23 March 2009

Movies - Last Seen

Quantum of Solace, USA/UK (2008)

After renewing the Bond franchise with new actor and very decent Casino Royale, that introduced very refreshing approach toward the famous secret agent, the latest 007 film is a two steps back. If only because the story is stupid and painfully unoriginal, using every possible trick available in "clichepedia". Evil and ruthless Generals should already know that when you rape and kill someone's entire family, make sure you killed everyone, because the only child, usually a girl, that you left alive will grow up and will seek revenge. Most secret organizations should learn by now, that discussing plans face to face is much safer than on the phone (or whatever this gadget was) and if you are a main villain in the movie, you better have an evil plan that is actually evil in any way.

The movie is one big mishmash of images and scenes, connected by very bad editing, and it's all sliding very fast on the surface with absolutely no substance to grasp. The result makes a little sense, if any at all, and the movie is simply boring, disappointing and extremely shallow in every aspect. It can hold as simple entertainment, a nice waste of time, but there is really nothing special in it.


Coffy, USA (1973)

Very cool example of cult Blaxploitation, and also the movie that made Pam Grier a big star.
She really shines in this film with powerful presence and great acting, varying her behavior, facial expressions and display of emotions in remarkable way. She is simply controlling the screen, delivering great lines and showing off her impressive physique with occasional frontal nudity.

The rest of the acting ensemble is also doing good job, with weird characters and grotesque faces. The movie is well made, mixing violence with sex, and adding some political and social elements as well.

There are of course some problems too, like not always coherent narrative and the lack of something so outstanding that will prevent from this movie to age. But it's not there and the film ends up as just outdated classic, like a car that you keep for emotional reasons but it will never drive again.

A must see for everyone who like 70's exploitation genres.


Absurdistan, Germany (2008)

Amusing and funny fairytale on the edge of surreal. German director filmed this film in Azerbaijan, with Russian as speaking language, and the result is an allegorical fable with positive message, suitable for any culture or tradition.

The inspirations for Absurdistan are clearly films of Fellini and Kusturica, with the same feeling of magical realism. And although this piece is not in the same league, it is still very pleasant and interesting to watch. Surprisingly good and sweet film that lifts the spirit.


Martyrs, France (2008)

Easily one of most disturbing movies I ever saw.
The movie is mixing number of familiar horror genre elements, including gore and torture, but there is a big difference between this movie and others with similar elements.
As opposed to Hostel, for example, in which the purpose of torture and sadism is pure nihilism, a torture for the sake of torture, a murder just for excitement and fun, Martyrs has completely different reason.

Behind most brutal sadism and conscious will to hurt and humiliate, behind cold and meticulously systematic infliction of inhumane suffering, behind disturbing disregard and lack of any compassion, lies direct, clear and very selfish purpose. A purpose so vicious and stunning in its deliberate cruelty, that the whole movie seems in completely different light once you realize it.
Great acting is absolutely convincing, the unbelievable situation is shocking and makes you cringe, the ending is brilliant. The watching experience of this film is very powerful, this movie goes to places you never thought it can go, showing pain and fear like you never seen it before.

The film is done very well, very professional. Taking very good decisions, director skilfully manipulates with viewer's emotions, depressing images of violence are delivered by him with certain alienation, sometimes even with cold distance, creating emotional void and apathy, which is mixed with viewer's emotional involvement and automatic reactions to what he sees. But director never uses cheap manipulations, never forcing to take certain point of view. This is usually happens when director trying to force specific moral judgment on the viewer, but not in this film.

Martyrs is very memorable and stays in the mind for a long time. People that easily offended, people that don't like to see any kind of pain on the screen or people that just don't like violence, should not see it. It's better not to see it, than see it and miss the whole point.
Together with The Descent, REC and another French horror À l'intérieur (Inside), this film is a perfect example of how European horror is far more superior than American in last years. And while Hollywood studios still releasing stupid and ridiculous slashers with bunch of half naked girls running from the killer with a knife or from some ghost, this is what we get from Europe - smart and intelligent horror that has no limits in it's cruelty, exploring the very nature of what makes us human and creating strong and unforgettable impact. Well done.



  1. Will pick up the dvd of martyrs when its out...looks awesome. I've been very impressed with french horror over the last few years. European horror is doing very well lately. Great blog btw :)

  2. You should definitely see it.

    And thank you for being constant reader of my blog, Frank.