with the bold text in the example below:

Friday, June 28, 2013

The English Teacher by Craig Zisk, 2013 (R)

The English Teacher poster

with Julianne Moore (The Kids are All Right, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Chloe, A Single Man, Game Change), Lily Collins (The Blind Side, Mirror Mirror), Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets), Michael Angarano (Haywire), Nathan Lane (Mirror Mirror), Nikki Blonsky, Jessica Hecht (Dan In Real Life, Fair Game), Erin Wilhelmi, Charlie Saxton, Norbert Leo Butz (Dan In Real Life)

Devoted small-town English teacher Linda yearns for love. Enter Jason, a former student whose career as a Broadway playwright didn't pan out. When she persuades him to stage his play at the school before giving up, love — and controversy — arise.

Movies on teachers... how many? This one is not a memorable one, although the point made is not the most fashionable one right now, which is about the value of being true to your project without wanting to get the public reward of it, it is not about fame, but about the positive result overall. It is actually pretty much opposite to what all movies are about lately, reward for being successful. Juliane Moore portrays the teacher the way she portrays anything, to the perfection. The rest of the characters are quite clichés, and the acting exaggerated. Somehow, still, the point is made in such a way that it seems to conflict itself, questioning how in a way not so fancy it is to not get the rewards for your work and letting the other take over.

watch trailer:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cocktail by Roger Donaldson, 1988 (R)

cocktail poster tom cruise

with Tom Cruise (Eyes Wide Shut, Knight and Day, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Oblivion), Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue (Deconstructing Harry, The Saint, Leaving Las Vegas, Hope Springs), Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch (Kaboom), Gina Gershon (Face/Off), Ellen Foley

Materialistic Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) teams with veteran bartender Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) and takes the bar scene by storm; the duo dazzles patrons, mixing drinks while dancing and charming the ladies. But a falling out prompts Brian to move to Jamaica. After moving, Brian falls for a New York waitress (Elisabeth Shue), but their romance is threatened by the barkeep's fling with a rich fashion exec (Lisa Banes).

Welcome back to the 80's. New York's 80s and a little of Jamaica, for the vacation detour. My goodness, I really have something against the 80s. The fashion, the "cool" attitude of the time, the weird no-sense of humor ridiculousness. And I am not going to describe the stereotype of manhood that was usual at the time. Tom Cruise is very cute, good juggler and Elisabeth Shue should not have been in the movie, everything to describe her is either boring or cliché, a rich girl living in an artist building, painting and waitressing, but of course everything is a fantasy that people have of what is to be an artist (remember perhaps more recently "The Vow")... Anyway, bringing Bar-tending to another level was a cool idea, the climbing of the social ladder: the movie had its points but aged fast and bad...

watch trailer:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Richard Did by Lenny Abrahamson, 2012 (NR)

with Sam Keeley, Jack Reynor, Róisín Murphy, Lars Mikkelsen, Gavin Drea, Lorraine Pilkington, Gabrielle Reidy, David Herlihy, Padraic Delaney, Tom Hickey, Fionn Walton, Patrick Gibson, Liana O'Cleirigh, Rachel Gleeson

Newcomer Jack Reynor and Róisín Murphy star alongside Sam Keeley (The Other Side of Sleep, Misfits), and Lars Mikkelsen ("The Killing") in this striking portrait adapted from Kevin Powers' award-winning book "Bad Day in Blackrock." The world is bright and everything seems possible for Richard Karlsen (Reynor), the golden boy of his privileged set of Dublin teens, until he does something that destroys it all and shatters the lives of the people closest to him.
© Tribeca

One of the most interesting movie I have seen in a while, a rich portrait of adolescence, all in subtlety, with incredible performances from actors, Jack Reynor and Lars Mikkelsen to start with. The viewpoint is also quite unique, in a sense that the movie is not so much about the punishment or judgmental, it is how it shatters lives, how destruction and guilt build slowly, and gives an inside look to the raw of emotion and loss. Beautiful.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Skyfall by Sam Mendes, 2012 (PG-13)

with Daniel Craig (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Dream House), Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Chocolat, J. Edgar), Javier Bardem (Biutiful, Eat Pray Love, To The Wonder), Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges, The Reader, The English Patient), Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney (The Bourne Legacy, Traffic), Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas), Rory Kinnear (Wild Target), Ola Rapace
From the director of American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition...

Oscar nominated for Best Music - Original Song: "Skyfall" (Skyfall) Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (WON)
Best Sound Editing: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers (Skyfall) (WON)

When a serious menace threatens MI6, James Bond is on the case -- putting aside his own life and personal issues to hunt and obliterate the perpetrators. Meanwhile, secrets arise from M's past that strain Bond's loyalty to his longtime boss.

Time for a change, although I understand that Judi Dench is retiring, I am going to miss her performance as M. She was just perfect. I enjoyed Skyfall, specially the coming back to Scotland, and the confusion between the Agency and the outside world. I felt, as probably everyone, that Javier Bardem was the perfect bad guy, uncomfortable, manipulating, ugly, and sensual... A very weird combination that confronted to the impeccable M and Bond, makes an interesting triangle. The action is solid, the opening music of Adele in the perfect tradition of Bond soundtracks. I just don't know how they are going to have more James Bond after this one.

Watch Trailer:

Retratos en un Mar de Mentiras by Carlos Gaviria, 2010 (R)

with Paola Baldión, Julián Román, Edgardo Román, Valeria Fuentes, Ana María Arango

An emotionally engaging story about Mariana, who is practically mute, decides to travel with her cousin Jairo to claim an inheritance. But on the road back home she is continuously triggered to a past of childhood trauma, when Colombian paramilitary and guerrillas forced displacement. These flashbacks reveal her lost identity, family and love-breaking Mariana's silence and opening her heart to grieve and love again.

Interesting portrayal of a society through the journey of two, their instinct, their survival and their beauty. The cinematography is full of colors, the landscapes dangerous and amazing. I was surprised by the lack of explanation you have all along, and how well, in contradiction, you get to know the two. The universality of the quest is combined with a world so foreign to me that it took me a lot of thinking in perspective to understand certain reactions and behaviors, and sometimes even not comprehend. Fascinating.

watch trailer:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shadow Dancer by James Marsh, 2012 (R)

with Clive Owen (Duplicity, Killer Elite), Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion), Gillian Anderson (X-Files), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter, Anna Karenina), Brid Brennan, David Wilmot, Stuart Graham, Martin McCann

Collette, a single mother and career IRA terrorist, is captured after an abortive bombing in London and faces an excruciating ultimatum. She can either turn against her lifelong compatriots or go to prison and be separated forever from her son. From the director of Man on Wire.

One of the most interesting movie in a long time, and 400th review in this blog. I had to make it important! This is a very Irish movie, blue collar, grey tones, very little smile, strong faces, rough weather. Of course it portrays one of the worse time Belfast has known, with no side taken, everyone pushing their own way, with all the collateral damages that burdens families, generations after generation. It is about spies, but the most ordinary ones, it is a human story, and about how dark humanity goes when there is a power interest. It is a cold movie in a way, and the two main protagonist are so powerfully human in it, Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough are absolutely perfect.

watch trailer:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Now You See Me by Louis Leterrier, 2013 (PG-13)

with Morgan Freeman (Invictus, The Dark Knight Rises, RED, Oblivion), Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby, Rango), Mark Ruffalo (Margaret, The Kids Are All Right, Shutter Island, Avengers), Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson (The Messenger, The Hunger Games, Game Change), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises, Sleuth), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, To Rome With Love, Solitary Man), Mélanie Laurent (Paris, Inglourious Basterds), Common (American Gangster), Michael Kelly (Did you Hear About The Morgans?, The Adjustment Bureau, House of Cards - season 1), David Warshofsky, J. LaRose, Caitriona Balfe

Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

Entertainment? Yes. But with a certain level of intelligence, creativity, the dialogues are fast and witty,  the acting impeccable (except perhaps Dave Franco who seems to have been erased from the movie in the editing...), the cast impressive, the magic oh well, magical. This was a fun film to watch, where special effect make sense, where you can be bluffed but try and find the explanation, a strange thing in cinema when it all started with Méliès being a magician himself and playing with film to create his magic tricks.

watch trailer:

My Cousin Vinny by Jonathan Lynn, 1992 (R)

with Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei (Crazy Stupid Love, The Wrestler), Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith, Austin Pendleton, Bruce McGill (Fair Game, Lincoln, The Legend of Bagger Vance), Maury Chaykin, Paulene Myers, Raynor Scheine, James Rebhorn (The Game), Chris Ellis, Michael Simpson
From the director of Wild Target

When teenage buddies Billy (Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are falsely accused of croaking a convenience-store clerk in a backwoods Southern town, Billy calls on his Noo Yawk cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), a fast-talking personal injury lawyer who's never tried a case. Vinny's crass demeanor lands him in hot water with the judge, but the lippy Brooklyn barrister has a few tricks up his sleeve. Oscar winner Marisa Tomei plays his gal pal.

I admit I laughed... To this certain point where I got tired of Joe Pesci. And then I laughed with Marisa Tomei's performance at the bar. I couldn't figure out if I had seen the movie before, but everything felt familiar, the sense of humor of the 90s, predictable gags, misunderstandings, New York attitude, out of place behavior. Anyway, It is a bit exuberant but witty. And if I understood well, already a classic... Sigh...

Watch trailer:

Magic Mike by Steven Soderbergh, 2012 (R)

with Channing Tatum (The Vow, Haywire, Side Effects), Matthew McConaughey (The Paperboy), Alex Pettyfer (Beastly), Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough (Jack and Diane), Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, James Martin Kelly, Caitlin Gerard
From the director of from the director of Out of Sight, Traffic, Haywire, Contagion, The Informant!, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, Side Effects, Behind the Candelabra

Inspired by the experiences of one of its stars -- Channing Tatum -- this Steven Soderberg-helmed comedy focuses on the world of male strippers. Tatum plays a veteran stripper introducing a new dancer to the pleasures and perils of their profession.

Amazing dance performance from Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, the way they move looks like they have been pro at some point in their life... The story is interesting, very local, a portrayal of a society that is a bit lost, beautiful contrast between the night life and in a way, the real life. Cody Horn is beautiful, an actress starting, with a maturity and normality that perhaps with a different cast, a more famous actress, Soderberg would not have made as real. It is also good to see Alex Pettyfer be in something else than a mainstream teenage movie, he is the looser and in a way and project what youth has and yet doesn't understand quite. Definitely a great surprise.

Watch Trailer: