Dare to Read

February 10, 2012

The Artist

Filed under: Movie Review — carmenferreiroesteban @ 9:56 am
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Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Reviewed by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Being a writer colors everything I do. It colors the way I read, the way I watch a movie, and even the way I listen to the lyrics of a song.

For me, story and characters come first. And only if these two work can I fully enjoy the rest.

That’s why Avatar, James Cameron’s outstanding 3D extravaganza, left me cold. The story was Disney’s Pocahontas on the big scale, but the characters, unlike their world, never developed beyond 2D. That’s why Martin Scorsese’s Hugo failed short for me: the special effects were magnificent, but the story missed the magic. And that’s why The Artist, my bet for Best Picture Winner in this year’s Oscars, failed to enchant me.

Yes, I agree with most of the praise this film has received:

the acting is superb, and not over the top, which could have easily been considering that it’s a silent movie, and as silent movie star Norma Desmond famously says in Sunset Blvd.: “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.”

the music is great,

the doggie, oh! so cute,

and even the musical numbers (not my favorite part in any occasion) had spark this time.

Yet, I wasn’t transported. I never forgot I was watching a movie.

I think the reason ultimately was that the plot was predictable, and the characters for all their on screen charm (they are actors, after all in the story) were not wholly developed.

Jean Dujardin our protagonist is charming, but not especially likable. He pays no attention to his wife. When at one point, she tells him: “I’m unhappy,” his answer is: “So are millions of us.”

Really?

And the love story never felt believable for me. It went from inappropriate (he’s married and 15-20 years his senior) to seriously creepy.

Yes, The Artist is charming and a charming tribute to an era when movies were still new and full of promises. And both the public and the critics love it.

But for me it didn’t work. Not totally.

I’m in the minority though:

The astist has so far won three Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Original Score, and Best Actor (Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) and was nominated for ten Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Hazanavicius, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Dujardin, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Bejo and ten Cesar Awards (the French Oscars).

If you still wonder whether The Artist is for you, here is the Official trailer to help you decide.

Happy Week-end.

July 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows-Part 2

Filed under: Movie Review — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:11 pm
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To read my review of Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows-Part 2, please go to: http://www.notreadyforgrannypanties.com/2011/07/harry-potter-and-deathly-hallows-part-2.html

July 20, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Filed under: Movie Review — carmenferreiroesteban @ 11:01 am
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For a review of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, please click here:

Midnight in Paris.

October 13, 2010

Never Let Me Go directed by Mark Romanek

Filed under: Movie Review — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:33 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

Dystopian societies are big these days in literature.

They have been for a while, I guess, but I wasn’t aware of it. I read Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm (the one with the talking pigs) and Huxley’s Brave New World, of course, long ago. But it was not until early this year when my friend Candace introduced me to Life As We Knew It that this trend came under my radar.

I read the three books in the Life As We Knew It trilogy and loved them. The world they describe is gloomy indeed and kind of hopeless, as it is the one in the Hunger Games trilogy and the zombie nightmare in The Forest of Hands and Teeth I read afterwards. But nothing had prepared me for the horror waiting in the alternate 1970s England where Never Let Me Go takes place.

The idea of raising (growing is a more likely description of the process) children with the only purpose of harvesting their organs is repulsive. And yet in this world, apparently, nobody questions the morality of doing so because these children are not thought to have a soul.

Because we are introduced to the children singing and attending classes and playing in their bucolic British boarding school, behaving in every way as children do, before being told (early in the movie, so this is not a big spoiler) what their purpose is, the revelation is shocking. For us, that is.

But the teachers, except one who is quickly fired, don’t question this. Neither do the children. They believe what they are told, whether this be that if they run after a ball beyond the school boundaries their hands and feet will be cut or that, when they are in their twenties, they are to give their organs to others as needed.

The movie does not question whether this is acceptable, but follows Kathy, Tommy and Ruth first as children, then as teens. Kathy who tells the story is not bitter, or angry and doesn’t, even once, rebels against her fate.

I was stunned.

What kind of society is this that sees children as parts and believe they don’t have a soul?

And yet…

It wasn’t so long ago that Freud and his pals argued that women did not have souls. Not so long ago that Hitler sent Jews to extermination camps, that slavery was allowed and people of colored sold and treated like animals.

So maybe this story is not so farfetched. Which makes it even more horrifying.

Are we humans really this cluelessly cruel?

Never Let Me Go is a breathtakingly beautiful movie and, despite or maybe because its harrowing subject, life affirming.

P.S. Never Let Me Go is based in the book of the same title by Kazuo Ishiguro