I don't think racist is the right word but I do think that stereotypical would be more fitting. That's your oppinion though. It did make me cringe. If it weren't for the way the caracter of Toshiaki was defined I would have given the film five stars
"Side Effects" tells a stupid story with irritating (sometimes offensive) plot turns, yet it somehow works. This trashy tale of intrigue is visually slick, hypnotic with its shallow-focus digital cinematography and cold edits. Much to my relief, the movie doesn't demonize prescription drugs but rather explores how manipulative characters capitalize on society's fears of meds. To say much more would ruin the fun.
"This is 40" is a funnier, more mature film than "Knocked Up," but it's not quite a good movie. Film benefits from stronger leads Rudd and Mann, bringing warmth to the incessant fights of their characters. This time, the humor feels more organic, grounded in the drama of the story rather than a distraction. Still, it's an exhausting movie, and I'd take a single episode of "Louie" over this film any day.
"I Heart Huckabees" is the rare American indie with narrative and visual quirks that function as key thematic devices rather than empty affectation. The entire ensemble successfully matches the manic rhythms of David O. Russell's direction and writing, but Wahlberg particularly stands out. He captures both the leftist rage and the heartache of his character with ease. It's existentialism at its most excitingly wacky.
"Promised Land" too bluntly presents the fracking facts and simplifies its character's emotional arc with an eye-rolling romance. And yet, I enjoyed the film for the most part, thanks to nuanced performances by Damon, McDormand, Krasinski and Holbrook. Gun Van Sant's direction gives the film an intimate, small-town touch. It's an incredibly minor work for the filmmaker but a better-than-average drama overall.
Everything in front of the camera is spectacular: the sets, the costumes and the ensemble cast. It's a shame that it's all shot and edited with no sense of composition, continuity or space. The cinematic syntax is as sloppy as it gets. Crowe is not nearly as bad as critics have suggested, and Hathaway's moment in the spotlight is truly heartbreaking. Again, a flawed film has strong moments despite Hooper's direction.
The weakest in a strong body of work, "Django" is still an impeccably crafted and invigorating blood fest. The first act has incredible momentum, but the film dramatically slows down when DiCaprio's villain is introduced. The conversations in the talky second half feel especially deliberate and self-conscious, even for Tarantino. It's well worth the time but not as inventive or cathartic as the masterful "Basterds."
David Chase's "Not Fade Away" has all of the creative energy of a debut feature, despite the director's decades of TV experience. His film approaches the '60s and its music affectionately but modestly. Instead of merely relying on cultural references to ingratiate the audience, the low-key drama focuses on its complex characters, showing how rock music shaped their lives uneventfully and sometimes quietly.
The jokes are often obvious, the depiction of India is condescending, and everything ties up just a little bit too neatly. But damn, this charmed the socks off of me. The film works because of the incredibly strong ensemble, with each actor lending a deep sense of humanity to his or her thinly written role. John Madden's direction is also impressive, lending this film a graceful and whimsical touch.
Team Bigelow-Boal once again demonstrate they are incredibly skilled when it comes to engaging, journalistic storytelling but a bit shallow and perfunctory with character development. For the most part, I saw the film as politically ambivalent, implicitly citing at least the threat of torture as effective but also honestly portraying the horror of violence, even with the final raid.
If there's any humanism to be found in this movie, it's in the faces of Trintignant and Riva. Their performances are rich, drawing us in even if the film is pushing us away. Otherwise, although Haneke's film has profound moments of honesty, it is cruel and lesser than the sum of its parts. "Amour" posits its images of decay and its story of death as insight, but it's simplistic in its insistence and symbolism.
Sarah Greenwood's production design is impeccable, and Joe Wright's theatrical presentation fascinatingly foregrounds the beauty of this artifice. Unfortunately, the movie is otherwise emotionally distant, unable to transcend its familiar material. Melanie Oliver's editing feels rushed, with shots clipped a few beats too early. Instead of energizing the film or elliptically compressing it, this blunts the emotions.
If Allen's mockumentary "Zelig" took an "academic" approach to its shifty subject, "Bernie" examines Black's title character sympathetically and intimately, with a true sense of local flavor. Using faux interviews, it's a story by and, in large part, about a community. The sweetness makes the darkness of the story all the more palpable. Like Black's performance, the film is a chilly mix of charm and deviousness.
Oscar Micheaux's "Within Our Gates" might introduce too many characters in its short running time, but this masterful work addresses character psychology and larger social issues in such a provocative way. Film's use of editing to visualize interiority is inspired, offering rich insights into complex characters. Micheaux isn't content to focus on racism on an individual level, tackling important systemic problems.
Although "Frankenweenie" features quality animation, character design and art direction, Burton's feature never tops its first scene, a meta homage to 3D movies and how they capture precious moments in time. Juggling death, horror references and suburban satire, the film never coheres and, at times, simply bores. Biased as a Japanese American, I hope everyone found the villainous Toshiaki at least a wee bit racist.
Like "Sunrise," "Tabu" tells a simple love story, but F.W. Murnau trades expressionism for poetic ethnography, capturing rituals, lives and locations in Bora Bora. The film acknowledges modernity without rendering it a simplified evil. "Tabu" is also a truly visual experience, abandoning intertitles except for a few introductory passages and diegetic text. Floyd Crosby's cinematography stuns without showing off.
The fine but unremarkable "There's No Business Like Show Business" mostly presents Irving Berlin numbers of varying quality, but it also depicts the familial struggles its characters. Fox's first CinemaScope musical, the film doesn't always make the most of its widescreen photography, excepting the impressive "globe-trotting" "Alexander's Ragtime Band" sequence. With only a supporting role, Marilyn hijacks the movie.
Although it doesn't consistently live up to the promise of its stark, deliciously superficial first act, "Looper" succeeds as a haunting, inventive thriller. If "Blade Runner's" L.A. echoed classic noir, Johnson's universe seems an extrapolation of contemporary crime dramas. Film features some of the most striking violence in recent memory, including more than a handful of (for me) literally jaw-dropping moments.
Ida Lupino's "Hard, Fast and Beautiful" takes a sophisticated look at the dark side of sports, focusing not on the rising star but rather the familial discord brought about by success and greed. Voice-over narration, thoughtful staging and an icy performance by Claire Trevor make the selfish, ruthlessly ambitious mother a fascinating central character. The uncompromising ending is still a breath of a fresh air.
"Anatomy of a Murder" sometimes drags and proves more tedious than complex, but Otto Preminger's film fascinatingly embraces digressions and non-drama as aspects of the litigation process. In the courtroom, James Stewart is pitted against George C. Scott, providing an impressive acting showcase for greats of two different generations. The movie is concerned with shades of grey, uninterested in moralistic judgements.
Vapid, nihilistic nonsense, "Battle Royale" is never as clever, exciting or moving as it seems to think it is. It offers typical teenage insecurities as insight, and the movie touches upon but never really says anything about oppression, delinquency and (somehow) violence. It's visually unremarkable and intellectually bankrupt, a bloodbath that serves only to entertain and hardly even does that.