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the list is also unsorted... if i was to sort in chronological order, which i do with most of my lists if possible, it would also take a very long time, like my top 250 list... it's hard to order genius from genius... however i have listed my #1 film of all time as the first film listed, cause that's a definite :)
included is only feature films... no tv series or shorts, of which ill make separate lists. each title is rated in the description field, either 9 or 10s only. tv movies are accepted.
anyway hope u love these films as much as i do... and if u havent watched any of the titles listed, they should be your highest priority over food and air... THIS IS THE REAL *beep*
DVD edition details & AUD prices in the desrciption field. pm me or email email@example.com. payable via paypal or bank transfer
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
George Miller's game changing action blockbuster
This film was great birthday viewing in 2D on the huge Hoyts Xtreme Screen @ Melbourne Central, then 2 weeks later in 3D on the huge 25m I-Max screen. with friends & family, the 3D sound & crisp visuals made for an exhilarating ride! we saw the 2D version as some of our crew weren't keen on Imax in 3D
I'm just really glad it's not Fast & the Furious in the outback as i first anticipated the film is jam packed with action sequences and real stunts with no CG, a game changer hopefully where the big studios will follow suit & go back to the old days of making something spectacular with real sets, real stunts, real explosions also it wasn't overly laden with crappy dialog or cool sequences, it plays out like a real apocalyptic "survival of the fittest" film
Another bonus was the focus on Charlize Theron as the female hero, while Tom Hardy's Mad Max plays back seat to her really there is a strong focus on females from the start right to the end which i don't mind at all but the film is called Mad Max so it's still a bit of a mystery to me why the focus was taken on Max the location they shot in Africa for the dessert scenes are amazing the costumes & the characters are all fascinating with so much detail, cinematography by John Seale and score from Junkie XL are a perfect fit which paints a very distinct and bleak dystopia world that has as much intrigue as what George Lucas has in Star Wars i wanted to know more about these different characters, their background, how this class order came to exist
At first glance I could understand the feminist remarks & how max plays a back seat But after thinking about it further, I realize that it's not as clean cut as that Tom Hardy especially in this film is like "the man with no name" from Sergio Leone's westerns & Akira Kurosawa's samurai films Sanjuro & Yojimbo This character doesn't always play the front seat or the hero all the time He's more strategic than that, choosing to play it like a game of chess, letting others take the limelight & the action but he always played a key role in the decision making of where the story was gonna go & then played his part of making it happen i see Charlize Theron more as like Joan of Arc, the female heroine among a male dominated society who is very courageous, skilled & will go beyond to get to her goal
I read that if this film made money, George would do 2 more considering it made $44M of the $150M budget in the opening weekend in the US alone, it's safe to say this will come to fruition which is a great thing & hope it goes on to be one of the most successful blockbusters in recent years, so it shakes up the Hollywood system on how things should be done - with realism, no cheese, with intensity & an actual story
This is a big screen experience that has to be witnessed don't download it, don't wait for it to come out on DVD / blu-ray, definitely don't watch it on your phone go see it & support something actually worth seeing at the cinemas, you wont regret it!!
Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
Poetic intimate exploration of a genius gone before his time,,,
A very enjoyable award-winning documentary depicting insight into Kurt Cobain's adolescent upbringing, family and relationship with Courtney Love - from childhood, teenage years and the birth of Nirvana onward, rising to become the biggest band in the world during this era. Exploring Cobain's years with heroin addiction, is eventually his downside yet never the main focus of the film that shows a rare chance to become familiar with such a genius up close.
The film uses a variety of media with highlights from home videos of Kurt and Courtney and their daughter Frances Bean including audio recordings, interviews with family and friends, personal scribblings, song lyrics and intimate thoughts. These elements are animated with an artistic brush stylistically particularly the audio recordings and writings that suit the visual story while fitting the tone beautifully.
The film keeps a strong rhythm throughout the 145 minute running time with a similarity to the animation and music montages of musician Rodriguez in the music documentary 'Searching for Sugar Man'. Not to imply that this is monotonous but rather the meditative groove is what makes it such an enjoyable ride with all the musical and visual elements. In fact the film plays out a bit like a mysterious fairy tale, most of Nirvana's music has been reinterpreted as motifs to accompany the animation or archival footage, which gives the film a poetic feel.
Overall Cobain: Montage of Heck is an awesome film to sink your teeth into, like finding a box of someone's personal belongings, where each item tells a story but packaged within a mixed media format with a rhythm that makes it an enjoyable ride. Fans will be satisfied with the film as a source of information but it is much more than that. The intimate portrait of one of the most famous rock stars ever is painted using a visual style and mood to match the music and the characteristics of Kurt's character. It was exceptional knowing the film is endorsed by the family with the use of documents and footage that they decided to share for the first time. Seeing Kurt and Courtney so intimately, it is almost like you were in the same room as them.
At the end of the day being an immense Nirvana fan, seeing all the footage of Cobain and the band is very satisfying, showcasing one of the most famous rock stars ever to fall at the classic age of 27, well before and way ahead of his time.
9/10 & added to my "masterpiece collection" list
Another winner from Dreyer but i expected as much since i think every film i've seen by him is pretty much a masterpiece
that's taking into consideration The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Vampyr (1932), Day of Wrath (1943), his final film Gertrud (1964) and now Ordet completes the string of 5 brilliant films he made from 1928- 1964 before dying at the age of 79 in 1968
he was one of the the few geniuses who wasn't given much time to make films, only 13 features in his career from as early as 1919
he was there right from the start and left with such a deep note on what can be done in cinema, that he has inspired generations to come with his meticulous detail for showing reality but in a very unusual manner
What is to be said about a story where one character believes he's the reincarnation of Jesus, yet the family think he's crazy in the early 1900s where religion ruled & love was broken cause the fathers of the 2 families have different religious practices where an atheist and his pregnant wife hopes for a boy but problems arise & all the families faith will be tested, and ultimately set the path for this very unusual and unsettling adaptation of a popular Danish play
If you haven't seen any Dreyer, you haven't experienced one of the masters of cinema who created a world & atmosphere like no other
9-10/10 & added to my "masterpiece collection" list
An absolute masterpiece from Philippines, inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime & Punishment" but told through real events & political / social problems of the director's country
This is the first 4 hour movie that didn't even feel that length, perfectly paced, beautifully shot, deep & reflective, gripping & awe inspiring this is the human condition in it's most naturalistic state
Can't wait to see another one of this brilliant film makers films which have running times up to 11 hours a masterpiece that will take some time to wipe form your memory
Il gattopardo (1963)
A masterful epic from Visconti that will only get better each viewing
Based on the best selling novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, an epic story of 1860's Sicily focusing around a rich family's dealings with war, power, love & adapting to change from the old ways to new
Starring Burt Lancaster in his career highlight performance, plus sex symbols Alain Delon & Claudia Cardinale in solid performances as always
Been wanting to watch this film for years & glad i finally have, but it requires a re-watch to truly appreciate it's depth
Young Frankenstein (1974)
A classic spoof by the original master of the style
Been wanting to see this comedy classic for years now & with recently being sick at home, i finally had that chance
and boy it was a lotta fun! delivered by the originator of spoofs Mel Brooks with a film that's up there with his classic Blazing Saddles (1974) and in fact released the same year which is quite amazing considering both are so great! starring Gene Wilder as a teacher / scientist & grandson of the Dr. Frankenstein who first reanimated a corpse back into real life, Marty Feldman as the hilarious English spoken hunchback who is also the grandson of the famous hunchback who worked alongside the original Dr. Frankenstein, Teri Garr as the sexy assistant & Peter Boyle as the monster with a soft heart
the young Franenstein doesn't want to follow in his grandfather's footsteps but with news of a will from his grandfather, he ends up traveling to Transylvania and what eventuates is classic Mel Brooks, with so many golden moments & an awesome spoof on the horror genre
High Noon (1952)
9/10 & added to my masterpiece collection list
Another deep banking that i managed to get through while being sick recently, this time a classic western that delivered in spades quite ahead of it's time on many facets really
It was the first western to not start with a big orchestral piece at the start of the film, going for a more subdued opening guitar number "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin" by composer Dimitri Tiomkin & sung by Tex Ritter another new addition to the genre was the lack of dialog to portray the scenes, which later on Sergio Leone mastered in his spaghetti westerns, especially Once Upon A Time In The West it was also shot in black & white which at this stage was unusual as all the the westerns coming out then were in colour to portray the glorious wild west, but the Austrian director worked closely with closely with cinematographer Floyd Crosby to get a bleak look with no frills, more a documentary / newsreel / raw feel than the glossy films of the time this was possibly the first western not done by an American director, many thought it would fail cause how could a foreigner get the genre that is so embedded in American culture well they were wrong! the screenplay by the to-be- blacklisted writer Carl Foreman with a brilliant script that says just as much about the state of America at the peak of the anti- communism times of the 50′s than what it does about human beings as a whole
The story starts out with 3 outlaws who roll into town one morning (Lee Van Cleef as a young lad) who are waiting for their leader Frank Miller, a legendary outlaw who has history with the sheriff & many town folk Gary Cooper is the retiring sheriff / newly wed who wont give up on his town with these hoodlums, in a performance that re- invigorated his career in his early 50's which won him his 2nd academy award Grace Kelly with her first major performance at the age of 22 as the sheriff's new bride but torn between her love for him & avoiding a bloody conflict by staying in town Lloyd Bridges as the self indulgent deputy who is only there to serve justice if it serves his own means Katy Jurado in another first - a Mexican women who has a great amount of power in the town with her business, something that had never been done in westerns prior & delivered with such a striking performance
What unfolds is a bleak look at life in the great west, with a constant eye on the time, as Frank Miller is arriving on the train at high noon Gary Cooper tries to round up as many troops to fight these villains but he is confronted with a town who is either scared, good friends with Frank Miller & his sidekicks or simply don't want to put themselves out for their own selfish reasons what concludes is a tension building film in real time, as the clock ticks closer to noon, everyone's true colours are shown & the key characters like the Sheriff, his bride, the Mexican business woman & the deputy have to decide where they stand before the clock strikes 12
A masterpiece of film making, not only for the western genre but as a whole i can see why this film is held in such high regard cause without it we may never have seen films from the likes of Sergio Leone and other foreign film makers making what was up till then an American only production with so many clichés and standards broken / re-defined, this is cinema at it's most innovative, in a genre that has had so much success up till then
Ex Machina (2014)
One of the best sci-fi's in years...
One of the best sci-fi's i've seen, great take on the robot vs human eventual existence in the realm of Blade Runner or Under The Skin more than Terminator 2 (T2), where the robot / alien wants to experience what it's like to live like a human
brilliantly shot, stripped back dialog & tight mood keeping u waiting for more, amazing performances from the 3 leads Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac
Need to see it again to finalise my thoughts & feelings towards it but i've got a strong feeling it's going to be even more engrossing 2nd time around love the minimalistic atmosphere throughout the set, the photography, the sparse soundtrack / sound design, truly captivating best sci-fi i've seen since Under The Skin & before those 2 films there hasn't been much for a long time
Nema-ye Nazdik (1990)
9/10 & added to my "masterpiece collection" list
Been banking this classic for sometime, with films of this stature I try to do a little reading up as possible so the experience is fresh without any bias
what eventuated was a film like nothing else before it or after it
What this bizarre film is about is quite simple on the surface but quite complex once u get into it a film lover named Hossain Sabzian decides to imitate famous film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf to get close with a well-to-do family but this is not for burglary or any other malicious crime, he simply wants to be respected by people, his views listened to, which in turn gives him a new turn of life, happiness & confidence from his dreary existence where he's just scraping through supporting his family
The genius of Kiarostami was not to just capture this story, but since he got onto this story early off, he filmed the initial stages of the man's arrest, the court case, then got all the key people to agree to re-enact the story leading up to his arrest what unravels is cinema like we've never seen before so fascinating to hear Sabzian's life, his story it's a film about identity, about class, about what some people will do in poverty
Kiarostami is a genius, the fact he has the ability to look outside the box of cinema & create in such a unique way is truly mesmerizing
Ai no mukidashi (2008)
10/10 & added to my "masterpiece collection" list
This film is incredible
Sono overall is kinda like Takashi Miike but he's able to make a 4hr film & hold your attention right till the end
it's filled with dark comedy, twisted story lines & random characters with violence & sex
it's so absurd all u can do is laugh, even in the most violent parts
but it also has beauty, tenderness, tension, psychological, and many other facts which makes this brilliant film so profound
If you haven't seen Miike's Ichi the Killer (2001) or Sono's Cold Fish (2010), then do that first before tackling this 4hr beast so you have some context of this fascinating masterpiece
stunning & brutally honest masterpiece from the heart of Russia...
Leviathan (2014) - Andrey Zvyagintsev
9-10/10 & added to my best of 2014 list, top 5 for the year + my masterpiece collection list
this film played at Cannes and for the fortunate people who saw it there, the buzz was amazing at the festival it did pickup "Best Screenplay" at Cannes, "Best Foreign Language Film" at the Golden Globes & will most likely win "Best Foreign Language Film" at the Oscars tomorrow night
This is a very Russian story, from what I've witnessed & speaking with Russian friend Anastasia who saw it at Cannes but it's the kind of story the Russian government wouldn't like to be released cause it puts the corruption on display for the world to see. This story focuses on a small sea side town in Russia where the mayor is taking over the property of a local who build the house himself 30 years ago it's a class war where if you are nobody of power, you get trampled, and in this case with a brutal conclusion
with stunning cinematography in this desolate environment, symbolizing the loss of hope in this small part of the world, whale carcasses beaches as apart of the landscape you get a taste of local life here, where they go shooting for a traffic officer's birthday, shooting pictures of ex Russian leaders, stating that Putin is still too new, needs to ripen before he can be added to the list there's interesting side stories of infidelity & by close a huge shift of trust within the community with a tragic event
all encompassed with a score of works by Phillip Glass, this is a tour e force of a film, showing how evil & unforgiving some people are, the human condition is on show in full force, with all it's contradictory intricacies one of the films of 2014 for sure, not many masterpieces released in 2014 but this film by Zvyagintsev, the rising voice in Russia proves there's a lot more top shelf quality to come!
A haunting tale of Australian history...
Gallipoli (TV series) (2015) - Glendyn Ivin
fantastic Aussie series directed by the talented Glendyn Ivin & written by Christopher Lee, stepping up to the plate with quality story telling, cinematography & production values up to the international standards this is not a patriot story, this is a brutal recall of events that happened at Gallipoli in 1915 focusing on 4 young Aussie boys who enlisted to fight the Turks alongside the British, Kiwis, French & Indians what unravels is an 8 month campaign of death, struggle, sickness, blistering heat & ice cold winter
throughout there's a lot of humanity shown within the young Anzac's right up to the commanding officers, even with what seems like impossible odds to overthrow the Turks & get to higher ground with over 80000 casualties, even more from the Turkish side, the beautiful landscape is the setting for a bloody battlefield that seems to never end or with much progress, until the last body drops to the ground
it was great to see this story told in such a bold manner, with an amazing score by Stephen Rae, stunning cinematography by Germain McMicking & brilliant performances across the board, especially the leads Kodi Smit-McPhee, Nicholas Hope & Harry Greenwood, this is a tour De force of our nations history, something that we all should remember or should i say "lest we forget" a haunting tale that all Aussies should embrace as a reminder of what the diggers sacrificed for our nation & the king of England
props goes to all the local involved i know who helped make this such an amazing series Anthony Littlechild Thomas Formosa-Doyle Kat Schachte Lee Norris Robert Connolly Chris Hocking Emma Bortignon
The Rover (2014)
Aussie post apocalyptic dark western delivers
been keen to watch David Michôd & Joel Edgerton's follow up to the amazing Animal Kingdom ever since i missed the screening at Cannes this year... with such mixed reports from the festival & once it was released locally i didn't know what to expect, so tried to go in with no expectations...
The Rover is a great Aussie film, which paints the picture of this desolate post apocalyptic landscape, people are shot with no second thought, food and doctors are protected with guns... the desperation is everywhere...
the dark pitch throughout just stays with you, sets a tone of tension & despair, the soundtrack is the perfect dark and moody companion along these dusty roads...
the cinematography is solid from Natasha Braier who steps up to fill Adam Arkapaw's shoes after his amazing effort shooting Animal Kingdom... her sparse and dark compositions suit this gritty outback...
Guy Pierce & Robert Pattinson's performance are on point! some of the best performances I've seen from both of these outstanding actors... Guy is quiet & brooding who only speaks when necessary, while Robert's character is a glitched out immigrant, maybe Irish, who's in deep trouble due to his brother's business dealings, which turn sour & setup this unexpected buddy film of sorts... but in no way is this a comedy, it's 2 people who want the same thing for different reasons... and the conclusion is intense... doesn't hold back on following through with this dark western of sorts...
7/10 for the moment but could go higher & added to my 2014 list. this is a solid film & recommend it for any film lovers, esp people who need to see that quality is still being produced...
Tôkyô kazoku (2013)
Yôji Yamada's remake of Ozu's Tokyo Story is a modern masterpiece of this classic Japanese story
watched an amazing film this morning just when i was trying to get to sleep after another "up till sunrise" night it's called Tokyo Family by Yôji Yamada, a tribute to legendary Japanese director Yasujirô Ozu and his most famous film, Tokyo Story from 1953 it's quite similar in idea, where older parents from a country sea side town come to Tokyo to visit their kids / grand kids, but no one really has time for them Tokyo has this high paced way of living, while in the country the old folks just kick back and enjoy life go by
the relationship between the father and son reminded me of my situation with dad who recently passed away - my personality & outlook in life is like mine while the fathers is like my dad also there's a death in the film where the whole family has to go thru, very sudden like dad's circumstances
it destroyed me, but in a good way cause it allowed be to grieve a bit more, cause I've been resisting it a bit since dad's funeral it really is a heart breaking film, and like death it is hard for all family members to endure in the film the funeral & wake were very beautiful, respectful all the family got together like we all did it finishes on a positive note that life must go on, the father becomes more accepting of the son & vice versa thru this death in the family they break their stand off between each other and bond in their own unique way
instant 9/10 & keen to watch it again u should too, to see the contrasts between generations, traditions & cities old times compared to modern times something that will be timeless, just like Yamada modernising the Ozu 50s masterpiece with another masterpiece that will be also treasured for generations to come
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Cronenberg is back in full force!!
my god has David Cronenberg returned to form... after his masterful rendition of the Don DeLillo novel Cosmopolis (2011), he's returned with a follow up film that could be some of his finest work & proving this genius isn't going to fade into obscurity...
the frantic script is a blessing by Bruce Wagner is full of fast paced dialog and satirical attitudes which reflect the golden era of Hollywood, a constant sense of unease but not as surreal as David Lynch's Mulholland Drive... showing u how repulsive Hollywood can be with it's vulgar characters and how they treat each other... the pace of the dialog & how the story shifts from confusion to outright darkness is something of a master stroke... the dark humour laid throughout this film is some of the the harshest I've heard... so offensively funny... but u wonder how much of these characters are based on fact - these attitudes, the outrageous comments & back stabbing...
it really is something... better than Cosmopolis cause of how dynamic the story & the twisting characters are... performances from Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, the oh so sexy Sarah Gadon (my god she is gorgeous!), and newcomer Evan Bird who steals the show...
it really is a tour de force of a film... i only wish i had the chance of seeing this at Cannes... cause it would've been great to discuss this dark yet hilariously twisted tale in detail... now ill patiently wait for you all to watch this, cause this film is a definite top contender for 2014!
Cronenberg has done it again, with 2 amazing films in a row... but i really wanna watch this one again before finalising my rating... overnight I've gone up to a 9 but it could easily go all the way...
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
another masterpiece from Australian master Peter Weir
as with Peter Weir's other masterpiece The Last Wave, it requires multiple viewings and lots of digestion time to fully grasp & appreciate... I've been wanting to watch Picnic at Hanging Rock for years... bought the blu ray recently & thought it was time... after finally watching it, I'm quite shell shocked at what I've just witnessed... the mood throughout this film is on a spiritual level, hypnotic at times, tension building below... the soundtrack & sound design compliment the film & create this mysticism surrounding the missing characters... the narrative is quite minimal, focusing on the mood of the film rather than what's being said... but quite often what is being said is cryptic & only leaves you with more questions...
after doing further reading, it is stated that even the novelist Joan Lindsay never confirmed if the story was based on fact or not... but many people including the producer of the film have gone to Hanging Rock & felt this unease... like they are being watched... this aspect to me is fascinating and makes this film such an achievement from the young director at the time... also worth mentioning that gorgeous the actress who played Sara, Margaret Nelson has been missing for sometime... plus the lead bitch of the school Mrs. Appleyard played by Rachel Roberts committed suicide in 1980... the more you dig with this film / novel and Hanging Rock the location, more is left unanswered...
it's most definitely one of the greatest Australian films & cant wait to see it again & give it 10/10, along with 2nd viewing of The Last Wave... until then ill be hunting down Mark Hartley's 2004 doco "A Dream Within a Dream: The making of 'Picnic at Hanging Rock" & continue my research on the film, the location, it's characters & the novelist...
one of the finest films on humanity & the art of compassion
this Akira Kurosawa film went under the radar for me, it was just another known Kurosawa film that i must see one day... watching it 2 days after my dad's funeral was actually perfect timing, cause of the theme's of death, compassion, empathy & the overall humanity of story really resonated with me... it made me even look at how i have been dealing with Dad's illness in the final weeks and raise questions of my own selfish behaviour... masterful actor Toshiro Mifune is the almost mystical wise Red Beard - the lead doctor in a small town full of peasants and generally lower class, where his presence affects everyone like a god... when his new apprentice comes to town who is full of ego & great ideas, not willing to obey Red Beard rules etc, the doctor fresh out of an acclaimed medical school has to learn some important lessons of life, and medical methods aren't in text books... unorthodox methods Red Beard teaches him to be connected with the patient and give them what they need for their soul which helps them either survive or pass away peacefully... one of the most touching films on humanity i've ever seen but without being sentimental... this film will stay with you long after watching it... after doing extended reading on this film and further thought, i pushed it up to 10/10 alongside other Kurosawa masterpieces like Ikiru and High & Low... there's still so much of his catalog i have to explore as well as re-watch (Seven Samurai, Sanjiro, Yojimbo for starters), this was his last film with his star actor Mifune but I'm slowly coming to grasp that Kurosawa has many masterpieces (not just a couple like most greats do) & one of the true greats of cinema...
Under the Skin (2013)
a modern surrealist / existential masterpiece from Glazer - there's hope for cinema still!
9/10 - the best film I've seen in 2014... a surrealist / existential film by Jonathan Glazer, I aspire to write a feature similar to this and other recent film, Refn's "Only God Forgives" which encourages the idea of writing a surrealist film in these times more promising... a stripped back version of Michel Faber's 2000 novel, sci-fi of sorts but set in Scotland in modern times. id rather not give too much away cause it's better for the viewer to go in cold & experience it without any preconceptions, then decide how they feel, as this has divided audiences, just like how Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey did back in 68, same with Only God Forgives more recently... one thing can be said is there's not many films like this being made nowadays, i give Glazer serious props for doing so, and Scarlett for bringing such a strong performance, her best to date by a mile, Mica Levi's soundtrack is perfect to create the haunting mood of the film... this is not a 1 sitting film, it urges you to watch and re-watch it to discover more about it's ambiguities, abstractions & symbolism... and i cant wait to lock into this once again, this time at night with no distractions :)
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I (2013)
compelling & analytical tale of sexual obsession
have to say that i was pleasantly surprised how compelling Lars von Trier's 4hr film on nymphomania was the other night... the film explores the topic of sex / lust / love in an analytical way, while keeping the actual acts of sex to an intensity level lower than Antichrist, tho there are some brutal moments of course... if anything this is a film that supports feminism by close, with female sexual liberty & how Charlotte Gainsbourg shares her addictive nature to Stellan Skarsgård throughout... Stellen's commentary on comparisons to sex and other topics is very effective to give the film a deeper look into how human behavior has many companions... this is LVT's most thought out / researched film as far as the content discussed goes, which makes this an educational experience as well as an erotic journey of sexual obsession - 8/10
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
the issue of aids medication in America
amazing performances and well deserved for Matthew McConaughey with Best Actor as Ron Woodroof - the rodeo sex / drug fueled charged cowboy with aids & Jared Leto with Best Supporting Actor as Rayon - the transvestite who teams up with Ron to start a drug supply for aids sufferers... also great performance from Jennifer Garner, first film I've seen her in considering her previous choices aren't to my taste...
well executed story showing how problematic the issue of aids suppressant drugs in the states. on a shoestring budget of $5.5M & shot in 25 days, this is a great feat of film making in these modern times where blockbusters dominate - 8/10
Tian zhu ding (2013)
a brutal approach from Jia yet pertaining that meditative & reflective tone
after finally watching A Touch Of Sin this evening at ACMI with some friends, it's left me stuck in 2 worlds - missing Jia Zhang-Ke's meditative & lyrical work of the past & liking the new approach to these social wrongs in a more brutal / violent / cynical manner...
first thoughts were quite similar to when i watched another master film maker Kim Ki-Duk's "Pieta" which after further digestion, thought & reading became my fave film of 2013 - both films show violence in a heavy way but still portray it in a meditative & profound manner, using symbolic moments to remind the audience about these issues...
in hindsight i really like this film and where Jia is going with his approach... considering this is a narrative driven film over his powerful and thought provoking documentaries, all the killings were based on real events the director read in blogs... the film is a vessel to show these separate events as one about alienation, the varying classes in china & corruption / political flaws...
here's a good article from Slant which covers a lot of how i feel towards the films - 8/10
La vie d'Adèle (2013)
engrossing realism of youth
fantastic film about love and being young, realistic and raw at times yet subtly handled... performances are as potent with life's emotions as you'd hope for, superb flowing camera work... this is definitely not hipster orientated or romcom like many youth films are nowadays, the key characters aren't trying to be cool and hip or be funny. they are themselves, esp the lead who is still discovering who she is along the complex road called life...
8/10 but could go higher... if i was going to compare it to similar films I've seen recently, still like Her more but prefer this over Before Midnight and LOL (french version)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
harrowing realistic tale of slavery in the 1800s
This film really hits like a brick, a harrowing realistic tale of slavery in the 1800s. films like this remind us of the past, where this kind of black prejudice reined supreme, up till the 70s when the KKK were still kicking... if you're going to tell a story of slavery, what better way than to base it on actual events from the book by the slave himself - Solomon Northup - over a 12 year period...
These were dark times, where racial hatred was the norm, most well off white people in America had black people as slaves or servants. they were looked down upon purely by the colour of their skin... this is why slavery was abominated & Martin Luther King had a dream of equality. the film tackles these issues with brutal realism, often hard to absorb, these reoccurring events of racial injustice really affect you to the point where you feel so sorry for every single person affected in it's destructive path - separating families, physical & psychological torture, a constant fear forced into their helpless faces...
A blunt reminder of how things used to be, harrowing & heart breaking, like you are there witnessing it first hand... powerful & gripping film that left me in tears at points... more films should be made like this, to shake up our sugar coated images that are filtered via the media. take a mouthful of harsh truths, so you reflect on these moral issues well after the film has finished
Steve McQueen delivers another jewel in his developing crown which has already spawned 2 masterpieces before this - Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). breathtaking performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor which should win him a Best Actor Oscar, plus solid performances from Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch & of course Michael Fassbender, with a cheeky appearance by Brad Pitt... im also putting my money on Steve McQueen to clean up Best Picture & Best Director if the academy wakes up and realises the genius at hand here...
9/10 and at the top of my 2014 list thus far
The Act of Killing (2012)
the brutal truth of mass genocide that must be witnessed
one of my highly anticipated films for 2013 & boy did it deliver... a rare look at mass genocide from the killer's perspective, a re-telling of events from 1965 in Indonesia where the Pancasila were formed to rid the country of communist since the government wasn't doing enough... over 2.5 million people were killed over time, 1 million in just a year...
one of the leading executioners from that time recounts these times along with other Pancasila members who are considered heroes today & are still in power with over 3 million members... throughout the documentary, you are exposed to the egos of these evil men, who re-tell the stories with pride & passion, how they imitated Hollywood stars with their killings & invented their own methods.
there are key scenes that are re-created with the actual Pancasila members themselves, who even in a filmed / acting environment create a very scary and vicious scenario at how these gangsters were so brutal... some of the leaders show no guilt yet the main focused executioner who personally executed over 1000 "communists" talks about re-occurring nightmares, and eventually remorse, which gives the film some redemption for it's portrayal of these terrible events.
this is a film that every adult should see, an insight that is rare cause it's told by the killers themselves, not by some biased 3rd party... it's the closest you'll get to war crimes of this scale and how dark the human can go with absolute power, in such a fascist & sadistic manner... - 9/10 & currently #3 in my 2013 winners list
Only God Forgives (2013)
brilliant surrealist film from master Nicolas Winding Refn - a long way away from Drive...
"Drive" is a masterpiece genre film where Refn played with the conventions a fair bit, especially a film outta Hollywood... "God Only Forgives" is a surreal film, where the director is exploring uncharted realms... if u have seen the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky - who the film is dedicated to, you should know not to take everything u see at face value - look within, reflect, read up on others interpretations & watch again... i cant wait to see it again cause there's still so much to experience in it, and this is the first step into a new direction for Nicolas Winding Refn, cause his next film is an adaptation of a Jororowsky graphic novel - so try to get comfortable with the directors new approach, cause i predict you wont see another "Drive" for a while - 8/10