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Tramuzgan 10-01-19 04:52 PM

Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I've decided to start a review thread, with the goal being recommending you movies you might've not heard of before, or stating my grievances that I feel alone on.
Expect a Marketa Lazarova review within the next hour

Tramuzgan 10-01-19 06:38 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Marketa Lazarova

:popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn:





Most people's first association with Františel Vlačil's Marketa Lazarova are those high-scale, high-budget auteur-driven artsy films. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, so on and so forth. That's a fair comparison, but what sets Marketa apart from the rest of the pack, besides not getting the recognition it deserves, is how much effort was put into it. I mean no disrespect to the other films, but consider the following: the cast and crew of Marketa Lazarova, prior to shooting the movie, lived by themselves in the woods for 2 years, hunting their own food and building their own settlement. Even the instruments used for the soundtrack were all hand-made during that time. This is effort that you don't see every day, and it absolutely shows.

Actors don't feel like actors, they feel like cavemen. There's no showmanship, no teary monologues, and no sarcasm. Barring the eponymous character, nobody looks like someone you'd see in a club. Instead, expect scars, filth, humility, and stoicism. The music and visuals also give off the same vibe; the camera sneaks through the branches, viewing the action from afar. It constantly looks around, as if expecting to be pounced. It looks up at the cathedral in awe, feeling dwarfed by real civilization. A number of these shots is accompanied by fitting drums or chanting. The atmosphere is thick enough to be cut with a knife, and for the duration of the film, you'll feel like a savage.

Two last things I have to mention: first, the way it treats violence. In most movies, you get one of two kinds of treatment; the Christopher Nolan kind, where the gore is obscured in some way to not offend anyone, or the Quentin Tarantino kind, where heads splat like watermelons. Marketa Lazarova goes for a third option; the completely unceremonious kind. There's piles of dead bodies, but there's no close-ups, gasps or anything. It just doesn't make a big deal out of what was normal in the medieval times.
Second, it's a demanding movie. As in, it demands you read the plot synopsis online. That's my one complaint: it's hard to follow, even with its narration. I can forgive that, for reasons stated above, but it's worth mentioning.


To summarize, Marketa Lazarova is more than just great, it's one of the greatest. I'm sure it would be given its well-deserved legend status if it was given more attention, but you don't have to take my word for it. The whole movie is on Youtube with both English and Spanish subtitles. You can see for yourself why I decided to gush about it.

Tramuzgan 10-01-19 07:28 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
There will be a Social Network review some time soon

Yoda 10-06-19 11:18 AM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2038844)
There will be a Social Network review some time soon
Cool, I actually am very interested in those as a general rule, because I think it's sort of an interesting/challenging film to review. I find reviews of The Social Network disproportionately interesting to others.

Tramuzgan 10-06-19 03:24 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The Social Network


Poor Social Network. How does a movie with this much going for it end up being so unremarkable?
There you have a movie about an angsty nerd, from the same director as Fight Club, with a soundtrack composed by the front man of Nine Inch Nails. Both Fincher and Reznor clearly put their heart and soul into this movie. You can tell so by the little things, like the characters having to yell while talking in a club, or the clever bits of dialogue.
A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars!
The other trademarks of Fincher's directing are all there; the robotic camera, non-flashy CGI and artificial colour scheme all convey The Social Network's mood perfectly. Trent Reznor's score adds to that mood and then some. It radiates anxiety, drive or wonder in the same way his masterpiece The Downward Spiral radiates anger and dread. It is one of the best scores ever put in a movie, no joke.

So, then, why did the whole movie leave me so cold?
It's because I couldn't care less about any of the characters or what was going on. Sorry, but the characterization in this movie is garbage. The emotional hook of the story is supposed to be that Mark's getting over a break-up, a la The Great Gatsby, but we're never shown why his girlfriend was so important to him. Was he hoping to propose to her soon? Was he just in need of some affection? Does getting dumped bring up some sort of insecurity? I have no idea.
There was also that B-plot about Mark falling out with Eduardo, with the idea being will Mark pick success over friendship, but I don't get why he'd do so. His supposed reason for chasing success is the breakup, so you can see why, without fleshing that out properly, the whole movie goes out the window.

Don't take me for a hater. I wanted to enjoy The Social Network as much as everyone else. It's not bad at all; it's not even the most disappointing movie I've ever seen. It stands head and shoulders above the self-insert fanfictions like Princess Mononoke or Pan's Labyrinth, but it's nothing I'd watch again.

Tramuzgan 10-06-19 03:28 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Expect the next review to be something positive. It could be Pain & Gain, The World's End or Spirited Away.

Tramuzgan 10-14-19 04:21 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I might do A Wonderful Night in Split or Underground next, I know it'll be something from these parts

ahwell 10-14-19 04:28 PM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2041341)
Spirited Away

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&sour...71158910560908
https://www.52-insights.com/wp-conte...screenshot.png
https://i.redd.it/hfllcnr8y0031.jpg

Poor Spirited Away. Such an enjoyable movie, and both critics and movie buffs treat it like it's just another Japanese cartoon (the biggest meme-genre in cinema). That means they'll praise it to hell and back, but not even clue you in on what its appeal is. That is exactly what I'll attempt to do in this review.

If you want to enjoy this film, it is essential that you relax. For a movie about a little girl trying to survive in Wonderland, it's very slice of life-esque. The story will advance when it feels like it, and until it does, you'll take in the strange atmosphere of the spirit world, arguably the true star of the show. It's a very beautiful, vibrant-looking setting, and the spirits themselves are imaginatively designed. It's like they come from 30 years worth of Miyazaki's idle thoughts. Some of them get their own short sub-stories, like that polluted river spirit, that have little to no bearing on the main story, adding to the meandering feel of the movie.

That is the true appeal of Spirited Away. Many strange and confusing things will happen, but there's no point in stressing yourself about it.

The spirit world has its own set of rules, but we never learn them fully. Do we need to? No. Whenever Chihiro is faced with some hard task, like getting a job from Yubaba, does she solve it with some complex premeditated scheme? No, she relies on instinct and improvisation, like the everyman she is. That ties onto the much-discussed theme of growing up, as a metaphor for how, when you enter adulthood, you won't know everything about it immediately, but if you learn to go with the flow, you'll know what you need in due time.

Spirited Away doesn't feel like a Japanese cartoon. There's none of the self-satisfied edgy retardation that marks its peers. It feels like a mix of classic Disney and arthouse animation. Despite being intended exclusively for 10-year-old girls, I feel like anyone can have a good time watching it, no matter your age or sex. Sit down, grab a snack, put it on, and remember; stress is your enemy.
Great review, yes, Spirited Away is much more about beauty and atmosphere than a stressful plot. It's solidly in my all-time top ten and I find I can always come back to it whenever I'm feeling upset about life.

Tramuzgan 10-19-19 09:17 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Next up is Beavis and Butt-head do America, and after that, something negative. I don't want every review to be a shill.

Yoda 10-19-19 01:07 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
That's a good idea, actually. If I see someone has dozens of reviews and they're all positive, I have to wonder about it. At worst it means they like everything, at best it suggests they avoid risky or challenging films. Which is fine if someone's just trying to pass some time, but I'd say if someone is trying to appreciate film more as a medium and/or become a better critic, dissecting why a film is bad is almost as important as analyzing something great.

ahwell 10-19-19 01:10 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by Yoda (Post 2042542)
That's a good idea, actually. If I see someone has dozens of reviews and they're all positive, I have to wonder about it. At worst it means they like everything, at best it suggests they avoid risky or challenging films. Which is fine if someone's just trying to pass some time, but I'd say if someone is trying to appreciate film more as a medium and/or become a better critic, dissecting why a film is bad is almost as important as analyzing something great.
Most of my past reviews have been positive, but that’s only because I review my top 16 favorite movies in my tournaments... that said I’ve written some bad reviews. But I like positive reviews more.

MoreOrLess 10-24-19 05:47 AM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2038840)
Marketa Lazarova

:popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn:

https://www.movieforums.com/communit...chmentid=57526
https://www.movieforums.com/communit...chmentid=57528
https://www.movieforums.com/communit...chmentid=57527

Most people's first association with Františel Vlačil's Marketa Lazarova are those high-scale, high-budget auteur-driven films. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, Emir Kusturica's Underground, so on and so forth. That's a fair comparison, but what sets Marketa apart from the rest of the pack, besides not getting the recognition it deserves, is how much effort was put into it. I mean no disrespect to the other films, but consider the following: the cast and crew of Marketa Lazarova, prior to shooting the movie, lived by themselves in the woods for 2 years, hunting their own food and building their own settlement. Even the instruments used for the soundtrack were all hand-made during that time. This is effort that you don't see every day, and it absolutely shows.

Actors don't feel like actors, they feel like barbarians. There's no showmanship, no teary monologues, and no sarcasm. Barring the eponymous character, nobody looks like someone you'd see in a club. Instead, expect scars, filth, humility, and stoicism. The music and visuals also give off the same vibe; the camera sneaks through the branches, viewing the action from afar. It constantly looks around, as if expecting to be pounced. It looks up at the cathedral in awe, feeling dwarfed by real civilization. A number of these shots is accompanied by fitting drums or chanting. The atmosphere is thick enough to be cut with a knife, and for the duration of the film, you'll feel like a savage.

Two last things I have to mention: first, the way it treats violence. In most movies, you get one of two kinds of treatment; the Christopher Nolan kind, where the gore is obscured in some way to not offend anyone, or the Quentin Tarantino kind, where heads splat like watermelons. Marketa Lazarova goes for a third option; the completely unceremonious kind. There's piles of dead bodies, but there's no close-ups, gasps or anything. It just doesn't make a big deal out of what was normal in the medieval times.
Second, it's a demanding movie. As in, it demands you read the plot synopsis online. That's my one complaint: it's hard to follow, even with its narration. I can forgive that, for reasons stated above, but it's worth mentioning.

To summarize, Marketa Lazarova is more than just great, it's one of the greatest. I'm sure it would be given its well-deserved legend status if it was given more attention, but you don't have to take my word for it. The whole movie is on Youtube with both English and Spanish subtitles. You can see for yourself why I decided to gush about it.
I'v not read it but the film is based on a book known for being as obtuse in its literary style as possible and I certainly think you see that in the film. Typically cinema tends to work via looking to find modern analogues in non modern settings but here I think you see something that very deliberately looks to shift as far from a modern mindset as possible.

You mention Andrei Rublev which on the face of it does have quite a few similarities to it but I would argue the fundamental shift is that this story is told very much from the Pagan rather than the Christian perspective. That has a big impact on the visual style of the film, where as Andrei is all beautiful balanced composition of wide scenes Marketa Lazarova is far more confined, narrower compositions often viewed though undergrowth. The same with the narrative as a whole which jumps around more like a series of pagan orals histories than some clearly written story.

I wouldn't say its a film without humour/irony, I mean at the start of the second half you have the godlike narrator having an argument with a character and accusing him of bestiality. ;)


Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2041341)
Spirited Away doesn't feel like a Japanese cartoon. There's none of the self-satisfied edgy retardation that marks its peers. It feels like a mix of classic Disney and arthouse animation. Despite being intended exclusively for 10-year-old girls, I feel like anyone can have a good time watching it, no matter your age or sex. Sit down, grab a snack, put it on, and remember; stress is your enemy.
Not sure I'd agree with that, Ghibli films have always aimed at a wider audience and some of them like say Grave of the Fireflys, Porco Rosso, Whisper of the Heart or Princess Mononoke arguably moreso at adults. In this situation I would say that the outlandish setting feels like a way to put the audience more into the shoes of a young girl experiencing a strange and frighting world. That's I think very different to the classic Disney style based on children's stories.

Tramuzgan 10-24-19 11:06 AM

Originally Posted by MoreOrLess (Post 2043562)
Not sure I'd agree with that, Ghibli films have always aimed at a wider audience and some of them like say Grave of the Fireflys, Porco Rosso, Whisper of the Heart or Princess Mononoke arguably moreso at adults. In this situation I would say that the outlandish setting feels like a way to put the audience more into the shoes of a young girl experiencing a strange and frighting world. That's I think very different to the classic Disney style based on children's stories.
You completely missed my point, but there'll be more on that in my princess mononoke review

MoreOrLess 10-24-19 03:19 PM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2043588)
You completely missed my point, but there'll be more on that in my princess mononoke review
"Despite being intended exclusively for 10-year-old girls" seems like a pretty straight forward point which is what I was disagreeing with. As I said I think its actually a film like most of the directors output intended for a wide audience.

A lot of the films intension I would say is using the fantastical setting to recreate the same kind of experiences in adults as a 10 year old would have being exposed to the normal adult world. The framing device of the film itself after all is the more everyday story of the family moving house and her coming to accept it.

If your looking for other anime aimed at an adult audience that isn't just concerned with "edginess" then I'd suggest Kon's work like Millennium Actress.

Tramuzgan 10-28-19 06:26 PM

Beavis and Butt-head do America
https://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.c...head-Movie.jpg
https://www.horrorgeeklife.com/wp-co...-Zombie-22.jpg
https://s3.drafthouse.com/images/mad...8_427_81_s.jpg
http://thefancarpet.com/wp-content/u...738_Medium.jpg

How about we start on an anecdote? Back in my senior year of high school, we were tasked with reviewing a movie of our choice. While everyone else was bringing in the likes of Forrest Gump or The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I did my part with Beavis and Butt-head do America, and aced it. I know, I'm awesome.
My verdict was, and still is, that you'll like the movie if you like the show. Fortunately for me, I love the show.

The basic gist of the movie is exactly what you think it is; Beavis and Butt-head try to find their lost TV, which ends up with them travelling across America to ''do'' some shady guy's ex-wife. There's a pretty serious story going on in the background, but the focus is on Beavis and Butt-head's journey, and all the ways they make asses of themselves. Butt-head incompetently hitting on a stewardess, Beavis talking to the french ambassador about TP for his bunghole, or both of them dancing like retards in a Las Vegas club is what you're looking for. Also, if Beavis doesn't make you want to impersonate him, you're a fart-knocker.

The aforementioned background story is deserving of a mention; it's about a criminal trying to get back at his femme fatale ex-wife, and it would've made for a decent movie in its own right. Both Muddy and Dallas are believable as characters; the former seems genuinely angry and bitter, the latter genuinely evil and dangerous. Still, they don't hog the spotlight too much, and watching them play straight man to Beavis and Butt-head adds to the fun.

So, like... what are you reading this crap for? Go watch the movie, dumbass. Huh huh huh huh

Tramuzgan 10-28-19 06:28 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I know it's a short review, but I got my point across.
I was gonna do the avengers next, but I feel like I should do princess mononoke first.

MoreOrLess 11-01-19 05:03 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I would say B&B Do America is a good example of a film understanding the appeal of the original series rather than trying to plug it into some standard film narrative. Its basically Judge having fun with the characters and a much higher budget in a series of set pieces whilst mocking society as a whole.

Tramuzgan 11-08-19 11:39 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Well, that rant felt good.

ahwell 11-08-19 11:54 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046448)
Princess Mononoke

Anti-war movies are interesting. The industry has discussed the same topic for almost a hundred years, but it never seems to get old. Why? Sometimes, it's because the directors like to mix it up with their fresh perspective (a la Dr. Strangelove) or inventive filmmaking styles (a la Dunkirk). Most of the time, though, it's because they're given the pulse of real experience. The directors of Come and See, No Man's Land, and The Great Illusion had all experienced war first-hand. Princess Mononoke was conceived by someone who grew up in the shambles of post-war Japan, but if you told me it was made by a Buzzfeed journalist, I would've believed you.

Unlike the good movies I already pointed out, Mononoke has no real characters with thoughts, feelings and personalities. All that Eboshi, the princess, and A****aka are, is avatars for ideas. Eboshi is relentless, industrious, and charitable to humans, so she's civilization. The Princess is stoic, spiritual and distrusting of humans, so she's nature. They're bedtime story characters inserted where realistic, multi-faceted people should be.
The worst of them, hands down, is the protagonist A****aka. He's like a self-insert fanfiction character; effortlessly better than everyone at everything, adored by everyone, lacking any significant character flaws, and always has the moral high ground. The only bad thing that happens to him for the duration of the movie is that he's beaten in a fight with an actual god (wow, what a scrappy underdog!) and given a disease that'll eventually kill him. The other symptoms of this disease? It gives him super-strength. Yep.
https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/...71/542/069.jpg
On top of all that, there's also his obnoxious punchable face. He's the reason I didn't post any images like I normally do.

A combination of everything I mentioned results in the most groan-inducing scene in all of cinema: when Eboshi and the princess are about to fight it out, and A****aka jumps in between them, unharmed, and yells something along the lines of ''stop, hasn't there been enough destruction already''. A complete outsider with no understanding of the intricacies of this conflict, doing that. He might as well have slapped them with a rolled-up newspaper and said ''No, bad!''.
We're supposed to like this guy, let me remind you. He doesn't get kicked out for doing this, he's not even made to feel guilty.

I'm still not convinced this movie isn't some big joke everyone's in on but me. ''Let's make the most self-aggrandizing and retarded movie in the world and then tell everyone it's amazing!''. The same could be said of Japanese cartoons a a whole, but that's a rant for another day. I can usually understand when someone praises a movie I hate, like how some people admire A Serbian Film for being unflinching, but I legitimately have no idea what princess mononoke has to offer anyone. There's no pulse, daring, soul, wit, intelligence, technique, or even ''so bad it's good'' appeal. Nothing but a huge stiffy for itself.

Plus, if I hear anyone use the word ''mature'' to defend it, I'm going to steal the launch codes and nuke myself.
Good lord... Princess Mononoke is one of my top ten animated movies of all time, so why don’t I just touch on what I wrote on my review.

First, we completely disagree character wise.
I said:
“What I think I like most about Miyazaki's style is his way of putting depth and ambiguity into his characters. Take Lady Eboshi, the strong leader of Iron Town who seeks to destroy all nature on the mountain top in order for humans to prosper. At the beginning, she is portrayed as a ruthless seeker of power, and a lust for wealth. But as we explore more, we also discover more facets to her personality. The townspeople fiercely defend her, and she is not only a good leader, she is also kind to cripples and the injured. She makes sure everyone is provided for and she gives everyone fair jobs. While she has a huge flaw - her need for destruction on the mountain - she clearly has good sides too.

That is only one example. San, or Princess Mononoke, is another great example of Miyazki's excellent character writing. San is a girl raised by wolves and taught to hate mankind. Her intentions are good - she seeks to preserve nature and the environment as humanity tries to take over. However, her often ruthless killing and blind stereotyping (of Prince A****aka notably) make her a very flawed character. So we have two major characters (both female, interestingly) on different sides of the conflict which are portrayed in a very similar ways - as a mixed bag of good and evil.”

So yeah, I love the characters.

Also you’ve gotta give it at least a popcorn or two just for the animation. Come on, the artwork is just beautiful.

But of course you’re entitled to your opinion. It definitely takes itself seriously which can turn a lot of people off. And it’s certainly not the masterpiece that Spirited Away is. But I still love it.

ahwell 11-08-19 11:55 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Also I love the **** in A****aka makes it impossible to spell his name :lol:

Steve Freeling 11-08-19 12:43 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by ahwell (Post 2046454)
Also I love the **** in A****aka makes it impossible to spell his name :lol:
I know what you mean. I actually added an extra "I" to work around the censor when I mentioned him briefly in my review of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Mr Minio 11-08-19 01:33 PM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046448)
Princess Mononoke
Looks like somebody's trying to trigger Guap.

Wyldesyde19 11-08-19 01:59 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I friggin love Princess Mononoke!

Tramuzgan 11-08-19 02:00 PM

Originally Posted by Mr Minio (Post 2046470)
Looks like somebody's trying to trigger Guap.
I don't know who that is

Mr Minio 11-08-19 02:04 PM

Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046476)
I don't know who that is
You will. :)

@Guaporense;

ahwell 11-08-19 02:04 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046476)
Originally Posted by Mr Minio (Post 2046470)
Looks like somebody's trying to trigger Guap.
I don't know who that is
HUGE anime lover, especially Miyazaki (from what I’ve read in his reviews and posts).

ahwell 11-08-19 02:04 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by Mr Minio (Post 2046477)
Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046476)
I don't know who that is
You will. :)

@Guaporense
@Guaporense

It’s inevitable now

Mr Minio 11-08-19 02:07 PM

Originally Posted by ahwell (Post 2046478)
HUGE anime lover
Holy cow, I read it as a "HUGE animal lover".

Tramuzgan 11-08-19 02:20 PM

Originally Posted by ahwell (Post 2046453)
Good lord... Princess Mononoke is one of my top ten animated movies of all time, so why don’t I just touch on what I wrote on my review.

First, we completely disagree character wise.
I said:
“What I think I like most about Miyazaki's style is his way of putting depth and ambiguity into his characters. Take Lady Eboshi, the strong leader of Iron Town who seeks to destroy all nature on the mountain top in order for humans to prosper. At the beginning, she is portrayed as a ruthless seeker of power, and a lust for wealth. But as we explore more, we also discover more facets to her personality. The townspeople fiercely defend her, and she is not only a good leader, she is also kind to cripples and the injured. She makes sure everyone is provided for and she gives everyone fair jobs. While she has a huge flaw - her need for destruction on the mountain - she clearly has good sides too.

That is only one example. San, or Princess Mononoke, is another great example of Miyazki's excellent character writing. San is a girl raised by wolves and taught to hate mankind. Her intentions are good - she seeks to preserve nature and the environment as humanity tries to take over. However, her often ruthless killing and blind stereotyping (of Prince A****aka notably) make her a very flawed character. So we have two major characters (both female, interestingly) on different sides of the conflict which are portrayed in a very similar ways - as a mixed bag of good and evil.”

So yeah, I love the characters.

Also you’ve gotta give it at least a popcorn or two just for the animation. Come on, the artwork is just beautiful.

But of course you’re entitled to your opinion. It definitely takes itself seriously which can turn a lot of people off. And it’s certainly not the masterpiece that Spirited Away is. But I still love it.
Character just being a ''mix of good and evil'' isn't enough to warrant praise. I'd rather have a believable and well-written fully evil character, like Hal Stewart from megamind, than a robotic morally grey character. Though, this kind of movie demands characters to be both believable written and morally complex. All the movies I named in the first paragraph are good examples of this.
And regarding the animation... I'm judging the movie as a whole, not as a collection of parts. The animation is great, true, but it didn't help ease the pain.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging you if you like the movie. Live and let live. I just want to clarify these things don't really impress me.

Tramuzgan 11-08-19 02:22 PM

Originally Posted by Mr Minio (Post 2046481)
Holy cow, I read it as a "HUGE animal lover".
That reminds me, I should probably review a Kusturica movie

ahwell 11-08-19 02:24 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by Tramuzgan (Post 2046487)
Originally Posted by ahwell (Post 2046453)
Good lord... Princess Mononoke is one of my top ten animated movies of all time, so why don’t I just touch on what I wrote on my review.

First, we completely disagree character wise.
I said:
“What I think I like most about Miyazaki's style is his way of putting depth and ambiguity into his characters. Take Lady Eboshi, the strong leader of Iron Town who seeks to destroy all nature on the mountain top in order for humans to prosper. At the beginning, she is portrayed as a ruthless seeker of power, and a lust for wealth. But as we explore more, we also discover more facets to her personality. The townspeople fiercely defend her, and she is not only a good leader, she is also kind to cripples and the injured. She makes sure everyone is provided for and she gives everyone fair jobs. While she has a huge flaw - her need for destruction on the mountain - she clearly has good sides too.

That is only one example. San, or Princess Mononoke, is another great example of Miyazki's excellent character writing. San is a girl raised by wolves and taught to hate mankind. Her intentions are good - she seeks to preserve nature and the environment as humanity tries to take over. However, her often ruthless killing and blind stereotyping (of Prince A****aka notably) make her a very flawed character. So we have two major characters (both female, interestingly) on different sides of the conflict which are portrayed in a very similar ways - as a mixed bag of good and evil.”

So yeah, I love the characters.

Also you’ve gotta give it at least a popcorn or two just for the animation. Come on, the artwork is just beautiful.

But of course you’re entitled to your opinion. It definitely takes itself seriously which can turn a lot of people off. And it’s certainly not the masterpiece that Spirited Away is. But I still love it.
Character just being a ''mix of good and evil'' isn't enough to warrant praise. I'd rather have a believable and well-written fully evil character, like Hal Stewart from megamind, than a robotic morally grey character. Though, this kind of movie demands characters to be both believable written and morally complex. All the movies I named in the first paragraph are good examples of this.
And regarding the animation... I'm judging the movie as a whole, not as a collection of parts. The animation is great, true, but it didn't help ease the pain.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging you if you like the movie. Live and let live. I just want to clarify these things don't really impress me.
Fair enough. I find the characters well written and believable, yes more so than that guy in Megamind :)

Guaporense 11-08-19 07:20 PM

Originally Posted by MoreOrLess (Post 2043607)
"Despite being intended exclusively for 10-year-old girls" seems like a pretty straight forward point which is what I was disagreeing with. As I said I think its actually a film like most of the directors output intended for a wide audience.
Miyazaki makes movies for himself. He makes movies about the stuff he likes and using the style he likes. He is an auteur who miraculously managed to became super popular.

He often claims they have a specific audience but he is not really serious in those statements. For example, Miyazaki claimed that Howls Moving Castle was aimed at "65 year old girls" because the main character is a teenager girl who is transformed into an old lady. In the case of Howls Moving Castle was the first movie he made after he turned 60 so the main character turning into an elderly person represents his own frustration with his aging.

In the case of Spirited Away he said the movie was a criticism of the contemporary spoiled youth which is represented by Chihiro. Miyazaki then gives Chihiro a lesson in "growing up" by turning her parents into pigs and being enslaved by a bathhouse of spirits. He said Chihiro was stronger than the average Japanese kid however since he claimed the typical Japanese youth wouldn't survive this harsh treatment.

A lot of the films intension I would say is using the fantastical setting to recreate the same kind of experiences in adults as a 10 year old would have being exposed to the normal adult world. The framing device of the film itself after all is the more everyday story of the family moving house and her coming to accept it.

If your looking for other anime aimed at an adult audience that isn't just concerned with "edginess" then I'd suggest Kon's work like Millennium Actress.
I personally do not see this children/adult divide. What I mean is that one should not have their entertainment and artistic experience constrained by his or her age. It is like saying that a movie is made only for Canadians. It is true that there are some movies that are consciously dumbed down because they are made "for children" but that only reflects the contempt of the creators regarding their intended audience.

Satoshi Kon is a good director for people who are not used to anime because he keeps the level of Japanese cultural tropes to a minimum. His movies are all excellent.

MoreOrLess 11-09-19 11:18 AM

Not sure whether you got the idea that Mononoke is primarily an "anti war" film, to me it seems pretty clearly a film focused on man vs nature or of environmentalism vs humanism.

I wouldn't say its Miyzaki's deepest film in terms of characterisation(relative to something like Porco Rosso) yet I'd say theres clearly more to it than just its ideas. To me it seems like Miyzaki's main intension was to focus primarly on atmosphere and tone to tell his story which I think the film does very well indeed.

Tramuzgan 11-12-19 01:14 PM

I've decided not to do avengers. I don't have any strong feelings, or anything fresh to say about it. Next up is Megamind.

banality 11-12-19 01:40 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
have you ever been on /tv/ tramuzgan?

Tramuzgan 11-13-19 06:18 PM

Originally Posted by banality (Post 2047144)
have you ever been on /tv/ tramuzgan?
Just a bunch of retards defending their ego with buzzwords and wojak edits. I don't know where that utopia of memes and banter I was promised is, but it sure isn't on 4chan

Tramuzgan 01-08-20 02:03 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
No comments on the megamind review? Okay. Next up is Conan the barbarian.

Yoda 01-08-20 02:05 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Sorry, didn't see it before. I'm definitely surprised to see it get a perfect score. I can kind of understand that type of scoring system, though, where it's less "the best films get the highest ratings" and more "films get higher ratings for being the best version of themselves," which I suppose is what's happening here. I had the same approach when I gave Cloverfield
. I was thinking about how to rate it, and my brother said "would you change anything about it?" And I couldn't think of anything.

I thought MegaMind was fine, though ultimately one of those Shrek-like non-Pixar films there seems to have been a glut of the last 10-15 years. It's better than most, but didn't stick with me much, admittedly.

Tramuzgan 01-08-20 02:28 PM

Originally Posted by Yoda (Post 2057325)
Sorry, didn't see it before. I'm definitely surprised to see it get a perfect score. I can kind of understand that type of scoring system, though, where it's less "the best films get the highest ratings" and more "films get higher ratings for being the best version of themselves," which I suppose is what's happening here.
You're both right and wrong. I give movies scores based on what I think of them after I dwell on them. The things Megamind does right are often taken for granted, and I began noticing them only after I took a step away from mainstream cinema. Up until that point I saw it as just a ''fun movie''.

Tramuzgan 01-08-20 04:07 PM

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

https://www.scifimoviezone.com/image...o/conan018.jpg
https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/w500_and_...BF7ij8SUFB.jpg

You know that feeling when you wanna call something ''the best X of all time'', even though you know it isn't? That's how I feel about Conan. When I reflected upon it for the sake of this review, I noticed many blunders it makes, but I don't love it any less.

Let's address the negatives first: its supporting cast is forgettable. I know Conan had two sidekicks, but I don't even remember their names. One of them is a woman, and while there was no romantic subplot (thank Crom for that), the scenes that focus on her feel pointless. His male sidekick fares even worse; I don't even remember what he looks like. There's a handful of scenes with the same problem, like the one where he has sex with a witch. They just leave you wondering what the point was.
That, and that giant snake special effect was bad.


So, what did Conan the Barbarian do right? Three things:

1) The story. It's more than a typical revenge story, where a character is wronged and ventures off to get his revenge. That's a big part of Conan, sure, but it doesn't feel like an anecdote. It feels like Conan had a genuinely interesting life. We got to see him live as a regular boy, a slave, a celebrated gladiator, and much more. He worked, he traveled, he stole, he indulged in drink and whores, and so on. It's a full-fledged epic, no corners cut.

2) The tone. It's stoic, morose and unapologetically masculine. While I love energetic, kid-oriented fantasy movies (i.e. how to train your dragon), Conan provides a perfect counterweight. There are many long segments with no dialogue, letting the amazing score or the narration by Aku from Samurai Jack do the work. The dialogue that is there is equally serious, often even philosophical. The Riddle of Steel will always stick with me. It's a far cry from the corniness you'd expect when you see Arnie in leather briefs.

3) The core conflict. Both Conan are Thulsa Doom have interesting personalities. Conan wants revenge at all costs. He will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything. This anger and drive hits even harder when you find out that Tulsa Doom is completely unfazed by it. To him, maiming Conan's village was just another work day. It's not that he's unaware of how Conan feels, he just sees it through his warped world view, going on to point out how his drive for revenge is what gave him strength, in the same way an angry father would point out how much he gave his son.

As I've already stated, Conan the Barbarian isn't the best adventure movie out there, but it accomplishes things that'd make it worth seeing in a sea of superior adventure movies.

Tramuzgan 01-15-20 06:20 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
No comments again? I thought people were more interested in Conan.
Up next is another croatian movie: Ciguli Miguli

Tramuzgan 01-15-20 08:21 AM

Tsee-goo-lee Mee-goo-lee

https://www.jutarnji.hr/migration_ca...iguli%20miguli
http://zff.hr/arhiva/2016/wp-content...uli-Miguli.jpg

It's Ciguli Miguli, not Tsee-goo-lee Mee-goo-lee. You can't translate this title because it's a personal name. Get it right.

If you've already seen Dr. Strangelove and One Flew over a Cuckoo's Nest, you have a pretty good idea of what Ciguli Miguli is like. Like the former, it's a satire that doesn't take its subject matter very seriously. And like the latter, it's about a disorganized crowd locking horns with an authority figure that symbolizes communism, though there's a twist to it that I'll get to later.

First off, you need to remember that this is from the early days of Croatian cinema, back when our actors were inexperienced. Barring Ljubomir Didić, who plays the main antagonist Ivan Ivanović, and 2-3 of the townsmen, the acting is kind of wooden and cringy. For that reason, I recommend you see it after H-8.

Once you do, you'll see Ciguli Miguli as a hilarious, gloriously campy movie. It's full of exaggerated acting, physical comedy, fourth wall breaks (e.g. people talking to the narrator), and general Charlie Chaplin influences. Most of the comedy comes from Ivanović trying, and failing, to impose the ''government-mandated'' cultural mold onto the town, both because of his own incompetence and the town's stupidity. If laughs are what you're looking for, Ciguli Miguli has you covered.

That's not what made me want to review it, though. There's another dimension to this movie that sets it apart from other satires, and that's the themes it discusses. Its thematic content doesn't begin and end with ''communism bad''; it gives more attention to the idea of cultural pseudomorphism. If you yon't know what that is, it's when a developing culture is forced into a mold of an established one. It's a topic I've found fascinating ever since I discovered Oswald Spengler. Here, the town is the ''developing culture'', and Ivanović is the bringer of ''the mold''. The humble people are struck with inferiority complex after meeting the confident and imposing government official, going so far to betray each other to fit into his mold. This runs the town into a free-for-all, after which they grow to resent Ivanović as an oppressor. Basically, what Spengler said about Russia and the West, this movie said about Croatia and Russia.
There's also an extremely boring subplot about two teenagers in love that tries and fails to set up a similar anti-establishment theme. Just skip ahead whenever they show up.
I also think the name ''Ciguli Miguli'', derived from an insult for gypsies, is meant to represent our culture. If that's the case (and I'm not saying it is), than that's the worst metaphor I've ever heard.

To wrap it up: Ciguli Miguli is a great comedy. Not perfect, but it's funny, and its characters being stand-ins for ideas is justified by it having something really interesting to say. I don't know if there even is a version with subtitles (I might make one myself if I have to), but I can easily recommend it to anyone.

ahwell 01-15-20 09:55 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Sorry I haven’t seen any of these, last one of yours I saw was Mononoke, which you know my opinion of :lol:

Tramuzgan 01-15-20 06:41 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Originally Posted by ahwell (Post 2058643)
Sorry I haven’t seen any of these, last one of yours I saw was Mononoke, which you know my opinion of :lol:
Glad to have you back

Tramuzgan 01-17-20 06:48 AM

Why hasn't Ciguli Miguli been approved yet

Edit: I just found out that it isn't registered as "Ciguli Miguli" in the database. Someone tried to spell it out phonetically.

Tramuzgan 02-14-20 06:22 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Here's the plan: first I'm gonna review Birdman, then the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy, and then I'm gonna change my mononoke review completely. It's poorly written and misses a few vital points.
I might do Pain and Gain after that.

Tramuzgan 02-18-20 06:40 PM

Birdman

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/6a/4e...3346e6855f.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/3nMqrAW.png
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...27aGQLtok0upV5

Well, this is awkward. There was a time when I was in love with this movie, and here I am now, calling it crap. And it is, but it's not without its merits. There was a reason I used to like it, and it can best be summed up as such: the people who made Birdman are visibly talented.

For one thing, the directing is just great. No qualifiers attached. Every scene is well-staged, well-shot, never drags on for too long, but most importantly, has a sense of energy to it. the movie's at its best during Riggan's, let's call them, ''delusion sequences'', when he's imagining himself flying or using telekinesis while Birdman makes fun of him. Of course, you can't not mention Michael Keaton and his ''comedy sleazeball'' shtick, back from Beetlejuice and stronger than ever.

All those things could've made a good movie great, but as it stands, they make a bad movie disappointing. What makes it so bad, I can't sum up in one word.
The main problem is in the dialogue. There's too much of it, for one thing; this movie never shuts up. From beginning to end, with barely a few breaks, you'll be drowned in constant babble. It wouldn't matter so much if it was any good, but it's not. It's oscar bait, no other way around it. I counted 5 forced and melodramatic monologues, all of which ruin the pace of the movie, or are out of character, or have nothing to do with the story or characters, or all of the above. The only good performance is Keaton's, by the way.
I also don't care for Birdman's overall additude. It's the princess mononoke problem again, when it's so self-congratulatory to the point that it's hostile. And what it's congratulating itself for is something everyone already knows. Marvel movies are bad, but generic oscar dramas aren't perfect either?
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/...path-prefix=es

Again, I have nothing against the people who made Birdman. Innaritu is clearly very talented, and I don't mean to call him a ''self-congratulatory'' or ''hostile'' person. It's just that Birdman is kinda crap.

Tramuzgan 02-18-20 06:41 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Hope that didn't come across as too angry. Next up is How to Train Your Dragon.

Tramuzgan 03-09-20 07:07 PM

How to Train Your Dragon
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/PZjrniSqh78/maxresdefault.jpg
https://howtotrainyourdragonberk.fil...eportation.jpg

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is about protagonist Hiccup earning, enjoying and letting go of his heyday. In this first part, we see him embark on a journey which transforms him from zero to hero.

It may sound cliche, and while it's definitely not edgy, it's also far from uninspired. The difference is that How to Train Your Dragon was clearly made by someone who wanted to tell its story. It shows in every aspect of the movie: The characters are written realistically: Hiccup's teenage angst feels real, as do Stoick's struggles with raising his weird son, and the day-to-day dynamics between the characters. They're clearly inspired by real people, not by other films.
The texturing and sound design makes the world feel so real, you could almost smell it. When a character jumps into the ocean, you feel wet and salty. When he gets hit by a branch, you feel it. This, along with the more ''grounded'' style of cinematography, make the movie truly immersive. It's what gives the scenes with Toothless that sense of wonder - the feeling that you're discovering a whole new world of possibilities. Dangerous, but irresistable. It's things like these that seperate good fantasy movies from great ones.
What I'm trying to say is, How to Train Your Dragon has soul.

Finally, the movie paces itself perfectly. There's no big, loud, explosive scenes up until the very end, and by then, they feel earned. Every scene, with no exception, has its own emotional punch. That's also owed by how concise the movie is about exposition. For example, how do we learn that Stoick and Hiccup have no family but each other? In a quick throwaway line.
It's half of your mother's breastplate. Keeps her close.
You're never thinking ''oh, this is the exposition dump''. You're never bored for any reason.

How to Train Your Dragon is often considered the best Dreamworks movie, and while I'd still argue Megamind is better, this one is a close second. It's just an unpretentious kids' movie, but it's the best kind of unpretentious kids' movie. One that's so ''into it'' you can't help but tag along for the ride.

chawhee 03-10-20 12:45 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I'm with you on Megamind. Easy number one from Dreamworks for me.

Tramuzgan 03-10-20 06:34 PM

How to Train Your Dragon 2

https://aambar.files.wordpress.com/2...gallery_02.jpg
https://cdn1.thr.com/sites/default/f...1/dragon_a.jpg

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is about protagonist Hiccup earning, enjoying, and letting go of his heyday. In this middle part, we get to see him in his absolute prime: one full of adventure, excitement, drama and triumph.

It's not just Hiccup that got all EPIC!, the whole movie is like that now. The first movie started quiet, but this one's big and bombastic from start to finish. Berk is no longer that quaint little village, now it's a fully-fledged town, complete with busy streets, a sports ring, and a dragon hangar. We've moved on from the first movie's nature setting into a world of shipwrecks, dented steel and fire. It's got the imagery of Alestorm, the additude of Battle Beast and the energy of Judas Priest. It's my pick for the best looking CG animated film of all time, with the only possible competitor being Spider-verse.

The story had similar ambitions, but sadly, they were a bit too much. It's 100 minutes long, but the story it was going for required at least 15 more. Animation of this quality is expensive, so they had to cut corners. What came out as a result is less of a typical 7/10 movie and more of an unfinished 10/10 movie. It shows flashes of that 10/10 quality in scenes like Stoick and Valka's reunion, or Hiccup's aforementioned Battle Beast additude. At its best, it can make you smile, sweat, cry, and most of all, cheer. It's crowd-pleasing at its finest.

The cut corners begin to show with Valka, and the villain Drago. Neither of them is properly established as a character. Valka doesn't contribute much to the drama, and Drago has no intimidating presence. They're just kind of there. For what it's worth, both Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou's voice acting is great.
I also think think the story doesn't flow nearly as well as it did in the previous movie. It has a bit of that ''they go there, then they go there'' problem. One thing everyone can agree on is that the comedy really went down the gutter. Snotlout and his clique have become the Jar Jar Binks of Httyd.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a little tragic. It had the capacity to be better than the first one. It had the capacity to surpass The Lion King, or maybe even Megamind, but for whatever reason, it fell short. And it's still good, it's just hard not to fantasize about what could've been. Release the Snyder cut, Dreamworks!

Tramuzgan 03-12-20 04:57 AM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Why hasn't this been approved yet

Tramuzgan 03-30-20 04:20 PM

I swear I'm trying to write this httyd 3 review, but it's really hard to put into words why I like it. I'll keep trying until I get it right, I don't want to have two poorly written reviews.

Tramuzgan 03-31-20 02:33 PM

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

https://i.redd.it/5n7402d3foo21.jpg

The How to train your dragon trilogy is about the protagonist Hiccup earning, enjoying, and letting go of his heyday. In this final part, we see him come to terms with the fact that the ''good old days'' are over.

His ''good old days'' were in the second movie. Despite some superficial similarities, this movie is much calmer than the last one. The bombastic action and metal imagery are significantly reduced, this time focusing more on the community of Berk. Everything feels just as tangible as in the first movie: the heat and murmur of crowded halls, the weariness of long flights, and the irresistible sense of wonder brought about by the Light Fury. That aspect is back from the first movie with a vengeance, but is put in a wholly different context. It used to be a sign of change, and it still is, but this time, Hiccup doesn't want things to change. Yet he knows he can't avoid it forever. That's where the bittersweet mood of the movie sets in.

I have to point out, the scenes where Toothless flirts with the Light Fury are an absolute bliss. The amount of personality and charm they managed to inject into these quadrapedal beasts, relying on nothing but growls and body language, all while keeping in line with its semi-realistic art style, is unbelievable. Buster Keaton would be proud.
It also helps that it has John Powell's score to rely on. It does the talking for both the humans and the dragons, portraying panic, infatuation, nostalgia, and in the case of the Hidden World scene, something more complex. All three movies have great scores, but this one is just flawless. It's everything that fantasy music should sound like, and then some.

As for Hiccup and Grimmel's story... I'm a little split. It's definitely entertaining, and Grimmel is way more intimidating than Drago, but it lacks the personal touch of Toothless' story. It, a part of the second film, and all of the first one, feel like they were inspired by something from DeBlois' own life, but this feels more inspired by other Dreamworks and Disney movies.
One final complaint: the story flow problem from the second movie hasn't been fixed completely. There's definitely times where you can tell the writers took the easy way out, and the two stories of Hiccup vs Grimmel and Toothless & Light Fury feel too separate.
That'd definitely hurt it more as a standalone movie, but as a part of s trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden world is great. It gives you a satisfying conclusion to its character arcs, no sequel-baiting, no chickening out.

Tramuzgan 05-07-20 02:50 PM

I deleted my mononoke and megamind reviews. I stand by what I said in them, but they were both very poorly written. I didn't know how to formulate my thoughts. I'll have to re-review them some day, but right now, I'm stuck between Come and See and Fantastic Mr. Fox

Tramuzgan 06-04-20 07:23 PM

Fantastic Mr. Fox

You know what I noticed? Almost all of the greatest animated shows and movies are neihter strictly for kids, or strictly for adults, but somewhere inbetween. Classic Simpsons, Batman, The Prince of Egypt, The Incredibles, anything by Chuck Jones... you get the picture. It's likely because that's when the artist can focus on doing what he loves, and not have to worry about who he has to appeal to. Wes Anderson is a director known for following this philosophy, so it's no wonder that his first animated film would be a great example of what I'm talking about, but it ended up even better. Fantastic Mr. Fox is his masterpiece: the movie where all his idiosyncracies just clicked together and made an absolute gem.

Most of my points about this movie can be summed up in one screencap.
https://i.imgur.com/wUCNxSL.jpg

First, let's mention the most important thing in an animated film: how it uses the art of animation. As shown in the screencap, Fantastic Mr. Fox has an earthy colour scheme which is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but gives the movie a rustic, down-to-earth mood which helps to immerse us in the similarly down-to-earth family drama. Like Wes Anderson's live-action movies, Fox has a geometric and rigid style of motion, but it works even better here, where you have complete control over each frame. Overall, the animation has a sense of pinpoint precision in its speed, how it blends with the background, and in its deadpan style of visual comedy. It's like Chuck Jones on a higher budget, and it makes for an immensely visually satisfying experience.

Calling back to the ''rustic mood'', another thing the animation accomplishes is giving the animals a real sense of community. Notice all the little details in the screencap: the beaver bully is the only one with his elbows on the table, there's a rabbit woman bringing food, with her kids sitting next to where she's supposed to be... this kind of attention to detail is present throughout the whole movie. The background characters are given personalities through these visual nods, but they're also given relationships to each other. They don't feel like atomized individuals, or even atomized families, but like a cohesive, realistic community.

Foxy, and by extension his family, fit into this realistic community as realistic individuals. It shows in the main story of Foxy, the former town chad who puts the community in danger by refusing to let go of his heyday, but is way more pronounced in his autistic son Ash's substory. He's sort of like Lilo or Hiccup, in the sense that his story is about dealing with being a loser, but while those two are shown as ''quirky'', Ash is genuinely pissy and unlikeable. His arc doesn't even end on him being fully redeemed, just with him admitting to himself he has a problem. What I'm trying to say is, the movie may be a ''charmer'', but it's not a ''crowd pleaser''.

This ''charm'' doesn't just lie in what I already mentioned, but also in Foxy and his conflict with Boggis, Bunce and Bean. They have serious consequences, as I already said, but the heists and revenge attempts have such a sense of giddiness to them. There's always some inventive quirk that keeps them interesting. For example, one heist is seen through security camera feed, in one continuous shot. It's all backed by the twangy score and Bean's hysterically funny angry outbursts. George Clooney, who voices Foxy, is cool as a cucumber, and delivers his lines with precision that does the animation justice.
While we're on the topic of voice acting, Foxy's ''straight man'' wife is voiced by Meryl Streep, and she killed it. I've seen the movie 4 times and every time, her line in the waterfall scene (you know which one) hits me like a dump truck.

All this praise can be boiled down to one theory. Chuck Jones, the greatest animator of all time, believed that a good filmmaker should have interests outside of film, otherwise your work will feel uninspired. Well, Fantastic Mr. Fox is the poster boy for this philosophy. Wes Anderson could've never created this tangible community if not inspired by a real one. He could've never made Ash a realistic loser if he hadn't known one in real life. It's a labour of pure love: love for one's friends and family, love for the art of animation, for the Texan countryside, for the book it's based on. It oozes that love from every pore, and if that's not a mark of a great movie, I don't know what is.

Tramuzgan 06-04-20 07:32 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
This was my hardest revew so far, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Foxy deserves to be done justice. I'm not sure what to do next, I know I don't wanna do too much animation before I redo the two reviews I deleted

Tramuzgan 09-20-20 07:45 PM

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


Everyone has that one ''big classic'' they've never watched, but have seen it referenced so many times that they have a general idea of what it's like. That was the Lord of the Rings trilogy to me up until a few days ago. My idea of it was that it's ''the movie'' - the one you think of when you hear the term, and the one which contains the appeal of the medium in its purest form. That turned out to be exactly right.

Just to be clear, this is gonna count as a review of the entire trilogy, not just Return of the King. Why pretend that these are three separate films, when they're very clearly one film released in three parts?

The thing with reviewing Lord of the Rings, and really any film considered ''definitive'', is that you're forced to be vague. You don't get to point out concrete details like you would in Fantastic Mr. Fox or Liberty Valance. The appeal of Lord of the Rings lies in things so integral to what makes fiction enjoyable - let alone what makes cinema enjoyable - that it's almost truistic. The people who love it are often the biggest chads - Ben Garrison, Dishonoured Wolf, Owen Benjamin - and that should tell you what I'm getting at.

It follows multiple plots which branch and intertwine, but the basic gist is that you have Frodo, a hobbit tasked with reaching a treacherous mountain to destroy the One Ring, which will in turn destroy the dark lord Sauron. He does this with the assistance of a group of friends, most notably Aragorn, a ranger who must come to terms with the duties imposed on him by his royal lineage. What follows is 12 hours of layered drama interwoven with politics and the threat of war. All the elements I'd normally point out in a review, like the performances, special effects and music, are all great, but they mesh so well that none of them stick out. The key word here is ''gestalt''. The elements, as well as the plots, all serve the single purpose of drawing you into this rich fantasy world and its struggle against the Dark Lord, and they do this exceptionally. It's more than just entertaining, it's outright spellbinding. 12 hours, and I wasn't bored for a second.

A few things do stick out, like how Frodo's story feels the most autobiographical. Granted, Tolkien was a WW1 veteran, so all the stories will relate to war; they respectively deal with themes of leadership, valor, despair, power, and so on, but Frodo, as an average Joe, gets the most personal story. This is a good thing, as his struggle with the corrupting power of the ring and interactions with his ''emotional crutch'' Sam are delightfully human and touching. Sam himself is also such a likeable character. You can't not love him, it's physically impossible.
The only negative I can think of is that the comic relief bits aren't that funny.

I'm gonna give it a
, but it's a different 10/10 than Fantastic Mr. Fox. Fox is like that guy you've met at college who's funny as hell and always interesting to listen to, while Lord of the Rings is like the popular kid from elementary school who you just found out owns a lucrative business with ties all across Europe. You like it, but much more than that, you respect it. 100% essential viewing.

Tramuzgan 09-20-20 07:58 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Next up is the film that motivated me to watch LotR. Apocalypto.

Tramuzgan 09-23-20 03:55 PM

Apocalypto


My taste in films has undergone a sort of a paradigm shift in 2020. In 2019, I used to like them stylish and imaginative, as best exemplified by my favourite discovery of that year, A Wonderful Night in Split, but now I like them mythological. Simple stories with complex themes, made with a certain ethos through which they inadvertedly reveal some sort of truth. The film to best help me articulate this new sentiment is Apocalypto, Mel Gibson's meditation on the decline of a great civilization presented through gory unga bunga.

It takes place in the Mayan Kingdom, immediately before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, and follows the hunter Jaguar Paw as his village is raided, and he is taken to the city to be sacrificed. A simple story, as I said, but the benefit of that is that it flows smoothly as silk. There isn't much character development going on, it's mostly about Jaguar Paw trying to survive, which may sound like a bad thing, but it just enhances the savage feel of the film. It's Mel Gibson, so it's bloody and brutal, but again, it fits, and the effects are straight up fantastic. When a character gets his heart torn out on an altar, you actually believe it. It makes good use of this grounded violence in the final action scene, in which Jaguar Paw fights a group of elite warriors in a jungle. There's no question who's stronger here, so the hero has to rely on cunning in order to survive. He hides in the trees, throws beehives to slow them down, and generally takes advantage of whatever he can find in the jungle. It's everything an action film should be: not flashy, but tense.
The production design is also top-notch, with how much effort was put into the city and the warriors' intricate decorations.

As for the ''complex themes'' I brought up earlier, they will be identifiable to any fellow Spengler fanboy. The contrast between the simple-minded, but ultimately sane, village with the frenzied, decadent city reminded me more than a little of his comparisons to late Rome or Baghdad. That's why I don't get these people who call this film racist. The depravity shown here is in no way exclusive to the Mesoamericans, it's something all great cultures end up as. For example, the excessive deforestation and slave labour can be seen as a parallel to modern-day Silicon Valley elites, the manipulative priest to sensationalist politicians, and the people relishing in the gore of human sacrifice is more than a little reminiscent of today's psychotic degeneracy seen in pride parades, furry conventions and Serbia.
I don't mean to sound preachy, but Mel Gibson did say he wanted the film to parallel the present, so you can see how I came to these conclusions. Don't worry, it's not upfront about any of these comparisons, they're just out there for anyone who cares. On the surface level, it's just a gritty action film.

I first started this thread to shill movies I thought were underrated, hence the name, and if there was ever a movie that fits that description, it's Apocalypto. I was really surprised that it had no review on MoFo, or how little it's brought up when discussing the best action flicks. I wanna give it a 9, but honestly it's more of a
. Just watch it, you're not gonna regret it.

Tramuzgan 11-19-20 07:31 PM

Battleship Potemkin

We've discussed substandard wizardry in Underground, now let's discuss the other end of the spectrum. While the medium of film has no shortage of quality wizards, the one I'd point to as definitive is Sergei Eisenstein. If Kusturica is a gypsy wizard, with dreamcatchers and tarot cards, then Eisenstein is the kind of wizard that lives in an ivory tower and works obsessively on perfecting his craft. His most famous creation, Battleship Potemkin, is the perfect product of that personality. That is to say, it's a tech demo, but one that boasts tech that'll make you **** your pants.

You already know what I'm referring to: its montaging techniques. That's what it's famous for, in fact, it's what launched Russia (soviet union, whatever) into the spotlight of world cinema. For a tech demo to single-handedly earn a country the same reputation as Japan or Italy, it'd have to be nothing short of earth-shattering, and that's exactly what it is. Take a look at some pre-Potemkin films - Nosferatu, Sherlock Jr., Birth of a Nation - all great films in their own right, but whatever implicit message they wanted to convey was done in the same way you'd do in a book or a play. Potemkin communicated in a new way - through what I can best describe as complementing images. For example, everyone knows the Odessa steps sequence, in which the people face off against the military: there it contrasts the images of the ascending crowd running about and the descending army mowing them down at a mechanical rhythm. It's a show of oppression by the enemy, but it's more eloquent than anything cinema has ever had up to that point. I can't even begin to imagine what a big deal this was at its release. It must've been like working a hundred kilometres from home, and one day accidentally discovering you own a car.
True, it was intended as propaganda, but the same techniques would later become essential tools for great directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Vatroslav Mimica, so I'm not gonna complain.

Mind you, Potemkin has more to offer than just the Odessa steps sequence. That kind of technique is present in the whole film, and even besides that, it would've never been remembered this well if it wasn't for the amazing cinematography. Montage aside, all the individual images look amazing. Noone can deny Eisenstein was a visual genius, and his style fits this kind of film like a glove. The world is in constant motion. Something is always askew, or tumbling down, or flailing wildly. You don't get a moment of peace up until the end. I usually watch films slumped in my couch, but if it's by Eisenstein, I'll watch it sitting up like a jumpy merkat. It just has that effect on you. Of course, you can't not bring up the amazing score accompanying the visual chaos.

Battleship Potemkin is usually considered the best Russian film of all time, and I heavily disagree with that. Most important one, absolutely, but not the best. Good art, to me, comes from a mix of good technique and strong personality. As amazing as Potemkin's technique is, it still has the soul of a tech demo, and thus can't be as memorable as Come and See, The Return, or Stalker. I'm a neckbeard zoomer who considers Russians to be the most talented people on Earth, so I don't take the title of ''best russian film'' lightly, but I still respect Battleship Potemkin as I should. Because of that weird dynamic I have with it, I'm gonna do something I've never done before - not give it any rating. A 9 feels disrespectful, a 10 feels insincere. I'm gonna recommend you see it, more as a matter of literacy than pleasure, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it.

Edit: apparently it needs a rating to be approved. Here's a
based purely on subjective enjoyment

Tramuzgan 12-10-20 06:40 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Alright, first I'm gonna do a nostalgic classic and then I'll do The Good, the Bad and The Ugly as I promised

Tramuzgan 12-10-20 07:43 PM

Idiocracy

If there's ever a film I get to call ''nostalgic'', it's this one. I first saw it when I was so little my family was still using VHS tapes, it later became the first film to ever influence how I behaved irl, and when I found out it's by the same guy as Beavis and Butthead, you can only imagine what a ''bruh'' moment that was. While I don't think of it as highly as I used to, I still like it a lot. That often gives people the wrong impression of me - I know that Idiocracy has built up some bad connotations over the years, so let me clear it up right now that I mainly like this film because it's funny. In fact, for a film known as ''the comedy that became a documentary'', the actual satire is ironically the worst part about it. Not that it's bad, it has just aged poorly. It makes fun of the white trash pop culture of the early-to-mid 2000s - the age of Halo, Nu-metal, and George Bush - which just isn't a thing anymore.

Mind you, even if the satire doesn't resonate with you, Idiocracy is still enjoyable. Why? Because it goes in with the right additude. If those garbage serbian comedies have taught me anything, it's that if you approach comedy with an overly stuck-up additude, you don't stand a chance at ever being funny. Idiocracy passes that test with flying colours. All the jokes are delivered in the same way as in Beavis and Butthead. They don't feel like scripted jokes with setups and punchlines as much as just stupid people being stupid. Mike Judge knows how to make that sort of humour work, and you can't deny it.

Granted, it's also important that you don't put too much focus on the message, but I've found another ''don't'' of satire that Idiocracy smartly abides by. When you make fun of something, in essence telling us not to be like it, don't try to suggest what we should be like. That's patronizing. Thinking back, it's the reason Birdman left such a bad taste in my mouth, when it suggested artists should be more like Marina Abramović. Likewise, if Idiocracy suggested we should all be vegans and drive hybrids, it wouldn't be as fondly remembered. I guarantee it.

I know I've been focusing more on what Idiocracy doesn't do rather than what it does do, but that's because it's such a simple, humble movie that it doesn't leave me with much to say. It's most notable for avoiding the trappings other satires fall into, but if you don't care about that, all I can tell you is if you like Mike Judge humour, you'll like Idiocracy. Simple as.

Plus, having Terry Crews play the president was a stroke of pure genius.


chawhee 12-11-20 12:22 AM

I still enjoy Idiocracy, and I'll argue the satire still plays well given the current political climate....

Tramuzgan 12-12-20 07:27 PM

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of the most enduring films ever made. More than 50 years since its release with no sequels, remakes and video games inbetween, it is still a film everyone and their dog knows about. But why? What did it do that made it click so well with people? That's what I intend to find out.

The most obvious point to make is the score by Ennio Morricone. There's no denying it, the score is amazing, as is the entire stylistic aspect of the film. The cinematography manges to stay fresh throughout without being distractingly flashy, and has an excellent sense of scale. No matter if you're in a bustling town or a heated battlefield, you always feel like you're there. The directing, too, is truly inspired (for the lack of a better word).

One, more specific, perk of GBU that you don't hear much about is its efficient writing. Its main trio is introduced quickly and elegantly in the first 20 or or minutes, giving you a general idea of who these characters are, how they go about their business, and what are their strengths and weaknesses. There is depth to the setting and characters, but it is achieved with minimal exposition. Hell, you can tell who these characters are just by looking at them. Clint Eastwood is the definitive ''lone badass gunslinger'', but Eli Wallach embodies the ''greasy loudmouth bandit'' just as well, as does Lee Van Cleef the ''stone cold hitman''. If brevity is the soul of wit, then The Good, the bad and the Ugly is a very, very witty movie.

If I had to explain the essence of this film in one word, it'd be ''clash''. You have Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes racing to get the buried gold, using the opportunities and avoiding the threats that come from the ongoing civil war. The goal, combatants and setting are all in place. The entertainment value is in watching the tides turn and the characters gain the upper hand over one another in ways that make sense for them, within the context of the setting. It's sort of like watching a boxing match between two very unorthodox fighters.
Needless to say, there's an emphasis on action over words. If the writing is concise and the goal is as simple as ''get $'', then why is it 3 hours long? Because, to put it simply, the characters go though a lot. The setting gives them a lot of ways to get screwed over, and screwed over they get.

Still, that doesn't answer my question. Many adventure films before and after it have had good directing and writing, and they haven't clicked nearly as well with everyone. With that in mind, I have found one thing GBU does better than any other film I've seen so far, and I don't think there's even a word for it. It's the fact that all the depth, both in the characters and the setting, is implicit. For example, Blondie seems like a very one-dimensional character, but the bits where he plays with a kitten or offers some whiskey to a dying soldier gets you thinking if he's really all he seems to be. The same goes for Angel Eyes and his position within the Union army, and the legless drunk veteran who implies the state regular society is in. Tuco is the most explicit character, but it makes sense for who he is. Anyway, that tinge of mystery makes a lot of difference. Every action carries a lot more weight when you know there's something deeper brewing beneath it, but can't put your finger on what that something is.

(duh)

SpelingError 12-12-20 07:40 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Nice review! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the film. I think my favorite thing about The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is that it can feel simultaneously epic, yet intimate at the same time. With my most recent viewing, I noticed how, besides the three main characters, barely anyone else gets much screen time. Like, Angel Eyes' henchman in the Confederate Army gets a decent amount of screentime. However, the Union general from the bridge sequence, Tuco's brother, Bill Carson, and Bill Carson's wife (?) only get a couple scenes at the most. Hell, Angel Eyes gets somewhat limited screentime as well. In spite of this, however, it also feels quite expansive given how it's an incredibly vivid depiction of the Civil War, showing the philosophies of both sides quite thoroughly.

Tramuzgan 01-24-21 05:40 PM

South Park, Bigger, Longer and Uncut


Remember when South Park seemed like the coolest, freshest thing on television? I myself got into it around 2012, and what better time to get into South Park than when you're 13 years old? Keep in mind, this was before the likes of Rick and Morty existed, and I hadn't known about either Archer or Family Guy at that time, so the only thing I had to compare it to were the Simpsons. And even that was a stretch - South Park was like the perfect piece of entertainment, tailor-made for my teenage sensibilities. The episodes I first saw on television were the show's last real flashes of quality: Fatbeard, Poor and Stupid, Scrotie McBoogerballs, and so on. I would later catch up with its true greatest hits, and of course, the movie, on the internet.

What you gotta understand about South Park is that you can divide its run into 4 parts:

-The humble beginnings, when the show struggled to find an identity besides ''the cartoon that swears''
-The golden age, when the show had perfected its shtick and ushered in some of its best episodes, the first of which being Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants.
-The age of decline, when it seemed to be running out of steam, and started using politics and pop culture as a crutch. It kicked off around that Fishsticks episode.
-The disgrace you see today, which started with the introduction of PC Principal.

With that considered, where does the movie fall in? It was made in 1999, so that puts it firmly in the ''humble beginnings'' era, and it shows. Though it's the first time South Park was animated on a computer rather than by hand, the look is still very choppy and quaint. That's the best way I can describe it as a fan - quaint. Not just the look, but how Butters is just a background character, how it's about Stan building up the confidence to ask out Wendy, how Mr. Garrison is still using Mr. Hat, and most of all, how it's fully aware of its reputation as ''the cartoon that swears''. In fact, it's what drives the whole plot.

To my knowledge, this film is the first time South Park got full-on political. The story is that the boys learn to swear from a Terrance and Phillip movie, and it drives Kyle's mom into a frenzy which inadvertedly brings about a war between America and Canada. No doubt addressing whatever controversy the show might've stirred up, the message is clear-as-day anti-censorship stuff, but there's some cues within the music numbers that hint at a more complex opinion on Matt and Trey's part. For example, the opening song ''Mountain Town'' contains the verse ''Because movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say'', and Kyle's mom's number ''Blame Canada'' ends on the verse ''We must blame them and cause a fuss before somebody thinks of blaming us.''. It's very basic delivery, but this was before they really got into social commentary, and I appreciate how they just say what they mean upfront.

A lot of the humour is also very quaint, 20th century South Park. For the most part, that's a good thing. You gotta love how unapologetically dumb it is. When I was in 8th grade, that classroom swearing scene knocked me dead. On the other hand, some jokes can seem very basic by today's standards, e.g.
''What's the password?''
''Bacon?''
''Ok, you're in.''

The best parts of the film, both in terms of comedy and in general, are the music numbers. Matt and Trey are unironically great musicians. I listen to South Park music numbers like I listen to Primus. Big Gay Al's ''I'm Super'', the boys' ''What would Brian Boitano do?'' and Satan's ''Up There'' are super catchy and can be played over and over again, ''Blame Canada'' was a perfect way to introduce Sheila as a plot element, and you can only imagine how hard I laughed at ''Uncle Fucca'' and ''Kyle's mom is a bitch''.

The one area where I have to knock the film is in the story. Stan's romance with Wendy was pretty uninteresting, and until I started writing this review, I actually forgot Saddam Hussein was in the film. The conflict between Kyle's mom and Canada was pretty entertaining, but the other stories feel like placeholders. Completely forgettable.
You can argue that this kind of film doesn't need an amazing story, and I'd agree it's not 100% essential, but it is just a nice thing to have. I'd argue that, for example, Beavis and Butthead do America wouldn't be as good if the parts with Muddy and Dallas weren't so interesting.

So, to conclude, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut isn't the greatest material South Park has to offer, but there's certainly something to like here, from its great music numbers to its dirty humour. I might be blinded by nostalgia, but I say if you can get into the mindset of a 13-year-old, you'll love it. If not, you'll just like it.


Tramuzgan 01-31-21 03:59 PM

Tomorrow is my 3rd anniversary of joining MoFo, so I'm gonna do a 5-film review series:
  1. Faust (1994), representing Czechia
  2. Control (2003), representing Hungary
  3. Sun in a net (1963), representing Slovakia
  4. Sexmission (1984), representing Poland
  5. An Event (1969), representing Croatia

I also wanted to do Austria, but then I thought...nah.

Yoda 01-31-21 04:07 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
Congrats on the anniversary!

That's a really neat idea, celebrating that way. :up:

Tramuzgan 02-01-21 03:41 PM

Tramuzgan's Višegrad cinema fivesome spectacular: part 1 - Czechia
Faust

1994

Fun fact about me: Czechia is my favourite foreign country. Prague is where my class went to excursion in our last year of high school, and to say I had a good time would be an understatement. Barring the excellent beer, cute girls, and friendly people, the city itself is just so inviting. Just wandering around aimlessly felt like an adventure, and how many cities get to say that? Of course, this was all in the summer of 2016, when Slavs were the hottest thing on the internet (remember Life of Boris?), so I would soon get into their entertainment industry. I can't say much about their music, but both Machinarium and Kingdom Come: Deliverance are some of my favourite vidya, but where Czechia would truly delight me is their cinema. While I did have trouble finding subtitles for a lot of them, those I did find them for were so fresh and memorable, they got me thinking if Czechs may be even more talented than Russians. In fact, the first film I ever reviewed for MoFo, Marketa Lazarova, was Czech. While I still believe that's their best film, finding another one to represent them in this review series was no trouble at all. After all, the words I used to describe their cinema is ''fresh and memorable'', and no director fits that bill better than Jan Švankmajer.
If you've never heard of him, he can best be described as a surrealist who blends live action with stop-motion and puppetry. It's really hard to give you a full picture of him in just a few words; he's so ''out there'' that conventional labels like ''animator'' don't do him justice. The same goes for the film we're talking about here: Faust is labeled on IMDb as ''animation, comedy, drama'', yet the only genre that came to mind when I watched it was horror. Let me explain...

So, as the title suggests, this film is based on the legend of Faust, the scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge. It is based on the legend, but it is not an adaptation. Rather, it's an original story of a man who wanders into a theatre and goes on to play the role of the titular scholar. The film is split into two segments: the actual play, where the legend of Faust is being told straightforward, and the intermissions, where the protagonist wanders around the halls and break rooms, goes out for a drink, and whatever else actors do while on breaks. The way these two segments play off each other lets you know very early on that the theatre is controlled by actual demons. Your first hint is that the protagonist is the only real actor, while all the other characters are portrayed by puppets, who we find out during the intermission are alive. To give away the rest would be to spoil the film, so I'll just say the protagonist's arc mirrors that of Faust himself.

So, why do I think it's a horror film? Simply put, because it's disturbing. I don't mean because of the grotesque visuals, I mean because the story itself plays to our innate fears. You know E. Michael Jones, the catholic writer? He stated in Monsters from the Id that the point of horror movies is to point to fear and guilt that stems from immorality, hence the theme of playing god in Frankenstein, or the aggressively sexual imagery in Alien. I think that's a good way to distinguish a horror film from a thriller. Faust does that in a very basic, but nevertheless effective way. We see him give in to his base desires, eroding himself little by little, and we all know we're capable of doing the same. That's why we find it so discomforting.
Yet, you can't deny it has a sense of humour. A weird sense of humour, but a sense of humour nonetheless. A perfect example of a joke in Faust is in the first intermission, when the protagonist walks in on one of the puppets taking a dump, and it looks at him. You know it's a demon and it's scary, but you can't not laugh at it.

Still, if not for any of that, Faust is worth seeing just for the visual style. It's unique, it's grotesque, and it's so inventive. Any other film would have portrayed Mephistopholes as a generic demon puppet, or a guy in a scary costume - here he's a blob of clay who morphs into the protagonist's face when talking to him. A perfect replica which still moves in stop-motion.
Oh, and there's no dialogue outside the actual play. I didn't even notice that on my first viewing. That just fascinates me, that the film was so good it managed to distract me from something that big. Definitely a worthy representative of Czech cinema.


Tramuzgan 02-01-21 03:43 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I have some exams coming up so I'll spread these out across a few days. I don't have time to do them all at once.

Tramuzgan 02-02-21 04:47 PM

Tramuzgan presents: the Višegrad five's cinematic extravaganza: part 2 - Hungary

Control
2003

When planning out this review series, there was one thing I had decided to avoid entirely: stereotypical eastern-european films. You know, those depressing, down-in-the-dumps dramas about war or authoritarian governments, starring either children or unenergetic 50-year-old men, and more often than not featuring visual metaphors for something in the Bible. Not that these can't be good, they're just not my thing, and I feel like I've seen all they have to offer. In that regard, Hungary was the most difficult country to represent. Look up a list - any list - of the best hungarian films. It's always communism this, the holocaust that, ad nauseam. Of course, due to the nature of this series, I'm 100% obliged to do Hungary, but how when it gives me absolutely nothing to work with? Or so I thought. Enter Control, the exact kind of film I was looking for.

The basic gist is that it takes place in the Budapest metro system, and follows a group of ticket inspectors doing... whatever. That's the thing with this movie - it doesn't have much of an overarching plot. It starts with a hooded man committing murder, so it might lead you to think it's gonna be a whodunnit story, but then it moves on to a bit about clique rivalry, then an action scene where they deal with some street punk, and then some comic relief scenes about trying to inspect all the weird passengers... the list goes on. It does try to give us some sort of a conventional third act in the last 20 minutes, but for the most part, the script is written with a decided kitchen sink approach. This may sound like a criticism, but it's not. I like how many different things Control does, firstly because it's all done with a lot of enthusiasm, but also because it's all tied together with a coherent setting, a great ensemble cast, and a distinct, impactful style.

Let's talk about the cast first. I can say with full confidence, if you'd like to make an ensemble comedy some day, Control is a must-watch. Even more so than It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. There's plenty of characters to keep up with, but you're introduced to them elegantly and organically, as if you're supposed to already know them. You never get that sense of ''oh, this is character A's introduction''. Their personalities are all simple enough to be easy to grasp, but notso much that they stop being believable. They also play off each other in fun ways, but one thing I have to point out is the casting choice. It's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly thing again, where each actor's face, physique and costume perfectly fits his character's personality. And I can't leave out the actors themselves, all of whom bring the kind of energy and chemistry that a film like this needs. Fantastic performances, all around, with the standout being the buzzcut bro with the Stipe Mesić eyebrows.
I've tried my hand at writing novels a few times, so I can tell, this is the kind of character writing you get when you know exactly, from the outset, who each character is and what he's like. It's just what I strive towards in my writing.

If you're at all into the 2000's, you'll love this movie. And you know they're a weak spot of mine, in fact, the first thing I've done on MoFo is a top 10 2000's film list (don't look it up). Control oozes that urban, gritty, fizzy, pulpy, street jacket-wearing, fluorescent-lit, grafitti-and-concrete style from every pore. It makes you wanna blast Powerman 5000 on your CD player while doing sick kick flips in hopes of impressing a hot emo girl.
Granted, it's also great on a technical level. The stylistic choices wouldn't matter so much if they weren't executed properly, but they are. Control is filmed with the same enthusiasm as it's written and performed with, and the resulting visuals are both fresh and striking. Not to mention they're backed by a killer soundtrack.

There's one film I've already reviewed I'd like to compare with this one: Rango. It and Control are very different, but they do share the trait of being someone's ''first work'', and all that implies. Rango was Gore Verbinski and ILM's first animated film, while Control is Nimrod Antal's first film in general, and that leads to a final result that points to a lack of experience, but a surplus of pure energy. A film someone made purely for his own amusement. Take, for example, all the running visual motifs: the escalator leading to the surface, the owl, or the girl in a teddy bear costume; in any other film you'd think these were metaphors, but here, it's like they just put them in because they thought it looked cool. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


Tramuzgan 02-04-21 06:40 PM

Grand film event of the Višegrad group brought to you by Tramuzgan: part 3 - Slovakia

The Sun in a Net

Usually I lead into my reviews with some interesting thought, but this time I won't. Not that I don't want to, it's that The Sun in a Net is the kind of film that, for reasons I'll explain in a bit, doesn't leave room for showmanship or intense emotion. Before I do, I should also point out that this will be the shortest review in the series, because this is a film that's best understood intuitively, not theoretically. That is to say not really ''understood'' at all, just experienced. You could point to Tarkovsky movies and say they're like that too, but they can be picked apart and theorized about, but the difference is that The Sun in a Net actively encourages you not to think too hard.

It's about a teenage couple in Bratislava who get separated during their summer jobs, and in turn each hook up with someone new. That's the elevator pitch, anyway. In truth, like with Kontroll, there is no central plot. The point of this film isn't to tell a story, it's to evoke the feeling of being a kid, discovering new things as life randomly throws them at you. That's why the rather random sequence of events that makes up the film works. Do you remember your first summer job, or even moving to college for that matter? Remember thinking ''whatever happens next, I'll welcome with open arms''? I guess I do because I'm a lot younger than most people on here, but this film nails that feeling down rather well. Upon writing this review I was surprised how much of the movie I'd forgotten, but was able to remember without booting it up again. It's the same as with your first summer job. The things you experience, exciting as they may be in the moment, will go down in memory as just random passing moments. That's why, as I said, The Sun in a Net encourages you not to think too hard. The burnt piece of glass they use to watch the eclipse is just a burnt piece of glass. The bar frequented by the old men of the village is just a bar. They are not metaphors for communism.

Of course, the visuals do a great job at bringing this mood across. The camera is always soaking in the environment. It might peer from the edge of the rooftop, or show the characters through their reflections in a lake, or close up on a fishing net, as if lost in thought, but there is always a sense of, let's call it, energetic indifference to it. It is backed by the constant sound of the radio and its bass guitar-heavy repertoire.

If there's one thought to end the review on, it's that I'm glad that this film exists. It's not that often you get one of these artsy films made more for 20-year-olds than anyone else. Be honest, if I told you this was an eastern-european plotless b&w movie about a teenage couple, what would you imagine? Would you expect to leave it feeling rejuvenated? Probably not. That's why, despite not being the best film of this type, it is one of the more unique, and therefore very worthy of preservation.

(though it's more of an 8,5 than an 8)

Tramuzgan 02-07-21 04:18 PM

Višegrad movie thing: part 4 - Poland

Sexmission

As we conclude the part of this series about the actual Višegrad group. we reach the global bulwark of sanity as well as the only country with a 100% weeaboo population - Poland. Finding a film to represent them was a tough call, as I wanted it to be more ''normal'' than Faust or Sun in a Net, but still unmistakably polish. So, while there was something to be said about The Saragossa Manuscripts, the film we'll be taking a look at is Sexmission - the spicy mix of sci-fi, erotica, social satire, post-apo, action-adventure, and good old-fashioned peepee humour.

Two guys volunteer for a human hibernation experiment, and wake up 50 years in the future in an underground society consisting exclusively of women. They find out they're the last two men on Earth, but are kept imprisoned and under constant surveillance. The subsequent plot is about the two trying to escape, all the while playing straight man to the unraveling, nonsensical world. If you're a fan of 80's comedy in the vein of Ghostbusters and Brazil, you'll like Sexmission. The style of humour is very much like those, based on misunderstandings, sarcasm, and a constant fool-and-straight man act. While its characters aren't as memorable as those, it does succeed at being funny. In fact, I'd say it's even funnier than Ghostbusters. It doesn't have as many chuckles, but it has more laugh-out-loud funny moments. That's owed partly to how it's way dirtier than the average sci-fi comedy. It's about two men in a world of women, after all, so expect lots of sex jokes. That, and titties. Lots and lots of titties. Poles love titties, that's why they watch so much anime.

Sexmission also works decently as an escape thriller. The effects are cheesy and camp, but do their job at convincing you of this claustrophobic underground society where you're always being watched. Escaping feels like a genuine challenge, and it has a decent sense of progression which keeps things exciting. And, for reasons I won't give away, it's best you go into this film knowing as little as possible.

The last thing I wanna bring up is how it handles its social commentary. It's a lot like Idiocracy, or a number of Bosnian films, i.e. based on gut feeling rather than theory. And that's a good thing, as it ensures you don't bite off more than you can chew. By that I mean it only goes so far as its gut takes it, and doesn't act like it has all the answers. Like Idiocracy is just Mike Judge expressing dissatisfaction with the dumbing down of pop culture, so is Sexmission expressing dissatisfaction with feminism. Not even feminism per se, moreso the idea that men and women are enemies, and how nonsensical it is. This film has no political or ideological allegiance other than common sense, and that's exactly the kind of satire I like.


Tramuzgan 02-08-21 12:21 PM

We're not in Višegrad but what the hell: part 5 - Croatia

An Event
aka
Događaj

1969

A couple of months ago, I wrote a quasi-article on Vatroslav Mimica, the greatest Yugoslavian film director. I'm generally happy with how it turned out, but considering how my intention was to bring more attention to him, I really could've done a better job at describing his best films. That is, his two best films, ''Događaj (An Event)'' and ''Kaja, Ubit ću te (Kaya)'', which are about the same level of quality. And here I have a perfect opportunity to remedy that. For my review, I will pick Događaj, partly because it's more accessible of the two, but mostly because I just like it better.

First thing - why do I like it? On paper, it seems like the most generic film in the world - an allegory for ww2 about a boy being left without a guardian, taking place in some rural area? Yeah, but the execution makes it stand out immensely. Its artistic decisions and technical aptitude make sure it doesn't fall into the same trappings as these kinds of films usually do, and comes out feeling like a sincere retelling of someone's experience (both external and internal), rather than just misery porn. In that sense, I want to liken in to One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest, which is an allegory for communism. Miloš Forman wasn't the only person in the world to experience authoritarianism, just like Vatroslav Mimica wasn't the only person to fight in a war, yet their films hit the mark better than anyone else's. They were able to distill the experience right down to its emotional core, and transplant it to a story that can affect anyone, even if they don't care about the allegory. It appeals to your base instincts, and I know that sounds like something any idiot can do, but it's not. It takes extremely high emotional intelligence, as well as the people skills needed to make sure all the actors are on the same page as you. What do I mean by that? How does that emotional intelligence translate into practice? In two ways.

First, the film is stripped of all fluff. If its goal is to invoke the feeling of being a boy caught in a conflict way way bigger than himself, every element included within it should work to that goal, and that's exactly the case here. We have a story of a village boy and his grandfather going to sell their horse at a fair, and getting mugged on their way back. While the third act isn't as simple, it is still made with the same uncompromising vision. The characters are written as archetypes, with the grandfather representing the pre-war status quo, the hunter representing the madness of war (referred to by Mimica as ''irrational evil''), so on and so forth. The eccentric girl played by 10-year-old Marina Nemet definitely represents something, I'm not sure what to call it, but she is a fascinating character to watch, and fits this story perfectly. Mimica, hot off the heels of his modernist trilogy, had to retool his visual style to fit this more traditional narrative, and he pulled it off effortlessly. The flashy surrealness and strange visual language of Kaja, Ubit ću te is gone, but the strong colour scheme and anxious close-ups ensure this is still unmistakably a Vatroslav Mimica film. Though the influence from Kurosawa shows quite a bit (it is speculated if the fight in the mud was an homage to Rashomon, which Mimica himself stated is one of his favourite films), it resembles Kurosawa in the same sense that Kurosawa resembles John Ford, i.e. not too much and only in good ways.

Second, it has restraint. Those of you who saw my (now disowned) ex-yu movie list know this is the exact reason I liked Armin. Both the script writer and the actors knew what emptions they were supposed to invoke, but they also knew to keep them on a tight leash, trusting you to be smart enough to pick up on them. The blood and killing is given its due buildup, so it feels worth taking seriously. You don't shrug it off as just another bit of movie violence. All the actors are self-controlled and dignified, so you can buy them as living, breathing people, despite (or perhaps because of) them being archetypes. Fahro Konjhodžić, Mimica's son Sergio, and (uncharacteristically) Pavle Vuisić were all good, but Boris Dvornik deserves special mention. Dino's dad was put into a role completely opposite to his usual shtick of pretty-boys and womanizers, and was made into a terrifyingly believable volatile psycho. You see his face on that boat and you just know he's trouble. One of my favourite villains of all time.

I know there might be some suspicion of me shilling some random Croatian movie nobody's ever heard of, you might assume I'm doing it out of corny patriotism, but I would never do that. Sure, that's the reason I know of it, but when I review something I need to look at it with a critical eye, so when I say An Event is a masterpiece, you can be sure I really mean it. An amazing example of allegories, and an amazing example of archetype-based storytelling. It's not every day you see a film that cuts to the meat of things so profoundly.


Tramuzgan 02-09-21 06:40 PM

I gotta say Događaj was my hardest review yet. That film is a real hard nut to crack.

re93animator 02-10-21 05:33 AM

Just discovered this thread. Your reviews are very honest, unpretentious, and make interesting points. I especially like that you wrote that Idiocracy's satire works because it's telling one what not to be like, rather than what to be. I agree.

Not to mention you have good taste. :)

Tramuzgan 04-08-21 08:03 PM

Batman

1989

This is a watch I've been putting off for a long time. I've originally planned it around late 2019, when Scorsese dumped on Marvel movies and people misunderstood it as an attack on superheroes rather than on Disney (or WB, for that matter). Obviously, superhero movies aren't inherently rotten, but has there ever been a superhero movie that you could call ''great cinema''? I'm not in the position to give a definite answer because I haven't seen that many of them, but I'd be glad if there was. So I took the most obvious course of action: Scorsese said he doesn't like these marvel movies because ''they're everything that films of Wes Anderson and co. aren't'', and considering Wes Anderson is just what Tim Burton used to be, that lead me to watch Batman.

Let me clarify one thing right out the gate: this isn't a ''serious movie'', nor does it need to be. Nowadays with all the downloads and streaming, cinema has become one big buffet where there's room for everything, including live-action cartoons. If it does its own thing and does it well, it's always welcome.

So then, what is Batman's ''thing''? What do people most remember it for? Like most Tim Burton movies, it's the aesthetic. Which is weird because it's completely unlike his other films. It has more in common with german expressionist films than it does with Beetlejuice. Gotham is portrayed as a dense, opulent ant colony of a city, just like Metropolis. The richly decorated architecture, crowds dressed in a mix of 30's and 80's fashion, and the tasteful use of smoke make it delightful to look at. The main duo, Batman and Joker, also look like something straight out of an old-school horror movie. I can't help but draw a comparison between this and the more practical, but less expressive Chris Nolan versions. I've always felt like superheroes are better suited for the Tim Burtons and Sam Raimis - directors not aiming for visual realism - and it shows. Whoever did the smile makeup for Jack Nicholson should be given a medal.

I'm more split on the story. There were things I liked: the structure, first of all, feels exactly like something you'd see in an auteur-driven action movie. The three main action scenes play out in the order of Batman vs. Jack Napier, Bruce Wayne vs.Joker, and then it finally comes to Batman vs. Joker. It uses its characters as chess pieces, which is something I'm always for. It's the reason I loved The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and An Event, but Batman uses the alter egos of the characters to put its own twist on the formula. On top of that, I love Jack Nicholson's Joker. He's everything the character should be - as slick and playful as he is insane. He's a villain who does what he does for the lulz. And you can tell Jack had the time of his life portraying him - he effortlessly goes from funny to intimidating with the same flavour of bat**** insanity. That's the third thing I have to point out: this is one of the funniest non-comedies I've ever seen. It uses humour sparingly, but it all comes naturally. There's never that ''pause for the joke'' feeling you get in something like Endgame.

What I don't like about the story is the characterisation of everyone other than Joker. Actually, ''don't like'' isn't accurate, it's more that I'm disappointed by it. Batman, Joker, and their alter-egos form the main chess pieces, while Gotham forms the chess board, and there was potential for a real interesting dynamic between them. Bruce Wayne is shown as socially awkward, and it only makes sense that a guy who grew up with no parents and spends his nights running around in a scary costume would be a bit of a weirdo, but it wasn't taken as far as it should've been. There was potential for an interesting hero, whose crime-fighting aptitude came at a price of his social aptitude, and as such love or friendship. That would've also made the love story with Vicki Vale a way bigger deal. As it is, it feels like something that was put in because Hollywood demanded it. I will say casting Michael Keaton as Bruce was a step in the right direction, as his weird eyebrows and choppy speech pattern give off the vibe I wanted to see. Gotham, likewise, could've been written as a town that has gotten to big and fat for its own good, one you could buy someone would destroy just for the hell of it, but it's only shown near the end, where the Joker's parade throws around big fistfuls of cash and nobody finds it suspicious.

As it stands, you know what Batman feels like? A precursor to the animated series. And I don't mean that as an insult, the animated series is amazing, but it's hard not to be bothered by some of the missed potential here. But what you get in the end is still good entertainment, and it has a unique style that may strike a chord with you, so it's a definite recommendation.

Tramuzgan 04-15-21 09:43 PM

Re: Tramuzgan's shills and rants
 
I updated my review of An Event, I think I've finally done it justice


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