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Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot directed by Patty Jenkins steal the show.
A movie like WW centers on the main character. As I liked charismatic Gal Gadod' portrayal, I enjoyed the movie a lot. You probably know her from the Fast & furious franchise and the only likable character in the awful Batman Vs. Superman.
Chris Pine lives up to the task of being a likable hero.
Secondary characters like heroic Antiope and comic relief Etta are fine.
I liked Dr. Maru as a number 2 villain, by beautiful Spanish actress Elena Anaya (those eyes...). Agree with other reviews that Ludendorff is not as scary or interesting as it should be. On the other hand, Young Diana (8) is perfect!
Music is not one of its strongest points. Special effects are OK but a bit too "computer made". Fight scenes are great, as choreographs of action scenes.
Thoroughly enjoyable action movie, don't ask for more.
Most films with Isabelle Huppert follow a pattern of disturbing, cold characters that we nevertheless end up siding for if not actually "liking". For what is there to like in Michèle? She despises both son and mum. Also his star employee Kurt, her only friend A.*, her pitiful ex husband. Of course, her beautiful daughter-in-law Josie and her young ex husband's couple, Hélène. For different reasons, there is nobody she respects. She is alone for a reason, but goes through the motions of classy Parisian life as if nothing really reached her. She only laughs once in the film, definitely at a wrong moment.
She knows how to manipulate people, thou. Her relationship with his psychopath father and his carnage is unclear to me, as well as her participation in it. "She hates him" but they burned the house down together after it until the police came.
It's a film about sex and some sort of perversion (can't say more), but amidst the violence, Michèle seems to be getting the upper hand. In any case, she's so detached from others that one never really knows what pleases her, what does she want, where is her desire, actually.
All the other characters are secondary, maybe Anna rises above the rest. The ambient of game creation as big business is well depicted, and her luxuriously French house is the main setting of this film shot mostly in interiors.
Paul Verhoeven is a master at crafting gripping stories.
It may not get into the history of cinema, but it's a pleasure to watch and leaves you thinking about the loose ends. Love the classical score, lots of Mozart.
Like expensive wine, one shouldn't ask for too much to be satisfied.
*by having an affair with his man, and the way M says so.
I saw this movie in total amazement.
The camera is in love with Natalie P., and so are we, as soon as we see her. And she's not without flaws, neither are the Kennedys.
Photography, music and settings are perfect. The haunting music is obsessive, so is this film.
I thought this film would be well made but maybe a tad boring, "the official story" but probably having the Chilean star director Pablo Larrain made it more "alive".
At times it's tough to watch, Jackie doesn't seem to be doing well, her stiff entourage knows it, sometimes a helping hand helps her out, most of the time she's alone.
My favourite character is the journalist, played with gusto by Billy Crudrup. He knows from the start Jackie will be a tough case, but subsequently, he makes her melt, she is probably looking for a confident, and he gets more that what he came for. His last scene tells a story that will not and cannot unfold. How we want him to "get the girl" ;). The journalist is a gentleman, doesn't profit from a damsel in distress. He "does what he's got to do".
I thought this would be a film about a historical character, but I feel now it's about the distress of a fragile woman, who doubts, complains to the priest about where God is "is it in the bullet that hit my husband's brain?", is vain and stubborn, and wonders what would have been her life had she married an "ugly, simple man".
As one of J's greatest quotes, "people want to hear fairy tales". This is not, and we are so much the better after having watched it.
The priest gets the best lines, the ones that I'll try to remember for a long time. About the meaning of life, on how much can we expect from it, on how we ALL doubt at dark nights but yet wake up again fulfilling life's routines.
You may want to watch a sunset with your loved ones afterwards. Or dance like J does with her red dress. Or bully somebody with power like Bobby does to Lyndon J. I guess.
Every person is different, yet life is a mystery. This film makes you want to savour it in all its fragility, never waist a precious moment.
Whaw! Science fiction, brainy and emotional.
I'll be looking forward for any other Denis Villeneuve film. He pulled through a "smart Sci Fi" film, as smart IMDb reviewer "A_Different_Drummer (North America)" put down recently here.
I love the music! Max Richter's Blue Notebook will be another of those names on my radar now. He's been scored on films by Scorsesse, French auteur Anne Fontaine Les Innocentes, Stranger than Fiction, in Disconnect, and of course in Arrival.
As another friendly reviewer, this times on Amazon, aptly writes: "if you are prone to melancholia it will definitely ping at your emotions".
Photography and music work together to make it a haunting masterpiece.
It does have some funny moments, emotions are there, specially in the end, there is a lot to think and mull over afterwards. Did I mention Amy Adams is perfect?
As a linguistics teacher friend of mine said: it's the only mainstream film you'll ever see with a linguist being the lead character. She does speak fluent Chinese, of course.
Watch this movie.
Au nom de ma fille (2016)
Disturbing film about the true case of Bamberski. He was lucky enough to have a couple of sidekicks: the good lawyer who works alone, like him, the German translator, and faithful Cécille, who withstands a lot. His dad in his alpine retreat is also understanding, gives him the best advice.
André had a life as a businessman, not very kind to his employees as we see in the first scene, but has his life transformed by the death of her daughter. The film doses the truth very well, and doesn't' shy away from showing the darker aspects of André. He is shown speaking alone while working, attempting acts that are not very lawful, and with a single- mindedness that could end with somebody at any moment. My favourite moment is him eating and resting alone in his car, a homage to "L'adversaire" in my humble opinion (one of the best films I've ever seen). The differences between the two roles are stark, nevertheless. Daniel A. can pull off basically any role he's thrown at, with a lesser actor this film would have been just stock material.
The director succeeded into making Marie-Josée Croze an unlikable woman ;). Her character could have more character development, I didn't understand much her (lack of) reactions and why did she never react to André's truths, not even at the cemetery when they cross paths with A.
I didn't feel much like going to Germany after watching this film ;). It looks like a foreign country, cold, with a difficult language, a juridical system that protects people like Dieter K. and rather absurd legal decisions. Hadn't it been for Andre's stubbornness, Kalina's case would have been buried. The German system doesn't come off very well in this film ;). It may have to do with French-German relationships, not always loving, but it's for Europeans to give opinions on that.
Overall, a great film. Not entirely pleasurable to watch but, given the material, a well told story, without melodrama or demagogy.
Boring rural melodrama.
I loved "Zweite Heimat" from Reitz before knowing he was famous or important, so I was looking forward to this film, and got a 4 hour disappointment. The "death toll" was as high as the depiction of sitcom situations, only not even mildly interesting.
I never understood nor sympathize with our main character, "Jakob". A bookish dreamer, mistreated by her father, who was basically a tough brutish man, and dramatically out of place in this small town. He, J., was a born linguist and scientist but with obvious lack of "emotional intelligence" as we would put it nowadays. Even when he cries on camera, it didn't transmit anything, the emotions he has being like a child, rather like tantrums. He speaks in many tongues but seems to be unable to relate to the world around him. Take Jettchen, who says rather womanly: "You are different from ALL people around here", and gets the usual flat emotional response from him. You can't make a movie without one single likable character.
Reitz made a pretentious film with a trite plot that is way too long. I wanted to leave many times during the showing at a film festival. Had it been on TV I wouldn't have endured it for more than 20 minutes, and I do love European films. Yesterday on the same I saw "Banklady" from Christian Alvart , who says on a recent interview "I want viewers to be on the edge of their seats during the whole film". Nothing of the like happened to me during this ordeal.
I liked photography and music. The effect of "putting something in color for contrast" is interesting at first, but it grows annoying and a bit corny, like for instance the red cherries it highlights late in the film. If you want to know the "economic conditions" of that time in rural Europe or an anthropological view, this film may appeal to you. Otherwise skip it, you won't regret it.
PS: Cameo of Werner Herzog as Von Humboldt.
I tried to like this film but could never get into it, the plot is unbelievable, at it rests on Nelly's character, that changes her mind and follows a logic of her own.
Art direction is good, and actors do what they can with a story full of clichés, from the sexy "damsel in distress" to the bullied son, the love affair that makes no sense and ends as abruptly as it started, the friend who is always there and is taken for granted, the cool and also pretty neighbour who plays Bach but is reduced to being a cook and mistreated at it, her father who is a bit nuts but not really dangerous so we have to like him too, the ugly STASI female doctors, dumb looking officials- funny looking clothing-, menacing everything for we are supposed to empathize with Nelly who is being driven crazy by the German bureaucratic system.
Sorry, it didn't work for me.
Some people left at the showing here in BA, and I do understand it. The ending was a monument for cheesiness.
The movie pretends to make us feel empathy x Nelly while using many Hollywood tricks like "mom-son having a good time", "Christmas making characters take the big decision", "overqualified Eastern Germans being reduced to menial jobs because of ...?", and the list could go on. Maybe I expected a good European film but got an average TV movie that looks like those manufactured for Hallmark channel and the like, only this was spoken in German.
I do hope other people can see nicer things in this film, I sincerely couldn't. I wouldn't watch it.
Banklady will steal your life x 2 hours .
Best films are like love affairs. Some work right from the start, get you carried away, and while they last you just don't know what hit you. This is one of those films.
Montage, music, Art direction -those buildings! women's dresses and hairdos!, everything works towards the flow of the movie, never distracting from the main goal, that is entertain us with a couple of lovable delinquents. Love and sex are not what ties them together. Probably Gisela wanted to escape the dull routine of the factory, and Messieu wanted the thrill, as any psychopath. Roger Ebert already wrote better than anybody on why do we like people on the big screen that are not exactly role models, so I won't deal with that thorny issue here. I want you to watch this film and enjoy it as I did.
IMDb reviewer Ralfscheapthrill put it down perfectly: 'pre-68- melancholia and lust for life'. 2 more great reasons x watching this gem.
I've got a couple quibbles. Nadeshda Brennicke is too nice and attractive to be a factory worker, same goes x Henny Reents, probably Kommissar Fischer and her secretary too. It also happened in 'Monster' when, as in this film, when you saw the pictures of the real criminal, they were not alike. And the scene of the bank shooting, Gisela showing empathy x the victim, has so many troubles that it would be tiresome to mention them.
This film made me happier after having watched it, its powerful images remained on my memory the next days, and probably won't be forgotten. The seaside resort with the lady jumping out of the roofs as the quest for liberty, our own one, is my favourite scene. And Gisela clad as Banklady at the costume party from the factory. Or the proposal. Dialogues are also well crafted, the audience cracked at some jokes. Like the answer to the lady who lost her dog at the shooting, funny because Germans can be so formal when they want to, thus creating contrast. Or how Gisela replies to the marriage proposal in the last bank robbery. Secondary characters do have a role, like Gisela's unlucky 'boyfriend' and Fischer's grouchy boss, relentlessly effective at bullying the obsessive Kommissar.
This film is enjoyable like a bubble bum and well made as a Mercedes. I can't see why some critics didn't like it.
PS: Gisela's mum saying matter-of-factly what she has to do when Fischer raids their house only makes me wonder how Germans and a few other selected countries like Japan are so different from the rest of us, how they value honour and the social regard, the way they see crime as something that's bad, period.
"Simone de B, who is her? Such a long book cannot have been written by a woman".
Narrates the psychological journey of Violette, born unloved, but ready to fend for herself by whatever means, to literary Parnassus and then back to her nightmarish self. Also the clash between two classes, upper middle and lower, like when Violette complains for being given Simone's 'leftovers' of her house when moving, or when Simone advices her to 'go somewhere -travel-', V. answers 'people like me don't do tourism'. Which gets one of the brightest replies by Mme De Beauvoir, mentioning her "lack of imagination".
Maybe one default of this film and others of the genre is that sometimes dialogues are just too good, too literary and cerebral, too much of "for eternity". Specially Simone's, always bright, never trivial. Violette, on the contrary, is much more real, even when she repeats the same idea, moans, quarrels, just suffers or, occasionally, laughs, her character is much more 'alive' and believable.
Simone is like a therapist to poor V., her "life advice" is always right, even if it could be said that she also says it to get rid of V.
Photography is superb, specially Paris buildings and the female character's faces. Only perhaps marred by the "postcard images" of rural France. Music is also enthralling, particularly Avro Part's minimalism, obsessive as Violette. Maybe the score being so repetitive helps us focus on her life, that although seems full of episodes or chapters, they all end up in unrequited love. V. strives for recognition, some money to live and "not being alone", and gets probably only the first two. She repeats "Thins will always be the same", a trademark of depressive thought.
Psychologically, Violette was the poster child of a perpetual victim, always asking for things her partners cannot or will not give, yet she is also manipulative as with Jacques Guérin and also with Simone d B.
Simone treats V. with aloofness yet sometimes looks genuinely friendly with Violette, specially near the end. Yet, Simone speaks disparaging of Violette on at least one occasion, to Jacques: "Violette cannot be friends with anybody, I do it -taking care of her- out of duty".
The script is full of contradictions like the aforementioned or how Violette rebounds from her bouts of depression, or the relationship with her mother - another great actress, totally believable even with an erratic plot-. But great films like this are not made to be analyzed, but enjoyed.
Much as I am a fan of Emanuelle D., I feel she cannot play a woman that was famous for being ugly. Even the way she moves in the beginning at least, she is too much of a "rather nice woman" to play Violette. Sandrine, on the contrary, LOOKS like Simone d B. so much that, like with all good compositions Kidman's Virginia Woolf on 'the Hours' comes to my mind- we will have the problem after having watched her performance of "always having the mental image of their performance when thinking about the author". Which is in a way, good proof that their acting is truer than life Kiberlain and Kidman's-.
Martin Provost directed the famous 'Séraphine' but I feel this film is so much better, or at least, so much closer to my heart. Maybe because even if both films deal with artistic genius and rather stubborn woman, both women also with some sort of mental malady, Séraphine seems to struggle in emptiness, whereas Violette has something concrete to fight against, be it the literary establishment that doesn't recognize her, censorship, her long string of bad lovers, her lack of love for herself, her poverty and insecurities. Violette struggles against something, is perpetually in motion, until she cracks.
Séraphine is in a world inhabited by one person only: herself. Violette deals with the country as well as the city, another difference with Séraphine country only-.
My favourite character is probably Jean Genet's, a lovable gifted rascal with his husky voice and love of life. Unlike Woody Allen's film 'Midnight in Paris', this film enables us to "live through" the characters's perspective, with all their defaults and contradictions. I wouldn't have thought that there was such misery in Paris or that Violette would live in such shabby apartments. They all look brown, dirty and depressing. As I said décor and wardrobe are just incredible, you wonder how did they come along such wonderful dresses. Sometimes I just looked at Violette and SdB.'s clothing, and I know nothing about fashion. I agree with IMDb reviewer ferdinand1932 about the well crafter structure in layers of the script.
This is a film not to be missed if you like French films, Paris and the literary world. A tad long perhaps but beautiful as you will rarely see.
L'enfant d'en haut (2012)
Some films just can't be improved, this is one of this rare class. Like Lorna's Silence and of course the Dardenne bros, we've got the sociological view of the poor and alone among the rich and powerful. This alone is better than most of what is filmed, but what makes this gem stand from the crowd? The story is powerful, never faltering, and yet without low blows. And with the classic "slow/ ethnographic" moments that have make "French film" famous or infamous, according to tastes :).
Simon steals the movie, and that's no small feat given the other main character is Léa Seydoux, probably too pretty for the role, but so well "dressed" and such a good actress that you almost never see in her the "Cannes Star" one is expecting, only a beautiful woman who happens to be poor and with an awful taste for men.
"Mike", "Christin" (the classy blonde) and J. F. Stévenin's baddie teach us in one lesson that whoever's got money or power, even if just a bit more than you, will probably humiliate you as soon as he/ she can.
This is a film probably only understandable for those of us who've been thou hard times, economically as well as socially (notice Louise and Simon have no friends, S. may have one client and then an unlikely sidekick, and Louise has her "men" but they have no social life, no "life" beyond "pasta and toilet paper" as Simon wryly says to Mike as to what he does with the $ he gets from his thefts.
Simon has some points in common with Truffaut's 400 blows, as Argentine critic Diego Battle aptly writes. He's so chillingly natural that we only hope he can be as good as J.-P. Léaud, or even better!
Léa, from "La vie d'Adéle" (Palme d'or at Cannes 2013') has a feline beauty as well as some "hidden anger" that suits our character perfectly. I never understood how she spends her money so quickly, as we may understand she gets money from hustling, also from Simon, and yet she's always broke.
Agnès Godard makes magic with the greyish-white Alpine settings, always showing how harsh weather may be warm compared with the people down there. You may not be eager to go to skiing after having watched this masterpiece!
John Parish's music is hypnotic and costume design are perfect. Everything in their house is ugly, like poor Simon's tacky bed sheets. (This reminds me of Lorna's silence, whose winter clothing always looked bad on her, herself a beautiful woman). Even when they but something brand new, it doesn't work as supposed, like the oven Simon wanted. Everything that enter the house sort of gets "soiled". They are always washing clothes.
The ending's got a clear symbolism, I owe this to IMDb reviewer Dan Frazen. My favourite scene is Simon and his young apprentice stealing kid's wallets, leaving aside the toys with cool efficiency, complaining when "they only have coins" and flushing all what they don't want down the toilet.
I'm eager to watch Ursula Meier's debut, "Home". I am sure she'll keep up the greatness.