It's strange. Watching films for such a long time and still getting tricked about the content of a movie. I can usually tell where the film is going within the first 20 minutes. The last time I remember being faked out by a film was Mulholland Drive, and that was worth the trick to be honest. Going into First Reformed, I had no expectations. I knew that I liked Ethan Hawke, and that it was directed by the writer of Taxi Driver. That's about it. During the first 20 minutes of the film, I was enjoying myself. I felt like this would be a character driven film that gripped the viewer with the intricate life of a lonely priest. Halfway through the film I began to realize this movie wasn't what I thought it was. And I don't know how to feel about that.... Here are my thoughts.
The toughest aspect of being a cinephile in my opinion is deciding what to watch next. Its always the same scenario. I finally find some free time to watch a film, and I ultimately sit there staring at hundreds of films and ending up wasting all the free time I had. This has been a constant issue, and I tried many methods to try and fix this. The latest method has to do with the book 1001 Movies To See Before You Die. I've had the book for a long time, but never used it as a definitive guide. I would just on occasion go through it and sometimes find something that peaks my interest. Well, I decided that I am sick of not being able to choose a film to watch, I made the book do it for me. I went on random.org and I made it pick a page number. It landed on the film you are currently reading the review for. I had no idea what the film was about or anything. I went online and found it and started watching. Here are my thoughts.
Out of all the countries in the world, South Korea has definitely been my favorite when it comes to films outside of America. Obviously studying there helped a lot with exposing me to their culture and way of life. Furthermore, I took a course specifically on Korean Cinema where I managed to get an insight into their whole industry. From that course I acquired many recommendations. A key one being Lee Chang Dong who is easily in my top 3 favorite directors of all time. However, another person I heard a lot during the course was Hong Sang Soo. Although I heard about him many times during class, I never really thought of giving him a try because of all the other films that peaked my interest way more. Anyway, fast forward to yesterday where I was dead tired after a long week of work and I just felt like watching a simple film. I remembered Hong Sang Soo and though "Why not?". Boy was I glad I watched this film. Because not only was the film simple, it was exactly what I needed at the time. Furthermore, it has lit a fire in me again to go back and dabble in Korean cinema because I truly feel like it needs more love.
I started my journey with films back in 2010. Obviously back then I did not know much, and I am still learning to this day. However, back then, I had nothing to go on, and didn't know why certain films were considered "great". All I did was go to lists and try to watch the films that everyone was saying is good. I remember back in 2010 or 2011 I watched Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" (1957). After watching it, I did not know why it was considered good, or what made it a classic. However, I promised myself that one day I will get back to Bergman after I have learned more about film. Well, its been almost 8 years and I felt confident enough to watch something by him again. The reason I chose Persona is literally because of the first scene with the kid on the bed. I was just checking to see the footage quality and saw that shot, and I knew I wanted to watch this film. What happened in the next hour and a half was something I will never forget. If you enjoy surrealist films that elicit a strange emotion, then stop reading this review and watch the film. If you saw my score at the bottom you will know why.
I think I have this reputation between people that I know personally of being "not fun". Since every time I go into a blockbuster I leave the theater with this dissatisfied look and just had a horrible experience. Whereas everyone else was just there eating popcorn and shutting off their brains watching explosions. I obviously don't hate every blockbuster, but I am very critical of most of them. Because the worst thing I hate from films is not something being bad, its something being average. Films being average are in my opinion one of the biggest detriment to modern films. Since they live in this grey area where the film wasn't good in any certain way, but it wasn't bad as well. It was just okay. Which, should not be okay. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I am sick and tired of constantly being fed the same thing over and over again. This generic three act structure riddled with cheesy one-liners, forced romance, and awful plot. It just gets tiring to watch, and I went into Ready Player One with those crappy expectations of what I will see. However, one word came into my mind when I left the theater after watching this film. Entertaining.
This is the first film I review on this site which is this old. Partly because I have watched most of the classics of this time period. However I haven't seen all of them. Which is why, for the past 9 days I have managed to watch a classic film every day. M was one of them and I really wanted to review it in order to talk about some ideas. First of all, I want to say that I know that through my reviews I may seem like a huge film snob that thinks so highly of the classics and what they offered. That statement is partially true. I am a film snob, but I don't blindly love a classic just because it is one. Certain classics are considered as such because of the influence they had on later films, whether it be in certain technical aspects or even their story structures. However, there are some classics that personally do not feel enjoyable when viewing them now. Which is a given for some of them since not everything can age like wine. However, there are some classics that are timeless and I believe can be enjoyed whenever and wherever. Films such as Psycho, 12 Angry Men, Modern Times, and many more. To me, Fritz Lang's M is very close to that list but just not quite there.
If you know anything about my taste, you would know that horror films are one of my least favorite genres when it comes to film. Which is why for the past year I have been trying desperately to find horror films that I enjoy. I am not saying that I never enjoyed any. I mean The Shining is one of my favorite films of all time, but that's Kubrick, so it doesn't count. Anyway, in the past year I have been watching more horror than I have ever watched. I managed to find a lot of modern gems such as Get Out and to a certain extent Don't Breathe. However, through this journey, the thing I realized is that there is a sub-genre of horror that I began to really appreciate. That is, horror films which use prosthetics and makeup effects rather than CGI. This is why I think I really enjoyed films like The Fly, Alien, and now The Thing.