After years as an underground filmmaker, Jia has made films through official channels though HOW they get approved and made must remain a mystery, one that deepens with his new and critical look at the effect of corruption, the sex trade and indifferent factories on the Chinese people. The film covers four separate storylines though blessedly they don’t artificially converge a la Babel. The first and strongest story revolves around Dahai (Wu Jiang). This hilariously pushy fellow is outraged over the corruption in his village, a stain that spreads from the powerful man who flies in on a jet down to a local accountant and village chief. Jiang was discovered by the great director Zhang Yimou for To Live (1994) and he commands the screen with ease. The entire cast is strong but his presence is so warm and boisterous and fresh I wish the entire movie had stayed with him. Dahai is mocked and humiliated at every turn and finally snaps in an orgy of violence that quickly becomes the movie’s signature. The people of China do not suffer silently in these films; they lash out at others and themselves again and again. The second story involves a mysterious young man; we don’t discover until the end of his tale exactly how he makes his living but it’s clearly a violent one on the edge of society. Still, while you wouldn’t mess with him, it’s notable that he doesn’t seem like a threat to others. It’s a petty squabble during a gambling session at his local village on New Year’s that turns brutal. He just watches impassively. A third story centers on the mistress of a businessman and is the film’s subtlest example of dehumanization.
Jay Stone’s Top 10 movies of 2011
It was just looking back. 1. The Artist: An enchanting and unusual film – a black-and-white silent movie – that will have you tap-dancing out of the theatre. French director Michel Hazanavicius borrows from several Hollywood legends and prototypes (including A Star Is Born, Singing in the Rain and Sunset Boulevard) for this ingenious fable about a silent star whose career fades with the advent of talkies and a young starlet who sees her celebrity explode at the same time. It’s a tribute to artful silent cinema, but it’s also a sweet love story that is wonderfully told in the faces (including that of a terrific Jack Russell terrier named Uggy) of its charming cast. 2. Hugo: Martin Scorsese redefines 3-D in this astonishing family film about a young orphan who lives in the clock tower of a Paris train station in 1930. There’s a Dickensian drama in his life, but the movie’s plot – all gears and gimcracks – is mostly in service of a tribute to the history of movies, especially the genius of French pioneer, Georges Melies. Scenes from some of Melies’ 500 films pay loving and joyful homage to the magical early years of cinema. 3. The Descendants: Alexander Payne’s masterful control of tone is what makes this comic tragedy surprising: We may know where the plot is heading, but moments of sudden grief and surreal humour alternately surprise us and provide constant delight. George Clooney, showing the cracks in his smooth surface, has never been as good as he is in this tale of a Hawaiian lawyer who learns that his comatose wife had been cheating on him. 4.
Food isnt always fun Strategically placing mounds of ice cream or whipped cream and squirting chocolate sauce over each other may be all very well when youre seeing it in a film. Pretty, and perhaps tempting to try. But heres something actors in a film dont have to deal with: Cleaning up. Chocolate sauce is sticky, and so is melting ice cream. Whatll happen if you dont lick/kiss/suck it all off expertly? Therell be an awful lot of laundry to do, and youll be the one stuck doing it. Simple rule of thumb: Dont take Hollywoods food and sex demonstrations to heart. Sure a stray strawberry, grape or cherry is fine in real life, but unless youre ready to simply discard a sheet or even gasp! your mattress, dont try this at home. Police PDA Your favourite Hollywood movie may feature a lingering kiss between hero and heroine in the climax, usually in some busy airport or equally public location, while the crowd slow-caps their support of the at-last united lovebirds. But (and we feel your pain) your life isnt a movie.
Movies: Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal Anchor Tense ‘Prisoners’
ohmygod where are Joy and Anna? MORE, AFTER THE JUMP … The red whistle is not a red herring. Instead, that damn missing whistle acts as a perfect talisman for the movie itself. Prisoners begins emitting piercing psychic cries as the parents spin out of control and the mysteries thicken and the hours drag on. Statistically speaking, things dont look good for missing children after the first couple of days.Keller Dover (Jackman) is a survivalist who believes in being prepared but how do you prepare yourself or your family for the worst nightmares? When a local ace detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) can’t make a case stick against the man in the RV (Paul Dano, in greasy/creepy mode) Keller decides to take the law into his own hands, plunging both families and a third one (Dano and his aunt played by Melissa Leo) into an increasingly gruesome nightmare from which its uncertain that any of them will emerge with their souls intact. Prisoners will undoubtedly remind a lot of people of David Fincher’s Zodiac(2007), another film that invites you to lose your mind over Jake Gyllenhaal’s soulful handsomeness while Jake Gyllenhaal loses his mind over maddening puzzles dropped like poisoned crumbs from serial killers. (Has any actor ever so expertly conveyed “needs a hug” “needs to be left alone” “needs to be cooperated with” or “needs to be kissed”as Jake at his finest. I mean… (not a still from Prisoners) come on. It’s those inescapably big pleading eyes you can get all but lost in.