Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Knight of Cups (2015)
An Art Movie: At Times Existential. At Times Bland. Not For The Mainstream.
The movie's lead, Bale, is in almost every shot, saying little of lasting value and often doing even less. More often than not, he is portrayed as a passive observer - all very post-modern. "But wasn't post-modernity so '2002', darling?" Which is to ask - does that sound exciting to you? Well... does it!?
Many have said that this is like watching a two hour perfume commercial. And in many respects they're right. Even the de rigueur svelte fashion models bless several frames to complement Bale's masculine beauty. Sigh, if only its ultimate message (assuming, that is, that there even is one!) wasn't so enmeshed in stratospheres of the sublimest 'artsy-fartiness', this film might have been a near masterpiece. As it stands, it's no more masterly than that last Gucci double spread, from yesterday's Vogue.
But perhaps this movie was quite deliberately a homage/tribute to the ephemeral, the spiriting, the dispiriting, the transient, the fleeting, the obscure, the vapidity and the listlessness found in many lives. If so, it sort of succeeds - to an extent.
It's beautifully shot. Its Narrative content/screenplay just isn't up to par.
Those who haven't an idea what this movie is about, are on the right track. This is a movie which isn't so much about anything: Moreover, it just is.
For those few who can find profundity in a glistening grain of sand, this is your movie. For everyone else, you will likely be bored &/or confused senseless, before even half an hour has passed.
Very Well Acted, Produced And, At Least Some Times... Genuinely Scary.
I have only been scared by three movies in my life: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original NOT the remake), The Shining and Event Horizon.
As a horror movie, 'Robert The Doll' was not only very watchable, it was also very well acted; and was, moreover, compelling from its beginning onwards. Not once did I have to check my watch. And it's, indeed, very rare that I could say that of most movies nowadays... Hmmm. I don't wish to give too much away, but I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is both open minded to the possibility, that this might just be based on a genuine case, and also looking for a good scare.
By the way, whether the story is true or not, is almost irrelevant. Or at least it should be so, while modern science firmly rejects the notion of anything being haunted! OTOH, if you are prepared to accept that there is likely a haunted 'Dybbuk box' in this world, or that there is also an 'Annabelle doll' (as featured in the well received, and reasonably good movie known as 'The Conjuring'), then you might be prepared to accept the premises of this movie too. Then again, if you should take the side of contemporary science as regards anything even vaguely reputed to be 'haunted', then you will not enjoy this movie in the slightest. At this point I should add that I was bored senseless by the Annabelle movie. Make of that what you will, but it's no exaggeration to say that this movie is far better.
In conclusion, this viewer was both unquestionably and pleasantly surprised by just how watchable 'Robert The Doll' was. Suffice to say, it's definitely different from most run of the mill horrors, in the respects which matter.
Money Talks (2014)
Watch A Fool And His Money Meet Cunning Sharks With 'Gambling Plans'...
"Without news our business is finished". That essentially sums it all up for a certain sports betting consultancy. To those who don't know it already: This show is all about a "betting consultancy" business. They desperately seek new clients at any given moment, precisely because their old clients are always prone to wake up & move on - each eventually being left with an expensive bill to pay.
Basically the show depicts their spending all day trying to tell a few impressionable (& usually 'cold called') rich folk, what to bet on with their money. Their bets are all based on certain US sports picks. BTW - Who even dreams up exactly why their victims, (I mean "clients) should 'take a line on the under' or "play the spread" on certain bets, is anyone's guess. For all the viewer knows, they may be entirely random picks! So far the show hasn't adequately explained their formula for 'pick success' - apart from concentrating upon the other angle, that is: call as many people as possible, and hopefully you'll eventually reel in your fish. Nonetheless, the cameras repeatedly show that their staff are spending hours of every day, doing just that - cold calling new leads (AKA 'news'):
"Good morning sir. Do you like making money? I KNOW you like making money. Now LISTEN TO ME, I CAN MAKE YOU MORE MONEY IN ONE DAY THAN YOU CAN MAKE ALL MONTH - DOES THAT SOUND ATTRACTIVE??? DOES THAT SOUND... (CLICK) Dammit he hung up on me!" This show is essentially all about a few sharks eating rich supplies of fish. And by the way, it's fascinating to watch.
Chain smoking S.S., the lead shark, and conspicuously 'HIGH' Octane 'Mr. Pirelli', are always ruthlessly predatory. For these are highly intelligent people praying on the highly gullible and greedy. What's more, because there is no shortage of such 'fish', their business seems to go from strength to strength. Or, does it? Still, their business always needs a constant supply of gullible new clients just to keep it ticking over. Otherwise there is no business. And where are their long term, old clients!? Exactly! Yet we are supposed to believe that their gambling picks are averaging yearly returns of at least 60%! Sure they are! And my old man's 'Santa Claus'.
Don't miss this most brilliant series. It's a fascinating window onto the psychology of sharks and fish. As such, it is indeed unmissable.
Le démantèlement (2013)
Canadian Filmaking Excellence In The Tradition of European Independent Cinema.
When people call a film 'intelligent' I usually shudder. Nonetheless, this one is clearly made for intelligent people. There is no doubt about that. Here is an inspired and contemplative movie about an old farmer's life, played excellently by Arcand, which moves along at almost a sedate pace. Yet, it's still very cleverly exacted - insofar as few scenes, if any, are served without building upon overall purpose. Story too is carefully crafted, and I mean 'crafted' in the sense that there was definitely much thinking going on, in the director's mind, to craft such a sublimely ruminative movie out of its many transcendent elements. In particular, regarding its screenplay - had this movie stated that it was 'based on a true story', then I wouldn't have blinked an eyelid. Need more be said? The reality is also that few viewers will like it. Mass appeal and this movie will 'ne'er the twain meet' - as there are no bangs, 'naughty affairs', nor 'action sequences' herein; unless, that is to say, the shearing of a sheep counts as an 'action sequence' in your life! On that note, please know that I'm not someone whose attention is easily maintained. Nonetheless, despite my declaring as much, I can still assure you that here is a movie which still held my attention from its beginning to its end.
Here is a sensitive movie which should be watched by anyone who truly appreciates the true art of narrative driven, independent cinema. That is to say, if you need an adrenalin hit from your movies, then steer well clear of this one. For those few of us, who can appreciate when much thought and sensitivity has gone into the making of a movie, this is nothing less than quite masterly, in almost all respects - from its lilting musical score to its direction and acting. Even the movie's supporting roles were played with absolute credulity.
A 'near' masterpiece perhaps? Had its ending been better, that is, more conclusive and satisfying, then I would unquestionably have give it the full '9/10'. For in only that respect (its weak and inconclusive ending) can one point towards a negative; but please don't let its only weak-point put you off. Instead, please revel in the ninety five percent of the movie which equates to true cinematic greatness - in the tradition of independent European cinema; A cerebral landscape - where realistic narrative drives the movie's increasingly reflective story forward: sort of 'Rohmer comes to Canada'! In conclusion, at (its current) 7.x out of ten, this is, alas, one of the minority of movies on IMDb which is rated fairly. Yet, were it not for its inconclusive ending, then I'd have had no difficulty in calling it a 'masterpiece'. Still, I gave it an 8/10 for the foregoing reasons. Savour and Enjoy.
I Am a Girl (2013)
Interesting, sensitively filmed and well edited biopic.
This documentary features, just as the cover suggests, six girls from disparate countries around the world, telling us (the viewers) about their most contrasting lives. So we have, for example, the middle class first world girl versus the teenager from Gabon about to be married to a middle aged man. Each tell their stories, with absolute conviction, in snippets of several minutes before cutting to the next girl - where we get to learn more about her story. Thus each story builds.
This documentary *might have* come across as unstructured, possibly boring and uninvolving, but no - instead it simply works - engaging the viewer, solely because every single one of the girls, that they feature, have clearly been carefully chosen for the fact that each one has an interesting life story to tell. The stories are unrelated save for the fact that each is told by a young woman, in today's early twenty first century world; with each from a completely different culture, compared to the others'. For this reason, the movie works to define, in the biopic sense, what it cumulatively means to be a young woman in this world today.
As someone who has issues concentrating on anything even remotely boring, this documentary still managed to hold my attention throughout, and for that reason I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys being educated as to how other people live. Or at least, that is how I took this film to be. However, if you are the sort who likes loud bangs and 'action sequences', then not only is there no hope for you, but you also won't enjoy watching this much, if at all.
Fuck for Forest (2012)
Sure it's not the life that most of us choose, But...
Firstly, each of their lives is clearly a young person's life, devoid of responsibility and the pressing constraints of normal societal mores, values & boundaries. What they'll one future day put on their CV's, when they eventually stop being young and need more sustenance than dumpsters provide, is anyone's guess! Nonetheless, their chosen life is in fact only possible when young - not having to worry about health, back pains and retirement plans, all easy when young. But as a short term choice, their North-western European Eco-collective, as wackily irresponsible as it may first seem, still somehow makes absolute sense - or, at least, to those who live it. That much is clear from this reality/documentary. Just how they manage to bond together is fascinating to watch. They somehow find meaning in their lives in a way that most couldn't possibly understand nor even want to do so. No wonder the other reviewers to date hated this documentary. Many just won't get it.
Having said that, I couldn't help thinking, while watching this, that here we have the modern day renaissance of the once failed 'hippie dream', fueled by utopian ideals of saving the trees, worshipping mother nature etc. Yet, when either old age, or the mounting demands of being human among humans, set in, then the dream ends: alas, almost always by middle age.
But for the time being, why attack them? They mean no harm to others. They may be unconventional to the rest of us, but their ideals and efforts to achieve 'change' are, no matter how largely (if not ultimately) futile, are, at least, admirable in part. Nature does need people who value it more than they value conventional living. We are indeed taking more from the planet than we are giving back. And there really is too much waste and pollution of precious resources. Could you honestly take exception to anyone who works (however futile such may be) to try and effect at least some ecological change? What's more, much as it could be easy simply to dismiss them as a bunch of idiots, they evidently aren't. What unifies them more than anything else, is a fanatical desire for ecological change & social cohesion. Again, if you think about it, despite their going about same in a 'different way', there is still arguably much wayward method to their apparent madness.
Watch this documentary with an open mind, and try to remember that they mean no harm to others. For if you can keep unbiased mind, you might even find this documentary - which provides glimpses into the protagonists' daringly alternative lives - to be, dare I suggest, interesting. As someone who is no longer young, I'll admit that I still found this to be a compelling documentary; not because I'd ever choose their lifestyle, but because they are still interesting to observe from afar, in all this film's unpolished, and at times charming, candour. Now... I finish my review without even mentioning that four letter 'f' word. Why? Because you might also find that there is a lot more to this reality/documentary than that.
En som deg (2012)
Utterly boring portrait of at least two cardboard personalities. Nice cinematography though...
Wow! What the point of this movie was about - absolutely eludes me? Sure the basics are that a man and his friends meet a woman in a foreign land but then it would *almost* be giving the whole movie away to say - that pretty much nothing of any consequence happened afterwards: move along now please, there's nothing much for you to see.
And there isn't! To put things into context, my nym might suggest that I'm some some 90-ish IQ "Trashformers/Die Hard 4" fan who just happened to be trapped into seeing this movie, by someone near infinitely smarter. But, if you thought that, then you'd be absolutely wrong: For I'm a great fan of many of Eric Rohmer's movies. What's more, I rate many independent and foreign movies among my favourites. So, I've no issues with waiting for a wonderful movie to develop. It's just that 'Must Have Been Love' could just as easily have been titled "Must Have Been Love, But... We're Not Sure". Yes, it *is* that pretentiously banal!
Love amidst foreign climes is supposed to be rooted in intrigue, mysterious doubts & heady romance. Yet The people depicted in this movie have about as much personality as a pair of bus tickets to nowhere. In all honesty, its screenplay writer could not have written a more boring movie if he tried.
I give it 3/10 because it is well filmed, directed and scored. Apart from the aforesaid, the movie left my wondering aloud: 'what on earth was the point of that movie!?'
Simon Killer (2012)
Masterly and All Too Rare: An Utterly Realistic Portrayal of a Sociopath.
Within its first 5 minutes I could already sense that I was about to watch a masterful movie. For this is a most brilliant study of, and glimpse into, the life of a sociopath. At times, it is so 'fly on the wall', and so brilliantly acted, that I almost had to remind myself that this was fiction I was witnessing.
It's written and directed by Antonio Campos, who is admittedly not so well known as a screenwriter, having written only one other feature length movie back in 2008; A fact which is moreover, and to my belief, a tragedy for Campos - because he has most certainly proved himself with this movie, to be an exceptional screenwriter. Simon Killer is, in other words, extremely underrated. Nonetheless, as for its direction, production, acting, screenplay and musical score - all come together in an all too rare, & near perfect, unison.
But why is it underrated? Basically, people cannot and just won't 'like' this movie, precisely because sociopaths are nasty people who callously make the lives of everyone they contact, worse for knowing them. Accordingly, watching a movie about such a person, even one that is as interesting and accurate as Simon Killer, is not therefore a fun or enjoyable experience for any typical audience - at least in the sense that 'enjoyable' should bring a smile onto one's face. For this movie won't endear smiles at any point.
Whereas DeNero's studied psychopath, in Taxi Driver, occasionally brought a wry smile to one's face, and was popularly received as a bit of a misunderstood 'anti-hero', Brady Corbet's Simon is not only always engaging as a character study, but he's always, also, all too steely manipulating, and disgustingly self absorbed. Frankly, of the many movies I've seen, I can think of no other movie, before this, which so realistically portrays how a sociopath engages with other people who pass through his life. And, as such, I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, particularly for those of you, who are analytically minded enough, so as to appreciate its utter brilliance. Again, I'm not promising that anyone will, or could possibly 'like' this movie. Rather, I believe a minority of others will deeply appreciate its very excellence.
My Amityville Horror (2012)
A Very Interesting Movie, BUT ONLY IF You Are Open To The Belief That Hauntings Could Happen
People like to dismiss the Amytiville horror as a hoax: "oh, didn't you know it was all made up to make money" they all too assuredly declaim. However, look closer at the evidence and you'll find that, at best, a case was made that it was hoaxed; And the more you examine that 'case', the more you'll find that its arguments are greatly based on conjecture & hypothesis than on any hard evidence of its being hoaxed. Well, I've spent hours looking at the evidence, and I could not now argue that it was definitely hoaxed. Or at least I couldn't - without ignoring the great deal of documented evidence, which compellingly suggests that there was more reality to the Amytiville haunting than most people are prepared comfortably to accept. So, please research the evidence yourself, and examine *both* sides of the arguments surrounding the events presented. What's more, you could do a lot worse than watch this documentary...
Please watch this documentary or not, solely depending on what your views are on the 'Amityville Horror'. If you believe it was a hoax, concocted to generate publicity. then just stop reading my review now, and please just find some other movie which in your opinion would be a better use of your time. Seriously, if you've also no belief in hauntings then you're really wasting your time trying to watch this. Seriously! It's not even the type of documentary which you might laugh at! Nonetheless, if and only *IF* you are open to the possibility that it was no hoax, and that hauntings could possibly happen, then and only then, watch this documentary. If you believe that hauntings could occur and the Amityville case was real, then definitely watch this documentary which tells what happened from, what was at the time, a child's point of view.
Daniel Lutz does not endear himself to most people. He is an angry, expletive loaded, blue eyed person, who's not at all in his teens - he's even beyond mid life crisis years - as he is in his fifties, yet happens to play guitar the way most guitar beginners dream of. He also, through no choice of his own, lived for a month, as a child, in what was once the most reputedly haunted household in America. At best, he calls the fact that he experienced such a bizarre haunting, 'a gift' - one which he definitely didn't ask to receive & experience. But he did.
This documentary tells his story in his words. As such, I found it fascinating. But again - unless you are open to the belief that hauntings may occur, trust me - you won't find it interesting in the slightest. Most people do NOT believe that houses could become haunted, which is partly why this documentary has such an undeservedly low rating. Most folk simply view this guy as a half crazed, formerly abused man, seeking publicity.
Regardless, I am pretty good at seeing through life's 'BS artists', and believe me, if I could put money on it, I would certainly bet that Daniel Lutz has told the very chilling truth in this documentary. The fact that I can tell he is not lying, greatly added to my enjoyment of this documentary; yet (sorry for drumming home this point, just I don't want you to waste your time watching this if you just aren't the type of person who could find it interesting) for most others who don't find it so easy to tell a BS master from... e.g., a respected doctor, then believe me, this documentary will be a reasonably frustrating waste of time.
So I say - watch this documentary ONLY IF (1) you are open to the possibility that the Amityville Horror was no hoax; and/or (2) you are one of the few people in this world who can easily sense who is speaking the truth and who is not. Now that I have outlined what type of viewer should avoid this documentary and who should watch it, I rest my case, by saying I hope those few who might just enjoy it, for the reasons I've given, do get to watch it.
Hardcore Pawn: Chicago (2013)
So, here's why you see a ridiculously low rating...
This is really no worse than Pawn stars, and in some ways it's better. This series concentrates more on either of the following dimensions: (1) the pawn aspect of the business; or (2), the petty squabbling between the leading brothers - each trying (sometimes irritatingly) to prove he's the better/smarter hustler. Whereas Pawn Stars is a loosely bound mix of lighthearted pawn (in which, as most realise, gullible fools take far less money for valuable items than they'd get on the auction site), family squabbles and the occasional extra curricular outing.
I feel the low rating for Hardcore Pawn Chicago is more to do with the fact that both of the leading hustler brothers (and they don't try to hide the fact that they're hustling) in this show, are the type of person that most people would find detestable. The low rating has therefore nothing to do with poor production, lack of anything interesting etc. What's more, there's no 'chummy' dumbo in this programme (as opposed to 'you know who' in Pawn Stars) to make almost anyone feel like they're far smarter "...than that idiot!!". Here you're watching smart folk who make an honest living off the majority of less smart folk; which is also the all too real reason this reviewer argues that it suffers in its ratings.
The program should really be entitled "Pawn Sharks Chicago", and again, its rating is ridiculously low, due to the above reality, and not because its uninteresting in any way: Most folk simply despise watching not particularly nice, 'clued up' brothers, making a crafty living from ordinary folk, who've nonetheless clearly taken their dislike of this pair of sharks by rating it far lower than it deserves. Meanwhile, for the few people who can still appreciate that there is an element of skill in doing what they do, please do watch this show only if you can stomach the reality of the pawn business.