Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Nightcrawler

When Lou Bloom, a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran. 



Nightcrawler is written and directed by Dan Gilroy, it stars  Jake Gyllenhaal. A lot of people were buzzing about this movie and Jake Gyllenhaal's performance, then I read things about the screenplay and that is mainly why I was really looking forward to this film. Firstly, Jake Gyllenhaal gives probably the best performance of his entire career. He has blew my mind  earlier this year in Enemy and he's elevating the acting level one more time. Gyllenhaal is fantastic because he manages to make you forgive who he is and what he has done before: he embodies perfectly this character. His performance is honestly worth an Oscar nomination alongside with Matthew McConaughey as he has as well did such good choices in the last years with Zodiac and Prisoners for instance. Secondly, the screenplay is a real masterpiece; you cannot stop focusing on the dialogue scenes and the fact that the character is becoming this obsessed guy trying to capture the perfect crime on film and making money doing so by selling it to news channel. As you watch him and his obsession you can actually see his evolution, him turning into this psychopath. It's really interesting as you are trying to figure out how his brain is working, what he is thinking, you're even starting to root for him and want him to succeed even if he's the protagonist and the villain of his own movie, Bill Paxton's character is likable next to him. In fact, he's not the most likable guy ever but he intrigues you, you want to know where he goes, see how he gets to the next step and how he optimizes everything. Moreover, Nightcrawler is a very good looking movie. But the main point here, is the understandability of his obsession as you know where he's coming from and little by little you understand him as a person. It makes you questioned yourself and it made me crazy. That is also why his performance works so well and why the screenplay is so good, it focusses entirely on characters. Finally, this movie has also the most suspenseful finale I've seen all year; the last 20 minutes are absolutely brilliant.     


Overall Nightcrawler is an interesting and intense character based movie evolving around the underworld of the news, with a brilliant performance by Jake Gyllenhaal.  

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to district 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.



Producers are making money with the saga so why not split one book into two movies? Twilight did it, Harry Potter did it and The Hunger Games is doing it as well. I am not a huge fan of the first Hunger Games movie, but I loved Catching Fire. It was a very smooth and well directed movie by Francis Lawrence; who is taking over once again for MockingJay. At the end of Catching Fire you were literally burning to see Katniss and everyone go against the Capitol and kill them all. Actually I was pumped to see what will happen. Unfortunately, MockingJay Part 1 is just an extended trailer for Part 2, nothing interesting and relevant happen until the last 20 minutes of the movie. They are trying to stretch the events of one book into several movies but the thing is that even the tiny details are not that interesting and exciting to watch. This film deals with how you run a rebellion against an evil empire, giving endless political and motivational speeches, this on purpose to be filmed for propaganda. It's not enough to keep the viewers check in through the whole run time of the film. However, I liked the fact that this film takes The Hunger Games to another level as you have to think things through all this propaganda and point of views, the political intrigue is good. It approaches the story and The Hunger Games world from another angle, different from the first two movies. Nonetheless,  the shaky cam is back from the first movie and there is not much action aside this trailer scene where Katniss is shooting an arrow to a jet. Jennifer Lawrence is obviously a fantastic actress and gives a great performance once again but coming back to the first movie I don't see how Katniss' character grows, matures and learns anything. She is the exact same character she was in the last one and the one before. Consequently you don't get to catch the interest of the viewers with a main character, this added to a movie where nothing really happen, the viewers are checked out pretty quickly. In fact, all the performances are very good, the drama is very well done but the characters who are actually interesting don't get to do anything beside sitting around, talking and give speeches. For instance there is a really tense scene in which Gale, starring Liam Hemsworth, explains how District 12 has been destroyed and how he could have done something more to help people to survive. This scene is also dealing with his relationship with Katniss, and you get to see that Gale's character is really deep and interesting but in reality you don't care about him that much. Finally, in the last 20 minutes of the film I was relieved to watch the proper movie beginning and building tension for the big finale, but then, it ends.


Overall, MockingJay Part 1 is a well directed and good looking movie filled with potentially awesome things that never really reach the proper core of the film, nothing really mesmerising happen throughout the run time.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Drop

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.



The Drop is directed by Michael R.Roskam and stars James Gandolfini, Tom hardy and Noomi Rapace. I was really waiting for this movie to come out as I love Tom Hardy's work and it's unfortunately James Gandolfini last role. They are both fantastic in this movie. When you begin to realize where the story is heading and where the characters are going, at that moment you understand how brilliant this film is; even more when the movie is composing with a lot of talking scenes building the characters. Indeed the movie is taking its time with characters but there are good chemistry between the couples, wether it's between Gandolfini and Hardy or Hardy and Noomi Rapace, they all work well together. However, the movie is really long to set up the main plots. Some scenes may be unnecessary. The tension is actually picking up in the middle of the second act and when it does Tom Hardy is really stealing the movie, he literally explodes, I am impressed. 


Overall The Drop is good looking movie with vibrant colors and nice cinematography, excellent performances and a very special script.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Interstellar

A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. 



Interstellar is directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Matthew MacConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Casey Affleck among many others. Sometimes heartbreaking, time thrilling and occasionally a little complicated this film balances between themes such as black holes, theory of relativity, gravity, to the power of love and family bound. This is a very interesting movie and it may be Christopher Nolan's most ambitious work. Nolan has the ability to create beyond impressive worlds; whether it's in the vastest of space or the devastation of a small town. This film has some amazingly beautiful space imagery. The CGI is unbelievable, you barely even notice, it becomes part of the movie. Plus Hans Zimmer new score is once again brilliant, even a bit creepy. It makes you feel the intensity of the scenes with this huge organic music, just when you have to experience the right emotions. Interstellar is also a family drama made all the better by its cast. Among all the visuals Matthew MacConaughey is the anchor of the movie back down to earth and up in space. He's the father force who makes impossibly tough choice. 


He continues to impress me as an actor, he's been doing amazing work lately and this one is probably one of his best performance yet. He's terrific! I'm even tempted to write that his performance is PERFECT. It should probably get him a nomination. Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain are both extremely effective as daughters left behind; and the rest of the supporting cast is also remarkably good. There's is these funny robots as well that I  did not expect at all. However, this movie is not perfect. It has some flaws, the script has some issues and some narrative structure problems. If there was not this father/daughter story, the movie would just be an epic space Odyssey with brilliant visuals. The story does not have a perfect flow, the space is changing, still I did not feel the almost three hours running time. Indeed, the last act is actually my favourite part and you can clearly feel that it's detached from the whole movie. This critic might be unusual coming from me because as you may have noticed from previous reviews: I like perfectly raped up endings. Nonetheless this ending seems too perfectly raped up. I was prepared for something like Inception, for an end with an emotional core a little more pronounced; the last ten minutes are too much. Finally, I feel like everyone will be disappointed as fans were waiting for another 2001: A Space Odyssey but it's really not. Nolan might be overreaching in what he had in mind for this movie. Some ideas work very well, some others don't really quite all translate to the screen. 


Overall Interstellar is an ambitious, very interesting and meticulously well directed film; with very good performances from all the cast. I loved the family drama dynamic, the space visuals and the relativity theory. On the other hand the narrative structure feels a little broken sometimes.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chef

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. 


Chef is written, directed by and starring Jon Favreau, along with a whole bunch of very talented people such as: John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Scarlet Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt and Robert Downey Jr. Do you like food? Because food looks very good in this movie. It's a good movie, not only because I have an interest in cooking. I do love food and always liked to cook thanks to my mum mainly. It's a great comedy with what everyone calls "food-porn" and very good music. Chef displays people who really know what they're doing in a kitchen. It has an awesome way to make you feel as if you were in the kitchen, showing you what it's like to go to different places on this food truck, to experience different cultures, different music and of course the food. Plus, characters seem so real. Jon Favreau did an incredible job at capturing characters, dialogues, situations and scenes that did not feel set up or fake. In fact, dialogue flaws as if you were watching a documentary. The relationship between Favreau's character  and his son is very sweet and endearing. He also really surprised me as an actor, it's by far his best performance, he was simply great. John Laguizamo does a good job as a supporting character he ads a lot of comedy to the movie. Finally, people that Favreau brings from Iron Man movies were pretty good in their scenes as well. 


Overall Chef feels really good with awesome food that just make your mouth watering. Advice: go see it with a full stomach! Maybe the best film evolving around cooks that I've seen in a long time.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Giver

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world. 



The Giver is directed by Philip Noyce and stars Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites and Meryl Streep. It's based on a popular book written by Lois Lowry. Firstly the trailer doesn't do any justice to the movie. It's an interesting movie with a lot portion of captivating scenes. This film kept me captivated on characters and what was going on. The first act is a little bit boring though, as every character has no emotion and no singularity. Except for Jeff Bridges' character. In fact, the scenes where young Jonas visits the giver and they learn about the past are when the film really picked up and has actually some really beautiful themes going throughout. Though those themes are very heavy headed regards to biblical messages, apples, trees and search for knowledge whether you're trying to figure out what sin is or evil. However, Brenton Thwaites is an interesting young talent and very good in this film. Jeff Bridges is also fantastic, you can really tell that he is invested heart and soul in this project. He's the only character we can imagine a past life. Those type of movie characters are very interesting as you have to try to imagine their life beyond the movie. Still Meryl Streep doesn't ad much to the movie.  


Overall The Giver has some interesting themes but it's hard to keep the attention of the audience with aggressively boring character for the most part.   

The November Man

An ex-CIA operative is brought in on a very personal mission and finds himself pitted against his former pupil in a deadly game involving high level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect. 



The November Man is directed by Roger Donaldson and stars Pierce Brosnan as its title character. Roger Donaldson also directed The Bank Job (2008) which is one of Jason Statham' best movie. Let me tell you how excited I was when I heard that Pierce Brosnan was returning as a spy; A little bit nostalgic. This film is full of classic spy cliché such as, for instance, people walking away slow motion explosions and it doesn't seem to get started until half way through. However towards the third act the movie really showed itself and I was like: "Why didn't they do that from the beginning?" Unfortunately, the fact is that it's so terribly cliché since the beginning that when you see where things are going and certain puzzle pieces start to make sense, you are already checked out of the movie. Yet, Pierce Brosnan is great; he could play this role eyes closed. Olga Kurylenko is good as well, you grow some sympathy for her character and the movie takes on a completely different meaning when you realised certain things about her. Plus, I have to point out that women are over objectify and her character is only introduced when it's convenient for the man to have a bargaining girl which isn't as cool as it sounds. Brosnan's protegee starring Luke Bracey is pretty cool as well and I think this guy's got a future. This movie reminds me of two other movies released this years: 3 Days to Kill and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  


Overall I think The November Man could have been a lot better thanks to a stronger writing and directing; it's good to see Pierce Brosnan back into the spy game.