with the bold text in the example below:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Intentions by Luane Beck, 2003

with Deidre Kotch, Katherine Lee, Tom Darci, Maria Biber-Ferro, Ted D'Agostino, Carrie Arlah, Fred Sharkey, Chloe Krug-Benjamin, Nicole Younce

When female drama student Eve (Deidre Kotch) falls for married-with-children professor Renee Higgins (Katherine Lee), the two awaken repressed creative and emotional passions in each other and soon become romantically involved. Their love forces them to examine their hidden feelings and discover whether they have the strength and courage to pursue their dreams.

Ouh... This movie. It has some sensuality, it has something you can feel between the two actresses, the acting is not bad, but my goodness, it is hard to believe this movie was shot in 2003, looks more like 1990. It really aged. The story is not very original, but it is ok. But not a great moment either.

Cars by John Lasseter, 2006

with Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger, Katherine Helmond, Larry the Cable Guy, Bob Costas, Ray Magliozzi, Richard Petty, George Carlin

Prepare to peel out with this revved-up animated adventure featuring classic automobiles, plenty of fender benders, guffaws galore and a nostalgic Route 66 road trip with a crew that doesn't make pit stops.

I didn't know what to expect of this animation movie, I believe it got excellent revues back when it came out. I was a little bit afraid, since the second one came out and felt like a low quality series. Maybe I am wrong. Anyway, the movie is funny, interesting in reminding how the American culture evolved, embodied by cars, very dynamic. But at the end of the day, the story is very expectable, has very little nuances, each character is what it is from the beginning, with one specific feature to it, therefor a little bit poor. There is the good, the bad, and the good that doesn't know it yes, but you expect him to learn the lesson and become good.

Certified Copy (Copie Conforme), by Abbas Kiarostami, 2010

with Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carriere, Agathe Natanson, Gianna Giachetti, Adrian Moore, Angelo Barbagallo, Andrea Laurenzi, Filippo Trojano

In Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's captivating meditation on art and love, British writer James Miller meets a beautiful gallery owner in Tuscany and begins -- or possibly continues -- a romance with her.

People say it is a subtle movie, about whether these two people are actually close or strangers. It is supposed to be interesting in that sense. I always sense that Juliette Binoche is an amazing actress, who can express the devotion, the embarrassment and the love to the extreme, but she needs a good partner, if not it falls flat. Her partner is bad, the nuances he has in between gentlemen to angry man, but no in between and definitely feels flat. Impossible to follow the subtleties of the game because everything feels fake, overacted. Sad, because the departing idea of the plot is interesting.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ghosted (Ai-mei) by Monika Treut, 2008

with Inga Busch, Yi-Ching Lu, Ting Ting Hu, Jack Kao, Marek Harloff, Nick Dong-Sik, Ke Huan-Ru, Kevin Shih Hung Chen

In Taipei to unveil an art installation in honor of her dead Taiwanese lover, Ai-Ling, German artist Sophie Scmitt (Inga Busch) rebuffs the advances of enigmatic journalist Mei Li (Ting Ting Hu). But when Mei Li turns up at her door in Hamburg, Sophie reconsiders. She soon discovers, though, that the mysterious woman is much more than she appears to be.

I see two problems about the movie. First, it should have been in German and Taiwanese, or have better actors to be able to make them play in English the parts that are in between. The second, how sad that it was marketed as a lesbian movie. I found the story and culture of ghost so fascinating, the beliefs of Taiwanese that when someone dies, as long as it didn't get the ceremony, the soul is embodies in another person's life, and it can be very disturbing for someone embodied by a ghost because the person cannot know whether it as herself or as a ghost that she is experiencing things. The German actress, Inga Busch, has something fascinating about herself but she is too awkward acting, the first Taiwanese playing Ai-Ling is amazing, but the second one is not looking very natural, with a perpetuate surprised look in her eyes. Anyway, interesting at least.

The Wave (Die Welle) by Dennis Gansel, 2008

with Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich, Christiane Paul, Jacob Matschenz, Cristina do Rego, Elyas M'Barek, Max Mauff

To give his students a real-world example of how dictatorships can grow powerful, a high school teacher starts a social experiment that gives some of his students a strong advantage while leaving others subservient and powerless.

Based on a real story, interestingly in the 70's in California, which means out of a historic context, it has traumatized a generation of high school students. As a book, it is studied in Germany to prove that it can happen again, if we are not careful about what we build for ourselves. What is changing in the movie, besides putting it in the present time, is that it is set in Germany. I do not know why this choice was made, and it has been dramatized at the end. Perhaps to make it more impact-full. The movie is excellent, well played, it develops very well the feelings of each students, the euphoria of belonging, the apprehension of other, the construction of an identity that makes sense, a logical building up of the rise. And the frontiers that are little by little built upon rules. Scary...

Pina by Wim Wenders, 2011 (3D)

with Pina Bausch Dance Company

Wim Wenders uses 3D technology to arresting effect in this performance documentary about Pina Baussch's Tanztheater Wuppertal dance company. Performing in the streets and parks of Wuppertal, Germany, the troupe's pieces include "The Rite of Spring."

The movie has to be watched in the right condition, perhaps choose the best seat of the room, in a cinema that provides comfortable 3D glasses. It does make a difference. Also, it is not a movie about Pina Bausch seeing Pina Bausch. It is all through the eyes of the members of her company, through their movements and through their words, which are clearly separated from one to the others, in an odd manner. The choreographies are staged indoor and outdoor, in unusual locations, beautiful. The feeling of three dimensions is interesting, since it feels as close as it could with today's technology from watching a real dance performance. It is a journey also through the generations and it has something powerful in the definition of time. Knowing that the company will dissolve in two years make the movie even more relevant as a photography of an era, represented by all from the pioneers to the youngest, still all dancing, and defined by a time of death, which is the point where Pina Bausch ends.

The Descendants by Alexander Payne, 2011 (R)

with George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause (Boyhood), Patricia Hastie, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer, Robert Forster, Mary Birdsong, Rob Huebel

When his wife falls into coma in a boating accident, distant father Matt King (George Clooney) begins an iffy journey to repair his fractured relationship with his two daughters. But he's also trying to decide whether to let go of some valuable family real estate.

With the expectations created by the Golden Globes, it was a hard movie not to build up on. But it was also expected to be about the actors, not a visually amazing story, not a drama, not a comedy, something unusual for the American audience in a way for not being clearly in a category, maybe social. So, the acting is good, the landscapes are amazing, the point of view, from a native Hawaiian perspective, interesting, but still, I found the emotional part quite flat, simple, with a certain lack of nuance and an expected ending.

Morning Glory by Roger Michell, 2010 (PG-13)

with Rachel McAdams (The Vow, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Midnight in Paris), Harrison Ford (Blade Runner), Diane Keaton (Marvin's Room, Mad Money), Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson (Young Adult), John Pankow, Matt Malloy (Dr. T and The Women), Ty Burrell, Patti D'Arbanville

Whiz-kid producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) finds her abilities put to the test when she's charged with bringing a network morning show back from ratings purgatory. Her first job: getting the show's feuding, acid-tongued co-hosts (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton) under control.

Refreshing almost romantic comedy on the current situation of crisis, competition, aging, finding ourselves. It is funny and refreshing. Nothing more than that. Just expectable, with a few good laughs, good actors, very simple story.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Le Havre by Aki Kaurismäki, 2011

with André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi

This comedic drama relates the poignant tale of a young immigrant African boy arriving destitute in the French port of Le Havre, where he's eventually taken under the wing of a former Bohemian writer who now chooses to shine shoes for a living.

Strangest movie I've watched in a while. The actors are overacting, in a peculiar rhythm, as if they were told at the moment sentences they couldn't understand. The movie is extremely slow, to the point that you need to tell yourself to slow down your own pulse to be able to stand it. But on the other hand, as the story unravels, it becomes more and more obvious that this is a style, and the story is much more than the joke you can make about the moments. It is full of those details that create a confusion on whether this story is at the present time, or staged twenty years ago, or after ww2. The characters are full of this humanity that is beautifully simple, it is a great experience of discovery.