Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a proper review: a prophet (un prophète)

since this film made me delay my sleep for more than 2 hours and that it is very rare for me to finish something in one viewing i figured it should only make sense to write a proper review instead of my usual 'yeah this shit is yeah yeah okay not bad yeah this shit is kinda yeah good shit'.

this french fare had a simple premise, prison + gangs (i confess i have a thing for prison gang flicks, i might have an idea why), and a rise to underground glory ala scarface. it followed the footsteps of 2008 italian offering gomorra and many other classic predecessors (especially those brazilian favela movies) in bringing an extremely gritty dimension to the mafia genre.

truthfully the storyline was not only predictable but it was already announced with every promotional gesture. of course, an air of uncertainty would definitely add some kind of excitement but a foreseen affair that could still make you surrender your attention and render it glued to each scene absorbing every development with so much anticipation is a very special one. that is one true mark of a great movie.

in my opinion, other than the beautiful presentation in terms of colours, camerawork, screenplay and editing, and the occasional subtle surrealisms, what really made the movie were the two main actors tahar rahim as our quote unquote hero malik and niels arustrup as the corsican kingpin cesar who rules the prison with his gang's power over guards.

malik is quite a unique character, all his emotions no matter how you can tell from some onscreen suggestions (such as those surreal cellmate scenes) is there are only shown slightly and he has the tendency to go with the flow and make the best of what he has or is given. when we are first introduced to him, he let out in a very short burst about his innocence to the prison personnel surveying him but settled down in haste and calmly recommenced with his interview as soon as the questioner ignored it.

the same goes when he was forced to commit homicide, it inflicted a major trauma on him and will haunt him forever it seems (to the point of randomly baring his tongue out during check-ups) but he has the ability to live with everything. possibly, his mind and emotions have developed a compartment system that allows him to roll with the punches smoother than your usual. he is also not engrossed in his identity, he might seem to be a muslim arab but has no guilt or qualms about being associated with the corsicans, and he eats pork. all this sets you up for what to expect from this particular figure, a strong indicator of what type of person he is.

the most dangerous kind when you think about it, an unpredictable character hustling and scheming through a tortured linear path. sometimes you can sense the endearing innocence in his wide eyed fascination at the modest things he must have been deprived of or taken away from such as the feeling of sea water touching his feet at the beach, the view and free food from an airplane, the warm embrace of carrying an infant, or even at the simplest, looking out the window during a car ride. but in other instances, some of his actions which are largely impulsive deserves adoration from the most ruthless of cunning thugs.

his first and arguably last boss, cesar, is also complex in his own way. he has a sadistic way about him, sometimes administering intimidation in the most sickeningly violent way (such as trying to spoon an eye out). but his swagger is of an abusive father, and like a nostalgic son his underlings could easily fall into the trap of feeling sorry for him which is something that must've crossed the mind of malik but if you already know our protagonist by now you should understand that it is too hard to know what to expect from malik.

one part towards the end in particular was really touching and i can't even quite pinpoint why. malik smoking a cigar looking afar at the now powerless cesar who is kept from approaching him by malik's goons. you can read a million subtle gestures from the way he is looking at his former boss from contempt to pity but whatever it may be, he stays put, exactly where he is, not making even a single sound, as he smokes the last puff and then goes on with his life.

in the final scene that to me is one of the best ending i've seen in a gangster film no matter how inelaborate it was, i would like to conclude that all malik really wanted is what everyone wants, all the simple things in life. he might have acquired it in the most daring and nihilistic way but that is all that he wishes for, and it is in a way, noble. or at least, that is what i wish to believe.

i can say i really like the main character, he has a kiddie way about him that i find cute. this makes me feel for his plight and every time he pulls off a badass move successfully i can't help but to feel happy for him. the movie tried to somehow relate his fate with that of a prophet when he managed to predict something by way of deja vu, and that in the beginning he was illiterate and along the way learned to read and write. and like many prophets, he was drastically thrown into something any regular person would dread, a labored path riddled with countless obstacles but somehow worked his way through it all. the actor played it really well, i'm gonna be on the lookout for this guy (he's kind of a cutie too ahaks). to be able to make you feel something through just facial expressions is a gift.

the movie overall brought a new shade of gangland to the table, the muslim/arab variety. we've seen muslims mostly as villains in a terrorist setting so it's rare to see them in a more humbler but still grim light. and truthfully, you can't help but parallel this with what goes on in our country. the band of 'brothers' who most of the time can look the most pious but will do whatever is necessary to defend and take care of their 'community'. it all sounds too familiar.

bonus reviews:
green zone
this movie was alright. i loved the bourne trilogy, and sure this one puts that concept in a more realistic setting, but i didn't expect realistic settings. it might please some critics to be more realistic but to tell you the truth what i wanted was jason bourne iraq edition to shit out some kick-ass surreal shit and beat the shit out of the pentagon like what he did to c.i.a. but alas, they chose to go the more captain obviousy route as if we didn't already know what's up with the wmd, it was nice action but did not please my vengeful fantasies.


promising concept and some great actors involved. even the feel of the movie was kinda dope but as the film goes on despite an okay twist it got way too routine and common to be good.

i really loved this one. i do have a thing for movies related to sci-fi and this movie despite not being straight forwardly sci-fi used it as a setting so effectively. the actor dude was really good. the robot was kinda cute too. every movie that has some fucks abandoned or placed in space lonelimently would involve some evil twist but this one did not suck in that cliche and had a really nice flow to it resulting in a kinda-satisfying ending. to me whether a movie succumbs to the age old good hollywood ending or not does not really matter, what matters is if the ending is good that's it.

butterfly effect
i liked this movie. had a really nice twilight-zony concept going, the adult support cast could've been better though. the childhood part was great, but when those kids turned to adults shit just lost a bit of magic especially the girl.

awesome chevy chase shit. probably the best chevy chase flick i've seen. he is so smooth (and awesomely random) with his wit, sarcasm, and insults.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

civil whining

there is this guy i know who likes to make generalizations about girls who wear hijab. at one point he was outright dissing hijab-ed girls in the harshest way possible just because a few of them weren't acting too nice in his opinion.

this makes so much sense to me because i once saw an iguana who stole a key-chain from a gift shop and from that day on every time i see another iguana stealing a key-chain from a gift shop i'd be like yeah, iguanas, they're all key-chain thieves! sheesh.

he has a best friend of a different race who seems like a level headed guy. the best friend is sensitive about racism, every time someone says something racist he would be the first to point it out and is not afraid to burn bridges just to get his stance across. but would he burn the bridge he has built for years with this hijab-girls hating best friend of his? because i am sorry to inform you my good man, your best friend, is racist-material.

racism is bigger than racism.

why is the first dude racist-material? because his behaviour is the very same behaviour that fuels racism. of course the dude is not directly racist towards you and you probably value that, but if this is the way he acts, believe me he is more than capable.

like i said, racism is bigger than racism. to be against racism is not just about using politically correct terms in public, or proudly exclaiming that you are not a racist, or avoiding calling someone with a different skin tone names. it runs way deeper than that, it covers more than just a scope related to how you look or what culture you are from. i also don't think we should be against racism, racists and anyone who practice any form of prejudice are the ones who should be against us.

and i guess the best friend wasn't really that level headed afterall, he is actually aware of this behaviour and still couldn't make the connection. either that or he's just accepting of whoever his best friend is, or he just doesn't care because it does not directly affect him. it's disturbing seeing as they are the type of people who wouldn't think twice about putting others down for presumably not being as modern or as civilized as they are.

there is another thing i don't get at all. some girls are so pissed off when they are pressured into wearing the hijab and would be ever ready to lash out if society presume they are whores cause of the way they dress. but they would also be the first to condemn whenever a hijab-ed girl does something indecent as if a hijab-ed girl is supposed to be a decent human being just because she is wearing the hijab.

if this is a behaviour of yours then what right do you have to be pissed off when people judge you because of the way you look in the first place? i'm not saying those people have the right to judge you i'm just saying you're an idiot. and if you are gonna be judgmental just because people are judgmental towards you then i guess this vicious cycle of idiocy will perpetually spin till the milky way pours itself into a cereal bowl of apocalypse.

it's kinda like somebody who would be surprised if they see some arabs behaving badly because arabs are supposed to act all islamic and decent because the prophet was arab not realizing that it was also the arabs that wanted to kill the prophet back in the days.

it's been said too many times don't judge a book by it's a cover, what i wanna say is if you judge a book by it's cover don't bitch when you are judged by your cover.

and i just have to say this, if you are a muslim, just because you know a lot of hijab-clad assholes does not make it any less of a duty for you to cover your aurat. fine, if you don't want to wear the hijab, it's your business, there's no need to get all defensive about it. you just choose to not do some things that your faith requires, i am also as flawed in this respect, most people i know too, no need to get bitchy about it.

those people who start distorting islam just to fit into how they live their lives piss me off even more. some islamic rules not funky and hip enough for you huh? homie, if you don't agree with some islamic teachings then it's simple, you just don't agree with some islamic teachings. islam is about submission, not innovation. it will be however it will be no matter what, you can change interpretations up to a certain point but what's concrete will always be concrete. if you don't agree, then you simply don't agree, don't try to shape something established to your own liking. if you still want to, start your own fucking religion, buy a .org, print corny car stickers, organize gatherings in a neighbourhood far far away from mine whatever whatever as long as you are banished from the proximity of my annoyance radar.

i guess with the rapid advent of social media that has swiped off the cloth blanketing thoughts running through minds i have begun to see just how primitive a lot of people are. and most of these fuckers don't even realize how redneckish they are, they think they are so distant from the close minded ways of a part of the community that they bitch about daily not knowing that they are not advancing from that but merely sidestepping into a different-looking form of redneckism.

you could be the first person to laugh every time racism is parodied in a movie, you could have the most artistic taste in movies and music, you could view yourself as the most liberal personality in your community. none of these in any way guarantee that you are immune from all that negativity which you yourself paradoxically resent.

you could have a lucrative career at a large multinational company, you could own expensive foreign cars, you could acquire a condo unit saturated with ex-pat neighbours. you would probably blend in with the rest of civilization but it wouldn't make you civilized.

a lot of people don't realize just how disgustingly shallow they are. i use disgusting because as a human being i know everyone is in one way or another shallow and hypocritical, but if you have at the very least a little bit of intelligence and common sense you could easily avoid reaching a disgusting level.

a lot of people think that just because they fit the criteria reminiscent of personalities from the culture of a developed country assuming developed countries represent civility gathered probably through mass media or just simply common knowledge they are therefore automatically civilized.

to seem civilized might require a materialistic form.

to be, requires much more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

shit i watched

kinda nice looking, and great actors (del toro always looks cool as fuck), but overall it was just okay to me. it was well made, the whole atmosphere, the part when he was turning into the werewolf and shit, but the story was too bland.

book of eli

ehh not bad, great hero-villain combo in denzel-oldman but the movie overall could've been way better. what a pity since it had a very mad max-y fallout-y backdrop, the dream of post-apocalypse-bonered geeks. for some reason i thought they got the colour correction wrong, it was way too chromy and almost 300-level annoying, they should learn more from korean movies on how they could make shit bleak yet beautiful. some of the action scenes were kinda cool though.

i love this shit, haha, blaxploitation spoof, it's as slick as oss117 and funny as shit my man, wahuukgea, y'all gotta watch this shit it's mad slept on it came out last year you know.

the invention of lying
i will forever love ricky gervais for the office but fuck is he annoying as himself, the atheist. what i hate so much about some atheist assholes is that they don't realize they can be as annoying as some religious assholes too. annoying douches are annoying douches it don't matter what colour race religion whatever the fuck. this movie is boring atheist propaganda, i don't really give a fuck if it's any propaganda but it is so fucking horrible, i love formulaic movies you know those easy to watch mainstream movies about some dude who one day wakes up as a ship and now has to convince the woman that he loves to fall in love with a ship but fuck me this movie just fell flat maybe cause it was way too obnoxious, yeah we get it bla bla bla you don't believe in god and you think it's ridiculous cause of bla bla bla but this is a fucking movie entertain or get the fuck out. sometimes these atheist assholes are way more annoying than religious assholes i would give out my wu tang t-shirt to see the look on their faces as they are proven wrong.

this was kinda nice, the kid who acted as the asshole kid was very good i really felt for his character, so was the other kid the son of rambow, a very touching imaginative movie.

up in the air
i don't know this was just okay i guess. wayyy too much acoustic guitar with some white dude singing softly as background music.

the parole officer
kind of a waste of steve coogan but what the heck nice easy to watch formulaic movie with a british twist ekk why not.

bored to death season 1
hbo shit, yeah nice chillout shit, private investigator kinda shit and includes a goofy high ted danson. i have a thing for ted danson from cheers to becker to curb your enthusiasm etc. etc. etc. ekk why not.

blue collar
surely the best ever acting performance by the late great richard pryor. great movie, great atmosphere, great chemistry between the main casts which other than pryor includes harvey fucking keitel and yaphet kotto. i was watching this movie and due to their performance onscreen i thought these guys were real close buddies off it, later on i found out they were actually throwing punches at each other during filming. that's good acting.

nanny mcphee
nice, unexpected but i kinda enjoyed it. nanny mcphee was kinda cool.

the stunt man
i watched this just now, a very bizarre movie, had a great performance by peter o'toole. i think i like this movie, it's really well-made, the pace of the movie is almost perfect it's like scene after scene flowing so nicely no matter how hectic or weird it would get, even the movie inside the movie seemed interesting the scoring was dope too. it's basically about some vietnam vet running away from the law stumbling into the set of a world war i movie and somehow brought in as a stuntman by the eccentric director played amazingly by peter o'toole.

the hammer
really chillout, just watch, listen, see what happens kinda rom-com. nothing unique but that's what i like about some movies, no need to get out ya comfort zone and shit. it's just about some guy who's gonna achieve great success, i like, sexytime and get the girl he loves, the guy is funny too it's adam carolla a famous dj or sumin' in america, he's just a funny guy. you know one of those witty tall dudes with a nicaraguan sidekick, i don't know. he just seemed so natural you know it's almost like watching him actually you know falling for the women and bla bla bla, it's basically about this loser who you know finally makes something of himself i just have a thing for losers hmm i wonder why wahuhukgea.

meet bill


dirty work
wahukkgea norm macdonald, he's just norm macdonald, this movie is hilarious, and to top it off it's a great 90's formulaic easy to watch movie. some funny ass cameos too, namely chevy chase (classic dry chevy chase here), the late chris farley, gary coleman (yes), don rickles, adam sandler, and many more.

the hangover
a non-funny dude, where's my car

an education
not bad, ok.

homie spumoni
not bad too.

big stan
yeah, kinda nice.

drillbit taylor