The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Jordi Mollà, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård, Jason Watkins, Paloma Bloyd, Óscar Jaenada, Will Keen
Seen on: 5.10.2018
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Plot:
Toby (Adam Driver) is a director who is trying to shoot Don Quixote in the Spanish countryside. He actually attempted this before when he was a film student – and when he stumbles upon a copy of the film he made back then. He is inspired to track down the two key actors of the film, the shoemaker who played Don Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) as well as his Dulcinea, played by Angelica (Joana Ribeiro). But when he discovers that the shoemaker is still convinced that he really is Don Quixote and that Toby is Sancho Panza, Toby is roped into quite an adventure.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was 25 years in the making and Gilliam fought hard to have it made. Having seen it now, I wonder whether it was worth the fight. It has its moments, but those really aren’t enough to make the film work.

The film poster showing a giant hand on which a couple of figures are standing in front of a windmill. Above it is a collage of the main characters of the film.
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In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

In the Heart of the Sea
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Charles Leavitt
Based on: Nathaniel Philbrick‘s book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley, Tom Holland, Paul Anderson, Frank Dillane, Joseph MawleJordi Mollà
Seen on: 9.12.2015

Plot:
Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) finds the last survivor of the Whaleship Essex, Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) and interviews him about what happened out there. Nickerson tells him how Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), who was promised a capitaincy by the whaling company, gets sidelined in favor of George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), an inexperienced young captain who brings the right pedigree to the table. Chase is pressured into being Pollard’s first mate and despite strong tension between the two men, they set out to go whale hunting. But pretty much everything that can go wrong on the whaling trip, does.

When I saw the first trailer for In the Heart of the Sea, I thought that it was actually a prequel movie for Moby Dick. Turns out, that’s not true: instead it’s the fictionalized story of the real life ship wreck that to some extent inspired Melville to write Moby Dick. And while I don’t care much for Moby Dick itself, so I have the suspicion that I wouldn’t have liked a prequel story better. At least if it was a boring reiteration of a story we’ve seen a million times alread like this film turned out to be.

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Colombiana (2011)

Colombiana
Director: Olivier Megaton
Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Mollà, Lennie James, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis, Callum Blue, Amandla Stenberg

Plot:
When Cataleya (Amanadla Stenberg) is a kid, her parents are murdered for trying to leave Don Luis’ (Beto Benites) drug cartel in Bogota. Cataleya manages to escape to the USA where she moves in with her uncle (Cliff Curtis). Her only wish is to take revenge, so she grows up to be an assassin. Her uncle arranges the hits, while Cataleya – now grown up (Zoe Saldana) – does the killing. But she uses these murders to draw attention to herself, in the hope to make Don Luis and his henchman Marco (Jordi Mollà) come to her that way.

Colombiana was a really bad film – and it didn’t even have the decency to be funny with it. Though there were moments.

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Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day is the newest movie by James Mangold, starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano and Jordi Mollà.

Plot:
June (Cameron Diaz) bumps into Roy (Tom Cruise) on her way home. She then ends up on the same flight as him, which is nearly empty. They start flirting, but while June goes to the bathroom to amp herself up, Roy goes ahead and kills all of the passengers – and the pilots – who happen to be spies trying to catch Roy who seems to be a rogue spy himself. Things go only downhill from there. A plane crash and approximately 5 conspiracy theories later, June is thoroughly tangled up in Roy’s world and has to tag along, rather reluctantly.

I didn’t expect much from Knight and Day – though the trailer did make me laugh – and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a great movie, but it’s good entertainment and I laughed actually quite a bit. Though there were a few things that bothered me, altogether the film was pretty enjoyable.

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Triple Feature

Yesterday was very intense. I left work early (I started early as well) to be able to go to a triple movie feature. I finally saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age, There Will Be Blood and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. [You may call me crazy for doing that.]

Elizabeth: The Golden Age was amazing. I actually like it better than the first part (which was excellent as well and it had Vincent Cassel in drag).
Shekhar Kapur has a perfect feeling for the use of light and the effect of light and light in general. He could have made a little less “shots through ornaments” (he likes them, see also Elizabeth) but that’s ok.
The acting was a-fucking-mazing. I knew Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush do act really good. I also knew Clive Owen could but rarely would (this time he did). Surprises were: Rhys Ifans (I like him and I know he can act but I didn’t know he was in this movie) and Jordi Mollà (who I didn’t know before but who had the incredible ability to scream “I’m a totally fucked-up maniac and nothing can stop me” without uttering a single word). With that cast, I also have to give out a honorary mention of Abbie Cornish and Samantha Morton who were noticed :).
The dialogues were wonderful. Watching the movie I felt like I needed to take a pen out and write along. Or probably learn the screenplay (by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst) by heart.
Of course, the movie had some weak spots. I already mentioned the ornament shots. Then there was Archduke Charles, an Austrian who comes so the queen may see if he’s fit to marry. Anyway, Christian Brassington obviously doesn’t speak a word German (although he has a good German accent in English) but has to say a couple of sentences. I actually needed the subtitles to understand him because his accent was so bad. [Cate Blanchett had a better pronunciation.] That’s just embarassing.
And from the characterisation: Sir Walter Raleigh must have been one hell of a guy. First, he’s the perfect gentleman, funny, intelligent, knows how to tell a story, knows what he wants and has amazing green eyes (ok, those belong to Clive Owen). Then you might say he trips a little by sleeping with the queen’s chambermaid (or whatever you call the girls) [but I think that was only rational, not necessarily wise but rational – he knew nothing could happen with the queen]. Anyway, he gets Bess (the chambermaid) pregnant and instantly marries her and is happy with that. And after that he goes out and singlehandedly defeats the Spanish Armada.  That might be a little too much (but feeds my hope that somewhere out there might be a man who is a little bit like that).
Summarising: A wonderful film with wonderful actors and a wonderful script which has some minor faults. Plus: Clive Owen’s hotter than Joseph Fiennes.

On to There Will Be Blood:
I was actually very disappointed by this film. I mean, Daniel Day-Lewis is great, as usual, as is Paul Dano who does a very good job not disappearing beside DD-L. But the film concentrates so much on DD-L that everything else is lost.
The “deathmatch” between him and the church is actually no match at all, there never is a single shred of doubt about the outcome and I felt like laughing all the time about the “exorcisms”.
Relationships live and die with Plainview’s feelings, the other person he has the relationship with has no say in it. (And no matter how dominant one person may be, relationships don’t work that way.)
And the music was horrible. It was intrusive and didn’t fit. The beginning of the credits deserves an award for Worst Chosen Music In A Film.
I guess, if I ever had the chance to make a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, I’d try to get him into it as much as possible. So I understand why Paul Thomas Anderson did it the way he did. But he should have cut about half an hour of the film and could have tried to incorporate some other actors in this film as well.
Without DD-L there wouldn’t have been a movie. With him, there’s great acting but not much of a film.

So we come to Sweeney Todd.
In a nutshell: Another masterpiece by Tim Burton. I loved it. I loved the story, the music, the costumes (K. [German] wrote about Johnny Depp‘s trousers, I have to point out his leather jacket) and the acting.
Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way: The opening credits. The blood was poorly animated, it looked much too sticky and he could have done better.
That’s it.
Of course, Tim Burton has this very distinct style and some people may call it repetitive but who cares? I love the way he uses colours, and the lack of them. As well as the way he uses the same actors to portray the same roles, gives it all a continuity. (Though I guess, Christina Ricci wasn’t available.)

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spot the five differences… I know, it’s hard…

The lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler were just wonderful.

And in the darkness
When I’m blind
With what I can’t forget
It’s always morning in my mind

And there’s another quote (this time from the script by John Logan) I loved, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham-Carter) says: “There could be an us, you know. It may not be what I dreamed of and it may not be what you remember, but it could be an us.”
I may be overinterpreting here, but I also liked the reference to Edward Scissorhands: Mr. Todd holds up the razor and says: “Finally, my arm is complete again.”
I laughed my ass off during the dream sequence. The striped bathing suits flat did it for me ((c) Anita Blake).
I don’t know what to think of Jamie Campbell Bower yet. He knows how to sing, that’s for sure, but I don’t think him that good an actor. And he looks weird.

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Alan Rickman, of course, was great. And Sacha Baron Cohen as “Call me Davey” Pirelli had me almost falling off my chair. And Timothy Spall was the perfect cast for Beadle. (When I saw him, my first thought was “Mr. Croup!” but I mistook him for Hywel Bennett. Only my second thought was “Peter Pettigrew!“)
And Giles Anthony Stewart Head was there, if only for five seconds.

There are about a thousand more things I could write about this film, but I’ll leave it at that. I guess you know already what I’m feeling about it.