Wadjda (2012)


Dearth is the scourge of the inquisitive mind, and honest reviews of the seminal movie from Saudi Arabia were hard to come by. I’ve checked. In the year between it making the rounds and my having watched it, I was perturbed by the unanimous acclaim thrown its way. Nothing is absolute. Save for death, maybe. Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes’ algorithm suggested otherwise. So I’ve read the reviews, and scoured the net for an impartiality that soon began to require the efforts a quest would. And so it was, on Google page 24 that I decided to see Wadjda for myself and author an opinion. This time I did find a torrent, picked a 1080i version and pressed play on my Xperia, and not that I stand pat by my suspicions today, but let’s just say I wasn’t wrong in harboring a yearlong skepticism. That it came to be is a feat impressive on many levels, and an achievement in logistics so monumental, but only that I’m afraid. And precisely because of those same circumstances, the hoopla generated is no more than a duped congregation that failed to see the forest for the trees. Yes, lost in all the ballyhoo and ensuing back-patting is that there were sleeves to roll up, and a film to critique. No wonder why no one listens to critics. Continue reading

The Guard (2011)

The McDonagh brothers of Irish cinema are both the antithesis of and spiritual successors to the Coen brothers. They may produce their own separate work. But they each retain much of the hallmarks of a similar formula by the Coens — that of a wit- and dialogue-driven, dark humor narrative. While deserving of independent observation and terrific as a standalone, in keeping with comparisons, The Guard (written and directed by John Michael) is a lighter-toned answer — and companion piece of sorts — to Martin McDonagh’s debut, In Bruges. Continue reading

Maniac (2012) — a POV Look

Starring Elijah Wood

Fitting quite a few notable criteria the American Psychiatric Association would deem typical in many a serial killer — male, loner, targets females, same race — Maniac the reboot does well by avoiding trappings of the genre. Effectively, this contains it firmly within the slasher sub-genre, a considerable distance outside of the pure serial killer. This makes for easy pigeonholing. By no means was any statement above an indictment of an original I have not seen. Continue reading

The Outsider (2014)

Holy mother of Jesus. In Hollywood, insipidity seems to get redefined on a continual basis. And, to the chagrin of plenty, business is good. It has got to be, seeing the demand to churn out movies of the ilk is alive and well. It is not that The Outsider is a formulaic, by the numbers treatment of an overdone theme. But the peevish nuisances it can never avoid that condemn the affair. Obviously along with the severe flaw that is the script. Cringe-inducing and mail-it-in may be apt description for an effortless beatdown. Seldom are they applicable to an entire movie featuring several. That it was the film’s sole accomplishment is an indictment of cast and crew, along with one certain viewer. I feel ashamed for having outlined a 1,500+ word statement deploring others to stay clear. As a public service and a cathartic purge, here it is. Continue reading