Nearing the conclusion of March, I’m still struggling to keep pace with my film reviews. Here are some of the latest films I have seen:
The Skin I Live In
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Vera Elena Alaya
Pedro Almodovar once again delivers a delicately crafted film that is driven by tragedy, lunacy and, often times, depravity. The Spanish director dares to go where the majority might not, visiting dark, largely forbidden subjects that are very much non-existent in mainstream Hollywood. Almodovar goes beneath the sleek, often times simplistic view of sex that the film industry perpetuates as he explores a world driven by carnal desires and strange fetishes that often supersede moralistic considerations, defying social norms and challenging the viewer to reevaluate his own set of values.
Continue reading Mini Film reviews: February & March (part 2)
I must extend my gratitude to a couple of fellow film bloggers, Scott Lawlor at Front Room Cinema and Chris at Moviesandsongs365 who have extended their kindness in my direction by making me an ever more involved part of the community and handing me the 7×7 Link Award.
Without further ado, here is what the award is all about:
The rules of the 7×7 Link Award:
Rule # 1: tell everyone something that no one else knows about you
Rule # 2: Link to one of the posts that you personally think best fits the following categories: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece and Most Pride-Worthy Piece.
Rule # 3: Pass this award on to seven other bloggers
Continue reading 7×7 Link Award
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson
Whether you like the work of Stanley Kubrick or not, few can deny that his films are some of the most thought-provoking cinematic experiences anyone can have.
For me, all of his films belong to a master craftsman who poured his time and his intellect into the making of movies. None of them can be faulted for lacking depth or lacking artistic value. When Kubrick was set on making a sci-fiction film that raised questions about the origin and the future of humanity, Kubrick made the magnificent and timeless “2001”. When he explored the genre of horror and suspense, he made the Overlook Hotel the most horrifying place in America in The Shining. In the same fashion, Barry Lyndon responded to the very conscious desires of an ambitious film maker who was seeking to construct a rich and colorful time period piece set in 19th century European aristocracy.
Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Barry Lyndon
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon, Lawrence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Steven Soderbergh directs Contagion, a film that explores the impact that a fast-spreading and deadly virus could cause with a scientific approach.
There is a raw quality and intensity to the film that makes it feel unique despite having a concept too often explored in the big screen.
For that same reason that sets it apart, Contagion often feels too didactic and procedural, feeling distant and void of emotion, turning death into a statistic that rarely comes across as tragedy.
Rating: 3/5 (above average)
Continue reading Mini Film Reviews for February & March (part 1)
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Jean Reno (Leon), Natalie Portman (Mathilda), Gary Oldman (Stansfield)
Before emotionally troubled hitmen were popularized once again by characters like Jason Bourne, director Luc Besson brought “Leon: The Professional” to the big screen. Played by the effortlessly cool and capable Jean Reno, the film has amassed a cult following ever since it was released in 1994, helping to cement its position close to the top of the IMDB Top 250 list.
Jean Reno plays Leon, a rather unremarkable middle aged hitman who has grown to become the ultimate expression of strategic and methodical violence. He works for a single client, local mob boss Tony (Danny Aiello), who has taken him under his wing ever since he landed as an illiterate immigrant in the New York harbor. Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Leon: The Professional
Today I can proudly say that The Blog of Big Ideas is celebrating its first anniversary.
It all started with a friend who planted the seed suggesting I start a blog to touch upon things I was interested in (if you are interested in Graphic Design, her blog is definitely worth checking out). As a fellow user of WordPress, she pointed out how rewarding it had been for her, no matter if anyone read it or not, having become a creative outlet from which to translate her ideas into writing. I was no stranger to her blog, and I was certainly not completely foreign to the community, but once someone pushed me to start writing and I started typing my first word on my first post, there was simply no way back.
Continue reading Blog of Big Ideas’ 1st Anniversary
In the opinion of this author, film is a particularly effective medium when it is used to convey the range of human emotions. Well-crafted films that focus on a particular human activity tend to find the humanity in them. Films like “Black Swan” or “Moneyball” take us inside a world that is foreign to most of us and their success is found at portraying the environment as realistically as possible while focusing on the human element that defines it. Black Swan is not some kind of expose about the lives of ballet dancers, but rather about a particular instance inside this world: a young girl that loses her head due to the pressure she is subjecting herself to. Successful film makers usually try to bring light to a certain activity through an exploration of its human ramifications, often focusing on peculiar stories that may or may not be representative of the whole or that, in fact, are purposely different to the norm.
I start my post with that brief introduction to better understand my mixed feelings towards “My Architect”, one of the few films where architecture is central to the story not because the film-maker has a particular affinity to the profession, but because he, director Nathaniel Kahn, uses it as an instrument to try to understand his father, the late Louis Kahn, one of the most famous architects of the last century.
Continue reading Architecture and Film: My Architect (2003), the secret life of Louis Kahn
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon (Curtis), Samantha (Jessica Chastain)
Directed by Jeff Nichols, “Take Shelter” is yet another existential drama where dreams and reality mesh on a year where many films seemed particularly interested on this subject.
The movie is anchored by the great performance of Michael Shannon playing Curtis, husband to Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and father of a little girl who was born deaf. The film is about his struggle to maintain the seemingly perfect life he leads while dealing with deeply upsetting dreams and visions that feel like premonitions, both to the audience and to his character.
Continue reading Film review: Take Shelter (2011)