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Jack Reacher (2012)
Standard (recent) Tom Cruise
Your usual hero-like personality faces the impossible to liberate the innocents from an unfair fate.
A movie in perfect agreement with the Tom Cruise standard of the last few years (Oblivion, Knight and day, War of the worlds ... with a few very rare exceptions of course, say.. Collateral). Clean, benign, quick, vindictive, with a liberating outcome. Not below its expectations, but then again, not a source for very high or impressive expectations and definitely not a source of echoes of past successes. Perfect for a relaxing evening while waiting for a new Jack Ryan (questionable), James Bond or Jason Bourne (I could mention Ethan Hunt, but according to the above mentioned rules, recent impossible missions are unfortunately indulging the described standard). Also, a very surprising (and inexplicable) contribution from an evil Werner Herzog
The Box (2009)
An unique experience
An unique experience indeed. And what more I can say is that this seems something characteristic to this director even though I have only seen one other film of his, that is Donnie Darko, but that only speaks for itself. Besides the uneasiness that accompanies us until the end of the movie, the depressing and fatalistic tone, even from the first scenes it becomes obvious not only the successful attempt to recreate the atmosphere that characterized the '70s world but also to simulate a film made in that time, fact observed in everything from lighting, theatrical music, the beige visual accents, the misty image. This is what actually manages to distract us from the lazy beginning. The rest is focused around the theme of human nature, and the very thin line between good and wrong. We have the objective judge who comes to appreciate what he initially condemned under the influence of a contradictory idea that begins to take shape in his conscience , that any man who can go wrong can prove to have an admirable and empathetic character and deserves a second chance. We have the couple of ... the judged, much representative for a main part of the human population, which despite having a rather strict moral considerations, under the influence of their own personal needs and desires take action, choosing the wrong option on the temporary pretext that it is only a joke, a farce, and that they can act spontaneously out of impatience and curiosity.
Funny People (2009)
Another demented Adam Sandler comedy? Guess again...
I went to this movie expecting yet another demented Adam Sandler trademark comedy, as he got us all used to and as he hardly ever tried to change things, unless it was a matter of changing by 180 degrees the tone, giving us proof of his ability to play some fully dramatic roles, and especially almost completely void of any humor.
Instead of that I came across with a more mature movie, a comedy still, but a lot more subtle, with impregnated humor here and there, sometimes with the usual rude and gross style, but that through meaningful evidence of maturity, seriousness of the realities we live in, of the inter-human relations, the human weaknesses & co. With a cast almost entirely formed of experienced comedians, of which Seth Rogen surprised me the most, giving up his rude case in order to bring to light a new self of his, with the same look, aspect , but who amazes with his genuine innocence and naivety. Also in the cast I found Leslie Mann, and about her what is there more to say, lovable as always (and to be honest, her struggle to imitate an Australian accent, part of the circulated trailer, was actually the reason why I was so stubborn into seeing this movie), and also a serious actor Eric Bana, trying out a little humor in spite of the sobriety that characterizes him, in a more ... natural role, and a genuine accent with which he rarely rewards us. Overall a successful film, that manages to touch you ... in a what- concerns-the-sentiment manner, but also to make you laugh "your eyes out" from time to time. A must see!
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Such great expectations...
So disappointed that I could cry ... I expected controversy, free but clever violence , dark humor, sarcasm, fascinating characters, memorable, the kind you condemn and admire in silence, intelligent dialog,.. a lot of dialog, with apparent calm and timeouts spread throughout the whole and much much more. Can't really say that these were missing completely but they weren't really there either. Tarantino's presence was felt and recognized only in the first chapter, to which I have nothing to reproach, it is clearly and indisputably the climax of his art in this movie. So much has been written about this movie, so many were excited and so many cheered and praised it. It just makes you sad. It's a painful proof that very few can recognize and enjoy the genius of Tarantino. He became a standard, a pattern in which the world situates him, no longer standing to judge the choice, a pattern which can already exist without the help of its creator, and also without any extra effort from his part. Any movie he makes, will have a default label, and the people would hardly even wait to watch it before assigning it. Well, for us to be able to enjoy original Tarantino creations, and to be able to boost him into making the effort to be ... himself, we have to cross over our hearts and give up that already prepared label and admit it when he fails. It's not a film entirely unsuccessful, it has its moments, the usual irony and humor, less subtle here, but present, although that only makes me give credit to the author's cleverness, but not to his genius. Oh, and to be mentioned two characters that made an unforgettable good impression: Christoph Waltz (Land - genius actor) and Melanie Laurent (Shosanna) plus Michael Fassbender (Hicox) who had too little time on film(a pity).
District 9 (2009)
Not what you expect!...but in a good way!
An extreme and original surprise, spilled out from you-wonder-where, that presents an explosive portrait of the human character of all times, in a context unexpectedly chosen and unexpectedly highlighted, with small pieces of today-reality particularly relevant to the African/ South African setting. Having as a plot the inhabitance of an alien species for 20 years, with the status of refugees, and victims of the environment and of intolerance, altogether with the more than current obsession of human beings for armed power development, and exploitation of all available resources, the film presents, in a documentary manner at first a very realistically build story of a human representative, common and apparently without anything of the extraordinary, at first a victim of the intersection of the 2 species as well as of the already mentioned obsession, which turns against those whom he called as being alike, finding support and friendship exactly in the middle of the so- called hostile, obtaining or rather spinning to the surface strength, courage and will to fight under the influence of his survival instinct, moments in the production that reminds me from time to time of the unfolding events from another favorite of mine - The Fly. The special effects are extremely well made, with all the horrific elements extremely realistic, and focusing on detail and movement. Eat this, Transformers!
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Tired of the already known and tiring pattern of horror films of the slasher type, we can walk away satisfied after this little proof of originality. After a title that draws from the first moment, and clearly different from the start, following the classic path of all the films in this sub-genre (with a little hint though of the outcome but that recognized only after the final twist) with a group of naughty teens (with a small sample of good and discrete conduct that conquers the mind of all - hence the title) who is heading blinded by smoke and fumes of alcohol towards an isolated location somewhere in the country, a perfect place for the birth of a series of disappearances of its members one by one. The film draws with the story and by trying to somehow break the cliché world of its alike movie pictures that came out in the recent years (from '80 until today actually), with nothing of the spectacular gore elements, so meticulously prepared in other productions at the expense of credibility, the power of the story, art or even of building the characters, presenting honestly and innocently the world of American teenager with all its do's and don't's and lust for life and doing bad things. Really nice surprise.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Linear, monotone , few good moments
A serious horror movie, based on real events. The classic subject of an old house, haunted, and a family member chosen as the communication channel by modifying its behavior, only this time some elements are slightly different. The sick boy that seems to have become dangerous only seems so, as he is still really a messenger for the other world, just not as it happens usually, but handled by the benevolent forces this time in an attempt to defend the family from the true evil ones, more numerous and really angry and trained. The output is through nothing spectacular, maybe we can consider a plus the amount of sensitive details, though they don't share the same nature as the happenings presented in the film, the few pictures from the generic reused later as immortalized evidence of the house's history, which holds resemblance to another example of the genre much more memorable and impressive - The Others- and also the much missed presence of his Virginia Madsen, in both mainframe productions and well-made horror movies (remember Candyman). Based on real facts, perhaps the director did not allow too many "poetic licenses" even though I am sure he could have, in return, for me at least, it was quite effective in trying to give birth to some few thrills, by the mere fact that I remember still today the same story reported as a documentary on Discovery with the same characters and events, a moment quite terrifying at the time and that without prefabricated intentions of the producers.
A Romantic Horror
It's one of my favorites.It's different from all the vampire movies before, because it's a romantic story ,that is based on the pure,almost human feeling of a suffering not-of-this-world being.It's a great story even if you only read the book,but i believe that the director has made a really great job. The sets,the portrayal of those years are very authentic, and the acting is just as it was supposed to be.The characters are all captivating , both positive and negative ones . Brad Pitt Is in one of his best roles , Tom Cruise ,even if not the best choice for Lestat -as Anne Rice complained also - proves to be very appropriate in the role, and Kirsten Dunst ,a child actor, proved that she has a great amount of talent ,as we can see in the films she made after. It's a great movie and I can't help but seeing it over and over again.