Saturday, July 23, 2016

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #36: Alice in den Stadten/Alice in the Cities (1974)


Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Wim Wenders
Written By: Veith von Furstenberg, Wim Wenders
Main Cast: Rudiger Vogler, Yella Rottlander, Lisa Kreuzer, Edda Kochl, Ernest Boehm
Click here to view the trailer

DRIFTER

I don't really have anything meaningful to say here. Out of the last 100 movies I watched, I deemed this one good enough to be an official entry into my personal list. So instead of yammering on and on, enjoy some stills from this outstanding movie...












Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #35: Lost in Translation (2003)



Just reposting my original review of this from January,,,enjoy, again!

I've just say here dusting off my keyboard and surrounding desk with a sock from the laundry, trying to figure out just how to start this thing. Truth be told, I really didn't plan on doing any reviews again, this soon. Thing is - I just happened to watch "Lost in Translation" last Monday and shortly thereafter, realized it was a former BOOK movie. I tossed & turned on the issue of whether or not I wanted to keep this blog going and ultimately, I think I do! In reality, I've actually used my own blog a lot lately - mainly to recollect my opinions of certain films and I've realized in the past week or so that it's nice to have a database of reviews under my belt and it's also nice to know that anytime I get the itch, I can add to it and maybe someday, have this gigantic, mass library of reviews & thoughts - a movie diary - which was always my original goal. Anyway...let's move along and see what I can put together on this one. Don't expect Shakespeare, because I'm definitely not in review mode.


The setting is Japan and the main characters are 1) an aging actor, Bob Harris (Murray) and 2) the young wife of a photographer, Charlotte (Johansson). Charlotte's husband is on assignment in Japan, often leaving her for hours on end to entertain herself in the hotel, while he goes on photo shoots with rock bands. Charlotte is experiencing a mild case of insomnia, not to mention a bit of depression, wondering if her choice to get married was a good one. She sits for hours on end, staring out the window - staring at a foreign land where surely no one understands her plight. Meanwhile, Bob Harris is the aforementioned aging actor, in Japan to shoot advertisements and commercials for a brand of whisky. Harris suffers from similar, psychological ailments as Charlotte - insomnia and the wonderment of whether or not his marriage is crumbling. Bob finds temporary solace in the hotel's lounge, knocking back scotch and sucking on stogies, listening to the redheaded lounge singer belt out tunes, while the clanking of glasses and mutter of conversation keep Bob company. One evening Bob and Charlotte meet and quickly realize that they can connect in this foreign land, perhaps help each other fill the silence, keep each other company, give each other advice, become friends, perhaps. The two hang out, Charlotte even introducing Bob to her Japanese friends (the whole reason Charlotte tagged along with her husband, was because the couple actually had a few Japanese friends). The film is ultimately about loneliness and an unlikely friendship that helps to heal that wound.


Let's talk about my recent trips to Philadelphia and how those helped me to, maybe, understand this movie a little better. So anyway, I went to Philadelphia for the very first time in May of last year, despite living in Pennsylvania all my life and the trip to the nation's former capital only being like six hours away. Anyway, when we were there in May, the city felt so different. I loved it, don't get me wrong - but just being there felt very different than being in say - the city of Pittsburgh, a city I've visited multiple times throughout my life. Both are run of the mill big cities, complete with big buildings, lots of people and pizza places that are open later than any pizza place in my dinky, little town. However, I really felt like a stranger in Philly. Just looking out the window one evening, a window that overlooked Citizens Bank Park and Wells Fargo Center, I felt so far away from home, despite really not being THAT far at all. We went back in December and I felt a little better, but still I definitely felt like a stranger in a strange land - a feeling that I neither loved, nor hated. I can say for sure, that had I not been with my wife, I really would've felt out of place, unable to sleep and ready to trek down to the hotel restaurant nightly to try and find a waiting ear. Now then, this is Japan we're talking about - a lot more than hop, skip & a jump away from home and I can only imagine that at that distance, the term "stranger in a strange land" took on a whole new meaning, putting my six hour "odd feeling" to shame. Add to that two personalities that are already troubled - rocky marriages and general gloomy outlooks and you've got the right mix for a movie that makes sense and I think, is easy to identify with.




What exactly was this relationship though? It's definitely a pairing that is rife for examination and dissection. Were their romantic buddings? I'd LIKE to think not and prefer to think of the relationship between Bob and Charlotte as unlikely friends. It's not even a father/daughter type of deal, because the two were clearly striving to be equals, Bob turning his shirt inside out and asking Charlotte to cut the tag out, so that he could look cool hanging out with the youngsters. However, there seemed to be a sense of shame in the Bob character when Charlotte catches him with the redheaded lounger singer. There also seemed to be a bit of awkwardness in their penultimate, goodbye kiss - an awkwardness that might be felt by an older man, who knows this girl is clearly out of his league, yet hanging on to hope that he may still strike something up. I think it was a very well written film, nuff said. When you can pick apart characters and little nuances like that and wonder & wonder & wonder about what exactly was at the root of this relationship - was it father/daughter, was it romantic or was it merely friendly - then it's safe to say that it's this whole new sort of relationship, one invented by Sofia Coppola when she decided to put pen to paper. I'm not even going to go into the whole final scene and "what did he tell her" deal, because it's been analyzed to death. All we need to know, is that they shared a special bond and it wasn't just a "hey, you're here and I'm here, let's hang out" type of deal. The film is the documentation of this bond and years from now, when Bob is dead and Charlotte is old & gray, she'll tell her children of the man she met while in Japan and she'll smile - at least I think so. The ending, was the last special moment, of a group of special moments and hopefully, imaginary, old lady Charlotte will keep what Bob told her to herself and never tell another living soul.


I really need to get a move on and see The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette and whatever other movies young Ms. Coppola has under her belt. Oh boy, I just looked and one of her films is called The Bling Ring - that sounds like straight up garbage, right there. Maybe, I should just quit with Lost in Translation. I will say this, on a totally serious note, with Lost in Translation, Ms. Coppola out did her her father big time, making a movie that bested anything he's done in the last forty years. I mean, seriously, have you seen some of the tripe that Coppola has directed - JACK for God's sake! All kidding aside, however, I agree that this is a "must see" film and really, it should have never been taken out of the pages of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. In fact, I was all set to say "it should've won the Best Picture the year it was nominated", but I just looked and it had some stiff competition that year - in competition against LOTR: Return of the King (the winner) and Mystic River (a personal favorite). It's good - that's all you need know...

RATING: 9/10  I've become a real hard ass on giving out '10' ratings, but this was darn close. Easily rewatchable, with not only a great script & great direction from Coppola, but super fine performances from Johansson and Murray, the latter of which walks a fine line between dramatist and comedian, and balances it flawlessly.

SINS OF OMISSION: The Summer Batch

I'm not going to lie, it's kind of weird being back here. Sure, as I write this, it's just a white canvas awaiting my words, but it's just odd.

After finishing my 1001 project, I got very fed up with writing about movies and to be totally honest, I'm still not over that feeling. However, what I didn't get fed up with was the actual watching of the movies and I can't tell you how good it feels to watch a movie and know that I'm done with it - that I don't have to make my way here and write about it. I haven't been watching as many movies as before. It's nice being a casual movie goer, for a change.

Anyway, like I said, I've still be watching movies and I'm ready to add another batch of films to my personal 1,000 greatest films list. I call the SINS OF OMISSION or the films that THE BOOK failed to include. This time around I've made 11 selections and over the next couple of weeks, I'll be unveiling them one by one. I won't be writing much - hell, I may log in one day and just decide to include a half dozen pictures and call it a post. I just want to keep this thing updated, as now this blog's primary purpose is to track my own list - my personal 1,000 favorites. So stay tuned...


Monday, March 14, 2016

Escape from New York (1981)


Running Time: 99 minutes
Directed By: John Carpenter
Written By: John Carpenter, Nick Castle
Main Cast: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes
Click here to view the trailer

2016 BLIND SPOT SERIES: FEBRUARY


Note: The whole "what I knew going in and why I chose it" thing didn't work for me last week, so again I'll be fooling with the review format here and there to try and find a nice fit. Ultimately, all the reviews will probably end up staying the same as they've always been...

Welcome back again this week, as I've taken to post dating the reviews so that you guys get some fresh content more frequently. This was actually written on March 4, but you won't actually be reading it until March 14. Just trying to spread things out a bit.

Being a huge fan of the original Halloween, They Live and, to a milder degree, Assault on Precinct 13, I always have an interest in any John Carpenter films I haven't seen. So when it came time to put together the 2016 Blind Spot list, it was a toss up between this and Big Trouble in Little China, as I knew both would be fine candidates. Both are films that I've always wanted to see & never got around to and both are films that your average film Joe should have under the belt.


The film is set in the future (1997, to be exact), in a world where the crime rate has risen over 400% from normal. In this future, Manhattan Island has been turned into the country's lone maximum security prison, a giant wall built around the island, so even if someone does make it across the East River, they still can't get out. There are no guards inside the wall - just every prisoner for him or herself. When Air Force One is hijacked by terrorists, the POTUS (Pleasence) takes to the escape pod, activating it and flying off to what he thinks will be safety. Not so fast, Mr. President! It turns out the pod manages to land inside the walls of Manhattan Island a.k.a. prison. When a team of men, headed up by Agent Hauk (Van Cleef), goes inside to retrieve the President, they're greeted by an unusual prisoner who produces the Commander-In-Cheif's ring finger (ring still intact) and tells the team to exit within thirty seconds or the PREZ "gets it". With no other alternative, Hauk recruits newly incarcerated Snake Pliskken (Russell) to penetrate the wall and safely retrieve the President. If he does so, he'll be pardoned of all his past wrongdoing and given a free ride out of New York. However, just in case he decides to take the opportunity to escape the clasp of justice, he is implanted with two tiny explosives, inside the arteries in his neck, which will explode if Pliskken doesn't make his time limit. Oh yeah - Snake only has twenty-two hours and change to get the POTUS, as the leader of the free world must appear at a summit that will end at that time, or else the United States could be on the brink of war. *heavy sigh of relief* That was a mouthful and really all I've given you is the setup and really none of the stuff that happens to Snake once inside the wall.

SPOILER ALERT!



Sure, the film is super action packed and has MORE than enough material to satisfactorily fill out it's ninety-nine minute running time. However, it's also set in the future - something that almost always turns me off when it comes to movie plots. I don't know what it is: Maybe it's because I already live past the future that most of these older films are referring to and really, not much has changed in regards to flying cars, all silver wardrobe and alien overlords - therefore deeming the films quite unrealistic. Seriously though, I guess my imagination just craps out on me when it comes to thinking and discussing futuristic societies and situations.

One things for sure, you really can't sneeze at the cast. You've got Kurt Russell, who is always solid. Sure, we're not overrun with stellar Kurt Russell movies or anything, but the guy is solid and anyway, this isn't really the type of film that calls for stellar performances. He's fine for the role and plays the badass well. You've also got Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence and Harry Dean Stanton in there, not to mention the big breasted Adrieene Barbeau and the scary as hell Ox Baker. It's quite the fun house collaboration of actors and I'm pretty sure Carpenter wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, the wild, over the top personalities that the cast provides, fits right in with the whole futuristic, "all of New York is a prison" motif.


To be honest, I wasn't super thrilled with the ending. Did the President really have to be corrupt? Didn't we already have enough plot and subplots to follow along with, without making the President a heel? Couldn't we just be presented with the simplest of ideas - the President just inadvertently landed himself in a prison where there are no guards...GO! I felt like everything was just too muddled with the talk of the summit and then all of the stuff with the cassette tape and then finally, the big reveal that the President is a somewhat crooked and being taught an ultimate lesson by Pliskken. Okay - so maybe I'm making too big a deal out of all that. Maybe I should just relax, sit back and enjoy the fun that is Escape from New York. But the thing is, is that I just didn't like it AS MUCH as I thought I was going to and I really feel the need to nitpick and try to get to the reason why. It was a fine film, don't get me wrong and an audience of less picky movie goers, who haven't seen Escape from New York, are probably going to come out of it with a new front runner for favorite film. It's the type of film one can obsess over and go all fanboy on and hey, I really don't blame any fanboy who puts this at the center of their fandom. Ultimately, I've grown into too picky a film watcher and that's my own problem. I LIKED IT, but I had a hunch going in that I was going to like it more...

RATING: 6.5/10  Not bad, but I was hoping it'd crack the '8' marker and give me another favorite John Carpenter movie. Oh well...there's always Ghosts of Mars...

March 4, 2016  11:14pm

Monday, March 7, 2016

1010. Mrs. Miniver (1942)


Running Time: 134 minutes
Directed By: William Wyler
Written By: Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, from the novel by Jan Struther
Main Cast: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Richard Ney, Dame May Whitty
Click here to view the trailer

Note: So since this is both a former/future BOOK movie AND my very first Blind Spot review, I'm going to be tinkering with the review format just a little, as I'm looking to try a shorter style review for the Blind Spot movies.

2016 BLIND SPOT SERIES: JANUARY


WHAT I KNEW GOING IN AND WHY I CHOSE IT

Literally knew nothing going into Mrs. Miniver. I had an inkling that it was a Best Picture winner, but I wasn't even 100% sure on that fact. Giving a perusal to the other contenders that year, I've personally only seen three of the ten noms; this one, The Magnificent Ambersons and Yankee Doodle Dandy - the latter of which I'd have to give the coup. However, despite knowing literally nothing about Mrs. Miniver prior to my viewing, I had always heard of the film and it was one of the ones that I was always shocked didn't make it into my edition of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. And after watching it yesterday, this seemed to me like just the thing that would've been up THE BOOK'S alley. And yes, a few years ago when they completely revamped THE BOOK, this one was finally included.

It was pretty much chosen because 1) I'd heard about it so much, in passing, but had never seen even a sliver of it and 2) at this point, any Best Picture winner that has escaped my eyes has to be considered a blind spot, right?




---

The film revolves around the Miniver family (imagine that), headed up by Mrs. Miniver (Garson), along with her husband, Clem (Pidgeon). They're a fun couple, at times playful - who have raised one son, Vincent (Ney) into a fine young man and are in the process of raising two more kids - 1 boy, 1 girl. The family has surpassed the middle class and live comfortably, thanks to Clem's efforts as a successful architect. However, when World War II breaks out, even the upper class aren't exempt from the wrath of warfare. The film follows the Miniver clan as they face the struggles that living in a war torn country present - watching their beloved "Vin" go off to battle and spending sleepless nights in a shelter, while bombings and air raids sound like the end of the world outside. There's also this whole subplot about a rose - which is also named the "Mrs. Miniver"...

SPOILER ALERT!




I realize it was a different time and this was probably just the sort of film that got the Academy drooling back in the early forties, but DAMN, this was kind of a chore to get through. To be fair, I started out liking it. Greer Garson was quite the looker and the chemistry that she and Walter Pidgeon had was just so fun - reminding me of the great, playful chemistry that Myrna Loy had with William Powell. The whole movie starts out with Mrs. Miniver buying an expensive hat behind her husband's back, afraid to finally tell him that she's made the purchase. Meanwhile, Mr. Miniver, wants to bring up the subject of buying a new car, afraid to do so as well and not yet knowing that his wife has already made a large purchase. It's all so fun and a fine way to get me at least interested in the couple. Albeit, that interest didn't really last long, as we're soon thrown into the throes of WWII and we've plenty discussed my dislike for war films or even anything resembling a war film. Add to that the fact that the film was very OF it's time (which it kinda' had to be I guess, to really give us a taste of the time), and I just couldn't get into this, whatsoever.

I will say though that the film made me realize what an impact World War II had on literally EVERYBODY who was living at the time, especially those living in Europe where the battle was being waged. It also made me realize why there's probably so many films on the subject, as artists have a tendency to create based on what has worn on them emotionally and CLEARLY, WWII wore down a lot of artists (filmmaker's and novelists, I'm talking about here) emotionally. Be it the Holocaust and the massacre of millions of Jews or simply a family who had to spend a few unforgettable nights in a bomb shelter, while their babies bawled their eyes out and they wondered if they'd ever see the light of day again. Speaking of that, I'd have to call that particular scene the best of the film - a scene where Garson and Pidgeon's characters' hear bombs going off outside and try to mask their fear by discussing Alice in Wonderland - played masterfully by both actor and actress. Despite my dislike for the movie, I'll still admit that there are a handful of perfectly acted, perfectly executed scenes - including one where a German soldier holds Mrs. Miniver at gunpoint and another where Dame May Whitty's Lady Beldon forfeits the rose competition. Unfortunately, all of these wonderful scenes are interlaced with quite the boring affair and again, it's a war movie, which for the life of me, I just can't get lost in. My imagination just clams up on me when I'm presented with war material and no matter how hard I try, 95% of the time, I'm unenthused.

RATING: 4/10  I'll consider the discovery of Greer Garson as the one big takeaway of this film and everything else is just very rough to get through. Unless you're a list hound (like me) and don't care about seeing all of the Best Picture winners, then give this a pass.

February 29, 2016  4:33pm

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 Blind Spot Series


Because I didn't already have enough irons in the fire...I present - the 2016 BLIND SPOT SERIES!

And yes, grabbing an image from a movie, opening it in PAINT and putting some text on it is the extent of my banner making abilities. And I realize it doesn't make sense that the banner features Rear Window - a movie I've seen a dozen times - but Jimmy Stewart is intently watching something there, just as I intend to intently watch all of my Blind Spot selections.

If you're a fan of movie blogs, then there's a good change you already know what the "Blind Spot Series" is, but for those of you who only read this movie blog (I both pity and thank you), here's how it works.

First things first, twelve films are chosen. Twelve films that I've NEVER seen (a.k.a. my blind spots). Once the twelve film list is created, I pick one each month to watch and subsequently review here on the blog. That's about it...To my understanding, the trick is to pick twelve films that are relevant/popular/famous/infamous/classic. You're trying to fill in the gaps in the gaps of your cinematic viewing holes. The whole idea is that by keeping the number to twelve and only committing to one review per month, it's quite the easily attainable goal and something I won't likely peter out on.

I would feel like a plagiarist if I went any further and didn't mention the mastermind behind this whole idea (because, believe me folks - yours truly isn't smart enough to come up with such a brilliant idea). The man's name is Ryan McNeil and he operates a website called The Matinee. 2016 will be his fifth year partaking in the blind spot series and countless other bloggers have followed suit. You can check out The Matinee by clicking here and please do.

Despite the fact that Ryan was the mastermind, I have two other bloggers to mention for inspiring me to take the Blind Spot Series challenge. First, there's Brittani over at Rambling Film, who's Blind Spot reviews I've been reading for the past couple years. It's always been a premise that has intrigued me and since this blog needs more front page feature reviews, I've finally been intrigued enough to take part myself. Thank you to Brittani for the inspiration. I also need to thank Donald over at Cue Marks, who is making 2016 his inaugural year for the Blind Spot Series as well. If you haven't yet checked out Donald's blog, please do yourself a favor and do so. He has a lot of really exciting things going on over there - not only the Blind Spot Series, but two other features: The Great Directors and Three Great Movies. You can check out Brittani's latest Blind Spot review here and Donald's here.

Now then...for my list.

Keep in mind that for the past six years I've been working on finishing the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, to ultimate success last October. Therefore, finding twelve essential, classic, popular films that I've yet to see was a bit tricky. However, once I got one idea, I got a second and before I knew it, a list of twelve was put together. I'm not sure how CLASSIC these are, but they're all films that I've heard SOMETHING famous about at one time or another and all ones that I should have probably seen by now. Without further ado...

1. Superman: The Movie (1978 - Richard Donner)
2. Mrs. Miniver (1942 - William Wyler)
3. True Grit (1969 - Henry Hathaway)
4. Wall Street (1987 - Oliver Stone)
5. Frozen (2013 - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee)
6. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961 - Stanley Kramer)
7. The Goonies (1985 - Richard Donner)
8. The Karate Kid (1984 - John G. Avildsen)
9. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984 - Steven Spielberg)
10. Escape from New York (1981 - John Carpenter)
11. The Blues Brothers (1980 - John Landis)
12. Harvey (1950 - Henry Koster)

I should note that I have NEVER, EVER seen any of the previous twelve films from beginning to end. Yes, I have seen bits & pieces of Wall Street, Superman, The Karate Kid and Harvey, but I've NEVER seen them all the way through. I'll let the rest of my list speak for itself. I really felt like I should have seen all twelve of these by now, as I've heard things about a lot of them and i really feel like all twelve of them would illicit gaped mouths if I were to say I'd never seen them.

Now remember, I'm to pick one film each calendar month and review it for the blog. So if you're keeping track at home, you'll note that I'm already two months behind. Therefore, in the month of March you'll get three Blind Spot reviews while I play a bit of catch up. After that, I'll stick to the one per month schedule strictly, so as not to burn out.

Thank you once again to Ryan, Brittani and Donald for their continued inspiration. I look forward to this project.

March 2, 2016  4:08pm

Monday, February 22, 2016

1009. Cache/Hidden (2005)


Running Time: 117 minutes
Directed By: Michael Haneke
Written By: Michael Haneke
Main Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Walid Afkir, Lester Makedonsky
Click here to view the trailer

SHOW YOURSELF!

Watched this like a week and a half ago and am just now getting around to writing up the review. It's all good though, as I've seen Cache twice in the past twelve months - seeing it for the much anticipated first time last February and seeing it again last week, as part of the horror film list I've been working on. What's that you say? A horror film list? Yep. Check it out here.


The opening credits roll over top of a single shot of the home of the Laurent residence. We're not sure what to make of it yet - after all, it's simply the opening credits. However, the credits eventually stop rolling and voices emerge - the voices of Georges Laurent (Auteuil) and his wife, Anne (Binoche). They're watching a videotape - which contains the same shot that we're seeing; the exterior shot of the Laurent residence. We learn quick that someone has filmed the front of the Laurent house and left the videotape on the their front porch. Nothing fancy - just someone simply saying, "I'm watching you". It certainly startles the Laurent's - who keep their son Pierrot (Makedonsky) in the dark about the eerie video cassettes. A few days later - another videotape, more of the same. Then later, yet another videotape - this one being delivered wrapped in paper. On the paper? A drawing of a stick figure face, throwing up blood. This jogs Georges' memory and he begins to have nightmares about a young boy his family nearly adopted when he himself was just a boy - a boy named Majid. The story goes that Majid's parents, who worked for Georges' parents, were killed in the Paris Massacre of '61, which saw hundreds of Algerians lose their lives in the streets of France's capital city. Georges' parents, feeling sorry for the now orphaned boy and an obligation to their loyal, former workers, decide to adopt the boy. This, naturally, sends Georges into a fit of jealousy, who sabotages Majid's adoption. It dawns on Georges that the one sending the tapes is clearly Majid, who after all these years if finally ready to take revenge on Georges for depriving him of a proper upbringing. However, things get a little more complicated - primarily for us, the viewer - when Georges confronts a now adult Majid. Let's just say that a few watches couldn't hurt...

SPOILER ALERT!



When I watched Cache the first time (January 30, 2015, to be exact), I took to Letterboxd to let some thoughts pour out of me. just to get something down on paper so that when I mentally revisited Haneke's 2005 film, I'd have a point of reference. After re-reading it tonight, it's clearly the ramblings of a confused, angry movie goer. Angry because I've been blunt before about my hatred for unresolved films. Leaving the audience to fill in the blanks for you is, in my opinion, just another way of saying, "I couldn't come up with and/or come up with a way to film a proper ending - so we'll leave it open ended. I'll call myself artsy for doing so and you get to decide what happens to the characters, so I don't have to". Someone sitting around a campfire, telling tales, wouldn't all of a sudden stop when it got near the end and say, "okay, you figure out the rest". However, I'm kind of poised to just give Cache a pass. The damn film is so mysterious and so intriguing that just flat out telling us the answers at the end, would somehow be going against the whole aura of the film - the aura being one of deep, dark, secretive mystery. With a film like this, there are no clear cut answers and some of the creepiness of the movie lies in the fact that there may not be a clear suspect.

Let's say, hypothetically, that videotapes of the same sort as Cache, start showing up on your doorstep, tomorrow morning. 1) You'd be freaked out, I'm sure and 2) You'd start theorizing.about who was leaving them. Maybe it was no one important at all? Maybe it was just some random guy with too much time on his hands, who picked a random address out of a hat and said "BINGO, let's mess with someone's head". Sure, that solution really doesn't work here, because you have to factor in the drawings that accompanied some of the tapes. But maybe the drawings were random too and the only conclusions Georges could draw was that they had come from someone whom 1) he saw bleeding from the mouth once and whom 2) he saw decapitate a chicken once. Perhaps the perpetrator was someone hired by Georges' mother. Perhaps Mrs. Laurent got wind of the lies that her son told about little Majid and decided that, as she lay on what was probably her death bed, she'd get one over on her son for telling lies to her. Far fetched, sure - but for all we know, that's the answer.

If you read Roger Ebert's review of the film, he basically flat out says that the answer is that the sender of the tapes is Majid's son and Pierrot working together. Pierrot placing the camera at his home and Majid's son placing the camera at HIS home. But for me, that answer is just too easy and doesn't provide the sort of "knock your socks off" answer that I'd want out of this movie. After watching the movie last year, I theorized that maybe the perpetrator was Georges himself, suffering from split personality disorder and subconsciously forcing himself to deal with the guilt he's always felt over the whole Majid affair. Again, this is a very far fetched solution - but again, it's possible. Another solution I came up with last year was that maybe the perpetrator was Pierre - the best friend of the Laurent's, who clearly had a thing for Anne - a "thing" that Pierrot was clearly in the know about.

Thus ends the guessing game portion of the review...


Otherwise, I really loved this film. Damn, was that a nice house or what? From the wall of books, to the nifty little bread basket - the Laurent home has to be one of my favorite houses in all of cinema. Except, I could never live there because of the whole - someone filmed it and thus, made it creepy. Cast is great too, as Binoche always turns in at least a good performance and while I've never seen Auteuil before, I really dug him here. The character development is also something to behold, as we're not only dealing with the videotape storyline, we're also dealing with the rocky marriage of Georges and Anne, played to perfection by the two leads, all the whole in the midst of this big mystery. There's not just the one facet, but the one, two punch, as we're given something to sink our teeth into, while we're waiting for the next videotape to be delivered.

The poster compares the film to a Hitchcock movie, but I disagree and would have to put Cache into a class of it's own. Never was Hitchcock THIS secretive about his motives, never did he explore voyeurism to such a personal degree and never did he tackle a rocky relationship the way Haneke explores the trust issue between the Laurent couple. While I'm sure Haneke was inspired by Hitch, he certainly is adding his own flavor to the mix. In conclusion, this is one film where I agree with the device not to give us complete, clear cut answers. It just wouldn't be doing it's own plot justice if it spilled all the beans. I'm pretty sure it was Haneke's endgame to make a movie that people could turn over in their heads, try to figure out and beat their brains out over, all the while making something that didn't wholly not make sense. While we're never given the answer, we're given plenty of options on what the answer could be and one REALLY good idea of what the answer probably IS. Big thumbs up for Cache, one that I can see myself enjoying for years to come and cementing Haneke as a favorite director of mine.

RATING: 8.5/10  Some of you may remember that Cache managed to make it into my personal favorites list last June, thus immortalizing it on the walls of my own personal movie theater.

February 22, 2016  10:27pm