Captain Fantastic (2016)

Academy Award Nominee for Actor in a Leading Role – Viggo Mortensen

Rating: 9/10

“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world”  Rellian

Captain Fantastic is the brilliant comedy-drama about Ben (Viggo Mortensen), a father
who decides to raise his 6 kids in the wild, teaching them how to survive with the “simple 1892bare necessities”. But what happens when a Bear-Grylls-worthy family has to face the mainstream world? Director Matt Ross shows us in this beautiful picture.

Viggo Mortensen is beyond great in his role of a kind and firm dad and a loving husband that even in circumstances very different from most of us, struggles with very real issues.

rs-247211-rs-captain-fantasticThis movie ranks now between my all-time favourites. It’s a very different plot, which is so refreshing when you’ve seen so many movies that everything becomes predictable. I laughed, I cried and I enjoyed every details of this little cinematographic gem.

You will like it if you liked Little Miss Sunshine. I guess I relate them mainly because of the van/school bus and the incredibly smart kids.

Captain Fantastic, written and directed by Matt Ross; cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine (Elle, Jackie); music by Alex Somers; starring also Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, George MacKay, Annalise Basso, Samantha Isler, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell and Nicholas Hamilton.

MAY THE CORN POP FOR YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

War On Everyone (2016) Review

Rating: 8/10

War On Everyone is the black comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (Calvary).

Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña are a 2ecaa4d200e2a3234ab2ebc5453cada8
great cop team, who have forgotten their civic duty and are involved in all sorts of adventures, some of which are not really listed in their job description.

3907This movie is so good, I just want everyone to watch it. Like my friend Ames said, it’s like Deadpool has become a cop (and never lost his chiselled features I would add) and it works brilliantly.

The setting is Abuquerque, but it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic and far away from the rest of the world as US desert movies usually do, and the cinematography it’s not the usual thriller-grey tone, which I quite liked.

I don’t wanna repeat myself on Alexander Skarsgård, but he is gooooood! Him and Michael Peña make a wicked couple and the chemistry they have make you wish for thwar-on-everyone-john-michael-mcdonagh-201606741-2is to become a series. This is a pledge actually, let this become a series. Seriously.

War on Everyone, also starring Theo James, Tessa Thompson and Caleb Landry Jones. Music by Lorne Balfe: cinematography by Bobby Bukowski.

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) Review

Rating: 5.5/10

The Legend of Tarzan is the 2016 action movie directed by David Yates (Harry Potter 5-6-7) and adapted by Adam Cozed and Craig Brewer from the famous novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Alexander Skarsgård is John Clayton III, living in London with download-21his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). For diplomatic reasons they need to go back to Congo, or better he is the one who has to go but she is adamant she wants to join him and meet her childhood friends. Needless to say, adventures await.

56c045bc27d97a2a03bcc8ba522673acb99239132894a8416d1d17fff1815447Now, the good thing about this movie is that is definitely different from what I expected. I thought it would have been another version of the well-known story – and to be honest it would have been really hard to top what Disney did back in 1999 with Phil Collins and everything. So it`s good that Warner produced this as a sequel. Not quite sure it can become a classic, but I appreciate the effort.

Another thing I really liked is the cinematography by Henry Braham (Guardians of The Galaxy, The Golden Compass). There is this one scene in Congo, where John and Jane are sleeping in Jane`s old house and there is this decadent canopy bed with an overgrown ivy that crept in from a fissure in the adjacent corner of the wall, it is genuinely breathtaking. I cannot quite find a still, but as soon as I do I will post it.

Finally, the acting. As I made quite clear I love everything Scandinavian, so I am a bit biased on Mr Skarsgård. He is good and he plays a convincing adult Tarzan. On the other LEGEND OF TARZANside, I am not the biggest fan of Margot Robbie because even though she is objectively beautiful, when she is in a movie I cannot seem to be able to go in the zone, I always know that she is acting and that what I am looking at is not real. I love Christoph Waltz though, so that is kind of evened up, I guess.

All in all The Legend of Tarzan is a nice family movie, but something we probably won`t be talking about in 10 years.

Out This Week (4-10 July)

4829NOW YOU SEE ME 2. We are back in the world of illusions created by Ed Solomon. Different director, John M. Chu but pretty much the same cast with Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and not-so-dead Dave Franco, with the addition of Lizzy Caplan (Isla Fisher was pregnant of little Montgomery during filming). More promising than the first one also because Daniel Radcliffe is in it, and he knows about magic  (129 mins) Watch Trailer HereTarzan-2

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN We all know the story of the orphan raised by Apes in Africa. We don’t know what happens next. David Yates shows us in this picture, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie (who refused to lose weight for the role and remained in her size 2, bit too much ain’t it?), Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson (110 mins) Watch Trailer Here

the-neon-demon-3THE NEON DEMON Nicolas Winding Refn (Driver) is back with another visionary work. Top models in LA are the characters of this psychological thriller starring Elle Fanning and Jena Malone (117 mins) Watch Trailer Here1482220_full-672x372

MAGGIE’S PLAN This rom-com starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke has basically the same plot as 2010 JLo’s The Back-up Plan, just a bit more indie (98 mins) Watch Trailer Here

 

 

Love and Mercy (2015)

Rating: 9/10

Tune on Tuesday travels back in time to the 60s.. and the 80s with Love & Mercy, the biopic dedicated to the prodigy genius behind The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson.

Paul Dano is young Brian Wilson, picturing the musician as both a delicate, sweet presence in his private life and extremely precise and fussy professional in the recording studio. John Cusack is Brian Wilson in the 80s, in what is quite a dark time of Wilson`s life under the care of Dr Eugene Land (Paul Giamatti); this is also the time when he met his lovely wife, Melinda (Elizabeth Banks).

I wasn`t aware of being a fan of The Beach Boys until I watched this movie. I realized I knew more songs than I thought I did and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this touching tribute to a contemporary music genius. Both him and Melinda were consulted during the production, with a resulting story line that is as close to the real thing as a screenplay allows.

Paul Dano is incredible. I only knew him from Little Miss Sunshine and he played such a different character there, very very impressive! Also worth of mention, the chemistry between John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks. They work very very well together and they are a pleasure to look at.

For the music, what can I say? I downloaded their music, I am currently looking for a nice record from The Beach Boys for my turntable and I have been humming “God Only Knows”, God only knows how long for.

May the corn pop for you, while you are surfing USAAAAA!

 

Shutter Island (2010)

Rating: 9.5/10

Which would be worse: to live as a monster or to die as a good man? – Andrew Laddis

What could be better than an island full of psychopaths for Maniac Monday? An island full of psychopaths accompanied by Leo, Mark and Sir Kingsley. Yay!

Shutter Island is the brilliant psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese settled in the 50s and starring pure amazingness in the form of Leonardo di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley.

On a penitentiary island for mental criminals a patient is missing. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leo) and his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) are sent to investigate the case. Headaches, vivid dreams, and traumatic memories are the unwanted guests in Teddy’s head while he’s on the verge of uncovering what could possibly become the biggest conspiracy theory on brain experiments. Or, is he?

Everything in this movie works. The acting is incredibly good, and I feel the need to underline this as too often big names don`t hold up to the expectations. The screenplay is complex and spreads through different times, but direction and cinematography are so well done you never feel lost.

The final twist is clever and rather unexpected: when you get there, you realize you have to watch the movie again and when you do watch it again, it feels like you are watching a whole new masterpiece! I really don`t want to spoil this for you, because the beauty of it is the unknown. So you really need to press play on this one!

May the corn pop for you!

Out This Week (20-26 Jun)

Another Friday, another box office weekend. Have a look at what’s on at the cinema.

independence0001INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (Fri 24 June) Everyone knows 1996 Independence Day, the world-acclaimed film about humans defending Planet Earth by an alien attach; so here for you Independence Day: Resurgence, a film about humans defending Planet Earth by an alien attach. Mind blowing. Starring Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. (120 mins) Watch Trailer Here

1024x1024

ELVIS AND NIXON (Fri 24 June) I have mixed feelings about this, but Elvis and Nixon is the comedy based on the true events of December 21, 1970 when Elvis went to the White House to see President Nixon for an urgent meeting. Kevin Spacey is Mr President and Michael Shannon is Elvis (86 mins) Watch Trailer Here

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Fri 24 June) Animation by Illumination maxresdefaultEntertainment about a
bunch of pets – you wouldn’t have guessed that – which hang out together after their owners leave their flats. The trailer looks hilarious and hopefully with this we can forget about The Minions Movie ( we forgive you guys ) and go back to the times when things were so fluffy we could have died (91 mins) Watch Trailer Here

8THE MEDDLER (Fri 24 June) Sweet comedy drama starring Susan Sarandon as Rose Byrne’s mother. Ah! And she tends to meddle into things, I guess. No, seriously this picture was Toronto Film Festival material and it’s probably the much better version of Mother Day. So go pick up your mama and spend a magical night watching this. (103 mins) Watch Trailer Here

 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The first of the Thursday’s themes is the Millenium Trilogy. The first movie being The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (rating: 8.5/10) and, just to be clear, the version we are suggesting here is the original Swedish one, starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist, not the arrogant 2011 attempt to the same adaptation by David Fincher.

What can I say? The Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson is probably the best thriller I have ever read and this adaptation it’s really good. Of course, the books are so beautiful (and thick) that any movie based on them cannot be perfect. This said, this one is good! Noomi Rapace is just the perfect Lisbeth Salander, she nails the character totally and her performance is magnetic to say the least.

You should totally watch this if you like strong thrillers and if you are fascinated by Scandinavia, as personally this marked the starting point for my mild(?!) obsession with Scandinavian cinema. And since right now I’m in Copenaghen, here you go, today’s choice was obvious.

The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, first of the Millenium Trilogy, directed by Niels Arden Oplev. To be followed.

The Machinist (2004)

Rating: 9/10

Trevor: You know so little about me. What if I turn into a werewolf or something?

Stevie: I’ll buy you a flea collar.

We take a break from Dr Lecter this week and make space for The Machinist on Maniac Monday.

Christian Bale is Trevor Reznik, a factory worker who suffers from severe insomnia, in this mind blowing psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m not gonna go in details of the plot because I really don’t wanna spoil it, but the final twist is woah!

This picture is known for the extreme weight loss Christian Bale went through for the role, just before building himself up for Batman Begins. He lost 28 kilos (62 pounds) over four months arriving to 54 kilos (119 pounds), considering he is 183cm (6 feet) that’s crazy! Apparently he just had “water, an apple and one cubaleweightp of coffee per day, with the occasional whiskey” – don’t get ideas out there. After the filming he had 6 months to turn into Batman using special powers such as ice cream, pizza and weightlifting. Surely not a healthy year for Chris, but after all that talking of Leo in the freezing cold and eating raw liver, I thought I’d mention how also others have gone great length for a character, just saying. (Leo we love you)

Once again, Bale is awesome. His approach to film making is so professional and dedicated, he raises acting to the next level. And the result are visible, not just physically but also in the performance since this one is probably one of the best psycho thrillers out there.

The Machinist, also starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar.

May the corn pop for you.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

Rating: 8.5/10

Even though some of you are pretty thin, you all have fat hearts, and that’s what matters. – Fat Amy

Today we AKATune-on-Tuesday with Pitch Perfect.

Pitch perfect is a musical comedy produced by and starring Elizabeth Banks. Anna Kendrick is Beca, an alternative freshman who wants to produce music for a living. She somehow ends up being part of the Barden Bellas, an accappella group.

I’ll be honest with you. When this movie came out and someone told me the synopsis, I was like “no thanks”. And then, someone forced it on to me, and it was love at first sound. It is so much better than it sounds, it’s really not just Glee Club moves to college. It’s something like Monsters University becomes a motion picture and has a soundtrack that begs to be sung! (Yeah, I admit it’s a nightmare to watch this film with me)

Why do I love the soundtrack?! Well, I think the music here wins on 2 fronts: first, the accappella is really well done, the fact that we humans can sing a song without an instrument, but making it sound so complete and round still blows my mind. And second, the mashups: in the film often they layer up different songs, like this one making a brand new tune that just works. This is so new and fresh I just love it!

Some fun facts:

– in the Riff-off scene the only 2 categories they end up singing are Ladies of the 80s and Songs About Sex. The actual complete list includes Black Michael Jackson, White Michael Jackson, Christian Rock, Hair Bands, Tv Theme Songs, Reggae Time, Stadium Rock, The Judd’s, Famous Duets, Puppet Songs, Party Rock Anthems, Ugly Lead Singers, Songs Glee Ruined and Overplayed Black Eyed Peas songs

– Ester Dean, who performs S&M, actually wrote the song for Rihanna

– in the college fair scene, students are playing Quidditch in the background

So there we go. I said what I wanted to say, now I shut it and you watch it.

Pitch Perfect, directed by Jason Moore, screenplay by Kay Cannon adapted from the book by Mickey Rapkin. Also starring Skylar Astin and Rebel Wilson.

Fellow AKApeople, may the AKAcorn AKApop for you.