This has been a real breakthrough year for me as far as film goes and my writing of it. Especially this blog and my contribution to The Concordian. Here's to an ever better 2010 and many thanks to all my readers and followers (nearing 100) that have supported and read the blog. To some who are wondering my ten best list will most likely appear in the coming weeks- as well as a review of Michael Haneke's polarizing The White Ribbon (Which I`m still on the fence about). In fact I might just write it now and make it my final post of the decade, hmmm
Happy New year from Mind Of A Suspicious Kind
Monday, December 28, 2009
This is a movie I was looking forward to in many ways. It is directed by Clint Eastwood -who needs no introduction- & has a giant performance at its core from Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Lo and behold my surprise when finding out that it is in fact a movie about rugby and the way sports can unite a nation divided. This can be the kind of stuff Oscar would drool over and -don't get me wrong- Invictus will most probably garner many nominations when nominees are announced next month but it isn't that good.
Eastwood had 2 great movies last year -Gran Torino & Changeling. He brought urgency and power to what were very meaty stories, both of which made my top ten list that very year. The problem with Invictus is the way he handles things way too conventionally and rarely has an original thought or idea at hand. It is NOT a biopic of Mandela and is more about what happened when Mandela's fascination for Rugby led to a sort of unification of South Africa. To call the movie predictable would be hardly the point, it is a sort of statement about how Mandela tried the impossible and made it happen.
I like Matt Damon and he does a good job with his role as captain Francois, a rugby player with heart and -wait for it- an open mind to the ideas Mandela bring forward to him, in a closed door meeting before the Rugby World Cup begins. This isn't the type of movie to be excited writing about, I didn't find much interest or precedences in its formulaic atmosphere. I do agree with critics who say that Freeman is stellar as Mandela but I'm kind of glad this movie has come and gone and not really attained the attention that it so desperately craved.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
It's always a welcome treat to catch a new Almodovar movie. He has a cinematic sense that is badly missing with today's maverick directors, he also has a style that is remarkably his and a filmography that is clearly inspired and flamboyant. While many of his movies have a certain -je ne sais pas- joyful and colorful surface to them, there is always substance that comes with his movie's stylistics. I can think of the wonderful Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown which very much had the Almodovar melodrama but had a story that had the substance intended to bring its aspirations to greatness.
Of course, I am not a fan of everything he does. There are some critically lauded movies of his that have left me scratching my head and not totally satisfied with the finished product. Sometimes our friend Pedro goes way beyond the stlye required and forget that there has to be a story told and a mannerism that does not just involve kitschy colors or flamboyant gayness. His new movie is called Broken Embraces (4/5) and its just divine- in fact it is as close to Hitchcock-ian transcendence as he has ever come close to in his career. The story -like many of his movies- is within another story and has a gorgeous Penelope Cruz as an actress obsessed with her director and willing to leave her rich husband for the aforementioned filmmaker.
To say more would be to reveal too many of this richly rewarding movies secrets. Suffice to say I greatly enjoyed the ride that Almodovar gave us this time, especially compared to the overrated fantasy he last bestowed on us with Volver. This is what I expect from a man that has made movies his life and Cruz his beautiful muse. He is a filmmaker to cherish and one that is just starting to mature, even after 3 decades of imaginative storytelling.
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