Sunday, March 19, 2006

Truly, Madly, Deeply (Anthony Minghella, 1991)

This film is almost a one-woman show by Juliet Stevenson and as such it's powerful and touching. The lesson is that if a person alive has to give up the dead, the dead also has to give up the living one day. And the ultimately universal (so it seems) imagination to posit the dead's realm to somewhere above the clouds presents the only convincing moment of this rather whimsical story.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ali G Indahouse (Mark Mylod, 2002)

Dahouse here is the House of Parliament, and Ali G is a member of the parliament. Very funny, but it doesn't have that charm of his TV interviews. Jokes are mostly sexual and they are very old fashioned. What makes it so funny, then? The whole film is a parody of a self-parodying, commercialised culture of American hiphop and gangsta rap. What's the point? The success lies in transpositionand nothing else. Occasional references to homosexuality is rather disgusting.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ali G, innit.

This is a series of interviews conducted by Ali G, a character impersonated by Sacha Baron Cohen. Splendid craziness. Or as he says, Wicked! A series of impossibly stupid questions to a variety of people who seriously answer them; the whole thing is so British. Here lies my future locution. Boyakasha!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Serpent and the Rainbow (Wes Craven, 1987)

This is at best a second-rate horror and it's quite abominable but it has it's uncomparable merit, too. It's a magnificent Haitian tourism film. The voodoo is there, the notorious Tonton Macoutes is there; the historical backdrop of the fall of the Duvalier regime is authentic. The story is about an American anthropologist's nightmarish experience of being buried alive in his quest for the secret of the zombie. Little if any film has treated this real phenomenon in a more plausible fashion. An interesting film, hence. Cathy Tyson (of Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa) plays an important role here, but not as attractive. The guy who played the role of the anthropologist is simply tepid.

I want to see Haiti in a more realistic way.

The Best of Not the 9 O'clock News Vol. II

I'm drunk. This is the vintage performance of Rowan Atkinson from the early 1980s. Excessively funny. The only thing I can say at this moment is: glad not to have been born in the UK! Their sense of humour is outrageous. Well, but I have to admit that I've missed a lot by not knowing this hysterical BBC program as a young college boy...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby (Danny Mulheron, 2005)

This is a TV series: 7 episodes of 25 minute-long. It's about an old teacher at a Cathoric all-boy school somewhere in rural New Zealand. He is highly politically INcorrect and utters every imaginable abominable lines; racist, sexist, no-consideration-for-others, old-fart school. But by and by his remarkable honesty becomes gripping. Students, verbally and physically abused, become very attracted to him through many fatal incidents. My Gomsby now proves himself to be the most memorable teacher for the bottom layer of the student body, which consists largely of island boys (not only the Maoris, but the Samoan, Tongan, and other Pacific islanders). The last five minutes of the final episode is simply moving.

A strange country New Zealand is. It is now on its way to create a truly multicultural society. And in that, somebody like Mr Gomsby can be paradoxically refreshing and can offer a core of crystallization, so to speak!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Twister (Jan de Bont, 1996)

Tornado is an essential component of American imagination. This film follows a team of scientists who try to establish an early (15 minute) warning system when the tornado hits. The film stinks at many occasions, but there are moments of brilliance. We are so accustomed to hold natural phenomena in awe that when the scenes of demolition by the wind is deployed in front of our eyes we stay focused, we marvel at them. An interesting film. But I could have wished for more.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)

The film depicts a serial-killer whose staging is based on the seven sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride, lust. The tension builds up rather slowly, and the artificial nature of the murderer's protting makes everything look forced. Its gruesome scenes are often disgusting. What is lacking from this film is a sense of humour that in Fincher's later work Fight Club occupies a special place. It's a strong stuff, I admit, but if asked if I liked it or not, my answer is very predictable.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Man Who Wasn't There (The Coen Brothers, 2001)

Another thorough masterpiece from the Coens. Not a dull moment throughout. It's quite amazing how they can sustain the tension from the beginning to the end, with all the unexpected turns at every possible corner. The modern-day Hitchcock they are. The film's white and black imagery is superb. A triumph.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Walk the Line (James Mangold, 2005)

This is a biography film of Johnny Cash, focusing on his obsessive love toward the fellow singer June Carter. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are both good, but the story is extremely boring. If we put the name "Johnny Cash" between parenthesis, this would be a downright failure. We never know whence the obsession comes from. And Johnny the singer's charisma is hardly perceptible, although Joaquin is doing a very good job of impersonating. As for Elvis and Roy Orbison, we didn't really know who they were.

I would have appreciated better if the film focused on Johnny's musical tension with Bob Dylan.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Day After Tomorrow (Roland Emmerich, 2004)

The whole of Manhattan under the ice. Wow. This is exactly the kind of vision I had when I was fifteen (about Tokyo)... And very well rendered thanks to today's digital image-generating machinery. The story is absurd, of course, and I don't really buy the possibility of minus 150 degree ultra-cold air mass descending within minutes. Can it really happen? Can it? And the wolves are quite dissapointing for somebody who live under the totem of the wolf. Still, this is a fairly enjoyable film and the message comes through very clearly. America, stop wasting the planet's resources! This from a German director. I'm glad.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stuck on You (The Farrelly brothers, 2003)

How risky it is to produce a film with a pair of conjoined twins as its central characters. But again, the Farrellys made a film that is fun, touching, lovable, and unforgettable. I can't really locate where the charm comes from. But it's there, with a lot of laughter and occasional simple tears. Magical.