Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One of the best films you haven't seen

Baxter (Jérôme Boivin,1989)

This has to be one of the most unique films in recent years. The story seems very over the top and completely stupid if you really think about it but yet it works and it works in such a way that left me amazed. Baxter is about a dog who wishes that he was a human, it's simple and very unique. Baxter is the dog voiced by Maxime Leroux but only through voice over narration. The narration is really beautiful and dark at times, he speaks of seeing the flowers and wishing that he was human so he can have sex with a woman. Yes, it seems really out there but it works.

"Baxter" also gives us very simple scenes that gives the audience time to settle with such a far fetched plot. The direction is straight to the point, nothing flashy, not huge crane shots, no intense close ups, very simple direction. It was a very original approach to a very original story. The filmmakers knew they had something on their hands that would either work really great or just horribly.

This is just one of those films that you have to see to believe. I deeply loved it, every single second of it. It also haves one of the great shot with Baxter in the middle of the frame and the title credit comes out. The ending is also very emotional and something that i didn't quiet suspect. By all means, see this film. If it wasn't for the John waters who put this film on his television show that runs controversial films then i would have never seen. Even if you don't like john waters this is a film that must be seen.

Grade A+

A wonderful Surprise

Bolivia (2001,Adrián Caetano)

Bolivia is a film that knows what it's doing. A very simple concept with wonderful direction. The film is about a restaurant and a bolivian man named freddy who works there. It's his first day on the job and the locals are against him due to mainly because he is bolivian. Most of the film except for about 2 or 3 scenes take place in the restaurant. The direction by Adrian is wonderful, we get all of the background we need on all the characters that roam around the restaurant and the best thing is that he does it in under 75 minutes. Something that most directors can't even do in a 2 hour film.

The acting is well acted and doesnt go over the top. Freddy is played by Freddy flores which gives a wonderful performance that suits him well. Oscar bertea also gives a stand out performance as Oso, a man filled with many problems and just can't get back on his feet. The actors dont go for this huge oscar tear jerking performance but just a simple one that makes the characters realistic.

I was pleasently surprised by this film because i had no idea what i was in for. Some people may compare it to clerks for reasons that are pretty idiotic. It's black and white and nearly takes place all in one setting. Well it's nothing like clerks which i also love. I've also been hearing that Argentina which this film is from is having a little new wave going on but im not really sure on the details of the filmmakers that are coming out from there. After seeing this film which most critics and film buffs say is the best argentinian film to come out in recent years then im all up for seeing more of there work. A great simple film that knows what it's doing.

Grade A

Monday, May 21, 2007


The Good German (Steven Soderbergh, 2006)

Wow, what is there to say about this film. No one knows how bad i wanted to love this film. I remember sitting in the theater and seeing the trailer to the good german and was absolutely floored. Sadly, that brings me to the first flaw that i didn't expect at all. All the best looking scenes in the film are in the trailer. The lighting in every other scene is horrible. Everything is either to bright or just way to dark, it gives it like a muddy feeling which isn't film noir. Film noir is all about shadows and i thing soderbergh thought just darkening the room would be okay, well it's not. This was such a shock to me, my jaw was literally hanging. I sat there thinking what the hell happened. Every once in a while throughout the film we get a good looking scenes (which come rarely) and i applaud them but rest is just bad. The scenes inside the car feel like a student film which don't even come off as film noir. This was something i didn't expect.

The other flaw that this film has was something that i saw coming from way before the film's release and that was the approach to the film. Soderbergh had good intentions by wanting to make a film noir (great idea) that contained profanity and sexual content (bad idea). He said that he wanted to make the film that the original film directors wanted to. In the film noir era the directors wanted to put sex and profanity in their films but didn't because of producers and shock to audiences. This gave the directors a way to be creative and use metaphors for sex and give the leads great one liners instead of using words like "Fuck" and "Bitch". That's the charm of film noir, everything is hidden in shadows, the dialouge, the sex and the tone. Film noir's are so memorable because of the sexy dames that the actress protrays without having a single sex scene and the great bad ass male leads that don't have to say a single bad word while still keeping a bad ass persona. The way Soderbergh made this film and approached it was just a bad idea from the beginning. It had the slight chance of atleast being entertaining but comes off as awkward and doesn't have the same feel of film noirs.

I don't know what soderbergh did because he always stated that while making the film he would constently watch film noirs 24/7. It just goes to show you that you have to study these films and understand them, not just watch them and try to copy them. Soderbergh tried and when he did it right, he nailed it but that only comes about three times throughout the film. One more thing i have to say about Soderbergh is that he needs to stop experimenting and make a film again. I understand that he wants to try to break into new things and do everything but he has to keep a mind set that we can concentrate on and not jump to project to project. The only person that can do that and pull it off (occasionally) is richard linklater. Also with soderbergh's experiments such as bubble in this film, bubble only succeeds because it's something fresh, something original in it's experimentation and content. Where The good German fails is that it's trying to be something else and obviously from viewing the film Soderbergh wasn't ready because this film just blew up in his face.

Grade C


Doom (Andrzej Bartkowiak,2005)

Every now and then i decide that i'm going to watch a movie that i already know i'll hate. The reason for this is to remind myself how bad cinema is right now and to not take for granted the good young directors out there. To name a few Gondry, Jonze, Chan wook park, Wan Kar Wai, Wes Anderson, Paul thomas anderson, tarantino, joon ho bong, the tequila gang trio and the other talented filmmakers that i'm missing out.

So "Doom", horrible lines, pretty bad acting, shit direction, bad movie. Not even an enjoyable popcorn movie. The only "cool" thing was in the beginning when a girl gets her arm ripped off by closing doors. Everything from there goes downhill.

Grade F

Friday, May 18, 2007

Peter O'toole is the film...literally

Venus (roger michell, 2006)

5 reasons to see this film

1. Peter O'toole and his two friends

That's basically it and some good little music every now and then. Oh and also the poster is cool but yeah, that's about it.

Venus, i can see why people talked so much about Peter O'toole's performance and not the film. O'toole gives a great performance as a loveable old pervert. Yes, he's kind of a pervert in the film...just a bit but his past tells us that he was a famous ladies man. The film starts off really great with O toole and his two friends just talking about people that they knew who have passed away. They laugh about things, call each other fucking bastards and clip each other's toe nails. The film also has many great comedic parts but only i can see O'toole pull off.

Yes, Venus starts off really great and has bits of greatness throughout the film but the thing that gives the film it's scretching hault is leslie phillips. The actress who is opposite of O'toole. It's obvious that we can't expect to much from someone going heads up with O'toole in acting but they should have atleast gotten someone better. Her acting is pretty bad and her accent which is probably her real accent is annoying.

Another flaw in the film is that the filmmakers are clearly trying to say something but they never get there point across. They try to give a little social commentary on how different the youth is from the old, well that's pretty obvious but yet they try. Also some of the interactions between O toole and Phillips are a bit awkward, maybe if they had a more experienced actress it would be passable but yet how the scenes are written out, it is still a bit odd and awkward.

The film is good, not a masterpiece, not great but just good. Leslie's character isn't that well thought out in comparision to O'toole's character. Great performance by O'toole and his two friends and a few great scenes but that's it. I recommend it just to see Peter give one hell of a performance.

Grade B

Evil is Amazing

Evil (Mikael Håfström, 2003)

5 reasons to watch this film

1. The way the camera moves
2. Great performances
3. Loved the source music
4. the intro
5. The interaction of the characters

Evil is a film that i had no prior knowledge of, i didn't know the director, the actors,the plot, nothing. I simply got it because of the name. It just grabed my attention so i decided to rent it and am i glad i did. Turns out it was nominated for best foreign film in 2004, i guess this was a film that i overlooked and im kind of pissed that i did because i simply loved it.

The film is about a male student named erik that is considered evil by his step father and his teachers so they send Erik to a boarding school. Erik is played by andreas wilson who does a great job and to my surprise has only been in a handful of films. The direction of the film itself is also amazing and same with adreas wilson the director has only directed a few films. One thing that i loved about it is the use of the camera. It seems that it's actually apart of the directors body. The camera is always on the move trying to reach the main character, kind of trying to help him out in a way. It's just something that i haven't seen before and just simply loved it.

Another note about this film is the director Mikael did a hollywood film, derailed, the clive owen film. Just goes to show that hollywood can break a director's career, hopefully mikael gets back on his feet but i heard that his new film 1408 isnt that great either. Hope the same doesnt happen with Wong KAi wai and my blueberry nights.

Grade A+

One of the best films you will ever see

Turtles Can Fly (Bahman Ghobadi,2004)

I'm not going to write anything on this film. I feel that writing a review for it just wouldn't give it justice even if you say hands down this is the best film ever. This is a film that excites me so much and from people that have seen it, they all say the same. Turtles can fly has a certain magic quality to it that so few films have these days. The last three that i can name are Pan's labyrinth, The host and Children of Men. The magic that im talking about isn't like a happy well rounded ending or uplifting characters but something more, something that i honestly can't put into words but this film has it. It's just a feeling that happens after you watch a great film. My three favorite films of all time have the same quality but are very different films, City lights, Citizen Kane and Aguirre the wrath of god. These films just make you feel like cinema was created for them personally.

Please, watch this film. It's beautiful on every level. The only thing i can say about this film is that it's a fairy tale caught in the tragedies of the real world. One of the best films that you'll ever see.

Grade A+

Monday, May 14, 2007

A film that leaves you feeling great

Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)

5 reasons to see this film

1. Peter Sellers
2. Hal ashby's beautiful direction
3. The music of the film
4. Melvyn Douglas
5. Shirley maclaine's performance that got her an oscar

This is just a masterpiece and there has been so much said about this film, so i'm going to keep it brief. The reason's why i loved this film so much is because it parallels "Harvey" the Jimmy Stewart film that i also loved. It's just a film about a simpleton that changes so many lives. It's better to live life pleasent then smart. Jimmy Stewart plays the simpleton wonderfully in "Harvey" and so does Sellers in "Being There" but they play them both very differently. Seller's love his T.V and Stewart love his giant rabbit "Harvey".

The thing that most people get angry about is that Sellers was robbed for his oscar. They also say the reason why he didn't get it was because of the credits while showing a blooper of himself stumbling on a line because he's laughing hysterically. In my opinion, that's why he should have gotten the oscar. I love that ending, it just makes me smile. It's also breath taking to see Sellers go in and out of his character so easily, one second he's laughing the next he's back as the gardener. It just truely shows Sellers comedy genius and great acting.

The film is just beautiful, great story, great acting, great direction, great film. I just can't stop loving the end where it has it's own version of a "walking into the sunset" type of scene. The scene also goes hand in hand with the ending to "Harvey" and how that film has a "walking into the sunset" scene. It's just a perfect ending, cliched but when it's done in such a beautiful way it's amazing. I just love those endings that make you feel that movies have a type of magic on them. That's also the reason why i love the ending's to both "City lights" and "Manhattan", they both end the same way, with a very touching smile on both the main characters faces. Woody Allen's film "Manhattan" just happens to end with the smile then a little montage of manhattan which kind of feels that Allen loved the ending to City Lights but felt that he couldn't measure up to it so he hid it in the scenery of Manhattan but i believe Allen did a perfect job. Just Beautiful films, Classic Cinema and "Being There" falls into this category.

Grade A+

One of my new favorites

Gambling city (Sergio Martino,1975)

5 reasons to see this film

1. Some of the most fun you'll ever have watching a film
2. Great direction by Sergio Martino
3. Amazing and dangerous Cinematography
4. Lovely acting by Luc Merenda
5. The greatest chase that i have ever seen

This is a night at the movies right here. This is the type of film that just leaves you thinking about why you love films so much. This is a genre film by what some people say to be the most over looked director of the 70's Sergio Martino. This film is basically the Italian answer to "the sting" but this is just so much more, not putting down the other film at all. This film is twice as fun and twice as stylish.

We get the basic poker player cool guy marvelously by Luc Merenda. The set up is simple, guy is a cheat and guy gets hired by the criminal underground to win them money. Well the thing that sets this film apart from those films is that everything goes haywire in a matter of seconds. Gambling City doesn't have a dull bone in it's body. Everything is stylish and happens for a reason.

The direction in this film is just great. Sergio Martino set out to make a fun action film but did more then that and he knows it. The film goes from having seriously one of the most over looked cool good guys that i've ever seen and just being fun to having one of the most depressing endings of all time. I don't want to spoil anything but i just love the way it ended. It end's in the way that all the other crime films of that era were afraid of ending. Sergio just thought this was the way it should end and it fits perfectly.

I honestly can not love this film enough. This is now in my top 20 favorite films that i've ever seen. It's just amazing fun with great filmmaking in it. This is a film that you can say " you had a night at the movies".

Grade A+

One of the most painful experiences of my life.

The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)

5 reasons to see this film

1. To experience this film
2. To see a film literally be taken away from a director
3. The sometimes good look that the films has...sometimes
4. To say you have atleast seen this before you criticize it unlike how most people have
5. Honestly, nothing more to say...

Darren Aronofsky, a director recogonized for his visual flare that he gives to thought provoking films such as his diretional debut "Pi" and Acclmained film "requiem for a dream" has been wanting to make "The fountain" all his life. This was suppose to be his masterpiece, a film that came deep down from the heart and created from passion. The passion is there, obviously if he took him nearly a decade to get it made but this just didn't turn out the way he had planned it. Many people have said that this is Aronofsky's "dune" so to speak, the David Lynch film that was raped and edited by producers and studio execs. When you see the film you can not help feel bad for Darren but yet you still have to criticize what the ending product was and well it's just one of the worst films that i have ever seen.

Darren completely loses his sense of scale throughout the whole film. He doesn't know wheather to make an epic or an intimate love story that surpasses the sands of time. The Story literally goes everywhere and it just slips away from Darren's hands and throughout the whole film your sitting and thinking when this film is going to get back on it's feet but sadly it never does. Like i said, the passion is there but the film isnt.

The film doesn't even seemed to be directed by Aronofsky at times. The audience who has loved his films in the pass should notice it by just the overall feeling of the film. The characters are the most one dimensional characters i have ever seen the his visual flare is hardly even there. I'm not talking about how "pretty" it looks but the way he uses his camera. It's one of the few times that i sat through a film and cringed just waiting for it to finish. I wanted to stop the film atleast 3 times throughout but just couldn't, i was hoping that some how it would magically turn around.

This was suppose to be Darren's film. A personal film that shouldn't have had any executive say from other people. It's just a very sad and painful experience to see the finish product. What could have been a masterpiece seems like a student film with a higher budget even though the budget was actually cut down while filming. Nothing really works in this film, the characters , the story telling, nothing. They basically show you the same exact scene three times, literally and metaphorically speaking and if i'm wrong and Darren is actually proud of this film then i won't be anticipating his next project because this was just horrible.

Grade D-

Friday, May 4, 2007

This is just amazing.

This photo left me speechless.

New York Stories

I haven't posted anything recently because well...i've been going to sleep really early. I'm not so sure why anymore but the last few films that i did see all have tons of things written about them so i wouldnt even bother.

Taxi Driver (martin Scorsese 1976)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola 1979)
Manhattan (woody Allen 1979)

I have been familiar with all of these director's works but not to the extent that i wish i have been. All three of these films absolutely blew me away. I have already seen apocalypse now atleast twice before but i recently watched it again, still amazing. It's a film that i honestly can't believe was filmed at that time. Just amazing.

Taxi Driver and Manhattan on the other hand, i have never seen. Yes, i have never seen taxi driver or manhattan but im actually kind of glad that i didn't watch them until now. The film knowledge that i have now which was given to me from a friend of mine (you can find at cinemaisking.blogspot.com) im glad i watched these films at this time because of the information i already know about these directors and also seeing some of the films that they love all thanks to my friend. But honestly there is nothing to say about taxi driver and manhattan that has already been said. Both amazing films, Woody allen was actually the director that got me into cinema. Annie Hall and Sweet and lowdown just made it all click.

Cinema is something that is more then just entertainment, it's art, it's beautiful. I have been into films for about 4 years now and i hope one day i can be at the level that my friend is at and we can have deeper conversations about film but honestly...i just love cinema. I don't know where my head was at until i got into film. So thanks to all the great filmmakers out there that keep setting the example for younger filmmakers and helping the art grow. Also a big thanks to my friend at cinemaisking. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dolemite (D'Urville Martin,1975)

5 reasons to see this film

1. It's Dolemite mother fucka!
2. Hy Pyke! (the greatest actor alive) *slithis*
3. The good ol fashion soul music
4. The boom man that is literally in the shot. not just the boom.
5. Insanely Funny

Dolemite...wow...what can i say? He's just a bad ass that doesn't take shit from the man. That's pretty much it. He like's to have lots of sex, rap about the man and kung fu round house kick two face cops. This film is just amazing. I can see why it's such a classic in the grindhouse blaxploitation world. The film has it all.

One of the big reasons why this film "works" is Rudy Ray Moore. His acting in this film is just straight. Rudy is acting to the fullest and we get to have some great laughs at some of the situations he's in. A Church house or just hanging out at his night club. Every line that comes out of dolemite's mouth is just hilarious. He's hardly ever in a good mood because that man is always trying to bring him down and his authority in the film is just awe inspiring. Everyone knows that dolemite is a force to be reckoned with.

This is a film that you can only talk about with someone that has watched it. I don't want to spoil any of the great laughs or "amazing" action scenes. I can't wait till i watch "The human tornado" which is the sequel to dolemite. Yes, i have the dolemite box set that is dissaproved by the man and i must say..so far it was worth every penny. It just proves that Dolemite is the baddest jive talking mother fucker to walk the planet.

Grade A-

Shit just got real.

Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007)

5 reasons to see this film

1. The best buddy cop film ever
2. One of the funniest films i have ever seen
3. A man has his face painted as spiderman
4. The line "Shit just got real"
5. Edgar Wright's direction

I would just like to start off by saying that i loved shaun of the dead. I was one of the few people that saw it in the theaters and didnt wait till dvd. I was going to do the same with this and i wasn't let down. Hot fuzz is one of the funniest films i have ever seen. It has a very awkward suttle sense of humor that i just can't get enough of. The same kind of humor that runs in "The office" "Arrested Development" and "Allan Partridge show". This is indeed a spoof on every level but it isn't like the scary movie films where the jokes are begging for a laugh. If you think the buddy cop films like lethal weapon and bad boys 2 are completely hilarious by themselves then you would see all the inside jokes in this film. Even if you thought the bad boys films were great action well then this one has one of the greatest action scenes filmed in recent years.

I have to give it up to Edgar Wright though, his direction is completely insane and it's hilarious to see how well he has the action genre down. Everything is perfect, right down to the characters played by simon pegg also the writer of the film and co star nick frost who gives one of the best comedic performances i have seen in this type of genre. Every joke is on time and every action scene is amazingly filmed.

Plain and simple, this is a film that should get much more attention in the states. Over seas it is getting great box office numbers but here...just nothing.Every other comedy that is out right now is just plain crap compared to this. If you want laughs and action go see this film. I suppose the americans are waiting for bad boys 3, even though i wouldnt mind it. I loved bad boys 2. "Shit just got real"- Martin Lawrence (bad boys 2)

Grade A+