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Unique and Poetic
14 June 2005
I was tired and ready for bed but my curiosity got the better of me and I put the DVD in, expecting just to watch a few minutes. 1 & 1/2 hours later the film was over and I didn't want it to be.

Trouble Every Day is a haunting vision of desire gone haywire. Light on story and big on aesthetics, the film moves silently like a sensual and terrible dream. You've got to hand it to Claire Denis - it could have all gone horribly wrong were it not for her ability to set just the right poetic tone and mood.

This film is lovely to look at and the camera work is captivating. There is such suspense when the camera follows the back of the chambermaid's neck. The lack of dialog is so hypnotic that when characters began speaking it was an unwelcome jolt. This was especially true of Vincent Gallo (Shane) whose whiny voice is strangely at odds with his intense and unique looks. Beatrice Dalle is perfect as Core who is more animal than human. Her one speaking line says everything you need to know about her character. There was not a moment that I didn't fully believe Core's plight and pity and fear her.

When the movie begins Core has already completely succumbed to the unexplained sickness that Shane spends most of the film trying to suppress. Core is locked indoors all day in an attempt to prevent her from killing but she finds her way out and eventually the prey comes to her.

The two much talked about cannibalism scenes occur pretty late in the film and are worthy of the fuss -they are stunning.

There isn't enough plot development to figure out exactly what is happening to these people or why. There could have been a bit more explanation but the ambiguity makes everything a bit creepier.

Then I went to bed and you can only imagine my dreams.
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Epidemic (1987)
Lars Redeemed
3 February 2005
In Epidemic two story lines play out simultaneously with both reaching the same, inevitable conclusion. The first storyline is shot in documentary style and follows screenwriters Lars & Niels while they write a script called Epidemic. The second storyline is a lushly photographed production of the film that the characters are writing.

Epidemic is about the process of creation. The screenwriters begin as idealists - their vision is pure and remains so as long as the creation is contained. Once the creation/script/disease is introduced/unleashed to the world it becomes both an object to be corrupted as well as a force which corrupts.

It all ends, as any von Trier movie should, with a suffering woman and this one's a little heavy handed even by von Trier's standards. Gitte's hypnotically induced wig-out is an obvious foreshadowing of everyone's demise and although it is difficult to watch her deterioration she is quite a site to behold.

It is fitting that the most accurate and succinct description of a Lars von Trier film should come from the man himself and it is in Epidemic that he famously proclaims, "a film should be like a pebble in your shoe." And so it is.
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Wake (2003)
Wake Me When It's Over
3 December 2004
Four actors who look nothing like brothers get together to do some bad acting while pretending to be brothers and after a night of pills, booze, gunplay and strippers someone ends up dead.

I'm all for keeping the audience guessing but there is nothing that these people say to each other that is straightforward, everything is alluded to and it gets old quick. That being said, you don't need to be a genius to figure out what's going on here, that is, assuming that you care.

Ex-con bro and blonde-sleaze bro are both so annoying that I was hoping the booze and pills would promptly render them null and void. Even the talented and yummy Gale Harold as crazy bro can't salvage this material -though he does do a fetching drunken strip tease and he can puke and pass out with the best of 'em. The other bro, well, his name was Sebastian and that's about all I remember.

The house looks like a studio set built too small for the actors, either that or the only thing the actors/brothers have in common is that they are tall.

In keeping with tradition started with my Particles of Truth review I'd like to add that Gale Harold looks better in a lacy housedress than any man has a right to.
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More Like Romper Room
3 December 2004
The skinheads never stood a chance. As my friend pointed out during the home invasion scene ' these people are all borderline retarded.' Romper Stomper shows us that Nazi skinheads are just big ADD suffering children looking for the next minority to use as a punching bag until their Ritalin kicks in.

It's difficult to imagine that Australians were shocked by this film. In 2004 it's hard to take it seriously. The direction and acting are amateurish. There is even a scene in which the main girl stands still and pulls at her hair while chaos careens around her. The redeeming value of Romper Stomper is that it contains a lot of unintentional humor.

Hando AKA Russell Crowe, subscribes to the Clockwork Orange philosophy of the higher the pants the harder the man. The mild menace that he established at the start of the film went sharply downhill once he appeared in a pair of tighty whiteys that look like they were meant for an eight year old
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The Good and the Bad
22 September 2004
First the bad news: Particles of Truth is a real mope fest of self-pitying characters, each trying to out- dysfunction the other.

The main character, Lily (writer, producer, director & star Jennifer Elster) is an emotional mess because she was the product of a screwed up family (surprise!). She is an unappealing and unsympathetic character and that is the crux of the problem with the film.

Another problem is that none of this suffering is, in any way, new or interesting. We've seen all these gritty, pathetic people before. To make matters worse, some of the dialogue is cringingly pretentious.

Now the good news: Queer as Folk's Gale Harold is great as Morrison, a reclusive germ-fearing writer. He is the strongest, most likable and most realistic character in the bunch. He and Lily develop a tenuous relationship that scares her to the point of puking in his antiseptic bathroom. Despite Morrison's fears, he admits to Lily that he cares about her and proves it by venturing into the subway to find her (a germophobe's nightmare). He also manages to pull himself together to attend her art show.

There is real chemistry between Lily and Morrison and there is something endearing about watching these two people, who find it so hard to function in the world, manage to come together.

The soundtrack is great too.

Oh, and Gale Harold looks better in a shower cap than any man has a right to.
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3 Women (1977)
And Now For Something Completely Different
22 September 2004
3 Women is a seriously strange mood study that plays like a languid nightmare. It is an abstract and unusual film, loaded with symbolism. The logic, if there is any, is dream logic. Everything is open to interpretation. There is no sense to be made of it so don't even try.

The first half of the film is slow and aimless but things get very interesting once Pinky (brilliantly acted by Sissy Spacek) hits her head. Pinky sort of becomes Millie (Shelley Duvall) and Millie sort of becomes Pinky and they both sort of become the dream of Willie (Janice Rule) or maybe they don't. Listening to director Robert Altman's commentary on the DVD is revealing. He says that he sees the film as a painting and that the audience should feel it but not understand it.

The references to Persona are obvious but while watching 3 Women I was reminded of another haunting and puzzling film- Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Mysterious and deeply Freudian, 3 Women is one truly unique work so sit back and marvel at the inexplicable.
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Young Adam (2003)
17 September 2004
I have a new film to add to my Most Despised Films of all Time list! I watched Young Adam last night and, thankfully, I've forgotten most of it already.

Ewan McGregor is completely miscast as a broodingly sexual anti-hero. He rarely speak and when he does it's usually to say something inane. He's supposed to exude some kind of charisma while sulking but he's not up to the task. He's as bland as they come and all the full frontal nude shots in the world can't change that.

This is a movie about dull people who say dull things who live in a dull place where only dull things happen and they force you to enter their dull world for 90 dull minutes plus - in short, this film is torture.

So go outside, play in the sun, watch paint dry - do anything but watch Young Adam.
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Priest (1994)
15 September 2004
Priest is a powerful and well-acted film. It exposes the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church (not hard to do) but it is also about the larger issues of faith, compassion and forgiveness. The film is NOT ABOUT being a gay priest.

It speaks to any thinking person who has ever questioned their faith only to find that there are no answers and that faith is all there is.

Father Greg (Linus Roche) is gay and conflicted. On one hand he is certain that God wants him to be a priest. On the other hand, he is not certain that God exists. All he has is faith and faith abandons him in the face of evil.

The conversations between Father Greg and Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson) are compelling. Did Jesus have it easier than everyone else because he knew what his purpose was? Do men's laws need to be followed as strictly as God's laws? Can the rules be changed just because they don't suit us?

The only wrong note struck in the film is when Father Greg removes his collar, gets on his bike and heads to a gay bar. With quick ease he catches the eye of a stranger and they are soon in bed without so much as a hello. A little too Brian- from- Queer- as- Folk if you ask me but, whatever.

You've got to grin at the sacrilegious irony of a disgruntled priest removing a large crucifix from a church, walking through the streets with it over his shoulder and smashing it into the rectory.

The battle of bible quotes between Father Greg and a devout parishioner perfectly illustrates the futility of proving your point through bible verse.

The ending is powerful and perfect. Get your tissue box out because if you don't bawl like a baby there is a black hole where your heart should be.

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Bus 174 (2002)
Talking Headed-to Death
1 September 2004
There is no excuse for a film with such an interesting subject to be this tedious.

It begins with voice overs of homeless kids. Their commentary is standard - nobody loved me so I hit the streets.

Endless talking heads follow, each spouting stock theories for the hijacking. They harp on about social conditions breeding disaffected youth, blah blah blah - not an insightful, original thought in the bunch.

This movie thinks it is very profound but it will insult your intelligence so don't bother. You've seen this type of story done better a dozen times on PBS or Dateline.
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Dogville (2003)
AKA - 3 Hours in Which Lars Von Trier Loses His Mind
1 September 2004
Being an admirer of Lars Von Trier's past work, I will be generous and say that maybe Dogville warrants multiple viewing in order to be fully appreciated and understood. But how on earth could anyone be expected to endure this film more than once?

Dogville is a long-winded, heavy handed and puzzling. The sarcastic voice over becomes quickly annoying, as does the pared down theatrical set, the stilted dialogue and robotic acting. Nicole Kidman is completely ineffective and the conversation between her and James Caan in the car had to be one of the most badly acted pieces of drudgery that I've seen in some time.

Arrogance, forgiveness and human nature are among the big concepts explored but what the real point is is quite difficult to discern.

Von Trier's suffering female martyr theme is wearing a little thin. In both Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark the heroines are given to saint like sacrifice. We go even further here with the character of Grace being some kind of representation of God.

The best thing about Dogville is Paul Bettany's performance. The worst thing about Dogville everything else.
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Trainspotting (1996)
The Agony and the Ecstasy
1 September 2004
Trainspotting is a quintessentially British film filled with thick Scottish accents and dark wit. It is highly stylized and brims with color and manic energy. It is appropriately dark at times and vibrant at others. The balance is always right.

This was most people's introduction to Ewan McGregor and he is terrific as Renton. His speech about why Scotland is shite is a classic. No role he has played since has given him as good an opportunity to show off his acting chops.

Ewen Bremner is hysterical as Spud. How come this guy doesn't get more work? Robert Carlyle is intense and fabulous as always.

Trainspotting doesn't beat you over the head with an anti drug message. Perhaps it is more honest than most drug films because it explores the pleasurable side of drug taking. But the negative effects are clearly shown too and each character must decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. The ending is somewhat ambiguous and the film is all the better for that.
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Ravenous (1999)
Tasty Treat
24 August 2004
If a cult/horror/ cannibal/western/comedy is what you crave, Ravenous is the film for you. Your digested popcorn may just return to you but you will be plenty entertained. It is a truly strange movie with everything including the kitchen sink thrown in but somehow it manages to work. Much has been made about the music being oddly out of place and I would agree that the score works well at times and misses at others. The cinematography effectively conveys a sense of doomed isolation. The acting by Jeffrey Jones is great. Jeremy Davies and David Arquette are both funny in essentially one note performances. Guy Pearce is okay - a little over the top, but I guess that's the point. For me, it's all about Robert Carlyle. He reminds me of Gary Oldman in that, despite being a physically scrawny and unimposing guy, he is able to convey intensity and menace far beyond his size.

Don't take it seriously, don't eat beforehand and have you'll have a blast.
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Bloody and Lavish
24 August 2004
I love this film. I recognize that there are some supremely hammy parts but the truth is that they didn't bother me. Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves are woefully miscast and their performances (and accents) are as bad as expected but the super lusty Sadie Frost as Lucy is a true over the top gem and Anthony Hopkins brings life and humor to the Van Helsing character.

What is great about this film is its visual lushness, the tension building score and the melodrama. I enjoyed that the count's past was explored and the timeless romantic connection between he and Mina was interesting. Some people have a difficult time with Gary Oldman in the role of the vampire (it's probably the hot cross bun hairdo) but Oldman brings a sensual intensity to everything he does and he gives a unique and passionate portrayal of the lovesick count.

Dracula's renouncing of god, Harker's seduction by the brides, Lucy's being ravished by the count/wolf and the chase to beat the sunrise are all great scenes that I could watch again and again.

Adding Bram Stoker's name to the title was probably done in an effort to distinguish this Dracula film from the numerous other versions. It could just as easily have been called Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. It is no more faithful to the novel than other versions have been and there's nothing wrong with that considering how lackluster the book is.

Coppola's version is not as scary as the original Nosferatu, not as poetic as Werner Herzog's remake and not as enduring as the Bela Lugosi version but it is arguably more entertaining than all of them put together.
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More About Art Than Horror
24 August 2004
Werner Herzog movies are strange. They have a dreamlike quality that I find unsettling. I'm never quite sure if I like them but they are unique and intriguing. They are also sometimes insufferable. Nosferatu is no exception. The film is so slow and atmospheric that it's easy to lose interest. Sometimes the stillness is haunting but most times it felt like a different movie was being randomly inserted into the one I was watching.

The music is terrible and the acting by Isabelle Adjani isn't much better. (Though Goth lovers will be smitten by her ghostly pallor, which she inexplicably has way before the vampire is anywhere near her.) Most of the dialogue in the English language version is spoken in a halting and hesitating way without inflection as if the actors don't understand the lines they are saying. But Bruno Ganz makes a suitable Jonathan Harker. Those sad eyes perfectly reflect a character that we know is doomed.

Klaus Kinski has one of the strangest faces ever and here he is transformed into a rodent-like vampire in the Max Schrek tradition. He is skeletal, drained and weary. His performance conveys pity more than horror. His performance is probably the best of the bunch but I'll confess that his final death throw scene had me giggling.

The opening scene with the mummies is truly horrifying but has nothing to do with the film. Some of the best scenes are homages to the silent classic and the extended plague scenes in the town square are kind of cool. However, the ending seemed tacked on and the scene where they discuss how to arrest Van Helsing was completely ridiculous.

Ultimately, this film cannot really be judged against other Dracula films because it's not really about Bram Stoker's story as much as it is about Herzog's artistic vision.
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Irréversible (2002)
6 August 2004
Like a little child trying to shock his parents director Gasper Noe uses every trick in the book in an attempt to transform a very standard revenge story into `art.'

Dizzying cinematography, backwards storytelling and gratuitous violence are desperate attempts of an amateurish director trying too hard to create the biggest gross out that he can.

He succeeds in disgusting the audience, which I think is his primary goal. He may even succeed in shocking a few people but there is nothing more to Irreversible than shock tactics with some very boring bits in between.

I was surprised by how clichéd and monotonous this movie was. It is not subversive. It is not powerful. It says nothing.

Recommended only for those who enjoy wallowing in the worst kind of misery i.e. a really bad movie.
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Strangers with Candy (1999–2000)
6 August 2004
Words cannot explain Strangers with Candy. You need to see it to believe it and even then you'll be scratching your head in disbelief (while laughing your ass off of course).

The premise is that of a sick and twisted after school special from hell where all of the wrong lessons are learned. (Great one from Jellineck – `if you're going to smoke marijuana you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time laughing with your friends').

It is one of the smartest, subversive and exhilaratingly un-pc shows ever. It a makes fun of authority figures, the handicapped, minorities and that's just for starters. Each episode is crammed with one-liners and sight gags so numerous they'll make your head spin.

It's all in the delivery, folks. Principal Blackman (Gregory Hollimon), Noblet (Steven Colbert) and Jellineck (Paul Dinello) are all pitch perfect. In the hands of lesser talents these jokes would fall flat. The show has huge laughs. The entire Hit & Run episode comes to mind, as does the scene in The Virgin Jerri when Drake removes Jerri's toe separator from her filthy feet and sniffs it lustily or when Jerri recites the poem Packing a Musket to the class.

I could go on and on but just trust me - you HAVE to watch this show.
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Man Bites Dog (1992)
Belgium Bites Cinema
25 July 2004
Man Bites Dog is the most brilliantly sick and twisted, exhilarating and outrageous kick in the ass I've ever seen on film.

Benoit is a serial killer. He is charming and funny, recites poetry and philosophizes on love and architecture. A documentary camera crew follows him while he goes about his day – eating, visiting friends, playing music and killing. At first the camera crew merely observe his crimes but they soon become actively complicate and eventually everyone ends up dead.

Filming in documentary style is not merely an attempt to make the subject appear more realistic. It is a provocative way in which to illustrate what the film is REALLY about. It is an indictment of the observer. The audience identifies with the film crew, fascinated and disturbed by Ben's behavior and unable to look away. The observer is changed and manipulated by what is observed and the danger is that in observing we become immune to violence and ultimately become part of it.

Satire is tough. When it works it makes you think and see differently. When it fails it can give the appearance of celebrating what it attempts to mock. For those who see Man Bites Dog as simply depraved and exploitive, the satire has failed.

I saw this when it first came out in an appropriately desolate and grimy London cinema. It shocked me then and it shocks me still upon second viewing. I've never seen anything else quite like it. Other films have attempted to incite similar discussions on violence but Man Bites Dog is simply the best of its kind.
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The Dull Hereafter
21 July 2004
I had to laugh or else I'd cry – and not because a bus full of school children died.

I honestly can't imagine anyone being moved by this film. It is too distant to be involving, too vague to be meaningful, too slow to be engaging and too cold to be emotional. But boy, oh boy, is it funny.

The dialogue is so odd and unnatural that it becomes comical. Note the stagy way in which the detective's daughter talks. `Welcome to hard times, DADDY', `I like it when you don't believe me DADDY.' Come on, playing a drug addict is easy – just watch Courtney Love and imitate. Zoe doesn't sound drugged out but she must be because she always calls from a payphone where police sirens blast in the background. And Zoe comes off well in comparison to the unintentionally hilarious stroke victim and the Otto's who put their heads together, dry-eyed and sniffle, expecting us to believe that they are crying over their long lost son named, Bear, of all things.

Bravo to the generic and lifeless Sarah Polley who musters a tiny ounce of oomph to deliver `the big lie' at the end – you know, the one she said she would NEVER tell. She even attempts to glare at her father and later; if you look really close, it's the beginnings of a grin.

How ridiculous is the scene where Ian Holm recounts a spider bite story that goes absolutely NOWHERE? Why doesn't he remember Alison's father? Why does he get stuck in a CAR WASH? What is wrong with this guy?

And why is creepy Billy a saint for trying to convince Nicole's father not to sue? This anti-sue-happy town sure is unrealistic. Oh, they're Canadian. Thank explains it. Sure Ian Holm's acting is bad but does he really deserve the town's wrath for trying to gain a buck?

There is a really cheesy time transition scene, which illustrates how confused director Atom Egoyan is. He thinks the audience needs to be hand held in order to comprehend the passing of time and yet he fails to explain anything else in this perplexing tale with similar clarity.

Would people really behave the way these people do and what does it all mean anyway? Detective Stephens says that our children are all lost to us. The Pied Piper story echoes similar sentiments. Some school kids are dead while others grow up to become drug addicts and are as good as gone. One strange girl lives and because she tells a lie she is now, apparently, more pure than anyone else in town and well, that's it.

It is always wise to heed the immortal words of Radiohead – don't get sentimental, it always ends up drivel. The Sweet Hereafter doesn't even have enough power to illicit the feelings that sentimentality requires. It is the worst kind of drivel -the kind that attempts to be profound, fails and stumbles into pretension, leaving nothing worthy of redemption in its wake.
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Ultra Brilliance
1 July 2004
The future never looked so much like 1971 than in A Clockwork Orange and that could be a problem if you saw the film in 1971 but looking at it in 2004, the past starts to look the same as the future because both seem worlds away.

A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books and one of my favorite films. I like the artificiality of the language in Anthony Burgess' book and I like the artificiality of the sets and the costumes in Stanley Kubrick's film. The fact that Malcolm McDowell is way too old for the role is just another example of the artifice. But McDowell is perfectly mischievous and you can't imagine anyone else as Alex.

The violence is operatically sinister and exhilarating and that can cause problems for satirically challenged viewers. But irony is the most interesting and effective way to tackle the subject of violence

It is well known that Burgess' last chapter was left out of the American book version and out of Kubrick's film and that, without that chapter, the author's point was lost. Burgess believed that a clockwork orange did not exist, meaning that man is not destined to be either wholly good or wholly evil because of control of god or the state - because free will exists. Since the film ends with evil Alex made `good' by the state, and thus being `cured, alright' he is a clockwork orange and that was not the message that the author meant to convey. But it is a powerfully memorable ending to an amazing film.
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Mad Bad & Dangerous to Know
30 June 2004
Fahrenheit 911 is the best anti-war film I have ever seen. It is both a documentary and propaganda. All documentaries have a point of view and Michael Moore is no shrinking violet when it comes to kicking butt and taking names.

Moore's often cringe inducing antics are kept to a minimum and the film is more effective for his absence. When he does show up to try to recruit congressmen's sons to fight the war it is one of the film's finest moments.

Is this personal and brutal assault on the Bush administration unfair? Hardly. No position in the country should be looked at with a more critical eye and no one can make the president look more foolish than the president himself. The heavy-handed portrayal of Bush as an idiot initially plays for laughs but the comedy becomes black very quickly as the death toll mounts.

It's all so disturbing – the president's blank stare, the Saudi connection, the black screen as the planes hit the towers, the images of grieving families on both sides of the war. Is it exploitive? Is it manipulative? No more so than the nightly news.

The movie explores the economic hardships that lead people to serve in the military. This is hardly uncharted territory. We all know that the poor fight so that the rich don't have to. But knowing this doesn't lessen the impact of seeing US soldiers talking gleefully about killing. They are poor and misled and are fighting others who are equally poor and misled in a war with no purpose and no end in sight.

Moore's renegade style is exhilarating. He will stoop to any means necessary to expose hypocrisy and search for truth. If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing than he must be the most dangerous man in the country. This film will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you feel hopeless, helpless and angry. But ultimately, it will make you think and that is it's greatest accomplishment. Someone said that Fahrenheit 911 is Michael Moore's gift to the American people and I agree. In terms of history, what will Bush's gift be?
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Oh Jeez
25 June 2004
What you take away from The Passion is inextricably linked to what your religious beliefs are or aren't. I wish I could review this film in a DIS-passionate way but it's not possible. Although it shouldn't be part of a film review, I'd like to point out that I am angered by people who I've heard making statements that the film is 'as it was' and 'true to history'. I'd like to remind these people that not everyone believes what is in the bible to be true/history and that, more importantly, this is a film, made by a man, based a little bit on his interpretation of some famous books and with a whole lot of self righteous ego thrown in for good measure.

There are a few aspects worthy of recommendation. The photography is lovely and the mood is appropriately dark and somber. The character of Satan is portrayed in an interesting and frightening way. To hear the Aramaic language spoken gives the film an authentically ancient feel and the acting is fine all around.

However, this film is hugely un-insightful and the only unique or memorable thing about it will be the controversy generated by its maker.

This is the gospel according to Mel Gibson and he has chosen to focus on the passion/torture/death of Jesus rather than his life and teachings. This is his right and I knew this going in but while I watched the film I was annoyed by the prolonged and glorified images of the suffering. I don't have a problem with violence in films but I was bothered by the over the top way these scenes were filmed which, instead of making me really feel the 'passion', took me out of the film and made me think of Gibson doing interviews where he makes an ass of himself and talks a load of crap.

If an unknown filmmaker had made this film I would surely have had a more 'pure' film experience. My biggest problem with the film is that Pontius Pilate seems like such a nice guy and that that says less about Pontius Pilate and more about Mel Gibson than I care to know.
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Really Really Truly Bad and Awful
18 June 2004
I haven't seen such pretentious, self-indulgent twaddle since Elephant. Whoever said that Songs From the Second Floor is one of the best Swedish films ever made is not giving the Swedes nearly enough credit. They will do better and should - with ease. As for the Monty Python comparisons, I am inclined to agree. I think Monty Python is crap too. The themes covered in this film are timeless and fascinating and deserve a better treatment than this rambling essay. There is nothing here to engage the viewer. This is a torturous film to endure and I want my two hours back. Never has my fast forward button finger gotten such a work out. Avoid it like the plague.
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A Laugh Riot
18 June 2004
First, classic comedy/rock mockumentary which easily stands the test of time and far surpasses others who have tried to duplicate its style. This is Spinal Tap is loaded with hilarious quotes and ridiculous situations too numerous to mention. The cast is so good and so believable that it's downright frightening. Between the mock interviews, the pathetic life on the road scenes and the live performances it's hard to catch a breath between laughs. No matter how many time I see this film I laugh until I can't breath. I laugh in anticipation of what I know it coming and I'm laughing right now just thinking about it. I doubt that a comedy can receive a better recommendation that that.
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Queer as Folk (2000–2005)
Love It
14 June 2004
Ok let's be honest, Brian Kinney/Gale Harold is one very hot and sexy boy and for this reason alone I would happily watch Queer as Folk for all of eternity. Luckily enough, there are plenty of other reasons to watch QAF. Whether it's true to the gay lifestyle or not is irrelevant to me. This is highly addictive entertainment pure and simple.

The actors are all great with special mention going to Hal Sparks as Michael, the down to earth comic book shop worker who secretly pines for Brian, Sharon Gless as Debbie, Michael's brash and outspoken mother who takes all of the boys under her wing and Peter Paige as Emmett who is so sweet and funny that you want to give him a hug.

But it is Gale Harold's performance as the brooding, sarcastic and super promiscuous Brian Kinney that is the true standout. Brian is the charming jerk you love to hate. Despite his unpleasantness there is a wounded quality to him that hints at sensitivity far below the surface. Some of the other characters seem to revolve around him and his presence is felt even when he isn't on screen.

Innovative for its graphic content and subject matter, that QAF exists at all is a triumph and that is it successful shows that maybe, America isn't quite as homophobic as one would expect.
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Lost Highway (1997)
When Good Weird Goes Bad
7 June 2004
Watching Lost Highway is like watching a film made by someone trying to emulate a David Lynch film and failing. All of the Lynchian hallmarks are there - the gangster, duel identities, dream states, a mysterious man - but something intangible is missing. A mood is created but it's a mood that you see rather than feel. This film feels like an imposter.

Dissecting and deciphering a David Lynch film is usually fun stuff but trying to figure out Lost Highway is an exercise in futility and frustration. Does Fred die and become Pete? Does Pete die and become Fred? Is Pete real? Is Alice real? Are Alice and the Mystery Man the same person? Is the beginning of the film actually the end and the middle is the beginning? There are too many ideas/theories that could fit but none actually do.

In great films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive I felt like the director knew more than I did and was dropping hints along the way. With Lost Highway I get that sinking feeling that Lynch knows no more than I do about the mysterious world he created. Weirdness has been taken just about as far as it can go here and the result is something far from brilliant and closer to simply lost.
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