>The Last Four Movies I Saw

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Beowulf (2007) – This movie was supposed to be a 3-D live show for those who got the chance to see it with the 3-D glasses and everything, but in a “normal” movie experience, I don’t really see what’s the point of transforming real actors in digital ones. In Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, the audience we’ll sure have the chance to see how computer generated effects have advanced in the motion-captured live-action performances technique, but besides all this superficiality there’s not much substance. Substance? Isn’t it supposed to be just an entertainment flick? Yes, but that’s where it lacks substance, in more specific words, emotions. Many characters in the story (especially the supporting cast) look like unexpressive zombies uncapable of making a simple eye blink seem true. The story was adapted from an old epic poem and this film focus on the legend of Beowulf, a warrior who arrives in an scandinavian village willing to destroy the monster that terrifies its population. The action scenes envolving the main character are actually entertaining in a funny way, as he swims in the open sea for days without dying of hypothermia and constantly fights naked. Ah, and there’s also Angelina Jolie who plays a seductive creature who basically sleeps with men to later give birth to bipolar-disordered monsters. Besides all that, she has a tail and an incredible computer generated figure. Technology is great when it serves for a better storytelling, but that’s not the case here.

We Own the Night (2007) – Laurence Olivier once said: “What is acting but lying and what is good lying but convincing lying?” The question applies perfectly to Joaquin Phoenix‘s performance in this film. The dramatic personality transformation his character suffers, going from one extreme to the other was hard to believe in storytelling terms, but he’s so willing to convince us, he is such a great actor, that I kind of feel bad for saying I didn’t believe how he could go from family black sheep to… Well, I can’t spoil it to you. Apart from this disbelief, I actually liked this film, that takes place in NY City in the 1980s. Phoenix plays Bobby Green, he belongs to a family of cops but he decided to live in his own terms, adopting a different second name (his real name is Grusinsky) and managing a night club. The fact the club belongs to the russian maphia doesn’t seem to bother Green, who is only interested in enjoying the night together with his beautiful girfriend, played by Eva Mendes in her best performance by far. But things will change when Bobby’s brother and father organize an operation in order to arrest the local drug dealer. Detail: None of the russians, including the maphia’s leader have a clue about Bobby’s family.

The Golden Compass (2007) – I particularly adore fantasy-like films, and for more that I feel happy with the explosion of this genre of films in today’s Hollywood, I also feel disappointed for the fact that some of these films are only made because there was once Lord of the Rings, that made a lot of money at the box office, though there are certainly more producers out there willing for making money, money, money than creative genious like Peter Jackson, passionately willing to make a fantastic film. In short: not all books should become films for the wrong reasons, and in this case, a book which was dramatically compressed to turn into a less than two hours film. No, I haven’t read the book, but I can only guess and, of course, suspect. I had a hard time following the small bits of the story due to the rush of its actions. Everything happens so fast and out of place that the audience is not given enough time to connect to the story. After saving her uncle from poison, the curious Lyra Belacqua (the newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) goes on a trip to the north with the glamorous Mrs. Coulter (a very icy Nicole Kidman, who could have played the White Witch in another fantasy film). In her dark and magic adventure along with a golden compass that can tell the truth for the one who can read it (and she can) , Lyra will search for a kidnapped friend, and along the way she will have the help of flying witches, a balloon pilot and a former whiskey drunker polar bear, among others. I should also mention that in Lyra’s world, everyone has a daemon, who happens to be a sort of visible and audible spirit of the person, who follows them everywhere they go. The creatures change its forms in many ways and in Lyra’s case, it can be a ferret, a mouse, a cat… Watching The Golden Compass didn’t feel like a true escapism, but it was sure a nice visual experience. I quite enjoyed the polar bears moments, though.

Paranoid Park (2007) – This film is Gus van Sant‘s adaptation of a Blake Nelson novel, that basically vagues about the existencial dilemma of a teenage boy envolved in an accidental, but not less guilty death. I haven’t read the book, and the film didn’t persuade me to do so, not even in a late future. Van Sant “alternative” cinema worked positively in Elephant, but here all the camera endless close-ups, walks in the school corridor and slow motion scenes keep as superficial as they can get, without adding substance to the story, in short: there’s nothing going on beneath the artful surface. The lead character (casted on a MySpace page) is a high school kid who never separates himself from his skateboard. The day he and his friend agree on skating at the presumably rough and dangerous Paranoid Park, he gets envolved in an accident. The fragments of that day will be revealed slowly through flash-backs, that should make us comprehend the boy’s actions, but not his constant apathy. The newcomer Gabe Nevins is more apathic than his character was supposed to be, and there’s not a single scene he would look or sound any different, which makes it quite hard to believe in his drama. In the rare scenes the kid is talking to her mom, we never get to see her face, or she’s placed very distantly from him while having a regular talk, therefore, we should assume the kid has distant parents. He has sex with her virgin cheerleader girlfriend, and he’s not a bit excited about it during the act, therefore, we should assume he’s really facing something serious in his life. And then the most obvious scene of all, we get to see what he saw in the day of the accident. The characters are not developed enough as everything else in this experimental project that wastes the work of cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In The Mood for Love, Lady in the Water) in 90 minutes of dullness. One thing else, the teenage female characters in this film, told from an obvious and limited male point of view make me say Thank God for Sofia Coppola.

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19 Comments to “>The Last Four Movies I Saw”

  1. >Ei, Romeika! Tudo bem??Li que vc já viu A BÚSSOLA DE OURO. Aqui só no dia 25. Quero muito ver…Bom, e achei WE OWN THE NIGHT um dos melhores filmes do ano! Joaquin Phoenix é um monstro!Bjs!

  2. >Romeika, concordo com sua impressão sobre A LENDA DE BEOWULF. O que falta ao filme é a emoção que os personagens digitais não conseguem nos passar.Adorei OS DONOS DA NOITE. A performance de Joaquin Phoenix é uma das melhores do ano, fora o roteiro e a direção de James Gray que são perfeitos. A Eva Mendes, realmente, entrega sua melhor performance nesse filme.Vou asssitir A BÚSSULA DE OURO nesta terça-feira e não sei direito o que esperar do filme. Talvez uma diversão tão boa quanto AS CRÔNICAS DE NÁRNIA – O LEÃO, A FEITICEIRA E O GUARDA-ROUPA.Não sou a maior fã dos projetos experimentais de Gus Van Sant. Odiei GERRY e LAST DAYS. Gosto muito, no entanto, de ELEFANTE. Portanto, só devo assistir a este novo filme do Van Sant por ser uma fã de cinema e querer ver de que maneira ele vai transpor as barreiras dessa vez.Bom final de semana!

  3. >Oi Otávio, tudo bem. Assista "A Bússola de Ouro" no cinema mesmo, acho que funciona melhor do que em casa. Concordo quanto ao Joaquin Phoenix, mas achei o filme apenas bom, pelo motivo que expliquei aqui no post.Kamila, achei ABDO muito diferente de "As Crônicas de Nárnia", que me cativou bastante na época. Mas como disse no blog do Vinícius, a melhor coisa é o urso polar cachaceiro, que serve de transporte, defesa e travesseiro hehe Quero só ver o que vc vai achar de "Paranoid Park":-)Bjs e bom fds aos dois!

  4. >Sobre Os Donos da Noite(We own the night), é realmente um bom filme e Joaquin Phoenix está excelente,e como mesmo disse até Eva Mendes surpreende!The Golden Compass apresenta algumas falhas em sua narrativa, como a rapidez com q as coisas acontecem, mas acredito q possa ter suas falhas ajustadas se ocorrerem possíveis continuações.E Nicole Kidman está excelente!Boas Festas!Um excelente final de ano!

  5. >Obrigada, Wanderley, Feliz Natal e ano novo pra vc também.

  6. >About the four films, Beowulf is one of the worst pictures that I have see, maybe because I read the original Poem but i Didn't find anything enjoyable of the film (I really hate Angelina Jolie, and she maybe have a beautufull body but she really dosn't like me), the CGI is terrible and even Shrek is more dignify of the tecnology, I really Hate this movie.The other three are better, well, Paranoid Park is a very good movie, Van Saint is in his element ald the movie is almost flowles. The Golden compass is not good compared to the novels, but, is good enough to enjoy the experience, we oun the night is a common thriller, but i enjoy the actors, and YES, Eva Mendes plays his best role in all his history.I like to find people that enjoys the good movies or see it with critical eyes. A pleasure to meet you in this place

  7. >Hi A.R, welcome! Do you even believe that body is Angelina's real body? It's not! hehe Anyway, I didn't like the film, but I didn't hate it either.. Considering a similar sort of film, I enjoyed "300" better though.I liked "We Own the Night", except for that moment SPOILER JF's character becomes a cop. That was a little too much, I think.. But it was a good movie overall! It's always nice to discuss about films, you're welcome to come back. ^^

  8. >I believe that when Angelina Jolie dies someday, she would have to be recicled insead of being cremated because of the excessive plastic in her body.I hated this movie because I read the original text and the script is a terrible adaptation (It's a shame that Neil Gaiman was in the adaptation, because as a writer is excelent)But well, that is all, Thank you for the answer of my past comment, if you read spanish you are welcome to my blogg, if not, well I would come to see your blogg constanly.cheers to you

  9. >Desses filmes vi apenas dois. Gostei de "A Lenda de Beowulf", mas foi uma das maiores decepcções desse ano no cinema, especialmente por ser acima de tudo um filme técnico. Já "A Bússola de Ouro" não foi tão bom quanto em imaginava, porém bastante superior ao que muitos críticos afirmaram. A Dakota Blue Richard é uma ótima revelação, enquanto que a Nicole Kidman tem sua melhor atuação em anos.

  10. >Romeika, assisti A BÚSSULA DE OURO ontem e achei o filme muito bem feito do ponto de vista técnico. No entanto, a construção dos personagens (exceto Lyra e o leão cachaceiro) é horrorosa.

  11. >A.R. Shoup: *LOL* Poor Angelina, is she really that plastic? Anyway, you're welcome, I'll visit your blog soon. ^^Vinícius: Não esperava muito de "Beowulf", então nem me decepcionei, apenas achei o filme regular. E concordo com relação a Dakota B. R., ela leva jeito pra coisa! E Nicole Kidman está bem, mas preferi ela como vilã em "To Die For". Kamila: Concordo com as suas impressões, e acho que o problema que vc apontou se deve muito ao fato de a história ter sido bem apressada.

  12. >Enchanted was so cute! I hope it made you happy! I just loved the entire cast – I actually saw it twice! 🙂

  13. >Lady N: Me too!:-D I'm actually thinking of seeing it again hehe

  14. >Romeika, I saw Beowulf and We Own the Night. I thought Beowulf was great entertainment, and I loved the script and the visionary direction by Zemeckis. There are inumerous flaws, but I ignored most. We Own the Night's only sin is it's limited wit and intensity. A found many moments great (the car chase was sensacional) and absolutly loved the ensemble, but I felt it could have been a better movie. Joaquin Phoenix unfortunetly was ignored for his incredible performance.I will se The Golden Compass this weekend and I love Gus Van Sant so much I'll see his new movie as soon as possible, even though you didn't like it much. But I agree with your last sentence. Thank God for Sofia Coppola. There is no denying shes incredible.Ciao!

  15. >Romeika, não achei que o desenvolvimento da história foi apressado, mas acredito que o filme poderia ter sido mais didático no sentido de nos apresentar o que é o pó, por exemplo. A pressa aconteceu, na minha opinião, naquela cena em que Coulter conta a origem de Lyra e na cena em que a garota e Roger estão no balão e revelam todos os planos futuros.

  16. >Wally, it was indeed a pity Joaquin Phoenix wasn't recognized, because his acting is indeed great and one of the best things in the movie. And that's nice you're also a Coppola fan. ^^Kamila, aguardo sua resenha para que eu possa saber mais da sua opinião sobre o filme. E concordo quanto a falta de didatismo no mesmo. ^^

  17. >Wally: the car chase was indeed amazing!

  18. >Romeika, yes it was. And reading above, I saw that you felt uncomfortable with We Own the Night with the same thing I did. The Phoenix character turning to a cop wasnt a transition that felt authentic. But ignoring that, its a fine movie.I saw The Goldem Compass yesterday. Thought the screenplay was very weak, but, like you said, the visuals are great and I had fun. But I was so intrigued by the story that was little explored by the Hollywood screenplay I bought the book and I hope I like it more.See ya.

  19. >Wally, I suppose the book is a lot better, so have fun reading it! And at last I hear of someone who also didn't buy that Bobby Green's transformation in "We Own the Night" hehe

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