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The Break-Up (2006)
Like dinner with two people who are fighting...
Have you ever spent an evening with a couple who don't get along? or who bicker during dinner? It's no fun and that's what this appropriately named film is like. Basically, you watch two people fight and treat each other badly for two hours. I left tired, uncomfortable, and wanting my money back. All the funny moments are in the trailer...the rest is a front row seat to the worst in people.
Though both Aniston and Vaughn perform well and convincingly, neither of their characters is likable. I couldn't find any great takeaway or message in the film. The only bright spots are in the supporting cast, including Vincent D'Onofrio and John Michael Higgins, who are both funny and lovable as quirky siblings of the lead characters.
If you want to see Aniston in a good relationship film, checkout "The Good Girl"
Jane Austen's Mafia! (1998)
This film is a wonderful compendium of spoofs on the entire gangster genre. Especially look out for the true emotion seen in the face of ATM Man with Double Chin!
The only part I couldn't really buy was a little boy swimming all the way to America from Sicily!! I mean that's not possible!!
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Drab Pseudo-Surrealism compared with Mulholland Dr.
I disliked PDL for some of the reasons I loved Mulholland Dr. (2001). The film is full of strange and symbolic images, staging, dialogue, and sound. Every shot/scene intentionally breaks with conventional storytelling and filmmaking....The camera focuses on the corner of a cabinet instead of Sandler...silences between characters are long and uncomfortable...still shots are broken with abrupt action...much of what is done and said appears to have no immediate purpose or meaning. As a result, people naturally try to interpret and ascribe meaning (just read some of these other reviews), which can be a lot of fun and very interesting. Unfortunately, in PDL, it's neither. First, unlike Mulholland Dr., which did the same things (and more) with lush, sexy, and interesting imagery...PDL is stark and mundane. Second, I think much of what Anderson does is gratuitous..it doesn't add up to some deeper message or idea. Though there may be no specific "meaning" to Mulholland Dr., Lynch has me convinced there is...Anderson didn't pull that off.
Is this a hoax?
I suffered through Gerry along with about 1,000 others at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Heads bobbed, people groaned and shifted uneasily, there was some snoring audible; but Gus, Matt, Casey, and big brother Ben were there in the audience...so nobody left.
The film has many well done parts, the cinematography is great, the dialogue very funny. The problem is that every shot is 4-10 times longer than it should be. This is similar to a technique used in the French film "Humanite" (1999); though the uncomfortably long shots mostly feature landscapes, rather than faces, in this celluloid sleeping pill.
Personally, I question the filmmakers' motives. Are they looking to see how far they can go into the absurdly pretentious and boring, before someone stands up an screams "Stop in the name of all things holy!!!"? Given the festival buzz, I know that the reaction will be polarized, with some already hailing it as genius. But come on, we watched a sunset in real time with no diologue and little action. I can't believe that even the biggest fans weren't fighting fighting to stay awake.
There is one clue as to the possibility of this being a big joke on the audience..in the film they refer to a screw-up as "a gerry."
Sexy Beast (2000)
Incredibly tense, great performances, full of irony
I needed a massage and a drink coming out of this film. I haven't seen such tension and emotional conflict in a film in years. Kingsley is amazing. All of the characters are complex and interesting. I DO NOT think of it as a comedy. It had it's funny moments, but I was not feeling jovial or even entertained by the end...more gripped and pulled into the story. Great filmmaking that pushes the medium. Highly Recommended.
A Great Look at the Rise and Fall of a Web Icon
I saw e-Dreams in the Seattle International Film Festival and enjoyed it thoroughly. The filmmakers followed Kozmo.com CEO, Joe Park, over a a couple of years. Filmed in real time, you get to watch history unfold on an amazing story. Now out of business, we watch Kozmo.com grow and become a huge. As the operations become more and more complex, the young CEO spends more and more time worrying about financing and an impending IPO, which ultimately fails. I commend the filmmakers for not editing the footage to make obvious what we now know to be true or casting the events they recorded using 20/20 hindsight. I found it interesting to note where the audience laughed. There seemed to be an assumption that the fall of Kozmo.com was pre-destined and that their business model was never a good idea. I disagree with this premise, and ultimately believe that something very much like it will be successful. Thankfully, the film allows one to draw their own conclusions. Highly recommended.
The director infuses this film with false depth by repeating a gimmick throughout the film. EVERY single shot in this movie is 3 times longer than it needs to be. You could easily cut out 1.5 hours of this agonizingly long 2.5 hour film without eliminating: one word of dialogue, one image, one event, or bit of movement.
This was one of the most gratuitous wastes of film I have ever seen. Other reviewers have called it pretentious, which is an understatement. L'Humanite is pseudo-intellectual trash designed to be anti-Hollywood so that the Cannes judges could assert their independence from the Oscars.
The IMDb reviewer states: "Unlike Hollywood movies - which usually force the audience into overdrive - this forces the audience to slow down and look at some of life's tiniest and most mundane features in great detail." You would have to be catatonic to stare at some of these images this long and move as slowly at these characters. This isn't real life unless you are heavily medicated.
Finally, I felt that Schotté's portrayal was a sad rip-off of Peter Sellers' masterful "Chauncy Gardner." He uses the same facial expressions and postures. He even gardens! In many respects there are parallels between these two movies. The main difference being that "Being There" moves along and doesn't rely on shock and gimmicks to create a meaningful experience while questioning various things we take for granted in life.
La mitad del cielo (1986)
A wonderful film
La Mitad del Cielo (Half of Heaven) is a fantastic film that will give the viewer a wonderful sense of Spanish history, culture, and the natural beauty of Spain.
Set immediately following the Spanish Civil War, a young woman is forced to move from her home in the north to Madrid, where she gets a job as a wet nurse. Over time she rises in society and comes to have her own restaurant (this is a great food film with a fun food fight). Part of what makes it special is a mystical connection between the woman's daughter and mother, both of whom can see the future, a power which seems to skip generations.