Showing posts with label 1998. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1998. Show all posts

23 March 2015

DVD Review - Traps (1998)

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Genre:
Drama, Comedy
Distributor:
Second Run
Release Date:
23rd March 2015
Rating: 18
Director:
Věra Chytilová
Cast:
Lenka Vychodilová, Lucie Vackárová, Tomás Hanák
Buy: Traps - [DVD]

Věra Chytilová is often considered a feminist filmmaker even though she would always reject being labelled and called herself an “individualist”. Given the fact the Czechoslovakian communist government oppressed her for years, it’s understandable to see her desire to reject Western labels. Chytilová is best known to Western audiences for her psychedelic masterpiece Daisies, which annoyed the powers so much she could only made one film, Fruits of Paradise, in the next 9 years. In the late ‘70s her blacklisting was lifted and she resumed making films.

Second Run, after releasing Daisies (which I assumed is one of their best selling titles), have made it their goal to release more films from Věra Chytilová. The first one to come out is Traps, which is one of her later films, it came out in 1998. It has a decidedly mixed response on release and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a pitch black comedy about a young vet who is picked up by two men and raped, she later gets her revenge on them by cutting off their testicles.

It’s certainly not a subtle statement on the abuse of power; one of the men is a politician for example and the film starts with some pigs getting their balls cut off. It’s also a brilliant statement on male chauvinism banter; before they pick the woman up they talk about how easy it is to just pick a woman etc. The film pulls a near impossible balancing act when it comes to the depiction of the rapists, obviously you don’t, nor should you, feel sympathy for them, but you can feel their pain of losing their manhood. The two men are portrayed as bourgeois fools, which shows the influence of Luis Buñuel who was a massive influence on almost all Czech New Wave filmmakers.

It’s an angry rallying call to sterilize the ruling class of Czechoslovakia; the government may have changed from communist to capitalist, but their intent hasn’t. Traps also plays like an absurdist comedy, with even elements of populist slapstick comedy which may have troubled some viewers at the time. It completely subverts the genres it’s playing with, like the revenge genre and populist comedy, and remains such a startling film.

★★★★
Ian Schultz

12 August 2013

Pi Blu-Ray Review

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Rating:15
Blu-Ray Release Date:
12th August 2013 (UK)
Director:
Darren Aronofsky
Cast:
Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
Buy:
Pi - 15th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]


Darren Aronofsky’s debut feature Pi celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with a refurbed and repackaged Blu-ray release, so it’s the perfect time to revisit everyone’s favourite head-fuck mathematics film.
                Following the exploits of paranoid mathematician Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette), the film explores the relationship between math and nature, detailing the vast intricate system of numbers that determine the movements of waves and the growing of natural forms. As Max stumbles upon a system of numbers that may hold the key to breaking this universal equation, his hold on reality begins to slip, plunging him into a hell of dangerous obsession.
                Aronofsky’s first film shows many markers of his later exploits: the intensity, internal chaos, and lack of particular interest in definitive narrative all culminate to prove time again that he is indeed a director interested in making films that question human behaviour as well as  typical methods of conveying story. The expressionist influences are abound not simply in his high contrast black and white filming and use of shadow and frenetic close up, but also in the narrative and the performance of the film’s lead. Lynchian influences are difficult to disband, but rather than holding back the piece, here they wind into a pre-Requiem tale of misery and addiction. 
                Gullette shines through as the schizophrenic Max, a character who has built his own disturbing rabbit hole then flung himself in head first.  His is the doomed character, the man on the edge asking the questions which are probably left best at rest.  It is Gullette’s performance that maintains the viewer’s interest when the second act begins to indulge itself a little too much. As Max becomes caught up in his work Aronofsky does a great, though- eventually- tedious job of relaying true obsessive behaviours. Viewers with a keen interest in Lynch will have no problem following the often nonsensical hallucinatory experience of watching Max’s mind unwind.

Pi is sharp and intense, clever, but perhaps too much for its own good, there are genius moments of grunge sci-fi/thriller and more than a few boring patches that dull the point of an otherwise streamlined example of total visual control. Aronofsky’s Pi plays out like the German expressionist Fight Club: elusive, startling, intense, but utterly bonkers at more than just a few points.

★★★☆☆

Scott Clark



1 July 2013

Darren Aronofsky’s PI Getting A 15th Anniversary BluRay Release In August

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Can't believe it's 15 years, but it is and on 12th August Lionsgate UK have announced for the films 15th anniversary they are re-releasing Darren Aronofsky’s PI on Blu Ray.

Surreal psychological thriller written and directed by Oscar® nominated director Darren Aronofsky.

In his stunning debut feature film, Aronofsky tells the story of Maximillian Cohen’s (Sean Gullette) obsession with numbers and his theory that they hold the key to the answers of the universe. His work causes him agonising migraines and his former teacher Sol (Mark Margolis) advises him to take a break from trying to discover patterns in the stock market. When Max's super computer crashes after spitting out a 216-digit number, Max initially dismisses it, until the prediction comes true, and he realises that the number which he consigned to the trash could be the key he has been searching for.

This Blu-ray celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the Pi’s release, one of the most original examples of cult classic independent American cinema and the birth of a great filmmaker.



Special Features:
Commentary with Darren Aronofsky
Commentary with Sean Gullette
Deleted Scenes
Behind The Scenes Montage
Theatrical Trailer
Original (Darren & Eric) trailer
Πr2 Music Video


Pre-Order/ Buy PI: Pi - 15th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1998]