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Twin Peaks (2017)
Insulting. Disgusting. Awful.
12 February 2019
I watched this disaster to the end because the first two seasons are my favorites. I'm a huge Lynch film fan though I'm lukewarm on Inland Empire. There are a few scenes here and there that work, mostly the Lodge scenes but having some unnamed little kid killed the way it was done here was disgusting and manipulative. Lots of pointless scenes with the old characters. Cooper was wasted, the joke got really old really fast. His doppleganger character was rather lame and the way Bob was defeated stupid stupid stupid. I did like the ending though - some of the final scenes. A huge disappointment! I don't understand how this can be rated so highly, a large number of these reviews must be utterly fake. The emperor has no clothes!
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Bhutto (2010)
Not Much More Than Propaganda
17 December 2010
While I appreciated some of the basic information given in the film. I found it to be too one sided on the whole. The film is more about Pakistan's political history rather than Bhutto herself and politics are generally not well suited for documentaries because there will always be radically opposing views. The film did not give much more insight to who really runs Pakistan than a reading of wikipedia would have given - now that would have made for an interesting film. Going into this I knew little of her but those thoughts were positive but coming out my thoughts are actually negative - obviously opposite to what was intended. I can't see her role as more than a figurehead. She belongs to an elite class (attended Harvard) and is from a radically different world than the vast majority of Pakistanis - so I can understand the foundations of distrust against her. Yes, she was charismatic but that's not enough to be a political power - she seemed out of her league and her presence in such a position of power, forced, likely installed by the elite class in the world. I don't condone the actions of the opposing faction but I can understand their antagonism.
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Very Funny and Disturbing - Today
22 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Little Murders (1971, Alan Arkin) was excellent (except for Alan Arkin) I'm really surprised at the below 7 rating for this movie on IMDb. The only thing I can think of is that the characters don't really come across as people but as allegorical ideas - and while I usually don't care for up-front allegory in movies (most movies do a better job at hiding it), here it works. The comedy in this one is not dated at all (except for Alan Arkin's over-the-top humor bit - but his scene is just a minor cameo). Donald Sutherland has this incredible scene as an existential live and let live (go with the flow) wedding ceremony presider where the "deity is not to be mentioned". Elliot Gould (who I'm not a big fan of) here is at his best. He's got a monologue sequence reminiscent of Nicholson's in The King of Marvin Gardens. It all wraps up excellently - it's absurd, it's dark, it's evocative. 9/10
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Celuloza (1954)
Fractured and Incomplete
10 July 2008
I rented this because I loved the two other Kawalerowicz films I've seen. The movie is frustrating for a few reasons. Firstly, about 1/3 of the subtitles are unreadable in the copy I rented - the text is all wavy-like. Of course this makes it a bit hard to follow the story at times unless you understand Polish. Secondly, during the second half there are some very large gaps in the narrative as if there's been a great deal of editing. For instance, at one point it seems like the main character's going to go to officer school and the next moment he's unemployed again. Finally, this movie is actually Part One of a two part movie series. The second part is a movie called Under the Phrygian Star which as far as I can tell is not easily available. With all that out of the way, the story follows the life of one man in Poland during the 30s at a time of political and social unrest. The lead actor is excellent though a bit of a cipher. He's mostly just a passive observer. By the way, the plot description is a little off, he is not a political radical/communist in part one - rather he is always on the sidelines. It's apparent at the end though that this will change in part two. The movie has a very epic feel to it but the jumps in narrative are very disconcerting. Reminds me a bit of Man of Marble. Very well shot and has some noirish aspects to it.
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Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Surprisingly Excellent
14 March 2008
I've seen about a dozen Preminger films and this is my favorite. I wasn't expecting too much once the movie began because it seemed I had seen this all done before but Preminger's characters (as is usually the case) are much more realistic than typical Hollywood movies of this era. The characterization actually compares favorably to foreign films of the time, like for example Quai des Orfèvres from the same year; this movie could easily have been a French production. I'm not much a fan of Crawford or Fonda but this is probably the best I've seen Fonda; and Crawford was just fine. Dana Andrews is superb - probably his best movie! What made this movie for me was that I could relate to all three main characters - in many ways they are more ideas (or philosophies) than actual people but the odd thing is that the line was so blurred that even though I knew this was the case I still enjoyed them as people. What puts this above the other Premingers I've seen is the very tight script, the fast pacing, and three fully realized characters that came across not only as real but as themes in themselves. Add in a memorable supporting cast and everything just blends together to make a perfect concoction.
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13 October 2007
I watched House of Usher earlier in the day. I don't understand how these are both rated the same. House of Usher (7/10) is decent - it has good atmosphere (even with garish color), a very good supporting cast, the Mark Damon character being the weak point there and satisfactory dialogue.

Pit and the Pendulum is just plain awful which is odd since it came out the next year. The dialogue is very poor (can't believe this was written by Matheson) and the acting awful - even from the generally reliable Price. There's no atmosphere at all in this one. The last sequence of scenes is fairly good for the most part but you have to watch 70 minutes of drek before you get there.
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Nothing to see here...
15 May 2007
I liked Ruiz' Three Crowns of the Sailor enough so I checked this one out. I only watched The Suspended Vocation (and only glanced at the other film after being disappointed with this one). There was really nothing to interest me here. It's a bit like Bresson but with nothing of note visually. The entire movie is just an abstract discussion of religion. The alternation of actors and color/b&w (somewhat like a Bunuel film) meant nothing to me - perhaps there was a deeper meaning to it but I really didn't care. Another film this reminded me somewhat of was The Trial due to the endless soporific dialogue (none of the imagery though - oh no, none of that). Yes, I'd call this one pretentious.
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The Man Who Cried (1993 TV Movie)
A movie that honors an awful man
15 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I have not read the original story so take that in mind with my view - I suspect that the movie adaptation missed out on a lot that would explain his behavior and put the main character in a more favorable light. This movie is well shot and very well acted - I can't wait to see Ciaran as Caesar in Rome. I consider myself far from the moral majority but criminy! - the man leaves his wife with no adequate pretense at all and subjects his child to a vagabond life and forces him to multiple major lies. His first infidelity is the cause of two parent's deaths (the movie is awful in trying to place the blame on his wife). Then he marries a second time while still married to his first wife and has a child by his second wife's sister. Again, I'm no moral prude but this guy has no respect for other people. He really is a hateful man - his only quality is his good looks. The movie and all the characters therein (like his second wife) eventually all put him on a pedestal. Maybe his actions all seem juicy to some people, I don't know. If the movie had tried to paint him in an unfavorable light I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more but having to submit myself to its worship of this man - is something I couldn't stomach.
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Slice of Life
5 November 2006
Several reviewers here have a hard time figuring out what the movie is about. It's simply a Slice of Life film, like say Diner or more appropriately Hope and Glory. Actually, it's quite a bit like Boorman's film though this film coalesces at the end. The American Sergeant took a little getting used to but I'm glad they didn't get Gary Cooper for the role. Loved the shots of the countryside - especially the whole scene where Alison and Colpeper are hiding in the wheat. I loved how dark some of the scenes were - you see that very rarely in movies - where you can barely make out the character's faces under relatively ordinary circumstances (here it was used to stress "lights out!"). This and The Red Shoes are my favorite Powell movies.
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Slimy Little Shocker
28 October 2006
I found this to be a very effective little shocker of a film. I later read that the actors weren't really aware of each other's lines or where the story was going while it was being filmed - so that the reactions filmed are supposed to be impromptu. This one's attitude reminded me a lot of In The Company of Men which came out just the year before. The guy reminded me of Aaron Eckhart as well. A perfect tight little short. You can find the movie on Short Cinema Journal 1:4 - Seduction. There are a couple of other worthwhile films on that DVD like T.R.A.N.S.I.T. and Lily and Jim. As I recall the movie is about 5 minutes long...
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My Favorite Quay Film
23 October 2006
I like the lower production value of this one. It's also the darkest Quay film - lots of shadows and you're never sure about what you're seeing. I've only seen it twice but it features a man (figurine), his bleak apartment, and a trolley that passes by, next to and through his abode. The figure ends up taking a trip on it through the city. Some of it is dream - some is reality - which is which is hard to determine. Very good music from apparently either late 19th or early 20th century. This is best watched at 1 am when all is dark and quiet. This film is in the Special Features section of the recently released DVD so some viewers might miss it.
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Don Sajn (1971)
Origins of South Park?
18 October 2006
I've only seen a few episodes of South Park but this movie reminded me so much of that show that I have to believe that the SP creators were inspired by this one. First off, here you have life size puppets living in a real world whereas in South Park you have cardboard cutouts living in an animated world. The movements of the characters in both worlds are very similar. The dialogue is very South Parkish - the jester character is very similar to one or more characters in the TV show. Finally, you have lots of violence and blood in this movie. The scene where holes are poked in the puppet and streams of blood pour out is very South Parkish. This movie is also similar to Svankmajer's later work Faust.
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Wish I Spoke Czech
13 October 2006
Couldn't really enjoy this as much as I'd like to. It seems that the entire poem is recited here - problem is I don't understand Czech and the visuals while good don't really stand on their own. This is one case where subtitles don't really work because they prevent the visuals from being appreciated. Someone should redo this with the poem recited in English. I don't think Mr Svankmajer would object. For a better Poe work by Svankmajer check out The Pit, the Pendulum and Hope. Actually, that movie's the best Poe adaptation I've ever seen. Both of these films can be found on the recently released two DVD set of Svankmajer short films called Collected Shorts Of Jan Svankmajer.
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A Film Without Genre
3 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What makes this one very interesting to me is that it's hard to categorize. In fact most of Lewton's films are (it's a shame he died so young). Even though Lewton was a mere producer he co-wrote this one along with the two other Karloff film. The writing is where these Lewton films excel. This one starts off as a war movie, then moves to what appears as a horror film when they land on the island (an island cemetery - not too hard to imagine for Greece). Then it becomes a psychological mystery followed closely by what seems to be a vampire movie - but then it changes to what appears to be a faith vs science story. Finally, it becomes full fledged horror but surprisingly it's non-fantastical. The movie is firmly based on the real world. It keeps changing gears so that you never know what to expect - some viewers will be put off by this since it doesn't follow the rules of the majority of films. The drama is not overly exciting until we approach the end - everything is very low key, again some viewers may not appreciate this. Karloff gives a good performance - no one else stands out really but the writing is excellent and the actors are propped up by it. Finally, I have to say that some of the scenes in the vault were very creepy even by modern standards - reminded me of some of David Lynch's films.
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The Falls (1980)
NOT a movie
17 September 2006
This really isn't what most people would call a "movie". It uses the film _media_ in a totally different method than what we are accustomed to. Of course I'm probably repeating something I've read elsewhere but this is really a "Visual Encyclopedia" or something like that anyway. I'm sure most of you have seen "movies" in a driver's education class - I'm thinking of the movies we had to drive to on virtual car machines back in high school in the 70s - now you wouldn't put those movies in the same class as Hudsucker Proxy now would you? Just because something was filmed on a visual media doesn't mean it's a "movie". Imagine Encyclopedia Britannica making a movie of their books - that's kind of what we have here - or better yet, imagine a dictionary in "movie" format in which each word instead of being spelled out is given a 5 second video clip - now splice all these video clips together and that's kinda what we have here.
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Simple and sweet
12 September 2006
First off, I'd like to point out that the silent and "sound" versions are the same movie (same images from start to end), except that the intertitles have been removed from the "sound" version and voices dubbed in (sorta like what they did with Chaplin's The Gold Rush in 1942, except that here the conversion works fine instead of being hellishly awful). The "sound" version has little background sound being mainly voices here and there - and there is little speaking anyway. More importantly though, on the DVD I rented, the picture quality of the silent version was atrocious while that of the "sound" version pristine. All that said this is a very simple and sweet fable, aspects of which reminded me of Picnic at Hanging Rock as well as some of Gus van Sant's latest movies. One of the best films from the early 30s.
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I was entertained
10 September 2006
I wouldn't say this movie is "bad" because I was entertained for the most part though probably not in the way the director intended. The cast is pretty hilarious. Just watching these four "characters" wandering about is a sight for sore eyes. I liked the Kissinger-look-alike Scientist, the white-machinist-looking businessman Stanton (reminds me of the guy who does/did the horoscope for The Onion), and especially his buddy who stays behind looking over the shoulder of "Dave" while making the most inane comments and looking cheerful throughout. The memory of the women standing by the computers out in back brings tears to my eyes. There's also an pseudo-intelligent little twist towards the end - and the ending was cool.
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Hukkle (2002)
There's a lot more going on that meets the eye
24 March 2006
I nearly missed it the first time. I then re-watched the movie. There really is one core story going on here - the movie only diverges from this story in a handful of scenes. There is A LOT more going on than what you might originally suspect. You need to be very observant of what's going on in each scene especially the glances given by people. Follow objects and people around - try to memorize a few faces. I rewound the DVD a couple of times on my second viewing just to check up on people to make sure who was who. A very bizarre story it is - apparently inspired by true events. Loved the music and of course the imagery is fantastic.
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Cute but Poor Transfer
20 May 2005
This is a filmed crossword puzzle - 3 vertical and 3 horizontal so 6 riddles in all. Visual clues are given and it's up to the audience to solve the puzzle. Except for one of the words, it's pretty easy to solve - though kids might find it challenging. The film is about 15 minutes long and is quite snazzy - lots of camera movement, overlays, animation, all combined together - Leni pulls out all the stops and haves fun in the process. I'd rate it higher except that the transfer is pretty bad in that there's a sizable chunk cut-off on the left hand side making it difficult or even impossible to read some of the inter-titles. Still, a pretty interesting use of the medium. This film can be found on the Waxworks DVD.
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