25 novembris, 2019

Parasite

No, it's not about real parasites as we know them. It's a people-movie.
Story is about a financially struggling but close family where one member gets a job  in another, very wealthy family. He then seizes the opportunity and in a short period of time: the whole family now have different jobs in this household. What's so interesting about it? The way it's been told and shown. And how the story itself unfolds.
"Parasite" starts off as an everyday drama with some comical additions/events.The cool thing about it is it changes it's feeling overtime and what starts out as something simple ends in a quite different way.
Now I know. For now I can call Bong Joon Ho my favourite South Korean director (and writer). He has previously made Snowpiercer AND Okja. Thanks for those too.

It's hard to find a good movie nowadays. At least for me it is. Everything basically is a Marvel/DC whatever (not that those might not be good) or a reboot...
This was a good piece of art. So, if you're up for some 2 hour subtitle reading - this one is a film to see.

Rating: ★★★★½

P.S. If this helps: It received Palme d'Or at Cannes this year (that's the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival...if you didn't know. No judgement.). Oscar nomination sure should happen later on.

27 maijs, 2019

Booksmart

First movie for one of my first Hollywood crushes --> Olivia Wilde!
I think it' s been too long since I've seen a proper senior year of high school themed movie. This was close to a perfection.
No offense to Olivia, but as from a director didn't see anything outstanding. The writing however...That I was fond of. It wasn't bubbled up, overly dramatic, nor it was too basic or overly filled with non educated language. It was just as it should've been for a late-teen movie. Enjoyed. Laughed. Cringed. Had fun.
What's the plot you ask? It's about the last day of high school for two besties who were for all these school years really concentrating about getting good grades all the time and realized at some point - they've been missing out some fun parts of their lives. So they attempt to change something on the last day.  That's it. It's great.
Kaitlyn Dever shined for me.
If you feel like seeing a feel-good-late-teen-movie: this is definitely it!

Rating: ★★★★

08 februāris, 2019

The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos!!!! You are my Greek beast!!
And you have gathered a fantastic team of talent around you!! 10 Oscar nominations (don't need all to be "winning ones") is truly adequate.
   The Favourite is an unordinarily funny, visually (production design, costumes, cinematography and editing. Yes, all these things!!!) mesmerizing piece of art that is carried out by a wonderful, dedicated and crafty cast. It tells a story about a somewhat weak (emotionally and physically) queen (Olivia Colman), her strong and bossy "right hand" (played by Rachel Weisz, my darling) and a newcomer (Emma Stone) who starts her journey into this as a maid, their interactions while there is some sort of war/peace negotiations going on in France. Movie is based on some true facts I won't be able to tell you which ones or how accurate these things were. I was watching to fill my art-aching heart nothing more. Also, my knowledge in history is lacking.
Anyhow.
This is one of those rare movies where I can't even pick out what I didn't like. There were, however, some classics that caught my eye, like:
  • Acting. It's such a great pleasure to watch and enjoy a movie where actors are doing their best by seemingly effortlessly portraying something they are not. All three ladies - Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone -, Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn were glorious. I watched and I smiled. The script, music and make-up had a part in this no doubt.
  • Sound effects. How nice it is to sometimes just hear life-like sounds like birds chirping, fireplace burning, earrings tinkling, gun firing etc. No music - sound effects. Music was weird and I liked it too though. 
  • Screenplay. I have one word. Witty. Wittiness is life. Also, men and ladies had juicy characters.
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING. I found it so interesting and lets say "new" how they chose to edit the scenes (at times I felt a sense of calmness..because of the way it was edited. Editing made me feel. That's new) and put them together..Switching from "standard" to wide lenses and choosing the way cameras were moved around and how they were moved.
  • Just read they shot the whole thing with only natural light. That's impressive. 
  • Production design. THE FILM LOOKED BEAUTIFUL. 

So soon you will see my rating and maybe ask - why not 5 stars? I'll tell you. I am not sure I got the ending..That might be my fault, but the fact remains.
All in all I believe the movie does deserve 10 nominations and it is worth a watch..When you don't feel like Hollywood drama, Hollywood comedy, Hollywood anything.

Rating: ★★★★½

12 oktobris, 2018

First Man

I am not sure if it wasn't for how much I enjoyed Whiplash and La La Land I would've gone seen this "First man on the Moon" biographical piece. But boy how glad am I to trust Damien Chazelle won't make bad movies. It's been a long time since a film left me with such strong and lingering aftertaste.Thank God.

About the plot: We get to follow the life of Neil Armstrong (played by wonderful Ryan Gosling) from 1961 up until his landing on the Moon in 1969.
There is plenty to enjoy, so let's break it down. I will try to list everything that worked for me in the order of appreciativeness:

▲ THE MOVIE GOT TO MY GUTS! IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS!! 3 times each!!! At different times I noticed I was tensed-up and holding my stomach or leg tightly. For this I can thank the team consisting of the director, cinematographer, operator and editor. Ryan was shaking, I was too. The other "gut-thing" was emotional. Got myself choked up in different parts of the story. As I am not good in history (wasn't interested at school, this is the only way I get some historical facts, basically), some of the "revelations" (for me those were revelations, probably there are plenty of people who know them) hit me hard and couldn't help myself feeling intense empathy. So for that big thanks goes to the director, Ryan Goslings performance and writers.

▲Ryan Gosling. Man, he can act! The power of transcending the character out of the screen and into your life for a couple of hours - not everybody can do that.

▲Music and sound effects. And also the lack of it when needed. Justin Hurwitz (soundtrack master in this one) also made music for Whiplash and La La Land. I enjoy the fact that I guessed that while watching and later proved myself right with fact-checking. I choose to highlight soundtracks because there are plenty of movies who somehow mess it up. For me the music should complement and enrich the visual experience, sometimes it should set you in specific mood, but not give away "what's about to happen". I think Mr. Hurwitz is on the same page here.

▲Mood of the film. Overall you get this calm, melancholic vibe and time from time you get thrown out by suspenseful and action-like parts. Interesting mixture that works. 

▲Couple of supporting role actors - Kyle Chandler and Jason Clarke both caught my eye. Luke Winters who played older Rick Armstrong (Neils son) also out-stood. He had just a couple of scenes but he delivered those neatly.

▲ I couldn't shake the movie off for some time after end credits. Considering it was a space related movie, it's even more surprising.

Was there something that didn't work for me? Yes. Although Clair Foy did a solid work, her character had substance I somehow didn't feel her and her relationship with anyone. Also I don't find the story itself (the part about landing on the Moon) that exciting.

Damien Chazelle, you have lifted the bar even higher for yourself. Three movies made. All three kind of epic. I have said enough.

P.S. To enjoy the movie, don't listen to me and lower your expectations.

Rating: ★★★★½

04 oktobris, 2018

A Star Is Born

First things first:
DEFINITELY A CINEMA MOVIE. Can't imagine how you will get "the right feeling" at home as this is music-filled piece.
Now the seconds:
A Star is born starts off with some strong and powerful string filled tunes that most possibly will give you chills (CHILLS!!) which to me is a rare experience. After that nice blast of bass, drums and cool vocals the story about experienced and popular musician who has somewhat typical rockstar problems keeps moving into a direction where he meets/discovers very talented wannabe singer. And the next is quite typical.
The thing is - while almost everything could be predictable (if you tried to guess and not enjoy what is in front of you) it is made that fluently and the characters feel so natural that predictability does not really bother you.
Bradley Coopers debut as a director (yes, you heard me. DIRECTOR) is all right, plot touches on some popular problems show business might bring - personal and within relationships. As I mentioned previously - nothing new. Cooper and Gaga did a solid acting, no argument there.
There were things that lowered my overall feeling, one of them - plot being very "I feel like I've seen this 15 times before...oh, wait..there is something different...yet still feels like I've seen this." (didn't bother me much, but I noticed). While main characters were strongly built, supporting ones were weak. Also think the ending could have been 15 minutes before it was and that would have been so much better. There was a great space where to finish it without making another cliched grand finale that kind of typically tries to suck everything out of you. Felt unnatural. Less is more I would say.

Good movie. Good music. Gagas' pipes and Bradley's voice - very enjoyable.
I should highlight that this was a cliched piece that I unexpectedly could enjoy. I blame the music.

Rating:★★★½

07 augusts, 2018

Searching

Went to see this without knowing that it will be "Searching" what I was going to see (that's the magic of movie theater showing "secret pre-premieres" where people go in blind and just figure out what film it is going to be by it starting to play. Only thing they do know - it will be something fresh and not available yet for audiences for a week, or two or something).
Anyways.
Searching is a story about a loving father whose daughter suddenly goes missing and his actions in order to find her in this media/mobile-oriented life we have now.
It's an alright movie for the most part. The visualization of it is different, very "video call", "web search from ones perspective" filled. Some bits here and there are comic-like because most audience definitely can relate to "parents on internet" subject. I've checked and critics have enjoyed this piece.
HOWEVER, I did not. I found the story to be something out of  "I've seen this! This is nothing thrilling whatsoever!" bag. Did not like the way how it unfolded and what turns along the way it took. And don't get me even started on the ending part. Feel quite strongly in a negative way when in a reasonable, realistic movie illogic appears and f*cks everything up, especially if it happens at the end. WHYYY. Ending part took away one whole rating star, no doubt. Soundtracks were tacky and too obvious for situations.
John Cho was good. I enjoyed his performance (speaking of John Cho. Columbus was a good indie movie. Watch that instead).
I can only dare you to go see this movie and then come back and tell me "your taste sucks!"...Or, you know, there is also an option of "you were right".
Cheers!

Rating: ★★

P.S. Movie is in Latvia's theaters starting 14th of September.

08 jūnijs, 2018

Ocean's 8

I think there are two ways to watch this IF you want to leave with some sense of enjoyment:
1) Get up somewhat early in the morning, take a cup of tea or coffee and go to the cinema (cause it's dark there and quality is way better then at home.....well, most of the homes I presume). And as it is morning, you don't really want to watch something deep, dark, incredibly clever or meaningful, right? I think you should be wanting something professionally made, easy-breezy plot-wise with some light touches of humor here and there, not too much action or detective-like..Right? Oh, and a good cast. That goes without saying and basically you should be wanting that no matter what time of day it is. This is option number 1 and this is the one I chose. I see another way how this can turn from mediocre to good:
2) On a windy, rainy or any other way uneventful/unpleasant Friday (or Saturday) evening take your bestestestest friend or couple of just good ones, take some alcoholic beverages (beer, cider, wine or something else I don't know about) and just let loose! But not too much, it's still a public place.

I guess you already gathered that this is nothing epic or outstanding. At least for me it wasn't except for the cast. All the ladies (I have to mention them all - Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina) were awesome and chill and very lovely to watch. The plot is very easy to understand I won't even tell you. There are no major turns, surprises, thrilling scenes, it's just pleasant and easy...like an Ocean film should be.
As for a 10AM movie - I did like it and the anti-complications in it. I give this one a YES.
Movie is in Latvias' theaters starting from 15th of June.

Rating: ★★★½