Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arbitrage Review

Back in the 1987, Oliver Stone made a film called "Wall Street," a financial thriller about greed and exorbitant wealth. That genre of film has seen its peaks and valleys over the years but is currently on an incline in light of the financial turmoil. Since the recession began a few years ago, audiences have seen such financial thrillers as "Wall Street 2" and "Margin Call." Now comes "Arbitrage" a film that sticks to the financial thriller genre but also aims to be something more.

The film tells the story of Robert Miller (Richard Gere) who is your typical billionaire hedge fund manager who is trying to sell his company in order to make up for fraud that he has committed on a failed investment. Despite being a professed family man who runs his company with his children, he is having a love affair with an aspiring artist Julie Cote (Laetita Costa). Miller obviously feels a bit uncomfortable with the uncertainty surrounding his company and family's future and decides to run off with Julie one night. However, he dozes off at the wheel and in the ensuing crash kills her. Realizing the trouble he would be getting into with the sale of his company and his own family, he runs away from the scene of the crime and sets in motion the second plotline of the story. Continue reading

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Trouble with the Curve Review

After last year's successful and well-crafted film "Moneyball" it was only fitting that the Hollywood Studios would rush to bring out another baseball film to maintain the audience interest and hype. The resulting product is "Trouble with the Curve," a film that is the antithesis to last year's baseball drama. Where "Moneyball" was subtle and nuanced, "Curve" is sloppy, obvious, and manipulative; where "Moneyball" seemed to revel in its performances, "Curve" seems to suffocate them.

"Trouble with the Curve" sets out to tell the story of an aging baseball scout Gus (Clint Eastwood) whose contract with the Atlanta Braves is about to expire in three months. The new scouting squad of the Braves led by Tom Silver (Matthew Lillard) also questions Gus' inability to stay up to date with new scouting technology, something which puts Gus' job in jeopardy. But the problems continue to mount for poor Gus who finds out he is suffering from problems with his vision (which would indicate that he can't scout properly) and his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) wants to get back into his life. And we must not forget the nightmares he has of a dark horse and shack that haunt him throughout the film.

To Continue Reading click here  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Second Oscar Predictions

After the Toronto Film Festival I have my new Oscar predictions.

1 The Silver Lining Playbook-new
2 Lincoln
3 Argo
4 The Master
5 Beasts of the Southern Wild
6 Moonrise Kingdom
7 Les Miserables

Life of Pi
The Dark Knight Rises
Anna Karenina  

Silver Linings Playbook wins the Toronto Film Festival

The Silver Linings Playbook is now the film to beat for the OSCAR award. Yes its not a precursor award but in the past years the winner of the coveted audience award has went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Here are the winners of the night:
Blackberry Audence Award: Silver Linings Playbook

Canadian Feature:  Laurence Anyways
Canadian Directorial Debut: [TIE] Antiviral and  Blackbird 
Canadian Short: Keep a Modest Head 
FIPRESCI Prize Special Presentation: Fran├žois Ozon's In the House 
FIPRESCI Prize Discovery: Mikael Marsiman's Call Girl
Audience Award Documentary: Artifact
Audience Award Midnight Madness: Seven Psychopaths
Asian Film: The Land of Hope

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Master Review

By David Salazar 

To call director Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master" of the modern film would not be far from the truth. Throughout his still brief career, PTA (as the film world affectionately refers to him) has brought the world only a brief collection of six films to marvel upon, but quality and innovation has always been his signature. His latest endeavor entitled "The Master" may be his boldest film yet as it encapsulates the very different journeys of two men lost in a post World War II world and seeking out wholeness.

The film is essentially an ambitious and quasi-scientific dissertation on free will and human connection. Anderson's central guinea pig is Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a soldier returning to America after the war. Freddie's experiences in the war seem to have dehumanized him as he strays and behaves in primitive and animalistic manners. Satiating his basic instincts seems to be his modus operandi as he has sex with a sand woman on the beach, and seeks out every possible means of quenching his alcoholism. After being rejected by the world on several occasions, he finds himself before Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a man who claims to be a scientist, writer, philosopher, doctor, you name it. Dodd leads a group known as the Cause in which he seeks to explain how humans are connected to their past lives and that by traveling to those past memories over trillions of years, they can finally arrive at peace and health. But like Freddie, Lancaster is also rejected by the world for his radical thoughts and his cult-like practices.Continue Reading 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Master wins big at the Venice Film Festival

Tonight at the Venice Film Festival the awaited awards were announced. Here is the list of winners:

Golden Lion: "Pieta," Kim Ki-duk
Silver Lion (Best Director): "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson
Special Jury Prize: "Paradise: Faith," Ulrich Seidl
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Best Actress: Hadas Yaron, "Fill the Void"
Best Screenplay: "Something in the Air," Olivier Assayas
Technical Achievement Award: "It Was the Son," Daniele Cipri
Best Young Actor: Fabrizio Falco, "It Was the Son" and "Dormant Beauty"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Oscar Predictions

After Telluride, Toronto and Venice Film Festival here are my first Oscar predicitons for best picture and my explanations linked.

 Heavy Favorites
1 Lincoln
2 The Master
3 Beast of the Southern Wild
4 Moonrise Kingdom
5 Argo
6 Les Miserables
7 Argo

Anna Karenina
Life of Pi
The Silver Lining s Playbook 

Here is a link for the complete explanations

Monday, September 3, 2012

Movies I recently saw!

Over the past two weeks I have had opportunity of seeing three incredible independent films with three outstanding performances.

Frozen River  (2008)-tells the story of Ray and Lila who smuggle illegal immigrants into the US in order to obtain money to sustain the children.While River isn't technically perfect and features some subpar performances from a few day players, Melissa Leo and Misty Upham are captivating leads who capture the essence of two women in desperation. Courtney Hunt's script is also superb and it is no wonder the Oscars gave it some recognition. A-

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)-launched Elizabeth Olsen's career last year as her performance was frightening and perturbing. It is a performance that could have easily won the oscar last year. The film tells the story of a haunted  girl, Martha whose painful memories and increasing paranoia inhibit her from re-assimulating with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. The film like its title is fractured and ambiguous. Therefore making the viewer a bit confused and want more out of the film. While it is tense and visually dazzling it would have been good to know more about the cult and about the character. Nevertheless the film is solid if not perfect. B 

The Hunter (2012)-starring Willem Dafoe tells the story of Martin, a mercenary,who is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. The film is intriguing, mysterious and captures beautiful and memorable images. Additionally Willem Dafoe gives an intense performance that once again shows why he is one of the best actors working in the industry. A-

---------------Francisco Salazar