Mittwoch, 31. August 2011

Y tu mamá también (Cuaron, 2001) - TSPDT #1848

Two teenagers and a lady go on a day trip from Mexico to the sea.

Great setup of the movie, very simple story with a sad turn at the end. Fantastic how the social situation was weaved in on the "sideline". The voice-over was also extremely helpful in adding another layer of depth, historical connection and explaining many other funny details. Acting was great. My only criticism would be that it is very easy to anticipate the ending. I liked how the erotic scenes were treated - they never seemed stupid or artificial.

Freitag, 26. August 2011

Abrir puertas y ventanas (Mumenthaler, 2011) - Locarno 2011 PO


Three teens live together since their mother has died while each develops a personality.

I lived in a very similar situation myself and I was amazed by the memories the film gave me. Great acting, a simple but beautiful story and enjoyable imagery. I didn't see all the competition films but this was definitively not a bad choice to win.

Interesting was how the characters relations to each other were layered and every new interaction brought a new facet to life of the ambivalent feelings they were going through. The ending is an interesting choice of moving the oldest sister in a new direction, and it manages to make the viewer rethink his relations to the figures.


Sette opere di misericordia (De Serio, 2011) - Locarno 2011 Co


A Romanian woman kidnaps a baby and holds an old man captive in his own apartment.

A rather brutal account of a "family" encounter. There is some fantastic photography. The film is extremely quiet and it needs quite some time to sink in. There were some things that went on a little bit too long, and I wasn't sure why she brought the baby back in the end - distracted by terrible head ache.

Acting very good. Main actress Olimpia Melinte very good screen presence. (maybe too good looking for this kind of film?) I would like to see what she does next.

Donnerstag, 25. August 2011

The Departed (Scorsese, 2006) - Oscar BM 2005

A crime boss adopts two boys to make them "his own" but being faithful is not easy in these circles.

Some really nice photography, and very nice editing ideas. I like how Scorsese wastes no time at all in getting the story going. Surprisingly 2.5 hours seem a little short, and Dignam's "showing up" in the last sequence is kind of unexpected in a strange way. Maybe I didn't get it.

Especidally the beginning is extremely well edited, all the character introductions are swift and to the point.

I still can't discern the dialects - should work on it.

Freitag, 19. August 2011

L'Art d'aimer (Mouret, 2011) - Locarno OOC 2011

The relational entanglements of a bunch of Paris-bred couples.

Many small stories entangle and disentangle. Depardieu was really good in her role the rest was ok, but ultimately didn't melt into a cohesive picture of modern-day relationships in Paris. Some funny moments, but couldn't get rid of that "I've seen this before" feeling. Maybe was in a bad mood.

Interesting observation: two or three people in my group complained that all the actors look the same. I disagreed but somehow they were right - I can hardly recollect any of the faces... weird.


Crulic - drumul spre dincolo (Damian, 2011) - Locarno 2011


An innocent man hungers himself to death.

An animation documentary illustrating the death by hunger by an innocently arrested Romanian citizen in Poland. The story is based on true events but is told from the POV of the main character.

It had some interesting graphics, especially the mix of "real" footage and drawn stuff was really good. Interesting was the aftermath of the events.

The Substance - Albert Hofmann's LSD (Witz, 2011)


A short overview of the history of LSD.

I didn't know too much about the history of LSD and it's troubled relation to American society. The film clearly takes the position that banning such a substance might be ok, but the "evil qualities" that have been propagandized by the ever-fearing "them" is totally out of proportion. I think it strikes a sensible balance and might be good informational material if you're new to this world.

I expected a way more experimental film so I was a bit disappointed.

Dodesukaden (Kurosawa, 1970) - KJ #147

Different stories in a slum in Tokyo.

Some very touching story ideas that would make great short films, funny, sad, tragic and weird. The film doesn't manage to connect to an overarching whole - the people are not connected enough. If that would have been achieved I am sure this would be one of the greatest films ever.

Spectacular color, especially in the father-boy scene where the sunset becomes painted and everything is bathed in the wildest of colors.

Is this where the original sequence of an empty flying plastic bag comes from? Because the girl in the flowers strongly reminds me of American Beauty. I am actually pretty sure, Sam Mendes took some of the imagery here.


Donnerstag, 18. August 2011

Der Sandmann (Luisi, 2011)


A young man finds himself losing sand.

This very enjoyable low-budget film has a very good structure inside the script. The layers of surprises keep stacking up nicely. And it leads to a somewhat romantic-comedy-ish end but it's that type of film where you are quite happy with that.

Very enjoyable watch!

They shot this with the early 5Ds and there are some really annyoing light flickering problems and shallow depth-of-field has its issues, but it's very interesting to see how they managed to cope.

Lust for Life (Minelli, 1956) - NYT #519

An interpretation of Van Gogh's life and struggles.

A very melodramatic interpretation of Van Goghs life - its amazing to see Anthony Quinn and Kirk Douglas' sheer physical force clash on the screen. They make an amazing couple on screen and Minelli was right there to catch it. There could have even been more. His brother seems a little too clichéd in his incessant positive reassuring of Vincents outrageous behavior. And what role his wife has is entirely unclear to me. Maybe he seemed to gay on screen?

They went to all the original locations as far as they could and the colors of that film era fit Van Gogh's spectrum to a certain degree. The priest seminar scene is extremely strong and so are some of the mine scenes. I really liked the acting, although it was sometimes skyhigh over the top.

Sugata Sanshirô - The Juso Saga Part II (Kurosawa, 1945)


Sugata returns to defeat an American and the brother of his enemy in the first film.

Wow, a bad Kurosawa film! The one and only film I was bored from start to finish. I am even afraid to watch the remaining one from that time. Really not recommendable, nothing remains of this one.

There is no real development in the hero character, it is maybe of historical interest, because it reflects the disdain many Japanese must have felt towards the American occupation. It is interesting, that a lot of screen time is given to a man who must have felt like a "traitor" to the Japanese viewers. He seems greedy, but very modestly so - (and comically westernized)


Dienstag, 16. August 2011

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Black, 2005) - NCC #13


A criminal-turned-actor-turned-investigator is kicked through LA with a dead body and a complicated story on his hand.

Storywise it is a little bit like Chinatown meets comedy. There are some extremely funny scenes in there, but unfortunately the "crime" story is a little bit too twisted, going back and forth and meandering all over the place (and crashing into the 4th wall at least 10 times). I got confused at times, and I wasn't even drunk. But still quite enjoyable.

The pee joke is quite funny, but the geography of the bathroom didn't quite work. It looks awkward when he turns. The russian roulette is funny. Miss Monaghan is radiantly beautiful and quite funny. All the actors were pretty good, but maybe they should have made it longer so one has time to digest the story inbetween all the funny remarks.

Mittwoch, 3. August 2011

Album: Trust - Low (2002)


Very quiet, strong on repetitions rather dark mood.

Two really beautiful songs are "Snowstorm" and "Conversation with myself" (great buildup in the last one)

Sometimes just a tad little bit too repetitive.

Dienstag, 2. August 2011

True Grit (Coen, 2010) - OscBPN 2010


A girl hires a headhunter to track down the killer of her father.

A very enjoyable film with many beautiful shots. How did they come up with the sequence where he carries her at home through the night? (Goethe :) ). As always  there is an interesting interplay between humor and violence. Things can turn brutal very fast, and when they do they are ugly and gory.

Most interesting scenes were the ones in the hut, where Bridges starts to convince one of the guys to work together with him.

Interesting to study: How the girl gets her way in different ways. (At the merchants office, etc)

Synecdoche, New York (Kaufman, 2008) - CC #96


A theatre director comes to terms with reality and his own dream of love and life.

This film in my opinion was terribly truthful and at the same time terribly pretentious, especially in the beginning. The problem was, that it was solidly anchored in reality which progressively faded into this surreal universe where emotions and reality became a watcher-being-watched manifestation. Some episodes were really hard to penetrate, which is sad, because there were also some fantastically interesting moments.

As a viewer I tried hard to root for Hoffmann's character, but I always failed. Maybe that is what Kaufman wanted, but I guess I'll have to ask him that myself.

The shot with the Zeppelin was amazing!