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Rating History

The Dinner Game (Le Dīner de cons)
26 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Dinner Game is really a film for it's direct audience. If the synopsis intrigues you, you'll probably like this sophisticated French film, if it doesn't then you probably won't. Set mainly in one location The Dinner Game plays out more like a play than a film, which gives it a charm of its own. I was expecting a film similar to The Last Supper, but this is fairly different since it actually in depth on the two protagonists. The laugh rate is high enough to keep your attention throughout, with solid word play, and great acting. I will be sure to check out more films from Francis Veber

Leviathan (2014)
56 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Leviathan is perhaps the most poignant at modern Russian life seen in film today. The film has more than one conflict, but it begins with that of Kolya, a hothead landowner, and corrupt mayor Vadim who's trying to take this property away from him. The film criticizes Russian culture, but more importantly the corruption in the bureaucratic society. While the laws cited in some court room scenes may sound just like the US Constitution, it soon becomes clear that very little of the legal process is followed by those on top.

While the film is set in a smaller town, I do believe the statement by the director is corruption throughout the nation. There's a very strong scene, when many of the protagonist go out shooting- the targets are framed images of former Russian dictators. One character asks is there anyone more modern, in reply another character states that we will let history reflect on those. But Zvyagintsev has a bit of a different statement, in one scene there's a portrait of Vladimir Putin standing right behind Vadim in his office. I see this as Zvyagintsev pointing the corruption all the way to the top.

Which is interesting since 35% of the films funding is from the Russian minsitry of culture. But they themselves have had a change of heart.

From Wiki
Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture, acknowledged that the film showed talented moviemaking but said he does not like it. He sharply criticized its portrayal of ordinary Russians as vodka-swigging and foul-mouthed, which he does not recognize from his experience. He thought it strange that there is not a single positive character in the movie, implying that the director was not fond of Russians but rather "fame, red carpets and statuettes."

He has proposed guidelines which would ban movies which defile national culture.

The films conflict later does focus more on the personal life of Kolya, but the aspect of the mayor and his corruption is always looming in the background. The movie could have ended more powerfully, but suddenly, in the final court room scene. Zooming into the all so familiar prosecutor. While I didn't find this part shocking, I found it hardening. Instead the film has a strong in a Russian Orthodox Church. Which is also brutally criticized by the film.

The film ends in the same scenery and with the same music as when it began. Raising the question, have things changed? And will they ever?

Whiplash (2014)
2 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Whiplash seems to be making a major splash among audiences, and pulling it self forward into a likely best picture winner. Considering director's Damien Chazelles greatest work before this is writing the screenplay for The Last Exorcism Part II, it's rather impressive how well this movie is doing. In all technical aspects this film is great. Credited for film editing, Tom Cross did phenomenal in this department. Cinematography by Sharon Meir, flashy when it needs to be (musical scenes) while elegant during the simpler scenes (Dates, dinners). In all the production departments this film is exactly where it needs to be. My issue really lies with the characters of the movie. While this is strongly against the narrative, I find both the student (Andrew) and professor (Fletcher) predictable and one dimensional. While Chazelle tries to portray them as insane and impulsive, I find everything they do over the course of the film match what I'd expect from the character from the first impression. And I do understand what Chazzelle shows about Andrew and Fletcher in the intense finale scene, I just felt both their motives were always obvious. And this is to no fault of Miles Teller or J.K. Simmons who acted their hearts out. This film makes drumming more intense than I ever imagined, it also has some strong dramatic scenes. But, I see a strong craving for depth in this film, I just don't see the depth.

3 stars-

Filth (2014)
4 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Filth somewhat feels like the cop version of the 1993 film, Naked. The film follows dirty cop James McAvoy who's trying to get a promotion in his company, during this period he's "solving" a murder & a prank call case all while trying to get laid and sabotaging his co-workers. There's an early scene where he's evaluating all the coworkers and their chances at getting the promotion, his group involved an inexperienced rookie, a dimwit, a metro sexual, a junkie, a man whore, ect. This is one of the early moments where you can see the common theme of repression. James McAvoy does a great job as detective Bruce Robertson, and shows how all these aspects apply to him. This theme later comes back about his wife, which I found rather under whelming. I predicted this twist before we even knew who McAvoy was, perhaps my familiarity with this sort of reveal through Polanski's film The Tenant gave it away.

The film is a comedy, and it has great dark and filthy humor. The c*ck comparison scene had my dying. While the humor is black the background story is even darker. While Bruce's trips look like something from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, they do reveal some dark truths about him. Led by McAvoy's tremendous acting this is a worth while film, compared to the other Welsh adaptions I've seen I'd rank it under Acid House but above Trainspotting. Dark, funny, and surreal.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask
5 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This early Woody Allen film is adapted from Dr. David Rueben's book "EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK". It's divided into 7 questions (and answers), which start weak but definitely get better.

1. Do Aphrodisiacs Work?
Set back in Shakesperian days, this one asks if potions (medieval roofies) work. Kind of. The skit is pretty cheesy and tries hard. Does have a fitting score though.

2. What Is Sodomy?
Maybe the most personal to the original author Dr. Ruben, this ones about a love triangle between Armenian Borat, a Doctor, and a goat. The humor doesn't really get any better here.

3. Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?
Definitely caught the Fellini homage in this one, but once again the humor just doesn't do it for me yet. This scene is well made, and actually could be decent as a feature European drama, but weak for a comedy.

4. Are Transvestites Homosexuals?
The first section where I began laughing, and I did not stop after. The answer is No, just socially inept.

5. What Are Sex Perverts?
By far the most creative and my personal favorite. Set in a 1950s game show, this skit is really well made and funny. The part with the Rabbi was absolutely hilarious.

6. Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate?
Most famous scene, perhaps an homage to The Blob (not sure as I haven't seen it). But it's about a giant tit (size X) created by Freud meets Frankenstein causing havoc in a town.

7. What Happens During Ejaculation?
Good ending, taught me a lot about the anatomy of a man. Thanks Dr.Allen

2.5 stars+

Next up Bananas