Movie Reviews From The Rotten TMUers - Week 2

Welcome Brothers and Sisters to the second meeting of the Secret Society of Rotten TMUers. First allow me to slide the satin sheet from the top of our new super secret and somewhat sexy insignia of the Secret Society of Rotten TMUers.

Oooh! Ahhhh! Note the sleek subtle lines of secrecy. The hidden meanings and mysterious origins all intimated through spectacular... Eh it is what it is. Feel free to use it on your secret letterhead.

And now lets move on to the primary order of business.

The movie this week is:

by Reepicheep

Brother EthanRunt trumpets...
"Week 2 and the reviewers are slowly understanding the wealth of films that lay before them ready for write-ups to hit them.

This week, in a 180 degree change from last weeks free and footloose laugh-a-minute Con The Don, we see Lonely War, a dark meditation on a soldier in Vietnam, hiding as American GIs round them up, looking back at everything.

Well, An interestingly designed minimalist drawing version of him and a girl meeting and then a war scene, two key moments for this poor soldier evidentially, and then lots of slow pans as rain falls and the piano muses in the background.

I'd have to say I'm half and half on this film, it looks good certainly, and there's a haunting hypnotic feeling to it that keeps you going it's 4 and a half minute runtime, but personally I didn't really feel for the man huddled away trying to survive, it seems like it was very much style over substance, or the substance was suited more for simplistic nature than a real human character presented in the horrifying terrain he finds himself, but I just never found a way to sink my teeth into this film emotionally.

It's a looker though, some nice effects and shots, and interestingly edited with a nice focus on the music, but I couldn't recommend it in any way that suggests you're looking at something that'll rock your world.

Like last week I'd have to offer this half marks as there's good and bad, but not enough of either to change that rating.

Brother Edward G. "Money" Mumsley blabs...
"A lovely short of solitude and regret (maybe). Excellent editing, nice effects (though the etching effect seemed a bit out of place), wonderful music. Depth of story is only implied and hence... $$$$"

Brother Killian bellows...
"Interesting little piece developed well, with a single track of piano music throughout that fit very well.

Some very well executed and clever use of filters added to the mood; no subtitles and no words, but none were needed for this.

The style wasn't that of a movie I would normally watch. I can't say this piece turned me onto art-house type films, either, and it certainly didn't make me want to seek out such fare for the future. But it was well shot, evocative and contained some very clever uses of camera angles, animation and screen filters to set the mood, and ultimately that's the important thing.

I appreciated it for it's technical merits, even if the actual movie itself didn't stir me particularly. Watch it if you like arty type films; you'll like it. Well constructed and, even if the overly critical eye spotted some angles that didn't suit the mods used particularly well, worth a look. The only major complaint I have is that no credit was given for the piano piece used; naughty Reepicheep!"

Sister Dulcinia muses...
"Like, dude, you totally made me cry. Some of the shots were freakin' radical, and then it switched into this psychadelic sketchy feel and that made me do a doubletake at my screen and say, woah! totally awesome! What a rockin' way to show a flashback. Like, way better than the usual choice people make with The Movies software to do it. Oh! And before I forget, I really loved your use of the hide scene. Totally creative! Like, I could feel his loneliness. And I was really hoping his dudes would find him. You totally didn't overuse the shaky camera either. Totally awesome job. "

Brother Daninsky elaborates...
"Lonely War tells a simple but moving story, set, so the opening informs us, in Vietnam in 68. As it is with most war stories the setting doesn't really matter beyond giving us a point of reference for who is trying to kill who, and with this question settled the movie works without a need for dialogue. A lonely, almost haunting music track to set the mood, a singular piano piece befitting this lonely soldiers tale, is all there is to aid the storytelling.

So far so good, the movie has a point to make and brings it across in a mostly stylish way.

Mostly. This reviewer would have wished for congruency in style, it feels like the director hadn t made up his mind entirely about how best to go about the flashback sequences and instead decided to touch on different styles, I did love the cartoonish, unreal quality used in the first flashback sequence which stood in stark contrast to the immediate reality of war and would have wished he had build on that, but as is stands it feels like a one off effect thrown in for show without a deeper significance, done simply because it was possible.

It s a shame because the movie otherwise makes inventive use of mods and generally builds up the right mood.

I have personally a soft spot for stories that bring their point across without a need for words, simply relying on the strength of images and music and am tempted to give it a four star rating, but I really thought the sketch-style of the first flashback to disturb the overall concept instead of adding to it.

So, I can only give 3 Stars."

Brother IceAxe alludes...
"This is a movie about emotion rather than story telling, and it captures the sadness and consequence of war rather well. From the haunting piano music, the relentless rainfall, and the empty concrete bunkers, the isolation of the lone soldier is strongly felt.
The flashback sequences were well thought out, and the camera work in the combat was particularly good. In that scene too, we can see how troubled the soldier is - perhaps he sees how it is going to end?

Some things that I feel could have improved this movie a bit;
1. The preamble tells us that this is a lone Vietnamese soldier hiding from the American ground troops. Without this preamble it would be very difficult to know what the situation is that we are watching. I think there could be more visual clues for audiences that don't have the benefit of reading the little back story text.
2. Until we actually see the American toops coming, we don't really share the Vienamese soldier's anquish and fear of being found. If the movie had opened with an establishing shot of the Americans looking then we would get the idea that "they" are out there and the man is hiding.
3. A little more set dressing in the bunkers - some signs of life - to help the viewer understand the purpose of these concrete rooms
4. Why does he keep wiping his mouth? And why doesn't he open his eyes when he's obviously looking out for the Americans?

All in all, I found this movie to be crushingly sad (which is what I think you were aiming for) so well done! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.

4 stars."

Brother Biggstrek hails...
"I made sure to watch this film twice to make sure I got the full impact of it (and I'll make sure to do that with all future reviews for this Society). First off, I think it's fair to say this film wouldn't have been nearly as good if it had a different soundtrack. The music set the tone very well (note: I didn't see any credit for the music in the description or the movie. It's always good to credit the source - especially when it's such a significant part of the film) . Another important factor was the camera work. For the most part it was top notch, with cool angles and good closeups, etc.

The "story" seemed a little vague to me. Well, not vague. Maybe not very "centred". It was clear enough, especially towards the end. So no real problem there.

Some of the post production was quite daring, and worked pretty darn well. The visual effects gave the film a slight surreal feel to it, which was cool.

This film has no dialogue. And it clearly doesn't need it. It's not easy to pull off a film without it, and it was done well here (though I wonder if I hadn't read the description first, would I have known what was going on? hmmm...)

This film has almost no sound effects. Again, it pretty much doesn't need any (except the end). The only problem was that one of the few effects (and the most important one) was flawed at the end, and it spoiled what was otherwise a very dramatic moment. Hearing the end of the sound effect (where it should have faded into silence, and not "clicked" off) pulled me out of the film during that critical moment. A pity.

Anyway, the film was overall very well done, and a pleasure to watch (twice). Not a subject that I would normally look for, but when a film is good, it's good nonetheless. If I was a rating person, I'd give this film 3.5 out of 5."

Once again my fellow brothers and Sisters have performed admirably in their task. Thank you for your secret insights and mysterious ideas. And with this the second meeting of the Secret Society of rotten TMUers is adjourned.

Now, please join me for drinks in the bar car.


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