Joe is a fiercely determined 50-year-old woman whose sexual drive has taken over her entire life. Her story of how she ended up injured in an alleyway and subsequently being nursed back to health by the curious Seligman deepens and darkens in this half of the story, as she relays tales of how her sexuality has caused so much damage. In a bid to somehow recover from her nymphomania, she attends a therapy group, but she also can't resist meeting a therapist of a different kind as she finds new and more dangerous ways to challenge herself and her sexuality. Her pleasure through pain has led her to a potential job with a group of criminals who are looking for somebody to inflict pain on their victims. But with such instable people around her, just how close is she to landing in some serious trouble?
Continue: Nymphomaniac: Volume II Trailer
Continue reading: La Peste Review
Predictability reigns for much of the film, because we've seen the story far too often before. A stranger comes to town where the residents are skeptical of outsiders. She proceeds to go out of her way to ingratiate herself, they finally accept her, and then show their true colors against her of what they fear to inflict on one another due to extended co-habitation. The dysfunction turns into a gang of all versus one, regardless of any normal sense of morality, which they are able to slowly rationalize. On the one hand, the unhurried process through which this evolves respects the fact that nobody changes actions or views over night. But because we know it's going to happen, the path to getting there feels arduous.
Continue reading: Dogville Review
Lars von Trier's peculiar compulsion to humiliate his heroines (and by extension the actresses who play them) has finally crescendoed to a deafening din of indiscriminate, exasperating martyrdom in "Dogville," a daring experiment in heightened performance and minimalist filmmaking that is fatally undermined by the Danish writer-director's conceit as a narrator.
His last four movies ("Breaking the Waves," "The Idiots," "Dancer in the Dark" and now "Dogville") have all dealt largely with the psychological (and sometimes physical) torture of vulnerable female protagonists. While his storytelling and cinematic style are almost always compelling, he's never seemed so arbitrary in his sadism than in this allegory of a beautiful, 1930s flapper fugitive hiding from the mob in a ragged, remote, austere Colorado mountain hamlet, where the tiny populace goes from distrustful to accepting to maliciously cruel on little more than von Trier's say-so.
Played with discernible dedication by Nicole Kidman, Grace is a porcelain enigma of self-flagellation so determined to escape some kind of shadowy past that, in exchange for the skeptical township's shelter, she agrees to indentured servitude -- doing handy work, favors and manual labor one hour a day in each of the seven households. She gradually comes earn the friendship of all -- even those most reluctant to accept her.
Continue reading: Dogville Review
A giant metaphor for freedom and self-discovery, directed by a young Luc Besson who had yet to discover his self-indulgent streak, "The Big Blue" is a visceral and turbulent, yet strangely tranquil and beautiful cinematic experience that plumbs the souls of a pair of competitive deep-sea divers who are at once best friends and bitter rivals.
Made in 1988 and reissued this summer in a 40-minutes-longer director's cut, it's one of those rare films you can't help but be affected by on some level. Its vivid photography and even more vivid performances strike a nerve as the film follows the warm but antagonistic friendship between bombastic Enzo (a pre-"Professional" Jean Reno) and quiet, private and deeply reflective Jacques (a pre-"Zentropa" Jean-Marc Barr) beginning with their shared childhood in a craggy, cliff-side, coastal Greek hamlet.
Years later they meet again and form a powerful bond and a dangerous rivalry after discovering they're both record-setting divers who can hold their breaths for super-human lengths of time and plunge to unimaginable depths in professional diving competitions around the Mediterranean.
Continue reading: The Big Blue Review
For years filmmakers have been trying to reinvent the musical. "Evita" went big, "My Best Friend's Wedding" sneaked musical numbers into its semi-standard romantic comedy, the "South Park" movie mocked the cartoon musical while besting it with genuinely catchy tunes, "Love's Labour's Lost" was an homage to the Fred and Ginger sing-songs of the 1930s.
But no one has succeeded in making a truly modern movie musical, one that employs emerging filmmaking techniques instead of reaching back 50 years for inspiration. In fact, no one has ever even attempted something like "Dancer In the Dark."
Writer and director Lars von Trier -- the reclusive Dane behind the minimalist Dogme95 movement that espouses natural lighting, no props and handheld cameras -- discovers a way to marry his trademark sparseness with the unfettered showmanship of song and dance numbers in this daring retooling of the musical genre.
Continue reading: Dancer In The Dark Review
Joe is a fiercely determined 50-year-old woman whose sexual drive has taken over her entire...
Evoking the age-old parable of human nature pillaging the likes of total goodness when it...
Lars von Trier's peculiar compulsion to humiliate his heroines (and by extension the actresses who...
A giant metaphor for freedom and self-discovery, directed by a young Luc Besson who had...