“La Obra Del Siglo” (The Project of the Century) – 32nd Annual MIFF – 2015

obra_still

Director:  Carlos Quintela

Writers:  Carlos Quintela and Abel Arcos

Stars:  Mario Balmaseda, Leonardo Gascon, and Mario Guerra

M-Appeal (Distributor) Synopsis:  Cuba, now. Leonardo is thirty and has just moved back to the small flat his father and grandfather share in the so-called Nuclear City – a town built to house the workers of an electro-nuclear power plant which was never completed. As the town, already removed from the outside world, is threatened by an epidemic of mosquitos, three generations attempt to co-exist: A young man distraught by the breakdown of his relationship, an old man only interested in maintaining his precariously uncomplicated existence, and a father who just wants to learn how to ride a motorbike – three men who, unlike their pet fish Benjamin, have not yet learned how to breath under water.

Pros:

  1. kasdj
  2. asljk
  3. lkasdjg

Cons:

  1. aslgh
  2. asdkgjh
  3. ash
  4. aksjh

Review:  ksdgflkgfa

Rating = ?

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” – 32nd Annual MIFF – 2015

ANIMATION_PHOTO2040.0

Writer / Director:  Brett Morgen

With:  Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love

IMDb Logline:  The authorized documentary on late Guitar/lead singer Kurt Cobain from his early days in Aberdeen Washington to his success and downfall with Grunge band Nirvana.

Pros:

  1. Personal videos from Kurt’s childhood and marriage to Courtney Love
  2. Animation to dramatize certain episodes of his life
  3. Use of his personal notes to show Kurt’s creative process
  4. Choice to play Nirvana music on children’s musical instruments while showing early family videos
  5. Present day Courtney Love interviews

Cons:

  1. Lack of present day Dave Grohl interviews
  2. Follow-up with the girlfriend who supported him before he was famous on how she reacted to his success, and if he ever said thank you.
  3. His suicide is told as a title card at the end of the documentary with no commentary  from Love or his family

Review:  Kurt Cobain:  Montage of Heck does an excellent job showcasing Kurt Cobain’s talent and creativity, but ultimately misses out on getting key information from important people in his life.  Simple questions such as if he seeked mental help once he was able to afford it after his success; how soon after Frances was born did he get back on heroin;  did Courtney think he would ever go through with killing himself are not asked nor shown.

Rating = C

Montage-Of-Heck


“Being Evel” – 32nd Annual MIFF – 2015

15254-1-1100

Director:  Daniel Judge

Writers:  Davis Coombe and Daniel Judge

With:  Evel Knievel, Johnny Knoxville, George Hamilton

IMDb Logline:  The real story behind the myth of American icon Robert ‘Evel’ Knievel and his legacy.

Pros:

  1. Definite must for Evel Knievel fans
  2. Never before seen footage from the Snake River Canyon Jump
  3. ABC Wide World of Sports sportscaster interviews
  4. 70s setting, 70s characters, 70s fashions, and only in the 70s stories
  5. Evel Knievel stunt cycle toy

Cons:  

  1. Not enough information from the wilderness years after Evel’s fall from grace and before his redemption

Review:  Though not groundbreaking in terms of documentary style, Being Evel more than delivers on letting you know who Robert “Evel” Knievel was and his importance on American culture.  You don’t have to be a fan of the man or the times to appreciate the story being told.  What you walk away with is an appreciation for a driven and ultimately flawed man, who initially created and then became a prisoner of a persona that he could–in the end–not live up to.

Rating = A-

54c0569a36883.preview-699

Click on image to view Sundance Spotlight


“Inherent Vice” (2014) – Review

Fan+poster+for+Inherent+Vice

Writer/Director:  Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars:  Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Joanna Newsom, and Katherine Waterston

IMDb Logline:  In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

Pros:

  1. Martin Short’s performance
  2. Owen Wilson
  3. Period Setting

Cons:

  1. You don’t care about the characters
  2. The relationship/history between Doc (Joaquin Phoenix) and Big Foot (Josh Brolin) does not make sense, and is not sufficiently explained
  3. Martin Short’s character is superfluous

Review:  Inherent Vice is the rare film that feels both too long and not long enough.  While you feel the entire 148 minute runtime of the film, you also feel like the filmmakers left too much on the cutting room floor–with vital information left out while non-pertinent scenes were left in.  For a better detective film that makes you think, watch Brick again or for the first time.

Grade = D

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Space Pirate Captain Harlock” (2013) – Review

captain_harlock_by_loftwing-d6le63i

Director:  Shinji Aramaki

Writers:  Leiji Matsumoto (Manga), Harutoshi Fukui & Kiyoto Takeuchi (Screenplay)

IMDb Logline:  Space Pirate Captain Harlock and his fearless crew face off against the space invaders who seek to conquer the planet Earth.

Pros:

  1. Excellent CGI work
  2. Steampunk look of the Arcadia and its crew and technology
  3. Fairly well-developed characters

Cons:

  1. The train comes off the track in the third act with some head scratching developments
  2. The protagonist is Logan and not Captain Harlock

Review:  A very surprising update of another late 70s anime cartoon based off the manga of Leiji Matsumoto; fun for the whole family even though the finale doesn’t live-up to the build-up.  The characters are well-defined with both the protagonist and antagonist having complete story arcs.  The look of the film is incredible as well as well detailed.

Grade = B

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.


“Space Battleship Yamato 2199″ (2010) – Review

128

Director:  Takashi Yamazaki

Writers:  Leiji Matsumoto (Manga), Yoshinobu Nishizaki (Story), Shimako Sato (Screenplay)

Stars:  Takuya Kimura (Susumu Kodai), Meisa Kuroki (Yuki Mori), Toshiro Yanagiba (Shiro Sanada)

IMDb Logline:  The crew of the space battleship Yamato set out on a journey to the planet Iscandar to acquire a device that can heal the ravaged Earth.

Pros:  

  1. Battlestar Galactica set design and space battles
  2. The realization of the actual battleship
  3. The activation of the Wave Motion Cannon
  4. Fairly decent update of the first season story arc into a feature-length story

Cons:

  1. At 2 hrs and 20 mins in length, way too long
  2. Acting is weak with some characters over acted and others constantly looking straight ahead blankly
  3. Enemy characterization is weak

Review:  Nostalgia for the late 70s anime cartoon Starblazers is not enough to overcome bad acting, weak enemy, and some serious plot holes is this live-action modern re-telling.  Also, the screenwriters make the mistake of assuming the audience is familiar with the cartoon series and its characters.  If you have never watched the series, then you will be scratching your head wondering why the ship’s doctor is always running around with a sake bottle in hand.

(NOTE:  Clicking on the movie poster will allow you to watch the entire film w/ English Subtitles.  You will also have to click on the second link beneath the poster to watch the final twenty minutes.)

Grade = C (B for fans of the original late 70s cartoon)

affiche-space-battleship-yamato-2010-3

Click on image to watch MOVIE

Click here to watch the final twenty minutes w/ English subtitles.

PS:  I am a big fan of the original Starblazers series, and in fact would wake-up at 5:30 AM to watch the series on the local UHF station every week day.

SERIES FACT:  The show is only known as Starblazers in the United States, and the ships name is Argo and not Yamato.  The real battleship Yamato was sunk by the US Navy during WWII.


“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) – Review

Print

Director:  James Gunn

Writers:  James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

Stars:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel

IMDb Logline:  Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser.

Pros:

  1. Great character development for all the protagonists
  2. Impressive voice work from both Bradley Cooper (Rocket) and Vin Diesel (Groot).  Cooper for his lightning fast and surprisingly emotional performance, and Diesel for delivering expressive and emotive readings of his one phrase of dialogue throughout the entire film.
  3. James Gunn’s, the director, world building is a balance of the original series Star Trek with humanoid painted aliens & story telling, and the adventure & fun of the original trilogy Star Wars films.
  4. Action packed third act the audience can follow sprinkled with moments of comedy and sacrifice
  5. General Eddie Murphy action comedy vibe similar to Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs but with much less cursing

Con:

  1. Generic principal villain

Review:  Much like Raiders of the Lost ArkGuardians of the Galaxy knows how to make an audience enjoy itself.  Released from the sometimes heavy burden of established comic mythology, Guardians lets loose with a band of misfits that learn to love & care for each other.  In turn, this allows the audience to love & care for them.  From its impressive special effects, camaraderie & chemistry among characters, easter-eggs for comics and 80s fans, and genuine emotion at the end of the film, Guardians of the Galaxy does no wrong.

Grade = A-

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.

 

Other great Guardians‘ images:

GoTG-retro-poster

Groot-and-Rocket-IMAX-poster-Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

rbas3gtm0rgx6x7qyjh3

guardians-of-the-galaxy-comic-con


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 441 other followers