Archive for July, 2012

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EIFF 2012: Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)

July 26, 2012

Berberian Sound Studio is an unusual thriller with a very striking atmosphere. Set amidst a 1970s Italian horror production, it is definitely informed stylistically by giallo films, but also bears strong resemblances to David Lynch and certain efforts from Ingmar Bergman that hinged on horror and the psychological. Crucially, however, its allusions to other cinematic trappings do not create a derivative impression; Peter Strickland’s confounding sophomore effort has a unique feel all of its own…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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EIFF 2012: One. Two. One (Mania Akbari, 2011)

July 16, 2012

One-Two-One-Mania-Akbari-2011

Iranian actress-director Mania Akbari’s latest film is a hypnotising mood piece, rooted in both experimental and theatrical styles. Composed entirely of less than fifteen long takes of varying lengths, the film presents a series of vignette conversations and encounters concerning people connected to a specific young woman named Ava. The film follows her journey to regain self confidence after her face is disfigured via an acid attack courtesy of her ex-lover, in a society that elevates the importance of female physical beauty. In addition to the theme of self-worth rejuvenation, the film also concerns the complications inherent in relationships.

As each vignette unfolds, more of Ava is revealed in both figurative and literal senses. Her time in the film begins with her in a spa, where her damaged face is covered by a mask. It then progresses to her encounters while having to don a large eye patch during her gradual healing process, and finally concludes with her meeting a suitor in a cable car. Flashes of increasing colour in both her clothing and make-up denote the freedom she has achieved by the film’s end, though the narrative’s finale is suitably ambiguous so as not to suggest the journey or relationships could be or ever have been simple…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)

July 6, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom’s opening sequence could be viewed as a definitive showcase of Wes Anderson’s filmmaking characteristics, being that it contains his recognisable panning shots, a seemingly dysfunctional family, arguably precocious children, bold colour palettes, and meticulously arranged interiors. He is a director who has made a more noticeable progression with each film than many seem to recognise or give him credit for, and while his new effort’s start may suggest a caricature of his directing persona, or the man simply going through the motions as it were, Moonrise Kingdom marks an undeniable venture into new territory alongside its expansion of previously explored themes; it may also be Anderson’s best film to date. Read the rest of this entry ?

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EIFF 2012: Lawless (John Hillcoat, 2012)

July 4, 2012

Director John Hillcoat and musician Nick Cave have collaborated numerous times since the late 1980s, from Cave having starred in Ghosts… of the Civil Dead to composing Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Lawless marks their second collaboration involving Cave as screenwriter, following The Proposition. That outback-set western was a film of strong lyricism and a blistering atmosphere. Like The Proposition, Lawless concerns three brothers with ties to crime and extreme violence. Unlike the 2005 film, Hillcoat’s latest is an unusually flat affair and lacking in any of the director’s usually reliable boldness regarding harsh, brutal content…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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My Month in Films: June 2012

July 1, 2012

38 films, 35 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. The Catch (Shinji Sômai, 1983, Japan)
2. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012, USA)
3. Odd Man Out (Carol Reed, 1947, UK)
4. One.Two.One (Mania Akbari, 2011, Iran)
5. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012, Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France)
6. Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar Wai, 1990, Hong Kong)
7. Moving (Shinji Sômai, 1993, Japan)
8. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012, UK)
9. The Imposter (Bart Layton, 2012, UK)
10. Hospitalité (Koji Fukada, 2010, Japan)

11. The Friends (Shinji Sômai, 1994, Japan)
12. Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011, USA)
13. Death Watch (Bertrand Tavernier, 1980, France/UK/West Germany)
14. Typhoon Club (Shinji Sômai, 1985, Japan)
15. Kaza-hana (Shinji Sômai, 2000, Japan)
16. Life Without Principle (Johnnie To, 2011, Hong Kong)
17. Tokyo Heaven (Shinji Sômai, 1990, Japan)
18. Au hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966, France/Sweden)
19. What Is This Film Called Love? (Mark Cousins, 2012, UK)
20. An American Tail (Don Bluth, 1986, USA)

Best rewatches
The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952, USA)
The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998, USA/UK)
The French Connection (William Friedkin, 1971, USA)

Worst
Rock of Ages (Adam Shankman, 2012, USA)
Pusher (Luis Prieto, 2012, UK)
Free Men (Ismaël Ferroukhi, 2011, France)
Fred (Richard Ledes, 2012)
Prometheus (Ridley Scott, USA, 2012)
Lawless (John Hillcoat, USA, 2012)