Sunday, June 19, 2011

8 Femmes (2002)

8 Femmes (8 Women) is a theatrical comedy, a musical french drama directed by François Ozon. I've seen it today and had so much fun while watching it. As it's evident from its title, there are nothing but eight women acting in the movie (and a man whom we can see just his back).  These eight women are coming together for a Christmas of 1950s and the fun, suspicious murder mystery starts :)
Catherine Deneuve (Gaby - the victim's wife)
François Ozon takes a mysterious Hitchcockian story and enriches it with a great show of delightful acting and theatrical comedy. A rich husband is murdered! A snow storm has closed the roads and they are stucked in a big cottage. The killer is one of them! They are trying to find out who did it.
Fanny Ardant (Pierrette - the victim's sister)
This movie has everything. What does it have ? It has a over-pretentious cast of famous french actresses: Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart and Danielle Darrieux. What else ? Drama, comedy, singing&dancing, lots of suspense&suspicion, murder, betrayal, lies, sexuality, lesbianism, seduction, elegance...
Emmanuelle Béart (Louise - the new chambermaid)
8 Femmes is a hilarious suspense movie with comedy and drama tones and the legendary, faboulous french actresses. Definitely deserves to be spent 2 hours of your weekend, so prepare your popcorn and settle down on your couch :)
Danielle Darrieux (Mamy - the mother of Gaby and Augustine)
Firmine Richard (Madame Chanel - the cook)
Isabelle Huppert (Augustine - Gaby's sister)
Virginie Ledoyen (Suzon - the victim's eldest daughter)
Ludivine Sagnier (Catherine - the victim's youngest daughter)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Love in Another Language (2009)

This time I’m going to make a review of a recent Turkish movie “Love in Another Language” (Başka Dilde Aşk). I enjoyed very much watching this film in terms of its natural performances and its unusual story. Love in Another Language is the first long footage of director Ilksen Başarir. She also wrote the story of the film together with the leading actor Mert Fırat.
The story is based on a relationship as it can be deducted from its name. However, this story is a little different then usual. I’m so happy to see that some people touch sensitive subjects of the society. I think, especially in a country like Turkey, where there are more than 3 million physically disabled people (the exact number is not even known), handling the delicate subjects in an attentive way will raise the awareness of the society. In this sense, I really appreciate the movie.
The story is centered on a relationship of a newly-met couple Onur (Mert Fırat) and Zeynep (Saadet Işıl Aksoy). Onur is deaf. When Zeynep discovers it, first she hesitates for a second and then jumps into his arms saying that she found the perfect man – one who cannot talk back. But, later on, she asks herself “Without talking, I wonder if we can communicate…”.
The fact that Zeynep works as a call center employee is another irony of the movie. While she struggles communicating with people on the phone who can express themselves by talking, the movie shows us that a person who cannot hear and talk will listen better and express himself better without talking…In this movie, the psychology of deafness is handled in a poetic love story.
The movie got lots of national and international awards. The young actors are performing their roles spotlessly. The story is served without exageration, the shots are given in a minimalist way with a modern, exciting romance story. And I fell in love with another movie...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taxi Driver (1976)

My list of Martin Scorsese movies that I've seen so far is composed of the his recent ones: Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006) and Shutter Island (2010) (What a shame! I know...) I finally took the first step to see his previous movies and watched Taxi Driver. And, the performance of Robert de Niro blowed my mind. I'm not a Robert de Niro fun tho. But he plays the social outcast, an obsessed taxi driver tremendously good!
Taxi Driver is a character study of a lonely man, Travis (Robert de Niro), who struggles to fit in the society.
Travis is a Vietnam war veteran trying to realign himself back into society and develops a paranoid way of understanding and reacting to the outside world.
The dialogues of the movie are rich. Especially, the parts where Travis writes to his diary telling about what has been happening and how he sees things around him give us an understanding of his perspective.
There is also Jodie Foster in the movie. Her parts 'literally' amazed me. At that time, she was just 13 years old and acting as a 12 year-old prostitude in the movie. Apparently, she's been subjected to psychological tests in order to see if she can carry this role without being traumatized. She is another Natalie Portman issue of film industry, I suppose.
The movie takes us to the back streets of New York with a story of an isolated taxi driver, Travis, who works during night shifts in New York. The camera is stucked with him and makes us to see his 24 hours: we see him driving during the night shifts; we see him writing to his diary when he gets home; we see him crashing into a woman and initiates to ask her out; we see how badly broken he is when things do not go as he expects and turning into a violent, obsessed personality.
If you want to see guns, prostitudes, drug dealers, violence, politics, assassins in one movie and Robert de Niro with a mohawk, Jodie Foster as a prostitude, that should be Taxi Driver.
Travis: The days go on and on... they don't end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Darren Aronofsky - The Wrestler (2008)

The Wrestler is a Darren Aronofsky movie, one of the fascinating directors with movies like Requiem for a Dream (2000), Pi (1998) and Black Swan (2010).
The Wrestler might be thought as similar to Black Swan. In both movies, you find yourself in the world of the main characters who work as performers, one is a wrestler and the other is a ballet dancer (the lowest and highest arts as some might consider). Generally, Aronofsky movies are about the destructive nature of obsession and extreme effects of those obsessions. He talks about the perversion, the loss of control...If you've seen some of his movies, you might know that he likes to follow the character from the behind with a handheld camera (I love it! it's like you're in the scene). It is still the case in The Wrestler too.During the movie, we witness to the life of a wrestler, what he does in his daily life, (as in Black Swan): daily trainings, regular visits to hairdressers and tanning salons...Mickey Rourke is performing the leading character in the film, Randy the Ram, a life-time wrestler who had the peak of his fame 20 years ago, still wrestling, now to make a living, because it is the only thing that he can do best! He is trying to entertain the crowds and seem gigantic and unbeatable to his funs, as his job requiresHowever, Aronofsky points his camera to the inner side of this character and takes off his 'tough-guy' mask. Under his huge physique, we see a lonely, old boy living isolated from others.. wife is gone.. daughter hates him.. no friends around.. noone really touches him.. Maybe he didn't notice it when he was the hero of the wrestling rings 20 years ago. Maybe he didn't notice that it happened this way. But however hard it is, he questions it, even attempts to change it...Apart from the story of the movie, what was really touching for me was the performance of Mickey Rourke. It was truly fascinating !!! sublime !! perfect person for the role!
To my idea, without Mickey Rourke in the movie, the movie might be an ordinary wrestling movie. But Rourke had already what Aronofsky was looking for. If you read about his life story, you might see that he had a life very similar to 'Randy the Ram' character in the movie. He lost his wife, his fame; lived lonely for years; did wrestling for a while...
Mickey Rourke (source)
about Mickey Rourke: I've first seen Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 (i know, it's too late :)), but I can say he is in the right role here, as in Iron Man 2. He is the charismatic, tough guy throughout his wrestling costume and the sentimental, old, lonely guy in his personal life.The Wrestler is a very serious, sentimental, sad movie, it's not a secret... It's obvious from its first scene where the main character (Mickey Rourke) sits alone in the dressing room after his match.
And it is also my favorite Aronofsky so far !

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My favorite Hitchcocks – Family Plot (1976)

Family Plot is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies alongside Rear Window (1954) and The Birds (1963). It is the last and the 56th movie of the director. It includes all the Hitchcockian themes in it as well as different cinematographic touches.
Hitchcock movies are famous for their suspense, murder, thriller and humor themes; mystical characters, wrongful accusations; chic women, handsome and rich guys.... Even though there are mystical characters and storyline, it is generally obvious who is the bad or the good character in the story from its beginning. Stories are generally simple and the scripts are really well thought out and wittily written. Criminals are generally rich and clever. Innocents are accused and they try to prove their innocence. Suspense keeps its rhythm throughout the movie and some secrets are given to the audience by showing something that the character didn’t see. Hitchcock movies always keep their excitement and never bore you (at least me :)).
The different approach in Family Plot is the major surprise of the good/bad character predictions at the beginning of the movie. Strangely, it draws two unrelated couple stories by switching from one couple to the other at the beginning. You know that these two stories are going to merge somehow, but you can’t guess how. The surprise is that it makes an opening with the bad couple (that’s what you think) and it starts to tell a totally unrelated story of the other couple who also seems to be doing bad things. That little twist in the story makes it unguessable who is going to do bad things to the other and you don’t know which couple represents the bad side of the story.
One of the scenes that I like most in Hitchcock movies is the car scenes (in almost all his movies, you might see one). The shots from the front window f the cars are so common. At that time of cinema techniques, the car scenes were shot in the studios. After shooting the background scene, the characters were pretending to drive a car in the studio and turning the steering wheel accordingly. In Family Plot, there is one car scene which I really like and a long one. It’s pretty good synchronized with its background; you enjoy very much of the cinema techniques of the time (very funny sometimes and obviously spent some time to shoot) and it's one of the masterful Hitchcock scenes!
editor’s note: If you’ve never seen a Hitchcock movie before, I highly suggest you to start with "Rear Window" or "Vertigo" or "North by Northwest" or "Psycho" to get a quick idea of his movie style ;) And if you like it, go for "Marnie", "Torn Curtain", "The Birds", "Frenzy", "Family Plot"...

"I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."
-Alfred Hitchcock