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Raging Boll (2010)
Interesting look into Uwe's life and career as well as a sobering look into the inherent patheticness of internet critics.
Give anything time, doesn't matter who it is the internet is hating whether it's Justin Bieber or Amy Schumer or Uwe Boll, they get tired after a few years and their bitter hatred just turns into dust. Nothing was achieved by any of these self-adoring keyboard warriors but the behaviour still remains.
Raging Boll documents German director Uwe Boll's attempts to break into Hollywood, his upbringing and student years (turns out he's actually quite the movie buff) and his contempt for the masses of privileged millennials who take his lack of directing skill as some kind of personal attack.
Hollywood directors tend to put their tail between their legs and submit to their own toxic fanbases, giving more and more power unfortunately to anonymous internet haters, without any consideration into their own lack of intelligence when it comes to cinema.
Uwe put it best in this documentary, the internet haters hate him because he IS them, he reminds them too much of who they really are, basement-dwellers, best friend is a video game, virgin until the age of 27, the only difference is that Uwe for the most part fulfilled his dream of being a director. Sure, his movies may not be that good, but nothing Uwe has ever done or said has been anywhere near as pathetic as the general attitude of internet critics, the attitude that their time is so precious, that a bad movie that robs them of a couple of hours of their precious life has to be regarded as an act of terrorism. Film criticism used to be genuine and well thought-out until the internet came along.
I found the explorations of Uwe's early life pretty fascinating, I actually wanted the documentary to be about just that! But of course you cannot tell Uwe's story without telling of how he called out all the acne-ridden nerds he could and pummelled them in a boxing ring until they were reduced to a puking, pussified wreck on camera.
Great documentary. Super entertaining, surprisingly moving and times and a great watch for those curious about how Uwe got to where he got. That and watching these lowlife online critics get their faces smashed was hugely satisfying.
P.S. - I absolutely LOST it when Michael Pare showed up at Uwe's boxing match like his manager or coach or something. Apparently you don't get Uwe without Michael Pare.
You may think you know, but you don't.
Anybody who has seen Men Behind the Sun will probably come to the conclusion based on the film itself that the director is some kind of schlockmeister, exploiter, whatever you would call him, probably not an artist.
Director Tun Fei Mou thinks of himself as an artist, a serious filmmaker, a man who became confused and enraged when Men Behind the Sun was called exploitive and disgusting by reviewers on its release. This documentary acts as a conversation with the infamous director, as he explains his upbringing, his initiation into filmmaking and his disdain for the Japanese government for their war crimes against the Chinese during the second world war, not to mention the general Japanese ignorance toward what their soldiers did to innocent Chinese civilians, men, women, children, old people, didn't matter.
Mou's explanation of the film's graphic nature is simple; he wanted to show the world without pause or hesitation just how horrible the Chinese were treated by Japanese soldiers and politicians during this period of time, with specific methods of torture and barbarianism dramatised for us, us who don't simply want to be told what happened, but to be shown.
Mr. Mou himself appears in the documentary to be a very calm, calculating and extremely moral person, he just has a different idea of how morals should be taught. He discusses the biggest controversies he had to deal with while making the film including the use of real autopsy footage of a small child and a notorious scene in which a cat is eaten alive by hundreds of starving rats. Mou couldn't bring himself to sugar-coat the story like the tame (albeit brilliant) 2009 film City of Life and Death, which dealt with the rape of Nanking.
The documentary isn't just about Men Behind the Sun however, it also deals with other provocative films from his career including the violent Lost Souls in 1985 and his final film, the 1995 film Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre (alt title Men Behind the Sun 4, the 2nd and 3rd films in the series had nothing to do with Mou and he hates them for being pure exploitation), a film very similar to Men Behind the Sun in many ways, but as Mou reminds us when talking about this film; he didn't want to restrain the portrayal of violence, not because gore-hounds will get their rocks off on it (although I am positive they do), but to shake the viewer into realisation, that this actually happened, it happened around the same time as the Holocaust, but to this day has never seen the amount of attention or outrage as the Holocaust.
This documentary is a must-see for fans of Mou's work and is even more of a must-see for detractors of Mou's work. It also reminds us that we shouldn't judge a filmmakers intentions based on how we perceive a movie, but we should watch the film through the lens that the director would like us to see it. Most directors are indifferent about how you view their movie (unless it causes you to act violently in real life), but Mr. Mou reminds us that life isn't a pretty picture, and some filmmakers have a responsibility to remind us of that.
After watching this documentary I rewatched Men Behind the Sun with the correct context in mind. It made me realise I was focusing too much on the violent and horrific scenes, when in fact there is over an hour of other things happening (plot development, dialogue, characters) that my superficial brain didn't pick up on at first. I came to it in my late teens as a fan of excessive exploitation (and I wasn't disappointed) but now that I am older and wiser, I am able to watch it as simply a very harsh but very real history lesson, even if it's not even that well-made a film.
Mou is fascinating and lived an interesting life, great to listen to. I don't give it a higher rating for the documentary maker's slightly egocentric and unnecessary over-inclusion of himself in the film, positioning himself during the interview sat on a dresser making Mou's constant need to look upward during the whole thing rather awkward. Also the female voiceover narration sounds like it was recorded in a hotel bathroom.
Interesting conversation. Reminds us how important context is, and how important film as a medium is.
IMDb Me (2018)
Great concept, great potential, needs a couple of minor changes...
First right of the bat - keep the actors involved interesting people. Great start getting the mighty Willem Dafoe do the first episode, so REAL actors with a good history, I couldn't care less about some newcomer and their 5 IMDb credits. Consider Keith David, JK Simmons, Benicio Del Toro, Jay Acovone, a Norman Lloyd episode would be real trippy.
I felt this was too quick, probably to cater to the low attention span of today's internet-obsessed youth, a lot more material can be fit in if you doubled the episode runtime, that way the guest's answers don't have to be edited into small answers, allow detail, let them tell interesting stories, have them elaborate on how they came to find their first acting job.
Also the whole "keywords" quiz-type thing I felt were not that interesting to watch, this and the overall feel/tone of the episode made it seem like the creators tried a little too hard for the whole experience to come off as jolly and light-hearted. Inside the Actors Studio would come off as that sometimes, but that was more natural, had more to do with the natural charisma of the person being interviewed as well as the interviewer. This show should focus on the initial idea of an actor going through his IMDb filmography, the keywords quiz thing should be scrapped because its nowhere near as interesting as seeing an actor discuss films from his past and have clips accompany it (I always like a good use of movie clips).
In summary; do more with this idea, make it a little longer and focus on being informative rather than entertaining. IMDb's previous attempt at creating their own media hasn't really interested me until now, just don't try to pander to the lowest common denominator, because then you would just be squandering a good premise.