Saturday, 7 April 2018

Kusama Infinity (2018) Review

Kusama Infinity's inner spirit is simply like the artist that it's depicting. Fun, anarchist, and beautifully realized. Kusama Infinity is easily the best documentary I have seen this year so far, and not only does it detail the life journey of famed Japanese Rogue Artist Yayoi Kusama, it also depicts her life in a serious yet well maintained light atmosphere. With it's short run time of 76 minutes, Kusama Infinity doesn't have a single minute wasted. Not a single scene/segment was boring and I was always hooked to the images presented on screen. It's simply an enthralling look at one of the most under rated contemporary artists from the 20th century.

With this said, Kusama Infinity is not flawless. While it's execution was well done, there wasn't anything innovatively done to improve on the documentary genre. David Lynch: The Art Life, a film that was released last year, did a much better job depicting a real life figure in a very horror-esque way. With this film however, it feels by the numbers, similar to how I felt watching national geographic documentaries when I was in elementary school. While much better than said National Geographic Docs, Kusama Infinity still lacks. It needed a little push with it's artistic license. As well, there were several interviews throughout the film, that looks out dated. I'm fine if you're going to use previously recorded documentary footage from years previously. What I do have a problem with, is if the previously used footage is not used/executed in a proper manner. The simple solution to this problem? Just condense the footage. While this isn't much of a big complaint, it certainly took me out of the film experience.

Kusama Infinity is an enthralling look at a famed artist that does not drag on nor feel like a slog. Films like these need to be made more often. It's equal parts inspirational and motivating. A must watch for any wannabe artist who is intrigued in international contemporary art.


Best F(r)iends (2018) Review

Best F(r)iends Volume 1 is definitely one of the more weird films to come out of 2018 so far. This cinematic reunion between cult film maker/performer Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero is an interesting one to say the least. Unlike there previous collaboration "The Room", Best F(r)iends is more of a low-key psychological thriller than a romantic drama. While Best F(r)iends does have it's moments, there's a certain un-compromising feeling I had watching the film. I didn't really know if the film was self aware or not. With something like The Room, you can tell that it was 100% trying to be serious. In this film, there were plenty of mistakes that may seem intentional, but due to the way said mistake is presented specifically, it's hard to tell if it was supposed to be intentionally hilarious or not. As for the film itself however, Best F(r)iends is slightly below average but still massively enjoyable feature.

As said before about the self-awareness aspect of the film, Best F(r)iends contains some of the most odd performances I have seen in a feature film from the last 5 years. It's as if these characters and actors came out of a 60's B-Movie like Manos Hands of Fate. In no way were the performances in this film as bad as the mentioned atrocity. It's just that their "unconventional" way of delivering lines was quite peculiar. Along side with the off-putting acting, there's plenty of directing mistakes such as weak lighting, un-appealing production/costume design, narrative inconsistencies, and unintentionally hilarious scene transitions.

Overall, I don't know how to really feel about Best F(r)iends Volume 1. I certainly had a good time. It's just that it's kind of hard to pin down if the film was trying to be intentionally hilarious. It's a bad film withing an unknown circle of not-confirmed self awareness. I might need to see this film again to get a better grasp and make a final decision, but I highly recommend this film to anybody who enjoyed The Room.


Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau in Best F(r)iends (2017)

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

November (2018) Review

November (2017)

November was one odd ball hallucinogenic experience that I will never forget. This Estonian black and white feature film mixes classical black and white fantasy with a dash of horror. The final product of November is better described as one of the weirdest films I've ever witnessed. There's plenty of odd visuals throughout it's 115 minute run time. This includes the opening scene of the film, where a cursed object grab's a cow and starts flying in mid-air across a vast Estonian forest. If that doesn't sound strange to you, you ain't seen nothin yet. There's also ghosts, a scene where a group of people put their own pants on top of there heads, a scene where the protagonist meets a snowman who teaches him poetry, treasure hunts, suicidal sleepwalking, the devil himself, and even more extensive Estonian folklore elements.

At the start of film however, I began to hate on the it. I was utterly confused by the events taken place and why they were occurring. However, as I continued watching, I started getting comfortable with the universe of where the story was taken place. It's a universe that we have never seen before. A universe with a diverse mythical lore and symbolism. With this understanding in mind, November personally captivated me on what it was trying to say. The film itself is about the dangers of jealousy and romantic relationships. It's done in a very storybook like way.  However, the way the film executes said structure is wholly unique.

November is a film made up of two different things. The first are scenes related to a very linear story structure. The second are scenes related to a very non-linear story structure with plenty of visual metaphor's and different narrative devices (most of which take up nearly the entirety of the film.) This is what made November so special in my opinion. Of course, it's nowhere near perfect. The film is filled with a repetitive soundtrack, semi-decent performances, and a couple of scenes that do not have any emotional weight in which there symbolic reasoning does not aid the film. This is unfortunate due to the missed potential on what the film was trying to say.

November is most definitely not for everybody. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it's one fantasy horror that shouldn't be missed by any art house cinema fanatic. If you enjoy the animation work of Kaspar Jancis and Priit Tender, I would also highly implore you to see this film. It's strange. It's odd ball. It's simply the weirdest fever dream you will ever have while you're awake.


Friday, 23 February 2018

Mom and Dad (2018) Review

The concept for the 2018 horror-comedy Mom And Dad is pretty good on paper. In fact, there was plenty of material to work with said premise, in which one can take different routes in mocking both  modern and old american suburbia.

However, what Mom and Dad ends up to be is a disjointed mess, filled with cringe worthy moments, that both don't succeed in creating a passable parody of the genre that it's attempting to mock, and/or to create a tension filled horror comedy. Brian Taylor has created a film that is so unfocused, that it doesn't even know what time era it should mock. The opening credit sequence of the film was clearly an homage to 70's action credit sequence. However, the rest of the film did not match with the tone of the opening credits, and instead, Brian Taylor, chose an abhorrent route of parody of mocking modern day poorly-directed action films. The thing is, who is he to judge when the only things that he has created and produced in the last 10 years has been trashy disposable action films (COUGH *Ghost Rider* COUGH)

Not only does Taylor not know how to parody a genre in which he has previous experience working with, he just doesn't know how to execute said parody. Two great examples on how to do parody right are Hot Fuzz and Nirvanna The Band The Show. Both of these pieces of entertainment not only excel at there craftsman ship, but with each parody or mock that they make throughout the run time, each mock has both a narrative and artistic purpose to further develop the style and narrative of there pieces. With Mom and Dad, each mock done in the film is just plain lazy and does not serve as something of artistic value.

As for the film itself, it's absolute shit. As stated before, each element of what I despise in the genre that Brian Taylor attempted to mock is in full force here with not a single restraint. Nothing is visually pleasing. The script is absolutely filled with un-needed bullshit. Nearly everything in this film is incompetent. The sound design, the way the film was edited. It's just plain lazy and dull. The only positive that I could find from this mess, was Nicholas Cage's typical over the top performance. But even in that regard, he was only in the film for around 30 minutes max, which was a big disappointment.

Mom and Dad is a film that nearly fails in all regards. It fails at mocking it's own genre, and fails at making a competent motion picture. Dispose of this film immediately.

Rating: 2.5/10

Mom and Dad (2017)

Friday, 16 February 2018

The Final Year (2018) Review

Greg Barker's The Final Year is an detailed and prolific journey filled with simplistic human actions. The Final Year is one of those rare documentaries that show the humanitarian side of the Human connection through political actions. Barker, in my opinion, did a fantastic job with each detail and edit throughout the film. Not to mention that the film itself is very well edited. More specifically, the opening introduction, which in my opinion, had a great aesthetically pleasing color pallet that matched the tone and emotional truth of the film perfectly.

The Final Year isn't perfect however. It's filled with plenty of scenes that just felt staged and unnatural for the environment that it was setting. Because of this, the pace of the film dragged on, and several moments throughout this motion picture could have been cut out. As well, the soundtrack for this documentary is nothing special. While it did fit with the tone of the film, it didn't really improve or add on to the thematic strength of it's pre-existing material.

The Final Year is a strong documentary with some big flaws. While it isn't one of the greatest docs I have seen in the last year, it's certainly worth your time, especially if your into politics with a 3 dimensional mind set.


The Final Year (2017)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Permission (2018) Review

2018, similar to a trend that occurred in 2017, is a year where the first few films which are released, are either absolute trash or guilty pleasure fun. We rarely get a film that's great (with an exception of Paddington 2.) This trend also effects independent films as well, including the recent Rebecca Hall starring flick "Permission." Permission is simply a hipster dumpster fire, in which it's flames we're to hard to engulfed, to the point that there was no point in saving the final product. It other terms, it's absolute shit. Barely anything is competent in this film, which includes two major things, the writing and the performances. The writing is a weak mimic of Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but if it we're filled to the brim with exposition and unnecessary trash. I kid you not, that there is a singular supporting character, in which her main goal and purpose is to spout exposition for the watcher to hear. The performances in "Permission" is easily worst of the year material, and it's only been just a month. Rebecca Hall has barely nothing to work with. Dan Stevens was laughably bad. Gina Gershon had one of the most cringe-worthy acting roles that I have seen in a while. Finally, François Arnaud, a Canadian Based Actor who has proven himself before as a great actor in films such as Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother", is at his worst here. None of his arks work. In fact, none of the character arks work due to it's clunky script. The only decent role in this film, is a short and sweet character portrayed by Jason Sudeikis, and the only reason why his character work was due to his minimal presence. Not only on both the writing and acting side, "Permission" is filled to the brim with romantic indie film cliche's. Here's a list of some of the one's I found while watching this film:

-Slow Piano Music

-Altered Indie Rock/Pop music played in the background

-Shot Reverse Shot camera techniques

-Out of focus camerawork during tense "emotionally driven" scenes

-Cliche Stock Music

The list goes on! Now for some of the good. The shot composition was aesthetically pleasing. Jason Sudeikis was good as stated before. The film had me interested even though after the first 10 minutes I realized that this film was utter garbage. But other than that, "Permission" is simply boring romantic dribble. It's nonsensical and there is no point for it to exist. There was potential here. Maybe if this material was put into the hands of Woody Allen, then maybe, just maybe, we could have gotten some decent material. But at last, here we are now, viewing this piece of utter trash. 

Score: 4.5/10

Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens in Permission (2017)

Sunday, 24 December 2017

God's Own Country Review

God's Own Country is an interesting film too say the least. Not only is it one of the most refreshing interpretations of a gay relationship, it's also a film with a lot of heart (with an exception of it's first act.) God's Own Country is a film with patience. Each scene flows at a steady pace, transitioning to the next, delivering a moment needed to develop the characters. When it comes to the first act of the film however, I personally the chemistry between Gheorghe and Johnny was mishandled. Not only did each moment in the first act feel forced and superficial, the sexual tension between Gheorghe and Johnny was a much stranger case. At one point Gheorghe exclaims "I Will Fuck With You", as if he knew that Johnny was hitting on him. Gheorghe than replies to his statement afterwords with a firm "I Know What Your Doing." I guess Romania must be one kinky place if Gheorghe is that good at detecting if someone is hitting on him. With said example, we already know that this relationship presented is a fictionalized "cheap" interpretation. With it's rough and overly sexualised under tones, there isn't much room for any romantic interpretation. It's all intercourse, but no heart. However, thankfully, after the morbid first act, things changed for the better. Johnny's relationship with Gheorghe felt real and heart felt. I just felt that the first act both ruined the overall character arks of Johnny and Gheorghe. The first act is meant to establish there relationship, and to see the evolvement of there characters. However, starting off the film with a ghastly heartless feeling between our two protagonists sort of ruined the experience of the final two acts. God's Own Country is a good directorial debut. While it is beautiful and well directed, with some great musical accompaniment here and there, the first act is what brought down the film for me. God's Own Country is definitley worth a shot. Just keep in mind that the first act may or may not ruin the experience of watching the film.