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The Man Who Fell To Earth (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
The Man Who Fell To Earth (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Bowie
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £20.99

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Criterion Release, 16 July 2007
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a science fiction cult film from director Nicolas Roeg (Walkabout, Don't Look Now). It stars David Bowie as an alien who visits Earth seeking water for his home world which is barren. It is based on the Walter Tevis novel of the same name and this Criterion release of The Man Who Fell to Earth comes with the book as well. There are significant enough differences between the novel and the film that the novel is a worthy supplement to the experience of watching this movie. You will also want to check out the DVD extras in the same regard.

David Bowie is the title character in his only feature role. He is Thomas Newton and he only has to adjust his appearance a little bit to look somewhat human. That is if you think David Bowie even looks human because I don't, but I do realize he is...I think? Anyway, Thomas Newton rises to great wealth due to his society's advances in technology and his ability to create enterprises based on his patenting compilations of ideas that his world produced, nonexistent on Earth. He is trying of course to fund the shipment of water back to his home world. Thomas soon meets Mary-Lou (played by Candy Clark). Mary-Lou is your typical girl who introduces him to many of Earth's temptations. Thomas is soon inhibited by his aberrant consumption of alcohol and his fixation with television. It all has a very negative effect on him. Mary-Lou and his friend Nathan (Rip Torn) both eventually discover separately that Thomas is indeed an alien. After being revealed and after the government imprisons him, Thomas's inevitable downfall becomes apparent. We see him gradually accept failure in his task and grow increasingly negative in his disposition. He has truly fallen to Earth I suppose.

The big strengths in this film are primarily its cinematography. I like Nicholas Roeg's other films a lot so I'm aware that this is to be expected. I like the idea of a science fiction art film and overall I can really appreciate the fact that The Man Who Fell to Earth is not as in your face as most science fiction is today and was even back then in the mid 70s. However, this is almost too surreal and sedated for me. It was convincing but there were some long and boring stretches and I couldn't figure out why exactly, beyond the photography alone. It just seemed a lot longer than the story warranted. Also, I think I can draw the line between gratuitous nudity and appropriate nudity and I'm grown up enough to accept both. The Man Who Fell to Earth has much gratuitous nudity, but that was a sign of the times I guess so it's partially forgivable. There is more emotion and drive behind Newton in the Tevis novel and it seemed a bit more controlled as an existential piece of work. It doesn't matter though because with the Criterion release you are getting both and if you like to collect interesting and unique films that will have you talking then this set is worth owning. The film itself would probably get three stars from me but the Criterion release justifies four. It really is an exceptional package. The extras are outstanding and should help answer most questions you will have. Provoking movies like this one, whether they be good or bad, deserve the royal treatment so kudos to Criterion once again.

The Wicker Man (2 DVD + CD Collector's Edition)
The Wicker Man (2 DVD + CD Collector's Edition)
Dvd ~ Edward Woodward
Offered by hunting_for_a_bargain
Price: £9.98

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic Fearful of Faith, 16 July 2007
The Wicker Man is a film about a pious Catholic sergeant's visit to a small island off the coast of Scotland called the Island of Summerisle. His name is Neil and he is there to investigate the disappearance of a girl. His investigation reveals that the island is enamored with a neo-pagan religion. They worship the sun instead of Jesus. They engage in pagan fertility rituals instead of Neil's proud pre-marital chastity. They believe in reincarnation where the Christian canon Neil is devoted to does not. As if the islanders are telepathically connected, Neil receives absolutely no help from anyone in his investigation. He gradually puts together more and more details about the inhabitants' practices and is suspicious of everyone.

A May Day festival approaches and Neil becomes concerned that the girl who is missing may indeed be the latest sacrifice to appease nature. But as the Island owner Lord Summerisle reveals, Neil too is a virgin and is both wise and foolish. He comes as a king representing Her Majesty's government. He also arrives to a place of sacrifice by his own free will. The final sequence of the Wicker Man is the ultimate warning toward blind faith. Anyone who misses the point here, like the makers of the 2006 remake of the Wicker Man did, will clearly find little resolution in the end but others willing to enjoy and exercise their imagination a little bit will have much to mull over.

The film's music is one of its strengths and the detail of the pagan references and how they are convenient roots to many Christian traditions (i.e. Easter icons and Beltane or May Day) help to make the overall vision of the Wicker Man even more compelling. All of the elements within the film melt together and everyone working it must've understood these ideas in perspective.

The funny thing about the Wicker Man is it is often referred to as a Horror film. There really isn't anything else to call it but it is almost too unique and exceptional to be deemed a horror film. It isn't scary like a typical horror film is. It doesn't elicit fear and disgust the way all other horror films have. There are no zombies, vampires or murdering sociopaths. There are no supernatural forces and there is little blood to be spilled. It isn't characterized by that one note creepy music or menacing Hitchcockian suspense. It doesn't rely on knives and masked killers stalking in the night. It doesn't even need a seemingly indestructible villain. The Wicker Man is a film that relies exclusively on its all encompassing atmosphere and it also relies on our own understandings of religion and faith. It is sunny, it is bright, it is cheerful, but for all of the wrong reasons to many of us. It is compelling all throughout. Somehow on this island paganism resurfaced and the worshippers are fiercely and irrationally devout. That point's layers of commentary aside, the Wicker Man is very much a horror film and it is probably more intelligent than any other movies within its genre.

El Topo [2007] [DVD]
El Topo [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex Mexican Religious Allegory, 16 July 2007
This review is from: El Topo [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
El Topo is the classic Mexican film hailed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono enough that it was shown at midnight in many cinemas for years. It is often credited as starting the midnight movie countercultural that helped bring attention to, and build cult film audiences for movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and David Lynch's Eraserhead. In that respect it is far from a mainstream film but it got enough attention that it is celebrated even today. I feel that this is with good reason, as El Topo is one of best films ever made. Alejandro Jodorowsky directs and stars as the title character.

El Topo begins with its eponymous character in the desert with his son. He tells the boy to bury a picture of his mother and his toy in the sand as now it is time for him to become a man. The boy is vulnerable but El Topo leads him by example while protecting him in their various interactions with others. The film understands the western genre and the machismo that often accompanies it. El Topo is one bad cowboy who can guarantee protection for anyone he cares about. So it really sucks when he soon leaves his son behind with a bunch of monks after emasculating some evil banditos. He leaves with a girl he saved and he names her Mara. Mara loves El Topo for being the alpha male that he is, so she convinces him to kill the four best gunslingers so he can be baddest cowboy of them all. He manages to defeat them in various significant ways. These scenes are rich in biblical and other religious references and operate allegorically to show that being a bad cowboy isn't really all it's cracked up to be. Nevertheless, for better or worse, El Topo kills all four of them and begins to learn four specific lessons along the way. He begins to feel guilty and while he is caught off guard during the beginning stages of his enlightenment, he is defeated by the unknown woman who followed El Topo and Mara during their journey. Viewing El Topo as vulnerable, Mara betrays him and leaves with this unknown woman gunslinger. El Topo's battered and shot up body is taken away to a cave by a multitude of unseemly characters.

Macrocosmically, the journey for El Topo overall suggests that his travels represent the rise and trials of Judeo-Christian theologies, with the son representing new Judeo-Christianity and El Topo representing the old philosphies. The second half of the film seems to comment on more contemporary dealings and even anticipates what will happen in the future. How will El Topo's son grow? How will he react to the father who abandoned him but who has himself grown? How will the dominant faith evolve? How will it maintain its truth and purity with humanity at the wheel?

In the literal sense, the second half of El Topo forwards to a few years later after he is brought to a cave by this band of deformed pariahs. When he wakes up we soon realize that El Topo is a different man. He shaves off his beard and head and dresses as a monk. He makes a plan to free these people from their cave so they can join the community outside. He plans to fund the building of a tunnel to free these people. He does this by going to the town with his dwarven girlfriend to entertain them with comedy and dancing, among other small jobs. The town itself is by no means a utopia as it is wrought with slavery and violence. A new priest at the church in town is revealed to be El Topo's own son who he abandoned years earlier. El Topo's son plans to kill him but he decides not to do so until the tunnel is complete. The tunnel gets finished and El Topo's son decides not to kill him. Meanwhile, the deformed people are free and as they head to the town the villagers there begin to shoot and kill all of them, to El Topo's dismay. El Topo unleashes his vengeance on the villagers, killing them all and in the process freeing their slaves. El Topo then lights himself on fire, which was a timely parallel to the Buddhist monks who did the same in protest of the Vietnam War. During his death, El Topo's new son is born to his dwarven girlfriend. If the Buddhist references are consistent then this would suggest that El Topo is reincarnated as his own son and religious truth will continue to surface again.

I think it is important to note that the content in El Topo could be perceived as both perplexing and offensive to many movie-goers. Alejandro Jodorowsky kills real animals, uses real deformed and dwarfed people, and liberally applies nudity and violence throughout. It doesn't offend me at all but I knew my wife wouldn't like it and I understand why, so I mention it here just in case.

El Topo is a complex story with many odd details as well as many religious references and metaphors that comment on a larger scale as I noted earlier. I've seen it many times and in my first few viewings I didn't understand it and thought it was entertaining but pretentious. It is not pretentious. Microcosmically, El Topo is a film about a human being finding himself, and finding out all alone what it means to be alive. It is about independently becoming a good man as a good man is defined in the eyes of Alejandro Jodorowsky. It is obviously a deeply personal film for its director and it may not touch on elements personal to everyone in its audience, but it definitely did for me. Jodorowsky invokes religious references as a vehicle to express his own torments and challenges and how the enlightment experience for El Topo is merely mirroring his own experiences. It's commentary addresses oceans of issues in many layers. Conjuring up the imagination to produce this web of ideas so alive is indeed an ambitious undertaking. I find El Topo to be profoundly inspiring in a way that few films are. Its significance alone should at least justify one viewing for you and I hope you get the same satisfaction that I did. Perhaps you will like it enough to enjoy El Topo again and again.

America: Freedom to Fascism [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
America: Freedom to Fascism [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Hardcore Libertarian Documentary, 16 July 2007
Aaron Russo has produced many successful films but very likely his most passionate motives lie in his political viewpoints. Russo is a Libertarian with a capital L. He ran for president in 2004 and lost in the primary to Michael Badnarick. Of course, any third party candidate has his hands full with the Democrat and Republican voters. I could probably talk about what it means to be a libertarian for a million lines and how my state doesn't recognize the party anymore. I will say that if you're compelled by some of Russo's insights then I highly recommend you continue to research the fundamental principals of libertarianism as a political philosophy. With that said, Russo is extreme in some respects but I will attempt to go forth reviewing this film with an oversight of this information and that America: From Freedom to Fascism does present to us the facts as they are viewed by Russo. Many will contend some of his key points and others will criticize his presentation. It is propaganda but then again everything in this genre is. Don't let the banter and acid tongues out there intimidate you. Just sit back, take it all in and go along for the ride.

Russo presents his case that Americans have seen a gradual erosion of our civil liberties since the early part of the 20th century. In various interviews he paints his picture clear that we are leading toward an inevitable police state. I'm not going to get into the nuts and bolts of his arguments, suffice to say it's provoking and opinionated, but certainly not without merit. Like many documentarians, politics is Russo's engine and the film is his train. We are the passengers and by the end of the trip we are left to ponder all the facts and challenge ourselves to believe, dissent, or abstain...and we may even ignore, but I definitely don't recommend it. This is the format for all documentaries of this ilk from all political sides. I have to say, it was nice to see something other than right-wing or left-wing conspiracy theories and instead hear the libertarian view for once. But it is kind of a shame that Russo is not as articulate or as humorous as many. It was also sad to see this worthy standpoint once again placed on a shoestring budget, much like the party's political campaigns. Nevertheless, Russo provokes, and his passion alone will demand the attention of most viewers.

Russo has endorsed Republican Congressman Ron Paul for president. Ron Paul is the guy who questioned America's accountability in the 9/11 attacks at a recent debate and Rudy Guiliani responded vehemently. Paul did not assert that our government was involved but that our policies have contributed to the thinking that justified such a gruesome attack. Fox News presented this as if he was a 9/11 "truther", you know, like Rosie O'Donnell or Charlie Sheen. Few have reason to read into the story beyond Fox's presentation, so the perception stands to some degree in many folks' eyes. It's disgusting but that is what we are up against as libertarian sympathizers. Few even know we exist much less what we are. It's a rare treat to see a documentary that gives this perspective some attention, no matter how obscure the film may be.

Some recommended reading to supplement your experience with this film or your experience in understanding the libertarian ethos: The Constitution of the United States (someone very helpfully specified Section 10 in an post on another review), A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960, The Real ID Act of 2005, A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, What It Means to Be a Libertarian, and The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve.

Criterion Collection: Sweet Movie [DVD] [1974] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Criterion Collection: Sweet Movie [DVD] [1974] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £15.51

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Right On! Government Sucks! Oh Wait, Poo?, 16 July 2007
Dusan Makavejev's 1974 film Sweet Movie is an indictment toward all forms of authority and convention. It does not obviously or even wittingly perhaps come from an honest political standard itself, but it instead exists to attack all that rules us. It skewers capitalism, communism, and absolutely everything in between. Perhaps it is a call specifically for some sort of Anarcho-Primitivism? Perhaps Sweet Movie is simply a celebration of life in its own sick and twisted way?

Sweet Movie follows two different stories and both feature a female protagonist. The first follows a contestant of the 1984 Miss Monde pageant. She wins and her prize is her marriage to some big corporate dude. She is shocked by how he degrades her in their first meeting and she runs away. Her rejection is met with displeasure by his cronies and she ends up getting pretty severely humiliated and then stuffed into a suitcase and shipped off to France. After that she gets stuck to some Latin guy and enters a commune and some pretty wacky things happen. This story operates as a criticism toward capitalism and consumerism at the beginning and the conclusion, while it seems to attack communism in the middle. The second story follows a young woman who is leading a boat down a river. The boat is full of candy and has a statue of Karl Marx on it. She seduces all who encounter her with sex, candy and propaganda. Then she kills them. Obviously it is a direct attack on communism.

There are some pretty shocking things in Sweet Movie but that shouldn't be a surprise when taking into account the time period and some of the subversive and surreal counterculture names involved in the film (e.g. Otto Muehl, Roland Topor and George Melly). The film captures a cultural movement in some respects and the significance is there but overall Sweet Movie was too obscure to have an impact. Only now does it resonate but for very different reasons. It stands out for its visual shock alone.

There is a very strong emphasis on bodily functions in Sweet Movie, more so than anything I've ever seen or even want to see again for that matter. I can't pinpoint why but it's more than likely Dusan Makavejev's attempt to compel us to revolt against all of our societal institutions by directly desensitizing us to his perspective that we are all just gassy and disgusting animals. Spend a few days resisting your normal cognitive functions or spend some time with dementia patients and you'll get a good smell of what Makavejev is trying to get at here...I think? I'm not sure I agree with him in those sorts of details, but in spirit I like where he is going with Sweet Movie. We all could use a good smack away from the restraints of everyday society.

Keep in mind; it is virtually impossible to get anything out of Sweet Movie if you take it too literally. It is designed to surprise the viewer and club them over the head with shock. The problem with that is Sweet Movie was so shocking for its time that it was hardly even seen. People were not ready then, but maybe the world has grown sicker since. Criterion may have picked a more accessible release date for Sweet Movie than Makavejev did. Asking ourselves the questions that this film might produce may be more important now than ever.

Salo/DVD [1975] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Salo/DVD [1975] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable but Still Worth Watching, 16 July 2007
This is a version of the Marquis de Sade's story, The 120 Days of Sodom, a story about four powerful men who enslave two dozen teenagers and torture them repeatedly. Unlike the book the film is set in the Salò Republic, the Nazi puppet state in northern Italy, in the year 1944. Pier Paolo Pasolini directs his final film. The four powerful men in the story are referred to as the Duke, the Magistrate, the President and the Bishop. To kick things off they marry each other's daughters and then begin to have young males and females kidnapped (18 in all, 9 of each gender). They also have four older prostitutes join in and this whole multitude marches over to some palace. Mind you, the time period means that the Nazi occupied Salò Republic is on its last legs and on the cusp of being crippled by the Allied forces. So the setting gives us sort of an end of days feeling right from the get-go. The content and commentary certainly continue with that subject matter throughout.

The film is set up in four stages, the first being the ante-inferno, which refers to those who are not quite condemned to hell but also not allowed into heaven either. The film's setting is meant to feel like a brief moment in purgatory with its isolated party of characters doing unspeakable things before judgment, and then it all must end. The second stage is the circle of manias, or obsession, where we see the sexual humiliation of the film manifest itself further. The third stage is the circle of excrement, which is where we see the characters consume feces. Pasolini has used this as a metaphor broadly for the perverse level of consumption depicted in the film overall, and directly as a commentary on mass-produced foods and consumerism. The fourth stage is the circle of blood, this is where those who do not partake in this bizarre corruption are brutally murdered in various ways. The stages bring us further and further downward into degeneracy, which Pasolini has applied strongly as a denunciation against capitalism and fascism.

If you found any interest in the above commentary, then I assume Salò may be just the film for you, but I assure you that the film is definitely not for everyone. It is up front with its content. It's controversial for many different reasons, but primarily it is the visual content that turns people away. Yes, it's not as violent as Saw and the nudity is not quite as pretty as it is in some movies, but Salò is anything other than an exploitation film. One may even argue that it is the exact opposite of exploitation. Perhaps it is Salò's censure of exploitation that makes it truly disturbing as a modern social commentary.

Unbreakable (2 Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2000]
Unbreakable (2 Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Real Comic Book Fans, 16 July 2007
Unbreakable is about the mythology behind comic book superheroes and the purposes that each of us have in life. The film opens with the birth of a baby boy with all four of his limbs broken. He is Elijah Price, who is played by Samuel L. Jackson, and he has type I OI or brittle bone disease. As his life goes on, he gets the nickname of "Mr. Glass" as up the point of present time in Unbreakable, Elijah had broken bones in his body 57 times. Elijah is motivated early on to socialize in some capacity by his mother and his primary interest becomes comic books. As he gets older he soon begins to question what the reason is for his own existence and comes to the conclusion that if people like him exist with his weakness, then surely there must be someone on the other end of the spectrum with massive strengths. Elijah believes there is nothing scarier than to live life without knowing your purpose and he makes the assertion that there are in fact real-life superheroes.

Bruce Willis plays David Dunn, a security officer, who, unlike Elijah, is trying to find his own purpose in life. He gave up his football career for his wife but now his marriage is falling apart. David survives a train wreck that kills 131 people, and he is the only survivor. He was completely unharmed. Elijah believes David to be a real superhero and gradually confronts David with his theory. David's son Joseph believes Elijah and assists David in finding out more about his potential powers. Just to add, I'm of the opinion that it is an absolute pleasure to watch Willis and Jackson act in pretty much anything.

As with any M. Night Shyamalan film, giving too much away is hugely detrimental to the experience and please know that this film is entirely worth going into with no more information then I have already provided. What Shyamalan has done here in retrospect, while considering the recent onslaught of big-budget comic book movies, is create a completely unconventional yet convincing adaptation of comic book heroes' origins. At the same time Unbreakable celebrates the mythology behind these fictional characters. It takes a profound imagination to come up with a screenplay that gives this concept the treatment that Shyamalan has. It is the kind of concept that might have taken almost a lifetime of brainstorming.

A friend of mine once said that the Sixth Sense was a gigantic and nearly perfect movie for absolutely everyone, while as a comic book fan Unbreakable was tailored made perfectly for him. Though I'm half the comic book fan he is, I concur with that assessment enough to confidently invoke it hear. If you truly love comic books, Unbreakable is your film. If you are not a lover of comic books, then try to walk into this film expecting little action and you shouldn't be disappointed.

It can be argued that Shyamalan has lost his way in recent years, although he does retain his technical prowess even now. Nevertheless, Unbreakable is still a joy to watch and is a shining example of Shyamalan during his most inspired and generative phase.

Kill Bill, Volume 2 [DVD] [2004]
Kill Bill, Volume 2 [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Uma Thurman
Price: £2.75

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "That woman deserves her revenge... and we deserve to die.", 16 July 2007
All grown men have a little boy in their heart that still surfaces every now and again...some fellows more so than others, and it's always so much fun to go back. That is one of the many reasons I enjoy having a son waiting to greet me when I come home from a day of work or a long business trip. On the flip side, Quentin Tarantino gets to go back to being a boy every time he goes to work, and I say good for him.

The Kill Bill movies are a potent effusion of likely all the things Quentin grew up with. Westerns, Kung-Fu movies, Samurai movies and other action films that helped mold and create his robust imagination. Now, he can take the ideas that inspired him as a child and make them even better for the next generation of action-craving bloodthirsty little children. Kill Bill volume 2 is more than a derivitive tribute film, it is an elicitation of massive nostalgia, excentuated keenly by incredible dialogue. Other than function well as a conclusion to the series, it is actually quite different from Kill Bill volume 1 in a few ways. Kill Bill volume 1 contained mostly introductions, followed by bloody action as Beatrix Kiddo took on and took out Vernita Green, O-Ren Ishii, Go-Go Yubari and of course the Crazy 88 (yes, all 88 of them). But in Kill Bill volume 2, I felt like those were merely the supporting villains as Kiddo takes on the more resourceful and profound antagonists in this film; Elle Driver, Budd and of course Bill himself. The sequel, unintentionally perhaps as the two were written and filmed together, possesses more depth than the first part. There is more room for dialogue and that is of course a great thing because outrageous and unlikely dialogue is one of Quentin's strengths, and it serves here to make the characters even more unearthly and super-hero-like then in the first film.

Overall, in volume 2 we get to see how Beatrix learned her skills and we learn more about the relationship between her and Bill. It all leads up to an often criticized climax between Bill and Beatrix. Between the dialogue and David Carradine's performance, the climax helped me enjoy this film a bit more than volume 1. So, if you prefer action and violence you will like the first movie better, but if you just so happen to get caught up in the characters along the way and have an appreciation for the kind of concentrated cultural yearning crossed with mythical level characters that only a Tarantino film can deliver, then Kill Bill volume 2 is a great cap to the two films. For me, simply put, together they make one amazing movie.

Broken Flowers [DVD]
Broken Flowers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £3.50

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May be Jarmusch's Most Accessible Film Yet, 16 July 2007
This review is from: Broken Flowers [DVD] (DVD)
Broken Flowers is about a lonely retired former womanizer played by Bill Murray. His name is Don Johnston, a "Don Juan" if you will, who receives a random letter in the mail from an unnamed former girlfriend. The letter indicates that Don has a son who has just begun a trip to search for his father. Don seems somewhat indifferent to the news but given the theme of the film it's likely that he is more tired of life and perhaps a bit self-absorbed than actual indifference, as this news is something that will eventually serve to re-awaken Don and perhaps it gives him just the self-interest he needs to live life with renewed vigor. In that sense, the story of Don is an existential tale more so than one with a conventional end. The film offers us means to complete a nice story of a father's union with his son that he's never met. But director Jim Jarmusch is not conventional and he is too smart to throw such a trivial narrative our way.

At the suggestion and great enthusiasm of his friend and neighbor Winston, Don is convinced that the search for this former girlfriend and the mother of his son is a worthy undertaking. So he goes off to find five of his former girlfriends at the time his son would've been born (about 20 years ago). One, Michelle, has passed away and he visits her grave and seems to express more reverence for her than the others...he even tells Winston he loved Michelle and she is the only one he says that about. Another is Laura played by Sharon Stone. Don gets to sleep with Laura again and he doesn't seem as surprised as I was when Laura's flirty teen daughter Lolita walks about the house in nothing but her epidermis. Her overt sexuality probably mirrors that of her mother's and Don seems unfazed by it...great dead pan acting once again by Bill Murray. Dora is another former girlfriend and she is played by Frances Conroy. Dora seems to contain an underlying regret in her decision to choose a lifestyle completely different than the one she practiced when Don met her. Jessica Lange plays another former girlfriend who works as an animal communicator. All three of these women seem to initially react quite positively to Don and are pleasantly surprised to see him, but they are still interesting and unique in their own ways. Finally, Penny is played by Tilda Swinton and seems to be the only former girlfriend that is really disgusted with seeing Don. I won't reveal how Don's journey ends but I will say that he is given an opportunity to reflect on his life during his travels, and that is something he badly needed.

Perhaps Broken Flowers doesn't ask that we read into the clues as to who sent the letter and if Don will find his son. If you look carefully in the credits and perhaps watch the movie again you will find some decent resolution to those questions but that isn't necessarily what Jarmusch is telling us about Don. Broken Flowers is not about a father meeting his son as much as it is about a man becoming a father.

To note further on the film's content, I must say that I always enjoy the atmosphere of a Jarmusch film, as much as they may require a bit of patience. Some will find it to be a slow movie but it is both fascinating and funny. In my humble opinion, it also happened to have the best soundtrack of 2005.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2009 11:34 AM BST

28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007]
28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Robert Carlyle
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £1.92

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Refreshing as the Original, but Still Very Good, 16 July 2007
This review is from: 28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
28 Weeks Later is a sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, which was a refreshing zombie film that took itself very seriously and arguably reinvigorated the sub-genre for bloodthirsty audiences around the world...I consider myself among them. Danny Boyle steps back as director but his influence is intact as he produces this film. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, a Spanish filmmaker recently nominated for an Academy Award for his short film Esposados (released in the US as Linked), directs this sequel but maintains many of the stylistic standards of the first film. Like 28 Days Later the cinematography is digital, and it is in 35mm format with some shaky camera work and some very quick edits. I have to admit that at times the attack scenes seemed a little over-stylized and one scene was derivative enough from the Blair Witch Project that it came off as an intentional tribute. Not to say that bothers me much, I'm just pointing it out.

The first film was about a virus called "Rage" that quickly turns it's victims into fast-moving cannibals that are a bit more real and scary than the mindless traditional zombies of George Romero's films. After a while the first film ended with all the infected people starving to death. The second film starts off with a thorough American occupation of London that works to contain and prevent another outbreak while at the same time re-introducing British civilians. We are then introduced to a family of characters, some of which have a genetic abnormality that allows them to remain healthy with the virus. They are un-effected carriers of "Rage". This of course leads to another outbreak in the setting of a military occupied London. And so we sit back and watch as the zombified shenanigans ensue.

28 Weeks Later is extremely violent but it's even more brutal than many films of this sub-genre because it takes itself so seriously and it actually works effectively for that. We are introduced to several would-be protagonists, two of which are deeply riddled with guilt and that makes the characters three-dimensional which allows us to actually care about them. But by the same token, the movie doesn't pull punches and the zombies get their way more often than not. That means the violent tone in general was a bit more real for me. There is also an incredibly gory sequence that is identical to a scene in Planet Terror, the first feature in the recent collaboration Grindhouse. It's interesting to compare the two scenes, because in Planet Terror the scene is so amusing and slapsticky while essentially the same scene here in 28 Weeks Later comes off as shocking and disgusting. It is an interesting comparison that compliments the refined style of both movies.

The middle acts of 28 Weeks Later serve as a political allegory of sorts, in terms of the war in Iraq, although I couldn't perceive which side the film is actually taking. It seemed to suggest both judgements of ineptitude and sympathy toward the American military. So the commentary seemed kind of inconsequential other than to reflect our modern cultural and political climate, which is firmly in the tradition of George Romero's early zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. I must say that the commentary itself was so heavy-handed at times that I was really keeping my fingers crossed for that fast-moving Saddam Hussein zombie...oh well, perhaps I'll have to wait for 28 months.

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