June 14th, 2008

cinema

SIFF Day 21

Vice (Russia) 2007 ***
Denis is a successful DJ. He has a beautiful girlfriend. The only thing he doesn't have is money. Rather than letting his rich girlfriend borrow money from Daddy in order to prevent their eviction he gets involved in dealing drugs instead. Things do not go well for him.

This movie has a distinctive if not original look to it, with super saturated colors and an aggressive editing style. It stars, Maxim Matveev as Denis. He bears a striking resemblance to Orlando Bloom and therefore has been dubbed by L. & I as the "bargain basement Orly". This film is certainly watchable but nothing to write home about.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh (USA) 2008 *1/2
Stupid, bad, hateful movie about Art Bechstein, the son of a gangster who has just graduated from college and is hanging out with screwballs during his last summer before he has to begin his adult life with a real job.

The only thing worth watching in this film is Nick Nolte as the schmuck's mobster dad and Mena Suvari as a vapid slut. Unfortunately they only have minor roles. Instead we're forced to follow Art and his friends, Sienna Miller, who cannot act and Peter Sarsgaard, who can act but he's awful in this film. There's only so much you can do with a lousy script. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber who previously directed Dodgeball. If that's not a ringing endorsement for this film, then I don't know what is.

Alexander Nevsky (Soviet Union) 1938 *****
Then we ended the night with sublime perfection. This film is essentially a thinly veiled propaganda film about Russian hero Alexander Nevsky who defeated the Germans when they invaded Russia in the thirteenth century. Word to the wise: do not attempt to invade Russia- especially in the winter. You will get your ass kicked. Directed by legendary filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein, who manages to raise this film from propaganda to art and tells a pretty good story with great style in the process.

With Alexander Nevsky, Eisenstein created the first cinematic use of editing film to music. He collaborated with famed composer Sergei Prokofiev (Peter & the Wolf), who created the score to accompany the film. SIFF presented Nevsky at Benaroya Hall with live accompaniment of the Prokofiev score by the Seattle Symphony. This event was truly stunning. The moment at the end of the battle when the soldiers lay dead and dying on the battlefield while the soprano walks to center stage and sings a lament for them made my hairs stand on end.

And for anyone who has seen this film... I have one thing to say: The helmets. The helmets are not to be missed.

Total Movies seen: 76

*= Unclean, unclean
**= Crap, but doesn't make your eyes bleed
***= Watchable to good
****= Great
*****= Masterpiece/Classic