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A short clean piece about an afflicted individual who raises above her condition and breaks through.
A frank and deliberately laconic short, AGORABLE strikes the chord with its clean cut and engaging story line. Everything in this product testifies of the crew's hard work and dedication to create cinema, stunning and masterfully fulfilled. Director's attention to detail made AGORABLE into nothing less than a pearl of short film. Bethany Orr combined her talent with the talent of her awesome crew members to a surprisingly fresh effect, implementing interesting solutions for color, sound, make-up, on-set animal handling. The story behind AGORABLE is autobiographic which contributed to the film's strikingly realistic, down-to-earth composition, something a large audience can relate to. Very believable, very professional.
The Time That Remains (2009)
Half a century of tragedy is squeezed into an hour and a half of a laconic and precisely targeted shock therapy.
Sometimes, life throws at us things that over the years become too big to comprehend. Such are natural disasters, pandemic diseases, nuclear explosions, and wars.
In his movie, released in 2009, Elia Suleiman sets on a journey to explore the genre of black comedy, so as to reveal to us the secret of coping with a tragedy of which the magnitude is overwhelming.
It is the nature of human mind to always look for some form of normality, maybe a little static, but nevertheless, a feeling that your bases are covered, your life has a purpose and your entire existence in a certain place and at a certain time is not meaningless. This is what we, humans, do when gun battles, tanks and security surges are suddenly a persistent part of the daily routine. And this is exactly the focus of The Time That Remains. Half a century of tragedy is squeezed into an hour and a half of a laconic and precisely targeted shock therapy.
Despite its smoothness and an accurately placed hint of suspense, this movie doesn't truly give you a moment of rest. There's no wallowing in self-pity here, no destructive mind blowing imagery; even the garden of executions is so well carved into the texture of the surrounding neighborhood that it appears natural despite your mind telling you that what you are looking at is a yelling contradiction to what is humanly acceptable.
There's also no conflict, in a traditional sense of the word, around which the story would evolve. All there is is a deceptively distanced and only seemingly uninvolved bitterly comic narration about generations of painful struggle to remain human in a filled with nonsense reality, where even a direct participant finds himself merely an observer, trying to just be.
The movie strikes as grotesque, largely satirical, very reflective and detailed. This effect doesn't wear off till the very last scene.
When telling the truth becomes a taboo, the sensationalism of this movie is found in the peculiar way of drawing attention to what should not be discussed, because the subject makes us uncomfortable.
Elia Suleiman resorts to various means offered by cinematography in order to break the unbreakable, to jump over the wall.
There are no loud graphic scenes in this movie, nothing at all that an adult cannot handle; yet, it is heavily loaded with incredible emotions that run deep in the film's canvas, leaving you gulp for air at times.
When deciding whether or not to watch this movie, don't hesitate. Just watch. And prepare lots of tissues, even if you are known for having a thick skin.
Space Battleship Yamato (2010)
with the finest samurai tradition in mind, the movie subtly evokes the theme of a global sense of unity and patriotism
For those of us, the non-Japanese folk, who when asked what we know about Japan were thinking California roll and sushi, now is the time to change that and start thinking Space Battleship Yamato.
Number 1 in the Japanese box office, this sci fi blockbuster hit the screens in December 2010 with everything it's got and it doesn't let go! The movie is absolutely a blast and such a fun to watch.
Based largely on the 1974 plot of what is now a cult anime franchise with a 35+ history in Japan, it also contains elements from the anime's sequels, which in turn don't spoil an overly amazing impression. It basically feels like a tribute to the Yamato legacy, made into a universally understood and appreciated new product that still has Japanese written all over it, and proudly so.
The story has an old epic at its backbone – a heroic group sets out to save mankind from an unthinkable disaster. Add a little love twist and a few touchy heartfelt scenes, and you have an aspiring space opera, full of action and adventure.
Contrary to the opinion of some critics that the movie does not explore the depth of human emotions but merely brushes over them, Space Battleship Yamato in the view of yours truly does an excellent job in working out conflicts and placing characters in situations of tough choices and heart wrenching decisions. Remember – you are watching a blockbuster, not a soap. Putting forward the intensity of human response to the threat of annihilation, pressure and stress, the movie is all about team work, personal initiative, friendship and comradeship in a very recognizable trademarked Japanese kind of way.
In 2009, when first hearing that Space Battleship Yamato was to be filmed, there came this fear that the movie would repeat the fate of Sayonara Jupiter, where script adaptation by Sakyo Komatsu, the renowned author of the book the movie was based on, failed with flying colors; an otherwise intriguing plot appeared outdated and viewers were unable to connect to what they were seeing on their screens. Luckily so, the script of Space Battleship Yamato defeats that fear. It has been quite well adapted to fit the modern portrayal of the future humans while preserving the original Yamato flavor that was conceived in mid 1970s.
Made with the finest samurai tradition in mind, the movie subtly evokes the theme of a global sense of unity and patriotism, where loyalty and passion always go together, but does it in a unique fashion, with a proper Japanese class and honor. Aiming to channel the best in humanity, nearly every scene here thrills one's nerves and entertains one's eyes, calling for a lasting ovation.
THX 1138 (1971)
A classic work of science fiction cinematography by a true genius, striking the chord of humanity's most vulnerable tune - love and freedom.
A month after Woodstock, George Lucas decides that the world needs to see one of his visions for the future, and so they begin filming. They shave actors' heads and stage incredible stunts.
What is then released in 1971 becomes highly misunderstood.
The audience clearly wasn't prepared to watch a dearly cherished dream of love being turned into a nightmare of mind control and dehumanization where this very love is a crime. And so, the future where a monastic technocracy (speculated to be caused by a natural development?) dominates the world is unappealing and shocking.
The movie strikes as a daunting psychological drama, much to the effect of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, not a film but a novel at the time THX 1138 was made.
The intricacy of the mind is being explored in THX 1138 by testing effects of isolation, confinement, heavy drug use and all things anti personification. Human survival is investigated in a science fiction mode, and who is to tell that this model of the future will escape us
Awakening and search of one's true identity, leading to an overwhelming desire for freedom, is what gives this movie a universal character. Questioning a self-imposed pseudo-righteousness and the authority of a groundless dogma is here an instrument on a path to self-realization.
What could be considered an avant-garde product of its time, THX 1138 today is a memorable piece of commendable acting and production in the film making history, a rightfully proclaimed Hollywood legend.
It is also a testimony of hard work and fine artistry that leaves generations after Woodstock with one bugging question
who is Omm ?
The Japanese Wife (2010)
Haiku in motion, absolutely stunning.
Explaining this movie, The Japanese Wife, won't be so easy – such are all films that aim to bridge barriers, break walls and create a new realm of understanding, based on a newly discovered perception of a common ground that's always been there, but was kept unnoticed for some unknown reason.
Released in April 2010, the movie clearly attempts to link two worlds, and not just the commonly known main stream version of these worlds, but goes deeper, touches the underlining matter that makes up the society of both cultures, the Indian and the Japanese. Shows life the way it really is, not the way it is being fed off the screen - a long lasting trend in the modern mass media.
Shows how love can go by without a physical element. Doesn't deny the need of a physical contact yet achieves a neat balance and doesn't distort the image of platonic love.
It is also a story of selfless service to the loved ones and the community, a sacrifice and a lesson of priorities, telling you what really matters. Because of one man's commitment and dedication, and his insider's link into 'all things Japanese', something beautiful and memorable happened in a far away Indian village.
With a hint of humor, this love story nearly lands you inside a tearful tragedy, stripping you off a so needed explanation of what happened out there. And then in the matter of seconds you fly on the wings of hope towards the light that only true love can bring you to.
There is an undeniable charm in the way this story floats from one corner of the Earth to another. A word should also be said about one striking feature that some might still find subject to a profound neglect - the source of strength, coming from the feminine spirit, overtaking and inspiring. The power of women.
Filled with passion, the story is narrated in a very calm and simplistic way. Yes, somewhat minimalistic too. Tells how little we need to be happy. The makers of this movie managed to create an impression of haiku , with character's reflections captured almost in slow motion, so that the viewer can pause and gaze and allow the touchdown to happen within one's heart. But, like is the case with all haiku, worded, painted or now filmed, it often goes unappreciated and misunderstood, and always takes time to sink in. Not every one might find it immediately thrilling and amazing. Yet, in the end, it is.
And so is the final verdict – definitely worth it.
Xin Su shi jian (2009)
Jackie Chan is on top of his game in his new dramatic role in an edge cutting production unveiling well kept secrets of underground Japan.
Two men, Steelhead, a migrant worker from China, and Kitano, the detective who hunts illegal Gastarbeiters in Japan, are caught in the middle of an unfolding mob war in the very core of a heavy personal drama, set in Tokyo.
A clear cut devotion to a code of honor unites two men from two distinctly different and opposing walks of life.
When Steelhead saves Kitano's life in the beginning of the movie, we witness chemistry between the two, an unuttered understanding. When they later move to solve the crisis they became part of, we are hooked and seek to find out whether the two will clash or bond in the end.
The movie is built on an intense plot with a tragic story that stands on social contrast and brings to light shady and unsolicited brutal details of how far a battle for survival can take you. Beneath layers of consumerist glamor, there's a well concealed life of pain and misery. As a rule people don't really want to go there, but Jackie Chan and his crew make it a point to sober us up and make us see the naked truth.
This film is a shocker. It doesn't offer an escape into a surreal fun world where everything is peachy. Jackie Chan here is on top of his new game as a drama actor and he does well. His character has been through a lot and lives through many controversial choices. Steelhead tries to trick his consciousness into a compromise, but doesn't succeed even when swept away by the waves of criminal unrest. Kitano, in turn, is played with a classy Japanese reserved flavor. He walks the city to protect his people and in the end learns quite a bit about what life is really made of.
'Cargo' is a thriller with a genuine SciFi embroidery and a blood chilling exposition of human future.
A Swiss science fiction thriller made its way onto the silver screen in 2009. The movie steps away from the recently developed tradition in the genre and delivers a sci-fi reality check-the Earth is dead, humanity is picking up the slack, things are brutally rough. And then, light in the end of the tunnel-there's an escape. The catch is to earn one's way to that expensive futuristic Garden of Eden called Rhea.
A fantastic, believable and definitely authentic acting is what makes this movie stand out from many sci-fi productions of the past decade.
Laura Portmann is a medical employee of a space cargo ship. The fact that she is a doctor, says many things. She deals with human life and human death on a daily basis. She uncovers things that only an MD would. Her knowledge and experience is also her best weapon. Anna-Katharina Schwabroh's performance in her role as Laura, left an amazing effect on me; the impression of seeing my little sister work towards realizing her very human dream. I wanted to be there for her and I felt bad that she was alone like that.
The cargo ship's trip is harsh. Starship's personnel go into stasis, come out of it, take turns to monitor the ship. On Laura's watch, she discovers that their cargo is not what she initially thought it would be. Odd, blood-stilling things come next. This is when it gets really hairy
Cargo is exactly the type of film that I would classify as 'cozy horror'. Having been spoiled by the amount of violence that skyrockets our adrenalin, it's a good idea to step back, take a break and watch something that thrills but doesn't provide a platform for a heart attack. In Cargo, the threat is there, the chill is there, the survival fever is there, the loss is there, but there are no graphic violent images like, say, in Event Horizon.
Many reviews tagged Cargo's romance sub-plot as rushed and hardly realistic, thus, in my opinion, overseeing the film's obvious intention to highlight all aspects of human response to a long-term isolation in space which was done exceptionally well in Cargo.
Love story in Cargo is not a true love story but a reaction to confinement, paired with normal physio-hormonal reaction to the presence of an opposite sex that human brain mistakenly treats as genuine. Such things are known to happen among a mixed group of people stranded in the mountains, in a desert, in any other extreme hostile environment. It's one of many human survival techniques that Cargo embroiders into the main plot line.
A word needs to be said about notable special effects in the movie. Cargo didn't have a multimillion budget to work magic with, which didn't stop the crew from creating vividly detailed astounding imagery with a high quality visual impact-all action takes place in space, custom made, high tech, refined and simply breathtaking.
Ragged Isle (2011)
new dashing web film project
Whoever thinks Maine isn't haunted, should take their assumption under a serious reconsideration-Ragged Isle has arrived and proves all skeptics wrong.
This new dashing web film project leaves a feel of an unpredictable mystery that slowly unfolds during an average of eight minutes of each episode.
The series draws you in as a young journalist named Vicky Burke accepts a position in a small newspaper nowhere else but on an infamous secluded island that has a rather chilling aura about it.
Odd stuff happens and before she knows it she becomes a participant, being pulled into a murder investigation that makes everyone on the island uncomfortable.
It wouldn't be too bad, but the pressure is rising as secrets of the past come to surface, and the key that will unlock the truth seems to be kept in the island's part that's been off limits. Till now.