Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fact Sunday

  Today's movie fact is about The Silence of the Lamps (1991), the famous movie about Hannibal Lecter, featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Even though Anthony Hopkins embodies the main character of the movie his screentime is only a total of 16 minutes.
Hope you enjoyed today's fact. Have a great day.

Orion Pictures

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Limitless movie review

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Abbie Cornish
Director: Neil Burger
Running time: 1 hour and 44 minutes
  Limitless tells the story of Eddie (Bradley Cooper) and his crazy journey after he is introduced, for the first time, to the newest, not-so-legal, drug NZT-48. There are murders, schemes, backstabbings and everything else you can imagine. And it is all for a little clear pill. A pill that offers you limitless possibilities. A pill that offered Eddie limitless possibilities.
  I first saw this movie when i was 16 or something like that. I put it in the back of my head and since then I've never watched it or thought about it again. That was until a couple of months ago when i came across it browsing for a movie to watch. But, again, i put it in the "to watch" file and moved on. Until today. Today i decided to watch limitless one more time. And i am very glad i did.
  You probably guessed it already but i loved this movie.
   I liked how Eddie started up, as a writer who had lost his way. He was obviously smart and capable, otherwise he wouldn't have a book deal to begin with, but he had gotten himself into a hole like so many people in real life do. So Eddie was always intelligent, the drug just enhanced his potential. However, the NZT-48 was still a drug and i appreciated how that was portrayed in the movie. You see how great it felt for Eddie when he was on it but, also, how addicted he was (hint: there was blood-drinking and no one was a vampire). You realised the length that someone would go to to get  a fix and Eddie's NZT-48 addiction was no different. And in the same subject NZT-48 was not only addictive like real drugs, it, also, had very serious side effects. We see the side effects at an early stage in Eddie and at a more serious stage in his ex-girlfriend.
  One of the things i liked the most about Limitless was the ending, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the fact that SPOILER ALERT!!! Van Loon (Robert DeNiro) had learned about the drug and ended up buying a pharmaceutical company that would produce it and destroying the labs Eddie had hired so that he could have an endless supply. And all that so Van Loon could extort him was brilliant in my opinion. And most importantly believable. Van Loon was very successful, smart and competent. While Eddie came out of nowhere, was impressively brilliant (too impressively) and had risen up the corporate ladder way too fast. Van Loon was bound to notice that something was "wrong" and learn about the drug sooner or later. But on the same note, because of the drug Eddie was definitely "the smartest guy in the room", so naturally he would figure out that at some point someone would find out about his secret and try to blackmail him. What he figured out (i won't spoil it) was credible and logical. And as Eddie said at the end  "I'm fifteen moves ahead of you and everybody else".Finally, in the end there is a hint of an idea that i always found very interesting in movies (an example of a movie with the same premise especially in the end is The Ides of March). That idea is that politicians hide dark secrets behind a shiny- often false- exterior. That secret, for Eddie, is obviously the NZT but, also, the murder he committed in the begging of his drug use. For which they never found the guilty party.
  There were some parts of the movie that i found a bit unnecessary, however. The love story between Eddie and his ex-girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) was a little trivial. I felt that it didn't move the story along, give us an insight into Eddie's personality or contribute in any way to the movie. At least not in a positive one. I found myself being bored by the Lindy scenes and that took me out of a movie that i was really enjoying otherwise. Moreover, regarding the murder Eddie executed. Although it was an important plot device and i do think it was crucial in order to show the drug effects NZT had on Eddie, i believe it didn't concern Eddie as much as it should have. He got out of the whole mess way too quickly. It seems unlikely that the police couldn't find anything that would indicate that Eddie was the murderer.
  In conclusion, Limitless was a great film that was thrilling, interesting and fast-paced and in the same time realistic, serious and dramatic. I recommend it without a doubt and i hope everyone enjoys it.
Score: 91%

Relativity Media

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The English Teacher movie review

Cast: Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Michael Angarano, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane
Director: Craig Zisk
Running time: 1 hour and 33 minutes
  The English Teacher is the story of an English teacher, her old student and his play. Linda (Julianne Moore) is a high school English teacher that lives a pretty ordinary life until she runs into her old student Jason (Michael Angarano) and gets a look at his play. Now she is determined to get "The Chrysalis" produced along with the help of Jason and Carl (Nathan Lane),the drama teacher. But things don't go as expected. What will happen to the play? And what will happen to Linda Sinclair?
   I like Julianne Moore and she was one of the reasons (the other one was Gregg Kinnear) that i started watching this movie. And unfortunately i can't say I'm glad.
  But first thing's first. There were some positive things about "The English Teacher" that are worth mentioning. A big part of the movie was Kinnear's , Dr. Sherwood's, relationship with his son Angarano, or Jason as was the character's name. Their relationship is obviously damaged but what was very interesting and what i really appreciated was that it wasn't all blamed on the father or all on the son as we see in many films these days.They both made mistakes and they were both to blame and that was depicted nicely in the movie. It was an element that made "The English Teacher" more realistic and relatable, in my opinion.
  I, also, really enjoyed Nathan Lane's character, Carl. Carl is the drama teacher that tells stories about how he met famous theater directors and producers and how they all saw a rare talent in him. I saw Carl as a very common and everyday kind of person in the way he tried to cover up his own insecurities and fears by trying to impress others with made up over-the-top stories. I feel that Carl as a character is someone very flawed and very human that exists in all of us. More in some and less in others. One incident in the movie that stands out about Lane's role is when he confessed to lying about how he met some famous theater guy (i can't remember who) but still by the opening night he was back to his old tricks.
  Now regarding the weaknesses of the movie and the main characters. My main problem was that non of the characters are developed, have any real backstories or have personalities to be honest.
  Linda is portrayed as a simple, passionate woman who is stuck in a boring life but that's all we get. In order to understand her and understand her decisions (like why she slept with a former student) we need to know a little more about her life previous to the "incident", meaning the random one night stand, or more about her family and the people that contributed to who she is at this point or her interests, we know she likes literature but the movie doesn't even get deeper into that, or anything really. She is just blank and dull and the audience has no connection to her whatsoever. In fact the way this character is depicted in the film seems pretty unlikely. Why now?? Why this student?? Hasn't she met anyone talented before??What is so special about Jason??
  Which brings me to my second point. Jason. Jason is obviously disturbed in some way so that he makes up such elaborate lies about his relationships with his father,his mother and anything else he lied about. What was his childhood really like and what really happened with him and his father?? and where is his mom?? Why he lied about her being dead?? and so many more questions i could ask but i won't because i don't to bore you. 
  The same goes for all the characters in "The English Teacher". No one has any substance, character development or backstory. But it doesn't just stop there. The infamous play is a very mysterious thing in the movie considering it's such a main thing.But that doesn't get developed either. What i've gathered from watching the movie is that there is a daughter, her mother is dead, she has an Irish stepmother, she has a father and at some point she is transformed  into some kind of insect (?). The whole thing of "The English Teacher" is that there is a play that is so wonderful, so sad and so perfect that it needs to be produced but we don't know anything about it (except the bug thing). We are supposed to have such strong feelings regarding the play, like the movie characters, that we become filled with excitement, anxiety and worry about what will happen. But we're not. We don't care at all about what will happen with the play. Or at least i didn't.
  And that's not the only problem about the play. How can it be so perfect and how can Linda and Carl love it so much but still change its ending?? How can they fight so hard to keep it intact but end up changing the most important thing about it and it still staying great?? I'm sorry but i don't buy it and it pisses me off a little bit because it's so unrealistic. You don't get a masterpiece from changing the ending of a play in order to make it safe to be a high school production. It doesn't work like that.
  And finally, i found the whole love story between Moore and Kinnear unnecessary. It feels forced not  because of the acting but because of its nature. And what i mean is that it is only incorporated to the story to keep the audience interested. Not every story has to have a love story and a happy ending. Most great stories don't. 
   In conclusion,"The English Teacher" has a nice concept and some funny bits and situations but it would be a million times better if it was an indie drama about a teacher, her old student and his play.
Score: 28%

Cinedigm Entertainment
Tribeca Film

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie review

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Francis Lawrence
Running time: 2 hour and 26 minutes
  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second installment of The Hunger Games movies. Katniss and Peeta are back after winning the 74th annual Hunger Games and about to leave for their victory tour. During the tour both, Katniss and Peeta, realize that a revolution is starting and Katniss is in the center of it all. But there are more in store for them. After they come back from the tour it is announced that in this year's annual Hunger Games the tributes will be selected from the existing pool of victors. So, once again, they are off to try and win in this deadly game.And this year President Snow has made sure there can only be one winner. 
  I LOVE this movie. I really loved the first one but it doesn't even compare to this one. First of all we get to learn more about the characters,especially Peeta and Gale,from whom we saw almost nothing in the first film.
  Here we see a stronger,more determined but still funny, charming and kind Peeta. There was more personality to him while in the first one i felt he was just a clueless victim. He understands now that everything about the love affair between him and Katniss were for the cameras and he accepts it but he still tries to establish at least a friendship with her. He is now a protagonist of the movie along with Katniss while in the first hunger games that wasn't the case. 
  We, also, get to know a little bit about Gale and get to see his relationship with Katniss. We see that he cares for her and that she cares for him too but we experience him beyond that. We learn more about his thoughts on the Capitol and the revolution, which he mentioned in the first movie but only briefly, and see him taking action against the authorities in order to save others.
  Katniss is tough, caring and a survivor. We got to know quite a bit of her in the first movie but here she shows how much she cares about people and we understand why everyone sees a leader in her since she is caring but has, also, the strength to fight for those who can't. 
  One thing i really enjoyed was how clear it is that Katniss has feelings for Peeta. In the first Hunger Games movie you get the impression that she starts to feel something for him but it is obvious that for the most part she is lying in order to survive. In the second Hunger Games movie there is a bond that forms between them during their time together that is very strong due to fact that they experienced a lot with each other while trying to survive their first time in the games but, also, because they know that they will have to go through that again and this time only one of them will survive.
  Moreover, i really liked watching Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. We got a lot more of him this time around and i really enjoyed it. I am very happy that we will see even more from him in the third movie in a different way because of the information we got from the second movie. The same goes for Effie (Elizabeth Banks) i had fun watching her and she showed us a more sensitive side to her and i can't wait to see how she will be incorporated in the third Hunger Games movie.
  And finally, one of the biggest things that bothered me (i really hate it) was the fact that have the movie was shot in a very-shaky-camera way. But thankfully that was not the case for the second movie. The camera work was pretty steady for the most part and that allowed the audience to really focus on what was happening rather than getting distracted every five minutes.
  There were a couple of things that i didn't like about The Hunger Games. The first one was that even though Peeta was portrayed as a kind but strong person in general during the games he was shown as a very weak competitor. I feel that he would be a stronger contender based on the first movie. In the original Hunger Games we saw that he was very good at lifting heavy weights and camouflaging himself in order to blend into the background but in Catching Fire he doesn't take advantage of his strengths at all.
  Furthermore, SPOILER ALERT!! the big reveal at the end was that Finnick and Johanna and some other tributes where part of a group hoping to start a revolution and they were trying to save Katniss so that she would be the leader. And that would be a great surprise and ending if it wasn't for some unnecessary comments made by Johanna, mostly, that made it obvious what was the plan. I saw the twist coming and it took all the fun out of the ending. I wish it was more unexpected.
  In conclusion, i love The Hunger Games trilogy and this is my favourite so far. Worth more than just one watch. And to give a hint on how much a liked it i will say it was 2 and a half hours and i didn't want it to end.
Score: 95%
And remember, the odds are never in our favor.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Counselor movie review

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt
Director: Ridley Scott
Running time: 1 hour and 57 minutes
  The Counselor is a movie about a lawyer who decides to get in business with the wrong side of the law. He decides to get into the drug scene (although I'm still not sure what he would be doing exactly). But things don't go the way they were supposed to and now the Counselor is left trying to figure out how to get himself out of the, very serious, trouble he is in.
  What i will say about this movie is that it is "interesting". And what i mean by that is that because it is so extremely over the top it generated a certain fascination in me to see what's next. Every scene is more ridiculous than the previous and that kept me at the edge of my seat. I was never bored and the movie is almost two hours (so that should say something).I, also, have to say that i found the movie pretty hilarious and i don't know if i should put this on the pros or the cons column because it's not supposed to be funny. The dialogue between almost anyone in the movie is so random and tries to be so serious at the same time that it becomes comedic. It was so weird that i couldn't help but think "what the hell are they saying??". One of my favourite examples of this kind of conversation was when The Counselor was talking on the phone with Jefe, a high-ranking cartel member, and he would answer every question The Counselor asked with a very "deep"-sounding nonsense. It  was so great.Furthermore, I actually did really like one of the characters. Westray (Brad Pitt) was an interesting addition to the film even though his appearances were limited.
  The Counselor is very flawed in my opinion. First of all it's a big mess, to be honest. It has a very basic structure. The audience can definitely follow the events but the story is limited and interrupted by crazy and random scenes that are only there to shock the viewer (like the car thing or the snuff film thing). It is all over the place. The movie tries to tell a story but it ends up just showing you scenes in a chaotic way. It really bothered me and took me out of the whole thing. You don't see substance, you don't get to know anyone (not even The Counselor or his motives) and you don't care about anyone's fate in the end. It didn't feel like a real movie to me but rather a big pile of  aimless moments. Moreover,even though non of the characters is worthwhile Penelope Cruz's character is even worse. She has no purpose until the end. She is just a plot device .
  In conclusion, funny but intentionally, messy and with  a great cast that can't save the movie from being what it is. If you are really bored watch it for the ridiculousness of it. 
Score: 32%

20th Century FOX

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Some Girl(s) movie review

Cast: Adam Brody, Jennifer Morrison, Mia Maestro, Emily Watson, Zoe Kazan, Kristen Bell
Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  The movie starts off with Adam Brody,who is never named through the film and is credited as man, in a hotel room waiting for Sam (Jrnnifer Morrison) his ex-girlfriend. And after that he waits in a hotel room for Tyler (Mia Maestro). And then Lindsay (Emily Watson). And Reggie (Zoe Kazan). And Bobbi (Kristen Bell). Adam Brody is on a "tour" to find and talk to his ex-girlfriends before he gets married. And he does. And many things happen.
  Fun little fact: the movie is based on a play by Neil LaBute that ran in both London and New York City. And the screenplay for the movie was, also, written by Neil LaBute.
SAM (Seattle). Sam is the high school sweetheart. The girl from school that Brody's character broke up with before leaving for college.He didn't want to stay in his hometown and have a mediocre life. And he knew that was what Sam would end up having. 
Sam's story is greatly relatable for many people and that is what i loved about it. It is something out of real life and that makes it all the more genuine and realistic. I, also, feel that it was the best one to start off with. It was the most simple one of all of them and a great way to ease us into the whole movie.
Sam's reaction was spot on. Not too dramatic but not apathetic either. It was the perfect way for an everyday, girl-next-door woman to react. It was the perfect way for someone like Sam to react.
TYLER (Chicago). Tyler is the adventurous girl. She is the girl with whom Brody experimented and got more in touch with his wild side. However, as Adam Brody discovers throughout their talk in the hotel room, she isn't really one of the girls he "wronged". He just thought she was because of the pain he felt while he was with her. But that pain was, in reality, for the girl he broke up with to be with Tyler. That pain was for a girl that comes up later in the list.
What i really enjoyed about this story is that it is a very suitable continuance from the previous story. After having relationships with sweet yet somewhat ordinary girls, Brody was attracted to the adventurous and unfamiliar wild-girl. It seems natural that Brody chose to get involved with Tyler at the point in his life where he was experiencing his life in a new light, after leaving home.
And like Sam, i thought that Tyler's reaction was perfect. It was obvious that even though Brody's character had made an impression, he wasn't someone she would stay very long with. But she was still hurt, even though you could tell she was tough, when he told her that she wasn't that important to him after all. That she was a "second" choice.
LINDSAY (Boston). Lindsay is the older woman who is, also, married. She got together with Brody's character when he started working at the school she was a teacher at and they started having an affair. They were eventually caught and she stayed and faced the consequences while Brody ran away and left her alone.
Lindsay blames Brody not only for leaving her when the times got tough but, also, for the affair they were in.
On the other side, Brody's character regrets abandoning her but doesn't feel that the affair was something to be guilty about.
My opinion about Lindsay's story and her reaction, which i won't spoil but it was a little bit extreme, is that Lindsay was not forced into the affair by anyone and she was the only one involved with someone else at the time. So she only has to blame herself. However it was understandable that  she blamed Brody too, especially after the way he treated her. 
So i feel that Lindsay's story was the one that was the most educational. She did something she regretted afterwards and she managed seeing Brody again in a human way but she, also, taught him a lesson and tried to make him understand that his actions affect others.
REGGIE (Seattle...again). Reggie is Brody's best friend's sister. She is the young girl that had a crush on him. But, at the same time, she is the girl with whom things went too far. The girl that was the most affected by Brody's behavior without him even realising it.
Reggie is, also, the girl that, in my opinion, got the most out of Brody's visit. In all the visits you could tell that Brody's reasons for the "tour" down memory lane were selfish. It was obvious that by the end of these conversations the person that was most benefited was Brody. However, in Reggie's case she was the one that walked out another person. A free person that was no longer carrying baggage from her past.
Reggie's story was the point where you understood how serious the movie really is. That it isn't just another movie about love but a movie about human behavior and human interactions.
BOBBI (Los Angeles). We have arrived. We are at the last stop of the exes train. We are at Bobbi's story. Remember the girl that Brody left in order to be with Tyler?? Well that girl is Bobbi.
Bobbi's story is the most crucial in the whole movie, hence it's the last one. SPOILER ALERT!! For me the most important thing in Bobbi's storyline (more important than the mike itself) is that Bobbi saw Brody's true nature from the start. She called him out on his bullshit before she even discovered the truth.She was a badass.
As far as the microphone goes, i really didn't see it coming (and maybe i should have). I knew his reasons for all of this were self centered but i didn't realise how much. And, frankly i loved it. I didn't see it coming but i did believe it in a second.
Which brings me to another major point. Brody's character was an asshole. BUT you didn't realise it right away. The script is so good that as the movie progresses the more you start to understand what kind of person Brody really is. You can't tell right from the begging but as you move forward in the story pieces start to click and his character starts to reveal himself. It's pretty great to watch.
Now back to Bobbi, as expected Brody comes to the conclusion (genuine or not) that she is the one for him. But she still leaves him realising that he is still the same person and that he will never change.
And that is what makes the ending so great (both; the one with Bobbi and the very end of the movie). You see that even with all the things that happened throughout his journey he learned nothing and he didn't grow at all from the experience. You understand that not everyone can change and it's fascinating to watch.
  In conclusion, a great movie in my opinion. A real dive into the human soul and a testament to human behavior and its consequences. A must-watch.
Score: 92%

Leeden Media

Sunday, October 27, 2013

About Time movie review

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Director: Richard Curtis
Running time: 2 hours and 3 minutes
  About Time is a movie about a young man who learns from his father that he has the power to go back in time and change any situation. We watch him use his power for his benefit and for others and we go along as his life changes with the help of his extraordinaire abilities.
  The whole movie is charming and lovely and that is mostly because of the very likable leading man. Domhnall Gleeson has an awkwardness that is very appealing. He is not the model-actor that is a usual choice in many movies but he is not the complete opposite either. He is just the cute guy next door. One of the things i really enjoyed about the film was that it wasn't focused on how Gleeson was going to get the girl, McAdams, using his powers and that would be the end of it. It wasn't a love story but rather a life story. There was more to it. It had more aspects. From his parents, sister, best friend.... to his wife and kids. It covers all the layers of his life from the point that he learns about his powers and on. Moreover, i found unusual and very interesting his relationship with his sister, Wilson. It was sweet and their love was pure and unique. The movie , also, has a solid lesson to be learned which is always a good thing. Lastly, i though it was great how the movie portrayed Gleeson's character through the years. You could see the subtle change in his maturity and thought process as he was getting older. And as he was growing up so did the way he used his powers. 
  There was one thing i didn't really understand. SPOILER ALERT!!!! Why couldn't Tim go back to see his father after having a third child? If he did everything the same way theoretically it would be possible to go back and then return to the same present, especially since he had done it once before; so that he would have the daughter he had before instead of a son. And i know what i am saying is confusing for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet but i was very curious.
  The thing that i found a little bit unrealistic was the character of the sister, Lydia Wilson. She was  depicted as a girl who lived in her own world but that was only for some of the time; other times she would act in a more usual way. So i thought the movie had to either go all out and make her really weird, in the alternative-indie movie kind of way, or make her really damaged which would mean another backstory for her because here she seemed to have a pretty great childhood which wouldn't explain the damaged part. And finally what i found to be another negative about this movie was that it was too perfect. Perfect next-to-the-sea mansion and down town apartment, perfect family, perfect girl... It was a bit too much perfection.
  In conclusion, i really liked this movie, even though it wasn't perfect. Very enjoyable and i recommend it without a doubt.
Score: 82%


Universal Pictures