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Hardcore Henry (2015)
A litany against growing up and women
he trailer for this film doesn't spoil anything: it tells almost everything about this film, which (surprise) doesn't pass the Bechdel test. In fact, women aren't merely used as objects in this film, but as pins designed to strike down. When you see women who stand up for themselves, they're denigrated into stereotypes, e.g. whiny, hen-like smithereens of the True Heroes, which, of course, are The Men. The Strong Men with Big Muscles and Bits Of Robot Inside, but with Some Kind Of...Pathos? There's no pathos. There's nothing veiling the fact that this is a film which seeks to emulate Neil Blomkamp's films, going as far as casting the very limited actor Sharlto Copley in a slew of rôles designed to be funny and show his breadth, which is wide enough to require a microscopic lens that only scientists at CERN have access to.
I can't stop coming back to how this film views women. How the director and writer, and, indeed, every single being who has been involved with this muck, must see women. Sexy things, or disparaging must-haves? Both? When two women actually speak at the same time in this film, the man who is speaking with them just says something to sedate them and then, to another man, says "Sometimes it's just easier to say yes".
There's one attempt at psychology in the film, apart from one scene where, naturally, a woman is displayed as highly deceptive and deserves to die. Some kind of recurring psychological theme in this film, is invoked as the lead character remembers being bullied in his childhood. A slow-motion shot of his robot being thrown into a brick wall. Actually, that scene is kind of the leitmotif for this film: something shiny being destroyed.
Oh! There's even time for a homophobic two-line rant in this film! As one of Copley's charades is vented towards the viewer, he says something akin to "There's a certain stigma attached to blokes who like musicals. I just wanna get it out there that I'm as straight as an arrow, get it?" and then he kills people. Thanks for letting us know.
Then some scenes of women being prostitutes. These women are in the middle of a group sex scene with another of Copley's characters, but the lead character's entrance doesn't disturb them in the least. Neither does his apparent dying, which only entices them to feeling him up and suggesting sex. Naturally, as they're women, the plaything for Man. The Man. The Big, Strong Man.
The first-person-shooter point of view in this film was quite enthralling at times, but that's about it that made me like the film. I'd rather spend time hanging out between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and watch fireworks go off in the sky, than see this film again; it'd be quite the same experience, I'm sure.
The violence is another thing. I have nothing against the showing of violence, if it serves a purpose. This is merely here to look cool, and give people kicks. Well, if watching people dying to bad music - apart from Devendra Banhart's music, which somehow has crept into the soundtrack in the form of two very good songs - is your thing, good luck with staying human. That's it. Oh, and if you think I'm spoiling this film through this review, don't play "Max Payne", as that will basically have ruined this entire film for you (apart from the fact that the game is far better than this film).
The people who have made this film - yes, including your one-minute join, Tim Roth - should have seen "Mad Max: Fury Road". By all accounts, they probably have, but deflected everything beauteous and fair about it.
I'll let the very last line spoken in the film ring out as a kind of air around this sycophantic, anti-feministic clownboat of a film: "Listen to your heart." Do not see this film.
Sad and not well-made in the least; very weak lead character/actor
What a heap of troubles.
Sweden often combats crime; one may say it's "our" forté.
Trouble is, the same actors adapt the same dour, sour stance when affronting the crimes perpetrated by other film-makers and actors, all from Sweden. It's a downward trajectory.
Here, the biggest crime is courtesy of Jacob Eklund, who would not be able to act his way out of a paper bag; he's far too lackadaisical and apathetic to be a lead guy, and his character's simply not believable.
This story is somewhat interesting as one specific criminal quickly proves to be an informant for the police. That's about it, really. The action is questionable as I kept looking at my wall behind the TV at times, for more exciting stuff; I'm not exaggerating when writing it.
Fingers crossed for more excitement.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Pretty, free-flowing and Jarmusch-ian all the way
This is quite the calm film that's much more about humanity, rather than anything else.
I put this film off for some time due to the fact that I'm allergic to vampire flicks. Hence, I did something wrong.
This is, mainly, a Jim Jarmusch film. If you haven't seen his stuff, do. This is a great addition to his little canon.
Swinton and Hiddleston play two vampires, 3000 and 500 years old, respectively, who live in our current day. This does _not_ mean they'll start sprouting a lot of awe-inspiring Shakespearian words, and their history is surprisingly left to its own devices, i.e. letting the viewer think rather than have everything served on a platter.
You get to do a lot of thinking on your own in this film. Not that you have to. The film flows and drowses through time, radially, even from the very first scenes.
It's more an experience than a film. The music's great. It's almost existential, this one.
Fun, funny and not your typical SNL-alumni flick
I'm a sucker for Fey/Poehler, and this time they've managed to be as brash and simultaneously fun as they should always have been; I mean, they've obviously honed their craft. They play sisters who walk down memory lane, and what keeps this from being a regular haw-haw SNL showboat is how they keep their eyes on the prize, story-wise. It's a complete film, lavish with jokes that not only prey upon the remember-when-we-were-young? thing, but show-cases humor in its simplest forms. There are not that many gimmicks, really, but mostly humor. Things work because of the words, not the context, e.g. in comparison with films like almost everything Adam Sandler has made. All in all, fun and funny, they make it work.
Fuk sau (2009)
Film noir meets "Blade Runner" and "Memento": great!
This is a pure action-and-vengeance film, from start to finish. There's really no logic to some things, e.g. why the main character does not visit his estranged and brutally hurt (physically and mentally speaking) daughter in hospital, but is on a mission. Apart from that, though, this film is a study in cinematography, vengeance, neat tricks and sheer love for the kind of drama that I think all vengeance-based films should carry. There's a lot of fun too. What Hallyday keeps back because of his limited performance - just imagine if Alain Delon would have played the main character, which is what the director originally wanted - the sidekicks and the beauty of the film gives back. It's a bit like "Blade Runner" meets "Memento" and some ancient John Ford/Akira Kurosawa thing going on. A must-see for all action/vengeance flick buffs.
Wondrous, breathtaking; horrible humanity
This is a masterpiece.
Where William Shakespeare's tale of betrayal, greed and blindness leaves much room for interpretation, this cinematic version goes beyond what could easily have been a flat, drab interpretation, and makes it come alive and breathe new air into the tale.
I hope this adaptation goes around and is seen by all.
Fassbender is really involved in this film, as previously seen in "Shame", as opposed the crappy role he had to play in "Prometheus"; Marion Cotillard elevates, both by herself and together with Fassbender.
The calmness before the storm, breathtakingly filmed and shot first during the initial scenes, is cinematography, acting and direction in wondrous collaboration. It seems all actors are on-point, with one singular goal.
This is truly brilliant. The language comes alive, through death and humanity.
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Drab. Non-confrontational revision of history
Ghurghgh. I loved N.W.A. for their gall, anger and methods, but hated their misogyny. Still, this film focuses on that, disses MC Ren's abilities to lift the group after Dre left, and yeah, there's more misogyny here, still. Drab. Sad. The best bits are of the band shaping their first album. The rest should be read in books and preferably forgotten. It's not hard to see why Ice Cube went on to surpass what Dre did later, even on his first solo album. I wish one would hear more dissing of Dre courtesy of Eazy-E, buuut--Eazy's dead, so Dre's words take precedence, I guess. And there's even a whole buckload of distasteful ad for beats headphones at the end of the film. Truly bad.
Steve Jobs (2015)
Flawed but semi-interesting
This is a boxed experience, by which it's clear whom has written it. Style can be great. This is intense, which is cool. It's convoluted. Can be very good. It's not complicated, but often a dirge in reverse; the dialogue is basically the same for all characters, which are all dressed differently. That's an issue that I dislike with Sorkin's films. Well, while a lot of people often behave similarly in real life, it's a murky feature to me, that stands out like broken pixels in a computer screen.
Having stated the above points, the film succeeds in displaying Jobs as a flawed person, but given all the hoo-hah that occurs during the film, due to everything happening during Apple events, it's hard to see his self. Well. I can't say I could or would have seen his self during other times, but the documentary "Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine" gives much more flesh to Jobs' bones, where this film appears quite shallow. Good acting and, at times, stellar writing is interesting, but as a whole, this film does not work for me. It's scatterbrained, amidst all of its seemingly good intentions and radiance. I rather recommend the documentary to this film.
Fort Tilden (2014)
Like "The Warriors", without the physical violence
I've seen people hound down this film, trying to say it's a hipster collage. That is untrue; this film is really a quite detailed, funny and critical view of the today of near-teenaged, white, monied persons who are lost in solipsism while being...spoiled brats, would actually be a good generalisation. The two headliners try to get to Fort Tilden by bike, which isn't as easy as it sounds (to them). This is like "The Warriors" without the physical violence. As they make their way they find stuff out about themselves while seemingly learning nothing. It's an epic film, in the true sense of the word. I've also gotta say, the scene where one of the lead characters picks up David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" and drops it onto a visible part of her apartment to increase her chance of getting laid later as she hopes to drag a guy back to her apartment is brilliant to a DFW geek like myself.
The journey is the thing, not the "goal"
This is a quite simple tale that deeply and indirectly delves into how humans are prone to denial when in the face of staggering pain. Diane was a woman who rode her car against the traffic tide, hitting an oncoming car, killing herself, all the passengers in the met vehicle and a slew of her children. As the father struggles with the deaths, the news of Diane's intoxication are released: alcohol and THC. The documentary starts just half a year after the deaths occurred. To me, what "really happened" isn't the interesting stuff, but the denial is; seeing all of the people talk is the thing. It's the journey, not the goal, whatever that would be. Interesting but not well edited; could have been better if the reins were held tighter.