Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Entries from October 2009

Mother

October 15th, 2009 · No Comments

My favorite film from the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, doesn’t so much defy classification as much as it conglomerates genres in a way that seems as unusual as it is natural. Those who have seen Bong’s 2006 sea monster romp, The Host, will sense an immediate familiarity with Bong’s blending of [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Director · Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Thriller

Precious

October 14th, 2009 · No Comments

If one of the independent film organizations had an award for the cast who most allowed themselves to look bad on film, there is no question but that the award would go to Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. (And yes, the length of the film’s official title is annoying.) The festival centerpiece [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Drama · Ensemble

Antichrist

October 12th, 2009 · No Comments

The prologue to Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s latest cinematic provocation, is among the most moving, sumptuous, beautiful imagery ever set to a score and projected for an audience. Washed in a blue monochrome, the slow-motion sequence both takes your breath away and paralyzes you. It is so beautiful, in fact, that it nearly anesthetizes you [...]

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Tags: Director · Drama · Horror · Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

October 10th, 2009 · No Comments

Here is a sure indicator that a movie franchise has gone too far: when the latest installment, despite the spectacle of its explosions and special effects, is more or less a bore. That is, sadly, the state of things in the X-Men department. By the look of things, the film has left the caretakers of [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Capsule · Comic Book · Popcorn · Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Red Cliff

October 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Aside from being a kind and gracious soul (as displayed again at his appearance tonight at the film’s North American debut at the Chicago International Film Festival), John Woo is a talented filmmaker. He is well known for the visual flourish he brings to action sequences, which is tirelessly put to use is Red Cliff, [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Director · Drama · Ensemble · Foreign Language · Review · Romance · War

The Girl on the Train

October 9th, 2009 · No Comments

One of the nicest things about a film festival is the surprise delight, if you are bold enough to take a chance on a film and lucky enough for it to pay off. Not that choosing The Girl on the Train as the first film to see at the Chicago International Film Festival was that big [...]

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Tags: Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Romance · Thriller

Japón

October 7th, 2009 · No Comments

Director Carlos Reygadas doesn’t have a very simple explanation for why he entitled his feature film debut Japón, given that the film is set in Mexico and populated by Mexican characters who do not do or say anything remotely Asian. Reygadas claims that the title captures the film’s tone, revealing his own broad conception of [...]

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Tags: Drama · Foreign Language · Review

Chicago Overcoat

October 7th, 2009 · 3 Comments

While a lot of attention will be given to the fact that director Brian Caunter and his Columbia College Chicago colleagues landed the very recognizable Frank Vincent (The Sopranos, Goodfellas, etc.) for their feature debut, I was more excited to see the late cameo by Stacey Keach. There wasn’t an art house cinema in my hometown, [...]

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Tags: Crime/Noir · Review

Scoop

October 6th, 2009 · No Comments

I’m just going to come out and say it: there isn’t enough going on in Scoop to justify it’s existence to anyone but die hard Woody Allen completists. Admittedly I have a love/hate reaction to Allen’s work. There is no doubt that he is a supremely gifted filmmaker, but Scoop is another example of his [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Comedy · Director · Romance · Thriller