Even the Rain (2010)

Directed By – Icíar Bollaín

Screenplay By – Paul Laverty

Cinematography By – Alex Catalán

Starring Luis Tosar, Gael García Bernal, Juan Carlos Aduviri & Karra Elejalde

103 min.

Wow. Even the Rain (También la Lluvia) is an excellent film. Even the Rain is about a film cast and crew going into Cochabamba, Bolivia to shoot a movie about Christopher Columbus’s landing on the new world and what the cast and crew finds in Bolivia is scarily paralleled to the story of Columbus’s treatment of the natives. It is strictly a narrative but at times it feels realer than any documentary I’ve seen.

But what really gets me is when they show scenes from the movie they are shooting (the movie within the movie). The scenes are remarkable, not only are they showing the Bolivian parallel but they are fascinating depictions of Christopher Columbus and his crew. They show just enough of the scenes for you to get a sense of their movie and really want to see it in its entirety. The style is also completely different during these scenes and the change of style instantly engrosses you into the Columbus scenes.

Even the Rain has a large ensemble cast but the acting from top to bottom is spectacular. The cinematography is wonderful showing the beauty of the Bolivian nature and the poverty stricken world of the Bolivian citizens. This is an inspired film.

God Bless America

Amores Perros (2000)

Directed By – Alejandro González Iñárritu

Screenplay By – Guillermo Arriaga Jordán

Cinematography By – Rodrigo Prieto

Starring Gael García Bernal, Emilio Echevarría, Álvaro Guerrero & Goya Toledo

154 min.

Amores Perros is a very interesting movie on several levels. The basic idea is that there are three main stories with a connecting theme of “Love’s a bitch” but they also connect in proximity and with an entangling car accident. But when all is said and done I think the first story “Octavio y Susana” is really where the heart and soul of this movie is. It got my adrenaline running and got it running fast. However, because this story is the first hour of the movie I was left in the remaining hour and a half feeling unsatisfied.

While the acting, directing, cinematography is all good in the next two stories, and while a common thread is in all of them, the last two stories just didn’t do it for me. Compared to the excitement of vicious dog fighting and an intense love triangle consisting of two brothers, a crippled model who loses her dog and a hobo assassin who misses his daughter just wasn’t as exciting for me. And I don’t think they were ever going to be.

But it felt like this movie blew its load in the first hour and couldn’t get it back up. Think about it this way, this movie is set up very much like Pulp Fiction yet every word, every scene, every action of Pulp Fiction is entertaining. Pulp Fiction is pure entertainment. Amores Perros gives you a lot to chew on but it doesn’t have that consistent level that a masterpiece like Pulp Fiction has. Amores Perros is definitely a good movie and definitely engrossing, but after the first story the second two stories just seem lukewarm.

God Bless America

Rosewater (2014)

Directed By – Jon Stewart

Screenplay By – Jon Stewart

Based on the Book by – Maziar Bahari & Aimee Molloy

Cinematography By – Bobby Bukowski

Starring Gael García Bernal, Kim Bodnia & Shohreh Aghdashloo

103 min.

Given how insightful Jon Stewart is on The Daily Show, I was expecting something more than the usual American made Middle-East movie from the first time director.  However, my optimism appears to have been misplaced as even someone as smart as Stewart clearly had a hard time in his directorial debut.

Rosewater isn’t as much of a poor showing of directing as it is a poor choice in story. The true story of the solitary confinement of reporter Maziar Bahari is interesting in terms of it’s relation to Stewart and The Daily Show, but the movie comes off as Stewart’s one-note apology to Bahari for getting him into the situation through Bahari’s cooperation during a Daily Show interview. Rosewater isn’t even that long of a movie but comes in forty minutes too long. It’s not a bad movie per se, but it doesn’t add anything to the conversation of the Middle East, it merely reinforces our notions of the corruption that plagues Middle East governments.

Rosewater is interesting for two reasons. One, how a man gets taken prisoner for being interviewed by The Daily Show. Two, because the man who runs The Daily Show decided to turn that story into a movie. Otherwise we have seen this take on the Middle East countless of times.

Stewart shows promise and I think he is a brilliant man who deserves to make movies if he wants, but hopefully next time he chooses a more interesting story with more things to say.

God Bless America