The American

February 3, 2011

Giles Keyte/Focus Features

There are few films I consider “perfect,” but some come close: The Fountain, Chunking Express, Oldboy, There Will be Blood, etc.

Is The American perfect? Objectively, not a chance. But for the audience of one, me, it remains difficult to pin down anything I didn’t like about the film.

It is brilliantly paced. I wholeheartedly enjoyed not being distracted by extraneous dialogue, which gave me the opportunity to study each scene meticulously.  Every single shot, word, musical note, etc. is never unnecessary. The film rewards attention. It not only rewards attention but demands it. Let it take you in.

The cast: amazing. Clooney, phenomenal. Violante Placido, perfect. The rest, outstanding.

Various platitudes aside, this film is not for everyone. It requires the correct frame of mind. If I impart one thing to you it is to prepare your mind beforehand. Do not expect an action film or a thriller. It is a character study of a mysterious man on a “last job.” Soak in the process he takes. Admire the beautiful Italian landscape.

I recommend pairing it with cup of Italian roast coffee—perhaps a French press full. Any “cool” drink is also acceptable, e.g., dry Martini. But do not overindulge, for The American requires your full attention.


Review Time — Predators

January 7, 2011

Sometimes films don’t even deserve to be written about let alone be made.

Sometimes good intentions aren’t enough.

Sometimes Robert Rodriguez isn’t enough.

Predators is one of these films.

I would not recommend this film to even the most die-hard fan of the franchise. I’m a huge fan of both the Alien and Predator franchises. Heck, I even found some worth in AvP—until they made the 2nd one. And even this latest film had some potential despite too much exposition in the beginning.

But about halfway through the film, the story does something that completely ruins the experience. They’re all in Morpheus’s pad, and one of the characters picks up a samurai sword and a comment is made implying the Predators have been bringing warriors to the planet for hundreds of years, and at one point they brought one of the greatest warriors to walk this earth. From that point on you want to see that film. You want to see Deadliest Warrior on Predator world (if you haven’t watched Spike’s Deadliest Warrior, you really should check out an episode or two: it’s fun).

How cool would it have been to see a bunch of Samurai fight Predators. Or even better yet, the greatest warriors this world has seen: Samurai, Spartans, English Knights, Viking Berserkers, etc. That movie would be balls-out insane. And everybody would want to see it. But sadly we don’t get that movie. We get The Pianist and Forman from that 70s show battling Predators.

Hollywood, never let the audience know that there’s potentially a better movie out there that you didn’t make.

 


Pete Postlethwaite, 7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011

January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite has reportedly passed away.😦

Condolences to his loved ones.

He made countless films better with his presence.  In fact, he’s so rich and integral to my particular knowledge and conception of what cinema is, I’m rather surprised his filmography isn’t even longer.

Either way, I’ll miss in the future looking to the screen and that seemingly ever-reliable pleasant surprise of, “Oh, Pete’s in this!”

To better lands you drift away.


AK-Film #3-I Live in Fear (1955)

December 20, 2010

Claustrophobic. Slowly-paced. Tense.

Strangely Toshiro Mifune plays an elderly man in this film. Paranoid about atomic weaponry, he goes about sacrificing the needs of his family and others who depend on him all in the name of finding shelter from the bomb.

Kurosawa’s comment on the world’s state of mind in the early years of the cold war may be lost on those who did not grow up in such times. I believe it would take living with your country having been previously nuked to truly connect with the film. Still, one can’t help but feel respect for the old man while disdain for the children who seem less concerned with his wellbeing and more with getting their hands on his sizable estate.

I Live in Fear plays slow, deliberate, and subtle. I suggest pairing with a nice Irish whiskey or an Australian Cabernet.


AK—Film #2—High Low (1963)

March 1, 2010

So so sorry for the ultra-delayed posting. I watched this a couple weeks ago, but haven’t had it in me to do a proper write up.

I really wish I had the drive to do a full write up, but honestly I don’t. I’ll just say a few words:

  1. My favorite Kurosawa thus far.

I’ll try to revisit this one after completing my series, which from the looks of it won’t be done for a very very long time.

Toshiro Mifune=The man

Here’s the remaining list. I think i’ll mix it up a bit from here, jumping around to Hidden Fortress most likely.

  1. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)
  2. Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two (1945)
  3. Seven Samurai (1954)
  4. Throne of Blood (1957)
  5. Ikiru (1952)
  6. The Most Beautiful (1944)
  7. Kagemusha (1980)
  8. The Men Who Tread on The Tiger’s Tail (1945)
  9. No Regrets for our Youth (1946)
  10. The Hidden Fortress (1958)
  11. One Wonderful Sunday (1947)
  12. Red Beard (1965)
  13. Drunken Angel (1948)
  14. Scandal (1950)
  15. The Idiot (1951)
  16. Stray Dog (1949)
  17. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
  18. I Live In Fear (1955)
  19. Dodes’ka-Den (1970)
  20. The Lower Depths (1957)
  21. Yojimbo (1961)
  22. Madadayo (1993)
  23. Sanjuro (1962)

“Cop Out” Red Band Trailer Hits

February 8, 2010

I seriously laughed out loud at more than a few parts. I’m really digging it.


Introducing: Short Film of the Week series

January 22, 2010

This marks the beginning of a new series here at Something Offensive.  Pretty self-explanatory if not exceptionally original (that’s fast becoming my M.O., I know).

I think this will provide a nice outlet for myself and others to expose ourselves to and discuss more experimental works and help us better appreciate the cinematic form.

I plan to watch a fair amount of shorts every week, by filmmakers known and unknown, with content and ideas ranging all over the map.  And come each weekend, I’ll post my favorite find.

If there are any short films you would like to see featured in the weeks ahead, let us know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to check them out.

This week’s selection: “There’s Only One Sun”  (2007)

director: Wong Kar-wai

I wanted to kick things off by getting an obvious choice of filmmaker out of the way.  I’ve often touted WKW’s more well-known feature work, and in case you haven’t seen Fallen Angels or In the Mood for Love, this might serve as a good primer.

Philips commissioned the director to showcase their new HD TV’s capabilities, and couldn’t have possibly made a better selection.  Here we’re treated to Wong’s brand of narration, his striking use of light and color,  tragic romantic characters, very particular soundtrack, bold titles, notes of interpersonal isolation, etc.   I find both the French language and the futuristic neo-noir set-up are natural fits for the director; the central concept really allows him to demonstrate his craft.  My only major critique is that I  wish the narrative had maintained a greater sense of mystery.  The first minute or two had me fully intrigued, so I couldn’t help but feel somewhat letdown once it sort of revealed its hand.

All in all, between this and Wong’s somewhat aesthetically-similar 2046, I’d be greatly interested to see him tackle a feature-length of this or something close in line provided he had a more refined story.  It’s just a painfully beautiful vision to behold.

What are your thoughts?


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