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Wu xia (2011)
One of the best film I've ever watched
I have had my share of martial arts movies for the past 20 years. From Jackie Chan to very old and obscure Shaw Brothers productions.
This movie is definitely one (if not the best) martial arts production I have ever seen. Not only that, I'd say it is one of the best movies I came across, martial arts aside.
This film combines traditional first part of the 20th century Chinese rural imagery with modern visual effects, as well as beautiful traditional folkish soundtrack with more modern music. The director was able to do this without creating a separation between the past and the present, but rather mixing them together in a way that not only avoids overlapping, it also gives more strenght to each one of the styles used.
This movie is not a non-stop action show. In fact, there are 3 fights in the whole movie, as far as I remember. However, these are masterfully done, and the lack of violence only builds the momentum for what it's to come.
Apart from that, I love the Sherlock Holmes vibe the detective reasoning gives, and how it's portrayed in the movie (both visually and with his remarks). We also find a deep psychological element present.
I find very nice the way this movie treat any person with some knowledge of certain martial arts styles and Qi to a fine exposure of somehow subtle but efficient show of both, combining them together only as the legendary masters would do. The movie doesn't have the need for explanations of techniques or the names of one school or another.
If you like martial arts, this is a must. If you like good movies, this shouldn't be missed, even if you don't like action or fights. The pace of the film will probably make you forget what type of movie you are watching.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
It's interesting to see how this movie not only shows reality, but helps to continue with the stereotypes and archetypes that certain individuals and groups try to hard to live by.
Firstly, it's clear that this movie is targeted for black people. As a "good" black person, the director (with acting role included) doesn't forget to emphasize the rituals and behaviour of "his" people, by giving us a nice amount of "muthafucka" and "wussup nigga", along with your couple of racist jokes about white people. It still amuses me to see how relax people in general are with the fact that -let's call them- afro-American focused movies are continuously insulting people because of their ethnic (particularly white people), and when a -let's call them- caucasian focused movie does the same, oh no, all hell breaks lose. Do white people feel so ashame and guilty for the way they treated black people for centuries that now anything is allowed for afro-Americans? Do the treatment given to African people in the past excuse the racism towards white people by the black community?
Secondly, I was not really moved by the story. Surely, it's good to show how the state, in the form of its police applying physical force (read here "abuse", "violence", etc.) once again destroys citizens, with a laughable result of 2 years as a sentence, with only 11 months served. This is utterly ridiculous, particularly when there are people serving sentences of 15+ years for the "crime" of releasing animals from a experimentation facility, for example. Well, we all should know that life is of little value when compared to money. That doesn't change facts, in any case. Sentencing for involuntary manslaughter instead of first degree murder because "I mistook my gun for my taser" shall show the public the bigotry and nonsense of the system we live in. I suppose they thought treating a citizen violently with a taser would be OK, no matter how a taser can and in fact does kill a person as well. Anyway, as I said, showing how the system works (or fails to) is a good thing, regardless how little emotion the particulars in this movie arose in me. The director tries for the viewers to come close to the main character by letting us know about his routine (with a big lack of psychological depth), failing mostly, since little of interest happens in that person's life. He's not there for the greater good, trying to save the world or acting towards the fulfillment of an universal goal, but simply for his own agenda and selfish purposes, so I don't see how what happens to this man is particularly tragic.
It's also interesting to see how the director gives certain attention to the involvement of religion (christian, to be precise) in afro-American lifestyle. It's probably not a criticism on his part, although it could as well be, seeing how this tribe has been condemned to worship a god far from the deities and rituals of its old African ancestors, like it happens with other ethnics portrayed in the film like the latinos with their old and now forgotten aztec and mayan gods. It's sad to see these old tribes being relegated to a god imposed on them by force, and still being controlled by this.
Alas, pity that this movie simply manifests itself as an extension for ethnics clichés. I don't know what good it makes to show black people speaking in such a way, showing that he is the man (or woman), and treating people with disrespect. I don't see Asian people talking like that, nor navajo or cherokee, for example. I agree with the fact that the police and other organizations, as well as individuals, treat black people unfair in many occasions. Although, let's be clear here, they do treat their own people unfair! It's a deeper problem than skin colour, unfortunately. And, I reckon, things only go worse having a "whaddafuck you looking at nigga" type of ghetto attitude.
Bottomline: overrated movie, created by afro-Americans for afro-Americans, where we see the corruption of the police without focusing on it, but rather proclaiming racial issues created in many cases by the same people who complain about it. It's really a disaster that this movie will only mark even more the differences between races, rather than help to mitigate them.
A true classic of genuine life in the Wild West of Almeria
With this his debut in the big screen Chiquito-San (like he likes to be called by his fellow citizens as showed in many interviews with reporters such as Peticano Gramore and Notedi Gotrigo), blow us away with a performance never seen before in Spanish cinematography. Or anywhere else. In Barbate, perhaps.
Set in a very realistic Wild West full of Hombre Malo de la Pradera, we will be amazed with its delightful special effects, from the well known Spanish artist Grijano Candenauer. Pay particular attention to the thrilling run for their lives when the buffaloes attack, it couldn't be more realistic. This scene also delivers one of the most exquisite sentences ever spoken in Cervantes' language (translated here): -"Senior Conde, don't let them smell your fear". -"That's going to be difficult Lucas, I did caquitaaarl!". What a mastery of the languaje, Cervantes himself would be proud and amused at such intelligent and high use of his Castellano.
It's a pity that people from other countries cannot fully enjoy this movie without a completely and deep knowledge of the Spanish vocabulary and grammar, especially from the jargon known as "Chiquitistani de los Dolores", for it is necessary to have the highest wisdom of all its idiomatic features and tricks to be able to fully comprehend the incredible experience that Chiquito de la Calzada Gromenauer treats his fans with.
Like he would say himself: "E candemore nain, quietorl, cobarde!".
Brácula. Condemor II (1997)
This is the maximum expression of fine art and intelligence you could ever find!
In this sequel, Chiquito Diudenarl makes his way to a sinister castle in Trebujena where he will have to fight for his life with the powers he acquired in his visit to Un Lago Negro Un Lago Blanco.
Once again, we will be flabbergasted with the incredible special effects, this time directed by the master of the trade Mister Lucah Bambino, son of the late figure from the classical Spanish cinematography Don Nopue Dorl, who brought us, back in the old days, great shows like "Fistro Dabajo" and "Tevihaserpupita". Pay special attention to the scene where our hero flies through the skies like a beautiful butterfly with his copyrighted war-cry "Soy un Planetariooorrr!", while his slaves dance and sing a masterfully crafted tune to his honor and servitude (composed by Aguanajei Demore).
For those unable to speak Spanish, they are missing a miracle and I pray to god for their souls. Chiquito-San said it himself: "Jaremore, eguanapeich".
Inferior than its predecessor
For its creator, it's hard to surpass District 9. That mind-blowing, action packed, original debut couldn't possible compete with a movie starring Matt Damon.
That said, Elysium has certain visual similarities reminiscing District 9 that will surely become a good trademark for its director. It also has the star of District 9 now in the role of evil and crazy psycho, which I find nice and funny. I found hilarious the way he used some dutch words in District 9 and, in Elysium, his repertoire expanded! Don't know how this will fit with people who don't have a clue of Nerderlands. For those fortunate enough to understand it, even the basic, it might be funny, like in my case.
Apart from that, this movie repeats the little mistake -in my opinion- that other scifi flicks make: set a year. Why say "In the year 2154" or whatever? I always then to find that not knowing what year the film is supposed to be set in gives a certain sense of mystery and, perhaps, even reality (they used to set old film in the year 2000 and have flying cars and robots around... I still have to see any of those in the real world).
The creator once again focuses on the issue of immigration and how the government (mis)treat these people (or aliens, in the case of District 9).
Alas, fun enough to watch once. Pity about Matt Damon in the main role. That didn't help the not-so-great story.
The World's End (2013)
These guys always do the same
This movie brought back good memories of my times of pub hitting and nights out and it seemed alright until, in fact, when the supposedly "cool" fiction stuff starts to happen. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and even Edgar Wright always do the same, same type of films, same type of action, same type of jokes. At least, when they get together. Perhaps this one in particular is not so bad as, let's say, shawn of the dead, but still.
The movie gets worse the closer the ending is, although I'll admit that I liked the final critique to the human race.
Anyway, another overrated one (c'mon, bring the "your review was not helpful", kiddies).
Tape 407 (2012)
The Blur Jurassic Project
I thought that, being some kind of fan of found footage movies, nothing could really let me down so much. Man, was I wrong.
Here we have a film with no qualities whatsoever. At the beginning, I was happy to see a girl (Jess) who reminded me of a chick I went out with a few times ages ago (hey, Rosemary, hello if you are there!). I decided to try to cope with the EXTREMELY annoying mixture of nails running through a blackboard and forks scratching a plate that is the voice of the sister (Trisha). Boy, this -supposedly- 13 years old girl not only behaves like she's 8, but that bloody screeching thing she had for a voice... Jesus Christ. Anyway, at the very beginning, I found the actors natural enough and I thought "ok". Then, 5 minutes into the movie, I was starting to wonder why nothing is happening at all. After the movie goes on and the "actors" show their true colours of stereotypes and horrendous acting, I started to skip chunks by fast forwarding because NOTHING happens in this movie. There's a lot of unrelated talk, of walking around while they are at it, when they are not simply getting hysterical for no reason or repeating "shut up, Charlie". I could fast forward 5 minutes and they'd still be talking about the same (how my leg is hurting or how tired they are), still the camera focusing on their strides while they walk a dirty road. The whole movie is like that.
In total, I'd say that, throughout the 1h 29sec of film, we get to see 5 seconds of blurry bad CGI (2 of them at the very end of the movie). And perhaps about 10 secs of (what is supposed to be?) scary noises (a mixture of lions in heat and dinosaurs with bowel problems). That's all there's to this movie. There's no terror, sense of dread, no real mystery or feeling of threat. SERIOUSLY. NONE. Not even a jack-in-the-box type of scare.
At some points, I smiled or even laughed a couple of times because of the crap acting or ridiculous situations (which are suppose to be very serious and frightening).
At some point, as well, I stopped thinking about that girl I used to know and forgot about hoping to see the actress showing her big bare bust (sorry, I had to focus on something during this garbage of a film, and like I said, she brought back memories of someone else) and simply hated her, like the rest of the people involved in this pathetic movie.
I could almost say that, as an exception, the IMDb score is right. Although, on second thought, that's not correct. This movie deserves a much lower score. This movie is RIDICULOUS. Maybe your 5 years old child will find some amusement while wasting precious time instead of doing something more useful. Like, nothing. After all, that's what they do in this movie. Why would you watch a fiction when you or your toddler can experience firsthand the excitement of doing nothing?
So, hey, if you are bored with your friends, grab a couple of cameras, go out there with some of them while some others hide in the bushes farting a couple of times for scary special effects, run a bit for 2 minutes screaming around and making crazy people noises while drooling, get some tomato sauce on your temples, stop and talk about the weather for 15 minutes and repeat. You can edit the film back at home and use any freeware to add some shitty visual effects for a fraction of a second here and there. You need to be no computer expert! And voilà. Oh, and remember, getting a chubby busty girl to do a topless might get you that extra point!
..Although, you'd probably need more money to achieve that frontal nudity than the total budget for the entire piece of art.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Imaginative, geeky, crude
It took me a little while to get used to this movie, since it's so different to any other film out there. It's great to have movies that separate themselves from the norm, and offer diversity to a saturated market of trash, clichés and stereotypes.
First of all, I'll state what a lot of people already did, the special effects are BRILLIANT. Something that, apparently, caught too much the attention of many and they forgot that there's actually a plot, people who seem to think that this is all special effects and violence, like some sort of pacific rim for adults.
Now, I like to see so many references to the geeky world here: anime, video games, cosplay, scifi, fantasy... All well mixed up in a potpourri that will make the nerds of the world go in ecstasies. C'mon, nazi zombies and samurai warriors with Gatling weapons? Yahoo! This is definitely a reference for all future anime/video games adaptations.
I admit that the hot babes with big guns put me off a little at the beginning. I don't like 5 cm long eyelashes and that type of things, contrary to some who find lolita complex and Barb Wire style movies a blessing. Then, I understood (or want to believe), that's it's necessary for the drama to make sure the audience sees how society (men, mostly) treat women, and how the females can actually defend themselves if they need to, thank you very much. It's hard to say the reality of it, since the babes and violence might have been just a marketing strategy to catch a wider audience. Although the depth of the plot and how it unravels to the end makes me think otherwise.
Ah, remember to watch the Extended Cut of the film (over 127 min), since the theatrical version was EXTREMELY edited (thanks censors for getting rid of logic, once again, to make more comfortable your reality of weak minded people). Apparently, if you watch the edited version, things don't make sense at all.
I also like the crudeness of certain scenes of the movie. It's a blow of fresh air to have some entertainment for adults, with so many twilights out there and politically correct giant robots fighting monsters (wink to del toro).
Alas, as some other reviewer commented, one has to wonder if certain people were watching the same movie when they say that it's shallow and simple. Certainly, they might have missed the point and thought that perfect special effects cannot but equal an immature plot.
I can only say, well done.
Iron Sky (2012)
Funny and unique European attack
With the old premise of Nazi inhabiting the dark side of the moon and going around on flying saucers, this movie presents us with a freshness and face that only Europeans (the nordic, to be particular) could bring.
Making fun of themselves, the Finnish came out with a film full of criticism presented in a comic way; criticism against society, the governments and their lies and hypocrisy (especially the us government) and it doesn't say sorry for it. I'd say that this movie is not offensive, since it manages to show the reality of the absurd politics without calling names (apart from the ones government do really use!).
It's as well refreshing to see real German actors have dialogs throughout the movie, something I'm sure it will bother all those anglo-speakers who not only find subtitles annoying, but that prefer terrible dubbing to having to hear a foreign language. Well, if it makes them suffer, more points for Iron Sky!
The special effects are pretty decent, most of the times flawless, now and again a bit,erm, weird. Great Wagner based soundtrack, anyway!
I like how the movie gives us an unexpected dramatic ending, which I found excellent and somehow ominously prophetic.
As a last comment, I can see how certain Americans would feel more hurt by this movie, since their government is the one suffering most with the realities (in the form of jokes) shown in this movie. However, anybody who defends any patriotic values for a government betraying its own founding fathers should be laugh at. You should be mature enough to be able to see the world with the eyes of a child. For Pete's sake, my country is so irrelevant that it's not even mentioned in the film! So, all those people accusing this movie of being anti-American, racist or whatever nonsense, get a grip and laugh with sarah palin as the new American president.
I'll be happy to see more from the creators of this little wonder. Well done!
Note: I overreacted with my score just to see you people furiously pressing the NO button on the "was this review useful". I love to see the masses disagreeing!
Cloud Atlas (2012)
6 movies in 1
This film presents us with 6 stories in different ages (19th century, the 30s, the 70s, the present, 2100s and 2300s), linked together apparently by some sort of spiritual humanistic plot.
Cloud Atlas is like a mixture of Magnolia, The Hours and even Baccano! I wouldn't be surprise if they found "inspiration" in those or other sources, since certain directors/writers siblings like to take from other works. Anyway, it's one of those strange cases in which my expectations matched almost perfectly what I witnessed. No more, no less. I don't picture this movie as pretentious, although I see how pretentious people may love it. In any case, it's not for everybody.
Each of the 6 stories is somehow valuable (plot wise) on its own, and I found them interesting enough. Nothing mind-blowing, nothing boring. The toll of so many movies interlaced in one is the running time, close to 3 hours. It's bearable though. And you will find a bit of historical film, a lot of drama and mystery, some fantasy and nice scifi. Mind you, the fantastic and futuristic elements are there for the purpose of the plot only, not to show off. That doesn't rest importance to the nicely done special effects.
It's also curious to note how the same actors play different roles in all different ages.
The bottom line is that this film is yet another story that tries to inject spiritualism (non-religious) into our brains, in the again common current of seen humans through the eyes of humanism, and aiming for something bigger that the simple fact of us being just a sac of flesh.
OK to see if you like drama and human related spirituality. This movie won't probably say much to a person with a true purpose in his/her life (no wow effect/change of life after watching it). I suspect that, if you are trying to find something to fill a void, you'll like it more.