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Reviews Written by
Kim Anehall "www.cinematica.org" (Chicago, IL USA)

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Bubba Ho-Tep
Bubba Ho-Tep
DVD ~ Bruce Campbell
Offered by DVD Monkey
Price: CDN$ 49.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A Comical and Well Written Horror Story, May 29 2004
This review is from: Bubba Ho-Tep (DVD)
In dusty east Texas in a forgotten nursing home where elderly come to die rests Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell), the king of rock-n-roll. His true identity is unknown to the public as he had made a pact with an Elvis-impersonator that went wrong. Elvis's friend Jack (Ossie Davis) is the only one who believes that he is the king, but Jack also believes that he is the John F. Kennedy. Elvis is currently bed-ridden in the nursing home as a result of a stage accident where he broke his hip three years ago. Between sleeping, eating, and using the bed pan Elvis has bizarre dreams and visions that often launch philosophical thoughts of getting old and its consequences. This monotony crawls under the skin of Elvis as he decides to get out of the bed and use the restroom for once. However, it seems as if Elvis's adventure to the lavatory leads to a darker secret that seems to drain the life out of the residents of the nursing home. Bubba Ho-Tep is a comical and well-written horror story that the director Coscarelli adapts to the silver screen with a delicate touch of humor and suspense. The comedy is improved with Bruce Campbell's performance as Elvis, which will give the audience reason to burst out in loud laughter several times. Bruce Campbell also brings out a raw, but sensitive side of the old Elvis that suffers from health problems and other dysfunctions that comes with age. Bubba Ho-Tep offers a recommended cinematic experience that both offers high quality entertainment and some reflection for the thought.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
DVD ~ Klaus Kinski
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 63.77
15 used & new from CDN$ 28.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herzog and Kinski's Vision of Manifested Madness, May 28 2004
This review is from: Aguirre, the Wrath of God (DVD)
On the eastern slopes of the Andes during the Spanish expedition , Gonzalo Pizarro urges his men to continue through the thick Amazon forests despite the dangers within the dark and humid jungle. The tale of Pizarro's venture begins with an ominous warning as it is revealed to the audience that the only surviving evidence of the expedition is a journal kept by Brother Gaspar de Carvajal, a monk who travels to spread the gospel of Christianity. This bleak foreshadowing induces an inching uneasiness into the mind of the audience. This is enhanced by further looming incidents such as native slaves dying like flies from simple colds and food shortage. The low supply of food leads to a decision to split the group where one group should return for provisions and the other should continue searching for a gold shimmering city. This tale then follows the ill-fated who continue the journey for the legendary city as they are drawn deeper into the cruel world of the Amazon. Deaths of several men forebode the grim future of the expedition, which the leadership wants to call off and return to the safety of civilization. However, Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), a high ranking soldier, commands a rise against the leadership based on a proud vision of greatness and worldly riches beyond imagination that drives him to thrust deeper into the unexplored rainforest. Aguirre's vision draws the expedition into a personal realm of madness and destruction, which leads to only one certain fate.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God has a lingering effect on the audience as the eerie atmosphere created by Herzog persists from the initial shot to the final scene. There are several components that generate this bizarre ambiance of the story such as cinematography, idiosyncrasies, mise-en-scene, and performances by the cast. The cinematography is simple and sometimes documentary-like, which produces a real feeling. This real feeling together with the uncanny knowledge of the unavoidable doom enhances the extraordinary atmosphere of the venture. The complete portrait of the character Aguirre by Klaus Kinski is nothing but spectacular. Herzog's choice of mise-en-scene is delicately chosen as all the items had to be transported by the expedition. Each item within each frame displays a significant symbolism such as the horse and raft, which adds new layers to the unnatural atmosphere. Lastly, the performances by the cast are outstanding as it is not the dialogue that drives the story forward, but the visual manifestation of their being that elevates the outlandish impression of each scene. When Herzog combined all the aspects of film-making in Aguirre: The Wrath of God he left the world a brilliantly eerie cinematic experience that will leave several notions in reflecting minds.

Nada
Nada
DVD ~ Maurice Garrel
Price: CDN$ 24.25
16 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good political French new wave kidnapping drama..., May 25 2004
This review is from: Nada (DVD)
NADA, a French terrorist group, kidnaps the American Ambassador to France as they want to put some pressure on the French conservative government. The Interior branch of French government is offended by the actions of the NADA fraction and want to find a quick solution to the problem. The solution leads to increasingly brutal conduct by the French police, which forces the NADA fraction toward more radical action. Chabrol directs a good political French new wave film that bluntly depicts how violence breeds violence as the audience is allowed to follow two sides of the story.

This Man Must Die
This Man Must Die
DVD ~ Michel Duchaussoy
Price: CDN$ 25.61
21 used & new from CDN$ 7.48

5.0 out of 5 stars A cerebral thriller of vengeance, May 25 2004
This review is from: This Man Must Die (DVD)
After a hit and run accident Charles Thenier (Michel Duchaussoy) loses his only son and he is determined to find and murder the perpetrator. In Charles's investigation he records every minute detail and notion that passes through his mind in regards to the death of his son in a small black journal with a red marker. However, the private investigation that Charles is running seems to come to an end as he watches with a discouraged mind all clues lead to nowhere, until by accident he comes across some information that leads him to the killer of his son. Calculated and determined Charles enters the world of the killer as he attempts to get as close as possible to carry out his vengeful plan. This Man Must Die is a cerebral thriller that is based on a novel by Nicholas Blake that Chabrol adapted brilliantly to a terrific cinematic creation. The suspenseful atmosphere that Chabrol creates is inescapable, as the audience can hear Charles's dark thoughts as he scribbles them down in his black journal, but cleverly Chabrol leaves something untold that will keep the audience in awe until the end.

Wild at Heart
Wild at Heart
VHS
6 used & new from CDN$ 16.48

5.0 out of 5 stars David Lynch's violent adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, May 25 2004
This review is from: Wild at Heart (VHS Tape)
Wild at Heart is David Lynch's violent adaptation of the Wizard of Oz with mesmerizing cinematography, which offers an exceptionally artistic cinema experience. Many scenes are visually packed as they offer much to ponder since they are often surrealistic or full of symbolism. The symbolism and surreal environment enhance the fantastic adventure into love, passion, and righteousness that Lynch provides for his audience. The tale begins with Sailor (Nicolas Cage) who was sent to jail for manslaughter as he killed a man in self-defense that was sent by his girlfriends neurotic mother. Released on probation Sailor is free and loving as he can reunite with his girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) despite Lula's mothers opposition to their relationship. Lula's defiance upsets her mother who hires another hitman to slay Sailor. However, Lula and Sailor decide to take off to California and break Sailor's probation by following the yellow line on the road to the promise land.

Streetcar Named Desire (Full Screen)
Streetcar Named Desire (Full Screen)
DVD ~ Vivien Leigh
Offered by boutiquecinemaniac,com
Price: CDN$ 29.95
13 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The need to be desired personified..., May 25 2004
Desire is a streetcar that brings Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) to the French Quarters of New Orleans where her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter), lives with her husband, Stanley (Marlon Brando). This is Blanche's last resort for help as she has faced numerous hardships such as loosing her parents, her job as a teacher, and an undisclosed secret. These difficulties have left deep scares in Blanche's psyche and left her in a fragile state with neurosis and delusions. Stanley is unwilling to let Blanche stay, but Stella convinces Stanley to let Blanche stay temporally. However, Stanley's unwillingness to help grows to hostility and begins to affect Blanche as she discovers the true nature of Stanley. Streetcar Named Desire is a psychological dramatization based on Tennessee Williams's play with the same name that was adapted to the silver screen. Kazan did a brilliant job in directing the film and the cast performed splendidly with extremely strong performances by Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. The cinematography and mise-en-scene are excellent as it leaves the audience with a brilliant cinematic experience that provides much room for thought as Blanche deals with her inner struggles.

Titus (Widescreen)
Titus (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Anthony Hopkins
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 57.87
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taymor adapts vengeance and its consequences..., May 25 2004
This review is from: Titus (Widescreen) (DVD)
Titus is based on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, which is an extremely bloody and terrifying tale of vengeance and its consequences. The cinematic adaptation that Julie Taymor wrote is set in a Roman Empire-like environment with crossings of ancient and modern as the mise-en-scene displays cars as well as tanks with soldiers in ancient armor. This creates a link between then and now, which could suggest that the displayed horror is timeless and possible even today. Taymor creates exaggerations in this cinematic environment with brilliant cinematography, grand directing, and mise-en-scene that amplify the abstract atmosphere as it elevates the unnatural doings of Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins), Tamora (Jessica Lange), and Saturninus (Alan Cumming) among others. The Shakespearian violence that Taymor presents serves as the means to an end as the story plunges into a dark realm that most do not wish to visit, but must contemplate as it could have devastating effects on all.

The film opens with a scene where a young Lucius is sitting at the kitchen table, with a brown paper bag over his head, eating dinner while sadistically tearing the heads of his warrior dolls while violently smashing the items on the table and pouring ketchup over the "killed" dolls. This is followed by an explosion where Lucius dives bawling to the floor for protection. Lucius is a clear resemblance of his father Titus in the opening shot. The rest of the film is a carnival of hideous acts and morbid behavior that alll falls around Titus with a domino effect trigged by one wrong decision. Despite the distressing elements of Titus, the film offers a brilliant cinematic experience that devours the audience as it supplies several subplots and themes, which the audience should ponder under the light of human compassion and the word "consequences".

Idiots [Import]
Idiots [Import]
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Irresponsible offensive behavior by grown-ups..., May 25 2004
This review is from: Idiots [Import] (VHS Tape)
Karen stumbles aimlessly around in Copenhagen and she ends up in a classy restaurant where she meets Stoffer who is the self-proclaimed leader for a group of individuals that live by acting as if they were mentally handicapped. The group offers something to Karen to hold onto as she begins to discover her "inner idiot" by acting irresponsibly and immaturely. This behavior causes confusion and disorder around them, which leads to anger, anxiety, and misery. The Idiots begins with several comical situations that leads to distasteful behavior, which will certainly offend most viewers. However, it is the offensive behavior that brings about a daring theme that pushes the envelop as it provides some insights into our Western civilization. This leaves the audience with an interesting cinematic experience that is shot with the Dogma 95 style.

Les Biches
Les Biches
DVD ~ Jean-Louis Trintignant
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 22.73
13 used & new from CDN$ 13.66

4.0 out of 5 stars The blasé Frédérique seeks diversions..., May 22 2004
This review is from: Les Biches (DVD)
The blasé Frédérique (Stéphane Audran) constantly seeks diversions as she finds Why (Jacqueline Sassard), a female street artist, with whom she initiates a love affair. Frédérique shows off her luxurious apartment in Paris and her mansion on the French Riviera as well as her company for Why. Why, who has nothing, is drawn into Frédérique's steel grip where she is dominated and controlled. The love affair between the two women seems to lead toward an end as Why falls in love with Paul Thomas (Jean-Louis Trintignant), but Frédérique becomes intrigued by the situation and finds a way to get things her way. Chabrol creates an excellent atmosphere in Les Biches, a dark drama, that depicts several concepts such as wealth, the bourgeoisie, domination, and rebellion. These concepts initiate a self-destructive pattern which influences the psychology of Why as she looses control of her own will and life. In the end, Chabrol leaves the viewer with a terrific psychological thriller with an open ending leaving much room for thought.

Code Unknown [Import]
Code Unknown [Import]
DVD ~ Juliette Binoche
Price: CDN$ 28.44
15 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The deciphering of human enigmatic behavior..., May 22 2004
This review is from: Code Unknown [Import] (DVD)
Code Unknown begins with a scene where a a large group of hearing-impaired students are playing charades by acting out emotional behaviors. As the audience observes the scene it becomes clear that the students cannot decode the acted out emotional behavior. The story is in regards to the human inability to understand or read these behavioral cues as they are presented in society and Haneke embodies these cues through a number of "incomplete tales of several journeys". These "incomplete tales" consist of a large number of scenes that begin in the middle and end before the end, which suggests that the ultimate beginning or ending does not really exist since all interactions are linked to the consequences and are deciphered by each individual. Clever directing fuses these scenes together with distinct fade outs that seems to lead haphazardly to a different character's tale, yet within the disorder Haneke creates a neat methodology that presents several intriguing tales. These tales deal with several social and political issues such as racism, love, attitude, poverty, and much more. Code Unknown displays the possibilities of great cinema as Haneke deliberately forces the audience into contemplative action through his creative scene constructions and challenging cinematography. In addition, the cast performs brilliantly, one example is a close-up shot of the character Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche) as she is preparing for a film role where she is going to die. This shot is modern film history as it personifies fear with cinematic brilliance. In the end, Code Unknown is cinematic art that leaves the audience with an enigmatic riddle of human behavior which is left for the audience to decipher as the story suggests.

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