Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea (2002)

MV5BNDM0YzFiMzItZDMxOC00YjIyLThiNTktZWU1MGYwMmRhNWY3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU3ODUxMTc@._V1_UY1200_CR125,0,630,1200_AL_The Ballad of the Salt Sea (2002)  

He’s dreaming with his eyes open, and those that dream with their eyes open are dangerous, for they do not know when their dreams come to an end” (Hugo Pratt, taking inspiration from the famous quote by T.E. Lawrence).

“When I want to relax, I read an essay by Engels. When I want something more serious to read, I read Corto Maltese” (Umberto Eco).

La Ballade de la mer salée” or “The Ballad of the Salt Sea” (2002) is a French-language TV animation based on the Italian comics of the adventures of Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt. Corto Maltese is a mysterious and freedom-loving adventurer and sailor who travels the world in search of excitement and fortune, and is found in the early twentieth century in such places as Southern Europe, Arabia, Africa and Russia. In “The Ballad of the Salt Sea”, Corto is found sailing in the Pacific Ocean, and is in the midst of a shady deal with Rasputin, a psychopathic pirate and a Siberian army escapee, and with a man simply called the Monk, while the World War I is about to officially begin and the ocean is full of military ships.

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“The Beguiled” Review

The Beguiled (2017)timthumb

**SPOILER ALERT**

Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” has probably been one of the most anticipated movies of this summer, and is based on the novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, initially titled “A Painted Devil”. In “The Beguiled” (2017), Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) runs an all-girl boarding school in Virginia amidst the waging of the American Civil War, and among the remaining six of her pupils are highly-strung Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and a boy-crazy girl Alicia (Elle Fanning). All is well, until one of the girls, Amy (Oona Laurence), discovers a wounded Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) in the periphery of their school, and decides to bring him to school so that he can receive an immediate medical help. As the soldier recovers, however, he stars to pay special attention to the girls in the school, sparking fits of uncontrollable passion, and, ultimately, suspicion and jealousy. Although the film is beautifully shot, it is also a misguided attempt to produce something evocative and deep. Sofia’s “The Beguiled” has virtually no character development; the plot, which misses the dramatic point of Cullinan’s book completely; and the film’s choice of the cast is almost as bad as its adapted script.

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Darren Aronofsky is at it again…

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After making his “Black Swan” (2010) out of Satoshi Kon’s “Perfect Blue” (1997) (see my article on the topic here), Darren Aronofsky now seems to make his new film “Mother!” out of everyone’s much beloved horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968). The phrases “paying homage” and “drawing inspiration” really camouflage the lack of artistic ideas and originality, and it is a pity. More than a pity. If Aronofsky’s shameful “Perfect Blue/Black Swan” creation showed a deplorable disregard for another form of art, his now seemingly hybrid “Rosemary’s Baby/Mother!” monster confirms that there is really nothing sacred left when it comes to making new films in the 21st century.  And, even if Aronofsky’s new film “Mother!” will contain virtually nothing in common/ no similarities with Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby“, the new poster to his film “Mother!” is really a step too far, and, surely, demonstrates the lack of basic artistic respect for the previous work of art. How hard is it really to make one’s own movie poster and restrain oneself from dragging the fans of Polanski’s masterpiece into your own money-making machine? 

The Workplace in Film & TV Blogathon: Fawlty Towers (1975/79)

“Cleese’s work [here] is even better than anything he did for the Monty Python troupe. Yes, it’s that good.” (John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis)81ZI4IuJagL._SL1500_

Debbie at Moon in Gemini is hosting The Workplace in Film & TV Blogathon, and my entry is a British TV series from the 1970s called “Fawlty Towers“. Written by John Cleese (“Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)), and Connie Booth, the series has twelve episodes only, with six aired in 1975 and another six in 1979. The series spent some time winning over its critics, despite the love from the audience, but, it is safe to say now that “Fawlty Towers” is a pure classic of the British comedy genre, and is still enjoyed by generations old and young. The series is extremely funny, witty, ingeniously written and staged, and hugely entertaining overall. It will provide anyone not overly familiar with the British humour and mode of life with a real glimpse into the culture. However, that glimpse should never be taken totally serious, because comedy is comedy, and the series will play on some familiar stereotypes and misconceptions, as well as contain some dark humour, including some “shocking” punchlines.

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“First They Killed My Father” Trailer

Directed by Angelina Jolie, and featured at the forthcoming Toronto International Film Festival, “First They Killed My Father” promises to be a powerful film. See also the list “My 10 Favourite “Human Rights” Films“.

The Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Rope (1948)

338Maddy at Maddy Loves Her Classic Films is hosting The Alfred Hitchcock blogathon, and this is my entry dissecting one of Hitchcock’s most claustrophobic and intriguing films: “Rope” (1948). Even thought this film may not be as ambitious as Hitchcock’s later “Psycho” (1960), it is still suspenseful, tense, cerebral and belongs to one of my favourite cinematic “genres”: “one location” setting films. This “genre” was later used by Lumet (“Twelve Angry Men” (1957)), Polanski (“Repulsion” (1965)) and Mangold (“Identity” (2003)), among others, to a great result. And, this is because in such films what the audience is usually left with is the fascinating psychological “game” among characters of scheming, guessing, suspecting or simply going crazy, without any outside “distractions” being present. Hitchcock’s “Rope” is no different.

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Unpopular Opinion Tag (Films)

unpopular-opinionfilm-tagRichard at The Humpo Show has tagged me to get involved in this Unpopular Opinion Tag (Films edition), and I thought it would be great fun since I have to pick three films generally loved by most people, but which I find undeserving of all the hype and explain my choices. Thanks again, Richard!

In particular, the rules are as follows:

  1. Pick three movies which most people like, except you;
  2. Tag a minimum of five (or more) other people;
  3. Thank the person who has tagged you.

So, without further ado, I pick American Beauty (1999), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Be warned, spoilers ahead Read more of this post

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