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Mars Attacks! (1996)
A mix of disappointment and pure entertainment
I guess it works a lot more for younger audiences, in fact, I was terrified as a kid watching this, so much that I had to turn off the TV. Rewatching this now, it was... okay... just pure "entertainment"; no message or moral underneath, no purpose, it's just a movie that exists and was born on the page to make audiences laugh. But we all know that that isn't enough to reach greatness.
It was utter boredom in the first thirty minutes: too many characters introduced (and badly developed), too many scenes saying the same thing, which I also feel like they didn't eventually build and create that tension necessary for a great epilogue, again, very disappointing (you're left with what seems like a cliffhanger, but really is a plot hole) and for a very wrongly straightforward structure. I was irritated by the amount of characters on the screen and the number of character arcs to keep in mind; you don't have a protagonist, therefore an objective for a character to achieve, therefore you don't have an adventure... a movie.
It's just a Micheal Bay movie without philosophical conflict (I love Micheal Bay and I love Tim Burton, but this is just not it). You'll enjoy this if you're looking for entertainment, laughs, explosions and you have a thing for aliens.
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Scorsese becomes Cassavetes
Everything magically becomes better with a female lead. How many times have we seen this kind of theme externalised on screen with a male lead, I don't know. But this felt good; plus, it's Marty Scorsese.
Alice's character was magically portrayed by the illustrious Ellen Burstyn: such realism in every detail, humanity, instinct, emotion. What an adventure she goes on... the structure was on point, making us discover the many complex details of her psychology and through that her intentions, which even she doesn't really know, and that's the good part.
What I also found very interesting is the subtle dualism between comedy and dramatic moments: we go from Keitel's character shouting and breaking anything in front of him to Alice and her son laughing and teasing each other. That's what makes this story really tangible.
For the whole movie I felt like I was watching a Cassavetes film: the psychological insights, the extreme realism of the household... I guess it's just how the 70's work.
I was interested, curious, rooting for her. I was entertained, emotional, shocked, aghast. I love these very deep characters. These movie deserves more recognition.
A therapy session
What this movie has given me is beyond imagination. I'm so grateful for watching this and to whoever agreed to make this masterpiece.
What I've just experienced was a therapy session. I felt, for the first time in a long time, reconnected to my soul (no wonder the title). The movie steals your soul for an hour and forty minutes and makes it see all the possible outcomes of your life, sort of like the ghosts from A Christmas Carol.
It comes a point in the movie where you're like: "what the hell am I doing with my life?" And that's when the tears started to come out. Among the many of the powerful messages of the movie, two really touched my soul and made me wonder if I was doing enough to live my life to the fullest: "Your spark is not your purpose"; it's okay to be a lost soul, it's okay to have bad times, long and short ones; that moment of realization, of purpose, of motivation will come for everybody, in every possible form: a moment, a person, a feeling. It's okay to live life however you want to live it, even if you're purpose on Earth is to live, even if you know that your purpose doesn't respond to any societal needs or expectations; and then, the "you don't know what you have until you lose it" realization, beautifully made, with an astonishing cinematography, thought with the simplest of things to best represent the gift of life.
This movie invites us to live our life to the fullest, enjoying the little things, the good and the bad ones, because life is a beautiful gift that we don't appreciate enough but somehow are so afraid to lose. The key to do that is to remember this, and this movie is our precious, special and unique reminder.
Plus, this movie shows also that jazz is life. That score, oh my god. I'd give 5 stars just for that.
Remember that it's okay to feel lost and to feel like we're not enough, but when you feel that way, this movie is there for you.
The Whale (2022)
I walked out of the theatre room
I start off by saying that this was my most anticipated movie of 2022-23, even more than Chazelle's Babylon, since I felt right away a deep connection to the story and to the character and to Brendan himself, for various and personal reasons.
I am very sensible and empathic. I was afraid, right from last year, of actually going to see this in the theatre. To go straight to the point, I walked out of the room right at its ending. I couldn't do it. Emotion was stronger than me. I let go, but I couldn't fight it and I let my instinct guide me (my friend told me the ending). I kind of feel like I betrayed the movie. But I'd like to think that that was a good thing, that the movie achieved its goal and it did it in an extraordinary way.
It feels very personal. I cried because I saw myself into Charlie - and even if you don't struggle with obesity, it touches you in deeply unknown and secret ways. The personal attachment I've always felt toward it maybe hides some of the technical flaws like the pacing and overall structure of the screenplay.
There's some really really complex characters brought to life - and you can feel that it comes from a personal place, as often said from the playwright author of the story Sam Hunter (the real Charlie). I must say that I wasn't really paying attention to the story as a whole but I was in the moment - I let emotion guide me and I wasn't thinking about ratings and all of that. I'm still trying to figure out the characters dynamics - which will require a second watch, but it just isn't that kind of movie. The same for the dialogue: you can feel it coming from real events, sounding natural and I must say sometimes poetic and musical - it felt like poetry... making Charlie sound like the poems he desperately wants to "teach" before the end.
The score had some good moments but didn't fully convince me. The choice of having for the whole movie the same setting is a bold one, but you can feel that it adds that deadly fleetingness and overall rises the stakes as the story progresses.
I just can't write about the story itself... it's just too much to process. Again, you'd need a second rewatch - at least I would - but it is a one-time thing. I don't know if I'll ever have the force to do it.
All I can say is that Brendan deserved the Oscar, and that everybody was simply amazing, especially Hong Chau.
It really is a very important movie - and there should be a lot more like this one. The complexity of human psychology and feeling is shown without filters, in all its painful vulnerability and thin stability. The reality of mental and eating disorders is shown without fear or prejudice. This is film is for the ones searching for answers, or questions to answer. I guess I found my answers: love can never be defeated and... people are amazing. Thank you.
This movie is definitely not for hypochondriacs.
Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
The power of narrative imagination
One of the first attempt of narrative in cinema. I love this so much. I just wished to be a fly of 1902 to see this film for the first time. The "story", the "production design" and the performances are extraordinary. This is better than most of today's Marvel movies. I just had so much fun watching this. This shows how if you can imagine something you can actually do it. Dear George Méliès, after only 67 years from your chef-d'oeuvre, that changed forever the fate of storytelling and cinema, the dream has become reality. The Eagle landed! And we made many other films about it as well... but you showed us the way. I love cinema so much.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
The question we've all been waiting for to be answered
I guess that I decided to watch this without any expectations, or worse, bad ones, and after watching the first minutes of the movie, my mind started telling to itself that it was right, thinking that it might be one of those already seen movies with the predictable plot and the terrible acting. Never been more wrong in my entire life. What is funny is that this piece of art has everything to make it to my top 10. Prejudice is one ugly beast. Never trust it.
From the first moments in, the theme and its conflict are pretty clear: I want my life to make sense. I don't wanna be a loser. And I don't wanna hang out with losers. Again, already seen themes, but the external presentation is what counts. At the same time you can't make that argument because even if its theme is pretty simple - that doesn't mean it's not important - it has a deeper layer of understanding, of complexity.
How many times have we said as kids that we can't wait to grow up, to spend our own money, to do whatever we want, anytime, anywhere? I never saw a movie that explores this as perfectly as this does. This movie opens your chest and touches your heart with laughter, deep emotion, big tears, real amusement and pure enjoyment. This movie answers that question that we all have had in our lifetime. And it answers it perfectly.
Jennifer Garner is pure magic. Just outstanding, magical, beautiful, perfect. Mark Ruffalo, soft in his approach as always, adds that missing layer of emotion, as always. Those two put together. Boom. There's something about Mark Ruffalo and New York... It seems to be working every time, uh?
I started to really love the movie and everything that was going on halfway through. Just about when music starts to have a bigger role. I don't know if it's only me but at times the movie felt like a musical. I knew all the songs (even some of my favourite! What a coincidence), all the words, everybody was dancing, I was practically in it having the time of my life. Plus... those 80's songs can't ever be defeated. Ever.
That's the thing that worked for me, music, as it always does in all my ratings. It just has a crucial and underrated role in cinema. In this one, it moved the story forward, it was fun, it was love, it was tears, it was pain, it was a musical. And we all know that comedies and musicals blend together perfectly. What is more, the 80's/90's setting (more the 80's one) just added that level of nostalgia. On a personal level, that period is my favourite one of all time. I guess that played a role in my quite primitive attachment to this piece of art.
The ending is pure cinema. It reminded me of La La Land. But let's just... not.
I guess I'll be seeing this hanging around in my top 10 pretty soon.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Enough to make a grown man cry
When Disney agreed to make the movie, did they read the ending?
To be honest it didn't feel like a Disney movie at all, and that's good. It's not a movie for kids, it's a movie for everyone.
The movie is at the same time so distant from reality and yet so close. It all merged so beautifully. This movie touches so many themes at once: friendship, love, family, money, art, creativity, escape, bullying, school, work, kindness, redemption. What a way to learn about all of this.
Jess and Leslie's story is heart-wrenching enough to make a big man cry (not just once). And I'm not a big man. It's all very beautiful.
I don't know about you all but it was great and psychologically destructive to see my childhood's fantasies come to life. What a journey.
I'm not going to talk on that ending because it was a shock. A shock. And I don't think I'm going to be able to recover any time soon.
I guess we all understood a very important thing from this movie: everybody has a crush on Zooey Deschanel.
Night at the Museum (2006)
Pure emotional entertainment
It feels good to revisit my childhood and to enjoy this even more.
I feel like this one is not appreciated enough. Is it the cheesy dialogue? The predictable character dynamics that we see over and over?
But this is pure entertainment, pure emotional entertainment.
Just sit and relax, because you will feel as if you were inside that world.
Great characters and great cast. Emotionally engaging music by the great Alan Silvestri. Captivating story and cool idea. Owen Wilson does all the comedy. That's all you need. Plus, a very good metaphorical message underneath.
I miss Robin Williams very very much.
Blue Valentine (2010)
One of a kind, if not the best of his kind
One of a kind, if not the best of his kind.
First of all I was excited just to see my two favourite actors star in a movie together. It was quite an experience seeing them together: I just can't see Ryan cry... I can't.
I still am blown away by the extreme realism of everything, every little piece of it: dialogue, cinematography, every frame of the movie. I wish they made more movies like this one.
It really is a movie about family - and families - and how overtime love can become just a memory. You really start to dig and delve into the protagonists' psychology and behaviour once you start meeting the other characters. And then you understand, and it hits you, like it did to me.
I never saw a movie that touched all at once so many themes of our daily, painful life. A relatable, romantic and painfully realistic chronicle of love.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
A film about the power of intelligence
Even if it's based on a literary work, you could feel Spielberg going full Spielberg. Since the very beginning you could taste Kubrick's shadow beautifully mixed with Steven's mind. The visual result in fact was incredible. Amazing photography and cinematography.
If I'm going to be totally honest, at the very beginning and right at the middle, when we switch narrative, from the family setting to the alone adventure, from act I to act II, I was baffled and confused by what was happening and somehow I couldn't catch up and connect the dots. It all started to make sense at the end, when you feel that all that the protagonist went through actually brought him somewhere, that his actions - and the choices in the screenplay - were pivotal for the story to develop in the path that they wanted to take.
The thing that struck me the most was the world building: such detail and such attention to the settings. You feel right from the beginning that this is a society that has clearly forgotten the capability of love and that uses technological materialism - what caused the problem in the first place - to try to fill that void. But nothing is bigger than human love. And the Mecha's are going to show the Orga's; not viceversa, as you'd expect. But then you realize that David's irresistible need for love, motherly love to be precise, is itself a human creation, and that it doesn't come from the robot's maybe nonexistent unconscious, but from the human need to clone itself into something better, something eternal.
The movie offers several hints for reflection and I could go on forever. That's the main reason I liked it. I was kind of taken aback by the ending. I'm not a big fan of time jumps, especially long ones, when there's clearly room for the story to expand in a million different ways. But it's Spielberg. So just don't overthink it... relax and enjoy.
The epilogue leaves us with something to think about: when we see other forms of life "colonizing" our world and eventually making contact with David, all the problems that seemed to be bigger than everything become nothing; David becomes the heir of the human species, coexisting with another form of life. And the cycle goes on, and it will go on forever until the universe will cease to exist. But not until intelligence will conquer instinct.
I'd like to summarize the ending, and the whole movie, if you will, with a quote from Professor Dumbledore: «Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it's not real?»
Jurassic Park (1993)
One of Spielberg's best
Doing a Spielberg marathon right now. I can't remember how many times I watched this as a kid, it was probably one of the first movies I saw, but it's the first watching it with the critical eye and mind of an adult and film lover. But nothing has changed. I'm still a kid watching it for the first time. It probably is one of my favourite comfort movies. But now I'm even happier since I can appreciate the beauty of the screenplay, the dialogue, the movie structure, the message, the themes... how flawless it all is. This is how you make a movie. We all should learn from it.
Nothing more to say really, just one of Spielberg's best work. There's a reason why it's considered a classic. Because classics are perfect.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
The wildness of humanity
I always say that when movies are based on real life stories, that doesn't mean that the movie shouldn't feel like a movie, shouldn't have structure and rules to follow. But this wasn't the case of course. The flow was immaculate. The tension got higher and higher since the beginning of the movie despite the time jumps. A beautiful, real life story of redemption and a beautiful message underneath. The ending was perfect. Throughout the whole movie we see the characters play the strategic game of who catches who first. But when the bureaucratic and formal barriers starts to collapse, inevitably making room for the human and understanding side (especially for our two protagonists), that's when we're left with a choice to make. The choice that's gonna erase everything that's happened in the past and determine the rest of one's life. Tricking and playing with the audience with some definitely suspenseful moments, the movie beautifully explores the theme.
The Fabelmans (2022)
Spielberg teaches us how to live life
I took a lot of notes during the movie, but I'm just going to summarise it all with a quote from Mitz:
«You do what your heart says you have to, so you don't owe anyone your life, not even me».
The pursuit of art, greatness, passion is pain. It tears families, friends, lives apart. But that's what's gonna happen inevitably. Spielberg makes us choose for ourselves.
I'll just come back to this every time I'll feel doubtful or I'll be having second thoughts or I'll be having a hard time thinking about this crazy terrifying and beautiful dream that we call making movies. This is going to sit and sleep on my library shelf ready to wake up whenever I'll need a big heartfelt hug - and a big cry.
Michelle Williams just blew me away. I always had a thing for her, I always felt somehow connected to her as a person, actor and to the characters that she brought to life on screen. I just adore her so much and she made me feel such strong emotions during the movie. What a performance. One of the greatest of this generation.
The master Steven Spielberg teaches his students how to dream life, how to shape it, how to feel it, how to live it.
Thank you Steven.
First Man (2018)
The unspoken humanity that we often forget about
I enjoyed it from start to finish. My attention was there from minute one. We all know about Damien's beginnings even if he did not write it. We all know about the interesting choice of telling Neil Armstrong's story (the years building up to the moon landing) through an intimate, private and sensible lens. That's the key to understanding the story and the choices made in the movie. The pace of the movie was outstanding. I just felt truly entertained and interested to know more. Loved the little but effective dialogue. During the scenes of preparation (before taking off), the choice of using a first-person perspective just changed everything: amazing sound design, amazing pacing; the stakes were higher than ever - it felt like you were there. I felt the tension. Useless to talk about the music since we all know that Justin Hurwitz always delivers; I'm not even surprised anymore. Melancholic, touching, dreamy: a journey into Neil's inner soul and his complex psychology.
Since the first scenes we're introduced to a greatly portrayed visual and inner contrast: Neil's relationship with home (Earth) and work (Moon). The two are interconnected. I think the movie can be summarised with a specific scene: Neil studying before his big Apollo mission and being distracted by the innocent teasing of his children and him getting up to play with them. That's his relationship with home... Earth. It's his friend, his neighbour, that decides to go talk to him after the shock of Gemini 8. It's that shared beer that brings him back to reality, to Earth, to life, to lightheartedness, to happiness. He just wants to be happy with his family and friends. That's why all the scenes taking place on Earth, in the family and with friends, are simply but beautifully crafted, with simple techniques, simple dialogue, simple and emotional cinematography, with sheer simplicity in everything you see, wanting to represent Neil's inner feelings, his unexpressed and most likely misunderstood world. But that's not always the case, since it's clear that he has some hard time expressing those feelings. That's the other side of the coin. Earth is also synonymous with pain, suffering... loss. And he just keeps losing and losing close people, some more than others. That will be the factor that divides him from his family and friends, that turns closeness into distance, unwanted distance. How's he gonna cope with that clearly painful separation? With the work, with the ambition of an unprecedented challenge (the first thing that he does after his daughter's death is going back to the office). Pain pushes him to accomplish the mission of a lifetime, with an ambition and determination that were already there. And when the miracle happens, when the Eagle lands, that's when the two worlds collide; Neil's two inner worlds meet, making him accept and process his daughter's death (dropping her bracelet on the moon's surface and leaving it there), finally making peace with the past. Mission accomplished.
Many people accused the movie of not being patriotic (we do not see the moment when the American flag gets planted on the moon). I believe that the patriotism of the movie lies in every action and decision that Neil makes. The perseverance and determination that really stand out and stay with him until the end is patriotism. On the other hand, it was and still is a global phenomenon and event that all citizens of the world should be proud of - and that we see at the end.
Overall, I think that the ending was a little bit weak and that it didn't really close the characters' arcs, after everything that they went through. I guess that all explanations and resolutions lie in that hand kiss between husband and wife. Great great movie. Best movie about the matter and the more days pass the more I fall in love with Damien Chazelle (and Justin Hurwitz).
Can't explain what I felt.
I just can't explain what I felt during the movie. I just don't know how to translate into words this feeling in my stomach. This movie was an explosion of passion, hope and hopelessness, emotion, ambition, melancholy, introspection. We all know that Chazelle and Hurwitz are absolute masters at that... at projecting their own passion and emotion into the work of art; and once more, they did not disappoint, like many inexplicably are stating.
I'll just go through my notes I took. Chazelle just knows how to create an impactful beginning, how to keep the audience engaged since the first seconds; all elevated and divinized by the great, romantic, dreamy musical dialogue between two still unknown young people whose only dream and escape is cinema. This first encounter between Manny and Nellie is just pure magic. How can someone feel so emotional, touched, moved, engaged, free... watching this movie, while everything that surrounds them is drugs, alcohol, sex, sex, sex, deaths and God what else? This is answer is simple... Chazelle with his phenomenal writing, and Hurwitz with his bits of nostalgic and melancholic music: the current best duo in Hollywood. A few words on the score. It went beyond my expectations (I wasn't fully convinced at first, when the first two songs came out). It just shows you how music is the finest and highest of arts.
A few words on the performances. Brad Pitt shows one more what a king he is at dominating his roles, oscillating between bits of comedy and drama. Diego Calva... what a discovery. What a convincing, emotional, heartfelt performance. I just can't wait to see him again. And Margot. I think we'll all agree on the fact that we never saw a Margot Robbie like this. Sheer passion, emotion, madness... and yet somehow it was easier to connect with her and her character. She just showed the entire world what she's capable of... for good. Shame on the Academy for not nominating her.
It'll be useless to talk about the screenplay. Those three hours felt like a hour and a half. That shows you how good the script is. Brilliant characters and dynamics. The entertainment and attention is there since minute one. The message that Chazelle wanted to convey gets masterfully delivered, especially toward the climax. The movie can be interpreted as a memory, a photography of a quite rapidly developing time period for cinema that we rarely get to see and think about in today's productions. There's really nothing to say about that because all that we've seen could all really have happened... and most of that has, if not all. What is more... I've never seen a movie that mixes so many film genres and still feel like a unique, continuous piece of art.
The ending. Although I felt like several minutes could be cut, the epilogue is just cinema. It's what cinema should be all about. We explore the simple notion of cinema through the eyes of Manny, which really are the eyes of the audience... the eyes of the world. We've seen throughout the film what cinema is for each character: a business, a passion, a form of escape... projection into the future and into the past. The ending is universal. Cinema is about us, about our lives, our memories, the good and the bad ones; a place to go if you want to forget about reality, to revisit some old memories, sometimes without expectations, without really knowing what you're gonna see nor feel. Manny is all of us. The movie, therefore, is about the power of this amazing medium we all love and cherish, about its emotional introspective power and the inexplicable casual effect it has on us, an effect that we won't ever be able to comprehend.
God bless cinema.
This movie was snubbed at the Oscar for obvious reasons. But after watching it, it doesn't really matter anymore. Thank you Damien for this piece of art, once again. Thank you Justin for putting your heart and soul into the music. Here's to the fools who dream... who'll never stop dreaming and who never stopped.
Mean Streets (1973)
The first of many
The first collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese. The rest is history. I believe it can count as a prelude to Taxi Driver. Amazing cast, amazing characters, amazing characters dynamics. Scorsese's first big movie is not a letdown. Just sit, make yourself comfortable and relax: enjoy the amazing realism of the streets of New York, the existential struggle of a paradoxical life of a strictly religious man and his... job. The unbalanced balance that develops throughout the movie is some quite remarkable writing: what side of him will prevail? The divine one, always trying to give a hand to those who need it, to the friends that cannot be left alone, or the evil one, unconsciously contrived by blood to step in his uncle's mafia shoes and eventually replace him.
Although I feel like some moments could be cut, the movie ends with a captivating epilogue that just feels right to the story.
Love Streams (1984)
Cassavetes on Love
Love in all its intriguing nuances. Two characters in search of existential answers, some more curious than others, some more willing to find them, not really sure about what the actual borders of reality are.
You're gonna sit and love every minute of it if you're a big fan of Cassavetes, with all his insights on human psychology, if not, it's gonna be a bit hard and disorienting at first; but you can't deny the brilliance of the cutting realism with the beautiful and apparent simplicity of a story that touches us all on a daily basis.
The ending is just pure cinema and convinced me to increase my rating.
The Eddy (2020)
The Eddy: A Chronicle of Music and its Salvific Role
The Eddy has been a big, deep, fresh breath in the polluted atmosphere of Netflix's shows and the monotony of contemporary trends. Many could interpret and expect it to be a fluid continuation of Damien Chazelle's works, and they would be right, but there is a freshness and a different level of depth to it that force us to look beyond the superficial appearances.
Once again music is the real protagonist among the many that we get to know throughout the show. It touches each character uniquely in the diversity of their lives, but ends up uniting them thanks to its universally recognized function: salvation. Farid's proper farewell, Jude's way out of addiction, Julie's self-acceptance, Sim's coping, Elliot and his daughter's reconciliation are only possible through the emotional power of music, in the difficult reality of the Parisian outskirts. This could've not ended well if music was not there to save them.
Every aspect of the show was greatly emphasized by the extreme realism of the directing (the use of film in the first two episodes by Chazelle), the writing (the singular choice of including many diverse languages, which does nothing but add strength to the dramatic experience; the balanced dosage of musical scenes and thriller/crime scenes), the dialogue (the closer to reality the better, since we're looking of a daily report of actions, despite the cheesy quality many criticize) and the acting, first of all of the great lead André Holland, and the brilliant performances by Leïla Bekhti and Amandla Stenberg.
Sometimes the spectator could have the impression that too many hazardous elements were being introduced to the story, which at times - not many, fortunately - were left unanswered by the end of the show. That's the side effect of having too many characters, but I must confess that these little questions the viewer is left with (Julie's mom and step-dad; Sim's grandmother) do not affect the final assessment.
The ending is what has got everyone talking. I believe it is self-explanatory: the physicality and materiality of a place is not needed anymore when you've got each other, in an eternal friendship forever marked by the jazz of life. Even though the questions we've all been waiting for to be answered could be in fact answered, given the duration of the first two episodes.
It doesn't matter though. The few uncertain technical elements are totally out of every kind of judgement, outshined by the empathy we feel for every character, the compassion for their lives and the rebirth of the great, electric jazz of Elliot Udo and his band.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Emotional, Fun, Deep & Refreshing
I loved the movie.
I loved how it faced deep themes in an unusual, stimulating way; how one single theme - pain, suffering, malaise in all its ambiguous forms - connected those brilliant, well-thought characters who progressively get to the viewers' hearts.
On a pure technical level, the writing was phenomenal, from the characters to the little details that contributed to the greatly built pacing of the story. You can tell the writing is impeccable when all the questions are answered by the end. And they were not just answered, but taken to the next level with a stylistic but simple writing style. Every little thing in the script is there for a reason, and throughout the story each plays a minor but crucial role (from the eye test to the bus mechanical problems), and that was satisfying to feel and watch, when it all comes together. All the expectations I had during the movie were magnificently satisfied by the ending, which does not feel predictable in any way. I wish the movie lasted more to see where the characters end up doing.
The essence of this movie can be summarised with one of its own lines. As Marcel Proust said, it's our suffering which form who we are, not our happiness. That's what this movie is.
To suffering and more movies like this!
The disappointment and confusion of a disastrously wasted opportunity
Let's try to put some order.
I'll confess right away that the movie, in terms of writing, developing and editing, was disastrously baffling and incoherent. I'm not saying that I couldn't wait for it to be over, but almost. The director and the whole production crew should say a huge thank you to the wonderful actors working on the project, who magnificently delivered one of their best latest performances, starting from the star Ana de Armas (despite the critics on her subtle accent standing out).
I'll start with the bad things. The structure of the movie was worryingly off, or maybe I was on drugs. The movie felt, at times, like there was no plot, no actual story going on, no story being told, just a random chronological succession of historic, autobiographic events. Making a biopic film doesn't mean that there cannot or shouldn't be a story, an objective to obtain, obstacles to overcome, a logic to follow; a biopic, to me, shouldn't be a lazy and artsy report of events of the life of an individual, whether it's Marylin or Winston Churchill. What's more, multiple times during the film I felt like it changed genre: we go from biopic to adventure, to horror and thriller to god knows how many more. I didn't feel like the movie, during its course, remained loyal and truthful to its unique genre, aesthetic and tone.
On a pure technical level, I didn't quite understand some very brave choices. Certain transitions were a little bit too hazardous. There were too many animations that violently replaced potential scenes that could've bettered the movie (ex: the first pregnancy animation). Didn't understand why they changed the framing at random points in the movie. I think it was unnecessary and at times bothering to the eye. I felt like there was too visual exposition, which could sometimes leave no room for imagination and pure thinking of the viewer, or worse, bore him/her. Some camera shots, like the second husband ascending the stairs, felt a little bit too strong and therefore detached from the whole thing. Sometimes, there were too much long shots, identical to each other, to explain one single theme or to inform the viewer of one event. Cut cut cut. Too long.
Examining the script, I didn't quite like the characters' meetings and interactions, how they were presented to the audience. Some dialogue could be cut down, by a lot.
Let's move on to the few good things. I honestly think they did a good job presenting and portraying to the audience the eternal dilemma of Norma/Marylin, when one speaks and when the other does. That was the only mark that the film left in me. On a visual level, I like how they translated her thoughts into image. Don't know if they overused this option by the end. Finally, I think it's frankly pointless to waste words on the beautiful, eye-catching cinematography with the big hand of the Black and White; and, of course, the brilliant performances which prevent me from giving the movie a rating lower than five.
Overall, I think this is a wasted opportunity for a great story to be told. I guess they will be regretting this and missing the times when they were standing in the middle of a 14-minute long standing ovation in Venice. Try harder next time.
After Life (2019)
A beautiful, pure and heart-wrenching story by the great Ricky Gervais
As many watchers of the show already wrote, I didn't want it to finish. The show has been a truthful and trustworthy companion during the last two days of watching, a shoulder I could cry and laugh on - especially cry.
A show simple in its production and editing, extremely and simply good in its writing and creation. Magnificently thought by the great Ricky Gervais, the show touches right away the heart of the spectator, thanks to his amazing performance as well. We assist at a very long healing journey of the protagonist, which feels true, authentic, real in all its moments, in its highs and its lows.
There are a few moments in the show which really touched my heart and made my eyes pour all my tears out. One of them: S2 EP6, finale of the season. Our Tony got home after his day out. When everybody thought that he was getting better, in reality he wasn't. Suicidal thoughts strike again like lighting. The pills are there on the sofa. He takes them. He could die anytime. The tension builds amazingly as the dog barks louder and louder together with the suspenseful music, until, the doorbell. Must be the best episode of the whole show, in terms of writing, acting and editing. I will never forget it.
Witness Ricky Gervais at his very best. He just knows where to put the comedy and where to put the drama. The balance is phenomenal.
I just have to thank Ricky for this. I will be forever grateful. Hope to see many more like this in the future!
To Ricky Gervais!
The French Dispatch (2021)
The Emotional Power of Storytelling: A Story by Wes Anderson
The deranged and irascible novice artist, the rebellious and apparently inexperienced youth, the chef in search of new culinary experiences: Wes Anderson's stories may appear untied, but they are not - as we would expect from a genius. Anderson's stories are connected by a very clear and linear fil rouge: the emotional power of storytelling and the engaging adventures of the characters of a small french town called Ennui-sur-Blasé.
The movie, however, may be interpreted as a very personal love letter to journalism (and writing in general), which Anderson brought to life through his singular and well-known cinematic lens.
Ignoring the colourful beauty of Anderson's cinematic world, made of dreamlike places and soul-touching music, which is known to us all, this movie focuses on particular stories which regard human nature and its most non-investigated aspects.
It seems like the writers of each article are somehow connected to their characters, both on physical - sometimes sexual - and spiritual level. The writers identify their solitude in their characters, who manifest theirs in many different ways (the artist through art; the rebellious young man though his need to be alone and away from the family; the chef through his art - it seems like art is the element which ties all the stories). The writers establish a deep relationship with their characters, thanks to which they can eventually feel realised and proud to be alive.
We find again this dynamic in the relationship between the main character of the story and the secondary characters (not for importance). The artist and the police woman, Zeffirelli and the young lady, the chef and the young kid: thanks to their fundamental role in their story, the characters can finally achieve existential and eternal glory - in fact, they all die at the end.
All this power and all these emotions written on an American magazine based in a french town. A masterpiece in all its elements and dynamics, the most enjoyable and powerful Wes Anderson movie.
The Shape of Water (2017)
The undeniable proof of human failure
I consider this movie a masterpiece from all points of view. The plot itself is very simple and straightforward, but not really: a mute young woman who falls in love with an alien creature, a "God" as it is described in the movie. What's really interesting about this film and what makes it a complete and misunderstood masterpiece are the details; the psychological and sociological details. We get to know a lot about the american society of the '50s, a country that comes out of a global war and that is about to make the first step into the first years of the Cold War against Russia. We can really feel the social tension between the two countries, as it is also outlined in the movie with the presence of a Russian spy, if he can be described as so. A new war which consists in showing the other country who's stronger and who's strategically more equipped; the creature surely simbolises an american strategy against the Russians. Then the unusual and the unexpected happens: the mute janitor, who works in the labs, unintentionally discovers the creature which is locked in a cell. We can say that it was love at first sight: but was it really love? or just human curiosity towards an alien creature never seen before? Well, it surely was deep love, in fact, the creature wasn't alien at all for her, on the contrary, it was the only one who could really understand her and accept her for who she really was; things that no human - apart from her friend - was capable of doing. That's why I talk about the undeniable proof of human failure: the aim of this film was to underline the fact that there is no more humanity in humans, no more respect and comprehension in human interactions; for this exact reason, she finds confort and acceptance in another figure, maybe more human than humans; or maybe, they are the only humans in the story, and the rest are all cruel aliens.
This message is also delivered through the cinematography and its colours: the green plays a massive role, and we can find it in almost every scene, but most of all in all the protagonist's dresses: the green that symbolises hope, diversity, truth, but at the same time mystery, alienation and solitude. All is guided by the great Alexandre Desplat and his score, giving the movie a nuance of sentimentality and strong emotion. Great movie.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
There are no words to describe it.
Just finished watching Call Me by Your Name, and yes, I'm a little late. I'm just going to start by saying that this is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen in my whole life. There are so many factors that play a central role in my final judgment, and of course I'm gonna analyse and talk about them, but being an italian boy who grew up in southern Italy, there are a lot of references that make this movie a masterpiece.
As in every movie ever made, detail plays an important role, if not the most important one. I'm not going to talk about every single of them but I want to share the feelings they made me feel and talk about their actual importance. From the languages spoken, the music, the fabulous landscapes, to the interns of the house, the floor, the very old forniture, the books.. all things that bring me back to my childhood and make me smell again the pleasant atmosphere of my grandparents' house. From this point of view, the cinematic representation was completely accurate, and I'm very sure this process was also helped by the director himself, and his italian memories.
Let's spend some time talking about the actors' performances. Timothée delivered his best performance so far, no wonder why he was nominated at the Oscars. He really dove into the character, and I can say that if I watch the details of his facial expressions. The details made me feel even more connected to the character, who slowly evolved through the course of the movie. Everyone was phenomenal in this movie, from Armie Hammer to the fantastic Michael Stuhlbarg.
This movie can rapidly become very very personal, and it touches your soul. It did it to me. There are some things and feelings that unfortunately can't be explained. It was an amazing experience. Definitely steals a place in my top 3. I think the movie is perfect. Loved it.
Just finished watching 1917. I start by saying that I don't know how to find the right words to express my current emotional status.
The first thing that comes to my mind about the movie is the style of directing. It was a bold choice, because of course you don't always see movies shot in that way, but I'm a 100% sure that it paid off. It really made you dive into the story, the characters' feelings and the details of the ruined war places you see. Furthermore, you see only one real and direct transition from scene to scene. That particular transition was also the audience's emotional transition, since I think it divides the movie into two main moments. That change of feeling, mood, and action made the viewers change emotionally, since it's clear that the movie is coming to an end, even though, you really can't expect anything anytime, because Sam Mendes knows what is doing.
The cinematography is simply amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if it won an Oscar for that. The importance of colour is really highlighted, and it plays a really huge part in the film. I think that the relationship between colour and audience is real. Colour makes you emotionally weak, strong, anxious and frightened, and I can go on but the emotions I experienced are too many. Colour is the lead of the movie.
One of the best parts of the movie was the original score. Since I care deeply about music in movies, I can say that I was not disappointed. Music accompanied colour in every moment of the movie, creating an atmosphere that really can't be explained. (There's a very intense scene when George Mackay's character arrives in the french village, where colour and music work together, as the protagonist runs trying to save himself) I really want this aspect of the movie to be acknowledged.
I want this movie to do well, because it deserves it. I can't wait for the Oscars and I can't wait seeing this movie win.