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Bean's reviews view profile

Noir Masterpiece  
on October 31, 2005 - 12:03 PM PST
  of Le Samourai (Criterion Collection) (1967)
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful

The impeccably simple, sparse scenes and dialogue are deceiving. "Le Samourai" is a masterfully controlled film-- it twists and turns, each frame a gorgeous rendering of emptiness, yet bit by bit they form layers of complexity and food for thought. The driving force here is Jef Costello (played by Delon), a stone-faced assassin. During the first 15 minutes, Costello seems a bit of an amateur, revealing nothing as far as personality, but drawing attention to himself amidst a city of darkness with his smoldering, intense good looks, wearing a beaming look-at-me trenchcoat. There's a witness to his crime. An obvious mishap to what could have been a clean kill. Or has he allowed himself to be seen? You soon realize that this is no amateur, that he is subtly and inexplicably aware of minute details, and uses this ability to elude everyone. He is a thing of beauty that cannot be captured. He's deliberate, polished, and otherworldly, making all others seem oblivious, chatty, even sloppy in comparison. In stripping away the layers of eye candy excess, Director Melville elevates the outcast, and reveals a deeper mystery in the space of silences and what is seen/not seen. This film is a showcase for anyone who loves deconstructing cinema, and refreshing to watch today, amidst so many movies that overstimulate yet say nothing.
Orpheus Descends, Makes Tracks  
on October 21, 2005 - 6:19 PM PDT
  of Kontroll (2004)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

"Kontroll" has all the elements of a likeable film. It's got hip, off-beat, gritty characters, murder & mayhem, humor, stylishness-- and it all takes place in a fabulous backdrop-- the subterranean world of the Budapest subway. Unfortunately, the film is so uneven that the moments that do grab come off as separate vignettes that don't always serve the larger plot of the main story, which seems to be about Bulcsú, the defacto head of his downtrodden subway crew. As a result, you may leave the film with a lot of unanswered questions. It's like "Warriors" meets "Trainspotting", without the heroin. Overall, fun to watch, and very likeable, but don't expect to be hit by a freight train.
Mystical, Quirky Love Story  
on October 18, 2005 - 9:13 AM PDT
  of The Princess and The Warrior (2000)
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful

I'm a huge Tom Tykwer fan, and this is my favorite of all his films. All his movies deal with fate and the mystical connections that draw isolated people together. In The Princess & The Warrior, the first intimate moment between Sissi and Bodo is unlike anything you've seen on film. From then on, unbeknownst to him, he becomes the catalyst that will change her life. In life, it often never makes sense why two people come together. I love how this film shows how a gentle and naive girl, raised in an irrational environment, is shaped by her own growing faith in her self and her dreams, which leads her to surprising but believable acts of feisty rebellion. It's a movie about the miraculous, without needing to resort to religious symbolism-- the characters already embody all the spiritual archetypes. There are many remarkably beautiful scenes, the soundtrack is gorgeous, and Franka Potente looks like an angel and does a superb acting job.
Should be Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize  
on October 16, 2005 - 7:09 PM PDT
  of Turtles Can Fly (2004)
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful

There are no answers how some children can emerge devoted, courageous and loving after inexplicable injustice and suffering; "Turtles Can Fly" shows what that resiliency looks like. The relationships of Satellite, a resourceful boy who bargains with arms dealers, his young faithful allies, an armless psychic boy who knows when the next explosion will hit, his beautiful, mysterious sister, and their blind toddler--all intertwine with the most heartbreaking innocence in a land riddled with landmines, tanks, and shattered lives. It is the children who lead the viewer through this war torn land, who know the safest paths, and who are able follow their dreams and instincts because there is nothing else to guide or protect them. As American spectators, we may not feel comfortable watching this, but these children were forced to experience war without a choice. We owe it to them to listen, watch, and learn from them.
Kindergarten Spirituality  
on October 13, 2005 - 2:20 PM PDT
  of What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful

Spiritual themes in cinema is nothing new, although the makers behind this film gush about synchronicity, past lives, and the mysterious connectiveness of life like they invented it. The result is a dumbed down bubble gum version of what indigenous cultures have been talking about all along. If you want depth, wisdom and emotional resonance from a movie that deals with the cosmic meaning of life, do not rent this film. You can get more enlightenment in your pinky fingernail than here.
If Helmut Newton was a psychic long-legged diva...  
on October 12, 2005 - 2:20 PM PDT
  of Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

... he'd be Laura Mars in this movie! Helmut Newton's photographs often depicted glamorous models in yielding and submissive poses, but despite their bondaged state, they never lost their cool, look-but-don't-touch arrogance. Eyes of Laura Mars epitomizes this feeling, though the storyline is hokey by today's standards. Faye Dunaway is a NYC Helmut Newton-esque fashion photographer (his photographs are featured in the film) whose lurid visions of people getting icepicked in the eyes come true. Tommy Lee Jones plays the detective investigating the murders who (shocker!) falls in love with her, and has never been more handsome or tweedy than in this movie. There are great cameo appearances by Raul Julia as the drunken ex-husband, Rene Auberjunois as the flamboyant manager, and Brad Dourif as a sketchy chauffeur. Great scenes of autumn in NY in the 70s-- the sun breaking through Laura Mars' Hudson River loft, the Columbus Circle fashion shoot, SoHo.
Pretty Woman meets Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva  
on October 12, 2005 - 12:29 PM PDT
  of Chaos (2001)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

From the opening of St. Germaine's jazzy sequence, the film grabs you by the balls and won't let go. Besides not being able to keep your eyes off the beguiling Rachida Brakni, there's also the mystery of who's-after-her-and-why-- but by the time you figure that out, all the other characters have a certain karma to be met with. No loose ends go untied in this colorful, stylish, funny thriller that breaks all the conventions of your typical French (often chauvinist) flick. See it and discover what the impressive Flamethrower is...!
NOT anime  
on October 12, 2005 - 11:16 AM PDT
  of Spirited Away (2001)
3 out of 7 members found this review helpful

I resisted seeing this film, thinking it was typical anime. It is not anime or manga. It is a spiritual film, along the lines of The Lord of the Rings. It breaks the animation barriers of imagination. See it, no matter how old you are.

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