15 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
16 May 2009
I love Charlie Kaufman's work and I want to express all my admiration once again after seeing his first directed flick. It is so rich and complex that you won't waste your time summarising it. It just leaves you speechless. It is never ending, constantly evolving to a further stage, strong and silent like a wave. You just follow its evolution (That's the right word, I wouldn't talk about "story") and get yourself comfortably lost. The reason why my vote is not so high after all is a feeling about an incomplete movie. There is way loads of stuff in it (I think everyone may agree) and it ends up creating a bit of fragmentation. The first half of the movie is realistic while the second is totally surreal (The movie lasts 124 minutes). Probably the first part could have been shorter (Even though most of people say that the ending is too long). In the surreal half of the movie the characters are re-played by look-like actors and it takes too long to assume this new "dimension". You feel you cannot make it and, while you are still entertained, you loose satisfaction. It's like plugging in a delay-effect on your guitar, you just can't play the same solo. I know Charlie has been able to do better than that and I am referring to "Human Nature" that, despite its complexity, goes along sharp and intriguing to the end. I am sure next one would be better and I know there's gonna be another.
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Tender, too tender...
28 November 2008
I think this movie deserves more than 6. I wouldn't be indulgent with this two independent filmmakers because, these days, they are in good company. I would rather underline the emotional state this movie is able to communicate. You see catchy animations and other graphic sequences that make you think "Yes, we are now dealing with a new school of film-making" but at the end of the day you carry on watching it because it a has got a cosy and delicate pace. Someone find it too auto-biographical but in my opinion they have been good enough to make it look as little auto-autobiographical as possible. I managed to watch it on youtube just before they removed it but I'd still suggest to a friend. Don't expect to be amazed but enjoy a soft and quirky story-telling with a background of snow and dazzling voice-overs.
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Mister Lonely (2007)
This film is good
16 March 2008
Well, I don't really understand why Mister Lonely has such a low rate on I guess that if you go and see an Harmony Korine film you should expect a bit of noncontinuous plot and a considerable touch of black humour. People were laughing all the time yesterday at the cinema, actually it is pretty funny to see the Pope holding a glass of wine in his hand or simply a: man imitating Micheal Jackson riding a tiny motorcycle dragging a monkey puppet that floats in the air... This film has the finest unreal set I've ever seen in a movie (Check the plot summary too get an idea). Even if doesn't have the complexity of Dogville or American Beaty, it's a perfect representation of the eternal question "Who are we?". Are we what we represent? Are we what we try or wish to be? And finally: Is there a god? To be honest, I think that a film about this kind of stuff deserves a decent rate. Also because it is absolutely well crafted and good-looking. It has got everything Korine is all about: weirdness, uncomfortable situations, disappointment and spirituality. If you are in the mood for a proper "art" movie, check it out.
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Caos calmo (2008)
Clean and with taste.
19 February 2008
Nanni Moretti (playing the role of an experienced TV executive) at some point says: "...Take care about Italian cinema? Yes, of course. It's everyone's priority!". It's not the first time that filmmakers mix art and reality and this time the result fits perfectly. "Caos calmo" has a simple but intriguing plot. Most of the movie takes place around a bench in a park but there's nothing surreal (A part probably from a spicy sex scene...) and it never looses rhythm or credibility. If you like Moretti's movies you're gonna love it but you'll be much more interested if you are wishing to see a fresh and sweet'n'sour story. Despite a mournful start (The death of a mother/wife) Grimaldi tries not to show us tears or desperation. We see a huge number of hugs instead and a large amount of children (The bench is in front of a school). We see sunny days and professionals on their break, enforcing the "human" aspect of every character. The film is never raw as it's never too soft. I think that next time Grimaldi should be allowed to push a little bit more in order to find his own mark.
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Badlands (1973)
As beautiful as Sissy Spacek
3 February 2008
There is a high number of reasons to love this movie, mostly related to a very good direction. Malick has been able to bring up the best from the locations, the script and his own creativity. What he didn't need to do (and her career proves it) was to enhance the qualities of Sissy Spacek although she was young and with a very little experience. She has a key-role in the story and her character is built up through regular acting and voice-over. She appears to be passive because you almost don't see her crying or loosing control but she connects constantly with the viewer describing the story with her simple and straight voice. The film has got ups and downs of fun, violence and adventure and Holly's voice provides you the clue of what is going on. She explains what she knows about her man with a frank honesty that makes you love her. I've seen her recently in "A house at the end of the world" and "In the bedroom" and it's amazing how she still transmits the same sense of comfort. Despite "Badlands" is truly considered a masterpiece, I guess that Holly is the one and only cause of Kit's madness and boldness.
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2 February 2008
I think this movie is like a blister of pills you didn't want to take. You've got a good-looking cheek on the cover but Nicholas Cage let you understand that the film is not going to be a flat teen-age love story. So you grab it because it has got Ridley Scott's warranty and you don't know what to expect. The beginning is funny, quick and smart (As normally the pills work when you start the cure). After twenty-five minutes the story evolves positively and it's like when you feel your health is getting better... Then things get messed up. It's tough to go on and you would like not to have even started so the only thing you actually start doing is counting how many pills you've got left. When you are finally ready to see the end, this half comedy half action picture switches to a tragic and cruel pre-ending. Lucky you, the last scene is the best one... And it is just like when you bin your prescription. The structure of the story evokes what the protagonist does to make his living and it surprises you so well. I can hardly think about a movie similar to "Matchstick men". The last ten minutes of the film blur everything was given for sure so the protagonist has to acknowledge a bitter and tricky truth. Two minutes later is happy as he has never been before.
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25 January 2008
I think it's a pity David Lynch abandoned the path of a traditional screenplay in his following movies. "The elephant man" is like "Eraserhead" with the benefit of a realistic pattern. Basically what happens around John Merrick is a process of cleansing. At the beginning he's dirty, oppressed and isolated. Then he gets through a recovery period, while he receives assistance and increases his knowledge. At some point of the story (more or less 30 minutes before the end) he's left alone in order to double-check his new abilities. Then, obviously, we end up in a triumphant happy ending. I wish to see a film like that, instead of another "Inland empire". I've heard that it was considered a sort of sequel for "Mulholland drive", but I slightly disagree with this view. If you don't have a character, you don't have a story. If you don't have a story, you have an artworks gallery. That's what David Lynch is when he writes his own films. "The elephant man" is the only David Lynch movie I wanted to watch again.
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Human Nature (2001)
complex enough
24 January 2008
I'm writing a comment about "Human Nature" just because I can't wait for the release of "Synecdoche, New York". "Adaptation" was great but still to raw, the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was genuinely sweet and passionate. The good result at the box office confirmed the hit quality and quantity. "Human Nature", such as "Being John Malkovich", is hard to suggest to the average viewer despite Gondry's direction made it a colourful and brilliant joint. The one and only problem with "Human nature" is that it never makes you laugh. If you laugh, you'll regret it. And you get used to it straight away. Tim Robbins is amazing. The little details spread all over the film are countless (The crooked teeth of Lila, the mice holding the ad at the end of the story...) and Gondry found also a way to stick in a sung tune. I really hope Kaufman not to become redundant. The plot looks creepy and mysterious. We all know that he's a master at doing it. But will he change direction?
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To be seen
10 January 2008
I read in the DVD's extra features that Bergman considered his film "difficult" for the public. I must say that this sounds pretty strange to me because I find that this film never looses rhythm. I'm actually a good film-consumer and I end up taking several breaks while screening. Normally it's because I spot something interesting and I feel like... Nice, I've learnt something new. Bergman's style is just flawless, though. He set a whole journey through life in just a church and a school, plus few short scenes in: a car, a wood and a house full of children. Some transitions (fade in/fade out) are more meaningful than a picture. I was impressed by one where a "skull and bones" fades out and makes space for a close-up profile of the priest, approaching quickly his desk. I can't really add anything to such a widely appreciated work and all I can do is to suggest this movie to anyone.
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The Lost Boys (1987)
Beer, blood and bubbles
3 January 2008
I'm currently screening many films in this period and I think "The lost boys" deserves a special mention because it made me reflect (once more) on the American ability to build up such reliable screenplays. Joel Schumacher made a great job handling a story that involves stuff like: monsters, flying people, gore and motorcycle accidents. I think that when you have to set up this kind of scenes you really need a script that "holds you tight". The characters of "The lost boys" are edgy and well designed. You see one of them, you listen to what he says and you feel like... Uh, this guy's got something to hide! And until the very last line, there's something that you wish to know. Why is granpa so keen to alcohol? He grabs a beer from his personal shelf of the fridge (It is his own fridge, but he has his specifically own shelf!) and he has the first sip straight away. He opens the fridge, he grabs and opens the bottle, he sips and finally closes the fridge. He's pretty much of a weird fella but he's got a wise side and you would never call him an alcoholic in his sixties. If you think about other movies ("Frida", "Mysterious skin", "A bigger splash") you feel just astonished from their visual beauty and you enjoy them because it just carries you away. "The lost boys" may not carry you away, but takes you to the end warm and excited. And that's all we ask from a movie about vampires.
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Almost a Cult
29 December 2007
Sometimes I think that what really takes you into this movies is... the tune. At the beginning you see an "Alfetta" driven by a guy wearing a red and black scarf, some creepy skyscrapers in the background while the credits appear on the bottom right of the screen. You feel just surrounded by a massive soundtrack and you smile. I wonder if it used to feel the same in the seventies. I've seen only another Lenzi's movie. "Milano odia. La polizia non puo' sparare" has got a similar plot (Same subject, to be honest) but the director chose to put the criminal as the protagonist. In "Roma a mano armata" the policeman is violent and aggressive, in "Milano odia" the outlaw is a sort of victim of the system. It looks like the fight against criminality gets tougher day after day. The cinematographic relevance of these movies is their success in celebrating the action. But I found in Lenzi's a strong attention in the sociological issues related to his stories. His characters have got a good inner nature, they seem like gotten worse because bred in a hard environment. Finally, it is just amazing how a 31 years old film is still perfectly enjoyable and that is probably due to a neat and careful direction.
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A definitely "Cannes" movie
28 December 2007
The choice of such a difficult subject is yet a good reason for awarding this film. That's why I perfectly agree with the juries. I also noticed that a good film never lets you down and "The son's room" is one of those cases. Despite few slow scenes (With three or more characters, some dialogues sound forced) the plot has got not less than three "re-births" in it (Syd Field would call them "coups the theatre"). The first half an hour rolls well. Moretti introduces the characters and set them in a mid-sized Italian city; he paints the portrait of a mid-class family particularly keen to culture and good principles. He also pushes on two of the main educational devices: school and sport. I think that the whole arrangement is what allows Moretti to develop this sad and thoughtful story. After the death of one of his sons, the protagonist (A respectable psychologist) faces a personal crisis. Also the rest of the family (wife and one daughter) get through a tough experience. I think that the key-point of the film starts exactly here: while the family tries to re-gain its balance, the viewer is meant to understand (as much as it is possible) what this family used to be. After weeks of mourning and lack of trust, a warm sense of self-consciousness and stability gets the story to an end.
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4 (2004)
Russian question(ary).
23 December 2007
I must say that the opening sequence is just stunning and brings you in a visually outstanding atmosphere. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the quality of the surface is not completely reflected on the inside.

Characters are well played but I wish they had something more interesting to talk about. The dialogues are probably just what they are meant to be: excuses to chat up someone in a bar and give your opinion about what's going on in your country...

The film moves from the city and its stories, to the outskirts and its rumours. Alcohol, boredom and desperation find always a way to be present. This movie is a bit like "City of god", without the effort of a positive story-line. What I've seen so far seems a fake (and gloriously good-looking) scoop on modern Russia. I think that the photography and the sound-design deserve a special mention. I also notice a fine creativity in some concepts (dogs biting dolls) but I still feel the lack of something.

I think that 6/10 is well deserved because the movie is well crafted but I definitely hope that Khrzhanovsky's next one will be better.
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Blackboards (2000)
Brilliant ending, but it's long way...
10 December 2007
It must hard to talk about ignorance, poverty and war without being realistic. I reckon that, most of everything, this film is "realistic". It is undeniable that the settings, the characters and the issues belong to the director's background. She's been able to give "a hint of poetry" thanks to several touching and clever shots (For instance: A family that finds protection under a blackboard). I'm afraid that this film looses part of its potential because of its hybrid nature. It's not a drama, but it's not a documentary either. There are few stories crossing each other, but it is not complex enough to consider it a "Magnolia-style" thing. Finally (and this is what the film seems to be about), there's a teacher who dreams to heal his country with education but ends up facing the bitterness of a failed relationship. Nevertheless I truly appreciated the very last scene, that is worth 2 points in my final vote.

Iacopo Destefani
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Let me say something...
9 October 2007
Dear users, this movie reminds me Federico Fellini's "8 e mezzo". A good writer should have quite a good knowledge of his life and Mr Gondry seems to have it.

Now, as a producer, I would cut some minutes (especially between the 30th and the 75th). As a writer, I would cut more than a half of it. As a director, I would show more Stephanie.

I realise that my comment doesn't seem to suit my vote. The only explanation I can give is that I loved this movie. But I lost the plot at least three or four times.


Iacopo Destefani
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