Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Time of the Gypsies – Review

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This was only my second Emir Kusturica film, and there’s already an impression I’m watching the work of a madman. This four and a half hour long epic about the life of a boy living within his Romani family carries a sense of ambition that in itself seems so hard to replicate. What Emir Kusturica formed with Time of the Gypsies not only resulted in one of the most distinctive projects of its time but something so draining in its mammoth running time, yet always rewarding. These are only coming down to the outer layer of what’s most impressive about Time of the Gypsies, because I’m not even sure how exactly could any other filmmaker would even manage to put something like this on the screen. There’s far too much to deconstruct in Time of the Gypsies that allows it to work well, but it only sinks into my head all the more. Continue reading “Time of the Gypsies – Review”

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The Long Day Closes – Review

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I still remember that feeling of first discovery being made for myself at a young age. I came across Casablanca on Turner Classic Movies when I was 12 years old, and it was a moment that changed my life. And prior to getting into movies, I still found myself a sense of comfort from playing video games. It was a discovery of feeling that has only furthered where I wanted to go with my own life, being behind a shelter the whole time at the fear of what public perception would have brought upon myself. I was only discovering what films could speak large volumes for oneself, no matter what sort they were. And if any other film had spoken large volumes about what that sort of experience was like, there’s a reason I point to Terence Davies’s The Long Day Closes above all else: not only does it remain my favourite of the director’s work but an experience that came right at the perfect moment.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Review

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There’s a part of me that feels that where I’ve gone today is in part thanks to Steven Spielberg, because as I watch his films the way I do now there’s a line he blurs between what we can perceive as mere popcorn entertainment to something all the more beautiful. Films like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark would have set an example for some among a few but Close Encounters of the Third Kind has only shown him at some of his most personal after having broken new ground with Jaws. If Jaws showed a side to Spielberg that blurred the lines between entertainment and art, then Close Encounters of the Third Kind presents another side of his work that embraces something all the more impactful: his own trademark sentimentality finds itself at its very best in here, it awed me at 12 years old and at 18 it still captivates me with the same impact that I can remember vividly.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Baby Driver – Review

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Of the more accessible filmmakers consistently working in the comedy genre, Edgar Wright is quite possibly the most exciting. But like Wes Anderson his own films establish their own quirks in such a manner it’s easy to embrace the universe in which they take place whether it be the Cornetto trilogy or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. His latest film, Baby Driver, proves itself to be no different – riding in on Wright’s own love of pop culture but he always had an innovative use of music through every one of his films and right there is where the glory lies. Perhaps the most obvious thing that can be said is that the music is indeed very good, but moving away from the comedy genre with Baby Driver has only continued to prove why Edgar Wright was ever as exciting as he is, but in here there’s a greater comfort he found within himself that perhaps his own comedies haven’t fully embraced. But even if Baby Driver weren’t his best film, it has all the qualities to make it one of the most exciting wide releases of the decade.

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Moonrise Kingdom – Review

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As far as critical success is concerned, Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson’s most popular and for fans of the director it would be easy to see why this has stood atop all the rest. Although Rushmore still remains my favourite of his own work, Moonrise Kingdom showcases his own talents in arguably the most accessible manners for audiences of all sorts, but nevertheless it seems as if this is where he has only found the quirkiness that defined his own films working at its very best. Perhaps I’ve already come to the point that I’ve watched so much of his films enough to consider myself an apologist, but they’ve always worked with the same charms as he tells stories of all sorts. In just how it captures the joys and quirks of being a child, Wes Anderson has struck gold once again with Moonrise Kingdom by telling a whole other story on the inside here.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Mädchen in Uniform – Review

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If this film had been made to be seen by a modern audience, something gives me a feeling it would only be ignored now just as it was considered to be taboo at the time of its release. Considering what Mädchen in Uniform did open its audiences to back in 1931, it would be easy to see why this was controversial (especially to the point where the Nazi party sought to burn every last copy remaining at the time) but there’s another level to where it’s also going to find a much greater significance in this day and age. And considering how it was among the earliest films to have explicitly portrayed homosexuality, the very best part about watching Mädchen in Uniform is a feeling that it still remains a concept that hasn’t aged a day because of how far we’ve come. Soon I realized why Mädchen in Uniform got to me as much as it did, because it felt so empathetic to the experience and presented it as universal rather than limiting.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Inherent Vice – Review

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice will certainly leave the most common moviegoer baffled with their own experience although given the source material that won’t turn out surprising at all. But it’s hard enough for me trying to describe what Inherent Vice will leave behind just from a single viewing because it almost feels like a hallucination as it moves by. Yet at the same time, we’re caught up inside of a web of lies almost like a Philip Marlowe story. Inherent Vice is a blend of eras and it’s the sort of experiment that only a filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson himself could bring to the table in such a manner. But in this indulgence, Paul Thomas Anderson also manages to summarize on the spot what exactly Inherent Vice is about, because of how much we can take in from one go to that point it’s so baffling yet it still keeps us watching. It keeps us watching because it’s absolutely wonderful in that sense, because it’s Paul Thomas Anderson at his craziest, and if that doesn’t signify something good I don’t know what will.

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Review

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Part of me loves this film because of the feeling it creates of being trapped within one space, having a restricted sense of movement – and part of me finds it especially difficult to watch it because of the same reasons. Somehow, Julian Schnabel has crafted an entirely claustrophobic experience through this haunting and heartbreaking true story with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and at the same time one of the best films of the decade, maybe even the century. The first experience I had watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I came in blind – but soon I only found myself in for an experience so empathetic, it shattered me the moment it was over. After a few years of not having watched it, its impact didn’t merely stay the same. What happened instead was that it spoke much more to me. Maybe I haven’t suffered the same way that Jean-Do has, but the imprisoned feeling that it ever so perfectly captured was something that resonated with me beyond words.

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Nosferatu – Review

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My first viewing of Nosferatu was at a point where I claimed not to be so fond of the horror genre but at the same time, my knowledge of such films was fairly limited. As far as my own memories go, this was one of the first silent films that I can recall having watched as I was getting into films themselves and a greater appreciation for the craft was something that I felt inside of me. The running thought of fear stayed within my head as I watched Nosferatu more times over the years because F. W. Murnau’s film was more than just a small step in letting my own love for the horror genre grow so quickly. As a matter of fact I find it especially difficult to imagine what it must have been like for audiences to have experienced such terror from the presence of Max Schreck as Count Orlok back in the day, because the name Nosferatu has made for itself in the horror genre is a well-earned one as it still hasn’t lost a single bit of the power it had back during its original release.

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Alien – Review

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Ridley Scott’s Alien remains one of the defining works in both the horror and science fiction genres, a film that, like any of the best of their genres, invented a whole new universe by starting small. From the many films that the Alien series has spawned, Ridley Scott’s original film still remains my favourite of the bunch for good reason. It remains my favourite because it shows how little is necessary in order to start a universe of its own from scratch. Although eventually this rule was broken by eventual sequels (as much as I love James Cameron’s Aliens), it’s already impossible to deny the impact that Ridley Scott’s original film would have left behind on science fiction and horror within years to come. In itself it would easily have been just a “haunted house movie in space,” but perhaps there’s a whole lot more that results in the final product actually turning out to be all the more clever.

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