What makes the film industry different from any other industry? Its power to change people’s lives and shape generations. Every so often a movie comes out that defies the odds – and our preconceived notions – and becomes a cultural phenomenon that goes beyond the screen. This is the case of La Llamada (Holy Camp), which, after becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year in Spain, gets it international release today on Netflix. I’m going to make my point right away, la Llamada needs to become a global phenomenon that goes beyond borders, languages and cultures, as it captures the voice of a new generation of storytellers and moviegoers.
What is – or should be – the role of movies? To entertain and distract us from our mundane lives? To inspire us? To make a positive impact on society? Cinema, like art, is not science, and thus we may never be able to find a proper consensus on what its role should be. I personally believe that our social reality should be reflected in the entertainment we consume. Which is why, at the time of post-truth, fake news, media mistrust and general political crisis, both in the United States and Europe, The Post is the movie we needed all along.
Let me just start by saying that chances are Molly’s Game is going to be the most disappointing movie I’m going to watch this Awards Season and that based on the critics I’ve read online, I’m either wrong about it or the critics love Aaron Sorkin too much to realize it. I had been anticipating this release ever since I heard of a movie written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain, whom I believe is one of the greatest actresses of her generation, despite never having won an Oscar (although she deserved it for Zero Dark Thirty). It had all the ingredients: one of the best screenwriters in the world, Aaron Sorkin, was going to be able to direct his first feature based on the thrilling real-life story of Molly Bloom.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just announced that late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will be back to present the Oscars for the second year in a row. I truly love Jimmy Kimmel, I really do, but I feel forced to share my very unpopular opinion with the world: I think this is a huge mistake and I simply can’t understand this decision. These are my reasons (personal AND factual).
I am a firm believer that movies (especially American movies) portraying teenagers and high schools and these sorts of things are usually terribly wrong on so many levels: first of all, most of the actors are not even teenagers (Rachel McAdams was 26 when she played Regina George in Mean Girls), every high school looks the same and relies on the same stereotypes (maybe it’s my European point of view, who knows. Please, don’t take me wrong, I still love Mean Girls (the screenplay is simply brilliant) and I grew up obsessed with High School Musical, but the way these types of films depict high school is simply stereotypical and in a way it makes me feel that whomever wrote or directed them is out of touch with the youth and with the real topic of social anxiety among teenagers. Even movies such as The Duff, which criticizes the way teens who do not fit the mold are simply cast aside by popular teens, ends up being a stereotype blown out of proportions. The idea may be realistic but the “mise en scène” is plain wrong. Which is why The Edge of Seventeen is such an important movie and has simply moved me: it is the most relatable movie that I have ever seen, probably in my whole life.
Short films are the most underrated art form there is: people don’t usually watch them (let it be live action, animation or documentary) and when they are interested in a particular one, it can be extremely difficult to find it on the Internet. As a matter of fact, since I’ve been a film student, the only people I’ve met who are interested in shorts are scholars, cinephiles and students, and even they are turning their backs on this format and try to make feature films in college (as undergraduates, can you believe it??!!). Why is that? I believe it is because short films never get the attention and appreciation they deserve, people don’t want to pay to watch them and it is very unlikely to recover the investment made to produce it. They are seen as a “lesser” production, as something reserved for festivals, but not for the mainstream public. It is like something that students made to learn their craft while hoping to eventually make movies, “real” movies. Well, I disagree: short films are made with extreme precision and craft to make you understand a story, empathize with the characters and, most importantly, make you feel something, in just a few minutes, with a limited number of scenes, characters and means. It’s all about getting to the point in a simple yet complex way, telling a story in the best way possible, without the fare and unnecessary decoration. I’m not saying in any way that making a feature film is easy, not at all, but a longer format gives storytellers more time and more scenes to make you feel everything a short film does in just a few minutes. Timecode, the winner of the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film and Oscar nominee, is the perfect example.
If the predictions are correct and La La Land wins Best Picture Oscar tomorrow, Damien Chazelle’s movie will be the 11th musical in Academy Awards history to take home the highest honor of the year. With this in mind, here are the 10 musicals that have won the Best Picture Oscar.
2016 has been a year of exceptionally great films from a wide rage of genres and origins, with completely different plots, characters and actors, in a year when diversity has been acknowledged by Academy voters. Now that the voting deadline has been reached the fate of the nine Best Picture nominees is in the hands of the accountants, and although La La Land is expected to win Best Picture by a landslide (or should I say a La La Landslide? Sorry for the pun), most of the films nominated could taken the award home any other year. So, let’s look at the 2017 nominees’ figures, from budget to Academy Award nominations, box office results and ratings.
Kenneth Lonergan’s return to the big screen as both writer and director after a hiatus of five years has come in the form of this independent realistic film called Manchester by the Sea. Reminiscent of his previous works revolving around family drama and complex characters (themes also present in his directorial debut You Can Count On Me), Manchester by the Sea tells the story of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a janitor who leads a meaningless life, who has to go back to his seaside hometown when his brother Joe dies of a heart disease, making him the legal tutor of his teenage son Patrick.
Después de muchas horas de deliberación sobre si escribir o no una entrada sobre los Premios Goya 2017 (dada mi conocida aprensión hacia el cine español), parecía ridículo hablar de todas las galas del circuito de premios (“awards season”) de este año y dejar de lado la gala que celebra el cine del país en el que me ha tocado nacer. Ahora bien, ¿cómo hacer un artículo que no repita lo que ya se ha dicho durante años en medios mucho mejores que el mío, si se puede considerar mi pequeño blog un medio? Y sobretodo, ¿cómo hacer un artículo que no sea únicamente una crítica destructiva de 800 palabras, que podéis encontrar ya en forma de tweets de 140 caracteres en mi cuenta de Twitter? El éxito de Un monstruo viene a verme (nueve premios Goya) me ha llevado a rescatar de mi memoria una reflexión que lleva des de la gala de los Premis Gaudí dando vueltas en mi cabeza: ¿hasta qué punto son las películas como la de J.A Bayona cine español? ¿Podemos considerarlas cine español? ¿En qué medida?