Posts

Showing posts from October, 2012

Cloud Atlas (♦♦♦♦)

Image
In the past, a young, aspiring musician gains a coveted position as the assistant of an aging composer; another young man of means embarks on a quest to foreign lands to assist his father-in-law in managing a estate whose labor force is slave; this young man’s life is saved by an escaped slave, thus changing both men perceptions of each other and slavery as a whole. In present day, a journalist stumbles upon a story--surrounding a nuclear plant-- that endangers her life and those of the people connected to it. In a distant future, a mass-produced woman leads a revolution to topple the status quo.

Karma, the connection of lives through the fabric of time is what Cloud Atlas is about. The stories are told in glorious detail; this movie is a feast for the eyes, a giant leap of imagination. Great makeup, costume designs, and astonishing visual effects are almost breathing elements in the story…The subplots are hard to follow, though; it’s difficult to summarize what the movie is about. A…

Argo (♦♦♦♦♦)

Image
Tony Mendez, a CIA operative expert in extractions, has a seemingly bad idea: to stage a fake sci-fi movie set in Iran with the purpose of providing a cover story to free six Americans hiding in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador during Iran’s hostage crisis in 1979-1980.

Argo is a wow movie the like of which I hadn’t seen this year. It’s co-produced, and splendidly acted and directed by Ben Affleck. Out of the myriad of movie directors out there, no one does climatic, full of tension movies as Affleck does. He proved it when directed the devastatingly gritty The Town and Gone Baby Gone, but in my opinion he has outdone himself with Argo.

The movie delivers funny lines such as “If I’m going to make a fake movie it’s going to be a fake hit”, but it is the edge-of-your-seat tension enhanced by a climatic musical score that make the audience feel close to a “benign” heart attack if that’s even possible, at least I felt that way.

Ben Affleck’s performance is one for the ages: subdue…

Looper (♦♦♦½)

Image
In the not so distant future, time travel has been invented. A man from the future travels to the past to order hits and settle scores; his paid assassins are called “loopers”, they kill their older selves. Enter Joe, a young man who is a looper and is secretly stashing bars of silver to make a life in France once he decides he’s had enough of that life.

Thirty years from Joe’s time, with time travel already invented, a man named Joe has recovered from a troubled past and lives peacefully in China with his beautiful, younger wife. Problem comes knocking when a criminal called The Rainmaker bursts into his house, killing Joe’s wife. Older Joe travels to the past with the purpose of killing The Rainmaker as a kid, only Joe doesn’t know that he has an appointment with his younger self who has been ordered to close his own loop, unbeknownst to him.

Looper has one of the most intriguing plots since Inception, though it is less pretentious. It is mind-bending and imaginative though at its c…

Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré (♦♦♦)

“Perry finally lifted his head.
   ‘How?’
   ‘How what?’
   'Save England how? From what? All right, from itself. What bit of itself?’
    Now it was Hector’s turn to reflect. ‘You’ll just have to take our word for it.’
   ‘Your Service’s word?’
   ‘For the time being, yes.’
   ‘On the strength of what? Aren’t you supposed to be the gentlemen who lie for the good of their country?’
   ‘That’s diplomats. We’re not gentlemen.’
   ‘So you lie to save your hides.’
   ‘That’s politicians. Different game entirely.’”

               Excerpt from Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré, Page 120

In the Caribbean island of Antigua, Perry and Gail, two British lovers on vacation, are approached by a flamboyant Russian named Dima, self-proclaimed “number one world’s money launderer”. As Perry and Gail get entangled with Dima and his entourage, Perry feels himself sympathizing with Dima to the point of agreeing to act as a middleman between him and England’s intelligence services to negotiate the Russian an…

The English Assassin by Daniel Silva (♦♦♦♦½)

Image
Gabriel Allon, former Israeli spy and assassin, is secretly commissioned by Swiss banker Augustus Rolfe to restore a Raphael’s in his possession, but when Gabriel arrives to the banker’s villa, he finds him dead. Expertly, Gabriel rushes out of the villa and tries to leave Zurich in the first train out; instead, he is captured by police and interrogated as the main suspect of Rolfe’s murder.

After endless negotiations between Bern and Tel Aviv, Gabriel is released with the condition to never re-enter Swiss soil. Gabriel is picked up by Ari Shamron, who tells Gabriel that the late Rolfe had approached Jewish sources and was willing to say something, only they don’t know what because of his untimely death. Gabriel swears to find out who killed Rolfe and why. Enter Anna Rolfe, the only surviving member of the Rolfe family, Augustus Rolfe’s estranged daughter. With Anna’s help, Gabriel learns that the apparent motive behind the killing is the theft of famous paintings that came into the …

Book: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay (♦♦♦♦♦)

Image
Ten year old Sarah Starzinski is taken along with her parents, and other thousand of Jewish families with children, in the middle of the night in the midst of the summer of 1942 and transported to the Vel’ d’Hiv, a velodrome in the heart of Paris. For days, they endure the most inhuman conditions then all of them are temporarily moved to concentration camps in the outskirts of Paris where parents and their children are separated and subsequently shipped in cattle wagons by train to Auschwitz and their deaths.

Sixty years later, investigative journalist Julia Jarmond is assigned to write a story of the roundup at Vel’ d’Hiv due to an upcoming commemoration. As Julia begins interviewing witnesses, she uncovers a link between the family she is married into and Sarah, a secret that has been kept for sixty years, and her life gives a 180 degrees turn.

As promised not long ago in this blog, I read Sarah’s Key. And after I finished all I said was, wow! Sarah’s Key is haunting, harrowing. Th…