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TaoG's reviews view profile

Loneliness In Proportion  
on June 20, 2007 - 11:24 PM PDT
  of The Proposition (2005)

Imagine, Nick Cave; darkly brooding, poetic, spilling out a screenplay and a haunting soundtrack to boot, full of whispering epic, eclectic imagery befitting the wicked sheen of achromatic morality. A film of mystery and beauty in the Australian 19th century outback. Like the dry rasp of a slowly aching bow across a dusky violin, this film brings the swirling violence of a bygone era to life in a fully realized, historically referenced and culturally textured manner. You will never feel a gratuitous or inauthentic moment here. Only the harsh reality of Aboriginal, English, Irish iniquity, an expanse of longing wrought by exceedingly fine performances from John Hurt, Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Ray Winston, Danny Huston, David Wenham, Richard Wilson, Tom Budge, Tom E. Lewis, Noah Taylor, and an ensemble cast of characters that walked directly from the disintegrating emulsion of archival photography. Director John Hillcot brings to bear an unrelentingly patient eye; a dead-eye wound straight to the heart of human darkness.
on December 18, 2006 - 10:14 PM PST
  of The Fast Runner(Atanarjuat) (2001)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

This movie literally left me cold - physically, while intriguingly bringing to life far-reaching Inuit mythos. It is stark. Primal. Harsh. Immersiviely and so, with performances that are alive and truly rendered. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful and brilliant in it's use of an unobtrusive documentary feel. I suggest a parka or a blanket, and or central heating.
on December 18, 2006 - 9:47 PM PST
  of Grave of the Fireflies (Collector's Edition) (1988)
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful

When you look at the bombing of an already defeated Japan, juxtaposed with the humanity contained in this beautiful and heart stopping animation, I feel like we (American's, and maybe all humanity) lost our collective soul when we opened the gates of hell to "test" nuclear arms on civilians. (Though our demonization and prison camp detainment of Japanese Americans may have already been an indication of how terribly our America's hysterical racism would manifest) This movie is intensely heart-rending and haunting , penetrating straight to an artistry that eclipses most movies. It will stay with you and help you summon an outrage that should be heard around the world when we have the idiocy threaten to use Nuclear Weapons on Iran.
on April 12, 2005 - 4:11 PM PDT
  of Whale Rider (2002)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Months later, images and feelings from this movie haunt me. If you saw trailers or read the synopsis try to clear your mind and allow this film to live completely through you instead; stumble onto this with an open mind. I had no idea this movie would be so good. Beautiful cinematography and strong performances allow this art to resonate...with great mystery and love.
Kurosawa Akira  
on April 8, 2005 - 11:28 PM PDT
  of Kurosawa (2001)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Kurosawa is loosely based on "Something Like an Autobiography" (Kurosawa's self-titled autobiography) and is less interesting than Kurosawa's own cinematic-like style of writing. However, some of the most compelling and touching insites into Kurosawa's as a man and his artistic process are in the 90 minutes of bonus interview footage edited by Teruyo Nogami, Kurosawa's longtime script editor. That's where I felt my "spine start to tingle"; the feeling Kurosawa often referred to when he would create, stumble upon, envision, or capture a magic moment on film.
As I recall...  
on April 8, 2005 - 5:31 PM PDT
  of Rashomon (Criterion Collection) (1951)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

I'm sure it's been said before; the iconic 11th century "Gate" in Rashomon is almost a character in itself. Images of it resonate long after viewing this film, leading us into the wilderness of the human ego and a film that is disturbing as stunningly poetic. Kazuo Miyagawa's cinematography is breathtaking on a grand scale. With his success, some in Japan accused Kurosawa of making a film that appealed to western "oriental exoticism", but time seems to have dispelled that notion. This is a distilled masterwork of light and shadow.

*Footnote: Try not to read the written synopsis. It gives away a few important details of the story for no reason??
on March 29, 2005 - 11:09 PM PST
  of The Girl from Paris (2001)
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful

This movie put me to sleep with contrived "gritty realism" and lackluster plot. Michel Serrault is decent as a bitter and curmudgeonly old farmer set in his ways, but he can't quite knit this unimaginative movie together. Some of Antoine Heberle's cinematograpy of French coutryside is beautiful, but I had to shut it off.
Absolutely Beautiful  
on March 25, 2005 - 6:25 PM PST
  of Sanjuro (Criterion Collection) (1962)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Akira Kurosawa's distinctive vision has a way of inducing almost immediate immersion into his subject matter. From scene one, I could not remove my eyes from the brilliant and subtle intelligence, the lush black and white cinemategraphy, and a story woven so well that one begins to feel as if experiencing the movie from within. This is just one of the many facets of Kurosawa's genius, not to mention the deft handling of the movies' comic line - Toshiro Mifune is a joy and this movie has fine performances all around. This is a dusky gem that deserves repeated viewings.

New to Rushmore Academy?  
on December 8, 2004 - 2:08 PM PST
  of Rushmore (Criterion Collection) (1998)
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Every time I mentioned to friends I hadn't seen Rushmore yet, they either chuckled and/or looked at me with horror, the disbelief, how could you not? So now it's my turn--you haven't seen it?? Queue horror. Shock. Disbelief. Dismay. Maybe you are like me--a newer fan of Wes Anderson, going backwards. (I've added Bottle Rocket to the top of my Queue.) The joy of seeing this movie via DVD for the first time is all the extra's, especially for the generous peek into the artistic process and creation of this gem.
Across The Lines  
on November 30, 2004 - 12:53 PM PST
  of A Midnight Clear (1992)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

Like any war movie worth something to me, this one will break your heart and make you wonder why we still haven't evolved beyond the short-sighted senselessness of war. I recommend it for the stellar cast, especially Frank Whalley and Gary Sinise,who bring their characters to life with subtlety and depth. I can't help but wish there was a director's cut available. Upon viewing the extra's and commentary, it is sad to that Keith Gordon (Director) would have opted for a cut that didn't remove significant character development, a version ultimately more resonant with the themes in William Wharton's book. Don't miss the extra's.
Wounded Man, Walking  
on November 24, 2004 - 7:58 PM PST
  of The Indian Runner (1991)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

If you've known somebody with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) you'll understand how brilliantly Viggo Mortensen brings to life the particular estrangement, the detachment of a person who has untreated PTSD--part of the bodies natural shock reaction in the after-math of extreme trauma. If you like Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings, be prepared to plum a bit deeper into darkness and witness a performance that easily should have been an Oscar nomination in 1991, up against Anthony Hopkins, De Niro, Nick Nolte, Warren Beatty and Robin Williams. Leave it to Sean Penn--to write, produce and direct a distinguished first film so damn close to the bone...

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