2017/04/25

Nuestros Amantes (April, 24)

It was 9 pm, time for the day's movie. After comfortably settling myself on the sofa, with my legs on resting on the wheels' chair, a bag of pepper chips on my lap, I realized the jumble I've made. First, I had a hot chili snack and no soda. Second, the external HD with all my movies was on the table in the kitchen. Ok, it is a small flat, but for nothing in the world, no even soda, I would get up at that exact moment. I didn't envision myself looking for a film in the lousy cable TV, so my solely alternative was Netflix.

I put on the first movie on the streaming service, Our Lovers (Nuestros Amantes). The summary was promising: a couple meet at a coffee shop-library... There was no need to know more. Coffee shops in bookstores are one of my favorite places in the world (and so are cinemas and rock gigs and my home). Two people start a friendship and fall in love without knowing anything about each other. Well, or something like that. 

The plot here is great, actually. The execution was the problem. With a screenplay too rational, it was difficult to fall in love with this love story. Probably counting with the support of the City of Aragón, Spain, there's too many touristy scenes - the place is stunning, for sure, but if someone as airy as I am was aware of the excessive scenery-scenes, you can be assured that was really too much. By the way, excessive is a good word to describe this movie, specially regarding all the talk about love in what intends to be insightful, but remains just in the surface of intellectual exaggeration.

Everything here also intends to be so cute, but it is a shallow sort of cuteness. The characters are messy, and it is wonderful, however they're so rational, intellectual, even when talking about their most painful feelings. It is the screen writers fault (sorry, folks), I think. Too much theory, not life enough. A script must breath life to make sense. Otherwise, it happens what I saw on the screen on this day: a great potential wasted by so many good intentions and points of view to be stated (and proved).

It is not all bad. The plot twist was surprising actually. The main couple is nice, we root for them. They're honest in their feelings, even if it is delivered in an overly rational wording. The coffee in the bookstore is beautiful, and the cognac scene is fun. The rest was a bit over the top, as I've said. A 91 min flick that took the length of an epic war movie. Or maybe I was too sleepy for my own good. OK, no, there's no such a thing. Other movies had already took me out of my numbness by being truly cute and endearing. The fault here is not in my star, I must say :)



Nuestros Amantes. Directed and written by Miguel Àngel
Lamata. Cast: Eduardo Noriega (who looks so much as
a friend of mine), Michelle Jennes (who looks so much
as a friend of mine also called Michelle - seriously, a movie
full of familiar faces), Fele Martínez. Spain, Dolby Digital,
Color, 88 min. (Netflix).


PS: My masterpiece of a friend, Pan, came to see me after work, as she has been doing since I fell from the stairs, to see if I was all right. She had to study Spanish for her class, and at the end we said goodbye in a goofy Spanish accent. I had no idea I would see a movie from Spain, and the result was that I wouldn't stop laughing at some words. That also shows how much the movie wasn't able to catch me for real. 

2017/04/24

The Station Agent (April, 23)

The Station Agent arouses that kind of giddy love that only such lovely movies can achieve.  It was love at first sight, with pink hearts floating around me. I was so happy, so enchanted... what a marvelous trip.

Oh, look at all the lonely people. How amazing we are. 

The characters here are such a gem, alluring, weird, lost, captivating. The smile on my face kept on going strongly the whole time, so amazed by how effortless Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale (Joe is a wonder by himself) and the little Raven Goodwin make it looks. They're exquisite in their weirdness and solitude, you'll want to be part of their troupe. Michelle Williams makes a small cameo here, as another lost soul finding her kindred spirits. I was raising my hand, expectantly trying to ask if I could be walk with them.

Peter Dinklage I noticed for the first time in Death at a Funeral, the most hysterically funny movie I've ever seen in the theater (and I've seen many, as Welcome back, Mr McDonalds). I don't care much for GoT (sorry), but as a whole I find him very attractive, really interesting. In here, he is really alluring, a lonely soul with whom I usually connect easily. His expressions say so much, it is a treat. 

Again, I was astounded by how somethings have evolved. The reactions of a small (and big) town to a dwarf was so dreadful, I couldn't believe. It is not by chance Fin prefers to be absolutely alone. Until he finds amazingly crazy people with big scars that insist in running over him with their car or giving him free cafe con leche (not lattes, be aware). 

My soul is still smiling, full of floating little hearts. 


The Station Agent. Directed and written by TomMacCarthy. Cast: Peter Dinklage,
Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale. USA, 2003, Dolby Digital, Color, 93 min.

PS: I can hardly wait to see this movie again, it is so lovely. Actually, I've been observing that a movie directed and written by the same person has from the start great potentials. 

2017/04/23

Take Shelter (April, 22)

Take Shelter is an astonishing movie, of those that could only be a product of a small production. Indies movies have a way of getting closer to some aspects of life in a very special way. From the mind of Jeff Nichols, the same from the surprising Midnight Special, Take Shelter presents an important view of daily life through the extraordinary.

I was trying to figure out a way to write about it without giving out too much, because doubt is an essential feature here. We navigate through many theories, notions, without knowing exactly our location. 

Some days ago, a close friend told me how a guy, in her neighborhood, looked at her carrying her old dog (the most beautiful creature in the whole world, the lovely Leka) and said: "What a waste, someone treating an animal as a kid". She is a very no-nonsense person, and immediately inquired if he was talking about her. Because, she said, my dog is old, sick, and is not able to walk in some places, as this one. The thing is, even if she'd treated her pet as a kid, it was her problem.He was being so overbearing in his judgment, it is something we see frequently. What it had to do with him anyway? 

The impressive Michal Shannon
Why are you not married? (I've heard that a lot on the after falling down the stairs, because I'd have asked my husband help for changing a bulb). Why do you like to sleep so early? (Not for me, for sure). Why this, why that... So many questions about stuff that matters to one actually. And they fall from people's mouth like a stream coming from nowhere. Judgment comes also from the lack of a careful look to the other. We usually seek conclusion before observation. I've read once a Jungian rendering of Eros and Psyche myth in which the author said that Psyche put a light on the face of Aphrodite's son in order to know who he really was. At the same time she had a knife on her back, however she used the light first. Acording to the writer, she used knowledge before force. It is so beautiful, a lesson we should carry close to the heart every second of our lives. We have our opinion, of course, but judgment is a very different thing, a perverse way of treating others (and, sometimes, even ourselves). 

Take Shelter addresses this kind of careless way of living in a small community. However, being a non simplistic filmmaker, Nichols give us the wonderful other side, which is the extreme care and attentive love in a relationship that could be full of cliches. It is stunning, so amazing. Such a strong character, I was never expecting it. To show how much I know...

The ending is big, I'll just tell you that. What is this movie? A slap on the face of easy conclusion. I loved it, and for sure I'll reach other Nichol's features and his much needed careful look to our surroundings while dealing to what seems from another world. 

Take Shelter. Directed and written by Jeff Nichols. Cast: Michael Shannon,
Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart. USA, 2011,Dolby Digital/SDDS, Color, 121 min.



2017/04/22

Alien - Director's Cut (April, 21)

It was a sure outcome watching Alien on this day. I'd saw it so long time ago, I couldn't resist to reach it again. It is the kind of movie that is already a part of the collective unconscious. It is an icon, even more than just a pop culture reference. Even if you've never seen any of the instalments in this big franchising, you'd know what one's talking about when referring to Alien's movies. 

The franchising is bigger than I thought. Ridley Scott confirmed that it extends not only to the films with one of the Alien characters (as Alien X Predator - that I liked, to be true -, but also to Blade Runner - a big surprise for me). As a whole, there are 15 chapters, including the upcoming movies, which were responsible in part for my choice on this day. 

Not for nothing Alien is such an icon. Watching it today, I'd realize how many and many productions drank from the Alien movies. And it is so dark, dirty... An ugly  and terrible future (here the connection to Blade Runner makes more sense) A space ship where people drink beer, smoke (the full ashtray at the opening scene call the attention of today's viewers), wears flashy Hawaiian shirts.. It seems so casual, but it is the stronger statement of a futuristic reality in which all the advanced technology that is so clean to us is actually a part of the daily life. Nostromo is a cargo ship, its crew is composed by one scientist (a surprise here), of course, but mainly by workers - space truckers. They're raucous, mercenary, loud... Their main interest is the financial gain. What they don't know is that they're collateral damage on bigger interests. 

This way, the movie is still modern, despite all the idiosyncrasy with our own times (particularly about the technologies on the '70s). I started to see it on the afternoon, but had to stop, continuing when it was already dark. I was a little bummed by seeing it at night, because I thought it was too scary (I was with Life still in my nerves). It is not, though. My main thought during the whole movie was how good it is - idiosyncrasies allow a kind of distance that it is inevitable even if the movie is still catching.

I'm curious now to watch the others on the immediate Alien franchising. If you observe carefully, some of big filmmakers had a significant worldwide break with Alien's movies: Ridley Scott himself, James Cameron, David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I'm also looking forward to see the next movie on the franshising, Alien;Convenant, even after Prometheus

There's no way to talk about Alien and without mentioning Sigourney Weaver. She was so young (as John Hurt, who went to the upstairs level on January, 25), and already an strong iconic (female) character. Sigourney and Ripley deserve their fame, representing the only smart person on that whole imbecile crew (I was talking about this in the Life post). She was and is amazing still, so relevant as Alien itself.


Alien (The Director's Cut).. Directed by Ridley Scott. Cast: Sigourney Weaver,
Jonh Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton. Writers: Dan O'Bannon (Story by Dan O'Bannon,
Ronald  Shusset). UK/USA, 1979, 70 mm 6-Track/Dolby, Color, 116 min. 


PS: I wasn't sure when choosing between the theatrical or the Director's cut of Alien. I went for the last one, and despite some concerns regarding this choice, I'll follow this fashion on the other instalments also.

2017/04/21

Life (April, 20)

In order to understand my state of mind regarding Life, you have to bring out all the swearing you are acquainted to. For real.

&*(%#¨&$#@*

I'm grateful for my lack of ambition in being a movie critic, because I would have blown up all my qualifications just with this post.

However, the goal here is to expose my feelings about the experience with movies in the form of comments, for whom it may concern (I cannot imagine there would be someone beyond my closest friends, but the staggering numbers are maybe proving me wrong - or it is the blogger statistics fault).

Well, the graphic reaction above was my thoughts at the last scene. While the final credits were rolling down, I looked at my niece Mari, who too kindly took me  to the movies once again, and let out a loud: WTF. I doubt there's so many other ways of reacting to this movie.

Mari was all    \,,/(*_*)\,,/

Is it any good? I think so. Too damn good, actually. Despite all the bad comments about it, the movie is spectacularly well executed, being worthy of its references - both the most obvious one and the small others. I'm crazy about Gravity, and was so pleased to see it represented here in many aspects. There's a scene in which I almost told Jake Gyllenhaal: oh, how George Clooney-y of you :)

The biggest reference is clearly omnipresent. We know what is about to happen in that space ship just because of it. We've seen it before, but in a different manner. And it is the way of doing something we already know with competency and brilliant skill the greatest achievement of this Sci-Fi Horror Thriller (to refer to all the genres appointed by imdb.com :). The kind of tension we were submitted to during the whole duration of this film is something just a few productions can achieve. The camera movements create such an atmosphere, when we see, we're catch by what is happening in desbelief - the same we can identify on the characters' face. It is Sci-fi, an alien movie, and everything is so real, so close... I almost had a heart attack, for real.

Direction is brilliant, the characters are solid - they're people. Everybody's human, but no one is stupid, as we see in many movies of this kind. They are a great team doing the best they can, until it is not enough anymore. Performances are equally solid, collaborating to a amazing and never wrecking entertainment.

Mari and I, we're have the same genes of reverie... It is not unusual for us to not pay attention to ordinary details that are staring us just on the face. Let's say, for example, the movie's poster. When we left the theater in astounding amazement, I inquired to her how we did miss that. It was for the best, because we had no idea what that movie was about, and the crescent unexpected horrifying events were a very effective way of being scary. I couldn't ask for a better time on this day.

8.    

Life. Directed by Daniel Espinosa. Cast> Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Fergnson,
Ryan Reynolds. Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick. USA , 2017, Dolby
Surround 7.1/Auro11.1/Dolby Digital/Dolby Atmos/DTS (all the best Sci-fi rely
on a great sound design), Color,, 104 min. (Cinema).

PS: There's a rumour that Life is a prequel for a 2018 movie named Venom.  It makes sense and it is even expected, after that wtf ending.

2017/04/20

The One I Love (April, 19)

What a fun, suspenseful, interesting movie.

Without knowing, I reached the second Charlie McDowell film in a roll with The One I Love. It is his debut in features, another unusual sci-fi partnership with writer Justin Lader. It was also another shot in the dark for me on Netflix, on a day that I wasn't in the mood anything.

This film was a good fit for me since the beginning. It is ironic, the characters are complex without the need of giving out much - the marvels of a good actor directing and acting, of course. Mark Duplass (also the producer with his brother) and Elizabeth Moss are convincing as a couple, and I had controversial feeling towards them. They feel close to us, despite the distance we're looking at them. We know bizarre is coming, but even so what they go through their relationship is the ordinary issues of a couple that is trying to get back their old lovely days of falling in love after a shaking crisis. The thing about the swimming pool is heartbreaking.

How I just love this house...
The mix between ordinary and bizarre is the biggest quality of this movie for me. How close the strangers features of life are. The choice of just a few characters, small environments was another good alternative here. The crescent sense of something very wrong going on adds to the suspense, while we still are having fun with Duplass' struggles. Poor guy, he was right all the time (and the title is a hint of the matter here).

Today, writing about it, I have a smile on my face, always a favorable point. I'm so happy when this kind of movie fall on my lap unexpectedly. The joys of the magic shuffle :)

The One I love. Directed by Charlie McDowell. Cast: Mark Duplass, Elizabeth
Moss, Ted Danson. Writer: Justin Lader. USA, 2014, Dolby Digital, Color, 91 min. (Netllix).



PS: I had a familiar feeling during this movie, and I think it was because Duplass Brothers also produce Your Sister's Sister, a movie that I simply loved on a similar moody day. I becoming a fan, Duplasses.

PPS: Just for the record: it's been exactly 2 months since my epic fall from the stairs...

2017/04/19

The Discovery (April, 18)

I chose The Discovery by chance on Netflix. It looked like a small nice Sci-fi, with an interesting cast and story. It was that and a little bit more.

I've read many angry comments from people that are mad with the movie for different reasons. Some say it doesn't live up to its promising beginning, others question the religious aspects presented in the plot. Despite the rage being predictable, I was bummed by all the bad ratings. I wasn't expecting much  from this movie, and it ended up as a pleasant (even if melancholic) surprise. The film touches some big and small issues in one's life by a suspenseful, delicate, intriguing way. 

I don't agree about Jason Segel bad acting here. He is not an actor that calls my attention, but his subdued manner here is fit to his character. Rooney Mara I love, and she is good here, captivating. Robert Redford is a good addition - its great seeing him always, even if in small or not so interesting roles. The cast here was a part of the dreamy (kind of nightmarish) atmosphere of a world devastated by a scientific discovery that should look as a comfort at first, but was more like a plague. 

The closeness to important matters in life is incredible in this Sci-fi flick. Each line brings something that transcends the fantasy of the plot, as commonly in a good work of fiction. I liked particularly when Will reflects that there's not a reset point in life (or death), for we will always be turning around the same struggles. No matters the place, we'll still be dealing with our problems. It is an important thought taking under consideration the role of suicide in this movie. 

I thought at some moment how the whole  love story bit  was unnecessary. However, as the final credits started to roll on the screen, I realized how fundamental it is. The thing is that it is played very soberly, without much fuss, and it is like it would be not a great thing. It is, as happens in our lives. Sometimes we're not aware of its role in our every move, but it the base of our actions - along with pain, resentment (which makes a big cameo in here), rage... I know. But at the end, it is love that prevails, undoubtedly. 

The Discovery. Directed by Charlie McDowell. Cast: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert
Redford. Writers: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell. USA, 2017, Color, 102 min. (Netflix).



PS: About love, resentment and all the things we should take under consideration with so much care in our lives, in order to let some ot them go, I always think about Perfect Sense, a film that I simply adore. It summarizes the world today for me.