Moonlight (2016): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

Moonlight (2016): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

The Blogs Your Opinion Sucks

First thing’s first:

After long and serious thought, I finally decided I should review Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, a unique story of both race and sexuality, as I feel it somewhat encapsulates the strange coincidences of June 2020: it is both Pride month; and racial injustice has, once again, shown just how fragile our existence as both living things and a functioning society truly is. I took a break from social media this month because, while I do care about the seriousness of the situation at hand, I didn’t want to just post something attuned to the algorithm simply because it is expected.

I did want to say something – but because I actually care, and not because I want other people to see me caring. I even considered not writing a review at all for this month (June), as penning such a thing for mere entertainment seemed trite, irrelevant, callous and indifferent. The world feels so much smaller since the ongoing pandemic gave us a brand new “worst year ever”, so when everyone I know and follow on the web began posting about the ugly nightmare that is 21st century institutional racism, suddenly it didn’t feel like a simple trend or social media morality contest.

It was something that, I too – as an adult now, have a responsibility to acknowledge as more than historical horror stories we learned about in history class. I knew if I wanted to comment upon the murders of innocent people, because of the colour of their skin by thugs in uniform, I would have to be worthwhile and sensical; and I know movie reviews, so why not review a film that feels oddly representative of how current affairs have me thinking. If you’re still not sure of the relevance, read on and hopefully you will soon.

In a nutshell: Moonlight, to me, is a perfect film; I fail to recall one single issue, glaring or petty, that has irritated me at all during the several times I have sat down and observed its excellence. The timing of every cut is exact, no shot is unnecessary or apparently lost in the construction of the juxtaposition, born of one of the most succinct scripts I have ever seen – with a collaboration between cast and director seemingly predetermined by fate; Moonlight is one of my favourite films of the 2010’s. A masterpiece, unsullied by any flaw that is obvious to me and practically tyrannical in its emotional impact and catharsis.

This is a film about culture, how it can shape us as individuals and effect our identity; even stunt our identity and prevent us from growing into the person we are meant to be. The world the characters in Moonlight populate dominates them like parent setting impossible expectations for their children to meet; everyone has succumbed to its demands and seek to spread it like a sickness. This is what lies beneath the surface of the story, a character grows in fear of his own world, one that only relents its torments when he finally folds to its will.

Each act stands alone – the story unfolds as three separate chapters; telling of three important time periods in the life of Chiron. First as a child, then as a teenager, and finally as an adult (each played by a different, perfectly cast actor), Chiron’s story is one of identity and self-acceptance, in a world that ruthlessly berates, scrutinises and devalues such things. This character is introverted to the point of complete silence, sensitive, black and gay – each to be either suppressed into non-existence, or harnessed the way he thinks is expected; all for the sake of finding peace within the harsh society he finds himself born.

Throughout his struggles, the people in his life provide the tools by which his character is shaped; for better or for worse. Naomi Harris is frightening and unrecognisable as his neglectful drug-addicted mother, Mahershala Ali steals the show as her dealer, a well intentioned man of conflicting morals – and father figure to Chiron, and finally a character named Kevin; also played by three different actors across the three chapters. The most important figure of all, Kevin ultimately digs the deepest, breaking through with such heart-stopping emotional intensity; he helps to form one of the most perfectly written, acted and directed finales in movie history.

Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes are the actors embodying Chiron during the three intervals; it is written that they never met during production, lest they inadvertently influence each other’s performances. I find that quite astonishing, as it takes no effort to believe them each as the same man, simply across different times; further proof as to the talent of director Barry Jenkins. The cinematography is alive, every directorial decision I can see is exactly right, there are too many sequences of particular power to mention here and, as I said before; there is not one single second of this movie I don’t like. Totally deserving of Best Picture, it’s cathartic, agrees with me stylistically; it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seem.

Now that we have the basics of a movie review out of the way, there’s something very specific I want to touch on; the third act incarnation of Chiron – simply nicknamed “Black” (and the reason current Earthly affairs have me thinking about this film). We’ve established that Chiron is quiet, shy, introverted and unassuming, but by the time he becomes an adult he has become the poster-child for externalised masculinity one would expect to find in a poor black neighbourhood laden with drugs. He’s muscular, wears gold jewellery and grills on his teeth, he frightens his underlings and comes to his drug deals armed and ready – this is not whom he truly is; the world’s judgement has made him this way.

Not unlike those rioting in the name of racial equality.

Is rioting a crime? Well, yes. But these are not criminals, as there is an exception to every rule and nothing is ever ignored more than context, particularly if that context completely justifies a reaction of such ferocity. This is not some example of crime en masse in the US of today; as some have tried to portray it. These people would not be rioting if the world had not forced their hand, this occurred to me, during Moonlight, when we are introduced to “Black”. The camera tracking back from an extreme close-up of the gold in his teeth, the music blaring and his size imposing; all I could think about was a quote from the great James Baldwin. “First the world calls you a n***er, and you begin to call yourself a n***er, you begin to react that way, you begin to confirm the world’s judgement”.

Treat a person cruelly and they will respond in kind, whether simply dressing how you want, speaking how you want or loving how you want; like Chiron. Or seeing no other option than to erupt, when the more peaceful terms are already scoffed into criminality; like those brave souls out in the streets, simply asking that they stop being arbitrarily disposed of as they sleep in their beds. Art reflects reality, any questions about the world can be answered through or by observing art; it can and has changed the world – it is how we refer to history if not for catastrophe and Moonlight poetically represents the difficulties still forced upon black people across the world.

Even as we sit comfortably within the 21st century, prejudice remains a mysteriously enticing mistress to the un-educated and cruel. And yet, all the questions many ignorant people have as to the behaviour of their societal victims (that have divided cultures and races for so long), why they react the way they do, can be answered so briskly if only apathy would cease and those in power would care enough to look. So, stay safe, wear masks, don’t ever watch Fox News, donate to Black Lives Matter; and for heaven’s sake – try loving each other for once.

 

 


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Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 3 (22nd May 2020)

Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 3 (22nd May 2020)

A Blog The Blogs

With Disney + driving in the UK, Phil has decided to introduce his daughter to the wonderful world of Marvel films.  Mostly in order.  Here are my updated thoughts on each of the MCU films we watch (we may miss out The Incredible Hulk)…

Note scores reflect my updated IMDB ratings.


Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age Of Ultron is darker, less humorous than its predecessor and for sure deserved a lot of its mediocre press when it was released.  That said years on (and only my second watch of the film) it holds up better than I expected.  But Ultron is still the best and worst of Marvel’s MCU in one place – great characters with iconic performances, cutting edge effects and a feel of earn history but a dial it up to 11 mentality that wears you down by the end and effects that at times seem unfinished.  Yup it has great action but probably 20 minutes less would have made it more fun. Still better than I remembered!

 

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Guardians Of The Galaxy remains one of Marvel’s best movies.  It’s not just the amazing casting (although that plays a part) but the story & direction by James Gunn is on point.  The best thing here is that it’s just something totally different from what’s come before – talking Racoons, fighting trees, space battles… it was just so refreshing after a number of Earth bound adventures.

 

Captain America: The Winter Solider  (2014)

Six years later and Winter Solider remains my favourite Marvel film.  It’s action packed with one of Marvel’s best story lines ( a story line that actually mattered in the grand scheme of things), is directed near perfectly AND has Frank Grillo.  What more could you want?

 

Iron man 3 (2013)

Iron man 3 is still one of the best Marvel films.  From Shane Black’s whip smart script and direction to Downey Jnr firing on all cylinders, to a decent villain and THAT twist… it’s a fun ride and often very untypical in it’s approach to what is often a rather stilted genre.

 

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Considered tone one of the weaker Marvel MCU films, actually Thor: The Dark World is great fun even if it does fall apart a little in the final act.  Again this is Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s film and benefits greatly when they are on screen (and even more so when they are together) but it’s funny, charming and well paced.  Well worth a rewatch.

 

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 was never my favourite Marvel film and, in fact, may well be the only MCU film i’ve only seen once. Rewatching ten years on a lot of the same issues remain but overall it’s not a terrible film, its just not anywhere near as good as the original Iron Man.  Whiplash is a good enough Villain but the more, bigger, louder motif just honest play off.

 

 

Iron Man (2008)

The Film that started it all… Iron Man is still a rock n roll action movie with an unlikely lead, an even more unlikely director and enough balls out moments to wow.  The oldest MCU film still holds up well and again the casting is spot on.  Yup the end fight could be better but Iron man is top draw cinema.

Thor (2011)

Thor was MUCH better all these years later.  I always thought of it as the weaker origin film but it’s funny, charming and good fun, whilst still carrying a lot of baggage for the wider MCU to come. Hemsworth really was born to play this role.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 

Solid, fun and well done, this feels like a film I should like more.  But still all these years on it just seems to drag at times and the action is flat. Captain America: The First Avenger is far from being a bad film but it’s probably the weakest origin film of the initial Avengers.

 

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) 

All the groundwork paid off as Marvel delivered it’s first ever super hero team up.  The Hulk was back (and done right this time), Hawkeye and Black Widow joined the team and director Joss Whedon delivered the goods. The Avengers is still a high watermark and reminds you just how well put together Phase 1 really was.

 


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Grosse Point Geek… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

Grosse Point Geek… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

A Blog Best... Other Cr*p Your Opinion Sucks

A look at the BEST films, one from each of my years on this planet…. starting with 1976!

 

The 70’s

1976 – Rocky
1977 – Star Wars
1978 – Jaws
1979 – Alien

The 80’s

1980 – Empire Strikes Back
1981 – Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982 – The Thing
1983 – The Return Of The Jedi
1984 – Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom
1985 – Back To The Future
1986 – Aliens
1987 – Predator
1988 – Die Hard
1989 – Indiana Jones and The last Crusade

The 90’s

1990 – Goodfellas
1991 – The Silence Of The lambs
1992 – Reservoir Dogs
1993 – Jurassic Park
1994 – Pulp Fiction
1995 – Seven
1996 – Jerry Maguire
1997 – LA Confidential
1998 – The Big Lebowski
1999 – The Matrix

The 2000’s 

2000 – Gladiator
2001 – The Lord Of The Rings: The fellowship of The Ring
2002 – The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003 – The Lord of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004 – Shaun Of The Dead
2005 – Batman Begins
2006 – Rocky Balboa
2007 –  Hot Fuzz
2008 – The Dark Knight
2009 – Star Trek
2010 – The Kings Speech

 

The 10’s 

2011 – Warrior
2012 – The Dark Knight Rises
2013 – The Wolf Of Wall Street
2014 – Whiplash
2015 – Mad Max Fury Road
2016 – Rogue One: a Star Wars Story
2017 – Dunkirk
2018 – Avengers Infinity War
2019 – Avengers Endgame

 

 


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Your Opinion Sucks Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

Your Opinion Sucks Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

A Blog Best... Other Cr*p Your Opinion Sucks

A look at the BEST films, one from each of my years on this planet…. starting with 1994!

 

The 90’s

1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: Se7en
1996: Breaking The Waves
1997: Jackie Brown
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: Fight Club

 

The 2000’s 

2000: Sexy Beast
2001: The Fellowship Of The Ring
2002: The Two Towers
2003: The Return Of The King
2004: Evolution Of A Filipino Family
2005: Earthlings
2006: United 93
2007: There Will Be Blood
2008: The Dark Knight
2009: Antichrist

 

The 10’s 

2010: Les Sept Jours Du Talion
2011: The Tree Of Life
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Captain Phillips
2014: Godzilla
2015: Mad Max Fury Road
2016: I, Olga Hepnarova
2017: Dunkirk
2018: The Miseducation Of Cameron Post
2019: Ad Astra

 

 


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Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 2 (25th April 2020)

Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 2 (25th April 2020)

A Blog The Blogs

With Disney + driving in the UK, Phil has decided to introduce his daughter to the wonderful world of Marvel films.  Mostly in order.  Here are my updated thoughts on each of the MCU films we watch (we may miss out The Incredible Hulk)…

Note scores reflect my updated IMDB ratings.


Iron man 3 (2013)

Iron man 3 is still one of the best Marvel films.  From Shane Black’s whip smart script and direction to Downey Jnr firing on all cylinders, to a decent villain and THAT twist… it’s a fun ride and often very untypical in it’s approach to what is often a rather stilted genre.

 

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Considered tone one of the weaker Marvel MCU films, actually Thor: The Dark World is great fun even if it does fall apart a little in the final act.  Again this is Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s film and benefits greatly when they are on screen (and even more so when they are together) but it’s funny, charming and well paced.  Well worth a rewatch.

 

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 was never my favourite Marvel film and, in fact, may well be the only MCU film i’ve only seen once. Rewatching ten years on a lot of the same issues remain but overall it’s not a terrible film, its just not anywhere near as good as the original Iron Man.  Whiplash is a good enough Villain but the more, bigger, louder motif just honest play off.

 

 

Iron Man (2008)

The Film that started it all… Iron Man is still a rock n roll action movie with an unlikely lead, an even more unlikely director and enough balls out moments to wow.  The oldest MCU film still holds up well and again the casting is spot on.  Yup the end fight could be better but Iron man is top draw cinema.

Thor (2011)

Thor was MUCH better all these years later.  I always thought of it as the weaker origin film but it’s funny, charming and good fun, whilst still carrying a lot of baggage for the wider MCU to come. Hemsworth really was born to play this role.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 

Solid, fun and well done, this feels like a film I should like more.  But still all these years on it just seems to drag at times and the action is flat. Captain America: The First Avenger is far from being a bad film but it’s probably the weakest origin film of the initial Avengers.

 

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) 

All the groundwork paid off as Marvel delivered it’s first ever super hero team up.  The Hulk was back (and done right this time), Hawkeye and Black Widow joined the team and director Joss Whedon delivered the goods. The Avengers is still a high watermark and reminds you just how well put together Phase 1 really was.

 


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Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

A Blog The Blogs Your Opinion Sucks

Like the filmic equivalent to fine wine, improvement looms over every foreseeable viewing of Celine Sciamma’s Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. I have partaken in its pleasure and now face torment by the thirst that follows; its unique flavour has plagued my mind since our first watch together and I find myself giddy to see it strengthen upon the next. Finally released on MUBI, allowing me to see for myself what has invoked such mountainous admiration, here plays a tender and delicate love story that practically weeps emotion and only the purest humility. Shot in a deliciously colourful 8K, the film is no less than an eighteenth century painting come to life.

A young artist, played by Noemie Merlant, is commissioned to covertly paint the wedding portrait of an uncooperative aristocrat, played by Adele Haenel – recently, and against her will, betrothed to a stranger. Acting as a hired companion in the wake of a familial loss, Merlant’s Marianne watches Haenel’s Heloise closely, memorising her face and absorbing her ora, all to be put to canvas without her knowledge; as Heloise, in an act of rebellion, outright refuses to pose. But as the days go by, and with every secret stroke of paint, a deeply emotional connection is formed between the two women, birthing a passionate romance of poetic proportions.

The film boasts brilliance on multiple fronts, the sound design brought forth shivers to my spine, and there was no shortage of quiet gasps for the aforementioned 8K cinematography; which presents the film with a very alien amalgamation of classic art and contemporary dreams of nostalgia for the era at hand. Nearly every scene lacks the accompaniment of a soundtrack, and what music can be heard is purely diegetic. This is a film of quietness; of footsteps, of waves crashing, fire cracking, breathing and whispers – as the voices of the cast are soft and light, producing very concise dialogue that wisps through one’s ears like a feather in the wind.

There is a trio of chemistry on display here, that of the two leads, speaking through the camera with their very souls interlocked as one – and the director who commands the translation. The reservation in the characters’ faces, teasing the audience with flickers of developmental reaction while we hunger for clues as to their next move, is conducted by a filmmaker who speaks cinema, seemingly, as a first language. While relishing in directorial personality, Sciamma harnesses her performers to electrify the audience, fully aware of what they will think and when they are going to think it. This is an art achieved by the cooperation of three very talented people, displaying chemistry as active as though the romance were real; how funny it is that Sciamma and Haenel used to be lovers.

I will say that, despite intelligence across the board, the rhythm of the film is not always as smooth as I would have liked. Not to say that the film is at all boring in parts, certainly not, but some larger and important beats in the plot feel held off for too long. And for a story so soothing in so many departments; it is a shame to see these beats hanging over the narrative, ready to strike, for longer than feels necessary and causing an occasional dent in the pacing. I suspect this issue is what will improve when I see it again, and I don’t hold it against the film too much, because Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is a gorgeous work, rife with personality, tenderness, and dearly romantic warmth; Sciamma’s “female gaze” as that of utter charm.

 


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Daniel Craig James Bond Movies Ranked by Your Opinion Sucks

Daniel Craig James Bond Movies Ranked by Your Opinion Sucks

A Blog The Blogs Your Opinion Sucks

I guess tomorrow never comes after all.

As you’re probably already aware: the latest martini-fuelled, Aston Martin-driven joy ride of an adventure in the James Bond series, No Time To Die, was originally intended to grace the silver screen this month. Before a life-form, one billionth of our size, started really putting the frighteners on our species and movies are now, literally, nowhere to be seen. Plenty of time to die now, isn’t there? Yes, November of this year will now be the Quantum for the film to solace, and we can all salute farewell to Daniel Craig in his final outing as everyone’s favourite alcoholic misogynist, who gets a pass from the law because, you know, her majesty’s secret service and all that.

Well, anyway, since I was very much looking forward to No Time To Die (before the Corona virus said Dr. NO to that happening any time soon), I now have a case of double-o-withdrawal. I find myself in the mood for Bond, so I hereby pass the time by putting together a little ranking of Daniel Craig’s James Bond filmography, in order from my favourite, down to my least favourite. Fingers crossed for a quick planetary recovery, for all those affected to hang in there and get well soon – and for an apocalypse that doesn’t resemble The Shining, more than it does a Mad Max film.

 

Casino Royale

My favourite of the Craig era, Casino Royale does not concern itself with being a Bond movie, so much as just getting on with being a movie in general. Aside from the action sequences being as sure-handed as Le Chiffre’s torture methods, the film flogs you in the balls with its well developed villain, Bond-girl, and even Bond himself. The poker sequence marks a moment of true cinema for 007, and while there are appropriate tropes that we expect to accompany James on his adventures, Casino Royale never relies on them, never chugs them like fuel, it contains them: because it can afford to, because it wants to and doesn’t need to. It’s a tough-as-nails action film about literal high stakes poker; that happens to star James Bond.

Skyfall

While not as fresh as Casino Royale (and its plot sometimes feels derivative of The Dark Knight for some reason), Skyfall deals in realistic subject matter the series should have tackled years ago. Following the dark and mature footsteps that first film left in its wake, Bond is getting older, rustier, and drinking more than usual. M’s relevance is amplified by her connection to Javier Bardem’s entertainingly eccentric, yet tragic villain; their strange relationship providing a good portion of backbone (and his introductory monologue being of particular brilliance). The cinematography is typical Roger Deakins grandiose, Sam Mendes brings a handsome artistry to the surface and when it comes to building character – the film is anything but forgettable. A high tier effort, that honours the tone established by Casino Royale.

Spectre

A much stranger sort, Spectre is a perfectly functional film with equally decent performances, action and overall craftsmanship, but without much of an identity. Every previous Craig film has a personality of its own, they can each be set apart and recognised independently as their own movie. I will even admit that I actually enjoy Spectre for all things previously mentioned, but it has a single glaring error holding it back – the franchise checklist. The action set pieces feel perfunctory, a car/helicopter/plane chase: only there because the boxes need to be ticked, and without much to differentiate them from, not just other Bond movies, but other movies in general. I appreciated the nostalgia the first time around, but on repeat viewings, the film began to feel tired with itself, as though Sam Mendes, and the writing team, had built the monster but were missing the lightning strike. Even moments that define characters feel awkwardly pulled from other works, and we’re left with a film that is completely watchable, well produced and acted with intent, but after its predecessors had subverted the franchise tropes so well; Spectre only just makes it by comparison.

Quantum Of Solace

And now for the runt of the litter. While Craig himself is still excellent in the role, Olga Kurylenko’s Bond girl has an interesting backstory and the action scenes are not badly produced at all, this one is just an incomprehensible mess. The first act is plagued with action that almost completely bullies the plot out of the entire picture; the set pieces go on and on, one after the other, leaving barely any trace for the audience to follow in the hopes of understanding what the hell is going on. It opens with a car chase, and just as it looks like the plot is about to commence; bam, a foot chase! Then a knife fight, then a motorcycle chase, then a boat chase, then something weird at an opera, then a… hello, are you there? The villain is so weak I didn’t even realise he was the main baddie until it was too late to not be embarrassing, and when the action finally slows down and the plot is given time to exist, by that time: I’m just burned out. The ending scene is rather good, Bond, at his most violent, decides to spare the man he has the strongest reason to kill, but if I had to choose between reciting the plot or taking a bullet, it wouldn’t be a choice, at least I would know where the bullet starts.

And that’s it, hopefully that’ll provide some much needed Bond fixture in this strange and worrisome time we live in. I’m now off to marathon the lot, all 24 of them; that should keep me occupied and fend off the cabin fever. So stay home, stay safe, mind your health, get well soon, and have a very merry quarantine.

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Skyfall
  3. Spectre
  4. Quantum of Solace

 


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Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 1 (6th April 2020)

Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 1 (6th April 2020)

A Blog The Blogs

With Disney + driving in the UK, Phil has decided to introduce his daughter to the wonderful world of Marvel films.  Mostly in order.  Here are my updated thoughts on each of the MCU films we watch (we may miss out The Incredible Hulk)…

Note scores reflect my updated IMDB ratings.


Iron Man (2008)

The Film that started it all… Iron Man is still a rock n roll action movie with an unlikely lead, an even more unlikely director and enough balls out moments to wow.  The oldest MCU film still holds up well and again the casting is spot on.  Yup the end fight could be better but Iron man is top draw cinema.

Thor (2011)

Thor was MUCH better all these years later.  I always thought of it as the weaker origin film but it’s funny, charming and good fun, whilst still carrying a lot of baggage for the wider MCU to come. Hemsworth really was born to play this role.

 

13. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 

Solid, fun and well done, this feels like a film I should like more.  But still all these years on it just seems to drag at times and the action is flat. Captain America: The First Avenger is far from being a bad film but it’s probably the weakest origin film of the initial Avengers.

 

5. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) 

All the groundwork paid off as Marvel delivered it’s first ever super hero team up.  The Hulk was back (and done right this time), Hawkeye and Black Widow joined the team and director Joss Whedon delivered the goods. The Avengers is still a high watermark and reminds you just how well put together Phase 1 really was.

 


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An Elephant Sitting Still (2018): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

An Elephant Sitting Still (2018): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

A Blog Other Cr*p Your Opinion Sucks

“He told me the other day, there is an elephant in Manzhouli. It sits there all day long. Perhaps some people keep stabbing it with forks. Or maybe it just enjoys sitting there. I don’t know.”

An Elephant Sitting Still is a grand tapestry of a film, a four-hour long living breathing monster that makes one proud to appreciate cinema. Its very existence is soaked through with sorrow of the most merciless kind, as one seldom mentions An Elephant Sitting Still without touching upon the passing of its writer/director, Hu Bo, who took his own life shortly after completing the film at just 29 years old. It would forever be his first and only effort, an effort that sadistically taunts you with the empty promise of what he seemed destined to achieve in his life. Perhaps a filmography of sharp, aesthetically gratifying and beautifully eye-gouging films like this one, of which there would be nothing else alike on the beautiful big screen. We will never know, what is known is that cinema is a much darker place without him.

The camera is alive in this story, almost constantly moving with and around our hapless characters. Anticipating, as we do, what unpleasantness will be arriving shortly in the grimness of their lives; when the already screaming tension is pushed beyond its limit. Refusing to cut back and forth, preferring to glide as long unbroken takes from one despairing fall to the next, we are treated to a washed out world in which people are searching for an escape. Normal every-day occurrences are the problems our characters face here, dilemmas, ultimatums, situations many of us will recognise from our own lives, the kind that can seem inescapable; and are therefore capable of terrifying us in cinema.

This is a slow, meditative piece, the tone is almost cruel, making use of a musical score that sounds both hopeful and hopeless all at the same time, the colour scheme is miserable and the story is relentless in its emotional tragedy. And yet, you will not leave empty handed in the desperate search for something-anything that could offer hope, as An Elephant Sitting Still does not wish to beat you over the head with depression, but one cannot have light without there first being darkness, and while the majority of the film is bleak in a way that smashes your glass house to the ground, it represents a flawed succession in finding that escape from the emptiness of existence. Films like this represent something the filmmaker needs to get off their chest, the need to truly express themselves, beyond commercialism and above the need for a return on their years of hard work, Hu Bo wanted to say something, tear his emotions free and in turn – he tore mine.

An Elephant Sitting Still had everything for me, my favourite combination, style and substance, substance dictated by style; there would not be one without the other. The story is expansive and relatable in its persistent and personal assault of meaningful themes, and while the style perpetuates sadness, it is almost fun, as every clear artistic decision implies a filmmaker who loved his craft. There are no pretty pictures or gorgeous landscapes, characters are either bullies or victims, a snowy setting makes for discomfort all the way through and while hope is spread very thin, still it lies before you, at the end of this painful journey, and the result is a majestic piece of work with a very satisfying sensibility to it. I will say that not every line of dialogue felt as unique in its characterisation as though it wasn’t all Hu Bo’s own words, but this is a mere spec in the shadow of what is a monumental achievement, there need to be more films like this out there, for the sake of the integrity of cinema itself.

 

 


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Star Wars: A Corana Movie Survival Guide By Grosse Point Geek

Star Wars: A Corana Movie Survival Guide By Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Other Cr*p The Blogs

In these rather strange and troubling times we are living in at the moment it is of course very easy to get depressed and down in the dumps.  Many of us are naturally struggling to fill the time in the absence of being able to do normal things – like visit family and friends, go to the pubs, restaurants, theatres or cinemas. So what to do to stave off the COVID19 blues? Some people are playing board games, some are listening to music, others are on their play stations or Xboxes.

However if you are like me (a notoriously obsessed film geek) you may be raiding your dvd/blu ray collection or trawling though Netflix and Amazon Prime in search of some thing to watch. So to help you all out I have compiled a few lists of films and box sets to see you though the coming weeks.

Next Up: The Star Wars films (no derogatory comments please -I’ll have you all know I’m v sensitive when it comes to these films -yes even the prequels! – lol)

 

Watch in following order:

 

  • Episode 1 The Phantom Menace

 

  • Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones

 

  • Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith

 

  • Solo A Star Wars Story

 

  • Rogue One a Star Wars Story

 

  • Episode 4: A New Hope

 

  • Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

 

  • Episode 6: Return Of The Jedi

 

  • Episode 7: The Force Awakens

 

  • Episode 8: The Last Jedi

 

  • Episode 9: The Rise Of Skywalker

 

I’ll be back with more lists to help get you through the current Film and new release shortage!