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The first M to the Third Man?
It does follow the original M concept, it does pay hommage through several iconic sounds and images to Fritz lang's work. But that's it.
If this show has a filiation, it's to the third man and Welles. Of course, it takes place in Vienna, and a number of images are direct hommages to Welles. It also has the same dark violent, somehow nihilistic tone, that the Third Man has, especially in regards to power, politics and the single soul.
Departing from Lang's post impressionism, it favors Welles vibrant contrasts, and does translate them in beautifully constructed and shot color scenes.
It may be low on dialogs and surprises, but characters and violence are strong.
But what makes it worth watching is the rational step of tilting Lang's story towards far right political manipulation, new asocial guilt free political models, and the egotism of individuals.
The victims are not so innocent, the cops and scum not so clearly separated, and the monster not sympathetic but rather estranged.
All in all, forget Lang, and enjoy a rather well crafted mini-series.
Il silenzio dei prosciutti (1994)
You'll always be compared to police squad
And you shall always fail in that regard. But you can still be pretty watchable nevertheless.
The silence of the hams lacks rhythm, consistency, killer one liners, but has a reasonable number of one line killers. Yes it is not Airplane and doesn't feature Leslie Nielsen, but it has 2 a minute references to classics, it has a great "spot them if you can" line up of cameos, plus as many lookalikes as one can wish for.
Self standing, it has very funny moments and warrants a play along smile the rest of the time. Dom De Luise is rejoicing in deconstructing the excesses of Hannibal's previous portrayals, note i'm not giving out any name.
So invite a few friends, lay out the relaxing fares of your choice, turn off the demanding parts of your brain, turn on the fun features, and have a good time. That's the movie for it.
Could have been great
One feels how hard it has been to fill in 10 episodes. It seems like every idea is re-used again and again, particularly with so many doppelgängers hanging around the main characters.
The horror, often verging on gore, is standard fare and will leave aficionados of the genre quickly bored.
Which leaves the part about racism, and this should have been explored more. It is in these moments where the show reflects the daily ordinary matter of factly racism that it touches on where the real horror content could have been. It is for instance much more brutal to see a lawn and house covered with black dolls by hateful neighbors than the wholly ridicule vigilante scene with cut off finger. It is much more shocking to witness redlining discussed at board level than caricatural psychiatrist with knack for shock treatment.
It's a pity, this show could have been much more, cast is great, the David Lynch styled photography brings the same otherworldliness that worked so well in Blue Velvet.
And it is the moments where the series explores this otherworldliness of being black in an all-white world that work the best.
Finally one special mention for episode 8, the covenant 2, which works as a stand alone, and tackles the hypocrisy of faith vs racism.
Cinema Toast (2021)
Easter eggs, and christmas cookies, for the cine buffs
Nothing wildly experimental here, but the pleasant tradition of reworking dialogs and editing of past reels, with a post MTV freedom. From "What's up tiger lily" to "Dead men don't wear plaids", or the brilliant offering from France "la classe américaine", the genre has been well trodden.
But the choices made here make these episodes a worthwhile addition, it is not overtly parodic or satirical, it does not fish for laughs, but rather offers an offbeat game of hide and seek for the cinephiles, or just for the late night insomniac maniacal TV viewer like me, across familiar images, weirdly unfamiliar messages.
The closest offering one could parallel it to is the wonderful "documentary now".
To make it sweeter, there's a who's'who voice over cast, Armisen, Offerman, Stolz, Aubrey Plaza, Matthew Gray Gubler, colmann domingo, fineman, melons, and more.
It's a wonderful world meets news from the world, from suddenly i ripped off last summer to ed wood's Karens and night of the living Karls, from inspired by true events to decided by false possibilities and yes, Cars finally meet Herbie.
Bus as is said in episode 9, "i don't want to insert myself in their narrative."
If you like movies, you'll love this. If you're the occasional cinema goer, with no movies older than this this millenium under your belt, you might get bored. Your choice, ladies and gentlemen, and if you don't know who's Herbie, then "frankly, i don't give a damn, my dear".
Inherit the Wind (1960)
This is a great movie, and that is the problem.
If we were lucky enough not to have opinions, or worse certitudes, about Darwin or creationism, we could enjoy "Inherit the wind" for what it is, a well directed vehicle for some of the best actors of its time. Stunning camera work, punchy dialogs, some award worthy secondary roles acting, Akins is a must see, and all the know how that made Tracy, March and Kelly household names.
Yes, we could have a jolly good time of a movie. And we should, from the opening credits, with the astute use of the song "gimme that old time religion" to highlight the old west walk of the town officials from court to school. Followed by the 2 hours long compelling mix of film noir esthetics, the use of shadows and.slightly unbalanced camera angles, and dialogs worthy of the best social commentary blended with great comedy movies, with the right mix of one liners and speeches.
The movie offers passion, be it for the belief in science or the belief in religion, but also for a more cynical belief in the power of words. In the end the three main characters are first and foremost men of words, and the actors do leave room to consider if the characters are not more interesting in listening to their own voice than to whatever principle they stand for. It also offers satire both of small town mentality and big city arrogance, one gets a feel that the seriousness shown by the townsfolk vs the levity of the city fellas is actually used to highlight the overall issue of simple belief vs principled cause. And if we do take a step backward from the actuality of the debate, this is what makes this a great movie.
And this is also what makes it a problem. There is an exchange between the lawyer for evolution (Tracy) and the wife of the prosecutor for creationism (Eldridge): -He still has a very loud voice (says Tracy of his opponent) -He still has something to say (answers the wife) And still, these three people are and remain old time friends. And that encapsulates the issue. In these times when school, science, religion, freedom of expression and excess of principles are again colliding in the worst ways, it seems we can't pick friends over sides anymore.
Let's be provocative and summarize the movie, ignoring the issue, an outlaw teacher advances his beliefs, in contradiction to the laws of his place. He's attacked by opinionated no nuance officials led by a public figure who wants to make good of the occasion, he is defended by loud mouthed lawyer and journalist who want to make a point. Nots so clear cut then. But this is because that is not the point of the movie, neither is the choice between evolution and creationism, this movie is about the confrontation of ideas, the confrontation of how to communicate, the confrontation of voices.
The importance of this movie is not who's right or wrong, it is that debate, public and private, prevails, and, wherever, whatever, we come from, that is what should make us humans!
Roe v. Wade (2021)
propaganda of first grader level
This movie is history re-writing. But, if you take the time to source the real facts before you watch it, then it becomes incredibly funny! It's like a beginners course in propaganda, so heavy handed, massively manipulative, degree zero of finesse, that it actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times.
No attempt here to even pretend not to be one sided. Everybody is stereotyped to the max, and history is re-scripted with utter disregard for actual events. It even goes as far as to reference the holocaust in the dialogs to define the pro-choice side, and that is only one of the multiple antisemitic gratuitous jabs in this movie.
Here is one example of how the movie works: it is bookended by two reasonably effective, even if cheap, emotional moments: the dreadfully moving rendition of "the diary of an unborn child" and the "who will give voice to the silenced" supreme court plea, two really strong speeches of the pro-life side. Well, obviously the voice of the pro choice will be shown with similar respect... of course not, in between the voice of the pro-choice is a chant praising abortion as money for succion, and an overall scam orchestrated to make money off the ignorance of women. This gives you a sense of how balanced the view of the issue is.
The justice who supported pro choice are obviously shown as corrupt throughout the film, and decide on politics rather than merit or conviction. Or worse, if they're not corrupt, they vote pro choice for being badgered by their wives and daughters,
And of course the pro-choice characters evidenced during the movie end up in one of three ways: Either their « despicable hypocrisy » is outed, either they see the error of their ways and find god, or they sink in despair and eternal grief over the « horrible acts they are guilty off »! Aaaah the suavity of the nuance.
Well if you hoped for a movie that could be watched by many on both sides, a movie to open and inform the debate, that's not the one.
Can there be a good movie without an audience?
That's not entertainment. Which forbids it to be appreciated by any viewer who would want to be carried along by a plot, or a tension, or simply character acting. None of this in here. So let's forget about that audience.
This is a serious movie. So serious that it is totally devoid of any second degree, It's a movie proud of being.pedagogic. Therefore there is no humor, no provocation, nothing going over the top. So this is not for those who like their brains teased, or their knowledge challenged, or their cognitive bias toyed with. Let's forget about that audience.
This is too short a movie, running only at 200 minutes, it needed a few hours more, like 8 or 10. The movie endeavors to explore interlacing of society and philosophy at a key time in European history, a fascinating subject, unfortunately it is like a poorly introduced summary for students who have failed to do the proper reading before an exam. There is not enough background to provide learning for those new to the subject, and there is nothing new to be discovered for those already versed in it. So let's forget about this and that audience.
In summary, this a nicely shot, well written, intelligent and ambitious movie, which failed to choose which viewers to address. Too bad.
Compelling but Contemplative view of guilt and death
Clearly not your beers and buddy night movie. This is a slow paced, reflective, slightly depressing rainy afternoon piece.
It is first a reflection on reactions to an untimely death and the guilt it carries for survivors who feel partly responsible. However don't expect monologues and deep considerations, what actually makes it worth watching is its mundanity, people basically have to gon on living and working, while carrying the presence of death, or in this case of an actual corpse, int heir vicinity.
It is also a rare enough context, as it takes place on one of these giant container ships bringing products from a poor country sweatshop to the 10 euros bin of your supermarket. This allows the movie to also explore the difference of reactions between the crew, low pay natives from one of these poor countries, and the officers of the ship, well doing european professionals, in a way more deeply disturbed by death but having no choice but to follow the corporate expectations of the financial powers that decide the destiny of the ship and its cargo.
The almost documentary style works well, and the only scene which is really weak is the one time, in an harbor bar, when the movie is too scripted.
Urban Myths (2017)
everything english wit is about, even if it mainly deals with americans
This is a brilliant piece of television. I became a fan from episode one featuring bob dylan and an english suburbs plumber. It is well directed superlatively acted and, most of all, deliciously written. It will take your face on an exercise class of smiles, laughs, giggles, and hilarity bursts; your co-trainees: cary grant, bob geldorf, conan doyle, marilyn monroe, johnny cash, david bowie and many more...
My personal favorite: Public enemy feat kev wells.
Go for it i promise you'll enjoy it.
Gharabeeb Soud (2017)
dallas meets daech
If you prefer first degree, stay away, if you enjoy second degree stay tuned. This is a saudi-lebanese coproduction of pure anti Isis propaganda, i believe that most of the horrors portrayed are actually true but the treatment is so over the top and caricatural that one cannot help but laugh. Isis leaders are cast as were villains in spaghetti westerns, while all Isis would be joiners are as dimwitted as thugs in home alone, of course on the other hand spies concerned parents or oppressed minorities are heroically portrayed as stallonian or schwartzenegerian heralds of virtue and courage. So don't come and watch this looking for enlightenment, you'll remain in the dark probably puzzled and nonplussed as to why such non luminaries cause such a threat, and anyone on the brink of joining these monsters will not be swayed by what he watches. But if, like me, your cynicism is stronger than your militant side you may get a good laugh out of this, villains as nuanced as death wish's, heroes as half shaded as star wars', cliffhangers as revealing as burqas, you will get it all, and oh yes the mufti shot JR.