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This film (and Ridley Scott) should cease to exist
Clichéd, contrived and completely predictable. More horse crap from the ever reliable (!) Ridley Scott. You've seen the film a million times before, and yet - Oscar winner (we all knew that the Oscars were a damn joke though). Isn't anyone offended at the popularity of the film - it's just pure macho crap. It's films like these that shame the existence of film, but who cares when it makes this much money! It's like a goddamn block of cheddar! Anyone who likes this film is (yes this a fact) a MORON. Russell Crowe is a (cardboard) fool, all his posing and serious looks can never save this multi-million-million-multi-multi-million dollar piece of crap ego-fodder. You're all fools, you and Ridley Scock!
Nabbeun namja (2001)
Dodgy politics wrecked it for me.
Kim Ki-duk's seventh movie could have been so much more. Romantising forced prostitution is not a very sensible decision. Lets face it the film is meant to be uncomfortable viewing, but by the end it was to much, and the final message put forth seemed a grave mistake - if you force sex on a girl enough she will eventually love you and stay with you forever even if she is still forced to sell herself (now thats shocking)!! As for the film making, in general it was disappointing, a horrible shaky POV shot to show a character's drunkenness - that is lazy film-making, and the use of bad music, added to the blatant romanticism of a serious issue. Some valid attempts made at portraying the nasty realism of the red light district were again undercut by cheesy romance! Although there is no doubt that Kim Ki-duk is a talented filmmaker (see 'Spring, Summer' for a fine example), this film showcases little of this.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
For some reason or another i've also had problems viewing westerns, or rather motivating myself to watch them, and i can the enjoyment i receive from a western (or many other period genres) is relatively slim. Altman's 'McCabe & Mrs. Miller' could well be an exception (along with Jarmusch's 'Dead Man'). Altman captures frontier life in a respectably gritty way, capturing the noise and also the goodness of the people. Beatty's Mr McCabe is more likable than a pimp should be and is for sure not the silent badass we could expect, talkative and pleasant, he is seems no gunslinging cowboy. The plot makes the most of good characters, causing them suffering, Altman builds empathy with them, whilst creating hatred for the bad guys, all with an anti-corrupt message (which does seem redundant seen as the film was made by Warner Bros!). All in all though this could change my perceptions of the western genre, for it doesn't seem to be the conventional western piece.
Harmony Korine is the future of cinema
To me this ranks as one of the most important films in the history of cinema, along side Godard's 'Weekend' and Bergman's 'Persona', yes the film is that damn important in the evolution of cinema. Harmony Korine cares about making films that are new, and not regurgitating the same repulsive trash that Hollywood force feeds the masses, single handedly dumbing down the entire world. It comes as no surprise that whilst the film was hated by mainstream American press, that it was loved by European cinema legends that also have the same passion for cinema as Korine; Godard, Von Trier, Bertolucci, and most notably Werner Herzog. Anyone who dismisses this film, has obviously been brainwashed by Hollywood and has no knowledge of cinema history, and no cares as to the future of the art-form that is film, thus they are LAZY and IGNORANT. 'Gummo' paints a portrait of life, that is more real than almost anything that has come before it, 'Gummo' is a wake up call, and any hatred forced upon this film signals the narrow minds of (stupid) cinema-goers, and more shocking the ever increasing death of cinema!
HARMONY KORINE IS THE FUTURE OF CINEMA!!!!!!!!!!!!
GUMMO IS THE REBIRTH OF CINEMA!!!!!!
Wong Gok ka moon (1988)
The start of some very special
This is Wong Kar Wai's debut feature, his first jump from scriptwriting to film-making, and in the wonderful career of WKW seems to serve only as a tester round for the studio to judge if he's capable of directing. Yes Wong was capable of directing, but the film seems a huge leap from the classics he would start to make from 1990's 'Days of Being Wild'. 'As Tears Go By' tells a routine gangster story, seemingly influenced by Scorsese's 'Mean Streets', with what would become Wong's trademark style. It is wonderfully photographed by future director Andrew Lau (who also co-photographed Wong's 'Chungking Express'), but the plotting seems lazy and contrived, Hong Kong films have told gangster stories like this many a time, which only leaves the style to elevate it above the rest. There is no problem with the acting of course and the always reliable Jacky Cheung makes the most of a crazy role made to measure, whilst Maggie Cheung and Andy Lau also turn in good performances, whilst also marking territory for they're characters relationships in 'Days Of Being Wild'. Wong's famous use of repetition of music is also applied here, but my God this time we wish it didn't, and 'As Tears Go By' is guilt showcasing one of the worst soundtracks I've heard. Whilst 'As Tears Go By' is not really considered a Wong Kar Wai film like all his future films, it definitely serves it's purpose as a forerunner to Wong's future style of film-making, and is a noble attempt at trying to pushing 80's HK heroic bloodshed in a different direction. Recommend only for the Wong completest, this might not serve as a great introduction to the skill and seduction of Wong's later masterpieces.
Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö (1990)
Kaurismaki on form
Yesterday I watched this film straight after Kaurismaki's film of the same year 'I Hired a Contract Killer', and this struck me as a far superior film, possibly because I'd prefer to see drab Finnish locations than (the usual) drab British locations and maybe also because of the annoying poor acting from Jean-Pierre Leaud's female co-star (my Finnish friend asked me why the women sounded like a 'learn the English language' tape). Overall the film seemed to be a generally better piece of cinema than 'Contract Killer'.'The Match Factory Girl' is a continuation of Kaurismaki's trade-mark minimal style (and also content)in which a young (match-factory working) girl leads a depressingly sad life in which she is used and abused by everyone around. Kaurismaki's films (to me at least) can be described as deadpan Bergman in silence, and yesterday i heard that Aki grew up with autism, this is partly the reason of the lack of communication between characters and also the low amount of dialogue. The film is not as depressing as sounds though, and is lifted by Kaurismaki's use of deadpan humour. For any Kaurismaki (add to this Jarmusch and Kitano)fan, this film will not disappoint, although it is pretty difficult to track down.
Mashgh-e Shab (1989)
Another fine example of Kiarostami's simplicity
In 'Homework' Kiarostami, interviews children on their personal opinions to homework. It is a great documentary, funny, sweet, and so easy to watch. Kiarostami literally films the children and interviews them and that's it, but by doing this he captures the children in such a great way that you wonder that Truffaut, is not directing the kids from off camera! The children brim with the kind of charisma that we'd forgot children could do in a film let alone in real life, and seems to seek to remind us what being a child was all about. 'Homework' whilst being a fine film in it's own right also seems to serve as an important precursor for Nicolas Philibert's 2002 documentary on rural school life 'Être et avoir', and provokes the same positive feeling as that film and also of Truffaut's 'L'agent Poche'.
Zendegi va digar hich (1992)
Fantastic, today's Neo-realism
Whilst watching this film i was struck by how natural and simplistic the film was. A film director and his son travel through Iran after an earthquake has struck to try and see if the boy who starred in his last film is still alive. That is what the film is, observing people on the road, whose lives have been destroyed, people whose lives still go on. Kiarostami presents life in such a naturalistic way that we are sitting in the back seat of the car taking the journey as well. That is the perfection of the this film, the real life, the carnage of life, the people striving for life, all add up to one up-lifting experience. Like Rossellini with a uplifting finale, and minus the melodrama. Kiarostami seeks to capture reality on film in a similar way as the Neo-realists, through humanity and observation, but while the Neo-realists films can be seen as natural, Kiarostami reinvents naturalism as if nature had shot the film itself. Yet another piece of perfection from Kiarostami, not to be missed.
Nema-ye Nazdik (1990)
This is a masterpiece, one of the most original films ever made
Close-up tells the true story of a man arrested for impersonating Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film is a joy made up of mostly real footage of the trial and interviews with all involved, and also re-enactments of real events by the actual people involved. The film comes across as a portrait of a film-lover, as Hossain Sabzian defends his reasons for his impersonation in court with Kiarostami as the judge (literally) and the audience as jury, praying for a light sentence for Sabzian. Sabzian comes across as a screen legend, his innocence draws us to identify with him, a sweet man with a passion for films and family. Close-up literally bursts with originality, breaking the line between documentary and fiction with fantastic innovation, whilst still remaining light-hearted, humorous and easy viewing for anyone.
Sun faa sau si (1998)
This movie is great fun! I read a comment that said it was like mallrats with zombies, which is exactly what i thought while watching. The two main characters Bee (Sam Lee - who is on his usually funny form) and Jordan Chan's Invincible, while being both entertaining, offensive and lacking morals (they don't worry about mugging people, running people over or generally bullying people) do show some redeeming qualities towards the end (Bee -"I don't want to be a zombie, i'd rather die" what a line!). OK so the zombie (sub)plot does take a while to get in place, but the comedy does provide entertainment up until the zombies all start shuffling in. The pacing is great, with scenes of tension (the handcuff key in mouth scene)and cheesy emotion (The Sushi zombie giving a present to that girl) pushing along the narrative and character development to a good standard. Before watching it i was expecting a gore-fest, but gore fans will be disappointed, scenes of zombie-culling are quite brief and restrained, but fans of comedy-horror or zombie films should enjoy. To be honest the film does play as a bit of a spoof with moments of clichéd and cheesy emotion and the whole computer game idea towards the end. Although the ending does shaft the comedy element for emotion (although i think its played for laughs) and the ending is a bit of shock, it is overall an enjoyable experience and if you do enjoy this check out Peter Jackson's Braindead!