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Águila Roja (2009)
The Batman of 1680
It's pretty difficult to describe what people do in other parts of the world when you have no idea what that part of the world is or how their people are. Lots of criticism came to this fantastic series because it was not like the American ones people are used to.
RTVE is the largest and publicly owned radio and TV conglomerate of Spain. And, for many years, the only option. The only one with money to make a series. But they never had anything close to Aguila Roja. This one goes over the top and more.
A very handsome, educated and able man is the avenger of the people in a time of extreme poverty, overwhelming power in the hands of kings and the church and little to no education. That's the setting for this "Siglo de Oro" series. Now in its 9th year, it obviously has many flaws and sometimes even goes backward. But, all in all, it's a very enjoyable thing to watch with tons of period props, dresses, historical references, love affairs and the omnipresent doom of the powers to be lingering in the air the people of Madrid had to breath. The fights are the centerpiece of almost all episodes and they're done beautifully with weapons of the age.
It will even take you through many of the torture machines of the time and their crooked uses.
Stranger Things (2016)
Throughout the years I found it difficult to get rid of so many images in my head that came directly from some of Stephen King's novels. When I sat to watch the whole eight hours of Stranger Things I was in one of those trips of my life of which I didn't want out.
This is a film, much more than a series. You could skip the intro titles and have a seamless story told with depth, comedy, heart and wit.
From what I said above, you can tell I regard Stephen King pretty high on my list of American writers. He teamed once with the other Steve to make a series that promised something new (because the book was good) and utterly failed. So, I'd rather take King's writings than adaptations. But Spielberg's films are films, not books, and lots of them are absolutely fantastic. Borrowing from two great story-tellers and making something worth has never been easy. I'd say impossible. Because I haven't found anything even close to E.T. or "The Body" (which became Stand by Me), ever.
And what makes this new Netflix venture worth a ton of gold is that it actually gets to places you and I want to go. The characters are beautifully drawn, and then layered and painted in a way they'll stick with you for a long time.
This film, even with the slight criticism of not being perfect in some regards (like some of the songs), is a masterpiece of storytelling for kids, teens and adults. It is as enjoyable as E.T. was. So much that I want to see it on the big screen. It's not a trivial series. It's as serious as it gets.
The kids in the film are memorable, really creating a brotherhood that I wanted to be a part of. All of them have their own problems, their very clearly defined personalities and roles, their charming funny sides... they're lovable and you can relate to any of them.
Winona Rider's character is full of passion and realism in this otherwise completely fictitious tale. But, wasn't that what "It" gave us? Even with the terrible ending of the book and the miniseries, who in the world wouldn't remember Bev shooting her silver bullets in the sewer against "It"? Or the conversation between Gordie and Chris under the tree when camping by the Royal River? Lines from the heart of gold of Stephen King. Action and adventure from the mind of Steven Spielberg. But this is different. Matt and Ross Duffer created something that may have all the elements of those 80's films and novels, but with freshness and depth.
You can relate to the characters because they ARE human, they are well developed, you KNOW about them. That's King's turf. And the emotions, the adventures, the way they're captured are Spielberg's signature. But, alas! here we have both worlds in one film that will be as timeless as It was or E.T. Characters like Eleven may be part of future conversations of younger generations, as are Gordie and Chris, who will never stop moving young and adult audiences even 40 years later.
The whole success of this series is that, at last, the Duffers brought to the screen something with real soul. And that's pretty uncommon nowadays.
Äkta människor (2012)
By some account here, Sweden sucks (am I awake?)
I won't say a word about this series. Watch and be amused and entertained.
There's only on thing I want to say about the other comment here. It simply makes me wonder if the Swedish writer is aware of what Sweden has produced. Maybe there's too much American influence in his views. But I simply can't let go his comment without telling him that his country has produced (along with it's many ventures with Norway) many of the best films ever. And, as of writing, Sweden outperforms mostly any country in its prowess and abilities, from Ingmar Bergman to John Ajvide Lindvqist. If this is not convincing, just watch the American remakes of original Swedish scripts and films.
The Mortician (2011)
It is not too often to witness something credible, emotional and rational at the same time in American cinema. Sadly, Hollywood has been in a steep decline since who knows when. We have to go and grab European or Asian or Mexican or South American flicks if we really want to get some "meat" for the heart.
This time, in a setting long forgotten, we're confronted with a witty story in, of all places, the still recovering New Orleans. That, all by itself is a bonus. But when you add to it the magic of a master cinematographer, a superb script and a wonderful cast... you have OffHollywood. And, let me tell you: this guys know what they're doing!
The story is bleak. The character of the Mortician (awkwardly and silently played by Method Man -if you can believe his actual name) is definitely played methodically. His role is perplexing, uncomfortable and highly distressing. But that's his job. The rest of the characters are as strange, out of the norm, as the mortician himself.
But what really got my attention and made me jump directly into writing this was the uncanny weight and darkness that are pervasive throughout the film. Everything has a smack of doom, and it certainly delivers in this department.
Not only is the story gripping and deeply moving. The acting is on par with the craftsmanship of the whole film. Cinematography, taking advantage of the RED 3D is ultra hi-def and has some unforgettably lit scenes, especially in some of the flashbacks. And if this wasn't enough, the score and the songs used throughout the film only add to underline the roller coaster of emotions we're presented with.
The turns and zips and flips of the story are an integral part of keeping you hooked without blinking. The colour timing is awesome, conveying exactly every mood scenes needed to exploit their powerful emotional content.
I'm really proud of this film being American. It departs completely from stereotypes and boring scripts. It's a slow film. A film portraying a complex drama that unfolds in many directions. Maybe they went too far in explaining why everything happened, but it doesn't feel patronising or as if it was needed for the stupid -it will work, anyway.
All in all, it's a film that should be seen to be believed. Chapeau to Method Man (again, unbelievable name!) and to all the crew that made possible this small jewel of new OffHollywood Americana,
Wow! It's just a minute ago I've turned off the TV after watching this film. I recommend you NOT to even dare to watch it. Have you ever seen Italian films? They're amongst the best films in the world. Italians are creative, sensitive, daring and they're never afraid to experiment.
Italians are intelligent and really good at design, filmmaking, beauty and history. This film is -BEWARE!!!!!!- NOT Italian. This is a piece of rubbish that is sorrowful and painful to watch. Whoever wrote the script and directed it should be put behind bars after throwing away millions upon millions just to make this. I'm ashamed that Studio Canal decided to back such a project. (If you really want to watch a bit of what Italian Masters do,go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0456041)
Good actors that are performing like doped mannequins (that's one of the reasons why theatre is for the skilled ones), a script that stumbles and gives up the whole story from the very beginning; unimaginable deviations of tone and pace... the list is one of the most complete I've ever witnessed in the history of filmmaking.
Maybe the only thing I'd praise is sfx and photography. Poor guy the one who did it, who will ever admire his craft if it's been put through a shredder? I'm -yes, I know- feeling dizzy and sorry for the folks who had anything to do with this "film". Poor Mattia, the kid who plays the role of Ettore... I guess this was debut and farewell.
If they were to pay me whatever they paid the actors and actresses in this film, I wouldn't show my face, and I'd rather erase all the credits just to save the souls of all the people who did a great job and, most surely, broke their backs to make this crap happening.
I guess there's nothing to say about the plot or script or any creative or artistic quality in the film. Please!!!! let Italians do what they are best at. Sorry again, I'm so upset to even think that I made it through the end. I stopped the film at least twenty times, stupidly thinking it could get better. Lost two hours of my life and 1/4 of my liver.
Die Erben (1983)
Any film that deals with the horrors of war is nasty on its very own base.But, when faced with the horrors that came from one of the most insane minds ever, things get worse. This film deals with a revival, of sorts of the Nazi ideals through a terribly mislead and dysfunctional group of very young people, drawn to the darkest pits of their reality. Political or not, this film would be branded politically incorrect in all aspects. And it is, indeed.
The worst of its drawbacks is just that its own incorrect political issues were later (and still are) a sad fuel for some youngsters who believe their Fatherland should be defended the way Hitler did, and by the same means, even if their own were to be abolished from Earth. The deep consequences of the turmoil provoked in their minds (those of the young people who join the Youth Group or Party) suddenly turns into an unstopping vortex of violence.
All moral barriers are violated here. The only driving passion is the Party. The stories told are some kind of reliving the worst of the darkest times of war from the standpoint of the Nazi Reich.
Well sorted, acted, filmed and scored, the film exudes reality. Since German is the language, the film sometimes gets too "Hitlerian". Thomas's mother being the most unnerving character (every bit of her admonitions are as Hitlerian as they can be, and well over the top). The rest are good at doing their job. It's a substantial film, but, definitely, not for the faint hearted.
You'll find moments of pure repulsion and scenes when you don't want to hear what's been said. I'm not Jewish, but it hit me as hard as if I were. The depiction of some gruesome dialogues and representations are simply disgusting.
A great film with maybe too many gratuitous sex scenes, and with an eerie powerful omen of things to be in forthcoming years.
Hoshi ni natta shônen (2005)
This IS Filmmaking at its best
Sayuri Sakamoto wrote a novel based on a story of a kid who was rejected by the world in many ways. His determination led him to more rejection that, in the end, metamorphosed into respect from the others and self assurance for him. The story soon shows unexpected turns and grabs you without mercy. Tetsu's story (our main character in the novel and the film) is sad and difficult, but his will, heart and purpose will lead him to his goals, mostly rejected by the elder.
The film takes the novel to a stunning adaptation. I can say, for sure, that this is the way a film should be done, in all respects. Humour, deep entertainment, a troubling insight of a teen's mind, a respectful view on things we usually don't or can't understand, and a beautiful way of telling it with all the technical resources we have at hand to tell a story.
The performances in this film are perfect and very complicated. Yûya Yagira (Yuyi, of Dare mo shiranai fame), again, delivers a super- powerful rendering of the troubled main character with just 15 years and carrying most of the weight of the film on his slender shoulders. The rest of the cast is superb and acting is pretty well ahead of any mainstream film.
Te complex nature of the novel called for a super-complex achievement on film. Shot both in Japan and Thailand, it takes us to breathless places, peoples and scenery. But, more complicated than all, tells the story with almost religious reverence. Shunsaku Kawake, the Director, did a job to which I take my hat off and will cherish and thank for the rest of my life.
The score by Ryûichi Sakamoto is so beautiful and in sync with the story you'll feel it should have been there from the beginning -and not even notice how powerful it is.
The amount of emotions is pretty hefty. To us, Westerners, it may seem quite subdued. Truth is, they're as raw as they come in Asian culture and I thank the producers not to let out of the film this essential treat.
Yuyi is a story apart. Watch him work his magic and you'll understand why he is one of the big guys on the Japanese scene, even when he's got just a couple of films.
The Hole (2009)
No more holes, please!
There are just two films I've endured for the sake of teaching what a film-maker should never, ever, do. I never thought I'd find the second one, but this film did the trick.
I can't relate to anything in it. I can't even think how it got funded. Just putting up the money for the cranes, lighting, lenses and paying someone to do this enormous piece of rubbish puzzles me to the limit.
We should find a way to ban bad films. You can't walk the streets without any guilt after writing, directing, producing or even (poor guys) acting in something so low, base and pointless.
Though, I must say thank you to the guys who put in their money for this production (mind you, 3D is not a reason to make this kind of crap), because they give the world a new standard on how NOT to do things. I'm sorry to sound biased, but I can't refrain. This is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Definitely much worse than 60 or 70 of the worst B -films I've seen. They didn't have the money. But, at least, they had an idea.
If you're not actually teaching at film school, do yourself a favor and don't watch this film, you'll regret it.
And they do it again!
Music. Lighting. Cinematography. Direction. Acting. Locations. Mood. Theme. Plot. Turns. Lights Out!!!!! This is a film to be regarded as one of the most thoughtful and daring when dealing with pederasty.
As always (in my subconscious film-maker), Norway is on the top list of best films. Sweden may be the second country to deal so well with such difficult subject matter (and with film-making, that's it).
Sønner is breathtaking, endearing, fearful, tearful, shocking and outstandingly well written. When I think about Scandinavian films, this one comes to my mind as many other Finnish or Swedish films from the late 2000's first decade.
The psychological drama you will witness from the very first minutes of Sønner, will leave you thinking why are there so few films in Hollywood to push the boundaries of the usual line so hard. Sønner takes the routine in Hollywood, with just a simple concoction, to a different and new level and, mind you, with just 1/100th of the budget!
I shouldn't compare these worlds, but I can't refrain. I've just witnessed one of the most gruesome mistakes (maybe I've seen another hundred of them) in "Låt den rätte komma in's" remake.
The American film industry (not the independent world) should stay away from trying to do better. They just can't.
Sønner is a beautiful and disturbing film. It simply does the job of telling a story and, in the way, it jerks our feelings, our stances on some very difficult subjects, and rips apart our hearts when the puzzle is solved.
Nils Jørgen Kaalstad is superb in his role. Mikkel Bratt Silset will make you shiver and cry. The rest of the cast is first-rate.
What Erik Richter Strand did with his script (and Thomas Torjussen's) is amazing.
Watch Sporløs, his first film... you'll get what this guy is into.
Après la guerre (1989)
One hell of a ride!
I suspect I have not even one reason to give this film a 10. It should be 11. I'd love to tell the world this film exists, even when it's been buried for this Century and part of the last one.
There are many stories based on the Big Wars. Stories that look and feel pretty lousy, weak or simply a product of a feverish and not too well informed mind. Let alone "formed". I've seen hundreds of films dealing with both Wars and, in my (not so humble) opinion, French stories are still the best.
Here, we have a simple story. A very simple plot. A very simple idea with only three actors on scene, maybe four. The rest is just the power with which each of them play their part.
The intellectual feat of trying new and unforgettable hairpins in the road may make of this film one of the most remarkable, endurable and long-lasting views on the subject. "Un amour a taire" may be the other one. There may be a heap of them, but I'm not sure if anybody out there has reached this height of beauty and power.
Americans mostly feel awkward when faced with French cinema. But this film is a must-see for Americans... and Germans, and for people who still believe in the goodness of human hearts.
It's silly to recount the story here. But, just to be just, it IS remarkable. Unflinchingly remarkable.
I will just put out a couple of hints: one of the purest smiles you've ever seen on film and, not far from the first one, a mise on scène that will get deep down your skin.
A French-German effort that should have a special place in War films history. And for that matter, in period-film-making.
So many references! So Good!
Obviously, this film was made with some other in mind. The homage it represents for films where kids played a key role in their unsettling plot is, to say the least, outstanding.
You'll find out how deeply involved with "Rosemary's Baby" it is. Or with "The Omen". I won't spill the beans here. You have to watch it. It's a horrific tale. Not a horror film with all the usual gore some want to associate the genre with. This film is horrifying in many senses. And when a film really grabs you, making you think about some personal possibilities, it has accomplished it's goal.
Joshua is a film dealing with so many things it won't disappoint. Crude, raw and cruel, but really telling. Good remake and mix of great horror films, and a new species on its own.
Performances are pretty good. Vera Farmiga is surprisingly good, as Sam Rockwell is, too. Jacob Kogan, apart from being a very good piano player, is a believable and fearsome Joshua.
Pinpoint cinematography, good plot and a very suitable script that keeps the story rolling in ways you could expect and in some others you wouldn't.
I can't believe why some people walked out theatres! There's a catch with this film for American viewers: it's eons away from American traditional movie-making. This film resembles the character exploration of Swedish and French films. So, don't expect a fast paced- spectacular glossy film. It will be a slooooow film for people who just want to have some time off with a popcorn film.
In the end... nothing new... at all.
Bloody right. There are things to be believed and some... OK
GB, especially London are amongst the worst places to live in the world. Most expensive, most depressive, most stressing and so on. And even British citizens can say this is a film about reality. I disagree.
I guess there's a great script, pretty good performances, a great score and beautiful scenes and shots, but, blood... if this film was to portrait British reality, GB would be much more than f'd (amazing... how many times is this word used in 50% of the films we review and it's still a banned word... hahahaa).
So... no Big Brother at all... no one's ever caught. I mean, not even in one friggin' day. Girls that are supposed to be fifteen are pretty well over twenty... Sam is 35. For Pete's sake. No kidulthood at all... this is all adulthood in a hooligan world.
If Britain were to be what is depicted here, it would be a full-time nightmare. And... it is not. Yea, it's depressing (London, so far, is as hell), dark and stressing, but, please, this is not how kids are there.
I know that for sure. I know lots of British kids who are as normal as most kids in the world. Many of them, to say the least, are great kids. And there are no "kids" here, at all. Families are not as stupid as they're supposed to be (according to the film)
I can't say I don't like the film, but it's not much more than what we tell the world in our films (in Mexico): gritty, dark, obnoxious, hard and a bit over the top. That's how we paint the world, but we live in a very nice country with very nice people.
Would a cab never, ever stop for a black kid? Not true. Would anybody do what these kids do in the stores they "visit"? No. Are there many parties that end in tragedy every weekend? No.
All in all, Kidulthood is just a film that takes old clichés to the 21st century and, accordingly, uses the appropriate music, slang, clothing and settings you would expect for a new film.
Nothing new. No updated views. No original storytelling. Well done, that's all.
Yami no kodomo-tachi (2008)
Courageous, Daring, Horrifying & Deeply Disturbing
I can't find one thing not to like in this film. With the exception of its subject matter. But it is, undoubtedly, the most daring film ever to cover children exploitation. Daniel Auteil and Nastassja Kinski, superbly directed by Chris Menges did a great job to tell the world about this sordid issue in "The Lost Son" in the 90's. But this is WAY ahead of what we were told then.
This film goes all the way down to hunt one of the most terrible crimes and sins in our existence. The setting is actual Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Everything is seen through the eyes of a professional writer for the Tokyo Times living in Bangkok, a naive Japanese bachelor just arrived from the West, a NGO officer, and some very dark characters with their own nightmares to be revealed.
As the news reporter tries to pry open a monstrous operation going on in Bangkok that smuggles children from Myanmar and collects some more in Thailand to sell their bodies to sexual tourism, he discovers that this is just but the tip of the iceberg. Organ trading is routine between a prominent physician in a prestigious hospital in Bangkok and a secret mafia that operates in Chiangrai, but here, the story takes a turn with no escape and the plot (as in the original novel by Sogil Yan) gets as dark as it can get.
I never spoil the show by recounting the film, so just be aware that this is a Japan-Thailand joint effort, and that the novel it is based on is Japanese. All in all, a totally Asian film. Brutal, convincing, horrifying, and extremely sad. Shot on real locations that transpire the hardships, smells and anxieties of a theme that is the rotten soul of the darkest secrets and the brightest light of humankind. If you're American, this film may bore you... or shock you. Not made for Hollywood fans.
I won't spoil the show for whoever happens to see this small jewel of a made for TV film! And I will not enter into the theme which the film is about. I suppose it is a bit senseless to air one particular point of view on the Catholic Church, politics, football or women when reviewing a film just for the sake of doing it.
OK... I recommend it because this may be one of the most daring films ever made around the subject of child molestation. The idea has been reviewed a thousand times since the cinema verité started and the New Wave took a place in our world. Maybe Germania Anno Zero is a good example.
In Judgment (sic), we have a splendid cast with a Director that actually dared to do things you seldom even try to do in a film, especially when the subject matter is so explosive. And it explodes in his hands with a blinding, enormous BANG!!
The core of every heart that is rent in this film is portrayed with passion and utmost realism. But when things really explode, the film reaches a climax that is not common at all. And here is where all the actors involved and the Director himself, did something absolutely scary. Obviously, you must watch the whole film to grab its importance and enormous power. Suffice to say Keith Carradine had one of his best and most memorable seconds in front of a camera. I won't spoil it. You have to see this by yourself to believe it. I don't know if just the making of that particular take, let a alone the whole scene, ended in special psychological treatment for Keith and Michael Faustino, who plays Robbi, Keith character's son.
If you have to stop the film because you can't stand that particular scene, I would understand. It's happened to a lot of people. If you have children... you'll know better.
All in all, in 1990, this film was just a small prediction of things to come.
Ready? OK! (2008)
Carrie IS the Film!
This may be a very low budget and common-themed play, but what makes this film so compelling is Carrie's character. I won't tell the whole story (it IS the other commentary).
The transformation the whole cast goes through as the film develops into a full story is remarkable. Even astonishing. Joshua, played by young Lurie Poston is perfectly believable. The fact that two siblings play the part of siblings is another very believable feature. All in all, the issue about Joshua's "sexual leaning" is treated with care, respect and love... Carrie (Andrea, Joshua's Mum) should be awarded some new kind of prize: she is absolutely fantastic at being Mum... she conveys her struggle in such a way that the film sort of makes you feel what she's going through.
Dialogues are good. Scenes are sometimes a bit over the top. Some really hilarious moments are cheap and effective. But, at least from my point of view, the substance that should be on the kid's side is transferred to the mother, thus diminishing the power of the message a bit. But, alas, Carrie's character IS the film!
Even when what you will see is like a smorgasbord of usually very trodden plots, Moonshine is definitely one of those films that sticks like fly-paper to your senses and mind. The story -an impossible for American films, is all sounds and visuals. Dialogue is kept to the utmost minimum. So, the many usual attractive and not-so-convincing plots employed throughout the film, mesh up perfectly.
I'd like to point out how important it is to know what you're doing when using so many clichés already used by others: here, even when you know what will happen -somehow, at least, the captivating lack communication between the main rôles and the hyper-psychological use of sound with some of the most stunning visuals I've seen simply using light and lenses the way they should be used, do the part to have you riveted to your seat.
The inherent beauty of the two kids who play very adult rôles in this coming-of-age-per-force film make it even more palatable. The music is outstanding at making your nerves spike instantly or sharply contrast with the visuals. I'd use this film to teach a thing or two about "eye- lighting" and "the importance of the way how you tell a story instead of what you tell to convey it"... the virtual absence of dialogue may be one of the most amazing feats of this film. Two thumbs up!
I'm still a bit breathless after watching this film (pretty late, 10 years after)... but it carries you away with such power that in certain moments it becomes a bit difficult to keep your cool. I suppose everyone can feel related to one or other of the characters. After reading the original novel, you know what to expect, but the way this book was put into film makes it one of the best films on the subject I've seen yet.
Benni is portrayed unflinchingly by Robert Stadlober. His role is not only believable, it is -I may be exaggerating, as always, perfect.
It's a memorable film with one of the best soundtracks I remember from a non-musical-film. Maybe the strength given to some scenes by the perfectly chosen songs is one of the reasons you must watch the film. It will tear off some of your memories, or maybe it will call your own adolescent back to tell you some things you, and I, should never forget.
I can't review Tony Gatlif's films without some bias. I was absolutely blown away by Swing. Mondo is, actually, a different world. Of hues, colours, dreams and a very powerful story. Maybe one with which I feel deeply related to.
Mondo could be an angel fallen form heaven. His relationship with Nature and all of its signs and sounds is as if he's part of a different world than any populous city. There's no way to know where he comes from. He could be a Gypsy, but he's not. He could be a homeless boy. But, alas, he's not. The story told by Gatlif here is one of redemption from this world. We pretty easily outgrow any capacity left in us to wonder, to imagine, to admire the world as it is. We, as denizens of any big and dehumanised society, become simple followers of a fate that is not devised by our own means, it is a fact of life. A mere realisation that we are in a merry-go-round that eventually will stop. In the meanwhile, we'd just cling on to it and, one day, let go.
Immersed in a world of haste and worries where a simple smile could move our lives into a deep understanding of ourselves, we choose not to. We choose to live it as it comes, no questions asked. And emptiness fill our souls, our hearts, our feelings, that are reduced to shyness, to duress or insensibility.
Mondo creates joy around him, because of his smile, his ways, his angelic power to touch souls and make them see the light. Mondo is not human. He even may not be real at all. But Mondo is here to remind us of the many missing things that make our lives, sometimes, empty, inconsistent and superficial.
Tony Gatlif is a master working with children. His Gypsy friends and actors are truthful to his otherworldliness. Mondo is the boy we all need to be reminded that growing up doesn't mean being stupid. And he's the soul to many. He reaches within and without whoever he touches with his smile.
Nice is portrayed as the soul-splitting cacophony of modern life, where Mondo always finds a way to connect with what matters for the soul. His life, a metaphor of a stray dog's, is transformed many times in front of our eyes in the life of a dog.
The execution of this film is flawless. The music is, as it always is with Gatlif's films, superb. Acting is magnificent, and Mondo is one of those roles played by non-actors that will be remembered for a long time.
By the way: someone pointed out that the nude scene of Mondo is out of place. If you watch the film and feel uncomfortable by this, you may not be normal: that is as significant as the other tens of clues Gatlif gives us to understand what he's trying to convey with the story.
A ten out of ten. Hey!, and don't miss Swing, another beautiful story.
Gourmet for non-Gourmets
Again and again, Olivier Gourmet delivers. Maybe -again, this film is not for the more inclined to American films. This one takes you into a roller-coaster of emotions that are pathetically real. Through the dissolving agents of a family breakdown. Through the bitterness of a soul that never lets his feelings show. Through the real life randomness of actions that end abruptly in pain. Through characters so well depicted that you may think you're living the process with them.
Some people argue that suspension of disbelief is a sine qua non condition to get inside a theatre or cinema and sit to watch the tragedy develop. And it is true. But when what is happening right in front of your eyes, touches some inner fibres, it accomplished its mission: to take you in the realms of dreams. This film may make your reactions more visceral, because you know someone who's been through some of the pathos of the script.
Is this a slow film? It depends on this: if what makes you react is something like Transformers or Jurassic Park, this is not a film for you. But if you are someone who likes to think and develop arguments with others, and watch Bresson, Bergman, the Coen brothers or films that deal with reality and fiction so well that end up depicting aspects of real life, then, this film is for you and it won't "feel" slow.
Again, Olivier Gourmet leading the cast with an ensemble of truly accomplished actors and actresses, was the right and only choice for this film by one of the few women who have been directing for almost fifteen years in France.
Good Rupert Alexander's Second One
The story's been revealed already. Nothing else to say, but that this is not, by a far cry, Rupert's first great dramatic achievement.
Last comment's remarks on his work are a bit "off-colour". It'd be good for all of us viewers to get rid of Rupert's role in the Harry Potter's still unfinished franchise, OK. Watch him alongside Julie Walters in "Driving Lessons" and you'll see what this almost 20-year old "kid" can do... he's been a great actor for a long time! (Driving Lessons was shot while The Goblet of Fire was still rolling cameras!).
So, if there's anything to say about an actor here, it would be really appropriate to watch his whole work before judging it, especially when he's so young. Driving Lessons was the door that opened him a whole new world because he did it so well. And here, again, he delivers with enormous power, literally obliterating Bob Sheehan and Kim Nixon, especially Robert, who's been in the limelight before Rupert.
Oh, and BTW, is there any other actor coming from the HP films who's talented as Rupert? Just watch and let some three more years go on, and you'll see Rupert in more and more big films that really suit his capabilities.
Wszystko bedzie dobrze (2007)
Must See to believe
In the Polish countryside, everything will be OK. At least that's what the title says.
Don't expect it to be so. This film will let you in the lives of young Pawel, his terminally ill mother, his nonexistent father and someone who will change Pawel's and his own life for good... at least, that was the idea.
As in most Polish films, the approach to obscure emotions, is depicted unemotionally and, aesthetically, with mind-blowing precision. I can't spoil the film by telling you all the twists and turns it takes to immerse you into a wild ride. Buy I can assure you this: you won't be disappointed. It's a story that brutally deals with love, death, faith, alcoholism and pride.
Pawel will surprise you with the way he deals with the blows life throws at him at a very young age. He will reveal the power of faith and will to change things in his own life ad the effect this will spread as a tsunami through others' lives.
This is one of those films I really wouldn't like anyone to spoil. It's so truly original and unpredictable that this only reason would be enough to watch it. If you like the deep soul of Polish cinema (a bit tautological, since the very Polish soul is what makes them tick the way they do) this film will not disappoint... performances are on the edge of perfection; photography is superb, but the story is the one thing you may not forget in a very long time.
Give yourself a full break to watch this film. It will leave you... thinking.
Son of Rambow (2007)
This time I don't mind so many comments
I try to review only those films that leave a deep imprint. Films that matter. And this one really does. People say it's made a difference in their lives. People feel it's worth writing about it because the subject matter is important.
Definitely the main roles play a part that make this film memorable. But the story that unfolds before your eyes is nothing but brilliant. In many ways it achieves turning points that are absolutely unexpected.
With all the wit of the the purest British sense of humor, the adventures of life, of rites of passage, of family affairs, of loneliness, of misunderstanding, of underdogs, of ordinary life, become extraordinary precisely because of their being ordinary affairs in our lives.
The beauty of friendship, the salvation of a beautiful soul trapped in the mask of a bully, the marvel of a boy that only by his looks was labeled in the minds of everyone and is recognised by what he is, the brilliant way in which family bonds are portrayed, make of this film one of the best films I've seen on the subject. Maybe, for the first time, someone achieves the impossible: a lighthearted story with tons of humor and some very dark aspects of our lives seen through the eyes of two boys. They endure their own solitude, their own sufferings and they don't understand why things are that way, until the heart of the story and the hearts of the boys reach a radical turning point.
I won't spoil anything, that's already been done elsewhere. Watch this film, buy it, show it and use it, it may make your life a bit brighter every time.
The History Boys (2006)
One thing I'd change
Absolutely engrossing! Not better than the play, but a huge film. Maybe a thousand others have explained the plot, the thoughts behind each and every character and the really witty resources used to make this film unforgettable.
Above all, a view into education and societal taboos that unleashes each character's creativity through language... and history. Almost no important issue is left out of the classroom. Teachers and students alike have their word and show their personalities as openly as imaginable. Something usually impossible in a classroom, except when students are pushed to think and speak out their minds.
I've seen this happen many times and I'd love to see it happen every time a teacher meets the class. If education would ever turn out to be what it's meant for, this is the way it should be done. This world would be different, much better, indeed.
The one thing I'd change (pretty difficult to do, anyway) is the age of the actors. They're all above their mid-twenties, so a lot of the power of the transitional age that is depicted on this film does not permeate as strongly as it would if the actors were the age they're representing. Especially when you see all the kids surrounding them so "in their age"... it looks a bit over the top because it actually is. But, anyway, the film wouldn't be possible with younger actors because of many legal restrictions. I still can't believe it was rated R in the US. What a shame!
Ballo a tre passi (2003)
I'm a nut about Italian films, and Italy in general. I love Sardinia and Sardinians. It's a beautiful island with energetic and beautiful people that are anything but Italian. But... this film is nonsensical. Like a pure experiment on weirdness. Someone already pointed out a very distasteful scene that makes anyone cringe (the idea of man as a pure male beast that only knows sex from beasts). The four stories (should be three, but, oddly, there are four) are disconnected and they don't pull together in the final act (as the Director seems to think).
I wouldn't say anything about the pace. It's just simply that there's no point in this film, no argument, except the possible reference to life, death and the after-world... And this is the first film I remember that four different photographers are involved in... something that shows pretty well... not favourably.
Paranoid Park (2007)
Let me in!!!!!!
Wow! This film has created turmoil, a real hurricane. I encourage you to read all the comments in here. And, please, watch the film.
It's been created casting people on MySpace... non-actors. The second time Gus approaches this daring philosophy and, as he did with Elephant, moves internal fibers seldom touched by anybody else.
It's sound-on-film. It's warped time warped back again. It's dark. It's violent. It's a style-defying work. It's a book on introspection. It's a cold stone. It's a blow. It's a paradox. It's a film... sometimes.
Watch it. Listen closely to it. Feel it. Then, try to figure out what happened inside you.