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.