I have my new rating system only since November last year, and I must admit, that I rarely give a film a **** rating. But this isn't so tragic, because a ***1/2 rating means a masterpiece on my scale
But I've only started making complete viewing logs, since I've become a member on www.listology.com.
Here's an interesting overview: www.listology.com/content...t_id.17639
**1/2 is a good rating, kind of a B (or B-) in the US, meaning that i normally thoroughly enjoyed the film. To be true, I was very disappointed by the film, because I had already seen Archangel and The Heart of the world (the latter got a **** / **** rating!), and my expectations were too high. But the rating dosen't reflect my disappointment (at least i hope so). I like Maria de Medeiros very much, am a fan of Isabella Rossellini, and Mark McKinney was outstanding in this (as he is in every film I've seen him in), on the technical side there also aren't any flaws, I like Maddin's approach, the photography, the overall style. The problem was the story, which was very conventional, as a satire it was too flat, as a comedy too moody, and as a whole, it didn't take itself serious enough. Maddin discusses many grave issues, and it could've been a great depression satire/ melodrama, but the melodramatic moments also don't achieve any depth, and are just played out for fun, and the fun - well, isn't funny. It was like Maddin had a bit spare time between projects, and wanted to take it easy. That's okay with me, but it doesn't make a remarkable film.
BTW, a friend of mine who is a film student was blown away by the film, and totally enthusiastic (but I think it's maybe because he hasn't seen any other films by Maddin).
Balthazar left me very impressed, therefore the ***1/4 rating (A-), but I need to see it again. May get to be one of my all time favorites. The atmosphere was pure magic. The only problem with me was, that I didn't "get" it all, as there was so much in the picture.
I hope you'll enjoy Ulysse's Gaze. A film enthusiast i like to read rated it * star and called it unfilmic and pretentious.