Friday, September 17, 2021

Face/Off (1997)

If you were confused by my Evangelion critique, this film may offer low-brow thrills closer to your tastes. John Woo is the kind of filmmaker who makes art for the ignorant masses yet somehow manages to get near-universal acclaim. Hong Kong’s Tarantino.

In this film, John Woo pays homage to himself. It’s one of those movies that filmmakers say is “like a movie”, whatever that means. All movies are movies, but this one is stylish and self-gratifying enough to suggest its director knows he’s awesome. Then add Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, and your over-the-top schlock is guaranteed.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Evangelion 3.0+1.0 (2021)

The Evangelion franchise elevates itself above shonen anime through its well-written characters, philosophy, theory of mind, and metafiction. (Specifically, the notion that all of physics and human interactions exist in an entangled state dependent on perception, and that human will dictates the nature of the universe and everything that happens. Some call it quackery, some call it the power of love. Why not conflate science with religion? It’s called a world view. Deal with it.)

Nope, it’s a totally rational hard sci-fi franchise! Its departures from “mainstream” science are just satire. Absolutely….

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Monday, August 16, 2021

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

This film really stands out. It’s not pure action, it’s not a character study, it’s not beholden to a specific genre. I can be entertained by a number of things, but to be this entertained takes something beyond typical well-received cinema.

I can enjoy this film despite it having no personal significance to me. My appreciation of it does not depend on external circumstances. This is a mainstream popcorn flick, and it’s also culturally significant and a work of art. Peak Tarantino content.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Jackie Brown (1997)

A tightly-woven story, great technical filmcraft, and more superstar actors than you can shake a .45 at, all within a $12 million budget. You just don’t see this kind of movie anymore.

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia is a senior-safe introduction to Lars von Trier. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who he is, von Trier is a filmmaker from the distant land of Germany who is known for boundary-pushing avant-garde cinema. Most of his films are released unrated to cinephile audiences. This is one of the exceptions.

Melancholia was released America-style mainstream for whiskey-drinking simpletons. It has few “genre” elements and stays within the self-imposed prison of the “drama” category through most of the film. There is some sci-fi brewing in the background, but 95% of the film could play for a geriatric home.

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