Star wars the force awakens review

Last Friday I finally got to see what I was waiting for since the first time I heard it was in production. I know the craze has been overwhelming. I was even discussing it it my cousin, who is also a big fan. But as he’s 5 years older he was wondering why the hype was that much. We trying to remember if it was was the same when the last 3 movies were released. And here comes the power of social media. However, hype or not (as you can see from the pic in my case it’s HYPE), the movie was absolutely all I was hoping for.

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The story is captivating though not new and as a stand alone movie, it is far from disappointing.

The new characters are interesting, different and at the same time familiar. I love that we get to meet one of the Stormtroopers and that he’s fun and neurotic. Rey, a scavenger from a desert planet who doesn’t know her parents (ahem, Luke anyone)  is a great strong female center character. Kylo Ren as the bad guy is a nice mixture between a troubled young man and a powerful Sith with anger issues. I also loved that we got to see him without his mask. Poe is the dashing Xwing Pilot from the resistance and the owner of the cute BB8 robot. There are more new secondary characters and Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie, C3P0 and R2D2 all return for the enjoyment of old and new fans.

I won’t share any spoilers, but I’d say the story is similar to A New Hope. It’s not a bad thing as for older fans its an awesome nostalgia experience and for newer fans its a great introduction to the Star Wars universe.

I left the cinema wanting to know more why things have turned bad again and I look forward to a second viewing, hopefully when Martin gets home on Thursday 🙂

May the Force be with you !

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Love and time: An Interstellar review

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I know that there have been many reviews of Christopher Nolan’s latest film and all of them have high praise for it. I was also impressed by the visual effects, the acting, the music but the best thing about Interstellar is that I haven’t felt something like that in a movie theater for a very long time – immersed and shaken at the same time. And four days after seeing it I’m still thinking about it, so I decided I’d better share my thoughts.

Interstellar is truly a sci-fi epic like no other. I’ve seen people are trying to compare it to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ but for me the movies are almost nothing alike,although they share some plot elements. Furthermore, I’ve always thought that Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel was aiming mostly to make art rather than to ponder the philosophical questions that occurred with the story. With Interstellar, Nolan made his most personal and emotional film to date about love and time (time being a recurring theme throughout all of the director’s movies). But it’s so much more than that too. I have no words to express the epic journey Nolan takes us on in the film, but needless to say, it’s tear-jerking and emotional throughout. The acting is first-class, especially McConaughey, who gives, in my opinion, his most emotional performance yet. The soundtrack from Hans Zimmer is, without a doubt, one of his best and most influential, helping drive the film’s bold and breath-taking vision (the church organ was stunning). The visual effects are easily the best of the year. Seeing a black hole created through visual effects in such a way, with pages theoretical equations provided by Kip Thorne (theoretical physicist, of whom’s work inspired the film’s genesis) was mesmerizing.  What you see in Interstellar is the most realistic depiction of a black hole, and even offered new insight to accretion discs surrounding the anomalies. But even everything else, from the alien planets to the Endurance, the visuals are astounding. And the center of the film is the touching story with a script that continually pours or oozes emotion, keeping the audience tethered to the film.

This is the sci-fi movie of the decade, and probably the best movie Nolan ever made. Simply go see it, without a second thought.

My fashion icons: Rose Byrne

From her role as Ellen Parsons in “Damages” to the big screen with “X-men: First class” and “Bridesmaids”, I believe the Australian actress has a lot of potential for becoming one of the “most wanted” in Hollywood. And seeing her fashion choices you can’t escape liking her. Her casual style ranges from sharp to rugged, her beautiful knee length dresses, funky skirts and fancy pants for more formal occasions and her red carpet attires are just flawless. I also love how her hair is the perfect accessory for her combos. And that jumpsuit from the SAG awards was divine.

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The Girl on fire strickes again

I’ve been a little short on movie-watching last year and I’m starting to catch up. First, it was The Hobbit and yesterday was time for another big sequel: The Hunger Games: Catching fire.

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The premise of a Survivor style deathmatch where regular people have to fight to the death is very interesting. There’s so much potential for suspense, action, drama, betrayal, etc. And I was not disappointed in The Hunger Games: Catching fire. Sure, they left out a few moments from the book, but the visuals were fantastic and the cast was great with both old and new blood, including Woody Harrelson as Katniss and Peeta’s mentor, Sam Claflin as the charming Finnick Odair and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the imaginative new games master. Donald Sutherland returns as the villainous President Snow, his soft spoken exterior concealing his brutal nature.The weakest part for me is the attempted love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. It pales in comparison to the wider struggle of the story and is perhaps wisely downplayed. However, I enjoyed the arena and the new tributes immensely.

All in all, a great entertaining sequel. Can’t wait for the Mockingjay!

40% Tolkien + 60% Jackson = The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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It was about time I went to see Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I won’t review the content of the movie in any detail, but I would like to share my thoughts about how this film should be approached. I’ve been a Tolkien fan since my teenage years and he’s works showed me the way to the fantasy genre for which I’d be eternaly grateful. So I expect that many fans like me will perceive this movie as a disfigured monster version of the written story. Still, I tried to see it as Jackson’s The Hobbit, not Tolkien’s. The two works represent different media, they come from different times, and have partly different target audiences. The children’s book was written before Tolkien had any idea of the majestic trilogy to follow and Jackson had already did his Lord of the Rings trilogy and I believe he tried to make the prequels resemble it, in tone and scope.

It’s more like Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy is “based on” the 1937 children’s book in the sense that the characters have the same names and visit the same places in somewhat the same order (though new characters and places are also added). Their basic motivations are also the same. But beyond that, there is hardly anything that isn’t greatly exagerated and elaborated, mostly so as to allow for a much darker tone and MUCH more fantasy action.

Entire new subplots are freely created and added to the story. The Elf Tauriel and her unlikely flirt with one of the Dwarfs is clearly meant to add a love story. The survival of ALL the protagonists despite their endless meetings with death doesn’t just strain credibilityy.

So, viewed as an independent work, it is a great movie.

The Mouse and The Nanny

Disney fan – check!

Mary Poppins fan – check!

Tom Hanks fan – check!

Emma Thompson fan – check!

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No wonder I really liked “Saving Mr. Banks”. Despite watching the trailer and knowing the story, the movie still managed to surprise me. It’s a beautiful, tender film that manages to be sad without being mawkish, funny without detracting from the emotion and with far greater depth than expected. It is a beautiful film, with the right doze of the hilarious, sad, touching and emotional, but is not overly teary or cheesy.

Tom Hanks’ performance is warm and truthful and as expected he is matched all the way by Emma Thompson. I also loved how the screenplay intertwines the story of the film rights with the account of Travers’ difficult childhood to unravel the reason for her trying persona and the background to her literary achievement. It is this feature of Saving Mr. Banks that surprises most and perfects the film.

Director John Lee Hancock reveals each side of P.L. Travers’ life very differently and her troubled history is shot in muted colours which  emphasize the bleak events that shaped the girl into the woman. I’m not big on Colin Farrell, but I loved his depiction of Travers Goff, the drunk father who lives in his own fantastic world to escape the harshness of the real world.

The casting of the other supporting actors is just great, with Annie Rose Buckley as the young writer, Ruth Wilson as her mother,  Paul Giamatti as Travers’ driver, Ralph, Bradley Whitford as screenwriter Don DaGradi and B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as the Sherman brothers.

This movie is so much more than ” the making of Mary Poppins”. It deals with difficult and important issues like alcoholism, loss, grief, imagination, inspiration and the importance of strong will –  we even get a brief glimpse of a smoking Walt Disney :). I will never see Mary Poppins in quite the same way. All of the acting is superior, the story is amazing and the score is excellent.

Mjolnir strikes again. It’s a Thor: The Dark World review

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I’d have to admit that I was more excited about the giant coke I’d get in the theater after my best friend’s birthday party, than about Chris Hemsworth’s abs. Not that I don’t like them, but I was sleep deprived and I like better the brooding and sarcastic Loki of Tom Hiddleston. Then I got a little annoyed after they played two different trailers of the Hunger games: Catching fire. I know how hot Jennifer Lawrence is and I’m a fan of the series too but please don’t do this again because I’ll probably strangle someone in the projection booth. Seeing the trailers is my favorite thing about going to the cinema and I’ve never spared my friends a scandal or two when they’re late for a movie and I miss the promos, so your employees got away this time. Just be careful in the future, ok 🙂

Now, about the movie. I don’t know if I need to explain that I’m a big comics fan and that my girl friends laugh at my enthusiasm about the new Spidey or Tony Stark’s super cool arc reactor. So I’m happy this one didn’t disappoint. Two hours of fun, great visuals, interesting story and the right doze of action was all I was hoping for. There were some glitches though. For example, I was waiting the whole time to see Lady Sif loose her wits and shish-kebap the annoying human girl that stole Thor from her. No, no, I don’t think Natalie Portman was exasperating, I just got the feeling the two wouldn’t be besties till the end of the movie. And Odin and Thor weren’t that grief stricken when the Queen was killed, but than again what do I know about fierce Nordic Gods’ customs.

All of that got trumped by the cool Dark elves riding a spaceship, the great views from Asgard, the small-black-hole grenades and the fact that this time the evil aliens didn’t choose New York for their invasion/destruction of Earth/universal domination plan’s starting point. Too bad they kind of destroyed one of my favorite places in London, but it’s a small price for seeing Marvel’s God of Thunder on the big screen for the 3rd time and spotting Stan Lee listening to a physics lecture in a mental hospital.

One Year of WordPressing

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Ok, so I’ll try not to make it sappy, but I feel like I had this premonition or something because I’ve started writing again a day before my One year anniversary here on WordPress. I had a totally different idea about my post but I can’t just let this pass me by.

Some of you may remember but I started not knowing what to write about, I had so many ideas, you see. And wrote this “hello world” post  along with my idea to commit to paper my views on cinema. But after a while I found that it doesn’t really matter. I could write about anything I like and there was no one here to judge me, just the opposite – people on “this Internet” are supportive and I’ve learned so many interesting and unconventional stuff.

Next stop was to give my not-that-good camera to my friend whenever I wanted to share my fashion ideas and then to overcome myself and start posting my so-called art. The more likes and comments I got, the more I was motivated.

I know I’ve stopped blogging for a while and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I was just putting all my energy in my career (not that successfully it appears). But I’m not one to be discouraged. And it’s strange how I feel a lot like one year ago – full of ideas and eager to share.

So now I can wish myself a new year with self-developing posts, new ideas and great friends.

And here are some wise words from grumpy cat:

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Three trilogies for my Christmas vacation

I’ve got an early Christams present – a new hard drive. I’m thinking of  filling it with favorite movies for the vacation. Almost 2 weeks and I plan to spend at least day in bed watching movies and eating Christmas dinner leftovers. And what will serve my purposes better than a great trilogy. Here is what what I came up:

1. Back to the future trilogy

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These great movies by Robert Zemeckis have always entertained me. Smart films with likable characters and an insightful screenplay that provide great fun that seems brand new even 25 years later.

2. The Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI)

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I could spend a whole blog and a lot of time explaining how much I love these movies and how much they mean to me. I’ll just say that the trilogy was the first Christmas present I remember receiving 🙂

3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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It was the book that hooked me up to fantasy. This amazing saga that, no matter how many times I read the books or watch the movies, I’m blown away by Tolkien’s vision and masterful storytelling. And with the release of “The Hobbit” I think it’s just mandatory to see the Lord of the Rings Trilogy one more time.

So, these are my absolute favorites. I’ll be happy if you share yours 🙂

Bulgaria: an emerging film location

As I was going to work yesterday, I saw big trucks and cameras in front of the zoo and as a big movie fan I wanted to know what’s going on. I asked around and still don’t know which is the movie they’re shooting but at least I got a nice idea for my next post. It appears that Bulgaria has become an intriguing destination for the filming industry with its low cost workers and diverse scenery. With its rich history it also offers a range of historical Thracian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine buildings and artifacts. The urban architecture is similar to many European cities like Vienna and Leningrad. In fact,  Sofia has even duplicated  Los Angeles in the 1930′s in The Black Dahlia. Other popular movie that were filmed in Bulgaria are:

The Expendables 2, Assassin’s BulletConan the Barbarian, The Way Back, The Fourth Kind,  Thick as Thieves, War, Inc., Hero Wanted, Hitman, Youth Without Youth, The Contract, HBO’s Rome and the not yet released Killing Season and 300: Rise of an Empire.

There are many big movie stars that have visited the country:

Robert De Niro, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Terry Crews, Donald Sutherland, Jason Momoa, Colin Farrell, Mark Strong, Ed Harris,Val Kilmer,Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas,Ray Liotta and many more.

You can check out all 559 titles here.