• Akitsu Springs

    Akitsu Springs

    That fateful day of the calamitous summer of '45 lingers like a hideous nightmare not only in collective memory of a nation, but also as an intimate trauma of the individuals who lived through it: a day when the Japanese halted and cried out of desperation, knowing that their country stood in ruin, never again to be as it was before. The love of Shinko and Kawamoto, obsolete before it had begun, becomes thus a memory of a lost world,…

  • Amour

    Amour

    ½

    The world's most immature 70-year-old is half a century too late to discover the physical implications of dying, and the cinematic community is immediately regaled with this carcinogenic pile of medical waste which presents the viewer with the „heartbreak of filth“ in a cockatil of austere style, bourgeois family drama and a grim, naturalist depiction of death. Only instead of austere style there is only a slick and sterile prolonged gaze upon nothing (so tiresome in recent cinema); family drama…

  • Four Nights of a Dreamer

    Four Nights of a Dreamer

    Whereas its philosophical step-sister „Une femme douce“ was a tragedy of masculine insensitivity and feminine hysteria, „Four Nights of a Dreamer“ reverses both the roles and the genre, as now feminine fickleness accompanies male self-pitying in a string of humorous observations on human nature, anti-climaxing with a comedic finale for the ages.

    Jacques and Marthe are losers supreme, the sterilized, dysphasic youth roaming the illuminated bridges and the streets of the postmodern Babylon, deaf and dumb to all but their…

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ½

    With even the worshipper drones complaining about the unbearable lack of smut and pagan idolatry, „Lady on Fire“ is a work of utmost sterility in theme, plot and message beyond the usual lipservice to the political mainstream, a flimsy silicon job of fake gravitas and intellectualism so synthetic it only lacks a „made in Taiwan“ tag: the pause robots stutter their way through day-to-day pleasantries and breath-stopping recounting of the Orpheus fable – for the courtesy of those who had…

  • Drive

    Drive

    ½

    Oh, I wish I were a desensitized robot on a vigilante rampage like Ryan Gosling. And I especially wish people would forget my name despite talking about me every 5 minutes, naturally, to express their utmost awe with my apathetic persona. Then again, this premise was a flop when Walter Hill did it 30 years earlier, so what could you expect from this wet dream made for wannabe video game characters?

  • Extraordinary Stories

    Extraordinary Stories

    A puzzle, a labyrinth, an adventure – a Borgesian triptych of entertainment for manchildren unfolded in faux-documentarist, uncinematic manner, a sort of a Treasure Island meets Edvard Munch, where the image merely follows the storyteller's voice, a voice quite self-consciouss of his own boyish uncouthness, only for the ungainly cobweb of interwoven yarns to open into an ode to South American romantic wanderlust, eschewing pretension and vulgarity to exalt the adventurous spirit of the everyman.

  • The Skin I Live In

    The Skin I Live In

    ½

    Requiring not one, but two Freudian crutches – a dead wife AND a dead daughter – to motivate dr. Priapus in this dumber, more debased version of „The Eyes without a Face“, somehow even more narratively inept than even its graceless predecessor. Grotesque characters, soap-operatic enmity, random changes of heart and a scientific background regurgitated straight out of a Universal horror's foregut – these are the instruments forcing foward the plot of this ungainly hybrid of gross-out body horror and vulgar domination fantasy.

  • Life Is Beautiful

    Life Is Beautiful

    ½

    Loses the brownie points for being outrageously tasteless; its wannabe tearjerking climax is a cinematic wet fart due to cretinous direction; aspires to be a trashy commedia all'italiana with a romcom subplot – but the lead playing a grotesque clown makes this a vulgar excuse for a romance; aspires to a lowbrow Chaplinian humor based on repetitive, overlong, signposted jokes – but the asinine laughs presented here make the most egregious Chaplin copycats seem benign: to strive for mediocrity and…

  • Amélie

    Amélie

    ½

    Syphilis

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love

    ½

    Plastics

  • The Shawshank Redemption

    The Shawshank Redemption

    ½

    No redemption for the Mary Sue, only fanatical veneration of Robbins's prison Jesus, delivered in great part via Freeman's incessant voiceovers to make sure the blind and braindead in the crowd get the message as well.

  • Ravenous

    Ravenous

    ½

    Crowbaring the US flag up the audience's noses while Pearce and Carlisle take an exposition break from their all to tiresome zombie cowboy pas de deux, this run-of-the-mill genre flick searches for arthouse validation by facetiously comparing manifest destiny to cannibalism, which might be described as a „scathing critique of american expansionism“ by the same people who think Albarn's discordant banjo abuse is a work of avantgarde genius.