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

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My Studio Gibli rankings:

1. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
2. Princess Mononoke
3. Arrietty
4. Whisper of the Heart
5. Only Yesterday
6. Spirited Away
7. Howl's Moving Castle
8. My Neighbor Totoro
9. Grave of the Fireflies



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
ahhh, finally, catch up... Agree about Road Fury, Con Air and Face/Off (though Face/Off makes me wanna watch Woo's earlier, Chinese flicks. Though, yes, cage is VERY uncaged in that one.
I was pretty so-so about Home. It felt more "packaged" then created.

Excellent reviews all the way!



People these days and their short attention spans. Kaguya was fantastic. I honestly think it's Takahata's best, even if its not his most poignant emotionally. I have respect for somebody who trots out Laputa as their favorite though.



People these days and their short attention spans. Kaguya was fantastic. I honestly think it's Takahata's best, even if its not his most poignant emotionally. I have respect for somebody who trots out Laputa as their favorite though.
The attention span reference was mostly for fun and to illustrate a point.

I like slow movies, but Kaguya was just not very interesting in my opinion.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
228 .......................... 248

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July 21st

—— 1949 ——
T H E
T H I R D
M A N

—— noir ——



When it comes down to those modern day masterpieces or highly acclaimed classics, you are either going to be that first man who praises the film; that second man who despises the film; or you can be the third man, who are left standing between two different opinions, not knowing quite what to make of it… I'm that third man.

When this film ended, I was in a very confused state of mind, where my thought and feelings where split between appreciation, admiration and perhaps even dedication during the time of my viewing of it. It is one of those films where I feel like there is something more to it that I could be missing, but at the same time that feeling wasn’t as strong as it sometimes is. When those closing credits appeared on screen, I didn’t feel much, but I speculated an awful lot. Because during the film, I constantly felt like the movie was either trying to con me with the story or convince me otherwise with the setting. I think the overall look and feel of the feature was rather impressive, depicting a faded façade of a closed-in city at loss with itself – hiding in darkness, while keeping suspicious secrets secret. It feels almost like a hypnotic black and white noir picture, absorbed in deep shadows, dutch angles and daring attempts at being audibly and visually different. On the outside of it all, this could very well be the most perfect blend between a classic noir created in the traditional sense, but combined with lively originality, which gives the movie just the right kind of wrong. But there is just one problem… I have yet to be convinced by it.

I always aim to experience films at least twice, though only if I either enjoyed them or saw some potential in them. There was indeed something about ‘The Third Man’ that had my attention and I doubt it is held that highly for no reason whatsoever. Well, it did appear to be a revolutionary piece of filmmaking and it was different and daring from the usual stuff, but I thought the story was a mess and it took a while for the film to gain my interest. I will not start speaking gibberish about a film I didn’t grasp to the fullest, neither will I sit here and act like I did. I have to investigate further to get my head around this case, but whether or not my opinion will be the same by the end of it, I don’t know. After all I did actually like the feel of it, but I wasn’t too impressed with the conceal of it. It had plenty of potential but ended up flushing most of it down the drain. But that I’m actually quite thankful for, since the best thing about this film takes place in a sewer… no sh*t. All jokes aside though, I will get to that aspect a little later on.



As I talked about earlier, I think the film tries too hard to impress its audience with things we can’t even digest in the first place. It feels like a film that tries to be clever for the sake of cleverness alone, but I think it needs some substance or proper focus to do so. The cameras may be tilted, but we are in desperate need of a straight line down the story aspect of this film. It feels more like a meaningless mess than a masterful mystery and though there is things to like there isn’t much to learn, really. It is like the film purposely keeps us all in the dark for as long as possible, so the movie can make that one great reveal and make us all revel with joy. I just didn’t care much for anything that was happening until a certain someone showed up, which finally set the film in motion and awarded some meaning to the story. Everything ends in an extraordinary finale that definitely made the movie worth watching, almost upping the ante several miles despite taking place underground.

Overall I think this film needs another watch, because even though I can respect and admire it to some degree, I certainly wasn’t all too impressed with it. I thought the soundtrack was annoying at times and personally I don't see it fitting in with the film, though that may very well be the whole idea of it. I just became irritated in the end by it; how it kept circulating the same seconds of a melody over and over again. I thought the dubious dutch angles were too much and the shadows were almost symbolic for the structure and exposure of the story, since you are mostly left in the dark – standing on the outside looking in – and it just doesn't go anywhere that interesting for the first hour or so.

The conclusive chase is intense and extremely well shot and thankfully the soundtrack stays away and let the tension build out of pure atmosphere. it is kind of funny how the sewer where the chase takes place almost looks and feels like the town above. The director did capture a post-war atmosphere very well, with a great sense of isolation, callous darkness, open emptiness, packed nothingness and unsettling human connections. I look forward to watching it again and hopefully enjoy it a lot more.


+

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Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
I've heard only astounding things about this film, yet I've never seen it myself. Brilliant write up though, and I agree, I hate it when films try to be clever or unique just for the sake of it, without actually possessing any relevance to the narrative whatsoever, I always find it a bit condescending really, just no

Also, how was Alida Valli in this? She's without a doubt one of my favourite actresses and this is her most famous role!



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
230 .......................... 250

__________________________


July 22nd

—— 2015 ——
FAST & FURIOUS 7
—— action ——
CINEMA REVIEWS

REWATCH
CLICK FOR FULL REVIEW

+

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
230 .......................... 250

__________________________


July 23rd

—— 2004 ——
B E F O R E
S U N S E T

—— drama ——
CINEMA REVIEWS

REWATCH

READ REVIEW

-

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
230 .......................... 250

__________________________


July 25th

—— 2011 ——
KILLER JOE
—— dark comedy ——



Revenge is a dish best served
with chicken and torture


I was very much looking forward to finally watching this feature, which apparently had Matthew McConaughey in the role of Killer Joe, handing out some killer justice through imaginative oral sex using a chicken wing weiner. I don’t see how that can be anything other than some good old offensive amusements, which has caused my attention to shoot out through the roof. Even though I definitely looked forward to the film, I was mostly creating my curiosity out of what I really hadn’t seen much of – only in bits and pieces – which would make it hard to digest entirely. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew it had to be some kind of side-centered and sadistic hillbilly flick, which had some strange characters doing strange things. I wasn’t completely off center with this statement…

The movie certainly tries its best to be a bona-fide view on the backside of cinema, though it does feel like a slightly weirder and more concealed coverage of it. And as it is always the case with such films, you either connect with the craziness or you don’t, but honestly I wasn’t sure about this one. Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly become the welcomed inbreeded individual that I hoped to be, but it was still rather fun to witness it all on a safety distance. This is a quirky and truly dark film, but I wasn’t totally put off by it, I just didn’t feel like I fit in that well. I wasn’t a fan of too many of the characters and the fun of the film came in waves. What made it worth it, though, in my opinion, was obviously the one and only, Matthew McConaughey as “Killer Joe”. His overall appearance, agonizing methods and intimidating kindness was just right for this film. He was like the Heath Ledger Joker of hillbilly trash, though only meant as a positive thing of course. Whenever Killer Joe was on screen, you weren’t really sure if you should scream, squirm or storm out of the room as fast as possible. One hell of a character indeed.

But I have to say, that without McConaughey and his character of chaos and evil, I would probably have hated most of this film, simply because I had a hard time enjoying all the other characters. Emile Hirsch annoyed the hell out of me, which was a shame, since I have seen good acting from this guy before. His role just seemed so out of place for him and he tried so hard throughout but came off as annoying and too much. Thomas Haden Church was pretty good though, especially later in the film where he had many funny moments, but the rest of the cast I didn’t care for at all. The overall story wasn’t that good either, but obviously it aimed more for the atmosphere, which it executed a whole lot better – it definitely didn’t chicken out, so to speak, but instead went all the way when it wanted to. I respect that.

This film definitely had some fun moments, and though I liked some of the dark humor, I wasn’t really a fan of the overlong and overly cruel things happening, which was dragged out until it became painfully pedestrian. The last thirty minutes or so, was what really made this movie worth it. It was intense, intimidating and irresponsibly awesome. It couldn’t keep it going all the way through, but it was definitely the best part of the film. I wish it was like that from beginning to end, but sadly I was frequently bored, annoyed or just didn’t care for whatever happened or why.


-

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MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
230 .......................... 250

__________________________


July 26th

—— 2013 ——
B E F O R E
M I D N I G H T

—— drama ——
CINEMA REVIEWS

REWATCH

READ REVIEW



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I hate to disagree with you MM but I don't feel at all like The Third Man is being clever for clever's sake. Neither does the music not go. At least you're promising a second watch so I'm happy with you there



I hate to disagree with you MM but I don't feel at all like The Third Man is being clever for clever's sake. Neither does the music not go. At least you're promising a second watch so I'm happy with you there
You have to understand that there isn't anything in this review that is definitively so.

I simply give you an honest first watch opinion, instead of acting clever, where there were many things I didn't catch and some things did seem clever for the sake of cleverness - doesn't mean that it is so but that's what best describes my feelings. Music just didn't do it for me. That doesn't mean I think it is objectively bad, I just didn't enjoy it on first watch.

And yes, obvioulsy I will watch it more than one time, it did catch my interest and I'm sure there is more to it, but for now I have not fully examined the film and these are my main first thoughts...

But many thanks for checkin in, christine, and taking your time to comment and read my review. Thank you.



I know it's your first thoughts. it's fine MM, it's a well written honest review like I've definately come to expect from you. Probably cos I like the film so much I felt like defending it!



I know it's your first thoughts. it's fine MM, it's a well written honest review like I've definately come to expect from you. Probably cos I like the film so much I felt like defending it!
And you have every right to!

I would be disappointed if you didn't.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
230 .......................... 250

__________________________


July 27th

—— 1980 ——
The Blues Brothers
—— comedy ——



We're on a mission...
from God


There will be minor spoilers in this review
I guess you could say I have been feeling blue every time this film has been brought up, since I have yet to see it and therefore find it annoying that I will have to exclude myself from the discussion. I’m especially saying that because the film appears to be extremely popular and with a colossal cult following; even so I haven’t seen it until now. It has been on my watchlist for the longest time and in my mind for even longer, but that is the great thing about these hall of fame’s – you get to experience and educate at the same time, choosing movies of your liking and letting others do the same for you. I certainly appreciate the fact that ‘The Blues Brothers’ was one of the nominations in this Hall of Fame; unfortunately, I wasn’t that happy with it…

I have seen many people mention that they weren't feeling the beginning of the film, but that it only got better as it went along. Somehow, I kind of feel the opposite about it all. It looked to be absolutely hilarious during the beginning; the way the characters were introduced was amusing and slightly abnormal, which then developed into an inventive credit and title sequence that I also really enjoyed. It had a subtle kind of humor to it, which was mostly present during the beginning of the film and I totally loved it. Even though the church scene was completely insane, I got carried away as it went along. I can't exactly say the same thing about the movie itself. I can definitely see this is an expanded SNL skit, because it is very uneven, very silly and over the top, and overall tries too hard at times. It became a little tiring to watch all these things happen, which sometimes felt totally unconnected and unbelievable. Intentionally yes, but that doesn't make it great for me. I think it makes it a great failure when a movie can’t control itself, though uncontrollable madness can be fun too. But it didn’t work with this film, since the rest was so unconnected, unrealistic and unimpressively executed at times. It is hard to get carried away with something that can’t even carry itself, but simply drags the disaster across the ground hoping to dust up a laugh or two on the way. It didn’t work for me, unfortunately.

I wasn't too keen on all the musical numbers either, though some of them were good. I liked some of the "skits" in the film – yes, the movie is basically build out of skits – like the Nazi one, the country club one and also the fine dining one. I thought the ending was way too much though, but I did like how all the guns and stuff pointed at them in the end. That was quite funny and it seemed like the hilarity topped together with this moment. But if you want my honest opinion, ‘The Blues Brothers’ feels like a less even and more mild version of the ‘Naked Gun’ films. ‘Blues Brothers’ is sometimes a little too serious and sometimes a little too far fetched; it seems to be missing some balance or weight to it, which would make the fun and games pay off, instead of falling off straight to the ground. Many of the jokes and skits just doesn’t stick on their own, but feels like a hollow shell of an idea, which needs some more work to… well… work. The overall soundtrack is great though and the actors are mostly great as well; it is the story and approach I’m not a huge fan of. I guess I have never really been a fan of the overly silly stuff anyways, but I expected more from this film.

Ultimately, this was not my type of film through and through, but it definitely had its moments, where some of them was absolutely hilarious. But I would really have preferred the subtle and smarter approach present in the beginning, since it succeeded at delivering a small and delicate humor, which at times felt explicit in the delivery – but just the right amount of too much and just right. When I say subtle, I mean in the way that John Belushi leaned forward to write his signature when exiting of jail, the small-talk in the car and the stuck-in-table scene. When I say explicit, I mean in the way that the nun levitated from the ground and back through the door, the light shining on the two of them making them chosen by God and overall the shorter and tighter gags, which you could easily miss if you blinked – instead of those thrown at your face for extensive lengths, until you just shake your head at the scenario. So I will be honest with you all: my first rating of this is going to be as follows, and it may stick, but I won't deny that it may grow as well...






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