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.