Un Chien Andalou/Land Without Bread - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Un Chien Andalou/Land Without Bread Reviews

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November 28, 2004
I'm way behind on reviews, so I'm splitting them up into two entries, one for fresh movies and one for rotten movies.

[b]Un Chien Andalou[/b] has lost some of its impact, since the eye-slicing scene is fairly famous, but that doesn't make it any less potent. Besides, there's plenty of other strange imagery to keep you interested, even if you don't know what the hell is going on. But then again, isn't that the point?

[b]A Movie[/b] is one of those experimental films that you only see in film class, so reviewing it is kind of pointless, but I did enjoy it. You can take anything you want to away from it, and even if you're not sure what the point is, it's still enjoyable. 7/10.

[b]No Lies...[/b] is another short film that you'd only see in film class, except it is much more interesting and much more potent. 8/10.

I liked my film prof to begin with, but the fact that he showed [b]Chicken Run[/b] in class proves how awesome he is. Of course I've seen it before, and of course I already love it. Given my solid Aardman animation boner, this should come as no surprise to many of you. But the stop-motion animation isn't the best thing abotu Chicken Run (although it is quite good). The simple fact is that this is a very funny, very enjoyable film. The voice work is great; Mel Gibson is perfect as the cocky Rocky, and Julia Swalhala's earnest performance as Ginger gives the film a solid ground. The characters are great, Mrs. Tweedy makes a potent villain, the score fits the tone perfectly, and it's 90 minutes of solid fun.

Due to a busy workload, I had to wait two weeks to see [b]The Incredibles[/b]. I heard plenty of hype. Believe the hype. A friend of mine said that it was joy onscreen, and it was. For starters, the animation is nothing short of spectacular, and is as good as if not better than the animation in [b]Shrek 2[/b]. And I thought Shrek 2's animation was damn good, too. Brad Bird's stylized mix of cartoon sensibilities with astonishing realism pays off big time, especially in the characters. CGI humans have a tendency to look plasticine, a problem that was circumvented by having the hair and clothing look realistic as possible, while having everything else look stylized. It works. The action sequences are great, the voice work marvelous, and I'm quickly running out of adjectives to describe just how wonderful this movie is. It's not perfect, mind you. Frozone only appears when the story needs him, which is a shame, since he's freaking awesome. And it's not as funny as Pixar's other works. But who cares? The Incredibles is... well, incredible.

Incidentally, I read a review somewhere (don't remember where exactly, just trust me on this one) lamenting how when Pixar finally decided to do a film that focused on humans, the humans had guns. And that one of the film's emotional climax involves the mother telling her children that there's a good chance they'll die at the hands of merciless villains. The critic kind of has a point, but I say poppycock. The Incredibles and Chicken Run work because the danger is real; the characters are at risk, and that risk gives the story some weight and maturity and allows us to invest tons of interest into the characters. It also leads to some good dialogue, since that moment where Elastigirl is warning her children about the dangers ahead is one of the film's best moments.

I'm a huge fan of Spongebob Squarepants, so my views towards [b]The Spongebob Squarepants Movie[/b] are a bit skewed. As a film, it's fluffy, enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable entertainment. In order to truly examine its flaws, though, you have to have a bit of an affinity for the show. The film makes Spongebob and Patrick its heroes, and the lenghty focus on the pair proves detrimental to the film. Spongebob's gimmick is that he's stupid. Patrick's gimmick is that he's even dumber. So we have stupid + stupid, which breaks a cardinal comedic rule in not having a straight man. Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Sandy are all marginalized in the film, giving our dimwitted duo nobody to bounce off of, and so their schtick gets old very quickly. Plankton makes a decent villain, but part of his appeal is that all of his plans fail; that's why he has an empty restaurant and a computer wife. When he suceeds in stealing the Krabby Patty formula and succeeds in transforming everyone into his slaves, it just isn't fun. But I'm complaining too much. You'll have a good time at the Spongebob Squarepants movie, but I've seen superior episodes of the show.

[b]I Heart Huckabees[/b] is perhaps the only philosophical comedy I've ever seen. Surprisingly, it's not that big of a mindfuck. An even bigger surprise is that it doesn't give us much to think about at the end; its philosophy fits the contexts of the movie but doesn't lead to enlightening discussions over coffee afterwards about what Life means. That said, it's inventive, well-acted, and has some minor moments of brilliance, but it's ultimately forgettable. At least it aimed for the stars.

I also re-watched [b]Elf[/b]. I rated and reviewed it after I saw it last year, so there's no sense in repeating things, especially since it was just as funny as when I first saw it. I'd glady accept it as a modern holiday classic. 8/10.
October 11, 2004
Un Chien Andalou -

Wow! Surprisingly funny, actually. And the acting here is really top notch. The woman was really quite sexy, and the guy... Wow. I knew it was going to be something rather bizarre, but still. I thought I would be desensitized to the eye scene because of Number8's avatar, and to a certain extent that is true, but still it was great, especially the intercut.


Land Without Bread -

As extravagant and bizarre as Chien was, Land Without Bread was stark harshly realist. Points taken off for small, small pacing issues, and a rather flat narrator, but still this is a very well-shot documentary with some strangely moving scenes of day to day life among struggling peasants of Spain. Poor kids.

February 9, 2004
[size=3]Luis Bunuel, the surrealist director, and Salvador Dali, the famous surrealist painter, collaborated on this short film to create a movie that (surprise) makes absolutely no narrative sense and is intended more as a visual expression of dream logic that is designed to get a strong reaction from its viewer. [i]Un Chien Andalou [/i]is completely removed from any conventions: not only is it simply a handful of sharp images pasted together, it also refuses to link those images thematically or even follow the basic rules of editing continuity. The result is a short film that is fascinating but not particularly endearing. Most people remember the startling and disturbing image of a razor blade slicing into a human eyeball...a moment so horrible it would be devastating if the image was placed in any context. The entire film proceeds as a succession of similar shots that are not linked to each other, or to any particular idea or story, and are intended to be judged only on their own merit. Perhaps Bunuel and Dali were making a comment on the predictability of narrative conventions...and indeed, it is remarkable that they were able to foresee the growing dependence audiences would have on cinematic "rules" to guide them. The movie is a big joke on the audience, yet a fascinating one nonetheless. [i]Un Chien Andalou [/i]might have been more alienating and off-putting if it was stretched out to feature length. In its brief length, it smugly stands as one of the peculiarities of cinema...a bizarre yet unforgettable look inside the imaginations of two men who viewed life as one unending dream.[/size]

½ November 3, 2003
I have to miss a Ben Folds concert tomorrow night to see 7 movies in film class:o .. what a waste.. I've never heard of any of them, so I'm hoping it will be optional..
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