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Wuthering Heights (1992)
Ralph Fiennes RULES this film!He's got the perfect crazy eyes!
Lets get one thing out of the way first...This is NOT really a "love story"people!
It's a crime story/horror/psychological thriller/drama of a couple of VERY mentally disturbed people obsessed with each other. One of them is even an obvious sociopath!
So please don't go into this book/film expecting a REAL love story! Emily Bronte didn't even write a love story. She wrote an extremely dark, ingeniously psychological and morbid Gothic horror story with one of the best villains EVER. It's a cautionary tale if anything. We're not meant to "like" these people really.
This film IS the best filmed version of this story however! Heathcliff is supposed to be a totally awful and cold, ruthless sociopath who destroys everyone around him without mercy. He's selfish and evil. The only real "passion" he has is of someone who is criminally insane. It's unhealthy obsession...not love! Sociopaths can't even really "love". He only suffers because of his own insanity and NOT because of any real human love.
And he latches onto Cathy so strongly because she reminds him of himself so much like NO ONE else does. That should tell you something about the both of them and their true nature!
That's what the story is REALLY about. It's no wonder though that people have some completely wrong ideas about Wuthering Heights when you look at other adaptations. And then when/if they read the book it's all shock and HORROR at the craziness and pure evil of the main character who they though was supposed to be "a romantic hero" based on some old and sanitized Hollywood movies.
People just DON'T seem to get it. This one got it RIGHT for once. Ralph Fiennes IS Heathcliff! He's got the perfect mad, gleaming eyes that unnerve you and frighten you and no one plays a psycho better than him, except maybe Christian Bale. Ralph Fiennes absolutely RULES this movie with his presence, everyone else gets totally left behind. He even makes you sort of reluctantly sympathetic towards Heathcliff even after all his pure madness and evil, which is quite amazing to me! The ending seems like a true release for him...from his own crazy, haunted, messed up mind. And still, I like the final creepy idea that he still haunts Wuthering Heights even after his death. Seems quite fitting to me!
I only wonder how this would have been with a stronger Cathy though?
The atmosphere and feel of the movie is absolutely wonderful and perfect too. It's got a very dark, foreboding and still creepily magical quality which is perfect for the story. But like I said, Heathcliff is SO overpowering (well just like he SHOULD be of course)that everyone else is totally left in his shadow. Juliette Binoche is surely not strong enough to play Cathy in my opinion. She's supposed to be a bit more clearly nuts too. Much more wild and unhinged even as an adult. And more of a better match for Heathcliff's psycho personality in her own selfishness and manipulation. Juliette Binoche in this movie just seems way too...nice and calm!
And finally, anyone who idealizes Heathcliff in any way or thinks he's some great romantic figure needs to see a psychiatrist. And stay far away from men like Heathcliff in real life or they'll destroy you too!
The Dark Knight (2008)
"I'm an agent of Chaos."
Well I finally decided to review this film.I've seen it twice in the theatre now and definitely going for a third time.This is just one of those movies you have to see again and again.It's really that good. I personally wasn't a big fan of Batman Begins.I thought it was quite boring actually and only saved by Cillian Murphy's creepy Scarecrow.It was also difficult for me to understand this new Batman interpretation because I grew up with Tim Burtons movies.Especially Batman Returns which still has a very important personal meaning for me.Also I've never really read the Batman comics since I was always more of a movie fan. I would actually say that Dark Knight is better than BR,which used to be my favorite comic book film.This movie is simply in a league of it's own.I've never seen anything like this and I watch a lot of movies.It's also quite difficult to compare Burton and Nolan,because their styles are so different.Both are excellent directors of course.Burton is one of my absolute favorites.
This movie has done something I've never seen in a comic book movie before...It is almost too intellectual and complex for it's own good.There are so many levels and layers of storytelling here that casual viewers will likely get very confused if the don't pay attention. Anyway the story is interesting,emotional,exciting,philosophical,mythical and very current.Which is probably why this movie fascinates so many people right now.There are complex themes in the movie that touch most of us these days.The three main characters Batman,Harvey Dent and The Joker represent different stages of corruption,insanity,honesty and psycopathy.All are played by brilliant actors,as are all the supporting characters.I really can't think of a bad performance by an actor in this movie.
The biggest star of the show is of course Heath Ledger as the Joker.Now he actually really shocked me.He is completely unrecognizable in this role.He is playing the ultimate psycopath and mythical villain.An unforgettable movie villain who is more a symbol of absolute chaos and anarchy than a real person.It is fascinating to watch him and analyze and wonder about his character.We are told nothing about his past and origin,he just simply exists and when he appears you are guaranteed he will cause total mayhem and destruction.Yet he is oddly sympathetic with his grim jokes and crazy appearance. Aaron Eckhart is also very good as Harvey Dent.His story is a true tragedy and the most emotional part of the film.Harvey's transformation is also essential to the themes of the movie.Christian Bale is actually the one of the three kind of left out.He does a good job,but nothing as spectacular as Ledger or as heartbreaking as Eckhart.However he is the main character and the focus is naturally mostly on him. I could probably write a novel about this movie,but I'll just say a few more things so this doesn't get too long.First the music is brilliant and the soundtrack works very well on it's own even without the movie,which is rare.Second the only problem I actually have with the movie(I think i'ts pretty much perfect otherwise)is sometimes the editing is abit funny.Mostly at the beginning because it really gets better as it goes on.Maybe I'll get over that complaint sometime.I'm hoping for a longer cut on the DVD,I think the movie could be longer. But that's pretty much it really.A brilliant intelligent movie,the best comic movie ever,a strange blockbuster and an instant classic with one of the most frightening villains in movie history.Let's hope the Oscar's recognize Heath Ledger's talent with a nomination.He certainly deserves it...
Chun gwong cha sit (1997)
"Imagine me and you...so Happy Together"
Well this is certainly one of my absolute favorite movies ever.When I first saw it about six years ago I loved it,and still do.This movie is just so beautiful and emotional it's incredible.The cinematography is very inventive and different.I love the different uses of black and white footage and the colours in this movie.
Two Chinese gay men travel to Buenos Aires and are planning to visit the Iguazu falls before returning to Hong Kong,but they never seem to get there...together anyway. The city of Buenos Aires seems so big,energetic and full of life but also sometimes very lonely and cold. There are feelings of joy,love,affection,loneliness,jealousy and an overall sadness in the whole thing,it makes me feel sad just thinking about it. This is really a story of two people in a typical love/hate,on/off relationship.And it really doesn't matter if you are gay or straight or whatever.These are themes anyone can relate to.But if you are very prejudiced you may not like it.
The actors are absolutely incredible in their roles as well. Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung make you really feel the affection their characters still have for each other...and of course all the negative feelings too. This is not a plot driven movie at all,but more like a series of snapshots in the life of a couple on the verge of a final breakdown.The end of their relationship is unavoidable but they still cling to their love until it's too late to go back.It's a very emotionally driven movie and the sad but sweet mood created is the most important and memorable thing in the movie for me. The music also seems to fit the film like it was specifically written for it.There is some Frank Zappa and some fantastic Argentinian tango and of course the very fitting ending theme song Happy Together.Now this is how you make a movie about a love coming to an end!Watch and learn Hollywood ; )
Tim Burton & Johnny Depp do it again!!A wonderful movie of course... I have been a fan of both since the early 90's when I first saw movies like Beetlejuice,Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns.These films are an important part of my childhood and Tim Burton has since been one of my favorite directors.His imagination seems to be unlimited and the best results he achieves when he works together with Johnny Depp.
This time they have made a movie perhaps as good as Ed Wood,only this time the whole family can enjoy the film.I haven't seen the original Chocolate Factory movie but when I heard that Burton was making this new version I decided to read the book.The book is absolutely great and I believe this is a very faithful adaptation which can be enjoyed by the children as well as adults.The audience I saw it with certainly seemed to love it!I have rarely heard applause after a movie,but after this one the whole audience clapped!
Actually I was even a bit surprised by how well the movie really worked.Johnny is absolutely amazing once again...He is so unbelievably weird,funny,mischievous and mysterious that even after reading the book his performance keeps you on the edge about Wonka's real motives.The other actors do quite well too.The children fit their roles nicely.Especially Freddie Highmore,who I thought was already very good in Finding Neverland.He is the sympathetic main character Charlie who is lucky enough to find a Golden Ticket to Wonka's factory together with four other children and their parents.
The factory itself is probably the best part of the movie.As the first part slowly introduces us to Charlie and his family and the mysterious story of Willy Wonka and his amazing factory.The chocolate factory is a really trippy experience full of all the wonders Roald Dahl wrote about.Not everything from the book is in the movie of course,but for the most part it's very accurate to how I imagined it.Everything is so carefully made and colorful that I would even predict some Oscars for set design for this movie.The Oompa Loompa's are also very entertaining with their songs and performances.It's weird to think that they are actually only one guy multiplied by a computer!
If you love to let your inner child out and just enjoy something truly fantastical then you will love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.But it's not just for kids.For adults there's plenty of pretty dark humor occasionally as well.Sometimes you just don't even know if you should laugh or not...It's kind of creepy actually,but the end is still really sweet.Johnny's performance as Wonka has been compared to Michael Jackson but I really didn't see much resemblance except perhaps with the way they look.But I really love all the androgynous ambiguity he has as Wonka.Even the weird hairstyle doesn't really bother me anymore.
So this is another wonderful movie from the amazing duo : Burton and Depp.I wonder what they will think of next...
Well,Revenge of the Sith is finally here!I have just seen it a few hours ago and...It IS good,honestly.Of course this is only the very first initial impression I have of the film so my opinions may change a bit over time. Anyway,the most important question this time must be: Does it make everything work?Does the whole story make sense now...In my opinion yes it does.RotS manages to make the most important points clear in a very limited time(apparently Lucas didn't want the film to be too long,so it's more like the other films considering it's length)which makes it of course seem a little rushed at first.Much has been cut of the film,but it really doesn't make it any less enjoyable,only faster paced.Perhaps more like the summer entertainment movie it should be.Although RotS isn't a typical SW film mostly because of it's dark mood.Thankfully the ending is very hopeful as Leia and Luke are delivered to their foster parents.
My favorite parts are in the end,when the whole tragic plot comes together.I actually felt very bad for Anakin/Vader when he is put into the iconic suit.He seems so out of it in that moment when he first speaks with THE voice,that it really moved me.Also a wonderful idea was intercutting Vader's "birth" with the birth of the twins and Padme's death. The whole jedi holocaust AKA Order 66 part is also very moving.This really is the most emotional and darkest Star Wars film of them all.The plot may seem a little confusing for some,but for a hard core fan like me there were maybe too little that was actually surprising.Of course reading all those spoilers before seeing it maybe wasn't such a good idea ; )
Overall I think everything is well put together in the movie.I only had to explain very few things to my mother,who I saw it with.She doesn't know much at all about Star Wars so I guess that's a good sign. The actors are giving very similar performances as in the previous episodes.This time maybe not as stiff as they have more different emotions to play out.I think everyone did a fine job actually,maybe sometimes there were some more awkward moments but they didn't really bother me much.Hayden is much more confident and natural this time around.He occasionally seems very childish,but that is in the character of Anakin as he is always very overconfident about his abilities.Anakin's tragedy in this movie is the key to the whole saga and he plays it very well IMHO.Natalie offers an important performance as Anakin's motivation for going to the dark side,and her death and funeral are beautifully done.Ian McDiarmid is wonderful as always,he never disappoints.Especially in the early parts of the film when he is still the human faced Chancellor Palpatine.Ewan was actually a bit disappointing for me,he didn't move me like I expected...
This movie is of course a tragedy,so it wont be for everyone.Star Wars is ultimately the story of Anakin Skywalker and his fall and finally redemption,and a wonderful story it is.Just don't expect many laughs or funny moments this time.There are still some,but the overall mood of the film is very dark.I guess now watching episodes 4-6 will change forever.Now we know the whole story and it will be a joy to watch them all one day in the right order.Have fun at the theatre as this is the End...May The Force Be With You.
Der Untergang (2004)
Der Untergang,or Downfall,is an important film in my opinion.It shows probably for the first time the more human side of Adolf Hitler.The movie let's you see just how far gone Hitler's craziness was at thew end of the war.He didn't seem to really have any idea of the reality of the war in his last months.
The movie's main character is Traudl Junge,a young woman who was Hitler's secretary until his death.She is also seen and heard in real life in the beginning and the end of the movie.Telling that she didn't actually realise what she had got into by becoming Hitler's personal secretary.Junge also saw the most infamous figures of Nazi Germany from very close in her work,and so does the movie.Untergang reveals something of the personalities of these well konwn people,like Joseph Göbbels and his wife Magda who decide to stay by Hitler's side until the bitter end and finally end up murdering their own children because of their loyalty to Hitler.
The movie has a very depressing and sometimes claustrophobic feeling.When the Red Army is getting closer to Berlin in 1945 the people are starting to get more and more desperate and suicidal.There are many insane suicides and murders in the city,the world is falling apart.This whole confusing and crazy atmosphere is captured very well in Der Untergang. The movie balances nicely between the chaotic war on the streets of Berlin and the odd reality in Hitler's bunker. Bruno Ganz has the role of a lifetime as Adolf Hitler.He looks,talks and acts completely convincingly.Ganz's performance is amazing and probably the best thing in the movie.Hitler is shown quite realistically as a bitter old man who has no pity or understanding for even his own people.Bruno Ganz even studied Hitler's speech from a tape secretly recorded on his visit to Finland.And he has mastered Hitler's talking style perfectly.
The movie is quite long,has many characters and sometimes it may be a bit difficult to know who is who.Especially if the real people portrayed in the movie are not familiar.A second viewing may be needed. As far as I can tell the interest in this movie here in Finland is great.The theatre I saw it in was full and the audience had people of all ages.Maybe it is because this year it will be 60 years after the end of the second World War. Der Untergang definitely shows the insanity of the Nazi's ideology,the desperateness of the battle's in Berlin and the fact that the downfall was inevitable. And now 60 years after his death the world is finally ready to see that Hitler was only after all just a weak human being,not some kind of Horror story monster.And that makes him and the whole Third Reich even more terrifying...
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Well I finally saw this movie earlier this week and I'm not at all disappointed that I did!I thought about seeing it earlier when it first came out here,but never got to it really...now when the election is going on in America I just simply HAD to see it.
I really liked it.Finally someone is saying these things about Bush,which most Europeans know(I hope at least!)and are very concerned about as well,to the Americans themselves.They are the only ones who can put an end to the political careers of all these lying and dishonest people like Bush who are ruling the country at the moment.Because let's face it,as much as the Europeans and other people around the world protest against him and his government the Americans are the ones who do the voting.So I really hope that as many Americans as possible have seen this film and seriously considered the things it has to say. Sure it's obviously propaganda and Michael Moore has hardly even denied that,but still it's all basically TRUE!If only people would realize that...
And also despite handling some very serious matters that affect the lives of not just Americans themselves,but people around the world,it can also be really funny! That's one thing I really like about Moore's documentaries.He doesn't just make them serious and important to watch but gives people the entertainment as well.I actually watched Fahrenheit 9/11 just the day before the last election debate and it was quite amusing when John Kerry mentioned that Bush had said he's not that worried about Osama Bin Laden and Bush replied that :
'Gosh, I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama Bin Laden. That's kinda one of those exaggerations.'
And all the while his quote about not being worried about OBL was in Fahrenheit 9/11!!! OK,either Bush has a serious problem with his memory OR he's just simply lying...I'm betting on the latter option ; )
Anyway this movie/documentary is a must see for anyone at least remotely interested about the state of the world.It has some very important things to say and there are LOT'S of them so I guess I'll better go see it again to catch them all.Maybe it's not as fun to watch as Bowling for Columbine was sometimes but that's not really the most important thing.
The important thing is the message of the film.To quote again the very quotable George W.Bush and of course Michael Moore himself :
George W. Bush :There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says: "Fool me once..."
George W. Bush : "... shame on...".
George W. Bush : "Shame on you..."
George W. Bush : "If fooled, you can't get fooled again."
Michael Moore : For once, we agreed.
Well I definitely agree on that one!!!
Schindler's List (1993)
A modern classic
Schindlers List is one of those movies that you just have to see at least once.It is very powerful and important in it's message and story. Even though I actually slightly prefer The Pianist more now,this movie is still the one which introduces the horrors of the holocaust to most children and teenagers because it is shown in schools,probably around the world.So they would learn what happened and maybe be interested in seeing some documentaries about the subject later.
So like I said in my summary it is a modern classic.And a very important one as well.The movie captures the atmosphere of the time and place excellently and the black and white cinematography only makes it more powerful...and beautiful.
The actors are of course excellent.This is Liam Neeson's most significant role and the one he will forever be remembered by.Another breathtaking performance is,of course the charming but incredibly cruel Amon Goeth,played so well by Ralph Fiennes.He is so good in this role that you just start to think of him as the embodiment of evil in man.A truly chilling performance,the best of the film IMO even though others are very good as well.
So I think I've said the necessary things.Schindlers List : If you haven't seen it already then don't wait anymore!!It is Spielberg's best film by far,so emotional and beautiful. 9 out of 10
La mala educación (2004)
Very good...A Gay Film Noir movie
I haven't actually seen that many Almodovar films,the last I remember watching was All About my Mother and that was years ago.However I was very interested in seeing Bad Education because the story seemed very interesting and I really wanted to see Gael Garcia Bernal in it...he is a pretty amazing young actor!
And definitely not least in this movie,which deals a lot with false identity and some incredibly deceitful people.Gael plays the most deceitful of them all...he is literally a Homme Fatale in this film,a male version of some Film Noir Femme Fatale character.
Bad Education seems to have taken most of it's influence from Film Noir,even the music is sometimes like something from a Hitchcock film.It is also quite difficult to talk about this film without any spoilers so if you don't want to know too much about the plot don't read anymore.
The film is full of lies and secrets,most of the characters have alternative motives and nothing is quite as black and white as it may first appear.Just as you start to like the character of Ignacio/Angel it is revealed that he is actually a faker.He really doesn't seem to have any "normal" morals and is willing to do anything to get what he wants(which he even says a couple of times)even to have sex with people he doesn't really care about at all,and finally the murder of his own brother. Then there is the real Ignacio who is just after the money and drugs...and unfortunately that is also his final fate.The overdose of drugs given to him by the same priest he is trying to blackmail,the priest makes a plan to kill him together with his brother Juan.
The only really likable and syphatethic character is Enrique,he seems to be the most sane of them all and it is painful to see how he is cheated in the movie.The plot,I thought,is very good.The scene where all is revealed works perfectly with the lies and half truths told earlier in the movie.
I also liked the scenes in the catholic school,even though the child abuse element seems to be somewhat overrun by the thriller,mystery plot about halfway through the movie,it is still there and offers some important motivation for the characters...even though in the end it is just all about money.
But really nobody in this movie is completely bad,they all have some redeeming qualities.I only had some trouble with understanding Juan's desperate need to get rid of his brother.His real motivation for it was left a bit too unclear IMO.But,then he is a character who just doesn't have much normal morals anyway so I guess it doesn't matter much...
The actors are all wonderful in Bad Education.I absolutely loved Gael in this film!He was so good that he just has to get some kind of recognition for it.Playing so many different types of characters must be difficult not to mention the physical side of it as well. Fele Martinez was also perfect as Enrique,like I said he is the most syphatethic character in the film and he does it very well.
Also the men who played the real father Manolo and his movie version were good.I couldn't hate him really,even though he did some very sick things(child molesting and murder!!)and that was kind of strange.He should be the worst guy in the movie but for some reason I just felt that he too was someway also being tricked by Juan...
Well the movie does have plenty of sex and drugs too so it's definitely not for kids!But I enjoyed it very much.The(Gay)Film Noir feeling and all...it was great.I will give it a 9 out of 10,and will probably go see it again.Gael was the best!
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Not bad at all!
I am a Brett Easton Ellis fan but I have never read The Rues of Attraction.Still I was very interested in seeing this movie because it has some familiar characters in it.
I actually really liked it!It was very interestingly made.Visually different and the actors were quite good.Not really a fan of Dawsons Creek I had some doubts about James Van Der Beek playing Patrick Bateman's brother!!!But surprisingly he was excellent...even creepily reminded me of his older brother sometimes,of course he's not a crazy killer like his brother,but anyway...
The use of split screen,rewinding film and other cinema tricks also make this movie,at first maybe a bit confusing but also very interesting.When you get used to it,it works quite nicely.The movie is also funny as hell!!Even though it really is a satire and basically a critical view on the characters life style it is sometimes just as funny as a normal teen comedy,which some viewers probably thought it was going to be in the first place.But ROA is so much more...
The best scenes(or my favorites anyway)were probably Victor's crazy trip through Europe,which is an exhausting scene to look at.I wonder what an hour long movie made in that style would be like!!And the absolutely hilarious scene with Paul,his mother,Richard(DICK!!!)and Richards mother.Absolutely priceless!!
I would like to mention the music as well.There's a lot of it in the movie and it's all basically good 80's and 90's pop/rock.A good soundtrack always makes a film better,in my view anyway.And ROA certainly has some great songs,makes me want to get the soundtrack!
So The Rules of Attraction is an entertaining and funny movie but still has an important message about the shallowness of it's characters lives...all this to some wonderful cinematography and a unique visual style + great music and good acting.What more could you ask for!! 8 out of 10.