MACBETH (Justin Kurzel, 2015)

092e3bd0-5dcb-42fe-89ca-132747e77f03SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Macbeth:

1. The opening scene with the dead Macbaby perfectly set the somber tone of this adaptation. I could barely remember reading the source (maybe I even just read the Cliff’s Notes version) but I didn’t recall an actual baby in the play. I even thought that Lady Macbeth went mad from her frustration of not having (not loss of) a baby and all the references on sucking milk were just imaginary.

(Side note: This reminded me of a local actress who also experienced the same kind of depression and apparently took care of a doll while on the set. Sadness.)

Now that I have a lot of time to read, I really need to catch up on these classics.

2. There were only a few of us in the theater and some understandably walked out halfway through. The movie was a test of patience with its leisurely pacing, extra slow motion battle sequences, Old English dialogue, and constant monologues. But then again, anybody watching a Shakespeare adaptation should have been prepared for that. (Good news: there were English subtitles so I didn’t get an epistaxis trying to figure out what the characters were saying, e.g. “Bid me not speak, see, speak yourselves” for “Kayo na ang sumight sa bangkay”).

3. I loved the visuals in the movie, especially the final battle scene with the red and orange hues. I would have to admit that I snickered a bit though when Michael Fassbender’s eyeshadow and mascara got smudged from the constant crying (and also in the scene where Macduff called his kids “all my pretty chickens”).

4. Speaking of Fassy, he was fine as the said “Warrior King” but was still no match for Marion Cotillard’s deranged performance. As the scheming Lady Macbeth, you could actually see her devilish smile even in the dark after her husband said that he had done the murderous deed. Her delivery of the line “A little water clears us of this deed” was just chilling that when she showed human emotions during the latter part of the movie (“Out, damned spot!”), one couldn’t help but doubt if they were crocodile tears.

5. I stand by my belief that Lady Macbeth was somewhat misunderstood. Was she really innately evil or just a completely supportive wife? Did the lack of a child diminish her maternal instincts or made her more selfless and loving? Why do strong and ambitious women always end up getting a bad rap? I digress.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 26, 2016.)

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THE IMMIGRANT (James Gray, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Immigrant:

1. Marion Cotillard’s performance in La Vie en Rose is still my most favorite Oscar-winning acting piece ever. And that’s coming from the biggest Kate Winslet fan. She just makes these things look easy.

2. Cotillard elevated this run-of-the-mill melodrama with her sympathetic turn as the destitute turned prostitute Ewa Cybulski. Sometimes though, all the movie needed was a voiceover from dear Ate Charo.

3. One of my favorite scenes here was when she didn’t know how to eat a banana and just chomped on one, peel and all.

4. This was set in the early 1920’s and yet the same immigration problems still exist. I don’t think I’d ever resort to prostitution if I were denied entry in the US but the thought of not seeing Emma Stone perform in the last few shows of Cabaret might make me reconsider.

5. Here’s a tip I learned from the film: prick your finger and dab some blood on your lips, then slap your cheeks three times on each side. The finished product will either make you look like a gorgeous Oscar winner or a bloodied version of your ugly self.

6. If you were a desperate whore, would you choose your ruthless pimp or a romantic magician? They had weird love stories in the olden times.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 6, 2015.)

ASSASSIN’S CREED (Justin Kurzel, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Assassin’s Creed:

1. My least favorite part of playing video games would be the cutscenes, the animated clips usually shown between chapters to fill in the story gaps or propel the plot forward. I didn’t like them much because they defeated the purpose of playing: the full interactivity and complete control of the game. I could never relive the horror of helplessly watching Aeris getting stabbed by Sephiroth.

This movie was just as frustrating because all throughout I just wanted to grab a controller and make Michael Fassbender run as far away from this mess as possible. (Who was I kidding? I also wanted him to take off his garb and flash his Fassy.)

2. The movie started with an opening crawl that involved the Order of the Knights of the Templar, the urgent retrieval of the Apple of Eden, and an eagle that seemingly flew for thirty years and my head started to ache. Unfortunately, there was no X button that would allow me to skip to the good parts.

3. If there were an actual Animus, it could be an awesome ride in Disneyland. I mean it looked really fun when people started invading the mind of John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich and this felt like it would be the same experience. Only John Malkovich would be replaced by the 500 year-old memory of a dead person. Ooh, creepy with a touch of sinful! Count me in.

4. I liked the videogame feel especially during the Animus transition scenes. I just wished that the action scenes were more exciting because the swooping cameras alone certainly didn’t do the trick (even the rooftop scene towards the end was so incoherent and felt endless).

5. I was completely baffled by how they were able to wrangle such a talented cast that included Fassy, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Charlotte Rampling. The sales of this game must have been really lucrative.

In one scene, Fassy even sang like a madman (I didn’t just imagine that, right?) and he probably did that for a handsome paycheck.

6. “Violence is a disease like cancer.” How timely! Seriously though, it was interesting to hear the link between heredity and crime that proved that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

And speaking of apple, what was the need for that genetic code that contained free will that could completely eradicate violence? And why the hell did Fassy keep free falling from buildings?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

 

MACBETH (Justin Kurzel, 2015)

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My notes on Macbeth:

1. The opening scene with the dead Macbaby perfectly set the somber tone of this adaptation. I can barely remember reading the source (maybe I even just read the Cliff’s Notes version) but I don’t recall an actual baby in the play. I even thought that Lady Macbeth went mad from her frustration of not having (not loss of) a baby and all the references on sucking milk were just imaginary (side note: I suddenly remembered a local actress that also experienced the same thing and she apparently took care of a doll while on the set. Sadness.)

Now that I have a lot of time to read, I need to catch up on these classics.

2. There were only a few of us in the theater and some understandably walked out halfway through. The movie was a test of patience with its leisurely pacing, extra slow motion battle sequences, Old English dialogue, and constant monologues. But then again, anybody watching a Shakespeare adaptation should have been prepared for that. (Good news: there were English subtitles so I didn’t get an epistaxis trying to figure out what the characters were saying, e.g. “Bid me not speak, see, speak yourselves” for “Kayo na ang sumight sa bangkay”).

3. I loved the visuals in the movie, especially the final battle scene with the red and orange hues. I would have to admit that I snickered a bit though when Michael Fassbender’s eyeshadow and mascara got smudged from the constant crying (and also in the scene where Macduff called his kids “all my pretty chickens”).

4. Speaking of Fassy, he was fine as the said “Warrior King” but was still no match for Marion Cotillard’s deranged performance. As the scheming Lady Macbeth, you could actually see her devilish smile even in the dark after her husband said that he had done the murderous deed. Her delivery of the line “A little water clears us of this deed” was just chilling that when she showed human emotions during the latter part of the movie (“Out, damned spot!”), one couldn’t help but doubt if they were crocodile tears.

5. I stand by my belief that Lady Macbeth was somewhat misunderstood. Was she really innately evil or just a completely supportive wife? Did the lack of a child diminish her maternal instincts or made her more selfless and loving? Why do strong and ambitious women always end up getting a bad rap? I digress.

Rating: ★★★☆☆