Mar 29, 2012

Sister Act, 1992

Sister Act, 1992
Director: Emile Ardolino
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy

Home theatre, TV selection. Evening after exhausting aerobics double class and dancing.

Sister act in short:
Sister Act is about a Reno lounge singer named Deloris Van Carter who witnesses her mobster boyfriend killing an employer. She is then hidden in a convent under a witness protection program. She soon makes friends with the nuns especially Sister Mary Robert, Sister Mary Lazuras and Sister Mary Patrick. After the Mother Superior catches Deloris going out to a bar in the night time followed by Mary Robert and Mary Patrick she orders her to join the church choir. Only to find her coaching the choir and turning them into swingin' singin' sisters. The choir proves to be a big success with the surrounding neighborhood, but will Deloris' boyfriend track her down...

Preps: again one of the early nineties. One of the classics. I cannot count number of times I have seen this piece. I just love it.

Reality: True.. This, besides Ghost, is one of Whoopi Goldberg prime comedy casts. You cannot not enjoy her performance. You should be a lunetic not to like her and not to become a huge fan of nun society, after seeing this piece. The storyline is interesting, hiding a notorious (not successful, but known) singer in a convent. To pray, do her sermons and wait to testify. The true story is hidden obviously in the conversion she makes and the turnover in her soul, when she all of the sudden, wants to do good and feels the need to do so. Turning the choir into a huge success is obviously her natural role and she takes this over with a sense of music. However, I believe the piece reveals the true mistery why noone wants to go to church and why is "heavenly" music the one that packs the joing. As Mary Clarence claims in Sister Act (one of my favourite quotes):

Reverend Mother: Girl groups? Boogie woogie on the piano? What were you thinking?
Delores: I was thinkin' more like Vegas, y'know, get some butts in the seats.
Reverend Mother: And what next? Popcorn? Curtain calls? This is not a theater or a casino.
Delores: Yeah, but that's the problem. See, people like going to theaters, and they like going to casinos, but they don't like coming to church. Why? Because it's a drag. But we could change all that, see? We could pack this joint.
Reverend Mother: Through blasphemy? You have corrupted the entire choir!

Delores makes church an interesting place to go to, all in the name of music that they are singing. And on the other hand, she becomes revealed once media hops on the chance to expose the new age in convent.

All in all, this is a funny piece, filled with excellent music, a new approach to faith also for all the people that don't go to church and think ironicly of processes/religious rituals. Whoopi Goldberg is truly superior in her role, speaks as the voice of the masses, that won't allow religion in their lives. I have learned a lot about the life of nuns - from an amateur point of view, however, I also think it has shown the non-religious point of view and things we need to respect. Being a nun is a matter of choice and if it suits to lives of individuals, noone is to say this is wrong or lame. It showed the fun part, if they want to be fun. That everything is possible. And proved the saying "God works in misterious ways".

Still, a sanctuary and place to hide, convent. Not only for ones hiding from being killed. The place, where I believe you find your soul and purpose, because the burden of every day dissappears and all you can do is think of the big Why. Nevertheless, I think the movie is one of greater comedies in the nineties and you are going to enjoy it big time.

My personal rating: 8,0 (funny, entertaining, good scenario, good story, good flow. I adore Whoopi and think it is one of her bigger triumphs)

Sister Act on IMDB

Mar 27, 2012

Cocktail, 1988

Cocktail, 1988
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue

Stage: Home TV selection on a Sunday night

Cocktail in short: After leaving the Army, Brian Flanagan tries to get a marketing job in New York. But without a college degree, this was not possible. He then decides to start studying for a business degree at the local City College and gets a part time job as a bartender. He realizes that its not that easy, but when his new boss Douglas Coughlin teaches him the secrets of the bar trade and they become the most famous bartenders in town. Both Brian and Doug Coughlin want their own top class cocktail bars someday and Brian's Cocktail Bar is to be called 'Cocktails & Dreams', and in order to get the necessary money to open it, Brian travels to Jamaica to work as a bartender at a resort Tiki Bar, and the pay is good. There he meets Jordan Mooney, a young and pretty, up and coming American artist on vacation with her girlfriend from New York, staying at the Island resort. Jordan and Brian spend some quality time together and fall in love...

Preps: Wow, a classic. I am a huge fan of Cruise in his early age. Obviously also now, however now he specialized in some action adventure movies instead of making a charm. A profiled actor now, once a poster for each teenage dream, including mine :)

Reality: Watching Cocktail cannot be a failure. There are only a few classics (classic comedies from the 80ies) I can watch several times and not get bored, but romantic and nostalgic. Among those are Ghost, Top Gun, Pretty Woman, Back to the Future, and some others. They remind me of that sweet time I used to watch them practically every day with my mother on a VCR).
Therefore, I already know, I will look at Tom with mouth wide open. The strong side of the movies that derive from the eighties can be separated into subsections: always a strong character with a story to amaze (at that time the production of the movies was seriously smaller than nowadays, when every clown can produce a movie). Plus, we had several protagonists at that time to follow, not numerous like today. Secondly, the music. I remember I always begged my mother on my knees to buy me a soundtrack on a cassette or later, I needed it on CD. I think strong music in movie makes its character. It doesn't matter, if it's instrumental (Zimmerman as the high example of my point), or a good combination of songs that support the story being told in a movie. I virtually have originals from most of my classical movies from that time, however, my passion for that has somehow vaporized in last 10 years, as rarely a movie with a really strong music is made, or it unfortunately, gets lost in the crowd of all produced pieces.
Anyhow, the music in Cocktail is really good; communicates the true feeling Tom expresses at various scenes and supports the story perfectly. Plus, we have an american dream attempt, which means I trust the story. It is not all roses and sunshine, the movie depicts a real world, where a wish to succeed isn't always enough to get you in the top league right away. A submission to something good enough is depicted in Cocktail, where stock high level management dream is substituted for a barman position, later the owner of a small bar. Not exactly what the character aimed for, still enough to make the spectator satisfied. And to prove the concept of hard work that will get you anywhere. (at least this is what the movie is selling). We rarely get exactly what we want, so compromise might be something everyone among us can personalize with. Therefore, a story of a success - the piece will get into your veins. If you derive from the 70's, 80's.. you should really love it. For all the clothing, spirit, optimism. The story of a friendship is also very powerful, with a tactical approach towards solving issues (like how you get over if your best friend sleeps with your spouse, etc).
Cocktails and dreams is the name of the wanted dream. I can easily describe the movie in the same three words. If you are wondering, what you are about to see, cocktails and dreams will answer your question to the point.

My personal rating: 8,0 (a strong, solid flow of the story, persuasive actors and Tom in his best years. Plus, the soundtrack is extremely good!)

Cocktail on IMDB

College Road Trip, 2008

College Road Trip, 2008
Director: Roger Kumble
Cast: Raven-Symone, Martin Lawrence, Kym Whitley

Stage: Home theatre, TV selection

College road trip in short:
When an overachieving high school student decides to travel around the country to choose the perfect college, her overprotective cop father also decides to accompany her in order to keep her on the straight and narrow.

Preps: Hm, an evening at home, am half sick and looking for entertainment. I need to see what's on menu for tonight. Martin Lawrence might be a good selection.

Reality: Ehm.. I am terribly wrong. Martin Lawrence, least in this piece, is NOT a good selection for any night. This comedy is really underestimating the observers, the sense of humour might amuse an eight-year-old child. I mean, the scenes are badly played, the scenario/texts are awful, there is absolutely no way I buy the pig and the relationship between Lawrence and the magic pig.
Maybe in some sick reality I would once have written that it's a decent comedy. However, I cannot claim that. I hope that when I have kids they will also not like this sort of movies, not the ones, that are played so terribly. What it is with average directed american movies that they think the audience can buy anything? That anything is good enough for us..
Enough spitting, you get it, I don't like it. However, the movie touches an important part of one's life, getting your kid into college. For US citizen and many other countries, this is firstly, very expensive, secondly, you need to let your teenage child far far away (in most cases) and thirdly, it practically shows, what kind of a parent were you and if you feel threatened or frightened to leave the kid out alone, then you haven't been doing much of a job. In US college in most cases of average families means life time savings or if you got lucky and some auntie reminded you in her will. Otherwise, the prime colleges are usually very distant from an average family with average income. In this sense, Slovenia can still be called heaven, because education in college is free of charge and a lot of people are abusing the status. Nevertheless, the prime goal of this movie is supposed to be a devastated father, not willing to let go of his little girl, finding out she's an adult afterall and making bonds with the father (sadly, at the end of journey you get to spend with your folks anyway). Well, better late then never.
However, everything you see in this piece is a pure example of how not to show anything like this. You never feel the real interaction between the actors, exaggeration was the key to this movie's delivery. Lawrence isn't Jim Carey and he shouldn't try to play a clown like that. Jim at least has his perticular audience. In Lawrence's deal, he would need to decide what to be and not try to resemble top comics from this genre.

My personal rating: 1,0 (waste of time. Totally. Not even close to what I want to see in this kind of storyflow or genre).

College Road on IMDB

101, 1989 - Depeche Mode

101, 1989 (Depeche Mode, documentary)
Director: David Dawkins, Chris Hegedus
Cast: Depeche Mode (Martin Gore, David Gahan, Andrew Fletcher, Alan Wilder)

Stage: Kino Šiška, once a theatre, now a culture place for concerts, projections, etc. Can't believe the entrance fee is only 3 EUR.

101 in short: Depeche Mode prepares for the 101st and final concert of its massive world tour at the Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California, while a group of fans who won a contest travel to the concert through the United States on a bus.

Preps: Well, I am a huge fan of Depeche Mode, yet I haven't seen this documentary. I saw the news ad about this event one day prior to the screening. Heck, I need to see it. Every person that claims to be a fan, should see documentaries about the band. Plus, some unseen footage, I expect, and some great music and shots from concerts. Not a brainer, obviously I expect to have fun.

Reality: Hm. You really need to be a fan of this group to like this movie. Not that it is something I didn't predict. But either it has been 50 miles of steps made in advanced direction, as far as the documentaries are concerned, or I have missed something. Without a doubt, it is a documentary, made on an interesting piece. However, it could have been done so much better. I mean, I would love to see a documentary with a real narrator, a flowing story, some facts you cannot hear otherwise. Maybe subtitles would be something really useful, as the camera and the tone is awful and in many cases you cannot hear what they are saying. Plus, the visual images aren't as great as they could have been.
The flow of the story.. well, it's something vague and dissappears in the mist. I believe that as a fan of the group I am more inclined to like this piece and am not really objective. Because I am satisfied, when I see footage from the tour, of the groupies, of their private parties, of the feeling at the concerts, and last but not least, my mind blows away, when I hear the music. Anyhow, this is not an average view, therefore I would expect someone that isn't really a fan, to be asking himself, why in the world is he spending time for shitty footage like this. With all the respect, I would love to hear some stories from the band members, rather than groupies. And yes, I get it, they get wasted, it is all a big party and after a tour, they are practicaly a big family. Still, they auditioned for a movie, not really a home footage of a home party. In this sense, I expected so much more, I cannot find the proper words.
I am not a director, nor a scriptwriter, however, I could come up with many ideas how to make this documentary a live, vivid one, filled with good details and mixed variety of music/stage action/behind the scenes action.
As it is, the movie has low value to all that are not huge fans of the group. Obviously, all the rest, like me, are going to enjoy the music and the feeling. I am dissappointed that the movie seems more dedicated to the groupies and their action rather than group itself. Anyhow, I don't recommend it if you really don't like DM songs. Otherwise, you are going to get adrenalin each time they appear on stage and sing something. Maybe, for the sake of this footage, worth seeing. You will get into the fashion of that time, hair figures, style they wore and amazing earrings. You will taste how it feels like to travel with a music group and survive :)

My personal rating: 3,0 (but from a fan's perspective you could rate it differently. If you are a fan, you namely want to chew every little bit of your honey - which means you can be easily satisfied, as long as you can observe the beloved quartet in action).

101 on IMDB


Mar 22, 2012

Six days, Seven nights, 1998

Six days, seven nights, 1998
Director: Ivan Reitman
Cast: Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer

Stage: Home tv selection on a Thursday night.

Six days, seven nights in short: Taking a romantic tropical island week off with her boyfriend, an ambitious, decisive New York girl agrees to help her magazine out by covering a story on a neighbouring island. The only plane available is piloted by a laid-back heavy drinker with whom she shares a mutual dislike. But she has no choice and he can't refuse the money. When the plane crash-lands on an uninhabited island with little chance of rescue they both wish they had made other arrangements - at least to start with.

Preps: Seen this at the movies a loooong time ago. I think once more or twice on TV. I am a huge fan of Harrison Ford. He just feels right. So I guess I cannot miss a mile by choosing this. Tired after gardening and chopping bushes, trees, I need a relaxing movie.

Reality: This is one of romantic comedies where you can easily do something aside and have this for the background. Especially if you have watched this several times, like I have. However, for the first time comers, it is a nice and lovely story about a couple, tearing apart, finding one of the cutest romantic places in the world to break up. Now, the story reveals itself in the shape of a proposal on romantic trip, deeply assasinated by her job, for which she needs to travel away, gets crashed on an island and tries to survive with Harrison Ford in main masculine role.

In a way this is a romantic version of Cast away. You have a three hour misery in shape of Tom Hanks, surviving on a desert island. Here we have a party for two and some romance to go along.
The movie isn't something extremely great, nor it would impress you beyond belief. It's a safe choice for a night of relaxation and non-thinking. Your mindset won't burst into deep philosophy. However, deep inside it hides the eternal question - how much do we appreciate time-being, present time, are we enjoying, or are we working for the time that will never arrive for most of us - so we will die trying, as Bruce Willis would say. Do you make every day count or not? Are you spending your time with the right person or are you wasting your efforts, energy and lifetime with people that don't deserve this?
Another thinking can be given to a woman leading a relationship. This is precisely the image of one, as she runs everything and he is a romantic cissy. I wouldn't expect something else from David Schwimmer, obviously he cannot get out of this Friends role and this is a perfect copy of his role in famous series. As per Anne Heche, I love her small energy burst and her cast. I think she did a good job, however, I didn't see real romance between the main characters, in this sense Ford and Heche. I can easily picture her as the main copy and editor for a magazine of women, however, she cannot really do romantic scenes, like these in this piece. I don't buy it.
The movie is filled with general sayings and no, it will not thrill you. But if your goal is to relax and not think of your job, angry partner, sassy kids, mean neighbours, it will do its job perfectly.

My personal rating: 5,0
(a decent romantic comedy, without getting a mile beyond average).

Six Days on IMDB

Mar 18, 2012

Ray, 2004

Ray, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington

Stage: Home theatre, late Sunday night

Ray in short: The life and career of the legendary popular music pianist, Ray Charles. Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. By the early 1960's Ray Charles had accomplished his dream. He'd come of age musically. He'd made it to Carnegie Hall. The hit records "Georgia," "Born to Lose" successively kept climbing to the top of the charts. He'd made his first triumphant European concert tour in 1960 (a feat which, except for 1965, he's repeated at least once a year ever since). He had taken virtually every form of popular music and broken through its boundaries with such awe inspiring achievements as the LP's "Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz" and "Modern Sounds in Country & Western." Rhythm & blues (or "race music" as it had been called) became universally respectable through his efforts. Jazz found a mainstream audience it had never previously enjoyed.

I am not aware of the life and all the misstresses this great man had. But I am more than curious.

Reality: One of better biographies I have seen lately. I am always wondering, how much they have really taken upon the real events. And how much of this is true. Lives of musicians have always been inspiring me, however, they also make me sad. A sack, full with hard work, with rarely any effect.
Ray Charles, a musician without any competition in his time, with all the world lying at his hand. The plus of this piece is truly that it's filled with music. A good music. The way it has been recorded. And the dames being a part of this game, conspiracy, if we listen to Ray's wife. The deals, the managers, the records, the music factories, and obviously, the audience. The most important part of this puzzle. How to satisfy always hungry audience. How to satisfy the hungry women, lying at his feet, plus taking care of the family in a proper way. In a musician's life everything doesn't have time or place to stand out. Ray's life was destroyed by drugs. Is this a surprise? I guess not. What did Sinatra do? He was also accused of taking drugs, being violent in many family disputes, similar to Lennon, etc.
The cast is a good one. Jamie Foxx did a great job. I think his impersonification of Charles is amazing. He bought me right from the start and I am just wondering how it is for a blind person to feel the world as he made me think he did. The game wasn't about just music at all. Drugs played a large part of his life. How he got this catholic wife, remains a mistery to me. Do you always see what you want to see or what you are hiding from, in a person you need to marry you? In this case, I am not sure. The wife could have guessed, but as we saw also in the Tina Turner biography (What's love got to do with it), mostly the game reveals in the middle, not at the beginning. And at that time it's much worse. In this piece, we see Charles drown at the same time as climb to the peak of his career.

I think that the music and the game itself changed very much since that time. We simply don't know how to make such music and yet alone, there aren't players to play it this good.
To be blind is a bad thing. However, some of the chosen ones use it wisely and make it famous. In music business we do have two protagonists; Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. I adore his music. To every fan of his music, this piece is going to cling to his ears. Who doesn't know Hit the road Jack? And who wouldn't want to see the scene where this one derives from?

My personal rating: 7,0, (mmm, a good biography. Makes me think again about my music career :)))Really hard bread, hard life, hard decisions. Not only milk and honey, definitely not.

Ray on IMDB

The Artist, 2011

The Artist, 2011
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman,

The Artist in short:
Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin. The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: "Who's That Girl?" and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin's world upside-down.

The first one after the Oscar night. Five oscars. The best movie of the year included. I presumed it's a marketing trick and that it's not that good as all claim it is supposed to be. Like the fashion fly you see and you are addicted about a few days, then you are wondering what the hell happened to your intelligent mind to be tricked this way :) But let's see.

Reality: the story is one of the most real ones in any show business /art. There comes a time when the star of the year is jsut a thing of the past. Eaten by time, another star, another style. Dealing with this makes most of artist sway away from their initial energy drive and in most cases they fall to their knees, because they are not willing to adapt. To the trends, to the people, to the show as it is from the new point on.
The divide between the silent movie and the movie as we now it today, was striking through the roof. I am sure the story can be easily placed in that time. I kept wondering who did this Dujardin look like. Then I remembered, he reminded me of one of the greatest clasics, Gone with the Wind and Rhett Buttler (1939 movie; with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, I loved this piece). So I like the guy already. The charm he has, is (I swear) just as if I was watching Gone with the wind, where I absolutely dreamt of meeting a Rhett Buttler for me one day. So I am bought. On the other hand, the first lady in the house, Berenice Bejo, is like Ginger Rogers or some nice exception in Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O' Hara. The energy between the two is seen, noticed, remarkable.
Now, the only thing that a silent movie can be praised and understood upon, is the music. The most important part of the movie, if we don't hear it. What happened with music in this piece, I don't know. But it's the shittiest part of this movie and makes it very average. Such a shame. I believe it might have been truly one of the greatest heroic deeds this time, but because the music doesn't reflect what the charactes are saying, I am pointing my thumbs down. See and judge for yourself. Don't get me wrong. The selection of the music is good. It is not just a lovely music to hear, it's the music to dry your bones of emotions. But the asshole that placed the tunes where they are in scenes, doesn't know what he/she is doing. Because not that they don't back the scenes we are watching, you need to really guess if the couple is fighting or not, are you supposed to feel sorry for someone, etc. The sound doesn't do the job and it's one of my biggest dissappointments in this piece. Don't want to see a silent movie if it doesn't know how to place the music. I am speaking for most of the scenes. In some of them they really took the right piece to back it up. But the most of them are out of tune.
I was dissappointed to the point where I could just walk out of the movie and erase it. There are some brilliant ideas in the movie. The dog. I love it. The fashion. I want to embrace it. The looks of the two main characters. I would love to look like that and to taste like this on big screen. Plus, the energy between them. Like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Is it a marketing trick? I believe it is. Something different, something we didn't see before. Something the whole world would just stare at, with mouth wide open and yearning of something creative. Anyway, in my eyes, it's not enough. I don't want to guess what the main characters said. The music is supposed to tell me. So I am a bit stubborn and want the whole deal. Plus, the War Horse didn't get a thing, and in my eyes, more than one attribute to win over The Artist.

My personal rating: 6,0 (something new on the market, watchable. I want it to work with music, though. This is why I take a lot of points out of this piece. The story, however, is solid and a classic, the energy between the two is extraordinary).

The Artist on IMDB

Conversations with other women, 2005

Conversations with other women, 2005
Director: Hans Canosa
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Yuri Tsykun, Helena Bonham Carter

Stage: Home theatre, late Friday night without a better idea.

Conversations in short:
A man runs into a woman at a wedding. They start to flirt and talk and find that they get along. Throughout their discussion, the man talks about certain memories as if they were common to the two of them. We gradually learn that there may have been a previous connection between these two when they were younger. This just leaves more questions as their past is slowly revealed.

Preps: Well, just got off the Artist and I need a mindstretch. I cannot know what is on TV and am definitely not aware what these conversations are about, never heard about it, though it seems like one of lately made pieces. The title is interesting enough to sparkle my interest.

Reality: Partly dissappointed in the first 20 minutes, partly surprised. The surprise is in the photography and the cut photos you see (different aspects of the camera), showing either the same scene 20 years ago, same scene as it could have been, or a different angle of the same scene, happening now. Freezing panel makes you distracted and you are admiring it, stretching your brain cells to figure out what kind of a game is this and what are you supposed to watch, you are asking yourself, while you are running through different scenes.
Luckily enough, the plot is quite simple. two people flirting, ending up in bed, trying to make a big deal out of it. Which is predictable, because they both have a relationship. I believe this piece isn't really the director making you observe the story. It is about the director trying to put different angles inside. And making it brilliantly. I strongly believe also that the distortion / mess he's made with this idea, makes all the viewers think about the next separated photo they are going to see on the screen, instead of watching the movie. A great dillusion, watching the same two people as if they were 20 years younger, having the affair they are talking about right at the present moment of the movie.
On the other hand, it's supposed to make you think before you act, it's supposed to make you believe that the choices you make in your life, should lead you also when you are not in the room with the present choice. Put it differently, the movie makes us think that passion surpasses all decisions you have made with a sane mind, without emotional aspect.
I can personalize with the idea, because to me passion in a fling, relationship or marriage, is vital. If you lose it, you can become a victim to the next passionate moment or challenge, that walks by just in that moment. Regardless of the fact, that you are spoken for. In this sense, I am trying to keep it with all my energy to avoid such situations as the one in this movie. I get the "take the opportunity as it comes along.. or grab the bullet by his horn", nevertheless I think that two adults are responsible or should be held responsible for all the decisions they make.
Now, I certainly think this isn't the path the viewer is going to walk, when he/she sees the movie. Instead of thinking of relationships and their worth, the viewer will check out the different aspects of the movie, photography, scenography, and will try to compare the young lover images with the present ones. Especially women could do this more intensively. Therefore, I believe it's a shame the director took all the extra mile to do these scenes, but in a long run I believe they hurt the inner energy of the movie.
The talk between the two in this short time is, however, remarkable. Some of the greatest things one should learn to tell to another person /partner. Some of the best said sentences in a couple, or old couple. Which are often a failure case, because noone thinks it's not rude to tell the truth.

My personal rating: 6,0 (solid, interesting to watch. Tries to be something like Burn after reading, in the intelligent sense, but fails. I like different perspectives of one scene, however, they drag my attention from the real flow of the story).

Conversations on IMDB

Mar 15, 2012

Miss Congeniality 1 & 2, 2000, 2004

Miss Congeniality 1 & 2, 2000, 2004
Director: Donald Petrie; John Pasquin
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine (1); Regina King (2), Benjamin Brett (1)

Stage: home theatre, two Thursdays in a row. TV selection

The first part in short: Undercover FBI agent Gracie Hart shows no signs of having any femininity in her demeanor or appearance. Generally a bright and capable agent, she is in trouble at work when she makes an error in judgment in a case which results in a near disaster. As such, one of her by-the-books colleagues, Eric Matthews, who has never shown any inclination of thinking outside the box, is assigned to lead the high profile case of a terrorist coined The Citizen instead of her, while she is facing possible disciplinary action. Gracie pieces together the evidence to determine that The Citizen's next target will be the Miss United States beauty pageant. The pageant represents everything that Gracie abhors. Despite Gracie's mannish demeanor, Eric, with no other undercover female agent remotely fitting the demographic, assigns her to go undercover as a pageant contestant to see if she can flush out The Citizen...

The second part in short:
After Cheryl Frasier and Stan Fields are kidnapped, Gracie goes undercover in Las Vegas to find them. (really in short :)

I cannot help it, Sandra Bullock is one of the cutest actresses in the whole world. As much as I can say that the movies she works in, are more or less stupid comedies, I cannot resist watching her. In my honest opinion, she could do more work like the Blind Side (oscar!), however, these two pieces are a typical selection, where she would normally cast and where she is notorious (famous).

Reality: Well, the first part takes you to the "miss USA" pageant and all the miracles that go with it. The behaviour, the make up, the fallen legend and the next hot thing in the oven. Meaning, I truly need to clean my obstacles before stopping laughing like I have never before. Now, to be really honest, the director took a deep dive into the world of laughter (from being a smartass at the police force, a tough woman without a single female cell in the body, to graceful Gracie Hart. My ironic veins were pouring when I was looking at that piece. Obviously I think Sandra is great. But only with the tone of the voice and the poses she makes, the funny laughter and the scenes themselves. Apart from that I don't think she is giving a good cast here, neither she's very into this role. But in general it suits her normal roles in more stupid romantic comedies, obviously she will also have a romantic fling,.. anyhow. The movie that cannot dissappoint you, if you are looking for a family Sunday evening fun. It will make you laugh, even more, it will make you admire the miss pageant (imagine that :) and it will make you think world piece. All in all, it does what romantic comedies are supposed to do. Love the characters and spread the love afterwards. However, this is a tough genre, lots of movies screaming for attention. This isn't one of the best, least said. i would place it on the other side of the curve. Nevertheless, I admit my affection towards Sandra and I will always watch it when on TV. Maybe one of the more stupid reasons I can name, but this is deriving from the heart, not really the mind. If you need to listen to my mind, don't waste your time on this piece (saying this for both of them), because it's really a waste of time.

Now, if I am more than swallowing the first part, the second part is merely a shadow of a first one. No imagination, scenes that cannot be real. Obviously a happy ending, obviously they need to attach it to the first part. Have you ever noticed how rare a movie lives up to the expectations if it's a sequel? In theory, a director should at least watch the first part before making the second one. The second part is simply stupid and underestimates the intelligence of the audience (ok, and so does 95 % of all romantic comedies, however in this one this is REALLY obvious). What was the director or script writer thinking, I don't know. They might have been high when agreeing on this. It's really a pain to the eyes to watch and I strongly speak against. Despite the fact I have my lovely Sandra. Even she cannot save the party for me.

My personal rating: 1. part - 6,0 (watchable); 2.part - 2,0 (blaaaaah. don't. seriously. Don't :)

Miss on IMDB 1 and on IMDB 2

Mar 14, 2012

The Terminal, 2004

The Terminal, 2004
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Catherina Zeta Jones, Tom Hanks, Chi Mcbride

Stage: Home TV selection. Finally a piece worth seeing again on TV.

The Terminal in short: Viktor Navorski, a man from an Eastern European country arrives in New York. However after he left his country war broke out. Suddenly Navorski is a man without a country - or one that the U.S. cannot recognize, thus he is denied entrance to the U.S. However, he also can't be deported so he is told by the Security Manager that he has to remain in the airport until his status can be fixed. And also Navorski doesn't speak English very well, so he cannot talk to or understand anyone. But he somehow adapts and sets up residence in the airport, which makes the man who placed him there unhappy, as it seems he is in line for a promotion but Navroski's presence might complicate that. So he tries to get Navorski to leave but Navorski remains where he is. Navorski makes friends with some of the people who work in the airport and is attracted to a flight attendant he runs into whenever she comes in.

Preps: Wow, a Spielberg classic. Am in need of something sentimental and touching. Definitely worth seeing, I know this by now, have seen this piece several times. A great story with the great interpretation. Just like Steven does almost every time.

Reality: Imagine a definite administrative fuckup. I don't mean a mess. A fuckup, truly. When you are being held because of some weird clerks that follow national guidelines, that just changed. The storyline is quite simple, but the truth behind it lies deeply in soul of many so called upgraded "normal" countries. Victor is being stuck at the airport, because his country is denied by great US. Wow, a surprise. Any given day, great US decides, who to praise and who to neglect. In this sense, Victor's country, being at war, is suddenly not in US interest, therefore they are keeping him. Unimaginable long time. It is in my deep subconscience where I still can feel mocking towards US administration and politics. Others may seem to find more visible stuff in this piece - longing towards the promised land; trying to survive, mocking out of nations that aren't US, in perticular the ones that come from Eastern Europe. Falling in love and flirting with a taken woman is one of the objectives you can find in this piece. Spielberg took care of our minds. There are simply too many stories to follow, so you choose the ones you love the most.

The prediction of the situation like this is filled with black humour. On the other side, Victor takes the best out of the situation and spends months virtually living there. He takes us through every shop, making money, looking after yourself in cosmetic sense, spending time and money in shops, trading service for lunch and above all, flirting with the cutest stewardess ever.
The side stories are short, yet amazing. All the clerks, employees in the airport, we are handed their story to follow and being depressive with them, having fun with them, thinking our best wishes and crossing our fingers for them. A range of "coincidences" make everyone believe Victor is really waiting for another flight, all but some rare individuals, who are either feeling with him, or mocking him in every humiliating way possible. Stanley Tucci as mr. Dixon plays the bad guy. You need to hate him. The same way you hated Billy Zane in Titanic. Although he represents supposingly "the right side", the law. Brilliantly played role. I hate him from the bottom of my heart, as he represents all the clerks that denied me something at some point of time, even though they legally had the right. So in my head, I am hitting him with evil for all the wrong deeds I see clerks and administrative people like him, have done to me.

For nine months Victor is constantly meeting a cute stewardess, who firstly admits her life made mistakes and hopes, and finally, they come to an interesting interaction. He makes her 1000 fountains /(builds per se the fountains in a mosaic inside building, in a department that isn't active as a part of the airport). He develops a wonderful dinner for her. She takes him for a criminal, for a psychiatric person. She represents common mind, common visitor and the eyes someone would see Victor if one saw him at a glance here at airport. However, the spectator, that takes all the terror Victor has to live through, just keeps the fingers crossed for a lucky happy ending.

Now, Amelia and her story.. is almost as powerful as Victor's. She hides behind words, and yet you can feel her being insecure about herself and her desires. Like a woman's aknowledgement she feels about herself, knowing she's doing something wrong, not being able to cut it loose or to choose a second path.
"I am like Napoleon. I eat poisonous men until I get sick."

In many aspects, a piece worth seeing and worth the philosophy put behind it. I admire Hanks with his russian accent (or let me say eastern Europe accent, for he knows no russian, obviously. I have several friends that have said really weird stuff about his interpretations. Still, in my eyes, he represents someone without rights, deriving from a poor background,that gets the american fairytale, a kiss and a woman to kill for :)

My personal rating: 8,0 (mmmm, every time a pleasure to see. A Spielberg must have in your sight kind of movie):

The Terminal on IMDB

Mar 13, 2012

Take Shelter, 2011

Take Shelter, 2011
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Mike Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham

Stage: Home theatre

Take Shelter in short: Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family's life.

Preps: The winning one of our LIFFE festival in Ljubljana. I was cut off with the tickets, grr. Therefore I waited for the HD home version. THe one in the oven. The one presumeably to see. I want to see it for some time now. After my Oscar dedicated week, it's time.

Reality: This one is one of more extraordinary ones and a good way to see the development of events, should preminitions have any value. In some sense, it shows how a pretty decent family falls down to its knees and burns in hell of psychiatry. A strong worker suddenly crashes because of preminitions he has, some weird dreams he cannot drive away even at daytime? Sounds weird, but believable. The chain of reactions he has on this dreams, is devastating. I admit sitting there with my mouth widely opened, as he starts being aggressive, putting his dog outside, to start with (which you never do if you love the animal, only if the animal is threathening or you are convinced it will harm you - nor you give it away for that matter!). He continues with the shelter, risking all the money he has to provide something solid for the storm that is supposed to come.
Something genuine in these deeds, that derives from historical role of a guy. To provide shelter and to protect the family. In some sense, they just didn't show the deer he shoots on his way back to the cave. So I get this idea he has, I am just deeply disturbed that it took wild dreams and halucinations to do this and that he didn't think of this in the first place. Now, the delivery of his idea and his fears, is horrible and makes the relationship almost fall apart at the very beginning. It is strange, how he behaves, obviously he doesn't react to his wife's call for help or her observations. The pride, before he takes a deep dive into the doctor's world and tries to help himself, isn't appropriate, yet fits to his masculinum figure he shows. The construction worker. Provider of the family. Tuff guy. No place for doctor there. I am sure you can imagine what I mean by this, but it fits perfectly. After the pride is gone, it's a downstream - we are like in this big river we cannot resist and we are watching how things are falling apart. Plus, you have the feeling that none of the characters can do anything about it.

I am mostly positively surprised to see Jessica Chastain in the mother serious role in this piece (seeing her lately in The Help made me wonder if she switched genres - despite the fact that I liked her witty side). Besides, roles like this in Take Shelter are her best appeareance so far. The Tree of life was also one of her good ones, also The Debt. All of the named ones serious drama genres with a good cast). Definitely a rising star in the industry. I love to see her in serious roles and I sense her energy. Plus, she's incredibly cute.

The movie will touch you and leave you stunned. It will ewoke some of the feelings you dare not to feel. And you will try very hard to understand the nature of the disease and the reasons behind Curtis' decisions. Don't overwhelm yourself. You will find shelter in psychological reasons, which don't need an explanation, because the territory is very unknown.

I don't know if I would call this the best movie I have seen on LIFFE, but definitely one of the more imaginative and interesting ones. The scenes are extremely well put together, the dillusions are great. Also, great to see Carol from Picket Fences as Curtis' mom. A good connection or possible explanation to the reality Curtis is facing now would be her illness.

All in all, the movie has a lot of attributes which puts it above the average and definitely worth considering. It is very dark, but I am sure that people that loved The Tree of Life or similar ones, will also pay attention and appreciate this piece.

My personal rating: 7,0 (good piece, but very hard to swallow, depressive and anxious at some moments - in the worst possible meaning, because it makes you truly sad).

Take Shelter on IMDB

Mar 12, 2012

Beginners, 2010

Beginners, 2010
Director: Mike Mills
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, Goran Višnjić

Stage: Home theatre

Beginners in short:
It's 2003. Thirty-eight year old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver's mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationship with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on life) and watching his parents' cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family loss. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress. Oliver is hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia's death and Hal's new outlook on life during that time will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia's death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy

Preps: Again, a hot one in the oven. The oscar for best supporting actor went to Plummer and this part is one of the most amazing ones, the critics say. Let's dig and digest it :)

Reality: Beginners starts off with the remorsement of a younger man, who takes a few months/years to recover from his father's death. Least this is what you think at the beginning. It turns out that the remorsement is mostly because he doubts having lived in a lie or not his whole life. Admitting that he is gay, his father takes a strange curve in his life and makes virtually the most of it. Goran Višnjić in the role of his later partner, takes him to the gay path he always wanted to live through.

The irony is in the fact that the young boy didn't suffer nearly as much as he is suffering now, melting down like ice and discovering all the dark secrets he didn't understand as he was young. They reveal in the most powerful way. You are jumping in the future and back, to the past and in the present. The present or future is filled with expectations and making good out of sadness. Caressing your soul with the new prosperous relationship this guy just rejects before it really started. It can hurt your soul to see so much suffering from one person, and the only person to blame, is himself. You learn to appreciate all the things he has done for his father in his last years, all the awakenings he has done in hospital, reading, taking care of him, making him comfortable.

A sad piece that will hurt your soul and heart, but really important to understand. People, who have suffered the loss of a parent in a bad way, like this one, will personalize the most. It is vital that we try to understand deep feelings the son has for a father in this movie, because they hold the key to thumbs up (you will adore the movie) or down (you will hate it). I don't see a middle path. This is no ordinary piece and no average script. You will be its closest friend or an enemy.

My personal rating: 8,0
(great strong piece. Involves deep thinking on grasping every chance you get to digest life, grab it by its balls and have fun while you still have time and you can do it.)

Beginners on IMDB

A separation, 2011 (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin )

A separation, 2011 - Jodaeiye Nader az Simin
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat

Stage: Home theatre, post oscar fever :)

A Separation in short: Nader ('Peyman Moaadi' ) and Simin (Leila Hatami) argue about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. However, Simin is determined to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter

Hot one in the oven. Has just received an oscar for foreign movie. I am more than curious and desperately want to see it.

Reality: One of the better ones on the topic of divorce, foreign customs and adapting to environment we barely know anything of. The divorce in this case (the separation) is metaphorized to present the separation from customs (and habits) of a family, which once was united and now needs to cope with new challenge; how to survive without mother. In countries, where we could bet that women aren't really being treated equally, it turns out that lack of woman figure in a household can make all in system, where everything worked before, crash. It is amazing to see how many problems derive of a simple fact that ex-wife is missing from the picture. The horrible events that take place after a new "nurse" is employed, they all contribute to the fall down of all so-called heroes in this story. It all revolves around truth. Is this the final virtue we should all strive for?

Separation gives us perfect examples and proof of concept, where a small lie about anything can lead to massive lying where you don't know how to fix that small lie from the beginning. In some sense, it implies the world would be a better place, if we all spoke the truth. Obviously it makes a strong statement, this piece, and sits in your heart with uniqueness of telling the truth and not bending it even for a bit. It is common in the lands where they praise Koran, not to lie. If you swear on Koran, you are doomed to tell the truth. Otherwise, the belief that something bad will happen to you, is so strong, that people cannot tell lies, if they swear on the holy grale of Muslim countries.

I loved the atmosphere because it was beyond anything I could expect from this. It cannot be anticipated, what will happen and what curve the events are going to take. Which takes all the points for the script. The scenes seem realistic, the energy between the actors seems good. The only upgrade I would make would be with the young daughter, who in my opinion, could do a better job with the cast. It seemed she didn't get emotional about the role. Maybe it's expected in this world. Cannot be sure, because I don't know the habits so much I could judge. However, I loved all the controversity about this movie that made me swallow it from its head to toe.

My personal rating: 8,0 (good one. worth seeing and thinking about it. The main message, is the strongest one I have seen in a while).

A separation on IMDB

Mar 11, 2012

8MM, 1999

8MM, 1999
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Nicholas Cage, James Gandolfini, Joaquim Phoenix

Stage: Home, late Saturday TV selection

8MM in short:
A small, seemingly innocuous plastic reel of film leads surveillance specialist Tom Welles down an increasingly dark and frightening path. With the help of the streetwise Max, Welles relentlessly follows a bizarre trail of evidence to determine the fate of a complete stranger. As his work turns into obsession, he drifts farther and farther away from his wife, family and simple life as a small-town private eye.

Preps: None. I have seen this piece a long time ago. Time to see it again.

Reality: this is one of the pioneer ones about Snuff genre. It hasn't been spoken wildly in public about, however it remains one of the so called forbidden genres. The one that doesn't exist, like the drugs don't and certainly, the one that noone has ever heard about, yet all of us know what it is and what the term stands for.
The storyline is basicly simple to absorb, it's the philosophy that stands behind the investigation, that is intriguing. In terms of what kind of a person are you to order such a movie, to film it, where do you get persons to volunteer to act in these kind of movies and overall, is it worth it? Demistification of the husband's secret now becomes an obsession for the investigator. I must confess the role suits Cage like a glove. He feels extremely comfortable inside the scenes and I am thrilled to see him crash after a while because all of this becomes too much even for a tough policeman/investigator. The reasons for doing it, still, remain uncertain and unrevealed. It's not a surprise to see a christian son doing the killing, and a close member to the family Cage is investigating for, to take a greater role in helping the husband do the deed and order the snuff movie. For any person who has ever seen or read some crime stories, this is a normal turnover. In this sense, the movie isn't exciting or goes beyond average. I believe, that the unique sales proposition in this matter is snuff, because this is enough to make up for every other average perticularity of the piece. Not enough said about dark sides of porno movies, drug industry or other "misbehaviour" in our society. I would make this a pioneer piece for the sake of widering the mind of us, observers.
A nice, unusual role, for the young Phoenix, who at that time wasn't quite so famous as he is now, in 2012, where we are quite familiar with his ass in some other notorious pieces. Here in a role of a drug jockey, plays magnificently and surprises me with the elegance and comfort he finds in this role.

The movie itself could be somehow shorter, I believe the agony is prolongued more than it should be, but that might be Schumacher's aim, to make it go deep inside our veins.

My personal rating: 6,5
(a solid piece on a genre we aren't familiar with and most of us really contradict the fact it exists).


Mar 4, 2012

Love Happens, 2009

Love Happens, 2009
Director: Brandon Camp
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Dan Fogler, Frances Conroy

Stage: Home TV selection, Sunday night

Love Happens in short: Burke is a motivational speaker whose book about dealing with grief is a best seller. His wife died in a car accident three years ago. He's in Seattle to lead a week-long workshop on healing and to negotiate a major multi-media deal. But something's amiss: he's a closet drinker, he won't ride elevators, his moods swing, he's estranged from his wife's father, and he's very much alone. In a hotel hallway, he bumps into a woman arranging flowers, tries to chat with her, and gets the brush-off. She's Eloise, a local florist who's just broken up with a boyfriend. He's persistent and they eventually go to dinner - it goes badly. What's blocking Burke? Can the physician heal himself.

Preps: Hm. I have seen this romantic comedy. Seems like a nice choice to end the weekend with.

Yep, this is a good one to end the weekend. A nice romantic comedy. It is not one of the best, however, also above average. Jennifer Aniston probably graduated in roles like this and seems they fit her like a glove. This perticular case deals with getting over a loss (if a person you love doesn't really leave you, but dies), falling in love, healing.
Getting over with an attitude means a lot of things. The depicted in the piece is one of them. Making a book, writing about it, can be a way. But getting it commercialized and being the next best Oprah, maybe isn't the greatest idea of them all. You might insult the memory of the lost one in this way. It is hard to tell what is the right path. Everyone needs to find one that works for him/her. I am in no position to judge the path someone chooses. However, the depicted one is corrupted. Because this person makes money out of his wife's death. You might call it economic, I call it immoral. To be in a group to discuss it, good. To find some help to get over, even better. But do not make money out of it. Or other people. In this case, the loss transfers in means of money and the moderator is the guy that never got over it.
I believe the story, the romance seems genuine. I feel the movie and it touches my soul. This is an example how dilluted a good thought (or good deed) might come out. I am deeply offensed that the guy isn't over his loss and teaches other people to become better, get over, find a way, etc. In some sense, his heeling is just happening, yet he's already making money out of it. He seems like some of the dilluted speakers we have here also in Slovenia, with the group things, hand shakes, big applauses, sessions he has, the unique way of saying OK, etc. I despise such "gurus", because I believe they are as f... up as this guy, deep down inside, and they are always wearing a mask. This piece lets me see beyond the mask and therefore I appreciate it. Plus, it is always a pleasure for me to see Aniston in one of her romantic schemes :)

My personal rating: 7,0 (cool and genuine. I love a lot parts of it. Plus, the most romantic date with her inviting him to the concert and then seeing it on a construction tool ).

Love Happens on IMDB

Never Talk to Strangers, 1995

Never Talk to Strangers, 1995
Director: Peter Hall
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rebecca De Mornay, Dennis Miller

Stage: Home TV selection, late Friday night

Never talk to Strangers in short: Sarah Taylor, a police psychologist, meets a mysterious and seductive young man, Tony Ramirez, and falls in love with him. As a cause of this relationship she changes her personality when she begins to receive anonymous telefon calls.

Preps: None.. I am home and don't have anything more perspective at that second to watch. I don't decide for one of the heavy drama movies that are waiting for me. I figure I will be relaxed by something with Banderas, he's a true lure for this piece.

Hm. I think it's a good TV movie. Not a real movie. It reminds me somehow on the Basic Instinct, however, it's far from being that sharp. But we do have a psychologist and a villain (ok, there we had a cop) and a romantic sexual affair, which turns out into something dangerous (possibly life threathening) for person involved. In Basic, it was a cop with a former mistress, here we have a doctor who gets intimidating calls, her cat gets murdered, she suspects her new hot boyfriend and almost gets killed..
The storyline is interesting and it could be printed out to be one of the best detective crime novels ever. But in the shape of the movie it simply doesn't work really well. In a sense, that I don't see the passion between the two main characters, which means they also don't give me energy to see them work together. The script is below expectations, the energy isn't there and in some way, I cannot even watch it. It doesn't really interest me, what is going to happen. It doesn't hold my interest.
Banderas obviously looks yummy, but we are far from the time when a cute character instantly made the movie a good one. The same goes for Rebecca de Mornay. Something is seriously lacking in this one.
Still, some good scenes with the nosy neighbour, who I like. The character and the delivery, I mean. The director could have seen these two (with Rebecca) have more potential than Banderas and de Mornay. So, in my view, this piece is a fail. A psychological thriller wannabe.

My personal rating: 3,0
(some sparks going on, but nothing more. No story, no scenes, no energy. I am dissappointed).

Never talk on IMDB

Hugo, 2011

Hugo, 2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Sascha Baron Cohen, Chloe Grace Moretz

Stage: home theatre

Hugo in short: Hugo is an orphan boy living in the walls of a train station in the 1930s in Paris. He fixes clocks and other gadgets as he learned to from his father and uncle. The only thing that he has left that connects him to his father is an automaton that doesn't work; Hugo has to find its heart-shaped key. On his adventures, he meets with a cranky old man who works in the train station and his adventure-seeking god-daughter. Hugo finds that they have a surprising connection to his father and the automaton, and as he discovers it, the old man starts remembering his past and his significance to the world of film-making.

Preps: an evening with friends. We are talking about the Oscars, because I have three winners to see. This is one of them and Scorsese did an elegant acknowledged job, as he got three oscars for this piece. It would be interesting to see what the fuss around the tachnical part of the movie is about. For all the technical stuff, he got all the merit and fame, this piece.

Reality: At first I need to admit I am dissappointed. The story doesn't seem to drag me in the action. I don't get what the fuss is around this boy. Is he really living in the train station? The dillusions he has about his father... I am missing the background. Anyway, for the first hour of the movie I am deeply annoyed by the fact that I am fighting with the story and what the point is.
On the other hand, I am also deeply intrigued by all the technical details I see in this train station. I have never known what a station consists of. The same deal was with the Titanic, where they used Kate and Jack to show the observer what a giant for a fact that ship was. In Hugo, you have this in a shape of a young boy whose role is also to show what this station consists of. What the main things about it were back in 1930ies. I am also struggling to find the year where this is happening, obviously before WW2, but I didn't go into research until a later point.

Now, if the movie doesn't posess a strong story in the beginning or a rather vague idea what it is about, it evolves later in the middle. I am fascinated by the details and the sight of a robot, built in that time. The perspective, the photography, it all fits somehow together and makes this a remarkable piece. I have deep respect for the technical aspect of any movie, however I need to have it all. It is not enough just to make a technical spectacle. If I showed curtosy before to the Titanic, that movie had it all, powerful story, based on true events (which isn't a necesity to make a movie good), brilliant dialogues, wonderful cast, script, photography, technical aspects. No wonder it was audited as brilliant masterpiece of that time. In the case of Hugo, we only see technical perfection. It is a pleasure to watch Kingsley chase his dreams, but I cannot get the dialogues, the script is poor and without a soul, which at the end, contributes to my dissappointment in the piece as a whole.
It isn't necessary to have it all, if you want to win audience. But as always, I claim that you need the audience to pay you respect in the first twenty minutes. Not to figure out what the hell it is they are watching and give them technical brilliance. The voice, effects, no doubt, beyond imagination and one of greater things I have ever seen. But the story.. I didn't really buy it. To interact with audience, you also need the audience to buy the cast. Which I didn't. Still, remarkable and once in a few years, I totally agree with the academy - they really deserved that range of oscars this movie won. And I get it, why no praise for any of the interactive categories. Because the movie doesn't posess anything. Blue eyes cannot always save the day.

My personal rating: 5,5 (worth seeing for its technical part. But if you aren't patient enough, it might come to your nerves before the day breaks).

Hugo on IMDB

Mar 1, 2012

Puss in Boots, 2011

Puss in Boots, 2011
Director: Chris Miller
Cast: Antonio Banderas (voice), Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis

Stage: Home theatre

Puss in short: Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, the adorable but tricky Puss in Boots must clear his name from all charges making him a wanted fugitive. While trying to steal magic beans from the infamous criminals Jack and Jill, the hero crosses paths with his female match, Kitty Softpaws, who leads Puss to his old friend, but now enemy, Humpty Dumpty. Memories of friendship and betrayal enlarges Puss' doubt, but he eventually agrees to help the egg get the magic beans. Together, the three plan to steal the beans, get to the Giant's castle, nab the golden goose, and clear Puss' name.

None in perticular. It is a hot one at the movies at this point.

Miaow. Who can resist Banderas' voice? Well, noone. Me not excluded. It is a privilege to imagine how Banderas looks like when he animates the cartoons. The same goes for soft Hayek's voice. I loved the two together in some scenes. Besides, Puss has a good story - following the legend of the golden goose and eggs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Humpty Dumpty. It has a story of a good friendship come to end because of betrayal, finding the right path and then reunion. After that, a downfall in the true cartoon spirit (the famous curve of happiness, which is beaten down by a bad guy or bad deed, and happy ending at the end. A classic, per se.
In this case, the humour is present at most of the dialogues, in a unique, ironic, not imposting way. I love the way the two cats dance around each other, falling slightly in love. And the spanish Banderas temperament is obviously seen here. I also hardly waited to see the look the cat gives to make everyone around faint of cuteness. It is really good to see a nice separate movie that makes Puss famous instead of just tagging around in Shrek. It wasn't really as splendid as I expected, but I love the way it is presented, the flow and energy. I just cannot get bored with this cartoon, therefore I claim it is a good one. It is a side fact that I am a cat lover and for that reason it is even more appealing for my point of view. But in general, the animation is good, the dialogues are witty, the music is splendid and it has more than one saying (proverbs) come true or being a part of the story. All in all, I cannot see a way someone would go with a bored mind and spirit after seeing this. Am referring, of course to the true american voices. Nothing synchronized - I despise this way of making a good movie more user friendly to the market. You should always leave the original voices and original pronounciation. Otherwise, you neglect the positive impact the director had in mind when choosing the cast and diminish their role.

My personal rating: 6,0
(mmmmmiaow! a good one. worth my time!)

Puss on IMDB

My Sister's Keeper, 2009

My Sister's keeper, 2009
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin

Stage: Home TV selection

My Sister's keeper in short: In Los Angeles, the eleven year old Anna Fitzgerald seeks the successful lawyer Campbell Alexander trying to hire him to earn medical emancipation from her mother Sara that wants Anna to donate her kidney to her sister. She tells the lawyer the story of her family after the discovery that her older sister Kate has had leukemia; how she was conceived by in vitro fertilization to become a donor; and the medical procedures she has been submitted since she was five years old to donate to her sister. Campbell accepts to work pro bono and the obsessed Sara decides to go to court to force Anna to help her sister.

Preps: None in perticular, one of those days when you just accept what's on TV.

Hm. I have always admired Cameron Diaz. Although she seems goofy, I for a fact think she's a rising star in terms of a good serious actress. I loved her in some pieces, yet never have I seen her in a serious role like this. To be in her shoes (the characters) and play it that well, you need to have your stuff together. I am sure she does and I would love to see her in similar roles.
The story revolves around the most serious topics that can happen in one family. How far do you go with donations of an organ? do you give it from your child to one of your other children? Who's entitled to say whether a child will give something or not. The movie starts off with a child seeking legal help in a shape of Alec Baldwin, who gives the girl the courage to fight against the parents that seek for her kidney. To give it to her sister.
Somehow it reminds me of the movie The Island, a movie, where a person's stunt (double) is made, for it to perceive (keep) the organs the true donor might sometimes need. In this case, there's a trade with people and their organs. A good piece. In this case it's a child, that was made only to become a donor for the older sister. And refuses to take the roll.. The fight between the mother and her child is devastating, it tears your soul when watching. It is important to keep in mind that every single one of your children is unique and you should at least try to love them the same, not take something for granted, like the kidney for the sister. After all, if the little one was given a choice, I believe she would give the kidney by herself. People.. we are creatures with souls. Noone wants anything in their world to be taken for granted. But if given a choice, we can do miracles.
A good piece, filled with grief over loss to come. Cameron Diaz plays a brilliant role, so mature and breathtaking.. I just adore good dramas, I adore when they make me cry at least a bit. Because then I know they touched me deep inside. This piece has all the features the great dramas have. The most important, it is realistic. You can easily depict yourself in a situation like this and live it through, learn from it.

My personal rating: 7,0 (solid, good piece, worth seeing. I love to think about the things that are given to me and I need to be grateful for).

My Sister's keeper on IMDB

An Ideal Husband, 1999

An Ideal Husband, 1999
Director: Oliver Parker
Cast: Julianne Moore, Rupert Everett, Peter Vaughan

Stage: Home TV selection

An Ideal Husband in short: Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle philanderer and the despair of his father. Goring knows the lady of old, and, for him, takes the whole thing pretty seriously.

Preps: none in perticular. Don't know the piece, but I don't have any other idea what to watch that perticular evening.

Reality: One of the movies that should be labeled as a TV movie. Because it's nothing more. It plays a big movie's game, but loses big time. The storyline is a good one. Betrayal. When you think everything is fine and dandy, something comes up to ruin your day and leave everything burning behind. In this perticular case, we have a happy setting of a couple, where both have a distinguished position in society, plus they seem really to be happy with each other, love themselves in the right way.
Now, what the real fuss is around - the devastation a lie about the past can cause. The husband seems to have a dirty secret from the past, which he failed to tell to his pure wife (in this sense I mean puritan wife). What to do now? Even though she's a bit suspicious, he doesn't take the path of confession, but rather the path of hiding his truth behind a lie. So it gets complicated. The woman who seems to know everything and threathens to reveal everything, become his greatest enemy and companion - he doesn't want to lose sight of her. She intimidates everything he knows, the certainty, the safety, the love he posesses and might lose.

After her appearance in his house and revealing the truth to his wife, things become even more interesting, because a chain of events is out of leash, getting things done in an extreme fast way. Although, you first can say everything will go down the drain and you can be righteous to say he should have spoken the truth at least when the wife asked him, the turnover is amazing at the end.
Now, the movie itself can be tagged as a TV series part - it seems like Mrs Maple, or Agatha Christie type of series, rather than a serious movie. If you see it as a TV spot, ok, then it's one of the better ones. But if you are trying to search for a true movie, you might be dissappointed. A story from british parliament, betrayal...seems luring, but the delivery is really bad and the scenes are far from perfect. Also the dialogues, the scenery, music, photography, costumes.. it's all really watchable, if you aren't expecting too much and if you need to put your mind at ease. But nothing more.

My personal rating: 4,0
(you won't miss a thing if you miss this one. Some amusing debates, but nothing more. What is Julianne Moore doing in such a piece, leaves restless in my mind. She can do so much more.. )

An Ideal Husband on IMDB

Seven Pounds, 2008

Seven Pounds, 2008
Director: Gabrielle Muccino
Cast: Rosario Dawson, Will Smith, Woody Harrelson

Stage: Home Theatre

Seven Pounds in short
: Haunted by a secret, Ben Thomas looks for redemption by radically transforming the lives of seven people he doesn't know. Once his plan is set, nothing will be able to stop him. At least that's what he thinks. But Ben hadn't planned on falling in love with one of these people and she's the one who will end up transforming him.

Preps: Want to see this again. I know it was hidden in my heart, the feeling for this piece.

Reality: One of the more beautiful pieces lately. What we wouldn't do to releave the sins that are stubbornly waiting on our heads and are embedded in our souls. The power of guilt can rock mountains, I am sure. This piece is worth seeing in any possible aspect. The story is a solid, good one. Hits you like a rock in the middle of the day. It could happen in your own backyard, both sides. The one that seeks redemption and the one where you need help and there is someone giving you something.
Seven people Will Smith tags to help must be worth his help or things he will do for them. Therefore he tests them and in some cases he's pretty harsh. But the stories he is following are breathtaking and conquer your heart in no time. You just feel samaritan yourself, trying to figure out how he's going to help them (and even more important, why). What is the hard story he needs to live with? You eventually get the answer and it is even worse than you expected. But to give away your body, is so.. really devine. Even makes you think beyond the real expectations one would have from himself and trying to make something better for people you know. I for sure wanted to do something good in the middle of watching this piece, yet alone at the end.
The story is so powerful that it doesn't need any extras, no harsh scenography, no special effects, just the hard truth these lives revealed while I was watching.
The "falling in love" is expected, yet played brilliantly. At first I thought it was going to ruin everything because everything following from that point would be submissive to this love he finds. Turns out people that are condemned to death a bit premature and are supposed to be ready to die every day that comes along (because of a disease) are more willing to forgive lies, deception, etc. Refreshing and really beautiful to the soul. As the whole movie.

Strong recommendation. But do not watch it if you are already depressed. It really made my soul cry.

My personal rating: 8,0
(solid, strong piece, worth seeing and thinking about good things and spirit you need to keep to feel alive and to be appreciated).

Seven Pounds on IMDB