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morganstrk

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3 reviews in total 
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Stoker (2013)
53 out of 96 people found the following review useful:
Blood ties explored in a poignant and disturbing manner; striking; beautiful, 6 February 2013
8/10

I was privileged enough to view this film at the annual Sundance Film Festival and I must say it was well worth the time and wait. The cast itself includes some incredibly talented and experienced names, yet it is India (Wasikowska) and her raptor-like awareness, that truly sets the tone for the film when drawing upon the mystery and oddity of supporting characters who sink deeper into their roles like fangs in flesh as the film clicks along.

The script itself could be rewritten with more depth and attention to the emotional wealth and strange sway of the characters, for all of them are skilled enough to operate powerfully under the shroud of mystery director Park Chan-Wook erects so flawlessly, yet the film could be much improved in tragic and horrifying value through a more tailored script.

Editing must also be noted, for Chan-Wook's is very engaging in that it utilizes the temporal frequency to link certain events, building upon India's character and the internal struggles of those who surround her, as well as the realization of her uncanny ability to cope with the revelations that come about and fit so frighteningly together.

The audience comes to realize that some mysteries are exclusive only to those who are bound to travel the same blood trail that links generations in infinite conclusion and everlasting despair and a terrible longing and love can be as exclusive in it's own forbidden and lonely way.

The soundtrack is pleasantly surprising and fitting, with a piece from Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) and the debut of Emily Wells's "Becomes the Color", which serves to chart India's multifaceted transformation. I strongly recommend this film and highly praise actors Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, and Dermot Mulroney, who all contribute to the initial and lasting allure.

Skyfall (2012)
1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Best Bond Yet, 4 November 2012
8/10

Action scenes tempered with artistic flair add a certain class not seen in the film franchise's recent history, but within themselves are inherently "Bond" and make this film my favorite ever. Excellent acting, most notably Javier Bardem's, lend a certain magnetism to the plot and the presence of a story associated with the villain give this film a more personal edge. Further exposure of the rough vulnerability of Daniel Craig's Bond and focus on the development of this enigmatic character are strangely endearing, without returning to the stale events of Casino Royale. It is with eager anticipation that I await this new Bond and his return to the classic plot with a revamped cast.

Raising Arizona: Americana Essential, 4 November 2012
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Raising Arizona is a film that follows the story of an unconventional couple; convict Hi (Cage) and police officer Ed (Hunter), as they attempt to find harmony and happiness in their lives together. However, their greatest obstacle is Ed's sterility that slowly wears on their relationship and threatens their sanity until opportunity arises in the form of a wealthy local whose wife births "more than she can handle". Accomplishing the abduction proves a bit difficult, but the rabid persistence of Ed drives their mission to success, and with the addition of this vital piece, it seems a true family is born. Unfortunately, prying and obnoxious colleagues, mischievous jailbirds/buddies, and a gritty detective with a Harley threaten their happiness, but also demonstrate how misguided and selfish their actions have been. Returning the baby to an appreciative and surprisingly sympathetic father, Hi reflects on the affection we have for children, even if they're not our own and is able to sleep peacefully with dreams for the future that he hopes holds a family of his very own.

I generally appreciate the Coen Brother's films and what I appreciate most is their ability to hold interest of the audience through plot twists and strong characters; there's nothing extreme or very showy about their work and yet it stands out because there is only ever and illusion of normalcy and sanity in their characters or the plot, really the work is quite complex but we appreciate it more because they make no pretense. Raising Arizona continues this tradition and also has quite a flavor of Americana, enhanced greatly by the colorful characters. The humor was ludicrous most times, but it was balanced through the sensitive and reflective nature of the protagonist, whose broodings lend itself to the underlying sense of loneliness and hopelessness of the characters and the landscape and drive the rich plot forward. I feel that any criticism would simply be void for two reasons: I believe that this film is very stylistic and I don't believe that they ventured out of this particular structure, any risk they took (including the dream sequences) had basis in reality and only served to give the film more poetic flavor, and secondly, I believe that the film was unique and heartfelt among it's genre, which at times is difficult to achieve in something externally so seemingly detached as comedy, and mainly, I think there was valid reasoning behind it's creation, which is my only objection with modern film.

The cinematography of the film was very interesting and was able to keep the audience occupied by the sheer amount of stimulation the wild camera movements brought. I was able to appreciate the shaky camera work simply because I think it does justice to Hi's convict past as well as his current lifestyle, punctuated by his most daring criminal offense yet. This apparently dramatic and brutal world is something that few of us can sympathize with and I think the long takes through several different environments contributes to that foreign aspect of the film that quite frankly makes it hilarious. Motifs in the film include the joined hands of Hi and Ed, representing their bond and their support of each other, the fire that erupts from the detective, representing his nature, and the convenient store that represents Hi's temptation or the pull of his old life. The brothers use this as well as a few non-diegetic inserts (including baby toys) to bring a bit of understanding to the rapidly moving plot, but it is interesting to note that this veers a bit from the slapstick genre that is quite shallow and brings a poetic aspect to the film. In the abduction scene the use of high-angle and low-angle shots capture flawlessly both the perspective of Hi and of the babies and the power shift that takes place between them, succeeding in making Hi seem vulnerable among these small creatures. Also, throughout the entire film the use of the wide-angle lens is used, making people and surroundings seem distorted and often a bit out of proportion. The abduction scene demonstrates the use of this very well, especially when the babies are taking a very long time to reach the door and then the end of the hallway, giving Hi enough time to catch them before Mrs. Arizona discovers. This also contributes to the suspense of the scene, because everything seems to take longer to happen and Hi is running out of time to act. Off-screen action and voice is used quite a bit to stage a change in events in the plot and repetition of certain events forming a montage is comedic as well as clarity inducing. It really strikes both emotional stances quite well and makes for a heartfelt and poetic take on the slapstick comedy genre, aided by the strong narrative voice that guides us through a ridiculous and tragic journey of an unlikely couple trying to find the missing piece in their family.