Category: Features

Submarine

Overview: Submarine, the debut of British director Richard Ayoade, follows 15 year old Oliver Tate’s adolescent experiences living in Wales. Optimum Releasing/The Weinstein Company; 2010; Rated R; 98 Minutes. The Comedy: Submarine is downright laugh-out-loud funny. Craig Roberts, in his feature film debut, plays Oliver Tate with a natural comedic deadpan cleverness. Tate narrates most of his story and his quips and observations will leave viewers chuckling. Paddy Considine also provides an amusing turn as Graham Purvis, a bizarre, mulleted, new-age weirdo who has a history with Oliver’s mother. Editing and Score: The film also uses camera and editing...

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Godzilla (1954)

Overview: The classic giant monster raids Tokyo. Toho.  1954. Rated PG. 96 minutes Good: The original depiction of the legendary King of all Monsters is a deep and emotional tale. The acting is sound and the narrative, as dark as it is, stands the test of time. Godzilla, the monster himself, can be viewed as an analog for atomic warfare and testing. And while the portrayal of the beast is commonly remembered as villainous, this movie also frames him as a victim of said experiments, and in so being, a tragic character. The monster is also an event; his...

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Breathless

Overview: A car thief is on the run from the police and tries to convince a girl to run away with him. UGC. 1960. Unrated. 90 Minutes. Place in Film History: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless is one of the spearheads of the French New Wave film movement of the late 1950’s and 1960’s. It featured the breakout role of the movement’s biggest star, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and several technical innovations that the period is famous for. The Leads: Jean-Paul Belmondo is the most famous French leading man of his time. He stars in Breathless as the car thief Michel Poiccard. Belmondo...

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The Raid: Redemption

Overview: Members of a small SWAT team battle their way up a high-rise apartment complex which houses the operation of a ruthless drug lord. 2011; Rated R; 93 Minutes Strengths: The Raid: Redemption displays some of the most innovative and awe-inspiring fight choreography in the history of film. I wanted to rewind and rewatch individual scenes in the midst of my initial watch. Matt Flannery’s cinematography and the production design establish visuals of apocalyptic disarray where the orgy of violence is comfortably framed. With this single feature, the action-movie genre just jumps out of its deathbed and lays waste to its hospice staff. Weaknesses: The narrative structure is the stuff of basic video games (fight, move up a floor, fight harder) and, for those who care, the actual story and the personalities of its inhabitants are of little concern to this movie’s ambition. The actors don’t so much perform as dance. Also, if you watch this movie in company, you are going to embarrass yourself emulating the fight scenes after. Best Scene: When the door closes behind the two brothers and the short but deadly assassin. A ballet for bros. Watch This Movie if You Like: Shoot’em Up, Game of Death, Way of the Dragon, Ong Bak, Blood Sport, Spin-kicking pillows in your bedroom when you’re home alone. Suggested Alternative Move Title: “Game of Death, 2: Bruce Lee Ain’t...

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Amélie

Overview:  A doe-eyed, naive young woman finds love amidst her clever schemes at arranging happiness and justice for those around her. 2001;  Rated R; 122 Minutes. A Star:  Recalling the wonderment in expression from Giulietta Masina’s Gelsomino (La Strada) (and by currency, channeling the charm of Chaplin’s tramp who makes a sly appearance), Audrey Tautou haunts every scene with disarming presence.  Tautou is a seraph, a pixie.  With the hinge of her jaw slightly askew, her natural expression is a lightly crooked, scheming grin.  She is slight of frame but strong in posture when she walks, gliding, the way we might imagine fairies move.  Her eyes naturally wide, the whites reveal themselves as crescent moons when her gaze shifts to any direction.  But this is more than just appearances. As the narrative solicits belief in more and more unlikely occurrence, Tautou lends to Amélie the focus and balance of a hypnotist and we slowly fall under her spell. Perspective (Take One):  Amélie is a movie about perspective. Jean-Pierre Jeunet injects a strong voyeurism motif, wherein the act of watching is pivotal to every scene and character.  Within the film’s first ten minutes, we learn that Amélie loves watching movie-goers behind her in theaters (a not-so-subtle suggestion the movie knows about us, the audience) and her imagination takes us into 17 bedrooms, where multiple couples’ reach orgasms that are synchronized...

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