Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Station Agent (2003)
Disappointing and laughably terrible
Everyone praising this film really raised my expectations, but after seeing it, I have to say that this is very mediocre.
The acting is actually great, especially from Peter Dinklage and Patricia Clarkson (the rest of cast is decent, too). And, sure, it's nice to have a movie that isn't a cookie-cutter Hollywood romance. However, there have been plenty of romance genre films that don't follow the script, and plenty of stories about platonic relationships. So this movie isn't breaking new ground, by any means.
The main problem here is the script. It is atrocious. Subtlety is jettisoned in the first few scenes, and every step in the narrative feels painfully stilted. Basically, this is _that_ movie, where the characters explicitly state what they are thinking instead of allowing the viewer to interpret it based on, you know, their acting. (And it's a depressing waste of good actors, too.)
At one point, Olivia (Clarkson's character), in a fit of rage, tells Finbar, "I'm not your f_ucking girlfriend or your mother, all right?" Any non-lobotomized human being would have already recognized that tension, and this is actually depicted nicely in a previous scene in which she puts Finbar to bed, then bends to kiss him on the forehead, moving to his lips at the last second. But, for whatever reason, the writer(s) thought we needed to have the dynamics of that relationship pounded into our skulls, so we have that porch scene. Finbar's reaction is obviously one of hurt, but I like to think that Dinklage was simply displaying his agony at being in such a sh_itty movie.
And then there are all the times a character decides to give background on themselves in a totally out-of-context monologue that is blatantly stuck on to advance the plot and give him/her the depth writers couldn't achieve through legitimate means.
The sad thing is that this movie languishes in a kind of cinematic purgatory: it can't be recommended as a worthwhile drama, but it's also not quite bad enough to get the MST3K treatment.
Justice League: War (2014)
It seems DC has no original ideas when it comes to their animated movies, as they've been rehashing the same plot lines for the past few releases.
This is full of boring, simplistic characters, a plot that has been done much better in its many iterations in the past, and sub-par animation.
About the only thing worthwhile about "War" is the dialogue, but even that's mediocre.
While the JLA series seemed hyper-focused on neatly pairing off all the characters, it made for at least some development. Wonder Woman was paired off with Batman, which, although initially strange, became believable because of the interesting juxtaposition of traits (WW's physical invulnerability next to Batman's emotional fortitude). Here, WW is reduced to a fragment of her JLA persona, while all the male characters do their best to impress her, simply because she is the only female around.
The fact that there's actually blood, death and some cursing suggests that this was intended for older-than-tween audiences, but the actual content would be mindnumbing for a brain-damaged seal.
Some (unintentionally) amusing moments:
--Cyborg tries to open one of Darkseid's interstellar teleportation devices, but has to ascend a few hundred feet to get reception
--the JL is able to blind Darkseid, rendering him incapable of using his omega beams (his primary weapon), but is then unable to actually subdue him. So they decide to just send him back through the boom tube, but for some reason hold him to continue fighting him until Superman returns to...push him into the boom tube. (By the way, how does he see once his eyes have been poked out?)
--the pointless 3-d scenes
--Batman won't kill DeSaad out of principle...but apparently Superman will
--Cyborg / Victor Stone's clichéd struggle to win his father's approval, that's resolved as superficially as it's created
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Delivers as promised
A man without a past subjects a society where the last vestiges of morality have been displaced by consumerism and greed to a harsh critique. Itinerant lawn mower nostalgic Rutger Hauer arrives at FuckCity eager to begin collecting change. However, he is continually interrupted by pimps who tell their girls to stop doing homework, gangsters in ice skates, and hobo fight enthusiasts who never seem to send their work to production. Enraged at the lack of empathy displayed in this society, Hauer attaches the shotgun to the penis of a Tom Cruise impersonator and pulls the trigger. Further events ensue. This movie is a trenchant commentary on the vagaries of late capitalism run amock.
Le nom des gens (2010)
(Minor spoilers.) The premise of this movie is a romance between a self-proclaimed left-wing "political whore" and a (left-leaning, but not overtly political) veterinarian. Both are the children of a native French citizen and a member of a historically maligned group (Baya is half-Algerian, Arthur half-Jewish). But instead of engaging in some awful, weepy remembrance tearjerker, this movie gives its audience some credit and handles the expected poignance with humor and aplomb. Yes, the characters have secrets and conflicts which they've circumvented throughout their lives, but the specifics are irrelevant and--appropriately--elided. Rather, this is an attempt to examine how people deal with their heritage and personal lives while trying to reconcile their reactions with their beliefs--and what they feel their beliefs _ought_ to be.
Moreover, while the full complexity of the characters' struggles is shown, it is always with a subtlety that keeps the movie grounded. The conversion of ancestral suffering into a cachet, to be readily exploited for the social needs of youth; the feelings of inadequacy in the presence of our parents, whose enormous ordeals seem to render our own difficulties trivial; the mental prisons we build for ourselves in order to establish emotional security; all of these intricate webs of social determinants and individual aspirations are depicted with just the right balance of sympathy and objectivity.
So there is actual substance here. But what is truly remarkable is that Leclerc's use of po-mo tropes (like protagonists directly addressing the camera or characters interacting with their former selves) never feels stilted or laborious, and in fact entails a seamless fusion of form and content.
Jumalan morsian (2004)
An Excellent Minimalist Film
I saw this at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.
There are no actors here, at least in the traditional sense. The filmmakers hired several of the Nenets to play the roles in the tale presented. Based on the childhood experiences of the director (Lapsui), it is the story of a girl selected at birth (through a holy man's divination) to be the bride of one of the tribe's gods. She is segregated from the rest of the tribe--especially the men--to ensure her purity for the god. Upon reaching adulthood, she is sent off to live alone, presumably to be taken up by the god at a time he deems appropriate. Needless to say she becomes lonely and looks for companionship. She finds it in a couple that sets up their tent nearby. Initially, they agree to a polygamous relationship, but things eventually sour and she is forced to leave them. Her yearning for a child goes unfulfilled as she must return to live alone in her tent. The entire story is related by an old woman to a blind girl, who it seems is the director. Although there is certainly more to the plot, my memory is hazy and I don't want to risk getting something wrong.
This might not rank as a 10 for everyone but I was so captivated by it that it's the only rating I could give. Strongly recommended.
One of the best ever.
Possible spoilers ahead.
The obvious comparison that comes to mind is Grand Theft Auto 3. Some claim that Mafia doesn't provide you with as many options as GTA3--and it's true. However, Mafia has a much more engaging storyline and better (gun)fight sequences. While GTA has shootouts with machine guns and rocket launchers, leading your success to be almost entirely dependent on how much ammo you're carrying, Mafia forces you to use your surroundings for cover and then wait (usually) for your enemies to make a wrong move before taking a shot at them.
You might sometimes start a level with only a handgun and have to go up against dozens of bad guys--some of whom are carrying shotguns and Tommy guns. This makes the fight sequences MUCH more interesting than the usual run, point and shoot scenarios of 1st person shooters, and, yes, even GTA. And that's probably the best thing about Mafia. Much can be said about its movie-like cutscenes, but, in my opinion, they are less crucial to the game's intrigue.
The Freeride mode is analogous to GTA's non-mission play, but is less interactive. However, finishing the normal game opens up a Freeride Extreme mode where there are no cops and you get to try out strange missions (for example, one mission is to rescue a "damsel in distress" from a sea monster on the downtown beach).
The biggest drawback of this game is probably its hardware requirements. Although the "recommended" requirements are a 700 MHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, and a 64 MB video card, it is unlikely that the game will work under these conditions, as a previous poster has apparently already found out. I played this game on a 2.4 GHz processor with 512 MB RAM and it still lagged occasionally (and it was the only application running). It also requires almost 2 GBs of hard drive space, a hefty amount, even for newer computers with large HDs.
Overall, a wonderful game but you must have a super fast computer to enjoy it.