Get up, go out, watch a movie, fall in love...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Birdman

It's been almost a week since I had the chance to watch this piece of art. 

For more than a decade, Alejandro Gonzalez IƱarritu has rapidly become one of the most talented and admired Latin American filmmakers in the world. This Mexican artist, the same one who brought us Amores Perros, Babel, 21 grams and Biutiful has made it again! 

Birdman is probably one of the best representations of Magical Realism in the form of film. Alejandro Gonzalez IƱarritu has taken the Latin American Magical Realism movement from books to the big screen. I'd dare to say he's the new Gabriel Garcia Marquez of cinema. 

The whole movie is an experiment of the most realistic and even shocking representations of the circumstances of being an actor, wonderfully exaggerated with magical scenes, that not only fit perfectly, but turn the dialogues and the entire screenplay to a next level of understanding. 
 
In addition to the exceptional work of the filmmaker and writers, I can't avoid giving huge credit to Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. As usual, they were impeccable. I actually think that this performance will earn Keaton a nomination for an Academy Award. 

Be open to experience something different, something intense, something outstanding. One of the best films of the year without doubt. 








Monday, November 10, 2014

SF Urban Film Festival


For the first time in the US I've seen someone put together a Film Festival on Urbanism and city planning. For most people this sounds kind of weird but the truth is most developed countries with amazing cities and spectacular quality of life do this a lot. 

Not surprisingly San Francisco is one of the very first cities in the US to take the lead. A city full of creative, proactive, advanced people who have come together to set the pace and lead important changes in the world. Fay Darmawi, is one of them: A wonderful scriptwriter and entrepreneur, who has taken the initiative to put together cinema and urbanism. 

As different as it sounds, this is actually one of the best ways to introduce people to the topic of urban planning and proactive citizenship. People love movies, people love living well, so no wonder this is a great idea to bring these two things together in order to create a think tank for the development of the city. 

The fest was hosted at SPUR, a place that is always open to the public and specifically designed to promote urbanism and social planning. The films were very well curated (I personally recommend a documentary called Urbanized streaming on Netflix), the organization and dynamic were excellent as well. Let's hope next year this initiative gets continuity and hopefully gets replicated in many other cities. 

Here's the Link to the Website in case you want to know the rest of the schedule and their info. 



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nightcrawler

For someone who's not a huge fan of thrillers, action and murder films like me, I would have to say that Nightcrawler is one of those that I can certainly watch again and recommend. 

Full of twisted humor, excellent performances and hard realities, this is one of those films that not only entertain you all along, but also give you a pretty interesting perspective of the fucked up values of our society. Values that are so up side down that turn people into such soulless and ruthless beings whose idea of success is only fueled by the need of money and fame. 


Besides its originality and very well paced intensity, I would recommend watching this film because of Jake Gyllenhaal's excellent and different performance. This is a freaky-weirdo-crazy Jake Gyllenhaal we have never seen before. Not only he lost more than 15 pounds for the role, but he finally came out of his typical good guy/hero/perfect gay boyfriend role. 

This is certainly not an artistic masterpiece, but it's one pretty entertaining and original indie thriller for those who like a little stress and wickedness in the big screen. 

Here's the trailer: 





Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whiplash

Last year, Miller Teller captured my heart and my respect after seeing him star in the indie film The Spectacular Now. It was pretty obvious this kid had some talent, but after a couple of super random parts in mediocre teenager films, I got a little disappointed. 

But to be fair, every actor, specially indie films actors need to play mediocre but high paying roles in order to be able to accept more challenging and less profitable projects. Because these independent and more artistic films, such as Whiplash, are the ones that will catapult them into the acting elite. And that was exactly the case for Milles Teller in Whiplash

This young actor just played the role of his life. This film was most likely going to be pretty good with or without Teller, but having him was certainly one of the key elements that made this film one of the best of the year. 

The rest of the cast was full of great indie stars: J.K Simmons, well known by his role in Juno, was outstanding too. He was so good I almost hate him. What a good way to play the biggest asshole! 
The cinematography was impecable. From beginning to end, the colors, the angles and the lights are just wonderful. I felt so captivated by the visuals and the music that I almost wanted to be able to pause and rewind some parts to enjoy them once again. (This is the kind of movie you can watch over and over again). 

Hands down, Whiplash is among my top 10 of the year. Wouldn't be surprised if it makes it into the list of Best Films for this year's Academy Awards. 








Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tracks




Captivated by the beautiful Australian landscape and the always excellent performance of Mia Wasikowska I came out of the theaters feeling as if it had been me who was traveling across Australia. 

This film is certainly not a screenplay masterpiece, not the kind that's Oscar material, although I felt it was worth recommending it and giving it a few minutes to write about because of it's magnificent footage, great performances and a an almost unbelievable true story that many of us should know and get inspired by. 


Tracks not only made me fall in love with the Australian landscapes and feel completely immersed into a beautiful journey, it also gave me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be alone, to give yourself a chance to look deep inside your past and your memories and how important is to be connected to every living creature. (As an animal lover I will tell you it will be pretty emotional. I cried like 3 times). 

If you have the chance to watch it on a big screen, please do so. This is the kind of film that's worth the price of the ticket and the drive to the theater. 

Enjoy the journey... 




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Skeleton Twins


When watching the trailer of this movie I was preparing myself to watch an indie comedy. The kind I could enjoy with my partner after a long day of work that would make laugh, relax and put me to sleep with a smile on my face.

Well, that's definitely not what happened. 

Skeleton Twins is much more than a comedy. It's actually one the funniest dramas I've seen this year, but certainly not a comedy. This is a film full of sharp, dark, sarcastic sense of humor that not everyone can enjoy. (In fact, my husband kinda hated me because I chose that movie. He accepted it was a great film but not exactly the happy, funny, let's-get-high-and-laugh-until-we-cry kind of movie that he was expecting to see). 
Having said my disclaimer and warning you this is not a happy movie, I must tell you this a film very much worth watching! The dialogues were brilliant, the story was very original and the pace was perfect. No wonder it won the best Screenplay at Sundance Film Festival this year. 

And to be fair, the acting was also a huge part of it. Kirsten Wiig and Bill Hader are both well known for their great abilities as comedy actors, but this time they managed to combine the intensity of the tormented personalities they had to play with their own hilarious expressions. 

If you need more to decide wether or not this is for you, watch the trailer bellow and see if you are one of those twisted sarcastic kind of person who will enjoy this as much as I did. 




Thursday, August 21, 2014

BOYHOOD

There's more than one reason why everybody, specially those who know about film, are talking about Boyhood. 

I had to give myself a few days to write this. You know when you are walking out of the theaters and you have no idea if you either LOVED it or HATED it?? 

Well, that doesn't happen to me very often, but from time to time, it does. And when it does, and I end up loving the film. It stays in my head for a long time. It's sort of an acquired taste. The more you watch it, the more you like it.

Boyhood is definitely one of those. A film that had already built some expectation in me because of the obvious press coverage and the fascinating challenge of filming it over a period of 12 years. It's always hard to be 100% unbiased when you are going to watch a film with such press and an impressive 100/100 at the IMDB critics score. Taking this into account, I tried to let all predisposition aside. And this is what happened: 

1) Complete AWE: 

I was absolutely impressed by the creativity and originality of such a project. It was so impressive to see the physical development of the characters and the environment. There was no makeup and it DID make a difference. There was not set design and it DID make a difference.

2) A bit boring but still intrigued: 

When the novelty and excitement of seeing the characters grow and sets accurately match the times, the repetitive and sort of mundane dialogues become a little boring. Except for a few very philosophical lines, I have to say I found myself doubting the press and everyone who had spoken wonders of this film. 

3) It all makes sense:

The kids become adults and they begin a more serious inner discovery, which takes, not only them, but all the other characters, including myself, into a process of philosophical questioning. What is life all about? What is time all about? 

And just like that, as I walk out in the streets, thinking about the last 3 hours, I realize this is one of the most beautiful and deepest pieces of art I've seen in a while. 

Besides taking the crazy adventure of shooting for 12 years to accurately document the physical evolution of the characters, this is the most original and outstanding way of taking us through the journey of life and leading us into questioning the meaning of it all. 

So please, get up, go out and watch this movie...