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Warning: Most of these films are heavy and may trigger you- so watch them when you're not feeling volatile.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
An anti-horror horror movie
This film is a horror movie that is poking fun at horror movies and movies in general. So if you're looking for a film that you can cradle a scared lady-friend to, this is not the one.
To anyone who has watched Southpark's Britney Spears episode you will know the parallel that Matt Stone & Trey Parker drew between our modern culture glorifying and then using celebrities up as an ancient sacrifice to the gods to ensure a good harvest. This movie does the same- by creating a reality TV type scenario that the main characters walk into. But it takes it a step further, in showing how the horror movie clichés (joker, jock, slut, nerd and virgin) can be seen as a more elaborate version of this kind of sacrifice ; and horror is the genre that supplies an endless stream of blood to satisfy this ancient need.
But the characters are so much more than clichés- in the movie they actually are noticing how they are falling/being cast into these roles and being less and less human, less and less themselves. That in itself has me tipping my hat to the writers. Joss Whedon you clever beast!
As to it not being pure horror- that's the point of the movie. I was enjoying the commentary that the narrative made while it developed and because i didn't know where it was heading and why things were happening, it kept me on edge and interested to the very end.
At one point I was sitting there thinking - wow this movie must have been so much fun to make! It was definitely fun to watch.
Don't be fooled by the advertising for this film about advertising
This movie is best seen with an open mind and no expectations. I watched it solely based on the poster for it, not knowing anything about it. In fact the movie might be better understood if you consider its alternative title "the Mad Cow"- which makes it clear that this movie is about the principles behind advertising.
If you come to see a sci-fi film or the such, this is definitely not it. Instead it is a film about the conscience and journey of a marketing genius and the world he and those he work for create. It is set in a not so distant future in Russia- where fast food have decided to implement a strategy to drive market sales by redefining beauty. But as in real life the matter of swaying public opinion is a complex one- and the main character finds himself as being used as a pawn in just this strategy. But it doesn't end there. He has a sort of spiritual awakening which leads him to fight marketing from within.
The tone for the special effects is set in the opening sequence of the stars coming to life and him being struck by lightning in the street. These elements of the fantastic start to play a stronger role in the second half of the film after Misha the main characters spiritual awakening allow him to see the brands and the way they affect people as creatures and shapes. In this way it reminded me a lot of Pan's Labyrinth where the inner workings of war are reflected in the fantastical situations and creatures.
I can't say that the acting was bad- I found it quite engrossing! The plot holes that were mentioned beforehand i didn't perceive as such- nor the seemingly coincidental events that unfold- in fact to me that felt like a subplot where most of the film i thought that the main female character was actually part of a devious marketing plan...that in itself is very clever. To me that was an effective device of illustrating a point rather than telling it- instead of being told "marketing creates suspicion" it actually created suspicion in me, the viewer. Point made. Bravo.
In short: a visually stunning allegory and insight into the madness of advertising. Enjoy!
Want to vomit- watch this movie!
I love Lars von Trier. I had just watched Melancholia which i loved so i decided to watch this movie. Late at night, alone. I hadn't read any reviews, i actually wasn't aware it was a horror film.
It starts off with beautiful but sad and horrific event and goes into a psychological exploration of the mother's grief for an hour or so.
Until the moment in the cabin when things turn violent. I had been lulled in by the first hour of the movie so didn't expect it- and when I say violent- i mean blood and sex all mixed with mutilation- I thought oh it's only this once. But it kept on coming-more and more violence and in the most painful ways imaginable. I had to shut the DVD off- I was white as a sheet.
Staggering to the toilet- I vomited, literally- not from anything I'd eaten but just the movie. In my way i threw up on a spider- so there were actual fatalities thanks to this film (RIP spidy)... I'm not squeamish but it was just so surprising!
All i can say is -Thanks a lot Lars!
A beautiful portrait of depression and anxiety
Lars von Trier presents a hauntingly beautiful insight into the brain of a depressed person and one with Anxiety.
He goes step-by-step through the phases of mania and lethargy, the rising feeling of angst and panic in both sister characters, and in terms of psychology- related pathologies.
I find especially striking the end where both sisters sit in a house that gives no protection, waiting for the world to end. This is one of the most beautiful symbols of how these illnesses can literally end a person's world from the inside- by them ending their life.
If you don't feel like being depressed- don't watch this movie. However if you've ever been depressed or anxious and wonder if anyone else knows what that feels like- watch this movie and you'll see that other people do understand.
Great World of Sound (2007)
Subtle study of exploitation
To tell the truth- this is one of my favorite films. I've watched it time and time again.
Two ex-sales people get recruited to become A&R people for a new record label. In their journeys they learn to sell dreams to hopeful artists until the main character's conscience wakes up and he doesn't go through with a sale out of compassion for a talented singer.
Along with being a commentary on sales in general and a callousness and/or naiveté that is apparently needed to be a salesperson, it also is a sort of parody of the current state of the music business or indeed the arts in general.
This is made clear through glimpses of the life of the salesman's girlfriend-she is an artisan who makes crafts for the love of it, puts hard work into them and sells them at craft fairs and as a character she is stable, creative and carefree. He however endeavours to sell the dream of instant fame, believing it sincerely. Until he realises that the people he work for don't- they only do it for the money.
In a time where most pop music is brought into the fore by shows such as x-factor, American idol, etc. it is a really thoughtful film, along with being amusing.
A thinking person's groundhog day
This movie is captivating, but more from a psychological stance than in terms of nitty gritty action and is in essence about amends.
Three recovering addicts in a rehab facility re-live the day they are supposed to make amends again and again.
It's not easy to understand what happens in recovery from addictions and this is a psychological portrait of how people deal when faced with confronting their own demons and taking responsibility for their actions.
If you like to think about psychology- you'll enjoy this movie. If you want easy-on-the-eyes- and-and-brains entertainment then maybe give it a miss.
Beautiful story, pleasing to the eye
This movie is a European take on artificial intelligence- less action, more interaction.
I found the special effects in this film beautiful and mesmerizing, just enough to engage the imagination in terms of what a robot could and should be and do...
There are two plots- one is that a software engineer is trying to design the perfect robot for entertainment that is free (can do what it wants) and is looking for inspiration in a girl he meets called Eva, the other is that this software engineer is coming back to an awkward situation involving his brother and an ex-girlfriend of his, whom he worked with. Despite other reviews I found it quite well done how both plots intertwined.
As an audio professional I found some sound parts of the film difficult to stomach, especially the party scene where slow-dancing and speaking at the same time-here rough cuts are clearly audible and it's enough to take away from the great use of David Bowie's music in this scene, a real shame.
Beyond that thought I was very impressed with Brühl, that quatri-lingual dreamboat, whom I have until now only seen on German films. It's rare to find somebody who can master and work in fluency. He's definitely found a new fan in me.
Life's Too Short (2011)
Alan Partridge with Dwarfs
This show is one of the funniest on television at this point in time.
Warwick Davies plays Warwick Davies as a pompous, self-centred, grandiose showbiz dwarf who has fallen on hard times. He as well as Gervais and many other famous starts play themselves as very unlikeable characters-similar to extras, yet with no sympathetic main characters and thus no saving grace. This makes the show very much like Alan Partridge- wry and funny in its painfulness.
The only sympathetic characters in the show are the dwarfs that are in Warwick Davis' (halfhearted) care, yet they are juxtaposed with carnival-esque clownery slapstick as we don't see on television as it is politically incorrect.
This is one of the first shows to give dwarfs a satirical role on prime time television where they are not just used as props, but as people as part of a larger context of society. The show is a lot smarter than given credit for.