First Man (2018)

First Man (2018)

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Drama, history, biography – USA – 141 min

Written by Josh Singer (screenplay) and James R. Hansen (book)

Directed by Damien Chazelle

 

Have you ever wondered how it’s like to board a spacecraft in a fancy, literally out-of-this-world space suit? Cause I haven’t – it’s just beyond the scope of my imagination. But I know one thing – watching First Man is the closest you can get to see and experience space journey.

It’s July 19th, 1969, far from hybrid cars, instagrams and robotic waiters. Somewhere out there something is happening, something incredibly important, much more cooler than all the photos of naked, half-naked celebrities and half-baked muffins of celebrities-to-be. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you an ultimate triumph of a mankind: landing on the Moon! Starring: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, dozens of scientists, engineers, technicians, NASA’s staff, fellow astronauts, and their families. This story however, focuses on Neil Armstrong, a man whose feet, or rather foot-parts of his space suit, have touched the surface of the Moon for the very first time.

Becoming and astronaut is not a piece of cake, and so isn’t being a family of a space trainee. The movie shows us making of an astronaut and it is a long journey – much longer than just flight to the Moon and back. The story opens with Neil’s family tragedy which will haunt him till the end. We accompany him in his ups and downs, when he vomits after rotating in multiple planes at the speed so great he passes out,  when his fellow astronauts die at the beginning of their space flight, and when he qualifies to NASA’s project. When he struggles with a traumatic event he just can’t get better from, and when his personality transforms to create an atmosphere so dense, he deserts beloved people. And that’s just before his major journey.

First Man portrays a man who dreams big and takes a journey through his bevearement to find himself in this world or, should I rather say beyond this world. Perhaps it’s his escape…?

But enough with the drama and psychological aspects of this beautiful, stirring deep movie. What I loved the most about it and what impressed me the most were incredible, out-of-this-world (alright, enough with this space-reference puns, I promise!) shots of flight inside and outside the Earth atmosphere. I have never seen such an exciting and nerve-breaking film! As a spectator, I felt just like I was on board with Neil every time he got on a plane or a spacecraft. For all the geeky technomaniacs out there – you will surely enjoy the evolution of space technology and even space suits, which is a silent but important star (okay, that was unintended!) of the movie.

A stunning, life-changing experience, that’s what First Man is.

My rate: 10/10 (!)

P.S. Ryan Gosling surely deserves an Oscar for the main part!

P.S.2 Claire Foy was great too!

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Nine (2009)

Nine (2009)

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Musical, drama, romance – Italy, USA – 118 min

Written by Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella

Directed by Rob Marshall

 

How many women does it take to make a movie?

Nine is a cinematographic take on a Broadway musical with the same title. Taking place in Italy in the 60’s, it depicts a famous director Guido Contini who struggles with his new movie and his life, or rather, his life with women in it. As he is fighting in despair his inability to write a script and trying to get through diverse relationships with the gentle sex, we get to see and hear the musical parts.

A whole constellation of stars has been involved in the movie with Daniel Day-Lewis playing the main part, Marion Cotillard being his wife, Penelope Cruz – his mistress and Sophia Loren herself with the role of mother, just to mention a few big names.

For me, the movie’s a sweet candy with no filling. Though Rob Marshall brought us Chicago (2002), this one sadly does not live up to the heels. The women are beautiful, the choreography and costumes are beautiful, the cinematography is great, too. But that’s about it. Most of the songs are not performed as good as to be remembered, with the exception of those sung by Fergie and Cotillard (2nd one). The plot seems to be lacking something. It leads me to the feeling of incompleteness of the story, as it is not whole.  And the fake Italian accent of Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t make it better.

This is a movie about passion and if you seek emotions, romance and drama even more, you’ll certainly find much in it.

I give it 6/10.

P.S. Will do for Valentine’s Day!

ME BEFORE YOU (2016)

Me Before You (2016)

Drama, Romance, Comedy (?) – UK, USA – 1 h 50 min

Written by Jojo Moyes (also the author of the novel)

Directed by Thea Sharrock

 

Me before seeing the movie: yay! Let’s watch this! Both the poster and the trailer look so promising! ;D

Me after seeing the movie: Meh.

 

The man: a good-looking, rich, in his early thirties, living a life full of extreme sports. Then, an accident happens (What a surprise! Wow! Who would ever expect this?) that lefts him paralyzed, practically friendless and stuck in his parents’ castle.

The woman: a good-looking, freshly fired from her waitress post, twenty-something wearing clothes either of a grandma or a fifth-grader, who is desperate to help her family financially (quote: We need that money!). She decides to go for an interview for the post of a companion/carer of a paralyzed man, the man. And, oh, she gets the job, despite her zero qualifications and none experience.

It was so unexpected that they won’t get on well at the beginning but fall in love later. Except for it wasn’t.

I was amazed how much cliche is that movie. I know that drama-romance films usually follow well-known schemes but really I was certainly not prepared for this.

It was funny or ridiculous in moments probably not intended to be. Take Mother of the Dragons’, erm, Emilia Clarke’s unbelievable eyebrow dance and forehead’s skin movements. It surely has a lot of comedy potential. However, it didn’t fit in the movie’s theme in my opinion. Instead, that features would be terrific in John Bean-like sketches.

I find it hard to believe how many wrongs are included in the plot and portrays of the characters. The main heroine seems to be retarded for, like, a half of the movie. Turns out she isn’t. The paralyzed man going for the wedding of his former best friend and his former girlfriend? That’s absurd and unreal! The strangest for me is, however, the conclusion.

The lesson taught by this  movie is as follows: be a poor but attractive woman -> fall in love (unwillingly!) with a rich man ->  spend some wonderful time on exotic trips with him -> get money from him and live happily despite tragical past of your love. The end.

I haven’t read the book but now I am definitely not going to read either.

Anyone has anything good to say about the movie? Please, do cause I only liked the appearance of one dress and the marvellous scenery of an exotic island.

 

My rating: 3/10

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci fi, Comedy, Drama – USA – 135 min

Written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, (George Lucas)

Directed by J. J. Abrams

 

It is said nobody’s perfect, nothing’s perfect on Earth. Well, then this movie must have been made on another planet, in a galaxy far, far away

Millions of people around the world, generations of fans have been waiting for it for 10 years, since the last Star Wars movie – Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) was released. Finally, here it is!

Let’s be honest – the bar has been set very high. The creators, however, jumped over it in a fine way.

The film brings out the very best of the old trilogy and leave the audience delighted. The classic Star Wars motives and gags are combined masterly with freshness and creativity. We’ve got a new strong female lead, a new ridiculously cute (and funny!) droid, a young man who decides to change his destiny, a man in a black mask who commands Stormtroopers and uses the Force. We’ve got a complicated parents-son relationship, friendships, a bit of love. We’ve got The Resistance, the First Order – a Nazi-inspired dark-side heir of the Galactic Empire. Finally, we’ve got some old friends, too! And… a chase after Luke. The Luke!

Fast, complex action, thrilling adventures, explosions, engaging fight scenes (yup, that’s the world- engaging). I laughed, I cried.  It certainly doesn’t lack surprises – both pleasant and not. I really enjoyed the plot, the marvellous shots and special effects. The awesome characters and their costumes add to the awesomeness of the whole. And that’s not nearly all. Watch it, and you’ll know what I mean.

Although the movie could have spared few minor mistakes, The Force Awakens is as good as it can be.

(I gotta tell you, Rey is my new favorite heroine!)

My score: 10/10 (!!!)

 

 

Reasons why you should watch Star Wars if you haven’t

Today in Poland (and many other countries too) is the day of the big premiere of the Star Wars: Force Awakens (2015), the 7th part of the iconic saga. We’re just witnessing a major event in the world popculture.

I never considered myself to be a part of the sci-fi fandom. It was only this year that I have seen my very first Star Wars movie. And boy! Was I surprised! Turns out, it has much to offer, even to those of you who stay away from futurism and space fiction.

For you, dear sceptics, I listed below some reasons why you should give it a try and watch Star Wars* after all. You’re welcome.

1. The characters: whether he or she looks like human, has metal robotic heart or is an alien with fairly odd appearance – it can earn your  favor (or antypathy) suprisingly fast . There are plenty of strong personalities,  fascinating creatures, incredible beings (both from the visual and the temper-point of view) in the saga. The variety of roles is striking – as it covers inhabitants of different planets and races.

Again, many of them has become legendary over the years. Some have complicated background story. Some are just one of many. Some Jedi masters are. Do watch for Han Solo. Do watch for master Yoda. Do watch for Wookie. Do watch for… your pick!

Most of the roles are well-played. MOST.

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2. Leia: okay, I just made a whole separate reason for one character. But she is worth it! Intelligent, courageous, brave, beautiful. Good- hearted! Elegant. (And… pretty!) That’s all I could ask for when it comes to perfect female part. Seriously, Leia is one of the best lady character in the whole story of cinematography. Plus – she’s good at combat! My heroine. Feminists out there – you’ll be delighted!

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3. The relationships: if you are fond of romances – you will find a good one (Leia and Han Solo). If you hate romances – you will laugh out loud sneeringly at Anakin and Amidala’s poor flirting in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002).

Now, if you’re looking for a movie about true friendship – do watch the saga. It’s full of (often funny) buddies who may not always agree, but truly love each other. My favorite couple of pals are two droids: R2D2 and C3PO. You cannot watch their ‘dialogues’ and not laugh or at least smile sincerely. Do watch for them, do watch for Han Solo and Wookie.

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4. The visuals: firstly, Amidala’s incredible outfits, hairdos and makeup. This is truly a heaven for fashion-oriented moviegoers. Her style is outstanding and delightful! Her appearance surely has been inspired by the Orient but still is original as it could be!

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Secondly, costumes and characterisation. In the old trilogy (episodes IV – VI), the aliens of strange appearance are played by the actors wearing fantastic costumes. It works great! And – surprisingly! – seems so natural! In the episodes I – III most of these wonderful alien costumes has been replaced simply by computer effects (CGI). The audience didn’t like that as it took away much of alien’s charm. In the newest episode the actors wearing costumes are said to be back! 🙂

Thirdly, special effects and scenery. Spaceships, planets, cities. Explosions. Races and chases. Nicely done! Very nicely done!

5. Epic battles and fights: frigging lightsabers! Fighting with lightsabers! Double lightsabers! Not enough?!

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Fine combat styles. Fighting with space vehicles. Boom! Boom! Tatatat-tata!

The force! Jedi knights! The dark side of the force!

6. Real-world problems in the imaginary one: the ups and downs of the parent-children relationship (oh, boy!). Not always so perfect work of parliament (yup). The eternal good vs. evil conflict. Lust for power. Greed. Slavery. Death.

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Well, these are the reasons that came to my head. There are probably even more. So why not give it a try?

Still having doubts?

May the  force be with you!

* – I suggest you start your space journey with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

The Big Wedding (2013)

The Big Wedding (2013)

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Comedy (?) – USA – 89 min

Written by Justin Zackham and Jean-Stephane Bron & Karine Sudan (Mon frère se marie )

Directed by Justin Zackham

 

Big wedding? Big boring.

Take a bunch of great actors: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon…) and put them into a movie that’s a patchwork of many well- known romantic comedies/dramas/musicals. Be sure to include the actors who usually play in such movies and place them in their usual roles. Ta-dah! There goes our film. It is an american remake of Mon frère se marie (2006).

Don and Ellie used to be married. They had a daughter, a son and an adopted son Alejandro. After the divorce, Don’s partner, Bebe, has been like a mother to all his children. Now Alejandro is about to marry Missy and start his own family. His biological mother is coming for the event. She’s believed to be a very conservative catholic and her son forces everyone to pretend Don and Ellie are still married. Blah blah blah. Blah.

Is it a comedy? I hardly laughed once or twice. The only ones who seem to enjoy themselves are the actors (see the poster) but that’s probably because they were paid for it. However, I’m pretty sure The Big Wedding belongs to the “overly sexualized” movie section, which makes it even harder to appreciate in any way. And it’s still not funny.

Go ahead and watch it, if you’re desperate enough and dying for a mix of your favorite wedding-family comedies you’ve seen dozen times.

My rate: 4/10 (Guess big names and a big wedding do NOT result in a big movie).

Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette (2015)

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Drama, history – UK – 106 min

Directed by Sarah Gavron

Written by Abi Morgan

Today, you can do everything. You can be whoever you want to be. You can live however you like. You are free. (At least in some countries).

How much do you value your freedom? Have you ever thought what was the cost of that freedom? How much suffer, How much deaths It took (or it’s still taking).

Soufragette brings to your own eyes and soul the tough battle for women’s rights. And I’m telling you, It does It in a very fine way.

Meet Maud. A laundry worker with 17 years of experience. A wife, a mother. A 24-year-old woman. Surprised? Well, it wasn’t quite shocking in XIX century’s England. She’s one of the many. The underestimated, hard-working full people with no full rights. Just because they are women. Together, they give up much , give all they have for the sake of their cause. For gender equality we take for granted. Their path is as hard as bricks in the cells they are being imprisoned in. Their physical wounds are no match for the suffer of humiliation and injustice. Yet, so many people, both men and women, are against them.

Excellent storyline, great characters, marvellous acting (the boy!). Wonderful pictures. Just a pity mrs. Pankhurst’s story and character isn’t much developed.

A beautiful piece of cinematography. Not overy dramatized, not in a fake way. A must-watch. So that we can value the freedom more…

My rate: 9/10