Iro's Film Diary

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Welcome to the human race...
Eh, beats clogging up the review with conciliatory platitudes like "you might like this if..." or "this is just my opinion" that may help to soften the blows but don't feel any less redundant in the process. If you want a reviewer that plasters virtually every single film they cover with five-star compliments, then check out The Rodent. Anyway, I assume the whole subjective opinion/margin of error thing is implied by the fact that it's a review. I already have a limited number of people actually reading these posts and I don't intend to waste their time by repeatedly telling them what they already know. They know that I'm trying to cover the strengths and the weaknesses here, therefore their arguments are intended to counter what I write as opposed to how I write.

Also, a perfect circle exists, but a perfect film does not. Not the best analogy.
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Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.



I'll leave the coming discussion to you, Zotis, but I see what you mean. But I feel like that's just Iro's way of reviewing.

I mean, in cases where others would be "this just hit me straight in the heart and took me on a great cinematic journey" Iro would be more like, "this tried to calmy sneak into one's emotions in a very direct though unmanipulate way, which took the film to higher grounds, while balancing the plot and not pondering the sentimentality"

Kinda.



Iro is very good at writing. I think I understand what you mean MM. He's able to describe certain things about movies that make me see how crap my own reviewing abilities are. But Iro, you just... I don't know. Your too stuborn and critical. It's like, everyone has faults. There are people who recognise their faults and people who don't. Iro, you don't acknowledge your faults, you just try to justify them. It just makes me sad because you have so much potential as a writer, but I can't decipher when you're stating a fact from when you're merely speculating because you don't let me know. You just assume your whole audience understands you perfectly or something... I can't pinpoint the real core of the issue. But I showed one of your reviews (Kung Fury) to a friend of mine some time ago. This is what he said to me after reading your review, "As soon as you present your oppinion as a fact, you're wrong."



Oh man... I said too much... Eh, just ignore me Iro. I'm an idiot and I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm just glad you liked Room because it was my favorite movie from last year.



Welcome to the human race...
#75 - Malcolm X
Spike Lee, 1992



Based on the life of African-American civil rights activist Malcolm X.

Malcolm X is an immense film, sometimes to a fault. It clocks in at just over three hours and I'd argue that the first hour (which traces a young African-American hustler named Malcolm Little as he lives out a hedonistic life of crime in the 1940s) could stand to be a little shorter. Of course we need to see what Malcolm X was like before he became, well, Malcolm X, but one can't help but wonder how much of that we really needed to see. Otherwise, Malcolm X was pretty good even as it hit a lot of the usual biopic beats. Denzel Washington delivers a truly striking performance as the eponymous activist and dominates the screen in manners that range from righteous fury to softly-spoken vulnerability, all without compromising a layered approach to one very complex individual who changes a lot over the course of the film's running time. Like JFK, the large cast is stacked with all sorts of prominent figures in even the smallest of parts, while director Lee is able to balance his defining cinematic sensibilities against the demands of a Hollywood biopic. I don't often feel like I can enjoy or appreciate a lot of biopics due to their tendency to stick too closely to genre conventions and feel somewhat disposable in the process, but Malcolm X more than compensates by having a truly fascinating subject to build around, especially as much of X's race-based rhetoric still feels strikingly (if sadly) relevant today. At the very least, this is the first biopic I've seen in a while that feels like it could hold up to repeat viewings.




Welcome to the human race...
#76 - Heavenly Creatures
Peter Jackson, 1994



In 1950s New Zealand, a pair of teenage girls befriend one another and react to the harshness of their lives by creating an elaborate fantasy world.

Peter Jackson's first attempt to truly branch out from his B-grade origins involves him taking on a subject that's vastly different from that of his previous works. Heavenly Creatures is based on a true story about two schoolgirls (Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet) who become fast friends and let their imaginations run wild together, concocting a fantastic realm full of eccentric characters whose interactions clearly reflect the girls' growing fascination with sex and violence. Of course, the drama truly kicks in when the girls' parents start to worry about the friendship for one reason or another, and the fact that the girls' ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality is gradually slipping away doesn't help matters. Though there are still plenty of hallmarks that let you know this is a Jackson film - such as the Gilliamesque designs of the imaginary world or the frequently frantic camerawork - for the most part it shows a remarkable evolution in his abilities as a filmmaker. Lynskey and Winslet both make startling debuts here as two outwardly different but fundamentally similar girls - it's hard to picture anyone else doing better with the roles in question. The mixture of the magical and mundane is entertaining enough, but it does absolutely nothing to undermine how absolutely gut-wrenching the film can be at times, especially when it reaches its conclusion.




Welcome to the human race...
#77 - Lone Star
John Sayles, 1996



When a skeleton with a lawman's badge is unearthed on the outskirts of a Texas border town, the local sheriff must delve into the past to figure out the truth.

Lone Star exists at the intersection of neo-Western and neo-noir as it focuses on a Texas sheriff (Chris Cooper) launching an investigation into the decades-old murder of a local lawman, but it also has elements of an ensemble drama as it observes how the case affects many other people in this particular border town. It alternates between the past and present frequently (often through some well-crafted transition shots) as it tells it story that touches on a number of issues, most prominently racial tensions that exist between the white, black, and Latino citizens of the town. Lone Star is arguably a bit over-stuffed and will definitely feel a bit long from time to time, but it still features a solid cast of character actors and a script that's not wholly dependent on its central narrative to be interesting.




"Malcolm X is an immense film, sometimes to a fault."

Now you're just deliberately pushing my buttons.

(I'm intentionally projecting my own psycological fault onto you here.)




but it does absolutely nothing to undermine how absolutely gut-wrenching the film can be at times, especially when it reaches its conclusion.
I was just looking at this movie yesterday. What do you mean by "gut-wrenching"?
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"Well, at least your intentions behind the UTTERLY DEVASTATING FAULTS IN YOUR LOGIC are good." - Captain Steel
Movies / Anime / Ultimate Showdown / Veg*nism / Action 2015



I pissed off Iro. F*ck.

But really, I mean nothing harsh. You are so much into reviewing that you sometimes over-examine and over-think things, for better and for worse. That's what I see. But I usually don't mind it, so it's all good.



Master of My Domain
Iro is very good at writing. I think I understand what you mean MM. He's able to describe certain things about movies that make me see how crap my own reviewing abilities are. But Iro, you just... I don't know. Your too stuborn and critical. It's like, everyone has faults. There are people who recognise their faults and people who don't. Iro, you don't acknowledge your faults, you just try to justify them. It just makes me sad because you have so much potential as a writer, but I can't decipher when you're stating a fact from when you're merely speculating because you don't let me know. You just assume your whole audience understands you perfectly or something... I can't pinpoint the real core of the issue. But I showed one of your reviews (Kung Fury) to a friend of mine some time ago. This is what he said to me after reading your review, "As soon as you present your oppinion as a fact, you're wrong."
But isn't the point of writing a review trying to convince others that what's you think of the film is right? As long as you don't offend anyone, it's totally fine to write your opinions in a factual manner. It's also why most essays (and film reviews are in a way, essays about films, thesis being "this movie sucked/ruled) attempt to justify what is written.
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But isn't the point of writing a review trying to convince others that what's you think of the film is right? As long as you don't offend anyone, it's totally fine to write your opinions in a factual manner. It's also why most essays (and film reviews are in a way, essays about films, thesis being "this movie sucked/ruled) attempt to justify what is written.
Well, I don't think that's how it should be. It reminds me of highschool etiquette where in order to get a point across people would state their oppinion as loud and confident as they could. But no, you can't dictate reality.

Well, this is my approach, or at least the approach I'm trying to develop. If I'm not sure that I'm right then I try to communicate that, and if I am sure that I'm right then I try to communicate that assurance. If I think something is a fact I'll state it as a fact, and if I'm making an assumption then I try to communicate it as an assumption.

If a person is color blind and reads that Barney is blue and then goes around saying Barney is blue, they are wrong. But if they go around saying they think he's blue because they read it somewhere and also state that they are colorblind, then they are right, and they aren't missleading people.

But Iro straw mans this by comparing it to adding "I think" before everything he says and that's boring. He puts in work to write his reviews, but he isn't willing to even consider what I've been trying to impress on him for so long. To me it is the difference between his review being tolerable and intolerable. I can hardly stand popping in here once in a while because every time I do it gets me really worked up and I loose sleep over it.



Welcome to the human race...
I was just looking at this movie yesterday. What do you mean by "gut-wrenching"?
You mean the word itself? It's supposed to indicate a physically disturbed reaction to something that manifests as an unpleasant feeling in one's abdomen. As for what actually happens, well, even though it's a true-story film I think it's better that I don't spoil it..

Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.
This could go any number of ways, but I'm going to assume it's because of the dispassionately clinical approach.

I pissed off Iro. F*ck.

But really, I mean nothing harsh. You are so much into reviewing that you sometimes over-examine and over-think things, for better and for worse. That's what I see. But I usually don't mind it, so it's all good.
Ah, you know I was kidding. Besides, we all know that the over-analysing and over-criticising is part of the draw. Gotta offer something that the others don't.

Did you just call Kubrick pretentious?
Did you just call me pretentious?

But isn't the point of writing a review trying to convince others that what's you think of the film is right? As long as you don't offend anyone, it's totally fine to write your opinions in a factual manner. It's also why most essays (and film reviews are in a way, essays about films, thesis being "this movie sucked/ruled) attempt to justify what is written.
But isn't Zotis actually expressing offence at the fact that I tend to write reviews in such a bluntly factual manner? In any case, it's obviously a by-product of the fact that I have written plenty of film essays in the past and that just bleeds into my reviews.

Calm down, Armond.

Well, I don't think that's how it should be. It reminds me of highschool etiquette where in order to get a point across people would state their oppinion as loud and confident as they could. But no, you can't dictate reality.
What, are you saying that people aren't supposed to have confidence in their arguments? That's why they teach it in high-school in the first place - because it's an important skill. It's not about the speech being loud, it's about the strength of the actual words that are being used. In a debate, you have to display conviction in the point you are arguing or you lose. Obviously, you can say "but this is just my opinion", but that doesn't automatically let it off the hook. People try to justify bigoted worldviews by saying "it's just my opinion", but that doesn't mean we have to let their thinking go unchallenged.

Also, why bring reality into this? This is art. Being open to interpretation is a fundamental part of any artwork - even light comedies can still be liked or disliked on the basis of each individual's particular sense of humour. The reality is that I think a certain way about a movie, but I know that this does not change the movie itself in any way and that somebody else can have vastly different thoughts about the exact same movie. I don't act like my way of thinking is the be-all and end-all.

Well, this is my approach, or at least the approach I'm trying to develop. If I'm not sure that I'm right then I try to communicate that, and if I am sure that I'm right then I try to communicate that assurance. If I think something is a fact I'll state it as a fact, and if I'm making an assumption then I try to communicate it as an assumption.
It's not like I avoid it altogether. You look at some of my past reviews and I'll actually use phrases like "I can't help but feel" or "it seems like", which are supposed to denote that I'm expressing my own subjective interpretation. I even do that in the Kung Fury review that you keep bringing up as an example of how I state my opinions like they're facts. Just because I use it sometimes doesn't mean that I have to use it all the time. I'll use it if I feel the need to be specific about a certain aspect of a film, but I still operate under the presumption that people can still tell which is which without me having to clarify every single time - or even at all. This is borne out by the fact that, out of all the people who respond even remotely negatively to my reviews, you are the only one who complains about this particular issue. Everyone else just accepts it and argues against the opinions themselves rather than the fact that I don't constantly remind everyone that This Is Just My Opinion.

If a person is color blind and reads that Barney is blue and then goes around saying Barney is blue, they are wrong. But if they go around saying they think he's blue because they read it somewhere and also state that they are colorblind, then they are right, and they aren't missleading people.


But Iro straw mans this by comparing it to adding "I think" before everything he says and that's boring. He puts in work to write his reviews, but he isn't willing to even consider what I've been trying to impress on him for so long. To me it is the difference between his review being tolerable and intolerable. I can hardly stand popping in here once in a while because every time I do it gets me really worked up and I loose sleep over it.
Like I'd try to strawman such a nonsensical analogy. I might as well accuse you of setting me up as some kind of Drumpf-like straight-talking strawman for all the good that mentioning strawmen would do this argument. Besides, is it really bad enough that you literally lose sleep over reading these reviews? How many other reviewers on this site do you read and how many of them follow through with your ideas regarding how reviewers should address the difference between fact and opinion? If you name them and it turns out that they don't do anything significantly different in that regard, then what? Do you lose sleep over anyone else's reviews? I can't imagine that I'm the only one who writes like this.



Yikes...

You look at some of my past reviews and I'll actually use phrases like "I can't help but feel" or "it seems like", which are supposed to denote that I'm expressing my own subjective interpretation. I even do that in the Kung Fury review that you keep bringing up as an example of how I state my opinions like they're facts.
Oh hey, I just saw that recently!

Originally Posted by Iroquois
this is the kind of entertainment made to appeal to audiences that are once jaded by the banality of mainstream entertainment yet are ironically susceptible to anything that plays into a very particular type of "awesome" spectacle.

*laughs* WELP, not exactly surprising.

I will say that I greatly appreciated Kung Fury's blend of 80/90s inspirations from Streets of Rage to Conan the Barbarian to Hackers to Mortal Kombat to Lethal Weapon to Dino Riders.

To me it felt like a giant messy screw-everything tribute to that era and I enjoyed it to that end.

Haven't seen Danger 5 though, so I can't comment on originality. I will say that of anything in Kung Fury I was most put off by the specific references to Knight Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey.