Tuesday, November 24, 2015

No Man's Land (2001)

Long break again ... "No Man's Land" is a Bosnian movie from 2001. European co-production to be more accurate. I've seen by chance recently. Also by chance I guess it fits as a pretty good entry for the current times ...

Location: a trench during the Serbian-Bosnian war in 1994. Participants: a Bosnian and a Serb who got on their own feet standing between enemy lines .. + another soldier on the ground (still alive). I won't say on which side he is to avoid spoiling all the intro. What I can spoil is that the two conclude at some point that shooting each other is not a way out still standing.

It's a movie where if you give too many details you remove part of its charm. Because, as any other movie with a limited count of actors in a closed scenery, the action doesn't have much chance to lag and story keeps changing the path it has. The movie is a tragicomedy, unfortunately ending in a bitter note ... despite the situations that remove some of the tension from time to time. There are many fine nuances, which you can observe (and probably more that I didn't). Starting with the year, not mentioned explicitly, but appearing through a reference to the Rwandan genocide, underlining the uselessness of the UN policy of non-intervening in both conflicts, up to the fact that the press feeds too often with death (just notice when cameras stop shooting) ... Many nuances, which unfortunately are still valid. And the same for the conclusion: wars are stupid.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thursday, November 12, 2015

5 .. Blade Runner (1982) .. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

5 is the age of this blog (8 in its original version). "Blade Runner" is an old SciFi having my age (considered by most "the best in the genre"). "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is the even older book that's behind the movie ...

Let's start with 5 (don't worry, I'll be short). It's been a while since I'm writing, and contrary to intuition, expectancy or any other logical reasoning I seriously feel that the output is worse and worse. Fortunately for my "self-esteem" I have an excuse: time = or lacking it. We can add on top also as news the back pains = I guess I prefer half an hour - one hour - or whatever takes to write an entry laying in bed instead typing. But let's stop complaining. I'm not shutting down the blog. For the traffic I get, which it's been a while since I checked just to keep my illusion that there's somebody reading, all I can promise is that I hope to keep up until the 6th anniversary. When hopefully, in a more optimistic mood I'll come up with an entry that's not as rushed as this one ...

What's above probably explains a bit how I got to "Blade Runner". The always missing resource = time, didn't let me try something new. So I said, let's do a query on my brain and see what good movie works for a "Happy Birthday" entry (especially considering the latest ratings). Risking some booing from the audience, I don't consider "Blade Runner" a masterpiece. But it's still a good movie. The story is relatively simple, the meaning is more complex. We have a bounty hunter, who in a dystopic future has the mission of hunting androids, identically human, and escaped from the "jobs" they have been produced for. That's the story. The meaning ... well .. the movie's not that fresh in my mind, but I guess everybody could find something there. For I don't know what reason, now comes to my mind the android's life length = 4 years, short and intense. The question is does it worth it or not, in a context where in the end there's no choice - so answering is useless - but still the question somehow stays there ...

"Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep?" is more fresh. Somehow, I managed to wrap it up this summer. And it's one of the reasons that strengthens my opinion that "Blade Runner" is not a masterpiece :). As usual the people say the book is better than the movie. Here is more than a confirmed cliche. The book is different. First of all, spoilers excluded, if the movie left you a question mark on the human condition of the main character, I think the book clears this out quite well. The nice part, just guessing, is that I think you can read it also "differently" = to make it clear also in the other way. Sort of Schrodinger's cat, it's both dead or alive, but it is the way you see it and stays like that. There are plenty of details in the book that make the story much richer than what the movie offers, and implicitly what you can get out of it.

To cut it short, and stop the philosophy until it drives itself into stupidity :) - there are two things incredibly clear in this foggy dark universe: despite the age "Blade Runner" is still an impressive cinematic achievement and it's the proof that Ridley Scott knew how to make a movie back then; also despite the age "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" confirms my belief that P.K.Dick remains incredibly actual no matter how many years pass by. The only question is when I'll get enough time for this blog :)? Depends if you "live" or not I guess...

BR - Rating: 4 out of 5
DADoES - Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spectre (2015)

I had a nightmareish week. And I hoped I can indulge myself 2-3 hours of rest watching the latest Bond. Unfortunately, for me "rest" in the context of watching a movie doesn't mean mental lethargy. I'm expecting something that if doesn't have a very innovative story, is still somewhat engaging or at least doesn't have a script that gets ridiculous once each 15 minutes. That's a generous average estimation ... too bad the movie lasts for more than two hours. Too much to lose more time with the writing. In one phrase, lacking ideas, the brilliant screenwriters (four of them) resurrected the main villain from the '60s-'80s Bond = Ernst Stavro Blofeld, adding to the package a soap-opera side where this guy has some teenage years traumas caused by Bond + of course the trendy topic of evil organization a la NSA that monitors worldwide communications. As we got used in "Skyfall" (which is at least one class better than "Spectre") we have again: stunts that couldn't be done by the mother of all agents in this world herself (at least not by getting out alive wearing the same impeccable buttoned suit), instant hacking of servers + "smartblood" + other IT&C aberrations for artistic impression, and finally the same reasoning Bond applies of leaving bad guys alive so we can re-use the actors in the next fight, or the bulletproof algorithm: "I'm a one man army => I can beat any army" <=> "I'm going alone, walking through the front door in the base of capo di tutti capi and I'll tell him I don't like him. I'm Bond ain't I, and we must have happy end. It's obvious that I'm the one getting out alive from there.". Ok, it's a movie ... You'll tell me "Mission Impossible" has the same problems. Yes, but that accepts it's just fun entertainment, and doesn't try to look like a serious spy thriller, where even simple dialogues sound overly pompous. Do I have to say that besides Christoph Waltz, all cast seems fed up with the part and as eager as you to get to the rolling credits? ...

Rating: 2 out of 5

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crimson Peak (2015)

The poster of this is totally inappropriate. Too much black, too much red ... Seriously, might make you think this is a horror. "Surprisingly" IMDb tells us the same. Fortunately it adds besides "drama + fantasy". Up to half of the movie you might be in doubt. Hmmm, looks like trying for a horror ... there's some drama too ... (don't know what the IMDb editor drank to put fantasy on the list, but well ..). Slowly though, the confusion fades away. The "scary" scenes are one, repeated in various chromatic (actually .. red and black, wait .. I start to get why the poster is using these). More important though, you start noticing that the lack of logic in the script and the over-theatrical acting is not an attempt for a gothic-victorian "hippie" feel of "let's forget the real and dream a bit" ... Nope, it's not intended. Because if it was there should've been an extra genre in the IMDb list: comedy.

So, what do we have here: a blonde girl attempting some literary career, daughter of an industry magnate. Bored by her life she's falling for an English baronet (without fortune) after he's complimenting her last novel manuscript in the 2nd second (measured on the clock) after looking through her wonderful writing. Love story. Daddy doesn't agree. The guy + his sister (especially his sister) seem suspicious. For everybody minus the blonde. Broken heart. The same for the father's head in an unfortunate "accident". Mourning. Marriage. Emigrating to England with the baronet. Haunted mansion (with a big hole in the roof). We find out "the mystery". Actually we already did a while ago, if we have more the one neuron. The blonde finds out too. Well, there are some nuances = some ghosts in the mansion, the evil sister has some background in mental institutions, details on previous victims, and others. The final purpose is anyway the same: the blonde's money. But wait ... the romance ... oh, the romance ... It clouds so much the vision of the baronet that unbelievable .. he wants to save the blonde. So much that he stabs non-lethally on purpose the American doctor (a blond guy) who traveled across the ocean and through a British storm to save the girl. But not before telling him what's the path to run away with the blonde. Let's cut a bit the spoilers and jump to the end. A showdown a la "Shining" in the bloody snow (well ... not too bloody, the paint ran out until the end): "the innocent blonde" vs "the evil brunette" (this film is a good candidate for gender balance of killers in movies). Round 1: weapons - knife vs cleaver. Round 2: weapons - friendly ghost vs cleaver (if the knife didn't cut it ... no pun intended). Fatality move: the shovel. And the winner is ... You won't expect me to tell you everything won't you?.

Conclusion: As the poster says, or the first ghost (a sort of other worldly Nostradamus, warning the blonde since her childhood) - beware .. beware .. of "Crimson Peak".

Rating: 1 out of 5

Trailer: I said everything ... I'm not spending more time to look for it, really, it's dangerous ... you might be tempted to see this

Disclaimer: nothing personal against blondes, but I can't help it when the movie uses more or less intended/nuanced the typical stupid stereotypes

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Walk (2015)

If you've seen "Man on Wire", a very trendy documentary several years ago, you know what to expect in "The Walk". A biopic about the wire crossing of the twin towers in New York done in 1974. Author: Philippe Petit, a French guy with some experience in "the field" and lots of guts to try it out. I don't have time to write, so I'm sorry but I'm gonna stick to the essence of this: the story always seemed to me to be the perfect example of unjustified selfishness. Even just for the fact that the guy got into the whole illegal action a bunch of friends to help him do it. There's also the risk itself = to put your life at stake for the glory of a couple minutes show with an ad-hoc audience ... for me at least that's again a form of selfishness. The documentary I mentioned, very appreciated by the critics, made my opinion even stronger. The movie tough ... managed to achieve something that I wasn't expecting. To make me give a second thought about this. What if, when you try something crazy, you have somewhere a certain feeling that will work out ...

One last thing, checking out the current "peaks" in cinemas: Those towers might have been like 20 times shorter than Everest, but the movie is somewhere at 5 classes above ;) the 3D and all the rest ...

Rating: 4 out of 5