Category Archives: Cinema

2012: why not think positive?

2012 is approaching. Visions of the end of the world, catastrophic events, or the apocalyptic doom may immediatly come to your mind when the year 2012 is mentionned. But 2012: A time for change is a documentary that will give you a different vision of the year that is coming.

Nostradamus, the Mayan prophecy, the Free Masons, and a number of infamous astrologers all point to 2012 as a defining moment of change. If the 90’s were characterized by a rising fear of the year 2000, the world has witnessed a rising fear of the date of December 21st, 2012. With the help of the “doomsday theories”, the media has been quite successful at dramatizing our future.

2012 – the hype about how the end is near?

Early in 2007, an article titled “Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?” was published in USA Today. In it G. Jeffrey MacDonald wrote: “Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. A fourth is due this fall.” Not only many websites have been created for the occasion but a great many videos on Youtube have been dedicated to these quite pessimistic predictions. Many movies have also been inspired by the theories. 2012 and I am Legend are just a couple of famous examples. Documentary series on The History Channel as well as on Discovery Channel have given a focus on this same issue: Decoding the Past (2005), End of days (2006), Seven Signs of the Apocalypse (2007), and  2012 Apocalypse (2009) [click on the links to view parts of these documentaries].

In reaction to this phenomenon and to calm people down, articles have been written about how largely over hyped the whole issue has been [read this MSNBC article for example]. However, as journalist Benjamin Radford wrote in an article published on FoxNews.com, “while many authors and 2012 ‘experts’ are playing up the doomsday scenario, others believe that the year will bring not disaster but a new era of global harmon”.

Think again, what if 2012 wasn’t what you’re always being told?

Indeed, behind this big wave of gloomy narratives being presented to us, hides a few who are trying to convey a more optimistic message. This was the subject of a book by author Daniel Pinchbeck who wrote  2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, published in spring 2006. Pinchbeck then collaborated with New york-based director João Amorim to turn this book into a Documentary Film titled 2012: A Time for Change, which is due to be released in festivals and selected venues throughout 2011.

I don’t mean to advocate that the views expressed in 2012: A Time for Change are completely original. As movie critic John Hartl wrote in The Seattle Times, it is indeed “a thought-provoking examination of some of the same issues explored in ‘Avatar’, ‘Crude’ and Hollywood’s bigger-budget 2009 disaster epic, ‘2012’. But while the negative theories about 2012  have largely populated our screens, 2012: A Time for Change does offer a refreshing take on what may (or may not) be coming to us.

Instead of scaring its audience, in his review of the film, Sander Hicks explains how 2012: A Time for Change offers “a vision that asserts that human creativity, scientific innovation and a new vision of spirituality are powerful forces creating a huge paradigm shift,  here and now, taking us off the path of death, into new life.” Emmy-award nominee João Amorim provides his audience with a lot of optimism for 2012.

Why not think positive for a change?

Neil Genzlinger gave a rather negative review of the film, which he published in the New York Times. He accused it of being naive and proclaimed that the interviewees, which included celebrities like Sting and David Lynch, don’t “seem to acknowledge that the planet has almost seven billion people on it or have room in their worldview for annoying facts of life like brutal dictators, ethnic hatred, entrenched poverty and plain old greed”.

I don’t totally disagree with this view but it seems to me that, in our modern societies, we are confronted with these “facts of life” in our everyday life through the news and other media that I have mentionned above. Instead of pointing out to all the problems in the world, 2012: A Time for Change offers a different perspective that provides a window to the viewer that is overwhelmed with doom.

See the trailer here. If you want to host a screening, buy the DVD or  see when the film is going to be screened in a theatre near you, go to the 2012: A Time for Change website.

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MGM’s financial trouble causes delay in making of next James Bond

The sequel to James Bond’s “Quantum of Solace” will not hit the big screen before a while because of MGM’s financial difficulties at the moment. Worries about the company’s future arise.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: “due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development of ‘Bond 23′ indefinitely.”

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But this raises questions over the future one of the biggest Hollywood production house. We are a long way for the 1950’s when MGM used to be called, as Nick Allen recalls in The Telegraph, “the most successful studio in the world”.

Lets not forget that it is MGM who created the Hollywood star system which flourished with Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Buster Keaton and all that followed.

What’s next for MGM?

Yesterday, the AP released a report announcing that “MGM put itself up for sale after a slump in DVD sales and a lack of hits left it unable to manage a $3.7 billion debt.”

On the verge of bankruptcy, MGM is now looking for a new owner.

Can such an elephant in the industry like MGM ever die? And if it does, how will it affect Hollywood?

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Precious – An horrible tale that makes for an excellent film

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) is shocking yet so touching. Lee Daniels skilfully defies traditional Hollywood storytelling with his second film as a director.



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She has everything you would never want. She has been through everything you would never want to go through. Precious is everything you would never want to be.

And yet she remains so beautifuly human you can’t help but deeply sympathise. She is so hopeful with her life, you can’t help but admire.

Most of us would have comitted suicide after experiencing such contempt, disrespect, and hatred. Claireece “Precious” Jones hasn’t. She lives on as a startling proof  that in the most miserable situations hope can still triumph against despair. (Read the synopsis)


Lee Daniel’s tour de force

Lee Daniel’s latest release  Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire (2009) is profoundly shocking. The storyline might seem violent and appaling. It definitely comes as a slap on the face to the viewer. But it is astonishing.

Precious is a simple film that makes you feel something strong. It affects your emotions. It disturbs. It juices you up as much as it drains you dry.

Precious‘ narrative flows smoothly with continuous disclosures, hooking the viewer through a number of “revealing and moving scenes”. The cinematography, handled by Andrew Dunn (Gosford Park, Edge of Darkness) is brilliant, representing Precious’ world “mostly raw but on occasion appropriately romantic”.



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Among the 70 awards won by the film since its release, Mo’nique won a well-deserved golden globe, an academy award and an oscar for her performance as Precious’ mother. Lee Daniels was also honored in a number of festival including Deauville, Sundance and Toronto.

My Verdict: definitely worth a watch. (check out the trailer)

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Our world has become “Objectified”

Have you ever realised every thing around you has, at some point, been designed by a man for a purpose? That’s what Gary Hustwit want you to see in his eye-opening documentary Objectified.

Your computer, your coffee mug, your bottle of water, your chair. All the objects that surround us in our world are the work of designers. Objectified is a documentary that looks deep into your everyday world to reveal the professionals you rarely think of.

The topic of Hustwit’s documentary is absolutly brilliant and explores “the world unthought of” through the eyes of ordinary people. All the people he has interviewed feel clearly passionate about their work and they’re able to analyse it wonderuflly.

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In Objectified, form serves content.

Objectified is one film that will hold your attention. The editing flows efficiently from begining to end with smooth music transitions while the voices and images supplement each other in a beautiful way.

Hustwit’s first film Helvetica (2007) was about typography and design. Objectified is part of his intended trilogy on design. For a second film, it is impressive and definitly worth a watch.

The Verdict: 5/5 DVD is out. Get your hands on it! Fast.

Check out the trailer here.

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Paranormal Activity – finally an horror film that’s actually scary!

Paranormal Activity is one of the best horror films I have seen on the screens after a while. It is definitly worth a watch if you are looking for some exciting thrill.

Shot in the same way as the Blair Witch Project was made, Paranormal Activity builds up the fear with a sense of realism that will leave you petrified.

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The first  half hour may seem rather slow as we explore the day-to-day life of this couple. They have a big house, are happily loving each other and experience fears when they hear unusual sounds in the night. However, this slow build-up serves to make us comfortable with this pair of characters. We can even start to identify with them as all of us might have experienced these sort of fears at one point in our lives.

The tension never stops to increase throughout the movie. In fact, the last scenes are the most frightening ones. They leave you wondering if you can ever get home after the show and sleep peacefully.

This film proves once again that the best scare can come from the lowest budget films. I agree with Michael Dequina who wrote: “Fun, creepy, unpretentious little haunted house rides like these are so hard to come by these days that slight overpraise is understandable.”

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The Twilight sequel might have a bad influence on teenagers

New Moon is a film geared  towards teenager girls and yet reflects ideas that could have a wrong influence.

 

The Twilight saga proves it can keep on magnetizing audiences as New Moon receives remarkable results at the Box Office. The film received the highest opening day gross in history, cashing more money than Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Spiderman 3 and even Dark Night. As Claire McCarthy mentions, “there is absolutely no doubt that we are dealing with a true teen phenomenon”.

 

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But New Moon is also generating controversies amongst parents. The film lingers on a number of mushy scenes and  little action but violence and sex are not the issue this time. However, what worries are the behaviours and the system of thoughts that the characters expose:

  • The main female protagonist is completly obsessed with her vampire lover.
  • Edward has total control over Bella.
  • Bella doesn’t care about school, all she wants is to live forever with Edward.
  • Bella is capable of taking the highest risks to be with Edward

As CNN reported “many parents of tween girls are on the fence about letting their daughters see the vampire romance, saying they are worried the film sends the wrong messages about self-esteem to young girls”.

 

Claire McCarthy, MD at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, expressed her worries in her blog. She worries for young girls because:

  • “they will wish to emulate the relationship between Edward and Bella.”
  • “they will think it’s good to be obsessive, to think only about their boyfriend and nothing else—at the expense of other relationships, schoolwork, or other activities.”
  • “if a boyfriend is controlling or wants to be with them all the time, they will think it’s romantic instead of seeing that it’s a warning sign for date violence”
  • “taking extreme physical risks might be appealing to some readers who will associate it with being in love—and that teens will be hurt.”

 

But it has become a hard task for parents to keep away their teens from the Twilight sequel. Kimberly Noe, 46, says “as a parent I’m not just competing with the movie in the movie theater, I am competing with the millions of advertising dollars that has inundated every nook and cranny of my daughter’s life.”

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