The whole movie is just beautifully filmed, full of sharp images, loaded with a dark heavy atmosphere, specially on the planet. The action scenes are shot in a way that combines and balances well motion and details. I really dislike movies where things just happen so fast and the camera moves so much that you can't see anything. That wasn't the case here. You get plenty of details in the fire of the action, and yet the action is happening just the way it should, with rapid fire motions. The spaceship, both space scenes, and cramped corridors are perfectly rendered. They give you a good sense of how huge the Covenant really is. And the scenes with the aliens were just perfect, horrifying and yet so fascinating. In this installment, I got what I was hoping for, a sense of re-connection to the original Alien movie. Also, a special mention should be made for the sound track. I am not sure if it's because I was in one of the better rooms, one of those with a wide screen and super duper sound system, but it seemed sharper than usual. The sounds sources where clearer than usual, not dulled by too much music... hahh now that I mention music, the score is definitely subdued in this movie. Another plus as far as I am concerned. Movies nowadays rely way too much on music to control your emotions.
Now let's talk about the scenario. The first part contains a critical moment when a decision is made, but you know without the shadow of a doubt that was the wrong decision, because, well, it's an Alien movie, so you know the protagonists are in for a sh..load of trouble. But then, further down the story line, there is this moment when the plot takes a really interesting turn in regard to androids, this is another particular aspect of this movie which I appreciated. Of course, one might complain that it doesn't get enough time, but hey, the movie is already 2 hours long. With all the that happens already, it would have been 3 hours to explore the android topic properly. Here is something else which Ridley Scott, the directory, (who directed Alien, and Prometheus) did and which I really loved: there were some of these classic horror moments when everybody in the theater reacted with anticipation and amusement, because the director staged scenes you instantly recognize if you have watched Alien (the original). But he added a little humor. It was a little like a wink from the director, to all the Alien's fans out there. It was also one of these horror moments when you know something bad is about to happen and you know who the victim is going to be and... but, hell, you know the drill, the tension, the tension rising, and then the release. When flawlessly executed you get this intense feeling of satisfaction. Don't forget that hot moment when you felt the rush of blood, not just the one out of the victims, no not that one (although yeah it sure happens a few times in this flick), I am talking the one that happened when your heart started pumping like your life depended on it. I haven't seen such a good science-fiction/horror film in a long time. On top of that it is the revival of the Alien franchise I was waiting for. I am giving it a 9 stars.
Last week, a good friend of mine recommended this movie to me, and even though we do not always agree on what is a good movie, I watched it, and I am very glad that I did. This movie explores one of the most intriguing premises: what if today was to repeat itself indefinitely, and you had the freedom to do what you want and remember everything you did and what happened, every time the day repeated itself? What would you do? This is the privilege, or the curse, that befell on three drug addicts in a rehabilitation center. It is a privilege if you can learn what you did wrong and use that knowledge to improve the events of this day. But it can be a curse if you see it as a damn trap out of which there is no escape.
The story unravels at a nice steady pace, and things are quickly evolving toward some pretty dramatic situations. The performance of the actors was decent enough, and the director should get recognized for putting together a very logical sequence of events despite the complexity of the story. I am pointing this out because I noticed how often some movies add confusion just for the sake of being creative. Although I generally appreciate the effort, sometimes it's just better to keep things simple so as to get the story across effectively and memorably. And this is particularly important when the story includes many very interesting ideas such as the duration of the time loop, what if it's infinite, what happens if it ends, how will you know, death and time, does what you do have any effect on the "real" time line, and, come to think of it, which one is the "real" time line. Then, when you have all the details of such a story straight and clear in your mind, it's so much easier to mull over them later, as I did, and still do.
This movie is the French interpretation of the 1940 prize winning book "La invención de Morel" by Argentinian writer Adolfo Bioy Casares. Since I haven't read the book (yet) I cannot tell you if it is faithful. However the description on Wikipedia seems pretty close.
Although the development is a bit slow it pays to be patient. "L'invention de Morel" is a story of love, and the frequent pair of genius and madness. It's also a philosophical essay on death and immortality. The story progresses as the man shipwrecked on the island discovers what is behind all the strange events he's observing. We follow him step by step as he unravels the mysteries of the island. Most of the film evolves through the voice over of Luis as he writes a journal. This is at the source of an aloofness that keeps all your emotions at bay. The absence of music, except the one brought by the visitors, also contributes to this feeling of detachment. However, what matters most is what Morel did. And this is what will keep coming back in your thoughts later.
Luis' final actions left me quite puzzled. To such a Cartesian mind as mine, it made no sense. But perhaps if you are left alone long enough on a deserted island and there is not even a remote chance of returning to civilization, perhaps then, one might decide that this is the best outcome.
*** "Now, to be fair, this movie deserves a 6, but I feel I have to downgrade to 3 to offset the 85% of the viewers who don't seem to realize it only deserves a 6 or less, not a 7.9. Yes, the visuals and action and scariness are not bad, and the movie could easily be a 9 based on that if it had a plot. But the plot fails so spectacularly that is is painful, yes painful, to even reflect on it in any detail. It just makes no sense, cannot withstand even the teensiest probing. Nothing any character does follows from anything. Nothing about the society holds together. The only thing that lets me get to sleep at night is the comforting thought that the screenwriters didn't care whether any element of the story made any sense, they were only looking for visual appeal. The movie can only be enjoyed by non-English speakers (without subtitles), and those who are immune to thinking." ***
After watching this movie I was wondering "well what was the point? And where is the Sci-Fi? So, there is this only woman who is miraculously pregnant and we have to get her to a safe place, against all odds. Fill the show with a lot of violence, action, misery, and decadence and a few heart warming moments, and you have your typical big Hollywood production. This is a "lowest common denominator" type of movie. Here is a list of what's missing: 1. How did humanity get to this point? 2. What is so different with Kee that she was able to conceive? 3. What will be done to use the knowledge resulting from the investigation of question 2 for healing humanity?
Anyway, I am not about to relate all the events that happen in Ghost Dog. It's been already done by so many people. And yes, the concept of the assassin following the Samurai's code in the midst of the Mafia world is just a wonderful idea. And this movie certainly contains a lot of great concepts. Such is the one where Ghost dog's friend, the ice-cream guy speaks only French. This is really fun to watch, as they both figure out what the other one was saying despite the language barrier. True friendship goes beyond that barrier!
But there are a few other observations I would like to make. It seemed strange to me that the Mafia gangsters were always watching cartoons. Sure they are other clues to get us to see how incompetent, and uncultured they are. For instance they can't pay all their dues, they haven't paid the rent in 3 months, they sit in the back room just playing cards, etc. But the cartoons? I think that this could have been avoided. Also, the scene of the killing through the sink was a bit too far fetched for me.
On another hand, there is this mysterious dog. What did he symbolize? Was that the animal spirit who tried to remind him of his duties? I loved also the handing over of the Samurai's code book to the young girl. Truly a key moment for us to realize that he's done. His mission is over, and he will follow the code of the samurai all the way.
What else? Ah yes, excellent acting from Forrest Whitaker, but this is probably not really surprising to anyone who knows him.
I highly recommend this movie!
Violence is presented as an art form in this movie. As if seeing fountains of blood spurting out of people's bodies was a beautiful sight... Sigh, it seems to me that we are back to the roman times with people cheering as the martyrs were being fed to the lions.
So what of the cinematographic skills of Tarantino? Well, yes, I too detected some reuse of master's techniques. I heard the spaghetti western music and saw its very very close-up shots. I got the De Palma's split screen, and the Carrie scene all covered with blood. Even the big fight scene had been done before in one of the Zatoichi's movies. And there were a few others too, but really, what's the point of going on and on? On one hand, we have a pretty simple plot (I am not going to go over that here, others have done it very well) and on the other a director with a vision made up of the great masters ideas. OK, Tarantino does know how to direct a movie, and some of his use of the great masters influence is acceptable, but... here I thought it was just too much. Combined with an overly simple story and an excessive level of violence, his overuse of others grand ideas becomes just that, a succession of tricks. As far as I am concerned, violence and cinematographic tricks are just no substitute for a good story, no matter how many of them you mix into the pot.
Of course this is a farce, of course it makes no sense whatsoever. But the point is that it's funny and clearly out of this world. So, once you get the idea, all you have to do is let yourselves be carried by the flow. In fact, after a while I was even playing with possible next victims... but I was fooled all the time. I am just too Cartesian, hehehe!
At any rate, it does take a special sense of humor to appreciate this movie. The acting by all the seasoned actors is just right, cool, no exaggeration, just enough to get the story moving along, however weird it might be.
In conclusion, this is a very unusual and therefore interesting movie.
Now, with this version we finally get the real Cyrano de Bergerac, a man whose nose is as great as his courage and skill at sword play, his talent at writing beautiful love poetry, and his will to resist all temptation to become the servant of higher powers. We get to follow his adventures, to feel his wonderful love for beautiful Roxane, his attempt to win her love in ways that nobody would ever consider, and his struggle to keep the freedom of his spirit.
I admired the acting, the direction, the lighting, and the costumes. There is so much in this movie to applaud. But the best of it all is that it keeps so close to the original text. I read the play and I just couldn't believe how good this adaptation is. Watch this movie if you have the heart of both a lion and of a lover, and you can appreciate excellent French poetry.
But... you've got to be a total devout to believe in the miracle of God giving life back to the boy, just because this priest asks for it. Why did he take it in the first place?
Anyway, all of this doesn't make any sense in the end. Yes Depardieu is a great actor, yes yes and yes, all of this movie is well made... but the topic ... all those grownup men concentrating on such a huge nonsense? I just can't understand that.
I also was quite puzzled and disappointed since this movie was rated 7 at the time when I rented it. I just don't get it, usually high ratings at IMDb are well deserved. Not so in this case.
I can add this though, I have watched a few movies from Quebec lately and this is definitely one of the worst. Save your time... watch Quebec-Montreal for example, much more clever and fun!
Second, in what kind of scientific research environment people would let the major scientist experiment with non-human tested drugs on himself?
Third, on which planet do you have magnetic fields able to go through a metallic door to move the latch? Oh, and please don't tell me that the door maker made sure to use different metals for the door and the latch, one magnetic and the other not.
OK I think I made my point. Too much fantasy, and you get the feeling you are really taken for a moron. Other than that, it's OK. A lot of interesting special effects, but I still was much more impressed by HG Wells book.