Feb 14, 2011

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, 2010
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin

Stage: Home theatre

Tall Dark Stranger in short: Follows a pair of married couples, Alfie (Hopkins) and Helena (Jones), and their daughter Sally (Watts) and husband Roy (Brolin), as their passions, ambitions, and anxieties lead them into trouble and out of their minds. After Alfie leaves Helena to pursue his lost youth and a free-spirited call girl named Charmaine (Punch), Helena abandons rationality and surrenders her life to the loopy advice of a charlatan fortune teller. Unhappy in her marriage, Sally develops a crush on her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Banderas), while Roy, a novelist nervously awaiting the response to his latest manuscript, becomes moonstruck over Dia (Pinto), a mystery woman who catches his gaze through a nearby window.

Preps: Hmmmm, amazing cast. And Woody Allen. Enough reasons for me to see it. Allen for sure. But don't know anything about it and I feel I don't need to :)

Reality: The title makes an ironic statement that is pursued throughout the movie. Showing the reality as it is, not ironed and stashed into some fancy cover paper or pictured as it is supposed to be.. no, this movie really shows the way things can ironically change. Narrator here plays an excellent role, as always in one of Allen's masterpieces. Was surprised, though, not seeing him side by side with the breathtaking cast. Watts and Brolin have the lead character role, that is played with and over and over torn apart - in every aspect of the relationship you can imagine. Passing through past and present in a way to show the viewer the roses from the start and the vinegar at the end of the relationship.. like maturing the flowers, the nourishment and obtaining all relationships in the movie seems a desperate deed. They all flee to the inevitable end. Consisted because of greed (the relationship between the father and the prostitute), doomed to fail. Abandoning your dreams.. leading to desperation and afterall, the end.
The mother, staying at the friend that nurtures her wildest imagination with future visions, taking money for telling her things she wanted to hear - well, that's pure life - so many people do it and so many more are addicted to this. You can get pretty emotional, watching the piece, as it will drive into your brain cells and stream through your veins. I wonder all the time about the things that happen. Stealing your "supposeably" dead friend's work just to make a breakthrough (and yes, irony again), when you find out he's not dead at all and that at some point you will be exposed to public humiliation because you stole the work (or wanted a better life you thought you deserved) - this story in perticular, goes deeply in the egocentrism of a man. Trying your whole life to make a breakthrough and to make it with someone else's work, because yours isn't good enough - this just makes up for the tragedy really happening here. And trying to get another chance with a man that seeks other human beings for the sake of not being left alone.. well, the tragic moments deepen with each moment of this movie.

A splendid artwork of Woody Allen, indeed. Showing real situations, real things that can happen to each individual. Very humorous and very tragical in the same moment. And a brilliant cast. Not a moment lost watching this movie. A strong recommendation.

My personal rating: 9,0 (again, a superb piece from Allen. Pure reality and irony. In its best and its vividness - not the way we like it, because it strikes you too real. But just because it's really real.

The stranger on IMDB
You will meet a tall dark stranger official sites

Feb 13, 2011

Circus Fantasticus, 2010

Circus Fantasticus, 2010
Director: Janez Burger
Cast: Leon Lučev, Ravil Sultanov, Daniel Rovai

Stage: Kino Dvor, local theatre

Circus Fantasticus in short: A man stays alone with his children in a half demolished house in the middle of a desolate field. His wife has just been killed by a grenade in a military battle. He is expecting a new attack. Instead a wandering caravan called Circus Fantasticus stops by the house. They bring along the dying director of the circus. Is it possible for anything beautiful to happen in a landscape of war and death? Can life go on? Is it possible to realize that death does not exist?

Preps: I need to see the first silent slovene movie after a looooong time. And I admire Burger's work all in all, one of the most talented slovene artists of all time (or directors). Besides, I don't know anything about this and it's supposed to rock slovene movie scene to its grounds.

Reality: The movie's first scene is breath taking, as you follow the devastation of a war in a family. You don't really need them to talk at all, but the deep feelings they are showing in their faces or with their body language, goes beyond belief. The war, taking place in.. well, in this case, it's not important. It is not placed in time and space, you don't know what it derives from and what they should be fighting for. The movie specifies the consequences you are faced within a war, followed up with some inserts of everyday fun, that comes handy in the time between. The movie is actually serving as a critic to all wars, that are happening or were happening. The lack of speech in the movie shows uneffectiveness of words and big speeches in the wartime. And our life is continously shaked by some dramatical actions. The arrival of the Circus Fantasticus drives changes in the main man (lead) role. The changes in life, conflicts that he has with himself, are distributed through the relationships he establishes with the new neighbours.

The circus as itself could be interpreted as a strong symbol of the people, that are observing the war, not understanding its point and path. The dance between two artists and the tank could be a subsymbol for the things just stated. There are a lot of metaphorical sub-understandings in this movie, left to the interpretation of the viewer, because they are not put into words. You need to read between the lines here, as it is with every book where the blanks must be filled by the reader. The piece leaves a powerful strike of sadness and a feeling that we are just silent bystanders, with no chance to influence bigger fluctuations in our lives (as a war definitely is). The mocking of the tank would be in this sense mocking of the living nation to the brave polititians that urge to get wars to see their decisions living the reality, but after striking a war, they are safely put in their offices, and people are left with tanks and afterwards, the distruction, that war brings.

A subtheme I sense in the movie is also a dramatical impact of the dead that want to say goodbye and younger people (or artists), that are more sensitive to the things "beyond" - so they can sense even dead people or interpret their movements, behaviour, etc. Bringing out the last performance for the main director of the circus as a farewell story (and him leaving afterwards), would probably mean, bowing to the life and having a decent walkaway (comparing to the indecent you are given when being a part of war and being blown away).

The moral maybe would be also in leading a life afterwards. Bringing memories to their right places and leaving with optimism. You can leave the past behind, but you will never forget it. Certainly.

My personal rating: 8,0 (
it will make you think about your values and what is the purpose of speech.. what are the words meant for and what do they bring)

Circus Fantasticus on IMDB

Critic about Circus in Slovene newspapers..

Black Swan, 2010

Black Swan, 2010
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Stage: Local theatre, a very late show :)

Black Swan in short: Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

Preps: Uf, a lot of good critics again. And a lot of friends already seeing this and voting I should definitely go and catch this one. When my spanish teacher, astounded that I haven't seen this yet, yields for breath because she has seen this prior to me (and I am supposed to be a critic telling or advising sometimes to her what to see), well, I see it's the time to go and see it. Am not familiar with the story, but all the people I know and have seen it are convinced that it's the movie of the year.

Reality: Well, once after a long time, the movie leaves me with my mouth wide open. The power with which it's made, it's definitely beyond imagination. The wild creatures luring inside her body and mind are so excellently shown when being wild on the run, that I spare my next breath just to catch the every bit of this movie. It could be made in any environment. In this sense I mean, that it's not a movie about a ballerina, being pushed for the lead role beyond her wildest capabilities. It's a movie about a strong mother-daughter relationship that urges the need to be successful to the limit where it can hurt all the people involved. And can mess with your head completely. Bringing out the mean you when all you want to have is a good you, acknowledged and nurtured. Sometimes just padded on the head and saying to you you did a good job.

The relationship is barely understandable to an average person. How can a person beyond her 20-ies, be so unindependent? How can she let her mother to tuck her in, give her nail cut, do her hair, her clothes, make her breakfast? It is extremely hard to pull in your lungs the idea that your parent is living through you. She doesn't let her daughter breathe even a bit and the minute she does, she punishes her severely. Or does she? Half of the movie is left to your imagination. What really happened? Who really died and who got hurt? What are the strange things growing out of her back and are they really growing or is this also a fragment of Nina's imagination?

The mindgame that the director plays with the spectator, is amazing. In no time you can be quite certain what is going on and what is Nina really doing. The only certain thing is the dance she's executing, in some sense, the life that goes by even without us being present there in our minds or in physics. For all the other stuff, the viewer can be really confused. I was certain to some point Nina commited a murder. After 20 minutes you see it's all in her head and the person she really hurt, was herself.

Up to where will we go to nurture our parent's dreams and when will you stand up against them? The question remains unanswered, as the ending is left to the viewer. Does Nina die or is this also in her imagination? Are we supposed to go after we fulfill our main wish (or the wish of our surroundings, our parents) - in this case, the perfect execution of the Swan Lake?
There are several excellent side stories, going along with the main one. The fight for life among ballerinas. The power you find within to do all the best even if it hurts and even if you can break and fall dead afterwards. The sexual dilemmas while being in the show business. Gay inspired dreams (lesbian) while trying to relax (or to be satisfied at least when having your eyes closed?)

Who is really the young lady she sees in her pervert dreams, when she's masturbating? And why is she there.. in the first place? There are a lot of questions, that remain unanswered, but beyond any doubt, this is one of the masterpieces of the last year. Portman does an excellent job and would deserve an oscar for this. My deepest recommendation. I found some hidden parts of my soul in this movie, and it touched me deeply.

My personal rating: 9,0 (a movie that will make you think even a long time after you see it. And a lot of philosophy of relations involved in this, too.)

Black Swan on IMDB

The King's Speech, 2010

The King's Speech, 2010
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

Stage: home theatre, the newest version

The King's speech in short:
Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.

Preps: I have seen some excellent critics about this piece. If there is a place for a good piece, now is the time. The whole January was a bit low on good movies, in cinemas, I guess, and I am anxious or hungry for some decent ones. I believe the critics, but I need to see it for myself. The plot doesn't impress me, though. How bad can it be, making public announcements, if they are written by your experts and all you need to do is read them?

Reality: The King's speech drives us in the middle of our worst childhood nightmares - stagefright. How low can you go or how bad can it get, when you are an adult and this wasn't properly addressed, when you were young? I guess there are depths to be discovered here, a true reminder of this movie. Beginning with the worst speech ever (because there wasn't really one to begin with), and followed with a decent approach to address this fear in soon-to-become king (that actually evolves into the king as you follow the movie). The approach reminds me of the one in My fair lady, therefore I am quite amused and it brings me the chills the mentioned My Fair Lady also did. We don't have Elisa here, but Colin Firth in one of his greatest roles ever. It is refreshing to see him in a serious movie and doing a great job while doing it. He feels kind of noble in every piece he does and here he fits in perfectly. The saying, that behind every man, there is a backbone made of his wife, well, this absolutely shows off in this piece, as she is the capital movement of the whole upgrade process - how to make a king truly a king.

Is the king judged by his actions or by his words? I think kings are more protagonists of words and politics, driven by their surrounding officers / knights / ministers and are not really the deciding point in the process of reign. Or driven by their iron wifes. In this case, the king is driven by the crowd (waiting for him not to stumble on the speech) and his loyal near servants / advisors. The obstacle that he faces is simply to big of a burden to handle right until the very end of the piece, when with declaration of war he finally manages to read to the end of the speech. What is the moral in this? Do we need a big challenge or just time, to deal with something that we need to step over and risk all we have to be able to do it? The message is somehow split in the both categories in the King's Speech. The moral would be - keep trying because you will do it if you are certain you need and have to. Somehow similar to the "Where there is will, there will be path". Or simply said.. if you want something badly enough you will do it. In this case I don't think the king wants to do it. He just feels obliged to do it.
A side story about the sad childhood of the king, always being treated second best and being forgotten by his parents - the side story should actually be the milestone or a ground for the main story. Just because his childhood, the king is mute in his speech and emotionally unable to cope with his inner fears. It's not really clear until the half of the movie, where the true problem lies. It is a world we all would like to be a part of or at least sense it in some way for a limited period of time (being on the main stage, royalty, with all the benefits we presume are there). THe movie shows without a doubt, that all these presumptions in our heads are just in our imagination. The reality is a bit similar to our politics - shiny on the outside, rotten on the inside. And who would really want to be a part of this? :)

My personal rating: 8,0 (a truly good piece to think upon what you wish for and what you may get while having it. And on the other hand... to overcome your challenges, you need to face the race).

The King's Speech on IMDB