"Sumo East and West" is a feature documentary about the cultural changes facing Japan as more and more foreigners enter the ancient Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. In Japan sumo is not ... See full summary »
Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
Fictional historical account of what might have happened if Adolf Hitler had won the Second World War. Germany has corralled all European countries into a single state called Germania, and ... See full summary »
A political drama about terrorism, revolution, and the power of memory. In an unnamed place and time, an idealistic soldier named Joe strikes up an illicit friendship with a political prisoner named Thorne, who eventually recruits him into a bloody coup d'etat. But in the post-revolutionary world, what Thorne asks of Joe leads the two men into bitter conflict, spiraling downward into madness until Joe's co-conspirators conclude that they must erase him from history. Written by
The two messages Thorne has written on the walls of his cell in the beginning of the film are "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down" and "Power grows out of the barrel of a gun". See more »
So many fond memories of Maximilian the First on the tenth anniversary of our glorious leader's death.
Many of course doubted that his son and heir, Maximilian II, could live up to the example of his charismatic father. But the man affectionately called Junior has valiantly continued against the pesky rebellion, led by the playwright turned terrorist, John Thorne.
Once derided as the playboy Prince more interested in the movie business, the President-for-life announced today that ...
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Brilliant. A dark comic thriller and razor-sharp political satire.
'Land of the Blind' is a brilliant, darkly comic thriller - a sardonic fable about power politics. It's at once deeply absurd and deadly serious, and I loved every minute of it.
The movie takes place in an unnamed country, an outlandish mix of Haiti, Iran, pre- revolutionary France, and suburban London. It's a get-along or find-yourself-in-a-re- education-camp kind of place.
The film plays as both taut political thriller and broad farce. It's a grim sign of the times that even the most outlandish aspects of this world feel like political deja-vu. Politicians are voted in based on their acting credentials; the President-for-Life is also a self-styled auteur of 'B' action movies; the sycophantic TV news-anchors remain upbeat and bubbly as they bend to the political winds, switching cheerily from Brooks Brothers to burqas.
At the heart of the movie is the relationship between imprisoned playwright Thorne (Donald Sutherland) and the man who guards him - Joe (Ralph Feinnes.) Thorne is a tortured man in possession of a brilliant mind, who's been reduced to writing on the walls of his cell with his own excrement.
Joe works for Junior, the buffoonish but cunning dictator played brilliantly by Tom Hollander. Junior is part infant terrible, part cold-blooded killer. Some will see parallels between him and other political leaders - the wealthy, goofy President trying to live up to the image of his father, the manipulation of a nation's fear of terrorism to hide gross abuses of power, etc.
Joe is cursed with a moral compass. He comes to recognize Junior as evil, but struggles with whether betrayal of the regime is the same as betrayal of his country. At first, Thorne looks like Joe's savior. But the question of whether Thorne is a Vaclav Havel - an intellectual who could save his country, or an Abimael Guzman the imprisoned Peruvian professor and leader of the Shining Path terrorists, is grimly answered in the movie's closing act.
The cast is remarkable, nothing you wouldn't expect from Fiennes and Sutherland, and Lara Flyn Boyle does a terrifically dark and funny Lady Macbeth as Junior's wife. But Tom Hollander's performance deserves special note. Junior is now my favorite movie villain, ever. Frankly, I'd never heard of Hollander before, but here he turns in such a spectacularly comic and sinister performance that I've now Netflixed all of his other movies. If there's justice in this world (and according to this movie, there's not), Hollander would get an Oscar and a huge career out of this film.
LOTB a highly stylized, gorgeously shot movie the rich production design and cinematography beg comparison to Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and Jeunet & Caro's 'Delicatessen'. Like those films, LOTB also takes place in a surreal dystopia that feels physically warped by abuses of power. Also, like those films, LOTB is darkly cynical and very, very funny.
It's a rare pleasure to see this kind of razor-sharp satire wrapped in a thrilling, artful, and well-crafted piece of story telling.
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