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The Exorcist (1973)
Darker than Black
The Exorcist is one of those definitive films of it genre and sure enough, it did not disappoint. So, it is primarily concerned about the said exorcism dealt by a daughter of a famous actress due to an supposedly charmed necklace from Africa
I must admit, I was quite adamant at first if this film can still give the creeps and the shock that modern horrors do. Sure enough, it falls in the tamer side compared to these horrors but I actually found the Exorcist still effectively unsettling. Falling in between the moodiness of 40s 'mystery' horrors and goriness of the slasher genre, it was able to make a very tense atmosphere while showing just enough vulgarity and drama to keep you entertained.
But one thing that it really surprises me, is that, the film was able to combine the 70's grittiness, Horror schlock and naturalism. Considering the milieu of horror that failed to do so, I guess this is one factor why it has aged really good. Just like a lot of early slasher,(specifically Halloween and Black Christmas) everything is less forced to you and its narrative is naturally and vividly written while maintaining its agenda in tact subliminally.
But then again, it just towers those even more for me because it is just top class perfection. The acting, the cinematography, and the script was purely divine. Also, It is successful to because in a way in defies simple categorization. Yes, indeed, its a horror by heart but its not always the scare that pulls you in. It can be the drama, the antics and everything else combined to make this masterpiece a great watch.[5/5]
Le bonheur (1965)
Practically a film about an infidelity, Vagda's Le Bonheur is one truly damning piece that leaves you thinking what does it truly want to say. I would not lie, I had a very difficult time judging what truly this film is about. Its inherent lack of judgment could be considered as a mockery of the masculinity in the discourse of infidelity but in the same time maybe it is much simpler- a documentary of how happiness is like a river that flows and never looks back.
That being said, the film just truly leaves a mark. It keeps you fazed by the fact that the common place sensationalism that tends to inhibit these kind of tales is non-existent in this film. The line of what is right or wrong is never truly set and emotions are hidden under sheets of plastic beauty. In the end, time is the only constant thing that never change. Vagda's Le Bonheur is an enigma. It never tells but is always ready to show you whats up.
The Skeleton Twins (2014)
I hate this film. To begin with, the titular twins are such a lame and offensive fools that is so so selfishly unaware of every one around them. To make matters worse, the story is no help. It never really show any well-rounded character except the twins that when everyone is gone, you could not care even less to whatever resolution would happen to them. And the most awful part, they try to diffuse these problems of that already awful story with so unfunny and very unnecessary sketches that bugs the overall dark mood of the film. It just meshes it into a big pile of uneven stretches that is kinda uncomfortable to watch. Kinda reminds me of 80's John Hughes , where he writes a film with his ultra-stereotypes character(that always bugs me to my core) and add annoying tropes to fill the empty void.
Overall, Skeleton Twins is a pretty awful. It tries to much to impress that it kinda misses it point of self-reflection.Clearly, NOT worth your time [1.5/5]
The Queen (1968)
Dusty Springfield Look-alike contest
Queen is a documentary detailing the events that happened behind the scenes of the 1967 Miss Gay America pageant in New York. Personally, I have only watched this film because it was a recommended when I had watched another famous LGBT documentary (Paris is Burning). Their actually pretty similar in content. Though I found Queen less connected with its subject. Nevertheless, Queen is a great example of the Cinema Verite tradition of the time. No sensationalism here. We see the contestant to their barest bare to their lushest maquillage as they talk of different things such as sex reassignment surgery, discrimination or the damn nasty bitterness of defeat. Only their personally lifting the mood of each scene. Making it an even more interesting time piece of a pre-AIDS/Stonewall LGBT scene wherein being out means scorn and discrimination. Interestingly, it also proves that the clothes had changed but the attitude and flair remains pretty much the same. [3.5/5]
Fright Night (1985)
Quintessential 80's vampire
When Charley Brewster, a young dweeb of an idiot who for unknown reason cannot kiss and make-out with his girlfriend, accidentally saw his suave 'bisexual' neighbor slash vampire, Jerry, devour one of his hapless victim, Charley tries to caught him in the act once again against the discouragement of his disbelieving family and friends. This ultimately fails and in turn he and every person his closed with is pursued to be the vampire's next victim.
I would not lie this film has a lot of problems to begin with. Its universe is oddly inconsistent in its lore and story-wise, it does not really offer anything new. But it oddly worked for me. Its lack of ambition and overall conviction of its characters gave it a enjoyable self-serious melodramatic camp that had been lost in a lot of film nowadays. It is also inventively successful in integrating vampire tropes and styles to fit in a kitschy eighties. A true surprise, Fright Night tells you that it does not need perfect to be likable. Its just need to be true to itself to be great [4.5/5]
Pink Narcissus (1971)
Color me Happy
Pink Narcissus is a film that is really a different experience than your normal movie habit. When I watched the film, it just was not like any kind of film I had watched. It was very primitive and very confusing yet it is also oddly fascinating and funny.
So primarily, it is a film telling the life of a gay drifter and what goes in to his horny head. He envision himself as a Sultan, a mighty Matador and a lot other gay penchants as he tries to fulfill himself to completion. Only to face the gaudy realities of his life in the end. All of which presented in a colorful low-budget yet sophisticated vision,without any single dialogue to make a definite sense.
Indeed, the film was feral. It is leaves a lot of things for its viewer to digest and I kinda enthralled by it. Usually I have reservation to this kind of films as they tend to over do it artsy side that they came off as a bit of a bore and overthought but its own quirks just works so well. The colorful D.I.Y. kitsch styling to its literal take on gay iconography and jargon were so witty and inventive that it really leave in me awe.
Overall, Pink Narcissus is a art film spectacle that is not afraid to show a distinct flavor without losing its ambition.[5/5]
Fanny och Alexander (1982)
A Fairy Tale
Fanny and Alexander tells the the storied lives of the titular sibling. When death suddenly strikes the patriarch of the family, the Fanny, Alexander and their mother Emilie are forced to live on their own. Sadly, this is taken advantage by an affluent widower, causing the once colorful life of the family into a slow downward turn.
A whimsical and colorful film, F&A simulates the tone of a simple fairy tale as it takes a precious look to the troubled period of the family all under the crisp direction of Bergman. It sure is dazzling to watch, I mean I am still lost of words to define how exemplary the film was. It just works in so many level. From its scripting, its phenomenal direction and acting, it is just perfect. A true piece of art[3/5]
Beautiful Girls (1996)
Its a Wonderful Day
Midlife crisis looms the life of a failing musician, forcing him to return to his hometown to find himself. Upon returning, he discovers that he is not alone in this journey for self discovery.
I have to say acting-wise the film was not really that special. Not even the charming Mrs. Portman did deliver noteworthy performances. Even some of the performances comes off a bit stiff. In addition, its typical nineties style cinematography does not give it favor. So boring and forgettable.
Ultimately, Beautiful Girls is a film that is lifted by its well- written script. It is able to be freely and willfully construct a life of a group of men having a hard time taking their impending stature as a family man without really boring or sullen.
Overall, the film is a fine film that does not really offer anything new but is kinda worth your time. Especially if you want a film talking about very emasculating period in your life[3/5]
The Day of the Locust (1975)
Day of Locust
For every winner comes a bunch of losers. Day of locust tells the story of these losers as they try to live thru the hell they are in.
In the midst of the Californian heat, a young artist dreams of fulfilling his Hollywood dream. In his quest,he meets different personalities unseen in dazzling world of cinema. All of whom are vying for their very own glimpse of stardom, ultimately changing his own pure vision of his dream.
Personally, I admire its effort to replicate the 30's Hollywood vibe. Its distinctive soft-focus photography and beautiful depiction of the era are true highlights. In addition, Black and Sutherland were phenomenal in their respectable role.
BUT here comes the film's biggest problem, I found its script to be quite problematic. From the story's perspective, its nature just felt to have been bigger or campier. This people are living in the edge and does not feel like it.
Also, the film has a lot troubles of coming terms with its surrealistic plot points. Its presence at times felt a bit forced . Lastly, the ensemble story-line did not really work for me. Its scope was too big for its own good.
Overall, Day of Locust has its moments but a drastic problem from its script really dampens its ambitions. [3/5]
Tom Jones (1963)
Dated Period Piece
Vulgar but Charming, Tom Jones struts his way to infamy in his hometown for his antics. When the charming Sophie arrives, She and Tom falls in love much to the dismay of her parents who have other plans for her.
Particularly known for one of the more forgotten and questioned Best Picture winners, Tom Jones is a rare breed of silliness and playfulness tossed with a flair of lavish flamboyance that had not been present in a lot of Best Picture Nominees of today. Though these same characteristics does not really make it into a great film. Today, it feels a bit too tame that its antics comes off a bit too corny. Overall, just not my taste.[3/5]
Night of the Comet (1984)
Average at best
Night of the Comet
In the 80's, the resulting fallout of a passing comet caused every human in contact of it to turn into into a flesh eating zombie before bursting to oblivion. Meanwhile, few survivors were lucky to survive but are facing a new dilemma. A group of scientist is hunting these survivors to capture and turn into their very own source of energy.
Night of the Comet is your average run-in-the-mill popcorn flick but churned with the right amount of sense and consistency that you could give it a second chance. Everything about it screamed mediocrity. Acting. Script. Visuals. But its own easy-breeziness and simplicity lifts its material from becoming into another forgettable 80s trash. Cute actress too. Wonder why they did not make it big? [3.5/5]
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Messiah of Death(1973)
MoD tells the story of Arletty .She is trying to locate her father whom she has lost contact of. Going to his beach-side home in a remote coastal town, she find herself entailed with more mysteries than answers in her search.
MoD is a particularly noteworthy horror flick for its rather eerie horror aesthetic that implies rather tell. Though a bit too rough around the edges primarily due to its low budget aesthetics and rather conservative styling (i.e. not that bloody compared to your average horror), MoD is a moody and surrealistic experience in vein with my other favorite let's scare Jessica to Death that creeps its viewer. [4.5]
Targets tells the unsettling story of a young man who has gone amok and proceeds to kill any person in sight and how its parallels with the life of a faded horror star. I have to give it to Bogdanovich, he is probably the one of few directors that either gives you great hits or ultimate misses. I have brushed a lot of his film thru and watched it and every time he makes this kind of disasters you wonder if it is the same director that made those greater films.
So let us just say that it has every thing expected from his worst features. A pedigree for very questionable performances (beginning with his very own performance), off-putting heavy-handed storytelling that tries too hard too include too many things at once and an amateurish camera work to be edgy (which I will give him a pass in this film since this is a B film after all).
In the end, I just could not get the hype of it. I get that it tries to be deep and meaningful but its just did not gave me that spark. It is just too inconsistent in tone and try-hard script-wise. It sure has its moments but in the end it would be remembered by Karloff film where he plays himself. Nothing more and nothing less.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Should have been
Annabelle: Creation (2017) tells the story of how the titular demonic doll from the famous Conjuring films came to be. I would not lie, Annabelle: Creation does not offer anything new to the table. It has everything expected from horror movies these days. Jump Scares, a tragic back-story, an impenetrable villain and an idiot to push the narrative. But to say this film is pure trash is is just wrong. Annabelle: Creation, whilst very typical story-wise ,is one of those rare horror sequels that do not divulge to the pure excess of its genre and its own origin.
Its willingness to stay sublime and wait for proper build-up is intensely admirable especially comparing to the tons of lesser horror flicks that came out of the 2000s. I personally did not expected that it was made by the same director who did Lights Out, which on my own opinion is all over-the-place and intensely patchy.
In addition, its non-reliance to CGI (with few exception towards the end) and creative camera work were welcome surprises.Also, I would also like to commend the film acting especially Stephanie Sigman as the warm Sister Charlotte, and duo of Talitha Eliana Bateman and Lulu Wilson as the best-friends/orphans/outcasts. (sequel with them please..)
Overall, the film is a wonderful enjoyable romp that is able to rise from its own failings. Worth your time. [3.5/5]
PS: This film has some odd similarity story-wise with that 2017 Amityville film.
The Window (1949)
The Window(1949) is a Film that tells the story of a compulsive liar boy who had lied so many times that even his parent would not believe the things he said.Then one night, it just so happen that he saw a murder and everything turns loose.
Overall, the Window is your average Film Noir. Full of twist and turns but always fall into something expected. It might have fallen into a more forgettable territory without the wonderful performance of child actor Bobby Driscoll. He just embodied the role and elevated it into something thrilling and exciting especially during the latter part of the film. [7/10]
Alien: Covenant (2017)
The Reductive Alien
I must admit, at its core, Alien:Covenant is a standard popcorn flick that would probably be fun to watch if you would not care for those little details but sadly I did.
To begin with, I always wonder why does Hollywood is obsessed with slasher level of incompetent protagonists. I mean (assuming that) this is a group of well trained scientist/personnel that is given a job to actually repopulate a certain studied planet, how could they be so impulsive and have no sense of propriety. Leaving an already detailed trip to take a chance in an unknown planet and let alone only one crew member actually thinking that it is bonkers is just to absurd to begin with.
Then, does this crew even have protocol? Letting the lives of thousands to be in jeopardy of a certain few, being not able to see through that awful plot twist ending by not having a backup Davis or checking if he is actually a Davis, or just letting the main leader's life be in jeopardy by bringing him down there with you just never makes sense. This film never fails to puzzle me.
Another thing that truly bugged me is how reductive this film feels. It is just a smorgasbord of every little noticeable twist and turn of the previous films in the franchise topped with craziness and lack of inherent logic. I mean I already predicted what will happen midway the film just shows how been there,done than it is. Even the feminist drive of the film feels too rehashed to the point that they are literally copying the original for quotation making it feel so uninspired.
To summarize, Alien: Covenant is a questionable unoriginal sequel to the already fledgling ship that is the Alien Franchise. Not even its beautiful visuals nor passable acting can save this film from its immeasurable illogical fallacies and overall reductiveness. [2/5]
I watched this film with no preconception of what this film will be about (except for the obvious) or how good it is and I still somehow felt quite disappointed. As expected, it was a predictable Hollywood popcorn flick. It has its big stars and its pretty effects and that's about it.
Though it was interesting how the gay subtext was tackled, other than that the film's script is beyond mediocre. I mean Pitt's role is not really salvageable. That character is beyond insufferable. On the other hand, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Cruise, in substantial roles, did their best to impress.
Dunst left me with mixed feelings. She was impressive when she was playing as a youngster version of her role but as her character 'age', I did not see a change that I believe the character should have.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise was more impressive in his role. I mean he have the showiest role after all. It has the right amount of pizazz and motherly touch that his character imbued but it was nothing special.
Overall, the film was just painfully OK and everything about leaves you wanting for more as nothing really leaves a big impression. [2.5/5]
Nema-ye Nazdik (1990)
Up Close and Personal
Close-Up is a re-enactment of a real case concerning a poor Iranian who used the identity of a famous Iranian director to fraud a family into believing that they can star in his next upcoming movie , but Kiarostami takes things to another level. He blended true to life actions and let the victims and the perpetrator,themselves, do the re-enactment adding another layer to the film.
Similar to his later film Certified Copy, Close Up is actually a look at the facade where we hide out of our true self or how one self-mythologize to be more acceptable or liked. By locking in the truth with that of re-enactment, the film was able to look closer through each of the character and see the reasons for their action.The biggest example of which is the petty thief himself. When he tries to be the director, he did it as he lacks everything and he struggles to put that act out to the public.
Overall, Close-Up is a very complex film. It tackles much more than what I have written out here for sure but at its core, the film is a meditation of Kiarostami's style and humanism. [4.5/5]
Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Mikey and Nicky (1976)
This film tells the story of a problematic petty thief who falls in danger after a questionable dealing with a mob boss. With minutes behind his hit man, he asked his gangster friend for help to bail him out one last time. Ultimately, his awful behavior takes a toll to their friendship and he is left to bail himself on his own.
I have read a lot of reviews putting it high regard (even comparing it to the likes of the Godfather films and Scorsese gangster flicks) but it just did not do it for me. I mean I like the performances in here. It feels very organic and realistic compared to Cassavetes's work which seems to be the main inspiration of the film but it leaves you kinda detached to it. It just did not setup its character to be there with you throughout the film that by the end you could not care less about them. To conclude, the film would forever be remembered for May's directorial antics and not by its own merits. [2/5]
Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
Not my cup of tea
This film tells the story of a slacker stuck in a California-like purgatory for people who killed themselves. Kinda started to watch this film because a lot of interesting side characters from different films ended up acting here (Fugit and Sossamon to name a few) but I ended up being very disappointed. Given the premise has some promise, it just never took off into something interesting and worthwhile. Everything about this film is very mediocre and stale.Likewise , the acting minus that Russian guy in the film is very uneven and uninspired and the story is haphazardly paced and lacks tension to make it something more than what the film offers. Overall, the film is just too safe and basic for its own good but tolerable if interested. [2.5/5]
Woody Allen 2.0
Zelig is a "pseudo-documentary" about the world's first human chameleon. This film boasts one of the most realistic re-imagining of prewar film-stocks ever filmed, crisped to the tiniest detail. The Nazi scenes alone can be worth the watch for this film.
Indeed, The film is a technical marvel and acting itself is no slouch either but it always felt like something is off in this film. The story in paper is very actually interesting but Allen's mixing of his anxious comedy style with that of documentary made it came off a bit stiff and phony in a way. I just cannot suspend my disbelief as the story goes more ridiculous by the minute with its BBC-like narration topped by some on or off jokes.
Overall, the film is a technical marvel and is fun to watch in tiny bits but suffers in comparison to his better works's snappy warmth and pizazz [3/5]
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Hermoine and her Beast
Beauty and the Beast is live action adaptation of the beloved 90's animation of the same name. It follows the nerdy Belle as she leaps off her small provincial town to be trapped in the mysterious world of the Beast. I would not lie, this film really leaves a lot of things to be talked about as it really is quite a mixed bag of positives and negatives.
To start off my discussion, the first half of the film is very confusing. It felt like a lot of exposition needed to firmly root the relationships within this updated film were left out. I could not help but be lost at times when some 'different-from-the- original' moments happens every now and then. Also, it negatively affected the setup of some scenes further down the film. In addition, the first half of the film was oddly centered in showcasing the film's special effects and uncomfortably darker than expected.
Secondly, a lot of acting in this film left me with very mixed feelings. Emma Watson just did not do it for me as Belle. Though the modern interpretation of Belle is interesting to say the least , Watson does not have enough charisma to carry her character. Also, while I do not see anything bad staying true to the original, I was really bothered by some awful voice acting in this film. If they cannot make a good impression of the original , then maybe change it up. I cannot stop cringing every time I hear awful voice impression every now and then.
Lastly, the effects in this film is shockingly wonky. Given that this is a huge production, I am kinda disappointed how the CGI characters is very stilted and hindered some of the framing in this film, especially those scenes including Mrs.Potts. Also, those CGI pan shots are migraine hazards, gosh. Those scenes were the worst.
On the positive side, when the Beast and Belle started to appear together and the romance portion of the film starts to pick up, everything just suddenly worked for the better. The mood, the story and the changes are just better than the first half. Also, I kinda find the lightening of the overall mood of the film greatly lift the film from its intensely stiff first half.
Acting wise, Luke Evans and Olaf takes this film. They were both stayed true to the original yet their expressed it as their very own. They pretty much stole the show every time they are on the screen. In addition, Ewan Mcgrewor and Ian Mckellen were amazing in their respective voice role as Lumiere, and Cogsworth.
Overall, Disney's live-action film update to the much beloved animated film is a mix high highs and low lows but in the end, the film stayed true to what the original intended to be and it kinda worked. I might not say it is better than the original (which, take note, also did not do it for me) but it is an admirable try and surely an enjoyable watch[3/5]
cum grano salis
300 is a rife example of how Snyder's style lift his film into a new level. Its kinda funny to think that I actually hated it when I first set my eyes for it. Today, it is a prime example of a fun popcorn flick that has its own agendas but does not really need to rub it in so that the viewers can feast in what they truly wanted to see. A fun action film with equal parts raunchiness, adrenaline pumping action, over- dramatic camp and over-glorified sense of machismo, all of which encapsulated in Snyder's definite flashy style. But remember, this is just for fun and games and everything you see must be taken with a grain of salt. [4/5]
Yuki yukite, shingun (1987)
Life During Wartime
Meddling between the line of a gross-out comedy or a messed-up war film , ENAMO is a weirdly tantalizing documentary that is just to good to be true. In this film, we follow Okuzaki, a psychotic man who was previously jailed for murdering his fellow veteran and trying to hit the the Emperor of Japan for failing his fellow Japanese during the war. In a period of five years, he tries to solve the mysterious deaths of two low ranking officials and a General during his stay in Papua New Guinea. By then everything starts to go absurd. Apparently a concoction of desperation, hunger, hatred, disillusionment and pure delusion happened causing the mysterious death, all of which slowly revealed by each of the guilty veterans in pure gory detail as Okuzaki (tropes and all) muscles them for the truth. All of which recorded in a 'matter- of- fact' Cinema-Verite styling of Hara.
Towards the end, the title itself come full circle. This veterans (including Okuzaki) is here with the truth that they all had been masking all this time due to the fact that they themselves cannot fathom the mistakes they did. They had became the emperor parading in his make-belief clothing. A true must watch for anyone who wants to understand the hardships and after-effects of war. [5/5]
That Thing called Desire
Techine's Rendez-vous (1985) tells the story of Nina (Binoche), a young struggling actress trying to better her life in the busy streets of Paris. When a turbulent lover dies unexpectedly, she is left to fend the guilt of the failed relationship while juggling another lover who seeks a more mature relationship off her.
Rendez-vous(1985) is an interesting study on sex and its role in relationships. Nina is a sees herself as a woman confident of her sexuality and is ready to use it for her own comfort. But as the film progresses, It seems to be that she is just too eaten up by her own uncertainties and insecurities that her sexuality acts as a defense mechanism for her to be accepted. But as the film shows, it affects her relationship the other way. The man she put out with ends up seeing through her. More often leaving her disillusioned by her actions. [4/5]