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9/10
Tragic yet tender
19 October 2013
I loved this movie, saw it as part of the London Film Festival.

It's a tragic yet tender look at life during the Egyptian revolution with exceptional direction and camera-work. It focuses on one character as he lives almost as an urban nomad, going from place to place trying to get footage on his phone of what's actually happening during the riots to a news station. It's not concerned with the what and how of the revolution but how people's lives are in uncertainty.

An interesting directorial choice is while it's focused on one character, it's mostly dialog-free. He only gets one or two lines. Other characters speak but there's selective mutism on the protagonist. If there's a scene of him talking, you can hear just the ambiance or his speaking is drowned out by the loud noise of a motorbike, so you can only infer from his actions. It succeeds unlike in other similar films using this choice, because you get much more to work with such as the more realistic performances and handling of tense subject matter.

So the film is carried by Asser Yassin's subtle and powerful performance, the meditative atmospheric electronic/guitar music by Mahmoud Hamdy (and can be heard in the trailer), and the steadicam cinematography by Tarek Hefny. I would have expected some more guerrilla shaky camera-work for a revolution-set film (it's only at the very ending) but here the steadicam gives it a quiet calm of the storm feeling. It was also cool to notice the symbolism of the movie's title as drapes in the foreground obscuring two main characters having a smoke break.

I hope for more films about the Arab revolution. It was quite a challenge for a mostly dialog-free art-house movie to come out of Egypt and I hope these kind of realistic movies get an audience.
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9/10
Stuck in the middle
19 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Bangkok has got a very direct way of delivering justice XD

Was not expecting the plot to go that way, but then I remembered the first hallway scene and it made me go "ohhhh". Came out of the movie with a big, dumb grin on my face. Very pure, artistic, crime "thing" (hesitate to call it a drama or thriller, it's only really comparable to other Refn movies). Snyder and Peter Jackson, this is how you do badass slow motion. Just like Drive, walking out of the cinema made me involuntarily want to emulate a cool walk and mysterious look :P Not just pure in terms of using mostly imagery to tell a story like Valhalla Rising but also very barebones in its plot.

I don't know why people bothered pointing out Gosling has only 7 lines in the movie, when there's enough dialogue from other characters to keep you abreast of the simple plot. Honestly, it could be a silent movie and the visual storytelling would still do its job.

Kristin Scott Thomas is a lot of fun!

Absolutely worth seeing on the big screen if you get the chance for the impeccable wallpaper-worthy cinematography, doom-laden synthy/oriental Cliff Martinez greatness (a hallway scene is straight up 70's sci-fi horror music), and getting to see all that glorious violence in gut-wrenching detail. Some of it made me wince and squirm in my seat. Refn has got a master handle on tension, there's more of those Drive "gunshots at pawnshop" type moments here. The violence is not prolonged (except for an amazing torture sequence), it's punctuated at just the right moments to keep each of them memorable. That sword, boy does it get some work.

Some people might say it's style over substance, but I got more out of it than just a pretty audiovisual experience. It's not quite a revenge thing, or a sweeping crime drama, it's very 1-on-1 but with different characters on both sides. The whole Oedipal complex was a bit unnerving. It's about cutting the line of violence, with Julian's family and all his links. Very much a Greek tragedy feel. Julian stuck in the middle and no one will forgive his neutral role in this. Bangkok police getting work done!
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Simon Killer (2012)
10/10
"Can I just look at you?"
12 April 2013
Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. Thankfully, was able to catch this in the Institute of Contemporary Arts here in London. I was expecting to be disappointed because I had such high hopes after AFTERSCHOOL and was ready to agree with my friends that this would be wanky, but they actually really dug it. Even with all the nudity and visually arresting red-and-blue strobe transitions. Maybe I just have more open-minded friends who just trust my taste in movies, but they really took something out of it and we discussed quite a lot on the way back which was mostly about Simon's psyche.

Simon is a fascinating character. Brady Corbet really commits to an incredibly personal and unsettling persona.

Disturbing, confusing, creepy, trippy holiday from hell. Yes, it's about an American who's just broken up and goes to France to hook up with a prostitute but it's done in the most arty, otherworldly style. It's just so primal from the cinematography (lots of behind person camera tracking shots) down to the score of drones and drums getting you right into the head of Simon. GOOD LORD THE SOUNDTRACK! "It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love", LCD Soundsystem. I think this one has SPRING BREAKERS beat for this year in terms of foreboding score and licensed synth-pop tracks. But just as you're about to get comfortable, the music is abruptly stopped which fits Simon's character.

The way the camera operates in this very voyeuristic, CCTV robot-like manner (just like in AFTERSCHOOL). It'll have the camera focus on a table with a girl laying down the groceries (bananas and bags of cocaine), then to her movements, characters talking, and eventually resulting in a long shot where you're just been immersed into everything rather than just the dialogue.

It just makes for a very claustrophobic experience, and you can't wait to breath for the next day to come.
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9/10
Ride that hedonistic neon nightmare or GTFO
23 March 2013
Just came back.

Expected a fever dream. Got a fever dream. Loved it. Unpredictable and original. This movie will challenge you and will burrow into your head for days. The more I think about it, the better the movie gets. Totally subverts your expectation of not only being a simple movie about spring break with chicks in bikinis but also what would occur in such a crime movie.

James Franco gives a revelatory experience, just completely transformed. The girls also are surprisingly good for newcomers to such a type of movie.

Exuded that coolness like Drive, with the mostly midnight neo-noir feel. Korine's naturalistic eye of taking you to another world far from normality (Gummo) worked wonders here. The sunny and dreamy landscape of Florida is right up in your face. Ride that hedonistic neon nightmare or get the **** off.

Sex and violence go hand in hand as they do here, exemplified by the silencer scene. The movie's half-cocked for a while much like Drive. It carries that Chekhov's Gun for a long time until violence occurs. Brilliant pacing and a great exercise in juxtaposition such as the Britney Spears montage thanks to the fantastic editing.

Loved how it had two main protagonists with Selena Gomez and James Franco, and how their characters had fairly similar philosophies of wanting to live in the moment forever even if they're on completely opposite sides on the morality spectrum.

Delicious cinematography, had one memorable long tracking shot of a robbery all from the outside looking in from the getaway car. The Malick comparisons are apt with the spoken word-like narration, flash-forwards and flashbacks, philosophizing, and ethereal camera. Some of the ethereal electronic score reminded me of Solaris, and lo and behold it was the same composer (Cliff Martinez, who also did Drive).
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Cosmopolis (2012)
9/10
Unpredictable absurd comedy, perfect midnight movie
6 June 2012
"And a rat became the unit of currency."

I loved it, but it won't be for everyone. This is most definitely a midnight movie. It's a challenging and dense movie, not much of a plot, with the focus on lots of talking and long shots. A neo noir in looks and feel about corporations, capitalism, the future, rats as currency, and a highly philosophical, self-destructive corporate analyst of some clandestine organization simply called "Complex".

From the first shot to the last, you're always following Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) in nearly every scene, so everything's seen from his perspective. It's mostly a single-location movie where Eric talks to random dudes related to his company or any woman in his white stretch cyber-pimped limo with an huge protest in the background. Oh man, it looks awesome and gets messed up over the course of the film. If you're a fan of David Mamet and Richard Linklater's works like Before Sunset, Waking Life, Glengarry Glen Ross, and especially Edmond (another great midnight neo- noir), you'll feel comfortable with the pacing. A lot of talking, one- takes, long takes, of people talking about very dense corporate details with not much sense that might go over your head in a first watch. It feels very much based off a play or novel where incredibly verbose characters pontificate about corporations, the world, and time in weirdly absurd conversations. But it's not a film where all those cinematic techniques are evident or shoved into your face, I just happened to notice he had been talking to a sweaty jogger of a mother who's also Eric's chief of finance while he had his prostate examined in his limo for 6 straight minutes.

Eric Packer is a cold, alienated, and highly self-destructive almost- sociopath who goes on about the philosophy of time, corporations, how the world works, violence, and any other topic. His character reminded me heavily of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) in American Psycho, just without all the 90s pop culture and music references. The self-destructive and hedonistic urges of upper class socialites is evident in most Cronenberg movies, and Eric is no different. The dude's bored with the world, disillusioned, and is a thrill seeker just so he can feel real while he spends most of his time in a purgatory-like limo. Like most of these heavy talking movies, the plot is sparse and it's just Eric wants to get to a barber for a haircut which hints that it's an absurd satire/comedy. He's adamant of making the trek in his white cyber limo eternally stuck in New York traffic over a whole day that goes into night instead of just walking across the street which would only take 5 min. It's almost an absurd comedy at times, like having his prostate examined in his limo by his personal doctor while talking to someone, or he and Benno (Paul Giamatti) casually shooting up an apartment and at each other with futuristic guns in the weirdest Mexican standoff. How he's so stubborn about staying in his limo even though some big, distractive "imminent scenario" is about to happen. How funny it is people related to his Complex company just happen to see his limo and jump in for a long convo.

Robert Pattinson is a captivating actor to watch, and the camera is transfixed to his face even when it's cream-pied later on thanks to an anarchist protester or "pastry assassin" played by Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace, Diving Bell and the Butterfly). There's another famous French actor here with Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy, Three Colors: Blue) playing a highly sexual 41 year old "friend". This is a challenging role for Pattinson, not really for the character he plays of an upper class corporate man, but how he spars against highly experienced, well-known actors in very long single takes or one-shots. Actors just acting a lot in that stage-y way. These actors seem to come and go with not much of an arc between their characters except for a couple, as is the case with most of these heavy talking movies more focused on the journey (Waking Life, Edmond).

It's a bizarre movie, one that will require quite a few re-watches just to get the nuances of the incredibly dense and fast flowing conversations. Also, the rat protesters reminded me of eXistenZ, and the film works almost as a counter-point to that movie where instead of the anarchists, we're on the side of corporate.

I can see some people not liking the movie just because of the pacing and heavy talking nature of it, but being in love with such midnight stage-y movies like Edmond, or talky Richard Linklater films I was not as confused. The verbose conversations can only have been based off a novel. Samantha Morton as Eric's "Chief of Theory" talks about stuff you won't understand on first watch, and is emblematic of how the film's dialog gives more than you can handle, which is why I can see Cosmopolis being ripe for rewatchability. It's really an absurd comedy and satire at times with a pretty serious and cool ending scene with Paul Giamatti. People who were expecting Cronenberg's early body horror might be disappointed although there are some choice moments, but the film's definitely in his older speculative techno sci-fi style.

"My prostate's asymmetrical."
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10/10
Simply the best movie trilogy ever
1 October 2003
Ok i have heard enough of this Matrix bashing since the beginning. Now, most people would have said that a Matrix basher would not get the story or something. But now people have become more wise about the story from the first Matrix movie. But people still don't get the flair of this trilogy. It isn't just some MACHINES REVOLTING AND TAKING OVER THE WORLD ploy like so many other movies. There is more meaning and psychology to this trilogy than any other science fiction movie ever. I don't know the reason why people compare this beautiful trilogy to Star Wars. I just thought Star Wars was a copy of Star Trek and was boring to me. "LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER" must have been the only worthwhile dialogue in the whole StarWars legacy. The Matrix is already being hailed as the best science-fiction, fantasy movie trilogy ever. I have watched Lord of the Rings and I have absolutely no reason why it's any good. The only part I must have liked in their whole trilogy is the first scene in the first movie when they show how the Ring has been passed down generations. Back to the Matrix. The philosophies are clearly very complex and mindbending. The Wachowskis definitely have a vision and they must have read many books to get this knowledge. Even though the first movie was stupendously mindblowing and a very deep storyline so did the second movie. The story might look very weak but actually it is quite strong. It is a progressive story instead of the hard hitting story for the first movie. The brothers intelligently made the second movie to follow on from such a classic that it didn't even feel like a repeat of the effects and action sequences. Clearly, the freeway chase scene blew me away. And I don't know what people have against cgi being used in the 100 agent fight but i thought it was stunning. The fighting choreography must have taken years to get right cause it was crazy to do. Poor Neo, had to do all those moves. Other movies you can clearly identify cgi stuff but in the matrix movies you just can't. The ZION city looks ultra cool and the sentinels look as creepy as ever. One thing though, the Architect speech was a very spectacular twist. I don;t know how the Architect memorized all that beautiful ranting about anomalies and human errors but it was very jaw dropping. The brothers seemed to write every detail into that speech and made it very involving. Now I love cgi only if it's nice so I loved when Neo burst out of the room and broke everything in his way. Fire explosions from the building, glasses shattering. Cars smashing and flying. The cinematography was very good. The fight scenes didn't just look like actors doing moves and the camera moving in one way. The camera was going in all angles and directions. The zooming of buildings as Neo is flying to save Morpheus. Oh yeah and the monumental scene in which Trinity falls. The brothers tried to show this scene like in the first movie when she runs from the agent. Very awesome scene. And did anyone notice how door numbers played an ultra huge role in both movies. I won't go in detail about which door did what and what were the consequences. There's still a lot of philosophy going on about the Architect's speech. Simply put the BEST SEQUEL for a movie in the longest of times and obviously the BEST MOVIE TRILOGY EVER!!!! 2003 IS THE YEAR OF THE MATRIX. MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, BRING IT ON!!!! 11-05-2003 YEAH WE ARE SO READY!
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1/10
Awful
27 June 2003
The most ridiculously stupid movie ever! No plot at all and all that skin is supposed to make us be distracted from the overly unrealistic storyline and action. Maybe that was McG's strategy; to use skin to get money. Pathetic! The worst movie ever since the history of movies. You just can't describe how stupid this movie is! And who came up with the name "Full Throttle"??! I recommend anyone not to watch this movie in their whole life. The first movie was way better than this failure of a sequel.
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Dejimon furontiâ (2002–2003)
9/10
The best season ever!
13 June 2003
This is the most influential season ever! The action is very daring and pulse-pounding! The animation is truly supreme and the whole layout of the plot is thickening and deep. They are trying to continue the experience of a human turning into a digimon from season 3 when the could bio-merge. What I like is the link of a human's feelings into a digmon's. The characters are perfect and the comedy is hilarious. Let me just say this, action in this season definitely has risen to a new level. Duskmon is an awesome digimon who is corrupted and has a dark past so closely connected to Koji. Very heart-warming and very touching. Especially the episodes from "Home Alone, Takuya Returns" and onward. My best cartoon ever! Digimon rocks!!!!!!!!!!!
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1/10
A ridicule of anime enterprise
16 October 2002
The movie seemed to appeal me because of the new type of Pokemon Celebi. But the plot was out of course and didn't have as an interest as the other movies. It was a waste of money and time. The same corny humor and cliche bad guys. The movie was of no use to make if you wanted to make Pokemon famous. The movie should better not associated with animes such as Dragonballz, Digimon, or Yu-Gi-Oh. The drawing and settings are of no level rising to the standards of original anime. It is a shame even to talk about this movie. I bet Pokemon fans will be disappointed with the outcome of the movie and give up on Pokemon. Digimon is more of an anime and doesn't fall anywhere close to Pokemon.It's second movie is coming out late 2002.
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Reign of Fire (2002)
Loaded with Fire
25 August 2002
When I saw this movie it showed a totally new concept of dragons. These are creatures that have outscared dinosaurs, and Godzilla in many ways. The story is set around 2010-2020 A.D., where dragons are roaming the world for years and years. They are unstoppable, extremely intelligent and very powerful. They can destroy cities in seconds. More intelligent than velociraptors, speed about at 1000 mph, and weight at least 50,000 pounds!!! They can see 100 times better than humans in daylight and 10x better in night. They live on ashes and the dead. The most scary creatures since Jurassic Park. Dragons used to be funny and stupid in fairytales. But in this movie, they are hardcore fire-breathing hellraisers. The special and visual effects were just off-the-charts. The story of the survival of mankind is quite amazing and how they gave a realistic view of all the countries in the world destroyed. If you love scary monsters then this is a must-see. Heart-pounding action, bone-crunching monsters, and spine-tingling effects. I just have to say this is a really great movie with the cast of 'tough' Simon McConaughey and a great performance by Christian Bale.
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