31 March 2009

Movies - Last Seen

Synecdoche, New York, USA (2008)

Directional debut of Charlie Kaufman, that before this mainly wrote scripts, including Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and more. He continues with his themes and style in this movie too, and it is both good and bad.

Kaufman's scripts are familiar for containing autobiographical elements, his characters are very much part of himself, like his embodiments. They are expressing his emotions and thoughts, their experiences, in a way, are his own.

And in this film, again, he presents his vision of reality in very direct and honest way, it's amazing how he can displays his deep emotional and mental state in series of images, how he manages to let viewers enter his mind and look around, how he creates very unique mood right from the start, and how he is not ashamed to show his most lowest and embarrassing moments. The acting is great and the characters are complex, the film flows through twisted story with touches of fantasy and surrealism, using satire and cynicism in creative way.
As director, Kaufman skilfully plays with cinematic conventions, distorting the sense of time and reality, there are many impressive moments on all levels, the general idea of the movie is really smart.

But, and here comes the bad part, at some point all this becomes very, very tiresome and even annoying. I mean, the movie holds up for more than a half of its time, during which Kaufman successfully manages to slide on the edge between interesting and original to boring and bland. But in last quarter he can no longer keep the balance and falls down, into the abyss of banal and cheap. The film suddenly becomes too heavy, too sentimental, too pretentious. It's all just keeps dragging on and on, becomes even more depressing, slower and over the top allegorical.

By now, after so many scripts, in which he cried and wept about his miserable life, inventing one fucked up character after another, you would think Kaufman will change the phase, that he will grow up a little and his writing will include something beyond the regular content of his meetings with the shrink. But no, he still continues to cry and weep, displaying nothing but annoying self pity and being sentimental wuss.
Ok, Charlie, we get it. Problems of life, fear and inevitability of death, relationships, human nature, pain, sorrow, blah, blah, blah.

Move the fuck on.


Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told, USA (1968)

Low budget B treat, considered classic in its genre. Although there is no gore and only a little violence, the film turns out to be disturbing and twisted.

Directed by cultish Jack Hill, it contains some creepy characters and scenes. And even if it's not very explicit, this is the origins of today's horror.

A well deserved remake is coming next year.


Bolt, USA (2008)

Sweet and harmless animation on the most mediocre level, there is absolutely nothing special about it. Some laughs, some action, some tearful scenes and one moral message for kids. A classic and safe Disney's format.

As opposed to Pixar's animations, Bolt has nothing appealing to mature audience, the movie is painfully childish. And although the movie has its moments, it's very plain and in the end just forgettable.

Kids may like it a lot, because of its hardcore generated "cuteness" and sentimental manipulations. On more professional evaluation, it just cannot compete with serious animation.


Evil Aliens, UK (2005)

Horror comedy that can be fun only for the fans of such entertainment. The creator of this flick was definitely aiming for Peter Jackson's Braindead, whether inspired by or imitating it.
Lots of gore in the form of all kind of fluids, directly displayed intestines and decapitated body parts, separated from their owners by different weapons and also by variety of mechanical tools (including big Combine Harvester - great scene), some nudity, cheap special effects, stereotypical characters, a lot of cursing, occasional funny one-liners, gruesome deaths, you know, the usual content of any arthouse picture.

Entertaining to watch if only for some nice images and total disregard for human life, or any kind of life for that matter.

But as opposed to Braindead, which under the thick layers of gore and shredded organs was holding very clever content, the narrative of Evil Aliens is mostly dumb and even retarded, on the level of fart jokes. But the story is, of course, really not the main concern in such film, which turns out to be entertaining waste of time.


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