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Was born in the 1980s.
Lives in Europe.
Amor, sal y pimienta (2010)
A twist to the rom-com genre
A girl invites her boyfriend to meet her father at the dinner. However, as they are preparing the dinner, the girl decides to add another "special" ingredient to the food...
This is a funny little short (horror) comedy film that teases the audience by first presenting a seemingly predictable romantic comedy story in the "boyfriend meets girlfriend's father" concept, just to switch the tables and give a twist ending that surprises. This may not be for everyone, but it is a funny film that once again showed J. Luis Rivera's talent as a director. The best way to look at it is to see it as a sketch. I will not reveal the ending, but it is pure black comedy. I for one found this a very tasty dish that made me want to ask for a dessert.
Be careful what you wish for
Jorge is a peddler at a market, but his business has been doing so bad lately that he cannot even afford to pay for his only employee. Since his cannot support his wife Mary nor his son Jorgille, who is unemployed, anymore, Jorge gets so desperate he enters a good luck charms shop and asks a witch for something to break his streak of bad luck. She sells him a talisman that will guarantee to solve his financial troubles, but demands blood from him...
A modern retelling of W. Jacob's short story "The Monkey's Paw" - as well as the similar "Faust" legend - "Talisman" is a great and unassuming little film that dwells on our constant superstition and fears that there might be "something invisible" out there that prevents us from succeeding in life, yet that even a shortcut to success has its price. Director J. Luis Rivera handles the story in an elegant way, establishing in the opening shots not only Jorge's life as a peddler, but also his financial situation, social observations as well as the mood of the economic crisis of our time. The main plot, where Jorge buys a talisman, hoping it will somehow break his circle of misfortunes, is established already from the first scenes as an eerie "Catch 22" with a 'boomerang effect' (the suspicious shop; the dark cat as a symbol for bad luck; etc.), which will in the dark plot twist at the end aggravate his fate from a part area in life as much as it alleviates it from the financial part. Just like other films about the topic, "Talisman" contemplates about such philosophical terms as an unbreakable equal amount of happiness, almost a yin and yang balance, as well as the fatality of destiny. Rivera showed a talent for a natural story flow that is simple and accessible, yet glues the viewers to the screen and grows on them, while the nice touches can be felt. The actors all round up the impression, led by very good Jorge Moreno and Sara Lara.
Na rubu znanosti (2002)
Bravely tackles themes others rarely talk about
As a kid, I used to watch Unsolved Mysteries (1987) when it was on TV, since it was exciting and scary to hear (allegedly true) stories about UFOs and ghosts. I always wished something like that would be broadcast on Croatian television. Finally, in 2002, something like that was approved by Bozidar Domagoj Buric. The result was Na rubu znanosti (On the verge of science), which was something unbelievably refreshing back in those days when only boring political or music shows were on TV. Staying sometimes late until night to watch it on TV was exciting, because you never knew what the next topic would be, ranging from UFOs, ghosts, up to unusual scientific views on energy, the nature of universe and our society.
The appeal of the show originates from two sources: one is the great host, Kresimir Misak, who is refreshingly relaxed and 'cool', often adding even a few humorous observations, but never belittling the theme in question. The other is that the themes are presented in the form of a serious talk-show, where one or two guests would often give quite strong arguments for the theme, which means that it appeals to an audience with an attention span longer than a minute. The guests would talk and give food for thought, and they would be very articulated at it. Some say that anyone could have qualified to be guest on the show, but that is definitely not so: with the exception of only two or three cases (when the host himself subtly expressed his discomfort with them), the guests were up to the case and would often include educated people with a masters degree (Ilija Rkman, Ivan Simatovic, Bozidar Kemic) and even celebrities known worldwide (Edgar Mitchell, David Icke and others). That is truly a great achievement for a show that runs for 10 years.
If you enjoy an alternative view on the world, this show will not disappoint. A few newer episodes experience a lack of energy here and there, but that is normal for a show that runs for ten years, especially since it is still able to produce a few juicy discussions. Having met Misak once in person, I can confirm that he is a one of a kind, a person who is engaged in exploring our world and addressing some troubles we are all experiencing, and which are sadly ignored by other media (for instance, where does the current financial crisis originate from? What happened to the swine flu?). With a few minor flaws, this is an original and refreshing show, and you have to watch it with an open mind.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
20 years on, and this is still fun
Almost 20 years after a live action movie about Super Mario Bros. was made, it has underwent a certain kind of revisionism and is slowly viewed more favorably than before, since the sole fact that no producer or director (not even Spielberg) in that period managed to rally a whole movie crew to make a new Mario movie shows that this was a unique enterprise, one of a kind. Believe it or not, but today Mario Bros. has surpassed some praised blockbusters: as of writing this, I found out that the Super Mario Bros. ranks at #3.504 by popularity on the movie meter here at IMDb, which makes it more popular than some 1993 blockbusters (Cliffhanger ranks only #3.813, The Pelican Brief only #3.629), more popular than some classics (Gigi ranks only #6.985, Mrs. Minniver is not even it the top 10.000 list) and even more popular than some recent movies that won the Academy Award for Best Picture, mind you (Ordinary People ranks only at #3.585, Driving Miss Daisy only at #4.833 and not even The Last Emperor managed to score higher than #3.852). If we look at some of the highest grossing movies in 1993, like Cliffhanger or In the Name of the Father, we can find out that their message boards here at IMDb are dead, while the board here at Mario Bros. is still alive and active. Obviously the Mario Bros. authors must have done at least something right when the people are still talking about the movie in 2012.
The movie is fun even today, despite the not so favorably viewed step to show the Mario Bros. in an "edgier", darker version where the heroes find themselves in some sort of a North Korea kind of world where everything was wasted in mismanagement and plundered just to suit the maniacal demands of king Koopa, whereas the cast in fantastic, from Bob Hoskins, through Dana Kaminski up to Dennis Hopper who seems to almost match his bad guy image from Blue Velvet, and the story has so many clever references to other movies (Koopa's line about loving mud because it is so "clean and dirty at the same time" is an obvious reference to a similar line about the desert said by the hero in Lawrence of Arabia) or simply spoofs some mainstream clichés, such as the constant bad language in some movies ("Egg-sucker!"). The de-evolution chamber is still one of the most fascinating bad guy inventions ever put on screen, even more inspiring than "the dip" from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and if it was used in some horror movie it would have been probably praised as the scariest thing ever, you really get the idea what kind of a joint they are running.
Even the detractors have to admit that the editing was top notch, the story flows smoothly and never drags for a second, that the score was spot on and that the set-design and costumes were perfect (nominated even for the Saturn Award). The long zoom in on Daisy in the castle in the fog still gives me the chills when I see it, while so many jokes seem to be lost on the "grumpy" viewers who tend to ignore them (Old Lady: "You know, boys, this is a really rough neighborhood. You really shouldn't be wandering around without a weapon. You got one?" - Luigi: "...No." - Old Lady: "...All right...(brandishes a cattle-prod-like weapon) Get 'em up, suckers!"). I really wish someone would publish all the deleted scenes. The only thing I don't really like are the first 3 minutes and the last 3 minutes of the movie, since they seem rushed, and the fact that Mario and Luigi should have worn their overalls from the start. Yet, if you watch the movie with an open mind, you will be surprised at how it can work and how every movie works that way if you give it a chance.
Sailor Moon the Movie (2011)
Review of the first 20 minutes
Bunny, a relaxed high school girl, encounters a talking cat with whose help she transforms into Sailor Moon during a second, equally surreal encounter with a vampire-like youma who is sucking blood from a girl. However, the mysterious Tuxedo Mask helps her fight against evil...
In 2011, a group of fans, led by director Elana Mugdan, decided to film their very own live-action, independent movie of a popular anime and manga series, funded entirely with donations. As a longtime "Sailor Moon" fan, this project caught my attention and I was eager to finally see how they are going to pull this off. Since as of this date only the first 20 minutes of the movie were made, this review will focus only on them. Even though I was skeptical, the first 20 minutes - which roughly follow the events of the first episode of the anime - are surprisingly catchy and enjoyable. Yes, certain unusual new details need time to get accustomed to (two FBI agents were added into the story; the blood sucking youma seems more like a vampire...), yet I have to admit...I watched it with such an awe as if I was a little kid. With almost a 1/3 effect of what "Sailor Moon" had on me when I saw it for the first time. They captured that adventurous flair.
Avery Danielle is great as the title heroine. Nick Uhas seems at first as a strange choice to play Tuxedo Mask, yet he proved himself worthy later on. I know some will be put off by the fact that it plays out in the US, not in Japan, but when you have American actors and locations, such a modification was arguably justified. The location for the Game Center Crown, for instance, suits the story perfectly. Director Mugdan did a good job. Since this is just the start, I will just have to wait until they post the whole thing until my final judgment. Therefore, I cannot yet compare it to PGSM, that golden standard of live-action "Sailor Moon" adaptations, or the Sera Myu musicals, but my hopes are up. The movie was elegant, natural and fun, with a few great solutions in transporting the animated world into ours.
Berusaiyu no bara (1979)
In France in 1755 a daughter was born to the famous royal guard family Jarjayes, named Oscar Francois de Jarjayes. Since her father desperately wanted a boy to continue his work as a royal guard to the queen, Oscar was raised as a boy and learned how to fight and fence. Oscar and her friend Andre were soon assigned to Versailles to protect Marie Antoinette. There they discovered a lot of affairs from madam du Barry, Jeanne de Motte and others. But Andre fell in love with Oscar and in 1789 the French revolution started, forcing them to choose if they want to be loyal to the queen or to the people...
"Lady Oscar" is a real treat for all nostalgic anime fans and history lovers. Namely, despite the fact that Oscar is a fictional character, almost 90 % of it's story is actually ( loosely ) accurate. For example, I thought that the whole double crossing affair by Jeanne de Valois de la Motte, who dressed a prostitute as Marie Antoinette to trick cardinal Rohan into thinking that the queen likes him and bought an expensive necklace ( worth 200 million $ by todays standards ) on Antoinette's account, and who was later led to a court where she said that Antoinette was a lesbian, was just a gross exaggeration by the anime makers. But I was surprised to find out that not only did Jeanne really exist, but that this actually did happen!
Still, the real hero(ine) is Oscar, a fascinating woman always dressed as a man, and her tragic romance with Andre, which creates subtle gay themes. The director Osamu Dezaki directs this anime on the limit of fantasy, not caring so much about the structure or the sometimes dry events, as much as creating opulent, excellent characters. Oscar is the highlight of course, a woman trying to find her place in the world and history, choosing if she should be loyal to the rich queen or to the poor people.
"Spirited Away" is another good film proclaimed to be a masterpiece
Chihiro, a little girl, is sitting in a car driven by her parents. They are moving to a new town, but on their way they enter into a strange town through a tunnel. There mom and dad transform into pigs because they ate the forbidden food and Chihiro has to take a job in the local spa, run by the old lady Yubaba, in order to transform them back. She gets a new name, Sen, and meets a nice boy Haku...
"Spirited Away", Hayao Miyazaki's 8th feature length anime film, is an interesting fantasy parable. It does have poetry ( a magical scene in which Chihiro is falling from the sky, making her tears fall up ) and some analysts claim that the story is actually a symbol of child prostitution or child slavery in Asia, but as a whole the overlong movie doesn't always work perfectly and it seems as if the critics are finding more meanings which they want to find than the ones that are really there. If Miyazaki's earlier films were less ambitious ( with which I strongly disagree - i. e. "Kiki's delivery service" was a wonderful tale about growing up ), then his new ones are less fun and coherent. Miyazaki finally won an Oscar for this, but more thanks to his previous reputation than thanks to the good, but somewhat over-hyped anime "Spirited Away".
Mezon Ikkoku (1986)
Those who never saw this, missed something in their life
Tokyo. Yusaku Godai is a wannabe college student who just found a new apartment where he can stay and study. But his new landlord is Kyoko, a young and handsome woman, and he falls instantly in love with her. Although she likes him too, she is hesitant since her husband died a not so long time ago. Shun Miataka, a wealthy tennis coach, is also in love with Kyoko. Complicating matters are Godai's weird neighbors; a middle aged and overweight lady Hanae, voyeuristic Yotsuya and always drunk and half naked red hair woman Akemi, who annoy him while he is studying. As years pass by Yusako gets employed as a teacher in Kyoko's old school
I'm shocked at how unknown and underrated Maison Ikkoku", my new anime darling, is! It's great, and everyone should see it right now! Like with most of my favorite films or animes ( and that's becoming to get a bad habit ), I didn't want to see this because the 1986 animation wasn't perfect ( too thick necks, too big hair dues, weird animation of the dog's eyes ) but when I finally did I was richly rewarded. I call this A romance under microscope" because it is. It shows all those deepest, hidden emotions most of the films or animes are either scared to show or don't want to show. Maison" leaves you feeling great, energetic and happy like a little kid. The author, Rumiko Takahashi, already proved that she is a romance expert with the good Ranma 1/2" and the great Inuyasha", but this even tops them. Actually, It's even almost as good as my other anime darling, Sailor Moon".
There are some fantastic scenes here. For example, Shun gives Kyoko an ultimatum either she decides that she loves him or he is going to leave her, and she has only 1 week to decide. The following morning Godai approaches the apartment and spots Kyoko in the fog, who hides her rings under her eyes since she couldn't sleep the whole night from thinking about the ultimatum. In the other one Kyoko leaves her apartment complex for a vacation, but leaves a plan of her journey, hoping that Godai is going to follow her. But one of my favorite episodes was number 54, hilariously and adequately called Attack with nudity!" in which Yagami, a teenage girl, fell in love with Godai who was the teacher of her class. In order to seduce him she tried everything, from staying after school with him up to placing a heart" sign on his jacket. But when all failed, she managed to pursue her friends to lock Godai in a school basement so that she can try to seduce him with her body, wearing only a bra and a slip. Amazing stuff!
The story spans 7 years and the characters change. True, there are some weak, annoying characters ( Hanae, Akemi and Yotsuya are sometimes unbearably disgusting! ) and episodes ( beware; the first 7 episodes are pretty bad ), but they are a minor point compared to some hilarious romantic situations ( see episode 17, where Kyoko first met her future husband in high school ). Understated, quiet, funny and deeply touching, this is one sort of anime that I wish I could see more often. Those who never saw this, missed something in their life.
One of the best films of the 90s. This is what Brokeback Mountain" could have been, but barely wasn't
London. Giles D'Eath is a smart, serious writer living alone in his apartment. He is over 50, his wife died and he thinks he knows everything about himself. But one day he accidentally sees a stupid teen-comedy in cinema. Just as he is about to leave the theater he spots one actor in that film, Ronnie Bostock, and is somehow unexplainable fascinated by him. Suddenly he gets new energy in his life. He gets curious and starts learning all about the young Ronnie, who is not admired by critics and is forced to shot weak films. Giles is somehow sad that his new hero is stuck in trash while he is admired as an artist. As his emotions get stronger towards Ronnie, he decides to fly to the USA to meet him in his home in Long Island. He does, and a strange friendship unveils
In 1997 Titanic" won all the awards, including Golden Globes and Oscars. But that movie spectacle is easily overshadowed by a simple little film, the shining tragicomedy Love and death on Long Island". I've seen Love" about 5 times and each time I admire it more and more. It's a beautiful and subtle gay film that has emotions, humor, quirky characters and the brilliant John Hurt, who should have won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for this. One IMDb user lamented about the story, stating that it's as unrealistic as if a writer like Joseph Heller would fall in love with Britney Spears and do everything to try to meet her". I didn't find that unrealistic. I thought that was precisely the point, showing how love doesn't have boundaries, neither in gender or culture or social status ( here the famous writer Giles doesn't look down on the trash reputation his idol Ronnie is forced to carry ). The story also questions the harsh boundaries between trash and art ( in one sequence Giles compares one scene of Ronnie lying on a table of a pizzeria in the film Hotpants College 2" with the famous painting The death of Chatteron". Art is subjective ) and is full of amusing moments ( i.e. Giles' farewell letter to Ronnie, send by a fax machine, is so long that his whole room is soon filled with paper! ).
I liked Brokeback Mountain" ( 7/10 ), but I thought it was too simple while this just simply overshadows it - it would be more rightful if those two films would change reputations. Every now and then a movie shows up that dares to amusingly break all social conventions and rules of life and you have a feeling that your life would be emptier without it this is one of them.
Quick Change (1990)
Send in the clowns! An underrated comedy classic!
New York. Grimm, masked as a clown, manages to siege and rob a bank and get away with his two henchmen, Loomis and Phyliss, by cynically masking themselves as hostages. So far, so good but the real problem is yet awaiting them they have to get to the JFK airport to flee from the police. Easier said than done, because this is New York, a town full of traffic jams, weird people, taxi drivers which can't speak English
Admitteldy, this is a simple crime comedy, but it's non the less excellent. Unlike A fish called Wanda", Quick change" avoids the over the top grotesque and brutal jokes and manages to be even somewhat humane and cute. The three main actors are irresistible, especially the cute Geena Davis and Bill Murray, the hilarious plot about how it's easier to rob a bank than to get somewhere on time in New York is amusing, the dynamic plot is short (85 minutes) and full of great dialogs ( You have a gun, why don't you shoot them?"-I can't. These guys have fur, I'd need a permit, wouldn't I?").
If I would have to name one joke that stands out, then that would be the whole sequence in which the bank trio accidentally enters a mob hideout. The mafia guys see them and want to shoot them. In order to save his skin, Grimm starts improvising and telling the mafia members that he is the new money collector for Mr. Lombino. He manages to play his role so good that they give him the money and escort the three of them outside. Then later on, after the mobster figure out they have been tricked they spot Grimm entering a bus and try to get him, but are caught by the police who were on the lookout for Grimm and his henchmen in the first place! Brilliant.