The American

I watched “The American” yesterday.  It’s a rather slow developing drama of an aging assassin, who starts to get lonely, questions his life choices, and wants to quit his trade.  And as in so many other stories, that’s not so easy to do.  And as with so many other stories, women are usually involved.

It’s a nice story.  Not a bad movie.  Some solid acting.  And lots and lots of silence, which makes sense.  It is somewhat slow, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Yet, it is that kind of movie which is difficult to recommend.  Because people usually expect so many different things from an assassin drama.  And I’m not sure this will satisfy many.  It did satisfy me though.

Two things in particular that I liked were the use of Italian language and scenery.  Multi-lingual films are a challenge.  If there are two many languages or too much of two languages, subtitles are needed, and they usually annoy the audience.  Shooting a movie in English, when clearly other languages are involved often seems naive and childish.  So the choices are hard and making a movie with two or more languages involved is not that easy.  This film succeeded though.  It managed to bring the feeling of Italy, the atmosphere, and the language without using too much of it.  Subtitles are helpful, but not required – most of what is said in Italian are short phrases, the smalltalk.   Yet, combined with the scenery of small Italian towns that brings a very realistic feeling.  The place is unmistakable.

Overall, a 4 out of 5.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

I got my hands on “The Men Who Stare at Goats” movie.  I saw the trailer a few times in the cinema and was waiting for it to start, but either I missed it altogether or the scheduling was changed.  Anyway, watched this one in the comfort of my own home.  To be honest, this is not being a major visual effects movie or a new 3D silliness, I think I didn’t lose much by missing the big screen.

In short – I really enjoyed this film.  It is original, weird, funny, and smart.  The casting is awesome and all these people have a place to act and a role to play – outstanding performances from all of them, including the goat.

If you are not sure whether you should see this film or not – think Coen brothers.  Even though they have nothing to do with this film (as far as I know), it feels like something that they would have done.   If you enjoyed any of their work – this film is definitely for you.  It has the same weird story, irony, and a thin line between a joke and truth.   Beautiful work and very engaging.  It’s one of those films where you are so busy watching it that you don’t have the time to think and predict how it will end and where the story is taking you.  It’s a roller-coaster – enjoy it while it runs.

Rating this movie doesn’t feel right, because it doesn’t compare much to anything else and stands on its own, like a piece of art that it is.  But I’ll give it a 5 out of 5, even though there were bits that I’d love to see changed.  Well deserved.  We need more movies that can take audience by surprise and engage them through the whole film and not just the first 3 minutes.

Burn After Reading

I went to see “Burn After Reading” a couple of weeks ago.  I had a feeling that it should be rather good, because it was directed by Cohen brothers, who directed, produced, and wrote screenplays for quite a few good movies (“No Country for Old Men”, “O Brother, Where Art Though?”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Fargo”, “The Hudsucker Proxy”, and more).  Also, the cast for this film was interesting – George Clooney, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, and a few other names you know.  And, of course, there was a cool trailer.

The film was excellent, but it wasn’t quite what I expected.  I thought (based on the trailer) it would some sort of comedy action, with a bit of crime.  And it sort of was.  But.  I don’t even know how describe it.  It was funny but very sad film.  Or a very sad film, which was funny.  I guess that just doesn’t make any sense, but that what it was.

Overall, I really enjoyed it.  Especially with all the good acting, interesting story telling, camera work, and even more good acting.  An 8 out of 10 and strongly recommended.



I rented “Syriana” when I saw George Clooney and Matt Damon on the cover. Not that they are a guarantee of a good film, but they are a pretty good sign of one.  And indeed they both did a nice job in this film, however it wasn’t enough for me.

This time though, my criticism (critinism?) is not of the film itself, but of that particular DVD that I rented.  It didn’t have English sub-titles (although I don’t know if it didn’t have them originally, or if this DVD was a pirated copy).  Half of the movie takes place in Middle East and there is a lot of non-English talk happening.   I couldn’t make much sense out of it, except for the general dramatic mood and some people over there not being very happy with some people over here and vice versa.

Other than that, the film looked to be very nice – it has a certain mood, there is some good photography, and there is also a lot of human appreciation, which is something I like seeing in the movies.  That is when people appreciate other people for just being people.  There aren’t enough films out there promoting appreciation.  It was nice to see this one did.

I’d rate it as a 6 out of 10, with reserving a lot of space on either end of this rating due to not understanding half of what was said.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

Watched “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” with Olga on DVD. Both she and I really enjoyed the first two movies, and both she and I didn’t like this one. Let me explain a bit…

First of all, the expectations. Both the first and the second parts were entertaining, active and in general fantastic. So our expectations were a bit boosted up. Especially mine. And it is always a pity when a movie doesn’t live up to expectations.

Misuse of the resources. This film is full of stars. First and totally undoubtful is the directory himself –
Robert Rodriguez. He proved many times that he knows a lot about how movies should be done, and that he can do movies the right way. Here something went wrong. It felt very empty, lifeless, boring and commercial. Cast for this film has such a long list of well known names that I cannot even remember another movie like this. Among the ones who don’t need no introduction: Antonio Banderas, Sylvester Stallone, Mike Judge, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, and others. I mean there are probably more people you can name without IMDB than in any other movie. And they all have nothing to do there.

The story sucked. It was so pure and transparent that it was very boring. I bet that even kids were falling asleep while watching it. All coolness was gone. Noone was cool anymore. Superheros running towards their grandpa in case of any minor danger. No gadgets. No spy talk. Nothing.

There were plenty of annimation. Actually the whole film is one huge animation with real people in it (supposedly inside a video game). But even this was boring. It wasn’t anything like a computer game. Take for example a scene where they are racing some strange vehicles at magnificent speeds – no thrill and no turns. They drive in a straight line. In which video game was that? :)

Anyway, I have a bunch of complains about this film. I expected it to be in line with the previous two, but it was way off. I will write it off as something Rodriguez wanted to do for his own reasons and I will forget about this film. I’ll rate as 4 out of 10. Save you money and spend them on something else. Watch this on TV when it’ll come… it will help you fall asleep. With your kids.