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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) 

Englisch Never go full Lucas. Furiosa doesn’t deny the ambitions in its execution, as it contains many great elements and is frequently breathtaking and absorbing. However, the project undermines itself not only with its shockingly blatant CGI artificiality, but primarily with its prequel concept. All of the previous films in Miller’s franchise are not so much sequels as they are different variations on a post-apocalyptic myth. Every Mad Max movie contains identical elements (including details such as a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun and shells, key events like a convoy battle, and the overarching message in the motif of escape and return). But not only does Miller also alternate these elements based on the myths of various ancient cultures, but he mainly conveys them in the different context of a different culture or tribe in a devastated world. Though Furiosa is fascinating as a post-apocalyptic opera, in the guise of a visually bombastic spectacle it offers only a repetition of a previously seen world built on the principle of DLC video games, where the audience gets only another piece of a familiar map with a new boss (and there has to be a literal franchise easter egg). But this not only has zero benefit for the main narrative that is already taking place and rather trivialises it, but it hardly stands on its own. The old lament that contemporary franchise-based pop culture lacks drama because the audience for prequels simply knows which characters will survive and which will not is very much substantiated here. Taking cues from fan-art creators, Miller dawdles by putting most of the prominent supporting characters from his hit back in front of the camera, thus making Furiosa a mere set of biographies of familiar characters. Fury Road became a milestone of both the action genre and modern cinema because it was a brilliantly concise, well-thought-out and narratively polished vision that Miller had refined over the course of many years. That film’s narrative tied the audience to the hood of a roaring car and let them take in the whole world of the film and its mythology in an adrenaline haze. In Furiosa, we travel the same route in a sightseeing bus, whose driver occasionally puts the pedal to the metal, but we spend most of the time just listening to the jaded tour guide as he gives a long-winded explanation of what we’ve already seen. Despite all of the disenchantment, however, Miller is still able to captivate with brilliant staging and originality, the opulence of his vision and the enthusiasm that comes with being able to start over with popular characters and wild new vehicles that seem rather like comic-book fantasies free of realistic dimensions and physical proportions. Furiosa is still dramaturgically more functional, generally more original and more sophisticated in terms of craftsmanship than most contemporary blockbusters, but those are only minor mitigating factors. In the context of Miller’s filmography, it is an ideal bridge between his post-apocalyptic milestones with campy, unreasonable parallel storylines and the cheerfully unfettered wildness of, in particular, Happy Feet and The Witches of Eastwick. _____ I can’t refrain from a more detailed rant ____ While reading reviews and viewers’ reactions to the film, I was surprised how willingly a lot of them parrot the promo narrative, according to which Furiosa allegedly has more complex characters and a more sophisticated world. The truth, however, is the exact opposite. Just because we see more action, that doesn’t mean that the characters are depicted in a more complex way. We’ve already learned from the previous film that Furiosa was abducted from her idyllic society as a child, grew up in the pain of the wasteland, adapted to the conditions of her surroundings, became a respected warrior and spent the whole time planning her return. Here we see only the circumstances in which all of that happened, but we don’t learn anything more about the character herself. Rather, it becomes apparent that the desired complexity was actually a characteristic of Fury Road, where each character had their own well-thought-out personal story that only resonated in the current situation and conditioned their motivations. The fact that the prequel literally shows us these stories rather strips the character of their non-specific multi-layered nature. It’s the same with the way the prequel works with its own world, which is most evident in the depiction of Gastown and the Bullet Farm. Fury Road spends relatively little time in the bowels of the Citadel, but through the set design, costumes, the characters’ motivations and their role in the narrative, it managed to give a complete picture of that society, its hierarchy, mythology and practical functioning. Furiosa doesn’t show us anything that we don’t already know, instead just repeating the same information in a different time period or dully putting it in specific terms (like when a historian explains what Valhalla means). In a number of cases, it outright depends on the audience’s familiarity with elements from the previous film. And we learn absolutely nothing about the operation of the other two fortresses; we only see how they look and who their leaders are at a certain moment.

Plakat

The Fall Guy (2024) 

Englisch Ryan Gosling is the action hero that modern masculinity needs, and this film is a magnificent culmination of the roles that he has played so far and his image. Instead of bombastic macho tough guys, here we have a guy who can handle wild physical challenges, but he also knows how to come to grips with his emotions (even if it’s only by listening to plaintive songs in his car) and can be sensitive, supportive and friendly towards others while taking himself with a sense of detached humour. And on top of that, he’s also both hot and adorable. In addition, The Fall Guy offers up a bombastic tribute to stunt work that comprises a grand culmination of the work done by the stunt and choreography group 87eleven, or rather its production division, 87North. Besides the trademark style of fight choreography, the filmmakers fortunately focused primarily on the logistically more challenging aspects of stunt work with automobiles, explosions and collisions, and every possible kind of fall, which they execute not only for the camera, but also for the narrative. All of this is done mainly with the aim of lobbying for the rectification of the nonsensical neglect of stuntpeople at the hands of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (However, it could possibly be argued that the Academy doesn’t overlook stuntpeople because it would want to somehow draw attention away from the behind-the-scenes magic of film, but solely because most members of the Academy don’t understand the industry and the results of voting would correspond to that, as is the case with the animation category.) In light of all of that, The Fall Guy also works as a refreshingly exaggerated romantic comedy that takes the female point of view rather than the usual male perspective. Though it’s true that the film is somewhat handicapped by the uneven screenplay and exceedingly obvious utilitarianism of the individual peripeteias, which serve as an excuse for staging particular bits of choreography, this is offset by the fact that the filmmakers know how to shoot everything with maximum effectiveness and entertainment value, which is not true of the film’s spiritual ancestor, Hooper (1976), by the first stuntman-turned-director, Hal Needham.

Plakat

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) 

Englisch Wes Anderson likes this. That’s a fact. The renowned offbeat filmmaker has admitted that he counts himself among the avowed fans of Buckaroo Banzai, which shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. We can find echoes of the film’s team of eccentric characters facing absurdly exaggerated obstacles with a straight face not only in Anderson’s direct homage, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but also in all of his other films. We can even say that Anderson’s first films, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore mirror the desire to live life along the lines of Buckaroo Banzai in the dull real world and with the same sincere naïveté that we experienced as young boys founding our own version of Our Gang. Starting with The Life Aquatic, Anderson finally had the means and the renown that allowed him to subsequently do nothing else but aesthetically polished paraphrases of Banzai-esque team-based movies freed from the bonds of reality. ____ If we leave aside the waggish conspiracies of fans and filmmakers who highlight the film’s incomprehensible and offbeat nature, Buckaroo Banzai comes across as a live-action antecedent of Adult Swim’s animated series, especially the channel’s retro-meta productions. Like Sealab 2021 and Mike Tyson Mysteries, Buckaroo Banzai is based on the comic-book ethos of classic team-based series such as Jonny Quest, G.I. Joe and Scooby-Doo with their trash premises and sincere naïveté. But its ethos also links it to later projects like Mister T (and perhaps even Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos), which stood on the cult of personality of the central character, the semi-divine leader of the team. But unlike the stoner logic and subversive absurdity of Adult Swim’s productions, W.D. Richter and Earl Mac Rauch took the route of intellectual-nerdy camp. They thus take delight in the highly convoluted histories of the film’s world, characters and individual artifacts, and revel in references to the entire field of fantasy and pop culture, ranging from Thomas Pynchon and Orson Welles to rotoscopes and B-movie sci-fi to martial arts and pulp comic books. The whole project is imbued with a sense of tremendous exaggeration, as well as with the joy that comes with being able to childishly goof around in its world, leaving aside needless rationality. Thanks to that, this commercial failure became a beloved cult classic that appeals to the same group that its creators came from. The pastiche of cult movies and trash flicks itself became a cult movie that stimulates its viewers’ desire to again be young boys who thumb through comic books and hope that someday they can the sidekicks of their favourite heroes. But in this case, they rather know that’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to give it some thought. Buckaroo Banzai is thus actually Star Trek and Galaxy Quest rolled into one, though its fandom revolves around the meaning of watermelons instead of wildly overclever theories.

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Neuestes Tagebuch (6)

Top 2023

Příspěvek do každoroční ankety Cinepuru. Každý účastník možnost vybrat 20 titulů uvedených a viděných v uplynulém roce, přičemž má také možnost uvést nějakou klíčovou událost či symptom příslušného období.

Přední divácké slasti, radosti a překvapení:

 

Falcon Lake (CA 2022, Charlotte Le Bon)

Dospívání a první láska jsou horor, přičemž Charlotte Le Bon to dokázala fantasticky vystihnout ve svém pohlcujícím a křehkém filmu.

 

Hundreds of Beavers (US 2022, Mike Cheslik)

Grandiózní resuscitace hraných i animovaných grotesek vyvolává nevěřícný úžas i trhá bránice, ale také potvrzuje, že zelené plátno může stále ještě být fantastickým polem neomezených možností. Stačí k tomu mít partu kámošů v plyšových kostýmech a ohromně větší než malé množství DIY kreativity.

 

Neck (Kubi; JP 2023, Takeši Kitano)

Mistr krutě suchého humoru Kitano přináší nelítostně jízlivé a skvostně provokativní zneuctění mýtu samurajských ctností a historických hodnot Japonska, kde z předních dějepisných osobností dělá vyšinuté zběsilce a morální degeneráty.

 

Obzor (Spre nord; RO, FR, GR, CZ, BG 2022, Mihai Mincan)

Bravurně vyprávěný a emocionálně zničující film o hranicích a předsudcích i fatální tíze jejich překonávání, který se zcela pohříchu nedostal do české distribuce, byť vznikl v české koprodukci.

 

Přišla v noci (CZ 2023, Jan Vejnar, Tomáš Pavlíček)

Vedle mnoha jiného také nejlepší adaptace západního žánru do českých společenských reálií v dějinách lokální kinematografie. Home-invasion trhiller too close to home.

 

Zbytek z Top 20:

 

á-B-C-D-é-F-G-H-CH-í-JONESTOWN (ČR 2022, Jan Bušta)

Aftersun (GB, US 2022, Charlotte Wells)

Conann (BE, FR, LU 2023, Bertrand Mandico)

Electra (CZ 2023, Daria Kashcheeva)

Chlapec a volavka (Kimitači wa dó ikiru ka; JP 2023, Hajao Mijazaki)

John Wick: Kapitola 4 (John Wick: Chapter 4; US 2023, Chad Stahelski)

Karaoke blues (Kuolleet lehdet; FI, DE 2023, Aki Kaurismäki)

Lucemburk, Lucemburk (Luxembourg, Luxembourg; UA 2022, Antonio Lukič)

Mluv se mnou (Talk to Me; AU 2022, Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou)

Netvor (Kaibutsu; JP 2023, Hirokazu Koreeda)

Oppenheimer (US, GB 2023, Christopher Nolan)

Pinocchio Guillerma del Tora (Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio; US, FR 2022, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson)

Spider-Man: Napříč paralelními světy (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; 2023, Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson)

Tonda, Slávka a kouzelné světlo (CZ, SK, HU 2023, Filip Pošivač)

Zabijáci rozkvetlého měsíce (Killers of the Flower Moon; US 2023, Martin Scorsese)

 

Hlavní události roku:

 

Virální internetový mem Barbenheimer překvapivě vyprodával kina – příznačně za nevěřícného zírání PR oddělení studií i samotných kinařů. Skončilo Ulož.to coby platforma nezřízeného stahování nelegálně sdílených filmů – tak uvidíme, jaké dopady to bude mít pro český filmový průmysl a pro kulturní rozhled lokálních filmových nadšenců. Převážně v potají Cinepur na svém webu spustil elektronický archiv – čímž ve mně vyvolal podezřelý pocit, že by se mohly naplnit i nějaké další mé sny, které jsem pokládal za nemožné v české kotlince. Na což navázala distribuční společnost Aerofilms nákupem kompletní knihovny filmů vlastněných studiem Ghibli.