A Matador’s Mistress (Manolete/The Passion Within)

Menno Meyjes


★★ out of 5

As much as I love Adrien Brody, I was disappointed in the film.  Wasn’t very entertaining and I felt myself drifting off at times.  Dialogue and relationship between Cruz and Brody wasn’t interesting for me enough to care.  Pretty costumes and I’m interested in learning more about Spanish bullfighting, but I’ll research on my own time.  



Little Otik (Otesánek/Greedy Guts)

 Jan Švankmajer


★★ out of 5

This is the 2nd Czech film I’ve watched and both of them had the same stylistic sensibilities even after a difference of 12 years between the films.  There were the shooting the tightly cropped mouth shots when the characters were speaking, there was the fairytale element, and there was stop motion animation.  This story was a bit more compelling than Alice, but not that much more comfortable in terms of tone.  I’m not sure if all Czech films have this sort of stylistic choices, but it’s not one I’m really fond of.  In a way, the apartment location reminded me of Delicatessen as well as the quirky characters…but it didn’t have the same charm for me.  The young girl’s personality was really off putting too…and a lot of this film just made me feel weird.  I could appreciate a lot of the elements to this film….but it’s just not really one for me.   



White Squall

Ridley Scott


★★★ out of 5

This is one of those ragtag group of boys learns to become a crew/group/team type of films.  It stars Jeff Bridges as their hard, but well-meaning captain of an alternative school ship (where boys take a trip on the seas and learn instead of in a classroom).  Of course the boys have their own issues that they learn to work through and become a crew of sailors on this ship.  Unfortunately tragedy strikes and sets up the last 30 minutes of the movie.  Based on a true event, this is one naval-based movie I was not bored by.  



Don’t Laugh at My Romance 「人のセックスを笑うな」

Iguchi Nami


★★ out of 5

The cinematography of this film is so Japanese.  It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a Japanese film, but the pacing and styling of everything is very classic of Japanese cinema.  I’m not sure if this is still a specific look, but another example would be Cha no Aji (one of my favorite completely random Japanese films) or Suki da.  The original reason for me downloading this years ago was because Matsuyama Kenichi is one of my favorite Japanese actors.  Yu Aoi is also in this in her typecast role of the cute innocent one.  I definitely do not recommend this to people who are not used to this kind of VERY slow pacing.  The pacing has an effect that it goes for, but it’s something I have gotten used to over time with Japanese films.  Really the only good thing for me was the inspiration in the look of the film.  I loved the color palate and framing of everything.  Beautiful film, but not something I would want to sit through again.  

Side note, I am very sorry for falling so far behind.  Lack of internet speed causes Netflix to buffer for up to 10 minutes at a time throughout my viewings.  :(  Hopefully I can upgrade soon, so thanks for sticking with me during my lack of posts.  I’ll get back on track as soon as possible!  



The New World

Terrence Malick


★★★★ out of 5

The alternate title to this film should be “The Tree of Life.” This film is basically a prelude to the style and flow of it. In fact, I caught a few scenes that were shot exactly the same as scenes from Tree of Life. Granted, this one had a little bit more of a story and history, but I think that is exactly why this film didn’t get as much attention as the acclaimed Tree of Life did. I thought Q’orianka was a beautiful Pocahontas and I had to laugh at the irony of Christian Bale being cast in this film (since he played Thomas in Disney’s version). This film was beautiful and I did like seeing a more “realistic” portrayal of the Pocahontas story, and perhaps it’s because I did enjoy Tree of Life that I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. So if you hated that film don’t watch this one. I remember seeing this trailer back in 2005 and really wanting to see it, but I kept hearing that it was not a good film. If I remember correctly the trailers are pretty misleading as the main parts of it where taken from the first 20 minutes of the film. Don’t go expecting a typical historical fiction film, because this is so far from that sort of tone.


365 FILMS IN 2012


Perfect Sense

David Mackezie


★★★★★ out of 5

There are some love stories that will stick with you forever, and I’m positive that this one will be.  This “virus epidemic” type of premise is more about the love story between these two people as the world slowly gets worse and worse.  The way that they portray each stages of the the loss of the senses is so incredibly effective.  There are a few horrifying parts….a few frightening parts….all mixed in with some sweet and tender moments of the world continuing to live.  It feels so incredibly real and I got chills from each stage of the disease taking over.  It’s a film I won’t soon be forgetting.  



The Last Emperor

Bernardo Bertolucci


★★★ out of 5

When I was growing up, I would see this Laserdisc in my dad’s collection and I was always very curious about what the film was.  The cover art was graphic and eye-catching, but I never took the time to watch it.  Every once in awhile I go on a Chinese film kick (or American/European films that look at Chinese history) and this one was a really great one.  It’s a very long movie, almost 3-hours…but you really feel for the Emperor and all the changes he goes through in his life.  One of the most powerful parts of the film was definitely the last ten minutes.  It’s a beautiful film if you like these life-story films, but I don’t think it will be great for everyone.  

Side note, I think whoever was in charge of making costumes for Queen Amidala from Star Wars Episode I, definitely took inspiration from this film.  There is one outfit that looks almost exactly like the wedding ceremony outfits from this film.  XD




Mathieu Kassovitz


★★ out of 5

In the opening credits I noticed that Matthew Libatique was the DP of this film.  I know the name from Hipstamatic because there was a pack you could buy that was inspired by him and his work on Cowboys and Aliens.  

Anyways, Gothika was a very typical supernatural thriller film.  There wasn’t really anything spectacular about it and the blonde girl’s appearances just annoyed me throughout the movie.  The mystery was intriguing enough to get me invested in the story, but it’s nothing special.  



For Lovers Only

Michael Polish


★★★★ out of 5

The quality of this black and white film is GORGEOUS.  I love the look of a very beautiful black and white film, so I was immediately taken in by the fantastic tonal range.  After looking into their wiki page, apparently this was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II, and with all on-location lighting.  As a photographer, I am throughly impressed with the filming and this is a way perfect film to showcase the abilities of using VSLRs to shoot small films like this.  Every shot of this was stunning with beautiful range of grey tones.  This is such a visually inspirational film, and I felt compelled to go out and photograph after finishing this.  A beautiful indie film that pulled me in the minute it started.  

As for the story….it’s kind of a that slice of life type of story…revolving around this couple’s love.  Sadly I didn’t find myself too invested…so perhaps this film works best to just serve as inspiration?  Maybe watch it with the sound off and just add your own mood music.  I’d give it an other go around for the visuals, but maybe next time it will hook me in more.  



The Crow

Alex Proyas


★★★★ out of 5

The dark, goth look of this film really made it a fun one for me.  It’s a very 90’s action movie, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.  It’s basically a revenge movie with tons of action and quick flashbacks throughout.  It is also pretty great for being a comic book based movie in a time where comic movies were getting pretty crappy (Batman and Robin *shudder*).  This is one of those cult classics that is purely entertainment and a fun movie to sit through.  



Treeless Mountain (나무없는 산)

So Yong Kim


★ out of 5

The filming of this movie reminded me a lot of Once, which I’d viewed earlier last month.  This movie wasn’t quite as charming as Once, but it was still cute thanks to the young actors.  There were lots of cuts to wide shots of suburban Korea that were pretty, but the film was pretty standard in terms of cinematography.  Eating played a big role throughout the movie and I think it probably relates to culture/the feel of a family eating together.  The theme of this movie was pretty standard and unfortunately, nothing really stood out in this film for me.  The pacing is very…Asian.  By that I mean that the editing and flow of events is very slow and nothing really happens.  I would also compare this to Suki Da.  Where as it has an interesting premise and promise of a good film, it really falls flat because of the slow pace.  If you like slower Asian films then watch it, but I did not enjoy this at all.  



Listen to Your Heart

Matt Thompson


★★ out of 5

Sorry I’ve been slacking during this break!  It’s hard seeing all my friends back home and still trying to make time to write up and screencap new films.  XD  But I’m trying to play catch up tomorrow!  

This film was a cute indie romance about a boy and a girl kept apart by a cynical parent.  The boy is a musician and the girl is deaf.  You do the math.  The film was beautifully shot (lots of shallow depth of field) and had very attractive leads, but some of the extra actors were a bit too unrealistic and weren’t very good actors.  Some of the story was a little cheesy, but it’s a sweet romance movie overall.  :)  




John Carney


★★★★ out of 5

Finally, finally, finally watched this film.  It is a low-budget, music driven story that was sweet and realistic.  The songs performed by The Swell Season were beautiful and stuck with me long after the film ended.  A friend of mine had done a wonderful cover of Falling Slowly, but all the other songs were new to me.  It’s a simple movie, but if you love guitar music, love stories, and bittersweet feelings, this is it.