Friday, December 23, 2016

Is safe to say that 2016 was one the years where Hollywood was extremely devoted to biopics about musicians. Miles Ahead - directed by Don Cheadle about Miles Davis, Born to Be Blue - Directed by Robert Budreau, about Chet Baker and I Saw the Light directed by Marc Abraham about Hank Williams.

Tom Hiddleston starts as the famous musician Hank Williams and his wife Audrey Williams (Elizabeth Olsen) and the film revolves around Williams life, his music success, his trouble relationship with his mom and his wife and also the alcohol abuse and the multiple affairs.

I have to say that this film is pretty flat, because it try to hard to develop drama and connection with the characters and the audience. Unfortunately it never reach any level, the film structure is vague and you never know the point of jumping the story from past to present.

Hiddleston doesn’t do justice to Williams character, his singing abilities and his accent is not good enough to hold the movie.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

In the real world the story of a galaxy far away talk about the race of the rebellion fighting an evil empire who just want to conquer the world. But in the world that we living, this story constitute a propaganda anti-politicians.

It’s been almost 40 years since the original film Star Wars was premiered and the story about a boy and the universe captivating everyone around the world. An evil government with tendency anti democracy and conservative, rule the galaxy destroying everything that opposed them.

Now the story it’s been relived in a chapter that might be a few days or a few hours prior the events of A New Hope. “Rogue One” is the story of the group of rebels who went on a mission to steal the secret plans of the Death Star. The events are defined by the spirit of a diverse group of people, by their ethnics and their way of thinking. The leadership is by a woman. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) the daughter of a scientist in charge of building this space station Galen Erso ( Mads Mikkelsen) who scape from the empire and later is captured again, been forced to finish the job.

The Rebels find Jyn as the connection to her father and need her to lead a team with the help of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). Thought the film they will travel to other planes where the Empire invade for the sake of their resources.

No matter how many times you want to detach this movie from the actual events it becomes perfectly clear. that is not just about what’s going on the America, its about the world itself. War is a big industry on both sides of the spectrum, good or bad collided with their ideals, their agendas just for the sake of a sort off greater good. In this movie you will see this two groups, but also a third one who is more a separatist group, like guerrilla who don’t believe in the institution, just want to take the law in the own hands. “Save the Rebellion, Save the Dream”

The role of the women’s in this film is very important and I find that great, because women’s are leaders, they can create powerful strategies as well they own ideas to change the world.

Most of the planes seen in “Rogue One” reminds me to places that you know in real life, but with big differences. One plane in particular I can tell the screenwriter was trying to do a connection with the devastated city of Aleppo or Damascus. Powerful governments destroying vulnerable locations to benefit mercenaries or improve their economic ventures.

The force is there in the story, but is more like a nuance of the power of your own mind and how with the positive attitude you can change things and overcome difficulties, sometimes you can go beyond your comfort zone, but sacrifices pays off.

To me the movie deliver, I’m not trying to compare to Star Wars: The Forces Awakes, but I like better Rogue One, because is a dark an aggressive film about a group of warriors, who will do what ever it takes to fulfill the mission. Nothing is sugar coded, It is what it is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2008 market crash brought one of the major crisis in the real state market. The so called bubble, make home owners unaware of the major treat of banks taking advantage of their costumers and scamming to the point of foreclosure. Is hard to say how many families were hurt by this, but the idea of someone taking the law in their own hands is another story.

Toby and Tanner Howard brothers living in a rural town in Texas, are holding a big plan to rob several branches of Texas Midland Banks in the early morning. Toby (Chris Pine) a divorced father and Tanner (Ben Forster) an ex-con mother passed away recently, leaving their ranch in a debt due to a reverse mortgage,Toby thinks this is the best way to find the money to pay the debt.

Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alrberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are assigned to the case. Hamilton is close to retire, he figure out the plan of the brothers Howard set in motion a plan to catch them with the help of Arlberto Parker.

“Hell or Highwater” is considered by a neo-western film, because all the elements used to tale the story as well of the esthetics and look of the cowboy movies. After careful analysis you can tell the director David Mackenzie and writer Taylor Sheridan dig deeper into western movies to metaphorically represents two cowboys robbing banks looking for poetic justice, been chased by the sherif who is sure from the very beginning who is the mastermind in this crime. “Hell or Highwater” have several connotations of the struggle of the good vs evil, bringing the enigma of who is the real bad guy, like in Clint Eastwood “Unforgiven” as well social criticism to private institutions who sometimes are not the good guys, but the bad guys, just ripping people off, as a consequence there is a quest for full revenge.

The all star cast deliver a great performance and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis presents one of the finest original score on screen.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The basic idea of taking something that is not yours is consider a felony, a crime or even a subversive action against the law. But when you take an idea that is not yours and make it better or worse is not condone. It could be enforce in court if the system works for you to fight idea stealer.

Michael Moore, director of films like Sicko, Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 embarks in one of the biggest mission of all, find what is missing in the USA that doesn't make it the best country of the whole world.

"Where to Invade Next", have Michael Moore traveling to countries mostly in Europe and Africa discovering all the great things that this nations offer to their people, comparing to what Americans have to suffer constantly to make a living. Moore have always been a spokesman of USA lack of prospects. The documentary focus in a comedic way, but at the end of the day the content is pure sarcasm against America that some people who think is the best country of all.

The tour takes you from Italy, France, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Tunisia and Iceland. Most of these countries, give groundbreaking benefits which for US citizens is just dreams and illusions that will never have. From Paid, honeymoon, two hour lunch break, paid parental leave, real and healthy school meals, no homework, no standardized testing, debt free education, special women's rights, and prosecution of bankers.

It's sound depressing when you read it on this list, but when you see it in on film, comparing it to real situations in the US, you ask yourself, why our politicians are not doing anything about it?, why Michael Moore have to subversively be the invader in countries which have better quality of life, showing us right in our face, that our system is really broken?

The biggest achievement of this film is an eye opening view of what us, are missing, but perhaps are not letting our peers to enjoy. You cannot make a country better or greater, but just promising great things, without looking other nations who have chosen to work for their people, and not for the politicians.

Like Hollywood do with their productions when there is a lack of creativity, they acquire ideas and products from the other countries to make it their own, why the US government don't do that too?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

On January 14th 2016, the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced. With this list a very controversial list which not including african americans in the main categories sparks a series of complaints to the academy for not including big actors like Will Smith, Michael B Jordan or director Ryan Cooler or even consider them for the awards.

The origin of Oscar So White generates a dramatic change in the foundations of the Academy promising more diversity for the years to come. The film industry have always put minorities in the second place, sometimes cataloging their movies in sub genres. Powerful film from directors like Ava Duvernay, Spike Lee, John Singleton, Lee Daniels, Don Cheadle. Tyler Perry and Antonie Fuqua have created masterful movies about the struggle of african americans in this country. Boyz in the Hood, Malcom X, The Buttler, Selma, Do the Right Thing. Have given lessons to the audience about their culture and way of life.

The last film to portray masterfully the hard life in the black community is “Moonlight”, well crafted by director Barry Jenkins which tells the story of Chiron a african american kid who lives with his mother Paula (Naomi Harris) an abusive and controlling drug addict. The film is divided in three chapters i.Little: about Chiron (Alex Hibbert) childhood, when he meet Juan (Mahersala Ali) a crack dealer who discover him hiding from bullies from school, his only comfort is his friendship with Kevin. Chiron

ii.Chiron This time Chiron (Ashton Sanders) is a teenager, who is harassed threaten ad bullied in school and outside school by his peers. His mother Paula is now addicted to crack, solicit herself and coerce Chiron to get her money. His friend Kevin, becomes closer to him (Chiron) which end up kissing him and giving some sexual interaction. On this chapter the audience discover all the rage that Chiron is been holding for so long. During an episode in the school, Kevin is forced to fight Chiron by Terrel a troublemaker from the school, this concludes in a brutal beaten of Chiron, later taking revenge on Terrel.

iii. Black: Chiron is am adult a drug dealer living in Atlanta, following the footsteps of his father figure Juan, even driving his car. Paula’s calls him constantly to be visited by him. Kevin reappears looking for Chrion to pay him a visit at a restaurant where he cooks in Miami.

Moonlight explore a world a person that could be anyone of us, the same problems, the same aspirations, the same dreams. In this case the film is not trying to reminds you that Chiron lives in a certain neighborhood, is just a though life to live. Is hard to say if this movie is the direct consequence in the search of a film for the “So white” Oscar voters. But what I’m certain this movie is powerful drama, made with such a poetic images, fill with metaphors about the life and how cyclic is our existence, following the same paths.

In times where been a minority in this country is consider a threat, this film is the response of how societies can survive by been tolerant, overcome our difficulties but mostly stay close to your roots.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The director John Madden english director with a strong pedigree from film like “Shakespeare in Love”, “Captain Corelliu’s Mandolin”, “The Debt” and “The Best Marigold Hotel”, one and two embark in a new territory with the film “Miss Sloane”

A political thriller starring Jessica Chastain, which already worked with Madden in movie, “The Debt”
Elizabeth Sloane is one of the most powerful and hated lobbyist in Washington DC, she represents “la creme de la creme” in the power of negotiation among high rank politicians. She is rustless, competitive and a real piece of work. There is nothing that she cannot do, but her ambition will bring take her to compete against the wrong people.

She don’t have a side in the political arena, no Democrat or Republican. Miss Sloane, will fight the cause of the company who hire her. At the begging of the movie, she works on a firm who is helping some politicians to support a female initiative for the Second Amendment in the case of the use of guns in America. A project brought by her boss (Sam Waterson) Miss Sloane, quickly declined to work with them. Later abandoning the firm for a better client Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong), bringing her best sailors to a new firm who is fight against the Second Amendment initiative. Very clever plan, fighting against what you are supporting in the first place, it’s a game of what’s best for you as a lobbyst. The first act reveals how Elizabeth Sloane can manipulate, destroy and control her surrounding making enemies across the board, using everything that she can, even espionage techniques.

The following act is how the web of dirty tricks cover Washington DC destroying careers, choosing sides just for better opportunities in the political business. The audience also discover some weakness in Elizabeth, meds and sex. But most importantly you get a sense of all the players in the game, which makes you doubt about almost everyone, who is the bad guy, or who is the good one.

In essence, Miss Sloane could be a perfect film for this troubling political time in America. The only way to get rid of politicians is not bringing other politicians who promises big shake ups in Washington DC, is destroying the foundations of corruption between politicians and lobbyist who are just working to protect their seat, instead of working hard for the people who voted for them. Besides been a very political thriller, this movie could relate easily to so many scandals in nation’s capital to teach some lessons to politicians, but end up as just “a pat in the back”

You need to pay attention to every detail in the movie, you might surprise you.

Miss Chastain is fabulous as a Miss Sloane, as well the rest of the cast. On the technical side Alexander Berner is pretty good and Max Ritcher original score is very powerful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

One of the biggest challenges for Hollywood these days is the lack of stories. Most of the time movies are made based on TV shows, recycle old films, franchise and now the most common subject is true events that just happen pretty recent. I have a big problem when Hollywood make this kind of movies, specially because the stories are hard to develop may be some events needs to breathe for years, it also needs research to find how the events evolves, which help to understand the reason and consequences. Several films have attempted to do that. Snowden, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Deepwater Horizon and Rosewater. Probably United 93 was consider by critics a success portraying the events of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

A new film about a true life event is "Sully" director Clint Eastwood, decided to continue making another biographical story about an American heroe. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) is the pilot of flight US Airways 1594, which departing from La Guardia airport strike a group of Canadian geese, forcing them to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River, this events happened on January 15 2009.

Clint Eastwood play with the order of the story, making sure that the audience feel the personal struggle of Capt. "Sully" meeting the National Transportation Safety Board, their accusations about his wrongful decisions in during the emergency landing and his past as a pilot. The film goes back in forth introducing several key characters into the story, bringing situations that apparently will help to define them

Tom Hanks do a marvelous job as Capt. Chesley "Sully" as well Aaron Eckhart as Jeffrey Skiles. The problem with the film is the lack of development. Eastwood presents the passengers, the flight attendant hoping that the audience connect with them, it never happen, even Laura Linney playing Sully's wife vanished as a character. To me "Sully" is just a collection of vignettes in the events of "The Miracle in the Hudson" the main way to connecting them back is with Sully's visions or flashbacks. I don't feel the click, trying to make it a powerful drama.

It's been 7 years since the miracle in the hudson happen and for some people there is no sense of mystery, but in this movie you see a troubling person who was an instant hero in the right time and the right moment. Sully as a human being is beyond that, is a father, a husband, a friend and a great professional. Unfortunately I don't see that in this movie, the film spent more time questioning him rather than honoring the right way. At the end of the day, is a director point of view.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hollywood portrayal of fashion is a sugar coded reality of luxurious trips to Europe, outstanding Pret-a-porter and the opulence of the best restaurants in town. But showing the real skin of this kind of life is considered pure controversy. Films like “Devils Wear Prada”, “Zealander” “Ready to Wear” Sex and The City” are among those productions who just show you the most appealing side of fashion.

In Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) he show a very dark and bizarre side of the industry who only shows you beauty and perfection. “The Neon Demon” tales the story of Jesse (Elle Fanning) a sixteen year old aspiring model who just moved to Los Angeles from a small town in Georgia. During the course of the first half and hour of film Jesse meets a make up artist Ruby (Jena Malone) a photographer Dean ( Karl Giusman) she is signed by Roberta Hoffman (Christina Hendricks) and becomes the object of jealousy by model competitors Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Abbey Lee).

Mr Refn filming portrayal of Los Angeles is far behind the film Drive, which also takes place in the same city but perhaps other universe. Most of the characters seems to have dark agendas. Hank (Keanu Reeves) the motel owner where Jesse is staying, Jack (Desmond Harrington) prestigious photographer who do a test photoshoot to create a portfolio of Jesse, and fashion designer Robert Sarno ( Alessandro Nivola) who seems completely obsesses with the a new model name Jesse and oblivious to the rest of pack of models who are just the same.

“The Neon Demon” is filled with powerful metaphors like Jesse finding a real life cougar which represents how the evolution of her from a teenager to a real woman in the fashion industry, with the release of a best within. Another is the conversation with model competitors who seems surprise that Jesse haven’t been touch by a surgeon knife to improve her beauty, while these girls been manipulate so many times in order to meet the fashion industry standard. The world where they live if just an illusion, is fake and is intended to be that way, natural beauty is impossible, as well innocence.

The story borderline in the bizarre world of David Cronenberg, the poetry of Alejandro Jodorowsy and the darkness of Gaspar Noe. The controversial last act of the film is the perfect example of how reality challenge fantasy of events that if your open enough to think, it might be true. The best who drive models can reach levels to eliminate competitors in the most obscure ways.

Cliff Martinez score mimic sometimes Vangelis, but also create an environment sad, somber and unique. The cinematography by Natasha Braier is powerful and create this world perfectly.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Have you ever heard the expression latino expression “Small town, big hell” that’s is basically synopsis for the film that I’m about to review.

“The Dressmaker” is a comedy drama about Myrtle Dunnage (Kate Winslet) a dressmaker who used to live in the outback, in the small town of Dungatar. About 25 years ago, Myrtle was wrongfully accused of the murder of a schoolboy name Stewart Pettyman and that forced her to exile for this happening.

Her return disturbed the peace of this little town. But also charm the ladies, because of Myrtle accomplishment in the art of dressmaking. Her abilities of a city girl, will put the wheels in motion for a sweet and sour revenge to everyone accomplice who accuse her of the murder of Stewart.

The film start with a powerful opening, setting the tone of the story, but also confuse you just defining the whole style of it. The audience see constant flashbacks of Myrtle childhood and how she’s been bully by Stewart, making her as the main suspect of Stewart death. But also shows other protagonist and possible responsible as well.

“The Dressmaker” have caricature characters, people that you might know in real life. So many emotions round in this town: Envy, Lust, Lies, Pride and Greed are some of it. Dungatar is no different from townns around the world, where a vortex will suck in their habitants stoping them to succeed, but also wrapping them in a large numbers of gossips and intrigues.

This film might surprise you because the trailer shown you a different movie that you will see. Is a comedy drama, but when the audience witness the revenge in place it will think that they are watching a dark comedy, in the style of Raising Arizona or Trow Momma from the Train. In fact it follows the footsteps of Barry Sonnenfeld and the Coeh Brothers.

Besides the divide critics I feel the film is very entertaining, but you won’t remember it with all the great films that we seen this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Short stories on film is considered a unique storytelling genre, because appeal to the concept of a compilation of separate events that sometimes are related to the entire plot or may be just trying to look a common subject or a “leitmotif”. Films like “Paris je t'aime”, “NY I Love you” are connected by a simple subject a city. In “Wild Tales” the subject is how a simple situation can become completely unexpected to explore the wildest part of human nature.

A special case is the film “Wiener Dog”. Is important to mention that this film is not a series of stories, but a collection of vignettes with a peculiar element of connection: A dachshund puppy.

This comedy tales the story of a dog who is been shuffled from owner to owner in a singular ride for every character. The first story brings a surviving kid of cancer who is been brought to the dog to help him to heal. But the real people who needs to heal is the entire family. The second story is a nurse who is taking care of the dog and have a guilty conciseness and decided to scape from the vet hospital in order to save the dog. The third story a screenwriter profesor who owns Wiener dog who is trying to sell one of his stories to Hollywood, getting caught in the superficial world of entertainment agents and the film studios. He feels miserable and his millennial students consider him a dinosaur who don’t know anything about the business. The last story is an elderly woman who lives with her caregiver and the Wiener dog. Her granddaughter is one of those young brats spoiled by the family who visit grandma every time she needs money. This time is for her boyfriend a conceptual artist and his art project for a gallery.

In essence, this comedy is filled with black humor who mock life situations such as unhappiness, dissatisfaction, frustration and unfulfillment among others. The destiny of every character is driven in part by Wiener dog, but their decisions are solely based on their own lame lifestyle and how the question the life that their living.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Everything it's been said about the life of the Kennedy’s sometime called Camelot. The assassination, the affairs, the missile crisis and even the nepotism in the family to govern the United States. But perhaps one of the most complex and intrigue characters is the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Pablo Larrain (El Club, No) directs this poetic tale of the most significant passages in the life of Jackie. Natalie Portman perform the main role with a group of well know stars. Greta Gerwing, Peter Sarsgaard, Bill Crudup and John Hurt.

The film focus from a female point of view of the life in the White House, the assassination of JFX and the early retirement as a fist lady. The main arc is the conversation between Jackie and political journalist Theodore H. White. driving the story into a flashback style without the typical gimmick, just down and dirty facts as well haunting memories.

The audience is able to dig deeper into her personality, her biggest fears but also her darkest feelings, like been married to the most power in the world. But also discover how one of the most glamorous first ladies is also a human being, a person who deal with the establishment, showing that doesn’t matter how much a president is loved, his dignity after he dies is disrespected by any member of the government.

Larrrain brings his documentary styles with a touch of drama to a film that seems to me like a poetry rather than a biopic. His point of view leaves Jackie as the main protagonist, a metaphor that could be read one of the scenes where Jackie and the audience are trying to understand what is her real legacy for America and the world. Fashion may be?

Natalie Portman is amazing as Jackie, but honestly her accent annoys me, but that’s the way she perform. Overall, Larrain film style haunts him in this production, because he leaves his political critique and turn Jackie story into a sort of poetic biopic borderline Terrence Malick films.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Young FBI agent Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) works undercover in terrorist plot. He is recruted by agent Angela Zamparo ( Toni Collette) after in a recent operation discover a imported cargo of caesium-137, this is a very radioactive component that could be extremely dangerous. Nate’s mission is to get undercover into a white supremacist group who allegedly are interesting on using caesium for a possible attack.

This is the main plot of the film “Imperium” directed by Dianiel Ragussis explore the dark worlds of white supremacist in America, their threat to the people and the ramifications of their acts.

Nate is forced into this world of extremist making him accomplice of attack against minorities and provoking disturbance in rallies.

The big problem of this film is by first time director Dianiel Ragussis deliver an unemotional film, with a great cast. His undefined style create a movie made for TV, rather than a movie going experience. The story is flat, you understand the motives but never have the chance to connect with any character.

This film was trying to follow the footsteps of films like American History X which presents a dark America that we know and we are afraid to accept. “Imperium” is a reminder that not all our enemies are overseas, but in our backyard.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Existentialism a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

With that mind all I can say is the movie “Swiss Army Man” is a physiological drama, about a character who wants to ends his life finding someone who already lost his, but his will is to keep going, no matter the obstacles.

Hank (Paul Dano) is a depress man in a desert island, who is about to commit suicided. After some unsuccessful attempts he discover the body (Daniel Radcliffe) washed ashore. The person is dead but “very gassy” Hank decided to see if he can revive him, later discovering the body have the ability to propel using just gasses coming out of his ass. Hank ride the body like a jet sky bringing them into another place, like a forest (Redwood forest I believe) the rest is bonding time between the new two friends discovering Existentialism in the most mundane things.

The film explore conversation between the two characters making them talk about life, love and dreams. Is like you are watching a complete mashup of so many films and music videos. Terrence Mallick meet Spike Jonze, Meet David Lynch. An eschatological tale of two strangers who meet and decided to solve their biggest problem in life. A wacky friendship based on flatulences, Cheetos and the search for the lost love on the bus.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Politics on film is always been a very tricky subject for Hollywood, the dramatization of events and biography of well know politicians is what the movie machine feed us. In the case of documentaries you have a more objective point of view of events and personalities. "Wiener" is the documentary directed Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg following he events of congressman Anthony Weiner success and demised as a politician in 2011 when is forced to quit because of a sex scandal. The story continues with his comeback in the race for mayor of NYC with his wife Huma Abedin by his side throughout the campaign. The directors explored several sides of Anthony Weiner using on camera interviews, cameramen following him all the way as well a collection of material from several TV networks. The documentary is dramatic and sometimes very ironic about what politicians do to be likable and also manipulate voters just by pretend to care about their issues.

"Weiner" documents a conflicted man who was trying to do so much good for the people for NY but have demons who keep haunting him for years, still today. This documentary serve as a metaphor of this day and age in politics. The goal is to find the weakness in the most obscure places on humanity, because to serve this country or state you really need to be the cleanest person you can be. Dirty laundry is the best weapon against your opponents, but media is the best tool to expose your elements of destruction. Americans love a scandal but also love second chances. No matter on which field: sports, entertainment, politics. It happens all the time, from Ryan Lotche, Bill Clinton, Dominic Strauss, Lance Amstrong…

But the real victims in this scandals are people next to kin who become the punch ball. For Anthony Weiner is Huma Abedin, a woman who was capable to tolerate some much media pressure and also the shame of been the wife of a person who cannot stop his obsessions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chess is a game of strategy, of carefully planning every move, but also figure out what your opponent will do. Hollywood always have engage in the art of portraying famous or smart people who are capable to pay chess like a pro. Most of this films have something in common. An specific ethnic background. I’m not trying to say that Hollywood have not been diverse in this subject, but in a way the film “Queen of Katwe” is a pure metaphor of diversity playing a game that is consider just for aristocrats and wealthy people.

“Queen of Katwe” directed by Mira Nair is the sports film about Phiona Mutes (Madina Nalwanga) a Uganda player who became a prodigy in the art of chess. Raised in the slums of Katwe by her mom Nakku Harriet (Lupita Wyong’o), because her father died of Aids, she helped her mom selling made in the street market. One day she and her brother discover the project name Sports Outreach Institute. In a after school project she started paying chess with the rest of the kids, Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) see in her potential to become a good chess player.

Phone life is rough, a poor family, who can barely afford to eat and live in a proper house, but she is a bright star and Katende will invest everything he got to push her to be the best.

Director Mira Nair famous for her movies, Kama Sutra, Mississippi Masala, Salam Bombay. create a very emotional tale for Phiona Mutes, filled with the colors of Africa. The story is strong and engage with the audience just a few minutes as the movie started, showing one of the most vulnerable moments of Mutes ready to play one of her ultimate tournaments sending you back to her early days in the slums of Katwe. Besides a 124 running time the film flows masterfully. Madina Nalwanga is great discovery for this movie, Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are spot on.

“Queen of Katwe” is a powerful film with a great lessons about life, tolerance, respect, perseverance and success against all odds.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Music is the vehicle for emotions, throughout the years films keep telling stories about rock bands, the people behind those bands, the music fans and people who just admire music in general and live their live thru music. In particular when you see a film that takes place in the late 70’s and 80’s about music, the story center in working classes who are trying to achieve something greater, they live in rough neighbor and the political environment is total anarchy.

In the film “London Town” director Derrick Borte tales the story of Shay (Daniel Huttlestone) a kid who is looking for his way in the early stages of puberty. He is been raised with his sister by his dad Nick (Doughy Scott) who is a cab driver by night and manage a piano store by day. Shay’s mother Sandrine (Natascha McElhnorne) is stranded in London living in a sort of hippie community. Shay becomes interested The Clash thanks to a instant connection with a girl on the train Vivian (Neil Williams) who encourage him to go with her in a live show which is filled with aggressive and violent youngster who just want to change everything in the world. This how the world was during the times of the clash.

Vivian and Shay adventures in the city guide them to meet Joe Strummer (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) lead of the band. During the first half and hour of the film you see how Shay’s character evolve from a innocent child to a true punk youngster. He experience the life in the city of London, but he also forced him to manage his house and his little sister due Shay's dad work accident.

“London Town” is a interesting film that use the point of view of a kid to cover a chapter in the life of the band The Clash, where the main protagonist is Shay, the music delivers and help you experience the road evolving as a kid to a teenager. This film present similarities with “Sing Street”, “Almost Famous” which also have stories concentrate in music and kids growing thru music and their experiences.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers shines as Joe Strummer, the kids are also great. My biggest problem is the lack of connection between Nick (Doughy Scott) and their kids, you can see how from act 1, 2, 3 the relationship evolve perhaps by the director influence or the development of the actual production.

Movies about journalism have very complicated task to achieve. No only create a message that engage with the audience explaing everything about moral, values and the idea to inform the public as a civic duty, but also tales a story of the the reporters, investigators, the victims etc. Many films explored this messages in the past: Network, Spotlight, All Presidents Men, Shattered Glass, Good Night and Good Luck, Frost/Nixon.

In the film “Money Monster” directed by Jodie Foster, tales the story of a TV personality/guru Lee Gates (George Clooney) who stars in a TV show about commerce in Wall Street, “Money Monster” The director of the TV show is Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) a strong woman who is basically tired of Lee’s facade as a person in and out of the TV spectrum. Lee is arrogant and never goes by the book, for Patty is always a problem to deal with him, he do whatever he wants and get away with it As a consequence of Lee’s actions, that goes from been risky advising the audience what he consider is the best investments to make fun of the market itself. During the production of one of the shows it’s aggressively hijacked by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) a viewer who lost his money thanks to Lee’s recommendations.

The film “Money Monster” is a well done thriller with a weak story. When you start watching it, you understand the pieces of the puzzle in a predictable way, but felt flat because some of the characters are been introduced in a dynamic TV style (Dominic West and Catriona Balfe), the development of the story seems to be self explanatory but you’re never fully aware of their actions and how they end up in the first place.

In a way the film “Money Monster” criticized the mayor social and economical issues in America, but also how mass media is becoming a mayor circus just for the purpose of money without caring about the importance of content these days. A reflection of that is how Lee make a variety TV show that also is focus mostly in the Wall Street market. The problem in the film is you try to tell the story of three mayor characters, criticism to the media and also explain how the stock market works, problem that cannot been avoid if you compare it to the films like “The Big Short” or “Margin Call”.

At the end Money Monster is a good thriller but with a story that confuse the audience and ends as a nice attempt to be added to the list of fantastic films about journalism.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The search for truth and justice always come with consequences. We live in a world where liberties are at risk, but also there is an illusion of liberties in general. The invasion of privacy for the greater good is the price that civilians have tho pay in order to catch groups who are trying to hurt our people in the most unimaginable ways.

Our laws have so many gray areas and people feel that the government is not trusted just for a simple reason. In order to find mayor threats we need to break the law.

This is the mayor focus of Oliver Stone’s movie “Snowden” Edward Joseph Snowden (Joseph Gordon Levitt) born in Elizabeth, NC. is a computer professional who worked for the CIA and also was a former contractor for the NSA. The film starts the story when he is training in the Army Reserve suddenly he breaks his legs in an accident and later discharged. Hi interest in computers leads him to apply into a position at the CIA, where he meets Corbin O’Brien (Rhyys Ifans) who hire him as one of his top computer wizard.

The film use as main arc Laura Poitras (Melisa Leo) Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson) famous interview in China after Snowden leaves the USA and bringing a collection of secret classify documents from NSA servers. This sub scenes allow the audience to connects with Snowden personal conflicts about the secret programs from the US government spying their people, but also his political view during the Irak war, his commitment to a job that not only was his passion, sometimes was his own obsession. During his relationship scenes with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley) he experiences happy moments in his life, but also makes him doubt about the work that he is doing for the government looking for a more mundane life.

Olive Stone drives the movie with a film structure which develops between the years 2003 to 2014, but specifically pays attention to the crucial days where Ed Snowden is hidden in a Chinese hotel with the group of journalist. Joseph Gordon Levitt is excellent playing the famous whistleblower, sometimes his physique and posture tricks you, which is very scary. One my favorite performance is by Nicolas Cage playing Hank Forrester.

The films excessive drama, specially of Ed and Lindsey relationship ruin part of the experience. At the beginning of the movie we been warned with opening titles: This film is a dramatization, which prepare the audience for a not be very accurate story. But according to a media personality Alex Jones, he talks about the scariness of what the film portrays and how the government collects data from their citizens, from social media to constant communication.

Snowden is a great film representation of what’s happening in the world of hacking, invasion of privacy but also the conflicts between serve your country and respect the liberties of every citizen.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A noisy Caracas street shows a 50's year old men Armando a dental prosthetic. He is very serious, formal man searching for his prey. Constantly he approaches to teenagers on the bus, offer them a stack on money, in exchanges of company. For him seems to be his hobby.

One day he noticed a 17th year old kid name Elder who works in a junkyard where he repair old cars. He is also a member of a gang who steal auto parts Suddenly a relationship of love and hate develops between them, as well a dramatic revelation for both and the consequences of their drastic actions.

Lorenzo Vigas directs "Desde Allá/From Afar" the first Venezuelan film to win the major price at last year Venice Film Festival. The movie explore homosexuality as a taboo in Latin American countries, but also the roughness of life in opposite places like United States where the capitalism has take over. The film shot in the neighborhood of Catia in Caracas, presents a place that can easily be confused with Bogotá, Lima, La Paz or even Quito. The director is not focusing as the city itself, but the characters in a city. "From Afar", separate the establishment of a country and concentrate in the intimacy and loneliness of the characters.

Armando and Elder both works in a place where they constantly fix and hide the traces of the damage of time, either in someone's mouth or someone's vehicle. Their life center of solving the problem of fixing part of a life, while their life itself is tortured by abuse, wealth and unsatisfaction. Elder always wear a jersey with the number 10, a sign of success of soccer players but also their demise a curse by becoming the best in the world, while in the end they become no one's hero.

In a recent interview Mr Vigas seems to be influence by the style from Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket" his shots are long and force the audience to look around and discover what the actors are thinking without telling everyone. It's an exercise of hide and seek. Less words more visual, describe what's happening. The actions goes out of focus, or the main roles separate from each other in a foreground background dance. It's visual style borrow from Europeans like Luc Besson, Michael Haneke, Igmar Bergman and even Mathieu Kassovitz.

The film is powerful and delivers an intense story with no music at all, that cause a big conflict in the audience who are expecting a cheap solution from drama. Vegas plays with the audience looking for there reactions.
The film is powerful and delivers an intense story with no music at all, that cause a big conflict in the audience who are expecting a cheap solution from drama. Vegas plays with the audience looking or there reactions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tom (Michael Fassbender) is a war veteran who get’s the offer to become lighthouse keeper in the remote shore of Australia, since his arrival, Isabel (Alicia Vikander) show interest in him, but due the social aspects of a small town she cannot live with him, unless she marry him. Their love grows with the distance, long distance communication help them to stay connected and share their dreams. The new married couple live in solitude trying to procreate but with several unsuccessful attempts cause cracks in this perfect loving couple. Until one day, they rescue a baby girl who has washed up on a adrift rowboat with a dead body. This happening will be the beginning of a happy life as family the also the beginning of their demise.

Dereck Cianfrance directs “The Light Between the Oceans: a tragic story of love and deception that teach us the real value of making the right choices in life. Cianfrance is not a rookie in the subject of tragic love stories. His previous films Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines represents parts of his body of work. This time he explore a period drama with two strong actors: Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender.

There is something unique about this couple on film, is because they are a real life couple and the chemistry for them is perfect, most their scenes are strong and the addition of Rachel Weisz make the film powerful enough.

One of the problems of this movie is the length, the story develops but it gets sunk in one point trying to make the audience understand what’s the real problem. For me it’s pretty simple to understand. A couple living in solitude who are trying to have a baby, she suffer two miscarriages and then they found a baby girl in the shore. Against all rules and regulations they keep the baby without permission just to feed their grief for their lost babies. The story is about love, commitment but is also the difference between right or wrong.

The film is nicely done, with beautiful cinematography by Adam Arkpaw and a masterful score by Alexandre Desplat.

Woody Allen is always been surrounded by the nostalgic 30’s and 40’s Film like Midnight in Paris, Bullets over Broadway, Radio Days. The emotional aspects of this period, the glamour and fashion, represents the essence of a time that most of grandparents remember as magical.

Many film stars and musicians became legends for the audience who went to see them perform or play in the local clubs or movie theaters. There was also a very dark period during the 30’s and 40’s, it was called the organized crime, where gangster will use their power to control licor, gambling and also sophisticated clubs where everyone wanted to be.

This is the story of the Dorfman family. A jewish family who live modestly in NYC. Marty and Rose are the parents of Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), Evelyn (Sari Lennick) and Ben (Corey Stoll). Bobby wants to go to Hollywood and find fame, Evelyn is married school teacher, who’s husband have socialist ideas and Ben who is gangster.

Rose’s brother Phill (Steve Carell) works a powerful talent agent. Who received Bobby with the intention to help him to find his way into Hollywood. That’s when he introduce to his secretary Veronica ( Kristen Stewart) who have the task to help Bobby to get settle in California showing him around.

After a few days Bobby confess his love to Veronica claiming that she is different to any other girl in Hollywood. She rejects him claiming a relationship with a journalist…

Cafe Society is Woddy Allen’s latest film and explore the charming time of Hollywood in the 30’s using as an excuse a young kid who is looking for meaning to his life in the glamours setting of film stars and fancy clubs and restaurants. The story explore the twist and turns of several characters and their choices. It’s a comedy like any other Woody Allen’s comedy but more predictable than his previous work. The film is colorful thanks to the masterful cinematography by Vittorio Storaro and beautiful designed by Santo Loquasto.

The stronger characters in the movie are Jeannine Eisenberg, Cory Stoll and Ken Slott who portray Bobby’s parents and brother.

Friday, September 2, 2016

United States of America is considered for some experts as one worst education system in the world, that’s been said when you put your kids to school in America, you’re facing big challenges to make your kids to learn and been inspired to become a better persons. In America people face challenges in a healthcare system too, with so many loophole, lobbyist, pharma companies who care about the product more than the people and insurance companies who do their best to collect all the money they want a filled patients with financial burden.

What it takes to a person to give up the confort of the modern world and decided to embark on a mission to isolate from society in order to say goodbye to live a better life?

In the forest of the Pacific Northwest Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) he’s been rising his six children by himself after his wife Leslie (Trin Miller) was hospitalized for bipolar disorder. Ben kids been living in the woods for quite sometime completely isolated from modern society, but well educated by their parents who made them to follow several routines: Exercise, reading, gardening and hunting. From the very beginning you see this independent kids dealing with life in the woods using limited resources and enjoying learning. This routine is broken when Ben received the news that his wife kill herself. Convinced by his kids and the pressure of the funeral honoring his wife, the Chash family embark in a a road trip to discover America and the wonders of capitalism.

Actor and Director Matt Ross creates this wonderful story of a human being questioned by society on why he and his wife confined in the woods a bunch of kids and isolate them from the world. In way the film explain the main reason. Guide them as a smart human beings who are capable to hunt their food and use resources to their benefit. But also offers the challenge of this decision by showing them what they been missing. Nothing is good in excess, that’s the motto. Overall you cannot isolate so easily from the society. but you can manage the information that you get and how to control your life.

We live in a world where people act like zombies looking down to their phones, instead of looking front or up to the sky. Several key scenes in the movie shows you the peculiarities of life. When Ben bring the kids to meet his cousins in the city, the culture crash in big. City kids are unable to explain and quote the “Bill of Rights” but they are able to know what is the most popular game of playstation, but the youngest of the Cash family is able to recite all the bill of rights.

Viggo Mortensen is excellent as a father of this kids as well a very troubling father who is coping with the loss of his beloved wife. Is considered an outlaw and villain for his wife family, but simply said that he is totally against the status quo and he wanted to make his kids brighter.

The film explore parenthood from a independent director point of view, there is a distant conection with Hollywood parents, like Steve Martin in Fatther of the Bride and Spencer Tracy, George Clooney in the Descendants, Lamberto Maggiorani in the Bicycle Thieres, Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life,

George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks and Charlie Shotwell as the Cash kids is an outstanding cast. A notable mention is Frank Langella as Jack Leslie’s father.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rise and fall of celebrities always come with so many theories related to their relationship, wealth and lastly their health.

In are daily basis, we see celebrities become successful in a heartbeat, perhaps thanks to technologies. Social media is able to create an aura of fame in people who just do something mildly meaningful for the rest of the world, but still consider important from large group of people who make fame based on controversial actions not for the sake of art.

In the 1940’s a infamous singer became famous, no for been a good singer, but for beed a terrible one. That’s the story of Florence Foster Jenkins. An amateur soprano and american socialite was able to cross the NY elite and been coach by the most famous people in the music industry.

Stephen Frears directs Meryl Streep playing the main role, supported by Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg.
The film explores her life and dreams to become the famous singer, as well her pivot performance at the Carnegie Hall.

The film is fun and is another great performance to Mr Streep, but also is a great acting achievement for Mr Grant and Mr Helberg. The film is is not a over the top exploration of society but representation of the constant facade of wealth in NYC from the 40’s
The film explore how powerful people can diminish your aspirations, not matter your social background, but ability to inspire others and succeed.

The term rom com is the abbreviation of Romatic comedy film. The terms refers to movies with a aromatic ideals with humorous plot-lines and lighthearted content. Apparently “Girl Shy” (1924) is consider the first one on this genre.

Thought the years so many movies are been made and new subplots been created. USA and UK are the countries producing most of these films, sharing success and failures. The genre drive women and men to the movie theaters with the promise of make them laugh and cry. But the big mystery lives on, what makes this movies so important, who is a good actor for this kind of role?

“Me Before You” is the film adaptation of the famous book written by Jojo Moyes. it tells the story of Louise Clarke (Emilia Clarke) a young girl who lives with her family in a small town outside London. She just been laid off from her job in a coffee shop. After a intensive job searching she is offered to work as a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) a successful banker who had been paralyzed by a motorcycle accident.

Will vision of life is sad and depressing and Louise personality is silly, bright and happy. For her everything is pleasant, she always smile and dress very colorful dresses. At the very begging for Louise is hard to connect with Will, but thanks to a film Louise discover a different world with him.

This romcom presents the most important aspect of the genre. Comedy, colorful characters and conflict. Emilia Clarke performance is good and seems that she fits perfectly for this kind of role, perhaps better than playing Sarah Connors in Terminator Genisys, for Sam Claflin his performance is pretty flat, his not very expressive and seems that his role wasn’t as demanding.

Overall “Me Before You” is film that do what it does right, tale a love story, but is forgettable.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hollywood devotion for patriotism on film have brought us great films exploring the lives of heroes who protect the liberties of Americans. Movies such as The Hurt Locker, Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor presents a powerful stories where soldiers have a basic task, which is protect civilians and stop the enemy.

In Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazi he tales the tale of the attack in 2012 of the US embassy in Benghazi Libya. The city is named one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but still the center of operations of for CIA and the US government on Libya’s soil. The arrival of Navy seal Jack Silva (John Krasinski) brings two friends together Silva and James Badge Dale (Tyrone Woods), along with the rest of the marines are there for the protection of the ambassador in a non so secure compound where the operations takes place. At the same time a private military contractors are protecting “The Annex” a not-so-secret CIA outpost a team of private contractors.

The film focus on a single point of view of the story, but is not focusing of understand what really happen on this attack. Michael Bay do what he does best, deliver action and energetic scenes of conflict were the only common element is entertain.

When you first start watching this movie you noticed that the characters are weak, there is no real connection with the audience and the intention of critiquing the controversial events parallel to the attack were the US government failure to support their forces in Benghazi is just a glimpse of a few seconds scene.

The film intend to be like other more powerful films like Black Hawk Down and Lone Survivor but fail miserably but just presenting a action film with a sad turn of events. Biopic films require not only require good cinematography, good camera work, energetic editing but a good researched script.

In the last sixty years DC comics is been presenting stories of several superheroes but the most iconic of are Batman and Superman. Visual and metaporic expressions of America, on one side heroism caring the the human kind and the other the law by all means.

Batman vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice by Zack Snyder is the new exploration of the stories that the filmmaker Zack Snyder left after the events of The Man of Steel. The film starts eighteen months after the climatic battle between General Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill) that nearly destroyed Metropolis, and led to dramatic ramifications in the life of several people, including Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) an image America devastated by the destruction of NYC in the attacks of 9/11.

Clark Kent is now living with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and she is one of the most successful journalist of the Daily Planet. Bruce Way is not longer living in Wayne Mansion but perhaps living in a most stylized house, paying tribute to Phillip Johnson “Glass House” still Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) take care of him as well is his substitute to Robin, besides a butler he make sure that Batman equipment runs pristine, a more badass Alfred.

The story of Batman vs Superman explore the conflict of this two powerful and conflicted super heroes, metaphors surround the plot presenting these characters as gods, but with fears and weakness on the inside, the big establishment want them out of the picture, questioning their methods to solve crimes and protect the liberty of human beings. As an audience you feel that government cannot longer protects you, because constantly are trying to stop alternate forms of protection to citizen of Gotham and Metropolis. An illegal alien like Superman is perhaps the cause of the unprotected immigrants, great and iconic image where he saves a few people in a factory and later is surrounded by a group of latinos with painted faces like in the Day of the Death, but also Superman is affected by plots against him, perfectly articulated by people connected to big corporations and the government with the idea of shut him down. Superman is a threat to the country, but also a blessing for the people.

For Batman is the same problem, is juror and executioner. Police is afraid of him, because he represents the law. In a way there is a connection of the recent events involve cops and protest agains them. Batman is not an alien, but his image represents fear, control and lawless. He is no longer the superhero that everyone wants, he is the medicine for a chaotic Metropolis, similar to Detroit.

One of the biggest metaphor is Lex Luthor, a powerful millionaire who inherit his fortune thanks to his dad, he is a force of evilness who is able to drive Batman and superman into a climatic battle. He is bad mouth, egocentric and ignorant but ambitious, perhaps his similarities with certain real life politician is not far from the truth.

What lacks Batman vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice is the proper screenplay, the film have an interesting plot that brings all this stories together but the problem is trying to make this movie the device launch for a franchise that was never intended to make. The film get to the point that doesn’t make sense and falls terribly in the arms of impactful visual imagery to fill the void of a real plot development, some solutions to conflicts in the story are solved in a very elementary way.

If you watch Batman vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice the Ultimate Edition, you understand some of the confusing moments from the shorter version making a more complete explanation, but it will never erase the level of problems that this film have. The studio wanted to introduce all the characters of Justice League, but they never intended to fix the story of Batman vs Superman, a tribute that they deserve.

Hollywood is always been obsessed with the idea of remaking, repackage and reinterpret a film. Histories that been told by a filmmaker been reimagine by other filmmaker with the intention of make money and appeal to new generations. The experiment have worked and sometimes fail miserable creating a vortex of forgettable products. Films such as “Havana” a remake or reinterpretation of “Casablanca”, “Oldboy” adaptation of a successful Korean film, “Criminal” a american version of a popular Argentinean film is part of a long list but also there are remakes which includes “Planet of The Apes”, “Conan The Barbarian” to name a few represents that collection of films that none wants to remember. But on the other hand, filmmakers like Martin Scorsese have been successful remaking “Cape Fear” and also reinterpret the Chinese film “Internal Affairs” into “The Departed”.

The concept of telling stories is to express emotions empowering people making them dream, the audience wants that. It’s hard to remake and reinterpret a old film and make it successful, but attempts keep going.

Paul Feig decided to step in and reinterpret “Ghostbuster” with a female cast proving that is possible, only if you’re able to get a good cast and also develop a good story that perhaps is not going to make forget the classic film from 1984, but help you understand that we are ready for a new generation of this ghost chasers.

Dr Erin Gillbert (Kristen Wiig) physics professor of Columbia university is been approach by the grandson Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley) of the owner of a mansion that seems to be hunted. She seems skeptical, because her early days she was involved in publication of a book that she and her co author Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) about the study of the paranormal, Erin wants this book to be buried. But later she discovered that the book still available after Abby keep selling it as a source of money. Erin find that Abby continues her studies for the paranormal along with Dr Killian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) where they developing technologies to find and catch ghost. Erin seems to be interested in going back to that field after all of them have a real encounter in a hunted Mulgrave mansion.

The real treat of this new Ghostbusters is the new cast which is presented with great chemistry in addition of Leslie Jones who is a scene stealer every time she appears. The script wrote by Paul Feig and Katie Depplod quickly gather this four women and Chris Hemsworth as their secretary into a down and dirty ghost chase and energetic encounter with the unknown as well the main villain of the film.

Paul Feig plays with NYC geography which for a real Newyorker like me bothers me a lot, you know where things are in NY but after you see the films annoys you. His approach to the Ghostbusters is fast, which is the same problem that you see in other reboots of films, you never take the time to breathe, everything needs to be so quick. Seen the partial original cast as a cameo is fantastic and that feeds the frenzy of longtime fans.

But unfortunately there is things that cannot be replace, Fall Out Boy song will never reach the level of Ray Parker Jr Ghostbusters, as well the visual tone developed by Ivan Reitman of the original film is not there, this new Ghostbusters is colorful, less scary, but very funny.

Monday, June 13, 2016

In the near future advertising still looking for get the attention of consumer, using state of the art gimmicks. No matter the consequences of what the products do, company owners and advertisers have the need to engage in the general audience to get the products at any cost.

Creative Control is the film directed by Benjamin Dickinson, tells the story of David (Benjamin Dickinson) a creative director of a prestigious ad agency, with the responsibility to create a campaign to release a new pair glasses, in the same vibe as the google glass, but simpler. David is recommended to test the product in order to understand how to create a more effective promotion.

The new augmented reality technology allow the user to manage vast information of their surroundings, from voice recording and recognition, image capture personal data and eventually create vertical personas who interact with the user. David lives with Juliette (Nora Zehetner) a frustrated yoga instructor who left her job to find more mundane style of life. David and Juliette have a fine relationship, but David seems to be unsatisfied with her.

David’s best friend is Wim (Dan Gill) a director and art innovator who is in a relationship with Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen) who is a costumer and fashion designer. Secretly David is attracted to Sophie who turns into his virtual reality experiment after receiving his pair of Augmenta.

Director Dickinson explore several issues with society: technology dependency which have similarities to the film Her by Spike Jonze. The substitution or replacement of real persona by a new wave of avatars of virtual reality.

David’s character turn his obsession from love to sexual desires using Sophie’s digital footprint to a real 3 D character which David interact.

Other subjects explore on this film are advertising as a dying medium of constant repetition of old ideas in the new digital age, enhancing it with fake representations of reality. In a scene David and his creative team are working in a pharmaceutical product where is been shooting on stage, but later will be enhanced digitally. The scene represents the inability of the clients to understand how of visual piece is created and the agency to perform properly and deliver it.

Creative Control express the anger of some millennials against other generations like generation X who are wiser and richer, but seems to be ignorance about new technologies, this seems to be reflected in a conference room scene when David’s boss (Gavin Mclinne) is trying to use the new Augmenta glasses but he is unable until he is been help by David and finally figure out. He said to David: You are a fucking genius! and David replies: No, I’m not, I’m just younger than you…

Creative Control is a great sci fi film for the new digital ages and a great film for advertising people who wants to understand that in the near future, what matter is real ideas to sell products.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In the post modern future, society is confined into megastructures. These places gather different type of people. From wealthy to the poor, all group of people are practically forced to live in a symbiotic environment facing so many challenges. This concept is not new. In Snowpiercer society was forced to live in a train due a catastrophic climate experiment who cause the earth to freeze. Every train car contain every level of society.

“Where there is a state of capitalism, there can never be political freedom”
Margaret Tatcher

“High Rise” is the latest film directed by Ben Weathley and it tells the story of Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) the new resident in a luxury high rise in London. This building offers the state of the art amenities (swimming pool, gym, spa, supermarket and even a primary school) which make it very appealing to everyone. This place is been praised by his architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons) as the epitome of chic, modern living.

Laing lives in the 25th floor perhaps a metaphor of middle class society, floors above is the rich and famous tenants who despise the residents from levels down.

At this point director Ben Wathley set the foundation of a story of social clash between rich and poor. The audience sort understand that, by using visual nuances as well some line of dialogues who make the story flow. After some of the services in the building start failing residents from level down start creating chaos, claiming sabotage from the upper levels who still receiving the best services no matter the problems within the High Rise.

In certain way this film presents a metaphor of countries like Venezuela, Zimbabwe or Yemen where wealthy people (government) on higher levels enjoy luxurious life, even if the rest of the population are suffering from shortage on supplies as well living conditions. The perfect example is a scene where the residents are experiencing riots on the supermarket and Dr Robert Laing fight for a bucket paint who later use on his apartment wall. This is what it means when there is total desesperation and people fight for what ever resource is available, no matter if is really need it.

The big problem with “High Rise” is the film structure, sometimes I found the film confusing forcing me to give full attention and find meaning to everything what was happening, also the film lacks of connection with characters, this drawn me entirely from the experience. During those 2 hours I was trying to connect and I couldn’t because I didn’t know where most of this characters came from or going.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

We see a woman driving a car over a land field, it’s raining. Suddenly she stops where a group of donkeys gather to eat. She approach to one of them, she pulls a gun and shot it. Is a crime of passion.

Human beings pure nature is to love and hate, among other feelings. We confine ourselves into feelings for another person and when we do that, we compromise our own individuality. But who wants to be lonely? In the sci fi/dark comedy “The Lobster” single people living the city are taken to a hotel where they are given 45 days to fall in love and find a “soulmate” If the fail are turn into an animal of their choice and release to the wild. Seems like a Charles Bukowsky story right?

David (Colin Farrell) arrived to the hotel after been dump by his wife, who is on love to another man. David’s brother is with him already turned into a dog. He is been greeted by Hotel Manager (Olivia Colman) and her husband, he is informed about the rules and regulations during his stay in the hotel and also provide with his animal choice in case who can’t make it. David choose a Lobster. His explanation gives the spectator the kind of person who he is.

Next day during breakfast David meets with a limp man (Ben Wishaw) and a lisping man (John C. Reilly) the three of them develop a connection and talk about their strategies to find a mate.

During the first hour of “The Lobster” the film develops metaphorically speaking on was is like to find a partner in the real world, perhaps in a city like NY, London, Paris, Japan etc. You are confined in a hotel where you living under certain conditions and regulations, you meet people similar in a dating website or an app, you choose which one fits for you, but in order to find one, you compromise, you adapt or perhaps turn into that person to survive and not becoming an animal. Which for there society is the lowest level of humanity.

Love is a feeling but also a state of mind, is a method of survival, the film presented a very dark view of how people will do everything they can to not be alone, but the risk are high. You are presented to the society as a single and then as a couple, the hotel set the grounds as you develop your new relationship and also gives you options if the relationship don’t work, they assigned you children’s.

Director and co writer Yorgos Lanthimos presents a very twisted point of view of relationships, following the footsteps of films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and even Anomalisa. His directing is clever and he knows how to manage great actors like Colin Ferill, Rachel Weisz, Ben Wishaw, John C Reily and Olivia Colman.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hollywood have always enjoy a good cops/detective story. From a lonely detective to the perfect partners combination films borrow from TV shows to movies and vice versa, looking for a good formula. Most of the time the solution two good actors working together to solve a crime. From the madman and the veteran in Lethal Weapon series, the American and the Asian in “Rush Hour” and the two African Americans partners one married with children and the other a playboy in “Bad Boys” similar to the by the book cop, the two wanna be cops who are conquering high school in “21 Jump Street” and break the rules cop in “Tango & Cash”

All this films have a very simple point in common, you need two characters with different perspectives in life, experiences and background to create a symbiotic environment in order to make the crime investigation a true experience. In Shane Black “The Nice Guys” another cop story presents two very particular detectives. Russell Crowe is the enforcer Jackson Healey and Ryan Gosling is private detective Holland March both live in Los Angeles in 1977 a political time with energy problems and social conflicts, with particular problems.

The story starts when a porn star named Misty Mountains die in a car crash, March (Gosling) is approached by Misty’s aunt claiming that she have seen her nice alive, March accept the job completely skeptical, later finding that a girl named Amelia Kutner is connected to Misty. Amelia not wish to be found so she hired enforcer Healey (Crowe) to intimidate March and stay away from her. The case keeps getting complicated after two guys are searching for Amelia which leads March and Healey to a series of characters and situations.

The combination Crowe and Gosling and perfect. Their first encounter shows who is in charge, but also knows what’s it’s doing. Both bring a breeze of fresh air to the two cop combination. Gosling clumsiness and unorthodox method of investigations turns him into the comedic relief while Crowe presents the veteran experience on the field as well the strength within the team
The big surprise in the film is Holly (Angourie Rice) March’s daughter. She is the brain in this team of two. Her revelations and braveness expedite investigation or perhaps her intelligence leads her at the right time at the right moment.

The Nice Guys is a very entertaining film, which revitalize the genre of 70’s cop films, following the footsteps of Starsky and Hutch with a twist 21 Jump Street and Bad Boys.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Breaking news alert on the TV announced the abduction of a 8 year old boy in Texas, there is no photos available. An amber alert is issued for the child, Roy (Michael Shannon) and his accomplice Lucas (Joel Edgerrton) are taking the kid out of the state.

At the same time the FBI raid a religious cult compound in the search for the same kid.

”Midnight Special” is the most recent film by Jeff Nichols (Take a Shelter) it tales the story of Alton (Jaeden Leiberther) a child with special powers and his biological father who are been chased by the FBI and Texas cult where they escape.

The film borrow the best of the most important sci-fi films about special powers and alien encounters, from Close of Encounter of the Third Kind, The Abyss, THX-1138, Cocoon to ET. Jeff Nichols develops his own visual style creating a film which presents a religious cult idolizing a kid with special powers while mocking the US government for trying to use this child as their personal possession or weapon. The story explore several aspects of human condition, from a fathers love for his son, his faith on this kid visions, the danger of so called new religions who just manipulate families and the idea of a better future based on extreme sacrifice.

Midnight Special represents another achievement in independent sic fi movies, like Alex Garland “Ex Machina” the film is not trying explode the genre, but filling the the story with visual effects or secret mysteries like J.J. Abrams does. It creates a good story with meaning and a message.

Faith and conviction is the main engine in this movie.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

An early morning in the pacific northwest, a young punk band are parked in the middle of a cornfield tired of a long tour. Pat (Anton Yeltchin), Sam (Alia Poots), Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner) are the members of the band “The Ain’t Rights” This kids are perfect representation of a true millennials: broke, full of energy, with no future in place and ready to take over the world.

After meeting a radio host Tad he arrange a gig for them, they end up in a bar own by neo-Nazi skinhead. The environment is heavy and the band “The Ain’t Rights” feel that, you can sense the hate of the audience, which react aggressively to their first song: Dead Kennedys cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. After their gig Sam forget her cellphone at the Green Room and Pat decided to retrieve it, inside he finds a dead body next to some club regulars. Suddenly Pat grabs the phone trying to call 911, but is stopped by Gabe who manage the bar.

Is time for the club owner to make an appearance and try to do “damage control” Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart) bring several options to the table in order to clean up this mess, the rest is history…

Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) brings the perfect thriller, a movie filled with violence and unexpected situations, none is safe in the Green Room, I mean none. It also bring a great political metaphor about the America we are living.

A group of millennial’s a punk band bringing messages about them who are trying to survive in a world where the establishment the bar owner and their associates send messages of hate and destruction. The confederate flag, swastikas and the skin head culture are trying to hide their criminal activities drugs and murders. Is clear that Saulnier connects this story with the recent events in “Oregon’s Standoff” leads by Anti-Government militias.

One of the strongest message in the film is Pat story about him and his friend fighting a group of Iraq veterans in a paintball tournament, he suggest how is possible for them to win against this highly trained people? We you just have bring everything you got. Is like trying to escape the green room from an army of neo-Nazi skinheads…

The film directing is outstanding, as well the editing, cinematography and sound design.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The set up of an interview reveal a pretentious and stubborn Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) footage of Miles performing in a TV set behind him, the voice of Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) set the foundation of a not so pleasant interaction. Miles looks tired and annoyed about everything. Specially the way that his music is called: Jazz. It should be called social music. He rectify Dave, and Miles grab his trumpet and before he start playing we cut aggressively to a car chase, we can hear and see the threat, Dave and Miles trying to escape with Miles Davis latest recorded tapes.

“Miles Ahead” tales the story of the famous musician who became famous for his powerful interpretation of the trumpet, becoming one of Columbia Records biggest success next to Bob Dylan. The plot divides two events in Miles Davis life. After so-called retired for five years, due drugs and alcohol, a missing tape sessions is been haunted by so many people in the music industry. Everyone wants something from that. Including reporter from Rolling Stone Dave Brill (McGregor). This part of the story explore Miles volatile behavior as well his addition. Parallel the film explores his trouble relationship with wife Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) Miles was a ladies man and the film reflects that in a very suggestive way.

Cheadle’s directorial debut is giving us a very surreal life of the famous musician, with a fabulous film editing and a well produced score inspired by Miles Davis itself. The film lack of production value is my biggest complain. This is the kind of movie were I really want to see a real NY from 1979’ instead of Cincinnati pretending to be NYC. You need that roughness and genuineness of the city of NY to support the aggressiveness and frenzies in style and rhythm of Miles Ahead. That was Miles city and his gasp voice as well his music comes with it.

The film is a great testament of part of his life work, but the conclusion honoring him in is not that powerful, If you not include the final musical act, the film will end flat.

Perhaps Cheadle just deliver the film the way that he wanted, just like Miles Davis did with his music: If you gotta tell a story, come with some attitude

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This day and age, modern warfare is manage over the sky. New devices called: Drones deal with the responsibility of observe, provide information for analysis and also attack. The last one is the most questionable, due the amount of crimes made by several countries who launch operations to eliminate certain targets, with the price of killing civilians.

“Eye in the Sky” is the British thriller directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) tales the story of a operation by the UK government to capture a terrorist group (visually similar to Al Qaeda or ISIS) who are hiding in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. The film focus on several locations. A war room in the UK, a government building also in the UK, a military base in Nevada, Singapore, China and of course Nairobi.

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) leads the operation in the war room, while in the government building we have Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) the Attorney General and some members of the UK cabinet, in Nevada we have 2nd Lieutenant Steve Watts, a USAF drone pilot (Aaron Paul) and Carrie Gershon USAF (Phoebe Fox).

Something that makes this film a true thriller is the tension created between all the locations involved. In fact the audience will not experience true action after the first hour of film, but the plot and performances are powerful. The plot seems simple, but it gets complicated when every decision needs to be careful reviewed by some members of the government, from the legal ramifications, the political ramifications and even the cost of lives from collateral damages.

This movie satire how a minister or another member of the government could be in the most obscure situation (toilet seat) superficial (playing ping-pong with a Chinese counterpart) and even Lieutenant unable to decide which doll model was requested by his daughter but is able to decide when to shoot a missile. But the real heart of the film is how a child’s life is the real element of discussion between the military and the government. The challenges of been responsible of a crime, as price to avoid serious terrorist attacks. The subject is well putt it when 2nd Lieutenant Steve Watts, a USAF drone pilot (Aaron Paul) reject superiors orders when he is aware that a little girl is near the target of the attack and the range of the attack will include her as a casualty.

Eye in the Sky follow the footsteps of films like Dr Stranglelove by showing the vulnerabilities of the governments secret operations, lack of sensitivity loosing innocent lives and the cost of the war of terror for the greater good.

Monday, March 28, 2016

In the mist of the Argentinian dictatorship and Falklands War in 1982 Arquimedes Puccio (Guillermo Francella) patriarch of the family and worker of the state intelligence service, becomes unemployed. During this period he decided to start criminal activities by kidnapping wealthy families. Alejandro Puccio (Peter Lanzani) eldest son and the star player of a rugby club is one of the most important collaborators of the gang, by helping identify the targets, using his fame and popularity as an alibi.

“El Clan” is directed Pablo Trapper and produced in part by the Almodovar brothers. The story of the El Clan start with a very dramatic revelation, the rescue of one of the victims from the Puccio's kidnaps, then moving back to an interesting film structure, a parallel between father and son showing them separated and then reunite by this common mission. Their first victim, Ricardo Monukian friend of Alejandro.

The film explore several aspects of the crimes as well how family values becomes part of the kidnapping process. Arquimedes is a sort of Walter White who needs to commit this crimes to provide for the family. Money to send his kids to New Zealand to play Rugby, help Alejandro to get one of his biggest dreams, a surf store. The family are all accomplices, some more indirect than others. The audience feel their kids suffering when they hear the kidnapping victims crying for help next to their bedrooms while their doing homework, Alejandro’s guilt by been responsible of helping to kidnap his wealthy friends. For Arquimedes everything is for the family, he is a true psychopath, nothing can’t stop him, except one thing: democracy.

During the fall of Argentina dictatorship and the rise of a democratic government by Raúl Alfonsín who started to cleaning all the government mess, raise the flag over Puccio’s family operations, which were protected and covered in part by the past government.

The film “El Clan” is a powerful story that never stop to impress about the happenings of this horrible crimes while the Puccio family continue their daily lives using their ransom money to live a good life in Argentina.
With great performances and great film-making El Clan is one of the best films of 2016 so far.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The film open with a great vista of the jungle in Colombia. The sounds set the scene, helping the audience to immerse themselves into this mysterious journey. The black and white is powerful, but also intrigue us. Seen a jungle like this without appreciate their true colors make you want more. Now the sound surround us as well the language spoken which is one of the multiple indigenous languages.

“Embrace of The Serpent” is a film directed by Ciro Guerra, and tells two parallel stories of German scientist Theodor Koch-Grunberg and American scientist Richard Evans Schultes. Set in 1909 and 1940. Both of them experienced their journey thru the jungle with Karamakate an Amazonian shaman who is the guide in the search for the rare yakuza, a secret plant. In this journey the audience experience the critical evolution of society in the amazon shape their future. You see human interaction with technology as a way of creating new experiences but also a way of affecting traditions and traditional learning process and heritage.

In a scene you see Grunber showing an indigenous tribe how to use a compass, later the compass disappear. This cause a commotion between the leader of the tribe and Gurnber who is upset about this. His point is not about who stole it and why. Is the fact that indigenous tribe use stars to guide themselves thru the jungle, with a compass will loose that ability. Is the effect of using technology as a tool to make your life easier, but also to ruin your traditional learning. This also journey thru the unknown, how religion pretends to shape indigenous by destroying their essence.

“Embrace of The Serpent” is clever because show in two parallel universe the journey of Grunberg in 1909 and Schultes in 1940. The audience experience the progression of time, how society in part ruin the life of this people, by imposing new traditions and knowledge. Forcing them to change their ability to continue developing what they know, how they live, only killing what make them unique.

At the end this journey is experience first hand by one person in both periods of time. Karamakate. He understand how important is his life in the jungle, the respect and consideration of his heritage and how the presence of external characters can destroy it. He also face big challenges living there: Memories, learned traditions which can be lost if you don't share it with future generations. He cannot be corrupt, even Schltes offer him, a single dollar for his help, a true evidence of capitalism.

Ciro Guerra borrow from great films about journeys in the jungle. Apocalypse Now and Fitzcarraldo. Both films show a trip into a jungle filled with challenges in the hunt for one thing. In Apocalypse Now is a mission to eliminate Colonel Walker Kurtz a renegade against the establishment of the US Army. In Fitzcarraldo the search for rubber an element that is destroying indigenous people in Perú, because it’s constitute a new source of income, better than the life in the jungle. For “Embrace of The Serpent” the journey shows the power of rubber and how destroy the minds and life of indigenous people till their death.

“Embrace of The Serpent” is a powerful film that can leave you breathless by the power of the message, but also by the connection with Werner Herzog and Francis Copola style of filming and editing.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Stories about finance institution, personalities and crisis always been split in two: Big strong dramas and also documentaries. From Margin Call, Wall Street, The Wolf of Wall Street to Inside Job, Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room and Capitalism: A love Story. Hollywood focus their energy in appealing stories.

Adam McKay directs "The Big Short" a comedy drama about the very beginning of the financial crisis of 2008. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) a hedge fund manager discovers flaws in the housing market and consider that is pretty unstable. After strong analysis he predicts that the market will collapse in the second quarter of 2007. With this idea in mind, he find a way to make profit from this by betting against the housing market. A trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) heard about Burry's action from several clients and he decided to get into the same game, investing into the same idea. Mar Baum (Steve Carell) Hedge fund manager get a tip about the same plan.

When you start watching "The Big Short" you can get lost so easily about the financial lingo, but Adam McKay directing approach makes the information so easy to follow by making fun of it. With guest appearances in strange scenarios, they explain several information fun, but also ironic to the viewer. "The Big Short" is masterfully edited by Hank Corwin using skillful techniques to connects with multiple character and situations in a period of 4 years, also the use of archival footage and a well elaborated soundtrack makes the pace of this film, slow sometimes and then hectic in the other.

Christian Bale is fantastic as Michael Burry, Ryan Gosling is fun and hateful as Jared Vennett, Steve Carell is excellent as Mark Baum. But one supporting role that steals the show is Brad Pitt playing Ben Rickert. The Big Short will join the list of well made and outstanding films about finance.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When I first read that the team behind Birdman were intended to do The Revenant, I thought, how they will pitch this project to the studio. If you think of this using Hollywood lingo, I will say that the idea will be Dances With Wolves meets Man vs Wild meet Gladiator. Sounds crazy right?. But in a way is what this film is about: Empowering native Americans, by putting the whites as the bad guys, then having the main character survive a pretty traumatic experience in the wilderness in order to avenge the death of a love one and finally succeed.

Everything sounds pretty cool in paper, but if you have a director like Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu behind, is probably less simple and more elaborated tale. The Revenant is the story of a group of trappers that are hunting in the Louisiana Purchase territory under the command of Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). Suddenly they been ambush by the Arikara tribe, which cost the lives of part of Captain Henry team. In the group they have a very experience guide Hugh Glass (Leonardo Di Caprio) which is traveling with his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) half white, half Native America thanks to Glass relationship with a woman from a tribe. The trappers leader is John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) who seems to be antagonist of the whole expedition.

After the group escape from the Arikara ambush, they decided to leave their boat behind and continue by foot in order to escape from the tribe. The trip becomes more complicated when Glass is attached brutally by a grizzly bear, who is trying to protect her cubs. The group decided to carry Glass with them, until Fitzgerald pressure Henry to leave him behind and sacrifice him.

Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu directs this masterful film with a very strong vision, the film was shot chronologically allowing the actors and the team create a powerful story. Emmanuel Lubezki cinematography is beautiful and is so intimate, perhaps because he use natural light most of the time, in order to keep the film uniqueness. Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy delivers a great performances which I believe deserve to be rewarded. Ryuichi Nakamoto, Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner original score is a work of art that blend perfectly in the film visuals.

The Revenant is a stunning film that is not only the tale of sacrifice, journey and struggle, it’s also a film that represents rawness of life and beauty and the same time. Life is like that: rough and beautiful. You just have to find a way to live with both.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The beginning of a ritual where two women are involved. A girls transition to a full women? A couple’s union? or perhaps the departure of innocence?. This is the first scene that we see in the Guatemala’s film submission for the Academy Awards “Ixcanul” directed by Jayro Bustamante

Maria (Maria Mercedes Coroy) is a seventeen year old girl who lives with her parents on the slopes of an active volcano en Guatemala. Maria’s dad Manuel (Manuel Antún) works in a coffee plantation with his wife Juana (María Telón). Maria is a curious girl and of course she is interested in boys, among the farmers is Pepe, her love interested and the one who will take her most sacred possession for a girl, her virginity. At the same time Maria’s parents have arranged a wedding with Ignacio one of the managers of the plantation, a sort of powerful guy to them. This will assure some future for Manuel, Juana and Maria, the idea of keep their land and a house.

In a chain of events Maria get pregnant of Pepe, who ran away from to the United States, looking for a better life. This situation complicates Juana and Manuel’s plan of getting Maria married to Ignacio. They are naive and Ignacio knows how to manipulate them. He is the representation of change, how dirty is society and how can control weak people, using mean tricks, like ignorance.

Ixcanul is spoken in Mayan for most of the film, which makes the movie more mysterious for the audience. In a tradition of films spoken in more friendly languages, the risk pays off. Like Apocalypto or The Passion of Christ spoken in unused languages brings life to the movie and create a sense of more down and dirty experience.

The film explore family values, traditions, Mayan myths and also how modern society is responsible of Indian cultural demise. Ixcanul tales the tale in a cyclical way getting into a full closure helping the audience to see Maria starting as a seventeen year old girl, becoming a woman right thru our eyes, just for the sake of her familiy future.