Tramuzgan's shills and rants

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No comments on the megamind review? Okay. Next up is Conan the barbarian.
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I'm the Yugoslav cinema guy. I dig through garbage. I look for gems.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Sorry, didn't see it before. I'm definitely surprised to see it get a perfect score. I can kind of understand that type of scoring system, though, where it's less "the best films get the highest ratings" and more "films get higher ratings for being the best version of themselves," which I suppose is what's happening here. I had the same approach when I gave Cloverfield
. I was thinking about how to rate it, and my brother said "would you change anything about it?" And I couldn't think of anything.

I thought MegaMind was fine, though ultimately one of those Shrek-like non-Pixar films there seems to have been a glut of the last 10-15 years. It's better than most, but didn't stick with me much, admittedly.
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Sorry, didn't see it before. I'm definitely surprised to see it get a perfect score. I can kind of understand that type of scoring system, though, where it's less "the best films get the highest ratings" and more "films get higher ratings for being the best version of themselves," which I suppose is what's happening here.
You're both right and wrong. I give movies scores based on what I think of them after I dwell on them. The things Megamind does right are often taken for granted, and I began noticing them only after I took a step away from mainstream cinema. Up until that point I saw it as just a ''fun movie''.



Conan the Barbarian (1982)




You know that feeling when you wanna call something ''the best X of all time'', even though you know it isn't? That's how I feel about Conan. When I reflected upon it for the sake of this review, I noticed many blunders it makes, but I don't love it any less.

Let's address the negatives first: its supporting cast is forgettable. I know Conan had two sidekicks, but I don't even remember their names. One of them is a woman, and while there was no romantic subplot (thank Crom for that), the scenes that focus on her feel pointless. His male sidekick fares even worse; I don't even remember what he looks like. There's a handful of scenes with the same problem, like the one where he has sex with a witch. They just leave you wondering what the point was.
That, and that giant snake special effect was bad.


So, what did Conan the Barbarian do right? Three things:

1) The story. It's more than a typical revenge story, where a character is wronged and ventures off to get his revenge. That's a big part of Conan, sure, but it doesn't feel like an anecdote. It feels like Conan had a genuinely interesting life. We got to see him live as a regular boy, a slave, a celebrated gladiator, and much more. He worked, he traveled, he stole, he indulged in drink and whores, and so on. It's a full-fledged epic, no corners cut.

2) The tone. It's stoic, morose and unapologetically masculine. While I love energetic, kid-oriented fantasy movies (i.e. how to train your dragon), Conan provides a perfect counterweight. There are many long segments with no dialogue, letting the amazing score or the narration by Aku from Samurai Jack do the work. The dialogue that is there is equally serious, often even philosophical. The Riddle of Steel will always stick with me. It's a far cry from the corniness you'd expect when you see Arnie in leather briefs.

3) The core conflict. Both Conan are Thulsa Doom have interesting personalities. Conan wants revenge at all costs. He will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything. This anger and drive hits even harder when you find out that Tulsa Doom is completely unfazed by it. To him, maiming Conan's village was just another work day. It's not that he's unaware of how Conan feels, he just sees it through his warped world view, going on to point out how his drive for revenge is what gave him strength, in the same way an angry father would point out how much he gave his son.

As I've already stated, Conan the Barbarian isn't the best adventure movie out there, but it accomplishes things that'd make it worth seeing in a sea of superior adventure movies.



Tsee-goo-lee Mee-goo-lee




It's Ciguli Miguli, not Tsee-goo-lee Mee-goo-lee. You can't translate this title because it's a personal name. Get it right.

If you've already seen Dr. Strangelove and One Flew over a Cuckoo's Nest, you have a pretty good idea of what Ciguli Miguli is like. Like the former, it's a satire that doesn't take its subject matter very seriously. And like the latter, it's about a disorganized crowd locking horns with an authority figure that symbolizes communism, though there's a twist to it that I'll get to later.

First off, you need to remember that this is from the infancy of Croatian cinema, back when our actors were inexperienced. Barring Ljubomir Didić, who plays the main antagonist Ivan Ivanović, and 2-3 of the townsmen, the acting is kind of wooden and cringy. For that reason, I recommend you seen it at the tail end of a marathon of old Croatian films.

Once you do, you'll see Ciguli Miguli as a hilarious, gloriously campy movie. It's full of exaggerated acting, physical comedy, fourth wall breaks (e.g. people talking to the narrator), and general Charlie Chaplin influences. Most of the comedy comes from Ivanović trying, and failing, to impose the ''government-mandated'' cultural mold onto the town, both because of his own incompetence and the town's stupidity. If laughs are what you're looking for, Ciguli Miguli has you covered.

That's not what made me want to review it, though. There's another dimension to this movie that sets it apart from other satires, and that's the themes it discusses. Its thematic content doesn't begin and end with ''communism bad''; it gives more attention to the idea of cultural pseudomorphism. If you yon't know what that is, it's when a developing culture is forced into a mold of an established one. It's a topic I've found fascinating ever since I discovered Oswald Spengler. Here, the town is the ''developing culture'', and Ivanović is the bringer of ''the mold''. The humble people are struck with inferiority complex after meeting the confident and imposing government official, going so far to betray each other to fit into his mold. This runs the town into a free-for-all, after which they grow to resent Ivanović as an oppressor. Basically, what Spengler said about Russia and the West, this movie said about Croatia and Russia.
There's also an extremely boring subplot about two teenagers in love that tries and fails to set up a similar anti-establishment theme. Just skip ahead whenever they show up.
I also think the name ''Ciguli Miguli'', derived from an insult for gypsies, is meant to represent our culture. If that's the case (and I'm not saying it is), than that's the worst metaphor I've ever heard.

To wrap it up: Ciguli Miguli is a great comedy. Not perfect, but it's funny, and its characters being stand-ins for ideas is justified by it having something really interesting to say. I don't know if there even is a version with subtitles (I might make one myself if I have to), but I can easily recommend it to anyone.



Why hasn't Ciguli Miguli been approved yet

Edit: I just found out that it isn't registered as "Ciguli Miguli" in the database. Someone tried to spell it out phonetically.



Here's the plan: first I'm gonna review Birdman, then the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy, and then I'm gonna change my mononoke review completely. It's poorly written and misses a few vital points.
I might do Pain and Gain after that.



Birdman





Well, this is awkward. There was a time when I was in love with this movie, and here I am now, calling it crap. And it is, but it's not without its merits. There was a reason I used to like it, and it can best be summed up as such: the people who made Birdman are visibly talented.

For one thing, the directing is just great. No qualifiers attached. Every scene is well-staged, well-shot, never drags on for too long, but most importantly, has a sense of energy to it. the movie's at its best during Riggan's, let's call them, ''delusion sequences'', when he's imagining himself flying or using telekinesis while Birdman makes fun of him. Of course, you can't not mention Michael Keaton and his ''comedy sleazeball'' shtick, back from Beetlejuice and stronger than ever.

All those things could've made a good movie great, but as it stands, they make a bad movie disappointing. What makes it so bad, I can't sum up in one word.
The main problem is in the dialogue. There's too much of it, for one thing; this movie never shuts up. From beginning to end, with barely a few breaks, you'll be drowned in constant babble. It wouldn't matter so much if it was any good, but it's not. It's oscar bait, no other way around it. I counted 5 forced and melodramatic monologues, all of which ruin the pace of the movie, or are out of character, or have nothing to do with the story or characters, or all of the above. The only good performance is Keaton's, by the way.
I also don't care for Birdman's overall additude. It's the princess mononoke problem again, when it's so self-congratulatory to the point that it's hostile. And what it's congratulating itself for is something everyone already knows. Marvel movies are bad, but generic oscar dramas aren't perfect either?


Again, I have nothing against the people who made Birdman. Innaritu is clearly very talented, and I don't mean to call him a ''self-congratulatory'' or ''hostile'' person. It's just that Birdman is kinda crap.