Saturday, May 13, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)



I have a flight in less than 4 hours and I should probably sleep at least 1.5 of it, so you'll excuse me but I'll be again extremely quick for "GoG 2" although it would deserve much more. It's not as good as the first, but everything you liked in the first you'll get also here - from jokes to a story that leaves way behind the Marvel cliches (maybe excepting "Dr. Strange" = where the distance is smaller, but still exists), because it's just something else. It has a big originality plus towards the classic super-hero template that's pretty much the same everywhere. This time though we also get here a family issues package that gets us closer to the classic line of "background stories", but again ... it's something else. I don't have time to write more now, and maybe I'm also a bit subjective, but a movie that has potential to get a tear from without classifying as tear-jerking and which also naturally alternates that with simple fun, that's a rare bird...

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Monday, May 8, 2017

Nueve Reinas (2000)



Long time, no posts ... I don't really have a subject, and I have a month way too full to find something, so I've decided for a lightning fast entry on "Nueve Reinas". I've seen the movie looooong ago for the first time, but I've re-watched it in pieces relatively recent. My impression left from my first watch was a very good one. However, after more than 15 years I guess I've become a bit more picky :)... The story: two con-artists meet one day in a shop after an unsuccessful attempt of one of them two swindle the cashier. After escaping in the end, the two guys decide on a short term collaboration, and moving from "customer" to "customer" they reach to a wealthy target interested in the "nine queens" - a rare set of German stamps issued in the beginning of the 20-th century. Further we have a perfect copy, the originals coming into picture, some twists... In other words what's following and especially the ending is too nice to tell you more now :) Especially for a first view. Second time you'll notice maybe tiny things that don't fit so perfectly ;) ...

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Monday, April 10, 2017

La Tortue Rouge (2016)



"La Tortue Rouge" (or "The Red Turtle") seems at first sight to be pretty much the same thing as the ambiental noise/music for stress relief/chillout moments. But as in the audio area there's a thin line here too between "effective" and "dry/boring"...

A man cast away on an island tries helplessly to leave it. Something destroys his raft over and over again. We find out that the "something" is a big red turtle, which ends up being his pair on the island. In actual human shape. That's the story.

The animation produced in co-operation with Studio Ghibli is silent, which contributes somehow to the effect mentioned above. And even if the Japanese side seems involved only in the technical area, the story has some specific fantasy elements as many other productions released by Myiazaki and co's studio. Not many, just as much as it needs. It's actually mostly about the turtle metamorphosis. From there, you can move beyond by yourself... If a turtle can be seen as a human being, maybe you can also see the island as an existence filled with issues that you want to get away of but you can't, maybe you can also see the escape route actually within the "island", maybe you can also see that staying on the "island" you can help others find a way out (light spoiler), and more metaphors like these... That's the strongest part of "Red Turtle", and sometimes it gets close to exceptional. The problem is that many times this is not that obvious, and trying to understand if there's something more complicated behind what you see on screen as something simple gets you lost...

Rating: 3 out of 5

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017)



In brief, the newest "Kong" is a nostalgic. But, surprisingly, that's not about an older "Kong"...

We have an island, we have the expedition, we have the blonde, we have the gorilla, but still the story is a new one (or I don't know all the old ones). The US government decides near the end of the Vietnam war to fund investigating a remote island in the South Pacific, an isolated ecosystem, which I guy who nobody believes claims it's populated with something... big, for which we need a military escort. And like that, we're gathering the dream team, and we fly with a choppers squadron, with a direct reference to "Apocalypse Now", towards the great unknown. Where Kong, troubled by the noisy guests, reduces them by half, leaving the other half to find a way out... But there is more than Kong on the island.

There are lots of references in this movie. It made me think on "Kelly's Heroes" looking at the army bunch, or on "Moby Dick" looking at the obsession of the one who leads it, or on "Indiana Jones" (I don't know why...), or on others. And it's nice. It's not a copy of any of these. And as I was saying it's not even a copy of another Kong: the purpose is not to capture the monkey. It's a survival movie who made me think mostly on "Jurassic Park". And if you've seen "Jurassic Park" in cinema when you were little, you know the feeling ;)... One more thing: the camera work is gorgeus. Too bad that the ending is I don't know... a bit too dry...

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Monday, March 27, 2017

Life (2017)



... is more about the opposite. Either I'm getting old, or the SciFi thriller genre is sometimes too extreme, sometimes too mild. Or both = I'm getting older and I prefer the mild version = "Passengers" let's say to an extreme one as we have in "Life".

Well... To be fair IMDb gives it clearly as: horror, but I didn't buy it from the trailer. Seems it is one indeed. At least 3 scenes are quite rough, long and very graphical. We have an unknown life form discovered on Mars, which follows the classical recipe: group killer, take them one by one, for the crew members of the International Space Station. Who change quickly their priorities from researching the alien to preventing it reaching Earth. Guess how this story ends?...

I expected something like "Alien", and this partially confirmed. Indeed, the story is quite similar. The problem is again about how is this brought on screen. It doesn't really work throwing around cliches (some a bit weird) about life, to build up like a gritty movie, and to fallback on campy horror from time to time ending it like this with the end credits entry. It's true that it offers a necessary tension relief, but something's not really right in all this... Clearly, the opposite way of build-up as a funny slasher, hitting you with some morals in the end, a la "Cabin in the Woods", has much more impact. There are also problems with the direction - here I've seen the weirdest ending twist construction. It's clear from the start how it will go on. That's why the question in the previous paragraph is rhetorical. But in the movie, when the time has come it sort of telling you that's it, then that it's not, that again it is... Oh well... Overall it was acceptable, but I'm still waiting for something on par with "Sunshine" or at least "Pandorum".

Rating: 3 out of 5