Monday, October 23, 2017

Back in 1993 a film starring Daniel Day Lewis and Pete Postletrhwaite and Emma Thompson. Impress the critics and audiences by the powerful portrait of Gerry Conlon one of the four falsely convicted in the bombing of a Belfast pub. Later in 2005 a film about the Rwanda genocide in 1994 starring Don Cheadle. Both films cowritten by Terry George and the last one directed by George, open the doors to a successful career.

With great reputation in his back he directed Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon. “The Promise” is the story of a love triangle during the conflicted years of war between Armenia and Turkey. Mikael (Issac) a student of medical school in Constantinople, he becomes friend of high level Turkish official Emre, who introduce him to Ana (Le Bon) who is in a relationship with Associate Press reporter Chris Meyers (Bale).
Mikael falls in love with Ana at the same time World War I started, suddenly this love triangle becomes more complex when Mikael is sent to prison in a labor camp and Chris is seen by the Turkish government as a spy while covering the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman’s Empire.

“The Promise” is a soapy story of a love triangle with the Armenian genocide in the background. My big issue is the portray of certain characters by non native actors, specially by Isaac. The film could be more interesting if the focus their attention to Chris Meyers journalist work of the genocide instead of fictional love story that allow the audiences to digest the problems between Armenia and Turkish government, but felt short when the film is mostly focus on the melodramatic story of Mikael.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cinema have represented the quest and search of the unknown in the enigmatic jungles and forest of the world. There is so many explorer who risked their lives, drive with fever of success and to become well known personalities responsible of finding a cities in the amazon.

From a blockbuster movies like Indiana Jones series, Ciro Guerra “Embrace of the Serpent” Werner Herzog’ s Aguirre The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. The most common factor of this films is the adventure, the obsession of finding the unknown and last but not least the mystery of the unknown.

Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) a successful British officer is sent to London to meet the members of the Royal Geographical Society with the task of travel to the border of Brazil and Bolivia who are at the brink of war for that territory. These countries asked the British government to survey the area to solve this differences. On the ship to Brazil, Fawcett meet Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) who tell Fawcett about the Amazon rainforest and the rubber plantations.

During this trip Fawcett had revelations about the life in the forest, his connections with aborigines but also he grows obsessions with mysterious cities in the jungle. After returning from his first trip his wife Nina (Sienna Miller) has given birth to their second son. Thanks to Nina, Fawcett become interested in going back after the finding of a conquistador text talking about a city deep into the Amazon jungle.

The Lost City of Z is James Gray 6th film, a complex production in Santa Marta Colombia, well crafted and well performed. The movie is a true gem capturing the stories of Percy Fawcett. The story represents a great visual document about Amazon exploration in the very beginning of the 20th century. It’s a story about characters who wants something in their life, outside their confort zone. The Lost City of Z is Fawcett obsession and passion, driven by his family, but also their demise. The two parallel worlds are the aristocracy and brutal British life at war and the dangerous and mysterious environment between Bolivia and Brazil.

Monday, October 16, 2017

James (Dan Stevens) is a person who lives a very simple life with his wife Sam (Malin Ã…kerman) and son. Working in a company buying properties, his telemarketing job next to his best friend Bob (Oliver Platt) also blind constitute the type of american life were you live paycheck to paycheck.

One morning James wakes up and he realized that he can see. The visual representation of this moment is compelling and poetical and kind of introduce you to the type of film you are going to see. Now as a different man James decided to take on the world. He decided to get a clean cut suit, become the guy who takes peoples lives instead of helping them to get a life and also cheat on his wife.

The metaphor of recovering eye sight is related to loosing the ability to see the simple things in life by thinking that luxurious lifestyle and stunning gals can give you a better chance in life. For some people life is about living in style, but on the other hand you can loose your love ones in a blink of an eye.

The Ticket is the perfect example of a story with a poetic justice.
Ido Fluk direct a stellar cast with a powerful story ripped from middle America's heart.

Friday, September 22, 2017

In the middle east, most of the unions between a women and men, are seen as alliance between their families, something that is sometime consider a controversial subject in America. That also goes to non traditional jobs. With that premise comes the story of Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) He is a Pakistani Muslim immigrant who works a uber driver, who wants to be a stand up comedian, hi lives with his roommate also comedian in Chicago. His parents who came to the USA a long time ago, are trying to set up several women with Kumail, to finally find the right for him in a arranged marriage.

From the very beginning the audience discover that Kumail is uninterested in Mulsim traditions and the arranged marriage. On one of his shows, he met Emily (Zoe Kazan) which become a stable relationship for him. He hides Emily from his parents to avoid conflicts, as the relationship grows, his secret about his arranged marriage, becomes a problem, causing a break up with Emily.

Suddenly Kumail receive a phone call about Emily who is been taken to a hospital.

“The Big Sick” is the romantic comedy and drama written Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon
Directed by comedian, actor and writer Michael Showalter, the story unfolds a critique to american society about labeling people from middle east, but also how this tradition of arrange marriages, are sometimes selfish acts to keep families together, by expense of daughters and sons who are focusing on another kind of life, specially if you live in America. “The Big Sick” presents people who wants to succeed, people who still believe in true love, no matter the color of your skin and religion.

The film is powerful, with strong performances by Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

When a director decided to use World War II as the main subject, the range of possibilities is quite big. You can bring so many elements: love, betrayal, action, drama, survival, etc. On the other hand the subjects about World War II are very sensitive, specially if you talk about the Nazi Germany.

“The Exception” tells the story of German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) a very trouble person with a turbulent past. Brandt is sent to Netherlands to protect as a personal bodyguard of a Kaiser, German Emperor Wilhelm (Christopher Plummer) who is been exiled for quite a while.

The main concern from the Germans is after the invasion of Netherlands, dutch spies are watching the Kaiser with the idea of finding information about the German army movement. A maid name Mieke de Jong (Lily James) meet Brandy after his arrival and start a steamy affair, becoming dangerous at the time, because is risky for both of them, but also Brandt suspicion of Mieke been the Dutch spy.

“The Exception” is a great film with a perfectly build cast lead by Christopher Plummer, the movie, besides been based from a novel, could be easily confused with a real story from World War II. The production values of the film shows how carefully the director work with production design to make it look believable. The camera work is well done.

On the other hand the film is very slow sometimes and melodramatic. But I praise the work of David Leveaux as a first director for this movie.

During the year 2001 to 2010 a TV show named Scrub captivate audiences around the world, specially with the character Dr J.D. Dorian play by Zach Braff. After those years Braff was fine tuning and idea, become a director. In 2004 the release of his film “Garden State” mesmerized becoming a sort of cult classic, in 2013 he directed “Wish I Was Here”, fully financed with Kickstater.

Those movies represents a constant soul searching as a character and as a human begin. Perhaps Braff decided to leave that path and go back to his roots in comedy with his third film “Going on Style”

Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) are senior citizens who lives in NYC, they been friends for years. An unpleasant circumstances they loose their pensions because the company they worked for was bought. Joe received the news at his bank that his going loose his home in 30 days, at the same time he witness the robbery of the bank, where the robbers scape with the money. For Joe is a epiphany, rob a bank with his buddies will be the best solution to solve of their problems.

“Going on Style” is a light comedy with a glimpse of so many heist movies, you can even hint some of the story of Hell or High Water, a well reviewed film about a series of bank robberies in Texas. The movie attempts to bring so many talented actors is not enough to make this film meaningful. In fact the movie don’t bring anything new to the table, is just something that you could watch on an Sunday afternoon when you are very bored. My biggest problem is the look of the film, it look budget limited and have a lack of production value.

The expectations are not that high when you see the trailer, but when you see the film, you are totally unimpressed.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The labyrinth of the mind is a very common subject for director Christopher Nolan. A film that made him famous was the movie “Memento”, about a man who is investigating the murder of his wife, but due a condition he cannot remember anything, so he needs to catalogo everything, between pictures and writing on his body information allow him to remember. In his two sci-fi movies. “Inception” and “Interstellar” he challenge times, space and the mind, by putting the characters to travel to time and also to dream, within a dream. The Prestige two magicians friends fight to become the most powerful magician using their abilities to trick the other. “Insomnia” A detective looking for a killer, travels to a very virgin territory where time is altered by the geography. Last but not least “The Dark Knight Trilogy” the challenges of the mind are based on the struggle between good an evil, by becoming a public vigilante.

There is nothing that Christopher Nolan cannot do these days. In 1940 the British army got stuck at the French corridor of Dunkirk, after several operations trying to take over the land from the Germans. The vast operation ordered by Winston Churchill is to rescue the British army using nothing than boats from coast of England, specially from Dover.

This historical event is been portraying in the film “Dunkirk” masterfully directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie is set in 3 different point of view of the events and 3 different times (one week, one day, one hour). The Mole, The Sea and The Air in which present the troops attempting to scape the bay of Dunkirk, The ships trying to sail way from France, but been intercepted by the Germans, and last the pilots flying of the channel protecting the British ships from any attack.

Nolan, borrow the best from silent movies about the war, like other war movies made. The suspense build with groundbreaking soundtrack and original score, by Hans Zimmer make the film a true spectacle. The editing by Lee Smith is a perfect synchronization of visual actions, with a glimpse of Sergei Eisenstein in “Battleship Potemkin” creates a stressful experience for everyone willing to experience it. Hoyte van Hoytema Director of photography of the film takes the challenge to shoot this movie in IMAX 70mm capturing the finest details of this historical moment in World War II.

One of the most important aspect of the movie is how the story is been told, for the audience could be a major struggle, when they are full aware the the story takes place: one week, one day and one hour. The juxtaposition of these events makes sense once you fully understand the scope of the narrative and how the main characters start connecting each other creating these story in 3 time dimensions.

Dunkirk, is a masterful film that needs to be seen in the big screen.