Creed (2015) review

*Holy shit, finally a review. I know, it’s been a while*

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By Franz

It’s weird, you hear about a Rocky spin-off featuring Apollo Creed’s son trained by Rocky and it’s not panned as a terrible idea and a terrible movie. Well okay, maybe it was panned as a terrible idea but when it came out, it was actually hailed as one of the years best. Maybe we should have guessed that it wouldn’t be terrible, it wasn’t directed or even written by Stallone and the series had a new creative vision behind it. But, I was, like everybody, highly skeptical, the trailer wasn’t anything special and Michael B. Jordan hasn’t really shown a lot of greatness (yet). But, the film, maybe like the original Rocky, exceeded the expectations and it turned our pretty fucking awesome. So, let’s talk about it.

Southpaw came out earlier this year, the Jake Gyllanhaal boxing movie that everybody forgot, and it was absolute shit. The problem with that film was that it was just so generic, basically ripping off every boxing movie cliche in the book and doing nothing with it’s talent, making it a boring, un-inspired film that felt like any other Hollywood sport film. Creed is basically the original Rocky, almost exactly the same story. But why is Creed better than Southpaw when on paper it sounds like they have the same problems? Well, take the original Rocky for example: even at it’s time, it wasn’t really original, just a standard Hollywood rags-to-riches tale of a boxer with some romance. Why did that work and still does? Because, like Rocky the character himself, it had a shit ton of heart and charisma. Sure, it was basic in terms of story and themes, but the characters were relatable and it was emotional. Southpaw doesn’t hit those emotional tones because the characters aren’t interesting, we know basically nothing about them and the story-telling is just awful (it spends way too much at the start and just skips the whole underdog part), Creed doesn’t do that. Creed has heart, it has innovation and energy, sure it follows a lot of the same beats as the original movie, but it uses them correctly.

The main reason Creed works is because it tells the underdog story correctly. Jake Gyllanhaal’s character in Southpaw is flawed, like Adonis is here, but making him a drug addict isn’t relatable nor interesting. Adonis’ flaw in this film is that he doesn’t want to be treated as the son of a great boxer, he’s wants to be proud without using his fathers name, but since people do treat him like that, it makes him a little violent. Now, that’s relatable because we like to think that we are independent and proud, most of us aren’t rich drug addicts. That’s where Southpaw fails, it makes the main character an asshole and pretty boring, and Creed success, Adonis isn’t perfect but we forgive his flaws more easily. Now sure, Jake LaMotta in The Raging Bull is a terrible human being, but Raging Bull isn’t a sweet rags-to-riches story, like these two films are.

Almost every single performance here is good, Michael B. Jordan is very charismatic and natural, just a fantastic performance, sure he’s cocky but not in an arrogant way. Everybody has been hyping up Stallone’s performance, and yes he is fantastic, but he was pretty fantastic in Rocky Balboa (Rocky 6). I mean okay, Rocky Balboa isn’t a fantastic movie, but it’s surprisingly decent and Stallone delivers an equally emotional performance in that. But yeah, his performance here (especially that one fucking scene) did almost bring out some manly tears. Honestly if I had to bring up one performance that wasn’t great that would be Tessa Thompson, who was pretty good but her character was kinda boring. I get it, she’s this films Adrian, but Adrian was a bit more interesting and fairly un-usual love interest. Bianca is just kinda of bland, but Thompson herself does deliver a sympathetic performance.

The cinematography is mostly good, the montages were all excellent, some funny, some intense, good use of music and great editing, no problems there. Everybody has been talking about that one long take and yeah it’s awesome, even if there was some digital tricks there. It’s a great concept, the first big fight, all in one very long, but energetic, almost Scorsese-like, take and they execute it so well. If nobody had said anything about it, I don’t know would have I noticed it, a good long take is the one you don’t notice, but it was nevertheless amazing.

Like I said, I only have one problem with this film and that’s just it takes a bit too much from the original. Especially from a film that wants to be it’s own, stand-alone film, it borrows one too many. But it doesn’t butcher the first film’s emotional peaks and it delivers the same amount of punch it had. It’s a thrill to watch and I did get goosebumps in the final fight, especially when the music drops there. It’s all a bit too familiar, but it’s all done so well. It’s a 8/10 from me.

Movie review: Planet of the Apes (1968) & Beneath The Planet of the Apes (1970)

*Just some quick thoughts on these two films*

By Franz

Planet of the Apes series is one of the most infamous movie series of all time, parodied a million times and also hailed as one of the most creative sci-fi series ever. Now, I’m a movie buff, but this is my first time seeing any of them, for some reason, I just never seen them. But I got the original series for only 15 euros on DVD and honestly, five films for 15 euros is such a good deal, I would have bought any movie that kind of price.

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So, I guess we should start with the first one, the original 1968 PotA with Charlton Heston. It’s considered one of the finest sci-fi films and was a huge hit that has probably parodied more that any other sci-fi film. And I don’t understand why it’s considered a classic. Okay, sure, it’s interesting, the world is very well constructed, there’s some interesting, if somewhat blunt, philosophy and Heston is very charismatic. And while the story is though provoking and fantastical, the script is so blah. The only interesting thing about the story is just the concept, other than that, it’s just screenplay 101, with nothing interesting in it, I knew where it was going all the time and yeah, that may be because everyone has already spoiled everything about this film, but still, the story construction was overly simple. I really hoped that the story would have been told with more creativity and imagination like the concept is.

But there are good things: I love the set design, it really gave a feel that this is a real place and I can understand how it would fool somebody into thinking it’s not Earth. Heston, even though how over-the-top he can be, is a joy to watch and does show his charisma. The ape make up, which is infamous, is fine for the most part, but I have to say it’s pretty dated now, especially when they kiss, they basically just ram their heads into each other like fucking goats. And the ending is quite fantastic, even though everybody will see it coming because of years of parodies. And for years now, I have been quoting Heston’s lines like “You maniacs!” and “Goddamn you all to hell!” and whenever me girlfriend touches my face “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty APE!”. I’m just kidding. But anyway, it’s a lot of fun to hear those iconic lines in context.

I don’t have a lot to say about this film, the concept is great, Heston is fun and overall it’s pretty entertaining. The script is so basic and un-imaginative and it’s a bit dated. I can’t say it’s a “great film”, but it’s  good film at least. It’s 6/10, maybe a 6.5/10 from me.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes

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One of the reasons I wanted to see the original series was because I’ve heard that the sequals were batshit nuts. And during the first half of this one, I was concerned. It was just very poorly made, but it wasn’t crazy enough. But after about forty minutes, I was delighted. This is film is fucking crazy. Like Michelle Bachman crazy. Actually more like Alex Jones crazy: it doesn’t make any goddamn sense, but the ideas are so from the left field, you kinda just want to listen to where it’s going.

Okay, first up: it’s not a good film. I know there are some fans of this film and call it one of the best films in the series, but I have to heavily disagree here. Am I really the only one who thought that the ideas in this film weren’t brilliant, rather childish and just complete mindfucks? I’m going to spoil some shit, so if you haven’t seen this yet, well, go see it. Why do they have masks on if they’re the only ones in there? Why would they feel insecure? If they have magical powers, why don’t use them on the apes? If they are afraid of the apes, why did they hide just a mile away from them? How did the apes even find them? Did they follow Brent’s scent? Was he that smelly? Why did the humans first speak to Brent via telepathy and then randomly switched to normal speaking, wouldn’t it have been a lot easier just to talk? How did they get their clothes? The nuclear holocaust probably happened thousands of years ago, since if it happened recently, the apes (the common apes) would have known about the humans, so how are the current humans disfigured? Do disfigured people have disfigured babies? Is that how evolution works? And how did they make the masks? If the masks are old, how have they stayed so nice looking through the years? If human evolution reached the point of telepathy, how come the normal animal-humans couldn’t even speak? Did the evolution just forgot about them? Why did Heston dissolve into a mountain?

But it was a fun film, 3/10.

If you have answers to my questions, please by all means, post it in the comments.

Movie review: 007 Spectre (2015)

SPECTRE

By Franz

Daniel Craig’s fourth and Sam Mendes’ second Bond film just recently hit the theaters and I somehow found the time to go see it. I’m not the biggest Bond fan in the world, but I enjoy the series, at least the Connery and Craig’s eras, and I’ll even defend the Timothy Dalton Bond’s. So I was relatively interested in seeing this, after all I think Mendes can be a wonderful director, at least a very good technical one. And Craig’s era has been mostly fantastic, so is Spectre as good as Casino Royal or Skyfall? No. But it’s better than Quantum of Solace at least. But then again, that’s not very high praise. Since it’s a Bond film and there isn’t a huge chunk of interesting things to talk about, so I’m just going to take the lazy mans route and talk about the good things and the bad things.

Good Things

Daniel Craig returns as our favorite secret agent and he’s great as usual. Craig has really nailed the character, made it more complex and while having a bit of Connery and Brosnan in him, but still making the character his own. He’s a lot more badass than “cool” and has more of an anti hero vibe to him than previous Bonds. So yeah, he’s good. But Bond isn’t the most complex character, sure they make his self-aware about his drinking problem and his habit of fucking every hot chick on the planet, but still, he’s not a Paul Thomas Anderson character worth analyzing. He’s cool, badass, kickass and doesn’t give a shit about killing anybody.

The opening scene, with the huge tracking shot is very impressive and highly enjoyable. Of course it’s a huge budget Hollywood blockbuster so it’s not that impressive, but still it looked very good and showcased Mendes’ willingness to go the extra mile. Most of the opening sequence is very good, though the helicopter bit was a bit confusing and a bit shaky, the editing was overly fast and way too many close-ups and shaky cam. But everything before that was pretty fantastic.

Everybody’s favorite Austrian actor who hasn’t been a governor, Christoph Waltz plays the lead villain. And he’s not amazing, sadly. But he’s still in the good list, because he’s entertainingly evil in it, even though his character is a tad cheesy. His characters introduction is intense and exciting, though he never achives that level of intimidation, he remains very decent throughout.

The action is good, as you would expect, but some of the set-pieces go on a bit too long for my taste. A bit too many explosions and a bit too many chases, but still enjoyable.

Cinematography was decent, not as stunning as in Skyfall, but still very well shot. Especially the snowy mountain scenes were captured quite beautifully and whenever it cuts to London I love how white and clean everything suddenly becomes, almost to the point of distraction.

Bad Things

My main problem with the film is simple: it’s not original in any way. Skyfall had the sense of wanting to win an Oscar, wanting to be a great film, rather than just another, who-gives-a-fuck Bond. It had an ambition to make something great, that had unique looking and feeling set-pieces and it even slightly poked fun of the old Bonds, at least by turning the tables around by (for example) having a young Q. But Spectre doesn’t want to innovate, it wants to be a typical Bond film, it’s comfortable in that. And while it’s nice to see Mendes really wanting to make a “classic” Bond flick, it goes a bit over with some of the stuff. I’m not going to spoil anything, but there are some very cliche Bond moments we haven’t seen in Craig’s era where all sense of realism is mostly thrown away, sadly.

And that’s my biggest complaint, it doesn’t feel like it wants to do anything interesting, it just wants to be a Bond. Is that a bad thing? No, but I expected a lot more and when you do those cliche things, with a serious feel, it comes off as, well, hack-eyed and tedious.

I was excited to see Dave Bautista in this, mainly because when I was a kid I watched a lot of wrestling and obviously Batista was one of my favorites. And I read in an Empire interview that his character wouldn’t just be brute force, but also intelligent as fuck (Bautista’s words). But, no. He’s a big, dumb chunk of muscle, something we’ve seen a million times in Bond films. And he’s not even as interesting as somebody like Jaws, who, despite being a cheesy as hell character, was really exciting to watch, mainly because he so weird. Bautista is just a piece of very dumb meat. And boy, does his character suck at his job or what.

Two complaints from people have been that the sub-plot about trying to get rid of the 00-program is boring and that Waltz just vanishes from the movie for a very long time. But honestly, I didn’t either of those things. I though the sub-plot was very relevant and fascinating and Waltz disapearing was fine, it was good to keep him in the shadows. I mean, that’s the plot of the movie, Bond trying to find him.

The Bond girl, while attractive enough, had no chemistry with Bond. Sure they work together fine, but really, James, this girl is the one? Really? Why this one? It didn’t make a lot of sense, but fuck it, why not throw a boring “can Bond love” sub-plot into the mix, why don’t we.

Overall

But that’s where my problems end, the biggest one is just the un-originality of the film, it doesn’t feel like it wants to do anything special, more like a “fuck, it’ll make money” film. However, they executed it fine. It’s a very entertaining film, filled with witty banter (and some normal exposition dialog, normal to a Bond film), fun action set-pieces and Bond being pretty fucking cool. And the story, while filled with cliche moments, is entertaining enough. I guess I wish they would have went a little bit deeper with it, really showing how the this secret organization works or whatever, but what we got, is fine in my opinion. It’s one of those Bond films that you can skip and you won’t miss much, but if you’re on a Bond marathon, yeah, this ain’t a bad watch. If you’re a Bond fan, you’ve probably already seen this, but if you’re like me and only kinda cares about Bond, I would still recommend this, it’s a decent action film. 7/10

The Martian (2015)

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I know I haven’t been very active lately, I just haven’t had the time to review a lot of stuff. But, finally I’ve made me glorious comeback to film writing. So, what am I going to review? Well I just saw Luis Bunuel’s classic 1961 film Viridiana. And I also saw James Marsh’s Man on Wire, oh and also Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu. But I know most of you don’t care about those films, so I also saw Ridley Scott’s The Martian. So, I guess I should review that one, since it is a new, big budget film.

I was hyped for this, I didn’t read the novel, but I like Scott’s work and the trailer looked really good, like absolutely fucking good. I was so hyped, I actually went to the the theaters to watch this, and I rarely go to the theaters (no time, no money, you know). And to my surprise, it was okay. I want to stress that I haven’t read the novel, so I have no idea how the film differs from it, I’m judging this as a film, not an adaptation. So, let’s start the review:

Characters/Performances

This film has a lot of characters and a lot of famous actors: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Donald Glover, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and the list goes on. But really there’s only one main character and that is of course Matt Damon as Mark Watney. His character is a smart, wise-cracking, joe-schmoe-with-a-degree-in-botany and Damon does a decent job. He’s very likeable with his sarcastic remarks and his tough human spirit thing, but I didn’t really think he’s all that special. Sure, he’s a lot of fun, he’s the everyman (kinda) so it’s easy to relate to him, but as somebody who prefers complexity over everyman-status (in most cases), I can’t say that I found the character to be anything more than a popcorn film star. I mean, Damon is very natural in it and he has a lot of charisma so nothing feels awkward at all and Watney is a very sympathetic character, it’s very easy to root for him and his comments are often chuckle-worthy.

dömen, my man

I’m not saying he’s a bad character at all, but we rarely see him anything more than a sarcastic smart-guy. There’s like two scenes, where he’s desperate and thinking he’s going to die, now, you could argue he doesn’t indulge into fears like that because he’s a trained astronaut, but that’s a bit stretching to say, considering NASA probably doesn’t train astronauts to survive alone in a planet. So, I would have hoped to see a bit more desperation, a bit more of him losing his sanity. Most of the problems are solved fairly easily and not a lot of problems even come. I was expecting something awful to happen constantly like in Gravity, but really only one (albeit majot) bad thing happens, which again, is solved pretty quickly. There is a wonderful scene where we do see Watney scared, which is the little moment when he is looking at the MAV (I would give more detail, but I don’t want to spoil it). That was a quite stunning, subtle scene. But, basically right after he goes back to the headquarters, after almost dying and his crew leaving him, almost right after he’s like “I’m not going to die”. Which was strange, I mean, you’ve been there like two hours, you should be thinking “I am going to die here”. But, anyway, Watney’s likeable enough, nothing special, but whatever.

Like I said, this is filled with recognizable faces and most of them are pretty good. Daniels as the douchebag authority is fine I guess, though his character is a bit cheap, he brings some charisma. Donald Glover as the quirky scientist is decent, I liked Glover in Community where he was pretty damn hilarious, but here he’s the standard quirky nerd type which doesn’t really fit him, so at times his delivery is awkward, but overall he was very decent. Kristen Wiig was surprisingly forgetable in this, which is strange, ’cause she’s a very good actress. I don’t even remember what her character was doing in the film. Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena and the rest of the crew of Hermes are all just cardboard cut-outs, they have no personality other than Pena who is the “bro” for Watney. But the rest are just so basic and boring, I found them the dullest part of the film. Sean Bean was fine, I guess, he looks like he’s about the cry in every scene he’s in, but fine I suppose. Chiwetel Ejiofor (totally had to look how to spell that one from IMDB) is good. He’s very natural in his performance, though his character is average and borderline boring, Ejiofor brings charisma to it.

Basically the only stand out performance was the lead, sadly. Though it’s an impressive cast, I can’t say many of them were very unforgetable. Glover sticks out in my opinion, but probably just because I’m a fan of Community. While nobody was terrible, nobody was really spectacular either, which was a disappointment to me, since I was hoping a lot more from this cast.
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Film Review: Amour (2012)

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*I know, fucking finally a new review. Sorry boys and girls, I’ve been busy and shit like that, enjoy this review now*

By Franz

I’ve seen only four movies by Michael Haneke, but I must say I’m absolutely loving his work. I adored the ambiguous brilliance in Cache, Funny Games US was an entertaining and thought provoking film about violence and while I didn’t love Benny’s Video, I do respect that film for what it’s trying to say. And his 2012 film about love and the pain of losing someone, Amour, might be my favorite of his. Amour was just about the last 2012 film that I wanted to see, but hadn’t, until recently and somewhat surprisingly, it’s probably my second favorite of the year, behind P.T. Anderson’s The Master. It’s one of the most difficult films I’ve ever seen emotionally and one of the most perfect I’ve seen.

While some complained that the film is “cold”, since Haneke directs it very objectively, rather than trying to emotionally manipulate you into feeling something. The subject matter is sad, heart-breaking and something we can all relate to, either you have experienced what the main character is experiencing or you will. And even if you haven’t, it’s still a powerful emotion. So, Haneke’s objectivity can throw you off, thinking it’s a cold film, but it’s not, it’s simply trying to show something “real”, without wanting to sugar-coat it, showing you the harsh reality. If the film could be described with one word it would be “real” or “humane”, at least in my opinion. If this was an American movie or simply a movie by a lesser director, there would be big, emotional crying scenes and a happy ending of somewhat. But Haneke does almost the exact opposite. For example, when Anne has her first stroke and goes to the hospital, we expect a hospital scene, something right before the surgery or something, but no, Haneke skips that. And almost every “big” moment, Haneke doesn’t show, rather he decides to show their everyday life, showing her decay slowly and the impact of their normal day to day life. And that’s a lot more effective than having a tedious hospital moments. And another thing, Haneke shows them as humans, as real people, they aren’t perfect. We slowly see how the husband starts getting sick of her, you feel his pain as his wife is slowly dying and as each day passes, she isn’t the same person anymore. And of course the ending is something you wouldn’t see in a classic tear-jerker movie. Haneke shows his characters as honestly as he can, as flawed people, which to me makes the film so heart-breaking and humane.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanualle Riva are both fantastic, of course both are excellent actors, who worked with some of the greatest directors of all time like Bertolucci and Alain Resnais, they’r one of the main reasons why this film works as well as it does. Of course everybody talks about Riva’s great performance as Anne, and she is heart-breaking and so real and most definitely should have won the Oscar, but Trintignant is great as well, showing how difficult it is to let go and showing so much restraint through out the movie. Riva is amazing as well, the embarrassment and humiliations on her face is so painful to watch at times, she’s just so real in the role and especially the shower scene is one of the most difficult scenes of all time. And those two are pretty much the only people in the film, sure their daughter is in this too, and she’s fine, but she has like three scenes. However the character is still very interesting, wanting to keep her mother alive but knowing how it will end and how soon that will be. She’s frustrated and shows it a lot more than the much more frustrated Georges. But she doesn’t have a lot screentime, so she’s not really worth talking about. So it’s basically just Riva and Trintignant, and Riva doesn’t really talk after the first hour so basically they have to carry the movie and they do it amazingly well.

The film is slow and if you don’t like slower paced movies, you shouldn’t watch this, especially the last ten or so minutes are very slow and even I’ll admit it went on maybe a minute too long. But the pacing didn’t hurt the overall, the slower style suits the film, like Cache, it creates a fantastic atmosphere rather than bore the audience. I guess you could say that about every Haneke film, though my only big complaint about Benny’s Video was that I thought it way too fucking slow, un-bearably slow at times. But Amour, even if the last ten minutes are very quiet and slow, never gets boring, the acting and Haneke precise camera work kept me interested through-out and even if the film doesn’t show “big” moments, the day-to-day stuff is still so heart-breaking. It’s a very quiet film, of course one of Haneke’s trademarks is he doesn’t use music that isn’t “in the story”, only music here is when it’s featured in the film, for example they go to a concert in the beginning and we hear the piano. And that’s effective, somehow the lack of emotional violin music in the film, actually make the film more emotional. Even the camera work is so naturalistic and subtle, Haneke doesn’t waste his time with expensive jerking-off shots or even beautifully lit moments, rather he prefers realistic settings and subtle cinematography. Everything seems so realistic and down-to-earth. Some could argue that Haneke doesn’t have a “style” but I would disgaree. People who say that are probably the people who say Zack Snyder has his own “style” because his films look slightly different, but that doesn’t make you an auteur. Haneke’s style isn’t visual, rather story-telling, always being objective and realistic, leaving the moral questions to the audience to decide for themselves. His visual ques are mostly subtle, every edit and angle are just about perfect and it seems like he knows why to shoot a scene with angle like this or that, rather than just doing a nice angle for the sake of having a nice shot. Every shot and cut seems meaningful and honest. Ps, I’m not ripping on Snyder, he’s fine, not unique in any way, but fine as a director.

If you don’t mind a little slower pace, you’re going to fall in love with Amour (pun intended?), it’s heart-breaking, emotional, humane and most importantly, honest. It’s a tear-jerker, but not your traditional one, it’s shows the pain of the characters very objectively and doesn’t force you into liking these people, but it’s asking you to understand them. They’re flawed people, who are trying to do the best they can, but sometimes they can’t, because of human error. It’s one of the most beautiful films ever made, with some of 21st century’s most realistic performances. If you have a heart, this is going to break you down and probably depress the shit out of you. It’s a masterpiece: 10/10.

Thoughts on: Southpaw (2015), Maps to The Stars (2014) and Cache (2005)

By Franz

Yeah I know, long time no new content. But, like I said about five times now, I’m working on a screenplay with a bunch of friends so that has been keeping me busy. But since I think I’m some what comfortable with the progress so I can take a brake from worrying about how big of a piece of shit it will be, I thought I should review some films I’ve seen recently. I thought I would give each of these their own review, but I’m too lazy and honestly only one film here actually deserves a lengthy review and that is Cache, because it is a brilliant film, but I think it has been analyzed to death, so I’ll be brief (or try to be) with these.

fuck faqua

So up first is the brand new Jake Gyllenhaal boxing movie Southpaw aka Rocky 7: The Revenge of Adrian. I was fucking hyped for this movie, Gyllenhaal coming straight from Nightcrawler, where he played a skinny weirdo, buffing himself up to be an aggressive boxer, it looked and sounded great. But then the trailer hit and it sucked. But I thought “Well, I shouldn’t judge based on the trailer”, but my judgement was completely right; it fucking sucked. While movies like The Fighter and Warriors are cliche in the story and even in their characters, they get away with those because of the acting and most importantly: they seem genuine. They seem like they were passion projects and aren’t just some heartless studio hack stuff, but sadly Southpaw is just a cliche, boring hack-eyed and lazy film that suffers from terrible directing and sup-par performances and characters. If you ever said to yourself “Hey, I would love to see Rocky 1, but with more melodrama, even more cheesiness and the villain from Rocky 3” then you’re probably a fucking mongoloid. Practically everybody’s terrible in this, sadly even great actors like Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams (okay, not a “great” actor but still). However there is a somewhat saving grace here, and that grace goes by the name Jake Gyllenhaal. But, kinda disappointingly, it’s a good performance, but not a great one. It should be a great one, it should be his show, but somehow he never reaches that intensity and power he showed in Nightcrawler, which isn’t his fault, since there were plenty of scenes were he acted his ass off, the script just wasn’t very good.

Mouchette (1967)

fuck bresson

By Franz

For years now, people have been hyping this one, telling me it’s one of the greatest films ever made and Bresson is one of the greatest directors. So, I finally saw this, and this was my first Bresson film, and I hated it. This film fucking sucked. And before somebody says “Go back to your Star Wars films!”, I want to make it clear that I love art film and I don’t mind slower paced films, 2001, The Master, Le Plaisir, Last Year at Marienbad and Walkabout all belong in my top 20 and I would hardly call those “fast paced”. So it’s not like I didn’t like this film because I’m not used to watching films like this, I grew up watching films like this! But this film sucked ass, and I’m going to explain why. This isn’t going to be a standard review, because I just couldn’t.

Nadine Nortier plays the lead, Mouchette, and she is extremely boring. She’s so goddamn bland, she has no personality aside throwing mud into the faces of other girls and being sad (I guess?). I have no idea where people are coming from when talking about her performance as “heart-breaking” or even emotional, I didn’t see any of that. Bresson is known for using amateur actors, and sure that’s a nice idea, but it also means you’re going to hire some terrible actors, they’r not amateurs for no reason. And the rest of the cast was as bland and terrible as she was, the guy who rapes her is trying to be drunk, but I didn’t even realize he should be drunk before he said he is, that’s how bad he was.

There isn’t a lot of talking in this movie, it’s to the point of making it stylized. However, it’s one of the things Bresson gets wrong completely. If you’re going to do something as stylized as that, yet trying to pass it off as real world, well, it’s not going to work. There are two directors that came to my mind, who may or may not have been influenced by this, but did it better: Jean-Pierre Melville and the greatest Finnish director of all time Aki Kaurismäki. The films of both directors are known for their sparing use of dialog, but they know how to make it work, they have never made “realistic films”. Melville’s movies have always been fantasy like, at times they were ridiculously naive and fantastic, because he made homages to the films he loved (American film-noirs), but he stylized the shit out of them. And when he made a more realistic movie, like Army of Shadows, he played by real world rules, it wasn’t stylized, it was gritty and ugly and people talked normally. And Kaurismäki has never made “real world” films, he’s made extreme realism, which is a term I just made up, meaning his films are something where we can mistakenly say that it’s like real world, but once we look at it for a while, notice nothing in it makes any sense in the real world. Nobody talks like his characters do, nobody acts like them, but he always gives us the world where these characters would and it makes sense.

Those directors created worlds where sparing dialog works, but Bresson doesn’t create a world, which is fine if you’re going to play by real world rules, but he doesn’t. Nobody talks, when they should be talking, people do things nobody would unless they’r retarded, it’s like Bresson is trying to both create a world but is so lazy he stops mid-way and in my mind, it fucks the movie up. The world should be realistic, but it isn’t, and it left me cold. I have no idea where Bresson was going with this film, I didn’t see anything he was trying to say with this film, it felt like an empty film. I’ve always said that I think that Godard is a self-indulgent asshole, but at least he was always trying to say something (I guess?), but I didn’t see what Bresson was trying to say with his boring, overly slow paced story? Was he trying to make us feel apathy in the rape scene because he didn’t develop the character at all? Maybe, but it seems like a lazy cop out. I don’t buy it, feels like he just didn’t know how to develop a character, you could have made it really interesting by showing that maybe Mouchette isn’t a very likable person, make her terrible, so the apathy in the rape scene would have been so much more interesting as we, the audience, wouldn’t know what to feel. Also, during the rape scene (which is terrible directed), she puts her arm on his back, showing she wants him, now that’s interesting, but since we know basically nothing about the character, I don’t what to say about it, every time it was beginning to get somewhat interesting, it killed itself because there was no character, they were just made out of cardboard.