I don’t like writing about movies. Movies should be seen, and only very few are worth talking over a glass of wine with friends interested in your opinion. Or strangers interested in your wine. Or directly with a glass of wine in your hand. It makes you look like Hamlet and feel like Lord Byron. It is also the most correct approach, because good movies are made for introspection, for bouncing their core ideas off your personal experience to get a new outlook on life.
Blockbusters are easy. They are made for cheap thrills, and discussing or reviewing them brings you a step closer to Homer Simpson (though, I must admit for some people it’s a good thing).
– Did you see Die Hard 4?
– What do you think about it?
What?! Think?! I spent more time thinking about a happy-new-year sms from an electronics store (mostly that I was an idiot to give them my phone number).
Horror movies are special. Saw IV can be fun if you watch it with a friend who is a surgeon in real life. When an arm is being sawn off, nothing is funnier than his comment made in a frustrated voice, “No, you don’t cut off a man’s arm like that, idiot!”, which he follows with professional advice on how to do it right. It sends the whole theatre rolling with laughter and ruins the expectations of those boys who waited for their girlfriends to hold on to their hand and bury their faces in their chests during the more frightening moments. That alone is worth it, especially if you’ve always thought Dr. Evil was not, actually, a bad guy.
Art house movies are difficult.
Most represent very personal phobias of their directors. If you can’t sympathise with drug-induced depressions because you’ve never had one and do not plan on trying it out in any foreseeable future, you feel cheated out of time and money.
But even more than art house movies, I do not like critics who write about them. If I can’t be bothered about the director’s phobia, why should I care about its blown-up projection by the movie critic?
And when a good movie finally appears, critics thumb it down with the snobbish references to “Fellini-did-that-panoramic view” and “Kurosava-said-this-thing-about-trancedence”. Because their mind is incapable of reviewing anything that does nor resonate with their own medical diagnosis.
That does not mean there are no great movie reviewers. I know some, I follow them, and enjoy reading their thoughts. They do not get published by the media, because the mass media usually favours the ostentatiously stupid over the unpretentiously smart.
So, I am going to change the rules for those gorgeous people who decided to follow this blog.
I will be recommending movies worth watching, in a new way.
Category: Great movie from Italy.
Plot: why movie critics feel the need to retell the plot to all those who’ve not yet seen the movie is beyond me. I can only explain it by their need to prove they’ve been invited to the opening night with all the stars and starlets. No, I will not be playing the plot back to you, sorry.
How you feel while watching it: AMUSED
How you feel at the end: a bit SAD, a bit more ALIVE
What is the central idea: “Never give up following your dream” is a mantra repeated many times throughout the film. The problem is that your personal dream is supplanted in today’s society by a media cliché of “fame & money”. Most people know when and how to stop following it, and just live their lives, raise children and make the most of what they have. The protagonist in the movie doesn’t. He is seduced by the media stereotype of great life and descends into madness in front of your eyes.
Why that’s a great movie: it shows this descent into madness in a totally credible way (very difficult), you enjoy watching it (paradoxically), even though it is far from being a comedy. And then you start valuing your life just a little bit more.
- if you were watching a reality show on TV, it might just cure you of the habit. Or not. But you are sure to realise you are on some sort of a drug.
- If you are not Italian, and are in possession of at least one arm, you can learn two or three gestures that will exponentially increase the emotionality of your speech. People would enjoy listening to what you say because they’d love watching you saying it.
Trivia: Aniello Arena, the lead actor (and an acting genius) was a mafia hitman and is currently serving life. When filming, he had to be returned to prison each day for the night. He has the body of a retired god, complete with tattoos. It is obvious they have a gym in prison. Please remember you don’t have to commit a crime to start thinking about the need for working out.
What is worth mulling over a glass of wine: There’s logic in the way the Catholic Church is shown and juxtaposed to the Modern Media in the film. Catholics are not always good people. Media maniacs are never good. Entertain the left side of your brain, think about the message the film director wanted to send across, because there are more ideas than I’ve just described, and thinking on that over wine can lead you to enlightenment. Or hangover, but well-earned.
PS. I don’t offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it.
Thank you for not spoiling it for me. Love world cinema (‘world’ in this case meaning not British or American). Will look it up
You are very welcome! Please drop me a line after you’ve watched the movie )
Art movies are the worst. I will never forget this one that I saw in art school where some dude cuts his eye ball open with a razor. It was the worst. In fact, the whole movie was… I do like reading a good reviewer, though I can’t remember the last time I *wanted* to go to the movies. Good stuff. Thanks.
Arthouse horror, literally )
Keep us informed!! Perhaps it is our age – but good movies are hard to find, you mostly get the other kind. V.
Very true! Gems are rare, Waste rock aplenty.
You sparked my interest, I’ll be sure to watch it.
And please drop me a line afterwards! i am really interested what you’ll think of it!
We are all snowed in here in Toronto. Will make an effort to watch it over this weekend and share my thoughts with you.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to watch this movie. It’s not available on Canadian Netfiix or movie-on-demand 😦
Well, that’s sad. This movie got the grand prix in Cannes last year, so I think any store should have the disk… Good luck finding it! )
Yes, I’ll keep looking.
nice – i shall watch it based on that. there’s nothing nicer than debating a (good or great) movie afterwards over a glass of wine, and nothing worse than an hour or more wasted over a bad movie. in terms of critics, though, i think there is none better than Anthony Lane who reviews for the New Yorker. J
Oh, thank you! I’ll check out his reviews! )