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Archive for March, 2011

One joke. Poorly told. For 90 minutes.

*1/2 out of *****

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) starts with a million-dollar premise. Too bad it ends there. The movie has so little to offer, aside from its gobsmacking gimmick. The rest of it slogs along like any generic slice of horror. Airhead Americans get lost in Europe. A diabolical European dude has sick plans. Torture ensues. The Americans, cornered and frantic, hatch an escape.

The Human Centipede falls into that unfortunate sub-genre: Movies more fun to talk about than to actually watch. Believe me, I wanted to like it. But, sadly, the movie soon slides into tedium — after the initial giggles, of course. This is Hostel. This is Saw. Only — somehow, Jesus — even dumber.

Let’s start with that hook. For the uninitiated, The Human Centipede is a tri-lingual vomitorium about a mad scientist who conjoins three humans into a singular ass-to-mouth intestinal tract. See, I wrote that, and I’m already giggling. Maybe that says more about me than it does the movie. But the premise — so absurd, so crass — can’t help but make me titter. This is the sort of joke I interrupt conversations with after a few drinks. The sort of joke I repeat throughout the night and forget the next morning.  (more…)

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This review first appeared on Quarantine the Past on November 22, 2009.

Few artists trigger my tear ducts like Nuri Bilge CeylanClimates, his sublime fourth film, elicits pure awe — the stuff of Stendahl syndrome. This movie hit me like a panic attack. Watching it, I felt my chest balloon, as though Ceylan himself had stuck a bike pump in my heart and pushed down with all his weight.

Confession: When it comes to Nuri Bilge Ceylan, I have a problem with hyperbole.

In Climates, Ceylan trains his photographer’s eye on expressive facial close-ups and ominous Turkish landscapes. Note the image above, as well as this one:

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