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According to the director the film is about the danger of elevating ideals of any sort into absolutes, which leads to terrorism. Cautioning the viewer to not simply equate the film with fascism because it is German, but to understand it more universally.
I am not certain if I grasp the film in the way the director apparently intended though. My original reaction was looking at the flaws under the surface of an ordinary village. The film then ends its story without closure, by plan, which left me a little empty at the end.
i thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was wonderfully acted, directed, with great photography, and art direction. There was nothing to dislike about the film. The European Protestant pastor/priest being an overbearing, dominating, relentless task master is becoming stereotypical but it so well done here (the pastor is given humanity. He loves his children, watching his facial expressions as one of his youngest displays sacrificial love to him, is touching. One wonders if the pastor has ever experienced such an act of kindness).
The White Ribbon will be a movie I'll keep thinking about. Highly recommended.
It just wasn't funny.
Beerfest by Broken Lizard is just not funny material. Every aspect is over-blown and most jokes are the easiest and most obvious. They then repeat every obvious joke over and over and over again. The story isn't a necessarily bad one, it allows for a lot of potential fun and parody. The comedy troupe simply never seems interested in thinking about it, settling for tired, overused stereotypes without adding anything fresh or new.
I was surprised at how poorly constructed the film was and how awful the two lead actors were (they weren't this bad in Super Troopers by any means). Beerfest, from the jokes, acting, and directing just felt like a lazy exercise.
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie (2010)
A fine film that surrenders to idolatry
Two thirds of Vidal Sassoon: The Movie is wonderful. One can forgive it the hyperbole in which it describes and introduces the viewer to Sassoon, referring to him as a messiah and an essential aspect in the birth of 60s culture (not to downplay his iconic hair designs but I think the 60s would have gone on unimpeded even if the five-point cut wasn't created). Nevertheless, the film makes people, like myself, who know relatively nothing about hair design and even less about hairdressers, drawn into the story of an orphaned Cockney hair stylist.
The background of Sassoon's life is interesting and the creation of his iconic hair cut (using German Bauhaus influences) was both educational and entertaining. Sassoon speaks with such warmth and passion that one cannot help but take part in his joy of looking back.
However, the film begins to take continual missteps toward the end. Difficult aspects of his life are glossed over; his three divorces, the death of his daughter to an overdose, the fact that he regrets selling his company, potentially negative views of his strict professional code, are all left untapped. Instead, the film inserts useless information about his health regime and closes by nearly deifying him for his charity work while his fourth wife sings ceaseless praises about his character.
The first 2/3rds build the story of an interesting man, who worked with endless determination to become the icon of his profession. But the film is afraid to let us actually know who Sassoon is. Stopping short of giving us depth by further examination of his failures and tragedies, the film heaps worship upon him. Regretfully moving the film away from being Sassoon's personal history and instead making it his personal highlight reel.
Intelligent and Pure Fun
I give "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" 7.5 stars
I truly enjoyed this film, one of the most enjoyable film experiences I have had in a long time. Rupert Wyatt directed the movie with perfect pacing, filling the background of the story with the correct balance of warmth, drama, and action before the climatic battle. Wyatt's pacing was patient but never slow, allowing the story to unfold naturally. We get to see the story of Caesar, the simian version of Spartacus mixed with a dash of Moses, rise to power and cheer for him along the way (Andy Serkis is brilliant, yet again).
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a smart film and it allows all of the people who love to over analyze things (aka geeks like me) to have a heyday. The way the apes grow in power is very much in keeping with the rise of early human civilizations. One can also interpret the entire Planet of the Apes narrative as a racial allegory, which Wyatt plays to, with some scenes alluding to the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, it is important not to over-think the film. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a fun a movie and that is its chief intent.
If there is a negative to the movie, I think Freida Pinto is a bit stiff throughout the film. The acting of James Franco, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and David Oyelowo, all hit the right notes, playing their generalized character archetypes very well. Pinto though came across a little wooden to me and her character is unnecessary, acting mostly to add to dimension to Franco's idealistic scientist (and to increase female viewer ship). However, this is a very small qualm.
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a wonderful summer sci-fi action blockbuster that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is a smart film, never over thinking its subject matter but never playing down to the lowest common denominator. I cannot wait until the next installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes narrative.