Thursday, March 29

The Hunger Games (2012) by Gary Ross

"May the odds be ever in your favor. "

The Hunger Games is a film based on Suzanne Collins's first book of a trilogy that is very popular among teenagers. What could be a blessing is also a curse. Film industry adapting books is never easy, more so when the books are followed by many fans and so the film is expected to be closer to the original story but for profit and to integrate into the PG-13 classification they just lose quality. That sure is not easy with such a bloodbath byline.
The story is like a post apocalyptic era where the winners of the uprising bend the losers (13 districts of the so called Panem) to give 2 children from 12-18, a male and a female, as a tribute for the Hunger Games, an ancient Rome kind of Gladiator thing where they must fight until death in an arena, kind of like big brother's watching to remind the rebellious where power really lies.
From the 13 districts only 12 compete since the population of district 13 was eradicated at the time of  the rebellion. No need to say that many of these districts live in the utmost poverty. In the day of the Reaping the kids were chosen, except for district 12 where there was a voluntary tribute, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Her sister, a 12 years-old, has been picked first, but Katniss voluntaries herself. She is our hero, the surviving type of girl who tries to be the man of the house since his coal mining father died. And so it all begins...her trip to the Capitol, her preparation alongside Peeta Mellark (a baker's son), the contrast of civilization from poverty to eccentricity. She knows that she won't win but she must give an effort nonetheless for her sister, for her family, for district 12. Yet things don't go so smoothly and is not so important to be the fittest to kill as it is the best to play the game, because all in all it is a game. The story is incredibly fascinating, so weird that a slaughter can be but it has a bit of everything, not only of blood as of love.
The film itself tries to explain plainly the events and that can be a bit in slow motion, but it makes sense for whom the story is incognito. The games are a little played en passant when it's such a big portion of the book, and the action is passed a little to quick to get analysed. I blame the money here, they couldn't do a hard-core movie, they just couldn't in the way of profit. Being a lucky one myself, I've read the book and so I felt contempt because what I didn't see I saw it in my head so I enjoyed a lot. In this movie genre it was honestly one of the bests I've seen lately, with flaws naturally, but I've had a great time and I don't apolodgize for that.
Regarding roles,  Jennifer Lawrence was just faaaantastic, she really has something that is so enthralling, it's like we feel what she feels and she doesn't need to speak much. On the oppposite I thought Peeta's actor Josh Hutcherson was a bit softy, I don't know... I guess I wanted him to have more fiber... I guess his square face is not getting much emotion for a guy that basically is dealing with the thrill of being famous and dead at the same time meanwhile being such a hottie...

And the what? right? :)

"Peeta Mellark: I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don't own me. If I'm gonna die, I wanna still be me. "

Thursday, March 22

Shame (2011) by Steve McQueen

Pornographic jokes aside "Shame" is actually a film about pain, more than I would say about shame. The pain of the addiction, the need to fulfill a desire constantly and insanely until the void is over, yet it's never over, it's like a hunger that never ends. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) acts more by instinct than by reason, and he only gets perception of it when her sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) invades his space. He is forced to realize what his life really is. He even tries a meaningful relationship but no real emotions are present in his sex addiction besides the animal desire to have pleasure and sustain a void, clearly a product of something psychological inflicted in his young age. The subject theme can be shocking but we all are product of something in our past, we have obsessions and desires, none of them could be called healthy. In our essence we all seek something in response to our addictions to maintain the thrill of being alive. The real turner is when those addictions become all of ourselves and not a tiny aspect, losing control, losing the joy of life to be trapped into body automaton mechanisms.
All in all the film is raw, both in the sex scenes and in demonstrating the emotional despair. It has one beautiful scene when Sissy is singing "New York New York" while Brandon lets a tear go. Nonetheless it feels very real, we feel the character anguish and need... so Bravo Fassbender!

Wednesday, March 21

Beginners (2010) by Mike Mills

Life is crazy right? Isn't that awesome sometimes?? Isn't that dreadful all the time?
"Beginners" is crazy and real and life all over it. Life is definitely not simple, nor the perspectives we have of our past and future, and yet in all the sadness we can find some great happiness and peace.
This film tells us a story about Oliver (Ewan McGregor) a kid who grew with a somewhat pair of estranged parents who are forced to live a life of unconnected love and Oliver fears he will fall into his parents routine of a long life of sadness. And yet doing the opposite he falls into the same sadness himself... 
His mother dies and in that moment his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) opens up to the world revealing that in fact he was gay all along. In the overall it's not such a shock and is beautifully accepted by his son, while he watches Hal changing into someone who sees life worth living and specially with no regrets. Here Oliver ponders in his own life and the contrast is majestically distinguished. But, life is a pain in the ass..and so Hal finds he has cancer...The way both react through that point continues their divergence on how life must be lived, with such a caring son and a father who wants to live to his last second. Christopher Plummer's acting was so good he even won several prizes including Best Actor in the Oscars. I can't say he was no good but I fancied other nominee :P 
Well, meanwhile he dies and Oliver is left in a mist of a deep deep depression until he founds the most strange girl... that turn his world upside down, showing him that even in sadness there is more to life, even in the most wrecked life hope is still possible if we try.
Ewan McGregor was very good in his role as was Mélanie Laurent (Anna), giving a great support to the story and uplifting the cancer old gay guy story to other impacts on life and that definitely we are not alone and everything affect us like in a domino chain reaction and we must be electrified by life to step up. 
All in all is a beautiful tender movie with a bit of romance, it's funny and has canine insight! Delightful :)

Friday, March 16

Moneyball (2011) by Bennett Miller

Academy nominated for Best Picture, "Moneyball" is a biopic of Oakland Athletics' general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and how he has revolutionized baseball against all odds, using a mathematical algorithm with Peter Brand's help (Jonah Hill). I'm not a fan of baseball, nor I understand that running through bases and I think I know which is a home run (do I?). I think that's an important prerequisite to see this film because I found totally dull and long. The characters fall right into the place, Brad Pitt is ok I guess but....I didn't fall for the  story, didn't feel a connection or admiration..nope... nothing. For me it was an ok movie, certainly not in my ten best films of 2011 (sorry baseball fans) and I didn't understood why Brad and particularly Jonah were nominated, I'm sorry Bad Pitt isn't that good (this film sure isn't), and what the heck ? seriously ?? why he has to be eating all the time?
The Brad of "Fight Club" is nowhere to be found!

Wednesday, March 14

Something Borrowed (2011) by Luke Greenfield

Comedy, romance...I think it's the worst  film category ever...not only they fall into the same story line over and over, the same living happily ever after ending. Films can be nice and warming but in the end they all fall alike. "Something Borrowed" unfortunately is no different, not only the acting is mediocre, as is so predictable. Two things stand out in this film: the scenery in Southampton and John Krasinski, the only actor who is worth watching, and who does make some sense in the film. In the end I was so relieved to stop hearing Kate Hudson character and seeing Ginnifer's Bambi least we had "Stupid Crazy Love" this year :) I loved seeing Kate in Nine, why come she only does this kind of movies??? She's not coming any younger, and honestly I think she has it in's a waste...

Tuesday, March 6

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011) by Stephen Daldry

In the melodramatic tone "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" wins all! It's what causes people to have adverse reactions to this film, because if you don't be involved with the pain and anguish you just see a non-fitting kid searching the impossible in a surreal family, where rules seem absent. I  was part of the ones who did get involved and saw through the kid something of myself, the need for understanding, the explanation for all life issues and the quest for the truth.
This film is adapted from a novel from Jonathan Safran Foer where a very smart kid with non-social skills lost his anchor to the real world, his father, in the 9/11. His mother doesn't understands him, he doesn't understand what happens, and the finding of an enigmatic key on his father belongings turns into the cathartic moment he needs for his path of self-discovery.
Thomas Horn, the actor that plays Oskar has a tremendous performance, he fits perfectly well in such a damaged and special kid, he turns words into perfectly endearing scenes. Max von Sydow, nominated this year for his role as "the renter" keeps the film in the necessary pace, balancing the drama in a unique way, limiting the overacting, the over drama and so on...It's fantastic to see an actor even without speaking being so expressive!!!
In the overall I think that the father-son relationship is so unlikely to be real, I know it turns his father into a god increasing the climax and giving his father a greater purpose in the kid's life and a profound general loss by his death. Oskar is very special and so parents should also be to keep to his level, but even so... for once the freedom he has in New York City it's hard to believe...and damn his father knows too much right??  Anyway a loss of a father is always deep enough no matter how brilliant or interactive he was, but in the end it does gives a better story line turning equally the film greater too.

 "If things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding. "

Saturday, March 3

To Do list!!!

Iron lady (2011) by Phyllida Lloyd

Margaret Thatcher is part of world history, but really that's not the point of this biographic movie. Coal miners and political views aside the Margaret we see here is flesh and bone, happiness and sorrow, rigid in her youth, firm to her ideas, though keep in mind, right or wrong has no place here. The story is told by memoirs of a delusional aged woman who remembers what she wants and how she wants. Are they any regrets? Maybe not...maybe some sorrow from a very self-righteous person for whom believing was everything. The real Thatcher was a sympathetic person? Did it appealed to the public? No...but that's not the point...the adamant here is seeing her as a human with flaws. Too much pride or conviction, a hell of a time in office, well we already now that is good for creating non democratic ideas. She accomplished something in the end though many didn't see it, they all do at same point, there is always something good, unfortunately wretched things come to mind first. The biggest thing of this film is that it picks a less likely friendly figure and we get totally enthralled by her story, her figure and oh hell we love the excellent Meryl Streep (no wonder, she won the Oscar for this one). The problem is that in end the film does not exceeds greatness, biographic films tend to be hard to be so and though nice and compelling they are not fresh enough to spark. Nice to see Jim Broadbent too!!!

"Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become... habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become. "

Friday, March 2

Tim Burton - "Frankenweenie"

Ho Ho Ho Tim Burton is coming again!!! It's seems a nice one :P

Hugo (2011) by Martin Scorsese

Brian Selznik wrote it in 2007 and now Martin Scorsese entail us with a 3D beautiful adventure for kids and grown ups. Not only a child story, it is also a tribute to cinema. Hugo is an orphan boy who's stuck as a clock keeper in the Gare Montparnasse in Paris in 1930s. Alone he survives by stealing food of the station and so he is always trying to be invisible to the station guard. His only reminder of his father is an automaton which he so desperately tries to fix it as if fixing it would bring his father close to him. But in all things there is always a secret, for the automaton to work it needs of a key...
Meanwhile he befriends a girl who he is not also the girl with the answer to his secret, since she has the key, but also she is the goddaughter of the old sour George Méliès, a former director aka big name of the initial industry back in the day. And here the adventure comes. Not only the history of cinema is revived but also an enthralling sequence of scenes and colors that grasp you till the end giving you a smile difficult to remove. We all have a child inside so it is easy to feel compelled to cheer for our hero Hugo in his quest, and also to appreciate how the cinema evolved and how nice it was even if it was without sound and the colors were added in each photogram. Regarding acting the kid Asa Butterfield kicked some ass...really...he is so emotionally pure in his performance, it doesn't feel like his acting at all. Chloë Grace Moretz is also pretty good as Isabelle and both make a very good duo. Words feel always small to talk about Sir Ben Kingsley, he plays a very good sour Méliès. It also nice to see Sacha Baron Cohen in a non comical role where he transforms himself completely demonstrating that he is indeed a fine actor. His role it's fantastic,  a rigid inspector with his canine friend who with apparently no kindness makes us laugh when we see his rigid manners that scream for a laugh.
It's indeed a very different film for Scorsese, bloodless and all but it's a great film to enjoy and appreciate because come on it's Scorsese the directing it's there all right.

Onde day (2011) by Lone Scherfig

"One day" is wrote to the screen by its author David Nicholls, in which it tells us a story of two people over 20 years. The story is told every year on the 15th July, the same day their relationship started back in 1988, when they graduated in Edinburgh. 
Emma and Dexter couldn't be more different, he comes from a healthy family whereas she comes from a worker one. Dexter is the typical playboy doing what he wants, aspiring nothing except his insatiably appetite for women and fun, sometimes to an extreme. Emma on the other hand wants to do something important with her life, maybe become a writer, but unfortunately life is hard and she starts waitressing in a taco place while Dexter is finding himself through the world. The fact is that they grow together, they keep up through the years like two different paths that need each other to survive. Dexter gives spontaneity to Emma while Emma gives him some humanity.
In the end life happens with its ups and downfalls! 
Bringing it to screen was not easy ... it was necessary to ensure the characters were well portrayed but in the end  the effort was reasonable. Jim Sturgess makes a better Dex than Anne Hathaway as Emma. In the end it still lacks a little insight into the characters. Dexter is the better characterized because of its tendency to destruction and the script lacks a better insight into their lives at some point or another, where to the viewer  their lives may appear so light. Nevertheless is a touching story and makes us think that destiny is real!!