Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scorsese's L'Avventura

A woman mysteriously disappears on a remote island, where the waves pound the rocks.

Well, that's where similarities end content-wise, but Shutter Island uses a gorgeous visual quotation of Antonioni's L'Avventura as Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo's federal marshall characters look for the woman. Anyone who has seen My Voyage to Italy would know Scorsese's fascination with that film. His references also include Hitchcock and possibly Shock Corridor which I haven't seen, so it's enjoyable as always for a cinephile to watch a Scorsese movie.

Apart from references, however, Shutter Island stretches itself too long, making portions of it almost as unbearable as being locked up on an island that houses an asylum for the criminally insane. On top of that, the trailer gives away far too much information (or a sense of it anyway), ruining any possibility of a surprise. Of course it is beautifully shot and stellarly (over-)acted. But with Scorsese, I think it's fair to expect more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It takes a special talent to make Anthony Hopkins, Benicio del Toro, and Emily Blunt appear untalented. Wolfman manages to do just that. It is suffocated among all imaginable horror-film cliches, not a single one of which is used creatively. On top of all that, it's ridiculously Freudian in terms of the Wolfman's daddy issues. Its horror is limited to sudden loud scares, which only helps the viewer wake up at regular intervals. Such a waste...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


(This is a very late post. It's amazing I can be so behind with such short reviews.)

Vavien is the third feature film by Taylan Brothers, and for many, their best so far. By far. It is also a rare example of popular Turkish cinema that is actually good. The story is tight (until the third act anyway), acting is superb, art direction and music are just as they should be. Much of the credit might have to go to Engin Gunaydin, who wrote the script and plays the miserable (and rather pathetic) small-town family man Celal. The first half of the film has been likened to Coen Brothers' works (what a joy not to have to give proper reference!), but unfortunately the ending tries to get away with too much, too easily. Nonetheless, one of the most enjoyable Turkish films in years. Try to see it if it comes your way.

On a somewhat different note, I was completely expecting this film to get the 'Best Film' award from the Film Critics Association, and it didn't. Surprising.