Film Review: THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (Denmark/France/Germany/Sweden 2018) ***

The House That Jack Built Poster
Trailer

Director:

Lars von Trier

Writers:

Lars von Trier (screenplay), Jenle Hallund (story by)

After being banned in France for pro-Nazi remarks (there is a brief reference to Hitler as an icon after 2/3 of the film) and finally let back in, von Trier returns with a controversial film about a serial killer called Jack (Matt Dillon).  Von Trier apparently did quite a bit of research on serial killer motives for the film made.  (Hopefully, he didn’t interview them in prison.)

The film is called THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT because Jack attempts to build a sue but never manages to complete the task.

The film arrives laden with controversy  When screened at Cannes, a large number of the audience walked out though the film received a 10-minute standing ovation at the end.  So love it or hate it, as they say.  This goes too with the body of work – the films of Von Trier.  He has made the best films like EUROPA and THE KINGDOM while making messes of films like THE IDIOTS.

The director’s unedited cut was screened in North America for a one-showing in November and released after in an edited version.  The same went for Toronto though the date of the director’s cut screening was in December at 11 pm at the Ted Rogers Cinema.

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT begins with a totally black screen in the dark where the audience can only hear voices, only barely audible.  Jack (Matt Dillon) speaks to an unknown person, Verge (voice of Bruno Ganz) and talks about his killings, art, his behaviour and logic.  The person offers him his views while also putting the film into two different perspectives.  For example, Jack talks about his killings and what it relates to while the person argues the point.  Killings by Jack are referenced to the poet, Blake with the lamb and the tiger.

The film is divided into 5 random incidents as Jack describes them taking place over a span the 12 years.  Some of the incidents include more than one victim.  The film grows more violent as it progresses.  A few unwatchable incidents include the one Jack as a boy dismembering a duckling.

Von Trier’s film is absorbing for the first 30 minutes or so, as he reveals his structure of story-telling.  The killings are sudden for shock effect with the necessary violence added in – some with the violet scenes repeated. The first kill is that of an annoying woman (Uma Thurman) whose car had a flat tire.  She taunts him constantly, even saying that the looks like a serial killer even going through the process of whether a killer would get away or not.

Arguably, the most intriguing segment is the 4th one, he nicknames Simple (Riley Keough)  that involves Jack’s romance.  Jack goes around on crutches for sympathy and easier alluring of non-suspecting victims into his car.  He tells Verge: “I have more feeling for the woman, more than psychopath would ever have..”  implying that psychopaths do not have any.

See THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT as a Lars von Trier curiosity.  Not many would really want to learn the truth about serial killers or care.

I would not walk out of the screening.  I would also not have given the film a standing ovation either.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYF2tfdD1fA

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1997 Movie Review: BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997 (starring George Clooney)

 

BATMAN AND ROBIN MOVIE POSTER
BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

“Batman” fights Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy and Bane.

REVIEW:

As you can most likely tell from my synopsis, I’m none too enthused with reviewing this “film”. Please be advised there will be numerous quotations used throughout this review because I openly mock any chance of dignifying the attempts of this scrap heap of a “movie.” It should be noted I’m very upset not only because I love Batman, but because Mr. Freeze and Bane are my favorite villains. And they get pissed on even more than Batman in this “movie”. I tried to watch the “movie”…got literally 30 seconds into it and remembered everything I hated….and turned it off. Here is the result:

The Story:

Mr. Freeze needs diamonds (rocking dat ice yo – get the pun?) to power his massive freezing machine used to hold Gotham ransom for the funds he can use to cure his frozen wife of her disease. Poison Ivy wants to bang Mr. Freeze and take over the world with plants, killing all people. Bane…..uh….breaks stuff. Batman and Robin….well, they run around in rubber bantering about plant/ice puns. Oh, and Alfred is dying of the exact same thing as Mr. Freeze’s wife. Well isn’t that quite a lucky parallel? The script is honestly ¾ of ice puns and homosexual innuendo. The nipples on the suits are the least of this movie’s problems. Everything that happens for pure aesthetic reason. The characters are openly mocked – Batman and Robin as a homosexual couple having their first lovers quarrel, Mr. Freeze as a madman driven by love who wants to joke about his physical deformation, Poison Ivy as the crazed lunatic who wants to enslave the world and Bane…..reduced from a cunning muscle assassin to a Poison Ivy lackey. The plot is trite and boring and really doesn’t take much artistic risks.

Acting: George Clooney had great potential to be a memorable Batman. Instead, for once in his career, he threw his artistic integrity to the wind and decided to play in the sandbox. Arnold….don’t even get me started. Three people really do a good job though – Michael Gough’s Alfred has the best character arc in this film than he does in the first 3. Chris O’Donnell, while still stuck with a shit script, makes a good Robin. But the best, Uma Thurman really takes the Poison Ivy role and makes it fun. It’s actually my favorite part of the entire film – which is shocking because Batman is my all time favorite character, Bane and Mr. Freeze are my two all time favorite villains and most of all – when it comes to comics, Poison Ivy is my least favorite villain. Go figure.

Directing: I don’t blame Joel Schumacher. I honestly don’t. I blame the studio for this debacle. Chris O’Donnell is on record saying that production was rushed on this film and toy concepts were created before the script was written. The whole movie is one big toy commercial. Joel has his faults for sticking to the project, but in the end, it’s very obvious of his capabilities as a film maker and what the final product was. Were some of the faults of the film his decision? Most likely, but the opportunity to explore dark territory was all but destroyed after Burton’s Batman Returns.

Cinematography: One of the biggest things that I hate about this movie, is the lighting. Neon colors are very comic booky, yes, but this is a movie. You don’t need bright red, green and blue colored gels to tell this story well. Oh wait, there is no story, we’re selling toys to kids. My mistake. Oh, and for crying out loud, I don’t care what you are doing, FILMING THE LIGHTS AS PART OF THE SCENE IS THE MOST UNPROFESSIONAL THING YOU CAN DO. And you did it on purpose. Congratulations, you’re a horrible cinematographer.

Production Design: Nipples on Bat-suits….do I really even need to go past this?

Editing: Actually……the editing I can deal with. Maybe a few hundred extra cuts to eliminate the puns and I’d nominate that person for an academy award. We could have a decent movie if we could eliminate 90% of the dialogue.

Score: Ok, my 2nd biggest beef with this movie. I can overlook nipples, puns and bad lighting. But 2nd only to the story, this pisses me off the most. It started back in Batman Forever with the trumpets. Now….it just drives me nuts. I love film scores and this…is a mess of a circus fanfare. I mean, since this is a 2-hour commercial, I’d have been happier with a catchy jingle. The studio even felt like this sucked. They used Elfman’s Batman Theme in all the trailers….a very sneaky move. Honestly, if you could replace the score in this film, eliminate the puns, and take the gels out of your Arri kit, you might have a decent once in a while movie on your hands….but you didn’t.

Special Effects: You’d think for a “movie” trying to sell toys, they’d put some more money into the effects and props. Not so much. There’s a moment where a frozen Robin is lifted out of a pool of….water….but he’s frozen……um….anyway…Robin is about as light as a pool raft. There’s CGI that freaking LAGS on the film. It’s jumpy. I mean…come on, here, even little kids know crap CGI when they see it.

In closing: Batman and Robin isn’t a film. It’s not a movie. It’s a 2 hour mocking of characters in an attempt to make them kid friendly and make an audience buy the toys. That’s it. There’s nothing all that fun in the movie to enjoy, no great characterization, plot twists, action scenes. This is even a shit movie to watch drunk….ok, maybe it’s fun to watch drunk but still. Lots of movies are good to watch under any circumstances. If you want to see a loyal interpretation of the Batman comics, this is it. You read correctly, this accurately portrays the Batman comics of the 50’s/60’s – which were also merchandise crazy. Why was it unsuccessful overall? Because people don’t buy things that look cool. We buy things when we can relate to them and feel a personal connection to them. That’s my personal marketing mind at work, but still. Just because you can draw batman and call it batman, and put a batman mask on and call yourself batman…you are not Batman. Batman is the character originally created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. This is not their Batman. It’s not THE Batman. This is a bastardization of a character simply being exploited for someone’s personal greed and money hungry desires. F*ck this movie…err…commercial.

BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997

Happy Birthday: Uma Thurman

umathurmanHappy Birthday actor Uma Thurman

Born: Uma Karuna Thurman
April 29, 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actress:

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
1988
dir. Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville
Eric Idle

PAYCHECKPaycheck
2003
dir. John Woo
Starring
Ben Affleck
Thurman
Aaron Eckhart

Dangerous Liaisons
1988
dir. Stephen Frears
Starring
Glenn Close
John Malkovich

KILL BILL VOLUME 1Kill Bill: Volume 1
2003
dir. Tarantino
starring
Thurmon
Lucy Lui
Vivica A Fox

PulpFictionPulp Fiction
1994
dir. Tarantino
starring
John Travolta
Samuel L. Jackson
Thurman

KILL BILL VOLUME 2Kill Bill: Volume 2
2004
dir. Tarantino
starring
Thurman
David Carradine

BATMAN AND ROBIN MOVIE POSTERBatman & Robin
1997
dir. Joel Schumacher
Starring
George Clooney
Thurman
Schwarzenegger

THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBANDThe Accidental Husband
2008
dir. Griffin Dunne
Cast
Uma Thurman
Jeffrey Dean Morgan

SWEET AND LOWDOWNSweet and Lowdown
1999
dir. Woody Allen
Starring
Sean Penn
Thurman

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Movie PosterPercy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
dir. Chris Columbus

MOVIE POSTERPLAYING THE FIELD
dir. Gabriele Muccino
Stars:
Gerard Butler
Jessica Biel

TAPETape
2001
dir. Richard Linklater
starring
Ethan Hawke
Thurman

MOVIE POSTERMOVIE 43
2013
Stars:
Emma Stone
Stephen Merchant
Richard Gere
Liev Schreiber

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS
1996
dir. Ted Demme
Stars:
Timothy Hutton
Matt Dillon

MOVIE POSTERMY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND
2006
dir. Ivan Reitman
Stars:
Uma Thurman
Luke Wilson

MOVIE POSTERNYMPHOMANIAC VOL. II
2014
dir. Lars von Trier
Stars:
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Stellan Skarsgard

SEE TOP 100 UMA THURMAN PHOTOS

2011
2012
and Arpad Busson
and Ben Affleck
and Ethan Hawke
and Gary Oldman
and Husband
and John Travolta
and Kids
and Meryl Streep
and Naomi Watts
and Quentin Tarantino
and Robert DeNiro
and Steve Buscemi
as Emma Peel
as Medusa
as Mia Wallace
as Poison Ivy
as The The Bride
Back
Bangs
Bikini
Black and White
Black Dress
Black Hair
Blonde
Blue Dress
Body
Boots
Breasts
Butt
Caricature
Casual
Chanel
Cleavage
Curly Hair
Earrings
Eyebrows
Eyes
in Batman
in Be Cool
in Gattaca
in Jennifer 8
in Johnny Be Good
in Kill Bill
in Les Miserables

in Motherhood
in My Super EX Girlfriend
in Percy Jackson
in Pulp Fiction
in Robin Hood
in The Producers
Jeans
Jewelry
Leather Outfit
Legs
Legy
Lingerie
Lips
Lipstick
Makeup
Measurements
Mini Dress
Model
Mouth
Naked
Nose
Older
On the Street
Oscar Dress
Pants
Pose
Profile
Red Carpet
Sexy
Short Dress
Skinny
Smile
Stockings
Straight Hair
Style
Sunglasses
Swimsuit
Teeth
Updo
Vogue
Wallpaper
White Dress
Without Makeup
Young