Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Movie No. 81 (2016): HITCHCOCK

Hitchcock (2012)
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren

The movie exhibits that phase of Alfred Hitchcock's life when he was filming one of his masterpieces, Psycho. It includes in the script the side stories involving his wife and his actors. 

Let me mention the best and not so good parts of the movie. The make-up has really transformed Anthony Hopkins into Hitchcock. But. I'm not totally in awe when Anthony Hopkins tries to ape Hitchcock. In some scenes, I can see Hitchcock in him. In most scenes, however, Anthony Hopkins desperately struggle to sound like Hitchcock. Helen Mirren is good although I know nothing about the character she's portraying. 

Is the movie bad? No. But, I can't decide if it's worth my time. 

I saw the movie on plane, en route to Malaysia. 

Rating: 3.0/4.0

Date seen: November 30, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Movie No. 80 (2016): TRAIN TO BUSAN

Train To Busan (2016)
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Cast: Yoo Gong, Yumi Jung, Dong-seok Ma
In Korean, with English subtitles

A lot of movie fans and enthusiasts went gaga over the Train To Busan. It was immensely popular. people were exchanging anecdotes on how they screamed and how they were thrilled inside the theater.

Now it's my turn.

Is the movie the best of the genre?

No. But, it's definitely one of the best films of the genre that I've seen. Yes, I have my share of gasping for air and screaming. The thrill is non-stop. And it ends differently, much different from the formulaic Hollywood ending. I have to be reminded that this is a Korean film. It has been executed and it ended the Korean way. which I like. The script is not flawless, but the editing is something to note.

Rating: 4.0/4.0

Date seen: November 20, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Movie No. 79 (2016): THE JUNGLE BOOK

The Jungle Book (2016)
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Neel Sethi and the voices of Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, Giancarlo Espsito, Idris Elba

This year's The Jungle Book reimagines the 1967 classic animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's books. This time, the movie uses live action despite that only the Mowgli character and his father are played by real actors. The animal characters are, of course, computer generated, but made alive by the actors' voices. This is that kind of movie whose use of special effects are really necessary for a fluid narrative flow. 

The movie effectively takes the audience with Mowgli's journey of self-discovery as he encounters his adoptive wolf family, a panther for a guardian, a traitorous anaconda, the elephants, a lazy but lovable bear, a Captain Kurtz-like ape king, and an vindictive tiger. The narrative is straightforward. The movie is engrossing and effectively entertaining.

Rating: 4.0/4.0
Date seen: November 7, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Movie No. 78 (2016): COMPLETE UNKNOWN

Complete Unknown (2016)
Director: Joshua Marston
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover

The first few minutes, showing Rachel Weisz in different characters (doctor, magician's assistant, hippie scientist, etc.), is interesting, making me expect a satisfying thriller. However, after the intriguing opening sequence through the waning minutes of the movie, everything but Rachel Weisz's performance seems to dilute my initial excitement. I don't totally dislike the movie, but I'm disappointed seeing four great actors in a movie that's underwhelming.

Rating: 2.5/4.0

Date seen: November 6, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Movie No. 77 (2016): IN THE BEDROOM

In The Bedroom (2001)
Director: Todd Field
Cast: Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei, Nick Stahl

Great movies demand multiple viewings. This is second time to have seen it. The first time was in 2002. Now, fourteen years after, certain images from the movie still stay with me. So, I have to see it again. This recent viewing gives me more reason to like the movie. Indeed, it is a great movie.

In The Bedroom is one of those movies that examine grief without resorting to ridiculous melodrama. Maybe, it takes great actors (Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei) to portray the calculated depth required for their respective characters. The narrative flow is sublime.

Rating: 4.0/4.0
Date seen: November 5, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Movie No. 76 (2016): BLEAK NIGHT

Bleak Night (2010)
Director: Yoon Sung-hyun
Cast: Lee Je-hoon, Park Jung-min, Seo Jun-young, Jo Sung-ha
In Korean, with English subtitles

Like the father who is mystified about his estranged son's suicide, we need answers. The father reaches out to the two best friends - one moved to another school a few weeks before the tragedy, the other didn't attend the wake. Through flashbacks  and points of view of the best friends we only get glimpses of what could have triggered the suicide. There are things they can't share to the grieving father. This takes us to the sad and turbulent relationship of the three friends. We easily get involved because we know, these things happen to boys of their age, usually under the nose of their parents.

Everything in this movie is bleak. The story is bleak. The cinematography is bleak. Even the milieu is bleak. This is how it's supposed to be. It's bleak, but remarkable. I don't know how to write a review that justifies how great the movie is. The actor who played Ki-Tae, the high school bully who committed suicide, captures all the necessary nuances of the character. I can;t imagine any other actor who can effortlessly play Ki-Tae.

This is one of the most remarkable movies I've seen so far.

Rating: 4.0/4.0

Date seen: November 1, 2016