Reviews written by registered user
|40 reviews in total|
Immense! This movie shows us things we're familiar with and things we have never even imagined, and yet it all comes from somewhere in our home, on our planet, within our environment. Framed by Buddhist philosophy and art, we have a god's-eye-view of all continents, all classes, so many cultures and vastly different terrains. We see the endless desert- scape, we see Cairo, the United States, China, Tibet, indigenous peoples of South America, the architecture of Rome, the worshippers of Mecca. We see various trades, the wounded, the dead, families, contrasting political and social agendas. We are left with a feeling of bittersweet grandiosity, the way that Buddhism leaves its adherents. Pain exists, we may never get rid of it. Maybe violence cannot solve violence. Maybe the path of progress is a lot slower than most of us think, maybe the only solution is to take on this weighty all-encompassing compassion that this movie offers up, and pray that it spreads by example and because it is the most virtuous and inevitable way. That's the magic of this movie, that it does not look down on anyone, it seeks to document everyone as they would be documented, and yet there is editorializing, however subtle it is: that we all have the nobility of consciousness, and we are all each as consequential as a fleck of sand upon the Sahara.
Unique speech pattern, unique material, great show! Starts out with a handful of jokes about fast food, but they're told in such a serious, sly, tongue-in-cheek way that you cannot help busting a gut. He covers sex, religion, race, terminology, currency, but it all feels so fresh because his Southern accent and cool demeanor makes it a perspective that we find we have a void of. It's real in a way that a lot of English, South African, and Irish comedians just can't be. It feels potent and light at the same time! And then there's the jazz accompaniment! What a lovely comedy concert! I'm ready for more! It's in between pot humor, civil rights speaker. He's like a calm, mellow Richard Pryor, a smoother Louis CK, and he carries himself more proudly than Anthony Jeselnik. Winning combo!
Another gem from director Richard Linklater. You might even call it his masterpiece, I know I'm debating this as I write even now. The premise is: a boy grows physically, intellectually, and spiritually over the years. It is famous for being a movie twelve years in the making, visiting the actors, settings, and even some props every year or two, to not just tell a story, but to literally show it. As I watched the first two or three jumps-in-time, I was very conscious of the rare technique, thinking all sorts of things like about the logistics of such an endeavor, how the actors had to really commit in a way that most actors don't have to, how the director committed and achieved his vision, what that preliminary vision even was, how complete he thought it all out or not, how improvised it was or was not, how much the direction changed over the years. And then, as the years kept jumping, I felt the characters begin to appear. I began to find myself searching inside little Mason and feeling his strengths and fears, his quirks, and mannerisms. I began to find myself watching the other people in his life and watching them age, change, and mature. Melancholy arose, humor arose, neat coincidences arose, goodbyes whisked by. There were surprises like people showing themselves as less wholesome than they first appeared, or people stepping up to the plate after seeming like perpetual losers, somethings seemed vague and never fully connected. But in the end, it felt just like life. It even shows us ourselves in our cute phases through the pop songs that pepper the soundtrack, through the politics of the day, as well as through the the growing prominence of technological gadgetry. But in the end, it's just the rare moments that make the magic, snippets of the boy and his sister as kids fighting, snippets of them hanging with their dad on the weekends, snippets of their mom in the background always trying her best, never asking for repayment, snippets of the pressure to get along with other kids, and snippets of trying to make a place in the world. The photography is poetically beautiful at times, and the editing is unbeatable. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are astoundingly good, and so is the lead actor, Ellar Coltrane. It's almost impossible to rate or rank it on the same night of having first watched it. It feels like it will take some time to process it and understand what we've really been given. I think that this is its greatest gift, this feeling of having nothing else to compare it with, just like our own lives. All we can say is that it is potent, fragile, and the moment is always new.
It starts in some bizarre zone between cheesy and marvellously modern, but it's all style and flash. There's no substance in the first ten minutes, but when Audrey Hepburn comes into view, it's like the floodgates of emotion have been opened, it's like the sight of land on a barren sea. She plays her role like a naive heroine expecting a sincere fairy-tale only to be surprised by a macabre parade of shallow 20th century modernity. This instantaneously creates a clash between two worlds, and we are hooked at least to see how the next scene plays out. But in the end, we are let down by the leading man. Fred Astaire is no match in romance for such a queen as Ms. Hepburn.
I began watching this for the epic Evan Rachel Wood. I found a good performance, another good performance by the male lead, and I found an epic miscommunication between script and direction. It couldn't make its mind up whether to be a heartwarming story, a humorous romp, or an intense psychological drama/romance. It did not juggle all of these facets, but rather dropped each and every one. I kept hoping it would get off the ground, get untangled, but it didn't up to the 2/3rds mark when I stopped watching. So bad I even began wondering if Evan Rachel Wood is as talented as I thought or if she has a bogus agent or if someone dropped out of the project last minute and Wood was stuck and stayed out of a sense of obligation. Yikes! Not what I'd want my audience to be thinking about during my movie.
Had the potential for eternal glory in cinema history, but the
soundtrack, and the editing were off that badly. Luckily, if you're a
person who can appreciate a stellar screenplay, directing, acting, and
cinematography without paying attention to the afore-mentioned fumbled
aspects, then you will love this movie.
Yes, it's horrific how the character's life changes and how if we put ourselves into the character's shoes, we realize this just may be the worst possible fear for anyone in his or her right mind. Unfortunately, just as I started to feel that, I got rattled by the strangely cutting in and out of the soundtrack and random objects flashing large against the screen. The lasting impact is that the mood was fumbled: Instead of taking horrific to mean the horror of realizing that we, as a species, hold that kind of sadistic torture in our souls, the direction shifts manically between the direction of a campy slasher movie, an experimental Bruce Connor kind of movie, and a pretty good cover of "The Passion of the Christ". Come to think of it, there may have been this kind of mix of editing styles in "Shame", but for some reason, it fit more smoothly there, possibly because the latter movie was more psychologically-rooted, whereas this movie is more situationally- and historically- rooted. So, the flashiness only takes us out of the feel. It's as if in the editing room, there was an argument about whether to try to capitalize on the hidden little art crowd or the larger shock- and-thrill audience, and they tried to capture both rather than trying to stay true to the movie's potentially independent spirit. Sad, but here's hoping for a new edit!!!!
Strange, avant-garde, campy, AND feel-good. This movie walks a delicate line. Parker Posey is phenomenal, but so is the writing and directing which crams every moment and every character with witty humor. It's a cool, sly type of humor, for example: a librarian yells out "I've already got you on the list for the new Danielle Steele." Then we see that she's talking to a young black man who gives a confused look. Young black males are not Danielle Steele's targeted demographic, so is this a unique man who is embarrassed by being outed as a Steele fan or has the librarian confused him with someone else. That moment causes us to question our stereotypes and gives us a laugh at the same time. But that is one miniscule joke in a movie that has thousands of such bits. It's thoughtful, intelligent and a bit emotional when it comes to the main character's search for herself and her full potential. Bravo!
Pure. Thick and heavy. It's like going through a gallery of paintings
where every piece is a timeless treasure. It's as pure a movie as can
be found. It's got its own style, it makes its own rules. There is no
dialogue, no sound of human voice other than when the family goes to
town. And just when you feel like you can't take anymore of this life,
the movie slaps you in your face and you simply understand: this isn't
make-believe, it's real life, and if you are busy being bored, you're
simply wasting precious time when there's work to be done. The work for
us is to enjoy all the beautiful angles, the daring framing which
somehow often cuts off part of the image but by virtue of that
cutting-off keeps the realness perfectly intact. The editing alone is a
masterpiece, cutting just as the characters and setting reach a sublime
visual harmony, and returning with a new set up full of many little
details fluttering and seeking balance all over again. This movie
defines what visual story-telling is and forever should be, because it
almost never gets bogged down in drama, it ebbs and flows in synch with
the nature around it. Plus, the talent of the actors is beyond belief,
most definitely owing much to the direction.
The problem comes in the last quarter of the movie's duration. After teaching us not to be sentimental, the movie then takes us through what would be a tragedy for us in most other movies, but here we don't exactly know how to feel. The movie up to this point taught us to detach from emotion, so we kind of just want to get back to work and we don't see the sense in wallowing in misery. And so when one of the characters displays a desire to wallow in misery, we don't have any connection. That is the downside to not getting to know any of the characters' individuality. We have never heard their voices, never understood their dreams or frustrations. Because of this, the movie's miraculous shots, though technically good, become devoid of cinematic beauty because their context is muddled. The audience slips out of the spell that for more than hour seemed impossible to break. A+ for Ambition though.
Its structure is intense. The way it's edited kept me always on the tip
of my toes. I was biting my nails through half of it, and feeling a
nervous guilt in the pit of my stomach through the other half. This
movie has it all, from one of the best escape scenes ever, to a whole
spectrum of emotional truths. I found myself switching my opinions many
times about the characters and what actions they should take. All the
way through the ending, I was proud for the people who lent their
efforts to make this movie. The acting and cinematography are
unbeatable. I repeat, unbeatable! It might not be air-tight in plot
details, but it gets a certain sense of cinematic perfection across
that can also be found in other 1947 movies like "Out of the Past" and
"Black Narcissus". I love those movies just as much as this one, if not
more, so it's a little baffling how hard people are ragging on it.
It seems like the making of the movie was beset by hardship, and left a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of the cast and crew, but I see no reason that it should leave a bad taste in our mouths. It's just too gorgeous a movie to forget about. And any hardship and injury that came of it only makes the cinematic achievement that much more astounding. But ultimately, this movie's greatest achievement is that it surprisingly exudes a maturity that is more common in movies made closer to the present, for example, Mike Leigh's morality-play movies "Vera Drake" (2004) and "Another Year" (2010). It's time "Desire Me" had a re-evaluation, if you ask me.
This is a movie by the same guy who gave us the analog computer credits
to Hitchcock's Vertigo.
But this time, he makes a whole movie around Indian drummer Balachander's amazing seven minute solo. The images move and sparkle in ways that never get boring. There may be a few points where contemporary viewers will wonder whether this is as pointless as watching a screensaver. What kept me watching was the early date (predates screensavers), the killer soundtrack, and the fact that it was all human-generated (in other words, Whitney decidedly orchestrated the images). Seems to go well with the early abstract movies like Ruttmann's "Opus" as well as the credit sequence of Gaspar Noe's "Enter the Void". Must be seen on as big a screen as possible, in as dark a room as possible, and with the sound cranked high. Goes well with the "Pink Elephants" sequence in "Dumbo".
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