Friday, December 18, 2015

This review for Star Wars: The Force Awakens represents my personal impressions of the film, is not intended to ruin everyone experience of the movie. Is my honest opinion of a a series of movies that I been cherish for years. This review might contain mild spoilers - read at your own risk

Finally the dark screen reveals the Lucasfilm, LTD logo, then the most famous title "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away" then the Star Wars logo and finally a three paragraph prologue which tells you the back story of what about to see. Means a lot because they need to explain 30 years of what happened after the events of the Battle of Endor. It tells you the engine of the whole story, what it’s happening with our heroes and villains and then where are we heading. Pretty simple and straight forward.

What happen later, specifically in the first act of Episode VII is quick and “sort of in your face” the situation develops in a J.J. Abrams pace, which sometimes is not that necessary, we need to slow down a little bit, it’s been 30 years. To me is like you are going to a middle eastern market and you been harassed by street vendors who are trying to sell you something and is very hard to process. you wanted to focus in a single thing and analyze it, but the first half and hour is rather fast.

New audiences are been introduced to 4 main characters, a new generation of actors who have the difficult task to continue the footsteps of Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, the original cast of our beloved Star Wars trilogy.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) a scavenger in a desert planet Jakku, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) a dark warrior commander of the first order, Finn (John Boyega) a redeemed First Order stormtrooper and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) a resistance X wing fighter.

The plot develops quickly and again in your face, there is mission to find Luke Skywalker and of course there is a map hidden in a droid (sound familiar right?), the droid gets lost in the desert and been found by someone who is dreaming of leaving that place ( again, something pretty familiar) and then there is planet converted into a weapon to destroy other planets (please another familiar thing?) To me seems that already know what’s happening and where I’m going, but what makes the film special is you leave behind a that horrendous prequels that everyday you want to forget about the origin of Darth Vader and there is still live for new films. Every new character is a mash up of at least two famous characters Poe Dameron feels like Luke, but also like Han Solo, Ray have similarities of Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke, Finn have similarities from Luke and Han Solo and even Kylo Ren who to me is a Darth Vader wanna be with bad temper, but he also becomes Star Trek’s Khan from J.J. Abrams, a mystery guy that almost everyone knows who he is.

The true genuine character in the movie is called: BB-8 so much life and personality

But, don’t get me wrong, the film delivers, very well. J.J. Abrams with writer Lawrence Kasdan create a very powerful mash-up of the original trilogy, filled with nuances and easter eggs that you really enjoy and reminds you that finally a movie who pays tribute to 3 films that George Lucas made with so much passion.

Star Wars The Force Awakens is a instant classic of the Star Wars universe, but is difficult to surpass the originals, the mission was accomplished. The fans are engage, they are going to make tons of money and they are revamping the story for a new generations. Overall the film is well crafted with the best of the best, but the real anticipation will be Star Wars: Episode VIII directed by Rian Johnson who will make a risky films with a different of point of view…

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A melodic rock band start with a delicious female voice leading to a very energetic guitar unveiling a powerful lyric. You Got The Love by The Retrosettes Sister Band. The song glorify trust, strength and of course the best feeling of all “Love” This is the very beginning of the film “Youth” directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty)

This film follow up another story of a frustrated artist living his septuagenarian life on earth. Fred Ballinger a retired composer who enjoy the success of his work, specially the one that he really hates, “Simple Songs” For every artist their finest work is not the one that was made with love and care, sometimes is the one that appeals the audience. Ballinger is similar to another frustrated artist on film, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) in the movie Birdman, which is haunted by this demon, success with the less meaningful piece of art.

Sorrentino Italian director winner of the Academy Award for The Great Beauty presents similar characters from his previous work in this movie. Ballinger is a composer and Jep Gambardella is a novel writer. Both of them very successful in their art, are haunted by a woman in their past. But they also have a woman in the present, For Ballinger is his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) and for Gambardella is his editor Dadina, which constitute their conscience.

The film “Youth” takes place in a very peculiar place, a luxury resort in the Swiss Alps, a home to rejuvenate with hot springs, massage and healthy food. Of course this place is filled with millionaires, aristocrats, artists and celebrities. Ballinger best friend is Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) who also stayed with him at the resort is a successful filmmaker who is completely attached to his past work as well his main inspiration actress Brenda Morel, another character in the story is Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) an actor which to me mirrors Ballinger as another frustrated artist who enjoy more artsy work, but is haunted by his lest meaningful role, a robot in a sci-fi

Michael Cain is perfect for the role as well Harvey Keitel, the chemistry between them is pure magic. Dano and Weisz are excellent on screen. Some additional roles Roly Serrano playing the soccer player Maradona, Luna Zimic paying a Young masseuse and Madalina Diana Ghenea as Miss Universe represents those quirk characters that director Paul Sorrentino always like to introduce in his movies.

The director Sorrentino, continues amaze audiences with his style and subtle film making. He presents vignettes with the actors in beautiful locations and sublime stages, but also engage with the audiences with a powerful soundtrack that is not just sound, is a visual definition by bringing the musician who perform on screen with a elegant vision. He follow the roots of Fellini with magical scenes in a very symmetrical way.

“Youth” is a story about love, remembering missing time, mistakes made and the realization that nothing is overrated in this life, is more about what we have and what we can enjoy. Is a philosophical exploration of human beings who attend to place to find the fountain of youth, with just illusions discovering that is a just a place to understand what life is…

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Human exploration of people captive in films is a very interesting subject that Hollywood and independent studios produce.

Movies such as Shawshank Redemption (1994) The Green Mile (1999), Papillon (1973), Rescue Dawn (2006) Empire of The Sun (1987), Unbroken (2014) Misery (1990) and Buried (2010) represents a wide variety of sub plots that goes from: Jails, prisoners of war and actual abduction.

In the film “Room” Director Lenny Abrahmson explore the life of Ma (Brie Larson) and his son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who are confined in this small room, which contain a rudimentary kitchen, a bed, a toilet, a sink and a skylight. The film starts when Jack is turning 5 and her mom is doing her best effort to celebrate this landmark, by baking a cake. Throughout the film develops, the audience discover that they are locked in this room by a guy called Old Nick (Sean Bridges) who bring them supplies every night and also for sex with Ma. Ma was abducted about eight years ago in the film plot. Jack is living in a reality that is only portrayed in his personal window to the world, the television. Ironically the real window of the world for Ma is the skylight in this room, she can see the seasons and the time of the day, but for Jack is nothing. He don’t know how the real world is and his sense of space is limited but the fact that Ma is the only person that he ever interacted. For Jack the room is a confined world but is a world of fantasies, sounds, smells and strange voices ( Old Nick paying a visit to Ma every night for sex)

Ma tries to give Jack some education by making him read books like Alice and Wonderland, but Ma also wants to escape and give Jack the life that he deserve. The process won’t be easy…The escape is a beautiful and poetic moment which is also the biggest revelation for Jack been free for the first time.

The film Room is a very difficult film to watch, is a movie about the love of a mother for his child, the wounds of a person been abducted for years, the adaptation of a little boy to the real world, but also is a movie about justice and human and family values.

Brie Larson is outstanding in this role as well Jacob Tremblay, the film, is really well edited and well directed who carefully crafted with the art direction team the perfect space to make the audience feel locked in that Room.

One of the lack in this movie is the development of Ma’s dad Robert Newsome (Willam H Macy) his character become important when a pivotal moment happen in the movie and later vanished from everyone’s mind.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Charlie Kaufman is always been considered a visionary and groundbreaking screenwriter. Winner of several awards his reputation always related to twisted stories with a very personal and human quality. Adaptation, Synecdote New York, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Eternal of The Spotless Mind, represents a bod of work, where the main character is the human emotions, most of his characters are empty and they are looking for a way to escape from the reality.


In Anomalisa, directed by Kaufman and Duke Johnson a truly visionary stop motion animated film we been introduce to Michael Stone (David Thewlis) a book author traveling to Cincinnati for a conference where he will be the speaker. His book is a exploration of how costumer service can fix the struggles of connect with people. From the very beginning Michael is the victim of what he been trying to achieve in his book. He is a very introspective person who cannot relate to people, he is a jerk and you notice every time he opens his mouth. Michael is not interested in the weather, if the Cincinati Zoo is the best, he seems to be a practical person who is not interested in explanations or engagements, he just wants things done.

In a way I relate to him, because the world is now immerse in banalities that could be pretty normal for some, but for me its superficiality. The masterful script by Kaufman reveals a very strange phenomenon to Michael and the audience seems to be confused about it. Every single character have the same voice (Tom Noonan) This adds up to the routine that Michael live every day, is a constant reminder of the daily routine that he lives or some people live. All the sounds are the same and for Michael even his wife and kid sounds the same.

To me is a metaphor of a routine life in America, you drink the same juice, you walk the same steps, you take the same train and you work the same work every day without challenges or variations.

After a sudden events that involves Michael meeting with his lost love, he meet Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and fan of his book and also a very introspective and shy girl who loves Cyndi Lauper. Lisa is different from the very beginning not because she have the only female voice is because she is different and her behavior raise interest in Michael. Is not aiming for a beautiful or sexy girl, his obsession with her is about her voice and her ability of be different from the sea of people who are just the same.

Kaufman and Johnson exploration of life, loneliness, human connection represents in a way a very eccentric story, but the meaning is powerful. I wish that the movie was trimmed at least 10 min just to make it perfect. Overall is a great movie. With two confusing parts in the story.

After the huge success of Skyfall the new chapter of James Bond story comes with the film Spectre.
The story continues were was left off. James Bond (Daniel Craig) continues his erratically behavior by disobeying M orders of not travel to other countries and operate on his own. Previous M (Judi Dench) leaves a posthumous message to kill two men plotting a terrorist attack and also eliminate Marco Sciarra.

The operation turns deadly. After Bond returns to London is suspended by current M (Ralph Fiennes) which is dealing with more delicate problems. MI6 is going to be dismantle by “so called” new espionage technology company name lead by C (Andrew Scott) the idea is to get rid of the 00 agents and the program and continue operations with computer surveillance and drones. None in Mi6 are happy about it.

Bond continues follow previous M messages with the help of Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naomi Harris)
traveling to Rome where he meets Lucia Sciarra ( Monica Belluci) at Marco’s funeral. In Rome he will have the biggest revelation of all. He will encounter Spectre organization, lead by Ernst Stavro Blofeld

At this point the audience understand who are the crucial roles here. But unfortunately you are able to predict in which direction the story goes. Spectre film directed by Sam Mendes, pretends to continue the footsteps of Skyfall and felt flat. Spectre is a very predictable film with amazing actions scene, that sometimes can be compared to Pierce Brosnan movies. Try to connect all the villans from previous James Bond/Daniel Craig films, it's just a easy set up to give closure for this Bond to a new Bond and a new director who will definitely needs a new wave for the agent 007

Christoph Waltz character is basically a caricature of villains that I ever seen in other not so good Bond films or even other movies. I was so annoyed by his character that I was expecting after certain events, he will reappear in a wheelchair, caressing a cat, with his head bold and with scars on his face, to connect directly with For Your Eyes Only movie

I feel that if I have to give a comparison to this movie, this film is the Star Was Episode III: Revenge of The Sith of the James Bond movies. Were you reveal a villain origin. More than seen the origin of Blofeld, I wanted to see the origin of Goldfinger or even Dr No.

The film is beautiful shot, with amazing landscapes in Rome, Austria, Morocco and London,The opening scene in Mexico is a masterpiece and clearly was influence by the Academy Award winner Bridman. That’s probably my favorite thing, overall I wasn’t impress.

When I was suggested to see Brooklyn a few weeks ago, my expectations were very low. Not because all the artistic values, but because I felt that this movie wasn’t for me, the plot lean towards a female story just for women. I was pleasantly surprise and also wrong about my assumption.

Brooklyn tells the story of Ellis (Saoirse Ronan) a young woman living in a small town of Ireland. She lives with her sister, Ellis works in a small shop where the owner Mrs Kelly bully most of her employees. When you discover this character Ellis you noticed a very quiet and humble person, but also naive and innocent. Ellis sister Rose arrange to send Ellis to America where she can find better opportunities. The moment of revelation comes when she is onboard and stumble a female traveler who is just returning back to the USA after visiting her family in Ireland. This woman traveler is experienced which help Ellis thru her difficult journey to America. From how to behave on board, what to wear and how to react when you meet immigration officers in the USA

Ellis arrive to the US and everything is new and interesting, she start living in a Irish boarding house, she get a job in a department store. All her support come from Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) which quickly realized that Elllis is home sick and heavily depressed. Ellis also express her sadness in letters sent to Rose, Father Flood is informed and make sure to do something about it. Ellis is enrolled in bookkeeping classes where the audience noticed how her life improves and also is able to meet her new love Antonio Fiorello (Emory Cohen) Ellis story continues with ups and downs throughout the movie…

John Crowley directs Brooklyn a film that touch most of everyone’s heart. For an immigrant like me, I was able to connect with Ellis and understand what is like to be away from home in a new land, finding a way to fit, but also experience the sadness of loosing a love one and have to make my journey home without the option to say a proper goodbye. A phone call is that sudden message and you need the strength to go back and face that reality.

Brooklyn also represents a beautiful way of been an immigrant loving someone throughout the seasons, you start a relationship in the winter and develops thru spring and summer, but then becomes dramatic again in the fall and winter. The film is so colorful with the masterful art direction by François Séguin, Irene O Brien, Suzanne Cloutier and Robert Parle. The costume design by Odlie Dicks-Mireaux and cinematography by Yves Bélanger.

The story of Brooklyn is simple and very engaging, but also can be a little bit flat for easy and quick conclusion. Saoirse Ronan is a great and talented actress, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters are the most noticeable performance besides Ronan. The films grow and shows Saoirse Ronan evolution in a cyclical story where she departs vulnerable and returns home stronger than ever.

Friday, November 20, 2015

In the beginning of time, humans been expose to the greatest inventions: the wheel, automobile, celluloid, ink and computer, there is always one person name as the inventor, but the people behind it were never included as the creators or responsible. Perhaps the miss conceptions of true genius lays in the fact that the creator not necessary is the one who have the skills to do it, is the vision to create it, what is recognize by the society.

In the film "Steve Jobs", director Danny Boyle ( Slummdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) presents a very egocentric and arrogant leader of the Apple corporation in 3 major landmarks of his career. The film build as a 3 acts introduce the major characters, develop around the keynotes when a new product is been introduce, but also set the foundation of Steve Jobs persona.

The first act begins with the challenges for Apple presenting the Macintosh computer in 1983. We see a young Steve Jobs (Michael Fasbender) full of arrogance, treating his engineers as puppets forcing them to work as hard as a can to make the computer smile. While all this is happening his marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) is dealing the paternity dispute revealed in a Time Magazine, who brought Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson) to the theater where the keynote is taking place so Steve can meet his allegedly daughter Lisa.

Danny Boyle presents this 3 long scenes with a outstanding film style showing the stages of every character. Jobs personalities develops with the success of Apple Macintosh, the failure of NeXT and the comeback with iMac.

Michael Fasbender is fascinating as Steve Jobs, you care for him for trying to be the father figure, but you also hate him, despise him for the person person that he was, with his colleagues, partners and his workers. But you also admire him for be the center of attention, the visionary who make Apple what it is, a true groundbreaking company that develops good looking products.

Ket Winslet is powerful as Joanna Hoffman, she is the voice of conscience for Steve Jobs. But the person who steal the scenes every time it appears is Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak. Besides of been a pain in the but to Jobs, he is also who is just fighting for the people who build, the Macintosh, the iMac, and other products who make Jobs the star of Apple.

Steve Jobs is a powerful film, that is considered more a failure than a success for Hollywood, but is a great example of how to make a biopic, without telling the whole story all over again.

Fade from black the film start with a legend, the true definition of Sicario.
latin term is a hitman, a person responsible killing by contract. But in Hebrew, Roman kill Zealots.

With this title we been presented a blue print of what about too see. FBI agents Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) raid the house of a suspected kidnappers. The team finds more than dozen of bodies hidden on the walls of the house.

After this operation Kate’s boos recommend her to Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) a CIA Special Activities Division to join the team. Matt is searching for a cartel boss who presumably was one of the responsible of the murders found by Kate and Reggie.

Kate character is a green agent who still learning the vicious cycle inside FBI and CIA. Throughout the film she start discovering the corruption, manipulation, abuse of power of this federals agencies, but she is unaware of who is the real enemy. Kate is a strong woman on the outside, vulnerable for been alone and also divorced, it’s also supporter of ethics and respect in the force, one of her biggest enemies in this war against corruption.

Arriving to el Paso, Texas in a orchestrated operation lead by Matt Graver, Kate meet with Alejandro Gallic (Benicio del Toro) an advisor who seems to have ties with enemy. Alejandro is very sketchy person, and Kate figure out the first time she see him.

Besides all this red flags Matt use it as his primary connection to get the cartel people capture.

Sicario is a thriller but also a great film about the hard reality of drug traffic in US borders. Masterfully directed by Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners) the movie immerse you in a harsh terrain where only the strongest succeed. Villeneuve engage with the audience with a rollercoaster of emotions by manipulating the senses. Sicario have constant moments of silence, also supported by the impactful original score by Jóhann Jóhannsson and the intense sound crafted for this film. The visual style is borrowed from films by Steven Sodergber in Traffic, also Jonathan Demme in Silence of The Lambs. The intense and long aerial shots are powerful and serve as another character for the movie

After carefully you finish the film you came to the conclusion who is the enemy and who are the zealots. You care for Kate’s character but not so much for Matt and Alejandro. The true meaning of sicario is the search for fanatical and uncompromising pursuit of ideas, that could be religious or political, you just need to pick one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The search for beauty or being recognize as the must beautiful is a social quest that every woman have. Sometimes can be with more intensity in countries devoted to make little girls transcend into beauty contestant.

In the USA are children beauty pageants, in latin america are group dedicated to literally sculpt women to perfection, in order to become potentially contestants beauty pageants

In the film “3 Beauties” - Tres Bellezas Director Carlos Caridad breaks the "status quo” with a dark comedy about a mom, her two daughters and son in the obsession about beauty, perfection and success. Perla (Diana Peñalver) is a ex beauty queen, her plan is make one of the her daughters a beauty queen as well.

Carolina (Fabiola Arace) is her favorite. This is very noticeable from the very beginning of the story. Mom wants Carolina to be the special one, the potential is Venezuela, but on the other side Estefanía is putted away as the less beautiful.

Perla’s son Salvador (Fabían Moreno) is probably the most important in the story, he is the man of the house, but thanks to this chaotic dramatic triangle of beauty queens he is none.

Carlos Caridad directs a story that connects the audience thanks to several cultural nuance of Venezuela, but also with very dry and smart humor, following the footsteps of films like Wild Tales, In Bruges, Bad Santa, Submarine and Art School Confidential. 3 Beauties appeal to this humor to show you how far a mother can go to fulfill her own dreams of to make one of her daughter a beauty contestant.

The film criticize the system of how beauty pageants works, Carlos Carded dare to compare it to an actual cult, but bringing the characters into actual cult when a sudden event in the story brings the family together The Universal Church - Stop Suffering.

The film is fun a pretty entertaining, and sometimes controversial.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Gangsters films represents one of the most popular genres in film history. Movies staring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, James Cagney and Paul Mooney becomes the backbone of stories filled with violence and moral messages about family, honor and corruption. Later stories were inherited by Al Pacino, Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon and Leonardo Di Caprio.

Now Johnny Depp have his chance of been a bad guy with the film Black Mass. This film is the true story of one of the most violent criminals of South Boston Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) leader of the Iris-American Winter Hill Gang. The story develops when a FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Egerton) childhood friend of Bulger and William Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch) Massachusetts state senator pressure the two bothers to help him to go after the Angiulo Brothers gang offer Whitey Bulger his chance of been an informant letting him operate his way.

Connolly is in control of the Bulger’s but also of his FBI department manipulating his boss Charles McGuire (Kevin Bacon) and his close coworker John Morris (David Harbour)

Director Scott Cooper ( Crazy Heart) delivers an outstanding gangster movie filled with action, great performances and also with very interesting visual style. Johnny Depp playing Whitey Bulger is one of his best performances yet, since Edwood, Chocolate and Finding Neverland. His make up goes the borderline of creepy to very realistic gang leader Whitey Bulger.

Moving to NYC is probably one of the most complex and hard decision ever. Specially for college students, the pressure of been cool or trendy, also fit in the right groups is always the key. Tracy (Lora Kirke) comes to NY to study creative writing. Quickly she realize that she needs to be important in the school and also outside. Let’s face it, she is in NY and she needs to own the city. Tracy’s mom is getting married, her future husband have a daughter living successfully in the city. Brooke (Greta Gerwing) is a caricaturesque, pretentious, and egocentric New Yorker. After Tracy’s mom insistence of meeting the two stepsisters to be, Tracy make the call…

Brooke meet with her (Tracy) in center of NYC, Time Square. After a long night where Tracy get completely impressed by Brooke success, the audience start discovering what kind of person she is. Everyone who lives in NY or any other major city meet someone who lives thru appearances and have so many projects going on like Brooke. On the other hand Tracy is another character that you meet in NY. The newbie who’s trying to understand how the city works, how to deal with people the best way possible but also is the victim of self-assurance.

Noah Baumbah directs Mistress in America a story of two girls who discover thru each other their weakness, dreams and desires. The director satire city characters who are looking to be trendy and meaningful in this world, by using smoke and mirrors to impress their surroundings. Brooke is an entrepreneur/gym trainer/schemer who just simply impress Tracy who is a lonely girl who’s looking for a reason to fit.

The film is witty and sometimes funny. But at the end could be a sad reality for some people who feel amused by the real representation of people around us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Is another night in NYC, the wet streets after a scatter rain, yellow shapes of taxis passing by non stop, suddenly a man rush to get a cab, his wife is chasing him, she is in distress, after a back seat argument the driver accept to do two separate rides.

This is how the story of Wendy and Darwan starts. “Learning to Drive” is the most recent movie from the female director Isabel Coixet based on a short story from Katha Pollit and written to the screen by Sarah Kernochan.

Patricia Clarkson and Sir Ben Kingsley start in the tale of two lost souls in a very conflicted moment for them. Wendy (Clarkson) plays a book critic and radio interviewee recently dumped by her husband, and Darwan Singh Tur (Kingsley) is a driving instructor and also a moonlight cabbie who is soon to be married to an Indian woman in an arranged marriage.

Mrs Coixet approach to the story is to show a parallel life for both of them. The wealthy life of the Upper West side and a most mundane life in Queens. A manuscript from Wendy left in Darwan cab connects them, is like a divine intervention. Wendy is in her most vulnerable time while for her new cabbie friend Darwan security and strength he represents her light at the end of the tunnel, a way out for her.

Don’t get confuse with the story, this is not a romantic story, is a story of friendship how two cultures collide, while one person is highly educated book critic, the other is a well manner immigrant, with aspirations and dreams, but relegated in America by racial discrimination.

Darwan offers Wendy to teach her how to drive, not just because she don’t know how to, is because metaphorically speaking, Darwan is capable to put her on track in her life. “When you are cooking, how do you know if you put enough spices? By tasting, the same way is for driving, you have to taste the road” Wendy and Darwan grows deeper, they discover more of them, their fears and of course their aspirations.

Now that the road direction seems clear, a new detour comes. Jasleen (Sarita Choudhury) the arranged bride arrived to NYC, while the encounter is not the perfect one; Jasleen and Darwan have to adapt themselves to this new situation. The road needs some adjustments with a little bit of sacrifice.

I praise the simplicity and honesty of this film, which just try to describe an honest friendship that grows inside a car, by teaching one another that life can be very complicated if we hold ourselves to things and we are not capable of let go, let go anger, fears, sadness even some dreams.

Clarkson and Kingsley are perfect in their roles. The film is a real treat thanks to director Isabel Coixet. Beautiful edited by Thelma Scoonmaker and Keith Reamer.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Parents, the masterminds behind our first steps, our first experiences and our whole life of learning, the people responsible of shaping who we are, but also the one to blame if we end up been a mess.

This is the simple plot of the film “Trainwreck” directed by Judd Apatow the film focus on the little girl that been influenced by her father Gordon Townsend (Colin Quinn) with the message of monogamy isn’t realistic. Gordon is an alcoholic and promiscuous guy who spent his last days at a nursing home.

Amy (Amy Schumer) a writer for a men’s magazine is the mirror of her father, the resonance of the monogamy of dad’s message, makes her a girl without commitments, afraid of the future with somebody, but also an alcoholic.

You see the opposite attitude in Amy’s sister Kim (Brie Larson) a settled woman, with a husband and a step kid living the typical family life.

The film doesn’t focus on that parallel, but just highlight moments with comedic situations, which ease the drama of that, dismembered family. Mom is no longer with them and the two girls live the pain of taking care of their dad and coping with his behavior, specially for Amy who get along with him, not so for Kim.

The conflict in Trainwreck is when Amy is assigned to write a piece about a sport surgeon Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). Her boss Dianna (Tilda Swinton) is a cheeky British woman who projects her feelings about men and their lifestyle in the magazine. She is ruthless and insensitive, but is the boss. After Amy begged Diana to no give her this story, she have to accept, just with the promise of a promotion.

Amy spent several occasions watching him work and do his job. Unfortunately for Amy, Aaron fell in love with her and feel attached to this messy woman. The conflict begins and the relationship goes deeper. She has to confront all her fears and is not easy.

Judd Apatow develops a story written by Schumer into a funny story of this conflicted woman. The film presents the characters as caricatures of the typical life in NYC, with the vignettes of the urban city. The guys who date Amy are those stereotypes, including
Steven (John Cena) a sensitive body builder, who enjoys artsy movies, walks in the park to name a few. My problem with “Trainwreck” is the story and the dialogues. I can swear that Amy talks in the same voice of Annie Walker (Kristin Wiig) in Bridesmaid, in fact are kind of the same character. Sometimes I feel that I seen this characters in other films, but also seems that the conflict in “Trainwreck” never reach its peaks, but neither the resolutions. Don’t get me wrong some jokes are funny, other ones borderline into vulgar.

The movie is entertaining and fun, Amy Schumer and Bill Hader are great together.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In the mist of Cold War for a secret organization is planning the use of a nuclear strike to create a conflict between the United States and USSR. The only solution is to bring the best secret agents from both countries and work together to stop this threat. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kurakin (Armie Hammer) antagonist to the very begging are forced to work together using their expertise and charm to transport Gabby Teller (Alicia Vikander) the daughter of a Nazi scientist who holds the key of a nuclear warhead.

Guy Ritchie directs The Man From U.N.C.L.E. the film adaptation of the TV show from 1960's the film a very entertaining movie, action packed and also very sophisticated looks of Italy, probably steal from famous traditional Italian movies from that period. Ritchie brings a lot of energy to this cast. Cavill and Hammer have great chemistry on screen and comedic timing brings life in the most hectic moments. Alicia Vikander complete this trio bringing more comic relief and also elegance with her style and beauty.

The film setting in East Germany 1963 start with a very energetic chase, well orchestrated a must say and ends with on a very funny circumstances. The rest of the film is pretty entertaining with witty humor, great soundtrack and fantastic film transitions

A rock band playing "American Girl" in a decadent bar in Los Angeles, filled with a very hype bartender, a war veteran and some typical characters for this decadent setting is the very beginning of Ricki and The Flash. Directed by Jonathan Demme

Ricki (Meryl Streep) is the lead singer of this typica band, her partner in the band Greg (Ricky Springfield) is also her long time lover. Ricki is a cash register in a local supermarket with the bucolic images of new trends (produce, gluten tofu and etc) Ricki is tired of that life, always questioning the most recent establishment. She also joke about the current president with the keyboard player.

At this point we see a woman living a decadent world, she disapproved the life she is living but also who is ruling our institutions. A victim of 2008 financial crisis, she is disappointing of how we live.

To make matters worst, Ricki received the call from her ex husband Pete (Kevin Kline) who lives in Indianapolis with his new wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) and Ricki's tree kids who were raised by them when Ricki left for a more artistic life. Julie (Mamie Gummer) suicide attempt after discover that her husband cheat on her and also divorcing her.

Pete and Maureen are presented as the opposite of Ricki's life in Los Angeles, well established family, a cookie cutter house and with a very wealthy lifestyle. Julie re encounter with mom is not the most pleasant, because everyone blame Ricki for abandoning the family to pursue her dream in music.

The biggest conflict comes when Ricki reunited with her two sons Joshua and Adam who despise her mom for not been there and also they exclude her from important landmarks in their life, a marriage and been gay. The discussion turns ugly and that's when we discover that Ricki represents the past in American way of living. She voted for George W Bush Twice, she is homophobic but also is not the perfect mom.

Ricki and The Flash develop slowly, but also with several bumpy transitions. The film seems flat sometimes, some crucial moments don't have proper conclusion or definitive progress. We see characters that comes and go and we look for emotive moments to give closure. Even a character so powerful like Greg (Ricky Springfield) who to me represents Ricki conscience helping her to understand the problems in her life is not enough on screen to make us understand why Ricki is a failure as a mom who make mistakes and the need for a second chance.

The conclusion of the film is sort of circle that close with the family together while Ricki and the Flash plays together one last tune. Ricki defeat the establishment, the people who judge her for not been the perfect mom, but also for not care abut a cookie cutter life.

Ricki and The Flash was written by the famous screenwriter Diablo Cody

Monday, August 3, 2015

The arrival of a plane in Hawaii brings a guy two women together in sort of love triangle. An ex wife and a potential love interest makes this conflicted man to decided what ever happen to me and where I’m going with my life.

Aloha is directed by Cameron Crowe, the film starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams is a romantic comedy about Brian Gilchrest (Cooper) a contractor for the military after a messed up work in Kabul. Arriving to Hawaii he discovered that his ex girlfriend Tracy (McAdams) is now married. During his assignment Brian meet up with his Air Force liaison Allison Ng (Emma Stone).

All I can say is Aloha is a really flat film, the development of the story doesn’t offer a real twist, besides passages of Brian and Allison relationship and Brian memories of missing time with Tracy. All this is happening in the setting of the beautiful Hawaii. The characters are weak and cannot hold longer in the duration of the movie.

There is no conflict so the story falls apart gradually.

I’m always fascinated when a film’s subject is film itself. The actors conflicts, fame, the making a play, show business in general. In “Cloud Sils Maria” is a French movie by director Oliveier Assayas, about an actress Maria Enders (Julliete Binoche) and her relationship with her loyal American Assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart)

At the beginning of the movie Maria and Valentine are traveling by train to Zurich for an event to honor a famous writer Wilhelm Melchoir who gave Maria her first opportunity in the industry, playing a young role in Maloha Snake. Maria received the news that Melchoir passed away, but the event will happen as plan. During the event a theater director approached Maria to play a role again in the play Maloja Snake, but this time the older character, Maria decided to spent the following months in Wilhelm Melchoir house in the mountain to prepare for the role, the house name Sils Maria

“Cloud Sils Maria” is a deep exploration of fame in the film industry as well the theater circuit. The film divided by chapters present a conflict, young vs old, from Mari to Valentine, they argue on how important celebrities are portrait themselves in the media to be relevant. This is when Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz) appears, which is the new younger antagonist she is a reflection of Maria at her younger years as an actress. Maria is famous but is not relevant as Jo-Ann is.

The film is powerful, with great performances and a very unusual structure that makes the audience question the reality of the characters and their actual presence on film.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Director Asif Kapadia (Senna) of the documentary Amy presents the very beginning a conflicted and troubled rising star that just want to write good songs and play the best music she ever can.

Kapadia’s take on Amy is the use of archival footage, the same style that he used on his film Senna. A very risky technique that contains you into material that is controlled, but also is challenging, you don’t have a way to ask the right or wrong questions the interviews are there and you need to use whatever you want and make it meaningful.

In contrast Amy a singer songwriter and Senna a race car driver both wanted to reach the higher level of their career but with a certain prize. Amy becomes successful easily for her personality and charisma, but also for her capacity of manipulate people around her. That was the beauty of her persona. Senna have a dream since he was a kid, be the best driver and win all the awards and fame that he can. His personality was charismatic, but competitive. The dream of going fast for both of these characters was the reason of their demise. Senna killed in 1994 in a F1 of San Marino, for Amy managing pressure to be the star that they want and not the one that Amy was looking for. She went faster and faster just please the people who were controlling her, dying in 2011.

Amy documentary feeds the audience with a very in depth dissection of her songs, connecting us with her most personal and crucial moments, giving a meaning of her sad and darkest lyrics. Her dad, her boyfriends, her problems with drugs and alcoholism are presented in on screen lyrics highlighting her life presented in music and images.

Kapadia style in Amy is similar to Senna, but with different pacing. The director and editor never tried to please the audience with musical intermissions to make a musical documentary, but besides a documentary about this true artist that we lost too soon.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A film that talks about how films shape your life is one of the most appealing things I ever seen in recent years. Alfonso Gomex-Rejon, director of “Me , Earl and The Dying Girl” tells the story of Greg an awkward kid who place safe with everyone at school, by associate to the multiple cliques around them, an attitude that will teach him that life is not about protecting himself of the drama and emotional roller coaster of a normal teenager.

His escapism is movies, an early discover with his father (Nick Offerman) who loves art films like Werner Herzog, but also was a time when he met Earl ,(Ronald Cyler II) an African American kid who lives nearby in a rough neighborhood. Greg and Earl become associated and friends making wonderful but also awful versions of classical films. A sudden news come to Greg’s parent’s, a school friend Rachel Kushner ( Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with Leukemia so Mr and Mrs Gaines (Greg’s parents) ask him to develop a friendship with Rachel in order to give her moral support and also company.

The film will develop in a interesting story of love, friendship and movies.

Me, Earl and The Dying Girl is an ingenious film with a lof of film references and influences, from director Michell Gondry “Be Kind Rewind” to visual techniques like François Truffaut and Stanley Kucbrick.

The story is powerful with great performances, Alfonso Gomex-Rejon developed a great tools of storytelling techniques.

Los Angeles is always a great scenarios for personal stories of struggle and success, specially when the subject is an African American raised in rough neighborhoods. From John Singleton’s “Boyz in the Hood”, John N. Smith “Dangerous Mind” and Paul Haggis “Crash” these films explore African American trying to make it, but with a very shocking consequences.

In the film “Dope” director Famuyiwa presents a very simple story with very complex consequences. Malcolm Adekanbi (Shamik Moore) is a high school senior who lives with his mother. Malcom’s dad left to Africa when he was a little kid. Malcolm’s love 90’s hip hop, from wearing the traditional clothing to hear the music and also been devoted to that cultural trend. His biggest dream is to go to Harvard, but as an African American his advisory is not to happy about it, he also demoralized Malcom to desist the idea.

Malcolm have two friends, Jib and Diggy,( Tony Revolori and Kersey Clemons) both are geek like him and they spent time in their bicycles going around the rough neighborhood of Inwood in Los Angeles. In a strange chain of events in a party Malcolm end up with his back pack fill with molly and a gun and that’s when the real adventure of Dope start.

The film to me is like putting the essence of Pulp Fiction in a high school in Los Angeles. The story takes you from many intricate corners of Malcom’s and the gang trying to get rid of the drug and doing things right. The film is funny, shocking but also have a good heart, because presents a great social statement about stereotypes of African American who wants to have the sames chances like everyone else.

Dope have the perfect soundtrack for the summer, curated by Pharrell. The film is produced by Forest Whitaker and Sean Combs.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The brain is one of the most complex organs from human beings. It have the ability to manage, memories, emotions, but also is capable to control the body and the proper functioning.

When we born, the brain is already working and developing. But when we are out of the whom, the brain is trying to keep up with the activity that surround us.

That's basically when the story of "Inside Out" start. A little girl was born, Riley Anderson but also the first emotion of this girl shows up Joy (Amy Poehler) who is responsible of taking care of the most happy and joyful feeling of Riley. Then the next one of the gang appears. Sadness (Phyllis Smith) Fear (Bill Hader) Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kailing).
Throughout the years of Riley childhood everything seems to run smoothly, until Riley's parents decide to move to San Francisco for a business opportunity. This is the moment when the world is crumbly around for the emotions and of course to Riley.

Inside Out is a film by Pete Docter. No strange from the genre of animation. He have written the story of films like Up, WALL-E and Toy Story 1 and 2 and the subjects that he covered are related to human connection, life and of course emotions. Probably in "Inside Out" Docter combined all this different elements from past film and merged into a very original and self explanatory story about a kids brain, how thoughts, emotions and the intricate aspects the human brain works. During a Q&A at the Museum of Moving images, he confessed that he create the story with the help of neurologist and physiologist, but also with his own personal experiences as a father.

This is a movie from a point of view from a kid, but told by adults. "Inside Out" is very original and groundbreaking film when it comes to storytelling, character development and fine performance by all the actors on this movie.

I highly recommend this movie, is funny, original and most of all compelling. In fact it brought me tears at the end.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Love in the modern world is probably one of the biggest mystery in our society. The lack of human interaction and the replacement of that personal and close interaction it's been replaced by electronic communication. From email, web chat, instant text messaging, internet dating and app based dating choices, people are more afraid of meet someone in person and rely on technology to develop the basic thing which is connection.

Hollywood have explore human interaction with artificial intelligence as part of the exploration of human nature and personality against a machine.

From Terminator (Human-robot bond friendship) 2001 (Human - A.I. Spaceship crew member) Her (Human - Robot companion) Blade Runner (Human - A.I. working, pleasure robot) A.I. Artificial intelligence (Human - A.I. family member replacement) Alien and Prometheus (Human - A.I. Spaceship crew member) all this films shows the different aspects of A.I. presence in the real world.

Alex Garland's "Ex Machina" tales the story of Caleb (Domhall Gleeson) a worker for the company Bluebook. At the beginning of the movie Caleb is chosen by the company lottery to visit the company CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac) house in the mountains. Nathan house is a paradise, with all the amazing aspect of a technologic masterpiece as well the perfect location to learn and experiment.

Nathan is a very eccentric person, who lives only with his servant Kyoko a non English speaking assistant, Nathan idea is use Caleb to perform a Touring Test (Based on the work of Alan Touring) on his A.I. named AVA (Alicia Vikander). The idea is to understand how human AVA can be and discover if her behavior can be distinguished from human to A.I.

The relationship between AVA and Caleb develops into a romantic attachment.

Ex Machina becomes am instant classic for the nature of the subject, the film making techniques, as well sound and music but also the powerful story with a very nihilistic conclusion who will everyone wonder. Films like Blade Runner is immediately connected, because it creates a conflict between right or wrong and how science defies god by using technology to provide companionship to humans. Technology is develop to make life easier, not to replace life and turning life against us.

This film Ex Machina is a great movie with a powerful performance by Oscar Isaac, Alicia Viaknder and a great piece of film making by Alex Garland.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"While we're Young"

Midlife crisis, family and professional success are probably the biggest problem in modern society. This problem leads to jealousy, frustration, lack of personal fulfillment and sadly separation or divorce.

In the film "While we're Young" a middle aged couple Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) lives in NY and work in the film industry, Josh as a director who is challenged to finish a film that have 8 years in the making and for Cornelia he work as a documentary producer, but also he dream to be a mom, after two previous miscarriages.

During a lecture Josh met Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) who are this youngster couple who lives the life to the fullest, but also they call themselves fan of Josh work from his previous documentary. That night Josh and Cornelia end up having dinner with Jamie and Darby and this becomes a big revelation for all of them, specially for Josh and Cornelia.

The couple discover what they been missing in life and what's left to do becoming a race against aging, from dressing better or cooler clothing, new and interesting activities, but also a new way of life. For them Jamie and Darby is the answer to their unsatisfaction in life and the engine to relive again.

Jamie and Darby represents the youngsters who never experience some traditional things, like records, board games and less technologies. Perhaps they use this traditional or analog things to be cooler and appeal all generations. It's a culture of use the old to be the new cool.

The cast is perfect for this movie Stiller is the perfect neurotic middle age man, Watts represents the perfect woman in search of doing younger activities to have fun, Driver is perfect as a the young filmmaker who adore older filmmakers just to suck their energy and success just to take benefit for it.

The soundtrack reflects a perfect representation of songs that transition from older times to newer times as well devotion for retro music as an excuse to be cool again.

At the end of the day director Noah Baumbach shows you how life can be lived by focusing on your own personal success and not helping people who use you to become successful. Life is a constant struggle. You can be tired of doing the same things, but you have to keep fighting to find meaning to your relationships and career if not you are doom.

Matthew Seiner creator of the hit TV show Mad Man said in a interview: "Others people success should never stop you from be successful"

Monday, March 16, 2015

A very near future cities are submerge in high crime rate, from Chicago, Caracas, Rio de Janiero and Johannesburg. High cost of living, corruption and taxation are the biggest obstacles to make police effective in this cities. The corporation Tetraval offered a very easy solution, "Scouts" this police robot completely design to enforce and reduce crime rate is a big success for this corporation, but like any other company, there is struggle to succeed in the art of weapon and protection endeavor…

This is the setting of the film, Chappie directed Neil Blomkamp (District 9 and Elysium) is the story of Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) is the maker of the "Scouts" a very effective police robot, with the finest technology to solve Johannesburg crime rate, but also make Tetraval company millionaire. Like any other company, their employees compete to make their inventions come alive and be part of the corporation products. That's the case of Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) a ex military who design MOOSE a attack robot that is capable to self transportation and warfare attack. Moore is jealous of Deon and his success with the Scouts.
During a ambush a group of gang members who lost an important quantity of money on a sting, comes with the idea of kidnap Deon and force him to make a Scout a criminal. This comes as a coincidence while Deon steal a deactivated Scout and pretend to use it as a test with chip that creates to makes this robot more human, with a consciousness. Tetraval company don't believe in this project so Deon is just trying to achieve something beyond the corporation ideals of sells weapons. Chappie is the name of Deon's project, his mission, learn from life itself and become a less violent robot.

Chappie comes as a mash up of Paul Verhoeven 1987 Robocop, Disney's Pinocchio and Short Circuit. We have two robot projects so like in Robocop, one more human than the other and also one more lethal than the other. The similarities are so scary because the settings are basically the same. Detroit vs Johannesburg, which one is more violent? Scouts and MOOSE vs Robocop and ED-209 are similar weapons build with the promise of a better and more safer city, but also build with greed from one to another. Deon is the maker of Chappie, like Geppetto was the make of Pinocchio, a wooden toy who wants to be human, but it needs to learn the way of life like Chappie was forced to do the same in order to become a robot criminal. Like any other film robot Chappie learn from the American culture, from He-Man, to the bling-bling this robot learn the bad things of life and will discover that this world is not that beautiful.

Technology in Chappie is what it is vulnerable, limited by energy in a UN-replaceable battery, the human controlling and determine what is worth it, but also how the power of a maternal love and his maker will develop in a pseudo homage to Bjork's "All is Full of Love" music video.

Chappie bring back some of the interesting ideas from District 9, but also become a messy third act trying to justify the evilness of unprepared villains, like Vincent Moore.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Two guys on a British bar talking about someone they know. Then a bunch of street thugs walks in and that's when the fun start... Hollywood have done so many films about spies, but the blueprint of James bonds continues shaping some of this films. From the music, the gals, the costumes etc.

Actors like Leslie Nielsen, Bruce Willis, Mike Meyers, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Damon and others have played spies or secret agents. Their stories have drama, sacrifice and also rewards. In the breed of this actors Matthew Vaughn bring us Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The film presents Harry Hart (Colin Firth) a veteran Kingsman who lost his friend at the beginning of the year. Harry feel responsible for his death so he commit to take care of his friend son, when the time comes. Kingsman is a secret service agency using a high end tailoring shop as a cover. Chester King (Michael Caine) is the leader of the organization and Merlin (Mark Strong) is s Kingsman agent and trainer.

Seventeen years have pass and Eggsy Harry's friend son have is all grown up. Eggsy's life is really hard, his mom remarry to a abusive guy, connected to a band of thugs. Among that the kid is a mess, Eggsy is a robber and car stealer, but he have talents. After a recent car robbery Harry rescue him from jail with the commitment of become a Kingsman. Eggys accept.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a great action pack film about a kid who follow the footsteps of his father to become a highly powerful secret agent. Matthew Vaughn delivers a entertaining and fun film with great performance. The film also introduce you to a new breed of young actors who probably will be in new Hollywood films. The scenes are well choreographed and amazingly edited.

Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Mark Strong are great. Newcomer Aron Egerton and Sophie Cookson are really good too. Dancer Sofie Boutella is perfect for her role. Probably my biggest disappointment was Samuel L Jackson character. I don't know, after seen so many apis films, you are hoping that the villain will be sinister and evil, not a technology mogul with speech impediment.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Since Slumdog Millionare in 2008 it seems like Hollywood might be in love with India. Life of Pi, The Million Dollar Arm, One Hundred Foot Journey and the First movie of Marigold Hotel. What is Hollywood looking with the Indian culture? The biggest value of those stories is the struggle of one person to overcome a obstacle, from love, sports, money, food and even second chances movies with Indian themes are powerful but fades because of the big industry just tell some stories about Indian people, but not as compelling as the films imported from India, like a recent film with a very compelling and simple story "The Lunchbox"

In The Second Best Marigold Hotel, directed by John Madden brings A group of elderly British who meet again in the hot and colorful India. This time we meet the same characters from the first film, but also have new ones who try to evolve the dynamic of relationships and new personal goals. Now Sonny (Dev Patel) is about to marry Sunaina (Tina Desai) his fiance and the Marigold Hotel is up and running, but needs more work, the arrangements for the wedding are also creating conflicts between the bride and groom.

Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench) is now a successful textile specialist, Magde (Celia Imrie) is a specialist in have several relationships with wealth Indian millionaires, Muriel (Maggie Smith) manages the hotel with Sonny, but also is his best advisory in personal life and Douglas still in love with Evelyn, like the rest of the cast they are still in soul searching.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel is a film about mortality, this what John Madden said in a recent Q&A about the film. We see the characters come and go, not only because this hotel is a transitioning place, is also a place to let things go…

Most of the characters are in the search for something, that can be a second chance, but also a way to rediscover their new age period with the colors and the happiness of the Indian people. Richard Gere character fit perfectly in this analogy. He went to review a project and he discover and new project to live or Magde who goes left and right for love, but may be the center is the best direction to go...

The film is fun and cheerful, everyone is pretty charming, probably my main concern is the film is long to tell so many stories…

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A vibrant day in Cambridge 1963 while two young guys riding bikes, chasing to reach the first place in a race of knowledge. This is the begging of "The Theory of Everything"

Stephen Hawkins (Eddie Redmayne) is a smart student who have all, great friends, professors who support them and praise their virtues of this astrophysics student. Suddenly in a party he meets Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) a fellow student of literature. Their relationship develop pretty quickly. Jane is attracted to the corkiness of Stephen, but also his energetic passion about science. Over the course of the the school year he develop some neuron disease which make them loose his ability to move, but his brain will remain untouched. After all this happening Jane confess her love to Stephen and she is willing to be with him to even marry him.

In the upcoming years together they will have a son, but also Stephen disease get worse, when he is presenting his thesis obtaining a doctorate.

James Marsh direct this beautiful film about the life of Jane and Stephen Hawkins their struggled marriage, success and also their family. In essence this movie is not about Stephen Hawkins, is about Jane, how she sacrifice her career to take care of her husband. This is a story of how to overcome obstacles, but also how important is to let go when life choices are not the right ones and pursuing love with the right one.

The film is beautifully crafted, from directing, to editing, original score and cinematography. Redmayne and Jones are fantastic as the Hawkins couple.

In essence The Theory of Everything is a great biopic about the wonders of science and the people behind them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In the mist of the most dangerous and bloody year for the city of NYC 1981 Morales family are struggling to keep their Oil business alive. JC Chandor directs "A Most Violent Year" tells the story of Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) a business owner of Standard Oil a company that distribute heating to residential properties. His business is in jeopardy by constant hijacking of his trucks and attacks to the drivers. Abel is loosing money with the stole heating oil. He still believe that there is a non violent solution to the problem. But his wife Anna Morales (Jessica Chastain) thinks differently. Anna believes that there perpetrators are not the kind of people that you can negotiate to talk about the problem. Violence is the only who can solve this problem.

Abel have another problems to solve. Abel Morales and his company under investigation by Assistant of the District attorney (David Oyelowo) for tax evasion, and other illegal practice. Finally Abel is working for commercial independence by teaming up with his attorney Andrew Walsh (Albert Brooks) to struck a deal with a Jewsih group to own a fuel oil terminal on the NY East River.

This three events are the main arch of "A Most Violent Year" But with is the whole relationship with the main titles and these events. The film takes place like I mentioned earlier in 1981 which is considered the most violent year in city's history. The events shape the Morales family to the point that the most honest man will doubt about how many things you can achieve with the use of force in order to show everyone that your in charge. No matter what you do. Violence is the probably the last action to take. But Knowing that you are surrounded by violence why not use it?

Competition, Illegality and growth. These are the three elements that defines the main plot of "A Most Violent Year". Abel suffer by the constant attacks of his competitors while the law want Abel's head and his business while he just want to make a living. He is a family man, a good father, he cares about the employees, but most of all he wants to grow.

J.C. Chandor creates this Goodfellaseske world in the early 80's with less bloodiness like Scorsese does. But he does with style A Most Violent year is a tense drama with nuance of violence and action. The film develops with a excellent assemble cast. Oscar and Isaac and Jessica Chastain plays perfect as a marriage couple, but play excellent roles as a businessman and matriarch of the Morales family. Albert Brooks is excellent as well. While David Oyelowo perform a good supporting role that needs more time on screen. The film is beautifully shot by Bradford Young and perfectly edited by Ron Patane.

The daily lives of any person in this world is filled with failures, success good times, bad times, and crazy times. This could be the easy way to explain the film Damián Szifrón "Wild Tales". Following the footsteps of famous directors like Robert Altman with Short Cuts and Paris, je t'aime with the directors: Gus Van Sant, Joel and Ethan Coen, Walters Salles, Alfonzo Cuarón, Wes Crave and Alexander Payne.

Wild Tales is a collection of 6 short films compiled in a single film. Every stories doesn't have a particular connection from each other, but the relationship of success, failure, death, revenge, love and life, is present and should be the crucial link from each tale that you see on film.

With Argentinian all stars such as Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes and Nine Queens) Darío Grandinetti ( The Dark side of the heart) Leonardo Sbaraglia (Cenizas del Paraiso) is just a few of the actors who bring to life the stories:

-Pasternak the story of a disappointed human being who finds the revenge by get rid of everyone who hurt him.
-The Rats The story of a waitress revenge against the responsible of her family demise.
-The Strongest The story of two drivers who clash till the end to see who is the bravest.
-Little Bomb the story of a explosive specialist haunting unfairness in the daily life system.
-The Proposal: A hit and run will turn into a greedy fight for money.
-Until death do us part a wedding turn into a bloody war

There is no much to say about this film, is masterful with a very dark humor and realistic situations that appeal to everyone who wanted to fight the system and find meaning to daily conflicts in daily life.

Pedro Almodovar produce this instant classic, Gustavo Santaloalla delivers a beautiful score and Javier Juliá create a wonderful cinematography inspired in the look of several films.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Music and relationships always comes together on film. The capacity of music to generate several emotions for people who fall in love, hate each other, laugh and end up relationships.
Films such as Once, Begin Again, The Bodyguard, Across The Universe, Mamma Mia and Pitch Perfect constitute a good number of films that use music as a vehicle for relationships of any kind, from friendship, love interest and artistically collaboration.

In the film Song One directed by Kate Barker-Froyland, Anne Hathaway plays Franny an archeology student who suddenly return to NYC after her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) was hit by a car and end up on coma. Franny decided to dig into Henry personal objects discovering a diary with places and sounds from the city as well his devotion to this folk artist name James Forrester (Johnny Flynn) Fanny attends to James Forester show, finally meeting him sharing the story of what happen to Henry.

The story continues with several situations where you discover Fanny's conflict with her mom play by Mary Steenburgen and born relationship with Fanny and James.

Song One is pretty interesting film, with beautiful music that sadly doesn't appeal the way that other films do. In fact the music can be forgettable in some point. The power of sound in this film overcome so much making it one of the main protagonist.

The story is flat and only reach some levels of the emotion in the conclusion of the film.
Anne Hatthaway and Johnny Flynn are good as a couple and have chemistry, but there love story can be slightly believable.

Song One is a great attempt from a first time director. The film as a whole doesn't work, is more about separate scenes that really work.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Film Noir is perhaps one of the most interesting movie genres ever made. Its combination of narrative technique with a visual style presents a powerful story against good and evil. It was originally created by been influenced from German expressionism, detective literature and Italian Neoralism. Hollywood made it popular with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Edward G Robinson but later reinterpret for other generations, with directors like Jean Luc Godard (Breathless) John Houston (Chinatown) Robert Altman (The Long Goodbye) Blade Runner (Ridley Scott) Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller (Sin City)

Now Paul Thomas Anderson reinvent the genre of film noir bringing a version with steroids. That's the case of his new film "Inherent Vice" Sasha Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterson) pay a visit to her ex-boyfriend Larry "Doc"Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) a private eye from Los Angeles. Sasha ask Doc to help her to protect her new boyfriend Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) a wealthy real state developer from a plot to abduct Mickey from his wife and wife's lover.

The film leads Doc to meet very colorful and particular characters like Hope (Jena Malone) Dr Rudy Blatnoyd (Martin Short) Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) including Doc biggest nemesis Det Christian F "Bigfoot" Bjornsen (Josh Brolin).

Is hard to explain what really happen in Inherent Vice. That's why I refer this film as film noir cop drama on steroids. The level of inconsistency, oddness and weirdness happening, tricks' you, you don't understand clearly what's happening, not even when the female narrator explain it to you. The film contain the basic elements of a cop drama from the 40's or the 70's The problem is what's the story about?

A detective with a ex-girlfriend who needs help, a cop who wants to see the detective down and a millionaire who is been chase by his wife and wife's lover. So the detective still in love of his ex-girlfriend, but still wants to help her. Also the detective wants to help other people at the same time… Phoenix and Brolin are outstanding.

Inherent Vice is a unusual film noir narrated by the singer and actress Joanna Newsom. Her voice will lead the audience to the intricate situations of this film while Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood compose the original score. The soundtrack is really good and the cinematography and costume design are well done.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hollywood have always been obsessed with erotic movies and erotic thrillers. Not because are appealing to the audience, only because it makes money. From Basic Instinct, The Body of Evidence, 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, The Lover, Body Heat, Henry & June, Sliver, Fatal Attraction, Eyes Wide Shut and Color of the Night. These movies contain heated sex scenes and a plot that justify those scenes. But also these movies were made thinking of breaking boundaries when it comes to that content.

Hollywood newest attempt is the movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" based on the famous novel. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starred by Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele). The film tells the story of Anastasia Steel a literature college student that is covering for her roommate to interview a famous Seattle millionaire Christian Grey. From the very beginning both have a strong connection that leads to numerous sexual encounters. The film use metaphoric images that might be a cheap directing or visual trick for the audience. After Anastasia finish the interview you will see her walking out the Grey building while is pouring rain that could also be assume is visual representation some sexual lubrication or intense sweating. The other scene represented by Anastasia playfully using a pencil with Mr Grey company logo in a phallic way. Throughout the movie Anastasia and Christian will grow a relationship of possession, intense sexual intercourse and also odd Sadomasochistic encounters.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is not a good adaptation of the book, after carefully reviewed the content of the novel, I realized that this is a poor representation of the original, not necessary telling that this book is a Noble price material. Is just a steamy literature of sexually unsatisfied people. This adaptation look like "Fifthy Shades of Grey" for dummies, none of the characters have enough strength to just stand up by themselves, but only as an accessory like the fancy gifts that Mr Grey send to Anastasia during several scenes of the movie.

The acting is really flat, specially from someone as talented as Jamie Dorman who is amazing in the BBC TV show "The Fall". Dakota Johnson just play the beautiful virgin.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" doesn't have any artistically value, there is only one shot that can only be consider beautiful which is a scene were Anastasia and Christian sit across from each other in a conference room while discussing their famous agreement of sexual domination.

At the end this movie just helps to sell more books, Sadomasochistic props and perhaps the soundtrack

Friday, February 6, 2015

Alzheimer's is a terrible illness that affects millions of people. There is no treatment that can ease the pain and suffering from Alzheimer's from dementia, disorientation and language problems. Several movies have touch this subject, from On Golden Pond, The Notebook, Iris, Rise the Planet of The Apes.

In the film Still Alice directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland tales the story of Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) a successful Columbia University linguistic professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She have a very supported family, from her husband John Howland (Alec Baldwin) and their daughters Lydia (Kristen Stewart) and Anna (Kate Bosworth). Is important to mention that her family have typical conflicts like any other family from Anna trying to conceive a baby to Lydia pursuing her career in acting in California. Alice keeps the early diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease secret from her family thinking that she can handle the situation. Until John and her decide on a family reunion to break the silence. Anna couldn't handle the news, but Lydia does, because her free spirit nature.

For Alice Alzheimer's disease is coming to fast to ruin her success and also her normal and happy life. Her life deteriorate day by day, from loosing the ability to figure out locations, remember events and appointments to finally inability to teach in college. Alice event take her decease in a positive way, even joking to John how she have Alzheimer's disease and she is allow to forget things

Alice decided to create her on personal way of remembering things, from creating notes on her phone to add her daughters names and birthdays and also important address and anniversaries. Unfortunately things starting becoming more problematic when Alice becomes more and more ill and also John gets an offer in Minnesota to run a medical department there. The family decides to take Alice to there summer house at The Hampton's so she can be away from the dangers of the city. There Alice reinforce relationships with John, but sometimes John is to busy to be with Alice. On the other hand Lydia develop new kind of ties with her mother because the book Angels in America.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the use of the butterfly as a element of rebirth and also how Angels in America play another significant role in the story. How the celestial concepts and renaissance connects with Alice character and her unfortunate situation and how she it what it is no mater how lost she is because of the Alzheimer's disease.

Julianne Moore perform a Oscar worthy role, perhaps one of her best.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Movies are use to explore politics, war and other subject matters as a metaphors. 1995 Emir Kusturika, masterfully create the film Underground to represents the conflict of Yugoslavia subsequently divided in three countries. Others film explore another subject matters, like Aliens and the Vietnam war and X-Men and Gay Right Movement.

Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev) is based on the Biblical story of Naboth's vineyard. Kolya owns a property up at the hill, he is married and have a teenager son. Kolya property it's been on a trial against the town Vadim mayor, who wants to to own the piece of land no matter what. Dimitri (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) is Kolya old friend, but also his lawyer on the case against Vadim. No matter how law works in this town Vadim (Roman Madyanov) is able to win the case and also make sure to ruin everyone's life.

Kolya wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) have marital problems, they seem to be distant, besides Kolya's effort Lilya is no longer feeling anything from him, Surprisingly she is having an affair with Dimitri. On the other hand Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev) Kolya's son from the first marriage have problems accepting Lillya as his stepmother, which be reflected in problems of authority.

Vadim the towns lawyer, have a team of people who help him to cheat the system, hiding all his dirty laundry, which almost was releases to the public by Dimitri, when he was trying to negotiate with Vadim using the documents as solution win the case. Vadim is a very alcoholic person, also a very conflicted man who use the high priest as a confidant and also advisor for his none ethical political practice.

Leviathan explore a very controversial story about corrupt officials, corrupt church, money, power, laws that protect the perpetrators and not the victims and sadly your trust in the system.

There is so many images in Leviathan that represents metaphorically speaking the strong message against corruption, but showing a bunch of friends celebrating a birthday by practicing shot and range with old russian presidents also how god explain in the scriptures that truth is absolute freedom by using the high priest giving the final sermon. Do not pay attention of actions of violence, destruction and hate, because are not god good intentions, these are lies pretending to be the truth. The church will protect people because the church is state also also could be church.

After you leave the theater you are upset, not only fort the conclusion, but that the facts are not far from the truth. Leviathan takes place in Russia, but can takes place in U.S.A, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico or even in a African Nation. You are not longer protected by the state. The laws protect the politicians, but not the citizens, even if you go against the state using the laws, you will never win.

Leviathan is a powerful film that deserves awards and recognition for the masterful film making work, from their actors and crew.

Friday, January 16, 2015

War movies been around in Hollywood for decades. From films about the actual conflict, the before and after the conflict and also coming home stories. As an spectator the most complex stories are the ones of people who end up prisoner of war and how the person prevail the tortures of their enemies and comes back as a hero.

Empire of the Sun, Schindler's List, The Rail Man, Rescue Dawn, The Bridge on The River Kwai shows diverse stories of soldiers coming to fight against the enemy and end up in a concentration camp been humiliated by the oppressors.

Unbroken (Angelina Jolie) presents the story of Lois "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) a bombardier in World War II in a mission to attack the island of Nauru. The film takes place in several periods of the life of Louie, his childhood, teenage years and also his time as a runner for the Olympics in Berlin. The story focus on showing how Louie evolves from all this periods to become a successful athlete and his time during war. The tragic events that unfolds at the crashing of his aircraft in the ocean with only him and two others as survivors Mac and Phil.

After a long period of time Louie end up been transferred into a concentration camp where he is mentally and physically tortured.

I think Unbroken have a great premise as a world war film, but is becoming to sentimental and dramatic in a way that the audience becomes so affected with the film that stop realizing that the main focus on this film is how Louie Zamperini get back home after the horrors of war. The parallel stories make sense in a way that helps you to illustrate the bond between Louie and his brother Peter. But the story focus so much time during his 45 days stranded at sea without a solid reference of time which help the audience to understand the drama, besides just the cast away effect of finding food and surviving.

My problem with Unbroken it reminds me a mash up of movies all together Chariots of Fire, meet Life of Pi meet Rescue Dawn meet Empire of the Sun. The film is mushy (excessive sentimental) may be because of the nature of the story.

Overall the film have great technical achievements and delivers what is need it. solid war period drama.

Big Hero 6 tales the story of Hiro a an robotic genius who like to spend his spare time in back alley robot fights. Encouraged by his talented brother Tadashi, because he is so concerned on how Hiro waste his time on this kind of activities he brings him Hiro to his university. That's when he first meet Baymax, a personal care robot created by Tadashi.

The film setting is in a fusion of Tokyo and San Francisco named Fransokyo, a very interesting eclectic environment. Don Hall directs this animated film that goes in the roots of films about a person who is search of his own identity, after some tragic happening that force him to take the lead role and encounter evilness by fighting as a super hero.

Disney exploration of Big Hero 6 is a very flat story with some nuances of previous stories. Tragedies, fight between good and evil, revenge, but most the use of Joseph Campbell The Journey of a Hero.
The problem with Big Hero 6 is not about how writers didn't developed too many layers of this story, making it meaningful, is about people, you see that Hiro and Tadashi friends developed a bond but is not that deep, which makes the whole transition to be none to be superheroes so quick that audience just witnessed in a blink of an eye. Films about super heroes take the time to show how this people transition from one personality to the other, may be is because is a kids film, the story is not a well developed. But if you see Pixar The Incredibles the story is powerful and hit the core on superheroes mythology.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The most recent events of police brutally and violence against minority shake the emotions of communities around the country and perhaps the world. Seems that this a vicious circle that still present without any evident solution. Ava DuVernay explore this problem in the film Selma.

The historical drama Selma recount the events in 1965 of the voting rights marches led by James Hosea Williams and Martin Luther King Jr. The film's approach is raw in some moments highlighting perfectly the levels of hate and violence that people and authorities of the south have against African Americans, but also how people were able to overcome race discrimination marching as one.

Selma is not a biopic about MLK is about everyone who always wanted to be treated as an equal and the struggle civil right movement leaders, finding answers and searching for understanding.

Ava DuVernay do a formidable work as a director, capturing a MLK vulnerable, thoughtful and spiritual. Selma is filled with excellent visual nuances, supported by the beautiful cinematography from Bradford Young and editing by Spencer Averick. Music selection for the film is spot on and it capture the emotions of the scenes in SELMA.

Lastly David Oyelowo is outstanding as a MLK he gets deep into the character, specially when he is doing the most memorable speeches from Dr King.

SELMA makes you understand that nothing have change and the work to develop better understanding about race and equality is not even half away.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pupil and teacher relationship it's always been covered in films as a very romantic, inspirational and emotional way of seen education.

From "Dead Poets Society", "Dangerous Minds", "Mr. Holland's Opus", "Monsieur Lazhar", "The School of Rock""Half Nelson", "A Single Man" these films presents the classroom as great space for different experiences. Students are encouraged to learn more and achieve greater things, so teachers to will give the most inspiring speeches and take relationships to the next level.

This is not the case in the film Whiplash. David Chazelle directs the story of Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) a 19 year old jazz drummer who is starting as a student in Shaffer Conservatory. This on of the best music school in the USA. He have a great and inspiring life, from love a relationship with Nicole (Melissa Benoist) a college student who works at a movie theater to the support of his dad Mr Neiman (Paul Reiser)

But for Andrew the most important things is becoming the next Buddy Rich considered the world best drummer. The big challenge in Shaffer school is win Terence Fletcher which is the most infamous conductor in school. Andrew put all his efforts to become the best and be for Fletcher his key drummer.

Andrew will encounter a hard road to reach a higher level, the destructive relationship with Fletcher will turn him into an obsessed person who painfully fight and fight to reach the best place. Fletcher demeanor attitude will focus of destroy Andrew moral, all this with a powerful jazz soundtrack

Miles Teller is great on the movie, but the show stealer is J.K. Simmons, he deserves an Oscar hands down.

Whiplash explore human tolerance, human will, the value of artistic careers versus other professional careers but mostly perseverance over an abuser. This film can be also a great piece of study for student been bully by their teachers.

Movies about media is probably on of the most interesting topics to talk about from films like Network, Broadcast News, All President Men, Citizen Kane, Good Night and Good Luck, The Insider, Natural Born Killers, Shattered Glass, Zodiac and To Die For. Is most of this film talk about an specific event that media covers or perhaps stories in the news frontline.

Nightcrawler I would say is the first film to talk about the new Citizen Journalism trend. Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a thief who make a living taking part from construction sites. After stumble a film crew shooting a footage of an accident on the highway, Lou become inspired into do this job. After finally geared up, he approach to a morning news anchor Nina (Rene Russo) who offer him buy his footage. The main goal of Lou is to find violent incidents in neighborhoods because this attract viewers.

After a successful career covering the most violent incidents in Los Angeles. Lou hired an assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed) but also becomes highly obsessed on making the best work possible, to the point he will alter the crime scenes and also sabotage competitors in order to get more money even treat hen Nina to end their business relationship if she doesn't have sex with him.

Dan Gilroy director of Nightcrawler make a masterful job creating a dark Los Angeles. This is a very neo-noir crime thriller this is not the brightest and cooller time to see the Hollywood mecca, this is a city that breathe evilness and is it's dark and scary. The films reminds to "Drive", Collateral, To Live and Die in L.A. and other movies that shown a very obscure L.A.

This films question the role of citizen journalism, what is right or wrong, what sells as a piece of news and what's and what newscaster, reporters and news network personel are capable to do, to provide with what they consider the best news

Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic as Lou, you like him, you also hate him and scare of him. His mannerism and street talk make him a business charming man will to do what ever it takes to be the best. Cinematographer Robert Elswit and editor John Gilroy done a great job capturing the spirit of Los Angeles as well the darkness and tension of this seudo abandoned city.

Nightcrawler is a great achievement in filmmaking