with the bold text in the example below:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of Sight by Steven Soderbergh, 1998 (R)

with George Clooney (The Descendants, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air), Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle (Traffic), Catherine Keener (Please Give, Peace Love and Misunderstanding, Simone), Dennis Farina, Steve Zahn, Albert Brooks (Drive), Luis Guzmán (Traffic), Isaiah Washington

Florida bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney) plays a genteel game of cat and mouse with Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), the stunning federal marshal he meets in the trunk of a getaway car, in this Steven Soderbergh-directed film that shows off his trademark nonlinear storytelling. Out of Sight received Oscar nominations for both its crack editing (Anne V. Coates) and its brilliant adaptation (Scott Frank) of Elmore Leonard's novel.

My favorite Soderbergh so far, although I really like his movies in general. George Clooney is sexy, Jennifer Lopez's performance in perfect as a US marshal, I think I prefer her in this kind of roles than the typical falling in love girl she is since (I recommend "The Cell" as well). Anyway, the soundtrack is really good, the actors are all well chosen, even Catherine Keener that I finally recognized (after perhaps seeing this movie about five times) in a role she never takes. The storyline is great, deconstructed, original, with a dark great sense of humor, and did I already mentioned I really like Elmore Leonard's writing, Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, Bandits...

Watch Trailer:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) by Niels Arden Oplev, 2009 (R)

with Michael Nyqvist (MI4: Ghost Protocol), Noomi Rapace (Prometheus), Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Marika Lagercrantz, Ingvar Hirdwall, Björn Granath, Ewa Fröling

"Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger's are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves." IMDB

April 25, 2010: The characters are very good. At first, you feel very detached from them. There is this distance due probably to this rough aesthetic of the movie, with high contrast, very few colors around the blueish. And the ambient is as cold as the color, with a violence that goes beyond the acts of violence. The background of the story is dark, and stay dark until the end. With an inch of dark humor. Little by little the thriller takes over the characters and perhaps, the shortcuts that the movie had to make to fit in the length of the movie makes it a little bit surreal. This is where you get a chance to detach yourself a little bit from the story. Too bad. The ending makes it a perfect story and you realize that you may want to read the book. Instead.

Update August 2012: David Fincher made an American remake since that simplified the emotions to the essence, missing the point of the character of Lisbeth Salander. I really recommend you to watch the original Swedish version!

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Perfect Sense (The Last Word) by David Mackenzie, 2011 (R)

with Ewan McGregor (Amelia, Haywire, The Men Who Stare At Goats, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing In Yemen), Eva Green (Dark Shadows, The Dreamers), Ewen Bremner, Stephen Dillane, Denis Lawson, Anamaria Marinca, Alastair Mackenzie, Connie Nielsen, Katy Engels, Richard Mack

People around the world are being infected. First the grief, then smell is gone. As loss of one sense leads to another, people are stripped of the lives that they once knew. Chaos ensues whilst a young couple try to begin a relationship.

The story is amazing. It is a sort of apocalyptic vision of humanity, going through stages, which define the human being, both from the point of view of our hormones and out nervous system. It is from the perspective of a relationship that was born from the apocalypse, and grows as their senses become more limited, and perhaps essential. The acting is good, although I always find difficult to like the tortured roles of Eva Green (reminds me of my Emo time as a teenager...). I always find narration difficult to integrate to movies, it always look like an artifice that is used to simplify the work of the director. I realized this time the narration was beautiful, poetic, suitable to the tone of the story, except perhaps for the last shot where I felt it was unnecessary, due to the context.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Game by David Fincher, 1997 (R)

with Michael Douglas (Solitary Man, Haywire), Sean Penn (Milk, Fair Game, The Tree of Life), Deborah Kara Unger (Crash), James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker (Giant), Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl
By the director of Seven, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Financial genius and coldhearted loner Nicholas receives an unusual birthday present from his younger brother, Conrad -- a gift certificate to play a unique kind of game formulated by "CRS".

This is one of my favorite movies. It is smart, well conducted, absolutely unpredictable, dark, the acting is perfect, the esthetic is still as today up-to-date, the rhythm interesting, finally, Michael Douglas holds the main character at the limit of the breakdown, at the limit of the believable, but never loosing the sense of the possible. It is brilliant. Sean Penn and Deborah Kara Unger are solidifying the disbelief completely. "A life-changing experience!"

Watch Trailer:

To Rome With Love by Woody Allen, 2012 (R)

with Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Deconstructing Harry), Alec Baldwin (The Cooler), Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful), Penélope Cruz (Sin Noticias de Dios, Non Ti Muovere), Judy Davis (Deconstructing Harry), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Solitary Man), Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page (Juno), Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Alison Pill (Milk), Carol Alt, Flavio Parenti (I Am Love), Fabio Armiliato (amazing tenor, fascinating!)

Woody Allen plays a father meeting his daughter's Italian in-laws to-be in this ensemble comedy that interweaves four tales set in Rome. Other cast members include Roberto Benigni as a man mistaken for a film star.

Every year, there is the Allen season, a season where the new Woody Allen movie comes out. It never misses. Last year was Midnight in Paris, very good, well written, the script was intelligent, the dialogues witty, with a touch of nostalgia and romanticism, almost French.
This time, Woody Allen brought us to another capital of romanticism, Roma. What was so successful about his previous movie failed in that one. The sense of humor is still there, but feels forced, the storyline is very confusing, with a feeling that these bits and pieces have been imagined separately and forced together. Some scenes are inventive and absolutely hilarious, (this is the good thing about Woody Allen, you end up laughing out loud, very healthy). Then you have all the other moments, where you wait until something happens that reconnects you to the story. It is overacted, Comedia Del Arte style, with some twists and turns of the story, more or less surreal, and I guess it is impossible to direct Roberto Benigni, he is himself a character, and honestly, you like him or not, I found him exuberant and exhausting. Also another thing, the ending, too long. He could just have had a finish with the ending of the opera, but no, he kept on going...

Watch Trailer:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Barney's Version by Richard J. Lewis, 2010 (R)

for once I am putting two posters, because one pays homage to the traditional movie poster of the beginning of the century, and I really like it :) The other one is just the other one, the official.

with Paul Giamatti (Duplicity), Rosamund Pike (Pride and Prejudice, Surrogates, An Education), Paul Gross, Minnie Driver (Sleepers), Scott Speedman (The Vow, Adoration), Dustin Hoffman (Kramer Vs. Kramer, Tootsie), Jake Hoffman, Mark Addy, Saul Rubinek, Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight Series), Bruce Greenwood (Deja Vu)

Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti stars as Barney Panofsky, a Jewish Canadian television producer who reflects in flashbacks on three strange decades -- and three wives -- in this adaptation of Mordecai Richler's acclaimed novel. There's Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), a free-spirited proponent of free love; "Mrs. P" (Minnie Driver), a self-centered princess; and Miriam (Rosamund Pike), the right woman who comes along at the wrong time.

It is an unexpected movie. First you believe it is about a murder, of his best friend. Then you believe this is about finding no evidence of the murder, thinking at some point of his life, it will come back to him. And then, it evolves into a love story, then the story of humans, imperfect, living a life that had mistakes, trying to fix them, to go one. And finally it is about aging, looking at life again, remembering, forgetting, remembering still, the essential. Paul Giamatti made me cry. And it was not an easy thing to achieve, since he is so far from the romantic guy, so uncharming, so not likable. It leaves you perplex the fact that the story shows him at the center of an amazing life. Perhaps to show you how much he had to loose. Or perhaps how much the other had to loose by not looking beyond the appearance. Perhaps this is why it takes such a long time to understand why a woman like Miriam (amazing Rosamund Pike) falls for him. The movie is dynamic, with dark humor and loud, with a humanity that reminds me I know nothing about Canadian humor, but I am ready to learn!

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lynne Ramsay, 2011 (R)

with Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, I am Love, Constantine), John C. Reilly (Chicago, The Hours), Ezra Miller (Californication), Jasper Newell, Rocky Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich, Siobhan Fallon, Alex Manette, Joseph Melendez

Eva's relationship with her son, Kevin, has been difficult from the beginning. When the 15-year-old boy's cruel streak erupts into violence, Eva wonders how much blame she deserves for his actions.

This movie is very original, probably one of the darkest I've seen since actually "Julia" again with Tilda Swinton. I watched it thinking I would see an alternate version of the same story of "Beautiful Boy", but not at all. The tone is radically different, the perception of the family, the behavior of the kid, the focus of the story and finally the story itself are radically opposite. We have here a mother who felt estranged by her pregnancy, and then manipulated by her son to the point where her husband in oblivion doesn't even believe her. It is build in a back and forth with the present and the time of the tragedy, from the birth on to the moment of the murders. The story is misleading in many way, so you never know really what is to expect of the characters, of the next possible event, which in a way doesn't really explain why she fell so low. The interactions of the kid (played by 4 formidable actors) with the mum is oppressing, to the limit of the horror gender, definitely suspense. The beautiful moments always have something disturbing to them, and the esthetic of the movie is truly fascinating. Red is definitely built of so many symbols, from the alarm clock to the Tomatina of Spain, to the paint on the walls, to the soup cans, to the red lights of the firemen trucks.
Now, there are common points, the guilt of the parent, the relationship of the parent with the outside world, the open rejection, the incomprehension of the act... But in a way, it would have much more to compare to with "Rosemary's Baby". I recommend strongly, but not to a mother who just gave birth!

Watch Trailer:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Claudia Black, a journey to the impossibles

I never knew one of my recent obsession would become the reason why my blog is so much read. Definitely, I believe that there is a major curiosity to be built upon Claudia Black. She was once overly wearing make-up for "City Life", which is here in the US practically impossible to watch, except if you understand Russian and you are not bothered by the fact that it is only one person (male) that does he voice over for all the characters, with the enthusiasm of Aeryn Sun in "Look at the Princess" for Dregon Carzenova (Aaron James Cash). I personally do not understand Russian. Anyway...
Claudia Black as Angela Kostapas in "City Life"

My journey of discovering Claudia Black started (obviously) with Aeryn Sun in "Farscape". Interesting character, who pretty much stole the series, evolving from tough military to someone more complex, with feelings, emotions, hopes.
Claudia Black as Aeryn Sun in Farscape

Something in her pushed me into watching "Stargate SG-1", while my friends (who had recommended me "Farscape") were kind of reticent. My only curiosity came from the fact that in one of the episodes of "Stargate SG-1" named "200", she was playing Aeryn Sun. But instead of going straight to the point, I started back to "Prometheus Unbound" and watched her as Vala Mal Doran in all the episodes in between to get to that point. I was definitely on the one hand deceived that it wasn't Aeryn Sun per say, but one the other hand, I got my only laugh for watching "Stargate SG-1" which largely compensated.
Claudia Black as Vala Mal Doran in Stargate SG-1

Following this Stargate period, I got into what is called at my age (28) a shameful moment. Yes, I watched "90210" aka Beverly Hills. It used to be successful as a different generation cast, when I was 8 years old, with the reputation to be for kids and teenagers. When I was 8, I thought it was an adult show, with real heart drama. Watching it now was sort of a learning experience, first of that target audience, second of a certain mentality that perhaps some high school have. Anyway, Claudia Black played for a few episodes a guru, Sona. Of course, she has to be the bad guy, and of course, the whole game has to be unveiled in an obvious manner. Anyway, definitely a character change. My shame was more or less watching the rest of the episodes that ended the series...
Claudia Black as Guru Sona in 90210

Next was the wonder of "City Life" dubbed in Russian, which I probably gave up to easily, although reading about it, it made me realize this was a response to Melrose Place from New Zealand, meaning not sure I want to be hooked to a sitcom again. 

Then came "Rango"... I had to see it, because of the reviews, and because of her role as Angelique. Well, the movie is great, the character of Angelique, let's define it: nearly nonexistent. Sad because she is funnily arrogant, could have had more slashing lines.
Claudia Black as Angelique in Rango

I checked the trailer of the animation movie "The Alchemist Agenda" but it looked like it was still a work in progress. I was also watching this episode of "MoonLight" where she appears, kind of SM Vampire Cleaner, reminding me of Trinity in "The Matrix" (And I love Trinity... But The Cleaner wasn't a recurrent role so I gave up).
Claudia Black as Ariel Allis in The Alchemist Agenda

Claudia Black as The Cleaner in MoonLight

Now, my two latest moves are to watch "Pitch Black" which when it came out was a blockbuster, and hum... "Xena: Warrior Princess" that's it, I said it. I believe I watched that once on tv when I was a teenager, at my aunt's house (never had tv in my childhood), bored to death and at 11am during the week with no cable tv, obviously not much to watch either. I was not impressed. So this time, this particular episode where Claudia Black appears, "Lifeblood" is with guest star Selma Blair and is about this leader from the past Xena is having visions of. We are at the time of the early Sapiens I think, and Claudia Black is a hippie with skins and fur named Karina. Her character is close enough to Aeryn Sun, sort of a leader herself, very naive tho. Anyway, It was a bit painful to watch, since everything is over-staged, loud and absolutely not convincing, from the acting (except perhaps Claudia who also strangely never dances with the crowd, skipping in extremis a ridiculous fate.)
Claudia Black as Karina in Xena: Warrior Princess

I am trying to watch in the subway (yes, New York) every time I can "Pitch Black". Not sure this is a good idea since last time, because I couldn't hear the deep voice of Vin Diesel, I put the volume to the maximum and then they shot something really loud (in order to scare) while I was leaving the train, got my ears and heart by surprise, I almost hurt someone. I am pending on the time where Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery, her character, is going to die, seems like everyone will besides Vin Diesel and Radha Mitchell...
Claudia Black as Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery in Pitch Black

Ok, to jump subject, I watched a few interviews of the "Real" Claudia Black, she looks very funny, grounded. Which might have been why in a way, she decided to focus her career on voice-over for films and video-games and other priorities. I am looking forward though to her next performance in a feature film, if possible not in an animation movie :)

Update 08/25/2012: The latest news is the completion of the animation movie "Strange Frame: Love & Sax" which has Claudia Black playing Parker C. Boyd, a women from a few centuries forward in a society that has stopped living on earth, saxophonist, falling for another woman with an extraordinary voice, Naia X. who ends up becoming the slave of her new manager. So of course, Parker needs to save her. The trailer is out there, the animation seems a bit unequal, between 3d landscape that are absolutely stunning of realism, to the characters that look like painting or video-game from the 2000s, but awkwardly animated. Would love to see it tho when it comes out in New York. Still running its first rounds in L.A. so far...
Update 12/25/2014: yes that's Christmas night and I am reviewing my notes on Claudia Black... Just felt like having a revival of Farscape, that's why... So, thanks to Netflix, the movie is on demand! And it is an interesting story, although the animation is a bit unequal and sometimes sketchy. 
On a Christmas note, I needed to express how beautiful Claudia Black looks lately with her blonde and curly hair. She should be in a movie (ah ah!). Anyway, seriously, any director reading this?

Claudia Black in Strange Frame: Love & Sax as Parker C. Boyd


Read more on Claudia Black, a journey to the impossibles
For more on Claudia Black, I recommend IMDB and claudiablackonline 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Unstoppable by Tony Scott, 2010 (PG-13)

Latest movie I saw of Tony Scott was Unstoppable, from which I had a hard time not having a heart-attack.

with Denzel Washington (Déjà Vu, American Gangster, Flight), Chris Pine (People Like Us, This Means War), Rosario Dawson (Men In Black 2, Love in the Time of Money), Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn (Warrior), Kevin Corrigan (Please Give), Kevin Chapman, Lew Temple, T.J. Miller (Our Idiot Brother, How To Train A Dragon)

It's a nail-biting race against time as an unmanned train carrying a load of lethal chemicals speeds out of control, and a conductor and engineer do everything in their power to keep it from derailing and killing tens of thousands of people. Denzel Washington leads the cast in Tony Scott's tough-minded action thriller, in which a terrible circumstance forces a couple of ordinary men to become extraordinary heroes.

I didn't realize Unstoppable was from the same director as "Enemy of The State" and "Déjà Vu" which makes a lot of sense. There is always this feeling of rush, led by characters we don't forget, because these are not action-based movies. They are character-driven, despite the circumstance that pushes them into a full speed race, in a way. This one is in a way a lot simpler plot than the two others, but it involves a wide knowledge of what is the crisis cell in case of catastrophic scenarios, the political and hierarchical powers that collide, influencing the decisions to make to a certain level of course, because at the end of the day, the central decisions have to be made from the train itself, with the confrontation of two very different men. It is a little too American in terms of hero-based realistic movies, but that's alright, I guess, sometimes.

Watch Trailer:

Enemy of the State by Tony Scott, 1998 (R)

An Homage to Tony Scott with two of my favorite movies, Deja Vu and Enemy of the State.

with Will Smith (Men In Black I, II, III), Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Laura Cayouette, Loren Dean, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Gabriel Byrne, Jake Busey, Jason Lee, Scott Caan, James LeGros (Mildred Pierce)

Hotshot lawyer Robert Dean becomes a victim of high-tech identity theft when a hacker slips an incriminating video into his pocket. Soon, a rogue National Security agent sets out to recover the tape — and destroy Dean.

This is an intelligent movie, that goes into a race of impossible exit. The cast is really impressive, where bad guys are on top of technology, in a way that in 1998 was visionary, since this technology is as of today absolutely accurate, in a big brother way. The dialogues and the political intrigue are intelligent, the races are harassingly breathtaking (which actually reminds me of the race in "Anthony Zimmer" that I recommend strongly). Lisa Bonet is a great character that didn't take to my opinion enough space in the movie, you definitely want to know more about this character, she is amazing. Finally, the movie is very well edited, it was a pleasure to watch.

Watch Trailer:

Déjà Vu by Tony Scott, 2006 (PG-13)

An Homage to Tony Scott with two of my favorite movies, Deja Vu and Enemy of the State.

with Denzel Washington (Unstoppable), Paula Patton (Precious), Val Kilmer (The Saint), James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander, Bruce Greenwood, David Jensen, Jennifer Weston, Lara Grice

ATF agent Doug Carlin finds himself dogged by feelings of déjà vu as he investigates a bombing on a New Orleans ferry. Should he shrug off the unsettling sensation, or can it help him unravel the clues he needs to save hundreds of innocent people?

I don't know why but every time a woman is introduced in a movie of Tony Scott, I have to fall for her, Paula Patton and Lisa Bonet are some of them... He had a certain talent in making women look extraordinary, special, strong and at the same time sensitives. Then I have a special connection with movie who are on time travel and time discontinuity. This one was a treat, I really loved the logic behind the succession of events. It is wrapping up beautifully in a perfect look, which I don't mean to spoil... The acting is excellent, of course, and the action is smartly driven with excellent rhythm and combined with an emotional journey that Denzel Washington handles with excellence.

Watch Trailer

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beautiful Boy by Shawn Ku, 2010 (R)

with Michael Sheen (Tron: Legacy, Alice in Wonderland, Frost/Nixon, Midnight in Paris, Music Within), Maria Bello (Thank You For Smoking, The Cooler), Kyle Gallner, Bruce French, Austin Nichols, Deidrie Henry, Alan Tudyk (Ice Age, Death at a Funeral), Moon Bloodgood, Cody Wai-Ho Lee, Meat Loaf

Bill and Kate are on the verge of separating when the unthinkable happens: Their 18-year-old son goes on a shooting spree at his college, then kills himself. While coping with their grief, Bill and Kate struggle to figure out what went wrong.

A very unique theme and an interesting process to follow, of two parents facing the inconceivable, of an extreme they cannot avoid. And it is sad, because they are not perfect, of course, and everything and everyone project their imperfections. Their paranoia, melt with the judgmental look that everyone is allowed to have because it is politically correct to have it, despite the boundaries that usually people keep with others, is unbearable. The unacceptable has made everything towards them acceptable. So they feel the rejection, from work, from TV, from everyone that crosses their way, to the closest of family. The acting is impeccable, even if some of the scenario is expectable. The movie is a bit traumatic because it forces us to avoid of the horror of the act, since we are in the skin of the parents and they are trying to not confront too much what actually happened with their son, to not blame it on him or themselves too much. It is particular, because you only can project so much and never stop being overwhelmed by so much humanity.
A similar movie came out this year with Tilda Swinton, "We Need To Talk About Kevin". It would be an interesting different perspective...

Watch Trailer:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today is (not) a review day! LAMB #1317

Hello Everyone,
Today, I received a notification that an interview on my blog has just been published on "THE LAMB" aka the Large Association of Movie Blogs. It is a great honor, and a first for this 2-year old baby blog. I felt I needed to share. Thank you for reading this blog!

Site name: Cinema Just For Fun
Site URL: http://cinemajustforfun.blogspot.com
Categories: Reviews
Site Rating: G

What is the main focus of your site?
A blog on movies and series written by an animator, editor and videoartist and specially a cinema lover

What are your blogging goals, personally and/or professionally? In other words, what, if anything, are you trying to get out your blog?
The idea is to have a quick look at a movie, with the basic infos, the trailer, the poster, a small summary and a review. Since I am European, I may have seen movies that are not that mainstream in the US, and therefor propose an alternate look at cinema today.

Do you prefer an interactive community for your blog or are you the teacher and your readers the students?
I offer people to comment on the post, one opinion is always less relevant than many, therefor I invite people to give their opinion.

How long has this site been active for, and how frequently do you post updates to your site?
The blog was created in April 2010, the posting rhythm vary from 5 to 30 post per months or more, depending on the amount of films I get to watch.

Name up to three of your favorite movies (and no more).
Jackie Brown, The Game, Deconstructing Harry

Name a movie you hate!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Bourne Legacy by Tony Gilroy, 2012 (PG-13)

with Jeremy Renner (Avengers, The Hurt Locker), Rachel Weisz (Agora, Dream House, The Whistleblower, Constantine), Edward Norton (Primal Fear), Joan Allen (Pleasantville, Face/Off), Albert Finney, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac (Drive, Agora), David Strathairn (The Whistleblower), Scott Glenn (The Virgin Suicides)
From the director of Duplicity and Michael Clayton

Following the Jason Bourne debacle, the CIA finds itself dealing with a familiar threat when another estranged operative surfaces. Jeremy Renner stars alongside Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz and Joan Allen.

I cannot be fully honest about that one. We went to the movies and watched it in a large screen, like an action film is best watched. But instead, we got a tiny screen, and the sound equalizer was set on sound effect and soundtrack, instead of a normal equalizing which would also allow to hear the dialogues. So there I was missing most of the dialogues, since if not covered by the sound design, definitely really low. Nevertheless, the action is breathtaking, the acting excellent (I was amazed by the cast, really impressive), the dialogues I understood were rising the level of action movie, with an intelligent plot, spy of course. Now I wonder how much freedom they took on the books of Ludlum, but it was definitely an interesting development.

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dr. T & the Women by Robert Altman, 2000 (R)

with Richard Gere (Amelia), Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Robert Hays, Matt Malloy (Morning Glory), Lee Grant, Janine Turner, Jani Vorwerk, Mackenzie Fitzgerald, Kim Terry, Ashley Edner

Wealthy, successful gynecologist Sullivan Travis loves his seemingly perfect life -- until his wife has a sudden mental breakdown, his lesbian daughter prepares to tie the knot with a man, and his boozy sister-in-law arrives with three kids in town.

Romantic comedies have always this sadness and feel good times, so I don't know how to classify this one. I guess it is not even a comedy, the sense of humor is darkened by the topic of the story. Somehow, it manages to talk about the good guy who is adored by women, but saturates, when everything around him falls apart. Well, I don't know why this doesn't happen earlier, but it seems that this is more the story of a guy in a sentimental way, not cheesy, a unique perspective since this topic is usually seen from a woman's perspective. So the woman of his life gives up on him, the new-comer is so atypical that it is not about a love story, the daughters stories are only the perspective that allows to understand why he is so disconnected, as well as the relationship with the sister. The ending is completely absurd, only a relief that it is not only about women, thank god, which is quite unusual. A strange movie.

watch Trailer:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Total Recall by Paul Verhoeven, 1990 (R)

with Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr., Roy Brocksmith, Ray Baker, Alexia Robinson, Mark Carlton, Debbie Lee Carrington, Robert Costanzo, Marc Alaimo, Anne Lockhart
From the director of Robocop.

Based on a Philip K. Dick story, Paul Verhoeven's violent, Oscar-winning sci-fi adventure follows construction worker Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who discovers a memory chip in his brain during a virtual-reality trip. He also finds that his past has been invented to conceal a plot of planetary domination. Soon, he's off to Mars to find out who he is and who planted the chip. Sharon Stone co-stars in this mind-bending thriller.

Nothing compares to the 2012 version of Total Recall. I didn't remember the movie well so I watched again. I was surprised by the esthetic of the 1990s, not very accurate in terms of futuristic vision, quite gore and in a way, a bit cheap (specially since it is the same director as Robocop and Robocop looks much more modern) and with a kitsch Schwarzy, but nevertheless, a far better version of the K. Dick story. It has a great sense of derision, the intrigue is better hang on, the action is more scenario driven white the new one has perfect fights, special effects, and not much of acting and story. I got really hooked, and funnily, I felt watching the new version that they had made really significant changes to the script, but the reality is they kept everything of the structure and pretty much the same "Jokes".
Read review of the new "Total Recall".

watch Trailer:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Total Recall by Len Wiseman, 2012 (PG-13)

with Colin Farrell (In Bruges, Dead Man Down), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld), Bryan Cranston (Argo), Bill Nighy (Wild Target, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Girl in the Cafe, Rango), Jessica Biel (Playing for keeps), John Cho, Bokeem Woodbine, Will Yun Lee

In this futuristic action-adventure inspired by the hit 1990 film, factory drone Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) suspects that he's actually an elite spy whose memory has been wiped clean. But he's not sure which of the world's warring superpowers he's working for.

Hum... Big changes since the original version by Paul Verhoeven from 1990. Technology is amazing in this version, great ideas of transportation, communication, even in the way people handles their surrounding objects. But funnily, it all comes back to basic combat and guns, same old fights that have explosions that look all the same, same technique to put down a man, its creativity doesn't go beyond the usual. Also, the city they portray in this film is a mix of "The Fifth Element" and of course "Blade Runner" which for the second didn't surprise me since the original story was written by K. Dick. I just assumed that would become part of the same vision. Anyway, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighty are very convincing, but Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale are absolutely terrible actors in this genre. Colin Farrell is at his best when he plays uneducated Dublin kid but not smartest governmental agent. Kate Beckinsale was good once in "Shooting Fish" but since America chose her to play in "Pearl Harbor" and finally "Underworld", she became great stunt and forgot about acting... Anyway, please, go see the original 1990 Total Recall, not this movie (Read review of the old "Total Recall")

Watch Trailer:

Dial M For Murder by Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 (PG)

with Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Antonio Margheriti, Leo Britt, Patrick Allen, George Leigh

Director Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of double-cross and intrigue stars Ray Milland as former tennis champ Tony Wendice, who concocts a plan to kill his rich but unfaithful wife (Grace Kelly), who's embroiled in a liaison with a writer (Robert Cummings). When Tony's plans go awry, he improvises a second act of deceit, but the entire bloody affair turns out to be far messier than he expected. John Williams plays a sly Scotland Yard inspector.

Brilliant. It takes a while to figure what will be the outcome, the brain is active, the acting is simple and perfect, the lines are right on. The Hitchcock machinery is well oiled for this perfect murder story. Nothing better than a classic to remember the basics of good cinema: good acting, good plot, good dialogues.

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In Bruges by Martin McDonagh, 2008 (R)

with Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, The Reader, The Hurt Locker), Colin Farrell (Total Recall, Dead Man Down), Brendan Gleeson (Albert Nobbs), Ciarán Hinds (The Debt, Margot and the Wedding), Clémence Poésy (127 Hours), Thekla Reuten, Jérémie Renier (The Kid with a Bike), Theo Stevenson, Robbie Kay, Zeljko Ivanek (The Words)

After killing an innocent boy in London, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell, in a Golden Globe–winning role) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are ordered to lay low at a bed and breakfast in Bruges, Belgium, until their boss (Ralph Fiennes) phones with further instructions. But when he calls, Ken doesn't like the assignment. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this dark comedy earned a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.

Weird weird movie. Darkest sense of humor ever. Very Belgian in a way. The cast is impeccable, the tone is between the fairy and the spy story, not the most common combination. Adding the interesting fact that the hit men are literally stupid and existential, it gives the movie twists and turns that are to the most unexpected. An excellent surprise.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement by Nicholas Stoller, 2012 (R)

with Emily Blunt (Wild Target), Jason Segel (Jeff Who Lives At Home, Bad Teacher), Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), Chris Pratt, Chris Parnell, Mindy Kaling, Brian Posehn, Dakota Johnson (Beastly), Mimi Kennedy, Adam Campbell, Jim Piddock, David Paymer, Kevin Hart, Jacki Weaver, Michael Ensign, Clement von Franckenstein, Jane Carr, Randall Park, Lauren Weedman

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star in this contemporary romantic comedy as an engaged young couple who discovers that the more they get to know each other, the more unpredictable their commitment to getting married becomes.

I believe it is one of these hysterical comedy that need to push the button too far to think they are funny. So, Jason Segel has become a near-grizzly, while he was the most delicate cook in the planet. Emily Blunt is so naively good that it is just stupid. The length of the engagement doesn't seem in the end such a big deal, since they short-cut everything to compare it to an obvious normality, making everything even more obvious. The ending is such a fast twist that you feel you've been watching a trailer all along. Not a good movie at all.
Ah I just got the explanation, this movie is from the same producers as Bridesmaid! I guess in this case, they absolutely failed.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding by Bruce Beresford, 2011 (R)

with Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener (Please Give, SimOne, Out of Sight), Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Marissa O'Donnell, Rosanna Arquette, Kyle MacLachlan

Distraught over her impending divorce, conservative lawyer Diane seeks refuge with her mother, Grace, even though the two haven't spoken in years. Diane's children are thrilled with their free-spirited grandma, while Diane finds peace and romance.

It is interesting to see how Jane Fonda put herself in this role being so much herself, her knowledge and beliefs are in tune with the crazy character of the Grandma, and goodness, what an extraordinary shape she kept. In a strange way, Catherine Keener is the opposite of all the crazy roles she has been playing lately, except perhaps for the control-freak aspect of the personality, and she is impeccable loosening up. Elizabeth Olsen is great in post-adolescence, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the same old romantic musician guy. It is in a way a perfect refreshing comedy to enjoy the summer with, with some mother daughter relationship explored, and the finding that the opposites attracts when looking deeper in oneself. It is all we want to hear, no pressure, no big statement, no drama, an easy to please movie, perhaps too easy.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows by Guy Ritchie, 2011 (PG-13)

with Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers), Jude Law (Anna Karenina, Breaking And Entering, Hugo, Sleuth, Contagion), Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Rachel McAdams (The Vow, Morning Glory, Midnight in Paris), Jared Harris (Mad Men), Stephen Fry (Alice in Wonderland), Paul Anderson, Kelly Reilly (Les Poupées Russes), Geraldine James (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Eddie Marsan
From the director of Snatch

Robert Downey Jr. returns as the brilliant sleuth and Jude Law is back as Dr. Watson in this atmospheric sequel to 2009's Sherlock Holmes. Holmes resorts to occult theories and more to defeat the plans of his nemesis, the evil Professor Moriarty.

How to say it otherwise, it is very stylised, to the point where you miss the humor, or even the plot. You get dragged into tricks, twists and turns of the actions, premeditation, reenactment, fake and real, with a sense of rhythm that can only be, perhaps, appreciated by a high dose of heroin or something, anyway, not at all interesting after five minutes of slow motion tricks. It is visually outstanding, or perhaps then again abusing of style to the point where it starts looking like a mix of music videos from Mylene Farmer mixed with the Twilight series. Robert Downey Jr. is irritating, Jude Law and Noomie Rapace barely manage to make him being forgotten, the good surprise was Kelly Reilly from "Les Poupées Russes", very cute as the newly wed wife of Dr. Watson.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

The Kids Are All Right by Lisa Cholodenko, 2010 (R)

with Julianne Moore (Game Change, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Chloe, A Single Man), Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo (Avengers, Shutter Island), Mia Wasikowska (Albert Nobbs, Alice in Wonderland), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, The Virgin Suicides), Yaya DaCosta (The Messenger), Kunal Sharma, Eddie Hassell, Zosia Mamet, Joaquin Garrido, Rebecca Lawrence

Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), the children of same-sex parents Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), become curious about the identity of their sperm-donor dad (Mark Ruffalo) and set out to make him part of their family unit, often with hilarious results. But his arrival complicates the household dynamics, and nobody is sure how he fits in — if at all — in this Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning comedy.

Brilliant cast, unique — for our time — story, funny, sensible... although the story focuses somehow on the dysfunction of a gay family, with the obvious temptation for a woman to have to cheat with the guy, any guy. The ending puts the story back together but never the less, it felt like an obvious reflexion on whether the normality of a family comes with having a father in it or not, which somehow is a sensitive subject that, underlying, puts a little bit of judgment. That made me uncomfortable. I wonder if that was on purpose, or to just layout the idea that it is just like any other couple having a crisis with an occurring event which makes it all explode. The kids journey are a little more interesting since the expected is to have the search of the "father" (or donor) being a revelation for them, and sadly for their search but fortunate for their equilibrium, is not... which is probably what is the biggest statement of the movie. And since the movie title seems to evoke that the movie is supposed to revolve around the kids, that makes the movie "Alright".

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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Debt by John Madden, 2010 (R)

with Helen Mirren (RED, The Queen), Sam Worthington (Somersault, Avatar), Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter), Jesper Christensen (Melancholia), Marton Csokas (Dream House), Ciarán Hinds (Margot at the Wedding), Tom Wilkinson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Michael Clayton, Duplicity, The Ghost Writer, The Conspirator), Romi Aboulafia, Melinda Korcsog
From the director of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren) is a former Mossad intelligence agent forced to relive her 1965 pursuit of a notorious Nazi war criminal when the bold and dangerous fugitive is thought to have reemerged 30 years later in the Ukraine. Director John Madden's redo of Assaf Bernstein's 2007 Israeli suspense piece also features Jessica Chastain as the young Rachel Singer, along with Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson and Ciarán Hinds.

I have been wanting to watch this movie for ever. When it came out in France, I couldn't see it, and then it took forever to come out in the US. I still didn't see it. So yesterday, I finally saw it. It is really good, the suspense in superb, the acting really perfect, with two generations of excellent actors playing the believably same characters. The story is interesting, although it doesn't go too deep in the scars of history. The little they do has such a strong meaning that perhaps spreading too much information on the post-WW2 or the war itself. Its point of view is also interesting politically since it is well viewed to trial Nazis after the war, but not to deal with turned-bad kidnappings, and no country wants their hands dirty. The manipulating crazy doctor of Birkenau is played to the edge by the amazing Jesper Christensen. A long time since I saw an intelligent movie. Now I have to watch the original from 2007 by Assaf Bernstein...

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, 2011 (PG-13)

with Jean Dujardin (Little White Lies), Bérénice Bejo (Le Passé - The Past), John Goodman (The Monuments Men, Monsters University, Flight, Trouble with the Curve, Argo, The Emperor's New Groove (Kuzco), You Don't Know Jack, The Princess and The Frog), James Cromwell (Surrogates), Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle (Galaxy Quest), Beth Grant, Ed Lauter, Joel Murray (Monsters University), Bitsie Tulloch, Ken Davitian (Get Smart), Malcolm McDowell

This modern-day silent film artfully recounts the poignant end of the silent-movie era in the late 1920s. The story contrasts the declining fortunes of a silent-screen superstar with his lover's rise to popularity as a darling of the "talkies."

It took a long time for me to watch it. In the meantime, I saw how successful it has become, the Golden Globes, the Oscars, many more awards along the way, the intense campaign the producers, filmmaker and actors had to do, including the dog. I guess in a way, it was all part of the same show. I finally watched the movie, which is entertaining, funny, overacted just enough for us to get the idea, with very fast reading subtitles from time to time it took me to press pause to actually be able to read it... I was told Berenice Bejo ("Meilleur Espoir Feminin") wasn't as good as Jean Dujardin, but I have to disagree. The cast is impeccable with John Goodman and James Cromwell looking in their element, Berenice Bejo really cute and inspired, but Jean Dujardin is the same old, same old. I could see Brice De Nice, the characters of "Toutes les filles sont folles", "OSS117"... Exuberant... I know by now he can be cast for more dramatic characters, he is actually a great actor, but this felt like the easy way... Anyway, still a very refreshing movie, which great ideas and twists for our entertainment.

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