Monday, 30 March 2015

Magical scene from Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands is still one of Burton bests'. It is melancholic, it is sad, it is magical. We think that this scene represents the beauty of the film. A must from the 1990s. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Did you know...?

...that Keanu Reeves directed an martial arts film! The film is called Man of Tai Chi.

Keanu has fallen in love with martial arts. After his experience with the Matrix trilogy, he decided to direct a film that would be both an homage to the beauty of martial arts but also to the 'Fukasaku Yakuza film' genre (even if this takes place in China and not Japan). It is a low-budget film but made with love. Indeed Tiger Chen (the lead actor) is a Stunt-man and a personal friend of Keanu Reeves. This latter plays the bad guy in the film. 

Even if it is a bit predictable, it is a fun film to watch. It is good to see Reeves as the bad guy as he was in his best acting role in The Gift. If you like pop-corn movies and also enjoy martial arts, this is a watch. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Great scene from 'Catch me if you can' (2003)

A very good short scene from Tom Hanks in Catch me if you can from Steven Spielberg. It is very simple, based on short dialogues but you can see Spielberg's ability to catch your attention and make you want to see what will happen in the scene.When you feel that, it means that the film director knows what he does #RedCurtainCinemaSays . 

Film festivals in London!

This is a special post for Londoners. There are great festivals going on in March and you should definitely get tickets for these. They offer a wide-range of films so you do not have an excuse for not assisting to any of these. For the non-Londoners, this is a way of discovering new film titles and write them into your notebook as 'Films to see' ;). Cheers! 

        BFI London Lesbians Gay Bisexual Transexual Film festival (19th-29th March)

With over 50 films and 100 short films, the BFI LGBT film festival is an opportunity to see films about love, friendship and life itself from more than 70 countries! Love is something universal. That is something to celebrate and to accept. Very recommended film festival.

Check their website:

      Human Rights Watch Film Festival (18th-27th March)

A selection of films having a wide range of themes but all connected to a core theme: the human rights, These face incredible challenges in a era of globalization and information flows. Films from all countries (such as Guatemala , Palestine and Iran) with something to say. Most of the films have an Q&A with the films directors or activists. A great militant festival.


         Cinemania New Worlds Film screenings (19th March-21st May)

More than a film festival, it is an ensemble of film screenings of great films. These films talk about the youth living in a competitive system that fosters social exclusion and discrimination.However many of these share a glimpse of optimism: in the darkness, there is always a bit of light. The Deptford Cinema is a new cinema run by volunteers who love the cinema. It is worth supporting these initiatives by going to one of these screenings.


Monday, 16 March 2015

Swedish week for Red Curtain Cinema!

We assisted to two events this week in the great city of London: a premiere of acclaimed film Force Majeure at Curzon Soho and to a Swedish Film Festival organized by ArtFix London. Both events were a fresh reminder of how good the film industry is in the Scandinavian country. Many Swedish films are considered to be among the best in the film history. Today, Sweden is still writing a story whose end is not even close to come. Just think about Let the Right One In , The Milennium Trilogy for instance. Another film is part of this chapter: Force Majeure.

We won't talk much about this Ruben Ostlund film because it is the kind of film you just need to see.
It was widely acclaimed at the Festival de Cannes (won the Jury Prize). It is the story of a middle-class Swedish family whose life changes after an avalanche in their ski holidays. Nothing more is needed to know. It is an atypical film, full of symbolism with many glimpses of black humor and satire. It is a fresh way of approaching a 'classic family model' and make it a mirror of current social issues in many families. Run to see it. After the screening, we had an Q&A with director Ostlund giving more depth to an already complex film.

The second film we saw was Trespassing Bergman. A very interesting documentary about director Ingmar Bergman and the breakthroughs he made in the cinema art. It was mostly about how he triggered the passion for cinema in immense filmmakers (Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Takeshi Kitano, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritú) and how it changed their view of the world. It also talks about how he revolutionized the cinema by treating themes that weren't used in the cinema: religion, existentialism, death. This documentary explains many things that will make watching a Bergman film a more fruitful experience.

Thank you to the ArtFix London for organizing the Swedish Film Festival and opening the doors to cinema lovers like us.Londoners, that is one place to go.  It is a perfect space for having a drink, discussing the beautiful world of art and assisting to events that will open your mind.

Monday, 9 March 2015

It Follows (5/5, Very Good)

We are experiencing a new boom with indie horror films. They shine by their originality whilst telling stories that gets scarier. Horror films faced a decade of decay. New emerging directors decided that it wouldn't be that way. It Follows is part of these new films.

Beautiful Jay (Maika Monroe) is living what any teenager should have at her 19-years old: sharing a flat with her childhood friends, going to school, dating a handsome man. However she will soon embrace the horror. After what it seemed to be an innocent sexual intercourse, she is starting to have visions about a figure that is following her. Only those who 'have it' can see 'it'. The best way to let this 'thing' not kill you is to pass 'it' through, but how? 

Directorial debut by David Robert Mitchell is one of the best we have seen in years. He is able to bring up our deepest fears without hurrying up and without being predictable. That is great quality coming from the horror genre. If uncertainty is part of the viewing experience, then the director achieved it. Horror films is the science of having to deal with the uncertainty: when is this evil going to hit? When is it going to show up? What is going to happen to the characters in the film? Mitchell is heavily influenced by the horror cinema of the 1970s such as with George A. Romero and John Carpenter. Shots that are similar to Night of the Living Dead, music with a John Carpenter touch. What a feast! 

It is very interesting to see as well that this curse is only sexually transmitted. Could it be an allegory for the current diseases in our society? It gives a new perspective to the horror genre. Sex is dangerous for the greedy teenagers of modern society. The film definitely has a certain level of pessimism regarding sex but also does not assume a specific stand. We can interpret everything that Jay is experiencing in our own way. This already gives depth to a script that are rare to find especially after the decadence of horror era with Saw and Paranormal Activity.

Once more, independent films show us they are a plethora of creativity. It gives a new impulse to a film industry that is always seeking new trends. It Follows is a new experience: there is no gore, there is no cheesy dialogues, there are no boring characters. They all have something to give and to think about. Let us say thank you David Mitchell and Maika Monroe for making us feel scared and tense in a lonely cinema room in Cineworld Haymarket. See it if you dare. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women's Day

Films gave light to the power of women. They are the light of the images, they are the smile, they are the tears and they are the beauty. They give life to the best story-tellers and these latter discovered themselves in the process. How far would be go without women? We thought about a couple of sequences that we could share with you in this Women's International Day. Sequences that are worth the look because not only there were great actresses involved but their genuine sensitivity and strong femininity gave emotional power to the beautiful world of films. We love you women of the world.

The Lady (2011)- Michelle Yeoh

1) Jodie Foster- Silence of the Lambs

One of the most powerful scenes in the cinema of the 1990s. Jodie Foster is the heart of the scene. Anthony Hopkins is stunning but without this other pillar this scene would have been forgotten.

2) Meryl Streep- Sophie's choice

This is the last scene of the movie Sophie's choice. This could be a spoiler for some but this could be one of the most heart-breaking scenes we ever saw in a film. This is an intense scene. Meryl Streep's acting is stunning and put into light the greatest fear of any life-giver: to kill someone who's part of you.

3) Sigourney Weaver- Aliens

Let's leave dramatism a bit and just have a blast with a great action scene. Some will think: this is lame. Nevertheless Sigourney Weaver's acting for Aliens gave her an Oscar nomination. It was something unseen, especially for an action film! Another important detail: it was one of the rare films where a female was leading an action film. It was the 1980s: only big muscle guys as Stallone and Schwarzenegger would take the lead. To see and to remember the cult phrase by Ripley!

4) Audrey Tautou and Marion Cotillard- A very long engagement

This great film from Jean Pierre-Jeunet is gripping and compelling. There are numerous scenes who are stunning with leading actress Audrey Tautou but we thought that this one, with the colossal Cotillard, is excellent. One is a woman in prison, the other one is looking for her fiancée. There isn't much else to say, you have to watch this scene.


5) Ingrid Bergman- Casablanca 

Let's finish this post with a pearl. This scene is just beautiful. Bergman is genuine: she is speaking to all of us deep in our hearts. She is sensible but strong, she is beautiful and powerful. A classic scene, a classic film. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Jupiter Ascending (2/5, Bad)

Announced as the promising return of the Wachowskis, we could have expected an intense script with great compelling dramatic and philosophical content along with stunning action sequences. Mission accomplished? Not really!

This is the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who lives a monotone life as a house cleaner along with her family. Being told by her mother that she would be destined to great things in life, she cannot but only cope with her daily life. Everything changes when a genetically engineered ex-military (Channing Tatum) comes to planet Earth to look for Jupiter Jones. Her genetic-signature marks her as the next one to inherit many planets to rule them. In a infinite universe where other powerful and greedy people like Balem (Eddie Redmayne) wants more power, she will have to face many dangers in her path that will change her forever.

The Wachowskis used to entertain us with "The Matrix" trilogy where a mister-nobody became the One that could alter a whole set system of institutions and perceptions of this world. Jupiter Ascending is the same topic: to discover the inner you and spread your wings (or your firework as Katy Perry would say). Therefore there is a feeling of déjà vu. You might expect something new coming up from these already-used elements in the film. Sadly, we didn't get any satisfaction.It actually gets worse: foreseeable ending, cheesy scenes (and not even to mention the dialogues...) and gaps in the script. Another relevant failure: Mila Kunis. Terrible acting.

What are the highlights of the film? First of all, the special effects and the production design. Both are just excellent. We have never seen SFX with such visual impact for a long-time (not as revolutionary as The Matrix but still). The production design with influences from Magic Fantasy and the Sci-fi genre are evident and could be thought as an homage. The other pillar is Eddie Redmayne who plays very well the bad guy. He is scary but somehow we also feel empathy with his character. Only a good actor can do that.

Considering we expected so much from The Wachowskis, we are disappointed by this film.Nevertheless if you want an entertaining film with good action sequences and with stunning visual shots, then this is the right film for you. Good to watch a Sunday night. However we cannot but lament the fall in The Wachowskis filmmaking. They revolutionize the sci-fi genre in the 2000s. Today they look like regular sci-fi film directors.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Movies that you should have seen in the cinema and you haven't: Episode II

A masterpiece completely forgotten by the industry and the critics. Nevertheless, not by the cinema lovers. This one of the examples of how a film can be the source of inspiration (or plagiarism?) for some blockbusters. We give the credit to this great feature: Moon.

Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is experiencing a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three year solitary mission in the Moon. His only company is a robot (Kevin Spacey) that assists him in technology maintenance. As days go by and his return to the Earth gets closer, Sam realizes there are so many things that lie beneath his mission. Why is he there all alone? 

Fantastic film. That is all you could say once you watch it. Furthermore the story starts to be more compelling and the more you think: " hey, I saw this already in Oblivion (2013) with Tom Cruise". This is when you see how bad Hollywood can be. It is a money-profit machine looking to suck-up the creativity of the independent cinema. Sadly, Moon has been one of its victims. 

Nevertheless this is an opportunity for you to watch a masterpiece with a daunting Sam Rockwell and a incredible music soundtrack by Clint Mansell (Requiem for a dream). You won't regret it!


Monday, 2 March 2015

Is there more buzz around the Oscars?

We realized recently that there is a bigger buzz with the Oscars than with previous years. Even Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton asserted the same thing in the red carpet. Nevertheless this wasn't only for the year 2015. We believe that the breaking point was last year's Oscars with the famous selfie from Ellen DeGeneres. That night it was the real introduction of social media into Hollywood's glamorous night. From then, Studios and actors realized the power of hashtags to become not virtual components of Twitter and Facebook but in actual money! Films are more and more promoted throughout these tools. You know what? It works! 

The famous Oscars 2014 selfie
It became a new boost for social media. Look at the upcoming Star Wars (2015) by J.J. Abrams. Everything is being promoted by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This years' Oscars took social media under its arm and even encouraged actors to tweet on site! 

What a beautiful way to make us feel part of something we all feel excluded. Our interaction is not through our computers or TV anymore but with our cell phones too! Is the bigger buzz around the Oscars because these tools have become more participative to a night which is historically exclusive to Hollywood? We assert that yes.

This year's controversy was regarding the few black people nominated (and actual winners) in the history of this ceremony. #OscarsStillSoWhite became one of the most popular tweets and people discussed about it. What a better way to attract attention and to promote films like...Selma (2014)!.Sadly the whole buzz is not representative of the quality of the nominees (and winners). We believe that the criteria of the Oscars is more and more commercial and less artistic. It was predictable that Boyhood (2014) wouldn't win...but why should it be that way? Can we ask for a revolution in the Oscars? 

Red Curtain Cinema demands for it! We have #ToRevolutionizeTheOscars!
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