Hard-hitting and emotionally haranguing, this absorbing, perceptive… MoreHard-hitting and emotionally haranguing, this absorbing, perceptive drama provides plenty of deep thought with a real understanding of the differences between the teenage and adult worlds. Margaret isn't the name of anyone in the movie, it's a character in a poem who laments for her younger self's ability to care about the world in a more urgent manner. Margaret's attitude is reflected in one of the movie's major themes as high schooler Lisa (Anna Paquin) feels responsible for a bus accident that killed a pedestrian. Furthermore, she believes the bus driver is at least equally culpable and who does not demonstrate remorse to her satisfaction, so she takes it upon herself to force him to accept responsibility.
I could write a term paper about this movie, and at nearly 3 hours there is plenty of material. With the many hysterical outbursts it's probably a difficult film for a lot of people to enjoy but I was rapt in the characters and story. Credit goes to an outstanding cast - I was only interested in the first place because of Paquin, and she in mostly commanding in a thoroughly draining role - and exceptional writing with an ear for dialogue that captures how people really talk and think. Another theme is perception, and how different viewpoints can come to opposite conclusions with the same information, whether due to generational or cultural or any number of other gaps. New York is also given time to inhabit the screen and leave an indelible mark as a character, although I could have done with fewer camera pans of buildings.
The law takes an important part in the story and the movie examines the complicated issues the way great lawsuit movies like 'Erin Brockovich' do, on a ground level during conversations over coffee that everyone can understand instead of during boring courtroom speeches. The complications are fascinatingly distasteful. For instance, if the woman had survived for several days before dying, that would have increased the call for damages significantly. On the other hand, she was consciously clinging to life for several minutes, which calls for a greater monetary reward than someone killed outright.
The bulk of the time is spent with Lisa trying to come to terms with what she thinks she's done. She drifts away from her best friends at school and mother, a concerned but neurotic and neglectful stage actress, and spends more time with her math teacher and the victim's best friend. Her cement mixer of emotions also leads her to her first sexual experience in a starkly tender scene of nervousness and anticipation. That was unexpected, which is a big part of what I admired about this film: it continuously strives to find unconventional footing in scene setups that are very familiar and yet the outcomes are very organic. Not everything works, particularly the direction she takes with her math teacher played by Matt Damon didn't jibe. As she experiences this rapid growth cycle, she eventually finds her way back to her innate connection with her mother.
"In this country, this is how we punish people who have done bad things."
"By getting money from from their employer's insurance companies??"
"In my country we have a saying, a centipede has a thousand feet but… More"In my country we have a saying, a centipede has a thousand feet but cannot tap dance."
"I don't understand the connection."
"I guess something got lost in the translation."
The mid/late '60s was a great era for mind-bogglingly whacked-out cast lists with equally diverse results, from Casino Royale (abysmal) to It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (hysterical), to The Magic Christian whose zaniness Candy most closely resembles. Check it out: Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, Ringo The Beatles Are Still Together Freaking Starr, John Huston, Addams Family's John Astin (in a dual role), boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson, James Coburn, and the Method Man himself Marlon Brando! Throw in music from the Byrds and a Buck Henry screenplay of one of the decade's most scandalous books co-written by Terry Southern and you've got a cult curiosity that just screams "Watch Me!"
Does it measure up? My rating should tell you "yes and no." The episodic format of Candy, played with doe-eyed innocent perfection by newcomer Ewa Aulin, bouncing from one lusty sexual predator to another like an Alice in Molesterland is completely loose-limbed. There's no story development, just some outrageous situations which sometimes produce laughs, and surprisingly little visible nudity for a movie the New York Daily News called "the ultimate dirty movie." The only social commentary I can see is that men in what are considered lofty, respected, or trusted fields - a poet, a surgeon, a military C.O., a hospital administrator, an uncle, a guru - are just as base and lascivious as anyone else. Matthau is a riot as the leader of a paratroop commando unit that has been in constant airborne mobilization for six years, and Enrico Salerno has a great bit as an experimental filmmaker. "Did you see my last project? It was called 'Gumbo.' Soup, nothing but soup!" Richard Burton has a lot of fun as the lecherous poet MacPhisto whose every utterance is dramatic, and with long hair and billowy clothes constantly being blown by unseen fans. But if there's one "must-see" performance, it's Brando in fall-down funny hijinks as the guru/charlatan. His 15-20 minute see-it-to-believe-it contribution makes this up-and-down (or should I say in-and-out) mishmash worthwhile by himself.
Sometimes I can deduce what a movie was aiming for during the… MoreSometimes I can deduce what a movie was aiming for during the conception phase when the realization on screen comes up short. This switching of gender roles shoots out of the gate looking like a great entertainment, then for whatever reason loses the grip of its intentions and winds up being enjoyable while falling short of its goal. While the premise is scarcely believable - a wife takes legal action to switch her job as harried homemaker and part-time jewelry salesperson with her husband, owner of a tool sales & rental business - it feels fresh, and the enthusiastic participation of stars Sophie Marceau and Danny Boon makes it easy to swallow.
"Navigator, plot a course for predictable!" Unnecessarily safe and… More"Navigator, plot a course for predictable!" Unnecessarily safe and talky, and Kate Hudson only goes full-on bikini mode during one short scene. Tell me how they screwed that up. If you must hunt for underwater treasure, go watch the equally undemanding but better in every way 'Into the Blue' with Jessica Alba instead.
Pretty well acted and a premise involving enough to push through, but… MorePretty well acted and a premise involving enough to push through, but in this instance the low low low budget really hampers the ability to frighten. Specifically, volunteers for medical testing who begin to show dangerous behavior and are quickly (and rightfully) separated from the others, though when that happens, the threat level just doesn't seem that precarious. You can't generate more than a low level of danger by looking at some crazies through a remote camera. One scary encounter in the doctor's office stands out, the rest doesn't perform well enough for success. To see people creeping around a medical facility facing a constant nerve-tingling threat of attack, the sequence in "World War Z" shows you how it's done.
The Asylum has produced a lot - and I mean a LOT - of bad pseudo… MoreThe Asylum has produced a lot - and I mean a LOT - of bad pseudo sci-fi/futuristic junk over the past decade+, but 'I Am Omega' does not deserve to be included in that roll call. It's not a good movie either but does a few things right and throws in a few effective jump-scares. For instance in this man vs world of mutants scenario similar to '28 Days Later', Mark Dacascos has some screen charisma. Granted he doesn't have 1/50th the martial arts skills of Tony Jaa but at least he can register an emotion other than 'pissed off'. On the other hand, Jennifer Lee Wiggins the woman survivor he meets is perfectly awful. Two military types also show up, and the landscape of the nearly dead is effectively drawn with good makeup and grisly blood effects. A rudimentary story with one all-time blindingly ridiculous contrivance to have the adversaries meet up again in which a man shot in both shoulders and the leg is able to push, yes PUSH, a car out of the city, pass out, and wake up in time to see his enemy's van speed by! All told, I've seen worse episodes of 'The Walking Dead'.
MONEY, SEX, WHORES, THE THEATER, LOVE, DEATH, HA HA HA HA HA! DOWN… MoreMONEY, SEX, WHORES, THE THEATER, LOVE, DEATH, HA HA HA HA HA! DOWN WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT, BOOM! POW! KABLAM! SEAGULLS SEAGULLS SEAGULLS!
Yep, that's what watching this obnoxious film feels like: at top volume, in your face, all the time. The plot has something to do with rival Parisian gangsters and a Hungarian scooped into the mayhem who falls in love with a high-class hooker/gun moll, but it's just an excuse for a collection of disjointed rants against society and showcasing hysterical behavior. I'll give it this, there is no shortage of energy expended, with the loony anarchist gang of thugs resembling Kubrick's droogs from "A Clockwork Orange" paired with the gangland gunfire of "Scarface". The actors don't give performances, they go to histrionic extremes, constantly in motion, darting between rooms, convulsing their bodies, and either screaming their lines or laughing maniacally. Some believe director Zulawski is a gifted filmmaker, those of us who aren't moved by his bombastic delivery will find this exercise in excess torturous. According to the dedication, meant as an homage to Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" but I think it's closer to Macbeth: "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
I'm a little torn about the rating, I was ready to give 3.5 based on… MoreI'm a little torn about the rating, I was ready to give 3.5 based on the in-the-moment experience, but some facets don't add up for me afterwards. Which side of a film has the greater effect, the immediate impact or the following deconstruction? That's always a good argument for discussion. 3 stars is still a positive review on my scale, and the movie is certainly better than the average user score indicates.
A cop (Christophe Lambert) traumatized by the death of his wife returns to the force perhaps before he's ready, as his concerned peers talk about his seeing ghosts of her. On that first day back, he is visited by a mysterious woman who seems to know him and instructs him to visit a certain room in a fancy hotel. There he learns about the disappearance of the hotel owner and discovers the secret Room 401 adorned with photos and memorabilia of the woman he met - an actress named Victoria who died in 1970. Is she real or another figment of his troubled mind? That is the springboard for this mystery which starts cautiously but then really picks up the pace. 2nd-time director Sophie Marceau effectively disorients the viewer in certain instances by using abrupt editing techniques and camera motions so that our confusion mirrors Lambert's when his focus gets scattered. She throws in a great car chase and occasional doses of humor, particularly with a female officer named Fred who antagonizes her partner every time she eats food in the cruiser. I've only seen Lambert in his stonefaced English roles so I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to carry this movie. Marceau also devised the story, co-wrote the screenplay, and plays the part of the furtive femme fatale, so there must have been some bigtime wish fulfillment going on with the dozens of glamour photographs used as scenery dressing that she got to pose for adorned in styles from the 1960s. In hindsight the motivations seem murky and not wholly convincing, but at least during the screening you blissfully won't have time to think too much about them.