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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. 04 Sep '13 22:27
    I'm trying to improve my writing and critical skills by writing film reviews. So far, I've been posting them on Facebook, but I think I might get more feedback here.

    Anyone who wants to review a film/movie can have a go here.
  2. 04 Sep '13 22:28 / 1 edit
    Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)

    Interminable scenes. Two leads devoid of emotional expression. Two hours of wishing I were asleep. The late Roger Ebert, in his review of this film, wrote: "Coco Chanel wasn't one to wear her heart on her sleeve and indeed barely wears her face on her face." Well, true enough, but at least she has a face, unlike the guy playing Stravinsky, whose way of expressing strong emotion is to swallow hard, sometimes more than once for really dramatic moments. Less strong emotions, such as rapturous applause or indignant outrage at the theatre hardly get a flicker. Anna Mouglalis as Coco doesn't possess an ounce of Audrey Tatou's magnetism in the unrelated (and far better) film Coco Before Chanel'. Indeed, the best-played role by far is Elena Morozova's wife of Stravinsky who, suffering from a terminal illness, has to put up with her husband carrying on with the cold, aloof, hard-eyed, set-mouthed Chanel without a thought for her. Morozova's performance is one of the three principal positive features of the film: the other two being, firstly, the music that forms part of the story (as opposed to the pretty formulaic incidental music), and secondly, the elegant visual background and period costumes, particularly some rare but beautiful outdoor shots (the caveat is that a many other scenes are much too dimly lit and help multiply the boredom factor). Nice visuals, great music and one strong (minor) performance do not add up to a great film on their own, and the whole affair feels too straitjacketed and emotionally strangled to be an enjoyable or diverting experience.

    5/10
  3. 04 Sep '13 23:26
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    [b]Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)

    Interminable scenes. Two leads devoid of emotional expression. Two hours of wishing I were asleep. The late Roger Ebert, in his review of this film, wrote: "Coco Chanel wasn't one to wear her heart on her sleeve and indeed barely wears her face on her face." Well, true enough, but at least she has a face ...[text shortened]... itjacketed and emotionally strangled to be an enjoyable or diverting experience.

    5/10[/b]
    I think I'll leave the movie review business to you! I love this review of a film I will never watch. I wish most reviewers were this honest! Excellent, but since i watch so few films I am not the best critic of criticism nor will I ever write a movie review for I would be snarky leading up to a crescendo of scathing on thin ice!
  4. 04 Sep '13 23:46
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    I think I'll leave the movie review business to you! I love this review of a film I will never watch. I wish most reviewers were this honest! Excellent, but since i watch so few films I am not the best critic of criticism nor will I ever write a movie review for I would be snarky leading up to a crescendo of scathing on thin ice!
    Thank you for the complimentary verdict. I've written several reviews now, but they're a pain to retrieve because they're like needles in the haystack of my Facebook timeline. This is one of my favourites, and it's fresh, I watched it tonight (or rather, I watched 1 hour of it and spent the next hour half watching it and half composing the review).

    I like the pun, "scathing on thin ice", by the way. Could be worked into a figure skating commentary by a skilled presenter.
  5. 05 Sep '13 00:10
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    Thank you for the complimentary verdict. I've written several reviews now, but they're a pain to retrieve because they're like needles in the haystack of my Facebook timeline. This is one of my favourites, and it's fresh, I watched it tonight (or rather, I watched 1 hour of it and spent the next hour half watching it and half composing the review).
    ...[text shortened]... ", by the way. Could be worked into a figure skating commentary by a skilled presenter.
    In future you should type up your reviews and immediately save a copy on a word doc and file away. Did you ever review "The Cook, the thief, his wife, and her lover" one of all times' worst movies? BTW, I'm assuming you have cable/dish/something. I hate to sound archaic to the point of dinosaur, but TMC was doing films from the first era of film, ie, Edison and Lumiere brothers. What a joy these were. Awesome special effects, straightforward storytelling and fascinating subjects. They do these every few months. I'd love to see you review early films like these.
  6. 05 Sep '13 00:30 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    In future you should type up your reviews and immediately save a copy on a word doc and file away. Did you ever review "The Cook, the thief, his wife, and her lover" one of all times' worst movies? BTW, I'm assuming you have cable/dish/something. I hate to sound archaic to the point of dinosaur, but TMC was doing films from the first era of film, ie, Ed ...[text shortened]... ubjects. They do these every few months. I'd love to see you review early films like these.
    I've never seen said film, although I believe it stars Helen Mirren, a very popular figure here in Britain. I guess I won't be watching it any time soon. I have a subscription to Lovefilm (a DVD and Blu Ray disc rental service now run by Amazon, which is called something different in the US). I used imdb.com and other sources to build up a pending rental list of highly rated films (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky wasn't on it, but I watched it because I had recently watched Coco Before Chanel). The subscription also includes a wide selection of films and TV shows I can stream from the Internet using my web-connected Blu Ray player.

    The really early flicks I've enjoyed most have been Buster Keaton films, but I confess I haven't seen any films from the very first era. I've watched some Bergman, Eisenstein, Powell & Pressburger films and others such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, Sunset Boulevard, etc., but these were all made a long time after the first era. We have a famous comedian, Paul Merton, who is an expert on early film, but currently I see the very early stuff as academically interesting only rather than as pleasure-watching (and I do not consider myself I film academic). The language of film (I think it's called semiotics) has evolved a long way since those times, although I also often prefer the straightforward storytelling and conspicuous lack of bombastic and unnecessary incidental music in earlier films. However, due to the deterioration of early film media or just the relatively primitive technology used, I often find watching early film somewhat difficult or even painful compared to modern movies. It's just such a pity that so much dross is produced today when we have all this wonderful technology at our disposal, yet some great stuff does appear quite often. Recently I've enjoyed Source Code and Inception, and television has taken the lead in quality in the last decade or two with shows such as House M.D., the 'Nordic Noir' crime dramas, 30 Rock and many others being an absolute joy to watch.
  7. 05 Sep '13 02:26
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I've never seen said film, although I believe it stars Helen Mirren, a very popular figure here in Britain. I guess I won't be watching it any time soon. I have a subscription to Lovefilm (a DVD and Blu Ray disc rental service now run by Amazon, which is called something different in the US). I used imdb.com and other sources to build up a pending re ...[text shortened]... ic Noir' crime dramas, 30 Rock and many others being an absolute joy to watch.
    I love Paul Merton for his droll wit, astute observations and lack of arrogance. I tape him every time I know he's on. I had no idea he is an early film expert. Interestingly we have a film expert in our midst in Teinosuke. His specialty is Japanese film, considered by many the epitomy of early film and purest form of film art. I thoroughly enjoy early film simply because they experimented so joyfully with a new art form. Lumiere brothers and Edison actually invented film cameras, but the Lumiere brothers' was portable and doubled as a projector!
  8. 05 Sep '13 10:42
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    I love Paul Merton for his droll wit, astute observations and lack of arrogance. I tape him every time I know he's on. I had no idea he is an early film expert. Interestingly we have a film expert in our midst in Teinosuke. His specialty is Japanese film, considered by many the epitomy of early film and purest form of film art. I thoroughly enjoy early ...[text shortened]... ally invented film cameras, but the Lumiere brothers' was portable and doubled as a projector!
    I have seen Kurosawa's Seven Samurai which I did enjoy, but I found the language barrier hard to overcome. It's never ideal to be reading the subtitles in a film. I do have a Japanese language tuition CD and a friend who taught English there so may be able to teach me some Japanese, so I ought to try and learn sometime soon-ish. Japan seems a fascinating country with a very distinct culture and traditions. Many modern Japanese films are very highly-rated too, especially the anime ones. I watched Akira as a teenager, which was truly excellent, and I've got several others on my list.
  9. 06 Sep '13 02:42
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I have seen Kurosawa's Seven Samurai which I did enjoy, but I found the language barrier hard to overcome. It's never ideal to be reading the subtitles in a film. I do have a Japanese language tuition CD and a friend who taught English there so may be able to teach me some Japanese, so I ought to try and learn sometime soon-ish. Japan seems a ...[text shortened]... i]Akira[/i] as a teenager, which was truly excellent, and I've got several others on my list.
    Have you ever watched the original "Shall we dance?"? Excellent indeed. I don't mind subtitles since I have fun with them where obvious mistranslations take place. I do the same at opera with supertitles since I have a working knowledge of Italian, a smattering of French and miniscule German. I got so excited the first time I detected a word I knew. It was "lumpen"! I don't know what that says about me! You ought to practice with some masterpieces (as far as writing criticism) from the past such as "Meet John Doe", "The Fountainhead" both Gary Cooper movies. I'd love to hear your take on these two marvelous films.
  10. 06 Sep '13 10:06
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    Have you ever watched the original "Shall we dance?"? Excellent indeed. I don't mind subtitles since I have fun with them where obvious mistranslations take place. I do the same at opera with supertitles since I have a working knowledge of Italian, a smattering of French and miniscule German. I got so excited the first time I detected a word I knew. It ...[text shortened]... ad" both Gary Cooper movies. I'd love to hear your take on these two marvelous films.
    I've added these to my rental list, however my list is over 1000 DVDs long so it may potentially be years before I get to watch them. When criticising true masterpieces, I tend to keep my reviews private because I am squarely an amateur film critic at the moment — a "consumer" of films only — and I don't have a solid enough appreciation of the film-making craft to appraise them well. I'd rather point my friends to great critics such as Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael and Barry Norman than have them waste time reading my reviews. When I read their work I become aware of their far superior knowledge and experience of film, society, politics and history and so on. As long as I keep putting my mind to it I will improve in the craft as time goes by.
  11. 06 Sep '13 12:49
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I've added these to my rental list, however my list is over 1000 DVDs long so it may potentially be years before I get to watch them. When criticising true masterpieces, I tend to keep my reviews private because I am squarely an amateur film critic at the moment — a "consumer" of films only — and I don't have a solid enough appreciation of the film-m ...[text shortened]... so on. As long as I keep putting my mind to it I will improve in the craft as time goes by.
    I admire your awareness of any shortcomings. However, you give the critics you mention way more credit than they deserve. I remember their criticism of "Il Postino", for example. Way off the mark and evidenced profound ignorance of history. At least Ebert's. The problem for the critics you mention is their blindly seeing everything through pink colored glasses in that they favor left leaning films over others in spite of reality, gloss over depravity as if t a mere aside and see art where there's hardly any. You may consider yourself amateurish, but your honest appraisal of Coco & Stravinsky is refreshing precisely for bluntness and wit. I fear many of the usual "renown" critics are media whores who fear being taken of the film preview/screening list if they are honest. I see them as clapping seals for all that's awful in film these days. When Ebert died I was hoping someone better would take his place, but alas it has not come to pass. I don't even know who's highly regarded anymore. I do know that if there were less mendacious critics out there films would be better since studios would fear putting out schlocky product!