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Wow....all the negative reviews suggests this falls in the "love it or hate it" category...any time people react so negatively (or sometimes positively) to something, one should watch it again 2 years, or 5 years later...I suspect some of the reviewers would reverse their opinions completely! I generally avoid 95% of Hollywood films, and picked this up off the shelf at the library...
I watched it twice, first by myself, and then a day or two later with my mother...all the hype, for once, IS justified...it's brilliant! Start with the music: lush romantic classic orchestral for his fantasies, and on-stage, then solo jazz drumming for the harsh reality of here and now, the anxiety-filled present (and since it's set in NY, what music better represents NY than jazz?). Great drum score composed by Antonio Sanchez, but played by Brian Blade? (two shots of the drummer in the film, on the sidewalk and in the theatre lunchroom).
The camera movement and the way shots are blended and seamless is fantastic! The acting is great, as one would expect, and the action-hero theme is nicely complemented by some symbolism and allegory, like the shot of Icarus burning up in the atmosphere....or two shots of squid or something washed up on a beach, (which I can make no sense of)....
Yes, its a Hollywood film, but written and directed by a Mexican, it has an immediacy that draws you in...and rewards multiple viewings!
Avant l'hiver (2013)
upper-middle class ennui....
This film has many fine elements, but suffers from the same ennui as the couple it portrays. I picked this up at my library, and knew immediately I had seen it before, but couldn't remember the end, and had to ride the "fast forward" to get through it! It didn't get better with a second viewing! A bored neurosurgeon "hits a rough patch" with his trophy wife, who sublimates her loneliness with her trophy home and garden! It reminds me of a flaccid remake of Haneke's "Cache", with Auteuil reprising his role as the stone-walling husband, who is smitten by a young Moroccan woman, who may be stalking him with roses instead of surveillance! Kristin Scott Thomas plays the long-suffering wife, instead of Juliette Binoche.
The film also has a couple of disparate elements that could easily have been cut, mainly Lucie's psychotic sister, and a Polish patient's Holocast survival story.
This is a fine distraction, if you have nothing else to watch!
Mars et Avril (2012)
Embarrassingly bad, especially for a Quebecois film with Robert Lepage. Flat, uninteresting characters, weak story, weak and simple dialogue masquerading as profound, no plot to speak of...looks a lot of attention was paid to the bartenders' outfits, though....
I realize making a sci-fi on a limited budget is an immense challenge, but this seems like someone's vanity project; maybe they should have tried a short film to start.
And for a film with the main focus on music and musicians, it's a totally unremarkable, forgettable score.
Sometimes films remain obscure and off-the-radar for a good reason!! Pass, unless you're looking for s "hoot-fest"....
Püha Tõnu kiusamine (2009)
I have to agree with all of the previous Positive reviews (only 6 right now...) with the references to Roy Anderson, Kubrick, Buñuel and Tarkofsky - I also thought superficially of Eraserhead by David Lynch. Shot in black and white, except for his Bentley and modern house, this film looks like it could have been made in the 1960s. A masterful effort, disturbing but with "painterly" composition and good acting. Some of the references, religious and otherwise (like a black dog he accidentally hits with his car, then reappears alive, only to be killed by his wife), escape me, but I would definitely see this a second time. I'm amazed a film like this can be so ignored and unknown.
Eastern Promises (2007)
Favours Called In !
God, I don't know how the "masses" could give this a 7.8 rating. What a waste of time...I couldn't recommend this to anyone. A friend loaned this to me on DVD, and I was interested strictly based on casting, having seen Viggio in History of Violence, and The Road, and Naomi Watts in Haneke's "Funny Games" (THAT is a film to see...).
I didn't even know it was a Cronenberg film till I saw his name. It must have looked good on paper, but between the bad script (particularly the scenes of Anna at her mothers' house) and gratuitous violence, it sure put me off. Gratuitous, meaningless, desensitizing violence, I might add. The scene where Nikolai is cutting the finger tips off the dead body is a perfect example. He advises the other people in the room to leave before he starts his dirty work, yet it perfectly fine to traumatize the audience with it! and to what effect?
Cronenberg must be really desperate for a hit, to make this. Even the music, by Howard Shore, utterly bland and forgettable.
For Cronenberg devotees only!
Shutter Island (2010)
This film is way too long. The flashback sequences of both his wife and Dachau death camp need to be edited down, or out completely. The pacing is very slow- I just about shut it off after the first hour. A friend says it gains on a second viewing, which normally I'm open to, but I don't know if I have the patience to sit through it again.
The film is very well cast - especially Kingsley and Max von Sydow! Leonardo and Mark Ruffalo are also very good.
Actually the best part of this film is the soundtrack - mostly modern 2oth Century composer such as Ligeti, Penderecki etc. As a rule, I don't buy soundtracks, but this is an exception! The music supervisor was Robbie Robertson, from the Band. I'm impressed!
Belle toujours (2006)
Our film festival in Vancouver keeps bringing his films (which I have sat through a few and never been impressed), so he must be a critic's darling, but this is terribly dull.
I agree completely with Moustache review. Someone else suggested Elegant, but Decadent might be closer to the mark. What does an old man make a film about? An old man, of course! Not that an old man can't be interesting of course, but he seems to have nothing to say that I can decipher. There's certainly no fire in the belly, candles burning out would be closer! The female lead is completely successful, but I can certainly see why Catherine Deneuve would have given this a pass! Edward Dardis Van BC
Making the Pipe Organ sexy
This is a very good film. It should have been called "Atonement", except that title was taken! Very good acting, especially by mother character Trine Dyrholm, and young man Jan, who uses his middle name Thomas, once released from prison (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen).
It is a little long- the scenes of the mother in swimming pool, and dinner scene in restaurant, both could easily have been cut. Also the gratuitous sex scene, however tastefully done.
One of the final scenes has the mother touch Thomas's check in the car, and we know at that point she has forgiven him, and both can move on with their lives.
Edward Dardis Vancouver BC
what a mess!
I tried watching Nine. I remember the reviews said the best thing about it was the lingerie - how true! I couldn't get through it - bailed after about 60 min. Pales in comparison to All That Jazz, about Director/choreographer Bob Fosse. It's all down-hill after the big opening number, which also pales in comparison to the opening in Moulin Rouge.
Did this film have a script?!?!
Daniel Day Lewis must have been desperate for a film. He's not a character we care about, and still carries the Oedipal complex for his dead mother. Viva L'Italia! Marion Cotillard is great, as others have noted. Also Penelope Cruz and Judy Dench acquit themselves well.
Keshtzar haye sepid (2009)
masterful and mysterious
I saw this recently at the Vancouver Film Festival, and was blown away. The visuals are stunning, and the characters interesting. Of course, there's a lot of symbolism that went over my head - hopefully others will explain here in later reviews.
The final scene is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Who is the old man, why are his feet washed, and wasn't the young woman pushing the chair the virgin who was sacrificed earlier? Also notice the painting on the wall, with the red sea.
For those with an open mind, this represents the best aspects of International, or "foreign" cinema.