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Triumph des Willens (1935)
A much needed reality check
Nazis have been the staple bad-guys for numerous modern entertainment pieces, so much as being cliched to the point of absurdity. So it's rather uneasy to watch "Triumph des Willens" nowadays. Gone are the humorous "absolute evil" movie-nazis - replaced with serious ones. DEADLY serious.
The cinematography is quite astounding. Executing complex visual movements and playing up the symbolisms of glory and comradeship like a rose in full bloom. We're well aware of the thorns it possesses unlike most of the folk back then, but it was probably too late by then: The political battle for Germany was over - Hitler was Germany and vice versa, like Rudolf Hess triumphantly proclaims in the closing of the political rally. Hitler chillingly speaks of the sweet, succumbing surrender of the populace to the will of the nationalsocialistic movement. And the men, women and children embrace it with blind devotion, never fully comprehending the consequences.
When one watches this one hour movie, one starts to understand what was in stake in WW2: The whole individualistic way of life - to be replaced by a totalitarian collective society not far apart from an Orwellian dystopia. We were lucky we survived that ordeal, but just. And for now.
Burakku jakku (1996)
A very well made medical thriller spoiled by some cheesy moments.
Created by Osamu Tezuka, the legendary cartoonist (or should I say artist) who made Japans comics/animations as it is today, the story revolves around an unlicensed master of surgery who gets unwillingly involved in a superhuman project, who's testsubjects die an agonising death one by one. Alot of philosophical talk about medical ethics and intense medical operations. Oh yeah, and some nicely made animation.
The plot is well made, but at one point the whole plot for a moment turns from believable to just plain silly. I mean, I didn't know there was a whole organisation of guerilla surgeons with guns who are fighting for some cheesy reason! I'll say it again: CHEESE! However, it doesn't essentially ruin the movie, but it does linger around there for the rest of the movie, which is bad. It doesn't make this film unwatchable tho'. (Well, unless you don't like gore - on the table and out of it.)
All-in-all: Good movie, pity about the cheesy surprise.
Babylon 5: Thirdspace (1998)
Babylon 5 goes Lovecraft
Holy Lovecraftian influence! Saw this on a b5-movie marathon between 'In the beginning' and 'River of souls', and this got me excited the most. Anyone who reads good ol' H.P. Lovecraft's novels should know why.
The story at the beginning is like a sci-fied up of 'Call of Cthulhu', with the addition of all those inevitable B5-elements. However, in the latter part of the movie, the plot entangles to itself badly. Too much happening with so little time, leading to a slightly disappointing end. Oh well. At least it was enjoyable.
American Beauty (1999)
Nice movie, but that's it.
Just saw it today. The cast was pretty good, the directing was good also, but somehow it just didn't convince me. This worthy for the second place? I don't think so.
Before I went to see the movie, I heard alot of positive feedback about the movie, which for me meant that I would certainly be disappointed if I would see it. And after I saw the movie, I was thinking - 'so this movie is going to grab how many Oscars??'
The reasons? Okay, so it had a good cast, direction, sound, what-ever, what-not. But... it just didn't convince me. I reckon it's because what the movie had to say I was already aware of. Or maybe it's because I'm just full about neurotic people doing stupid stuff?
I am torn. I can't justify the (current) second place, nor the Oscar-nominations, no matter how hard I try. Maybe I shouldn't try, because I saw 'Shakespeare in love' and hated it. Even with the Oscars around it. Just shows how unworthy the Oscars have become to me. And I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels this way.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Interesting, but not great.
All right, I'll be brief about this...
I personally think BWP isn't what most people would think 'The Greatest Horror-movie Ever Made(TM)' or somewhat. I've seen scarier movies than this. But I found it as an interesting portrayal of descending to insanity in the most stressful situations, and the actors were great on those moments alone.
A nice movie that one would watch from television, but that's it.
The Matrix (1999)
One of the most overrated movies of the decade.
So there I was, sitting in the theater, waiting to watch a movie I hoped would prove to be A) a great cyberpunk-movie (I love cyberpunk) B) one hellova actionmovie and C) a hollywood movie that has a plot. (Shock!)
Did they succeed?
To say the least: No.
I am never impressed with BIG special FX's - seen all the latest in MTV, anyway. And I've seen some of John Woos actionmovies when he was in Hong Kong along with other HK-masters, so I've grown some appetite for 'larger cakes', if you know what I mean. ;)
So what went wrong? There are various reasons that can be read from the various postings who agree with me, but one is the stunts, fights or anything between that. They did not feel real. And that's the problem with this movie! It did not feel real, because when for example, you see when Trinity runs along the walls, you go "she's wired".
I like my actionmovies with the sense that you can actually relate those outrageous stunts in the real world. But since it did not feature in a Real World - well, most of the time, anyway - you felt as if you were watching someone playing a computergame for you. And that, my friends, is boring.
Oh yeah, almost forgot: the speed of the action. They used FAR too much slo-mo, which showed especially in the infamous lobby-scene. Flying debris in slo-mo. While at first glance you go 'Wow', it becomes quickly redundant. Think about it: Keanu Reeves reaches his guns in slo-mo. And he shoots in slo-mo. And bullets go klinka-klink in slo-mo. Boooring. Too much trying to be 'cool' instead of brutal fast-paced action - that's what I like. :)
And don't get me started about that thing they dare to call a 'plot'! The 'plot' is full of clichés, a mediocre dialogue and obvious plotholes. It did feel promising at first, but later I became aware of the faults the plot has - not to mention the godawful closecall that shot a bullet thru this movie's head in the end!
To say the least, I wasn't impressed with this movie - but I'm not saying it was so bad it shouldn't be watched no matter what! It does have it's strengths - the effects (for what it's worth) and .. er.. that was it. :)
All-in-all: if you want to watch a real movie I'd say they would be far superior to this one, even with the lack of special effects. Who needs them, anyway?
The Truman Show (1998)
It _had_ potential.
When the movie started I hoped I'd see a movie that utilized the potentiality of what this kind of plot has: Finding that your whole life was one big lie - and the emotional crisis that follows it. Alas, that was not to follow - I hoped the movie would go on from the point Truman successfully escaped the place, but instead the movie ended.
I was dismayed that the director didn't realise what great potentiality the movie would had if we could see the emotions Truman would go thru when he finds the Real World(Tm). One would go insane from going from a safe haven to a more unfriendlier and tough world, which would be very interesting to see - and give the movie a much more emotional edge! Which is a shame, because at its current form it does not live up to the hype it had back then.