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Before Sunset (2004)
How close can you get to perfection?
I found this movie on IMDb during the times it was much higher in ranking...and watched it before the Sunrise'. However, even with doing so, to me the movie didn't feel it lacked anything. I felt it was perfect in every way.
I don't remember how many times I've seen this movie by now but I find myself totally drawn into it each time. It's just that every line, every face expression seem incredibly real and the chemistry between the two is wonderful.
In a nutshell, Before Sunset is about Jesse and Celine meeting again 9 years after their one night in Vienna and talking their hearts out on the streets of Paris. However , somehow , none of their words sounds boring. This is a movie with not much going on at the surface but so much hidden on an emotional level. The outcome is an 80 minute journey through the most intimate thoughts of two people, disappointed and matured by life, only through plain dialog and close camera shots.
What I love about this movie is how it manages to make everything feel so real, natural and unpretentious. The long camera shots work wonders in creating this feeling of shear reality, simply caught on tape by someone passing by. Just real life, bittersweet and intimate,folding out in front of you. Simple and brilliant, I think these two adjectives perfectly describe its acting, its dialogs, its manner of filming.
As actors, Ethan and Julie must be one of the most honest on screen couples I know. The way Jesse looks at Celine, their face expression, their words, it all seems incredibly true and natural. I think the fact both actors participated in the writing of the script made it possible to create a feeling of authenticity rarely seen before.
There are so many scenes I love in this movie...basically all are special in their own way, as each gradually reveals one more bit of the characters, their past, their frustrations, their regrets, their real thoughts and feelings for each other.
One of the strongest and most emotional scenes for me is their talk in the car, when they finally unburden themselves and reveal how each other's memory has haunted their lives. The way in which touching perfection for one moment in time can make you permanently long for another glimpse of it in everything around you but won't ever be found the same in somebody else.
Finally, my favorite scene, Julie's expression while singing the waltz...so painful and moving. And then denying everything: "So do you plug in this name for each guy that comes by?" "Yes, of course... what do you think, are you nuts?"
The ending is intriguing but one of the best it could have been, leaving so many questions to be answered. Will it be possible that they stay together? Is it possible to find that perfection again after all the time lost? Maybe like Jesse said at the beginning in the library, it all depends if you're an optimist or a pessimist...
La finestra di fronte (2003)
"You must demand a better life and not just dream about it"
'La finestra di fronte' is a movie about discovering what you really want in life and finding the courage to follow this dream. The movie transmits a lot of mixed of emotions by means of two parallel stories, seeming similar at first, but which in the end prove to be each different and unique.
Giovanna is a married woman in her 30s with two children and finding herself in a confusing time of her life, having to deal with frustrations and disappointments. Her marriage seems to be falling apart while she starts fantasising about the neighbour she sees every day through her window. At this time a new event comes to influence her life: meeting an old man having lost his memory whom she takes for a few days in her house.
As the story unfolds, two forbidden love stories seem to come into shape. As Giovanna and Lorenzo, her neighbour, try to help the old man find his home, the passion they had created for each other while peering through each other's windows grows by each moment. At the same time, they start putting together the pieces to the puzzle of the old man's life and his forbidden uncompleted love for another man during the war.
Giovanna is oscilating between her passion for the mysterious neighbour and the responsibilities for her family, but in the end the old man proves to be the one holding the key to her confusion: "Don't be content to merely survive. You must demand to live in a better world not just dream about it". By discovering herself in his personality, Giovanna manages to realise what her real frustrations were and what was truly missing from her life. Through the metaphor of the window the movie describes the difficult attempt to understand our own frustrations and desires which might not always be what we think they are.
Movie or video game??
I'm not exactly a fan of action movies, but I am not against violent scenes and fights as long as there is a good plot with them. That's what I was expecting from this movie: an interesting storyline together with great film graphics. I only got the second part: the ultimate movie graphics of gratuitous violence, which in itself can't really make a movie worth watching for me.
During the whole movie I felt that everything was overly dramatized and over the top, which actually prevented one from caring for those characters. No character depth, all was black or white, the handsome brave Spartans and the evil Persian monsters. No real history reference to make the movie the least realistic: good and evil were simply hyperbolised up to the point the scenes became comic or grotesque. The movie had a great potential to build a good story over the historical background of the Spartans, but ended up totally predictable and with basically no plot. From the very start when including those monsters, it seemed this movie wasn't trying to portray any historical or human reality, but just shock and impress through its graphics. And apparently most of the people fell for it. Just as much a video game could do, but this is not what I am expecting from a movie.
Not to mention the sexual scenes (since this sells best and is in line with the good plot), the first one ridiculous in slow motion, the one with the hunchback simply gross. Then the very witty ending, when all 298 die (since basically we had only seen one dying through the whole slaughter until then, while another is gone to let spartans know the tragedy).
This film leaves one so totally numb to all the human suffering and so distant to the historical reality and the characters, that it equals playing a video game. If this is what people want to see: men slaughtered, blood and flesh to exclaim after it "That was really cool", why bother and make a film of it and not the ultimate playstation game?
Why do good things come to an end?
This movie left me really thinking and intrigued. With the final scene of the happy couple entering the sea, you can only remain shocked at how something so beautiful could go so terribly wrong. The answers become more and more clear with each phase of their relationship, the 5 key phases of being two, as the director viewed it. Watching it again I can only notice how every detail is very carefully thought and adds up something more about the nature of the characters and the holes crumbling their relationship.
Going backwards from present to past through the phases of Marion and Giles' relation, from the divorce scene to the bright scene of the sea, the movie gets the viewer surprised and curious to discover what stands behind this painful failure. However, instead of leaving a bitter taste if all was chronological, the final contrast between what one sees and what one knows that happened is much more surprising and raises much more questions.
The beginning shows the painful end of Marion and Giles' marriage, how incredibly much they grew apart. They talk about things, and we can see the complex resentments, maybe even hatreds, that have grown up between them. Gilles seems incredibly insecure and frustrated, while Marion looks patient and resigned , but actually unburdened to get away from their disintegrating relation. Then as the film moves backward starting from the divorce scene there are several moments that show what went terribly wrong...the mistakes and faults each of them had made.
First comes the shocking confession Gilles makes in front of his brother and his boyfriend about the orgy he had joined, under the very eyes of his wife. The courage to do that and then the courage to tell the story in front of the other 3 looked so unbelievable, still they show the selfishness and hidden desires in Giles that were tearing their relationship. What I also found interesting in this scene is that the director doesn't actually see infidelity as a necessary cause of the problems. In the case of Giles'brother and his boyfriend trust, warmth and an open heart actually seem more important, and they're exactly the things that miss from Giles and Marion's relationship.
Then the day of their son's birth, Marion lies in the maternity ward, suffering, while Gilles stands outside smoking, afraid to face the reality of what is going on. Then, aware of his cowardice, makes excuses for not coming to see his wife.
Then his selfishness comes out again in the next scene, their wedding night. He falls asleep on the bed with little care, apparently half-drunk, while Marion was preparing for them to spend the night together. Marion resigns herself and goes outside for a walk, but in the night she meets a handsome American. The meeting though polite first almost turns into a rape, but though she could have avoided anything happening she gives in, without strength to control her desires.
After this scene the holes in their relation came out strikingly. It becomes apparent how each of them suffers from their own form of selfishness, of being coward. They're both incapable of fidelity, of giving themselves to the other with whole heart cause they're filled by doubt, by hidden desires, by insecurity.
The beginning of their relationship brings out even more clear all these fears. Marion is just coming out of a failed relationship and looking for affection, and Giles seems attracted by her insecurity and sweetness, because he was starting to feel insecure too with his partner. Both insecure and not ready to commit, but at the same time fearing to be alone, the very beginning of their relation seemed to start on the wrong foot.
Looking at the whole movie, it seems that what never worked in their relation was communication. Loving each other in their own selfish way, they are unable to be honest about their own faults and desires and unable to commit, fearing they won't get the same in return, while the space between them grows permanently.
After seeing the movie what intrigued me most was why each of them had become the way he was. What made them so unable to commit, him so selfish and her so patient and undetermined. Maybe the combination of their characters just brought out all their faults, maybe it was simply in their nature.
I think "5x2" manages to emphasize the key details which finally lead to a failed relationship in this story of a marriage that looks so painfully real. The depth of the characters and the realism of the plot made it for me one movie worth watching and remembering.
The Notebook (2004)
Such a simple story, but told in such a brilliant way! Unsophisticated and emotional, yet permanently keeping you wanting to see more, every time the old lady is asking "And what happened next?"
I think the beauty of this movie can't thoroughly be expressed in words. The recurring image of the lake filled with swans is perhaps defining for the magic of this film. As the story unfolds, the beauty of the scenery mingles with the beauty of the feelings and of the characters. The film makes one start caring for the two from the very first moment we see Noah and Allie in the park and wraps us up with melancholy as the past and present scenes alternate. The acting is at its best and moves a string of emotion in one's heart at most of the times. Allie's exuberance and passion, the quiet yet burning look in Noah's eyes, the old lady's lost and fearful look, old Noah's endless devotion and hope.
If you haven't seen this movie, I think you should give it a try and expect more than from a typical romantic story. Romantic or not, I believe this film will wake up emotions in anyone's heart.
A striking example of how humour can manipulate
I won't pretend that this movie wasn't humorous and I think few people would. This actor can be truly funny, the problem is that when this type of humour is repeated and taken too far you get the feeling something is wrong and start feeling uncomfortable. I think there's a limit between being humorous and disgusting, between being critical and offensive... and this movie crossed this line in the most evident way.
OK, so during the first part of the movie I must admit having a really good laugh at some of the jokes. Although already faced with a few sexual and "toilet" jokes that were out of place, I could still rate the movie as entertaining. That until the naked scene, which left me with my stomach turned and staring at the ceiling...One of the most vulgar and disgusting scenes I've ever seen. What was the need of including something like that and at such a lengtht??
And practically what does this film base its humour on? Revealing the worst in people without their consent and have the others laughing in shock at their narrowmindness and stupidity? On depicting men as being led by disgusting instincts in everything they do, showing practically no respect for any human value? On how far you can go shocking people with your triviality: the recipe "Shock with grossfulness and you'll make people laugh". Was it trying to ironise people's hidden faults and thoughts? If so the manner is simply terrible and disgusting. Social satire is one thing, while vulgar, mean spirited and deceptive pranks are not showing any true insight into the human condition.
What intrigues me most is how this movie is so manipulative, not only with the people starring in it, but also towards the viewers. I was shocked to see how over 50% of the voters gave this a 10. I believe it proves how humour can be manipulative, as under the euphoria of some good jokes people tend to accept all the others as good entertainment. I wonder how many would still find the naked scenes and the toilet jokes funny if being faced ONLY with them. I believe (and hope) that much fewer.
I only found out it was interdicted to under 18s when the movie started. That alone should have been a signal to document about the movie a bit before, but unfortunately even the trailer doesn't really predict the vulgarity of the movie, including only the most humorous scenes. Coming out of the cinema I could only think how suggestive the title of the movie was...In Romanian "Borat" resembles extremely well with the word "puke".
Im Juli (2000)
Light and funny yet deep and charming - an original movie you shouldn't miss!
What I found special about the "Im Juli" is that, although the story feels like a fantasy, the characters are very warm and real. All those meetings and coincidences looked a little unbelievable first time, but now I think everything makes sense if we see the story as an allegory meaningful but at the same time light and funny.
The playfulness of the script might perhaps make some miss the message of the movie, but the message actually is there and is a strong one. As I see it, "Im Juli" is a story about hope and about finding life and happiness. Searching for the one meant for you in furthest places to realise that what you've been searching for was right next to you all along.
I liked the idea of the first part of the movie being a flashback until we get back to the sun eclipse we had seen at the beginning. After the sun comes out again it looks like dark gets out of Daniel's mind and the sun shows him the right way this time: that Juli was the one he had been searching all along. The whole journey changes Daniel incredibly much as with her sun amulet, Juli learns him to do the same as her: trust faith and go on searching for happiness. The ending was really perfect: all the 4 characters' roads coming together and Daniel finally seeing the ultimate proof that he had found what he was looking for.
What I enjoyed about the movie is that although the message is a serious one, the story is so light and everything goes on really fast and surprising. The whole journey through so many different countries and passing beside so many different people and cultures was really interesting and refreshing, as were all the characters in the movie. All the actors, playing the Turkish guy, Luna or the officer at the Romanian border, looked they were really enjoying their roles and brought most of the movie's humour: great, subtle and nothing Hollywood like.
All in all, I thought it was a really enjoyable movie, so different from the usual productions we get from Hollywood. Really a movie you shouldn't miss!
The Dark Side of the Sun (1988)
Brad Pitt saves this film
I saw the review of the film last night and since it was a Brad Pitt film and the plot sounded interesting, I looked anxious for it.
I can't say I didn't enjoy the film, it was touching and Brad Pitt did a good job considering it was one of his first roles, and the girl was pretty OK. However, I think his character lacked a bit in depth and sending emotion. The meeting scene in the bar was well done and their dialogues were pleasant, if not for being too deep, then just for Brad Pitt's presence.
But I expected much more from such an interesting story line, and I think the fault for the final outcome is definitely the director's. The film lacked a lot in credibility, and what could have been a really tear jerker left me unable to cry, but with a lump in my throat and the feeling something was wrong about the movie...
The ending scene with him completely full of blisters looked very unbelievable, when just the evening before he only had a few red lines on his chest. It's true the magic 3 day period was over, but it couldn't have happened all so suddenly.
Then his skin and hair looking so perfect, considering he had spent all his life trapped in that suffocating leather costume...The fight scene, totally bad, when his father knocks three guys down with a slap...And a scene with a topless bimbo, disgusting and out of place.
But if able to ignore some cheesy scenes and concentrate on Brad Pitt's performance, the film is not bad after all. It's just that it could have been much better...
A Lot Like Love (2005)
A very enjoyable romantic comedy
While I was watching the movie, I really had the feeling I was enjoying everything, thanks to the way the actors managed to pull off their roles. To me, the chemistry between the two looked absolutely perfect. Ashton looked very sincere in the role of the shy guy, and Amanda was well chosen as the crazy yet vulnerable girl. Their face expression and their connection made everything worth watching.
The plot was perhaps a little bit stretched and predictable, but all in all everything looked a lot like real life, and like a very real relationship. Two people knowing each other for years and searching around for love in other relationships, but not realising they are actually so strongly connected, and the guy taking too much time to make the first step.
All in all I loved it, for the great chemistry between them, for them being sincere and vulnerable, but charming, for the good humour, for the great soundtrack...It left me light hearted when I left the cinema, so I'm quite confused for the low rating it has here. Isn't this what one would expect from a good romantic comedy?
Forrest Gump (1994)
why such a low rating???
What I find completely ridiculous is why this movie, in my opinion one of the best ever, has such a low rating, so I've tried to figure out what some found against it.I noticed that the haters of this movie who make it have a lower rating than it actually deserves mainly argue that it promotes the government's politics of submission: the idea that "if you're an idiot but you do what you're told then you will be rewarded, but, if you experience life then you're going to die a miserable death." I'm not an American myself so i don't have any intention to defend the government or anyone else, but I think that the political events witnessed by the character in the movie make many miss the whole substance of the film. I think these bits of history only add to the magic of the film, making Forrest part of a fantastic world that seems so incredibly real though.
How can somebody say that Forrest is just an idiot, an ordinary person who does everything that he is told to do? It appears to me that in fact,in his innocence, Forrest does what he feels he has to do,no matter the situations and the people around him, lead only by an inner sense of right. So what actually seems to be special about Forrest is that, regardless of his intelligence, he has the capacity to discover simple truth and life values that all the others around him miss: he tries to save Bubba endangering his own life, he gives Bubba's family money and mainly displays simple goodness in everything he does.
So if you haven't yet seen the movie or you were disappointed by it, try watching it without analyzing things that much and just open your heart towards that world. The brilliant humour, the hilarious yet touching acting, the special effects and the uplifting message are totally rewarding.