Cinéphile

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Archive for the category “Great movie”

THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017)

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A film by James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller

The true story of Percival Harrison Fawcett, one of the greatest explorers of the twentieth century. Percy Fawcett is a recognized British colonel and a loving husband. In 1906, when he was about to become a father, the Royal Geographical Society of England proposed to him to leave to Amazonia in order to map the borders between Brazil and Bolivia. Right a way , the man has a passion for exploration and discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. Back in England, Fawcett constantly thinks of this mysterious civilization, torn between his love for his family and his thirst for exploration and glory …

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Here is a stroke a genius where James Gray reappropriates a genre fallen into disuse to offer us the masterful portrait of an explorer carried by his thirst for adventure.Here Gray choose to do an interpretation of the novel La cité perdue de Z écrit par David Grann. It is no secret that  Gray makes the viewer follow the adventure of the military man names Fawcett that disappeared somehow into the jungle never to return to England. James Gray’s latest feature film is a beautiful  scenario built around Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam’s) back and forth between his home and the heart of the Amazon jungle. Here Gray shot this film à la classic mode the only thing to do to me otherwise the film will fall into the water. Fawcett is not crazy to go to the amazon forest but to reclaim his tile of his name he decided to go which trigger his thirst for adventure and exploration as well as glory. Charlie Hunnam here does a superb job to incarnate his character.It is interesting to see that Fawcett also has other obligations, well he is a  husband and father which his wife makes the sacrifices here  and is beautifully interpreted by actress Sienna Miller. You see  he returns to his home, after several years of travel so it takes a toll on his wife. He has a hard time with the children. The cinematography here is near perfect. I can’t wait until his next picture.

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LADYBIRD (1994)

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A film by Ken Loach

Cast: Crissy Rock, Vladimir Vega, Sandie Lavelle

This film is based on a true story. Unbelievable story here as Ken Loach said in an interview A social worker call me an told me the story about this women and her kids after she was done she told him maybe there is a film to be made here. And there was.

The woman’s name is Maggie, and she is played by a former barmaid and stand-up comic named Crissy Rock who has never acted before. It took a long time to cast this character Loach could not find the right woman for the job, and did she pull the strongest performance here. She had embodied Maggie’s suffering so completely not an easy thing to do. She is short, blond, pudgy, in her 30s, with a nice face, she is a little plum. We meet her at a bar where people are drinking, singing , and talking. On karaoke night, she grabs the mike and brings down the house. She’s good company, tells jokes, holds her own. She is full of life but there is a sadness inside that is eating her slowly. She is in this bar to forget things a bit clear her head, she goes always out with the wrong guy who likely is going to beat the shit out of her. She meets she guy in this bar and he wants to buy her a drink , his name is Jorge (Vladimir Vega), and he is an immigrant from Paraguay with “political problems” at home. He is a nice guy who is trying later on for her to get her kids back. Well social services took her kids away from her because she they think she is an unfit mother. You get flashback of what happen and even when she was abuse by her father who was beating her mother  almost to death. Is she an unfit mother here or is it abusing the power of the social services here. I am going to stop here you will not believe what happen later as the story goes. Here is a most powerful performance of an actress as you can get. Human relation at its best. Also will she survive the ordeal?

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BADLANDS (1973)

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A film by Terrence Malick

Cast: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates

The first time they meet, he sees here baton-twirling, she on the other hand thinks he looks like James Dean. As he goes to his job as a garbage man he sees her for the first time. He is so impressed with this 15 years old girl who talks like a woman. within a few weeks they will be hunted by the police because he left a dozen dead bodies on his path.

Here is a great film that became a cult film. Terence Malick’s bad land was inspired by the characters Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. They went on a wild ride in 1958 that ended with eleven people shot dead.He killed because the kids at school kidded him about his bowlegs. Starkweather got the electric chair on June 25, 1959.However Fugate got jail for life. Considered to be a model prisoner, Fugate was paroled in 1976 after serving 17 years. She claimed she was kidnapped and forced to go along with Starkweather. Yeah! the jury believed it . They are not stupid. At the trial it was like she said, he said. The man here was a little deranged that is for sure but now days kids are killing kids over an argument you see it in the news everyday. Back then ii was a shocker. Martin Sheen good choice for the casting get underneath the skin of their killer. Like other serial killer he gets no pleasure from killing he sees it as necessary.Starkweather was offended by his death sentence. Well he thought He did do too much traveling nor seeing a sport game etc….Well dude don’t shoot anybody and you could have done all those things. He even explains his killings. The film here capture the raw essence of the two characters of which Sissy Spacek shines here big time. It is the second time that I see this film I saw it today on the big screen so cool.   Malick’s work inspired Bruce the Boss Springsteen those  songs:  darkness on the edge of town album (1978) and Nebraska.

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THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

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A film by Bryan Singer

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri 

The usual suspects are five men: Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), an ex-cop-turned-crook ; Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), a psycho man; Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), a hardware specialist; Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), McManus’ partner; and Verbal Klint (Kevin Spacey), a crippled con man. As the movie opens, these five are being in a lineup. A truckload of stolen guns has been hijacked and the cops, led by U.S. Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), will to get their man. But no one cracks, and as the criminals sit together in jail waiting to be charged or released, they hatch a plan for an elaborate emerald heist.

Yes it is cult film Thursday and here is the one that I love and seen on the big screen Twice now and once on cable and I still love this film. Christopher McQuarrie’s inspiration for the character of Keyser Soze was a real-life murderer by the name of John List, who murdered his family and then disappeared for 17 years. The story is told in two different time frames. In the present, looking back on events, Klint sits across a desk from Kujan, unfolding the tale as he remembers it. Did it really happen? Nothing seems to be as they appear. Director Bryan Singer, who debuted in 1993 has crafted this story as a film Neo-Noir Thriller. The film borrows heavily from dozens of sources — Hitchcock, Scorsese, the Coen brothers, and just about every master of the genre, past or present nothing wrong with that. Singer’s greatest strength is to collect moments from other sources and using them in his own mold like does Quentin Tarantino. The serpentine plot provides the perfect playground in which a series of deliciously devious characters can have fun.The Usual Suspects constantly raises the suspense. Slowly the audience is drawn into the story. And yes they will be deceptions, going back to present and future. Singer will keep you guessing and distracted somewhere else , he is like a magician. The Usual Suspects doesn’t take any prisoners.The cast is enigmatic.Kevin Spacey ,  throws in the best performance of the film, is completely convincing. The cast is perfect. The Usual Suspects is an accomplished film Neo-noir. Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Mystery” in June 2008. Shot on a budget of $6 million over a period of 35 days. See it now.

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EASY RIDER (1969)

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A film by Dennis Hopper

Cast:  Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson

Yes the thing is here is this I have a UGC card to go to the movies unlimited for about $22 a month the thing is you can not get out of it you have to do the all year then you can get out of it. It is in France only we have that for about 16 years now. Yes every Thursday I keep forgetting it is cult thursday and yes this Thursday it is Easy Rider. This is the first time I am seeing it on the big screen and yes it is a cult film. Plus I have the carte of the Cinémathèque in Paris for about $12 a month I can visit the Cinémathèque their library museum, and see older film like the one from the 20’s 30’s 40’s 50’s 60’s on the big screen. They do have directors stopping by to discuss film there too.  How cool is that. And I can go to the library To get DVDs and I have Netflix Video streaming only. A paradise for a cinéphile like me.

So the story goes like that a couple of bikers smuggles cocaine into Mexico and yes is a no-no. But during most of the picture they have cash money hidden in their gas tanks, not dope. They sold their dope to the establishment headed by Phil Spector. As soon as they sell the dope they go to Louisiana to see Mardi Gras festival.

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Okay Now Dennis hopper and Fonda started to write the script it was not even done so they started to shoot the film and make up the rest of the way as they went along , to top it all off they smoked real marijuana. The motorcycle were made they were chopper they had six of them which 2 of them burned and 4 got stolen towards the end of shooting. Dennis Hopper was going to be a teacher if he was not going to direct this film. Can you imagine Hooper being a teacher, it goes like this Hooper goes in the classroom and says to the students 1st lesson in life in my left hand I have a funny little cigarette in my right hand I have a lighter, you light it up like that you inhale than exhale any questions? Here is one for you Fonda was good friends with Nicholson who was trying to get in the business for a few years, he had enough and said to Fonda that he was going to be a producer or be a writer then Fonda announce too him I have a small part for you in the film that I am going to make. Jack took it several  studios saw the film and Jack’s career took off. Here is two guys who made this great film in the late 60’s about this two characters who decided to get out of the old grinder by selling drugs and making some money so they can do what they want. It is awesome to see that on the big screen.This is the thing, it is late 60’s you are making this film stone out of your mind with your friends and have a great time. Damm I love the 60’s.

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BLOW UP (1966)

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A film by Michelangelo Antonioni

Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

Americans flew to “swinging London” in the 1960s; today’s Londoners pile onto the charter jets to Orlando. Yes you are going to get used to this film with the loopy psychedelic colors and no I do not recommend that you take LSD watching this film although there is smoking marijuana although out this film well it is the 60’s and back then that was in fashion sort of speak.

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The movie stars David Hemmings, who became a 1960s icon after this performance as Thomas, a hot young photographer with a Beatles haircut, a Rolls convertible with models wanting for him to get a chance to pose for him. Nice life right? He spends his days in tightly scheduled photo shoots the model Verushka plays herself like I said nice life. Thomas wanders into a park and sees, at a distance, a man and a woman. Are they struggling? Playing? Flirting? He snaps a lot of photos. The woman (Vanessa Redgrave) runs after him. She desperately wants the film back. He refuses her and takes off.

Why does she wants the pictures? Well Thomas decided to find out. He boos up the pictures and sees something but what is it? There are different interpretation here and you will see what I mean when you see the film. I have my own and I bet it is different from yours. Yes there is a menage à trois scene and today, the sex seems tame, and what makes the audience gasp is the hero’s contempt for women. I put this film on my category of great movie  Do not miss it.

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ARRIVAL (2016)

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A film by Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

This has to be the master piece of Dennis Villeneuve. Wait until his next picture which I can’t wait. For now let’s talk about this one. It looks to me as if the encounter of the third kind has been rewritten and what an intelligent screenplay to it all off.

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe a team headed by lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – are brought together to investigate. To try to talk to them, to decipher their language. It is making some other countries very nervous and the team races against the clock to try to avoid the global war. Will they make it on time?

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Amy Adam has this hypnotic breaking performance in which communication, purpose and time are key.Villeneuve masterfully creates intrigue on a grand and personal scale. Based on Ted Chiang’s short story Story of Your Life, Eric Heisserer’s screenplay makes it look like you are witnessed something that is life changing. Arrival has a spiritual feeling where there is an authenticity in the story and we are seeing trough the clear blue eyes of the story’s vulnerable female protagonist.US army’s recruitment of Louise Banks (Adams), a top linguist who has previously assisted the government when a Farsi translation was required. The lead a brilliant female protagonist and puts her in a situation where she is going to try to decipher some king of language. The intellectual excitement makes the film run along just fine. However the cinematography (by Bradford Young) is breathtaking and the ending perfect.

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OUT OF THE PAST (1947)

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A film by Jacques Tourneur

Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas

Out of the Past (1947) is one of the greatest of all film noir, the story of a man who tries to break with his past and his weakness and start over again in a town, with a new job and a new girl. Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, whose name was Jeff Markham when he was working as a private eye out of New York. He was hired by a gangster named Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas, electrifying in an early role) to track down a woman named Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer) the sexy woman. Kathie shot Sterling four times, hitting him once, and supposedly left with $40,000 of his money. Sterling wants Jeff to bring her back. It’s not, he says, that he wants revenge: “I just want her back. When you see her, you’ll understand better.”Great lines there.

The story is told in flashback. Here is a guy who is a sucker and blind romantically. He is drawn to Kathie who by the way is deceiving from left to right. Kathy i is pure evil, a sensuous woman who will do anything to get her own way. What I like about it that she is so deceiving but yet uses her beauty so the sucker like Mitchum won’t see her coming. She played the femme fatal of the femme fatal here and beautifully well I might have.  Mitchum has made of making film noir have the greatest career of them all.  kirk Douglas here is shinning he was just starting at the time. No surprise that he became the actor that he became. Well if you have not seen it yet, see it now.

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CINEMA PARADISO (1988)

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A film by Giuseppe Tornatore

Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili

Cinema Paradiso has won a multitude of awards and yes they have won at the oscar for best foreign film. Now there is two version of the film the theater’s cut and the director’s cut I recommend you to see the director’s cut because the theater’s cut it is missing 50 minutes of film. I know they do that, it is the best 100 film of all time. So if you missed this one I suggest to see it as soon as possible.

The film has two main characters: old Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), who rules the projection booth, and young Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio), who makes the booth his home away from  home.As the patrons line up faithfully, night after night, for their hunger for films without kisses, (well you will have to see the film) the boy watches in wonder as Alfredo wrestles with the balky machine that throws the image that the boy dreams of. You see the movie takes places in a little town in Sicily before television. At first Alfredo tries to chase Salvatore away, but eventually he accepts him in his booth and teaches him how to work the machine eventually although Salvator knows how as he was watching Alfredo doing it. Salvatore certainly considers the old man his father, and  the movies as his mother. Tornatore tells us in an autobiographical note that the theater in his hometown, when he was growing up has a variety of film. Although in the film they were watching all kind of film to foreign film even hollywood movies. We become to know the patrons of the theater who are rude and tough critics. Romances are taking place in the theater, wine is drunk, cigarettes smoked, babies nursed, well you get the point. and yet they were not allowed to watch kissing on screen.

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The film is told in flash back . to the beginning where Salvatore was a child then a teenager and a young man. we see him growing up and falling in love. Salvatore has lived a deprived life but the screen can compensate for that but Salvatore was an apprentice of film.Yes, it is tragic that the big screen has been replaced by the little one. But here in France anyway people goes to the movie theater actually they are building more The are called UGC and there are also Gaumont plus the little theater privately own. I have the UGC MK2 unlimited card to watch films for $24 a month. Yeah  I know lucky. I prefer the big theater than the privately own were there seat at least 70 people. This is a great film and if you are a film buff this one should be on your list. The ending is too dam good. This is the first time I saw this film and I am going to see it again soon.

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VIVRE SA VIE: UN FILM EN DOUZE TABLEAU (1962)

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A film by Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Anna Karina, Sady Rebbot, André S. Labarthe

English title: My life to live. 

I put this one in my category of great film because it is. New wave cinema what a great time for film maker. Here is the sad thing about cinema, art film are out,Self-conscious films are out, film that tis the edge of cinema are out, today it is all about getting a mass off people into the movie theater. Most film now day is done on the formula  mode, it is the same formula manipulated many times and yet they are awarded for that. There are not too many directors that take a chance on being creative. and that is a shame there.

Now the film, Nana (Anna Karina) has porcelain skin, her wary eyes, her helmet of shiny black hair, her chic outfits, always smoking, hiding her feelings, she is a young woman of Paris. Goddard shot her in a close up like in a mug shot so you can see her face expression but yet she reveals nothing willingly.Each shot begins with Michel Legrand music, which stops abruptly, which an other shot begins. The music tries to explain but it fails. In the next shot we learn that she broke up with her husband and leaves her child with him but has so kind of plan for herself. Pay attention how Goddard shot the film he always shoot it in an unconventional way.The movie is in 12 sections, each one with titles like an old-fashioned novel. It is the life of a Parisian woman and her slow descent into prostitution , basically in 12 chapters. Godard said he shot the film in sequence. It is an art raw, unsentimental,  and abrupt. It is her life to live.

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