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Spring Breakers (2012)
More than meets the eye
Innovative, provocative, deep, and thought provoking. Just let it sink in.
It's interesting to read the reviews and realizing that probably, everyone has different thoughts about what was really meant. Also, different people seem to be offended by completely different aspects.
My first thoughts (before reading the reviews) were that probably, the director wanted to make the point that just because a person is female, white and healthy, this does not mean that the person is really likable, morally grounded or to be trusted. When the girls sit in prison, cramped together tightly, all of the girls seem to be vulnerable, likable and you just have to feel pity for them. All that they wanted was a little fun and excitement and a break from the boring daily life, and now they are in prison. So you hope the best for them. At least I did, because up to this point, they didn't seem to be really evil. Of course, it was not normal or acceptable to rob a restaurant, but on the other hand, they didn't really injure or kill anyone, so that was not pitch black, just a minor crime.
Enter the tough guy ("Alien") that smells like danger big time, so you can more than understand that one of the girls decides to abort the spring break and head home. It probably was what I had done, had I been one of them. For moral reasons and my own good.
But during the progress, I felt growing sympathy for "Alien", since at heart, he seems to be lonely, unfulfilled and empty. In German, we have the nice word "Ersatzbefriedigung" which means that a person feels lack of something important, which is hard to get for him/her, so other enjoyable things are amassed (excessively) to distract from the lack. And he lacked a lot in life, like: close friends, a girlfriend, a purpose in life, a religion, pets, a soul mate, or whatever fills his soul. All his bling and toughness can't distract from this void (and his lack of mental maturity and education).
Just as he has (possibly) found soul mates, his life turns to the worse. His ex-best friend is now his enemy, climaxing into a scene where he even tries to kill him, just to get killed himself.
But what I found much more shocking and disturbing is that the two girls that stayed by his side, attracted by the bling, easy money, and sex appeal of his lifestyle, switch from somewhat sociopathic but still harmless to cold blooded killers that mow down about a dozen of gangsters (or gangster wannabees) without any hesitation, not questioning any aspects of their killing spree. For me, these girls are the real "bad guys". Not only do they kill violently, they don't even have a real reason. They could have left Alien just like their two friends did, but they seemed to be much more ready to commit murder that Alien ever was. Actually, they seemed to be looking forward to it, enjoying the feeling of power that comes with loaded weapons.
So I think this is one point of the film: Who seems tough and plain evil may still have a very human and vulnerable side, and individuals with a sexy body, pretty face and caring parents still may have a soul so dark they are ready for everything, just to get what they want.
Also interesting was that many reviewers find the nudity and sexual innuendo really offensive. I didn't, because no one was forced into any kinds of sexual acts or harmed, and there weren't minors present. So I didn't consider it as morally wrong, but it sure was much more wild and exhibitionistic that what most people would be comfortable doing.
Just one of the "Ersatzbefriedigungen" that the girls try out. They feel such boredom and dullness in their daily lives that they need all the sex, drugs and booze that they can get just to feel a bit less bored and monotonous. If one goes to such lengths, risking health and control over oneself for extended periods of time, wasting lots of money and risking jail time, just to feel less bored and somewhat happy, that's a fat alarm sign.
I think that the choreography is being done in a very subtle but effective way. Watching scenes of nudity and excess, you just feel that the characters are not in for a _little_ fun, they need the most extreme dose of everything just to feel ... anything. At the surface, you see a lot of naked skin, and may like it in some way. But the feeling that something's not right, that the fun is more illusion than reality is so strong that you just know it can't end well. This (intentionally) makes these scenes somewhat uncomfortable to watch: You'd like to enjoy them just like the characters try to enjoy their holiday, but that's overshadowed by the overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair at the core of the superficial fun.
But if one is more offended by the nudity than by the cruelty of the girls, this should make one question their own morals. Mine tell me that I condemn every act where individuals are unnecessarily hurt, killed, robbed, or forced into something. Consensual sexual acts between grown ups are IHMO not immoral as long as no one is forced or tricked into anything. But that is probably one of the many points of the flick: It makes you think about what you regard as moral, immoral or downright evil, and for whom you feel sympathy or pity. Or how far you would go for a little fun.
It's on the surface a film with superficial feel to it, 'music video vs. video game vs. softcore erotic vs. situation comedy'. But beneath, it can make you think deeply, raising questions, but without giving definitive answers. Everyone has to think for oneself.
Chill Factor (1999)
Watch only if you don't have to pay for it.
This flick is VERY average, on the plus side are great visuals, noteably the landscape portraits, but the dialogues and the whole story are sooooo predictable and not very chilling. If you've seen some similar movies in the past, you will be bored, so i cannot really recommend this one. Also the story has quite some plot holes, so don't think too long about it. Watch it only if it runs on TV, so you don't have to pay for it.
Enemy of the State (1998)
I like this one, also beeing somewhat realistic (not in every detail of course).
Well, I like this one. I like the cast, the visuals are well done, but what is more important is the plot that I like really much. It's not the most sophisticated plot of all times, but I think it's quite good, and to some degree, realistic. Of course it's not possible to move sattelites that quickly, or zoom in on a videotape that much and still have crystal-clear visual, but quite some technology seen is realistic today, or in the near future. This is an hollywood flick, all right, so they have quite much action and everything looks very easy, steering a sattelite seems to be no harder than playing a video game, what makes it all seem a bit unrealistic/sci-fi-like, but today's technical posibilities are quite large, and continue to grow, so informing oneself about the issue (I mean the real world issue) is not a bad idea.
To give you some points to think:
- It's routine for the credid card companies to document every transaction made with the cards, go figure who gets the docs if police is investigating.
- Every call / fax done is documented for billing, go figure, who...
- At least for your ISP it's possible to read every unencrypted email you send or receive, go figure ...
- Today there are MANY cameras in public areas in Great Britain, with numbers still growing.
- Face recognition software is already being used in combination with some surveillance cameras.
- Dictation software that can interpret your spoken word and convert it into written text is being sold to you today, maybe some organisations have much better versions at their hands ...
The list could go on, but what I want to say is that one should think about the posibilities and listen to what the politicians say, and what they want to allow the federal organisations.
You want to be able to still _enjoy_ the movie in some years time, not thinking of it as being somewhat normal just as everyday life, all right?
The Matrix (1999)
Matrix is really one of my all-time-favourites, but see for yourself!
Matrix is really one of my all-time-favourites, the story is really great, you can think about all the little details for quite some time, and the effects are just absolute classics, and were quite often copied since. To make it short: If you haven't seen this one yet, DO IT NOW! You'll like it, everything is just VERY well done, there were no aspects that i didn't like.
The Fifth Element (1997)
I like it, but the plot is a bit thin sometimes.
Well, I really liked the movie, the plot is a bit too thin and foreseeable most of the time, but you can find many funny little ideas troughout the whole film, that make you laugh or think. The cast is great, too, and, of course, the FX crew had quite some work put into this, which really pays out, so if you don't mind the plot beeing a bit thin, watch it, I think you'll like it (as I did).
Wild Wild West (1999)
The effects are the only thing that's interesting, the rest is just trash.
The movie has one HUGE problem: The plot is just crap. I mean, some laws of physics are violated, some laws of good taste are violated, but I don't mind, but what really makes this movie a bad one is the weak plot, most of the scenes seem just plain pointless, humorless and/or just plain boring. The special effects are great, but without a good movie around them, they can't shine, they seem to be just an excuse for not knowing how to fill the time with some good acting, a real story, some good dialogues and so on. Don't watch this more than once (one time for the special effects, but that's it).
Charlie's Angels (2000)
I really disliked this one. The girls may look quite sexy, and the special effects are quite cool, but besides that I couldn't find anything good. The special effects are far too over-used, and most of them look like being stolen from other flicks, matrix for example. Another thing is the humor. I like a funny movies, and action plus comedy CAN make a good mix, but the humor in this one seems far too dumb and not very funny at all to me. I don't think I will watch this movie again, or recommend it to others, there are just too many movies out there that are lightyears ahead of this one.
Worth seeing, but not perfect
Well, I liked this one, but not as much as some other flicks I've seen. First of all, the main character, Peter Parker, is very believable as a nerd that isn't very well accepted by his fellow students, but gains super powers that he has to learn to handle and to use responsibly, which is of course not an easy task. I liked the other figures, too. What I didn't like that much, though, are some scenes that seem to be endlessly slow, which won't fit into the whole concept as a fast paced movie, but that is, of course, highly subjective. I you haven't seen this one yet, I can recommend it to you.
Le pacte des loups (2001)
Great visuals, but very poor storyline
You could say a lot of positive things about this one, for example the great costumes, or otherwise very well done effects, but the movie has one handicap: the storyline isn't too good, kind of mix up of many genres, not very clear or logical or realistic, but what I especially disliked is the ending, where everything is revealed, nothing remains mysterious, which many may like but I disliked it.