Russian director Andrey Zvyaginstev's film, The Return, was the story of a father who returned to his family after an unexplained absence of 12 years and took his 2 teenage sons Andrei and Ivan, on a fishing trip. This film won the grand prize at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for so many awards that year, due that film was a beauty and real about the complex bonds between a father and his 2 sons and the need to discover themselves. Director Zvyaginstev left much unexplained and let the viewer think for themselves. Andrei seek for his father's approval but Ivan was rebellious, convinced that they have been kidnapped by a gangster. It was clear that the boys needed their father but were scared by his tough love. From a cinematographic viewpoint, the film displayed a marvelous script, good acting, a talented directing and a beautiful cinematography.
Im July was the 3rd movie I saw from this Turkish German director,Fatih Akin. I must say the two other ones was bit depressing but Im July was fresh, funny and had some really delightful moments..The story was believable. Girl saw boy, boy saw girl, the girl had feelings for the boy, but the boy played hardball. So the girl looked for a way to show her love for him. Their whole journey through so many different countries and passing beside so many different people and cultures was really interesting.It was charming, with some fun twists, a great soundtrack, and terrific supporting characters. Made you forget some cliche and predictable moments.
I consider that everything that was good in the original Men In Black was done better in Men In Black 3, which was quite a surprise, since third films in a franchise mostly are the weakest. Now, I've never been the biggest MIB fan; I enjoyed the first movie for what it was: a flawed, but entertaining sci-fi comedy. The second one I did not hate it but it failed to live up to the first one. And now the third one and in my opinion the best of the MIB's. It had it flaws, like the whole time travel plot, it had its fun moments, but it was a bit too awkward. The first twenty minutes of the film seemed too similar of what made the second film a flop. But after Tommy Lee Jone's Agent K was erased from time, then the film really started to build up. First of all, the villain Boris was really good. He had some good liners and a couple of cool fight scenes with the heroes. Josh Brolin was awesome as young Agent K. His control and grumpy attitude suite the character perfectly and he was really fun to watch playing off with Will Smith. Men in Black 3 was a typical, solid blockbuster action film. It had an entertaining plot, good performances, amazing effects and some funny dialog as well.
Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier's film,Oslo, August 31st, followed recovering heroin drug addict Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) as he left his rehab facility for the first time as he was trying to find a place in the society and a reason to keep on living. It was a familiar storyline that was far more captivating than one might expect.As Anders was being 10 months clean, he was allowed to go to town for a job interview and he decided to use this opportunity to visit old friends and relatives which in a way ends up making it much worse for him. As the world passed him by, so did the elegant camera-work focusing on the things around him more than the character himself. A brilliant move from the director, which really showed Anders being so vulnerable, dealing with the issue, once an addict always an addict..The film ended with an incredibly scene showing Anders putting a needle into his arm. The camera barely captured it leaving you wondering if he had injected the drug or not. When he lied over his bed it became a real mystery whether he was under the influence or just emotionally affected by this critical moment in his life.It was wonderfully acted and directed, showing a quiet portrait of a tortured soul. It was not easy to watch, but surely an impressive film that stood out on its own.
I always liked Roman Polanski films, they had the potential to be great, such as the Pianist ChinaTown, RoseMary's baby and The Ghost writer. So when Carnage came out last year, as one of the funniest films it made me curious to watch it. I have to say it took me 2 weeks to finish this film, because I could not watch it more then 10 minutes, so much it bored me..It was basically an one and a half hour discussion between two couples whose sons got into a fight.John C. Reilly was okay, his views, the things he said, his character, and his performance were probably the only good thing to hilarious Carnage had to offer.Christoph Waltz's character, Alan, was so annoying that it made me want to slap the hell out him. Kate Winslet was nauseous and drunk the entire film and Jodie Foster's old face and veiny neck will probably haunt your dreams after seeing this.It came off as more of a contest between two married couples that wanted to point out their flaws of their marriage rather than the problem itself. Carnage was not entertaining at all.Boring !!!!
Canada's film for 2012's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Monsieur Lazhar was a sweet and simple film that told the story of Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian refugee who offered his services as a substitute teacher for an elementary school class that has lost its teacher. The circumstances of the teacher's death, the students reaction to it, and Mr. Lazhar's own back-story combined created a beautiful film. Mohammed Fellag, an Algerian comedian, portrayed Monsieur Lazhar, and was cast with exceptional young actors, led by Sophie Nelisse and Emilien Neron. The performances in this film were unique and gave the subject matter quite an accomplishment. Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, the film did not try to be something more than an observation, which was refreshing. It definitely had a message to say. His attempts to deal with his students' grief, their cultural and educational differences, and his own difficulties and loss all culminate in a final scene of incredible emotion. It was Canada's second nomination for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and although this one did not win, (since Iran's Separation was too strong) this film deserved an honour to be seen.
The reason that I wanted to see this film was because of Mark Wahlberg. I like him as an actor and really wanted to see him in a decent role after his trash film Max Payne. Contraband started out very disconnected, with a series of scenes that seem to have no relationship to each other. We see Mark Wahlberg as Chris Farraday living a normal life now, with 2 sons and a beautiful wife, Kate Beckinsale. But circumstances forced him to return to the smuggle world. I would not complain about the originality of the film, I gave the film some credits for picking an original subject. But the problem was the lacking of some good excitement. I expected to get some good action out of this film, but the action was lousy and too short. There was nothing spectacular to pay off at the end. There were some big names in the film, but it made you wonder why. Their roles were not that interesting so they also could not do much good with it. Giovanni Ribisi did the best job but unfortunately his character was underwritten and so was Ben Foster. It was a poor written film for the story and characters. The story did not give enough excitement and it was sure disappointing for this genre lovers.
Man on the ledge premise was brilliant and simple, and reminded me much of 1994 Speed or 2003 Phone Booth. And though the main character here did not move around much, each time he did,he raised a tense gasp from the crowd watching him from below.Sam Worthington play Nick Cassidy, the man on the ledge. The film opened simply, he checked into a hotel,ate a meal, left a note, put on his coat and stepped out onto the ledge.Early flashback provided the additional information that Nick was in prison, and that he was a former cop framed for stealing a big diamond. The story seemed quite interesting and strong; even though the whole thing of trying to prove innocent had been exaggerated.My main problem with the whole film was the heist itself. It was just pathetic and not exciting. There were too many cheesy lines with some attempts for humor. The whole film was not that terrible but it was very plain with nothing that really stood out.
Shame was Steve McQueen's second film after Hunger. This one brought to life a very shocking sexual addicted Brandon Sullivan, perfectly acted by my favorite actor Michael Fassbender. Brandon had a good job, a nice apartment in the heart of New York, where he lead a "good" life, only he was hiding a dark secret that was on the edge in destroying him. His sex addiction.Brandon was a tragic character whose only connection was with people who was linked with sex.Fassbender, gave a fascinating performance as Brandon. He was fearless and it was sure a challenging role for him and that he accomplished it with honesty. His character was disturbed, know that if people found out about his condition he would be excluded. He knew he needed help but he denies it. All of these factors came into play and create an incredible performance. Carey Mulligan's character was also fantastic, she was rebellious and loving. All she wanted was someone to care for her and to spend time with her brother, whose addiction did not let her to be close. Shame delivered an unique raw piece of art cinema.I will recommend it for art film lovers, who will surely enjoy this NC17 film.
I saw The Darkest Hour, and it took me days to review it, since this film was so trashy and I was not able to be generous with my praise for this film.It has to be said that it was awful on so many levels.First the plot, which although it did not have to be realistic, because this was a sci fi film, but should at least make a little bit of sense. Every decision made by characters were so ridiculous and at no level believable. Let;s not talk about the characters, which were so terrible. There was a hero, some ufo villain and a few other characters who had totally no dept in them.Only the hero character was doing courageous things because he was the hero. That's the depth you get. The ending was a joke. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing they could've done that would've made this into an average film but the ending just stinks of stupid things. The dialogue was the worst I've seen in ages, being one dimensional and uninspired and mostly cliche. For me it was one more bad film I've seen in a long time.
Sometimes people go through great amounts of pain and unbearable suffering, it takes a lot of time for them to be able to heal and go on with their lives. This movie helps us to understand that process and connect with other people's pain. It does it in a very slow pace, but that's the greatness and beauty of this movie. It gives us time to understand what these people have been through and shows how important it is that we do not forget. This movie is not for people who are not sensitive to think about what happened in Yuguslavia' some years ago and what the human cruelness can reach in war times.It also shows that there is a place in a world for those that have suffered, hurt, lonely, shy. And I am grateful for this movie, it shows that there is so much more in life than words, and that we all carry a rich universe in us to be explored if we love and are loved no matter who we are and what life has put us through.
Simply beautiful and a must to see.
Bullhead was in the nominated films for Best Foreign Films for Oscar 2012. And even though Belgium don't have a rich history in film-making, it is sure one of the countries that often produced some original or unusual movies.And so was Bullhead, not only with its style but also the way it was shot and how the story developed.It definitely had its own style which was dark and featured plenty of crazy moments. A crime film of the Belgian hormone mafia. Not exactly the sort of thing you would first of.The story played out just as well as for a normal crime film involving drugs and money laundry, only this one was very effective and put you on the edge of your seat.The characters was what made this film very special, since they were not ordinary characters, you are normally see in crime films. These were just a bunch of rotten looking men, who were all far from perfect with a long and dark, dirty past. The main character Jacky hardly talked and was not a nice guy, due to the misuse of hormones throughout the years, even so he made me care and feel pity for his character. That was the films greatest strength. No matter how dirty and ugly the film turned it still made you feel involved and care for the characters in it. On a dramatic level the movie worked really well, it provided the film with some powerful moments.
What can women say about a gay film? Well not much I guess but it was surely not much to praise. Weekend was a low-budget indie film that had its moments.A very slow film, which was not a problem, because I like these kind of slow films.The problem was that besides the dialog, not much happened here. Slow films were supposed to build up a tension, so that the last half hour would be packed with good plot twists. In this case, the story was not going anywhere. We could only see the two leads talking a lot, going out, doing drugs and having sex. The sex scenes were raw and passionate, and there were also interesting camera angles. But despite all this, the whole story fell flat, giving an unsatisfied feeling at the end. Also, the characters could have been better developed, at the end I didn't get to know them at all, despite all the dialog. Its not that it was a bad film, but not exactly a profound story, with well-developed characters in an interesting plot.
I could not rate Miss Bala higher because for me the film started to show some real character development problems in its late half period. The film was quite watchable but not deep. Laura was an ordinary Mexican girl who wanted to participate in the beauty pageant Miss Baja Mexico. Unfortunately, she got herself in the middle of a drug cartel war where she was taken as hostage and was forced to participate in their illegal activities.Laura's personality failed, because despite several good opportunities, she never made an effort to escape.Her character was dead, as I was wondering what the heck was wrong with her? Was she in shock or a Zombie or was she just stupid? Maybe her motivation to do as she's told came from her desire to protect her family from these animals? But it was never showed that she was being threatened in that way. The film did send a powerful a message of despair and showed a society of some stupid puppets ruled by criminals and corrupt officials with no way out.
Intouchables, a French film directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, starring Francois Cluzet as Phillipe and Omar Sy as Driss was surely one of the best French film for this year. It was a deep emotional film where it showed themes of accepting, social class difference, health, and humanity. The story as it was based on true events was not that important as was the relationship that was shown between the two leads.Philippe a rich man that after a Parasailing accident became complete paraplegic and Driss was a typical thug from the ghetto. The two were brought together and wonders happened. It showed how these men affect one another as they got in a truly honest relationship. Driss was funny and helped make Philippe's life enjoyable again.All in all it was a true, honest film by which anyone can relate to. Most importantly it was satisfying as it was as a reminder of the importance in life : LOVE.
Take Shelter was a psychological thriller that will leave you thinking. It also featured beautiful cinematography and strong performances with a few good twists.Curtis (Michael Shannon) was a middle class worker in a small town, where he lived with his wife (Jessica Chastain) and their deaf daughter, Hannah. He began to experience violent dreams and hallucinations which convinced him that a storm was coming up. As his paranoia continued he started to torn apart from his family. What I liked most was whether the threat was real or just a hallucination of Curtis' sick mental condition that remained the main key of the film. Curtis became concerned that he might as well have schizophrenia. As viewer you were never quite sure what was true and due to the slow pace of the film, director Jeff Nichols created a deep emotional film, where the suspense really make you heart beat fast.. Director Nichols treated the mental illness theme of the film with great respect. Michael Shannon's performance was excellent and so was Jessica Chastain.It was a film that would keep you guessing until the end, so if you can handle the slow pace, it was quite rewarding
The Grey was a survival action movie focusing on the story of a group of plane crash survivors in the middle of an Alaskan wilderness. The men were all oil drill workers,with the exception of Ottway played by Liam Neeson who was a sniper hired to protect these men from attacks by the wolves.After they survived the plane crash, they came into contact with a group of wolves who was attacking them one by one.The Grey did a good job in the atmosphere, one could feel their cold, fear and connected with the group. The whole range of the film with it's images was beautiful and terrifying at the same time.The wolf scenes were done so well and the effects were chilling. The acting was decent and the action was spectacular and the thrills will leave you breathless. The score was well matched with the screenplay and it served to build up the rush through the many chase scenes in the film. The ending, I think was a letdown.I was a little disappointed as I would've loved to see his fight with the alpha male, even if the scene showed that they both die. But I still would recommend this incredible film, it had it's flaws but was very strong and one of the best of 2012 so far.
Like Crazy was just a love story of Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin playing the young lovers Anna and Jacob in this indie romantic drama directed by Drake Doremus.Their falling in love made you smile and realize how great young love really is. Then when they were forced to be apart because of immigration problems, you felt heartbroken right along with the characters. As time passed it seemed like Anna and Jacob began to drift apart but could not let go of their feelings for each other. Many people would not like the ending, because they are expecting a happy one. It was not necessarily a sad ending but just a realistic view of how relationships work. Happily ever after is rare in this world and whether Jacob and Anna ended up together or not did not matter in this film. As in real life, the butterflies in the stomach can die, couples have a hard time accepting changes.But the fact is that no matter the distance, they will always miss the other person.The actors were all fantastic and I felt that the chemistry between Jacob and Anna was very realistic. Music worked perfect with each scene and the time scene at the airport really told a story of how being apart so long affected Jacob and Anna's relationship.
Directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), who had teamed up again with writer Diablo Cody, Young Adult was the story of a woman named Mavis played by Charlize Theron who, despite being in her late 30's, she could not get out of her time of high school. Back then she was the prom queen and the most popular girl in her small-town in Minnesota, but now she became a writer living in the big city. She decided to return to her hometown to win her ex boyfriend back. Hilarious right? For the first half hour this was pretty smooth and slow, with scenes of jokes that were not funny at all.The problem was that Mavis's character was so unlikable that one could hardly stand her, her dialogues were so abrupt that even though the atmosphere of the film was suppose to be that of reality, every word spoken seemed to come over so exaggerated and underdeveloped. Only see this film if you enjoyed the trailer and don't enjoy laughing.
I just saw the Angelina Jolie's film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, and I must say, I liked it. The film was at times hard to watch because the scenes were intense and very realistic. I heard a lot about this film before I saw it, and it was even nominated in the category best foreign film for Golden Globes, and to tell the truth I was afraid that it would be a disaster, but it was not, it was a film that showed the horrors of war and a lot of rapes and crimes for Muslim people in Bosnia. Many people had heard about those things, you knew it was true, but your brain could not picture it. Angelina Jolie showed two hours of brutal pictures and painful scenes for the viewer. People might criticize her film for being one side story, but the fact remained that these horrors shown in the film took place in Yugoslavia and the whole world knew. The love story was made up, but it gave a different taste which I liked. To see how they were torn apart and how they were dealing with the relationship after they were forced into opposite sides. Not bad at all.