Luis_Pineda

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Reviews

Arrival
(2016)

Good
Even when the story in "Arrival" (the alien invasion) has been seen many others times, from literature to film, it is the way how the story is told the reason why this movie excels. It can remind us to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" or to "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial", both movies directed by Steven Spielberg. These films care more about the encounter with the aliens instead of a war against them. In 'Arrival' the previous step to an eventual war is the work that linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and the theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) must do. I highlight this film for the atmosphere that creates with 'the arrival' and the patience it has to show the aliens or even their spaceship. It's until the moment Louise arrives to the camp that we can see the spaceship clearly and it's until the moment that she enters into it when we first meet the aliens. Well, this is because the story is about her, not about the invasion.

Maybe, the most outstanding of this movie is its use of the Kuleshov Effect, which is the different meaning that a sequence of images can have depending on its order. In the first scenes of "Arrival" we see the story of Louise and her daughter, Hannah, and how this latter grows until she gets sick and dies. The next scene is Louise getting to her job and being a little indifferent to the news of the "arrival". We see her and she looks sad and then, we get to know that she has a lonely life. Immediately, we relate this to the scenes we saw before (the story about Hannah) and we conclude that she was happy while her daughter was with her but, now that she passed away, Louise leads this sad life.

As the movie film goes on, we realize we're wrong, what we saw is correct but it hasn't happened yet, it will happen in the future. The story with her daughter Hannah doesn't happen yet and this life full of happiness is coming. This is the Kuleshov Effect. Even though I think this is the best of the movie, I think it loses its strength at the end and the resolution is not the best. I don't like the final o real encounter between Louise and the alien, or the revelation that Ian is her future husband. Another bad thing is that sometimes the movie is over explanatory and confusing on purpose.

In conclusion, this isn't a perfect movie and it's far away of being a memorable sci fi movie but it has very good approaches and in general terms is a good movie.

Dunkirk
(2017)

Brilliant... but not in everything
Christopher Nolan was one of my favorite directors, I can say that my love for films got stronger with one of his films: "Inception" (2010). I was fascinated with that movie, I knew I hadn't seen something like that in my life so then I thought Nolan was one of the best directors of current cinema. Then I realized that I had seen another Nolan film, and it was another one with I was fascinated, based on my favorite superhero: Batman. The movie was "The Dark Knight" (2008). Knowing this I started to see his other films and I think the two movies that I mentioned along with "Interstellar" (2014) and one of his first ones "Memento" (2000) are the best of his filmography. Now he made "Dunkirk" and in my opinion this film represents how much he has learned when making movies but also how much he has to learn.

I mentioned my best films from Nolan and my personal experience with these because many people actually think that Christopher Nolan is the best director of our times... but I don't blame them, not because they are right but because the current crisis in cinema has made them think like that, I explain. The movie theaters of today are full (We could also say INFECTED) of superhero movies; the whole universe of Marvel and the recent, and bad, universe of DC dominate cinema listings of every year. Now, the people who see this superhero movies go to see "the best superhero movie" that is "The Dark Knight" (2008) directed by Nolan and then they go to see his other films and so they begin to idolize him, like a Messiah.

I admit that something similar happened to me but it wasn't because of the superhero movies, I "fell in love" with his movies with "Inception", in 2010, when Marvel had only premiered three films, I went to see "Transcendence" (Wally Pfister, 2014) because Nolan was the producer and in that year I had great expectation for "Interstellar", I went to see this film and the movie theater was empty but three years later I see "Dunkirk" and it was full as if it were a superhero movie and it seems like everyone liked it but I think there are some aspects in which Nolan fails and I will analyze this.

There's something I criticized from Nolan after seen "Dunkirk" and is that he is too true to his "style" and when I heard he was going to do a war film I expected him to do a different movie and in this point is were I was very disappointed. The aspect is the management of time in the film. It's totally unnecessary and he does it just to brag, to show off he can do a complicated movie, something we already knew after see "Inception" and "Interstellar" and also "The Prestige" (2006). The use of time in "Dunkirk" with his different stories told in a disorderly way doesn't have any narrative function or even cinematographic, is use only as an visual effect. You also get confused sometimes, no matter how intelligent you are. The concepts of time in films studied in the 20's by the russians are misused by Nolan.

The other aspect that is a little wrong are the characters, maybe we could say that as is a war movie it doesn't about a person or a group of persons but of a "situation", an historic event: the evacuation from Dunkirk. But sadly Nolan tries that you feel empathy for some characters and you don't, because they are bad developed for that. Maybe the movie would be perfect for me without those aspects because except for these everything is incredible, the sound, the cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, the music of Hans Zimmer, all the technical aspects are amazing as Nolan does it always, a very well cared production. The use of silence and no so much dialogue help to create a great experience of suspense and tension.

Despite the problems it has is a very good movie that of course it worth to see. For me, is maybe the best movie of Nolan filmography behind "The Dark Knight" and maybe "Inception" and shows us that Nolan has learned a lot, his strong is how to tell a story, now he has to learn how to put aside his style and dazzle us with pure cinematographic art.

Phantom Thread
(2017)

Masterly
I went to see "Phantom Thread" with a little bit of expectations, the "last movie" of Daniel Day-Lewis and another one from Paul Thomas Anderson, of who I haven't seen yet his entire filmography, it looked promising and it didn't disappoint me. The film is one of the most beautiful I saw from 2017 and also from many recent years, this word (beautiful) simplifies a very complex and well done film, and maybe many people won't think as me because of the plot and that's something I can understand but in my opinion is all the little and big components of the film which make it a brilliant piece of art.

Let's begin with the big components, first: Daniel Day-Lewis. What can I say? He is one of the best actors in the world and maybe in the history of cinema, and he proof this in every second of this film, literally, in every second. Since the firsts scenes he appears you can see the enormous category he has, takes when we only are watching him combing his hair, shaving, dressing and polishing his shoes. Then his performance only improves and improves, portraying a very deep and complicated character. Sometimes charming, sometimes rude... A very complete performance. His co-protagonists don't stay far, principally Lesley Manville (who plays Cyril), his performance as a strong woman that even controls Reynolds is incredible, she's practically the leader between the Woodcock's siblings. Vicky Krieps performance is also good, Alma has also many faces, sometimes fragile and dependent, and then the opposite, strong and independent with non necessity of Reynolds.

And we see all this special characters accompanied with Jonny Greenwood's music, wonderful and beautiful, maybe the best soundtrack in a movie from 2017. The piano represents all the beauty and horror in the film. And other aspects that for me are very well done are the photography (that is supposedly made by the same Paul Thomas Anderson) and the costume design (in charge of Mark Bridges) which are incredible in every part of the film.

If someone, apart of Daniel Day-Lewis, has to take all the applause is, obviously, the director: Paul Thomas Anderson. Wonderful director and writer, the script of this film is what make it so incredible, the characters and the plot, and then there's how he takes all this to the cinematographic language. The takes, the composition of the takes is terrific, how he puts the camera makes him one of the best director of our times. There is three takes I want to highlight, because I think proof what I say; the first one is when occurs the "parade" with the presentation of some dresses in the house of Woodcock, the "camera in hand" when Alma goes out is beautiful made, with a great harmony and, accompanied with the music, you can feel the tension that Reynolds feels.

The second is a long take, no cuts, when Cyril goes to see the work that the ladies are doing with the dress (after Reynolds falls, ruining it) we have a long take of Cyril walking around the table, stopping when she started, with Alma behind. This long take is beautiful, it is soft and quiet and has a great illumination. Last, is the take when Reynolds is recover and goes to see Alma in the couch, the camera frame shows Alma, Reynolds and the dress (that it's finish), the camera moves toward Reynolds and Alma, leaving the dress while Reynolds proposes marriage to Alma, then there's only they, we don't see the dress.

For end this review, of this wonderful movie, I think this is the perfect goodbye (if it is) for Daniel Day-Lewis, a career of successful that we won't forget. And is also perfect for Paul Thomas Anderson, consolidating himself as a master of directing, and I hope one day everyone recognize this.

Ovnis en Zacapa
(2015)

as if we did not have enough problems in the region ... now UFOs!
"Ovnis en Zacapa" is one of those movies everybody should see, is entertaining, funny and is well made, obviously, is not perfect or excellent but comply with the kind of film that is. Is incredible how the independent productions have grown in Central America, and this film proves this because it was made with so little money but, despite this, is clear that they knew what were doing.

The characters are so well made, everybody with his distinctive personality, especially the professor Rober Daneri (played by Daneri Gudiel, who does a very good performance), he is very funny and you can think he does not care about anything but at the same time, he is clever and can take a situation with seriousness. The other characters works perfectly with him and help to the development of the plot. the cinematography and sound are good, I would say that comply with the standard, just in a scene, I remember that suddenly the sound change and you could hear how it had imperfections, but taking away that part everything is good. The visual effects obviously are not the stunning visual effects from a Hollywood movie (even from one of the worst) but you easily understand what's happening and that is the important.

Is also incredible that this movie it is of three genres, science-fiction, comedy and a thriller, I think is works very good in those three, particularly in the first two. If is something I did not like from the film was some parts of the end, I liked the end but I think that some elements were no so original and you can even think that are a little bit taken out of the sleeve, a little hurried, like the police appearance at the end when entering the house.

Like conclusion, this is a very funny film, very good, with great characters, and a great story that will have you with your eyes glued to the screen until it finish, is another prove that in Central America exist good cinema and that we are learning, with any quantity of money, to make it better.

Nelyubov
(2017)

The love for films in the rest of the world
Filmmakers around the world has always recreated cinema in their own way, contrasting with the films made in Hollywood, that in a certain point become the same, that is to say, are made with the same "mold". The foreign cinema, specially from Europe, America and Asia has acquired his own identity, but with pass of time we can say that this films are made with the same "mold", but obviously, one different from Hollywood's.

I think no one can deny the much contributions that Hollywood has made to cinema, since the beginning of this art they have improved the way we watch and consume movies and how these are made. This have its consequence, the over exploitation of films, especially of a specific genre; in the 50's were the musicals and now are the super-heroes movies but international filmmakers (and from Hollywood itself too) always find another way to tell a story. In 20's were the Russians and Germans, then the Italians, with artistic movements that change films forever and then in response to the repetitive stagnation of ideas in Hollywood, the Nouvelle Vague (the "new wave" of french cinema) made his own contribution. They were the beginning of the foreign cinema that now is still alive and for me is better than many of the Hollywood films.

"Nelyubov" represents that, the actual foreign cinema that is the son of that foreign films from the 20th century. This movie sometimes reminds me to movies from Luis Buñuel or Jean-Luc Godard, and a lot to Michael Haneke's "Caché", we can say are similar in some aspects, but I think they seem to be made with the same "model" because they represent the same: the voice that says that the cinema is not only Hollywood.

This movie is incredible, is so beautifully and carefully made; is awesome how it takes his time to express and show how the characters are and what his title means, you see the two main characters and their lack of love, how that transform their lives and most important how it determines another person's life, in this case the boy. After we saw everything about both parents and how they try to find love far from the other (being his son the only link between both) a situation when they need to be together appears.

The film change totally from this point and in the searching of the boy we check that the parents can not be together and we wonder what will happen at the end. I thought they were going to find the boy, it was surprising the end, letting you some questions and reflections. Andrey Zvyagintsev, the director of the films does an spectacular job, it manage very well the rhythm of the movie, that sometimes seems slow but like I said, it takes his time and in the end everything was necessary. The shots, that don't show many movement and the information that the movie gives to the audience is pretty careful.

The cinematography is great, with a tone that shows the coldness and unhappy life of the characters. The music is another aspect to mention, is very good, Evgueni Galperine & Sacha Galperine does an amazing job, and the performances are also amazing, both when they cry, fight or smile (the latter the least we see).

In conclusion, I think this film is one of the best of the year and I expect to see it in the award season that's coming, is well done in every aspect and is part of the current foreign cinema, that pays homage to his predecessors.

[Rec]
(2007)

Should have been better
I had listened that this film was different from all the horror movies of the last years, and I really saw it with the expectation of see something different but the truth is that, at the end, falls in what it tried to changed.

For me the best part was the beginning, I liked that the film starts when the news report starts, giving an argument to the filming style of the movie (the hand-held camera technique) and the introduction of the characters is good, you feel that the movie is taking his time for establish himself. The problem comes when the knot of the story begins.

I think everything starts good, our protagonist Ángela (played by Manuel Velasco) enter in the building with the firemen, they see the people that live there and all the situation looks real, then they go to see the cause of the alarm and we see the scene of the old woman that bite one police man, with all this I think the film generates mystery, something that's good but at the end all that goes to the trash.

I hadn't seen trailers or reviews about the film before saw it, something I think is the best you have to do before watching a movie, because in that way you go with the less information possible; in this days the trailers or clips shows too much information, so much that we have already seen the films before this one premiere, as an example: the Marvel film "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015) showed like three trailers and like 20 or more clips, so you practically knew what was coming. With that, I never thought that "REC" will be an zombie film with many jump scares, I really thought it will be better than that. Obviously no everything is bad, there are some scares that are good, like the one when a person falls from the stairs of the building, that one was original. but in general all are the same kind of easy scares.

If we talk about the performances, there are no so much to talk because in this kind of film (NOT all the horror movies, "The Shining" (1980) or "The Witch" (2015) are some examples of good performances in horror films) the performances are flat and the characters doesn't evolve; But maybe the performance of Manuela Velasco, in the first part of the film, is redeemable. In the technical aspects, the photography is fine and also the sound, nothing out from this world but not bad neither.

In conclusion, this film tried to be different from all the other horror films but at the end fell, and feels like some bad horror movie from Hollywood, with a hand-held camera technique with no sense and with many jump scares. "REC" is just a prove of the decay of the horror genre in the recent years.

Stand by Me
(2016)

The beauty in simplicity
The time in films is very important, you can have a long story and tell it in the less time possible or you can have a short story and lengthen it so much as you want, this last case sometimes doesn't work and the story lose his essence. But I think is the director what it matters, as an example, "Seven Samurai" (1954) from Akira Kurosawa has a duration of 3 hours and 27 minutes and in none moment, in my opinion, is boring; the director knows how distribute everything in the movie, not being monotonous and hence catch your attention in every dialogue, every battle, every silence, in every moment.

I have always admired the short films because you need to tell an story in a short period of time, sometimes can be favorable and sometimes not but I think this short film represents that; in my opinion, "Stand by Me" tells us a simple story and the time that is used for tell the story is the necessary, so let's go step by step. The film use the long-shot technique, in personal I like a lot this technique and this film used it in an excellent way. The cinematography is well cared for and gives to the film an incredible and beautiful style.

He have two characters, Alex (Theodore Larsen) and Zoe (Audrey Anderson), that are a couple, we can see how is their relationship, and then we see the climax of the film, a moment that for me is something like an "What if..." in this part the actors and the music (that is very good) do the magic, a moment that let us thinking about how we will react in a case like this. We think how our main character will escape from this situation and when this is turning worst we see the true... everything with a great direction.

For end this review I would like to say that this kind of films and filmmakers are the future of the good movies, the independent productions are growing up, so much that sometimes are even better that the big productions, and of course that are better that the "blockbuster" films because the intention of this movies is show the beauty of the arts and not only earn money.

Silence
(2016)

The power of faith
"Silence" is the last movie of Martin Scorsese, with only hear that name you expect something wonderful and in fact, this movie is wonderful.

The premise for the movie is simple but at the same time is intriguing and interesting; two Jesuit priests go to Japan (in the 17th century) to look for their mentor, who has been lost during the persecution to the Christians. I was captivated since the first time I saw something about this movie and I knew I have to see it in a cinema. Unfortunately, the movie came to my country until the last month of march but finally I saw it.

The film is amazing, from the first scene you can see how complex the movie will be and that scene is incredible, with a few minutes Scorsese has shown us how will the persecution against the Christians be, and introduced us the character of Ferreira (Liam Neeson), in that couple of minutes that we saw him and listen to him we define how we look him, if he is a strong man that will never abandon his faith or if he will because of the suffer that he see in his colleagues. All the scene gives more mystery to the beginning of the movie and puts Ferreira like a very important character.

Then we see our main character, the priest Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) that with his friend and colleague, the priest Garupe (Adam Driver), will go to Japan in search of Ferreira because of the rumor that he has abandon the Christian faith; since the beginning of their journey they are warned about the danger of the mission but they continue with the hope of find their mentor.

Once in Japan they find, with the help of Kichijiro (a Japanese that they found in China), a small village of Japanese Christians, here comes the first proof of the power of faith, the same Rodrigues tells that he was surprised with the faith of that people, people who embraced the Christian faith strongly. Here comes the part when we meet the "villains" of the film, Japanese people who not accept the Christian faith, and here is when the debate can start, Who were the bad guys? The Japanese people that want to preserve their religion and culture? Or the Christians, that go to other countries trying to convert the people to their faith? I won't discuss this because this is another issue but of course you can spend hours and hours talking with another person about this topic.

The rest of the story is incredible, and for me tells you about the power of faith, about how strong the faith of a man can be, about the faith that doesn't support itself in the material things, and talking about this, we see two different versions of men, the man who knows that this is true (that the material symbols of a religion are not the most important thing) a man like Rodrigues; and the conservative man like Garupe, that would die before insult one of this material symbol. We also see how much will a man suffer until give up to his faith and deny his god, which let the question to us, how much can we suffer until that? all that represented in the priest Ferreira.

Now, let's see the cinematic aspects, first the director. I haven't seen all the Martin Scorsese films but I like his style (at least in the movies I have seen) but I think that in this film he has overcome himself and has prove (by itself we did not have it clear) that he can do any kind of cinema and that, in my opinion, defines the best director. The direction is wonderful, it catch you since the first minute and doesn't let you go until the credits appear, tells the story in a sublime way and, being an almost three hours film, is not boring at anytime. Scorsese showed in the best way the two cultures that conflict. He gave to their characters (from Ferreira to Kichijiro) a very important role in the film, leaving a mark in the main character, Rodrigues. Another great point of the direction was rawness and hardness of some images, something necessary in this kind of stories.

The performances are spectacular, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver make incredible performances that put them like good actors (in my opinion, the Andrew Garfield's performance here is better that his performance in "Hacksaw Ridge" (2016)). Liam Neeson is also great here, he represents wisdom but at the same time weakness.

The cinematography, by Rodrigo Prieto, is stunning, is so beautiful and with so many detail to the image. At least the Academy consider him for the Oscars and it maybe could have won but it had so many good movies in front.

For conclude, this movie also prove that the Oscars are not so important, because this film should have won many awards or at least have many nominations (best director and best motion picture in my opinion) but the time also hit this movie and is obvious that the Academy members doesn't watch all the movies. This is one of the best film of Martin Scorsese and I'm sure I will remember this film forever and I expect the world remember it too.

Matlatl
(2017)

Bad...
"Matlatl" tells the story of a family that suffers a tragic event and is forced to move to a recondite place in the north of El Salvador, once there, strange things happen related to the Salvadoran mythological legends. Now, the direction and screenplay, this film has a big problem with the script, the story is not clear, and in many parts is nonsense, and there are obvious problems with the dialogues and the actors. There are also some situations and characters that are so unnecessary and there're just bad. It's supposed to be a horror film and I can say it tries to reach the conventions of this genre but it fails and falls into the false "conventions" of the actual "horror films".

The performances, being honest, almost all are bad, but I think the worst is the performance of Augusto Morales (who plays Juan). In two takes this was obvious, because he could not act in front of the camera. The first scene is when the family is eating and the father is talking to Juan, in the whole scene we only see the father talking and we don't see Juan's reactions. And it's supposed to be a serious conversation; the other comes in another conversation with his father, in this one the face of Juan can't be seen but because the scene is dark, not to mention when Juan kills his "girlfriend". Then, there is the priest, an unnecessary character that doesn't make any difference, being one of the "clichés" of the movie because... really? a priest? in that case you should take your child to a hospital first. To the little girl, we can't demand her a wonderful performance but it was good (better than Juan's) and the best one was the performance of Carlos Cardona as Don Carlos, it's obvious that he's the one with more experience.

Now some technical aspects. The cinematography was weird, sometimes was good and sometimes was horrible, sometimes we see like it's day and then in the same scene it seems like it's night time; and you could clearly saw the filters used in the photography. The sound was the same, sometimes disappeared from the movie (becoming a mute film) and then appeared again. Another terrible thing, maybe the worst, was the fire flames; its texture seems odd and there was another of couple bad visual effects. The only good thing was the make-up of "La Mujer", actually it was pretty good.

This movie was made by a new film production company. It's their first movie and I don't know if it's the result they wanted, I doubt it, and at least they tried it and from now on they can only do it better but, even though, this movie is very bad.

Hell or High Water
(2016)

Surprising
This is one of the best films of the year but when you end of watch the movie you ask yourself why (at least I did it) so... Why is one of the best films of the year? Well in this review I will share my opinion trying to answer that question, telling what I liked from this film and what it didn't.

"Hell or High Water" is innovative, resuscitate an forgotten genre of cinema (in my opinion) and does it so well that is not result boring for this times. The story is very original (written by Taylor Sheridan) and is almost excellent, two bank robbers of a dead town that are brothers by the way, one of them more crazy than the other (Tanner Howard, played by Ben Foster) and the other (Toby Howard, played by Chris Pine) is just a guy trying to give a better life to his children; the story is not complicated and something that I like from the film is the concentration with the story, it tells you what you want to know, two guys that rob banks, also tell us the a little of the Toby's family but is necessary because you discover why Toby is robbing the banks. Oh, there are also the counterparts of our protagonists, two cops, Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham), that try catch the robbers and are searching for them in all Texas.

The direction is amazing, the film catch you and keep you concentrated, is not boring in any time and the action scenes are good; the movie starts in the way it has to start, with a rob, in an incredible first long shot. That is another thing that I liked from this film, the filming is very good but let's continue with the directing, I can say the film has two sides, the side of the bank robber brothers and the side of the cops, it shows very of the two sides (obviously more of the brothers) but the two sides are entertaining, the brothers robbing some bank or changing the money that they have stolen or... the cops following their footprints and thinking how they do and when they gonna fail so the cops can catch them (well, maybe just Jeff Bridges was thinking that). There is a part in the movie when you think that is dying and is becoming boring but them the film got better with the last rob to the Fleeca Bank... sorry, to the Midlands Bank (too much GTA V) and with this comes my favorite scene of the movie, when all the town is chasing the Howard brothers and in the middle of the road Tanner stops the car and gets out of it for take his machine gun and shoots against the people that are chasing them, just amazing; David Mackenzie does an spectacular job in the direction and the movie ends good, the story that they want to tell is finished and at least someone end happy.

The cinematography and the sound editing are well achieved as well as the editing, these are very important aspects that make this film feel more real and in this kind of movies is necessary. Another good thing in my opinion is the music (by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis) works perfect for the movie.

For me the performances are amazing, specially Ben Foster performance, I haven't seen so many films with Ben Foster but for me was the best performance of the movie (and the best I have seen from him); another good performance it's Jeff Bridges performance, I didn't see his performance so good until Alberto (Gil Birmingham), his mate, dies, in that moment you can see his desperation and sadness for someone that he had been bothering in the entire trip, in that part and and the next you can see the best of Jeff Bridges in the movie. The other performances aren't so outstanding but they are not bad, I expected more from Chris Pine but I think he plays very well his character.

For end this review, "Hell or High Water" is a revelation for me and yes... it is one of the best films of 2016 because is very complete, it have drama, action, comedy, etc., all with a incredible directing and a crew that makes it amazing in every aspect.

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