the Business of Strangers

In the words of Jay Sherman, “it stinks”. I’ve seen worse, of course, but why this got good reviews, I don’t know. Because it has slightly more psychological investigation than the actually crap movies? Because it explores power and abuse? These redeeming features unfortunately don’t make up for the unconvincing delivery of a not particularly strong plot.

Somersault

A simple story well-told. Not as much a sexual awakening for Heidi as a parents’ nightmare running-away-from-home story. Coming of age seems more likely for Joe as he explores opportunities for human connection that so rarely come his way. Not as layered as Lantana or Father’s Den. Some moments are dull, clunky or sentimental. The performances, cinematography and directing are mostly assured and convincing. The themes of connection across distance are developed strongly as child-parent and emerging adult relationships are woven together.

Braindead

OK, so this blog doesn’t have anything in it except movie reviews. I like movies. And you can think I haven’t got anything else going on in my life, if you like.

Actually, whether I do or not, I will continue to take the time to watch Braindead at least once every ten years. It is the grossest most hilarious agonising and inimmitably kiwi movie I know. The pus and splatter just keep spurting from new directions. The kids are as earnest as the zombies are treacherous. The mother zombie goes off the scale when she stuffs Lionel back into her rotting womb so he has to hack his way out amidst gushes of gore.

You can see where Peter got his practice at prosthetics.

Subway

Perhaps Luc Besson actually called it “Metro”. Either way, it’s dated. Recognisable as having been stylish and kinda snappy, now it seems, though colourful, a bit loose and pointless – unless you like it that the main character, and some of his buddies, are just like that in contrast to the dulled-down drones populating the rest of the film’s world.

Purely by coincidence, it has Isabelle Adjani in it, as does Herzog’s Nosferatu.

Woyzcek

Manic deutsch duo Herzog and Kinski shot this in five days (in 1979) both knackered from just having finished shooting Nosferatu. Rumour has it that for the opening scene, Kinski instructed the actr playing the drill sergeant (?) not to both staging the kicking but to just go ahead and actually kick him. Is this method acting?

Either way, as in Fitzcarraldo, the fact of them making this movie casts their real-life selves as characters not unlike those they are portraying (ie mad bastards).

Redeeming them might be some sense that this film makes in the context of German theatre, film, expresssionism and culture. It isn’t much fun. It’s certainly not light. If you don’t think it’s packing a punch, you pretty soon realise that it is.

Must now watch: “Nosferatu: Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht” (Herzog & Kinski in 1979), “Nosferatu” (FW Murnau in 1922), “Metrolpolis” (Fritz Lang, expressionist), “the Cabinet of Dr Caligari” (also expressionist), Madame Dubary (ditto).

Being Where?

So the Israelis busted applying for NZ passwords online with foreign-sounding accents (we’re so ‘e’) were doing it to get Al Quaeda. Well, that makes it alright, then? Er, no.

Who says ‘Al’ even exists? If GW is, as CTHEORY suggests, a simulacrum (akin to Chauncey Gardiner in Being There), then maybe Osama is a Kaiser Soze-style construction, convenient to drape our fears and prejudices on?

the Sixth Sense

Scene One: You Watch the Movie for the First Time
Initially, you are glad that nobody has spoiled this movie, tho you know there’s a twist.

The Movie plays like a nice relationship drama. People, close but isolated find connection with each other. It’s a ghost movie, and the connections people find with them facilitate their learning relationship development.

Scene Two: You Discover the Twist
Ouch, you think. How could I have missed those obvious clues when I knew there was a revelation coming? How clever this movie is to pull off this trick each time.

Scene Three: You Go Over the Movie Again
Maybe you’re not so stupid after all. How many people could live together for a year or so without realising something like that?

City of God

If you really want to… skinny children with guns in their shorts waistbands or being emptied into each other or themselves over scraps in destitute favelas. The shock of appalling violence slashing across ordinary lives.