Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Act of Killing A.K.A. Jagal (2012)

An Indonesian documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
Indonesian gangsters who were executioners during the political upheaval in 1965 are given a camera crew to make a movie about what happened. This is the making of their film.
This strange and slow, but worth it in the end. The subject matter and director were the same as Look of Silence (2014). This film starred different executioners and only a small number of them who still work together as gangsters. The most interesting element was attitude development over the duration. The main character has completely changed how he thinks of the 1965 communist genocide by the end. I won't spoil the ending any more than that, but it was the best part and an extremely powerful scene. One scene that I can mention without spoiling things is Herman brushing his teeth. It's hilarious! The video in this was not as good as Look of Silence. There were more informal and handheld shots. The audio was in Indonesian and the English subtitles were a little difficult to see. Overall, an emotionally powerful film. You have to wait for it, but it gets there. I rate this good. Watch it! In fact, watch both of them as a series.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Thing (2011)

A science fiction horror remake directed by Matthjis van Heijningen Jr., starring Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen.
An alien and spacecraft are dug out of the ice in Antarctica. The alien bursts out of the ice block and takes on the appearance of crew members.
I didn't like the original and don't like the remake. I think that this is a very mediocre science fiction with a lackluster monster. The plot almost held my attention. The characters were very shallow. We're talking little kids' plastic backyard swimming pool lack of depth here. The video was the best part. It was all expertly done and the special effects were amazing. That's where all the money went in this flick. The audio was decent. There was some type of foreign language with no subtitles, but most of it was in English. Overall, there are much better science fiction and horror films with much less fame than this. I don't understand why people like it. I rate this o.k. You might want to think about watching it sometime if there's nothing better.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Filth and the Fury (2000)

A British music documentary directed by Julien Temple, starring the Sex Pistols.
The story of the punk band, Sex Pistols is told.
This was pretty accurate and well made. The subject matter is one that interests me a great deal. I love punk! The interviews were odd. They had positioned the interviewees against a bright background, making their faces dark. There were also the obvious clips of the band from previous appearances on-stage and in interviews. The plot followed the timeline of the band from formation to Nancy's death, covering the entire mythology of the group. None of the video was of good technical quality, but I think it went well with the punk aesthetic. The audio was all mixed correctly. Overall, a perfectly fine documentary about a cool subject. However, it did not go the extra step to earn a high rating. I rate it adequate. You might as well watch it.

Sound and Fury (2000)

An American documentary directed by Josh Aronson.
Two families with deaf children are decided whether or not to get cochlear implants for their kids.
This was mildly confusing, but well made. The subject matter seems like a "no-brainer" to most people, but the parents in this film would disagree. Some of them like being deaf! One of the grandparents had a quote about a crippled family breaking the legs of a child who could walk. I thought that was extremely appropriate. The subject of deaf culture came up and it means deaf people sticking together, staying deaf. If they only knew the sounds that came out of their mouths... The interviews were done very well and were supplemented by intense arguments between family members. There were also scenes of the prospective families visiting cochlear and deaf schools as well as families with cochlear equipped children. The video all looked great, mixing very raw footage with more planned and edited material. The audio mercifully turned down the inarticulate vocalizations of deaf cast members. Overall, a well made documentary about a unique subject matter. I rate this good. Watch it!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Slaughter High (1986)

A British American slasher horror directed by Mark Ezra, Peter Litten and George Dugdale.
A group of students play pranks on a nerd that end up starting a fire and injuring him badly. Years later, they revisit the school and the nerd is there to kill them.
This was terrible and didn't make any sense. The plot was desultory trash with no continuity. The characters were so shallow that it was like they had negative depth. The video was typical of a cheesy '80s horror flick and the audio was very similar. The ending started to turn cool, but collapsed into nonsense again. Overall, worthless junk. It wasn't painful to watch, but just totally sucked. I rate this bad. Don't watch it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Look of Silence (2014)

An Indonesian documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
A man whose brother was killed during a political change interviews his mother, father and the men responsible for the mass murder of people.
This was strange and slightly difficult to understand. The plot or story followed no real, coherent order. It was just a bunch of interviews back to back and seemed very raw and lightly edited. The interviewees were very honest about what happened as they described chopping off heads and drinking blood. I got the feeling that the filmmaker was intentionally pissing them off just by bringing up the subject. There was lots of talk about healed wounds being opened again. They all restrained themselves well and didn't lash out at him too hard. I think that dude's got nards of steel to approach these people like this and film it. The video was very well done. They used multiple cameras and edited it seamlessly. The audio was in Indonesian with English subtitles. Overall, the interest is hidden on a deep dialogue level. I rate it o.k. because it's not something to just throw on and watch. You need an interest in the subject matter or documentary films and the dedication to read subtitles the whole time because very little of the story is told visually.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mazes and Monsters (1982)

A made for TV American adventure drama directed by Steven Hilliard Stern, starring Tom Hanks and Wendy Crewson.
A college student gets too involved in a role playing game.
This was lame, lame, LAME! The plot almost held my interest, but I could see everything coming a mile away. The characters were shallow and poorly acted. The video was full screen and a little degraded in quality. The audio was actually mixed quite well. The soundtrack was not to my liking, but I could hear all of the dialogue and the music was at an appropriate level. I can say that I liked the ending, but won't spoil it by saying why. I rate this tolerable. If there's nothing else to watch, it will kill some time.