BEAUTIFUL!!! Anomalisa (2016) Review

Like Motivational Growth, I think Anomalisa is something you witness rather than experience. The film won’t have you shedding tears at any point however the themes and ideas will stick with you for days. I wasn’t sure if I liked Anomalisa when I first saw it but that was nearly a week ago and after some reflection, I think it’s quite magical.

This stop-motion drama directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson tells the story of Michael Stone, an inspirational speaker who lives in a dull reality where everyone has the same face. While staying at a hotel he meets Lisa, a quirky young woman with a unique appearance and voice. Michael immediately falls in love with her but as he spends time with Lisa he begins to make some unflattering discoveries.

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Couldn’t get a good quality pic of the poster so I thought I’d just use a still. 

Michael isn’t a likeable character. He’s cynical and a bit antisocial. The first half of the film is all about establishing the world. Through that we begin to understand Michael and the state he’s in. The world bores him. He feels guilty about ending a good relationship for reasons he’s unsure of. We feel empathy for him rather than sympathy, this makes his scenes with Lisa very engaging.

When Lisa enters the story we get an engaging but slightly concerning insight of Michael’s true character. She turns Michael’s world upside down, he’s absolutely mesmerized by her. At this point we see a different side of Michael. He’s polite to Lisa most of the time but occasionally comes across as controlling and even creepy. He eventually forms a decent relationship with Lisa.

The rest of the film expands on Michael’s issues and leads to a haunting conclusion. I won’t spoil it but I will say that it suggests that Michael may somehow be responsible for the mundane world he sees every day.

I think Anomalisa is uniquely mesmerizing; it has an empathetic protagonist who we’re constantly fascinated with and a fantastic surreal world. I highly recommend it for everyone.

I give Anomalisa an incredible 10 out of 10.    

An Underground Gem Everyone Has To See. Motivational Growth (2013) Review

I think Motivational Growth is almost like a modern Eraserhead. It’s a unique and strange film that deserves much more attention, there’re so many interpretations that can be extracted from it.

This independent film tells the story of Ian, a depressed man who has remained in his apartment for over a year with only Kent, his old TV, as company. After failing suicide Ian discovers a mould that has formed in his bathroom.

The mould starts talking and motivates Ian to get his life back together. However, the mould has other intentions, intentions that may become very unpleasant for Ian.

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DAYUM.

Motivational Growth isn’t really an emotional experience but I don’t think its supposed to be. Its more like something you witness. You absorb the characters and dialogue and plot beats as they are and make your own judgment.

Now don’t get me wrong, the film isn’t so vague that it becomes a meaningless, pretentious student art-film. There are a few clear themes that I think most people can recognize.

For example, depression is a key element in the story.

At the very beginning its established that Ian is in a paralyzed state. From the monologues he delivers to the audience we learn of the quality of his life, how getting up from the sofa and going to the toilet is the highlight of his day.

If that isn’t a display of depression Ian’s apartment pretty much visualizes his state. The place is a mess; the floor, tables and sofa are covered in takeaway boxes.

Another clear theme that I think everyone can recognize and relate to is the overall, ruthless shittiness of life.

We don’t know why Ian has locked himself away but we know that he’s terrified of the outside world. In his monologues he almost justifies his isolated life. He points to the door and tells us that we could get killed out there. As he does as the mould suggests, trying to ‘improve’ his life it seems that his life just gets worse.

I won’t spoil it but I will say that Motivational Growth deserves a larger audience. People should be talking about it and sharing theories because I’ve only scratched the surface of the amount of ideas and material in the film.

Motivational Growth is a dark, funny, twisted and extraordinary film and I highly recommend it for everyone.

I give it a fantastic 8 out of 10.

Seriously. See it!!!

 

NOICE. Sandman A Game of You (1993) Review

While it’s not as good as Seasons of Mists, I think A Game of You is the best of both worlds in that it works as both a standalone story and part of a larger arc.

This fifth volume of the Sandman series centers around a woman (Barbara) re-entering her childhood dream land. She discovers that it has been conquered by an evil entity known as the ‘Cuckoo’. While she journeys through the land with a trio of odd friends, her friends in the waking world try to intervene and save her.

The main plot concerning Barbara’s journey is charmingly simple, very reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. It’s a nice addition considering how complex most Sandman stories can be.

sandman 5 pic
Not gonna lie, I’m starting to run out of ideas for these pictures.

Morpheus is more of a supporting character in A Game of You. The story is mainly focused on a different cast of characters, all of which are beautifully diverse.

For example, Barbara made her first appearance in Doll’s House. In that volume we saw that she was mysteriously overoptimistic and jolly. In this story she has broken up with her husband, hasn’t dreamt in years and can’t remember anything about her childhood. Her life’s a wreck.

So when she enters her dream land Barbara rediscovers her optimistic childhood world and also discovers how her imagination and past led to the state she’s in today. Her backstory and the situation she’s thrown into make her a very compelling character.

Thessaly, one of Barbara’s neighbors, is another great character. She obviously knows a lot about the Cuckoo and Morpheus’ world, who or what she is is never revealed but you want to find out.

Hazel and Foxglove, the other neighbors, have a vicious conflict when Hazel reveals she slept with a man. While they come across as mostly stereotypical lesbians, their conflict elevates them from this into a decent couple who may not function well together.

Overall apart from some underdeveloped characters, the characters that are developed I think make A Game of You a strong entry in the Sandman series. I just hope that future volumes are more like Doll’s House and Season of Mists. 

I give A Game of You a strong 7 out of 10.

UPDATE: I’ve got a new video up, this one’s a Counsellor 6 which you can see right here. This’ll probably be the last video I’ll have out for a while as I’m going back to Uni this month so please check it out! In the mean time, there shouldn’t be any shortage of reviews and articles so keep an eye on Duffhood for future updates 🙂