Posts Tagged ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Ezra’s Spooktober 2015

Posted 28 Oct 2015 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead 

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is probably my second favorite one in the series, after Craven's original, of course. I’ve decided not to get quite so carried away this time around, but as I said last year, October is my favorite month. Since I tend to watch a lot of horror movies year-round, in October I feel like I have to do something special, so I try to watch almost exclusively horror movies. I watched (or, in many cases, re-watched) a total of 22 before starting this article, and I’m far from finished. In the interest of actually recommending some movies before Halloween, I’m putting this out now, and in the interest of brevity, I’m cutting it down to ten recommendations, grouped together as double features (even though their availability varies a bit). Not all are horror movies, exactly, but I think you’ll agree they’re all on-theme for the season. Enjoy!  Read More

Ezra’s Favorite Movies Of 2014

Posted 17 Feb 2015 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 

The Lego MovieThis was the year I realized that my annual goal of seeing pretty much every movie released in a given year was more impossible than ever. The reason for this is the exponential growth in the number of films now being released in the digital age. When I started doing these lists back in 2001, there were about 300 official releases per year; now it’s closer to 700. With that in mind, I’d like to start with a partial list of movies I meant to see in 2014, but just didn’t get to in time. Then, to acknowledge the relatively arbitrary nature of these lists in general, I’m listing my Top 10 in categories by which each film corresponds to another one from my Top 20 (only the Top 10 is ranked in order of preference). It’ll make more sense as you read it, I promise.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN (40 movies I didn’t see in time for this list, in alphabetical order): Bird People; The Boxtrolls; Calvary; Chef; Citizenfour; Coherence; The Congress; Enemy; Fading Gigolo; Filth; Force Majeure; Foxcatcher; Frank; Fury; Gloria; Happy Christmas; Ida; Joe; A Letter to Momo; Leviathan; Life After Beth; Like Father, Like Son; Lucy; Men, Women & Children; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Mr. Turner; Moebius; A Most Violent Year; Night Moves; Palo Alto; The Rocket; The Sacrament; St. Vincent; Song of the Sea; Starred Up; Stonehearst Asylum; Top Five; 22 Jump Street; Virunga; Wrinkles.

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 Art Of Darkness – Apocalypse Now & Full Metal Jacket

Posted 17 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Apocalypse Now, USA, 1979

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Full Metal Jacket, UK / USA, 1987

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

pocalypse Now is considered by many to be the greatest war film ever made. “War is hell,” the cliche proclaims, but it seems to be entertaining hell. Along with other ghastly subjects such as murder and vampirism, war ranks among the most popular and commonly used subject matter of filmed entertainment, and no war has yielded more or better films than the one in Vietnam between 1955 and 1975. Whether detailing the effects of the war by studying its aftermath or getting right into the heart of the battles, the Vietnam War has proven to be a source of boundless interest for filmmakers and moviegoers alike. Perhaps it is the moral ambiguity of Vietnam that makes it the most interesting war for film adaptations, and no films illustrate this ambiguity better than Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket (1987). Read More

Armadillo

Posted 22 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Armadillo, Denmark, 2010

Directed by Janus Metz

Armadillo is a brutal, gripping look at war.

Danish director Janus Metz’s Armadillo has been criticized by some for its use of fiction film techniques in depicting the day-to-day lives of Danish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan; many of these detractors point to the very similar American film Restrepo (2010) as a model of documentary realism, seeming to indicate that the use of color correction and non-diegetic music in Armadillo makes it somehow less “real” than that film. Restrepo also had the advantage of an earlier U.S. release date and subsequent Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, so Armadillo, which also features a small film crew embedded with a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan, became somewhat overlooked. However, it is largely because of the film’s post-production techniques that, for me at least, it emerges as the more gripping of the two films.

While Restrepo‘s directors, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, certainly deserve at least equal commendation for their bravery in making the film (they spent a year with their platoon, while Metz’s film covers only half that), it is precisely Metz’s more narrative-driven approach that draws the viewer in and makes his film all the more haunting. A viewer’s enjoyment of both films hinges to a great degree on their ability to be entertained by relatively unadorned reality, as much of the time spent outside of patrols and combat situations is whiled away in sheer boredom, so Metz is wise to present this reality with the gorgeous cinematography audiences have come to expect from fiction films. Whereas Restrepo‘s more traditionally documentary-style approach makes the experience akin to watching the news, Armadillo paradoxically feels more real because it is presented in the way most audience members have grown accustomed to seeing war: through the dark but beautiful visions presented in films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987). Read More