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All reviews - Movies (53) - TV Shows (1) - Music (2) - Games (2)

"In other news, Film destroys source; thrives!"

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 20 October 2009 11:26 (A review of V for Vendetta (2006))

It's amazing how easy it is to butcher everything fans hold dear in one of the greatest graphic novels of all time into a simplistic, moronic mess and cavalcade of action scenes and philosophical thoughts that appear to be taken from the things with old proverbs you put under your beer in a local bar. The characters of V and Evey have been stripped of their ideals and replaced with cardboard charicatures that revel in the light of righteousness, and the dim line between good and evil from the comic has been taken away and replaced with a huge red beam to make sure to the viewer who is evil and who is not with the most over the top performances by the bad guys and subtle soothness of all the good guys. V For Vendetta is more reminiscent of a product someone would make if they had just been through film school 101 rather than it's origin, a superbly deep and layered graphic novel about modern society and it's many flaws. The film works barely as an independent picture instead of an adaptation, but it still somewhat fails as it really is a pretty flauently flat film thematically, while still passing itself off as something great and deep. It tries more than it should with this material.

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A complete work about death

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 20 October 2009 11:25 (A review of The Seventh Seal)

Few have been the times when someone says "I love you" on screen and those words resonate to the audience with the same tenacity they resonate to who they're said to in the story. Bergman's The Seventh Seal accomplishes this within it's first 15 minutes. This alone is an accomplishment worthy of applauding. The rest of the movie is such as well. Seal deals with death as a theme as extensively as Chan-Wook Park's revenge-trilogy dealt with... well, revenge. The refreshing aspect of this to this day is that The Seventh Seal does not only portray death as a depressing thing, but it makes a point about appreciating all the time we have before experiencing it. Even nowadays most studies on the subject are simple-minded explorations of how depressing the whole thing is (Wristcutters: A Love Story being a prime example). The Seventh Seal shows us that a movie about anything that has a set mood to it should always be able to transcend the expectations the viewer sets for it in his or her mind. This is something the film accomplishes perfectly. It has it's flaws regardless; for example some things feel very weird for anyone who has not researched into the traditional ways of the crusades, and Bergman doesn't really bother to try to explain these traditions to us either. The audio plane is also sometimes rather annoying to the ear, as the sound is often too loud and ear-screeching regardless of what your tv's volume may be. Overall though this is one of the best films to ever truly capture the essence of death.

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Deceivingly wonderful

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 20 October 2009 11:24 (A review of Amélie)

If you look at this movie in retrospect, you can spot tons of problems. Over the top performances, nauseating camera work on a few scenes and some very predictable plotlines plague this film, but you never realise any of this until a day or two after you've seen it. When all this delightful, mezmerising imagery passes before your eyes, you can't turn your head away from it. And it leaves you with a very, very good feeling, which is probably the reason for it's high ratings. Most of the time I would have a problem with a film being ideologically so utterly positive, but because as with It's A Wonderful Life, here the entire movie has such a playful, whimsical tone to it that it never really feels too bad or annoying. For a film to run two hours with this manic a pace is really quite an accomplishment, as it never gets dull, repetetive or boring. All the plot threads constantly move forward with speed and precision. Technically speaking, Amélie could be referred to as a narrative masterstroke, since it has millions of sideplots that never become confusing or convoluted to the audience. It's pretty amazing. However, as said, the plots aren't that good as they're rather predictable during the film and in retrospect this just isn't as good as it originally felt. Should I rate this based on what I felt when I watched it or what I feel now? I'll just compromise and give this a pretty good rating.

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A fine film

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:47 (A review of Changeling)

Changeling is a ponderous thriller about a lot of themes. It covers abduction, loneliness and the historical fact that the police really sucked back in the day. The film has a quiet, subtle tone to it that it carries throughout. No matter how horrendous the crimes we see committed, Changeling seems to distance itself from the events and make us look at them from afar. It's never sensationalistic or "epic". It's just a long and sturdy tale about the rights and wrongs people happen to make. Angelina Jolie literally shines as the star of this cruel play, and perhaps makes a performance of a lifetime. The subplots always support the theme and work very well structurally, and Eastwood directs it very solidly. That's why it comes with such sadness when I announce that this film doesn't really have anything new to say. It provides us with nothing new aside from technical expertise. It has not one original bone in it's body. It's a very enjoyable, emotional humane drama, but often feels more like an homage to the genre it represents rather than an original film of that specific genre. This is a flaw, as a film this majestically composed deserves a script that explores these themes deeper and more psychologically. As it is a lot of the events in the movie are left very shallow and superficial. We never really get any in-depth exploration of emotion or behaviour. We just get a very well narrated story. It's a joy to behold, but leaves you empty within.

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Curious only in visual style and CGI

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:46 (A review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Essentially a less comical remake of writer Eric Roth's script of Forrest Gump, Benjamin Button is a film with a mood most magical, but a story most silly and seen before. I do believe, unlike Roger Ebert for example, that it is possible to relate with a character who ages backwards. I just don't think it's possible with this film. This Curious Case never builds to an emotional peak or a grand discovery. It's a cold, analytical story from beginning to end. In some films, such would be an achievement, but here, we already know what it will be going in. A story about a man who ages from being 80 to being 0 can have no happy ending. A good film, and a good story, should always attempt to transcend it's humble origins. This movie does not rise above what we expect of it in any way. Director David Fincher manages to create a very nice mood, as if that of a fairytale, but he never makes any use of this athmosphere. Brad Pitt, and the rest of the cast, seem very depressed and outright sad to be in this film. I know they're supposed to be depressed in a way, but that doesn't mean they would always have to have their voices so low you have to turn your volume to the max to hear their incoherent babbling. The major issue with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is that you can read the synopsis of the film and know what the message will be, and the movie never manages to rise above this supposition the viewer makes, instead just delivering 2½ hours of what we already know - that it's very depressing to live your life backwards.

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Gandhi is dull

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:45 (A review of Gandhi (1982))

It's boring. That's the problem with Gandhi. I understand what it's trying to do. It's humanising a mythical figure of sorts. But the director simply goes too far with this humanising. He makes us watch Gandhi's everyday life as he washes, speaks with people and so on. I would have no problem with this, but it seems to take away from everything else the film has to offer. We never see some of Gandhi's reasoning to some actions he chooses to do in the film, but instead we see him talk jibbajabba to random peeps for fifteen minutes? Ben Kingsley is fantastic as Gandhi, but the script and the film overall just seem far too dry for such a performance. Even the few "epic" moments the movie has to offer end up falling flat due to poor cinematography or just plain dull scoring. If there truly is an issue with this movie, it's the fact that it's a drag to watch. I want to be able to enjoy watching movies, if not by being entertained or made think, then atleast to learn something. Gandhi delivers it's message through too many boring scenes of everday activity and hence in the end feels like a yawnfest despite all the scenes where something does happen being very good.

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Entertainment, nothing more, nothing less

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:26 (A review of Star Trek)

The attraction that this Star Trek has is that it's very, very truthful to the tales of ye olde Trek. All the characters shown here are believable in the sense that atleast I believed each of them could grow up to be the way they were in the old show. That, the action being pretty nice and Eric Bana being a very good villain, make this an alright action movie. But that's it. There is not a damn thing here to transcend this film from all the other good summer action blockbusters, and it kind of shocks me that it's here. It's a well made picture, sure, but there is very little that could be referred to as original in it. It's also clamped with scenes that are useless and not very entertaining either, such as the comic sidekick Scotty getting stuck into a sewage pipe of some sort for several minutes. In the end this is a film that does entertain it's viewer, but only for the duration of the first viewing. You will not find rewatch value or any other value really from it aside from the fact that it is entertaining to watch most of the time.

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Rourke's tour de force

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:25 (A review of The Wrestler (2008))

Most stories are comprised of a few different parts, such as the introduction, the climax and the so called cooling off after the climax. If a film nails all the parts a good story should have, it's likely to have a very good story. What most people don't like about The Wrestler is that the film's climax essentially doesn't end in their mind. If you ask me though, the film climaxes before the monumental fight in the end of the movie. The climax is the downfall of The Ram, and after that we get to digest the entire climax during a fight scene. This story is different in a way because it doesn't peak at a big fight scene, but instead emotionally starting from The Ram cutting his hand at a meat station. All this is most certainly carefully planned out by writer/director Darren Aronofsky, and he also managed to choose the perfect (albeit obvious) actor for the main character, as Mickey Rourke does an utterly fantastic job essentially portraying himself if he had never got his comeback with Sin City and had been a bit more down on his luck. It's an interesting "what if?" scenario for Rourke, and he transmits his interest towards the part to the viewer in the form of the performance of his lifetime.

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Still amazing

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:23 (A review of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968))

When a film, sixty years after it was made, still makes you wonder "How did they do that?" You know you're watching something of a technical masterstroke. But is 2001 also a fantastic showcase of content mixing with the presentation? Actually, it is. The story is a seemingly simplistic one, but the thing is we are never explained what is going on exactly. We are given hints and then we're allowed to use our own little brains to figure it out, and that's the best way to go with a story like this. And you know there is very little wrong with this film, because if you ask me there is about 10 minutes of footage here that should be removed. But of that time, about 2 minutes of stuff is spread out evenly throughout the film, and it doesn't work very well. First of all, the majority of the stuff I think should be cut is from the beginning, as I hate the fucking monkeys. I like the ape-scene, but when those things start screaming I hate it. I think Kubric easily could've trimmed several minutes out of all this without harming it as a whole, as to me atleast the point of the scene is made very clear in five minutes instead of the twenty it goes on for. The other bad stuff isn't necessarily bad, but mediocre or average. You see, with a film in which every shot is more beautiful than the one before it, when a bad or mediocre shot comes along it really breaks the mood and takes you out of the film. A good example of this are the extremely boring shots from within the cockpit early on in the movie. They're just plain dull to watch and always seem to take me out of the whole every time I see it. Shots like this are all over the movie, so it really does bother to me. I enjoy the movie regardless of this and it is a feast for the eye, the ear and the mind for most of the time. When it is, it's absolutely fantastic.

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A film saved gloriously by it's narrative

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:22 (A review of Slumdog Millionaire (2008))

A masterpiece of editing, Slumdog Millionaire tells a very simple story, but from a narrative perspective it is told in such perplexing detail and chronologically absurd order that it perseveres it's simple basis and becomes something more than a simple rags-to-riches love story. However this is also something that bothers me. As a film, I expect a great movie to be both a display of craftsmanship and a display of excellent content. Slumdog Millionaire, despite having a charming story, does fail to come through on the content, even if it doesn't really suck at any point. The climactic scenes feature the death of one main character, but due to the other events being very much so happy and "yay everything be fine", the death and redemption of this character is actually very much so emotionally stripped of the impact it could have on the viewer. There are a few other examples like this throughout the film where director Danny Boyle decides to go Spielbergian and overshadow tragedy with sentimentalism. As a whole though aside from these scenes Slumdog Millionaire is as a viewing experience extremely enjoyable in every sense of the word.

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