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The Breakfast Club (1985)

14 Apr

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Teen movies, as well as comedies, are rarely astonishingly good and I always try to find the ones that are worth watching.  After doing a little bit of research I have come to the conclusion that the best years for teen movies were the 80s. Films back than reflected the issues teenagers go through in a serious, structural manner, putting them in the environment that mirrors their distress. They took all the negativity and sorrow and combined it with the rebellious and comic side of youth and so managing to create films that affect you, changing your perspective on things or at least to take them in regard, and entertain you with scenes filled with the beauty of being a teenager.

The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American comedy-drama film written and directed by John Hughes. This man is known as the king of teen movies, a name well deserved because he directed or scripted some of the most successful teen films of the 1980s such as: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. Most films today regarding teenage issues are put in a superficial way, making most of the time, the young ones seem self-involved obsessed with the idea of losing one’s virginity. John Hughes films are so much more than that, they analyse all the struggles teens go through, from parents ignorance to love and betrayal.

The Breakfast Club is my most loved teen movie off all times, it presents the coming of age of five high school students, which are from different cliques, report for detention on a Saturday morning. These kids know each other, but rarely interact and now they are forced to spend eight hours together, which will change their lives forever. The teacher in charge of the detention asks them to write an essay about who they thing they are, regardless of the fact that he has already labelled them all – “criminal” John Bender (Judd Nelson), “athlete” Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), “brain” Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), “basket case” Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), and “princess” Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald).

I found the plot of this film unique and fascinating, in eight hours, the students do everything there is to do in forming a friendship at that age. They fight, exchange secrets, do acts that are against adult approval, experience love, but at the end of the day they are conscious that their friendship will not exist anymore once the detention is over. The scenes cut from a serious moment between the group, to a hilarious one in which they either run from the teacher in the school’s halls or Bender going through the ventilation shaft.  This film is the pick, of what a teen movie should be about, not only is it well written and put together, but the sound track goes perfect with the scenes, the actors seem natural in their role and it is really well filmed. I am fascinated by it and if you guys have not seen it yet, I suggest you watch it – believe me you will not regret it.

Adventure Time

11 Apr

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What time is it? It is time for a new post. The TV Series that I am going to review today is called Adventure Time.  After going through a few animation series from my childhood, I came to the conclusion that many of them are like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella Le Petit Prince (1943). While I was studying literature, my professor told me that this novella holds a different meaning for each stage of life – child, adult, elder. As an adult, watching kids shows, I am left amazed and stupefied. Most of these shows are not for children, their plot and narrative are not child appropriate, even though the content is presented in a childish manner and this TV Series is one of them.

Adventure Time is an American animated television series created in 2010 by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. The show is on-going, so new episodes are coming soon – hurrah! The plot of this series is genius and in combination with the original drawing style, this show manages to entertain not only visually, but also intellectually. The plot presents us with a post-apocalyptic world in which the humans are mostly extinct except for Finn, who is a 14 year old boy (voiced by Jeremy Shada). Because Finn was adopted by a family of magical dogs as a baby, Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio) the magical shape shifting dog, is his adoptive brother and best friend.

These two characters go on a diversity of adventures in which they save princesses and take on different challenges that are a rite of passage in their becoming of age and true heroes of the Land of Ooo. Many fans of this show consider that it would look much better if it would be drawn in an anime style. I disagree, because the original style gives the narrative a certain easiness in assimilating it and attracts children by its bright colours and characters. I love anime and manga, but the Eastern drawing style many times seems too serious for me and more focusing on young adults than children.

Many times the problems that Finn and Jake try to fix are actually serious and realistic, although explained and told in a childish way.  A random fact that I found interesting is that the source of inspiration for this show was the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons as well as video games. This is show is extremely funny, put together in a smart way, leaving you wanting more and with every eleven minutes you feel like you are truly on an fantastic adventure.

P.S.

My favourite Adventure Time character is Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson). Which one do you guys like?

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

7 Apr

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I am quite excited about this post because I love animation. Believe it or not I am little bit of an otaku and yes this is not an anime, but I find comparing and analysing the Western animation with the Eastern one, is quite culturally satisfying. In the end, I decided on writing about Hotel Transylvania and not an anime because: 1) recently seen it and wanted to review it;
2) the kid inside me went hysterical after seeing it.

If you are a 90’s kid, then you have most likely grown up watching Cartoon Network shows and it is my greatest honour to write about the feature film debut of Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Sym-Bionic Titan. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 computer-animated American comedy, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky -the creator of some of my most loved childhood animations– and produced by Michelle Murdocca.  This raised the expectations I had for this animation miles high and I am most glad to confess that it met them all the way. If this has not convinced you already to see this film than the cast list surely will. This film features the voices of Adam Sandler (Count Dracula), Andy Samberg (Jonathan), Selena Gomez (Mavis), Kevin James (Frank), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Steve Buscemi (Wayne Werewolf), Molly Shannon(Wanda Werewolf), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man) and Cee Lo Green (Murray the Mummy).

The structure of the plot has pretty much a decreasing flow, which allows you to get enough information, on the protagonists at least, and to get attached to the characters. We are introduced in the mythical land of Romania in the region called Transylvania, where our protagonist Count Dracula, after losing his wife, decides to build a place where he can raise his daughter Mavis and shelter other monsters that seek refuge from the human world. All is well until the arrival of a human, the 21 year old Jonathan, which turns Dracula’s life upside down. The story is incredibly entertaining and original, pulling you in a world of fantasy filled with all the monsters you can think of. It is like a monster open buffet, you have werewolves, Frankenstein and his wife, a mummy, Big Foot, Griffin the Invisible Man, zombies, witches, vampires, walking skeletons and so on.

The script is so well written that the jokes make you laugh out loud, and the voices are synced with the animation permitting it to flow naturally. The animation itself is what I appreciate the most about this film. Tartakovsky’s style is observable in the way the characters interact, their expressions – especially Dracula’s angry face reminds me of Dexter’s father-, but more polished than the series he worked on. As his feature film debut, I consider, he did a marvellous job.This film is so good that it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and a sequel, titled Hotel Transylvania 2, has already been scheduled to be released in theatres on September 25, 2015. I recommend this film wholeheartedly for all you animation lovers out there, believe me, you will not regret watching it. Enjoy!

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

4 Apr

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Continuing from where I left last week, the second film from 2012 I watched and will be commenting on is Silver Linings Playbook. This motion picture was directed by David O. Russell, whose films may never have won an Oscar, but if you are an ambitious little actor/actress and you want to win the nomination for the best actor/actress of the year this is the director for you. This man directed seven Oscar nominated actors for best performances, such as: Christian Bale (aka Batman), Amy Adams (aka Giselle from Enchanted), Melissa Leo (aka Ray Eddy from Frozen River) and Robert De Niro. These names that show us, that Mr Russell does not work with scraps from the bottom of the barrel.

The plot is ingeniously put together and lets you gain a sympathetic and analytical perspective of the characters. This film tells the story of a man that went through a mental meltdown and how he manages to overcome his issues. The narrative is so well written that it actually managed to make me laugh out loud, and it came to no surprise when I discovered that this film is an adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel that bears the same name as the film. Lately, Hollywood has lost its imagination and almost everything it produces is either an adaptation or is inspired from real life events.

Silver Linings Playbook begins by presenting us Patrick Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) in a mental institution going through his daily routine there. He is released from the hospital by his mother and put in his parents care. We are informed that he has been in that institution for eight months due to a violent outburst, when he found his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) cheating on him with a common work colleague. When he returns, his father (Robert De Niro) informs him that his wife moved away and that she has a restraining order against him. Despite that, Patrick is convinced that Nikki will take him back if he does everything she ever wanted from him.

He attends dinner at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) where he meets Ronnie’s sister in law, Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany’s husband has recently died and soon after, she lost her job, events that led to a neurosis, similar to Patrick’s. They develop an odd friendship and Patrick sees an opportunity to talk to Nikki through Tiffany, who promises to give her a letter from him. In return he needs to participate with Tiffany in a dance contest. Everything is going fine until his father asks him to go with his big brother and friends to a Philadelphia Eagles game, on which he has bet all of his money as a good luck charm. Patrick skips practice with Tiffany and gets in a fight with some racists toughs. His father loses the bet and his temper, arguing with everyone including Tiffany. This next part is the climax of the film, where after the argument that Tiffany has with Patrick’s father, they decide to make a parley in order to win all the money back.

I loved this movie because it is fun and sad at the same time, causing a combination of emotions while you watch it. The acting is incredible and it feels so natural that it draws you, it makes you lose yourself in the film. Cooper and Lawrence mirror the characters from the book so well that they seem to fit together like two puzzle pieces. The script is incredibly well written, the jokes make you laugh, which I consider an accomplishment. In arguments, every line seems meticulous put in place allowing you to feel the tension. It is not enough for a film to be either filmed well, have a good script or good actors. An incredible film needs to have all these factors ingeniously put together, and ladies and gentlemen, this one right here has it all.

The only issue I had with it was the ending. It just seems too sudden and left a few questions unanswered. In the end Tiffany and Patrick end up together, which was obvious from the beginning, and I do not mind it, but something is missing. This man obsesses about his wife the whole film and then when he finally sees her at the ending, he goes to her, whispers something into her ear and goes after Tiffany… It just leaves you with a feeling of emptiness and asking yourself: What? This is it?

Overall this is the best American comedy I saw in years and I am sure I will not see one of its kind very soon. It shows that in order to have a good comedy, you need to combine it with a good drama, otherwise it is simply superficial and alienating.