Category: Movie review/analysis


So yesterday morning (in the US) this little thing showed up :

KB tweet

The link takes you to a website specializing in donations for  specific causes or project. This one is the Veronica Mars Movie Project. For 6 years, us fans have been waiting and trying to push the WB to back this movie. We wanted Veronica Mars to have a decent ending, but hte WB didn’t believe in this project. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) & Rob Thomas (Creator of the show) didn’t lose hope and kept trying. After years of negociation, the WB finally admitted to a one shot deal : if Rob & Kristen could rally enough fans to fund the shooting (=$2,000,000), the studio would back it up with promotion and such. They had one month to do it, if they failed the movie would never happen, end of story.

This fundraising broke the website’s records ! Within 4 and half hours they made their first million dollars, the goal of 2 millions dollars was reached shortly after. Any additionnal money will expand the budget for the most amazing movie ever made (well we hope)!

This is amazing ! This is the dawn of a new era, an era where the fans have power over the studio ! (well you still need the studio’s aproval because they own the rights and all but still). Imagine the possibilities : funding a cancelled show to be renewed for an additionnal season, funding the project of an actor/director/producer or new unknown talents… It was already working in the music industry, now it’s up to the fans to help make the movies and tv shows they want ! I say POWER TO THE PEOPLE and POWER TO THE FANS !

I am amazed and kinda proud to be a part of this project… even though i donated only 0.000025% of the 2mil (yup that’s only 50 bucks! a big deal for a broke job seeker)

Keep donating, for this project or others, on http://www.kickstarter.com and don’t forget to donate to charities too (because people keep b*tching about how fast this project got $2,000,000 when charities struggle to get less money so shut them up by doing both !)

Just for the record here’s what it looks like after 17hours :

Kickstart

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Why I watched it : The first time ? Leo of course ! but it’s on tv tonight and my parents haven’t seen it… Please note that I’m currently undergoing the painful process of watching a good American movie dubbed in French !

Tagline :Someone is missing.

Who is in it : Director: Martin Scorsese (I would start with Goodfellas, move on to Casino and then straight to all the DiCaprios and Hugo…  Also keep an eye out for The Wolf of Wall Street and Sinatra to come out some kind of soon) Writers : Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander and soon the potentially disastrous Terminator 5) &  Dennis Lehane (who wrote the novel but also the books which inspired Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River. He also wrote a few episodes of the Wire and Castle)

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Teddy Daniels : Leonardo DiCaprio (Start with “What’s eating Gilbert Grape” and work your way up through “Titanic” and all the Martin Scorcese)

Chuck Aule : Mark Ruffalo (First saw him in 13 going 30, I liked him better in Just like Heaven, Zodiac but I still think he’s best as the new Hulk ! 2 years to go till Avengers 2! Until then we’ll have Now you see me to pass the time…)

Dr. Cawley : Ben Kingsley (47 years of career !!! Tough to summarize but I’ll try, Schindler’s list (of course!), not so sure about Species but Lucky Number Slevin  is a must, the Wackness, Prince of Persia and Hugo…  that should give you a pretty good idea of what he can do until we see him in Iron man 3… As for me I’ll try to find a copy of Ghandi)

Dr. Naehring : Max von Sydow

Dolores : Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek is far away, then Brokeback Mountain, I’m not there, Blue Valentine, My week with Marilyn and the more recent Oz the (not so) great and powerful)

Rachel 1 : Emily Mortimer (I only remember her as one of Hugh Grant’s potential girlfriends in Notting Hill) Rachel 2 : Patricia Clarkson (When I see her I always have flashbacks of Jumanji !)

George Noyce : Jackie Earle Haley

Warden : Ted Levine

Deputy Warden McPherson : John Carroll Lynch

Laeddis : Elias Koteas

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What it is : Drama, Thriller

What it is about :

In 1954, Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal from Portland, goes to Shutter Island to investigate a disappearance. The island’s sole purpose is to host a hospital for the criminally insane and the escapee is a murderer who is believed to be hiding nearby.

What I liked about it :

Well I first watched it because it’s a Leo movie, well it’s a Scorsese-Leo movie and it’s a Scorsese-Leo movie based on a book by the guy who wrote Mystic River … I hadn’t seen it yet I already loved it !

What I loved most it that it messes with your mind all through the movie, Teddy’s confusion and paranoia brings exactly the kind of messed up universe I like. Of course Leo’s intense acting and the contrast with Ben Kinsley helps. (I think that by now you’ve understood how much I love both actors !) At some point you start believing everyone on the Island is crazy (which is both highly probable and plausible  considering the nature of the island…). Changing the actress who plays Rachel adds to the confusion. And that end brings very deep debates with your friends, those endings you’ll love to hate : Is he or isn’t he ? I find this end to be a mix between Usual Suspects, for the surprise “reveal”, and Inception, for the doubt left behind. The whole story bears a lot of resemblance with Inception though. Leo is haunted by his dead wife and his past as a soldier during WWII and starts loosing touch with reality.

I really like the movie, but I found that I don’t have a lot to say about it, it’s just the kind of universe that I like. So I thought I’d go on the web and read a little bit more about the movie and that it would give me ideas… What I found out is, most people who review movies are those kind of people who like to make really complicated sentences, with lots and lots of information, with obscure references and a tendency to comment the movie frame by frame including an extensive “i’m not going to tell what happens at the end but i’ll tell you anyway but without really telling you” … and all this just cut down my inspiration ! I refuse to start writing more just because it’s what’s expected so this “review” is short, the next one might not be !

Quotes :

[first lines]

Teddy Daniels: Pull yourself together, Teddy. Pull yourself together.

George Noyce: This is a game. All of this is for you. You’re not investigating anything. You’re a fucking rat in a maze.

Teddy Daniels: Anything unusual occur?

Nurse Marino: Define ‘unusual’.

Teddy Daniels: Excuse me?

Nurse Marino: This is a mental institution, Marshal. For the criminally insane. Usual isn’t a big part of our day.

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Teddy Daniels: I’m not violent.

Warden: Yes, you are. You’re as violent as they come. (…) Cawley thinks you’re harmless, that youcan be controlled, but I know different.

Teddy Daniels: You don’t know me.

Warden: Oh, but I do.

Teddy Daniels: No, you don’t. You don’t know me at all.

Warden:  Oh, I know you. We’ve known each other for centuries.

Rachel 2: Fifty years from now, people will look back and say, “Here, at this place, is where it all began. The Nazis used the Jews, Soviets used prisoners in their own Gulags. And we – we tested patients on Shutter Island.”

[Last lines]

Teddy Daniels: So, what’s our next move?

Chuck Aule: You tell me.

Teddy Daniels: I gotta get off this rock, Chuck. Get back to the mainland. Whatever the hell’s going on here, it’s bad.

[pause]

Teddy Daniels: [sotto voce] Don’t worry, partner, they’re not gonna catch us.

Chuck Aule: That’s right, we’re too smart for ’em.

Teddy Daniels: Yeah, we are, aren’t we?

[pause]

Teddy Daniels: You know, this place makes me wonder.

Chuck Aule: Yeah, what’s that, boss?

Teddy Daniels: Which would be worse – to live as a monster? Or to die as a good man?

[gets up and walks off]

Chuck Aule: Teddy?

Advertisement : Shutter-Island-Canal

“Everytime Leo takes the boat he has trouble.” (I’d say every time he has kids too !)

Trivia :

Anagrams : The title “Shutter Island” is an anagram of both “Truths and Lies” and “Truths / Denials”. It is shown in the movie that Andrew Laeddis is an anagram of Edward Daniels. It is also shown that Rachel Solando is an anagram of Dolores Chanal.

There are several clues and intentional continuity errors throughout the film that foreshadow the ending. This includes a patient’s drink of water disappearing between shots (she drinks from an empty hand), a cardigan appearing briefly on ‘Rachel’ (which is later worn by the other ‘Rachel’) and lines from Edward/Andrew’s dreams being repeated (such as “Why are you wet, baby?”). These techniques are also used in his dreams showing a similarity between what he perceives as a dream and what he perceives as real.

The quote “remember us for we too have lived, loved and laughed” seen on a plaque on the way to the mental institution is taken from Medfield’s Vine Lake Cemetery. A contest was held to come up with an quote to be used on a stone marker as a remembrance of those who died in the 1918 influenza epidemic known as the Spanish flu.

The traumatic killing of Nazi guards of Dachau concentration camp is a historical event, taking place on 29 April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the US Army.

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The working title was “Ashecliffe”.

This is the fourth time that director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have worked on a film together. They previously collaborated in Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed.

A recording of Gustav Mahler’s piano quartet plays in the SS officer’s office at Dachau. Music by Jewish composers, like Mahler, was banned in Nazi Germany. No hard-line SS officer would have owned or listened to blacklisted Jewish music.

Martin Scorsese instructed Leonardo DiCaprio to base his performance on that of Dana Andrews in Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944).According to Dennis Lehane, the script of Shutter Island reminds of classics like Shock Corridor or Laura. Martin Scorsese has projected both films to his team (along with Out of the past, Crossfire or On Dangerous Ground) to make them grasp the genre he was looking for. To prepare for the role, Leonardo DiCaprio gathered information about the special training the U.S. Marshals followed in the 50s, about the experiences of the veterans of World War II and the methods applied in psychiatric institutions that hosted the mentally ill at the time. He also read the novel by Dennis Lehane several times.

Shutter Island was shot in the closed psychiatric hospital  of Medfield State Hospital, inMassachussetts which was also used for The Box (2009).

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Not so long ago I went to visit the Palace of Versailles for the Murakami exhibit and it gave me an idea : a royal special ! A double feature on France’s most beloved (now) and hated (then) king and queen : Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. (Just for the record, they weren’t reigning together. Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) was married to Maria Theresa of Spain, and Marie-Antoinette (1755 – 1793) married his grandson, Louis XVI. But more on that further down).

The Man In The Iron Mask (1997)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taglines :

For the honor of a king. And the destiny of a country. All for one.

Who is in it :

Written, directed and produced by Randall Wallace

Based on the book “The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later” by Alexandre Dumas, père. (Third and last book of the d’Artagnan Romances series

Louis XIV / Philippe : Leonardo DiCaprio (You might have seen that guy sinking with a big boat or exploring dreams lately)

D’Artagnan : Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects’s Dean Keaton

Athos : John Malkovitch (Lately he’s been a dangerously funny retired wacko in RED (2010))

Portos : Gérard Depardieu (Well he’s done so many great things ! From Cyrano to Obélix I just can’t choose !)

Aramis : Jeremy Irons (Die Hard 3 (1995)’s Simon Gruber)

Christine : Judith Godrèche (She was in many French movies, nothing really stands out to me)

Queen Anne of Austria : Anne Parillaud (The original Nikita (1990) long before Maggie Q)

King’s advisor : Hugh Laurie (He’s done so many great things for the British comedy, though he seems to be only known for being Dr House now)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What it is: Historical action/adventure/drama

What it is about :

“When rioting citizens of France destroyed the Bastille, they discovered in its records this mysterious entry : Prisoner number 64389000 – the Man in the Iron Mask”.

1662, in the court of the palace of Versailles, the former Musketeers, see with despair the extravaganza of the young, arrogant and cold-hearted king Louis XIV. In order to save France from riots and starvation, they reform and embark on a quest to deliver an imprisoned man wearing an iron mask. As they discover the mask is meant to hide the face of the king’s secret twin brother, the Musketeer start to imagine a plan to change the fate of the French kingdom.

What I thought about it :

I could start by commenting the story but .. I can’t really criticize the work of one of the most famous French writer can I ?! I didn’t read the book and I know it only inspired the story but it is a good story. It has a good rhythm and is nicely balanced between a somehow complicated story, heavy with history, and some lighter, more comical scenes. It is presented in a way that makes it look historically accurate. Of course it is not, but still.

The cast is almost flawless. Leo is probably the only one who could have handled that role (these roles ?). He is as credible as the cold-hearted Louis as he is being naïve and sweet Philippe. John Malkovitch is, of course, magnificent, as always …

Judith Godrèche on the other side … Well let’s just say she doesn’t strike me as the kind of women who could bewilder a king, let alone Leonardo DiCaprio !

The comedy is mostly brought by Porthos or the king’s counselors. Gérard Depardieu was a great choice for Porthos. He brought just the right amount of comedy and, let’s face it, he is the best to interpret a French bon vivant who loves both food and women !

Just a little bonus, here is a capture of Hugh Laurie in the film. Seeing him in a wig is, of course, hilarious, but this is probably my favorite moment of the movie : at the beginning he advises the king to distribute food to the starving people. Louis gives orders to distribute rotting food, and the counselors do not have the guts to stand against him. Later as d’Artagnan confronts the king on the matter, Louis turns to Hugh Laurie, tears off his ensign, gives it to the other advisor and says “You are the new chief advisor. Execute him for distributing rotten food.” Priceless !

Oh, and just for the record : the French do salute each other by “se faire la bise” (no translation really but you could say kissing each other on the cheeks) but it’s not big loud smacking kisses on both cheeks ! We usually just brush our cheeks and make a small kissing noise on the side… Plus the men don’t do it very often, or only when very close, like in the family.

Trivia :

Mostly historical facts, Louis XIV did have a brother named Philippe, but he wasn’t his twin, he was several years younger.

The story is set in 1662 in the Palace of Versailles. The construction of the Palace started in 1664.

Quotes :

Aramis: Sometimes there are more important things in life than a good pair of tits.
Porthos: Really? If you can name me one thing that is more sublime than the feel of a plump, pink nipple between my lips, I’ll build you a new cathedral.
Aramis: Forgiveness…
Porthos: Forgiveness…?
(Porthos farts)
Porthos: There… i am i forgiven? Come on… am i forgiven?

Aramis to D’Artagnan (after he decides to protect the king against the other Musketeers) : “God be with you, because non of us will.”

D’artagnan to Louis XIV (after Louis orders him to kill his brother and the other Musketeers) : “When I became a Musketeer, I was told that I should not consider what I was killing but what I allowed to live.”

Marie Antoinette (2006)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taglines :

Let Them Eat Cake

The Party That Started A Revolution

Rumor. Scandal. Fame. Revolution.

At 15 she became a bride. At 19 she became a queen. By 20 she was a legend.

The story of a Queen who lived like a Rock Star.

Who is in it :

Written, directed and produced by Sofia Coppola (executive producer : Daddy !)

Based on the biographies of Queen Marie-Antoinette by Antonia Fraser and Evelyne Lever

Marie Antoinette : Kristen Dunst (Miss Coppola’s muse ? previously seen in very little and underground productions such as Interview with the vampire (1994), the Virgin Suicides (1999) or Spiderman (2002))

Louis XVI : Jason Schwartzman (recently seen in the excellent-but-misunderstood Scott Pilgrim VS the world (2010) or as Jonathan Ames in Bored to Death (2009)

Comtesse de Noailles : Judy Davis

Louis XV : Rip Torn (MIB’s Zed, Aiplane II : The sequel (1982) )

Duchesse de Polignac : Rose Byrne (Ellen Parson in Damages)

Aunt Victoire : Molly Shannon (Yes SNL’s Molly Shannon ! Didn’t recognize her !)

Aunt Sophie : Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones’ squeaky friend and HP’s Moaning Myrtle)

Cameo : Matthieu Almalric as « Man at the Masked Ball »

Costumes : Véronique Melery

Wigs : Rachel Aboulkheir (KD’s hair done by Raphaël Cornillon)

Cakes : Ladurée

What it is: Marie Antoinette … Not much historical facts, no other characters really … Just Marie Antoinette …

What it is about :

Marie Antoinette … Not much historical facts, no other characters really … Just Marie Antoinette … and her dresses and hair !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I thought about it : I have to warn you, I am usually quite opposed to any “revolutionary”, “amazing” and any other kind of “movie of the century”. They usually turn out to be disappointing (still haven’t seen Inception but I have high hopes for it… doubt Avatar will convert me though…) and this one was no exception.

I have to admit that my being French has not played for Sofia. This movie is probably more interesting to anybody who hasn’t been fed the queen’s story since their early childhood ! But what disappointed me most is that not only you don’t really learn anything about the queen but it also gives false information : she had 4 children in total not 3 !

Basically, nothing happens. It is an ode to Kristen Dunst. She is all you see, her, her hair and most of all her pretty dresses ! oh and cakes and macaroons too

It reminds me of a children’s book : sure the images are pretty and the song are good … but the story sucks !

Soundtrack :

The Cure, New Order, The strokes, Bow wow wow, Phoenix…

Trivia :

The real queen had a hyphen in her name but the movie’s character doesn’t.

Quotes :

Marie-Antoinette: This is ridiculous.
Comtesse de Noailles: This, Madame, is Versailles.

Marie-Antoinette: (to her first baby) Oh, you were not what was desired, but that makes you no less dear to me. A boy would have been the Son of France, but you Marie Terese shall be mine.

A modern Queen & King !A modern court

The Runaways

Tag line : It’s 1975 and they’re about to explode.

Why I watched it : Well it’s about the Runaways, whom I love, plus it’s part of my Kristen Stewart Frenzy, and I wouldn’t miss K.S. & Dakota Fanning reunited after Twilight 3 !

Who is in it :

Written and directed by Floria Sigismondi (director of many music videos)

Executive producer: (among others) Joan Jett

Director of photography : Benoit Debie

Music Consultant : Kenny Laguna (who worked with JJ when she performed with the Blackhearts and at Blackheart recods)

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Joan Jett : Kristen Stewart (Panic room (2002), Twilight (2008))

Cherry Currie : Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds (2005), Twilight – New moon (2009))

Kim Fowley : Michael Shannon (Fred from Grounghog day (1993), Revolutionary Road (2008))

Sandy West : Stella Maeve

Lita Ford : Scout Taylor-Compton (Fairy in Charmed (1998-2006), Halloween I, II & III (2007-2011))

Scotty : Johnny Lewis (You probably know him from Sons of Anarchy (2008) I know him from Malcolm in the middle (2000-2006)& Quintuplets (2004-2005))

Cherie’s dad : Brett Cullen (Is it just me or having Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart in a movie with a Cullen funny?)

Rockabilly Saleslady : Antonella Sigismondi (Let’s keep it in the family ?!)

What it is : Music biography  ?

What it is about : A classic boy meets girl story, they fall in love get married … Well it’s about the Runaways, obviously ! For those in the back who have no idea what I’m talking about it’s 1975, Joan Jett meets Cherie Currie and the girls and it’s all about the music : Cherry Bomb, Do you really want me, I love Rock ‘n Roll and so on and so forth! The story of the rise and fall of the best girls-only rock band !

What I liked about it : It looks true, it sounds true and it is true ! Based on the book Cherie wrote (“Neon Angel”)and knowing that Joan Jett gave was there during the shooting, we can bet the story is faithful to what truly happened as proved with the scene in Tokyo with the crazy fans or their money problems. I’m not so sure about the scene where Jett & Currie kissed but it serves the movie a bit, showing how linked the 2 girls are.

The characters are really intense, like the girls in real life I guess, but sometimes it feels a bit to strong to be true … I wonder who we have to thank for that : mother nature for creating such crazy girls or the writer for putting it down on paper…

Cherie Currie is really feminine all the time and from the beginning, opening on her periods, then with the heels (there are any close ups on her shoes), the dress as she rehearses Fever in her bedroom or the concert in corset and stockings… On the other side your have Joan who’s a real guy, swearing like a sailor, buying a men’s jacket and kissing girls.

The manager is a bit hard to believe… he is a bit too much of a cliché : the crazy clothing, the Bowie make up, the dog collars, but a genius nonetheless : creating Cherie Bomb of the top of his head at the audition, trying to motivate them to get better anyone he can think of, even if it means throwing rotten tomatoes at them while they play, to prepare them for what they might face outside… even though he rips them off any chance he gets.

On the downside, I think it is kind of a shame the story only focuses on Joan & Cherrie, learning a little more about the other would have been refreshing.

I have to admit that between Panic Room ad Twilight, and even though I love her, I was starting to wonder if miss Stewart was capable of a facial expression ! The shy/embarrassed look can only get you going for so long but here she finally is allowed to let go ! And let me just say this : seeing her laughing or the scene where she gets mad at the studio around the end is just exhilarating and kind of liberating … It’s really nice to see her breaking free of whatever was holding her back … just for that I can’t wait to see Welcome to the Rileys !

Quotes :

Kim Fowley (to Cherie Currie): “I like your style… A little Bowie, A little Bardot, and a look on your face that says “I can kick the shit out of a truck driver””

Soundtrack : I wasn’t lying about the « it sounds true » part … Fanning and Stewart have covered a couple of songs and it is amazingly resembling. The real Joan Jett even said that when she first heard their cover of “Cherie Bomb” or “Dead end justice” she thought it was the original Runaways song ! I agree with Empire, the Stooges’ “I want to be your dog” for the kissing scene is just a tad too much but other than that it’s great. David Bowie, Iggy and the Stooges, the Sex Pistols … I expected the soundtrack to be Runaways-only, but it isn’t and i appreciated it …

I like the end credits on “Bad reputation”… good conclusion !

Trivia : Joan Jett regreted that the end of the film that reveals only the her fate, Kim Fowley’s and Cherie Currie’s and not Sandy West’s who died just before the film went into production.

The producers only managed to buy the life story rights for Cherie, Joan, Sandy and Kim Fowley. Lita Ford and Jackie Fox declined to grant the producers their life story rights.

The girls spent a month rehearsing and recording The Runaways’ songs before starting to shoot.

Advertisement : The poster is arranged like the 70’s poster with the « Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett » part. Lot of emphasis on the actual Joan Jett involvement in the project as part of the promotion, to accentuate the « true-story » side I guess.

Kaboom

Why I watched it : Thomas Dekker is in it + I remember hearing from it during Cannes’ Film Festival.

Who is in it :

Written and directed and produced by : Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin (2004) with J. Gordon-Levitt, and the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy [Totally F***ed Up, The Doom Generation & Nowhere])

Smith : Thomas Dekker (Mostly know for taking the role of John Connor on the missed, short-lived Terminator : Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008) or as the cheerleader’s friend in the Season 1 of Heroes (2007). I’ve been following him since he played brainy Nick Szalinski on Honey I shrunk the kids, the TV show(1997))

Stella : Haley Bennett (who played the role of the diva Cora in Music and Lyrics (2007))

London : Juno Temple (daughter of British film, documentary and music video director, Julien Temple)… It bugged me for while because I couldn’t remember who she reminded me of … turns out (I think) she has quite similar facial expressions to Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy).

Thor : Chris Zylka (who played an equally smart character on 10 Things I Hate About You (TV show, 2008))

Smith’s mom : Kelly Lynch (former Elite model who was the evil Vivian Wood in Charlie’s Angels (2000) and now is Ivy’s mom in 90210 (2008))

Picture from the opening scene

What it is : Apparently a comedy, though despite the witty dialogues, I wouldn’t really categorize this movie as “funny”, and a bit of Sci-Fi. The first time, nobody laughed in the room, but the second time people were laughing for most of the movie (even at some points when I couldn’t find anything to laugh about ! It is quite disturbing and I kept thinking “I must have missed something” … maybe I should go again !)

What it is about : Smith is an 18-year-old college freshman who spends most of his days hanging out with his arty, sarcastic “Partner-in-crime” Stella. His “un-declared” sexuality leads him to hook up with a beautiful free spirit named London, but he really has only eyes for his gorgeous-but-dim surfer roommate, Thor. After a party involving space cookies, all gets turned upside-down when Smith is certain of witnessing the murder of a red-haired girl. As he searches for the truth he uncovers information that will change not only his life, but also the fate of mankind.

What I liked about it : I liked how the story’s conspiracy includes secret society/sects, a possible World War 3 and the end of the world all in very believable manner even though we could have lived without the witch/supernatural powers part (the “premonitory” dream would have been enough), but is somehow (briefly) justified.

As for the photography, I really liked every aspects of it. There many shots showing just Dekker alone with quite some space around him, the old-school divided screen whenever there’s a phone conversation, the original transitions from one abruptly-ended scene to another …

Weirdly enough, though sex is a big part of the story, it is not the part I remember the most. Okay everybody sleeps with everybody, which is apparently quite common on American campuses, but is always used in a funny way, as an excuse for funny dialogues. (see quotes below)

I was amazed by the intensity of the light and colors throughout the movie. Araki likes to enhance to idea that this all a hallucination, using either very bright lighting or flickering lights. The colors are flashy and intense : bright red, green, blues… even Dekker’s naturally blue eye color has been enhanced using flashy blue contact lenses (see picture above). This lighting really contributes to the “gay” ambiance of the movie. I also noticed that the lights are always either bright or flickering except when the bad guys show up.

The combination of lighting, color and music really conveys the confusion inside Smith’s head and contrasts with all the stress and tension of the story, making it even more intense to live.

This might be a bit of a spoilers so caution ! At the end they talk about a group of Resistance and about Day Zero … which reminds me a little of THE resistance which is trying to avoid Judgment Day ! Particularly funny, since Thomas Dekker used to play John Connor !

I loved that someone really had fun with the names ! Every single one of them has some signification ! It only occurred to me the second time I went to see the movie, here’s what I caught :

Smith : Most common last name in English-speaking countries. It could also be linked to the famous Mr Smith from the Matrix trilogy.

Stella : derives from stellar, anything to do with the stars … either that or the character/famous line from A Streetcar Named Desire.

London : like, well, the city… especially funny since the actress is British, so it feels more like a nickname.

Lorelei : according to Smith’s explanation, she’s the siren who lures sailors into crashing their boats, but I couldn’t find any mention of that anywhere… Researches usually link back to the WB’s Gilmore Girls series !

Thor : either like the god or like Stan Lee’s comic character

Hunter : … self-explanatory

Madeleine O’Hara: a French pastry, can be linked to the “Madeleine de Proust” which a famous example of involuntary memories. As for her family name well… does anybody remember a Scarlett O’Hara ? Scarlett or scarlet … like the color of the character’s hair. It’s the only character with a last name…

Rex : Either you know the Austrian series, then it would remind you of a detective dog (!), or you remember your latin classes and realize it means king … your pick…

Messiah : usually used to refer to Jesus Christ (see quotes)

Oliver : olive tree… Like Messiah, it could be liked to Christianity and the olive branches used at the Pentecost.

Milo : reminds me of an armless sculpture… or an actor in Heroes ! (Milo Ventimiglia).

Rebecca Novak : Rebecca was a prophetess in the Hebrew bible or one of the four Jewish matriarchs. Novak is one of the most popular surnames in many Slavic countries and translates into “new man”, “newcomer” or “stranger” in English. The name was often given to someone who came to a new city, or a convert to Christianity. So again something to do with religion…

I have noticed that neither the mother nor the father have a first (or last) name.

The movie gets extra points for an original murder : stabbing someone with a knife in the forehead.

Quotes : Since the movie is quite recent I can’t find anything, but the second time I took some notes !

London : “You, me, intercourse ? yes, no ?” (Smith doesn’t answer) “Whatever, I’ll drive !”

London : “I have this huge exam on Monday and I was thinking I could really used a good orgasm” (After sex) “Thanks I needed that !”

Stella : “You meet some guy on a nude beach and 5 minutes later you’re downloading his hard drive in the back of his van ? You’re a slut !”

Stella : (After Messiah scares her) “Messiah ?! Jesus ! You gave me a heart attack !”

Soundtrack : Apparently I missed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the first time I went … sorry about that! Other than that, there is a lot of made-for-the-movie music, though the band they go see, Helen Stellar (heard on the Elizabethtown soundtrack. Check them out here http://helenstellar.net and here http://www.myspace.com/helenstellar), is real. The most commercial song you can hear is Bitter End by Placebo, very wisely used at the appropriate time in the story. I was amazed by how fast the end credits are shown so that they end during the song, whereas most movies need at least 1 & 1/2 to 2 songs.

Trivia : The movie premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where it was awarded the first ever “Queer Palm” for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues.

Advertisement : A première at Cannes’ Film Festival, a special prize and a renowned director are definitely sufficient to create a buzz about this film.

Tag line : How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.

Romeo, Oh Romeo, Get Out Of My Face.

They’re spitefully romantic

I burn, I pine, I perish!

Why I watched it : Apparently it’s cult in the US. It is supposed to be THE movie for teenagers. And last summer, as every summer, when the sad time of series finales comes in and our beautiful TV set finally gets a well-deserved break, comes the time of summer series introducing one based on this movie. Having nothing better to do I think to myself that I will give it a chance but only after having watched the movie.

Who is in it :

Director : Gil Junger

Written by Karen McCullah Lutz & Kristen Smith (and William Shakespeare)

Patrick Verona : the late Heath Ledger through his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight (amazing interpretation by the way ! but more on that later)

Kat Stratford : Julia Stiles (whom we’ve seen in the  Jason Bourne trilogy)

Cameron James : a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (which you might have noticed in Inception lately … Still have to see that one btw).

Michael : David Krumholtz (Numbers)

Walter Stratford : The dad is played by the hilarious Larry Miller in both the movie and the TV show (which I think is the best idea the show creator could ever have had !).

What it is : Romantic comedy for teenagers

What it is about : Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Kat is a young feminist who has no interest whatsoever in dating, to the great despair of her little sister Bianca, who is only allowed to date if Kat does. If Joey wants to date little Bianca, and therefore win his bet, he needs to find a boyfriend for Kate, and pays Patrick Verona to do so. The plan gets complicated when Patrick befriends Cameron who is in love with Bianca.

What I liked about it : 10 thing of course !

1.    The cast… so many (young) talents ! The cast director really had an eye for it !

2.    The characters are complete. Everything they do is justified and/or brings something to the story. Especially Kat’s dad, he’s just hilarious. Also the High School’s counselor is great. Having her write an erotic roman while at school and Kat helping her is pretty gutted and Ledger “flirting” with her is also quite funny (and weirdly appropriate… for his character!). I also particularly like her “Listen Kat… (looks at her cup with cats on it and points to it) Cat !!!” … okay it’s better when you see it.

3.    The photography : The images are beautiful.

4.    The soundtrack (more on that below).

5.    The lit teacher’s rap while reciting Shakespeare !

6.    The small things that do not bring anything to the story but are hilarious : How bianca lets go of her arrow in gym class and it lands in her teacher’s butt, Patrick piercing a hole in Cameron’s French book and how he tries to go through his tutoring with Bianca despite the hole

7.    The dialogues and witty comebacks. “You can’t just buy me a guitar every time you screw up, you know? Yeah, I know. But then, you know, there’s always drums, and bass, and maybe even one day a tambourine.” !!!!

8.    The short romance between “William Shakespeare” and Kat’s friend, Mandella.

9.    The story itself. It’s original, smart and well written.

10.  The “10 things I hate about you” poem (especially “It even makes me rhyme”)

Quotes : Mr Stratford : “Listen, I’m down, I’ve got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is!… Momma din’t raise no fool.’’

Steeve : “ Mr. Morgan, is there any chance we could get Kat to take her Midol *before* she comes to class?” / Teacher : “Someday, you gonna get bitch-slapped and I’m not gonna do a thing to stop it.”

Kat : “[after purposefully crashing into a car] Whoops.” / Mr Startford: “Whoops ? My insurance does not cover PMS !”

(A crowd of high school kids plan to take over the “Cheese & Wine” party for future MBAs only and ring the bell) “Oh that must be Nigel with the brie !”

Trivia : Some lines are quotes from Shakespeare’s work.

Cameron’s name, Cameron James, is a play on the name of a famous director, James Cameron.

The scene in which Kat reads the “10 Things” poem was the first and only take, according to the DVD extras. Kat’s tears towards the end of the poem were not planned.

Some names on the board at the entrance of the detention class are names of the crew : Tom Fanger for Ross Fanger (Unit production manager), Brett Caroll for the first assistant editor, or Mark Chernov for Jeffrey Chernov (Executive producer)

Soundtrack : The“angry girl music of the Indie Rock persuasion” and “chicks who can’t play their instruments” goes great with Kat’s character (the opening music is Bad reputation by “” which settles the mood perfectly). Ledger’s interpretation of Can’t take my eyes off of you is perfectly integrated in the movie and is quite funny (and of course very romantic ! It IS Heath Leger here… This passage explains a lot the infatuation for Brodeback Mountain and the tears shed at the time of his death). The end credits on “What I like about you” by Letters to Cleo is just the perfect closure.


Tag Lines : Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.

This is not a love story. This is a story about love.

It was almost like falling in love.

Why I watched it : The title, poster and tag line just talked to me + cast

Who is in it :

Director : Marc Webb

Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Tom Hansen : Joseph Gordon-Levitt (you’ve recently seen him in Inception (2010) and you might remember him as Cameron in 10 things I hate about you (1999))

Summer Finn : Zooey Deschanel (Bones’ Emily Deschanel little sister)

McKenzie : Geoffrey Arend (currently in Body of Proof (2010), also seen in Garden state(2004))

Rachel Hansen (the little sister) : Chloe Moretz (Hit girl in Kick-Ass (2010))

Paul : Matthew Gray Gubler (whom you know as Dr Reid on Criminal Minds (TV, since 2005). The reason he wears scales in season 5 is because he hurt his knee dancing with his co-workers from the film)

Millie : Patricia Belcher (whom you can see on Bones (TV, since 2006) as Caroline, the prosecutor)

What it is : Romance, comedy, drama

What it is about : Tom is a former architecture student who now creates greeting cards for a living. He meets Summer at his office and the movie follows their unusual love story.

What I liked about it : The cast, as usual. Summer’s character is really original. Her personality is well built. You really understand how she stands out and how they click together when they pretend living at Ikea. Also when you get to see both their apartments with Summer’s coffee table (you can see there is a derby hat with a green apple on top of it just like a famous painting) or the giant blackboard Tom uses to draw on. The little sister’s character is also very funny, in the sense that she is the one giving him advice on his love life.

I liked the little drawings used to illustrate the days going back and forth. How the weather changes accordingly to how the relationship is going : good weather = they’re in love, bad weather = they’re fighting. I loved the moment when Tom goes to Summer’s party and there is the split screen between his expectations and reality. I have kind of mixed feeling about the short black and white movie within the movie when Tom gets his heart broken. I noticed a lot of “French” moments : between the music (see below), the “Bon chat, bon rat” poster and this short movie where they mostly talk in French.

The movie is mostly colorless (grey-ish) until he falls in love with her, then you can notice that the movie is mostly blue, apparently this was done on purpose to bring out the colors of Zooey’s eyes.

I loved the days counting forward and backwards and the fact that we know how it ends early in the movie and the ending with the (SPOILERS) counting back from zero but the scene where Summer tells him she’s engaged was kind of weird, but serves the story.

 

Quotes :

Narrator : (Opening) “The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.”

Tom : (At Ikea, pretending to be in their house) “Darling ? I don’t know how to tell you this, but… there’s a Chinese family in our bathroom.”

Paul : “ Any Hum-Job ? Handjob ?” / Tom : “No jobs, I’m still unemployed” (Summer walks in) / Paul : “Call me if any –job comes up”…

Narrator : “There’s only 2 kind of people in the world : There’s men and women. Summer Finn was a woman. Height : average (5.5 feet). Weight : Average (121 pounds). Shoe size : Slightly above average (Size 8). For all intents and purposes, Summer Finn ? Just another girl. Except she wasn’t.”

Paul : (After Tom tells him how much he love Summer) “This is not good!”

Paul : (After Tom told his friends he thinks Summer is seeing another guy because she said her week-end was “gooooood”) “Did she say “Hey” instead of “Hi” too ? Because you know that means she’s a lesbian, right ?!”

Soundtrack : Music is very present in the movie, even through Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s tee-shirts ( Joy Division, The Clash) and through the posters (they both have posters of Morrissey’s debut album, Viva Hate, in their childhood bedrooms)

Zooey Deschanel chose her own for the karaoke scene, the Sugartown song. Joseph Gordon-Levitt ‘s song is an answer to Summer not believing in love (Here comes your man)

Just a message to the music director (and probably to the marketing team) : Carla Bruni really ? come ON ! If you wanted to buy the French public, using the president’s wife is not really original ! At least in Seven pounds (2009) they used Charles Aznavour !

Other than that I liked that they used the Smiths as the link between Summer and Tom.

There is also the little “musical-like” moment after they send the night together and Tom goes to work and the whole street starts dancing with him, the fountains also go off according to the music, which is played by a marching band who just appeared to be in the neighborhood ! Extra point for the little animated blue bird in the end and when he looks and smiles at the camera !

Trivia : The film is set in 2006-2007. (The narrator says at the end of the film that May 23 was a Wednesday. The last time May 23 was a Wednesday was 2007.)

The narrator states that Tom meets Summer on January 8th. Since it is 500 days, Tom lets go of Summer (and meets Autumn) on May 23rd of the next year.

During the flashback to Summer’s job selling ice cream, Tom can be seen waiting in line.

Advertisement : The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival where it received a standing ovation. It’s European launch was as the of the 62nd Locarno Film Festival.

As for the posters, they really show the spirit of the movie. There are very different posters from one country to another, the marketing team really adapted the communication to the local public. (see the picture gallery and pictures above).