Saturday, June 27, 2009

Facing Ali

There has been countless documentaries, movies and shows about Muhammad Ali but Facing Ali (Facing Ali review) gets probably the closest to experience him as the fierce fighter he was as, rather than going for the usual biography, it makes us face the champion through the eyes of 10 men who fought him in the ring. What's interesting is that, despite all the beating up and the wars of words -- and Mr. Ali was quite a big mouth -- they all respect him, even showing affection for their past nemesis. Not only does the documentary give us a unique insight about the champion but it also gives us a look at the lives of these men who got into the spotlight thanks to Mr. Ali. While they all got their 15mn of fame, their paths differ, some having fallen into oblivion or having been doomed while others found success. Despite their ups and downs, these fighters provide for a colorful gallery of portraits, the old lions having for the most part become charming and humorous characters who, while reinforcing the Ali myth, provide the flesh of this documentary.

Hot Rods to Hell

With a title like Hot Rods to Hell, you might expect a movie involving bad-ass Mad-max type drivers and menacing leather-clad bikers. What you instead get is a group of rich teenagers who, by contemporary standards, look as menacing as your average computer nerd. A great moment of corny nostalgia filled with overacting and laughable moralization, the film centers around a family getting bullied on desert roads by a group of teenagers driving hot rods. What were designed as thrills at the time now sound like jokes and the film is memorable for some great lines such as: a mom talking to her daughter "every woman on earth wants a man"; two teenage kids talking "you think all women are the same?" - "no they have different names". Hot Rods to Hell review

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Starting with a humor note, poking fun at both tourists - in the movie - and what the audience might expect, Birdwatchers (Birdwatchers review) is quite a singular film mixing social commentary, ethnological study, magic and irony. The film, which aims at sensitizing us to the rights of indigenous from Brazil who are trying to get some of their land back easily win us to their cause but fails when it comes to portrait the characters in this story, whether they're on the good or bad side. While the film makes these indigenous look stubborn, cold-hearted and their crusade somewhat aimless, its portrait of their nemesis isn't deep enough to make us believe he would be inclined to take extreme actions. In addition, the magic aspect of the story tends to undermine the purpose of the film, which is to get a serious reaction from us, when faced with so much injustice.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Transformers the revenge of the nerds

Just kidding, we don't cover commercials for toys. I just wanted to share that for the 2nd time in 3 years, I am revolted that the LA film festival not only shows a Transformers movie but also a Michael Bay film, a filmmaker who is at the total opposite of what cinema and film festivals are about.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Born Without

This documentary, which was screened as part of Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal and Diego Luna’s Ambulante festival, focuses on Jose Flores, a handicapped musician and actor who could be seen in Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult Holy Mountain. While the documentary obviously approaches its subject with a social angle, showing us how handicapped people are perceived - and treated - in Mexico, Mr. Flores' life is colorful enough to portrait him as a human being rather than basing this work on hisd his physical appearance. Unfortunately, and despite surprising late revelations, Born Without fails at providing us with enough matter to sustain our interest. The film remains somewhat flat, without real thematic approach, and is never able to transcend its anecdotic format. Born Without review