Michael Winterbottom in Genova showed us all his skills, except one...… MoreMichael Winterbottom in Genova showed us all his skills, except one... knowing how to end the movie! He is a director of such integrity that leaves me puzzled how could he finish a movie like that after giving us details such as awkwardness of hugging somebody at a wake while holding a plate of food, the momentary sigh of frustration a parent gives when woken by a crying child before they leap out of bed to provide comfort and a little kiss of a teacher and student where everything seems wrong... At least Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine) and Kelly (Willa Holland) looked natural and they were the perfect casting choice.
Maybe Winterbottom is one of the greatest living directors but Genova is unfinished business! At the end the life goes on but dissaponted crowd in the theatre is a good sign that something is wrong!
Very original Irish drama written and directed by John Michael… MoreVery original Irish drama written and directed by John Michael McDonagh will show you more realistic and honest examination of the religion and its impact in a small town with many troubled individuals. Calvary stars Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran and Isaach de Bankolé. The film was screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival where it had an enthusiastic and satisfied audience.
The story starts in confessional, where a parishioner talks to Father James Lavelle about his childhood sexual abuse by a priest. After telling the story of an abuse which started when he was a little child and was continuing for 5 years, he says he will kill James the next Sunday, because James is a good man and it would be worse for the Catholic Church than killing a bad priest. In any case the offender is now dead, and James will pay for his sins. James's daughter comes to visit after suffered a breakdown and tried to kill herself. The characters were amazing and the dialogue was simply adorable.
Brendan Gleeson gave an inspired and soulful performance but all others were perfect players in this rich character drama that's equally eloquent and despairing. It is not easy to make commercially successful film which examines religious faith, but this team had no difficulty with that task! I will recommend it to anyone who loves a film with substance, emotions and an excellent execution!
Tracks is an outback Australian drama directed by John Curran and… MoreTracks is an outback Australian drama directed by John Curran and written by Marion Nelson based on Robyn Davidson's memoir of the same name, chronicling the author's nine-month journey on camels across the Australian desert. Shown on many film festivals always managed to attract the attention, mainly due to the amazing cinematography and starring of Mia Wasikowska. Sadly, the other star, Adam Driver was far from the top performance and did just enough to get a positive mark.
The story happened in 1977, when Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) travels from Alice Springs across 2,700 kilometres of Australian deserts to the Indian Ocean with her dog and four camels. Having a lot of trouble financing her trip, at the end she reluctantly agrees to get the help of National Geographic who sends photographer Rick Smolan to documents her journey. Amazing journey of a determined young woman is finally on the big screen - in its seventh attempt. There were five attempts in the early 1980s and 1990s to turn the book into a film, and in 1993, even the famous Julia Roberts was attached to star in a planned Caravan Pictures adaptation but everything at the end fell apart.
This movie has some of the best photography of the harsh but exceptionally beautiful Australian outback, it is very realistic but some viewers were complaining that it was too drawn out. I have no complaints there! Aboriginals in the movie were amazing, natural actors, but sometimes to most Australians will seem that the screenwriter is definitely a city slacker! One python only, in the whole movie... in the desert? Hmm... I wonder if it's possible that it really happened like this! And if you ever spent time under the Australian sun you will know that without covering your head very soon you could be delirious. But, maybe she learned few secrets from the camels she traveled with!
If you like moving stories, told slowly with time for reflection, amazing cinematography of the unforgiving terrain of the Australian desert, gracefully dramatic acting and very secure lead of the director, check this beauty!
This science fiction film directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister in… MoreThis science fiction film directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister in his directorial debut, and written by Jack Paglen, was smart, never boring , puzzling and even challenging piece of art. With stars like Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, and Morgan Freeman, it was difficult not to be. And that is why I do not really understand why some people simply hate it. Continuing his advocacy for the use of film stock over digital cinematography, Pfister chose to shoot the film in the anamorphic format on 35 mm film - the result is very good!
I was aware that, at one time, Paglen's screenplay was part of what is known as the Black List, a list of popular but unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, but all it needed is a right person to do it. I am not saying that Transcendence itself is a master piece, far from it... it has its flaws, but it was criticized for its plot structure, characters and dialogue, which were actually better than most of the new sci-fi films currently on the market. Safe direction, strong visuals and cinematography to be remembered, were noticeable during the viewing, and that is why I would never consider a negative review for it.
The story of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) was developed solidly. As a scientist motivated by curiosity about the nature of the universe, and being part of a team working to create a sentient computer, which will create a technological singularity, or in his words "Transcendence". His wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), whom he loves deeply, supports his efforts and helps him during the project. The problem arises when the extremist group "Revolutionary Independence From Technology" (R.I.F.T.) tries to assassinate Will with an irradiated bullet and carry out a series of synchronized attacks on AI laboratories across the country. Will is given no more than a month to live... but he decides to live... one way or another...
If you like a film with a distinctive visual style, thought-provoking themes, bold, beautiful flight of futuristic speculation - please, ignore the critics and check this one out!
This unusual black comedy directed by Jason Bateman and written by… MoreThis unusual black comedy directed by Jason Bateman and written by Andrew Dodge marked Bateman's directorial debut. Just imagine that he stars as a middle-aged eighth grade dropout who enters the National Quill Spelling Bee. Of course, with a story like this, managed to make The Black List in 2011... Luckily for me, It was funny - however, it could be much funnier... the movie also stars Allison Janney, Rachael Harris, Philip Baker Hall, and Kathryn Hahn, and they were all pretty standard!
The story of Guy Trilby (Bateman), was a little mystery... because Guy participates in Spelling Bee competitions for unknown reasons! He is very angry and by finding a loophole in the competition rules, he attends a regional spelling bee, and progresses to the national competition after confrontations with both the parents of children and the spelling bee hosts. Of course, he is not alone and he is always accompanied by his reporter (Hahn), a lady as weird as he is - a relatively unknown journalist hoping to make an online life story out of his participation in the bee. On the flight to the national spelling bee, he meets a boy Chaitanya Chopra (Chand). Chaitanya attempts to befriend Guy several times, but Guy resist, using foul language...
Around 2011, Jason Bateman's agent sent him screenplays for possible directorial work. He was determined and he said to his agent, 'Please don't wait for me to have an opening in my acting schedule to pursue the directing stuff. Understand that I'm only acting to create the kind of relevance or capital necessary to get a directing job. It's really the only reason I've been acting for the last 20 years of this career.' I am glad he got this screenplay. It was a perfectly written for his directing and even acting style, I have to admit. Fresh, unusual, sometimes too direct, but never boring or dragging its feet...
An exciting thriller which seems stripped to the core, but is so… MoreAn exciting thriller which seems stripped to the core, but is so subtle that finding few layers in it is not a surprise. Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier, who is the cinematographer as well, this film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Directors' Fortnight section... no surprise that it won the FIPRESCI Prize! The production was founded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, which MTV.com called "the perfect example of what crowdfunding can accomplish." Macon Blair can say proudly that made this film almost perfect! I never heard of him before, but I know that we will have chance to see this guy again, very soon. The weight of the movie was on his shoulders and he carried it perfectly!
The dramatic story of Dwight (Macon Blair), a beach homeless guy, living out of his car and scavenging through trash cans and dumpsters for food and money very quickly started unravelling dragging the audience like a tide wave. Dwight was carefully informed by police woman that Wade Cleland, the man who murdered his parents, is soon to be released from prison. Dwight finds himself t the front of the main gate of the prison and watches as Wade is released. Dwight confronts Wade in a nearby club's toilet and, after a brief fight, fatally stabs him in the temple... is everything over, or it is just a beginning?
Grim, chilling, dramatic and very smart, this thriller should be a treat for everybody who loves a good movie. I hope you are that person!
The Japanese action dark comedy written and directed by Sion Sono was… MoreThe Japanese action dark comedy written and directed by Sion Sono was a real pleasure to watch! The screenplay was updated version of a 15-year old screenplay written by Sono, and has been described by him as having similarities with Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Charming acting team led by Jun Kunimura with stars Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa and Gen Hoshino was superbly cast.
The story of Muto (Jun Kunimura) and Ikegami (Shinichi Tsutsumi), the two gangsters who hate each other, gets a twist or two very early. Ikegami is in love with Muto's actress daughter Michiko (Fumi Nikaido). Muto's wife spent 10 years in jail and he attempts to make Shizue's (Tomochika) dream come true which is to have their daughter appear in a movie. To save his life, the daughter introduces Koji (Gen Hoshino), who is just a passer-by, as a movie director. Koji is running away and then requests from an independent film director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) to cast Michiko as the leading actress in his film. However, everything soon goes completely wrong.
After a few years making straight-faced, confrontational works like Himizu and Land of Hope, Sono has returned to the joyful gonzo style of his epic four-hour opus, Love Exposure. It has a fresh, bubbly feeling of dark action comedy which is simply fun to watch! Perfectly directed for maximum effects! Interesting and invigorating.
This documentary directed by first-time director Frank Pavich will… MoreThis documentary directed by first-time director Frank Pavich will tell you a story of the greatest film never made! In 88 minutes you will explore Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky's unsuccessful attempt to adapt and film Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction novel Dune in the mid-1970s. A real artist with a vision, Jodorowsky was well ahead of its time, and now, nearly 40 years later, here is an attempt to re-create that vision in our imaginations, through an outstanding documentary of one of the film history's more entertaining "what if" stories.
In 1974, this remarkable director almost singlehandedly invented the midnight-movie phenomenon with "El Topo," and Jodorowsky had scored a second hit with his massive head trip, "The Holy Mountain," prompting producer Michel Seydoux to encourage whatever project the director might want to do next. And he decided that to be Dune! The music was supposed to be done by Pink Floyd and Magma, artists H. R. Giger. Chris Foss and Jean Giraud for set and character design, Dan O'Bannon for special effects, and Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Amanda Lear, David Carradine and Mick Jagger for the cast! Amazing even just reading about it!
Sadly, in 1976 there were already $2 million spent in pre-production out of the $9.5 million budget ! Studios were reluctant to accept a film which will be over 14-hours. The project ultimately stalled for financial reasons, simply because the studios didn't like the director! He was more of a guru than director, and searched for spiritual warriors to fight the battle for the real valuable films! The film rights lapsed until 1982, when they were purchased by Italian filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis, who eventually released the 1984 film Dune, directed by David Lynch. Jodorowsky's statement was that the film was terrible!
Please, check this documentary even if you are not a fan of this type of films! Entertaining, refreshing, with attitude,,, makes a perfect tribute for overblown epic as a legendary lost masterpiece.
I had to watch this movie twice... seriously... I could not get over… MoreI had to watch this movie twice... seriously... I could not get over some parts of the story at all, and I thought that must be a logical explanation somewhere given earlier, but I missed it... but no... Winter's Tale (released in the United Kingdom as A New York Winter's Tale is a supernatural drama based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Mark Helprin. I have no intention of reading a book, but I hope that maybe there everything is much clearer. Written and directed by Akiva Goldsman (in his directorial debut) this is a film for people who prefer dreams to anything else. It reminded me on those love novels sold at the news-agencies in the 1970's and 1980's in Europe - no substance, just smoke-like dreams which will disappear after waking up. I have no idea what were the stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith thinking signing for this movie, the screenplay could not be much better that what was filmed! There was no wander that after release was panned by critics and was a bomb at the box office - it earned only half the amount of the budget of $60 million.
The story starts in 1895, when a young immigrant couple with a child is refused entry into Manhattan because they have "consumption" (TB), they decide to place their son in a model sailboat named "City of Justice" to float there safely. In 1916, the infant boy has grown up to be Peter Lake, a thief raised by a demon posing as the gangster Pearly Soames. Peter is chases by Pearly's gang and is marked for death when he decides to leave. But , when he was cornered in a confrontation, a mysterious white horse, his guardian angel, rescues him. Peter wants to run away from the city but the horse encourages him to steal from one last mansion... The mansion is the home of Beverly Penn, a young woman dying of consumption...
Initially Warner Bros. attempted to sign Martin Scorsese in 2002, but Scorsese turned down the chance to direct the movie calling it "unfilmable", and I agree with him 100%! At the end it was just this mumbo-jumbo of theories with no background or any support, making no sense. I wish I wasted this time somewhere else, regardless the grandeur of the cinematography.
The old Yugoslav movie directed and written by Fadil Hadzic is… MoreThe old Yugoslav movie directed and written by Fadil Hadzic is revisiting the events which caused the World War I, the events which at that time shook the world. Starring Branko Milicevic, Lucyna Winnicka, Vlajko Sparavalo, Stevan Stukelja, Bert Sotlar, Janez Rohacek, Svetolik Nikacevic and Majda Potokar. I am sorry to say that the copy I watched had such bad editing that I wonder if it was just a practice for some film students never to be taken seriously. I mentioned many times that the sound editing of the movies from the Balkan was atrocious during the 1960's, 70's and the 80's! This one is no exception.
There was an attempt to connect the two world wars through the screenplay, but that never felt comfortable. Everything starts when a resistance fighter in WW2 Sarajevo is running from the Gestapo and finds shelter in the home of the old man, and just happens that the old man is a former member of the Mlada Bosna organization and tells the young man about his youth and events that led to assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by his friend Gavrilo Princip! That's it... that is how story is told.
With the exception of the camera work, almost everything else was mediocre, boring, uninspiring, with bad directing and editing, and forgettable acting as well (the German speaking actors were obviously non-native German speakers, and it was annoying listening to the conversations)... completely different from the movie which will be done only 7 years later by Veljko Bulajic, one of the best directors the old Yugoslavia has... I will suggest to simply skip it. If you want to know a little bit more, get the version of the events from the 1975 movie.