Ordinary People is an exceptionally observant movie about families, psychological problems and relationships. It shows hard truths about people and is not idealizing anything, which is not what I had expected from a 1980 movie. Its screenplay (by Alvin Sargent) is excellent in its dialogue and structure. Robert Redford’s direction is so deliberate, his touch is almost too visible (not for me, but I assume some people might be bothered by it). The acting is flawless throughout, it’s almost impossible to pick anyone. But overall, the movie is just good in the things it has to say and how it says them. It obviously worked in 1980, but I think it’s just as relevant today.
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All Good Things is a fascinating movie that maybe doesn’t completely satisfy in the end, but is still able to hold the audience’s attention all the way through. It’s the story of David Marks and Katherine McCarthy (or the real-life story of Robert Durst and Katherine McCormack on whom the movie is based) and it’s clear why director Andrew Jarecki was intrigued by this story. Its biggest problem is that the movie can’t provide a satisfying conclusion because it has to stay true to the facts and the facts don’t provide an answer either. But this doesn’t lessen the movie’s power, which is mostly due to the strong performances. Ryan Gosling is as good as always, but the real surprise is Kirsten Dunst. She surely was never a bad actress, but she shines so brightly in this movie that when her character disappears, the movie loses a lot of its appeal. Still, the direction is strong and the score keeps you entertained for the last 30 minutes where the doomed romance turns into an unsolved crime mystery.
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This is part 2, continued from part 1.
We stopped after the movie jumped ahead in time for 30 years. What happens then is astounding and simple. The movie just moves on and follows old Joe as he travels back 30 years to his past, where we then follow him as he follows young Joe doing all the things we saw already. So while structurally the movie shows us the same events from a different perspective, narratively it just keeps on moving along, without any actual jumps anymore. It does leave out some crucial information, though, but we don’t know that yet. What we feel is sympathy for old Joe as he tries to save his newfound happiness with his wife (Xu Qing). It’s a relatable motivation up till this point and it’s important to see that the movie takes us there, so we later have to ask ourselves how far we are willing to go along with this character. We get some fun moments where old Joe doesn’t understand young Joe’s actions, which is a clever way of showing how we distance ourselves from who we were the more we grow older.
Continue reading Looper (2012) [Part 2]
Looper is the rare intelligent movie that also delivers on action, suspense and sci-fi elements. To me, it was a perfectly constructed story that constantly surprised me (I’m not surprised by movies very often) and kept me at the edge of my seat. When it ended, the first thing I thought was: “I want to watch that again.” It’s also one of those movies I enjoyed so much while it was still on that I was sure it would fail at its ending. But it certainly didn’t disappoint. It definitely cranks up the action factor towards the end, but the action always has a purpose and is story-driven and Rian Johnson, the writer-director, keeps coming up with innovative ideas to film the action. In fact, the whole movie is so well-made and uses the possibilities of cinema in a way that you wonder why everyone else doesn’t do that more (I guess it boils down to talent). Johnson’s use of camera and editing is brilliant, which is maybe surprising because his script is so well-written, too. Is this the better Inception? I don’t know if it’s a fair comparison, but the moment a student mentioned it, I couldn’t stop thinking that Looper shows why Inception might be overrated. Then again, both feature great performances, but I enjoyed the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis pairing so much and all the supporting actors and actresses keep up that level easily. The movie doesn’t even disappoint when it comes to the role of women (I think), but I should save that for my analysis.
Continue reading Looper (2012) [Part 1]
Remember Me is a movie I did not expect to like based on my assumptions. But it surprised me even if there were many things I didn’t actually like. What’s great in the movie are the performances (especially Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Ruby Jerin and most of all Pierce Brosnan), the characters and their relationships and… well, that’s it. The problem is that the plot is too constructed, one character is annoying as hell (Tate Ellington as the roommate Aidan) and the first and last ten minutes feel very contrived and unnecessary.
Continue reading Remember Me (2010)