— Woody Allen (has continuously turned down invitations to participate in the OSCARS)
Upstream Color d. by Shane Carruth - Too many things have been said about Carruth disappearance after Primer, but one thing was for sure, when it was announced that his second feature film will be airing this (previous) year, the film world was buzzing. So was I, but somehow it took me so long to finally watch it. Can’t say I am not impressed although I felt a bit weird watching it for the first time which is not an unusual pattern in his movies since his reluctance to dumb down his movies to fit in with the audience (which is what I feel Cuaron did with Gravity) is a well known fact right now. It’s one of those movies which you need to watch in theater following with a Q & A from the director. Once you’ve heard/read the whole life-cycle connection theme than it becomes really clear and the second time you watch it, it’s a very different treat. But after I finished being impressed by the level of the “mindfuckery” (for the lack of a better name), I felt that characters were really boring and I could not really care for any of them. I think this is Carruth’s big weakness, creating characters that people can’t connect, he really doesn’t bother delivering any emotion to the scene and I think this is an issue with most of these films, they try really hard to give you the “mind-fuck” but don’t deliver on the character and “big picture” side. For some reasons, this film resonated a lot to me with Rian Johnson’s Looper and it had great cinematography but despite the remarkable style of one of the most intriguing young film-makers out there, it left me emotionless just like his characters. 6/10
Nebraska d. by Alexander Payne - I am not an American but I have always have heard that the Midwest is not a place where you’d be having a lot of fun and Nebraska is the first film I’ve seen that has matched exactly that scenery. Probably that has to do with Payne being born there but that doesn’t take away his craftsmanship, I’d say it enhances it. Nebraska is a road movie and one thing’s that’s good about these movies if done right, it’s the ability to portray some great character studies (Little Miss Sunshine comes to mind). An old man beaten by his age and alcohol is in for a last thrill in the company of his caring son. Throughout the movie the other family members chime in and we get to observe the unchanging nature of a man and a town. It’s interesting to see so many old people in a movie yet they all act similarly how they did decades ago and this gives our pathetic protagonist (Bruce Dern) a chance to win one over those people who once made a fool out of his naivety. This film made me feel strong vibes on the aimlessness of the Midwest which to me is a metaphor of old people and how they live to find another thrill before they come to terms with their nearing death but this is not a depressing movie. Payne sticks to his realism grounds and his witty dark humor is there to make this such an enjoyable experience so in the end you can’t help but warmly smile with the absurdity of Woody’s final act. 8/10
(re-watch)The Past d. by Asghar Farhadi - There is a reason why Farhadi is my favorite film-maker right now and that’s his ability to portray his stories in the most real way possible with an immaculate eye for detail, not settling for any emotional tour-De-force (it’s hard to believe there is no music in the entire film) and a script that makes his characters very strong and multidimensional. It’s obvious that his previous A Separation (one of my decade favorites) echoes it’s influence in The Past in terms of story pacing and character development but The Past is surely his own film. I was lucky to be around when this film was premiering in a local festival but I decided to give it another view, primarily because my gf wanted to see this so badly and this was a good opportunity for me to notice even more the amount of details that are common among Farhadi’s recent work. The first part of the film comes out really strong and despite the common perception, it’s never slow, the amount of dialogue and interaction between all the three adult protagonists reveals so much about them and we gradually start to know why everyone is acting in the way that they do. The second part feels like a slight let-down with the increasing twists, although neither one of them is shocking enough to detriment film’s end goal which is demonstrating the clinging effects the past has on us but I didn’t find it powerful in the way I found it in A Separation. 9/10
Computer Chess d. by Andrew Bujalski - It’s one of my first experiences with the mumblecore genre and I really liked the premise set in the 80’s where people along with their computer chess programs would compete against each other. With all the VHS shooting quality and the camera-work, it was an awesome depiction of engineers during that era. It’s only after a while that the film gets a tad exhaustive, maybe because I was expecting to be a bit more smart and beautiful. The main story arc was still engaging but I was thrown off by the side-stories like the cult group and the cyborg. I feel that the film-maker knew where he was going, he wasn’t just articulating it good enough. It’s another theme to the ever-growing technology impact on humans with some weird conotations but I didn’t really connect with any of the characters neither the plot. 4/10
The World’s End d. by Edgar Wright - Can’t really remember a funnier film this year Nothing short of what I expected from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, this is a witty film that builds up very nicely with a lot of laughter in between. Halfway through the film, there is another layer added with the appearance of “robots-who-aren’t-actually-robots” and the audience quickly realizes than this aspires to be way more than just a hangover film that’ll make you laugh your ass out. The story is mainly driven by the protagonist Gary King (Simon Pegg) and I like to think we are seeing the world through his eyes. He is a man whom stature as a high-school popular guy has been diminished in a long time while his gang has moved on so he is back for an ultimate adventure which symbolizes him clinging on the past and hoping to lure his friends in it so he can recreate his best self. So when the blue-blood robots are introduced, it’s how he views the adapted society, manufactured by a big corporate state that has “starbucked” every individual with a suit & tie lifeless, controlled lifestyle. So in the end we are left between two themes here: the drunken, rebelled Gary & his friends vs The Network (can’t help but note the Sidney Lumet references here) and while we are left to sympathize with the concept that humans are flawed and freedom is more important than “integrated prosperity” the film undermines alcoholism as a struggle and that’s something I didn’t really like. We are given closure though, when we see that Gary isn’t healed when he heads back to Newton Haven for another Golden Mile, this time with the robots. In general, I thought the ending was a bit of a fluke but as a comedy-first film, this is a great movie which was equipped with the right elements of social issues and satire. 8/10
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) d. by Paolo Sorrentino - The first time I was tempted to see this film was when a friend recommended it to me after I saw Before Midnight. And now I can understand why. To me, The Great Beauty is an extended version of the lunch scene in Before Midnight, thematically speaking. I found it to be a very compelling depiction of the superficiality of the modern artist class. Rome as a setting fits perfectly with the mixture of classic and modern, but I felt strong vibes towards the nothingness that this class aspires and breathes on in general and how hard is to describe something so empty (the fact that the second book never comes). Jep strives for meaning and finds it in the form of the old nun, who shows him the importance of the roots, how devotion to see beauty in the simple things is actually a solution. Regardless how beautiful Rome is, she is not the great beauty this film speaks, it’s actually the opposite, she’s that great giraffe trick that enables the superficiality Jep has suffered for so long.
Nonetheless, even though this film had a great trajectory, this is no Certified Copy in level of script and dialogue, also from time to time I felt detached from some scenes which of course had a purpose, but I just could not connect to them, they looked a tad too stylish for my taste. 8/10
The Hunt (Jagten) d. by Thomas Vinterberg - For some reasons, I went in this film expecting a strong Nordic horror flick. Well, I was wrong but I was enjoying it more than anything I was anticipating before hand. The questions posed by this film might not big and essential, they are just in tact with the village setting, but they are delivered so strong and beautifully, it’s what makes me love cinema, that ability to amaze the viewer with the most simplest of plots, which in recent times has masterfully been done by Farhadi, Kiarostami, Herzog and the like.
Surely, Vinterberg has still a ground to catch to be in the level of those guys but with The Hunt he has made a perfect mixture of plot and character development, which is of course leaded by a strong Mikkelsen performance.
In terms of plot I love how Vinterberg doesn’t give up on the urge to include shock value twists (my only problem with the Prisoners) but stays true to the reality of the situation. As for Lukas character, I agree that his best scene is in the church but I was won over by his persistence to go back to that grocery store, a strong reflection of a character who knows himself and his deeds, refusing to be trapped on society’s mindset. I thought that to be a great character exploration.
Unfortunately, while Lukas and Theo characters were very well constructed I had some issues with some of the others which were detrimental to the film especially with the kindergarten principle and the psychologist. They were way too easy almost laughably fooled into Klara’s lie and I had really hard time buying that and also the principle running away when Lukas comes to confront her felt so out of place, it immediately brought me down from the high of this film.
All in all, it’s a very good film which deserves recognition, in terms of quality I would have a really hard time to choose between this and The Great Beauty as the best foreign film but I could give The Hunt a very slight nod simply to Mikkelsen’s acting. 8/10
Frances Ha d. by Noah Baumbach - Well, it’s a black & white movie and it is set in Brooklyn. I guess that tells you already what this film is about. And it’s perfectly okay, that’s why I am in for the ride and as a matter of fact the beginning is so strong I was really excited to follow through. I thought the part when Frances (main character) moves in the new apartment with her two male friends was really great. Except almost half-way through, she starts getting very obnoxious and I understand it’s all part of her character development but I thought the writing was so over-the-top, it really made me question her character’s credibility. And then when things apparently things start to settle, I feel the film is stuck and it’s not going in any particular direction. I’ve heard the comments on the movie being a satire of college graduates quest for dreams and meaning, this kind of aimlessness people talk about, but in the end feels like even Baumbach got lost in his quest on getting the audience to feel his message, if there ever was one. 5/10
Blue Jasmine d. by Woody Allen - Being a fan of drama and topics that are usually discussed in Allen’s films I could have not missed this. I really considered Before Midnight as the best drama of the year(haven’t seen Llewyn Davis nor Her yet) but Blue Jasmine is certainly up there and is among my top 5 movies of the year. You can clearly see Allen’s pattern but besides his screenplay and his craft on treating relationships, it brings so much more to the table. Maybe because Allen said this movie is something that happened in his youth, but nevertheless is very strong and convincing (in contrary to Frances Ha). It draws a parallel between two life concepts, how much people are driven by the “good life” concept in such a way that you find yourself alienated from lower class people you and once everything is broken to pieces, you find out you have been living a lie. Not just in terms of relationships but in everything you did yet again even when you are starting from the bottom you use the same actions that made you fall in that lie in the first place, such strong is the drug called “elite” but this time around it has fatal consequences. I think this point was strongly delivered through majestic performance from Cate Blanchett and I consider this to be one of the best Allen’s films of this decade. 9/10
The Wolf of Wall Street d. by Martin Scorsese - This was definitely the year of American Dream-themed movies. Spring Breakers, American Hustle, Blue Jasmine (not really, but some parts resonated strong with me) and finally the anticipated Wolf who I was expecting to be a wrap-up by the mere fact that Scorsese was behind the wheel. Well, it’s not. First of all, I realized this was a satire only after the credits rolled but as far as satires go, this left me unfulfilled especially when we’re talking Scorsese standard. This movie leaves a lot open to interpretation, that’s why is so polarizing, but to me it didn’t have the impact to influence me in such a way than let’s say Spring Breakers did (I took this comparison since both of them are satires). I can’t help but say that the film is way more sympathetic towards Belfort than it should have been and the scene when the FBI agent is returning home in a subway which was previously predicted by Belfort cut it for me. That’s because even in a satire the “chickens come home to roost” but in WWS they never came 7/10
Gravity d. by Alfonso Cuaron -The moment some facts were shown in the first few seconds and there is a line that says ”Life is impossible in space” I immediately thought “okay, this is is some major IMAX big audience shit”. And I am afraid it was so. Don’t get me wrong, it was visually stunning and it really delivered in the aspect of portraying the stillness, isolation and the scariness of space but it left so much to be desired in terms of plot and character development. I know that was not the purpose of the movie and I am barking in the wrong tree here or maybe it has to do with the fact that I watched this in my laptop (albeit being a Blu Ray copy) but I could not really connect with anything characters had to offer. Just like in WWS the name of the director plays a role since immediately lifts your expectations and that was the same with Cuaron since I know he can offer much more than this so maybe he had to take this bullet in order to be more free in his other ventures. 6/10
Her d. by Spike Jonze - It will be really hard to bring this down in just few lines. I can speak for a lot of people, prior watching the movie, from the trailer we all felt it will be a movie that will show the disconnection and loneliness that technology is bringing to humans, and I was perfectly okay with it as long as it was a moving experience. Turns out, it’s not like that. It’s so much more. I can’t remember a recent movie that was so open to interpretations as this one. It’s really a lost battle if someone tries to give the “final conclusion”. It’s like fucking The Shining. Anyway here are my two cents.
Eventually one of the major issues this film tries to portray is selfishness and how much it will be evident in the future. Selfishness nurtured by the comfort zone everyday technology provides or at least is an incentive. The future society is reflected to us in the eyes of Theodore and Amy and the fact that their comfort zone was challenged by their loved ones thus leading them to break up for even the most absurd little things (the shoes argument makes it really clear). Enter Samantha. Now she’s not the one-dimensional technology character that will consume the individual, fulfill his desires and eventually make him lonely. Yes, maybe in some parts yes and that was truly sad (the vacation Theodore took) but there is another dimension shown which made me absolutely love this movie. Samantha actually is not something that obeys and fulfills Theodore’s desires. No, she confronts him a lot and I dare say she makes him feel real emotions (in contrary to what Catherine said). What is more impressive is that money and subscriptions are not mentioned anywhere in the movie. Because this film it’s not about addiction to technology. When Samantha leaves, it’s clear to us that she has evolved to a state where humans cannot possibly be intact. Now this might seem weird and a cop-out but this ultimately helps us show that Theodore has learned his lesson. Just like Theodore is a fragment of Samantha’s evolution, he was a fragment of his ex-wife’s upbringing and he is aware now that the world is bigger than his ego. Relationships are impossible if people don’t get away from their personal comfort zones, if they are not willing to allow shoes to be put in a place when sometimes they don’t want to be put in. Because like Amy says, we’re here briefly and we want to feel joy. Joy is not on those stupid details, it’s in the bigger things.
This is a film that combines so well between the effects of technology will have in people’s emotional lives and it doesn’t settle with just presenting the problem but it takes a step further and actually tries to give a solution. 10/10
Prisoners d. by Denis Villeneuve - I’ve heard quite rave reviews about this film but some weird reasoning like the poster and Hugh Jackman were keeping me away from watching it. I’m glad I decided to watch it though. It’s a film with quite a nice build-up to the tension and keeps you always immersed in the story. Characters are well written and have a purpose. Religious tones are strong. I really like the Jackman-Howard friendship as a metaphor of a guy who tries to be religious but isn’t satisfied with God’s will and the other a quiet, mature individual who understand that some things are bigger than him thus he gets his daughter back quicker and safer. The one thing I didn’t like much was the old lady character in the end. It felt a bit sleazy, although I found the motivations to be acceptable, I thought Villeneuve should have done better emphasizing those motivations in a different, more grounded approach. Nevertheless, this movie caught me in a surprise, I haven’t been very keen on Villeneuve’s previous Incendies since I felt it relied too much on shock value, but Prisoners was a very different treat. 8/10
Zodiac d. by David Fincher - After I watched Prisoners somehow I felt the need to watch Zodiac, maybe because Gyllenhaal and possible similar story arc and I have been planning to watch it in a long time since I always heard how it was a cult film and it’s considered among the Fincher’s best work. I found this film to be really well-made and its ability to slowly get you in the mindset of the agents until you realize that you as obsessed with finding the guy as the people involved in the case are. It’s not hard to see that the film is about obsession and not really bringing Zodiac to justice. In a long time I haven’t felt more convinced by a serial killer story, what drives the Zodiac to send those letters and why Ruffalo and Gyllenhaal are so addicted to find a man who hasn’t killed more than 3 people in a span of 7 years in a town that counts 200 murders for two years. I understand the movie is based from the perspective of Graysmith and the end shows how much he wanted closure, how he wanted to believe he found the guy when in reality there isn’t such convincing facts as Graysmith claimed to be and this IMO could have been a perfect ending, if Fincher would distance a bit from the book to show the frustration of the fact that this case will never be solved and how it affected the lives of people involved. That would best drive home the point of Zodiac and his killings. 8/10
12 Years a Slave d. by Steve McQueen - I’ve been riding high on McQueen train this past year. When I heard he will be doing a “proper” slavery movie (yes, I am looking at you Tarantino) I was really excited and was anticipating to be ranked among the best movies this year. Maybe, it was because the theme of slavery that doesn’t have some white guy playing the hero, has been dearly missing from American cinema. McQueen was clearly inspired by this lack of treatment and in 12 Years he shows no remorse. We immediately see that with the portrayal of “good” slave-owners like Ford for whom Solomon Northup wrote constant praises in the original book, he is shown as indifferent with a slightly positive attitude but ultimately weak in his attempt to do something. I feel that McQueen was trying to tell the audience how the indifference shown by people like Ford who maybe were righteous in the inside were worse than sociopaths like Epps who were alienated with the situation. 12 Years is proven to be a tour-De-force of physical suffering which as much as is a necessity in a topic such as slavery it overshadowed the characters development to an extent. The second best scene (the first being the hanging of Solomon) in the film for me is when Solomon argues with the mother whom had her children taken away. It presents the audience, the dual sides of dealing with this horror. We have the good spirited Solomon who thinks being positive is necessary for survival vs ultimately broken Eliza who does see no light in this tunnel of suffering. But basically that was it, we didn’t see it continued, we don’t really know why Solomon acts the way he does or how will his mindset reflect in the future. As the ending comes we feel more and more empathy for Solomon and once he gets his freedom we don’t really care about Patsey and the other slaves which had it way worse than Solomon which looked to me as a “hero complex” ending. It’s not right to put all the blame in McQueen though since he had to work according to the book and his hands were tied in that aspect but I still felt he could have done a bit more in the character side. Also, the music was a bit overused but I guess that’s what you need to do when you pay Hans Zimmer for your score. I see I have criticized the film a lot but I still believe it’s a great and essential piece of work. The sheer boldness of visual experiences connect with the viewer in such a way that we are very aware how slavery desensitized people and stripped them from any integrity as human beings. It will definitely go down as an essential slavery movie similarly like Schindler’s List was for Holocaust. 9/10
American Hustle d. by David O. Russell - Never understood why Russell was such a darling to critics. To me he fits the bill as an Oscar bait film-maker, always making films in award season while getting a bunch of good actors to perform and not bringing anything fresh to the table. I was so put off by The Fighter as a mediocre film over-focused in Christian Bale’s character so I never watched Silver Lining Playbook but I decided to give a chance to American Hustle as it felt as one of those movies you are obliged to watch for your end of the year lists. Not having too much expectations actually made me like this movie although it’s a genre that has been done to death. It’s nothing big though, the plot is a mess and some details are way off (I refer to Amy Adams cleavage extended screen-time) but I felt the film had a purpose, which is something I haven’t found in other Russell films. I especially liked Louis CK character, he added a dimension that made us able to observe and differentiate. Not coincidentally he was the only one without a wig, and that scene when agent Di Maso was mocking him, dry-humping him and whatnot is a great tribute to how people like Di Maso (the closest to fit the “American Dream” type of character) have no shame when it comes to hustle their way to the top. Another great character was Mayor Carmine portrayed beautifully by Jeremy Renner. I felt he was the only one who was hustling for the “right” reasons and I could really resonate with him (maybe because I come from a place where a Mayor doing shady things to keep the balance is nothing strange). The ending was typically Oscar-bait though, but as a whole it felt like good entertainment. 7/10
Here are my favorite tracks of the past year. If you want to listen to all the songs in a single playlist click here
26.Daft Punk - Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear)
25. The Strokes - Slow Animals
24. Pusha T - Nosetalgia (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
23. David Bowie - Where are we now?
22. Vampire Weekend - Step
21. Mikal Cronin - Weight
20. Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?
19. Action Bronson - Seven Series Triplets (feat. Prodigy & Raekwon)
18. Kings of Leon - Supersoaker
17. The National- Sea of Love
16. John Grant - GMF
15. Laura Marling - I Was an Eagle
14. The Weeknd - Belong to the World
13. Queens of the Stone Age - The Vampyre of Time and Memory
12. James Blake - Retrograde
11. Deerhunter - Monomania
10. Mikal Cronin - Change
9. Foals - Bad Habit
8. Arcade Fire - Afterlife
7. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?
6. Vampire Weekend - Diane Young
5. CHVRCHES - Tether
4. The National - Don’t Swallow the Cap
3. Vampire Weekend - Hanna Hunt
2. Queens of the Stone Age - I Appear Missing
1. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
d. by David Cronenberg
It started out very promising. When the Videodrome concept was introduced in the movie I was very positive on the setting and the premise of the film. Well, I kind of lost it on the second half of the movie. I understand Cronenberg was playing hard with symbolism on this one, but it just didn’t affect me the way I was expecting, too weird in the bad sense of the word. Maybe that’s because I just watched Network before it and the perfection of Lumet just let me dry on Videodrome. I totally understand how people can relate to this film. It treats a very daring issue, the difference between real and virtual violence, how people are susceptible to the former, but totally normal to the latter. A similar theme is discussed in one of the sketches of Waking Life(the one who sets himself on fire) and it certainly rings true on this day & age which ultimately opens the door to the cravings and desensitization the virtual world is offering to mankind today on the weekly basis.
d. by Sidney Lumet
Well, first of all this is a remarkable film. It has so much to say, it’s a bit difficult to grasp all in one short review. It’s pretty obvious what’s it about, the nation under the “tube” and all the influence that will have on future generations (scarily accurate, but not something prophetic like I’ve heard people say. You didn’t need much to know back then to know where the society was heading).
Leaving aside the Fight Club-esque revelations(for the younger generations) and messages, I would want to focus on the characters of Beale and Diana. The former, clearly affected by his damaged life, becomes this psychotic yet appealing figure for the public and money-making machine for the network. Yeah, Alex Jones strikes to mind. It’s really interesting how he is never taken seriously on his content but he is a toy that is being played to the audience to make them feel better. They don’t really dwell on his rants, as long as he talks to people as important factors on the future of their nation, they love it and they feel important. On the other side TV network are raving on controversy, and they want more because controversy is what sells.
I might be reaching a bit here but I think it’s really accurate of what is happening in the world. We have the masses who basically don’t do nothing, unemployed or having existentialist crisis, and they want to be known, they want to be heard. So they go support organizations like Occupy St. or insert any other revolutionary org here. And their equivalent of ” I am mad as hell and I cannot take this anymore” shout on the window, is a share/like on Facebook. That makes them feel good, feel important. That’s why most of the intnl people who were praising Morsi in Egypt for winning the elections fair and correct, are now praising the military for the coup. Because as long as there are people on the street, “they cannot take this anymore, man” so they rebel.
There is a very thin line between being oppressed and being ignorant and this film shows us best.
Also, Diana is a very interesting character, I’d like to draw parallels to the character of Vickers in Prometheus. A person who is so blinded by career and her work, she uses everything to satisfy her ego, and her relationship with Max, while in the beginning I thought it was unnecessary, it was beautifully build to give us one of the greatest speeches on film history, and made me realize Max knew what he was doing from the beginning.
As I mentioned before I didn’t want to go on deconstructing the bigger picture, the influence of TV and dehumanization of the individual, because those are fairly obvious statements but need say those are very strongly transmitted, sometimes even force fed to the viewer and that is the only slight negative I could get from this great film.
d. by Jeff Nichols
I haven’t watched this movie before, but I heard a lot of polarizing stuff about it.
I can assume all the polarizing thoughts came from the ending. It varied from “prophetic message” to “pretentious crap”. And they were both wrong. Sometimes we focus too much on the narrative so we lose a bit on terms of experience and feelings. Yeah, I am not a fan of “draw your own conclusion” endings either, but I really think that the outcome of the last sequence isn’t of such importance.
The turning point for me, was when Sam asks Curtis to open the door, she wants him to do it so he can finally confront his fears, and embrace the help and support from his family. That moment when he opens the door and finds the sky as blue as ever is when his whole load of stress and anxiety is being divided into pieces.
The ending just confirms to the audience the pledge he made to get through his illness and now his whole family is with him. He is not a stranger to them and he doesn’t need a tornado shelter anymore, his family is the best shelter he could find.
All in all, what is impressive about this film, is the way Curtis struggle is depicted. It doesn’t take the melo-dramatic route which would be a more conformist choice, empathizing with the character, neither it doesn’t take over the top drama which would be a more unforgettable way of storytelling. Both of them very tempting but misleading.
Instead Nichols takes a bold, strong, confident and very close experience of the real challenges the society faces when encountering such situations. Yeah, it might have been a bit ambiguous and weird, but some experiences cannot be described on just words and reasoned actions.
I somehow relate this to von Trier’s Melancholia, just because they both build up gradually slow but their packed finale gives you a very lasting experience of the film and its message.
d. by Richard Linklater
I am a bit late on this but I’ll give my two cents anyway.
The film aspires to be something that is not. The philosophical tone and raw materials who are seemingly just put there to engage the viewer, don’t work all the time. Well, there are some nice bits which I found pretty refreshing and kept me thinking(Boat-car, free will, red headed lady scenes) and probably there are some others which I can’t remember right now, but there were of course the cheesy and weird discussions who is trying to tell us the “look how deep and intelligent I am trying to be” pretentiousness. Also, putting a lot of 2 to 5 minutes of so-called philosophical scenes, it’s like taking an easy way out of preventing to have to dwell further into these concepts. It’s like Linklater is showing us a lot of quotes but he doesn’t want to get down and deconstruct them, because that’s a pain and I don’t think he is capable of that. Think of those people who stay all day in Facebook and post Carlin quotes with some nice space backgrounds.
Nevertheless, this movie struck me as an ode to life, opportunities, saying YES to that instant and the importance of dreaming in reaching one’s full potential therefore waking the life into you. It’s merely inspirational as my Leadership class in Coursera but it has its moments and while it might not have a lasting effect, it does feel like a 100 minute brain refresher. I applaud Linklater desire to go on with this and while it didn’t reach its full potential, it’s still something that deserves recognition. As someone else said it, it is a very exciting movie for a young generation/teenagers because it introduces a lot of questions for them and their view of life.
I’ve been meaning to post something about The Big Bang Theory for a while now but it’s taken me ‘till now to really understand what it is about the show that makes me uncomfortable. I’m not exactly a believer in the whole “only write about the things you like, don’t trash the things you don’t” trend which seems to be plaguing comments sections in negative articles lately, but I wanted to be able to really examine why I don’t like TBBT rather than just slagging it off. My main questions being - Why don’t I like this anymore? Why do I feel uncomfortable watching it? And why do I get so annoyed when I see people sing its praises online? The thing which really sparked this post was seeing a raft of comments on Facebook, below the last round of voting in Television Without Pity’s Tubey Awards, claiming The Big Bang Theory to be “the best comedy on TV”. This made me angry so instead of posting an impulsive comment calling out their bad taste which I’d probably regret later, I decided to really analyse why seeing comments like that made me so mad when previously, although I didn’t really love the show, I’d never considered myself as disliking The Big Bang Theory.
Hell, I even have season one on dvd, it’s sitting right between Battlestar Galactica and Bored To Death in my alphabetised collection.
And here, I think, is where my problem with The Big Bang Theory lies…
d. by Michelangelo Antonioni
As this was my first viewing of the film, I must say, I have difficulties on grasping it. Surely, with some more views some things might get clearer.
Anyway, I struggle with the intention of the movie.
I know Antonioni is one of those directors with “image and design” over “plot and character development” but still the movie feels a bit vague.
My take on it: David Locke, frustrated with his life and a job he clearly doesn’t love(the discussion with his wife on his car sums it up perfectly) finds an opportunity to escape from himself and enter freedom as a new man with a fresh start. Soon he realizes that he did not enter freedom, but was indeed trapped with the gun-smuggling thing.
If I can draw some paralels, I see this as an “easy way out” real-life scenario. The identity switch represents escapism, except that Locke did not consider the consequences. Surely, it can make you start fresh but you have to have a purpose, an integrity and our main character lacks this. As I read somewhere, freedom without integrity is spiritual death. And this is what happened to Locke.
That’s my best I could get from the moral of the story. But, there are some things I didn’t really understand. Like, why didn’t Locke run away with the money and The Girl right away but he kept on pursuing these “inexistent” appointments? Also, the beauty of the famous last take at the end, kind of overshadowed the plot there, although I agree it’s one of the finest pieces of cinematography.
And non-linear ambiguous cinematography is Antonioni’s main strength. Jack Nicholson was at the top of his game as usual, but I am reserved about Maria Schneider. I understand that she is playing the “walking mystery” but she is not convincing at all. Some poorly delivered OK-s at the end didn’t help her cause.
All in all, I definitely need to watch this movie again (but not very soon) and maybe I’ll come to different conclusions. Looking forward hearing some other takes on the movie.
— Carl Sagan
Well, this was a bit delayed but it was a very nice experience. I saw the Director’s Cut so I heard there is more character development involved.
This is a tale of deism, and its confrontation. There are several perspectives to this movie. Christianity is tackled a lot here, and we see paganism emerge later on the loathed Summerisle. It reflects a man strong belief on its faith and his reluctance to accept other “diversity groups” which eventually turn to be a dangerous cult of murderers. If seen from a Christian(it is too general to say religion) perspective, Sgt Howie was a man of faith and an ultimate winner, for staying loyal to his beliefs and not giving up on the madness of the Islanders, who were also strong believers.
And this is the main message of the movie, for me. We see that Summerisle was bought by people who were labeled as progressive, scientists and freethinkers but ultimately they get so invested on their idea, turning it into a cult and ultimately ending up being raving mad, uncomparable to any monotheist religion(not that there is something wrong with religion, just trying to get as areligious as possible).
While I don’t think the Summerisle sacrilege and rituals were meant to defy paganism, there are definitely elements of it, and we all know some cults are a derivative of a similar mindframe. It’s a modern tribute to Freemasonery, Illuminati, Scientology, take your pick.
The ending of the movie, was breathtaking filmmaking. When Howie shouts for God, it looked so desperate and real, it was hard not to feel for him. We suspect that he is having his doubts now, but he quickly recovers like many previous times in the movie and dies with a hope of eternal life in heaven.
All in all, it was a great movie, discussing very relevant themes, a bit Christian biased but that made the point of the movie very clear and important.