Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
This is a stab at setting up a horror franchise in the manner of 'Insidious' or 'The Conjuring' both of which were directed by director of the present offering, James Wan.
Writing is definitely not James' strong suit. The plot of 'Malignant' is feeble and nutty, so ludicrous as to be amusing, and indeed I found myself breathless with laughter at times watching this tripe. The pace is completely off and its tone is all over the place. The dialogue is drivel, "driveling being characteristic of children, idiots, and dotards." I was confused as to who the target audience was but not confused enough to ever want to be member of it.
The cast ticks the racial quotient boxes that have become so important these days. But the troupe cannot act. Not for toffee. The wig on the principal Maddie Hasson is inexcusable. Annabelle Wallis is a better actress than poor Maddie but is a charisma vacuum. Not that any of the other actors and actresses come off any better. Far from it.
The film references 'The Ring', 'The Shining', 'Hereditary', 'The Babadook' but does not rival any decent horror flick. Not by a long chalk. Talking of 'Hereditary'. There is a doll's house sequence that is really effective near the beginning of the film and we see a doll's house later in the movie, but alas these references come to nothing.
Look out for the scene of the estranged Mother falling through the ceiling. It is comedy gold. As is the scene in the drunk tank, or in today's parlance public inebriation center.
The high rating howsoever obtained may justify financial backing for the next film in the franchise. Brace yourself for 'Malignant 2.'
Kolskaya sverhglubokaya (2020)
It references 'Alien', 'Aliens', 'The Thing', 'Resident Evil' etc. It has production values on a par with 1970s 'Dr. Who' and 'Blake's Seven.' This is not a criticism, but having a poor story and script makes the telling grate. The version I watched was dubbed very badly and the (literal?) translation was frequently laughable. It has dialogue and scenes to make you smile, like the character Anya (Milena Radulovic) preening in a mirror as she takes a phone call. (Maybe I missed the point.) Things don't hot up until Anya strips down to her thundercrackers, but the excitement is short lived and the coda is stretched out to a painful extent. One of the worst films I've ever watched. Its current IMDB rating of 4.9 seems somewhat inflated.
The Night House (2020)
Lots of teeth but no bite
The director and writers talk a good game but this is not a good film. It promises much and points in multiple directions but does not deliver. It is very similar to 'The Ritual' in this respect. Maybe it was intended to be a mini-series on Netflix. The story has elements and characters that go nowhere.
I think we would all agree with the dictum that an actors' appearance is a legitimate concern in a visual medium and therefore open to comment. The principal is a very good actress but seems to be skirting or has flirted with anorexia. She looks like Jacinda Nervosa. Her long jaw and thin face give the impression of a mouth full of loose teeth, which she's going to start spitting out at any moment. It was distracting.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
I watched the film alone sitting in a very comfortable airplane seat, in the middle of an empty 200+ seater cinema with an excellent sound system and a massive screen, so I wasn't distracted by folks leaving or falling asleep around me as some allegedly experience.
As evidenced by the mixed reviews here, the film has many qualities one can rave or rant about. The makers of this movie were gifted an interesting story and intriguing cityscape. As one would expect, the design and sound design are exceptional, as are the performances, though Robin Wright's diction doesn't gibe with a solecism like, "You done good...", or a colloquialism like "Attaboy..." In my view, Ryan Gosling is especially good, as is Sylvia Hoeks.
The premise of the story - that Rachael had the apparatus to conceive and give birth - comes far out of leftfield. The weakest points: the make believe that slavery is some sort of aberration in human affairs; and that we ought to aspire to be present at some sort of Zion-like rave with variously tattooed and pierced Social Justice Warriors (cinemas need receptacles for vomit like aircraft).
Overall, it is as wonderful as the original. The cityscapes are pretty special, and it has an enchanting atmosphere. A classic.
"Silent is the House - all are laid to sleep"
Pretty good gloss of the sisters and their political, social, and cultural environment. Several female no nonsense English academics make an appearance here. It will be a sadder world when this species disappears. The weakest link is Shahidha Bari, making up the diversity quotient. She extrapolates extravagantly from a butterfly to slavery in one fell swoop. She makes some other rather blinkered and laughably woeful comments on 'Jane Eyre,' specifically on the tumultuous events in the period of the novel's setting and publication without, amazingly, mentioning the 1832 Reform Act. Anyone with a knowledge of English history would highlight its importance. Of course, this is the 21st century and standards have fallen and are continuing to fall, especially in academia. This decline in standards is also reflected in the sketches depicting scenes from the novels and lives of the sisters. Eeek! Things have changed a lot in Yorkshire since the Bronte's flourished. These days the girls would be in danger of being groomed by an Asian gang. These days a Yorkshire stream runs yellow with turmeric.
Morvern Callar (2002)
As one would expect from the BBC, this movie is pants. The writer doesn't seem to know anything about anything. The music selection is as Barry Judd would say, "Very pussy!" And it seems the cameraman or the director just discovered depth of field. Stupid across the board. Samantha Morton is a helluva presence onscreen though. It has to be said. She saves this film, and makes it for no other reason watchable.
Overlord DVD (2017)
Wastes people's time with fake news stories. Has no respect for other people or their time. Feeds lies to the internet. A click baiter. A no-know.
On a Plate without the Plate
Never much cared for the 1977 Argento original. Never saw its appeal though I watched it several times to prove myself wrong.
This film, a remake and re-imagining I suppose, goes on and on and on. And. On. You get to feel the full weight of its two and a half hours. It doesn't have an end because its story is confused and has no clear resolution.
To me it wanted to magisterially unify cultural, social, artistic, and political trends in the manner of Thomas Mann's 'Doctor Faustus.' Alas, film is not the best medium for that type of venture. More successfully its mood hearkens back to Zulawski's 'Possession' (1981) with which it shares a locale and its era, the latter simulated of course.
Of the dance: Dance is notoriously difficult to film well. And it isn't filmed well here. The director might have looked at films of Michael Clark's ballets for inspiration, some of which are mind-blowingly excellent.
Of the music: When not having a bad case of the bowies, Yorke succumbs to tubular bells. Then, sort of nothing.
What's the opposite of synergy?
El Topo (1970)
Romanticism A.D. 1970
Schopenhauer famously said that, "compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he, who is cruel to living creatures, cannot be a good man." I wonder what he'd think of cruelty to animals for film-making purposes, as we see in Jodorowsky's 'El Topo.'
Jodorowsky is not alone of course nor, of his works, is 'El Topo'. In Robert Bresson's 'Au hasard Balthazar' the eponymous donkey has a firecracker tied to its tail and lit. Through the donkey's distress, Bresson wanted to make a comment about Jesus or something. For a scene in 'Andrei Rublev,' Tarkovsky had a horse shot in the neck and rammed down a flight of steps. The horse was on its way to the knacker's yard anyway, Tarkovsky reasoned.
'El Topo' is cited as the first cult film of the 1970s. It was championed by John Lennon no less. Though Lennon's plausibility as an arbiter of taste has to be called into question. (Y'know, Yoko.) But the film is garbage, a fever dream of bits and pieces picked up here and there. For example, the man holding the lamp in the daylight, a nod to Diogenes of Sinope... It's a carnival of all gods and myths, as was once said.
The film's look is a fusion of 'A Fistful of Dollars' and Pasolini's 'Oedipus Rex' and this is the most interesting aspect of the film. Maybe if it were viewed in the ambience of the 1960s, and through the LSD-colored spectacles of same, we'd somehow see it as meaningful. Just as nowadays, the woke lens allows the woke to see profundity in the most abject nonsense.
I don't have a crystal balls or indeed a crystal ball but I feel the destiny of Jodorowsky awaits a number of present-day cult filmmakers. For some it will happen when they lie a-moldering in the grave. Not that they'll care, of course. "The race is not to the swift..." etc. They will rest (in peace) on their laurels.
Alejandro Jodorowsky has said, and this quote can be found here on the IMDB, "Most directors make films with their eyes. I make films with my balls." In support of his claim I'll add that his films certainly give off the stench of fetid underwear. Especially under those leather pants. Ugh.
The Edge (1997)
The Business of the Wilderness
Taciturn billionaire, Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins), accompanies a troupe on a photo shoot to the 'wilderness.' Fresh succulent supermodel Mickey Morse (Elle Macpherson), his wife, seems to be pretty chummy with the equally youngish photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin)-both tuned into a frequency that suggests they may have done it, will do it-or may in fact be doing it! Green the photographer comes across as sordid and cynical-a person with hidden shallows: MTV material. But so does Mickey.
Well-dressed Charles Morse is also a mine of useless information, but we are made mindful of the fact that he seems painfully aware of the difference between declarative knowledge (knowing stuff), and procedural knowledge (being able to do things)... but we don't know why this might be significant. The age difference between husband and wife is underscored when Charles falls victim to a pretty outrageous practical joke.
This is the first part of the film. The direction, photography, and acting are all first rate. The dialogue is okay but clearly functional. Then, on some feeble pretext, Hopkins and Baldwin, with another character, Stephen (Harold Perrineau), making up the racial quota, fly out somewhere to crash into a lake.
This is the second and final part of the part of the film. The three characters are in the backwoods, and there is a Bear (played by Bart the Bear). How are they going to survive, eh?
After Perrineau's character is used as sound boarding by Hopkins and Baldwin you just know he's not going to make it. Sure enough, Bart upstages Perrineau's Stephen something rotten. The film goes swiftly, up mountain, through valley, and down hill from then on. Not to give anything away there is an incident, and Hopkins and Baldwin look like two mislaid extras from 'One Million Years B. C.,' but blink and you've missed it.
The sub-plot is Hopkins growing awareness of Baldwin's love/lust for his wife, and the likelihood that Green is out to kill him, despite his billions. (It's so unfair.) Baldwin suggests that being rich is a big disadvantage when it comes to love. (There wasn't a dry pair of underwear in the house.) Hopkins's mine of useless information becomes part means by which they can survive, but more than that even, is his all-American, get-up-and-go-and-bust-your-hump work ethic, that saves the day.
The film's dialogue is pretty flimsy (filmsy?) in the second part and despite good performances from both Baldwin and Hopkins it is a pleasantly drear affair. I expected some sort of solidarity to develop between them, by which Elle Macpherson would be ostracized by both, or some sort of rumination on the nature of knowledge, man in the universe-that sort of thing. Instead, the two leads veer off to explore a situation that is not consistent with their characters and which does not convince-and so the film gasps and splutters out.
At the end we are left with the impression that society functions according to the concept of survival of the fittest. It is only biological that Hopkins should be a billionaire, and that both the libertine and the bro from the hood, when weighed, would be found wanting, wretchedly so. Do we find out why he seems painfully aware of the different types of knowledge? Not really, except whatever he was doing in the boardroom and the bedroom fits in perfectly well with the wilderness too. He has the edge: three cheers for social Darwinism.
A closing remark. In Shakespeare, as the reader is no doubt aware, edge, the noun, means sexual desire in a man, being related to a point, as of a sword, and thus with especial reference to erection.
Hamlet. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.
Ophelia. You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
Hamlet. It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
Ophelia. Still better, and worse.
Maybe it's relevant.
On the outskirts of the fallen Spanish Empire
On the outskirts of the fallen and largely forgotten Spanish Empire angst-ridden and po-faced Ema, manipulative and deceitful, contrives an evil plan to advance for herself solipsistic illusions of permanence and continuity. Desultory nods toward fire and water as elemental forces driving this story are an attempt to hoodwink the viewer into believing there is a metaphoric superstructure holding this nonsense together. In lieu of dialogue, the actors stare at each other very solemnly and nod occasionally. Dance is dialed in to tease the viewer into believing the inability to engage in speech is an aesthetic choice rather than the failing of the writers. The dancing is, other than the opening number against images of the sun, silly and embarrassing. The music, reggaeton, is, perhaps aptly, characteristic of the genre being both misogynistic and sadistic. Santiago Cabrera, Cristobel Rios, captain of the La Sirena from the appalling Picard series, makes an appearance. Valparaíso looked nice as did Paula Luchsinger. Obviously the writers made it up as they went along much like the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Somewhere along the line the Chilean gene pool seems to have bottle-necked.
Scum Manifesto (1976)
P.I.G.s (Politically Involved Girlies).
Delphine Seyrig sits opposite Carole Roussopoulos with a television physically between them. Seyrig translates passages from the S. C. U. M Manifesto and Roussopoulos types them up. That's it. We are to understand that the television is an 'eye' on the world, its screen a chorus to the spoken text of the manifesto. This is trite nonsense of course. The film is neither entertaining nor interesting.
The book Seyrig is translating from is S. C. U. M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto. It is a proto-woke text penned by the demented Valerie Solanas. The title of the film bowdlerizes the original title, and there are in fact S. C. U. M. deniers. The text is interesting but Valerie was unable to take a step back and review her work objectively, or gain any insight into what she was doing. She went full throttle, shot Andy Warhol, and ended up (poor cow) in an Institute for the Criminally Insane.
Some folks think Valerie is great. These are, according to Andy Warhol, PIGs (Politically Involved Girlies).
Friends: The Reunion (2021)
Cringe-worthy and Embarrassing
Really enjoyed the show as much as I disliked this reunion. First the women: Jennifer Aniston is the star, albeit leathery these days. Courtney Cox appears to be transitioning into an early hominid. Lisa Kudrow, the most beautiful, seems also the most decent. Beautiful is as beautiful does, I suppose. The men: Matt LeBlanc seems a decent chap. Matthew Perry, God love him, seems a wreck. David Schwimmer should go easy on the cosmetic procedures, and perhaps ought to have a check-up on his liver. He is definitely yellowish.
This was an unnecessary reunion for the fans though maybe Perry, and Schwimmer need the cash? Cringe-worthy and embarrassing.
Of the 'guest stars': James Corden: cordon bleu or Corden bleurgh! You decide.
Cara Delevingne: her maternal grandmother Janie Sheffield was lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. It doesn't hurt that Joan Collins is also her godmother. These are glorious expedients should talent evade you.
Malala Yousafzai? David Beckham? Kit? Lady Gaga? Why?
Knives Out (2019)
In the Back
Thinly-veiled allegory of how the US will be subsumed by the Hispanosphere due to the corruption and intransigence of the WASPs who created it. Ryan thinks this is great.
Small Axe: Lovers Rock (2020)
I won't be the first to say this but memory is the recounting of a past that never happened.
To be clear, this film has many impressive qualities, but I have a problem with its depiction of psychopathy. Malick takes the deeply poignant story of the Starkweather-Fugate murder spree in 1958 Nebraska, and makes of it a pastoral. It looks at the murder spree from the disengaged, apathetic, and indifferent perspective of the killers. When I say poignant, I mean, of course, deeply poignant for the victims and the bereaved. The film conceals Starkweather and Fugate's intensely cruel actions, and puts two very beautiful people in their roles: Sheen and Spacek have beautiful, expressive, faces, sympathetic, intelligent, and friendly. Their soulfulness is totally at odds with the 'actions' they depict, the actions of the originals, and this creates a sort of whimsical, trite frisson. This is the film's artistic alibi. In oil painting this is called teasing, and is another word for deceit or artistic fraud. Check out the real photos of Charles Starkweather and Fugate. Charlie looked like a halfwit. Fugate, a nondescript. The US loves its spree killers and serial killers. It is something to do with individualism or something. In 1993, I read on IMDb, the film was selected for preservation by the American Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Well yeah. The American Library of Congress and the Zodiac Killer agree on this one.
K in reverse
An intriguing and exciting first 10 minutes or so. The film has beautiful cinematography, beautiful colors, well-composed scenes, and is indeed very stylish throughout, sometimes accompanied by good music. Nice performances from Cranston and the young goose, a miscast Albert Brooks, né Einstein (that always tickles me), as a character-type best played by Joe Pesci (think Nicky Santoro from Casino). Ron Perlman dialed his in. Film has less dialogue than 2001: A Space Odyssey, but alas no story. Things happen. Of course, these days the writer can say well the main character, y'know, he's autistic or has Asperger's etc. The film is not therefore engaging. Driver is K in reverse. Horrible font on the credits, and poster, n'all. Is this type of mimed play where we're all heading?
Judging by the Works Cited section at the end of the film the makers of the film had the courage of other people's convictions.
Outer Space (1999)
Watching Outer Space no one can hear you scream...
Seizure-inducing white noise, flashing lights and flickering patterns. Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) is a serious concern here. Should come with a health warning. I turned it off 3 times in the first five minutes as it made me bilious. I then let the film go as it was neither enlightening nor entertaining. A non-communicative tour de force.
The Staggering Girl (2019)
What's the opposite of synergy?
This film has a great cast, great photography, great landscapes, beautiful costumes, wonderful music (Sakamoto). Yet it is less than the sum of its parts. What's the opposite of synergy? The word we're looking for is dysergy.
Ukrainian Mail-Order Bride
The photography is really very good. The directing is also accomplished. The acting of the two main characters is fine. The film however goes nowhere. It seems an abbreviated feature rather than a short, and essentially a mimed play. The resulting gaps in the story are meant to indicate profound depths, or perhaps just depths? This strategy does not convince. An affecting story, it would have been better as a full-length feature.
Not Even Shallow
The film got my attention because of the poem (Islands by Yusef Komunyakaa) voiced over the images the beginning. After a few minutes however the movie became confusing and disengaging. Apparently it was zigzagging betwixt South London and Chicago's South Side. This I got from IMDb's synopsis because it really wasn't at all clear from the film. According to the synopsis, this film is an investigation. Investigation? Never having heard of the director I found myself making (internally) encouraging and sympathetic noises as I felt pity for the maker of such a trite effort. The film makes absolutely no attempt to communicate. It's not even shallow.
Cuatro paredes (2021)
A very pretty woman in a very pretty house with very pretty cats talks about pretty much nothing. That's pretty much it. Pretty useless really.
Not to be not missed
Kenneth Branagh is the man who put the ham in Hamlet. The production boasts the gravity of a frenzied jamboree of boy scouts. Branagh and Emma Thompson became the Ken and Barbie of the Shakespeare Industry. Compare Branagh's equally feverish Ado, and passim.
Cold Meridian (2020)
Narcissism is a Narcotic
This film is unique in that the trailer is the same length as the actual feature. Just kidding. But weighing in at seven minutes the film is arguably seven minutes too long.