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A realistic and affecting slice of a woman's life
I read some reviews wondering about the point of the movie: I think asking for the point is simply insignificant when watching a movie like this. It depicts a portion of a mature woman's life, a philosophy teacher and an intellectually brilliant editor, having to come to terms with loss, abandonment and conscious aging. One would say: nothing new, nothing original, or interesting. On the contrary, I found the picture deeply affecting, in the apparently placid but still very focused and deep way it portray this normal life. It reflects so realistically the natural and typical feminine facing of things as they come, that it gets intrinsically authentic and involving. As usual, Isabelle Huppert does not only interpret but lives her character and is the real pillar of strength of the picture. If you love unpretentious but simply authentic women's stories you'll like this movie, and you won't have to ask where the point is.
La La Land (2016)
A well made, well interpreted and enjoyable musical
If you are looking for a classical well packaged musical, La La land is ready to satisfy your search, and even if you are not a great fan of musicals, La La land may appeal to you, too. The story is the classical story of a boy and a girl looking for artistic success and falling in love, with all the difficulties that the opposition between success and love bring about, and with a finale which is not that predictable. What is appealing indeed is not the story in itself, but the way it is shot and performed. Shooting is flawless, music is entertaining but never obtrusive or boring, dances and songs are enjoyable and charming, the overall atmosphere is full of charm and soul. And the two protagonists make a difference: Ryan Gosling does a truly excellent job, offering a thorough performance, playing the piano, singing and dancing very well, and showing a very good and convincing chemistry with Emma Stone, who offers a talented performance, too. The final result is that of a solid, charming and well made musical, a perfect execution by the young Chazelle, who proves to be a very promising director.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
A little too melodramatic, but well shot and interpreted
The plot does not make the beauty either of a book or a movie. This is the case with "The light between the oceans", where the predictable and sometimes too melodramatic plot is still able to awaken the emotional involvement of the viewer thanks to its cinematography and acting. I liked the slow but poignant shooting, able to capture the characters' emotional inner world, thus transcending the melodramatic imprinting of the story. And I also appreciated the delicacy of the couple's love story and the sober but intense interpretation by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikande, and Rachel Weizs also added something valuable. The moral issue of what doing the right thing means is probably too simplistically faced as well as the meaning of parenthood and raising a child. On the whole, the form was far better than the content, but still enjoyable.
The Girl on the Train (2016)
dull, boring and lacking all the features of a good thriller
What makes a good thriller worth of this definition is the presence of thrills, of a surging suspense, and a mounting sensation that something unpredictable will happen, always supported by strong characters, ready to shake our expectations and our perception of humanity.
This is exactly what lacks in this picture: no thrills, predictable events, no suspense, dull characters, all packaged in a badly made product. The slow pace (sometimes, and not that originally interrupted by sudden flashbacks), the inconsistent performances (moreover made more annoying by the use of a trashy language), the boring scenes (among which the explicit sex scenes stand out as really disturbing), do not help the picture arise above the level of a man-hating TV drama, without any consistency and on the whole disappointing.
Café Society (2016)
Light reigns inside a nostalgic and melancholic portray
Allen goes back to the 30's, the decade when he was born, with a nostalgic and melancholic look, towards a Hollywood world that no longer exists. The plot is simple and predictable, but what matters is not as much the story as the way it is portrayed. The collaboration with Vittorio Storaro, a master in the use of light allows Allen to create an effective atmosphere, inside which the love story hides a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. And probably for the first time in Allen's production, nostalgia is not only for a genuine and naif cinematographic world, lost for good, but also for a genuine and pure vision of love.
Besides good interpreters, what really reigns in the picture is the wise and strongly effective use of light, from the wonderful amber and golden light of the opening scene on the edge of a swimming pool, to the awesome and never boring shooting of the Manhattan skyline from the bay, or from Bow bridge in central park, where New York appears as an embroidery of light and colour, the umpteenth declaration of love by Allen, and for the first time the necessary setting for that pure and naif vision of love. The picture is indeed a pleasure for the eye, a melancholic but still delightful evocation of old times ways of living and loving.
good picture, solid message and strong performances
We must destroy in order to rebuild: the message of the picture is clear, I would say very physically clear, since there's much physical destruction, and I found it a very empathetically convincing message, since who has never felt like destroying a place, just to get rid of the past, of something we hate or no longer stand?
The story develops with a steady and quick pace, but is also intertwined by dreamy moments, which soften the overall realistic attitude of the movie. The incisive soundtrack is also wisely chosen to give more value to some emotionally intense moments or to enliven the atmosphere. The cast does a great job, Jake Gyllenhall truly inhabits his difficult and at times incomprehensible character, and is worthily supported by a never disappointing Naomi Watts, and the little boy offers a good performance, too.
On the whole an enjoyable and also thought provoking picture, which leaves much to think about what could lie beneath the ruins if we had the courage to deconstruct the more or less frail scaffold of our existence.
Sous les jupes des filles (2014)
Enjoyable, but too many divas
The movie stars 11 women living in Paris, each one being strongly, sometimes too strongly characterized, and each one having to face her own idiosyncrasies. Most of them seem to be concerned with sex, so that sexual tension is evident from beginning to end, except a sad and tough story which appears as out of place inside the movie. On the whole, the quick shooting captures the viewer's attention and keeps up with the hysterical incidents of these over the top lives. The only problem is that 11 divas are too many for a single movie: each one is looking for her moment of glory, and the result is a clamped run to give every woman her final great chance, leading to a congestion of key moments. The movie offers indeed enjoyable situations, but a smaller number of heroines would have probably been enough. Less quantity in favour of more accurate characterization would have certainly added more quality to the picture.
A stunning and emotionally gripping act of love towards mankind
A heartfelt and deeply committed doc-pic, HUMAN is of course something more and beyond a picture, it's an act of faithful love towards mankind, towards the frailties and strength of humanity, highlighting the intolerable but still arising contradictions of a sometimes illogical human world.
The high-definition close-up shots of people's faces, courageously and honestly opening their soul to the viewer, creates a strong empathy and a sense of connection transcending all borders: we all feel the same, hurt the same, think the same. I found some interviews really touching, although never pathetic or overly affectionate, simply because real and human.
The short intimate accounts of personal lives are spaced with visually stunning slow-motion aerial shots of impressive natural and human landscapes, and the music also complements the high emotional value of the picture, which I would highly recommend to see.
A weird piobic, where the cast makes a difference
This a weird and dreamlike biopic, loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, an inventor and strong mother who got rich in the 90's, by selling a revolutionary self-wringing mop. No doubt, Jennifer Lawrence gives a strong lead-performance, and the other actors are all around supporting her very well. This is one of those movies where the cast can make a difference to sustain and give depth to a story which is not that interesting or deep by itself, but leaves, despite its confused narration, many thought provoking hints at the numerous dysfunctions inside family. There are hilarious moments, counterbalanced by more dramatic and tense ones, always held together by a magnetic Jennifer Lawrence, who will probably please more the female audience, offering the model of a woman who does not need a man to stand up and face life.
Begin Again (2013)
A fresh and heartwarming New York summer ballad
If you are looking for a feel-good movie, you have found one to see. It's a movie about friendship, about failures and new beginnings, about solidarity, about second chances, about life. It's also about love, and what I liked most was the total absence of trite sentimentalism, which would have ruined the meaning and sense of the story, where feelings are never made explicit, but simply flow along with the music played and sung in the corners of New York. And what new, what else can be said about this unique city?: still full of hope, full of life, still the place nurturing the dreams of men and women, and even where an album can be recorded en plein air. I liked the warm and heartwarming atmosphere and the settings, I also liked the songs, which are never obtrusive and manage to communicate how music can shape and even change people and things. As far as acting, Mark Ruffalo really steals the show, thanks to a strong and biting performance, Keira Knightley does her good job as an actress and as a singer, as well. On the whole, a truly enjoyable, fresh picture, making one feel like being there