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kurosawa, t.j. anderson, coen bros.,almodovar, spike lee,capra, george stevens, king vidor, lawrence kasdan, sydney lumet, hitchcock,eastwood, spielberg,kieslowski,marc caro,so many contemporary French directors,....
Comes a Bright Day (2012)
Emotionally Intricate and Quirky Hostage Film
I wouldn't use any extreme words to describe this film. It's not 'fantastic' or 'hysterical' or 'must see'. But it is interesting and unusual.The story of a jewelry heist gone very wrong and the three hostages awaiting resolution in the rarefied atmosphere of an elite London antique jewelry shop , it is fairly quiet, reserved,occasionally funny ;and occasionally jolting, stressful,violent.Except for a few scenes, it all takes place in one interior ,so it feels very much like a play.
I wasn't familiar with any of the actors except my hero, Timothy Spall, but they were all spot on.And it was very interesting to me that the five main actors all pretty much had equal time. There was no one person that 'made the picture.' For me, the story and the characters all felt very authentic and believable, and the pace never felt lagging or forced. The unexpected elements were the romantic interludes- a grief struck gentleman remembering the love of his life,a fairy tale-like story told to distract a worried hostage; a psychopath mesmerized by an opera aria; and they all contributed to making a heist/hostage film something quite different and out of the ordinary.I really enjoyed it.
Harukana jidai no kaidan o (1995)
A Sophomore Work; Unconvincing, Boring and Clumsy
I have just finished watching the last in this trilogy- The Trap, 2005. Where Stairway was a feeble wishy washy visually confusing poorly scripted effort, The Trap was a real movie.I really cannot figure out how anyone would find Stairway superior to The Trap, but since a few reviewers liked this film, i know i will not bother to seek the first in the trilogy. Stairway just felt off kilter through the whole piece, like a drunk who just can't get his footing. Derivative and Hat-tipping can be fun in the movies but in this film all those efforts were lifeless and clumsy and unconvincing.So my advice is- skip this film and see The Trap instead.
Went Right Over My Head or What a Waste of Time
I've never actually given any film a rating of 2, until now. I am just so miffed that i gave up two hours or whatever to watch this travesty.I saw Pater today as part of the Boston MFA Annual French Film Festival. I went to see it because I really admire the work of Vincent Lindon, but I had not researched it before going. All I can adequately relate was that it was an experience of watching 2 people(Lindon and the director/actor) eat a number of meals, talk about daily life, and play at developing a film (a film that went absolutely nowhere for me.) When I left the theater, all I could say was "what a waste." I think it was a purely intellectual exercise and I completely missed any value in it.
For those of you wanting a more informative analytical review,a review that found worth in Pater,there is a film reviewer whose work I usually enjoy and respect(Chris Knipp) and his review is included in the list of Critics Reviews for this film.
Conducting Mahler (1995)
Very Interesting But Far From Great
This DVD is actually two films in one. The first half is Conducting Mahler which intersperses pieces from Mahler's 10 symphonies with the thoughts of conductors Chailly, Haitink, Abbado, Muti, and Rattle. The 2nd half is I Have Lost Touch with the World, which is similar but only covers the 9th Symphony.
I have been a Mahler devotee for 30 years, so I was very excited when this DVD was acquired by my library. The pluses are the conductors' thoughts and experiences, the ability to see them conducting up close, and the pieces themselves as performed by world class orchestras. The negatives are many. There are no English subtitles, and their absence is keenly felt because of the WRETCHED sound editing (So many key ideas and passages are lost because of bad miking, particularly of Haitink and Abbado discussing the 7th ,8th and 10th symphonies in the film's first half.) And you must constantly adjust the volume, as the music is miked very loud but the interspersed interviews are miked very low. As wonderful as it is to hear the pieces from the 10 works covered in the film's first half, it is equally frustrating that they are not identified on the screen, and they are sometimes not from the symphony just discussed. (The irony is that the played pieces ARE identified in the 2nd half of the film -which is only about the 9th Symphony!) The conductors' thoughts vary in their effectiveness,Chailly's being perhaps the most enlightening. Abbado, while a wonderful Mahler conductor, is not a good speaker in this film. I was so disappointed that the filmmaker did not include Benjamin Zander instead , as he is justly famous for both his Mahler conducting and his articulate teachings about Mahler.
The 2nd part of the film, I Have Lost Touch With The World, is for me the most valuable part of the film, as it is a coherent well-ordered and more-than-superficial look into the grand 9th and all its parts. The words of famed Mahler expert Henry-Louis de la Grange I found particularly valuable. (His inclusion in the first half would have helped a lot.) The filmmaker has tackled a very big project here. There are currently no other films that attempt to cover this ground, so I am grateful for the film and all it teaches me(as I watch and rewatch it.) And you will most likely learn and benefit from seeing it. I only wish it did not have so many deficiencies.
Geu-rim-ja sal-in (2009)
Terrific Blend of Fun, Drama, Action; Loved It!
If this really is the first film of this director, he should be in the running for a First Film prize. The other reviews give you a good grounding of the plot and main characters. I loved so many things about the film-the general fun and tone of the film, the Mifune-like detective with great instincts, his somewhat goofy assistant/doctor who was none-the-less effective in many ways,the brilliant woman's help in solving the case,and the highlighting of women's issues and good morals. The pace,action, costumes and settings were all well done and i was engaged from beginning to end. I WANT sequels! * One caveat- they kept changing the look of the detective such that i was rather confused about whether new characters were being introduced in a number of early scenes.But no, it was the same guy.
What It Means To Be a Three Star Michelin Chef
Tonight I saw two excellent food documentaries at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).The second was "El Bulli".Of the 2 films, I think "Three Stars" by Lutz Hachmeister (2011, 83 min.) was the superior one. It focused on 10 Michelin 3 Star restaurants in Scandinavia, Europe, Japan and the U.S., their chefs, staff and environment. Passion was the operative word for all of these chefs, with focus, commitment, excitement and exhaustion all sharing the mix. Extremely well edited, i learned a great deal from the film. Because it tried to cover a great deal of ground, it was not able to answer all the questions you might have, but it did manage to cover many of the angles involved with achieving and maintaining the success that these talented chefs have achieved.Similar to "Danny Meyer, the Restaurateur",but with an international scope, Three Stars will undoubtedly give you a greater appreciation for what goes into giving you a memorable evening the next time you dine at a great restaurant.
Some Great Footage but Failed to Explain the Genius
The strength of "El Bulli: Cooking in Progress" was that it gave you a very good idea of what it would be like to work there. There was extended footage of the restaurant in operation, but more time was spent observing the creative process of Adria's team as they spent 6 months in their Barcelona laboratory, experimenting with food stuffs and techniques as they developed the menu of new creations for El Bulli's next season. The significant weakness of the film was that the director failed to take advantage of this unique opportunity to explain Adria's philosophy and genius. While you came away with an understanding of some of that genius, you came away with way too much time spent watching Adria as he tasted and made notes on the many experiments. But still, for the majority of us who never ate at El Bulli, it was a great opportunity to experience the place and its food preparation and presentation, at least visually, from ringside seats!
Mouvements du désir (1994)
A Believable Falling in Love- Step by Step
It is not easy to find this film, so if you have a chance to see it, you are a very lucky person.
I think I saw it at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and, while it was almost 20 years ago, I have never forgotten it.It is simply a kind of hour by hour look at two people who meet on a train and, over a week or so on the train, fall in love. It is just completely authentic,unassuming,and very affecting.
I don't know why this film and director Poole went so little noticed and unrewarded; of the thousands of films i have seen, this one stays in my conscience.
La Pointe-Courte (1955)
See It For The Visuals
I am not a film historian or a fan of Nouvelle Vague. I wanted to see this film because it gave me the opportunity to see my hero, Philippe Noiret, when he was just 26. Thankfully we began by watching the interview w/ Varda, which really gives you a solid understanding of why this film was/is so important, mostly having to do with it being so innovative for its time, and its place as an influence on filmmakers that followed. The 2 story lines did not engage or interest me really.But the visuals were often terrific. And oddly enough, we had just the night before, watched Clash by Night, an American film of the same time which was shot on location in the fishing community of Monterey CA. While visuals were often excellent there as well,in Clash by Night the film really was the STORY, and a very passionate one at that.
La Pointe-Courte was also really important as an example of one of the few important "First Films' of a director,especially a woman director in 1955 , and really especially, one who had no previous experience in film making and no knowledge of film history.
The Restaurateur (2010)
A Detailed Look at The Building of a Top Tier Restaurant
An excellent review of this film is here on one of my fav review sites, DVD Verdict: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1778357/externalreviews
Chronicles the efforts of well respected and successful Manhattan restaurateur Danny Meyers, from 1998, when he began the process of building Tabla and 11 Madison Park, through their openings, and then 11 years later. Focuses as much on personnel choices and team work as on the business plan and day to day construction and permitting details. Nothing like the nasty shenanigans of Reality TV, this is an informative look at what it takes to build a successful high tiered restaurant, and all the efforts that go into providing us with some memorable meals and experiences.