Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by David Fincher

As much as I appreciate Fincher’s work, this one was a disappointment.

This film is too long and at moments truly unbearable. Guess the amount of time the crew and casst spent at the make-up room somehow had to be translated to the length of the film. I cannot see any other explanation.

A spectacular project which is really not worth the whole effort. The plot is so expanded that at times it is really hard to say how much time a given scene took. Cate Blanchett on death-bed is purely abominable. The plot does not justify many elements in the film.

Cate Blanchett has beautiful red her throughout the majority of the film. Brad Pitt is mainly an old man with grey hair.

As much as a curious case this is, I wouldn’t say that the story was told interestingly enough. It’s a ‘to be missed’ Fincher.

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Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese

In my personal ‘Catching Up’ section. I actually watched this one for the first time (in full) this afternoon. Got very lucky to be able to see a (seemingly) remastered digital version.

Everybody knows it, there’s juvenile Jody Foster, handsome Robert de Niro, long-haired Harvey Keitel and young Cybill Shepherd.

Plus a universal message, quite disturbing as to how much happens by accident and how thin is the line between a hero and an assassin and how strong the power of the media is. Apart from the classic 1970’s fashion, there’s the music, consciously led cinematography shot from different angles, traditionally following the character’s point of view, the camera eye has a noticeable role to play. Great colour, lighting, the felt filthiness of New York streets and diners. A true masterpiece (but well everybody knew that already!).  Martin Scorsese’s cameo appearance not to be missed!

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Submarine by Richard Ayoade

A brilliant, genius film.

If all films were made like this, we would not need the star rating system at all.

The technical, filmic conscience is fantastic, the play with colour, frames, shots, slow motion unveils director with ability to play with convention and to cunningly break the fourth wall.

There are extracts shot on Super8, there are VHS films within the film, there is a red coat, there is a proper dramatic construction with a prologue and an epilogue.

The story is based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne. A fantastic tale on coming of age, the horror of being 15, having weird parents, a psychic neighbour with whom Mum shares a past, on first love, first kisses, first encounters with death…

Paddy Considine in the role of the derailed light guru delivers great acting. Other adult roles are also well cast. The main young actor Craig Roberts is incredibly authentic in his 15-year-old’s frustrations.

Tremendous cinema.

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Somewhere by Sofia Coppola

It’s an eye-opener. How insanely bored a celebrity can get. How fantastic it is to have a fresh look at things from the perspective of an 11-year old girl (fabulous Elle Fanning).

Stephen Dorff in his role as Johnny Marco is blase, nonchalant and unable to see any depth in the life around him. Constantly driving around LA in his black Ferrari, having a beer, partying, watching personal twin-pole-dancers visiting him in his Chateau Marmont room no.59…

His young daughter seems to be putting him back in place, rooting him back in reality. Dorff is incredibly attractive and it comes as no surprise that so many women fall to his feet to be able to spend the night at his place. At some point, however, Johnny begins to realise that there are other things in life than a stunning twentysomething blonde in his bedroom…

Golden Lion in Venice in 2010 went to Sofia Coppola for this one. It’s a quiet film, might not be fully appreciated though by those unaware of the Californian film industry reality.

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The Way Back by Peter Weir

It is a tale, for it is quite far from the original true story, of a path to humanity. From a soviet gulag, through the unfriendly woods and rocks of Siberia, through the desert – to the South, to India.

The film is long (134 min), yet this lenght is difficult to justify with other reasons than the director wanting the viewers to suffer and identify with the heroes’ suffering in the tale.

The characters are hard to distinguish within the team of 6, they are not enough introduced at the exposition and the opening of the story. Colin Farrel, a criminal with the faces of Stalin and Lenin tattooed over his chest is the one remarkable character, whose face stands out. Ed Harris is the other persona with special traits. The remaining 4 characters look all the same.

Also, there seem to be some attempts at adding some pathos to certain scenes through obvious visual comparisons to Christ’s Crown of Thorns, to Virgin Mary, to Pietà.

I’m sorry Mr. Weir, as a viewer, I’m disappointed this time…

It is a pity that a) such an important subject matter is actually treated so lightly and b) that such an amazing artist (author of The Truman Show!!!) provided the audiences with another mainstream Hollywood production quite far from a masterpiece.

TimeOut London gave the film 3 stars. I wouldn’t give more.

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Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Off Plus Camera 2011

The King’s Speech by Tom Hooper

The winner of too many Oscars for 2010. Colin Firth should have received the Oscar for his role in Tom Ford’s A Single Man.

Helena Bonham-Carter as Queen Mother is truly convincing. Her role as the éminence grise taking care of her husband and fully supporting him in all he does is very far from other roles she was known for.

Geoffrey Rush, as the failed actor from the Antipodes who had found his vocation as speech impediment expert, impeccable.

A great gallery of fantastic supporting role performances, good costume cinema. No more.

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Inception by Christopher Nolan

A mind-blowing experience. This was truly the film of 2010 (as opposed to The King’s Speech which got the Oscar).

Leonardo DiCaprio fantastic as always, plus Ellen Page (previously known for her role in Juno) and, above all, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Other distinguished stars are Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine.

The plot is so disturbing and actually not obvious to pick up on, but once in the convention it is astonishing with its innovativeness and consequence.

A cult film and a true masterpiece.

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