Mary and Max (2009)

Mary and Max is an animation film that captures one’s attention since the beginning. The objects and scenery made of clay are beautiful and radiate the fact that their creator had inspiration and imagination when making them.

The characters of the movie, are an eight year old girl living in Australia and a grown up living in the States. They both have their bag of problems full. Through mail correspondence, they exchange thoughts, ideas, potential solutions, emotions and … sweats making their lives better or worse than they have ever being before. Adam Elliot with a great sense of bitter-sweat humor discusses the universality of human problems, characters and emotions saying a pack load of thoughts in 92 minutes.

If I was to describe the film in two worlds, I’ d say “amazingly beautiful”. A must see!

My rating: 10/10

The road (2009)

The road” is a film that paints in two hours the nature of the human race. There are numerous shades of black, dark, pitch black, unearthly black, unbearable black and … just black. There are also some dark grey spots, and even less, just grey ones!

Actors are excellent in their performance: the father (Viggo Mortensen), the mother (Charlize Theron), an old guy (Robert Duvall) the father and son meet on the road,  and the young boy playing the son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) was really impressive.

Direction by John Hillcoat is excellent, the scenary is imposing, realism is to the extreme without exageration.

The real question here is: do we want to believe that the human race is the way it is portrayed in that movie? Cormac McCarthy, has another book brought to the cinema, the most known being “No Country for Old Men“, equally dark as the one before . Till now, science is not so advanced to detect the darkness (or brightness) of the human soul and we do not have statistics on such findings. Is it too bad if I believe there is more kindness and gentleness in the human soul than the author of the book on which the film was based? Showing the way things may get better is preferable than showing the misery. Just my two cents.

My rating: 09/10

Up in the air (2009)

Jason Reitman made one hell of a film. Before seeing this movie I did not know that existed companies providing as service the firing of employees of other companies. But in the States, well, there is an opportunity for everything, isn’t it? Even for a shitty job like this.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is an experienced professional in this kind of job. He spends 343(?) days traveling from one place to another, really enjoying this kind of life: luxury in hotels, airplanes and cars stemming from his line of work. Till one day he meets a woman who seems to be what he wants (Vera Farmiga) and another woman (Anna Kendrick) who is going to bring everything up site down in his work.

This simple story is an excuse to bring up in the open a number of issues:

  • the way companies treat people (just as expandable as a desk or a computer)
  • the way people live their lives, sometimes not realizing what they really want and need, what is important for them and what is not
  • the weight and happiness of relationships
  • the human aspect that should transcend what we do for a living: it is for a living after all, it is not the goal. It takes a LOT of effort for someone o realize that

Some times we do crazy things in our lives, because we realize there is no other way to move forward. Even if we hit a brick wall, we know, it is a step that had to be taken, in order to find out about the truth! So, there should be no regrets!

Do NOT miss it! It says so many things in such a short time!

My rating: 09/10

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

There are cartoons and there are cartoons… This one has a class as a friend said. First of all, its artistic framework: the colors, the scenery, the detail in them, the movement, they are very good. But its real strength comes from its story. Although its main characters are animals, it all has to do with human behavior (of course!).

There is this guy, Fantastic Mr Fox, who is not only fantastic, but feels the urgent, existence-threatening need to show everybody, but most of all to himself, that he is REALLY fantastic! This is of course a big source of problems :). It is also his need to be the “leader” of the relationship with his beloved companion! His emotional needs drive him, beyond logical thought, to act recklessly in many levels leading to .. troubles!

There is a kid-fox which, like any other kid, wants to be accepted by its parents and feels threatened when they admired another kid-fox in his age…and so many real characters out of human life dressed in the animal cartoon-form. Really wonderful…

A cartoon you should not miss: it is not for kids alone: grown-ups might learn a couple of things about themselves too!

My rating: 08/10