Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What is next on my list? The Kennedys

The official White House
portrait of John F. Kennedy
by Aaron Shikler
Any person, who is over 16 years old, certainly has heard, at least once in their life, about John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It might be because of JFK airport, or they saw X-Men: First Class which reanacts the Cuban Missile Crisis; one could’ve seen the movie JFK starring Kevin Costner or simply read any history book ever printed. 
John F. Kennedy was the youngest president of the United States ever to be elected, and fourth president to be assassinated in office. His parents were Joseph Patrick and Rose Kennedy. He was the second oldest out of 9 siblings. His younger brother Bobby was his attorney general, he, after becoming senator for the state of New York, ran for the presidency too, but he too was assassinated. 
John Kennedy married Jackie Bouvier in 1953. They had 4 children. Their first child died in miscarriage, their second daughter Caroline is the last survivor of the immediate Kennedy family. Their third was a boy, JFK junior and finally another boy who died shortly after his birth (he was premature and his lungs hadn't formed properly). 
JFK is also known for not being eternally faithful to his wife; his mistresses include such names as Marylin Monroe.

Two years ago the History Channel ordered an 8 episode miniseries about the story of the Kennedy family. When the series was concluded I’ve heard two stories of why History Channel didn’t want to air it: the first version was that the series turned out to be too realistic and it showed an actual side of the family that is not so attractive anymore. The second debate was that it wasn’t truthful enough; instead it was more on the fairytale side. In the end History Channel aired the series just the same and it was nominated for several awards and Barry Pepper, the actor who played Bobby Kennedy won an Emmy for actor in a leading role. 

Now, please don’t take what I write down as actual historical facts because I am only writing what I’ve found out through the series. Not having done my research yet I do not know what is true, and what is not. However, my writing will contain major spoilers in regard to the series. Let us dive into:


What did I like about the series? If you have read my review about The Iron Lady (click here to read!), you know that there are two kinds of movies when it comes to true stories: those that give you a glimpse of a story and make you want to look the information up yourself and the other one is when they actually tell you everything in detail. The second one is usually a documentary. This implies that a movie or a miniseries can only be the first option, as in: we pick out certain moments from someone’s life and we focus on them. Those who know the historical figure on whom we are focusing, they will be entertained. If you don’t know them, only a bucket load of questions will be raised in your mind, and to 2 out of 5 you will never receive an answer. In the case of The Iron Lady the movie made me interested in detail about the life of Margaret Thatcher, I want to read her book, look up documentaries and so on. In the case of JFK I was simply pissed off. 

The story begins with their father's failure. He is trying very hard to get into the White House, without success, so he puts extreme pressure on his boys. His oldest son Joe dies in World War II, so it is up to John to take the lead. 
Each episode keeps jumping back and forth in time and I’ve found myself writing down dates, so I can actually keep track of what was going on. And even like this I couldn’t… My biggest problem was that I felt that John Kennedy was portrayed as an ass. According to the series, his dad was always unfaithful to his wife, she knew this but she didn’t leave him. So in summary it is a bit her fault if she wishes to stay and suffer. His brother Bobby has 11 children and he never cheated on his wife. While John sees that he is hurting Jackie, she is driving herself mad in order to be a perfect First Lady, to keep up the image people have created about her. And what does he do? He screws around. I didn’t get that. There is a total of three times when I’ve actually felt for Kennedy: he has problems with his back and he is obviously in pain; he has to deal with the missile crisis in Cuba and he misses Jackie who has seem to have left him along with their children; and when they lose their baby boy to premature birth.
Other than that, you first see him as this frightened little chameleon that is unable to move out from his father’s shadow, and then he turns into this badass and his administration and cabinet slowly starts to trust. He keeps treating his brother Bobby like “Mr. Fix it”, he has to take care of everything, and I mean everything, for example he is the one who has to break up with Marylin for him too. He keeps hurting Jackie even though in the series there was this moment of him coming to his senses: he is going to lose his wife unless he behaves, and I don’t know if that happened in real life, but it was a nice touch. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I never once felt sorry for him (you know, besides those three times). It might be that this is what is needed for someone to be a good president of such a big country, but that is no reason for me to like him more. That said, I want to point out that I’ve always found Greg Kinnear to be a marvelous actor and lately he didn’t star in everything that is worth mentioning. However, this performance was outstanding and it is no surprise that he was nominated for an Emmy too.

I am the kind of person who is highly influenced by an actor’s personal life. I shouldn’t be, because there are several cases where I don’t care, but when it comes to Katie Holmes I do. Which is funny, because even if I love 80’s Tom Cruise, I hate him now: and that brings on my hatred towards Katie. Anyway, no matter how much I wanted to hate her, she was wonderful in this series. She was by far my favorite. Every single emotion she had could easily be read on her face; she doesn’t use grand gestures which would make her over the top, instead she is very lady like and pulled back. Her voice doesn’t change much, but you can feel emphasis on certain words that in the grand total make you see quite clearly when she is upset, angry, happy or just plain disappointed. I always imagined Jackie Kennedy to be this way and Katie portrayed her perfectly, starting from her loyalty to her family all the way to the undying trust she had in her husband.

I don’t know what Joseph and Rose Kennedy were like in real life, but if they were offensive pain in the asses who managed to take away your will of living with every word that exits their mouths, then the performance by Tom Wilkinson and Diana Hardcastle was brilliant. I have a really hard time understanding how these two ever found each other, or why they got married, not to mention how they were able to fall in love in the first place… but they did. And there are even hints that these two love their children above all, but then they say something sooooooo wrooong and off and offensive that you just shout “ASSHOLE!” to the screen. 
Secondly, there were some really weird choices in casting, for example Marylin Monroe had two scenes, out of which one was awful, the other brilliant… I’m not sure what happened there. I loved the chemistry between Bobby and his wife Ethel, but all other scenes with Bobby were a bit forced. He was portrayed as this little bug that keeps biting everything and anything that dares insult his president brother, which in the long run portrayed John as someone unable to have any original ideas of his own and being constantly bullied in need of protection. You get the sense that Bobby wants to be the one who is in the position of leadership, even though initially we are told that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with John’s presidency. I understand that human beings keep changing their minds, but the series’ writers could’ve paid more attention to the shift from “don’t care” to “do care about it”. 
Even if the execution of the series was on the whole nicely done, the continues time jumps were a bit off. I usually like flashbacks, but this was a bit excessive. It is a very powerful way of storytelling, but if one simply cuts up the story lines and puts the pieces one after the other in whatever order, isn’t how one should approach a complex story such as this. I was also bothered by the fact that I felt that the series itself is not sure of what it is supposed to show. From certain angles it shows their personal life to be more important than the presidency (even if the two were influenced by the other); from another angle it resembles The West Wing (to read my review click here!) were the presidency as a job is more prominent. I was angry that they only selected a couple of storylines from the life of Kennedy, even if I understand that there was pressure on time. But they didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know, so you are only irritated that you thought you would find out more about the missile crisis for example and you didn’t!

The scenery is outstanding; the music is very powerful and one character can be annoying only if the actor is doing their job correctly in their portrayal, so yeah, the acting was fabulous as well. Do I have a lot of questions? Of course. But every time I see a movie or a series that is based on real life I get extra crazy because I want to know what is actual truth and what is simply a Hollywood move to entertain crowds. I feel the same way about The Tudors or Elizabeth: The Golden Age. In the end, I do believe that it is worth checking out this series. As I mentioned above, it might raise your interest in the subject. Me? Well, I have compared how much reading I would actually have to do to research what the truth actually is, and even then I might not find an answer to each of my questions, which is quite bothersome... so I'll just wait till 2028 when the FBI files from the JFK murders will become public and finish my studies on this subject then!

Until the next item on my list, which is: Hanna!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

John Fitzgerald - Greg Kinnear
Bobby - Barry Pepper
Jackie - Katie Holmes
Joseph - Tom Wilkinson
Ethel - Kristin Booth

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What's next on my list? In Time

Oh boy... this is a hard one. But, let us go in order and not jump ahead. This movie had a lot, and I mean a lot of faults. Starting from the gigantic plot holes, all the way to the sometimes silly dialogue. However, the idea itself and casting is somewhat outstanding. So, let us not put off it any longer, here it is:


"It is what it is. We are built genetically to not grow old after 25 years. Problem is that we only have 1 year after that. Unless we get more time. Time became the exchange value. (...) The rich can live eternally. The rest hope to wake up with more time on our hand than are hours in a day."

This movie revolves around the adventures of a futuristic Bonnie & Clyde/Robin Hood-like-couple. Will Salas is a 28 year old boy who lives with his mom Rachel. He works in a factory that produces little memory flash drives that can take away your time or give it to you, whichever you choose. One night Will helps out a man, Henry Hamilton (who has over a century on his hand), who as a reward tells him that in order for rich people to be able to live so long some had to die. Will tells him that if he had the kind of time he does, he would change the world, because nobody should die. While he is asleep, Hamilton transfers his time to Will and let's his timer count down. Will's mom dies and he goes to the rich zone. He lives in luxury, meets Sylvia and when the police, who believe he killed Hamilton, take his time back, he kidnaps Sylvia and travels back to his zone. Once there, the two become a couple and start robbing her father's time banks and give away free time to everyone. Cop guy tries to stop them, but he times out too and the two are able to save themselves just in time to stay alive. Their mission of breaking down the time barriers succeeds and they remain bank robbers who steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Biggest problem I had, was that everyone looks like they just stepped out from the cover of Maxim magazine (and Olivia was on a Maxim cover, so pun intended!). I mean I get that they all HAVE to look like they are 25 years old, but there are plenty of people who are ass ugly at 25! They shouldn't naturally look like this! That said, let us go in order of characters. Will was entertaining. Justin Timberlake keeps getting tougher roles and he seems to take the challenge very nicely. His character also had flaws, but they can be overlooked, because being the main character his arc was almost complete.

Will's mom: Rachel. First off, wonderful performance by Olivia Wilde. Supposedly she is 50 years old in the movie and trust me, even if she doesn't look it, she plays it perfectly. You feel that she is a mother, the worried kind none the less. And you don't question why this gorgeous woman has a son, I was surprised she didn't have more! Unfortunately she is the first one who gets killed off... why? Probably to piss me off. I was so damn angry that I had to turn off the movie for a little bit. We are led to believe that she had to die in order for Will to move on, out of town, into a different time zone. Why again, you ask? Well, my friend I have no idea! After Will receives that shit load of time we all think that he is going to go to the rich people and make everything right. Does he do this? Nope. Does he mourn his mom for more than 5 seconds? Nope. Only the second when his precious time is taken back by the police that he gets off his ass and does something useful! In conclusion, killing his mom was a total asshole move on the part of the writers! I am sure that they intended something very deep and moving with it, but by making Will do absolutely nothing about it, instead making him spend his time like he just won the lottery: was weird. However, the way she dies is very moving. She and Will are running towards each other with their hands out (because that is how one can transfer time), and you stop breathing for a second, waiting for them to reach each other, and when they don't you do cry. It's awful. But this scene is repeated in the end, when Sylvia and Will are running to the border so they can make it. Will recharges from the cop's car and the two run towards each other and when Sylvia jumps at him... it's like all the stress in the world just fell from your heart. She made it. They both made it. It was truly a breathtaking moment for me.

So, in the big city he meets Sylvia the daughter of the richest man in, basically, the whole world. She tells him about all the adventures and risks she would like to take. She is what a real person is like. When she actually gets to live the risks she is freaking scared, she basically cries, she just wants to go back to her parents but Will won't let her. And you know that in every single action movie the one who gets kidnapped will eternally fall in love with her kidnapper, it is the way it is supposed to go! However, this was the first movie where I felt that she connected with him out of fear. He might be my kidnapper, but I also know that he is actually a nice boy who just lost his mom, and he could've easily killed me, yet he risked his life for me and still does everything to keep me alive. Also, their attraction and her admiration towards this stranger is stated from the beginning, so their relationship wasn't a big shock. This was the one plot of the movie that I liked. But, there was some idiocracy as well. Being now people who have to run for their lives, they take off time where Will teachers Sylvia to shoot. Now, do you really have time for that? As in time you can waste? The previous day they were seconds away from dying! That was unpleasant. I know that in movies the heroin is simply capable of shooting a gun and her skills are never explained, which is bothersome, but in a movie where literally every second counts I really don't think you should have a scene where you point out why she is able to use a gun!

Sylvia's dad Phillippe Weis, played by Vincent Kartheiser, was another fantastic performance. He is our bad guy, even if all along we are led to believe that it is cop guy, or the Minutemen (I'll get to them in a second). Just like Rachel, he is over 50 years old and he sells it perfectly. He is a worried father, but the bad kind, because he won't give up his precious time even if it means losing his daughter. That's all I have to say. He was by far the most entertaining character in the movie, being the only one who's subplot was complete from beginning to the end. Another person of interest is Will's father, Mr. Salas. Who they say tried to cancel the differences between time zones just like Will is now. We are never told who he was, how cop guy knew him, how he and Rachel met or why we should care in the very least that he was alive. It makes no sense. We are told that Will is just like him but we aren't given anything to be able to actually compare them. I don't even know if he was dead or alive it is so irrelevant!

Cop guy: Raymond Leon. Well, Cillian Murphy is a brilliant actor. That said, his arc as a character had one too many flaws. We find out that he is just like Will: he is from one of the low kinds of time zones but his job is to keep others where they belong. We also find out that he knew Will's father, as I mentioned above. Is that important? Not really. In the end you feel for the guy, because he is just doing what he believes is right. His job. He doesn't know that Hamilton donated his time to Will, and Will and Sylvia becoming bank/time robbers also points to the fact that he probably got it by force. He needs to stop them because by the word of the law they are doing something that is highly illegal. He only dies because cop's don't keep a lot of time on their hands in order to not tempt Minutemen to attack them, and he forgets to recharge before he tries to stop Will. His sense of justice is admirable, however, since he is the perfect example of someone from a low time zone being able to get out and make it in the 'real' world, you question why doesn't he just let Will go? (Will also saves his life once.) He says that it is his job to keep people in their time zones, but wouldn't that imply that you shouldn't have left either? It's a bit egocentric and hypocritical. His death is somewhat sad, but then again, by this point you just think of him as an asshole, so yeah, bye!

The Minutemen are a kind of mafia of the time zones. They fight you for your time and even if you won't fight them, they either kill you with a gun or take your time anyway. Their contribution to the story is plainly stupid. They only manage to get in Will's way every chance they get. They piss you off as shit, being that not only every cop from the world is looking for him anyway, but they get killed off in a three minute long scene. So, that was pointless! Also, their leader, Fortis, played by Alex Pettyfer, is supposed to be 75 years old, however, he is as stupid as an 18 year old. He does not play his part well. He makes rookie mistakes and he is boring.
More problems: in the end Will and Sylvia are running to cross to another time line because they are about to die. Do different time zones give you more time? It is never mentioned why they should cross. Moreover, when Will was travelling to Greenwich he had to constantly pay. Did he have to pay because he was also receiving time? In Greenwich people immediately notice that he is from out of town because he is always in a hurry. They never call the police on him, they don't mind taking his time, why is it important then? Of course it is one of the qualities that Sylvia is attracted to, but why is it important if anybody else notices? Plus, in one of the very first scenes Will and his friend (who by the way dies because of him, good going Will!), pay 3 minutes for a cup of coffee. Now, before that Rachel gave him 30 minutes so he can have a decent lunch, and he starts to give it away for coffee? Out of all the important elements in the food chain, you had to go with coffee? People CAN live without coffee!!!! Lastly, I hated that everyone (besides the main characters), had a perfect round age: 50, 75, 105. I mean, how'bout 36? Or 71? You either don't count or you do, but seriously? Be creative!

Every single movie that portrays the future makes it really dark and depressing, which is this hidden but FREAKING OBVIOUS message that "THE FUTURE IS GOING TO SUCK UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING, LIKE RIGHT NOW!". This has been going on ever since Blade Runner came out, all the way through the horribleness of Demolition Man up to this movie. You know why people love Back to the Future Part II? Because the picture it portrays of the future is not depressing! It is something to look forward to. We already get all the messages: we are ruining our planet. People obviously don't care and those who do will only be bothered that the very few minutes of freedom they have and decide to spend on this movie will be transformed into a 90 minute commercial of the planet being doomed! I got the message movie, it was poorly delivered, but I got it. The future is going to suck. Deal with it!

So, final thoughts? See it, tell me what you thought! It is very entertaining if you don't get hung up on the details. But who am I kidding? Of course you will! Until the next item on my list!

PS: Sorry about the "time" jokes :P.
_ _ _ _  _ _ _ _

Will Salas - Justin Timberlake
Sylvia Weis - Amanda Seyfried
Raymond Leon - Cillian Murphy
Rachel Salas - Olivia Wilde
Phillippe Weis - Vincent Kartheiser
Minutemen, Fortis - Alex Pettyfer
Henry Hamilton - Matt Bomer

Sunday, March 18, 2012

L'Ultimo Bacio

Feliratozás - Subtitling - Sottotitoli

Jelenet az "Utolsó Csók" (2001) című filmből angol felirattal. Giulia megtudja, hogy Carlo egy másik nővel töltötte az estét és szembesíti.
Scene from "The Last Kiss" (2001) with English subtitles. Giulia Finds out that Carlo was out with a girl and confronts him. 
Scena dal film "L'Ultimo Bacio" (2001) con sottotitoli in italiano. Giulia scopre che Carlo é uscita con una ragazza e lo confronta.


Jelenet az "Utolsó Csók" (2001) című filmből angol felirattal. Carlo megkeresi Giuliát és bocsánatért könyörög.
Scene from "The Last Kiss" (2001) with English subtitles. Carlo goes to see Giulia at her parents' house and begs for her forgiveness.
Scena dal film "L'Ultimo Bacio" (2001) con sottotitoli in italiano. Carlo visita Giulia nella casa dei genitori e implora perdono.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dear readers...

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY! 


HAVE A GUINNESS ON ME!
March 17th, 2012

Closer


A Closer című filmből készített klip a nővérem által (ajándék volt nekem).
A video tribute to Natalie Portman made by my sister. The clip featuring the music of The Killers and their song "Natalie". The movie "Closer" directed by Mike Nichols and written by Patrick Marber
Questo video és stato creato da mia sorella usando il film Closer con Natalie Portman.

/Sorry, the video is no longer available/

Saturday, March 3, 2012

FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: The Iron Lady

You might have noticed that I rarely write about movies that our still playing in your local box offices, the reason for that is that I find the price of the tickets to be unreasonably high! Also, I don't really have any money for it... However for my mom's birthday we went and saw:

I wanted to talk about this movie because I received controversial opinions. Also, my brother didn't like it and I did, so I really want to stick to him! I am a nice sister like that. In case you didn't know, this movie is about the life of Margaret Thatcher, the only woman Prime Minister of the Britain.
The biggest problem he encountered is that Margaret seems to go crazy. Actually the movie is set in real time with Margaret remembering things from her past: her dad's speech that made her get involved in politics; her husband's marriage proposal; her campaign; the tough decisions she made and so on. She keeps hallucinating that she is talking to her dead husband. People told me that they didn't like that she was seeing her husband. That it made her in fact look crazy. I did not find that to be the case at all. I find that she was grieving and that is how she dealt with it. Secondly I was told that we don't really find out anything about her political actions. That may be the case, but for those who lived through it know already and now they have a perception of what she went through. Then those who didn't, well, all I got to say is that it made me curious. I want to read Thatcher's book, I want to learn more about this. I was given a picture that is not complete and I have a chance to either be pissed at it for that or complete it myself. I've chosen the latest. Also, for not being a documentary, it sure as hell gave as a lot of original footage. You can really sense why people hated her and then came to the conclusion that perhaps they should have trusted her.
I was touched by how she fought her way up to the top. She didn't come from money, she wasn't interested in being a housewife, however the movie shows us that she was a mother above all. There is a scene where she writes to the families of all the soldiers who lost their lives in the fight to get back the Falkland Isles. Saying, that herself being the only prime minister who is also a mother, she assures them that no death is in vain!
During the movie, if you've seen it, you think about The Queen, the movie that portrays how the Monarchy went through Diana's death. If something happens to us because of somebody else, we just blame them, we don't really think about it twice. Especially if that someone is a politician. Of course I don't want to defend all politicians (because they don't really deserve it), but there are exceptions. Her, by the portrayal of the movie, being one of them. And not just by the movie, think about it! She was the first woman Prime Minister, and the longest serving one too (11 years, closest to her is Tony Blair with 10 years), I believe there is a reason for that. And all right, I am not British, I really have no say in the matter, I didn't go through what they did. And yet this story fascinates me.

Here I'd like a chance to mention the director of the movie Phyllida Llyod. She happens to be a theatre director, she is only responsible for three movies: Gloriana, Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady. Need to admit that I never saw her first movie, however I can see how far she's come from the second one. Being also the director of the stage musical of Mamma Mia! she of course landed the job for the movie, where her role really was being able to fit all from the stage onto the screen. But this movie was completely different, with some scenes and frames that completely astonished me. She did a really good job.
I was set on seeing this movie anyway, but when Meryl Streep won the Oscar for it, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. Ever since the first news came that she would play Thatcher in a movie about her, I have been so excited, you cannot imagine! I have been following Streep's work ever since the summer of 2008, when I was waiting for Mamma Mia! to come out. I have practically seen all of her films now and although I am always sad when she doesn't get an Oscar, I can firmly say why she deserved this one in confront of the others. All through the movie you literally forget that this is not Thatcher. My biggest problem with George Clooney and Brad Pitt is that I really don't give a shit about their movies because they as actors don't give me anything new. I see them in the same movie all over again and while I do, I cannot stop thinking that 'that is Brad, it's not whoever he is trying to portray'. But think about Doubt, or Julie&Julia or Silkwood! Meryl, as Colin Firth said in his speech at the Oscar's really takes it to a whole other level, making it for others harder each time.

"What people don't realize it that being nominated so many times, means that I lost just as many times as well." - Meryl Streep

Anyway, I suggest you check this one out. I am sure that it'll get you interested in some British history and the more people I get to like it, the more pissed by brother will be, so HELP ME! :D

Until the next item on my list, which is going to be In Time with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried! So don't lose touch, see you in a week or so!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Margaret Thatcher - Meryl Streep
Denis Thatcher - Jim Broadbent
Young Margaret - Alexandra Roach
Young Denis - Harry Llyod
Carol Thatcher - Olivia Colman
Michael Heseltine - Richard E. Grant

Friday, March 2, 2012

Not a sonnet

Did I ask for your love?
Passion, devotion, any of the above?
Did I ask to be your object of lust?
Why do you feel this "must"?
We played our fair share
Of this stupid game of "truth or dare",
But you've never spoken the truth
You've kept it hidden down under your roots.
But about what I had to share,
you never really cared.

A simple phone call, "ring-ring"
Answering would be the right thing.
At least that's what one would think...

A question I had to ask,
One you could've answered from behind that desk.
I've grown tired of your games,
scenes, rules, and all the names.
I have no hidden agenda,
To your will I completely surrender!
Might be silly, but I don't care.
I just wish once you'd choose "dare."
Therefore I could ask for this tiny favor:
So if we ever meet, you'll have to sign my waiver.