mini film reviews (film review #2, #3, and #4)

02 January 2013

Lately, I've been watching a lot of films on Netflix, and I've watched quite a bit over winter break, and thought that I'd recommend them to you some of you Netflix users! And if you haven't got Netflix, they'll just be plain old film reviews :)

Film Reviews

#1: The Beautiful Person (La Belle Personne) Foreign Film-->French

After transferring to a new high school, beautiful Junie (Léa Seydoux) starts dating fellow student Otto (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), but she soon finds herself falling for Nemours (Louis Garrel), an Italian teacher already entangled in secret affairs with a pupil and colleague. Loosely based on Madame de Lafayette's novel La Princesse de Clèves, this French drama explores the great pain that often accompanies love. (from Netflix)

my thoughts: I watched this with a friend of mine, Deniz (those you follow Voyage will know she's "The Mysterious Turkish Girl") on her laptop. It looked interesting, mainly because of the forbidden romance with a teacher!
The entire time, we were talking. It's a quiet film. And what were we talking about? The oddness and weirdness of French custom. Some of the questions we asked was "He's dating two people? And they know about each other?" and "Is this common in French culture?" and "They all look so pale! And what's with that hair?". I think it's enjoyable if you watch it with someone else, because this extra commentary on both Deniz and I's part was what made this special for me. If you're watching it alone: don't. It's quite boring, and the characterisation is horrid. Junie is just a blob, Nemours is a player (I was actually fond of him from the middle to end of the film. At the start, I was just streaming out curses), and Otto was poorly characterised (we called him "The Angel" of the film, as he's the only good one in there). I've often heard that French films have no plot, and with this, I saw first-hand the truth to that statement.

(here's the cute teacher <3 data-blogger-escaped="data-blogger-escaped" p="p">
Two and half trees to this one. 
#2: Blood: The Last Vampire (Rasuto buraddo)
A top-secret government agency sends a 16-year-old half-vampire to an American military base to ferret out a powerful demon who's masquerading as a student in this live-action version of the 2001 anime film of the same name.

My thoughts: A more accurate summary:
Saya is the last of her kind, a mix between vampire and human. She fights for a government agency on the deal that they provide her with vampires, and she kills them. Saya is highly skilled and the only one that can do such a difficult task. But her main goal, what she's wanted for centuries, is to kill Onegan, the vampire that killed her father. She is sent to an American military base surrounded by suspicious Americans, to a high school, disguising herself as a 16-year-old Japanese student.

I can easily tell this was based off a manga. All the fighting scenes, Saya's back-story, the American friend that Saya meets that's the typical sweet, innocent (but becomes a bit more daring) American teenager, and the twists. I didn't like it because of the poor special affects, the brevity that didn't allow for a more in-deph look into what's a promising story line, and well....that: the lack of deph. I wasn't left with a lingering feeling, or a deep question to ponder. The film is really purely action.

Two and a half trees again.
Now on to the documentaries, which have a more promising outlook!
#3: Children Underground
This Oscar-nominated documentary explores the tragic policy decision by Romanian dictator Nicolei Ceaucescu to outlaw the use of contraceptives and encourage his impoverished populace to have more children. Thousands of children were born to broken or dysfunctional families in a nation mired in political and economic instability, resulting in a large and rapidly growing population of homeless children in the city of Bucharest.

My thoughts: At first, I had low expectations for this one. The length is about an hour and a half, and for the first fifteen minutes, all there was was dialogue between a bunch of poor, random chidlren. It's a bit low to start, but through a silent power, this documentary really impacted me. I recently just finished watching it and I must say, I cannot promise a happy ending. This is the harsh reality of these tragic children. I actually spilled tears watching this, it's heartbreaking. I fell in love with these kids, especially Mihai. However, I wonder why the director didn't do anything? It was just filmed and honestly, the children didn't benefit at all. I would think that in the "one year later", the director would have used some influence to improve their lives, but did he? (no, no he didn't) It could've been an artistic decision, to portray the reality of many other children who share the same fate, or because he didn't want to. Anyhoo: I would recommend watching it, when you have a lot of time, of course!
#4: The Unmistaken Child
Filmmaker Nati Baratz follows the spellbinding journey of Tibetan Buddhist monk Tenzin Zopa as he travels far and wide to identify the child who is the reincarnation of his deceased master, Lama Konchog. Acting on instructions from the Dalai Lama, the shy Zopa relies on astrology, dreams and other signs to locate the child, knowing that if he succeeds, he must also convince the boy's parents to release their child into his care.

My thoughts:
It's quite long...but I really liked this one for some reason. There wasn't much speaking, just beautiful scenery and a glimpse into the lives of a very peaceful, quiet, rural Nepal. Of course, I did begin to question my love of Buddhism. Religion is based on the unknown, on belief. But that Tenzin Zopa relies on vague, insubstantial advice and's a bit disbelieving, but also warmed my soul. I really love the boy that you see on the cover. The last few minutes touched me. The entire film did. I really liked this....and I can't explain why. It's beautiful in a silent, gentle and hopeful way.
I may change my mind later, but for now: four trees too! Unlike "Children Underground", I was left with a happy, beautiful feeling after watching this. I promise you, if you watch this, you will smile!

A Conclusion
My upcoming film reviews are bound to be documentaries more than anything. I love documentaries, but I haven't seen ones like "Children Underground" and "The Unmistaken Child", more like the ones on The History Channel and the Science Channel, about how Rome or Egypt was engineered, or how the universe works and such. I quite like the social/political/religious documentaries more. I'm currently watching one called "China's Lost Girls" done my National Geographic that's similar to "Children Underground". Don't give me that look :D It was in the suggested videos, so I accepted! 

If you've watched some films recently and would like to make a recommendation, I'm always open! Let me know what you think about these films here :)

2 thoughts:

  1. I love documentaries, especially about politics and social issues!
    I haven't heard about any of these movies :( but I love French movies so the first one is on my list :)

    BTW! Happy New Year

    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming

  2. I saw Blood: the Last Vampire a few years back. I thought it was mediocre at best. It seemed promising at the video store, but it just didn't deliver.

    I'm always looking for new documentaries to check out on Netflix! I'll definitely have to watch Children Underground. By the way, I recently watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It was a pretty fantastic documentary. You may want to give it a try if you haven't already seen it!

    - Jackie


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