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.