Sunday, December 21, 2014

The List VI

It's taken me 2 and a half years to see 500 new films. That means I have seen, on average, 14 new films every month. Not bad... That being said, this is in no way a race against the clock. My intention is just to keep count of the films I see and not just to see films for the sake of counting. If anything, I am becoming more and more selective when it comes to deciding what films to see. In fact, yesterday I vowed never again to watch crime movies. What took me to to make such a decision is quite intricate to explain in a few words but let's just say I may be getting old. Nevertheless, there are many other genres out there and the old classics are looking now more enticing than ever as modern cinema is becoming less imaginative and tasteful by the minute. I do sound old, don't I?

501-600


Horrible Bosses 2
Walking among the Tombstones
Magic in the Moonlight
Mr. Turner
La gran gamilia española

Maleficent
St. Vincent
Big Eyes 
The Good Lie
If I Stay
Grown Ups 2
The Interview
Tammy
Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?
The Imitation Game
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Kinsey 
Birdman
Whiplash
Hector and the Search for Happiness
Into the Woods
The Theory of Everything 
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
Pride 
Wish I was here 
American Sniper 
Annie
The best of me
Penguins of Madagascar 
Still Alice
Lawless
Kill the Messenger

The One I Love
Finding Bliss 
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
Life Itself 
The Right Kind of Wrong 
Predestination
Now is Good
The Skeleton Twins 
The Drop
Before I go to sleep
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her
Safety not Guaranteed 
Alexander and the Horrible ... Day
We'll Never Have Paris 
Im Labyrinth des Schweigens 
Jeff, Who Lives Next Door
Cyrus
The Physician
Clouds of Sils Maria 
In Your Eyes
Leviathan
Cold in July
An Honest Liar 
The Riot Club
Ida 
Nightcrawler
Foxcatcher
The Maze Runner
Beyond the Lights  
The Giver 

And this is when the counting comes to an end. I have become kind of disillusioned with cinema. Even though it has happened before, I'm afraid this  time may be for real. I don't know, perhaps I have just seen too many films and it is impossible for me to be amazed or, at least, not to feel disappointed whenever I see the same story all over again but told in a worse way.

In fact I am deliberating whether to shut down this blog or whether to keep on going. Whenever I decide I will definitely be the first one to know, but for now I am done with writing the titles of films that mean absolutely nothing to me. We can thus say that 663 is the number to engrave on this milestone in my relationship with cinema. I need a break.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Adore

Movies make you wish for things, for experiences, for feelings, for adventures. Adore would be the kind of film that makes you wish for a hunky toy boy, the best friend ever and a beautiful body at 45. Nevertheless, upon watching Adore, the only thing I longed for was to move into one of the characters' everything-but-humble abodes.

It's difficult not to be slightly shocked by the taboos this storyline covers or by how serenely the female leads react to discoveries that would easily shutter the strongest friendship that ever was. When they listen to each other's confessions, instead of losing  their composure, like any mortal would do, these ladies just gaze out of their glass walls at the mesmerizing, splendorous landscape in front of them. No wonder they simply don't care that much. I wouldn't either...

The backdrop against which this story takes place is as important as the story itself. Things would definitely be different if the same events were to take place in a polluted and stressful environment. These characters live in a haven and they react accordingly so as not to desecrate it. After all, they know that the best way to bridge differences in paradise is to go for a swim and sunbathing on a floating dock in the middle of the blue, calm sea.



  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Let's be Cops

Whenever I start watching a film past midnight, I hope it is bad enough to send me straight to bed. Unfortunately, and even though the reviews were nothing short of appalling, that wasn't the case with Let's be Cops. Together with the writers of this hilarious comedy, the ones to blame for the bags under my eyes are the two male leads.

The chemistry between Johnson and Wayans is undeniable. Their comic timing runs like clockwork and they seem to be completely at ease in their role as charming losers who take "cops and robbers" to a whole new level. Funny as hell and casing a memorable bromance, Let's be Cops is definitely worth missing two hours of sleep.


 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Relatos Salvajes

In my teens I used to love violent, bloody, scary, over-the-top films where the characters, much to my amusement, went through hell. People change. Now I am more the comedy type who enjoys a drama from time to time but avoids witnessing unnecessary violence onscreen. I still love being surprised, though, and by "surprised" I mean wildly, shrewdly and throughout the entire film. Relatos Salvajes ticks all those boxes.

Instead of doing what many others do and coming up with a final twist that leaves the audience mystified, Szifrón, writer and director of this superbly acted Argentinian film, takes us for a bumpy ride chock-full of surprises. You will be expecting the worst at every turn and find black, savage comedy that will throw you for a loop. And in between gasps of shock there will be laughter coming from the darkest corners of your soul because, truth be told, it isn't funny. This experience is all about allowing the beast inside us take over and create havoc without having to get our hands dirty. The characters will do it for us.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This is Where I Leave You

You only need to check out the Highest Rated IMDb "Top 250" Titles to see that comedies are underrated. They shouldn't be. It seems to me that making people laugh at jokes and lines that are meant for a global audience can be quite tricky, mainly when the film brings together a mixed bag of characters, each one of them with a story to tell in a little over 90 minutes.

However, This is where I leave you not only succeeds in making the audience laugh (and by audience I mean me and my aunt) but also in moving them to tears. Lead by Jason Bateman's subtle and superb performance, all the cast deliver and manage to feel believable regardless of the absurdity of some of the family's storylines.   

I tend to think comedies are meant for the small screen, so when it comes to buying a cinema ticket I usually go for more visually striking films. Nevertheless, taking a look back, I could swear it's often after seeing a great comedy on the big screen that I remember cinema is the greatest invention ever...


 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

El Niño + a rant against narrow-mindedness

When I first saw Tesis back in 1996, I remember thinking I could never ever direct a film that could hold a handle to the one I had just seen. So, as much as I loved cinema, I decided I wouldn't earn my daily bread making movies. Instead, I would just admire Alejandro Amenábar's ability to reinvent "Spanish cinema" in every one of his films. And that I did, until 2009, when he decided to take a break from stardom.

Since then, I have been "Amenábarless". I did look for a new Spanish director to admire, but none seemed to make me feel consistently envious of their ability to write and direct. Now that Amenábar is finally on his way back to the big screen with Regression, Daniel Monzón, who already surprised everyone with Celda 211, has outdone himself with El Niño, a clean, well written film, with a mix of new faces and acclaimed actors that offers a top quality story with heart and humour. Monzón has shown again what a film worth seeing on the big screen looks like. He has also made it to my list of "directors to keep an eye on".

Unfortunately, in Spain, a expensive-looking, classy film that doesn't revolve around sex and in which the female actresses keep their clothes on is deemed, by many, as looking like a typical Hollywood film. Those same people think a typical Spanish film should look cheap, have bad sound and "proudly" showcase gratuitous sex scenes and profanity. Nothing wrong with that (to each his own) but that doesn't make films like El Niño any less Spanish.

From a while back, thanks to a wave of great directors among which I would include Monzón, Amenábar, Bollaín or Bayona, just to mention a few, el cine del destape (the let's-show-tits cinema) is little by little becoming less typical Spanish. And at this pace, who knows, maybe one day Hollywood won't be able to hold a candle to the cinema made in this country.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

No Distance Left to Run

A friend of mine used to be an avid fan of Oasis and Blur back in the 90's, when both bands were fighting to reach the top of the charts. I, on the other hand, was starting to get into cinema and had no interest in Britpop whatsoever. If anything, I thought Alex James was really hot (I was 16 at the time and allowed to be immature) and, like everyone else, I listened to Wonderwall too many times.

But yesterday,  thanks to a thing called Youtube, I had the chance to learn a little bit about Blur and the band's four members. Even though I expected Albarn, alcohol and fame to be the main characters of No Distance Left to Run, I was happily surprised to see how Graham Coxon, the guitar player, took centre stage. 

It's funny how the leading members of a band may not always be the most interesting ones. I admit James is still hot (let me rephrase that, for I am no longer 16: extremely attractive), but Coxon managed to grab my full attention from minute one, and as I listened to him, I grew more absorbed in the band's story.

As it was the case almost 20 years ago, I still find Blur's music unappealing, but I do love a good story and this one doesn't seem to be over yet: can't wait to get hold of James's Bit of a Blur: The Autobiography!