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A depiction of selfishness and altruism, or the eternal fight between Good and Evil
OK, this movie covers the issue of racism and also about the American society, but there's something deeper in here.
You can see both mechanisms of survival in the human being: the instinct of survival of the individual (egoism) and the instinct of survival of the species (altruism). They both are present in every human being, and they are "transfered" from one human being to another in a "contagious" manner. When somebody is under the control of selfishness, he is virtually a hero for himself, and a killer for everybody else. There you have Cameron, a non-violent Buddhist man whose life you get to find caught under selfishness, with no fear to be killed by a gun, maybe even wishing to be shot as a sign of compassion for himself, who's willing to stop his suffering after other people "transfered" so many negative emotions to him that now that instinct is taking his life under control. And you can find that apparently hateful policeman, John Ryan, who abused a woman in the first minutes of the movie, saving later her life after a car accident, in this case, under the control of altruism, and acting as a hero, not for him, but for that woman. It's the perpetual fight of Good and Evil, depicted in a precise and understandable way. The policeman's father has a painful disease, and he transfers all his anger to his son day after day, who feels each day a little more helpless about a former compassionate person he truly loves. When we get to know that fact, we suddenly see him under a completely different point of view. The movie seems to tell us, "you see? it's just a matter of knowledge", and we even understand his madness: as spectators, we don't catch his anger any more. Fear, anger, desire, attachment. You can see all negative emotions which, according to Buddhism, cause suffering to humans, which in turn makes our ego grow and veils our minds. Other movies, like Star Wars, show that "force", and also how easy it is to fall into "the dark side", but no movie showed before, without metaphors, and with so much detail, how human nature works.
Suddenly, in the middle of madness, a combination of coincidences makes a miracle happen: a gun doesn't kill a little girl. That's a drop of Good which turns upside down a whole ocean of Evil, and shows that altruism, illusion, positive emotions... Good, in a nutshell, is our way to go, and also the strongest tool for survival provided by nature.
And this latter "miracle", and other scenes in the movie, like the one where Jean Cabot is angry and doesn't know why, and one minute later falls down the stairway, make me see this movie even in a deeper way. The Celestine Prophecy comes to my mind, with not just instincts involved, but the universal energy (something like "qi" from Eastern philosophies) flowing among humans in the form of positive and negative energy, and a superior ego controlling each of our lives in every detail as a master puppeteer. Within this framework, that miracle wasn't just a coincidence: it was one part of a kaleidoscopic reality where universal energy forces coincidences to happen. In other words, the little girl, with her innocence and true love, made that possible through a change in what we know as reality. This concept is very close to Buddhist karma.
Finally, this movie can also be interpreted from a scientific point of view in the form of the theory postulated by Richard Dawkins in his book "The Selfish Gene".
In any case, it serves as a hard criticism of the actual selfishness present in the American capitalist society, "preached" by Ayn Rand in her bestseller books, which have got to be almost as popular as the Bible, a line of thought that is spreading from the USA together with psychoanalysis to other countries like France and Argentina as a cancer in society. There are older movies which cover this issue in a metaphorical or allegorical way. One of my favorite ones is Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), remade in 1978.
Crash is a great movie, worthy of the Oscars it got. Watch out, there are two movies with this name in 2004.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Finally George did it!
This film is the best animation film ever. Now I understand what George Lucas would like Star Wars be like. He needed really good actors, and although he found people as good as Harrison Ford, he just needed more. So here comes it: Animation characters, with perfect performances. Slight nuances in their faces perfectly calculated. Now you really understand the effect of the force on everything. How it interacts between people, and how it's possible to fall into the dark side. You also see how big Yoda is, and also his pupil... Well, I won't say anything else, but I had to say at least several things about this film because I'm ashamed that it's not receiving what it deserves. 10 out of 10 for me. And I'm speaking from my heart.
Fantastic Four (2005)
Very good film recreation of a comic !
I knew what I was going to see when I went to the theater several weeks ago. And it didn't disappoint me at all. Unlike Shyamalan's Unbreakable, this film assumes that it's just a comic and everything happens like it does in them. The spirit of the comic was very well captured, the special effects are pretty good, and the film as a whole is entertaining. The ending is perfect for a sequel: It lets you waiting for the next one. I'm sure there will be Fantastic Four II, III, IV and even more.
I'm not a comic fan, but I liked this movie. More than Batman Begins (2005) although less than Superman.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
This is just a collage from other movies.
What's this? You don't need to look very closer to find out that there's nothing in this movie of its own. Everything is borrowed from other ones. Although they say it's based on a real fact, the plot and the screenplay are almost carbon copies of The Shining: The family moves to a big house for a long time, the father gets slowly mad and tries to kill his family, there is a previous story of another family who had the same fate in the house, and there is also an ax, although not in the same scenes as in Kubrick's film. You can even find the "Day 1", etc. labels before the scenes.
When the boy goes out from his room at late night to the toilet I found an almost identical scene to the one in The Sixth Sense... Well, I think you get the point.
Only the suddenly appearing ghosts and the father ax scene with his stepson scared me. The rest is very soft and doesn't maintain stress the way it should (mainly because you get to think you are watching The Shining instead of The Amityville Horror, without Kubrick, of course).
And it's very predictable, too, as they tell you what will happen again and again. Avoid this film, if you can :-)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Not bad average horror movie.
I went today to see this film without any expectations and I liked it. All I can say is that it's worth the time spent to watch it. Of course, everything in this movie is average, but not bad. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the house and people hiding the truth until the end are similar elements to the ones in Amenábar's The Others. And the ending was really unexpected for me.
There's not much more for me to say about this movie, except remarking that it's worth to spend the evening on it.
P.D.: After watching this movie I won't forget to pour some brick dust out of my room to keep the evil out :-) Just joking.
Horror... or horrible movie?
I saw this was a horror movie which seemed to be different, I watched the trailer and I liked it, so I went today to see the whole thing. And this is what I found: The acting is so bad, the timing is so slow, the ideas behind the plot are so poor... and maybe Japanese movies use to be slow, but for me it's the worst movie I have seen this year. It doesn't scare at all. At some points you can see that the director wanted to remark a detail with the only purpose of scaring you, but fails, at least for me. Only the ending scenes are dynamic and catch your eye, but that's not enough. The rest is dull. And there's too much Japanese writing for an European viewer, I think.
Ah, and just one detail: they used the same computer effect to make disappear the ghostly newspapers and also... the title credits... weird, isn't it?
House of Wax (2005)
Very scary movie !!
This is a hardcore horror movie. There's gore here, there and everywhere. There are almost unidimensional characters... But I like it. Once you have seen the first gore scene, you're distressed for the whole rest of the time. The music is at times perfect for the scene, raising the anguish you feel to the top. I had a bad time while expecting and finally watching the gore scenes, but in the relaxing moments I felt better. Something like what you feel when you leave a roller-coaster. Ah, and the final scenes are pretty original. I recommend you not to miss it, but if you don't stand realistic and explicit gore, then you'd better avoid it.
Finally I could see a good thriller
Some days ago Woody Allen came to Spain to receive the prestigious Príncipe de Asturias Award, and he had time to express his personal opinion about Hollywood today. His recent film Hollywood Ending is a clear critic of what Hollywood has become. I have to say that I agree with him. Films are more and more expensive, but the results are worse and worse. It seems like there are no good writers yet, and films like The Red Dragon (which I saw today in its Spanish première) are -in my modest opinion, of course- a demonstration on how empty of ideas a film can be. But Insomnia is an exception among dozens of low quality films. It has a really good screenplay, with very good original ideas, and, also, the printed result is great. Al Pacino is splendid (does he overact a bit or is it just my imagination? Maybe it's only my imagination). Robin Williams is correct, he does his role well (it's his second bad guy role in just a few months) and the rest of the cast are also quite good. The opening scene is simply captivating. And the edition of the whole film is wonderful. It's a pleasure to see the first minutes of Pacino's scenes, full of short shots perfectly combined with plenty of subtle details. I enjoyed the whole film since it began until it ended. Nice story, perfect screenplay, solid acting, good music, wonderful cinematography and editing and good directing. A really good film. One of the best this year. 8-9 out of 10.
First Spanish film... or not?
Recent research done by Agustín Sánchez Vidal seems to prove that Salida de misa de doce del Pilar de Zaragoza (1897) isn't the first Spanish film ever made, but this one, which was shot on 20 June 1897 in La Coruña, Galicia. Other researchers, like Ion Letamendi and Jean-Claude Seguin, set on 12 June 1897 the date of the first Spanish filming, when Antonio Salinas and Eduardo de Lucas used a recently-adquired Lumière camera to make some shots of the old Plaza Vieja (now Plaza de la Virgen Blanca), in Álava, Guipúzcoa, Basque Country.
Star Wars (1977)
In this comment, I will point out some similarities I have found in this movie:
- Don't you find Han Solo with his waist-hanging gun a bit similar to a western hero?
- Don't you find the cantina a bit similar to a saloon?
- Don't you find jedis a bit similar to samurais?
- Don't you find Vader's helmet quite similar to the nazi's?
- Don't you find the rebels' helmets quite similar to the rangers'?
- Don't you find the soundtrack QUITE similar to Gustav Holst's Symphony of the Planets?
Just think about them. Just for fun.