Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The life of a artist, specially painters is surrounded by tragedies, unsatisfied loves, family conflicts but most of all great success. Hollywood had brought to the screen the life of so many talented painters. Fro Frida, Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Basquiat, Goya, Pollock to J.M.W. Turner.

Mr Turner is the story of this famous painter telling the story of a certain period of his life. Directed by Mike Leigh (Happy Go Lucky, Very Drake, Topsy Turvy) and masterfully acted my Timothy Spall (Harry Potter, The Last Samurai, The King Speech).

The film focus on his travels, his relationship with his father, as his servant as well his twisted relationship with his housekeeper. But also show J.M.W. Turner. techniques and methods of panting, from spitting over the finally work, with the idea of tweaking the painting and give more realism to the canvasses and also the exploration of several pigments in order to achieve real life like colors.

Spall represents Mr Turner strongly, with mannerism and nuances that leaves you amaze of how he was able to research a painter. The costume design by Jacqueline Durran is excellent as well the beautiful cinematography by Dick Pope.

Leigh style is slow and drives the film into a very intense and non dramatic movie, but music score by Gary Yershon set the tone to an intense ride where Spall take you from the country aristocracy, brothels and the Royal Academy of Arts.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fighting war is about teamwork, you get all the talented people that you can get and then make them work together was one. In fact this one of the perfect metaphor when a group of soldiers are part of the crew on a tank.

This story is not new is been depicted on war film about flight crew (Memphis Belle) submarines (Das Boot and U571) and a tank too (Lebanon) but perhaps this last film is the perfect film to compare against David Ayery's "Fury" Don Wardaddy Collier (Brad Pitt) is the staff sergeant of the 66th Armored Regiment who commands a Sherman tank. His crew: Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia Lebouf) Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Peña) Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal) and the newcomer Norman "Machine" Ellison (Logan Lerman).

Fury tells the story of this crew fighting the Germans in the mist of the end of war. Visiting several villages where still are traces of SS officers. For Norman this experience is new and scary, he never experienced war the way that Don and the rest of the crew has. Ayer's film shows a very rough side of war, sometimes extremely violent, who in a way is a vivid reflection of Norman virginity to war. From combat to killing he feels completely vulnerable to the situation, and the crew knows that, specially sergeant Don Collier, which in several ovations force him to face the roughness of the work that they do, like killing Germans, not because they are evil, is because are Americans enemy in this conflict. For Don the real meaning of war is war itself, is a interesting contrast for war strategy, they don't care about what plan they do, their job is kill Nazis: Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.

The film depicts a very difficult relationship between the crew itself and their tiredness of been secluded in that little space with each other. But also embrace the pleasure of doing the kind the job the do, by always using the line: "Best job I ever had" and also referring to Fury as their home.

Fury is a good film about war, but is not pretentious. Avery is not giving you inner meaning to the story is just raw story for the audience and they have to digest it right there on screen. Michael Peña and Shia Lebouf are excellent on their roles. Steven Price creates a very particular sound for the film with his score composition.

Sometimes war were fought in a room filled with people instead of a war zone. Sometimes heroes are people who helped with strategy rather that the one who challenge the enemy until one of them just give up. This is the case of The Imitation Game a film by Morten Tydum (Buddy, Fallen Angels and Head Hunters) where Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) a mathematician, logician and pioneering of computer science his the key figure in cracking the Nazi German enigma code.

The films takes place in several years period where Turing is hired by MI6 to work with a team to crack the code. The story will have two different sets of flashbacks. one for Turing childhood and school time where he discovered his sexual orientation and also his early passion on cracking complex codes. the second flash back are the war time where the team and Turing work developing ways to analyze Nazi messages and the construction on the big computer who decipher the codes sent by the Germans.

Perhaps the problem with The Imitation Game is the film structure of those flashbacks. The film start in a specific time where Turing is talking to a police officer, then connect to the past, doing is back and forth scenes for a certain time. I assume that the idea of this scenes is connects the subsequent homosexuality charges with his work for MI6 and how people suspect about his behavior and how was consider a taboo for the British government and end up been his demise in late years.

On the other hand, the film won't disappoint. Is a inspiring film about a group of mathematicians and physics trying to win the war in a science lab and the early years of computers.

Benedict Cumberbatch is superb on this role, his performance is beyond extraordinary. Cumberbatch capture the essence of Turing. The rest of the cast is pretty good too, including Keira Knightley. The original score by Alexander Desplat is beautiful and the production design is well done.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vincent McKenna (Bill Murray) lives in Bay Ridge NY. Is an angry fellow, misunderstood, without money. But on the inside he have a will to live. After the arrival of Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) as Vincent new neighbor. Maggie is been forced due work related problems to have Oliver been take care by Vincent as nanny. The relationship turns into a special one. When Vincent teach Oliver how to fight, and bet on horse racing.

St Vincent is a funny story of the relationship of a kid and Vicent a sort of scoundrel trying to survive several circumstances like the pregnancy of his friend Daka (Naomi Watts) and the money debt with Zucko (Terrence Howard)

Bill Murray is amazing on this role as well Jaeden Lieberheras Oliver. The film is witty and funny.

A dystopian world where humans are facing extinction, by loosing there main resources under extreme conditions. A retired pilot Copper (Matthew McConaughey) lives with his kids Murph and Tom. Later he discovered a secret mission that will guide space travelers to search a way to help humanity surviving in another planet.

Interstellar is the visual stunning and groundbreaking film from Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight Trilogy, Memento and Inception) This film is about love, sacrifice, space travel, time, wormholes and the fifth dimension.

Nolan takes space travel to a whole different level, with a glimpse of images similar to 2001 Space Odyssey, The Right Stuff, Alien and Gravity. He used as many elements possible to take you to a trip to the unknown, achieving a masterful cinematic experience.

Interstellar is a film about space exploration focusing on saving the civilization, not necessary saving the actual one, but helping to make a new civilization in a different planet. Besides the complexity of the story about wormholes, black holes, time, space and relativity. Interstellar metaphorically speaking is about dying tradition of analog technologies that are loosing the battle with new technologies.

A handful of elements, such as books, analog watches and black boards are present in the film only used by the actors. For Christopher Nolan artifacts are necessary in our lives, make us feel that the world is have a sense of unpredictability. The only computers available are TARS and CASE which are the state of the art robots who facilitate space travelers in driving the ship, working on the mission with a intensive database.

Code morse is perhaps one of the most groundbreaking element of communication in the film. Matthew McConaughey watch given to his daughter in the past turns out the key of communication with a message for a better future.

But the real connection between booth universe is held in the oldest carrier of information, books. Coopers home library contain the missing link and the reveal is gorgeous.

Hans Zimmer developed a singular score that simply skip his traditional sound, by creating one more human, less electronic with a nuances of Kubrick 2001.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Luc Besson director of (Leon, La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element) bring back his stylized hit man look for the film Lucy. Scarlett Johanson and Morgan Freeman starring in this movie which seems to be like mind blowing adventure from drug trafficking to revenge. This science fiction thriller tales the story of Lucy a 25 year student living in Taipei, been forced to be a drug mule of a new synthetic drug, one of the bags breaks by accident inside Lucy's belly, the consequences Lucy acquired increasingly enhanced physical and mental capabilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, mental time travel, and can choose not to feel pain or other discomforts, in addition to other abilities.

Lucy will continue her adventures to find a solution to the problem by contacting professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman)

Luc Besson bring the best of his action packed style adding interesting sci fi elements. The movie is complex, visually stunning and impressive. Probably Lucy will turn into a cult film in the future.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Theater is one of the main resources to make films, a long list of plays based on books or plays based on plays been made throughout the film history. But make a film about the making of a play is pretty rare.

Birdman which tells the story of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) an actor famous for portraying a action hero on hollywood films. Birdman a fictional character Batman type who haunts Riggan as a voice and alter ego. Riggan is struggling to become actor, director, writer from a theater play in NY escaping the blockbuster world and making real art on stage.

Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel) directs an stellar cast Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone with groundbreaking film techniques by Director of Photography Oscar winner for Gravity Emmanuel Lubezki creating the illusion of a single shot instead of several editing cuts.

Replicating techniques like Alfred Hitchcock "The Rope" Gonzales Iñarritu and Lubezki use halls and passages as well dark rooms to transition between shots Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione edit the film masterfully.

Gonzales Iñarritu pay tribute to theater by using the single shot technique instead of several cuts a perfect fit for a theater goer who basically have to choose which angle to see and where to cut.

Michael Keaton is amazing, as well Edward Norton.
Antonio Sanchez score is masterful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blue and Not So Pink (Azul y no Tan Rosa) tells the story Diego (Guillermo García) a photographer living the best time of his life with his partner Fabrizio (Sócrates Serrano) a respected doctor. Diego have a turbulent past, when he was younger he had a kid Armando (Nacho Montes) with his high school sweetheart, Armando and his mother live in Spain.

After tragic events of an homophobic attack that ends Fabrizio in coma, Diego is forced to recover the lost time with Armando, this will become a intense relationship of discovering and learning. Diego's best friend is a drag queen by the name Delirio del Rio played by Hilda Abrahamz who bring sense to the story with gay jokes and spicing up some of the situations that happen on the film.

Miguel Ferrari directs this film about very important social issues: homophobic violence, homosexuality, transsexualism and domestic violence. "Blue and Not So Pink" becomes another great film about tolerance and respect of every human being no matter their sexual orientation.

In a way the film is powerful, but the story is not new. Some of the movie have reminiscence to the Australian film "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". Where a group of drag queens embarked themselves into a road trip to from Sidney to the great outback. Anthony Belrose (Hugo Weaving) have a lost child like in "Blue and Not So Pink" have a great friend drag queen as well, Adam Whitely/Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pierce) which also reminds me to Delirio del Rio played by Hilda Abrahamz. Besides "Blue and Not So Pink" film doesn't have a road trip as a main plot for the film, it offers one near the end of the movie. The besides this similarity both films offer strong messages about tolerance against homophobic practice.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One of my least favorites genres on film is family reunion because of a death in the family. The case of This is Where I Leave is that compare to most of the movies such as The Family Stone, August: Osage County, Medea's Family Reunion and Home for Holidays, this movie is not taking place during the holidays. Perhaps the film have an excuse for a jewish ritual for the death.

This is Where I Leave you tell the story of Judd (Jason Bateman) a radio station producer who the day of his wife Quinn's (Abigail Spencer) birthday discover that the host of Judd radio show Wade (Dax Shepard) is been having an affair with Quinn.

After a period of time pass Wendy (Tina Fey) Judd's sister, call him to give him the news of his father passing. Finally during the funeral Wendy and Judd reunites with mom Hillary and the other two brothers Paul (Corey Soll) and Phillip (Adam Driver)

The story of the film is a constant reminder of how messed up the family is. Hillary telling their kids how sexual amazing their father was, Judd constant ignoring his Quinn phone calls and telling lies bout Quinn's absence during the mourning time. Phillip childish attitude to life, dating older and younger women at the same time and pretentious way of living as well Paul desperate search for having a baby with his wife Annie and finally Wendy marriage falling apart for a inconsiderate husband.

The film depicts another ordinary film family with nothing groundbreaking about it. The film have funny moments but is flat and the story fades away at the end.

A house, a marriage, a town, a disappearance, a murder?

In the mist of the Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) wedding anniversary the mysterious disappearance and potential murder of Amy, this happening shakes the traditional and conventional life of this small town in Missouri.

The character and attitude of Nick makes him the primal suspect of this crime. Who cannot hate him? David Fincher directs a film about marriage, domestic violence, media glorification of the good and bad.
Afflleck is perfect for the role. A lot of people dislike him as an actor or hollywood personality, but in this film all this hate is drain into a character how apparently is the main responsible of his wife gone missing.

With a witty language from most of the characters, the script encapsulate the biggest fears for a marriage couple, the death of a family member, in laws relationship, intimacy, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sacrifice for the greater good, fidelity and trust.

On the technical aspects the editing is well crafted, a very slow story, flow with an outstanding and out of place pace and rhythm, in a way seems to be in sync with the music score, made by the same team from Girl with The Drago Tattoo and Social Network (Trent Reznor Atticus Ross) The cinematography is pretty sharp and clean, the yellows and dark tones preserve the mystery of this thriller.

The most outstanding of this film is that you can see David Fincher at its best on every scene. From Zodiac, Social Network, Girl with The Drago Tattoo, The Game, Panic Room and even Seven.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lasse Hallström is a swedish director and screenwriter with a outstanding filmography. From My Life as a Dog, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Hallström offers a very interesting and diverse collection of films. With this new movie he goes back to one of the essence of his craft, relationship thru food.

The Hundred Foot Journey tales the story of Hassan the oldest son of a indian family who loves to cook. He learned almost everything he knows thanks to his mom. A mob attack and firebombs over a election dispute the family restaurant is destroyed and Hassan mom is killed in the fire. The family seek asylum in Europe trying to find a better living. Finally they settle by accident in a small town in France. Papa decided to settle there by opening a indian restaurant across the street from a french restaurant owned Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren).

The film is a fun exploration of cultural clashes, family relationship and the values of working hard to be successful. Hallström delivers a great movie, with charming images of France as well the food.

The Hundred Foot Journey is entertaining.

A Most Wanted Man is the most recent film of Aton Corbijn and probably the last film we ever see from Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The film plot covers a very powerful story about a half Chechen, half Russian arrived to Hamburg looking for help in a islamic community. He claims that his father owns a fortune in a bank. US and Germany government are interested in this character using wiretapping and other techniques to hunt this guy.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Günther Bachmann the leader of the operation following the most wanted man. His team will hunt and blackmail everyone to get all the information about this person before the americans get him first.

Rachel McAdams plays a civil lawyer trying to get political asylum to the Chechen rebel and Willem Dafoe plays a the bank president intrigued by all the money involved in this situation.

The film is suspenseful and beautifully shot, Aton Corbijn delivers a powerful film with a great assemble cast.

Cantinflas was a famous director, actor, producer and comedian from Mexico. Mario Moreno creates this role in the 30's while he was working at a circus. This role becomes a emblem for his country of origin but also a mega star for Spanish speaking territories, because all the films.

The film Cantinflas directed by Sebastian del Amo, attempt to tell this story using two simple plots. The making of the film Around the World in 80 days and the early days of Mario Moreno before he was just finding a way to make it. Óscar Jaenada plays Cantinflas bringing him back to life with interesting nuances such as his movements, voice tone and facial expressions. Michael Imperioli plays Mike Todd producer of Around the World in 80 days.

Cantinflas lack of a proper film structure, the movie tries to connect the young Cantinflas to the old one with parallel situations that goes from 30's then the 50's and back and forth. Amo tries to connects this two situations, but we see two different Cantiflas struggling in completely different circumstances. I assume the film have budget constrains because there is also a lack of locations in Mexico.

Sadly the film was really bad reviewed in America, what I mean sadly is US critics don't understand or will never understand who was Cantinflas or how he influenced the spanish speaking audiences.

Cantinflas is a decent film about the life of this great performer, unfortunately this film not represent fully his success and legacy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The world is facing probably its latest conflict and the mutants are in the brink of disappearance. Robots "Sentinels" are been created to destroy all mutants. The only solution is to travel thru time to the moment when sentinels were created in order to eliminate them. Professor X and Magneto join forces to send Wolverine to 1973 in order to fulfill this mission. During this period Wolverine will face the young Magneto and Professor X trying to convince them that they need to help each other in order to save themselves in the future.

Bryan Singer directs X-Men: Days of Future Past he brings back the true essence of the original X men, a true memorable scene like the rescue of young Magneto (Michael Fasbender) by Quicksilver (Evan Peters) make this movie unique. But the plot sometimes can be extremely confusing that you loose tracks of the situations or happenings, specially Young Magneto's actions. Probably the best role in the film is James McCavoy playing Young Professor X. Peter Dinklage was a waste, a great actor used for a really useless role.

Richard Linklater director of such films like Before Midnight, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Bernie. Explore the life of a kid till he is a grown up man in his new movie Boyhood. Starring Patricia Arquette and and Ethan Hawke. The film was shot in the period of 12 years and tells the story of Mason a curious kid, his sister Samantha and his divorced parents. During 166 minutes, we see this kid facing revelations like his mother wrong choices to find a proper man, but her work to go to college and make a living to raise her kids as great persons. Boyhood shows an important side of parenting and the word of circumstances surround a son and a daughter. How divorce parents are able to cope with confused kids, but also shows the value of family bonding and conversations between a father and his son.

The film is well articulated and not brag about interesting or groundbreaking techniques to tell the story of Mason, props in the film, social situations and political landmarks make you understand the changing time that this kids later adults face during 12 years of their life. The is no arrogance or pretentious style in the movie. The film is unique and simple. Simple cuts and music from that period helps you understand that time have pass, but also discovering Mason and Samantha and their friends reveal that a period of their life reached them make them a teenager or a your adult.

Boyhood is a beautiful film, powerful and educational experience for any father and mother struggling raise a kid.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love, the lack of it and the lost of it. Can be expressed in words, and expressions, but also in music. Composers and songwriters do it all the time. You can be in love with a song, feel sad about a lost love or even feel melancholy for not been in love.

The film "Begin Again" directed by John Carney (Once) is the story of two lost souls in the streets of NYC. Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) a struggling record label executive, divorced, unrelated to his teenager daughter and loosing his record label meet in a East Village bar Gretta (Kiera Knigthley) a young songwriter who travels with her boyfriend at the time Dave Kohl (Adam Levine) a big shot songwriter and singer who is brought to NY for a record deal, a few months later Dave break up with Gretta, after having an affair with an intern from the record label.

This two souls Dan and Gretta, connect each others to produce a record with songs written by Gretta and using NY sounds and places as a backdrop of the album. The whole experience will be a learning curve for Gretta and Dan.

Begin Again is a fun romantic comedy that makes you feel in love about NY with music and personal experiences.


A train travels over a snowy landscape, it goes a really high speed. Inside carry a very unusual shipment… People of several ethnicity's and several social levels. This is a basic premise of the film "Snowpierecer" directed by Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host). Snowpiercer is based on a french graphic novel Le Transperceniege. A group of people living in a dystopian world where the only way of survival is on a train (Snowpierecer). In 2014 an experiment to counteract global waning cause an ice age. The habitants of the tail of the train are people living in inhumane conditions, probably like slums. The train contain a very strict level of security and also provide food as protein blocks of food. Among the survivors in the tail of the train we have Curtis (Chris Evans)a rebel who is organizing a riot against the government of the Snowpiercer, specially Wilford the creator of the train. Curtis develop a plan for years and he is been helped by a group of angry people (Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, John Hurt) willing to sacrifice all for the well being, specially to recover dignity and what every citizen want as their own right.

The story contain a collection of metaphors and semiotic elements that makes the film a try masterpiece. The society is divided by train cars, and you need to go thru all the chain to make it to the top. In a way the quest of the tail society in the train is like The Wizard of Oz, the journey is filled with challenges and complications, but when you reach the destination, the reward is the journey not the destination. The tail represents how societies are facing problems this day and age. Revolts, drepravation of food and water supplies and crowded conditions. Weapons are make with rudimental elements, even a torch is more powerful than night vision goggles. The hierarchy from the top of societies, like corporations are represented by Wilford who controls everything, security and social alienation and manipulation. Kids follow the script and been taught to love Wilford and despise the members of the tail of the train, other cars are filled with superficial elements: drugs, sex, alcohol, luxury. The quest is so unique for the members of the tail that none of seems to care about any frivolous things in the train, they seem amuse or perhaps ignore those things for the lack of it.

Snowpiercer is a better approach to a dying societies like The Hunger Games or Divergent.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm tells the true story of a US sport agent struggling to find an clients in their new company managing sports talent.

J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) needs a big hit in order to keep the company alive. An asian businessman is willing to invents in asian players, after that conversation Bernstein realize that is hard to get good asian players, but none ever explore the possibility of getting indian players. This happen after watching a cricket game on TV noticing how fast these players pitch.

Bernstein embarks on a trip to find "A million dollar" a contest to bring cricket players across india to try the next big baseball player. Bernstein discover two great potential players Rinku played by Suraj Sharma ( Life of Pi) and Dinesh played by Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire) this kids comes from rural towns in India and they never seen America before. In the blink of an eye Bernstein bring Rinku and Disneh to Los Angeles to train as a baseball players, but been away from family and home will conflict with his talents. Bernstein is so focusing so much into business that he forgot what are the human aspects all about.

Million Dollar arm is a sort of a mix of Slummdog Millionaire and Jerry Maguire.
This is fun and emotional film about sports.


Locke is the story of Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) a contraction foreman who is responsible of a massive concrete pour in Birmingham UK, departs from his work place for the night. His ride on the freeway is a revelation for the audience. He have a great family with two kids and a important job. But Locke have a secret. The story takes place inside Locke's car. Thru phone calls the story unfolds between Locke, his family, a co worker, his boss and a girl.

The GPS and the screens which shows the callers is the window for Ivan Lock to express his feelings, what's he going trough and where he is going. He wants to make things right this time, but a chain of problems and consequences haunt him. He wants to manage his life like he was dealing with concrete in a construction.

Locke is a powerful film, beautiful shot and edited with a powerful performance by Tom Hardy.


Food is a great source of inspiration for several artist, painters, musicians, sculptures and filmmakers,
Specially movies about food, explore the success of the demise of a human being: Chefs and wannabe chefs discover thru food, love, passion, money and reconnection with love ones.

In the film Chef Jon Favreau (f Iron Man and Iron Man 2, but also the writer of the cult classic Swingers) explore most of the human aspects mentioned previously. The story of the film Chef is about a chef Carl Casper who is one of the best in Los Angeles, frustrated of the owner of the restaurant Riva (Dustin Hoffman) he decide to quit his job and do some soul searching with the help of his ex wife Inez (Sofia Vergara)

Carl Casper have a a few problems in his life, he is disconnected with his son, he wants to cook food that he loves and he feels empty without a partner. In the brink of all this situations Chef Casper become the social media sensation after been bad reviewed by a blogger, and later rant about this blogger on twitter and in a video of Chef Casper going viral. Ex wife Inez helped to focus on the wonders of traditional cuban food, exploring the possibility to own a food truck.

Favreau attract the audience with a light comedy, beautiful food footage, nice road trip across the US and great actors appearance from Robert Downey Jr, Scarlet Johanson, Oliver Platt.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pelo Malo

Life can be seen from the point of view of a kid as innocent, unique and special. Doesn't matter of how poor or rich a family can be, the kid will always dream and wish something out of the ordinary.

For Junior (Samuel Lange Zambrano) his long dream was to get his hair straight ready for his school picture. The story takes place in a poor area of Caracas during social turmoil, when a president is facing illness and the followers of the president are doing sacrifices for his health. This backdrop is a the social scenario of a Junior's mother Marta (Samantha Castillo) constant struggle to maintain a two kids from a murdered father at any cost, but also her homophobic feelings about Junior.

The film explore political messages and social problems about kids living in poor areas, who dream big, but those dreams are slashed out but broken promises and sad realities.

The story is powerful, with strong messages, about tolerance, respect and society morals about people who think different.

The Lunchbox

Movies always been obsessed with food. Films that tale the tales of love, deception and success with the power of food use this element to create wonderful stories. From Like Water for Chocolate, Babette's Feast, Chocolat, Eat Drink Woman, these films tell stories of struggling families, passionate relationships and search for happiness.

In the Indian film The Lunchbox (Dabba) we have two major characters Saajan play by Irrfan Khan (Slumndog Millionaire, Life of Pi) a nearly retired from accountant office who is grieving the dead of his wife and Illa play Nimrat Kaur who is a unsatisfied wife who is trying to reconquer her husband with food. The idea from Illa with the help of her aunt is cook the most wonderful dishes and send it to her husband using the service of Dabbawalas a messenger service who deliver lunches right at her husband office. By mistake the lunchbox is received by Saajan who enjoyed the food so much. After the second lunch Illa realize that her husband is not receiving the food, but is other person, and she decided to send a not with the lunchbox in order to find out who is the mysterious person who is enjoying Illa's cooking skill.

The film The lunchbox is hopeful, funny and represents a single love story, where both characters share personal thoughts about life and dreams. Is a true gem of Indian cinema.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"The Gran Budapest Hotel"

Wes Anderson "The Gran Budapest Hotel" represents the highest peak in this director style. The film outstanding art direction and cinematography is one of the biggest attraction, as well a powerful ensemble cast.

"The Gran Budapest Hotel" tales the story of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) a well known concierge in this hotel in the 1920's. Zero Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham/Tony Revolori) recounts the events from his own point of view as well his relationship with Gustave H. This legendary concierge was demanded by rich old ladies that visit the hotel for the luxury of the place as well how Gustave carter them in so many ways. One of the visitors Madame D (Tilda Swinton) was in love of the famous concierge, for a wide variety of reasons, she also offer Gustave all her fortune if she dies.

Suddenly after Madame D last visit, came the sad news that she die Gustave is included as part of the will which upset all the members of the family including her son Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis.

The story will takes place in interesting passages of Gustave in jail as well well crafted actions scenes and chase.

"The Gran Budapest Hotel" is not a powerful story like older films from Wes Anderson, but is a delightful film paying tribute to the silent films era with cinematic techniques, beautiful art direction, costume design and a powerful assemble cast.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nyphomania vol 2

The best way to solve a problem is accept that there is one…
Traditionally you will go to therapy, talk about it and seek medical help if is need it.

But never go against your own will and explore new levels of that problem. Perhaps that's what happens to Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in the volume 2 of Nymphomaniac. She lost her sexual appetite after feel disappointed to her love and partner Jeróme.

Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) continues listening Joe's story about her sexual journey. Her new passages in life are more disturbing but also are more interesting. After the deteriorating relationship with Jerome, Joe continue feeding her sexual appetite that goes from sadomasochism with a real professional played by Jamie Bell. Joe experience pain mentally physically and psychologically, metaphorically speaking she sees her falling apart after this pain, but also her obsession with pain almost make her loose the one thing that keeps her together, her son.

Her obsession leads her to new sexual additions by having sexual innuendos with two African brothers, total strangers that she spy from her window. The episode turns into a comedic one, when the brothers cannot decide witch sexual position are going to share with Joe, while she stood in front to big erect penis.

The journey continues when she explore sex with a girl young protégé and also with L a character played by Willem Dafoe, a guy who owns a company responsible of provide pleasure to wealthy people.

The conclusion is a harsh as the viewer’s relationship with Von Trier, is never passionate or emotional is cold and hard as it can be. We can love him for what he did, we just keep want more, more controversial and nonsense stories.

Nymphomaniac Vol 1

When you start a relationship based just on sex, there is no room for love or any other feeling than just lust. Is aggressive, immediate, carnal, insensitive and end abruptly.

To me thats the way to explain the first film Nymphomania Vol 1. The film start with Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) a middle aged loner walking on a dark alley after buying groceries, he finds Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) laying on the floor totally beat up. After take care of her, Joe start telling him the story of her life, how she end up there and the origin of her sexual obsession.

During the course of this first volume Seligman hearing all the sexual chapters of Joe's life, that goes from her sexual discovery to her eminent relationship with Jerôme (Shia LeBeouf) the person who treasure the end of her virginity and also the end of her vaginal sensibility. While Seligman is listening Joe's stories, he provoke her by adding bizarre elements to they stories, thanks to his studies as a scholar, most of the references are related to fly fishing, which later becomes in metaphors of how Joe catching sexual partners from the early age.

Joe's relationship with her father was special, but at the end is represented with a twisted sexual reference by showing a corpse at the same angle of her open legs while Joe is lubricating.

Joe is a sinner Seligman is a sinner, everyone in this film are sinners in a way. Joe express her obsession with sex and lack of pleasure by switching patterns, lying to them in a articulated montage of images back to back.

This not Lars Von Trier finest work, but represents a very risky exploration of a hungry woman who is not socially accepted for her desires, more than her mistakes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A choir sing in a italian square while a bunch of Japanese tourist listen an italian tourist guy, one of the tourist split from the group to snap some panoramic pictures of the city, suddenly he is dead… The life start in the afternoon for everyone

The Great Beauty start with a wild party on the rooftop of luxury apartment in Rome. You can identify the main character of this story, the selfish people with unreciprocated love, the heavy drinker with nothing left to live, midgets, dominatrix and horny fellows. The last person to reveal is the singular guy smoking and seems to having a blast on this party, this i Jep.

Jep is a writer, Jep is a playboy, Jep is the happiest guy in Italy. The Great Beauty tells the story of Jep Gambardella a well known writer with a single successful book, lives "La Dolce Vita" in this wonderful and amazing apartment with a terrace to the Coliseum, he lives the live to the fullest, with crazy parties with friends who share a common interest in writing and theater. But there empty, from the inside.

Jep search for love, real one, he spent hours by looking at the ceiling picturing the ocean, the sea that saw him grew and saw him been in love and passionated about things, but specially Elissa his lost love.

That's What triggers Jep emotions. He relived the first kiss, his first sexual encounter and how his life is been dedicated to enjoy the superficial pleasures of life, the drugs, the lust, the alcohol and the luxury.

The Great Beauty is surreal, is fantastic, is a pure joy a real movie buzz, he honored the great Federico Fellini with his iconic images, the religious symbols, but most importune how caricature characters travel from one extreme to the other, camouflaging their emotions using fancy clothes, fancy cars, erotic dance moves and elegant dinner parties with bishops and cardinals.

The film travels to the underground lives of instant botox, the Costa Concordia, unusual gifted kids painters who drain their hate, but mostly The Great Beauty is about a man who wanders the city and his life.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making biopics is a big challenge, in fact could be a curse if are not make properly.
Director Justin Chadwick director of several TV series in the UK, was responsible of making Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom a film about the life of Nelson Mandela.

Idris Elba play the iconic character who change the destiny of South Africa by changing the country with his ideas. The film follow Mandela from childhood, his first years as a lawyer, his first marriage, then his relationship with Winnie, his trouble maker times till his incarceration and concluding on his presidency.

Mandela Long Walk to Freedom is looks like a TV film, of course it was well produced but probably do his director is hard to not compare the film to a made to TV movie biopic. Idris Elba is such a talented actor and deserve recognition. What annoys me is the make up add to to Mr Elba to make it look old. Is distracting and is not accurate. The screenplay by William Nicholson is strong but sometimes borderline of been corny,

I believe that after a long career for Mr Chadwick making movies, the transition to Hollywood will help him to define his style and also will create a better look for his films instead of looking more TV movie that actual film movie.
Who is Gloria?
Gloria is a middle age woman, recently divorce, lonely by missing her son and daughter, by wanted to be alive again. Not by just going to clubs and dance with every guy on the room. "Gloria" wants to be loved again.

Sebastián Leilo director of the film "Gloria" creates timeless story about a woman searching for what is missing for her. Pleasure, in the context of human beings the pleasure of been loved, been desire, been able to express yourself without judgment or dance with someone, enjoying good music. This kind of pleasures can been seen from the very beginning of the movie. Gloria singing in the car while she drives to work, then after hours heading to a club and dancing, meeting a older guy, here and there. That's when she meet Rodolfo a retired naval officer, who shows her at the very beginning pleasures that she wanted.

From fine dinner, learning of how to play paintball, to good and intense sex. Gloria discover that Rodolfo is a total jerk who support his early thirty daughters as well his wife who was separated a year ago.

The film presents a strong dilemma, been with someone or been alone. There is several vignettes in the film "Gloria" that semiotically represents Gloria demise and resurrection as a woman and human being. From facing a white peacock in a wedding, to accepting the presence of a bald cat who escape from his junky neighbor to a personal reflection after hearing the tune The Waters of March.

On the other hand the movie Gloria is filled with small details in the scenes, things that make it unique, Gloria and Rodolfo before having sex they start removing corset as a ritual by peeling the ages that both characters are facing.

Gloria is a very powerful film, with a slow pace, but with a fantastic actress Paulina Garcia.

When Peter Jackson announced the making of the Hobbit I wasn't excited about the idea, at first make me feel that the prequel trend was continuing thanks to George Lucas revising Star Wars prequels. Now that I seen the second film I was right.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug is the second installment of the book The Hobbit made by JRR Tolkien. The story on this movie continues the events that happened on the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This second film continues the quest of of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and a group of dwarves in their quest to reclaim Erebor. Throughout the movie the main characters are facing several obstacles as well life changing decisions in order to achieve the main goal.

I have to say that this movie have several moment when is very entertaining. But Peter Jackson is making the terrible decision to doing this films so long. The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug can be very boring and less entertaining than its predecessors. Even with the help of well known characters or new ones (Legolas play by Orlando Bloom and Tauriel played by Evangeline Lily) the films feels flat and predictable. The adventure is just simple and continuously endless.

Besides the great effort of amazing visual effects, sets and make up. The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug is another adventure film with no big twist.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The hipster meets Siri

A guy sits by himself dictating a letter, sounds like a lover letter, also sounds personal, but at the same time seems to point out the impersonal that could be when this guy is trying to express his feelings by using a dictation software and then is revealed that is an anniversary letter. When the camera pulls back the audience discover a whole office that their solely business is to create this letters for someone.

The guy dictating the letter is Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) a lonely and introversive guy, like anyone that you bump on the street. A guy who loves technology, use it for everything, it fills his wishes and desires, from a game alone at home to the traditional online porn. We can see easily that Theodore needs company, at the moment he is dealing with a dramatic divorce with Catherine (Rooney Mara). Like anyone in this period of time, he needs to occupy his mind with something. Theodore decide to get the new OS operating system, the most intuitive of all, basically it adapts to the user and grow with it. That's when Samantha (Voice of Scarlett Johansson) appears. She gives Theodore company, entertain him and give him something special and unique to live.

Spike Jonze (director) explore a surreal world about computers who metaphorically speaking rule our worlds and lives, give us solutions to our daily activities, but also make us dependable of the information, the pleasures, the entertainment, but sadly make us dumb.

One of the most particulars characters on the film is Olivia Wilde. Some friends of Theodore fix a date with this girl just to fill the loneliness and eventually help him with his love life. Throughout the date scene you discover that this girl is exactly like some of the girls you can meet using an online dating site, just girls as needy and desperate like this one, a girl with conditions but also with so much necessities. That's how you realize that in the world of technology people find love, pleasure, lust, entertainment, fun, but also the discovery of psychological illness.

Theodore and the rest of the characters shown their true skin just by see them interacting with their computers and their systems, that sort of help our lives to make it "easy" but at the end of the day can destroy our ability to be just us, humans.

If you recall computers in movies and the effect, you can see Hal from 2001, T800 and T1000 The Terminator The Replicants in Blade Runner, Tron you will see that most of the computers, devices and operating systems come to the humans as a total novelty, but then you discover how so much bad can do to you, physically and mentally

A divorce is a very painful moment in your life and in fact a very experience that help you remember your past life. The confrontation of what's left behind is the main plot of the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi "The Past", the story takes place in France where Ahmad (Ali Mostafat) return from Theran to finish his divorce papers with soon to be ex-wife Marie (Bérenice Bejo) and also visit the daughters of Marie previous marriages. Ahmad discover that Marie is already in a new relationship with an Arab man name Samir who has a son whose wife is in coma.

From the very begging Fahardi established very interesting film making elements in order explain his point on why the film is called "The Past" Ahmad arrived at the airport meeting Marie both seen divided by a soundproof glass, their expressions consist into a vivid metaphor of was left, dissolved emotions, good and bad memories but perhaps the glass represents inability to communicate which results into a divorce, Ahmad and Marie arrived at the car in the airport parking totally wet from a unexpected rain, you see the last sparkle of that relationship, you see their faces as a reflection picking the pieces of what's left.

Later Ahmad and Marie drive to pick up Lucie at the school, the daughter of Marie in a previous marriage, which have problems with Marie, because she disapproved Samir relationship with her mother. Again, Fahardi use the glass metaphor with Ahmad and cop who is asking him to move the car while he parked on a unauthorized section, the conversation is presented mute as hidden message, is Ahmad ability to offer solutions, by avoiding conflicts or perhaps find ways around.

That's how you finally discover in just two scenes how the main characters are going to play in this complex film. The story is revealed like a cop drama, where every revelation is painful but necessary for the conclusion.

Asghar Farhadi create another powerful story about difficult characters who still love their Arab roots, are dealing with new territories and new relationships.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When I first read that "The Wolf of Wall Street" I was wondering how difficult and complicated will be to make this movie. From the length of the story to the cast and the esthetics behind the film.

After watching the film, which cause me a headache after I finished the long 3 hours I will say that this movie should be called: Gordon Gekko's Wall Street on Steroids. The story of Wolf of Wall Street, tell the story of Jordan Belfort a stockbroker who started woking in the business in 1987. During a stock crisis he lost his job and started working on a Long Island boiler room which deals with penny stocks. His pitching style earn him a fortune, after meeting Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) they decide to open a their own firm. The story continues with the rise of Jordan's company, the lifestyle that goes from expensive prostitutes and drugs. Overall the film is intense, you can see Marty signature all over the place, from his typical filmmaking, Thelma Schoonmaker editing style and rhythm.

Unfortunately the problem of the movie is tell the tale in 3 hours, you can see how was cut and understand the lack of information in some characters as well the plot. Some nudity was necessary to show the excess of the stock brokers lifestyle, but to show the debauchery happening there you can use smarter tools.
The Wolf of Wall Street tried embrace the luxury, the excess and the pleasure of that lifestyle. Jordan Belfort and their team of con artist are heroes, their funny and they not representing any evil. But at the end of the day, they stole people money for their own pleasure. None is punished, comparing to Goodfellas, the last one, show you the good and the bad of been against the law.

Di Caprio is amazing and earn his reward as experienced actor, Jonah Hill is great, Matthew McConaughey is really good besides his limited screen time. I love Rob Reiner performance.

Overall the film is entertaining

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Music in film is a true joy to watch. Stories of music bands, singers, composers or just creators of music, explore memorable moment when a tune came to life and the challenge pressing the dream of been famous.

From Alan Parker "The Commitment", Olvier Stone "The Doors" Steve Kloves "The Fabulous Baker Boys and Luis Valdez "La Bamba" films that explore music artits and their life most of the time tell the tale from the beginning to the end, sometimes tragic, sometimes ironic and even unusual.

For Joel and Ethan Coen and their film "Inside Llewyn Davis" this is not an exception. The movie takes place in a folk scene in NY during 1961 and presents the life of Llewyn Davis in a week of calamities, successful encounters, unwanted babies, missing cats and cold road trips.

"Inside Llewyn Davis" is a musical film as it best, you enjoy every part of it, in a way reminds me the importance that Alan Parker gave to "The Commitments" music performances are important to the story, it helps to connect the audience with the artist itself. It allows you to feels the music, and find meaning to their lyrics where the singer came from and where is going. Perhaps is an expression of freedom but also the struggle of been a true spirit in the music scene of 1961. Oscar Issac is great, Carey Mulligan is stunning.

This is a movie for music fans.

I'm always share fascination to movie about the making of a movie. Films like The Player, White Hunter Black Heart, Boogie Nights, Ed Wood and 8 1/2 explore the nature of a director, a producer or the actors during the production of a movie. Alternate stories of human suffering, personal approval, murder and turbulent pass represents this films and their characters.

In Saving Mr Banks Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers writer for the famous book Mary Poppins, and tells her story of her trip to Hollywood to start the production of this famous Julie Andrews movie. Mrs Travers is trudging finically and her only solution is to sell the rights of Mary Poppins book to make the film via Disney Studios. She met Walt Disney play by Tom Hanks and the team behind the film Richard and Rober Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak) and Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford)

Mrs Travers have a very difficult relationship with the team, she question everything on the film, from costume and set design, the use of singing on the movie and also the plot and how Banks senior play on the movie. The preproduction becomes an entire cathartic experience for Mrs Travers, bringing childhood memories make the audience understand that Mary Poppins is based on her life experience, her father alcoholism and how her aunt help the family to bring back their feet.

The film is sentimental and fun to watch, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are great, Paul Giamatti is my favorite on the movie. Is great to see a little bit of how the song were made and the involvement of Walt Disney into the production of Mary Poppins

Four years ago actor and writer Steve Coogan, made a TV show called the trip. The plot was a about a restaurant tour on the north of England. Coogan seems to be interest in a human exploration during a trip, could be like the American called: road trip, but mostly comedic.

In the movie "Philomena" by director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters) brought Coogan to do another kind of trip.

Judi Dench (Skyfall, Shakespeare in Love, Iris) plays Philomena Lee a woman who 50 years ago gave birth to a baby in Ireland, but because she wasn't married she is forced to give him up for adoption. Philomena's daughter introduce to Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) after she met him in a party while she works as a waitress. She tell Philomena story and ask Martin to help her to find her lost son. Martin comes from been fired from BBC after an scandal.

The film into a soul searching experience that happens to be a road trip that start in England, passing from Ireland and ends in Washington, DC. Philomena a very religious person who was confined to a convent where she lived there a pregnant woman. Her beliefs go beyond her ability to understand that some members of the church can be bad persons and disappearance from her son. While Martin not believe in the church or religion, he believe in his work and his ability to find information and clues. His life just focusing on bring his reputation back at an cost. Philomena story is the way to achieve a good reputation.

Both performances are great Dench and Coogan are great together. The film is really well directed and adapted from the book.

Scammers or con artist films have the particularity of make them heroes or perhaps generate love and compassion for them. Audiences feel some connection to the fact of enjoying their operations and how defeat the system.

Cath Me if You Can, Bowfinger, The Color of the Money, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Sting constitute a notable collections of films where scammers did their best earn recognition and get enormous quantity of money. Most of this films have an element of comedy, but never dig deep enough to their drama and their humanity.

In David O Russell "American Hustle" focus on one thing specifically, Humanity. The film tell the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) a con artist and his partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams).

During one of their operations they meet FB agent Richie Di Masso (Bradley Cooper) and they end up cutting a under the table deal to get politicians using a wealthy Sheikh as a decoy.

When you experience the movie, you think you are not watching something new, in fact, it looks like you put Martin Scorsese Goodfellas and Casino and Gregory Roy Hill "The Sting" in a blender. The result is American Hustle. What makes the movie different is the story and the characters. There is comedy in it, but in reality, what is comedy? Real life is comedy. Everyday situations are comedy? I took the film seriously, and I couldn't laugh to some situations like the rest of the audience.

There is seriousness of been a con artist. You live your life to the fullest, but you know that you can get caught, so your wealthy life might vanish in a blink of an eye. Every character in American Hustle suffer from a problem they need to understand that beyond the money and luxury, there is an end. You will love someone and you will loose someone, could be friendship or love.