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Posts Tagged ‘review’

Blade Runner

This time, I dashed into another pleasant surprise.. I’m a big fan of the rain, SF and film-noir and I knew this movie is good at that, yet I never expected to find such an aesthetic and moral power breathing out of it.

Firstly, Blade Runner is probably one of the most iconic SF films ever made. For many times during the movie I completely forgot what the plot was and became so fully immersed in the world: it’s vast, rich, beautiful, filled with so many details and every frame reminds us that very fact.

Blade Runner

Secondly, the plot is not very impressive, it does not boost the usual SF epic, but rather acts as a support for the characters to evolve into and for the world to be presented onto: the movie is abundant in philosophy and makes good use of its motives. In that regard, the viewer often finds himself wondering about the conventions of human nature, morality, technology and others. Nevertheless, the most important question the movie raises is whether the main protagonist is a replicant (robot) himself or a human being. We don’t get an answer this, but rather some ambiguity regarding that topic, which leaves us to appreciate the answer from our own perspective.

Lastly, I want to notice once more the richness of this movie’s motives and film-noir conventions. By exceeding at that, Blade Runner manages to take a special place when it comes to iconic, SF cult following movies.

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True Detective

We get the world we deserve

I still believe that True Detective is one of the best TV shows to come out in the 2010’s. Though, at times, the first half of the season was slow paced, had a tangled plot and lacked the rhetorical philosophy of the first season, the things started to take off as the conclusion was coming upon.

In that regard, I’m not trying to say that the first half of the season was bad, but rather that it seems to have left lots of people with a bitter taste. The show introduced the characters and the plot in the first half, but somehow, I didn’t cared for it that much. Nevertheless, as that epic shootout took place, everything changed: suddenly I was hooked..

True Detective

Never do anything out of hunger

I think that what mattered most this season was not the plot (who killed Casper), but the characters, their dynamic and how I started to care for them more and more to the point where I was screaming at my TV in the finale. Though the relationships seemed out of place in the beginning and the characters themselves seemed to be reticent towards each other, it all started to change as they were pulled into a criminal conspiracy bigger than any of them (and sadly, than all of them).

One thing that ate me up in the finale is how the world is owned by those who are corrupt and willing to cross any line in order take and keep the power for their own, twisted purposes. Even if our characters tried to stand up, they didn’t managed to change much, but rather lose a lot in the process… Contrary to Rust and Marty, not many got to walk the scene this season, but rather leave it with a bang (both literally and figuratively) and though it made me very sad, I am happy with how things got to play out…

 

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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 – 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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‘To kill or not to die’ – A story about friendship, closure and choice. A deep story told in a comic accent.

Stand Up Guys is a 2012 crime comedy film directed by Fisher Stevens, written by Noah Haidle, starring Al Pacino as Val, Christopher Walken as Doc and Alan Arkin as Hirsch. The film tells the story of Val, who is released after serving 28 years in prison, and his old friend and partner, Doc, who must kill him by 10 AM the next day.

Deciding that he can’t erase the friendship between them, Doc takes Val out for one last night, which turns into the biggest adventure of both their lives. In a moral level, the main premise is represented by the inner conflict of either to kill or not to kill your best friend. This assumption can be seen from multiple points of view and reflects multiple attitudes as well: ethics, relations, nature and choices, mainly those problems and torments that makes us humans.

Seeing Doc’s face make me wonder: how much can he take?…There is a lot of pressure of him. Powerful conflicts torment his heart. If Val seems more “reconciled”, he looks a lot more “tempestuous”. You can see that in his eyes. I commiserate him…

“They say we die twice. Once when the breath leaves our body, and once when the last person we know says our name.”

Doc is an introspective and insightful character, latent, deep at most. You can sense that he carries a big burden on his old shoulders, but he manages to handle the situation well and his denouement brings a strong moralizing effect. Doc is a polyvalent character with multiple layers and conflicts, not only the choice to kill Val, but also the awareness of what he must confront and what he has to choose. Doc is driven by his moral conflicts, he reflects most of the dramatic potential of this film.

Seeing this picture of Val makes me wonder: what kind of man is he?. Behind that comic layer lies a deep and sensitive soul. He is a man of contrasts, a fickle and versatile character. He is comic on the outside and deep on the inside…Just look at his face and you’ll understand…

“- It’s time to kick ass or chew gum.
– And guess what? I’m all out of gum.”

Val is a playful and living character, expressive, deep if he wants to be so. Released after a 28 years sentence in prison, he is put against one major torment: the lack of time. He is driven by the desire to recover the time he had lost and he has only one night to make it count. The dramatic moments let us see the sensible layer of Val and a representation of our human transience. Val is a man of contrasts, a fickle and versatile character. He is comic on the outside and deep on the inside, he is the one that drives the film into action, while Doc is the one that handles the drama.

Just like the old times…a good feeling of remorse comes out of this…

“- Hey pal, it’s like the old days, isn’t it?
– No, it’s better.”

Stand Up Guys is a great combination between comedy and drama. There are funny moments, but there are also deep moments. There are multiple layers of action. The film is seen as a comedy from the desire of Val to do everything in one night and from the events he drags Doc into. The drama of the film arises out of the moral conflicts and ideational aspects like closure, choice, friendship and integrity. The script is built as a comic story on the outside, and dramatic on the inside.

The atmosphere of the film is interesting as well and I noticed one brilliant quote that say something like: “I like working in the night when everybody else is asleep. It gives me a feeling of…being alive”.

Bottom line, Walken and Pacino carry on their backs the whole movie. They manage to add a great momentum and raise this picture out of its category.

My rate: 8.5/10

The trailer of Stand Up Guys

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‘Something to die for’ – A criminal mastermind with a killing story

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a novel written by Jeff Lindsay, the first in his series about serial killer Dexter Morgan. It was released in 2004 and formed the basis of the Showtime TV series Dexter, which aired in 2006. It tells the story of Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who works as a forensic blood spatter pattern analyst at Miami Dade Police Department.

The book begins with the image of the glorious, full, fat, reddish moon and ends with the same image. The intrigue of the novel is formed by a whodunit premise. The plot revolves around a thrilling race against mysterious killer, while Dexter is pulled in a fast paced and thrilling plot, attractive and catchy.

The novel is centered on its main character, Dexter Morgan, it revolves around him. The whole universe of the book gets subordinated to Dexter and his voice becomes the novel’s perspective, the voice of the narrator. The story is told by Dexter who also explains and analyse the events of the plot. Darkly Dreaming Dexter is built around its main character and on a larger scale identifies with him.

Michael C. Hall plays Dexter in the TV series and does a brilliant job

Dexter is a charming character. Dexter describes himself as not being capable of having any sort of feelings and not being compatible with most of his human fellows. In his way, Dexter is a very individualistic character, almost to selfishness and egocentrism. Anyhow, he is able to explain and to analyse the life of the others around him. He adapted himself to society through a false mask of great charisma, humor (in a dark, ironic and smart way) and neatness. The other characters see only the surface of his person, although the reader gets the chace to explore Dexter’s deepest personality because of the first person perspective and monologues.

”Whatever made me the way I am left me hollow, empty inside, unable to feel. It doesn’t seem like a big deal. I’m quite sure most people fake an awful lot of everyday human contact. I just fake all of it.”

The truest form of Dexter identifies with the deepest part of him, the so-called Dark Passenger, an inner voice who dictates his criminal urges. This passenger takes the wheel at some points, because, after all, the desire is the base of our soul and Dexter makes no exception, even if he is calm, neat, logical and planned. In a way, he manages to remain at some level “human”.

Dexter might sound like a bad character, but he is not at all like that. Dexter’s killing are controlled by a moral code, Harry’s code, which tells him to kill only murderers who escaped the system. Also, this code is helping Dexter not to be caught. In a way the Dark Passenger is an opposite state of his personality among Harry’s code.

A strong moral struggle appears in the novel as well:

‘I’m not sure what I am. I just know there’s something dark in me. I hide it. I certainly don’t talk about it, but it’s there always, this Dark Passenger. And when he’s driving, I feel alive, half sick with the thrill of complete wrongness. I don’t fight him, I don’t want to. He’s all I’ve got. Nothing else could love me, not even… especially not me. Or is that just a lie the Dark Passenger tells me? Because lately there are these moments when I feel connected to something else… someone. It’s like the mask is slipping and things… people… who never mattered before are suddenly starting to matter. It scares the hell out of me.’

Jeff Lindsay’s style is short, concise, but expressive and powerful. The story is directed by Dexter who explains all the plot through his voice. There are no dialogues, but only indirect speeches subordinated to Dexter’s voice. There is an inclination towards reflection and insights, towards powerful description and psychology, great aspects if we think that Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a psychological novel, focused on one character and on his perspective over the world and over the plot.

The TV show approaches the killing part better. If in the novel Dexter kills only 1 man, in the TV show he manages to put down a couple of individuals.

The 1st season of the TV show was based on the novel, although there are some differences between book and film. The big difference arises out-of-the-way some of the characters are seen, but also there appears some changes in the plot as well.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a sharp wrote and told story, charming through its main character around which it revolves, strongly psychological, entertaining and attractive as well.

 

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