Sing Street

Who didn’t dream about becoming a rockstar, meeting that dream girl, and perhaps venture out to the horizon? Well, here is a story of someone who not only dreamed about, but also acted on all the things he dreamed of. There is so much energy and fire in this movie. It’s like…I want to get out and do something. Something that’s entirely me and mine, not somebody else’s. Even just for once.

Rock n Roll is a risk. You risk being ridiculed.

Sing Street

Birdman

First of all, what a masterpiece!

There are multiple worlds in the movie clashing almost simultaneously.

1. Riggan’s (Michael Keaton‘s) fantasy world
2. Riggan’s real world (character’s reality)
3. Riggan’s stage actor’s world within the play.
4. The movie viewer’s world as Michael Keaton did play the action hero character in Tim’s Burton’s Batman
5. And the strange world of Riggan’s real world connecting with the viewer’s world as hinted by Riggan ranting about the Ironman played by Robert Downy Jr.

When you shake and mix these worlds together, you get an amazing reality distortion field that plays with the suspension of disbelief. I’ve always admired Alejandro González Iñárritu ever since Amores Perros, but his work just gets better and better. I love the transitions, love the language, love the casting, love the direction, etc. Iñárritu just became my cinema god.

Birdman is spontaneous, daring, and charming in an artistic way.

Birdman

Orphan

There are different levels of horror in horror movies. There are physical violence, visual disturbance, shocking moments, etc. However, we also feel horror when our value system is challeged and destroyed. In that sense, the Exorcist is, hands down, the best horror movie ever. It challeges what is deeply sacred to us, i.e., God, family, and children. In Orphan, it focuses on family and children as religion doesn’t play a big part in the contemporary U.S. culture as it was in the 70’s. It is horrifying to see a child act like a vulgar adult and more so become a cold blooded killer. You can’t help feeling sorry for the parents who are helpless and don’t know how to cope with such an evil child.

The great thing about this kind of horror movies is that it makes us realize what we value by destroying what is sacred to us.

Orphan

Fury

David Ayer‘s rendition of a WWII movie is a bit different than the previous ones, notably Saving Private Ryan. Previous movies portrayed brutal, chaotic, and tragic nature of a war. Ayer focuses on how close life is from death. You can’t tell if the characters will die or when the characters will die. If they do, it’s instant and without any foreshadowing. The dramatization is minimal but not realistic as in a documentary. There is no dramatic plot twists and narrative complexities, but the characterization and the emotional landscape are dynamic and rich.

I couldn’t help but feel how fragile and fleeting life was in the midst of a war. Ayer does offer a new and original rendition of how people deal with the war and what goes through their minds and emotions.

I won’t fail to mention how sexy Brad Pitt looks in the movie. He is born to play soldier characters.

Fury

The Wolf of Wall Street

Raging Bull, Good Fellas, Casino, and the Wolf of Wall Street–it’s clear these movies fall into a category within Martin Scorsese‘s filmography. A category of a despicable man redeeming himself at the end. There is something magically awesome about such a character and the story. It is certainly difficult to make a despicable character likable, but if you can pull it off, it works every time. On top of that, if you bring in Scorsese, it’s like watching for the first time Raging Bull, Good Fellas, and Casino. Long live Scorsese!

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Flight Plan

What a great thriller! If I were a screenplay teacher, I’d show this movie in the class. The narrative is so simple and devoid of extra fat that it feels so easy to write a story like this…i.e. only after watching the movie. But most likely the story began with rough edges like an unchiselled rock. Purity and perfection come to life only after painstaking sculpting. Excuse my over dramatic analogy, but that’s how I feel about Flight Plan.

Flight Plan

The Grand Budapest Hotel

When you let the accountants run things, you get stuff like Terminator 3, Transformer 4, and so on…the franchise just gets worse and worse like an overcooked rotten piece of T-bone steak. But when you let an artist continue to make his/her own choice, you get something like The Grand Budapest Hotel.

 

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The Fatal Encounter

This movie feels a bit like an adaptation from a Russian novel where there are multiple protagonists from different social positions from outcasts to a royal family. The Fatal Encounter evolves around the central event, the assassination/purge of the new King (Hyunbin). This is not a typical story of the good guy vs. the bad guy. Rather, this is a story of different characters including the King himself who are destined to be a part of the bigger-than-oneself event and who must fight for their own survival. The King is destined to be assassinated, the assassins are destined to be killers, and their destinies are entangled together.

I was impressed by how the director pulled off weaving multiple sub-plots in a coherent manner and without losing emotional connection.

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