Friday, November 14, 2008
Tsotsi was a film adapted from an award winning novel by Athol Fugard. It was directed by Gavin Hood. It follows the story of a young criminal named Tsotsi(Presley Chweneyagae), who accidently becomes the caretaker for a young newborn. This forces him to face some traumatic events from his past, and causes him to question his criminal actions.
The performances in this film were strong, and the plot felt very gritty and real.
There are moments that are drenched with hopelessness and despair, where all that is important is survival, and then there are moments that transcend the grim circumstances and you are reminded once again of all the possibility contained in the human spirit.
I highly suggest this film, especially if you enjoyed similar films such as "City of God".
I give this film a 9 out of 10!
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Monday, November 10, 2008
Gunslinger Girl follows the young assassins of the Social Welfare Agency. They are part machine, part adolescent girl, but their emotions(for the most part) are typical for girls their age. The main focus is on Henrietta, a young assassin in love with her trainer and partner.
There is an amazing amount of Character developement in this Anime. You truly start to feel this are living, breathing people rather than animated cartoons. The storylines are done exceptionally well with the focus being on their emotions more than gunplay. There's not much violence(which surprised me). Most of the tension is drawn from emotional situations.
This dvd set is the entire first season(the second season to be released in 2009).
The only complaint I have is that I wish it had longer story lines. Most of the episodes are self contained. I would love to join them on an extended adventure that would last an entire season.
Still, that is only a minor complaint.
At the end of this dvd, the storyline had been brought to a point in which there was a strong sense of dread hovering over all the characters. Thank God there will be a second season.
I give this an 8 out of 10.
Rent Gunslinger Girl today on netflix!
Directed by "Shaolin Soccer" creator Stephen Chow, "Cj7" stars Xu Jiao(son), Stephen Chow(father), and Kitty Zang Yuqi(Miss Yuen). Version Reviewed: Blu-Ray.
Cj7 is about an extremely poor construction worker who stumbles across an unusual toy and gives it to his son, unaware that it is actually an alien life form. When the son takes it to school, chaos insues.
Even though this is meant to be a family film or children's movie, it falls flat and is often too cruel for young children. The Creature that is Cj7 is abused throughout the film...so much so that I wanted to just give up on the film and turn it off. The director doesn't seem to really care about any of the characters, but simply uses them to manipulate and often even insult the audience. There are some ridiculous scenes where he uses a young girl's voice on a much older fat woman and it doesn't work.
I can't suggest this film. Watch E.T. It's much, much better. Don't waste your time on this c.g.i. mess.
I also think its a shame that this recieved a blu-ray release when there are so many other asian films more deserving.
I give this a 3 out of 10
Rent E.T. Today on Netflix!!!!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I'm Still Here is a powerful documentary directed by Lauren Lazin. It features numerous well known stars such as Elijah Wood, Zach Braff, Amber Tamblin, Kate Hudson, and many more as they read the real diaries of young adolescents who suffered the horrors of Nazi Occupation in WWII. While being read, we are shown numerous video clips and pictures all meant to bring the viewers into the lives of those who wrote and experienced one of the greatest atrocities of the last 100 years.
We've all heard of Anne Frank, but this documentary focuses on those whose voices haven't been heard, those tormented, brave souls who faced the worst and wrote about their struggle.
It is only 48 minutes in length, but it will not easily be forgotten. If you are really sensitive, this may not be for you...however...if you do see this...you will understand how lucky you are to be alive now, and to not fear the things they feared.
My only complaint is the music which was done by Moby. There are several scenes where the music doesn't fit and takes away from the impact. I'm a huge fan of Moby, so it's not personal. In fact there are moments where the music is amazing and does fit....it's just that most of the time it doesn't work at all.
This is an important film to see if you can stomach it. I give it 9 out of 10.
Rent it on Netflix today!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Hell Ride is a tribute to Biker Films directed by Larry Bishop. It stars Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, Vinnie Jones, David Carradine, and Eric Balfour. It tells the story of the Victors bike gang as they set out for revenge against their rivals the "six six six'rs".
It starts out promising enough, with a very stylized opening and music that oozes coolness.
Unfortunately, there's not really that much action in this film. There's a lot of scenes where they're riding down the highway with cool music in the background, looking tough and ready...
but very little violence takes place. After watching this film I wondered.....what did I just watch? What were they doing all that time when nothing was going on?
The women in the film are breathtaking and are probably the strongest positive element of the film.
The Dialogue is the worst element of the film, often repeating words like "fire" or "business" in a single conversation until you are both irritated and bored. It's an obvious attempt to be clever, but it just doesn't work.
The performances were strong by all, but the story and dialogue didn't do any of these actors justice.
I give this film a 5 out of 10
Directed by Brian Flemming, The God Who Wasn't There is a documentary which tries to prove Jesus Christ never existed.
Before reviewing this, I prefer to make one thing clear. I do not consider myself to be a christian, so I do not want anyone thinking this dvd has been judged from the perspective of my own personal belief.
Only a few minutes into this film, It becomes obvious that Brian Flemming is more concerned about expressing anger and judgementalism toward christianity than he is about providing us with facts that prove his case. He also spends a large portion of this documentary insulting those who liked the ubber violent "Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson. He mocks those who've seen it, failing to try and see the perspective of those who watch it, but rather making them out to be blood hungry, sadistic believers. If people who saw that movie are sick, then what about all the non-believers who watch horror movies, or the evening news for that matter?
Brian wastes our time with numerous judgemental opinions and provides very little prove that Christ didn't actually exist. When he does try to provide us with fact, he fails to take the time to really explain it all to us, instead he rushes through it as if the angry judgemental segments are more important than providing a solid case.
This documentary feels more like a kid throwing a tantrum, acting out of childhood hurt and resentment, than it does a sincere inquiry to the origins and truth of Christ. All fact is overshadowed by this judgementalism, and even in the last frame, where he "bravely" commits "blasphemy", it felt ridiculous and stupid.
I wanted more fact, less tantrum.
Some of the people he interviews have very intelligent ideas about Christ's existence. It's a shame they weren't presented better. The most profound thought comes from Richard Carrier as the end credits roll....
I can't suggest this documentary. Not at all. Rent "Jesus Camp" instead. I give it 1 out of 10.
Rent "Jesus Camp" today on netflix!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Only a few weeks ago, I reviewed "Sex and Fury" and didn't give it a great review. I didn't really care for it....so when I slid the dvd "Female Yakuza Tale" into my dvd player, I didn't expect much.
I could not have been more wrong.
"Sex and Fury" boasted about inspiring Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" but I didn't see that connection. In "Female Yakuza Tale", the connections are obvious. The musical style was similar, the scenes were very, very stylized and some of the set pieces could have even been used in "Kill Bill".
This movie is a MUST SEE. It is sooo much better than "Sex and Fury". I think the main difference is the directing and writing, which were done by Teruo Ishii.
Reiko Ike's character was much tougher and smarter in this sequel, not to mention more beautiful somehow. It basically starts with her getting framed. From that point she tries to find out who framed her and why, and plans her revenge. It kept my interest from start to finish, and was filled with unexpected surprises. There's a lot more blood, sex, and nudity in this film...and the ending is both ridiculous and spectacular. I loved the ending to this film!
I strongly suggest this dvd.
The production value of the film isn't perfect, but it's so much fun to watch, you don't care.
I give this film 9 out of 10!
Rent it today on netflix!