Reviews written by registered user
|12 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This charming and uniquely African movie, picked up by the
Franco-German TV network ARTE, evokes "better times", not so much
materially but with regard to a certain unselfconsciousness and good
faith, heralded and commented (in the film) by a traditional African
storyteller. The audience, he gets us into the action, shall lend him
an ear for it's about to hear an incredible tale that took place "right
here" in Nakara, in the heart of the legendary state of Kwetu: the
story of "Nakara's Captain" who showed what's what to the corrupt!
The setting, we're then told, is not today but some years back from now in the "glorious days of military rule, that's when Nakara's Captain made an epoch". Some may say he used dubious means, should have been put back in jail. But he was just a nice, affable fellow trying to come into his own. And they kept on making it difficult for him, even the simplest things: a menial job, a decent girl to marry. But "Nakara's Captain" knew how to beat the system with its own weapons!
We then see how the Generals have wrested the power from the hands of the corrupted elite installed by the colonialists, and we also see how everybody is now full of hope that things will finally get better. Then, while the minstrel's story, "sometimes gay, sometimes sad" is related, we're asked to "please calm down" and make ourselves comfortable for: "it's going to take a while " And we're taken into Nakara's city jail.
The action starts by MUNTU and his pal Sunday, two rather dreamy small-time crooks, being released from jail as part of the celebrations of the President's birthday. On the same day, Muntu falls in love with the extremely pretty daughter of a preacher, but refrains from mentioning his immediate past and allows her to believe he is pursuing an honorable career. He is then no longer ready, like his pal, to join the criminal gang headed by the brother of his beloved. Muntu now wants to become truly honest, and not just for show.
In order to get closer to his beloved, he helps her deal with the death of her sister. And before he knows it, Muntu has promised to marry his sweetheart, who believes she has found the perfect partner. In the attempt to establish himself as a prosperous small businessman before his scam is exposed, Muntu encounters all manner of economic, social and ethnic difficulties.
While thus engaged, Muntu meets a perpetually drunk general who cannot accept the death of his wife, and who adopts him as a recruit. The wedding date approaches as relentlessly as the wedding costs climb.
In order to pay the bills, Muntu finally succumbs and joins his pal in the caper which Sunday has been pestering him to get involved in since their pardon. The night before the wedding finds the friends back in jail and the bride-to-be waiting in vain for her groom. But in jail Muntu manages to get his hands on a uniform.
Dressed as a Captain and able to make a very convincing impression thanks to his training by the General, Muntu wins his freedom and secures all the papers necessary for living an honorable life. He barely manages to appear punctually at the altar.
In the end, his scam is discovered but his sweetheart loves him too dearly by this point to bear a grudge.
As for characters MUNTU, 22, is an affable orphan who got into prison by helping his best friend to pull a job, somewhat dreamy and, thereby, the object of infatuation of those around him. His tendency to "put lipstick on the pig" gets him in a hopeless situation but also forms the basis of his surprising ability to pull himself (and finally others) up by his bootstraps. Muntu is very romantic, infecting others to become better people.
MUNA, 20, is Muntu's love interest, a compassionate preacher's daughter whose staunch principles may be overrun by a fiery heart.
Sunday, 42, Muntu's streetwise pal, is a little criminal with the desire but not the heart to become a big one.
BISHOP ELIJHA, 62, founded the "African Israel Divine Charismatic Evangelical Movement of the Second Coming" and is Muna's holier-than-thou father.
Finally the GENERAL (played by African superstar Charles Bukeko) becomes Muntu's fatherly friend and sponsor as long as he's drunk enough to not remember what he's doing.
The Captain of Nakara is a thoroughly funny, warm and deeply romantic comedy from the days of yore (of post colonial Africa) and - without past comparison - a potential classic!
Urban Explorer is a film who - like it's overwhelmimg monster - doesn't tolerate "opinion": you either escape from it or it hunts you down. It got my attention due to some priggish reviews while - at the same time - winning LA Screamfest's "best film". Having looked at it in a midnight show in a German cinema (that was left by several audience members because they simply freaked out) I found that this film uncannily wormed itself into my cerebellum. There's little gore, it is more what one doesn't see, therefore increasingly fears and imagines that causes the devastating experience of this movie. It's a film one cannot recommend with easy conscience because one does not want to be held responsible for the harrowing fingerprints it leaves on its viewers imagination (comparable at best to the documented effects of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the 70ties...)
"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" is a cutthroat, unendingly bleak masterpiece of horror cinema, one that wears its depravity on its sleeve and isn't without a historical contextVietnam, peace-loving hippies, the Manson cult and subsequent slayingsto hook its narrative upon. Stimulating in its breathless, brutal nature, unnerving in its out-of- control thematic awfulness, the film finally forces you into Sally's shoes, pushing her insufferable brother in his wheelchair through the underbrush, hopelessly calling out her friends' names in the blackness of night, and then witnessing her wall of security come toppling down with the onslaught of Leatherface and his buzzing chainsaw. The climax, depicting Sally's hellish experiences in the hours before dawn as she screams bloody murder and struggles to stay alive amidst a kaleidoscope of iniquity incarnate and one particularly unsavory dinner, is emotionally draining and, for lack of a better word, unimaginably horrific.
This terrific character study of a family, written and directed by
Hirokazu Koreeda, is grounded in universal terms that could place it in
any civilized city in the world. The family assembly to honor the dead
is a trans-cultural one and the filmmakers, though depicting the
day-to- day life of a Japanese family, uses western music to give the
film a world feel. Food is an ongoing character throughout "Still
Walking" and has a cathartic affect on the family members and their
conflicts whenever they gather to eat.
The acting is believable and realistic. Grandpa would be grumpy because he feels that he is still useful even if his eyesight has gone bad. Ryo has lived in the shadow of his favored brother all of his life and resents his father for it. My favorite character, though, is Ryo' stepson Atsushi. The young boy comes across as a wiseman observing the foibles of his new family as he lives among them. All of the family characters are given full dimension by the actors.
The Exorcist and Poltergeist are obviously films which have burrowed
themselves into the minds of Wan and Whannell, and they have been
reborn here into one chilling amalgamation, spurred on by a jarring,
fractious musical score by Joseph Bishara, and a memorable performance
by Lin Shaye, who plays a maternal but forceful spiritual medium with
just the right tone and energy.
But Insidious also proves itself to be a genuine entry in the demonic possession film canon. A unique séance sequence is both berserk and entertaining, while the use of astral projection is a feature rarely used in horror movies, and perhaps for good reason, with the third act descending into silliness akin to a ghost ride set in an alternate dimension.
The Ring will inevitably be compared to Hideo Nakata's original, and I'd say both end up about even, with tradeoffs between the various things they add or subtract. The original's snappier pace meant fewer indulgences in atmospherics, which are in full effect in the more leisurely remake; the backstory in Nakata's film is fairly airtight while Verbinski and screenwriter Ehren Kruger don't smooth over all of their narrative potholes. But what make both films work is the same: the creepy exploration of the unknown and unexplainable, which is far more frightening than the violent killings that typify most horror films, particularly ones that come out of the big studios this time of year.
There have been a lot of comparisons to "Alien", but "Descent" is more
like "Jaws" in a cave. The makers understands that it's what you don't
see that's scary. And in a cave, it's easy to not see. You thought you
were afraid to go in the water? You may never go spelunking again. Of
course, unless you're already a cave-diver, it might be a bit hard to
relate to these characters. I mean, really, what are you doing in that
cave to begin with?
Above all else, I appreciate what "The Descent" is attempting to do. It's not one of those obvious slasher films that plague the multiplexes when Hollywood's out of ideas. There are plenty of false scares (mostly the old dream sequence trick), but also plenty of real ones. "The Descent" may not be a classic, but it's likely to remain with you for a while.
This decade's horror films have it all wrong. A person suddenly jumping out of a closet with a knife is not scary. Here is where any film seeking to chill its audience should take its cue. The Exorcist is genuinely frightening. It works so well because a) the atmosphere director William Friedkin sets up is pitch-perfect and b) we believe that these are real people being ravaged by these horrors. The special effects in this movie aren't particularly impressive but it doesn't matter. Regan's transformation from angel-faced little girl to mutilated, violent devil incarnate is done so well that we don't have time to notice any defect in the film's technical aspects. Mercedes McCambridge, who provides Regan's voice once she is completely inhabited is The Exorcist's unsung hero her behind-the-scenes work provides some of the most chilling material found here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What bold, deliciously reckless storytelling! The young hero is penniless, lives in dirty little room above the railway tracks, owes the rent to his landlord and still, somehow, is a king among paupers. He has the gift of poetry that enchants everyone who gets in contact with him. He's invited, as guest, to a wedding and returns with the bride. Their marriage, under dire circumstances, is a prime example of happiness - till fate strikes and she dies giving birth to a boy. The father does not want to see the "little killer" of his wife and falls victim to a depression of several years. Till finally the beautiful little boy, his mother's image, and the estranged father reunite. - I liked the deep humanity and strong emotions of the story. The camera work is exquisite "poetical realism".
It's a film of a young man's vocation that consists in spreading peace of mind and soul through the execution of an exquisite ritual. At the same time it is the story of a marriage before the birth of the first child and a young wife's discovery what an interesting husband she has found. Also, it shows the constructive effect of a good father figure on an otherwise lost soul. The film has many moving, sometimes explosive scenes and is, in the end, I do not know a better word, "meaningful" in a mysterious way that cannot be described. I addresses and calms our fear of dying. The whole story is build around five mysterious ceremonies that contain and express what it means to be a human being.
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