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Mrs Wilson (2018)
I got through an episode and a half before caving in. I just couldn't tolerate the (overplayed) lead any longer.
Leave your political opinions of Iran at the door...
I wanted to rate this film a 7 at first, mainly due to an inexplicable anger I felt toward Iran. I am not American, neither am I European, but I have lived in both parts of the globe to have been brain washed enough into perceiving Iran as one of the "evil ones". And it wasn't until I saw this film that I came to realize my biases. I kept judging the socio-political structure of the country, as if it is my position to do so. This a funny film. period. The cultural nuances make it a bit quirky at times, but if you are well traveled or a fan of foreign films in general, then you should be equipped to deal with the quirkiness. Either way, it's a positive cultural revelation of Iran on some levels. I would have given it a higher rating if the pace wasn't a bit slow for my liking.
2 good looking dudes....
...is the only explanation for the initial rave reviews for this dull wannabe-artsy gen-z film, with very little substance whatsoever. I kept on waiting for a climax that never arrived. The director obviously has the clout to bring together top Korean talent, but that's about it. The script, based on a short story (that appeared in The New Yorker) by Haruki Murakami (equally boring), is beyond what I would call weak, and the only consolation when it was all said and done, for me, was that I didn't pay to see it!!!
More a 7.5 than a 7
This film's weak point is the seemingly predictable slow place. A presumptuous viewer, like myself, would draw conclusions and either walk-out or doze off. The script, for the most part, simply lacks engagement. Luckily I sat it through. What'll seem to be a stupid plot will prove otherwise if you can summon the patience until about the last 10 minutes. Despite a very good performance, Choi Ming-sik still needs to find a script with a Korean director (or otherwise) who can tap into his reserves, of the likes of past reminiscent performances, which we saw in Old Boy, I saw the Devil, Failan, etc. I still remain a HUGE fan though!
An education on Japanese rural culture with a touch of comedy. There are a few silly, dull moments, but overall the film is quite enjoyable.
Liteul poreseuteu (2018)
Hubris is the only explanation I could come up with as to why anyone would want to attempt to "improve" on a version that is already quite good, if not perfect. Watch the Japanese version instead!!
Little Forest: Summer/Autumn (2014)
The minimalistic lifestyle most of us crave.....
Beautiful, poetic, ethereal. I started watching this late one night, and called it quits in the middle (from fatigue, not boredom), and the main character appeared in my dream. Get this, when I awoke early the following morning, I immediately returned to complete the film, went back to sleep after, and dreamed about the main character again. This would usually happen if I had left the film on and dozed off, but that was not the case. It was off. The beauty of the experience of watching this film was soo great that it permeated my dreams. And that's all I have to say about this gem.
Implausible depiction of events combined with terrible acting. There are a few Koreans in the film who obviously cannot speak English, forcing the fact, and producing what sounds like pure gibberish! Foreigners based in Korea should be speaking to the natives in their tongue, not the other way around! This is not a terrible film, but it's also not a good one.
Wild Wild Country (2018)
A good account of events, but....
Way too long! By episode 4, boredom starts to set-in based on predictability, even though I was unaware of the story, which prompted fast-forwarding.
Also, there turns out to be a 40 minute documentary on Youtube with a lot more information than what Netflix presents in over 5 hours!
As far as the actual content goes, in my opinion, Sheela is probably the most genuine of them all. Her position as secretary (manager/assistant) is clear from the onset and she pretty much stays true to that role throughout. She simply worked for Bhagwan and was not one of his followers. Bhagwan basically betrayed her when she decided to leave, and if she had, in fact, stolen the amounts he had claimed, I doubt she would have done the Stern Magazine interview.
Bhagwan's lawyer, though a nice guy, is just another devotee with strong principles of loyalty. I like him as well, but not as much as Sheela.
Eve no jikan (2010)
To fall in love with a database?
A very interesting perspective on the human-robot relationship of the future. Sophisticated computers (databases) masqueraded as robots or androids based on a few humanoid features. So how does one emotionally bond with a machine (database)? I cried toward the end of this film, so that alone is telling of the question for which the answer is not so cut and dry. I guess the mind of the human of the future will be more accepting or open to the idea of a machine satisfying all their emotional needs (we know the physical is already possible. wink, wink)
Daijiga umule pajinnal (1996)
I'm going to have to agree with a previous reviewer who called this "Hong Sang-Soo's first is his best" and add the words "to date". And if you are someone who has only watched his latest films (post 2010), you are in for a treat and will also understand what all the fuss is about this brilliant director. Once again, he proves that the simple the approach, the better the outcome. I consider myself a Korean film buff, to the point where I traveled to Seoul to get a first hand feel of the people and the environment I have seen in so many films. This film, though relatively old, captures more of what I saw while in Seoul than all the recent hollywood-esque films, which companies like CJ entertainment have been churning out. Maybe that's because, in part, plastic surgery wasn't the in-thing in Seoul in 1996. I would love to ask the director how he goes about casting his extras because I just can't figure out how he gets them to behave so naturally in front of the camera. No spoilers here....Go watch the film and enjoy!!
I place myself on the average scale when it comes to patience, but I could only tolerate the first 5 minutes of this waste before switching it off and deleting the file from my hard-drive forever! Good riddance!
Oh! Soo-jung (2000)
Universality and complexity of human relationships
The director has a knack for dissecting (or exposing) the human psychology, especially when it comes to sexual or relationship encounters in general. The nuances that we all experience intimately, but rarely discuss, are ever-present in his films, which is an aspect I enjoy. I also enjoy his minimalist approach to film making. Again, the meat of the story is about the relationships between people, so make-up and stunts are almost non-existent. I read somewhere that the director really likes the idea of spontaneity, and this is especially evident when he casts the extras. Watch how the extras look and behave like "normal" people. In other words, their roles are not contrived or over-played. If you enjoyed other works of this director (Sang-soo Hong), then this is a must see.
L'amour fou (1969)
The word BORING doesn't justify...
4 hours+ to tell a dull story! Chain smoking french men and women rehearsing for Greek play, and some weak-ass relationship drama on the side. That's it!!! I started fast forwarding after 40 minutes, and I can believe I actually endured that much. A complete waste of time, so don't bother!
La isla mínima (2014)
So many unnecessary characters and scenes in a film that runs out of steam before the finish-line. Also, it seems the director has a childish fascination with silly drone shots...Again unnecessary. This film was trying to make so many points that it ended-up making none. Watching this became tiresome after the first 15 minutes.
Le trou (1960)
Without a doubt, the authenticity of this film lies in the fact that the director chose to use real players of the actual event. Needless to say, this is a very well crafted piece of art, and as another reviewer put it: "The God is in the details". The acting is not top-notch, but this weakness simply exposes the real genius of the director. The situation itself overshadows all the individual players, and that's what the audience is compelled to focus on.
Thank you and RIP Jacques Becker!!!
Step aside Sherlock Holmes!
After all the hype for any film has settled, it's true worth is often, but not always, revealed in the IMDb ratings. I picked this film purely based on its high rating of 8, and it delivered just that - an 8! Very well executed, and you don't know what's coming at you until the very end. The production and acting is almost flawless; the hour and 45 minutes contain no dull moments.
You will find yourself asking the same question
Juliet Binoche's master-class skills as an actress are unequivocal, but the gargantuan task of convincing one into understanding why her character just couldn't bring herself to tell the truth was one that escaped me. I kept banging my fists on any solid object close by, saying "tell her!". Perhaps that was the intention of the director, or maybe it's because I'm a male, who has had no children, and probably never will, that made it difficult to understand the intensity of a mother's grief. Either way, I found the overall experience annoying, and only felt obligated to complete this film because of my loyalty to Ms.Binoche. I empathized (and cried)at the end when the long hug took place, but still didn't understand or accept the mother's behavior.
A disjointed series of episodes in which Mr Soderbergh displays his talents as a writer, director and actor. Yes, as an actor too! There are, of course, going to to be some who just won't get this the thrust of humor because, frankly, it's not for everyone. But, if you are among the lucky few, in-tune with what this master of cinematic entertainment is trying to convey, you will enjoy the experience immensely. Once again, thank you Mr Soderbergh for sharing this very humorous vision with the world!
La cara oculta (2011)
I started watching this film a few years ago, and didn't finish it because my mind was saying, "There are only a few predictable scenarios here, so why bother!" And so I skipped it almost midway. I decided to give it a go again because I actually forgot I had seen it before, and I must say I was impressed all around. I gave the film 8 stars instead of 7 because of the ending, which is exactly why others may find it unsatisfying. A well written, and very plausible thriller, if you are patient enough to stick with it.
Song to Song (2017)
It was pure anguish watching this film!
Films like Song of Song make one avow: Never would I want the job of a professional film critic even though I really enjoy the art form. At least I have the option of fast-forwarding when things get bad (I don't go to the theater unless the reviews are off the charts. But as a film critic, you have to sit there and endure each torturous frame. Terrence Malick's arrogance definitely comes across in this film. He called up a few A list actors and told them to improvise an already terrible script. I was left asking the question: who on earth agreed to fund this horrible film!?
love vs decorum
My respect goes to Yoo Ah-in (Crown Prince Sado)for his performance, though there were other quite good performances as well. I have watched many Korean films, and was surprised to have not seen Yoo Ah-in's face before, so I googled his name. He appears to have been a model before taking on acting, and rightfully so based on his good looks. Not sure if modeling came before acting, but either way, this guy is not just another pretty face actor. There were a couple of scenes in the film where his character simply commanded me to well-up. The "trivia of decorum" is a phrase that stuck with me after watching this film. The only advantage of being the first born boy to a monarch in many ancient cultures (not just Asian), was that you were at least guaranteed meals, especially if times were hard. Otherwise, the pressures on young heirs seems to have been almost unbearable.
El ciudadano ilustre (2016)
Good as long as no expectations are imposed.
Predictable, for sure, but there were quite a few funny moments throughout the film that managed to win me over. I commend the lead (Oscar Martínez)for the subtlety he brought to this role in order to make the part(and the situations)convincingly amusing. Understanding or navigating the nuances of a foreign culture, even when the culture is from one's own childhood, can be a tricky task.
First disappointment from Choi Min-sik
If you're going to use CGIs for major action scenes in a film, then get your s*it together! And if I wanted to watch an animation film, I wouldn't have bothered with this. I couldn't believe how comical all the tigers appeared, let alone the bullet-dodging skills of the "Lord Tiger". The story line is somewhat plausible up until when the tigers appear on screen. The director of this film needs to understand that CG-animals in successful films like Revenant work mainly because of the limited screen time given to the bear. The human brain won't tolerate something so unnatural for long periods of time unless it knows it has come to watch a cartoon!! Choi Min-sik's presence alone isn't enough to carry this project. Most of the supporting cast seemed clueless, almost struggling, probably because there were no actual tigers to interact with on set. What made the entire experience borderline-painful was its 2 hour-plus duration - waaay too long!! The only reason I didn't rate this lower is because of the lead-character's (fruitless) efforts to salvage it.
Lavish but lackluster
About halfway through watching this this film, I kept thinking of "Blue in the Warmest Color" (2013) and that's not a good sign, in my opinion. A good film is supposed to keep its audience engaged, not have the audience thinking about something else, let alone another film. And I guess that's one of the reasons I was reluctant to give it a higher score. I also found myself struggling to enjoy the film within the first 30 minutes. Actually, I was dozing off, yet another not-so-good indicator. The acting of both female leads (or co-leads)was top notch. I couldn't say the same for the 2 male characters, Jung-woo Ha and Jin-woong Jo. I've seen both of them in other films, where they gave much better performances, so I guess it was a question of chemistry or miscasting. Or maybe I was just subconsciously biased because of the intense female sexuality in the plot. Either way, I wasn't convinced by the male characters. On a positive note, the production was impeccable (almost too perfect) and the twist in the story definitely resuscitated my attention halfway through. All in all, based on my rating, this is not a bad film, but I guess I would tell anyone who wanted to see this to make sure they lower their expectations; that way, they'll definitely enjoy it more than I did!