Mittwoch, 21. August 2013

The Congress

Tackling subjects as profound and diverse as the future of cinema, the value of personality, the merit of choice, the essence of existence and employing about as many expressive means to tell its tale, Israeli director Ari Folman's sci-fi extravaganza "The Congress" is too ambitious for its own good. The result is an in every way uneven film that's glacial and confounding at times and stupendously inspired at others.
While definitely not for everybody, this is a movie that, in its best moments, truly takes creative flight and soars. Personal highlights include the scenes where the live-action part of the movie slides into animation (at about the 45th-min mark, a bit late by all accounts) and where the process is reversed towards the end. Delightfully crude, hand-drawn cartoons lend the first a feeling of absolute liberation while the full weight of reality and disillusionment packs the second.

Singular, meditative, narratively and artistically challenging, whether you enjoy the film or not, it's likely to be your trippiest experience at the cinemas in a long time.

Dienstag, 20. August 2013


German sex comedy "Feuchtgebiete (Wetlands)", based on the scandalous bestseller by Charlotte Roche, is a raging, vile, no-holds-barred trip down a young girl's dirty fantasy and nasty experiments à la Amélie Poulain on crack.

Despite its fixation on orifices, bodily fluids and unsavory food-anatomy comparisons, the movie looks fetching as director David Wnendt pulls out all the stops to visually recreate the restless state of a damaged mind. Photographed with light in all intensities and colors of every shade, blood, pus and excrement explode onto the screen in a whirlwind of kaleidoscopic ugliness that disgusts yet entrances. Lead actress Carla Juri uses her disarming ease and naïveté to great advantage but is limited in a role that often feels petulant and one-note. The same could be said about the movie as a whole, which never quite shakes an episodic slightness to its narrative and suffers from a final act that has its touching moments of clarity but is altogether forced and clumsy. For all its ostentatious provocativeness, this movie seldom hits the right spot.

Dienstag, 6. August 2013

The Bling Ring

There are rare moments in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" where we kind of get a peek inside the anemic, barren minds of the famed teen burglars who robbed Hollywood celebrities, but by and large the movie is unexpectedly flat. While it's not as downright lethargic as "Somewhere", it also lacks the sparkly energy of "Marie Antoinette" or the hypnotic intimacy of "Lost in Translation" and "The Virgin Suicides". Of course the story is supposed to be about the ignorance and superficiality of kids raised under the paparazzi culture, but that doesn't change the fact that the script just screams emptiness and banality most of the time. Driven by not much more than a voyeuristic kick that also loses steam due to repetitiveness, the movie offers otherwise no noteworthy performance and is visually and sonically unremarkable.

Second dud in a row. Win me back, Sofia!