Make Your Picks

24th Hall of Fame

Tools    





I rewatched Aniara today, but it's late so I'll save any write-up for tomorrow. I do want to say, re: the orgy scene, I didn't think it was that graphic or that long. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by it then or now, but that's me.
Try watching it with a family member



Try watching it with a family member
*snicker *snicker You said member
__________________
Letterboxd




The Man From Nowhere (2010)


This film is like the director went to the cop cliche factory threw up his arms and said... give me everything. I mean for gods sake this is the story of a pawnstore owner who has a surrogate daughter taken by a pair of drug traffickers while avoiding the well meaning cops. The villianize crew is taken down one by one while we learn more about the unnamed man...not that the reveal is anything special because it's really not.


With that said I enjoyed this film each action set piece was well done...the characters were well-defined(that's very important for South Korean films). I mean they really do a good job flushing out the gangs/cops/extras which I think elevates this from disposable crap to a standard of the genre. And I do think their is something to be said about a film that is just a series of cliches and unoriginal and yet executes the film well.


My biggest criticism is they picked the wrong final boss in my eyes and they could have made a twist with the cop being a bad guy...it would have helped. But great nom.



Antwone Fisher (2002) -


This was a solid film. It didn't blow me away, but I found it to be a well-crafted and engaging story anchored by some strong performances from Denzel Washington and Derek Luke.

The acting is one of the film's highlights. I generally like Denzel Washington and this film was no exception. As usual, he gives a strong performance which helps to heighten the emotional power of certain scenes. I was unfamiliar with Derek Luke going into it, but I also admired his work and thought he was able to carry the film well, even in the final act where Washington's character was mostly absent. Though I wasn't familiar with many of the actors who played smaller parts, I thought they were fine as well. Overall, I didn't have any issues with a particular cast member.

As far as its story goes, Antwone Fisher is a character study on the titular character, which explores how he grew up, the many hardships he faced, and the way they made him violent later on. While a lot of the film consists of flashbacks to his childhood, it also spends a decent amount of time detailing how his various sessions with Dr. Davenport influenced his behavior, which is detailed through various people who either help or hinder him, like his relationship with Cheryl, the various people he runs into who provoke him into fights, or his trouble with fitting into various events he attends. This led to a handful of powerful moments which kept me on board throughout the film.

I don't think every scene hit its mark though. For instance,
WARNING: spoilers below
the reunion of Antwone and his mother felt rather brief and not as powerful as it should've been. Also, Davenport telling Antwone that their time together helped him to confront his own demons fell flat as, while Davenport's conflict with his wife was certainly made clear, his own road to recovery wasn't fleshed out enough for me to buy their final conversation. In spite of these occasional missteps though, I did enjoy the story a decent bit, if not loving it per se.


Overall, I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Sure, it's a rather straightforward story and not every beat of it landed, but many other aspects did and the excellent twin performances from Washington and Luke helped to heighten the emotional resonance of the film.

Next up: Barry Lyndon






Day of the Jackal (1973)


If film is just a visual medium than Day of the Jackal is a masterpiece, the composition of shots in this film is remarkable. But man was this film a slough to get through. Jackal is the story of a group of french resistance fighters who fail to assassinate the french president. For a second attempt they decide to hire an English assassin called "The Jackal"...and well the film basically completely falls apart. You can tell the film was adapted from a novel because we get these chapters and episodes of the Jackal...problem is we don't see much of a point with the overarching story.


You don't really care about the characters and the film is just so long. Also everyone in this film is British though they are supposed to represent different countries for the story to work. It's limits like that that take you out of the story. Each one of the scenes is great but it doesn't work as a cohesive story.

I watched this six months ago for another Hall (though it should do well here) but yeah I didn't care for it enough to revisit it this year.



ANIARA
(2018, Kågerman & Lilja)



"The answer is 'none'."
"None?"
"No."
"What?!"
"There's no celestial body to turn at."

The above exchange occurs at the end of the first act of this 2018 Swedish sci-fi. In it, our lead character, who's referred to as "MR" (Emelie Jonsson) receives the shattering news from "The Astronomer" (Anneli Martini) after a risky maneuver to avoid space debris takes the titular spaceship off its course. There is nowhere to turn, which can be interpreted in multiple ways, as the passengers turn to numerous sources and places in their search of comfort, peace, and reassurance that "everything is under control", or "going as planned", as the Captain repeatedly says. But are they?

Aniara, which is based on a Swedish poem with a title that comes from a Greek word meaning "despair", offers a lot of that. The film follows the ship which is making a supposedly routine journey from a ravaged and almost uninhabitable Earth to newly established colonies on Mars. But when the accident occurs, the ship is left fuel-less drifting into the unknown. Much can be unpacked about the religious, philosophical, and existential symbolisms of it, but on the surface, the passengers find themselves getting slowly but surely more desperate about their situation, while trying to cling to numerous things in their search of hope and meaning.

I found this to be an incredibly thought-provoking film with economically effective production values and a subtle but great performance from Jonsson. Much of the story is focused on her character, a low-level employee at the ship that manages a spa-like AI room called MIMA, where passengers can go to relive past images of Earth in their search of solace. But as the fate of the ship becomes widely known, both MIMA and its "liaison", the "MR", find themselves burdened in more ways than one. But who can we turn to when things don't "go as planned"? The MIMA can be seen as a fairly obvious reference to God or religion, and its failure to completely soothe the despaired passengers works as both a criticism of it and its followers ("there is no protection from mankind").

But as the passengers shift their hopes into various directions, Kågerman & Lilja continue to tear everything down with relentless fatalism. Mars? ("it's cold. Nothing grows except for a small frost-proof tulip!"), science? ("maybe we shouldn't have said it's a rescue probe?"), any "celestial body" out there? But no, there's ultimately nothing or no one that can turn us away from our fate. In many ways, I feel like the film is telling us to learn to live with what we get instead of clinging to false hopes, but also warning us of how we can be taken off course beyond the point where there'll be no body to turn at.

Grade:



Not sure why the [*rating] tag isn't working there.
I'll read your review in a minute, but the reason your rating tag isn't working is that in the middle of the tag you put 4.5/5 Just put 4.5 in the middle of the tag for a



For the rating tag, you don't need the "/5" part.
Pffff, stupid me. As if I hadn't used it before. Thanks!



@Thief, Nicely written review. A couple of questions and observations:

Have you read the Swedish poem that Aniara is based on? If so did the poem add to your movie watching experience? (I could see that it would.)

I didn't say this in my review but I agree that the lead actress was well suited for her role and I quite liked her and I liked her right from the start.

In many ways, I feel like the film is telling us to learn to live with what we get instead of clinging to false hopes, but also warning us of how we can be taken off course beyond the point where there'll be no body to turn at.
I like what you wrote there. Would you say that sentiment/message that the film imparts on you is a big reason for your appreciation of it?



@Thief, Nicely written review. A couple of questions and observations:

Have you read the Swedish poem that Aniara is based on? If so did the poem add to your movie watching experience? (I could see that it would.)

I didn't say this in my review but I agree that the lead actress was well suited for her role and I quite liked her and I liked her right from the start.

I like what you wrote there. Would you say that sentiment/message that the film imparts on you is a big reason for your appreciation of it?
Thanks!

I haven't read the poem (it's fairly "long"), but have it bookmarked for some day (here it is)

As for your last question, I suppose. I mean, if a film speaks to me, makes me think, or moves me in some way, that's obviously going to be a big reason for me appreciating it. But for this film in particular, I can say that as someone who's more or less having existential issues, it hit me pretty hard from the first time I saw it.



@Thief, I really like your review. I agree with a lot of what you said and I especially liked the way you ended it, though I'm not as ardent of a supporter of the film as you are. Out of curiosity though, what are your thoughts on my review? I'll link it here:

https://www.movieforums.com/communit...02#post2161702



Thanks!

I haven't read the poem (it's fairly "long"), but have it bookmarked for some day (here it is)

As for your last question, I suppose. I mean, if a film speaks to me, makes me think, or moves me in some way, that's obviously going to be a big reason for me appreciating it. But for this film in particular, I can say that as someone who's more or less having existential issues, it hit me pretty hard from the first time I saw it.
Cool and thanks

Have you seen any other smaller/indie sci-fis from the last 20 years that you would recommend?



@Thief, I really like your review. I agree with a lot of what you said and I especially liked the way you ended it, though I'm not as ardent of a supporter of the film as you are. Out of curiosity though, what are your thoughts on my review? I'll link it here:

https://www.movieforums.com/communit...02#post2161702
I had skimmed over the reviews everybody posted here cause I didn't want them to "cloud" my rewatch and also because I wanted to have the film fresh in my mind before trying to reply to anything, but I was just now going back to them.


EDIT: Your review is fine because it captures the reasons why you personally didn't connect to the film. And I think the same might apply to most people. I feel that the emotional and philosophical baggage that the film brings means that some people will undoubtedly feel drawn to it (like me) while others will probably be left cold (like you), and there's nothing wrong with that.

There are other few things I disagree with, like how effective or well used the set design was, which I briefly mentioned in my review. I think that the filmmakers were smart enough to know how to balance their budget with a look that wasn't exaggeratedly futuristic but rather mundane and approachable. I mean, they obviously used shopping malls to film, but I can see why a ship that goes back and forth between Earth and Mars would have the same look-and-feel. And it adds to that message of consumerism that the film carries (buy stuff to numb your senses). Take for example the scene where you see zombie-like passengers seeking "entertainment" in the arcade games.

I also had no issues with how the characters of the Astronomer or Isogel were handled because, taking into account that the focus of the story is always MR, those two characters become more like representations of things. The Astronomer represents science and knowledge, and she is constantly shied away and dismissed. People can't/shouldn't "know", and that's why she ends up shot down. Isogel is more crucial, IMO, because I think she (and the kid) represent love, family, stability, etc. and yet that is torn down by the despair clouding the lives of everybody. I think that the scene where MR finds them is absolutely powerful, particularly because it comes after her "success" with the projection. Once again, it says a lot about the time we devote to this or that, and where/how we can feel ourselves fulfilled. MR takes this project because she feels it's important and to a certain point neglects her family. Although this is not explored as much as I would've preferred, we can see Isogel is depressed, aimless, while MR is busy with "the substitute for the substitute", which one can say ultimately led to what happened.

But once again, no one can say how you will perceive a film as a whole, or certain themes in it. I liked how you phrased your issues and concerns with the film.




Aniara (2018)


There were cool story aspects that I wanted explored like: The probe they recover, that supposedly contains needed fuel and yet they can't access the hull of the probe. That seemed to be key to the story and yet just when the probe arc got interesting, the film moved onto another chapter. I think those chapter stories are the main weakness of the film. Maybe if this had another hour we could've learned more about the food shortages, the loss of moral, the religious cult group and the authoritative captain of the ship.

I don't think the probe was the "key to the story". It is introduced fairly late in the film (1 hour into it) and doesn't take up much screentime (barely 20 minutes). Like I said on my review, to me the probe is just another one of many places where the people on the ship look for hope in the middle of all the despair. There are different "levels" or "sources" of hope to them, starting with the hopes of a new life on Mars. But when that vanishes, hope shifts to the deadline offered for a possible "celestial body" to turn around (two years). Then as time passes by, people start looking for different sources of "hope" (cults, sex, games, parties). The probe is one of the last glimmers of hope for them and yet it ultimately is impenetrable and meaningless.