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In the Light of the Moon (2000)
Disturbing depiction of the famous murderer
There's not a single thing in this movie I didn't like (except the digital fire), and without a doubt it deserved the award for best film at the Catalonian International film festival, even though its main rival, Shadow of the Vampire was almost as good. "In the Light of the Moon" (or "Ed Gein" which is the title it was released with in Spain) is a genuine depiction of this sinister killer's mind, and it accurately sticks to the facts surrounding the story as if it were a true documentary.
The story itself is very interesting, but since there's absolutely no fiction in it, it could get rather boring after the first forty minutes. However, thanks to Parello's disquieting direction and Railsback's Oscar-worthy performance, (who won Best actor at the above mentioned festival)the movie will hold your attention throughout, and it will freak you out from beginning to end, despite the fact that there's really no gore in it, something we should be grateful to Mr. Parello for. The cinematography is outstanding too, and so is the editing, which features black and white footage shot in the 50's of the actual Gein being arrested, as well as interviews to people that knew him, made right when the murderer was taken away.
Steve Railsback provides the character with a certain child-like innocence, and portrays Gein as an adult who hasn't yet grown up, a mentally handicapped. The performances by the other characters are great too, specially by the way the express their motherly love towards Ed. However, the only negative aspect of the film is its low budget. That shows specially when Ed kills his brother in the middle of a fire (made digitally, which looks pretty fake)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
How about doing some research before making a movie?
I'm a big DePalma fan and I loved the first Mission Impossible despite what the critics and Jay Leno may say. The plot wasn't that hard to follow, the acting was great and Tom Cruise played a vulnerable though smart and resourceful agent named Ethan Hunt. He was involved in this huge mission with expert secret agents that weren't any worse than him, with the exception that they weren't the main characters and therefore the movie didn't focus on them that much. However, MI:2 or whatever you wanna call it is some bad spy flick which doesn't have anything to do neither with the first movie nor with the TV series. Ethan Hunt must be dead or something because the character Cruise plays only shares the name in common, for he's a completely different person. (Since when does a self-effacing character like him kill all the bad guys himself and work alone? All Ving Rhames and the other guy do is shoot from a helicopter. And now comes my biggest complaint. I'm Spanish and I've lived in Spain my whole life, so I do know what this country is like. I recall a James Bond movie with Roger Moore in which he goes to Madrid, which was nothing but a bunch of white houses with Mexicans (who must be fed up with Hollywood mistaking their country with the utterly different and boring Spain) leaning back against the walls and some ancient bus with a sign on it which said "Madrid", as if it was the only bus there was in the city. Apart from that film there are many other American movies which depict Spain as some third-world country full of South Americans, whom I respect a lot but who don't have absolutely anything to do with Spanish people. But these were all old movies and I thought Hollywood had learnt to do some research before setting a movie in a foreign country. I was, however, wrong. The first few minutes (after the climbing scene) take place in Seville which looks nothing like that kind of a Mexican "Hacienda" we see there. Sevilla is a city, and it looks just like Paris, Vienna or Rome. People wear regular clothes, they don't go around dressed up in those weird outfits shown in the movie which aren't even Spanish. (Some of them are, though, but from a different part of Spain)
I remember Anthony Hopkins saying that locals burn their saints as he looks out the window and watches some weird ritual which is supposed to be a "national Spanish feast". Then we see people dressed in real regional Sevillan costumes (but they're just regional though, people don't wear them on the streets, it's like those green costumes Austrians have), people dressed also in regional Valencian costumes (which would never be found at a Sevillan feast, since they come from up North) and some other folks wearing dressed that come directly from the imagination of the costume designers. Then we see them burning wooden statues of saints in a huge fire in the middle of a square, and they all move around like zombies. That doesn't exist!! People don't burn saints in Spain, and they don't walk around as if they were possessed by the devil. And the worst thing is that it's supposed to be a religious feast. Don't worry foreigners!! We don't do that, we're normal people just like you, that wear the same clothes as you do, live in buildings just like you and probably think like you!!!
Maybe the thing of the fire comes from a non-religious feast that takes place in Valencia every year where people light fire-crackers just for fun and there are spectacular fire-works. But it's just a show, that's all. Something for the tourists.
Then I was also surprised to see the supposedly locals speak with a strong South American accent with a touch of Arabic (Two beautiful accents that don't have anything to do with the Spanish one, and besides Arabic is a different language)and also not a single blonde or white skinned person. Hey, people in Spain are blonde, red-haired, brunette, etc. I myself am blonde. And we aren't dark-skinned (even though we try hard to be, since it's very sexy and fashionable skin color. To top it off, some of the sentences in Spanish the locals said weren't even right!!
Besides these comments on my country, I have to say some of the action scenes (like when Cruise goes into that building tied by a rope suspended from an helicopter) are great but the movie is nothing but non-sense and it's not "Mission impossible" at all. And I wanted Ving Rhames and the other guy to do more stuff, let alone the girl, whose being a professional thief doesn't seem to help her at all. Mr. DePalma, please come back!!
El arte de morir (2000)
Good and imaginative Spanish horror movie
I have to admit that when I decided to see this movie I was completely sure it was going to be another "Scream" clone. Despite that, since it was the first Spanish horror movie that belonged to this new "horror-movie-for-teenagers" genre, I though it might be interesting to watch.
How little could I imagine that it was going to be much more intelligent and scary than any "I know what you did last summer" type of movie(It also has some flaws,though, but I'll take about them at the end). The plot seems rather similar to that of the movie I've just mentioned, but only at the beginning, because afterwards it has amazing plot twists that don't just focus on the identity of the killer. (Even though the final plot twist isn't good enough)
The way it's directed helps the movie be different too, making the movie kind of "cold" and distant. To be honest, I think the director has got inspired by films such as Crash and Gattaca to set this kind of mood.
The performances are good, specially the main two characters, even though sometimes they behave strangely. (They seem to be a bit unfocused sometimes, but maybe that's the way their characters are supposed to be)
As for the bad things, the movie gets a bit boring towards the end, not because of what happens, but because of the performances and the direction (I know, I'm contradicting myself a little bit here, since I've said all of this was good, but maybe the director should have made things go faster at the end and make the character's personalities not so monotonous.) Then, when you thing it's over, there are two more plot twists that instead of getting better and better get worse and worse, and make the ending less interesting.
Overall, "El arte the morir" is a GOOD movie BRILLIANTLY directed and with fairly good CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. And it's much more intelligent than Scream2 and "I know what you did last summer" and its sequel. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Good movie with wonderful performances
This movie was panned by the critics when it came out since the plot was considered to be "non-original". I can't say Jon Amiel is my favourite director, but I think he's got potential and he can make at some point in his career a truly great film. Copycat is an an example of how a psycokiller movie that could have been just another clone ends up being an exciting and a very interesting film that holds your attention until the end.
I'm sorry to put it so bluntly, but the reasons why this movie is good are the following: 1- Holly Hunter is in it, and only that makes the movie a must-see 2- Sigourney Weaver proves again she's a great actress that can perfectly impose herself though acting with Holly Hunter in the same movie. 3- The way the killer murders is rather imaginative, and many important details from the killings he tries to imitate have been included. 4- The relationship between Hellen, M.J and Reuben is one of the most interesting points of the movie
As for the bad things, McNamara's character could have been focused-on a little bit more, and Daryll Lee Cullum is too similar to Hannibal Lecter, or at least the way he "helps" the main characters, but Harry Connik Jr. gives a good performance and seems to be having a lot of fun.
This movie should not be missed just to see how two wonderful actresses can make such a movie stand out so much from the rest. (Except for the Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, which are better)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Great director. Great story. Great characters. A masterpiece
Tarantino is without a doubt one of the best directors of all time and maybe the best of the 90's. His first film, Reservoir Dogs was amazing and claustrophobic, his segment in Four Rooms was by far the greatest (even though Rodriguez's was excellent too)and Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to the Blaxploitation films of the 70's. However, Pulp Fiction remains my favourite.
It was nominated for so many Oscars that I still find it hard to believe that it only got one: Best original script. I'm not complaining because Forrest Gump got best picture, since that film was also Oscar-worthy, but come on, movies like Tarantino's or the Shawshank Redemption deserved much more.
Anyway, going back to the movie, I particularly liked the first and second chapters, and that's really a contradiction because one of the movie's finest characters, Mr. Wolf, appears on the third. Bruce Willis also does a great job, and as far as I'm concerned he fell in love with the movie right after having read the script. I like the way his character gives a "tough guy" image at the beginning and then we discover he's so affectionate and tender to his wife. Travolta is obviously the star of the movie and his second encounter with Bruce Willis in the kitchen along with the scene where he dances with Uma Thurman is when the movie reaches it's highest point.
The other star is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a wise assassin that obviously knows how to handle situations. "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..." is my favourite quote.
Summarizing, Pulp Fiction is a modern classic and a must-see for anyone who is at least aware of what a movie is. I give it a 9 out of 10.