Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cannes Midnight

Woody Allen's film is opening Cannes Film Festival.
Now it makes sense!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Line-Up

I can't deny my relentless excitement every year for the biggest Film Festival in the world. Besides being the biggest, as I said before, there's something about it so dreamful. Twelve days of everything related to the World of Cinema, from stars to marketing, from red carpet to jornalists, from glamour to acclamation, from history to regeneration of Cinema. To early morning press conferences to Midnight Screenings, it's all about one thing, Cinema recognition!

Surprise surprise - "The Tree of Life" is In Competition. Last year the surprise was for the negative, this year is positive.
Surprise of the surprise - Where's "Midnight in Paris"?? Where's Woddy Allen? Are they joking? It's not's Paris. It's France.
Unexpected - Jodie Foster will present her film, "The Beaver".
Not surprising - the ones that know the house very well...Almodóver, Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Paolo Sorrentino and more.
From Sundance, last year "Blue Valentine" got recognition, we'll see how "Martha Marcy May Marlene" is received.
It's always surprising to see the list and at the end it's always daring.

The Couple is back in Cannes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with films to represent once again! And that's cool!
But there's always lot of interesting people in here...always waiting for Catherine Deneuve presence...

“La Piel Que Habito” (The Skin that I Inhabit), directed by Pedro Almodovar
“L’Apollonide,” directed by Bertrand Bonello
“Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
“Footnote,” directed by Joseph Cedar
“Ichimei” (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), directed by Takashi Miike
“Le Havre,” directed by Aki Kaurismäki
“Hanezu No Tsuki,” directed by Naomi Kawase
“The Kid With The Bike,” directed by Dardenne Brothers
“Melancholia,” directed by Lars Von Trier
“Michael,” directed by Markus Schleinzer (first film)
“Once Upon A Time in Anatolia,” directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
“Parter,” directed by Alain Cavalier
“Polisse,” directed by Maiwenn
“Sleeping Beauty,” directed by Julia Leigh
“La source des femmes,” directed by Radu Mihaileanu
“This Must Be The Place,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino
“The Tree of Life,” directed by Terrence Malick
“We Have a Pope,” directed by Nanni Moretti
“We Need To Talk About Kevin,” directed by Lynne Ramsay

Out of Competition:
“The Artist,” directed by Michel Hazanavicius
“The Beaver,” directed by Jodie Foster
“La conquête,” directed by Xavier Durringer
“Kung Fu Panda 2,” directed by Jennifer Yuh
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” directed by Rob Marshall
(Midnight Screenings):
“Wu Xia,” directed by Chan Peter Ho-Sun
“Dias de Gracia,” directed by Everado Gout (first film)
(Special Screenings):
“Labrador,” directed by Frederikke Aspöck (first film)
“Le maître des forges de l’enfer,” directed by Rithy Panh
“Michel Petrucciani,” directed by Michael Radford
“Tous au Larzac,” directed by Christian Rouaud

Un Certain Regard:
“Bonsaï,” directed by Christian Jimenez
“The Day He Arrives,” directed by Hong Sang-Soo
“Et maintenant, on va où ?,” directed by Nadine Labaki
“Halt auf freier Strecke,” directed Andreas Dresen
“Hors Satan,” directed by Bruno Dumont
“The Hunter,” Bakur Bakuradze
“Martha Marcy May Marlene,” directed by Sean Durkin
“Les neiges du Kilimandjaro,” directed by Robert Guédiguian
“Restless,” directed by Gus Van Sant
“Skoonheid,” directed by Oliver Hermanus
“Tatsumi,” directed by Eric Khoo
“Arirang,” directed by Kim Ki-Duk
“Toomelah,” directed by Ivan Sen
“Oslo,” August 31st,” directed by Joachim Trier
“L’Exercice de L’Etat,” directed by Pierre Schoeller
“Trabalhar Cansa,” directed by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra (first film)
“Miss Bala,” directed by Gerardo Naranjo
“Loverboy,” directed by Catalin Mitulescu
“Yellow Sea,” directed by Na Hong-jin.

Now let us see Robert De Niro and the rest of the Juri have some fun! There'll be no time to sleep. I can't hardly wait.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Desert Hearts

 One of the most famous and acclaimed books of lesbianism written by Jane Rule, entitled Desert of the Heart, was adapted to screen in 1985 by Donna Deitch (Director) and Natalie Cooper (Writter).
We are in the late 50s and a woman arrives in Nevada to settle some matters about her life, she's Vivian Bell,
a professor getting a divorce. She's unsatisfied with her married life and seems to be empty, unhappy. Not only she's unsatisfied with her life but she also feels out of place at the ranch she stays in, despite the pleasant welcoming. She meets Cay Rivers, who we realise later has different orientations from the majority of the population, being an open and self assured lesbian, at least from the time was cleary open, and she's the ranchowner's step daughter. Vivian finds herseld increasingly drawn to her.
The emotions start to develop between this two different characters. Despite their mutul interests or moments in life, not only Vivian is ten years older than Cay but they have many forces against each other, and compromise seems impossible, Vivian is a college Professor and an aspiring novelist, she's tightly controlled and elegant. Cay is a free spirited sculptor, she's bold, doesn't care of what others think of her.
It's clear that a romance is established. As this romance develops we can see many typical responses, not  only from one another but from the people around them, in ranch.
In a relationship, speacially in this case, there is one side mush stronger than the other that doesn't accept what he's feeling, in this case Vivian is the one acting that way, "I don't know where that came from. It's back where it belongs, and I don't want to talk about it anymore." after she kisses Cay back; people's response to Cay in town are typical too, including her adopted mother Frances, like she's 'a bad influence' response. When Vivian and Cay arrive together after being alone for several hours Frances thinks Vivian as seduced Cay and in an unaccepting and yet jealous way she sends her away from her ranch.
Vivian stays in a hotel for the rest of her stay; we realise soon they miss each other. Cay seems to be the strongest one because she takes the step forwarad, visits Vivien in her hotel room and overcomes Vivien's resistence to be with her and they begin an affair.
Once again we see many typical reactions in this situation, on Vivien's side, saying things like "I wouldn't know what to do" or "I don't usually feel this way at 11 o'clock in the morning" or "I never felt this way before".
This film sex scenes are described as very historical, because it was a period of time when things like this where very challenging speacially for the risk they would have to take, not only artistically, but in terms of 'career' and feedback and one of the many forward steps that the movie industry had to take in.
Desert Hearts was also historical speacially because it must have been, at that time, the most honest and truthfull lesbian affair that doesn't ended tragically.
It's a romantic and sensitive film. To mention the typical responses and reactions in the story I wanted to say they are also important for the film because it was what people wanted to see and hear (speacially women who shared this same feelings).
Through a reasonable knowledge of Lesbian Themed films many of them can't really seem to work, they are either misinterpreted, unsatisfying or lacking deep substance in the story. As we enter Twenty First Century they got even worse. "The Kids are All Right" seems to be an expection that hopefully can inspire to some reasonable future work, so, I believe "Desert Hearts" to be one of the most accomplished films (apart from the perfect expection of "The Kids Are All Right", that is).
The story is beautiful and pleasant, a drama wrapped in the beautiful land from Nevada, there's obvisouly some flaws, some lack of action, some stiff dialogues, we don't really have to take in sentences like "He reached in and put a string of lights around my heart." (I rather prefer things like "(Vivian): Can I be honest with you, Frances? (Frances): It's a dyin' art, so be my guest."!) or the horrific windows transitions, but it's a film that grows in you gradually.
Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver are convincing enough, they are very attractive and elegant.
At the end they struggle to find a solution to their situation and with an unclear ending we can only hope the better for the couple.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" is a fresh new trailer, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and written by Dan Fogelman.
When you read the storyline, or better, when you watch this trailer you realise fast, how many times has this story been told already? Even the songs are...known. But that's always happening, it's just how it works. So, the question must be, how will this story be told and what  new things will bring to us.
What changes are the actors who play this characters and in this case has to be described as diverse.
Ryan Gosling vs. Steve Carell (as in Hot Stuff / Actor of the Drama / Not his type of characters, at least I don't remember watching him in a role like this one vs. Not great physic appealing / Comedian genious / known role for him) it makes total sense. Then there's Julliane Moore (who everybody loves). Emma Stone is already loves by everyone and for her comedian vibes, though she'll probably get some hate from people (as in girls, mostly) because she does two things: denies Ryan Gosling and makes out with Ryan Gosling... Then there's Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and John Carroll Lynch.
It's a very entertaining trailer and i'm hoping for a very entertaining film!

Ps - Is it me or I just had some kind of Deva Vu when I saw Kevin Bacon's character being exactly the same  in 'Super', the alternative guy that comes along when a wife just lefted her husband?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

It’s hard for me to review ‘The Adjustment Bureau’. It gets to this point when it becomes extremely difficult to focus and concentrate on a film when, besides your (my) general cinema and Hollywood knowledge, I already read the script. To add this matter, there’s also the actors knowledge. I saw this film knowing the story, knowing the characters (also the actress’ mannerisms, her accent, her laugh, basically her body language) and knowing that the story has some flaws and it’s hard to work and no matter the ending, it’s a story that will always carry a doubtful and unsatisfying end. The only thing I didn’t knew about the film was actually how it would end. This resulted in a very rational experience!

A young New Yorker politician, David Norris falls in love with a woman, Elise. But their destiny has different and separated paths, when an agency secretly unknown and unrealistic starts to follow him, questioning his life’s plans and trying to separate him from Elise.
It’s a story that tells us that love surpasses pretty much everything. No matter how good or bad, things that has to happen to you will happen, so in a way there’s no good when you try to run from destiny. The film focus essentially on this premise, and establishing the story in a sci-fi/futuristic world helps to mark the fact that despite the whole science evolution, our feelings and specially the importance of share them with others it’s what gives the ultimate meaning and significance to our life. (Is that true? You might ask.)
Always trying effortlessly to watch the film naturally I felt from the first part of the film that the audience doesn’t really know what’s going on and doesn’t have any clue who Elisa might be. She’s still a mystery to them and they could easily think of her as the villain or some spell or fantasy! Then everything comes to audience’s knowledge when David Norris sees Elise on the bus making everything fall out of plan.
This is a very daring story to us, audience, because it becomes a very skeptical one. There are lots of questioning situations, especially for those who ask a lot and like to be seeing everything reasonably used. For example why ‘the rain’ excuse for the agency’s men lose their power, the ‘hats’ (you can find a reason to these characters’ use of a hat, although it can still not work in the film), the fact that a man can live with the burden of knowing that people adjust civilian’s lives (this personally was very confusing for me), ‘the boss’ that commands all others and is watching all of us, taking the character’s career of unprecedented success and turn into a failure if they choose to be together (although we also might understand that, maybe, it’s just an easy excuse of leading Norris to separate from Elise), so you probably  understand this questions.
When it comes to the final act the skepticism takes its leading point, when Elise is confronted by this unrealistic and mysterious world she just jumped in, realizing that someone holds her destiny. We all end up with an uncomfortable feeling; at least I had, because it’s hard to accept that there are people ‘watching them’. (Spoiler – when they kiss and start walking on the streets just made me laugh like a stupid person because no one was laughing in the theater). I think the bottom of the story isn’t really about what comes next and isn’t really about the ending, but about telling us that we have to struggle, always, for something we believe and love no matter how our fate might look.

The film is entertaining and there’s laughable moments, delivered by funny dialogues and good action involved. Matt Damon is probably one of the most pleasant Hollywood actors with the boldness for doing versatile work. Emily Blunt, well maybe I shouldn’t talk about her since I already talk about her too much! Ok I just would give a note on the slight accent and her laugh…there’s also the Ballet Dance sequences (one of the things I was most curious about) which she took months of training, which she didn’t had a clue how to do it. There is this impact on the Ballet dance not only because they were very beautiful but because I didn’t get quite over the ‘Swan Lake’ ballet scenes, if you know what I mean…
Bottom line, if you want to see a fictional story when what really is interesting is the journey and not the end or if you like action involved with romance…or if your favorite actors are Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Terrence Trap or other cast member this is a good film you might enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Suck it or not suck it

Suck it or not suck it, it’s your choice

Two different worlds are to say the least!
Ok, let’s start by what I said before. As I can easily recall, I said I didn’t care if the movie didn’t had a story; I didn’t care if it looked like a video game either. So, there I have it.
I battled myself, I did really considered on being worth the money spent but I think I made the right choice. So I went to the theaters with my mind extremely ready for it, thinking, to just enjoy it…
When you see something like Sucker Punch you need to be open minded enough to forget about pretty much everything and make this specific effort to just try to enjoy it. (I don’t know if this sentence makes any sense, because you enjoy something according to those specific different aspects, as also the rest of the review, which might sound senseless…just to make everything as a whole!).
Because Sucker Punch is not about the story, there is no such thing as a story; it is just completely worthless, literally. The opening sequence attempts to illustrate an abusive father, which wasn’t great because there are too obvious gestures by the actors, its lame but the sound it’s an awesome effort (funny or not, it sounds good). Baby Doll is introduced to us, a girl who has lost her mother, been molested by her father, shot her sister, and is now in an insane asylum. Once inside, she escapes to a brothel. Nop, it’s not ironic, it’s senseless! That’s why I didn’t understand so easily, I thought, is this already her imagination? Did she really imagine herself in a brothel? But then I got it. Then the fighting begins. Zack Snyder takes the most ridiculous excuse to make these characters get into the fighting sequences. But wait, are we introduced to the characters personalities? Hum, not really. Wait, let me stop again. Why am I even doing this if the film doesn’t really have a story? Shit!
What you can also find along the way (somehow) is that sister Rocket and Sweet Pea are supposed to be the heart of the story and that the protagonist isn’t really Baby Doll but Sweet Pea, the one destine to go free. But how can they have a reason to share their emotions and cry and scream (Abbie you done it, again) for their loving ones if there is only superficiality? Again, I wasn’t supposed to be asking this!

I think the girls made such a huge effort to play these ambiguous roles; they were really credible; they really got into the fighting side of the film. There’s this variety of girls, there’s this establishing dramatic actresses like Jena Malone (Rocket) and Abbie Cornish (Sweet Pea) and there’s a completely different side…like Vanessa Hudgens (Blondie) or Emily Browning (Baby Doll) known for her role in Lemony Snicket’s: A serious of unfortunate Events and finally an Asiatic looking girl, the less known, Jamie Chung (Amber).

Ok, what I wasn’t really ready for - watching my girl (as in Abbie Cornish/ Sweet Pea) being so damn tough and kicking ass slash shooting gun machines like she did. There's this side I don’t understand… what I think (or want to) is that she didn’t read the script, she just wanted to do it for the different acting experience, not only physically but also in terms of this type of cinema and to raise more Hollywood presence, cause Zack Snider makes this characters really dump, so I’m a bit skeptical! Anyways, used to see her as Candy or Heidi or Fanny I couldn’t hold my surprise.
I couldn’t take my eyes of her, I’m so hopeless I know. This is probably the main reason why I enjoyed it, because she got me distracted from the nonsense! There you have it!

Does the film Sucker Punch goes against my type of films? Wow, I won’t even go there, cause like I said before, to say two (too) different worlds is the least. Its antagonism is Patricia Clarkson’s films to Will Smith’s antagonism! But bottom of the question, did I enjoyed it? Well, I did.
I know it’s hard to not rationalize and everything, but really, you can’t go see this film expecting to do that, you just can’t do it, you can’t ask why did Zack Snider made this little porn fetish rape fantasy or why in a film like this there aren’t even allowed to say one fuck or one mother fucker; seriously did they really had to cut the Fucker to ‘Blondie’?  “Take that YOU MOTHER…” (BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM) so if you can’t make this effort then you can’t really see Sucker Punch.
Some people will say Zack Snyder’s Sweet dreams are made of…shit. Some feminists will go crazy (literally) and say things like Girl power isn’t just a girl with a gun. Girl power is giving women the power to control their own destinies, to decide their own fates, to take their own places in the world.  Some will say a fourteen year old could easily write the dialogues because it’s what they hear in any other action film, some people, like I personally heard, will love it! That’s cinema, deal with it.

P.S - Promising Heroines - epic fail. I hear good vibes about 'Hanna', let's hope for a decent heroine...