Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lucy (1/5, Horrible)

What to expect from Luc Besson? The Michael Bay french version is actually worse than Bay himself. Why? Bay recognizes publicly that he doesn't do philosophical films or neither tries to give complexity to a film when such complexity makes the movie worse than it was. He simply seeks to entertain. What about Besson? He wants to blow it.

What we can tell you about "Lucy" is that there isn't much of a story. Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) is accidentally exposed to substances that increases her use of brain capacity. The clock is ticking before she gets to its 100%. What will happen then? There are bad guys and there are good guys. Explosions, fights with a Scarlet Johansson becoming more and more a robot with no expressions than a real person.

Luc Besson, despite a very promising debut in the 1980s with the mute film "The Last Combat" (1983) and a great movie with "Léon" (1995), has only been able to make soulless movies. He seeks to develop stories embedded with philosophical depth. The terrible thing is that most of his stories (he actually wrote more screenplays than directed them) have a great potential for becoming good films. Joan of Arc (2000) is an example: an interesting historical character but too much focus on intense  quick cuts with special effects and hallucinations. The result? A main character with no life, no personality whatsoever." Lucy" is not far from this latter. They are just caricature.

There's only one thrilling scene and that is a car-chase! You can imagine what kind of film to expect. We knew from the start that it wouldn't be a brilliant film, we were looking for a pop-corn movie. However, we just left the room saying one thing: this was crap.



M83- Un nouveau soleil (A new sun)

We share with you a beautiful piece written by french electronic band M83. It was written for a peculiar movie "You and the Night" (Rencontres d'apres minuit). The story of different characters that greets one night to have an orgy. However, sex won't be the reason that will tie these characters together and that will change them forever.

Classic movie of the month: Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

A satirical version of the "Phantom of the Opera" and also an homage to ''The Picture of Dorian Gray'' and ''Faust''. How can that fit into one movie? It needed the talent of a young filmmaker called Brian De Palma. He was only 33 years old when he made this masterpiece.

It tells the story of Winslow Leach (William Finley) ,a musician who sells his soul to the satanic record producer Swan (Paul Williams). Winslow composes his greatest music for a highly anticipated musical directed by Swan. Among the artists in that show, a beautiful back-up singer catches the eye of Winslow, Phoenix (Jessica Harper). Whilst Winslow's face and voice are more and more degraded, his love for this seductive woman grows. Hidden in the backstage curtains of the "Paradise", he can only dream for her to be the main star of the upcoming musical. However, Swan has a terrible plan for Phoenix. Secrets will be revealed, music will rock the stage and tragedy will close the curtains.

The film relies on the incredible music written by Paul Williams for telling interweaving classic plots (Faust, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Phantom of the Opera). We are clearly set in the 1970s where the sound is clearly influenced by hard-rock bands of the period (Led Zeppelin) but also more pop (references to Simon & Garfunkel and Janis Joplin are notable). This collaboration between Paul Williams and Brian De Palma gives prestige to the "Comedy Musical" genre.

Even if the plot is predictable and known, De Palma puts a satirical tone without dismissing drama and comedy. He wants to entertain us and to invite us to "Paradise", kingdom of music and infinite pleasures. It was a box-office flop in the 1970s and was panned by critics. Nevertheless, today it is considered by many as one of the best movies from De Palma. Masterpieces never get old, that's something important to remember.  

Friday, 17 October 2014

Love is strange (4/5, Good)

''My previous films were about the destructive power of love. This one is totally the opposite" said the director Ira Sachs at the London Film Festival. That sentence gives an idea of what the film is about: simply, about love.

The film opens with the marriage of Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) in New York City. Shortly after that great celebration of love, George is fired from his job in a Catholic school because of his marriage. Unemployed and with a retired husband, the couple cannot afford anymore their Manhattan flat. They will have to live temporarily at friend's places whilst they look for another flat. However, they'll have to live separately. 

Alfred Molina is playing one of his greatest roles since Frida (2002) and Lithgow is marvelous. They are two touching characters, united by love, who faces daily obstacles in order to maintain that same union. Love is everywhere: in our thoughts, in our moves, in our memories, in our expressions. That is why is strange. How could something so powerful, so universal be something unstrange?

Cinematography is beautifully done, giving New York city a background but strong role in the story of these people. Manhattan has something as well to tell and the characters interact with it. The script is beautiful, taking its time to tell this story of two people. Another praise for this film is that it doesn't fall in the cliché of telling a homosexual story throughout a dramatic and dark tone. It is common that films try to tell the difficulties of being gay as an identity. None of that is here. It is a story about Love and Love reaches everyone. We warmly recommend it. 


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Film composers: Clint Mansell

Who's Clint Mansell? He is one of the greatest contemporary movie composers, often associated with director Darren Aronofsky (collaborating in seven occasions) . He was introduced to film scoring with Aronofsky's feature debut "Pi" (1998). However it is with Requiem for a dream (2000) that his name gained prestige and his composing abilities were at his best. 

The main theme from Requiem for a Dream's "Lux Aeterna" was well-received and was re-used for movie trailers (Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers) and advertisements. From then, a brilliant career. His collaboration with Aronofsky went on (The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Noah) but also participated in small budget films (Moon, Filth). Powerful notes, powerful sound. Red Curtain Cinema brings you a small taste of Clint Mansell's outstanding talent.

  • Make thee an Ark- Noah (2014) 

Even the film didn't convince many people, the music is one of the strengths in this film. The apocalyptic tone mixed with expectations of a new start to come are taken into account in the music. We give you one of the best tracks. 

  • Lux Aeterna-Requiem for a dream (2000) 

One of the most powerful soundtracks ever heard. How did he come up with such melody? It was able to give an homage to New York's hip-hop sound and elaborate one of the most dramatic tunes ever. "Lux Aeterna" speaks for itself. If you saw the film, the fate of the four characters come back to your mind. If you haven't, leave this post and watch it straight away.

  • We're not programs,Gerty, we're people -Moon (2009)

Disturbing, scary, distant and sensitive. Those are the feeling that Red Curtain Cinema has regarding this soundtrack. A mixture of sounds and melodies that appeals you and takes you to far away places. Good movie and good soundtrack.

  • The Wrestler theme- The Wrestler (2008)

A gripping film and what a soundtrack. Clint Mansell knows how to make a simple sound and telling you the story of a man that lives with daily obstacles. Slash ( former Guns N' Roses) collaborated by playing the guitar in this track. The end is intense, like the film .

  • Death is the road to awe- The Fountain (2006)

One if his masterpieces. This track shows the maturity of Clint Mansell when it comes to film composing. So many variations and such intensity in its sound. Your breath will be taken away with this one. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Is that...Britney Spears?

A little gift from Red Curtain Cinema for you guys. This bizarre film called ''Spring Breakers'' brought us a great sequence. You will never appreciate  a Britney Spears song that much like in this scene.

La Diplomatie (4/5, Good)

Paris,1944. The end of the second World War II is near and the Allies are approaching Paris.  Dictator Adolf Hitler gives orders to wipe out with most famous monuments of Paris whilst the city is still under Nazi control. German general Dietrich Von Choltitz has to give the order, but before that, Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling confronts him in order to stop him. 

Adapted from a play (written by Cyril Gély),film director Schlondorff maintains many elements: a minimal set (the story occurs in a hotel suite in Paris) and drama is supported by  two incredible actors (André Dussolier and Niels Arestrup). The predominance of tension between these two characters and the dramatic background of an Europe in ruines makes this film an interesting experience. 

It almost seems that director Schlondorff wanted to maintain cinematographic elements at its low to highlight the two great actors and so that the viewer could focus only on them. Dialogues are intense and reflect one of the first victims of any war: the identity as a human being. In such chaotic context, people are lost and don't know who they are. Cities and monuments are elements that help to built an individual and collective identity. Nazis understood that and wanted to wipe out Paris to discourage the Allies and the Resistance.

Historically, this meeting never took place but the plans of destroying Paris are accurate. This story mirrors the conflict for Nazis themselves for destroying such an iconic city. How could they destroy Notre-Dame De Paris, la Tour Eiffel? An interesting aspect which the script plays with are the stereotypes: the Swedish diplomat seems a reasonable and moderate person whilst the Nazi is a cold man who only obey orders. However, we see their true colors throughout time. No one is purely evil or purely good, human beings are complex and contradictory.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Classic movie of the month: Rope (1948)

Red Curtain Cinema is proud to start with this first weekly (or monthly in case of technical issues) edition of ''Classic movie of the week''!

Directed by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, Rope tells a simple story. Two men strangle to death a former classmate (David) to commit 'the perfect murder'. In order to achieve this, they hide the body in a large antique wooden chest and host a dinner with David relatives. His fiancée, father, aunt are invited but also the mysterious prep-school housemaster Rupert (the great James Stewart). Little by little, the hosts (John Dall and Farley Granger) will host unexpected events that will lead to unexpected outcomes.

Red Curtain Cinema recommends this film because we consider to be one of the best Hitchcock films.Adapted from a play, the camera wants to transmit this sense of reality and participation that we have at a theater. Long shots (11 minutes length shots!) have been made and the story gets darker along with an increasing suspense. All this intensity is managed with expertise, especially if we consider that the story occurs in a living room!

 Considered to be an ''experiment'' for a director with a big name, we cannot but only applause at the end of it. This movie teaches you that special effects, an intense editing and lyrical music are unnecessary when you have the actors and images that tells you something. Too bad this is a forgotten lesson by Hollywood today.

Gone Girl (4/5, Good)

Anyone who already saw a David Fincher film knows that it won't be soft. He likes to tell twisted and dark stories. You thought that Gone Girl was an exception? You're wrong.

What's the story then? On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds his home vandalized. Front door open, a broken glass table, suspicious red stains on the wall and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. He calls the police and an investigation is led by detective Rhonda Buney (Kim Dickens). Whilst a media fuzz around this disappearance entertains America, suspicions with Nick's innocence arouse. Did he kill his wife? What happened to her? The answer to those questions will reveal more than anyone could ever imagine.

The narrative is efficient at manipulating the viewer. We ask ourselves many questions and Fincher knows how to play with us. He is taking us through a dark path and doesn't hesitate to make us feel uneasy and lost. That is definitely the strongest pillar of this film. The soundtrack, marking the third collaboration with Trent Reznor (NIN) and Atticus Ross, is also to be praised for.

The story, despite many flaws, achieves to grab elements relative to a Fincher's film: characters who wonder if they live in a dream or a nightmare, deeply rooted impulses which takes over rationality and 'outsiders' who aren't able to integrate to society. The concept of 'outsider' as someone who plays with norms and accepted social behaviors is a constant in a Fincher film. If in Fight Club consumption society and individualism was put into criticism, here the Media and information are targeted.

We recommend the film, especially if you are Fincher's fan. Red Curtain Cinema assures you strong emotions and suspense. However it does not reach the level of powerful films such as Fight Club or The Social Network. In addition to this, this is definitely not a dating movie. Au revoir! 

Movie trailer

Friday, 3 October 2014

Another weekend, new Movie songs!

A new weekend lies ahead. A new homage to a genre that is slowly dying.


Chad Kroeger feat. Josey Scott- Hero (from the movie Spiderman (2002))

This is not the new trash which Sony developed a few years ago with 'The Amazing Spiderman'. This is Sam Raimi's version and for me, one of the best Spiderman features ever (especially its sequel). Why is it nostalgic? Pop songs like these are something from the past.

Michael Jackson- Will you be there? (from the movie Free Willy (1993))

Could you believe that Michael Jackson wrote this song specially for Free Willy? This family drama was apparently, one of Jackson's favorite (for some, that would not be surprising). Many of us liked that film ( Red Curtain Cinema admits that they bought many tickets to see it in the cinema) but the song is definitely the best outcome. The gospel touch along with the sad tone of Jackson's makes you remember an old friendship.

Rockers :

U2- Hold me, Thrill me, Kiss Me, Kill me (from the movie Batman Forever (1995))

The movie was crap (but quite good compared to Batman and Robin (1997)). This dark song is not one's of most famous U2 songs and still, it is one of their best. The Edge with his powerful guitar and riffs gives life to the darkness of Batman and the city of Gotham.

See the brilliant videoclip here: http://vimeo.com/66321792

Limp Bizkit- Take a look around (from the movie Mission Impossible 2 (2000))

Most teenagers of the 1990s will recognize that they loved this song. It is impossible to imagine today that a new-wave song would promote a blockbuster such as Mission Impossible. Nevertheless the formula worked and both the song and movie were a hit.

Romantics: A short note for you guys. You wouldn't imagine how many romantic songs exist out there. Red Curtain Cinema cannot put all of them in here- unless you demand it- so sneak around and romantic songs will find you!

Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey-When you believe (from the movie Prince of Egypt (1999))

Dreamworks thought about gathering two of the biggest pop-stars of all time for promoting their brand new feature. Two huge voices singing a song about hope. The result? A success.

Seal- Kiss from a rose (from the movie Batman Forever (1995))

Wait...there was a song for this movie already right? Well, for marketing reasons, Warner Bros. decided to put forward a 'romantic' side of Batman (with charming Val Kilmer and sexy Nicole Kidman). It is so far one of Seal's biggest hit.


Israel Kamakawiwo- Somewhere over the rainbow/What a wonderful world (from the movie Meet Joe Black (1998)

This box-office flop ( you bet, Brad Pitt playing...Death!) gave one of the best covers for two classic songs. The soundtrack, signed by Thomas Newman (American Beauty) is also brilliant. We recommend it.

Enya-Only time (from the movie Sweet November (2001))

This is a movie for people who really don't have anything else ( at all) to watch. The song is what gives a a higher emotional impacts in certain scenes. Despite the song wasn't written especially for the movie, it is its main theme. Let you be taken by Enya's voice.

Lebo M- He lives in you (from the movie The Lion King II: Simba's pride (1998))

Great song. Powerful voices and interesting sound. Too bad this song is not well-known. It reaches the level of incredible songs such as 'The Circle of Life' in the previous movie. Worth it.

Bonus song: Pharrell Williams-Happy (from the movie Despicable Me II (2013))

A disappearing genre? Let's hope not. Music and movies fit so well together. Otherwise, the most important is just to be happy.
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