Life of Pi Patel, without Tobey Maguire

Life of Pi

Even good directors can get it wrong sometimes, but rarely does ( Hulk) and Life of Pi isn’t one of those mistakes. And despite what Christopher Doyle had to say about the cinematography or lack thereof regarding one of the Academy Awards that Life of Pi won (in, it does look beautiful, cgi, 3d, visual effects, real life action, whatever you want to call it or know it to be. And to be fair, while maybe young, Claudio Miranda has worked on a few decent films in the past ( haven’t seen his latest, Oblivion, yet – I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan, but I do think he can pull off a decent action or scifi movie anytime, with or without Morgan Freeman ).

Back to Life of Pi, I haven’t read the book, which was a blessing when watching the film. The cast are great, there’s not many famous actors (partly due animals not getting much recognition in that department), or have you heard of Suraj Sharma or Irrfan Khan before (please excuse my ignorance that aims to make someone prove me wrong)? Whether you know them or not, have to say they’re great in Life of Pi at least. There is someone called Gérard Depardieu in a smaller role though, that one might ring a bell to someone, was it a French or a Russian actor or something?

Beautiful, very emotional and moving story, well told, well shot (or created in post), well acted, one of the best in 2012, and deserved the Academy Awards – at least for Ang Lee, while the Visual Effects one as well wasn’t completely undeserved. About the Original Score one and the Cinematography Achievement we have to trust the Academy’s judgement I suppose.

I still probably like The Ice Storm Ang Lee’s best, but Life of Pi is really good.


mission impossible on holiday

The Impossible

I’m tempted to chuck this in the waste of time category and include some spoilers here… although the image above is already spoilerish. But who doesn’t know what happens in this movie in advance (pretty much all the way to the end).

Some amazing effects and ‘set design’ obviously, coupled with some heart-breaking acting performances (if you’re in the right state of mind for that kind of thing – which I unfortunately wasn’t on that day).

Expected something better from , but I guess he didn’t have much to work with and had to concentrate on the visuals instead and try to get what he could from the actors, who under these circumstances were ok I suppose. None of them were particularly memorable, and was at times a bit hard to watch, over the top at times; the kids were pretty good mostly though.

The main negative criticism really is to do with how the story deals with what actually happened, and considering this can really affect your opinion of this movie. Just so you know.

The Place Beyound The Pines may not be what you thought it might be

Beautiful cinematography by Sean Bobbitt from the start, glued me to the seat. He’s maybe not that famous, but he has done Shame and Hunger for  .

The Place Beyond The Pines

I try to go to cinema without knowing what to expect and I didn’t expect this. But in a good way. And I guess it’s not a surprise as such. But the structure of the film is slightly different from the usual; it’s not Psycho, but still. I did feel it was a bit disjointed though and the film lost some of its momentum halfway, but I didn’t let it bother me too much.

Great performances especially from , , as well as from Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan and even Ray Liotta in his small role. Not to say Bradley Cooper wasn’t ok, and can’t say what he could’ve done differently, but I like his character more in films like Silver Linings Playbook.

Written and directed by so I might check out Blue Valentine soon.

Oh, and original music by Mike Patton!

Below Savagery score to Oliver Stoned

We’re back, after a long break, time to try reviving these rave reviews… never say never applies to many things. Let’s start with something different to what we usually try… a bad bad film and bad bad review, solely to help you steer clear.

Despite having heard it’s crap and thus knowing what to expect, I ended up watching ‘s Savages.

The general rule should be to only watch good movies and only write reviews of good movies, as time is limited. But as I’ve already wasted my time on this, if I can save anyone else from wasting 141 minutes on this, the review is worth it. It’s shit. Don’t bother. There. Trailer was good though.

Oliver Stone – I don’t think he was even there. Can’t really explain the results any other way.

– supporting role and completely wasted (no pun intended).

–  I didn’t particularly like it, although some might disagree. Definitely not even close to his best.

Salma Hayek – pretty much wasted.

The main cast – who are they anyway?

My favourite quote is not from the movie, it’s from imdb reviews: “… Taylor Kitsch has no charisma. None. The furniture was more interesting than he was, and had more emotional range. …”

Please don’t confuse with The Savages (2007) which is worth seeing. That’s enough, that’s already more words than Savages deserves.


Natalie Portman week: Black Swan Lake

Well, Natalie is back. And with another star of “That ’70s Show”, this time Mila Kunis. So anyone who’s read my previous post, scratch that, Ashton Kutcher is not the only one from that show to get on big screen, although Mila Kunis maybe isn’t quite there yet, but definitely on her way.

This movie nothing like Rosemary’s Baby, yet I get a similar feeling watching it. And quite approriately so, goosebumps throughout the film (there’s no such thing as swanbumps is there?), that’s how good it is. And Natalie Portman is great. A lot of people would say perfect, for reasons I’m not getting into right now. But I don’t think she was perfect, just really great. To be perfect she’d have to have danced ballet since she was born and somehow led a double life out of body experience to get all the acting experience as well as I don’t think you can perfect both, there’s not enough time and talent in the world for that. But to be fair, she’s brilliant, amazing and dedicated to a degree most people would find impossible. So dancing aside, she’s deserving all the statues and prizes and the rest, and it’s oscars today so there we go, not sure she needs any luck with that one.

As far as films go, Black Swan is definitely something you should consider seeing. It’s probably not competing for the best film of the year with some other strong contestants out there, but Darren Aronofsky‘s latest is definitely one of the best of the decade, although the decade is surely very young still. Well shot, really cool special effects (maybe surprisingly), and amazingly intense acting from all parties, not forgetting that Natalie Portman alone is the one true star of Black Swan. I’m not sure about the cinematography at times, especially the graininess of it, but I’m not really complaining. Just saying that it’s not quite there with the likes of True Grit, but then again some might say Roger Deakings isn’t easy to beat.

Vincent Cassel is great as usual, his accent maybe suitable as well, although does annoy me a little bit. I know there’s been some criticism regarding his role and the realism of the whole dancing and coaching and all, but after all, it’s only a movie. Barbara Hershey is also amazingly good, Mila Kunis is ok, as well as Winona Ryder, and the rest of the dancer’s just deal with dancing really, as they should.

Black Swan is beautiful, the dancing and the music mesmerising, the story is gripping and everyone should see this film.

And after you’ve seen Black Swan, and definitely not before, check out these two links about visual effects in Black Swan. and I know it’s no Inception or Avatar 3D, or Black Swan 3D, but still.

Natalie Portman week: No G-Strings Attached

I’ve started to think that Ashton Kutcher is probably quite a nice guy, and he can do a bit of acting as well, even if just on a limited scale. Can’t say that I like him though. I think it’s because of his role in the seventees show, or just the way he looks. But I like his films better than I like him, or maybe how he looks. But nevermind, I’m a guy, I can’t be expected to like other guys. I’m just saying I’d rather be watching someone less annoying act in films that are actually watchable. Then again, it’s just my opinion about him, and most people would probably rate all his films fairly low. And yet “That ’70s Show” is such a cool show and he’s almost the only person of the whole cast to be acting in some pretty big films. And then there’s Demi Moore. What’s that all about then… Long story short, I’m starting to tolerate the guy, and No Strings Attached is slightly above average when it comes to these rom com romantic comedy movie thingies. I’t s really no oscar material, but hey, nobody said it would be. It’s just a bit of light entertainment to pass some time, possibly with friends or your girl or boy friend.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is the executive producer of this flick as well, so I guess she may also like Ashton Kutcher, considering the plot which requires them to spend a lot of time what most people would consider fun activities. And for someone who apparently does not want to do nude scenes at all, and even managed to leave some topless scenes from her film Closer on the cutting room floor, she sure seems to like acting some sexy roles.

No Strings Attached is a fairly usual type of American comedy, maybe aimed at slightly older teen agers and young adults and maybe not for the grown ups as such, but it’s still witty at times and not completely silly, although you can’t avoid that with these movies. Ivan Reitman is back with a film that does not reflect that he would’ve grown old, but the film seems fresh enough to be directed by a younger film maker. Although considering the amount of sex I guess you could say Ivan Reitman is a dirty old man. So it’s rated R in the US then. When I say Ivan Reitman is back, I don’t mean he’s really been away, but he did have a short break from directing since his last film, and his films haven’t necessarily been as memorable as  Ghost Busters since 1984. Ok acting from Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman who do most of it anyway. Kevin Kline has a supporting role and he’s supporting it well. The rest don’t really need mentioning I think. So, to sum it up, it was funny enough, it’s making a shitload of money, and I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time, but I can’t really say I remember anything in particular about it.

Do you think the kids are all right?

How cool is that? Annette Bening,  Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo in a refreshingly different kind of movie. And Yaya DaCosta. Can’t wait to see more of her!

Funny and touching, inspiring and different. I didn’t like Josh Hutcherson very much, but I think it’s just his character. And well cast one at that. Did you spot Steven Spielberg’s daughter Sasha Spielberg? I didn’t.

One of the better stories of this year I think and not that predictable like most movies nowadays. Mark Ruffalo had quite an interesting approach to his character, which made the film all the more worth seeing. The kids are allright!

Everybody loves Despicable Me

I’m not a fan of the American The Office, I think I might be a fan of the British The Office – I’ve seen some small clips of Extras, which I really liked, and since it’s still Ricky Gervais, then I guess I might like that one as well. As much as I’m interested in these British TV series, I haven’t bothered to get more involved. And if you haven’t noticed, this is more of a movie blog, so let’s not get sidetracked. So, I mentioned The Office, because Steve Carell is in The Office and I wanted to mention that I don’t watch that, because I never got into it really. And I haven’t seen The 40 Year Old Virgin or any of his other movies either (ok, I have seen Bruce Almighty). But I did see Despicable Me and really really liked it.

Another (so called) actor in Despicable Me, that didn’t ruin the experience for me was Russell Brand. Can’t say anything bad about him regarding this film, and if Katy Perry likes him, he can’t be all bad.

Maybe also worth mentioning that Julie Andrews plays a part in this movie too.

As far as animated 3D movies go, this is somewhere at the top of my list. While not quite as good as Pixar’s Up, Despicable Me was genuinely funny, and heartwarming as any of these type of films that use every trick in the book get some tears flowing. But in this case I’d say they didn’t overdo it quite like Toy story 3.

Nothing unexpected here, but throroughly enjoyable.

The traditional writer

Two hours well spent. After seeing this film I had the weirdest feeling that instead of watching a movie I had just finished a great book. I really can’t say why and I think there’s no point in going there more than this.

Watching this flick won’t cause you epileptic seizures, nor shall it pop your ears. You will also not be sitting on the edge of your seat wondering who did it, because it is kind of obvious from fairly early on. But you shall be enjoying those couple of hours from a movie that is in its most simplest and honest forms. All the tricks and special effects are in the script, editing, camerawork and performances. And all these are beautifully coordinated by mr. Polanski.

But don’t panic, this isn’t a movie just for movie buffs in film school. (Though it would make great material for teaching the basics of story telling in the art of cinema) The story keeps you interested, it has all the elements of a good thriller. I’ve always liked Ewan, and he doesn’t let you down. No complaints about the rest of the cast either. It is also nice to see that someone still remembers that you don’t necessarily have to cut every few seconds. All in all this piece of art will probably not be in the top movies of the decade, but it is well crafted and enjoyable – good entertainment.

Brotherly Love

Jim Sheridan, Tobey Maquire, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal; that should be enough reasons to go and watch it. Or rent it.

Here’s another great little film. They’re all great actors in their limited ways and especially Tobey Maquire delivers. He is absolute amazing and his transformation during the film is really quite shocking. I’d say it’s his best performance since The Ice Storm or Deconstructing Harry, or perhaps ever.  Sam Shepard is in it too by the way.

Maybe this film doesn’t offer much new, but the way it’s told, it’s not exactly your average senseless entertainment. There’s definitely more to it than that. Considering the structure of the film, it works surprisingly well. Great drama. Even a few funny bits like every films should. But it’s still not quite the same as Trading Places.