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Spotlight (I) (2015)
Shinning lights
5 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
What most journalistic movies have in common is a large number of characters and a lengthy chain of events which make the story really difficult to follow. And since the drama is mostly formed by dialogues, a boring movie is what audience expect from this genre. Take for instance a movie like Zodiac (2007) . It's all good and everything but at times I felt I needed a pen and a paper to make some notes of who is who in the movie. Luckily the writers of Spotlight have done a good job in this case.

It too has a lot of characters but we see most of them more than once and they are mostly introduced well so the audience will have a little problem with identifying the characters. Moreover, the story line is also fairly easy to follow; side stories are not too many and they contribute to the body of the drama. There are also smooth references to its own scenes detecting which can be really enjoyable for the audience. ' Rotten apple' is a good example of this. Or when we see Patrick playing with his kid in a playground.

The movie ends when the whole thing starts. All the work the characters were doing bears fruit and the moment the struggle is going the start, screen turns black and a list of cities in which the same phenomenon was observed appears. And it's an exhaustive list; as shocking as the long list of priests in the movie. I guess the makers of Spotlight hoped they started some sort of movement. When audience is sitting there with a light shining on a very sensitive issue and then they are given the torch to look around in darkness for themselves and gain the kind of awareness they had turned a blind eye on for years.

There is also a documentary called Deliver us from evil (2006) on the same topic which takes the audience to a new level of shock and devastation. See a priest confessing to molesting children nonchalantly and gives you an absolute chill. Having seen that and then this one I thought a documentary would have been a better medium to put the message of the movie across. In other words why dramatizing the whole thing when the reality is more dreadful than a feature film.
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Spectre (I) (2015)
Catwalk or Christoph! come to light
18 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of people had their hopes high after watching Skyfall (2012) and were wondering if Mandes could do what Nolan had done with Batman. And to be fair it starts well, really breathtaking and full of everything you can imagine a great James Bond movie could offer. But( yep, unfortunately a but) all goes downhill before we are even halfway through the movie. The fantastic fight scene on helicopter triggers the movie. Right from the start in the middle of action. There are also typical love making scenes with a bit of difference;here he uses his 'Bondiness' to get the information he needs from the ladies and not just for the sake of being Mr. Bond. And things get even better; the villain, a Christoph Waltz in dark. 'yay' you say. After that the muscle enters; Bautista. Great, right? Then we see the car in action, and Oh boy the car! I believe even the director and crew enjoyed filming it. Plus, the chase scenes are so good that you ask yourself: 'Why all movie makers don't come to Italy to shoot their car chase scenes?' Narrow, cobbled streets add what is missing in Fast and Furious series. However, seeing Bautista pulling off all those maneuvers in that tiny super sport car is a bit hard to believe. Moreover, he doesn't talk much ( and not in a cool way, the retarded kind of silence). I guess the moment the Aston Martin goes down the river it takes all the good things with it. There is no more Christoph Waltz and then Bond's lame love story begins. However, there is another nice chase with an airplane after USVs on the side of a mountain. Yeah it doesn't make sense but it is still thrilling. Some events happen one after another and don't really matter. Namely, the abolishment of 007, but we know it's not gonna happen. Near the end, James is rescued by his love in a very Matrix like, hard-to-believe scene. We see a bit more of Waltz but we don't care anymore. We have been waiting too much and now we mostly see some suits and coats walking around and not characters. Blofeld (Waltz), as the name of this film suggests, is a specter and unfortunately he remains so even when he comes to light. The story is confusing and one wouldn't understand Blofeld's history with James. And it gets worse. There was bound to be a damsel in distress, tied in a building full of bombs, to whom James Bond says ' I love you' . Didn't see that coming, huh? When the movie ends we wonder, better put, hope this will be the last Bond movie. Yes Mr. Mendes you are nowhere near Nolan.
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Everest (2015)
Some die, some survive
29 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Every day we read in the newspaper and on TV that some people died in an accident somewhere but we don't make a movie about them. Honestly, I don't know what they found interesting in the story which made them spend all that money and gather an outstanding group of actors even for small roles. The idea of some climbers who guide normal people to the top of Everest is intriguing enough to get our hopes high. But then what? What about the story? In the first paragraph I used a lot of some's and there was a reason. To the very end of the movie they remain some people. We never identify with them because they are never introduced well enough to arouse our sense of sympathy. Moreover, some of them die in an absolutely ridiculous way. Take for instance the guy who fell off the ridge and we were supposed to feel sad. Well, I laughed. On the other hand, when some of them come back to life ( big surprise, right?), best case scenario we feel indifferent. In other words, it is not explained why that particular character should live and others not. Although efforts are made to make the characters more humane. For example Rob( the protagonist) has a wife at home and another surprise, she is pregnant. But wait! There are more. Rob still doesn't know if it's a girl or boy. Too familiar, right? Or Beck whose marriage is going through a rough patch and his last conversation with the wife ( Robin Wright, great performance; in fact, too good for this movie) before his presumed death is less than friendly. Instead of these old techniques we wish there were stronger characters.

In the first hour, before the storm hits, nothing happens. Then when finally the action starts the audience is exhausted because of the wait and confused because of numerous characters. At times we don't know who is going up and who is coming down, and wearing those oxygen mask did not help. Frankly at the end we almost forget who lived and who died.

In the past few years there have been a number of movies about survival in harsh conditions and most of them are overrated. For instance 'Impossible' which is as entertaining as a two line piece of news in local newspaper (and because the family was not Asian they just had to make a movie about it). Or even 'Gravity' about a woman who didn't die. Well, OK in space! But where is the drama here? However, there is 'The Martian' which is actually a great movie with a humorous, attractive performance of Matt Daemon who single handedly takes the audience to Mars.

'Everest' can be summarized in the title of this review. Some die and some survive. Read it again and you don't need to see the movie. If you are interested in a story with a survival theme, check the news.
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Inside Out (I) (2015)
Perfect marriage of idea and story
26 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It seems Pete Doctor never ceases to fascinate us with his brilliant new ideas. Sometimes it's an old guy who soars with his house on balloons. Or it's the exciting and at times grotesque ( especially in Toy story 2) world of toys and perhaps it's a garbage collecting robot left alone on Earth who ignites love in a terminator. In his Golden Globe( and most probably Oscar) winning movie he has chosen human's emotions as his characters. There are four: Joy, Sadness, Anger and Disgust. But the movie is not about emotions. The major theme of this animation is actually growing up. What has catapulted this movie out of this world is not its novel idea, but how the makers were able to harness this novelty and did not let it overshadow the story. I can assume the conversation happening inside Pete Doctor's head:

  • Hey guys I found a great idea to make our new movie -Oh, yeah that's awesome but let's tell a good story too And oh boy haven't they succeeded at that? It's like they had this idea and put it away at the back of their head and lived with it for a long time then when the time was right they put it on the screen. After a brief introduction the new world, the gripping story starts, grabs your attention and never stops to the very end. A perfect marriage f idea and story. As you can expect, it is replete with symbols: Train of thoughts, imagination land, colors and what characters do( namely Bing Bong in his touching sacrifice). But again they almost never get in the way of the story. For example the idea that facts and opinions play each other's roles in a teenager's head, or the whole concept of déjà vu are mentioned so smoothly that we may not even notice them the first time we see the film. Explaining the symbols can simply take the romance away and one should discover and interpret them for themselves. Interestingly, it is not the kind of movie you want to talk about it with others. It is simply too personal. Like you want the whole thing to be your own. It actually assures you that everyone knows what it is about and they do not need your input and neither do you. We feel too close to Riley; we know her inside out after all.
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Alien (1979)
Hey guys I found a good movie
11 December 2015
This suspenseful, spine-tingling movie keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the time it's finished. When you watch this one, you feel like a good friend (by good I mean shrewd in picking movies) has brought it to your house to have a great movie night. In other words, it seems like director had seen it several times before he made it. He is that friend of yours by the way. A huge spacecraft has finished its mission and is heading back to Earth. We the crew members get up from their sleeping pods, they realize the spaceship is out of its course. Apparently it has received a signal from another planet, indicating some alien life form and set off to accomplish it secondary mission: investigating life in space. The extra- terrestrial life they find is by no mean friendly and brings horror into the ship.

It's more of a horror film than a science fiction one. I am sure you have seen those horror films in which some people are stuck in a hut in jungle and there is some nasty creature lurking to hunt them one by one. Well, now make the hut full of small rooms and send it to space. This, has provided director with a lot of close-ups which sends a shiver to your spine. It keeps you guessing when something is going to jump into the frame from an angle and kill people on board. But the brilliance of the movie is in what it doesn't show. By this, I mean unlike other horror movies you don't see people running around, crying or screaming ( not that much anyway). Also, when the astronauts find the organism, they do not celebrate nor freak out. They act vary nonchalant like they come across these things all the time. And this, has saved a lot of time and helped the director and audience focus on the story.

A lot of unnecessary scenes have been cut out. And there's your good friend Ridely, selflessly sparing you from all the fake screams and tears. At times you guess you are going to see some sentimental crying or other reactions, but it never happens. Well, crew members are scientists and not some clueless teenagers. Sometimes in comedies, actors act normally in funny situations which makes it even funnier. This technique has been applied here and if you ask me it has worked like a dream; a scary one too.

Right at the beginning of the movie, the camera is roaming in the spacecraft which seems horrifyingly deserted. While we are curious to see some people or aliens, we reach a room in which astronauts are sleeping in their pods. And when the camera approaches the room, the automatic door goes up. This, throws the audience right to the spaceship. There is another scene in which the senior commander, frustrated to find a way to kill the monster, tries to get some answer form the computer brain of the craft called Mother( discover the irony yourself). He keeps asking about the creature but the computer has insufficient knowledge. Then with all his hope gone he types: 'What are my chances?'
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The Artist (I) (2011)
A silent Oscar
14 March 2012
Of course it needs huge amounts of courage to make a silent movie nowadays but does only this really deserves an Oscar? Well the movie has nothing new to offer. The same stuff we had seen in the 20s and no innovation. Nothing new in the story or the performance which it seems that actors back in 1920s were much more talented and attractive. It doesn't have the freshness of the original silent movies. Everything seems fake. We are completely aware that that the have " made" a silent movie. they couldn't convince us to believe it was a silent movie. All the efforts of the actors seems unoriginal. Well we expect much more from a movie which promises a lot of originality but as there is no smile of freshness on you face.It is all the same stuff!
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A Separation (2011)
unsaid words can turn into a separation
25 March 2011
It seems that a court room drama could be the best place for Frahadi to recreate his very own world and confront us with a short and somehow faraway situations and incidents in life. We think these kinds of happenings and conflicts would not take place in our lives but with his realistic world and characters they seem so close and possible to anyone. Asghar Farhadi loves to put his audience in place of judge, as his other pictures like About Eli or Fireworks Wednesday and here with no fear he takes us straight to a court room. But the thing is that the judge does not provide any help for us to make a clear judgment and surprisingly makes the situation even more complicated. Yes Farhadi doesn't want us to make a judgment, He makes us watch and observe and leave the theater with a big fork in front of us.It Seems that any single decision creates another world full of forks and not taken ways.

when nobody is clearly guilty and the line between black and white is so dim. And again here we are in Frhadi's powerful hands surprised to the end of the movie. You can't leave your chair even for one second because the story never lets you to lose even a single moment. And like a tennis ball we're always being shot from this side to the other. And finally we are the daughter shocked and disable to make a decision. May be we haven't seen or we don't want to see this side of life, where nothing is clear, when small lies and unimportant undone things and unsaid words gang up against us and turn to a big disaster. Frahadi has found his own world and his own language and his own version of life. Something we'd never seen before. We appreciate that. He can easily bombard us with information and surprise us with tiny details that seem nothing but like a snowball rolling down a slope they can form a big drama.
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Armored (2009)
stand up comedian
28 March 2010
The good thing about this movie is that Matt Dillon stars in it and acts very nice specially the way he talks. Another good thing is that this movie wont last that long and you feel kind of relieved when it finishes because you had been suffering from stupid things the main character does. so unreasonable and sometimes he really is out of his mind. The audience never likes him and wants him dead. But we like all bad men in the movie.Yes we want the good guy dead and that's because he tries to be too good.As Matt Dillon said:' We are all good guys.there is no bad guys'. Well there is one too good guy who makes us even hate him. The action and the thrill of the movie is unsatisfying.It makes us wait and wait but the only thing we got is two trucks moving along. It is like the stand up comedian. We never get to see the real concert. And the movie did not need the police character. What did he do? Nothing but ruining the action we had been waiting for.Another good guy we want dead but he survives.
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