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David Lynch really likes to fuck with your mind. Like really get in your head and start pushing buttons. He has done it before in his movies (Lost Highway), but Mulholland Dr. Delivers a really twisty story line that, admittedly, will leave you confused, but entertained with some superb acting, especially by Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux.
Mulholland Dr. looks at two lives that clash together. One, a lady on the run in a car crash scared out of her mind looking to hide (Laura Harring). The other is a sweet lady from Deep River, Ontario who is trying to make it big in Hollywood (Naomi Watts). When their lives collide, the audience is taken into a twisted mystery that leads you through the Hollywood and the world of cinema. However, near the end, we get a Lost Highway/mobius-strip type twist which changes these two characters almost completely. At the end you are left wondering what was real and what was illusion.
When David Lynch is on, he is absolutely on. He commands some great performances out his actors and actresses in this movie. Naomi Watts is absolutely stellar. It is completely amazing how she turns from a sweet, naive girl from Deep River, Ontario into an obsessed, mildly depraved woman who is love with Laura Harringā(TM)s character. Laura Harring was great as the mysterious woman who falls into Naomi Watts. Justin Theroux is also hilarious and great in his role as a conflicted director.
Lynch also directs some wonderful, surrealistic sequences. The most beautiful of all of them, though, is the pantomime theatre. The illusion of the singing is absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous. It is a real thing to behold and a work of pure art.
Mulholland Dr. is another wonderful addition to the David Lynch collection. It has some great acting performances and some of the beautiful scenes any David Lynch film. Non-Lynch fans will be mildly satisfied with ending but will love the performances. Lynch fans will absolutely love this film.
Scorcese directing a children's movie. Sounds odd, right? But, damnit, he does it well. The movie is as much a love-letter to early cinema as it is an endearing, touching film with a whimiscal dream-like feel.
Hugo (As Butterfield) is an orphan who lives in a train station in Paris. He keeps himself busy by winding the clocks of the train station, tinkering with an automaton his father left him, and avoiding the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron-Cohen). He gets caught attempting to steal a wind up mouse by the disgruntled curiousity shop owner (Ben Kingsley) and befriends his goddaughter Isabelle (Chloe Moretz) who has the key to figuring out his father's automaton.
Scorcese puts together a collection of great actors, ranging from the legendary Ben Kingsley and Christopher Lee, and the well-established, like Jude Law and Ray Winstone, to the comedic Sacha Baron-Cohen, and budding, young actors in Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz, to portray this touching tale. With visual pinache, the audience will enjoy the mysticism that surrounds Hugo's love of the mechanical and cinema, and will relish in the fitting 3D effects, that are certainly not wasted here.
With it's sweet aspects, touching story, great acting, and great directing, "Hugo" is easily one of the best films of 2011. Be sure to watch for the cameo where Joe Pesci pistols whips Hugo... you believed me there for a second didn't you? But seriously, Scorcese shows that he can direct any type of film, even a kids' movie.
Fincher has proven time and again that he can make disturbing, yet magnificent, movies. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" fits easily within this niche, such as "Se7en" and "Fight Club," and once again cements Fincher as a talented director.
Based on the first of late Stieg Larsson's hit trilogy of novels, "Dragon Tattoo" presents a raw suspense mystery that combines the intrigue of "LA Confidential" with the disturbing sexuality of "Blue Velvet." Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Daniel Craig) is summoned by retired billionaire industrialist Henrik Vanger (God of acting Christopher Plummer) to help solve the murder behind his beloved grand-daughter Harriet. At the same time, we see computer hacking whiz Lisbeth Salander (a stunning Rooney Mara) struggle with trying to make money. As mystery thickens, Blomqvist hires the tenacious Salander to help in hunting down "a killer of women."
The movie starts fast with a thirty second cold-open before the opening titles roll, but slows down for the first half-hour or so. Yet, like some movies, patience is rewarded with tense moments and thrilling action. These moments are underscored by Trent Reznor's excellent score which fits the mood perfectly. Also, props to Trent Reznor and Karen O for taking on Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song" and doing it justice.
Rooney Mara is the real star of the show. She highlights Lisbeth's firecracking tenacity, while at the same time emphazing her ice-cold methodical demeanor (be it while hacking, or getting vengeance). Daniel Craig is also great as Blomqvist. And while Mara and Craig work well together, their chemistry is not quite at the level it should be. Nevertheless, the two are certainly entertaining to watch.
Comparisons will inevitably be drawn from the 2009 Swedish version of the same film. However, Fincher directs a solid movie with some great performances and another great score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Any movie that explores the vast questions about life, its meaning, and its place in the overall chain of being is bound to come off as pretentious. No question. But these are the films that are the most beautiful and demand the most out of its actors. Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is no different. "The Tree of Life" focuses on Jack (Hunter McCracken as Young Jack, and Sean Penn as the adult Jack) and his journey through growing up in the '60s under the presence of an endearing mother (Jessica Chastain), and a domineering father (Brad Pitt), recooperating from his brother's death, and how it ripples into his later years. Bouncing back in forth between the creation of the planet, the age of the dinosaurs, Jack's youth, and the present day, the film explores how a person's upbringing and how a traumatic event can ripple throughout a person's life.
It is refreshing to see Brad Pitt do something he does occasionally in movies like 'Seven,' 'Fight Club,' and 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:' immerse himself in a role and give it his all. He is the justice and discipline in Jack's life and represents the cold-slap of reality in the Jack's life. On the other hand, Jack's mother, a glowing Jessica Chastain, is the caring, gracious, optimistic side of Jack's life. She shows Jack the caring side of life and, while not a total pushover, is gentle and fair. Both of these performances absolutely deserve attention come award season.
As with any of Malick's films, you can also expect the usual gorgeous, artful camera that characterizes his 'films.' And this one is no exception. This winner of the Palme D'Or at Cannes certainly does not disappoint and is clearly one of the best films of the year (along with 'Drive' and 'Midnight in Paris'... see them if you haven't yet). Pretentious? Perhaps. Satisfying? Absolutely.
I have not read Charlotte Bronte's novel. That being said, when I first saw the trailer, I assumed it was an adaptation of "Jane Eyre: Vampire Slayer" judging from psychological and creepy quality. When I saw that it was just "Jane Eyre," I was very surprised and intrigued.
Throughout the movie, there is this hanging mystery that surrounds Jane Eyre, the thoroughly repressed, and imaginative main character played excellent by Mia Wasikowska. As the movie unfolds, you see that Jane has basically, for lack of a better term, been shit on for most of her life. Enter the even more mysterious Mr. Rochester, a splendid Michael "Lt. Archie Hicox and Magneto" Fassbender, who falls for Jane Eyre and has a wild range of moods from rage to sarcastic to mildly melancholic to happy.
I do not believe the film itself will get much recognition come awards season when it comes "Best Picture" or Best Director (despite a wonderful debut Cary Fukunaga who really did an excellent job at establishing a drab and dreary setting). However, I think some attention should be due for Wasikowska and Fassbender. They both bring Bronte's fascinating characters to life and have wonderful on-screen chemistry. Props should also go to the always wonderful Dame Judi Dench as the excellent head housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax who provides welcome warmth in such a cold setting.
Credit also needs to be given to the wonderful cinematography. The contrast between the dullness and grayness of the rain that occurs throughout most of the movie, the stark white light that occasionally floods in the drab rooms, and the almost vibrant colours of spring time is spectacular and works well in the movie. It almost rivals movies like "Days of Heaven" and "Mississippi Burning" for beautifully shot movies.
This powerful and wonderful adaptation of "Jane Eyre" will leave you appreciative of the complexity of Bronte's characters, with the great acting, and of the wonderful visuals and camera shots that make this film beautiful.