What’s up y’all? It is ya boi Poeticjustice aka Pj aka Mystic Fingers. I have decided to write a post of my most recent film impressions for my girl Jazz here. I was lucky this month to witness a plethora of good films which touch upon a variety of different subjects.
At the end of the entry I’ll sum it up by including:
Rating | Year of Release | Original Language | Director | Run time | IMDB Link
Enough of the pleasantries. I will now dive deep into my film impressions for this month.
- The Double Life of Veronique centers of the lives of two women from different countries who look exactly the same. Little do they know, their lives have ripple effects on one another as they share a bond that transcends region and language. The cinematography in this film is wonderful. The director, Krzysztof Kieślowski, uses greens, yellows and reds to bring out the tone of every scene. Each color is complimenting the feelings of the characters in a harmonious fashion. The film conveys emotions very subtly but if you pick up on them, they are more than likely to leave an impact on you. The Double Life of Veronique is one of the more unique films I have seen recently.
4/5 | 1991| Polish/French | Krzsyztof Kielowski | 98 mins| IMDB link
Confessions is a twisted tale of revenge. Junior High School Teacher, Yuko Moriguichi, tells her class that she will be retiring from teaching. Before she goes, she tells her class that her daughter was murdered…by two students in her class. Things quickly decay into madness as her classmates desperately try to find out who did it. Confessions is a movie of many twists and turns, most of them you will not see coming. It merely isn’t just a story of revenge; the movie gives ample time to flesh out their characters. Explaining why they behave in certain ways, their motivations and backstories. It does a great job at humanizing even the vilest characters all the while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Confessions is probably one of the best psychological thrillers I have seen in sometime.
4.5/5 | 2010 | Japanese | Tetsuya Nakashima | 106 mins| IMDB link
- I saw the Devil is a film that asks the viewer, “Would you pursue revenge at the cost of your humanity.” It focuses on a Korean special agent played by Lee Byung-hun who has his girlfriend brutally murdered by a serial killer played by Choi Min-sik. Byung-hun’s character vows to get revenge for his girlfriend and will make the killer suffer “10 fold.” Byung quickly finds his girlfriend’s killer, and they start their demented game of cat and mouse. I saw the devil is not a mere revenge film; it is something much more. It chronicles Byung’s character’s descent into madness as continue to engage in more sadistic, and disturbing methods in his pursuit of revenge. Choi Min-sik’s acting is superb, as he embodies evil incarnate. He is uncaring, vile, and a truly cruel human being. He is the antithesis of Byung-hun’s character. This movie is disturbing and isn’t for the faint of heart. Watching it is a test of one’s fortitude as there are some scenes that are hard to stomach. Its ending will leaving breathless and probably resonate with you.
4/5 | 2010 | Korean | Jee-woon Kim | 141 mins| IMDB link
Lost in Translation is the story of two lonely souls who have a chance meeting in Japan. Bill Murray plays an aging actor, Bob Harris, who visits Japan to film an alcohol commercial. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, the wife of a photographer who leaves her alone in their apartment so he can take pictures. Murray meets Johansson at a bar in the hotel they share and their relationship soon blossoms. Lost in Translation is a tale of human loneliness. Both Murray and Johansson’s characters have lost the same things. They both feel lost in this foreign land, ignorant of the culture and language. They have lost meaning in their lives. Both characters meander around Japan looking for meaning and most importantly, understanding. The characters often feel misunderstood and ignored. Thus, they take solace in the fact that they can share their loneliness and uncertainty with one another. The film has a melancholic tone that compliments both Murray’s and Johansson’s characters. The soundtrack is sublime and filled with many spacious, and atmosphere tracks that are very light on the ears. I couldn’t help but reflect on my loneliness while watching this film. It is a delicate and touching film on searching for companionship and meaning in life.
5/5 | 2003 | English | Sofia Coppola | 101 mins | IMDB link
Lilya 4-ever is the story of a young woman named Lilya, who spirals downward into prostitution after her mother abandons her. The film examines the harsh realities of both prostitution and human sex trafficking with no punches held. It shows Lilya who is near destitution and how she is forced to do whatever it takes to survive. The film tackles the social stigma against prostitutes, as Lilya is looked down upon by former friends and classmates because of her profession. She is constantly taken advantage of by everyone and never seems to get a break. Even the few moments of happiness she does have, are just mere facades as she is slammed back down to reality. This film is not merely about human cruelty; it is about finding the strength within to survive even if it costs you everything. It is strongly acted and employs a raw cinematic style that brings into Lilya’s world and never lets go.
4/5 | 2010 | Russian | Lukas Moodyson | 109 mins | IMDB link
Monster is the tale of Aileen Wuornos; a prostitute turned serial killer. It follows her upbringing and how she transforms into one of the most infamous serial killers of all time. Wuornos, played by Charlize Theron, gives the performance of her career. Charlize taps into the mind of a woman wrought with indecisiveness, pain, and loneliness. Wuornos was abused all her life and finds comfort in Christina Ricci’s character, Selby Wall. In a twisted form of love, Wuornos does whatever it takes to provide for her new lover, even murder. The acting, specifically Charlize Theron, is amazing. She truly immerses into her character so much, that she becomes virtually unrecognizable. Easily one of the best bio-crime films I have seen in some time.
4/5 | 2003 | English | Patty Jenkins | 109 mins | IMDB link
The Babadook is an Austrailian psychological horror film, and easily the best horror film I have seen in years. It focuses on a widow named Amelia who has to raise her son, Samuel, by herself after the death of her husband. Samuel begins to have night terror and continues to engage in the increasingly disturbing behavior. One night, Sam stumbles upon a strange book in his room called, “The Babadook,” and asks his mother to read it. As a result, increasing horrific things happen to both Sam and Amelia causing them both to question their sanity. The tension in this movie is nervewrecking. You are taken into Amelia world and breakdown with her. The acting of both Amelia and Samuel is so convincing that I started to believe in the Babadook. This film is the breath of fresh air that the horror genre so desperately needed. If you are a fan of the genre and tired of American remakes of foreign films, or torture porn, The Badadook will leave you pleasantly surprised.
4/5 | 2014 | English | Directed by: Jennifer Kent | 94 mins | IMDB link
Memories of Murder is a police crime drama that is based on a real serial murder case in South Korea. It follows several police officers as they try to discover the identity of a man who has been raping and murdering women for several years. The film blends lighthearted comedy and drama effortlessly, constantly jumping back and forth between the two tones without the transitions being jarring. When it wants to be funny, it is gut-bustingly funny. When it wants to be serious, it becomes deathly serious. The story takes turns and will leave you guessing until the very end. The acting, particularly the lead detective played by Song Kang-ho.
4/5 | 2003 | South Korea |Directed by: Bong Joon-Ho | 127 mins | IMDB link
Amelie is quirky and endearing romantic comedy about a waitress named Amelie, who concocts various schemes to give her friends and family the happy lives of their dreams. However, Amelie is a little too selfless and forgets that she needs happiness in her life too. By a chance meeting, she encounters a handsome stranger and quickly falls head over heels in love with him. So she decides to concoct a plan of her own to get him to fall in love with her. Amelie, the film, takes every cliché of the romantic comedy genre and flips it on its head. Where other films would fall flat, Amelie does everything it wants to with charm and wit, making it neigh impossible for you to hate. Amelie is one of the most refreshing romance films I have seen in a while. If you are tired of Nicolas Sparks and all his trite, look no further than Amelie.
4.5/5 | 2004 | French | Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | 123 mins | IMDB link
A Dirty Carnival is a Korean neo-mobster film that follows the rise of an aspiring gangster played by, Jo In-Sung. The film lacks the grittiness of a typical mob film, and it also lacks the intensity. Moments that were supposed to leave me, “shocked,” made me laugh. There are numerous tonal shifts between comedy and drama. At some points, the film wants to be a romantic comedy and others a gritty look at the criminal underbelly. It never succeeds at either. The acting is subpar for the most part. If any one of those, “gangsters,” came up to me with a loaded shotgun pointed at my head, I would probably go about my business. That is how unintimidating they are. The characters and their relationships are poorly developed and lead to nowhere. The saving grace of this film is the stoner, bongo player in the many ill-placed karaoke scenes that serve no purpose. A Dirty Carnival is best summed up as, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It does nothing well. It does pretty much everything bad. It isn’t the worst film I have seen, but it isn’t something I would recommend to anyone.
1.5/5 | 2006 | Korean | Directed by: Ha Yoo| 141 mins | IMDB link