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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Long Hot Summer Movie Bits


My summer was hot, too hot. I'm talking about the weather as many movies I saw were not hot at all. I'm glad this season is about to be over so my favorite season of the year will come next. I'm an Autumn person, because the weather as well as for the movies and all the cinema industry events.

Bonsai by Cristián Jiménez, Chile, Argentina, Portugal and France
Wanted to like movie at least as much as Ilusiones Opticas but I did not. At first couldn't figure out why but believe was because the narrative as movie as a movie is not that bad. Imagine many could like it but not me. Sigh.

Dark Shadows by Tim Burton, USA
While watching wondered if Burton saw what he did, I don't think so. One of the worst movies I have ever seen and the story idea was good, but the end result was awful. Sorry to see Johnny Depp involved with such a bad movie. Sigh.

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man With A Movie Camera) by Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929
Wanted to love this silent film as many have enjoyed the ahead of its time documentary. Started watching in awe but too soon it became the same, something different was being shown but it was the same. Still agree that its ahead of its time, but after a while was too much to endure. Maybe it was the music of the version I saw (there are several music versions) so I muted sound but the visuals did not improved. Saw it complete but watching was hard until the end even when is just 8 minutes more than an hour. But is a classic and one film that everyone should see, maybe you will enjoy it more than I did. Enjoy.

Skoonheid (Beauty) by Oliver Hermanus, South Africa, Germany and France
Came with great credentials but I was not prepared to see a film that look and felt old, very old. I do admit that what happens here still exists today all over the world and never ends well for anyone. There are many homophobic married men that are homosexuals and this is just one story. Never before have seen man-to-man rape, was very unpleasant to watch as much as it is with any kind of rape. I did not enjoyed this film. Sigh.

Fjellet (The Mountain) by Ole Giæver, Norway
The location was absolutely stunning and film had great visuals but fast, very fast I stopped enjoying the sights as this grieving story became truly annoying. Film tells about a couple of women, lesbians, trying to save their relationship while one of them (the biological mother) can't overcome the death of their child. Everything in this film is underestimated and maybe in the hands of a female director film could have been better, at least to help bring more credibility to these two women drama. Film is quite short, 13 minutes more than one hour, but felt like it was three or more hours Sigh.

The Dark Knight Rises by Christopher Nolan, USA
Not impressed at all. Batman has so little time in the screen that doesn't seem like a Batman movie which is similar to the Dark Knight; but unfortunately is NOT the Dark Knight as no one can do what Heath Ledger did in that movie. Marion Cotillard is here and I hardly notice her. Wanted my money back. Sigh.

I had not much luck with those movies but my luck was better with several documentaries.

First Love by Claire Gorman, Australia and USA
A true surprise very enjoyable to watch with a great story about three teenage girls that are in love, not with boys but with surfing. Narrative is so well constructed that makes documentary look and feel more like a movie, a very entertaining movie. Highly recommend watching film and definitively is must be seen for women that enjoy surfing. Enjoy!!!

Senna by Asif Kapadia, UK
Another surprise as yes I know who Ayrton Senna is, no I'm no motor-racing fan (even do once, only once I drove a Formula One) and no, knew nothing about Senna's life. A very emotional roller-coaster tale that shows us a very interesting human being. Very hard to believe that a car-racing driver story could be that much entertaining and so highly emotional but documentary has excellent tech specs and a most impressive storyteller and filmmaker. Bravo. Must be seen. Enjoy!!!

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre, USA
Very interesting documentary mainly because the story it tells. Documents the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work (we see old footage of some of her work) at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, but also takes us into the most amazing, compelling performance she does for 3 months every day. I love Art as much as I love movies, but not much a fan of performance art; still this amazing artist has changed my mind, I fell in love with performing art. Bravo. I strongly suggest you experience this film. Big Enjoy!!!

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker, UK
Lucy Walker makes impressive documentaries but this short documentary is more than impressive as is really beautiful to watch but at the same time awfully hard to watch and you can't help but shred tears while and after watching. For me was a very emotional experience. Tells a story about survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan's recent tsunami and how they find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins. Suggest you watch it, but maybe you have to be prepared for a strong emotional ride. Enjoy!!!

Vito by Jeffrey Schwarz, USA
Another surprise as documentary is very well constructed while the story is compelling. Tells the story of Vito Russo, founding father of USA gay liberation movement, vociferous AIDS activist in the 1980s and none the less, the author of the quite famous and the most iconic guide to gay and lesbian cinema history, The Celluloid Closet. I knew him for his work but his life story is very compelling and touching thanks to the great storyteller and filmmaker. I believe that even if you're not interested in the genre films, the story in this documentary could interest you as after all is part of the history of the United States of America, and in a way, that's exactly how I believe is portrayed in the documentary. Find this documentary many times more interesting than The Times of Harvey Milk documentary and yes, also than the film, Milk. Enjoy!!!

Surely I'm forgetting some movies but as you can suspect, where not interesting enough for me to like or dislike them.

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