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Blue Valentine (2010)
Sweet And Emotionally Devastating
BLUE VALENTINE is both sweet and emotionally devastating. It's raw in every sense of the word. Writer/director Derek Cianfrance has crafted a brave and genuine relationship-character study. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams floor me. Acting doesn't get better than this
Dramas about a couple whose relationship is warm and fuzzy at first but then grows cold and bitter over time is not something new. You don't have to go back to classic films in the 60s, you could just take last year's indie Peter and Vandy for example. So there have been many attempts to capture relationships on the big screen that's not fantastical but more grounded and more honest. I believe that BLUE VALENTINE has perfected it.
What's genius about Cianfrance's story is that the dialogue doesn't hold any type of pretense to it. I attended the press screening and read the press notes afterward and was amazed by the long, grueling process that Cainfrance went through along with his stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams just to get the kind of characters they have in mind. Some of the scenes you see in BLUE VALENTINE were contributions of Gosling and Williams who had complete understanding of the characters and the goal of the story. The story shows you the past, how these two characters met, what made them fall for each other, romantic and heartfelt.. and then.. the present, of what time does to a relationship when communication is not clear anymore and misunderstandings take over like an ugly bacteria that worsen every situation, it just doesn't look hopeful from that point on.
Last year we had the film Precious which was a pretty heavy, emotionally draining drama. This year is BLUE VALENTINE which serves similar kick but it's less cinematic and even more performance-driven. I can't even begin to fairly describe how astounding Gosling and Williams are in this film. Their performances here will be the kind that aspiring actors and theater students will learn from for years to come. They're spontaneous and unadulterated. I'm completely amazed by the way the play the fights and the arguments. As Dean and Cindy, Gosling and Williams respectively convince you that they once love each other and now they may or may not be able to stand each other's presence.
Which leads me to the characters themselves, I don't think Cianfrance created them so that you the audience would take sides or try to decide which of them is right or wrong because I believe that these are two individuals who eventually realize that they're living not just with each other but also with regrets of the past, which make it very hard to be grateful,.. you can tell that they're 'suffocated'.
One could argue that Cindy is right in that Dean seems too content, like he doesn't have ambition, he's short tempered and very demanding. And one could argue that Dean is right in that Cindy is too consumed by the thoughts of what could've, would've, should've been if the her choices had been different. Their relationship is not physically abusive but it might as well be, there are times when things get heated, you would think it's only a matter of time before somebody would get seriously hurt.
It seems like somewhere along the way, Dean and Cindy just aren't in the same wavelength anymore. Their unhappiness stems from the fact that they no longer know how to make each other happy. Cianfrance wants to remind the audience that marriage is hard, it's a lot of work and it can get rocky, it's no laughing matter. If you're looking for a happy ending or perhaps Dean and Cindy have a moment where they'd still be friends, BLUE VALENTINE doesn't offer that, what it offers you is a depiction of both the beauty and the hardship of relationship/marriage. It speaks to those who may have grown up in a home where the parents aren't your stereotypical love dubby mom and dad you see on 7th Heaven-type soap operas. So if you don't come out appreciating BLUE VALENTINE, not even for the performances, then it's possible that it's because you're not the intended audience.
a technovisual orgy
TRON: LEGACY is what I'd like to call a technovisual orgy..
The movie is gorgeous. I feel more stimulated by this visual than I did with Avatar last year. TRON: LEGACY looks so stunning, it practically invites you to make love to it. The environment is faithful to the original film but it's amplified to tenth degree. The terrain looks more real, the grid looks more fascinating. Don't even get me started on the disc and lightcycle battles, quite possibly the highlight of the entire movie watching experience. They excite your senses,..If you can see or hear, boy has TRON: LEGACY got a show for you! By the way, you do not wanna miss out on the lightcycle race it's more complex this time around, more than just making a maze and getting your opponent to hit the wall, this game is more advanced, it has more twists and turns. Absolutely thrilling.
Once again, it's a movie for the fans, so it's very nostalgic. The 80s music at Flynn's Arcade, the jargons, they even keep Flynn's office just the way it was in the first film but this time it's got spiderweb all over it because it's been abandoned for years. I think Kosinski made the right decision by involving Daft Punk to do the music, not only does their cameo attract younger audiences, but the mix of their electronic style with orchestral work also compliments the film. Their soundtrack is one of the best I've heard this year.
Let's talk about the performances shall we. Jeff Bridges is terrific, but then again, he's terrific in all that he does. He's returned as Flynn and just like how he was 27 years ago, Bridges plays it cool and chill, the only difference is that his character is much older now and the story has him worrying at times for his son, for the mistakes of the past, he's constantly haunted by it.. but don't worry.. Bridges 'The Dude' attitude is still intact, Flynn would once in a while say something along the line of 'you're messing with my jazz man!' I love Olivia Wilde in this film, not because she's a great actress but because as Flynn's apprentice Quorra, Wilde is just such a doll, her childlike personality is hard to resist. She's naive, gullible, always eager to learn and incredibly faithful. Gotta give some credit to Michael Sheen. For those few moments, he's downright amusing. Sheen is engaging, he's energetic and he has this unbelievable range of showmanship. His character unfortunately is generic, Castor/Zuse is a successful businessman with a hidden selfish agenda. I think Garrett Hedlund could sharpen his acting skills a bit but for the most part he does his job. Sam Flynn is rebellious, angry, impatient and stubborn. Unfortunately Hedlund does sound like an actor who says his line as if he's reading the script, there's hardly any natural flow to it.
I wish I could give the perfect grade to TRON: LEGACY but the movie is nowhere near perfect,.. I'm gonna try my best not to give any Spoiler here either..
It's one of those movies that start out strong and it goes steady but halfway through the end it loses steam. It has all this great visual extravaganza, 3D FX, and cinematic set pieces but the action sequences in the 2nd part of the film aren't as elaborate and as creative as the first part, at one point it's even reminiscent of a particular scene in Iron Man which ironically also starred Bridges.
I can't stand CLU's digital face. I'm aware that technology may not be advanced enough to give us a believable young Jeff Bridges, perhaps this is the best they could do.. but that Polar Express-ish creepy face just doesn't work for me.
The story is basically a rescue mission meets father and son drama. Now.. remember how people were disappointed with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps?! Some say it lacked all the merciless business attitude and dog-eat-dog teeth that the first installment had, which gave Michael Douglas an Oscar. I thought Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was a strong sequel but I was aware that its melodramatic sentimental tone did drive away some of its fans. I remember the original Tron had more emphasis on programs, users, all the technical jargons, some may have been more far fetched than others, I remember it was more heroic.. This sequel however only has those elements to a certain point, because it's more drama, once again I don't necessarily think it hurts the movie bad but.. if it doesn't resonate well with the fans, I can definitely understand why. Keep in mind that the title itself clearly says TRON:.. LEGACY, the word 'legacy' should give you an idea that the father and son aspect would have to get more spotlight. Even the hero of the first film, Tron, doesn't get as much screen time and in this installment, he's not quite the character you remember and would root for either.
Clearly the writers are geeks who love Star Wars and that's OK because hey, I'm a Star Wars fan too but it just goes back to that whole lack of creativity I mentioned earlier about the last half of this movie. At one point, TRON: LEGACY even wants to somewhat appear like Attack Of The Clones. So overall, I do believe TRON: LEGACY is an entertaining movie, an eye candy, a sequel that speaks to its fans..but it has just as much greatness as it does its weakness. I think some of its elements will disappoint some fans and it doesn't do enough to reach out to today's audience.
He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
One of the best Chick Flicks of the year!
I don't mind chick flicks once in a while as long as they're worth my time, and HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU is worth every second. This is one of the best romantic comedy movies of the year that also holds a certain drama to it. I like how it doesn't have your usual chick flick clichés and yet it doesn't fail to make you go 'Aww!' What a great cast complimenting a really relevant story. You will be interested in every character, every situation, and every thought provoking reasoning and its fun ways to deliver them.
It is awesome how this movie takes everyday romantic situation that's not far fetched and injected them with effective comedy that's really funny and engaging. One way or another you've found yourself in similar situations before. You can't help but agreeing with all the truth that it's offering. And even if you don't agree with the game, the rule, and the exception, you can definitely find enjoyment in seeing the characters executing every self-help romantic lessons and street assumptions on the big screen. The only chick flick cliché left in here is the fact it still has those best friends who think they know all that and always give advices they don't take.
Rarely will a book-based movie make you curious about reading after watching the big screen version, but after watching HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, I might just find myself getting into the book that it's based on, by authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. There will be times when you'll feel the movie's runtime is a bit too long but that's usually what happens when you deal with an all stellar cast with interconnected plot ala Crash. But I think screenwriter Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein and Ken Kwapis make sure you'll always be curious to see what happens next. Once again if the story doesn't get you, the humor will. For some reason we won't get tired of the stereotyped portrayal that Gay people seem to know better about relationship than straight people.
When I saw this trailer months ago, I had my doubts,.. but I have them no more because every actor involved in this movie give excellent supporting performances. Not one outshines the others. These are current stars that can draw young adult audiences and they live up to the expectations. I'm glad Jennifer Connelly is there to provide the Oscar worthy drama, and Scarlett Johansson as the seductive temptress, even Ben Affleck is not too shabby in this one. Everybody has an essential part. And say what you want about Drew Barrymore, she may not be the hottest girl in the block, but kudos to her production company, Flowers Films that manages to invite such great talents for this successful collaboration.
Friday the 13th (2009)
I don't see why they have to resurrect Jason, Director Marcus Nispel's vision does nothing but add gore and silliness to this beat down franchise. And just like typical Michael Bay-produced horror movie, this one is also more about soft-core porn than it is a scarefest. A channel for today's struggling young hot stars to show off their stupendous boobs for the big screen and for talented actors to get gigs so they can pay for their dollar menu lunch.
I was ready to keep my eyes and mind open to see if the movie has a certain ability to scare the sh*t out of the audience, and for a few moments at the beginning, it does exactly that. It's funny how even though the character Jason is considered retarded, for some odd reason, he can always come up with creative ways to kill his preys.. after a while you begin to wonder, if he's actually more brilliant than he looks. He shows up in one place and then vanishes into thin air and then appears in another place within a blink of an eye. The whole thing is laughable, I know he knows his way through the forest like the back of his hand but his flash superpower and ability to keep living after being killed is downright ridiculous. And some of the methods he uses are hilarious. He's supposed to be retarded and yet he's skilled at shooting arrows.. WTF! Who's the Mr. Miyagi that's been teaching him all these years!
Gorgeous ladies in this movie, I can't say enough about the casting selection. Those girls are there to make audiences get a boner before the slashing and the mayhem begin. But even those hotties can' salvage this remake from becoming one of the most unnecessary flicks of the year. If you're seeing this movie just to check out how much pints of blood can be spilled in the process, then it's mission accomplished, but don't expect satisfaction guaranteed because you'll find yourself saying.. 'gimme a break!' or 'get the hell outta here!' Asian actor Aaron Yoo is supposed to be the comic-relief but he's too annoying, gross, and unlikeable. It is darker, and much bloodier than the original version in the 80s but that's about as close to a sincere compliment as I can give.
The Fighting Jews
Most WWII drama would have the Jews on the victim side, DEFIANCE is one that has The Jews level the playing field. It's a deep, emotional, and riveting tale a true story that deserves to be told. Director Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) once again returns to what he knows best by dealing with a group of underdogs, outnumbered but putting up a fight. DEFIANCE also proves that the blond James Bond, Daniel Craig, indeed has so much more to offer as an actor. This is the story of The Fighting Jews.
The script is well-written, in my humble opinion. The way the story begins, what motivates the characters and the conflicts along the way. When brothers try to decide what happens next, there's bound to be clash, disagreements and temporary separation. I don't mean this to be bad but the story is about Jews who are walking into the wilderness, trying to stay alive. It sounds a lot like Exodus, and just like that book in the bible itself, DEFIANCE shows how tough it is to stick together. There's a group trying to discourage a number of people, some are complaining, some think it's best to go back to the ghetto, some start questioning the leader, and some decide to take power into his own hand and try to divide and conquer. Edward Zwick's direction makes sure the audience can see that the struggle they face is not just about running away from the Germans, but also the threats from within caused by frustration, fear and lack of good judgment. And just like his previous movies, it ain't a Zwick movie if you don't have a final ultimate battle at the end scene, between two opposing sides, in the middle of a vast field. Another amazing work on the original score by James Newton Howard that gives us an intense, pulse-pounding feeling during the battle and the sad, dramatic mood during their travel. The cinematography by Eduardo Serra beautifully captures the surrounding nature and displays how it takes its toll on the characters.
The story is disturbingly profound and compelling. There's one lead theme that resounds throughout the entire movie "We may be hunted like animals, but we will not become animals". As the leader, Daniel Craig's character, Tuvia, keeps getting confronted by this. He tries to be an idealist, and his brother, Liev's Schreiber's character, Zus, thinks that kind of mindset would only invite threat and danger. But as the story progresses, Tuvia gradually realizes that they're in the middle of war and the lines between justice and humanity have become uncertain in these desperate times. A German officer is caught by the group and he just stands there as they beat the German to death. At one point he's even forced to kill one of his own. What separates us from animals? The ability to have remorse after we commit vengeance and do our violent bidding? Zus believes that Jews, Russians, whichever, are all the same when fighting a common enemy but he comes to terms with the fact that he will never escape the fact that he is a Jew and it's the only values he has left to hold on to, its what kept him from becoming less than a human being.
Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell both give excellent performances and are just right for the role but we can agree that this move belongs to Daniel Craig. He seems to like playing a Jew who kicks ass. As I watch DEFIANCE, I'm reminded by his line from Munich, "Don't F*ck With The Jews" Years from now, he won't be remembered just as another James Bond, but also a talented actor who likes to take on challenging roles and complete them with the utmost respect. Craig in DEFIANCE shows a wide range of ability, you can see through his eyes the burdens of leadership, the not knowing what exactly to do but he's got all these people looking up to him. I wouldn't have thought Craig to be this versatile when I watched him in the movie Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider, years ago.
Revolutionary Road (2008)
We Can Be Happy Here
Sam Mendes who likes to accompany his movies with the simple yet soul-searching tunes of the piano by composer Thomas Newman has come up with another heavy emotional drama that brings out the best in each of the actors involved. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD gives the utopia 1950's suburbs its dark and hopeless mode, a trap of all things ordinary. It may not be a feel-good movie but it has a certain fine art to it.
I don't believe there's such thing as a perfect marriage but I've never seen such a dysfunctional marriage as messed up as portrayed in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD either. The story based on Richard Yates' novel is a bit twisted, in my humble opinion. Having said that, I think Sam Mendes does an magnificent job at directing, and just like American Beauty, he once again successfully uses the small spaces of the kitchen or the living room and turn them into a war zone or a battleground between a couple whose love for each other has grown cold. I'm not sure what attracts him to these kinds of stories and characters but it seems like Sam Mendes has found his specialty. Once again, Sam Mendes' go-to guy for original score and music selection, Thomas Newman doesn't disappoint, he picks the sound of the 50s that fit into every scene, emphasizing piano as the lead instrument, especially the silence between the notes capturing the state of mind of the characters when they re-think what just happened and think about what they're about to do.
Leonardo DiCaprio will floor you with his explosive, raw performance as Frank Wheeler, the husband who for some reason is too afraid to leave his comfort zone, he lets people's talk to mess with his judgment, he's too proud to make any drastic change. Kate Winslet who is attractive and marvelous in every movie she's in, radiates greatness as the wife, April Wheeler, who can't stand living an ordinary life anymore but is sick and tired of not being able to get Frank to buy into the idea of moving away for a better life in Paris. Frustrated and angry, she's a tough cookie that finally reaches her limits. Michael Shannon who plays John Givings, a man fresh out of the psychiatric hospital, does an excellent job as the unlikely voice of reason. In a mad, psychotic, unconventional way, he serves a harsh shrink to the couple who may not want to hear what he has to say but somehow they know that his opinions are true, his words are insensitive and hurt like hell but they're true, every single word. Shannon has always been good at playing a character who seems like he's lost a screw in his head, another actor I can think of who's also really good at that kind of role is Gary Oldman and young Jack Nicholson years ago.
This is not just a movie for married couple, this is for those who have the misunderstanding mentality saying that once you've settled down, that is it, You can only build your idea of happiness around that one enclosed environment and anything beyond that would be considered unrealistic and immature. This is a movie for those who are cowards and can't seem to take chances in life other than what's given to them in the most usual setting. This is a movie for those who have forgotten that being in relationship means being able to make big leaps with your loved one based on faith and love. You are not going to get mushy happy feeling after watching this movie, some of you might come out feeling a bit empty and depressed but I hope this story reminds you that your happiness is what you make of it, and not some norms that the world requires you to follow.
Some Things Last
Director David Fincher has crafted a masterpiece. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is a an artful drama that soothes your soul and makes you ponder. This movie is remarkable in every way. What starts out as a period piece becomes... a journey of a lifetime filled with love, life, death and the search to understand and finally embrace the meaning of age and the wisdom that comes with it. Eric Roth's adapted screenplay is perfect, the style of language chosen is well-written, F. Scott Fitzgerald would be proud.
You'd be surprised how gentle the direction is considering David Fincher usually associate himself with conflicts and thrillers (Se7en, Fight Club). When it comes to movies like BENJAMIN BUTTON, names like Steven Spielberg or Richard Attenborough might be the first to come to mind as the ones possibly helming such a beautiful film, but nope, it's David Fincher who proves how versatile he can be.
Eric Roth who won Oscar for adapting Forrest Gump is definitely one of my favorite screenwriters of all time. And in a way, he makes BENJAMIN BUTTON seem like a much calmer version of Forrest Gump, both characters are often naive, trying things for the first time ever, both stories span across many years, but Button goes grows mature in mind over time even though his body ages backward while Gump, well, still as naive as ever.
I really enjoy Roth's choices of dialogue, those memorable quotes that sound so poetic and there's power in the subtlety of it all.
Original score by Alexandre Desplat is magical, it gives you the feeling like you're listening to a classic tale or nursery rhyme. Cinematography by Claudio Miranda makes every shot breathtaking, it's like looking a painting and you can't seem to keep your eyes off of it.
The production design, art direction, costume, the editing, all of those aspects compliment each other and go appropriate with the timeline of the story. Gotta give the most credit to the make-up dept. The way they make Brad Pitt look old and and grow younger each year as Cate Blanchett would grow older and older instead, it's excellent and mindblowing. You'll be in awe.
Great casting decision. Who on earth can look like a teenager even when he hits his 40s other than Brad Pitt? That man is like Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise, they never seem to age at all. Brad Pitt, in my opinion, has always been just an okay actor whose image and acting don't necessarily leave with you after you watch his movie but BENJAMIN BUTTON is not his usually movie. The New Orleans accent might be a little rough around the edges but I think he does a fine job here as a man who doesn't force his ways in this life, he shows his intentions but then he'd also things happen as they may, if time allows. His character lives in a place where he sees death frequently, so he learns to accept and never dwell in self-pity and just live, and live to fullest is exactly what he does.
Taraji P. Henson who plays Queeny, Benjamin's step-mother, if you will, she gives the performance of her lifetime. She gets my vote for Best Supporting Actress. And who can deny the elegance of the great Cate Blanchett who plays Daisy with such beauty and grace. What an incredible talent.
This movie makes you think about how to deal with the fact and fear of growing older. We can either be depressed about it or make the best and enjoy every single minute with the ones you care about and accumulate as much memory as you can because despite what you may think... some things last.
Operation Valkyrie Is In Effect
VALKYRIE is an intense thriller despite the fact that it stars actors who don't do German accent. Having said that, it does have its flaws but Bryan Singer's sharp direction puts you in this race against time that is so well-played, those few flaws can be considered as collateral damage. From beginning to the end, it wastes no time on drama, everything is fast-paced. Entertainment is what you'll get.
I didn't like Superman Returns, so VALKYRIE to me redeems Bryan Singer who I think is better off doing thriller/action gigs like this one. He has the sixth sense to orchestrate each scene that is bound to keep you on the edge of our seat. It makes you wanna know what's going to happen next. And just like the assassination plot itself, every little second counts. The key is to remind the audience that nothing ever goes according to plan, there's always a change beyond our control, whether it's the weather or any type of element. What Bryan Singer manages to do is display and escalate them in a way that would get your attention fixed on the screen. We all know how it's going to end, it's based on real history, so it all now depends on showing how they may have pulled this off, it's about the process. Having said that, I gotta admit, this is one hell of a production.
Tom Cruise does look like Colonel Stauffenberg, we've seen the comparison photos over the web, but I still think someone better could do the job. Is it just me or does Tom Cruise often seem like he's mimicking Jimmy Fallon where he tries to look serious but you can tell there's a hint like he's about to laugh. But, every time Cruise expresses his anger, I am reminded of how awesome he is at showing mad temper ala Bourn on the Fourth of July. So there is still that good point, if you will. The eye-patch thing looks a bit silly but I'd rather have that than the creepy eye-ball he carries around. I think the movie could've done without it. In my humble opinion, Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong, Wanted) who's also in this movie as the leader of the reserved army, should've been the one to play Stauffenberg. Casting so many well-known British actors to play German officers probably won't throw you off but there has got to be some German actors who can speak English out there who should've gotten the shot at playing these characters.
Their plan seemed so perfect at the time. Can you imagine if it had worked?! If only they'd done it the first time around, if only the explosives were more powerful, if only they didn't rush into action without confirming every single assumed information. German people might think their heroes are being exploited by this American-made film but it's obvious that VALKYRIE does intend on doing them justice.
The Spirit (2008)
The City Screams... Sadly, THE SPIRIT won't be much help at all
Everything about this movie is a disaster, borderline pathetic. I don't know if I'm supposed to pity it or hold a grudge against it. Do the economy a favor, when the DVD comes out, save your money instead of buying this piece of garbage. Frank Miller's directorial debut is one that desperately needs a do-over. This proves that Miller should stick with graphic novels and leave the screen writing and directing to those who actually know how. Not a visual effect in the world can salvage this catastrophe. The city may Scream, but THE SPIRIT won't be much help either.
Where do I begin? What pisses me off the most is the dialogue. What went through Miller's mind when he adapted this?! I hate it when in one line, in one sentence, there'd be one word said repeatedly way too often. There's a particular scene where Samuel L. Jackson's character, Octopus repeatedly says "damn weird", and it gets on your nerve after the fourth time. I mean.. what the hell is that all about?! I've never read the graphic novel series but I'm sure comic writer Will Eisner must be rolling in his grave right now.
I'm sure Frank Miller is passionate about this but he's too fixed on worrying about what today's generation might like instead of just following his gut. You'll notice, that some of the failed attempts on humor in this movie are lines that are supposed to be relevant to today's pop culture, that and the heavy emphasis on bringing us those cheesy soap-opera intense moments between two characters. I'm aware this is an origin story but for the love of cinema, what on earth happened?! It's supposed to be a fun action flick with decent story, but turns out there's way too much unnecessary talking, not enough action, and not to mention,a trashy story. Halfway through, it gets really slow, and somehow you could see it coming a mile away. I kid you not, it will make you want to walk out of the theater already. Watching THE SPIRIT is like poking yourself in the eye using a very big knife.
On to the next fiasco, the casting.. I don't mind seeing a movie filled with beautiful women but if their characters are dull and their sexiness is the only thing they got going, well then you could get the same thing by watching a fashion runway show. Gabriel Macht is one of the worst actors ever. Granted, I'm judging that based on his performance in this movie alone. He tries too hard to be badass but he comes off as uncool and laughable. As a hero, he's supposed to put the fear of God in the hearts of his enemy, but he's got too much playboy charm and not enough ability to intimidate. Let's just put it this way, If I was threatened by a bunch of gangsters with guns and he's the only one around to rescue me,.. I wouldn't keep my hopes up. Samuel L. Jackson should not be proud of both this movie and his character. Whoever came up with the idea of having him wear ridiculous outfit is a natural born idiot. I'm surprised Samuel mothaf*in' Jackson would stoop so low for this role.
What's next? Ah yes, the technicalities. Visual effects are okay, I like the whole "Sin City" comic look. At times, however, it can seem a bit overwhelming. The fight choreography is despicable, there's nothing entertaining or thrilling about it. There's way too much joking around. I could go on and on but the point is this.. any studio that considers giving Frank Miller another directing gig should give it a second thought.
Che: Part Two (2008)
A Biopic of Idealistic Proportion
Part II or formerly known as GUERILLA, is also a great achievement but not quite as entertaining as PART I because this is where we begin to witness what might have caused the fall and death of Che Guevara. Once again, I'm impressed by the cause-and-effect that both parts have in their interconnecting stories. We're reminded again and again that the lead character, Che Guevara is an Argentine. Some of the men in Fidel's army chose not to take orders from a Foreigner and now that Che has chosen to leave the comfort of victory to continue the revolutionary in Bolivia, he doesn't get much respect from his new army and the natives either, only because he's a foreigner.
As far as technical goes, I think Part II would've been more helpful if before everything else, right after the display of the map, it would show some highlights from the previous installment just to refresh memory about his characters and what he's set himself on doing, to make the audience understand why his methods was successful in Cuba but they don't work in Bolivia. It is clear now in this segment, that Che is not as charismatic as Fidel Castro. In Bolivia, he's dealing with a bunch of soldiers whose hearts are not fully in it. It's said that the ingredient for revolutionary is love.. well, they don't give a damn that much about their country so it's a tough sell. It's excruciatingly painful and difficult for Che to get the others to buy into his vision.
I like one particular scene that illustrates Che's deteriorating condition, a scene in which his horse would not go no matter how badly Che tries to direct it, and then his temper took the better of him and for a moment there, he forgets he's a doctor, and he becomes this desperate soldier who's stabs his own horse. His army is like a horse that doesn't want to be led. But at the same time, the film drags, it relies on small cameos from familiar faces that you'll recognize just for the sake of brief entertainment and for the most part, you get pounded left and right by one obstacle after another, but maybe that is the intention of Part II, if so.. then it definitely works. Standing ovation to the cinematography that gives us a first person view at the moment of Che's last breath. This movie may not answer the questions of why Che Guevara was so stubborn, why he was so determined he could pull it off even wen the odds were against him and why he deeply wants South America to have the same fate as Cuba but the movie CHE is a story worth telling.