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Whatever happened to doing things properly?
I have to agree with the previous reviewer. This is terrible. It's an affront to history in general and the complicated and sensitive period of the 16th and 17th century in general. A period in which much of our western landscape finds its origins, with the complicated religious and political intrigues that even a dedicated historian such as myself often finds overwhelming. I applaud attempts to make history more accessible and attractive to the lay, but this is not how to do it, this just trivialises it. Pretty much everything is wrong in this series, the mannerisms, the language, the fashions and hairstyles (the men look alright until the doublets come off, then they look more 18th century, the "queen of Scoots" and her friends just look like 20th century stage harlots, and the rest of the women like a pastiche of regency, Victorian and modern), the behaviour (these girls act like spoiled brats from American suburbs, not like those raised 16th century courts of Europe), it's all just so wrong, it feels like an over-expensive under-executed soft-porn production.
Not to mention the acting and the music....
The only things they got right were some general lines of history, as the previous reviewer said, beaten beyond recognition, and the set design, the locations and props are mostly pretty reasonable to the period the series claims to delve into...
No, I'll pass and wait for a more serious treatment of this fascinating bit of history
A Stranger in Paradise (2013)
time to find a new career for those responsible
I watched this movie as it came up on my Netflix feed and I saw some faces in the cast which are at least a little promising.... What a waste of time. The premise of the story is not too complicated and should allow for a simple, no nonsense action flick. A simple enough task even for the most mediocre storyteller or director, but alas, they failed completely. The story is full of gaping holes that are impossible to miss or ignore, the acting is mostly flat and worthy only of soap-operas.And the photography is derivative and bland as well. Not worth my time, nor that of any person that seriously likes films really.
Slow but it works
I have to disagree with the previous review. Yes, the film develops at an almost painstaking pace, but it suits the atmosphere and story line and general photography very well. It is in the end a drama, and not an action movie. These guys live a reasonably life at the pace of a sloth, the only thing they have to look forward to is this imagined (or should I say desired)apocalyps. They aren't snappy action heroes or snappy wallstreet dudes, they are no good wastes of space and time, and the film emphasizes this by using a slow pace.
The storyline is actually well developed considering the rather flimsy premise on which it was conceived. It has just enough interesting twists but is admittedly most of the time reasonably predictable. I get the impression the "Mothers of Medus" thing is mostly a gimmick, a way of explaining how disturbed these kids are to start with. Most of us have imaginary friends when we are small, but grow out of them. Here we have two 'grown' men and they have an entirely imaginary gang...
Also, there is a (perhaps this is wishful thinking)latent gay undertone, which gives it an interesting patina.
I loved the photography, with the interesting tonal ranges and focal effects. and overall perfect visual composition. definitely a winner for me
A visual masterpiece, Tarsem reaches for the gods, and strikes home.
Indeed, as a fan of Greek mythology I avoided this for quite a while as I expected that the mythology would be completely screwed up.
When I finally watched it, I was positively surprised. though it is in no way faithful to the original mythology, it gives an interesting interpretation of many of the elements we all are familiar with (i.e. the minotaur, the labyrinth etc.
More importantly, I started watching this without realizing who the director was, but from the first moment I was overwhelmed by the visuals. Tarsem has used this third film to take his signature Bollywood/Hollywood hybrid style to a completely new level. The Cell was a poorly executed and worse acted first draft of this style, the Fall was the first time he proved it would really actually work very well, and then this just rewrites the book on how a good film should look. the fast changes of pace, the exquisite contrast between the overall grimness and sudden bursts of bright vibrant colours, it all puts Frank Miller's 300 to shame (and I love that film as it is so faithful to the style of the comic) Admittedly, the cast is not always very convincing, but then, this film is all about the visual impact, all else is simply secondary to that.
The Experiment (2010)
harsh and confronting
if you're looking for a story that shows the goodness of mankind, or a tale of subtle changes in personality, move on, cause this isn't that... the premise and result of this film are simple and two fold...
if you like violence, it gives you all you can have, both psychological and physical.
As I said, the premise and result are twofold: the first is that of showing all sorts of violence in as raw a manner as possible, without being vulgar. It does this most successfully. the second premise is showing one simple thing: we can and will all be broken under the right pressure. this is shown by the character played by Brody, not a violent bone in his body, yet before the end of the film, this all changes....
Overall it is a very impressive production, considering the basic concept of the story. The acting work is convincing, the set design eerie. And the photography superbly effective.
In the end you may not feel sympathy for any specific character, though I certainly did, but if you don't come away knowing that we are all just animals, I would suggest that you take the advise Brody gives his main counterpart in the film...
Don't Look Now (1973)
the definition of the genre
The first time I saw this film I was in my late teens and had just moved out to live on my own. I was used from a young age to watch 'scary' films, but this was in a league of it's own. One of the best performances ever by Donald Sutherland, one which his son Kieffer may never match.
Though initially slow to get going the film builds to its climax in a fantastic sequence of events and equally superb shots. The atmosphere builds up steadily and inevitably. It is the ultimate example of the suspense film.
The setting enhance the tasteful feel of this production and even the period typical love scene in the hotel, mixing sensual shots of the lead characters making love with shots of them getting dressed and ready to leave afterwards, add real quality and depth to the overall result, whereas the rare moments of predictability and cheesiness do nothing to diminish this feel.
An absolute must see for the lover of the classic suspense genre
The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)
I ran into this by accident, and I loved it.
I was happily surprised by the excellent performances of both Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine. But equally impressed with the performance of an old local favorite of minim the Dutch actor Rijk de Gooyer.
The combination of critical politics and typical action thriller, with even a pinch of comedy works unexpectedly well. It is indeed a very sobering picture of the reality that was Apartheid.
The fact that it takes place away from Hollywood/America makes it more believable than many production from the period and since. It shows a cinematic world that embraces more than just Europe and Hollywood, yet does not shy away from using the big guns to achieve success.
Overall a well-conceived and wonderfully executed production.
And even if you do find the story uninteresting, or the action lacking, just look at the gorgeous setting, landscapes unique to South Africa.
Pretty Poison (1968)
I discovered this title by accident and watched it the other day. Wow, what a piece...
You liked Psycho? Hell, this is so much better, despite the absence of as iconic a scene as the shower scene. Perkins consolidates his claim as the ultimate actor for mentally disturbed people, starting with the opening scene, and continuing steadily from there.
Though Tuesday Weld possibly surpasses him. She outshines Alicia Silverstone in her feature debut role in 'The Crush'.
I have completely fallen in love with her though. Again, the ending is quite surprising. The story line is well-conceived, the visual quality and feel reasonably standard for the period, and as such very attractive.
Oww, and Beverly Garland, playing Weld's mother, is quite entertaining as well
The Number 23 (2007)
Superb and surprising
When I first watched this, I hadn't realized it was Carrey playing the lead (I normally loath his films, bar one or two exceptions).
Throughout the film I was captivated, though I kept on thinking to myself: "wow, this chap looks exactly like that horrible Carrey bloke"...
The plot is perhaps somewhat outlandish, but superbly resolved. The treatment and feel of the imagery is fantastic and very befitting the story.
All in all, I liked it, and I watch it regularly (no not every week, but certainly once or twice a year) and every time I am amazed by the actual acting abillities Carrey shows in this production. ... The same, I have to say, goes for the other actors in this film.
This is without a doubt one of my favourite films in the past 10 years.
Rabioso sol, rabioso cielo (2009)
Enchanting and captivating
Where some seem to feel the film lacks a story line or lasts to long, even claim pretentiousness.. I disagree... Admittedly I have a soft-spot for long-winding stories, but in this case it actually is instrumental in creating a feeling and atmosphere which is very well captured. The actors manage to show all they need to show without saying so much as a word, which to me is proof of real acting qualities. The story is a strong and powerful tale, served well by the equally strong images that invoke Pasolini, Almodovar but also the likes of Baron Wilhelm Von Gloeden... This is definitely an instant favourite and will get a place of honour in my film collection