Nov 30, 2011

November recap

This past month has been very interesting, as I had the pleasure of experiencing different cultural activities- some for the first time, some not, but still wonderful! That, mixed with hard work for the media course I am taking, I can call it a full month! But still, my movie count is embarrasingly low, and yet again, I will promise to work harder in December- I will have the time for it!

So here is what I did this November! Let the counting begin!

Firsts: RHCP concert-a dream came true, it was fantastic and did not dissapoint; musical (Mamma Mia); Chinatown all-you-can-eat buffet-- random, I know, but still great

Movies: Thin Red Line, Passion of Christ, V for Vendetta, Melancholia, Persona, Capote, Infamous, Chicago, The Help, Breaking Dawn, Remember me, Warrior, My week with Marilyn

Documentaries: Life in a Day

Books: 2 (no classics, nothing interesting) P.S. I am planning to attack Les Miserables during Christmas break, wish me luck!

TV shows: finished 2 seasons of Friday Night Lights and watched a bunch of new episodes of different shows

Concerts: 2- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
                 - Emil Kusturica and the No Smoking Band

Musical: Mamma Mia

And I couldn't end without some special mentions for posts and articles

Charles Taylor wrote a very interesting article about film criticism in the Dissent Magazine

Andy's epic post on Thin Red Line vs Saving Private Ryan- wonderful analysis of both movies

A beginner's guide to Ingmar Bergman, courtesy of Tyler

Alex gives a beautiful, moving review to Hugo

Very interesting post about the Blogger Syndrome -courtesy of Ticker Talks Film

Scott talks about his big weekend and 3 great films

Being Norma Jeans had a grea recap of this years' best posters

Movienut14 is one of my favourite persons on Twitter, but her blog is even better. She recently wrote about a film I have been dying to see for the last year

Max has a great website, not only of reviews, but film news and trailers. I always check it and you should, too. The descendants review is great, as usual

Ruth from Flix Chatter is as confused as I was when I saw Tree of Life

December is going to be a good month- more time to watch movies, finally going home for Christmas, plus some great posts I have planned for the blog, the first one dropping tomorrow! Thank you! Stay tunned!

p.s 3 months of blogging- you know what that means, right? LAMB, get ready for my application!

Nov 28, 2011

Just in case you haven't, you should...

..check out this movies!

Both are freshly taken from the movie jar, as I have seen them a long time ago, but I just wanted to remind you of some great films!  I am curious to see which one you like!

Boogie Nights

5 minutes in and I already recognize 98% of the cast: Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, John C.Reilly, William Macy.,Don Cheadle and, of course Mark Whalberg. The sweet, chilled out, respectful, dorky haircut Mark Whalberg...and then he takes his clothes off and I’m already in love with this movie (hey, don’t judge, i’m a girl, he’s hot, what can I do?).

He shows off his acting chops right from the beginning, starting with the loud and brutal discussion he has with his mother, and then decides to change his life. Oh, and what a life he is going to have...for about 5 years....and then things go down.

I have got to mention some random characters that I just loved and giggled over. Don Cheadle as a very loveale, confused guy, always changing his style. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as an unrecognizable very sweet, cool and gentle gay guy. Julianne Moore as the motherly type to all the misfits in the house.

Seeing this movie you get everything: cool music, attrative guys and girls, sex scenes, OMG moments (the first movie Dirk shot, the 80s new years eve party), action. I enjoyed this movie and I think you will, too!

And in the end, they finally showed us what the big deal was all about! J

American Beauty
Listen up, all you folks who like to make To-See movie lists.

Add American Beauty to your list right now, if you haven't seen it! Reasons? Well, let’s see:  great performances from Kevin Spacey, Wes Bentley or Tory Burch, the story is simple, yet very intriguing in some parts, you will get some OMG moments, the direction is amazing and stands out in so many ways (the way it was shot, the angles- it's Sam Mendes in all its glory) and it did win some awards in his days! Try it!

I am sure most of you have seen these films, so which one do you like most? Why?

Nov 27, 2011

Life in a Day[2011]

Life in a Day is a wonderful documentary about humans, about life, about love and loss and fear. Youtube and the Scott brothers asked the world to document one day, the 24th of July 2010 and then send the videos. After 80.000 submissions, 4.500 hours of footage was obtained from 190 countries all around the world and made into a 90 minutes documentary.

It basically takes you through normal day to day activities and occurances: breakfast, work, babies, love, relationships and so on!

Random moments that I loved: "between 3 am and 4am the veil between the this world and the next is the thinnest"; people going to work before sunrise; "alpha male traped in"; the rooster singing; the cute wake-up faces; people peeing; first shave; babies; the man who travels around the world; the woman with the chicken bag and canadian flag; the guy with the Lamborgini; "But we are still alive"; the slaughtering; "I actually love my refrigerator, it's such a cool place"; 4 men on a bycicle; jumping in the pool; the woman flying etc etc.

Two special mentions: 1. there is a scene where a guy is in a subway and films a girl in the next compartment reading; she looks up, he shies away, with camera down- a lovely moment! 2. kid in the pool: "I fear growing up"- oh, you are so right, kiddo!

They end the documentary with a testimonial from a normal girl, with a normal life, who wants more, who wants to feel part of something! Don't we all want the same?

90 minutes of footage showing us life as it happens in every part of the world- same feelings, same relationships, same fears. What do we all have in common? We all try to live our lives the best way we can and survive another day! Wonderful!

Did you see it? Any other documentary recommendations for me? I am intrigued!

Nov 23, 2011

The Help[2011]

The Help is a wonderful story of a young woman who decides to write the story from the help's perspective during the civil rights movement in the 1960s Mississippi.

Before seeing it, I heard some great things about the cast, but that's it; most of male bloggers didn't particularly enjoyed. After the two and a half hours, I can understand it, as it has a more feminist aproach to it.As you can imagine, I loved the movie; I thought it had everything: amazing performances, beautiful sets and costumes, entertaining story, but with an emotional aspect to it, and a great ending.

The female characters are very well built and the performances are just spectacular, especially Viola Davis as Aibileen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook- they were the two standouts for me, who carried out this sad, but true story, in a beautiful, affectionate, yet powerful way. Emma Stone has a slightly different role then usual, but she delivers;  Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote is a pleasant surprise and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson is adorable and she will probably receive a Supporting actress nomination.

The movie is not action oriented, it does not have a fast pace- what you get is an analysis of this particular situation in Mississippi; you see and understand what was it like for coloured women in the 1960s to work in an environment full of people like Hilly Hilbrook. You will encounter sad stories, you will have your share of fun (Minny's famous pie), even some romance (hello, Chris Lowell), and you will love the characters.

It had a little bit of everything and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The ladies will love it, the men...well, I guess they can appreciate the performances! You should check it out- I think the Golden Globes&co will hand out some nominations for it!

Nov 21, 2011

Double post: Margin call&Let me in

Margin Call

Margin Call premiered last winter in Sundance, but is suddenly gaining momentum during awards season and is apparently aiming for some of them, mostly in the acting department; and they should, because it delivers big time.

I would call this movie a performance one. The actors feel like giants in a world of finance, and you barely notice the other details- music, direction, sets, script- nothing, just them. Everyone, from Zachary Quinto and Penn Badgely (the newbies) to Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey, is perfect and play the part in a realistic, no bullshit way. The last two stand out and are in the race for supporting nods, which they rightly deserve. Special mention to Paul Bettany who is great, not amazing, in this movie, but I love him to death, he is one of my favourites.

All in all, an enjoyable movie that you should give it a try!

Let me in

Let me in is a remake after a Swedish film, about a young boy who starts an unlikely friendship with a young  female vampire.

I especially liked the two leads, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz. There is just something special about him; maybe it's his face, his fizonomy and gestures, his awkwardness, but I think he will grow up to be a very good actor. Owen, the character, is sweet, smart, but lonely and missunderstood. That is when Chloe Moretz's character comes in and develops the strange friendship. Their conversations are slow and  sweet, but what else can you expect from 12 year olds? I love the scene when he asks, without actually knowing what it means "will you go steady with me?".

I can't really say the horror element has there, as I wasn't scared in any moment, but it had some dark moments. Over all, it is a good movie, although it wasn't mind-blowing.

Nov 18, 2011

Fridays are the best: Hard Candy[2005]

I saw Hard Candy about 6 months ago(or even more) and had to write something down immediately after, so here is my "review" from back then! Fresh out from the movie jar! :)

Hard Candy is one of the best, weirdest, fascinating movies I have ever seen! It really had an impact the first time I watched it!

Let’s start with the beginning. The first 10 minutes I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing: the conversation, the situation, all were so wrong and sick, but I couldn’t stop being fascinated by it. It was thrilling and interesting.  Although the discussion between the two characters seemed so natural and normal, the words and the flirtation was hard to digest.

Once they arrive at the house, that’s when things get real. The level of craziness and the guts that Ellen Page pulled off for this part is stunning. It started off kinda of weak, not very credible, but after 5 minutes you could tell she got into character. Patrick Wilson is absolutely perfect...his acting is flawless and not for a second did I believe he was an actor.

Their interaction was very well written and interpreted: both trying to overanalyze each other. I liked the fact that she knew exactly what to say and do to trigger him, to get his attention and to make him react. For a minute there, during one scene, you think „Oh, Jeff figured her out, that’s who she is”, but in a second she transforms and shows how sick she really is!

I could go on and on about this movie, but I will just say that it is bold, smart, weird but fascinating! You should definately see it!

Nov 16, 2011

Kramer vs Kramer

Kramer vs Kramer is a very good movie. Behind the great acting performances, the direction, the cinematograpy, the music etc, there lies an important story, beautifully told, that raises up questions, it makes you think, it moves you and it makes you analyze the life we live in. I loved Ted’s testimony, when he said something like “Why are women automatically thought to be better parents then the men?”, just summarising the film in one line and raising an important issue to be discussed in America. He argues that he loves his son very much, but also agrees that it was his fault that their marriage had fallen apart. He grows so much during the development of the story that you start understanding him and rooting for him and his son.

Actually, I never really knew or fully understood that Dustin Hoffman was such an amazing actor until this movie. As far as technique, movement, expression, seriousness, he is perfect, just perfect. And in the part of a father trying to raise his 6 year son, he rightfully deserved his Oscar, because his interpretation was that good, that I believed and felt everything he said and done.  Merryl Streep, as amazingly talented and beautiful she is, in the movie, for me, at least, was pretty good, as well, but not in the same level as Hoffman.

It’s a classic and you should watch it! I enjoyed it! 

What do you usually like or what does it interest you most in a movie? The plot development or the character one? 

Nov 14, 2011

Passion of Christ[2004]

Where do I begin talking about this film? It is about religion, about the story of Jesus Christ and what he went through. It is directed by Mel Gibson and it stars James Caviezel, Monica Belluci, Maia Morgenstern and others. It is a very special film.

Mel Gibson decided to write, produce and direct a movie about a delicate subject! How can you properly explain this story in motion picture without being too Hollywood or exagerated in some parts? You can't, because you don't actually know what happened, you have only the Bible to guide you. It had its flaws, I am sure some hated it and at certain times the violence was too much, but you can't not be touched by it, by the way it was portrayed.

Religion is not something I talk about because I do not consider myself a religious person, but I can say about me that when something moves me, when I can relate or feel or understand the emotions it is trying to transmit, it can have a great impact over me. I cried during Passion of Christ two times: first, when Mary gets close to Jesus in his way to the crucification point, after John takes her there, and the second time, when he arrives and they pint him to the cross. It is one of the most disturbing, moving scenes I have ever seen. Sometimes I wonder: am I that easy to manipulate? am I weak? I hope I am not, because that scene should raise some emotions in everyone's heart.

I don't want to get into details and say Mel Gibson didn't follow the exact Testament or that he got something wrong, after all it is a movie. I found it interesting, but appropriate, that he used the original language for it- that must have been an extra point of pressure for the actors. If we should start discussing and disecting this movie, it would take ages and this is not a place for it- I don't think we have enough knowledge or wisdom to do it!

What we can do is enjoy a great movie and be impressed by its actors. James Caviezel is fantastic- I can't even begin to imagine the pressure of the role and how demanding it must have been to play that part. Just think about the emotional conection and the pain he had to portray for it; I respect him just for that, just for trying. Sure, it wasn't perfect, sometimes it looked overacted, by I understand him.

Another amazing performance is Mary, played by Maia Morgenstern. Now, I can proudly say that this wonderful woman is a known and loved Romanian actress and I had the chance to meet her at a local event. She is so elegant, kind and inspiring and has a special aura about her that attracts people. I thought she delivered a great performance.

Now it's time to see what IMDb has to say!The Oscars nominated it just for Make-up and Sound?Really?Why?I mean, why not acknowledge the passion and commitment of James Caviezel, if not Maia Morgenstern? Is it because of Mel Gibson?

Anyway, as you can see, I was touched by it and I loved it!

Did you see it?What did it do for you?

Nov 11, 2011

Capote vs Infamous

Capote and Infamous, two wonderful films about Truman Capote and his process of writing In Cold Blood, were released very close one to another, in 2005 and 2006. The first was based on the book of Gerald Clarke, the second on George Plimpton's novel. Capote had Philip Seymour Hoffman(PSH) playing Truman Capote, while Infamous casted Toby Jones(TJ). Harper Lee, an important character and friend to the author was portrayed by both Catherine Keener and Sandra Bullock. Although the story and the main ideas of the film are almost identical, the movies are different in many ways.

First of all, Infamous is visibly more colourful, with a larger array of characters, more celebrities, full of life, extravagant, noisy, vibrant in many ways. The film is lighter and shows the relationship between the novelist and the prisoner in a much violent, daring, in-your-face way. Capote is quiet, somber, with mixed emotions of fear, melancholia, sadness, betrayal, love and others; the relationship is displayed in a discrete way and you can sense there is more to them then meets the eye.

Second of all, in the 2006 adaptation, you learn more about the killers and their background from the actual individuals, you see, hear, clearly understand their motivation and drive. They seem simple, you can either love them or hate them, there is nothing to hide. In the 2005 one, you get to know the two men, especially Perry Smith through the eyes of Truman Capote. He is the backbone, he is the voice of reason, he tells you what happened; you feel what he feels.

Third of all, the performances are rather opposite. While Toby Jones is exuberant, excentric, full of life, sometimes caricaturistic, PSH portrays Truman Capote in a much more natural, interesting, complex way; his performance has layers, in-depth aspects to it that gives the movie more drama, more passion, intrigue and emotion. He does deserve the Oscar for this role. As Harper Lee, the two ladies have a different approach to it, as well. Catherine Keener seems borned in this role, it is natural, but with Sandra Bullock you can feel the artistry there, you can see the acting, but it'a beautiful thing to watch- I think she gave a wonderful performance.

Infamous is above, bubblying on the surface, whilst Capote is much more subtile and complex. Overall, I'd probably choose Capote, although Infamous has many strong points as well.

Did you watch them?Which one would you choose?

Nov 10, 2011


Having heard so much about Ingmar Bergman recently, I decided to watch one of his movies, just to see what the hype was all about. My first try was Persona and I must say I really liked it.

The beginning is creepy, yet interesting and strangely fascinating- it's artistic, yet it is different, in a good way; maybe it's the way it was shot, the language, maybe it's because it's black and white, I don't know, but it works.  Also, I liked the way he showed the credits, interwining them with pictures of the characters.

The story follows two women: Elisabet Volger, an actress who, after a meltdown, is committed to a hospital and giving into the care of Alma, a nurse. After the doctor sees that Elisabet still won't talk, she sends both her and Alma to her summer house on the coast. The movies follows the development of their relationship and the downfall of Alma, influenced by the constant silence of mrs Volger.

There were some amazing scenes that I have to mention. The one in which the doctor tells Elisabet what's wrong with her-clear and simple-"Your hiding place is not impenetrable. Life sweeps in through everywhere and you are obliged to react.", perfectly concluding her state of mind; she prefers to hide behind her silence then face the real world.The scenes in the house where Alma confides in her silent patient are wonderful, simple, and we get to know more about the nurse. As the movie progresses, Alma lets go of her fears and gives in, leading to a personal crisis that it's not so easy to explain. One of the scenes in particular was strangely appealing and exciting, and by that I mean the story of her day on the beach with Katarina- it was so interesting to see the way she describes it, her gestures, Elisabet's gestures and reactions.

Two other scenes stand out and are exceptionally done in all points of view (direction, camera movement, performance, music etc)- Alma running to say sorry on the beach and the discussion between  the two women about mrs Volger's son. The latter one was very special and innovative and I liked the fact that we can see both of the women reacting to the words and story. It is something that I have never seen before. The two leading ladies,Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann, are stunning and give beautiful, complex performances.

I must admit that I loved the film. Yes, it is artistic and it deals with existential themes (just like Tree of Life or Melancholia), but Bergman portrays it  in a very appealing manner, in a smart and interesting way and it captures your attention. I also have to admit that the last part, the actual meltdown of Alma, was not very clear to me, I didn't quite understand every nuance of it. Like someone said, maybe this was not the best Bergman film to start with. I will give it another try after a few more.

Persona might have just turned me into a Bergman fan. I will definitely try more of his films! Please do check it out if you have the chance!

Book: Grapes of Wrath

As much as I like watching movies, sometimes reading a book is even better. So, from time to time, you might get some book reviews/recommendations. Hope you like it! Today: Grapes of Wrath!

John Steinbeck is one of favourite authors, ever since I read East of Eden, which is fantastic, especially when character development is such an important part of the story.

I must admit, it took me a long time to finish Grapes of wrath, not because I didn’t like it, it just didn’t have enough action to keep me hooked- not in the first ¾ of the book, that is.

All in all, I consider it to be a masterpiece, or very close to it. What I like about Steinbeck is that he gives the most interesting, complex, yet very real characters. It’s fantastic how well he describes them and how he shows us different sides of a character’s personality developing with each page you turn.  We have the Joad family, probably one of the most iconic families in the history of American literature; and boy, can you learn from the Joads: they never give up, they always want more from themselves, constantly pushing each other to make it to the next day. One perfect is Ma Joad, who basically holds the reign of her family, keeping them united. She is strong, silent, hardworking, and always attentive to each member, trying to jungle not only the normal duties of a woman, but also of the man, as well, since Pa Joad can’t make up his mind half of the time. She commands respect and always knows what to do, even in the worst situation.

Every little character is surprising and wonderful in his own way: Tom, Rosasharon, Casy, Al, and Uncle John-each one takes us more and more into the sad actions of that period of time.  I could write at least two pages about them individually, but I think you should read the book and see for yourself the world Steinbeck created. That struggle is what it brings them down, but holds them together as one. That struggle infuriates you, makes you sad, it takes you to another level. It’s not even fiction in the real sense, as those events really happened in America in those years.

Another thing I liked is the alternation between the long chapters about the Joads adventure, with the small, rather descriptive chapters about certain topics that are vital to the storyline, just to make us understand better the circumstances.

The end was moving, but a little unsatisfying to me, because it didn’t really provide closure for some characters, but then again, maybe sometimes it’s good to leave things up in the air- the reader can interpret it anyway he wants.

As I said before, it is a masterpiece and you should definitely read it- and put East of Eden on your list, too! They are both amazing!

I am planning to see the movie soon, so I will post the review for that, as well! 

Have you read the book or seen the movie?What do you think?

Nov 9, 2011


This movie, like Tree of Life, cut me in half. On one hand, I like the story, some of the shots, the ending, on the other side, it gets boring after a while, and some scenes are just fillers and the artistic procentage is too high for me.

Let's go from the beginning. The opening image of Kirsten Dunst tells me that I am in for a ride to remember. The first shots, artistic and in slow motion, just scream not your typical drama. By this point I am wondering why did I want to see this movie, but I am equally intrigued and a little scared.

Part one features Justine through her night as a bride, her feelings ranging from happily giggling into the backseat of a limo with Michael (A.Skarsgard), her husband, to robotically smiling to her guests at her reception. You can't help wondering what is going on? Why is she so sad, afraid, melancholic? Everyone tries to comfort her and make her feel better, they try to help her carry on with the ceremony, but she just can't and won't allow herself to let go and enjoy. Michael is very supportive and even lets her have her moment when she doesn't want to sleep together. I was waiting for the moment when he would just freak out, tired of her moaning and say "Bitch, you're crazy, snap out of it", but he didn't, and she walked out, and did something really stupid. Women, I tell you, sometimes you have not idea what's going on in that mind of theirs. The first part was ok, nothing out of the ordinary. Good performances from Kirsten Dunst, Skarsgard (junior and senior), K.Sutherland and Charlotte Rampling, as the sisters' mother.

Part two focuses on Claire, played beautifully by Charlotte Gainsbourg. I must admit, this is the part where my level of patience was so slow, that I wrote the rant of the week post. Some scenes seemed just fillers for me and Dunst was getting on my nerves so much, that I hated it, I just didn't want to see her on screen. She, well her character, let her fear and emotions get a hold of her and just surrunded to them, never trying, never caring for the ones around her. No matter how much Claire wanted to help, she couldn't. I liked her character more, as I felt it to be more real, more relateable. You could comprehend Claire's anxiety and panic, but Claire's state of mind is very unclear. Their development go in opposite directions: as Justine blocks everything around her and becomes a statue, more or less, Claire lets her fear of the planet control her and it makes her more anxious by the minute; that's when the claustrophobia kicks in- she realises it is getting closer. The last part of the movie was better, because we can see the transformation of the two sisters, we can understand and feel the pressure of the planet Meancholia on Earth and on the people in it and the last scene was beautifully done.

Like I said, I am torn in the middle. Although I disliked some parts, I could relate to others. I can't say I love it, but I don't hate it, either. That's the worst situation!

Did you see it?What did you think?

Nov 8, 2011

Rant of the week!

I've been noticing something- it's becoming a trend and I don't particularly like it. You see, in many recent movies, especially the "good" ones, the artistic ones, the critically aclaimed ones, that their level of energy, of action, of story development is very low. You fill a 120 minute movie with numerous scenes of sitting in a couch, eating breakfast, walking, picking blueberries, watching the sky and so on. And I get it, sometimes it does help the story, but some just take it to the next level. I want film makers to make want to see this movies continuosly, for it to never stop, to keep me at the edge of my seat, to shock me so much that I don't know how to express myself. Old movies, like from the 50s, surprisingly enough, most of the time, do that. Even ones more recent, like Fight Club, or American History X, or even Hunger, knew that, although they dealt with delicate subjects and emotions. It makes me want to see X-Men or James Bond, at least I know what to expect.

Yes, I like the fact they are expressing- through their shots, scenes, music, images- specific emotions and it is designed to make us emote and feel the same, and maybe raise some interesting questions, but why should I see a movie about that? Why should I sit in a theater for 2 hours and watch Kirsten Dunst, for example, picking blueberries? I know what you will say- because she gives a true performance (yes, she does, I'll give you that), because the cinematography and the images are beautifully done (agreed)- but how much can you admire these shots before getting a little bit bored? How much can you contemplate about the earth, the world, the society, life, love, fear, hate, sadness and so on? You need a story and characters and action to back up those emotions, to make them feel more real and appealing to the audience. And besides that, if you are really interested in doing that, I presume you would like to sit and actually think about it, mold thing over in your head, without being obligated to watch the screen.

Some movies can have that element and still conect with the audience. There are some exceptions where very few people understand and actually try to make a movie that can be pleasant to see and understand, or at least is able to raise some hairs up your arm. Drive, Hunger, Martha Marcy May Marlene, even Take Shelter (although not completely).

After all, why do you watch a movie? Honestly, tell me! Films were first made as a hobby, they were shown as an entertainment option for people, most of them were silent comedic films, meant to gain attention, laughter, and for audience to enjoy! I, and probably a lot of other people just like me, go to movies to inmerse myself into an other world, to dream, to discover, to laugh, to be entertained, to have a higher pulse and be shocked. All of the critics say, oh, Hangover or Tron:Legacy are bad movies- no, they aren't, they just satisfy different needs, they are simple, fun, entertaining movies. We need that from time to time.
Now, I know we can't have only romcoms and action movies on screen, obviously, I am just saying this: if you want to make a movie, please think and try to make it enjoyable for a larger crowd. If you go your way and make it as artistic as possible, what can happen, you say? Well, ok, you might win a Palme D'or or get some critical recognition, but will people go to see it in cinema? will it give resources to do another one? Sometimes yes, sometimes no- very few are lucky to do that, and they are probably getting away with it because at one point in their career, they made a more relatable, enjoyable movie that allowed them to explore other things.

I want, I need more inventive, innovative, smart scriptwriters and directors. You know, the ones who know how to make it real and enjoyable, yet visually beautiful. People who go past the overartistic methods and just shows us what they mean in a simple, attractive way. Rationale, but sensitive. New and intriguing, but not boring. Those rarely show up, so don't blame me if I go watch Tintin, Hunger Games, Immortals, Hangover or Harry Potter in the meantime. The world is changing, and so are the consumers. You betta keep up with them.

Take it as it is- a rant! Maybe I have exagerated, maybe I haven't said enough, but it is still interesting to talk about! What do you think?

12 angry men[1957]

12 angry men is a 1957 classic about a jury in deliberation of a murder case.

You have 12 men, no names, one room and 1h and 36 minutes to kill. What do you do?The best men to ask are Reginald Rose, who wrote the screenplay and Sidney Lumet, who directed it. They both did a wonderful job in capturing not only the essence of the story and the morality of it, but also the emotions and characters of the 12 men.

Juror number 1 is the president and tries his best to manage the chaos in the room. 2 is a simple, quiet, guy, who doesn't dare to speak, but believes in the greater good in mankind. 3 is a real pain in the ass and doesn't go down without a fight and 4 is a very hard man to convince who, surprisingly, doesn't sweat. 5 and 6 are pretty normal guys, but 7 is a piece of art- he just can't wait to go to this stupid baseball match. 8 is the real star, the man who questions everything and the kind of juror the defense autorney wants to have. 9 is a sweet old man who's happy to be there and help, but you just dislike number 10, he is so grumpy. 11 always fights for his point of view, but 12 doesn't pay attention that much, unless it has something to do with him- the advertising agency sindrom, it was quite common those days.

There were some great moments there: the close-ups of the jurors, the scene were each one stands up and gets away from the non-sense, angry juror 10, and every scene where they figure out that something is not right! Henry Fonda, as juror 8, is, of course, amazing and that applies to almost everyone in that room!

A true classic that you should see if you haven't already!

Nov 7, 2011


Are you kidding me? 1000 views already?

This makes me so happy and I honestly couldn't have guessed that I would get so fast to this number!

I want to thank you all, yet again, for supporting me and reserving some of your time by commenting on this blog, it means a lot! I hope you like it and I am happy to get any constructive criticism regarding it, because I want to improve and get better at it! Please do tell in the comment box :)

Since today I have to turn in an essay and then go to a party (win some, lose some), there will be no review, just a place for you to ask questions (if you have any), give me some film recommendations (movies you think I have to see), give feedback or just share your thoughts!

One more month and I might get into LAMB :)

Hope you all lovely bloggers out there have a great Monday!

Nov 5, 2011

Remember, remember..

...the 5th of November!

For those who don't know, this date is pretty special in the UK, as it turns out. It's the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Parliament in the 1600s, but didn't managed to. So, what do the brits do?celebrate it with fireworks- which is a little weird, at least from my perspective. But hey, since I'm here, I'll just go with it, right?

I didn't go to watch the fireworks, so I decided to watch a movie, and what other one is more appropriate then V for Vendetta?

It surprised me...I didn't expect it to be that good! The story is interesting, well-written, it keeps you on edge and the end is beautiful, but unfulfilling, at least for me [SPOILER: who was V after all?SPOILER].

The performances are great, although Natalie Portman's accent was a little odd...but kudos for trying! I loved the scene where she starts having a panic attack and V calms her down, and the last scenes, on the night of the event, are powerful and memorable. It's nice to see people can come together and fight for a better life, but I wonder if this would have really happened, would the people in this world, in 2011, react the same? The movie raises some interesant questions!

All in all, I enjoyed watching this and I recommend it, it was good, especially on this particular night!:)

Did you see it?What did you think of it?
For the UK readers- did anything special tonight?

Nov 4, 2011

Fridays are the best: A streetcar named Desire

Today, you will read a very interesting review: it is the first one I wrote, the one that inspired this blog and my passion to discover and see as many movies I can! It is my first attempt, so bare with me!I hope you like it!

A streetcar named Desire, a clasic movie, a fantastic one that was rightly named one of the best in the history of cinematography. 

I can whole-heartly say that it changed me. It was the movie that made open my laptop and write about it....and then find other movies just like this one. I was blown away by everything: the story, the lighting (I now understand the importance of it- well, mostly), the setting, the way the camera moved, the music, and most definately, by the characters.  

How can I explain it? The film, the story pushed the characters forward, made you pay interest only to them, to their reactions, to their body language. It made you, well, actually, it made me realize and understand their story, their motivations.

Stanley, played by an amazingly good-looking and great actor- Marlon Brando, was the surprise. He has the whole package- tall, hot, sexy, smart, with an attitude- a real man that you can hardly find in Hollywood these days. As I said before, attitude is everything and he nailed the part of Stanley, Stella’s husband and the reason of Blanche’s breakdown; he eventually pushes her over the limit, by being honest, something she is not used to.

                                                               Bonus just for the ladies 

Blanche is a very complex character. At the beginning, she gives you the impression of a „whiny bitch” and I, for one, was quite irritated by her. She overreacted everything, although I know it is a common trade for that time. I guess she is hiding her sorrow behind that over dramatized class. Although the annoince continues through out the film, it becomes intriguing...what has she done, who is she?  After we do find out more about her background, we start to understand the way she acts, her story. I loved the scene with the young man collecting money, who reminds Blanche of her late husband, and especially the amazing acting, gestures, ease of interpreting and my favorite, the easiest transition at Mitch’s arrival! The second half of the movie, especially the last 15 minutes are fantastic, and Vivien Leigh doesn’t dissapoint at all; the two memorable scenes- first with Mitch („Yes, I have had many meetings with strangers”, showing, for the first time, her true self and her face), the second, with Stanley (in which Marlon Brando’s character demascs Blanche) are amazing and show the true art of acting from these fine artists.

I was impressed by Vivien Leigh’s acting, but I just read that she was suffering from bipolar disease in real life, so maybe that changes just a bit the situation.

Stella is the supporting character that holds together the whole film, but doesn’t stand out, for me anyway, most of the time. I do remember the end scene, where she runs up the stairs with the child, saying she won’t talk to Stanley again, but knowing she will, because she has no choice and because she loves him.
It is one the greatest movies I have ever seen and I really hope you will see it soon!

P.S. Interesting note: One particular thing i observed and it got me thinking was the smoking. First of all, smoking in the 50s is like texting  of our days(maybe it is a bad example, but you get my point). Everyone does it with such ease, that it looks so natural and pleasant.  Second of all, I now know why women were so succesfull back then: the line „ Do you have a light?”, followed by a quick, sultry gaze got a man on his knees....too bad it doesn’t work nowadays!

Nov 3, 2011

Bicycle Thieves[1948]

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Writers: Luigi Bartolini (novel), Cesare Zavattini  and  more
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola and Lianella Carell

In my quest to expand my cinema knowledge, I decided to watch a couple of classic Italian movies, and the first one was The Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio di Sica.

Taking into consideration that it was the first in this genre that I saw, I can say I liked it, but wasn’t blown away by it. Maybe it was the fact that film never really got my attention until the last 5 minutes- it never made up forget everything around me and concentrate on the story!

But let’s start with the beginning. The two main characters, the father and son, are both fantastic and interpret their part in wonderful way. It doesn’t even feel like a performance, because it is so real. I especially loved Bruno, the sweet, but strong kid who follows his father in the hunt for the bicycle. The hunt actually turned out to be a journey they both took; one that made them bond, but didn’t go the way they planned.

One thing that I noticed and loved about the film: the story, the place, the characters, the dialogue, everything is real; you know it is a normal situation that you can find anytime, anywhere. The beauty of it lies in the interpretation and the little details (the sets, the music). Rome reminded me a little of Bucharest, especially the Buzesti/North Station part, I don’t know why. (Yes, I am originally from Romania)

For me, the best part was the ending. The last 10 minutes were crucial and really brought out the importance and the development of the characters. The decision scene is very well executed in every way(direction, acting, music etc) and I guess you can call the walk that two take back home, The Walk of Shame, as the father realises not only that he didn’t get the bicycle back, but also that he let his son and his family down, in every way.

Sometimes, the ending changes my whole perspective on a movie. That’s what happened here! I can say that it is a beautiful classic and you should see it!

Nov 2, 2011

The thin red line[1998]

I have a love and hate relationship with Terence Malick. You know that feeling when you're pissed off at someone, say your girlfriend/boyfriend, and you just want to slap him/her, but, in the same time, god, you just love her/him and get the urge to kiss. When I saw Tree of Life, I was in a constant battle between slapping and kissing!This movie had a different situation!

"The thin red line" is a fantastic movie! Everything is wonderful, from the cinematography, to the script, direction, music and most definitely, the acting! It still has some weak points, but still...

Let's start from the beginning! I love the fact that you can, firstly, hear the voice and feel the attitude of a character, then see him in action- a beautiful way of introducing the men and showing us, as the movie progresses, how they really are. 

All of the shooting scenes and the missions seem real and the best part is that Malick doesn't focuses his attention on the blood or actual fighting, but on the reactions and emotions of the soldiers. They are the core of this movie and it is just a way for us to understand and relate to those who have lived this kind of horror. You can find anything in the middle of the action, from men going crazy to others who indifferently sit next to dying soldiers. The war has transformed them and Malick shows us how through a 170 minute journey into their mind and soul. 

The cast was exceptional and recognizable, even if you don't watch a lot of movies: Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, John Travolta, Adrien Brody, Woody Harelson, John C.Reilly, Jared Leto, John Cussack and others. Nick Nolte, especially, is crazy good as the man in charge of the island, who has to go down into the battlefield to take charge when his captain(Elias Koteas) can't. 

The key character and actor in this, for me, was James Caviezel. There is just something about him: it draws people in, his eyes, his calm and numbness, his raw emotions are wonderfully displayed. He is the heart and soul of the battalion and of this movie. 

One thing I still don't like about the Terence Malick movies is the voice-overs. I understand they are meant to give substance and more meaning to the story and create an atmosphere, but most of the time, for me anyway, it is distracting and I just give up, all together, listening to it and prefer to watch the action on screen! Plus, it can be a little boring to watch for some- 170 minutes!

In the end, it's a story about war, suffering, fear, ignorance and humans; it's a story about young men who go to war with fear, but go out with a calmness and numbness that only war soldiers can understand!

Fantastic movie, I really hope you will see it, if you haven't already!