The 1988 best picture winner, was more than a worthwhile drama. The touching story of a brother (re)unification went from comedic to depressing in minutes, and then back to comedic. I felt like the manipulation only added to the realism that this film provided. I was never bored, and while the same things did happen again and again, I didn't find it repetitive. Then of course I must praise the awesome performances from Cruise and Hoffman, which were the core of this film. Without the genuine great acting the film would collapse upon itself, and I believe this to be the most powerful Cruise has ever been on screen. The ending was predictable, but still emotionally felt. I shouldn't have delayed this watch for so long. 3.5+++
Atlantic City is the story of Lou (Burt Lancaster) who has passed his prime as the top dog of Atlantic City. We soon find out he has become a wanna be, and he'll do anything to look like the tough guy he once was. The film is slow, but in this case I found that to be a plus. In the whole film there is only one extended action scene, so overall this flowed slowly. The cinematographer Ciupka reminded me of the work of Russel Metty who worked with Welles in Touch of Evil. What you can see in the background, is just as important as what the camera is centered on. Also I thought it was funny that Wallace Shawn had a small role as a waiter in this film, when the next year he'd be playing a diner in Louis Malle's next feature. The problem I had with this was a lack of emotional attachment, I appreciate what Louis Malle did in creating a colorful film, much more than I appreciate the story and characters.
Naked is a sadistic vicious realist film which is black as coal. The improvised dialogue is the basis of this films acclamation, and it's well earned. This was in no way a comedy but the dialogue was wit filled. It sounded as if it was real lower class conversation. But the dark humor didn't distract from the mysoginistic theme. Nor did the philosophies of the main character Johnny, which just added to how deep of a character study Leigh created. The shocking thing about Johnny is despite him being a (borderline) rapist and sexists, he's the idle of the film. He may be despicable, but he's not the worse. David Thewlis himself put on a magnificent performance of Johnny, but the supporting characters of Louise, Sophie, and Jeremy also shined during their limited screen time. The soundtrack was centralized and efficient in creation of gloom. The whole slum setting was efficient in a pessimistic view. I mean for Gods sake the film opened with a sexual assault. The story which takes place in less than 24 hours feels like an epic, as if we've known Johnny for years now. This could well become one of the few films I'd award a 5/5, it's tremendously moving, and outstanding in craft.
Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo has a highly creative and intelligent idea behind it. It wasn't just a simple the screen comes to life story, the witty dialogue made this far superior to a plain story. I feel the first half really did express and let this creativity flow. The second half which is more romantic was less down my alley. After about 45 minutes I became more and more out of tune with the film. Which is unfortunate since I was highly involved at first.
Mia Farrow is once again a great actress, and is sexy. In fact I'd watch the film just for her. This is one of Woodys films that he doesn't star in as well as direct/write. I think it would've been a good idea to have him play the director of "The Purple Rose of Cairo", but that didn't happen so after 28 years nothing you can do. It was a feel good movie, but unfortunately didn't have enough ideas to keep it running.
The War on Kids is amongst the greatest documentaries I've seen. It shows the problems of the public school system in an outspoken point of view. It shows how our schools are modeled after prisons, and children are treated as prisoners. It is biased, but I agreed with everything that was being said. Which ranged from zero tolerance to the myth of ADHD. As a student myself maybe in 15 years I won't feel this film as much as I do now, but I hope that I will always recognize this message. Unless this message would be out dated in the future, which would be a great thing. The film even got me enraged at some points, especially when talking about the whole guilty until proven innocent approach. It was also lively and entertaining, full of energy, and even humorous. The people interviewed were animated, and knowledgable. It'd be an interesting day if this was shown to every high schooler across the nation.
Metropia is a Swedish animated film which uses a style seen more in video games than in movies, in fact it's the first feature film that I've seen made in this lifelike animation. It was stunning in visual animation, and even hard to imagine that it's all animated. If it's worth nothing outside of these techniques, it's still worth more than most movies of this nature. The premise is that of the novel 1984, a uniform society, with no seasons, and television being a source of control. A huge weak point of this film was the awful voice acting. It was weak and not in sync with lip motions, it took away drastically from the feel. The plot and climax were mediocre, but I feel it still created some tension and dilemma. It's a one time watch, but I would love to see this animation be built on in the future.
The only other Cronenberg film I've seen is Videodrome, I gave that film a 2/5, but this makes it look like a masterpiece. Honestly this was utter crap all the way to its shallow core. It's nice to see Pattinson out of a romantic movie, but he picked up Kristen Stewarts technique of not acting, or showing emotion. The goal of surrealism was failed, and the indescribable pointlessness of scenes is beyond my belief. I'll be honest and admit I couldn't finish this, but I'm not willing to torture myself. The cheapness of how it was set up, and the fact that when there's a punch thrown it looks like how it'd be seen in a highschool play, made this the worst film of 2012. In one word it's unbearable.
Blue is a phenomenal beginning to the three colors trilogy. The film surrounds a widow who lost her child and husband in a car accident, it shows her life after the event. The peculiar thing about the film, is we only hear about what she was like before the accident, and never see it. I'm not sure if this was the proper decision by director Kieslowski, because it resulted in lack of character development and a withdrawal of emotion from that scene. At the same time it kept the films focus on its purpose. The brilliance of Blue is that the director wasn't only concerned on the main characters, Julie's, suffering but also that of people that surround her. This includes an elderly woman and a hooker, the film is equally invested in the troubles of others. One thing I found questionable as something the character would do is Julie's decision on the house. It didn't seem fitting to make her seem so selfless. The film has an amazing score, and is visually stunning. One small scene that shows the visual excellence is the sugar cube sucking up the coffee. Emotionally difficult to watch, but in my mind an essential.
Frankenhiemers' early film, The Young Savages, is a film I found underrated. The film opens with a gang, that look like they're straight out of West Side Story, attacking a young blind boy. A conservative prosecutor is assigned to the case, who has a closer connection than what meets the eye. What I found fascinating about this film, which was released in 1961, is how out dated it was. How is this a good thing? The film brought me back into the world of the 1960s, the traditionalism, the things that would be brushed off now were scandals in this town. I'm not a golden age person, but I did feel that I went into a time machine. The film doesn't only focus on the case, but the racial tensions surrounding it. Burt Lancaster stars in this film, and had a solid performances. The savages depicted weren't great actors, but they passed. The film did have scenes that I felt were dispensable , like the train and elevator scenes, which don't contribute to the story. I was hooked on the story line though, and despite the cheesiness, I was paying full attention to the faith of the boys.