Flores Raras [Reaching for the Moon] (2013)

Flores Raras [literally: Rare Flowers]
Director: Bruno Barreto
Writer: Matthew Chapman, Julie Sayres
Based on: Carmen Lucia de Oliveira’s book Flores Raras e Banalíssimas [Rare and Commonplace Flowers]
Cast: Miranda Otto, Glória Pires, Tracy Middendorf, Marcello Airoldi, Lola Kirke, Tânia Costa, Marianna Mac Niven, Marcio Ehrlich, Treat Williams
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 13.6.2015

Plot:
Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) isn’t exactly an easy person, but she is a successful poet. When she receives a travel scholarship she sets out to Latin America. In Brazil, she plans to visit her friend Mary (Tracy Middendorf) there, who lives with the famous archtiect Lota de Macedo Soares (Glória Pires) in a remote location where Lota can fulfill her house dreams and nobody cares about two women in a relationship. Elizabeth and Lota immediately hate each other. But when Elizabeth is forced to stay longer than expected, the two of them grow closer – and Elizabeth’s planned two weeks in Brazil become more and more time.

Flores Rares was good, but not great. Still, even only a good film about two culturally important, complex women is absolutely exceptional and very worth seeing.

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Deadfall (2012)

Deadfall
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Writer: Zach Dean
Cast: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, Treat Williams

Plot:
Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) are siblings who have just successfully robbed a casino. But on their way to Canada, their car crashes, they kill a cop and so they suddenly find themselves in the middle of nowhere without a ride. Despite the snow and the low temperature, Addison decides to go on on foot, while Liza hitches a ride with recently released from jail Jay (Charlie Hunnam), planning to catch up with Addison later. But in the meantime, the local police are in full manhunt mode and things are not about to get any easier.

Deadfall has a good atmosphere and a mostly excellent cast, but unfortunately the script is right out of Coincidenceville which was pretty irritating. But at least it was never boring.

deadfall

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Howl (2010)

Howl is a movie by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman about Allen Ginsberg, starring James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams and Jeff Daniels.

Plot:
Howl is a film of layers. Most prominently, there’s an interview with Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco), the obscenity trial surrounding the poem Howl and also a part where we get an animated version of Howl. But we also get to see scenes from Ginsberg’s life. These parts are cut together and mixed.

Howl may sound complicated from my plot description, but it is not. Epstein and Friedman have a good handle on things and deftly mix documentary and feature film. James Franco is a wonderful Ginsberg, but the heart and soul of the movie is – quite fittingly – the poem itself.

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127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours is Danny Boyle‘s newest film based on the book by Aron Ralston, starring James Franco, Treat Williams, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Clémence Poésy and Lizzy Caplan.

Plot:
Aron (James Franco) is a passionate mountain climber and spends a lot of time exploring. One weekend brings him to the Blue John Canyon, where he first plays guide to two young women (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn). He then goes off alone to explore the Canyon further when a boulder gets dislodged and traps his arm and himself in complete isolation. Left to his own devices, Aron has to figure out what to do.

I was at once completely satisfied and also disappointed by this film. While James Franco is freaking amazing, and the story is fascinating, for the most part of the film, neither Danny Boyle nor A. R. Rahman were any good.

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