IMDB Score – 6.6
Rotten Tomato – 55%
Netflix Instant Watch
Directed By – Carlos Reygadas
Starring – Adolfo Jiménez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo, Rut Reygadas, Eleazar Reygadas, and Willebaldo Torres
Juan and his urban family live in the Mexican countryside, where they enjoy and suffer a world apart. And nobody knows if these two worlds are complementary or if they strive to eliminate one another.
Hmmmm. Ummmmm, well….hmmmmmm.
I don’t really know what to write about with this one. I heard about this film from film.com and their annual “25 Films of 2013” montage. I forget what number they had it listed as but the fact that they included it on the list at all is telling. I have no idea what I really just watched. I like ambitious cinema. I can deal with experimental films that don’t necessarily have a plot or story but basically rely on scattered ideas. I just couldn’t with this film. It was like it was trying to be edgy and deep and only came off as pretentious and stupid.
Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas seemed like he took very personal events in his life and tried to symbolize them in the form of this film. The problem is that nobody but him has any idea what the hell he is trying to say. There were red glowing devils, people tearing their heads off, random ass rugby games in England, sex parties with the joy of sex completely taken out of the equation, robberies gone wrong. All of these things were just strewn together as if they were supposed to scream something but I just didn’t get what they were trying to tell me.
I will say thought that the only reason this wasn’t a complete bomb was that there was some great still camerawork in the film. Shots of a Mexican forest and dark thunderstorms were the highlight for me. The filmed opened with a gorgeous shot at dusk as a thunderstorm came roaring through. A little girl is wandering through a damp muddy field looking for her parents and at one point it’s so dark that you can only see the silhouette of her during each lightning strike. That was gorgeous. It’s on Netflix so if you’re adventurous enough to check it out it is readily available. You can at least take in the wonderful opening scene as it’s really one of only a few highlights.
IMDB Score – 7.1
Rotten Tomato Score – 92%
Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Film
Directed By – Giorgos Lanthimos
Starring – Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia, Hristos Passalis, Mary Tsoni, and Anna Kalaitzidou
Three teenagers carry out their lives under the close watch of their parents. They have never been off their property and know nothing of the world.
This is probably one of the strangest and most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty far out horror films and I’m a huge fan of Michael Haneke but this was just bizarre and crudely funny in a way. I’m not quite sure what is wrong with my taste in film to where I liked a film like this so much. The funny thing is, I don’t think I can watch it again. It was such an uncomfortable watch but like a car accident, just damn near impossible to turn away from.
Lanthimos directs a completely unflinching tale of family conditioning at its most nightmarish. I really shouldn’t go into the plot of the film too much because it’s really something you need to experience for yourself but the story revolves around a family of five and the way the parents raise their children. Let me just say that these parents make the Lohans and kiddie pageant people look like saints. It’s not even like they are cruel or abusive…well, okay, I have no idea what they are. All I know is that it’s so uncomfortable to watch that I just know it’s evil.
The film holds nothing back. Just when you think they are going to cut the movie goes from PG-13 to OH GOD NO in seconds. I’ve never really seen something like that. It just makes me believe that Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is most likely going to make people explode. I can see a little old lady walk into that thing and just come out crying, wishing somebody would turn back time to wear they weren’t allowed to show people kissing on television.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of meaning behind Dogtooth. Obviously conditioning is a main theme and focal point. I mean they didn’t have to show this but they actually had worked dog trainers into the story just to drive that theme home. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” also popped into my mind a few times as if you watch the film you can plainly see draws cues from the old man. AHHH I WANT TO SAY THINGS BUT I CAN’T.
Just watch the film. By yourself. This isn’t a date movie. Put the kids to bed. Prepare your mind for “WHAT!?” type ideas. Just watch it. It’s fantastic.
IMDB Score – 7.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 95%
Directed By – Sarah Polley
A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.
I’ve always been a fan of Sarah Polley. I really enjoyed her work as a director and writer for Away From Her which got her a nomination from the Academy Awards and her acting has always been enjoyable. Stories We Tell is a documentary about Sarah Polley…sort of. Her mother Diane Polley who died before her time of cancer is the focal point of Sarah’s inquiries to her family, all of which is documented by Sarah herself. What starts to develop is a story which then becomes the main theme of the film in which the origin of how Sarah entered this world comes into question. I’ll leave it at that. It’s a wonderful thing to watch unfold and I don’t want to spoil it.
This film hit me pretty hard. I feel comfortable saying that I am currently in therapy for some issues that involve my family. While that is as far as I’m willing to disclose, I can say that the stories that are told from each family member are ones that I constantly find myself telling to my doctor. I mean that in a way that we all tell people stories of our family. Our family is what we have known since our earliest memories. Until we eventually move out on our own, our families are what we wake up to and fall asleep with. This film was one of the most intimate things I’ve ever watched because The Polley family was talking about Diane Polley with such emotion and love that I felt like I was a close friend giving somebody comfort. It was an emotional ride told with precision and heart from Sarah. It also happened to be a gripping and captivating story with twists and turns that go on up until a shocking reveal in the films closing credits. It was as I was in the rooms with these people as they laughed and cried as they recalled their lives growing up with their mother. It was a connecting experience.
The film isn’t going to be for everybody. It’s made of talking heads and reenactments using super 8 footage but it really hit home for me. We’re going to be telling stories of our lives with our families for years to come. Some will be good and some will be bad but they are the stories we know best and the ones that mean the most in the end.
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IMDB Score – 4.8
RT Score – 38%
You know, I’m really starting to wonder why I put myself through this. Why do I watch these shlocky horror films that I know I’m going to hate? I think it may be a morbid curiosity to find that one modern horror film that falls past all teh rest and becomes good. Maybe it’s my ignored but deeply fond love of bad movies. Whatever it is, it still leads me to watch crap. And this is crap. The film has a good idea in which 26 “directors” have a letter of the alphabet and are given complete artistic reign over what they do with it. The results are abysmal. They range from the absolutely bonkers to the very horribly produced, to the not scary or funny at all, to the not so bad. The not so bad happens to be about three shorts. I’ll let you know which ones they are now…
D is for Dogfight
T is for Toilet
X is for XXL
That’s all. D os for Dogfight was actually pretty damn impressive and worth a search on youtube or a fast forward through through the film. The rest of the film just flat out sucks. If you’re going to watch it at least get really drunk with your friends that way you’ll have a fun time laughing.
IMDB score – 7.5
RT Score – 87%
Academy Award Nominee for Best Editing
Sydney Pollack’s spy thriller about paranoia and the CIA hit me weird. I love Robert Redford and Max Von Sydow but I thought the whole plot to this one was a little half assed. An argument would be that the film was set up so that the viewer didn’t know any more than Robert Redford’s character. I can see that. I just really didn’t care that much about what happened due to all the instances of the CIA knowing just about everything even though the film was set in the early 70s. I’m sorry but it didn’t work out like that. The acting was great, especially from Redford and Von Sydow but it just fell flat to me.