with the bold text in the example below:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, 2011 (PG-13)

with Steve Carell (Hope Springs, Get Smart, Dan In Real Life), Ryan Gosling (All Good Things, Blue Valentine, Drive), Julianne Moore (Chloe, Game Change, The Kids Are All Right), Emma Stone (The Help), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class), Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Joey King, Liza Lapira

When Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) discovers that his wife (Julianne Moore) wants to end their marriage, he reluctantly faces the unwelcome prospect of single life with the counsel of the younger and smoother super-bachelor Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Meanwhile, Cal's adolescent son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has formed an unquenchable crush on his 17-year-old babysitter (Analeigh Tipton) -- but is she more interested in Robbie's recently unwed father?

You only need to watch this movie once. Or maybe just the trailer, it gives the best. But still, once can be fun, the humor and the surprises are entertaining, Steve is good at not being attractive, Marisa is hysterical and it suits her well. Julianne Moore is absent, too bad... And you like Ryan Gosling or you don't, I guess I am more of the type that doesn't, except when is playing the bad guy.

Play Trailer:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another Earth by Mike Cahill, 2011

with William Mapother, Brit Marling (The Company You Keep), Jordan Baker, Flint Beverage, Robin Lord Taylor, Ana Kayne, Diane Ciesla, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Meggan Lennon

Shortly after a strange, Earth-like planet is discovered, gifted astrophysics student Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) accidentally slams her car into the vehicle of John Burroughs (William Mapother), killing his family. After some time, Rhoda and John begin an unlikely romance. But Rhoda starts to wonder what would happen if she could actually visit the new planet in director Mike Cahill's romantic sci-fi drama.

How would you react if something out of the ordinary happens on Earth. This movie is strangely connected to the last Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia", for its human and small scale perspective on a huge phenomenon, and also for the extraordinary event to be the only element of science fiction in a movie that in the end, is a drama, not science fiction.

Beautiful movie. It happens to be very simple, very real and on the other hand, something happens that is surreal. It is an extraordinary story of two ordinary people. The movie is made of close ups, sensitive shots charged with emotion, insecurity, beauty, poetry, humanism. And at the same time, the shot of the other earth is a reminded of how great the universe is, how bigger the perspective is and somehow how this little story relates so much to a greater picture.
This movie was unclassified, since it didn't belong entirely to "drama" or "science fiction". Some started developing the idea of "science and fiction". I liked it.

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Margin Call by J.C. Chandor, 2011

with Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto (Heroes), Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany

Set in the high-stakes world of the financial industry, Margin Call is an entangling thriller involving the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When an entry-level analyst unlocks information that could prove to be a downfall of the firm, a roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral catapult the lives of all involved to the brink of disaster.

The first movie to really bother my sleep for a very long time. I don't know if this is because we already know how it happened and this is a bad souvenir, or if this is because it shows so obviously how people lost the reality of the world playing with numbers, and it hurts, or finally because it seems that this is going to happen again soon and feels a little like an economical apocalypse, making me terribly nervous about our future, us freelancers, who are so much depending on a day to day basis of the economy, trying every month to survive and pay the bills. It is very well played, the plot is serious and words, each and every one, are measured in the reality, meaningful to our ears and resonate as each character develops a threat or wishful thinking. Obviously, mostly threat, unconscious threats. The joy of players, playing with the rest of the world as we would play with chess on a board, sacrificing the pawn for a greater purpose, win the game. But what game, seriously?

Watch Trailer:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino, 1997

with Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Hattie Winston, Sid Haig, Aimee Graham, Ellis Williams, Tangie Ambrose

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is an aging flight attendant who smuggles cash on the side. But when she's busted and pressured to help with an investigation, she plans to play the opposing forces against each other and walk away with the dough.

I feel a bit of pressure starting the review. This is one of my favorite movie ever. This is a movie I went three times to the theater to watch. I have of course the dvd, and haven't watched it for a while - which reminds me that maybe I should do myself a little Jackie Brown session. I loved this movie. For many reasons. First, I have to say I love Elmore Leonard writing (he wrote Out of sight, get shorty, 3:10 to Yuma...). Second, the cast was amazing. I mean amazing. I was impressed how the characters looked so real, and how the cast was chosen right on, because of what I saw of the actors work in other movies. I cannot say how much I love Robert Forster in Jackie Brown, and even stronger I fell for Pam Grier. They were with an incredible chemistry between them, and that is partly why the movie is so good. Besides, the story is very raw, it is about aging and not fitting in anymore, being in a need of a change, and being drawn into a perfect plot, for the fun of having a change in our life. It is tricky, you believe you have it all sorted, but not, it is full of surprises, changes. At the same time, it is not a crazy action movie, it is seen from a very personal point of view, very close to the characters. Maybe that is why the movie is so original. And the soundtrack, don't get me started on the soundtrack, it is perfect, from Bobby Womack to the Supremes to Foxy Brown to the Delfonics to Pam Grier herself to Bill Withers to The Grassroots to Johnny Cash. Anyway, perfect.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, 2011

with Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni, Gad Elmaleh, Kurt Fuller, Léa Seydoux

A young engaged couple (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live as a couple.

Long time since the last movie of Woody Allen I liked. But this one came finally out. To be honest, I had major apprehensions on how he would portray Paris, as I am myself a Parisian. I didn't like in "Vicky Christina Barcelona" his vision of Barcelona, too touristic to me, too Spanish and not Catalan at all. Some scenes of it were hilarious, mostly thanks to Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, but the rest was strongly cliché, and the two girls where not interesting. Anyway, coming back to Midnight in Paris, I was afraid also of Owen Wilson's version of Woody Allen. Anyway, all wrong. It was a brilliant and funny movie, with a great sense of nostalgia, beauty, cultural shock, well acted, ironic, with a great inventiveness playing with historical characters, the relation with the present and the comical of situation.

Deconstructing Harry by Woody Allen, 1997

with Woody Allen, Elisabeth Shue, Richard Benjamin, Billy Crystal, Kirstie Alley, Judy Davis, Bob Balaban, Demi Moore, Julie Kavner, Robin Williams, Caroline Aaron, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eric Bogosian, Mariel Hemingway, Amy Irving, Eric Lloyd, Tobey Maguire, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Garner, Paul Giamatti

Self-absorbed novelist Harry Block (Woody Allen) sees his literary chickens come home to roost after he pens a roman à clef that offends, enrages and alienates everyone in his orbit. The film's sterling cast also includes Elisabeth Shue as Harry's ex-girlfriend, Kirstie Alley as his former spouse, Bob Balaban as his best pal and Judy Davis as the erstwhile sister-in-law who wants to murder Harry.

Amazing Cast isn't it? Also, my first woody Allen. Also my favorite one, with Purple Rose of Cairo, Manhattan Murder Mystery, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and actually his latest "Midnight in Paris". But I loved the inventiveness of Deconstructing Harry, so many great concepts were explored, it felt like an explosion of concepts, of parabolic images taken literally, and the characters that were resolving the situations where just a whole bunch of crazy nuts that could be your neighbors and ordinary real people, incredible to the mind. I always have in mind the fun he makes of orthodox Jews, how wise a prostitute can be as opposed to the intellectual sister, and how blurry you can become sometimes, and self centered, all that with a tasty sense of humor.

Constantine by Francis Lawrence, 2005 (R)

With Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions), Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea, The Whisleblower, The Bourne Legacy, 360, Dream House, Agora), Shia LaBeouf (Nymphomaniac, Lawless, The Company You Keep), Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince (Simone, Beautiful Creatures), Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Michael Clayton, I am Love), Peter Stormare (Chocolat)

John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is a private investigator who believes in things that go bump in the night -- an unconventional quirk that makes him somewhat of an eccentric personality in a world ruled largely by logic. When a female cop (Rachel Weisz) seeks his counsel after her twin sister dies in what first appears to be a suicide, she wants definitive proof of the cause of death. But the answers might only come with blind faith.

Another theory about how good and evil function and play with us on earth. Funnily the two movies, "Constantine" and the one reviewed previously "Sin Noticias De Dios", are very close in some aspect, such as the connection on earth through messengers on the paradise and hell, and the invasion of earth by any of the party. I like the inventiveness that the movie has on how they manifest. Also, I believe I watched this movie because I was curious on Keanu Reeves new role after the Matrix, and discovered (fell in love with) Rachel Weisz. The relationship between the two is funny and at the same time really works. I believe that after that, Rachel Weisz always had this roles of women charmful and a little nuts somehow, powerful and with beautiful souls. Ok, my mistake, I probably saw this movie after About a boy and was already madly in love with her... Anyway, its a good movie, and the intervention of Tilda Swinton at the end is making it an apotheosis.

watch trailer:

Don't Tempt Me (Sin Noticias De Dios) by Agustín Díaz Yanes, 2001

with Penélope Cruz, Victoria Abril, Demián Bichir, Fanny Ardant, Gael García Bernal, Gemma Jones, Bruno Bichir, Elena Anaya, Peter McDonald, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, Cristina Marcos, Alicia Sanchez, Luis Tosar, Elsa Pataky

A concussive brain injury could spell curtains for a boxer named Manny (Demian Bichir). But no sooner does a priest begin to spout the boxer's last rites than a couple of supernatural agents -- an angel from heaven (Victoria Abril) and a waitress from hell (Penelope Cruz) -- are sent to vie for his soul.

I came across this movie when it came out, and was a little doubtful about the story. I love the actors, which was my main motivation to watch it. It happened to have a very ironic sense of humor and an interesting approach to the balance on earth between good and evil, god and its creatures. The name of the movie in English should say "Without news from God". The main departure point is that god is a kid who created good and evil, and life on earth, but its creatures became smarter than him and decided to take over the rules on earth (which is based on free choice of humans) and change the balance between good and evil, when god is tired and decides to retire for a while. The game between Victoria Abril and Penelope Cruz is irresistible and attaching, and make the movie something else than just a interpretative tableau of religion.

Snow Cake by Marc Evans, 2006 (NR)

with Alan Rickman (Alice In Wonderland, Harry Potter), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Carrie-Anne Moss (Fireflies in The Garden, Chocolat, The Matrix), David Fox, Jayne Eastwood, Emily Hampshire, James Allodi, Callum Keith Rennie, Mark McKinney

Alex (Alan Rickman), a British man stranded in Ontario and haunted by a fatal accident that took place there, is forced to confront his past when he meets the autistic Linda (Sigourney Weaver). Linda is the mother of the teenage girl who died in the accident, and though she's sustained an unimaginable loss, it is she who helps Alex find his way back to a life once again filled with hope.

I believe I was randomly looking for movies either with Alan Rickman or Carrie-Ann Moss when I found this. I do not know when it actually came out, if it did came out, what was the general welcoming of this movie by the critics or the audience. I watched it quite amazed by the aesthetic of something that was reminding me so much of a Danish movie. It is a movie that really feels like the north. But it is Canadian. And it is with a British actor. And it is about people, which somehow means more than a country. But the cinematography is something I remember sharply. The acting as well, because the characters are all believable, and interesting. You learn on the way not to judge them, to respect their story and their behavior, and eventually to love them. And the lightness to it, the poetry of the story is something that we rarely see in movies, it is a little jewel. Well, now reading other reviews, I believe this is quite unanimous, although they describe the movie as a diamond, not a jewel!

The Thomas Crown Affair by John McTiernan, 1999 (R)

with Pierce Brosnan (The Ghost Writer), Rene Russo (Thor, Thor 2: The Dark World), Denis Leary (Ice Age), Ben Gazzara (Paris Je T'aime), Frankie Faison, Faye Dunaway, Fritz Weaver (Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight), Charles Keating, Mark Margolis...

This 1999 remake of the 1968 classic showcases debonair Pierce Brosnan as the titular billionaire who, for kicks, would rather steal works of art than buy them. Charged with investigating his crimes, sleuth Catherine (Rene Russo) instead falls under his spell. Despite the warnings of detective Michael (Denis Leary), Catherine moves closer to Thomas and finds herself facing a moral quandary.

I watched this film when it came out and loved it. It actually made me change my mind about the acting skills of Pierce Brosnan and his ability to play a gentleman, since I wasn't convinced of his performance in James Bond movies. But he actually has a real class to himself, maybe not as an action man, maybe not as a British gentleman, but as an rich American seducer and gentleman. Also, I got fascinated by the strong leading role of Rene Russo, I actually believe that this is a complete feminist movie that is ruled by this woman. So, for many year, I remembered that movie quite positively. I finally watched it again, in need of the "Catherine" character, and loved it again. Maybe it got old in some aspect, such as the computers and cell phones (this is a killer time proof), but on the other hand, luxury is still luxury, not much has changed in the standards, outfits impeccable, same goes to the Met, not a bit has changed either, and the seduction theme is still very up to date, and maybe won't change for quite some more time. I tried afterward to watch the original movie from 1968, but didn't get inspired by Steve McQueen. I forgot to mention a fun fact, the Psychiatrist Thomas sees is Faye Dunaway, who in the original cast was Catherine.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sleuth by Kenneth Branagh, 2007 (R)

with Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises), Jude Law (Anna Karenina, Breaking And Entering, Hugo, Contagion Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Harold Pinter

Aging detective writer Andrew Wyke (Michael Caine) squares off against Milo Tindle (Jude Law), the struggling actor who stole Wyke's wife in this twisted -- and twisty -- plot of deception and double crosses from director Kenneth Branagh.

If this movie was a theater play, it would be amazing. The tricks of the single location can be easily reproduced on stage. The writing of Harold Pinter is definitely made for theater. So for the first half of the movie, it is hard not to see the acting skills, the theatricality of the story. But after some time, you get immersed into the action, the language become more fluid, and you buy the story. The twists in the plot are entertaining, the language is a delicious candy, the actors are great. Now this is a remake from the original Sleuth from 1972 where Michael Caine plays Tindle, so it would be interesting to see how he played the other character.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The cooler by Wayne Kramer, 2003 (R)

with William H. Macy (Thank You For Smoking, The sessions), Maria Bello (Thank You For Smoking, Payback, Beautiful Boy), Alec Baldwin (It's complicated, To Rome With Love), Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston (Game Change), Paul Sorvino, Estella Warren, Arthur J. Nascarella (Solitary Man), M.C. Gainey (Tangled), Ellen Greene, Joey Fatone, Don Scribner, Tony Longo

The unluckiest man in Las Vegas, Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), is employed by a casino as a "cooler" to defuse winning streaks. But when Lootz falls in love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello), she becomes his "lady luck" -- to the chagrin of the casino's crooked director (Alec Baldwin). Baldwin was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as Shelly Kaplow, the old-school casino boss who will do anything to keep Lootz down.

Another movie about chance. I loved it. Besides the intriguing story of luck, the actors are amazing, human, funny, the rhythm is perfect, the plot full of surprises. Refreshing dark comedy.

Watch trailer:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Intacto by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2001 (R)

with Leonardo Sbaraglia, Eusebio Poncela, Mónica López, Antonio Dechent, Max von Sydow, Guillermo Toledo, Alber Ponte, Andrea San Vicente, Jesús Noguero, Ramón Serrada, Marisa Lull, Luis Mesonero

Set at a Spanish resort, Intacto tells the story of a World War II concentration camp survivor, Samuel (Max von Sydow), who lives in the basement of a casino and has a supernatural ability to acquire good luck -- which he can give, take, sell or gamble for others. As the story begins, he steals luck from an earthquake survivor, Federico, who then vows revenge on Samuel. A series of strange mind games of luck and intrigue follow.

I have something with luck, the theme fascinates me. So I won't be very honest, but I found the theme very fascinating. As well as the actors, impeccable, starting with Max Von Sydow and Mónica López. The more we move forward in the movie, the more we believe in chance, the more we play the same bet as the characters do, the thrill comes with it, and we believe this guy is going to win. It is built on expectation, and at no point you start loosing the interest (or you might call it the addiction of the game), even if you are only the witness of it. Intelligent.
watch trailer: