The Double (2013)

The Latest film by director Richard Ayoade, most know for his role as Jamarcus in the film The watch, and for directing the film ‘Submarine, The Double is both unexpected and extremely welcome. Staring Jesse Eisenberg, The Double tells the story of an alternate reality in which the world is run under a type of socialist/idealist order. Individuality is stripped from citizens and the idea that “there is no such thing as unique or special people” is pressed upon society. Protagonist Simon James works in an office as some sort of data analyst, where hes worked for seven years unbothered by his life being unnoticed until one day a man is hired in his office who is exactly identicle in appearance to him. The problem is, he is the only one who notices this new man around the office is a replica of himself.

As usual id like to start with Cinematography. This movie if packed with dramatic slow camera pans accentuated by fast and ominous music giving the entire film a dark sense of anxiety and looming danger in the fictitious utopian society. The cinematography was on point and you can tell it accomplished everything it tried to create.

The acting. My hat goes off to Jesse Eisenberg for his performance in this film. I think out of all his previous work this film shows his versatility as an actor the most due to the fact he plays two characters meant to be doppelgangers. Simon is the intelligent, softspoken, overlooked character struggling to make his existence known while James, his look alike, plays the outspoken, womanizing, slacker whom everyone gravitates towards. Both characters are played by Jesse Eisenberg and a majority of the plot is brought to life through the two characters interactions with each other. This is extremely difficult seeing as Eisenberg had to recite his dialogue to absolutely no one, and then turn around and do it all over again as a different person! Steller performance that not everyone can manage.

What I enjoyed most about the film was its meaning. This film seemed to be a metaphor for individuality and the struggle to be known in our vast world. Simon just wanted his existence to be recognized and credit for his hard work being stolen by none other than a replica of himself.  The film evokes such a strong sense of anxiety and even anger as u watch it and ends leaving viewers not just satisfied, but un deep thought.

I would give this film a 9 out of 10 for the amazing story and successful acting and cinematography. Everything in the film felt intentional and professional and was a pleasure to watch. I will post the IMDb link below as well as the trailer link. Please leave comments or suggestions and as always Keep Reading and Keep Watching!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1825157/

http://youtu.be/XG8qATRtNuU

 

Troy G. 

 

Nymphomaniac: Vol. I & II (2013)

 

Written and directed by Lars von Trier whose most known for directing films Dogvill, Melancholia, and Dancer in the Dark and his deeply artistic and ‘film Nior’ style of directing and writing. Nymphomaniac features an extremely large cast staring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, and Christian Slater. Appearances from known actors and actress’ such as Uma Therman and William Dafoe. The film was released in two pats (Volume 1 and 2) each with a run time of about two hours. Because the two films go together I am going to review them together.

 

First of all I must warn right away that these films contain extremely graphic sexual content throughout and the film is NR. It is not for young audiences or anyone who would be uncomfortable by such content. The plot of the films is that of a women named Joe that’s been beaten and left to die in an alley. By chance she is rescued by a random man and brought to his apartment nearby where she recites her life story of her struggle with nymphomania and sex addiction to her rescuer. I have mixed emotions about these films considering there is a great deal I like about them and also a great deal that I hated. I’ll start with what I enjoyed most about the films.

 

The cinematography in the films was fantastic. Going along with the director’s expressionist style of film making, Nymphomaniac did a great job of creating an intriguing story by separating each section of Joe’s life into chapters which correlate to a particular objects seen in the apartment of her rescuer. Long scenes of narration coupled by double or triple paneled shots gave the film an extremely artistic feel. The amount of close ups and photographic slideshow scenes made the movie interesting and captivating to watch.

 

The theme of the films is the thing I enjoyed most. While the topic of the movie is nymphomania, the theme of the movie to me was the exposure of the vulgarity of the masculine human condition with regards to sex. Deep down everyone is bound by the genetics of their sex and sexual orientation as sexual drive is the strongest and most dominantly felt passion we as humans experience. The irony is that while we know our sexual desire as humans is so dominant, this double standard between both men and women exists and while men are often praised for their sexual activity, women are torn down for it.

 

Now into what I disliked about the films. For starters, the films both started and ended with very dark grunge/metal music that is found literally nowhere else in the films besides the intro and credits. This was annoying for me as it felt completely disconnected from the rest of the films. Frankly, when I started the first movie I thought an add had popped up somewhere on my computer and spent a few minutes trying to find it before realizing it was actually part of the film. It felt completely random and served absolutely no purpose to the film. Perhaps von Trier likes grunge? But only at the start and finish of his films? Who knows.

 

The thing I hated more than anything about the films is that they switched actors and actress’ for the lead rolls!!!!!!! Now this is not always a bad thing, but in this case, terrible decision. The supposed purpose for the switch in cast was to show a passage of time from youth to adulthood. It was unsuccessfull. The change is extremely noticeable and is said to have happened after only aging three years. One scene, protagonist Joe is played by actress Stacy Martin. Narration in the film explains that a passage of three years has taken place from one scene to the next, and the actress is switched to Charlotte Gainsbourg. Not only was this change completely unnecessary, her change in appearance is incredibly drastic. The only thing the two actress’ have in common is their height, skin, and hair color. To make matters worse, Joe’s husband, played by Shia Lebouf, is kept the same during the three year leap. His role is replaced by an actor years later who also bears absolutely no resemblance other than skin and hair color. The switch in cast was not only completely unnecessary, it was distracting and left a bad taste in my mouth for the remainder of the films.

 

Despite its drawbacks I do believe the writing and cinematography are great enough to enjoy the film. The story had me captivated and intrigued the entire time. However I would in no way call this movie a casual watch. It is directed at a mature audience who can appreciate unique and artistic film styles. I’d say IMDb nailed this one on the head by giving it a 7 out of 10. As always, IMDb and trailer links are below. Please leave suggestions or feedback. Keep reading and Keep watching!

 

 

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1937390/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2382009/

 

http://vimeo.com/80071592

 

 

Troy G.

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

            The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest and greatest Wes Anderson movie to hit the theaters this year and it does not fail to disappoint. For those of you unfamiliar with Wes Anderson, he is most popular for his films such as Moonrise kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Fantastic Mr. Fox and tends to not only have large casts but also to use the same actors in all his films.  Following the usual Wes Anderson casting style we see a marvelously large and talented cast made up fantastic American and foreign actors and actresses such as Ralph Fiennes, F. Muray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Kietel, Jude Law, Bill Muray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Owen Wilson, and more. IMDb gave this movie an 8.4 and I disagree for all the right reasons.

            For starters Wes Anderson’s directing style creates movies that are pieces of art. This film was no exception and stunned me. Wes Anderson uniquely introduced the story of this film through the introduction of the large cast and the seamless transition from introduction to plot was perfect. The humor was great and the film was filled with characters giving lengthy hysterical explanations of things and straight on awkward shots. The Cinematography was great. A+++ Wes.

            Acting was flawless and probably my favorite part of the film. The characters were casted so perfectly that it created just enough humor to balance the turmoil of the plots rising conflict. Plus the casting I thought was fantastic. Anderson casted just enough new characters to give the film a new unique feel and kept appearances from his tradition repeat cast members. I was also extremely happy by the decision to cast Léa Seydoux for a small roll of housekeeper. Her performance in Blue Is the Warmest Color was flawless and I’m glad to see Wes Anderson pursuing young new talent in his films.

            If you have a good sense of humor you will enjoy this film. Its filled with mischievous adventure and witty humor that will make the 100 minutes you spend watching this film well worth your time. I give this film a 10 out of 10 and will go as far to say this new addition to the Wes Anderson collection could very well be my favorite. As usual i will post the IMDb link and trailer below. Let me know if you have any suggestions for reviews! Keep reading and Keep Watching!

 

Troy G.

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2278388/?ref_=nm_knf_i3

http://youtu.be/1Fg5iWmQjwk

The Monuments Men (2014)

The Monuments Men was directed and written by George Clooney and stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville. It was released on February 7th, 2014 and has a run time of about two hours.

The Monuments Men is about a group of men varying from Architects to Art Historians and Curators who are enlisted into the military and assigned to a special band of soldiers (The Monuments Men) tasked with finding stolen art and preserving existing art and architecture in the war. The movie is loosely based on a true story and is labeled as an Biographical Drama-Action film. In reality its more of an “action-comedy”.

The first mistake about this movie is the fact that it’s an action-comedy. The movie is extremely emotionally confusing in my opinion and the back and forth transition from comedy to war drama creates a terrible flow to the film. The fact that it’s set in World War II makes it hard to make into a comedy seeing as there wasn’t really anything funny about the war or any war for that matter.

Next big mistake was the casting. Now before I rant and rave let me just say that I love all the actors that took part in this film. However, I felt they were all the wrong choice for the film aside from maybe George Clooney. Matt Damon I feel was the absolute worst possible choice to have casted for a World War II movie because of the role he played in the 1998 Oscar nominated film Saving Private Ryan. Because that film is such a famous World War II movie and he played a main role in it, I found it extremely distracting trying to picture him as anyone other than Private Ryan. The casting of famous comedians such as John Goodman and Bill Murray was also distracting and made it hard to take their characters seriously.

The writing for the film was bad I thought. There was a lot of jumping around from scene to scene, each one involving different characters. Little to no scene closure. Also, like I mentioned earlier, it was extremely distracting to see a comedic scene where the focus is to make the audience laugh, and then immediately jump to a scene where someone gets killed, and then back to jokes and humor.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed with the movie. There were no real redeeming qualities about it and nothing that would really ever compel me to see it again unfortunately. Save your time and money on this one. 4 out of 10 from me.

I have attatched the IMDb link below as well as the movie trailer. Let me know if you have any questions or comments and remember send in your suggestions! As always, Keep reading, and Keep Watching!

Troy G.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2177771/

http://youtu.be/CreneTs7sGs

Gravity (2013)

Gravity is labeled as a sci-fi drama although I feel a better genre for it would be suspense. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and was directed by Alfonzo Cuarón who is best known for directing the third Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This film won 7 Oscars for best Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Music, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.

It goes without saying that this film packs quite the punch in the world of films. The plot I felt was completely original and in my opinion, the best drama film set in space I’ve ever seen. The movie is about three NASA astronauts making repairs on the Hubble space station. While making repairs, news from Houston about dabree from a destroyed Russian satellite quickly turns their mission into a matter of life, and death. After the destruction of the Hubble and their Spacecraft, they are forced to find a way to get back to earth alive.

There are so many good things about this movie that it’s hard to dwell on anything I feel they might have done wrong. To start with, this movie is visually stunning and borderline groundbreaking when you consider that almost the entire film is CG and animation! In most of the scenes where the actors are floating around in space, the only actual live action footage is of the actor’s faces and space masks. The rest is completely keyframe animation and CG. The inventive techniques used to create the correct lighting on that actor’s faces that matched the rest of the film created the most realistic and high definition animation film, I believe, in the world today.

Next favorite thing about Gravity was the music. The ironic thing about the music is that the first time I saw the film, I didn’t notice the music at all! The second time I watched it I tried hard to pay attention to the score and that’s when I noticed its subtle yet crucial role. The music is always present in the movie however it’s climactic when it needs to be and goes unnoticed just as often. It does the perfect job of illuminating the suspense and dragging you into the terror and mind shattering horror felt by the characters.

The ONLY thing I felt was slightly off about the movie was the choice to cast Sandra Bullock as the leading role. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Sandra Bullock just as much as anyone, but I felt that there were plenty of actress’ that might have been a better fit for the role of terrified Astronaut fighting to find a way back to earth. She doesn’t ever really do sci-fi/thriller movies and mostly makes appearances in Rom-Com’s and Dramas which made it a bit hard to see her in this movie. That being said, I do believe Bullock made a tremendous effort to play a role she’s never really played before and it shows in her acting.

This movie had me sitting on the edge of my seat both times I watched it. For a film that’s only an hour and a half long, it has set the standard for all space set films as well as CG based movies. I would recommend this film to anyone and everyone. The exception being those with heart conditions, seeing as this film will most definitely get your heart racing and your blood pumping. 10 out of 10 from me.

I have attatched the IMDb link as well as the trailer for the film. Send me suggestions on movies you’d like to see me review and ask any questions you might have. Keep Reading and Keep Watching!

Troy G.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454468/?ref_=ttawd_awd_tt

http://youtu.be/OiTiKOy59o4

The Wind Rises (2013) 
"Kaze tachinu" (original title)

The Wind Rises is an animation film created by the very famous Studio Ghibli. The Disney dubbed version of the film stars  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, and Emily Blunt as voice actors. The Wind Rises is directed and written by Hayo Miyazaki who is known for his animation films Spirited Away, Howls Moving Castle, Ponyo, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, ect. Miyazaki is known for his whimsical, fun “children’s” movies and over the years has written and directed some of my all-time favorite animation movies, many of which I have stood in line at midnight to see. This film was very different from the typical Miyazaki film but never the less amazing as usual.

The story is a biography about the life and career or protagonist Jiro Horikoshi who, since a young boy, has always dreamed of designing airplanes. Throughout his life he becomes one of the most successful and innovative aeronautical engineers in all of Japan and bridges the technological gap between his country and the rest of the world. This movie takes place before and during World War II and Jiro eventually designs the planes that were used by the Japanese in the war. That being said, this film has a much more serious tone than any other Studio Ghibli movie I’ve ever seen and is deffinitally not geared towards children. The film does have a whimsical side to it that brings back the familiar tone of a Miyazaki film; the romance between Jiro and Naoko Satomi. The love they share is what gives Jiro the strength to design the best planes Japan had ever seen.

The music was incredible. They did an excellent job at mixing Japanese style music along with Italian and some German influences during the scenes which those countries are emphasized. A+ on the Score.

This was Miyazaki’s final film before retiring at the age of 73, and in my opinion a great effort was made by Miyazaki to not only make a film people would love, but to make a film that was different than the stories he’s been telling since the 60’s. I felt that this film was less about pleasing his fans with the typical children’s story of magic and fantasy creatures and more about telling a story he wanted to tell. I do believe this is the only biographical film Miyazaki has ever done but never the less, it was done phenomenally.

I believe anyone who enjoys drama’s will enjoy this film as well as anyone who is a fan of Studio Ghibli. Hayo Miyazaki’s magical mind in the word of animation will be missed not only by me but by many around the world. I absolutely loved this movie and I give it a 9.5 out of 10. However if you do not enjoy animation films or war drama/romance films, this might not be a great bet for you.

I have included the IMDb link below as well as the trailer. Like and Reblog this review and remember to suggest a film you’d like to see me to review! Keep reading and Keep Watching!

Troy G.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2013293/

http://youtu.be/imtdgdGOB6Q

yahooentertainment:

Before you fill out your Oscars ballot, here’s our 2014 awards season scorecard

Check it out guys! whose excited for the oscars this weekend?!?!

(via popculturebrain)

The Game (1997)

The Game is a drama/thriller/mystery that was made in 1997. It’s directed by David Fincher who is best known for directing Fight Club, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Se7en, and the Netflix Series House of Cards. It stars Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, and Sean Penn. This movie is relatively older but I still feel like not many people have seen it. And with such an established director and actors, I felt this movie deserved a review.

The movie is about a millionaire named Nicholas Van Orton who seems to be bitter and unhappy with his life for some reason. On his 48th birthday, he receives a gift from his brother which turns out to be an elaborate psychological game that controls his entire life for the days to follow forcing him to reevaluate his life.

 Don’t worry I’m not going to give any spoilers. But the plot of this movie is definitely its best feature. This is one of those movies where you have absolutely no clue what’s going on the entire time until the very end. Unlike most movies previously described, this movie actually comes together in the end in an amazing way that gives u chills and goose bumps (the good kind). I felt the idea was completely original and they spent a lot of time developing the plot which pays off tremendously.

This movie is definitely one you can’t really say much about without spoiling the end. If you are into Dramas, mysteries, or thrillers, I think you’d love this movie. Like I said, it is confusing most of the time, but it’s confusing in a way that makes you want to continue watching to see how it ends. And it’s definitely worth it.

I’d give this movie an 8.8 out of 10 and I encourage you all to see it. Let me know if you have any movie suggestions! I have attached the IMDb link below as well as the trailer. Keep reading and Keep watching!

Troy G.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119174/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

http://youtu.be/0kqQNBR09Rc

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Waltz with Bashir is an animated film released in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was directed, written, produced and stars Ali Folman and is a true story of his experiences in the 1982 Lebanon War as well as the Sabra and Shatila massacre. This film won 41 awards including a Golden Globe for best foreign Language Film and received 21 additional nominations including an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film of the year. I have quite a lot to say about this movie so lets jump right into it!

The decision to make this film an animated film I believe was its best feature. The reason for this decision was so that viewers can focus on the story being told and not be distracted by the horrifying acts of genocide and crimes against humanity which are essential to the plot of the story. Another amazing aspect of the films animation is that it was shot with no rotoscope! The entire film was shot as a live action film, and then redrawn digitally by artist David Polonsky who, in order to make the animation less realistic, illustrated the digital paintings using his left hand! The film took four years to finish this way, but was worth every minute.

As I said earlier the plot of this movie is about Ali Folman and his experiences as an Israeli soldier invading Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon war. Many years after the war, Folmon completely loses his memory of the events in the war and attempts to gain information on his involvement and whereabouts during the Sabra and Shatila Massacre from former comrades and friends. Like I mentioned, the film was shot live action and later digitally drawn, so parts of the movie are very “docu-drama”. Keep in mind though that most people outside of the Middle East don’t know about the Sabra and Shatila Massacre so, in order for people to understand the events and what happened and Israel’s involvement, I felt this part of the movie was necessary.

This film not only brings awareness to the atrocities that went on during the 1982 Lebanon War, but shows the side of the story no one ever hears about; The soldiers, and the lasting psychological impact being drafted into the war at the ages of 18 and 19 caused them.

The correlation between the animation and the score was amazing. There are certain scenes where the only dialogue is that of the singers and the songs chosen for the film more often than not help depict the events taking place.

One of the most moving animation films I’ve ever seen. I would suggest this movie to everyone I meet. On the basis of its story as well as the incredible amount of time and effort that went into to making this well -crafted film, Waltz with Bashir easily earns an 8.5 out of 10 from me.

 I have included the IMDb link below as well as the trailer. Let me know if you have any suggestions for movies you’d like to see me review. Keep reading and Keep watching!

Troy G

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1185616/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt

http://youtu.be/ylzO9vbEpPg