with the bold text in the example below:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Get Smart by Peter Segal, 2008 (PG-13)

with Steve Carell (Hope Springs, Crazy Stupid Love, Dan In Real Life), Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Alice In Wonderland, Rachel Getting Married, Valentine's Day, Love and Other Drugs), Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin (Argo), Terence Stamp (The Adjustment Bureau), Masi Oka (Heroes), Terry Crews, David Koechner (Thank You for Smoking), Ken Davitian (The Artist)

When the identities of secret agents are compromised, hapless but eager analyst Maxwell Smart is promoted and teams with the far more capable Agent 99 to thwart the evil terrorist group KAOS in this comedy caper based on the classic TV show.

I like Steve Carell, in general. I found him and Anna Hathaway a good combination. I have to say the movie runs out of jokes at some point, making it a little less interesting. Still, at least in this movie, we are back to the gadget tradition that now is lacking in the latest James Bonds, so it compensates.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino, 2012 (R)

From the director of Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill I & II, Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds
with Jamie Foxx (Ray, Valentine's Day), Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds), Leonardo DiCaprio (Marvin's Room, Titanic, Shutter Island, J. Edgar), Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown, The Avengers), Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar (RED), Michael Parks, Don Johnson

Accompanied by a German bounty hunter, a freed slave named Django travels across America to free his wife from a sadistic plantation owner. Quentin Tarantino directs this modern-day spaghetti Western.

Golden Globe for Best Performance of an Actor in a Supporting Role for Christoph Waltz and Best Screenplay.
Oscar Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor In a Supporting Role (WON), Best Cinematography, Sound Editing and Best Original Screenplay (WON)

This movie is at the same time crazy and serious. Serious since it is telling the story of a freed slave trying to find back his wife, crazy because of the absurd dialogues and overflowing blood surrounding the quest. Of course, this is Tarantino's cinema, you gotta like it (Although he made my favorite movie "Jackie Brown" and changed history to kill Hitler in "Inglorious Basterds"). Still, I think it can only hold on as long as the humor is good, and from the moment the German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) dies, everything becomes too long, too bloody, not funny, perhaps because Django (Jamie Foxx) after all is not the one who makes the movie. Anyway, the beginning is witty, shocking (not because of the blood), funny, and only for that, and for Waltz's performance, I would recommend it.

Watch Trailer:

Life of Pi by Ang Lee, 2012 (PG)

with Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire), Ayush Tandon, Gautam Belur, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Ayan Khan, Mohd Abbas Khaleeli, Vibish Sivakumar, Rafe Spall (Prometheus, One Day), Gérard Depardieu (Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatre)

Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Cinematography (WON), Best Directing (WON), Best Film Editing, Best Original Score (WON), Best Original Song, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects (WON), Best Adapted Screenplay

Based on Yann Martel's best-selling novel, this coming-of-age tale recounts the adventures of Pi, an Indian boy who is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with only some zoo animals for company.

So beautiful, intriguing, nature is an amazing thing we don't take enough time to admire. And Ang Lee take the time to show it it in its most unusual way. It doesn't mean the story is great, although the journey of the main character is worthy of Jules Verne. I have also been amazed by the use of special effects to enhance the beauty of nature, we are so use to have them try to bring fiction to film, here it is to make it even more real, more accurate than our eyes can see. The colors, the sounds, the motion, everything is spectacular. So as you may have already understood, I have been amazed. Then how important is a story like this one? Perhaps not at all, perhaps because it has no particular point, perhaps because it has no moral but the one of beauty in a world of a lot of shame. Perhaps then yes, this movie was important.

Watch Trailer:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cloud Atlas by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, 2012 (R)

with Tom Hanks (Larry Crowne), Halle Berry (The Call), Jim Broadbent (Another Year, The Iron Lady), Hugo Weaving (Captain America, The Matrix), Jim Sturgess (One Day, Upside Down), Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David (The Princess and The Frog), James D'Arcy, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon (Solitary Man, Jeff Who Lives At Home, You don't know Jack), Hugh Grant (Did You Hear About The Morgans?, Two Weeks Notice)
From the directors of Bound, The Matrix and Run Lola Run

In this star-studded drama, six seemingly disparate stories take viewers from a South Pacific Island in the 19th century to 1970s America to a dystopian future, exploring the complicated links that humans share through the generations.

It is a strange movie this one... It has a very dense plot, complex editing, parallelism between the characters, and actors who are playing different roles, at the beginning it is almost a game of who is playing who... But after a while, you start knowing the characters, just enough to start the story, and at the point where their adventure barely starts, the plot starts failing, with a very distinctive style for each period, you could think it is a great exercise of style, but at the end, everything is so disparate it doesn't blend. And it is very moralistic, imagine being once moralistic... now multiply it by six different stories, that makes six identical moral, in the end it is slightly redundant! So I have to say, the seventies blacksploitation part is actually really cool, the slow unraveling of the love letters story of the 30s beautifully musical and poetic, the future is interestingly conceptualized with rules and the backward result that follows it, but somehow, the character of the present completely clashes with his goofy sense of humor. Of course, the actors probably had a blast creating with their costume new characters, but still, it becomes exhausting. My only surprise is that the next day, I felt nostalgic already of this movie, there is something that carries the movie merging period piece with science fiction, and the connectedness from the characters is attaching. So despite the fact that I didn't particularly love the movie, I really liked the ideas of it.

watch Trailer:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flight by Robert Zemeckis, 2012 (R)

From the director of Cast Away, Back to the Future, A Christmas Carol, Forest Gump, Contact, Death Becomes Her...
with Denzel Washington (Unstoppable, Déjà Vu, American Gangster), John Goodman (The Artist, You Don't Know Jack, The Princess and the Frog, Trouble with the Curve), Don Cheadle (Traffic, Out of Sight), Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Mildred Pierce, Frozen River), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Bruce Greenwood (Deja Vu, Barney's Version), Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Tamara Tunie, Garcelle Beauvais, James Badge Dale (The Grey, Shame), Rhoda Griffis, Kwesi Boakye, Michael Beasley, Adam Tomei

After his amazing safe landing of a damaged passenger plane, an airline pilot is praised for the feat, but has private questions about what happened. Further, the government's inquiry into the causes soon puts the new hero's reputation at risk.

Flight is nominated for the Oscar in the category: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Original Screenplay

First half is amazing, intense, disturbing, scary and at the same time brought with the confidence that Denzel Washington put in the acting of pilot Whip Whitaker while in a situation that really will most likely end with the death of everyone in the plane, how he is in the hospital, the strange encounters in the stairway of the hospital, and then it becomes same old, the story of a drunk trying to keep on with life, you still want to watch it, but it is not as convincing and original. Still, the beginning is really good!

Watch Trailer:

Remember Me, My Love (Ricordati di me) by Gabriele Muccino, 2003 (R)

with Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Laura Morante, Nicoletta Romanoff, Monica Bellucci (The Whistleblower, Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatre), Silvio Muccino, Gabriele Lavia, Enrico Silvestrin, Silvia Cohen, Alberto Gimignani, Amanda Sandrelli, Blas Roca-Rey

Failed novelist Carlos Ristuccia (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) works at a finance company while his wife (Laura Morante) toils as a teacher (after abandoning dreams of being an actress). With their ambitions jettisoned, the couple has instilled little self-esteem in their teenaged son and daughter, who struggle to find meaning in life. Meanwhile, Carlos rekindles an affair with a former flame (Monica Bellucci), triggering a marital and family crisis.

This movie departed with the original idea of a family where the confidence of everyone has been shattered by one another. The story put them back with a chance of regaining it, with the consequences that it involves from getting out of their safe place, and perhaps with a blinded desperation that will make them act recklessly. It is interesting to a certain point, showing how Berlusconi 's sub-culture in Italy has damaged the perception of talent for the younger generation, the theme of feeling loved to function, forgetting that the most important is actually to love oneself. The tone stats comical, which is nice, but goes to the over-dramatic screaming, slammed doors, points so obvious you feels embarrassed for the director or scriptwriter.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Amour by Michael Haneke, 2012 (PG-13)

From the director of The White Ribbon - Das Weisse Band and The Piano Teacher - La Pianiste
with Jean-Louis Trintignant (Un Homme et Une Femme), Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour), Isabelle Huppert (Ma Mere, White Material, The Piano Teacher), Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell (Certified Copy), Ramón Agirre, Rita Blanco
Duration: 127 minutes

In this 2012 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner, Georges and Anne, retired music teachers in their eighties, have a time-tested love. But as Anne's health fails, Georges becomes her caregiver, and the couple's bond is tested like never before.

Won at the Golden Globes the Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated for the Oscars 2013 for Best Picture (which is exceptional for a foreign language film), Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Directing, Best Foreign Language Film (WON), Best Original Screenplay

In a minimal scenario, with a very small cast, barely no music, and two aging people facing each other in the most naked possible way, it is amazing to see how much can be communicated. The emotion is constantly strained, surprised, the journey extremely painful and at time overcome by beauty. It is a slow pasted movie, in Haneke's style, with short outbursts of violence, with an ending that make you realize there is much more to the movie than the movie itself, and an interrogation on the complexity of our humanity (again, and with a new perspective each time).

Watch Trailer:

Zero Dark Thirty by Kathryn Bigelow, 2012 (R)

with Jessica Chastain (The Debt, The Help, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter), Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Jennifer Ehle (The King's Speech, Michael Clayton), Mark Strong (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, Robin Hood), Kyle Chandler (Argo), Édgar Ramírez, James Gandolfini, Chris Pratt (The Five-Year Engagement), Reda Kateb, Scott Adkins, Taylor Kinney, Mark Duplass (Your Sister's Sister, The Five-Year Engagement), Frank Grillo (The Grey, Warrior), Christopher Stanley (Mad Men, Argo)
From the Director of "The Hurt Locker"

This pulse-pounding thriller dramatizes the night of May 2, 2011, when the Navy's SEAL Team 6 set out to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The world knows of their triumph; now the chronicle of every perilous second is about to unfold.

Golden Globe for Best performance by an actress in a motion picture - Drama : Jessica Chastain
Oscar Nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Film Editing, Sound Editing (WON) and Original Screenplay

Intense movie, not only because it starts in a rough note with torture, but also because of the tight ten year timeline to depict, a large amount of relevant people that got involved in the hunt as well as the amount of people interrogated, and finally the complexity of the facts and strategy. It is an interesting movie because it is not as much about the achievement of killing Ben Laden but about the journey, the struggle, the knowledge accumulated, the patience of knowing when to do the right thing, the risk evaluation. As a personal opinion on the operation, I guess because of the large amount of information on that same site allowing to dismantle the network, it didn't feel as vain to kill Ben Laden, but it was definitely lucky. The movie has an interesting ending in that regard, which I found intelligent. Jessica Chastain's role is one of a woman who is determined, intelligent and still very human, sensitive, this is an unusual portrayal of a secret service agent. In a way, Claire Danes in Homeland is a far more extreme character. It is a challenging movie because it makes you think, it doesn't simplify the story to a manhunt. Perhaps the only thing I would say against the movie is that the editing make you feel that everything went very fast, while the characters insist on how long everything takes, which is a contradiction. Still, some movie!

Watch Trailer:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lincoln by Steven Spielberg, 2012 (PG-13)

From the director of War Horse
with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn (The Bourne Legacy, The Whistleblower), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, 50/50, Inception), James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs, MIB 1, MIB 2, MIB 3), Jackie Earle Haley (Dark Shadows), John Hawkes (American Gangster, Winter's Bone, The Sessions), Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Joseph Cross (Milk), Tim Blake Nelson, David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Bruce McGill (Fair Game)

Director Steven Spielberg takes on the towering legacy of Abraham Lincoln, focusing on his stewardship of the Union during the Civil War years. The biographical saga also reveals the conflicts within Lincoln's cabinet regarding the war and abolition.

Introduced by an ex-president at the Golden Globes (Bill Clinton), winning Best Actor in the same ceremony.
Oscar nominated for best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (WON), best Actor in a supporting role, best Actress in a supporting role, best Cinematography, best Costume Design, best Directing, best Film Editing, best Original Score, best Production Design (WON), best Sound Mixing and best Adapted Screenplay.

Of course, all this is overwhelming, so I had to watch it. It is a strangely slow paste, with a deep work in the performances, a strong will to impersonate the people that created the fundamentals of our society, with no attempt to make it a fancy contemporary discourse. On the contrary, Lincoln is portrayed not only as the father of the United States was a father figure for his surrounding, a human being with the conflicts of his determination and righteousness, shaping words by word the portrayal of a man, a father, a lawyer, a politician and a leader. The movie is at times funny, emotional, educational, strategic, and not only centered on Lincoln but on determining roles that participated in reshaping the history, such as Stevens and Mary Todd Lincoln. It is still a very serious movie, very dark in its cinematography. While watching it, you could almost feel the texture, the smells, the humidity, there is time for all these sensations to be explored. An interesting piece, definitely, not as mainstream as the director is. Except perhaps for the ending in a sort of commemorative homage style.
The movie ends with the death of Lincoln, which interestingly is the beginning of "The Conspirator" by Robert Redford. Somehow I wouldn't have connected the two movies, but there is something similar in the greyness and lack of color in The Conspirator which reminds me of "Lincoln".

Watch Trailer:

Fireflies in the Garden by Dennis Lee, 2008 (R)

with Julia Roberts (Duplicity, Snow White, Eat Pray Love), Ryan Reynolds (Buried), Willem Dafoe (The English Patient, Farewell), Emily Watson (Anna Karenina, War Horse), Carrie-Anne Moss (Snow Cake, Chocolat, The Matrix), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Ioan Gruffudd, Shannon Lucio, Cayden Boyd, George Newbern, Chase Ellison...

In the wake of an unexpected family tragedy, novelist Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds) is forced to confront his fractured relationship with his father (Willem Dafoe) while dealing with painful memories of his mother (Julia Roberts), a woman who moved mountains to protect him.

It's good. Not the extraordinary story you usually go watch in the movies. No exceptional visuals although a well done cinematography portraying two different times. It is a story about people, family and the reality of imperfections. No hero, just humans, growing and learning, making mistakes, forgiving, living. The actors are all beautiful of humanity, real, impeccable in their direction. It was an emotional journey that was worth watching, sensitive and one of these stories you can relate to. And Carrie-Anne Moss plays in it, which only by this makes my day...

Watch Trailer:

Sarah's Key (Elle s'Appelait Sarah) by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2010 (PG-13)

with Kristin Scott Thomas (Bel Ami, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, Partir, The English Patient, The Horse Whisperer), Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup (Farewell, Un Prophete, War Horse), Frédéric Pierrot (The Girl from Paris), Michel Duchaussoy, Dominique Frot, Natasha Mashkevich, Gisèle Casadesus, Aidan Quinn
Duration: 111 minutes

Paris, 1942: To protect her brother from the police arresting Jewish families, a young girl hides him away, promising to come back for him. Sixty-seven years later, her story intertwines with that of an American journalist investigating the roundup.

This movie makes an important point from the start, this is not about Germany, this is about what happened in France, with French people from both side, behaving the way they did, and about the lack of that historical memory from French people of our current generation, blurring the role and responsibility that we had collaborating with Nazis and facilitating the extermination of Jews, in for example the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup. It is a very human sad story, unfortunately too true, with, thank god, a minority ready to take risks and protect the few that managed to escape. The dark secret of Sarah is traumatic since we see it at the beginning of the movie and we never talk about it for more than half of the movie, while the story goes on. Kristin Scott Thomas is great as a journalist that turns out to be too close to the story, confronted to the family of her husband. It is an important movie for the reality it finally shows with a perspective on nowadays oblivion.

Watch Trailer:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Anna Karenina by Joe Wright, 2012 (R)

Another Oscar Nominee 2013, for Best Cinematography, Costume Design (WON), Production Design and Original Score.
From the Director of "Hanna" and "Pride and Prejudice"
with Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method, Never Let Me Go), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Breaking And Entering, Hugo, Sleuth, Contagion), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy, Albert Nobbs), Matthew Macfadyen (Robin Hood), Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter), Alicia Vikander, Kelly Macdonald (Brave, The Girl in the Cafe), Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer, An Education, Hanna), Emily Watson (Fireflies in the Garden, Breaking the Waves, War Horse)

Oscar winner Tom Stoppard penned this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel, which stars Keira Knightley as the titular 19th-century Russian aristocrat who enters into a passionate and forbidden love affair with the well-heeled Count Vronsky.

To be honest, despite all the buzz surrounding the movie, I wasn't at all impressed. It is a beautifully shot movie, the theater set is amazingly exploited, with an interesting journey for its characters, supporting roles that really describe the context of 19th century Russia, so close to its revolution, and definitely looking for a modern definition of Anna Karenina. I specially loved the relationship between Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kitty (Alicia Vikander), and the journey of patience and social learning they go through.
It is an ambitious movie, and for the first half of the movie, it works. But perhaps because I felt Keira Knightley's impersonation was very close in a way to her crazy performance in "A Dangerous Method", I didn't connect to Anna in the way a woman perhaps should, claiming a freedom/second chance that yet was not allowed for a woman. The relationship she has with the crowd personified wasn't coherent to me in the sense that she doesn't care about it until she does, and instead of showing a sense of revolt, shame or repulsion, it looks like her feelings are led only towards plain jealousy,  which is what makes her commit suicide, instead of being the dead end that the society leads her towards. Which is a sadly simplified ending that makes the movie become about a woman who turns jealous instead of being a woman ahead of her time. Irritating.

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

House of Flying Daggers (Shi Mian Mai Fu) by Yimou Zhang, 2004 (PG-13)

with Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau (Detective Dee), Ziyi Zhang, Dandan Song, Hongfei Zhao, Jun Guo, Shu Zhang, Jiusheng Wang, Zhengyong Zhang, Yongxin Wang
Duration: 119 minutes

Near the end of the Tang Dynasty, police deputies Jin and Leo tangle with Mei, a dancer suspected of having ties to a revolutionary faction known as the House of Flying Daggers, which steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

Another tragic story of love and betrayal, with a beautiful cinematography, amazing landscapes, great combats, saddening music and the most handsome actor I have seen in a long time, Takeshi Kaneshiro. He is really attracting all the attention towards him, even if Ziyi Zhang is actually very good, and Andy Lau is a great actor himself. So this is it, the best discovery for me of this movie was Kaneshiro.

Watch Trailer:

Hope Springs by David Frankel, 2012 (PG-13)

with Meryl Streep (Prime, The Iron Lady, Marvin's Room, It's Complicated, Julie and Julia, Kramer Vs. Kramer), Tommy Lee Jones (MIB 1, MIB 2, MIB 3), Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love, Dan In Real Life), Jean Smart, Ben Rappaport, Marin Ireland (Mildred Pierce), Patch Darragh, Brett Rice, Elisabeth Shue (Deconstructing Harry, The Saint, Leaving Las Vegas), Mimi Rogers
Duration: 100 minutes

After decades of marriage, a devoted couple (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) go see a couples' counselor (Steve Carell) in order to spice things up and reconnect. The real challenge for both of them comes as they try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.

Hum... That was an interesting topic. If I hadn't looked twice, I would have thought this was a movie from the director of It's Complicated, The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give and What Women Want, Nancy Meyer. But it isn't. Perhaps you can feel it is the director of The Devil Wears Prada, in the cynical tone that hums over the whole movie. Steve Carell is probably the best that happened to it. If not, it would have turned out to be a very cheesy romantic comedy. And Tommy Lee Jones in his eternal grumpy role and Meryl Streep as a woman asking for love are convincing enough for the journey.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Emperor's New Groove (Kuzco) by Mark Dindal, 2000 (G)

with David Spade, John Goodman (The Artist, You Don't Know Jack, The Princess and the Frog, Trouble with the Curve), Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton (Men In Black 2), Wendie Malick, Tom Jones
Duration: 78 minutes

In this animated Disney adventure, South American emperor Kuzco experiences a reversal of fortune when his power-hungry adviser Yzma turns him into a llama. Exiled to the wilderness, Kuzco turns to kindly villager Pacha for help.

Isn't this one of the craziest Disney ever? I mean, even the hero is stupid. I guess it has something since it has become in my circle of friends a cult movie. There is nothing more to it. Kronk's character (Izma's Side Kick) is the most absurdly charming character. The characters are truly simple, the story not romantic in any way, the lesson are given with absolute cynicism. It is perhaps the least educative Disney, perhaps why it is one of my favorites.

Watch Trailer:

The sessions by Ben Lewin, 2012 (R)

with John Hawkes (American Gangster, Winter's Bone), Helen Hunt, Moon Bloodgood (Beautiful Boy), Annika Marks, William H. Macy (Thank You For Smoking, The Cooler), W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam Arkin, Robin Weigert, Jarrod Bailey

After spending years in an iron lung, a man decides he wants to explore his sexuality for the first time, and hires a surrogate to aid the goal. Through their intensifying relationship, this indie drama illustrates the many forms love can take.

This is a movie that I don't believe I am going to be objective on. I love Helen Hunt. I have seen every movie she was in I could put my hand on, including Trancers (which I have no memory of, thank god!). So in this one, once again, I loved her, and I found her more beautiful than ever, for her confidence in her body was unusual to me, while her emotions were constantly conflicting into a flow that was becoming out of control. John Hawkes is the reflection of the love she deserves, and in this, I found him beautiful, more beautiful as she starts seeing him beautiful. The movie is almost a game of perception, very smart, which is not about objective beauty but about the beauty we can find in everything and everyone. Very human. Now, I really like William H. Macy, but his role is so scattered, incoherent, that I ended up watching the actor perform, thinking of "Shameless" and not believing him one second. So still, I would say I liked the movie a lot, a very unusual topic, and an amazing performance of Helen Hunt... ok, and John Hawkes.
I wish her well for "Best supporting actress" at the Oscars 2013...

Watch Trailer:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises by Christopher Nolan, 2012 (PG-13)

with Christian Bale (The Fighter), Anne Hathaway (Alice In Wonderland, Rachel Getting Married, Valentine's Day, Love and Other Drugs, One Day), Tom Hardy (This Means War, Warrior, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Larry Crowne, Inception), Marion Cotillard (Contagion, Midnight in Paris, Inception, Little White Lies), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper, 50/50), Michael Caine (Sleuth, Inception), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Morgan Freeman (Invictus, RED), Juno Temple (Kaboom), Joey King (Crazy Stupid Love), Matthew Modine, Daniel Sunjata (One For The Money), Nestor Carbonell
Duration: 165 minutes

Still grief-stricken over past losses, billionaire Bruce Wayne is conflicted about once again donning the cape of his lethal alter ego, Batman, but defends Gotham when it 's threatened by new foes such as the slinky Catwoman and the sinister Bane.

Many people were encouraging me to watch this movie, for the incredible cinematography, the dialogues, the message. I have to be honest (and shameful), I finally saw it in a airplane, in a 4 inches screen... Not that effective. The story is interesting, the roles shifted, the dynamics of heroism come from different places, not essentially centered on the character of Batman. Anne Hathaway is funny and charming, I just realized the bad guy is actually the very attractive Tom Hardy, completely transformed, the cast is full of these amazing actors who are usually not choosing blockbusters, but in the end, the action is still massive, with a lot of explosions, and the hero in the end saving the world.

Watch Trailer:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell, 2012 (R)

with Bradley Cooper (The Words, Valentine's Day, Limitless), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone, The Hunger Games, X-Men: First Class), Robert De Niro (Killer Elite, Limitless, Jackie Brown, Marvin's Room), Jacki Weaver (The Five-Year Engagement), Chris Tucker (Jackie Brown), Julia Stiles (Save the last Dance), John Ortiz (American Gangster), Shea Whigham (Take Shelter)...
From the director of The Fighter
Duration: 122 minutes

After a four-year stay in a psychiatric institution, former teacher Pat Peoples has no choice but to move back in with his mother. While he's trying in vain to reunite with his wife, Pat meets another woman fated to change his life.

Nominated for the Oscars 2013 for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role (WON), Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Another Golden Globe winner, with again the great Jennifer Lawrence. Although I really believe the magic of this movie is because of the chemistry, strange one, between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. And perhaps throughout the cast. The movie is so much about family, friends, the small community, and everyone is part of it in a beautiful way, very human (In a way similar to his previous film The Fighter). The movie besides is an absolute pleasure to watch because it is funny, to the edge of course, and unpredictable, because most of the characters of the movie are unpredictable. Perhaps too loud at times, this movie is a mess of emotion and humanity. Now I want to watch it all over again...

Watch Trailer:

Ruby Sparks by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2012 (R)

with Paul Dano (Looper, Knight and Day), Zoe Kazan (It's Complicated), Chris Messina (Argo, Julie and Julia), Annette Bening (The Kids are All right), Antonio Banderas (The Other Man, La Piel Que Habito, Haywire), Aasif Mandvi, Steve Coogan (Our Idiot Brother), Toni Trucks, Deborah Ann Woll, Elliott Gould, Alia Shawkat
Duration: 104 minutes

In an effort to conquer his writer's block, a young novelist -- who's having trouble duplicating the success of his earlier work -- jots down all the attributes of his dream girl. But things get weird when she suddenly comes to life.

Don't you find Paul Dano irritating? It seems his characters are not able to be happy. The guy with the funky face cannot be normal, right? So, here is another story of a writer, quite successful at his work, quite not in real life, that needs to invent his partner, but since it is not easy to be in a relationship, alters her into driving her crazy. Quite predictable, but with some dark embarrassing feeling to it, which is quite well done. I wouldn't say I had a good time, because the movie is about an unbearable guy, but the realism is quite effective. If you are up for this, then I recommend.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Argo by Ben Affleck, 2012 (R)

with Ben Affleck (To the Wonder), Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Bryan Cranston (Drive, Total Recall), John Goodman (Trouble with the Curve, The Artist, You Don't Know Jack, The Princess and the Frog), Kyle Chandler (Broken City, Zero Dark Thirty), Clea DuVall, Victor Garber (Milk), Alan Arkin (Get Smart, The sessions), Titus Welliver (Promised Land), Adrienne Barbeau, Tate Donovan, Rory Cochrane, Chris Messina (Ruby Sparks, Julie and Julia), Richard Kind (Hereafter), Kerry Bishé, Scoot McNairy (Promised Land)

In 1979, when Iranian militants seize the American embassy, six Americans slip into the Canadian embassy for protection, prompting the CIA to concoct an elaborate plot to rescue them by pretending that they are filmmakers rather than diplomats.

Argo is nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture (WON), Best Film Editing (WON), best Original Score, best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Adapted Screenplay (WON)

Yes, this is up to date, I just saw the movie today, and later tonight, this movie won best director and best drama at the golden globes 2013. To be honest, I had to watch one of the drama in competition, chose this one, and when I got out, I asked myself if I didn't go see the worse of the nominated movies. Now I am questioning either the selection or the final choice. But since I haven't yet seen the others, I don't have the answer... Never mind, to be more moderated, I felt it was an interesting development of a story, with a very original script, the use of Hollywood as a cover to free Americans from Iran was a great joke inside a very serious affair. The second half of the movie, knowing the outcome in advance was a bit painful. It was using every way to stress you out, and so nationalistic it made me a bit dizzy. The end got an interesting twist to it, because of course everything is to remain secret, so no big emotional coming back for a hero, just an ironic shut off. Okay, the movie was quite good. I just wonder if this is to become the best movie of 2012... See at the Oscars...

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The Words by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, 2012 (PG-13)

with Bradley Cooper (Valentine's Day, Limitless), Jeremy Irons (The Borgias), Dennis Quaid (Traffic, Playing for keeps), Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy, The Next Three Days), Zoe Saldana (Avatar), Ben Barnes, J.K. Simmons (Contraband, Thank you For Smoking, Up in The Air, Young Adult), John Hannah, Nora Arnezeder, Michael McKean, Zeljko Ivanek (In Bruges), Ron Rifkin, Liz Stauber, Gianpaolo Venuta
Duration: 96 minutes

After finding a brilliant unpublished book in an old briefcase, wannabe writer Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) decides to claim it's his work - but his choice sets events in motion that have him facing an ethical quandary he could never have expected.

That was the third movie about writers in less than a month (Ruby Sparks and The Perks of Being a Wallflower), so I long hesitated to watch that one. I guess it was a good idea, the construction was also interesting, but puzzling the story so much made to movie look like it didn't finish really. It has a twist in the end to justify it but still, the movie ends so abruptly it feels incomplete. The performances are good, the wording well thought, perhaps I enjoyed the journey so much I would have liked to know more of the life of Rory Jansen over the twenty year gap after the publishing of the book...

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One for the Money by Julie Anne Robinson, 2012 (PG-13)

with Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo (Ice Age), Sherri Shepherd (Precious), Debbie Reynolds, Debra Monk (The Other Woman), Nate Mooney, Patrick Fischler, Ana Reeder
Duration: 91 minutes

Janet Evanovich's spunky heroine, Stephanie Plum, is adrift after getting a divorce and losing her job. To make ends meet, she becomes a bounty hunter, with her first big case revolving around a high school boyfriend who may be falsely accused.

Ok, I gotta tell the truth, mum is a big fan of Janet Evanovich... Therefor she got the dvd of this movie. I was a bit terrified by the idea of having to watch it... But it turned out ok, in a way simple comedies are, watchable, with some good laughs, no thinking whatsoever, and will probably never ever mention I actually saw it not to be mocked. So, now that I mentioned that, and compared to the books (which I read as well), I had some disappointments in terms of casting. Katherine Heigl is impeccable, I didn't have a face for Stephanie Plum, and she fits the description, the attitude. Same for Morelli and the mum and dad, I think the mum (Debra Monk) was actually the closest to my imaginary Mrs. Plum. I had more issues with Grandma Mazur and Ranger. To me, Grandma was this skinny woman with fire in her eyes, full of this blast of craziness that might blow at any moment into a line that would make Mrs. Plum sight and Mr. Plum want to commit suicide. Besides the moment she shoots the chicken, nothing special came up. Ranger is supposed to be this sexual beast with contained emotions, concision in words, mystery and precision. Ok, that is a hard one to find. So they cast a good looking latino with muscle, and simplified Ranger to that. No more testosterone spilling. Anyway, this is only from the perspective of an assiduous reader. If you haven't read the books and only watch the movie, you may have the good time I am mentioning at the beginning. If not, read the books, and eventually get ridiculous reading it in the subway and laughing out too loud!

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Trouble with the Curve by Robert Lorenz, 2012 (PG-13)

with Clint Eastwood (director of Hereafter, J. Edgar, Invictus), Amy Adams (Julie and Julia, The Master), Justin Timberlake (The Social Network, Bad Teacher), John Goodman (The Artist, You Don't Know Jack, The Princess and the Frog), Matthew Lillard (The Descendants), Robert Patrick, Scott Eastwood, Joe Massingill, Matt Bush (Margaret), Chelcie Ross
Duration: 111 minutes

Slowed by age and failing eyesight, crack baseball scout Gus Lobel takes his grown daughter along as he checks out the final prospect of his career. Along the way, the two renew their bond, and she catches the eye of a young player-turned-scout.

Is Clint Eastwood ever in a good mood in the movies? Anyway, to tell the truth, I found this movie just right, with an interesting topic, four characters with a solid base, three of them pretty much accomplished, the last one (Justin Timberlake) convincing enough to get a career in romantic comedies. I got the very little of my knowledge of baseball from "Moneyball" so this one is making an opposite point, still valid. It is a feel good movie with a happy ending, straight forward... The only thing missing is a spark to make that movie unique, it wasn't memorable...

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, 2013 (PG-13)

with Logan Lerman (3:10 to Yuma), Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Ezra Miller (We need to talk about Kevin, Californication), Mae Whitman, Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy), Dylan McDermott, Melanie Lynskey (The Informant!, Up in the Air), Joan Cusack, Paul Rudd (Our Idiot Brother), Nina Dobrev (Chloe), Johnny Simmons

In this engaging coming-of-age tale based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, a shy freshman struggling with depression deals with his best friend's suicide and his first love -- and finds help from two seniors who take an interest in him.

One of the most beautiful and sensible movies about adolescence I have seen. It is a great story, well written, with touches of humor and drama so close to each other your experience of the movie is really emotional. The three main actors give everything for their performance, without even be out of tone. The dialogues are truly original, even in the most cliché of the conversation, the wording is so originally authentic you are surprised at every moment.

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