Reviews written by registered user
bedazzle

Send an IMDb private message to this author or view their message board profile.

Page 1 of 8:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [Next]
79 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Schopenhauer, 28 June 2002
10/10

The first time I saw this movie I didn't remember the references to Schopenhauer, but now I've read said philosopher and was thinking about the point in using him in this movie. At first it seems like a mistake. After all, Schopenhauer is of the major philosophers, the most pessimistic. So it's strange to have him portrayed positively in such an optimistic movie. I think the movie is reinterpreting his philosophy from an optimistic perspective. Reinterpretation is a strong part of all classic works. For example, Virginia Woolfe has a crazy man interpret Shakespeare as being a misanthrope in 'Mrs. Dalloway.' Basically, Schopenhauer says that humans are conditioned by evolution to choose life over everything horrible that could happen, and that we have no choice but to obey. 'Life is Beautiful' takes this reality to be a positive. Really, it's an affirmation of the inherent goodness of life. So I think the Schopenhauer references work perfectly here.

Insomnia (2002)
How nice: Poetic justice and its problems., 25 May 2002
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS, interpretation:

This movie is a good example of how contrived Hollywood movies can get when they believe poetic justice to be an absolute necessity. With poetic justice, since both Williams and Pacino commit a sin, they must both be punished. Williams must be punished most because his crime was committed with clear intent. So in the end, Williams receives his punishment when he dies. Pacino dies as well, but there is a difference between his death: he repents before he dies. So what was intimated from the beginning is affirmed: though both men work together and both have committed a sin, Williams clearly represents evil while Pacino represents good. With his repentance, Pacino is assured his place in heaven, and William's punishment will continue in his hell-bound afterlife. This is further evinced when Pacino falls asleep because his conscience is now clear. The problem with this, which is nicely explained in Hermann Hesse's ‘Demian' is that a deathbed repentance is quite easy and convenient. Take the biblical story of the repentant thieve for example. Two thieves are crucified with Jesus. One insults Jesus and one repents to Jesus, and is thus granted entrance to heaven. But is it really so virtuous to live a life of sin and then repent when staring death in the eye? The repentance is not authentic, but fear based. Hence, both Williams and the non-repentant thief are the virtuous ones, for truly accepting their life and it's decisions and its consequences. A final scene in which Pacino isn't made to look heroic would have been much preferred, because 1) it's not so very trite and would possibly redeem some of the movie's slow and self-serious plot, and 2) it's more philosophically and religiously coherent.

Slacker (1991)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
the first 'Waking Life', 14 April 2002
7/10

If you liked 'Waking Life' you'll find 'Slacker' at least interesting for its similarities. There's many of the same characters, same style, even some of the same scenes. There's also a few differences. 'Slacker' is only partially philosophically related, whereas 'Waking Life' is completely based on philosophy. The non-philosophical portion of S consists of politics, conspiracy theory, general slacker lifestyle, aesthetic screen shots, and unique characters similar to those of Kevin Smith. Another thing is that there is no discernible plot in S while there is in WL. Really, if you like dialogue movies, you'll like this one. If you liked 'Tape' you'll like S. The big question is, Can you relate to a bunch of quasi-intellectual college graduates stuck somewhere between the world of professional scholarship and mainstream mundane-ness?

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
terrible, 5 April 2002
3/10

I was going to write an interpretation, but any interpretation will be unconvincing because the movie was so completely ambiguous. Ambiguity is the only possible result when you mix symbolism with an almost complete lack of dialogue.

Now I don't have a problem with ambiguity per se. That's exactly what I like about some David Lynch films, that they're left open to interpretation and the best argument wins. The difference here is presentation. With movies like this, it doesn't matter how profound the underlying theme is if said theme is presented in a boring uninteresting way. Every single scene in the movie is shown, the point is made, and then the scene continues for some reason. These scenes go on and on with no dialogue, no music, no camera movement, and not even enough light to allow you to entertain yourself with the backgrounds.

Some of this structurally unnecessary prolonging is done in an attempt at realism. Though it seems naive to assume that real life boredom will be film-worthy simply because it is real. Other times the prolonged scene is simply an immature attempt to make the audience uncomfortable. For example, scenes eating with prominent chewing noises, the tourist and her lesbianism, mother and her masturbation, and so forth.

I just figured out the best interpretation: By being aware of time, life slows tremendously and becomes excruciatingly boring, as this movie illustrates beautifully!

Panic Room (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
warning, 1 April 2002
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning! Don't expect to like this movie if you liked Fincher's last three movies!

The best thing about this movie was the beginning credits and a few of the camera shots.

spoilers, interpretation:

So it appears that Fincher has taken the Kevin Smith route: in order to safeguard his directing career he is going to intersperse corny Hollywood mainstream movies with his innovative films. 'Aliens 3' and 'Panic Room' fall into the first category, with 'Se7en,' 'The Game,' and 'Fight Club' falling into the latter. I have no problem with Fincher's survival instinct, I just wish I would have known of it ahead of time. So take this as a warning.

What you have with 'Panic Room' is your typical Hollywood "thriller." It's not thrilling if you've seen a "thriller" before and remember any of it. A goal is made apparent within the first ten minutes of the movie, and the other two hours are used to frustrate this goal, over and over and over again. Even unrealistic aspects are accepted if they cause frustration. Also, anytime there is an uncomfortable moment, prolong it as long as possible. Use contrived undeveloped tension to add suspense (tension between Jody and daughter, Jody and husband, Jody and good robber - of course all three tensions are resolved nearly simultaneously in the end ). Make use of poetic justice because the good guys always win. Another hackneyed ploy: throw in an anti-materialistic moral into the mix (all three robbers, as well as Jody and daughter, are punished because of their greed) even if it hasn't been built up and has nothing to do with anything in the movie. Advice for film majors: suspense doesn't make corny humor funny, it just makes it annoying.

I'll give Fincher another chance of course. In my opinion, nobody has ever directed four must-sees in a row. So I don't resent him, I'm just a bit disappointed. This was not even close to a must-see. It really was ridiculous; I ended up laughing at many of the supposedly scary parts because they were so unbelievably trite. 4/10

Panic Room (2002)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Not for Fincher fans, 29 March 2002
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning! Don't expect to like this movie if you liked Fincher's last three movies!

spoilers, interpretation:

So it appears that Fincher has taken the Kevin Smith route: in order to safeguard his directing career he is going to intersperse corny Hollywood mainstream movies with his innovative films. 'Aliens 3' and 'Panic Room' fall into the first category, with 'Se7en,' 'The Game,' and 'Fight Club' falling into the latter. I have no problem with Fincher's survival instinct, I just wish I would have known of it ahead of time. So take this as a warning.

What you have with 'Panic Room' is your typical Hollywood "thriller." It's not thrilling if you've seen a "thriller" before and remember any of it. A goal is made apparent within the first ten minutes of the movie, and the other two hours are used to frustrate this goal, over and over and over again. Even unrealistic aspects are accepted if they cause frustration. Also, anytime there is an uncomfortable moment, prolong it as long as possible. Use contrived undeveloped tension to add suspense (tension between Jody and daughter, Jody and husband, Jody and good robber - of course all three tensions are resolved nearly simultaneously in the end ). Make use of poetic justice because the good guys always win. Another hackneyed ploy: throw in an anti-materialistic moral into the mix (all three robbers, as well as Jody and daughter, are punished because of their greed) even if it hasn't been built up and has nothing to do with anything in the movie. Advice for film majors: suspense doesn't make corny humor funny, it just makes it annoying.

I'll give Fincher another chance of course. In my opinion, nobody has ever directed four must-sees in a row. So I don't resent him, I'm just a bit disappointed. This was not even close to a must-see. It really was ridiculous; I ended up laughing at many of the supposedly scary parts because they were so unbelievably trite. 4/10

interesting theoretically, lacking in presentation, 15 March 2002
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers, interpretation:

Presentation: Overall, I like the theoretical aspects of this movie – although there are certain problems – it's mostly the presentation that made this less than a must-see movie for me. The pace is incredibly slow to start and only picks up momentum later when it actually gives you something to think about. Yes the black and white is moderately interesting and there are some creative screenshots, but it's just not enough to keep me interested. The humor was also a different brand from that which I enjoyed in ‘The Big Lebowski' and ‘Fargo.' Mainly two types of humor are used: expectation and randomness humor. A line is uttered and you can already foretell the response and you're supposed to laugh because you're smart enough to see this. The problem with this type of humor is that for the audience to expect the next line the joke itself has to be cliched. An excellent example of how trivial this humor is is the fact that everyone laughed when the line from the trailer came up, `they put on their pants one leg at a time just like everyone else.' The Coen's did not mean for this to be funny, but it illustrates the point. When this gets old, random humor is used – the humor of unexpectation. For example, when Ed says he'd like to collect the hair and mix it with soil and the spaceships and the sudden attempt at fellatio. We later learn that these occurrences were not actually random, but they are randomness humor nonetheless. Personally I prefer less slapsticky humor such as irony and creative social analysis and such.

Theoretically: So Ed is the modern man? What does that mean? Ed is a barber. He is like Sisyphus who is condemned to eternally push a boulder up a hill. Ed must forever cut hair that just keeps growing back and even grows a bit after the body is dead. So spiritually is hinted at. Ed is not a completely a modern man because he admits the possibility of a future life both here symbolically and in the end directly.

Besides the agnosticism, Ed is more optimistic than the typical stereotypical modern man. He is bored with life but doesn't pass into renunciation; he tries to create meaning, or at least entertainment. Specifically, this occurs when Ed gets suckered into the dry cleaning scam and when he tries to get something by living through the piano player. So with Ed's lack of words, his boredom is symbolized. Also, his lack of language shows his impotence in dealing with his position as modern man. Yes, Ed narrates the movie and clearly has an excellent ability to describe, but he cannot get at his essence. This is shown when Ed cannot defend his faith in the piano player's talents. He knows that he feels passionate about the music, but cannot explain why, just like he can't explain why everything turned out the way it did.

Another anti-modern-man theme is the movie's poetic justice. Sure, Ed is convicted in an absurd way that clashes with the reality of what happened, but in the end he is justly punished for a crime he has committed. He could arguably be considered innocent of murder because of the self-defense defense, but he is clearly guilty of criminal negligence in this instance and of blackmail earlier. A more accurate portrayal of chaos would have done without the poetic justice since that requires some sort of metaphysical foundation which is clearly not acceptable here. The spaceships and Ed's wife's reappearance in the end are used to get us past these qualms, but they seem contrived and unconvincing.

An underlying problem with this movie is the misrepresentation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principal. It doesn't state that the closer you look at something the less you know about it, it states that when taking measurements of subatomic particles it is impossible to determine both the position and momentum of the particle at the same moment. This is far from the metaphor of chaos it is used as. An accurate representation would say that when looking closely at something you can only know part of it. And that is only at one time; it is possible to know more if given more observations. You can never know everything because the eye is limited to perceiving one thing at a time. So we have order, just no absolute order, at least from what we know. The idea of chaos could still be used, it should just be explained through the pseudo-philosophy of some character (probably the lawyer again), instead of being used under the guise of actual science.

The ending was slightly redeeming and made the lackluster beginning and middle worth sitting through, but it's definitely not my favorite Coen brothers film.

Fat Girl (2001)
10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
interpretation: excellent theme, lackluster presentation, 22 February 2002
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

spoilers, interpretation:

I really like the ideas behind this movie. First of all there is the traditional view of virginity as sacred. When the guy is trying to have sex with this underage girl in the beginning, we're supposed to feel horrified that she is falling for his obvious lies. No! your virginity is too important! Don't do it! Personally I felt that a bit too much time was spent on this seduction because I'm more inclined towards the modern view that sex is just physical interaction. Luckily, fat girl realizes this. There is nothing sacred about sex itself, it's the emotional bonds related that are important. Hence fat girl realizes there is no substantial difference between anal sex and vaginal sex. Saving yourself, your virginity, by simply having anal sex is just absurd. So fat girl is not going to save her vagina for someone she loves, but her emotional attachment. Skinny girl's anal sex is equated to fat girl's "rape." Both are seen as pseudo-sexuality that must be gone through in order to reach true loving sexuality. Skinny girl may have reached this true sexuality in the future, but abstaining from vaginal sex does nothing to promote this. Fat girl has to lose her virginity in order to reach authentic sex because as a virgin guys cannot get past objectivitifying her as a thing to be conquered. Only after can she have true sex. Skinny girl thinks that anal sex "doesn't count" but really it's the first sexual encounter that doesn't count. So when fat girl embraces her raper and then denies that it was rape, she is personifying this idea. The rape fit in perfectly and was an excellent ending.

So the idea is great, it's just the presentation that gets in the way. The skinny/fat juxtaposition is nice. The literal comparison highlights the sexual differences: Skinny girl's religious views of sex and Fat girl's secular views. So it works when we see so much effort put into stealing Skinny's girls virginity. She is building up the purity of sex for Fat girl to destroy it in the end. Overall I think that the building up is just too drawn out. It takes three fourths of the movie and just gets old. Besides the scene when Fat girl kisses poles in the pool and singing her prophetic songs, there isn't much creativity. There's not much to give interest to the underlying ideas.

Another problem is the Hollywood murder ending. There is no real reason for killing off mother and sister. This was done to put Fat girl in the position to get raped. A more fitting ending would have been for her to sneak out when mother and sister are asleep in order to investigate this trucker. It works because prior when the truck drove by and she saw all the sex items in the window her curiosity was aroused. She should then have gone out and still gotten "raped." This way we stick to the main themes and discard the superfluous melodrama.

So besides a few problems in plot, this was a good movie thematically. It's just the lackluster presentation that made me give it a six. I don't plan on ever seeing this movie again, though I had fun interpreting it.

Barfly (1987)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
eh, 14 February 2002
6/10

I think that after seeing this movie I'll have to put Bukowski atop my list of great writers that are just incontrovertable to movies. The simple fact is that Bukowski doesn't write intricate, entertaining plots. Really he just writes a series of monoscenes. They're repulsive and realistic and most importantly employ fantastic language. The things that back it fun to read Bukowski just don't show up in a movie. It was interesting to see as a curiosity for a fan though. I also hoped there'd be a lot more insight into his writing and inspirations. Despite what he writes about, he does spend a huge amount of time reading and writing. You know those nice quotes at the end of certain scenes? That's what Bukowski writing is.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
interpretation: "solutions" to determinism, 1 February 2002
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You can tell a great film by its ability to deflate egos. With a tarnished self-image people will, full of emotion, vigorously attack or praise the work in question. So full of emotion, we can't blame them for leaving reason and justification on the wayside.

interpretation, spoilers:

Scene one: dream is destiny. Dreams give you your destiny - fate, future, purpose. If dreams can be controlled, then so can your destiny. A lucid dream is a controlled dream. Thus lucidity is the goal sought throughout the entire movie.

Scene two: the musicians. Music is a metaphor for the idea of `living in the moment.' This idea is returned to many times throughout the film and is again accentuated in the end when the musicians return.

Scene three: the boat car. The most important part of this scene is the line, `I don't know either (where I'm dropping you off) but it's going to determine the rest of your life.' This is our first brush with determinism. It is not just any determinism, but a radical determinism: even trivial events determine who you are and how you act. This is an unpleasant thought – especially with regard to the existentialists who make up most of the remainder of the film. Determinism is summarized here and becomes the thesis to which the rest of the film will act as an antithesis towards.

Scene four: the first lecture. The professor is sympathetic to existentialism and disagrees with the post modernists. Essentially, this means that he believes in free will over determinism.

Scene five: the evolutionary theorist.

Scene six: the free will theorist. This scene gives us our theoretical attempt at destruction of the determinism already built up. However the destruction is far from complete. Instead of arguing for free will, he argues against determinism. A logical fallacy is used here: even if determinism is proven false, we still have no ground for believing that free will is true. The veracity of free will is pretty much assumed here. From this point on, the film attempts to argue for free will by describing it in a wide variety of existential situations.

The unifying free will argument employed is this: look at all these situations, look at all the great possibilities – there's so many that free will must be true. Again, this is not a logically rationalistic argument, it's inductive instead of deductive and hence any conclusions cannot be given certitude. Nevertheless, let's examine the film's possibility-based solutions to determinism.

Humans have expanded possibilities in these areas: political freedom (freedom from oppression); lack of barriers and consequent destruction (revenge, self-immolation, murder, nihilism); a collective unconscious (instinct); a collective unconscious (Jungian); a personal unconscious (dreams); creativity (music, art, writing, lucid dreaming); new biology (new evolution and neo-humanity); new technology (the linking of the analogue and digital, the organic with the machine); living in the moment/choosing eternity/the holy moment; immorality (dream time and dreaming from the land of the dead, the illusion of time); interpersonal connection (communication and understanding); submerse yourself in subjectivity; submerse yourself in objectivity; reach the One, the Mind, the subjective objectivity; the need for responsibility (by acting as if we're responsible we're acting as if we have free will); individualism (the need to create our Self); multiple selves (we're too complex and important); life affirmation/the mighty Yes; romanticism (choosing life, passion, the moment again); dreaming itself (anything is possible).

Another is the idea that we can attain freedom by thinking beyond determinism. If our pre-reflective action would have been this, I'll do this! `Super profundito in the early eve of your day.' I.e., with super/extra profundity/knowledge you can outthink determinism. However thinking here simply becomes another determinant and nothing is solved.

We also get another pleasant life-affirming view when the computer explains how he'd rather be human. This emotionalism does not give us free will either.

The basic idea is that there are such a vast amount of intriguing and spiritual solutions/possibilities, we could never explain everything with a simple naturalistic deterministic theory. The main error in this thinking is the idea that our lack of knowing each determinant disproves determinism.

None of the `solutions' to determinism work. Each involves either irrationalism and/or denial. Luckily, the film agrees with this view: the main character in the end loses his lucidity (his freedom) and floats off into the abyssal sky.

There is an important point to note however. The point of the film is not to affirm free will, but to examine existential necessity of a free will - or atleast our bad faith in believing in our personal freedom.


Page 1 of 8:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [Next]