with the bold text in the example below:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by Steven Spielberg, 1989 (PG)

with Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Morning Glory, Blade Runner), Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover, River Phoenix, Michael Byrne (The Saint), Kevork Malikyan, Robert Eddison
Following Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Fedora and whip at the ready, Indiana Jones sets off on his third cinematic outing accompanied by none other than his father, Henry, to explore the cradle of civilization on a perilous hunt for the Holy Grail -- which the Nazis are also after.

This is my favorite, perhaps because it plays with switching roles, because the relationship between the two Jones is funny and it works, also perhaps because it happens at the heart of WW2 in Germany, which is easier to relate to than deep India. And finally because it tells you a little more about Dr. Jones, his childhood, and his emotions... making him a little more interesting than just a witty seductive man.

watch trailer:

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by Steven Spielberg, 1984 (PG)

with Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Morning Glory, Blade Runner), Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Roy Chiao, Ric Young, David Yip, Philip Tan, Dan Aykroyd, Michael Yama, Chua Kah Joo, Rex Ngui, Akio Mitamura, D.R. Nanayakkara, Dharmadasa Kuruppu, Stany De Silva

Following Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and followed by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The second film in the Indiana Jones series takes Indy, young sidekick Short Round and spoiled songbird Willie Scott to a remote fortress in India to find a missing magical stone. In the process, the trio stumbles upon a pagan cult.

This one is cute, the comic element being centered on the little boy and his funny comic of situation. The action is easy to follow, and they journey enjoyable. The story is a little less scientifically realistic, and perhaps the relationship between the characters less believable... Oh well... I was told each new Indiana Jones were better than the previous one (excluding the alien of 2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). So the expectation kept rising...

watch trailer:

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark by Steven Spielberg, 1981 (PG)

When Dr. Indiana Jones -- the tweed-suited professor who just happens to be a celebrated archaeologist and adventurer -- is hired by the government to locate the legendary Ark of the Covenant, he finds himself up against the entire Nazi regime.

This was a classic everyone had seen, and I didn't. I was expecting to love it right away, but the movie has aged, and not only that, the references to this movie are numerous, so I felt everything was quite predictable. Still, I got to enjoy it, Karen Allen is definitely my favorite girlfriend of Dr. Jones, and Alfred Molina is a baby, which is quite funny.

with Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Morning Glory, Blade Runner), Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina (An Education, Chocolat, Rango), Wolf Kahler (The Girl in the Cafe), Anthony Higgins
Followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Watch trailer:

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Harald Zwart, 2013 (PG-13)

After teen Clary Fray witnesses a murder at a New York nightclub, a sinister stranger named Valentine attacks and kidnaps her mother. Endowed with supernatural vision, Clary recruits a band of youthful human-angel hybrids to help rescue her mother.

I have been expecting this movie for a long time, because I am a fan of Lena Headey. For a long time. I am probably not quite objective, but I actually liked the movie, and am looking forward to the next episode. The story has this mystery that most likely is quite predictable, but on the other hand,
the cast is effective, besides vampires and werewolves, magic, and sort of British castle with a hint of Harry Potter's hogwarts and X-Men Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, there is a whole new world of supernatural creatures, with doors to other worlds, this suffice to make me hooked. Looking forward to the next episode...

with Lily Collins (The Blind Side, The English Teacher, Mirror Mirror), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Winter in Wartime - Oorlogswinter), Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey (The Red Baron - Der rote Baron), Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Cosmopolis), Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, CCH Pounder (Avatar, Face/Off), Jared Harris (Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Albert Nobbs)

watch trailer:

Disconnect by Henry Alex Rubin, 2012 (R)

A hard-working lawyer, attached to his cell phone, can't find the time to communicate with his family. A couple is drawn into a dangerous situation when their secrets are exposed online. A widowed ex-cop struggles to raise a mischievous son who cyber-bullies a classmate. An ambitious journalist sees a career-making story in a teen that performs on an adult-only site.

This movie is interestingly good. The interconnected stories reminded me of the format of Crash of Paul Haggis, and little by little, you discover the characters and the catalyst that internet has been to discover another side of themselves. The fact that internet protects you from being identified allows them to become more vulnerable, interestingly enough, to the point where they end up with real world consequences. The topics have been all over the media, with real cases of harassment, identity thief, sex site using minors... This movie is one of the first entering the subject in an interconnected way, with an original script where no-one is either good or bad, just somehow irresponsible, and the cast is really holding the story together.

with Jason Bateman (Juno, Up in The Air), Hope Davis (Mildred Pierce), Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty, The Grey, Warrior), Michael Nyqvist (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Paula Patton (Deja Vu, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Precious), Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer, Oblivion), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, What Maisie knew, Melancholia), Max Thieriot (Chloe), Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo), Jonah Bobo (Crazy Stupid Love), Haley Ramm, Norbert Leo Butz (The English Teacher, Dan In Real Life), Kasi Lemmons, John Sharian, Aviad Bernstein

Watch trailer:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blackfish by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, 2013 (PG-13)

This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum -- who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity -- and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures.

Well, if you are looking for the reason to never visit a zoo, you will be served. The way the documentary is constructed makes you look at the expected in a way SeaWorld has nearly no excuse. What also impressed me is how naive were the trainers, and somehow how lucky they have been all along, despite the love they have shared with Tilikum. The story is still the story of Tilikum, and there is a lot to understand about how much he gave and how traumatized he has been. This is actually the most interesting, seeing how responsive he was, and how gentle, most of the time, how evolved. This is a sad story.

watch trailer:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sense and Sensibility by Ang Lee, 1995 (PG)

Jane Austen's classic tale of 19th-century etiquette and ethics chronicles the troubles and triumphs of the marriage-minded Dashwood sisters -- sensible oldest sibling Elinor (Emma Thompson) and her romantic younger sister, Marianne (Kate Winslet). While Marianne deftly charms two suitors (Alan Rickman and Greg Wise), Elinor must weather a circuitous courtship with an aspiring clergyman (Hugh Grant) of considerable reserve.

I love Elinor, and for years, she was my summum of proper behavior. To masochism... But so classy anyway it didn't matter, she was suffering properly, following the rules of her upbringing, and not creating drama where there could be if only she were to say what she felt. And Marianne as her opposite was not to be judged but nevertheless quite the irritating counterpart. But she becomes secondary, somehow, because her behavior in a way was more common. Anyway, Emma Thompson is perfect for Elinor, her sensibility is right on, and whether you believe the story is cheesy or not, she has to affect you somehow. The rest of the cast is perfectly directed by Ang Lee, to me the expert in romantic drama.
PS: Emma Thompson won for Best Writing - Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 1996 Oscars.

with Emma Thompson (Beautiful Creatures, Brave, Men in Black 3, An Education, Love Actually), Kate Winslet (The Reader, Titanic, Mildred Pierce, Contagion), Alan Rickman (Lee Daniels' The Butler, Galaxy Quest, Love Actually, Alice In Wonderland, Snow Cake, Harry Potter), Hugh Grant (Love Actually, Did You Hear About The Morgans?, Two Weeks Notice, Cloud Atlas), James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson (The Debt, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Michael Clayton, Duplicity, The Ghost Writer, The Conspirator, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol), Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones, Emilie François, Elizabeth Spriggs, Robert Hardy, Ian Brimble, Greg Wise, Imelda Staunton (The Girl, Another Year, Harry Potter), Imogen Stubbs, Hugh Laurie
From the director of Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi
watch trailer:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thor 2: The Dark World by Alan Taylor, 2013 (PG-13)

with Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman, Marvel's Avengers, Thor), Natalie Portman (Paris Je T'aime, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits (The Other Woman), Black Swan, Thor), Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea, Marvel's Avengers, War Horse), Anthony Hopkins (RED 2, Hitchcock, Thor, 360), Christopher Eccleston (Amelia), Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi (Tangled), Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba (Prometheus), Stellan Skarsgård (Marvel's Avengers, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia), Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Sequel of Thor and Marvel's Avengers

The God of Thunder strikes again as he fights to save the Nine Realms from mysterious villain Malekith, who plans to make the entire universe go dark. Meanwhile, Thor must find Jane Foster, who's been targeted by the evil denizens of Svartalfheim.

Ok Thor isn't my favorite series, but somehow, I almost liked this one better than the first. Thanks to the role of Kat Dennings, I was able to laugh. Then, the script is quite predictable, it definitely lakes of imagination, and thank gods Thor doesn't take himself too seriously, if not it would really be unbearable to watch...

watch trailer:

Puccini for Beginners by Maria Maggenti, 2006 (R)

with Elizabeth Reaser (Liberal Arts, Young Adult, Twilight), Gretchen Mol, Justin Kirk (Weeds), Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County, Masters of Sex, Keep the Lights On), Tina Benko, Jennifer Dundas, Kate Simses, Brian Letscher

Allegra is recovering from a breakup with her girlfriend when she starts to fall for a member of the opposite sex. Philip is the tidy professor who's romancing the ambivalent Allegra while she pursues a straight woman who's recently become single.

When a lesbian film turns out to be a very ordinary romantic comedy, with not particular problem about being gay, no existential question about whether it is right or wrong, funny, light, very much about relationships... I loved that movie for that, it was the revelation that it didn't need to fit a genre, and basically, this could become a mainstream movie. I guess the future will have more of these, but for the present time, we can still count them on the fingers of a hand.

Watch trailer:

Gloria by Sebastián Lelio, 2014 (R)

with Paulina García, Coca Guazzini, Fabiola Zamora, Sergio Hernández,  Diego Fontecilla, Alejandro Goic, Marcial Tagle, Antonia Santa María, Luz Jimenez, Liliana García, Hugo Moraga

Gloria is a "woman of a certain age" but still feels young. Though lonely, she makes the best of her situation and fills her nights seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults. Her fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her vacillating between hope and despair -- until she uncovers a new strength and realizes that, in her golden years, she can shine brighter than ever.

This was supposed to be the best comedy of the month... Oh well, expectations were high I agree, but this wasn't quite the movie I expected. It goes through an interesting journey, definitely, funny I don't know, I was most of the time feeling awkward for her. It is definitely a journey about being comfortable with oneself, and goes thought stage of finding the others, learning of the others and building your own path... Thing is, perhaps you need to be "of a certain age" to find the journey realistic... I don't know, I just didn't get into her character, and didn't sympathize whatsoever.

watch trailer:

The Monuments Men by George Clooney, 2014 (PG-13)

with George Clooney (Gravity, The Descendants, Out of Sight, Up in the Air, Michael Clayton, Ocean's Thirteen), Matt Damon (Ocean's Thirteen, Behind the Candelabra, Invictus, Margaret, True Grit, We Brought a Zoo, The Informant!, Herafter, Inside Job, The Adjustment Bureau, Promised Land, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Contagion), Bill Murray, John Goodman (Monsters University, The Artist, Flight, The Princess and the Frog, Trouble with the Curve, Argo, The Emperor's New Groove (Kuzco), You Don't Know Jack), Jean Dujardin (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Artist, Little White Lies - Les Petits Mouchoirs), Bob Balaban (Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, Deconstructing Harry), Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Bandits), Dimitri Leonidas, Justus VonDohnanyi, Holger Handtke, Michael Hofland, Zachary Baharov

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, the film is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys - seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 - possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind's greatest achievements.

Sometimes, a movie is just really good, because of the actors, the direction, the cinematography, the script... It doesn't necessarily gets a lot of attention, tho important, or funny, or both... This one is one of them. It is familiar, the cast looks like they had a good time, and so do you. Perhaps, this is the main goal of a movie, getting into it and having a good time. Additionally, this one highlights how so much of the art was looted during WW2 and later found in an attempt to return them. Fascinating.

watch trailer:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Monsters University by Dan Scanlon, 2013 (G)

with John Goodman (The Artist, Flight, The Princess and the Frog, Trouble with the Curve, Argo, The Emperor's New Groove (Kuzco), You Don't Know Jack), Billy Crystal (Deconstructing Harry), Steve Buscemi (On the Road, Paris Je T'aime, Love in the Time of Money, The Messenger), Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray (The Artist), Helen Mirren (Red 2, Hitchcock, The Debt, RED)

This prequel to Pixar's popular animated tale Monsters Inc. once again features eccentric monster pals Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan. Set during their college days, the film tells the strange and amusing tale of how the pair became friends.

Well, the first one was so good... it is nearly impossible to keep up. So it isn't great, lets face it. The humor is not as in the first one. Still, since we already love the characters, it makes it easy to watch it, discover who they were, and how they got to be friends.

Watch trailer:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lee Daniels' The Butler by Lee Daniels, 2013 (PG-13)

with Forest Whitaker (Out of the Furnace, Flight), Oprah Winfrey (The Princess and The Frog), John Cusack (The Paperboy), Jane Fonda (Peace, Love & Misunderstanding), Cuba Gooding Jr. (American Gangster), Terrence Howard (Ray, The Company You Keep, The Princess and the Frog, Dead Man Down), Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games, Precious), James Marsden (Superman Returns), David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Lincoln, The Paperboy), Vanessa Redgrave (The Whistleblower), Alan Rickman (Galaxy Quest, Love Actually, Alice In Wonderland, Snow Cake, Harry Potter), Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Robin Williams (Deconstructing Harry), Mariah Carey (Precious), Clarence Williams III, Alex Pettyfer (In Time, Magic Mike, Beastly)
From the director of Precious and The Paperboy

Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker delivers a powerful performance as Cecil Gaines, who served as the White House butler under eight presidents. His three decades of service unfold against a backdrop of unparalleled change in American history.

I need to quote that one, I never do and for once, I cannot even tell who wrote that. So here is from the person who wrote on Netflix "Good intentions don't necessarily make good movies. Forest Whitaker is very good but all the stunt casting (to cite a famous critic) made some of it seem like an SNL skit. Robin Williams is Robin Williams as Eisenhower. Oooh look! It's Jane Fonda! And Oprah should NEVER try to act. [...]" and 95 out of 96 members found this review helpful! I found it hilarious and right on... Here is another one: "[...] HEAVY-handed -- but then, anything Oprah puts her stamp on is! And, a horrible choice of actors to play the presidents -- John Cusack as Nixon??? Robin Williams as Eisenhower??? What were they thinking??? And please... stop casting Mariah Carey in anything!" Although I would add it is a good way to summarize the changes in politics in the US.

watch trailer:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach, 2012 (R)

with Greta Gerwig (To Rome With Love), Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Esper (All Good Things), Patrick Heusinger, Charlotte d'Amboise, Hannah Dunne, Grace Gummer, Josh Hamilton, Cindy Katz, Maya Kazan, Justine Lupe, Britta Phillips, Juliet Rylance, Dean Wareham, Michael Zegen

Determined to make it as a modern dancer in New York, Frances pursues her unlikely goal with more enthusiasm than natural talent. The rest of the time, she and her sardonic best friend, Sophie, put off growing up for as long as they can.

This is one of the cutest movie I have seen in a long while, although also the one where I felt the most uncomfortable, thanks to the awkwardness of the main character. Strangely, you still admire her and her wise spirit, her freedom. All of her is a perfect contradiction. The other characters are interesting, but Greta Gerwig steals the movie in her beautiful and realistic portrayal of a dancer surviving New York. Also, this is one of the only movie I have ever seen that reflects New York as an artist can experience it.

Watch trailer:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Re - Theater experience...

These last days/weeks, I haven't been able to watch any movie...
Like a year and a half ago, I engaged into adapting film-making to theater, with an hour and a half of visuals to illustrate and interact with the actors. A lot of work, and every night performing live. So far so good, we've been selected as picture of the week in Time Out, and had a full house for the past two weeks. Nevertheless, no time to watch movies. I will get back to it, I promise, Saturday being the last of these many days.