REVIEW: The House That Jack Built [2018]

The choice is entirely yours. I can’t wait to discover what’s next for Lars von Trier‘s oeuvre. He followed his Dogme 95 phase with a period steeped in depression and now that one has seemingly just ended with [the blatantly autobiographical] film The House That Jack Built. At its center is the personification of this latter phase’s creative genius—a projection of his aesthetically gorgeous vignettes of brutally depraved imagery. This serial killer (Matt Dillon‘s Jack) sees his trophies as art, his victims the material with which he’s created them from…

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REVIEW: The Party [2017]

Another announcement. Good God. I admire what Sally Potter is trying to do with her black comedy The Party as experiment. She’s placed a group of friends with different political, economic, and romantic views into a single room, hanging a secret(s) over their heads with the potential to destroy their individual and communal identities. They’re provided the opportunity to come clean and be true to who they are despite what it might do to those around them, each embracing a desire to let their consistently over-inflated egos decide. Unfortunately that…

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REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the ruins of West Germany with its now-crumbling wall soon to come down lies promise and hope rather than despair. There’s a tiny, infectious grin perpetually on his lips responding to the small moments of life…

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REVIEW: Night Train to Lisbon [2013]

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty” Sometimes a well-written story is all you truly need to make a successful film and I believe author Pascal Mercier‘s novel Night Train to Lisbon provides one. Adapted by Greg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann with Bille August as director, the cinematic version of this look back at romance in a time of revolution unfolds with its melodic Annette Focks score as though we’re sitting over a cup of tea across from each character as they tell their part in the mystery…

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REVIEW: Unknown [2011]

“And that’s where I first saw Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man” I have it on good authority from a friend that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown, as well as Didier van Cauwelaert’s French-language novel it’s based on, is uncannily similar to Roman Polanski’s Frantic. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I have no opinion on the accusation, having not seen the 1988 film, but I’d lie if I didn’t admit my view of the new release is a bit tainted now. The premise of both are definitely eerily similar and my friend knows what he’s talking…

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REVIEW: The Reader [2008]

“Only one thing can make a soul complete—and that one thing is love” What is guilt? I believe this is the central question behind Stephen Daldry’s new film The Reader. Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink, the story asks its audience what a true monster is. If you are doing your job, afflicted by a handicap that others will use against you, can you be held responsible for your actions if your own demise would be the result of standing against orders? Should you be held to blame for…

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REVIEW: Luther [2003]

“Feed the fire with canon law” Martin Luther was a rockstar. Now I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable in theology or that I remember way back when to school years learning about the Reformation, so whether the ideas and words spoken in the film Luther are correct, I haven’t a clue. However, either way I couldn’t agree more with them. This is a man that never wanted a revolt; he never portrayed his views as an alternative to the Roman Catholic Church. No, he loved his religion and his God.…

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