. Best of all is Dujardin's performance which is brilliantly funny without having to venture into the realms of Clouseau and Austin Powers. See it for the comic performance of the year and some hilarious homo-erotic flashbacks.

TAKEN
Former spy (?) Liam Neeson goes to Paris to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by an Albanian prostitution ring. This has had some terrible reviews, but it's not that bad, maybe because I like films where our hero says "I'm going to get you" and the baddies laugh it off, only to become mince-meat later. The fight squences are fairly well done and Neeson makes a good action hero. The one thing that was rubbish is Lost's Maggie Grace's performance as the 17 year old daughter who seemed to be playing the role a bit like Charlize Theron's Rita from Arrested Development

STEP BROTHERS
If you enjoy seeing Will Ferrell and John C Reilly dicking about on screen for 90+ minutes you'll like this. I do, so I did.

SICKO
Michael Moore's film on the US health care system. Shocking.
Jessopjessopjessop
Burn After Reading

In complete contrast to 'No Country For Old Men', but not without some familiar themes (average folk in over their heads, random acts of violence, larger than life characters, etc), 'Burn After Reading' is farcical and very amusing. But as with the former, I was left unsatisfied and not a little confused.

It's not quite the mess it was made out to be -- in fact the random, sporadic development of the story only added to the farcical tone. But it certainly feels inconclusive and anti-climactic. While it wouldn't surprise me if all that was deliberate -- a Coen Brothers' method for creating an unconventional cinema experience -- that doesn't assuage the sense of emptiness after the credits roll.

The enjoyment comes largely from the ensemble performances; everyone from Brad Pitt (who should do more comedy) to JK Simmons fleshing out the strange gaggle of neurotic characters with aplomb. The sense of the unexpected and whimsical adds tension and amusement in equal measure. One big 'shock' in the film is perfectly Coen; being both surprising, unsettling and darkly comic at the same time.

But overall I am not certain what the film is trying to achieve, and that is what's so frustrating. Although some of the characters even remark on this state of affairs, it is not enough to present that as a conclusion. It's nearly the "and it was all a dream" mode of scriptwriting, and as entertaining as the journey was, that feels like laziness - or at the very least, too clever for its own good - to create a satisfying experience.
Ade
QUOTE (Atara @ Nov 9 2008, 06:49 PM) *
Fields had the silliest voice ever.

She could silly voice at me all day. Mmmmm.


QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 10:56 AM) *
Brad Pitt (who should do more comedy)

I've not yet seen Burn After Reading, but I've long considered that Pitt would excel in comedic roles.
ipse dixit
QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 10:56 AM) *
Burn After Reading

But overall I am not certain what the film is trying to achieve, and that is what's so frustrating. Although some of the characters even remark on this state of affairs, it is not enough to present that as a conclusion. It's nearly the "and it was all a dream" mode of scriptwriting, and as entertaining as the journey was, that feels like laziness - or at the very least, too clever for its own good - to create a satisfying experience.
I don't have this problem with it at all. I can sort of see what you mean...there was no 'lesson learned' or anything, it was just a bizarre sequence of events. I really enjoyed it. The only thing I would maybe have liked to see was an end-credit bit of Harry in or en route to Venezuela, but it wasn't really necessary.
Jessopjessopjessop
QUOTE (ipse dixit @ Nov 10 2008, 11:41 AM) *
The only thing I would maybe have liked to see was an end-credit bit of Harry in or en route to Venezuela

I wonder if that's a deleted scene on the DVD! I think that would have helped considerably. It was allllllmost overly smug. Like putting up a middle finger at the audience... or at least the conventions of cinema.
Zoe
Mr Brooks (2007)

This is the sort of film Hollywood actors make after they’ve lost some or all of their credibility or star status. A few flops, some damaging press or simple general disinterest have led the likes of Robin Williams to ‘One Hour Photo’ and Christian Slater to ‘He was a Quiet Man’. This is a film in which Costner sets out to prove he’s an actor first, and movie star second. Surprisingly he succeeds, and ‘Mr Brooks’ is a much better film than your average ‘nutty room’ serial killer flick.

As the film doesn’t rely on twists, I can give quite a lot away about the plot as it’s all revealed very early on. Hopefully the quirky premise will be enough to persuade some of you to give it a watch. The eponymous Mr Brooks (Costner) is a successful and well respected business man, recently awarded ‘man of the year’. He has a beautiful wife and daughter, a stunning home and a seemingly perfect life. He’s also a serial murderer, known to police as the ‘thumbprint killer’, with an imaginary best friend and accomplice played by William Hurt. After two murder free years (aided in controlling his addiction by AA meetings) Brooks falls off the wagon and kills an exhibitionist young couple who like to make love with the curtains open. It’s this murder that sets the events of the film in motion, bringing Mr Brooks into contact with a witness and their unusual blackmail requests (Dane Cook) and an heiress cop with an acrimonious divorce and another escaped serial killer to worry about (Demi Moore). If that wasn’t enough, Brooks also has to contend with his teenage daughter dropping out of college, and the nagging feeling she’s keeping something from him.

In terms of plot, and the successful blend of domesticity and murders, it reminded me a little of the later Ripley novels (and, I’ve been told, ‘Dexter’). Brooks is a likeably nihilistic figure; he feels some remorse for his actions, but no sympathy for his victims. He enjoys killing, but recognises he’s an addict and tries to control his urges. The film is well paced and consistently engaging, effortlessly moving between the tension and suspense of the psychological thriller and wickedly black comedy. You engage completely with the characters and the somewhat unbelievable premise and find yourself not just caring about the plot dénouement, but more importantly Costner and Moore. It’s difficult when you want both cop and criminal to come out on top, but the film actively encourages your sympathies, and doesn’t disappoint in its conclusion.

Costner is just great in this film and is the main reason for recommending it. He plays Brooks in such a controlled and restrained manner it’s as if Brooks has removed his id completely, and turned it into William Hurt. There are moments when emotion breaks through, but it’s very quickly locked away again. In this way Brooks is both a mild-mannered and likable everyman, and an incredibly threatening figure of violent malice. It’s quite the performance.

‘Mr Brooks’ was everything I want from a thriller. It’s unusual and exciting, with excellent performances and an unpredictable plot. Thank heavens for ‘The Postman’, or Costner might have never felt compelled to make it.

I also watched ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2008), which though good felt a little pedestrian and predictable by comparison.

A key part of its finale was also infuriating, and overshadowed some of the film’s better elements (chiefly Casey Affleck). I was far less satisfied by it as a whole.
Ade
Mr Brooks is probably Costner's best film in a decade or more. I saw that a few months back and really enjoyed it.
dandan
fantastic parasuicides - if, at first, you don't succeed...

thee directors, three dv films, three attempts at suicide...

hanging tough - a girl throws herself from the roof of her school, survives and ends up having a wacky little adventure with the school nurse lusting after her, a teacher paranoid about being killed and a student who makes it seem as if it isn't paranoia...

fly away, chicken - an ex-soldier travels to the beach to kill himself, but gets distracted...

happy birthday - an old queen decides to kill himself when no one turns up to celebrate his birthday, but finds himself embroiled with a thief and his bag of golden teeth...

yep, they're all pretty silly. the first film, despite a couple of chuckles, annoyed me. although this was probably because i'd had to hurry to arrive on time. probably not, though. it was annoying with it's attempts at being wacky...

the second film got better as it progressed and, despite a tinge of wackiness, was pretty amusing. much better than the first film, for sure. and, the final film, was a heap of fun; much more entertaining, with a better collection af characters and a much richer narrative arc.

meh, hmm, fun...



sauna - the filth and the fury...

after the end of the finnish-russian war, a peace treaty is being cemented with the charting of a new border. five men from one of the border parties leave the main group to mark the border through an uncharted region of swamp; two finnish brothers, eerik (ville virtanen) and knut (tommi eronen), a russian officer, semenski (viktor klimenko), and his two men complete the group. it isn't long before the atmosphere of the swamp and the memories of past indiscretions begin to haunt the group: then, as if out of nowhere, they stumble across a sauna and a small village, ignorant to the war's end and life outside of the swamp...

well, despite some minor quibbles, i really liked 'jade warrior', antti-jussi annila's debut film; and i liked this as well. as with 'jade warrior', the look and atmosphere of the film are virtually flawless; here the dank gloom with hangs over the swamp, and the men who have been at war for too long, is palpable. and, once again, tommi eronen does some good work, but ville virtanen is the star of the show this time. whilst eronen is good as the fresh faced academic who has returned home after the war and finds himself charged with mapping the border; as his ageing, war-weary, older brother, who is finding himself a little lost in peace, virtanen is pretty great...

as with 'jade warrior', a film packaged as a martial arts fantasy which was actually a love story, the immediate trappings of the horror genre, present in 'sauna', give way to musings on war, peace, family and humanity. it's something i'll definitely be watching again. maybe, when this happens, i'll be less scared than i was last night.

good stuff...
Ade
QUOTE (dandan @ Nov 10 2008, 03:51 PM) *
sauna - the filth and the fury...

after the end of the finnish-russian war, a peace treaty is being cemented with the charting of a new border. five men from one of the border parties leave the main group to mark the border through an uncharted region of swamp; two finnish brothers, eerik (ville virtanen) and knut (tommi eronen), a russian officer, semenski (viktor klimenko), and his two men complete the group. it isn't long before the atmosphere of the swamp and the memories of past indiscretions begin to haunt the group: then, as if out of nowhere, they stumble across a sauna and a small village, ignorant to the war's end and life outside of the swamp...

well, despite some minor quibbles, i really liked 'jade warrior', antti-jussi annila's debut film; and i liked this as well. as with 'jade warrior', the look and atmosphere of the film are virtually flawless; here the dank gloom with hangs over the swamp, and the men who have been at war for too long, is palpable. and, once again, tommi eronen does some good work, but ville virtanen is the star of the show this time. whilst eronen is good as the fresh faced academic who has returned home after the war and finds himself charged with mapping the border; as his ageing, war-weary, older brother, who is finding himself a little lost in peace, virtanen is pretty great...

as with 'jade warrior', a film packaged as a martial arts fantasy which was actually a love story, the immediate trappings of the horror genre, present in 'sauna', give way to musings on war, peace, family and humanity. it's something i'll definitely be watching again. maybe, when this happens, i'll be less scared than i was last night.

good stuff...

Sounds good to me. Is this a DVD release, dandan, or a new film?

I ask because I might recommend it to my mum too, since she reads a lot of Russian/Estonian/Finnish war-related history books, and besides being based in her homeland too, the premise sounds like her kind of thing.
maian
QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 10:56 AM) *
Burn After Reading

In complete contrast to 'No Country For Old Men', but not without some familiar themes (average folk in over their heads, random acts of violence, larger than life characters, etc), 'Burn After Reading' is farcical and very amusing. But as with the former, I was left unsatisfied and not a little confused.

It's not quite the mess it was made out to be -- in fact the random, sporadic development of the story only added to the farcical tone. But it certainly feels inconclusive and anti-climactic. While it wouldn't surprise me if all that was deliberate -- a Coen Brothers' method for creating an unconventional cinema experience -- that doesn't assuage the sense of emptiness after the credits roll.

The enjoyment comes largely from the ensemble performances; everyone from Brad Pitt (who should do more comedy) to JK Simmons fleshing out the strange gaggle of neurotic characters with aplomb. The sense of the unexpected and whimsical adds tension and amusement in equal measure. One big 'shock' in the film is perfectly Coen; being both surprising, unsettling and darkly comic at the same time.

But overall I am not certain what the film is trying to achieve, and that is what's so frustrating. Although some of the characters even remark on this state of affairs, it is not enough to present that as a conclusion. It's nearly the "and it was all a dream" mode of scriptwriting, and as entertaining as the journey was, that feels like laziness - or at the very least, too clever for its own good - to create a satisfying experience.


We agree!

I know I really had a go at it after it was released, I did enjoy it in bits, but it's also one of the most unfulfilling film experiences I've ever had.

I watched The Shawshank Redemption for the first time since reading the short story earlier this year. I know some people here don't like it, but I think it's a really good, honest and uplifting film, and after a really horrible day at work, that's just what I needed. The scene where Brooks gets paroled still makes me cry.
Jessopjessopjessop
QUOTE (maian @ Nov 10 2008, 09:31 PM) *
We agree!


Let's hug. I don't want to sound too down on it either, but I find middling reviews harder to write!

QUOTE (maian @ Nov 10 2008, 09:31 PM) *
I watched The Shawshank Redemption for the first time since reading the short story earlier this year. I know some people here don't like it, but I think it's a really good, honest and uplifting film, and after a really horrible day at work, that's just what I needed. The scene where Brooks gets paroled still makes me cry.

Unless you were bitter about its recent - possibly unjustified - inclusion as one of the three best films of all time I don't understand why you wouldn't like it!
maian
QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 09:56 PM) *
Let's hug. I don't want to sound too down on it either, but I find middling reviews harder to write!


It is difficult since you invariably end up writing about the problems more than the positives, especially with a film like Burn After Reading which has a real highs in it but lots of little problems that, for me, spoiled the whole thing.

QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 09:56 PM) *
Unless you were bitter about its recent - possibly unjustified - inclusion as one of the three best films of all time I don't understand why you wouldn't like it!


I know that Dan doesn't like it, though he's never said why, as far as I can tell. Care to offer your views, Dan?
Jessopjessopjessop
Indeedy.

QUOTE (maian @ Nov 10 2008, 09:59 PM) *
I know that Dan doesn't like it, though he's never said why, as far as I can tell.

That'll be because he's a homosection.
Zoe
Waitress (2006)

A ridiculously predictable female fantasy of a film, modern Mills and Boon meets Jane Eyre, with a touch of every other romantic tale you've ever seen or read.

What makes it stand out is it's witty script, accomplished performances and quirky direction.

It's a film full of potential, which makes it unfortunately tragic.

R.I.P.
Peronel
No Country For Old Men

Finally. I've heard a lot of criticsm, but nothing specific, so I'm a bit confused as to the problem people had with this film. I'd also been told "Oh, I won't ruin the ending, but it's crap." What? To me the film did what it should - the story was told in completion, we were left with a sense of who these characters were, so who cares where they are going?

There were points where I was cringing behind my cushion from the suspense even though the violence was not as strong as I would have thought.

I enjoyed it, and having recently finished 'The Road' I'm looking forward to the film.
Jimmay
Eagle Vs Shark

If you like Napoleon Dynamite then you'll like this. I thought it was alright and laughed a fair few times but was glad that it didn't outstay its welcome and was relatively short. It is a Kiwi Dynamite though in so many ways right down to the surprising pay-off at the end. Although I saw the ending coming it wasn't quite how I expected it which made it hilariously funny. All in all in was a nice film, very quirky but I probably wouldn't watch it again.
dandan
the burrowers - little fish...

when fergus coffey (karl geary) arrives at the house of his fiance, maryanne (jocelin donahue), he finds that her and her family are missing, their neighbours have been killed and indians are the likely suspects. and so, teaming up with two experienced frontiersmen - parcher (william mapother) and ??? (clancy brown) - and the fresh-faced son of the lady parcher is courting, they set out to find the missing family. along the way, they find strange disturbances on the ground and a captured indian talks of how "the burrowers" will be coming for them...

well, i'd heard a tiny bit about this before seeing it, but not much: only enough to think that it looked like a serious, but vaguely 'tremors'-esque, western / horror hybrid. and, at it's most simple, that's what it is. it is not a 'tremors 4' rip-off...

it is, however, excellent.

some reviews i've read, since yesterday, seem to moan about the pace of the film, but i thought it was judged just right. from the off, the film begins moving at a good pace, playing like a straight western with elements of its horror/fantasy side being slowly introduced and progressively building up to the reveal of what, exactly, "the burrowers" are. now, what makes the film stronger, is the fact that we don't just have a mixed bag of characters coming together in adversity and fighting a common foe. as one might expect. what we actually get is a collection of characters who have their own agendas, histories and lives beyond what is shown on screen. and, as a result, the film is much stronger.

in filling these roles geary does a good job as coffey and clancy brown is as great as you'd expect, plus there's good turns from doug hutchison and sean patrick thomas. william mapother - who i only know as ethan from 'lost' - deserves a special mention.

the film itself looks beautiful, with great cinematography and costume / character design getting the best from the new mexican backdrop. on top of this are some rather ugly scenes of violence and human nature, which make for an atmosphere of unease on top of the impending dread of the monsters that sit below. the monsters themselves are pretty nasty looking puppet / people in suit / cgi hybrids, that i wouldn't like to bump into in the real world.

there you go, a bit of a messy summation, but what you gonna do...

it's a shame that this isn't going to hit the cinemas in the us (and i doubt it will here), but a dvd should hit in april...

great stuff...



cyanosis - like a new nihilist...

jamshid aminfar's wife doesn't like him: he won't get a job and simply sits in the street, near a university in tehran, painting. the civic wardens and a majority of passers-by don't really like jamshid, or his work, either. still, there are those that do and they're planning to exhibit his paintings. affected by cyanosis (in this case, a lack of oxygen to the brain) as an infant, jamshid is withdrawn, depressed and introverted. still, jamshid is more than happy when allowed to paint, portraying his worries, fears, memories and emotions in an expressive style.

another short, but interesting film. jamshid is a quite fascinating character and he certainly paints some interesting pictures. i would question whether he'd be as prolific and inspired, if he were to move into the studio/gallery which is his want, but his work does merit a wider audience.



don't get me wrong - so tell me how do you stop the rain?

filmed in a romanian neuropsychiatric hospital, director adina pintilie observes some of the residents. ignat (down syndrome) has been moving rocks back and fourth for forty years, abel (oligophrenia) has been helping the nurses for the last nineteen years, laslo (oligophrenia) hasn't missed a daily music therapy session in eleven years: then there's ocsy and alexander. ocsy (schizophrenia) wears a suit, sweeps the church steps on a daily basis and talks with god; believing that he can influence whether the rain falls or not. alexander (schizophrenia) has an invention; actually a combination of foods which he eats, that he claims can influence whether the rain falls or not. alexander hopes to get a nobel prize for his invention, in the meantime, he frequently has debates with ocsy about who actually controls the rain...

a short, interesting and, at times, amusing film, showcasing a community which has withdrawn (or has been withdrawn?) from society and is now afforded the luxury of time to debate, contemplate and concentrate on whatever it so chooses.



QUOTE (Ade @ Nov 10 2008, 05:09 PM) *
Sounds good to me. Is this a DVD release, dandan, or a new film?

I ask because I might recommend it to my mum too, since she reads a lot of Russian/Estonian/Finnish war-related history books, and besides being based in her homeland too, the premise sounds like her kind of thing.


it was the uk premiere at the leeds film festival. i know that it's been picked up for distribution in the states, but i've not heard anything about a uk release. the director's last film arrived on dvd, so i suppose this one might. unless your mum likes horror films, i wouldn't recommend it to her...



QUOTE (maian @ Nov 10 2008, 09:59 PM) *
I know that Dan doesn't like it, though he's never said why, as far as I can tell. Care to offer your views, Dan?


QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 10 2008, 10:02 PM) *
That'll be because he's a homosection.


jessop's right.

nah, it's not totally shit, it's just totally average, paint by numbers stuff: i think i dislike it more because it's embraced as such a fantastic piece of film-making, when it's the pinnacle of mediocrity; filled with prison move cliches, slushy drivel, music that lets you know how you should be feeling in each scene and a god-awful voice-over. i do recognise that a lot of people love it, though, and i'm happy for them to do so. they'd probably think a lot of the films i dearly love are fucking rubbish...
maian
QUOTE (dandan @ Nov 11 2008, 03:54 PM) *
nah, it's not totally shit, it's just totally average, paint by numbers stuff: i think i dislike it more because it's embraced as such a fantastic piece of film-making, when it's the pinnacle of mediocrity; filled with prison move cliches, slushy drivel, music that lets you know how you should be feeling in each scene and a god-awful voice-over. i do recognise that a lot of people love it, though, and i'm happy for them to do so. they'd probably think a lot of the films i dearly love are fucking rubbish...


Ah, that I can understand. It's more or less how I feel about Lost In Translation.
Sostie
MACHINE GIRL
Hilariously gory Japanese hokum. Pretty well made too.
maian
QUOTE (Sostie @ Nov 11 2008, 07:38 PM) *
MACHINE GIRL
Hilariously gory Japanese hokum. Pretty well made too.


Good film, that. I do remember spending a lot of time wondering when the two female characters were going to engage in sapphic relations, though. Their just seemed to be a massive homoerotic vibe to the whole thing.
maian
Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire) (1987)

I like Bruno Ganz's pigtail. And everything else about the film.

Light on plot, heavy on ambience and visuals, it's a haunting and occasionally hilarious film about the beauty of the mundane. I loved it, and not only because it had Peter Falk and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in it. Plus, the constant shifting between colour and black and white reminded me of A Matter of Life and Death.
maian
Triple post, triple films:

Beauty and The Beast (1991)

The first film I ever saw at a cinema, and still perfect.


Toy Story 2 (1999)

Still fantastic, it's a film that expands on the original without retreading it and is full of wit, invention and warmth. Jessie's song is absolutely heartbreaking.


W. (2008)

A film that mirrors its subject matter; manipulated by smarter men, sporadically entertaining, struggling in the shadow of an ancestor and confused. It's got a fantastic cast, all of whom do great work but particular mention should go to Richard Dreyfuss, who is deliciously malevolent as 'Vice' and gets the best scene in the film. Jeffrey Wright continues to be one of my favourite actors, giving a measured and sympathetic portrayal of Colin Powell that made me think that they should have made the film about him, rather than Junior.

That's not to take away from the central performance, though, since this truly is Josh Brolin's film. He nails Bush's mannerisms, making the lack of a real physical resemblance, give or take some prosthetics, a non-issue. It's a really great impersonation but one which also works as a performance, allowing for nuance rather than just mere imitation. He grounds the film, providing its best moments of humour and drama, particularly in the scenes between W. and Pappy (James Cromwell). However, good performances from a stellar cast can't make up for some fundamental flaws.

The two main problems with the film are that it's not sure what it wants to be and it has no sense of historical perspective. Tonally, it shifts between clever comedy, though it may be just that the Bush administration is truly this farcical, and attempt to psycho-analyse a man who has spent much of the last 8 years being hated and derided. It's to Oliver Stone's credit that he tries to do for Bush what he did for Nixon; get behind the persona to really get a sense of who the man is and what drives him. Sadly, and this links into the other problem, we don't really know him and Stone clearly doesn't either. He latches onto the obvious, that W. probably feels inferior to his father and his brother, Jeb, but important facets of his life, most notably his decision to become a born again Christian, are not explored.

This inability to determine who W. is defines the film in many ways. If we compare it to Nixon, Stone's earlier, much better, re-examination of a controversial president, Stone was able to create a film which reflected his subject; a morass of paranoia and almost nightmarish ambience that really gave a sense that we were dipping into the mind of a man who would corrupt and irrevocably damage his country. Unless the real W. is an empty schizophrenic, then W. the film doesn't manage the same feat.

I also think that this is the wrong time for a film like this to be made. Stone is too close and we are too close to the events to really distance ourselves from them and reconsider them. It's like watching a home movie of a holiday you've just got back from, except the last two days of the holiday are inexplicably missing from the end. History has not had time to make its judgment on Bush and his presidency; his wars still rage, his policies still stand and he is still in office. Towards the end of the film, George W. Bush is asked a question at a press conference and fails to come up with an answer, instead spluttering and making time until he can think of something to say or the press conference is over. That is the film in a nutshell. It can't provide a definitive answer because there is none, and there won't be for at least a decade or so, when time has passed and we will be able to actually say what the knowns are and what the unknowns are.

I liked W. because it was entertaining, funny and pretty interesting, but in the end it is a film that out of time and place and unable to offer any real insight into its subject. A shame, but not a waste.
Peronel
Lars and the Real Girl

Fantastic. Much more 'feel good' than I was expecting. What a town. Gosling is fantastic, as is Emily Mortimer.
dandan
dachimawa lee - he's so handsome...

dachimawa lee (lim won-hie) is a korean super spy, charged with recovering a list of korean agents before the japanese do, thus helping the country towards independence...

well, i like ryu seung-wan; i liked 'no blood, no tears', i liked 'arahan', i liked 'crying fist' and i liked 'city of violence'. four films, all different in scope and tone, all very well made and, ultimately, very enjoyable. it should come as no surprise that this film is yet another departure...

i can see future dvd covers, in the uk and us, will sport the phrase 'the korean austin powers!': i'm pretty confident that it'll happen. sure, the film is, in essence, a spoofy, goofy, take on spy movies from the sixties and seventies, but instead of creating a fish out of water, ala powers, it goes for direct parody. what you get is over-egged melodrama, double-agents, some great physical comedy, plenty of silliness and a lot of fun.

good stuff...



momma's man - it's okay, you can stay here as long as you want...

mikey (matt boren) has just been staying with his parents (ken and flo jacobs), in new york, and was due to travel back to l.a. to be with his wife, laura (dana varon), and their young baby. however, after some difficulties at the airport, mikey has returned to his parents with the intention of catching a flight in the morning. this doesn't happen...

nor, does it happen the day after...

mikey falls into the trappings of life with his parents, looking through boxes of his old stuff, eating well, visiting old friends, not working, not dealing with a crying infant, not doing anything. leaving home can be hard...

i have a friend who lives in a three floored, detached house that is almost full to the brim. he has worked in the arts, research and education; spending his life reading, absorbing, listening to music, computing, painting, taking photographs, watching films and collecting stuff. the house, which has around a dozen rooms filled with the evidence of these pursuits and, quite frankly, it is a pretty amazing place. i have another friend, a textile designer, whose flat was a similar monument to his interests in music, film, design and computer consoles.

'momma's man' is filmed in the apartment of, and stars, ken and flo jacobs; the parents of the film's director, azazel jacobs, artists and residents of the same apartment in tribeca for over forty years. this apartment is a similar aladdin's cave of art, music, toys, books and the like. funny...

in this case the apartment itself becomes a character of allure, especially when inhabited by mikey's parents. and, just like boren and the jacobs, it does a fine job in the film. with the house i grew up in sold, i can never go back there, but i still find myself thinking, from time to time, about the first memories i have of going up a ladders into the attic and sifting through piles of old magazines, boxes and strange forgotten items. the combination of such activities, combined with, in the film, the fact that these articles are those which make up mikey's memories of childhood is almost perfectly expressed.

using this premise, albeit concentrating it, the film constructs a portrayal of a character who finds his current world falling apart as he rediscovers his past. the film is a rich, funny, touching and, even, upsetting experience.

good stuff...



don't try this at home - from dogma to dogville...

a documentary featuring interviews with three cinematographers who have used consumer products - dv cameras - when making feature films and their thoughts on them and the opposition they encountered for using them.

benedict neuenfels - whose credits include 'the counterfeiters', 'the man from the embassy' and 'a map of the heart - had little of interest to say.

robby muller - whose credits include 'twenty four hour party people', 'my brother tom', 'dancer in the dark', 'breaking the waves' and 'paris, texas' - was more engaging and had some interesting things to say.

but, anthony dod mantle - whose credits include 'manderlay', 'dogville', 'julien donkey-boy', 'mifune's last song' and 'festen' - was the star turn. being a huge fan of the aesthetic of the early dogma films, in which mantle was a key element, he was already the person who i was most interested in hearing speak. and, he speaks about film very well. would've been happier if it had just been an hour long interview with him...
dandan
sword of the stranger - a boy and his dog...

a group of chinese warriors, representing a ming dynasty emperor, are in japan. they are paying vast sums of money to a clan; firstly to build a large, ceremonial altar, secondly to capture a young boy. the boy, and his dog, team up with a wandering samurai and attempt to escape the clutches of the chinese...

after working as an animator on the likes of 'cowboy bebop', 'metropolis' and 'ghost in the shell', masahiro ando takes the directors chair for his first feature. the film is pretty traditional in form and subject, but is nicely executed and an engaging watch. there's plenty of action, some beautiful animation and it pretty much ticks all the boxes you want ticking when you start watching such a film.

nothing spectacular, but good stuff...



the rest of the night - down and out in turin...

silvana (sandra ceccarelli) and giovanni boarin (aurelien recoing) are an upper middle-class couple who live in the hills outside turin; when they suspect that their romanian housemaid, marja (laura vasiliu), has stolen a pair of silvana's earrings, they fire her. victor (victor cosma) is a romanian immigrant who has teamed up with marco (stefano cassetti), a native of turin whose life of crime and drug abuse means his wife and child have left him; the pair are involved in small time criminality. with marja being turfed out of the boarin household, she returns to the arms of her ex-lover, victor, despite her past reservations about the company that he keeps...

well, despite being a well acted, well shot and, generally, well executed production, 'the rest of the night' is just a bit too flat and predictable in its narrative. the film, in its attempts to show the troubles that immigrants face and contribute to, in a city such as turin, the vast majority of its characters and narrative arc are a by the numbers. still, sandra ceccarelli is rather super in her role and stefano cassetti, puts in another solid 'roberto succo'-esque performance as a nut-job.

reasonable, but nothing more...



blood trail - how crap are we?

in 1992, robert king arrived in sarjevo to begin the career he wanted as a freelance photographer in a war zone. fresh-faced, naive, ignorant and taking a risk with his life, and future career, king struggled to make ends meet, but just managed to keep himself working, even though he got into trouble, by taking a couple of controversial photographs. a few years later, as the russians arrived in grozny (chechnya) and the international press pack left, king arrived. he then went on to capture some of the most famous images of the chechen fighters as they fought back against the russians; propelling him to the forefront of his profession. after this, king moved on to afghanistan and, subsequently, iraq...

an interesting documentary, showing how king's good timing, ambition and a bit of luck propelled him to the top of his game. as his friends (including vaughan smith - a freelance cameraman and one of the film's producers) reflect; they never thought king had what it took to survive or succeed as a war photographer.

there's also a look at how such journalists are "damaged goods": king seems to have spent an awful lot of time embracing alcohol, drugs and women, during and around the time he spent at work, which contrasts sharply with the images of death, violence and destruction that he has captured close-up.

good stuff...
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Sostie @ Nov 11 2008, 07:38 PM) *
MACHINE GIRL
Hilariously gory Japanese hokum. Pretty well made too.


I caught that at the arts cinema last Thursday. Great stuff.

Going to see Tokyo Gore Police there tonight, too.
Julie
Just got back from seeing Role Models.

So very much funnier than I was expecting. Easily 50% funnier than Tropic Thunder, which I heartily enjoyed. Loads of actually clever and well placed dick jokes, great performances from everyone, especially the kids and, although obviously predictable, it was actually fairly heartwarming. Seeing Paul Rudd in full KISS Army get-up was a highlight for me. Very cute and loads of fun.
maian
Hard Candy

A lot funnier than I remember from my first viewing of it. In fact, I'd forgotten an awful lot about it, including that Juno doesn't chop off Nite Owl's balls. Well executed, quite cold.


The Simpsons Movie

I still laugh lots watching it. Not great or as good as the show deserves but a damn sight better than it could have been.


Boogie Nights

Still my favourite film of all time.
empathy-with-beast
QUOTE (maian @ Nov 16 2008, 10:22 PM) *
Hard Candy

A lot funnier than I remember from my first viewing of it. In fact, I'd forgotten an awful lot about it, including that Juno doesn't chop off Nite Owl's balls. Well executed, quite cold.

Surely we should think of it as Kitty Pryde cutting off Nite owl's balls? Take that D.C you bunch of paedos!
maian
I'd forgotten she was in that film. Or that it existed. Thanks, Lewis!
Jimmay
Sarah made me watch The Rescuers over the weekend which was one of the few Disney films I had on VHS as a child. I knew every line, every scene, every slight noise or sound effect a split second before it came on the screen. I haven't seen that film in at least 16 years and yet I remembered every single bit of it as if I'd watched it yesterday. I loved it. The music is beautiful, the pastel drawn backgrounds were fantastic and there were loads of parts that I obviously hadn't cottoned onto as a child like the whole UN/Rescue Aid Society comparrison at the start. Lovely stuff.

Also watched The Good the Bad and the Ugly for the first time yesterday. I've never been a fan of westerns but thought I'd better give one a go and this seems to top most lists so I started here. It was brilliant and although it was apparently the extended version and was just short of 3 hours long it didn't seem to drag and I can't seem to see any bits that could be left out. The dubbing was shocking but it had some great twists and turns and the characters were great. Unfortunately Sarah seems to have fallen in love with Clint Eastwood a bit. Luckily, I can just show her a photo of him now and destroy her hopes and dreams in the blink of an eye.
maian
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Nov 17 2008, 10:50 AM) *
Sarah made me watch The Rescuers over the weekend which was one of the few Disney films I had on VHS as a child. I knew every line, every scene, every slight noise or sound effect a split second before it came on the screen. I haven't seen that film in at least 16 years and yet I remembered every single bit of it as if I'd watched it yesterday. I loved it. The music is beautiful, the pastel drawn backgrounds were fantastic and there were loads of parts that I obviously hadn't cottoned onto as a child like the whole UN/Rescue Aid Society comparrison at the start. Lovely stuff.


I was the same with The Rescuers Down Under, which I used to own on VHS but seems to have gone walkies. I don't think I've ever actually seen the original, though.

This reminded me that I watched Dumbo the other day for the first time in many, many years. It was still hugely enjoyable and magical (racist crows aside) and the scene with Mrs Jumbo rocking Dumbo through the bars of her prison really affected me. That song is just so damn sad. I did laugh a lot at the repeated use of the word 'Climax', which I felt a bit bad about.

I think the thing I noticed most about it this time, compared to when I used to wear the VHS out as a kid, is how surreal some of the imagery is. I'm not just talking about the Elephants on Parade sequence, though the scene where an elephant made of elephant heads appeared freaked me out a lot, but things like the clown dressed up as an elephant are just so grotesque. It's weird to think that there was once a time where all animated movies were that inventive and avant garde, even when telling incredibly accessible stories.
Jessopjessopjessop
Punch Drunk Love

Held in high regard by some on the forum, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Touching but altogether too studiously quirky, the 'arty' direction felt incongruous with the odd but rather sweet comic love-story. Sandler's performance nearly works, but it is too irritating to be totally enjoyable. I could not help but compare Ryan Gosling's fantastic turn as the titular character in 'Lars And The Real Girl' (another similarly socially inept but charming man) and find Sandler's Barry Egan much less likeable. Overall, I enjoyed the love story, the quirky randomness of the details thrown into the mix, and some of the dialogue was very amusing, but it almost felt like it was directed by and starring the wrong person... I did find myself fancying Emily Watson though.
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