Reviews written by registered user
|262 reviews in total|
This imperfect documentary most of the time seems like a mockumentary. Ultra religious folks, home-schooled teenagers, loopy pastors, eccentric farmers and so on... Some viewers seem upset that the filmmakers didn't provide some answers to whatever happened to Kansas. I think they did. The lethal and usually explosive mixture of nationalism and fundamentalism. Some of these unfortunate evangelical Christians are so petrified of everything even remotely unfamiliar, that deceiving them becomes a piece of cake. For me, an idea that you should hold your church services in a theme park is as idiotic as it is blasphemous, but apparently not to these fine people. But then if your religion is about happy-clappy nonsense without any intelligent thought, you can actually be swindled by a fake Christian even if you happen to be a emergency room doctor. And on a somber note, few days ago a fundamentalist white supremacist on a rampage against Jews kills by mistake 2 Methodists and 1 Catholic. Frightened people are the most dangerous species on this planet. God help us.
After Zvyagintsev's first movie, "The Return", I desperately wanted to see more of his work. He made another movie that I couldn't find, and finally- "Elena". New Russia, few new rich, and not so new, many poor. The land of fake equality became a land of stunning disparity. And the same kind of ruthless, lacking conscience kind of person that thrived in communism, does ever so well in the pool of greed and self-absorption. It was always about money and power, anyway. Cruel world and cruel deeds. What would one do for those he or she loves, no matter how undeserving they are. Apparently everything, even kill. Human capacity for evil surpasses very few things, and the ability to justify evil tops everything else. Hence the world we live in. Very simple actually, but still beyond comprehension of billions.
If you ever desire to see age as a fact of life, not as shameful mishap, you'll have to turn to British. Something weird happened to the American culture. People never lived longer, but they were never more invisible as they get older. Faces pulled so tight that they resemble Halloween mask, moronic slogans about 60's being new 40's, and elderly shoved out of the way all around. Except, of course the elderly that never upset anybody about realities of aging. And here comes this gentle, predictable, but nevertheless deeply touching light comedy about getting to terms with the inevitable. A lively group of marvelous actors, some magnificent classical music, beautiful manor. Nothing too original, but still such pleasure. And now we can go back to being terrified of the thing we can't possibly avoid, aging. And we wonder at the state of the world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie might be based on the real kidnapping in 1978, but it fits perfectly our murky times. Greed without limits and boundaries produced a whole new species of semi sociopaths. Some of the most savvy and successful people in high business have morality of a Corsican thug. Perhaps they possess a tad more polish and fashion sense, but not much more. Mr. Graff, the victim of this heinous crime doesn't invoke much sympathy. He is vain, cruel and deeply immoral. Exactly what power executive needs. As soon his real nature comes out in press, his business "friends" turn their back on him. It is ironic that the only remotely kind character is one of the kidnappers. Possibly the one assigned the good cop role. Nevertheless this wealthy, affluent world encased in marble and gold, seems empty and void of any real felling. Nothing comes for free in this world, above all money and privilege.
I am sure this movie will offend the sensitivities of ardent Catholics. After all anything that questions in any way the simplicity of their beliefs offends them. Nanni Moretti made perfectly Italian comedy. Without exaggeration, without huge belly laughs, but putting gentle smile on viewers face. A cardinal, amongst many who pray not be elected, becomes a pope and experiences an existential crisis. Nanni Moretti is obviously not a believer, but he is not a militant atheist either. He observes with regretful expression, because as he once said he is sorry that he is not religious. What holds this movie together is magnificent Michel Piccoli, a legend of European cinema. With his gentle smile and demeanor, this confused cardinal puts a very sympathetic face on the church that desperately needs help.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Beautiful adorned mansion, filled with stuffy old-time teachers and surprisingly well behaved children. Clear, young voices joyfully singing school hymn, and just a little gentle ribbing and bullying among kids. That is the beginning of this creepy and uncomfortable movie based on the celebrated dystopian novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. In some parallel world these children are being bred for organ donations. To die prematurely that some strangers ( of course with a lot of money), can live. The movie moves from 1978 to 1994 following three of these doomed characters. What makes this bleak story so frightening is that everything else around them seems so normal, so British. Same subdued emotions, stilted social skills, prim and grim propriety. Just the same old world we inhabit in which some people lives and well beings don't matter. When you put it that way, not much different or more creepy than our planet, perhaps a bit more indirect and devious.
As one gets older it gets harder and harder to be shocked with the state of humanity." The Whistleblower", gripping and unflinching thriller manages just that,to shock beyond comprehension. We all know that wars awaken the worst in people, that thin veneer of civility scratches very fast or that the deprived among us quickly seize the opportunity to do abominable things, usually under the sickening guise of patriotism. But what can we say when the peacekeepers and the human rights groups take sadistic advantage of already devastated people. Somehow that seems even more sociopathic than your run of the mill war criminal. And these creatures didn't even get punished. They are back to their perfect families and church pews. The trouble is that these awakened monsters will have hard time pretending to be normal. Pandora's box is open. Are we that naive or just that reckless? We'll find out. Every fire that doesn't get put out on time burns everything in sight.
Orderly, tidy, more than slightly boring German suburbia. Decent, law abiding, disciplined people, or so it seems at first sight. "Silence", brilliant German movie about crime without punishment. Or at least without legal consequences for a horrendous deed. And such a perfectly fitting title for this film. There is a lot of silence among these people. Some of it comes from loneliness, some from lack of communication, some from shameful secrets. But above all hangs the silent scream of despair. Such heartbreaking bottomless despair. The one that stretches with endless time of grief, regret or just empty nothing. All, the guilty and the innocent suffocating without the end in sight. Amazing film.
Even in these, supposedly advanced, modern times, a lot of women get
paid less than men for the same job. It doesn't get put bluntly, at
least that much changed, as in 1968 Dagenham car plant. Because, if you
can stomach that, the men are breadwinners, and women, I guess worked
to fill the empty hours till the strong, protective fella comes home.
" Made in Dagenham" is a charming, almost fairytale, filled with catchy 60's pop music and loads of plucky, strong women. It could've easily been made as one of those dry as bones movies with an educational historical mission. Fortunately the director, Nigel Cole had both sense and talent, and told this incredible story with the right amount of humor and even melodrama. Having all of those marvelous British actors helped immensely, as usual.
It is very easy to look at this unruly planet of ours as a place of many exotic different cultures. And it certainly is, at least at first sight. But people are people and their troubles and heartaches might seem surprisingly familiar no matter where they come from. Iran with it's fundamentalist approach to Islam, definitely seems a mind-boggling place for a Westerner, but in spite of hijabs, chadors and religious beards, there is so much more than that. Intellectual couple torn by the duty towards a child and a senile parent, and another struggling, in debt couple who's last resort seems to be drowning in the boiling cauldron of showy piety. And with them and next to them just people trying to live normal life in less than normal circumstances. The same could apply to many countries, including ours, but this movie shows this single story with focused, almost brutal calm. When it all ends with the final separation, the viewer feels that gentle throb in his chest, the one that makes eyes misty. A slice of humanity.
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