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Movie Reviews and Ratings

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/25 at 12:00am

Luis Buñuel – The World Remembers the Lengendary Filmmaker

Luis Buñuel - The World Remembers the Lengendary Filmmaker

The Retrospective at the Berlinale this year was devoted to Luis Buñuel, an odd choice perhaps for the German capital, but exceedingly valuable as it offered viewers not only the familiar surreal landmarks of the 1920s and those from the end of his long career, but also a look at just about everything that came between, when the director was earning a living churning out all sorts of films in France, Spain, Mexico and the US as producer, uncredited director, and writer.

Many of these have been forgotten, or certainly neglected–and sometimes for good reason. The stage transformations Buñuel produced in Madrid, like Don Quintín el Amargao, had virtually zero theatricality or cinematic interest, and bore the unmistakably primitive look of mid-1930s pre-fascist Spanish features. The anti-fascist Spanish documentaries Tierra sin pan (1933) and España 1936 forced the director to the US and then to Mexico, where conditions stylistically and financially improved, under the producer Óscar Dancigers.

But not right away. Gran Casino (1947) was a routine musical, barely melodramatic, but at least showcasing singers Jorge Negrete and Libertad Lamarque as a fairly unlikely pair of lovers. By 1950, with Los Olvidados, the socially-conscious and dramatically-surprising Buñuel, with the stunning images of cameraman Gabriel Figueroa, was propelled back to international acclaim, via Cannes.

The Mexican 1950s produced masterworks like Él and Nazarín, but also such films as a remake of Don Quintín (La Hija del engaño, 1951), a Maupassant adaptation (Una Mujer sin amor, 1952), a version of Wuthering Heights, the rather pallid social melodrama El Bruto (1953), which at least had Katy Jurado slicing off some flower tops in an assassinist fashion), the fairly languid, unfeverish political drama La Fièvre monte à El Pao (1959), a co-production with France starring the miscast but otherwise gorgeous couple Gérard Philippe and María Félix, and the bizarre La Joven (1960), a curious mixture of Robinson Crusoe, The Defiant Ones, and Lolita, marked by at least one Buñuelian fetish, high heels, and Figueroa’s stark photography.

The titles from the 1960s, from France, Italy, Mexico, and an ultimately forgiving Spain, all offered their more familiar, discreet, obscure, fantasmic, anti-clerical Buñuelian charms: Viridiana, El Ángel exterminador, Le Journal d’une femme de chambre, Simón del Desierto, Belle de Jour, Tristana–up to the culmination of his career, Cet obscur objet du désir in 1977.

Apart from the Buñuels, handsomely arranged by the Berlin Kinemathek curator Rainer Rother, the Berlinale had further delightful surprises on hand. There was a tribute to Italy’s Francesco Rosi; the print of perhaps his most celebrated film, Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, had its colour so browned-out that it seemed almost intentional in its view of scorched southern Italy. Among the restorations were The Belle of Broadway, produced for Columbia by Harry Cohn in 1926. This had Betty Compson in a dual role, as a Parisian theatre star in the 1890s and an American girl thirty years later, in a story that anticipated elements of Evergreen (1934) and Madame X (1929). Die Gezeichneten, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1922 (and newly restored by the Danish Film Archive), depicted a Russian pogrom in 1905–all the more chilling as it was filmed entirely in and around Berlin, well before 1933. The sets were convincing, the performances striking, and the film had the invaluable accompaniment of Maud Nelissen at the piano, plus accordion.

Ms. Nelissen also led a contingent of the Komische Oper orchestra in her new score for an entirely non-Berlinale showing of Erich von Stroheim’s The Merry Widow (1925). Lehár’s score was admirably synthesised into something quite as original as Stroheim’s eccentric take on the operetta, and the result (thanks also to a nice print from Vienna) was easily a highlight of this Berlin visit. MGM’s massive production, with Stroheim’s obssessive Habsburg detailing, the spectacular sets and costumes (Cedric Gibbons and Richard Day), and the astonishing matte and glass shots outflanked much of the purported opulence of Metro in the 1930s. The pre-1914 Balkan atmosphere was so realistically charged that the assassination of a crown prince became almost inevitable, and any residual operetta glamour came from the expert playing of Mae Murray and John Gilbert, reaching a climax in their voluptuous waltz-tango at a Parisian ball, surely one of the most enduring cinematic souvenirs of the ‘20s.

Mack Chico

By

2008/07/24 at 12:00am

Nothing Like the Holidays – First teaser poster

Nothing Like the Holidays -  First teaser poster

The film Humboldt Park, which now will be called ‘Nothing Like the Holidays’ (far better name), will be released November 26, but we already obtained a leaked poster of the movie which contains some scenes of the Latino protagonists. With its all-star Hispanic cast, this is definitely going to be one of those hyped up films fopr the Spanish market.The film stars John Leguizamo, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, Alfred Molina, Melonie Díaz and Freddy Rodriguez.

Afiche de Humboldt Park

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/24 at 12:00am

The X Files: I Want to Believe

Rated: PG-13 for violent and disturbing content and thematic material.
Release Date: 2008-07-25
Starring: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA, Canada
Official Website: http://xfiles.com/

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The X Files: I Want to Believe
Alex Florez

By

2008/07/24 at 12:00am

Step Brothers

Rated: R for crude and sexual content, and pervasive language.
Release Date: 2008-07-25
Starring: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/stepbrothers/index.html

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Step Brothers
Mack Chico

By

2008/07/23 at 12:00am

Miley Cyrus might go nude for “Undiscovered Gyrl”

Miley Cyrus might go nude for “Undiscovered Gyrl”

Miley Cyrus is itching for a starring role as the lead character in “Undiscovered Gyrl” a screen adaptation of the popular novel by Allison Burnett.

The racy movie is described as the story of “a lovable, lost suburban girl who descends into a life of reckless partying and promiscuity.”

And despite creating a stir with her partially-nude photo in the June issue of Vanity Fair, Miley’s latest venture will definitely include nude scenes, according to MSNBC spies.

“It is still early days, but Miley is really interested in the film, which follows the story of a lovable, lost suburban girl who descends into a life of reckless partying and promiscuity. If she does get the part, you will be seeing a lot more of her than you did in the Vanity Fair photos – there would definitely be nude scenes.”

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/22 at 12:00am

Tobey Maguire signs on for Universal’s ‘The Crusaders’

Tobey Maguire signs on for Universal's 'The Crusaders'

Tobey Maguire has signed on to star in new Universal pic ‘The Crusaders’. 

Gary Ross will be directing the drama about the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

Maguire is lined up to play Jack Greenberg, an idealistic lawyer fresh out of law school who joined with NAACP Legal Defense Fund head and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to win a Supreme Court case that ruled segregation in American schools illegal.

Danny Strong is penning the script for the movie, reports Variety.

On board as producer is Bob Cooper with Ross and Maguire exec producing through Ross’s U-based Larger Than Life Prods.  

The project is based on Greenberg’s memoirs ‘Crusaders in the Courts’.

It was originally developed by Cooper at New Line but was let go after the studio was absorbed by Warner Bros. (ANI)

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/22 at 12:00am

Tom Cruise gunning for Top Gun 2?

Tom Cruise gunning for Top Gun 2?

UPDATE: It appears that Tom Cruise will not be returning to the franchise that made him bigger than life, and has officially not been cleared for take off.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced suggesting Cruise was in line to reprise his role as Maverick in the fighter jet film, 22 years after the original.

However, “Access Hollywood” has confirmed those reports are false.

As Tom Cruise continues to hunt for a new project to follow-up Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, we’ve been hearing a lot of rumours about the possibility of him returning to a familiar franchise in the hopes of re-establishing his bankability. First it was a new Mission Imposible movie that was supposedly on the table, and now this week we have a somewhat unsubstantiated rumour that says there is a possibility of a Top Gun sequel, some 22 years after the original was released.

According to the NY newspaper ‘The Sun’, there is a script floating around for a new Top Gun flick where Maverick is now an instructor who “has to deal with a cocky new female pilot”.

Mack Chico

By

2008/07/20 at 12:00am

Jim Carrey in ‘Yes Man’ – teaser poster

Jim Carrey in 'Yes Man' - teaser poster

Warner Bros gives us the official poster of the new Jim Carrey film ‘YES Man’. This Danny Walace’s second solo book. In it, he describes how he spent six months “saying Yes where once would have said No”, to make his life more interesting and positive. In this book he shows the tribulations and mischief that he got up to while he said yes to any question or proposal.

It is set to be released for the 19th December 2008.

Jim Carrey en 'Yes Man'

 

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/20 at 12:00am

‘The Dark Knight’: Breaks box-office record

'The Dark Knight': Breaks box-office record

The Dark Knight continues to smash records at the box office. A mere five days into its domestic theatrical run, the second Batman movie from star Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan has earned a whopping $203.8 mil. That utterly obliterates the old record for the fastest movie to reach the $200 mil mark, set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which took eight days to achieve the feat. It’s worth noting that the Pirates sequel went on to earn $423.3 mil domestically — a sum that now appears to be in reach for The Dark Knight in the long run.

Following a record-breaking opening weekend, during which it grossed a staggering $158.4 mil, the comic-book flick banked $24.5 mil on Monday (the best non-holiday Monday gross ever) and $20.9 mil on Tuesday (the best non-holiday Tuesday take of all time). The total earnings for The Dark Knight‘s first four days of release ($182.9 mil) and first five days out ($203.8 mil) are also new historical highs. What’s more, in less than a week, the film has earned almost as much as its predecessor, 2005’s Batman Begins, grossed during its entire run ($205.3 mil), and this film has already brought in more money than four of the previous six live-action Batman movies made in theaters.

At press time, The Dark Knight ranks No. 84 on the all-time domestic box office roster (a notch behind Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was the highest-grossing movie of 1991). To track its fast ascension up the list, check back with EW.com on Friday for our weekly Box Office Preview.

Alex Florez

By

2008/07/17 at 12:00am

The Dark Knight

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.
Release Date: 2009-01-23
Starring: Bob Kane, Christopher Nolan
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/

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The Dark Knight

WHERE IS THE OLD BATMOBILE WHEN YOU NEED IT?
 
At two and one half hours, “The Dark Knight” is a great muddle of equivocal morality masquerading as a superhero skein.  Helmer Christopher Nolan’s sequel to “Batman Begins” falls victim to a curse common to attempts to build a franchise:  It has no compelling story.
 
Instead, it throws a filmmaker’s bag of tricks at a screenplay that is too long by an hour.  The tricks come in the form of plot twists, largely incomprehensible because their visual clues are buried under special effects and their dialogue clues are buried under a pumped up soundtrack.  That is too bad, because stripped of its silly subplots, “The Dark Knight” has the germ of a satisfying comic book flick.
 
The first rule of superheroes is that the superhero is the guy with the super powers.  Civilians do not have super powers.  If they did, there would be no need for a superhero.  This is where “The Dark Knight” falls down.  Too many civilians survive explosions, car accidents, and assassination attempts that should have killed them because they don’t have super powers.
 
The plot is roughly this:  After cleaning up Gotham Batman (Christian Bale) is having second thoughts.  Using criminal tactics to catch criminals may turn him into one.  He also wants to marry his love interest, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, terribly miscast).  She won’t have him until he gives up the cape and mask.  Into this frittata toss The Joker (the late Heath Ledger) with a scheme to take over what is left of Gotham’s mob headed by Salvatore Maroni (convincingly played by Eric Roberts).  Add handsome crusading DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) who gains the confidence of Batman and alter ego Bruce Wayne, and you have the recipe for the end of the Batman saga.  Predictably The Joker is the fly in Batman’s retirement ointment.  Without Batman’s help, cops can’t prevent the agent of chaos from turning Gotham into a war zone – and from keeping Batman in costume.
 
Ledger’s Joker is totally competent, but in Jack Nicholson he has a tough act to follow.  He comes across more like Christian Slater in “Heathers” than the cinematic master of madness.  With the exceptions of veterans Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, performances fall victim to special effects, some of which are cheesy.  Even the once sleek Batmobile now looks like Hummer that has been sat on by an elephant.
 
With a PG-13 rating, nothing in “The Dark Knight” is objectionable to children, but it could bore them to death.

 

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