Wednesday, November 30, 2011

True Grit

By s. Wednesday, November 30, 2011 , , , , , , , , 2 Comments
93/100 (110 min, 2010)
Plot: A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen (screenplay), Ethan Coen (screenplay)
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld

“You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God. “

I don't like westerns. All the gun fights, saloons, sand, cowboy hats and rangers piss me off for some reason. In fact, the only western I like and I don't think it covers it, since it's one of the very few movies I've rated 10/10 is “The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford”. I also loved "Deadwood" but that was mostly to amazing characters and performances. So why watch “True Grit”? Each year I watch all movies nominated for best picture. And Coen bros. flick had total of ten nominations in 2010 plus a nomination for 14-year old girl, which I found interesting.

Soundtrack Wednesday - eXistenZ

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Song: eXistenZ by Antenna
Artist: Howard Shore
Movie: eXistenZ

Monday, November 28, 2011

Scene of the Week: Never Let Me Go

By s. Monday, November 28, 2011 , 1 Comment so far
directed by Kazuo Ishiguro
"We are modeled on trash"

The scene: After hearing that the original she is modeled after is in the city Ruth goes there to find out for herself. The woman turns out not to be the person she was copied from and Ruth unloads her frustration on Tommy and Kathy, yelling that they are modeled on the trash of society not someone like that woman, who was obviously wealthy and elegant. The scene shows, as in many sci-fi movies about clones, the desire to meet the original and maybe being granted a miracle of longer life. But in "Never let me go" nothing is easy, just like in real life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene

By s. Sunday, November 27, 2011 , , , , , , 3 Comments
65/100 (102 min, 2011)
Plot: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Director: Sean Durkin
Writer: Sean Durkin (screenplay)
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes

She's just a picture

"And this caravan it becomes an alter
And the priests, the priests are big as none
And I'll share, share our time together
Until our time together is done
But your skin it was pretty
And I loved, I loved another one
Now she, she's just like some picture
That has faded in the sun"
- Marcy's Song, Jackson C. Frank

"Martha Marcy May Marlene" is a fascinating but deeply flawed movie. It follows Martha, who seeks shelter at her older sister's house after fleeing the cult. The movie provides intense look into cult's proceedings and Martha's mind - she is horribly disturbed young woman, who will never be the same after what she has been through. Martha falls deeper and deeper into isolation as the movie progresses, being unable to disclose what happened to her to her family and constantly fearing that the cult members will come back to claim her.

Screaming Sunday: Event Horizon

By s. , 2 Comments
Sati's movie rating - 64/100
Plot: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship Event Horizon that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.
The heroes: The crew on a spaceship, involving mostly your usual sci-fi ensemble - a scientist, a woman, black guy, a hero and a guy who knows a lot
The antagonists: Hell in space and madness that comes along with it.
Scare factor: 3/5 evil pumpkins - mostly jump scares
Gore factor:4/5 bloody Leatherfaces
- very graphic, bloody and gory, but most of those images are very short and you would have to pause them to see what exactly is going on.
What makes it so great? "Event Horizon" is like a blend of "Alien", "Hellriser" and "Solaris", it's not as good as any of those movies, but it's decent horror movie with interesting sci-fi elements and good cast.
Best scene: The scene where the crew listens to the last transmission from Event Horizon.
Oh-oh something's not right line: "There - I think that says "ex inferis." "Save yourself... from hell.""

Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 cinematic dynamites

By s. Saturday, November 26, 2011 , , , , , , , 1 Comment so far
I came up with the term "cinematic dynamite" when I was writing "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" review in order to describe Penelope Cruz's character. The term means a supporting character so amazing, not only you would love to see separate film just with that person as protagonist, in addition you feel like the movie loses something very special and unique whenever that character is not in the frame and you keep waiting for him/her to appear. There are some movies that you feel would lose a lot without that one performance and one splendidly written character. Here are ten of them:

Saturday TV Special: Parks and Recreation

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Plot: The series follows the actions of employees of Parks and Recreation department in the small town of Pawnee. The protagonist is Leslie, who is fearless, joyful and lively - she is set on changing the huge pit into a park.
Structure: The show is made as mock documentary - we get to see characters talking and commenting on events straight to camera. The episodes each have other main arc, but they are parts of the whole.
Verdict: The show is, right after "The Big Bang Theory", the funniest comedy series on air right now. The characters are amazingly fun, but the clear winner is Ron Swanson, the boss, who has crazy ex wives, cares only about food and couldn't care less about his job - the less he does, the better and he actually hopes the government will be....privatized. I'm still laughing thinking of the moment when he had hernia and sneezed. Instead of going to the hospital he sat there and did nothing, much like every day. He actually chooses an assistant that is hostile, just not to deal with meetings and people. And whenever he absolutely has to do something work related, he looks mad, sad and bored - I do that too. God, I love this guy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

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75/100 (130 min, 2009)
Plot: Edward leaves Bella after an attack that nearly claimed her life, and in her depression she falls into yet another paranormal relationship- this time with werewolf Jacob Black.
Director: Chris Weitz
Writers: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay), Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner

When forever ends...what do you live for?

„Based on the worldwide phenomenon”.It is hard not to agree with the statement shown in one of TV spots for 'New Moon'. I have never get any trouble with getting tickets – not for Lord of the Rings, not with Harry Potter movies or The Matrix sequels. But this time, I was attempting to make a reservation 2 days before the movie and I couldn't get any tickets, in any of the cinemas. Everything was sold out. Not just here – all over the world people went to see the movie, daughters and mothers are asking Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattison to sign their panties and there even was a riot in Brazil, where 2000 girls fought with security and tried to get to the room to meet (let's just presume that...) cast members. I have never seen a craze like this. Why is it all happening?

80% of the audience are girls. Because it is so easy for us to relate to Bella.
She is a typical teenage girl. She has goofy friends. She wears stripped shirts. She has divorced parents. And oh yes, she is in love. So much in love. What makes the story a tad different – her love is vampire. And her best friend is werewolf.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


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86/100 (123 min, 2009)
Plot: A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: David Johnson (screenplay), Alex Mace (story)
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman

Do you wanna play?

The tagline reads 'There's something wrong with Esther' and that pretty much sums up everything - little girl is taken from orphanage to live with the nice family. But that little girl is so disturbing, does things so unthinkable that I think she is the only psychopath who could challenge Patrick Bateman for a fight and actually stand a chance at winning it. She is capable of committing murder in cold blood, attacking others, even endangering little child's life.

The character of Esther is played by, then 11-year old Isabelle Fuhrman. That was the best performance given by a child I've ever seen - I have no idea how she did that. Esther is also one of the most interesting movie-psychos all around and I'm sure girls dressed as her during Halloween back when the movie was in theatres. In many reviews people wrote she is creepier than Damien in 'Omen'. I agree - the scene with Russian roulette especially froze my blood. Esther was originally written as having fair skin, delicate features, and platinum blonde hair. Isabelle Fuhrman doesn't look like that at all. However, the filmmakers, understandably so, were so impressed with her auditions that they cast her anyway.

Soundtrack Wednesday - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

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Song: Statues
Artist: Alexandre Desplat
Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

By s. Monday, November 21, 2011 , , , , , , , , 1 Comment so far
96/100 (116 min, 2007)
Plot: The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: John Logan (screenplay), Stephen Sondheim (musical)
Stars: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman

"No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks."
— Mary Shelley

“These are desperate times, Mrs. Lovett and desperate measures are called for... “

London, Victorian times. Rain falling from the sky, the drops changing into blood, falling into sewage surrounded by filth and rats. That is how Tim Burton's last true masterpiece “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” opens. After 25 years in development, constant casting changes, passing the material from one director to another, Burton finally managed to shot the movie that is both fascinating and horrifying. Opening titles present the message of the story – the evil, the poison, the filth spreads, infects everything it touches. It is unavoidable and once pure is corrupted there simply is no going back.
The tale is that of Benjamin Barker, the talented barbed who once had beloved wife Lucy and their little daughter Johanna. But there was an evil man – judge Turpin, who desired Lucy. He thought of a devious plot, put Barker in jail, raped Lucy and kidnapped Johanna and was raising her ever since. But one day Barker escapes jail and gets back to London, seeking his revenge. He stays in his old apartment over Mrs. Lovett's pie shop. Mrs. Lovett soon becomes his accomplice in his murderous proceedings...

Scene of the Week: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
directed by Tim Burton

The scene: In the film's most clever and one of the most memorable musical numbers, Mrs Lovett, owner of the pie store and Sweeney Todd, man immersed in the vengeance and killing spree, think of a way to get rid of the body of the man he has just killed. As Todd sits down drinking gin, Lovett has a diabolical idea - using the meat from the body to make pies. They both start to sing and gaze through the window, looking for potential victims and thinking about how their meat would taste like. Then they both dance waltz, with Todd holding a chopper and Lovett with roller pin - the "tools" for their successful business. The scene is special because it is the moment in the movie that best shows the affection both people have for each other and their devotion to the cause - Todd to practicing his kills before he kills his enemy and Lovett in supporting Todd - with whom she is hopelessly in love with. Both willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Screaming Sunday: Ghost Ship

By s. Sunday, November 20, 2011 1 Comment so far
Sati's movie rating - 60/100
Plot: A salvage crew that discovers a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea soon notices, as they try to tow it back to land, that "strange things" happen...
The heroes: Crew lead by Julianna Margulies, who delivers pretty strong performance that is one of the highlights in otherwise average horror movie
The antagonists: Ghosts of the former passangers of the ship, including beautiful Francesca who tempts men to their doom.
Scare factor: 3/5 evil pumpkins - mostly jump scares
Gore factor:3/5 bloody Leatherfaces - fantastic and gory opening, disturbing and bloody images throughout the film
Best scene: Incredible opening sequence that sets the tone for entire movie.
What makes it so great?Great atmosphere, the prologue, Julianna Margulis and very young Emily Browning as the ghost who tries to help the crew avoid death.
Oh-oh something's not right line: "You must go at once. Leave the ship while you still can!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TRON: Legacy

By s. Saturday, November 19, 2011 , , , , , , , 1 Comment so far
90/100 (125 min, 2010)
Plot: The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's creation turned bad and a unique ally who was born inside the digital domain of The Grid.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Edward Kitsis (screenplay), Adam Horowitz (screenplay)
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde

Enter the game

I saw this movie because of Michael Sheen and Olivia Wilde, I was expecting dumb action movie with tons of unnecessary CGI. Instead I saw wonderful science fiction film, with meticulously executed universe, great performances and genuine adventure. I never saw first “Tron” movie, so I had a little bit of difficulty understanding the world of Tron but on the other hand I felt like Sam, experiencing this universe for the very first time. We don't know where to go, we don't know what is going on. We discover everything for the very first time.

The biggest asset of the film are visual effects and unique world of technology we are thrown into – I haven't seen something like this since the first “Matrix” movie. As much as I don't find the idea of human beings being sucked into cyber system were they can interact with computer programs very logical, once you buy it and just focus on watching the movie, you are going to have a great time doing that. CGI is one of the best I've ever seen – the creation of it took 68 weeks and apart from occasional fake looking younger version of Jeff Bridges everything is just mind blowing. It puts tacky looking “Avatar” to shame. From wonderful costumes with glowing stripes, through exciting disc wars to dark city under the reign of CLU, the film is just gorgeous. It's not tacky as most of action movies nowadays – the combination of black, white and glowing colors creates very elegant, minimalistic images.

Saoirse Ronan...

By s. , Be the first to comment! absolutely gorgeous! 
Here is one of the photographs of her in "Vogue" with slight color and contrast edits made by me:

Saturday TV Special: Nip / Tuck

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Plot: Dr Sean McNamara and Dr Christian Troy run a private practice - they are plastic surgeons in Miami, filled with people who are obsessed with perfection and physical beauty. Sean has a family - wife Julia and two kids, he is organized, professional and cares for his family. Christian on the other hand is a playboy, who has been in love with Julia for many years.
Structure: Each episode has the title taken from the main patent's name in the episode we are watching. Patients stories usually wrap up during one episode, but there are also people we see more than once. In addition, each season has big story arc, the most impressive being in season 3, were serial rapist, The Carver, terrorizes Miami.
Verdict:I remember watching this show years ago and now that I'm rewatching it, it still remains one of the boldest, sickest and most disturbing series ever to air on television.
What makes it so great? The amount of debauchery is overwhelming, the performances are amazing, we get to see inside look behind close doors during plastic surgeries and the music selection is amazing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Help

By s. Friday, November 18, 2011 , , , , , , , 2 Comments
94/100 (137 min, 2011)
Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer

"Write that down."

“The Help” is perhaps the most uplifting and moving film about civil rights since “Milk”. Unlike that movie, though, it doesn't show politics and big demonstrations – it shows a group of women who just by speaking the truth, with the addition of a lot of bravery and friendship, managed to make a difference. The protagonist is Skeeter, played by delightful Emma Stone – Skeeter is not like her friends – she doesn't care about finding husband and making babies. She wants to become a journalist. After seeing her whole life how badly black people are treated all around her, she decides to write a book showing the perspective of black maids working for rich, white people.

The first maid who helps her find out the truth is Aibileen – she has been raising other people's babies for most of her life, forced to drop out of school to help her family. Those babies loved her and she loved them – they were neglected by their parents – fathers who spent all their days at work and mothers who were too busy hosting parties and gossiping with their friends. Skeeter was practically raised by black maid as well – she was like a mother to her, being for her whenever Skeeter needed her.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Tale of Michael Fassbender and his many on-screen deaths.

By s. Thursday, November 17, 2011 , 4 Comments
Since my "Guide for Alan Rickman's movie partners" became the most popular post on the blog and I received such an overwhelming response - thank you so much for reading, commenting and especially - linking on various fansites and fanboards - I decided to continue writing humorous articles.

As I am a fan of many actors it usually pisses me off when their characters die - you know, you're watching "Kingdom of Heaven" because Michael Sheen is in it and then BANG he is dead in first 10 minutes. Since I'm not going to write about Sean Bean because he is too obvious of a choice - seriously, does his character ever survive the movie he is in? - I was going to write about Christian Bale, remembering his death scene in "Harsh Times" that amused me to no end. And then I started listing all his movies and suddenly I saw 4 letters I keep seeing since February - FASS. Seriously I'm beginning to think that without the ability to spank Keira Knightley's ass or influencing metal with your mind all Fassy's characters are doomed.
I will survive!

Public Enemies

By s. , , , , , , , , 1 Comment so far
44/100 (140 min, 2009)
Plot: The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.
Director: Michael Mann
Writers: Ronan Bennett (screenplay), Michael Mann (screenplay),
Stars: Christian Bale, Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard

 The case of missing script

I remember when back in 2009 I went  to see "Angels and Demons" and "Terminator Salvation" with no expectations and I left the cinema amazed because they turned out to be decent and quite entertaining pictures. Before watching "Public Enemies" for the first time I had very high expectations and when I left the theatre I felt like someone had crashed them completely. Now that I saw the movie for a second time it turns out that it doesn't get any better or worse - it's simply a very forgettable movie and horribly wasted opportunity.

I am disappointed because, as most people, I loved Michael Mann's "Heat" were Al Pacino and Robert Deniro had terrific showdown. The only scene they have together in this movie was powerful and filled with such tension everyone who saw the movie was amazed and years after its release, they are still naming it one of the best sequences in the history of cinema. When I heard that Johnny Depp, fine actor who is not bad to look at and Christian Bale, for whom I'd probably give up my own kidney share just one scene in that film I thought "wow this is going to be exciting!". It wasn't. It was one of the dullest scene of their careers, actually and the point where I begin to wonder whether or not watching this movie is actually worth of my time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soundtrack Wednesday - The Road

By s. Wednesday, November 16, 2011 , , , 1 Comment so far
Song: Memory
Artist: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Movie: The Road

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scene of the Week: Atonement

By s. Monday, November 14, 2011 , , 5 Comments
directed by Joe Wright

The scene: In a culmination to Briony's atonement she visits her sister, Cee and her boyfriend Robbie, whom she falsely accused of rape many years ago. Briony talks to Cee and Robbie passes her by, without recognizing her. Briony looks over to another room and sees disheveled sheets on the bed, suggesting passion between Cee and Robbie, Briony will never know because of the set of events she put in motion and the consequences for her conscience. After Robbie realizes who she is he yells at her asking her if she realizes what war is and what horrors he saw there, all because of what she did. As he launches on her in fury, Cee comes between them and gently asks Robbie to come back to her, bringing him right into state of peace just by her own proximity. Shocked and scared Briony gazes through window and sees old, lonely woman. Her own future.

A Streetcar Named Desire

By s. , , , , , , 2 Comments
90/100 (1951, 122 min)
Plot: Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.
Director: Elia Kazan
Writers: Tennessee Williams (original play "A Streetcar Named Desire"), Oscar Saul (adaptation)
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter

The breaking of Blanche

"Throughout her possession by that uncannily evil monster, manic depression, with its deadly ever-tightening spirals, she retained her own individual canniness – an ability to disguise her true mental condition from almost all except me, for whom she could hardly be expected to take the trouble."
- Laurence Olivier, talking about his marriage to Vivien Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder.

"A Streetcar Named Desire" is a dream material for any actress - the role of Blanche Dubois was played among others by Jessica Lange, Cate Blanchett and in the most famous rendition - Vivien Leigh. But the movie is known the most perhaps not because of the rain of awards it got and the fact that to this day along with "Network" remains the only movie to win three Academy Awards for its actors, but because of Marlon Brando's performance as Stanley Kowalski, brutal and simple man who collides with highly disturbed and fragile Blanche Dubois, his wife's sister.

The story is set in New Orleans and it begins as Blanche exits the streetcar with the name "desire". Blanche seems very off, detached from reality, speaking in beautiful words, talking almost as if she was reciting poems, opening her eyes wide and appearing very fragile from the first seconds of the film - she looks like a fairytale princess that was punished to descent into horrible and dirty reality. From the very first moments delicate and sophisticated Blanche and Stanley collide - upon meeting her he unceremoniously takes off his shirt and parades around apartment to Blanche's shock and amazement. When one of Stanley's friends, Mitch, starts falling for Blanche and her sister takes her side and begins to push Stanley away, the things between troubled Blanche and Stanley will take turn for the worse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Screaming Sunday: What Lies Beneath

By s. Sunday, November 13, 2011 , , Be the first to comment!
Sati's movie rating - 86/100
Plot: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she's losing her mind.
The heroes: Beautiful Michelle Pffeifer as Claire, whose daugther leaves for college, husband Norman (Harrison Ford) works a lot and is hardly there for her, a new neighbor (Miranda Ottto) seems to have serious marriage problems that cause her to cry in the backyard which leads Claire to believe that her husband is a bad man... and there's a ghost in the house.
The antagonists: Ghost who seems to like bathroom the most out of all the rooms in the house
Scare factor: 4/5 evil pumpkins - many jump scares and intense, creepy and stylish atmosphere.
Gore factor:1/5 bloody Leatherface
- few corpses, nothing too graphic
What makes it so great? The movie was intentionally made as a homage to Hitchcock - only Hitchcock who would have access to new technology. The editing and cinematography are both very classic and minimalistic but also extremely innovative. The performances by Pfeiffer and Ford are strong and convincing and the score is eerie and accompanies frighting images well.
Best scene: The bath tub scene which did to them what "Psycho" did to the showers.