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1ª Vez 16 mm (2008)
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
I was at the premiere of this.... movie (?) in Lisbon. A few hundred people attended. It was shown in the biggest cinema in the city. What to expect, shall I say? Well, I'm sure I wasn't expecting anything this unbelievably poor at all levels. I can assure you, the only thing in this movie that is coherent and seamless is its awfulness. The director, which braves an apparent shyness by putting himself in front of the camera and becoming the least likable leading man ever committed to celluloid, doesn't even know how to handle the non-existent dialogue. It's unbelievable how a person who calls himself an experienced film maker can put together something this poor. It looks like they were trying to make the worst movie ever by going against every single rule of movie making, thus destroying the little aspects that could appeal to the public. I can't stop wondering how on earth they managed too go to Venice and Paris and make both cities look BAD. I can't stop thinking how they managed to get some decent actors and destroy all the appeal that they could possibly add to this mess. My jaw dropped at the god-awful sound editing, with music fading in and out randomly, inexistent cross fades between scenes and incomprehensible dialogue. You can try to convince me that they were trying to make an exercise in deconstruction. To me, a guy that spent two hours (that seemed to go on forever) in that movie theater, it's insulting to call this a movie. Until when will people in this country keep believing that if you point a 35 mm camera to something you are directing a movie? What about narrative, appeal, basic notions of what is film, editing, usage of music and so on? This movie should make you people feel ashamed of yourselves. I understand that you don't have any money. But after watching this, I just KNOW that a kid with a video camera could do much, much better. I don't know what do you expect of this movie's career. I just know that yesterday, people were leaving the room while the film was still going, the audience were roaring their asses off in laughter in a funeral scene, and I had a laughing fit several times during this excruciating experience, while trying to understand what the hell was poor Marisa Paredes doing there. Her baffled face on the last shot on which she appears says everything.
Do you want an advice? Go buy a video camera. At least you have an excuse.
As much as you'd expect it
Alright, so it isn't fair. In an era where the people on their early thirties are granted constant revivals of everything that defined their youth (Blade Runner, Star Wars, forty-year-old bands meeting together and performing on stage again), Indiana Jones was really the last straw. Over the years, the mouthwatering prospect of seeing another Jones film made us sniff every hint of a rumor and every shred of news related with it. It finally has arrived, with a mammoth-size ball of hype on its shoulders. Let's admit that nothing on Earth could ever satisfy such a monster. So after we face it, let's get to the facts. It certainly is another age, and the filmmakers know that. We are not in an era of gaudy excess and over-the-top sequences. The days of campy, slick humor and faster-than-you-can-have-it action seem to be gone. And it's no wonder. Never forget that in the last ten years Steven Spielberg dedicated himself to much more serious fare, with very mixed results. As a result, Indy's much more dark and slow. He faces different kinds of problems and challenges, his reactions are different. He's starting to give in. But then again, the man is 67! Therefore, it seems logic that he no longer is the one-man-army he used to be. It's perfectly natural that he relies much more on his wits that on his fists. But don't let my word fool you: the movie has action, lots of it. What's really ironic is that the things that should help the movie in this age of digital possibilities are the things that cram it with unbelievability. It really bugs me that they achieved a film look that is up to par the 80's originals and then goes the "King Kong" way with CGI jungle scenes that completely take the realism out of it. It's a great statement of how computer images are starting to get really cheesy when they're made in quantity and not in quality (Mutt's vine-swinging anyone?). But to dismiss this movie as trash is to be cruelly unfair. It is a worthy successor to the original movies, and a truckload of fun. Yes, maybe they could have gone deeper with their main theme, yes it sometimes succumb to the George Lucas school of "do it in CGI", but it doesn't sacrifice the heart and soul of this movie. You just have to take it lightly and not like the violation of something holy. The new Star Wars trilogy proved that you can't take things too seriously. If even so you will choose to remain glued to the past and don't accept that Indy also ages, then you will be very annoyed. Everyone else will have a blast.
Uma Rapariga no Verão (1986)
It's still the same old story...
This could be... well just another Portuguese movie. But it had a special meaning, it was directed and produced by a few teachers of mine, and in my school many tried to see it, many went to the session our local Cinemateca provided, many went asking themselves what it would be like. I just happened to catch it at my work, at the national television's archives. Well, my friends, if you need another example that bad Portuguese movies are not stereotypes but in fact very real things, this it, the real example of how boring, badly dubbed, pretentious, tiresome, grey, badly illuminated and infuriatingly unbearable could be our movies twenty years ago. The problem is not the movie "per se" (I'm sure many those who participated in it feel sorry for themselves today), the problem is that two days ago I tuned in my TV and on was a Manoel de Oliveira movie from 2002 which looked exactly like this, or worse (even more pretentious). Bad acting included. Why isn't the audience even entitled to understand what are they talking about, or simply what they are saying? Why this obsession with complete disdain for the people who are already making an effort by continuing to watch the movie? This one's depressing, confusing and the worst part is that it could choose not to be. But maybe I am beating around the bush. It's a naive exercise in film-making, an irritating and amazingly boring one. But my sympathy for the director himself as a person is not in question. I learned a great deal from him back in my school days. My main problem is that in Portugal there are TOO MANY movies like these, to the point that the words "portuguese movie" are synonymous with "don't waste your time because it's boring, pretentious and impossible to watch until the end". 3 for some shots, and out of sympathy.
I wandered a bit from commenting movies. But I had to return. This movie made me do it. I didn't know anything about it. I only saw one trailer, that did its job perfectly. Everyone said it was incredible. I went and saw it. I found it more than incredible, staggering at least. It start as a pure, simple story and never wanders from its main character or its story not the slightest bit. Its jaw-breaking stripped-to-the-bone structure is a true novelty. Its young actors reveal themselves worthy of a standing ovation. It's difficult to find words to talk about this movie when it conveys such emotion by so few means. It's a fantastic, cold and often unbearable voyage through a deserted horizon, and one of the best movies of the year.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Fanfare for a common man
It's back, and it promised razzle-dazzle galore and a tremendous amount of ass-kicking to go with it. The question, however, lied in if they would be able to equal the first one's uniqueness. They should, they created it, but the Wachowskis failed and they were masters and commanders of their creation. Good to know that, for the first time in years, the sequel beats its own predecessor. The bar was raised very high, the responsibility was huge. But with great responsibility, as the movie still says, comes also great power. And such power comes not from the jaw dropping set-pieces or the superior CGI. It breathes from its script, teaching a Jacksonesque lesson to Hollywood studios that movies can't rely in effects to amaze its audiences. They got to have a huge heart, and bathe everyone who sees it in its glow and its magic. To succeed, you gotta have great actors, and, most of all, great stories. And the way this story rages through the screen is unbelievable, all centered in one man: Peter Parker, a simple guy that, like many people of his age, goes through changes and personal conflict. That and a spider costume. We can be watching a CGI-filled scene with heavy explosions and hyperkinetic action, but we never forget that behind the mask is a human character, who suffers due to the incredible powers he has been given. And boy, does he suffer. Rarely a leading character was so put to the test in a Hollywood blockbuster. And I'm not talking about Doctor Octopus' fightback capabilities (which make him one of the toughest movie villains of recent memory). I'm talking about the way the way Parker, the man, dives to hell and comes back. And this is what really puts "Spider Man 2" among the best of the year: it is a haunting tale of fall and ascension of a simple guy who is trapped in many of life's webs, the story of the person beneath the layer. And such situation has its high point in a sublime sequence, after the showdown in the elevated subway (won't give it away). Of course, all the things that surround it are essential to the glorious sights presented here: it is still a joy to see Spidey flying among the skyscrapers to the powerful choirs of Danny Elfman's score. But after that you can always count on an having an even more powerful dialogue scene which could be taken from a melodrama. The movie's ending, unlike the first one, is such a punch for such an experience that it leaves you craving for the third picture. Superior fare, an unexpected move from Hollywood, that has learned much with the "Rings" trilogy, specially that the audience is getting more and more demanding these days, and the bar is always rising...
The Ring (2002)
Creepy, even if flawed
Coming at the end as no more than good Friday night fare, "The Ring" is, even so, a scary movie. Since we can't talk about originality (this is a remake), our attention focuses on the way the concept is handled. As a horror movie, it has a great idea to watch: a cursed tape, which kills anyone who sees it in seven days. Naomi Watts comes across the tape, and the story unfolds, revealing finally that such original concept wouldn't survive for long. Soon, the formula comes roaring, and you'll start to see some clichés (face it - ever since "Shining" we have seen endless times a creepy girl with a covered-up face that says "you're gonna die" or something like that). Even so, it manages to twist a little and to get some surprises. I was glad to see that they didn't repeat the "screeching orchestra" gag too many times, which is always nerve-challenging. It's basically a classy horror movie, that doesn't extend on the gore and the guts, and wisely relies on the unseen to help us take it seriously.
Clean fun with flaws
Ok, this story had to be adapted. It was far too epic and super-sized to remain in Homer's pages. To do it, of course they would have to get all the best money can buy, and the results when you see it are as expected: massive sequences, massive sets, amazing sights, amazing visions. But "Troy" falls a bit flat specially because of the way the source material had to be juggled in order to adapt itself for a two-and-a-half-hour movie. So, apparently, the gods are dropped in favor of a much more militaristic, "gladiatoresque" approach - in the original tale, men fought alongside the gods, which were pivotal to the battle events. Here, men fight for honor, for their homelands, for greed, for courage, for love, but are never aided by some sort of divinity. This makes "Troy" little more than an extended battle scene, divided into several set pieces, some amazing (the fight between Aquilles and Hector is an eye-opener), some a already-seen (those rings movies already defined and claimed the massive battle shots we witness here). Of course, as an epic of gigantic proportions it certainly achieves - the shot of a thousand ships sailing to troy is unforgettable. But even if Brad Pitt transpires charisma, and Eric Bana provides a much-needed nobility, this enterprise sounds like little more than Hollywood dollars to the service of popcorn entertainment. Not deep, only fun.
Les triplettes de Belleville (2003)
Seriously, how frequently can you catch such a unique movie experience? "Belleville" is a sheer ride of the senses, combining our fantasies, our fears and our imaginations to make a movie that makes us want to let go and dream about it. I think it should be specially effective to everyone who was a kid in 1960's france, and in my opinion, the collective imagination of those years in that country are the building blocks of this picture. I was mesmerized by such an unusual amount of imagination, and such an explanation to questions like: "why do animation movies exist?" and "why is traditional animation still worth while?". In the USA it seems difficult for people to understand this, and impossible for them to make a movie as daringly dark and expressionistic as this. Amazing experience, which allows you to go over the entire spectrum of emotions you are willing to unleash.
A fart-full barrel of laughs
God, how far have we come. Human evolution was always aimed at higher knowledge, higher goals, higher dignity. The result of such bluff was being called. It all is explained in Tremors 3. Are we so humble? Let's all kneel before such powerful beasts, lizards creeping from the underground, hatching eggs inside them to give birth to some unbelievable creatures, with unbelievable skills which end up involving flying farts. Magnificent piece of work, in all details of its piss-poor CGI, of Michael Gross' overacting talents, and the amazing capability of its screenwriters to sustain for such a long time a movie that goes nowhere, and which showdown is as climatic as the sight of the dumpyard it's based on. Let's all crown this movie. It's an achievement of epical proportions, a reminder of our own mediocrity as humans, a reminder of how such amazing beings end up as deep as the atoms in the atmosphere. This movie is admirable, as significantly as any other sign of our own achievements as humans. All praise Tremors 3!!! It made my eyes become open!!!
... there's a mixed feeling while watching "Acacia", a family thriller with flirts to the horror genre. Here, a married couple adopts a boy, who they see as the angel to light their lives. But soon they have a child of their own, and their adoptive one isn't happy at all... Cleverly using its shots, this is a superbly framed picture which at times is really creepy without ending up too gratuitous. Editing, however, ends up confusing more than helpful, and even after the final denouement, it's still a bit confusing. But it isn't a bad movie at all, instead it's a solid exercise with some pretty scary stuff. Very interesting indeed, and a proof that there is always an alternate way to shoot this kind of material.
Watch out, Hollywood robots!
USA be warned, for South Korea is doing you shameful. Today it's possible to see a South Korea blockbuster that is at american level, and, most times, above it. The mood reminds us of "Speed", and is, at first look, a very close interpretation of it. But they had a great eye for spotting clichés, and soon you'll see what this means. It kick starts with an impressive shootout that makes Heat's centerpiece run for its money. It then heads the action to the subway and the fun begins, right until the formula-defying end. Technically, i's a triumph of Hollywood level. Artistically, it has too many real gems to be overlooked, and sometimes you'll be applauding what in american hands would be quite standard. The end section is quite surprising, at a point that no american movie would reach, because "it's not crowd pleasing". So wrong. It really is, and much more. Solid, fun fare, which proves that today the americans are not the only ones who make us thrill.
Robot Stories (2003)
Great ideas for making us think about our times are the triumph of this picture. Made of four short stories, it offers us projections, realities, and premonitions. Each story ends up being very significant of some spectres of the man / machine interdependence. Slowly paced, shot on video, it looks like it's not very exciting, but still has a lot to take from it, with some patience. The two initial stories, the first about a couple that have to adopt a furby-like machine to prove that they are able to adopt a real baby, the second about a mother who starts completing his comatose son's toy robot collection, are the weakest. The two final stories (one about an android who develops human feelings and the other about a man dying in a world where you no longer die, but instead you're uploaded), are the strongest, even if at a minimal level. So, the real achievements of "Robot Stories" are discrete, and very minimal. But it still pays off.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Again and again and again once more
Why, oh why do they keep doing these movies? Last year, a similar picture came out, it was called "They", and it flopped like this one. Here, "They" meets "Deliverance". Add to it some man-eating and the result is utterly poor. Using (quite deliberately) every horror movie cliché in the book, its only pluses are some occasional ideas (even if not innovative at all)) and technical achievements (sound, specially). The rest is a simply forgettable, hollow, boring and most of all predictable ride, which makes us think if it's possible that someone in Hollywood is still sleeping and thinks people will still eat this with popcorn. Not even classifiable as saturday night fare.
Michel Vaillant (2003)
Might I disagree?
Well, ok, it's no masterpiece, but I seem to be the only person here that took some enjoyment from it. The comics in which the movie was inspired are not there, I agree, but when you accept it like another movie and not an adaptation, you'll probably like it. See it for the sheer pleasure of seeing a racing competition and a great display of technical achievements, and you won't come out disappointed. This is one of those movies that don't bear a close scrutiny, but that's not the reason why they made it. Good to know that at least it's entertaining, and has some feeling. Sometimes only that makes it worth while.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
Like a painting
It could be expected that this would turn out a pretty delicate movie, after all, how can you explain the story behind such a delicate painting? It would also be expected that this movie was made with the craftness of such paintings, but really, not at this level. With the tender touch of art, this slowly paced journey into the feel of 17th-century Holland is as delighting for the senses as it is for the eyes. You could almost smell the varnish. The story is surprisingly minimal, the dialogue even more. But they're fit for such a work. But even if the story or the actors are not jaw-dropping (they're all adequate and solid in their roles), the way the film is shot really is. It's like the movie was drawn on a canvas. The man responsible, Eduardo Serra, is as essential to the movie as any of the major players. Many scenes look intentionally like real paintings, and it's that feeling of looking into a work from Vermeer or Rembrandt - the only way we picture this century, after all - that gives it its sheer brilliance and grasp. But of course, such a story has also great poignancy, specially on the way the relations between the characters happen (all that innuendo between Vermeer and Griet is incredible). A movie of rarely-seen craft, that is a faithful hommage to the painting around which it revolves.
... the author of a movie so good as "La Haine", and a director I appreciated a lot comes to Hollywood and does this real piece of crap. It's unbelievable. I went to see this movie because of Mathieu Kassovitz, and I even didn't pay attention to my feeling that this could be real standard. But I wasn't ready to face something so terribly poor, boring and offensive. Halle Berry comes out from her Oscar and that's a great excuse for getting larger paycheques in return of average performances, like the one she does here. Robert Downey Jr. looks like he is always chosen to be the light wisecracker that can't look serious even if he tries (this role was reprised from another very weak movie: "The Gingerbread Man"). Penelope Cruz manages to continue being annoying, but in this one she can lightly pass for a mentally ill person. The real disappointment, however, is coming out of this movie and feeling that you already have seen this picture several times. It feels like a mix of horror flicks in their most seen parts, that ends up being offensive for its shameless rip-offs (John Ottman's score is a carbon copy of James Newton Howard's "The Sixth Sense"), utter predictability (c'mon, how many countless times have we seen the lonely character driving at night beneath the soaking rain and thunderstorm?), and many serious plot holes (can anyone explain how that final coda can exist?). The only pluses in this movie are the technical ones, the ones that money can buy. But with 60 million dollars even a film student with a little amount of flare can do better. Anyway, I can only hope that the creative process of this movie was the usual: studios took over the creative work, and Kassovitz became a puppet. And maybe he comes back to France and finally returns to serious movies (and Les Rivieres Pourpres wasn't good either). I can only hope. Until then, we'll have this poor excuse to make the audience jump. If you're even a little bit demanding, you'll come out kicking the furniture. Good for saturday night DVD sessions, little more.
Big Fish (2003)
Welcome back, Tim the magician.
That's what we're talking about when we talk about Tim Burton: giant men, beautiful green-covered villages where everyone is barefoot, a world of fantasy that this man has given us, that now, after the "Planet of the Apes" experience, is back into the screen. Of course, the sheer poetry of "Edward Scissorhands" or the mythical flare of "Batman" are not overwhelming like before, but what we have here is a work of maturity, and the result is a work that, for the first time, creates the dream world and also the point of view that questions it. The result is a beautiful film, that allows us to dream and live reality in equal parts, trying to make us feel like the title character when we come out. How much it affects us is up to you, I was touched by the sincerity and heart of such a tender tale. No cheap morale, no unnecessary eye candy - just the world, as seen by a dreamer. And that warmness is everything that we aim for. Could be labeled as the american "Amélie Poulain", but is so much more...
Ken Park (2002)
Ok, so the movie tries to express a message about today's youth and their disorientation. It tries it through shock technique, depicting sex at pornographic levels. But really, haven't we all seen it before, in a softer (and much better) way precisely on Larry Clark's "Kids"? I can acknowledge that there was an effort of putting morality together in this one, but really, what comes out even for an attentive spectator is that this movie ends up pushing the limits too much, and becomes boring at it. The result is another shock movie, another art house hardcore piece, that, to me, didn't stick too much. Clearly, more gratuitous than mind-bending. Give us a story instead.
Anything Else (2003)
The annual Allen movie
Ok, the man is an establishment. That's what keeps this movie from being vague, shallow and void. Woody Allen can claim for himself his kind of movies, and nobody else does them like he does. So, when you see a Woody Allen movie, you know precisely what you are going to get, the difference being sometimes more surprised, and sometimes less. Well, here there's no surprise, except the way that Allen seeks new talent and awards them with the typical alter ego role. It's up to them to prove that they can handle it. Kenneth Branagh did it, John Cusack did it, and now Jason Biggs is the nervous new yorker who goes to psycho analysis. Well, it works, but the truth is that Biggs' character behaves like a 35-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old body. And the fact that some of the movie doesn't make much sense, you can never forget that this is the realm of Woody Allen, and even if it doesn't make sense, it's always funny and you'll always laugh. Everybody remembers the plotless "Everybody Says I Love You" but no one cared for the plot. It was entertaining. Same here. Sometimes I'd wish that Woody Allen tried a little harder to make movies with a thicker plot - remember "Bullets Over Broadway". But anyway, this movie is a permanent joy to watch, thanks to the great actors, great comedy (even with a non-existent story) and a great photography from Darius Khondji.
The Pianist (2002)
Touching and striking
Polanski is back, it seems, and manages to make a holocaust movie without being connected to "Schindler's List" and grabbing at the same time an Oscar for Best Director of the year. And it is indeed a return to form: Polanski recollects a true story, and depicts the horrors and the human paradox present in the darkest time for humanity. Adrien Brody looks like he was born for the role - his face alone provides everything we need to understand what he feels. The result is altogether touching and striking, even if the story doesn't benefit from some real life facts: if you think about it, the hero is never responsible for his own survival, always helped by friends. But even if this will make the experience a little more bitter for screenwriters and story-obsessed people, the movie is still chilling, and every time you see it and remember that it all happened once, you'll be hair-raised.
The Last Samurai (2003)
Keeping up with the formula doesn't pay off
Mr. Hollywood woke up one day and realized that his ideas were running thin. He went to his book of history and decided that it was time they did a movie about the samurai. He went to work and activated the movie-making machine, and in it added all the ingredients to make a box-office smash out of the genre. So, in the movie, everything you're expecting to see about the samurai is in fact depicted, even when it makes little sense (Where the hell do those ninjas come from? Who sent them?). Thus, from it comes little effect and result, and probably the most overrated of the year to come. It is simply not genuine, only the best the money can buy. Everything about is enormous, and, as usual, Cruise is the only reason for the movie to justify its existence. Did I mention that they also payed 75 million dollars for him? Well, as expected, he has done his homework well: speaking japanese, fighting with swords, the whole works. But it's a pity that the movie he serves ends up being such a flat effort. Shamelessly ripping off its concept from "Dances With Wolves", trying to make it evolve into something with deep emotions and meanings, and creating a movie whose story is predictable from beginning until the end (the trailer only tells half of it) is a fraud, and to me is insulting. Ok so it can be entertaining. But I wasn't entertained. Only hurt, for so much has done so little. A saying in my country says that "the mountain has spawned a mouse". And this pretty much sums it up. I rest my case.
One of the most realistic period movies ever
From its outlook you could expect something good, even if a bit strange: Peter Weir running a seafaring movie, which from its trailer promised to be a gripping and exciting adventure through the seas of the early 19th century? But the trailer was lying. The movie is much more than just the adventures of Cpt. Jack Aubrey on board the HMS Suprise. This movie is made from the very same fabric it displays on screen, a fabric of sweat, salt water, heat, cold and storms. A fabric of moral and human fiber, a fabric of people's senses and feelings. The biggest suprise of this crafted and superb movie is that it sticks to the human values, and brings back that feeling of old movies, before the explosion of CGI created new worlds and destroyed many others. In fact, the computer-generated elements in this movie are so rare and detailed that you'll not notice them and even if you do, you'll forget that they are not real. This movie is realistic to every woodchip that flies under the cannon charges and every bit of cloth these characters wear. Add to it a commanding presence by Russel Crowe, decent supporting characters and a superb sound construction and you'll have one of the finest movies of the year, and a sure bet to the oscars (it's produced by Miramax, you know).
The long farewell
And so it ends. The world of movies has written another chapter of its history, and seals it with gold. One of the vastest literary works ever has its hommage payed in a set of movies that not only are already groundbreaking, but also are the dawn of so many things. Maybe that's the reason it is so difficult to say goodbye to all those things we cherished so much. All those characters and situations are now in history, and everybody that made them come to life are also in the memories of moviemaking. And this movie is such a long goodbye that, if you spend some seconds thinking of everything that these three pictures have given us, you will not be able to hold the tears. I wasn't. I was immersed in another world, thinking of so many things like "How can they do this? How can they create such a world and not losing grasp of it even if briefly? How can they sum the whole purpose of movies in one single feature, and give you some of the most unforgettable cinema experiences of a lifetime?". And the eternal feeling of being in front of living history, in front of everything movie-loving people like me are after was so much to handle. The door is now closed. All the people we cherished on that silver screen will live now only in our living rooms and in our imaginations. In the end, the bitterness of the inevitable "so long" is hardened by one single fact: Tolkien's work was one of the biggest achievements ever of human imagination. I have no doubt that the unique feeling these movies provoked in us will be lived again, but unfortunately many years will pass until humanity achieves such a ride through the realms of imagination. All we can do is hope that this trilogy enlightens all minds and prove once and for all that nothing is impossible as long as you can picture it in your mind. Thus, goodbye. Shall we live to see other movies like this one.
The birth of a new era
And, thus, it happened. Deemed "unfilmable" by Stanley Kubrick himself, the trilogy of probably the most powerful non-mythological mythology, came to the screen, spawned by probably the most unlikely crew: a bunch of new zealand-born people who eventually put the world at their feet. Announced as a three-installment saga, filmed back-to-back, this movie came to announce that such a beloved story was in good hands and, even better, that the best was yet to come. Because, after seeing "The Two Towers" and before seeing "Return of the King", this movie still inspires awe and the best thing is to know that the following chapter is so much bigger and fantastic and, as everyone is talking about, that the final one is better than the other two combined. The fact that a collection of three hour epics, filmed at the same time and released with a time window of one year manages to always be considered by many the movie of the year is memorable, and rare, if not a first time. "Fellowship" was the one that started it all. Considering that most stories have three parts, it is visible that this movie is clearly the first one: as complete and eye-filling as it is, the movie expands little on its vast arc, and it's incredible to see that a three hour movie covers only a segment of the path. But this "segment" became, on its release, a worlwide phenomenon, as masses of tolkien followers and also people who never heard about the books went to the cinemas and marveled at such an alternate and complex, but also seductive world. The result was New Line and Peter Jackson sighing with relief. It had been too much of a gamble, but it had been worth it. The secret to its success? No secret. Just the pure magic of movies. Here, we are introduced to such a fantastic world, that it almost embodies all the things we read and saw in all the fantasy pictures ever released. One can only surrender to such an amazing and addictive universe. The result is an awe-inspiring experience, one that brings you everything movies have to offer: laughter, scares, joy and tears; great characters, great acting, great directing; unbelievable art direction, never-before-seen CGI and a music score that raises the hair on the back of your neck. A sheer landmark of a movie, so right in everything about it that it feels like it was touched by the very magic it produces.
Strange but unforgettable experience
Many people hated it, now I know why. This is not for everyone. Strangely shot and strangely structured, it's a novelty item all the way. Gus Van Sant has freed himself from every bit of possible mainstream blood that he still carried inside him, and made this slap in the cheek to everybody who thought they could preview what kind of movie this would be. Not a morality tale, not an easy readable message, not at all. This movie is as curious and strange a movie can be. And it's one of the most original and exquisite pieces of movie language I have seen this year. Many will hate it, I just gaped in awe to the burst of such silence.