May 23, 2012

Stigmata, 1999

Stigmata, 1999
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Cast: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Bryne, Jonathan Pryce

Stage: home TV selection, late Monday night. A friend tells me to watch it, even though I am as tired as I haven't been in a long time. Bad girl :)

Stigmata in short: the face of the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. While there he hears of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding tears in a small town outside of the city. Meanwhile, a young woman in the U.S. begins to show signs of stigmata, the wounds of Christ. The priest from the Vatican links up with her and cares for her as she is increasingly afflicted by the stigmata. Her ranting and raving finally begins to make sense to the priest who starts to question what his religion has stood for for the last 1900 years.

Preps: Third, fourth time? I have seen this a few times. I find a new interpretation each time.

Reality: This is a movie that questions belief and things we don't believe in. Also those we never thought of believing. A priest in the role of the messenger, mesia, an intermediate.. is to investigate Virgin Mary findings (showups) and on the other hand, weird Jesus signs on the body of an atheist, stigmata shown on Frankie.
I believe Father Keirnan is on trial. I believe he was chosen so the church could question his belief and put him under a test (which he fails in the end, based on my interpretation). He pursues the stigmata signs and tries to understand. On the other hand, a totally unchristiened woman, Frankie, doesn't know what is happening to her, doesn't believe it and at the end, she needs to accept it and adopt it.
It is a hard thing not to believe what you see. I am thinking all the time what would I made out of a scenario like this. I believe in something that cannot be named a god or be under a religion you can name or determine. Is it energy, I don't know. Maybe philosophy, wisdom, intelligence, energy, stars. But it doesn't have a name nor an origin. Nor can you see it in church of any kind. Now, this woman derives from the same environment, therefore it's even more interesting.. to watch her go through experience and think what would I have done being on her place. Anyhow, the movie depicts also the filthness of the church and some of its protagonists. The way you can abuse power and make everything revolve around your needs and selfishness. Not care for faith at all, as long as you are following someone's orders or ideals. It also shows clearly where can blind faith and trust in superiors lead. It is clear that for some of the catholic church the only important thing is.. clearly, only what is good for them and those in their circle.
Stigmata woman is only the messenger. Priest is on trial. However, the one that should be on trial, is church itself. Or the men that represent it in this piece. A good one, gets under your skin.

My personal rating: 8,0 (a good thriller/drama. You will think about the things you believe in and what is real/what definitely isn't).

Stigmata on IMDB

Pride & Prejudice, 2005

Pride & Prejudice, 2005
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench

Stage: Home TV selection, Wednesday night after a hard working day

Pride & Prejudice in short: The story is based on Jane Austen's novel about five sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet - in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when a wealthy young man (Mr. Bingley) and his best friend (Mr. Darcy) arrive in their neighborhood.

Preps: Well, I have seen this at least twice already, the first time at the movies and I loved it. I love the novel and wanted to see the movie badly. Now I am wasted because of a tiring day and it is a good news this is on TV.

Reality: It is one thing to dream away with the novel, but to see Darcy and Elizabeth for real on screen.. dare I say in the shape of beautiful Keira Knightley. I love to see her in cast because I am dazzled again and again by this woman's beauty. I absolutely adore the way she is spelling words, her accents in various movies. She doesn't let me down in Pride and Prejudice. I believe this is the piece of character that fits her like a glow. A drifted away dreamer, a pigeon among predators, an angel with brains between sheep. I believe the novel is so carefully written and so notorious that the director couldn't drift away from the reality of the book even if he wanted to. I am dearly grateful for all the copycat pages the scriptwriter did, because in this way you are dragged into the same feeling you had when you read the book. Especially if you were as fond of it as I was.
The setting is exquisite. The castles take my breath away. The devastation in souls of young women that only think of marriage and how they will settle somewhere and not be hungry for the rest of their lives.. without affection, definitely in most cases without love, arranged marriages.. they gave me shivers as I watched them. The poorness of the souls Elizabeth is surrounded is very profoundly acted. Judi Dench as the perfect nobless, aunt of Darcy, is brilliant. As well as Donald Sutherland, as her father. Being drifted away from the one you love even though you don't know yet you love him.. excellent energy among the main actors and the main protagonists.
I need to also compliment the wardrobe, because I am stunned by dresses, hats, ribbons.. the fashion selected by top crew flew me right into this time. Also all the selected words. It was as Linkthough we were reading poetry. I am still under impression and I feel in love. So should you, when you see this piece. Yearning for love shouldn't be such a pain as she feels. Even though she gets in the end her Hollywood story. It wasn't meant for anyone in that time.

My personal rating: 8,0 (a truly fine romantic drama/historical insight into the selection of given moments to dames way back in history. And love seeking, in the most poetic way. Proposal like you haven't seen in a long run. .. worth seeing and dreaming away).

Pride & Prejudice on IMDB

May 20, 2012

Dreamgirls, 2006

Dreamgirls, 2006
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Daniel Glover, Jennifer Hudson

Stage: Home TV selection, Sunday night

Dreamgirls in short: Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due?

Preps: Hm. Beyonce? Eddie Murphy? The beginning scene draws my attention really fast.

Reality: Two oscars: for sound mixing and Jennifer Hudson. Perfect role for her, I must admit. I am not so convinced about the two main - Beyonce and Eddie aren't that perfect as I have expected.
This is a makeover of a musical and as such, filled with good music. This is the least you expect of one :) Apart from that usually it conveys a dream come true or a dream pursue of someone on chase for music, love or something extremely emotional. This piece pursues a dream of three girls coming to stage night after night without a success until they find a manager that turns them into a product. Takes a step beyond and selects one of the former back singers to sing front voice and chases top lead singer in the back. Thus, the rivalry becomes obvious, envy takes place and confrontations between three friends begin. Jennifer Hudson is brilliant with her interpretations and emotional approach, the director takes her safely home from every scene where she bursts out.
Eddie Murphy is taken in the back, after the three girls drift away from his cover. All in all I don't really appreciate his performance and would love to see him in different roles I am used to. I don't think he pulled all from this one. Undoubtfully the music is good, however, I am annoyed because it's quite obvious that everything is filmed with a matrix or without the real singing. I really despise that at any show., and I am quite sure that a movie can be made with a true genuine feeling and without playback. Here it's pretty obvious.

The story about fame and glory, its ups and downs. Its pluses and minuses. All the way. You will adore the music. And you will be on the watch for Beyonce. A fine dame, indeed. With a superb voice. However, this isn't a musical. Either make a musical or don't. This is a normal movie up to its third. After that, like the director couldn't make up his mind or was just reminded he was doing a remake of a musical. It's not a problem if this is not a musical. So make the normal movie. Just don't pretend you are supposed to make a musical and throw a few scenes just for the sake of genre.
You will adore the feeling of the 60ies and the music that goes with it.

My personal rating: 6,0 (good music, fairly good interaction between the actors. Especially if you are a fan of music, don't miss it. However, it's far beyond what you would expect from a musical).

Dreamgirls on IMDB

Mystic River, 2003

Mystic River, 2003
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Laura Linney, Laurence Fishburne

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday night

Mystic River in short: Childhood friends Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine and Dave Boyle reunite following the death of Jimmy's oldest daughter, Katie. Sean's a police detective on the case, gathering difficult and disturbing evidence; he's also tasked with handling Jimmy's rage and need for retribution.

Preps: None in perticular. Clint is the man. Don't need any special intro.

Reality: One of the better ones in his biography. Speaking about Eastwood. Plus, Penn got an oscar for his performance. It is as I always claim, strong story makes the movie. Marry it to a great director, hence success. In this case, I am speaking about a devastating touching story about past events that can haunt you from the childhood on and catch up later, when you think you have seen it all. It is a movie about friendship that can last an eternity, yet get broken in an instance if the right button is pushed - in this sense the death of a daughter of a part of a great friendship.
You feel they get reunited, yet they find out the barriers that are driving them apart. You see how their lives turned out and try to imagine how would it have been if they haven't been faced with a such trauma when they were eleven. The movie makes you think about all the individuals that were submerged to any kind of violence and the consequences they needed to face, at that age, or much later. And how many of those ended up in institutions? The stars know..
Eastwood knit a spectacular out of a sad story and I am in it up to my toes. The chill ends in my veins when a friend murders a friend and finds out he made a mistake. The irony in one of the last scenes is the last nail in my coffin. I am surrounded in sadness, depression and hardness of the moment. The blood spilt in vain is running in my blood stream as well and I am really touched by scenes with such a terror in the eyes. Penn and Bacon are brilliant, also Tim Robbins. The cast is supreme, the scenario is brilliant, the director exceeds every last bit of my eLinkxpectations. I love the movie.

My personal rating: 9,0 (beautiful, touching, filled with emotions. A must see).

Mystic river on IMDB

Shutter, 2008

Shutter, 2008
Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Cast: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, James Tyson

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday, after Chelsea first won the Eu Championship

Shutter in short: A newlywed couple Ben and Jane move to Japan for a promising job opportunity - a fashion shoot in Tokyo. During their trip on a dark forest road they experience a tragic car accident, leading to the death of a young local girl. Upon regaining consciousness, they find no trace of her body. A bit distraught the couple arrives in Tokyo to begin their new life. Meanwhile Ben begins noticing strange white blurs in many of his fashion shoot photographs. Jane believes that the blurs are actually spirit photography of the dead girl who they hit on the road, and that she may be seeking vengeance.

Preps: Well, I am not familiar with the piece nor with the story. Recognize Joshua Jackson and become curious. Link

Reality: Hm. It is a step forward in what I am used to watch in american horror movies or at least the ones that pretend to be made in this genre. However, you cannot just take some of the ghosts in japanese brilliant horror movies and press them into american scenes and think it will do the trick. One way is to put them in japanese placement (applause for the idea, obviously due to a japanese director). But let him do the japanese secret and not submerge it to low american horror standards. There were just a few directors in complete cinemography that could pursue the real horror spirit. One of my favourites of all times was Hitchcock, he really knew what he was doing.
A true horror isn't about the blood that is spilled, but it is hidden in the imagination of the viewer, the music, the scenes that aren't really ending in horror, but the ones where the viewer is imagining what is happening beyond the scene and is trembling out of fear.
Now, this one has its moments. I will admit that it gave me some chills and that is a major step forward in prosecution of a horror movie. The topic is intriguing and in my opinion this could be one of the better ones. Still, the delivery fails me in some way. Seeking ghosts from the pasts that come after you because you have been a bad boy is something that chases us constantly. Shows respect to religion, beliefs from childhood that haunt you even when you are an adult. And respect to the one you carry deep in your heart, your sweetheart and honesty that can break with a deed from the past that wasn't revealed.
The ghost images are real, the haunting is real and it gives me chills. The girl is taken from a movie I already have seen (the Ring) and the image is pretty similar. Now, don't take us for stupid, we can all recognize the same girl. Now, you can reuse the idea, but do not take all world's spectators for monkeys. The perspective, where the girl comes closer in snapshots, also taken from The Ring. Lame and not worthy of a great directors. Ok, do copy, but not to that limit where it's recognizeable so instantly.
Jackson and Taylor do have their energy well spoken out, however, the act isn't really trustworthy. Do better next time.

My personal rating: 5,0 (Could have been much better and much nicely put together. It is a step beyond a regular american "horror", but still leaves me empty).

Shutter on IMDb

May 17, 2012

13 Going on 30, 2004

13 Going on 30, 2004
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Kathy Baker

Stage: Home theatre, on a sunny Thursday after a beautiful afternoon

13 Going on in short: After total humiliation at her thirteenth birthday party, Jenna Rink wants to just hide until she's thirty. Thanks to some wishing dust, Jenna's prayer has been answered. With a knockout body, a dream apartment, a fabulous wardrobe, an athlete boyfriend, a dream job, and superstar friends, this can't be a better life. Unfortunetly, Jenna realizes that this is not what she wanted. The only one that she needs is her childhood best friend, Matt, a boy that she thought destroyed her party. But when she finds him, he's a grown up, and not the same person that she knew.

Preps: Well, I remember this one. I believe I am in a romantic mood for a comedy.

Reality: Well, this is a fairly cute comedy. However, you need to have the obligation to rest and you cannot expect your brains to fall out of excitement.

The scenes and dialogues are somehow witty and can drag my attention easily. I spend a lot of time figuring out how the girl will transform into a responsible adult. And she almost passes with merits until real »adult« stuff comes along, within this the sexual life she's supposed to have with her boyfriend and the responsibilities at work.

I am somehow surprised the director took the lighter path (or the screenplayer). I believe it's not so easy to fit into the adult shoes as here is shown, plus, there would be more complications deriving from »no experience with credit cards, payments, etc« boundaries. On the other hand, the light showing of a »dream come true« for a teenager ends up in dissapointment where she discovers, what a bitch she has become and becomes really depressed about it.

Cute music that fits the purpose, doesn't stand out and just emphasize the importance of different sequences of the story. It is vital that you don't feel overburdened with the music in the movie. In this type of stories, the view and the concentration should be on the story and main cast, the interaction within the actors. It is kind of cute finding your long lost best friend and falling in love again. The movie gives us the feeling we all have second chances. At least this is the first feeling I get and this couldn't be more wrong.. Maybe more important, we don't always have a second chance, therefore we should seize the day and grab the opportunity as they really fly away.

Don't think you will gain too much of this experience. However, Garner plays lovely and will give you a glimpse how it is for a 13 year old who doesn't know what she's having in front of her head and how hard it must hit her to appreciate it.

My personal rating: 6,0 (quite good in this genre, I believe I can live with seeing something like this every now and then. To remind me to live while I am alive and not thrive for being older and more experienced)

13 Going on on IMDB

The Reader, 2008

The Reader, 2008
Director: Stephen Daldry
Cast: Kate Winslet, Bruno Ganz, Ralph Fiennes

Stage: Home theatre, lovely Thursday evening

The Reader in short: THE READER opens in post-war Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna, a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair. Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from "The Odyssey," "Huck Finn" and "The Lady with the Little Dog." Despite their intense bond, Hanna mysteriously disappears one day and Michael is left confused and heartbroken. Eight years later, while Michael is a law student observing the Nazi war crime trials, he is stunned to find Hanna back in his life - this time as a defendant in the courtroom. As Hanna's past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives. THE READER is a story about truth and reconciliation...

Preps: Mmmm, saw this piece once upon a time. Kate Winslet is the best. Need to see this again.


Beautiful and touching story about a dame that wanted to be read to and had a romantic affair with a 20 year-younger student.. On the first look, obviously. Honestly? A breathtaking drama about a former prison guard in german camp, responsible for many deaths and selection of those that were later executed.

The movie has three parts; the first (romantic introduction). Kate Winslet is brilliant in the role of a dame that interacts with a younger student who doesn't have a true relationship with anyone, so he starts seeing her, reading to her and having sex with her. I love this part. This is also the part where you get to know her and like her.

The second part is the trial, where you find out that the person you liked, is actually under prosecution and on trial for commiting war crimes against women mostly. Now you are trying not to like her and hate her, because it is a sane decision to hate everyone that tortured people in german camps.

The third part consists of her being in prison and him growing up, sending her his voice over the tapes. The falldown of the lady, the rise with her learning to read and write, and then her remorsement and killing herself.

I believe all three could be divided into three separate movies, as I am eager and hungry for more content. On the other hand, they complement each other and make a beautiful scenario, story and feeling at its end. It brings out the issue of injustice in the court, as she is convicted also for writing something she couldn't possibly because of her incompetence. On the other hand, her former »boy« knows and doesn't reveal the truth, even though he has a chance. As we saw in Titanic, every woman has her secrets, also here every man can have his secret. She is his secret passion and desire from his juvenile age and he never lets go of her. A really lovely love story, which never had the chance to live, due to circumstances.

A truly good movie.

My personal rating:8,0 (I liked it a lot, it is one of the better formed dramas on the topic of WW2, carefully hidden in a love story).

The Reader on IMDB

May 14, 2012

Just like Heaven, 2005

Just like Heaven, 2005
Director: Mark Waters
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Donal Logue, Mark Ruffalo

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday night

Just like Heaven in short:
Elizabeth Masterson, a dedicated doctor in San Francisco, had almost no time for anything. When her sister with two kids set her up on a date, she gets into a tragic car crash and gets in a coma. Meanwhile, an landscape architect named David Abbott moves into San Francisco and coincidentally, into Elizabeth's apartment for rent. While at the apartment, Elizabeth's spirit haunts him. She doesn't remember who she is, who her family is, and what she did - All that she remembered was her apartment and where everything was. To settle the arguments, David agrees to figure out who Elizabeth really is. When they get close to figuring out who she is, they eventually find love with one another and as they finally know who she really is, they learn that fate really has put them both together.

Preps: Well, unfamiliar, doesn't ring any bell. But I think Witherspoon could be cute. Genre..well, something appropriate for my state of mind. Let's find out.

: Well, in a long run, I try to avoid the movies in this genre that are about the average. Or below expectations set. This is a hard genre, because most movies that derive from Hollywood machine, end up in some sort of comedy /romance /family adventure genre (whereas the other half would go to drama, I guess).. at least, judging from last 15 years of production and what do we have the pleasure of seeing. So to start with, a tough nut to crack, especially from the saturation point of view. Still, there were some positive surprises lately and I wanted this to be one as well.

The plot is simple and you don't need to be Einstein to follow it through. I like the energy between Witherspoon and Ruffalo. I bought it and for this reason I was a bit mushy at the end of the piece. However in the mean time I got bored and my mind flew away. This is not a quality of a good piece, as a good piece holds you to your bones until the very end. I wanted to check out the music, however almost impossible, the tunes never got the attention they would deserve. However, music can play the most powerful role in this genre and it's a shame they didn't abuse it more. To wake up from a dream and realize the one you just started to love, doesn't exist anymore (e.g. she didn't remember him).

The agony of the guy was so real, I fell into the feeling really deeply. Therefore I must claim the ending of the movie (very Hollywood-like, still..) extremely good and it made up for the rest of the movie, where I was stuck with stupid scenes, or dialogues. There are some scenes here that make this piece remarkable and in perticular emphasize the meaning of true love, soul spirits,
etc. Therefore, maybe a good choice for a relaxed afternoon when you need to dream away.

My personal rating: 5,0
(I wouldn't go for it if you aren't in a mushy mood, but still.. could touch your heart. If you have someone you lost due to a coma or trauma, you might fall into the spirit of the movie)

Just like Heaven on IMDB

Hush, 1998

Hush, 1998
Director: Jonathan Darby
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Johnathon Schaech

Stage: Home theatre, Sunday night

Hush in short: Helen is the young girlfriend of good-looking Jackson Baring. When Helen gets pregnant and marries Jackson, they decide to move to his hometown, Kilronan, and have a baby there. But his mother Martha, who lives there, starts to do weird things, and obviously she's not too friendly to Helen.

Preps: Gwyneth, mmmm. Need to see it, not aware of the movie or the entities it has or sets. Therefore, a blind walk in the park it is.

Reality: Well, it is hard to become a fan of this movie. It is a mixture of a really bad teenage movie on the topic of bad mothers and something that remotely resembles Single White Female or the Roomate, however, from a perspective of a mother that has a mixture of complexes and a husband, that doesn't really have Oedipus complex, but is nearly there.
It could be really a good piece, but the delivery is a disaster. Since I am a huge fan of Paltrow, I wanted to see it, still it lead me to a huge dissappointment. The act of Lange should also be better, they somehow don't seem to connect in the negative way, as they should, the stepdaughter and mother. They are supposed to express hatred towards each other, but they are cool as ice.
I don't really get where the director was leading to, but I was eager to know how far the mother will go and what is the story behind. You always know there is a story behind the scenes, the one you get to know in the process or somewhere by the end. The Oedipus complex is broken just at the end, as the truth reveals and the mother is left alone. However, at this point I should feel hate towards her, not sadness and some sort of compassion. Brings out the topic from before – what was the director thinking?

The movie is fairly old and I get that also in 1998 they didn't have special effects or something. Still, the movie feels like being dragged from a decade before it was actually made. The scenery, the photography, the costumography, music.. obsolete. The way of acting.. naive and obsolete. I didn't like it and it didn't make me anxious for more. The only thing that provoked in me, and that might be the only good thing about this movie, is curiosity. I wanted to know the story and it kept me alive until the end.

So watch it, if you are a fan of the main cast. Otherwise, a waste of energy.

My personal rating: 4,0 (well, if I had to choose, I wouldn't take the second look at this piece. It is made as a TV movie and I am not surprised it never appeared before in my radar. Don't waste your time.)

Hush on IMDB

May 12, 2012

Shakespeare in love, 1998

Shakespeare in Love, 1998
Director: John Madden,
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday night.

Shakespeare in short; Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon see through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play.

Preps: This is the oscar winner in huge sense. Took 7 statues and went to bed afterwards. One of the finests crew in terms of cast. One of the largest themes. MMMMMMMM. A swell selection on any night.

Reality: This is when too much poetry is turned into a poetic movie. I adore Shakespeare in whole, which means I have read virtually everything several times and know his words by heart. However, I am aware how many people there are with mere respect to the name (personal name) and none so ever knowledge about his work. Therefore it's a great challenge to put the poetry into a movie genre, yet alone to put it into a script.
The cast is amazing. Paltrow is amazing, the same goes for Wilkinson and Fiennes. Dench doesn't surprise me, because I am her fan anyway and know she's a great actor, even without the ironic black humour touch she has here. I believe those roles suit her well, however she exceeds any expectations here and goes beyond excellent.
The costumes /costumography is worth more than mentioning. They did an exquisite job with the roles and the wardrobe for them. Also, the music more than suits the suite chosen for each section of the movie. Scenography, applause. The scenes are filmed on a square that looks just like you would be there. The language spoken, also. For a fan of Shakespeare, this might be a kind of an insult, however, it is a well and carefully chosen language and the script, suitable for a movie, therefore I am more than satisfied and I enjoy the scenes, especially when the two lovers express love to each other thru rhymes.
There is a reason, why some movies get the awards, however in some cases you are awkwardly surprised, like in this year, 2012. Well, Shakespeare gets what he deserves. The main flow and the story revolves around love, obviously. You get a glimpse of Shakespeare's life and you like the man for his looks and words. Obviously charm. I wonder if the real guy really posessed it. Usually great artists are only a prism through which their heart is revealed (through their work and not as persons). The love he has is forbidden, and vice versa. Seems that the story of Romeo and Juliet gets inspiration along the way, with the development in real life, the story is written. Awfully romantic :) I just love it. The spirit you get from the two and the desperation in terms of getting to know one's duty and the need to follow your heart as opposed to what the queen told you to.. it's breathtaking and gets a tear or two from my heart as well.

My personal rating: 8,0 (my genre, my poems, my kind of a movie to breathe through any night. Love it. )

Shakespeare on IMDB

The Patriot, 2000

The Patriot, 2000
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Heath Ledger, Mel Gibson, Joely Richardson

Stage: Home theatre, Friday night

The Patriot in short: It is 1776 in colonial South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, a French-Indian war hero who is haunted by his past, now wants nothing more then to live peacefully on his small plantation, and wants no part of a war with the most powerful nation in the world, Great Britain. Meanwhile, his two eldest sons, Gabriel and Thomas, can't wait to enlist in the newly formed "Continental Army." When South Carolina decides to join the rebellion against England, Gabriel immediately signs up to fight...without his father's permission. But when Colonel William Tavington, British dragoon, infamous for his brutal tactics, comes and burns the Martin Plantation to the ground, tragedy strikes. Benjamin quickly finds himself torn between protecting his family, and seeking revenge along with being a part of the birth of new, young, and ambitious nation.

Preps: Haven't seen it before, unfortunately. Mel on a Friday night sounds great. Let's check it out.

Well, no real expectations. I need to state I am not really a fan of war movies, especially if they are happening on US soil. Because I mostly find them boring and not really attractive to the eyes. And I burst into tears when they tread on animals. I am making an intro because it also reflects in my reviews. Not many movies in this genre have surpassed my limit and have been thrown away. Some of them might be considered very high on my scale, though. For instance Braveheart is one of them, where you can just die of all the feelings that go through your body.

Now as I have mentioned Braveheart, it has the same main actor. Mel Gibson was in some sense (as Bruce Willis for action movies), born for this genre, as the roles in this sense suit him like a glove. Patriotism, fighting for the country, family, love of his children.. it just brings the best out of Mel Gibson and makes him epic, not only heroic.
The scenes are carefully chosen and up to a great extent, lead the observer through the historical facts and figures. The approach at fighting is amazing. I still cannot believe they used such weapons and that virtually a queue of men was just standing there while the opponent would shoot at them. And as they fell down, another (prior second row) stepped in front. In any case, you don't see many so well depicted battles as this one. The energy that Gibson shows is amazing. Especially when interacting with a stiff opponent or when having conversations with his loved ones. Heath Ledger is a good brother in arms, a true statue of youth and rebellion in comparison with Gibson. Whereas Gibson is old school, fighting for survival and until the last man falls.

The music is remarkable, it emphasizes each scene as it should, it is also the answer to my soul's spirit as it shows me without a shadow of a doubt, whether the scene is going to be morbid, killer-spirited, romantic, and it pours in my veins as deep as possible.
As always, I wonder, what is the purpose of the wars and where do they lead in their vanity. What is the role of a war, does it work like a disease - to give an answer to overpopulation? Whose idea is it and why does it get this far. Bunch of men, standing and "fighting for the cause".. when everything could be settled prior to the actual fight. Most of politicians would disagree as a lot of people perceive war to be the only solution or answer to many things. In this case, when you watch Patriot and see why they are fighting, the feeling of sadness even increases. It's never the great generals or politicians that get stuck on field with rifles. They are observers. And real population their puppets (or say chess figures). Truly sad. But real.

My personal rating: 8,5
(one of the finest war-historical heroic movies of all times. It will hurt your soul and make you wonder how lucky we are not being in that space and time. On the other hand, you will want to taste and smell it in reality. Gibson's great role, Heath Ledger also exceeds my expectations)

Trapped, 2002

Trapped, 2002
Director: Luis Mandoki
Cast: Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Kevin Bacon

Trapped, in short: When their daughter is abducted and taken for ransom by a gang of serial kidnappers, a young doctor and his wife find themselves held hostage while a 24-hour plan to extort their money is set into motion. Now, with time running out and the health of their asthmatic daughter at serious risk, they find themselves in a life-and-death race against the clock as the "perfect crime" begins spiraling towards an unthinkable, terrifying and deadly conclusion.

Stage: home theatre, late Friday night

Preps: Hm. Already seen it. Is it a good piece? Cannot remember.. . Let's take a shot.

Reality: For once I have been right at my hunch. If I haven't remembered the storyflow and if I don't have a good idea about the movie, it couldn't have been a splendid one. Still, I am not in the mood to do anything else. Maybe I got the wrong impression.
Nope, I am right. It's not Ther0n's greatest hour. Neither Bacon's or Love's. A good action? My ass. Still, it's hard from my tongue, a better selection than anything from our local TV selection. The scenes are awful, the turnovers are predictable. The storyflow is not remarkable, as you can foresay what will happen. And the criminals aren't consistant. Are we watching a drama, psycho thriller or are we watching two randomly chosen couples that are making a pass to each other.
Again, my intuition was a good one. This is a bad movie, not worthy of your time and placing among the chosen ones.

My personal rating: 2,5 (rrrrr, still not satisfied about leaving my time in this one.).

Trapped on IMDB


May 6, 2012

Freedomland, 2006

Freedomland, 2006
Director: Joe Roth
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

Freedomland in short: When her son disappears and is believed to be dead, a single mother blames an African-American man from the projects for the kidnapping, creating a racial controversy. An African-American detective and a white missing child researcher team up to investigate the case, which they discover may be more complicated than they expected.

Preps: Well, I am not familiar with the piece, I doubt it came to our theatres, as I would have noticed. I am a fan of Jackson, therefore I need to at least check it out. And I see Julianne Moore is in this piece, two reasons then to do it.

Reality: One thing is certain. Great actors don't provide good movies by themselves. You cannot have a good piece without a good story (and a believable one), which is delivered in the most convenient and intriguing way. And a director to guide you through. Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore can be the best actors in the world, but without a firm guidance and director, who knows what he's doing, nothing will happen for sure.

Now, to be more precise - the story about a young boy missing gets in my radar after a while, when I was on a good way to shut the movie down and watch something completely different. Now it gets interesting. What happened with the boy and why is the mother so high all the time? Julianne Moore can play in drama genre perfectly and fits to a crushed mother image like a glove. This piece may not be one of my favourite deliveries on the topic, however I sense some great cast from Moore here. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything similar with regards to L. Jackson. I am dissappointed in his low effort energy and low energy between the both main fish - Moore and Jackson don't interact as they should.

The setting, the storyflow, everything else from that point (when you realize what this is going to be about), is more or less like an episode of CSI, just without people with sprays and pins to collect the details. I embrace the approach, but the delivery should have been better. I am not surprised it never got to our theatres, because quite frankly I would be really pissed off to spend my money to watch this in theatres.

Lots of room for improvement. The lighting is weird, scenography also. Where is the music, what happened to the art director? The main thing why I didn't decide to go with 0 at my personal rating is Moore - she does the trauma act superbly. You can never know if she's high or drugged, or just devastated. Brilliant. On the other hand, at some point I decide I want to watch this until the end because it simply interests me what will happen and what is the reality behind her lies. It could have been pulled off better and more sophisticated. Well, every day is not Sunday, right? ;)

My personal rating: 5,0 (if you don't have other more intriguing options. Moore does have an interesting role and a good delivery).

Freedomland on IMDB

The Fog, 2005

The Fog, 2005
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Cast: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair

Stage: Home TV selection, Sat evening

The Fog in short: The inhabitants of Antonio Island, off the coast of Oregon, are about to unveil a statue honoring the four men (Castle, Wayne, Williams and Malone) who founded their town in 1871. Nick Castle is one of the descendants of the men, and owns a fishing charter company, using his vessel, the Seagrass, for tourism. When his girlfriend Elizabeth Williams returns to the island after spending six months in New York, a bizarre series of events begin to occur, including several gruesome deaths and the presence of a mysterious fog. When Elizabeth slips in Nick's boathouse and falls into the sea, she finds an old journal from 1871, written by Patrick Malone, one of the town's founders. It tells how a man named Blake bought half the island for use as a leper colony. While bringing his people to Antonio Island in their clipper ship, the Elizabeth Dane, Blake is betrayed by Castle, Wayne, Williams and Malone...

Preps: Hm. A remake of a good movie from 1980 with Jamie Lee Curtis? I wanted to watch it, I remember, however never got to it.

Reality: Why would you make a direct copy almost and think it's cooler this time? I am deeply dissappointed in the second "copy" I am reviewing in the last 14 days; the first one was The Girl with a dragon tatoo, american shitty remake of a swedish good movie.

The storyline is good, though. I remember seeing the original numerous times with my mother. She adored The Fog, but the one with Jamie Lee Curtis. This one she would complain about, I hear her now. It is filled with juvenile stuff, but the 1980 was real thing. Juvenile in sense of modern horrors, where blood and flying knives are the highlight. Whereas in the old days, with HItchcock kind of movies, horror was about music and imagination. Anyway, the return of the leper guys and wanting revenge, this was also in the 1980 version. This version brings more effects, it brings more nowadays 3D effects at the sea. It also brings sex in the picture. As said, the 1980 classic didn't bother about this. So for a fact, it isn't a true copy, however, similar enough to make me compare the both.

In this one, Elisabeth makes the pressure by evoking what slept for a long time. 1980 version just has zombies without me thinking who caused them. In any case, I am frustrated with the piece as a whole. I want to see the old one and I don't want the people from Antonio Bay to Google for answers. This isn't the way I want the movie remaked. I don't even want it remaked.

My personal rating: 3,0 (bljah, a remake I didn't want to see. Worse than original for sure, even though the director did the extra mile. )

The Fog on IMDB

May 5, 2012

The Silence of The Lambs, 1991

The Silence of The Lambs, 1991
Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney

Stage: Home TV selection on a nice Saturday

Silence in short: Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator have the answers to their questions to help locate the killer. Clarice must first try and gain Lecter's confidence before he is to give away any information.

Preps: Ahhhh, a classic. Need to see it from time to time. One of the best thrillers ever made.

Reality: Well, Sir Hopkins rocks in this part. As an ex carnivor (in human sense, because he ate human flesh) and psychologist, he is tricky to be swollen by the spectator. We get to know him through Clarice, a young eager FBI agent, on her way to the stars.
He reveals his secrets through the psychoanalysis he is doing all the time. For no appareant reason, he likes Clarice and likes "hanging out" with her, if you can even call his sessions he has with her. An interesting trade - she reveals her deep childhood secrets and he tells her how to get to one man FBI is after.
I have never seen scenes so obscure and thrilling. You know something is going to happen, although with common sense, you cannot see how. But you sense it. The largest piece of contribution goes to the music (absolutely beautifully played for each perticular scene) and Sir Hopkins. Obviously he brought the best out of (at that time) still young Foster. I loved her in this part because she represented a kind of character (profession) I once wanted to be, therefore I could perfectly harmonize with her cast.
In general, I believe the three part movie (The Silence is the first from the threesome) is one of the best trilogies ever made. Still gets the creeps out of me. The story is awsome. Trading with really sick prisoner is breathtaking. The music gives me the chills and imagining things that are presented in this piece is unbelievable. Dresses out of human skin? Eating human flesh.. liver with a glass of Chianti. You find yourself worshiping Lector, and despising him at the same moment. Not a lot of pieces do this to you.

In any sense, a thriller worth seeing every now and then. Makes you believe Lecter is in the prison because he wants to be and not because his government wants him to. Also makes you sure about the next piece, the sequel, because the story doesn't end with the rescue. A normal setting for a sequel.

Sometimes you see one person make a movie and be notorious about it. In a good sense. Anthony Hopkins has this one as the milestone in his career. Absolutely great cast and great energy. He owns the stage.

My personal rating: 9,0 (a solid, strong thriller. I would claim an oldie goldie, even though the movie isn't really ancient).

The Silence on IMDB

May 2, 2012

To Gillian on her 37th birthday, 1996

To Gillian on her 37th Birthday, 1996
Director: Michael Pressman
Cast: Peter Gallagher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Kathy Baker

Stage: Home TV selection on a nice night. Long day behind me and I need something easy to watch.

To Gillian in short: David loves his wife, Gillian. Unfortunately, she died two years ago. David deals with his grief by continuing his romance with Gillian during walks with her "ghost" on the beach at night. While David lives in the past, other family problems crop up in the present in the real world

Preps: Hm. The cast is good. Although normally TV selection on an Wednesday night isn't something really stunning, I might be facing a decent run.

Reality: Well, this piece can leave you cold as hell or can get you down on your knees. Depends on the level on which you can relate to the situation. In this case, I cannot relate to the situation, nor do the actors persuade me to do so. I am dissappointed with small amount of energy I see in dialogues, the effort that the main cast pulled for this piece. Michelle Pfeiffer is a doll that comes and goes as she pleases (or as Gallagher's imagination depicts her). No true role inside this.
Claire Danes is a copy of what she played at Dawson's creek - a lost young lady with an emotional approach towards everything. I see the character she was there also inside this movie.
The same goes for Kathy Baker; Picket Fences were the ones that I remembered her by; as a caring mother and someone that wants to do right things and fight for justice. Well, this role is a copy of what she was in Picket Fences. Obviously she does it well.

Somehow all the main characters have the same roles they had in their glorious series, movies, things that made them celebrities. However, is this the right way to go? Just to take the right characters and repeat their act, not let them grow? The movie can leave you cold, if you decide it's the wrong way director should choose. Because the characters in Gillian just repeat what they used to do, only with some different wordings.

The story is a touchy one, though. Forgetting someone you loved after a tragedy can be hopeless. If an adolescent child is involved, it can get even worse. How to deal with the loss, is the main storyline here. And what is best for the child. Should the rest of the family get involved? I believe, not. All the people in the world have tons of problems. I think people should firstly deal with their own and clean their own house, before molesting someone else's lives and destroying families. In this sense, a family gets torn apart for no appareant (or righteous reason). Death is a part of life and we should be able to cope with it or deal with it at some point. Learned that when my mother passed away a few years ago and I was left all alone.

The movie doesn't get my thumbs up. It just didn't offer as much as one would expect. The cast can be extremely well chosen, but it's on the director to pull energy out of them, and the script can be the foundation of a good movie. In this case it wasn't.

My personal rating: 4,0 (you won't miss a thing if you don't watch it. You can do all sorts of things inbetween. Go to the fridge, wash yourself, etc. You won't miss anything if you miss tens of minutes. Or the complete movie. I like the idea, though and believe it's not so rotten for a TV movie).

To Gillian on IMDB