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F. Candlish "frc" (Scotland)

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Antichrist [DVD]
Antichrist [DVD]
Dvd ~ Willem Dafoe
Price: £5.75

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art house horror, 26 Jan 2010
This review is from: Antichrist [DVD] (DVD)
Lars von Trier's film, Anti-Christ, is an intense and challenging film; it's certainly not one to recommend to your granny, or for that matter, any particularly sensitive family members or friends. Containing as it does, scenes of genital mutilation- yes, one of mainstream cinema's last great taboos has been breached!

This film follows in the tradition of emotionally tested women in the director's previous works (Dogville, Breaking the waves etc), and like Dogville, when the woman's fury is finally unleashed it is cataclysmic.

The film begins in a stunning, if overwrought, black and white, slow motion sequence where Willem Dafoe's (He) and Charlotte Gainsbourg's (She) characters are having sex in the shower to the strains of a stunning choral classical composition. The couple's toddler son wanders past the distracted couple and falls to his death from the bedroom window, slowly through the night snow.

What follows is a slow and ominous examination of the couple's, and in particular She's, very deep grief, exposing the tensions and resentments in their relationship. This all takes place in the couple's cabin in the woods: Eden. Initially looking for solace and healing amongst the trees, the couple are disturbed by images of the high mortality nature takes from the young in order to continue its life cycle.

She's increasingly violent and unstable behaviour come to a shocking conclusion as she unleashes her full fury in tune with the malevolent spirits in the woods. Particularly effective is a scene where He's character hides in a burrow amongst the tree roots whilst a crow is intent on giving his hiding location away.

The much talked about sexual violence is shocking and most people would glance away or cover their eyes. However, this must be seen in the context of the film and it is thankfully brief, the film throughout is never less than engrossing.

Beautifully filmed with expressionistic touches (a talking fox, hands wrapping round tree roots), the film conjures up the same knot in the stomach dread as Polanski's Repulsion and Rosemary's baby.

The idea of nature as `Satan's church' left me pondering at the end of the film. She's delusions are certainly fuelled by this as details about her recent past are revealed towards the end of the film.
In an interview, Von Trier states the film was cathartic after a long period of depression, the film is certainly comes from a dark place and like all good horror films it certainly satisfies some human desire to be reminded of the deep seated horrors lurking behind our everyday experiences- perhaps to warn us, or perhaps a reminder to be thankful for what we have!

Special mention must go to the film's epilogue. Filmed in the same style as the prologue, it is mystical and haunting.

Smart People [DVD]
Smart People [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dennis Quaid
Offered by videosanddvds
Price: £1.61

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars worth a look, 14 Oct 2008
This review is from: Smart People [DVD] (DVD)
I enjoyed this film. It's not brilliant but it is watchable and funny and a few of the characters are nicely played.
It's a film in the same vein as several others, so it breaks new new ground and is in no way original.
There is also a few narks with the storyline. I still find it unbelievable that Sarah Jessica Parker's character would have went on a second date with Dennis Quaid's and Ellen Page's actions at first toward her father contradict the way she obviously feels about him. Ellen Page again has put in another great performance, she has a wonderful fun loving glint in her eye that betrays the icy young Republican student character she plays- best thing about the film.
Definitely worth a look!

Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD]
Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Olbrychski
Offered by Side Two
Price: £17.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!, 8 Oct 2007
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
Although made for television these 5 'plays' remain very cinematic in form.
These films are cinematic art and are directed with the brilliance you would expect from Kielowski. The plays are also beautifully acted and frequently make for uncomfortable but ultimately satisfying viewing. Many of the images and characters linger long in the memory.
All the plays take part in a grim tower block in Warsaw where we find Doctors, Lecturers, Musicians and Taxi drivers all living side by side.
If you are like me fascinated by life in the old Cummunist Europe then this is a wonderfull insight.

The Killing Fields [DVD]
The Killing Fields [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Waterston
Price: £6.00

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Stars for passion, 18 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Killing Fields [DVD] (DVD)
The Killing Fields is a very worthy film; the political message of the film is passionate and intelligent and the film is very much intent on showing the vast human tradegy that befell Cambodia following the spillover of the Vietnam war in the early 70's- a tradegy that was still occuring when the film was being shot.

The production values and the attention details are excellent and the film is very well directed and produced.

The film does veer into full blown sentimentally at the end (the use of Imagine by John Lennon is particularly unnecessary, almost as if it was to balance the earlier use of McCartney's Band on the run).

Overall though, very worthy and an important history lesson of a conflict that the West knew very little of, and cared even less for.

Stander [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Stander [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Thomas Jane

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cop turned robber, 18 Mar 2007
Andre Stander is the youngest Police Captain on the force; dashing and good looking with a beautiful wife, he has everything that Apartheid South African system could afford to a white man.

After witnessing (and taking part) in the regimes brutality, Stander decides to fight the regime, he becomes an audacious bank robber, firstly operating alone, then as part of a gang after a peroid of incarceration.

Whilst the film works on the level of a 70's crime flick- complete with groovy clothes, shades, car chases and moustaches- it is less successful in it's portrait of Stander's motivation and psychology. The way the films deals with the Apartheid issue seems rather ham fisted- no Black characters are given a real voice.

Grizzly Man [2005] [DVD]
Grizzly Man [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Werner Herzog
Offered by Just4-U-Media
Price: £10.99

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable viewing, 14 Mar 2007
This review is from: Grizzly Man [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
In Werner Herzog's documenatary, too much time is spent dwelling on the violent death of 'Grizzly man' Timothy Treadwell and his camera shy girlfriend Amy. At one point I thought the director was going to play the audio recording of their last moments as they were killed by an hungry and unknown bear not habituated to Treadwell's presence (thankfully he doesn't).

Treadwell's erratic behaviour and constant anthropomorphism are uncomfortable to watch, although his death was perhaps inevitable- he constantly alludes to this in the film- the real tradegy is the death of his girlfriend who was herself (wisely) fearful of the bears.

Unfortunately the magnificent bears are somewhat sidelined in the film. The film is a study of a well intentioned, but misguided and damaged man. Bear or nature lovers would be better served elsewhere.

Days Of Heaven [1979] [DVD]
Days Of Heaven [1979] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Gere
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £8.24

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!, 22 Jan 2007
This review is from: Days Of Heaven [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
Ostensibly a story involving a love triangle between a wealthy farmer and two impoverished migrant workers set in rural Texas in the early part of the Twentieth century.
As you would expect from Terence Mallick the film is so much more; the story is secondary to the wonder and beauty the director sees in the natural world. The characters and their story are only a part of a world driven by and kept moving by eternal conflict. Mallick's camera is equally interested in the wind blowing through wheat fields or locusts swarming at dusk.
I don't think it reaches the meditative highs of his next film- The Thin Red Line, but, the film is less ponderous and is a wonderful visual experience.

Come and See [DVD] [1985]
Come and See [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Aleksey Kravchenko
Offered by babsbargains *** WORLDWIDE SHIPPING ***
Price: £29.99

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I came and saw, 21 Jan 2007
This review is from: Come and See [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
A harrowing, hallucinatory, moving and brutal film. And yet the film is also undoubtably beautiful and poetic.
Made in 1985, more than 40 years after the events. This film is a righteous cry of anger and rage resonating through the decades on behalf of the silenced towns and villages that were liquidated by SS death squads.

The films title refers to the apocalypse. The war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was the most bloody and brutal in world history- this film offers a most startling insight, for this alone it should be treasured.

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