Archive for July 3rd, 2008

July 3, 2008

>Nat Film Festival – Days 5 and 6

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Across the Universe (USA, 2007) – When I first watched its trailer, something reminded me immediatly of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, the first due to its stunning and fast images, the second due to the adolescent love, both blended in a musical of non-original songs. It comes out that Julie Taymor’s musical enchanted me with the breathtaking beauty of its images and made me believe in the characters’ romance, and just because of that (besides being a huge Beatles’ fan), I won’t condemn the fact this film, after all, is a huge editing mess.

Expired (USA, 2007) – Samantha Morton (outstanding, as always) plays Claire, a kind-hearted meter operator and traffic control officer who lives alone with her stroke-victim mother. Her colleague Jay (Jason Patric, in his best performance I’ve seen) is the other side of the coin – he’s also a lonely man, but unlike Claire, it’s easy to understand why love doesn’t come to him: often angry, he treats everyone around him (especially the ones he tickets) disrespectfully, to say the least. Despite their opposite personalities, Claire and Jay will start a relationship, twisted, turbulent, darkly humoured, as this is not a conventional romance.

Azuloscurocasinegro (Spain, 2006) – I haven’t yet figured out how the film title connects to the story in deeper terms, besides refering to the colour of the business suit the lead character Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez) dreams of wearing one day, as the obvious symbol of social and economical sucess. Forced to abandon his studies to take care of his stroke-victim father, he’s intimidated by his girlfriend’s professional accomplishments, at the same time he agrees to impregnate the imprisioned gilfriend (Marta Etura) of his also imprisioned, but sterile brother (Antonio de la Torre). To complete the dramatic circle, there’s Jorge’s best friend, Israel (Raul Arevalo), a sexually confused young man who has just discovered that his father is an avid client of a male “massagist”. Melodramatic, as well as humoured, it’s hard not to think of a Pedro Almodóvar influence in the way the story is told, although it doesn’t reach the emotional power of so many films from the acclaimed spanish director.

Black House (Geomeun Jib, South Korea, 2007) – Being a huge fan of contemporary south korean cinema, I tried to see as many south korean titles as possible, although I knew this film was going to be a horror/thriller and I’m tired of asian horror/thriller films, but since this one was south korean, it could be different, right? Wrong. Based on a novel previously adapted to the big screen in Japan, the film is about an insurance agent who gets too involved in a boy’s suicide case, after visiting the house where the suicide or perhaps, the crime happened. It begins quite well with a psychological atmosphere, due to the character’s childhood demons (which connects to his present), but by its final part it becomes laughable, nevertheless better than the last american films of the genre (that insist to remake asian pictures).

Cruel Winter Blues (Yeol-hyeol-nam-ah, South Korea, 2006) – Another south korean film that didn’t deliver as much as I expected, despite its interesting plot and good moments. Perhaps I wanted to see a typical gangster film, which Lee Jeong Beom’s directorial debut is certainly not. The film is almost a moralistic tale about one man’s difficult choices. Jae-Mun (Sol Kyung Gu, charismatic enough to play the not so likable character) is a gangster that searches revenge in a rural area in the middle of nowhere. He’s looking for the man who assassinated his friend. In the company of his subordinate and newcomer Chi-Guk, younger and softener in manners, he develops a bond with the local restaurant owner, an old lady who happens to be the mother of the man he’s looking for. This is definitely a film I’d like to give a second look in the future.
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July 3, 2008

>Leo & Kate – Now and Then

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Titanic (1997)

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Revolutionary Road (opening december 2008)