Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie No. 126 (2013): MUSIC BOX

Music Box (1989)
Director: Costa Gavras
Cast: Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller Stahl

In one of her Academy Award-nominated performances, Jessica Lange portrays a young and ambitious Chicago lawyer who chooses to defend her father against allegations of crime against humanity during the Holocaust. 

Most of the scenes are in courtroom. Seeing the film, I was expecting boiling confrontations that would have been an awesome highlight of the film. But there were none. Most of the scenes were subtle but not without the perceived tension that the characters would keep to themselves. On a complete turnaround I would say, the film doesn't need those heated confrontations because Costa Gavra's direction is near fluid. It's easy to like the film.

Rating: 3.5/4.0

Date seen: June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Movie No. 125 (2013): MAN OF STEEL

Man of Steel (2013)
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane

The movie is a re-imagining of what and how things were before Clark Kent's career in Daily Planet. The film re-imagines the threat of destruction to the planet Krypton, General Zod's committing treason in search of the Codex (which supposedly could save their people), Jor-El's sending the their natural-born son (Kal-El) to a faraway planet (which is the Earth), Clark Kent's adoptive parents raising him in a way that he will not use his 'alien' capabilities, Kal-El's discovering his roots, the meeting of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and eventually the fantastic confrontation between General Zod and the now-adult Kal-El (Clark Kent) when the former finally tracks the later. 

There are some flash of genius in this re-imagination, particularly the use of non-linear editing to give the audience a glimpse of Kal-El's adolescence. However, I'm not quite convinced of the need to re-tell the story of Clark Kent as Superman. It's as if the 10 seasons of TV's Smallville and the movies in the classic franchise were not enough. 

I agree that this movie is technically more superior than any of the films in the Superman franchise made before this. But the fight scenes, particularly the ones between Kal-El and General Zod, are too long that it actually bored me. In fact it had soporific effect on me. In my book, once the point of the scene has been made clear, it should be cut at some point. But, of course, this is an action movie and I'm quite convinced that such scenes were practically justification of it's showing on IMAX.

Rating: 2.5/4.0

Date seen: June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Movie No. 124 (2013): ABRE LOS OJOS

Abre Los Ojos (a.k.a. Open Your Eyes) (1999)
Director: Alejandro Amenabar
Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Penelope Cruz
In Spanish, with English subtitles

Reality and the imagined (or dream) are distorted in this psychological drama about a wealthy and handsome man (Cesar) whose face got disfigured in a car accident deliberately caused by a jilted former lover. This happens at that time when he supposedly finds the girl that's right for him. The movie spends most of its running time in the aftermath of the accident, when Cesar's ugly self seems to have manifested in his (now) ugly face. 

I like the film despite some minor inconsistencies (and incoherence) in the script. At the time it was released it looked like a fresh idea so that Hollywood had it remade (as Vanilla Sky). Critics was so 'generous' in lambasting the remake that I didn't feel the urgency to see it. I haven't seen it until now.

Rating: 3.5/4.0

Date seen: June 12, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Movie No. 123 (2013): TYRANNOSAUR

Tyrannosaur (2011)
Director: Paddy Considine
Cast: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman

Two people find each other. One is a self-destructive man, whose temperament almost always lead him to commit violence and rage. The other is a charity shop worker who has her own troubles. He sees her as his guardian angel. She hopes that he is her savior.

This violence-filled character study stands out because the actors committed performances are believable and outstanding. Actor Paddy Considine, a first-time director in this film, puts to use in an excellent way the facial features of the lead actors so that the audience will see through their faces their broken soul. 

Rating: 3.5/4.0

Date seem: June 5, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Movie No. 122 (2013): 50/50

50/50 (2011)
Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Anjelica Huston

I'm quite surprised with the way the movie is presented. A movie whose topic is about a 27-year-old whose cancer has been diagnosed when everything seems to fall into place can be annoyingly melodramatic or, worse, a manipulative tearjerker. But the movie takes it lightly. with some unexpected humor, without downplaying the seriousness of of the disease and its effect on his dealings with family, friends, and himself. The characters are endearing and interesting. First, there's the sick man (Adam) who never drives. Then his best friend who will do everything for him. Then there's the panicky mother. Finally, there's the inexperienced psychotherapist who's been assigned to him. Overall, it's a delight to see the film.

Rating: 3.5/4.0

Date seen: June 3, 2013