Archive for tag 'Not Hollywood'

  • Miss Marx

    A better biopic than Marie Antoinette, with a somewhat similar style. Loved the speeches straight to the viewer, they are enmeshed in the story, usually ironic echoes of the main characters condition. The whole film is that, speeches extolling the virtue of equality in socialism, with men idling while woman toil.

  • Bacurau

    This was not what I was expecting for a “political allegory”. Surely not Tarantino-esque shootouts and actual characters saying “Wanna fuck?”. This is not Parasite, not by a long shot.

  • Fabian: Going to the Dogs

    The opening says it all: a tracking shot of a modern subway station cuts seamlessly to the same subway in 1931 Berlin, right in the middle of an election campaign.

  • Restos do Vento

    Violence begets violence, silence continues the suffering, vengeful catharsis only delays the problem. In this case, for the next generation.

  • Silmido

    A mix of Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket, if they were both directed by Jackie Chan or John Woo. The action scenes are so over the top, it’s hard to take the rest seriously.

  • Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

    Forbidden love in the 1700’s, remains mostly the same until about the 1960’s. You will be disappointed if you go in expecting Blue Is the Warmest Color.

  • Cartas da Guerra

    Epistolary look into the commissioned officer experience in the Portuguese Colonial War. A more mainstream affair, compared to Hotel Império.

  • Salgueiro Maia: O Implicado

    The missing biopic of a forgotten hero. Many civil wars were avoided by his charisma, calm and quietude.

  • Fitzcarraldo

    Some Irishman called Fitzgerald, a failed businessman, goes big or goes home. The crazy part is that it works, he goes big.

  • Youth

    Maradonna, Miss Universe and Leonard Nimoy enter a Swiss hotel… This script has incredible jokes, followed by cruel and mean philosophical meanderings into the Universe. Just like life…

  • Veneno Cura

    What’s this, I don’t even… That cold opening sets the tone, but it gets progressively weirder and weirder. Goes to very dark places, but never raises above voyeurism and gratuitous shock value.

  • Audition

    That’s fucked up. Slow burner, preps you you 90 minutes of romcom, for a final segway into trademark Takeshi Miike madness. The ending is very much anti-climatic.

  • The Host

    Just like Parasite (and even Mother), the tone swerves very fast from hilarious comedy to poignant emotional suffering. The USA are the real monsters…

  • Die Welle

    Heil Teacher! The simplifier in chief. Group dynamics do most of the work, it only needs a small push.

  • A Metamorfose dos Pássaros

    Poetry that let itself be filmed. A very personal and fine arts take on familial loss. “Every frame is a painting” is rarely such an apt description, it is literally true in this film.

  • Ida

    Bit of a nun-binge, after Benedetta. This is the absolute opposite.

  • France

    An untranslatable avant-garde look at French mainstream society, Virgil-ed by a pop TV presenter. Brilliant, nobody ever done this before, magnificent.

  • Sombra

    Boyhood, without the boy. Burn my shadow away…

  • Titane

    Violenté par une voiture. A more French version of mother!, and also Christine and Cronenberg’s Crash (not Crash).

  • Paraíso

    Oh, the humanity. It oozes from the screen.

  • Space Sweepers

    NANOMACHINES, SON! Akira for the younger generation.

  • O Frágil Som do Meu Motor

    Cronenbergian body horror, Aronofsky-ish weirdness, and Halloween twisty serial killers, in a single esoteric package. It packs a noir atmosphere, with the requisite police procedural.

  • In My Room

    An entire film dedicated to the common retort “Not even if you were the last man on Earth”. Shaun of the Dead meets The Hangover, with more dicks since this is a German film.

  • Memories of Murder

    “Ordinary, with a normal face”. I feel much was lost in translation here. This seems part police procedural, part period piece based on the background events that seem historically important, but my knowledge of contemporary Korean history prevents me from appreciating it more.

  • Mother

    Psycho Marple. Just like all criminal Bong Joon-Ho films, the whodunnit appears to be a very complex web of motives and suspects, but turns into a nearly throwaway situation, completely random and unpredictable.

  • Era Uma Vez um Arrastão

    How to spin nothingness into a far-right nativist rallying cry against foreigners, courtesy of a pliant press on a summer weekend.

  • O Leão da Estrela

    Ah, the good old forties, when two foot-ball teams could all do roman salutes before the match. Heil, Füsball!

  • Como Desenhar um Círculo Perfeito

    This title resembling a YouTube tutorial hides a muddled bunch of nothing with some French music as soundtrack. That imagined osmosis could make up for the lack of everything else.

  • The Handmaiden

    Rashomon is the warmest colour. Surprisingly, this is based on a British novel which had already been adapted by the BBC starring Sally Hawkins and Imelda Staunton.

  • Aniara

    High Rise meets generation ships, turning to ʻOumuamua. Did not know this is an adaptation of a sci-fi poem from the 50s.

  • Marighella

    As he listens to the biggest lies used to legally support his actions, the fascist spook nods along everything and signs his name to the farce. He stands up, and “Truth and Justice” is written is big letters just behind him. Powerful images.

  • Lisbon Story

    Classic meta film about itself, where the characters fight with the meaning of the it all, with rants about advertising while containing product placement. The Madredeus soundtrack is appropriately eerie.

  • Um Jantar Muito Original

    A modest proposal to serve man. This is an adaptation of a story by Fernando Pessoa, in his Alexander Search heteronyms.

  • Bauhaus

    That cold opening! Only slightly hagiographic history of the OG Bauhaus movement, brought to life in Weimar republic.

  • O Ego de Egas

    Ironically an hagiography, considering the title. It’s a condensed part of his life, mostly exposition, a rookie TV movie.

  • PlayTime

    Jacques Tati goes crazy, with massive sets of massive office buildings, where masses of people mask their major mental disorders, and must make merriment in manic restaurants. I liked Trafic better.

  • Coisa Ruim

    Man is the real monster, and moving from the big city to bumfuck reveals the seething problems lurking beneath the veneer of respectability.

  • O Fantasma

    The protagonist is fucking in heaven. Fucking, and fucking, and fucking in heaven. I want to fuck more, I want to fuck more…. Beware of the unsimulated fellatios…

  • Pedro e Inês

    Cloudier Atlas. The same story, slightly tweaked through the ages, entwined between themselves.

  • Trafic

    Tati 4 life. One of the best road movies ever.

  • Listen

    Nem mau nem bom, antes pelo contrário. How does this win so many awards?

  • Ordem Moral

    How to steal a newspaper from your wife between World Wars: force abortions in excess of 5 maids and assorted visitors, then accuse her of hysteria when she absconds with the driver.

  • Famel Top Secret

    What the fuck is this? What the fuuu… No, life is too short.

  • Bairro

    Oh my. The pretend edgy stuff. The pseudo-Robin Hood shtick. The cars wrecking cardboard boxes. The fade to black, oh god, so many fades to black.

  • Cosmos

    Silly people, worried about scripts written by AI, a random walk over random words. This is done here with the gall of having credits for “writers”. Words without meaning, effluvia of thought. Nearly as annoying as the reviews.

  • Um Amor de Perdição

    The Cliff’s Notes version. Über-depressing, almost makes you weep for idle rich aristocrats.

  • Operação Outono

    Fucking hell, anotherEstado Novo“-adjacent film with main characters who do no speak Portuguese? Dubbing a General who had such charisma that he forced the regime to rig elections against him, and then bury him in a shallow grave? Enough with the dubs already!

  • Les Grandes Ondes (à l'ouest)

    After being politically pressured into deviating the focus of his radio station from sensitive subjects to light and positive themes, the programming head sends a team to Portugal during April 1974, to report on the great Swiss cooperation. Little do they know there will be a coup d’etat followed by a revolution.

  • A Hora da Liberdade

    One of those alleged faithful recreation betrayed by amateurish production values. There’s way too many boom mics appearing on the shot.

  • Capitães de Abril

    The French version of Carnation Revolution. The director is Portuguese, but it’s completely French. The main characters are played by foreign actors and dubbed by Portuguese actors, without lip sync. That’s just folly.

  • Sleepwalk

    Filipe Melo does an Americana short. It deals with the fact that the death penalty is as American as apple pie.

  • J'Accuse

    Roman Polanski tells the Dreyfus story, making it about himself twice. The second one is to cast Emanuelle Seigner as the hero’s wife. Still worth it, though.

  • Delicatessen

    Jeunet (and Marc Caro) plant the seeds of The City of Lost Children. C’est magnifique

  • Refrigerantes e Canções de Amor

    Meh, overplays its hand for such formulaic script.

  • Woman at War

    This is a very funny comedy, attuned to the Thunbergian times we live in (despite being done before that). Quirky, but full of heart.

  • By the Grace of God

    Simple but powerful treatise into Church sexual abuses in Lyon. Sometimes, just reading the allegations suffices.

  • Adults in the Room

    A seemingly faithful diorama of the 5 months in which Varoufakis lead the Greek finance ministry, until being ostracised by the European institutions that turned Tsipras into his own anathema. ευχαριστώ.

  • Tropa de Elite

    Bait and switch. Starts off as a nihilist critique of Brazilian society before going off the rails into full blow fascism. Remarkable in every other way though, a true Triumph of the Will.

  • Good Bye Lenin

    A satirical look at the transition from late-stage decadent DDR into unified Germany, by way of complete exhaustion. Should always be accompanied by Das Leben der Anderen for a more complete picture.

  • Hammer of the Gods

    A surprisingly deep medieval Bildungsroman, comprising a lot of gruesome deaths but also mental thrashings: disappointment, grief, betrayal. Moving from defeat to defeat, until the final “victory”.

  • Até Que o Porno nos Separe

    A crazy premise leads to a massive tear jerker. Nuts! No cockups here, I was unable to maintain a stiff upper lip.

  • A Herdade

    The fictional biography of Ricardo Salgado, by way of Os Maias. Direct political answer to Raiva. Visually, it’s almost 3 hours of people chain smoking and gobbling litters of whisky.

  • Das Boot

    Alaaaarm! One of the greatest epic films, stands besides Seven Samurai and Saving Private Ryan as an eerie depiction of war.

  • Hotel Império

    Über hipster tale of real estate speculation, smoky clubs where not-hookers hook up, and massage parlous, with requisite happy endings. Fuggedaboutit, it’s Macao.

  • Rumble in the Bronx

    A batshit insane old-school Jackie Chan film, but with a larger budget. The freaking hovercraft…

  • Diamantino

    Shaolin Soccer meets Bourne, featuring Mediterranean refugees. Never thought that last sentence could ever make sense.

  • Paprika

    Dreams are more addicting than any drugs. They can make a fat child-like slob believe he has a chance with Dr. Chiba, a hyper competent professional woman. And in the end, mind over matter. Suck it, police detective!

  • Tokyo Godfathers

    An adult version of Ice Age. Three hobos who make for a strange family find an abandoned baby in the trash and go on a self-imposed quest to deliver them into her family. They eventually deliver themselves into their old estranged families…

  • Immortel, ad vitam

    Better than I remembered. A classic noir tale of Egyptian gods meddling with human (and mutant, and alien) affairs, with the protagonists being jerked around, railing against the gods for free will.

  • Millennium Actress

    An actress tells her life story to a fanboy interviewer (and his cameraman), and the recollections are so life-like they are transported into diorama-like versions of it. In a stroke of genius, her story and her films are one and the same, and their plots span a millennium (hence the title).

  • Call Girl

    The bog standard story of a high-class prostitute who hoodwinks her clients and the cop to run away with a suitcase full of cash to Brazil. Her real name is Mary, surname had to be Sue.

  • Perfect Blue

    The distillation of all fame-related works mixed with a psycho-thriller, and there’s even time for a story within a story.

  • Eclipse em Portugal

    A failed attempt to make a sort of remake of Braindead, without the budget or the script. It has heart, but no guts.

  • Balas & Bolinhos

    A crappy no-budget The Hangover years before that. Just like that popular “film” devoid of content, it spawned a franchise. Yet another proof that there is no God.

  • Capharnaüm

    Really puts a human face into the so called “economic migrants” we hear so much about. If this can’t shift policy, nothing can.

  • The Salvation

    Oily western that doesn’t let its amateurish CGI brighten its dark soul. Nearly everybody dies, and the living are left broken beyond words.

  • Os Maias: Cenas da Vida Romântica

    A faithful adaptation of the seminal XIX century story, but poor in production values and plot. The important plot beats are presented in a matter-of-fact way, for such emotionally powerful moments.

  • Raiva

    Cinema veritè, in 1930’s Alentejo. Structured like a revenge plot, mostly against metaphoric leeches represented by literal landowners.

  • Sightseers

    The accidental Bonnie and Clyde, except complete cretins. Reaches Nathan Barley levels of idiocy.

  • Django

    The men with a name that drags a coffin around.

  • Suspiria

    Flash Gordon meets Braindead, but not as developed as any of those.

  • Utøya 22. juli

    In this “fake” single-shot film, the fascist is never seen up close, only the victims matter. Fuck fascists, you will not replace us.

  • Jorge

    Standard “drugs are bad” flick. Despite being about heroin addiction, everybody is happy, and after a brief “Kum ba yah” all is good.

  • Videovigilância

    An ultra depressing film about lowlife Blockbuster Clerks / drug dealers that bite more than they can chew and get their lives kicked down a notch.

  • Malapata

    A demo reel for Hot Jesus. A box ticking enterprise. Not even worth it to finish the

  • Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot

    The good remake of The Toxic Avenger, with added anime referenced for good measure.

  • Linhas de Sangue

    Ensemble parody of action films in general. Low budget doesn’t mean low quality, but in this case that is not completely off the mark.

  • Autómata

    RealDolls are people too (Incredibly NSFW, you have been warned!).

  • Balada da Praia dos Cães

    Simple investigation into a murder that might have political connotations. Turns out it was a crime of passion and the political police are clutching at straws trying to extract meaning where it doesn’t exist.

  • Leviano

    Hipster bullcrap. A low rent Spring Breakers.

  • Paprika

    Even man-child Fritz Haber deserves love.

  • El cadáver de Anna Fritz

    Some films show all their ideas on the title. This one does it on the synopsis.

  • Jagten

    A great film for our times. Paranoia leads to witch hunts which lead to wrecked communities. A great companion piece to Doubt.

  • Animal Político

    Dadaist CGI cow roams an urban setting, like the subway, restaurants, offices. Cow-a-bunda!

  • Síndrome de Estocolmo

    A scathing satire of Portuguese society. The script writer was a classy troll, and the fact that this was greenlit by the biggest broadcast network only makes it even funnier.

  • Castle in the Sky

    The anime with an unpronounceable name in most Romance languages. That joke is inherited from Gulliver’s Travels.

  • Monsanto

    PTSD-ridden ex-soldier goes insane after a partner kills himself.

  • A Very Long Engagement

    Engaging for a very long time. War never changes.

  • Peregrinação

    A road movie set in the Age of Discoveries. The main character travels through Asia in search of wealth and prestige and ends up shunned by the royalty.

  • A Noiva

    Made for TV simplistic take on the colonial war.

  • Pinocchio

    That’s Pinocchio, all right.

  • Howl's Moving Castle

    Steampunk Wizard of Oz, set during the Great War.

  • O Pai Tirano

    One of the representatives of golden age of Portuguese cinema, it’s still hilarious. There’s an overarching plot of silliness and hilarious smaller bits which betrays its origin as vaudeville-esque popular theatre (known as revista).

  • Cube

    High concept horror film without a budget. Focuses on the dynamics between characters. Blows Saw off the water.

  • Bangkok Dangerous

    Light drama meets tourism postcard with murders.

  • Coming Home

    Yimou Zhang goes minimal and makes a film with only three characters, a nuclear family.

  • La vie d'Adèle

    Came for the lesbian sex, stayed for the Bildungsroman.

  • Mad Max 2

    After 3 or 4 views, you can see the speed up scenes, but it’s still very suspenseful to see the last chase scene (and the rest of the film too).

  • Un moment d'égarement

    Puts the ‘fun’ in ‘paedophilia’

  • Perdidos

    This is a remake of Open Water 2: Adrift. It’s better than it sounds, but I haven’t seen the original.

  • Tarde Demais

    This is a story about a group of fisherman from the outskirts of Lisbon that sink their boat in the mud in viewing distance from the shore, but since some are weak, old and/or injured, can’t get to safety before tragedy happens.

  • São Jorge

    Boxing is life, and so is debt collection.

  • Braindead

    Yesterday was Halloween, so I watched Braindead. Peter Jackson’s love letter to his favourite films: King Kong, Raiders of the Lost Ark and schlocky gory stuff.

  • Police Story 3: Super Cop

    This is just amazing. Should really be called Secret Service Story.

  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

    Weirdly great.