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La dolce vita (1960)
La Dolce Cinema
Like Ben-Hur, Fellini's La Dolce Vita is a Roman Epic. So much to take in that one viewing is not enough. The satirical beautiful scenes flow from one to another all while looking through the eyes of a charismatic protagonist, Marcello. Although Marcello doesn't have a center, he tries to root himself in many different areas a lot like Travis Bickle. The film is effortless set free to encounter all types of characters and mindsets throughout Rome and that is one of the reasons why it is such a great realistic metaphor for life. The thematic messages that Fellini illustrates can be applied to not only 60's aristocratic Italy,but also to today. The lately relevant term Yolo, encompasses the false sense of a sweet life in the film when morals and ethical codes are ditched to accommodate the use of any one of the seven deadly sins. Of course there are exceptions, but I believe this film has the ability to make its viewers reflect not only on their lives, but the lives of others around them.
Quirky Unique Romance
CONTAINS SPOILERS Her is a unique Sci-Fi-Romance. Essentially, the story revolves around a very romantic man who has all the basics you could ask for in life: a steady job, good health, and a nice home yada yada. But this man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is still feeling emptiness from a recent divorce from his wife. His ex-wife, a friend, and his lover which is an operating system all make up a circle of women in his life that explain much of Phoenix's character. Jonze's script weaves each of the women, played absolutely brilliantly by Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson to accomplish the goal of exposing all of Phoenix's character's way of thinking, personality, flaws, etc. There is so much that can be analyzed about his relationships, but in the end I believe Phoenix settles for his friend Amy Adams due to the fact that Humans have to be with other humans due to the flaws present within ourselves.
Overall, Her is alright. Yes the cinematography is beautiful, the acting(and voice acting) is powerful, the script is complex, and it breeds loads of emotional reactions and questions. But not only did I not like the assumption that every human is inherently as romantic as Phoenix is in the film, I did not like the constant existentialist dry loneliness that Her drilled into the viewer... And Phoenix's mustache....but then again on a serious point, Spike Jonze is able to create a unique film that intelligently telegraphs many of the questions we as humans will have to ask ourselves about the prominence of technology in the future.
Mai wei (2011)
A Cinematic Jem
There are less than 30 films that I give a 10/10 rating for. This film is one of them. I sat down and watched this film after school one day when I was bored on Netflix. I am usually up to date with foreign films and I was surprised how massively underrated this film is. Kang is able to weave historical fact into sheer excitement and energetic storytelling. How the story interconnects with itself and how it is able to create multiple perspectives of WWII dazzled me. I've seen all the war films from All Quiet to Saving Private and nothing compares to the uniqueness this film brings. The battle scenes are funded by a movie budget half the size of the usual Hollywood blockbusters and it looks millions of times better. The theme is a little cliché and corny but the way it is presented causes no hesitation to the cohesiveness and brilliance of the story. The cinematographer also does a phenomenal job of putting the viewer in each war zone and front that Jun-Shik and Tatsuo come across in a more realistic yet stylistic manner than almost all other war films. The contrast of colors for the dark time in the world powers the story's epic cinematography and storytelling. When it comes down to my personal loves in a movie, it capitalizes on the use of tons of different settings and places around the world, has a heroic character(s) that motivates and carries the narrative, and is able to bring the viewer into a stylized and idealistic world. If you love film and the immersion that it can bring,and if you find WWII an interesting topic, or love different cultures, this film is a must see!
Garden State (2004)
Dull and Lifeless
I completely get what the message was trying to convey in this film, but what I didn't get is why Zach Braff had to drag it all out in a series of lifeless dialogue, boring depressing music, and un-original sequences. I decided to sit through this complete waste of time because of all the raving reviews about how relatable and feel-good this movie was, but in fact it was depressing the whole entire way through. If on the off-chance I am watching a romantic comedy, I want it to be upbeat and happy, not bogged down in the serious problems of real life. I absolutely love Natalie Portman, and Zach Braff is funny, but I feel this Romantic Dramady was lacking in a lot of areas, then again this is only my point of view.
Amores perros (2000)
A Brilliant Masterpiece of Humanity
Amores Perros is gritty and intense work of art. The scale of the movie is rivaled to Scorsese and Spielberg. There is an immense amount of thrilling drama that unfolds and each character is painted beautifully. Mexico City serves as the perfect backdrop to showcase the failures, poverty, greed, and lust that each and every human and society encounters. There are no frills or Hollywood clichés in this movie and Amores will strike hard in every emotion that you have while keeping you entertained. The whole movie revolves around dogs/dog fighting and how humans are intertwined and share some of the instincts of animals. Amores also shows how no human is safe from evil and failures no matter where your from or who you are.