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A History of Violence (2005) – His Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Thriller.
7 comments

temporary

Dir. David Cronenberg

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, William Hurt etc.

The name Cronenberg should mean something to most people. To me he’s “not the weird guy who made Twin Peaks, the other one”. Call me uninvolved, but I’m not really a fan.

A History of Violence is a good start to making me one. It’s intense in it’s stillness, and very much seething with the titular violence. Homely small town diner-owner Tom Stall (Mortensen) takes on the forces of darkness from his own past, while trying to keep his family out of harms way. It’s all written and played very small, with bursts of plot/character development/action. This makes the whole experience come together as one entity, with nothing to detract or disorient.

Acting – superb. Photo – perfect fit. Movie – fantastic. I can’t see any reason not to see this movie, unless you’re a whore of Satan. You’re not a whore of Satan are you?

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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A History of Violence (2005) – Her Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Drama, Movies, Thriller.
2 comments

Hey, look it's Aragorn

Dir. David Cronenberg

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, William Hurt etc.

I was a little apprehensive before seeing this movie.. first because it was by David Cronenberg (yes, he’s Canadian… but still, not everybody’s cup of tea). He’s known particularly for being off-beat, unique and a little crazy. I was also a bit hesitant as the title sort of made it look like it may be full of gore and I didn’t feel up to seeing it.

This movie, however, was a pleasant surprise. It starts off with a couple of psycho killers who leave a motel and kill the clerk before leaving. My first instinct was to believe that this movie would be about these two guys going from town to town, just killing people off like flies, without a care or a look behind. We’ve all seen those movies… the been there, done that kind of movie… blood, guts and a bit of yawn.

What actually happens is that these two crazies come to a small town, where mostly everyone is kind and polite and a bit conservative and bully their way in a small restaurant where they get surprised by normally very calm and collected Tom Stall, played by Viggo Mortensen who in a burst of bravado kills them with their own weapon and becomes the town’s hero.

After appearing in the newspapers and on television, Tom must now confront mobsters from Philadelphia who believe he is an ex-mobster and are now harassing him and his family.

Violence runs throughout this movie, but it isn’t in any way gratuitous. I want to say so much about reactions and how events open deep feelings, restrained feelings, but I won’t go any further because such statements wouldn’t make much sense without explanations and it’s too hard to explain without giving anything away, and for once, I really think there should be no spoilers at all. I can say though, that you will probably be completely immersed into this film.

The acting is superb, the direction of this movie is exceptional. This may be perhaps David Cronenberg’s most commercial venture of date, but I must say, it doesn’t make it bland, boring or ordinary. Au contraire, this is one of my favorite movies I have seen this year. I was in awe.

This is Her review, you can read His review here.

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Gegen die Wand (2004) – Her Review October 10, 2006

Posted by Eury in Drama, Movies.
2 comments

I've had much tragedy during my life, at least half of it actually happened: Mark Twain

Dir. Fatih Akin

Starring Birol Ünel and Sibel Kekilli

Cahit (Ünel), devastated, overloaded on drugs and booze, attempts killing himself by ramming his car headfirst into a brick wall. All he really achieves though, is some nasty bruises, a neck brace and having to visit a psychiatrist. While at the doctor’s office, he meets up with a young girl, Sibel (Kekilli). who is there for the same reason. Finding out that he is Turkish, she asks if he’ll marry her. When he refuses, she slits her wrists … so, heh… of course, he agrees! (I’m rolling my eyes here, so you can visualize my reaction to this).

Cahit is devastated because he has lost his wife who he apparently loved dearly. Sibel, on the otherhand, feels opressed and not allowed any freedom at home, and decides that if her parents think she’s happily married, they will leave her alone. She makes an arrangement with Cahit. She’ll clean his house and make his food then do whatever she wants on the side… which is pretty much f*cking guys. They both overconsume drugs and alcohol and to say that they are really messed up is an understatement.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Sibel, even after tragedy strikes, gets several chances at shaping up but just keeps getting herself into more trouble. Why? Because she’s a drama queen, because she selfishly only thinks about herself. She may just look like she’s had a sad life, but when you really look at her, all through the movie, she wants what she wants, when she wants it. When she wants to leave home, she childishly cuts her wrists to get her way, She screws around with a bunch of guys, and is only too happy to let Cahit know where she’s off to. When Cahit finally falls in love with her, she won’t have relations with him… She doesn’t want them to become attached (like husband and wife) because that means her personal fun outside the house is over… Of course, this is only until she finds out that he’s screwing around with someone else… oh, well.. now of course, she’s jealous, decides she loves him and wants him. As if that is not tragic enough, Cahit ends up in jail and she promises to wait for him. Here is the perfect moment for her to prove herself, to clean up, to get on track… does she? No.. she moves in with her cousin in Istanbul, is snarky with her, because she doesn’t find her the type of job she wants, still goes out and takes drugs and the moment something appears to be a better opportunity is flashed in front of her eyes, she’s off again, without being in the least appreciative of her cousin’s efforts. Is it over now?… no!! It just goes on and on, and gets worse and worse.

Cahit is not much better until he goes to prison, where he does finally shape up only because he believes she’ll be out there when he gets out, which keeps him hanging on.

Is this a good movie?, yeah.. it has merit and the director did a good job but it’s an extremely hard movie to watch. It’s simply bleak, tragic and as heavy as lead.

Believe me, I know people live through many sad and tragic events in their lives.. it’s hurtful, it’s very hard and you want to rip yourself apart.. but eventually, you have to stop being a martyr…you need to swim, or sink. You have to stop smashing yourself up to prove (even if it’s to yourself) that you loved someone. There comes a point when you have to take back your life.

The song at the end of the movie says “Life is what you make it”… Is this a love story? Sadly, I don’t believe these two people know what love is and they make their lives über-difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to just be unhappy forever, cause that’s what you are used to; It feels comfortable , gets you lots of attention and requires no effort, than to instead, make a sincere and brave attempt at trying to be happy.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Gegen die Wand (2004) – His Review October 10, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Drama, Movies.
3 comments

temp

Dir. Fatih Akin

Starring Birol Ünel and Sibel Kekilli

Gegen die Wand has an 8.1 rating at IMDb. Since I disagree with most of the voters I’m just gonna tell you some of the key things I didn’t like about the movie. Don’t be hatin’.

  • Mean drunks who are really mean and really drunk don’t interest me.
  • Woman-beating is something I’d rather not see up close and personal.
  • The red thread throughout the story is just knots of unresolved plot.
  • I didn’t like the movie Irreversible. This is the same movie, except less extreme.
  • I can see why people may enjoy it. It’s a very competent movie, and any movie with good enough craftsmanship finds an audience, if only with movie snobs. That doesn’t really win me over though, when all the characters are unlikeable for one reason or another, and the world they inhabit is harsh and opaque. There’s noone to connect to, and I was left feeling like I was watching Bumfights or something, and I’d rather not.

    This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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    Art School Confidential (2006) – Her Review October 1, 2006

    Posted by Eury in Comedy, Drama, Movies.
    2 comments

    Did you draw something?  The paper is all white. It's an abstract - can't you see, it's a snowstorm... Oh, wow..it's  beautiful!...you're a genius!

    Dir. Terry Zwigoff

    Starring Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich etc.

    Being someone who likes to draw, I was immediately attracted to this movie… seeing people do art is just something I enjoy. This movie though is not a true glimpse inside an art school but more of a satirical look and perhaps a bit of social commentary about the snobbery that can exist at some level in the artistic community.

    As a child, while other boys liked to play football, Jerome (Max Minghella) liked to draw. When he goes off to art school, his parents worry that he may be gay, and his guy friends think it’s so cool that he wants to go there so he’ll get to draw naked chicks. Actually, neither is true. He simply thinks art is his calling and wants to be the very best artist of this century.

    Jerome gets quite a revelation though, being good at drawing apparently doesn’t really matter. The worst works seem to garner the most approval, the teachers are blase and don’t really care anymore and to top it off there is a serial killer somewhere on campus!

    Although the story goes a bit overboard and the mystery is not difficult to figure out, it’s funny and although tongue-in-cheek, does touch on the fact that some artists can have a better than thou attitude, can find ‘true art’ wherever they feel fit. I’ve seen toilets in museums, depicted as art. Yeah, yeah, you can say it’s a statement on life, art, people, politics.. the throne is still a crapper. People like to follow whatever is popular at the moment even if they look ridiculous in it.. or follow whever is considered cool even if they really are inane.

    This is Her review, you can read His review here

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    Art School Confidential (2006) – His Review October 1, 2006

    Posted by Jinx in Comedy, Drama, Movies, Mystery.
    1 comment so far

    There's a pink elephant at the art school

    Dir. Terry Zwigoff

    Starring Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich etc.

    Harassed teen boy Jerome (Minghella) finally gets out of high school hell and gets to follow his dream of becoming the world’s greatest artist.

    However, all is not well at the Strathmore Institute where Jerome enrolls. Many teachers have stopped caring, and many students are knee-deep in pretentious bullshit. And there’s also the little detail of a serial killer on the loose. As a result the school atmosphere isn’t as chill as he’d have hoped, and he has to find new ways to be creative and compete.

    Art School Confidential is written by Daniel Clowes, who wrote Ghost World and the comic book it was based on. Terry Zwigoff was the director then too, and it seems they enjoyed the work and the result, since they’re pairing up to dance again. The result is not as good this time, if a direct comparison is to be made, but the movies are not really in the same genre. While you could say Ghost World went for “melancholic comedy about cross-generational friendship”, Art School Confidential is less easily defined. It’s a satire, and it’s at times good at it. It’s a murder mystery, but it’s not very mysterious. Most of all it’s about expectations and dreams, and how realizing them can be harder if you need to stay in control, instead of letting things happen. Well, it tries to be.

    If you only watch it for the funny, it’s probably gonna satisfy you. The trailer is hilarious, and the movie resembles that remark.

    This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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    Friends with Money (2006) – Her Review September 30, 2006

    Posted by Eury in Comedy, Drama, Movies.
    1 comment so far

    Who says money doesn't buy happiness?

    Dir. Nicole Holofcener

    Starring Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Greg Germann, Simon McBurney, Jason Isaacs and Scott Caan

    A peek into the lives of 4 women, 3 of whom are quite affluent and their not so fortunate friend who has a hard time making ends meet.

    This movie doesn’t really tell a story, instead it makes us wonder why they are the way they are.

    Warning: Spoilers Ahead

    Franny (Joan Cusack) is the richest of the girls and drops money at the bat of an eye… 2 million for charity, no problem. Things are a little different, though, when Ovilia (Jennifer Aniston) asks her for $1800 to take courses. To me, Franny, is the girl that feels guilty at having so much money, she doesn’t want to look like she is wasteful or throws money around. Charity is a good cause, courses for Olivia to become a personal trainer that she doesn’t believe she ‘ll actually ever do, not so good.

    Joan (Frances McDormand) is a clothing designer and has taken to having fits in public and has stopped washing her hair. Ironic, when you discover that her husband creates designer creams and shampoos. Matt (Simon McBurney) is her metrosexual counterpart who comes complete with a British accent; I found him quite adorable. He seems quite happy with his feminine side even though Joan’s friends whisper about him behind her back.

    Christine (Catherine Keener) co-writes with her husband. They have all this bottled up frustration that starts to leak into the dialogue of their current writings. Once the words are on paper, though, there is no turning back… they’ve both spilled their beans and it’s just not going to work.

    Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) is a mess. Scrounging to make ends meet, she works as a maid. She doesn’t seem to be able to get herself together and has no qualms about getting stepped over by everyone and anyone.

    For the most part, I loved this movie. The acting was superb and there were many very funny moments. There was something that bothered me though. The film seemed to be telling us that money does solve all problems as it appears the couple with the most money, have not only a loving and intimate relationship.. but also are truly best of friends. On the other end of the spectrum is Olivia, who almost penniless, can’t seem to get it together. There was also the end of the movie, which left me thinking, ” What? …the ? … ? “

    This is Her review, you can read His review here.

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    Friends with Money (2006) – His Review September 29, 2006

    Posted by Jinx in Comedy, Drama, Movies.
    1 comment so far

    Ok ok, here's the pitch: Friends.. ok?.. with Money!Dir. Nicole Holofcener
    Starring Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener etc.

    Having seen the trailer a few months ago and liking it, I was apprehensive this would turn out a world of boring. It didn’t.

    There’s not much of a storyline to jot down here, since Friends with Money is mostly about characters, and the dialogue between old friends and family. None of the women (or their respective hubbies) have their hearts on their sleeve, and it’s fun guesswork trying to figure out what they’re actually all about. Why is Olivia (Aniston) single and working as a maid? Why is Jane (McDormand) increasingly wound up and pissed off? Is it because her husband is gay? Is her husband actually gay? Etc etc.

    As with quality TV-shows there needn’t be a non-stop thrillride of a story to keep you interested, as long as the writing is good. I wasn’t too surprised that it was well written, since the movie has Joan Cusack in it, who practically never does bad movies. It is an ensemble piece though, and everyone gets their spotlight and manage to use it well.

    I mentioned TV-shows, and well yeah. It does have that feel, perhaps because Holofcener (writer/director) has done a little bit of TV. I’m not sure if she borrows from her experience there to make movies, or the reverse, but this movie could easily be serialized into a show. Not a real critique, but it struck me as something worth pointing out.

    All in all – well written and played drama. Check out the trailer to see if it fits.

    This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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    Storm (2005) – His Review September 25, 2006

    Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
    2 comments

    Storm bork bork bork!Dir. Måns Mårland and Björn Stein
    Starring Eric Ericson, Eva Röse and Jonas Karlsson

    Sweden is hardly known for mainstream cinema, in fact the only thing most foreign people will know of swedish cinema is Ingmar Bergman, so don’t feel too out of the loop if you read this review and go “huh?”.

    Storm follows succesful but detatched thirty-something journalist DD (Ericson), who leads a “rich” social life with parties and drugs, but doesn’t have much of an inner life. His fish-bowl world cracks when he meets a mysterious woman, hunted by unknown fiends, who seems to know him inside out. Despite his best attempts he gets involved, and receives a seemingly unbreachable metal box. The hunters now go after him, to get hold of the box before it is opened.

    There’s hasn’t been many good Swedish movies made since the 80’s. Even the new generation of film-makers seem to follow in the footsteps of the old garde – directors who haven’t changed direction since their first movie, and writers who keep rewriting the same script over and over. How many damn “comedies” can you make about a man and a woman who have been married for 10 years, drink and fight, and then get divorced? Why would kids want to see the 3rd sequel to the crappy kids version of the multi-sequel remake of a Danish original movie series? Where’s the originality?

    Well, it’s not in this movie. But – and it’s a big but – this movie steals it’s inspiration not from Sweden, but the mainstream international market, while still retaining a subtle Swedish aftertaste. The action scenes are certainly nothing to gape over, and the ride isn’t as smooth as it can be with an accomplished driver/director, but it is quite refreshing nevertheless. The straight action-movie lingo can be pretty annoying, but I found that, along with the comicbooks that are also used as a literary device, it sort of makes sense. It’s surreal and fake, as if filtered through the mind of a 10 year old film- and comicbook-geek, another piece of DD’s puzzle.

    You’re allowed to not like this movie, it probably takes a certain mindset when you watch it to get engrossed since it’s so fidgety. If you like movies that switch genres on you, fairly successfully, from flickering sci-fi action to spine-tingling thriller to heart-wrenching drama, give it a try. It may work on you.

    This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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    Storm (2005) – Her Review September 25, 2006

    Posted by Eury in Action, Drama, Movies, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
    1 comment so far

    Swedish Rubik's CubeDir. Måns Mårland and Björn Stein
    Starring Eric Ericson, Eva Röse and Jonas Karlsson

    This movie starts out like a typical sci-fi thriller, with Lova, (Eva Röse) or Promise as they call her in English, being followed by a multitude of men including the character played by Jonas Karlsson. She is protecting what appears to be a brushed silver cube which she hands off to another girl telling her to guard it with her life as they are apparently the only survivors. I was strangely intrigued… what could the cube be… did it contain something, did it have some sort of power?

    Enter Eric Ericsson as DD. He’s a bachelor in Stockholm who seems quite content to live alone. After listening to his neighbor having sex with his girlfriend, he quite, nonchalantly, lets us know that he believes that love is pretty useless… and if you want sex, you’re never better served than by yourself. Not only does he not appear to be affected by sentimental feelings, we learn that since he was a child he also cannot feel any pain of the physical kind. After another boring night at the bar, he opens up his taxi door to help Promise, who appears practically out of nowhere, fleeing from some mighty dangerous dudes. Hence starts DD’s descent into a maddening spiral of events.

    The movie has many twists and turns, moving between scenes that appear as if out of a video game, others from comic books and even revisiting DD’s past. It certainly appears more complex and complicated in writing than on the screen. I felt the movie moved along smoothly and opened layer after layer to the viewer’s eyes which made it easy to understand.

    Warning: Spoilers Ahead

    This movie deals with a subject seen in many movies over time… a tragic event that leaves someone scarred and incapable of becoming a secure and happy adult. Storm uses a unique and interesting way of entering DD’s mind and his memories to help him become whole again. DD must relive some horrendous acts he did (not pertaining to the actual tragic event) hoping to be punished because he is riddled by guilt. Promise is there to help him while the character played by Jonas is trying to prevent him reliving his pain and tries to get him to stay just as he is.. cold and detatched.

    The story is not a new one, but Storm brings a new twist in how the story is told and although it had lots of action scenes it managed to make us care for DD and feel his pain; the pain he’d been avoiding since childhood, the pain that has prevented him, until now, from being able to love and be loved.

    This is Her review, you can read His review here.

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