Reviews written by registered user
|101 reviews in total|
It's been a full six years since I last posted any comments on the IMDb. But, I thought this was a generally well-made films. It seems like people on the political right, both in Turkey and here in America, would arbitrarily hate this film for its very controversial content. If a person has actually viewed this film, and given it a low score, for whatever reason, that is fine. But, I've noticed that films like these are sometimes targets of campaigns against the film and that in some instances people just give the film a very low score because they hate what it stands for. I was actually very disturbed by this film, but it exposes many of the reasons for the underlying tensions between the west (not just America) and the Islamic world; some of which actually do not directly involve religion. One does not have to agree with the politics of a film to see it as a good work.
I have seen two other films by documentarian (well, he is not exactly in the Frederick Wiseman mode) Fenton Bailey_ "Monica in Black and White" and "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." All of his film that I've seen focus on sex and scandal, and "Inside Deep Throat" proves to be no exception. This film is a fairly solid period piece_ taking place in the 1970s, and there are very startling interview clips with those involved with the original adult film, including 'actor' Harry Reems, and from celebrities, like John Waters and Hugh Hefner, who comment on the film's cultural impact. The doc also shows how both feminists and right-wingers attacked "Deep Throat." Ultimately, it seems that the controversy and the actual banning of the film in the United States made it more of a commodity with the public. There is actual footage from the original adult film, and while I seriously doubt that it has any artistic merit at all (have not seen "Deep Throat"), the political debate it stirred still seems relevant today and the film illustrates this well. Bailey is no serious documentary filmmaker, like Barbara Kopple, at all- he's even used sock puppets in his films_ but this material is a perfect for this formula. "Inside Deep Throat" also shows America's psychological hangups about sexuality though it does not examine why we are collectively more uptight about sex than most Europeans. This film would also make a great companion piece to Caveh Zahedi's surreal, narrative doc "I'm a Sex Addict." I have personal reservations about adult films. A PBS documentary "American Porn" revealed how abusive the industry is towards its 'actresses,' in a very brutal, shocking manner. But, one also realizes that ultra-conservatives' efforts to use the issue to legislate morality has dire consequences which lead to political/creative censorship in more legitimate documentary forms. For this reason alone, Bailey's latest film is quite a thought-provoking one.
"Quinceanera" is a genuinely bad film. The first 15 minutes show promise, but it goes downhill quickly. The plot is convoluted and ridiculous at every level. The subplots are disoriented. And, everything that is going to happen in the film, except for the ultra-ridiculous ending, are telegraphed well in advance. I don't fault the young cast as much as the dreadful directing, and sloppy screenplay. There are many good indy films about Latino issues out there, including "Raising Victor Vargas" and "Real Women Have Curves." Both of those films are more believable. Lastly, if "Quinceanera" proves anything, it is simply this: "Sixteen Candles" and "My Own Private Idaho" don't mix.
I had real high hopes for "Schultze Gets the Blues." It is a very unique film in that it is an evolution of German films, like Wim Wenders' "Kings of the Road" (1976), that explore German fondness for American music. One also wonders if the director of this film was influenced by the documentaries of Les Blank, who has explored traditional American music in many of his films. There are also some interesting characters, including Schultze himself. But, the film genuinely falls apart once the title character arrives in his mental version of "Oz," which is Louisiana. The film have benefited by bringing some of his quirky friends over to join him. But, by only bringing Schultze this road movie feels more like "Castaway" and the surprising chance that the film takes really does not help either. But, it is a noble effort which alas fails because of problems with the screenplay and mediocre editing.
Long takes. Deep symbolism. Unimagineable twists. Disturbing themes. All of this is nothing new for those of us who have seen several of Austrian director Micheal Haneke's films. The title characters in "Cache/Hidden" Georges and Anne are drawn into a sick psychological game when a mysterious message showing the illustration of a dead child with its throat cut and bleeding appears in their mailbox. Strange videos and other drawings soon surface. Every scene has some deeper meaning or purpose. We see Anne (Juliet Binoche) wearing a white dress to prove her pureness. The swimming pool where their son swims represents transitions. And, the TV news reports from the Middle East and the war in Iraq show a parallel between America's imperialism in the name of preventing terrorism and France's colonialism, particularly in Algeria. Even the cinema showing mostly American films towards the end of the films seems to hint that everyone is trapped by capitalism- both in terms of creativity and political expression. The screenplay is very unpredictable. The lighting is flawless, and the music is perfect. It is definitely a stunning, haunting film. Kudos to everyone involved.
I have seen many impressive Iranian films over the years. "Ten" may be the very best of them for a variety of reasons. I think the film is remarkable because it looks so simple, but I imagine setting up the camera and capturing the realistic dialogue and plot-line we see in the film had to have taken a lot of preparation. I also think the director deliberately chose scenery to accommodate the backdrop of the film, and he must have driven around Teheran constantly to figure out which images to put in the background. I think the scenes with the murals of new arch-conservative president are very telling. "Ten" seems to have a lot of messages under the radar, including the subversive powers of all governments (certainly including our own in America) to censor art. I think the relationship between the mother and her son is a very poignant one, and it shows how children and adults simply live in different spheres of the universe. Film is strikingly similar in some aspects to American independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson's film "Signal 7" which came out over 20 years ago.
I find it highly ironic that I saw this film within a week of seeing The Ramones' 1979 high school flick "Rock N Roll High School." Both are surprisingly similar in that they offer quirky characters, outrageous plot lines and alas a film which doesn't quite work. One of the strangest things about Strangers is that there are so many great actors in supporting roles- Ian Holm, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew Broderick and his spouse Sarah Jessica Parker. But, the lead actors, Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello- also the director, and Stephen Colbert absolutely suck! They are all one-note actors who fail to show more than a single dimension of their characters. They are tiresome to watch, and most of their supposed-to-be-funny lines fall flat on their face. I will say that Strangers is engaging in some aspects because it makes daring choices. There are times when this makes for some interesting moments, but alas they are few and far between. Ultimately, Strangers feel like a 90-minute episode of "Malcolm in the Middle," which means that this film based on a TV-show should have probably stuck to the small-screen.
First of all, this 1978 film is being remade and Howard Stern is involved- isn't that scary? "Rock and Roll High School" would make an excellent companion to the recent doc about The Ramones, "End of the Century." It is truly sad how 3/4s of the original Ramones, except the drummer, have died. I think the film makes a terrible mistake by not introducing them sooner into the film. The screenplay by Joe Dante is OK, but the directing is not. The cast is quite interesting. Paul Bartel is really good as the 'cool teacher,' and PJ Soles is definitely good in the lead. The film really suffers from corny humor, including a scene where Ramones music is shown to make white mice go insane and another where Joey Ramone is force-fed alfalfa. But, there is nostalgia and it is interesting to see how many films "Rock and Roll High School" borrows from, including "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and perhaps even "The Blob!" I also enjoyed a key scene involving a pay phone, which have pretty much been reduced to nostalgia thanks to Nokia!
It is truly a shame that a Turkish filmmaker can make a truly awful film with all the advances in modern technology, books about film-making and online film courses about Ingmar Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock. Who do these filmmakers think they are...........Americans? As a Turkish-American, I am perhaps one of the few people who can criticize the output of films from both countries. After great recent films like "Uzak-Distant" and "Hajar," it seemed like the Turkish industry had completely divorced itself from its infamous past and Cuneyt Arkin's films were ones in which people could only watch after a six-pack of Efes Pilsens. But, "Buyu," which was sent to me by a Turkish friend from Australia is indeed a reminder that bad- truly bad films can still be made in Turkey. The film is predictable, boring and the special effects are woeful. "Buyu" also features shameless sexism and absolutely sick sequences, such as women being raped by spirits-no, I'm not making that up! The acting is really awful. The directing is even worse. And, the editing is truly pathetic. I just hope they don't make a sequel!
I found this film to be interesting and entertaining. It has a style which is very reminiscent of Erroll Morris. It has been criticized for showing too much favoritism towards Kasparov, but I think most people do root for man over the machine. It is ironic that we are starting to see Russians as protagonists. We've come a long way since "Red Dawn." My main criticism of the film is that much like "Bowling for Columbine," it offers no real resolution. I think that is why it is a good doc as opposed to a great one. Kasparov is a very engaging figure with a strong cinematic presence. He is now involved with politics in Russia. Assuredly, if Ahnuld can make it, why not Kasparov?
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