Film Friday #122

Oz the Great and Powerful

Arrogant but somewhat useless carnival magician, Oscar (Oz) Diggs, gets caught up in a storm while trying to escape the husband of the woman he’s been wooing. When he wakes up he finds himself in the magical land of Oz where the inhabitants are waiting for a prophesied great wizard to arrive and save them from a wicked witch. In order to get it on with sexy good witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis) Oz goes along with the idea that he might be said wizard. However things are not what they seem and it’s not long before Oz is in way over his head. Will he take responsibility for the first time in his life or will he do his usual runner? The 3D on this baby is eye-popping but I have to admit that I felt like the story dragged on and on and on and I might have taken a little nap in the middle. (I was full of Japanese food, it was warm and dark). However the kids in the movie house seemed to be enthralled by this simplified moralistic tale and it’s gotten good reviews from others so don’t let me be judge and jury. 2/5

What do you mean you'd like to give me the gift of your penis?

What do you mean you’d like to give me the gift of your penis?

Stoker

After India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) father dies, her mysterious uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode) moves in and people start to disappear. While India’s mother (Nicole Kidman) immediately takes to Charlie, India is more apprehensive. It’s not long though before he awakes something in India. Something dark. That’s about as much as I can tell you about this intense and odd thriller without giving too much away. Directed by Chan-wook Park of Oldboy fame, this has a distinctly Korean cinema feel to it (and, according to my movie buddy, Hitchcockian as well), which you will either love or hate. I loved it. The cinematography is mesmerising, the story builds slowly revealing more and more and both Wasikowska and Goode are great, mostly making up for the fact that Kidman can barely move her face anymore. 4/5

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‘n Grap is ‘n grap maar ‘n mens maak nie ‘n sambreel in a man se hol oop nie

The Debt

In 1965 three Mossad agents enter Germany undercover to track down a notorious Nazi war criminal and smuggle him into Israel to stand trial. Thirty years later, the daughter (Roma Aboulafia) of the female agent, Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren/Jessica Chastain) has written a book about her mother and fellow agents’ heroic deeds. But as Rachel’s ex-husband and fellow agent, Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson) corners her with new information, they must relieve the past and the terrible secret they’ve been hiding. I think this might have been better if some of it was more believable. Young Rachel is so emotionally fragile and irresponsible that it’s hard to believe that anyone would allow her to be a secret agent or send her into such a delicate situation. Overall it’s an interesting story and watchable but there are better thrillers out there. 3/5

Worst. Nurse. Ever.

Worst. Nurse. Ever.

Taxi Driver

A New York Taxi driver and Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) becomes obsessed with rescuing a child prostitute (Jodie Foster) after the woman he’s in love with (Cybill Shepherd) rejects him. As Bickle’s anger with the “filth” of the city becomes more and more intense, he begins to lose his tenuous grip on reality leading to an inevitably bloody conclusion. This is a multi-layered film with multiple themes from the difficulties of integrating veterans back into society to the failure of the government to deal with New York’s seedy underbelly to the damaging effects of social isolation. Whatever you take from it, it’s a riveting and intense watch and it’s not difficult to tell why this is both a cinema classic and considered one of De Niro’s standout roles. Must-see. 4.5/5

Are you talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME?

Are you talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME?

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