Cat City (1986)

Cat City Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Cat City Movie Review

Cat City is a 1896 Hungarian animated film directed by Bela Ternovszky. It is a pretty disappointing film.

What I really didn’t like here is the plot. It isn’t bad, but it’s still very lazy. It is basically a parody of James Bond and Star Wars movies and the problem with that is that it’s just not particularly funny. Maybe it was a language barrier, I am not sure, but the fact remains that I never laughed during its entire running time.

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In the year 80 A.M.M.

the mice on planet X were threatened by the apocalyptic spectre of humiliation

and total destruction

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Cat City Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The one thing that is admirable about it, however, has to be its setting and world building. This is such an interesting film as it follows cats and mice and the relationship between them and how they all live in the big city with a lot of politics as well. It is basically a precursor to ‘Zootopia’ in that regard.

But the characters are so uninspired and the dubbing was awful in the English dubbed version that I’ve seen and thus I can’t tell about the quality of the original Hungarian voice acting. But as I said, none of the characters appealed to me and none of them was particularly well explored or developed.

Cat City is well directed and the one song in it titled Four Gangsters is actually pretty solid. The film has an interesting premise, but not that good execution and I found the action to be overwhelming and the pacing to be way too frenetic.

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Cat City Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The animation is very good. It is one of the best things about the film. I liked the character designs and, although never really polished, the overall look to the film was pleasant and some of the imagery was quite memorable. The world building, the attention to detail and the overall style to the film are some of its strongest points. I also liked the opening crawl that was influenced by Star Wars. In the end, Cat City is evidently very good in some areas, but it is ultimately a very disappointing Hungarian animated film that left me wanting for more.

Cat City is a very disappointing film that benefits from an interesting style to it, very good world building, fine attention to detail and a solid premise, but the execution is weak, the character development is lacking, the pacing is frenetic and the film is just never as good as it could have been as it had a lot of potential.

My Rating – 3

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White God (2014)

White God

White God Review

White God is a 2014 Hungarian drama film directed by Kornel Mundruczo. It won the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It deserved all of its accolades and critical acclaim as it truly is an authentic and marvelous achievement.

It follows a young girl who has a mixed-breed dog Hagen. One day, her father dumps him on the street and Hagen’s journey starts with him eventually gathering 250 of dogs and they start an uprising against their human oppressors. The plot itself is really good, but it is the approach and execution that makes it great. For once, you get the perspective from a dog himself which is so unique and for once you get a truly realistic and honest look at mixed-breed dogs and the real troubles they go through on the street. It is an important and insightful film for that matter and everyone should see it.

The problems I’ve had with White God are twofold. First of the two is that the film is at times overly brutal. Yes, it was important for us to see that and the film mostly is just a psychological horror which is great, but there are certain times where they’ve gone too far with the blood and killings being particularly unnerving and just too much. Also, that ending, while triumphant and emotionally satisfying, is still too much of a typically happy ending and it is predictable.

However, what isn’t predictable is the film’s first two acts which are fantastic. The first is a great emotional drama and has some excellent character moments between Lili and Hagen and the second is a brutal look at what happens on the streets and an excellent view from a dog’s perspective. It is great how the film is thematically rich and you can take anything you want from it in terms of politics and social commentary, but what is even better is its use of different genres with drama being superb, action being well realized and even horror being present in the end and well done.

Lili is a great, grounded character and of course Hagen is phenomenal. The father is also realistic, but the problem for me was everyone’s hatred towards mixed-breed dogs exhibited here as it was bit too much and difficult to believe. But the character development is solid for this kind of film and of course the acting is superb as all of the actors did a great job and the dogs are all terrific.

White God is technically such a polished film. The cinematography is amazing, the directing and acting are both so phenomenal and the pacing is terrific with just the right amount of running time and an epic scope is definitely there.  There are many memorable sequences here from the ending to the perfect opening to some great dog close-ups. The imagery is great and the movie is so authentic which is its biggest strength. The dialogue is solid and the movie is sophisticated and always fascinating and incredibly engaging to follow. It is also very realistic and its subject matter is not only important but also perfectly approached and realized. The movie is serious and mature in the best way possible while also attaining its emotional intensity and its heart. In a great year for foreign movies, this is one of the better ones and such an original and bold film that is definitely worth a watch.

White God has amazing cinematography, superb acting across the board and it is such an authentic film with an important subject matter wonderfully realized with both realism and brutality and a big heart. Its ending is typical and it is at times too brutal, but this is mostly an original and entirely engrossing film that is emotionally intense and wonderfully dramatic.

My Rating – 4.5

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Son of Saul (2015)

Son of Saul

Son of Saul Review

Son of Saul is a 2015 Hungarian drama film directed by Laszlo Nemes and starring Geza Rohrig. The film won Grand Prix at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and it is a flawed, but interesting experience.

Saul Auslander is a Hungarian-Jewish prisoner whose job is to bury the dead in the year of 1944. He takes a boy for his son and takes it upon himself to salvage a boy’s body and have a proper burial. The plot itself is the main reason why I had problems with this film. It is always inconsistent and too mysterious to the point of a frustration. It works as a whole, but we never get to understand why that task of burying a boy’s body is so important to him. And some scenes were a bit too ambiguous and not in a good way.

However, the reason why the movie still works to a large degree is definitely the impact it leaves on the audience. I felt uncomfortable throughout the whole running time as the film possesses such a strong feeling of endless chaos and utter despair. It also transports you to its period so superbly and as if you are actually there and rarely have I felt that in a movie which is why Son of Saul succeeds as a World War II film. It is always so quick in its pace and something always happens and you are the witness of the endless horrors surrounding the main character and he is your guide.

Yes, that cinematography choice truly is interesting. It tells you the story from the perspective of the protagonist by letting you follow him throughout the whole film with the camera emphasis on his face and having his both sides blurred. That was done for better and for worse as it can get frustrating and makes the viewing somewhat difficult, but it is also better as is thus blurs all the nudity and violence which I am never a fan of and for that I was grateful. But overall I liked that approach and no matter how annoying it can sometimes get, it is still an artistic choice that helps a movie a lot and lets you see the emotion on the character’s face more clearly and produces some unforgettable scenes.

The characterization is not that good as you never meet these characters and even the leading character is not particularly well developed. But you still root for him from beginning to end and the character work is expectedly weaker because of the nature of the film.

Some scenes annoyed me here such as the scene with Saul and the girl which is not just ambiguous, but you never know what is going on exactly. Also, the whole movie has that approach with fast pacing and something always happening, but with no true developments occurring, except in the third act. But it still has many memorable scenes such as the ending which is so emotional and very satisfying and also so well realized and the beginning is extremely good and hooks you in instantly. There are definitely many moments here that are priceless and the film produces that uncomfortable feeling in such a good way and it lasts from start to finish which is why this is a successful experiment.

Son of Saul is such a well directed and acted movie with Laszlo Nemes and Geha Rohrig both being incredibly good in their roles. The movie also looks good as it is so well shot. It is realistic and dark as well and transports you the this period so well. It is also quite emotional, especially near the end, and it is a very well edited and paced movie that is never dull or too rushed despite its fast pace which seems natural rather than forced. It is a serious and memorable movie that is flawed in its execution, but is still so authentic and leaves such a strong impression.

Son of Saul can be annoying at times, it is too ambiguous from time to time and the character development and motivations should have been better realized, but it is still such an authentic take on the tired subject matter with such a unique cinematography, emotional approach, many unforgettable scenes and it makes you uncomfortable, leaving such a strong feeling of chaos and despair.

My Rating – 4

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