The Snows of Kilimanjaro (2011)

There are several characteristics that make this film unique. Apart from being deeply humane it presents the point of view of each character in the movie, no matter how villain or vulgar he/she is. It does so in a way that is natural and realistic. It shows that people acting in such ways may have a point of view that partly justifies their actions. That paradigm shift may be comforting if one tries to escape from the notion of the good vs. evil, so strongly and naively addressed in general.

It also demystifies the “dreams” that every one of us wants to realize in his life. How much happiness is the realization of such a dream is going to provide? Is it possible that happiness may be as close as understanding and helping someone in need? Even a total stranger!

Well, you should not miss that film. It made me start writing again 🙂

My rating: 10/10


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

 ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ is an adventure film at its best. A well written script, tight direction, plot turns, action, everything one would like to have in a movie like that.

My rating: 08/10

To tango ton Hristougennon (2011)

 The Christmas Tango, is a simple yet original story. A military camp where the rain seems able to wash to the ground buildings and human souls. People bound to the inhumane rigidness of the military spirit, trying or dreaming to escape. Yet, in this hostile ground, where humanity is a handicap and cruelty is an asset, passion is developed. A passion that has no other means to be expressed socially but through a tango dance. The three minutes of that dance is all that a desperate officer has, to express his feelings to the love of his life. A dance that must be mastered in four days by the officer that knows nothing about dancing.

The scene of tango brings back a phrase a lover of mine once said: “the air between us was so thick, it should be cut with a knife”! An artwork that only a Mediterranean writer, director and cast could accomplish.

My rating: 09/10

Seconds (1966)

 Did you ever think that you took a wrong path in your life? In that case, would you like to have a second chance? Start all over again? But, do you really know what you need? What will you do with that second chance? What went wrong the first time to make it work out with the given opportunity?

Seconds is a film that addresses the questions above in its own unique way, questions that will never cease to be contemporary from a conceptual point of view, because they relate to the fabric of the human soul. John Frankenheimer does an amazing job in viusualizing the unternal conflicts of its characters as well as their interactions with the environment. What is more interesting is that its filming is even now breath-taking.

So, if you are interested in an excellent story, kind-of science fiction, thriller, social comment this is a film you will never forget.

Mt rating: 09/10

The Help

 It is hard for a person in another country to understand the impact of a social environment and events to the life of people living elsewhere. Even specific words and phrases may bear an entirely different meaning. Specifically, in a scene of the film, a philanthropic dance takes place, in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s. The organizer of the dance, refers to ‘The Help‘, to denote the African-American maids working in the white households of the people participating to the dance.

It never ceases to surprise me how prejudice, ignorance and social infrastructure may dominate over reason, kindness and humanity. The film from director Tate Taylor and Kathryn Stockett who wrote the screenplay and the book it was based on is really amazing.

Acting and direction transfer the spectator in a place and time where kindness and cruelty, brightness and stupidity, hope and fear, go hand in hand.

This is a film you should NOT miss.

My rating: 10/10


We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

 Indeed, we need to talk about it! A film presenting a story of atrocity in a brilliant manner, with excellent actors and amazing performances. Lynne Rramsay knows how to keep the spectator in suspense as the memories of the main characters are mixed with what is happening in present. The striking contrast in the character’s outlook as well as its whole social surrounding spawns numerous questions awaiting an answer as the film unfolds.

However, what is more striking is the lack of script, i.e. a solid story explaining why some things happened in the movie. In order to justify this position, one must go into details (click on the more button after the rating), which you might want to read after you decide whether you want to see the film or not.

My rating: 05/10

Continue reading

The Skin I Live In (2011)

 It’s being two weeks since I’ve seen this film. It’s being almost two years since I started this blog because of another Almadovar film! Yet, there were so many things that were unanswered in my mind about it. Things that kept me from writing this post, till now.

This film may be considered as being … two films! The first one, is the obvious story unfolding before our eyes as the plot progresses. Pedro Almodóvar is a master in surprises, guaranteeing that beneath the surface that we see, there are things we hardly expect to find. Actually, by contemplating the totally unexpected, one may find himself close to the director’s vision! There is an excellent setup, justifying the motives and actions of the film’s heroes. Situations that one is totally unaware of, actions that have an enormous and unexpected impact in the lives of people involved, disproportional prices to be paid… Just seeing the first level of the film, is a rewarding experience. One may think that it is nothing more than a tale on vengeance. There are some questions emerging however… The end of the film is one of them.

The second film is an allegory, the true meaning building on the presented story. This is presented below. In my humble opinion, one must see the film first and contemplate on it for some time before proceeding with the post 🙂 The rating is at the end. Continue reading

The Ides of March (2011)

 Politics. Makes one wonder if there is something more dirty than this. The Ides of March is a story about the dirty tricks played, the hopes that most of us have about a person that may make a change, how things are not what they appear to be. The Ides of March as a title has more than one meaning. It is the 15th of March when an election in the film will take place. It also relates to the treason of Julius Caesar as in the film there are a series of treasons, both of people and ideals.

A story well conceived and presented with a fast pace that leaves enough time to be fully understood.

My rating: 07/10

A Separation (2011)

 A Separation is a lot more than a separation of a man and a woman with a child. The film and script by Asghar Farhadi does not differentiate between good and bad people. It would be so easy! It presents people like everyone we know. May be ever better than the people we know.  People that try to be right thing despite the harsh conditions they face in their lives. Yet, sometimes, things get very tough. In that case, for the ones they love, they may do something they would not have done if they were alone.

It is those people who fight each other, that may drive things to the limit, that sometimes make life unbearable. People which otherwise have good intentions.

At the end, the fight is paid by the ones that are the most innocent of them all: their own children.

A strong plot, realistic, truthful, full of humanity in every aspect, played by a unique cast where every man, woman and child provide a performance that pins the spectator to its seat. The start of the film, with a truly original idea is matched by a really amazing ending.

This is the kind of movie one sees every five years.

My rating: 10/10

Midnight in Paris (2011)

 Before reviewing the film, there are some feelings that I must share with you. Feelings that may have affected my point of view for this movie.

A couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with a close friend of mine about Woody Allen. That friend of mine pointed out that the director’s physique is mainly responsible for his neurosis. A neurosis that he cleverly uses in most of his films, out of which he makes a lot of money. Films that present the same topics, i.e. love and death. A neurosis that he is sarcastic about, but the spectator cannot tolerate to see again and again.

There was a strong point that really got me thinking. It was so strong that for the first time, I could not enjoy one of his films that I had not seen for a long time. How much truth was in what was said? What makes a real artist? If there an artist that created a masterpiece, while he (or she) had a peace of mind and everything solved? For sure we are not talking about masterpieces here, but the concept remains: we create because we need to transform the pain we feel in life. Whether we like or not the work of an artist is subjective for sure and everybody is entitled of his own opinion. Somehow however I feel that we should not be criticizing the conditions that led to the creation.

Even if I did rationalize, the effect remained. It is said that a dress hides a body’s defects. The memory however of a body with defects does not vanish when the body is dressed up again. Midnight in Paris was out in the theaters for two weeks and I was not in the mood to see it! Until tonight!

The film is not one of his best. There are some neat things about it though. A look of Paris from a person that is in love with the city, excellent photography, the idealization we make for another era (or situation) because we are disappointed from what we currently have, the need to fall in love (yes, again!), the fear of death (yes, I know!), a smart script plus others…We do not want spoilers, now, do we?

My rating: 06/10

PS. The post has changed since its original publication. Needless to say there are no grudges against the friend mentioned above for ‘removing the dress’. We must be in touch with Reality after all. It is just that sometimes, we cherish our small illusions and feel sad when we are deprived of them :). This post was the trigger to have a look in Friendship is a two-way street which I really liked and you might want to have a look at.