with the bold text in the example below:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mad Money (Hot Money) by Callie Khouri, 2008 (PG-13)

with Diane Keaton (Marvin's Room, Morning Glory), Queen Latifah (Chicago), Katie Holmes, Ted Danson, Roger R. Cross, Adam Rothenberg, Stephen Root, Christopher McDonald, Meagen Fay, J.C. MacKenzie, Finesse Mitchell

When her husband loses his high-paying job, well-off Bridget Cardigan joins the janitorial staff of the Federal Reserve Bank and conspires with two of her fellow employees to pilfer old money that's scheduled to be destroyed.

Have you ever dreamed to get rich, whatever illegal way this is, and get away with it? This movie makes it happen, and in a way, it is refreshing, even if everything is ridicule, forced, out of place. If you don't want to think too much, get some dynamic dialogues, fast laugh, please watch it. I found Diane Keaton to be really Diane Keaton's usual characters, same goes to Queen Latifah, thank god I actually like them, if not I would say the acting is predictable. Katie Holmes surprised me, but perhaps it is because lately, the only pictures I saw were from the newspapers close to the cashier of KeyFood where she looks like she lost a family member. Anyway, not complicated to completely dumb but made me laugh.

Watch Trailer:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Your Sister's Sister by Lynn Shelton, 2011 (R)

with Emily Blunt (Looper, The Five-Year Engagement, Wild Target, The Adjustment Bureau), Rosemarie DeWitt (Margaret, Rachel Getting Married), Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia

Jack, who is mourning the death of his brother, has a complicated relationship with his best friend, Iris, who used to date his brother. Their chaotic situation becomes even more tangled when Jack has a drunken tryst with Iris's flighty sister.

It feels good to see sometimes a simple romantic comedy, with nothing but subtleties, a little twist of drama, just enough of the character to love them without having to know every facts of their lives. Because the movie is about a little moment of their lives. The director looks like she chose shots and let the actors improvise upon their text, so you have beautiful scenes uncut of the two sisters. It feels very intimate, naked, and at the same time heavy of everyone's little secret. Yes, the story might resolve in a easy happy way, still it feels like mature people took upon themselves to actually solve it for the better. Finally, if you were a big fan of Emily Blunt (so mainstream!), I would really recommend to change ship, Rosemarie DeWitt is really amazing, everywhere she is, from "United States of Tara" to "Rachel Getting Married" and more.

watch trailer:

The Adjustment Bureau by George Nolfi, 2011 (PG-13)

with Matt Damon (Hereafter, Invictus, Inside Job, Margaret, The Informant, True Grit), Emily Blunt (Looper, The Five-Year Engagement, Wild Target), Anthony Mackie (Man on a Ledge, The Hurt Locker), Terence Stamp, John Slattery (Mad Men), Michael Kelly (Did you Hear About The Morgans?), Anthony Ruivivar

A congressman (Matt Damon) who's a rising star on the political scene finds himself entranced by a beautiful ballerina (Emily Blunt), but mysterious circumstances ensure that their love affair is predestined to be a non-starter. Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) makes his directorial debut with this romantic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's classic sci-fi short story "Adjustment Team".

I really loved the concept of a life that is not entirely of our own, where decisions are made upon a bigger scheme, with people more or less knowledgeable of what is going on, and some guy who becomes aware while he shouldn't. It felt in a way a mix between one of my favorite movie "Dark City" and "The Matrix". The acting is good, the rhythm as well. They turned the story a little bit too much into a romantic drama, but it was worth the watch.

watch trailer:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Italian Job by F. Gary Gray, 2003 (PG-13)

with Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, Contraband), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games), Jason Statham (Killer Elite), Seth Green, Mos Def, Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy), Julie Costello, Franky G.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Charlie Croker, a clever thief who masterminds a major heist amid the waterways of Venice, Italy -- but a betrayal by one of his own spells disaster, and Croker returns to Los Angeles without the stash, plotting revenge. With an eye on recovering his riches, Croker rounds up his crew -- adding an ace safecracker (Charlize Theron) to the mix. Donald Sutherland, Seth Green and Mos Def also star in this elaborate crime caper.

Interesting, this movie is shaped in the same way Ocean Eleven was, with the same sort of team (including a girl in an important role) and with a badder guy, less classy in a way. The cast in impeccable, the idea of the robbing very inspired with the use of the city commute as a way out, it flows very well, and at the same time, it was the second time I was watching it and couldn't remember how the story would go. It was smooth, smart but not memorable for some reason. Any different opinion on it?

watch trailer:

Looper by Rian Johnson, 2012 (R)

with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), Bruce Willis (Bandits, Surrogates, RED), Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau, Wild Target, The Five-Year Engagement), Piper Perabo (Imagine Me and You), Paul Dano (Knight and Day, Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood), Garret Dillahunt (Winter's Bone), Jeff Daniels, Tracie Thoms, Pierce Gagnon

In this sci-fi mindbender, a mob hit man who kills people sent from the future finds himself in a curious predicament when he discovers that one of his targets is his future self, shipped back through time to be whacked.

I didn't have high expectation on this one, but the story is interesting, with an interesting conception of time travel, imagining new rules, a new world. Of course there is always a big bad guy, but at the same time, it is pretty interesting to see how he is portrayed, and the surprises we get along the scenario is entertaining and mind-oriented enough we don't fall into the usual blockbuster. The performance of Gordon-Levitt portraying a younger Bruce Willis is quite convincing, the kid is incredibly freaky, the idea of the close future and further future quite original in their own way of being quite realistic. The only character I really didn't get, since it was sort of overused and not put in context was the role played by Piper Perabo who had to appear at two different moments with no logic at all.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Visitor by Thomas McCarthy, 2007 (PG-13)

with Richard Jenkins (Eat Pray Love, The Rum Diary), Haaz Sleiman (Nurse Jackie), Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass, Marian Seldes, Maggie Moore, Amir Arison, Michael Cumpsty, Bill McHenry, Laith Nakli, Waleed Zuaiter, Tzahi Moskovitz, Richard Kind, Neal Lerner, Frank Pando

Widowed professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins, in an Oscar-nominated role) finds himself drawn to a different rhythm when he discovers an immigrant couple, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Gurira), squatting in his Manhattan flat and becomes wrapped up in their lives. Hiam Abbass co-stars as Tarek's mother, who forges an unlikely connection with Walter when Tarek is thrown into a detention center.

This is one of the most beautiful tales about new york, the man who played djembe in the Subway, coming from a long, painful, unusual and beautiful journey from being that guy, suburban American living with no joy, a boring life, being transformed by the lively life of illegal immigrant, with a strong friendship opening his mind to the outside world. Richard Jenkins is so good, actually, no, everyone in this cast make the movie such a real piece of life, with the richness and texture that New York has and that is never ever shown in movies. Awakening.

Play Trailer:

Beastly by Daniel Barnz, 2011 (PG-13)

with Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Neil Patrick Harris, Dakota Johnson (The Five-Year Engagement, The Social Network), Erik Knudsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause, Lisa Gay Hamilton (Take Shelter, Jackie Brown), David Francis

After arrogant teenager Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) humiliates a Goth classmate (Mary-Kate Olsen), she puts a curse on him that transforms him from a hunk into a hideous creature. To break the hex, Kyle must find someone who loves him for what he's become. Living with a housekeeper after his heartless father (Peter Krause) throws him out, he connects with an addict's daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) in this contemporary take on Beauty and the Beast.

Alex Pettyfer is a very handsome man, which makes the movie very pleasant to watch, even transformed as he is. Then the story is simple, with some comical moments of Neil Patrick Harris, who is pretty much himself, essentially following the fairy tale in the "90210" style. It is cute... Maybe I got a little too soft here, must be Pettyfer...

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This Means War by McG, 2012 (PG-13)

with Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine (Unstoppable), Tom Hardy (Warrior, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Larry Crowne), Til Schweiger (The Red Baron), Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris, Chelsea Handler, Abigail Spencer, George Touliatos, Clint Carleton, Warren Christie, Laura Vandervoort, Natassia Malthe, Leela Savasta, John Paul Ruttan
 From the director of "Charlie's Angels" and the last "Terminator: Salvation"

This Means War is a 2012 romantic comedy spy film directed by McG. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy as victims of a love triangle in which two CIA agents who are best friends discover that they are dating the same woman. The two best friends turn their secret-agent skills against each other, heedless of the ever-widening trail of wreckage and collateral damage they leave in their wake.

Looking for an "entertainment movie for the nights, with handsome men and spy tricks, you just found the perfect movie of the moment. It is simple, well edited, fast, funny, and absolutely stupid. Have fun!

Watch Trailer:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Une Hirondelle a fait le printemps (The Girl from Paris) by Christian Carion, 2001 (NR)

with Mathilde Seigner, Michel Serrault, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Frédéric Pierrot, Marc Berman, Francoise Bette, Christophe Rossignon, Roland Chalosse

Fed up with city life, Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner) decides to flee Paris and live out her dream of becoming a farmer. It's love at first sight when she comes across a farmstead on the Vercors plateau, which she takes over from the cantankerous farming veteran Adrien (Michel Serrault). Sandrine is as confident she can run the farm by herself as Adrien is skeptical; the trials of the oncoming winter will prove them both wrong.

A new image of the countryside, an impressive portrayal of the changes that our society came across, with technology, isolation, loss of appeal of the physical work... And then coming from the city with her new ideas, the social medias, the rediscovery of the agriculture and farm, combining the old and the new, connecting despite the idea of loneliness that the job may suggest, the movie was definitely thinking ahead, something that today, we start thinking about. The acting of Michel Serrault and Mathilde Seigner is impeccable, some of the scenes are actually quite impressive, I believe they were actually real, which increase the impact of the responsibility, for example helping a goat give birth... It is an awakening...

And I apologize, I couldn't find a trailer for this movie...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Annapolis by Justin Lin, 2006 (PG-13)

with James Franco (Date Night, Eat Pray Love, 127 Hours, Milk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious 6), Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious 6), Jim Parrack (True Blood), Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Goodman, Billy Finnigan, Katie Hein, Jimmy Lin, Charles Napier, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Roger Fan, McCaleb Burnett, Wilmer Calderon
From the director of Fast & Furious 6

To prove himself in the cutthroat world of the U.S. Naval Academy, a struggling freshman trained in the school of hard knocks enters a fiercely competitive boxing contest -- but does he have what it takes to make it?

I was told this movie wasn't great, but I have a fascination for the Navy, and this movie is an insight on what it takes to get in. The acting is good, the esthetic is impeccable, the story is not very impressive, but who cares, we see soldiers in training and that's all I expected...

Watch Trailer:

Keep the Lights On by Ira Sachs, 2012 (NR)

with Thure Lindhardt (The Borgias), Zachary Booth (The Beaver), Julianne Nicholson, Souleymane Sy Savane, Paprika Steen, Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits The Other Woman), Sebastian La Cause, Justin Reinsilber, David Anzuelo

In Manhattan, filmmaker Erik bonds with closeted lawyer Paul after a fling. As their relationship becomes one fueled by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries while being true to himself.

This is no ordinary movie. It is a small production, with relevant actors, such as Paprika Steen, one of the giants of Danish cinema, amazing acting, a story that is not common, an elaborate cinematography, nearing the thin line of raw, naturalist intentionally. The story is quite long, over the course of ten years, it is about relationship, responsibility, what is easy to give up and at the same time, the importance of letting go, very mature. What I also found amazing is the masculine perspective on the topic, which I am not very knowledgeable about, this movie is about a relationship from a man's perspective, with the complexity of a man's mind.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eat Pray Love by Ryan Murphy, 2010 (PG-13)

with Julia Roberts (Duplicity, Mirror Mirror, Fireflies in the Garden), Javier Bardem (Skyfall, Biutiful, To the Wonder), James Franco (127 Hours, Milk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Richard Jenkins (The Rum Diary, The Visitor), Billy Crudup (Blood Ties), Viola Davis (Knight and Day, The Help, Beautiful Creatures)
From the director of The Normal Heart

Recent divorcée Liz decides to reshape her life, traveling the world in search of direction. She heads to Italy, India and Bali, indulging in delicious cuisine while seeking the true meaning of self-love, family, friendship anwid forgiveness.

I once watched a Ted Talk with Elizabeth Gilbert, and I was amazed by her mind, spirit, energy. She was bright and at the same time, quite grounded, and funny, talking about the genius everyone has in oneself, instead of the personification of the artist, the genius. It was refreshing to see she didn't expect the success of her book Eat Pray Love, turned out it was a best seller, followed by a huge marketing tool and a feature film with no less than Julia Roberts. 
The movie was getting high expectations, and besides Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), fell completely in the cheesy side. Yes, it is supposed to be a feel good movie, it is about living life at its fullest, with very positive energy, pleasures that each place can provide, a risky shot when it comes to mainstream (and simplification therefor of the range of emotions). So the cast is impeccable, the sets are beautiful, the rhythm is flowing... but it is far too naive to be true.

Watch Trailer:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To Be Purist or Not To Be...

When you watch movies with friends, it can get to different levels. It can be laid back, having a good time, no pressure on the movie, we are here for entertainment... or... become a contest on who is going to say the smartest thing, with the most relevant reference (preferably unknown by the rest of us), and the lowering of any possible feeling of having had a relaxing time.
First, choose the movie... Of course, you can forget about any blockbuster, since none of them would be highly recognized by the cinema purist. Therefor it has to be preferably in Danish, with no one you could possibly have seen in any other movies. It has to be indie, as well as an intellectual drama. Still, the movie has to have had good reviews in the "Cahiers du Cinema" or other publications of the same prestige.
Second, watch the movie. It might actually be a great journey, with very interesting nuances, a different paste, an original plot, an unexpected ending, who knows, a masterpiece (although you should never use that word lightly).
Third, dinner, after the movie. I am starting to think that perhaps a dinner before and a lot of drinks after might be far more entertaining. My last dinner was quite undigested, with a long and superior debate we entered soon after ordering the appetizers. First, whether we liked or not the movie. If some indeed liked it, then we enter the horrible subject on what makes it a masterpiece, compared to  what is considered a mainstream movie, take for example "The Reader", which (to my humble opinion) was actually really good. How the richness comes from the love of art, the negation of the conventions. I even might have liked the movie, but at that point, I am detached. If the movie wasn't likable, it would be that the filmmaker has been too arrogant, or not enough skilled, even really bad goes. But therefore, it ends up being compared to mainstream movies anyway.
If you happened to have seen something of interest, perhaps good to the opinion of the purist, we might enter another type of conversation: who is the original creator of the style, of course someone you don't know. It is no longer about what this may have brought upon its predecessor, but how well we know. At the end of the day, the conversation will fall into a monologue, with what is the right thing to like, how much we know about things, and how narrow the way to success in the purist world.
Finally, on the way back, the questioning of all what has been said, with the only person you can actually really share. Is that the right way of thinking? Enjoying? Yes, knowledge is everything, and the more we know, the more we understand. It is good to know our classics, the indie ones, but perhaps the mainstream ones, the movies that have created history with new techniques, new languages, new narrativities, and the movies that are creating history because of the moment we are living in. But if the Oscars winners never match the Sundance or Cannes or Berlin ones, perhaps it is because it is a matter of perspective too. So much for purism...
So, my next movie is probably going to be a mainstream one (despite the way it has been produced), "Cloud Atlas", in the meantime, I think I am going to avoid purism for a while...