Carlos Review Round-Up

Here’s a quick sampling of my week’s watches. You can find more of my reviews at Always Watch Good Movies.


George Harrison: Living In The Material World (2011)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA

Scorsese’s documentary about George Harrison is a wonderful opportunity to know more about the ex-Beatles’ life. It thoroughly covers in a chronologically way, the different phases of his career as musician, his private life and the ceaseless search for a spiritual side in himself. That particular search made him experience the world of drugs and also led him to India. There, he learned to meditate and sought inspiration on the music of Ravi Shankar to proceed his solo career. In the final 70’s, he unexpectedly joined Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python group, having participated in “Life Of Brian” as an actor and executive producer. Beautiful photographs and video footage were placed on the screen, intercalated with interviews of his closest friends and family. Watching “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” made me look to the shyest Beatle with much more respect.



This is 40 (2012)

Directed by: Judd Apatow
Country: USA

Judd Apatow offers another agitated comedy with “This is 40”, a movie that tries to be cool but ends to be exhaustively tasteless. Ten percent of the jokes were well set, while the rest seemed forced and tactless. A more creative plot was needed to make me involved, instead of relying on a bunch of goofy jokes about sex, getting old, farting or hemorrhoids. The acting, often unnatural and full of hysteria, just bored me even more. We can still add to all these factors, an excess of language abuse – once in a while it can be funny, but throughout the whole movie it becomes tiresome and inappropriate. “This is 40” is simply a bad movie, lacking any type of smartness and denoting a great dose of childish talks and behaviors.



Jack Reacher (2012)

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Country: USA

Based on “One Shot”, the reputable novel by Lee Child, “Jack Reacher” brings Tom Cruise into the role of a former Army Military Police, whose name was implicated on the random killings of five people in Pittsburgh. Christopher McQuarrie, who got famous for writing “The Usual Suspects”, makes his second apparition as director, but disastrously nothing really stood out in “Jack Reacher”. The plot was impregnated with the usual formulas without bestow anything new. The predictable shootings, the long and tiresome car chasings and a limp ending, are reasons to ask: where have I seen this before?. I didn’t feel any empathy for the characters, with Werner Herzog (yes!, the German filmmaker) being the most interesting of the cast. “Jack Reacher” filled the screens with another instantly forgettable punisher.



Architecture 101 (2012)

Directed by: Lee Yong-Joo
Country: South Korea

“Architecture 101” is a Korean film that combines romance with architecture. A friendship between a girl and a boy ended 15 years ago in college, in harsh circumstances. Seung-Min, now an architect, was surprised by Seo-Yeon when she appears in his office asking him to build the house of her dreams. At the sound of cheesy tunes, the storyline moves back and forth in time, invoking nostalgic feelings and reviving the 90’s. Clearly targeting juvenile audiences, this romance wasn’t sufficiently refreshing or exceptional to get me involved. Architecturally speaking, I would say that some basic pillars are missing here: pace, surprise and a better soundtrack, which make this “house” unable to stand up. Despite the huge success in South Korea, “Architecture 101” definitely is not among the best romantic flicks of the last times.



Ace Attorney (2012)

Directed by: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan

After two magnificent incursions into the ancient world of Samurais (“13 Assassins”, “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai”), Takashi Miike adapts a popular Japanese videogame called “Ace Attorney” into film, where the players assume the role of a defense attorney in a fictional courtroom. The novice Phoenix Wright is our hero, always saved in the last moment by a brilliant idea or a little help from his friends. The investigation of a mysterious murder reopens another similar case occurred 15 years before, making the battles between attorneys to be ferocious and extremely amusing. The special attention given to characterization, costume designs and hairstyles, worked very well together with the remarkable futuristic scenarios and special effects. Exquisitely laughable, “Ace Attorney” reveals to be a mess… but with a distinct look and personality.


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David Brook

Nice to see an Apatow film get a pounding – I generally find his films quite overrated, never being natural enough to be moving or relatable and never being funny enough to be all that entertaining. Plus his films tend to be bloated, especially in the ‘extended versions’ that always crop up on DVD/Blu-Ray.

As for Ace Attorney, I’m intrigued – I enjoyed the first couple of games in the series and 13 Assassins was amazing, but the other of Miike’s kids films that I’ve seen was Yatterman and I hated that.

Sean Kelly

I saw Ace Attorney at a special screening a couple months ago and absolutely loved it (I’m also a huge fan of the games).

Carlos Freitas

Miike can be really weird! Some of his former movies didn’t have much to discuss. They were only based in freak behaviors. I think now he is more mature and versatile than a few years ago.