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Lord of War (2005)
It is a violent world, but you are never the (really) bad guy
This is a superlative movie that uses a very contemporary setup to address some very old human moral dilemmas by telling the story from the protagonist's point of view.
Nicholas Cage plays Youri Orlov, a very successful gun runner who rises to great wealth by running weapons all over the world. The movie is mounted with a quick but not overwhelming rhythm, and we are constantly following Youri as he alternative he runs guns while escaping from his Interpol Nemesis (Ethan Hawke) and lives the good life with his beautiful wife and kid.
So, what is wrong with bad? From Youri's point of view, if you do not do it, somebody else wile.
And the fact that the bullet you are selling will eventually kill a young man, as shown in the fantastic opening scene which follows the story of a bullet from its fabrication in Russia to its use in Africa, is just collateral damage he did not pull the trigger.
And if you have to deal with some of the more sadistic people in the world, after all, business is business and it is not your war. And on the other hand, you are in good company. The major powers in the world are also the major arm traders.
******************* Spoilers follow *******************
The movie tells you in the end what is wrong with being bad.
It is not that you get hurt, or lose. Actually, good people are more likely to loose than bad people.
It is not that you go to hell, or its earthly equivalent, prison. Your well placed friends will take care of that.
It is that you are left alone. At the end, the people you really care for cannot bear with you any longer. And this is beautifully put by Ethan Hawke near the end of the movie, when he says to Youri:
" I am not sending you to hell, because you are already there"
Saenghwalui balgyeon (2002)
Quest for love
This film is about the quest of love of a young man. It is extremely realistic, especially in the description of a self-cantered central character who seems always a little surprised at what is happening to him.
The film is NOT a romantic comedy. It is not even a comedy, or a drama, or whatever category you usually put movies in. It is a transposition of life, with all its ambiguities, its unaccomplished desires, its eternal quests.
The direction is minimalist but effective. The acting is sublime. If you are not worried to watch a movie which shows things that might be happening to you, go and see it.
Lost in Translation (2003)
This movie shows the real thing
This movie depicts the encounter of two people who, because of the circumstances of being in a completely different country, are momentarily out of their usual environment. This encounter evolves in a very realistic way. If you like stories where many things happen all the time, do not go to see this movie. If, on the other hand, you want to see how a director, a writer and a bunch of actors managed to transpose real life into the screen, do not miss it.
The photography of Japan is really nice.
A great hourrah for Bill Murray. He is just incredibly good!!!
love has many facets
Secretary pulls the almost impossible trick of merging a romantic love story with a sadomasochistic relation, and make you believe it is true. The magic operates through the fantastic performances of James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the quick pace of the direction of Steven Shainberg. If you believe that it is OK to find your kicks how, when, where and with whom you want, this is a must see movie.
Bon voyage (2003)
Action, drama, romance with the background of june 1940 France
This films transports the viewer to the critical days of June 1940 when France is losing the war, to follow several interwoven stories. There is something for every taste; romance, action, corrupt politicians, sexy stars. Somehow the director manages to mix this in a proper fashion, so you will never be bored. As usual, Adjani and Depardieu are a pleasure to watch. If you want to amuse yourself and at the sometime learn about a not so very well known critical moment of French history, do not miss this movie.
Paths of Glory (1957)
Masterpiece humanistic anti-war movie
This movie is a masterpiece. It is also a portray of how the ambition and lunacy of a few men can lead to the death of many others.
Kubrick is a master of light, and the beautiful cinematography adds to the poignancy of many scenes.
The acting is superb, the travellings are fantastic, and the plot keeps you all the time on your toes.
Most of all, Kubrick passes a humanistic message. He insists on it again and again. However, this picture is not only about good and evil, or about reason and lunacy, or about ambition and idealism.
This movie is also about how men act when confronted to situations at the extreme limit, such as war. By showing the possibility of keeping human sentiments, such as compassion with your fellow man, it gives us some hope.
The Candidate (1972)
almost too real to be true
This is a film about how power, or its possibility, corrupts. Redford is fantastically subtle, and the film itself feels like a documentary which gives you an inside look into the whole process of 20th century ( and unfortunately 21st also) politics. It is "must see" for anybody who cares about politics, and questions himself on why the path to hell is padded with good intentions.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
A fair attempt to describe the subconscious mind
A lot is written about this movie, so that I will not go over the plot again. What struck me about it is that it reflects on how the subconscious mind works, quite literally in the Freudian sense. I cannot tell more without revealing the plot; if you are curious, I suggest you go see for yourself.
Lista de espera (2000)
Poetic treatment of the Cuban everyday nightmare.
If you like romance, humor, and a fresh story, this movie is for you. It deals in a poetic and unexpected way with the day to day difficulties in Cuba. The acting is very convincing, and the plot is full of unexpected twists.
I liked it a lot, and I hope you will.
Such Good Friends (1971)
Great satire of the New York way of life
29 years before American Beauty, Otto Preminger destroys the icons of american life, from the husband to the mother to the medical doctor, in a vitriolic satire where only the wronged ones gain the viewer's sympathy.
Ever asked yourself why you should be faithful to your husband/wife? See this movie. I loved it.
Crazy in Alabama (1999)
Original story; well blended mixture of humor and serious stuff
Banderas reveals himself as an excellent director on top of a superb actor, in the true tradition of Chaplin, Welles and Eastwood. His tale of fight of freedom in 1965 Alabama keeps a fast pace while running between two parallel (and eventually converging) plot lines. He never loses a good, and sometimes vitriolic, sense of humor.
Three cheers for Jurgens, who succeeds in a key role on which the credibility of the plot depends.
Double Indemnity (1944)
Candidate for best movie of all times
What defines a classic? Maybe a succession of "tour de force"s, like casting both Fred McMurray and Edgard G. Robinson against their usual roles of good guy and bad gangster; maybe the sizzling sexual attraction between Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwyck; there is more hot stuff in one look of Barbara than in so many explicit scenes of today's movies.
To my taste, is mostly a superbly told story. We know the end from the beginning, but we are still trapped in this classic tale of sex, greed and friendship. What else can you ask for?
Le violon rouge (1998)
Fairy tale for grown ups. Go see it!!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It has something for everybody. The red violin remains an intense object of desire which unifies the diverse episodes, which range from renaissance Italy to modern day China.
I particularly appreciated the way three simultaneous stories are told ; you keep coming back to the beginning and to the end, while watching what happens in the middle. A really accomplished tour de force.