Sunday, March 19, 2006


If Psycho announced the mother as a man's best friend, Marnie states that the mother is a girl's best friend. In yet another Alfred Hitchcock-like psychological exploration, Mark marries Marnie, a habitual thief as well as pathological liar, who is not fond at all of any kind of man's presence anywhere near her. However, she is forced by circumstances to accept him and his continuous attempts to help her, the alternative being jail. Mark's persistence eventually pays off, and the psychological solution to Marnie's problems is built with the usual Hitchcock thrilling ability.
Some quotes:
"Marnie Edgar: You don't love me. I'm just something you've caught! You think I'm some sort of animal you've trapped!
Mark Rutland: That's right - you are. And I've caught something really wild this time, haven't I? I've tracked you and caught you and by God I'm going to keep you."
"Marnie Edgar: Why don't you love me, Mama?"
"Marnie Edgar: You Freud, me Jane?"

De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté

Jacques Audiard attracted my opinion some time ago, when i came across his following quote: "In essence, my work brings a plus of realism and eliminates the classical story in which you accept the conventions, but don't actually manage to identify yourself with the characters." I really liked the sound of this, and i've considered it a planner's ego ever since.
Since i am so fond of (good) French movies anyway, i was quite familiar with the atmosphere, as well as with the development the movie would offer, and wasn't disappointed at all by any element. Tom Seyr has every chance of following his father's footsteps, into dirty real estate business. However, he's not ready to let go his dream of becoming a pianist, just like his mother, especially since he's offered the chance of an audition, by his mother's agent. Trapped between his father's demands, his love for his best friend's wife and his passion for music, which is enough to turn into the only connection with his Chinese virtuoso teacher, who doesn't know a bit of French, Tom is vividly analysed and portrayed on the screen. Everything in 2005 De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté, winner of 8 César awards, one BAFTA Film Award and a Silver Berlin Bear.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

the lady vanishes

Alfred Hitchcock is one of those directors who never cease to amaze me. The lady vanishes is one of the greatest films of 1938 (of course) and yet another proof that Hitchcock is one of the best creators of thrillers ever. After an old British lady seems to have disappeared from a train, an entire game of complications and suppositions develops, most of them related to the question whether the lady actually was on that train or not. In other words, as one commentor on IMDB said, "A cracking plot, sparkling dialogue, great characters and sublime direction make The Lady Vanishes an all-time must see."
I admit i am rushing a bit with the comments, but i really am trying to get up-to-date with this blog.

nanny mcphee

aaaah...the eternal child in me...enjoyed this movie. Of course it's a silly children's story and nothing more, with magic and good and evil and all that, but i am always open to stories. Part because i still love reading comics so much, part because things are explained and revealed differently to children, which many times helps me spot and reflect upon certain details i'm not sure i would have taken into consideration otherwise. Plus, children have an amazing eye and way of thinking an sometimes their small things actually strike me. Enough with the mumble. Nanny McPhee is a sort of Marry Poppins, whose work principle is: "When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go." It's just that unlike Marry Poppins, she's damn ugly in the beginning, i mean much more of a witch than a fairy. She has to take care of 7 children who had previously got rid of all the nannies in the local agency. And she manages to develop a great relationship with them, teaching them five great lessons and helping them and their father become a real family again.

Emma Thompson plays Nanny Mcphee and is also responsible for the screenplay, together with Christianna Brand. The director is Kirk Jones, and the seven children are really adorable.

broken flowers

"Sometimes life brings some strange surprises." Apparently this is the only thing capable of getting Don Johnston out of his current hibernation in the latest Jim Jarmusch movie. Only when receiving a letter which announced him that he was the father of a 19-year-old boy, does former Don Juan decide to go on a half-detective, half-emotional journey meant to unravel the sender of his previous lovers. "Broken flowers" was a pleasant experience from me, but i have to admit i had bigger expectations from it. The thing is that despite enjoying it, i constantly had the feeling that somethingwas missing. However, i'm not very sure what was that; i think i just wanted more.
Anyway; the movie contains a characteristic Jarmusch touch, therefore its atmosphere easily explains and will not be a disappointment for this director's fans (i guess). And Bill Murray achieves a great performance, which is not too surprising, giving his previous roles.

lock, stock and two smoking barrels

The funny thing about Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is that somebody whose tastes i really trust had told me that the movie wasn't actually any good, therefore i kept on avoiding it. Well, actually i think it is. Guy Ritchie's movie is one of the best comedies i've watched and if you're looking for a highly entertaining time, this is to my mind one of the best options. I appreciated both the script, and the directing, as well as the acting. And, all in all, i guess i can quote Big Chris, when saying "It's been emotional."

the conversation

"Harry invader of privacy. The best in the business. He can record any conversation between two people anywhere. So far, three people are dead because of him." These are the premises of Francis Ford Coppola's 1970 masterpiece "The conversation", a lucid analysis of electronic surveillance and the threat of new technologies, released at a time when the violation of civil rights was on of the main public concerns. The movie follows Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a surveillance expert who becomes utterly obsessed with a case of apparent marital infidelity, for fear that the couple he's closely watching might be murdered by the cheated husband. However, the movie's end is an impressive twist, turning Caul into the victim of his own profession. "The conversation" received 3 Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound. Actually, it unfortunately competed for Best Picture with Coppola's "The Godfather Part II". Full details and analysis here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Although it's scored 7 on IMDB, Proof really failed to impress me. I'm not necessarily saying it's a bad movie, but i watched so many brilliant movies lately, that it has become a little difficult for me to credit a movie like Proof too much.
What i liked the most, and what actually determined me to watch the movie was its idea itself: the uncertainty surrounding the daughter of a mathematics genius who had gone insane. Since i have been studying the phenomenon for a while, i am somewhat familiar to the drama of having a mentally disturbed parent or close relative, as well as the fear of inheriting the disease. However, the movie didn't seem powerful enough, as the psychological state would have demanded, but rather superficial and built for the sake of developing a drama. I enjoyed Gwyneth Paltrow playing her character though, and then, there was Anthony Hopkins, whom i loved of course, since he is among my favourite actors of all time.
The good thing about the movie is that it reminded me about a book i've been willing to read for a while now, about the fantastic story of the number pi. The film acted as an incentive and I finally decided to read it, which is quite satisfactory after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

pink panther

well, yes, i watched "The Pink Panther". The explanation is simple: i was so tired and so full of wok-related thoughts that i simply felt the need to watch something totally stupid and laugh accordingly. If Shawn Levy doesn't ring any bells, i should say that he also directed Cheaper by the Dozen and Just Married. And then, there's Steve Martin. The impression that i had was that this movie was alarmingly similar with basically any Leslie Nielsen movie, and in particular, with basically any of the movies in the "Naked Gun" series. So, if you feel like laughing from variations of such hilarious situations, you might as well enjoy this film. I honestly did, i needed a good laugh too badly not to use this opportunity.

Monday, March 13, 2006

taxi driver

well, i don't think there's any respectable movie site or blog which didn't discuss this all-time classic. Directed by Martin Scorsese in 1976, Taxi Driver is widely regarded as a masterpiece, despite not having been rewarded with any Academy Award. Actually, not even the nominations it received [Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Original Score (Bernard Herrmann)] managed to cover the brilliance of the movie and the people behind it, since neither director Martin Scorsese, nor screenwriter Paul Schrader, or cinematographer Michael Chapman gained any recognition.
The powerfully insightful tagline "On every street in every city, there's a nobody who dreams of being a somebody." manages to focus in just a few words the entire story of the movie. And not only. Cause the movie still echoes in many of today's social, political and psychological realities. Robert De Niro achieves a wonderful performance as nighttime taxi driver Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable, but rather special guy who overcomes the premises of being an obsessed freak, ending up as the local hero.
  • Travis Bickle: The days go on and on... they don't end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.
  • Travis Bickle: June twenty-ninth. I gotta get in shape. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on there will be 50 pushups each morning, 50 pullups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
  • Travis Bickle: I'll tell you why. I think you're a lonely person. I drive by this place a lot and I see you here. I see a lot of people around you. And I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk. It means nothing. Then when I came inside and I met you, I saw in your eyes and I saw the way you carried yourself that you're not a happy person. And I think you need something. And if you want to call it a friend, you can call it a friend. Betsy: Are you gonna be my friend? Travis Bickle: Yeah.

Monday, March 06, 2006

delay delay delay

just give me one more week, please, to finish the tons of work that i have and i will add the movies i've watched in the last two weeks, that is: Lock, stock and two smoking barrels; Proof; Broken Flowers and the already delayed Taxi Driver and The Conversation.