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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Movies’

The 20th French Film Festival will be held on June 3-9 at Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street cinemas

May 27, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

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For 20 years the annual French Film Festival has given Manila’s moviegoers a break from their constant diet of blockbuster blandness (Tomorrowland: well-intentioned, preachy, Is George Clooney running for office?) with entertaining but intellectually-stimulating films in the French language. We saw our first Eric Rohmer (The Baker Girl of Monceau), Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie and dozens of other great movies at the French Filmfest.

This year’s edition will be held at the Greenbelt Cinemas and at the Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas. This morning we attended a media preview of one of the films: Thomas Lilti’s Hippocrate. The title is especially apt. The filmmaker, a doctor, asks how medical practitioners can serve their patients properly when hospitals are under pressure to turn a profit. There are constant budget cuts, doctors are overworked, facilities are poorly-maintained, but revenue targets must be met and it’s the patients who suffer. In one case, an old woman with late stage cancer is deprived of morphine because the hospital is less concerned with making her last days comfortable than with getting her on her feet so her room will be vacated.

Hippocrate stars Vincent Lacoste, who looks like a less nervous Jesse Eisenberg, as Benjamin, who starts his internship in a hospital run by his father. There he meets Abdel, an Algerian doctor who must undergo the internship all over again in order to practice in France. Abdel is played by Reda Kateb from Un Prophete and Zero Dark Thirty and he takes over the movie. If you’re a doctor, working in the medical industry, or have ever been a patient, we recommend you see this.

We are especially looking forward to Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu

and Aki Kaurismaaki’s Le Havre.

Tickets at Php100, available at the box-office or at sureseats.com assuming it’s working because we haven’t been able to book anything there for months.

The Paul Feig-Melissa McCarthy movie Spy is hilarious and lovable

May 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

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Melissa McCarthy is the CIA agent who’s been “sniped”—held back for 10 years as assistant to Jude Law’s Bond-like spy because she makes him look good. Jason Statham is the bimbo, a parody of all his film roles. Rose Byrne is the Bulgarian arms dealer who dresses like a slutty dolphin trainer. Allison Janney is the humorless deputy director of the CIA who provides McCarthy’s spy with sad cover stories and even sadder weapons (like poison antidotes disguised as laxatives). Paul Feig directed Bridesmaids and Heat. Go!

Viva Vuvalini: Mad Max Fury Road reviewed by a 70-year-old lady

May 22, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies No Comments →

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The story was developed quickly. No nonsense early on, just jumped right in and held my attention. I thought the drums were a good vehicle for raising the tension. The band kept things lively. Elements were always being introduced throughout the journey, it never faltered. At the end, they realized their journey was back at the beginning, to go back and make life better for all the people being enslaved and suffering at the Citadel.

Old women were treated very respectfully in this film. I liked that too. They weren’t ridiculed at all, they played important and strong roles, nurturing yet powerful. I don’t understand what those men Men’s Rights Activists are saying about Mad Max; that’s ridiculous. They should be proud at the way men were portrayed in this film. Max acted like a true man, he showed courage and strength. He held men’s standards very well, came in there like a true man and helped those in need. And they’re angry about the theme of men destroying the world and starting wars compared to women nurturing and rebuilding it, but that’s just a reality.

Read Mad Max: Fury Road reviewed by a 70-year-old lady. Via the AV Club.

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We need to see Mad Max in IMAX. Please be showing this weekend please.

László Krasznahorkai has won the Booker International Prize

May 20, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies No Comments →

The Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai, whose sentences roll out over paragraphs in what his translator George Szirtes has called a “slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type”, has won the Man Booker International prize for his “achievement in fiction on the world stage”.

Chair of judges Marina Warner, the academic and writer, compared Krasznahorkai’s work to Kafka – the author’s own personal literary hero – and Beckett. “I feel we’ve encountered here someone of that order,” she said. “That’s a trick that the best writers pull off; they give you the thrill of the strange … then after a while they imaginatively retune you. So now we say, ‘it’s just like being in a Kafka story’; I believe that soon we will say it’s like being in a Krasznahorkai story.”

Read the report at the Guardian.

Meanwhile Son of Saul, the debut feature by the Hungarian Laszlo Nemes, has been tipped to win a prize at Cannes. Nemes is a former assistant of Bela Tarr, who has adapted Krasznahorkai’s novels Satantango, The Melancholy of Resistance, and others for the screen.

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We used to laugh at people who used umbrellas on sunny days, and now we’ve become those people. It’s Fury Road out there, and you can’t even drive fast because the traffic is at a standstill. Even with an umbrella, five minutes under the sun and your brain starts vaporizing. You can feel your skin crisping and rising off your bones. We were supposed to watch the Don Quixote puppet show at Instituto Cervantes but our systems kept shutting down in the heat so we went home and slept. That’s it, we’re going to hide in our room and think about Budapest until the rains come.

Mad Max returns—faster, more furious, and exuberantly insane.

May 14, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

Holy crap, it’s really Mad Max.

George Miller is still George Miller, 30 years after the last Mad Max. We thought, Okay, if he wants to cash in he’s earned the right because he made Max and Babe, and anyway how do you reboot a series that ended with Mel Gibson facing Tina Turner’s Auntie Entity? Can you top the exuberant anarchic insanity of those desert chases?

He does.

Mad Max: Fury Road is so thrilling and relentless, seatbelts and barf bags should be issued to the audience. There’s so much gasoline, you suspect that when you breathe the air will combust.
The cinema lives in the age of the franchise blockbuster!

Tom Hardy is Max Rockatansky, but Charlize Theron is Mel Gibson: serene beauty and deep reserves of nuts. And pretty Nicholas Hoult makes his suicidal freak strangely moving. What the previous movies didn’t have enough of: girls, and here they’re the heroes.

There’s very little exposition, the movie cuts straight to the chase. It’s exhilarating. The drivers of the ruling maniac even have a flame-throwing metal guitarist mounted on top of a truck against a wall of amps to provide their soundtrack. We were laughing and flinching at the same time. For all the mayhem, the action is clear, the geography excellent.

Never leave us again, George Miller. Happy Feet was cute, but this is what we need from you.

We have to see that again.

Read our review of Mad Max: Fury Road at InterAksyon.com.

Notes on Avengers: Age of Ultron

May 10, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies 5 Comments →

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Marvel, must all your posters look the same?

Had a good time at the cinema, but not as much fun as watching the first Avengers movie. (Warning: Spoilers.)

1. Not enough wisecracks, clever ripostes or general drollery. In fact we cannot remember a single line from the movie. In the first there was a quotable in every scene. Perhaps this was to give the new one a darker tone, but the result not really dark, just murky. What sets Marvel product apart from the ponderous self-important superhero movie is humor. Wit, irony, self-referential banter and the awareness of the essential silliness of the superhero movie.

2. Villain not particularly scary, even with Spader’s voice. Ultron in comic books much scarier.

3. For villain to be interesting, audience has to feel conflicted about him, i.e. like him despite his actions. Prime example: Loki. We’re not rooting for Ultron even a little.

4. Fight scenes are confusing, badly edited and not very thrilling, the outcomes obvious. We do like how Wanda was portrayed (by Elizabeth, the Olsen who eats); she could’ve just stood there and announced what she was doing, but she didn’t.

5. He’s probably not dead. No one in the comic book universe really dies. (He’s not dead, he’s pining for the fjords.) We still think Cap can lift Mjolnir, he just didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Sucks to be good. Also being worthy to lift the hammer a useful shorthand to identify Vision as a good guy.

In real life, our cat Drogon is Vision because he can increase his mass when landing on furniture, thus obliterating paperboard bookshelf. Serves us right for buying cheap crap.

6. We don’t buy the romantic angle, probably because the movies have tried to pair off Black Widow with everyone.

7. Look, a hero with a normal life. Zzzzzzz.

8. The whole birth of Vision angle had too much explanation.

9. The simplest measure is: Were you happy when you left the theatre? Did you tell yourself, “I have to see that again!”?

Hmmm…no.

In all we get the impression that there were too many cooks. Making billions of dollars will not buy filmmakers peace, only interference.

10. If you hear yourself thinking: “This is the greatest disappointment ever, my life is ruined”, then you do not have what qualifies as a life.

Our Marvel movie rankings [covering only Marvel Studios-owned titles, not those licensed out to Columbia (Spider-Man) or Fox (X-Men and Fantastic Four), allowing the characters to occupy the same universe]

1. (tie) Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Iron Man
5. Iron Man 3
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
7. Captain America: The First Avenger
8. Thor
9. Iron Man 2
10. Thor: The Dark World

P.S. The aircon needed a break so we went to the mall to soak up theirs. Saw Age of Ultron again and like it better. Not everything is enhanced by 4DX–the rocking makes us sleepy.