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Saturday, March 10, 2012

2012 Winter Movie Bits


Here are some bits about movies that didn’t touch me enough, at least enough to write something about them.

This Must Be The Place. I have no clear idea of what was I expecting from this movie but Paolo Sorrentino credentials gave me expectations of an intense cinematic experience. Can’t say movie is bad as it’s not, much less that Sean Penn is bad as he gives an excellent performance but there is something that bothered me. I saw two styles, thus two movies; one I liked, happened in Europe, the other I didn’t, set in USA. Not as intense as I was hoping and wish film styles blended better; hope next Sorrentino film stays in Europe only. Enjoy! Italy, France and Ireland.

Drive. With all the awful marketing promotion I delayed watching as much as possible as imagined movie was going to be very violent. It is not and end up enjoying the story, the performances and fabulous Nicolas Winding Refn style. If you don’t care about violent movies do not skip this one as not only is not that violent but you will be missing a great movie with great actors’ performances and an acceptable story. Enjoy!!! USA.

Martha Marcy May Marlene. Actually I liked movie and as I said after watching if it wasn’t for them talking English I would have say that this is an European movie, maybe German, good German cinema and Elizabeth Olsen has a great performance, should have gotten an Oscar nod as she does world class acting. If you haven’t seen it, do not skip it worth watching no matter how story is. Enjoy!!! USA.

Young Adult. I believe I’m a Diablo Cody fan and really are looking forward to her directorial debut. In a nutshell this Jason Reitman film has outstanding –and very sharp- dialogues and an amazing performance by Charlize Theron, so good that the classic drunk scene made me feel very awkward, so much that had to “close” my ears and really close my eyes. Do not skip this movie as is a fantastic movie about those really dysfunctional individuals that never grow up. Enjoy!!! USA.

The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep does an outstanding performance that in my opinion does not save the movie that should have been more a made for TV movie, unlike the famous The Queen. I really HATED the story as was a not-kind and very unpleasant to watch portrait of a famous woman. There was NO need to tell the story from this point-of-view even when intention was to humanize Mrs. Thatcher. Can you think about an alive male statesman that was an object of a “humanizing” portrait such as this one? I can’t. Anyway even when Streep deserves Oscar I wish the American Academy wouldn’t celebrate her greatness in such a poor movie. Sigh. UK and France.

J. Edgar. Talking about humanizing famous man this Clint Eastwood film does that with perhaps one of the must “larger-than-life” American infamous law iconic figure and in this sense Eastwood absolutely succeeds as Hoover is seen more like a person than a not-so-positive legend. But film has something that makes the end product not outstanding and not relatable. I believe is the screenplay and yes, performances, the later is hard for me say as I believe Eastwood is a master filmmaker, but I know that once in a while he does movies that leave me wondering why he did them and these films have big stars as leads –remember Angelina Jolie movie? Anyway, watch it without expectations and maybe you will learn that Hoover actually did something good. Enjoy. USA

A Dangerous Method. Complex movie, too much psychoanalysis (as it should be) not much entertaining as is very brainy, thus “dry”; but then what was there to expect from a movie about the founders of modern psychology? (lol!) Indeed most of what I heard already knew and had to pay to learn it! Didn’t enjoy much actors’ performances especially Keira Knightley was not good and at times very unpleasant to watch. Watch at your own risk. Enjoy. Canada, UK, Germany, and Switzerland.

Octubre (October). Been waiting a long time to watch this Vega brothers film and no, I was not really impressed with their much praised film. Peruvian cinema has so much evolved and leaped into the international arena that I was hoping for a world class cinema experience. It was not. Movie has more the regular Latin American style and well, has an entertaining story good enough for an entertainment escape moment. Watch at your own risk. Enjoy. Peru.

Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Take-Away). What do you think of a story that starts with a cow falling from the sky into a small boat and killing the woman that was about to get a marriage proposal? That’s exactly how this sometimes comedy sometimes drama starts plus sets the tone and manner to everything that follows. Is an entertaining movie quite well done with the always outstanding and reliable performance by Ricardo Darin. Enjoy!! Argentina and Spain.

Violeta se fue a los Cielos (Violeta Went to Heaven). For me Violeta Parra is an icon and watching her bio was not easy as tells –and made me recall- about turbulent times in the Latin American region not only Chile. Still, I believe Andres Wood does a good job as she was portrayed as what –everyone says- she was, a not pleasant woman. I like her songs and this movie will not change that, but maybe I liked better the idea I had of her in my head than the one portrayed here. Watch at your own risk, especially if you know who Violeta Parra is and her outstanding poetry in her lyrics. Enjoy. Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

Apflickorna (She Monkeys). Lisa Aschan much honored debut film is a very interesting essay on very young and young women –or should I say children?- behavior as story is strong and yes, not easy to watch. But what makes film quite outstanding is Aschan magnificent visual and narrative storytelling style. Looking forward to her next film and suggest you do not skip this movie, but be prepared as story is not light. Yes has some lesbian interest but in my opinion film transcends the label both because story as because the superb filmmaking style, so wider audiences should be able to enjoy this very European movie. Enjoy!!! Sweden. Lesbian interest.

Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums). After Persepolis I was really hoping for an outstanding story and was looking forward to see how directors move from animation into live filmmaking; then Mathieu Amalric is a very special performer that either you love him in a particular role or you don’t. Here Amalric is the don’t-like kind and live film does not reach the same great levels of their animation film. For me story is not that interesting –at least as much as was Persepolis- even when I recognize that’s magical. Some say is a very French movie, I don’t agree, film does not look or feel French or European at all. But I hope next film by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi regains the magic that Persepolis had. Enjoy! France, Germany and Belgium.

La Source des Femmes (The Source). I was really looking forward to watch this Radu Mihaileanu film with a story that revolves around women. I really like Leïla Bekhti performances as well as excellent Hiam Abbass and good Hafsia Herzi; can’t complain as it was good watching them here but didn’t enjoy much the story as I believe is one I have seen before told in many more compelling ways. Still, visually this film is a true beauty that will feast your eyes. Enjoy! Belgium, Italy and France.

Les Géants. Bouli Lanners films are not easy to watch for me as was unable to watch Eldorado, but wanted to try to watch this Cannes honored movie. I couldn’t, had to stop watching as was feeling physical sick and very uncomfortable. A story of three kids that never imagined could be portrayed so not easy to watch for the most non-sense simple situations. Watch at your own risk. Sigh. Belgium.

Polisse. Not sure what was going to watch here as Maïwenn movies are always not very easy to watch or enjoy. Well, definitively this one has not her usual style and style becomes maybe more commercial as film looks and feels like mainstream cinema –and could extend it to being like a movie made for the small screen. Still film tells a compelling story about children and actors give very good performances, which makes film worth watching. Do not skip it, even if you don’t particularly like French cinema, you will enjoy this movie. Enjoy!! France.

Les Femmes du 6e étage (The Women on the 6th Floor). Watched because Carmen Maura got a Cesar nomination –which she won- but I’m no fan of French comedies as no, I don’t particularly enjoy their humor. Still film is a lot more a drama than a comedy and was a true pleasure to watch Fabrice Luchini performance. Movie is quite watchable and yes I do recommend it for an escape moment, French style of course. Enjoy!! France.

وهلّأ لوين؟ Wo Hallah La Wen? (Where Do We Go Now?) Nadine Labaki mesmerizes me as an actress and most of all as a director. I really LOVED Sukkar Banat (Caramel) so can deny that had HUGE expectations for her next movie. In my opinion her second movie is VERY different to her first and yes, I did enjoy a lot more her first than her second. Story here is very relevant plus her visual and narrative filmmaking style are interesting, but I have seen this story told before in more compelling and emotional ways. Still it was a true pleasure to watch Nadine Labaki in the screen, which makes movie worth watching. I’m really looking forward to her third movie that hope has a more universal story developed with her particular style. Enjoy. France, Lebanon, Egypt, and Italy.

Café de Flore. A very pretentious movie by Jean-Marc Vallée that many say is about love, me I say is an anatomy of a separation told by mirrored stories that happen in the past (Paris) and the present (Montreal) but thanks to pretentious editing –yes editing is what makes this film pretentious- time is senseless crisscrossed, rewind, and forwarded. Better editing could have made mirrored stories more flawlessly intertwined and movie more enjoyable. I really enjoyed Hélène Florent performance and believe she stole the movie. If you don’t mind to watch a movie that moves (too much) in time to tell a story that somehow is predictable (was for me) and journey is not that enjoyable, then watch this film for the love story that many people see in it. Enjoy. Canada and France.

Oslo, 31. August (Oslo, August 31st). Loved Reprise and yes had expectations. Second Joachim Trier film has the same great filmmaking style as his first film but tells a simple story that with his style becomes quite disturbing. So much disturbing that yes, I do suggest you avoid this film as you could get really depressed by Trier’s interpretation of Pierre Drieu La Rochelle’s 1931 Le Feu Follet. Here is not an alcoholic but a drug addict, yet drama is SO well developed that will hurt you inside –where hurts more. Okay, is a very good movie, but find a good state of mind to watch it or you will get very depressed. Enjoy! Norway.

The Artist. Just realized that I didn’t wrote about this movie that in my opinion glorifies Hollywood cinema like no American film has ever done, so it’s no surprise that film became a favorite of critics and the American industry. I enjoyed movie, it was entertaining but as I mentioned elsewhere, if I wanted to honor American silent cinema I could watch so many good films with many excellent silent actors that this film will absolutely pale in the comparison. Obviously film doesn’t look or feel like French cinema and wonder if the honor of being the most honored French movie of all times really celebrates this cinema and not the American one. Watch movie just because won Oscar and if you have to watch all Oscar wining movies. Enjoy! France and Belgium.

I’m sure I forgot many more movies but this is it for today.

Cheers.

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