Mud is a delightful modern Mark Twain-ish coming of age epic story that everyone will connect with on some level. The central character, Mud (played by the amazing Matthew McConaughey), is a mysterious fugitive hiding out on an island in the Mississippi River where two boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), discover and help him to evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his longtime love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). The film is multi-character driven piece, delving deep into the complex realities of human relationships and emotions, from a teenage perspective. It deals with themes of love & obsession, disillusionment, despair and revenge, all while creating an outstanding, uplifting, and inspiring feel. I recommend it to anyone!
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PG-13 130 min
The best picture Oscar-winning film from the British director Steve McQueen, “12 Yeas a Slave”, is the latest example of politically-correct films that says nothing new but generates an intense emotional response to the audience in a way that questions the very essence of humanity and our tragic destiny as social animals. As the saying goes: we need to be reminded of history so it doesn’t repeat itself. And that goes for slavery, holcaust, colonialism, inquisition, etc. “12 Years Of Slave” is based on the shocking true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom in the racist mid-19th century. Solomon Northup (whose memoir inspired the film) an educated free man of color, was born free in New York state but kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South, where he spent the next twelve years of his life living as a slave named Platt.
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R – 134 min.
If you already read Irvine Welsh’s “unfilmable” novel upon which the movie is based, you’d probably know what to expect: the depiction of the most hateful sort of character you’ll ever come across put in an hilariously insane story that combines the most vile and vulgar aspects of human behavior. Bruce Robertson, played by James McAvoy, is the a bipolar (borderline schizophrenic), depraved and manipulative cop who does not shy away from anything, in order to achieve his goal to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter. He is the ultimate anti-hero that never becomes a hero, but he goes deeper and deeper into madness throughout the whole movie. Written (adapted screenplay) and directed in a slick and exciting manner by Jon S. Baird, using the authentic scottish dialect and slang of Welsh, and with a solid acting performance by Mcavoy, “Filth” is a bloody good dark comedy – drama film to put on your watch list.
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R – 97 min.
“Whatever Works” is a therapeutic straight comedy, ingeniously staged and hilariously acted. The central character is Boris Yelnikoff (played by Larry David – Seinfeld creator), a cynical and pretentious intellectual misanthrope, hypochondriac and self-centered, in his old age, who by chance meets the much-younger, naive and ignorant, runaway country girl, Melody (Evan Rachel Wood). At first, Boris rejects Melody’s advances, but eventually enters into a relationship and then marriage with her, against all odds. The hilarity of the situation reaches its peak when Melody’s mother and then father show up at Boris’, looking for their innocent daughter and both end up radically changing their worldviews and their deeply rooted beliefs about issues of relationships, religion and sexual orientation. This is not only one good comedy, but a message movie, a clever character study and a morality fable, as deep in human awareness as it is rich in comedy value. As most of Allen’s creations, the film is not highly cinematic but more theatrical. In fact, it might work very well as a stage play. The story it’s mostly carried by dialogue, characters and situations, on a clever script, filled with memorable quotes and brainy observations.
I’m not a big fan of Woody Allen, but this made me think I might change my mind. : )
A quite dull dystopian movie enlivened only by the appearance and good acting skills. Catching fire is the continuation of The Hunger Games, a teen-oriented fantasy story about a future society dominated by a tyrannical oligarchy through media manipulation and ruthless repression – an adaptation of the novel by the same name, written by Suzanne Collins. The film is somewhat entertaining and visually appealing, but offers little more.
Nebraska is a rare and wonderful film, shot in black and white with considerable artistry and told very plainly with hints of sadness and a lot of comic overtones. It’s a story about aging and helplessness, about family ties and tensions, about the gap between generations, about human aspirations and regret, and most of all about father and son bond. The setting is very atmospheric, capturing the stillness and emptiness of a small town community in Nebraska. The performances are true and intimate, grasping a real sense of emotion and honesty, with authentic and convinving dialogue. It’s a slow-moving and mellow film, not for everyone’s tastes but the true cinephiles will love it. I recommend it as one of the most humane and deeply perceptive movies of the year.
This is not a conspiracy theory documentary, not at all… nor is it a finger pointing one. It’s a highly insightful film, very relevant nowadays.
Watch and learn!
“The Fifth Estate” is a film purported to be based on the true story of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the emerging and development of the whistleblower organization itself. The screenplay, written by Josh Singer (based on 2 books, apparently both hostile to WikiLeaks and Assange), is very controversial and highly criticized by WikiLeaks’ supporters and Assange himself, who said about the movie, and I’m paraphrasing: “it is going to be overwhelmingly negative for me and the people I care about”. Bill Condon’s direction is properly handled and Benedict Cumberbatch (Julian Assange) and Daniel Brühl (Daniel Berg) both do very good jobs of developing their characters. Despite the controversy surrounding it, the film sheds some light on the realities behind WikiLeaks’ actions and efforts for transparency of information, gets into the moral and ethical dilemma of exposing sensitive information with dire consequences at stake, and nevertheless it’s a testimony to the power of new media.
A difficult and painful film but important and original. A dark, character-driven story about a psychopathic debt collector reunited with his long-lost mother, filled with sadness, cruelty and despair. The film does have some religious allusions (self-sacrifice, money is a root of evil), distorted into a weird tapestry of elements of violence, brutality and abuse, which is not particularly attractive but somehow effective. While there’s no doubting the extreme cinematic style of Kim Ki Duk, this is hardly to be considered his best work. A pretentious vanity movie for pretentious viewers.
“The Wrestler” is more of a heartrending and perceptive drama than a sports movie. With an exceptional central performance from Mikey Rourke, playing Randy “The Ram” Robinson, ably supported by Marisa Tomei as Randy’s favourite stripper friend Cassidy, and powerful yet simple directed by Darren Aronofsky, “The Wrestler” certanly qualifies a remarkable film. The story is focused on the troubled life a former great wrestling champ trying to put his life back together after suffering a heart attack. Sensitive and yet tough, quiet and full of rage, Randy is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter and attempts a relationship with stripper Cassidy, while working a side job in a supermarket, haunted by his much-missed glorious past in the ring. As it digs deeper into Randy’s personal failures and dead-ends, the film offers a stunningly real and intimate character portrait of the once famous, and now forgotten sports super star.
Even though I’m a huge fan of Mikey Rourke in Barfly, I think his performance here exceeds anything he has done before, and mainly because it seems to draw from his real life experience and that’s what it make it so real and convincing.