14 Jun

This blog is now becoming: If it sucks, I will tell you! 

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X-men: First class

12 Jun

I should recognize something: I’m one of this movie fans that run to watch any comic-based movie that shows up on the big screen. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if I tell you I have seen all previous X-men movies out there. In 2000, when the first one appeared, it was genius to me, the sequel was ok, and the third one a bit bad. Then it was Wolverine, but even having Hugh Jackman, became, sadly, forgettable.

There are a lot of people who know the comic so well, but in my case, as an X-generation person, I saw X-men for the first time on tv. That’s why I have a lot of references of them via the cartoon version. Some of them, as the character of Beast, are still very attached to my memory.

Saying that, you must understand that I went to watch this prequel because a) I watch all these kind of movies but also, because b) I admire James McAvoy since I watched his performance on Atonement.

First movie posters astonished me for showing the level of the actors that were included in cast: It looked like the saga had taken the next step with actors such as Kevin Bacon and Michael Fassbender, as well as the Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (if you don’t know her yet, you should watch Winter’s Bone or soon, The Hunger Games).

The real deal, starts when you take your seat on the theater, the lights go off and the sound starts. Two hours later you will know if it is a good movie, or not. Just like that…

Here it happens, from the very beginning, that one can go into the genesis of Magneto, and can feel his anger and helplessness. That’s maybe the best scene of Kevin Bacon on this film. Then, you can see the development of such a famous comic person as Charles Xavier is;  the parallel life of Raven and a mutant chain of fictional characters that brings you the comic and amazing side of the movie. But the best thing is, unquestionably, when both leading roles, Magneto and Professor Xavier share scene and gradually, a friendship blossoms unintentionally, and will change them forever.

The period time takes place in the Cuban Missile Crisis year, and the Art direction and production design are memorable. Not often can we see the glamour of the 1960s in a social level of high government offices and political class that is so detailed and stylish.

From the beginning, Stan Lee dealt with relevant subjects such as prejudice and racism on the comic. This topics may be the thread in all the X-men movies but this screenplay is remarkable. Here those themes are  tackled with depth and continuity. To top it off, there’s a strong association not only with the other films but with its most emblematic characters:

Nobody is missed, but there are two cameos that make us feel this prequel is no just a re-boot of the saga, but an authentic origin looking for connection and consistency with everything we seen before.

The developement of Raven’s character Mystique, its beautiful. With all the shades of a young woman on her way to maturity: Changing, feeling different, finding her place in the World. Rebecca Romijn was ok on her role but here, I think only Jennifer Lawrence could give this character the required register.

The weak side, unfortunately, comes from the main villains Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones). They lack the depth given to our heroes, and in the case of January -even when her beauty is outsanding- we definitely prefer to watch her on Mad Men, the HBO show, as an outstanding housewife than here as a shallow foe. I hope her character grows up if the story continues.

Another fragile point, in particular for the sci-fi fans, are visual effects; not the worst but no so remarkable as other productions of the same level. But let’s understand that action was sacrificed on the rise of dialogues.

On the other hand, one of the best thing is that anybody can watch it without have watched the other X-men films and you won’t feel lost. And of course, remember that this kind of movie it’s so much appreciated by fiction lovers than the rational ones.

Speaking aesthetically, it’s the most elegant of all and the best done in overall terms. I think director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) refreshed and improve the story, as Bryan Synger found a better place as a producer.

This is a movie about origins, where we are able to understand the leitmotif of each member of X-men, as well as their development inside the association. There is no black and white, just beings looking to fit in a world where ignorance keeps one step ahead.


*Spanish Version: This post has a spanish version on my blog Séptimo Sentido:  X-men: first-class


11 Jun

In this times, when Hollywood movies seem to be adapted from a tv show, a book, a magazine, a graphic novel or… another movie; I wonder how these people behind camera, who adapt ideas and turn them into a film work.

Let’s start saying adaptation is not easy. And adapting comics has been hard work to scriptwriters, whom commonly, are verbally attacked by fans complains, alleging that screen versions are distant from what they expected.  Novels taken to cinema are not different from those. From that point, both authors and screenwriters explain that their art forms are different. And neither a book or a comic are the same than a movie. And there some reason there. The tree representations aren’t the same. And the bring to the audience distinct elements, translated in different intensities for those who receive them.
A narrative book may be the art form that encourages the reader’s imagination the most, according to his or her mental universe. It permits to create worlds between the writer’s skill and the reader’s capacity of appreciation.
On the other hand, comic is a visual abstraction; somehow the middle point between a painting or photograph and kinetic. It shows
fixed images but simulating movement. They generally found the most success when they bring striking colors and depth. It’s not a coincidence many of our favorite superheroes wear primary colors: Red, yellow or blue.
Finally, films do not need to abstract moments, on the contrary, it must show and intensify them when required. Here the use of color and lighting becomes complex. Depth has another context and takes allow a variety of choices and perspectives that neither literature or comic books offer. In contrast, it has the disadvantages of timing, because it has an average time period of two hours to develop a story that a spectator must understand in. An adaptation that maybe someone read in weeks or, talking about comics, years.
Not an easy job…
But also, not impossible. There are several successful stories about adaptation. First comes to mind is 300. Based on Battle of ThermopylaeFrank Miller wrote an outstanding graphic novel enhancing the historical facts that happened there, and show them with impressive aesthetics. Then, director Zack Snyder took to cinema with huge success.
Other movie, related to this matter in another way, is Adaptation, a 2002 movie written by Charlie Kaufman; who narrates the intricate job of a scriptwriter taking a bestseller to the big screen.  Starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep  and Chris Cooper.
Then, there is the accomplishment of Chris Nolan, who brought Batman to the next level and recently, Matthew Vaughn with the prequel X-Men: First Class, a movie that I will write about next time.
So, now tell me: What adaptation from book, comic or graphic novel that has been taken to the movies it’s your favorite? Someone say The Godfather?

*Spanish Version: This post was translated from my blog Séptimo SentidoDel libro al cómic, del cómic al cine 


9 Jun

Movies become art. If they’re good… You must have heard something about this one.

Entitled because of the Moroccan city in which the story takes place, Casablanca is a drama of epical proportions. It has historical and political relevance, but, on the contrary to many other classic movies -such as Gone with the wind-, this one remains timeless. And that’s the value of it.

It may be black and white but the script seems so timeless that it can transport you to the troubled times of the WWII and even there, you will feel trapped by the love triangle and the intricate events around it.

The cast is perfect: Ingrid Bergman it’s both beautiful and a good actress and Humphrey Bogart it’s absolutely outstanding as Rick Blaine. His performance has become an early example of complex characters in movie history.

This is also one of the few movies which have conquered both critics and audience thanks to a combination of factors that makes it commercial and artistic: Cast, screenplay, music, direction and unbelievable chemistry among characters.

It also includes one of the most memorable songs on a motion picture soundtrack: As time goes by. But I assure you that is only after you listening to it on the context of this drama that you will learn -the hard way-, that…

A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. 
The fundamental things apply 
As time goes by.

And finally, it’s thanks to that excellent script that we have some of the most memorable lines in movies:

We’ll always have Paris! 

To sum up: You cannot say you are a movie fan if you haven’t watched Casablanca yet!

p.s. The trailer is cheesy and old-fashioned but the movie is not! 

Facts: It won 3 Oscars including Best Picture. USA, 1942. If you want to know more facts go to: IMDd Casablanca

buy blue ray on amazon


9 Jun