It's Not So Badlands, as two lovers go on the run, or the river to be… MoreIt's Not So Badlands, as two lovers go on the run, or the river to be more precise for some summer lovin'. It's realistic and comments stupendously on society and is still relevant today. If you thought Juno was real word on teenage pregnancy check again. It's a genuinely affective romance, though hard to decipher if Monika is a total bitch or simply childish and naive. It certainly highlights the responsibilities that need to be taken and shows for once the man being the outstanding role model the child can look up to. An unplanned partner in crime to the recent Sherrybaby. It becomes slightly melodramatic towards the end but Bergman's pacing and visuals keep it together.
A difficult and hard hitting horror movie masquerading as a drama.… MoreA difficult and hard hitting horror movie masquerading as a drama. Kotoko (played by folk singer Cocco) is a mother that suffers from visions of dangerous doppelgangers, as well as constantly finding herself in troubling situations. Her child is soon taken from her and given to her sister. Kotoko is at times terrifying, at times heartwarming, and at times relentlessly shocking. There is always a powerful emotion behind every scene. Tsukamoto uses the hallucinatory images to create an intriguing but frightful world. Sound is also utilised to powerful effect but can become overbearing, just like it is for Kotoko. Along with some shaky visuals, this is a brilliant aesthetic representation of mental illness. We feel for Kotoko and hope for her to be set free, but mental illness is rarely so simple.
A bizarre and rather unlikable film. Isn't Anyone Alive? starts on a… MoreA bizarre and rather unlikable film. Isn't Anyone Alive? starts on a college campus where we get a number of interesting conversations. One group of girls talk about urban myths and their place in society, a love triangle discuss how best to deal with a pregnancy, and a man looks for his sister. This is all underlined by the story of a train crash. The conversations are often well scripted, but unfortunately the editing is fast and furious for no real reason. The camera cuts back and forth between people talking at the rate you would expect in a martial arts battle. That's when it all gets weird. People just start dying, for no reason other than what the characters can speculate. It isn't the dying part that's silly, it's people's reactions to the dead. The acting here is sometimes good, but other times laughable. One character looks as though he is seconds away from bursting into hysterics, despite apparently being scared. It's all a bit too artsy for its own good, and ould have had a genuine feel of terror and emotion. Instead it just wants to confuse. Some nice soundtrack choices and moments of captivating cinematography aren't really enough to make this worth your time, but it is probably different to a lot of what you've seen before.
Headhunters is a film I was sure was going to be a cool Scandinavian… MoreHeadhunters is a film I was sure was going to be a cool Scandinavian hesit flick. I was so wrong, as this was just so much more. Hennie is fantastic as Roger Brown, a headhunter who uses interviews to obtain information on valuable art which he then intends to steal. He soon comes across Coster-Waldau as Greve, a man with a very rare painting. Just when Brown thinks it's going to be an easy steal things become more and more complicated, until Brown is running for his life in some of the most madcap and insane ways imaginable. Headhunters works thanks to the unpredictability of the narrative. Sure, you could probably guess quite a few of the twists and turns, but not exactly how they turn out. Tyldum (a director to watch), uses extreme moments of violence to shock you in scenes that take cartoonish action to new (often grotesque) heights. The editing is brilliant, never losing track of what is transpiring on screen, and there is even a lot of emotional weight given to Brown and the relationship he has with his wife. An enjoyable thriller that hints at a lot more to come from everyone involved.
A slow and touching drama that looks at the true story of a group of… MoreA slow and touching drama that looks at the true story of a group of monks who refuse to leave their monastery despite the danger they are faced with. This film skyrockets to levels of absolute perfection thanks to the way it handles religion on such a human level. The religious aspects are part of the characters, and not necessarily part of the film itself. Lambert Wilson is astonishing as the quiet but strong monk Christian, who must decide whether to stay and possibly die or leave and live. We are shown the true power of the human spirit without ever having to face over sentimental music or melodramatics. Every scene is handled with absolute faith in the cast and writing, as one scene tears us apart with tension, without needless editing nor a bombastic soundtrack. A gentle masterpiece.
DIrector Jacques Audiard constructs a rather thoughtful look at power… MoreDIrector Jacques Audiard constructs a rather thoughtful look at power and curruption and how addictive the two can be. Rahim plays a young man sent to prison who is soon dragged into a world of violence and crime as he is forced to commit crimes in order to be protected. It's a brutal double edged sword (or razorblade) as each action may make him protected, but it also creates new enemies. A Prophet charts his rise, fall, rise, and domination of the crime world from inside a tiny cell. The violence is fast and brutal, but we can see the gradual decline in Rahim's morals, making it a relatable account. A sense of mediation is added to a fairly worn genre, as Rahim is haunted by visions from his past pointing him towards his future. Is it madness? Or is Rahim a genuine prophet? The film leaves us with questions, but questions about ourselves and our own beliefs. It's so great to see a crime film that can seduce its audience, but doesn't glorify crime.
What could have been a sentimental and pompous period drama, turns out… MoreWhat could have been a sentimental and pompous period drama, turns out to be an engaging character study, which seamlessly merges politics, social commentary, and romance in a rich tapestry of gorgeous design. Vikander is a young English flower plucked away to marry the King of Denmark. That would be all fine and dandy if not for the fact that the King isn't all there. At times he acts childish and shy, and others he is a loud and obnoxious creep. Boe gives an exhilarating performance, never forgetting to keep an essence of sympathy, even when bragging about sex with prostitutes and allowing his jealousy to confine his new queen. Into this, not quite so happy union steps Mikkelsen. A surgeon appointed as a spy to some anti-royals, who eventually falls for the queen. It's like a romantic period The Departed. A friendship, of some sorts, does grow between Mikkelsen and Boe, which adds to the tragedy of betrayal. Incredible costumes and sets transport us to the time, and the performances and writing keep a well paced drama strictly on course. Great stuff.
In this Mexican animation, some aliens land on Earth and one of them… MoreIn this Mexican animation, some aliens land on Earth and one of them wants to use Imaginum (imagination) to create monsters that will enable him to conquer the world. It sucks. It's like watching a flash animation for nearly 90 minutes. The characters are lifeless and you get more fluid movements from a flickbook. The character designs are very simple, as is the use of colour, where shading is virtually non-existent. This all would have been forgiven if the story had contained anything original, funny, or moving. The script has no idea what it's going to do or why. One scene sees all the toys created with Imaginum turn evil and head towards their HQ, and just as they get there the machine is destroyed and they all go home. Imagine the orcs in The Two Towers turning up at Helm's Deep only to instantly turn around and leave. Decide what the hell you're going to do and then do it. The chaarcter's were annoying from the way they acted to the way they were animated. May have some appeal to the very young and dim, but even toddlers have more complex cognitive abilities than this.
An absolutely adorable and quite splendid Hungarian animation. Egon is… MoreAn absolutely adorable and quite splendid Hungarian animation. Egon is an inventor who lives on a planet alone with his cat Donci. One day they receive a message from Earth and decide to travel their by building their own spaceship. It's very much like Wallace & Gromit on the surface, but is very different in tone and execution. There is no spoken language throughout the film, which helps to make it a multinational experience. As the film is aimed at youngsters but contains an important message about the world's pollution, it does well to reach for that large audience. Egon & Dolci make quite the pairing, and are often cute and funny. The visuals are magnificent, especially when travelling through space, and the music takes on a different beat and sounds a lot like Roni Size, which isn't something you get in your usual animation. What I like best is its determination to find a distinct voice. It may be low budget, but it doesn't try and emulate the work of Pixar, Disney, or Dreamworks. Fresh and sweet, I will certainly be watching this again.
The astonishing Mads Mikkelsen and the brilliant Thure Lindhart join… MoreThe astonishing Mads Mikkelsen and the brilliant Thure Lindhart join forces as Danish assassins targeting Nazis. The famous duo are handed orders and become expertly proficient at executing their orders. The script makes sure to enter real character struggles as each murder does weigh on their minds. The violence is handled with a shocking honesty that never feels acceptable, even if the victims are Nazis. The film takes a seriously dramatic and conflicting turn when we dicover that perhaps those giving the orders weren't exactly innocent and perhaps some of the targets weren't as bad as we had thought. It leads us to a number of brilliant shoot-outs which are handled in a way that is never obvious nor sentimental.