Friday, January 31, 2014

What I've Been Watching

Splendor in the Grass (1961) » This movie made me sob and that is a good sign. In the end, I felt miserably heartbroken. Elia Kazan was a despicable snitch but well, he was a brilliant director, we all have to admit! Kansas, late 1920s: and Bud and Deanie are in love, torn between sexual desire and conscience, morality and parental pressure - such things destroy even the greatest love. Fragile Deanie, blossoming into womanhood and sexual awakening, can't deal with Bud's breakup and her unrequited and forbidden, passionate love for the boy from the town's most influent family drives her into a nervous breakdown. The portrait of a Prohibition era America as the joy of the roaring twenties turns into the despair of Depression is a quaint metaphor. Barbara Loden also gives a fierce performance as Bud's unconventional flapper sister. Natalie Wood delights us with one of the greatest (and more underrated) female performances of the 1960s! Her acting is really like diving head first into madness. The ending is one of the most realistically, powerfully depressing in the history of cinema. It's such a heartbreaking story... You've been warned: this masterpiece is a downer.

Få meg på, for faen (2011) » Awarded Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival 2011, this is a nice, tasteful watch! 15-year-old Alma is a Norwegian small town girl, consumed by her horny hormones and romantic fantasies. I would describe this film as an independent coming-of-age comedy with a realistic sense of humour and a frank yet funny approach to teen sexuality. The mild sexual content blends in with the sense of awkwardness we often find in girlhood issues. The teenage years are complex and embarrassing, and many girls would probably relate to Alma. Her lonely and frustrating, quiet, dull life explains a lot the libido factor and why it's always getting her on trouble.

Jeune & Jolie (2013) » Here's one of the most fascinating french flicks of 2013 - no wonder it was nominated for the Palme D'Or. I loved everything about it: the poetic angles of the erotic (François Ozon knows a thing or two about the poetry present in sexuality), beautiful Marine Vacth, the filming locations (from the holiday house in the seaside to the streets of Paris... not to mention the sophistication of the hotel rooms) and of course, the brilliant soundtrack, which is beyond engaging, featuring Françoise Hardy, M83, Crystal Castles, Vitalic, Poni Hoax and more. From virginity to part-time prostitution, this subversive coming-of-age film explores and captures the intimate side of Isabelle's adolescent life and her sexual awakening with convincing realism.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) » For a sequel, it's not that bad as expected. Chapter 2 explains a lot of what might have been happening in the first film. The scary moments are fewer, in my opinion, this one is less entertaining but more... enlightening!  Patrick Wilson's character gets more interesting in this second chapter, which is good. I've never found this movie as terrifying as claimed. It just follows the forever haunted Lambert family, this time uncovering a mysterious childhood secret that will answer all your questions, like, why the hell are they so dangerously connected with and haunted by the spirit world.

The Wolfman (2010) » I will be honest about this one: I only downloaded such thing because it featured Benicio del Toro! I am not easily convinced by werewolf stories but it was nice to see Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Emily Blunt co-acting. This movie is nothing but a tacky remake of the 1941 classic, ressurected by Universal Studios, adding all sorts of special effects and visceral attacks. The only thing I liked about The Wolfman was the Victorian atmosphere, the costumes and of course, the slightly gothic feel.

The Truth About Emanuel (2013) » Jessica Biel and Kaya Scoledario look so beautiful in this film and their acting is outstanding. Alfred Molina is always a pleasure to watch, of course. However, I was not too impressed by the plot. Emanuel (Kaya Scoledario) is a troubled girl and so is her new neighbour (Biel - who knew she could actually act?), who asks her to babysit her newborn. That's when we enter a fragile world of obsession, loss and grief coping. Basically, we witness two mentally unstable women bonding... and we can foreshadow some tragic consequences ahead.

Le feu follet (1963) » Louie Malle's Le Feu Follet is exquisitely directed, to say the least. This film is an intellectual and existentialist study of the last day in the life of an alcoholic, combined with masterfully sophisticated photography, with a very simple beauty in every angle. Erik Satie's dramatic melodies add even more substance to this black and white french classic. It's a mesmerising journey through a man's insight and Maurice Ronet honours his role... to the point of us, viewers, start questioning our own lives. I certainly understood and related with the main character while watching the film.

Oslo, 31. august (2011) » I've been into Norwegian cinema recently, so it seems. This film is about Anders, a recovering drug addict, who takes a break from his rehab center, so he can attend a job interview and see his old friends and acquaintances back in Oslo. I really liked it - it was clearly inspired by Le Feu Follet (1963), which I also watched this month. It's such a sad story, it's a display of melancholy, loneliness and second chances in life. The cinematography is subtle yet hauntingly real.

The Maiden Heist (2009) » The Maiden Heist could have been so much better! Peter Hewitt casts amazing actors like Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, Marcia Gay Harden and William H. Macy... wasting their skills on a light criminal comedy that you would only watch on a Sunday hangover afternoon. I won't say I didn't like it but all those predictable plot twists and clichés were not exactly enjoyable. If only the director was more creative...! How could a film with so many good actors in turn out that bad?...


  1. I haven't watched any of these films but now I definitely will check some of them out! Thanks so much for sharing <3

  2. sinto-me tentada a ver os três primeiros este fim de semana :3

  3. Vi o "Esplendor na Relva" há tantos anos que já nem me lembrava da história...:-)

  4. Thanks so much for these lovely suggestions. I will def. be taking a look into all of these films, as I always need new things to watch!

    rae at lovefromberlin

  5. Never seen some of these...will have to soon :) Happy weekend x

  6. Bem, destes todos só vi o Insidious II e The truth about Emanuel. Adorei o segundo!
    Agora fiquei bastante curiosa em relação ao Oslo, August 31st :)

    My Cup of Tea

  7. Já vi o Esplendor na Relva uma montanha de vezes, e acabo sempre a chorar. SOu fã da Natalie Wood, acho que ela conseguia de facto trazer um je ne sais quoi de obsessividade aos personagens - sim, até á chata da Maria!!! - que roça a loucura. E a minha irmã dizia que eu era parecida com ela, lol.

  8. O splendor in the grass é um dos meus filmes favoritos. Já o vi uma centena de vezes e continua a deixar-me com pele de galinha!

  9. they look great! can't wait to check them out :)

  10. I cry every time I see Splendor in the Grass. It is so good and so sad and dramatic!!!