with the bold text in the example below:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dark Shadows by Tim Burton, 2012 (PG-13)

with Johnny Depp (The Rum Diary, Alice in Wonderland, Chocolat, Rango), Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, The King's Speech), Eva Green (Perfect Sense, The Dreamers), Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote, Jonny Lee Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Gulliver McGrath

Tim Burton's take on the cult gothic soap follows a centuries-old vampire as he returns to his now-crumbling estate to meet his modern descendants. But what he finds is a house full of secrets and shadows.
Duration: 113 minutes

Did you see the 1967 original series Dark Shadows? I just had a look at it after watching the movie, and it is in the script quite faithful to the original. Of course the aesthetic is definitely Tim Burton, and the sense of humor as well. It works, in a simplistic way. The actors are great, all from the large family of Burton, playing in their familiar genre. Now, to say that this was a great movie... Everything was pushed to the point of the obvious, the scenes with Eva Green look like they were made with amphetamines, even tho she makes Barnabas look not as puritan and devotedly romantic as most characters of the mainstream cinema lately are. Her death is far more interesting than her life... Michelle Pfeiffer was actually good, and Helena Bonham Carter, for once, had her character tamed to the almost normal! Still... Maybe the truth is you have to love Tim Burton's movie to like this one, and since Mars Attacks (which was awesome), I lost the taste of it.

Watch Trailer:

Tower Heist by Brett Ratner, 2011 (PG-13)

with Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick (Margaret), Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch, Nina Arianda
104 minutes

When a group of workers at a ritzy Manhattan condo realize their boss has swindled them out of their pensions, they vow to reap their own justice. With the cooperation of the building manager, the group devises an ingenious plot to recover the funds.

I was told it would not be an intellectual movie. I was expecting worse therefor. I really enjoyed the first part of the movie, I think the dialogues are witty, original, I also like the twist of the end. The cast is pretty impressive, Ben Stiller has this capability to gather actors for what looks like a fun shooting time, and make a movie (not bad strategy). It is a mix of stories such as Robin Hood, Mission: Impossible and Grand Hotel, set during thanksgiving for a feel good timing. Not bad tho... And I almost didn't hate Eddie Murphy!

Play Trailer:

Updates on Claudia Black, a journey to the impossibles

Following the article: Claudia Black, a journey to the impossibles

Claudia Black in the recording studios for Dragon Age Inquisition, 2014
I keep seeing these pictures on the side of my blog, as it appears to be very popular, and I feel weird because I just want to post a picture of Claudia Black the way she looks now, which is more beautiful than ever. Just come back to the front of the screen, even if that means more make up/prep up and less crazy voices to perform for video games. 

Update 10/01/2016: I am still catching up with the last episodes, so don't spoil it for me. But my, my... Lommers is quite the politician in Containment, I am thrilled she was cast in it. Looking forward to the end, and more shows with her in it.

Update 02/18/2016: Alright, Claudia Black has been back, with the role of Dahlia in the Originals, (spin-off from The Vampire Diaries), pretty much immortal. And something I really look forward to, she will be part of the cast of "Containment", set to debut April 19, 2016, meaning really soon!!! This is good news.

Update 12/19/2013: Just in: "Strange Frame: Love and Sax" is now available in Netflix. Only thing I gotta do when I get back home after holidays is to watch it! Yay!

Update 08/05/2013: Finally, just saw the other vampire Claudia Black was turned into, for the movie "Queen of the Damned". Honestly, I much prefer the one of "MoonLight". They made her have luggage under her eyes, bad skin, and an insignificant role. Anyway, the movie is not that interesting either, so I guess it is a good way to skip Claudia Black for once. Still have to see "Strange Frame" and "Rain From Stars".

Update 11/29/2012: Answer from the producers of Strange Frame: "Weʻre still working on a screening for New York. Stay tuned, but it will be out on VOD in February and DVD in March."
Simple as asking!

Claudia Black as Pandora in "Queen of the Damned", 2002

Update 11/28/2012: Just watched for the first time Haven, this series from SyFy (who produced BattleStar Galactica) of course to check out the latest work of Claudia Black ("Magic Hour" Part 1 and 2). I kind of got hooked to the series, it has an interesting point, despite the fact that it looks like "The 4400" and "Heroes" in more than one way... Or X-men... Wonder why there is such a fascination for people with superpower (oh now I remember half of the movie industry money comes from stories about people with Super-Powers :) Anyway, I am starting to get annoyed at Claudia Black for staying no more than three episodes without being outcast or killed, or simply popping by just long enough we would point our attention to her and then leave. Can any producer be smarter than that?
But... she looks like she is getting a serious credit in the coming-up movie "Rain from Stars", which is not an animated movie. Yes!!! It's finished, so let's wait and see. In the meantime, I keep asking in case... where can we see "Strange Frame: Love and Sax" in New York?

Claudia Black in TV series "Haven" as Moira in episode "Magic Hour"

For more on Claudia Black, I recommend IMDB and claudiablackonline

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder, 1950 (NR)

with William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb

Running from debt collectors, screenwriter Joe Gillis stumbles upon the crumbling mansion of former silent-film star Norma Desmond. As he begins penning a comeback screenplay for her, their professional relationship evolves into something more.
Duration: 110 minutes

"I am big, It's the pictures that got small!" What a quote, and many other brilliant ones punctuate a movie that really marked the end of an era. Hollywood studios, the decaying mansion of a fallen star, these are the two main set of the movie, between fake and isolation. It is a dark dark movie... but it wouldn't be as dark if it weren't for Gloria Swanson's mad character, and Erich von Stroheim's stoicism, dryness and impeccable attitude. I felt more and more awkward, uncomfortable, filled with the perspective of the young screenwriter, in a brilliant manipulation that the movie creates. Yes, because the movie starts with the end with quite some sense of humor, from the death of Joe Gillis, we already know the outcome. But the final act is not the disturbing one, this is actually the one moment we are the most used to in love drama. It is the whole situation in between, the confinement in luxurious heaviness, the longing and solitude, the slow but steady trap closing around the characters. Very disturbing.
I was also told, and I mention it because my ignorance did not allow me to notice it, that it was one of the first movies depicting a man who was attracted by the money of an older woman, living by her means and used as an object of desire.
Anyway, a classic.

Watch Trailer:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Traffic by Steven Soderbergh, 2000 (R)

with Michael Douglas (Solitary Man, Haywire, The Game), Don Cheadle (Out of Sight), Benicio Del Toro, Luis Guzmán (Out of Sight), Dennis Quaid (Pandorum), Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins Jr., Miguel Ferrer (Robocop), Albert Finney (The Bourne Legacy), Topher Grace (Valentine's Day), Amy Irving (Deconstructing Harry)
Duration: 147 minutes

Interlacing three disturbing snapshots of America's drug war, this Oscar-winning saga follows a U.S. drug czar who learns his daughter's an addict, a Mexican cop caught in a corrupt system and a housewife forced to take over the family drug business.

I remember watching it when it came out, going twice to the theater and being so upset for not having understood the movie. I saw it with subtitles, but there is so much going on, so much non-verbal communication, that reading the subtitles was going to make me miss half of the movie. Twelve years later, I finally saw it again, being now fluent in English and Spanish. All I could remember from the movie were the yellow in Juarez and the Blue in Washington DC, the heroine injected in the foot, the general saying "Su puede ser tu pasado" with a theatrical voice, Catherine Zeta Jones bringing refreshments to the undercover cops, and the light in the Baseball fields of Juarez. Now the feeling I have is that it was a risky choice to shoot digitally, Soderbergh has improved a lot since then. Then, what a complicated story, although I can pretend I understand a lot more, such as the complexity of fighting drug traffic, the influence of politicians, to a certain extend, the idea that you may do anything you want as long as you have power a money. And at the same time, wanting to control so much at a national level will not mean to have control under your own roof. Anyway, the layering of the drug traffic system is very intelligent, the movie has a perfect sense of rhythm, the more you engage into the movie, the more it drags you into the darkness of humanity, with a very little light to hold on to, but a light anyway...

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Theater experience...

These last days, I haven't been able to watch any movie... The reason for it is that I was litterally working 24/7 on a new play, which started this Thursday. I was creating the video-projection with live camera and videoart to be projected during the performance. The only thing I took the time to watch, just because I am addicted, was Dexter and Homeland... So, basically, for this play, there was different kind of surreal things to create, such as a goldfish with wings, in it's fishbowl, floating with a red parachute. Or, a lot of blood leaking from the top of the stage, or a magical forest with its leaves growing, or even a blackbird prisoner in a padlock, or the main actress looking like she is seeing herself in mirrors while hundreds of flower bouquets are dangling above. Anyway, Of course, this implies a lot of shooting, editing, special effects, animation and so on. But when you are working in the production of a film, once you did all that, you're done. You can come to the premiere and enjoy the show. There comes the difference. At that point where everything is created, it has to live with the actors, blend in a new form of language of storytelling. So you have to decide where that particular mirror goes, where the fishbowl does appear, or in a case i didn't explain, bookshelves on the chest of one of the actor. Oh well, this is technical but a few more days in the theater and we will be good. Oh, the set is not ready on time, the projector doesn't spill wide enough to cover the whole stage, oh, the live camera is so far from the projector we are missing cables... Alright, minor details, we'll get through it... Then comes the lighting designer, the sound designer and the queue to queue with the director, which will take another full day. At night, no night, render, adjustments, editing editing editing...
And finally at the premiere, instead of sitting back and relaxing, you are hungry, tired, stressed and go from one end of the show to the other with the pressure of missing the timing and launching the bird instead of the fishbowl...
The comfort of it all, the audience, the live element, the teamwork, the crew and cast, and eventually the idea that you will finally get it right after three representations.
So I haven't been able to watch movies lately, but soon enough, the rhythm will come back!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Davies, 2011 (R)

with Rachel Weisz (The Whisleblower, The Bourne Legacy, 360, Dream House, Constantine, Agora), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor), Simon Russell Beale, Ann Mitchell, Jolyon Coy, Karl Johnson, Harry Hadden-Paton, Sarah Kants, Oliver Ford Davies, Barbara Jefford

This remake of the original 1955 film, adapted from a Terence Rattigan play, stars Rachel Weisz as a wedded woman who falls hard for a younger man. Her determination and emotional obsession lead her into tragic conflict with the morals of the day.

This movie was not made in the 90's. But it has the aestetic of it, which supposedly has the cinematography of a masterpiece, but in practice, has everything with a halo, blurry, and too dark in whatever quality you watch it with. The story is very slow, but the truth is that the rhythm doesn't bring anything to the story, because in the end, the story isn't that complex, the acting is pretty much to the point and obvious. The two male characters have a very defined portrait, so you can figure them out in two minutes, the conflict of Rachel Weisz isn't a conflict since her mind is made from the beginning. Perhaps the interesting point is the situation of women in the 1950's, with no opportunity to be free to be who they are, but at the same time, except in a few obvious scenes, it is not really explored. I really like Rachel Weisz, so maybe this is the reason why I watched the whole movie, or perhaps to see the outcome of the situation, but the ending is so trivial that I was even more upset.

Watch Trailer:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blade Runner: The Final Cut by Ridley Scott, 1982 (R) 117min

with Harrison Ford (Morning Glory), Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull

In a smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles, blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement to snuff a quartet of escaped "replicants" -- androids consigned to slave labor on remote planets -- seeking to extend their short life spans. This definitive special edition of director Ridley Scott's classic features his restored and remastered version with added scenes.

Ah, classics... ah K. Dick... (Blade Runner, I. Robot, Total Recall, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau...) What not to love? So what, shall we say perhaps it is a nicer version without the narrator, the acting is impeccable, the aesthetic hasn't gone old, the script is beautifully existential, poetic, and the love story in a way, tragic. Anyway, before we lost power on Sandy, the last reminder of our society evolution has been Blade Runner. Pleasure!

watch trailer: