Movie Reviews

Time (2006) – Kim Ki Duk

Time (2006) – Kim Ki Duk

Feb 23, 2015

When it comes to plastic surgery, some of us feel the need to blame society or even worse make a case of moral justice out of it. It’s a sensitive matter that intertwines spiritual and emotional aspects of our own existence. But, plastic surgery is not always about the ego or the desire to fit one’s ideals. With the passing of time it became an industry, not to be judged by the personal needs of the individuals that make use of it. Plastic surgery is about choice and accepting your own body, some people even go to the extent of saying that it’s the art of creating yourself.  It’s true we live in a society that makes us strive for perfection in terms of appearance. Some blame the media for that, some the fashion industry, but that’s not what really matters.   In all this craze we forget about our emotional side, our insides, metaphorically said. It’s the psychological causes and effects that must be taken into account when considering plastic surgery.   These represent the prime motives of the South Korean director Kim Ki Duk’s movie Time. A movie that’s not just a bad love story, or a pretended documentary on plastic surgery. Kim Ki Duk creates a statement that has its roots in his own society, South Korea having the best plastic surgeons in the world as some analysts may say. Although artsy and at times full of symbolism in close connection to the director’s own cultural references, Time manages to create a full-blown picture of the psychology behind a very particular case of why an individual wants plastic surgery.   Starting with the story of a failed modern love relationship, the plot itself leaves the spectator quite baffled. At first we meet the two partners, before and having a blunt break up alongside the reasons behind it – this manages somehow to represent the key point in the movie. The woman, See-hee, clearly unstable from a psychological standpoint, and having deep issues about her face in correlation with the relationship with her lover, decides to have plastic surgery. That’s the moment that marks the unleashing of the drama, following her lover,...

Boyhood – Review

Boyhood – Review

Feb 17, 2015

Thank God for Boyhood. Or more precisely, thank God for Richard Linklater. Boyhood is the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his life along with his sister (Lorelei Linklater) and his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). When we meet Mason he is 5 and when we leave him he is 18. It is not just Mason that grows, each character is introduced as adolescent. Not just Mason’s older sister, but also the dead-beat “musician” dad who likes bowling and french fries, the needy mother who clings to a series of bad husbands.From the first day of elementary school, to the first day of college, Boyhood is a photo album of a life spectacular in it’s banality.   Linklater was the mastermind behind this completely innovative way to shoot a film about growing up. Over the course of 12 years, he gathered the same cast and shot moments of a life, a little bit each year. Richard Linklater devised a childishly simple plan to get at the hearts of an audience and deliver more moments of profound honesty to a film then has been done, maybe ever. And he did it by not following the rules.   Boyhood is far from fault-free. There are points where the dialogue can get clumsy and too leading (i.e. “life doesn’t give you bumpers!”). Many of the supporting characters are broad and seem out of place amongst the much more nuanced main characters.  The second half of the film seems to support a floating first half, and overall, its grandiose 3-hour length seems to suggest a certain universal quality that can come off as preachy, instead of sweet. But this technique shows potential, and more than that, it shows sensitivity to honesty.   More to the point, Boyhood is not a perfect film, but instead is an incredibly important film. It falls into the category of those films that first experimented with sound and color because those filmmaking pioneers also refused to follow the rules, they took what seemed like a gimmick and revolutionized cinematic storytelling.   This 12-year “gimmick” works for this story of Boyhood, for many reasons. We, as the audience get to check in...

Laggies (2014) – “stop lagging and start living”

Laggies (2014) – “stop lagging and start living”

Jan 29, 2015

When you want to enjoy a slick romantic comedy there’s nothing more entertaining than a coming of age story from director Lynn Shelton, especially when it involves love and friendship along with a great deal of coziness that makes you feel like your own wavering instincts are shown onto the screen.  That’s exactly how Laggies feels like because it’s a comedy so well written that becomes easy to decipher from every standpoint, although the title is a little dopey. The story of Megan (Keira Knightley), a woman very close to the age of 30,  starts off with the depiction of her current life that seems deadlocked career wise and far from being what anybody else would want for themselves. She creates the impression of a clueless person that has no aspiration or ambition while her high school friends are getting married or having kids.  She refuses to use her advanced degree in family therapy and she’s constantly behaving like a kid around her father (Jaff Garlin). Overwhelmed by a marriage proposal from her long term boyfriend (Mark Webber) Megan takes some time away to think it through and meets a 16-year-old high school student Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz). She moves in with Annika and her dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) for a week while she tries to find out what she wants from life. While lying to her boyfriend that she is at a life management seminar, Megan founds herself in the middle of sorting out her lack of decision making, stricken by the thought of an uncertain future. Despite of being an over-educated young woman Megan cannot make a decision regarding her lifestyle and starts hanging out with Annika and her group of friends. The plot is written with wit and manages to create a clever story that develops in a normal and enjoyable pace, nuanced by playfulness and  congeniality, especially when the characters don’t fall under the circumstances of a rough stereotype. It’s really special to be able to see the portraying of such a sweet and rational adolescent like Annika and a woman with a very well defined cordial personality  like Megan. To complete this comes the character of Annika’s dad, Craig...

Begin Again (2013) – “New York Melody”

Begin Again (2013) – “New York Melody”

Jan 26, 2015

  Coming from John Carney, the Irish director of the independent movie Once from 2007, Begin Again follows a similar story line with the previous mentioned movie, this time having a bigger production value and a much more famous cast, fit for the cinemas in the United States and that can make him more acknowledged. This is a movie about music, and having Gregg Alexander (a Grammy winning composer) as the writer for the majority of the songs is a big plus. The movie begins with the portrayal of Greta’s (Keira Knightley) and Dan’s (Mark Ruffalo) lives, two random strangers that meet after having a breakdown point in their lives. In the middle of one lonely night Dan sees Greta singing at a bar (after one of her friends obliges her to do so) and starts having the inspiration that he was missing for so long. As an ex music producer he starts imagining how the song that Greta performs will sound if it was produced properly so he decides to make her a shining star. Greta caves in with Dan’s offer, after being somehow hard to convince because she is no hasty woman even after being cheated by her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine), now a famous musician. The characters of Greta and Dan are somehow contradictory but that leads to an almost perfect completion. Dan is impulsive and desperate and Greta is calm and thoughtful. Obviously everything revolves around music and its creative process, but the magic of this movie comes from the structure of the characters that evolves from the plot itself and makes the story fit the characters like a glove. The strife that Dan holds within him (and the way Mark Ruffalo portrays it in such a well-defined manner) is something typical for a creator inside a music industry that is decaying and gives us the occasion to spectate a sobbing matter. The performance of the actors is note-perfect, even with its bits of romantic attitudes, and leaves no place for inconclusive feelings. Even Dan’s ex-wife Miriam and his daughter Violet are played by amazing actresses (Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld) and that also makes the cast an excellent one....

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #2

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies Review

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies Review

Dec 9, 2014

At the start of the first Lord of the Rings movie, Bilbo complains to his friend Gandalf, he says  “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Well, turns out that is exactly how one could describe this, the last movie in Bilbo’s story. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies finishes off Peter Jackson’s trilogy exactly the way it started, so much time, but not enough substance. So at least they are consistent. This chapter picks up EXACTLY where we left off. Smaug is out and Laketown is in very grave danger, the citizens, aided by dauntless father Bard (Luke Evans), flee to the Mountains. There our team of Dwarves have barricaded themselves in, watching over their newly retrieved treasure, but something isn’t right. Thorin is a changed man (or should I say Dwarf), changed by the power and a gold-obsessed ailment they call “Dragon Sickness”. He is not ready to be charitable, to the men of Laketown or any of armies which come, one by one to pry his treasure from his hands. But a common enemy bonds all; elves, men and dwarves must unite in order to fight off the orcs before the end.   It’s nearly impossible to talk about this film on its own merits, or lack there of. It’s the bloated end to the already bloated first and second, it was never meant to stand on its own and its carries on its predecessors pitfalls. No individualization of characters, a mission that is difficult to care about, constant unnecessary winks to the Lord of the Rings audience, and, worst of all, a tone that is incredibly unrelentlessly serious despite itself.   But not to worry, it has plenty of its own unique flaws. It is, after all simply, the 3rd act of the story, this entire movie is the end of a story, which means it’s about 80% fighting. It’s so much fighting that all of the big set pieces begin to cancel each other out. One by one we watch as each hero has his or her moment; they fight orcs on mountains, they fight orcs on ice and, of course, they...