Tuesday, September 22, 2009

La Vie En Rose (2007)

La Vie En Rose, meaning “Life in Pink," is an inspirational film portraying the life of the prodigal Edith Piaf, characterized by Marion Cotillard. Edith Piaf is known as a legendary French singer who captures the hearts of millions with her golden voice and dazzles them with her exceptional classic songs like the famous La Vie En Rose, which is her signature song.

Her life was no fairy tale filled with glamour and happy endings but rather an array of adversities starting in her early childhood. Daughter of an alcoholic mother and father who is fighting for his country in the World War 1, Edith spends most of her melancholy childhood with her grandmother until the end of the war. Her musical talent begins to develop and serves as her only means of survival by singing on the street.

It was several years later when Edith is discovered by a nightclub owner and introduced to a talented songwriter named, Raymond Asso, who gives her a glimpse of what tomorrow will be if she learns to be more expressive with her songs and learns to overcome her stage fright. A life after that is a beginning of a new hope.

One night while performing in New York, she meets Marcel, who is a French boxer, and becomes emotionally involved. It was like a whirlwind relationship that develops and ends so fast leaving Edith mourning over her great loss after Marcel’s plane crashed.

As if her life lacks more excitement, she suffers from a disabilitating arthritis causing her too much pain. Despite of all the misfortunes that miserably plunged into her path since childhood, she has learned to be resilient, and has survived by holding close to her true passion, her music. Each time she performs, she delivers a performance of a lifetime that was well depicted in the beginning of the movie where she fainted right at the stage.

After watching this movie, I was mesmerized by the dynamic performance of Marion Cotillard, who was perfectly casted for the role. I knew then that Cate Blanchett has a serious competition for the Oscar as best actress. Performing the life of Edith Piaf was overwhelmingly challenging.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Queen Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) is a compelling historical film, starring Cate Blanchett as the legendary Queen Elizabeth I of England, and won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Costume. It is a controversial film because of its melodramatic influence over a more realistic epic film of a great ruler which was the height of the reigning feminist in history, the Elizabethan era. She might have been a female ruler donned in an ornate gown yet had the heart and mind of a powerful man.

The film takes place in the late 1,500’s while England is under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. The historical plot revolves between the fierce rivalry of two powerful countries, England and Spain. King Philip II of Spain wants to rule England and builds Armada to invade it and become its ruler. Later, he orchestrates a plot with Jesuit group to assassinate Elizabeth, known as the “Babington Plot,” implicating Mary Stuart as the Queen of Scots, for conspiring the act which leads to her arrest and later an execution for high treason.

Elizabeth is known to remain a Virgin Queen but as the Queen of England she perceives herself as married to her kingdom. However, there are dramatic twists in this epic film showing the attraction between Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh, an explorer returning from the New World played by Clive Owen. But her love for Raleigh ends when she discovers that he is discretely married to her favorite lady-in-waiting, Bess. Their intimacy provokes opposition and, outraged, Elizabeth banishes Bess from court and imprisons Raleigh in the Tower of London. She later forgives them and releases Raleigh to join the attack on the Spanish Armada ships, resulting victorious. Defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588 is considered to be one of the greatest triumphs in the annals of England.

The acting is absolutely superfluous and Cate Blanchett should have won that Academy Award for Best Actress. Also, the spectacular cinematography and Elizabeth’s ornate costume and white painted face, which is seemingly imbued throughout her skin representing an iconographic image of a powerful queen, successfully transport the audience into the scenes.

A controversy arose due to inaccurate historical facts that were altered due to the artistic vision of director, Shekhar Kapur. Cate Blanchett said, “It’s terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it’s invention. Hopefully though an historical film will inspire people to go and read about the history. But in the end it is a work of history and selection.”


-->2012, the best Doomsday film so far, is directed by Roland Emmerich, creator of several other disaster movies such as Independence Day, Godzilla, and Day After Tomorrow. Roland said that he’d make this the Mother of all disaster movies!
THE END IS NEAR… Doomsday, anticipated to take place on December 21st, 2009 by the Mayan civilization thousands of years ago, is just around the corner and the government is desperate for a brilliant solution to ensure the continuity of the human race. A sequence of natural disasters is prognosticated by several scientists such as immense earthquakes, devastating volcanic eruptions, and colossal tsunamis all around the world. However, this terrible fate is inevitable.

Jackson Curtis, a divorced limo driver, begins to suspect some terrible, unknown tragedy while taking his kids on a short camping vacation at the Yellowstone National Park. It all started when he was approached by the strange Charlie, who warns him of “the end,” and then all chaos breaks loose, ranging from speeding down a crumbling city to plummeting through the smoky ruins! Hurtling through every adversity, Jackson and his family continue on their frightening journey for survival.

This action-packed film never had a dull moment, constantly filled with catastrophic scenes of chaos from beginning to end! 2012 has superb, breathtaking CGI effects! You owe it to yourself to see this in a large screen. John Cusack did a great job portraying Jackson Curtis. It was totally hilarious whenever he’s late and he says, “I’m hurtling towards you as we speak!” when he is not even in the car yet! The script is definitely well-written and throws every disaster humanly possible at you, establishing an intensifying atmosphere that escalates every minute! The music and sound effects absolutely added to the intensity of the scenes, amplifying the suspense to the max! Unfortunately, this is Roland Emmerich’s last disaster movie. But I guess he has no other choice because he’s done it all!