Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Blue Valentine (2010)
''You Always Hurt The Ones You Love''
Blue Valentine is a 2010 Drama film which circles around the lives of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). The film explores their relationship as it was when they were young and madly in love, and then jumps to an agonizing time when they are in their mid- thirties, have a daughter and the sparkle in their marriage has faded.
This is a very mumble-core film, set up in a way where the audience is following the lives of two people without their love and dissent for each other glamorized, but displaying a melancholy and truthful dialog. It's an independent film and people live and interact with each other just as you'd expect your neighbors and friends to (regarding sex, love and resentment etc). The film portrays the difficulties of being a working-class married couple in America. The movie doesn't have a very complicated plot nor is there anything genius about the story line, but it can be enjoyed for what it is, which is a character study of these people and what it is to be trapped in a difficult marriage where both partners are trying to make it work for their child and themselves.
The performances are excellent. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are absolutely flawless in this film, their relationship is believable and honest. The have great chemistry and they really are perfectly cast, some scenes were improvised and you get a picture of just how good these actors really are.
The dialog: It does go a bit over the- op when they're arguing but I think that in most of those scenes it was mostly improvised and there wasn't any dialog written. Overall it displays the relationship that these two people have.
The cinematography: Really great angles showing every aspect of the environment and beautiful scenes through-out the entire movie. It really goes deep into the working-class areas of New York, showing places in Brooklyn that you usually don't see in movies, for example there are no shots of people standing in the middle of Times Square with neon signs everywhere.
The performances and the perception of these real-life type of situations are the main appeal for this movie. If you are into romantic drama, and films like the Notebook for example I'd recommend you check this one out.
The Machinist (2004)
Dostoevsky, guilt and paranoia
''The Machinist'' distributed by Paramount classics, 2004.
The Machinist is a very dark, English language Spanish psychological thriller film that centers around a machinist named Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) who suffers from chronic insomnia. Trevor works as an industrial worker in a gloomy factory and after not sleeping for a year he's in terrible condition. One morning his supervisor, Tucker sends him to his boss' office to have a little talk and his boss asks him for a urine sample because they suspect he might be on drugs due to his horrid appearance and behavior. Trevor walks out on to the factory's parking lot with the cup and goes to have a cigarette in his car.
When he is sort of dozing off in his car, he hears a voice. It's coming from a huge, bald man sitting in a car beside his. The man introduces himself as Ivan and says he's a new co-worker of his, picking up Reynolds' shift, saying that Reynolds was ''picked up'' by the feds because of an old warrant. Ivan is a mysterious, eerie looking fellow with a huge grin that never seems to leave his face. He's almost demonic in his appearance and his high-pitched voice and laughter is taunting.
Trevor spends time with Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a sympathetic prostitute that he sees every now and then and she's very fond of him, in fact she's probably the only person he can actually trust or talk to. The guys at work have turned against him because of an incident that caused one of his co-workers, Miller to lose an arm and they don't want to interact with him because of his strange, paranoid behavior and dismiss him as a lunatic claiming he's ''lost it''.
Every night, Trevor goes to a diner at an airport and talks to the kindhearted Maria (Aitana Sánchez-Gijon) who's a waitress there and always serves him black coffee and pie. When he's there the night before mother's day she suggests that he come to the amusement park with her and her son Nicholas. He says he'd really like that and they arrive there the following day. There's a scene where Trevor takes Nicholas on a grotesque horror-house ride called: ''Route 666'' after Nicholas' enthusiasm drags them there. The ride is terrifying and symbolic to the film's plot, even though I've seen people over-analyze it a bit, it is still a terrific scene with the kind of atmosphere where you just want to look away but still witness it like a kid seeing his first horror movie.
I don't want to spoil too much in this review but this really is an excellent film, trademarked by it's theme of paranoia and guilt, poetic structure and it's creepy atmosphere similar to the work of Alfred Hitchcock and more recent filmmaker Gaspar Noé. It's also a good example of how insomnia can make you paranoid. There are a lot of references here to older films, mainly Hitchcock's like for ex. Vertigo and also a lot of Dostoevsky books are referenced in the movie; ''The Idiot'', ''The Brothers Karamazov'', ''Crime and Punishment and ''Notes from Underground''.
Trevor is experiencing a hellish nightmare and the movie begs the question, is the nightmare eternal? The way the story is built up is a lot like something out of a Kafka novel, even the directing and environment that the characters live in, are all unseemly in way that Kafka would have imagined.
Now I want to focus on the main parts here.
Performances: 10/10. Christian Bale's performance is golden, I've always appreciated him as an actor but I think this is his best performance thus far. It's so sincere in a way that you begin to believe Trevor is a real person. The rest of the cast is rounded up well and the guy who plays Ivan, John Sharian is magnificent. Jennifer Jason Leigh is convincing portraying the role of a sympathetic prostitute and her character blends well with the script.
Dialog: 10/10. It's surreal but sharp, It appears to have a red herring subplot on first viewing but if you watch it again you get all the double meaning messages that were going on through out the film. It's a fantastic script by Scott Kosar.
Cinematography and directing: 9/10. While viewing it, it feels like your walking through a mist, first connecting with Trevor as an observer but then you join him on the ride to hell or salvation, who knows, it's a blur. Some is very Hitchcock-like for example when someone is driving their car (which actually occurs a lot in this movie) it has the feeling of early 50's cinema. Great angles are used to perfection and to say it's bleak or cheerless is an understatement.
Fantastic film, the atmosphere is terrifying, breath-taking, obscure and appears unseemly. All the portrayals of these characters are vivid and complex. It fits well with the paranoia. It's a good mix of drama, thriller and mystery. Highly recommended.
State of Play (2009)
Revival of the detective film.
Review for State of Play (2009).
The movie starts with a petty thief who's gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant who supposedly falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. Now we follow Cal McAffrey (played by Russel Crow) who's this old-school type reporter working for the Washington Globe and is writing a story about these murders and this cub reporter Della Frye (played by Rachel McAdams) who writes columns on the Globe's online site for whom he takes under his wing and together they try to unravel a story that might eventually lead to a big corporate conspiracy.
Cal's best friend from college, Steven Collins (played by Ben Affleck) is a congressman and a representative for the Republican party and early in the film we see him break down at a conference when he's announcing the death of Sonia Baker, his assistant. This speculates that he had a romantic relationship with her and becomes an outburst in the media, and the news is suggesting later that night that she may have committed suicide. Steven goes to stay with Cal to escape from all the paparazzi's on his lawn and for the friend and reporter that he is, Cal tries to help Steven by suggesting creating an alternative plausible story that could swing the spot light off Steven, Steven shows Cal a video of Sonia the morning she was killed and in the video she appears joyful and happy and does not indicate any sign of wanting to commit suicide. Cal now makes a connection between the murders of the thief, or drug dealer (and a witness who got shot in the process) and Sonia Baker and he traces this all the way back to Pointcorp; a company that Steven represents the loss of a lot of money for and a possible giant corporate-military conspiracy. Pointcorp is the company that Collins has been digging into the past few years with his assistant, Sonia Baker being his lead researcher on the Pointcorp hearings.
Anyway, we follow Cal and some of his co-worker journalists trying desperately to make the deadline that his boss Cameron (played by Helen Mirren) has set him. There's a lot of information floating around all through the entire film touching on topics like national security, big- money military corporations, the patriot act, 9/11, the journalism industry, new police interrogation techniques and etcetera.
Jason Bateman appears in the movie as Dominic Foy, a DC public relations figure with known ties to the defense contractor Pointcorp, just the stereotypical PR guy and he is absolutely hysterical, completely steals the show with him only being in it for 10 minutes or so, he's great as the corporate asshole type.
I don't want to tell you more or go into details too much here but this being a political thriller it is also a movie that focuses on the last days of the newspaper, because whether the younger generations have noticed or not, almost everything goes through the internet these days especially now with the introduction of Facebook and several other large social networking services.
The performances and dialog in this are all top class and this is probably one of the best films that came out that year (2009). The cast is great, it includes: Russel Crow, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jeff Daniels, Robin Wright Penn, Harry Lennix, Jason Bateman and an impressive David Harbour who appears in this film as a former Pointcorp employee, Cal's inside man that helps him get information about Pointcorp's domestic and worldwide business activities in the past few years.
Plot: 10/10: A political thriller with a complex story and solid characters. Real life scenarios and a reporter working on a case unraveling a huge corporate conspiracy, the film includes many twists and turns and has you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Performances: 9/10. Very impressive, there's hardly a single weak link in here. Jason Bateman as mentioned earlier manages to make the movie his own in those few scenes he's in and he's an absolute pleasure to watch along with the entire cast, even some of the supportive actors whom I've never seen or heard of before, including those working on Cal's team, writing the story are top drawer.
Dialog: 9/10. Witty, funny, clever, self-aware, all around good and delivered very professionally. You never get bored by watching it. It moves fast and there are no cheap in-puts or slapstick jokes in here.
Directing: 9/10. Great during the action sequences, drama sequences and pretty much everything that's going on. It's quite different from what you'd see in a modern film with some scenes when people are talking, the movie is showing you something different, other angles or circling around the area where there are other people talking, it all works really well.
Editing: 9/10. Pretty artistic, as I said before the film moves in a different way than a lot of the modern thrillers we've seen and they managed very well to make a two hour film out of a 6-show mini series so you've got to give them credit 'cause there is not one scene in this movie where I felt bored. If anything, there needed to be more scenes when the information is in full flow because it did feel slightly rushed at times. The ending is a bit too subjective to even touch on.
Another part that I wanted to mention is that Pointcorp; the company which they are investigating is a clear reference to Blackwater the controversial private military company and one of the largest of U.S. State department's three private security contractors.