with the bold text in the example below:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Promised Land by by Gus Van Sant, 2013 (R)

with Matt Damon (Invictus, Margaret, True Grit, We Brought a Zoo, The Informant!, Herafter, Inside Job, The Adjustment Bureau), Frances McDormand, John Krasinski (It's Complicated), Rosemarie DeWitt (Margaret, Rachel Getting Married, Your Sister's Sister), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Titus Welliver (Argo), Terry Kinney, Hal Holbrook (Lincoln)

Promised Land is the new contemporary drama directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk, Elephant). Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, an ace corporate salesman who is sent along with his partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), to close a key rural town in his company's expansion plans. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (John Krasinski), as well as the interest of a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt). Promised Land explores America at the crossroads where big business and the strength of small-town community converge.

Interesting points to an interesting movie. While the world becomes barely aware of the effects of Fracking, and I am not talking about Battlestar Galactica now, this movie questions the environmental solutions proposed by a government that has to face the high level of pollution it allows in its territory, the power of the gas company over a declining agricultural industry. It is Giant a century later, it is a fascinating journey through the eyes of a few people from about perhaps five different view-points. What is interesting is the idea that people can change, and so people just don't, because their bigger picture is the one of survival, to the next day, while it might not be as relevant as the next generation's survival. The reason I really liked the movie is that it was personal, it felt, through the amazing performance of the actors, that you were right there with them, taking the time to understand them, the different perspectives, allowing you to get involve and make up your own mind in the end, as if you were part of the town and left to decide what best. Definitely, it didn't give a good face to the gas company, and reminded me of the last movie I saw with Matt Damon, Inside Job...

watch trailer:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg, 2012 (R)

with Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Twilight New Moon, Bel Ami) Juliette Binoche (Breaking and Entering, Chocolat, Certified Copy, Paris, Paris Je T'aime), Samantha Morton (The Messenger), Paul Giamatti (Duplicity, Barney's Version, Deconstructing Harry), Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method), Mathieu Amalric (Le Scaphandre et Le Papillon, Un Conte De Noel), Jay Baruchel (How To Train A Dragon), Kevin Durand, K'Naan, Emily Hampshire (Snow Cake)

Wall Street whiz Eric Packer is caught in Manhattan's gridlock as he helplessly watches his empire fall with the rise of the Chinese yuan. Activity erupts in the streets, and paranoia sets in as Packer links the clues to his imminent assassination.

Very strange slow-pasted intellectual movie, intellectual to a certain point where we fall to the pretentious side, where quotes follow quotes. The violence is silent, brief, insinuating, distant. The timing and perfection of the aesthetic is interesting but most of the time, you feel that you have been fed from a dictionary without particularly meaningful order, an fakeness that make us disconnect. In a way, the only artificiality that is the most pushed is his relationship with his new wife, and the way it evolves and the conclusion of it is in such artificiality it summarizes his emptiness and somehow the lack of meaning of our society. The final could have been spectacular, but it is so theatrical and full of the emotion the whole movie lacks of it feels unreal. Paradoxically. But definitely a movie that made me think. And to mention the best performances, Samantha Morton and Emily Hampshire are amazing, and Sarah Gadon in all her coldness a good surprise.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Superman: The Movie by Richard Donner, 1978 (PG)

with Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Jack O'Halloran, Valerie Perrine, Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Susannah York, Larry Hagman

Mild-mannered Clark Kent works as a reporter at the Daily Planet alongside his crush, Lois Lane, who's in love with Superman. Clark must summon his superhero alter ego when the nefarious Lex Luthor launches a plan to take over the world.

Goodness, how charming was Christopher Reeve. And how terrible your teeth became when you were a heavy smoker like Margot Kidder. Anyway, this is a classic, in the "American Way", of the superhero movies. I found it quite fun to watch to tell the truth, it got old, special effects specially with Marlon Brando are incredibly bad, but the story is cute, and efficient. Since Superman is such a mainstream character, it was an experience to watch where it came from movie-wise. And Lois is just too good as a as-goofy as Clark kind of character with an edge that we don't find it women characters in those types of movie, she felt authentic.

Update April 18, 2013: Coincidence? Superman just turned 75 today! He was born April 18, 1938 in “Action Comics”.

watch Superman: The Movie trailer:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Fair Lady experience

Today, I had a meeting with a potential client in the most unexpected place. It is sort of a tea salon that belongs to the Nomad hotel in midtown Manhattan. It is a replica of the living room of professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, with the staircase going to other rows of books on a mezzanine that runs all around the room. Anyway, I love it, always wanted to have a room like that of my own, perhaps since I am 12 and saw the movie for the first time.

Picture ©cinemajustforfun

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ma Mere by Christophe Honoré, 2005 (NC-17)

with Isabelle Huppert (White Material, The Piano Teacher, Amour), Louis Garrel (The Dreamers, Making Plans for Lena (Non Ma Fille, Tu N'iras pas danser), Emma de Caunes, Joana Preiss, Jean-Baptiste Montagut, Dominique Reymond, Olivier Rabourdin (Of Gods and Men), Philippe Duclos, Pascal Tokatlian, Theo Hakola

Home from boarding school, moody 17-year-old Pierre is drawn into the sordid yet arousing world of his newly widowed and sexually adventurous mother, Hélène. As their attraction deepens, Hélène leaves Pierre in the care of another seductive woman.

I always believed Ma Mere was the traumatic movie by definition. I also believed that it would be unpolitical and somehow erotic. The behavior of Pierre's mother creates after the death of the father with her son is of a spoiled kid, playing with her toy until it breaks, far from the idea I had of the short story and what I heard from the movie where everything would be shown from the perspective of the adoring son. It reminded me so much of Savage Grace, but in a way, far less sick. The relationship Pierre has is of an ideal that she continually breaks therefore there is no real game, just the constant deception, degrading herself, showing him how wrong he was. He is a returning son that doesn't really have a relationship at all with her mother, far from Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne's exclusive relationship in Savage Grace. It turns out to be just ok.

Watch Ma Mere trailer:

The Dreamers by Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003 (NC-17)

with Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green (Perfect Sense, Dark Shadows), Robin Renucci, Anna Chancellor

In acclaimed director Bernardo Bertolucci's erotically graphic drama, Matthew (Michael Pitt) is an American college student studying abroad in politically turbulent 1960s Paris, where he meets and befriends sexually adventurous twins Theo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green). When the siblings invite their newfound friend to stay with them in their flat, the trio indulges in decadent sex games and psychological manipulations.

The movie name is probably a closer description of the movie than the summary itself. It has a dark side, but you would imagine much darker by reading the summary, and indeed it is about dreamers, idealists, innocents. It is set at a key moment in French history and it is interesting to see it through the window of a trio that live in a bubble. I somehow enjoyed the bubble part, and the intro created mixing real footage and reconstitution. My conflict came when Matthew is meeting his first "French friends", the initial portrait is very stereotypical of French people. Once the characters are shaping through their unusual relationship, the movie takes off. Still, a very unusual movie.

watch The Dreamers trailer:

This week must see at Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan and anywhere you can

I just passed in front of the Sunshine theater between the rehearsal of a play at La Mama theater and the launch of a magazine a friend of mine is the guest editor of, and saw the tempting movies displayed, reminding me it's time to go back to the dark rooms of a cinema. So the selection goes like "my brother the devil" from Great Britain, "The place beyond the pines" with an amazing cast, and "Stoker" with the great Matthew Goode. Need to find time for it! In the meantime, if you already saw those, let me know in the comment box what you thought of them.

My Brother The Devil by Sally El Hosaini (2012)
with Fady Elsayed, James Floyd, Fady Elsayed, Said Taghmaoui

The Place Beyond The Pines by Derek Cianfrance (2013)
with Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta

Stoker by Park Chan-wook (2013)
with Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tea Time

Tea time in La Maison du Macaron on 23rd street in New York, thinking of all the movies I saw yesterday, Dreamers, Superman, The Philly Kid and the premiere of Game of Throne, and all the reviews I have to catch up on...

Picture ©cinemajustforfun