Force Majeure – 9.0/10

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9.0/10

The movie is rich in subtext; the characters and the dialogue are extraordinary. Director Ruben Östlund creates a family drama with subtlety and elegance; he slowly raises the conflict in a masterful way, without falling in the melodrama. The long takes and static camera bothered me at the beginning, I was begging for a cut or for a reverse shot; then I gave it a pass, I thought that the filmmaker was trying to create a language for the film; but suddenly, at the middle of the movie, he broke his own language: the camera began to move (in a series of pushes in and out) without no emotional reason; it’s seems to me that he was serving the style more than the plot.  But other than that, the movie is perfect; “Force Majeure” remind us how fragile and unstable humans relationships are.  Don’t miss this one.

by Oscar Rodríguez Górriz

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Exodus: Gods and Kings – 8.0/10

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8.0/10

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” is a damn good movie considering the several limitations and risks of adapting a biblical story. The main problem with biblical adaptations is that the characters are not layered. In this case, director Ridley Scott tried to give more depth to his characters, and he did, at least with Moses. I would have preferred to see more qualities in Rhamses, not only as the underprivileged brother. “Exodus” is a more grounded movie, compared with Charlton Heston’s “The Ten Commandments”. Even if it’s full of CGI, the visual effects are not distracting; I think that this is something that Scott handles pretty well; in all his films (including “Prometheus”) the CGI blends perfectly with the real images. The main problem of this film is the lack of emotion, and this is because the audience already knows how the tale ends; adding more development to the stepbrothers’ relationship could have helped it. Christian Bale is great as always; he transforms into his character. The casting of Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro and Ben Kingsley pulled me out of the movie; they don’t really have much to do there other than to help to sell it. Joel Edgerton and Aaron Paul are well casted. If I had to describe the film in one word that would be: EPIC!

by Oscar Rodriguez Gorriz

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A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT – 7.5/10

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6.0/10

Beautifully shot in anamorphic black & white, “A Girl Walks” paints a stylized Farsi-speaking world made in California. I liked the style, but wanted more story. I saw this at Sundance. Based on the audience response, many enjoyed this more than I did. As I don’t speak Farsi and know little about Iran, I’m sure there are things here that are “ungetable/ungettable” to me. My advice: Check out the trailer on YouTube. If you decide you’d like to see the other 98 minutes, then go for it. SPOILER: There’s a vampire.

by Jonathan of ForeignFilmcast.com

9.0/10

“Persepolis” with a touch of Sergio Leone and a bit Robert Rodriguez. The film doesn’t make the mistake of taking itself too serious. Shot in a very simple way, with very powerful images; some moments look like taken from a graphic novel. Every turn is unpredictable; the soundtrack is amazing. Screw “Twilight” or other stupid vampires movies, “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” is the real deal. Be prepared for a dark fun ride.

by Oscar Rodriguez Gorriz

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – 6.8/10

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7.5/10

The greatness of this franchise lies in its political message, rich characters and their relations, this film is a proof of that.  The lesser amount of action is not a problem, there’s actually a lot suspenseful scenes, the issue here is that they’re not as memorable as in the previews entries. Since now more characters are involved in the film’s action scenes, a greater time establishing secondary characters complex intentions instead of rushing toward some half-cooked action set pieces could’ve served for a bigger dramatic punch. Jennifer Lawrence delivers her best turn as Katniss yet and Josh Hutcherson surprises with a delicate, nuanced performance. The biggest let down: 365 long days until the final chapter arrives.

By Enrique López Oropeza

6.5/10

This one feels like a “‘tweener” to me, i.e., a movie not meant to stand on its own. It’s a movie meant to bridge what came before with what will come at the end. I must confess that I am late to the “Hunger” game and my first taste of the series came yesterday. I had decided to see “Mockingjay” 1 with a friend. Having never seen an “H Games” movie, I watched the first one, then used the Wikipedia & maybe 20-30 minutes of the second one to prep for the latest installment. I enjoyed the first movie and found the “Hunger Games” concept to be interesting. It reminded me of the old short story, “The Most Dangerous Game”, by Richard Connell. My guess is that this life-or-death reality show concept was likely most intriguing the first time around. We’ll see. I’ve come this far, so I can’t miss part 4. Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is strong, as is Seymour Hoffman’s— and Woody Harrelson is good fun.

by Jonathan of the ForeignFilmcast

6.5/10

First of all, How do you make a movie named ” The Hunger Games” without a hunger game in it? I know that maybe they wanted to stay truthful to the books, but come on, the movie is not targeted only to the fans of the books, it is targeted to mass audiences, they should have taken some liberties and make it more interesting. The first two movies had a cool concept (still I think that “Battle Royale” is way better), this third installment is more like a cheap melodrama. I have to say that Jennifer Lawrence carries all the weigh of the movie. She is a great actress, and thanks to her performance the movie has a few emotional moments. Lawrence is surrounded by great actors, but unfortunately they don’t have much to play with. “THG Mockingjay Part 1” is the consequence of a studio trying to stretch a franchise to win more money; Part 1 could easy be cut down to the length of one-hour and be merged with Part 2 into one single movie – As it is in the damn book!

by Oscar Rodriguez Gorriz

DIPLOMACY (DIPLOMATIE) – 6.0/10

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6.0/10

This one’s not for everyone. It’s in French; it’s historical fiction; and the bulk of the movie is a long conversation in Paris between two World War II historical figures at the war’s end. If that sounds good to you, then this one’s probably worth a try. Because of the long conversation and the claustrophobia induced by a story occuring almost entirely in a single room, it felt like the script had come from a stage play. Sure enough, as the credits rolled, this fact was confirmed. However, I did find the acting by French veterans André Dussollier and Niels Arestrup, both three-time César winners, to be compelling.

by Jonathan of the ForeignFilmcast

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Foxcatcher – 8.0/10

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8.0/10

The ensemble of this movie is terrific. Steven Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are irreconcilable. I do have to say that as much as I loved Carell performance I would have liked to see him with less make up and prosthetic. I think that his transformation goes way deeper than the physical look. The main problem of “Foxcatcher” is that it doesn’t have a main protagonist, sometimes it’s Tatum sometimes it’s Carell; that makes the movie cold and really hard to connect with. I understand the concern of the director of telling the story in total neutrality and just present the facts as they happened; but I think that he still could have done that and at the same time use an specific point of view; in other words: tell the story through the eyes of one of the characters and let the audience empathize with him. Even if you already know the story, the movie is really entertaining; it’s thrilling and violent, the wrestling scenes are really well done and of course, it it has masterful performances.

By Oscar Rodriguez Górriz

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Faults – 7.0/10

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7.0/10

Riley Stearns’s directorial debut is an interesting take on cults and mind control. Leland Orser is perfect as the lead and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is amazing, as she always is. The movie has a couple of great scenes between Orser and Winstead that rise the film to another level, one of them in a bathroom where one is decoding the other one; it’s extraordinary.  The film is well constructed and the plot is strong enough to hold your interest at least for the first hour.  But at the end “Faults” don’t go deeper into anything. The cults remain superficial, as well the mind decoding. Stearn is afraid to push the story further and the ending turns out to be nothing memorable, even predictable. He loves too much his characters and is afraid to put them in more extreme situations. “Faults” put its feet in the water, but it missed doing the big dive.

by Oscar Rodríguez Górriz

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