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Robin Hood (2010)
The Best Version Ever!!!
The human mind is something tricky. Without memory or at least some thinking we tend nowadays to shout our lungs out to be heard, seen, and touched in some way, however, effortless, we shout without listening to our own scream.
This is the best version of Robin Hood. Taken away all the romanticism as much as possible we are left with the new age of revelation. To prove it, first, we can cite movies like Batman Begins and Dark Knight, which are psychologically charged in Maquiavellic ways such as works like V for Vendetta and Watchmen by Alan Moore. So I should correct myself stating that this is not just a new age of revelation, it is actually Alan Moore's Era. Whoever watched The Mindscape of Alan Moore will agree, this is the time where the ignorant can no longer survive unless he becomes aware of the real world and take it into his own hands, and hopefully not leave it adrift.
In the film there are some points that could been explored differently, however, if one compares all the previous works adapted to screen of the tales of Robin Hood, or Batman, one could realize the similarities with the evolution of the ignorant, or the wanderer, I should say, which is the majority of the public, including myself in some ways.
The bad things in the film are the dialogs between Robin and Marian. The best ones are done by Von Sidow. And Crowe, despite the Irish accent, does one single appearance in the screen when he recalls his Gladiator character and tells the King what a King really is, and coming from an Australian to an English King, I say: good job Russel! The camera work is superb, the editing is perfect, the script holds the film's balance, and it never jeopardizes the main result.
The reason why this film is somewhat underrated here at IMDb is because the main audiences expected Gladiator 2, sorry, this is the same director, actor, etc, except it comes with an upgrade: Robin Hood is not Spartacus, nor Braveheart, somewhat it has a life of its own.
My vote is 7.9 (8)
The final bill on nutshell hick-ups
I believe all George Carlin fans will come out of the theater after watching this documentary feeling they also lost a son.
Comedy itself lost another true hero. Specially nowadays where nothing seems to make any sense in the world, except for the fact that all the ones who dare to understand this humongous, hypocritical world we all live in, suddenly, out of the blue, they all leave.
The documentary is somewhat superficial, nonetheless, very important, because it shows how everything started for Bill Hicks, and there is great archive footage of his early stand-ups. It also makes one feel very interested particularly in his great come back moment, after he gave up drugs and alcohol, and as far as what made him become the Bill Hicks that conquered the UK unfortunately little was said about this period in the movie.
The final scenes are Hicks' best moments. And after the late George Carlin there was nobody else who could have filled his shoes and enlightened audiences with greater political insights such as Bill.
So, a must see, but not as informative, nor as edgy as it could have been.
My vote is 8
A Festa da Menina Morta (2008)
Great directorial debut!
Matheus Nachtergaele is known as a superb and a most complete actor, and now as he sits behind the cameras in his directorial debut, a good feeling comes out of this experience: we want more! Definitely, the film has some highs and lows, but overall he delivers the message and still wets our appetite for he chooses an excellent story and the perfect landscape that mixes perfectly all plurality of Brazilian's multicultural backgrounds. The images blend water and oil magically; however, one might feel that there could be some exaggerations in some of the acting, and some long pauses in the script, which might slow things down in very few moments. In sum, I believe to be a great debut, and this new director deserves all possible attention now, and I hope, in a brief future as well. Beautiful work Matheus!
Beloe solntse pustyni (1970)
John Wayne Meets Kin Dza Dza
At the time when the movie was released, the actor John Wayne was practically gone from the big screens, and his replacement sort of saying was Clint Eastwood as far as most people know. Now, let's think for a minute and follow Phillip K. Dick's concept of reality and space in time, The Man in The High Castle, and let's just imagine as if communism was the ruling system in the world, instead of Nazis. Now, take off John Wayne, add some Clint mixed with Spaghetti, and lots of "red" tomato sauce, and we have Beloe solntse pustyni. The movie is really good, don't get me wrong, and it shows the disparities and some of points and reasons Russia tried to implement communism in the middle eastern parts of its boarders at that period. It has great photography, good acting and story. I understand also that is easy to minimize the reds nowadays for all their mistaken and illusionary views of the past, but, I also believe that no matter what kind of political system we (humans) adopt, there will be always someone trying to glamorize with either satire, or psychological schemes of how the human mind really works, or how it fakes, escaping to fantasies and such and such...
If commercial formulas work for us, we are in business. Who? All of us. We all have our quotes and participation interests in play. No matter what side of the coin you fall, we are easy to read, easy to buy, and lie to ourselves.
My vote is 8.5
The Birth of a Master
First baby delivered by the hands of one the greatest film directors of all times; Praesidenten (or The Judge) is simply well nurtured and cared, and certainly less painful and shorter than the real experience of giving birth.
An intricate story well told and filled with tenderness in its images. The symbolism and metaphors are not as present as in Dreyer's later films, still the right pacing and astonishing photography are nevertheless remarkable which would be a constant aspect in his work.
The story is universal and in some ways follows the moral characteristics of Victor Hugo's work, such as redemption. The old family's traditions and values that are always put in question upon society as a whole are always being dealt generation through generation, and that's what Dreyer keep reminding us, ever.
The film is far from being Dreyer's greatest work, but leaves no doubt as far as his passion and dedication for minor details, enriching this beautiful art right from the start till finish.
When in Rome (or Italy...)
I believe most people who disliked the film where actually led to believe they were about to watch a typical mob movie, and I mean, who better than the Italians to make one... right? In order to (maybe) answer some (normal) complaints or disappointments I will first remember a very typical Hollywood "mob" movie, which is True Romance, and the great scene with Christopher Walken saying Italians are the number one liars in the world and blah blah blah...it's actually proving its theory, otherwise, most people would not feel betrayed by some sort of false advertisement as far as Gomorra's genre. Second, I do believe that if, only if, this particular film would have been advertised differently, it wouldn't get the same attention! In sum, we (including me) tend to expect all mob movies as a sequel to American Gangster sort of a film, and then blame it (or have a feeling we dislike) Neo-realistic films. And in the end, we fall on the same category as the mobsters depicted in Gomorra, who probably disliked the film as well, for different reasons of course.
Good movie! Good photography, fitting the right environment the story is set. Tense and serious, not just another Hollywood hooker for sale. Although we are also led to believe "we're all in the same boat", right?
A Kiss is still a kiss...
No matter what one might think... a classic is not a classic by luck. And as time goes by we see fewer and fewer good results of good cinema. Both good surprises of 2008 were In Bruges and Estomago.
Estomago is a tour-De-force by Joao Miguel; however, when was the last time you saw a sex scene with such "good taste" that reveals the whole spectrum of a film? That is impossible to deny, and the film delivers tragedy of the commons in a sort of polite way, just like school books and some teachers do, except, in Estomago, we must accept that whoever starved for some kind of food for a particular period, will say, "yeah, now I'm full", or "revenge is best served grilled".
The best thing about Estomago is how it portraits the process of how "alecrim" got his nickname, and this "progress" also is very well connected with prostitution of all beings, so therefore, whenever one learns the weight of a kiss, or who one might choose to kiss, and why one does it, then this happy "one" will be able to play As Time Goes By and say a kiss will always be a kiss, because it can mess with your mind, your stomach... your whole life!
Pink Floydish Zabriskian + Arrabal + Shuji Terayama
Nervous! Quiet! Violent! Nightmarish! Poetic! I can't seem to describe it in the right way. Perhaps it makes you think or feel all things at once. Good? Yes and no... hehehehe... Why not, if it tries to give pain and suffering, mental noisiness and silence with at least the will to dare? Offensive, macho, and realistic. Yes, also real within the premises of what feminists achieved. There is no way to watch this without feeling some sort of anger; however, in a cinematic language, it is, or was, what art movies tended to aim for, instead of just laying there, killing you softly. I recommend this messy-minded work for all of those who are willing to take a step into the darkness of oneself, or other-self, whichever one might prefer.
Disregard this comment if you watched Eraserhead and hated.
Etz Limon (2008)
With and outstanding theme that follows the rivalry between ancient cultures, like in The Band's Visit, only this time with lesser romanticism, Lemon Tree is filled with charm and firm posture by both female leading characters and brings politics and female castration into a great clash of emotions with tied-up fists.
The struggle is against urban development that even in the least expected areas of the world tends to eliminate memories of the individual and their experiences. The swifting of values comes pompously, arrogantly, and city like, taking away the taste of fresh lemons in place of comfortable homes and their obvious (as consequence) invasions of power and money, status and politics.
The abrupt invasions are made here by Israel's National Security man and his beautiful and lonely wife. With subtlety the film depicts the ups and downs of a politician's wife contrasting her castrations with the lemon trees owner. Subploting this idea comes the lemon tree's lawyer who seems to be the only benefited in the end with all his self cultural sexual-harassments added by the exposures of the facts by the media, granting him an elevated change of status.
Don't get fooled by the sweet and lovable soundtrack in the initial scenes, and although this film is lighter than most female dramas still respects reality instead of appealing towards tear-jerking melodramatic confrontations, and that is what makes this a true cinematic experience.
A very important film and one the best of 2008 so far.
Menu Filled with Meat Entrees
The rough sincerity displayed through the film's characters is simply one of the bitter sweetest seen similarly in Fassbinder's or Von Trier's works. The atmosphere is surrounded with one of the most complex feelings where the main character filled with goodness, meets pain followed by male-social and economical castration, and still finds hope and "guts" even in the most insensitive-self-destructive moments shown by all the characters she meets.
There's a list of new Romanian films, such as California Dreamin, East of Bucareste, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, which are good references and should precede this one, specially if you're new with Romanian films.
Overall the film may feel extensive for its first 30 minutes not much really happens which I believe to be an intentional first slow-paced movement, in order to test the audience ability to stand up over certain challenges, and whoever makes it will become "part" of the film and might feel closer to the main character. The feeling of love and hate for this character is best defined as humane, for it is mandatory to overcome life's unfairness and hypocrisies to hopefully in the end of the day we enjoy ourselves as customers of this giant bistro where the best entrées are in the meat section, red, white, yellow, all kinds of meat which are provided and consumed by our own selves.
The finest moments are provided in the dialogs with the male modern version of Vera Drake, the dinner party scene and the last 10 minutes. Long, but strong. Tense and real. A new masterpiece but very extensive which might scare some people away.
Szerelmem, Elektra (1974)
Quiet and Cold as Revenge
Beautiful work done by Miklos Jancso and probably one of his best. The director style is unique and therefore is an opinion divider. And that proves his artistic talent, for good or worse.
Here we are injected with outdoor theatric style with great live nature scenario working in tempo the synchronized choreography of actors and camera. The dialogs are great but occasionally lack in depth and consequently some scenes feel vague and empty.
Still, this is a true work of art, caring for all elements of originality and maintaining enough of a good pace of livelihood. The acting is suspended in air (and time) keeping the notion of time and space loose and freeing actors and audience from dates, and specifics of Historical events and transcends it all with lightness.
Nearly a masterpiece. Mythology and theater fans should see it.
Unique Vision from Darkness to Shadows
Wonderful photography and nicely acted this movie tells the story of perseverance bringing us into a new world covered by emptiness of being.
The narrative is old fashioned which is a good thing, for the theme's harshness become sort of mild to swallow, and tastes good in the end.
The best things in Black are the visual spectacles and the strong performance by Amitabh Bachchan, a veteran actor with the caliber of Alec Guiness, who might be remembered as the narrating voice in Lagan.
A fine well constructed story that keeps dignity of not being a tearjerker as an appellative formula, specially judging the theme which usually tend to take that path.
For the humble and the ever learner! Enjoy!
In Bruges (2008)
No Matter if the S...Hits The F...ing Fan or Not Go to Bruges!
Very close from being a masterpiece, In Bruges is one of this years' greatest, and probably one of the decade's as well.
Although I was never aware of where Bruges was, I fit right between both main characters' sympathy for the place. The film deals with the duality of these two killers and their disparities of how they will find their self redemption.
The elements of the film are constantly ambiguous by intention, providing moments of extreme seriousness inside sensitive matters, and eventually creating boost of laughters across tense moments.
All the characters are built to hug and kiss and kill you, in their own way. The lines given by the actors are pure brilliancy and are intelligently spoken by the script (read duality and ambiguous for "given" and "spoken").
I am desperately trying to remember a movie as good as In Bruges, but right now all I can think is Monsieur Hire by Patrice Leconte to compare with this one as far as its deepness and simplicity to story tell.
I believe this film will get some serious attention this year for it has the right look of a winner, with the heart of a happy loser (read "winner and loser" as least competitive as you can).
Enjoy this beauty!
Shi gan (2006)
Shine on your crazy diamond!
Kim Ki Duk enjoys exploring masochistic pleasures, unconscious or not. I love his work and I believe he is one of the most important directors today.
From his violent initial style, till the most recent man-woman relationships mixed with existentialism, K.K.D. seems now be recycling all elements subtlety, and here with Time he adds modern love and esthetic's with the complex transitory process of communism and the West, and how it affects everyday people.
Using realism and surrealism where things sometimes seem real others don't, he sculpt our faces making us unrecognizable to our selves, carrying us with steel hands that massage our ego, he pinches our nerves with coldness and tenderness alternating our thoughts and feelings through images and strong dialogs.
Time is not K.K.D's best effort yet; however, if you feel like entering a bizarre and somewhat unconventional love story this is a full dish of goodies!
Jimi Hendrix?! You Don't Know Who He Is?
Far better than expected and thinking this might be another overrated film by IMDb's users, I searched for more feedback and realized after watching it yesterday the film is superbly innocent but also cares for children's education and character building, never stealing their perspective nor viewer's mature (hopefully) intelligence.
The movie deals with serious subjects, such as mothers death after birth (and death itself), the role of fatherhood and certainly with guilt, denial and conformity.
Sebastian Schneider is simply one of the most self-identifiable characters, in many dimensions, and everyone is bounded to be attracted towards his "grave-yard" decisions. No one will scape death and therefore this film reminds us the importance of being present as best as possible in every moment we can. I shut my eyes and think Bread and Tulips, another small gem with Bruno Ganz, which gives the same feel, although not as funny as Grave Decisions (good English title but far from the original).
The script is flawless and jaw-cracking. The cast is perfect, from supporting till main roles. All scenes constantly build the mood and the story of the film (there goes editing!), as a great orchestra performing a Beethoven's classical.
So try to watch this marvelous enlightening film without too many distractions, just relax and enjoy the ride because the major goal of the film is really to communicate, and believe me, there are positive results in this exchange of feelings which will keep one's company for, I believe, quite some time.
Chaos Theory (2008)
You can't wrong with this movie. It is a crowd pleaser and as part of a certain crowd, I was as well.
The film follows the old time comedies style, from Frank Capra till Charles Crichton, giving us slight deja-vu moments of "I've seen it before" without making itself boring or repetitive. And perhaps yes, we all did, or still do in some ways. And that's the good thing about the film. Although it has an universal theme the film never tries to be pretentious and fool us with surprise endings. We are dealing with a "safe-net" act, where we feel as rookie-acrobats guided by great instructors who really wants us to become part of the great show of life.
Being politically correct never felt closer to chaos in the last 10 years, I would say. And complete chaos might bring one you down to Earth with a satisfactory thought of being almost in paradise.
A must see , hear and laugh.
8.5 out of 10.
Crooks in Rio? No way Jose!
The real state market is boosting in Brazil as well as Economy is poorly managed and selfishly distributed (like realistic capitalism) as usual. We also know Brazil is the favorite place for international crooks to retire, and some born breads as well.
The thing is: same as Andy's Henson's ridiculous intent to start over in Rio with miserables US$400 or 500 thou, the script also desperately uses desperate measures to grab viewers' attention. Marisa Tomei's talent is replaced by her sculptural body. Editing keeps taking away the seriousness of the film's content like "pop-ups" on a computer screen constantly breaking the rhythm.
Phillip S. Hoffman's great effort along with the story itself give the film a nice plus; however, totally overrated by some critics and Sidney Lumet's fans. Other than that, all I can think of is the Toronto full version which probably showed some more of Marisa Tomei's attributes.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
It's Safer with Strangers
Safer indeed. Hitchcock is cinema's all time pervert; however, we all know his perversions are ours as well, so we forgive him. And we not only forgive him but we applaud his clever way to invite us for an unforgettable train ride.
I saw Hitch's 1953, I Confess, a week before this one, and I put both in the same category as part of his trademarks. These trademarks resided in his genius questioning and pulsing his artistic veins that spills psychological drops of blood on the viewer without leaving stains of guilt, instead very subtle awareness of feeling ashame.
The pen is always mightier than the sword and Hitch firmly wrote the most arguable questions with his wrist, and then holding firmly with his hands, he held cameras that always reflected peoples thirst for blood (most humans have), otherwise comedy wouldn't be mostly a tragic thing, and making people laugh wouldn't be so complex.
Mixing all dark elements of "high society", with a wealthy psychopath Bruno, and an ambitious tennis player wanna be politician, Guy, the story is one of the most well constructed and guided by Hitch, inspiring many filmmakers, not only with its plot, but with tricky images provoking dark smiles and happy nightmares.
An American Crime (2007)
Room Full of Mirrors and Melodrama
Catherine Keener and newcomer Ellen Page are strong like the subject, but like the editing and script this film is a missed opportunity for a potential contender (I keep hearing Brando's voice in his famous scene from On The Waterfront).
The film will keep you awake because it has some strong scenes and the cruelty seems more entertaining than avoidable, and it may appear as the good achievement as any film needs one, the rest is soap-opera.
It is definitely not a complete waste of time, don't get me wrong, but, it has too much old formulas that momentarily fills the room and then leaves you waiting for deeper dialogs and exposure of the facts in a psychological way, instead it appeals visually as it awfully tries to shock us, like a low-class newspapers spilling blood everywhere.
Watchable for some good points that makes us all "envolved" and feeling guilty for staying throughout the whole thing in complete inertia or perhaps enjoyment.
In sum, the film mixes Hitchcokian social guilt with Almodovar's melodramatic tragic tensions, except that Alfred and Pedro are having a Tarantino crisis.
Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Not merely a comedy, a lesson of brotherhood
I love video rental stores. They are a part of my life since childhood and they mediated my growth of knowledge about films, and they still do; however, differently.
I guess what's really funny about this film is the way it touches very kindly that old and almost lost notion of how things were before DVD's, blue-ray and nearly Oled, or any technology. I mean, not just technology but, the way people lived and did things. It may seem nostalgic and somewhat old fashioned of me to say this (I'm only 31), but, after watching Be Kind Rewind I really felt being fonder of some traditions, like, saying good morning for instance and meaning it, or at least looking at people's eyes instead of pretending they're not there when walking on the streets.
The same way when video tapes came out and people were renting films like crazy and movie theaters were back-lashed, the transition to DVD made rental-video owners put a remark on the tapes "Be Kind Rewind". Before that some video rental stores would charge you a fee for not doing so... anyways... it seems the same with people... we forget how things were or how important they were for past generations, and the new generations seem have no respect for history in general.
In sum, we hardly see someone being kind, and lesser yet rewinding their minds trying to remind things, or worse yet, perhaps switch places with past generations like Most Def does playing the part of Fats Waller, an old time community figure. And like his character, even when we find out our heroes were people with flaws like anyone else has, perhaps then we would learn to adapt better and treat ourselves better in every way possible.
This movie talks dearly about friendship, positivity, creativity and appreciation for what we do, and specially it helps us remind that everything we are is made by us and consumed by us. The saying "we are what we eat" sounds correct indeed, therefore, the others are as well: "what goes around comes around", "tell me who you're friends are and I'll tell you who you are". All of this might sound cheesy, but if it is, then I hope its a nice piece of Prima Donna with blue cheese and provolone, Gouda, Gruyère, cheddar and whatever...
Not merely a comedy, but a lesson of brotherhood from Michel Gondry and everyone else that helped in this movie.
Do You Feel In Control of Things?
I guess same way Ian Curtis felt he was in control of his emotions, he knew they would betray him. In other words, the film depicts perfectly the idea of actions and consequences x gravity and being suspended in air, as far as what we understand the game of society x human needs.
The mood is both dim and implosive. Sam Riley looks at his surroundings mostly wishing not to exist at all, and only in brief and right moments we can tell he needs gravity giving us some doses of oxygen.
Great character analysis with outstanding photography and acting. Interesting film even for those who are apart from Joy Division's story.
Note this beautiful talented woman named Alexandra Maria Lara. With her acting and charm she actually reminds me of Ingrid Bergman's in the 40's with a modern touch of Cate Blanchett's hypnotic eyes. She is also in Coppola's Youth Without Youth.
The Train Must Stop!
Man oh man... I've been foolishly procrastinating (not the right term, there's a long list!) to watch this film and finally had the chance to do so. And "news" are: Marvellous labyrinthine spectacle!
For any Von Trier's "follower": both Rigets, Element of Crime, Dogville, Dancer in The Dark, The Five Obstructions, etc... Europa is probably the differential for its greatness in visual terms. Everything is beautifully somber and claustrophobic! You really get the feeling of being inside this "imaginary" nightmarish time warp. Taking from the masters of surreal cinema like Bunuel, Bergman, till noir films of the 40's with acidic drops of avant-guard Von Trier leads the art-film scene as the "well intended totalitarian" movie maker of nowadays. His authoritarian way of dealing with very intricate issues, without being irrational, hits the nerve of the viewer with the intent to cure some of the deepest wounds we feed in our hypocritical world.
As Utopian as it seems, I do believe people like Von Trier could help society in many ways in a broader aspect. The day films and filmmakers that carry this sort of power are no longer necessary, as a tool for reflection, perhaps it could be the start of a new era: "The age of emotional control over our fears". This is what he offers to us constantly through his work over and over.
Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Hal Ashby for Teens
Seems like we've seen it before... a little bit of this here... some stolen ideas from there... however... it's been awhile teenagers are being cheated by the film industry, and at least here one might say that is far better than average cheesy-happy-go-lucky-spoof-ball.
There are some funny scenes and clichés of all types. I mean, don't we live in a cliché-world since ever? Then it should work for crying out loud. Certainly it over protects our screwy negligent behaviors and still allows everyone to redeem themselves. Unquestionably it is a movie that seems to quietly observe from a mansion's roof top... well... life is unfair and this movie fails to deliver some dramatic elements with faith of good results.
Overall, a must see for teenagers and adults who think have seen it all and lost some of Hal Ashby movies and his disciples points of view.
Die Fälscher (2007)
It's Always the Bloody Money
In terms of money, the first thing comes to mind is the word Jew. The Nazis blamed Jews for understanding Capitalism and embracing this way of living with their very souls. In the end the money seemed to be the scapegoat (and still is) in most peoples everyday routines. The movie is concise and deals firmly with the illusion that pleases and enchants us deeply, money.
The tango songs throughout the film brings the dark-poetic atmosphere as a shelter, and in Argentina where Tango was created, became this physical shelter for many former Nazis who lived under the noses of many south American civilians. A few of them briefly came to Brazil as well, like Josef Mengele, who was portrayed by Lawrence Olivier in The Boys From Brazil, and also Oscar Schindler. No wonder some people joke about Osama Bin Laden residing in Brazil... anyways...
I believe the more we see and theoretically learn about the events that took place in WWII, the less we will surprise ourselves as far as what we humans are capable of. The beauty in The Counterfeiters lies in the irony of who chases who. Everyone looks to hurt everyone, which simply resembles the eternal social class struggles and the disparities money brings exposing our deepest somber characteristics... surviving, no matter the price.
Very good movie that leaves no doubt about what really entertains us the most.
The Savages (2007)
They are actually better after dad's death
I can only recall The Anniversary Party (Alan Cumming) after watching The Savages. I know there's was a scene with Phoebe Cates where she is letting all out about being a mother and all the pain and frustration of letting selfishness and giving yourself fully to someone else... well... The Savages is more than just that...
Savages is a reminder that makes all of those who have not solved their emotional issues with their families look and think the earlier the better, or not? Exactly, it seems death can bring happiness and you what, solutions! Dysfunctional families creates crazy children who will become adults and I might add, confused adults. The Savages are wild in this case (a nut case!).
The goal here is to make both Savage children more in touch with reality and if possible serious long lasting love relationships.
The best performance of Laura Linney and again, probably one of the most important actors of today in the world, P.S. Hoffman delivers it cold solid as how it should have been.
I'm pretty sure the movie will leave you with the weirdest and still haunting feeling that sometimes a family member needs to pass on so their children can start living their own lives fully, with their self identity. Strange as it seems, not least than a very important movie.