Archives For Reviews

El Vuelvo del Cangrejo (2009) – aka. Crab Trap
Genre: Light Drama
Directed by: Oscar Ruiz Navia

Crab Trap tells the story of Daniel (Rodrigo Velez) and the relationship he makes with La Barra, a little black community in Colombia’s Pacific coast. In it, he meets with Cerebro (Brain), the leader of the afro-descendant natives who are having territorial issues with a white man called El Paisa, who wants to build a hotel on the beach.

The film is a little over 1.30hr, even though it feels it could hit the 2hr. mark. It’s slowly-paced with descent performances from the main cast — even if some of the scenes and situations felt forced. The most interesting part of the film is, perhaps, Daniel’s relationship with Lucia (Yisela Alvarez) a little girl he befriends in the community. Other than that, I did not care about him as a character, so I didn’t care for what he was looking for, or whether he would get it.

Cerebro’s struggle with progress distanced me even further from the story, when you had other characters that didn’t have issues with it. Cerebro’s antics just end up as a childish, not comfortable with things changing. However, I will give in into something — El Paisa playing his damn Reggaeton music every night was annoying.

2.75/5

COMPETENCIA OFICIAL – FICCION

Screenings:
Saturday 7 – 8.30pm – Cineplanet Risso
Sunday 8 – 10pm –Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Azul
Wednesday 11 – 10.30pm – Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 5
Thursday 12 – 8pm – Cineplanet Primavera – Sala 1
Friday 13 – 3pm – Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 5

Rompecabezas (2009) – aka. Puzzle
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed by: Natalia Smirnoff

Puzzle tells the story of Maria del Carmen (Maria Onetto), a housewife who has just turned 40-ish, and has spent the last 20 years of her life worrying about her husband and two sons — who are now about to leave the nest. On her birthday, she receives a puzzle as a gift, and finds out she’s got a natural ability for them. Maria del Carmen decides to answer an ad of a man who’s looking for a “puzzle partner” to compete on the puzzle championship in Germany, despite her family’s discontent of her new hobby.

The film starts like this, Maria del Carmen is busy making snacks, and a cake for what’s obviously a birthday party. Later that day, her house is filled with relatives we will never see again, everyone is talking and eating while Maria del Carmen is still busy with party chores, like slicing the salami and serving it up. Finally, the lights are out and Maria makes her entrance carrying the cake with the candles, while the people sing Happy Birthday. Maria sets the cake on the table, and blows the candles herself. It was her birthday, and it makes the viewers see how much her family under-appreciates her.

Puzzle is a light dramedy about a woman who decides to put herself first, after years of putting her family’s needs ahead. It just so happens to be a slight obsession on puzzles, which is somewhat hilarious. World puzzle championships? Right, we couldn’t believe it either.

She begins training for a world-known puzzle championship with Roberto (Arturo Goetz), who like Maria, has a knack for puzzles. While she meets with him at his luscious place in the city, telling her family she’s visiting an aunt, her Taichi-practicing husband finds it somewhat annoying that she keeps forgetting the cheese, and her youngest kid begins dating a vegan who’s obsessed with how much pain a fish feels when getting caught.

Puzzle is full of charm, and Maria will surely remind everyone of their mothers — especially if they don’t have a grasp on technology. E-mail, anyone?

3.25/5

COMPETENCIA OFICIAL – FICCION

Screenings:
Friday 6 – 10pm – Cineplanet Risso
Sunday 8 – 10.15pm –Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Roja
Tuesday 10 – 2.15pm – Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Roja
Thursday 12 – 3pm – Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 5
Friday 13 – 10.30pm – Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 5

Carancho (2010)
Genre: Thriller, Drama
Directed by: Pablo Trapero

Carancho tells the story of Sosa (Ricardo Darin), a lawyer specialized in traffic accidents in Buenos Aires. Thanks to the corrupt system and insurance companies, he takes advantage of countless families victims of the roads who end up with nothing of the money these lawyers end up keeping. One night, while searching for a new client, Sosa ends up meeting Lujan (Martina Gusman), a young ER doctor who keeps herself awake with drugs.

Pablo Trapero’s thriller is filled with loads of good elements starting up, from your sassy young medical student, and a somewhat rough-on-the-edges Sosa and his victim-lawyers-insurance dealings. There’s fraud, and brutal beat-ups… however, it all falls apart in the last act. We don’t exactly understand why Lujan would end up willing to give it all up for Sosa, who promises to leave his way of earning a living behind, but we know from the start that it won’t be possible.

In the end, Trapero decides to wrap it all up nicely, but ends up feeling a bit desperate with an over-the-top rescue mission.

3/5

COMPETENCIA OFICIAL – FICCION

Screenings:
Saturday 7 – 10.15pm – Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Roja
Sunday 8 – 8pm – Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 5
Monday 9 – 2.15pm – Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Roja
Tuesday 10 – 8pm – Cineplanet Primavera – Sala 1
Thursday 12 – 7.15pm – Centro Cultural Católica – Sala Roja
Friday 13 – 9.45pm –  Cineplanet Alcázar – Sala 1

Sorry, in Spanish only.

Still there are 2 missing xD and gonna get 2 more tomorrow. Hopefully, I will catch up tomorrow afternoon.

I wonder if I’ll have time to catch this for the 2nd time this week.

Anyway, I thought I should post my review for Inception here, so I could participate on the LAMB, because I don’t usually get to participate much. I gotta take any chance at ‘world premieres’ and early… or somewhat early releases. I actually reviewed this in Spanish over at TOMA-UNO.

Inception had been the most anticipated film of this Blockbuster season. I mean, we are talking about Christopher Nolan — whom people are referring to as the new “insert name of any filmmaker” [Hitchcock/Kubrick] — with his stellar cast that includes Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar nominee Ellen Page, Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe, Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard, Oscar Winner Michael Caine, as well as Golden Globes nominees Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Cillian Murphy. No doubt, Inception has a dream cast and crew.

In it, DiCaprio plays Cobb, a man on the run from the US system who happens to work on what is known as “subconscious exploration” which refers to entering your brain while on a dream-state to obtain information. Cobb is hired by Saito (Watanabe) for an impossible task to secure the disintegration of the competition’s company. For this to happen, Cobb must enter the mind of Robert Fischer Jr. (Murphy) and insert this idea, and make him believe it came from him. This is known as “Inception”.

Cobb will be joined by his team that includes Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), and a young architecture student named Ariadne (Page).

Despite everything said about this movie, I thought it was pretty straight forward. Of course, repeat viewings of the film would be more than useful, but as a regular movie, Inception delivers as much thrill as any action flick released this season. The cinematography is breathtaking at times, combined with special effects that drags you into the story.

The acting is more than solid, it’s DiCaprio’s most interesting role since his snubbed performance on Revolutionary Road, and I could easily see nominations for supporting acting for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt at all to have an interesting story as the base of this action thriller. Dreams are interesting, and leaves you enough space to mess around with people’s minds without making them feel like you’ve cheated on the story.

I’m not sure, however, if this is deserving of a #3 spot on the current IMDb 250 Top Films yet, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting offerings of the year. Leave it to Nolan to deliver something like this.

4/5