movies


Seeing the films of is a special experience, now, more than two decades since he stopped making films, and died soon after. The Polish director’s relative short life (he died at the age of 54) and career (less than two decases) is now turning into legend. Each of his films shows the quality and the emotion of a true master of the cinema. “The Double Life of Veronique” (or “La double vie de Véronique” in French) is one of his best known movies, made at the peak of his cinema career, between the Decalogue and the Three Colors trilogy. Somehow I missed it at release. Now, in the perspective of the life and death of the director, not only that it stays as a remarkable piece of cinema but it is enriched with new significance.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101765

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101765

 

Fate and identity are the two big topics of this film. Have you ever had the feeling that you are not alone or even unique in the Universe, that somewhere or maybe in some other time, a parallel destiny is shared with yours? Did you ever feel like your life is not the result of your own decisions, that higher forces manipulate you life, same as a puppeteer controls his marionettes? If you ever felt something like this or if you can understand or imagine such feelings, this story of two young women, living in two different parts of Europe, sharing talents, feelings and fate without their lives ever intersecting for more than a few seconds, this story should not seem strange at all.

Beautiful films (and books, and paintings, and musical works) have complex layers of meanings and a multitude of details that are revealed to the viewer, reader, listener. This is exactly the case with ”La double vie de Véronique”. One can use multiple keys to read the story. There is a political reading about the parallel destinies of the two women who are born and live on the two sides of the curtain that divided Europe and was just falling down by the time the film was made. There is a philosophical reading about destiny and about the controllers of the destiny (the puppeteer, the writer who creates characters and write about their destinies). There is a religious reading with multiple symbols that ask to be examined from the name of the main character to the music that is sung and played during the film.

 

(video source sexytzigane)

 

Each of the scenes includes details that support the multiple stories and have their place in it, in some cases relating to other scenes in the peer story. The only exception was the secondary thread about presumptive perjury by the French Veronique whose sense I could not decipher. Music plays an important role, as the two women are musicians, they sing and teach music that reflects their relation with fate and God. So does light, which is in some cases maneuvered by the characters. The mirrors also show up in many scenes, sometimes as a reflection of the self, in other cases as a gate to the other side, as in Lewis Carroll’s stories. Shades and mysteries follow the characters and the viewers at any corner and in any moment.

Kieslowski’s mastering of the art of cinema is matched by the superb acting of . She is strange and beautiful, sensitive and expressive. I can also wonder why her star paled after Kieslowski stopped making films, and why other film directors could not make better use of her beauty and talent. She is part of the same generation of French and French-speaking actresses as for example, but their post 1995 careers were so different. What a pity.

I am happy to have discovered “La double vie de Véronique”, even if so late. It’s a film to see and see again.

Not only that there is no such thing as bad advertising, but bad advertising can help a lot. The success (public, critics, festivals) of ‘s second film ‘Foxtrot‘ may become at some point an example in the text books of cinema and public relations. The critics in Israel (including the Minister of Culture whose office actually supported financially the making of the film) who have trashed the film for its political attitude without seriously discussing it and (some of them, probably) without seeing it just succeeded to create a big fuzz around ’Foxtrot‘ which will make many Israeli film fans go and see it, and may also draw the attention and increase the international interest. Will the viewers be rewarded with an exceptional cinema experience? Not in my opinion. It’s not a bad film, but it also has many disputable parts, and I am not referring only to the political approach. Will it win it an Academy Award? I very much doubt it will even make it through the selection, although, of course, I will be glad to be proved wrong.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6896536

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6896536

 

The film is built of three different parts, somehow like the three acts of a theater play. They may well be each of them a separate movies, as there are different leading themes in each of the acts, although they are interconnected. The first and the last part takes place in the house of the parents of a soldier, the middle one describes him and his comrades at the location where they are on duty, a a security checkpoint, someplace in an almost lunar landscape, that started to erode and decompose. A quote from ‘s Stalker comes to mind immediately, it’s just that the natural disaster around symbolizes the more universal disaster that is ongoing. I liked especially the first part, which describes so well the nightmare that any Israeli parent who sent his kids to the army fears more than anything else in the world. At some point in time the story breaks and the worse news received by the parents turn to something different and behind their grieving are hidden more darker secrets. The second part includes the problematic scenes and the least that can be said is that the story of the soldiers just out of their childhood put into the impossible situation of policing the local population in the occupied areas is told from a very programmatic point of view. Can such incidents happen in reality? Hard to believe IMO, but they deserve a discussion, and the discussion should be about the events and not about the right to show them on screen. The last part takes us back to the parents home, and the critical approach now shifts against the mid-class Tel Aviv families busy with their neurotics and  their own mean small personal traumas, unable to face reality and hiding themselves behind the smoke of grass.

 

(video source TIFF Trailers)

 

The three episodes have each their merits and their lose points, but they hardly come together, as each seems to carry its own message or more than one. Grief dominates the first, youth faced with war and politics dominate the second, escapism is the main theme of the third. It’s a world that seems to have a hard time coming together, and so do the messages of this film that lack shared coherence. The film is full of symbols, too many, some quite good (the road leading to nowhere), some too obvious (the mud, the reclining cabin), some re-circulated from other movies trying to make the parts come together without really succeeding (the camel). When they try to be direct, the makers of the film failed, as in the schematic representation of the soldiers, the local population, and the relation between them.  is fantastic in the first part, but his acting falls into mannerism and is less convincing later. is a semi-miscast, too young for the role, spends much of the first part under sedation and never lets us understand her relationship with the father or the son. Overall my feeling was that this ambitious film failed in many respects because it tries to say too much and lacks one leading thread. As the dance in the title the story goes ahead, aside, and back, to return to the point where it started. It is still very much a film worth to see, even if some of the viewers will get to see it because of the wrong reasons, while some other will avoid it because of the same wrong reasons.

 

The fact that is both the sole author of the script and the director of ‘End of Watch’ is quite interesting. If two different individuals would have written the script and directed the movie, respectively, I could have commented that the thin story written by the script writer had to be balanced by the film director, and he picked an interesting manner of filming based on some not very solid pretext in order to achieve what is an interesting movie. As the two are one – – I am guessing that the idea about how to make this movie came first and the story was built around it. Of course, this is just a guess.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1855199

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1855199

 

Brian Taylor () and Mike Zavala () and a couple of patrolling cops in the violent low-class districts of LA. One is a WASP, the other is Mexican. They are exemplary cops, actually too good to be true, the kind of cops that save kids from burning houses at the risk of their lives and get decorated for their deeds. They are more than friends, they are brothers, share all secrets, dance at each other’s weddings and hold new born kids. They live and fight crime together and are ready to die together. And death eventually comes after them. Violent and unfair as they live in a violent and unfair world. Ours.

All this is nice, but, frankly speaking, it does not make for a too interesting story. Actually what really happens on screen is not too much and it’s also very predictable. I could put a rather safe bet that at the end one of the cops dies, the other survives to see his funeral, the only question is which fate each of the two will be to occur. There is actually so little action in the film that the script-writer / director added a few minutes at the end describing facts having happened previous to the ending that do not add anything to the story.

 

(video source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mQYxib26FM)

 

With no real action to put on screen tries to catch our attention with describing the details of the relationship between the two cops and with their colleagues, in the style made famous by ‘The Wire‘ TV series. I like this part, which was supported by the excellent acting of (one of my preferred actors) and . The second film directing trick is to use hand-held camera for part of the time. The pretext is the passion of one of the cops for documenting his work, which is mirrored by a similar hobby of one of the gangsters. It is this kind of technology-based detail which became obsolete one or two years after the time the film was made (2012) when any smartphone became a hand-held video camera with social networking becoming a repository and mean of communicating and transferring video files. We are left with an experiment which does not harm too much and makes the viewing of the film more interesting.

At the end, I feel like ‘End of Watch’ despite its qualities risks to disappoint the two categories of viewers that it seems to target. Action movies fans will be disappointed by the too short and too simple cop story. Quality cop dramas fans will be disappointed because the heroes do not enjoy enough time on screen to develop their friendship and make a difference in the violent world that they deal with on daily basis. Both claims could have been solved by a more complex and interesting story and script, but ‘End of Watch’ did not have one.

 

 

The history of England was blessed with several famous queens – starting with head-losers Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, continuing the two Elisabeth’s and of course Queen Victoria, the record holder of longevity until recently, the queen who gave her name to a whole era of maximal glory and expansion of the British Empire. The big dames of English cinema were accordingly blessed with the respective fabulous roles that they love to bring to the big screens and are regarded as peaks of their careers. For Dame , Victoria and Abdul directed by  provides (for the second time actually) the opportunity to create a memorable portrait of Victoria. Her success in completing this task is the best part and the best that can be said and written about this production. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that can be said and written about this film.

 

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5816682/

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5816682/

 

It’s very difficult to disconnect the historical episode of the relationship between the old widow who was also the queen of the largest empire on earth at her time (and maybe at all times) and the Muslim servant from India who raised to become her secretary, counselor, spiritual advisor, friend, surrogate son and maybe more than all these, and the political situation today, 120 years later, when the divided Britain faced with the realities of globalization and immigration tries to put again sea and borders between her and Europe. The authors of the film invested quite a lot in describing the atmosphere of the imperial households and its corridors of power and gossip with the adequate costumes and decoration but they are talking all the time to the contemporary spectator while telling a story based on real history or facts as they happened … or almost, as they cautionary and wisely warn us in the opening.

 

(video source https://KinoCheck.de)

 

We are thus left with an impossible friendship and even love story, impossible because of a mountain of reasons: class differences, race prejudices, age gap, cultural and historical precipices. The only thing that can save such a film from falling in complete melodrama or faked rhetoric is the human dimension. In Victoria and Abdul this dimension is only partially delivered by the splendid acting performance of . Unfortunately, the rest of the cast cannot come even close to her class. is fit physically but lacks the nuances that can explain some of the contradictions of his personality. We never know or really understand what is his real class background, whether the deepness of his knowledge in the Quran and oriental culture is genuine, or if he intentionally misled his beloved queen in the details of the history and realities of the inter-faith conflicts on the Indian continent. The rest of the cast is condemned to represent a gallery of half-ridiculous, half-perverse characters representing the British aristocracy class full of prejudice and bad faith. If only the caricature would have been pushed a little further we could have had more comical fun, but could not really abandon the ambition of passing some important message about today’s politics. In my opinion he failed, and the principal great merit of this film is telling a half-baked potential love story while allowing to add another great role to her illustrious filmography.

 

Although located at the Southern extremity of the European Union, or maybe just because of this, Greece found itself in the last few years at the crossroads of Europe. The economic crisis that hit Europe and the whole world a decade ago was specifically tough on the Greek economy, part due to global factors, part to the accumulation of bad administration and wrong decision in economic policies. For the Greek economy to survive harsh austerity programs were imposed by the EU and the IMF, resulting in salary and pension cuts and especially in loss of jobs for a significant percentage of the work force. On the other side, Greece found itself, together with Italy, being a target destination and entry point in Europe for hundreds of thousands of refugees from war and economic catastrophes in Africa and the Islamic world. The social and economic pressure resulted in high costs for the Greeks families and individuals, in personal crises for people losing or in danger of losing their safety in a world in change. For some of them the refuge was in political extremism. For other in love. This is the background but also the major theme of actor and director Christopher Papakaliatis’s film ‘Enas Allos Kosmos’ or ‘Worlds Apart‘.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3909336

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3909336

 

The film is based on three stories, which at first seem to have in common only the relationships between three Greeks and three aliens of different origins and statuses. A young student is saved from rape by an illegal Syrian refugee and the inevitable resulting love story is also the opportunity for the girl to be exposed to the realities of the life conditions of the migrants and the life danger they encounter under the threats of fascist hooligans. A mid-age father of a boy has a one-night stand with a beautiful Swedish woman that turns into a longer relationship, just to discover that she is the manager of the restructuring program at his work place that puts his career and the careers of the people under his responsibility under threat. A housewife struggling to meet ends meets a German retiree in front of the supermarket where she cannot afford any longer buying food, starting a moving and discrete love story at the sunset of the lives of the two. None of the three stories can have a happy end in real world, and maybe this is where the film should have concluded. But it did not.

 

(video source Worlds Apart | Christopher Papakaliatis)

 

Povestirea povestilor este destul de fluidă, în stilul povestilor romantice europene (mai ales franceze) cu fundal social. Actorul este de asemenea bun, toți cei șase actori sunt bine distribuiți și își joacă rolurile cu sinceritate și emoție. Este cel de-al șaptelea personaj – cel al lucrătorului în vârstă și dezamăgit care se încadrează în extremism, care merită o notă specială. Numele actorului a fost  și acesta a fost ultimul său rol pe ecran, a murit imediat după finalizarea filmului.

Cele trei povești s-au adunat în cele din urmă, și aceasta a fost, cred eu, întreaga structură pierde originalitatea, care se încadrează pe un teritoriu al transformărilor asteptate și melodramatice ale soartei. În timp ce întreaga greșeală grecească este ridicată (suntem amintiți de mai multe ori că lumea ar fi inventat eficiența economică, dar grecii au inventat dragostea), acest film despre criza indivizilor greci și celulă de familie grecească sub presiunea crizei și având o timpul greu de a face față relațiilor cu alte națiuni într-o lume globală, are un final extrem de convențional american.

 

About half of the viewers in the hall of our local cinematheque who came to watch this film were hardcore fans who came to watch the first screening of this film prior to the opening of a science fiction event that also includes a film festival. I did not have a chance to discuss with them the film at the end, one of the reasons being that some of them left before the end of the screening. I cannot be sure about the reasons, they may have seen the movie already, or they reserved the pleasure of full viewing for the festival, or maybe they just had the same feeling as I did. It’s a crazy and fun idea, but not enough for a full and watchable movie.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4231486/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4231486/

 

Maybe part of the explanation is that , the author of ‘This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy‘ seems to be – according to the IMDB – a first-timer in everything: script writing, acting, film direction, producing movies. Nicholson may be aware of his lack of experience, so he tried to turn it into an advantage, even more than this, into a concept. Here is the story (no spoiler, it happens in the first five minutes). Three fans attend the screening of a movie at a sci-fi convention, and somehow find themselves trapped into the world of the low cost films of the genre. Not only their universe is blurred, but also their personalities, and they will need to fight to survive and get back. Luckily, this is the less credible alternate universe ever created in movies, as all effects and gadgets are more visible than in the first movies of Melies, and more ridiculous than in the worst King Kong film. Space ships are made of hair-drying fans, transporting devices of shower heads, etc.

 

(video source Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films)

 

A good idea does not make a film, as original and as crazy it may be, and ‘This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy‘ is a good illustration on this respect. What may have worked in the 1960s TV shows for kids that lasted 15 or 30 minutes at most cannot work for a 90 minutes film, if it is not complemented by well defined characters, fresh jokes, good acting. Unfortunately these are all but absent in this film, and after we understand the concept and have fun for a few minutes we start waiting in vain for something new and interesting to happen. None of these happen here, and the parody is reduced at its own parody with very little comic effect. By the end this comedy was closer to put me to sleep than make me laugh.

 

Cinematografia are şi ea anotimpurile sale. Există un anotimp al Oscarurilor în timpul căruia sunt proiectate filmele ‘serioase’ şi mai ales cele cu şanse de a place membrilor Academiei care decernează aceste premii pe gustul Hollywood-ului. Există un anotimp al filmelor de Crăciun. Şi există vara: sezonul filmelor de divertisment, multe inspirate de comics-uri, al seriilor nesfârşite cu călătorii şi războaie interstelare, al filmelor pentru adolescenţi de toate vârstele, filme de acţiune şi comedii. Fiind pasionat de cinema, toate aceste anotimpuri îmi sunt dragi, cred că orice gen furnizează motivele sale de plăceri de vizionare, şi singura categorie de filme de care mă feresc sunt filmele proaste. Iată deci câteva dintre filmele pe care le-am văzut în această vară care aparţin genului ştiinţifico-fantastic sau genurilor înrudite. Dacă le-aţi văzut, ne putem confrunta opiniile. Dacă nu le-aţi văzut va invit la vizionare şi la o pungă de popcorn.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279

 

La inceputul verii am vazut ‘Wonder Woman’. Multe dintre filmele cu super-eroi de astăzi au în realitate un fundal cultural, doar că este un tip diferit de cultură şi ajută, deşi nu este obligatoriu, să o cunoaştem. “Wonder Woman” este un personaj care combină mitologia povestirilor de benzi desenate cu cealaltă mitologie, cea antică grecească, despre care am citit şi despre care am învăţat în şcoală. S-a născut în timpul celui de-al doilea război mondial, într-un moment în care femeile jucau un rol din ce în ce mai mare în sprijinirea efortului de război, în special prin preluarea locurilor de muncă în economie în locul bărbaţilor trimişi în luptă, dar nu pe prima linie a frontului. Personajul prinţesei Diana (da, acesta este chiar numele personajului) simbolizează un puternic mesaj feminist. Autorii scenariului şi regizoarea Patty Jenkins au mutat originea poveştii la sfârşitul primului război mondial, războiul care trebuia să pună capăt tuturor războaielor. Apropo, greu de crezut că aceast regizoare talentată este doar la cel de-al doilea film al său, şi că au trecut 14 ani de la debutul său remarcabil cu ‘Monster’. Autorii au adus prinţesa de pe insula ei ascunsă de lume într-un fel de ceaţă mitologică, în plină încleştare, în încercarea de a pune capăt tuturor războaielor. Ştim cu toţii că încercarea a eşuat. În acest proces, eroina va învaţă câteva lucruri despre oameni şi răul din ei, va evita şi va bloca un întreg arsenal de gloanţe şi bombe şi îi va învinge în lupte pe mulţi dintre cei răi.

Mi-a plăcut “Wonder Woman” din câteva motive. Feminismul mesajului nu este niciodată dogmatic şi aproape întotdeauna impregnat cu o doză de auto-ironie. Gal Gadot care joacă rolul principal poate că nu este o actriţa grozavă, dar se potriveşte foarte bine fizic şi tipologic pentru rol. Filmul este în mare măsură povestea maturizării ei în timp ce învăţată să cunoască omenirea şi să lupte de partea celor buni. O face cu zâmbetul unei adolescente şi figura ei radiază optimismul şi increderea în adevăr care, într-un fel, devin credibile reuşind să anihileze ororile câmpurilor de măcel ale războiului mondial pe care le vedem pe ecran. Accentuând bine pe motivele mitologiei, povestea are destul umor pentru a evita să fie uscată sau patetică şi ne permite să înţelegem că suntem încă în fantezie. Mi-au plăcut, de asemenea, efectele speciale, mai ales în scenele de la început când amazoanele se luptă într-o bătălie inegală cu maşinile de război create de oameni în răstimpul în care ele se pierduseră în istorie. Paleta de culori a imaginii a fost bine adaptată diferitelor faze ale povestirii, deşi ochelarii 3D au făcut-o (din nou) prea întunecată – este ceva care trebuie îmbunătăţit în tehnologie aici. Mi-au plăcut, de asemenea, doi dintre actorii din rolurile secundare – Chris Pine, care a reuşit să fie eroul pozitiv fără a fi prea dulceag (datorită dozei de umor investit în rol) şi mai ales David Thewlis pe care l-am văzut în vara asta şi în serialul ‘Fargo’ şi care devine sub ochii noştri un actor formidabil. Mi-au plăcut mai puţin celelalte personaje, mai ales ‘răii’, care pareau … ei bine … eroi de comics. Finalul a fost puţin dezamăgitor. Arată că unul dintre acele finaluri epice cu super-eroi, dar pregătirea şi construcţia atentă care l-au precedat mă făcuseră să aştept altceva, mai bun. Cu toate acestea, finalul lasă în mod clar calea deschisă pentru continuări şi voi face rezervări atunci când vor fi disponibile biletele la pre-vânzare pentru seriile care vor urma.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/

 

Am fost mai putin entuziasmat de cel mai recent film din seria ‘Planeta maimuţelor’, serie care a generat deja suficiente filme pentru marele ecran şi seriale TV pentru a fi considerat un gen sau cel puţin un sub-gen în sine. În timp ce seria originală aparţinea mai mult spaţiului filmelor post-apocaliptice, primul film putând fi considerat un memorabil cap de serie, remake-ul cel mai recent a început ca un thriller SF. În cel de-al doilea şi acum cel de-al treilea film din serie văd că cele două teme converg, pe măsură ce pe planetă s-au întâmplat destule catastrofe pentru ca omenirea să devină o specie pe cale de dispariţie. De fapt, atât maimuţele cât şi oamenii par a fi în pericol de dispariţie în ultimul film numit “Război pentru planeta maimuţelor”, cele două specii fiind angrenate într-un conflict sângeros care se poate dovedi a fi fatal pentru ambele.

Când a început această nouă serie şi am văzut primul film (cred că l-am ‘ratat’ pe cel de-al doilea), am apreciat performanţa tehnică de a face din fiecare dintre maimuţe un personaj complet şi complex, folosind tehnicile graficii computerizate, dar povestea mi s-a părut a fi subţire şi convenţională. Acest al treilea film din seria actuală are aceleaşi probleme, de fapt chiar mai rău. Efectele vizuale sunt impresionante, dar povestea nu numai că este convenţională, dar şi plină de clişee. Este o poveste post-apocaliptică de genul celor pe care le-am văzut în multe alte filme, cu tonuri religioase şi moraliste, iar faptul că este vorbită 80% din timp de maimuţe nu o face mai consistentă. Unele decizii ale regizorului Matt Reeves mi s-au părut neinspirate. Unele dintre personajele maimuţe vorbesc un limbaj al semnelor, altele o formă primitivă a limbajului ‘inamicului’ (engleză, desigur) după o logică pe care nu am înţeles-o. Armele sunt o combinaţie ciudată de arme moderne, arcul şi săgeţi de pe vremea indienilor americani şi arme de la începutul secolului XX (nu mă întrebaţi de unde). Citate cinematografice din ‘Apocalypse Now’ şi ’1984′. Femeile maimuţe se disting prin … cercei etc. Mi-e greu să apreciez jocul actoricesc, deoarece a juca rolul unor maimuţe cu ajutorul computerului necesită abilităţi speciale – presupun că este OK, deoarece efectele sunt reuşite, dar nici asta nu este o noutate, iar filmul se bazează prea mult pe acestea. Finalul primului film “Planeta maimuţelor” de acum aproape 50 de ani a fost minunat, poate una dintre cele mai memorabile scene finale din istoria cinematografiei. Ceea ce avem în “Războiul pentru planeta maimuţelor” este atât de departe de acesta. Surpriză finală şi reflecţia semnificativă asupra viitorului omenirii care transforma originalul într-un film grozav au fost înlocuite de o imagistică previzibilă şi convenţională cu pretenţii moraliste şi religioase. Acest lucru spune aproape toate despre eşecul acestui film. Fanii fideli ai seriei (şi eu sunt printre ei) vor viziona acest film. Mulţi vor fi dezamăgiţi, deoarece este un film greoi şi plin de clişee pe care le-am văzut deja de atâtea ori. Buna cinematografie şi efectele speciale sunt şi ele repetitive şi nu pot salva filmul.

 

 sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2239822/


sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2239822/

 

Una calda, una rece, … si inca una calda. Primele două minute ale lui “Valerian şi oraşul celor o mie de planete” al lui Luc Besson propun una dintre cele mai amuzante introduceri pe care le-am văzut pe marile ecrane în ultimii ani. După următoarele 15 minute, începusem să cred că am luat o decizie greşită de a petrece următoarele două ore pentru a viziona un film dulceag de acţiune inspirat de benzi desenate. Ceea ce a urmat s-a dovedit a fi unul dintre filmele bune de divertisment din acest an, dar care nu va place la toată lumea, pentru care trebuie să fiţi în dispoziţia potrivită pentru a-l viziona şi a va bucură de el. Chiar şi fanii filmelor inspirate de benzi desenate şi fanii seriei comics pot fi împărţiţi în opinii.

Sursa de inspiraţie a lui Luc Besson este seria de benzi desenate “Valerian şi Laureline” scrisă de Pierre Christin şi desenată de Jean-Claude Mezieres (cu diferenţa că eroii desenaţi călătoresc şi în timp, ceea ce nu se întâmplă în film). Cele mai multe dintre filmele pe care Besson le-a scris, regizat şi / sau produs în ultimii treizeci de ani au trei caracteristici principale. Una este atracţia sa pentru eroii adolescenţi (în majoritatea cazurilor femei) – acest lucru este prezent aici, nu numai eroii principali, dar şi mulţi alţii dintre locuitorii lumii create de Besson par să fie trecuţi de puţin timp sau deloc peste vârsta la care poţi cumpăra alcool în mod legal astăzi. Poate ni se sugerează că lumea viitorului va fi găsit elixirul magic al tinereţii? Altă caracteristică este violenţa nerestrictionata pe ecran, din acest punct de vedere suntem trataţi cu o versiune relativ blândă a lui Besson, cu lupte stilizate la nivel de benzi desenate. Ultima este creativitatea vizuală. Din acest punct de vedere, Besson este la maximul formei sale, pare să fi atins cel mai bun moment de până acum în cariera sa. Să comparăm, de exemplu, cu “Războiul pentru Planeta maimuţelor”. Sunt folosite aceleaşi tehnici de creare a personajelor de către actori ‘îmbrăcaţi’ cu efecte computerizate, dar spre deosebire de lumea monocoloră si destul de putin atrăgătoare din filmul lui Matt Reeves, ce explozie de fantezie avem aici, transmiţând ideea unui univers infinit în diversitatea sa, descendent direct din cel din seria “Războiul stelelor” (sau poate aparţinând aceleiaşi lumi a viitorului). Varietatea personajelor şi creaturilor se combină cu arhitectura haotică dar excepţională a Oraşului celor o mie de planete, ale cărui zone şi camere se schimbă la fiecare câteva secunde în noi spaţii cu culori excepţionale şi forme fantastice. Cinematografia, producţia, concepţia artistică sunt fabuloase.

Este povestea copilărească? Poate, dar să nu uităm că avem de-a face cu ecranizarea unei serii de benzi desenate. De fapt, are logică, dar este o logică de benzi desenate, nu o prelegere de filosofie. Nu este nevoie să discutăm în prea multe detalii despre performanţele actoriceşti – tânărul Dane DeHaan (un actor în ascensiune pe care eu l-am ratat până acum) şi Cara Delevingne fac ceea ce trebuie să facă şi arată cum ar trebui să arate. Nu contează prea mult că un actor celebru cum este Clive Owen sau o legendă muzicală precum Herbie Hancock sunt prezenţi în rolurile ‘adulţilor’. În schimb contează că idolul pop Rihanna se alătură echipei şi creează o secvenţă memorabilă de dans, muzică şi transmutaţii interstelare. Şi asta face parte din partea distractivă a acestui film de acţiune de vară, care se petrece într-o versiune frumoasă şi de vis, dar şi plină de pericole a viitorului. Un film pentru tineri de toate vârstele.

 

source  sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867

source
sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867

 

Si acum despre doua filme – tot din categoria ‘filmelor de vară’ lansate acum cativa ani, pe care am ajuns sa le văd doar acum. Mulți fani ai filmului deplâng sau critică alegerile de roluri din ultimii ani ale lui Tom Cruise. Actorul în vârstă de 55 (!) de ani pare că se concentrează pe filme de acțiune, in care raportul dintre lupte, curse la mare viteză și folosirea de armament avansat pe o parte și poveste și dialoguri semnificative pe de altă parte este periculos dezechilibrat în favoarea primelor. Rolul lui în “Edge of Tomorrow” din 2014 se pare că se încadrează în aceeași categorie. Cu toate acestea, filmul regizat de Doug Liman (cunoscut pentru “The Bourne Identity” și “Domnul și doamna Smith”) este cu mult mai mult decât atât. Este de fapt unul dintre cele mai inteligente filme science-fiction din ultimii ani.

Buclele de timp reprezinta una dintre cele mai interesante teme din science fiction și au un număr mare de variații și paradoxuri derivate. Autorii scenariului acestui film au luat ideea și au introdus-o într-un fel de film gen “Războiul lumilor” și, de fapt, cinematografia și chiar fizionomia extratereștilor par destul de asemănătoare cu cea din filmele inspirate de romanul clasic al lui H.G. Wells. Ceea ce este diferit este că superioritatea rasei extraterestre nu se bazează numai pe abilitățile fizice, ci pe capacitatea de a controla și de a reseta timpul. Din fericire, unii oameni vor fi ‘contaminați’ și vor folosi aceasta pentru a lupta împotriva invaziei. Mă voi opri aici pentru a evita să povestesc prea mult, cu promisiunea că există multe surprize și că soluția și sfârșitul combină acțiunea și sci-fi-ul. Tom Cruise face ceea ce face cel mai bine (și îi place) în ultimul deceniu, cu Emily Blunt dandu-i o replică pe măsură. Acțiunea alertă este bine combinată cu scrierea inteligentă într-un film care nu are nevoie de scuze pentru a fi plăcut.

 

 sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481


sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

 

Există filme bazate pe romane grafice (cărți de benzi desenate), un gen cinematografic care înflorește, făcând fericite studiourile și fanii de toate vârstele. Și există filmele “Sin City” care sunt romane grafice pe ecrane. “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”, regizat de Frank Miller (care a creat si cartile care le-au inspirat), iar Robert Rodriguez este doar al doilea in acest gen. Mi-a placut. Voi încerca să explic motivele și diferența.

Primul lucru pe care trebuie să-l observați cu “Sin City 2″ din 2014 (ca și în primul, realizat aproape cu un deceniu mai devreme) este că nu se pretinde a fi altceva. Este o poveste de benzi desenate, care este creată direct pentru marile ecrane, mai degrabă decât pentru suportul de hârtie al romanelor grafice. Povestea (există, de fapt, trei fire de poveste aproape independente) este simplă și se bazează mai mult pe acțiune. Nu este de așteptat nici o evoluție psihologică sau personală de la eroii ei, ei sunt de la prima dată când apar pe ecran până în momentul când mor sau la sfârșitul filmului (ceea vine prima) “Bețivul Bun”, “Vampa Periculoasă” , “Senatorul corupt”, “Jucătorul Frumos” etc. Actorii poartă măști (Mickey Rourke) sau sunt propriile lor măști (Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe, Ray Liotta). Majoritatea dintre ei își creează propriile personaje ca eroi de benzi desenate. Singura care deține ceva mister și ascunde – cel puțin pentru un timp – intențiile sale reale este personajul jucat de Eva Green. Toți par să se bucure foarte mult de a fi în film.

Acest concept este susținut de o soluție cinematografică excelentă care plasează actorii in decoruri care par a fi desenate în stil de ‘comics’ și utilizează în cea mai mare parte a timpului doar alb-negru cu rare pete de culoare inserate ca în cărțile de benzi desenate din mijlocul secolului 20. Rezultatul sunt decoruri care par extrase din capodoperele cinematografice ale “filmelor negre” din aceeași perioadă. Executia este perfectă, iar scenele de actiune nu numai ca sustin povestile ci si creeaza momente de delectare estetică si se incadrează perfect in atmosferă. Conceptul și execuția lui “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” sunt o combinație rară de divertisment bun și cinema elegant.

The success of the Romanian cinema in the last decade or so did not spring up from nothing. Although the cinema in Romania was more strictly censored and controlled by propaganda during the Communist period, a handful of talented directors existed and they made a few good or at least decent films in a difficult ideological environment, with very little technical means. One of these directors was . Something strange happened though with him and most of the film directors in his generation after 1990. With some exceptions they seem to not have been able to use to the best the freedom of expression (political and stylistic) or to adapt to the technical progress that became soon and fast available. Many of their films seem to be stoned in the past, repeating mistakes and perpetuating stereotypes that belong to a different era. Pita’s Kira Kiralina is a good example on this respect – a cinematographic failure on almost any respect.

 

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2497852/

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2497852/

 

Kira Kiralina brings to screen a story by – a writer of Romanian origin who charmed the French readers in the 1920s with his stories of passion and brigands located in the the North of the Balkans and especially in the cosmopolitan area of the last hundreds of kilometers of the Danube course before reaching the Black Sea. It’s a fascinating zone, a land of legends and passions which could be the stage of great stories and movies. The problem with the script written by  and the screen version of  is that they did not create a cinematographic vision parallel to Istrati’s text, but rather chose the easy path of having a screen character read the story off-screen and what we see on screen is kind of an illustration of this reading. If we put together the scenes where the main character remembers and reads loudly the episodes of his childhood and troubled teens age, we probably get many minutes with the actor smoking and writing on the same sheet of paper. Such techniques are maybe fit to TV theater or low cost TV dramas, but not to big screen movies. Story telling is broken, more an exemplification of the monotone reading of the book text. Characters are introduced by the voice of the story teller and not but what they achieve themselves on screen. Some of the action scenes are a complete failure, like the dramatic shooting between the sadistic father of the two kids, and the brothers of the mother, or the revenge scene taking place a few years later.

 

(video source RollerCoaster PR)

 

The cinematography of a few of the scenes (filmed out-doors) and the exceptional costumes (designed by Oana Paunescu ) offer a glimpse of what this movie could have been. Unfortunately, they are just exceptions and the overall conception fails to provide a credible description of the world at the mouths of the Danube at the end of the 19th century and of the heroes created by Panait Isrtrati. The orthography even of the name of the film (‘Kira Kiralina’) is different in the distribution from the one of the poster (‘Kyra Kyralina’) and for some reason unknown to me different from the one used in the Romanian versions of the book (‘Chira Chiralina’). Actors work is irrelevant, they all seem stiff on screen, fresh newcomer faces as well as the known Romanian actors in the cast. The very last two scenes of the film (even if one of them us too verbose) happen after the story teller task was completed, and they give a hint of what this film could have been if a different approach was chosen. It’s too little and too late.

 

For the second consecutive year the cinematheque in my city hosts a Czech Film Festival, and the most interesting film I have seen by now is this work co-directed by and describing an event that took place more than 40 years ago in what was then Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. It was by all criteria a shocking event, especially for the ‘quiet’ and ‘normalized’ Czechoslovakia of the 1970s. Today we would immediately suspect a terror attack, but the roots of crime of the girl who one day drove her truck in a bus station in Prague killing eight people have their origins not in ideology but in a deep personal trauma and in the complete failure of a system that could not perform basic obligations to its citizens, and even less knew how to tolerate differences and deal with the individuals in trouble.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2953762/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2953762/

 

Olga Hepnarova grew up in a mid-class normative family, but was by all criteria a non-normative young woman – rebel, non-communicative, isolated by her school and work colleagues, a lesbian in a society that did not tolerate homosexuality. I found the acting performance of to be superb, she is living within her character, the desperation and mute cry for help of Olga crosses the screen. Can her deeds be pardoned? Hardly so, as eight innocent people lost their lives in an act of violence that she considered to be a revenge on the system. Is the environment she lived in responsible also for her situation? So it seems, as she seems to be permanently looking for something or somebody to cling on, but she finds nothing in the system (doctors, psychologists, companies she worked for) and nobody among her family or the people she meets who can or wants to help. She is described as a schizophrenic, considered herself bullied and persecuted by everybody around, and had a strange detachment between her intelligence and the way she lived, her actions and reality. Only in the last very moment she seems to have realized that that was for real, and of course, that was too late.

 

(video source Strand Releasing)

 

Directors and decided to make this film in the style of the good Czech cinema of the 1960s. This is reflected not only the black-and-white coloring, but also in the approach in describing the daily reality. We are in Czechoslovakia of those times, we see how people lived and the problems they faced, we are faced with the dullness and lack of hope of their lives, but the critic of the system is never explicit . The script is written and the film is made like censorship is still in place. Good story telling, inspired editing, and excellent acting performances make this film interesting, although we know the end (and the Czech viewers know even better the story). It’s not easy to watch as this is a grim story with an unavoidable tragic ending, a spiral of fall and desperation that never provides a ray of hope – but those who are interested in the life of that side of the Iron Curtain during the cold war and in good cinema will be rewarded.

The assassination in Prague in 1942 of Reinhardt Heydrich – ‘protector’ of Bohemia and Moravia and one of the planners of the ‘final solution’ – was one of the most spectacular events of WWII. Although it did not change dramatically the fate of the war, it had a strong impact on the moral of both the German as well as the Czech and other nations fighting on the allies side, proving that the Nazi occupiers were not immortal and that punishment was to be inflicted on the heads of their regime. It also led to savage reprisals that destroyed any hope of cooperation between the German and the occupied Czech areas.  ‘The Man with the Iron Heart’ based on a novel by and directed by carefully describes the main characters of this historical drama as well as the events before and after the attack on Heydrich.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3296908

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3296908

 

A few weeks ago I have seen ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ which figured as central character the wife of a Polish Resistance hero who helped him in saving the lives of hundreds of Jews in occupied Poland. The first half of ‘The Man with the Iron Heart’ had the chance to develop as a ‘The Holocaust Planner Wife’ with a description of the biography and ascension to power of Reinhardt Heydrich, from an immoral officer in the German navy to the highest ranks of the SS under the influence of his wife. We are used to think positively about love stories, and this is a love story of a different kind, the one between two mean people, united by an ideology of hate, deeply corrupt despite the cultural polish of their education and hobbies.  This part of the story and the film is supported by the splendid actor work of , with also giving a convincing performance as the hateful and hated ReichProtektor. I liked less the ‘punk’ version of Himmler created by , it was supposed to be sarcastic, but hard to laugh about such an horrific historic character. Over all this part of the film is the best in my opinion, and maybe would have deserved to be developed more. The authors of the script however decided to cut the action in the middle and focus in the second part on the resistance fighters who prepared and executed the assassination, the consequences of their deeds and their fatal fate. It was not bad, but closer to the beaten paths.

 

(video source FilmTrailerZone)

 

Events of WWII like this one seem to continue to be a source of inspiration for film makers – best proof is that ’The Man with the Iron Heart’  is released less than one year away from ‘Anthropoid’. Each brings a different perspective, and some of them succeed in creating solid stories, with heroes we care about (sympathize or hate). It’s the case of this film as well, a film that I recommend.

Next Page »