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36 reviews in total 
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27 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Unique and Poetic, 14 June 2005

I was tired and ready for bed but my curiosity got the better of me and I put the DVD in, expecting just to watch a few minutes. 1 & 1/2 hours later the film was over and I didn't want it to be.

Trouble Every Day is a haunting vision of desire gone haywire. Light on story and big on aesthetics, the film moves silently like a sensual and terrible dream. You've got to hand it to Claire Denis - it could have all gone horribly wrong were it not for her ability to set just the right poetic tone and mood.

This film is lovely to look at and the camera work is captivating. There is such suspense when the camera follows the back of the chambermaid's neck. The lack of dialog is so hypnotic that when characters began speaking it was an unwelcome jolt. This was especially true of Vincent Gallo (Shane) whose whiny voice is strangely at odds with his intense and unique looks. Beatrice Dalle is perfect as Core who is more animal than human. Her one speaking line says everything you need to know about her character. There was not a moment that I didn't fully believe Core's plight and pity and fear her.

When the movie begins Core has already completely succumbed to the unexplained sickness that Shane spends most of the film trying to suppress. Core is locked indoors all day in an attempt to prevent her from killing but she finds her way out and eventually the prey comes to her.

The two much talked about cannibalism scenes occur pretty late in the film and are worthy of the fuss -they are stunning.

There isn't enough plot development to figure out exactly what is happening to these people or why. There could have been a bit more explanation but the ambiguity makes everything a bit creepier.

Then I went to bed and you can only imagine my dreams.

Epidemic (1987)
19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Lars Redeemed, 3 February 2005

In Epidemic two story lines play out simultaneously with both reaching the same, inevitable conclusion. The first storyline is shot in documentary style and follows screenwriters Lars & Niels while they write a script called Epidemic. The second storyline is a lushly photographed production of the film that the characters are writing.

Epidemic is about the process of creation. The screenwriters begin as idealists - their vision is pure and remains so as long as the creation is contained. Once the creation/script/disease is introduced/unleashed to the world it becomes both an object to be corrupted as well as a force which corrupts.

It all ends, as any von Trier movie should, with a suffering woman and this one's a little heavy handed even by von Trier's standards. Gitte's hypnotically induced wig-out is an obvious foreshadowing of everyone's demise and although it is difficult to watch her deterioration she is quite a site to behold.

It is fitting that the most accurate and succinct description of a Lars von Trier film should come from the man himself and it is in Epidemic that he famously proclaims, "a film should be like a pebble in your shoe." And so it is.

6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
More Like Romper Room, 3 December 2004

The skinheads never stood a chance. As my friend pointed out during the home invasion scene ' these people are all borderline retarded.' Romper Stomper shows us that Nazi skinheads are just big ADD suffering children looking for the next minority to use as a punching bag until their Ritalin kicks in.

It's difficult to imagine that Australians were shocked by this film. In 2004 it's hard to take it seriously. The direction and acting are amateurish. There is even a scene in which the main girl stands still and pulls at her hair while chaos careens around her. The redeeming value of Romper Stomper is that it contains a lot of unintentional humor.

Hando AKA Russell Crowe, subscribes to the Clockwork Orange philosophy of the higher the pants the harder the man. The mild menace that he established at the start of the film went sharply downhill once he appeared in a pair of tighty whiteys that look like they were meant for an eight year old

Wake (2003)
4 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Wake Me When It's Over, 3 December 2004

Four actors who look nothing like brothers get together to do some bad acting while pretending to be brothers and after a night of pills, booze, gunplay and strippers someone ends up dead.

I'm all for keeping the audience guessing but there is nothing that these people say to each other that is straightforward, everything is alluded to and it gets old quick. That being said, you don't need to be a genius to figure out what's going on here, that is, assuming that you care.

Ex-con bro and blonde-sleaze bro are both so annoying that I was hoping the booze and pills would promptly render them null and void. Even the talented and yummy Gale Harold as crazy bro can't salvage this material -though he does do a fetching drunken strip tease and he can puke and pass out with the best of 'em. The other bro, well, his name was Sebastian and that's about all I remember.

The house looks like a studio set built too small for the actors, either that or the only thing the actors/brothers have in common is that they are tall.

In keeping with tradition started with my Particles of Truth review I'd like to add that Gale Harold looks better in a lacy housedress than any man has a right to.

22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
The Good and the Bad, 22 September 2004

First the bad news: Particles of Truth is a real mope fest of self-pitying characters, each trying to out- dysfunction the other.

The main character, Lily (writer, producer, director & star Jennifer Elster) is an emotional mess because she was the product of a screwed up family (surprise!). She is an unappealing and unsympathetic character and that is the crux of the problem with the film.

Another problem is that none of this suffering is, in any way, new or interesting. We've seen all these gritty, pathetic people before. To make matters worse, some of the dialogue is cringingly pretentious.

Now the good news: Queer as Folk's Gale Harold is great as Morrison, a reclusive germ-fearing writer. He is the strongest, most likable and most realistic character in the bunch. He and Lily develop a tenuous relationship that scares her to the point of puking in his antiseptic bathroom. Despite Morrison's fears, he admits to Lily that he cares about her and proves it by venturing into the subway to find her (a germophobe's nightmare). He also manages to pull himself together to attend her art show.

There is real chemistry between Lily and Morrison and there is something endearing about watching these two people, who find it so hard to function in the world, manage to come together.

The soundtrack is great too.

Oh, and Gale Harold looks better in a shower cap than any man has a right to.

3 Women (1977)
16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
And Now For Something Completely Different, 22 September 2004

3 Women is a seriously strange mood study that plays like a languid nightmare. It is an abstract and unusual film, loaded with symbolism. The logic, if there is any, is dream logic. Everything is open to interpretation. There is no sense to be made of it so don't even try.

The first half of the film is slow and aimless but things get very interesting once Pinky (brilliantly acted by Sissy Spacek) hits her head. Pinky sort of becomes Millie (Shelley Duvall) and Millie sort of becomes Pinky and they both sort of become the dream of Willie (Janice Rule) or maybe they don't. Listening to director Robert Altman's commentary on the DVD is revealing. He says that he sees the film as a painting and that the audience should feel it but not understand it.

The references to Persona are obvious but while watching 3 Women I was reminded of another haunting and puzzling film- Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Mysterious and deeply Freudian, 3 Women is one truly unique work so sit back and marvel at the inexplicable.

Young Adam (2003)
1 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Terrible, 17 September 2004

I have a new film to add to my Most Despised Films of all Time list! I watched Young Adam last night and, thankfully, I've forgotten most of it already.

Ewan McGregor is completely miscast as a broodingly sexual anti-hero. He rarely speak and when he does it's usually to say something inane. He's supposed to exude some kind of charisma while sulking but he's not up to the task. He's as bland as they come and all the full frontal nude shots in the world can't change that.

This is a movie about dull people who say dull things who live in a dull place where only dull things happen and they force you to enter their dull world for 90 dull minutes plus - in short, this film is torture.

So go outside, play in the sun, watch paint dry - do anything but watch Young Adam.

Priest (1994)
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Powerful, 15 September 2004

Priest is a powerful and well-acted film. It exposes the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church (not hard to do) but it is also about the larger issues of faith, compassion and forgiveness. The film is NOT ABOUT being a gay priest.

It speaks to any thinking person who has ever questioned their faith only to find that there are no answers and that faith is all there is.

Father Greg (Linus Roche) is gay and conflicted. On one hand he is certain that God wants him to be a priest. On the other hand, he is not certain that God exists. All he has is faith and faith abandons him in the face of evil.

The conversations between Father Greg and Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson) are compelling. Did Jesus have it easier than everyone else because he knew what his purpose was? Do men's laws need to be followed as strictly as God's laws? Can the rules be changed just because they don't suit us?

The only wrong note struck in the film is when Father Greg removes his collar, gets on his bike and heads to a gay bar. With quick ease he catches the eye of a stranger and they are soon in bed without so much as a hello. A little too Brian- from- Queer- as- Folk if you ask me but, whatever.

You've got to grin at the sacrilegious irony of a disgruntled priest removing a large crucifix from a church, walking through the streets with it over his shoulder and smashing it into the rectory.

The battle of bible quotes between Father Greg and a devout parishioner perfectly illustrates the futility of proving your point through bible verse.

The ending is powerful and perfect. Get your tissue box out because if you don't bawl like a baby there is a black hole where your heart should be.


1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Agony and the Ecstasy, 1 September 2004

Trainspotting is a quintessentially British film filled with thick Scottish accents and dark wit. It is highly stylized and brims with color and manic energy. It is appropriately dark at times and vibrant at others. The balance is always right.

This was most people's introduction to Ewan McGregor and he is terrific as Renton. His speech about why Scotland is shite is a classic. No role he has played since has given him as good an opportunity to show off his acting chops.

Ewen Bremner is hysterical as Spud. How come this guy doesn't get more work? Robert Carlyle is intense and fabulous as always.

Trainspotting doesn't beat you over the head with an anti drug message. Perhaps it is more honest than most drug films because it explores the pleasurable side of drug taking. But the negative effects are clearly shown too and each character must decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. The ending is somewhat ambiguous and the film is all the better for that.

Dogville (2003)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
AKA - 3 Hours in Which Lars Von Trier Loses His Mind, 1 September 2004

Being an admirer of Lars Von Trier's past work, I will be generous and say that maybe Dogville warrants multiple viewing in order to be fully appreciated and understood. But how on earth could anyone be expected to endure this film more than once?

Dogville is a long-winded, heavy handed and puzzling. The sarcastic voice over becomes quickly annoying, as does the pared down theatrical set, the stilted dialogue and robotic acting. Nicole Kidman is completely ineffective and the conversation between her and James Caan in the car had to be one of the most badly acted pieces of drudgery that I've seen in some time.

Arrogance, forgiveness and human nature are among the big concepts explored but what the real point is is quite difficult to discern.

Von Trier's suffering female martyr theme is wearing a little thin. In both Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark the heroines are given to saint like sacrifice. We go even further here with the character of Grace being some kind of representation of God.

The best thing about Dogville is Paul Bettany's performance. The worst thing about Dogville everything else.

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