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As many critics pointed out by the time of its release, February is the release slot for some hopeless movies. Too bad that should apply to a movie like Freedomland. I don't say this because the movie should have had a better shot, but because an idea with a good potential was treated as a dull and motionless thriller we get to see every other week. Of course we have this big names above title, such as Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore, but oddly it's not them you remember when its over. It's a lady named Eddie Falco, whose walkabout role allows her to show how great an actress she is even with the scarse material she's given. Moore and Jackson don't seem like themselves, not on a bad note, but having the two main roles, it is amazing how you come to disregard them. Jackson is always a trustful actor, but Moore delivers a performance that is unlike herself. Director Joe Roth is the one to blame, not for making Freedomland a bad movie, but for making it entirely forgettable.
Every year there's the more or less provocative and philosophical film, that naturally, because of its contents tends to provoke two completely different opinions. Either you firmly defend it and love it, or you hate it and attack it. There's no way of escaping this dichotomy for the simple reason that a movie like the Fountain is a movie that is character driven and their proof of love requires an elevate suspension of disbelief from the viewer. If you are not one of those, than don't even consider watching this movie, but if you are, if you let yourself be carried away buy the beauty of the images, the intensity of the characters and the devotion to one purpose, than you will most certainly enjoy and praise the Fountain as much as I did. Quite frankly I cannot imagine Brad Pitt or Cate Blanchett taking the place of Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. They took the characters and made them their own. Although Weisz is extraordinary in Izzy's skin, is Jackman's take on Tommy that is the true engine of the movie. He composes three different characters in three different approaches but with the same love driven obsession. I myself reckon that at the beginning the movie does suffer not only from unmanaged pace but also from the viewer's eventual detachment from the story. But although the movie runs for 90 minutes it is more than enough to tell three different stories. I reckon that Fountain haters might criticize it for narrative confusion and some questions left unanswered or not explained, but that's not its purpose. We are meant to believe and connect with these two characters and their motives, strengths, weaknesses and actions. And we do. Thanks to Aronofsky, Weisz but most specially to Jackmans true masterpiece and Clint Mansell. The Foutntain would not have been the same without him: his soundtrack is a poem of love, tragedy, loss and beauty that very rarely has Hollywood presented us.
A lot has been written about this Batman sequel. Or Prequel. Or Reboot. Prior to watching the movie, you can think of it in either of these three assumptions. We can rule out the option of it being a sequel for a number of reasons: the story itself tells how Bruce Wayne became Batman, and how he learned to face his fears and create his alter-ego known as Batman; also because the pace, the approach and the lack of theatricals that characterized the previous four movies is gone. You can also rule out the option of it being a prequel since if that were the intention, the previously mentioned pace and approach would have to comply with the other movies. So that leaves us with this movie being a reboot. But is it a fair, genuine and faithful reboot? In my opinion it is. Very. The reason why is because this movie was able to make me a person interested in the Batman myth and saga, which I wasn't. Tim Burton (although one of the three best directors nowadays) made the first two movies a Saturday morning fun ride entertainment for kids very much in the line of what was the spirit of the comics. Than Joel Schumacher stepped in and simply assassinated, commercially and critically the good image that the Batman character had. So when Christopher Nolan came in, he not only had a huge responsibility on his shoulders being the one carrying the whole franchise either to forgetfulness or he could get people to love Batman and make them eager to watch its movies again. Fortnately it was the latter. Batman Begins is a very solid movie, more adult-orientated and explores Bruce Wayne's hopes, fears and memories without making a martyr out of him. Also the task is hugely favored by the fact that he has a stellar cast helping, with Christian Bale as the new Batman and people like Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer, Linus Roache, Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy creating a strong film that makes you follow it in the edge of your seat, never losing pace and be truly interested on how the complex story develops either by the skills of the director or the performances full of complexity and chemistry of the priceless cast.
Over these last few years, I have been increasingly against the critics opinions on the quality of movies, whether it is on their criticism of blockbusters and lack of originality, or studio's greed for money on detriment of quality. These past year, i have to start to agree with them. That was until the Prestige came on. It has been a really long time since I have seen a movie that truly made me care about the characters and their motivations, and most importantly it has been a really long time since I have seen a movie that made me totally forget about the hectic life outside, and make me devout myself entirely without looking at my watch at least once. Obviously that isn't a coincidence, this only happens when true cinematic geniuses are behind the camera, either Christopher Nolan's passionate and intelligent direction and skillful writing adaptation capabilities, or Pfister's lighting and Julyan's score. That combined with a top-notch cast leading this peace of cinematic brilliance presented as a magic trick itself makes it a as enjoyable as possible. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman battle themselves character and acting-wise, because you never know which one has the advantage over the other, and to make the recipe perfect Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and David Bowie support the duo not over shadowing them but composing a colorful and deep canvas. I guess what I like the most about the Prestige is the fact that the movie is about magicians composing magic tricks and the three steps to complete them; and the movie is actually presented to us audience in that way: You have The Pledge (Who the characters are, their motives and backgrounds), The Turn (you realize nothing is what it seems, twists keep on coming and you never know who has leverage) and The Prestige (the most interesting of them all, because you are given an explanation for the events, which explains all of its "cientific impossibilities") But are they really impossible. Were all the explanations given to you the reality?.....Did you watch it closely? Make sure you did. Because the explanation is not what it seems. That is the real Prestige of "The Prestige".
I think to me the biggest problem with Aeon Flux was that all the time I was watching the movie, I cared more about the dazzling sets and beautiful cinematography, than what the hell the movie was all about. Having never seen the original MTV series, and only checking out random pictures and clips, I cannot judge whether it is a faithful and deserving adaptation of the show. I dare to say it might not be a remake or a movie version, rather than a different view on the source story. Everything seems to be more toned down (which might be explained for the reason it would be unthinkable to put Charlize Theron fighting around in panties and a bra strip). Even the view of the future is somewhat different. The premise isn't new at all. We are all a bit tired of movies about a future society that survived a virus, and some people fight to put everything back the way it was. What's different in this movie is the approach: there's no rain all the time, the movie is almost always set during the day, in short it is a beautiful movie for kids. Although as I stated, I believe it would be very hard to make the movie look better than it does, I guess this was not the right approach to the material. The source story is all about a corrupt society, unhappy inhabitants living a lie, and ultimately, revenge. So why does it all look like a Sunday morning movie? The other problem is the script. If they dare us to believe some of the absurdities in the plot development, they should at least take them to the limit. It almost contradicts it self: it's like it drops a huge mind-blowing concept, and then it never explores it to the fullest. But on the other hand, I believe further viewings may help the movie. The first time I saw it in the movie theater I was highly disappointed, I've watched two other times, and the last one made me like it more. I believe it is not accurate to say that Aeon Flux is going to be a future cult classic, which I believe it won't because it is not provocative enough, and good enough for that matter. What I truly believe is that in the future it might be better accepted than it was when it came out. But at least that's what happened to me.
Laurel Canyon deals about the adversities you have to deal with whether you are more or less experienced. Every character on this story has different experiences: some are more naïve, some are more bohemian, some are more averse, and some don't care at all, but all of them have consciously made a mistake. I say consciously because there's no such thing as someone making mistakes in these situations without thinking thoroughly about the outcome. The premise and development are as simple as it can be, but simplicity doesn't mean banality. The screenplay in its simplicity has an incredible depth and reliability, whether it is on the awkward situations characters get into, or the sexual adventures, that some of us have been through. And to those who have, this movie speaks our language, because it relies on us and us in it. This is why some independent movies are such a pleasure to watch, because even though we are not there, we are those characters.
14 years have passed since Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone made the iconic erotic thriller that definitely defined the genre. There is was a lot of controversy when the movie came out regarding how explicit the sex scenes are and the way lesbians are depicted on screen. It is very sure to say that today that controversy isn't gone. What everyone seems to agree is that the great majority of films that become iconic are so either because of their thematic or for the fact that they are ground-breaking in a particular issue. Basic Instinct is definitely this case and rightfully so. It is one of my favourite movies not only because it is on of my favourite genres but also because the movie is stellar in many aspects. Paul Verhoven is a good director and this is a great example of that, the way he shoots the sex scenes is sexier, the way he shoots car chases is memorable and his camera moves only when it should. The screenplay plays games with your mind, the cinematography is top notch, and, of course the main theme is one of the most memorable there are. But over all these praises the reason why the movie is as good as it is, is because of Sharon Stone. She was born to play Catherine Tramell, her wit, her charm, her beauty, her sarcasm are perfect, and I assure no one else could do that, the interrogation scene with the famous leg crossing is a perfect example of that. I think I'm not exaggerating when I say that Catherine Tramell is one of the best and most memorable characters in movie history. Also, I think what makes the movie so good is the total openness of the ending. We are never told exactly who did it, and although many people have their secure theories, the movie is well written enough to accept both theories. But if you want to dispute, you can watch the movie over and over again, which is precisely my case...
Erotic thrillers are nothing new. Everybody knows that. After Basic
Instinct there was little territory left to explore in what regards the
genre.. But can you call Killing Me Softly a cliché? Not Really. At
least in my opinion. So what can explain the bad reviews and box office
results? First it was a platform movie and not a wide release, second
none of the leads are big stars, and third this genre normally doesn't
have many financial results. So is it top notch? Well some things are,
and others aren't at all. The cinematography and art direction is
flawless and the soundtrack is very close to sublime. The screenplay is
hardly what you can call acceptable, it is a lousy draft that should
have been re-written, and while Chen Kaige's(the director) camera has
some very interesting movements, it's the way he directs his actors
that ruins everything. Heather Graham's performances is without a doubt
one of the worst performances i remember watching in cinema, alright
she looks stunning on screen and looks good naked, but is that enough?
Not really. And also I believe the costume designer had some laughs at
her expense, as she looks a corny doll sometimes. So what makes it good
for me? Well I guess that everyone who likes this movie is not because
of it's genuine qualities. I think that this is that sort of movie that
it is so bad that it is actually very good. It's a future camp classic,
the way it shows the British atmosphere and all..
The reason why Killing Me Softly isn't a better movie was because it is too rushed. The running time is way too short, Heather Graham is miscast )although she has chemistry with Joseph Fiennes), some of the dialogues are unbelievable and some scenes should have been longer and better scripted. But altogether as I told before this is a very very good guilty pleasure, that's why I give it a high score..
Despite it's Titanic scope, The Poseidon never generated enough buzz to make people think it might actually be a box-office hit. Well, it turned out to be right and Poseidon was indeed a big flop (considering it cost 150 million to make and grossed around 65 million domestically). Every year producers pray that their big budget bets don't sink, because some eventually do. This year, so far it's Poseidon that sank big time in more than one way. Is the disappointment understandable? Yes. Completely. Wolfgang Petersen has lost his flair for the dramatics, he compressed the whole story in 90 minutes and a B-class adventure movie. This, by itself is not a flaw, for there are countless 90 minutes commercial-adventure movies that are very good. Clearly this is not the case. The movie starts with the Poseidon already at sea (not a bad starting point) with a very well shot opening scene. From there on, everything goes down. Literally. The movie starts too late, the wave comes in too early, we are not familiarized with the characters yet (but we never will anyway), the story development is unworthy of the name, and we find ourselves rooting for the ship to kill every character as fast as possible. I guess that if Warner Brothers wants to blame anyone for the way things have turned out, I guess it is Mark Protosevich. He is not only the responsible for this atrocious piece of writing, but also for penning The Cell, one of the worst movies ever committed to screen. The sets are just to corny.. you don't believe for a second that you are inside a ship...The cast itself doesn't help. Josh Lucas is a firm choice for lead but he doesn't have people supporting him. The only ones we end up caring about are him, the mother, the son and the Spanish stowaway. It is even obvious that Fargie did this for a quick buck and a quick break from Black Eyed Peas. A few years back i liked the silly summer blockbusters and still do. But when a movie about a ship capsizing with the whole crew inside, and a desperate urge to escape doesn't generate any excitement from watching it, there are only two answers: either I'm aging to fast, or the quality of Hollywood's blockbusters(?) is really...., hum..... SINKING...
After watching the trailers, knowing the fuss that was made around its
sole nomination to the costume design Oscar category, i still wanted to
watch this movie as this is totally my type. Furthermore, the cast was
also a must see Hilary Swank, Joely Richardson, Bryan Cox, Christopher
Walken, Simon Baker and Adrian Brody. Regarding the cast and the movie
as a whole my one complaint goes to Hilary Swank herself. I agree with
everyone else that she is, in fact a tremendous actress, but i do not
agree she is the right choice for this part. She doesn't combine with
the image i had of Jeanne; i imagined her to look more fierce,
strong-minded and cunning, whereas Swank seems to delicate and fragile
in a role that requires for the exact opposite. What she, in fact,
succeeds is in creating an enormous chemistry with the other main
characters of Adrian Brody and Simon Baker.
My complaints aside i think this movie works extremely well considering its main purpose: it isn't supposed to be one of those larger than life Ron Howard-Biopic-straight-to-Oscar-run type of movies; and in all of its (to some extent) modesty it stands far steadier than something called a Brilliant Mind. I do not blame those who liked it (and there were many) but I, personally, didn't.
Technically the production has nothing to be pointed at: costumes, sets, cinematography, the soundtrack (pay attention to it) are all first class. Although I'm not particularly fond of Director Charles Shyer's movies, i liked the way he conducted this one, and hand in hand with screenwriter John Sweet theykept the movie flowing with a constant rhythm that makes the movie not seem longer or shorter than it should have been. Some point out some of it's historical accuracy; if only the respect payed to the real events were considered as they were here, we could all go to the movies regularly and believe in those so called actual events. If Jeanne's character wasn't molded in a way that made her seem more caring, the audience would leave the movie not caring for the lead and that's not what's suppose to happen, and it didn't happen here.
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