Friday, January 10, 2014

Red Dawn (1983): How could such a bad film even have a rating?

Right now I'm watching the end of Red Dawn (1984), from John Milius, featuring Patrick Swayze and Charly Sheen when they were at the beginning of their career. I like fiction films, but this is such a horrible disappointment, that I had to grab my computer and start writing something so I wouldn't fall asleep. It's one of the cheapest and worst films I've watched in years. I understand it is from 1984, but it's not about the budget nor the lack of technology for good special effects. It's about the ridiculous plot that insults anyones intelligence, the damn-poor acting, the lack of realism to a level that seems done on purpose. And it is so boring! The actors looks like jerks, because that's how bad they are! And I have all the sympathy for Patrick Swayze, because I've always liked him. I know it's not the fault of the actors, because it cannot be a coincidence that everything here is so screwed-up. It's just a terrible combination of the decade, plus low-budget, plus ultra-bad direction, and all the rest that conspired against this art to make such a piece of crap.

I don't understand how IMDB could have rated this a 6.3.

The film was made during the Cold War, and is about the Russians and the Cubans invading and occupying the USA. Although unbelievable, still something fun could have been made of this plot if at least a little bit of talent had been used.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Prisoners: Excellent thriller with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal

I watched Prisoners (2013). It's a crimer/murder thriller from Denis Villeneuve that features Hugh Jackman and Jake Gylenhaal.

I wont give any spoilers. Just let me say that it is the best thriller I've seen in a long time. It's the classic theme of investigating the kidnapping of children in a small town in the U.S.A., but the achievement is far greater in this film. It's captivating, entertaining, thrilling, original in it's specific circumstances, and the acting is great. Personally, I often feel disappointed when I watch most of the well-rated crime-thrillers and psychologic thrillers, because although the story has all the right things for being given a good rating, it's still more of the same. And that more of the same become less thrilling each time. I found this film refreshing in the genre, despite classic in the story. Don't miss it, because you will be positively surprised!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Trance (2013): The new psychologic thriller of the director of Trainspotting

Yesterday I watched Trance (2013) from Danny Boyle. When I first look at the DVD cover before knowing anything whatsoever about the film, I thought of Trainspotting. The funny thing was that when I realized it wasn't, as I read what was on the box, it said that it was directed by the same director.

In short (without providing any spoilers) the film is about the robbery of a famous painting of Rembrandt that costs about USD 40 million

The film features James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel in a psychologic thriller. I must confess I am not a great fan of this genre, but in every sense it is a good film: it has suspense, it is unpredictable and intelligent, it is original, has its dose of action, and the acting is good. There are even a couple os sexy scenes where Rosario Dawson appears stunningly naked. But still, the film is neither erotic nor cheap because of these particular spots.

The film feels somewhat psychedelic (as you easily guess from the design on the DVD cover), and at times you are not sure what is real and is not. But just pay attention to every detail and at the end it all makes sense. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

I just finished watching The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), from Marc Webb. I must say that in general I do like Marvel's films. Except some few crappy ones like Thor.

This was my favorite Spiderman film so far. I had found the previous Spiderman trilogy from Sam Raimi, but this newer version is more dark and, obviously, the action scenes have better special effects. Sam Raimi's Spiderman had also become too cheesy, and the romantic scenes somewhat out of topic. In a way it's like comparing Tim Burton's Batman with Christopher Nolan's. After you watch the latter, the first look more childish.

The Amazing Spider-Man features Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker acts too naive and clumsy for my taste, but his acting is good.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Man with the Iron Fists (2012): Why is Tarantino's name attached to this film?

Last night I watched "The Man with the Iron Fists" on DVD. The reason I was so eager to watch it is because the DVD I borrowed mentioned Tarantino somewhere, and I thought he was the director. But I just learned through IMDB that the only reason why Tarantino's name was attached to the film is because he lent his name to attract viewers, due to his personal and professional friendship with RZA (main actor, director and screen-writer of the film). So, I was disappointed to see that he actually had nothing to do with the film, other than an acquaintance with the actual creator and main actor. Although I enjoyed the film, I feel a little bit cheated, because the only reason I took the film was because of Quentin Tarantino's name on it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Alejandro Jodorowsky - Spiritual cinema - psycho-magic and symbolism

I enjoy transcendental movies. One of my all-times favorite film directors is Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean director that stopped making films for more than 20 years and now lives in Paris. However, he recently wrote and directed a new film (2013) which I still haven't watched.

He is a symbolist and a tarotist, so all his films are full of symbols and mysticism. He pries too much on social and religious taboos, and for most public it's hard to watch. Also because purposely he likes to abuse of the bizarre and grotesque. Thus, in the seventies, when he presented one of his films in Mexico, which is a very religious and conservative society, he barely could escape alive from the country. The people did not forgive him play with so many taboos and he had to run for his life to never again return. 

His films written and directed by himself are:

- La Cravate (1957)
- Fando and Lis (1968)
- El Topo (1970)
- The Holy Mountain (1973)
- Tusk (1980)
- Santa Sangre (1989)
- The Rainbow Thief (1990)
- The Dance of Reality (2013)

La Cravate is just a short, his first filming experiment. It's cool and nice, but not as explosively magic as his other longer movies.

Tusk, in words of Jodorowsky, is a film that frustrated him greatly. It was filmed in India, and due to the local taboos, he was forbidden to film the scenes that he was planing for, and eventually the result is not the film he intended to do.

The Rainbow Thief stars Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole. Jodorowsky was greatly limited by the producer to let his imagination free, and also feels frustrated about this film. Still, it's very beautiful and profound.

The Dance of Reality is very new and I still didn't watch.

His other films are true masterpieces of spiritual quests, psycho-magic and symbolism. Probably, Jodorowsky may be the most successful spiritual oriented film maker. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Not so original, but good and entertaining

I recently watched The Hunger Games, second part. I did enjoy the film, although I have to admit that I usually have a prejudice against actions films where the heroine is a woman that kicks everyone else's ass. And even more if it is a teenager or young adult. It's not because I have anything against female protagonism, but I can't identify with teenage cinema; and I find this type of films the most commercial type especially made for the teenage public. It is too obvious that these films have been made for female teenagers that love to identify themselves with the heroine; and for male teenagers who love to watch pretty girls and fantasize a bit. A good example of that, for me, is Transformers.

Nevertheless. I had fun with the film. Some acting was very good (especially Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and Lenny Kravitz), and the theme is interesting enough although not really original. If you have been watching Sci-Fi movies from the 80's, you will remember that sci-fi classic of 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Running Man. This films, based on a novel from Stephen King, also focusses on a man that is thrown against his will into a wild game scenario where he has to survive fighting other players. In the meantime he is broadcasted for everybody to watch. This happens in an imaginary future, and also, the system doesn't want to allow the protagonist to win, so they even get to the point of faking his defeat and death.

There are a lot of similarities between both films, and it is too obvious that there is an inherited plot. Nevertheless, The Hunger Games goes much further in its political theme, which makes it an interesting movie to watch.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Hobbit II - A good film after all, despite so much negative criticism

I'm a great fan of all of Tolkien's books and last night I watched The Hobbit II in the theater. This second part of the trilogy was two and a half hours long. Before I went there I heard many negative comments about how commercial Peter Jackson had become, and how ridiculous it was to extend such a short book as The Hobbit so much as to make three long films out of it. I also heard criticism regarding how the original story had been modified in some parts in order to extend it, and things like that.

In short, I like the film. Actually, I loved the film! It is true that there are some few modifications, but there are more additions to the story, rather than alterations of the main line. The development of the story is actually the same as in the book. Personally I find that all those "modifications" just add to the development and make it more fun. Perhaps I would just have omitted making too much fun out of some few battles (mainly the one where there elfs, orcs and dwarfs inside the barrels are involved), and I would have also omitted that silent liking or simply "love" between Tauriel and Kili. I concede that it looks nice, but that definitely is not the style of the author!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Silent Running (1972) - A Sci-Fi low-budget "classic" that I personally found extremely overrated

I like to watch sci-fi classics, and last night I sat down to watch Silent Running (1972). I had gotten this film a long time ago, after I had found it recommended somewhere in internet. I love many of those classics like Colossus, Forbidden Planet, 2001, etc. But I found this film disappointingly boring, with an old-fashioned acting performance and the end was uninteresting.