with the bold text in the example below:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Robin Hood by Ridley Scott, 2010 (PG-13)

With Russell Crowe (American Gangster, The Next Three Days), Cate Blanchett (Bandits, Hanna), Max von Sydow (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, Shutter Island, Intacto), William Hurt, Mark Strong (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy), Oscar Isaac (Drive, The Bourne Legacy, Agora), Danny Huston (The Conspirator), Dame Eileen Atkins (Wild Target, Beautiful Creatures), Mark Addy (Barney's Version), Matthew Macfadyen

The story of an archer in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion who fights against the Norman invaders and becomes the legendary hero known as Robin Hood. When Robin happens upon the dying Robert of Loxley, he promises to return the man's sword to his family in this big-budget twist on the classic tale. There, Robin assumes Robert's identity; romances his widow; and draws the ire of the town sheriff.

Hum... Interesting point of view, and rewriting of the history. Although I would be cautious with the timing of the romantic story, which is totally absurd. Other elements as well, to tell the truth. It is a too feel good movie to be serious, and at the same time, does not try to be funny, so we make fun of it instead. The hyper-realism makes its point, aside from that, and the scenes are well taken care of esthetically.

What you will learn from the movie: Richard Lion Heart died in a small town of France named Châlus. Read about the new movie of Ridley Scott "Prometheus".

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Please Give by Nicole Holofcener, 2010 (R)

With Catherine Keener (Peace Love and Misunderstanding, SimOne, Out of Sight), Amanda Peet, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3), Kevin Corrigan (Unstoppable)...

"Kate has a lot on her mind. There's the ethics problem of buying furniture on the cheap at estate sales and marking it up at her trendy Manhattan store. And how much markup can she get away with? There's the materialism problem of not wanting her teenage daughter to want the expensive things that Kate wants. There's the marriage problem of sharing a partnership in parenting, business and life with her husband Alex but sensing doubt nibbling at the foundations. And, there's Kate's free-floating 21st century malaise -- the problem of how to live well and be a good person when poverty, homelessness, and sadness are always right outside the door. Plus, there's the neighbors: cranky, elderly Andra and the two granddaughters who look after her." Google

From the trailer, I was expecting something more caustic, drastically unpolitically correct. It would be fair to say it is a great film, the dialogues as really good and the actors perfect. Scene after scene, we enjoy the cohabitation of such characters. They are all very attaching in their way. What is lacking is a bigger sense of the story. Each scene looks too detached from the previous one to finally make you feel that this movie has a weakness, although it has such a great potential. Frustrating.

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Date Night by Shawn Levy, 2010 (PG-13)

With Steve Carell (Hope Springs, Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Crazy Stupid Love, Dan In Real Life, Get Smart), Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg (Broken City, The Fighter, Contraband, The Italian Job), Taraji P. Henson (Larry Crowne), Jimmi Simpson, Common (Now You See Me, American Gangster), William Fichtner, Leighton Meester, J.B. Smoove, Kristen Wiig (Despicable Me 2, All Good Things, Bridesmaids, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, How to train your dragon, Friends with Kids), Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Thanks for Sharing, Now You See Me, Margaret, The Kids Are All Right, Shutter Island, Avengers), James Franco (127 Hours, Milk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Annapolis, Eat Pray Love), Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Blood Ties), Bill Burr

In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.

I didn't think that a funny-don't think too much movie would actually make me think about couples and how they transform over the year. And specially how to prevent it from becoming a true friendship. So, I actually liked it, it was fun, crazy and a good reminder.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kramer vs. Kramer by Robert Benton, 1979

With Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander

"Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted however refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son." IMDB

Interesting story, very contemporary still in its subject. I would be curious to know the law nowadays about these circumstances. And if in another time, things would have been different. Well, the ending of the movie put things back to place in a very politically correct way. But in reality?...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Aimée & Jaguar by Max Färberböck, 1999

With Maria Schrader, Juliane Köhler, Johanna Wokalek

"In 1943, as World War II's Battle of Berlin rages, with air raids forcing families into their cellars for shelter and bombs exploding all over the city, Felice Schragenheim and Lilly Wust fall in love. Felice, a dark and beautiful Jewish woman who is constantly in danger of being apprehended by the Gestapo, works for a Nazi newspaper under a false name, feeding what she learns to underground resistance leaders. Lilly, a flowery blond housewife living in bourgeoise comfort, raises 4 little boys, passing the time until her Nazi husband, Gunther, returns from the war. When the two meet, and Felice makes advances, Lilly responds, falling into total submission under Felice's spell. They nickname each other Aimee (Lilly) and Jaguar (Felice), spending every night dancing to popular 40s jazz music with Felice's eccentric lesbian friends, and every day raising the four boys who treat Felice like a second mother. It is not until the end of their affair, when Lilly--and soon thereafter, the authorities--learns that Felice is a Jew, and tragedy befalls the couple." Rotten Tomatoes

A beautiful movie, tragic of course, of two women who lived a love that was not allowed in this time of war, not only because they were two women, but one was Jew. It still needs to exist, and the little time of their story is like a fairy tale in the middle of horrors. The actresses are touching. I fell in love...

Blessures Assassines (Murderous Maids) by Jean-Pierre Denis, 2000

With Sylvie Testud, Julie-Marie Parmentier and Isabelle Renauld...

"On February 2nd 1933, in the town of Le Mans, in the West of France, two sisters, Christine Papin, 27, and her younger sister Léa Papin, 21, brutally killed their employer Mrs. Ancelin and her daughter Geneviève. Why did they commit this horrifying murder? As a result of an unhappy childhood? Because they couldn't stand any more being commanded and exploited by arrogant bourgeois employers ? Because their incestuous relationship had been surprised? The film tries to answer these questions and make us understand why and how the two sisters turned from meek sheep to bloody monsters." IMDB

Really bothering, deranging... I was traumatized by the hyper-realism of the movie. I don't know if I liked the movie, and for sure, I didn't spend a nice moment at all. It was too much.

Up in the Air by Jason Reitman (2009)

From the director of Juno, Thank You For Smoking, Young Adult

"Ryan Bingham's job is to fire people from theirs. The anguish, hostility, and despair of his "clients" has left him falsely compassionate, living out of a suitcase, and loving every second of it. When his boss hires arrogant young Natalie, she develops a method of video conferencing that will allow termination without ever leaving the office - essentially threatening the existence Ryan so cherishes. Determined to show the naive girl the error of her logic, Ryan takes her on one of his cross country firing expeditions, but as she starts to realize the disheartening realities of her profession, he begins to see the downfalls to his way of life." IMDB

It's very contemporary. The dialogues are perfect, the actors are good, but for some reason, it didn't affect me. I am still wondering.

With George Clooney (The Monuments Men, Gravity, The Descendants, Out of Sight, Michael Clayton, Ocean's Thirteen), Vera Farmiga (Breaking and Entering, Source Code, Love in the Time of Money), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, The Company You Keep, 50/50, Twilight), Jason Bateman (Juno, Disconnect), Melanie Lynskey (Seeking a Friend for the End of the world, The Informant!, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Danny McBride, Amy Morton, J.K. Simmons (The Words, Juno, Thank You For Smoking, Young Adult), Tamala Jones, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Lowell, Adam Rose

Watch Trailer:

Das weisse Band (The White Ribbon) by Michael Haneke, 2009

With Christian Friedel, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Burghart Klaußner, Maria-Victoria Dragus...
From the director of Amour and The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste)

"A village in Protestant northern Germany. 1913-1914. On the eve of World War I. The story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by the village schoolteacher, and their families: the baron, the steward, the pastor, the doctor, the midwife, the tenant farmers. Strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. Who is behind it all?" Apple.com

One minute of silence, and a breathing, releasing all the tension accumulated during the movie. History is not by chance. The movie tells it straight, in this story, narrowing to a simple village, with all its different levels of richness, education, convenience... It does not make sense, we look at it with the eyes more and more surprised, astonished, shocked. Until it strikes you that this is happening at a time where nothing is going right, till the explosion into war.

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Non Ti Muovere (Don't Move) by Sergio Castellitto, 2004

With Penélope Cruz, Sergio Castellitto, Claudia Gerini, Angela Finocchiaro

"Successful doctor Timoteo is shocked to discover that his fifteen-year-old daughter has been in a life-threatening motorcycle accident. As a fellow surgeon performs a dangerous procedure on her brain, Timoteo recalls a passionate affair he had before his daughter was born. He met the woman, Italia, when his car broke down on the outskirts of the city. After an initial first encounter that resulted in Timoteo's brutally raping the hapless Italia, he found himself shunning his beautiful wife Elsa and returning to visit Italia more and more frequently. What began as a dark, shameful outlet for his disgust with his bourgeois existence grew to become a genuine love that would change Timoteo's-and Italia's-life forever. Dripping with sensuality, Castellitto's sprawling drama captures the exhilaration and frustrations of a man who is unable to come to grips with his ever-narrowing path in life." Rotten Tomatoes

This movie proved me once again how talented is Penelope Cruz. But here, she is really good. I would never expect her to transform so much, and give so much to her character. The movie is violent, sensual, troubling, confusing. The doctor is such a strange personality that it took me a while to understand his feelings. Everything is shaped so well that you get transported in these unconventional love. It is unique.

Watch Trailer:

A Single Man by Tom Ford, 2009

with Colin Firth (The English Patient, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy, The King's Speech), Julianne Moore (Game Change, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Chloe, The Kids are All Right), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class, About a Boy) and Matthew Goode (Imagine Me and You)...

"It's November 30, 1962. Native Brit George Falconer, an English professor at a Los Angeles area college, is finding it difficult to cope with life. Jim, his personal partner of sixteen years, died in a car accident eight months earlier when he was visiting with family. Jim's family were not going to tell George of the death or accident let alone allow him to attend the funeral. This day, George has decided to get his affairs in order before he will commit suicide that evening. As he routinely and fastidiously prepares for the suicide and post suicide, George reminisces about his life with Jim. But George spends this day with various people, who see a man sadder than usual and who affect his own thoughts about what he is going to do. Those people include Carlos, a Spanish immigrant/aspiring actor/gigolo recently arrived in Los Angeles; Charley, his best friend who he knew from England, she who is a drama queen of a woman who romantically desires her best friend despite his sexual orientation; and Kenny Potter, one of his students, who seems to be curious about his professor beyond English class." IMDB

Interesting aesthetically, the actors are superb, fragile, on the edge of breaking down. I think I love the actors. Everything looks like jewel, but so untouchable that perhaps, we get detached. I don't really know how to explain, because it's been two months i saw the movie and what remains are beautiful moments. But a great feeling of emptiness. I will come back to it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

La sconosciuta (The Unknown Woman) by Giuseppe Tornatore, 2006

with Kseniya Rappoport and Claudia Gerini...

"An Ukrainian woman named Irena calculatedly insinuates herself into the lives of a young, affluent Italian family. Stopping at nothing to become the couple's trusted maid and the beloved nanny to their fragile young daughter, Irena risks everything in her quest to uncover the truth about the family. Like an intricately constructed jigsaw puzzle, The Unknown Woman reveals piece by piece the enigma of Irena's past." IMDB

Tough movie. Really dark and sad. Prostitution in eastern countries is a topic that we hear too much about in the media unfortunately and in the movies lately as well. The actress Kseniya Rappoport metamorphose herself so well it brings a striking realism.

Avatar by James Cameron, 2009 (PG-13)

With Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Moore and Michelle Rodriguez...

"When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora." IMDB

I still don't know if I actually liked the movie. It felt a little bit yogi and events were very expected: that guy is good, that one is bad, let's all be green... But, there is a magic in the universe of Na'vi, I loved the visual aspect of it. It is impressive in Imax 3D. A great show. But still, too expected, too nice.

Watch Trailer:

Un Conte de Noel by Arnaud Desplechin, 2008 (NR)

With Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos and Chiara Mastroianni...

"The Vuillard family gathers: Junon and Abel, a daughter Elizabeth and her son Paul, Henri and a girlfriend, Ivan, his wife Sylvia and their young sons, and cousin Simon. Six years before, Elizabeth paid Henri's debts and demanded he never see her again or visit their parents' home. Paul, at 16, has mental problems and faces a clinical exam. Junon learns she needs a bone marrow transplant. Two family members have compatible marrow, but the spats, fights, cruel words, drunken toasts, and somewhat civilized bad behavior threaten all; plus Junon may simply refuse treatment." IMBD

It is a strong movie. It is tough, words are used in an violent way, hurting and hurting more, from a history that no-one can let go, face or change. It is drama, with a dark humor that makes you feel a little better from time to time. But the intimacy of the members of the family is unique and precious. It is a beautiful movie.

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Daybreakers by Michael and Peter Spierig, 2009

with Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, Isabel Lucas, Vince Colosimo, Callum McLean, Harriet Minto-Day, Jarrad Pon

"In a world 10 years into the future, vampires make up the vast majority of the population with only 5% of the human race remaining. This presents particular challenges as the vampires' food supply - human blood - is dwindling and rationing is now the norm. There is growing evidence that vampires deprived of an adequate blood supply are themselves evolving into wild, vile creatures that attack anyone and anything in order to survive. Dr. Edward Dalton, a vampire and hematologist who works for a pharmaceutical firm, has been working on finding an artificial blood supply that will meet the vampire society's needs. He is sympathetic to humans and sees his work as a way of alleviating their suffering but his views on finding a solution change considerably when he meets someone who found a way to transform himself from being a vampire to again take human form." IMDB

A vampire story. Again. I love those stories, as they are created based on rules that people keep on changing according to their needs of a story, and happening in the present time, sometimes the past, rarely the far future, and they are happening among us, on earth, not on a different planet with some circumstances that would just make us feel detached from it. And the goth-ism attached to it is always some sort of prestigious, classy. Attractive. Although this movie made a point not following my last point. It's modern, futuristic actually (inspired at some points by Matrix?) and vampire are just like you and me. Not fancy. And also, humans are considered as an endangered specie that need to be protect in order for the vampires to survive. Them the story goes on. I liked it. A little gore, but what, it's about blood.

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Un Prophete by Jacques Audiard, 2009 (R)

with Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup (Elle S'appelait Sarah, L'affaire Farewell, War Horse), Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb, Jean-Philippe Ricci, Gilles Cohen, Antoine Basler, Leïla Bekhti (Paris Je T'aime, Tout Ce Qui Brille), Pierre Leccia, Foued Nassah, Jean-Emmanuel Pagni...

"Sentenced to six years in prison, young man Malik El Djebena is alone in the world and can neither read nor write. On his arrival at the prison he falls under the sway of a Corsican mafia group, led by Luciani, who enforce their rule in the prison. Malik toughens himself and wins the confidence of the Corsican group. He follows Luciani's orders to kill prisoner Reyeb. Luciani arranges 12-hour leaves for Malik, in which Luciani sends him on missions, including murder. Malik learns how to read and write, and uses all his intelligence to discreetly develop his own network. His power grows and finally he is no longer on Luciani's side." WIKI

A French movie that made me proud of my country, in term of film making. The subject is such a different reality, real, but from a system no-one really understand as such. A prison. How can people in the prison be so much in control of the exterior world? And how can a system that is allowing a certain justice can be so corrupted, even in prison. We all know politicians do their job their own way, but the journey with this kid is a revelation from the inside. Also wanted to mention that the cast is incredible.

Watch trailer:

Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese, 2010 (R)

with Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson (One Day)...

"It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity." IMDB

Never had a conversation with people after a movie where it would be said initially "This movie is crap" (I'm exagerating a little), and finally, leaving one another, "This movie is brilliant" (Barely exagerating). It came from a point where we couldn't understand the point of the movie, to the point where there was too many points, where we got so confused in what to think about it, debating for more than an hour, and coming to the conclusion that this whole conversation was the evident consequence of the manipulation that the movie does on you. Bothering.

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Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, by Lee Daniels, 2009 (R)

With Gabourey Sidibe (Tower Heist, The Big C), Mo'Nique, Paula Patton (Déjà Vu, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol), Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd (One for the Money), Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
From the director of The Paperboy

"In 1987, obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem with her dysfunctional family; she has been raped and impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers constant physical and mental abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary (Mo'Nique). The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and subsists on welfare. After Precious becomes pregnant for the second time, she is suspended from school. Her junior high school principal, Mrs. Lichtenstein arranges to have her attend an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life's direction." IMDB

Precious is one of those movies that you don't want to watch. Because you are too scared to face a reality that is not comfortable. Because it may remind you of a reality that is too close to you. Because you don't wanna know. So you wait until the occasion of someone forcing you to watch it. And then, subsequently, you end up being to one forcing everyone else to watch it. Because you loved it. Because people have to know. Because beyond the awful story is a real message of hope, a real feeling of justice. And beautiful people that makes life possibly better. The actors are irreproachable, the directing is sensible and organic, it just feel so real you want to cry and hug. Haven't seen it? GO. NOW!

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17 Again by Burr Steers, 2009 (PG-13)

With Zac Efron, Leslie Mann and Matthew Perry (Friends), Thomas Lennon, Michelle Trachtenberg, Allison Miller, Tyler Steelman, Katerina Graham, Sterling Knight, Melora Hardin, Hunter Parrish (It's Complicated), Melissa Ordway

"Right before his 1989 high school-championship basketball game, 17-year-old Mike O'Donnell's girlfriend Scarlet tells him that she is pregnant. He leaves behind the game and a possible college basketball scholarship to propose to her. Two decades later, Mike's life has stalled. Scarlet has separated from him due to his regrets about abandoning college, forcing him to move in with his geeky and wealthy best friend since high school, Ned Gold; he loses his job; and his kids Maggie and Alex want nothing to do with him. While visiting Hayden High School to reminisce, an encounter with a mysterious janitor transforms Mike into his 17 year-old self." WIKI

Confession, this Zac is amazing. So I liked the movie, it is a nice comedy, fairly teenaging, that's ok sometimes. You just need to relax about feeling way older that the cast of the movie. Besides, isn't the movie about it? So, it's a fun movie to watch.

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Valentine's Day by Garry Marshall, 2010 (PG-13)

Jessica Alba (Sin City), Kathy Bates (Titanic), Bradley Cooper (Limitless), Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner (Deconstructing Harry), Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice in Wonderland), Taylor Lautner (Twilight), Carter Jenkins, Ashton Kutcher and Queen Latifah (Chicago)...

"February 14th, Valentines Day, is not a national holiday, but it is one of those days that must be celebrated. There are "special someones" in your life who expect to receive romantic gifts from their lovers. Commercialism has put a tremendous amount of pressure on men to give their lovers a romantic day with all the trimmings. Women are under pressure to have a man, or they feel desperate and unloved. Valentines Day follows the lives of several couples during this day. Their stories are told through the interconnections they have with each other. Some will find romance in their relationship, and others will feel the heartbreak of ending a relationship. In this Russian roulette world of finding love, everyone in the film is asking for advice on how to find and keep true love." IMDB

Ok, this movie is a romantic comedy with a whole bunch of famous actors, it's entertaining and not so bad. But it is not to be for brain-exercising. Not pretending to.

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The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow, 2008 (R)

with Jeremy Renner (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Avengers, The Bourne Legacy), Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce, The King's Speech), Ralph Fiennes (The Reader, In Bruges, The English Patient), David Morse, Evangeline Lilly (Lost), Christian Camargo, Malcolm Barrett, Justin Campbell, Ryan Tramont
From the director of Zero Dark Thirty

"An intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge, by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat. James behaves as if he's indifferent to death. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James' true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever." IMDB

I never wanted to watch this movie. The trailer made it sound like a war movie, the Oscars started making it too big. And I saw it. It has nothing to do, nothing, with what it seems. It is very intelligent, not judgmental, psychologically intense, and technically perfect. Worth winning. I was taken by the lifestyle of those soldiers that have to make decisions that are beyond their humanity or their fear of death.

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The Blind Side by John Lee Hancock, 2009 (PG-13)

with Sandra Bullock (The Heat, Two Weeks Notice), Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Jae Head, Lily Collins (The English Teacher, Mirror Mirror), Ray McKinnon (Take Shelter), Kim Dickens, Adriane Lenox, Kathy Bates (Titanic, Midnight in Paris, Valentine's day), Catherine Dyer

"Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who is father is and his mother is a crack head. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft." IMDB

The story is great, this family did an amazing thing allowing this kid to be what he wanted to be, despite their environment's apprehensions. I can guess why Sandra Bullock won the Oscar and the Golden Globe for best actress this year, she has a strength that carries the movie, and plays perfectly an amazing soul. But the movie is too much. Perhaps too American, with the success story empathized with over-explanations and violins.

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Invictus by Clint Eastwood, 2009 (PG-13)

with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Adojoa Andoh, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern, Julian Lewis Jones, Marguerite Wheatley, Leleti Khumalo, Patrick Lyster, Penny Downie (The Girl In the Cafe)
From the director of Hereafter and J. Edgar

"The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match." IMDB

History is amazing. This is what we learn from the movie. It portraits in a very American way the success of Nelson Mandela in being beyond the understanding, a president for the future. Morgan Freeman is once again a terrific man, although he seems to become a virtual president in any occasion. And Matt Damon is good. It is a good movie.

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Twilight New Moon by Chris Weitz, 2009

with Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman), Robert Pattinson (Bel Ami), Taylor Lautner (Valentine's Day), Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser (Young Adult), Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Sarah Clarke, Justin Chon, Anna Kendrick (Up in The Air, 50/50), Rachelle Lefevre, Jackson Rathbone, Michael Sheen (Alice in Wonderland, Beautiful Boy), Dakota Fanning, Edi Gathegi, Graham Greene

"After Bella recovers from the vampire attack that almost claimed her life, she looks to celebrate her birthday with Edward and his family. However, a minor accident during the festivities results in Bella's blood being shed, a sight that proves too intense for the Cullens, who decide to leave the town of Forks, Washington for Bella and Edward's sake. Initially heartbroken, Bella finds a form of comfort in reckless living, as well as an even-closer friendship with Jacob Black. Danger in different forms awaits." IMDB

Following "Twilight". The next episode, obviously. Interesting still. It mixes knowledge we created about vampire and werewolf, and invent new rules to adapt its story for younger generations.

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The Men Who Stare At Goats by Grant Heslov, 2009

George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick, Waleed Zuaiter, Stephen Root, Glenn Morshower, Rebecca Mader, Nick Offerman

"A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends." IMDB

The most delirious movie I watched since a very long time. Not quite sure what was its point. The humor is excellent during the first half of the movie. Unfortunately, I interrupted the watching to watch "The secret in their eyes" and then kept on with that one and got disillusioned totally about the level of the movie. And the cast is great but still... Something too much, or perhaps not enough. It is memorable for some scenes and dialogues. Maybe in ten years, we'll still be saying "Cloud bursting", "We can't afford to have the Russian's leading the field in the paranormal."...

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Le scaphandre et le papillon by Julian Schnabel, 2007

with Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Max Von Sydow (Intacto, Shutter Island, Robin Hood)...

"Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he'd only visited in his mind." IMDB

It is a beautiful movie. In a creative sense and as a story. The art direction is very unique and poetic. The story is heartbreaking but full of life. An amazing lesson to learn. About the actors, they are all great, Mathieu Amalric first. It was at first an autobiography of "Jean-Do", makes you want to read the book. I'll come back to this post to say more.

Pandorum by Christian Alvart, 2009

with Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster (The Messenger, Contraband), Cam Gigandet and Antje Traue...

"Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly - and horrifically - realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It's pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed...and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined." IMDB

Interesting movie. Your expectations are shifted little by little in the movie. It could be an horror movie, a science fiction movie, anticipation... But it is not only. Of course it reminds a little bit of the first Alien, and more and more of Solaris. It may not be a masterpiece but has its point.

It's complicated by Nancy Meyers, 2009 (R)

with Steve Martin, Meryl Streep (Marvin's Room, Julie and Julia, The Iron Lady, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Prime), Alec Baldwin (The Cooler, To Rome With Love), John Krasinski, Lake Bell, Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson, Alexandra Wentworth, Hunter Parrish, Zoe Kazan

"When brought together at a family event, two exes find themselves oddly attracted to each other after ten years of divorce. Although the couple think that this affair will stay in a different state, it brings itself back to their own city and disrupts their personal lives. While the couple still maintain other romances, they cannot help but to continue with their affair." IMDB

It's simply complicated. Refreshing, funny. Meryl Streep is charming as usual, the cast is perfect, the humor is light and the rhythm is perfect, made from a perfect world. I think I saw all the movies from Nancy Meyers and so far, I like what I see, I find it cute. No surprise. You know what you are going to get and it's fine. I made my point, right? Go if you liked her other movies or if you like romantic comedies.

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El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) by Juan José Campanella, 2009 (R)

with Ricardo Darín (El mismo amor, la misma lluvia), Soledad Villamil (El mismo amor, la misma lluvia), Carla Quevedo, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Bárbara Palladino, Rudy Romano, Alejandro Abelenda, Mario Alarcón, Guillermo Francella, José Luis Gioia
From the director of El mismo amor, la misma lluvia

"Benjamin Esposito, a career long criminal court employee, has recently retired and decides to write a novel. He does not decide to make up a story. There is no need to. He can draw on his own past for a true and tragic story. In 1974, his court was more assigned an investigation into the rape and murder of a beautiful young woman. The search for the murderer is arduous. No clues remain at the scene and Esposito must rely on his own instincts. No longer an observer, he becomes an unwilling central character in a dangerous drama. As he moves forward, Esposito begins to see that it is now too late to stop. Telling the story becomes a narrow, winding path in justifying his own life and facing up to the woman who he's been in love with for 30 years." Google

The story is amazing... There is no other way to say it. No wonder why this movie won the Oscar for best foreign movie. It mixes politics with a social and psychological story, how our system can be extremely deranged if you start pushing some doors. And the characters are simply true and perfectly performed to make to believe their pain and feelings. Confession: I totally fell in love with the character of Irene Menéndez Hastings who is the judge.

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Fame by Alan Parker, 1980 (R)

with Irene Cara, Eddie Barth, Lee Curreri, Paul McCrane, Laura Dean, Gene Anthony Ray, Antonia Franceschi, Boyd Gaines, Anne Meara, Albert Hague, Teresa Hughes, Steve Inwood, Barry Miller, Jim Moody, Debbie Allen, Richard Belzer, Isaac Mizrahi, Meg Tilly

"At the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, students get specialized training that often leads to success as actors, singers, etc. This movie follows four students from the time when they audition to get into the school, through graduation. They are the brazen Coco Hernandez, shy Doris Finsecker, sensitive gay Montgomery MacNeil, and brash, abrasive Raul Garcia." IMDB

In time! It took me forever to watch this movie. Too short! What an enjoyable moment. And really interesting vision of the end of the seventies and what would become the 80's, probably because of the influence of the movie.

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Julie and Julia by Nora Ephron, 2009 (PG-13)

with Meryl Streep (August: Osage County, Marvin's Room, The Iron Lady, It's Complicated, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Out of Africa, Prime), Amy Adams (On the Road, The Master, Trouble with the Curve, The Fighter, Man of Steel, Her), Stanley Tucci (Captain America, The Hunger Games), Chris Messina, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jane Lynch (Glee), Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Joan Juliet Buck, Casey Wilson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jillian Bach, Dave Annable

"In 1949, Julia Child is in Paris, the wife of a diplomat, wondering how to spend her days. She tries hat making, bridge, and then cooking lessons at Cordon Bleu. There she discovers her passion. In 2002, Julie Powell, about to turn 30 and underemployed with an unpublished novel, decides to cook her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year and to blog about it. We go back and forth between these stories of two women learning to cook and finding success. Sympathetic, loving husbands support them both, and friendships, too, add zest." IMDB

A refreshing comedy about cooking, American and French culture, and the conflict between making a living and living for our passion. A success story that probably makes me want to blog more.

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Paris by Cedric Klapish, 2008 (R)

with Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Breaking and Entering, Chocolat, Copie Conforme), Romain Duris (L'auberge Espagnole), Fabrice Luchini (Rien Sur Robert), Albert Dupontel (Irreversible), Melanie Laurent, Francois Cluzet (Tell No One, Intouchable, Little White Lies)...

"Pierre, a professional dancer, suffers from a serious heart disease. While he is waiting for a transplant which may (or may not) save his life, he has nothing better to do than look at the people around him, from the balcony of his Paris apartment. When Elise, his sister with three kids and no husband, moves in to his place to care for him, Pierre does not change his new habits. And instead of dancing himself, it is Paris and the Parisians who dance before his eyes." IMDB

Beautiful portrait of Paris, with characters that are so real it can be sometimes embarrassing (in a good way). It is a beautiful story about interactions. One story only seems to be out of the portrait, or maybe I just didn't get the picture. It tends to be politico-social with the part about illegal immigration. Perhaps too superficial to make its own point in a movie that already has so many others.

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Amelia by Mira Nair, 2009 (PG)

with Hilary Swank, Richard Gere (Dr. T and The Women), Ewan McGregor (Beginners, Haywire, The Men Who Stare At Goats, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing In Yemen, Perfect Sense), Christopher Eccleston (Thor 2: The Dark World), Joe Anderson (The Grey), Cherry Jones (The Horse Whisperer, The Beaver), Mia Wasikowska (Lawless, Albert Nobbs, Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right, The Double), Aaron Abrams, Scott Anderson

"Amelia Earhart, a Kansas girl, discovers the thrill of aviation at age 23, and within 12 years has progressed to winning the Distinguished Flying Cross for being the first woman to pilot a plane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. At age 39, she sets out on an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, an adventure that catapults her into aviation myth." IMDB

Very interesting historically. Amelia is a fascinating stubborn woman. Although the movie is very Hollywood, too much anticipated emotions and superficial. Entertaining...

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