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The Fountain (2006)
Expects A Lot from the Audience
I was privilege enough to snag tickets to the Toronto premier. It was cool to hear from the "A" man himself, Clint Mansell, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn. Hugh Jackman had apparently committed himself to a stage thingy in Australia.
"I'm glad that this audience has a lot of film makers in it. I have a feeling this movie will strike a special cord with those in the art form. I made Pi and Requiem when I was a snotty little brat. Go into watching this with no expectations, clear your mind of the last two. This one is it" said Aaronofski.
The only expectation I had was that I knew it was going to be well put together and ironically, the story was so incredible that I found myself unable to pay attention to the craft. Ever watch a movie that you liked when you were younger and see nothing but all the mistakes the film maker made? Ever find yourself in the theatre being so understimulated that all you can do is pay attention to is the physical movie? This was not an option with The Fountain. After stepping out of the Elgin I couldn't even speak. My friend and I walked to the GO station in complete silence. This actually allowed us to listen to the conversations of other groups of people who had seen the movie. "Oh they had such a good story going there! Why did they have to ruin it?"
It seems that most people can't wrap their head around it. I'll try to review it without ruining it for you. The movie takes place in three separate stories about the main character, Tom Verde (Jackman). One takes place in modern day, another in Spain in the past and another in the far future. Each story presents a different angle on the character, giving you an incredibly profound understanding of what the he is going through. People had trouble understanding that the separate instances held an equal weight in the story as a whole. They saw it as a normal guy with two wacky art film sub narratives. Technically, it's a masterpiece. The imagery of stars saturated the entire movie. Every frame seemed to imbibe this golden glow. It's also kinda neat that I found out my sound teacher was lead on post audio, which also was complete led with incredible finesse.
My biggest fear is that this film goes unappreciated. Best Aaronofski yet in my opinion. Though I can say the only fault is has is that it expects a lot from it's audience. If you can't invest yourself in a film, you won't like this movie.
The Last Hangman (2005)
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
The Last Hangman Review
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. The clock strikes nine and the hangman goes to work, getting rid of criminals the old fashioned way. At the end of the day he puts on his cap and heads home to his wife like any other man. But what goes on in the head of an ordinary person who's job it is to kill? This is the question asked by Adrian Shergold, the director of The Last Hangman.
The film follows the true story of the rise of Britain's most prolific executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, and his struggle to be a lead a normal life. Pierrepoint is played by Timothy Spall, most noted for his great supporting roles in Vanilla Sky and The Last Samurai. Spall shines in this film, becoming both a calculating, intense killer and a jolly pub mate. As the film progresses, he literally transforms as his burden becomes greater. Juliet Stevenson plays Annie, Albert's arguably supportive wife. She portrays the guilt and paranoia of an English housewife painfully well. Through her, we see the full story of the couple's social and moral difficulties.
Pierrepoint's only real drive is that of any honest, hard working man. He just wants to be good at what he does. This keeps the audience in a emotionally conflicting state. The viewer desperately wants Albert to resign from his chilling career, while cheering on his incredible success.
The film is very nice to look at. What a feat. One can only imagine the difficulty of shooting a period piece independently. It was very interesting seeing the gritty grey streets of a wartime London recorded on 16. It seemed to give it a charming modern context, though there were jarring out of focus shots here and there. One memorable scene is brilliantly spliced with actual footage of a capital punishment protest.
Aside from the physical shooting of the film, there were strong symbolic devices at use. In order to hang someone efficiently, Pierrepoint would calculate the prisoner's height and weight. To do this he would look through a small peephole in the heavy cell door. Whenever anyone is shown through a crack, or a hole, it's a hint of grizzly foreshadowing. The method of passing time was artfully portrayed as well. Pierrepoint kept a logbook of all the people who he killed, their names written in perfect script. The stack of logbooks got bigger and bigger as years went by.
Films like The Last Hangman are important because they challenge our choices. This story makes us think of what we're responsible for in our lives and careers. Is the success worth the death of your inner self? That decision is up to us. Because the saddest thing about Albert Pierrepoint is that he applied for the job.
Ninja Champion (1985)
A Mistake Masterpiece
Whenever I sit down and watch Ninja Champion, I wonder to myself. "Did team of people that actually collaborated to make this movie actually think it was good?" There's just a mistake after another that even the least skilled film watcher could point out. The third generation film and audio, the quotes! When the boxer is dying on her bed, he claims the wine they drank was poisoned, she corrects him:
"No not the wine...my nipples, you jerk!"
She actually calls him a jerk! The guy raped her and the only thing she can come up with is "jerk"!? Touché! Then she proceeds to whip him to death with a SHOE LACE!?
ps:If anyone knows the name of the track that plays when the bald guy is leading the tampon cigarette guy and the short guy to their boat base, I will give them 10 bucks.
So Stupid, it's Genius
I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. But it's not a normal laugh. It's a laugh of confusion!
"What the f*ck was that!?" I keep asking myself. "Did that just happen?" Is my favorite. "What does that mean?" Is another.
The comedy in this is ridiculous to the point where you wonder how anyone could have made something so ridiculous. The plot was very simple, but it really did facilitate the tangent humor of Weird Al. Tangent humour is something used a lot by amateur, unorganized film makers. I think one of the reasons I enjoy this movie so much is that it reminds me of my high school film class.