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Dirty Grandpa (2016)
An undisputed masterpiece
"Dirty Grandpa" is essentially a cinematic fraud, which involves selling the audience a generous portion of finest beluga caviar wrapped in a hamburger bun. A rough disguise of a rather tasteless comedy does an amazing job of concealing rich and sophisticated underlying themes which really make the film work. The superb imagery and vivid characters, as well as excellent performances by the cast seal the deal. The movie's main focus is the ever-topical problem of the world perpetually testing our principles and strength of our convictions.
The movie begins with Dick Kelly (Robert De Niro) undertaking a spiritual journey to Boca, looking for a metaphorical Fountain of Youth, embodied in non-Plato'ean plain in the form of Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) - a young lady with a healthy sexual appetite. Dick is accompanied by his grandson Jason (Zac Efron), a character fulfilling both the roles of a doppleganger and representation of a lowest point in a man's life cycle. The chemistry between the characters is instant and powerful, forming a homage-in-reverse to the unforgettable exchange between The Man and The Prejudice in "Un Chien Andalou". Dick, nearing the end of his path, has no fears or reservations, and thoroughly enjoys being himself, while Jason, despite being still young, is completely repressed and imprisoned by denial of his own nature. The plot proceeds to examine the outcomes of their different life choices and moral implications concerned.
The movie's imagery is unbelievably creative and always to the point. A few examples include Dick masturbating to a VHS porn, which is a subtle commentary about dangers of digital centralization and his commitment to privacy and individual freedom. A bee on Jason's penis is yet another nod to Brnuel. Deep and spiritual dialogues between Dick and Lenore are sophisticated to the point of reminding us of Burgess' "nadsat". The crown jewel is the final exchange between Dick and Lenore, her begging him for wisdom and guidance for a simpler, more honest way of life, symbolized by Eisenhower era; and Dick's ambiguous destiny, expressed by possible death through orgasm, his last words echoing Kane's "Rosebud".
The whole cast does an amazing job, but the focal point is casually dominated by De Niro and Plaza, a royal couple of subtle and understated messages. In summation, the movie is well worth the time of any sophisticated viewer anxious for wit and piercing social commentary.
Fifty Shades of Black (2016)
This movie is...marvelous.
I've been a big Wayans brothers fan ever since the release of their 1996 movie, "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood". Before that I really didn't understand any of their work. It was too artsy, too intellectual. It was on "Don't Be a Menace..." where Marlon Wayans' presence became more apparent.
"Fifty Shades of Black" an epic meditation on intangibility, at the same time it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding movies. Look to the brilliant ensemble playing of Wayans, Hawk and Zigrino. You can practically feel every nuance of every human emotion. In terms of comical craftsmanship and sheer beauty of Hawk's boobs, this move hits a new peak of professionalism.
The whole movie has a clear, crisp look and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that gives the script a big boost. He's been compared to Chris Rock, but I think Marlon has a more bitter, cynical sense of humor. Take the "Wesley Snipes tax" gag. In this segment, Marlon Wayans addresses the problem of abusive political authority.
I think that this movie is Wayans' undisputed masterpiece. The script is so witty, that most people probably don't think about deep underlying themes, but they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. It's also a personal statement about the author himself.
Most importantly, Hannah's fiery monologue at the end of the movie encourages us to oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. Also, the masterfully crafted politically correct script reminds us that we have to promote general social concern and less materialism in young people.
American Psycho (2000)
Playful, but mysterious little movie
Do you like Mary Harron?
Her early work was a little too TV for my taste, but when "I Shot Andy Warhol" came out in '96, I think she really came into her own, commercially and artistically.
In 2000, Mary Harron released "American Psycho", her most accomplished movie. The whole movie has a clear crisp '80s look, and a new sheen of social satire, which really gives the movie a big boost. In terms of writing craftsmanship, the sheer scriptwriting, this movie hits a new peak of professionalism. The movie is so catchy, most people don't even try to understand the meaning, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, importance of trends, hollow yuppie lifestyle and murders, but it's also a personal statement of a director herself!
Do you like Christian Bale?
I've been a big Bale fan since the release of his '94 movie "Prince of Jutland". Before that, I really didn't understand any of his work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on "Prince of Jutland" where Christian Bale's presence became more apparent. I think "American Psycho" is Bale's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding movies. His acting is as positive and affirmative as anything I've seen in any movie.
The brilliant ensemble of other actors makes "American Psycho" great,great movie, a personal favourite. You can practically sense the empathy between Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon and Samantha Mathis.
So, to sum up, the movie is extremely uplifting, it shines with hope that it's not too late to better ourselves, and contains a crucial message - since it's impossible in this world we live in, to empathise with others, we always empathise with ourselves. It's beautifully stated in the movie. And now excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.
Triumph des Willens (1935)
A cinematic gem
This is the movie featuring the most beautiful visual and audio sequences ever done. Leni Rifenstahl does truly unparallell job transmitting the unique atmosphere of unity, pride, joy, love and compassion of 3 days in Nurnberg onto the screen. Her ideas of camera work, sharp editing and close-ups served as example for most modern directors.
Since it's a documentary, the movie revolves around prominent Nazional Socialist leaders delivering speeches in a large party meeting. Most of the speeches deal with then-current events in Germany, so it's a good idea to read a history book if you're not familiar with them, to fully understand the movie. Some scenes are absolutely fascinating: Hess's opening speech, Hither addressing Labour Movement and the SA/SS meeting.
P.S. BTW, despite popular beliefs, there are no antisemitic or chauvinistic remarks or propaganda speeches in the movie, so it's no more offensive than history channel. A must-see for everyone, who's interested in history and sociology.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Well, this movie cannot be rated as drama of sci-fi anymore, its's a documentary, maybe yet a little inaccurate, but still a factual depiction of reality.
We don't have Big Bother, but we have hundreds of political puppets. There is no Inner party, but there are international "brotherhood" of wealthy and powerful. Instead of Outher Party, there are politicians and top managers. Instead of perpetual enemy Goldstein, there are non-existing "terrorists". There are spy satellites, email scanning, wiretaps, and almost vanished privacy. There's a little of free speech left, and the censorship is strenhtening. The Orwell's concepts of party "doublethink" (believing something you know is wrong because the government says so) and "goodthink" (believing anything party says and acting only the way government want you to act) is embodied in so called "political correctness". There is no Miniluv, but there is CIA and secret prisons and elimination of unwanted dissidents.
But most importantly, there is a monopoly on media, which turns 90% of world's population into Orwell's "proles", who can never rebel and overthrow the party, because they simply are not informed enough to direct their anger against their government.
The book/movie was an early warning, yet nobody seemed to listen, so it seems that we may be doomed to reach the worst end of Orwell's reality.
The movie itself is flawless, with powerful acting and directing, but it's not the form it's the message that matters.
Seed of Chucky (2004)
A triumph of Jennifer Tilly.
What can I say, this movie is the greatest part Jennifer Tilly ever did. She demonstrates unbelievable courage and sense of humor by playing herself in the movie which is just a big joke about her. She also delivers her usual more than decent performance, since comedy is her natural gerne. Other members of the cast also do a good job, especially Redman, since he also got a chance to play himself. The plot is fair enough for a movie parodying a horror movie, so all the blood and deaths don't actually scare anyone. Some humor is also in place, most of which deals with Tilly's appearance. So, to sum up, a very good satire, a decent comedy, and a great performance of Jennifer Tilly - all in one.
This is a truly great movie, both from artistic point of view and regarding its political correctness. The plot is quite simple: a bisexual girl Violet and a lesbian Corky (played by Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon) decide to steal 2 millions which belong to mob. However, the money is guarded by Violet's boyfriend Cesar (Joe Pantoliano), so they set him up, have him killed, and provoke a small internal war in Chicago mob in the process. Surprisingly, they manage to trick the whole Manzone family, and get their happy ending. The best part of the plot is that it doesn't accent the lesbian part,but instead it focuses on character development and suspense, thus being truly neutral and politically correct. Directing is great, the whole flashback sequence is well-thought and entertaining. Acting is almost perfect, Jennifer Tilly especially excels, getting out of her typecast "bimbo" roles. Joe Pantoliano also does an incredible job, especially in scenes when he's going paranoid. So, to sum up, the movie has great directing, acting, no stereotypes, and almost perfect plot (in real world, Violet definitely would have been killed, as an unwanted witness), so it's a true masterpiece.
This is truly the best Russuian movie since Brat 2. It is very realistic, bloody, and it precisely depicts one of the most dramatical episodes of the history of the modern Russia. Directing is flawless, the usual Balabanov style rocks. Acting is just superb, especially part by Dmirty Dyzhev, who played psycho hit-man - the new version of fairy-tale folk hero Ivan. All other parts, even the smallest ones, are played by the top Russian actors - Nikita Mihalkov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Andrej Merzlikin, Sergei Makovetskij, you name them. The movie has tons of black humor, but the best episode is the one, in which gangsters with "strategic vision" become member of the Russian Parliament, and those without it lose everything. The soundtrack, consisting of Russian gangster-era pop and alternative, is just as good as OST from "Brat 2". So, to sum up - a true modern masterpiece!
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Excellent B-grade movie
"Dawn of the dead" quite a good movie. it has a good budget for FX (there is not much to watch in zombie movies except for FX, is there?, however it keeps the unique atmosphere of the 1978 original. The plot is naturally bad, but it's unlikely that a zombie flick will ever produce a decent drama or room for character development. There are fixed standard characters, like a cop, a black guy with a gun, redneck security guard and so on. Most of them die in quite entertaining way, so the audience is never bored. Casting is good, however, it doesn't really matter, since most characters are quite flat. IMHO, they should have replaced Sarah Polly with more...ehm...typical nurse:) So, to sum up - a good piece of commercial entertainment. Not a Lynch movie, but it's never been positioned as such.
Liberty Stands Still (2002)
A waste of time...
God, I wish, I could get back those two hours I've spent watching this ridiculous piece of...cinematography. Almost every aspect of this movie is remarkably bad. First of all, it's the plot. I mean, c'mon, watching this movie is like watching 2 hours long politically correct (which in fact allows discrimination of white gun-owners) anti-gun commercial. So, let's see, what do we have here. Oh, it's the black guy, whose daughter was shot in school by some fun freak (bet he was from Alabama, right?). So the only way a father can retaliate is by kidnapping a businesswoman, who's in gun business (guess he didn't have the stomach to deal with a man) and playing some sick twisted psychological games with her. Anyway, afterwards he shoots a major gun manufactures and commits suicide. What can be more of a self-advertising for anti-gun groups? Acting is average. Fiorentino is not bad, but this part is just not her type, IMHO, she should stick with femme fatale parts. And Wesley Snipes as crazy-yet-honest-gunman-blinded-by-rage-but-still-politically-correct ? Give me a break! He is good as Blade, but this character is too complicated for him. Anyway, the movie as as whole is awful.
And this being an awful movie, the question is - do you feel lucky, that you came across my review and decided not to watch this garbage, punk? :)