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Tachiguishi retsuden (2006)
I don't want to go too far into detail, because I can't really justify wasting much time on reviewing this film, but I had to give an alternate opinion to hopefully help people avoid the movie. The animation is crud and the story alternates between boring/pointless to extremely irritating. The humor was completely lost on the audience, and yes - Ghost in the Shell fans, this is NOT an action sci-fi or anything like that - its an attempt at slapstick comedy, and the humor just did not work after being translated. It was a total chore to watch this movie, and horrible way for me to kick off the film fest, especially considering how excited I was and how open I was for anything - I wasn't expecting a Ghost in the Shell sequel, but I was expecting something entertaining, and it simply didn't achieve this. Yaaawwnnn... Rent Kino's Journey instead.
At times great, at times painful
I was very interested in seeing this film based completely on the synopsis, since I couldn't find a review ANYWHERE online. I went into it pretty cold, not knowing exactly what to expect. The beginning of the film really grabbed me - the film was grainy, black and white, and the imagery was poetic and disturbing. This is the story of Estamira... sort of... I wont go into the detail of her life and what we see of it, because you can see that in the movie and read about it in the plot summary... some of the shots in this movie were spectacular... especially in the first half, and the final sequence in the water.. but there were points where her ranting and raving became almost painful to endure.. contradictory, angry, and occasionally insightful, Estamira is a rather unique and confusing person and her story is heartbreaking, although it is difficult to empathize given her temperament. I was hoping they would go into more detail with some of the other people featured in the film - mainly her friends at the landfill, but it was mainly dedicated to her. The main this I can say is that its a good film, but if they had have cut it down to about 45 minutes, it would have been superb. I'm looking forward to seeing what the director does next.
Seul contre tous (1998)
Many people rag on this movie for being too violent and shocking, while others even claim that the movie is pretty tame when compared to other. Guess what? None of that matters! This movie, whether violent and horrific or not is completely brilliant. It's a simple story of a man pushed out into a hostile environment, having been sculpted by the horrors of his life and the results that come with it. The narrative is painfully honest at times, revealing great insight, despite coming from a ragged, miserable bastard. To me, the most important scenes are the ones where he's interacting with various people during the point when he's still trying to rebuild his life. The conversations are almost too much to bear, as he is shed of any dignity that he may have clung to subsequent to the man's terrible past. Check this movie out as soon as possible if you haven't, and honestly, drop all that garbage about the violence, because it's totally irrelevant. I can't wait for Gaspar Noe's followup to irreversible!
Tiexi qu (2002)
Truly unique film experience
It's difficult to write about this film, largely because it's a ten (is that right?) hour film if you watch the three parts as a whole, which is how I saw it - and how I recommend you to watch it. It's also difficult for me to write about it because it's been over a year since I watched the film at at the Vancouver film festival. When I saw that nobody's written a review I was kind of shocked, so I'll do my best to give readers an idea of what this film is about, as I'm sure there's more than few people who are curious about this ambitious, epic documentary. Over the course of the film, you'll encounter a very diverse and interesting group of people living through an extremely difficult point in the history of their district. I remember certain moments in the movie that really hit me hard, after being slowly built up by the slower, but not less interesting scenes that preceded them. The images gave a very objective feeling to me - the camera seemed to be this invisible object moving around within this environment and circumstances with brutal clarity and without any obvious opinion. The cinematography was great, capturing the bleak world of this industrial based community, and showing how its inhabitants transcend the bleakness through various means. Again, it's difficult to know what to say - I'd really like to watch it again - but it stood out to me as being a very important, although sometimes difficult, work of documentary art. If you get a chance, you should check this one out. When is it coming out on DVD? Criterion may want to take a look at releasing in in North America.
Andrey Rublev (1966)
Arguably the greatest film ever.
Considering the great quantity of films in existence, there are very few that even come close to being considered the greatest of all time. Having seen my share of 'masterpieces' I have come to regard Andrei Rublev as the greatest of them all, although I admit that this is debatable. Nonetheless, this film seems to be stigmatized as being too long or boring - maybe because it's by Tarkovksy, or that it's black and white, or that it's Russian - I really don't know where this comes from. If you can get past any preconceived notions of what the movie is going to be like,and just sit down for a few seconds and watch it, you will probably be able to see from the beginning that this is an extremely important, unmissable film - not to mention captivating and exciting, although very dark and disturbing throughout. The amount of skill and thought, and work that went into this film echoes within the timeless imagery that the director has created. Any serious fan of the cinema would be doing themselves a serious disservice by avoiding this movie any longer. If you interested in the works of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, you'll be able to take something of another level from this film, as there are many subtle references and parallels to their writings and teachings throughout this movie. It could be argued that the film itself is a cinematic representation of the law of three. Regardless, this is a truly extraordinary thing to behold.
Old Boy is an amazing movie
The writer, cinematographer and director, as well as to a large extent, the lead actor, create a cinematic world unlike any other captured on film. In particular, there are two scenes in this movie that will go down in history as being completely original and masterful in execution. There are some minor things that you could complain about if you really wanted to, but other elements of the film are so brilliant that you probably won't even notice. To give any of the story away would be a travesty, so make sure to avoid any trailers or reviews - this is meant to be watched with no knowledge of the subject. A solid ten.