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Badlands

The good old ‘merican way

In my recent efforts of trying to change few things in my life, I’ve started to watch some old movies that sat around my computer for ages.

Quite scared by Tree of Life (watched it some time ago), one of more recent Terrrence Malick’s works, I didn’t knew what to expect from his first full-length directed, produced and wrote movie,apart from some rumble about “old ‘merica” and some weird shots of desserts and maybe mountains. Boy, was I wrong…

Badlands

“The day was quiet and serene but I didn’t notice, for I was deep in thought, and not even thinking about how to slip off. The world was like a faraway planet to which I could never return. I thought what a fine place it was, full of things that people can look into and enjoy.”

Firstly, Badlands is a true american movie. It reeks of 60’s mid-west cultural background and the “good old ‘merican ways” (I’m no expert though). Few shots of that mid-west, quite rhetorical quotes, a James Dean look alike main character (quite resembling the attitude of Rebel Without a Cause) and a mildly Bonny and Clyde inspired plot, gives this movie, both a very spiritual driven, but also action wise part.

Some might argue, it’s even a story about spiritual findings, somewhat remembering Kerouac’s On The Road (the american symbols start to pile), this time, the destination being “the Mountains”, on the far side of the picture. As for the fate of our protagonist, it could be seen as either sad or beautiful, depending on the person and their view of the events presented in the movie.

As for me, I believe this is a story that should be seen with a dose of nostalgia and an attitude for aesthetic western american culture.

In conclusion, Martin Sheen commented in 1999 that Badlands “still is” the best script he had ever read. He wrote that “It was mesmerising. It disarmed you. It was a period piece, and yet of all time. It was extremely American, it caught the spirit of the people, of the culture, in a way that was immediately identifiable”.

 

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Man-Of-Steel-wallpapers-1920x1200-3

Man of Steel – The  ‘S’ stands for hope

Directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel is a fresh start for a 75 years-old superhero. With a script from David S. Groyer (writer of The Dark Knight trilogy), Man of Steel introduces Clark Kent as unaware of his moral responsibilities towards Earth and his inhabitant, wandering around America, trying to fit it and remain anonymous.

However, as the story progresses, Clark Kent becomes Superman and takes full-use and responsibility of his powers. Although the film becomes more and more packed with action and special effects as super-punches are flying around and buildings are being torn down, Man of Steel is not a void film. Indeed, it is a great action film and keeps you to the edge of your seat, but it has a lot of drama and moral themes to show you as well.

 You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards.

Man of Steel Henry Cavill

That’s right ladies, Clark caries a lot of responsibility on his strong shoulders…

Man of Steel is a film of drama and ethics, having a character that is really a superhero with moral struggles and ethical responsibilities. Flashbacks from Clark’s past shows how hard was for him to fit in our world due to his powers. Clark is an outcast, and outsider, but as soon as he becomes aware of his moral responsibilities he turns into a true superhero: a strong symbol and an example, a definition for justice and hope. In this order of ideas, Superman becomes one the most ethical and strongest superhero on the screens right now.

As for conclusion, you need to know that you’ll find a serious and responsable Superman, adrenaline-packed fights, a fresh story, great visual effects and a direction that sets Clark Kent in a darker world than ever before, with a lot of genuine problems to be taken care off.

One of the trailers down below:

My rate: 8.5

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star-trek-into-darkness4I never thought I’d be a Trekkie and somehow here I am at the second film from the new Star Trek series. Directed by J. J. Abrams, who revived the Star Trek franchise in 2009, Star Trek Into the Darkness returns with new challenges for Kirk, Spock and the crew of USS Enterprise, fresh locations, beautiful frames, good score and a very strong main villain, portrait by Benedict Cumberbatch. You can also see Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, all returning to their old parts, but fresh faces as well.

This second installment brings a new and better villain, John Harrison, who creates a lot of problems for Kirk and the company. Cumberbatch delivers a great performance here, proving once again that he is a great actor. Also the rest of the cast did their jobs well and gave good performances. Nothing to object here.star_trek_into_darkness_2013-wide

Star Trek Into Darkness comes in 3D and offers a spectacular visual experience for most of the time. J. J. Abrams gives quite an attention to the visual aspect, here and there it might even steal your attention, but as a whole, the film is great to watch.

The story of Star Trek Into Darkness is maybe better than the prequel as it delivers a strong villain, harder challenges, breathtaking action scenes, but quite a cut climax. Nevertheless there is still enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. As for me, I really liked this new Star Trek film, even better than the previous one.ap_Star_Trek_Into_Darkness_nt_130516_wmain

Bottom line, Star Trek Into Darkness has enough darkness in it, as well as a strong villain, action-packed story and a great cast, all dressed up in a beautiful visual, entertaining experience.

As for more insights over the plot of the film, you have the trailer down below:

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Cannes 2013

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It was a fitting end to the week in which gay marriage was legalised in France: Abdellatif Kechiche’s same-sex love story La Vie D’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Colour) was named the winner of the top prize at the Cannes film festival.

The film that preceded it as top tip – the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis – went home with the Grand Prix (runner-up prize).

The best actress award was won by Bérénice Bejo for her part in the divorce drama The Past. Bejo is also known for her role in The Artist, which premiered at Cannes two years ago.

Veteran star Bruce Dern was named best actor for his role as an alcoholic father in Alexander Payne’s black-and-white road movie, Nebraska. Dern was an unexpected winner; the actor himself had returned to the US, leaving Payne to pick up his award. The bookies’ choice was Michael Douglas, who turns in a game-changing performance as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s biopic of the pianist.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the best director award doing to 34-year-old Mexican director Amat Escalante, whose Heli unnerved many with scenes of torture.

The third place “Jury” prize went to Hirokazu Koreeda’s gentle domestic drama Like Father, Like Son, while the Camera D’Or (for best first film) went to Ilo Ilo.

In conclusion, this year’s festival was widely regarded as a rejuvenation after a slightly lacklustre couple of years. The majority of competition films were well received, and the difficulty of choosing between them upped the ante…

The source: The Guardian

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Since its publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald received multiple film adaptations, the most recent one being directed and written by Buzz Luhrmann, having Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in leading roles. Even so, Fitzgerald’s story still has some potential left in it, as none of the film versions are complete, not even the one in question.

Luhrmann’s film is effervescent, playing most of its aces on the visual exuberance and losing some of the touch it should have had. In fact, it felt like The Great Gatsby was not that great after all as it hasn’t reached its full dramatic potential. It may have been a bit too exuberant in aspect, here and there the image looks like a video-game, but that remains at the discretion of viewer to appreciate.

The-Great-Gatsby1Luhrmann’s effort to create such gushing film may be understood through context of the plot (roaring twenties, jazz age, american dream), but I don’t think that’s the best way to depict Fitzgerald’s universe. The Great Gatsby was, for sure, presented as never before, effusive and effervescent, on the edge of having a strenuous atmosphere, ready to burst out of the screen, maybe a bit too loud, a bit too hard, just like Gatsby’s life.

What I really appreciated in Luhrmann’s film, was the faithfulness to the original plot. There are still great moments, most of them due to Fitzgerald’s plot, but to Luhrmann’s vision as well. The original scenes are sharply introduced in the story, they fell like they belong in the plot and the storytelling is also attractive. Most of the film went on the line that Fitzgerald drew almost 90 years ago, following the powerful, lasting themes and the characters that put The Great Gatsby on the top of 20th century literature. Also, the cast delivered great performances.

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As I finished watching The Great Gatsby, I was divided between opinions. I felt like it missed something, like it focused too much or too less, like it was excessive and incomplete, but in the same time I loved it so much… It felt like it was “too great” on the outside and a tiny bit ”not too great” on the inside. Even so I liked The Great Gatsby and until the next screening, it remains the film that I associate with Fitzgerald’s novel.

Bottom line: even if I didn’t particularly enjoy Luhrmann’s visual style, I liked The Great Gatsby as a whole. The film sits just under the line of greatness, while the novel is quite up the ladder, but for now, it should do the job…

My rate: 8/10

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Spring-Breakers-wallpaper-1

Spring Breakers is a crime film written and directed by Harmony Korine, starring Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco. The film follows four college-aged girls, Faith, Brit, Candy, and Cotty, on their spring break in Florida where they engage a reckless behavior.

“We’re in a magic place, y’all. You can change who you are, yo. Bikinis and big booties, yo. That’s what life is about.”

First, I need to confess that I enjoyed Spring Breakers more than I thought I would. The film might look like a cheap teen party. I admit that. It has its flaws, but when you look deeper, under the party-like themes, you discover a poem of violence and eroticism. Spring Breakers is a loud cry on the outside and a soft symphony in the inside. Nevertheless, the crowded and reckless parties seem to be too much for some viewers, stealing the thunder, pushing the meaning even deeper into the film.

“I’m tired of seeing the same thing. Everybody’s so miserable here because they see the same things everyday, they wake up in the same bed, same houses, same depressing streetlights, one gas station, grass, it’s not even green, it’s brown. Everything is the same and everyone is just sad. I really don’t want to end up like them. I just want to get out of here. There’s more than just spring break. This is our chance to see something different.”

Harmony Korine did a good job as both director and writer of Spring Breakers giving a fresh air to an obscene film. If we put aside the party moments, Korine manages to give a fragrant atmosphere to a violent and erotic film, pushing its violence and eroticism to an upper level, allegorical and “poetical”, aesthetical and meaningful in the same time.

James Franco makes a great part in portraying Alien, an ambitious and materialist rapper/gangster. The apparent spinelessness is countered by its deepness, although we’re talking about a minimal philosophy, marked by money and power mostly. In some way, Alien remembers me of a stereotypical guy who is driven by a poor background and his thirst for materialism. That being said, France manages a great part, despite the his teeth wrapped in tinfoil and dreadlocks. After all, like the whole film, Alien is marked by the difference between appearances and depth.

“This was my dream. I made it come true. This is the f****** American dream. This is the f****** dream y’all. This is my s***. Look at my s***. I got shorts, every f****** color. I got designer t-shirts. I got gold bullets. Motherf****** vampires. I got my dark tannin’ oil, lay out by the pool. This is the American dream, y’all.”

In what regards the feminine part of this film, I only have to attack the characters of Gomez and Korine, who chicken out and leave the picture. I don’t have to condemn their performances, even if there were slights slips on the road. The innocence of Faith and the cowardness of Cotty almost irritated me, but after all they managed to highlight the amplitude of Candy and Brit (Hudgens and Benson). The devotion for the story brings out the character of Hudgens and Benson and their acting as well. After all, the film would have been to crowded with so many main characters.

“We’re gonna change the world, y’all. This is poetry in motion.”

In conclusion, Spring Break is a hard nut with a tasteful core. Direction/Script went hand to hand, especially from a visual and ideational perspective. Franco, Benson and Hudgens did amazing parts. The modern assertion of pop culture seen from such a vision is something to watch this spring. No matter if we talk about characters or plot, Spring Breakers remains a film of contrasts, the contrast between appearances and depth, between the tinfoil and the teeth under it (excuse the uninspired little joke, y’all).

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In 1912, humanity encountered on of the most recognizable tragedies in its modern history. RMS Titanic, the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg as it was traveling from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The sinking resulted in the death of 1 514 people from the total of 2 224, both passengers and crew. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials.

The route of Titanic

Alight by such an event which happened exactly 101 years ago, I decided to pay my small tribute. I regret that I haven’t done this thing last year, but that’s a problem of timing as many others that occur in my life. We miss one crucial moment or event, we arrive to late or we die to soon… The one thing that I did last year was watching James Cameron’s film, but more about that later…

“The unsinkable ship”

Titanic was the biggest ship at the moment of its voyage, measuring 269.06 m in length, displacing 52,310 tons. The greatness of such a ship was matched only by its highest standards of luxury. Even so, the ship carried most of its passenger in the Third Class. Titanic‘s passengers numbered around 1,317 people: 324 in First Class, 284 in Second Class and 709 in Third Class. Anyway, the ship’s attention to details was countered by its small number of lifeboats. Only 20 lifeboats with a total capacity of 1 178 people were introduced on the ship, even if it could have carried up to 64 lifeboats which would have been enough for 4,000 people, considerably more than its actual capacity. Such a mistake… Half of the people on that ship were doomed in the eventuality of sinking, thing that took place… The fate was working against Titanic

Even if there were iceberg warnings, Titanic would meet its fatality in the night of 14 and the morning of 15 April 1912. As Titanic approached her fatal crash, most passengers had gone to bed. At 23:39, Fleet spotted an iceberg in Titanic‘s path. He rang the lookout bell three times and telephoned the bridge to inform “Iceberg, right ahead!”. Even if Titanic‘s heading changed just in time to avoid a head-on collision, the ship striked the iceberg with a glancing blow. A few minutes later, all of Titanic‘s engines were stopped, leaving the ship facing north and drifting in the Labrador Current. From this moment on, the ship was doomed, as well as its passengers…

Diagram of Titanic’s course at the time of the collision with the iceberg.

The iceberg buckled the plates, popping rivets and damaging a sequence of compartments. Contrary to widespread assumption, the iceberg did not slice the hull. The ship began to flood immediately, with water pouring in at an estimated rate of 7 long tons (7.1 t) per second, fifteen times faster than it could be pumped out. Thomas Andrews, Titanic’s builder, informed the captain that the ship was doomed and that she could remain afloat for no longer than about two hours… The ship sank at 02:20.

By about 00:20, 40 minutes after the collision, the loading of the lifeboats was under way. Second Officer Lightoller took charge of the boats on the port side while Murdoch took those on the starboard side. The two officers interpreted the evacuation order differently; Liutenant William Murdoch took it to mean women and children first while Lightoller took it to mean women and children only. Neither officer knew how many people could safely be carried in the boats as they were lowered and erred on the side of caution by not filling them. They could have been lowered quite safely with their full complement of 68 people. Had this been done, an extra 500 people could have been saved; instead, hundreds of people, predominantly men, were left on board as lifeboats were launched with many seats vacant…

Animation of Titanic’s sinking

At about 02:15, Titanic‘s angle in the water began to increase rapidly as water poured into previously unflooded parts of the ship through deck hatches. After another minute, the ship’s lights flickered once and then permanently went out, plunging Titanic into darkness. The ship sank at 02:20, leaving the rest of the people who were still alive and not in a lifeboat in the freezing waters of the ocean.

The water was lethally cold, with a temperature of 28 °F (−2 °C). Second Officer Lightoller described the feeling of “a thousand knives” being driven into his body as he entered the sea. Heat is lost more quickly in water than on land. A water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) can lead to death in as little as one hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Such a thing happened during the sinking of the Titanic, in which most people who entered the −2 °C (28 °F) water died within 15–30 minutes. Only a few of those in the water survived… Titanic‘s survivors were finally rescued around 04:00 on 15 April by the RMS Carpathia, which had steamed through the night at high-speed and at considerable risk, as the ship had to dodge numerous icebergs en route.

The Titanic has gone down in history as the ship that was called unsinkable. Many stories were told about Titanic and the most recognizable one remains the film of James Cameron.

One of the most known films, “Titanic” was a tremendous succes in both critics and box-office, winnig a record number of 11 Oscars, grossing $1.84 billion

Launched in 1997, Titanic is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. Cameron wanted to convey the emotional message of the tragedy, and felt that a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to achieving this. With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, it was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest-grossing film of all time since 1998, until 2009. When I’ll see Titanic without shedding few tears, then I’ll know that something broke inside me. When I’ll see Titanic without having the smallest emotional reaction, then I’ll be dead. Until this point, Titanic remains in the list of my favourites…

The bow of the wrecked RMS Titanic, photographed in June 2004

Fate or human error put Titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). No matter what was the cause of such a disaster, the sinking of Titanic is one of the stories we all heard, one of the stories we should remind, at least now in the day when such a tragedy took place. With the hope that I reminded you the story of Titanic, let’s have a minute of silence in the memory of those who died on that ship.

23:39, 14 April, 2013.

S.B.

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Futility

"Futility of futilities, all is futile"

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"Live to the point of tears"