with the bold text in the example below:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Imagine Me & You by Ol Parker, 2006 (R)

In this unconventional romantic comedy that gives new meaning to the term "cold feet," bride-to-be Rachel (Piper Perabo) is love-struck — not with her groom, but rather with another woman who's a guest at their wedding. As she's marching down the aisle with her longtime sweetheart, Heck (Matthew Goode), Rachel is immediately bewitched by a beautiful guest (Lena Headey). But following her heart's true desire is hardly an easy proposition.

Alright, here goes my reputation, I loved this movie. Well, also because there is Lena Headey in it... but mostly because it was so cute, and somehow so familiar, avoiding the corny, with pretty real characters. Yes, the London that is portrayed in a little idyllic (except for the traffic), but it works. And also, I might say, having a movie portraying two women falling in love, without becoming a movie targeted to lesbian, that was something important, for the community, and for the rest of the people.

with Lena Headey (300: Rise of an Empire, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The man with rain in his shoes, Game of Thrones, 300), Matthew Goode (A Single Man), Piper Perabo (Looper), Rick Warden, Anthony Head (Scoop, The Iron Lady), Sue Johnston, Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Darren Boyd

watch trailer:

Friday, August 29, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire by Noam Murro, 2014 (R)

with Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green (Dark Shadows, Penny Dreadful, Perfect Sense - The Last Word), Lena Headey (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The man with rain in his shoes, Game of Thrones, 300), Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro (I Love You Phillip Morris, Love Actually, 300), Callan Mulvey, Andrew Tiernan, David Wenham, Jack O'Connell, Andrew Pleavin
Sequel of 300

Rodrigo Santoro is back leading the Persian forces in their invasion of Greece as mortal-turned-god Xerxes. Determined to thwart him is Greek general Themistokles, who takes to the sea in his quest to unite his country.

The first one had the effect of surprise in terms of style (yes, Sin City came first, but this one was in color, and pretty cool with its own aesthetic and slow motion). This one is darker at the image of pretty much every role of Eva Green, which turned out to be the only interesting thing about the sequel, but also for somebody who has seen a lot of what she does, another more of the same... So, I guess this is not a very interesting movie. And another one where Lena Headey is symbolic... By the way, now that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For came out, it would be interesting to see where they innovated too.

watch trailer:

300 by Zack Snyder, 2007 (R)

300 is a 2007 American fantasy action film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. In a conflict pitting the ancient Greeks against the Persians in 480 B.C., Spartan King Leonidas leads his small band of 300 soldiers against an army of more than 1 million during the Battle of Thermopylae.

A little later than Sin City, they came up with this very cool epic movie, in color this time, but that would precede a whole series of stylized film, with amazing choreography, special effect, cinematography, in a very comic book style. Of course, most of it is completely surreal, but Gerard Butler holds it so it keeps the story going, as the action unfolds. 

with Gerard Butler (Playing for keeps, How to train your dragon), Lena Headey (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The man with rain in his shoes, Game of Thrones), Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, Trance, Prometheus, Haywire, A Dangerous Method, Shame, X-Men: First Class, Fish Tank), Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro (I Love You Phillip Morris, Love Actually), Stephen McHattie (Immortals), Alex Ivanovici
From the director of Man of Steel followed by 300: Rise of an Empire

watch trailer:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2 Guns by Baltasar Kormákur, 2013 (R)

Two special agents -- one Naval intelligence, one DEA -- partner for an undercover sting against a drug cartel that takes a serious wrong turn. Disavowed by their agencies, the pair goes on the run while trying to find out who set them up.

In a mix of Tarantino and Soderbergh, the movie starts to never end tricking the audience into a dark scenario of undercover agents and corrupted national agencies. The two main characters are witty, playing ping pong with words and each other, the bad guys are really bad ass, and the action relentless. You can feel the touch of Kormákur, in the way he blurs the audience into a twisty scenario, just like in Contraband.

with Denzel Washington (Flight, American Gangster, Unstoppable, Déjà Vu), Mark Wahlberg (Broken City, Robin Hood, The Italian Job, The Fighter, Contraband), Paula Patton (Disconnect, Deja Vu, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Precious), James Marsden (Superman Returns, Lee Daniels' The Butler, X-Men), Bill Paxton (Haywire), Patrick Fischler (One for the Money), Edward James Olmos (BattleStar Galactica, Blade Runner, Iron Man 3)
From the director of Contraband

watch trailer:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Epic by Chris Wedge, 2013 (PG)

Magically transported to an enchanted forest, a teenage girl joins forces with a scruffy group of residents fighting a battle against evil -- and soon realizes they must win to save both their world and hers.

Lets see, I loved the idea of the life beyond what we see, living in the woods, and the movie is funny, the characters interesting. I didn't even find it childish, which sometimes is the fall out of animation movies. And it is beautiful.

with Beyoncé Knowles (Life Is But a Dream), Colin Farrell (Total Recall, In Bruges, Dead Man Down, Saving Mr. Banks), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, In Time, Chloe), Johnny Knoxville (Men in Black II), Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis (We're the Millers), Steven Tyler, Judah Friedlander (The Wrestler), Blake Anderson

watch trailer:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thanks for Sharing by Stuart Blumberg, 2013 (R)

A romantic comedy that brings together three disparate characters who are learning to face a challenging and often confusing world as they struggle together against a common demon: sex addiction.

Third movie about sex addiction in a row I watch, starting with Don Jon, then Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 and 2. Overall, an interesting journey, with very different points of view of the addiction. I recommend to watch them all, and make up your own mind. This one is the most Hollywood-style, and therefor the most eager to find "The Cure", going through the steps of a group of people from different background and journey. It starts a little too much on the easy road, but turned out to have well-shaped characters with depth, and interestingly intertwined stories.

with Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Margaret, The Kids Are All Right, Shutter Island, Avengers), Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow (Marvel's Avengers, Iron Man 3), Josh Gad (Frozen, Love and Other Drugs), Joely Richardson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Patrick Fugit (We Bought a Zoo), Alecia Beth Moore Hart aka Pink, Carol Kane (Love in the Time of Money)

watch trailer:

Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2013 (R)

Jon Martello's romantic exploits are legendary among his friends, but his obsession with online porn saps his enthusiasm for real sex. As he searches for intimacy -- or avoids it -- Jon meets two women with vital lessons to teach him.

I liked the way Gordon-Levitt made his movie look like a video clip for the first part of the movie, with everything in rhythm, sleek, almost fancy in its simplicity. The stereotypes are funny since they are so right-on, till the moment Julianne Moore enters. Of course, a movie with Julianne Moore cannot just be superficial. Although the shift turned ok for some time, it feels like an easy redemption at the end and almost a cheesy romantic comedy. Strange...

with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Lincoln, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, 50/50), Scarlett Johansson (Her, Hitchcock, We Brought a Zoo, The Avengers, Scoop, The Horse Whisperer, Under the Skin), Julianne Moore (Non-Stop, What Maisie knew, The Kids are All Right, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Chloe, A Single Man, Game Change, The English Teacher), Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, Rob Brown, Jeremy Luke, Italia Ricci, Lindsey Broad

watch trailer:

Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer, 2013 (R)

with Scarlett Johansson (Her, Hitchcock, We Brought a Zoo, The Avengers, Scoop, The Horse Whisperer), Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, Andrew Gorman, Joe Szula, Krystof Hádek, Roy Armstrong, Alison Chand

Jonathan Glazer's atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.

I am going to be honest, I didn't like the movie. Now, there is something about not liking the movie, that at least, it captured my attention, in a negative way, but it did. There are very interesting moments of videoart, very interesting moments of Ken Loach, very interesting moments of Kubrick, the ending is an interesting turning point, which gives a perspective the movie needed. Then, it is so slow (not pretentious, tho), so disconnected, that I found it painful to watch.

watch trailer:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & 2 by Lars von Trier, 2013 (NR)

A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac reveals a lifetime of sexual experiences to a man who saves her from being beaten in an alley. As the aging but charming bachelor tends to the woman, she shares erotic details of encounters from her youth to her present.
The second half of Lars von Trier's epic follows self-diagnosed nymphomaniac Joe as she chronicles her adult years to the man who saved her from a beating. Her tales include new conquests, both male and female, in her search for fulfillment.
From the director of Melancholia, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, The Idiots

I was so afraid this was a movie hard to watch that it flowed a lot better. Still, the topics are quite uncomfortable, ethics are questioned with a mirroring constant normalization, or to the least some religious or scientific explanation (justification). The performances of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgård are at time fascinating, at time too lecturing. Never the less, it's educating. The young version of Joe lacks a little bit of energy, which drags a little bit the movie. Jamie Bell is amazing, his character nearly incomprehensible, which makes it even more particular. Uma Thurman has the monologue of her life, chaotic, powerful and broken, all at the same time, beautiful. Shia LaBeouf... Hum, this one is tricky. He is slick, in his character, impeccable to a fault, his American ways are sometimes leaving him on the surface of what is character could give to the story... The NR means NR in this case, it is quite graphic, but overall, has missed perhaps its audience because of that. Sad.
Additional comment that was highlighted by a friend: the interesting similarity between Nymphomaniac and Under The Skin, in the way the main character is in control the entire movie, and (spoiler), shifts at the end to a situation where it makes you realize that she was indeed in control until then, because it is not obvious till then... Something to think about...

with Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia), Stellan Skarsgård (Thor 2: The Dark World, Marvel's Avengers, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia, Thor), Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf (Constantine, Lawless, The Company You Keep), Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer, Billy Elliot, Man on a Ledge), Willem Dafoe (Out of the Furnace, Paris Je T'aime, Fireflies in the Garden, The English Patient, Farewell, Daybreakers), Mia Goth, Jean-Marc Barr (Making Plans for Lena - Non Ma Fille, Tu N'iras Pas Danser, Côte d'Azur - Crustacés et coquillages), Christian Slater, Uma Thurman (Playing for keeps, Bel Ami, Prime), Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows, Philomena), Connie Nielsen (Perfect Sense - The Last Word)

watch trailer:
Part I

Part II

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Frozen by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013 (PG)

After her kingdom is doomed to suffer from eternal winter, intrepid Anna goes on a quest to find her reclusive sister, the Snow Queen, and break the curse. Along the way, Anna teams with eccentric mountaineer Kristoff and his comic reindeer, Sven.

Not having known Frozen before Maleficent, I thought Disney was taking a first stand with the remake of the Sleeping Beauty. But, Frozen came out before, so it seems that the intention of Disney is clear in destroying the myth of the Prince Charming, and true love. No spoiler, I will just stop here, and let you enjoy it. Another point which initially made me have reservations regarding this movie is that the story is inspired loosely from The Snow Queen from Andersen, which is nothing of a Disney type of story, aside from its happy ending, I was afraid of how much they would alter the original story (once more, Disney rearrange the story for its own purpose).

with Kristen Bell (Heroes), Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff (The Conspirator, The Normal Heart), Santino Fontana, Josh Gad (Love and Other Drugs), Alan Tudyk (Ice Age, Death at a Funeral, Beautiful Boy), Fred Tatasciore, Chris Williams, Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Margot at the Wedding, The Debt, In Bruges), Stephen J. Anderson, Maia Wilson, Edie McClurg, Robert Pine, Maurice LaMarche, Livvy Stubenrauch, Eva Bella, Spencer Lacy Ganus, Jesse Corti, Jeff Marcus, Tucker Gilmore

watch trailer:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-ho, 2014 (R)

The Earth's remaining inhabitants are confined to a single train circling the globe as revolution brews among the class-divided cars. Based on a French graphic novel and set in a new ice age, this futuristic thriller stars a top-notch ensemble cast.

This is one of the strangest film I have seen in a while, and not only because Tilda Swinton looks like a freak. This was the first time I was thinking to myself I would rather die than be in that train, even if this means the end of human race, I am not that attached... So you follow these guys, some born on the train, some born before the ice age, and the longer it lasts, the more painful it gets, it an absurd and gore style. This movie made me so uncomfortable I would say it has a point. But don't look for the light or the happy ending, it will only make you feel miserable.

with Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: First Avenger, Avengers, Puncture), Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin, Michael Clayton, I am Love, Constantine), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Man on a Ledge), Octavia Spencer (The Help), John Hurt (Melancholia, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Alison Pill (Milk, To Rome With Love, Dan in Real Life), Ed Harris (Gravity, Man on a Ledge, Game Change), Kang-ho Song, Ewen Bremner (Perfect Sense - The Last Word), Ah-sung Ko

watch trailer:

The Lego Movie by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, 2014 (PG)

After being mistaken for the LEGO Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet's adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps.

To be honest, I was more looking at how they did it than follow the actual story. The computer animated/stop-motion hybrid technique they used is pretty impressive... Then, the story hum.... It's ok, funny at time, dynamic overall, with a funny way of turning upside down these cliches of "the chosen one", and most of all, throughout the movie, I felt the people who made this movie had fun and didn't take themselves too seriously... Maybe I am wrong, but it was a good one to watch.

with Chris Pratt (Her, Moneyball, Zero Dark Thirty, The Five-Year Engagement), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games, Man on a Ledge, Our Idiot Brother, The Next Three Days, People Like Us), Will Arnett (Despicable Me), Cobie Smulders (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel's The Avengers, Captain America: First Avenger), Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, The Vow, Haywire, Side Effects), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street, Moneyball, How to train your dragon), Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me, Invictus, The Dark Knight Rises, RED, Oblivion), Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson (Non-Stop, Love Actually, The Other Man, The Next Three Days, Chloe, The Grey), Alison Brie (The Five-Year Engagement), Charlie Day (Monsters University), Nick Offerman (We're the Millers, All Good Things, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous)

watch trailer:

Robocop by José Padilha, 2014 (PG-13)

When Detroit cop and family man Alex Murphy is critically injured in the line of duty, a robotics firm transforms him into an experimental crime-fighting cyborg, though he remains haunted by his human past in this reboot of the 1980s sci-fi classic.

I don't know... I've seen the original not too long ago, and this one might just be more current in terms of technology, special effect, political agendas and media manipulation, but in all, it is mostly an action-enhanced version of the RoboCop of Paul Verhoeven. Never the less, it is a well-shaped action movie.

with Joel Kinnaman (The Darkest Hour), Gary Oldman (The Scarlet Letter, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless), Michael Keaton (Jackie Brown), Samuel L. Jackson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, The Avengers), Abbie Cornish (Limitless, Somersault), Jackie Earle Haley (Lincoln, Dark Shadows), Michael K. Williams (12 Years a Slave), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty, The King's Speech, Michael Clayton), Jay Baruchel (Cosmopolis, How to train your dragon), Aimee Garcia

watch trailer:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Noah by Darren Aronofsky, 2014 (PG-13)

This adaptation of the story of Noah depicts the visions that led him to voice dire prophesies of apocalypse and to build an ark to survive. As he labors to save his family, Noah asks for help from a band of angels called the Watchers.

Because I enjoyed watching the movie as a pure fiction, it was an enjoyable journey, with great actors and performances. The special effects are great, the rhythm entertaining... Only I couldn't get myself to compare to the bible's writing, which I read afterwards, and have little to do with the movie. So to clarify, do not watch the movie as a message from the bible but as Aronofsky's personal view on Noah's joourney.

with Russell Crowe (Red Obsession, Man of Steel, Robin Hood, American Gangster, The Next Three Days, Broken City), Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream), Ray Winstone (Breaking and Entering, Snow White and the Huntsman), Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Happy Potter), Anthony Hopkins (Thor 2: The Dark World, RED 2, Hitchcock, Thor, 360), Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Douglas Booth
From the director of Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan, The Wrestler

watch trailer:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Anthony et Joe Russo, 2014 (PG-13)

Extending the saga of Marvel's The Avengers, this superhero sequel finds Steve Rogers living quietly in Washington but growing increasingly restless. So when a deadly new foe surfaces, he transforms into Captain America and allies with Black Widow.

I like superhero movies, but this one was effective, and somehow good, perhaps because Captain America is the only hero nowadays people make fun of, being so straight and old-fashioned, therefore you cannot take the movie too seriously. I guess it also explains the way people get to like him, in the movie and in real life, in a Clark Kent kind of way.

with Chris Evans (Captain America: First Avenger, Avengers, Puncture), Scarlett Johansson (Her, Hitchcock, We Brought a Zoo, The Avengers, Scoop, The Horse Whisperer), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: First Avenger, Black Swan), Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau, Man on a Ledge, The Hurt Locker), Cobie Smulders (Captain America: First Avenger), Frank Grillo (Disconnect, Zero Dark Thirty, The Grey, Warrior), Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell (Captain America: First Avenger), Robert Redford (The Company You Keep, The Horse Whisperer, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Out of Africa, The great Gatsby), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, The Avengers), Toby Jones (The Girl, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman)

watch trailer:

Non-Stop by Jaume Collet-Serra, 2014 (PG-13)

with Liam Neeson (Love Actually, The Other Man, The Next Three Days, Chloe, The Grey), Julianne Moore (What Maisie knew, The Kids are All Right, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Chloe, A Single Man, Game Change, The English Teacher), Michelle Dockery (Hanna), Scoot McNairy (12 Years a Slave, Promised Land, Argo), Anson Mount, Corey Stoll (The Normal Heart, House of Cards), Linus Roache, Nate Parker, Jon Abrahams (Prime), Omar Metwally

On a commercial flight at 40,000 feet, federal air marshal Bill Marks starts receiving text messages from a threatening blackmailer who claims he's on the airplane too. Can Marks identify his camouflaged adversary before he begins killing passengers?

Interesting suspense, definitely not a movie to watch before taking a plane, a little over-acted by Liam Neeson, overall a good entertainment movie. Julianne Moore has to stop being the unconventional woman of the movie, it gets a little old... :) And don't get me wrong, I love Julianne Moore...

watch trailer:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Divergent by Neil Burger, 2014 (PG-13)

with Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Kate Winslet (Sense and Sensibility, The Reader, Titanic, Mildred Pierce, Contagion), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening), Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson (Thor 2: The Dark World, Thor), Zoë Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), Maggie Q, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher), Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole), Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, Mekhi Phifer

Born into a civilization in the distant future, Beatrice is a teenager who learns that her unique cognitive skills make her useful to the authorities. Over time she discovers that she's a Divergent, and thus slated for elimination by the government.

I really wanted to see this movie. I love new ideas of how a society functions, dysfunctions, and evolves, based on rules, evolution, such as In Time, Oblivion, The Hunger Games... the movie is well made, the acting great, the story catchy... The only thing is the feeling of deja vu, with severe similarities with The Hunger Games and her main character, and somehow a little feel of Harry Potter when choosing your category. I'll keep watching anyway the sequels, and probably wind up reading the books, but felt a little deceived.

watch trailer:

Boyhood by Richard Linklater, 2014 (R)

with Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke (Daybreakers), Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Nick Krause (The Descendants), Marco Perella (Miss Congeniality), Brad Hawkins

After divorcing, a mother and father continue to share the task of guiding their young son through youth and adolescence, and finally to adulthood. As the years roll by, the relationships among the three characters continue to evolve as well.

Long time not seeing a good movie. This one is quite the one best movie I have seen this year. Of course, it is fascinating to see a young boy growing up, experiencing life through little windows in each year, summarizing 12 years in two hours and forty minutes. It is even more amazing to see the emotional and physical journey of the mother (Amazing Patricia Arquette) and the father. I have also experienced the fear of some potential drama and realized how conditioned I am to action drama movies, not being able to relax and enjoy the normality and beauty of life. This movie is full of life and empty of all the Hollywood formatting on how life should be portrayed. Boyhood is definitely a unique movie.

watch trailer: