Archive | Reviews

The Snowman

The Snowman

As a three year resident of Norway, I had high hopes for this film, and I have been hearing from my Norwegian friends how good the Jo Nesbo Harry Hole series is . . . to read. I was expecting something like Silence of the Lambs meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, what I got was just a convoluted mess of ideas that should have been handled much better! The word that will forever haunt Director Alfredson in regards to The Snowman is “potential.” This story had potential, the characters had potential, the editing . . . well, the editing had no potential, it was an utter failure. Right up there with the piss-poor editing of Seven Pounds, in fact.

I recognize that making a film is challenging, and I hate to just crap all over anyone’s work, but there was just almost nothing redeeming about The Snowman. This director has two strikes and one home run, for me: his breakout masterpiece, the original Let the Right One In, which still kinda freaks me out and his miss being the boring as hell Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 

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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS REVIEW!

Blade Runner 2049 is a melancholic noir that follows replicant K as he pursues knowledge of a miracle replicant birth in a sequel that thoughtfully continues the exploration of what it means to be human with what it means to live and love. The designation “K,” while short for a serial number, hearkens to The Trial, a film by Orson Welles based on a story of the same name by Kafka. In it an accused man, Joseph K, attempts to discover the crime for which he is accused and defend himself against said undefined accusation. This inkling of pursuing the unknown in the dystopian The Trial can be felt in Blade Runner 2049, as well.

Definitely worth seeing, Blade Runner 2049 is a towering example of how to make movies with a big dash of how not to make movies. I credit the makers with respecting the audience in their quest to combine art and accessibility. As it turns out, however, the opening weekend was a box office disappointment, in some part due to the R-rating, doubtlessly required for the unnecessary and weak sex scenes. What works in this film is fantastic, which makes what doesn’t work that much more inexplicable and agitating.

Blade Runner 2049 might subjectively look better, or perhaps offer more of what we all love, but it’s not better than the original, nor does it need to be. Where the original sequel fears were justified, and while Villeneuve, himself, said that the chance of success was narrow, Blade Runner 2049 has justified its existence on its own merit by being a very beautiful and worthy addition. In the meantime, before it gets edited seven times, enjoy Blade Runner 2049 for what it is: a torn masterpiece, like its predecessor.

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IT

IT

It isn’t necessarily the IT you remember, but it is something you won’t ever forget!

Stephen King has often said he never really felt that his novels translate well into full length movies, and with few exceptions, I agree with him. But when I heard he was making the miniseries for regular TV back in the ’80s, I wasn’t too thrilled. Nevertheless, despite the censoring, that iteration of IT has always remained a favorite, because I really loved the book. And regardless of what your millennial friends are pushing, Tim Curry is, and always will be, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. However, Bill Skarsgård certainly impressed me as his honorable heir, and this full-length feature film lives up to the  hype, IT is a must watch film!

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La Jetee

La Jetée

La Jetée, 1963, by Chris Marker, is a featurette set in an apocalyptic future, the denizens of which attempt to use time-travel to the past and future in order to improve their present. It was also the source of inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. The format is rather unconventional in that it tells the story through still photographs rather than through the persistence of vision that makes “movies” work both psychologically and physiologically. The vague vehicle by which scientists connect subjects to the past is a strong personal connection through memory.

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Apocalypto

Apocalypto

I once wrote that one can’t be a critic and a filmmaker at the same time because the former is reactive while the latter is proactive. Yet, here I am contradicting myself, at least in a sense. While Apocalypto is already known, I desire to produce such short analyses simply out of respect. In his case it is because I believe that Mel Gibson, while already respected as a filmmaker, is actually still underrated. He is on the threshold of deserving the same reverence in film, both as art and entertainment, as Spielberg and Scorsese as great living directors. The masterpiece that is Apocalypto reminds us of his vision and reach.

Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, produced by his Icon Productions along with Touchstone Pictures and released in 2006, is a film about revelation and revolution. The film follows a young tribesman named Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) as his idyllic life is uprooted by raiders who enslave his people and prepare him and others for sacrifice to Mayan deity Kukulkan. Jaguar Paw’s goal is to survive and make his way back to his expectant wife and their child who are trapped in a pit. Stripped of his tribe and with no home, he transforms from hunted to hunter as he claims his identity in life.

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