Archive for April, 2012

Monk, The

April 27th, 2012 - admin

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Damsels in Distress

April 27th, 2012 - admin

Wilt Stillman’s first film since 1998, and only his fourth in a twenty-year career, is a characteristically quirky look at the student generation of upper tier American society, blending satire and affection in equal measure.

 

Set in a mock Ivy League university that clings onto the authority of the past so as to secure the future for its privileged undergrads, it has a strange retro feel of the Clinton era but exists in the present.  A flippant remark as to the rarity of handwritten notes is the closest it comes to acknowledging social networks.

 

Former mumblecore star, Greta Gerwig, is in sparkling form as the self-appointed leader of the damsels of the film’s title, four young belles that are hell-bent on reforming the vulgar males contaminating the campus.  They hold their noses in a lofty manner, retching at the unbearable odour of alpha dudes, and dispense free bars of soap following an encounter with a magical new variety, which, the rest of us recognise as standard issue from any old rundown motel.  Dating metamorphoses into gender education, tap dancing is a form of therapy at their Suicide Prevention Centre and ‘uncool’ becomes the new cool in every way.

 

A truly bizarre group of male counterparts make the girls seem comparatively conventional.  A vacant half-wit provides the love interest for Gerwig’s lead.  He has a serious rival in the buffoonery stakes, a slight figure, sharing a name with the Norse God,Thor, who suffers from acute colour-blindness following a failure to learn the colours during childhood.  And there is a handsome French student with a surreal but literal description of anal sex that he practices in obedience with the ancient Cathar religion.

 

Stillman wraps it all in a comedy of manners where the girls carry the names of flowers, bright colours contrast with the classical revival architecture and the actors deliver even the most absurd lines with a deadly seriousness.  It is a witty and wacky world every bit as self-contained as that P G Wodehouse created in his screenplay for the film’s ancestor, George Stephens’ 1937 Fred Astaire vehicle, Damsel in Distress.  A smart post modern re-rendering sees dance emerge as a dominant theme with the girls looking to inspire a new feel-good dance craze, the sambola, which provides the film with an unexpected storming climax, a wonderful performance of Gershwin’s Things Are Looking Up, taken, of course, from the original.  Along the way, Stillman has something to say about the loss of innocence in an imperfect society, the passing of which he nevertheless mourns.

 

Watch out for Megalyn Echikunwoke, playing the most cynical of the girls, affecting a wonderful scene-stealing upper middle class British accent whilst warning of the dangers of the ‘Playboy or Operator Type’, with each syllable of ‘operator’ seemingly lasting longer than an Oscar acceptance speech.buy domperidone in usamotilium buy online ukorder yasmin online yasmin uddin yasmin jiwa yasmin ocella

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Elles

April 20th, 2012 - admin

Sometimes a film can be cliché ridden, predictable and contain nothing particularly new and still hang together – just.  Malgorzata Szumowska’s latest feature falls into this category.

 

Juliette Binoche acts her socks off as the complacent journalist researching a piece on young sex workers; occasionally pushing her performance into the realms of unintentional caricature but remaining engaging enough most of the time.  An attempt at conversing with a gob full of spaghetti provides a sub-Brunellian missed note that has the look of an improvised extravagance gone horribly wrong.

 

A conventional bourgeois family-in-crisis sees her falling between the cracks in familiar ways that, nevertheless, contain some perceptive insights worthy of a film of greater ambition.  There is a particularly good scene of the family clinging onto normality at breakfast after a disastrous night before, where subtle changes in body language indicate a returning comfort that is as much a part of the family cycle as the destructive moments.

 

There are impressive performances from Anaïs Demoustier and Joanna Kulig as two students who turn to prostitution for extra cash but become addicted to the high life style that it facilitates.  They interact well with Binoche in one-to-ones with the reactions of the listener often revealing more than the dialogue.motiliumbuy motiliumorder yasmin online yasmin uddin yasmin jiwa yasmin ocella

 

Sex scenes tend to sanitise prostitution except for the odd disturbing encounter that merely hints at the risks involved.

 

And the use of parallel editing to draw comparisons between marriage compromises and prostitution is old hat.

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Marley

April 20th, 2012 - admin

There is a thin line between securing co-operation and negotiating away editorial control.  Kevin MacDonald made this bio-doc of reggae’s most famous exponent, Bob Marley, with the full support of the singer’s family, gaining music rights and archives access that were not available to other filmmakers developing similar projects.  With Ziggy Marley also on board as an executive producer, there were inevitable concerns that the family had exploited their strong position to force compromises.  But on the evidence of the film’s text, which does not always paint a particularly flattering picture of its subject, MacDonald seems to have successfully navigated his way around this potential double-edged sword.

 

A colonial shame of Britain’s imperial past left Marley as the mixed race outsider, disowned by his white family and not fully accepted by the black community.  We have little more than a photograph and few unreliable asides for a patchy impression of Marley’s father beyond the scandalous facts that speak for themselves.  A white plantation guard, masquerading as a former army captain, he had an exploitative affair with Marley’s mother, over forty years his junior, only to disappear with a complete abdication of parental responsibility after an unplanned pregnancy.

 

His mother comes across as a worldly matriarchal type adapting out of necessity to extreme poverty, firstly in a makeshift hillside shack and then in the dangerous slums of Trench Town, Kingston.  It does not come as a surprise to anyone that the father’s family rejected a plea for urgent assistance, preferring instead to bury its collective head in the sand from a safe distance.  In the most unexpected scene of the film, MacDonald plays Marley’s allegorical song ‘Corner Stone’ to the singer’s white half-brother and sister where the symbolic ‘stone’ that the ‘builder’ refused touched a telling emotional nerve.

 

It is surprising that Marley should then allow history to repeat itself, to a certain extent, by inflicting pain on his own family and off-spring.  A blatant serial adulterer; it is difficult to keep track, but the final count seems to be eleven known children from seven different mothers.  We gain a strong sense of the dignified silence displayed by his wife and long-term backing singer, Rita; something that their children find tough to bear even today.  A reference to her dutifully ejecting his one night stands ‘the morning after the night before’ points to the extent of her subordination to his careless egocentric habits.

 

Accounts of Marley’s years with the Wailers, which formed during 1963, suggest the emergence of a deeply untrusting man, comfortable as the outsider, often unpredictable and always competitive regardless of the context.  None of which sits comfortably with his ‘one love’ communal philosophy lying at the heart of his mature period; exposing contradictions that defy explanation but nevertheless seem to demand answers.  What are we to make of the exclusion from his wedding of fellow band members Neville Livingstone (aka Bunny Wailer) and Peter Tosh, supposedly his two closest companions?

 

Footage of Marley and the Wailers singing a soulful variant of reggae, pre-Catch A Fire, is worth the price of a ticket alone.  Marley’s sing-song, an instinctive and heartfelt manoeuvring of pitch and tone, combines with a perfect rhythm, to produce a mesmerising spirituality that could communicate with the audience independently of the words.

 

There is strong coverage of his transformation to hard core reggae at Island Records that catapulted him to a global superstar, but more information on the tension behind the scenes would have been welcome.  As it is, there are a few interesting footnotes from the record labels’ supremo, Chris Blackwell, whom Peter Tosh blamed for breaking-up the Wailers for over promoting Marley at the expense of the others.

 

And extraordinary scenes from his two most famous personal appearances take pride of place.  Attaining a street cred that has passed into legend, he proceeded with the “Smile Jamaica” concert in 1976, just two days after an assassination attempt left him with gunshot wounds that he displayed on stage.  The  “One Love Peace Concert” followed two years later where the sheer power and magic of the moment persuaded bitter political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga to embrace on stage in what remains one of the most surprising syntheses of music and politics.

 

All of which sits alongside some judiciously selected contextual footage, including a state visit from Rastafarians’ spiritual guru, Emperor Haile Selassie, and a youthful Robert Mugabe watching Marley perform in Zimbabwe at a time when the future dictator symbolised so much hope before his corruption at the hands of power.

 

Talking heads testify to Marley’s well-known dedication to Jah and the ‘weed’, a more surprising obsession with healthy eating – forty years ahead of his time – and his lifelong love of football.  A wonderful anecdote tells of an impromptu football match in London when Marley and his band supposedly thrashed a National Front team.  Hopefully, it is true.

 

The most devastating clip comes in the form of a message for the fans when Marley speculates about a new tour immediately prior to his premature death from cancer at the painfully young age of thirty-six.  When searching for an appropriate epithet for this enigmatic musical icon, every bit the flawed genius, we could do far worse than reach back to his debut single, recorded when a mere 16 years old.  Marley prophetically warns against hypocritical judgements, “I know that I’m not perfect, and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers, be sure your hands are clean”.buy domperidone tabletscost of domperidoneorder yasmin online yasmin uddin yasmin jiwa yasmin ocella

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Cabin in the Woods, The

April 13th, 2012 - admin

Cloverfield writer, Drew Goddard, turns filmmaker, based on a script that he co-wrote with Buffy creator, Joss Whedon, with whom he has collaborated previously.

 

A superb deconstruction of the horror film focuses its metaphorical magnifying glass onto every conceivable convention and trope of the genre, through the wonderful conceit of reality TV playing by the same rules, as the slasher film meets the Truman Show with bells on.

 

Five familiar kids head off on a weekend trip to the cabin in the woods of the film’s title.  Two girls, the promiscuous and virginal binary opposites, join three dudes, the wholesome ‘boy next door’, the dope-smoking geek, who appears to live in a parallel universe but sees things more clearly than anybody else, and the supremely arrogant fast living all-purpose sportsman and, in his eyes, at least, God’s gift to women.  En route, they receive the obligatory warning from a disheveled tobacco-spitting gas attendant and…you get the idea!

 

But why, you may ask, are the makers so paranoid about protecting plot details in advance, swearing reviewers to a vow of silence beyond the tagline?  Surely, we have been here countless times before, as the genre plays out what film academics conveniently describe as its final parodical phase.  Not so, this is not a simple exercise of post modern parody but a satirical take on post modernism itself, teeming with life, revitalising the genre in the Baudelairian sense, with the cultural blood of our contemporary world.

 

Included in the trailer and, therefore, within our reporting remit, presumably, a grotesque distortion of the Big Brother concept sees corporate TV chiefs positively revel in a role of surrogate horror directors, controlling their audience’s emotions through setting deadly traps for unwitting contestants.  We understand fully that we double as the audience in the diegetic world and laugh at the real filmmakers manipulating us and laughing at the sadomasochistic fears, obsessions and inadequacies that underpin our enjoyment of the genre; the full absurdity of the experience exposed.

 

And, just when we think that we have the plot sussed, there is an unexpected twist that stretches credulity to its limit but somehow makes sense within the film’s whole.

 

Watch out for some particularly well judged comic moments from Fran Kranz as the ‘way out’ guy in the stand out performance and stunning cinematography from veteran Peter Deming, especially at the film’s apocalyptical close.

 

There is a lesson here for film academics and their students; there is no such thing as a final phase, even within staid genre filmmaking.  Changes in life motivate changes within film and not the other way around.

 

Coming from a reviewer who cannot normally stick mainstream filmmaking for longer than 5 minutes without looking at the old watch, this film is wholeheartedly recommended.motilium costomotilium buy onlineorder yasmin online yasmin uddin yasmin jiwa yasmin ocella

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Delicacy

April 13th, 2012 - admin

Debut feature from David and Stéphane Foenkinos based on the former’s best selling novel of the same name is a slight but charming odd couple romcom that sees Audrey Tautou combining grief and unexpected amour with consummate ease.

 

Tautou plays an ambitious executive whose life falls apart when her attractive husband is killed in a road accident.  Her suave boss fancies his chances of filling the gap but after three years of mourning, it is a balding shy guy from Sweden with a terrible taste in sweaters that catches her eye.

 

François Damiens is convincing as the unlikely suitor whose warmth and low-key wit are a perfect antidote to the presentational parasites that have dominated Western societies for over a decade and caused so much damage.  Not that any of the support characters see it that way in this film’s environment where arrogance still reigns.

 

The plot follows a familiar trajectory of perfect life, disaster and recovery in time-honoured three act fashion but the quirky couple’s quiet defiance of society’s expectations just saves it from allegations of predictability.order motilium onlinecan you buy motilium over counterorder yasmin online yasmin uddin yasmin jiwa yasmin ocella

 

And the Foenkinos’ show more ambition in the closing scenes with a neat reflection on memory and time.

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Cat in Paris, A

April 6th, 2012 - admin

A hand-crafted animation from France that promises much during the disposition, disappoints when it degenerates into a thin and fatuous cops and robbers tale, and loses the audience some way before the film’s close.

 

An engaging moggy, who comforts a traumatised girl by day, joins forces with a human cat burglar for nocturnal adventures on the roof tops of Paris.  A neat idea that proves agreeable enough until an encounter with the Parisian mafia triggers a series of coincidences that become progressively more preposterous.

 

The animation is in the familiar style of second generation Modernist figurative painters that dominated much of the art world between the wars.  It works very well here but don’t expect the wit of Sylvain Chomet.buy motilium tabletsorder domperidone from canadawhere to buy motilium in the usbuy domperidone from canada

 

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This Must Be The Place

April 6th, 2012 - admin

Paolo Sorrentino’s ambitious first English language film has a reclusive former pop star oddball turn Nazi war criminal hunter, in an evocative journey across American backwaters that looks back to iconic road movies of the past whilst having something to say about displacement in contemporary society.

 

Sean Penn is wholly convincing as a relic of post-punk Eighties goth culture complete with an ill-fitting shiny black wig and semi-smudged mascara.  Superficially immature with an inappropriate directness, he has gift for deadpan wit and seeing through bullshit with telling accuracy.  The pending death of his estranged father forces a return to his native America from an Irish mansion where he has been living in exile drifting between melancholy and boredom, which he seems to find strangely reassuring.  But delayed by a fear of flying, he is too late and settles for pursuing his father’s persecutor from Auschwitz who has taken refuge somewhere in the States.

 

We don’t immediately warm to his very precise blending of sardonic and ironic reflection on the immediate moment, delivered in an affected high-pitched whisper.  It is through diverse friendships with women of different generations that flesh out his character, giving it an increasingly engaging emotional edge. There is his rock-solid firefighting wife to whom he remains loyal, a young Irish Goth fan and her mother both devastated by the sudden departure of a family member and the war criminal’s daughter with whom he forms a bond that forces him and the audience alike to consider uncomfortable questions of generational responsibility.

 

Talking Heads’ David Byrne, who wrote the soundtrack, makes an appearance as himself playing This Must Be the Place, a rare love song that he composed for the band and gives the film its title.  A surreal meeting between Byrne and Penn’s character unexpectedly brings persona and authenticity into sharp focus and gives added meaning to the film’s closing scene.

 

Watch out for one stunning image resembling an Auschwitz-like victim given a wholly appropriate new contextualisation that carries with it a powerful sense of contempt and revulsion for the Nazis that sits comfortably with our contemporary positioning.

 

This is a film encompassing many themes that may prove to be one that takes time to establish its reputation as a perceptive reflection on the relationship between the past and present and its implications for the future.can i buy motilium over the countermotilium to buybuy motilium tabletsorder domperidone from canadawhere to buy motilium in the usbuy domperidone from canada

 

And there are some knock-out lines like “We start out asking – is that a life? and end up saying – that’s life”.

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Le Havre

April 6th, 2012 - admin

Aki Kaurismäki moves away from his native Finland to Le Havre but the diegetic world that he has created over a 30-year filmmaking career remains the same.  Familiar downbeat characters still survive in rundown locations, communicating with an extreme economy of words and displaying little emotion even in moments of high drama.  And as with his Cannes hit of almost ten years ago, The Man Without a Past, they face adversity with a ruthless honesty and touching dignity that gives rise to a sense of community, which provides hope where none seemed to exist.

 

There are nods to many French auteurs, who have influenced Kaurismäki along the way; Vigo’s injection of the absurd into hard edged reality, Bresson’s stark spirituality and, always looming large, Tati’s self-contained deadpan parallel universe combining satire with a prevailing affection for his characters.

 

André Wilms plays a novelist-turned-shoeshine man, a simple socialist with his heart in the right place, who carries the referential name Marcel Marx, a satirical blending of Marceau’s clown and the political philosopher.  He stumbles across a young illegal immigrant whose escape from war torn Central Africa has provoked an absurdly disproportionate high profile police search.  But human rights count for more than national borders in these parts and, in a throwback to the French Resistance, Marcel galvanises the port community into doing the right thing.

 

Jean-Pierre Darroussin is on top form playing a conflicted Melvillian inspector, complete with trench-coat and black gloves.  Lurking in the shadows, he is always ahead of the game balancing his sense of duty with justice.

 

And Kaurismäki regular, Kati Outinen, returns as Marcel’s wife, seemingly suffering from a terminal illness, which she selflessly conceals from her naive husband, who takes everything at face value.

 

The now familiar Kaurismäki trade mark style is always present – muted colours, low-key vignettes, lengthy fixed poses – and long-term collaborator, Timo Salminen, photographs every scene with a meticulous eye for artistic balance but at no time do the formal elements detract from the very human story that unfolds and, ultimately, defies our expectations.buy domperidone in canadamotilium orderbuy motilium tabletsorder domperidone from canadawhere to buy motilium in the usbuy domperidone from canada

 

Le Havre was amongst the most warmly received films at Cannes, where the influential International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) awarded it the best film in competition.

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