Friday, 24 March 2017

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

Genres

Drama | Romance

Director

Derek Cianfrance

Countries

UK | New Zealand | USA

Cast

Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Caren Pistorius, Anthony Hayes, Emily Barclay, Leon Ford, Thomas Unger, Benedict Hardie, Jane Menelaus, Garry McDonald

Storyline

Unable to have their only child, a lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Alicia Vikander) decide to raise a baby they rescued from a drifting rowing boat as if it was theirs.

Opinion

I only watched "The Place Beyond the Pines" from director Derek Cianfrance and I was very disappointed with it, probably because I was expecting a different film. That said, I still was very excited about "The Light Between Oceans". The story sounded interesting, the trailer looked great and the cast, well, it was amazing.

Unfortunately, just like Cianfrance's other movie, I was disappointed by this mediocre, dull and sugary Nicolas Sparks's style film.

Quite superficial, simple and unoriginal, yet with quite some wasted potential, the story features guilt and loss and ends up being simply dreadful. Those themes just aren't developed as deserved and are paired with a tormented romance that is far from interesting. In a very confused way, the film also tries to show how hard it can be to determine what's the right thing to do in a given situation, but it doesn't have much of an impact.

The characters aren't that good either. I have not read the novel so I don't know who is to be blamed, but these characters are terrible. Underdeveloped and stupid as well, I found it impossible to be emotionally invested in any of them. Despite the performances, especially Michael Fassbender's surprisingly excellent performance as the lighthouse keeper. I said surprisingly because he was given a character that has basically nothing to do other than staring at the ocean.

The performances aren't the only good thing about Cianfrance's film. It is indeed visually stunning, not only because of New Zealand's scenery but because of the beautiful photography as well. And the score by Alexandre Desplat almost makes the film emotional.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Underdogs


It's Thursday aka time for another Thursday Movie Picks entry, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves where you share three movies to fit the theme of the week each Thursday.

Spring has just kicked in and so have underdogs because, guess what, it's their week. I don't know you, but I always root for the underdog, except in sports, there I usually root for the best aka Bayern in football and Nole Djokovic in tennis. Anyway, there's something about seeing them happy that makes me happy. They don't always make it - see my third pick - but sometimes it's the journey that counts.

8 Mile (2002)

Jimmy is a young white rapper who is trying to become successful in a field "dominated" by black people while dealing with his life. I don't know how the mass feels about this film, but I love it. It is such an inspirational movies about hardship and determination, and it has some pretty powerful lyrics. And Eminem's performance isn't bad either considering he's not an actor. I can't be trusted on this though, I'm a huge fan of Eminem.

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Po is a panda who sees his dream to becomes a Kung Fu master become reality when he is chosen by a prophecy. There's only one problem: he sucks at Kung Fu. This film is incredibly fun and entertaining, the characters are very enjoyable, especially Po, and it has a lot to teach both to kids and adults. If you haven't already, you should really catch up on this one. Even if Po reminds you of your ex.


Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Eddie is a young and tenacious British ski jumper who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his dream, qualify for the 1988 Winter Olympics. One of my favourite movies of 2016, it is pretty much the typical feel-good film about an underdog, but it differs from the others because for once it shows that winning isn't everything. That's why this film is a winner for me.

An American in Rome (1954)

Original Title

Un americano a Roma

Genre

Comedy

Director

Steno

Country

Italy

Cast

Alberto Sordi, Maria Pia Casilio, Giulio Calì, Anita Durante, Ilse Petersen, Vincenzo Talarico, Carlo Mazzarella, Rocco D'Assunta, Ursula Andress, Carlo Delle Piane, Galeazzo Benti, PIna Gallini, Leopolpo Trieste

Storyline

It follows the adventures of Nando Moriconi (Alberto Sordi), a young Italian living in the early '50s Rome who badly wants to be American.

Opinion

A lot of years ago a family friend suggested me to watch "An American in Rome" but I was young and stupid and I turned down the suggestion because the film was in black and white. That's how stupid I was. And I was also wrong because that way I missed a silly yet hilarious comedy.

There isn't much of a plot, it's basically a series of vignettes tied together by the main character, Nando. They, the vignettes, are also quite confused and don't make a lot of sense at times, but the film doesn't really need a strong, solid plot because it's the memorable character that makes the film memorable.

You won't simply watch a comedy, you'll fall in love with Nando, an American-wannabe Italian who calls himself Santi Byron, masterfully portrayed by Alberto Sordi who will have you laughing throughout the entire film with his fantastic sense of humour. 

Don't worry, though, you won't need to speak Italian to enjoy this because the situations Nando finds himself into are fun as well. Like when he's mistaken for a German soldier by the Americans because of his terrible English, or when, once again because of his terrible English, almost has two American tourists killed. And then there is the famous scene in which Sordi converses with a plate of spaghetti and destroys them.

It's not a masterpiece, but it's definitely worth the time. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)

Genres

Comedy | Horror

Directors

Chris Hopewell | Crispian Mills

Country

UK

Cast

Simon Pegg, Clare Higgins, Amara Karan, Paul Freeman, Kerry Shale, Alan Drake, Zaak Conway, Filippo Delaunay, Elliot Greene, Mo Idriss, Tuyet Le

Storyline

Paranoid crime novelist Jack (Simon Pegg) must confront his worst fears when a film executive takes an interest in his movie script.

Opinion

I was scrolling down Simon Pegg's filmography looking for some comedy I haven't seen when I saw "A Fantastic Fear of Everything". I had no idea what the film was about but I loved the title and went for it. And I liked it and I believe I'm alone on this island because the ratings everywhere seem to suggest this is a terrible film. I'm the first to admit it is not the most clever horror comedy out there, but it still is amusing and entertaining.

The film features the kind of story you either love or hate. And it was love for me as I found it quite original, incredibly bizarre and very engaging. It is about the journey of a man who has to confront his fears and, it being just a silly comedy, the filmmakers handled that theme quite well.

The story gets a little flat at some point, but the narration is what makes it interesting. Simon Pegg narrating his paranoias with an inner vocalization is in fact what really made me love the film and allowed me to identify a little with the character.

Although there aren't plenty of laughing-out-loud moments, the British dark humour is still spot on and will put a grin on your face for most of the running time. There still are some hilarious scenes, though. Overall it's the typical Simon Pegg humour, if you like him, you'll enjoy the film and his brilliant performances as well.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Chef (2014)

Genres

Comedy | Drama

Director

Jon Favreau

Country

USA

Cast

Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Sedaris, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters, Jose Caridad Hernandez

Storyline

Frustrated chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck so that he can be artistically free again.

Opinion

As a foodie, I'm ashamed of myself for watching "Chef" only now because it is a fantastic ode to food. As a movie lover, I'm ashamed of myself for watching it only now because it is a charming, entertaining, fun and feel-good dramedy.

Jon Favreau used to be Iron Man's chauffeur, and this is when he proves he's more than just a side character. He's actually Superman, I'd add. He does a fantastic job both directing and acting in this film, but now I'm going to focus on his other role, as the writer.

The story is enjoyable, it moves quickly and so smoothly it doesn't even feel like there's a script -everything just looks incredibly natural - and it will have your attention for the entire running time. There aren't useless plot-points and no needless subplots. Okay, that's not 100% true. Scarlett Johansson's character is kinda pointless and at some point, she disappears like she never even existed. 

And okay, maybe that's not the only problem, in fact the majority of the characters are shallow and underdeveloped, but the film is about the journey of Carl Casper, a journey of self-discovery, redemption and love. It is also about the relationship between Carl and his estranged son Pearcy, and the beautiful friendship he shares with Martin and Favreau delivered all that beautifully.

Like I mentioned earlier, "Chef" celebrates food and the art of cooking and it does that with some beautiful (and touching) scenes, from Carl trying a new menu for the restaurant, to the gold moments he spends in the truck with his son.

And the comedy is fantastic. It is light, slightly vulgar at times, and incredibly hilarious other times, and it's balanced with some clever dialogue and just the right amount of drama. The soundtrack also adds a lot of the film with its funky rhythm.