Posts Tagged ‘drama’

Angels & Demons

Ayelet Zurer

Ayelet Zurer

Angels & Demons is a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” (2006).

Both movies are inspired by Dan Brown’s novels. Technically “Angels & Demons” was written first, but it is “The Da Vinci Code”that put Dan Brown on the map of ultra bestsellers with 81 million copies sold so far.

Angels & Demons stars Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon), Ewan McGregor (Patrick McKenna), Ayelet Zurer (Vittoria Vetra) and Armin Mueller-Stahl (Cardinal Strauss). Ron Howard directed both movies.

If you have seen “The Da Vinci Code“, then you know what to expect.

A mystery story, with top quality direction and acting. Just as is often the case for a second release, it is a bit weaker then the first one. But this is nevertheless an excellent movie, and the IMDB of 6.4/10 is rather severe and unjustified.

I find both Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor to be outstanding actors and I like all of their movies (am I biased then?). Ron Howard has an impeccable reputation. Dan Brown has demonstrated an exceptional skill to captivate readers and audience alike. So how bad could the movie be?

If there is a weakness in the movie and the book, it is that The Da Vinci Code is a much more complicated mystery with many more historical references and ramifications than Angels & Demons.

In both stories, Robert Langdon is a Harvard symbologist with the mission to solve a mystery involving the foundations of both Christianity and the Vatican itself. This encompasses finding the meaning of intricate symbolic clues that only someone with as profound a knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church as Robert Langdon can decipher.

In Angels & Demons”, a secret religious sect called the Illuminati is threatening to destroy the Vatican with a anti-matter nuclear device. Just as the Pope died and the Cardinals are gathered in Conclave to choose his successor.

The Illumanti was (or is still?) a sect promoting the discoveries of Science but the Vatican tried to exterminate its membersĀ  400 years ago. They had to stay underground all these years but they are now coming for their revenge, using Science to destroy the Vatican.

For those of you who like mysteries, history, beautiful pictures of Rome and the Vatican, you will not be disappointed.

The message of the movie: Visit Europe.

Two Days in Paris

Pacific Design Center

Julie Delpy

Yesterday, I rented “Two Days in Paris” from Netflix.

This is a 2007 film written, directed, produced and starring Julie Delpy. Even her parents in the movie are her real parents, and her boyfriend is her real ex-boyfriend Adam Goldberg. It is an understatement that Julie impregnates the movie.

Even though this movie was well received including a nomination at the Cesar Awards, France, it only grossed around $14 million worldwide. The IMDB rating is a low 6.9/10.

Frankly, this movie is not for the general public.

OK, let us start with the story line. A young couple living in New York, she is French, he is American, visits Venice. On their way back by train from their ill-fated vacation, they spend two days in Paris in Marion’s (Julie Delpy) parent’s place. Jack (Adam Goldberg) discovers Paris as well as Marion’s parents and old friends, including many past lovers.

Culturally the interesting aspect of this movie is that the dialogues are half French (with English subtitles), half American English. The movie attempts to emphasize some of the culturalĀ  differences between France and the United States, and succeeds to some degree. The dialogues in both tongues are of excellent quality.

For those who likes images from the City of Light, it is always nice to get reminiscences of Paris.

One of the nicest aspect of “Two days in Paris” is that it feels like two days in the life of real people, and not the fabricated adventures of some super-heroes speaking in strong short messages as is often seen nowadays. So it does not feel like a big production Hollywood type movie and it is refreshing.

The main theme of the dialogues is the constant arguingĀ  going on in this couple. I do not remember any conversation where they agreed. It fact it reminded me of my wife and myself, so there must be some authenticity to achieve that. Not all couples are like that, in constant debate about all little and big things in life, but for the sad afflicted ones, they will recognize themselves.

Another theme that is not seen much in American movies but more so in European and French ones, is a heavy dosage of sexual allusions in the dialogues. In a party, a man starts a discussion with Jack with a reference to the way women shave their pubis in a small rectangular shape, nicknamed “ticket de metro”, i.e. subway ticket. And he says how this turns him off completely.

In another scene, Marion’s mother narrates her sexual adventures in the sixties. And it goes on and on. Her father in particular speaks in a disgusting way almost all the time.

It seems that Marion is still in contact with a myriad of ex-lovers. This adds to the sexual images and the tensions in the couple, making Jack feel even more estranged from his fiancee. This leads them to the question of knowing if they reached the love of their life or not.

There is a good dose of humor in “Two Days in Paris“. I loved all the scenes in taxis, where each time the driver demonstrated a typically French type of behavior.

The message of the movie: if you are in a couple, try to be nice to the other half.