Sunday, April 21, 2013
4 out of 5. Fatih Akin's THE EDGE OF HEAVEN seamlessly weaves together a Gordian Knot of words and pictures without making it look overly clever. Through careful cutting he shows us that we are watching the film in a different order than we realize. Or that we perceived it correctly and it served the through-line but that it was transmutable. Thus giving it a different meaning. The way characters are brought together make this story really interesting and unique. Luckily, would could have been a drastic coincidence is smartly avoided. The acting is really good, too. At times, many of the characters have such ferocity that the domestic setting they're in seems on the brink of destruction. There's good energy in the film even if there is a slow and easy pace. The movie is an hour fifty-five but feels longer. Beautiful ending.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
3 out of 5. Raoul Walsh would have given James Cameron a run for his money with his epic THE THIEF OF BAGDAD. The energy that Douglas Fairbanks brings to this film must have been how we feel watching parkour today. It had to have blown people's minds. If not that then the sets that were just out-freaking-standing. This film played with scale in so many ways. Incredible production design. It reminded me of other grandiose films like INTOLERANCE. Also, Anna May Wong's magnetism is hard to beat. She was execellent. The story is pretty epic as well to the point of collapsing in on itself. Even for a silent-movie which many may feel impatient about, I assure you there's a lot of great elements that do keep on moving. I had dreams of emotive hand gestures for the next two days.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
4 out of 5. Director, Majid Majidi's CHILDREN OF HEAVEN is a deceptively small film with big talent just under the surface. For the two Persian child-actors, who have never acted before or since, to carry this film was amazing. Their sincerity rang true. As brother and sister, their characters were genuinely caring of each other, which I haven't seen the likes of in a very long time. Maybe, because it lacked the cynicism of the west. The cinematography had me wondering time and again whether this was shot in the 70s. The lighting was gorgeous and the film grain grounded us in reality. Nothing slick here, except for the smart engaging script and storytelling. The ending asks a lot of the viewer but really, we all know the outcome.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
4 out of 5. Hirokazu Koreeda's NOBODY KNOWS constantly walks the line between documentary and ficiton. A single mother with kids from different boyfriend's is a great setup for a story that I'm surprised I have not seen before. The non-acting that is going on in their interactions and the handheld close-in camera-work makes it feel like a documentary. There's so much to like about this film and yet the crushing sensation of where the story takes you is really tough. Artistically, Koreeda's handle on the writing, directing and editing score really high marks. The believability of the situation and how well the kids handle it tend to be what pulls you back from the edge of realism.