Thursday, 23 April 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON


4/5

Avengers, the worlds mightiest superheroes, have totally stuffed up the world. Iron Man had created an artificial intelligence called Ultron. Ultron was supposed to become the earth protector. Instead it turns into an abomination. Now The Avengers face a stronger enemy than they had ever imagined, the evil completely of their own making. Will they be able to defeat it? And more importantly, are they the heroes the world needs or are they just different kind of monsters?

Complaining about the luck of depth in the new instalment of Avengers, the third grossing film of all times, will do you no good - a movie that has 10 main characters is doomed to scratch only a surface . But Joss Whedon gives each of them a story arc, a mission to fulfil and a reason to exist. He also does produce a snappy, dry humour dialogue that works well in every scene, also Iron Man, for some reason, has the best lines.

It may be unfortunate, but some jokes are easy to miss because of the eye popping spectacle at hand. While in super hero movie the lives of the characters are never at stake, the balance has shifted with the arrival of super powerful twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  

Elizabeth Olsen, as Scarlet Witch, is the gem of the movie. Tragically beautiful, always torn between her darker and human self, she is a quirky, interesting character to watch. I had been following Elisabeth Olsen for a while and I do hope she will eventually get a movie where her acting ability will truly shine. As for now, she just may be the best thing about the new AVENGERS.

Malvel movies are all about action, and AGE OF ULTRON has a few spectacular pieces, the best puts Iton Man agains Hulk. This is an epic battle (part of it is revealed in a trailer) that cannot compete with any other action scene in the film.

AGE OF ULTRON was advertised as a personal film for all the avengers, and they do have to face their private demons and fears. The darkest  episode concerns BLACK WIDOW, and this may be a glimpse into what the series may eventually become - a more serious and believable film.

HAWKS-EYE is also getting personal treatment. His secret is revealed - a clever twist that made him three dimensional. It would be interesting to see if he would ever get his own movie.

Any negatives? Probably the villain himself. Ultron is not terrifying enough, he does not have the aura of dread I would expect from such a villain. Just like Lockie in the first movie, he does not seem to be the big bad monster that requires the avengers to assemble.

THE AVENGERS, once again, played too safe for their own good. Spectacular - yes. Believable - not. The new AVENGERS still remains a Saturday cartoon with a mega million budget. But, maybe, it is not such a bad thing.

Monday, 6 April 2015

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: THE LAST DIAMOND (LE DERNIER DIAMANT)


41/2/5

Simon is a low rank con artist who gets a big gig - to steal the 137 carat diamond just under the noses of high security guards. And the best way to do it is to pretend a security specialist himself, get undeniably great references and get access to the inside information. But there’s one complication - a beautiful Julia, a diamond expert. For her the sell of the diamond is a dedication to her recently deceased mother. As the heist takes shape, so are the reasons for the whole affair. Who are the real people behind it and what are the real villains of the play?

When you finish THE LAST DIAMAND it leaves an impression of having read a good book. It is probably because not a second is wasted in this less than two hour run of a film, the characters are well developed, the action is nicely played, and surprises are timely revealed.

Simon and Julia (Berenice Bejo from famous Oscar winning THE ARTIST) are perfect duo with some great chemistry between them. Surprisingly it is their relationship, that hold this movie together, and even overcomplicated heist does not seem so unbelievable thanks to their performances.

The main event - the heist, takes place somewhere in the middle of the film, leaving the third act to wrap up the loose ends and  to reveal a few satisfying twists that put THE  LAST DIAMOND above the many robbery flicks you might have already seen.


It is a solidly written, acted and directed thriller that will let you get immersed in the story and the atmosphere. Without trying to achieve a highly original concept, THE LAST DIAMOND does a great job as a piece of genuinely engaging entertainment.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: SUPERCHONDRIAC (SUPERCONDIAQUE)


5/5

Romain is a hypochondriac with a twist… he is a super hypochondriac. He is afraid of touches, kisses, dogs, outsides, because all of this can bring germs and kill him. He is a difficult person to know, it is harder to be his friend. Dimitri Zcenka, Rmain’s doctor and the closest thing to a friend Romain has ever got, is ready to give up on him, but Romain begs Dimitri for a second chance. In order to prove that he can deal with his obsessions Romain agrees helping Dimitri with the new arrivals of refugees. There he meets the woman of his dreams, who is also Dimitri’s sister. The problem is, that she believes him to be a famous revolutionary dissident - Anton Miroslav. If Romain is to win the heart of the girl he loves he has to abandon his phobias once and for all. But is he capable of doing this?

From the inventive and hilarious opening titles until the final credits SUPERCHONDRIAC is a wild ride that once picks up its speed never runs out of steam. Created by the most original and genuine comedians of our time Dani Boon, the script avoids racist, fat and many other variations of the toilet humour that most of the Hollywood comedies a famous for. It focuses on creative dialogue and mise-en-scenes instead.  

Half way through the film the script enters the territory of a romantic comedy, but with confidence and charm, that feels more appropriate than redundant. Many scenes that involve Romain’s trying to fill in the shoes of tough revolutionary are endearing, and also as a character he is grotesque, it is impossible to be really angry with him.

SUPERCHONDRIAC will be more interesting to watch if you understand French, because many jokes are hard to translate. This is an eccentrically wonderful film and a French comedy farce at its best.

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: DIPLOMACY (DIPLOMATIE)


41/2/5

Its Paris in 1944 and the alliance troops are approaching to liberate it. Hitler has ordered to blow up every monument, every bridge, every museum to smithereens. On the final night of the plan execution Swedish consul general Raoul Nording enters the office of German military governor in order to stop the catastrophe. He has one night to change governor’s mind. We all know he succeeded. But how? And at what cost?

DIPLOMACY is an adaptation to screen of a successful play of the same name. Using the same cast as from the original stage production the movie has a very theatrical feel about it. The camera rarely leaves the room, but we do get a sense that beyond these walls lays the beautiful city. It is a little scary to think how easily things could have gone wrong.

Andre Dussollier as Swedish diplomat and Neils Arestrup as German governor are slipping into their roles as if into a comfortable, well worn shoes, which is not surprising considering they have done the stage show together. The chemistry between the characters is evident, what we witness are two men who did not loose respect for each other among the horrors of war, but each of them is still ready to do what it takes to achieve their goal.

The film would have benefited of some aerial shots of Paris, even some CGI would do. It would be nice to be reminded what is really at stake here, to see Paris of that time, damaged but unbroken. The little we see of the battle outside the walls feels stagy, but it does complement theatrical feel of the film and is not necessarily a negative thing.


With its top notch performances and swiftly little dialogue DIPLOMACY is a great introduction to a good play and will appeal to anyone who likes dramatic and focused filmmaking.

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: THE BLUE ROOM (LA CHAMBRE BLUE)



4/5

Julian and Esther had been in love when in high school, but the difference in social status was in their way. Now, many years later, reunited by chance, they let their passion take over. But what is the price to pay when they are both married? The movie flashes back and forwards, while Julien is being investigated for an unknown crime, little by little revealing the details of what had happened.

Mathieu Amalric has created a sexy, dark tale of suburban romance, borderline with obsession. It requires a careful viewing, just like the judge in the film we are to collect the evidence and decide for ourselves what is the verdict.

The movie is beautifully shot, every details, every angle is carefully chosen and is part of a mystery that is easy to solve at a glance, but then again not everything as it seems. The room where lovers meet is the same colour as the room in the court, the two echoing each other, hinting on the inevitability of the price to pay for the moment of happiness.

BLUE ROOM does not give all the answers, and even by the end you will not have the satisfaction to know what exactly had happened between the characters and what they had done.   This is a thinking person mystery and may seem too pretentious, but under this facade is hiding an original and very personal film that is worth seeing.