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MovieMeditation’s Diary Reviews // “Come and meditate with me!”

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Well Im sure I have seen far more movies in cinema since I am older
I don't see what that has to do with anything. But obviously, yes.

I don't care for the amount, I just wished I'd seen CoM in the theater... Tree of Life is highest on my wishlist of cinema experiences though.



I don't see what that has to do with anything. But obviously, yes.

I don't care for the amount, I just wished I'd seen CoM in the theater... Tree of Life is highest on my wishlist of cinema experiences though.
its hard to pick my favorite film seen in a theatre... Im sure there are many that just blew me away.. but cant put my finger on one right now...



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
139 .......................... 129

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May 7th

—— 1982 ——
BLADE RUNNER
—— sci-fi ——
EXTENDED REVIEW

REWATCH
"All those moments will be lost in time...
Like tears in rain... Time to die"


Around the time of its release, ‘Blade Runner’ wasn’t at all considered to be the masterpiece that many see it as today. One might wonder, whether it was because it was a film ahead of its time, maybe it had too many layers for people to grasp it all, or perhaps it is due to the enormous amount of revisits to the editing room, which this film has had over the past many years. Personally, I never got to experience the evolution of the film and its story structure and status in science fiction, over the years; when I heard of this film for the first time, it was already considered a classic, and I didn’t bother going chronologically through the past edits, neither did fans of the film find it necessary to do so. It was recommended to just jump straight into the definitive and ultimate edition of the film, which I obviously did, and though finding the film fascinating and quite admirable, I was never fully captured by it – but nonetheless, I certainly understand and respect its status as a groundbreaking and important milestone in the science fiction genre…

Ever since my first watch I have been wondering, whether my opinion might change to such an extent, that I will wholeheartedly love it some day. But surprisingly enough, this rewatch left me feeling the same exact way, as when I first watched it a few years back. That is far from a bad thing though, because I really like the film for a lot of reasons; particularly for its beautifully dark and dystopian depiction of a future world – in which it rains every single second of the day – yet every corner, in every alley, on every block, remains as filthy and nasty as ever. It is impressive world building at its finest, and by comparing every cinematic element the film has to offer, it might actually be its visually creative presentation, which is richest in detail. At this point I bet the dedicated followers of the film – including those so smart they even claim to know if androids really do dream of electric sheep – step in to tell me about all the hidden symbolic layers and philosophical questions that the movie so expertly asks.

And of course I won’t ever deny those claims, because I do indeed think the film raises some interesting questions, while playing around with themes that are both new and old to the genre. Specifically known to the cyberpunk subgenre, we see the clear technological and social difference between the diverse classification of individuals, both human and android, as well as the many assorted areas around this extensive fictional world. I also like the depiction of religious and scientific beliefs, the questions raised about creating and manipulating life, which basically lies within the whole examination of humanity itself, and lastly, the overall paranoia and fear caused by attempting strict control in a world out of control. Many of these things are provocative and extremely well executed, especially the "dueling duo” in focus throughout the story, consisting of Deckard and Batty – both played to absolute perfection by Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, though we shouldn’t forget the fact that it is two wonderfully written characters as well. Roy Batty might also be one of my favorite “villains” of all time, and his last monologue on top of the building lies within the list of my personal favorite quotes of all time…

There is an endless amount of elements to admire in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece, ‘Blade Runner’, and while I don’t rank this as highly in terms of personal favorites or fantastic films, I definitely love a whole lot about the film. Because, admittedly, I do believe it has some pacing issues, and though not downright confusing, the story is a little distanced and fractured a few places throughout. It also gets a little too weird for my taste here and there, which I guess is only part of its charm and undying classification as a very unique piece of work; coming from the minds of countless creative and truly talented people working together. To sum it all up, what I love the most about the film, despite of its post-apocalyptic philosophies and ambitious script, is undoubtedly still the actual world of ‘Blade Runner’. It is such an immersive and breathtaking experience to take on high-flying voyages in and out of the detailed set pieces, guided by extremely impressive cinematography and fascinating characters – not to forgot the absolutely fantastic soundtrack, setting the perfect pitch for the neo-noir space-age presented in this film… My final rating ultimately reflects my own subjective opinion, while a more objective point of view would perhaps award it with another popcorn... But who the hell do objective ratings anyway?


+

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
139 .......................... 129

__________________________


May 8th

—— 2008 ——
RAMBO
—— action ——
REWATCH


Not more than two years prior to this film, we saw Stallone put on his boxing gloves
for one last round in the ring as his famous character, Rocky Balboa


Apparently though, it wasn’t quite enough to revive one iconic character from the past, so with that we receive another round of bullets from war veteran turned rescue hero, John Rambo. This is a violent step-up from previous outings in the franchise, and once again we see Stallone shining a light upon an actual war-related concern in our society. Personally, I don’t like when he does this, because I really can’t take his movies as serious to the extent of a genuine political drama of some kind. It is obvious the film tries so hard to be that, while also being entertaining. But I just see them as pure entertainment – as you should – and often a cheesy one at that too, which therefore makes it rather hard for me to sit through a film that prides itself with a ‘violence-meter’ long past its capacity…

I do laugh at the booming buckets of blood that the film presents me with, but I also find it hard to spot the line and debate whether it is in order to cross it – even if the film does so without hesitating, but if it is all deliberate or not is hard to spot. I have no idea what kind of movie Stallone wants to make here, and truly I don’t care actually. This is pretty bearable standard entertainment, if you can handle all the guts that are literally flying everywhere – either because of people getting shot, knifed, impaled or blown to death. The film is generally beautifully shot, though not always beautifully edited, and it often feels like the film tries too hard to go one way or the other; never quite finding its balance. The ending though, is a perfect send-off to the character, which means, until we apparently get that 5th film in the franchise…




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May 9th

—— 1966 ——
Persona
—— drama ——



Bergman is not an easy director for me to click with,
and it seems like I generally admire and respect his work more than I genuinely love it


I usually end up rating his films quite highly, but that is mostly because I think he does so many things right, cinematically, that even if I don’t actually find it to be truly great in the sense of being a personal favorite, I do think of it in the sense of truly great cinema. He makes some fine films indeed and this one is no exception, though I must say it is a little different than some of his other works. But even with the strange stylistic and artsy approach, this is still so undeniably Bergman.

His style is simply so recognizable, that even when it is covered in something you can easily spot it. In terms of the actual film I really enjoyed it, though I think it became too much towards the end, explaining and double-explaining everything to such an extent that it became a little tiresome. Overall it was a very interesting watch though, and I want to watch it again some day perhaps.


-

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May 10th

—— 1948 ——
Melody Time
—— animation ——
DISNEY CLASSIC no.10


Finally, we are at the very last entry in the unconnected chain of feature films,
consisting of various shorts set to contemporary music


I can’t believe that Disney has made so many unsuccessful feature films in a row, feeling like one long string of leftover work from various artists and conductors who didn’t quite make it big in Hollywood… In all seriousness though, I read that it might have something to do with the second world war, and how it ultimately affected the company and its staff to great extent – even after the war had ended. But that aside, looking at the film itself, it is one giant mess. I think I liked two out of seven shorts, which made up this 72-minute film. And that fact realy makes it appear a lot longer than it really is... Many of the shorts aren’t even good looking either, they seem rushed and amateurish, and even if some of them aren’t exactly that, you mostly get annoyed of the constant change in pace, style, look, sound, feel and so on... So many hands have desperately tried to create something worthy out of all this useless mess, and it just doesn’t work… At least not when you drag the concept for five films in a row…



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Late night writings... Sorry if there are spelling mistakes
or sentences that sound a little off...





MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
146 .......................... 136

__________________________


May 11th

—— 1949 ——
The Adventures of Ichabod
and Mr. Toad

—— animation ——
DISNEY CLASSIC no.11


We may have departed from the damned short compilations of the past,
but only in terms of the quantity of shorts, because this is indeed another mingled interknitting of animated segments


Thankfully though, this is the last of the numerous short collections to spring forward in quite a while. And what is even better so, it only consists of two separate and unconnected stories, which makes it a whole lot easier to obtain a proper overview and get to learn and understand the characters. I really hated how the past package films sprung from one short to the next, without you ever getting comfortable with a particular story, before the film had already moved along to a new one. Sometimes it did in fact work, but most of the time I was either annoyed that they went on for too little or too long, all the while my final impression of the films was ultimately clouded because of the change in pace, style, story, quantity and not the least, quality.

Because this is an evenly split double feature, with only two separate stories working as their own individual animated short, you have plenty of time to learn about the universe and characters before moving on to the next one. Furthermore, the overall quality of both these shorts seems to be remarkably heighted in comparison to previous outings. Not that each of the shorts are masterpieces in any way, but Disney somehow seems more focused and the animation has better detail and personality this time around as well. And on a more clarifying note, since we have the pleasure of experiencing one of the most acclaimed classics from Disney’s colossal catalogue, ‘Cinderella’, shortly after this film has been released, it should be quite clear that the studio is finally back on track – with ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’ acting as the firm foundation for future films to come.

There is no doubt in my mind, about which of these shorts is the best. That is undoubtedly the opening short, which has been inspired by ‘The Wind in the Willows’, and centers on the owner of Toad Hall, a very careless individual who goes by the name of J. Thaddeus Toad, who unfortunately get himself into some very deep trouble when he tries to get his hands on a very mesmerizing motorcar. This short has a wide collection of interesting characters, and the story is very different from other animated films I have seen. It is this bizarre blend of a court drama, a rescue mission, a chase movie, and ultimately a break-in slash property obtaining escape extravaganza. Sounds like a lot to take in? It actually isn’t, and this short works extremely well for what it sets out to accomplish.

As for the other short though, the one loosely based on ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hallow’, falls extremely short beside its much greater companion. It centers on the curious schoolteacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, and some kind of weird love story that isn’t even constantly present in the film, but instead it switches between a character study and a disappointing execution of what you would think this short would be about – the actual Sleepy Hollow myth. But unfortunately, the legend doesn’t get explored until the final minutes of the film, with an approximated screen time of only four minutes from our ghoulish horse-riding friend with the peculiar pumpkin headwear… And that is ultimately why I can’t award this film with more half a score – actually a tiny bit below that – mainly because of the first short not being perfect, and the second one being so bad it hurts. I somehow notice there are many fans of the second short, which is something I can’t really understand at all.


+

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
146 .......................... 136

__________________________


May 12th

—— 1950 ——
Cinderella
—— animation ——
DISNEY CLASSIC no.12

REWATCH
Dear old Disney returns to form, in what can only be dubbed
as the most magical and majestic movie since their first feature length film!


‘Snow White’ completely changed the style and status of animation back when it was released, and if it hadn’t been for the sudden outbreak of world war two, we had never seen Disney fall so far down the ladder of success, which they unfortunately did, and eventually had to compromise to keep the business going. This resulted in some very mediocre and muddled short compilations, which varied in both style and quality. You were perhaps starting to wonder, even despite of all that happened, was Disney loosing their flair for creating beautiful and magical animation? It didn’t take very long before that question was crushed by one hell of a comeback from the studio, with the magnificent ‘Cinderella’…

The comparison of Disney’s first ever feature length picture wasn’t at all a bad idea, because it is quite surprising how similar they are. Just by judging from the very opening of the film, we see Cinderella waking up in the company of several different animals. Of course, animals have always been a prominent part of Disney’s signature style, but the way these are presented, in an almost surreal and sugar-sweet kind of way, definitely brings back the dear memories from ‘Snow White’ and her love for nature and all its beings. But it is this exact element, which I love so very much about this film, how everything is just so mesmerizing and magical – yet all this beauty seem to spring right out of the every-day life of an ordinary women. Even the settings are very minimal, and the way Disney brings enough emotions forward – which will both excite and enlighten the audience – is by visually and physiologically construct them. What I mean by that is, the audience is never in doubt what the film is trying to present them with; even just by glancing over the appearance and behavior of each character, you already know them before they have even opened their mouths. You can so easily relate to the character of Cinderella, especially because her situation is so expertly presented to us. You know how she feels when she is stressed out preparing the morning’s breakfast or cleaning the entire house, and you most certainly know how she feels when she has her hopes crushed by her evil stepmother and daughters.

You could say that this is all typical Disney and ultimately some very basic knowledge in the world of cinema, but the way ‘Cinderella’ feels throughout you just cannot beat. It is full of great scenes, fun characters and a wide arrange of musical numbers and beautiful visual backdrops. The story in the film has a way; of taking the smaller elements and make them seem like a lot more than they really are. Sometimes, it even feels as if Disney creates excitement and magic out of thin air… This is basically a small story, and yet it feels grand in scale, while never actually being over-bloated or too fast-paced for its own good. It has that perfect balance of a classic and magical story, spiced up with Disney signature animation, which seems to shine better than ever in this film – even more than 65 years later! This is definitely one of Disney’s finest hours and a certainly also great accomplishment in animation cinema overall.


-

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Cinderella is one of the best loved fairy tales... Disney did a great job back in the 1950s with this.. it still stands the hands of time.

(I really wanted to post the video of the work song)



I have to return some videotapes.
Love the original Cinderella, it might be even better compared to these last few i've seen that were just so bad. One was with Drew Barrymore and the other with Hillary Duff :\



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
149 .......................... 139

__________________________


May 13th

—— 2007 ——
DEATH
PROOF

—— thriller ——
REWATCH

commentary with Swan
"Remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you really need to be sitting in my seat."

Quentin Tarantino has changed a whole lot since he dedicated his craft to classic crime thrillers, though always with that extra-added essence of a very curious and distinctive dialogue, in which Tarantino could make complete nonsense sound like beautifully orchestrated art. But ever since the release of ‘Kill Bill’ volumes one and two, he has truly turned his style of filmmaking inside out, showing every heartstring attached to his appetite for old exploitation, bloody samurai flicks and classic westerns. For a man, who still has his heart in cinema and appreciate the authenticity of true filmmaking, these genre films are more than just great sections in cinema. They should be viewed in their correct form to be enjoyed and appreciated to the fullest, and this is where the phenomenon of “grindhouse cinema” enters the stage…

Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino come together once again, to bring back the atmospheric and characteristic viewing experience of yesterday, to the audiences of the 21st century. This dynamic duo quite literally restore the grindhouse picture show, by giving the modern day audience a three hour long movie theater experience of the 70s – all the way down to cheesy film trailers and filthy worn out prints, looking as scratched and used up as the old movie reels circulating cinemas back in the days. Rodriguez reinstated the B-movie badassery of the ever-popular zombie genre, while Tarantino took on the exploitation genre with the pedal through the medal, recreating the muscle car subgenre of the good ol’ 70s… Rodriguez’ ‘Planet Terror’ got a lot of attention for being an addictive over-the-top hell ride with the entertainment-level through the roof, all the while Tarantino’s offer was overshadowed a bit more than it should have been.

The mental zombie madness of ‘Planet Terror’ was indeed an acceptable addition to the grindhouse experiment, but ‘Death Proof’ was far from merely being a turbo-fueled tryout for a genre long gone. It was a genuine exploitation flick from the 1970s, made by a man whose heart beats for the unbeatable exploitation exosphere extravaganza. Tarantino’s endless love for grindhouse cinema has spawned a picture-perfect copy of the scratched up exploitation reels, coming from the dirty old floors of the local trivial cinemas. Because, even though we are constantly witnesses to various directors trying to pull off different time periods that are no longer of existence, we rarely ever see such an authentic example of a genre (almost) impossible to replicate. How in the world do you duplicate what is essentially a very complete period-orientated movie-going experience? The short answer to that question is: you don’t. Well, unless you are Quentin Tarantino of course…

‘Death Proof’ is a very unique experience that you have to see to believe. But if you are unfamiliar with the old exploitation films you might be left wondering what the hell is up with this mediocre crap, coming from a director of such great talent. What was he thinking while making this movie, you may wonder. Honestly, I don’t believe he worked on this project with his brain as much as he did with his heart, and perhaps this film is actually the closest you will ever get to witness the complete expanded talent of this particular director. Tarantino is a master cinema copycat, everybody knows that, but it takes extraordinary talent to copy and paste a 70s movie into the 21st century without anyone batting an eye in terms of exploitative presentation. It simply looks and feels right, and yet so very wrong at the same time. There aren’t many who will be able to appreciate this kind of movie being made next to today’s cinema standards, and for those who are unable to see the film for what it wants to be, this will be nothing but a dull and empty experience. But for everyone else though, this is a total blast from start to finish – full of genuine gasoline greatness, motorcar mayhem, worn out visuals, dated soundtrack and of course several frames of feet – all crammed into several feet of frames! It is exploitation heaven!




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‘Death Proof’ is a very unique experience that you have to see to believe. But if you are unfamiliar with the old exploitation films you might be left wondering what the hell is up with this mediocre crap, coming from a director of such great talent.
You see, I hear this a lot. An average film that people hate because they don't get it as an homage film to exploitation cinema.

I have barely watched any exploitation cinema, especially compared to some users on here, but I think Death Proof is a great film in it's own right. Not because it shows his love for these old films, although it does, but because it's awesome in it's own right, dark and dirty, funny, great dialogue, great music, and great performances. I'm also one of the few that prefers the first half to the second.

When I watched it I was left a little confused why some people are so eager to dismiss it, and how they didn't enjoy it. It's Tarantino through and through, and it's a whole lot of fun, I'm not sure what's so different about it, to be honest.
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You see, I hear this a lot. An average film that people hate because they don't get it as an homage film to exploitation cinema.

I have barely watched any exploitation cinema, especially compared to some users on here, but I think Death Proof is a great film in it's own right. Not because it shows his love for these old films, although it does, but because it's awesome in it's own right, dark and dirty, funny, great dialogue, great music, and great performances. I'm also one of the few that prefers the first half to the second.

When I watched it I was left a little confused why some people are so eager to dismiss it, and how they didn't enjoy it. It's Tarantino through and through, and it's a whole lot of fun, I'm not sure what's so different about it, to be honest.
Honestly, I haven't watched much of it either, but I didn't say that was the only reason you would ever enjoy the film, if you were a die hard fan. I also said, that you simply had to be familiar with it, whether in it's because you have watched a lot of exploitation or because you know of the genre.

I'm glad you are one of those who enjoyed it despite of all, but I see many many people say that they thought it was bad because of this and this, and then mentioning a whole lot of elements that are very common to that of exploitation cinema. I can't get down to every person's individual feelings in my reviews, so sometimes I just got to point out the obvious, which seemed to be unnecessarily hate because of the way it looked and felt. Because as you say, it is still so much Tarantino in terms of dialogue and all, but many people have a hard time spotting everything because it is packaged in this special kind of atmosphere and style that exploitation can bring to the table.



I'm not aiming this at anyone here, but if you can't identify this as a Tarantino film, then you ain't been listening.
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5-time MoFo Award winner.



The chase scenes in Death Proof are awesome, I like that Tarantino worked as cinematographer.

I think, aside from Pulp Fiction of course, Death Proof has perhaps the best Tarantino soundtrack.
Better than Inglourious Basterds? No way man!



I feel like Inglorious Basterds was the kind of film that needed a proper score, which Tarantino seems afraid about doing. With Death Proof, his compiling of past songs from various sources really seemed to work.



I liked the score in Inglourious a lot, but compared to Death Proof I feel like the latter is more diverse, but I guess both fit their respective periods quite well. I would have to refresh IB though, as it has been a long time since I've last seen it.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
150 .......................... 140

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May 14th

—— 1925 ——
SEVEN
CHANCES

—— comedy ——



Ever since I watched my first ever Keaton
I have been eager to check out his other works


I truly treasured The General, while Sherlock Jr. was also extremely good, and unfortunately, Steamboat Bill Jr. was a bit of a let down for me. But nevertheless, I loved his work every time it when at its very best, and furthermore, I also wanted to widen my knowledge on him and his filmography, so I could justly compare him to another great silent, Chaplin.

But actually though, after I had watched The General I actually said to myself I would never compare the two. But of course this is mostly for the fun of it, since they are both quite similar in the kind of style and comedy they aim for, as well as their great reputation in cinema history – especially the silent era. But at this point in the filmography of both these greats, I will say Chaplin takes really the crown for me. I think his works are way more solid overall, and even the lesser Chaplin’s are much better than the lesser Keaton’s. But of course, when Keaton is at his best the two of them really show their different strengths, while using similar styles; it is actually really interesting to put both of these actors in the Limelight (see what I did there?). But anyways, when they are both on their high-point, they are incomparable to me, though overall I think Chaplin is greater, and his works also feel a lot more impactful, with some great social commentaries in between… But holy Mother of God, I really didn't intend to turn this Keaton review into a Chaplin rave. I'm very sorry for that, so here we go with the actual review...

I’m just going to say this right off the bat, this isn't Keaton at his very best. Most of the time, it feels very much like him just going on autopilot, at least right up until the last few minutes, where the film does pick up a bit. But before then, it is basically just Keaton acting as useless and as shy as ever and not being able to do anything at all, which results in a mixed bag of laughs. There are some very fun segments in between it all, but it does grow a little bit tiresome after a while. You have simply had enough of Keaton's ways of trying to marry a girl or even just talk to one. But when more than half of the film has passed, and him and his shy clumsiness eventually causes some major problems, the movie turns into a high speed chase through towns, fields, construction places and mountain sides – being chased by no other than a thousand brides (yes I totally counted them), who are all running after him because of being made to look like total fools. Here he gets to show off his classic blend of crazy inventive stunts and comedic relief. I must admit though, that some elements are drawn out too far, even in these scenes too, but mostly it works really great. I just don't think the movie used its full potenial, but still, I had a fairly good time - even though as a complete movie experience, this feels kind of dull to me.




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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
160 .......................... 149

__________________________


May 15th

—— 2015 ——
MAD MAX
FURY ROAD

—— action ——



"My name is Max...
my world is fire... and blood."


When it comes down to the three original films from the mad world of Max Rockatansky, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a major fan, though I still consider the second film a total blast, and definitely my favorite from the franchise as well. I love ‘The Road Warrior’ for many reasons, but apart from the apocalyptic apathetic desert-world crafted and constructed from the mental mind of director George Miller, there is no doubt in my mind that the last manic minutes of the film is what truly makes “the waiting worth it”. Raising the bar for action-heavy annihilation and shifting the gears for desert-destructive demolition, this chase sequence deserves its spot as one of the best and most respected action set pieces ever put to film. So why even hesitate about crafting an entire full-length feature purely consisting of an extended explosive chase-sequence, while turning a winning element into full-blown vehicular vanity? But one may wonder if George Miller can actually master a two-hour chase through the desert without any dull parts?

Surprisingly enough, he pretty much brings this movie home in almost perfect condition, after it has been soaked in gasoline and subsequently motor-mutilated for two total hours of complete cinematic lunacy. The characters, costumes and set designs are soaring with distinctive personality, and the adrenaline-fueled action scenes are done with old school mentality but adapted to new school standards. It works extraordinarily well for most of the time, but cutting it just by half an hour or so, this would have been a much tighter and more intensely constructed film. Because even for all the entertaining madness you can’t help but feel a bit stuffed after a while, and especially the middle part struggles to stay relevant and interesting – mostly because the subpar dialogue and hit or miss characters are for the first time fully exposed to the audience, without hiding behind any explosions or crazy car crashes. But I have to say that definitely enjoy the underlying themes and post-apocalyptic messages in the movie, but the actual characters and lazy writing doesn’t impress me much. Only the character of Furiousa is explored to a fairly satisfying level of compassion and relevance, while also being expertly brought to live by a fantastic Charlize Theron.

Basically, I think that the first and the last 20 minutes of the film are the best, while everything in between goes up and down in quality but still manages to hold it together without coming to a complete halt. As I said, it is the gritty and yet colorful universe of ‘Mad Max’ that makes this textbook journey from A to B a whole lot of fun, and some of the action in this film is both groundbreaking and beautifully executed. Overall, I wouldn’t call the film a decade defining masterpiece, which is the current and somewhat exaggerated expression circulating the Internet these days, though in terms of pure action excellence and wonderfully weird world building, this might contend as being just that. I definitely would rather want to witness this kind of nonsensical action, than the computer-generated kind of today’s mainstream cinema…


+

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
160 .......................... 149

__________________________


May 16th

—— 2003 ——
MONSTER
—— drama ——
EXTENDED REVIEW


This is a film I have been meaning to watch for such a long time
but I haven't always been aware of what a gritty true-life story this actually was


And to be completely honest, for a long time I had the impression that this was some kind of hillbilly monster flick judging from the simple one-word title and bland simplistic poster. What eventually fueled me to finally watch the movie was when I returned home from a screening of the new ‘Mad Max’. Charlize Theron delivered one hell of a fiery performance in my opinion with her strong feminine character, Furiousa. And though her character in that was trimmed down to bare-bones-badassery, you still never felt like getting completely under her skin – at least not in terms of stripping down the actual actor. But in the film of today’s review, Theron is coming cleaner than ever, looking dirtier and filthier than ever…

After dusting this off as a Texas creature feature at first, I obviously had no idea how this film was actually going to turn out. My only true encounter with the actual story came from nothing more than a short synopsis of the film, so my expectations were rather low before watching it. But holy crap what a major huge surprise this turned out to be. I wasn't at all prepared for a cinematic approach so touching and emotionally devastating, as this was, especially not packed inside such a down-toned drama story. You would expect a film about a notorious serial killer to maybe blow things a bit out of proportions, but it never departed from its humanistic core, which was something I really liked about it. Occasionally, it might have played the strings of sentimentalism, but the film manages to do so without leaving me overly annoyed or cheaply manipulated. I honestly felt like the film deserved every bit of emotion, which it was expertly pushing towards its audience in the end, because all of it was earned up to that point. This wasn’t some sort of cowardly move from a director who struggled to leave us with a memorable impression – this was a genuine pay-off to a touching and well-balanced story, and I couldn’t be more impressed and happy with it.

But of course, where would this film be without its two extraordinary leads? Charlize Theron is completely unrecognizable as the homeless hillbilly, Aileen, who is a prostitute turned serial killer on a hitchhiking revenge rampage. When an actor or actress can disappear completely into a role in such a manner, that you see only the character and not the person portraying the character, then you know it is a winner. But Theron does more than simply move around with some minor gestures or lays all her effort in only one aspect. She completely changes everything from her acting, to her appearance and even her accent, and essentially turns the tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ independently on herself. The amount of courage and professionalism that it takes to show so much of her own self, while also being a totally different person, and doing so at the same time, is almost unbelievable. But despite this decade-defining performance from Charlize Theron, I feel like her partner in crime, Christina Ricci, is just as amazing at playing the innocent and confused lesbian youngling on a downward spiral to self-destruction. The performance given here by Ricci may have been overshined enormously by the glorious celebration of Theron’s no-make-up makeover, but personally I think she reaches the same heights playing Selby, though in a different area, than prostitute turned predator, Aileen. They are different kind of characters but equally acted to perfection.

I must say I admire the warm humanistic take on what could seem like a cruel cold-blooded story. Throughout the film we really get to understand Aileen’s motivations and twisted view on society and the people who live in it. The main focal point is on the characters rather than their actions, and I really liked that. And I’m not just talking the destructive duo in the middle of it all; I’m thinking of every last character that we ever see on screen. Even those who only receive two minutes of total screen time still manage to be memorable because of a combination of good writing and directing. Even the pathetic “John’s” with a patronizing persona or low self-esteem comes off as sympathetic or in some way comprehensible. You have to agree, that this is quite an achievement. But of course, once again it all comes back to the director’s firm insistency in creating something that is both humanizing and wholeheartedly honest. It isn’t a cheap and silly showcase of neither violence nor dramatized gibberish, but it is most certainly a showcase for some damn fine acting. Director Patty Jenkins certainly has a lot going for her in terms of making a great film here, but without the skill of her two main characters in particular, this film would never have been as memorable as it ultimately ended up becoming. But I can definitely say that for the acting alone, this film is worth watching, so in reality the rest of the film could be some subpar muddle and it would still be an almost obligatory watch in my opinion…


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