Sep 29, 2011

The Tree of Life, 2011

The Tree of Life, 2011
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain

Stage: Home theatre

The tree of life in short: The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Preps: One of the hot ones in the movies now. I am wondering, if the fame is perceived for a reason or is it just Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, holding hands and packing up the place with people.

Reality: In this case, I am terribly wrong. The cast is brilliant, however the movie itself is strong and solid. It rocks the veins and makes you truly think about relationships you had with your parents, possibly still have and the way they impact the way you are living now. I suppose most of the shown facts about living in 50'es, as it is vividly shown in this piece, is absolutely honest. In sense, that it must have been normal to obey without saying. Kind of militaristic growing up. It is still very alive in some parts of the world, however I suppose that kids nowadays could see this picture as totally wrong - if coming from EU or US, or some more "supposed-to-be" - liberal spots of the world. At least with its outside face, that is.

Growing up, striving for father's attention and when getting it, getting a kick in your face, showing that he loves you. Aiming for some love and getting hard time in return. With the mother, the perfect figure of "father knows what's best for all of us". In that time it wasn't really common for women to work - they were more housewifes than something else. This also meant, they were somehow depending on the male side of the marriage to take care of the financial part and also, almost always represented the firm, solid opinion, with which you could not agree, still had to accept it, as the God of the house spoke.

In this sense, you are following a sad (sometimes even touching in positive sense) story and yearning for love of the parents. Also, in what way it can influence on your personality once you are grown. Somehow in his adult suit, the boy is still inside the man, yearning for his spot in the world. I see him as a distracted person, not knowing the role, making up for all the bad things that he did in his mind, while digging in the past, puzzling his mind with thoughts of past and father.
In some sense, we all need to think about our roots. However, the thinking in this piece evolves in some sort of distortion of one's mind. All deriving from harsh education and bringing up. Being first of three boys sometimes ends in parents giving extra hard time to the first that came. Because they need an example and the environment also expects it. Seen it also in present time, and in my opinion it can create a wreck out of a human being, once he/she is an adult. In this case, excellent show-up, how things can turn and how inverted can one person become with the fear that is chasing him way after him growing up into adult.
Side role, the mother, is also astounding. I think I could never imagine having myself in that period. On the other hand, once you are put into a situation and don't know that it's something else than what it should be (under circumstances, I firmly believe that most of the relationships between parents and children in that time were formalized in the same manner), well, if not proven otherwise, even if someone tortures you, you might believe it's the right thing. I am trying to say, that maybe this arrangement couldn't work in present time in our countries. However, in that time, a lot of distorted people were made in the same manner. Only in that time, it seemed OK with them. You can only count the victims afterwards.

My personal rating: 8,5 (a worthy movie to see and embed into your soul).

The tree of life on IMDB

Sep 19, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer, 2011
Director: Brad Furman
Cast: Matthew McConnaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe

home theatre, on a lovely evening with my best friend

The Lincoln Lawyer in short
: Mick Haller is a defense lawyer who works out of his Lincoln. When a wealthy Realtor is accused of raping a prostitute, Haller is asked to defend him. The man claims that the woman is trying to get some money out of him. But when Haller looks at the evidence against him, he learns that this case might be linked to an old case of his.

: MMMM, yummy cast. The topic seems to be one of my personal favourites. And I am curious about the impact that Tomei and Philippe will have. Am sure that McConnaughey will be charming as always.

Wow, a positive surprise. Starting off with the devil's advocate - a figure of a successful young man, having everything at the top of his knees, begging for his time and patience. Whenever you see a figure like this, you wonder, how will this figure end and what will be the downfall. Because it's too good to be true forever.

The plot is simple and the case this lawyer is looking through, seems very clear. As we are already used to seeing rich people getting away with everything we have to be certain also in this case, if something goes wrong, this rich kid will pay to get his ass off the hook. Unfortunately enough for him, he isn't bred on the right side of the alley, because sometimes money cannot solve everything. The devil's advocate brilliantly falls into several traps and somehow finds also the escape gates at all times.. all the time inbetween you have a gut feeling he's gonna die, he's gonna get hit/robbed/raped - something from this scale. Because you can be quite certain he's playing a dangerous game that could easily cost him his life. In the end, a surprising turnover that can leave you without a breath for a few seconds at least. Brilliantly played, excellent choice of scenery and a good flow of adrenalin inbetween. Can easily say one of better action adventure drama (all - in - one) mixes lately.

How much is the truth worth - is one of the questions this movie poses. And how can you buy it, if we start from the point that everything is for sale. How come a lawyer that defends people that go beyond, all of the sudden, regrets something he did in his past? Can you live with yourself or do you every now and then, get into remorsement phase in your life and want to pay off your stinking debts/some ruins you caused.. an interesting call McConnaughey makes while trying to make it up for a ruined life of one individual he acciddently discovered. How about he never discovered this mistake he made? Would he still be so full of himself? This coincidence makes the line of activities he's trying to make, completely different and reverses all things he once believed in. In some sense, you get the feeling that even a tough guy like this one has to have a heart and conscience at some point, which means that all of us are vulnerable up to some extent, you just need to find the right trigger. So this could be the clue, what the trigger might be for a lawywer that works for the dark side.

Brilliant act from Tomei, on the other hand. I just love her sparks and energy. All in all, for all freaks like me, that go bizerk on lawyer / trial content in a movie, and maybe once dreamed about being one of the guys in LA Law or McBeal, well, this is the piece to watch.

My personal rating: 8,0
(a good, solid piece, that will easily keep your ass in the seat).

The Lincoln lawyer on IMDB

Sep 18, 2011

An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982

An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982
Director: Taylor Hackford

Cast: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith

Stage. Home theatre

An Officer in short: Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. GySgt Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.

Preps: wow, a long time no see classic, again in front of my eyes. This is why my mother adored Gere for such a long time. It was a definite win win for him and something to talk about in the eighties. No such movies today, unfortunately.

Reality: I am almost certain this movie served as a stage for two streams - one in Police Academy tone and the other in all Seagull marine movies. Name all the iterations you want, I am quite convinced that this piece started it all.

Yes, put in 80'ies. And combines all the pure things that we later on saw in many iterations. Mayo (Richard Gere) is sooooooo young in this piece you cannot believe your eyes. The wardrobe is like in those videos you can check out on VH1. Amazingly enough, the dialogues aren't really slick or fine tuned. The cast is not really brilliant. However, it's a classic you cannot afford to miss if you want to know the history of the movies. The hardcore training, the pain you see young officer is going through, the subtile meaning of a relationship and the way they couldn't afford to miss time at that point.

Making a relationship with an officer in that time was a code name for prostitution, as these things never were steady, never lasted and often ended in tears and forgotten kids those men left behind. Now you cannot imagine living in a world like this. However, there were benefits, because these young people weren't so burdened with everything that is happening around, like now young people need to think about. Like making your own way in a way that matters. And being surrounded by mass media, mass distribution of the news. In this movie, you see a niche, a hidden place from the rest of the world. Without internet, without your family, a friend around the globe being available on a click. Somewhere you go and get a training and focus on nothing else. Just this. And women, of course.

In present time nothing like this is possible. Unfortunately they don't hold academies on the islands miles away from civilization. The decisions, what to do with a perticular woman you like, are not that obvious as it seems in this piece. The decision to stay with someone is not based merely on liking, loving, but also on other factors, on which sometimes a person cannot make an influence or impact upon. Sometimes in present tense, everything is crashed by other factors. In the time, where this movie is filmed, all seemed to be pretty straightforward and obvious. The movie obviously also held ground for later huge success of Top Gun and many other wonderful pieces. But this one is the Father of them all in my perspective. And Gere made a tremendous impact on audience, and also grounds for his later popularity.

My personal rating: 8,0 (mmmmm, amazing piece. A must see for each filmophil)

An officer and gentleman on IMDB

The Jane Austen Book Club, 2007

The Jane Austen Book Club, 2007
Director: Robin Swicord

Cast: Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman

Stage: home theatre

The piece in short: Explores Austen's adage that general incivility is at love's essence. Sylvia's husband dumps her for another woman, so Bernadette and Jocelyn organize a book club to distract her. They recruit Sylvia's daughter Allegra; Prudie, a young teacher whose marriage may be on the rocks; and Grigg, a sci-fi fan who joins out of attraction to Jocelyn. The six read and discuss one Austen novel per month. Jocelyn tries to interest Grigg in Sylvia; Allegra falls in love with a woman she meets skydiving; Prudie contemplates an affair with a student; Sylvia's ex keeps popping up. In the discussions, characters reveal themselves in their comments. By the end, are truths universally acknowledged?

Preps: I have heard this piece is splendid and need to check it out for myself. The cast seems amazing. And I like Austen and movies made from scripts that base upon her work. Let's dig this a bit deeper.

Reality: The marriage is as strong as its weakest partner. One of many sayings in this piece that cannot leave you cold. The setting is brilliant, the story is very real. Revolves around real life and real situations you can sit into quite easily. The marriages that break and finding true reasons why this is so, how did it happen. To have a book club can be only a thing in US, I don't suppose they are so popular in Europe. Nevertheless, I am inspired by these strong women that are trying to find a special way and find a mutual interest in the Jane Austen's work. Also, finding guys that are willing to participate, seems a bit awkward, but turns out funny. Draws my interest and in some sense makes this movie a bit more believable and not so much put into yet another village surroundings, where women besides their household activities, don't have much to do, so they chat in a book's club.

I love the dialogues and I love the energy of the cast. I seem to know most of them from some television shows and I like seeing them again in this setting that is just a bit upgraded from the TV setting I am familiar.
It's a lovely family movie, or should /dare I say, chick movie. I suppose most of female population would really enjoy looking at this. And finding out there definitely are men around that read something more than Finance's headlines, Times new roman and car ads. And that they are able to speak about this. This is not really common, therefore not really so believable.

Nevertheless, they seem to fit into this women's environment like a pie on a plate. Maybe the whole movie could be treated as a positive commercial for reading books, because this present time seems to revolve around other media and books seem to be forgotten. Well, not in all circles. The piece implies that true romance could happen in a perfect environment like in the smell of old books in an antique shop or in a library :) Which is perfect antipod for every media movement we are facing in this weird time, where noone seems to have time for anything.

My personal rating: 7,0 (a truly remarkable piece, for relaxation and dreaming aways - for girls. With some fine quotes for sure)

Two weeks notice, 2002

Two weeks notice, 2002
Director: Marc Lawrence
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant

Stage: home theatre

Two weeks in short: Explores the question of whether it's ever too late to say 'I love you'. The story revolves around Lucy Kelson, a brilliant but neurotic attorney, and her client, who is "charming, irresponsible and fabulously wealthy."

Preps: none in perticular - I am not familiar with the piece, but am a strong fan of Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant I suppose is a giveaway in terms of me seeing this movie as a classic romantic and not really high quality comedy. Unfortunately.

Reality: Well.. unfortunately I am right. The movie leaves me cold as ice. The setting is not as wrong as it might seem.. the bursting city might be a brilliant stage for a prepotent, selfish male that is seeking attention of stupid females that are lying at his feet. Sandra Bullock in the role of someone that isn't supposed to be one of them or at least act like one. When the story develops, she becomes one of those items on his list. It is impossible for me to imagine a worse scenario, worse acting at this point. This piece is one of those pathetic comedies where you are seeking romance with a spotlight, looking for some attraction between the main actors (where it was truly supposed to be present) and trying your best way to live until its end. This piece is not remarkable nor something you should see at all. Be sure that if you succeed to miss it, it might be considered a present to your spare time. As much as I love Sandra Bullock and sometimes admit that Grant rocks the world of romantic comedies, this piece is a huge dissappointment in all terms. Running around making a big deal of the "everybody's replaceable but this perticular nanny that is taking care of my life and making it count".. well.. yuk! Obviously, the romantic Hollywood ending. What else?

My personal rate: 1,0 (no comment, not worth my time and your time.)

Two weeks notice on IMDB

Sep 1, 2011

Are we there yet, 2005

Are we there yet, 2005
Director: Brian Levant
Cast: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen


Stage: home theatre, one of selections of our brilliant commercial TV ;)

Are we there yet in short: The fledgling romance between Nick, a playboy bachelor, and Suzanne, a divorced mother of two, is threatened by a particularly harrowing New Year's Eve. When Suzanne's work keeps her in Vancouver for the holiday, Nick offers to bring her kids to the city from Portland, Oregon. The kids, who have never liked any of the men their mom has dated, are determined to turn the trip into a nightmare for Nick.

Preps: I have seen the commercial for this - the trailer just before I started watching. Am at home by coincidence and start watching it.

Reality: Oh, another family movie. The one you don't miss anything if you never see it. On the other side, you get a perspective in having kids. Ice Cube is in the role of potential spouse of a divorced mother with two kids. And he gets his ass kicked by them. They turn out to be the worst pair to handle, in terms of what bad things you can do to the "enemy", as they claim him, because they find him just as all the others, in queue for their mother.

The most precious thing to this man appears to be his car. In the time of babysitting he somehow changes his mind. Spending time with kids results in wreckage of his Precious. Now for people that are thinking of having kids this piece could be either commercial on how to do it or the antipod - you might consider never having them after watching this. Ice Cube somehow is funny, gets under your skin and you are surprisingly in the role where you like him, and in time, also like the kids - somehow it reflects the karma the movie is supposed to reflect. I find it amusing, although it's nothing more than a Sunday movie.

The jokes, used here, are semi-average. Some of them brilliant. The alter ego of Nick in the shape of a doll is also worth some attention - nevertheless, not as developed as it could be. Therefore, a minor entertainment. As the whole piece is, unfortunately nothing more.

My personal rate: 3,0 (for the sake of the funny scenes and the tough time the children show to Nick, truly worth some admiration from viewer's perspective - because I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of such a guy, trying to impress someone you aren't able to)

Are we there yet on IMDB