12/30/2009

Best Close-ups in Films

Close-ups. Don't we just love them? They can exude different feelings: happiness, despondence, fear, etc. Here are some of my favorite (and might be the best) close-ups.


L'IMPORTANT C'EST D'AIMER (1975)


Romy Schneider as Nadine Chevalier


Directed by: Andrzej Zulawski

The close-up of Romy Schneider's face along with Georges Delerue's haunting music is one of the most hypnotizing moments I've seen onscreen. Romy breaking the fourth wall makes this scene more sincere and heartbreaking. She's not just acting, she's also talking to the audience. Romy's passionate performance, Delerue's brilliant score, and Andrzej Zulawski's delicate direction make such an iconic scene. Wonderful.

12/23/2009

Of Canned Pineapples and California Dreamin'



Tagline: If my memory of her has an expiration date, let it be 10,000 years...


CHUNGKING EXPRESS
Wong Kar-wai, 1994

Wong Kar-wai (a.k.a. WKW) lets us unwind with Chungking Express, which is more laid-back compared with his intense martial arts drama Ashes of TimeChungking Express is a feel-good movie wherein canned pineapples, stuff toy, towels, chef salad, and The Mamas and the Papas' California Dreamin' are one of the characters.

12/20/2009

Fave Movie Quotes: My Favorite Season




"Where is the friend I seek? My longing rises with the sun.
Night fades, in vain I call his name.

I see his traces, I know he is there.

I feel him where the flowers sweeten the air.

Where saplings sprout, and wheat thrives.

He is the breeze that caresses me.

The scent for which I long.
I hear his voice blend into the summer's song."

- Emilie, quoting lines from a song



12/15/2009

Then They Found a Dark Angel in The Crow



Tagline: Believe in angels.


THE CROW
Alex Proyas, 1994

Plot: Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée Shelly (Sofia Shinas) are murdered by a bunch of lunatics. One year later, Eric is brought back to life. Armed with supernatural powers and guided by a crow, Eric hunts down the punks who wronged him and his fiancée. A kind heart even when he was still alive, Eric also saves helpless people and tries to make wrong things right.

12/01/2009

The Outcome of Original Sin



Tagline: In 1971, Arthur and Annie Pope blew up a napalm lab to protest the war...Ever since then they have been on the run from the FBI. They chose their lives. Now their son must choose his.


RUNNING ON EMPTY
Sidney Lumet, 1988

"Why do you have to carry the burden of someone else's life?" Lorna asks Danny.

Danny Pope (River Phoenix) and his brother are just like us, human beings, suffering the consequences of Adam and Eve's original sin. Changing your name every six months is definitely not a normal way to live. The parents seemed to have forgotten that their children are bound to have a life of their own.

11/01/2009

This "Film" Bored the Hell Out of Me





TXT
Michael Tuviera, 2006

Plot: A jealous and angry soul comes back to haunt his girlfriend and her new lover. He haunts her and the people close to her by sending them sick text messages and calling them on their cellphone.

Wow! This one really bored the hell out of me... it absolutely did. "Camp" does not even begin to describe this!

10/22/2009

Starring Catherine Deneuve

With more than 100 films and counting, Catherine Deneuve is a name synonymous with French cinema. Deneuve has that enigmatic charm, a kind of actress you have to dig deeper in order to appreciate her performance. A subtle actress? Yes. A dull actress? No. I actually think that Deneuve has an adequate emotional range. Her characters are usually profound.

As a birthday tribute to a living legend, allow me to present to you my top five — with two at number five — favorite performances by the beautiful Catherine Deneuve. So far, here they are.


1.
My Favorite Season (1993)




10/10/2009

The Final Work of a Master


Tagline: Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick.


EYES WIDE SHUT
Stanley Kubrick, 1999

Eyes Wide Shut is the final work of celebrated film director Stanley Kubrick. It is also an intriguing look at the realities of marriage.

10/01/2009

The "Heterosexual Society" Might Be A Joke

"We live in a so-called heterosexual society which is really male heterosexual. Power, press, media, industry all stress male achievements. Heterosexuality was a mask. In the commercial cinema, this heterosexuality appears basically anti-feminine: you see more male faces on the posters than before. The world is showing its true face at last."

- Delphine Seyrig




DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don't own or claim to own any of the photos used.




9/10/2009

I'm Still Hungry


Tagline: Nothing human loves forever.


THE HUNGER
Tony Scott, 1983

Plot: Just another sexy vampire movie about this sexy vampire who looks like Catherine Deneuve. The sexy vampire seduces a sexy guy who looks like David Bowie. Later on the sexy vampire seduces a sexy woman who looks like Susan Sarandon. It's quite a sexy movie with lots of vampires. Rawr! :P

9/05/2009

A Warm Delight



VOLVER
Pedro Almodóvar, 2006

Volver - Spanish word for "to return."

Plot: After her death, Irene (Carmen Maura) returns to her home town in order to fix the situations she couldn't resolve during her life.


8/30/2009

Oh, I'm Sorry, You Were Saying Something?


Tagline: Could you kill your best friend?


BATTLE ROYALE
Kinji Fukasaku, 2000

As per IMDb: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

Battle Royale
is full of gratuitously violent scenes. The film likes to beat around the bush by showing us lots of blood and dream-like scenes. I don't know if this is a surrealist film, a sport movie, an action film, a romantic drama, or a satire.

8/24/2009

We Have All the Time in the World





ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
Peter Hunt, 1969

Plot: The most emotional adventure of his career begins for James Bond on a deserted beach where a young woman tries to drown herself. He rescues the girl and for his trouble is attacked by two tough guys - the girl's bodyguards. It soon becomes much bigger for 007 - the girl is Contessa Teresa 'Tracy' DiVincenzo, daughter of crime boss Marc Ange Draco. Draco wants James to marry his wayward daughter, and in return he can provide 007 with information on an even more dangerous criminal leader - Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE. But both James and Tracy find more than they ever bargained for when their paths collide in a vicious pursuit in the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, an enormous avalanche, and a smuggling ring for germ warfare against the West by Blofeld - who proves most difficult to kill. The film followed the plot of the novel more closely than the other film adaptations of the eponymous source novels.

8/10/2009

A Turning Point in Cinema





VANISHING POINT
Richard C. Sarafian, 1971

Vanishing Point is one of the most influential movies of all time. It even inspired a bunch of "car movies," most notably Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. Audioslave's music video for their song Show Me How To Live is a homage to Vanishing Point. Primal Scream even has an album named "Vanishing Point," which includes a song called Kowalski (named after the film's lead character).

8/01/2009

Not Your Average Femme Fatale




NIKITA
Luc Besson, 1990

Later called La Femme Nikita, Nikita is a groundbreaking film that revolutionized the genre of action films with a tough and sexy woman as its lead character. La Femme Nikita probably inspired a bunch of girls-with-guns movies.

7/20/2009

My Top Five Alfred Hitchcock Films

The following are my five favorite films by one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock:


1. Vertigo (1958)



Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.

Plot: John "Scottie" Ferguson (Stewart) is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine (Novak) is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder (played by Tom Helmore) who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, because she believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is sk
eptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.

Starring Natalie Wood

Today would have been the 71st birthday of one of my favorite actresses of all time, Natalie Wood. Never have I seen an actress with so much grace and sincerity in her performances. The name "Natalie Wood" is synonymous with the phrase "powerful and moving performances."

As a tribute to this beautiful and brilliant actress, allow me to present to you my top five favorite performances by the one and only Natalie Wood.


1. Splendor in the Grass (1961)


7/10/2009

MOST BEAUTIFUL ACTRESSES OF ALL TIME... so far

"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it."

- Ivan Panin

The words beautiful and beauty are mostly associated with the word vague. It's hard to put a definite meaning to the word "beautiful," because the concept of beauty changes all the time. What may be beautiful during the 1940s, may not be that beautiful in the 1970s anymore. Beauty is indeed a subjective matter. As the saying goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

So for me, these actresses are some of the most beautiful of all time.


(In no particular order.)



1. NATALIE WOOD




6/20/2009

My Favorite Criterion Posters

Playful colors. Genius artworks. I've always been fond of Criterion's poster designs. Kudos to their designers. They always come out with the best ideas for a film poster. Their designs are very artistic and unique. Most of their designs represent a film very well. Here are some of my favorite Criterion posters.


LE BONHEUR


6/14/2009

Behind the Curtains



Tagline: A story of love and conflict.



THE LAST METRO
François Truffaut, 1980

Celebrated French film director François Truffaut treats audiences with The Last Metro, a mixture of romance, drama, comedy, and historical tragedy.

Set in Nazi-occupied France (northern part) during World War II, The Last Metro takes us behind the scenes, or should I say, behind the curtains of one of Paris' favorite theaters, the Montmartre Theatre. The theater's Jewish director, Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bennent), is said to have fled from France to South America in order to avoid capture by the French people connected with the Nazis. Little do most people know that Steiner's wife, actress Marion Steiner (Catherine Deneuve), is hiding him at the theater's cellar.

6/05/2009

FAVORITE MOVIE COUPLES

I'm pretty sure that most audiences are romanticists. To love is human. That is why romantic films always interest audiences. The following are some of my favorite pairs onscreen:


1. NATALIE WOODSTEVE McQUEEN



Film: Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Natalie Wood as Angie Rossini
Steve McQueen as Rocky Papasano

5/18/2009

A Great Exercise in Narrative Filmmaking



Tagline: The classic story of power and the press.


CITIZEN KANE
Orson Welles, 1941

I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Citizen Kane even before I saw Orson Welles' feature film debut. I believe that my curiosity made me want to see this film. I wanted to know what's the deal with this Citizen Kane, and why is it still popular 68 years later. Most of all, I wanted to know why does this film have the reputation of being the "greatest American film of all time". Why? Why? And WHY?

5/16/2009

My Top Five Roman Polanski Films

"Notorious, French-Born, Polish-Educated Successor to Alfred Hitchcock" is how Filmsite describes Roman Polanski.

The following are my five favorite films by Polanski:


1. Chinatown (1974)





Starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston.

Plot: Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a private detective who seems to specialize in matrimonial cases. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis Mulwray, builder of the Los Angeles' water supply system, of having an affair. Gittes does what he does best and photographs him with a young girl but in the ensuing scandal, it seems he was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray. When Hollis is found dead, Jake is plunged into a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest, and municipal corruption all related to the city's water supply.


5/12/2009

Rebellion is Human


Tagline: The bad boy from a good family.


REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
Nicholas Ray, 1955

I consider rebellion completely different than delinquency. One is a natural phase of youth development, the other is a destructive and self-destructive sickness.
- Natalie Wood

This film is the voice of youth during the '50s, and maybe even now. Truly a revolutionary film, Rebel Without a Cause was able to show the angst and frustration of kids. The film also illustrates generation gap, and the effect it has on kids and their parents.

5/11/2009

You'll Never Know What's in The Package Until You Open It


Tagline: Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!


BELLE DE JOUR
Luis Buñuel, 1967

This film was probably daring during its time. It's not afraid to be spontaneous with the plot execution. Directed by celebrated Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, Belle de jour tells the story of Severine Serizy, a young married woman who enlists in the employ of a whorehouse, without the knowledge of her husband, Pierre (Jean Sorel). Severine obtains the name "Belle de jour" (Beauty of the Day) as a prostitute. She works only during the mid-afternoons, hence the name.

5/10/2009

We Are Who We Are Because of Our Past

Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for stoppng by.

I would like to greet all the mothers in the world a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! You are an inspiration to all of us.

Since it's Mother's Day, I would like to review a film that affectionately shows the aspect of motherhood.


AN AMERICAN RHAPSODY
Éva Gárdos, 2001


Tagline: One family struggles for survival, for justice, for freedom.
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