Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
The Long Good Friday (1980)
Is this film really worth writing about?
The greatest asset this film has recommending it is a wonderfully dated synth score that seems to distill into one bubbling drink all the Casio-bred silliness of the 1980s. Thank you, Francis Monkman. The hair and clothes of all characters are nearly as deserving of praise. Beyond that, this film is replete with ludicrous editing and directorial choices. The script itself isn't so objectionable. On the other hand, the director John McKenzie and/or the editor Mike Taylor shaped the film with enough clumsiness or plain nincompooperie to make it all, well, rather entertaining. But a film I was laughing at more than anything else won't garner many points with me.
Zui hao de shi guang (2005)
Well seen, if a little uneven
This is a rather ambitious project for Hou to have taken on. The exact nature or intent of that project might be debatable. But it certainly takes love and history as its subjects. In seeing love portrayed between characters in three different time periods, we are given uniquely colored views of those respective periods. These views are perhaps a bit ready-made for each year: a nostalgic sense of innocence for 1966; a suggestive, ironic critique of brothel life in 1911; cool urban malaise in 2005. The treatments of these periods, however, are simply made eloquent and commanding by Hou's close attention to his characters and their laconic yearnings. As often happens with tripartite films, this one suffers from unevenness. The delightfully straightforward and simple tale of the first story makes the third segment seem slightly muddled and encumbered by comparison. But the overall conceit of the film, and the poetry that often arises from it, makes this latest offering of Hou's well worth the time.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Good visuals, skimpy story
In short, it's a drug movie. For over half of the film, there's little interest beyond the overcharged rants and paranoid banter of Downey Jr.'s and Harrelson's drugged out characters. With too little direction toward any real story development for the bulk of the movie, even these comic episodes, the greatest asset here, begin to feel something like a formless goo. It's like hanging around junkies without getting high yourself. A little amusing, a little tedious.
As a matter of physical and mental relief, you're quite happy to get the twists near the end (ah, so this is the story!), but at the same time you feel cheated for having had to wait so long to get there.
Pather Panchali (1955)
Nicely seen, but...
It's hard to feel gratified by a story the only ambition of which is to show how hard an impoverished family suffers. And suffers. And suffers. For some reason, the characters aren't allowed to learn and grow. From the perspective of basic storytelling, it seems a terrible mistake, narrowly conceived. The "story" here might only make sense if it's a kind of prelude or first chapter to what will unfold in the succeeding parts of the trilogy. But after the drudgery of this first one, I'm not inclined to look further.
But for all that, the cinematography and other filmic qualities are of good quality. Too bad Ray couldn't have put his skills to a more fully developed and insightful script.
Mere ghost of a worthy TV suspense drama
The only thing verging on "extraordinary" in the first season of this TV drama is the degree to which it stretches our patience with the cliché of a mentally retarded character gifted with an inexplicable omniscience about every goings on in the hospital, supernatural or otherwise. His sometimes aphoristic narrative guidance is as gratuitous as it is unavoidable in this show. This was only the most trying of the devices that crop up. Fortunately, there are some well-crafted bits of dialogue and character development. Ernst-Hugo Jaregard in particular shines in the role of Helmer, a pompous, curmudgeonly surgeon from Sweden with an almost superhuman disdain for the Danes in his midst.
However, the series is too heavily marred by a simplistic notion of character (or caricature), plot developments that are often too overblown to be taken at all seriously, and finally a miserly attitude in storytelling evident through a too-incremental disclosure of details that form the mystery of the central ghost story. The show is most surprising in how little, ultimately, it delivers.
There's just a lot of hot air blowing around, and one can't help but suspect this is to conceal the skimpiness that truly rests in the heart of The Kingdom. I did laugh at several well-keyed moments, but I was never in suspense, and all too often I simply sat yawning.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Deeply dissatisfying melodrama with a predictable arc
I followed the line of good reviews and a high IMDb rating to this flick and feel I've been misled by the readership here. This story about one alcoholic's weekend binge merits a few props as it touches on the psychology of an ambitious would-be writer who never was. However, the core of this character study is marred fatally by overwrought dialogue, half-baked character development, a bland story arc, and a melodramatic Theramin-saturated score that would have fit more comfortably in a sci-fi shocker about nuclear swamp mutants than a closely studied psychological drama. The film shines most as the protagonist's brother, played subtly and richly by Phillip Terry, appears alternately as a care-taker either fed up and through with it all or empathetic enough to lie valiantly in order to cover up his brother's shame. Unfortunately, this performance gets little screen time. For the most part we are forced to trudge through a miserable weekend with our protagonist as if it were a rote lesson in "Alcoholism and its Downward Spiral 101." To cap it all off, we get in the end a reversal as facile, unconvincing, and dissatisfying as Tofurkey for a Thanksgiving dinner.