Reviews written by registered user
penseur

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72 reviews in total 
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8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Pretentious waste, 29 July 2004
1/10

It is too easy for "artistes" who want to be considered as such to do things that are confrontational and provocative and little else. Local examples of still "art" that made the headlines here that I can think of were "Tissues after a bowel motion" (the description is obvious) and "Virgin in a Condom" (a dashboard size figure of St Mary enclosed in a condom). This collection of moving images is pretty much in the same category. Does the writer/director of this have anything valid to say? Not really. Maybe that some men are misogynists (and some women have the same attitudes about men)? Well I think there are better ways of presenting that. At the start the woman goes into a toilet and starts slashing her wrist with a razor blade - people who do that are mentally ill. And the fantasy scene of the man of her slashing her neck with the razor blade indicates he is too. Thereafter what follows is of little surprise. In all a pretentious and unpleasant waste of celluloid, time and money.

14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
A treat for Blues lovers, 28 July 2004
8/10

Most of the big names in American blues music, certainly the black exponents, get glimpsed in this tribute show - and if they didn't attend, mainly because they are deceased, there is archive footage of them. Although a concert, the film manages to become a documentary as well and reasonably chronological. Obviously you can't expect this condensed film to be comprehensive about a subject this big with so many artists, but it makes a good try. The artists and their performances I guess are a matter of personal taste, but I enjoyed most of them. The borders between blues, soul and rock are rather blurred sometimes, but there are lots of people who resist categorization. Standouts for me were Buddy Guy's rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" (Hendrix was actually a big fan of Buddy Guy) and BB King's fret work right at the end. For blues lovers it's a must see; for those who don't know much about it, this film is a good introduction. Try to see it in a cinema with a good sound system.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Ridiculous, worth watching for the cars, that's all, 22 July 2004

1957 was a good year for cars and the Cadillac Fleetwood was one of the nicest. I watched this for the scenes of it (or them) in action on snowy roads at night, with lots of blue floodlighting and white bottom-lighting which illuminates the styling features in an eerie kind of way. As for the rest - well I guess the producers and directors had to come up with some kind of story to accompany that, and they didn't seem to care much about what. I've seen enough films about nerdy and/or silly American teenagers never to want to watch another. None of this is realistic or believable. Can you drive cars like that on ice? No except maybe under very controlled circumstances. Can you drive a car at night on an unlighted road without your headlights on and not crash? No. I could continue with questions about the rest of it, and the answers are the same. Actually, I think that if the "Duel" (1971) formula had been followed a little more closely it could have had the makings of a good film, but that would be plagiarism wouldn't it?

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lee Tamahori's finest, 18 July 2004

I saw this when it first came out (as did many NZers) and watching "Die Another Day" prompted me to watch it again to remind myself of what Lee Tamahori is really capable of when he's not restricted to Hollywood formulas. The movie is powerful and gritty and has plenty of violence - not the Hollywood "shoot-em-up" type but pretty realistic bashings. However, that isn't what the film is about, rather it deals with emotions, aspirations and motivations within a racially defined society, but it is not about racial disharmony and despite appearances the underlying message is positive - "this is were we're at, but it's not really where we want to be, we can change things so let's try to do so". The source book by Alan Duff was equally effective and should have universal appeal (it didn't get distributed in America, however). Like fellow Wellingtonian Peter Jackson, Tamahori is certainly one of the world's best film directors.

34 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Good looking, shallow and tacky, 16 July 2004

My girlfriend - addicted to American soap operas - wanted to watch this, so I thought maybe I should too. The concept is simple: get a bunch of attractive and neurotic young women who want to compete for the affections of some adonis and take them on one-on-ones with Mr. God's Gift to Women while the camera follows them and lets the viewer observe all the interesting and melodramatic moments (well most of them - we don't get to witness the sex). It creates a lot of questions - for example, why would women want to enter a show like this in the first place? What do they think is in it for them and what is really in it for them? It all looks good visually - the producers have seen to that - but it is also tacky, shallow and exploitative. It speaks a lot about America.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Moody film noir, 28 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although the production values are those of 1960s and 70s films which make The Incredibly Strange Film Festival, that is to say not good, this one is still worth watching if you happen to like film noir and see it on your cable TV schedule. A ex-Vietnam veteran lives with his girlfriend Martha and their baby, and nearby her father, a world war II veteran. Then in the snow covered winter landscape two Vietnam buddies show up in their car, and its obvious they are psychologically warped. They get on well with dad but when it is revealed they were part of a gang rape of a 16 year old girl in Vietnam, needless to say Martha isn't very comfortable. The tensions build. Martha gets around in a miniskirt and boots and the regular glimpses of her thighs are a fairly strong clue about events near the end of the film. 6/10

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
About as good as it gets, 25 June 2004
10/10

In my opinion this is one of the top 10 movies ever to come out of Hollywood; just about everything - scripting, casting, acting direction - is faultless, and it has great period setting and feel. Some didn't like Kim Basinger, but I think she was ideal for the part that she played. The theme of police corruption - those who are supposed to be the good guys but aren't - is a good setting for viewer involvement ...hint to budding scriptwriters out there. As other commentators say, if it hadn't been for the syrupy "Titantic" (with its two awful lead cast members), this would have won the best picture Oscar for that year. It is one of the must-sees for anyone who aspires to making good movies.

9½ Weeks (1986)
28 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Arty, redolent of the 1980s, 13 June 2004

Although generally rubbished by critics because of the two lead actors, among other things, this was an interesting film in that it attempted to be artistic, something of a rarity for Hollywood. Much of what is presented was designed to look sexy, even if it was unlikely to be if you tried it yourself. And to give it its due, those responsible for art direction and cinematography did a pretty good job and it stands repeated viewings to pick up on nuances missed first time around. It is tantalizing but not especially erotic; a lot more is suggested than actually happens. Anyone who can remember working in an office in the 80s will relate to the telex machines, phones with bell-rings, and no desktop computer for the manger, and no mobile phones. The 80s apartment decor and fashions will also jog memories.

Osama (2003)
Powerful and involving, 9 June 2004
9/10

The nature of totalitarian, ideologically driven regimes makes them good settings for drama and the presentation of the best and worst of human nature. This film makes clear how dreadful daily life was in Taliban ruled Afghanistan, particularly if you were a female (not that it's much fun in other Muslim countries) and we quickly sympathise with the central characters in their struggle for survival. That it was made only a year after the Taliban were ousted gives it an authentic documentary feel, but it would still be as effective if the events were years earlier. Part of the fascination is how the Taliban managed to be so primitive and backward (basically anything that didn't exist at the time the Koran was written was verboten, with the exception of weapons and vehicles for them to get around in) and the peculiarities of Islamic attitudes and practices that distinguished the Taliban from, for example, the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia or the Nazis in Germany, although there are also parallels.

Troy (2004)
12 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A few pluses, a lot of minuses, 4 June 2004
7/10

Do blue-eyed flaxen-haired bronzed Brad Pritt and Diane Kruger really resemble Greeks, ancient or otherwise? Can you really thrust a sword or a spear through pieces of armor plate, front and back? Did Troy really look like this place? You could go on, and in fairness there are a lot of questions about the historical basis of the Iliad on which this is very loosely based. How possible would it have been in Greece, for example, with its denuded hillsides (munched by goats) to find enough wood to build 1000 ships? But back to the film. I agree with those who say Brad Pitt was the wrong person to cast as Achilles, while Peter O'Toole puts in a good performance but which in no way compensates. I also had misgivings about Orlando Bloom. Most of the other actors are adequate, nothing more. The realism of the battle scenes varies a lot, sometimes good, sometimes ridiculous. Ditto for the accompanying sound effects. At times the film manages to resurrect fleetingly the feel of historical epics of the past ("Ben Hur", "Cleopatra" etc), and that is one of the pluses. Another plus is that some people might be inspired to investigate the classics and/or ancient Greek history. But overall there are just too many faults and too much lacking. 5/10.


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