Sep 26, 2010

Frozen, 2010

Frozen, 2010
Director: Adam Green
Cast: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers

Frozen in short:
Three skiers are stranded on a chairlift and forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death

Stage: home cinema

Preps: I have seen the plot and the movie sounds interesting. No special expectations nevertheless.

Reality: The movie kicks off with a live skiing resort ideal world of three persons going for the Sunday skiing in the local resort, at its third it is broken down to a static sequence of them being stuck on the mountain for unknown period of time, forgotten on a ski lift. Sounds believable, however the main fact that the degrees on the ski resort are below zero makes it hard to believe they would even survive a night, yet alone the complete week.

The script makes the spectator even laugh a bit about the dreadful situation, however, a tiny approach of the director to make something dynamic about the things young people share with each other or even evolve some stressful situation results this "being stuck on the ski lift and very likely to die from" situation offers.

None of this happens. After a good half of the movie I don't want to look at it anymore, because nothing really happens. The scenes are prolonged beyond belief, the movie lacks energy and some believable moments. The one good attempt would be being eaten by the wolves - this makes the movie a bit more interesting again and puts this situation into another perspective. However, it also accuses the young people being stupid - making them jump without thinking from the ski lift is one good example of this.
The story also lacks some background. Surely the three persons would be filed missing and being searched by their parents, therefore I strongly doubt this could be a real situation. It could be a good reminder to ski fans, though, not to exploit working times of ski resorts- in the end after some thoughts I can also see it this way. And the ironic, dramatical moment - would the girl live normally? I suppose she would froze the first night.

My personal rating: 3,0 (some highlighted moments and the start made it easier for me to follow at least until its half. Apart from that, do something else. Not worth your time.)

Frozen on IMDB

The Butterfly Effect¸ 2004

The Butterfly Effect, 2004
Director: Eric Bress, j.Mackye Gruber
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Melora Walters, Amy Smart

The Butterfly Effect in short: A young man blocks out harmful memories of significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life.

Stage: Home theatre this time. Seen in the local cinema, several times at home.

Preps: The first time with none and with a giant impact afterwards. This time seeking new solutions to the idea of changing the past or being able to influence the one thing you did wrong and circled around your life completely.

The title card hits you like a brick and makes you think throughout the movie, what it is that we should have impact on. Title Card: It has been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. - Chaos Theory

The Chaos theory proves itself within this piece with a constant change of hystorical events that lead to differentiation in one or more person's life. First you are stunned with the normal life curve of Evan and all the people within his surroundings. All the traumatic events and all the blackouts that happen due to unnormal behaviour, abuse and correlated things. The hatred and evil some people can posess. And then the adrenalin continues as you tend to question yourself, if you already have such a gift as Evan does, is it right/fair to try to differ one's life and making other person miserable while making the first person happy? It's a constant question in history and power most of us would like to have and don't know how we would control it afterwards.

The movie implies that no person can play god (virtually) and take fate of other people's lives in his hands. The butterfly effect changes a slight thing in the past and then miracously is followed by the chain of events that influence all people's lives. And each time Evan tries to change, an alternative reality shows - none is satisfactory enough to make it count for all persons involved. Finally at the end the sacrifice is put into perspective. The last thing Evan does is sacrifice his own life to make all other persons around him happy and normal.

The idea of playing with the past and the future if you are able to, first started off in the trilogy Back to the future. However, in this scenario, upgraded and vividly played, not in a shape of a comedy, but in a brilliant drama.

The movie offers as many interpretations as one would want and beyond that, it's a superb time flashing / changing piece. This was one of the first movies ever made with a constant leaping into the past, making the spectator burning with braincell work about the connections and trying to keep pace with the story. A brilliant piece, more than worth seeing. I have seen it a lot of times and each time I find a new explanation and new philosophical approach to this.

My personal rating: 9,0 (try it out, it will rock your world. One of the best Kutcher's roles ever.)

Jason Treborn: You can't play God son.
You can't change who people are without destroying who they were.

The Butterfly Effect on IMDB
Home page

Sep 16, 2010

Nowhere Boy, 2009

Nowhere Boy, 2009
Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Josh Bolt

Nowhere Boy in short: Imagine John Lennons childhood A spirited teenager, curious, sharp and funny, growing up in the shattered city of Liverpool. Two extraordinary sisters tussle for his love - Mimi, the formidable aunt who raised him from the age of 5 and Julia, the spirited mother who gave him up to Mimis care. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into art and the new music flooding in from the US. His fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the young Paul McCartney. But just as Johns new life begins, the truth about his past leads to a tragedy he would never escape.

Stage: home theatre

Preps: I wanted to see this in the local theatre, but I missed it. I am a fan of good biographies, especially about famous musicians - the stories that are never shared with the public and all you get to see in present is yellow media/press interesting stories. However, where are the roots of these people - seldomly shared with audience. Hence, a big welcome in my head to yet another supposed to be good biography.

Reality: The movie grasps my attention in an instant. I once listened to the Beatles a lot, and am still a great admiror. However, I never thought about the pre-story. Who was Lennon indeed when he was young? Or in my case, who was McCartney, how did they meet, where did they start jagging on the stage, etc. This is the piece that gives an answer to this up to some level. Doesn't answer how the final crew gathered (by the time the movie ends, there's still Ringo missing). But the other three find themselves more as a coincidence. The relationships and bonding between them, also the relationships in the family - brilliantly shown.
The scenery is perfect, english surroundings, rock n'roll times and obsession with Presley and protagonists of that era. The music in the movie is superb and takes you right up the hill of that time - pushes you into the situations the main cast is showing. Some things you cannot believe existed; like obsession in the movies, when looking at Presley, or jukebox dancing. Did you know rock n' roll means sex? Well, the mother of Lennon gives a good interpretation of this quote in this piece. The relationship between her and Lennon seems to deepen, nevertheless, too many questions remain unanswered.
The movie is a short insight, yet picturesque and filled with emotions. A good one, showing how life can turn up great even if one decides for music - at that point something noone could understand. The idea was that one cannot make a living out of music and that building/making music was for dreamers that will never make a buck out of it.

My personal rating: 7,0 (more than decent insight into Lennon's childhood and first beginnings. And I adore the young look of Paul McCartney.)

Nowhere Boy on IMDB

Nowhere Boy official site

Sep 15, 2010

W., 2008

W., 2008
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Josh Brolin, Colin Hanks, Richard Dreyfuss

W. in short: A chronicle on the life and presidency of 'George W. Bush'

Stage: Home theatre

Preps: I knew it was a biography of W. Bush, and I didn't take the time to watch it. However, every now and then I just force myself into seeing some things I wanted to see a long time ago and are just standing in the queue.

Reality: Well, the movie surprises with constant switching from present into past. The past, starting with Bush joining the fraternity and later on upgrading from student parties to the governer or the president elections.
Obviously, Bush is here stated as the tragic hero - placing him in flesh and blood, showing his attitude towards alcohol and women. To be quite honest, the tragic hero image doesn't impact my veins, because I simply despise the character he's playing. I believe it to be a true farmer image and having a farmer attitude towards everything. When getting a job, he relies completely on his family, trying to throw away the intelligence he had in his DNA, with a negative attitude; and giving passes to women all around - finally settling up for Linda, who is admired by his family. Making decisions in the president's chambers - like seeing children with their toys. In this case, the toys seem to be powerful enough to destroy nations. All in the name of God. Or higher goals. Which never seem to be lying on the table, transparent to all.

The light motive for this in the background is making up to his father. Or chasing father figure's expectations, living up to them. And when failing them, humbly trying to rise again. Which in many occasions, doesn't happen quite the way W. expected.

The interesting part also for the viewer will be seeing the way strong issues are being handled. Like placing adults into a sandbox, discussing whether to take over Iran or not. Whether to raise an army to march into Afganistan. Like they would be discussing making a cheese omlet. Quite disgusting, I might add. How did such people come to these positions to be making these types of decisions.. and that makes me worried. We all are aware that presidents tend to be puppets in the hands of their elected chiefs of everything in the country, however the thing that should worry us more was, how did some of these people come to their positions and why don't we have a meter/critical border/line, where no person with such values or standards should pass. And yet they do.

A clean and "sort-of-emotional" produced movie. In terms of showing the background of a great name in politics - a true success. In terms of making me try to like/understand the Bush politics more - a great failure.

My personal rating: 6,5 (although I don't like his political views/actions and I don't really support them, I think the movie shows him as a flesh and blood person and gives the grounds to the viewer why he is the way he is and what is the background of his living before and after entering the politics)

W. on IMDB

W official site

Sep 10, 2010

The girl with the dragon tatoo,2009

The girl with the dragon tatoo, 2009
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace

Stage: home theatre

The girl in short: Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger's are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

Preps: I wanted to read the book first. There's this most popular writer in Sweden at this moment - Stieg Larsson, and this is his hottest novel from 2009. I am used to the fact, that even the hottest book turns into a disgraceful movie. Therefore it's maybe a better option to see the movie and read afterwards - it doesn't kill the joy then when the most important facts (in the eyes of the reader of course) are left out in the movie. Nevertheless, I didn't take the time to go through the book, so I see it in raw material and don't have a clue what it's about. Mere the fact that it's as popular as Harry Potter in the UK.

Reality: The movie is modern in terms of its length. I am surprised that it's 2,5 hours long. Despite this fact, first hour and a half slides by as in a moment. The story is intriguing and the two main protagonists (Lisbeth and Mikael) join the separate paths and forces to seek into a mystery.
The girl character is everything mixed together - depressed, punished, dark and energetic individual. Curious and obviously very capable. Working as a hacker, posing into people's lives and watching what they do as a Big Brother. There are many aspects of this character that a lot of viewers will find disgusting and yet appalling - she enters such dark places that most of "normal" population don't get to see ever in their entire lifetimes. Therefore an interesting aspect - the director just keeps pushing new and new dark scenes and yet leaves the past of the girl untouched. The scene with the rape and the vengeance that follows burns my braincells and makes me think about it and admire the deed.

The second half (or should I say, the last third) doesn't have the pace of the first part. By far, it doesn't meet my expectations. Of course, due to the brilliant start I expect a brilliant finish. But I am deeply dissappointed - I don't find it intriguing or very interesting at all - just a decent closure with a bit of adrenalin right at the end. And yes - the past of Lisbeth is revealed. The director should also keep the love scenes separated and not drag romance (or whatever this was) into this criminal drama. In my opinion, could be left out.

My personal rating: 7,0 (for the brilliant start and energy at the end. More than decent evening entertainment).

The girl on IMDB

Dragon lady official site

Sep 7, 2010

Mother and Child, 2009

Mother and Child, 2009
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Eileen Ryan

Stage: Movie Under the stars on the Ljubljana Castle

Mother and Child in short
: Almost forty years ago, a young girl of 14 has sex, gets pregnant, and gives her baby up for adoption. Fast-forwarding to the present day, we meet three very different women, each of whom struggles to maintain control of their lives. There's Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), a smart and successful lawyer who uses her body to her advantage. Any time she feels that she doesn't have the upper hand, and cannot control the situation, she uses her sex appeal - whether that be starting a romance with her boss (Samuel L. Jackson) when she suspects he is trying to start one himself, or finding some way to control her overly friendly neighbor and husband (Carla Gallo and Marc Blucas). Karen (Annette Bening), meanwhile, is a bitter health care professional who obviously has a lot of heart but never shows it. She gave up a daughter at the age of 14 (wonderfully shown rather than told, she is the young girl and mother of Elizabeth), and has never gotten over it - her bitterness inspiring her to lash out at everyone around her - even the gentle man at work who is undeniably drawn to her (Jimmy Smits). Finally, Lucy (Kerry Washington) is a woman who has failed to conceive with her husband, so she turns to adoption to make the family she desires.

Preps: The enormous amount of leading stars in the movie industry. The trailer gives me shivers, I need to see this. It ought to be good. Premiere right on our castle. And a good girlfriend to accompany me if it is too much to handle.

One of the better ones I have seen this year. The coincidence root (or dare I say the luck path in this case) that the leading protagonists have to face during solving vital life problems, is astounding.
I am deeply impressed by the depth of this movie, as it touches me greatly in so many ways. Maybe in this sense, not really a movie to recommend to male public, because it faces more on the woman perspective of the problems of pregnancy, adoption, forgiveness, and less on the male perspective of the same case.

Samuel L. Jackson plays one of the vital roles in the movie, the same goes for Naomi Watts and Annette Benning with Eileen Ryan. Each role is a very dominant one and also brilliantly played. Actually it's hard to really say who is the leading act in male or female perspective, because you follow the story of three separate families (or wannabe families) that in the end collide somehow together. By the end, the soul of the viewer should be burdened with dramatic moments and filled with questions we never seem to be asking ourselves, because they seem to influence many quarrels or many disorders in the normal life. The movie poses some solutions to these problems and issues that might arise from solving everything.

The thing you will like about the movie is simply that it's not simple to understand, not edible at all and above all, makes you think about everything afterwards. And this is precisely what a good drama should make you do after seeing it.

My personal rating: 9,0 (a strong recommendation. However, non - dramatic souls need to prepare for this a bit in advance, because it's a hard two hours, that in my case, flew by as a moment.)

Mother and Child on IMDB

The official page

Alice in Wonderland, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway

Stage: Movie set under the stars, The castle of Ljubljana

Alice in short: 19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

Preps: Well, besides reading the book when I was really young and knowing Johnny Depp was to star in this role, I didn't know anything. I could expect a good movie though. I trusted Depp's choice. He always falls for the weird extraordinary roles. And Alice is precisely that.

What a huge mistake in the way I was thinking.. My god. The movie is a wreck. In the first tenth of the movie, I thought it would be something like Monty Phython scene. The scenery is good, the presentation of Alice is just like I imagine and the people are lame as expected. However, the main thing you don't want to miss is the moment when she falls into a hole. And afterwards, it's just a downfall from that point on.
The movie loses its edge and the joy or excitement I had when going up the hill to the castle to see this, was burning and made to ashes in an instant. The crowd, however, seemed to enjoy the setting, cast and was laughing. Something wrong with me? I don't think so. I didn't even recognize Depp, and he was at that point the only thing that I was really looking forward to see.
Nothing happened but a huge dissappointment. The story didn't have the edge and for sure didn't fulfill my adventurous expectations. I stood up and went home after one hour. I thought it was torturing my brain cells. I prefer book version in this sense.

How did Depp see this treasure island in the movie?
The Mad Hatter: There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.

My personal rating: 1,0 (not worth your time, do something more useful with it. Even the deepest Depp fans :) Needless to say, I wanted more out of this piece.

Alice on IMDB
Alice Home page

Sep 6, 2010

Salt, 2010

Salt, 2010
Director: Phillip Noyce
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

Salt in short: As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt's efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: "Who is Salt?"

Stage: home theatre

Preps: None in perticular - a new thing from Jolie and the fact that it's supposed to be conspiracy oriented gives me the feeling it might be a good one. Also, notorious in our local theatres.

Reality: Hmmmm.. Not up to my taste. Noyce's downfall actually. Seeing russian conspiracy and Jolie's ass running around all the time (and this being the mere adventure of the whole movie), doesn't really influence my veins. In sense - if you are a James Bond fan, then the movie will rock you as well. However, if you don't buy this Macgyver, Bond or Mission Impossible scene, you will be bored to your last breath.

The final conclusion I can give for this piece is that Jolie did a decent job presenting herself in physical sense. However, the act itself lacks some energy, the story is merely believable (or even not). I am normally a huge fan of political adventure spy movies. This wasn't even close one of my normal favourites. And I don't have the intention to recommend it to anyone that isn't aware that it's a solid action movie without a soul to climb on during the scenes.

This is the quote that Salt will be remembered upon (or in my case, forgotten):

Evelyn Salt: What is your name?
Vassily Orlov: My name is Vassily Orlov. Today, a Russian agent will travel to New York city to kill the President. This agent is KA-12.
Evelyn Salt: The KA program is a myth.
Vassily Orlov: Don't you want to know the name?
Evelyn Salt: You're good. You can tell the rest of your story to one of my colleagues.
Vassily Orlov: Salt.
Evelyn Salt: Yes?
Vassily Orlov: The name of the agent is Evelyn Salt.
Evelyn Salt: My name is Evelyn Salt.
Vassily Orlov: Then you are a Russian spy.

My personal rating: 1,0 (I don't want to see it ever again, in my opinion, several better conspiracy movies have been made recently or in the past years. MI included).

Salt on IMDB
Salt home page