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

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I don't think I've seen this since it came out, but the two performances were fantastic and I was very pleased (thought not surprised) to see Theron get the Oscar for this. Like you, while Theron is the star turn, I think Ricci's performance is the equal to it, if not better.

A few recommendations, if I may. Firstly, Nick Broomfield's two films about Wuornos. The first is Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992) (which was why I was well aware of who this woman was) and his follow up a decade later, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003), which came out the same year as Monster.

I used to really like Ricci's work and, if you've not seen them I think it might be worth you trying Buffalo '66, The Ice Storm and Opposite Of Sex.
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5-time MoFo Award winner.



Many thanks for that very descriptive write-up, honeykid! I will definitely check out the two documentaries about Aileen, her story is very interesting to me and I would love to know more of the actual true story...

And thanks for the recommendations on Ricci's work, I'm definitely interested in checking more of her acting out after this. And I'm glad you saw how amazing she was as well, since so many seem to overlook her performance. Thanks for reading my reviews and always checking in here, honeykid, I really appreciate it!



I remember my last reviewing of Monster because a pretty intense experience. I became entranced by the film. Great stuff.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
162 .......................... 151

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May 17th

—— 2014 ——
PADDINGTON
—— family ——



This is a fun little harmless adventure for the whole family, and it is hard to really hate on it
or find it to be anything less than at least bearable


The timeless tales of Paddington the marmalade-munching bear receives a modern makeover, but without ever damaging the kindhearted spirit of its British roots. The bear of the hour finds himself without a home, and must travel all the way to London, which he has heard so many great things about. I really like how this story feels like something completely new and yet also with a continuous narrative from the stories that made the little bear in blue and red so universally beloved…

But if I had to point out one flaw, then it would be the fact that it is a little too sterile and fluffy-puffy-pathetic at times, occasionally aiming awfully low in humor and heart, in the hopes of making the smallest of viewers ever so happy. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely some adult inside jokes to be enjoyed and the classic British humor is prominently present throughout, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a little too sugar sweet for its own good. The problem with that is that you can’t really hate the movie for being terribly cute or immaturely innocent, but still you can get rather annoyed by it sometimes – especially when combined with the total miscast of Nicole Kidman, who overplays her part so much that you would think she researched every bad children’s film ever made, before taking on the role. Thankfully, the rest of the cast is great, and with plenty of British talent to make the story of ‘Paddington’ feel at home.

If you can get past the sweetened layer of thickened sugary marmalade, there is a great and warm atmosphere here to enjoy for all ages, and this is definitely also the strongest part of the film. Actually, it was quite a surprise that the film is also rather stylistically made, and many scenes are handled with a firmly controlled directorial hand. This also helps to cover up for the same old themes and tiring stories with stuffed animal cruelty, and with a typical villain acting in a typical manner, but as I said this film still manages to feel fresh and original despite some old recipes.




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I have little interest in seeing Paddington (mainly as I didn't like the 'look' of the trailer) but I'm sure I'll see it on TV one day and, hopefully, enjoy it.

Really I'm just commenting because I appreciated the pun in the sub-heading.



Really I'm just commenting because I appreciated the pun in the sub-heading.
Haha, that's the best thing about writing reviews. When you have the freedom to create both clever and overly stupid puns, word plays, synonyms etc.

But yeah, I'm pretty sure you'll have a decent time, there is a lot to have fun with, but it is not as good as many make it out to be, in my opinion.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
175 .......................... 164

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May 18th

—— 2003 ——
KILL BILL
vol. 1
—— action ——
REWATCH


After six silent years of cinematic comatose,
Quentin Tarantino puts his bloody fingerprint back on the big screen!


After messing around with the criminal underworld for a good while, Tarantino now reaches deeper into the trench coat, past the gun and the wallet that says “bad motherf*cker” on it, and all the way inside the heart… and past that precious passion for feet and speaking the n-word in public, he finds a little something called “loving memories”, which among other things contains a deep love for cinema. But it has to be said though, that it isn’t just any kind of cinema – it is old violent Japanese high-flying samurai flicks!

With ‘Kill Bill vol. 1’ it seems like Quentin Tarantino delivers his most personal movie yet, which also means that he will leave some fans behind with this one. I wouldn’t necessarily say he has been restraining himself up until now, but still you can feel that he lets everything go with this film, not giving a care in the world whether or not people like to watch blood fly thirty feet high up in the air. But despite being loony and ludicrous in his passion portrayals on screen, he still delivers it all in expert manner; whether it is the script, the directing or the soundtrack that has its focus. This film simply works because it is a hand-crafted heaven for people who appreciate the art of cinema, though it obviously won’t fall in everyone’s taste either way, but despite being neither fan nor familiar with the particular Japanese subgenre that Tarantino is putting on screen, I can still love and appreciate it because he so persistently does himself. It is almost impossible not to get carried away with this film, simply because the level of skill is so massive and the vision so broad. I’m sold by the first minute.

With that said, there is a few places where the positives kind of collide with the negatives, since the constant pampering of passionate filmmaking can be exhausting and the self-indulgence can make you feel like an overstuffed turkey. But honestly, it isn’t a criticism that cuts too deep in the overall experience for me, which ultimately feels like part of the overall involvement with this kung fu craziness anyways…




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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
176 .......................... 165

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May 19th

—— 1962 ——
HARAKIRI
—— drama ——



Definitely one of my most anticipated watches for the 1960s,
while also being a long awaited viewing in the general sense of the word


I have wanted to watch it for quite some time, but I was always a little afraid to dive into it and finding out I was not in the mood or that it wouldn’t live up to its reputation. Even though I had an urge to experience this supposed masterpiece, I eventually chose to read as little as possible about it, hoping that this tactic would bring me the most complete experience imaginable…

I must say the film definitely took me by surprise, neither in a negative nor positive way, but somewhere in between. I obviously couldn’t predict what the film would essentially be about, now when I determinately decided to keep my eyes and ears shut for so long, almost turning to hara-kiri myself because of the agonizing anticipation. If anything, my main expectations were more action orientated than drama dominated, that is for sure... I wasn’t at all expecting this film to feel like a long walk to meet one’s maker, and quite literally so, while debating all sorts of old traditional ways of life in Japanese culture. In the film, the ancient morals of the samurai regime are put to the test, wherein the very honor and morality of being a samurai are questioned to uncertainty. The film works as a very interesting view on these things, as well as the basic foundation of a human being – whether samurai or not. I was staggered by the storytelling used in this film, how it grew out from those previously mentioned elements, and how it was essentially told over very little time. Just as the samurai in question began to tell his story, the understanding behind it all didn’t just become clear to the fictional spectators, but also to the filmic ones. We, as an audience, learned and understood the characters in the film as the story progressed, while our own partial judgments almost subsisted within the movie. We were the hangmen. In a story we hadn’t even gotten the hang of yet.

If I were to complain about anything in this film, it would be rather hard to do. There is no doubt that this is masterful filmmaking at its finest, but I still have a few nitpicks I want to point out. Even though I was previously praising the prolonging evolvement of a fairly simplistic tale, I still think the story could have been shortened slightly and felt all the more impactful for it. I was never actually bored during the film, but I felt like some segments were dragged and certain morals repeated. With that said, I still found it astounding how the film seemed to constantly reinvent itself and recreate the tension you believed to be lost for a split-second. In the end, it continuously managed to pick up just when it needed to; spilling out new information when it was required the most; exactly how the main character spoke for his own life during the film. The final battle was much anticipated, but I ultimately felt a bit underwhelmed. I did enjoy the one-on-one fight quite a lot though. Ultimately, it doesn’t change the overall impact of the film, which I still find rather amazing. Will ever feel perfect? That a rewatch has to decide...






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cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Nice review of Harakiri! I like it a bit more than you, but I agree with most everything you said. Make sure to copy the review into the Hall of Fame thread!



Nice review of Harakiri! I like it a bit more than you, but I agree with most everything you said. Make sure to copy the review into the Hall of Fame thread!
Thanks cricket, I appreciate that a lot. Love that you're a "frequent guest" in my threads and many thanks for checking in once again reading my works!

I actually left out the '+', but I can tell you it was very close to a 4.5, I just want to watch it again before I decide. Usually I don't throw around with 4.5's and 5's too much unless I feel confident, and this one caught me off guard. Therefore, I found it a little harder to rate it, but most importantly it's a great film, so F the rating.

I will repost the review in the HoF thread tomorrow, gotta go to bed now, it's late as hell right now! lol



And today it happened.

On Wednesday June 17th my close to half a year movie-a-day has been put to rest. It's unfortunate that it had to happen, but I must admit I kind of feel relieved from any kind of pressure or tight schedules...

You have probably already spotted that I have fallen about a month behind on my updates in this thread, and my reasoning for quitting has simply been due to health problems. It shouldn't be anything too serious, hopefully, but it has definitely distracted me greatly these last few days, or actually about 2-3 weeks, where I found it hard to concentrate and sit still while watching movies. My thoughts were always somwhere else and my last few watches have been desperate findings of shorter films to quickly get it over with late in the evening... That isn't how it should be. It should be fun, and it definitely was for all these months, but when my mind and body isn't at 100% I can't keep forcing myself to watch movies when I really don't feel like it. I think I kept it going for over a week more than I planned, just to see how it went, but ultimately the answer became clearer by every day: no more.

So thank you for following my thread where I will STILL be doing UPDATES on my movie watching habits, but now I'm free from being obligiated to watch one movie per day. I obviously have a lot of catching up to do in terms of reviews, but I will slowly move forward and continue to post reviews of movies I watch, whenever I feel like it.

Thank you to all who have been checking in, and I hope you will continue to do so.

- MM



And today it happened.

On Wednesday June 17th my close to half a year movie-a-day has been put to rest. It's unfortunate that it had to happen, but I must admit I kind of feel relieved from any kind of pressure or tight schedules...

You have probably already spotted that I have fallen about a month behind on my updates in this thread, and my reasoning for quitting has simply been due to health problems. It shouldn't be anything too serious, hopefully, but it has definitely distracted me greatly these last few days, or actually about 2-3 weeks, where I found it hard to concentrate and sit still while watching movies. My thoughts were always somwhere else and my last few watches have been desperate findings of shorter films to quickly get it over with late in the evening... That isn't how it should be. It should be fun, and it definitely was for all these months, but when my mind and body isn't at 100% I can't keep forcing myself to watch movies when I really don't feel like it. I think I kept it going for over a week more than I planned, just to see how it went, but ultimately the answer became clearer by every day: no more.

So thank you for following my thread where I will STILL be doing UPDATES on my movie watching habits, but now I'm free from being obligiated to watch one movie per day. I obviously have a lot of catching up to do in terms of reviews, but I will slowly move forward and continue to post reviews of movies I watch, whenever I feel like it.

Thank you to all who have been checking in, and I hope you will continue to do so.

- MM

I hope all works out MM, you are a buddy of mine and I care about ya!


En ven er en, der ved alt om dig og stadig elsker dig .

(I hope that translated correctly!)



Don't worry about it, MM. My mental health issues are the main reason I don't watch films often anymore. Even ones I want to see. Hope things improve with you soon.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
178 .......................... 173

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May 20th

—— 2004 ——
KILL BILL
vol. 2
—— drama ——
REWATCH


Quentin Tarantino’s finishes his turbulent two-part tribute to the forgotten times
of blood-spattered samurai surrealism, with a much calmer and more controlled second half


After the foot-fetish-filled director confidently crossed buckets of blood off his bucket list during the first film, he now dives deeper into the plenteous pools of blood to find out why they are there to begin with. Volume one delivers the message of revenge in black and white, literally, for the audience to understand her vengeful voyage, while volume two paints the story in more piercing and vibrant colors. We actually get to understand and learn about the character of The Bride, instead of distantly observing her ferocious façade through a revenge-filled rampage, while slitting and splitting through every renegade responsible...

But in terms of the visual wonders though, it is actually the other way around. Just like a painting, it is the first volume, which acts as the flashy foreground that catches your eye, while the second volume is the deeper lines laying behind all the colorful artistry, which ultimately makes you linger more in the overall artwork. Volume two definitely “shows off” several places throughout, but it never feels too obvious or too much, in terms of presentation and cinematic homage. I also feel like the fun lies within the script during the second film, while volume one had all the fun on the surface. But thankfully, all the gushing veins wasn’t at all done in vain, because the second film picks up on this aspect. All the blood spilled in the first is now being examined in the second, and slowly washing away the blood begins to reveal what The Bride, or Beatrix Kiddo, is actually hiding underneath. Why was she so superior with a samurai sword, when did she meet Bill and who are the other four people making out the rest of her carefully selected death list?

As I pointed out earlier, the dialogue in this film is absolutely tremendous, and also the main reason why this is my favorite film from Tarantino’s phenomenal filmography. Yes, you read that right. Out of all his well-respected films, this is the one that hits the spot for me. Despite the many flaws of the first film, this one somehow plays out completely different and succeeds in almost every way. With a script that sparkles with high-spirited energy; a directorial approach learning towards the golden era of westerns; uniquely crafted multi-layered characters played by some amazing actors, and last but not least, amazing dialogue! Oh wait, I already said that a few times right? But hey, it's true… On top of that, everything is laid out within some very memorable scenes, which all leads up to a fantastic final act, which might be the best use of an anti-climatic ending that I have ever seen. The whole bloody affair of ‘Kill Bill’ is a picture-perfect "portrayal of betrayal", which as a whole is an amazing experience; but the second volume beats out the first by several miles in my opinion. On the other hand, if you want full-blown entertainment volume one will deliver that and more to you, while the second is just masterful filmmaking at its finest!




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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
179 .......................... 186

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May 21st

—— 2003 ——
BASIC
—— thriller ——



Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta join forces
in a film where they barely even interact...


I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from this film, but for some reason I have wanted to watch it for quite some time. Basically, I think it all comes from the period in time where I was looking for those unpredictable twist endings, and this was supposed to have exactly that. But for the twist to work, the actual film has to work on its own first, which is often a problem with these films – they often rely way too much on the twist. I guess both the film and its twist worked with this film, but I wasn’t a fan of either…

This film truly is ‘basic entertainment’ at its lowest laughable level, not really passable for much more than mediocre moviemaking, following the same plotlines and plotholes without ever coming to a constructive conclusion, or having us twisting and turning in our seats under way like the so-called twist they are trying to build towards. ‘Basic’ constantly plays on being super intelligent and having this big mystery that needs solving, but everything just comes off as so muddled and monotone that you don’t even care about it. And not only are the actors playing roles that are so inflated and tedious that you almost get annoyed at how formulaic everything is, but even the actors themselves don’t seem to be enjoying their stay much, at least not in terms of acting out something exciting or revolutionary. It is quite clear to see why Jackson and Travolta was cast in these roles – simply because they have done them twenty times over already. What looked like culminating capacities of colossal acting capability on the poster, turned to a tedious and tiresome textbook treatment of otherwise great talents. At times, such subpar character development can be quite the fun, if the actors just play around with the material a little bit. But they have simply worn out these cliché characters so much by now, that it doesn’t feel like much fun anymore – neither for us or them.

As hinted earlier, this film is not of those I would shut off in a second or one of those I downright despise after watching it, but it is so routine-like that I simply don’t care for what is being said or done throughout. When a new plot point is revealed I don’t care, and the big mystery I couldn’t care less about either – especially since the base of it was rather predictable, while everything around it is a giant mess. This is actually a hard film to hate and rate if I have to be honest. It is one of those films that you can easily watch without hating yourself afterwards, but there isn’t anything memorable or new about it either. It is as stiff and as stupid as it gets, but still just about watchable.




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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
179 .......................... 186

__________________________


May 22nd

—— 1951 ——
ALICE IN
WONDERLAND

—— animation ——
DISNEY CLASSIC no.13


I’m fairly certain this counts as my first ever wander through wonderland,
though I do remember having the Disney-versioned book read aloud when I was a kid


Even though the book had fitting stills from the film, it is far from the same, and the total runtime clocking in at seventy-five minutes couldn’t be pressed into the pages of the book in its entirety either. I have seen Burton’s version, which doesn’t really resemble the classic tale in the best way possible, and then I remember something about a short story based on the original book as well. So it is safe to say that I’m as crazily confused as The Mad Hatter, when it comes to finding heads and tails in this whirlwind of wonderlands, that my expectations felt just as bewildered as Alice herself walking through the unknown of a faraway fantasyland…

Unfortunately, I wasn’t really as impressed with this film as I hoped to be. I definitely know just how beloved this catalogue classic from Disney has become over the years, probably even since its release, but the style of the film was simply a beat I couldn’t dance to. Of course I know it is supposed to be purposely off-beat oddity, but I didn’t feel like it was the kind I enjoyed watching. It was weird just for the sake of it, while the animators seemed to have been given full freedom to create chaos, which comes of as very incoherent and outbalanced in a few places. Once again, it is obviously meant to be a crazy world and I must admit the the animation itself is sometimes absolutely stunning and constantly creative. But it isn’t every set piece and every character that feels followed through. I really enjoyed the flower scene for example, while the twins annoyed the living hell out of me.

In the end this is a beautifully done animated film, with great revolutionary animation from Disney, but the world of wonderland can be a little too exhausting and exasperating to be lost in for too long. I kind of wished the film itself had the tempo of the waistcoat-wearing white rabbit, who is always rapidly running late, instead of the slothful hookah-smoking caterpillar, who is conversing in constant confusion and stretching out stuff longer than needed be. Obviously, this is only to create a clear contrast, since I like both of those characters in the film. Despite the film being a little too much of the good stuff and feeling a little too colorful for a story painting the same picture over and over again, I really do respect the film a lot, and I will probably revisit wonderland at some point again. Who knows, maybe I will end up liking it more a second time, as it was the case with my recent watch of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’.


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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
179 .......................... 186

__________________________


May 23rd

—— 2011 ——
T H E
C A L L E R

—— horror ——
REWATCH


phony freaky phonecalls
from lonely worn out widows


Contains excerpts from my horror list
If someone happens to remember, this film actually had a place towards the bottom of my top fifty horror list. The films on that list only consist of horrors I consider favorites, so despite being a low scorer, it wasn’t an easy task for any movie to end up there. But unfortunately, I have to report that ‘The Caller’ is not a film that would have been on the list if I had made it today. I originally remembered it as being a fairly overseen and underrated film, carrying out an inventive storyline and using creative scare tactics to really get under your skin. Also, I remembered it to have a story that never completely exposes its supernatural or ghostly core, and yet still manages to scare the hell out of you just by hinting at the terror, instead of throwing it in your face. But sadly it wasn’t as terrifyingly subtle or as supernaturally tense, as I remembered it to be. And for the people who don’t know about this film, the story centers on a troubled woman, who receives some very disturbing phone calls from a mysterious old woman, who claims to be calling from the past…

To start it off I will have to say, that when it all comes down to it, this film still generates some decent tension within its audience, though it only reaches an acceptable level of exciting anxiety towards the end. The film plays out a tad too repetitive and would have worked way better as a short, but I still can’t deny how great the idea is, though it is kind of a let down not to see it being executed entirely. But it is definitely exciting to see an average women moving into a new plays and then slowly begins to loose her mind. Basically, we have a woman who are mentally tortured and pretty much stalked to a startling state of mental confinement, just by the help of some very peculiar long-distance calls. Even though these calls actually do catch up with her to some degree, they are mostly so terrorizing in themselves, that the main character don’t know what is real and what is not, which brings the audience in that exact same situation as well. That said, it isn’t one of those films that leaves you in doubt the whole movie, only to have yourself make up your mind and interpretation, which I honestly would have preferred.

It is a shame it isn’t nearly as smart and tightly constructed as I remember it to be, and though it is still an effective compilation of a few fearsome scares and a spirited originality within its overall idea, it doesn’t at all reaches the highs it should or lives up to what it sets out to be. I would have loved more originally throughout, more focus on the script and characters, and more twists and turns that began to make sense as the story progressed. Mostly the final product just feels like a very original idea rushed into production and then simply thrown out there to let it stand or fall. Despite all this, it is still a fairly good time to go on this continuing journey of exploring past and present, mind and matter, and how they can all intervene expertly with each other; though it could have been so much better.




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