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Why all the praise?
This particular anime would occasionally pop up on my radar, so I was really curious to see what is so special about this one... So I got into first few episodes and it's kind of meh. I don't get all the praise, there 're lots of reviews that praise the dialogue... to the contrary, the dialogue is REALLY BAD and expositional. First few episodes have scenes that average from decent to good... All the side characters are bland and one dimensional, I'd even say all of them... You have classic smart ass/weird anime villain, who is here actually a dumb sh**, you have a classy bi***y girlfriend and her classy bi***y father, a "McGuffin" kid who drives the plot, a 'good guy Greg" colleague... Pretty much a classic set up, it might just have been a really good hospital drama (these early episodes had few good insides on the job and showed couple of philosophy/psychology parallels and references), but this is anime so it's a drama with a 'very anime' twist to it either makes or brakes the experience for you. My opinion, it's dumb; or rather, it could have been a lot better and it just didn't end up being that. When watching an anime I'm willing to let some things slide (the target audiences for good percentage of Shonen anime's are teenagers) but with this one my bullsh** meter was off the charts. I could see younger me enjoying and really digging something like this, but I'm not a child and despite what all of the Internet (and by that I'm referring to lots and lots of thirteen year-olds) is saying, shows like this are not mature (even though they might feature lots of violence, which always made it all the more fun, best junk food for the brain). Even widely loved and praised Death Note has issues and problems even by the logic the set up in that universe, but you're bound to make some of them if you want to be creative and original, you just have to know where to draw a line... And Monster just doesn't cross my. To end this in a more positive note, attention to detail in drawings and animation is great, they captured Germany really well in the anime, and even if you do decide to watch it don't watch it dubbed... I didn't watch the Japanese dub but it couldn't be worse than the English one.
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I (2013)
Pretentious... But passable...
Before you judge me, I consider myself a huge Lars Von Trier fan... Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the dark, Dogville and Antichrist are movies that i consider some of my favorite movies, and as far as to Triers other work it ranges from really good to passable. And this one kind of falls into that category. The thing wrong with this one, and with the whole 'Depression trilogy', is that this movies tries too much. It's trying it's best to make a complicated case study out of a very simple story. One thing that i loved about Breaking the waves is the stylization of the whole picture, it it was filmed and edited in a way that it resembles the state out main heroine is, it was almost as if Bess made that movie (at least that's how i saw it, it was filmed from a characters perspective)... And the editing also allowed actors to be free while acting, it was more like theater. I admired that he was bald enough to brake every rule in the book for the sake of getting a good performance, Zentropa was really interestingly stylized film but was lacking just that. So that editing technique had some sense, in Antichrist it was there for a brief time period but was used in a way to convey how mentally ill was HER mind (character doesn't have a name). Or at least that's how i interpreted it. But then comes this and i wonder, is he deliberately doing shitty editing or what? I can't say that i really got what Dogma was about other than being different, but i wasn't complaining since that movement gave birth to movies like The Celebration and The Idiots. I get that this movie is Lars again failing at being comical, and that this is supposed to be some kind of a joke (at least that's how i saw Stellan Skarsgard's character) but it all seams way to forced. What is up with trees, in Antichrist it was merely glanced over, so what is up with Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. Was he just listing things that he is going to reuse in all movies, sure you can make a point that it's connected with 'nature of women' and so on but it is just beating you over the head... I get that it's his style to include chapter headings (he saw it one in Barry Lyndon and was getting a hard on from it ever since), but why force it like that. He filled the room with all kinds of stuff just for the sake of having her make chapter headings. It was OK to start that way, but after that you start to wonder, who does this... By the end he just says 'FU*K IT' and Charlotte Gainsbourg is now re-telling us her story in chapter headings. One thing that was nice about Dogville and Dancer in the dark is that there he explored concepts of 'what's morally right' and 'survival of the fittest', but in this movie he doesn't let you have any kind of thinking on your own. After every bit of story told by Gainsbourg, Skarsgard will right away tell you what you should think of it and is making pointless references that are there to create fake sense of depth in a story that doesn't really have it. None of the characters are built up, they all shift personality traits as the movie progresses. Especially Skarsgard and Shia LaBeouf's characters, it's as if by the end of the script Trier forgot what he wrote all the way in the beginning... I can't say i liked the performances in this movie, Gainsbourg and Skarsgard deliver good performance but everyone else's range from passable to bad. I may have complained about jump cuts in the film, but some other choices i really liked (for the sake of stylization and nothing else), choices which really resembled once from Russian montage technique. Even though i liked all the music choices in the film, they were putting me out of the experiences since they would remind me of some older movies he took music from (mostly Tarkovsky, Kubrick and Lynch). Even though some of the parallels and references were really forced they were really interesting, overall people that like weird f**ked up stuff will dig this movie (and sure, a lot of people have talked to me about it since the title and subject matter is off the wall crazy and dialogues are plain exposition so it convinces a lot of people that it's smart), but i can't see too many people liking it really. Sure, i agree with a lot of the points that they make in the film but it was way too forced for me to care.
Ma nije on takav (2010)
... and that's pretty much how i can describe it. It's classic, by-the- book genre film. Good thriller, executed well. It is a nice directorial entry for Miroslav Petkovic, who managed to tell the story in such way that it keeps you invested even though most of the interesting parts (chases, hustling, cheating, how do these people execute all of this, how does that world operate) are not seen. And it's for the better, you can see all of that in a Scorsese picture or Alfred Hitchcock film, it would just leave the room for more mistakes. Story is being told to us by two characters played by Goran Kicic and Zoran Cvijanovic, where Kicic is investigator and Cvijanovic who was one associated with the character of Bole (played by Dragan Bjelogrgic). It's basic knowledge that if you can't think of a good story, set up two characters and have them talk over some cigarettes and coffee and by the end of that conversation you will have your movie figured out, and this is fine example of that. This way director was able to sell us this story better because this way he didn't have to tell us and show us everything, one minor action scene that was present near the end wasn't executed that well and i think director was conscious of it so he kept it all to a minimum. If you get way too much into detail, you have way more room for mistakes. Performances were decent for the most part, it was obvious that these people didn't do this for a paycheck but were invested into this project all the way. It has nice comedic elements to it, few nice cameos... But the thing is you probably saw this in some shape or form. It brings enough to the table but it's still a by by the book thriller. You can say that this years American hustle has the same problem. The whole movie does wrap up in a kind of surprising way, but that's really it. I get that here they're playing with what's morally right and what morally wrong, that good people do bad thing and so on and so forth. But would you really just to the same conclusion if they didn't put that quote before beginning? You could say that it's nice that director doesn't try to fore his feelings and judgement's of characters on you, but instead he let's you decide for yourself whether you consider these people good or bad. And that is the case, but if you watched this movie without that quote your interpretations would be even more limited then they already are. Other than that minor complaint, i can say i found music to be manipulative and even irritating at times ("Listen, we're playing the atmospheric music now and scene has limited source of light... Time to feel bad..."), that may be OK to somebody (and some may say that the beauty of film lies in that) but sometimes it just appears ungenuine to me. One thing that i think this movie is lacking is visual style, sure this is directors first movie and he may develop it through time but the style is almost non existent. Again, I am aware that not that many people pay attention to camera movement, angles and editing (and they do say that the best editing/camera movement is the one that is not noticeable) but for me those things add up the movie experience. And if it had perfected those, i'm sure i would have given it a better rating by at least two stars. But not everyone has Orson Welles kind of magic...
Overall, nice entry into thriller genera, we don't get them like this that much these days and maybe we should.
Cetvrti covek (2007)
The Bourne Identity meets Oldboy type of ripoff gone bad
This is just a disjointed mess of a movie, it's this bad type of story telling that is like 'connecting the dots'... Like they wrote on paper list of plot points they would like to have in the movie and then wrote some story to join it together. At first it starts as Bourne Identity/Leon ripoff, then it goes into classic revenge tale of a cop who's child was a drug victim, so he joins main protagonist to hunt criminal mastermind using unusual methods... And then it goes for the Memento/Oldboy kind of third act with a huge twist that will leave you in awe (sarcasm sign)... This movie steals from all over the place... Not to say that you can't make a good movie sticking to genre conventions, Tarantino made a career for himself by referencing and ripping off other people... But usually it's expected that you throw some of your own touches into the mix, and it also doesn't hurt to be little self aware. This movie takes it self way too seriously! So seriously that by the third act it's laughably bad.
But maybe it's not fair to label it as a bad movie just because it steals every psychological thriller ever made, so let's deconstruct it's level of badness. Execution is really bad... And don't say how i'm nitpicking, because if you have the money to get all of those locations equipment etc. It wouldn't hurt if you knew how to choreographed and shoot action. Other than that one shitty scene where Nikola Kojo breaks this one guys nose (they would cut after every punch to a same shot, only different take... why, only god knows), there isn't that may opportunities to show how bad at it they actually are at it but the last big showdown shitty as hell in those terms. From continuity errors to errors of logical kind... Nikola Kojo is trying to give it his best, and he is... He's trying to give some sort of depth to a shallow character but he is just plain overacting. And really, are you gonna cast Dragan Petrovic in that role, by the minute you see him on the screen you know that something's not right with him... it's his typical role... Jut like Nikola Kojo is here in his almost typical role... Maja Karan plays only one role ever, she's always the same and it's no exception here. Almost everyone is playing their typical character here, everything about this movie says that it's a movie made by committee. it's really a shame that in Serbia only small group of people get to decide on that projects should money be spent and that they always give it to the untalented people with no vision or artistic expression. Cinemas today are filled with movies that feel like they have been made by a machine that's just trimming out same product one after another... How good is that product is equivalent to the taste of a cake you by in a supermarket...Tasteless... And this one is like it too, only this one feels like it's been made by a in development version of that machine... Go watch any of the movies I mentioned above, I wouldn't say that those movies are masterpieces but at least they're not pretending they're something they're not. This movie begs you to associate it with modern Hollywood type of action thrillers, and I'm not buying it.
Root of All Evil? (2006)
God is dead, and we killed him...
Hearing Dawkins talk about how he 'believes' in scientific method and science altogether reminded me of 'Thus Zarathustra said so' where people didn't stop believing in God but have just replaced him. Science has replaced God... I myself consider myself an agnostic so I'm actually with Dawkins all the way. Yes, religion can and is a way of brainwashing. Yes, it is a control system to keep people at check so chaos wouldn't reign... And, yes, you can make an argument that it is a root of evil. But Dawkins doesn't make any argument, it's just him going from point A to point B, encountering religious people... Him saying 'Religion, BAD' them denying it and repeat... It's not thought out at all, I was looking it up because it's Richard Dawkins. When he goes on debates or when people interview him he seams to hit it hard and on the right spot, but here it disjointed. Several times he had opportunities to win an argument but he would just not say anything.
Ken Ham (creationist) made an argument that Bible, written by many people, stays consistent while you can't find two scientist researching the same subject in the same field and agreeing... To that Dawkins replied that that's the beauty of science... Sure, but come on... First of all, Bible is everything but not consistent. it can't figure whether incest is right or wrong, how many children did Abraham have, whether children should suffer for their parents sins, "A life for a life, an eye for an eye" so good old Jesus would say "Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies."... They can't figure sh** like whether god gets off on killing innocent and children or is it wrong, they can't figure on what day the sun was made. But let's ignore all of that, and let's say that is the case. If we're going to draw parallels like that then let's draw Bible parallel on sciences side... No scientist argues evolution and natural selection, it is a proved FACT... What they might not agree on are new discoveries, hypothesis, concepts and ideas... You have religious people that have the same argument with the Catholic church, Orthodox church, Protestantism and Judaism. They all read the same book, worship the same god and yet can't seem to agree on anything.
Tons of stupid stuff like that... And only argument that Dawkins presents is just statement that there's 'mountain of evidence'. I used to be part of Eastern Orthodox church, and sorry, but I'm glad i'm viewing this documentary only now and not beck then because this is not convincing. I had almost the same problem with Religulous (2008) where it was all about just Bill Maher being a douche through the whole film and then at the very end serve you on a platter an interpretation that you were suppose to get from the film. But he at least put up a fight and had some witty comebacks. This one didn't even have that. it looks more like one of those documentaries that creationists would make ('Look at how perfect everything is so it's only logical that it was made by a man on the sky. It says like that in this one book and that the end of it.') no debate, no evidence... Just talk...
Death Proof (2007)
Fun throwback to the 70s exploitation
The thing about Tarantino is that it has become a trend that he makes movies for the sole purpose of them being 'cool'. I'm not really complaining since I love the living sh*t out of every single one of them, but it also kind of bugs me that someone with huge talent would just kind of repeat him self. Not in the real sense, he is always working in a different genera or sub-genera of movies (it's more sub- genera's he's interested in), but it always comes down to him just inserting Roger Corman-isms in his movies (in a sense of him exploiting everything, out of this world movie violence... you can tell when it's him by those things). I have no problem with that, I love each and every one of his flicks (yes, even Four Rooms... I LOVE IT), Pulp Fiction, Reservoir dogs and Kill Bill i would say are some of my favorite movies in like EVER! But this kind of film-making kind of makes it immune to criticism. And that's most apparent here. I mean, every problem that one can possibly have with this movie is intentional because it's an homage to 70s B-movies that Rodriguez and Tarantino grew up on and love. No problem with that, Spielberg and Lucas made their careers out of combining shi**y television they grew up on in the 50s and film classics they got introduced to later on, and it worked. One thing that should be noted is that this movie was a part of a double feature, and Death proof is Tarantino's cut of that segment. So I don't really know about everyone else but it was in my opinion way too long (one thing that i liked about directors cut is that lap dance which was cut out of Grindhouse... don't judge me, it's exploitation, that's what it's for). As far as the story and structure go, i would say that if Psycho and Escape from New York had a baby, it would be Death Proof. And i don't like Psycho all that much. First half of the movie got me really invested, but then right at the middle we get 'Psycho-like' explanation of exposition and what just happen, we get a character explaining how we should interpret it and 'explains' how Stuntman Mike's mind works... And after that story just repeats in self. Then the movie lost me. I love how in movies like Phantom of Liberty you change your perspectives and main characters (only thing i liked in Psycho) but here it just didn't work for me. But bunch of people loved it, so it's really subjective. just because something is an homage or intentional doesn't make it immune to criticism and doesn't mean it's great out of the bat. But, like I said, I don't hate a single one of his movies... And this one i no exception, even though I wasn't that much invested into the second half, You still have some great characters and some great Tarantino dialog's. And bunch of chicks kicking some major ass. I can't help but think that if it was more cheesy (like Planet Terror was, that movie threw all the logic out of the window and it worked... it was funny as hell and i enjoyed it) i would have love it more, it is what it is. If only Tarantino was to move on from this trend of making movies, PTA started out similarly but he moved on to direct some great stuff. Jackie Brown was a really serious film with great characters (characters in that one are probably the best he had filmed because fist half of the movies is just you hanging out with them, getting to know them...) and Inglorious Basterds opening chapter was a great suspense ride (wish the rest of the movie was like that, but it went strait to exploitation again, until it got to be this really interesting 'love story' for a few minutes and then went to something that was clash of all of those... would love to see all of those movies separately but Inglorious Basterds will do).
Atomski zdesna (2014)
I can't say I'm really found of Dragojevic nor his movies. I can say I like bunch of his 90s stuff (you know them, even though most people love those movies for the wrong cause...) but that's it. And since 90s his movies got kind of lazy, and this one is no exception. A really lazy movie in a sense that it was poorly written and directed... This movie has an A-list cast, and their acting was passable at best. A lot of the directing choices are really poor, only thing that gives it away as 'A Dragojevic film' is the writing (and the fact that all these people are in it)...
So how was the writing, I have mixed feelings about it, reason I said it was poor is because nothing is really thought out (he would just write stuff), his characters sound like most of the characters in his films but a lot of them aren't build up at all. Great example of that is a character played by Brane Sturbej who for some reason says "PICKA" every other line for no apparent reason, I guess Dragojevic gets off on that sh**. All the characters are just vessels, they aren't really meant to represent 'people', they're just there to make a point "Capitalism, BAD!". That's really it, at one point Todorovic's Dialogue wasn't really meant to be directed towards the character in the movie, but audiences them selves... Because, remember... "Capitalism, BAD!" And one particular Djura's line was so calculated and thought out, just so Dragojevic can explain and justify the title (you can make a drinking game out of it).
This one has more symbolism then his other movies but it's sh** symbolism for the sake of doing it. From small things like "Look at these two birds eating out this one out representing our animal like behavior in modern day' to some laughably stupid symbolism like "Oh, look at Srdjan Todorovic's pen**, as he's pis*ing, from his POV representing capitalists pissing on us', or "Oh, look at Hristina Popovic 'milking' (don't know how else to put it) her self representing capitalist milking us'... And so on... But it's not just stupid symbolism that pis*ed me off, war references too... And a lot of them... In later years it has become a trend to put as much 90s civil war references as you possibly could. Last couple of years half the movies that come out of Serbia are about that subject and also nostalgia for Tito and Communism. Not like you can't make a good movie out of it Wounds and Pretty village, pretty flame were a really good movies. parade wasn't bed either. But i think we had enough of those movies...
I don't think i can talk much more without spoiling it so I'll just say that i can't recommend it. Couple of times i had a good laugh, at times performances were good (but not for a long time), and some symbolism was kind of subtle (not in your face like the ones i mentioned earlier)... I praise it for that, i can't help bu think that there is a good movie hiding there somewhere but it didn't came out.
American Hustle (2013)
Extremely fun to watch...!
I will try to say as little as possible about the plot and let you enjoy on your own. Story is set in year 1978. On the beginning of the picture we're introduced to out of shape but charismatic Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale), Sydney Prosser and her British accent (played by Amy Adams) and FBI agent Richie DiMaso (played by Bradley Cooper). Irving and Sydney are hustlers who... well, hustle to survive. But after a chain of events they end up being forced to help out FBI. How and why you will have to see for your self.
Other notable characters are Irving's wife; Rosalyn Rosenfeld (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Mayor Carmine Polito.
I gotta say, this movie is extremely fun, really good and natural dialogues, interesting characters, great performances (everyone brought their A-Game to the table), some really good camera angles that serve the story... I can go on but i think i should stop now. It has this Scorsese/early PTA feel to it, you can pot quite a few homages to Goodfellas and Casino in this one. Some may even say that this one succeeded at being more Scorsese than Scorseses The Wolf of Wall Street, movie surrounded by a lot of controversy but is in my opinion better than kind of overrated American Hustle. Like a lot of movies it is influenced by, it is also very character driven and less plot driven, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have good plot with really good resolution. To some it may seem like it's unfocused at times, but to me it didn't matter because each and every character is a delight to watch on screen. All the actors had great chemistry with each other, especially Christian Bale and Amy Adams. And, don't let them fool you, this movie IS NOT A COMEDY! It's a great crime drama with some funny moments in it. Check this one out.
Wouldn't recommend it if you're not familiar with Hitchcock's work
What i liked about this picture is the Hitchcock's background, interviews with the man himself, a little background on releases of his films... Other than that, opinions by the people that were closest to him and some fellow film-makers. But that's it, the picture shows his funny side, puts some emphasis on Hitchcock's showman skills... But i expected it to dig deeper. It's less about that and more about his body of work, which brings me to the main problem i had with this picture. If you're not familiar with Hitchcock's filmography you're gonna have a bad time, because it assumes that you watched all of those already. Even dough good percent of people that did and will watch this are in some way or another familiar with the man's body of work, there just might be a film that you didn't watch and they spoil all the major ones. So if you're someone who is just trying to get into Hitchcock, just watch one of these: 39 Steps, Rope, Shadow of a doubt, Rear window, Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest...
It's OK but it's not Sherlock worthy
The only thing Sherlock from this series and Sherlock from the source material in the name, British origin and love for detective work. That's it! To some, changes made on character of Holmes were good, but then don't call him Holmes. Why bother calling them Holmes and Watson if you're gonna change everything that i loved about those characters. it's been said a lot but, BBC's series 'Sherlock' knocked it out of the park. It has all the elements of old Sherlock but introducing something new to the table. Here you have only traits of old Holmes and Watson(despite the fact that here he is she). I don't think they understand the character of Sherlock at all, but may don't as well. I did enjoy few of the episodes but that was only brief. Would you be able to enjoy it on it own...? Sure why not, it completely misses not just the character of Sherlock but his methodology and the way he approaches problem solving and just the way he behaves and i won't even talk about Watson... But on it's own, it's an OK TV show. If they only borrowed from the source material and tried something original (House, it was only inspired by Holmes stories but there are a lot of easter eggs in House that are references to Holmes). I give it 6 out of 10.