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A Knight's Tale (2001)
Who knew clichés can be so much fun?
This movie is delicious and fresh. Clean, honest and sweet. It takes some very old themes and stories and purposefully brews them into a wonderfully balanced, lighthearted comedy that can, for some people at least, quench the thirst for something unpretentiously sincere. This is the story of William, a squire of modest origins who, through a game of chance and will and with the help of his friends manages to become a knight of great renown. Of course, that involves some cunning, confronting an arch-enemy and a love story with a princess. All this, presented in a self-aware, leisurely fashion that makes you glad these clichés exist. Because the film builds on them with a true devotion to fun. So don't go expecting historical accuracy or complex characters. This is not what the film is meant to be. Rather, you should expect modern music in all the right moments, an unbelievably good cast, clean humour, some sonnet-like moments and all in all a fantastic little comedy that aims no higher than to entertain. Surely, this must count for something, seeing as nowadays almost all Hollywood productions seem to aim much higher than they are capable of flying.
All in all, just a movie
What I believe to be the quintessential charm of the Alien series is the way it actually portrays human nature without seeming to do so. Yes, these were simply revolutionary monster films. But behind the whole horror theme, unanswerable, yet elegant questions are raised, without ever having to be uttered by any character. We simply take note of the situations and automatically ask ourselves: What if there really are aliens, but they're not the advanced demigods we hope they are? or Is humanity really that disgusting? and much more. These are philosophically valid questions that emerge subtly from what we see on the screen.
"The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien's DNA". I personally thought that what Scott meant was exactly this feeling that I got from watching Alien: that unexpected ideas pop-up without someone putting them into words. It was not the case. All the questions are diligently posed in Prometheus. They are all answerable questions, so they don't frighten the viewer as much. Yet, the answers are not delivered. That is why, from a philosophical and mythological point of view, all this seems superficial, it feels as if someone is trying to trick me into thinking that the film is highly intelligent, when actually it just inherently begs for a sequel.
Disappointing as it is in this department, Prometheus is still a thrilling visual experience.
All in all, just a movie.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Does this game ever end?
And I'm not talking about the quests, but the atmosphere, the feeling it gives, the sheer joy of being there. Skyrim takes what is great from both Morrowind and Oblivion, improving on it tremendously, becoming in itself a huge epic. Nevermind the bugs, the glitches. It is simply breathtaking. I must admit, I am what one would call a hardcore fan of the series, and very pretentious about my fantasies... This is a game in which the hero is a Hero in everything he does. As a player, you will never stop fulfilling prophecies. It is rewarding every step of the way, like no game before it. I have been playing Skyrim since November, finished it in December. Fan or not... I ask you... Why can't I stop (July the following year)? I have my own supposition. Maybe it's because this game never ceases to amaze me. It never ends. Just like the world.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
This is not merely a film, but a whole experience that involves all senses. This is something to be seen, touched, smelled, tasted. It's not a question of who the monster is. Is there a monster? It is a masterpiece and it should be experienced as such.
The acting is unbelievable. You can run a single scene again and again just to see "that face". Absolutely beyond reproach.
And the directing is so intense, that no matter how hard you try to escape the "feeling", you won't be able to.
This film might mean a lot to you or nothing at all. It's not in the hands of the filmmakers, but in your own making. Are you up to such an experience? If not, please, stay away.
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (2008)
A strange film
This is a very strange film. The first two parts are, of course, exquisite, in the usual BBC fashion. Artistic, true and serious. But it is quite a surprise that they lack any intensity. At first, it seems that all the actors are playing their parts beyond any possible reproach, again, in the unique English manner. Nevertheless, there is something disturbing. They don't seem to respond to one another at all. There is no "chemistry", if you will, between Tess and Alec or Angel. But trust me, upon watching parts 3 and 4, you will ask yourself "What on earth put that thought into my head?" In short, as the conflict escalates, you find yourself watching not a film version of a classic novel, but a masterpiece. And maybe I am exaggerating, but for the moment, the only thing I can say is this: Thank you.