Categories
Brilliant Failures Features

Brilliant Failure: Tom Tykwer’s Exuberant, Overwhelming Perfume (2006)

Inspired by and adapted from the novel of the same name, Perfume (2006) by Tom Tykwer is an offbeat thriller with oversaturated cinematography. The most illuminating aspect of film is its ability to impress, shock, and stimulate the minds of the audience, but movies such as Perfume lose their essence in pursuit of marketability and visual effects. In […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features

Poe, camp style: Ken Russell’s The Fall of the Louse of Usher

Did I feel guilty when I enjoyed Ken Russell’s The Fall of the Louse of Usher (UK, 2002)? I probably told myself: “This looks trashy, but …” I was undoubtedly overwhelmed by the huge amount of visual and acoustic resources and the multiple references to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, including the film’s subtitle: […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features

Why Sofia Coppola’s misunderstood drama is ripe for reappraisal

Cannes Film Festival’s most powerful weapon has long been its ability to make or break a film. Before a radically changing film landscape dulled this potency, one of its victims was Sofia Coppola’s third film, her deeply idiosyncratic portrait of Marie Antoinette. In truth, the film never really recovered from the boos of riled French […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Four Frames

Why Tommy Wiseau’s cult calamity remains a classic

If cinema is an ‘escape’ from real life, then Tommy Wiseau’s cult calamity is a feature-length detachment from reality itself. It’s unlikely there could ever be enough drugs in the world to fully comprehend a film that, for all intents and purposes, resembles something made by an alien trying to recreate about a hundred different […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: why The Happening deserves a second chance

Now that M. Night Shyamalan is again enjoying critical and public success thanks to The Visit and Split, it’s high time we revisit what is perhaps his most misunderstood offering: the wildly uneven but oddly fascinating The Happening. Although derided as “that movie where Mark Wahlberg talks to a plant,” it remains the writer-director’s bleakest film to […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Rollerball (Norman Jewison, 1975)

Norman Jewison’s Rollerball opens with the rituals of any sports match. The stadium is prepared, team executives shake hands, and crowds cheer as the players emerge. But one of the first hints that this is not sport entirely as we know it comes when the players stand not for The Star-Spangled Banner or God Save […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Orchestra Rehearsal (Federico Fellini, 1978)

Federico Fellini’s films often present a caricaturist view of society by magnifying our faults, a trait which is particularly distinct in Orchestra Rehearsal (1978), a film with an unusually strong political message from the Italian filmmaker. The movie presents itself as a faux documentary, with a television crew filming an orchestra’s rehearsal. When the musicians enter an […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Freedom Fighters (Vicente Aranda, 1996)

Vicente Aranda (who died last year) was part of the avant-garde Barcelona School of filmmakers in the 1960s and became best known for entwining explicit sexuality with explorations of murky pasts. Although Freedom Fighters’ Spanish Civil War setting satisfies the latter of those directorial motifs, Aranda’s habitually fleshy depictions of carnal desire and twisted sexual jealousy […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Congress (Ari Folman, 2013)

Simply scrolling onto The Congress’ official website gives a very accurate depiction of Ari Folman’s feature. One is presented with an outlandish, gyrating mosaic of film clips; enough to make anyone recoil at its unrelenting visual assault. The colours are all too vibrant and little sense can be made of the story being told. The […]