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A nice period piece
Mank is immersive and very well shot. It successfully recreates the feeling of the 40s and the atmosphere of the movie industry at that time. Some viewers may find it not engaging enough because of it somewhat niche setting. Fans of movie making and screenplay writing specifically will probably enjoy it. It's a story with a lot of political undertones which are relevant to this day.
As a character study it focuses more on the person Mankiewitcz was, his work routine and the people surrounding him. The film isn't really trying to tell the story of Kane or how it was made. Welles is just a part of the background.
The events happening around the main character serve as plot devices to stimulate a reaction in him and to expose the way he views the world. Consequently i didn't really care about most of them. Their presence gives us more of a picture of this man's reality than actual characters to care about.
I don't think Mank is significant enough to be a best picture winner and I'm not sure it's story can be appreciated by most people because it lacks any emotional connection with the majority it's characters. Most of it's secondary story lines like the disappearance of a ww2 soldier at sea or the tragic end of a director don't feel touching at all. Cinematography and direction wise it certainly can be a contestant for the academy award and since it's so self absorbed by it's main character perhaps a best actor nomination as well.
The Red Shoes (1948)
Beautiful but with a problematic plot structure
The Red Shoes is one of the most influential and acclaimed ballet movies of all time. Since i don't know anything about dancing i can't really judge if the choreography is good or bad or if it's realistic.
My issue with the film is the lack of any significant conflict in the first 90 minutes. It takes more than an hour for the exposition to end. This makes 2/3 of the movie more like a documentary about the making of a ballet. When the conflict finally arises it feels rushed and none of the emotions the characters try to convey feel genuine. The romance happens so quickly that it's barely believable. Add to that the laughable finale and you have an over the top soapy love story with some nice art direction and a beautiful cinematography.
The Archers seemed more preoccupied with their visuals and production design than actual story telling.
A Ghost Story (2017)
One of the bravest and most competently made experimental films in the last decade. If you like to explore the themes of alienation melancholia and disappointment this one certainly deserves a try.
The only flaw is that it's story is so minimalist and stripped of unnecessary plot devices that some viewers may find it a bit of a chore to get through.
Regardless I still think you should give it a try if not for anything else just for its uniqueness.
A great screenplay
The twists and turns in this story seem infinite. One of the examples of a movie that takes its viewer on a ride. The tempo is great with many ups and downs while the allegory behind the story is almost as captivating as its execution.
Amongst the minor flaws you may encounter is the acting style which is very different than what actors are doing in Hollywood and at moments feels a bit over the top.
Regardless I think most people will enjoy the story and will be intrigued by the way its unwrapping.
The House That Jack Built (2018)
Unjustifiably pretentious and somewhat lazy
I'm not entirely sure what exactly Von Trier was going for with this one. Is he trying to deal with his past and the allegations against him by satirising them. Is he trying to dwell on the philosophical concepts presented in the movie - Bergman style. Or is he trying to do a character study by going for schock value. Whatever the case is I dont think he was successful. What a mess!!!
Perhaps it would work better as a short
Burton wrote a poem and Disney was planning on turnning it into a 30 minute short back in the 80s. Eventually it was stretched to a feature length but I'm not sure If there was a good reason to besides making it more commercially successful.
Time and time again
It seems that the exploration of the concept of time is one of Christopher Nolans primary obsessions. Weve already seen him play with it multiple times.
In his latest movie Nola has created a complicated script and backed it with a solid 200 million dollar budget. While the visuals are indeed great at times the complexity of the story seems too self serving.
A lot of people are complaining about the bad sound mixing and at times it is truly difficult to understand some of the lines. Despite that Tenet is still an enjoyable film and will certainly be enjoyed by the fans of the action and and thriller genre. While not Nolans best film it still succeeds at most of what it tries to do.
A decent but flawed debut
For his feature film debut Macon Blair has chosen to tell a story concerning human nature. His main character is frustrated by the way people treat each other.
Despite its somewhat philosophical premise the movie doesn't bother itself too much to answer existential questions. Instead we see an ever increasing amount of violence and by the end I'm not even sure the initial question was even relevant anymore.
I hope the crew had fun filming. Most of the actors have much better projects in their filmography so why not try something different.
It will probably entertain the fans of black comedy and popcorn.
Palm Springs (2020)
Sursprisingly fresh spin on a tired idea
Palm Springs doesnt do a lot of things he havent seen before, but at least it doesnt take itself too seriously. The chemistry between the leads is great and the oscar winning J.K. Simmons is a great addition too.
The theme of time traveling will probably never get old and its also the engine of Christopher Nolans blockbuster that everyone hope is going to save the cinematic 2020. Here we see a cardboard version of the scale and action in Tenet. For everyone that thought its too fast paced and demanding here's a more laid back and unassuming movie to pass the time.
The Lost City of Z (2016)
Keeping the best for itself
The story of Percy Fawcett is fascinating and i think it will be really hard for anyone to tell it in 150 minutes. The best thing about these types of larger than live personalities is that they have the wildest stories. Here the task of showing us the great dangers and the exciting nature of an explorer falls a bit flat. The journey is almost entirely skipped while the wonders of the jungle are reduced to a couple of scenes.
This film feels too conflicted with it parallel acts. While the jungle is mysterious and exciting the action taking place in London cant be left out as well. I think we get the bad part of both. Add a family drama to the mix and it becomes too overwhelming for itself. Maybe a mini-series would fit the story better.
Another disappointment for Charlie Hunnam, who as usual does a good job but cant seem to find the right project.
First Cow (2019)
Milk it while you can
In the newest indie gem from a24 we see a little retouched version of Jonathan Raymonds novel "The Half-Life". In the screen adaptation one of the character is turned into a chinese emigrant. This works fine for me and doesnt seem to take away from the story in any way.
While a lot of people are complaining about the slow tempo of the film i think thats exactly what Kelly Reichardt is going for. If anything, the story actually could be prolonged even more allowing us to see more of the lives and personal philosophies of Cookie and King. The plot is minimalist, but it suits the message.
To me Fist Cow seems like a critique of capitalism and a moral story about how we shouldnt take too many chances. You get lucky ones or twise, but you wont be lucky forever so dont push your luck too much. In that sense it is a fatalist story, because were aware that things will probably turn bad eventually. And when they inevitably do it seems like justice is served. Despite that we still sympathize with the main characters because their struggle is not to take advantage of others, but to make their dreams come true and finally get out of the misery they exist in.
The movie does a great job of not being black and white with its ethics. A great deed is followed by an act of stealing. People are complex and the choices they make are often the result of their environment and the circumstances they live in.
Many people will milk your cow in a lifetime and this story goes to show how you cant really hate anyone that you understand. Regardless of that greed is also a factor here. Dont be a fool and grab the opportunity while you can. Maybe youll never have another one. And milk it while you can.
The King (2019)
Fun historical fiction
The King is inspired by historical events and the works of Shakespeare. A lot of people say that its historically inaccurate and it misrepresents many historical facts.
The thing that struck me while i was watching it was how quickly this movie rushes through the different stages of its story. This is a bit of a double edged sword, because it gives the movie a good tempo, but at the same time i felt like there is so much happening in such a little period of time. I think that it couldve made a great tv show if the writers wanted to really develop their plot and characters.
Personal relationships play a great role in this movie and we are exposed to many acts of bravery, leadership and betrayal. We see the virtue of friendship and duty. There is a lot of cruelty as well.
I didnt have any issues with the inspiration of the film and its choice to pick random events and to give them a spin fitting its trajectory. I really liked Pattinson in the role of the french prince and his accent didnt bother me at all. What i disliked though is how pathetic and unimportant the actual french king was. For a character of such importance, i think his presence felt incredibly marginal.
The movie emphasizes a lot on how brave and honorable young Henry is and how he is ready to sacrifice himself in order to safe his men. Yet at the end we see that being young means being naive most of the time. Henry is questioning his decisions and is struggling to find meaning behind them.
Its a great story of how growing up with more responsibilities than you can take can lead to unwise, spontaneous decisions. We find a lot of Shakespearean traits to the people surrounding the young king as they play their own personal games and pursue their own individual goals.
The sets are great and the productions is wonderful. For the relatively small budget of $23 million the movies looks really convincing and the choreography of the battles is awesome. Im not sure if it was because of the budget or the length, but many important ceremonies and meetings were shortened and felt a bit rushed.
Overall a great medieval tale of kings and battles, but if youre looking for historical accuracy its probably not for you.
Color Out of Space (2019)
Probably the most oversaturated film I've ever seen
Color Out of Space seem to be more interested in its stylistic choices than the exploration of its themes. There isnt any structure to the dialogue after the 40th minute, which renders it completely unnecessary. There are a few hints of intrigue, but thats more because of Lovecraft and less because of Richard Stanley.
The premise of the story isnt entirely clear from the beginning and that works well for the movie. The dynamic gets faster and faster the further the story progresses. One of its weakest features for me was the development of the characters or the lack of it. I cant imagine someone being really invested into the struggles of the Gardner family. What keeps us interested is the hope of learning more about the mysterious light and why does it work the way it does. But as you know in the end we are left with a simple platitude about the limitations of the human cognition. That would be fine if we saw a masterfully executed movie, from a technical and creative perspective. Instead we see something reminiscent of a b movie imitation of a Cronenberg film.
Portrait of a romance
Visually stunning with great screen chemistry between the leading actresses. I really like the distinctive vibe each character has and i believe that if you like to see personal movies, this one will be for you.
It seems like the close up shots play an important part in the artistic vision of Sciamma. I feel like after watching the film i will have the faces of the characters in my memory forever. The camera loves to show us their every expression and this is how we understand a lot of whats happening inside of them. Words dont seem to be that important, because they are often deceptive and only lead to more confusion. The girls want to say a lot to each other, but arent really sure how to and this is recreated very well with the tempo of the story. Sciamma never rushes with the establishment of the different subplots and takes her time to make sure we are really into the atmosphere of the story.
The movie tackles important issues of the 18th century that today seem to be just as relevant. We dont see men on the screen for the exception of a brief appearance at the end of the film. But nonetheless the influence of men is constantly present on screen, shaping the lives of our characters. They suffer from the constraints of being a woman in an age dominated by men.
I enjoy the style and really like how truly artistic this movie is. Every shot is precise and every scene is a little piece of the bigger puzzle. The metaphor with the finishing of the portrait and finding love is great and works very well. I was truly curious to see what its going to look like in the end.
But at the end i was left a bit conflicted. My issue with the film is that after a while it starts to feel a bit hollow and deprived from any direction. One one hand the story itself is worth telling and definitely has a lot of elements that deserve to be explored, but on the other i really dont think we see something we arent aware of. Here the circumstances of the story are more important than the story itself. Remove the painting process and youre left with an Impossible Romance. The subplot with the pregnancy and abortion feels very distant and somehow trivial and i feel it shouldve been more integral to the story.
One of my favorite things about the film are the visions that Noemie is getting of Adele. It shows us how original and artistic Sciamma can be with the symbolism of the story.
Overall stunning visuals with subtle, but powerful performances from the leads with a great amount of creative vision behind it.
I'm a little surprised by the negative reaction this movie is receiving from critics and audiences combined. For me personally it's an interesting exploration of the mysticism surrounding suburban life. We see a lot of defferent types of symbolism in it. The movie tries to tackle the issues of family life, parenthood and modern day working life cycle. It has a charming art style with an interesting color scheme. I accept the fact that it looks a bit corny, but for me this compliments the vibe of the movie. Eisenberg isnt doing anything special or new but that's perfectly fine with the type of character he is playing here. Poots is really pushing a dramatic performance, but in my opinion this movie is so self aware that it doesn't really need it. The performance I liked the most was that of Hardwick, who is making his first steps in the field of acting. Cold and distant, his acting made me believe he really isn't human. The climax, which so many dislike is perfectly fine for me. Of ourse the monologue of Eisenberg was stretched out and we saw his death coming a long time ago, but still the revelation that the child is a supernatural creature holding them there until their deaths worked fine for me. We got a couple of great elements and the whole atmosphere was sweet and warm. Perhaps too sweet for its own good. Nonetheless I think it's a charming little film which is executing it's tasks perfectly fine. I would surely see it again.
Little Joe (2019)
Great style and camera work
Little Joe is trying to explore a lot of things. It doesnt really succeed in any of them. The strained relationship between a single mom and her son, the fear that her kid might want to leave her for his dad. The placebo effect that fear can have on people. The movie aslo tries to tackled the danger of corporations playing god and underestimating the dangers their products. The production is the key feature of this film. From the visual style and the color scheme (with bright colors dominating the screen most of the time) to the beautiful camera work and set designs there are a lot of scenes that are pleasant to look at. The problem that so many people seem to have is that the story is moving rather slowly and its ultimate culmination doesnt leave us with much of a payoff for the time invested in watching it. For me slow and vague stories arent an issue in themselves. At least not necessarily. The important thing is that the flow of the story must be fitting its premise and narrative. Here we see a story that could work really well as a meditation session on the dangers of the corporate world and the development of more and more advanced technology. We often see the same shots and it seems like the movie is trying to get us to really think about what we see on screen. The issues come when we actually do it. Then we stumble upon one of the biggest problems of the film. Its desire to combine the elements of personal family drama with the otherwise cold and distant nature of its main theme. The dramatic effect seems to be completely lost in the key moments and insted of being sentimental, the movie seems quite dull. The hardships of the characters and even onscreen deaths didnt seem to have any impact on me. The music in this film is like a separate character. I didnt have issues with it. Yes, its bizarre and sometimes it can bother you, but i think this is what the movie is trying to achieve. The weird and chaotic sound are making us feel exactly as confused and exhausted as the characters in the movie. There big question we are left with in the end is not a new one. What is real and what is imaginary. I guess we cant be too critical the question itself. The problem is in the way the question is being posed. I like the way that the movie ends. In my opinion its one of the only scenes that are actually impactful in any way. In retrospection i wouldnt say this movie is a waste of time, especially if you like great visuals and awesome, creative camera work. But if you want to see a fast moving, dynamic story you will have to look somewhere else.
Il posto (1961)
Il Posto is not an ambitious movie. Its told from the perspective of a regular working class boy. What it tries and ultimately succeeds at is showing us how alienating and distant the corporate world can feel. But this story is not about kafkazque alienation with bureaocracy, because at its center we see a romance between two young people. Facing the cold, gray reality of the working life, Antonietta and Domenico rely on each other to prove that love is still possible even in the grim world of tight work schedules and endless forms and papers you need to navigate around. Domenico, like everyone else in his place is trying to cope with his new life and to make the most out of it. My favorite character is the person assigned to supervise him. He is so used to the corporate life that nothing can really get to him. While Domenico faces every new thing with anxiety and fear, Portioli is relaxed and doesn't seem to take anything happening there seriously. In the end we see corporate climbing at its best, with different workers fighting for the desk at the front, which Domenico has been given. He gives his desk to a senior worker and takes the desk at the back, learning a lot about the corporate circle of life.
The Hole in the Ground (2019)
The main theme of the film is the mom questioning if her son is an imposter or she's just projecting her fears on the little boy. I was a bit surprised to find out that the hole from the title is actually a giant crater in the middle of the forrest. The story is very economical and simplistic with its cast, including no more than 4 characters. The capgras syndrome is the belief that one of the people that you know is actually an imitator and not the real person. It can be caused by mental illness or a brain injury. We quickly realize that there is a big scar on the forehead of our lead, which migh lead us to the second conclusion. What actually happens is that like in many other good and bad horror movies, the paranoid crazy woman, screeming at you on the street has a point. Movies like this one don't really need to rely on the horror genre to tell their stories, but they often do it with the intent of expanding their audience and avoiding the possibility of being called a misfit. Here we see a lot of that with most of the horror tropes seeming forced and out of place. The notorious kitchen fight scene is only one of them. The problem I have with the dynamic of the story is the constant desire to break it in order to achieve a wow effect. I'm perfectly fine with the vagueness of the story and the minimalistic aproach to the events happening on and off screen. The problems appear when you see the same crazy old woman, banging her head on the window, people dining in the dark and the sudden death of the crazy old woman. The many cliches that the story utilizes harm it more than they help its progress. Otherwise the film is competently shot and the direction is acceptable. The final sequence works and if it wasn't for the questionable performance of Kerslake I could've even said that I enjoyed the film. Totally colorless and vague with its plot, the hole in the ground wouldnt appeal to many, but if youre looking for a movie exploring the relationship between a mom and her son, the struggle with doubt and mental health it might be for you.
The Nice Guys (2016)
The first 40 minutes of the film are amazing. The tempo and the beat of the story feel very natural and all of its elements seem to be mixing well together. The story itself is an interesting spin on the classical detective movies of the 70s. My main issue is that like many other films, this one also becomes overwhelmed with its great premise and isn't really sure what to do. Maybe the most staggering case of a great first half and below mediocre second one that I've seen. The wrap up is laughable and doesn't live up to the great start. Crowe and Gosling are great. Matt Bomer is a gross miscast. The movie is competently shot and well directed, but as I already said it seems like it was only a good idea for a story and when it was time to expand on it everything fell apart. Ultimately tolerable movie and if youre not too picky and only looking to be entertained I think youre going to enjoy it.
Swiss Army Man (2016)
Probably the weirdest romance ive ever seen!!!
Swiss Army Man is as weird as you can get on so many levels. But at the essence of it is a broken, lost and desperate man who is just looking for love. When a body washes up on the coast just a moment before he finally kicks the bucket, he suddenly finds a friend, a boat of a sort, and later a romantic interest. Their journey takes them trough a lot of new and past experiences. A movie like this one would never work if you dont have strong actors, in the two leading roles with good charisma and professional chemistry between them. Radcliffe and Dano are doing an awesome job and seem like the perfect casting choices for the movie. With their future film debut the Daniels bet on one of the weirdest screenplays ever written. The film tries to balance between the macabre character of its premise and the idea that love could save us even in the most difficult situations. The message of the story is that we should embrace our nature and be more open minded when it comes to already established ideas about what is to be in love and to be alive. My issues with the film are the lack of diversity in the locations. Besides from the opening scene on the coast, a river crossing and of course the wonderfully edited bus scene the movie is sort of dull when it comes to its locations with dirt and trees dominating almost all of the screen time. The humorous and a bit supernatural abilities of Radcliffs body dont bother me, but i just wish that Danos character could be something more than a boy with a crush for the girl on the bus. As an experimental piece the movie is a success. Its themes of necrophilia and using the body of a death man as a vehicle and a tool angered a lot of viewers which is always a desirable characteristic for a provoking film, like this one. Ultimately i think its a fresh story, with perhaps too much comedy for my personal taste, but nonetheless a good amount of charm and good work behind it.
Greener Grass (2019)
Greener grass is perhaps too self aware to be taken seriously. The bit with the football as a baby goes into some Adam Sandlerish teritory. On the other hand, when it works with already established ideas it's tolerable and gives an interesting spin to the kafkaesque man cockroach. The drama of the every day suburban life is one of the driving forces in this movies. Is your kid part of the rocket math club, do you have a pool (and how big it is), are you content with your life and marriage. The absurdist elements are constantly present in the film. People give away their newly born kids, everyone drives a golf cart and dogs go to school. My personal problem with the film is that its only engine seems to be how utterly bizzare it is. Even if entertaining for a while, the world that the characters live in doesn't give us a lot of reasons to be interested in it, except of course for its countless peculiarities. The serial killer subplot is supposed to be a central part of the plot, but I was barely paying attention to it. The last scene has an interesting macabre element, but it's not really enough to make it up for all of the chaos before that. The best thing about surrealism is that it gives us a different look at every day objects that we accept for normal and makes us question our own ideas about what's normal. Greener grass does that, but as a murder mystery it falls really flat.
1917 is a perfect film. It's not only captivating, moving and thrilling but it's also one of the best crafted movies ever made. My favorite things about it is how easy it is to remember all of its scenes in a chronological order. Every single scene is an element and a tool for the progression of the story. It doesn't matter if it's a crossing of a battlefield, pushing a cart or having a one on one shootouts with the enemy, it's all beautifully done and an example of how continuity should be executed. My favorite scene is the one in which we see the soldiers sitting in a big circle and listening to the Wayfarig Stranger. In this scene, one of the most touching I've ever seen our hero finally reaches the soldiers he's trying to find, but he finds that out only after the end of the song, because it's so electric that nobody really notices his presence there. The death of one of the main characters also serves as an example of a wonderfully crafted picture, because it's as sudden and realistic as none of us expect to see. Another interesting feature is the pain that the characters go through. Its constantly present on screen with characters putting their bleeding hands in a rotting corpse, being blown up, shot, beaten and chocked to death. One of my favorite things about the film is the fact that it never addresses the physical pain and the injuries that William Schofield constantly sustains. Every once in a while he sits down for a moment, touches the back of his head, which is bleeding of course and at the next moment he is back on the road. The fantastic Oscar worthy cinematography, direction and effects add the finishng touches to this timeless masterpiece.
Elizabeth Harvest (2018)
Tries too hard
Elizabeth Harvest has an interesting concept and is intriguing enough to make you want to follow it until the end. The problem is that It doesn't really know how to end or how to go along after a certain point. It premise is its best quality. It ultimately fails when it tries to do too much and it's attempts at double and triple twists fall flat. Stylistically it's pleasant to look at and the acting of Ciaran Hinds is excellent. At the end of the day more complicated doesn't always mean better.
Totem doesn't really work. It fails at almost everything it tries to achieve and if it didn't exist we wouldn't lose much.
Kamera wo tomeruna! (2017)
Inventive and not taking itself too seriously.
One Cut of the Dead is an interesting and well crafted indie horror. While the fans of the genre may find it a bit to cheesy for its own good, this is exactly what it's trying to be. It surprises us many times and manages to totally confuse us with the direction it's going to. Lighthearted and humorous it's an example of a movie for people that are in love with movies. There are multiple movie layers inside of it and at the beginning its almost impossible to figure them out but eventually it all merges into an awesome indie horror about making an indie horror.