Movie Reviews & More
I normally see about one movie a week – generally a hollywood something-or-other. Occasionally i get lucky and see a great documentary or independent film. I’m interested in what people have to say about the movies they watch, and for that reason have set up a Movies page on my site, where reviews of various movies – both mainstream and not, documentary and entertainment – will be made available. on the suggestion of one of my site-visitors, i am also adding a list of suggested movies – feel free to use the form to the right to suggest a movie – all suggestions will be added to this page as they are received! The criterion for what is a “good movie” on this page is partly esthetic, but especially political. Some of my favourite movies have bad politics – Fight Club (David Ficher 1999) for instance was a great movie with shit politics. As it comes together, this page will be divided into two sections:
Your Name: Email Address: Movie to Suggest: Why did you like this movie?
Bad Education Director: Pedro Almodovar Year; 2004 Genre: Drama “Pedro Almodóvar’s new film is the masterpiece we were all expecting” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . Born in Flames Director: Lizzie Borden Year: 1983 Genre: Sci-Fi Read an interview with Lizzie Borden about Born in Flames, Working Girls, anarchism and more, from an old 1987 issue of the Canadian anarchist newspaper Kick It Over! Control Room Director: Jehane Noujaim Year: 2004 Genre: Documentary A look at Arab television network Al-Jazeera, from a sympathetic perspective. Link: http://www.controlroommovie.com/site/01.html The Family That Eats Soil Director: Khavn Year: 2005 Genre: Comedy “If you’re the kind of person who has been conned into thinking that inkblots have deep meaningful messages, that dada was revolutionary or that white noise is great music, then maybe you’ll like The Family That Eats Soil. As for myself, i almost slept through it.” from the review Worth Missing: The Family That Eats Soil on the Sketchy Thoughts blog Freedomland Director: Joe Roth Year: 2006 Genre: DramaFreedomland reviewed on Sketchy Thoughs blog Fresh Kill Director: Shu Lea Cheang Year: 1994 Genre: Science Fiction “Cheang’s work is a prime example of the way queer representation could have gone after that crucial peak of radical queer culture; instead, we chose consumer capitalism and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. Cheang reminds us of the road not taken…” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . Hotel Rwanda Director: Terry George Year: 2004 Genre: Drama Background: Earl Hutchison Ofari’s Clinton Kept Hotel Rwanda Open “As drama “Hotel Rwanda” is very good. Politically and historically it has some serious flaws.” Read the rest of this review by Louis Proyect at Unrepentant Marxist . Hotel Terminus: the Life and Times of Klaus Barbie Director: Marcel Ophuls Year: 1988 Genre: Documentary Besides being a good history of who Klaus Barbie was and what it meant for people living there when France was occupied by Gemrany during World War 2, this is a brilliant look at moral bankruptcy during and after the Holocaust. Don’t be deterred by the fact that this is a four and a half hour movie, i could have easily sat through something twice as long (though get out the video for a full week so you can watch it in several sittings). Jubilee Director: Derek Jarman Year: 1977 Genre: Fantasy Documentary “Call it an all-White, dystopian Born in Flames.” to read the rest of this essay by Jon Davies, see Surfaces, History, & ‘Noise’ in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee Kinsey Director: Bill Condon Year: 2004 Genre: Drama “Writer-director Bill Condon, whose Gods And Monsters was another acclaimed queer biopic, has crafted an energetic film that is as candid and enthusiastic about human sexual diversity as was its pioneering protagonist, Dr Alfred Kinsey.” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . La Pianiste Director: Michael Haneke Year: 2001 Genre: Drama Review: see Masochism in Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste & Catherine Breillat’s Romance Les Femmes du Mont Ararat / The Women of Mount Ararat Director: Erwann Briand Year: 2004 Genre: Documentary “this might have been an acceptable or even good movie if its subject matter was not so important. I wanted to know more than just ‘what would push a woman to be a guerilla,’ I wanted to find out what it meant to be this kind of guerilla…” from the review of Les Femmes du Mont Ararat / The Women of Mount Ararat on the Sketchy Thoghts blog Massaker Directors: Monika Borgmann, Lokman Slim, Hermann Theissen Year: 2005 Genre: Documentary “The film tackles this subject matter [the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila] in a very particular way: by interviewing six of the militiamen who took part in the massacre. This is truly fascinating, and i found it gave real insight into a number of very different questions.” from the review of Massaker on the Sketchy Thoughts blog. Masters of Horror (series) Directors: Dario Argento, Mick Garris, Don Coscarelli, Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Joe Dante, John Carpenter Year: 2005 Genre: Horror OK, this was a tv series, each “episode” being a different hour-long horror mini-movie directed by someone famous. Reviewed as Masters of Male Horror on Sketchy Thoughts blog Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards: Shadows of a Leader Director: Rania Ajami Year: 2004 Genre: Documentary An excellent look at women in the Libyan military, especially members of Colonel Qaddafi’s personal bodyguard. Explores the propaganda and political value of a State-sanctioned militarized feminism in Qaddafi’s startegy to survive both imperialist and fundamentalist challenges to his rule. Rabbit Proof Fence Director: Philip Noyce Year: 2002 Genre: Drama (true story) In 1931, three young Australian girls, abandoned by their European fathers, were forcibly taken from their Aboriginal mothers in the Outback of western Australia and taken by rail to a boarding school 1200 miles away. Their seizure was part of the government’s ‘racial purity’ policy to isolate ‘half caste’ children from Aboriginal society and assimilate them into White society. Molly and Daisy nearly became part of Australia’s ‘stolen generation’ but they escaped. Rabbit-Proof Fence is the true story of their ordeal and perilous journey home. The film is based upon the book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara, daughter of the real life Molly Craig. Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Director: Jonas Mekas Year: 1971 Genre: Documentary Review: Experimental Exilic Documentaries: Jonas Mekas’s Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania & Trinh T-Minh-ha’s Surname Viet Given Name Nam Romance Director: Catherine Breillat Year: 1991 Genre: Drama Review: see Masochism in Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste & Catherine Breillat’s Romance Son Frère Director: Patrice Chéreau Year: 2004 Genre: Drama “Chéreau ultimately asks how two men — in a brotherhood aborted by neglect — can express love and care for each other.” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . Sugar Director: John Palmer Year: 2004 Genre: Drama “The film is originally based on stories from Bruce LaBruce’s influential 1980s Toronto queer punk zine JD’s, mediated through cowriter and associate producer Todd Klinck’s own experiences as a prostitute.” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . Surname Viet Given Name Nam Director: Trinh T-Minh-ha Year: 1989 Genre: Documentary Review: Experimental Exilic Documentaries: Jonas Mekas’s Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania & Trinh T-Minh-ha’s Surname Viet Given Name Nam Unser America Director: Kristina Konrad Year: 2005 Genre: Documentary “While a very sad movie, Unser America was also a very good movie. I would strongly recommend it, especially to those who are interested in women’s participation in anti-imperialist struggles. ” from the review of Unser America on the Sketchy Thoghts blog V for Vendetta Director: James McTeigue Year: 2006 Genre: Science Fiction Review: V for Vendetta A for Anarchy from the Sketchy Thoughts blog The Weather Underground Website: http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/ Wilby Wonderful Director: Daniel MacIvor Year: 2004 Genre: Drama “…charts the experiences of several characters over 24 hours in the small island town of Wilby, Nova Scotia. This particular day is important for it is one of the last before the names of the men caught in a raid of the gay cruising area Wilby Watch are to be published in the local newspaper, which has potentially devastating consequences for anyone living a closeted gay existence.” Read the rest of this review by Jon Davies on the Xtra Toronto website . Working Girls Director: Lizzie Borden Year: 1986 Genre: Drama Read an interview with Lizzie Borden about Born in Flames, Working Girls, anarchism and more, from an old 1987 issue of the Canadian anarchist newspaper Kick It Over! Zohre & Manouchehr Director: Mitra Farahani Year: 2004 Genre: Documentary Sex and sexism in Iran – it is and isn’t what you’d expect. This film explores the relationship between Iran’s version of political Islam, militarism, sex and the female body in Iran. While at least in the Montreal audience i saw the film with i did feel ther was an element of “look at those backwards foreigners”, by and large this film is excellent.
i am not a great fan of horror, but i love zombie movies. i don’t know if its just me, but like other mini-genres mainstream zombie movies seem to come out in waves, and the timing of the latest slew has got me thinking… Is it just a coincidence that movies about small groups of normal healthy people battling it out against overwhelming numbers of irrational subhumans have spiked in popularity over the past few years? At a time when this is precisely the way in which a certain section of the U.S. psyche is viewing itself – as under siege by people who have gone mad, who have no creative or life-affirming qualities, but who are rather dominated by misery, hunger and hate?Starship Troopers (Paul Verheoven 1997) was widely viewed as a campy look at fascism and genocide, with the “heroic” human protagonists intent on invading planets controlled by insects with the goal of exterminating them all. In a move that anticipated the September 11th hijackers by several years, the “insects” prove the necessity of extermination by tossing a giant rock through space, which lands in South America wiping out millions of lives, including the hero’s parents. But if Verhoeven’s human-imperialists are a self-conscious nod towards the German Nazis, the way in which the Zombie movie presents genocide in normally unconscious, and certainly not criticized. With the exceptions of Shawn of the Dead (Edgar Wright 2004) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Alexander Witt 2004), there is never any question of anything but extermination being but a temporary solution to the Zombie Question. And when faced with masses of highly-infectious untermenschen who can really sleep at night with anything less than a Final Solution?
Background on Zombies in General
Feminist Film Reviews from the University of Maryland Women’s Studies DatabaseMaoist International Movement Movie Reviews (dozens of reviews!) Louis Proyect’s Culture Reviews (dozens of reviews from the guy behind MarxistMail) Popcorn Q queer movie reviews