Archive for the ‘Most Confusing Films of All time’ Category

No Country For Old Men – An Argument

By Jason A. Hill & Ezra Stead

No Country for Old Men, USA, 2007

Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Based on the Novel No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men is full of excitement, suspense, and action, but I got the feeling that there was something deeper going on under the surface and I was expecting some revelation at the end. [Note: “An Argument” is a new feature on Movies I Didn’t Get, in which the site’s founder and owner, Jason A. Hill, and head editor, Ezra Stead, debate the relative merits (or lack thereof) of various beloved movies on which they disagree. Please feel free to get in on the argument in the comments section below.]

No Country for Old Men - An ArgumentJASON’S ORIGINAL REVIEW: I didn’t get this movie. I wanted to, and I was fully engaged as I watched the film. However, by the “end” of this film, the only way I knew it was over was by lights in the cinema coming up, and for a film that wins Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor, I really expected a lot more. Of course, I saw the movie before all of that.

No Country for Old Men is full of excitement, suspense, and action, but I got the feeling that there was something deeper going on under the surface and I was expecting some revelation at the end. What I got instead was that feeling you get when you’re at a big concert and the headlining band comes out on stage two hours late then leaves the stage after one song as the lead singer throws the mic down and flips off the crowd. At first, everyone thinks it’s a great gesture, but after a while they start to feel conned.  Read More

Upstream Color – Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life

Posted 14 Dec 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Upstream Color, USA, 2013

Written and Directed by Shane Carruth

Upstream Color is an even more complex and challenging film than Shane Carruth's first film, Primer. I will not hesitate to say that I think Shane Carruth is the most exciting new filmmaker of the 21st century. His first film, Primer (2004), is a masterpiece, the most realistic, challenging, and compelling time travel movie ever made. Now, nine years later, he has returned with Upstream Color, an even more complex and challenging film, and certainly a more visually appealing one. Forgoing the impossibly economical 16mm filmmaking of Primer in favor of gorgeous HD, Carruth has created a work of stunning beauty and deep emotional and philosophical resonance. Read More

Movie Haiku

By Ezra Stead

Akira is the greatest animated film of all time. Let’s stray from the beaten path for awhile, shall we? Instead of a review in the usual format, today I’d like to offer up thoughts on over 25 films, mostly some of my favorites, but with a few that I love to hate thrown in for good measure. Only a few of these actually work as reviews; most are free-form poetic interpretations of the feelings they brought up in me. Some are just plain silly. At any rate, all are written in the form of the ancient Japanese art of haiku. For those who don’t know, that means five syllables in the first line, seven in the next, and another five in the last, preferably with some sort of twist in the last line or, failing that, at least a sense of poetry throughout. Almost all of these were written sometime in 2005, which explains why there are three inspired by Frank Miller’s Sin City, my favorite film that year. Let’s begin with a couple of actual Japanese films:

 

The net is vast and / infinite. Now that we two / have merged, where to go?
Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Tetsuo – not the / Iron Man, but a bike punk / transcends earthly life.
Akira (1988)  Read More

The Sleeping Beauty – Better Not Bring Your Kids

Posted 22 Jul 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

The Sleeping Beauty, France, 2010

Written and Directed by Catherine Breillat

Based on the Story “Sleeping Beauty” by Charles Perrault

The Sleeping Beauty is a frustrating, disappointing new film from Catherine Breillat. If ever there was a movie I didn’t get, it is Catherine Breillat’s latest, a bizarre, meandering adaptation of the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty.” Perhaps it is because I have only seen one of Breillat’s previous films, the almost universally reviled but, in my opinion, underrated and fascinating Anatomy of Hell (2004), and I am therefore not entirely familiar with her sensibility, but I just couldn’t get into this one. Though it is pretty and has a distinct air of artistry about it, I found Breillat’s The Sleeping Beauty to be tedious, and somehow both opaque and obvious at the same time. Of course, it didn’t help that I was constantly reminded of similar but better films by the likes of Terry Gilliam and David Lynch, not to mention Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and especially Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992). Though they share themes such as the transcendence of time and gender, one distinct advantage Potter’s film has over Breillat’s is the stellar, engaging central performance by the great Tilda Swinton, of which none of the actors in Beauty seem capable of approaching. Read More

Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974

Posted 14 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Red Riding: In The Year of Our Lord 1974, UK, 2009

Directed by Julian Jarrold

Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 is the first of three films, tracking a serial killer through Yorkshire between 1974-1983Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 is the first of three films tracking a serial killer through Yorkshire between 1974 and 1983. The films mirror the actual Yorkshire Ripper and the police cover-ups and scams that took place at the time. The Yorkshire Ripper, thought at the time to be a mentally challenged man who had been caught (and forced to confess), had killed thirteen girls (perhaps more) and continued to run free for years, despite the public demand to have him caught. Consider the Zodiac killer, around the same time, here stateside. Also consider the David Fincher film Zodiac (2007) when watching this installment of the trilogy; they’re practically identical. Read More

Spoiler Alert! Some Thoughts On Twist Endings

By Ezra Stead

The Sixth Sense ruined twist endings for quite sometime after its 1999 release. Since M. Night Shyamalan’s much-ballyhooed 1999 feature The Sixth Sense, twist endings have gotten something of a bad rap, and usually with good reason. After all, in many cases they are a cheap way to add excitement to the climax of an otherwise dull story; sometimes they are a cop-out, negating all emotional involvement that may have been invested in a film up until that point; others seem to be the sole reason for a story’s existence, without which the whole thing crumbles. On the other hand, when they work, twist endings can make a good film great, and they occasionally even reward repeat viewings by revealing previously unseen layers that can only be recognized once the conclusion of the story is known.

As rightly reviled as are many recent examples of the technique, especially many of Shyamalan’s subsequent efforts, there are also many laudable examples to be found among some of history’s greatest cinematic achievements, old and new. Widely respected filmmakers from Alfred Hitchcock to David Fincher and Christopher Nolan have successfully employed the well-placed twist to wonderful effect, and even Orson Welles’s immortal classic Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest American film ever made, concludes with what can only be deemed an elegant, emotionally rich twist ending. Read More

The Tree Of Life

Posted 10 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Tree of Life, USA, 2011

Written and Directed by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is a beautiful and extraordinary film that will undoubtedly remain one of the best of this year or any other.

Terrence Malick is a truly extraordinary and enigmatic filmmaker; over the course of the last 38 years, he has directed only five films, each one of which is widely regarded as a consummate masterpiece. The beauty and complexity of his images are almost in a league of their own. Between the sheer cinematic perfection of his work and its anti-prolific output, he is reminiscent of perhaps the cinema’s greatest auteur, the late Stanley Kubrick. His latest film is likely his best work to date (I still haven’t seen 1978’s Days of Heaven, widely regarded as his greatest achievement up until now), and it certainly feels like his most personal, while simultaneously tackling the huge metaphysical ideas of Kubrick’s own greatest work, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The Tree of Life is a staggeringly ambitious film that evokes not only the monumental beginnings of all existence in the universe, but also the tiny, specific details of ordinary lives; the result is a flawed but profound epic on the scale of 2001 with the emotional resonance that Kubrick’s more detached approach is often accused of lacking. It is also a film that deserves comparison to Darren Aronofsky’s extremely underrated masterpiece The Fountain (2006) in its themes of the interconnectedness of all time and space and the way in which we are all affected by forces beyond our control and understanding. It is the rare film whose flaws only make it more intriguing, since life itself is flawed and disconnected in much the same way. Above all, while comparisons can be made to other masterpieces in Malick’s own career as well as those mentioned above, this is a wonderfully unique and original film, with a style and voice unlike any I can recall. Read More