Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Oscars. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Oscars. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Κυριακή, 29 Μαρτίου 2015

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

Director: Felix van Groeningen
Writers: Johan Heldenbergh (play), Mieke Dobbels (play)
With: Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse
Duration: 111'
Production: Belgium, Netherlands

I always find it hard to write down my thoughts when it comes to films I love. "The Broken Circle Breakdown" is one of them. This intense Belgian drama took over my consciousness for many days. For its strong narrative and storyline are breathtaking and every shot vibrates out of real life. 

Nominated at the 2014 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film for Belgium, this film made an intense impression worldwide because of its inner strength to narrate a magnificent love story between two earthly creatures. 

Didier is a musician, specified in the banjo. He sings and plays for a bluegrass band. Elise is a tattoo artist with her own tattoo shop. They fall in love instantly. Their shared love for American music and culture will bring them even closer. Soon their life together begins and they have a daughter. The girl is diagnosed though, with an aggressive type of cancer and their lives change dramatically. We follow the course of their relationship by reversed narration. Pieces of their life appear in front of our eyes in order to understand the depth of their love and all those incidents leading to the present. 

The characters evolve gradually through the unfolding of their story, making you fall in love with them without even trying. They have a natural coolness, they way they fall in love, the way they live, singing together on stage, raising their daughter as free as possible. They live absorbed by their strong feelings for each other, a love that seems to grow every day. But cancer decomposes little by little that bond. Suddenly what drew them together sets them apart. 

Where once was deep love is now replaced by enormous confusion. Didier, a strong-minded atheist finds it difficult to suppress his opinion about the world and religion, while Elise has found a shelter and comfort through it. Their differences in how they see the world have enlarged through their daughter's illness. Elise, a woman full of temperament has found her soulmate in Didier and he feels exactly the same. But how can you fight life's struggles when the ego stands in front of you building a stiff wall?

"The Broken Circle Breakdown" is an intense elegy on true love between two different people who merged their lives and created a new one, a better and happier one. But their shared life is cracked and smashed from life's cruelty and harshness. The remains of their love are falling apart and they are losing each other along with their own selves. It takes a lot of courage to just go on even when you feel you have lost everything. 

Felix van Groeningen has created, through magnificent storytelling, a heartbreaking love story, presenting the true power of love. He has adapted skillfully the play "The Broken Circle Breakdown Featuring the Cover-Ups of Alabama" by Mieke Dobbels and Johan Heldenbergh, who is playing the role of Didier. 

With an amazing bluegrass soundtrack (performed by the protagonists themselves), inspiring performances and a great story, "The Broken Circle Breakdown" will make you laugh, hope and love, but mostly will make you want to live a full life/ With no regrets, no mistakes. Just a life filled with love. Can you handle it?

Τρίτη, 10 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Nightcrawler (2014)

Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
With: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton 
Duration: 117'
Production: USA

Lou Bloom is unemployed and desperate. On his constant job search he has learned the most efficient way to promote his qualities and to present himself as the perfect candidate for a job. When he will discover the night world of crime journalism, he will realize that this profession was made for him. 

Jake Gyllenhaal is transformed here as the creepy, but with the somehow attractive personality, Lou Bloom, a loner who is determined to succeed no matter the cost. Like a trained predator (Gyllenhaal admits his inspiration for the role was a coyote) Lou observes carefully his opponents, the environment he chooses to act and which can be the most effective way to attack and survive. Entering the world of crime journalism as a cameraman who runs to cover any possible crime in Los Angeles, Lou will discover a fascination he never imagined was possible. Covering car crashes, attacks, accidents and murders he will realize how much good he can be and how many dollars he can earn by just following real crime with his camera. 

Slowly but effectively he will befriend Nina, a tv news journalist, who will be very quickly attracted to his passionate determination and complex personality. She will aid him and support him for his explicit and unique footage from numerous crimes. Lou will prove not to have any ethical boundaries when it comes to his profession and his success. He will ignore any kinds of moral violations and will deliver to Nina the most gruesome and raw crime footage ever. 

Nina is like Lou, they both are attracted by the ugliness of this world and the more terrible the image, the more excited they get. They are both made by the same materials. It is not about the shock or the shame of it, it is purely about how the audience loves crime and they, as the best team ever made, understand it. They know what people crave for and what they will talk about for days. They give people what they want. This way they are both winners; the bigger rates the channel gets, the more dollars they both earn. Simple as that. 

"Nightcrawler" is a dark film which draws a thin line between the hunter, the victim and the viewer. Lou is part of the triangle, so is Nina, with the roles constantly changing. Lou will do anything for his new business and will prove to himself and to others that with constant hard work and perseverance success follows. But where do you stop? Are there any limits? It is creepy, intense and totally instinct based film that will make you hate even more the amoral society we live in and how media bet their existence on people's lowest instincts; the need for blood, sperm and violence. 

This film takes a deep dive into the dark world of crime and media circus that most human eyes are dangerously attracted to. Its narration is smooth and builds up beautifully with Lou in the spotlight. You witness his initial state and his almost immediate adaptation, like a natural predator, to any circumstances in order to survive. Many have named the film a satire on today's media and a social-ethical comment and I couldn't agree more. Its dramatic and satirical tone match perfectly together, especially by the assistance of the music. But the problem lies on its restlessness in trying to cross its own limits. 

Gyllenhaal is fascinating in his character, creepy, extremely intelligent and methodical, but he is too perfect in how to pull through every situation, on how his shocking work is being broadcast, when all of this feels indeed like a joke; how can a person like him never have to deal with the consequences of his actions? Yes, this might be the point, how ethics have diminished and people can do anything for television, but the film takes itself too seriously while it mocks us and the society we are not trying to change. 

I understand its point and the way its done and the fact I hated this character more than anybody the last 6 months says a lot about the power the film had on me. I liked it, but my objections on how it presents its story are stronger. It made me also realize how I  was craving for something even more cruel, more dramatic to happen. Maybe this is what the film solemnly proves; that even though we realize our low moral position we still crave for more blood, more violence, more brutality. 

Πέμπτη, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Ida (2013)

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Writers: Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz 
Stars: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Production: Poland | Denmark | France | UK
Duration:  82 min

Ida is a strong, uncompromising film, whose immense power and raw beauty are indisputable. This is a winner film. Magnetic, raw, real. For its direction, its content, its everything. Yes, "Ida" is my favorite 2014 film and a masterpiece. 

1960s, Poland. Anna is a young novitiate nun and about to take her vows. She was brought up by nuns and was nurtured with Christianity. Before she takes the ultimate step she is urged by her superior to visit her last living relative, her aunt. Wanda is a formerly powerful judge of the regime, now an alcoholic and full with guilt. She meets with Anna and unfolds the secret story of her real identity. Anna is Jewish and her name is Ida. 

A lost secret family chronicle will be revealed to Anna - now Ida - frustrating her innocent and pure soul. She will decide to follow Walda on a journey of discovering her past, what happened to her parents and why her aunt is so depressed. 

This poetic depiction of the lost past of Ida guides the narration in a delicate and profound way. The subtle direction, infused with an amazing composition of frames, together with the profound silence offer few clue elements that are mostly hints on where the path of Ida is going in life. 

Pawlikowski chooses to show with his frames - through the cameras of the talented cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal - an unprecedented intensity in those two women's lives. This films has such an integrity, it knows what is doing and where is going, and this is one of the things that add up to its greatness. 

The framing of the shots plays a crucial role in the poetic illustration of life and especially of Ida's life. Concealing or intensifying details or even changing the center of attention has unexpected results. You feel there present, but not in the way you think. You feel you see more than you are shown, you sense everything that happens on screen, the characters' pain, feelings and so much more. You get lost but this is the magic of it. 

Ida will be faced with life itself, her choices and dreams, her own destiny. Wanda will be faced with her own past and the guilt she carries for years about choosing the regime instead of her family. Redemption will struggle to find its way through those women's lives and love will unfold again in order to transform the painful past. 

Both Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska, the first experienced and the second in her acting debut, synchronize their performances creating a harmonic but intense acting duet. The crudeness expressed with the extraordinary black and white photography helps them achieve what I call symmetrical beauty in the film. They fill each other and their relationship. With the determination of the one and the submission of the other, those two characters evolve, creating something unique. 

This magnetic film talks about the power of choice, the burden of guilt and the darkness of lost secrets. It opens a dialog about desperation, devotion but above all about human connection beyond any kind of religion. Religion is just a shelter, a cover, something to help people define their identities. But people give power to people. And actions fuel people's lives. And we shouldn't forget this. 

Πέμπτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

My week in movies #3

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.

Σάββατο, 1 Μαρτίου 2014

#Blogoscars - Best Film

20. August: Osage County

19. American Hustle

18. Behind the Candelabra

17. Captain Phillips

16. Rhino Season

15. Rush

14. Stoker

13. The Hunt

12. Prisoners

11. All is lost

10. Fruitvale Station

9. Her

8. Inside Llewyn Davis

7. Only Lovers Left Alive

6. Stories We Tell

5. La Grande Bellezza

4. Blue Jasmine

3. 12 Years A Slave

2. Gravity

1. Frances Ha

Why you gotta love and hate “The Wolf of the Wall Street”

  • Leonardo DiCaprio's performance. Is dramatic, hilarious when needed and absolutely challenging for your eyes. And because you know there should be a special award category only for him.
  • The absence of any particular meaningful point. Or maybe that's the point. Nothingness.
  • The seductive energy of the movie, the money, the drugs, the sex, everything. It just justifies everything, ignoring any potential consequences.
  • The non-judgmental view of Scorsese's direction, his recklessness, his euphoria and impulse like his is still 20 years old.
  • The disturbingly hilarious sequence with the expired pills. 
  • The addictive feeling of this materialistic universe, the porn, the drugs, the excess in money and in living.
  • Because it showed how Wall Street really is.
  • The fact that at the end you feel completely empty and numb. Some thoughts of how you would live this life are running in your brain for at least 30 seconds.
  • The greedy need to see this guy failing completely, not just talking to seemingly untalented people. Now he probably earned a lot of money through this film.
  • The over the top characters, the scary moment when you realize they were/are all real people.
  • When DiCaprio talks to you in the camera. You feel like you can be a part of all this extravaganza.

And after all this I have to admit that unlike everybody else I will never watch this movie again. I appreciate its honesty and I salute Scorsese with respect, but no thanks. No hard feelings. 

Τετάρτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

#Blogoscars - Best Actress

10. Mia Wasikowska (Stoker)

9. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

8. Bérénice Bejo (The Past)

7. Scarlett Johansson (Her)

6. Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)

5. Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive)

4. Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)

3. Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)

2. Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station)

1. Cate Blanchett με διαφορά (Blue Jasmine)

#Blogoscars - Best Actor

10.  Daniel Brühl (Rush)

9. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)

7. Joaquin Phoenix (Her)

6. Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station)

5. Hugh Jackman (Prisoners)

4. Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt)

3. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

2. Robert Redford (All is lost)

1. Toni Servillo (La Grande Bellezza)

Δευτέρα, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Direction: Jean-Marc Vallée
Script: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
With: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Duration: 117'
Production: USA

In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

It is so undeniable obvious how ignorant people were at that time about AIDS, stripping it out from all the shame and terror it represented. Also the pharmaceutical (disgusting) business and their deals with hospitals for new uncertified treatments in order to earn money. They put people's misery and despair into their wallets. And along with that they banned everything else that could destroy their “kingdom” of treatments.

Here comes our hero, who after the shock of being sick, he quits his job and starts a small illegal business of treating HIV patients like himself with importing medicine from Mexico and other countries. His influence is big and his business brains will prove a priceless weapon for himself and everyone around him. Drugs and alcohol didn't manage to get out of his life though and his attitude towards other people keeps being mean and arrogant (and in times hilarious).

He meets Rayon, a drug addict trans who is also sick with HIV. Even though their first encounter is not really ideal, they turned out to be close partners and friends. The truth is that the relationship between Ron and Rayon is not given the proper time to flourish on screen. We follow them around the film quite scared of how Ron would behave towards Rayon, while there is not really a connection somewhere to prove that he actually accepted his partner. We just see the ending phase of this relationship, that they have become good and truthful friends.

While the character of Mathew McConaughey tries so hard to be rude and to build a sort of “protection” wall against other people, he also provokes an embarrassing laughter while his character acts like that. So tough and straight that to our eyes looks a bit ridiculous. But the character was real and his behavior and choices where also real. Many people who were like that existed back then, especially to a city like Dallas. And they probably still exist. So it is not really funny, but mostly depressing and disappointing.

Ron changes though, through all these business and especially through the disease. Even though he has so many bad elements as a person, he is still doing everything his own way only to help himself and other people. I would love to see more about the court procedures and all the decisions taken but here obviously is not about that. Here is about people trying to make amends with their harsh reality and try to decide what to do with the remaining time. Sometimes through McConaughey's performance we feel how his character feels, we understand in a peculiar way all his motives, fears and choices, while we subconsciously console him for the impact his actions have, even though they are racist, dysfunctional and completely irrational.

This movie has many faces, has many parts that wants to narrate. But does it actually manage to say what it wanted to say from the beginning? In an extent yes it does. Clearly the director tried to fit the small romance with Garner into the film unsuccessfully, but also the relationship with Rayon. It seems that everything is about Ron and the movie cannot escape from this. It is not necessarily bad, it is just enough. You see the gradual change into Ron, but you fail to separate his relationships and distinguish their progress through the plot.

Ron doesn't want you to like him. Actually he doesn't really care if you or anyone else likes him. He is very obnoxious but at the same time what he tries, and at the end manages to do, is extraordinary. Attempting to help sick people with effective medicine, attempting to ease their pain and mostly his pain. We do see him go through many sentimental turbulences and making amends at the end with his condition. He is strong and a fighter, a magnificent characteristic that is obvious not until the very end.

Dallas Buyers Club is a bit not sure where to confine itself, whether it is his genre (drama, comedy, political, historical, biography) or its story, but at the end you can see clearly what its purpose was; through Ron's story to talk about a matter that is still a taboo in many places in the world, to show how people can deal with their very own real and harsh problems and how a surprise in your life can turn out both inspirational and truthful for you and the others around you. 

Τρίτη, 21 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (based upon the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" by)
With: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Duration: 134'
Country: USA

One of the movies that claim the title “Movie of the Year” has already six Oscar nominations for this year, along with Best Achievement in Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Barkhad Abdi. Having almost 70 nominations, the movie has already claimed a position in the “favorites” list.

The screenplay (Billy Ray) of “Captain Phillips” is based on the the book “A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea” (2010) by the real Richard Phillips who was taken hostage by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean as part of the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009.

The US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years as IMDB informs us on the movie's page, where it has scored 8, 1 so far. With most of the nominations gained for the performance of Tom Hanks and his co-star Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips” has become everyone's favorite action thriller of the year.

We follow the extraordinary story of a captain who, while on duty in the Indian Ocean, his cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates. We watch with extreme precision how the captain realized the menace and how he managed to prevent the hijacking by using all means from his crew, the ship and his own head.

While proving to be prepared with solutions for preventing the incident, he is unaware of what will follow next. The horror and fear he will face in the hands of these “fishermen”, who are nothing more than poor men in need for money for the boss who rules their lives.

Muse, the leader of this mission thinks that he got lucky choosing an American cargo ship. He believes its crew and captain will obey his orders and hand him the ship's money. But he miscalculates and soon realizes nothing is going to be easy with this captain.

The story unravels slow revealing its characters feelings. While we observe the growing tension we cannot help but notice this peculiar relationship created between Captain Phillips and the leader of the hijackers, Muse. 

Looking at each other deep in the eye, they are trying to show who is in control. Muse wants to impose his domination over his own crew, but mostly over the captain. Captain Phillips though, wants to preserve his own authority and is trying to maintain a neutral attitude towards the pirates. And he also tries the same thing: to show his own crew that he still has control.

After some serious incidents, everyone realizes that things have changed into worse. The pirates act recklessly doing the unthinkable. They kidnap Captain Phillips for at least two days, while the American coast guard along with trained marines await the appropriate moment to attack and disarm or better, eliminate them.

The negotiations fail to come to a desirable result and the USA justs wants to get rid of the targets. The morality that is hidden behind all these, the power America shows over anything named as terrorism or pirates is overwhelming. If you stand in front of the Americans as an obstacle, they will do anything to take you down in the name of national security. The movie tries hard to remind us this.

All this tension unraveling throughout the movie, bursts out at the last sequence, where Captain Phillips collapses. And here is where the sublime performance by Tom Hanks takes place. Weak and confused he gives up, he falls apart, he loses the control he fought for. His vulnerability is magnificent on screen. 

DiCaprio managed to steal the 'Best Actor in a Leading Role' nomination from Hanks, and me being a fan of both of them, cannot help but think this: Hanks has already proven his value, while DiCaprio still fights for a position in the Oscar Hall of Fame. Well, maybe Leo will get it this time.

One thing I admire in Paul Greengrass's direction is that he managed without any Hollywood tricks and effects to exhibit this slow growing tension and succeed in giving us a thrilling action movie with great performances (don't forget Barkhad Abdi's nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role).

One of the feelings I cannot hide for this movie, is my deep sadness over those poor Somali people who had no choice but to hijack, threaten, kidnap just to survive. They live in a world so different, where they grow up under war conditions. Even though this movie focuses on a more American way of dealing with things, it still makes us wonder why these people have no choice but turn to crime.

Τρίτη, 5 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The sessions (2012)

The sessions (2012)
Director: Ben Lewin
Writer: Ben Lewin, Mark O'Brien (article)
With: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Duration: USA
Production: 95’

One of the words that pop up in your head watching this movie is heartbreaking honesty.

Characterized as the Festival Hit of the year, “The Sessions” made an impression on the crowd for its obvious - almost unintentionally looking - naivety. It had gained an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for the indeed extraordinary Helen Hunt and some more Festival awards with most important that of Sundance (Audience Award and Special Jury Prize).

Based on the article of Mark O'Brien, the same person we see on screen, the same unique character that suffered from polio at age of 6 and used an iron lung until his death, the true, inspiring story of a man who wanted to experience life in its full extent. A man who was craving for real love, for true feelings of affection and wanted to know everything about the magic of making love.

Mark is living a peaceful life at his house. He has a special lady to clean him up, help him shop his vintage shirts and feed him. After not feeling comfortable with his latest assistant, he goes on a hunt of finding the perfect candidate. Through this process he realizes how much he wants to seize being a virgin.  How much he truly wants to experience sexual intercourse, aka having sex.

He is a devoted Catholic and with the ethical guide of his priest he decides to take this journey and hire a sex surrogate. The priest, such an amusing character given by William H. Macy, is his listener, his way of making amends with God himself, but most of all is his true friend who watches a grown disabled man with a pure heart to wish for something so natural and normal. He deletes any kind of religious boundaries and manages to advise him as a true friend.

After he already decided to act upon his decision to have sex and feel real love, he contacts his therapist who introduces him to Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate who has a normal, conventional life. The relationship they create will change them both. To his journey towards manhood, Mark discovers how he can love, how he can express himself and his tortured body.

And then except Helen Hunt, you get an astonishing performance by John Hawkes. His facial expressions of a simple, honest, full of humor disabled man transfer the uniqueness of this true story into our own eyes as we watch his life transforming into the beautiful experience it can be. By fulfilling only this simple wish, which for any other is something so “easy to get”, he is finally the person who always wanted to be – complete. Complete with love, sex, emotions, moments, happiness and life, no matter the difficulties. 

The simplicity that accompanies The Sessions’ direction by Ben Lewin can be shown in the clean shots of his characters. The colorful universe Mark lives in, even if for some can provoke pity, Lewin manages to convey exactly the opposite. He makes you feel proud and admire Mark for his integrity, his way of thinking, his romance, his own extraordinary life.

The talent of Mark deleting any kind of awkwardness and taboo concerning sex and its content is also the director’s talent not to make it look weird in any context. Mark and his character win everyone over with his innocence, his ignorance, his unlikeness. He is sweet and so unpredictable beautiful, a beauty that comes from inside and glows on the outside. What if he is marked by the “disabled” tag, the people and their lives he touched with his simplicity are living proof that tags and people don’t match.  

Mark’s story is a constant lesson to all of us who seek perfection and happiness in a life that is most of all beautiful and interesting just the way it is. 

Παρασκευή, 22 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

#blogoscars: Best Picture

20. The Master
19. The Dark Knight Rises
18. Argo
17. Frankenweenie
16. Rust and Bone
15. The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey
14. Amour
13. Les Miserables
12. Silver Linings Playbook
11. Moonrise Kingdom
10. Cloud Atlas
9. Django Unchained
8. Holy Motors
7. Blancanieves
6. Pieta
5. Searching for Sugar man
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
3. Skyfall
2. Rhino Season
1. Life of Pi

Good luck to all the Nominees!