Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cosmopolis

Movie Name: Cosmopolis
Year of Release: 2012
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Emily Hampshire, Philip Nozuka
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Synopsis:
Director David Cronenberg follows 2011's "A Dangerous Method", with a totally different setting, based on the book of Don DeLillo of the same name, "Cosmopolis". The film follows the story of Eric Packer, a young billionaire who decides to go and have a haircut, but due to complicated traffic the journey ends up lasting the whole day. During the day, Eric keeps meeting different people on his limousine, who challenge him, question him and finally end up confronting him with his sense of life and mortality.
David Cronenberg is a fantastically gifted director, one who has built a unique career, made of interesting and challenging films. "Cosmopolis" is an adaptation of the novel from Don DeLillo, and the film ends up being a reflection on the state of most economies and how easily people get elevated to statuses which are devoid of any meaning. The young billionaire at the core of this deambulation, goes through his day, trying to connect to a wife he doesn't know, a mistress who understands him all too well, and a variety of characters that reflect not only himself, but the state of society. The film exists mostly as a general reflection of society, and not necessarily as a narrative with characters who exist as more than "types". That in itself ends up being the limitation of the film - the characters don't really interact with each other - they reflect on different themes. This makes for a cold and detached experience. The supporting cast is uniformly good, particularly Samantha Morton and Paul Giamatti, who bring some humanity to the film. A flawed yet interesting film.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Movie Name: The Bourne Legacy
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Donna Murphy, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Oscar Isaac, Zeljko Ivanek, Scott Glenn, Corey Johnson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Synopsis:
Writer and director Tony Gilroy is back, continuing the "Bourne" saga for which he has written the previous three installments (for directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass). The film follows the story of Aaron Cross, who similarly to Jason Bourne, is an agent under the highly secretive program Treadstone. The people responsible for the program are all trying to contain the information from becoming public, and in the process, are eliminating all the supporting players, including agents. Aaron is one of the targets, though he manages to elude his captors and pursue a doctor who may be able to assist him uncovering the whole ordeal and save his own life. Aaron and Marta go on the run from the entire agency and other agents that are trying to eliminate them.
Tony Gilroy has a long career as a screenwriter, and knows the Bourne saga quite well. The main issue with extending the series which had Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass at the helm, is the lack of the sense of urgency and gripping characters the previous films had (not to mention the strong hand from director Paul Greengrass). "The Bourne Legacy" tries to build many bridges between the new characters and the events that surrounded the previous films, but ends up being a convoluted mess, that doesn't provide any further motivation or understanding of the main characters, that are after all, the core of this new film. The film tries quite hard to explain the ramifications of the conspiracies (trying to echo the 70s conspiracy thrillers, such as Sidney Pollack's "Three Days of the Condor"), but ultimately the characters are simply not as engaging, and their relationships not really developed. The film has a fantastic cast, namely Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton, but they simply can't elevate the film to the levels of the previous ones. A missed opportunity.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Total Recall

Movie Name: Total Recall
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho, Will Yun Lee, Milton Barnes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis:
Len Wiseman's career as a director of big and entertaining action films continues, after his hit with "Live Free or Die Hard". "Total Recall" is another interpretation of the Philip K. Dick short story, which was also the base for Paul Verhoeven's film which came out in 1990. The film follows the story of Douglas Quaid, a worker in a factory whose life is mundane and trivial. Doug always feels as if though his life is meant for something more grandiose, and decides to go to Rekall, and get some memory implants. He soon realizes that he is a secret agent, whose task resides in aiding the resistance fighting a large corporation that wishes to destroy a colony for the sole purpose of profit.
Len Wiseman is an intelligent director, one who clearly inspires himself with the work and vision not just from the author himself, but also from other films and filmmakers. He distills and creates a vision that is unique and original. What "Total Recall" misses in terms of character development, it makes up in an original view of a future where greed dominates everything, one where the problems of social co-existence have become chronically troublesome. The film has hints and nods to Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" and even Alex Proya's "I, Robot" (two of them based on the work from the same author). The film has a stunning production design and cinematography, fantastic special effects, and three great actors in key roles, namely Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale (who makes a really awesomely gifted villain) and Bryan Cranston. A very entertaining film worth watching!