There’s a feeling that comes into my head when I’m trying to write something that I end up thinking it’s only going to come off as unbelievably self-indulgent, which I suppose might be the best way to go on with talking about a film like Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman’s most indulgent script, and yet by a mile it is also one of his most fascinating experiments to date. But maybe it’s because I always watch this and look back at what it is that I’m doing, and after having achieved so much success, I know I don’t want to disappoint. I know I don’t want to disappoint numerous people who have followed along me, so I come to the point I stint my own writing for long periods of time. But for a man like Charlie Kaufman, it’s already hard enough from what I can imagine to follow up a film like Being John Malkovich for as bizarre and as clever as its own concept is, and it’s that sense of honesty that allows me to admire Adaptation all the more.
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Now for one of the most underrated films of its own time we talk about Olivier Assayas’s Demonlover, which has found itself categorized as a part of the New French Extremity movement. This erotic thriller drew a wide range of reactions going from great dislike to high praise. On behalf of the latter half of its own audience what I can only come to say about Demonlover is that it might indeed very well be one of Olivier Assayas’s best films. If there was anything to be proven with Demonlover it was that Assayas was certainly amongst the most versatile filmmakers of his very own kind, going from experimental drama films now to a cyberpunk erotic thriller – it’s a shame that this film has gone underseen over the years but here’s hoping it gets a critical reevaluation that I believe it deserves. Perhaps it may prove a baffling work for some but I still think there’s something all the more hypnotizing about that quality to Assayas’s work: and it’s absolutely brilliant.
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After Disney’s Renaissance era had ended, the studio has tried moving onto creating original ideas (and clearly having a rocky opening through the good like The Emperor’s New Groove and the bad like Dinosaur) but something that was ever as ingenious as what has been left behind in Lilo & Stitch is still something of a rarity for most animation studios today. If I were ever asked to list down which of Disney’s offerings since the 2000’s have stood out amidst the bunch, Lilo & Stitch is another one of the first that would be coming to mind. I had fond memories of watching Lilo & Stitch when I was much younger and maybe a growing sense of nostalgia had come back to me, but after years of not having seen it – something snapped into my head that only convinced me what it was I loved about it then and what I love about it now.
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In America, it would be easy to recognize Ju-on: The Grudge for being the original source of its remake of the same name, for they also share the same director and the same antagonist in both the English and Japanese language versions. Unfortunately it also seems as if they also share the same quality of being rather underwhelming, something which seems to have run common with my own experiences watching the original sources for American remakes of Asian horror films. Conceptually, there’s so much interesting about Ju-on: The Grudge that should make everything far more interesting but after having finished up I felt so greatly disappointed. Continue reading →
The Pang Brothers’ The Eye is one amongst another group of Asian horror films that received remake treatment in the United States, but as I watch the original sources more and more, I begin to question why such films have been chosen to be remade because aside from Pulse, I have never found myself particularly impressed with any of the originals and The Eye is yet another one of those cases. We have an interesting scenario raised in The Eye, but as a whole it felt nothing more than just something that came and went. Whether it be from the multitude of moments where I had the urge to think, “I’ve seen that before,” or just the emptiness that filled my thought during The Eye – most of it all just seemed to be so flat. Continue reading →
Three, otherwise known as Three Extremes II because apparently it got its American release after Three… Extremes did, is an underwhelming horror anthology that feels so much like a means of showing a series of concepts rather than ideas. I was especially rather excited to check out Three for Kim Jee-woon’s short film but even with my admiration for the director, so many of Three‘s weaknesses came so clear to me and the final results were nothing short of underwhelming. It was never weak enough to the degree that it had pushed me away from watching Three… Extremes but even at a mere two hours, every last idea felt incomplete. Continue reading →
Paul Thomas Anderson, is there ever a day in which your brilliance is going to cease to amaze me? Given his excellent track record prior to Punch-Drunk Love, it would already be a risky move for him to cast Adam Sandler in a leading role because Sandler’s comedic schtick is rather juvenile to a point where sometimes it can be unbearable, but instead something more comes out. What comes out is not only Adam Sandler’s very best performance on film (that goes without saying), but also one of the most down-to-earth depictions of love and mental illness to grace the screen. It’s not only remarkable in the sense that it has turned Adam Sandler into something above average for once, but also in the sense that it goes to show the remarkable consistency of the work of Paul Thomas Anderson – quite easily one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation. Continue reading →