The Tree of Life

If I were to describe this film in one word, that word would be “overrated.”  On further reflection, however, words such as “disjoint,” “muddled,” “confused,” and “pretentious” would suffice as well.  The only problem is that none of those words carry the same weight of disappointment that came upon me after the final twenty-some minute long climax and dénouement had finally croaked its weariness into the comforting blackness of the closing credits.  Then again, perhaps that simply describes Terence Malick’s game face in general. Read more of this post

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Sucker Punch

2011, 110 minutes, Action, U.S.; Directed by Zack Snyder; Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder; Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films; Dist. by Warner Brothers

Usually good and solid films, even ones that are considered “intelligent” or “intellectual” in nature, are presented in the fashion that even someone with the I. Q. level of a third grader can understand what’s going on. I’m not discussing a third grader’s level of experience, as there are a lot of situations presented in some films that a third grader would have never had the opportunity to know about. But a third grader could understand the way it’s being presented.

For example, if a film shows a shot of the outside of a large mansion, then cuts to another shot of a large group of people sitting at a long dinner table, it’s suggested that the large group of people sitting at the table are also inside of the large mansion. This technique has become a common tongue in the language of film is used naturally all of the time in modern filmmaking to present all sorts of situation in a fashion where everyone would be able to understand what’s going on.

For better or for worse, Zack Snyder attempts to push those boundaries of editorial story-telling in his film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl trying to escape from the confines of a mental institute where other perfectly sane girls are commonly given in the care of and lobotomized in order keep them out of the way of those who don’t mean well in society. Read more of this post

Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Plus Some

If there is anything that can be said succinctly about Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is this: don’t buy into the hype.  Maybe that includes a corollary “don’t buy into anything you read about it, either,” which would even include this very review.  That’s up to you.  While I wouldn’t call it a polarizing series in the slightest, it’s certainly something that seems like it would leave an impression on most people.  A lot of director Akiyuki Shinbo’s output with Studio Shaft is like this.  Some love it, some hate it, and others—particularly in the case of Madoka—find it entertaining but not worth the unreasonable amount of praise it seems to garner. Read more of this post