Reviews written by registered user
|262 reviews in total|
There are mixed feelings about this engaging flick. To start, this is a competent, well executed ( and I am not talking about historical accuracy)thriller, with an able cast of mostly good character actors. It does convey the explosive atmosphere of the early Islamic Revolution, perhaps little one-sided , but still... The real trouble starts with the Oscars, and the Hollywood money machine. Is this the best picture made last year? I sincerely hope not. If it is, lets just close the doors to lofty proclamations, and just be entertained. I did enjoy watching this movie, and found myself thinking that it is better than I expected. But, does this little confession of mine make it a masterpiece? Oh, no, not in thousand years. Money, as usual rules. Promotions, agencies, right connections, aggressive advertising, that's what is all about. A healthy dash of simpleton patriotism, twisting of the facts in favor of CIA, and nobody gets offended and too distressed. Almost nobody. There are few people left who do get offended with the predictable lack of bold creativity. But then who cares about few curmudgeons and killjoys.
Big, comfortable house in the provincial French town, white Christmas, family get-together. But, Vuillards are not an ordinary family. The iron willed mother is fighting cancer, but this is not a sentimental story. Bottled up emotions, seething resentments, unresolved issues. And it all explodes in three turbulent days. Cold mother, dotting father that keeps everything together, and four kids, ever present long gone Joseph(died of cancer as a child), Elizabeth( successful playwright, but deeply unhappy), Paul (the proverbial black sheep ,drinks too much to want to control himself), and the youngest Ivan, (handsome, but timid with the history of mental troubles). And there they go, with rituals, carols, Christmas movies, and rivers of booze, never really connecting. And in all of this lunacy there is an undertone of devotion and twisted loyalty. The ever so familiar story of families. The crippling inability to escape where it all started, the place that made us, the people who know us and can't be deceived. So, we come back drawn by the magnet of family bliss, only to be quickly reminded why we left in a first place. Smart, beautiful movie for patient movie lovers.
In order to enjoy this pseudo-historical thriller, one has to suspend natural desire for logic and order. For a start this is not history. The mystery of Shakespeare, the greatest writer in English language, will probably stay mystery. So, this simplistic movie,doesn't give any answers, nor pose any valid questions, it just tries to dazzle with bright colors. And it makes it's questionable claim with the heaviest of feet. The character of Shakespeare is made to be a step up from village idiot, dumb and illiterate. Little more subtlety wouldn't hurt. But this is Hollywood, a land where moneymakers rule over talent. So, simpler the better, says the one that holds the purse strings. It is hard to do art without money, but when money rules,art becomes obsolete.
There are so many horrors that people inflict upon the other, lesser, people in this world. Of course, to be able to do those atrocious things, you have to somehow dehumanize them or make them less then yourself. And it seems to work for so many inhabitants of this maddening planet. Average, exhausted person tries to block out all the things that don't fit their small, petty existence. We do not know which countries our leaders bombed in last 20 years. That doesn't make us participants in war crimes, but in the same time not every German or Japanese committed the atrocities on Jews or Chinese. They just averted their gaze from the disturbing or unpleasant. Without the passive onlookers, the monsters would be hiding in the sewers where they belong. Alas, courage is a rare commodity and heroes first scapegoats here and everywhere else .
As we are about to attack another country under the guise of protecting human rights, this HBO movie hits the spot. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, two fake progressives, shape the world according to their interests and political advantages. Tony Blair, as portrayed in this flick, is a naive, almost comical in his ineptitude, character. After all the unfulfilled promises and outright lies it is not surprising how unpopular he became in Great Britain. Blindly following both American presidents, but all this time building his own legacy. And he built it all right. When he left the office his approval rating was embarrassingly low. After the horrendous war campaign waged on Serbia in 1999 ( based on intentionally inflated numbers of victims, that were never found), and attack on Iraq( based on non-existing WMD), Mr. Blair is lucky that he didn't end up on trial for war crimes himself. God help us all with leaders like these people.
Tragic marriage of religion and nationalism has born malevolence all over this shaky planet. This, not completely successful documentary, tries to grapple with the Catholic church and it's shameful history of anti-Semitism. In the same time it brushes upon a stunning situation in Air force academy in Colorado, where evangelical zealots pressure cadets to convert to their inane version of Christianity. The trouble with this movie is that while this fresh and interesting development gets about 12 minutes of movie time, the tired and often heard and repeated story about anti-Semitism in the church takes all of the rest. Why putting these two topics together without giving them equal time? It was especially amazing seeing the demented smile on the face of a joke of a preacher, Ted Haggard,notorious crystal-meth popping, male prostitute loving, face of a mind boggling evangelical movement.
It is always fascinating to this frustrated viewer how complexities of the world we live in get dumbed down for the potential audience. Somehow, the powers to be in the movie world, seem to be petrified of intelligence. So, lets make it all simple and if possible idiotic. The legacy of Joseph Stalin and the incredible power he wielded over the former Soviet Union is a mixed bag. On one hand it is hard to dispute the horrors he committed upon his own people, but you can't argue with the fact that during his rule the country became a super power in the world. To this ardent anti-communist, Stalin's sadistic nature and crimes overpower any good that he did. But, this inane movie manages to completely miss any logic or keep an open mind. It is like a bad outdated video game.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Secrets and lies, heroes and villains, past and present. They mash and intertwine into a thick fabric of our inner world. This masterful thriller deals with guilt and regrets. Three national heroes who might not deserve to be called that. As time goes by, three people will lead different lives. Some will find a proper excuse for dishonest past, and some will be crushed by the enormous weight of guilt. I guess that is the difference between the mighty and powerful and the meek and lost. People with strong sense of right and wrong are not immune to temptation, they just might have harder time living with the consequences. Decency stands in the way of glorious success, but then perhaps the same decency is the real success?
Good prison movie has to be relentless and raw. The constrained environment of concrete and prison bars easily makes even a movie viewer claustrophobic. " Cell 211" is exactly that kind of movie. Smart, tense and above all unpredictable. There are twists and turns, but the good kind, logical and connected with the story. There is a sense of immense danger and you can almost smell the sweat and metallic whiff of spilled blood. And there is good, realistic acting, without fake superheroes. Just real people some good, mostly very bad, and the adrenaline pumping and overtaking the viewer. Excellent prison movie, rough and deftly avoiding tired clichés.
Yasmina Reza, the acclaimed French playwright , seems to have a bone to pick with the Western world hypocrisy . Her previous play " The Art" featured 3 male characters slowly destroying their apparently solid friendship over a purchase of a white canvas. This time, 4 smiling seemingly civilized upper class people, get together to discuss the playground incident in which one of the boys hit the other with the stick. Needless to say it all turns nasty beyond belief. Characters form temporary alliances and rip each other a new one next minute. The, ever so thin veneer of liberal, Western outlook, cracks in no time, and the immoral thug in the sharp suit of a power attorney , and heart bleeding idle do-gooder with a drinking problem, dance perfect macabre tango. And, to make it tragic, it suits them so well, like a fitted glove.
|Page 6 of 27:||               |