with the bold text in the example below:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

August: Osage County by John Wells, 2013 (R)

Nominated for the Oscars 2014 for the following categories: Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role

When their father disappears, three strong-willed women return to their childhood home and to their equally strong-willed mother. As they search for their patriarch, the dysfunctional family members wind up facing difficult truths about themselves.

One of the craziest movie of this year, filled with emotions, wrongdoing, kind of explaining how our society is so messed up, in a nutshell. And somehow, all these characters and their flaws deserve some loving, and you get to understand them, perhaps not for all they are, but for how they all belong. It is an interesting portrayal, with amazing performances, mostly from Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson. Now three things, Meryl Streep I think went overboard in her acting, Julia Robert looks like she is hunting for best supporting role in a unnatural way, and finally (what for spoiler), how come Julianne Nicholson (Masters of Sex) is playing again a woman with cervical cancer?

with Meryl Streep (Out of Africa, Prime, The Iron Lady, Marvin's Room, It's Complicated, Julie and Julia, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Hope Springs), Julia Roberts (Duplicity, Mirror Mirror Snow White, Eat Pray Love, Larry Crowne, Fireflies in the Garden), Chris Cooper (The Company Men, The Horse Whisperer, The Company You Keep, American Beauty), Ewan McGregor (Beginners, Amelia, Haywire, The Men Who Stare At Goats, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing In Yemen, Perfect Sense), Margo Martindale (Beautiful Creatures), Abigail Breslin (The Call, Little Miss Sunshine, Rango), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, War Horse, Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, The Whistleblower), Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney (J. Edgar, The Grey), Julianne Nicholson (Keep the Lights On, Puccini for Beginners, Masters of Sex), Sam Shepard (Out of the Furnace, Mud), Misty Upham (Frozen River)
From the director of The Company Men, produced by George Clooney, Jean Doumanian, Grant Heslov, Steve Traxler, and Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

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Les garçons et Guillaume, à table (Me, Myself and Mum) by Guillaume Gallienne, 2013

with Guillaume Gallienne, André Marcon, Françoise Fabian, Nanou Garcia (Tout Ce Qui Brille - All That Glitters), Diane Kruger (Mr. Nobody), Yves Jacques

French actor Guillaume Gallienne plays himself in a memoir that begins in his childhood and details his early self-identification as a female. He eventually identifies as gay, but "comes out" as heterosexual when he meets the female love of his life.

This is an interesting movie. I think the title in English helps understand it is definitely about Guillaume Gallienne, and his obsession with himself and his mum. But once you pass that, this is a very interesting movie about identity, rejection and assimilation, with a high dose of humor, wittiness, and intelligent turn out, with a wise outcome. If it feels like a play, it is because it originally was. Doesn't change much how good the movie is.

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Beginners by Mike Mills, 2011 (R)

with Ewan McGregor (Amelia, Haywire, The Men Who Stare At Goats, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing In Yemen, Perfect Sense), Christopher Plummer (Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Mélanie Laurent (Now You See Me, Paris), Goran Visnjic (Ice Age, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos, China Shavers, Melissa Tang, Amanda Payton

Oliver, a graphic artist, is coming to grips with the imminent death of his father, who, at 75, has one last secret: He's gay. Inspired and confused by his father's determination to find true love at last, Oliver tentatively pursues his own romance.

Refreshing movie. Yes, Christopher Plummer is amazing (Best Actor in a Supporting Role). The relationship between the two wanderers played by McGregor and Laurent can be at times exasperating, but overall, cute. The homosexuality/desire to be himself of the father is what makes the movie go round, and when the characters try to get a glimpse of his sudden wisdom, then they evolve, and make the movie a better one.

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Farewell My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji) by Chen Kaige, 1993 (R)

with Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, Qi Lü, Da Ying, You Ge, Chun Li, Han Lei

A seemingly unshakable friendship between two Chinese opera stars gets put to the test in the face of war, a communist takeover, the Cultural Revolution and the intrusion of a woman who tempts both of them. In a plot that captures 50 years of Chinese history, the once-inseparable Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) and Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) find themselves increasingly at odds after Xiaolou weds a lovely courtesan (Li Gong). Palme D'Or, Cannes Film Festival. Farewell My Concubine is one of the central works of the Fifth Generation movement that brought Chinese film directors to world attention.

This is a very loooooong movie. Yes, poetic, touching, but god damn long. I really loved Leslie Cheung and Fengyi Zhang, but Gong Li was overacting (or was I the only one feeling that way?). Perhaps the masterpiece tags all over the film poster built the expectations too high. How sad, for a story that was so beautiful and a tragedy so important to tell...

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Young & Wild (Joven y alocada) by Marialy Rivas, 2012 (NR)

with Alicia Rodriguez, Aline Kuppenheim, María Gracia Omegna, Felipe Pinto, Alejandro Goic, Ingrid Isensee, Luis Gnecco

Though her devout family believes her to be pious and dutiful, 17-year-old Daniela secretly runs a sex confession site for teens with desires like hers. In spite of priests and parents hovering, her sexuality finds a way to blossom in cyberspace.

I am sure this story deserves to be told for the next generation to understand where we come from in terms of internet and blogging. This is also the perfect depiction of a 17-year old teenager of 2010, with the lack of interest for anything but herself, growing up to the world, and the conflict between virtual and real world, when both collide. I found it already a little bit aged, which might worsen with time, some soon enough, it might become a vintage film. For now, it was a little painful to watch.

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Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland and Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, 2011 (PG-13)

with Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, Lauren Bacall, Marisa Berenson, Pierre Bergé, David Bailey, Lillian Bassman, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Anjelica Huston, Calvin Klein

This intimate and loving portrait of the legendary arbiter of fashion, art and culture illustrates the many stages of Vreeland's remarkable life. Born in Paris in 1903, she was to become New York's "Empress of Fashion" and a celebrated Vogue editor.

This documentary is fascinating, although I wished I had seen more of the work she did, instead of passing on them so fast (92 minutes). Vreeland definitely has lived quite a life, traveled and created the way we look at fashion. She was unusual, her sense of storytelling was quite distorted, embellish, which allows us to understand how she had a different vision, and when starting to express it, how it became all what she did, for us to enjoy.

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Mr. Nobody by Jaco van Dormael, 2009 (R)

with Jared Leto, Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz), Diane Kruger (Les garçons et Guillaume, à table), Linh Dan Pham (Tout Ce Qui Brille - All That Glitters), Rhys Ifans (The Five-Year Engagement), Natasha Little, Toby Regbo, Juno Temple (Jack & Diane, The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom), Clare Stone, Chiara Caselli, Daniel Brochu, Daniel Mays

The last mortal in a world of immortals, Nemo Nobody begins reviewing his life at the age of 120, trying to determine if he made the right decisions. Potential choices during a pivotal moment on a train platform lead to several possible lives.

This is a complicated one to review, mostly because the mix of genres makes it quite unclassifiable, which in a way reminds me of Cloud Atlas. It is an alien which you continue to watch pleasantly (perhaps sometimes a little too slowly), until it gets you somewhere. It is cute, somehow unpretentious, and for someone who isn't a fan of Diane Kruger, she quite amazed me (I gotta admit it took me the entire movie to figure out who she was).

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Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Oscars Season! Coming Soon!

These are the nominees for 2013 Oscar.
Click here to know more about the winners

12 Years A Slave (Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Production Design, Writing Adapted Screenplay)

Philomena (Actress in a Leading Role, Best Picture, Music - Original Score, Writing - Adapted Screenplay)

Blue Jasmine (Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Writing Original Screenplay)

Captain Philips (Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Writing Adapted Screenplay)

Gravity (Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Music Original Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)

The Great Gatsby (Costume Design, Production Design)

Dallas Buyers Club (Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Writing Original Screenplay)

Saving Mr. Banks (Music Original Score only...)

August: Osage County (Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role)

The Wolf of Wall Street (Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing, Writing - Adapted Screenplay)

Her (Best Picture, Music Original Score, Music Original Song, Production Design, Writing Original Screenplay)

Iron Man 3 (Visual Effects)

Star Trek Into Darkness (Visual Effects)

Reviews coming soon, and more to come...

Hair by Milos Forman, 1079 (PG)

With John Savage, Treat Williams (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, 127 Hours, Hollywood Ending, Deadfall, Reaching for the Moon - Flores Raras), Beverly D'Angelo, Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black, I Love You Phillip Morris), Cheryl Barnes, Don Dacus, Ronnie Dyson, Melba Moore, Dorsey Wright, Charlotte Rae

This movie, based on the cult Broadway musical of the 60s, tells a story about Claude, a young man from Oklahoma who comes to New York City. There he strikes up a friendship with a group of hippies, led by Berger, and falls in love with Sheila, a girl from a rich family. However, their happiness is short because Claude must go to the Vietnam war.

I don't if I fell more in love with the soundtrack or the movie. I thought it was a happy hippie movie, turned out to be quite a controversial drama, with a real story behind, and a strong message of equality. The music of course is awesome, and I don't mean it in a light way. In other words, one of the best musical ever.

watch trailer:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Worst Nightmare (Mon Pire Cauchemard) by Anne Fontaine, 2011 (NR)

With Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher, Ma Mere, Amour, Dead Man Down, White Material), Benoit Poelvoorde (Asterix at the Olympic Games), André Dussollier, Virginie Efira, Corentin Devroey, Donatien Suner, Aurélien Recoing (Blue Is the Warmest Color - La Vie d'Adèle), Eric Berger, Philippe Magnan (L'affaire Farewell), Bruno Podalydès (Granny's Funeral - Adieu Berthe)
From the director of Adore - Perfect Mothers

François and Agathe have it all, but their marriage needs help. Enter Patrick, an uncouth contractor, who does more than spruce up the house. He inspires new zest in both François and Agathe's lives -- just not with each other.

Isabelle Huppert is an amazing actress, and plays drama perfectly. But... Put her in a comedy, and she radiates, she is really funny. Benoit Poelvoorde is kind of the loud funny, but thank god he is balanced by Huppert, and the combination flows. Dussolier always plays perfectly the confused guy, so he was The One for the role. It works. Anne Fontaine manages to make me laugh out loud, which is not so easy, through and through. Priceless.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Out of the Furnace by Scott Cooper, 2013 (R)

with Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight Rises), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger, Now You See Me, Game Change, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Casey Affleck (Ocean's Thirteen, Tower Heist), Forest Whitaker (Flight), Willem Dafoe (Paris Je T'aime, Fireflies in the Garden, The English Patient, Farewell, Daybreakers), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Words, Avatar), Sam Shepard (Mud, Fair Game)

From Scott Cooper, the critically-acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and gritty drama about family, fate, circumstance, and justice. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has a rough life: he works a dead-end blue collar job at the local steel mill by day, and cares for his terminally ill father by night. When Russell's brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from serving time in Iraq, he gets lured into one of the most ruthless crime rings in the Northeast and mysteriously disappears. The police fail to crack the case, so - with nothing left to lose - Russell takes matters into his own hands, putting his life on the line to seek justice for his brother.

I remember Winter's Bone being happier... This movie gave me a huge ethical conflict. What was the meaning of it? What did it wanted to say, besides life is unfair and seeking your own justice isn't gonna make you happier. And trying to do good around you isn't gonna change who the other is. Yes, quite depressing. And never the less, quite impressive performances.

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Portrait of a Marriage by Stephen Whittaker - BBC, 1990

With Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), David Haig (Two Weeks Notice), Cathryn Harrison, Diana Fairfax, Peter Birch, Alexander Pearce, Kathleen Byron

Melodrama detailing the real-life love affair between feminist writer Vita Sackville-West (Janet McTeer) and novelist Violet Keppel (Cathryn Harrison) against the backdrop of post-World War I England and opposition by Vita's politican husband Harold Nicolson (David Haig). Vita and Violet's romantic relationship becomes increasingly obsessive which spawns destructive feelings of possessiveness and jealousy between them. Originally broadcast in four episodes on BBC in September and October 1990.

This is the third movie I watch with Janet McTeer, and the third one in which she is a lesbian. Do we tend to profile the actors into doing the same roles over and over again? The series very TV 90s, despite the fact that this is a period piece. And to tell you the truth, it was interesting. After all, Vita was the woman who inspired one of the reference in literature, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, so she had to have been someone fascinating. The series is a little slow and perhaps over-dramatizes the relationships, but still showcases the impressive choice of two women in a time where no much choices where approved by society.

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Die Konkurrentin (The Competitor) by Dagmar Hirtz, 1997 (NR)

with Charlotte Schwab, Ann-Kathrin Kramer, Peter Lerchbaumer, Ezard Haußmann, Leander Haußmann, Eva-Maria Kurz

Katharina, a successful management consultant, has to face Maren as a new assistant. The young woman is very ambitious but has been employed by junior Boss Grosser to spoil Katharina's career. Despite all circumstances they work perfectly well as a team - and fall in love. Katharina, wife and mother of two teenage twins, is shaken up by the new situation.

I guess this is THE most remote movie I have ever seen. German lesbian TV movie of the 90s. There isn't even a poster, and I am thinking in my little head to design one for the sake of it (but I will not). So this is so TV 90s, just for starters. The plot is a bit inevitable, and the feeling is that the theme was probably a big deal back then. So it isn't so bad, but really, time has hit this one in the worst way. Reminds me of when I saw Gazon Maudit (French Twist)... Ah yes, it was made in 1995, that explains it all. So: unless you are really in need of a romantic lesbian movie time travel to the worst fashion time of the 20th century, I don't recommend it.

Found the trailer tho... in German with Italian subs. Oh well...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Red Obsession by David Roach and Warwick Ross, 2013 (UR)

with Sara Eisen, Debra Meiburg, Russell Crowe (Robin Hood, American Gangster, The Next Three Days, Broken City, Man of Steel), Thibault Pontallier, Christian Mouiex, Francis Ford Coppola

Russell Crowe narrates this sobering study of how the tastes of China's nouveau riche are driving up wine prices in France's Bordeaux region -- and pushing out Western customers who can no longer afford it.

Oh well, yes, perhaps this movie's theme is all about very rich and a little frivolous people... But hasn't society always been fascinated by what riches do, think, buy? Therefor, it is a well documented film about the fascination of the Chinese upper class for brand and therefor wine brands, and how there are no limit to what one can do to get what the world wants. It is balanced with the opinion of French winemakers, which explains (or try) the uniqueness of the phenomenon, as much in the taste as in the marketing. On the other hand, the wine critics are contrasting from the expert point of view the changes that we have observed in the wine market, and how Chinese may transform completely the strategy to own their very own brand. And never the less how Lafite, Latour and Margaux will remain top of the market, because of the centuries they carry behind... Definitely an interesting topic, which extends to so much more than wine, after all...

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

X-Men Origins: Wolverine by Gavin Hood, 2009 (PG-13)

with Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine, Scoop), Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds (Fireflies in the Garden, Buried), Danny Huston (Hitchcock, You Don't Know Jack, Robin Hood, The Conspirator), Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch (The Bang Bang Club), will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Daniel Henney, Julia Blake, Max Cullen, Kevin Durand (Cosmopolis), Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty), Tim Pocock, William Fichtner

This action-packed prequel to the popular X-Men films explores Marvel Comics character Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) past and the events that influenced the mutant before the Weapon X program bonded his skeleton with the powerfully strong metal alloy adamantium. After the death of his girlfriend, Wolverine seeks vengeance against supervillain Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber).

Ah, the missing piece of the puzzle, which makes the trilogy of X-Men make sense. What happened to Logan, that made him loose his memory and get that spectacular metal structure. Perhaps I lost my memory, but that makes "The Wolverine" completely illogical, since there is no loss of memory, did he retrieve it in X-Men trilogy. I guess I have to watch it again... So, aside from explaining a few facts about Logan's past, the movie isn't that interesting, but if you are an X-Men fan, definitely, you have to see it.

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