It’s a mysterious world. Perhaps the future, or maybe not. We don’t really know a lot, except that there are a lot of decaying buildings and rubbish everywhere. Then, in one of the decaying buildings live a strange group. There is Gergori (Vincent Cassel), the patriarch. Then there are bunch of women and a whole flock of kids. It seems innocent enough, with fun karaoke nights and big group dinners, until you realise that Gregori is not just their father figure… he is training the children to be assassins. Then the oldest child, Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel) starts to realise that this man is not all that he appears to be.
Wow. This film is really intense. I loved that I had no idea about the world where this is happening, so it’s difficult to simply thing of Gregori as a monster. Perhaps the world is awful, perhaps this is the only way to survive. We know as little as the children sent out on their missions. Cassel portrays such a complexity in Gregori – he is kind of evil, but also extremely caring. There is a calmness and gentleness to him, yet there is violence and aggression just below that. It’s like everyone in the complex is enamoured with him but also totally fearful of doing the wrong thing. And the young Chabriel is able to express a world of emotion with very little physical expression.
I very much look forward to seeing further work from Ariel Kleiman. This is his first feature film, and it was screened with one of his earlier shorts, Deeper Than Yesterday. Wow.
Like the two films leading up to this, it’s a big, exciting heist film with lots of misdirection and cleverness. This time, it’s all about revenge on Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino operator opening a new hotel, who has ripped off one of their own, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), causing heart failure and a coma.
My big issue with the last two films was the women in the film having very little character and being (sometimes willingly) manipulated very obviously by the men of the film. This time, it wasn’t the wives or girlfriends. The one female in the film, Bank’s top assistant Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), initially appears to be in control and in charge, strong and spotting the bullshit being weaved around her. Then, she is painted as a ‘cougar’ (such an insulting term, but I won’t get started on that one today) and manipulated into seducing Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), one of the eleven who is playing a character as part of the plot. I guess the big question is – how good does the film need to be to be able to ignore this? (Or perhaps a bigger question – after being annoyed by this in the first two films, why did I go on to watch the third?)
So, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is back out of jail (again) and he and the rest of the eleven have found things to spend their millions on. But Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) has found them, and insists on compensation. And then there is Francois Toulour (Vincent Cassel), a super-rich, super-clever gangster who wants to compete against Ocean to be considered the best thief in the world, and Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) a beautiful police officer who was dating Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), but now is set to catch him and arrest him.
Again, there is a lot of fun, trickiness and playing with expectations, but it is, yet again, ruined for me by the representations of the females in the film. At least Tess (JuliaRoberts) gets a bit of a better go this time, actually doing something (even if she is forced into it by a whole bunch of men she doesn’t even know… creepy) (although seeing her play a character pretending to be Julia Roberts was a lot of fun). Then there is the Catherine Zeta-Jones character, a high-ranking police officer who is driven to fraud by her emotions – the need for revenge against her ex, and who (spoiler alert) is manipulated into giving up her very successful career by the very same ex and her father, who she believed was dead. Men manipulating women a lot. Way to spoil a good, fun film.
Shrek (Mike Meyers) is an ogre who lives in a swamp and is blissfully happy on his own. Then a whole heap of fairy tale characters turn up in his swamp, dumped there by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). To get his swamp back, he must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and take her to marry Lord Farquaad. Shrek takes his new companion, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and it turns into a marvelous adventure.
It’s such a great film. Funny, silly, loads of cultural references that have not grown old. And really, how many kids’ movies can get away with a lead character with an extremely rude sounding name, popular kids fairy tale characters being tortured and a bird exploding? What ace times.
Shrek won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
Nina is a very fragile young lady, a ballet dancer, extremely controlled by her mother, who scores the role of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. She has no problem dancing the innocent role of the White Swan, but struggles to find the darkness and depth of the Black Swan.
I’m not great with scary movies. They scare me. Lots. I’m also not great with suspense and anything that involves sudden shocks and loud noises. However, much of this film is very slow-moving and dark in a documentary style, and so the shocking parts are that much more shocking. Some parts that are absolutely horrible; violent, sudden and unexpected. It seems an odd film choice for Best Film Oscar, though Natalie Portman is fabulous as the extremely meek and soft-spoken ballerina.
Black Swan won an Oscar for Best Performance in a Leading Role (Natalie Portman) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Best Achievement in Directing (Darren Aronofsky), Best Achievement in Cinematography and Best Achievement in Film Editing.