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!

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Race (2016) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

“I tell you what, you stick with me and I’ll make a great coach out of you” – Jesse Owens

Race is the lame title for the pretty good movie about the awesome athlete Jesse Owens. Film-Review-Race.JPEG-05ff0The movie starts when Jesse (Stephan James) leaves home in Cleveland to start college in Columbus. Here he meets coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis) and starts training for the 1936 Olympics, hosted by Nazi Germany with the aim to prove the superiority of the Arian race.

Stephan James delivers an outstanding performance, proving himself able to hold the attention in a charismatic and charming way. I was not sure about Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers), as we normally see him in the classical irreverent Hollywood comedies, he wasn’t so bad actually but I race_still_1don’t think this performance was good enough to ensure a turning point in his career.

To be fair, the story of Jesse Owens is so good that it would have been hard not to make a good film out of it, it’s got the injustice, the natural talent of the poor kid, the Americans winning over Nazi Germany: all the themes we get angry and emotional about. It was nice though, that Jesse’s family was actually involved in the screenplay writing process to ensure the story was as close to the original as possible.Stephan-James-Race-interview-600x300

Fun fact: in the movie coach Snyder goes looking for the Dassler shoe factory to get Jesse shoes to race. The factory actually existed and the owner was Adi Dassler: the founder of Adidas, BOOM!

Race, directed by Stephen Hopkins; written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse; music by Rachel Portman; cinematography by Peter Levy. Also starring Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten and William Hurt.

Money Monster (2016) Review

Rating: 7/10

Money Monster is a thriller directed by Jodie Foster and written by AlaMoneyMonstern Di Fiore, Jim Kouf and Jamie Linden.

Jack O’Connell is Kyle, a desperate man who has lost all the money he had on a stock Lee Gates (George Clooney), had described as “safer than your saving account” in his Wall Street TV program,  Money Monster. Kyle gets in the recording studio while hiring and takes Lee hostage, to broadcast live while he demands answers to what kind of “glitch” can let a company lose $800 millions worth investor’s money.

Jodie Foster;Jack O Connell;George ClooneyJodie Foster did an amazing job with this very well developed screenplay: the story has many levels and they all work together to form a touching, gripping picture. A TV presenter held hostage live, the gun man who is just a normal guy who thinks he has lost everything, the delicate relationship between Lee and his director Patty (Julia Roberts), the credible funny interactions between colleagues, it just works.

You will like it if you wanted to like The Big Short but you didn’t get it; this one speaks economics but in a way we humans can actually understand, even those not able to add 2+2.

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

“In the galaxy of memory
In the palace of dream
That is where we’ll meet
But a dream is not reality
Who’s to say which is which”

– The Mad Hatter

Alice Through The Looking Glass is the eye-popping sequel of Alice in Wonderland (2010). Alice is a sea captain now on her father’s ship: The Wonder, but not everyone is happy with a strong, independent woman doing a supposedly manly job, so to remember who she really is Alice goes back to Wonderland following Absalom (Alan Rnullickman) through a looking glass.
This picture is one of the most brilliant reunion of geniuses out there: Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter and he is just adorably crazy, and ginger; Helena Bonham Carter and her massive heart-shaped head are just hideous, but still more adorable than her “eyebrows gone completely wrong” sister; and Sacha Baron Cohen.. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think this man can do no wrong, he is just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Even though his accent in this movie is very much like Aladeen’s (The Dictator), his character, Time is just perfectly portrayed and I personally absolutely enjoyed it.

Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Piano) is as dreamy and ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS wonderful as one would expect from such a Wonderland movie. The Palace of Time, the Ocean, create a universe one can just get lost in. I loved the new Queen of Heart’s palace, with the crawling animals and the Arcimboldi’s “radishing” servants.

All in all, I think this movie is very good. It is a pleasure for the eyes and a refreshing trip for us dreamers. I personally love seeing a movie that is a cinematic painting: where colours, shapes and imagination become reality, ever so much that I wish I could just jump through a mirror and join our lovely Alice and her weird friends!

You will like it if you’re a dreamer, forget it if you like true stories or things that make sense.

A Hologram For the King (2016) Review

Rating: 7/10

A Hologram For the King is a comedy-drama based on the novel by the same name, written by Dave Eggers.

Tom Hanks is Alan Clay, a salesman on the verge of a breakdown: painful divorce, economical issues, work instability. Hdownload (1)
e travels to Saudi Arabia to sell a holographic conference system to the king. Things do not exactly go as expected.

Tom Hanks is absolutely brilliant! After seeing him in the last few yea
rs playing very defined and very real characters, like Walt Disney (Saving Mr Banks), James Donovan (Bridge of Spies) and Captain Phillips, it is almost refreshing to see him playing a character we can all relate to: he is funny, insecure, awkward but absolutely adorable (I’m sure I’m not the only one relating to that?!).

The story is very well adapted into a screenplay by the director himself, Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). I loved the Saudi Arabia setting and the clever reference to the local stereotypes which shows how, even when our cultures are very different, we are all the same, moved by the same passions, needs and glitches.

CinematographyEatng by Frank Griebe is stunning. Fair enough, desert and camels are already pretty dramatic on their own, but the snorkelling scene is one of the most beautiful underwater montage I have seen like.. ever.

You would like it if… Actually you would just like it. I cannot think of someone who could not enjoy this picture. It’s funny, witty, realistic enough and it has Tom Hanks in it, which come on, is always a plus.

Also starring Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Wishaw and Tom Skerritt. Music by Johnny Klimek.

 

Our Kind of Traitor (2016) Review 

Our Kind of Traitor is a British spy thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skaarskgard.

Ewan McGregor is Perry, a university lecturer on a romantic break in Morocco, trying to reconnect with his beautiful wife, Gail. Here, he meets Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a family man involved with the Russian mafia. Their lives dramatically change – improve rather – after this encounter.

The movie is pretty good, giving a whole new light to couple therapy clearly romantic getaways weren’t working for these 2. I just would like to say, please do not attempt getting involved with Russian Mafia just to improve your marriage, as there’s always the chance your enemy could be weird Russian Kate Winslet (Triple 9), rather than cool hipster Grigoriy Dobrygin.

The story is based on the novel by John Le Carré who, for those who don’t know, is an amazing spy thriller writer, being the man behind Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy (2011) and the brilliant BBC mini series The Night Manager (2016) starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. What makes his work outstanding is the capacity of making you understand the diplomatic dynamics behind a complicated plot, without overdoing on distracting, boring technicalities. So you are definitely going to like this film, if you liked the above mentioned titles or if you are new to the whole spy-thriller concept and you want to start easy.

Starring Ewan Mc Gregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Lewis. Directed by Susanna White, screenplay adaptation by Hossein Amini, music by Marcelo Zarvos, cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle.

Grimsby (2016) Review

Grimsby is a crazy spy action comedy written Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me). When we say crazy, we mean CRAZY! The movie is settled between London, Grimsby, South Africa and Chile and even though the plot is not particularly original or mind blowing, the simple fact that is a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, makes it unmissable. 

In this hilarious comedy, Sacha (Nobby) and Mark Strong (Sebastian) are long-lost brothers, but while Sebastian is an MI6 agent, Nobby is a football supporter, father of 9 up in Grimsby. When they meet again, not even Harry Potter can be indifferent to it, let alone elephants!! (This sounds so random, but I promise you it makes sense once you’ve watched it).

You will like it if you like the sharp, satirical humour of the man behind Ali G, Borat, Brüno and General Admiral Aladeen. You may not like it if you’re from Grimsby. 

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher. Not starring Daniel Radcliffe, Liam Gallagher,  Vin Diesel and Donald Trump.

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) Review

Academy Award Nominee for Actress in a Leading Role – Meryl Streep

Academy Award Nominee for Costume Design – Consolata Boyle

 

Florence Foster Jenkins is a biographical comedy-drama settled in New York in the late 40s early 50s.
Meryl Streep is Madame Florence, an eclectic personality in the New York musical scenario of the after war period, who was not at all put off, or aware rather, of the lack of her musical skills and became one of the most talked-of opera singers of her time, performing with pianist Cosmé McMoon. Her greater supporter was her late husband, St. Clair Bayfield, a man who gave up his own ambition to dedicate his life to the happiness and self-fulfilment of his beloved wife, protecting her and encouraging her with adoring loyalty.
Once again Meryl Streep shows she can do no wrong. Her performance is flawless and delicate, a touching tribute to a woman that, in spite of the reality around her, created and thrived in her little world of happiness, music and people loyal and loving to a fault. Hugh Grant plays a beautiful Mr Bayfield, in a role surprisinglyFFj different from his usual and comfortable ones, and that we absolutely loved! The film also casts Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg, who shows off his musical talents as THE piano player, Mr McMoon.
Cinematography by Danny Cohen is genuinely lovely and so is the costume design by Consolata Boyle, whom we already loved in The Iron Lady. The clothes throughout the film are elegant and rich with an impressing attention to details, definitely worth an Academy Award nomination.

You will like it if you liked The King’s Speech, as both tell an emotional, deep real story about a well-known character in an highly entertaining fashion, stepping up the biographical genre to the next level.
If after the movie you want the real recordings of Lady Florence, you can get them in the iTunes Store.