Reviews written by registered user
|104 reviews in total|
It's been ages since Woody Allen made a decent movie. Small Time
Crooks, Match Point, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Cassandra's Dream
and this one: all of them terribly clichéd, hollow and with a total
lack of movie-making skills.
Take this one: an annoying voice-over, which does nothing more than literally describing each and every scene ("They go to a restaurant, have some wine and talk") sets the tone. The acting too isn't terribly engaging with Rebecca Hall more irritating than sexy, Scarlett Johansson terribly under-used and the usually fine Patricia Clarkson in the typical Diane Keatonish role of the kind of woman you rather not want to get into a conversation with. Only Penelope Cruz is decent, but has such a small and confusing part that one can't really understand why she won prizes for this.
And the story? You tell me. Two American female tourists get caught up in a complex relationship between a Spanish painter and his ex-wife. Could be interesting, but the result is not. This is all presented in typical Woody-fashion: all talk and nearly no play. But if you expected any insights, a slight bit of entertainment or something else than the usual clichés about Spain and his inhabitants: look further.
Can we make a deal that from now on Woody Allen gets the treatment other directors who make this hollow, borderline amateurish and self-indulgent fare get? Time for some retirement, mister Allen.
When you watch a Dario Argento flick, you know what to expect. Still, being a sucker for a good slasher pic, I still give these movies a chance. You get the gore, you get ... Well, that's about it. The acting, of course, is awful. The script? Well, I wonder if there ever was one. Seems like they improvised this one over some good pot. Thrills? Not really. Even the killings are fake as hell. I know, that's what Argento stands for, but one has to wonder: why has this guy gathered such a reputation? Is it because "it's so bad it must be good"? I read someone's comment here that if you don't like this film, you know nothing about movie making. No kidding?
This is one of those films that critics deem to be "in bad taste". A film with a reputation like e.g. RHINESTONE (though MEATBALLS definitely has a cult following). I don't really understand the fuzz about it. This film isn't bad, isn't good, but is really nothing special at all too. BUT it has an enjoyable Bill Murray performance, some chuckles along the way and characters that are, well, tolerable (unlike many other similar movies). The overacting is cut down to a minimum and the "villains" are sized down as well, which is a good thing. In short: don't expect a believable, dramatic story, nor big laughs or great acting. But on its own terms, this is decent stuff. 6/10
In short, this is one of the worst of the so-called prestigious
BBC-series. I'm not a huge fan of the "big gay movie" of these days,
Brokeback Mountain (a good movie, but not a masterpiece), but after
having seen this series, I must say that that film at least tried to
understand the relationship between two people. This series is a
mockery of all things lesbian.
First of all, the directing is the worst thing about the film. Whatever emotional impact could be expected of this soapy script, director Sax ruined it. This guy seems to think this story needed a Guy Ritchie approach. I mean, come on, we're talking lesbianism at the end of the 19th century here. What's with the endlessly repeated "focus" shots then? Or the short cuts? The fast forward-ism (worked well in Requiem for a Dream, about drugs, here it doesn't make any sense)? And does this guy even know how to get a better performance out of an actor (see below)? Secondly, the acting. I have no major problems with the way everyone acted, save lead Rachael Stirling, who was absolutely not up to this role. But then again, the role itself couldn't really be anyone's cup of tea. With Stirling's over-affected way of acting and misplaced intonations however (not to mention her strange voice), this character was anything but believable, let alone interesting.
And in the end, the entire cast was simply defeated by a terrible script and lousy dialogue. I don't know if the book by Sarah Waters is any good, but if it's anything like this piece of bad soap opera, I don't understand why it ever was considered to be essential women's literature, and why it should be turned into a movie. The rags-to-riches, riches-to-rags and rags-to-riches-again story isn't even the main problem. This has been done a thousand times before, and often with much better results. But not a moment did I believe these characters; often I even got embarrassed by the cheesy words they spoke at each other. And do some people still think falling in love is best shown by one person gasping at the other from scratch? And what's with the oysters? Was that supposed to be a lesbian metaphor? And really, couldn't they have come up with a better title? No, I really can't understand why this series is rated above 8 here on the IMDb. This is a downright embarrassment for anyone who 's gay or lesbian. This ain't a film about the Victorian era, this is film making as if it still wás the Victorian era!
Even as dubbed Italian gore films go, this one is very low-class. Even the make-up is below par. None of the death scenes are terrifying. Rather boring actually (zombies walk slowly, people wait, get themselves killed in gruesome fashion). Shocking? Well...if that's the only reason for this film to exist, it should be in deep burial ground itself. I won't go into acting, story, zombie character (amazing how you discover new stuff about zombies in films like these ;-)and other very important stuff (for normal films). I've watched a lot of this sort of films by now. This one is one of the worst. Made by people who obviously had nothing better to do. 1/10 (and even lower) After all these years, the only good gore films for me are the ones Peter Jackson (thé Peter Jackson) made (Braindead, Bad Taste). They had a good sense of humor in them. I don't see how you can tolerate films like these without a sense of humor. This one treats it all very seriously (though you gotta laugh at its ineptness), as a result it's a downright turkey, with no merits at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!! (I suggest you read this after
having seen the film) I don't know if what I'm gonna say can be
regarded as a "spoiler", because after all, this is a documentary and
maybe a lot of people know what happened. It's quite impossible too to
discuss this without giving away the ending.
This documentary (though this one plays out like a terrific film) chronicles the trial of Michael Peterson, but at the same time tells you more about morality, prejudice, justice and Southern mentality than you could've imagined. The director used a fly-on-the-wall approach to the subject, which was very appropriate in my opinion, though some people clearly regarded this as being biased. But you can't argue what you CAN see in the film...
Now let me start by saying that I won't go into details about the case (in which novelist Michael Peterson was found guilty of murdering his then wife, Kathleen; the case is now up for appeal, by the way). The facts, testimonies, evidence, etc. you have to see for yourself, whether it be in this documentary, television footage or in some archive. I won't even go so far as to say that Michael Peterson didn't murder his wife, because after all I wasn't present at the trial (and even that isn't always a guarantee for justice) and I've only been offered this material in the form of a documentary (by French film maker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade) of about 6 hours. So maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. But I've studied the law myself for several years here in Belgium and after having seen this film and having read about the case whatever I could find, I really can't conclude otherwise than by saying that there's at least enough reasonable doubt to set Peterson free.
For me, more important than the technical discussions in the film (some people seem to KNOW that for example doctor Henry Lee sold out to the defense side), is the human and moral aspect at play here. I díd see the four sons and daughters of Michael Peterson standing behind their (step-)father all the way (with the exception of Kathleen's daughter Caitlin). I díd hear prosecutor Freda Black talk about the "filth" she found on Peterson's computer, talking about the homosexual pornography she found ("no relationship, but pure sex") and the triumphant look in the other prosecutor Jim Hardin's eyes (though he did his best not to show it) when he found the pornography. For these people it was apparent that the dubious sexual ways of Peterson were enough from the start to declare him guilty. I can't even begin to understand how it is possible that the homosexual stuff was allowed in the trial, or how it was possible that the autopsy report (by the clearly highly incompetent "expert" Deborah Radisch (does she even know she's not allowed to make judgments in her report?)) was put out on the internet, before the case started.
Worst of all however, I was shocked by the decision of the prosecutors to bring the death of Elizabeth Ratliff (a close friend of Peterson, about twenty years ago, who died in "similar" circumstances) into play here (they even dug up her corpse again). What were they trying to prove with that? That Peterson is a serial killer who strikes once every twenty years in the proximity of a staircase? Well, that doesn't go with the theory of Kathleen Peterson finding out about his bisexuality and getting herself killed. What was the motive of Peterson in the Ratliff case by the way? Not one single answer on that by the prosecutors.
No murder weapon, not a decent motive and not one decent theory by the prosecutor about how Michael Peterson could have killed his wife (judge for yourself when you see the staircase of the title). But a lot of dirty tricks, e.g. bringing in Peterson's sexuality, his writings (fiction!) and the death of Elizabeth Ratliff, and plenty of wild theories (e.g. the blow-poke). For me that's enough (multiplied by ten) to conclude there's reasonable doubt in this case, but the jurors concluded otherwise. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a fine concept, too bad some people use it so light-heartedly.
But it's not hard to guess why Peterson was convicted. Not because the prosecutors showed he was guilty, but because he's bisexual, quite rich and white (a majority of the jurors and the judge were black), and because, well, let's face it, the juror system simply doesn't work. The prosecutors knew very well which buttons to push (the emotional and moral ones, not too surprising in these Bush times) and even after all had been said and done (and Hardin and Black clearly didn't even have faith in a guilty verdict anymore), those issues simply made the difference. So what if there's no proof, we can't stand the man, 'kay? I could comment on the dubious role the judge (allow everything, no matter if it's relevant; if it can hurt Peterson, bring it on), some media (ignore what's been said on the trial, ask silly questions and make up a story of your own), the police, medical examiner Radisch and some of Kathleen Peterson's relatives (I understand their grief, but what her sisters did was preposterous) played here, but enough for now. You be the judge.
Like Peterson's lawyer said (more or less): "The outcome did not surprise me. It shook the foundations of my belief in the justice system, in humanity, morality and myself." I doubt if the world we're living in today is as safe as some people will have us believe. Just look around you. Who would like to be judged by such "peers"?
This short by young fellow Belgian Jonas Geirnaert is already notable for the fact that the guy went to Cannes with his yet to be finished film, actually his graduation film (not yet judged by his teachers), won an important prize and had a remarkable speech afterwards saying "Don't vote Bush, in case Michael Moore shouldn't have the chance to say that this evening". This got him the recognition of a large part of the public, not in the least Moore himself. So, maybe we got a major filmmaker of the future on our hands here, ...with or without the help of MM. Now, is the short worth the fuzz? Pretty much so, yeah. It's a pretty darn funny and imaginative short, all the more remarkable by being the product of such a young filmmaker. I'm not sure what it's it trying to say, I guess you can interpret it in different ways, but I surely liked it and laughed several times. Catch it if you can. 8/10
I found this movie to be rather critical towards Jesus Christ and the whole of christianity, unlike most (American) movies (which is not a bad thing as such). This film has frequently been praised as the ultimate film on the life of (the) Christ. But I simply think Pasolini meant something else when making this film. This is not THE tale as we know it, this is Pasolini's vision, even if it's the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Jesus Christ comes off here not as the ultimate goodness in human form, but more as a pretty intolerant and even sectarian figure. And some of his deeds and the events in his life are presented in such a way that it's even hard to understand why people nowadays even bother to believe in them. I don't know if that's what Pasolini meant (after all he was a fervent marxist and known homosexual, which might explain (partially) a more hostile view towards the roman-catholic church), but I have strong feelings he did.
Simply the best short film I ever saw. Imaginative, funny (did I say funny? I mean HILARIOUS)and one that can be viewed over and over again to get the whole picture. This reminded me of the great work of the Coen Bros(especially THE BIG LEBOWSKI). Seems very absurd and scores as great for almost the whole duration (about 30-35 min.) of the (short) movie, until the end, when it becomes a masterpiece. With all of this in mind I'll be happy to watch it again for sure, if I can get my hands on it once more. Just caught this on Dutch television but shorts don't come by so often on TV, so next time I'll surely try and tape it. Won't be for all tastes, but won't kill you either ;-) and I simply loved it. 10/10 ( a first for a short in my book)
Not a bad little film, this one turned out more than I thought it would be. The story has a lot of Hitchcock in it: aggressive man gets kicked out of the house by his wife, then turns against her and eventually plans to murder her. There are some twists along the way you won't expect in a film of this kind, though it's not exactly unpredictable either. Same with the acting: pretty decent (Gazzara, Bailey, Morse,...), with some stereotypical roles filled in rather nicely (e.g. David Morse as one of the detectives, dressed in outrageous 80's outfits), though I could have done with a better leading lady. And same with the story too: realistic up to a point, but not all the way. It's a bit like walking a tight rope between pretty good and mediocre. I give this one an average rating (in the most positive sense of the way): 6/10.
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