Friday, August 28, 2020

Emma (2020)

The story of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) is clearly targeted at people who spin at a lower RPM than fans of Quentin Tarantino, people who like to let inconsequential character quibbles sink in over a period of hours.

In this critic’s opinion, a film without real conflict is like a bowl of raisin bran without raisins. It’s just bran. In a way, it is refreshingly different from the norm; the film has merits. At the same time, the audience cannot be in an impatient mood when watching. Lots of ancient high-class literature, such as that of Charles Dickens, can be put into this category.

Need I contrast the bombastic explosivity of a Shakespeare play with a book of similar age? Different types of people have always lived on this planet, and with them different types of stories. Though the early 19th century was in many places an era of religious obsession and civil order, at the same time, Napoleon was tearing through much of the old world and there was plenty of spicy conflict elsewhere.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Funky Forest: The First Contact is not an easy film to discuss. While some films are off-color, this film is slightly out of its mind. It is difficult to describe a plot that precisely summarizes any of it, let alone draw conclusions of what the film is “about”.

The charm of Funky Fores is that, in its live-action Japanese multi-director anthology form, there are a lot of things that are hard to fully comprehend. Yet, at the film’s core there is genuine emotion and character. It is something you feel more than understand, at times tasting with your mind rather than seeing with your eyes.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Archive (2020)

Like many sci-fi flicks, Archive starts strong and ends poorly. It is not for lack of budget, but rather a lack of reason to care. Not to piss on Gavin Rothery’s feature directorial debut. The filmmaking is competent. The story is the problem.

If you are looking for relatable characters in a relatable story, you will not find that here. If you just want background noise in your living room, it’s not the worst thing you could put on. As this is an audiovisual experience, there are also shiny things to look at. Sufficient for the easily entertained.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I Stand Alone (1998)

A number of 1990s independent films were criticized as being “too indie” or “too foreign”. Most of these criticisms came from the US and UK, where experimental style wasn’t a big thing yet. Nowadays, anything goes. Back in the ’90s, the slightest bit of style made a film “weird”.

Enter the mind of Gaspar Noé in 1991. He had just finished his short cinematic masterpiece Carne (loosely translated: “horse meat”). It was awesome. Seven years later, the film was reborn in feature form as I Stand Alone.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Hack though he is, Joel Schumacher can occasionally turn out an okay film. The Phantom of the Opera is less of a Batman-level war crime and more of a border skirmish, with an old boring book that nobody read on one side, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famed rock opera on the other.

Schumacher’s interpretation is mostly faithful to the Broadway show. The characters sing, the costumes are extravagant, and the physical acting is as operatic as you could ask for. In a word, the film is epic. Epic characters, epic drama, epic emotions.

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