Like Water for Chocolate (1992)

Directed By – Alfonso Arau

Screenplay By – Laura Esquivel

Cinematography By – Steven Bernstein & Emmanuel Lubezki

Starring Lumi Cavazos, Regina Torné & Marco Leonardi

105 min.

I really liked this romantic period piece about a family in early 20th Century Mexico. It not only has a great set-up, an overbearing Matriarch runs a farm with her three daughters, but there’s this element of magic that pervades the entire movie that adds a layer to this tale that other movies like this don’t have. In Like Water for Chocolate magic finds itself in the form of the food the protagonist Tita makes and this is not only a truly unique way to describe the power of food but this mystical element also adds to the idea that love is magical.

I found the acting in this movie, mainly by Lumi Cavazos who plays Tita and Regina Torné who plays Tita’s mother, Mamá Elena, to be superb. And the idea that they play their roles so straight and realistic even though there is that element of magic makes this movie all the more impactful.

This movie is a love story, but it’s not just the love between a female and a male but the love of a family, the love between sisters, and the love (or absence of love) from a mother.

It’s about love but it’s also about cooking and family traditions that have long been antiquated. The pacing keeps you interested throughout and the relationships on display grow and change as the characters lives move forward through time. Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate) was surprisingly good.

God Bless America

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Sólo con tu pareja (1991)

Directed By – Alfonso Cuarón

Screenplay By – Alfonso Cuarón & Carlos Cuarón

Cinematography By – Emmanuel Lubezki

Starring Daniel Giménez Cacho & Claudia Ramírez

94 min.

As Cuarón’s feature debut I was definitely interested in watching Sólo con tu pareja. Knowing what I know of his later work I surprised at how heavy handed the comedy was in this movie. This movie felt very much like an innovative Spanish soap opera. I didn’t like it all that much and if it wasn’t a Cuarón film I would probably say it wasn’t very good, although there’s got to be something to it that I’m not seeing or it’s just doesn’t withstand the test of time the way a movie like Children of Men does. Either way I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone other than someone very interested in watching an early Cuarón.

God Bless America

Birdman (2014)

Directed By – Alejandro González Iñárritu

Screenplay By – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris & Armando Bo

Cinematography By – Emmanuel Lubezki

Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough & Edward Norton

119 min.

Wow. Birdman. It’s hard to describe Birman. It’s hard to really explain how I feel/what I think of this movie. It was strange and weird and good and bizarre and interesting and original and creative and brilliant and disorienting and so much more.

Iñárritu must be a fucking madman pulling off what he does in Birman. It really feels like a continuous shot throughout, even knowing there is trick editing going on, but he pulls it off. I was actually surprised by how that style made me feel. It was more of a claustrophobic effect than I would have imagined but it worked with the material and tone of the piece.

The acting is superb from the entire cast. Keaton is able to take this movie to the next level but everyone in the cast helps him shine. If Keaton doesn’t get an Oscar nom there will be hell to pay.

Birdman is funny, dramatic, thought-provoking, shocking, intriguing, and again so so much more.

God Bless America