Winter has definitely arrived here in the Netherlands and what is the best way to get through it? Yes, you got it, movies. So, a nice film, some warm chocolate (probably wine) and good company are the basics you need for this winter. Here, I have a list of some of the films I managed to watch the past week(s). This list can be used as a suggestion for a film when you don't know what to watch and as an informative critical piece about films you might have already seen or planning to – either in the cinemas or at home.
(You can find detailed plots through each title linking to Imdb)
The following reviews are from my Letterbox profile.
Based on the novel of Jack Kerouac, this film unfortunately failed to keep up with the expectations it raised. It is a road movie (?), but the constant drunk and sex scenes dominate the meretricious beat narration. The actors, along with the story, are trapped in nice shots and seemingly meaningful narration. It tried too hard to represent the beat generation and to follow that sense of life. OK, the beats were using drugs and were experimenting in all levels, but this film wanted to show too much of it, becoming that way something very 'small' in the film world. Sex and drugs were something new back then, but today they have become obsolete. And what really matters today is the beat generation's literary heritage.
Two guys are working on a remote highway road, having to deal - except for the solitary challenges of this construction job - with mostly each other. Alvin is the oldest and seemingly the wisest and Lance the youngest, ignorant one. Alvin is maintaining a relationship with Lance's sister, something that complicates their relationship even more. They don't like each other, but they do need each other. To work, to survive, to get over anything that seems to trouble them from their previous urban lives.
The multiple gaps in the story and the many information we never learn about the character's background, are the main disadvantages of this film. It really lacks in content. Some beautiful shots in the remote Texan nature are not enough to elevate this film from a below medium position to a decent one. It is funny at times and the actors show their potential, but again they stumble on the weak narration and the almost absent story. We don't see any character development, anything to prove that there is a story. Only their relationship is shown with long shots and funny lines. But is there really anything more to it?
What can I say for a movie when thousands of reviews and articles have already been written for? Nothing more than my humble and honest opinion. It really amazed me with how much love and dedication Nolan made this film. He didn't do anything at random. He wrote a story, dealing with the exploration of time travel, black holes and gravity, that has a deep human base: love.
He took the logical scientific facts and put them in a frame of purity and tenderness about the essence of our nature. He really knows how to make high quality cinema that also becomes a sensation selling thousands of tickets. But this doesn't really say anything to me. What does is his devotion to his vision, his profound intelligence and his talent to dive into space with total conscience of his abilities, his restrictions, his imagination and most of all his modest humanity.
Space is vast and is mostly depicted with fear and awe from humans. The fact that we haven't discover all its secrets makes it even more dark and mysterious. Nolan managed to unlock - even if it is not completely scientifically correct - this big chest of those mysteries and explore the deepest of our imagination and potential. The key he used to open this chest, the key with which he gave meaning to all the uncertainties of our universe is our own human nature. Our love and affection moves around our existence. Our emotions and memories are the fuel that keeps us moving, that makes us who we are, that makes us humans.
An extremely powerful story about a middle aged woman and a 17 year old boy, who shared a passionate love affair in Post-WWII Germany. After the abrupt ending of this relationship, the - now law student - boy discovers that the woman he fell in love with, almost 10 years ago, is on trial for war crimes.
A deep and emotional film with three different narration points and an extraordinary Kate Winslet giving the performance of her life (she won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Oscar in 2009). I really found this a breathtaking story that blew me away. And when you like a movie so much instantly, you tend to ignore some faults in direction or in narration that might have occurred. To me, it made perfect sense exactly how it was made, even if my critical thinking tries to remind me at times of all the flaws.
I am still amazed of how this proud woman overflows with guilt about her past and actions and prefers to carry the burden of her illiteracy all by herself. Her strength is proving to be her greatest weakness. All those contradictions of her character make sense only though the filter of true love. Because she was (and still is) loved. So intense and so deep by a young ignorant boy that everything else seems trivial.
This boy will later also be torn apart by this awful burden of guilt because of his choice to turn his back to his one and true love. The tragedy of the story finds peace somehow to its core. Their true love. Because they both shared that in their lives. At least they had the chance to experience each other's love.
I found this film enormously funny and enjoyable. Bill Murray was made for this role. He took it and made it his. Vincent is a filthy old drunk, completely rude and hateful towards everyone he meets. He is bitter with life and sarcasm is his second nature. He soon dries up from money and realizes he can be the baby-sitter of his neighbor's son, when one day the kid gets bullied and with his keys stolen he asks Vincent for help. It sounds like the typical story of bad-grumpy old guy meeting young kid and becoming good again, but here something is different.
Vincent doesn't seem to change and it becomes clear enough that he always had a good heart, he just needs to be reminded of it. The young boy, Oliver, enters his life abruptly and becomes something like the son Vincent never had, somebody to show the filthy world we live in, somebody to trust. Even if Vincent doesn't really trust anybody.
One of the last scenes of the film is one of the most touching- like ever. Oliver is presenting his assignment about a saint he knows, revealing to the crowd that saints are endurable, tough people who are not afraid to be themselves and make a difference in the world. And his saint is Vincent of course.
The story has a lot of ups and downs. A lot of stuff is being revealed about Vincent and his past, the possible reasons behind his behavior. Generally the film contains a lot of info about him, leaving the other characters under his shadow. But we don't care about that, because we only think of him and we subconsciously consider of our own Vincents, or even better, our own Vincent side.
This is an honest film with loads of awesome funny moments, especially if you are a fan of Murray. Let your heart go with it and you will realize its true magic, even if not everything in it is perfect. Just like Vincent himself.