Dec 26, 2012

Les Choristes, 2004 (The Chorus)

Les Choristes, 2004 (The Chorus)
Director: Christopher Barratier
Cast: Gerard Jugnot, Francois Berleand, Jean Baptiste Maunier

Stage: my own TV selection on a Christmas evening

Les Choristes in short: Fond de l'Etang is a boarding school for troubled boys located in the French countryside. In the mid-twentieth century, it is run by the principal M. Rachin, an egotistical disciplinarian whose official unofficial mantra for the school is "action - reaction", meaning that there will be severe consequences for any boy out of line. This approach does not seem to be working as the boys as a collective are an unruly bunch. In turn, the teachers don't teach, but are always watching out for the next subversive act from the boys. January 15, 1949 marks the arrival to the school of the new supervisor, M. Clément Mathieu, a middle-aged man who is grasping at finding his place in life after a series of failed endeavors. Although he does find the boys an unruly lot, Mathieu does not believe in the "action - reaction" policy, and as such, butts heads with Rachin while secretly undermining the policy.

Preps: I have just seen the introduction and I am impressed by the IMDB review rating. Therefore I am curious. I have missed this piece at LIFFE, obviously. Therefore I am even more curious.

Reality: The movie is a blast. Virtually takes you from the beginning to the end in the melancholic tone you don't want to absorb at the beginning. It will make you sad to see what kind of environment once boarding school were. Somehow it resembles the Oliver Twist story, hence it is made to make you sad at first and then see what miracles can happen with the right approach.
The movie praises discipline as the only virtue that was important in that time. With boarding schools, you can almost taste misery that ruled in those premises. Boys that ended there were either taken from their parents because they couldn't support them or were juvenile criminals. However, they were all treated the same - as criminals that need to have a tight rope around their necks. Which to an observer of the movie isn't easy to accept, but you can then dwell upon this feeling because you get familiar with all kinds of torture methods that the principle is using when interacting with boys.

On the other side, you can see the teacher perspective and what does it take to change things that are "the way they used to be", or maybe "action-reaction" idea, which blows my mind with anger, once I hear about it thousands of times. It is hard to buy what this era is selling, but it really seems very authentic.
With the choir, you see a totally different approach with kids' education. If they really were villains, it would mean they would also deny to participate in a music project, such as choir. Their teacher brings out the best out of anyone, for this matter, they need to learn how to participate, choir has always been a joint effort, where there's no place for egoism.

The story can break your heart because of its cruelty towards children. The director made sure we don't doubt it and that your mind freezes if you only imagine being thrown in an institution like that. On the other hand, you need to be grateful for present time which doesn't allow such acts from the staff of the institution, neither from the children that still attend such facilities. A very solid drama, one of the better ones lately. It made me think that sometimes you are thrown in a situation where you cannot do anything to make it better. Was the principle the best man to fit the job? I doubt it. Was the teacher the best man to fit the children's needs? Most certainly. Do we always work where our potential shows the most? Not likely. In present time we have the option to really change it. At that point of time they could only dream about that.

My personal rating: 8,0 (brilliant drama that broke my heart on several places).

Les choristes on IMDB

Dec 2, 2012

Gone, baby, gone, 2007

Gone, Baby, Gone, 2007
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton

Stage: Home TV selection

Gone in short: When 4 year old Amanda McCready disappears from her home and the police make little headway in solving the case, the girl's aunt Beatrice McCready hires two private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. The detective freely admit that they have little experience with this type of case, but the family wants them for two reasons - they're not cops and they know the tough Boston neighborhood in which they all live. As the case progresses, Kenzie and Gennaro face drug dealers, gangs and pedophiles. When they are about to solve their case, they are faced with a moral dilemma that could tear them apart.

Preps: I have seen this at the movies already and I liked it a lot. A good drama, thriller, if you like. Morgan Freeman is one reason to see this. 

Reality: I believe movies about serious kidnapping of a child or a teenager and police chasing this or detectives, are always a promise to success. However this isn't enough. I am just claiming that as in romantic comedies, when you have a cute couple, the movie has a better chance to succeed than if you have a really ugly cast - the same thing here. The story can do the trick. Now, we know a lot of stories on this topic. What makes winners really win and what obstacle haven't losers thought of?

We have several hot shots in the oven. Firstly, Ben Affleck, one of his first directing acts. Luckily we only have him on the director's seat and not in the cast. Noone (ok, I give this to Clint Eastwood and some others) can't do both. Secondly, cast. Morgan Freeman, to start with. He makes these investigations and everything obscene in the movies as if you had a big godfather looking down to us and giving us fatherly advice when we are lost.

Two really young detectives, a couple, is on a quest and takes us through the background of the story, to the mortal endings and really filthy people that they scratch from beneath the surface. The aim in my opinion is only one, to really make the audience relate to the story and wish their children would never fall in the hands of such villains. I believe Affleck emphasizes this to the point where you are really appalled by everything that can happen to this four year old Amanda, i.e. to your kid. And where you are on the field with the detectives, trying to figure what happened and where is the young lady.

Normally I wouldn't expect such a connection between private detectives and police. I buy it in this case.
The music covers the fearsome parts of the piece and is carefully chosen. The scenario is well driven, some dialogues are a bit clumsy, but all in all, I am eating it from the beginning from the end like my favourite cheese from the plate.

My personal rating: 8,0 ( a strong piece on kidnapping. Morgan Freeman on godfather role. Action, thriller. Worth seeing and thinking about).

Gone, Baby, Gone on IMDB

Pretty Woman, 1990

Pretty Woman, 1990
Director: Gary Marshall
Cast: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Jason Alexander

Stage: Home TV selection

Pretty Woman in short: Edward is a rich, ruthless businessman who specializes in taking over companies and then selling them off piece by piece. He travels to Los Angeles for a business trip and decides to hire a prostitute. They take a liking to each other and he offers her money if she'll stay with him for an entire week while he makes the "rich and famous" scene (since it doesn't do for a man of his stature to be alone at society parties and polo matches). Romantic comedy (and complications) ensue.

Preps: Don't need them seen this a thousand times. One of my favourites from my youth. My mother also adored this piece. I can watch it or have it as a background. I know it by heart.

Reality: As said, my classic from my junior/primary school. Always wanted to be Vivien Leigh.The movie is about falling in love and making something in your life that brings you happiness - in this case, falling for the man/woman of your life.
The movie is a hot example for a romantic comedy. This was one of the first memorable ones of the end eighties period. Also set some standards. At that time, we watched either this, or Ghost (for the romance), or on the other hand, Police Academy. Luckily there weren't so many movies as these days, when you cannot follow them - the market is overfilled with them.

Now, the movie has some drives and moves other should follow. First, a lovely lady. Or better said, a lovely wreck that after seduction and fancy clothes becomes a lady. Gere in this sense represents a guy every girl in the world wants to be with. Charming, well mannered, filthy rich and ready to spoil a woman. I mean it. Dinners, evenings at the opera, living in a penthouse, .. it just never ends in this week. With all the charming qualities he is showing in this week, it's quite normal and predictable that she falls in love with him and that he falls in love with her.

The movie is depicted a bit off normal wheels. It is not a repeatable situation, I mean by that. But it shows a perspective (like if you win a lottery, you have perspective). So in this case, they both end up winning a lottery, and everyone is happy.
Storywise, it's not a peak of all peaks. But in any case, I am still very keen on this piece. I virtually know all the dialogues by heart. I love the way the director exposes the manager of the hotel, and the butler. And I love the anti-person we have. Always we have one in these comedies. Stuckey in this case, makes me hate him from the very beginning.
Obviously the audience waits if this what we all have been waiting for, resolves in a fairy tale. It all ends up well in Hollywood, doesn't it? :)

The piece has also a good soundtrack. Back in 80ies, I got an original for myself. Also know it by heart. It is a movie that always reminds me of my young days that I spent with my mother, in front of TV. Always brings back memories.

My personal rating: 8,0
(for its period and placement, genre, a solid and good positive piece).

Pretty woman on IMDB

Nov 25, 2012

My best friend's wedding, 1997

My best friend's wedding, 1997
Director: P.J. Hogan
Cast: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz

Stage: Home TV selection

My best friend's wedding in short: A woman who, by a promise made years earlier, is supposed to marry her best friend in three weeks, even though she doesn't want to. When she finds out that he's marrying someone else, she becomes jealous and tries to break off the wedding.

Preps: I have seen this piece several times. A nice romantic comedy, something to end up a good weekend with. 

Reality: This isn't one of the greatest achievements for Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz. However, both share mutual affection (or attraction) to the genre (romantic comedy). It is without a doubt that you can never claim this one isn't cute or wittily put together. On the other hand, it isn't more than an average comedy. The story flow is charming, but not breathtaking. A girl finds out a guy of her dreams was waltzing around her the whole life and when she is to lose him, she realizes she wants him more than anything in the world.

It is a bit lame, the storyflow, as the big secret to learn is that we need to cherish things when we have them in our palms, not when they are about to go or already away. Ok, we got it. It is something you learn at a certain point of time. The tools Julia uses in bringing attention of once her best friend are merely worth any special attention. The scenario lacks a few good dialogues and you won't fell off your feet seeing bad things she does to distract her friend from his fiance.

Now, the music is cute. I even have a soundtrack and the songs go into your ears easily. You easily like Julia and Cameron, so it's hard to decide, who do you really  want to get this guy of their dreams. The setting is bound to make humour, things around wedding tend to get funny. But the director could have taken this chance to bring up an extraordinary character or two. He does some work with gay friend Julia has (Rupert Everett) and he quickly grows into your heart. He is the light in the dark you are surrounded with at some points. And he ends the piece with pure humour you cannot resist.

My personal rating: 6,0 (funny, witty dialogues, solid romantic comedy. Never fall in love with your best friend ;) after he's already engaged).

My best friend's wedding on IMDB

Nov 4, 2012

Catch and Release, 2006

Catch and Release, 2006
Director: Susannah Grant
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Kevin Smith, Timothy Olyphant

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night.

Catch and Release in short: After the sudden death of her fiancé, Gray Wheeler finds comfort in the company of his friends: lighthearted and comic Sam, hyper-responsible Dennis, and, oddly enough, his old childhood buddy Fritz, an irresponsible playboy whom she'd previously pegged as one of the least reliable people in the world. As secrets about her supposedly perfect fiancé emerge, Gray comes to see new sides of the man she thought she knew, and at the same time, finds herself drawn to the last man she ever expected to fall for.

Preps: I don't know the essence of the movie, nor have I heard anything about this piece. But Jennifer can be cute in some romantic pieces. let's see.

Reality: It is an interesting piece. Starts off with irony of the moment. Losing a guy you are supposed to marry is a tragedy. Especially if you really mean it and you are all up to it. Quite another thing is finding out all the secret life he has been living parallel to living with you. This movie deals with loss and getting over by finding out all the bad things about your ex. Somehow different to similar pieces.

Gray is faced with all the dirty details, plus she falls for one of his friends. Scene where they kiss for the first time, is one of more optimal  solutions to the problem, what to do about it. Step aside and think. Not go for it, all the way. The irony of the moment is so strong it keeps me wondering for a long time. The same goes for the dialogues and the black humour witty stuff that keeps my belly trembling with anxiety.

As said, one of the better pieces in the genre, that wants to be some kind of comical drama and succeeds truly. The friends are neat, the family is awful (getting the engagement ring back might seem a good idea as the spouse isn't going to stay in family, but from her perspective it is either highly ironical or unacceptable). I believe I would slap the future ex mother in law in the face. I need to admit Garner plays a tremendous role in this one, compared to some minor ones that I can remember, where she doesn't have the decent glow around her.

Nothing really perticular about this piece, but I do like it. A good Sunday entertainment, truly. Plus, the guy she falls for, cute and charming, Mr Yummy. :)

My personal rating: 6,0 (more than decent Sunday fun. To be sincere, fell to the solid ground).

Catch and Release on IMDB

The Babysitter, 1995

The Babysitter, 1995
Director: Guy Ferland
Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Jeremy London, J.T.Walsh

Stage: Home TV selection, Friday night

The Babysitter in short:A teenage girl babysits two young kids while the parents go out to a party. Her boyfriend is coerced (with the help of alcohol) by an old 'friend' into going to the house. Both boys are obsessed with the babysitter, as is the father of the two children. The story basically shows the effects drink has on different people.

Preps: I am not familiar with the piece and I notice Alicia Silverstone is still a child here. Though I see her as a sex icon in many movies with more recent date, I am curious how she behaved as a child and whether she has any talent in this time of her life.

Reality: The movie is dissappointing. It can be well taken as a juvenile movie, with some erotic moments (erotic also for juvenile audience). I haven't seen such lousy act for a long time. The same goes for stupid dialogues, the scenes that cannot touch my heart and presumeably erotic affection for a teenager that goes beyond belief.
Alicia Silverstone is here merely a child, still seducing adult people like they were on some transport line or something. All adults have wet dreams about her and dream about making it out or having straight sex with her. Right.
The same deed in The american beauty, but in quite a different shape. Beauty makes this erotic desire for the young lady so convincing you cannot find it disgusting. However in this perticular piece nothing is as it should be in real life. Therefore I cannot even bare to watch it beyond half a movie.
Don't recommend it. There isn't anything you would like to watch on this piece.

My personal rating: 0 (blah. not worth your time and effort).

The Babysitter on IMDB

Oct 28, 2012

Monster-In-Law, 2005

Monster-in-Law, 2005
Director: Robert Luketič
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan, Jane Fonda

Stage: Home TV selection on a late Sunday night

Monster in short: After years of looking for Mr. Right, Charlotte 'Charlie' Cantilini finally finds the man of her dreams, Kevin Fields, only to discover that his mother, Viola, is the woman of her nightmares. A recently fired news anchor who is afraid she will lose her son the way she has just lost her career, Viola determines to scare off her son's new fiancé by becoming the world's worst mother-in-law. While Viola's long-time assistant Ruby does her best to help Viola execute her crazy schemes, Charlie decides to fight back and the gloves come off as the two women battle it out to see just who is the alpha-female

Preps: Well, Jen is one of my favourite ones. I adore her acts in romantic pieces. Jane Fonda? Wow.. I need to see this. 

Reality: This is a classic romantic comedy, one of the many we already saw. There are a few highlights, though, that differentiate this one from the others. First, we have beautiful Jane Fonda (I am still a fan, she looks dazzling in this piece. The voice she posesses, is as distinctive as for instance from Meryl Streep). Jennifer Lopez on the other side, is the beautiful bride to be, in the role of a perfect innocent stranger, walking into the rich family.
To make it up for the simple fact that she has grown up working and not being rich at birth, she needs to suck up to the future mother in law. In this sense, monster in law.
The movies that serve ideas how to get on someone's nerves, are a cabinet of good ideas how to do something malicious. But deep down I believe they don't give you anything moral or beautiful. Just ideas to make someone else miserable.
Not necessarily all audience would enjoy looking at this. There is a twist in the movie, when Jen finds out her monster in law is really a monster. So she starts fighting back and then it is when also for me the fun begins. If you can identify yourself, you want to be in Lopez' shoes when the game turns around.
Good scenery, good costumography. And the ladies look dazzling. Predictable story. Funny scenes. Maybe this is all you need for one random Sunday night. However, take into account that this is what you get from this movie. Nothing more, nothing less.

My personal rating: 4,0 (amusing in many perspectives, good dialogues and a good battle between the future bride and the existing dragon. In this piece, you realize, what kind of dragon it can be sometimes.)

Monster on IMDB

Oslo, 31. august, 2011

Oslo, 31. august, 2011
Director: Joachim Trier
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olav

Stage: local Art Cinema Dvor

Oslo in short: One day in the life of Anders, a young recovering drug addict, who takes a brief leave from his treatment center to interview for a job and catch up with old friends in Oslo. 

Preps: I have missed this one on the last year movie festival Liffe, therefore I am more than curious what it is about. I know the plot, but I am wondering whether this one will seize beyond usual depressive mode of scandinavian pieces that reach our land.

Reality: The piece is dedicated to one single day in a random drug addict's life. The question is, how representative it really is in sense - does it represent how it really is, or is it exaggerated in any way.
To have only one day in the complete piece, you need to make it dynamic. This movie is made this way. The guy is running into people from his life and is exploring if they still are supporting him and how did they take the fact that he isn't average person in his 34. He just got out of the drug recovery clinic and needs way to build his life back.
The movie addresses several levels where someone like this guy needs to climb before the life as he knew it, or said better the life he wants right now, can be built. The challenge is always in trust. Noone from all the relatives or acquaintances trusts him. Nor does someone that is aware he used to take heroin, even though he is off for several months.
I believe in general this is one of the worst decisions one can do for himself. Unfortunately there is no road back. The society throws you out faster than a stone through a window. How obvious in this piece, the poor guy doesn't have anyone to talk to, anyone to get anything for him. Naturally he has lost the faith he needs to have for himself, therefore he is insecure and doesn't feel accepted as it is. The interactions he has with the society disappoint him so he is trying to escape all the time.
In the end the depressive thing about the complete plot is that his escape in the end is to the white line he started the whole issue with.

The movie is dramatic and precise, moral and educative. I believe everyone should see it for psychological reasons. For I am sure that the place where it ends, is brilliantly described in this piece and am even more certain that noone would like to be in his shoes at any point of time.

This is a separate topic, however, a suicide never can be an answer. In this case, it is an option. I can understand how this guy is driven to such a decision. 

My personal rating: 7,5 (superb showoff how tuff a life can be after you have gone out of institution and the society should give you a strong push not to get you back where you were before)

Oslo on IMDB

Oct 22, 2012

Planet 51, 2009

Planet 51, 2009
Director: Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad
Cast (voices): Jessica Biel, Sean William Scott, Dwayne Johnson

Stage: Home TV selection, nice Sunday afternoon

Planet in short: Lem is just an average teenager working on getting the girl and furthering his career at the local planetarium - except that he's an alien. At least to U.S. astronaut Captain Charles T. Baker who lands on Lem's planet hoping for a quick flag plant and a hasty return to earth and his millions of screaming fans. But on this alien planet the media has tagged spacemen as brain-eating, zombie-creating monsters, causing Baker to run for his life and into Lem's house. Now it's up to the green native to get the clumsy astronaut back to his spaceship before military dictator General Grawl and mad scientist Professor Kipple manage to exterminate the Earthly visitor. 

Preps: I have seen this piece as it was released. I am quite surprised to see it so soon on our screens. But it's a good story and I don't have anything more important to do. Hence..

Reality: The story is quite charming and could easily be taken from different movies we have already seen. Yet, this one is animated hence special. Lem is yet another scientist that wants to be famous and do something for the cause (remember dr. Levinsky in Honey I shrunk the kids or maybe Eddie Murphy in The nutty professor). This is a story about small person making a big shot into the stars. It is always amazing to review the traumas one has that prevent him the shot for the stars. In this case, Lem is uncertain of his actions, doesn't want to take a chance and risk anything. He is in love, yet, he is as slick as an elephant in a crystal store.

In some sense, Lem represents every single one of us. Each one has a trauma or two and doesn't dare to do this or that. You can relate to him and all his mistakes. The mischarming proposals he does for the girl he is attracted to. The clumsiness in everything he does in life.
The arrival of the "athlete" astronaut makes a complete change in his life. It is not a coincidence that a hero like this needs a push. He gets it in the shape of Charles Baker, who wants also to make a career. The only difference between the both guys here is that the astronaut already brought fame and career. The issue he has that noone is aware he is supposed to be treated as hero. In some sense he is grounded to Lem's level.
Though he doesn't want to, in the end he commits the friendship to Lem and helps him rise and fight. To get to the other level.
In some sense he also gets better acknowledged and acquires some emotional skills by the way.

Animated movies are supposed to be lighter than usual depressive drama featured ones. In some sense, we can always see them through a child's eye. On the other hand, more and more cartoons /animated movies feature a powerful story, which can easily make you cry or identify yourself with. Hence, they help us turn a mirror image towards ourselves, see a different perspective and grow. With a powerful cast and some experiments with functionalities of animated movie, these have a huge advantage compared to ordinary ones. In the end.. we believe what we see on screen. Because it's animated.
Huge bow to dialogues and storyline.

My personal rating: 7,0 (excellent example of how one gets to be a hero even if he was a genuine loser before he got this push).

Planet 51 on IMDB

Oct 11, 2012

They Live, 1988

They Live, 1988
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster

Stage: Home theatre

They Live in short: Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority". Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued. 

Preps: A good strong recommendation. As I trust the taste, I am eager to see it. I am warned, though, that I should be patient in the first third, because it will develop. Even more eager to see this. 

Reality: Carpenter hit a good marketing spot here with the piece. The general story is quite simple, but more effective than most things I have seen in a while. Now, things you need to embrace before seeing this piece (I have also been trained for this ;) :
  • This is an eighties' movie. This means that Rambo, Terminator, action heroes that simply cannot die being hit by villains, are a part of this trick
  • You will be seeing afro style of hair, or in my country we call it "bundes liga" kind of haircut :)
  • Imagine that guns have multiple bullets, which means more than 6 or 12
  • Some Star Track dissapearance is possible

And you need some stamina to cope with this movie. You will not have a clue what you are watching when you start watching it, and this goes for the first twenty minutes to half an hour. Carpenter could have thought of this somehow and keep the observer more in the loop or more attentive to what he is going to see. I was amused by the scenes and the comparison I made in my head with the movies we see nowadays, quite similar to for instance something we would see with the old video clips or more recent ones.

Secondly, the dialogues are pretty basic. Which means, the complete movie power is based on the story. Once you discover the beauty of the sun glasses, the movie increases your interest by 1000% at least. I wonder how it would be, wonder around, discovering the truth like the main protagonist does. And how would I cope with it. In some sense, I am instantly drawn to think about more recent pieces on the same topic, like the Matrix, and whether this might have been the idea godfather to build it. I am not sure, but movies like They live must have influenced several of more recognized ones. Plus, I am pretty sure this one must have been prohibited least in US or something, because it's a criticism towards society, towards politics, higher positions in companies, the "govern" class of people, that dictate our lives and make decisions that influence us greatly.

 Last, but not least. This movie is still live. Which means in my opinion it is as relevant as it was in 1988. I am happy that I have seen it as it embraces one of the best movie ideas of all times and still find it difficult to believe that Carpenter made something so deeply involved with us in present time.

My personal rating: 8,0 (the idea is brilliant and I strongly believe this might have been one of the influencers that built movies like Matrix, etc)

They live on IMDB

The Devil Wears Prada, 2006

The Devil wears Prada, 2006
Director: David Frankel
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Adrian Grenier

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

The Devil in short: In New York, the simple and naive just-graduated in journalism Andrea Sachs is hired to work as the second assistant of the powerful and sophisticated Miranda Priestly, the ruthless and merciless executive of the Runway fashion magazine. Andrea dreams to become a journalist and faces the opportunity as a temporary professional challenge. The first assistant Emily advises Andrea about the behavior and preferences of their cruel boss, and the stylist Nigel helps Andrea to dress more adequately for the environment. Andrea changes her attitude and behavior, affecting her private life and the relationship with her boyfriend Nate, her family and friends. In the end, Andrea learns that life is made of choices

Preps: Notorious piece that was introduced some time ago. Still, never found a chance to see it completely.  Am curious. And I am eager to see something not too heavy for my mind.

Reality: It is a positive surprise. Never have I seen Meryl in a similar role before. And she fits into it like a glove. Such a strict, stubborn boss you would never want to have or work for - it can take your breath away. However, in need people are willing to work even if you need to work under these kind of conditions.
The second, the naive part (Hathaway) runs into an industry. I am quite sure this is a milestone for most people that just graduated from college. I also thought I would stumble upon a brilliant job after the college right away. Soon you realize life isn't just a box of chocolates and those sayings should be maybe reserved for Forrests Gumps of this planet. Not for "regular" species. Like me. Well, in journalism, which I also wanted to explore as a possibility what to do in life, there's a severe battle. Not only to get a position, but to sustain it. The level of employee turnover is amazing. And in Devil wears Prada we see a perfect example what a fashion magazine workload is all about, how should you behave, what should you wear, which language to speak, how fast must you nod your head and that it is all about image, not the real content.
In real life, even such "bitches", as the one, that Meryl is impersonating, can have a soul. In this particular example we can observe how we sometimes are let into the inside of Miranda. And we can imagine how tuff is it to preserve an image like this. And on the other side, how hard it is for Andrea to first acknowledge where she is and then adapt. The fast adaptation to the new environment is simply amazing. I love to see her wear those dresses, high heels and act like she's one of them. The real issue is, does she become one of them? In this scenario not, however, in real life I imagine you get used to being around rich people with fancy clothes, champagne in their hands, very quickly. And it's the downfall for your ego, your soul in many cases, should you decide to go backwards.

Andrea decides this isn't the life she wants to pursue. Good for her. It is also her lucky break, because the gates in her previous life haven't closed yet. But in reality I imagine that for most of us our doors close, once we decide to change things so dramatically as depicted in this movie.

Good music and scenes, dialogues and costumography are main attributes of this movie. Streep and Hathaway are brilliant and I will love to see this one again once it's played again on our screens.

My personal rating: 6,5 (one of the better "villain" roles for Maryl Streep, a good show off or insight into the fashion magazine world)

The Devil on IMDB

Sep 30, 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift, 2012
Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Cast (voices): Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguziamo, Queen Latifah

Stage: Home theatre (a very sh**** copy unfortunately)

Ice Age in short: When Scrat accidentally provokes a continental cataclysm with a storm, Manny is separated from Ellie and Peaches on an iceberg with Diego, Sid and Granny but he promises that he will find a way to return home. While crossing the ocean, they are captured by the cruel pirate Captain Gutt and his crew. However they escape and Manny plots a plan to steal Captain Gutt's ship and return to his homeland in a dangerous voyage through the sea. But the cruel pirates seek revenge against Manny and his family and friends. 

Preps: You don't need preps for Ice Age. It's cool. The only issue or question is, what have they prepared now and how have they upgraded the last versions. Since my voices tell me that I only can see the synchronized version at the theatres, I finally give up on waiting and provide myself a very sh*** copy of this piece. I want to see it. 

Reality:  Well, I am not disappointed. I am always full of ears whenever Seinfeld steps in the room, have always been a great fan and a huge admirer. As Manny, I can see Seinfeld's faces in spreading the irony. The other side of the coin, Sid, always gives me goose bumps of laughter. Like in some kind of reality show, the main characters in this animation cannot be a fail. Maybe similar story to Shrek, where Eddie Murphy together with Banderas runs the show completely.

Now, the fourth part deals with worlds breaking apart - and explains a really funny theory, how the continents were shaped. It's always a pleasure seeing the squirrel chasing its nut and as always, I am eager to make it to the final scene, where I will again see the nut heaven.

Ice Age is very much alike to Tom / Jerry cartoons or something similar, as I cannot get fed up with it. I would be happy to see this prolonged in some other sequels, which is much more than we could say for any type of movie. But in this sense, I believe the creators of recent animated movies that became notorious really tried to assemble some of the greatest comediants or live show entertainers combined with the best humor and ironic dialogues, plus a funny story. It cannot be a bad assembly.

Therefore, even though we have already seen three parts, I am still hungry for more. This one I liked, as it is somewhere on the same level as its ancestors/previous versions. The stories are something you easy relate to and find it deep in your heart - all the emotional rock n'roll, the uprise, hard downfall (pirates and captivity, being separated from a family) and then a happy ending. Like in good old Disney days.

My personal rating: 7,5 (solid piece, right on the level of all the other Ice Age's.).

Ice Age 4 on IMDB


Sep 2, 2012

Enemy of the State, 1998

Enemy of the State, 1998
Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Will Smith, Lisa Bonet, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Gabriel Bryne

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

Enemy in short: Robert Dean is a mild-mannered lawyer who works in Washington D.C. He is on the trail of a kingpin named Pintero. Meanwhile, a politician named Thomas Reynolds is negotiating with Congressman Phillip Hammersley about a new surveillance system with satellites. But, Hammersley declines, that is when Reynolds had Hammersley killed, but this murder was caught on tape, and this person was being chased by Reynolds' team of NSA agents, the guy must ditch the tape, so he plants it on Dean (unbeknownst to Dean). Then, the NSA decides to get into Dean's life. That is when Dean's life began to fall apart all around him, with his wife and job both gone. Dean wants to find out what is going on. Then, he meets a man named "Brill" who tells him that Dean has something that the government wants. That is when Dean and Brill formulate a plan to get Dean's life back and turn the Tables on Reynolds. 

Preps: Seen this already, however a loooong time ago. Still, seeing Will Smith normally is a good decision on any point of the day or week. 

Reality: The subject now is the lawyer, being haunted by different parties. It is a good hop into the history, taken that in that time they didn't have decent mobile phones, following devices, etc. However, I would assume it is the best there was in stock in 1998. Therefore, for that time, the movie is a really upgraded one, with the latest tech breaches.

Will Smith is brilliant in the victim's role. I adore watching him playing a smart ass. Still he has a strong, yet fragile figure, trying to avoid the villains and solve the puzzle. The side story with his wife is just a trigger, making this more exciting and the viewer curious what is going to happen.
The cast in complete is a good one. Finding Bonet Lisa is somehow surprising, because we were used of her from Cosby Show. But the others are natural born action actors, we are used seeing them in some kind of conspiracy type of movies.

All in all, good action, good representation of what could happen to every person if someone high enough should want to frame someone. The government and democracy don't work in these cases and you are left to your own surviving skills. At the end it's the higher bidder for your life, in terms of money, that will do the trick. I would see this piece as the pre-inspiration for many action thriller movies that followed, like MI2, Matrix.
The point would be that we aren't important enough to count if someone from state wants us dead. Noone will hear our voice, noone will help us. The other point would be what kind of society are we turning ourselves into - being wired, followed, giving our information out for free and open so everyone can follow. I would see this piece as some kind of prophecy. Although I remember when I saw this piece at the movies in 1998, I thought it was a bit of a science fiction. Noone should have this kind of power. This is a good movie for a good action fright.

My personal rating: 7,0 (solid action piece, filled with anger, and also some funny parts that make you think about Will Smith back when he was at his uncle on Bel Air).

Enemy of the State on IMDB

Master and Commander: The far Side of The World, 2003

Master and Commander: The far side of the world
Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Russel Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd

Stage: Home TV selection

Master and Commander in short: In April 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars, the H.M.S. Surprise, a British frigate, is under the command of Captain Jack Aubrey. Aubrey and the Surprise's current orders are to track and capture or destroy a French privateer named Acheron. The Acheron is currently in the Atlantic off South America headed toward the Pacific in order to extend Napoleon's reach of the wars. This task will be a difficult one as Aubrey quickly learns in an initial battle with the Acheron that it is a bigger and faster ship than the Surprise, which puts the Surprise at a disadvantage. Aubrey's single-mindedness in this seemingly impossible pursuit puts him at odds with the Surprise's doctor and naturalist, Stephen Maturin, who is also Aubrey's most trusted advisor on board and closest friend. Facing other internal obstacles which have resulted in what they consider a string of bad luck,.

Preps: I have also seen this several times. Russel Crowe is one of my favourites. Plus, this is a two times oscar winner. With eight nominations in that year. A must see every now and then.

Reality: Crowe rocks in the movies where he has a giant role, like a protagonist of faith, or someone at the front of an army (as in this case). A strong figure, whose role is to lead towards better life or to win a battle. To have a vengeance, like in Gladiator.
Master and Commander is not an exception. Crow is in one of his strongest roles. The dialogue is brilliant, the action scenes also. The faith in the main protagonist remains until the end of the story. One of the best parts is the continous rivalry between the captain and his scientist, if I may dare to say so. Dr. Maturin, surgeon, is at the same time, his best friend and his worst enemy. He quarrels with him practically the whole time. It is as the doctor is his bad conscious and predicts the dark scenarios (or at least the opposite / being somehow always against what captain thinks, at least in verbal sense.)

I believe the director made a fine thin line between what's too much and what's enough. In sense that the dialogues aren't too long, the battles are not too long. And the story is believable, the music takes you to enter adrenalin and on the other hand calms you down. I believe that a lot of people enjoy watching movies that will take you to the history and show you how some things that are practically extinct, like working on ships, took their role in the food chain. To me, I love to watch good costumography and good made scenes. With items from the past, with music fro the past, with superstition and everything that revolves itself around it. And with Russel Crowe, what a treat.

An extra plus: The scenes from Galapagos Islands. I would really love to go there.

My personal rating 8,0 (a brilliant pirate movie. The Brits do their charm and magic on the ocean and win the war. In the main role, Russel Crowe, the pirate of the sea. Loved it):

Master and commander on IMDB

Aug 20, 2012

Australia, 2008

Australia, 2008
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Shea Adams

Stage: Home TV selection. I am surprised. In a positive way

Australia in short: In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. 

Preps: I have seen this wonderful piece a while ago. I am so positively surprised that TV finally gets something decent on the run.

Reality: This is one of Luhrmann's masterpieces in terms of scenes, photos, picturesque feeling the viewer must have. So a definite must see if you are fond of nature and its wonders. The director did his best to show the lovely sight of Australia, and at the same time didn't forget to warn about its disadvantages. Aborigines, lack of water, weird customs, people, etc.
So how does a lady fit into this environment? To my perception, they couldn't have chosen more white or more lady-like character like Kidman. She's a complete misfit for these surroundings, yet in the development of the movie, she handles a lot of stuff that you wouldn't dream she could. A good guidance through the movie and good adaptivity of this woman. I admire Kidman for making strong drama where it's necessary and to drive the character in the depths that noone expected.
I would claim that most of the scenes are driven precisely, however not concisely. In other words, the movie could have been much shorter and some unnecessary stuff could have been taken out.
I really enjoyed the triumph after the gang drives the bulls on the ship. The little Nollah - the missionary boy, bedazzles me completely. His role as the narrator is really well equipped with original aborigin english. His yearning for a family and someone that loves him touches me deeply.
On the other hand, the love story between Kidman and Jackman is somehow lacking energy. the complete movie is set to the time where I doubt things could have been driven this way. At that time women unfortunately didn't have a  "vote" right, which means, I doubt that a woman could have pulled off such deeds as this woman does. So in this sense I would prefer for this movie to be more realistic. In the story, I mean.
Plus, there could have been some scenes that weren't so obvious taken in a studio. These things can be more discrete.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching a land I don't know much about and dream about travelling there, in that time and space. In some sense the red thin line in this one is finding your cause and fight for it. And like in a miracle, all the universal forces will join to help you. A bit ironic. Or naive. But still, I bought it for these three hours.

My personal rating: 7,0 (a really good solid piece, showing you the best and the worst of Australia at once. Photography is superb, scenography as well. Kidman shows her best manners and her well adaptivity).

Australia on IMDB

Aug 19, 2012

Carnage, 2011

Carnage, 2011
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly

Stage: Home theatre. Substitute for the movie under stars at Ljubljana Castle. And got a fairly good quality.

Carnage in short: In Brooklyn Bridge Park, eleven year old Zachary Cowan strikes his eleven year old classmate Ethan Longstreet across the face with a stick after an argument. Among the more serious of Ethan's injuries is a permanently missing tooth and the possibility of a second tooth also being lost. Their respective parents learn of the altercation through Ethan's parents questioning him about his injuries. The Longstreet parents invite the Cowan parents to their Brooklyn apartment to deal with the incident in a civilized manner. They are: Penelope Longstreet, whose idea it was to invite the Cowans, she whose priorities in life include human rights and justice; Michael Longstreet, who tries to be as accommodating as possible to retain civility in any situation; Nancy Cowan, a nervous and emotionally stressed woman; and Alan Cowan, who is married more to his work as evidenced by the attachment he has to his cell phone and taking work calls at the most inopportune times..

Preps: I need to see this. It's Polanski. And I heard it's brilliant. I am not in the mood to make it up to the castle for this one. Fortunately, I can get it in one hour and almost start watching at the same moment :)

Reality: The beginning is somehow calm. The two families, trying to come to an agreement. I could never expect such an explosion of emotions is coming. Polanski took the scenery very serious, placed it very statically - this means we never get to leave the room these four people are locked in.
This is the hardest thing to do. Make a static scene interesting. Yet Polanski succeeds. I am out of breath from the first moment on.
The calm aristocratic family (and the other one, similar to the first one), start of civilized and friendly. In a way you would start a business conversation. However, with the conversation proceeding, they turn into wild things, animals for sure. I cannot believe the way the couples are behaving first towards complete strangers, then towards each other. The way women take sides against men is simply excellent and leaves me with a fresh breath of pure irony. Plus, the men and their habits that reveal. The four persons show themselves in the worst possible way. Completely without any limit, prejudicial, filled with depression they didn't express prior to this unique opportunity. The room is the place, where vomit literally breaks loose, fighting for your own existence and if they first wanted to make an impression (in a fashion of Keeping up Appearances and "lady of the house speaking", Hyacinth) on each other, later this is no longer important.
The worrying part is the fact that at the end, noone remembers why they gathered in the first place. The dispute they had is no longer relevant, only the blame and anger they nurture against each other. A drama that turns into a horror, leaves me breathless and with a deep respect for Polanski. Worth every minute.

My personal rating: 9,0 (excellent. Plus, 80 minutes, that seem like five).

Carnage on IMDB

Up Close & Personal, 1996

Up Close & Personal, 1996
Director: Jon Avnet
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Redford, Stochard Channing

Stage: Home TV selection

Up close in short: This is a telling of the Jessica Savitch story, the newswoman who, in the 1970's, became the "First Woman Anchor". Sally/Tally is taken under the wing of Warren in a Miami newsroom and becomes a news star on TV. Despite her love for Warren, she takes the big chance and moves on to Philadelphia, where he follows to rescue her faltering career at the cost of his own - as she rises he falls.

Preps: I have seen this many times. I love this piece. Worth seeing it again.

Reality: This piece revolves around journalism and love. Love for career and love for someone with regards to which one is more important. Journalism is somewhat similar to low level jobs, at least when you are starting with your career. Which means you need to take shitty reports, weather forecasts, do whatever it is possible just to be able to get the break. Not many people get the break because there is just so many of them and so little opportunities. Once you get in the saddle, you need to hold on to it. Which means that once a person grabs a seat for instance in the main news, they will not let it go.
Now, Tally shows a story about how to get to the top. At first, because of attraction (how convenient, I would prefer the story about how one rocks to the top because of the talent). In this case, the talent is shown later in the piece. Just making it obvious that career isn't something where women and men are treated equally, especially in journalism. Whose d.. you need to suck to get to the top anyway? Now, the strength of this particular woman is floating through the screen. Also the energy between the two main actors. I love the way Redford brings out the best of women in the pieces where he acts. He has this sexy stamina that will make me watch it all over again. Also, I love Pfeiffer. I cheer for the romantic ending. Plus, it fills me with the feeling that Tally won her career because she deserved it. But what a price to pay on the way to the top. And how many times you stumble.

My personal rating: 8,0 (a good, solid piece on making your dreams come true. And a wish as great as the world. For love and for the job you have).

Up Close on IMDB

Home for the holidays, 1995

Home for the holidays, 1995
Director: Jodie Foster
Cast: Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey Jr

Stage: Tv selection, late Sunday night

Home in short: After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson has to face spending the holiday with her family. She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics. 

Preps: I am crazy about Holly Hunter, just love her act. This is a good drama, I know this. Plus, I would need some ironic smile :)

Reality: Well, to be honest, this amuses me like for instance Bridget Jones. It's also a comedy, mixed with drama. Nothing to laugh about the situation the woman is in, but the way she is forced to eat her past fears and get together again with people she fled from - it's quite extraordinary and very funny. In a way the family is something noone would want - at least not in this weird way they are represented in this piece.
And in some opinion, this could be forcing yourself to cope with your inner stress/depression/something you never wanted to see again, once you moved out. And now she's here, forced to tell she didn't make it, doesn't bring home her grown up daughter, plus, she's not connected with any member of her weird family.
I am amazed with Hunter's act and love to see the flow of the story. It brings out the respect for tradition and family to me, plus, it reminds me of the good and as well bad things that come with a huge family. It definitely brings the desire to me, to have a large family turkey dinner, and at the same moment, I am reluctant to this, seeing how it can turn out (in a bad way).

As said, family arguments at their best. Bridget Jones meets drama. And we can see again the raindeer pullover, which is the very last excellent thing I needed to see in this evening :)
Good tradition and ways to skip it. Ways to embrace it. Reasons pro and reasons against. Stories that only grow in large families. Secrets that aren't really secrets. Robert Downey Jr, so young and not so convincing as I know him now. Solid, good piece.

My personal rating: 7,0 (excellent, when in a good mood, it will also inspire you to go and fetch your partner/relatives and kiss him/her/them :)

 Home for the holidays on IMDB

The Princess Diaries, 2001

The Princess Diaries, 2001
Director: Gary Marshall
Cast: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

The princess diaries in short: Mia Thermopolis is the average teenager - sweet, a little geeky and pretty much invisible to everyone with the exception of her mother, best friend Lilly and Lilly's older brother Michael. Making it through high school without throwing up is a challenge in itself for Mia, so it doesn't come as welcome news when her estranged grandmother shows up out of the blue and calmly informs her that she is in fact the heir to the throne of a European country called Genovia. Suddenly Mia's life is thrown into complete overload. She's being taught about scarves, waves and pears in order to become a perfect princess, she gets a makeover and a tough looking yet sweet bodyguard/limo driver called Joe. Things get out of hand when the media gets a hold of the story and suddenly Mia is thrust into the spotlight in both the newspapers and in school. On top of all that Mia has a choice to make...

Preps: I have seen this piece several times, but never completely. I don't have anything smarter to do. 

Reality: Miss Piggy goes to the ball. This is a cross junction between The Ugly Betty and Cinderella. How would you like to wake up one day and find out you are a princess of a country (that doesn't even exist)? And that you need to become something like Eliza Doolitle in My fair lady? (least that one was brilliant). The idea is taken from there, just put in the modern world with some american prejudice.

Julie Andrews might have been a great lady in The sound of music, but she certainly acts like an elephant in a glass store (to be more metaphoric than I wanted to be) in this piece. There is nothing real or glorious about the idea the screenplayer had, putting a "queen" in the american high school and turning a nice teenager into a princess.
There are some funny scenes, not to be so dramatic. The script does have funny dialogues and the process of turning is as amusing as for instance Sandra Bullock in her turnover (watch Miss Congeniality to see where I am going with this comment). There are things you can imagine could happen if this could be true and things you are curious how they will go after the young lady is introduced. The drive is similar to that one in My fair lady, or similar movies like Miss Congeniality. However, it is an average or even below average piece. You need to turn off your brains and accept some things to make it bearable. You needn't expect too much of it. Just average Sunday fun.

My personal rating: 4,0 (if you really don't have anything to do. Hathaway and Andrews are much better in other pieces where they acted).

Princess on IMDB

A lot like Love, 2005

A lot like Love, 2005
Director: Nigel Cole
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Taryn Manning

Stage: TV selection, while taking care of my friend's cat

A lot like love in short: On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Oliver and Emily make a connection, only to decide that they are poorly suited to be together. Over the next seven years, however, they are reunited time and time again, they go from being acquaintances to close friends to ... lovers?

Preps: I am babysitting my friend's cats and don't have anything to do but watch the selection on TV. I see this charming piece with Kutcher. Let's see it. 

Reality: Kutcher is really strong in romantic comedies. However, they all look alike to my opinion. Only the women change and the scenery. Obviously, also the scenario a bit. I do have the feeling that he will be in the comedies for a long time, due to his cuteness and young image he has - which is the basis or reason that most of the women fall for this genre with Kutcher in the main role.

This piece in perticular is interesting because the different time these two people are meeting each other. Entering different stages in life with different expectations, never being able to connect truly. It appears that it never is the right moment, the right timing, the right placement. The director smoothly jumps from one moment in time to another. It is really yearning you feel and aim that the characters will unite at the end. The good part is that you are asking yourself whether this will happen at some moment in time and when it will happen. The bad part about comedies in general normally is the story, because it's predictable. This one is going so smoothly and taking turns as you go along that you aren't really convinced what will happen. So applause for director, as normally I wouldn't expect something like this.

The act is pretty average. The dialogues are witty and Kutcher is cute in every way. The director could have acknowledged also his smarts and take an extra step with this. Or is this the screenwriter and literature basis for the movie? Can't say, because sometimes directors take extra caution in making things more than average. In this sense, this one isn't something really remarkable, but pleasant to the eyes. A good selection on a lonely evening.

My personal rating: 6,0 (pleasant. comedy above average, funny and amusing).

A lot like love on IMDB

Jul 15, 2012


Gone, 2007
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Cast: Shaun Evans, Scott Mechlowitz, Yvonne Strahovski

Stage: Home TV selection, a Saturday night

Gone in short:A contemporary psychological thriller in which a young British couple travelling through the Australian outback become involved with a mysterious and charismatic American whose motive for imposing his friendship upon them becomes increasingly suspect and sinister.

Preps: Well, I have nothing better to do, hence I try to see what's on the TV menu for tonight. Let's check this out..

Reality: I am highly dissappointed. The description is thriller, even a psychological one? They must be kidding. I have never seen such a dissappointing piece, I mean at least in a long time. The story doesn't interact with me, I am not at all into the piece. I am waiting for my meal to get cooked in the mean time. I get myself a beer to easily pass by.. and nothing happens.
The two that are travelling are naive and stupid. Are all australian people so stupid? If not, this movie is making a terrible commercial for them. It depicts them more stupid as most of the living creatures. Plus, being naive isn't so stupid as being unintelligent and make crazy shit. Like these people. Therefore I presume this is a piece by someone that had more time and money in the world than normal, maybe a desire to shoot a piece and then made fool of himself making this one and driving it into the world.
I despise it, don't want to see it anymore.. it is driving me crazy.. so .. delete.
Don't waste your time. It doesn't have anything inside. Really.

My personal rating: 0 (bljah. Can't believe I really lasted almost 45 minutes.

Gone on IMDB

Doubt, 2008

Doubt, 2008
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Cast: Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday TV selection

Doubt in short: It's 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the schools' strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the community, and indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn which threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequences.

Preps: I have seen this piece at the movies. Very controversial. and once Maryl Streep has a negative role. I am ready to see it again, as I accidently caught it on TV...

Reality: Well, the movie speaks about thing noone feels the need to discuss in public. Meryl Streep in role of sister Aloysius, the devil and the god in one person, the one that knows all the rules by heart and is ready to follow them no matter the cost. And victims that come alongside. 
This piece is a true shifter in mindset. It tells exactly the story that gossip can lead to. This harsh sister is mislead by a younger nun, who claims seeing the new Father in their saint institution, being in a wrong role towards a young student. Now, she doesn't have any proof, however the hunch and feeling she has when overhearing and overseeing something are so strong, she claims a strong position and tells it to the peace and order maker in the church.
Sister Aloysius is as strict as she grew up in the old ages. She does the best she can to chase Father Flynn out of the convint and community. The tools she uses are not a subject to question. She needs them in order to get the right thing in front of God. And she needs Father Flynn to resent his sins.
Obviously the movie doesn't serve with the fact (did he do it or didn't he do it), but you are left to your own conclusion. Now, the more intense the story gets, when the rasist differences try to appear in front of the viewer. The boy is black which makes the whole thing a bit more controversial. Believer or not, you get yourself into thinking about all the sins that are really happening in the church, being lead by the great church leaders, never proven, never having them in front of a real judge to face the consequences.
In this case, the "doubt" remains. Is he guilty or not. Does this really matter? Or is this a game to face the winner of the community, in this case a fight between men and women? The movie poses several directions the viewer can look up to and neither one comes to a conclusion.
I love Streep in a bit negative role, Seymour is brilliant too. He looks as if he was a gay priest, looking his way into a new, progressive church. In my mind, the whole movie, as I watch it, he is the innocent guy. This much I admire the strong push Streep is giving here. You will love the drama, caused by the two, and the negative energy that makes them brilliant in this piece. And for sure, you won't want to step into a holy institution for at least some time.

My personal rating: 7,0 (a solid holy spectacle, trying to be a serious drama.)

Doubt on IMDB

Wag the dog

Wag the Dog, 1997
Director: Barry Levinson
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson

Stage: Home theatre, lovely Saturday evening

Wag in short: After being caught in a scandalous situation days before the election, the president does not seem to have much of a chance of being re-elected. One of his advisers contacts a top Hollywood producer in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media.

Preps: It is a recommendation from a side I really appreciate. I have never seen a bad movie with such recommendation. Plus, a claim that every person that works in mkt should see this. Hence.. am anxious with expectation.

Reality: Well, it's always good to see and hear what the president team has in their sleeve. In this case, I am just bursting with laughter. First, do you get caught with a scout days before the election? (you don't). Still, this is the case here and the team needs to wrap it up before the years of preps go rotten.
In any case, I seriously doubt now (after seeing this) in every war, every little thing the media produces, every announcement ever made by government. I see in this movie, how rotten it might be, behind the scenes, on a place we don't see or hear about. Even the closest to the president in this case don't know bits of scenario that is driven to the masses.
For a person living in the balcan region, it's highly amusing, how other countries (us in perticular) abuse the names of foreign yugoslaw republics and use it as a "terrorist" country. May it be Bosnia or Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia or in this case, even a southern country, Albania. What did Albania do to us, the chieftain asks.. What it didn't do to us, is the real question, De Niro answers. And creates a stunt war, made in studio. Was the Gulf War really directed in studio? Maybe not, but it made me question every bit of information I received about the event.
The power of marketing, if driven with intelligence and style, is amazing. The movie depicts real drama you can setup with mere imagination. At the end, how convenient, the director gets shot/killed for trying to speak up. How american!
This piece is one of the brightest I have seen lately. Even though it doesn't have the scenes, the photography, the music, or anything really obvious, it has a strong story and a direction. How convenient it is to have Hoffman in the role of the producer, fighting for his rights :) I could just burst in laughter again. His imagination inside the piece and intercapturing the role he's playing is spectacular. President wants a white kitten? We will give him the white kitten.
Last, but not least. Bringing in the fallen hero (making a mistake and afterwards, having him killed and watch the whole US cheering for his fallen return, with a super dog behind, wagging his tail).. it reminds me of some scenes I really admire in Monty Phython. If you are a fan, you will love this piece. If you are more average, romantic comedy type of movie fan, you won't really get all the fun parts there are here. Because some of them are just beneath the average skin.

My personal rating: 9,0 (absolutely brilliant. I loved it and laughed long afterwards)

Wag the Dog on IMDB

Jun 29, 2012

The Duchess, 2008

The Duchess, 2008
Director: Saul Dibb
Cast: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper

Stage: Home theatre, a peaceful evening after a really long day

The Duchess in short: Georgiana Spencer became Duchess of Devonshire on her marriage to the Duke in 1774, at the height of the Georgian period, a period of fashion, decadence, and political change. Spirited and adored by the public at large she quickly found her marriage to be a disappointment, defined by her duty to produce a male heir and the Duke's philandering and callous indifference to her. She befriends Lady Bess but finds she is once again betrayed by her husband who wields his power with the three eventually living uncomfortably together. Against this background, and with the pressures of an unfaithful husband, strict social pressures and constant public scrutiny, Georgiana falls passionately in love with Charles Grey, a rising young Whig politician. However, despite his ongoing liaison with Lady Bess, the Duke refuses to allow her to continue the affair and threatens to take her children from her.

Preps: I don't know anything about the piece, but Keira attracts my attention, therefore I am more than eager to see it. Plus, it's after a true story, am always a sucker for this.

Reality: Well, it's a long way, before you master the technique of putting the right dialogues on the same level as the scenery, energy between actors, direction, photography. In other words, there is a fine line between an average movie and a brilliant one. This one doesn't reach beyond averageIn this perticular piece you see a lot of everything, but it's all looking like dog's dinner, it doesn't really work together as it should. The main cast somehow pull through some brilliant dialogues, plus the story is intriguing, but it doesn't impress me in a way it would keep my mind really focused on the piece.
They lose me right away, then catch my attention, then lose me again. I can't complain about the red line. Lost love, forced marriage, how to deal with it.. it's a good topic and a lot of movies have been made with this same essence. The start of the piece gives me the creeps as I am more than I should probably be, liberal thinker and don't support arranged marriages at all. In my opinion, I am a lucky ducky to be born in time and place, where I have the option to choose, to deny something or to say someone to get out of my sight. Keira in this matter represents time and party, where she couldn't - in some sense, the woman liberation came after these things were torn apart; when women could not only vote, but also decide who they want to spend their lives with. It's a sad story, as she struggles to maintain (or develop) the love of her forced husband and yet, the movie doesn't touch me as hard as it could.
The love she finds, on screen, seems very lame and could have more passion. Could have more heart and spirit. I don't buy it as much as I buy her desperation and imagining the situation of being together with the husband's mistress. Ralph Fiennes as the husband is the block of solid ground that doesn't shake even a bit, when he tells her she's not going to see her children ever again, if she doesn't obey him.

All in all, the movie is an average one, I am not surprised it didn't hit the blockbuster rating. As said, the main cast resolve most of the issues I have with the movie, but they aren't capable of driving it above the average point. I am grateful to be thinking about the movie afterwards, because this to me is an indicator, when a movie hits me deeper as I have imagined. So, not really a waste of time, but I have expected much more.

My personal rating: 5,5 (an average, yet decent thing to watch and think about. Will make you appreciate the hospitality of people's choice when they seek a mate /partner/life companion)

The Duchess on IMDB

Jun 26, 2012

Win A Date With Ted Hamilton, 2004

Win a Date With Ted Hamilton, 2004
Director: Robert Luketič
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Topher Grace

Stage: Home TV selection, nice Monday evening

Win a Date in short: Rosalee Futch is a grocery clerk living in rural West Virginia. But even a small-town girl can have big dreams, and Rosalee's is to someday--somehow--meet her big-screen idol Tad Hamilton. The somehow arrives in the form of a contest--the grand prize: a date with Tad Hamilton--and the someday is now. Rosalee wins, much to the chagrin of her best friend and co-worker Pete, who is deeply, hopelessly--and secretly--in love with Rosalee. The Win a Date contest was cooked up by Tad's agent, Richard Levy, and his manager, also named Richard Levy, to clean up Tad's bad-boy image. Someone should have told them to be careful what you wish for. When Tad meets Rosalee and gets a taste of what he's been missing in the real world, he decides he wants seconds and moves to West Virginia, turning Rosalee's dream come true into a nightmare for Richard Levy, Richard Levy and, most of all, Pete.

Preps: I have nothing special to do and am not in a mood for something heavy. Plus, something isn't working as it should with my portable disc. Hence.. tv should make me entertained.

Reality: Hm. I am more than dissappointed. The plot seems interesting. Something like Notting Hill, but in US. NOT. Truly not. What did this director mean by creating something like this, I don't know. Fortunately, I don't recall having this at our theaters, otherwise I would object on this spot putting something like this in public.

To be quite precise - the plot is interesting, but poorly delivered. This means the script wasn't optimized and the screenwriter should probably rethink his work. Next, the characters. Lame delivery of cast, main and supporting actors. Poor energy, lousy dialogues and all the time you feel you are watching something that was designed for kids. Interesting music, but this normally isn't the problem at romantic comedies. Stage, photography, scenes.. average or subaverage. All in all, the movie leaves me cold and I am angry for spending time on this s...

You shouldn't bet on such TV comedies as they will seldom surprise you or leave you burning with anxiety. The story could be a good one, if it was delivered properly. The huge advance of this topic is seen in Notting Hill, taking number one in this genre and this perticular topic. Everyone wants to see how dating a celebrity might seem like, because anyone can relate to this desire every now and then. But to see it in this shape is truly dissappointing.

My personal rating: 1,0 (for the topic, not delivery. Don't waste your time!)

Win a Date on IMDB Link

Jun 14, 2012

The Perfect Man, 2005

The Perfect Man, 2005
Director: Mark Rosman
Cast: Heather Locklear, Hilary Duff, Aria Wallace

Stage: Home TV selection, a nice Wed evening

The perfect man in short: Teenager Holly Hamilton is tired of moving every time her single mom Jean has another personal meltdown involving yet another second-rate guy. To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, Holly conceives the perfect plan for the perfect man.. an imaginary secret admirer who will romance Jean and boost her shaky self-esteem. When the virtual relationship takes off, Holly finds herself having to produce the suitor, borrowing her friend's charming and handsome Uncle Ben as the face behind the e-mails, notes and gifts. Holly must resort to increasingly desperate measures to keep the ruse alive and protect her mom's newfound happiness, almost missing the real perfect man when he does come along.

Preps: Well, Heather is miss evil in Melrose place, apart from that she has lots of experience in TV movies, not real ones. And her performance is quite average to my knowledge. Let's see about this one.

Reality: I am quite right. The performance is awful. Plus, the storyline is somehow cheesy. Sometimes actors or directors should think about the script, before they give it a pass. It's quite impossible for two children to be switching schools on monthly basis all the time, for the administrative reasons if not for something else.
I like the tweak I have with watching this. It's like the gossip girl, (the series), with the elder sister putting everything on blog and making a big deal out of every guy her mother meets. The scheme she has planned is also similar to those in teenager series. Well, I don't think this was supposed to be a serious adult movie, but it's a quite average teenage romance movie. The bondage between a divorced mother and her daughter (or two, like in this scenario), can be a satisfying and demanding topic, if you take the advantage of the theme. However in this case, the director, nor the actors have.
It does serve some cheesy and some quite romantic statements. It might even bring you the idea to your head, to run back home and serve your wife an orchid, tell her she's floating on a cloud. But on the other hand it also servers numerous unrealistic situations and the development of the story is quite unbelievable. I don't buy it. The myth of the Perfect man? Could be, but not in this piece.

My personal rating: 4,0 (some good moments, apart from that, don't waste your time!!)

The Perfect Man on IMDB

Jun 12, 2012

Love and other drugs, 2010

Love and other drugs, 2010
Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Jake Gylenhaal, Anne Hathaway

Stage: Home theatre, an evening with one of my friends

Love and other drugs in short: Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.

Preps: I am scrolling through my disc, this is one of the remaining pieces, therefore, let's go for it.

Reality: The topic is really interesting. This could be a good piece. But what happens? You are forced into an average or subaverage spirit of dialogues that are lame and don't make much sense. As if the words are there to kill the time in the scenes.

Getting your way into pharmacies and pharmaceutical world with existing or new drugs can be either very rewarding or really tough job, we can see both sides of the coins here. However, instead of focusing on one thing, the scriptplayer focused on several, which, when combined together, are not working. Love replaces the lion fight of selling pharmaceutical products and while you should be thinking about the hard world of selling, you are looking at two characters, that really don't have the energy to pull something out of the love scenes. As much as I can, I am trying to focus on the movie, because my mind is slipping. I am bored and don't want to see it until the end.
Because of my friend, I stay alert, but if I was alone, this one would be deleted after max 30 minutes. Really not worth your time. Bad story, even worse said, bad scenes, bad music.. I don't suppose there's anything I like about this piece.

My personal rating: 1,0 (don't waste your time. The only thing worth seeing is the good looks of the main cast. Which is by far not good enough to see the piece).

Love and other drugs on IMDB

Jun 4, 2012

L'arnacoeur, 2010 (Heartbreaker)

L'arnacoeur, 2010 (Heartbreaker)
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Cast: Roman Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier

Stage: Summer movie /drive in on Gospodarsko Razstavišče, Ljubljana

L'Arnacoeur in short: You could say Alex Lippi is a ladies' man but it is not true. Of course he has already wooed and charmed armies of women, young and less young, French and foreign. But Alex does it only on active service. Indeed he is appointed to break up undesired couplings. This time he must prevent a rich young lady from marrying an English millionaire. The girl is beautiful and the future husband a perfect match. Will he manage to accomplish this difficult mission?

Preps: I have only seen the short review of the movie. Plus, I have won the tickets for this summer drive in option. I am curious of both, the placement (how am I going to hear it), and the storyrun. Should be good.

Reality: Well, first a few words about the drive in experience. It's by far the worst experience of seeing a piece. Not because of the company, because I really enjoyed it, but because nowadays the seats in the cars aren't designed to match expectations from a person that wishes to relax and enjoy a movie. We aren't in a plane and we cannot really move as we want. Plus, the "seating" wasn't turned towards the screen, so you needed to stretch your neck so hard it hurt the day after. And the seats have some things in the middle, so you really cannot move. The turning on the radio and finding the frequency of the movie (the voice), this was something new and exciting. All in all, something I was really looking forward to test, but it failed somehow.

The piece.. a romantic comedy about a company that breaks up relationships, with the main protagonist and James Bond crew that stands behind him. A good story, a good pitch once he starts talking - about the aim of the company he works for and the role of his sister with her husband in this story. However, the movie deals merely with the operational execution of the deal / project that company agrees to deliver. It definitely doesn't go where I believe it should go, to make it more realistic. This is a guy that kisses virtually hundreds of women, under different names, some kind of Tom Cruise in MI or James Bond, changing names, professions, telling lies, .. and living smoothly? Eventually I think it cracks, you cannot go on so long undercover and not suffer emotionally and psychologically. This is where the movie is lacking content. I would be curious to learn more about this.

In some sense, the director tries to put in some of this lacking experience, when he falls for this last girl he is working on. Still, it doesn't show enough, but I remain curious enough to really want to know how will it end. This is a virtue that most of the movies don't have anymore and think should look up to.

For the photography, scenery, costumography, clothing.. brilliant. You can really enjoy this "Bond" global feeling, because the scenes are carefully polished, the costumes are trendy, the technology he uses makes you think he's a bit of McGyver - it's really not real :) But still, because you want, you buy it. I believe some FBI or CIA agents could pull some of this together, but a family in a truck? I don't buy it. So they should work on this to make it more believable.

A good run to fight a boring evening. Will make you think about your decisions, who you are with and who are the men you meet from time to time - are they paid to make temptations to you? Or is this pure coincidence?

My personal rating: 6,0 (a solid romance, good drive through the story and a nice touch to end the message of the story with). But drive-in experience.. definitely overrated.

L'Arnacoeur on IMDB