The Great Gatsby (Australia-USA, 2013)
Facts: Co-written and directed by Baz Lurhmann based on the novel by Fitzgerald. Fiction: Nick Carraway finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby. What I didn’t get: Was there even one moment of total silence? What I got: A lot of (good) noise and bling that does not necessary fit the themes of the movie, even though Lurhmann’s usual...
Rurouni Kenshin (Japan, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Keishi Ohtomo after the manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Fiction: Former legendary assassin Kenshin Himura has now become a wandering samurai, offerring aid and protecting those in need as atonement for his past deeds. What I didn’t get: The Japanese cards weren’t translated, so I lost a bit of the context. What I got: Staring at the most beautiful face I have ever...
Iron Man 3 (USA, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Shane Black. Fiction: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution. What I didn’t get: So many things didn’t make sense but I cared so little that I have already forgotten what they were. What I got: At least this time you can tell they tried to write a good story...
Hello I Must Be Going (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written by Sarah Koskoff and directed by Todd Louiso. Fiction: Circumstances force a young divorcée to move back in with her parents in suburban Connecticut, where an affair with a younger guy rejuvenates her passion for life What I didn’t get: - What I got: A movie about life after a divorce that is slow-paced, but manages to ring true and be funny. Melanie Lynskey plays a big...
Mud (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the director of Take Shelter. Fiction: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. What I didn’t get: Who cast Reese Witherspoon in that role? What I got: An average coming-of-age story made interesting by two great young actors, an original...
Compliance (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Craig Zobel. Fiction: A prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee. What I didn’t get: How close to the facts it was. What I got: A very difficult movie to watch and it took a look at the wikipedia page of the real events to convince me that this could, and actually, did happen. The ending felt a bit...
For Ellen (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Kim So Young. Fiction: A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. What I didn’t get: - What I got: Paul Dano being the fantastic actor he is. A moody movie where nothing much happens, but that manages to be very moving up till the very end.
The Place Beyond The Pines (USA, 2012)
Facts: Co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, who already did the beautiful Blue Valentine. Fiction: A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A great...
Camille redouble (France, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Noémie Lvovsky. Fiction: Camille was 16 when she met Eric. They fell madly in love and had a daughter. 25 years later Eric is leaving Camille for a younger woman. On New Year’s Eve Camille suddenly finds herself back in her past. She is sixteen again and has returned to her parents, her girlfriends, her childhood… and Eric. What I didn’t get: - ...
Populaire (France, 2012)
Facts: Co-written and directed by Régis Roinsard. Fiction: 1958. Rose is a terrible secretary but a demon typist. Her boss resolves to turn her into the fastest girl in the world. What I didn’t get: - What I got: Visually it’s a cross between Mad Men and Amélie Poulain. The general idea and characters are straight out of My Fair Lady. All in all you get something you’ve seen...
Dans la maison (France, 2012)
Facts: Directed by François Ozon. Fiction: A sixteen-year-old boy insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student from his literature class and writes about it in essays for his French teacher. What I didn’t get: I have a feeling I missed something, but I’m not sure what. What I got: An atmosphere reminiscent of Chabrol movies. A tense story within the story whose ending...
Le prénom (France, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte based on the play by the latter. Fiction: Vincent is about to become a father. At a meeting with childhood friends he announces the name for his future son. The scandalous name ignites a discussion which surfaces unpleasant matters from the past of the group. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A French version of...
Butter (USA, 2011)
Facts: Directed by Jim Field Smith. Fiction: In small-town Iowa, an adopted girl discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town’s annual contest. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A funny movie that manages to be both rude and sweet and taught me more about butter carving than any movie before.
Unbreakable (USA, 2000)
Facts: Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Fiction: A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A slow-going movie, but it actually build up to a strong ending.
Babylon A.D. (USA, 2008)
Facts: Co-written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. Fiction: Veteran-turned-mercenary Toorop takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to America. What I didn’t get: Where the missing parts of the plot went. What I got: A giant mess that made little sense, but that I still watched until the end in case I got an explanation at some point (I didn’t).
Joint Security Area (South Korea, 2000)
Facts: Directed by Park Chan-wook who is responsible for some amazing movies. Fiction: In the DMZ, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. What I didn’t get: - What I got: Great acting from everybody, but especially Lee Byung-hun, as always. A moving story told in an original way that keeps us guessing for a while and whose ending is so...
Trance (UK, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Danny Boyle Fiction: An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting. What I didn’t get: Why Danny Boyle keeps thinking that adding music to every scene is a good thing. What I got: Characters I don’t care about. Plot twists you see coming from a mile away. Music that is more...
Despicable Me (USA, 2010)
Facts: Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. Fiction: When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds their love is profoundly changing him for the better. What I didn’t get: - What I got: Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the animation itself, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and the details brought to the background and the...
Spring Breakers (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Harmony Korine. Fiction: Four college girls who land in jail on their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer. What I didn’t get: - What I got: It could do with less repetition and a stronger script, but visually it is stunning. James Franco has never been better and whenever he is not on screen (like the first 30...
The Call (USA, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Brad Anderson. Fiction: When a veteran 911 operator takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl’s life. What I didn’t get: How the last half hour of the movie makes any sense in relation to the rest of the movie. How can a 911 operator not call 911...
Side Effects (USA, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Steven Soderbergh, his last one apparently. Fiction: A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects. What I didn’t get: Jude Law irritating me for daring to appear on a screen. What I got: An intelligent part-big-conspiracy, part-mystery movie where Rooney Mara kirstenstewartesque acting is finally put up to...
Dead Man Down (USA, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Niels Arden Oplev. Fiction: A rising gang member with a secret agenda is befriended by a mysterious young woman who lives in the apartment across from his. What I didn’t get: Why was Rapace’s character French and Farrel’s character Hungarian? What I got: A surprisingly great thriller that manages to keep you interested through two intertwined stories, a...
Hitchcock (USA, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Sacha Gervasi. Fiction: A look at Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma during the filming of Psycho in 1959. What I didn’t get: The point of making a movie about a movie if you’re not really showing the process at all. What I got: A very bland biopic that concentrates more on Hitchcock’s wife than him or his movie. None of the actors were really bad but it...
The Cat Returns (Japan, 2002)
Facts: Directed by Hiroyuki Morita. Fiction: After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A very cute movie for a very young audience, but the beautiful animation and inventive world created is for everybody.
Stoker (USA, 2013)
Facts: Written by Wenworth Miller and directed by Park Chan Wook (Old Boy, Thirst…) Fiction: After India’s father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. What I didn’t get: How come Charlie took such an interest in India when he had never even met her? Why did India spare her mother only to kill the sheriff a few...
Arbitrage (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki. Fiction: A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help. What I didn’t get: More of Susan Sarandon. What I got: An okay story that never went far enough to get me really interested.
The only unexpected thing about last night Oscars was seeing Shawn Christensen winning an Oscar. Always thought it would be a Grammy. I’m really happy for him!
In Another Country (South Korea, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Sang-soo Hong. Fiction: A three-tiered story centered on a trio of French women visiting the same seaside resort. What I didn’t get: What I got: A quirky movie in the way it is shot, the way it uses the same actress for three different roles and the way it repeats some dialogues and sequences with very different outcomes. I just wish it had been longer so...
Flight (USA, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Robert Zemeckis who directed among others Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. Fiction: An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling. What I didn’t get: - What I got: The first part of the movie is a very intense action movie. I’ve never seen a plane crash look so real in a movie. Then the...
Zero Dark Thirty (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Fiction: A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011. What I didn’t get: - What I got: Once you get passed the fact that Zero Dark Thirty only shows a very American version of the truth and...
The Last Stand (USA, 2013)
Facts: Directed by Kim Jee-woon who directed some great Korean movies such as The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Bittersweet Life and I Saw The Devil. Fiction: The leader of a drug cartel busts out of a courthouse and speeds to the Mexican border, where the only thing in his path is a sheriff and his inexperienced staff. What I didn’t get: Any sign of life from Arnold Schwarzenegger. No...
Django Unchained (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Fiction: With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. What I didn’t get: Strong female characters. What I got: More fun than I had expected. Amazing acting from everybody. A couple of very rough scenes that were hard to watch but that were important to show...
Silver Linings Playbook (USA, 2012)
Facts: Directed by David O. Russell. Fiction: After a stint in a mental institution, Pat moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when he meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. What I didn’t get: Silver Linings Playbook’s awful poster. What I got: A much stronger comedy than I had expected, very well...
Les Misérables (UK, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Tom Hooper who was behind The King’s Speech. Fiction: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever. What I didn’t get: How this movie got nominated for any awards. Why hire...
I’m still in shock over all the nominations for Amour. The rest was pretty much in accordance with all the other awards nominations that have happened in the past few weeks. Hopefully most movies will get released before March here so I can be a better judge (but basically I’d just like Amour to win everything). On a side note: how can a movie be nominated for best movie and best...
It's Oscar Nomination Day
heykmart: So happy not to be the only one excited about it!
Gangster Squad (USA, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Ruben Fleischer who directed Zombieland previously. Fiction: Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city. What I didn’t get: There are lots of annoying things that don’t make sense in this movie but Grace Faraday is the character...
I dreamed a dream
My only hope for the Oscars now is that Emmanuelle Riva gets nominated for Best Actress.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by Stephen Chbosky based on his book. Fiction: An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. What I didn’t get: Why Charlie’s old best friend was never mentioned again. What I got: A coming-of-age movie that doesn’t seem very special at first, but slowly grows on you, thanks to the strong cast...
Twixt (USA, 2011)
Facts: Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Fiction: A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery What I didn’t get: The second part of the movie, but that’s okay. What I got: An atmospheric movie carefully crafted that manages to be poetic, funny and scary. Dream sequences have a love-hate...
Top 10 movies of 2012
I haven’t seen as many movies this year as I usually do, and I can’t even use the excuse of quality over quantity (but I can blame kdramas). Here’s the list of the ones I did like: 1- Young Adult (USA, 2011) 2- The Dark Knight Rises (USA, 2012) 3- Holy Motors (France, 2012) 4- Amour (Aus-Fr-Ger, 2012) 5- Vampire (USA-Japan, 2011) 6- Architecture 101 (South Korea, 2012) 7-...
End of Watch (USA, 2012)
Facts: Written and directed by David Ayer. Fiction: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop. What I didn’t get: Why pretend the whole thing is shot by the two officers when then you get helicopter shots of LA or even just a shot with the two officers in it. What I...
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (USA, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Alison Klayman. Fiction: A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. What I didn’t get: - What I got: An interesting look at Ai Weiwei’s work, personal life and activism. The problem is there is so much ground to cover that the...
Sightseers (UK, 2012)
Facts: Directed by Ben Wheatley and written by the two main actors, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Fiction: Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn. What I didn’t get: - What I got: A comedy about serial killers that manages not to be a parody of horror movies. Very well acted and just...
Chilling Romance (South Korea, 2011)
Facts: Written and directed by Hwang In-ho. Fiction: Yeo-ri has the ability to see ghosts, but unexpected things happen to the people around her, so she decides to isolate herself, until she is approached by a street magician who offers her a job in his show. What I didn’t get: Why doesn’t Yeo-ri leave the gloomy house? Does Jo-goo break up with his girlfriend? What happens in the...