The team of James Wan and Leigh Whannel, who so famously gave us the first installment to what would later become the Saw franchise, had a rather different agenda this time around.
Insidious opens with a terrifying single shot through a dimly lit house that sets the tone justly. Wilson and Byrne have great chemistry together and the child actors aren’t overly annoying.
Insidious doesn’t try to be anything more than a scary haunted house flick, and that’s where it succeeds.
Vitruvian Man this young protagonist is not: Zanussi introduces him against a field of black, his horn-rimmed glasses and dark blue briefs an awkward aesthetic counterpoint to the otherwise alluring symmetry of the image. The folly of seeking the eponymous illumination finds teasing testament in Zanussi’s ironic docu-drama aesthetic; he melds the nascent narrative of a self-cipher physics student with these theoretical talking heads in a manner that holds tongue to cheek so firmly it might break the skin.
Apt, then, that Zanussi should centre this existentialist treatise on so flawed a figure as Franciszek, whose inability to appreciate his own life amidst his efforts to understand all life brings tragic balance to a film that’s wickedly comic at heart.
It is astonishing to think, as its credits roll, that The Illumination has lasted less than ninety minutes.
Ronan Doyle is an Irish freelance film critic, whose work has appeared on Indiewire, FilmLinc, Film Ireland, FRED Film Radio, and otherwhere.
Stardom is well deserved for Salazar, 29, who has now been acting professionally for five years. Salazar grabs our attention not just because of her acting chops, but also because of her tomboy sense of style and gamine pixie haircut. Monty Python’s Life of Brian has been called many things, including brilliant, irreverent and even blasphemous. The titular Brian (Graham Chapman) was born the same night as Jesus, just in a different manger not far away and is therefore mistaken by the wise men as Jesus, only to be corrected moments later.
That plot may not sound very funny, but it is difficult to go into great detail with a film this consistently funny without trying to go into the jokes, and that would rob the reader of the truly marvelous experience of witnessing them for themselves and for those that have seen the film, it would be tiresome and not nearly as funny as actually seeing the film. The film, written by and starring Chapman as Brian as well as in other roles, and the other members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gillium, all in a myriad of roles throughout the film (sometimes different characters within the same scene), is episodic in nature, going from one sketch to another yet still maintaining a cohesive structure, quite unlike their first feature Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which is still a fantastic film) and their third and final film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (an incredibly funny yet wildly uneven film with a flimsy through line). Monty Python’s Life of Brian proves that high-brow and low-brow comedy can coexist not only in the same film, but in the same scene.
To be fair, though, the film does still have some sequences that baffle the mind at their inclusion.
Monty Python's Life of Brian is bold, clever filmmaking, with a captivating performance by Graham Chapman.
I believe film occupies a rare place as art, entertainment, historical records and pure joy.
They wanted to prove that they could terrify an audience without graphic violence, and rest assured, they succeeded. We’re quickly introduced to high school teacher Josh (Patrick Wilson), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and their children.
It’s easy for a horror flick to trick the audience by using close-ups so the audience can’t see what’s in the room. Luckily the actors do a great job selling the scares or that third act could’ve been messy.
In his spare times he combines his passion for writing with his passion for film, and contributes his voice to whoever is looking to listen.
One of the great coups of this early film from prolific Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi is in setting the stage for such sweeping statements before pulling the rug out and leaving us to wonder whether they hold any water at all.


Editorial cues abound, sudden cuts to scientific studies of the body as though it were an inanimate object accompanied by a gleefully jarring piano tinkle. There is a madness to his eyes as his hand measures against that of his newborn child—one of many domestic distractions he will come to bear—the gaze less that of a doting father than a scientist scrutinising a rare specimen.
So it is with science and art, efforts to understand our place in the world that shouldn’t be subjected to a supposition of mutual exclusivity. There’s something to the depth of Zanussi’s tale that lends the telling the feel of an epic; “I’ve lived too slowly” Franciszek laments toward its end, and we feel as though we’ve done so with him, in the best kind of way. He recently contributed a chapter on Arab cinema to the book Celluloid Ceiling, and is currently entangled in an all-encompassing volume on the work of Woody Allen. As Brian ages, he sees a girl and instantly falls in love with her, going so far as to join the People’s Front of Judea, a pseudo-terrorist group that is together to fight the Romans.
This film represents their most sustained plot and greatest achievement in their limited film catalogue as a troupe. Most notably is a special effects sequence wherein Brian is saved from falling off an incomplete tower by a small spaceship piloted by two bizarre looking aliens. Often breaking up sections to be worked on by the writing partners that were established during their run on television, each sequence is funny in its own way, but all of it gels perfectly together and never feels disjointed.
Cleese takes on the least amount of roles at 6, with Palin showing up the most times as 12 different characters throughout the film. Filming in Tunisia to get the look and feel of Israel right and with Gillium making sure that the buildings and sets were as close to period authentic as they could, the pair what could have been dismissed and made it into one of the great comedies. The boldness of the Python’s venture with this film is still refreshing today and remains one of the most cleverly conceived comedies ever produced. As irreverent as it is funny, Life of Brian may be the comedy troupe's greatest cinematic achievement.
I love all films, good and bad, from every time period with an affinity to Classical Hollywood in general, but samurai, sci-fi and noir specifically. They’ve just moved into a new house, the kind of house you’d only find in a haunted house movie and it’s not long before spirits start to make their presence known and put one of their children (Ty Simpkins) in a coma. For a movie mostly composed of jump scares, it deserves credit for making sure the scares are real. The third act is particularly strong, although it does make the fatal mistake of revealing the evil spirit. Insidious took a different route and showed us the entire room, and still not being able to pinpoint the evil spirits is far more terrifying. It does a great job merging the three tonally different acts and keeping the audience involved in the story. For as much as Zanussi may have no answers to offer for the many grand questions he asks—how, after all, could he?—his movie abounds with a sort of playful inquisitiveness that at least allows for us to perhaps approach formulating our own. It’s not just physicists and philosophers at whom Zanussi pokes fun; he likes to cut, mid-coitus, to statuesque sex depictions, an abstraction in its own terms that’s just as unable to appreciate the incorporeal reality of the physical act it represents.
For as much as Zanussi’s rapid montage and aesthetic energy might lend heft to the notion, expressed by one character, that the future might exist in the present as the past does in our minds, this great movie is the story of a man so keen to understand his life that he never appreciates it.
When not watching movies, reading about movies, writing about movies, or thinking about movies, he can be found talking about movies on Twitter.
The best soundtracks of the era provided a solid selection of unforgettable power ballads (hey, Titanic), influential grunge ('sup, Singles?), and nostalgia (lookin' at you, Forrest Gump).
An amazing collaboration of 90's electronic artists and rock bands that still holds up to today's standards.


Yes, the film pokes fun at the legend of Jesus, but not directly and more mocks blind faith and people who talk a good game but do nothing. The only real trouble is that they just sit around and pass resolutions without ever actually doing anything (the only time they try something, everyone but Brian dies). The ship flies off to space but is pursued by another vessel and is shot down, killing the aliens but Brian escapes unscathed.
The strong main plot of Brian and his woes is the backbone for many an offbeat and brilliant bit, ranging from a centurion correcting the grammar of Brian’s graffiti and forcing him to write Romans Go Home 100 times as punishment for getting the Latin wrong on his first attempt to Brian being mistaken for the Messiah after he failed to complete a sentence that he stole from Jesus’ beatitudes while preaching in a square to avoid being noticed by Roman soldiers. He is utterly believable as the schmuck that never gets things to go his way, no matter how hard he tries and when things finally look like they might be up, he gets arrested and crucified. This level of realism juxtaposed with the utter silliness of the content legitimizes what, with poorer production value, could have been dismissed as a vulgar attack on Christianity and forgotten, despite its pedigree. Like The Great Dictator and To Be or Not To Be before it, the films willingness to take on powers that are often strong enough to squash derision makes it all the stronger and funnier in the end.
Da Vinci’s inanimate ink, after all, is far more flattering to the unsightly oddity of the human form than the photochemical process’ perfectly-preserved impurities.
In his incessant and abrupt cuts to absurd data dryly presented, in his outlandish asides to strangely funny surgery scenes, and in his odd ability to entangle realism and surrealism, Zanussi ironically underscores the search to understand our lives by any means but living them. Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or you're looking to find a new playlist, you'll want to check out the essential '90s soundtracks. The film garnered the blasphemous label because it is about a man who is, let’s say, Jesus adjacent. His love for Judith (Sue Jones-Davis) leads him through a lot of difficulties eventually getting him crucified. This odd little interlude feels out of place, since it has no bearing on the film whatsoever, yet it somehow strangely works because Brian has been out of his depth in everything he’s attempted throughout the film, so why not have aliens rescue him? There are just as many jokes that are just funny as there are ones that are pointed and meant to call attention to things like blind faith and resolving to actions that are never taken. Chapman fills the role with pathos and humor, never once letting his concentration faultier, which is amazing considering he was a raging alcoholic who spent little time sober by this point in his life (the disease would ultimately take his life a decade later). One may think that having the same people take on different roles would get confusing and weaken the film, but you don’t know Monty Python if you believe that.
To boot, the creature design is rather good and the stop-motion effects of the ships flying and fighting are reasonable as well. The group never attacks Christianity, as detractors of the film will say they do, they attack unthinking devotion and the things that make religion in general easy to satirize (apart from believing in an invisible man).
Almost as if to counter his earnest performance as Brian, Chapman also plays the ridiculous Roman general Bigus Dickus, a friend of Pontius Pilot (played by Michael Palin), both of whom have hilarious speech impediments. Each character is distinct from the actor’s other parts and each one is funny in a different way and who’s who is never confusing. It feels as though the troupe just decided to include that for fun and given their history, they probably wanted people to be scratching their heads over the scene. Never once do they attack or mock anything about Jesus, only the people that would unquestioningly follow someone due to veiled words. The film also boasts one of the best and oddest endings of a comedy of all time: a large group of people being crucified singing a song call ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.



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