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Thor: The Dark World (2013)
After watching twice in 3D TTDW, this including a re-watch of Thor1 , I am happy to say that after the exposition of K Branagh, A Taylor has upped the ante. TTDW could have been titled The Dark Realm as some essential scenes are shot in Svartalfheimr but as it concerns also the dark moods we all come across in our lives when we lose a dear one be it a lover, be it a sibling, world as a word is appropriated.
A reproach many times heard about superheroes movies is that there is a small sprinkling of girls with superpowers yet most of the female persuasion is limited to the role of damsel in distress down to IM3 Pepper Potts who is given superpowers at the end ... because probably no woman can handle a tough situation without having superpowers? Well, sisters: you will be pleased to know that TTDW is the feminist movie of the year. Frigga is the wisest and most courageous of all Asgard, Darcy saves the day without any superpowers and Jane is the feistiest of heroins without any 'extra-terrestrial help.
Which does not mean our boys are not for some (a lot of) actions. The battle scene of the invasion of Asgard by Malekith is thrilling. Odin unravels just as badly as Loki and we stop wondering where our Trickster learnt to deal with stress by having tantrums and shooting mean one-liners. Loki grows up down to a scene where we realise Thor knows more his brother than we thought. Both are deeply wounded and yes, the power of Love sees through the illusions and it is heart-breaking. by the way, this is not a spoiler: you need to bring some tissues: there is a scene which is a real tear jerker! If T Hiddleston is Loki (well Loki as in MARVEL), C Hemsworth is the Thunderer true and through. And both get their just deserts! Will Odin mellow, remains to be seen. I have no concern about A Hopkins performance; but I am concerned by an ageing wonderful actor. If would be wise of Marvel Studios to Short filming a few scenes ahead... in case... Mind you the cliffhanger is such that we could get not only a new Odin, but a new Loki.
Rene Russo is brilliant, Alice Krige must return. What of the new Fandral: I like him! But please more of Hogun: his fighting skills are awesome: do not mess with Hogun the Grim. Zachari Levi must get the part of the remake of Captain Blood, as for Volstagg : he is just spot on. Jamie Alexander will come back: not only she deserves it but an wider, bigger and atypical role. If it is the one I suspect, the two actors are going to have fun. Am I cryptic enough? I believe I am.
What of Midgard: Stan Lee and his shoe, Selvig and his absence of shoe ... and the rest. A wonderful battle with Malekith...An aether which is a real villain. Which leads us to the villain: the real villain who is the guy who went berserk in the editing room and cut out so many scenes. Let's hope the DVD bring us all the deleted scenes which are crying out loud lacking in the movie. Easily 10 if not 20 minutes of them!!! Yes, I am looking at you, K Feige.
I am not impressed by the editing of the MARVEL Studios and certainly not impressed at all by the mid credit scene. If this is the best you can come up regarding Benicio Del Toro and the Collector it does not bode well at all for GOTG. Marvel, a cue: filming movies like a 1960s Dr Who or Star Trek is OK in the 1960s; not in 2013.
C Eccleston said famously he was not a happy elf. I approve. The Dark Elves may have been a force to reckon with and the scenes for their blitzkrieg on Asgard are awesome but their part should be meatier, chunkier... and it is not. As we are privy (unbelievable but true) to a real difference of opinion between A Taylor and K Feige as the former refuses to take responsibility for the garish vulgar clumsy mid credit scene and the latter is literally glued to him in case he spills the beans. So the post credit scene shows such elegance and homage to the Jotunheim Thor 1 scene , we know that A Taylor must have filmed more scenes about the elves which weave into the tapestry of TTDW. Sadly, some insane guy of Marvel Towers took over. Hearme, you took over but we are not dupe! I shall return again and again. It is totally worth it. Waiting eagerly for Thor 3 and fingers cross Loki 1!
In resume: TTDW, great story/movie/cast/score/director. Lousy producer.
A story which deserved better
Having not read the original story, I am making do with what I saw and I was not impressed. Not by the universe of demon-hunters but how it translated into a movie-verse. Let's start by the actors.
Jace character seems to vary from broody to broodier to broodiest. And this is it. I grant the reader that my age group does not fit the demographics of this movie but to my knowledge a successful movie caters for all ranges of audience. Maybe the actor is worthier than my assessment; if so, the directing of actors must be ranged as poor.
Clary the supposed heroin is a limpet. Ha, ha! Daughter of a war hero, she quickly falls into the cliché of the damsel-in-distress. Causing loads of mischief by her misbegotten decisions, lack of thereof and silences when she should speak.
The adults have full gaping holes in their own story lines. Aidan Turner who has played Mitchell the vampire in Being Human UK must have wept compared to Peter Jackson: chuck me a bone, any bone but give me something to chew on as a character...
Between the first gay love story and a curious love triangle : quite risqué would you say but since R.Wagner: Sigmund and Sieglinde, a few things are not taboo if they are well written and the secret is in well-written we are risqué stories which fall flat because unbelievable from the start.
Good actors given monochromatic characters can give the best they can, the story is still pitiful and what a tragic waste it is since clearly this is a wonderful story with demons and angels and we do not know why there was once a day an angel who took pity on Earth...
All in all, the author who invented this story deserved better. And please can we move on from the Goth look...CGIs and androgynous characters do not save a lack of decent writing.
Kudos to the witch: a small character and a lesson on how quality writing can make a difference...
Iron Man Three (2013)
Enjoyable movie, worth a re-watch + buying the DVD
After the flop of IronMan2 but given the high-five Avengers Assemble, I decided to give IronMan 3 a chance. And I do not regret it.
Firstly unlike the comics I read in my youth where superheroes could accept without blinking Aliens (which is what human-like Loki and Thor are) followed by an invasion of Chitauris (less and less humanoid), we see Stark coming up with accepting things ourselves would take quite sometimes to digest. T Stark also has to come up withe the consequence of his behaviour in the past. In short the missed opportunities of IM2 are reworked and this time they are finally reflected upon and amends are made.
True, Disney being Disney they introduced a kid and I admit I had a gag/heave moment but the kid cheesy story is quickly sorted out and the interaction is rather limited (bless you RDJ, kids are either stellar scene thieves or kill-joy meaningful text lines).
Gwyneth Paltrow was good, very good. in fact, she is perfect match for RDJ/TS so go girl power... The villain was unexpected and good. Not perfect but quite decent though I am still wondering why he chose to be a villain unless as per IM, it got personal... My husband whose youth and teenage years were MARVEL comics free (yes these people do exist, they are rare but they exist) enjoyed the movie and loved B Kingsley who is a marvellous actor. Whose comic timing was showing in the Mrry Wives of Windsor (yes I remember that TV movie).
So the Mandarin: no spoiler here... but The Mandarin/Ironman is just like the Manhattan Attack/Avengers for MARVEL, a way to exorcise and push to where they belong the bogeymen of Bin Laden. Mandarin tapes are crying out loud Osama and Manhattan Buildings destruction by the space whales was the twin towers (I live in Europe) Does MARVEL feel it is time to move and call these /waful /people for the cartoon characters they are just like when they started to show on telly Hogan's Heroes.
Regardless it was enjoyable,made me think about time and how people start to digest and overcome the emotional consequences of RL tragedies. As for the post credits scene, it was a pleasure to meet again the Hulk. 'we have a Hulk' and I hope to see Ruffallo in his own movie, he deserves it.
Go and flock your movie theatres. Enjoy it. Have fun. Do not listen to the Moaning-Myrtles. Any show who respects women, is uplifting, where the hero admits to PTSD and imperfection and where baddies get really punished by where they have sinned ... oh, go, guys, you will not regret it! 9/10 because I very seldom give 10
Un dimanche à la campagne (1984)
My Sundays as a child
This movie is a wonderful capsule memory that I can show to my children and grandchildren on how it was before television was a staple of the family room.
We would go every other Sunday to visit some elderly relatives' in my case my oldest Grandmother and her older husband. There would be a garden where we would run free and then a 'gouter' which would serve more delicious puddings and more games outside in the summer.
In winter days, we would be allowed to play inside in the attic. And it was just like Tavernier house: old photographs, older furniture, costumes from long gone great great grandfathers and fans and feathered hair pieces. The Kaiser would be a bogeyman and a never met granduncle would still be a dashing officer before becoming a casualty.
I suspect TAVERNIER enjoyed similar quiet days. And the maid... yes these were the days where maids belonged. They could be the secret heart beat of the house. Grandma's maid was Julie and there was a gardener whose name I have forgotten.
Though totally different, it is the right vibration for Marcel Proust: In search of lost time : in the shadow of budding maids. Atime of innocence, gentleness; when regrets were bittersweet and accepted with grace.
What can I say more: I envy you because you are going to discover it.
Out of Time (2012)
Time travelling is passé.
A man and his partner are discussing their holiday which quickly transpires to be the last one they will share together.
They may be travellers from the future; the bittersweetness of their parting is timeless.
The director has had the brilliant idea to film like we were privy to their private photo album. No movement almost; just the voices over.
Yet, the immobility is superficial. Under the stillness, we can feel the bleeding hearts ...
London 2012; who cares. Parting is such sweet sorrow Thank you: you-tube.
A delightful short film.
Knyaz Vladimir. Film pervyy (2006)
A wonderful intelligent movie
It is refreshing to find a movie which does not take children audience for granted. I discovered as an adult by sheer luck this movie and went through it wishing they had completed the second part (which they did not alas). It is set in the Russian equivalent of our pagan Dark Ages just before Aethelbehrt of Kent marrying Bertha of Frankia. And we have invaders, different faiths opposing each other and the opening of Russia to other realms- Here the Byzantine world, as opposed to the Late Roman/early middle age European rewriting of borders. Clearly our hero Vladimir is imperfect and well, he does kill his brother (but Disney got away with murder see Malefice and the evil queen in SnowWhite right?. I think it would be unfair on the movie to expect a politically correct story because well our ancestors were not, and did things our times does not judge right to do. yet rewriting historical facts is wrong and this movie has done the best it could to still bring a story for children, while making history appetising and wholesome for children. The nice pagan priest is rewarded, the evil pagan priest is punished, the prince improves and opens up to the world. there are numerous positive messages. I have read that the movie was unfair to other religions? which is odd because in this movie, we see different forms of paganism and the only Christians are the Byzantines??? plus by the way at one point this man great grand children will marry Harold Goodwinson's daughter while another will become the ancestress to the French royal family! Rather than blame the story, it is a movie where as a parent you can make the dark ages alive and explain so much to your children and I do not speak one word of Russian. Enjoy and if only we had more movies like this delightful one.
Le corbeau (1943)
A masterpiece on the dark side of Humanity
Cruel and fully aware of it. I was lucky enough to see this movie in the late 60s for the first time; since then, every time, I can watch it, I do!
True, there is the sordid story about the Collaboration: who did, who did not? Who could avoid it: probably moving to Brazil would have helped a lot of directors, actors and crews. Yet fleeing France would have been rather lame than face reality. H.G.Clouzot's movie should have been called the Crow, rather than the Raven. Edgar A. Poe gave to the bird some poetic background. on the other hand, the manic croaking of the Crow, like an evil laugh would have been justified as the villain of the movie at one point seems to morph - psychologically- into a crow. Vichy was about hypocrisy. Anti-abortion, bourgeoisie's hidden lies, secret lovers, etc... Somewhere in France, a typical town finds itself obliged to look at its true self. Some people will commit suicide. A lover reveals itself (no spoiler) to be not really loving; the hero seems unable to choose who to court. Until it is revealed that real Love can sacrifice itself. At the end, Justice is served by Love, maternal revengeful Love. Like a goddess from a Greek tragedy. All the actors are doing an amazing job, down to the teenager whose heart is already housing hate and disillusionment. This script deserves a 2012 remake... maybe this time using emails and twitter as mean to weave the tale. Evil is in us and nobody is immune if we do not accept to give some Love back.
A immortal masterpiece
Some thirty years ago, I was lucky enough to see this film in Paris. We left the theatre well past midnight and we were marvelling at the intensity of the movie. Black and white version, Japanese with subtitles. Uneasy, one would say. Yet, it gave us and still gives me so many years later a wonderful feeling of beauty. Roughly following the script of the French novel 'Princesse of Cleves', it describes the tragedy of being faithful to one's oath. Married and intending to stay true to her husband, the heroine refuses the loving entreaties of the samurai who saved her life. Realizing that she will stay with her husband though she may have only feelings of friendship toward said spouse,the hero decides to 'free' her by killing said husband. Naturally, this being a Stoicism tragedy: The husband discovers belatedly his wife really loves/loved him, the samurai discovers too late that been faithful comes with a price etc etc...
It is beauty, pure beauty. Such a change from nowadays ridiculous re-writings like some coming blockbusters.