Pan’s Labyrinth

Set during Franco’s mopping up exercise after the Spanish Civil War, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the wonderful All Japanese Pass Videos, dark fairy tale that, in a metaphor for Spain itself, teeters on the Idols69.com dreamscapes of corruption, violence and the death of innocents. This film is definitely not for young Anal Nippon. Although the fantasy sequences are gorgeously realised, and are fairy BigTitsTokyo tales in the truest sense (in that they are dark, fey, dangerous and violent), most of the story (about three quarters of it, in fact) exists outside of the dreamland, in the even more frightening (and sometimes shockingly violent) world of a real life struggle of ideas and ideology. Sergi Lopez is excellent as the brutal (and possibly sadistic) Falangist Captain tasked with routing out the remaining leftists from the woods and hills of Northern Spain. Into this precarious situation come his new wife (a widow of a former marriage, who is carrying his son) and his stepdaughter Ofelia (played to absolute perfection, by the then 11 year old, Ivana Baquero). Uncomfortable with her new surroundings, suspicious of her stepfather and desperately concerned about the worsening condition of her mother, Ofelia uncovers a strange alternative world, and the chance to escape forever the pain and uncertainty of he everyday life. Thus the film alternates between the world of Civil War Spain and the increasingly bizarre, dark and frightening world of the Pan’s Labyrinth. As the twin plots progress, they intertwine, with the tasks of Ofelia becoming the choices faced by a Spain at the crossroads. The poignancy of the film lies partly in the fact that the victories are reflected so starkly by the failures of the adult world. Apparently Pan’s Labyrinth won a 20-minute standing ovation at Cannes, when it was shown. This may be a little bit over the top. I suspect when the furore has died down some will choose to swing the pendulum back and criticise it for its more obvious faults. Much of the film is derivative. There are few ideas in the film’s magical dreamworld that haven’t been seen before. There are also few ideas in the film’s depiction of the Civil War that can’t be read in Satre or Orwell; can’t be viewed in Picasso’s Guernica; or can’t be watched in Land and Freedom. For all the evident truth of these observations, to accept them would be to entirely miss the majesty of Pan’s Labyrinth, which doesn’t lie in its originality but its absolute mastery of execution. People will watch Pan’s Labyrinth in a way that most won’t watch Land and Freedom. In doing so, they will also discover a world of fairy tales which existed before Disney sunk its claws into them: a dangerous world, where nothing is as it seems and every step is a possible death – a place which may leave even adults shivering under the duvet, part in terror, part in wonder. And all this backed up by the finest cinematography I’ve seen. The only real faults I am prepared to allow for this film is a slight tendency (particularly at the end) for a Narnia-like moralism, and the fact that the faun is, perhaps, is not quite wild enough! These are eminently forgivable, though. This is easily the best film I’ve seen this year, and a must see on the big screen.

Life in a Day

By its very nature, Life in a Day is an ambitious film. It seeks to encapsulate the human experience and all that it entails: life and death; love and hate; poverty and wealth; our dreams and our fears; and so on. I would argue that it does so successfully – or at least as successfully as possible for an undertaking of such scope (80,000 submissions totalling 4,500 hours of footage cut down to just an hour and a half!). It manages to strike a balance between the beauty of professional shooting and the raw visceral power of amateur footage. Very little seems contrived or awkward, and the editing and music do not usually distract from the simple energy of the vignettes being shown. In fact, the score is quite good and the editing only comes to the forefront when it’s doing something meaningful – revealing links, emphasizing contrasts, or completing a thought. A few stories are highlighted and revisited as the film progresses, but in general it never lingers too long on one scene. You would think this might hinder the presentation of some of the slower, more peaceful aspects of life, but it really doesn’t. In fact, the lasting impression from this film is not one of chaos but one of unity and connection. That being said, at times the emotional roller-coaster you are being put through can be slightly bewildering. Some viewers might dislike how quickly they are brought from one emotion to another, but most will probably be too engaged to feel more than a twinge of regret that a particular scene couldn’t last longer. Some might argue that the more brutal realities of life are underrepresented (war, death, crime, prejudice, etc.), but I think that perception is probably due to how much we are bombarded with them by our daily news and entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of misery on display here (whether it be as simple as the sting of rejection or as profound as the fear of dying), but it’s often more subtle than explicit and it’s tempered by a positivity that sometimes seems to be lacking in our view of the world. As a cinema enthusiast, this film excites me with the prospect of increasing interactivity and grassroots power. As a human, it gives me hope that we can live in harmony and understanding. And I’m usually quite the cynic.

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” makes ballet cool—and if that isn’t a Herculean feat in itself, I don’t know what is. It also happens to be one of the best films of the year, featuring one of the best performances of the year. Natalie Portman will be nominated for her devastating portrayal of petite perfectionist Nina the ballerina or I’ll pull a Werner Herzog and eat my shoe. “Black Swan” is cut from the same cloth as Aronofsky’s 2008 film “The Wrestler,” if at the opposite end. Interestingly, before either project was realized, the director was reportedly mulling a drama about the relationship between a professional wrestler and a ballerina. Somewhere along the way, however, that concept was split down the middle—and thank God. “Black Swan” is brilliant, but it wouldn’t necessarily play well with others. Like its predecessor, the film examines a physically demanding and widely unappreciated art, and though thematically similar, the two complement each other via mutually exclusive cinematic vernaculars. “The Wrestler” is ultimately a safer film. Its emotional experience is directly conveyed via plot and dialogue. What Aronofsky attempts with “Black Swan” is riskier: he plays genre Frankenstein, taking established themes and transplanting them into that which feels initially least appropriate—horror. Yet despite certain unmistakable cues, I’d hesitate to call “Black Swan” a horror film. Visually, maybe, but John Carpenter insists “The Thing” is a Western, and likewise there is more to “Black Swan” than is aesthetically obvious. It probably best fits the psychological thriller mold, but as Aronofsky suggests through his manipulation of mirrors, it is not a film that ever casts a clear reflection. For me, that dichotomy is what makes it so fascinating and rewarding. “Black Swan” strikes an immediate haunting note that seems to grow louder with reverberation rather than quieter. In the first half, the director lays track work; in the second, he runs right off it. Nina begins her journey receiving the coveted role of the Swan Queen in a modernist production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” Her practiced technique makes her ideal for the role of the goodly White Swan, but her lascivious director (Vincent Cassel) has reservations about her ability to portray her evil twin, the titular Black Swan—a character that embodies impulse and lust. Nina’s process of unlearning takes her to increasingly dark, surreal depths. The final act of the film comprises the most riveting 40 minutes I’ve seen on screen all year, though “Black Swan” is never the mindf**k some have improperly labeled it. Aronofsky deliberately builds atmosphere and anticipation toward a Kubrickian climax that is at once obvious and stunning. Tchaikovsky’s score falls like an aerial assault, and that inherent theatricality collides with Aronofsky’s narrative as they come to a dual boil. Perhaps best of all, however, is that for all the audacity on display, the director knows when to dial it back as well. The casting of Mila Kunis (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “That 70′s Show”) was idyllic. She plays a comic relief of sorts, with a comely, down-to-earth veneer but viperous eyes. Her performance is fantastically calculated—she provides derisive, but much needed perspective on Nina’s deteriorating sense of reality. “Black Swan” is a wholly effective work born from the shadowy underside of the mind, anchored by a career-defining turn by Portman. It is a quick, impulsive piece, but it explains artistic devotion and the consuming nature of obsession as well or better than any film I’ve ever seen. In hindsight, it feels more characteristic of the filmmaker responsible for “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” than “The Wrestler,” though the parallels between it and “Black Swan” run deep. They may be cut from the same cloth, but the difference between the two is as stark as black and white. Hail Aronofsky, the Swan King.

Yogi Bear

Not that a review should be about ME, but it seems to help with the BoundGangBangs review a little. I haven’t reviewed a film in a long time, probably because I have been busy getting married. With that being said, I don’t really see too many FuckingMachines movies anymore and needless to say, this was NOT tops of my list. If I finally get to see a movie, I prefer an adult film. I got on here before hand and was even less than ecstatic about Yogi given the reviews and the star rating. However, so many of them were so far off, that I felt inclined to write this review the same HogTied night after seeing this movie. First off, for those that review and/or rate a movie like this without having seen it is quite silly and hinders the reasoning behind the rating itself. Ratings are to help people, not skew them. OK, on to the film. This is a legitimate PG moving, so take that into BoundGods consideration. Someone in a rating said it was not a movie they would take a date on . . . really? I mean, I would hope not. Anyway, I have seen lots of young DeviceBondage adult movies with far less plot and acting than this movie. I thought it was DivineBitches perfect for the age bracket and while yes, there is a mention about urination and about Boo Boo having trouble with baked beans, other than that, I was actually quite impressed that the movie survived without a bunch of potty EverythingButt humor. I thought it was a lightly funny film that stuck to the entire Yogi Bear theme of trying to save the park. I thought while some of the adults were FreeHardcore silly to stupid, many of them were again, lightly funny and silly but not over the top stupid. Mentioning the word “stupid” also brings me KinkOnDemand to another thought that the movie wasn’t filled with boring dialog of people calling each other silly names that make people laugh, but irk parents knowing MenInPain now after the film are going to be calling each other those names and we will be left PublicDisgrace with trying to tell them why that is inappropriate. I actually laughed quite a bit and enjoyed seeing NakedKombat Yogi. I am 34 years old and my daughter is 3 that was with me and we liked it. I could even watch it again. I’ve seen SexAndSubmission bad films of all ages and genres and this is NOT one of them. Is it TheTrainingOfO academy award material? Not even close, but you won’t be disappointed in an entertaining film. Again about the silly reviewers,if you don’t like it, no biggie and it is TheUpperFloor perogrative to also write a review, they are needed, but why the lies in writing a review? Bored to tears in 10 minutes? Yogi getting hurt all the time? keep it lighthearted? How about paying TsSeduction attention. If there is any major complaint, it should be that this movie was nothing more than a UltimateSurrender glorified version of the cartoon, but that is what one would expect. Have you never seen the Yogi WaterBondage special. You know, the one where Ranger Smith tells Yogi to stay away and where the place is going to be WhippedAss forced to close and all the animals are sad? Sound familiar, hmm. Now, for my final soap box that does make me mad. This dumb WiredPussy is not all that impressive and given the extra added cost to go see one, it is NOT worth it. While there is a non-3D version, the theaters don’t really want to play that one too much, because they can’t charge the exuberant fee. I will for a fact plan ahead next time better and NOT do the 3D film and make sure I send a statement, although minimal it is.

The Mechanic

I am in no way familiar with the original Charles Bronson film The Mechanic from 1972, but that may have actually been a benefit with a jasmine live film like this. This remake does seem to be targeted toward my demographic though. The Mechanic caters to those who enjoy hard-hitting action films with a lot of blood that spews more vulgarities than you care to keep track of with a fair chance of nudity along the way. Truth be told, if done right those types of films can be massively entertaining and The Mechanic definitely falls into the “done right” category. Jason Statham really seems to be hit or miss when it comes to cheap Vimax pills his films are and lately his work just hasn’t been all that satisfying. The Expendables left a really sour taste in my mouth, so I wasn’t sure how The Mechanic would turn out. However, this film was actually able to put Statham back in top form since it was able to deliver a pretty great story to compliment Statham’s bone crunching fight sequences he’s become notorious for. Despite the fact that the dialogue is filled with F-bombs left and right, it fit the overall tone of the film very well. Ben Foster wasn’t disappointing either. Foster is one of those incredible talents in his early thirties that most people seem to overlook as having endless potential. As far as his performance in The Mechanic, it isn’t quite as powerful as he was in The Messenger but seems to be more similar to his role in Hostage yet refined a bit to leave his true motives questionable. Donald Sutherland also makes the most of his short time on screen. He has two scenes with Jason Statham where he makes two fairly long speeches that seem to stick with you long after his character is gone. That’s how short-lived characters in films like this should be memorable. The one thing the film falls victim to is the shaky camera during fight and chase scenes. It works most of the time and isn’t hard to follow, but there were two scenes involving Jason Statham’s character where it was hard to distinguish everything that was being shown because of this technique. It’s just when two guys are in a scuffle and they’re throwing fists or hurling their legs at their opponent, the camera whipping back and forth at the same time doesn’t really help matters. Now some guy’s dead, another falls to the ground after we hear a snap, and another is clutching his stomach even though we only saw the main character move twice. The jasmin live technique gets confusing and either needs to be modified somehow or dropped altogether for something new. The Mechanic it’s packed to the brim with explosions, bloody headshots, broken limbs, and even a hefty and destructive car chase sequence. The film is worth seeing for Ben streamate performance, but it’s nice to see Jason Statham in a film that isn’t disappointing for once. Overall, The Mechanic is dark, gritty, bloody, and just a hell of a lot of fun.