the happening (2008)

by zEke

Parece que como el bueno de Michael Night Shyamalan ya no nos sorprende con un final del todo inesperado en sus más recientes películas es pecado saborearlo. El final de the sixth sense (1999) es algo irrepetible, pero no sólo de pan vive el hombre y si finales inesperados fuera lo único que el director de origen indio fuera capaz de hilvanar no habría llegado a donde ha llegado. ¿A dónde? Pocos son los que a pesar de la sombra de los grandes estudios sobreviven como escritores, productores y directores de su arte audiovisual. Shyamalan es uno de ellos.

En el noreste de los Estados Unidos la gente comienza inexplicablemente a suicidarse, lo que lleva al resto al éxodo hacie el oeste por miedo a lo que pudiera ser, por lo menos, un ataque terrorista. Entre los que huyen se encuentran Elliot Moore (Mark Whalberg), un profesor de instituto, y su mujer Alma (Zooey Deschanel). Ni que decir cabe que su relación no es ni mucho menos idílica. Hay también por ahí una niña, y es que Shyamalan es recurrente en algunos de los ingredientes de sus largometrajes. Lo que no hay es un final inesperado. Poco después de la mezcolanza inicial, nustra única pregunta es respondida. Continue reading

the dark knight (2008)

by zEke

Incluso con sus defectos, que los tiene, the dark knight no es sólo la mejor de las películas basadas en superhéroes hasta la fecha, sino una gran película y punto.

El alter ego de Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) ha eclipsado la oscuridad de la Mafia de Gotham City al tiempo que el fiscal del distrito Hervey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) se ha erigido como el héroe sin máscara que tanto Batman como la ciudad anhelaban. Pero así como después de la tormenta siempre viene la calma, después de la calma siempre viene la tormenta. Y la tormenta se llama The Joker (Heath Ledger) quien promete a la Mafia un nuevo amanecer libre de la sombra del hombre murciélago y pone la ciudad patas arriba a base de sembrar el caos. Continue reading

brick (2005)

by zEke

brick posterA good thing about high school movies is that filmmakers do not need to spend much time introducing the characters. We are all more or less familiar with them and a single shot is most of the times more than enough to describe any of them. High schools are a source of stereotypes. All cheerleaders look the same to us all, don’t they? These stereotypes become caricatures on the screen, rather than portraits. Rian Johnson, novice writer and director, gets away from the usual lightness of high school comedies and takes a walk on the dark side with a homage to film noir cinema. Nevertheless, the characters of his movie are as empty and clichéd as the ones in those. Does that mixture work?

Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a lonely high school student who used to date Emily Kostich (Emilie de Ravin). A couple of months after they broke up she calls him asking for help first and retracting herself right away. A couple of days later she finds her dead. Brendan, who was still in love with her, needs answers, and since apparently has nothing better to do decides to hide the body and start an investigation away from the police that will lead him into a teen underworld he did not know about. And seriously, me neither. Continue reading

gone baby gone (2007)

by zEke

gone baby gone posterDefinitely Ben Affleck made a mistake when he went into acting. One just need to take a look at his acting career to realize that. It might actually be his brother Casey the one with the skills. Nevertheless, after gone baby gone, his brilliant directorial debut, I now will think twice before suggesting his role in the writing of the original screenplay of good will hunting (1997) was just to be Mat Damon’s best friend.

Patrick Kenzie (Casey Afleck) and his girlfriend and partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) survive as private investigators in Boston. Three days after four year old Amanda went missing after her drug addict mother Helen McCready (Amy Ryan) left her alone for half an hour, her aunt asks them for their help to take advantage of their familiarity with the neighborhood. Poor Bostonian neighborhood that has been invaded by widespread media due to the relevance of a disappearance whose investigation is being led by Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman). Patrick and Helen accept to help them find the young girl and join forces with Detectives Remy Bressant and Nick Poole (Richard Harris and John Ashton). Soon they find out Helen and her boyfriend had recently stolen $130,000 from a local drug lord. And that, that is just the beginning of a path that will led them towards a wanted truth they might not be ready for. Continue reading

the nines (2007)

by zEke

the nines (2007)the nines. I take a deep breath. I don’t even know how to start. Certainly a movie difficult to label, which a priori is neither good nor bad. A movie that made its debut at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and became later a minor cult classic for some, despite its limited theatrical release.

The experience is divided into three shorts that share the same actors, who play different characters. Are they really different? The answer to that question is obvious, otherwise we would not be talking about a feature film. Everything turns around Ryan Reynolds’ characters, a successful actor under home arrest firstly, an effeminate scriptwriter secondly, a responsible family man thirdly. And that said, you better know nothing more about the plot itself. Continue reading

eastern promises (2007)

by zEke

eastern promises poster We have seen movies about the Italian mafia, the Japanese mafia, the Irish mafia, even the alien mafia. It is time now for the Russian mafia to hit the screen. First thing to notice, the movie is set in London. Second thing to notice, there are not two predefined sides. Third thing to notice, characters evolve. Three things that brought me to eastern promises and by themselves make it worth. But there is more in the last movie from acclaimed, as they say in the promotional poster, director David Cronenberg.

The story starts with both a murder in a barber shop and the death of a young Russian slave prostitute right after she gave birth to a girl. Anna Ivanova (Naomi Watts), a half-Russian midwife, finds her diary in her purse and keeps it hoping it would help her find relatives. The diary, though, leads her to the London Russian mafia and Nikolai (Vigo Mortensen) a simple driver who is gaining fast his way up.

The whole atmosphere of the movie is as dry as a dry vodka martini. Even though it is explicitly violent, something that it does not hide right from the beginning, it is the violence we do not see the one that hurts. Cronenberg manages to accurately portray an underworld of violence not only through what he shows with his camera, but through what he suggests. But this in not a movie about violence the way a history of violence (2003) was. This is a movie, overall, about lying. The distance Cronenberg kept with the violence of his last movie, violence he never judged, he keeps now with Mortensen’s motivations. On top of that, there is also a silent love story for those friends with ephemeral connections.

Mortensen and Watts are both convincing as a cold gangster and tough nurse. But it is Vincent Cassel, who plays the leader’s son, who caught my eye. He succeeds with subtlety as a man both tormented by his sexuality and who lacks, and is aware, the charisma, sobriety, and patience of his father. Armin Mueller-Stahl, who plays his father, looks too much like previous mafia leaders, but then again, after Don Vito Corleone, no matter the where the mafia is from, who has reinvented such a character? On another note, the Russian accent they all proudly fake, might, despite of the overall faithfulness, get in your nerves.

The Russian environment the movie draws lacks instrumentality but it is close to what it is. The meaning of Mortensen’s tattoos, the paradox between the treatment that both teen and old women receive by Russians, the importance of jerarchy, are all ingredients of a juicy cake. To remember, the fight in the sauna, and not precisely because of Mortensen’s best kept secrets, best kept at least until now.

A movie to lay down an enjoy with, for example, a good bottle of wine. You, that are still reading this review, will like it.

For the deadhours of those who took Russian in college.

deadrate: γood

official site | imdb

el orfanato (2007)

by walbiri

el orfanato posterel orfanato es la opera prima de Juan Antonio Bayona detrás de las cámaras como director de un largometraje. El debutante ya era conocido anteriormente, por sus dos cortometrajes: el hombre esponja (2002) y mis vacaciones (1999) (ambos dos, de los trabajos españoles que más reconocimientos han cosechado dentro del género cinematográfico de corta duración); así como por sus numerosas colaboraciones con artistas del ámbito musical, tanto nacionales como internacionales, realizando y dirigiendo sus videoclips.

el orfanato cuenta la historia de Laura (Belén Rueda) y su familia, cuando compran la casa en la que ella se crió de pequeña para rehabilitarla. Esta casa resultaba ser un orfanato, en el que Laura creció junto a sus compañeros, y que después fue abandonado. La intención de la protagonista es abrir una residencia para niños discapacitados para intentar ayudar a una sociedad que frecuentemente da la espalda a los menos favorecidos. A partir de aquí, y a través del hijo de Laura, que sufre problemas de salud, se van sucediendo dos historias separadas en el tiempo pero que comparten el mismo espacio, la casa de expósitos y sus alrededores.

Las dos historias están bien conducidas por el director, dándoles el suspense necesario en este tipo de películas. Todos los detalles que rodean a las historias crean situaciones verosímiles que hacen que el espectador simpatice con la pareja protagonista. El hijo de la pareja ha tenido siempre amigos imaginarios, y en esta nueva casa conoce a un nuevo compañero de juegos, pero en esta ocasión los juegos de los nuevos amigos son demasiado realistas y acaban por atemorizar a los padres. A partir de aquí comienzan a sucederse unos acontecimientos que, puntualmente, pueden hacer que el espectador se sobresalte y se quede pegado al asiento.

Rodada en las playas de Asturias, la fotografía del largometraje deja escenarios espectaculares como las playas del norte de España, azotadas por la caprichosa marea del océano Atlántico, que socava y erosiona las costas de roca metamórfica.

Con el bombardeo masivo de publicidad y buenas críticas que ha recibido la película, uno espera ver una auténtica obra maestra, del nivel de los otros (2001) cuando se estrenó. Pero no pasa de ser otra buena película de un género, el del suspense, que a menudo se ve vapuleado por unos títulos mediocres. A pesar de esto, el orfanato es una película que enriquece, por su desgarro y porque no estamos acostumbrados a que el cine español nos ofrezca piezas de este estilo; tan encasillados como estamos en comedias libertinas, más propias de los años del “destape” y en el cine con nombre propio de Almodóvar. Directores como Bayona pertenecen a una nueva hornada de creativos que aportan frescura al desgastado panorama nacional, cada vez recibiendo mayor importancia a nivel internacional y abriendo miras al agónico mundo hollywoodiense.

Para las deadhours de los que tienen amigos imaginarios.

deadrate: γood

official site | imdb