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Reviews for DVD Releases

Karen Posada

By

2013/03/05 at 12:00am

Heleno

03.5.2013 | By |

 

There have been countless movies made about star athletes that have revolutionized certain sports and most of them have such a phenomenal life story that they deserve to have their life captured on film. Unfortunately, ‘Heleno’ which captures some of the life of one of Brazil’s top soccer players, Heleno de Freitas, doesn’t fall under this category, as it’s tragic yet unextraordinary story. The interesting part of the tale comes into seeing how fame, money, stupidity and pressure can lead someone down a disastrous path. This is not a story about the sport itself, but about the biography of one of the best soccer players to have ever existed, if that sparks your curiosity this is one to watch on DVD.

 

In the form of flashbacks we get to see Heleno (Rodrigo Santoro) at the height of his career and his life in the 1940’s, where he often finds himself in a love triangle with Silvia (Aline Moraes) and Diamantina (Angie Cepeda). The film switches back and forth from his present to his past showing us how this troubled man dealt with everything fame and fortune brought him, along with his poor decisions in life.

 

José Henrique Fonseca gives us a film that is all shot in black and white and this is a rare thing to experience nowadays, it’s refreshing and beautiful. It gives us a small glimpse of how Rio must have been in this era, with its blissful beaches. As the title suggest the film mainly rotates around Heleno and Santoro does a fantastic job portraying this arrogant, hotheaded soccer player. Santoro with out a doubt shows skills here; he is almost unrecognizable in some of the scenes. He easily portrays the highs and the lows, giving the public a reason to watch this film, making me a fan of his and wanting to see grander roles for him. This is a film worth seeing him in, unlike ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, where he plays JLo’s love interest.

 

Moraes is stunning and she gives us some balance, although she has very few chances to show us her acting skills, but she breaks through a bit at the end. Cepeda, the Colombian actress has more weight than Moraes and she uses her sensuality to show how exhausting and frustrating it’s to love this man. Unfortunately, we don’t get much more about these ladies lives, as that’s not a focus of the story.

 

Heleno was one of the first athletes to get paid an obscene amount of money; the movie doesn’t show in any way what his talent must have been like, it only focuses on what this talent gave him. Apparently Heleno wasn’t someone likeable, he was arrogant, wasn’t’ a team player, had a temper, and basically believed himself to be a god. All of this makes us feel little sympathy for him, so we are taken into a tragic, depressing journey that many might not want to take.  

 

Aesthetically the movie is pleasing, beginning with the black and white format, continuing with the location and gorgeous looking cast. The issue is the story itself, it doesn’t capture the pressure that drove this man mad, it leaves unanswered questions about his childhood as well as some gaps within the story; it doesn’t make us feel compassion for Heleno and leaves us depressed, but I appreciate that it shows that in real life not everything has a happy ending; but it fails to show us why this man became a myth and a legend.

 

Jack Rico

By

2013/03/05 at 12:00am

Wreck-It Ralph

03.5.2013 | By |

Wreck-It Ralph is by far the best film about a video game ever done. This comment doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best animated movie of the year – “Frankenweenie,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Paranorman” and “Brave” might have something to say against that, but it should be amongst the favorites at the Oscars in 2013. Nevertheless, it is visually nostalgic, sensorially exuberant, vivaciously mirthful and emotionally moving.

The plot is simple and has been done before, but it is always about the execution. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?

For anyone who has ever played video games circa 1980’s and 90’s, novice film director Rich Moore, a cartoon veteran, does a magnificent job in getting his animators to reproduce the exact Nintendo and arcade images of yesteryear. It almost felt like it was 1988 in the movie and outside of the theater. He managed to capture vast inside references and minutiae like kids placing their quarters against the front border of the arcade to gesture that they were next to play, etc. It is that attention to detail that makes a difference in the emotional cinematic experience of the spectator.

The 3D is surprisingly subtle, I’d actually say too subtle for a film of this nature. Instead of seeing pixels fly out of the screen, I had to lift my glasses to make sure I wasn’t watching 2D. When the result is this uneventful, the extra investment is completely unnecessary.

This is a movie hard not to enjoy. Adults will appreciate it because it’ll remind them of their youth when they would run home from school to play ‘Q*bert,’ along with all the inside references and retro cliche’s, and kids today will have fun with it because it possesses all the color, fast paced imagery and gags they come to expect from today’s animated assemblage.

Latinos, the highest movie going demographic in the United States, love animated movies more than any one else. They’re sure to make this movie a #1 hit at the box office!

Jack Rico

By

2013/02/12 at 12:00am

Skyfall

02.12.2013 | By |

“The… Best… Bond… Ever!” so says one reviewer from England whose zeal is so fervent, it is hard to take him or his review seriously. In my professional and less ardent opinion, “Skyfall” falls short of Daniel Craig’s quintessential Bond film, “Casino Royale,” a 007 motion picture which I think is unrivaled in its action, intensity, stunning cinematography and arresting plotline. That film, is in my mind, the ‘Best Bond Movie’ Craig has done, and, one of the Top 5 action movies I have ever seen. But by no means does my preferred choice signify that “Skyfall” is not worth watching. Au contraire,“Skyfall” is entertaining cinema worthy of multiple views, except it possesses two defects that lessen its acclaim.

 

“Skyfall” starts with Bond going on his latest assignment which goes gravely wrong and several undercover agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked, thus, forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.  With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond.  007 takes to the shadows – aided only by field agent, Eve (Naomie Harris) – following a trail to the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves.

 

The issue I have with “Skyfall” is that Sam Mendes – cheered on by Craig – tinkered with the Bond universe in such away that ‘I’ feel violated. The two worst offenders are: aging Bond and the reduced role of the Bond Girl. How could he have done this!? Doesn’t he comprehend that by developing a real aging gene to the 007 character, you are in essence, MAKING HIM HUMAN! Bond does not age. He’s been in his prime for 50 years! Now all of a sudden “he shouldn’t be ashamed to lose a step,” voiced to Bond by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) in a tense scene. By Mendes opening up this Pandora’s box, this travesty sets in motion Bond’s eventual demise because of his future elder age. The producers would then have to reboot the series in its entirety with 007’s unknown son or new young agent, 008, similar to the way the‘Bourne’ franchise did when they transitioned from Matt Damon to Jeremy Renner. Do you see what has been done?

 

Also, the selection of the Bond Girl is not just a carnal passage for Bond, but a symbol of long-lasting prestige for any woman in film. In “Skyfall,” Bérénice Marlohe is only a brief incident that is dealt with an anticlimactic shower scene and a quick dismissal. Naomi Harris’ character is an agent of the MI6, not a real Bond Girl, in the true sense of the term. These two grave and awful decisions have ramifications down the line for the franchise and I am aghast that many critics have not accentuated the discrepancies. 

 

The aforementioned blemishes ultimately were too distracting for me to suspend disbelief. It kept on haunting me, not allowing me to immerse myself in this new universe. Bond didn’t even ask the bartender for a “martini shaken, not stirred,” because the bartender supposedly knew the drill. The Heineken scene was had in a beach. Against the philosophies of Craig and Mendes, they need to understand that these are the classic elements fans look forward to in every movie. They endure because they work, that is why they become classic moments, every 2-4 years. We want to ascertain what new and creative ways they will approach it and we want to smile heartily at them. In “Skyfall,” they severed off those memorable and cherished cinematic souvenirs we anticipated so much. Hopefully, they will bring it back in all of their full glory one day.

 

Despite my vexing remarks, they do not apply to the grand production, the ambitious entertainment value and the multi-dimensional layers that James Bond is draped in. I will not be mentioning references of ‘best,’ but I will highlight reasons why you should still see “Skyfall”. The opening action sequence is once again one of the reasons you can’t come late to a 007 movie. Car chases, tractors, guns, trains and deadly jumps, devise a most energetic beginning. Adele’s sultry and enchanting opening number is Grammy and Oscar deserving. If you can dismiss the bumps on the road, ergo, my previous critical observations, Craig gives an affecting performance that blends the better parts of his acting in ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum’. 

 

Then we enter Javier Bardem, the first Hispanic actor to ever play a Bond villain. As he made history by playing the effeminate and demented Raoul Silva (according to Bardem himself, Silva is Portuguese), Bardem holds his own against the pantheon of memorable evil adversaries Bond had to kill. He’s not as good as Anton Chigurh, the role he won the Oscar for “No Country for Old Men”, but he is nonetheless intimidating.

 

As an action movie, “Skyfall” works. It holds a sense of danger and peril not associated to the other films. I’ll give it that. Yet, I felt that 2012 offered better action with “The Raid: Redemption” and “The Dark Knight Rises” (who can forget its opening airplane scene!). 

 

“Skyfall” is not a masterpiece movie. It is better than average and has a lot to applaud, but not enough to revere. So go ahead and buy your ticket, watch it, enjoy it, but know that there are better out there. 

Jack Rico

By

2013/02/12 at 12:00am

The Man with the Iron Fists

02.12.2013 | By |

 

So you saw the trailer to “The Man with the Iron Fists” and it adrenalized you to see it. I mean, it has all the elements you personally like such as: martial arts movies that are impressively choreographed, violently-bloody-driven action sequences, hokey jokes from the villains and heroes, Russell Crowe who is one of your favorite actors and one who adds credibility to the cast, a hip hop infusion from the respected Wu-Tang’s RZA to make it “cool” and Quentin Tarantinoputting his name and reputation on it. Yes, I thought the exact same thing too until… I saw the movie. 

 

The story is an action-adventure martial arts throwback film, inspired by the kung-fu classics from the 80’s such as “Fury of the Dragon,” “Black Samurai,” “Godfather of Hong Kong,” “Fists of Double K” and “Five Deadly Venoms”. It tells the story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero who all descend on one fabled village in China for a winner-takes-all battle for a fortune in gold. 

 

On paper, it’s hard for any studio to dismiss this movie, but, not everything that is on paper works. Not to bog you down with sports analogies, but look at the powerful offensive minded New York Yankees who were swept in the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers for exactly not hitting, and your Los Angeles Lakers, who by far have the best starting lineup in basketball history, are 0-3 to start the season. So how does one explain these things? Chemistry. When you have great film elements at your disposal, it is the director’s job to have them flow seamlessly amongst each other, and not live individually. This is where you have to blame tyro helmer and screenwriter RZA (real name Robert “Bobby” Fitzgerald Diggs) for not having the experience to recognize the devil in the details. Is it all bad? No, but as a result, the movie is lifeless.

 

 

 

Visually, the movie is top notch. It is the jokes that aren’t funny and the acting as a whole is just abominable. All your left with then is the action to propel the film forward. In this regard, the martial arts sequences are intricate and ambitious. It truly is the movie’s only saving grace. 

 

Overall, “The Man with the Iron Fists” doesn’t have that much to offer on the inside. It’s just flash, all steak and no sizzle. Do yourself a favor and save your money if you can. I recommend you catch a better selection of contemporary martial arts classics on Bluray/DVD that will surely provide you with a superior and more memorable cinematic experience:

 

– “The Raid: Redemption” (this year’s best action film marked by its harshly gruesome Indonesian martial arts sequences)

 

– “Ong-back” (no wires, stunt doubles, or CGI, just beat downs in every sense of the word)

 

 Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” 1 & 2 (they’re intense, engrossing, filled with rib-cracking laughs and you just can’t seem to get enough from them)

 

 Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (one of the best of all time)

 

– Jackie Chan’s “The Legend of Drunken Master” (this is one of Chan’s career defining works)

 

– “Kung Fu Hustle” (perhaps the most entertaining movie on this mini list because of it’s bizarre, outlandish humor and exciting action kung fu scenes)

 

– “Chocalate” (a rarely talked about gem featuring a female fighter), “Hero” (some say better than ‘Crouching Tiger’)

 

– “Fearless” (one of, if not, Jet Li’s finest work)

 

As of the posting of this movie review, “Ong-bak” and “Fearless” are currently on Netflix streaming, thus allowing you watch these immediately. 

 

Jack Rico

By

2013/01/08 at 12:00am

Dredd

01.8.2013 | By |

 

Con muchas de nuestras mentes aun manchadas con el fracaso desastroso de “Judge Dredd” del director Danny Cannon y protagonizado por Sylvester Stallone en 1995, Hollywood ha decidido hacer una nueva versión del film como si el original nunca hubiese existido. El resultado es “Dredd”, un éxtasis sensorial que deleitará a cualquier fanático de los cómics y del genero de la acción. El 3D es de lo mejor que va del año al igual que su banda sonora y sonido técnico. 

 

A pesar de obvias similitudes con la película Indonesia “The Raid: Redemption”, “Dredd” es mucho más cercano al cómic de los 1970’s que la cinta original de 1995, por eso no se califica como un “remake” por si. 

 

En esta ocasión, el juez Dredd es interpretado por Karl Urban, y toma lugar en un futuro cercano donde existe un Norteamérica páramo asolado por la radiación con una única y gran megalópolis que se extiende a lo largo de su costa este: Mega City 1. Esta inmensa y violenta urbe cuenta con una población de más de 400 millones de personas, cada uno de los cuales es un infractor en potencia. Los únicos que intentan imponer el orden entre semejante caos urbano son los jueces, a la vez agentes de la ley, jueces, jurados y verdugos. Y la perfecta personificación de estos jueces es Dredd (Karl Urban), una leyenda viva de justicia blindada dedicado por entero a hacer cumplir la ley. En una misión aparentemente rutinaria junto a Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thrilby), una juez novata dotada de grandes habilidades psíquicas, se disponen a investigar de homicidio en un peligroso mega-rascacielos de la ciudad, un suburbio vertical de 200 pisos de altura controlado por el clan de la despiadada Ma-Ma (Lena Headley). Pero al intentar arrestar a uno de los principales secuaces de Ma-Ma, ella decide cerrar a cal y canto todo el edificio y ordena a su clan que dé caza a los jueces. Atrapados en una brutal e implacable lucha por la supervivencia, Dredd y Cassandra se verán obligados a impartir una justicia extrema con violencia y sangre al final de su travesía.

 

Lo que distingue a “Dredd” de muchas de las películas de acción que uno ve es la acción incesante que ofrece el film. Esto se logra porque el director Pete Travis recorta el desarrollo de los personajes y los reduce a sujetos unidimensionales. Esto permite en que el filme solo gire alrededor de la acción y no la historias de los protagonistas. Travis entiende que este tipo de cine es diseñado para entregarle al espectador una gran dosis de escapismo y nada más. Él lo logra exitosamente. 

 

La calidad de las actuaciones aquí se deben de ignorar. Lo único que uno le pide a los protagonistas es que no traten de convertirse en Al Pacino o Tom Hanks en estos papeles. La meta aquí es que ellos nos hagan creer que son estos personajes de los cómics y que nos ayuden a adentrarnos más al universo de Mega City One. Al igual que en los cómics, Dredd aquí nunca se quita la máscara. Además, habla en un gruñido gutural que suena muy parecido al Batman de Christian Bale. Dredd es implacable, no muestra ninguna emoción y, aunque él parezca un asesino en traje de policía, el posee una conciencia admirable.  

 

 

Dredd” posee, en mi opinión, el mejor 3D del año. Fue filmado en 3D con espectaculares efectos especiales cargados de escenas en cámara lenta que poco a poco se está usando a pleno por muchos directores. El sonido también es fantástico y asombrosamente es parte protagónico de la película, no solo un acompañante. Yo predigo que la cinta será nominada a varios premios Oscar en las categorías técnicas y visuales. 

 

Si hay una decepción en “Dredd”, es el villano, en este caso, la villana. ‘Ma-Ma’, como se le llama al personaje que interpreta la actriz Lena Headey, no es temible o merecedora de ser una magno contrincante a Dredd. Incluso, la confrontación final es casi irrelevante. De todos modos, es refrescante ver una mujer en estos papeles ya que  se le agrega un elemento de impredecibilidad que se genera a la experiencia del público. 

 

En fin, “Dredd 3D” es discutiblemente la mejor película de pura acción del año junto a la película Indonesia “The Raid: Redemption” que quizás sea mejor. No incluyo necesariamente a “Los Vengadores” o “The Dark Knight Rises” en esta conversación porque las susodichas poseen elementos de acción, pero cinematográficamente hablando, son más filmes de ciencia ficción que acción. Los largometrajes clásicos de “Die Hard” o “Lethal Weapon” son más comparables y mejores representaciones del genero de la acción. “Dredd” es la mejor inversión que usted puede hacer con su dinero este fin de semana. No se decepcionará.

 

Jack Rico

By

2012/12/11 at 12:00am

Ted

12.11.2012 | By |

Es difícil ver en tiempo real un clásico instantáneo, pero eso será lo que usted experimentará cuando vea la comedia clasificada R – “Ted”. Es discutiblemente la mejor comedia de 2012 y una de las mejores desde “The Hangover” del 2009. La cinta es pura ‘shock comedia’ y sumamente chistosa, logrando producir risas que te harán llorar, toser fuertemente y hasta… ofenderte. Sin embargo, pudo haber sido aún mejor si la duración del filme fuese un poco más corta. Hubo momentos en que era obvio que no había mucho material jocundo para sostener un film de 1 hora y 46 minutos. 16 minutos menos hubiese hecho toda la diferencia.

En esta comedia de acción real y de animación digital, vemos la historia de un niño de Boston, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), que convive con un adorable osito de peluche que cobró vida después de un deseo infantil… y que, desde entonces, se niega a abandonarle. La mayor parte de la película transcurre con un adulto John de 35 años de edad y Ted (voz proporcionado por Seth MacFarlane) dando vueltas fumando marihuana. Ted inexplicablemente continua fumando hierba y perico, seduciendo a prostitutas, corrompiendo a John con fiestas llenas de alcohol y usando un vocabulario tan obsceno que el film debería de ser clasificado NC-17. Ted también se convierte en un importante obstáculo en la relación romántica entre John y su novia de cuatro años, Lori (Mila Kunis). Eventualmente, ella se vuelve tan cansada de las payasadas de Ted y la irresponsabilidad de John, que le exige escoger entre Ted o ella. Esto solo le complica las cosas más a John. 

La comedia aquí es espectacular y se puede describir como “shock comedia” – aquellos chistes que ofende con su sexualidad gráfica, situaciones perversas y depravadas y dialogo altamente cargados con obscenidades. Pero son dos factores que claramente establecen las risas y el éxito del film. La primera, y la más importante, es el oso de peluche Ted. La asociación que tenemos con peluches es algo infantil, sano e inocente.  Colocandolo en extremas situaciones contradictorios como las susodichas, inyectan una inquietante y nerviosa risa involuntaria difícil de cohibir. El segundo factor al éxito y risas incontrolables es ver a un macho-man musculoso comportandose como un pleno niño. Wahlberg nuevamente nos sació y atontó con su talento cómico y actúa estos personajes cómicos con mucha autenticidad y convencimiento. Si vas con un amigo o amiga, será inevitable no reirte.

Seth MacFarlane, el creador de la serie “Padre de familia”, hace su debut como director y pega un jonron como guionista, director y la voz de “Ted”. Aunque no catalogaría la película como una obra maestra cómica, se aproxima muy cercano a ella. Él nos provee con una historia original y un humor refrescante que no podremos olvidar por semanas. Pero con el fin de estirar la duración del largometraje, MacFarlane inserta algunas subtramas impares que apaciguan el ritmo cómico del film. Además, muy buen toque de darnos una fuerte dosis de nostalgia de los años 80 y apariciones especiales que incluyenNorah Jones, Tom Skerritt, y Ryan Reynolds

Mila Kunis por su parte desempeña un papel de tercera a Ted y Wahlberg. Si su trabajo en ‘Friends with Benefits’ es alguna indicación de su talento en comedias bruscas, ella fue un total desperdicio aquí. Mejor hubiesen escogido a una cara menos relevante. El guión, sin duda, defrauda a Kunis y su papel requería más que solo un aspecto atractivo.

Los efectos especiales del oso Ted son increíbles. Uno se olvida por completo que es un efecto creado en un ordenador especial. Los detalles de su pelo, ojos y sus manerismos lo dejarán patidifusos. 

Fuera de poder mantener el tempo jocoso por casi dos horas continuas, y una que otras deficiencias minúsculas no merecedoras de resaltar aquí, “Ted” es un clásico de la comedia para los próximos cuantos años hasta que llegue su secuela.  Eso sí, por favor tenga cautela que este osito no es Winnie the Pooh, es más bien el Diablo dentro de Winnie the Pooh. Muchos padres podrían malinterpretar el avance y pensar que es una película de familia. Este largometraje es exclusivamente para adultos con un sentido de humor muy fresco y experimentado. Sin mentirles, “Ted” es tan buena, que merece ser vista múltiples veces!

Karen Posada

By

2012/12/11 at 12:00am

Ice Age: Continental Drift

12.11.2012 | By |

Ice Age: Continental Drift’ is 94 minutes of fun for all; this might be the best out of the last two sequels. It’s hard for three main characters to entertain over so many movies, perhaps the reason why it works here is because they take a back seat at points and let the new characters tell the story. This movie combines drama with comedy very well, so that even in the most dramatic moments there’s an upside to it all. Also, the 3D works well throughout the movie, but it works best in the first part where there are a lot of objects popping out of the screen.

 

In this chapter thanks to Scat’s (Chris Wedge) endless pursuit of the acorn, he triggers a continental drift. As Manny (Ray Romano) is learning to deal with his teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), Sid (John Leguizamo) is reunited with his Granny (Wanda Sykes) and Diego (Denis Leary) ferociously helps them both. The gang all learn a lesson after they get separated from part of their pack and they face a rare group of pirates that use an iceberg as a ship. Their captain, Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) rules the oceans and with the help of his best crew members Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and Squint (Aziz Ansari) he will fight anyone that gets in their way.  

 

My favorite new character is Sid’s Granny, everything she does and says it’s adorably cranky and funny; she’s one of those old people that don’t hold back. Also, the tiny hyraxs (chipmunk like animals) are awesome with their ‘Braveheart’ skit. One of the most substantial new characters is Louis (Josh Gad), a molehog who is Peaches’ best friend.

 

The new group of villains is an interesting mix but Captain Gutt is the only that’s worth mentioning, his yellow teeth really shine with the 3D making him all the more disgusting and scary. One thing I could have lived without is the pirate jig they use to introduce Gutt. Manny still has a lot of screen time and is certainly the leader, but Sid and Diego really are secondary characters. There are also appearances by Nicki Minaj and Drake, which obviously were just added to the film to draw in a bigger audience.

 

What makes this movie more entertaining than the 3rd part is the fact that there are two simultaneous stories developing, the action shots of one complements the heart of the other. The introduction of new characters that lead the story gives it a more refreshing look. Of course Scrat is basically a third part of the story that always makes it all the more interesting as he’s the catalyst to everything that occurs.

 

If you are a fan of The Simpsons make sure to arrive early as there’s a short 3D film ‘The Longest Daycare’ with Maggie. This movie is better rounded than the last one of the series and there’s a lot more humor that will keep you and your children entertained. There are a few lessons the film tries to teach as an undertone, but they don’t over take the movie, this is more fun, action and laughter than anything else.

Karen Posada

By

2012/12/04 at 12:00am

The Dark Knight Rises

12.4.2012 | By |

The Dark Knight Rises’ is by far the best action movie of summer 2012, while it does have some flows they are easily overseen. For those of you that have been waiting for the final chapter of the trilogy I suggest you do it right and watch it in IMAX, because it truly takes the film to an unbelievable level. Director Christopher Nolan really completed the task of the Batman trilogy on a high note, this was such a delicate project that could have easily gone wrong, but now that it is complete we can be happy to say that Nolan didn’t harm it but enhanced it. The beauty of the trilogy is that they complement each other, as some offer better things than others so there’s not really a point in comparing them; but I can say this one offers the most action out of the three.  

 

The story picks up eight years after the Dark Knight (Christian Bale) damaged his reputation in order to give the city of Gotham a more appropriate hero in his opinion. Bruce Wayne is urged to come out of retirement when Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), a young police officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and entrepreneur Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) show up at his doorstep. The final push come when him and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) quickly realize that they merely put a lid on crime when Bane (Tom Hardy) the ultimate villain arrives to Gotham with catastrophic plans.     

 

Villain wise there’s no comparison to the Joker (Heath Ledger), he was such a well-rounded and unforgettable character that is hard for any of the new villains to match up to him. Nonetheless, Bane is a different type of character because what he may lack in wit he makes up for in strength, and his plans in large scale are what makes him the ultimate villain when at times even Batman doesn’t seem like a fair adversary. Hardy certainly became the monster behind the mask with his brute strength and cold heart, something he gave us a glimpse of in one of the best movies of 2011 ‘Warrior’. Hathaway is one of the best actresses in Hollywood because of her versatility and she proves that once more as Catwoman, she obviously dazzles in the cat suit but also gives depth to a character that we are not told much about, I won’t give much away about her performance except that she steals every scene she’s in, even some of the ones where Batman is present.

 

The best thing about ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ are all the surprises it delivers, it is so engaging that once it’s over you won’t feel like you spent almost 3 hours of your day in a dark movie theater. With all its up an downs it is a bit draining but quite fulfilling. Some scenes are painful to watch but the ones where there’s redemption and action truly make up for it. There are also some emotional moments that give the film a more rounded feeling. The new ride “The Bat” is quite awesome to see in action, as well as “the Batpod” showing off a couple of new tricks. The nicest thing about this film is that although Batman is the main character, and Bale was born to play the role as he shows endlessly time and time again it is not all about him. Some of the new characters such as Blake easily get our attention and that surely was done on purpose. Gordon-Levitt was the perfect choice for the role as he’s shown aptitude for these types of films like he did in ‘Inception’.

 

Although Bane is an excellent bad guy especially because of his look he is very hard to understand when he speaks, his speech is supposed to be sophisticated and intelligent and there were various angry comments about it when the prologue was shown last year; they went back to the studio to change it and it makes a huge difference but at times it’s still he’s hard to understand in a theater surround sound and all. Some scenes might disappointing the comic book fans, but honestly some of the changes help make the movie uplifting, relevant and even humorous. This is not a PG-13 type of movie like ‘The Avengers’ in every sense is more dark and needs every moment of comedic release it can get; this is definitely for a more adult audience. By Now Nolan has created his own world of Batman that can stand on its own, but here the complicated parts of the story come from the interaction between some of the new characters and the old ones as some seem forced, also some parts of Bain’s sinister plan get too convoluted. Finally, reality is forgotten at times which can be annoying but this is a movie after all.

 

Batman’s greatest appeal is that he’s a superhero without superpowers and that’s exactly what makes this last chapter the more appealing, because everyone that comes in to complement the story such as Catwoman, Bain and Blake are humans with different gadgets and abilities that cater to the audience. Nolan is a cinematic genius and he proves it once more by giving the viewers chills in some of the scenes, you get so invested in the story that there’s a connection with what happens in it; also because of the familiar landmarks shown that makes it the more real, although it takes away the whole “Gotham” myth which may bother some. To me this last part of the trilogy fulfilled all my expectations and the fact that a movie can keep you entertained for so long says a lot. Get ready to enjoy the most anticipated movie of the summer and the last chapter of a trilogy that many will cherish and already do.

Pau Brunet

By

2012/10/16 at 12:00am

Avatar 3D

10.16.2012 | By |

 

Hace once años, el Titanic de James Cameron zarpó diciendo adiós al gran espectáculo de Hollywood. La epopeya de aquel barco fue como una despedida del cartón y piedra. En unos años, Peter Jackson unió por un momento el cartón de los decorados de antaño con la era digital. Las prótesis se mezclaban con las telas azules. Este universo, ha seguido mezclándose aunque cada vez con menos brillo – Robert Zemeckis ha ido dándose con la misma piedra desde hace seis años-, dejándose seducir más por lo azul que por lo real. Pero once años después de este barco, Cameron da por fin la gran bienvenida a esta era digital y del 3D. Avatar es un avatar del Hollywood de antes con el de ahora. El director le ha dado al cine de los grandes espectáculos pirotécnicos, un traje nuevo, hecho a medida y donde convergen estilos, ideas y nuevas tecnologías, todo ello envuelto en un tono muy cerca de ‘Dances with Wolves‘.

 

Avatar cuenta una historia clásica de un soldado en tierras extrañas y como por accidente termina involucrándose en la vida de los habitantes de ese lugar. Como en Dances with Wolves o The New World (la historia de Pocahontas contada por Terrence Malick), Avatar es un relato sobre las culturas extranjeras y desconocidas por el mundo occidental. Sabiendo esto, Cameron no trata de dar a la historia ningún matiz novedoso –algo que es criticable, y por el que lo criticará más de uno-, sino que centra su atención en el nuevo mundo que descubre su personaje principal. Es en este punto donde la película funciona a toda máquina, la curiosidad del personaje de Sam Worthington es el motor de la historia, y Cameron logra que sintamos lo que siente él. Los hermosos lugares, los matices de los personajes y la lograda ambientación son todo un triunfo en mayúsculas para su director. Lo que no ha logrado Zemeckis en tres películas, Cameron lo logra en una. Por primera vez, la tecnología 3D se justifica para entender todo lo que sucede a nuestro alrededor.

 

En estos dos años de intentos tridimensionales, Avatar es la reina absoluta al lograr imprimir imágenes inolvidables, con texturas impresionantes, y llena el vacío que hay entre la pantalla y los ojos del espectador. Cameron construye un nuevo mundo entero y ese es su acierto, sobrepasando los defectos de un film algo largo y pesado en su primer acto, y falto de originalidad. De estos defectos también destaca una música de James Horner que no acaba entrar en el oído como hacia en Titanic o Legends of the Fall, y la canción final es casi un despropósito artístico. Una pecata minuta que se olvida rápido gracias a la presencia de Sigourney Weaver y todos los guiños a Aliens.

 

A modo personal, Avatar me recuerda a esas películas de antes – y que ahora sólo saben hacer los señores de Pixar – que te invitaban a soñar y entender que Hollywood es la fábrica de sueños.

 

Karen Posada

By

2012/10/09 at 12:00am

The Raven

10.9.2012 | By |

 

The Raven’ is such an elegant film in every aspect: dialogue, setting, costumes, etc. Every scene is so delicate and it unravels rhythmically just like the poem, although at some points it does lack emotion and perhaps even tension. DirectorJames McTeigue did a great job using the poem as a base, filling it in with a few facts about Edgar Allan Poe’s life and the city of Baltimore. More than anything I have to give him credit for inserting Poe into a poem of his by allowing him to play detective, it is an interesting twist to his work. This thriller/mystery film pays tribute to the author of the poem as well as the genre itself, by giving us an entertaining artistic story.

 

Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is the one who takes us by the hand throughout this story; he’s daring to earn a living as a writer by trying to get his work published at a local newspaper. No one seems to have any sympathy for the man, who is pretty arrogant, except for a few fans and his girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve). Poe gains credibility with his poem ‘The Raven’ and a book of grotesque stories of his which is also popular. These macabre stories begin to take a life of their own when a madman feels inspired by them. Between Poe and detective Fields (Luke Evans) they must try to solve each crime to determine the killer’s next step and catch him.

 

Poe spent a great deal of his life being a critic, which is a job mocked in the movie as being “easy”, but as one of the biggest writers in the world he was not easy on anyone. One definitely wonders how he would feel about this project, which made him a character inside one of his masterpieces. Just by the premise alone people will either be curious or turned off automatically. Cusack does a fine job at becoming Poe, his dialogue is illustrious but at times his rhymes and poetic prose become a bit irritating. His counterpart Evans on the other hand had flat conversations with Cusack about his romantic life and work, which was supposed to reassure the public about his respect for Poe but instead the conversations felt empty. Some of the action scenes are not very engaging, but the mystery that surrounds them is interesting.

 

This movie has a darkness and refinement that set a perfect mood for the tale; even the gruesome scenes have a neatness to them. The film is satisfying to a certain degree, it doesn’t disappoint, but it also seems to not want to strive for more. It’s very clean from beginning to end without taking too many risks, which perhaps was wise; since putting someone as idolized as Edgar Allan Poe as a main character is challenging for both director and fans considering that this is Poe in a different perspective.  

 

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