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Love & Other Drugs (2010)
The same story... ugh
It's very difficult to give a higher rate to this movie. It's supposed to be presented as a different romantic comedy, yet, it's the same old story that bores to death. The promiscuous irresponsible guy ('cause men are always like that) and the promiscuous irresponsible girl (she's just that way 'cause she has a broken heart, 'cause women are never like that) played by Gyllenhall and Hathaway are just not convincing. Their respective friends -his loser brother and her gay black friend (sounds familiar?) are just useless for the plot.
The "originality" is in the "dramatic" story of Hathaway's character and the 90's background, with its medical consumerism and the negotiation with the health system. Yet this two aspects, perhaps the less bad things of the film, are poorly treated in the script. Such a bad cinematographic experience. The movie is not only bad, is not even funny!
El secreto de sus ojos (2009)
Very good, but...
"The secret in their eyes" is the story about a man (Ricardo Darín) who tries to have a closure for an unresolved case of murder he dealt with 25 years ago, as a prosecutor. The need of a closure is also for the hidden love for his former boss (soledad Villamil). With no doubt Campanella executes an interesting story with an accurate direction and cinematography. Performances are satisfying; nevertheless, the only one that greatly shines is Guillermo Francella - his character, Sandoval, is the only one that is lovable and touching in his pathetic.
The film achieves a coherent pathos through the first half, yet, at the end, the story is "dilated" and loses part of its charm: the suspense is resolved in a very easy way. Camapnella shows his knowledge of the Academy's taste, 'cause his movie has a major inspiration in "the life of the others" (Florian Henckel, 2006), a minor tittle that won an Oscar due to the unpredictable taste of a still polemic institution.
A modern-day musical, and so much more!
John Carney has amazed the entire world with this low budget but high quality indie film. Set in Dublin, tells the story of a "guy" (Irish singer Glen Hansard) stuck in everyday routine in his family business who escapes from it by playing by nights in the streets of Dublin, and a "girl" (Czech musician Markéta Irglová) who struggles with everyday life like an immigrant in Ireland, yet has a talented gift for Piano music. Together, they'll be connected through their art, and realize how music changes the way they see each other, their own lives and the dreams -big or small- they want to accomplish.
Once is an honest, simple, but amazing film. Shot with two digital cameras and with a budget lower than 100000 euros, the direction is powerful yet soft, and goes perfect with the story: close-up shots combined with other general views of the city, with a shivered touch that makes it more interesting, familiar and intimate, as well as in the scenes where the family life of the girl is shown.
A movie full of music, rhythm and romance, that yet has that powerful and calmed silence that makes it more interesting. Such a wonderful surprise, the fact that the movie's songs were written by the two leads, and the main theme "Faillins slowly" was awarded by the American Academy with an Oscar.
Beauty does not need words, high-tech nor media
Mohsen Makhmalbaf has done it with every movie he's made. Gabbeh is a major film where beauty is presented in the original language of filmmaking: music -not only the "human music", rather than the music from the sounds of nature- and images -"life is color", "love is color" is said just twice in the film, but the entire film is exactly that: life and love, which is just color-. The expressiveness of the landscape, the Iranian women's clothing and fabric are the main characters of the film. Because masterpieces do not need words, high-tech, major budgets, nor even a plot. 60 minutes of beauty, that's Gabbeh.
Donnie Darko (2001)
A pleasant surprise
Donnie Darko is the first, and perhaps the best motion picture of the young director Richard Kelly. With an interesting cast, that includes new Hollywood faces like Noah Whyle, Drew Barrymore, the Gyllenhaal brothers, Jena Malone and Seth Rogen with more experienced artists such as Mary McDonell, Katherine Ross, Patrick Swayze, Beth Grant and Holmes Osborne, the movie was produced with a low budget and shot in a very short period of time.
Now, we have Donnie Darko: The director's cut, a DVD that includes 15 more minutes than the original film, which represents the real work Kelly and his crew did. Set in 1988, the movie narrates the story of Donnie Darko, a troubled teenager that suffers from schizophrenia. One of his hallucinations, in the form of a giant rabbit called Frank, tells him that the world will come to an end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.
This singular event is accompanied with the fact that a plane motor falls in Donnie's bed at midnight (he's saved because Frank's appearance). Since then, the facts of the history and the situations the characters are in, seem to drag them to that imminent end. Kelly shows Donnie's world, with his parents (Holmes Osborne and Mary McDonell), his sisters, his psychiatrist (Katherine Ross), his teachers and girlfriend (Jena Malone).
Donnie Darko tells a complex but well worked story. Understood in first moment as a psycho-thriller, the film combines effectively elements of comedy (with acid sarcasm), drama and science fiction. The 80's background is also greatly accurate, in its political and social context, where we can see Donnie as a teenager looking for the truth, affected by two visions of the world: one of the annoying teacher Kitty Farmer (Grant) and the hypocrite Jim Cunningham (Swayze), that represent the most conservative side of the American way of life; and the other, represented by teachers Monitoff y Pomeroy (good performances of Whyle y Barrymore), young and in-conformist characters at the school.
With outstanding and realistic special effects, a precise direction and an open final, Donnie Darko is a great surprise and an interesting and unclassified movie; a sort of gem in the American film industry: a total win for its director, who was awarded with more than 10 prizes for the film, mostly in independent film Festivals.
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
A mediocre film that can't be compared to the series
It was ridiculous to ask for a Simpsons' movie, when we could've enjoyed the series for free. However, producers convinced us of the "need" of a movie. With too much expectations the movie was produced and then released, but the result is extremely poor.
Since the 2000's the show had already changed its ironic and sarcastic humor to something more likely to a typical American sitcom, lowing its quality and sacrificing its intelligence. Somehow, this was a total sell- out. So, its creator decided to continue with this pathetic humor, since it cost lower and reported greater benefits for him.
So, the movie is mediocre just as the last season of the Simpsons have been. The plot, though it has some modern references (like the inclusion of a popular band at the time, like Greenday) fails to be funny when it sacrifices its intelligent humor and decides to be some sort of romantic comedy/road-pop movie. Yes, you'll see "the guy" (Homer) doing everything wrong, disappointing his family, but then having the opportunity for a redemption... sounds familiar, right? It's the classical romantic comedy, but in the Simpsons the failure is major because the plot is just ridiculous: some sort of Apocalypse is approaching to Springfield, and the fault is Homer's.
Is so terrible that such a great series at its beginnings has lost during the years so much of its quality, hitting a new low with the movie. And, just for you to know, the series has gotten even worse after the movie. Please, just keep in your memory the first ten seasons of the Simpsons. The rest is just a waste of your time.
15 Minutes (2001)
Obvious, predictable and boring
Presented as a suspense-action-police thriller, "15 minutes" is supposed to be a critic to the American mass-media consumist society. The society watches and enjoys television; through it they see all that matters, and only what can be known by TV is worth knowing... even police officers are caught in this American "mania", having TV shows, fighting between each other in order to have a "15 minutes breakout". Also the western Europe killers... who come to America and first get a camera (obviously by stealing it, since they are immigrants)...
The idea seems to be at least not bad, but the script is too obvious, half of the movie the word "Television" is pronounced. The motif that makes the two Europeans kill is not shown, but those stupid dialogs like "more illumination to the scene" or "cut and rolling" are said a hundred times, making the film obvious, predictable, and hence, boring.
The movie, is in my opinion, racist. The whole story is about two European guys that will kill anyone for no reason, these killers are really lame because they let everyone to see their faces through the videos, their fingerprints and so much more. But the police officers have too much trouble capturing them (so they are even more stupid I guess?). How can someone be so unreachable in the mass-media era? That's the major failure of the story.
And the movie itself is boring, Robert De Niro, an experienced actor, is just doll. The rest of the cast is not worth mentioning, but the Melina Kanakaredes' character.
Too bad that an interesting story like the idea of snuff in our media (perhaps a reality nowadays) is wasted in such a terrible film. The idea, at the end, is stolen from Amenábar's "Thesis", one of the best horror films of the 90's.
Wo de fu qin mu qin (1999)
My father, my mother
Zhang Yimou has done it again: a masterpiece of the oriental cinema, both an emotional and artistic triumph. "My father and my mother", the original Chinese tittle, tells the love story of a rural beautiful woman and the foreign school teacher, during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Whereas the director's identification with this episode of modern China is ambiguous, the excellent quality of the story and the cinematographic is just outstanding. In this movie, you'll be delighted by Zhang Ziyi's tenderness and by the fantastic art direction. Notice that most of the scenes have red elements: the color of the Communist revolution; but also, the color of human love, and the human passion for having a transcendental life.
V for Vendetta (2005)
Political propaganda full of clichés turn out to be a pathetic, mediocre movie
The Wachowsky brothers just don't know how to tell stories (The Matrix trilogy is barely decent), and they prove me right with V for Vendetta. The story of freedom after repression, directed by the mediocre James McTeigue, is interesting, but the film (script and scenes) is full with cheap political propaganda, clichés and terrible performances (Natalie Portman disappointed me, Hugo Weaving is just ridiculous/stupid with the pathetic detail of the mask and Stephen Rea saved all his acting abilities for this film).
The problem of this film is that, in its mad necessity to do the political propaganda, tries to tell a lot of stories in one. And the result is a horrible, horrible script, where we see the performance of at least 100 characters!! To make the story "intense" McTeigue tries to put some "comedy" (pathetic humor in the scene where they make fun of the dictator), "drama" (the idiotic story of Portman's character entering in jail by the dictator, when later you realize that was V himself who do that (¿?), suspense (not effective AT ALL, of course), and -of course the "top" ingredient in American blockbuster industry- action (Not kidding: You'll see fires, bombs, police chasing, bullets all over the film, and, as a closure, a fire games' show).
But why can a movie be so overrated in its home country and so hated in THE REST OF THE WORLD? It's easy: The scenes work as individual scenes, but when you try to put a movie together, the result is terrible. American critics and public liked it since it deals with sensitive topics like totalitarianism, racism, homosexuality and others, and the film at the end has a "positive message". Nothing wrong with that, but I won't waste two hours of my life watching a political propaganda that is dressed as a "movie". If you haven't watched it, you're lucky. DO NOT WATCH IT!
La teta asustada (2009)
A masterpiece by Claudia Llosa
Young director Claudia Llosa (Madeinusa) has won the Golden Bear and a dozen of other prizes around the world for her second work, The frightened tit, its original Spanish tittle.
Though the plot itself may seem awkward, the movie is a group of 95 minutes rich and beautiful images. The pearls, the potato, the dog, the wedding, the impoverished suburban Lima, everything is accurately directed and carefully thought by Ms. Llosa.
Fausta (outstanding Magaly Solier) is suffering from The frightened tit, an illness that she caught through her mother's breast-milk since her pregnancy happened during the 1980s and 90s terrorism and State violence in the Andes. Now in Lima, Fausta is afraid, she's put a potato in her vagina in order to protect her from being raped, and after her mother dies she finally has to deal with the real life and face her fears,starting to work in a high- class house as a made.
The plot of the movie is fictitious, but it lies on a cruel and past reality of Peru's modern history, combining it with a delicate halo of surrealism, magic realism and sometimes ironic humor. The image of the potato -all time Peruvian ingredient for cuisine- involves the subject of a war and a fear that affected an entire country, though our differences may not accept it yet. The scenes in Fausta's home are the opposite where she works: though the high-class house is in the same impoverished area (another reference to Peruvian social differences), over there is no gray, no dust: there are plants, color, life.
At the end, Fausta realizes that in the root of her fears is the solution of them. The movie, indeed, is presented as a cure for the unhealed wounds of a terrible and recent war that happened on Peruvian soil.