Posts Tagged ‘1991’

My Own Private Idaho – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 13th, 2010

Review:

Young male gay prostitutes River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves go on a road trip in this meandering early film by acclaimed director Gus van Sant spanning from Seattle to Portland, Idaho and Rome. Along the way, they learn a lot about themselves and about life, as well as that in the end, you can’t change who you are and that your path is preordained. Or something along those lines. But the plot is not really the focus here, as van Sant experiments with the art form film, often with little success, but with a few truly memorable ideas. Phoenix delivers the best performance in his short career, anchoring a film that otherwise would have been quickly forgotten.

Random Observations:

My Own Private Idaho at the IMDb

Part of the story was inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV and Henry V. When the characters go so far as to quote the original dialogue, it becomes a tad annoying.

Also from the experimental department: having the characters appear as cover pictures for gay sex magazines and then let them talk about that for a while. Or telling stories directly to the camera. Or sex scenes consisting of poses for still photograph. Most of these disrupt the flow of the movie even more than the Shakespearean dialogue.

In a world of gay prostitutes and their clients, of course the only truly perverted person is German. Or maybe he isn’t all that perverted and just very, very odd. Also another German trademark.

Bis ans Ende der Welt – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, August 20th, 2010

Review:

Until the End of the World was a passion project for director Wim Wenders, who spend 14 years on it, filming in a dozen countries on four continents along the way. The story is both incredibly simple and extremely complex. Solveig Dommartin falls in love with hitch-hiker who robs her William Hurt and follows him around the globe, while also being pursued and followed by several other people, including her ex Sam Neill. So the first two-thirds of the film are basically a global road movie, set in the distant future of 1999 (the film was finished in ’91) where a malfunctioning nuclear satellite threatens the world. But it’s not only a road movie, but also a science fiction story about that ever popular theme of the influence advanced technology has on our humanity. The film is deeply flawed, riddled with plot holes and bad acting (everyone aside from Max von Sydow catches that bug), both too simple and too complex for its own good. But the film is also deeply poetic, filled with incredible moments of natural and human beauty and memorable scenes that make you forget the film surrounding them and appreciate them on their own. The film moves at its own pace and the story is often only an excuse to showcase the director’s world and imagination, which the film does admirably. This is not a film for the masses, it’s hardly for anyone but the director and maybe his cast and crew, but if you can forget that for a while, you can get lost in the film, which maybe is the best thing cinema has to offer.

Random Observations:

Bis ans Ende der Welt at the IMDb

This review is based on the 280 minute director’s cut, not the significantly shorter theatrical release. And yes, I saw all three parts of the trilogy in one sitting.

The version I watched was also lacking subtitles (despite Italian, which is not one of my strong languages, to put it mildly), so I’m not really sure I fully understand all of the French dialogue scattered throughout the film.

Naturally, Wim Wenders’ favourite actor Rüdiger Vogler, is also in this film. And in an unprecedented turn, he is actually extremely tolerable in this film.

My favourite scene/sequence is probably in the last part, when the impromptu band is formed. It’s oddly emotional.

I’m not a big fan of the score (because to me it all sounds the same), but the soundtrack of the film is amazing, especially coupled with some of the scenes.

The film features an amazingly accurate satellite navigation system in an unusual bit of actually guessing the future right. It also features, however, video phones, which basically every sci-fi concept ever has and which have never and will never catch on.

Barton Fink – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Januar 31st, 2010

Review:

Barton Fink just has a major hit on Broadway and taking his agent’s advice to cash in on that, he moves to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. But he wants to write about the common man and not be caught up in the artificial world of Tinseltown, so he stays at a common hotel and turns to his neighbour, who claims to sell insurance, for inspiration. The film, written by the Coen Brothers while struggling to finish the screenplay for Miller’s Crossing, is the darkest comedy imaginable about Hollywood, writing, the desire of an intellectual elite to not lose touch with reality, and especially the blindness for inspiration writers and other creative types can often suffer from. If you can connect to any of that, you will enjoy this film, if you cannot, you’d probably consider it boring.

Random Observations:

Barton Fink at the IMDb

The film is set in 1941, but unlike in other Coen Brothers films, the specific setting doesn’t really feel necessary. It could really take place any time, even though Fink’s desire for stories about normal people instead of Kings and the like certainly has been fulfilled in the last six decades.

The funniest characters in the film are the bit players – studio mogul Michael Lerner, big-shot producer Tony Shalhoub and hotel page Steve Buscemi.

The film is also a quite gripping thriller, although that part didn’t really fit in with the overall tone for me.

Hook – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, November 19th, 2009

Review:

You all know the story of Peter Pan, right? Well, this film ascertains that it was all true and now Peter Banning, née Pan, a fat, old chairman of the board, who has forgot all about Neverland, has to go back there and be Pan again to save his children, kidnapped by the nefarious (and title giving) Captain Hook. The film is typical Spielbergian fare – a fantasy adventure expertly made, with an engaging storyline, some heartfelt remorse and a clear view for how entertaining movies can be. Oh, how I miss those early 90s days before Spielberg decided he was an auteur. The film drags on a bit and naturally is extremely silly, but for what is essentially a family film solely made to make money, it’s just good enough.

Random Observations:

Hook at the IMDb

The couple kissing on the bridge, when Peter first flies again? Carrie Fisher and George Lucas. That’s Spielberg for you.

Raise your hand if you didn’t recognize Dustin Hoffman in the Hook outfit. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

For a film almost twenty years old, some of the special effects hold up remarkably well. It certainly looks more realistic than Jurassic Park, which supposedly was a milestone for special effects.

As much as I like to riff on Steven Spielberg and repeat my claim that he is the most overrated director of all time, I have to admit I own and like a large number of his films. He is an expert craftsmen, he knows how to entertain better than almost any other film-maker, but that doesn’t mean that he has ever made a good dramatic film.

The Rocketeer – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, November 8th, 2009

Review:

In 1938, a pilot and his engineer trying to compete in the nationals find a jetpack that a robber left behind. Naturally, that leads to the pilot becoming a comic book hero. Coincidentally, this film is based on a comic book. It’s a fairly entertaining albeit ridiculous story that makes for some nice entertainment, especially thanks to the always glorious Timothy Dalton in the main role. Sadly, the ridiculousness gets a bit much towards the end, but if you are willing to not think about it too much, you will enjoy the film.

Random Observations:

The Rocketeer at the IMDb

Note to self: Write these “reviews” before you forget everything about the film.

L.A. Story – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, September 3rd, 2009

Review:

A wacky L.A. weatherman has an encounter with an electronic traffic sign that tells him his life is about to change – and it sure does. All this happens in L.A. and although it is a conventional love story as well, it’s mostly a declaration of love for the city despite all its crazyness, delivered in a funny yet heartfelt way. It’s an unusual film starring Steve Martin in one of his quiet, i.e. good, performances, that is fun to watch.

Random Observations:

L.A. Story at the IMDb

Again with the voice-over narration. I used to really like it, but ever since I heard that it was lazy storytelling and actually thought about it, I can’t help but be distracted by it.

Steve Martin not only starred, he also wrote this film. I wish he would do more stuff like that – he also wrote the novella on which Shopgirl is based – instead of stupid low-brow comedies in the vein of Cheaper by the Dozen.

Sarah Jessica Parker has a role in this film and while she was annoying and silly as always, it actually made sense here.

The Silence of the Lambs – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Juni 20th, 2009

Review:

Clarice Starling, a FBI agent in training, is sent to meet psychotic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in hopes of enlisting his help in finding another serial killer currently at large. What unfolds is a very creepy, even horrifying thriller, that is still celebrated today as one of the best movies of all time. And it sure is well made, well acted, well directed and the story is fairly interesting, but unless you are able to get caught up in this kind of thriller, you will not enjoy it.

Random Observations:

The Silence of the Lambs at the IMDb

One of only three films to win all five “big” Oscars: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay and, obviously, Best Film. The other two are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

A surprisingly large number of quotes and images from the film have become iconing in the (almost) twenty years since it’s release, including the muzzle Lector wears and just about anything he says in the film.

This is probably a film that really needs to be seen in cinemas to fully appreciate it’s visual arrangements.

To date, three sequels/prequels to the film have been made. None of them, however, have reached the same status of classic.

I was surprised to read that people liked the Hannibal Lecter character. Anthony Hopkins is on the record as later regretting playing him as a charming person. I’m not quite sure how anyone can view somebody who killed several people (just for fun) as sympathetic.

Adventskalender 5

Mittwoch, Dezember 5th, 2007

Klick auf den Link, um das fünfte Türchen zu öffnen. Click the link to open the fifth door.

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