Posted on 12/27/13 09:30 AM
I've figured that people seem to either like this movie or absolutely hate it. Though I belong to the biggest crowd, thinking this is a funny and cute movie, I can also understand people who might think Will Ferrell is just too much, and the whole movie is silly.
And I agree that it's a silly movie, but in a funny way.
Sometimes I just need characters like "Buddy" for not losing hope there are some innocent, good, considerate, generous people in this world, though I still realize that "Buddy" is a fictional character.
The story is about Buddy (Will Ferrell) who is brought up in the North Pole, working his best in Santa's (Edward Asner) workshop, in belief he is an elf. The true is though, that as a baby in an orphanage, he managed to crawl into Santa's sack without Santa noticing it until having returned to the North Pole. "Papa Elf" (Bob Newhart) decides to give him an upbringing as a proper elf. Thrity years later, Buddy faces the truth that he is in fact a human being, and not an elf (explaining his huge size, among other things:) . He gets to know that his biological mother is dead, but his father Walter (James Caan), lives in Manhattan (and on top of that, is on Santa's "naughty list"!).
So Buddy travels to Manhattan to gets to know his biological father and bring christmas spirit to New York. He is of course dressed in his regular elf suit, and the reason why nobody reacts, is because it's christmas time and the shopping malls are full of elfs and Santas'.
Buddy, unaware of the fact that people believe he is employed, walks into a shopping mall and gazes at all the christmas decorations. There he meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) who is an hired "elf".
The first meeting with Buddy and his dad on his dad's office, becomes a really bizarre situation, but later after a positive father-test, Walter has to accept that he has a "deranged" son he didn't know about, and has to present him to his wife (Mary Steenburgen) and ten year old son.
As it turns out, Walter is not a family man, but a rather greedy capitalist which is something slowly changes when he gets to know Buddy better and realizes that there are other values in life than money.
I wouldn't call this a "christmas classic" but it works fine as a cozy family movie.
Posted on 12/23/13 12:40 AM
Extremely charming and cute but overlooked christmas movie. I really recommend it to classic movie-lovers!
The story evolves around Connie (Janet Leigh), a young beautiful widow with a six-year old son, Timmy.
Connie works as a "commercial spy" and runs along at shopping malls at christmas time, and "buys" things just to figure out the price and the quality of the product, only to return the product the next day and inform the she currently works for.
Shortly before christmas, she buys an exclusive model train by the clerk Steve (Robert Mitchum) who immediately gets suspicious when she says he doesn't need to wrap it in.
After coming home and leaving the big box, unattended for a short while, little Timmy peeks into it and gets overjoyed believing he's going to get it for christmas. He doesn't realize the train is not to be given to him, since his mother could never afford buying it for real.
Connie is not really short of suitors, beautiful as she is, and a pretty well off man named Carl (Wendell Corey) whom she's been dating for a while has just proposed to her. The only thing is that he doesn't get along with little Timmy.
Timmy isn't really excited about it, since he is used to be "the man in the house" and think that despite things are fine the way they are.
Next day, Connie bumps into Steve and learns that he lost his job at the toy department because he didn't report her as "spy". To make up for it, she agrees having lunch with Steve and makes some shopping. However, they lose each other is the mass and Steve how still is carrying some of Connie's shopping bags, looks up her address and visits her. He gets along with Timmy really well, and treats him as an little adult. Timmy also tells him about the disappointment, with the train ...he had noticed his mother had returned it...
This is one of Janet Leigh's first big roles, and she copes with it well. But it's undoubtedly Robert Mitchum who is the real star of this wonderful movie.
The boy playing Timmy is a real charmer (Gordon Gebert, who later had a small child actor career after this, thanks to his great performance here), and this movie witness how good Robert Mitchum were with children, both on and off screen. A funny thing, considering his swan song role in The Night of the Hunter. What few people know is that it was actually Robert Mitchum who directed the children, since Charles Laughton (the legendary actor who was the director of Night of the Hunter) couldn't stand children at all.
Posted on 12/17/13 09:50 PM
Crude and brutal depiction of a barely 16-year old girl, named Lilja (played by Oksana Akinsjina), "somewhere in old Soviet". She is early abandoned by her mother and forced to move to a small decrepit apartment in the poorest neighbourhood, all alone. And soon after she is informed by the social authorities that her mother has renounced the responsibility and role of legal guardian for Lilja. She is alone in the world, except for one only friend, a boy who is a couple of years younger, named Volodja (played by Aritom Bogutjarskij). His life isn't much brighter, since his mother's boyfriend occassionally force him to live on the street.
Eventually she is forced to prostitute herself, to get money for food.
What I really like about this movie, is how director Lukas Moodyson portray Lilja as a very strong girl, particularly considering the circumstances. She is not just a victim, though it's clear that she is pretty naïve (but considering her age, it's not that strange).
Many of the scenes are sickening, like when she is forced to sell her childish body to old men, but one of the most gut wrenching scenes is with no doubt, when she is abandoned by her mother who have chosen to leave her daughter for a new man in US. In the scene, shot in slow motion, when she runs after her mothers car, hysterically crying...one has to be made out of stone not to be touched.
Eventually, she is offered a fake passport by a young man and promised a well paid job, collecting fruit and vegetables in Sweden. But like many girls like Lilja, she becomes a trafficking victim and is imprisoned in a small apartment in southern Sweden and raped on a daily basis.
The most disturbing of all, is that it's based on a true story.
Posted on 12/17/13 01:56 PM
I waited a while to watch this movie. Although people around almost demanded me to watch it (as the movie geek I'm known as).
These last ten years, Woody has gotten a bit hackneyed as a director. You notice how hard he tries to make movies on the same high level that he used to, ages ago. Making some unorthodox plots, and put some spark in it.
Well, this time Woody, you did hit bull's-eye with Midnight In Paris. It contains the same philosophical, existentional reasons, and is beautiful and magic. Enchanting, I would even say!
I was a bit sceptical at first with Owen Wilson playing the main character. In my eyes he is under average when comparing to his assisting actors.
But my worries flew away when I noticed that Woody directed him into a young Woody Allen himself. With the same facial expressions and body language as Woody has, I did enjoy Owen's performance.
Fun note; Carla Bruni (the president's wife) plays a small role as a museum guide!
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT!
Owen plays what you can say, the usual Woody Allen character.
Gil; a man who do things just because he is expected to, and without really knowing it, his emotions are in chaos.
Engaged with a woman who is his complete opposite in personality, Inez (Rachel MacAdams) he takes a trip to his favorite place in the world, along with his soon becoming parents in law. They don't like Paris at all, and their future son-in-law even less. Instead of following his fiancé with her friends and parents, Gil strolls around on the street on his own on the evenings. Soaking the parisian air and trying to find some more inspiration for the book he's currently working on. He had earlier told Inez about his love for the city and how he wishes he could experience Paris in the 1920s.
One evening when he gets lost in the allys, and the clock strikes twelve, a really fancy 1920s car, with chauffeur and lots of people on their way to a party stops, and picks up Gil. Like a dream come true he gets into the 1920s and meets his idols; Scott F Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He also meets an astonishing woman, Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who appears to be mistress to several painters like Picasso and Dalí (Adrien Brody).
Overwhelmed with delight of the roaring 20's atmosphere, he falls a bit in love with Adriana.
The next morning he wakes up in the hotel room, with everything in order and Inez by his side in the bed. But every night he gets the chance to, he sits at the same spot and awaits the clock to strike twelve, when the car picks him up again and brings him to the 1920s. When he tells Adriana that he is a time traveler, she tells him he's crazy for choosing Paris in the 1920s. She has always dreamed of being present at La Belle Epoque. Together they later travels to La Belle Epoque, and visits of course Moulin Rouge and encounters Henri Toulouse De Lautrec. Adriana is extatic, and when Gil discusses the matter of "when the golden time was" , the gentlemen immediately starts talking about the renaissance. That's when Gil realizes that there is no golden age, it's only something you dream of when you lack something important in your life.
He tries to explain it to Adriana, who refuses to listen and decides to stay in La Belle Epoque for good.
Gil however travels back to 2011 and starts to scrutinize his mind, of what is wrong with his life, which he very soon figures out.
Posted on 12/16/13 10:22 AM
For you who haven't seen this yet; here's a short summary of the plot:
After being suggested by a stranger on a café, a Canadian writer meets up with a man from India, named Pi Patel. And Pi Patel gives the writer his conscent to write a book about Pi's life. After being brought up in a family who owns a zoo, his father one day decides it's time to travel abroad and sell all the animal there.
But a vicious storm makes the ship sink, and the only survivor in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean is finally Pi, and a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. Though the tiger obviously is a deadly threat to Pi, it somehow keeps him company, and occupied and strengthen his own instinct to survive.
I had to watch this movie more than once to realize that it was not just an "eye-charmer".
Ang Lee succeded with what seemed to be impossible; to make a worthy adaptation of Yann Martel's novel, with the same name.
I cannot say it resembles any movie I've seen before. The movie is so chock-a-block with pearls of wisedom, it's sometimes gets too much to take in. But despite that, it's a fantastic movie, in it's true meaning and I recommend this movie to anyone.
To be frank, at first I regarded this movie as a bit cheesy tale of faith (in any God that you prefer), with many bizarre scenes and a couple of scenes with black ironic humour (like when the Zebra jumps into the lifeboat, resulting the french cook falling out).
But really now I see this as a great adventure movie, and the second time I watched it I actually payed attention to that the main character tells the Canadian author, after having told he had to tell the authorities a completely different story, it's up to you to believe which story is true. And then he asks the Canadian writer in the most enigmatic way; which version he prefers to adapt in his book. And he answers the first one, with the tiger of course.
Posted on 12/12/13 02:28 PM
"-But what can you expect from a society that itself spends 44% of its tax dollars on killing?"
Quite unusual way of narration, with the split-vision technique, which elevates this movie a bit and makes it more interesting. Like I've mention before, movies about serial killers seldom turn out to be masterpieces (except for Henry; A Portraiy of a serial killer, according to some critics).
This movie on the other hand was neither butchered nor particularly praised by the critics. One of the most interesting things about this movie, is the fact that it was filmed just a couple of years after the real incidents. If that fact drew much critism from the public, I have no idea.
Tony Curtis plays the role of the Boston Strangler; Albert Desalvo, spendidly. Henry Fonda who plays the head person of the special Boston Strangler commission, do so with his standard (well) performance.
It's funny how the average police detective, immediately started to suspect homosexuals (or "homophilias" as they refer to in the movie). Today, we know from experience that homosexual serial killers prey on male victims, not female.
Also, I think it's funny to watch that the theory of Desalvo suffered from suppressed memories during the actual murders, was so naturally accepted by the police during the hearings.
The filmmakers even films it from Desalvo's view, how he couldn't remember any of the deeds. That says a lot of the time era.
Today, the absolute majority of criminologists question that theory of killer's total memory loss about their deeds.
I give this movie a strong 60%, because for me it didn't stand out enough to be truely remembered. It lacked some more strong characters and some of the police office scenes just felt slightly dull and lengthy.
Despite all this, I think this movie is valuable as a study of it's time.
Posted on 12/09/13 03:34 PM
We all know that Mia Farrow is a master playing neurotic on the verge to hysterical women, and very convinsingly so. This movie makes no exception.
It's a rather chilling story, about a family who one morning experiences a very traumatic and tragic accident, causing the family's only child's death.
Julia (Mia Farrow), the mother gets so grief- strucken, she gets aquitted for a mental institution for a shorter while.
In an appempt to start a new life from scratch, she separates from her husband and buys an old mansion in London, to get on her feet again. She befriends some neighbours, and one of them who claims to be psychic, warns Julia about the house.
During a seance one evening, the neighbour cracks and screams about a mutilated child's body covered in blood.
Strange "accidents" soon seem to happen to eveyone in Julia's small circuit of friends and acquaintances.
Julia is determined to find out who the murdered boy, her neighbour was screaming about during the séance, and when she visits the local library some very old aricles are found. It turns out that a little boy was brutally murdered and a janitor was convicted and hung for it, in the 1930s. But only...the murder did not occur in Julia's (haunted) house, but on a playground nearby.
When Julia starts digging in the case she finds out that the truth is more horrendous than anyone could have guessed.
I am a big fan of gothic horror, so naturally I liked this movie who doesn't stand out much in it's genre. Though I can admit the movie has aged a bit, and the scenarios with all those "accidents" seem a bit ridiculous. Despite that, I'm longing for the day they released this forgotten movie on DVD.
The ending was just brilliant!
Posted on 12/04/13 06:36 AM
Not many script writers can mix ultra violence and a really cute romance into the same script. Quentin Tarantino is playing in his own league and have always been. Director Tony Scott (The Hunger, Top Gun, Enemy Of The State and Spy Game) had his peak right here, is you ask me personally.
Christian Slater plays Clarence Worley, an Elvis Presley-loving nerd who works in a comic magazine shop.
He spends his birthday in a cinema, watching some martial arts movie-marathon, when he "accidently" bumps into the beautiful (but suspiciously clumsy...) girl, Alabama (Patricia Arquette). who sits down next to him. They fall for each other immediately, and Alabama soon reveals that she is a first time prostitute, but have now find love and wants to quit immediately.
Though he's been warned that her pimp Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman) is a dangerous complete maniac, Clarence still pays a visit for recollecting Alabama's stuff. But things goes terribly wrong and by miracle Clarence manages to kill Drexl and get away alive with what he thinks is Alabama's stuff. The only problem is that he accidently took the wrong case, left Alabama's clothes behind him and now has a case full of coke!
So they escape to Hollywood, planning to sell the stuff there and then live happily ever after...But of course they are followed by the owners of the cocain...and unluckily by a sicilian mob with a guy named Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) at head.
Though it's very violent, this movie is extremly entertaining and at times very funny. You will spotplenty of renowned actors playing minor characters like; Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, Conchata Ferrell (who plays Bertha in 2 and a Half Men).
Highly recommended! (specially for Tarantino-fans)
Posted on 12/04/13 05:52 AM
A friend of a friend recommended this one. So I had to take a look at it. Kind of impartial, and having no idea what the movie was about, I sat down with my boyfriend yesterday and gave this movie a shot. After less than ten minutes, I realized that the movie was about the serial killer Robert Hansen and his doings in Alaska, which made me lower my expectations.
First, I already know a great deal about this case after having watched several documentaries about him, prior to watching this movie. So I'll naturally be very sensible for details that are not correct, or even more importantly; details they should have.
Secondly...let's face it...Movies about infamous serial killers almost ALWAYS turn into flops. Movies about Jack The Ripper (From Hell), Ted Bundy (Ted Bundy), Gary Ridgway (Green River Killer), Jeffrey Dahmer (Dahmer) are not movies I would recommend to anyone.
Two exceptions are Monster (Aileen Wuornos) and Ed Gein (Ed Gein).
Honestly, I don't know why movies about infamous serial killers, almost always turn out bad. Is it because the script writers are lazy, and the whole film crew perhaps think that the weight of the real shocking (and tragic) story will be enough alone? But in that case, why not just watch a documentary?
Now back to the movie...
I think that Nicholas Cage's character got a little too much focus. Ok, I see that they wanted to make the movie more intriguing by letting the audience follow the police work that led to the killer. But the movie kind of revealed the identity of the killer very early in the beginning, so I found this "police work"-part, just boring.(But remember that I'm partial since I knew so much of the case before!).
One thing that annoyed me a lot was this standard "key-witness-in-danger" clichée they threw in towards the end. Couldn't they have skipped that part just plainly? Why didn't they put in some scenes (of true facts) that the APD almost daily used to visit Hansen's bakery and buy snacks for the police force (at that time, unaware of that he was a serial killer).
To point out some positive critic, I thought John Cusack was just an excellent choice as Robert Hansen. When he was wearing those glasses, I almost forgot that it was Cusack and not the real Hansen, I was watching. Cusack did a very convincing job.
Radha Mitchell (who played Nicholas Cage's wife in the movie) did not convince however...But in order to stay on the positive line...I thought Vanessa Hudgens did suprisingly well as the survived prostitute victim, Cindy Paulson.
Scott Walker is the name of the director (and NO, it's not the guy from the group The Walker Brothers...they just happen to share the exact same name, haha) and I learned that this was his directorial debut. Well...I won't oversee the flaws of this movie, because of that fact, because great masterdirectors of today did not always make the greatest debut. So let's just hope he'll develope and his next movie will be more exciting!
Posted on 9/16/13 10:34 AM
"Is it safe?"
What begins with a dispute between two grouchy old men, who thereof both die in a car accident. leads to panic in a diamond smuggling connection.
The other old man who died happened to be the brother of an infamous Nazi, SS Dentist Szell (called The White Angel of Auschwitz, because of his white hair).
The government has declared Szell dead by the end of world war II. The truth is though that he survived and escaped the law (just like his brother) and is now living a good life in South America, incognito.
There is believed that his brother were on his was to their safe-deposit box and withdraw the millions worth of diamonds (that were mainly stolen from the jews during the holocaust). This means that Dr Szell (played excellently by Laurence Olivier) has to travel to New York City and get the diamonds.
You may wonder where Dustin Hoffman gets into this story, well he happens to be the brother of one of Dr Szell's ring of international diamond smugglars, "Doc" (played by Roy Scheider).
Severly wounded by Dr. Szell, Doc still gets into Babe's (Dustin Hoffman) apartment before he soon dies.
Now Dr. Szell is certain that Babe have been given information about the smuggling ring, so he very soon captures Babe and "practize" some dental work on Babe(who knows absolutely nothing about his deceased brothers' business). He manages to escape from the dentist chair and runs and runs and runs along the avenues in NY- Being a marathon runner saves his life then. But now he suddenly possess information of the diamonds in the safe-deposit box, and his life is in danger.
I liked the pace in the movie, and had no problem with the fact the beginning might seem a bit slow. I think Dustin Hoffman makes an excellent performance as Babe, a bit awkward bachelor who is working on a history project about the McCarthy-era to clear his father's name (who commited suicide when Babe was a boy, for being "listed"). I like the complexity of the characters.
Contains many rememerable scenes (like the ending for example).
Directed by John Schlesing (Bily Liar, Darling, Midnight Cowboy), and the script was written by William Goldman (who had also wrote the novel).
This is a much see-worthy movie! I strongly recommend it!