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12 reviews in total 
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TimeScapes (2012)
6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Good technical skills, no filmmaking skills, 25 September 2013

So it's obvious Lowes masters time-lapses, and motorized tripods, and sliders, but it's also obvious he has no idea about filmmaking. Basically there's no considerations put into the audience here. The film was made by Lowes for himself.

I would say 50% of the movie is comprised of shots filmed in front of trees looking at the night sky, and then plenty, just too many shots of windmills... then some random shots based on where he was at the moment he was filming.

There's ZERO story, no line, no message. Lowes mentions his inspiration in Ron Fricke, the cameraman behind Baraka, but we're very farm from Baraka. Very.

I think you can easily bring that film down to 5-8 minutes movie to make it actually enjoyable, and without repeating scenes like he did.

It's too bad. Directing and cinematography are not the same, I'm sure he knows that by now, and of course it never hurts to try something new!

7 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Bad all around, 26 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So this film is based on a really poorly written screenplay. There's no humor, unless you're young enough (teen) and maybe you will like, but even then.

The film tells the story of 2 brothers. One punk (we don't know how it happened), one salesman (a loser... for no reason). The salesman get laid off, and slowly becomes a punk like his brother. The idea behind the film could actually make a good story, to remove stereotypes, to understand how one would become a homeless punk...

But the idea behind the film is to make you laugh, and the writing is just not good at all. The jokes are... well.. drunk's jokes.

Enjoy. Sorry for not being more specific.

9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
The plot is very misleading, 22 April 2010

The plot that describe the film is actually really misleading. When it appears that the goal of the film was to portray what is in the plot...

"Speaking in Code is an intimate account of people who are completely lost in music. A heartbreaking and lighthearted documentary, it's a vérité glimpse into the world of techno. Captivating and entertaining, the film takes you around the world, following the people who make electronic music, their lives" ... the filmmakers got lost indeed but not in their music and rather in their relationship. Although this wouldn't mean the film can't be great, the film actually falls short of delivering a moving story about a couple that was trying to find themselves in the world of freelancing and music production. The film shows you how the male of the couple succeeds in producing large parties, and how the female slowly loses him. Many could potentially relate to such an intimate story about how 2 individuals try to live as a couple, but fail to do so, but the film fails in that too, where most of the analysis of what is happening is rather typical and shallow. It feels like a bad love story.

But again, do not get confused by the plot, this film is not about electronic music, it is not a look at the world of techno... techno is really only the background, or the set in this film, like any other profession the couple could have been into.

27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
the same (Hi-)story again, 19 November 2005

When I saw this movie, I remembered Louis-Ferdinand Celine's book, "Journey to the End of the Night", a anti-war book. Reading reviews about the movie, listening to what people in the US had to say, seeing the reaction of the American media to this movie, I was sad, simply sad. This movie is not about Japan, it's not about America, it could have been anywhere a war had happened.

This movie is a poem against war and the scars it leaves forever deep in the mind of the people who suffered those wars. Those who didn't suffer a war are lucky, and shouldn't be blamed for being this lucky, but they should see movies like this to understand what war is about. The world is never better after war. The first ones to agree to settle things through warfare are the ones who didn't suffer war. There are no winners in a war, just remember.

I'm sorry that all those who felt attacked in their pride as Americans are missing the point of this movie. If your father or your grandfather, or your friend has been to war, just listen to them.

The performance of the grandmother will make you forget you're watching a movie! It is filmed simply and un-pretentiously, though is a very emotional film.


PS: Oh and I'm not Japanese...

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Confusion and mis-interpretation due to poor editing, 3 June 2005

Here is an extract from an in-depth and important article written about this movie. There's a strong confusion made by the audience due to the way the filmmakers decided to edit the movie. As a movie, the story is moving, but there's a strong lie being told and these kids are actually sometimes now living in worse conditions that at the time of the film.

Partha Banerjee worked on the film as an interpreter. Upon seeing the final product, and then hearing that the film had won a nomination for Best Documentary from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, the Oscar award people), Mr. Banerjee wrote a letter to AMPAS explaining why the film should not be so recognized. His letter addresses some of the questions raised by the film. In it, he writes,

…I take issues with the often-explicit presumption by both the filmmakers and the U.S. media personalities (including the nominators at AMPAS) that the efforts by Ms. Briski and Mr. Kauffman were able to uplift the children from the poverty and destitution they live in. In fact, that presumption is not true. I visited these children a number of times during the last couple of years and found out that almost all the children are now living even a worse life than they were in before Ms. Briski began working with them…At the same time, their sex worker parents believed that with so much unrestricted access to their secretive lives they had provided to the filmmakers, and that too, so generously (were their written consent ever requested and received by the filmmakers?), there would be a way their children would also be sharing some of the glories the filmmakers are now shining in. …The conjecture drawn by the makers of Born into Brothels that it was only them that were responsible for any humanity and benevolence doled out to these children and their parents is simply absurd. (February 1, 2005) Extract from SAMAR Magazine

7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Unsatisfying documentary by un-experienced filmmakers, 8 May 2005

I believe the filmmakers started with the best intentions, trying to show the people behind the event, and depict them as the regular people that surrounds us in our everyday life.

The movie could be an honest picture about the organizers, but I just noticed that the associative producer is one of the senior staff member of the Burning Man organization.

It feels they got overwhelmed by too much footage, and wanted to stuff it all in less than 2 hours. Their original cut was 3 hours long. The results is hard to watch. The beginning is a series of clips you don't have time to see. The eye is not able to see the first 3 frames of a new clip, and in that beginning section each clip must be about 1/2 to a 1 second long.

After those beginning clips, with which you haven't even had time to sit down and let your mind be immersed into the subject of the film, you jump right into an artist studio in new-york, and then some of the well-known organizers tell you how deep of an experience Burning Man is. I was ready to believe it, but I haven't seen anything yet, that we're already jumping to conclusions...

The film goes on like this, from one clip to another. There isn't a strong feel that there's a story or a structure behind the movie. It is quite disconcerting. The interviews go from one truth to another. The editor tries to touch you with very voyeuristic moments of David Best, to show you how amazing this man is. It feels very cheesy, even if I, as a person know pretty well what the temple means, what the dedication of the team that builds it is.

I can't imagine how much a viewer who is unfamiliar with the event and the culture that surrounds it will get a good "feel" of why Burning Man is so popular. It is missing the exact point that I believe the filmmakers have tried to convey: Burning Man is quite mind-blowing the first time you go there, and only well filmed visuals might give a sense of this, AND there really are small communities that have grown out of it. These point are touched very shallowly, and technical aspects such as how big the playa is, how many men it takes to build the infrastructure of the event, etc.. are too often brought up at the expense of the human story behind Burning Man.

To respond to other comments posted. The intention of the filmmakers were to give a "feel" of what Burning Man is, as it was stated by the producer during a showing in San Francisco. People who go to Burning Man have extended knowledge about the event, and will understand quickly what every reference made in the movie is about. They will be able to make the connections between clips.

My comments are more a critic on the contents of the documentary itself. But if you are a Burning Man attendee, you might enjoy this movie, just like you could enjoy a home movie that your friends have made about the event, as it brings you back good memories. As a cinematic experience, I'm still waiting for a true documentary about Burning Man.

Renegade (2004)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Immature and shallow, 9 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not my words, but they described very well what's in this movie: Blueberry has the occasional visual flourish and some unsettling visual effects but ultimately it's confusing, badly acted and rather dull.

In 1997, director Jan Kounen and actor Vincent Cassel made cartoonishly violent thriller Dobermann, which went on to become something of a minor cult movie.

Kounen's latest film is based on the Blueberry comic strips by French artist Moebius (Jean Giraud). Not only is it shot in English, it also features a bizarrely eclectic cast, as well as reuniting Kounen with leading man Cassel. However, though visually impressive in places, the overall result is an unholy mess, punctuated with some truly dire performances.

Seemingly Simple Plot On the face of it, the plot seems pretty simple. As a young man, Lieutenant Blueberry (Hugh O'Connor) rides into a town in the Wild West and almost immediately gets into a gunfight with crazed cowboy Wally Blount (Michael Madsen in full-on EVIL mode), a gunfight that results in the death of the whore that Blueberry has fallen in love with.

Several years later, a still haunted Blueberry (now played by Vincent Cassel) comes up against Blount again as Blount is dementedly seeking some buried treasure. However things start to go a bit weird with the introduction of peyote-inspired fantasy sequences and frankly, by the end, it's anyone's guess what's going on.

It would be more accurate to describe the film as a 'supernatural fantasy western', since it rapidly becomes apparent that the film isn't a typical white hat vs. black hat horse opera. Unfortunately the film is just too messy to really engage the audience – it veers off on several tangents and drags considerably as a result.

The film does come alive, sort of, towards the end, but not in a good way: through the "miracle" of special effects, the walls and various objects all turn into crawling, mechanical insects. Or something.

Performances Mostly Bad Bizarre CGI Insect FX aside, the performances are mostly bad. Cassel struggles with a Texan accent and everyone else just seems confused. The worst offender, however, is Eddie Izzard. You would think that his long list of bad reviews would have persuaded him to give up screen acting, but no, here he is again, mangling every line and mugging for the camera like a seasoned amateur.

There are a couple of highlights, for instance, Juliette Lewis singing 'Danny Boy' and sharing screen time with her father, Geoffrey Lewis. Colm Meany is also good value and Evil Madsen is always worth watching, but in the end, this isn't really enough to save the film.

In short, Blueberry has a certain amount of curiosity value but it's about as much fun as watching someone else take peyote.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Too Long. Very boring, 7 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Pretty nothing really happens in the movie. The interaction b/w the actors is very basic due to the context but their acting is basic too. The idea behind the movie related to the director's experience in Australia, where he spent some time as a total stranger trying to discover a world he didn't know and of which he didn't speak the language. But that's it, an interesting idea. Every scene is just stretched to its maximum. The directing was pushed to the limit of wondering if it is done in a pretentious arty way or if the director is just not good. On top of this, another good idea was the sound and music composed for the movie. All sounds were recorded afterward and added on. Another artifact if well directed could have been great, but again it feels pretentious, as the result is not very good.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A bad series B movie, 24 June 2004

To my own opinion, the movie's subject is the only thing that is interesting. I'm very much into movie that depicts the human condition as an un-happy one, but this movie remained at the shallow level of the analysis here.

Basically the director attempts to study a not very exciting and probably very usual type of relationship to show us how dark human beings can be. But he only manages to set the atmosphere for such a study. He doesn't go beyond this. It just goes on forever with almost no dialogues, so many raw sex scenes, a few fights. The fight in the restaurant when he is looking at the asian girl and she becomes so upset at him, is certainly a scene that a lot of couples have been through, but it is not well suggested. You see mainly the asian girl leaving the restaurant, and then pretty much her getting upset at him. You almost don't see him. It doesn't feel natural.

So then, as I was saying, the movie goes on forever like this... setting up the atmosphere. An 1h30 later setting up the atmosphere is very boring and does not make it a masterpiece.

In the end, the directory has so unsuccessfully managed to study the subject, that he comes up with 2 major events that have nothing to do with the relationship/human condition that seems to be the focus of this movie. Those 2 scenes are like an escape to the director's failure to write a movie on the profound subject of the dark nature of human beings.

Still it is good to see for filmmakers, to understand some of the basic mistakes not be made.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
To be seen, 13 June 2004

Watch this documentary, that was only aired on Belgium TV. Ordered by Canal+, they chickened out when their own journalists, supposedly non-partisan people work at Canal+, were victims of Pierre Carles. It is good to see how persistent Pierre Carles was when making the documentary. It will cost him a lot if he still tries to work for the french medias.

It is all too clear when you watch this documentary how all TV journalists are biased, and always show you the "news" with their own interests... and so on. Just enjoy.

I hope to see more work like that, and also from him.

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