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June 30 2013 1 30 /06 /June /2013 09:28

For-Lovers-Only.jpg

I watched this 2011 independent film last month, and I'm not sure what to think of it.

I loved the story, the actors, the acting, the scenery (exclusively filmed in France, and that's where I'm from), and also the fact that the spectator has to fill in the blanks. But I'm not sure I understand the ending. And that bugs me!

The atmosphere is intense in this film. The chemistry is there at all times. I believe roles like these, with few dialogues and lots of staring, are the hardest to interpret for an actor, because everyone has to read between the lines.

It's not a film for everyone, but I'd say give it a try. Stana Katic is so awesome in this film that just for her it's worth it.

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May 6 2013 2 06 /05 /May /2013 18:56

iron-man-3-copy-1.jpg

There are several things that make the Iron Man films the best comic book adaptations, alongside with X-Men.

1) Robert Downey Junior

2) Great, even awesome, FX

3) Humor and cynicism

4) Realism: Tony Stark doesn't have superpowers. He built an armor from scratch, "anyone" could do that, sort of. That's the big difference between Iron Man and, say, Spiderman or Superman, who get their power from magic sources (okay, mutant spider and foreign planet) and are therefore "chosen". Tony Stark has special skills before he gets his power by wearing his armor; he chooses his fate.

 

>> Assume spoilers from this point on <<

I loved Iron Man 3 for its FX, although they could have gone further with the 3D. 

I also loved the the ongoing characters' follow up story. Pepper & Tony are a great couple ; the government and army characters & stories are always realistic enough to be believable ; the cute but not naive kid was a great addition to this opus, the decoy villain was simply hilarious and fit extremely well in the Iron Man universe.

 

What I didn't like, though, was the main villains: the whole "growing a new limb" thing was, in my opinion, too far-fetched to fit the Iron Man-verse. We went from fighting Middle-East terrorists (1st film - Enemy #1 of the US, It'd say that's realistic enough) and a Russian challenger (2nd film - again realistic) to WTF mutants (3rd film - where do these come from?).

I'm usually all for the films which do not explain everything (hello? We're not dumb!), but in this particular case I think the whole mutant thing was shaky: in the end, we know how they were created and why, but not how to effectively kill them. Shoot them? Some die, some come back. Explode them? Some die, some come back... that's not solid ground for a villain. And though they tried to give a physical explanation on how the mutants were created, I didn't really fall for that.

 

In the end, that was a great film because what was built in the first two films remained and continued to evolve. But I guess I think of the villains as an accessory.

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February 7 2012 3 07 /02 /February /2012 22:57

Sherlock Holmes Game Of Shadows Jude LawSherlock Holmes Game Of Shadows Robert Downey Jr

I had liked the first installment of Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes, as being quite unexpected, surprising and entertaining.

The second one is nothing less, although I have to say it's nothing more, either. It's in the same style as the first movie, same rhythm, same music genre, same type of jokes, same kind of very twisted plot etc. Excellent performance from Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of the Millenium mini-series and films, although I have to say that sadly this actress will always be Lisbeth to me. 

A good way to spend a good time!

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January 29 2012 1 29 /01 /January /2012 20:31

girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-international-poster-021.jpg

OK, let's be completely honest here. The only reason I went to see the US film version of the first installment of Millenium, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, was to destroy the cast and crew here on my blog, insult each and everyone of them and claim the film is just BS.

Because I'm such a purist when it comes to fiction, I wouldn't have stood some diluted, bubble-gummed version of such a dark, dark story, that rang so true both in the books and in the Swedish films.

Well, as it seldom happens, I've been proven wrong. The film is surprisingly good, dark enough, and details are here: it does seem to have been directed in Sweden, all newspapers and pieces in the décor are in Swedish, and most characters have a Eastern Europe accent (quite appreciable). The cast fit the characters better than I would have thought, especially Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, even though two hours in I still couldn't get past the dyed eyebrows, but that's just a detail and sometimes even I have to make compromises. 

Besides, the film almost respects the book from the first to the last page.


SPOILERS BELOW

"Almost", indeed, as somehow, for some completely unfathomable reason, Australia has become London (WTH?) and the 1950's sign if Elvis became a leather jacket, but, well, apart from that most of the film was true to the book. In truth I read the book two years ago or so, so my memory's kind of fuzzy, but nothing, apart from Australia and the jacket, shocked me.

END OF SPOILERS


This is (truly) the good stuff, and I'm a very, very exigent person when it comes to book adaptations.

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August 22 2011 2 22 /08 /August /2011 23:21

Rise-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-poster.jpg

Amazing FX! Those apes look like humans, but not completely human. It's amazing what they can do today when it comes to facial expressions!

James Franco is as lovely as ever, of course. But Freida Pinto is completely useless.

A touching story on top of that... even though I can't really tell whether it's a good story relatively to the Planet of the Apes sequels because I haven't see either the one from 1968 or that from 2001.

Still, I call this a success.


RPA-Ceasar.jpg

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August 21 2011 1 21 /08 /August /2011 23:03

HPDH-Part-2-poster.jpg

I took me time and 2 seeings to make my final opinion on HPDH part 2, but one view was enough. This film is such an insult to the book, to the fans and to all 3D lovers in general that I really, really, really don't get the people who claim this is the best film in the series.

 

SUPER SPOILER ALERT. DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT.

 

1) This film is an insult to 3D lovers because seriously, we've come to a point where we know when fake 3D is used and when they film with real 3D cameras. And this, my friends, was fake 3D, i.e. 3D digitally reproduced after shooting with classic cameras. They thought they could fool me with this, but 3D here is a complete waste. It renders all backgrounds and other FX (spells, and all the other Magic stuff) completely blurry instead of giving us a 3rd dimension to it all.

2) It's an insult to the books, because so many book parts have been cut off that the film story is completely reduced and distorted.

- One of the most important example is that in the books, the Quest for the Horcruxes and the defeating of Voldemort are a team-based, epic adventure. In the films, we only see Harry's sacrifices, Harry struggling, Harry thinking. At this rate I would have rather they removed all the cast except for Harry and Voldy, in order to pay less wages and invest in FX.

- In the books, the Final Battles lasts several hours. In the films it all appears to last 30 minutes tops. Notion of time is completely wrong. And the battle doesn't happen in winter, thank you, but in June.

- In the books, the Pensieve is NOT a metallic, baseless, flying plate. It's a stone basin. (and they'd done it well in other HP movies so I was particularly struck by surprise at seeing this completely different and wrong Pensieve!)

- In the books, Voldemort doesn't hug Draco (come on!)

- In the books, Lily has green eyes. OK, in the film, because young Dan Radcliffe couldn't wear coloured contacts, they changed green for blue eyes -his original colour-, and made sure his mother in the film had blue eyes as well... at least until HPDH Part 2, where in a flashback, young Lily has... brown eyes (re: COME ON!). I only mention this because it's a key part in the story, people keep telling Harry he has his mother's eyes, even in this film they do, and then BAM, brown eyes. I couldn't believe it.

- In the books, we understand why Horcruxes are all key Hogwarts founders' relics, or other precious items with a history. Good luck with catching that by merely watching the films.

- In the books, Harry, Ron & Hermione save Draco twice from death. Only once in the film.

- In the books, there is such an emotion conveyed, every death being so beautifully and sadly portrayed, that I cry every single time at every single character's death. In the films, we barely see Fred is dead, and we do not even begin to glimpse at the terrible grief that falls upon the Weasleys  and Harry & Hermione, and particularly his twin brother, George. Oh, no, in the film, it is so Harry-centered and so quick in between scenes, that absolutely no homage is made to all the people who fought ever so bravely and risked/lost their lives to defeat Voldemort.

- In the books, the Deathly Hallows legend is sound, because Harry has them 3 when he goes to Voldemort to face his fate and he ends up not dying. In the film, the Invisibility Cloak is given no credit at all.

- In the books, Snape doesn't cry memories. They just escape from his face, his ears, his eyes and his mouth, but are definitely not tears. "Silvery blue, neither gas nor liquid, it gushed from his mouth and his ears and his eyes...".

- In the books, Neville and Luna are neither in love nor together.

- In the books, Harry is the godfather of Ted, son of late Tonks and Lupin. We don't see Ted's face nor hear of his existence in the film.

- And finally (although there are SO many things that are wrong in this film it would take me hours of reading the book and visioning the film to write them all down), finally, then, I felt personally insulted by the way they maintained Albus Dumbledore on the pedestal the general public had put him. I, for one, knew from the first book there was something fishy about his being both so powerful and so selfless. I knew, from the start, that one cannot have so much power and at the same time being so kind to everyone. In the books, we learn of Dumbledore's history, and how his chase for power, for the Elder Wand, lost him his sister and his relationship with his brother. He was, once, just an arrogant, selfish young man, with an uncontrollable thirst for power, just like anyone so talented is at risk to become. Truly enough, he saw in time the error of his ways, or, at least, part of it. But he kept withholding key information from Harry and the rest of the world, under the pretense of protecting them but truly to protect his image also. I have always looked at this story with the idea that there was more evil to Dumbledore that the Magical population seemed to see, and I was happy to see in the books that I was right. But what they did in the film disgusts me. Because if Jo Rowling has one quality, it is the ability to have us understand that the bad guys are human. But more than that, she shows us that the good guys are only human, as well. And the Dumbledore story is such a great example of the author's own magic, that I was exceptionally disheartened in seeing that the film makers had squeezed such an important part in the story.

 

For all these reasons, the last film of the HP series is an insult to the fans.

 

There are, however, some good points to give:

- The "Not my daughter, you bitch" part is perfect (and textbook).

- The Kings Cross station passage and the "Nineteen Years Later" bit are excellent (and, again, textbook, or almost).

- The final battle with Voldemort is good. But the little passage before, where Harry jumps with Voldy, is completely absurd.

- Two masterpieces in a very good soundtrack: Dragon flight, and Statues. Would have been nice to have a medley of other themes though, but the composer's choices are understandable.

- Daniel Radcliffe's acting clearly up to the difficult task. A real, real shame Emma Watson & Rupert Grint are not given the place they deserve and the credit that should go with it.

 

The film does not serve the story well. It's more a director's choice than a true adaptation. The thing is, they proved that they can do so much in other films, and particularly in the HPDH Part 1 film, that this one appears rushed and definitely doesn't have the polishing touch part 1 had. The 3D is just another cash-cow addition.

In short, this film clearly does not deserve the praise it has received all over the world. I don't understand how Jo Rowling could accept some things they did with her perfect story.

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July 1 2011 6 01 /07 /July /2011 20:30

Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon poster

Ah, Transformers, the series of movies where I usually meet the limits of my friends and colleagues' understanding of my geekiness.

I just love these movies, the special FX keep amazing me, film after film, and I always feel like a little kid in awe when I watch them. I always go to either the premiere or the before premiere. This time it was the before premiere in my favourite cinema in Paris, where the crowd is composed of pure fans.The audience for Transformers 3 didn't disappoint: cheering & clapping all along, I just love that.

And the film didn't disappoint, either. Yes, as usual the scenario is classic and expected all the way, but boy! I enjoyed every second of this film.

My conclusion is quite simple: if you liked the first two, you'll like this one. If you didn't like them, then there's no reason why you should like Transformers 3. 

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June 5 2011 1 05 /06 /June /2011 21:38

X-Men : First Class poster

Like any Marvel geek, I had been waiting for this one for a long time. My overall impression is really good, there is just one thing that was disappointing: the FX. Indeed, it seems the budget has been cut down on this part because not only were the big scenery totally unconvincing (the boat sinking & flying submarine bits could totally have appeared in a 1998 TV show, and I'm really not joking here, it was on the same level as a Buffy episode) but some mutants' powers seem fake as well, in particular the hurrican-maker ones. That quite took me by surprise because I am still in awe before X2's special effects, especially Nightcrawler's, and X2 was filmed in 2003.

But other than this, the film is absolutely awesome: James McAvoy is great as Charles Xavier, and the remaining cast is really giving life to characters that could have been boring, in the sense that some characters could have been perceived as overused (already seen in the following episodes) or on the contrary pointless (characters that do not show in the following episodes). The story itself is really great. I've never read a comic before so I didn't know what to expect but what had already been shown in the other X-Men films, and this goes far beyond the scope of my imagination. In a good way. The film does give credible history to Xavier, the Beast, Magneto, Mystique and the X-Men in general.

An excellent prequel, but as a Marvel, I expected better special FX.

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May 29 2011 1 29 /05 /May /2011 22:31

Midnight in Paris Poster

I really don't get all the fuss I heard around this film. Yes, it's Paris and it's nice to see an American film has genuinely been filmed in the actual Paris and not in a studio, but come on, this film brings nothing to the table anyone didn't already know. I don't get the point of stating explicitly what's clearly happening to the protagonist 15 minutes into the film, and then following said protagonist for the rest of the film until he realizes it himself. That's downright boring and pointless. And Owen Wilson is definitely not that good a drama actor, as he was virtually unable to adapt his facial expressions to scenes of angst, sadness, joy or loving. His face is basically the same from the first minute to the last.

And I'm not even talking about the French actresses, or should I say poster girls? Marion Cotillard should really leave Hollywood and come back to France because her roles are useless and way below her acting talents. As for our President's wife, she's so transparent in the 5 minutes we see her that it felt more like her shadow was filmed than a real person. The only second role that was hilarious was Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali. 

Boy, I was bored, and I feel like I lost my time.

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May 29 2011 1 29 /05 /May /2011 21:42

The Tree of Life poster

Unintelligible to normal people, this film is aimlessly going back and forth eras of the protagonists with no coherence whatsoever from one scene to another, and I'm not even talking about the weird and soundless space / underwater / dinosaurs scenes in between the slices of life. I got the Eden, Moses and Abraham references, but that's about it. This film is profoundly snob, but most of all extremely boring.

2hrs 20 minutes lost.

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