ACCION: Reviews (78)
Everybody Has a Plan is a must for lovers of intrigue to complete the puzzle of film noir and crime films of the year 2012. An essential piece. And very interesting for different reasons. The first reason for interest is their origin: Argentina. The locations in the area of the Paraná, a marshy landscape which takes leading role in the plot from the first moment, poses an interesting change of environment for police tangles. Usually the stories of the genre tend to develop in an urban environment. Even removing part of his distinctive personality of the personality of the cities in which they develop. Here the city of Buenos Aires is measured with the visual impact of the more marginal, rural area, where it grows a world parallel to the shore of the River. There the best-kept secrets can erupt into violence and crime. That location on the banks of the River prints Everybody Has a Plan its own personality in the remarkable cycle of Argentine police films, featuring as recommended titles as Nine Queens (Fabián Bielinsky, 2000), Red Bear (Adrián Caetano, 2002), The Signal (Ricardo Darín and Martín Hodara, 2007), The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009) and Carancho (Pablo Trapero, 2010). But there is another interesting aspect in this film: breathe the tone of French "polar" in many of its sequences and their characters. The protagonist moves between anxiety and freedom, the dilemma of a creature of existentialism. That way, the double character played by Vigo Mortensen has points in common with those who inhabit some of the most outstanding examples of film noir French and even approaching some of the inhabitants of the Nouvelle Vague in their tributes to the genre. Mortensen is the perfect actor for this type of character who is lost in no man's land. Does not belong at all or to the city or the River, unlike his brother twin, fully integrated into the River, and that seems to be a shadow. The plot has some biblical echoes the story of Cain and Abel, but above all is a story about people who are lost. And Mortensen returns to take advantage of their ability to express themselves with the look, in a dialogue reduced to the maximum where is says a lot with very few words. This type of interpretation can fool someone to believe that the actor is expressionless, when in fact the opposite is true: making more with less.
The two women in history also deserve special attention. Two women stronger than men of the plot. As often happens in the film noir, women have a plan and men only want to live. The two women are finding their way to stop being lost. Women have a plan to get out of the maze in which they are trapped. Men do not. Claudia (Soledad Villamil) and Rosa (Sofia Gala), are another example of the economy narrative and dramatic that characterizes Everybody Has a Plan. Appear shortly in the plot, but all his appearances are essential and make them grow as characters. They are essential to show from their truth the lies of men. These keys play with the spirit of the film noir in a plot that also included moments of violence very credible and doubly troubling because they are totally credible. The murders that take place in history and are used to differentiate chapters, are not decorated for fiction. Most disturbing of these deaths is that they show how easy that might be killing. The murders opened new signs of questioning the morality of the characters, preventing that the viewer can accommodate in a free and easy identification with any of them. It is inevitable that as viewers we identify with the protagonist, but living in the lie and chased by a death, that keeps us in double tension following the steps along the plot. The skill and aplomb of Viggo Mortensen to build a character with few words forces the viewer to ask more questions about the protagonist. It is an interesting game that also affects the villain, Adrián (Daniel Fanego), another victim of the labyrinth, lost and alone. In conclusion: a highly recommended exercise of film noir in unusual landscape, with excellent work of the cast. And with a brave director who refuses to let his characters are victims of topic.
Miguel Juan Payán
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Two films seem to live together in the film adaptation of the novel directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Tim Burton. The first is a proposal even rowdy, fun. It is the closest to other prior film Bekmambetov, Wanted. We are witnessing in that first part to the forging of the superhero Abraham Lincoln, his training to kill vampires and its conversion in an executor. The big moment of the first half is the fight in the stampede of horses. Spectacular and sassy. The second part comes after a temporary ellipsis of several years and presents Abraham Lincoln already became President of the United States, after having left for years hunting vampires. In this second part where everything was festive and fun in the first acquires a more transcendent and dense tone. It is consistent with the narrative approach of the film and the evolution of the protagonist, but in the second half we miss the thug air in the first half, which mimics the B movies as well and it is therefore much more fun. The problem is that in the second half the film is subject to a tension between his personality as a product of fantasy and the attempt to also be a time and epic drama. We are witnessing the war between the Union and the Confederacy up to the battle of Gettysburg in the second half. The way of presenting the Confederates as villains vampires allies seems to have aroused controversy in United States, perhaps by the simplification of this second half, dealing with historical events with lightness and schematic way. This causes even more tension between their aspirations as living with the fable of terror. As historical film, the production design is bright, but treatment of the keys of the Civil war is topical and naive, especially when dealing with the issue of the release of the slaves. I think the Manichaeism in the treatment of war between North and South harms the aspirations of the second half as historical film. Also lacks resources to give true epic tone to the Battle of Gettysburg.
This imbalance between the first and the second half indicated that it would have been good idea to shoot two films about the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, following the strategy of adaptation of The Hobbit raised by Peter Jackson. The arc of the character development and the historic environment that surrounds it are so extensive that put it all in 105 minutes of footage has generated this imbalance between the first and the second half. The youth of Lincoln and his training as an executor of vampires had material enough to give rise to a first film. The life of Lincoln as a tenant of the White House and the stage of the Civil War also deserved his own feature film. Thus we would have avoided wasting some characters, as the vampire Vadoma (Erin Wasson), who deserved more development. The same thing happens with the character of Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie), a pioneer of the secret service.
Nevertheless, the film is a competent product of action and evasion featuring choreography by sequences of struggle inspired by Matrix that allows us to see clearly and slow the evolution of the real star of the function: Lincoln´s ax. Undoubtedly a tool that everyone would like to have in our collection.
Another thing I liked is the way to present the transformation and the vampire attacks. After the romantic excesses of the Twilight saga and its variants, appreciate this return to traditional vampires portrayed as predators.
I also like the character of Mary Todd Lincoln (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Too bad no advantage over the more adventurous side of it that comes too late, when the movie is almost over.
The same is true of the antagonist, Adam (Rufus Sewell). It deserves more sequences in this plantation in the South that has reminded me of a novel about vampirism on the Mississippi written by George R.R. Martin, author of Game of thrones, entitled Fevre Dream. I think that the film would win much giving more prominence to the vampires, somewhat blurred in the entire film. Returning to the imbalance between the first and the second half with regard to protagonist and antagonist, in the first half works much better the duel Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) versus Barts (Marton Csokas) than the confrontation Lincoln versus Adam in the second half. It is something that is repeated in the Timur Bekmambetov filmography: movies tend to be better in the first half than in the second. As it is the case in their previous titles, where more shines visual talent of this director is in the sequences of action, an overwhelming display of visual energy. The stampede of horses and the attack on the train scenes are very good examples of synergy between the language of the comic and film that is manifesting itself in recent times in action and fantasy films. The film becomes a comic where the action moving fragmented and extended over time with slow majestic.
Conclusion: a good product of entertainment that shines in the first half and provides us with a healthy return of vampires as protagonists of horror movies. I'll stick with the Lincoln superhero of the first half and not so much with the Lincoln President in the second.
Miguel Juan Payán
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Dredd. An adaptation of the comic that brings good out of the 3D and is the Batman Begins of the Judge Dredd. Just that.
Dredd is a great starting point that defines the character and its surroundings perfectly without losing the spirit of the original but providing visual personality to adapt them to the cinema. Forget the version starring Sylvester Stallone in the 1990s. The first hit of Dredd is a way of presenting us the world of Megacity 1 by pulling on the texture of the documentary, which get us so much closer and more plausible in that futuristic environment, thus acquiring greater realism and narrative solvency. It is an exercise which at the time also gave very good results to Neill Blomkamp on District 9. It is just the opposite that made Judge Dredd, the version of the adventures of the character directed by Danny Cannon in 1995, which he opted to seek a visual spectacle from the outset rather than build a strong argument, and conducted by synergy with the star protagonist, attempted to make a kind of forced and little credible variant visual of Blade Runner in everything related to the environment. The Dredd without a helmet (anathema to any follower of the comic), Stallone played as a variant of his Demolition Man, turned all the likelihood of the environment and renounced make the most of the really interesting thing about comics character. In an attempt to recreate the bright color palette and stunning drawings of the comics by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra in 2000 A.D. comic magazine, Cannon fell into the trap of trying to apply the same visual cues to the cinema thinking, as stated at the time, to make "the Ben-Hur of science fiction". As own Judge Dredd would say: bad idea. The artificiality of the landscape of Judge Dredd, that feeling of mounted in a studio setting, was one of the ballast that production will not affect in any way Dredd. Pete Travis has chosen an approach much more realistic tones that serves to build an environment much more conducive and successful for the purposes pursued. That it has done spending significantly less money. Artificiality forced and plastic "made in Joel Schumacher" versions of Batman, killed the franchise giving the worst features of the film at the end of the 20th century and it was to come in the Christopher Nolan 21st century with new ideas and a visually much more solid approach that Batman could trace the flight brilliantly. Another both say Travis against Cannon for Dredd workflow.
The second visual element that stands out in Dredd is his work with 3D, one of the smarter uses of the real expressive possibilities of the three-dimensional film I've seen since Avatar. I am nothing amateur 3D for various reasons, but in the case of this film I think that they have been able to get juice, both scenes of persecution or action (in the initial persecution literally us gets in the car pursued by Dredd types) as in the scenes of the first arrest, trial and execution or the presentation of the character and Ma-Ma. Full effect of the new drug, which serves as a central element in the history is very well supported by the use of the 3D and this also serves to reinforce the presentation of characters. Three-dimensional is also something interesting to show the perceptions and special qualities as a psychic of Judge Anderson. Not to mention that the three-dimensional approach gets us more along with Dredd and Anderson in that building that is turning against the protagonists and appear to wrap them in a storm of violence, placing us in a kind of eye of the hurricane.
The third notable element in this version is one of those scripts that is able to combine a devilish tremendously entertaining dynamism in the exposure of information and no faults of pace, without breaks, at the time that boasts a remarkable economy of narrative media and footage time to introduce each character and the conflicts that arise between them. An example is the first sequence in which appears the rookie Judge Anderson and at the time presented to us that character, their background and their special qualities, the dialog helps present us with essential aspects of Judge Dredd on the other side of the glass. Another example is the closure of the theme of the first implementation of Anderson with a photo and the conflict it generates in the young aspiring judge. A fast, attack blunt and depth to the characters that allows the viewer to get more into the story without at any time decline the rapid pace of the story.
Finally, Lena Headey, the perverse Cersei Lannister of the a Game of Thrones series, reinvents itself in this character that is a brilliant exercise in antagonism to the actress brings a few nuances of totally corrupted innocence that are marked in his seductive eyes everytime you are about to commit some act of sadism as a feminine variant of the legendary gangster Al Capone, alias Scarface.
Visit Megacity 1 in Dredd is one of the best therapies to overcome the end of vacations.
Miguel Juan Payán
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Now the new Judge Dredd arrives to our screens. First thing, he never (never, I swear), takes off the helmet. It has to be hard for an actor to make a movie like this, where your only weapons, besides the gun, are the voice and the mouth, and Karl Urban makes a great effort to make Dredd an iconic character, not only because of the looks. The way he speaks, the way he moves… A damn nice job. He is the heart and soul of the movie, and anyone who has read the comic books will recognize the character under the helmet. Really nice job that deserves to be mentioned because, with a bad Dredd, the movie would have fallen apart.
The story presents us Megacity1 and the future that is waiting for us on the 22nd century. And then the Judges and Dredd, whose new mission is to evaluate a rookie with extraordinary abilities and see if she is up to the task of being a judge. They end trapped inside a gigantic building, surrounded by the troops of the new drug lord of Megacity1, Ma-Ma. These feminine characters are of capital importance because they are the light and the darkness in a world covered in gray. And Alex Garland’s script describes them brilliantly in a few seconds, with their actions (Ma-Ma’s bath, Anderson face when she sees a photo…). In a movie so full of action, to have the intelligence of showing these brief moments, is something brilliant.
It’s a dark and violent movie, with tons of action sequences, bloody and messy action sequences, that makes the film faithful to the comic book. But even when the violence is so over the top, so surreal that you know you are watching a comic book, the movie makes a real effort to show us a real and plausible world. The way the new buildings collides with the old ones, the interiors, the filth, the people who inhabits them… Peter Travis, the director, has not made only a sci-fi flick, but one you can think is real. With a really low budget for a movie like this, he has managed not only to shoot an action movie with great action sequences. He has taken care of every detail, making Megacity1, Judge Dredd and the rest something dark, real and dangerous.
The film is pure entertainment, but has something else. Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey are great, Karl Urban is perfect for the role, and the movie has something different, something special. The comic books spirit. A great adaptation. I want to go back to Megacity1.
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This time Sylvester Stallone has left the director chair to Simon West and the change has worked perfectly. Now The Expendables 2 comes to our theatres and it has learned from previous mistakes to make a big action show, full of laughs and parody, where everyone involved seems ready to make fun of themselves, were the action, the bullets and the blood fill the screen, and where our heroes have some of the funniest moments we can see in a movie this year. As I said, maybe some critics don’t get it, but the crowd is going to clap, laugh and have a wonderful time, remembering his old heroes, that still can kick ass.
If anyone is wondering about the story of the movie, it is as simple as it gets. After a superb action scene that starts the movie, and the jokes, Stallone and his guys are out looking for payback. Why loose time with a story who nobody cares, when the audience is looking for action and laughs? So must the filmmaker think, and that is what he gives us. He and of course Stallone, who is the father of this great idea, has very clear that this is a parody, a big great joke about this actors and their movies, and the audience rides along with this idea, laughs, claps and you even feel you want to stand up and give these guys an ovation some times.
Every one of them has his moment in the movie. No matter if you are a Stallone fan, a Van Damme fan or a Statham fan. Even the less important characters, like Jet Li, who is in the movie for a very short amount of time, or Dolph Lundgren, or the “cameos” like Willis or Chuck Norris (which has some of the best jokes and killings of the movie with his Lone Wolf style) have some great moments. Funny, parody moments, with great one-liners that are going to make the crowd laugh insanely. And the final battle, Stallone vs. van Damme, come on, who doesn’t want to see this fight in a movie for the last 30 years? The Expendables 2 knows its place, knows how to please the audience and give it the movie they (we) are waiting for. And it makes us wish for a third movie.
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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp return to the theaters with an unusual adaptation. Dark Shadows was a soap opera like Days of our Lives or General Hospital, but in a world inhabited by vampires, witches and ghosts. A complete revolution, way ahead of its time, the tv show was cancelled after a five years running, something not really usual for a soap opera. General Hospital and Days of Our Lives are still running… Dan Curtis created something different. A show that became a cult show, with a movie released in 1970 (with most of the original cast), a tv movie in 2005 and a remake in the early 90’s with Joseph Gordon Levitt…
And now the Tim Burton movie. Dark Shadows universe is perfect for Burton’s skills. The gothic ambience, the tragic love story, the odd characters… The movie has the scent of his previous work, specially Sleepy Hollow. The story of Barnabas Collins, a man turned vampire by a witch’s curse, that finds himself in 1972, with a new family (the heirs of the Collins name) and the same witch trying to screw his life. And, of course, the love of his life in a way he never expected. As you can see, perfect for Tim Burton.
The atmosphere is great. Really great. It has some flashes form Burton’s greatest movies. The way the ghosts appear, the mansion… It makes you wonder if Burton is really coming back with the brilliance of Ed Wood or Edward Scissorhands. And it has some pretty funny moments (like the McDonalds joke, simply great). But the jokes are not always funny, or not as funny as they want to be. Some of them are just… let’s say unoriginal (Barnabas confronting the 70’s world… we have seen it so many times before…).
But the real problem is that the movie is too slow. Sometimes you can really think that nothing is happening on screen, that the story doesn’t moves forward. Like a soap opera… It goes round and round with some clichés and some jokes, and the two hour ride becomes a too long ride. It has powerful moments (almost anytime the ghost appears on screen) but a boring script. Not always, but sometimes it makes you wonder when is going to happen something. Anything. When the third act begins it’s too late for anyone that is not a Tim Burton fan.
Johnny Depp wears a costume for Burton again. He’s the real heart of the movie. Without him the movie would’ve been less funny and interesting. But there are three actresses that are specially great in the movie. The always beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer and the unique Chloe Grace Moretz, a girl that steals every scene she is on (with a really disturbing image… and the way she appears in the background so many times). And, of course, the gorgeous Eva Green, a witch you will remember for years… You can watch the movie just for them. An enjoyable film that could have been really better. Maybe next time.
Amazing, epic and brilliantly directed comic-book movie. Joss Whedon has made one of the greatest action movies of the year, teaming a bunch of superheroes that works more like a dysfunctional family than like a group. And it works. It really works. It’s one of these movies that have all the ingredients mixed so perfectly that when the end credits come you want to see the movie again. I have to admit that, even being a huge fan of the previous Whedon’s work, I was somehow scared that his talent was lost in the making of a huge blockbuster movie with so many stars and so many marketing interests. But he proves to be the right director (and writer) for this movie.
First of all, Whedon knows the characters. He has worked for Marvel as a writer for many years, and you can tell he knows how to make the characters work, alone and together (you have never seen the Hulk you see in this movie, for instance). And Whedon has a great experience with teams as a screen writer, not only in Buffy, his most popular TV show, but also in Angel and Firefly. In fact, when the final battle comes in The Avengers, I remembered the last episode of Angel, one of the best of the show, and one that was truly epic. Like this movie.
The movie knows how to manage the little tidbits of information that have been lurking around for years in the Marvel films. It opens with the “small” characters, Nick Fury and Hawkeye, and introduces Maria Hill to the audience. Then it goes to the Black Widow and even the new Hulk. By the time the movie presents the most known characters, you already care for the others. It’s a perfect play and makes sense. And makes more sense with the villain, when Loki becomes a force of evil and not the whining brother we had seen on Thor.
The cast, of course, is excellent. Not only the stars, the ones that had had a previous movie like Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans or, of course, Robert Downey Jr. Mark Ruffalo makes a real improvement to prior Bruce Banners. Samuel L. Jackson and Jeremy Renner have some amazing moments, and Scarlett Johansson shines with a bunch of unforgettable scenes. It may sound as a joke, but it is a real assemble cast. Everyone seems to have a perfect moment to shine in the last battle. A battle you will remember for years. A battle that really comes from the pages of a comic-book.
And then you have the sense of humor. You will laugh, I can guarantee that. Hard. And if you don’t believe me, just remember, Thor, Hulk and Loki. The Avengers has the magic of the really great summer movies. It works like The Dark Knight worked for DC years ago. As a masterpiece. Combining sci-fi, action, humor and epic with a flawless script and a director that has a great story to tell. And knows how to tell it. When the movie ends, you will crave for more Avengers. Let’s hope Joss Whedon takes charge of another one. Nuff said…
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