Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ginger & Rosa (2012)

Youth is wasted...

Born soon after WWII to mothers who were best friends, Ginger and Rosa have grown up together.  As they reach their teenage years and the world reaches a crisis point (The Cuban Missile Crisis), their paths begin to diverge.  This film could have easily been overly sentimental or melodramatic, but it is neither.  It is unflinching in its ability to show the realness of hurt which is experienced by each character in the film, to one degree or another.  The cast list is stuffed with great talents, but Elle Fanning (Super 8, Somewhere) stands out and continues to show herself to be very talented (more so than her older sister even). 

Ginger & Rosa gets 4 out of 5 Poblanos!

Writer: Sally Potter
Starring: , , , , , Oliver Platt, Alessandro Nivola
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Metacritic: 69 out of 100

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Hunter (2011)

Eye of the tiger

An American mercenary is hired to track down the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger.  When he arrives in Australia, he is not met with open arms.  And then the rest of the plot painfully unfolds over the next 90 minutes or so.  Willem Dafoe put me to sleep with this one.  It wasn't horrible, but it didn't hold my attention either.  It lacked tension and gravitas found in most good thrillers.

In the end The Hunter missed the mark with only 2 out of 5 Poblanos!

Writer: (novel), (original adaptation)
Starring: , , , (A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Metacritic:63 out of 100

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gravity 3D (2013)

Oh the wonder

A routine space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope goes horribly wrong.  The next two hours is a white knuckle ride through space.  My buddy Landon who saw it with me described Gravity with one perfect word - wonder.  It is rare than a film provokes a sense of wonder.  I think the last film I saw that really did this was Terrance Malick's Tree of Life. Gravity is a showcase for Cuarón's mastery of writing, imagination, and film making.  He resists the tendency to focus on anything else but the action.  And even when things slow down in this film, it is still tense.  Actually calling this film 'tense' is an understatement, like calling the new pope a nice guy.  Gravity is pure thriller at heart.  This film singlehandedly convinced me that I never ever want to go into space.  Lastly, I don't care for the new Hollywood wave of making almost every film a 3D movie, but having seen this one in 3D, I can't even imagine seeing it in regular 2D.  The 3D presentation was as much a character as the actors and added so much to an already amazing film. 

Gravity 3D showed some serious wow factor to get 5 out of 5 Poblanos!!

Writer: Alfonso Cuarón,
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Metacritic: 96%

Friday, October 18, 2013

Stoker (2013)

Creepiness abounds

When India's father dies, his estranged brother shows up at the funeral and then infiltrates the home she shares with her mother.  And then things get creepy.  Stoker is a very Hitchcock-ian look into the secrets that lie behind every facade.  Matthew Goode is more than good as the creepy brother Charlie.  Nicole Kidman (India's mother) is one of two things in this film.  She was either 1) great at portraying a really messed up character or 2) her acting was just bad.  Having seen her in a number of films, I think it is the former.  Directed by one of my favorite directors (Chan-wook Park) of one of my favorite films (Oldboy), Stoker is a great English debut from one of Korea's top directors.  Also a great screenwriting debut for Wentworth Miller of Prison Break fame.

Stoker creeps its way to 3 out of 5 Poblanos!

Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Metacritic: 58 out of 100

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Clone Returns Home (2008)

No place like home

An astronaut suffers a serious accident.  A digital copy of his consciousness has been backed up on a super computer.  The space administration then decides to clone him in order to not lost his expertise.  The filmmaker crafts an atmospheric tale of ambiguity where madness mixes with the mundane.  The film manages to be eerie and tense at moments, lighthearted at others, and still confusing at other moments producing a beautiful piece of artwork.

The Clone Returns Home gets a solid 4 out of 5 Poblanos!

Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: Not reviewed
Metacritic: Not reviewed

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Sapphires (2012)

We gotta get out of this place

A group of young aboriginal Australian girls has a gift for singing.  When an down on his luck Irish musician sees them at a local talent show, he forms them into a Motown type girl group which ends up performing for US troops in Vietnam.  Set in the late 1960s, this Australian film is based on a true story, but it strays a bit far from the real events.  The story behind the film is interesting, but the retelling is less than interesting.  It also suffers from a bit too much sappiness.  At one point late in the movie, I just wanted it to end.  I did appreciate seeing the level of discrimination faced by the aboriginal Australians and how it paralleled the experiences of African Americans. 

The Sapphires lost some of its shine and only gets 2.5 out of 5 Poblanos!

Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Metacritic: 67 out of 100

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kon-Tiki (2012)

Some people have to learn the hard way

When a Norwegian explorer sets out to prove that the South Pacific islands were populated from Peru, he does it the hard way.  Gathering a team of fellow adventurers, Thor Heyerdahl builds and sails a really large raft 5000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.  I love stories of heroism and success in the face of great odds.  The fact that this story is actually true makes this film all the more amazing.  The very palpable tension in this film do stem from the great writing and filmmaking, but knowing that this actually happened to a group of real men makes it even more powerful.   The filmmakers and cast captured the tense moments so well.

Kon-Tiki cuts through the rough seas to get 4.5 out of 5 Poblanos!

Director: ,
Writer: Petter Skavlan
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Metacritic: 63 out of 100