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vepro´s Reviews

Displaying 1 - 5 of 8 in total

  • Written by vepro on 12.01.2012

    Somewhere in “Swiss Transylvania” there is a “Richard Wagner’s international school for girls”. While the unpleasant Foehn wind is blowing and a serial killer strikes again, somewhat special girl comes to the school, unaware that she’ll solve the case. Well, with a little help of her friends.

    The plot is quite original but what’s the thing for me in this movie is Argento’s brilliant usage of sound and build up of suspense from the very slow beginning to a very dynamic finish. Sound is what keeps you on the edge, especially if you’re Dario Argento fan, whether we are talking about film music or soundtrack. Iron Maiden’s “Flash of the Blade” functions great as our main character is snooping around where she shouldn’t and you know something is going to happen real soon. But when loud music stops and unpleasant silence kicks in that’s where you should expect real shit storm.

    It must be said that this movie isn’t so much horror-ish as some other pieces by Argento but is equally thrilling and atmospheric. Except of some gore and explicit decapitation the real horror is happening in the place where cameras eye, (meaning yours too) can’t reach or in girls head. Main character has something similar to Carrie, being misunderstood and rejected by nearly all of her environment and with telekinetic powers that could easily take care of everyone in her way. If you want, you can find here perhaps questions of girl maturing into a woman, or some other growing up problematic that are hidden in sub-text. This wouldn’t take away any of the joy of watching this movie, it could only contribute.

    In conclusion I would say that this movie is more disturbing than it is scary, it is little slow in some parts and with minor plot holes but is nevertheless great piece of horror cinema, although not Argento in his best. Best choice for a warm windy night with speakers on maximum.

  • R.I.P. Bruce — for Jaws
    Written by vepro on 13.01.2012

    Steven Spielberg's “Jaws” is truly a groundbreaking movie in every aspect of the word.
    I watched it last night for at least thirtieth time and was again amazed how great and fresh the movie is.
    It changed a lot in terms of marketing and movie distribution as well as in the thriller – suspense genre. And a lot of it came from malfunctioning equipment and compensating the original ideas, but for the best.

    Alongside “Duel”, “Jaws” is my favorite Spielberg movie because it shows what film making is all about. Great character development through the entire movie, great acting and great story – telling accompanied with brilliant usage of camera makes this movie unforgettable in cinema history, while Bruce makes you remember it all so clearly if you swam further from the shore than you planned on some drunken summer night. Character of Quint is great and it truly resembles captain Ahab in his obsession and devotion to catch this man – eating monster against the odds and capabilities of his fellows on board of “Orca”. I usually don’t like it in other movies, but he also functions as a comic relief in stressful situations even though he is this grumpy old man with a lot of fisherman stories in his bones. He is for me the strongest character in this movie alongside Schneider’s great chief Brody. What I also consider very good in this movie is the portrayal of human nature when it comes to decisions which include money and human lives on the opposite sides on the scale of interest, and the hypocrisy of provincials towards “outsiders”.

    Some jump scenes and overall suspense make this movie a true horror flick but what you recall most is the simple but terrifying score by John Williams which precedes every shark attack. The absence of shark footage, due mentioned mechanical failures, contribute also to chilling atmosphere, because what you can’t see is always more scary than what’s in front of you. One thing I would change in this movie is the all too well l known happy ending, well at least for the majority of characters, so deeply rooted in the Hollywood blockbuster horror tradition.

    For this movie to have full effect I recommend to postpone viewing at least until June.

  • Written by vepro on 14.01.2012

    I'm a huge fan of dystopian movies like this one. It reminds me a great deal on Carpenter's „They live“ and in some segments on Orwell's „1984“. I'll elaborate this. Both „They live“ and „1984“ use fictional plot to detect some of the most important issues in contemporary world. For Carpenter that's capitalism in it's worst and for Orwell it's a totalitarian society, like communism for example. This movie precedes „They live“ and it possibly influences Carpenter but it comes after „1984“ and bares some resemblance. For example I understood this movie as a metaphor for communist society, or rather, the fear of communist society and what would happen if we lived in such a world. The plants from outer space thereby represent the „red danger“, they infiltrate our homes and our lives turning us into something else, something that looks like us but it aint us. It's power is in numbers, in masses, and in the illusion that everything is normal. This way they can easily transform everyone into a human shaped shell. Once they control the communications and authorities it's almost impossible to stop them.

    This is the way that every ideology is distributed, whether we are talking about capitalism or communism, they both use strong and subtle propaganda and relay on masses to be the bearers of their message.
    In one point during the conversation between our main character and his „turned“ friend, his friend is urging him to join them because he will be: „…reborn into an untroubled world…where everybody's the same“. He also says: „Love, desire, ambition, fate, without them life's so simple“. We can see here some of the basic premises of communist society as they were seen by the capitalist western world during the cold war period. And the main character represents here a liberated western man, who refuses to live life without emotions and in subordination, which is thought to be like in communist countries.

    What is great, on the other hand, the other side of the medal is also questioned in this movie. Main character is indeed a true patriotic citizen of USA and defends all what the American dream stands for, but comes across no understanding from most people around him. At the end he's having a tough time stopping somebody on the highway to help him get away, and the doctors want to put him in the mental institution. He is highly alienated and there is no way to prove what he is talking about. Every attempt to show that there is something wrong with the system is claimed insane, just as he agreed in the beginning: it's all a collective neurosis. But this neurosis, caused by „what is going on in the world“ is dismissed as illusions, or rather something unusual, not normal; even though it pinpoints the problem that actually exists. If we take a closer look of what's going around the world today we may see how every kind of protest against neoliberal capitalism is dismissed as the work of neo – communists, hippies, lazy people or something else like that, while in fact the protesters introduce urgent issues such as monopoly of the banks, health care or education.

    So, although filmed in 1956, I think that this movie is still very good piece of work, important for understanding of global tensions today, as I thought of „They live“ or „1984“. And it has a great uncertain and uncomfortable ending. Or you can watch it as another black and white sci – fi movie and wait until you go to sleep, thinking that the morning won't change anything.

  • Written by vepro on 21.11.2012

    Last night I gave into long-lasting request for watching Revolutionary Road. I had no previous knowledge about the movie, apart from being a book adaptation, which I haven't read, and two main cast members Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but I was sceptical, for no good reason anyway.

    I won't bother much about the plot here, it's a movie about young family and its problems trying to make it and build some sense into their existence. Protagonists struggle hard to rise above what they see as meaningless suburban life that lost all of its charms before it has even begun. But it's the way in all of this is portrayed that makes this movie worth watching.

    The movie starts up somewhat slow and keeps that tempo until the end but it doesn't get dull or annoying in any moment. Unnecessary plot details are shown in few moments, for example how they met, how he got his job, her carrier as an actress gone bust and stuff like that. Rather, the director focuses on interactions between characters (which Winslet and DiCaprio deliver brilliantly), their inner torments, their fears and troubles which aren't allways verbal in nature. The body language, the mimic of the face, the twitch of an eye – nothing is accidentall or out of place – it serves one purpuse and one purpuse only, to show ruination of two young lifes unable to find the meaning of life, the way to fulfill their potentials to the fullest, or a way to coexist in their differences.

    In the beginning they have plans, motives, wishes, they are still alive, if you wish. But life gets in a way and combination of bad luck, opportunities and bad decisions shatters their dreams and sets another stage from where everything goes down the stream, towards tragic ending. We see different ways in which the couple trys to live a little again, cheating, one night stands, getting drunk, kind words but nothing is working out. They grow appart, become distant, become sad „sad shells“ of human beings. And the ending is not particulary disturbing, whilst the whole movie is equaly hard, sad and disturbing. And it is so because you know this to be true, beacause you personally know people who are unhappy with their lives, their marriage, their kids and so on.

    There is another take on this movie how I see it. Set in '50s, this movie depicts problems of what Marx calls alianation of the worker, from his job, working on a job you hate from various reasons; from his product, where you don't even know what is it what you produce and what you produce is not available to you; from your life, living in a house you don't like, surrounded with people who you don't have nothing in common apart from the same neighborhood, social interactions that give you no pleasure except the sensation of exceptance from someone you don't even care about; and from ones self, where you don't know what is it what you want, what you really want to do and, at the end, who you really are. These problems are also what bothers the modern common people, and I think this movie is not only a drama about one familys problems and tragedy, rather an depiction of situations a great deal of young people come across.

    Impossibillity to achieve your personal goals, weather the reasons lie in lack of time, money or courage. If you have money it's likely you work for it so you don't have time, or it's the other way around. And if you have both, what remains is fear to take that step toward liberation, towards a better, more fulfilled life, life worth living. Because it's not easy to exit a lullaby called life, to abandon fals comfort you developed over the years, and the hope someday, somewhere you'll be able to enjoy grapes of your hard work, next to one who you really love. Instead you're stuck in „hopeless emptiness“ as the characters are well aware. And that's the only possitive thig about this movie, their awareness, their ability to pin-point the problem. But also, that's probably the saddest moment of this movie. You're fucked, you know it, but there's nothing much you can do about it. You're helpless, hopeless and it's not entirely your fault. It's just the way it is. To snap out of it seems like a privilege of lucky few.

    This movie touched me in different ways, and I found it great because of it. This is a strong, disturbing story that rises some importat questions involving life, marriage, existence, meaning, love, children… and that is something you don't get very often in modern mainstream cinema. Great movie about life, in any day and age.

  • Written by vepro on 12.12.2012

    Něco z Alenky is my first, and for now, the only Jan Svankmajer movie. I came across it on WTM and postponed the viewing until the time is just right for something surrealistic and different like this movie seemed to be. That time came few days ago.
    Svankmajer follows Caroll’s novel (which I liked very much) quite accurately plot-wise, with majority of characters and most of the main occurrences but gives it a different spin with combined action and stop animation, narration and ending.
    What I like the most about this movie is that it is in a way very disturbing, with the taxidermically stuffed rabbit, skeleton animals running around, actual decapitation scenes, death and sense of unease that follows Alice while she continues to go further down the rabbit hole. While she progresses it seems that she’s not concerned about what’s going to happen around the next corner as if she’s aware she is dreaming a lucid dream and wants to have some fun. Only it doesn’t seem she’s having much fun. Apart from few laughs and tears as well, she’s quite indifferent about what goes around her, her main goal is to catch the white rabbit. She just wants to catch that white rabbit. She shows no fear when she shrinks or gets bigger after eating cookies or drinking ink (!), or when a rat starts to cook dinner on her head just before she’s about to drown to death. Sometimes it even feels like she’s not the one in charge of her actions, as if she’s on some kind of auto – pilot. This is a fairy tale turned upside down and if you ask me for the better.
    Another thing that I find great is the use of household items, ordinary things such as kitchen supplies, clothes and such to portray the characters and environment in this surrealist dream which makes it more realistic, and easier to relate to. Alice is not wondering around some flashy unknown world, she’s running up and down trough some old Prague building which is little bit off, while laws of time and space don’t seem to apply. It’s something she sees every day incorporated in her dream and comes alive through her imagination that constructs this wonderland, and perhaps that is the reason why she is not afraid – it’s all too familiar.
    The narration, or what little of it there is, is pulled of very well through close ups of Alice’s mouth talking, or rather narrating, giving stage directions of what just happened on screen. This partially backs up the theory that she is well aware that she’s dreaming, and that she’s in charge of whatever happens next.
    To wrap this up, Něco z Alenky is the best adaptation of Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland I’ve seen so far and great visual experience for anyone who likes a piece of different story telling and different cinematic approach, part of which can’t even be properly evoked trough the written word.

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