Have you seen any Chilean movies recently with Michael Cera? Here is… MoreHave you seen any Chilean movies recently with Michael Cera? Here is one! Written and directed by Sebastián Silva, the full movie title as on the screen is "Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus and 2012". Of course, it premiered at the Sundance festival and Silva there said that his movie, which is based on a real-life encounter, is "about the birth of compassion in someone's life." It could be described like that, but as we know it is not the final destination which is important, it is the way someone arrives to it. And during this travel, most of the young men and one young woman arrived through dope, cocaine or even mescaline!
The story of Jamie traveling in Chile, and attending the local party is so under the influence of cocaine that he couldn't even remember that he invited an eccentric woman to join his group's quest to score a fabled hallucinogen, a move that finds him at odds with his new companion, until they drink the magic brew on a beach at the edge of the desert. The words come together.
I didn't get too excited even with the naked appearance and the unshaved part, most of the time it was just smooth sailing with a very low blow... I understand the director's approach and that Michael Cera was in Chile a week in Santiago in pre-production living together at Sebastián's parents' house-where he had filmed The Maid in 2009. The boys would sit out back playing guitar and singing songs. Gaby Hoffmann, (as Crystal Fairy, a radical spirit) recalls hearing the music steaming through the open doors while Sebastián and Hoffmann would sit at a desk where she created all Crystal Fairy's drawings in the sketchbook she has in the movie.
The titular character is based on a real person who was an influence on the director. The script was an outline with every scene including a moment that leads the actors to the next place. They didn't do any rehearsals in character, but since the boys had already been living together when Hoffmann arrived, her character's role as the outsider was easier to slip into. While shooting the scene of Crystal Fairy tripping, Hoffmann was too. "...I just knew it would be okay. My dose was weak, so I had to take a second one even though it was so revolting, but I really loved it. I was totally present in the experience of the making of the movie, and I felt like it was subtle enough that I could step in and out of it," Hoffmann said. "I never felt like, 'Oh my God, I'm tripping and I have to make a movie.' I felt like I could totally step out of it and be like, 'Okay, Sebastián, what's going on? What do we need to do?' And then I could step back into it and just go with it. And, you know, there's like hours and hours of footage that you don't see because it was like a 10-hour trip and we were in that desert the whole time. It was great, but it was subtle."
You heard the explanation, watch the movie, and that is exactly what are you going to see: someone tripping for a long time, and we are watching and paying!
Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare is the first in a series of Japanese… MoreYokai Monsters: Spook Warfare is the first in a series of Japanese children's movies created in the 1960s. Despite being advertised as a "children's movie", the presence of cursing and bloodshed make that label highly questionable. You will find out that there were originally three movies made: Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968), Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters (1968) and Yokai Monsters: Along With Ghosts (1969). For a movie which is 45 years old this is amazing! I thought it was some cheap Japanese rubber dolls costume party, but this is a serious movie with a substance regardless the costumes which are awful!
The story was developed carefully, and is set in the Middle Ages. After hibernating for thousands of years, a Babylonian monster called Daimon is awoken from the ancient ruins in which he is sleeping by Arab grave robbers. This was my first and only problem with the movie: the background of the ruins was much closer to the Egyptian excavations than to the Babylonian sites. Simple encyclopaedia from that time could help the director and the crew. After the awakening, Daimon then flies to Japan. On the Japanese coast a magistrate, his daughter and a servant are fishing. A sudden storm forces them to head home, but the magistrate decides to 'patrol the area' first. Daimon lands and kills him, sucks his blood and takes on his form. The disguised monster returns to the magistrate's home, where the daughter's dog takes a dislike to him... Ok, I will stop here retelling the story, but I have to say that later there will be hundreds of other Japanese monsters defending their honour and trying to expel the intruder.
No CGI, special effects were all made the old fashioned way, all monsters are played by actors in rubber suits, except one wooden umbrella with a sticking long tongue - which is a puppet... and still it has an appeal in the 21st century. I hope it's nothing wrong with me...
This hilarious British action comedy featuring fictional radio and… MoreThis hilarious British action comedy featuring fictional radio and television presenter Alan Partridge, played by Steve Coogan, was an enjoyable film to watch. Directed by Declan Lowney, and written by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons, it had everything you need for a fun time in a cinema (or a movie night at home). Alan Partridge, portrayed by Steve Coogan, was created as a character in 1991 for the radio show On the Hour by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, and Patrick Marber, with input from writers Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. The character is an egotistical television presenter and radio announcer, whose presenting style is a parody of cliched media reporting or presentation. The character's fictional career has been charted in several British television and radio programmes, as well as in the book I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan, a spoof autobiography.
His story in the local radio station in Norwich, North Norfolk Digital, was engaging and fun. I really enjoyed watching DJ Alan Partridge lack of concern about the change... until he found out that it was him or fellow DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) to go as a redundant workforce. Alan betrays Pat, writing "JUST SACK PAT" on the meeting room flipchart. Pat is later asked to leave... but he comes back with a vengeance.
Smartly executed, endlessly quotable and machine-gun quick - quick description.
Everything a big screen comedy needs was in it. I hope that there will be more of it in the near future!
I wasn't planning to watch this one, I was happy with just one (first… MoreI wasn't planning to watch this one, I was happy with just one (first one)... but there was a copy on my desk and I had 2 hours to kill. Of course, I knew what this British-American superhero action-comedy was about. Written and directed by Jeff Wadlow and co-produced by Matthew Vaughn, who directed the first film, it was something I would expect from a sequel. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloë Grace Moretz reprise their roles from the first film as Kick-Ass, The Motherfucker ("Red Mist" in the first film), and Hit-Girl respectively.
Everything in this sequel starts when Dave Lizewski, bored after having retired from fighting crime as Kick-Ass, begins training with Mindy Macready to become a proper hero. Meanwhile, Chris D'Amico accidentally kills his mother, and now with control over his family's money, reinvents himself as supervillain the Motherfucker and swears vengeance on Kick-Ass, because he blames him for his father's death. Kick-Ass joins the superhero team Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes; it includes Battle Guy (Dave's friend, Marty), Dr. Gravity, Insect Man, Night-Bitch, and the parents of a missing child named Tommy. That would become a major problem for this movie: too many characters and not enough time to deal with them all! The latest superhero rampage has lost quite a bit of shock value - but Chloë Grace Moretz's Hit-Girl is still the coolest thing happening in a cape... Maybe she is the reason that Quentin Tarantino has named the film as one of the ten best he has seen, so far, in 2013.
I do not share his opinion, but I could not say that I didn't enjoy it. It was fast paced, interesting and with lots of violence which is very common for the console game type entertainment.
When I checked what was left out for me to watch, this was the ONLY… MoreWhen I checked what was left out for me to watch, this was the ONLY movie I had left last night... and reading the title didn't give me much hope that this would be anything more than some sweet "uplifting" holiday melodrama - which I wasn't in a mood for. I am glad I was mistaken, and I felt like an idiot that I never noticed that I had in possession an Edward Burns' movie! This writer, director and star goes back to this Irish-Catholic roots and the 1995 debut film that put him on the map, The Brothers McMullen. Burns knows his way around the business of family playing Gerry Fitzgerald, the eldest of seven children parented by Josie (in a lifetime performance of Anita Gillette), a single mom since her husband, Big Jim (Ed Lauter), walked out on them 20 years ago.
It was threading on an edge to become a Hallmark entertainment piece, but Burns and a bracingly fine cast play it for real, and that feel of reality is never allowing the film to slip to the cheap and cheese category. He wisely brings in Connie Britton, as his new romance and their scenes together have an irresistible romantic vibrancy.
Even with all the problems of the family, there is a perfect amount of grit and comic grace notes, but sometimes I felt overwhelmed with so many characters introduced at once ... brother Quinn (Michael McGlone) wants to propose to younger girlfriend (Daniella Pineda); sister Sharon (Kerry Bishe) hooks up with a father-figure (Noah Emmerich); sister Dottie (Marsha Dietlein Bennett) dumps her husband for a hottie gardener, and the next sister Connie (Caitlin Fitzgerald) is pregnant by an abusive boyfriend while the youngest brother Cyril (Tom Guiry) is just out of rehab; sister Erin (Heather Burns), has married up and looks down on her family, except for daddy... with all these it felt like an Russian classic not a modern Irish-American piece. It was a good experience, though.
This adaptation based on a book by psychiatrists Corbett H. Thigpen… MoreThis adaptation based on a book by psychiatrists Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley, who also helped write the screenplay was directed as a case study. Literally... from the beginning when (at that time famous) Alistair Cooke shows up to introduce the film, we know that the fact-based story will be recreated as close as possible to the real events in the life of Chris Costner Sizemore, also known as Eve White, a woman they suggested might suffer from multiple personality disorder. Sizemore's identity was concealed in interviews and this film, and was not revealed to the public until 1975.
Joanne Woodward won the Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first actress to win an Oscar for portraying three different personalities (Eve White, Eve Black and Jane). The Three Faces of Eve also became the first film to win the Best Actress award without getting nominated in another category, and the last for nearly 31 years until Jodie Foster won the award for The Accused, the film's sole nomination. It is understandable - because only Woodward's acting was outstanding - everything else could be improved - especially the directing, camera work, photography and editing! Too many clichés left a movie about three personalities without a personality itself. I can see now how far the artistic value of the films is changed or improved. This seemed really daring at the time, now it is too simplistic to actually satisfy my cravings for a good engaging movie. It is like getting those old Atari game consoles out of the attic instead of the latest X-Box and prefer to play with it. It has a sentimental value, not much more in our modern time where movies are not black and white. On the other hand, there are some films from those times which will stand the test of the time forever, because they were never following the entertaining industry rules and formulas - they were following the urge of the artist... those are the movies which will survive through all the times and gaining value, like those old valuable paintings in the Louvre.
Joanne Woodward's acting will survive... the movie... I already forgot about it.
This spoof or parody written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron… MoreThis spoof or parody written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, creators of other similar "works of art" can easily fulfil the criteria for the "Worst films of the year". Not many things in this movie were funny, and some of them will make you cry - how low can they go! In this film I could recognize The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows, The Avengers, Avatar, The Great and Powerful Oz, The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey and The Expendables... but I wish I didn't. This was a movie made on a lowest possible budget: it was around $4.5 million dollars, and the shooting lasted only one month!
It kind of goes without saying that the writing and direction here is abysmal, with the only bit of coherency coming from the viewer's prior knowledge of The Hunger Games... If you like to lower your IQ, and to be annoyed by bits in the movie that aren't satirizing the source material, instead merely pointing at it and saying, "Hey, remember this?" - watch it! I already wasted too many words on this... enough.
Unexpectedly high quality comedy written and directed by Joe Swanberg,… MoreUnexpectedly high quality comedy written and directed by Joe Swanberg, and starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston just made my evening pleasant and fun! Smart and funny story about two co-workers at a craft brewery in Chicago, who struggle with romantic feelings for one another despite both being in a relationship with someone else. Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are always together at work, and most of the time they spend their days drinking and flirting. But Kate is with her boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.
I haven't seen any movies happening in a brewery and I was interested to find out how the director Joe Swanberg came up with the idea... well, the answer was simple, he received a brewing set-up as a birthday present and all he wanted to do is to "do something about Craft Beer" inspired by "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice", a Paul Mazursky movie, telling a complicated adult story that was funny, and managed to remain funny even though it was getting into serious things. I was fascinated in this case by the dialog which was actually improvised. Instead of a script, the actors received outlines which covered the major plot points and were told each day what had to happen in that day's scenes. Because the structure was already pretty heavily in place, it was enjoyable experience watching the actors owning their characters, and having a big say in the clothes that they wore, and in the interactions that they have with each other. Thanks to this, the middle of the movie was made more complicated, and less predictable that a typical romantic comedy would be. Total engagement of the perfectly casted team created situations that felt fun and natural.
Good acting, perfect improvisation, excellent eye of the director and editing of the highest standard. Enjoyable.
This upcoming movie was described to me as the latest thriller… MoreThis upcoming movie was described to me as the latest thriller directed and written by Eric Heisserer. Sadly, that there was nothing good (except, maybe, Génesis Rodríguez) in it to thrill me. It was just a melodrama which had elements of survival story to fool us into believing that something like this is possible. The film stars Paul Walker, Génesis Rodríguez, TJ Hassan, and Judd Lormand. The only reason why this will be remembered is that this is Walker's last film. Two weeks prior to the film's release, Walker died in a car accident in Los Angeles, California on November 30, 2013.
The film is set in 2005, during the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Nolan (Paul Walker) is in the hospital with his wife who is ready to give birth five weeks before she was due. But, she dies... In disbelief, the father of a newborn baby stays in shock. What should be one of the happiest days of Nolan's life quickly spirals out of control during the wake of a Hurricane that floods the hospital and causes failures in the power supply, Nolan faces a life-or-death situation when no one returns to help and struggles on his own to keep his infant daughter alive inside a Neonatal ventilator, as minute-by-minute passes, the ventilator runs out of power and the minutes become long hours. Literally! I, thought that this movie is longer than three hours, that was how it felt (my copy was 1 h 36 minutes). I just wanted to be over.
Someone noticed that "an ingeniously simple setup is cunningly exploited for maximum suspense...", and that is true - but the type of that suspense was such that created annoyance rather than excitement. Film Critic Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine stated, "Hours works because, once more, it proves a little story can go a long way thematically and that bigger, deeper themes can surface when there's small-scale filmmaking at hand...", and the only excuse for him would be writing this that he was so high that didn't really see what was happening on the screen.
Nothing in there which should attract an attention of a film lover.
Any documentary which can inform me, persuade me and at the same time… MoreAny documentary which can inform me, persuade me and at the same time entertain me will always get my high rating... and this one is first ever for me! Directed by Rodney Ascher about perceived meanings in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining, the film includes footage from The Shining, and other Kubrick films, along with discussions by a number of Kubrick enthusiasts. The film has nine segments, each segment focusing on different elements within the film which "may reveal hidden clues and hint at a bigger thematic oeuvre." It was a real treat of intelligent clues and amazing details.
The film was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and I could imagine how much critics enjoyed it. One of the most intelligent men on the planet, a man passionate about his work, showed us a great sense of humour in some of the hidden clues and messages in The Shining, and brilliance in the rest. This documentary positions The Shining as a comparably coiled, thematically overflowing microcosm-standing in for cinema, for history, for obsession, for postmodern theory buckling under the film's heft... and much, much more.
Even if the theories are not true, it is an enjoyable piece of art.