A woman (Alison Bruce) and a man (Alistair Browning) are in love. They trust each other. And everything else flows from that. But what happens if that trust is broken? What can a relationship survive? And when we are left alone, how do we live with our regrets?
In the aftermath of an atrocity, Peter, a paramilitary, is confounded by a detective’s questioning. An answer might offer a kind of redemption to both men but threatens to condemn Peter to a long prison sentence. Does he know the answer?
A short film by Billy McCannon.
Award winning short film from Todd Tinkham.
This powerful PSA for Dunkelziffer demonstrates the unbearable trauma, sexually abused children suffer from.
Directed by The Vikings, of Epuron‘s fame.
Watch it. (Flash Video)
Classic British Commercial from way back when. Hilarious for it’s dark humor.
Watch it. (Flash Video)
The book by Ian McEwan is one of my favorite books of all time. Surprisingly, the movie lives up to the book. I expected the film to be decent, not great, as I haven’t heard much of a buzz for this film. However, after seeing it, I’d be shocked if this film doesn’t get a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
One of the fears I had about the movie was it would abandon the beautiful structure that McEwan devised to tell the story. Thankfully Christopher Hampton, who wrote the script, not only keeps the structure but also manages to keep some of McEwan’s poetics. The scene where Briony sees her sister and Robbie near the water fountain is exactly how I had pictured it from all of the various perspectives.
A lot of credit should also go to Director Joe Wright. This easily could have been a film that we as an audience could watch from a distance. Instead, almost everything is seen through the eyes of a character. Everything is laced with a character’s subjectivity. To switch perspectives, there is no fade to black or any other visual device. It is a stream of consciousness that switches back and forth. So well done!
The biggest difference, in terms of emotions, is the beginning of the second half of the book/movie. The book’s second half numbs you to the pain from the 1st half. One of the greatest scenes in any book I’ve ever read. The movie sadly disappoints here, why wasn’t there more walking? more brown? more carnage?
The acting ensemble is solid. I am not entirely convinced of Keira Knightley as Cecilia, however, James McAvoy as Robbie is picture perfect. To many, this might seem like another stuffy costume drama. This is as modern as any film you will find. From the story to its character to the film’s style, there is a lot of risk taking. Go see it, this is one of the great tragedies of our time.
A man wakes up in its flat with a huge hangover, and finds the dead body of a girl in its bathtub. Not remembering anything from the night before, he calls a friend to help him to get rid of the body, but soon, things don’t go as planned, and his troubles get worse…
DVD Alliance is offering the full short movie for a limited time.
Grab it! (Quicktime)
Prior to this movie, I had respect for him but little love. But here is a film that blew my mind. It was so ahead of its time in terms of structure. There is a certain ease in the writing that you will not see in many movies, maybe never.
Unlike Allen’s other work, there is weight here. Substance. It isn’t just about the clever conversations he can think up. At its core, it asks quite a lot of fundamental philosophical questions. But all of this never feels tedious or even remotely boring.
Annie Hall & Manhattan are great, fantastic films but Crimes and Misdemeanors put Allen in a whole different category. It is so bloody well written, as good as anything that has been ever written.
Here are three video that discusses the film’s central themes.
My Wife and I went back and forth on what to movie we should see this past weekend. A lot of last minute negotiating went on, we would say things like “if you see your movie this weekend, then you have to see my movies the next two weekend.” This went on for a while before we finally settled on Julie Taymor’s Across The Universe.
I accepted because it runs along similar themes that I am working on in my script. My wife liked the trailer. Looking back, the trailer is not a good indicator of how good the movie is. The trailer borrows a lot from the graphic oriented montages, which to me are the weakest elements in the film.
Director Julie Taymor is a genius with theater costumes, masks and props. If you think I am misusing this word genius, I suggest you look at her book on her work with costumes. She went on to direct the Lion King on Broadway and features such as Frida and the Oedipus Rex. I haven’t seen Frida but Oedipus Rex was a disaster. Subtlety is not a suit that Taymor possesses. So when I read that Across The Universe was structured around Beatles songs, I rolled my eyes. This ploy was either going to be painfully cheesy or emotionally powerful.
Walking into the theater, I warned my partner that the film was going to be visually striking but emotionally cold. The film’s visual sense lives up to my billing. There has not been a film in recent times that possesses such visual poetry. Taymor is clearly more adept in speaking visually than aurally. There is dialogue but most of the power and meaning is deferred to the Beatles songs. A very smart move because I believe without the songs, the film would have been decidedly stilted. The Beatles gives the film a sense of warmth and familarity. Their lyrics are ingrained in our collective psyche, in the best parts of ourselves: the idealistic, the hopeful, the communal. The film not only channels those feelings but also gives it a story thus bringing out the colors of the lyrics that I have not witnessed before.
I have heard “Revolution” so many times but I have never realized its true meaning. I just kinda went along with the song but clearly had not paid attention to what and who Lennon was attacking. Both me and my wife commented about this afterwards.
My favorite scene in the film is when T.V. Carpio sings “I want to hold your hand.” It happened early but I knew when I saw it that this was going to be my favorite scene. To explain why this was special is difficult because the magic lay between the performer and the camera / microphone. I was transfixed, I looked around and saw the same. I don’t want to hype this moment too much, see it, tell me if you feel the same way.
The first half is a classic, a great film. The second half is riddled with over-directing. The graphics play out like music videos. As matter of fact, I rolled my eyes every time the graphic department took over the reins. The spoken word all but disappears. One song leads to another. Some songs should have been deleted (excellent example: Dear Prudence). It was all too excessive, much like those times. However, I am not sure the aesthetic was meant to infer that.
All the war scenes feel silly, like high-school theater. Bombs blow, guns shoot, soldiers scream on crimson skied backdrops with dramatic footlights. It reminds me too much of the scene from Rushmore when the high school puts up a play on the war in Vietnam. The hospital scene (featuring Salma Hayek) is another clunker, the lowest point in the film.
The well casted team of actors did all they could. Music video acting can be limiting. The editor carves out a performance from the little-quirk-expression basket. A note about the editing, I wished someone had told the editor that he didn’t have to use every angle that was shot. It is perfectly ok to use a couple of shots in a scene or to stay on one shot. The audience doesn’t have a watch in its hand waiting for the next cut or a calculator on how much money is being spent. For f*ck’s sake! Taymor is as responsible in this as the editor. The scenes with longer takes work better than the faster cut ones. The film is so grand that it needed more grounding.
I am not a big fan of musicals, this coming from someone who grew up in Bollywood land. My suspense-of-disbelief gene does not cover the musicals. Sorry! This film, however, possesses the best music ever recorded. The friggin’ Beatles! I would pay money to see the songs performed over a pile of dung. So this certainly works. I plan on buying the awesome soundtrack when they decide to include all the songs and not a select few. (Bono not only appears in the film but has a couple of tracks as well.)
Overall, this film is a mini-classic. For all my complaints on Julie Taymor’s over-direction, I believe a lot of the film’s greatness would have been lost if she weren’t at the helm. She has courage beyond any other working director. Nobody else would have even entertained such ambition. She is one of the few directors who lives up to the label of “groundbreaking.”
Update: “I want to hold your hand” audio is available on Youtube!
Take the money and run!
A humourous music video directed by Jakob Printzlau.
A rotoscoped animation using unscripted footage from a hike in the woods with my 8 year old brother Julian. I rotoscoped it by hand drawing every frame, using a wacom tablet, even the titles.
The beautiful animation is secondary to Julian’s short but eloquent observation.
All of Adam Elliott’s animated shorts possess a simple but beautiful aesthetic formula: well written and beautifully spoken voice-over that gives fragmented scenes a sense of wholeness, the focus is less on story and more on character. And like all characters, Elliott’s shorts combine sadness with beauty, there is a constant sense of melancholy and wonder. Much like Dostoevsky’s The Idiot or even Forrest Gump, Elliott’s film celebrate the idea that stupid is sublime.
The Oscar Winning short, Harvie Krumpet, is Eliott’s darkest and the most ambitious. The story follows the tumultuous life of Harvey Krumpet. The early parts of the film, from childhood to middle age, might remind you of other animated shorts that are packed with quirky and the bizarre scenes. However, the latter parts of the film, where it focuses on Krumpet’s life in a senior citizen home, is dark and almost morbid. This weight of the sadness is unique to animation which I actually found refreshing. I would love to see Krumpet’s book of “fakts” be published.
Cousin is part of series of shorts focused on family members that include Brothers and Uncle. The Cousin is a boy inflicted with Cerebral Palsy who has an uncontrollable left hand to go with his magically strong right hand. The pace is so right, no joke is left behind.
Brothers seems like a precursor to Harvie Krumpet. The Brother is a boy with asthma that can never seem to shake off trouble, much like Krumpet.
Uncle is not available online. All shorts are embedded below. Read more
Daddy phones home and finds out that mommy is in the bedroom with Uncle Wim… Based on a old joke, this dark comedy by Dirk Belien gained the Oscar nomination.
Watch it. (Flash Video, NSFW)
I went back and forth on whether I should link to this. But at the end, I decided if I was going to watch it then I shouldn’t stop others from watching it (especially since it is so relevant). So here is Michael Moore’s just released film in its entirety. Whoever posted the film also has a written a nice intro to the film:
Sicko is not a movie about the 50 million Americans walking around without health insurance. Sicko is a movie about the other 250 million of us who have insurance, but are just as well and truly screwed. It’s also about freedom, real freedom, not the empty kind that gets thrown around as a buzzword; the freedom to live your life with the certainty that forces beyond your control won’t take away everything you have and everything you are. We don’t have that kind of freedom here in America, and Moore’s film makes that point by simply talking to real people. They’re your neighbors, your friends, your parents, some of them are even 9/11 heroes. Moore uses his camera to let them tell their stories of insurance company mistreatment and in the process paints a complete picture of a corrupt and fatally flawed system which isn’t just killing people but taking away their dignity and their liberty.
This isn’t Moore’s best film but it is relevant to more Americans than any of his other films. It is also more emotional compared to his other recent work. Don’t miss it.
P.S. If you, my readers, or the people involved with the film want this post taken down, contact me because I will most likely do so. The guilt will get unbearable then.
I am laughing at the excuses.
The Dutch celebrate â€œSaint Nicholas Dayâ€ in much the same way that Americans celebrate Christmasâ€”only our elves are replaced by their â€œBlack Petes.â€ Every December, white Dutch citizens paint their faces black, cover their heads in curly wigs, and carry on a tradition that has long passed its admissibility in The Netherlandsâ€™ multi-ethnic society. Inspired by David Sedarisâ€™ â€œSix to Eight Black Men,â€ this film provides a first-hand look at one of the most shocking and offensive traditions still in practice today.
If we excuse offensive behavior because it is rich in tradition. Then there will be no end to offensive behavior. To our Dutch and other readers, what do you think?