rev-ewe 15: A Town Called Panic

Pannique au Village (French: A Town Called Panic)
Stéphane Aubier

WOW. I loved this movie. It is as out there as possible, but absolutely hilarious at almost every moment of the film. I was absolutely blown away! I turned it on and thought 'gee this is cheesy animation' then right away I was laughing hysterically! The animation fits perfectly for the type of film and humor and everything that it is. While nothing in it makes sense, within its own world, it makes perfect sense. The voice acting was exceptional and beyond entertaining. The characters were so cute, the situations outrageously bizarre, the movie...awesome. Very funny and totally and absolutely worth watching.

All I can say about the plot is it is about a Horse, an Indian, and a Cowboy. And their adventures.

An absolute masterpiece. If you like strange, out there animated films, this is the one. The Mecca of WTF-dome. The Holy Grail of WHY-ianity. The third coming of LOL-esus! 102091 thumbs up!!

rev-ewe 14: He Died With a Felafel in His Hand

He Died With a Felafel in His Hand
Richard Lowenstein

Another film I'm not so sure about. Its good points were its sense of humor, aesthetics, and character development. Its low points were (for me) a meaningless story line, and a bit too slow. I know pace is not usually something I would complain about, but its lack of a story or even character conflict in addition to the slow pace makes it hard to watch without doing something else at the same time (I was doing laundry while watching, so I was able to keep going). Though, it does have quite a few points that are funny and interesting. The film felt influenced by Guy Ritchie style Snatch or Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels. The humor was quite unconventional but just the way I like it. The small story lines that exist are quite strange, but I can dig it.

It sortof follows one man named Danny and the various shared houses he lives in throughout Australia. There are 3 consistent characters beside him; Flip, an endearing drug addict.. Sam, his best female friend.. and another girl whose name I can't remember, but is some sort of ethnic European "chaos-freak". That's about as much as needs to be said about the plot.

While I enjoyed the humor and visual story-telling, I still don't know how I feel at the end of it all and it seemed a bit too unfulfilled to make me feel like it was worth watching. But, for the sake of seeing something visually interesting and having a film to laugh at, this film does the job. I recommend watching while having something else to do, and it will keep you going.


rev-ewe 13: Paradise Now

Paradise Now
Hany Abu-Assad

Well. I am still contemplating this film but I feel like writing a review about it without completely coming to a conclusion (alliteration ftw). What I did like about the film was it showed how hard the lives are of Palestinians and how suicide bombing would seem like a logical solution. It made people who (especially in America) seem heartless and insane appear as human and loving people. This created such a dark contrast that made one question ethics all together. While it did follow a sortof expected path of a film about suicide bombers, it did it in such a way that it really made me think, which I truly appreciate.

Two men, best friends, have been chosen to execute a suicide bombing mission together in Tel Aviv. The two are ecstatic to make such a sacrifice for a movement they strongly believe in. When the plans face a sudden change, the two men become separated and suddenly their paths seem invariably altered.

The characters are interesting, camera work is beautiful... predictable, but probably worth watching anyway. I did not love it, I may grow to love it, but currently I'm at a 'really liked it'.

rev-ewe 12: The Maid

The Maid (Spanish: La Nana)
Sebastian Silva

Well this film was much more than what I was expecting! I'm pretty sure Netflix categorized it as a comedy, so when I started watching it I thought it would be funny.. Either the Spanish have no sense of humor, or Netflix never actually watched the film. I may just need to watch it again.. I guess looking back on it, it's sortof silly.. but at the time, it feels super intense. There's no exact plot line, but there is tension that builds and is sometimes released but at the end you feel good and fulfilled. It kept me really interested and it offered interesting little perspectives into power and family relationships.

There is only one setting, the house of a family where a maid works and has worked for 23 years. When she starts suffering major headaches and fainting, the family decides it's time to hire help -- but when the maid misinterprets this as an attempt to get rid of her, she pulls all sorts of antics to get rid of whoever is hired.

While talking about it with my dad, I realized this film is the complete parallel but opposite of the film Happy-Go-Lucky (incase you've seen it). More of a climactic understanding of the character rather than the plot. While I suppose the film can be looked at in a humorous way, for me it felt really psychological and intense.. but still really interesting! I'm going to tag it as a comedy incase other people get the humor, but it's not exactly the type of humor that is outrageously funny. Just in-your-head funny.

Oh, and plenty of boobs.


rev-ewe 11: In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love
Hong Kong
Kar Wai Wong

What a beautiful composition! Almost every shot, angle, and composition was extremely thought out. The pace is veeery, very slow... but I would not say boring, because it visually captures you, and the story itself keeps you interested enough. This is very French in the sense that there is no actual plot or typical conflict-resolution story. You just sortof follow the two main characters and then suddenly it's over. You still think about it long after it has finished and think 'wait.. was there a point? there must have been.. did I miss it?' and you think and think about it, which I think is successful for a film if it can keep you thinking. Definitely the strong point of the film was the aesthetics and visual story-telling. Much of the composition added to the development of the story, probably in ways only my AP literature teacher would recognize.

Set in 1960s Hong Kong, two couples move in next to each other and soon Mr. Chan and Mrs. Chow find out their respective spouses have started seeing each other. Sharing their loneliness, they spend much time together but vow to never act the way their spouses have been. Though the time they spend together is mostly innocent, they are more concerned about not being seen by others than their actual cheating partners are.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, the costume designer was FANTASTIC, and the characters are immediately known. Everything is very subtle and slow, but to the point. Definitely recommend watching it!


rev-ewe 10: The Price of Milk

The Price of Milk
New Zealand
Harry Sinclair

I'm on a bit of a New Zealand roll here, but this film may have different reactions from different people. I would suggest it to those who are down for a bit of a mindfuck, but it is a sweet mindfuck, if I may say so. I was not really sure how I felt about the film the first time I saw it, but after watching it a 2nd time (the fact that I even got to a 2nd time I think is saying something) I realized I really liked it. The direction is more than strange, and it takes such a bizarre way of approaching the topic of love. It probably does not work for everyone, and when I read the reviews on Netflix (Yes, it's on instant view! So, maybe give it a shot?) many people gave it a 'Hated it' rating and said things like 'New Zealand should stick to raising sheep and not making films!' A bit harsh (actually way harsh, considering LOTR came from NZ...) but clearly a sign that maybe this film really does not appeal to the masses.

The film, in short, is about a woman pushing her fiance to the limits to test how much he truly loves her. They live on a dairy farm, and one day she sells his cows to get her blanket back from an old woman (again, it's a bizarre film and it makes sense ..or not.. when you see it), which enrages him and strains their relationship to a breaking point.

I would completely understand if people did not like this film because I think it could be a bit much to take in, but in the end I think it makes for a nice statement about love and appreciating your partner. And did I mention Karl Urban is in it?? The mega-hot horse lord from LOTR!

I award this film 5 pairs of baby shoes.

rev-ewe 9: Sione's Wedding

Sione's Wedding (US title: Samoan Wedding)
New Zealand
Chris Graham

My friends from New Zealand probably will not agree with this review, but I actually loved this movie. Yes, it is typical boy humor -- but it was the right kind of boy humor that I could appreciate. While I did not spend much time with Samoans or Pacific Islanders, I can imagine this was a fairly accurate depiction. There was absolutely nothing to be taken seriously in the film and it was neither original nor thought-provoking, but for a light film it was more than just entertaining. If you are interested in watching something about New Zealand (and since Boy is still unavailable in the US) and/or Samoan culture, I'd suggest watching this movie. I found that a decent amount of people in NZ were not too fond of this film, but I think enough people liked it... and I like it.

Four friends -- Albert, Stanley, Sefa and Michael, are extremely immature adults who still love to party.. a bit too much. When one of their younger brother's is about to be married, the four are banned because of the amount of weddings they have already ruined from being too drunk. In order to attend, they must each bring a date to keep them in line, and the movie follows their attempts at wooing women.

Predictable, silly, but still totally worth watching. Not to mention 'Albert' totally looks like my grandfather did. And 'Michael' is played by the same actor as 'Maxwell' from Shortland Street! (a NZ tv show that is absolutely horrible, but I LOVE it.) It was hard getting used to seeing him be serious Maxwell after watching Sione's Wedding, but hey sometimes you just got to let things go.

Rating? 4 bottles of beer! Try and figure that one out..

rev-ewe 8: The Birdcage

La Cage Aux Folles (The Birdcage)
Edouard Molinaro

Another film well ahead of its time. This film is pure humor. Outrageous characters, exaggerated plot, fantastic movie. It's rare to come across movies that have such developed and interesting characters, my favorite being Albin, a drag queen diva, who shrieks whenever something even mildly surprises him. This film was adapted to an American version called 'the Birdcage' starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, but I have not seen it and probably won't because I'm sure it does not compare to this masterpiece.

The story is simple, a man (Renato) runs a club where his partner (Albin) is the star performer. Renato has a son, Laurent, who has just told them he is to be married -- to a girl from a very conservative family. When the two families are meant to meet, Renato chooses to act straight in order to help his son get approval from his fiance's family... but what actually happens is much more interesting.

I definitely have trends in the types of movies I like... gay foreign comedies seem to be my schtick. But, I'm sure once I continue to review films, there will be a wider variety.. hopefully.

5 thumbs up for this film!

rev-ewe 7: Queen Kelly

Queen Kelly
Erich von Stroheim

Finally, an American film! This film was well ahead of its time. It was made in 1929, and dealt with issues of prostitution, adultery, pre-marital sex, and even had some forms of nudity! The humor was pretty quirky and risque for its time, again. If you don't like silent films, maybe this one isn't for you, but it doesn't really feel like a silent film in the sense that it doesn't have cheesy music playing over people doing sped-up outrageous actions. What I thought was interesting was the film was originally meant to run for about 3 hours but something happened, and the way I watched it was with stills at the end to finish the story.

The story is pretty much a girl from a convent (Kelly) runs into a free-spirited, drink-loving Prince who is meant to marry a controlling, crazy queen. The prince quickly falls for Kelly and goes to steal her from the convent and bring her back to the queen's palace. The queen finds out and banishes her, then the girl receives a letter from her aunt in South Africa who is dying and sends for her. When Kelly gets to South Africa, she is forced to marry a dirty old man and instead turns to prostitution.

Pretty intense, right? For 1929, I'd say so! Really quite interesting to see. The cinematography was pretty interesting, and they did good things with the camera. Worth watching, I'd say. Out there, but awesome. Pretty funny ending, too.


rev-ewe 6: The Man of my Life

L'homme de sa vie (The Man of My Life)
Zabou Breitman

It seems I only watch foreign films... and though I haven't seen this film in a while, I remember loving it very much. What is particularly amazing about this film is the editing. The scenes are not sequential and go back and forth, but this works so well that it keeps you wondering 'but wait! what happened before this scene to make them yell like that?!' The scenes are beautifully shot, and there is one scene in particular that blew my mind.. I won't go into too much detail about the subject matter, but that one of the character's rooms has words on the wall that are missing a letter, and the scene shows the sun setting with a shadow of letters (cast from the window) moving down across the wall, filling in the missing letters into the various words (pictured above). Beautiful!!

A French family goes to the countryside for holiday and soon meet their neighbor, an openly gay man named Hugo. The father, Frederic, and Hugo develop a strong friendship that makes Frederic question his life. He loves his wife and children, but this new man has opened his eyes to something more.

I won't really give it a rating because I should watch it again.... but IT'S REALLY GOOD!

rev-ewe 5: Boy

New Zealand
Taika Waititi

This movie offers such a great glimpse into New Zealand (specifically Māori) culture. It would be hard to get a hold of in USA, but if you can find it somewhere, watch it and love it. It is really slow (another glimpse into NZ culture... who needs to rush?) but has a great, quirky sense of humor and a great touch of human-ness to it. The characters are very real, and they are consistent throughout the film. If you've seen Flight of the Conchords, Taika has directed a few episodes of it (specifically "Drive By," "New Fans," "NewZealandTown," and "Evicted,") so that should give you an idea of what kind of humor or feel to get from it. While the film tackles social issues and can be quite serious, it is mostly light-hearted and fun to watch.
Boy is an 11-year-old living in rural New Zealand and when his grandmother, who takes care of him, his brother and his cousins, leaves to attend a funeral, he is in charge of the household. We find out his mother has passed, and his father has been in jail for roughly 6 years. One night, his father shows up and takes over the house with his two friends from jail. The film follows their getting to know each other and dealing with what being an adult means.
Very touching, beautifully done, very funny, and I can't help but be biased because I love New Zealand!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

rev-ewe 4: The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells
Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey

Rarely do I forego story for aesthetics, but this film's visual appeal well overpowers its lack of any sort of interesting story. It is such a fantastic animation style, beautiful backgrounds, and a comfortable throw-back to traditional animation. I tire so easily of 3-d animated films because they let their 'fantastic' graphics wow you without giving you any support from the story or characters. Even though this film sortof does that.. it does it better. the end.
The story follows a 12-year old named Brendan who is the nephew of the abbot of Kells. He helps his uncle whenever he can, but loves to be in the scriptorium helping the Brothers with whatever work they have. One day, a famous illuminator, named Brother Aidan, comes bearing news that Vikings have reached Iota (an island where the awesome Book of Iota was being written) and that the town must flee. The abbot has none of it and continues to build his wall around the town. Brendan, however, helps Aidan with learning how to be an illuminator and finishing the book.
Sortof hard to explain, and not even that interesting. But, the visuals are soooo magnificent it is exciting to watch. I strongly suggest this film to anyone and everyone because it is just that awesome.
Rated: 7 out of 10
Would be an 8, but the story isn't good enough for that... but the fact that I can still give it a 7 with no actual story must mean it's awesome! Watch it!

rev-ewe 3: Water Lilies

Water Lilies
Celine Sciamma

While it could be that I am secretly a lesbian and love this movie's play on subtle lesbian curiosities, I still think this movie is a great French film. If the lack of a real story or movement of a conflict is something of interest, then this film is pretty on point. It may not be as out there as other French films may be, it still has the same pace and feel. Slow, meticulous.
The film focuses on a girl named Marie who goes to watch a synchronized swim competition that her best friend Anne is in. While watching another, better team perform, the team captain (Floriane) sparks her interest. Marie tries to get close with Floriane by asking if she can get tips on how to get into synchronized swimming, and Floriane sees it as an excuse to use her to get out of the house and meet up with boys. Anne, on the other hand, is desperately trying to get the attention of a boy from the water polo team. A very simple film about growing up and learning what it is to want to be with someone.
I really can't explain why else I like it except that it relaxes me and offers an interesting perspective into all sorts of sexualities. The characters are easy to get to know and while Anne can be kind of annoying, it's a good contradiction to Marie who is as low-key a character as possible..

If I had to rate it, I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Worth watching, nicely put together, nothing original or outstanding, but I really like it.

rev-ewe 2: Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures
New Zealand
Peter Jackson

Now for a film I did not like... Heavenly Creatures was strangely put together and felt more than a bit sloppy, for me. I will not say this is a film no one will like because, obviously, it did fairly well and made a star of Kate Winslet. The acting seemed strangely exaggerated, and for what purpose? While the story itself could have been interesting, the direction was so distracting and upsetting that I just did not like it. I understand the story is upsetting, but that in and of itself should be the upsetting point, and if anything I would have understated the acting/scenes to truly show how dramatic a situation it was. This story was based on true events, strangely enough. I will say that the effects used in the fantasy scenes were wonderful for the time in which the film was made, but as I have mentioned before, effects mostly will not win me over.

Heavenly creatures was about two girls who meet and become inseparable to the point where the two families feel it is unhealthy. The girls cannot handle the idea of being apart and decide that murder is the only solution.

It did not help that the girls outrageously claimed that Orson Welles was the most hideous person alive. I would never, EVER support a film that makes claims like that. Orson Welles is absolutely gorgeous!!

rev-ewe 1: Be With Me

"Be With Me"
Directed by Eric Khoo

Simply amazingly beautiful. It follows 3 seemingly separate stories which come together in the end, all regarding love.
While the story I particularly loved was the one following an elderly man who runs a grocery shop but keeps himself distanced from his customers and his jobs, and seems to be going through the motions. When he reads a story his son is translating about a blind and deaf woman, he finds happiness in life again. This so moved me as I am personally going through some tough times, but the way it was done and filmed was absolutely perfect. I think I read something that the whole movie has about 2 minutes of dialogue.
I think this may make the film seem a bit slow or hard to follow, but it made it even more interesting for me to watch. Sometimes I think it's easy to get too caught up in dialogue or words, and forget what the film is actually trying to say. This movie says everything without any words.

cinematography is great, story line is simple but lovely, and great great emotional pay-off in the end.
I cried for a while after the film ended. I still cry thinking about it. Just wonderful.
I give it 900 stars. out of 10.