Oct 28, 2012

Monster-In-Law, 2005

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

Stage: Home TV selection on a late Sunday night

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

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

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

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

Monster on IMDB

Oslo, 31. august, 2011

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

Stage: local Art Cinema Dvor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oslo on IMDB

Oct 22, 2012

Planet 51, 2009

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

Stage: Home TV selection, nice Sunday afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planet 51 on IMDB

Oct 11, 2012

They Live, 1988

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

Stage: Home theatre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They live on IMDB

The Devil Wears Prada, 2006

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

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Devil on IMDB