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All reviews - Movies (38) - TV Shows (5) - DVDs (2) - Games (1)

Charley Varrick review

Posted : 3 years, 6 months ago on 30 November 2014 09:55 (A review of Charley Varrick)

In this movie all women are stupid, easy, limited, shallow and sexy. Most men are stupid, vicious, violent croocks. The only half decent character is Varrick and only varely. The antagonist is evil enough, but uninteresting.

Kind of a shame, because there are some golden and intelligent moments there.

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The Contender review

Posted : 3 years, 8 months ago on 10 October 2014 06:59 (A review of The Contender)

half way through the movie stars jerking off faster and faster until it unloads over you without any shame.

Pity because the first half was ok and there´s some decent acting and casting.

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Catch 22 review

Posted : 4 years, 6 months ago on 26 November 2013 06:51 (A review of Catch 22)

the noise! the noooooise!!! te-ke-lili!!!!!
I just couldn´t watch this movie (i was a bit curious after reading the book). It´s too damn noisy!

Do yourself a favor and read the book, and do it before trying this film. Then, well, try to watch this and get what you can from it.

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What´s worse than a Bad Movie? A Long Bad Movie.

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 22 July 2012 06:54 (A review of The Dark Knight Rises)

Title: The Dark Knight Rises
Year: 2012
Genre: Action Drama

[[[ This Review Contains Spoilers ]]]

I had to think a lot before publishing this article about the last of the Nolan's Batman Movies. I know this is a blog too new to expose himself to the hate of a horde of blinded fans, but this [Link removed - login to see] where I don't really mind being hated so... I'll say it, but I'll say it as quick as I can:

The Dark Knight Rises is a bad movie. It just is. It's not only worse than the previous 'The Dark Knight' it's just plain bad. Let's hit some quick reasons for me to say this and let's try to forget about it ¿ok?

Characters:The new characters are underdeveloped and only slaves of the argument. The new Catwoman has the depth of the average pothole in a highway only existing to have a 'girl' for the main character and a pretty face to put on screen. Bane and his organization exist for no reason but to push the movie forward, he is just a pile of flesh with a weird voice (that wasan interesting and bold move) expecting defeat. The fair-minded police officer (future Robin? ) has a laughable origin, no charisma whatsoever and no reason to exist but to try to sell us a future franchise and attract the actor´s horde of fans. The old characters are as limited as they were in the previous movies, but now their limited resources are so burned up that they are just excuses to fill up screen.

Cast: Anne Hathaway is one of the worst casting decisions of the whole project, but what could she do with the character she is given? Nothing I fear. She couldn't have done anything good here even if she had an opportunity. Tom Hardy barely acts here. He just stands on screen looking stupid and waits to read his lines to a microphone in post-production. You can't see his face, he doesn't move too much except to give some pressing catch moves and his voice is destroyed beyond recognition so I'm not sure he really is part of the movie. Christian Bale works as he did in the previous movies, but perhaps a bit more exhausted. He never did anything worthy, but defended his character with poise... not anymore. The only good actors here (Caine, Oldman, Freeman, in that order) are used only as screen fillers so they can't add anything positive (except Caine who can upgrade the movie with only some scenes). A sad, sad, cast.

Script / Argument: This is the worst of everything by far. The Nolan brothers chose a wrong/difficult theme and plot and then they drowneverything that could have worked in it. The movie has three parts. The first is supposed to present us the characters, their relations and intrigue us with a mystery, but it fails in everything. Things just happen with only the faintest link between scenes and history elements, the characters lose every opportunity to shine or establish a connection with the spectators. It's a big roller-coaster that only goes down, down, and down. The second part could have been the strong part of the movie, but it's composed of only some lame brushes and drag the movie one hour too long. What happens in Gotham is so bad explained, so misguided, that has no interest whatsoever and all the hell-pit/prison part is so stupid, so unnecessary and so repetitive that add nothing but minutes. This was also the part where all non-batman characters could have shined a little, become heroes or do important things, but they miss the point entirely. The third part is only a long, laughable, final battle that never wants to end. You know what it's gonna happen since the end of the first part of the movie and just rot in your seat waiting for it to happen.

I said this would be fast and I swear I tried, but it's gone long enough so I'll skip all references to cinematography (not bad), wardrobe (not good) or special effects (lame some times, just fine the rest). I have only some elements to point before wrapping up this review:

- There are plot holes so big you could stick Bane in them... perhaps they aren't really plot holes, they are plot absences.
- The flying bat-thingy is ugly, stupid and adds nothing. Batman uses too much expensive technology in this movie when it's in his intellect, his fists and his little and simple gadgets where he should have shined.
- The autopilot plot-trick is advanced so many times throughout the movie that you get bored waiting for it to be used.
- The way they try to praise the NYPD through the GPD it's so forced and in the end it gets so silly you can't help but laugh.
- The films also tries to bring some anti-yuppie feeling to the movie. They do it wrong. The film even presents a not so hidden anti-antistablishment & anti-occupy-movement feeling. It's so stupid that can't do any harm, though.
- Hans Zimmer works his ass off trying to transform every stupid scene into something important and relevant. It's one of the only elements in this whole project/film that pushes the movie forward. It's far from enough, of course. Too much sound energy for a flatline corpse.
- Ah! I almost forgot (that's how interesting and memorable she is) about the Tate/Talia character and actress. She is in the movie as a propt, she is only needed to exist plot-wise and is used as such.

There are so many wrong things in this film that the saddest part is that the fame as a great movie-maker and storyteller of Nolan keeps growing only because of what he hints, not what he delivers. I guess popcorn movies are doomed for another half a decade before some enjoyable flicks can be shot.

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Raw Despair

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 22 July 2012 06:51 (A review of The Road (2009))

Title: The Road
Year: 2009
Genre: Post-apocalyptic Drama

[[[ This Review Contains Spoilers ]]]

This film redefines the post apocalyptic theme and genre. I will always compare any other dark future movie with this one. I hope I will find movies as good or better, but I doubt I'll find any harder than this. Just think about it: how many movies have you watched were a father explains his kid how to kill himself when he feels his time has come and does it right in the beginning? How many movies depict cannibalism as a probable ending for the main characters (and you dont know if they will be cannibalized of cannibalists themselves) if they don't die of hunger first? How many movies have shown you such situations were you find yourself reasoning the logic in human herding while feeling repulsed by it? You will understand and hate every horrible thing that is gonna happen in the screen.

O.K. Let's go for the meat and potatoes (pun intended). What makes this such a special movie? The main reasons come from the book it's adapted from. I haven't read it (I wish I had done now) but the main elements in the setting, theme, situations and characters come directly from it.

The setting is rotten and cruel. The world as we know it has been broken down by a mysterious event that has destroyed life and civilization. The first has been almost wiped out, only some dying trees, some insects and a handful of human beings still exist. This has happened at least thirteen years ago and there's no way to turn it back. The world is going to die, humanity is going to perish and civilization was buried and forgotten a decade (or so) ago. There's no hope whatsoever and that's a big difference from other post-apocalypse movies. Civilization isn't re-borning in some mysterious place, there's no legend of a better place to live, there's no cure for the world or hint of an escape from it. The main characters are as trapped in this nightmarish and they only try to 'go south' looking for a slightly better climate, nothing more. Soon you know that probably they are just travelling south because it's better than staying put.

This is not a movie about hope, because there's none except, perhaps, in the last, bland, minutes of it. The theme isn't death either although it lingers above everything and everybody all the time, it's not about family because the Man and the Boy (as their characters are called) have a relationship that goes way further than a 'simple' father-son one and you can be sure it's not about faith. Loss isn not it either, they, everybody, has lost everything they ever had or wished for, but that's just the way things are, it's part of the setting. OK I'll stop this nonsense: this is a movie about despair and love. One and the other are joined in such a blend that you can't separate them.

To say that this is a road movie may sound stupid, let's say its a travel movie. The characters go through situations and people trying to keep themselves alive and a hint of a soul ('fire' they call it) in themselves. It gets to a point when too many things and people have passed through the screen, all horrible, all intense, but in the end they go away so fast that they become fading memories too soon. Probably you won't remember everything that happened to the man and the boy the day after watching it, but you will remember two or three elements forever. This is a problem in a lot of movies based of books: too much different events for two hours of movie.

Let's talk about the cast. Mortensen has the best character and performs very nicely, even great. The thing is that half of that greatness comes from characterization and the other half from acting. His looks are so intense that even if from time to time his acting ain't so interesting the result is always more than OK. We can thank the guys in the wardrobe and makeup departments, but also Mortensen himself who had to starve himself a little to look more like his close-to-death-from-real-starvation character. His character is full of despair and death-wish, but at the same time it's a stubborn machine of survivalism. It's the kind of character who watches the hell rising from his home window and the first thought he has is filling the bathtub with water. This are two very difficult and different elements to show in a character (will to live and despair) and Mortensen can be proud of getting it done. The Man feels like a guy who can´t surrender, but feels his end nearer and nearer every day and is hoping for it. Two big claps for that.

Kodi, the boy, does as good as you could ask him, i guess. It's really difficult for me to evaluate the work of kids in movies and I tend to translate their work into directing work. In my opinion, he does a nice job but his character feels too light, too soft. I guess this comes from the book, but he is too fair-minded for me to really believe the character. They chose him because he looked "seemed youthful, innocent and yet wise beyond his years" well... too much of the first two and not so much from the last one in my opinion, but he gives us some very powerful moments along the movie and he deserves all the credit due for that.

The rest of the cast comes from very different backgrounds. We have people from tv (K. Williams from The Wire does a good job), type-casted (Dillahunt as a dirty & dangerous redneck), lost (Duvall's character feels to out of place, but perhaps that's a problem from the script sloppy last third) or just in the wrong place and moment, but all of them do a great nice work getting the best out of their characters and scenes.

The best of the movie comes from the dead scenery, the high tension moments and the strength of the characters' relations. The filming is so gray that you will feel sick when you watch some colors. This one of the most special, sincere, and full of love father-son relationship I have seen in a movie in a long time and it all happens in the gruesomest of horrors. Mortensen gives his character the best moments when he is loving his kid. It's really unusual for the father to be shown as the kissing and nursing one in the family.

The worst of the movie is the melodrama. They wanted to cut all the dark stuff with some simpler elements so they introducedsome pretty flashbacks and out of place voice-overs. The Woman, Mortensen's character's wife and the mother of the kid, has the worst character in the whole movie. His history ain't that bad, but the way it's explained feels cheap. Her limited acting skills doesn't help, either. The saddest part is that her character didn't have so much importance in the book, they forced it in the movie so there's a woman in the cast, that's it. That character drags down the best part of the movie, the first half. Here comes the other wrong that has to be mentioned. The movie comes from better to worse. When the climax comes it feels like a forced act and the resolution, the ending, is so soft that it's better to forget. The only funny thing about it is that it shows something important: this is the kind of movie where you know it's a happy ending for sure because there's a dog and kids (and nobody has eaten them yet).

This movie isn't as perfect as it could have been, probably because of its literary origins and some directing/scripting decisions, but it's a movie that will redefine your notion of despair in a movie. That's a lot and a promise: it will.

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Prepare for Goosebumps!

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 9 July 2012 07:26 (A review of Take Shelter)

You can consider everything here a spoiler. Most isn´t but if you read this before you watch it you´ll may regret it. You are advised.

Now the review:

Storytelling is an art that shouldn't be forgotten, it's more than just scripting some dialogue and action shots. A movie like this is full of tricks but they all feel great and work better and that's really difficult. The secret is in the really slow tension building and the magnificent acting.

You can watch this movie as a believer, a disbeliever or a kid. The first will be watching a fantasy prophecy complex movie, the second will be watching a bigger than life psychodrama, the last one will be just enjoying everything that happens in the screen as it comes. Everyone will feel great in the end: goosebumps and stupid smiles guaranteed.

To get everybody thrilled. That's not easy. This is a movie that pushes the spectator so he doesn't know what to expect. ¿Will it be all the product of a mental illness or will he be a prophet? ¿Will he do something awful because of his experiences or everything will work alright? When the first ending comes the ones who wanted a complex and tense mental issues situation will be satisfied, but the other ones perhaps not so much. Probably they will feel good enough with it, but there will still be a 'but'. Then comes the second ending and everyone will feel satisfied and fascinated, even the ones who weren't expecting it because they probably wanted to believe anyway.

This is also an actor's movie. Nothing of all that I have exposed until now would care if it weren't defended by a good actor. Michael Shannon gives everything he has inside and shows everyone that he is so much more than 'that guy from Boardwalk Empire' or support for diCaprio. This was his greatest opportunity to defend his career, a one-in-a-time opportunity to go to the next level or, at least, get the praise he deserves, and he nails it. He even has the look for the part.

Jessica Chastain is limited by his character. It's an important and great character, but it's not meant to be so real as lovable. Her character is a caring woman and a good wife, without being overly stupid, and when the time comes for it she shows that she can act way more than alright. This just wasn't her movie to shine in. It's great when the 'wife' is more than just a person who is there to make everyone feel bad. She is here to bring tension, true, but also to show how a family sticks together. I know it has also some old fashioned values in the mix, but the thing is that you can see the love through acts not just words.

The cinematography is gorgeous and schizophrenic. It's simple, blindingly clear and distant when the story asks for it and intense, cloudy and close when needed. The camera work blends magnificently with the script, directing and magic of Jeff Nichols. He brings a number of characters in the mix to add spice to the cooking he is brewing. The mother, the brother, the boss, the friend... they all serve to distract you while he digs the foundations of the tension that will build up in the end. All of the secondary plots (the money issues, the work problems, the daughter's deafness, the family history) are good by themselves, but aren't directly related to the main issue, they're just tricks used with reason and restrain.

The dramatism of this movie is full of tricks and red herrings, but you won't care a bit. All are used with the best of intentions and all work nicely to keep you hooked. The only dark point is that it will probably don't work so good with a second view. After the first watch, all the mirrors will be exposed and you will only have a great pair of actors working a great pair of characters... OK, that can't be so bad.

In the end it's a movie you won't forget. Can you say it of many other?

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The Building Bricks of Noir

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 7 July 2012 12:30 (A review of M (1931))

This is somehow the dark lost link between talkies and silent movies. Fritz Lang and the whole cast come from a world where sound in a movie was some music and/or effects that someone had to play (or reproduce) while the movie was projected. They embrace the new medium with passion but this dogs haven´t still changed all the old tricks for the new ones. In fact they had to invent the new ones.

Some scenes are just mute (some others should be) and sometimes the subbing is quite obvious but that´s not really a problem. Lang whistles himself the killer´s leitmotiv ('The Hall Of The Mountain King') and brings from opera one of the most successful tricks in the filmmakers bag, one that was impossible to use before: one song means one character even if you can´t see him. The use of the new elements that sound brings to the writer pallete is quite efective in this movie and that shows the craftmanship of Lang´s (and his wife´s) script. They are inventing the most basic bricks of sounding film´s storytelling and that´s one of the reasons this is considered a masterpiece.

The visual aspect of the movie is also very developed as you could expect from someone like Lang (Metropolis anyone?). The ever present cigar smoke, the lighting that can transform the most lowest of the characters into a messenger of the angriests gods or frame the most excruciating fear. The use of shadows and reflections try to transform the most simple situations into something darker and bigger.

Pete Lorre gets here his passport to almost-fame in hollywood (having to flee from the nazi regime kinda of 'helped') and he deserves it. His acting is as over the top as you could have expected from a silent movie but that´s how the magic of this between worlds film works. It has the powerfull and theatrical imagery from the old times and the useful closeness and power of voice acting.

The argument relies too much in the predisposition of the german watchers from 1931 to feel disgusted and fascinated by the morbid crimes and the laughable (I´m sorry but it is) hunt of a kid killer. It must be said that this is a very oportunistic movie. The script uses the fact that Germany had a bunch of serial killers in the twenties and one very recently (Peter Kürten, the vampire of Düsseldorf) who had striken a new kind of horror in the in-between-wars german law abiding population.

The thing is that you cant get darker in a noir movie without going to just pitch black. Here the useless police is defeated by a weird and unbelievable band of lowlifes, beggars and criminals who try to get justice done by themselves. Of course the script deprives them from winning to the legal authorities in the very last moment but the message is loud and clear: people, normal people, people who are willing to dirty their hands should take this kind of matters in their own hands and protect their streets (it´s a very urban movie). "Watch your children" says the grieving mother in the end. Watch and defend yourself and those who can´t do it themselves. Even if the police officers talk about the way the city people get in the way of their investigations they say it as if the civilians should do a better work not exactly stopping. The whole movie is a schizophrenic recruit movie for vigilantes.

Getting back to the best moments of the film it has some great and memorable shots. The way the killer is haunted before getting himself into an office building, shot from above like the kids play in the very beginning, will be repeated a thousand times in other movies. The delinquent mass shouting and asking for blood, the from below shot of a fat smoking detective sitting at his desk, the long set of stairs that the camera covers in the office building scene, that blinding light that hits a terrorized Lorre when his character is found and of course the final confession of his compulsions will live forever in my mind.

That last confession, the best scene (or at least the most intense) in the whole movie, the final climax, is the result of a great actor being tortured by a great, if cruel, director. Lang had Lorre bruised and exhausted him to get that monologue nailed... he also lost that actor forever, a shame for the noir genre, this two were right for each other. It´s hard to believe that Lorre was a comedy actor before this!

The worst elements are the procedural elements in the search and hunt of the killer. In fact the first fifty minutes, the thirty five after the first time the killer face is shown to be precise because the very beginning is a great way to set the 'stage', drag the movie down. When they interest moves from how to capture him to actually doing it and the consecuences afterwards the movie is again really interesting. At least the silly moments of the argument are compensated with some great shots of people smoking, dicussing, arguing and planning. What they are plotting is, in fact, irrelevant but you won't care.

The fact that it´s such an old and located movie (made for an specific population and culture) doesn´t means that you cant enjoy it. Most of the scenes feel like if they were shot one or two decades later. And that´s it´s magic.

You should try it and then compare it with everything you watch from that point on. You´ll find that there are not so much movies in it´s league.

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Everything but a Shame

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 5 July 2012 01:28 (A review of Shame)

Two broken siblings on a perpetual state of slow self destruction find each other together for a few days. They hurt each other in ways they can't even understand and then their own lives just collapse to be reborn again in the same spiral, one step nearer to hell.

The main character pushes everything and everyone as far as he can and the film does exactly the same. There's always a distance between the spectator and the character. This distance works as a kind of false psychological transference making it more organic and real than other dramas. You feel that the character is pushing you away as he is everyone else. Sometimes the camera isn't even oriented towards their faces but that oblique way to show us their emotions makes this particular script so real and tense as any closeup.

The long shots, the classical music eclipsing reality, the silences, the slow pace, the clear lighting and the occasional shadows they all tell us a history in this movie of few words. It's a great feeling when the cinematography, the script and the directing work in this great but subtle way to frame the movie. If all of this is framing then the acting is the main subject of this sad piece of art, ain't it? Yes it is.

Fassbender is a great, great actor. He shows just what's enough and lets the rest come from those who are watching making it feels true where any other super emotional style would fail. Of course there are some moments when all the truth about the character shows up in the movie, always in silence, no words needed when raw emotion is being exposed. Too raw you say? Not for me, I like it bloody.

There´s a lot of interesting elements at play in this movie. One of my favourites is that there's very little advancement in the characters. Brother and sister end up exactly as they started and none could have expected otherwise except for them to end even worse. Both are broken but there are enough differences to make it interesting. Where she isn't able to construct any kind of healthy life for herself he has got a good job, a good lifestyle and a good structure to brace himself to but all of it is ready to fall over some major cracks in the foundations. That fall is scarier to him that anything else but he is dying for it.

An insightful view of a secret addiction.

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Shameful Excuse for a Movie.

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 4 July 2012 10:01 (A review of Battle Royale)

What a shameful excuse for a movie. The script, cinematography and the acting is Z-class. Anything can be a cult movie if it depicts enough violence and teenager attitude. A tv-movie gone wrong.

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Harakiri review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 30 June 2012 05:06 (A review of Harakiri)

This movie is as gorgeous as is gritty and that´s a great plus for me. It brings back to life a very interesting era in the japanese history (although, I must admit, one that has been shown in many movies) and treats it with respect in a disrespectful way. I´ll try to explain this: it´s like thinking of all the stupid things that your old buddies did when you were young with all the love for them. The samurai code is depicted as it really was instead as a romantic remembrance of it. In the main character´s words: "[...] this thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a facade."

It´s an anti-stablishment movie as well. The samurai code and the shogunate structure betrays nearly a whole generation of the low-nobility. They were raised and prepared to execute a duty and maintain the highest level of cultural and moral decorum possible but the weather changes (for better, mind you) and they find themselves dispensable, useless and plain broke. They cant work as lowmen but they cant serve as samurai either.

Returning to the movie itself it's a great character study first and a gritty drama second. The center of the story is the development that the main characters, the good guys, have to endure. Here I find one of the first little problems as I think that the way the change from their old proud shelf to desperation is not worked enough but it´s there. Anyway the main cast show a great thespian work. Tatsuya Nakadai´s work is one of the best in the movie but overall there´s not a bad actor here.

The characters are interesting though limited. The only ones with some complexity are Tsugumo and Chijiiwa, the first more than the second. The way Nakadai treats his grandson, his desperation, his guilt and his determination through the movie makes him one of the greatests heroes in the history of film´s vengeances. Even his character is somewhat restricted and simple, though, and the rest of them tend to be even more monocromatic than the black and white the movie was shot in. This works magnificiently here so it´s not really a problem but I wonder if a bit more complexity in some characters (for example the main antagonist, the karo in who´s house so many people want to suicide) wouldn´t have helped.

I´ll talk about some problems that do exist although they are not really that bad. One of them is the pace and lenght of the movie. It´s a slow movie where the tension builds up nicely cooking it on a low flame. It´s not a movie where you should just wait for the climax to come since the moment you decide that you hate the bad guys (that happens near the beginning and you have a long hour and a half before the blood cries havoc). If you dont enjoy the backstory and tension throughout the movie you will grow bored soon. Even if you aren´t just waiting for the climax to come I feel the movie lingers too much before chaos breaks loose. There are more than one scene that felt too long even though there´s no one that isn´t necessary.

The second problem, one that it´s just too obvious to ignore even if it´s not important, it´s the unplausability of the action. When swords shine and blood is finally shed there is more than one moment where you can´t believe what you are watching even if you try to enforce all your suspension of disbelieve strenght. It´s really a problem? I dont find it so bad but it´s a problem. The focus is in the beauty and intensity of the shots not in the credibility of the swordmanship. There are some really intense, gorgeous, moments while they fight but the actual fight get´s in the way.

One of the best aspects of the movie is the beauty and quality of the camerawork. The actors give life to intense characters but the way they are shot and lighted makes a great difference. One of the most beautifull moments of the movie is the main duel. It brings the spectators out of the main locations (80 % of the scenes in the movie are shot in 3 rooms) and that gives it a special magic as if you were watching something sureal. They walk through a 'crowded' cementary and a bamboo forest to a windy hill where they fight as if they weren´t just people but godly heroes. The intesity of the wind in the hills transforms the not-so-good fighting scene in something way better, wilder and powerful.

This is really close to a masterpiece. They take an interesting premise, they add some twists that really work, a marvellous setting, some great actors very well directed and also bring some moral issues in the mix. It´s not easy to give such an universal edge to a movie so centered in a particular, and gritty, aspect of the old japanese culture.

A great, great, movie.

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