Sunday, August 11, 2013

Elysuim 2013

"At what will you go to get to Elysium"

In the year 2154, The very wealthy lives on a space station, while the rest of the population remains on a ruined earth, a man takes a mission that could bring equality polarized worlds.


Elysium is one of those movies that comes along every so often that gets people talking weather good or bad, regardless they are talking because of the social commentary thats on display here. where the rich live on a man made station that can be seen from earth, while the reason of the human race lives in a almost destroyed earth but still working for those same rich people who have ascended so to speak.

Max(Matt Damon) is a ex con, who lives in mexico and threw a series of flashback find out that he was raised in an orphanage in Los Angeles which has become more Latino over the years, In 2154 he is a lowly paid worker for a company that could careless about him as long as their labor demands are met in large because of the company owner John Carlyle(William Fichtner) who only comes down to earth from Elysium to over see his company.

One day while Max is on his way to work, he is beating by two droid police officers and gets his arm broken which forces him to go to the hospital where he runs into an old friend Frey(Alice Braga) who is a nurse, there is a history between them but she tells Max that her life is complicated.

Max gets to work late and is met by his Supervisor who sees his arm broken that he can work but he'll lose a half days pay because of it, which Max has no problem with, later doing the day while Max is exposed to an high amount of radiation which should've killed him right there but he is told that he only has five days to live and sent on his way with some pills that will keep him living for those five days.

Max somehow makes his way home but passes out in the street where his friend Julio (Diego Luna) who takes him to see Spider (Wagner Moura) who is a smuggler, that everyone goes to when they get enough money to buy a ticket to Elysium, which every mission is stopped by Elysium's Secretary of Defense Delacourt(Jodie Foster) who at any cost wants to protect Elysium from any outsiders and she uses a sociopath South African Mercenary named Kruger(Sharlto Copley) to kill anybody on earth that tries to breach Elysium without her say so.

Max tells Spider that he wants to go to Elysium and that he will do anything to do so, whatever it takes, In which Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he does one small thing for him, he has to hijack a rich person and get information that will lead them onto Elysium with no problem, Max agrees and chooses his former Employer John Carlyle who is already in turn working with Delacourt in trying to take over Elysium for her own gain to become President.

Since Max isn't able to fully function thanks to his failing health, Spider uses Max as a test dummy for an outdated exoskeleton suit that well make him twice as strong so that he can complete his mission, which goes completely wrong In which Julio and Carlyle are both killed thanks to Kruger and his team showing up but all is not loss as Max gets the information that he needs to get to Elysium.

Elysium is one of those rare movies that gives a outlook and possible future to our own with the class issues, health care issues, Top 1% who feel that they deserve all the best thing and the rest of the world should just be left to fend for themselves. I enjoyed the movie in large part because it felt like a real story that everybody can relate too weather you agree with the message in the movie or not you still relate to one side or the other.

Matt Damon does a fine job as Max you will feel for his journey of a better life and will do anything that he can to achieve that goal and wants to help everyone get a fair shake at things, Damon gives the character a good balance since he is a very good actor and pulls off being a Latino good also.

Jodie Foster here wasn't the greatest but wasn't the worse either, she does what is necessary with the role and plays a cold hearted bitch really well, some of her character motives later in the movie kinda question some of her earlier actions but maybe on repeat viewings my thoughts on that will become more clear.

The real star in my opinion of this movie is Sharlto Copley as the crazy half man/machine Kruger who reminds me of Gary Oldman playing a bad guy that you enjoy to watch even though you know what he is doing is wrong, Copley welds a sword has some crazy body armor and even comes back from the dead after a grenade blows off his face and is even more so crazier then before.

Neill Blompkamp after District 9 and now Elysium  has some what become this era's Paul Verhoeven with his social commentary on how things are going today in the world and where we might end up if we continue down the road we're going.

The visuals are top notch, if your a fan of District 9 then there should be no reason not to like this film, If you haven't seen District 9 see that after seeing Elysium or even before.

All in All Elysium isn't a perfect film by any stretch, and it really doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with Elysium "Liberal agenda" its still an entertaining movie with some great visuals, solid acting for the most part, and a cool badass villian so go and check it and judge it for yourself, don't listen to what anybody have to say(including myself) on the matter.

Matt Damon- Max
Jodie Foster-Delacourt
Sharlto Copley-Kruger
Alice Braga- Frey
Diego Luna-Julio
Wagner Moura-Spider
William Fichtner-Carlyle
Faran Tahir- President Patel

Friday, July 19, 2013

Only God Forgives (2013)

"Time To Meet The Devil"


Julian, a drug smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.


Only God Forgives is director's Nicolas Winding Refn follow up to 2011's sleeper hit Drive also starring Ryan Gosling, Refn takes us once again into the underworld but instead of L.A. we're taken half way around the world to Bangkok were things are done a lot different then they are done in the states when it comes to criminal underworld.

Ryan Gosling stars as another stoic character Julian who doesn't have to much to say but lets his facial expressions or lack there of do most of the talking for him, when we first meet Julian he is running boxing fights with his older brother Billy(Tom Burke) who seems to be more in control of operations while Julian is just there to support him.

After a boxing match Billy decides to go out on the town alone looking for a woman or in his case a young girl to have sex after being turned down by a sex trader who won't offer up his young daughter to Billy, he finds himself wondering the streets and comes across a few young girls sitting on the streets, he takes a liking to one of the girls.

The police gets called to the building where Billy is and when they go into a room, they find the young girl dead on the floor and Billy who appears to be covered in blood sitting on the side of the bed, Chang(Vithaya Pansingarm) walks in a looks around, he calls for the owner of the building to enter the room, after an exchange with the man, we find out that the young girl is his daughter and Chang tells the man to do whatever he wants as he and the other police leave.

The man kills Billy and int return is taking by Chang and the other police out to a remote location and Chang cuts off the man right hand telling him "This isn't about your dead daughter, but about your 3 remaining daughters" Julian gets word about what's happen to his brother and goes to find the man who killed him and as he is about to kill him, when he finds out that Chang is the one who ordered the man to kill Billy, which complicates things since Chang is a cop.

As word gets to Julian and Billy's mother Crystal(Kristin Scott Thomas) she comes to town at first happy to see her one remaining son, but quickly becomes upset with him as Julian tells her that he did not kill the man who killed Billy "It's more complicated then that" Crystal decides to have Chang killed herself, but things do not go according to plan.

Only God Forgives is one of those type of movies that come along every so often that leaves you with more questions then answers some times that's a good thing and sometimes it's  bad, but Only God Forgives seems to be both for me, one on hand the set designs, camera work, soundtrack, Kristin Scott Thomas are all great, but the pacing, lack of real story, Stoic Ryan Gosling, no real likable characters, Winding Refn's carelessness of character development help bring it down.

Only God Forgives is not a movie for mainstream audiences which in most cases is a good thing but even as a arthouse movie fan or general movie fan this movie really makes one think about just how much of a movie fan they are because its a very pretentious movie with awkward pauses and overdone Ryan Gosling staring either at other characters or his hands threw out the movie.

I don't want to be to critical of the film because for every con there is a pro and vise versa, Kristin Scott Thomas steals the movie as the evil mother who seems to be the reason Julian and even Billy were the way they were when Crystal puts Julian down in front of his girlfriend at dinner lets the viewer in to just what kind of relationship she had with her sons, now for me it's almost implied that Crystal had more then just mother/son relationship with her boys with how she touches Julian and how she speaks about Billy being bigger then Julian. I have no problem with these topics(even though some might) but if Refn would've explored this more then maybe I would've felt more for Julian.

The themes that Refn does explore are more philosophical and religious hence the title, the character of Chang almost seems other worldly with how he seems to almost appear and in one scene disappear into thin air, I read that Refn said that Chang might be the reincarnation of the character One Eye from his previous film Valhalla Rising(which I haven't seen yet, but I will) and on set he would whisper to Vithaya Pansringarm that he is god, In most of his scenes you can see that connection but to a normal movie goer these type of things will fly right over their heads.

Probably one of the better scenes in the movie is the fight scene between Julian and Chang, if there was a better build up to it then it really would've been something to talk about but most of the cons in the movie take away from the pros this scene almost will be forgotten, btw its not really a fight more like a beatdown, I won't say who exactly won you'll have to see the movie for that.

Nicholas Winding Refn is one of the better directors out today but I hope that he will reign in some of his pretentious ways of filmmaking because I don't know if I'll keep sitting threw more of his films that are like this. If your a fan of the over stylized, pretentious, methodical paced films then this is the film for you, I'm really on the fence with this film but I can say I will not be seeing this movie again anytime soon.  


Only God Forgives was one of my most anticipated films of 2013 after seeing trailers for it and because I am an Nicholas Windinf Refn, Ryan Gosling fans and really wanted to see Kristin Scott Thomas turn here which I feel after watching is worthy of at least an award nomination I was somewhat let down with what the movie turned out to be, its not a terrible movie but its not a good movie.


Ryan Gosling- Julian

Kristin Scott Thomas- Crystal

Vithaya Pansringarm- Chang

Tom Burke- Billy

Gordon Brown- Gordon

Yayaying Rhatta Phongam- Mai