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Fucking Berlin (2016)
Interesting snapshot of 2000's berlin
The problem i see in the movie is with the casting: the actress that plays Sonja is just too normal, with model-like looks, whereas the author of the novel was much more peculiar. "Einsam in Berlin" -- an Italian, with rather voluptuous looks, she must have felt a bit isolated in Berlin, which eventually lead to the lifestyle. I think there is a disconnect because of the casting. Even if the book material might have not been very dramatic (being a biography, not a story), the movie is actually very watchable. The soundtrack, the city are beautiful, you see a snapshot of everyday berlin for younger, poorer people.
It's really a story about a lonely woman in berlin, during the age of legal prostitution and as berlin becomes a meltpot of its own. The layer of people that she meets might be very specific, but they are out there: the immigrants, the drug addicts, people from poorer regions. Perhaps the author wanted to separate her 'normal life' from her 'prostitution life' -- so we don't see much of interaction with her friends at school, or, perhaps, the author was autistic enough to be in a more isolated position, and the 'prostitution' life filled the friendless void.
But in essence, the movie gives a different angle on a woman and a city, not that glamorous as 'Sex & City', but there are layers in the society, and the movie captured one of them. The layers are different, the upshots of the stories are very similar.
Loved old trams
I loved the atmosphere of the movie. The old ladies, the funeral, the trams, the snow, the Russian music from 30s.
Interestingly, another reviewer pointed to a similar movie: Ferzan Ozpetek's His Secret Life. There is another movie dealing with consequences of death of the loved one, who actually cheated: Blue. I have not seen Ozpetek's movie, but Kieslowski's Blue was about the new found freedom and the creativity that is born out of loss of the family, but it comes to the wife that was seemingly completely dedicated to her family and husband before a tragic event. Here, the husband was, perhaps, a perennial flirt, perhaps, a bit of a cynic, but faithful, is completely devastated. He loses wife, and then son but differently -- it's not some just horrible event that takes the son, it's his wife's cheating.
It seems the idea of the movie is good, but everything seems to be either over-written or under-performed, and so the flow of the movie is somehow not smooth and convincing enough.
Letnie przesilenie (2015)
almost a basket of stereotypes and not just from ww2
The movie is set in a beautiful atmosphere of the summer, the atmosphere conducive to lightness and romantic feelings, especially for late teens, even if it is war time.
Though director/writer supposedly tries to take a different, polish look at what is happening, a lot of things are really strange, coming out of nowhere, maybe its magic of the summer night: why are people almost randomly shot (either by Russians or by Germans, even Nazis seemed to exercise some restraint)? why are good proper girls having sex on the first encounter? why is there a Jewish girl from Warszaw there? (when apparently the Jewish issue was long solved), why is she demanding something? why are there Russian partisans in polish forest (especially, if its western part of Poland)? etc. etc. etc. This might had been a nice movie about German/Polish youth coming together over their love for forbidden American music and polish life at that time, but with all the other random war things thrown in, what is left? A piece that seems to be more exploitative than revealing, with familiar topics of "Russian rape" and holocaust thrown in too casually and looking too painfully wrong in this movie.
predatory sex praised as a love story?
I find it awful that predatory sex depicted in this movie is being praised as a "very human story with its tender love scene" (Terry Gross). The fact of the matter is we see a predator who uses his small time fame to prey on the vulnerable: why is he choosing Lisa over her more attractive friend? Because of her vulnerability and her more innocent adulation. I do not know how emotional rape can be seen as a love story, which "feminist" lens do reviewers/critics look through. When an autistic person has sex without giving a consent, is that considered a rape or a tender story. Even if such person enjoys sex, the act is still not consented to. Here we have a 'consensual' affair, a person is consenting because she is being exploited emotionally. Watching this movie, made me continuously cringe. If it were simply porn, it would had been turned off, but with the high critics behind it, i watched, very much disgusted by the triviality and violence of this movie. And how would one value this movie: as porn, bad quality porn. Charlie Kaufman's all movies are more or less a disappointment. They toy with some technical ideas, but really have very little humanist value behind them.
A Long Way Down (2014)
Sensitive subject handled flippantly
Though all of the characters in the movie have serious and relatable problems, the movie is just not ever approaching a view of these problems: neither taking them at the true value nor making a serious fun out of them (think of "women on the verge of nervous breakdown" as a comedic look at desperate situations). I am not sure this is just the fault of the movie, it must be also present in the novel by Hornby, and might just generally reflect the light attitude to live problems that British show, also hard to cover 4 cases in the movie time adequately. On the other hand, with the quantity of suicides sharply rising during the last crisis, it seems the subject should hit close to home for many. I thought all the characters were not quite believable, especially Toni Collette's, thought she is a great actress. Nevertheless, i enjoyed the movie, the spark that Imogen Poots and Pierce Brosnan bring is quite believable (as they do play the people of their class), the exotic or iconic locations etc. The writing is quite honest (at least in the depiction of harping campaign against the anchor). Happy end is unreal. Friendship is unlikely. Likelier end is a suicide club from another work of fiction...
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
ridiculous casting/story, 'solid' production wth!
The idea is nice (silver lining), the craziness is curious, but all in all , just the fact that the movie is completely untrue to life spoils every bit of good production efforts or background ideas. This only makes me think, are all the movies complete worthless bs?
Is neo-neo-realism ever going to show up, are seriously funny / clever comedies /dramas going to show? Why are we fed this cheap artificial s. and are there any actresses that actually look like females that in real life would be obsessed with a crazy looser that could had been cast to play the Tiffany, etc. etc. etc.? Sorry, De Niro, method does not help to play a loser father either...
Oh Boy (2012)
postcard to berlin's gen Y
Just saw this movie, and still struggling to understand what it is about really, so for me its mostly about a certain generation of people in a certain city. These guys, born in the 80s, grew up in when new German mentality is being formed, Germany that is normal and yet still struggling with its past. The past is the nazism and collective guilt, that is receding, yet has its imprint on the people. the new is the normality - a society where kids of rich parents can afford not to work and just wonder around city while enjoying simple pleasures of sex/drugs and sarcasm. Where kids are still bullying the fatties (without making connections with Nazis bullying their victims). Where ridiculous films about important things in life are being shot. The soundtrack is echoing the jazz era's swing (lindy hop and electoswing are very popular among that generation of euros), the black/white style with a lot of closeups reminds of the era too (and of some other movies). There is a bit of a 'funny' line in the movie that allows for some hope: the inability to get a cup of coffee during the unlucky day and a cup available during final shop, at the dawn of the next day.
All in all, the film is very reminiscent of "Oslo, august 31st". Both follow a youthful character for a day as he wonders the city, visits with friends, registers surroundings. Both finish at the dawn of the next day. In Oslo, the protagonist is in his mid 30s, here in late 20s. But Oslo has more purpose, a story, sense etc. Yet, Oslo might not be a true 'postcard' to the City in the 00s while "Oh Boy" is to Berlin in the 00s. The sense of tragedy and extreme outcomes of the 20-40s that is in the basis of the screenplay for Oslo, is simply not there for the 90-00's, the result is a similar in atmosphere and structure, yet a very different in a meaning (or lack of it) film.
Another thing i wanted to note, that the difference in the stories' outcomes is also reflected throughout the films in how characters relate to the world. In Oslo, the protagonist seems to be completely outside of the world of the others. In Oh Boy, though protagonist talks about this feeling of being a stranger, he, in fact, is very connected to the world, in every scene, you see the character involving himself with the fellow denizens of the city (whether learning from an old German in a bar, escaping a robbery, drinking with a depressed neighbor or ... etc)...
I also felt the film was a bit longish, and a bit lacking in coherent story, and somewhat full of quotations, so 7/10 is the highest I would give, maybe even 6 :)
The Hours (2002)
Julianne Moore is my favorite actress, but even her presence, could not make this movie work for me. It is watchable, and there sparklings of ideas and some good acting but overall the movie leaves and impression of some not-very good mozaic that has not been glued together well. I am sure some psychologists will explain this movie better than I do, but it does look like the study of depression vs more serious mental illnesses. In this movie these more serious illnesses are associated with more creative people, and lead to suicides, while depression does not, -which strikes as an oversimplified view. Moreover, acting-wise how much more unhappy and suicidal does J. Moore look, which is masochistically much more pleasurable as well! Also, I am not sure, but where is the art in this movie? You take any family and make a similar connection to some cultural icon and make a movie out it, in this movie its Virginia Wolf, why this specific author, because of some lesbian undertones, this still does not make the connection between heroines more special? I partially watched this movie because of the Oscar-buzz and performance by N. Kidman, and she is great actress, and at moments - I could forget that Wolf is Kidman, but overall; nevertheless, I thought she had had better roles and better performances (The Others), and it is questionable if she has a leading role in the movie...
Brat 2 (2000)
Ivanushka-the idiot: tale without a moral?
Well, even though, this movie provides with some interesting snapshots of America/Russia through the eyes of a rather violent though adventurous young man, what is this movie is really about? Does it have a story or is it a "Globetrekker" episode with Russian killer as a guide? The only moral movie seems to have is the old one, as is Pushkin "Everything is mine, said the gold/ Everything is mine, said the sword/, Will buy everything, said the gold/ Will take everything, said the sword". Yet, the main character seems to babble about some other higher power that justifies his actions/killing, the power that is somehow connected with higher "Russian" values. It would all work a bit better if the main character had some indication of a brain activity, but most of the time (when not pulling the trigger), he looks like the fairy tales' Ivanushka-the idiot, who by the motions of luck gets to be in places, win over princesses and simple folk, and balance out injustices.
Even though the movie lacked in plot, acting, ideas etc., it had two good aspects to it a) soundtrack; b) it was a smidgen better than the first installation of Brat - or maybe i just got used how bad the original was...
the plot and voices do matter in musicals(7.x/10)
Well, given the rather mediocre story in the background (no carmen :)) and not overly good music and voices (no figaro), this movie has managed to be still rather well done. I especially liked to numbers: Cell block tango and puppet song (All i care about) -- it's worth watching the movie for those two. In general, it is a well flowing and enjoyable movie. It was also the first time for me to see a movie performance by Queen Latifa - which was rather good too... ...The only thing that could really make this movie better -- the singer in the opening number (All that jazz) should, really should, have a stronger voice.
Hatuna Meuheret (2001)
Well, it seems movie a) is a quite accurate reflection on georgian-Russian-Jewish immigrants; b) goes a bit too far in estimating the power of traditions on a modern israeli (of g-r-j background). Given that Georgian Jews are a bit more traditional than, for example, Russian Jews, it is still true that they are quite open "non-traditional" marriage options, like marrying a divorcée or a non-Jewish woman. It's possible, if the guy really wants to, but, then, being an autobiographical movie of a non-married director, how is this film supposed to end? -- either in non-marriage or a reluctant commitment, which it does end with...
In summary don't take the love/marriage story for real, just enjoy the show of g-r-j character