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Monday, October 25, 2010

HEREAFTER

By D.E.Levine

2010 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Cyndi Mayo Davis, Lisa Griffiths, Jessica Griffiths, Ferguson Reid, Derek Sakakura, Jay Mohr, Richard Kind, Charlie Creed-Miles, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Lyndsey Marshal, Rebekah Staton, Declan Conlon, Byrce Dallas Howard et al.
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy and Robert Lorenz
Executive Producers: Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan and Steven Spielberg
Original Music: Clint Eastwood
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English, French
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller, Action, Suspense

This is an unusual film as Clint Eastwood tackles the question of whether there is life after death - a place where people go and exist when they die.

The film is actually comprised of three interwoven stories about people who are touched by death in different ways.

Matt Damon is George, an American blue collar worker who has psychic ability and a special connection to the afterlife. He's given up practicing as a psychic because of the pressure it imposes on him and his inability to live a "normal" life.

Marie, a French journalist played by Cecile De France, has an actual near death experience that shakes her reality, causes her to question life and death, and changes her life forever.

Marcus, a London schoolboy who loses the person closest to him seeks answers from everyone he can contact - most of whom are widely publicized but scam artists nevertheless - until he finds George.

The lives of these three individuals intersect and cause each to question the reality of the existence of an afterlife.

Eastwood has tackled many types of stories but never one like this. While it seems a bit long and drags in places, overall it addresses a topic of interest to many and provides and ending that is open to individual interpretation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

MYSTERIES OF LISBON

By D.E.Levine

2010 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Writer: Camilo Castelo Branco (novel), Carlos Saboga (screenplay)
Cast: Lea Seydoux, Melvil Poupaud, Clothilde Hesme, Jose Alfonso Pimentel, Catarina Wallenstein, Maria Joao Bastos, Lena Friedrich, Filipe Vargas, Malik Zidi, Joana Pinhao Botelho, Albano Jeronimo, Ricardo Pereira, Carlo Cotta, Adriano Luz, Margarida Vilanova et al.
Producer: Paulo Branco
Original Music: Jorge Arriagada and Luis de Freitas Branco
Running Time: 270 Minutes
Country of Origin: Portugal/France
Language: Portugese and French with English subtitles
Genre: Historical Drama

Lush country vista, ornate palaces and elegant costumes are presented by Chilean director Raoul Ruiz in this epic film.

Originally produced as a six hour mini series, the episodes were edited into a long but beautiful film.

The story is an adaption of a famous nineteenth century novel by Camilo Castelo Branco which evokes a tale over decades where many characters' lives cross and intersect, separate and intersect again.

The initial narrator is a 14-year old boy living in an orphanage who longs to discover his true parentage. The bastard son of two members of aristocracy who were forbidden to marry, the boy initially is introduced to his mother by the priest who runs the school where he lives.

His mother is married to a controlling count who dictates her life and fortune. Slowly, through the priest and his mother, the young boy learns the truth about his birth and identity.

The tale follows many characters through a complex life over many years and travels, unveiling many surprises and unexpected occurrences.

Although long, the beauty of the sets and costumes, the alluring cinematography and the superb acting by all of the actors, prevents the film from ever being boring.

As of the screening, the mini series had not been presented on TV yet. Whether or not such a long film will find an audience in theaters remains to be seen.

Friday, October 1, 2010

THE TEMPEST

By D.E.Levine

2010 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: William Shakespeare (original play), Julie Taymor (screenplay)
Cast: Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Albert Molina, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Ben Whishaw, Felicity Jones, Tom Conti et al.
Producers: Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Jason K. Lau, Julia Taylor-Stanley and Julie Taymor
Executive Producers: Ronald M. Bozman, John C. Ching, Rohit Kattar, Deborah Y. Lau and Greg Strasburg
Co-executive producer: Beaux Carson
Original Music: Elliot Goldenthal
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy

It may be a 400 year old play but Julie Taymor has put a new spin on it by making the lead a woman named Prospera.

Although Taymor has directed The Tempest on stage, this proves to be a bit of a weakness since she attempts to use stage direction for the film and it doesn't quite work.

Casting Helen Mirren as the female Prospera, a part always male (Prospero) in previous productions seems a bit strange to everyone familiar with the story.

The basic story is about an exiled wizard living on a desolate island and obsessively protecting her daughter from the world (which is actually the only other island inhabitant).

However, by changing the main character from a male usurped duke to a deposed female causes a diminishing in the tension that normally exists between Prospero and the daughter.

The tension never intensifies in this version and the film remains somewhat lukewarm despite a talented cast and a reknowned play.

INSIDE JOB

By D.E.Levine

2010 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

Director: Charles Ferguson
Writer: Chad Beck and Adam Bolt
Cast: Matt Damon (narrator)
Producers:
Executive Producers:
Co-producers:
Associate Producers:
Original Music:
Running Time:
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Documentary

A documentary providing an in-depth comprehensive analysis at the 2008 global financial crisis.

Costing over $20 million dollars, millions of people lost jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Filmed on location all over the world, with interviews with well-known scientists and politicians, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry that has corrupted politics, industry and academia.