Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Excellent Films in August...

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Million Dollar Baby (US)

Million Dollar Baby has great characters, but it doesn't glorify them. It has a wonderful story, but it never tries to impress you. The photography, score and direction is superb, but never distracting. What this movie is, if I have to call it something, is passion. Passion for film-making, passion for storytelling, passion for its characters, passion for its actors, and passion for its story and the means at which it will go to tell it. Amazing.

The score was poignant, thoughtful, and enduring. The screenplay was stunning, the words these characters said to each other, the story, the plot, the list goes on and on. Do not come into this film and expect not to be moved in any way. The film touches you, stays with you, and makes you think of the own decisions you have made in your life and how you've dealt with the consequences.

Million Dollar Baby is hands down one of the THE BEST films of 2005, bar non. See this extraordinary film and prepare to be moved by it's emotional story about overcoming adversity, and fighting with all your heart for what you want in your life. A

Love in Thoughts (Die Liebe in Gedanken, Germany)

Three words would best describe this movie - incredibly beautiful drama! And although the director might've made a better use of the camera, this doesn't spoil the whole movie at all, for it has some very good actors and a brilliant story to boast with.

The most promising young actors of contemporary German cinema - Daniel Brühl (as Paul), August Diehl (as Günther) and Anna Marie Mühe (as Hilde) - all make wonderful performances and tell the story of extremely tangled relationships, where love and happiness, pain and rage twist and turn their lives.

I am not surprised why August Diehl (23) and Daniel Brühl (Good bye Lenin!/No Regrets) have won their respective German Academy Award Best Actor trophy with Daniel winning the awards for two consecutive years. They have this unique kind of chemistry in the screen which has created the right melancholic tone as the theme of the film suggests.

Some viewers might find the paste rather slow, but I think that this is the only way to really get close to the characters and understand their motives. In conclusion, I wouldn't recommend this extremely poetic movie to everyone, but only to those lovers of the European cinema, who would appreciate something very deep, sophisticated and demanding. A

Bad Education (La Mala Educacion, Spain)

It is a very good film, although not as absolutely great as "Todo sobre my madre" and "Hable con ella"... Maybe because "Mala education" is sadder and darker than the previous Almodòvar films, the theme (the child abuse during college years) is disturbing and depressing, of course.

In this film the gay element -which exists in all the Almodòvar's movies- comes back, stronger than in his last films. But above all there's the child rape problem, this is one of the most delicate themes the Spanish director has ever talked about. And naturally "Mala educacion" is one of his most tragic films. Whereas in the previous movies Almodòvar always let a place for hope, with this film it's not the case. That's why it is a very difficult tale to watch.

Cinematography is excellent, the music as well (with many recalls to the Sixties songs). Actors are also very good. For Gael Garcia Bernal (we saw him recently in "Motorcycle diaries") this is another solid effort. He portrays Ignacio, he enters the Almodòvar world with all the ambiguity required.

Despite of having all male cast, Almodovar was able to supply a twisted and believable chronicle of lust, love and crime. B+