The Shape of Water (The Shape of Violence?)

The Shape of Water (2017). (The Shape of Violence?). Dir. Guillermo del Toro

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Sex and violence really sell, don’t they? A bit of porn, lots and lots of violence and you have a multi Academy Award nomination movie!

I went to see yesterday The Shape of Water and I was highly disappointed. While the music, the cinematography and the performances are amazing, the love story is really not convincing and a bit creepy, and the unnecessary sex scenes (masturbation and coitus) and, specially, the monstruos violence killed all the poetry of the movie. In the same way that I don’t think a director needs to show the actors shitting, pissing or picking their noses I find graphic sex a very poor choice for a director to illustrate a point. But, more than that, I find violence onscreen really disturbing and I think that such a high degree of violence is a very poor tool for a director. An exception to that would probably be Tarantino, who uses violence in such a crude way that it ends out being funny (nevertheless, Tarantino’s violence is sometimes too much for me, even when he uses it for something great, like killing Nazis). I think that there are greater cinematic ways of showing violence than graphic torture, flying fingers, and litres of blood. If you don’t agree with me, go and see Doctor Zhivago: you will be amazed by the power of the scene where the Imperial Army is massacring the people next to the Winter Palace and all you can see is the horrifying face of Doctor Zhivago, who, from a safe window, watches men, women, and children being slaughtered by the Imperial Army. Now, that’s art. The rest is only good special effects and a big lack of imagination. The same goes for sex. There are many ways of showing the act of love (also the act of fucking –that’s it: making love without love) with sensuality, strength, and poetry, but Guillermo del Toro chose here graphic sex. Why? I guess it sells better.

Frankly, I don’t get the hype around this film. 13 Academy Award nominations? Come on! Guillermo del Toro looks like a really nice guy, and I actually hate to write negative reviews. If I spend a bit of time in writing this negative review it’s because, as with La La Land (an annoying and cheesy torture filled with cliches), I’m amazed at how bad or not so good Hollywood movies can get such a hype, while other movies, like Woody Allen’s masterpieces, get shut out and don’t get any important nominations (yes, I am a huge fan of Woody: I love his art, his philosophy and his genius, and I’m very angry at this wave of hypocrisy, opportunism and lies around him that mixes false accusations from two crazy and resentful women with the most beautiful art).

The characters of The Shape of Water are all either black or white, there are no greys here: the bad ones are really bad and the good ones are really good. Well, life isn’t neither black nor white. It’s full of greys. While the performances of the movie are all amazing (Sally Hawkins is great, Octavia Spencer is amazing as always, Richard Jenkins is really good too and Michael Shannon is stunning: he really steals the movie and, surprisingly, didn’t get any Golden Globe or Academy Award nomination), the souls of the characters are painted only in one color, and that’s very Hollywood-ish and commercial. 

Also, I wonder, for which age is The Shape of Water? You would first think that a fantasy movie is suitable for children, but this one is not. Or, you would think that a love story with so much violence and a bit of porn is suitable for adults, but then, why put this stupid fish-creature? I’m used to seeing lots of fantasy and children movies with my kids (ages 11, 9 and 4, so, imagine: I’ve seen them all: since The Dark Cristal from 1982 until the last superhero movie). But this movie, for who is it?

I understand why this movie can arrive to people, especially people who feel very lonely. I feel a great deal of empathy for all the people who feel alone in the world and seek love and company wherever they can, but I think that the black and white characters and the huge degree of violence kill the depth of this movie. Maybe the majority of the people of  today are so used to see violence (on TV and on the internet) that they don’t even notice it any more. I am very sensible to violence and it disturbs me a lot when I see it (here at home we don’t have a TV for many many years, so I really don’t know what’s going on with TV violence these days –we only choose what we want to watch and watch it with our cinema projector). I understand that there are movies where violence is necessary (for instance, if you watch a movie about the Holocaust it may contain some graphic violence) but what really bothers me, artistically speaking, is superfluos violence: violence for selling, for entertaining a bit more and keep the audience amused. That  kind of violence is repulsive.

I don’t like to put a qualification for a movie. I always found it pretentious to qualify the huge work of a director with a number (I’m aware of the fact that to create art is difficult and to criticize is easy). But this time, since there is such a hype around this film, I feel obliged to qualify this movie. So, 1 point for the music (Alexandre Desplat), 1 point for the cinematography (Dan Laustsen), 1 point for Michael Shannon, 1 point for Sally Hawkins, 1 point for the amazing Octavia Spencer, and 1 point for Richard Jenkins. 6/10

If you want to listen to good music, be amazed by a beautiful cinematography, see Sally Hawkins’s tits, vagina and ass, enjoy your popcorn while a fish-creature is being tortured in a brutal way, blood is running, and a cats loses her heads, go and see The Shape of Water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, February 20, 2018

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Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (2009). Dir. Quentin Tarantino

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Film Title: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDSinglourious-basterds-10inglourious-basterds-43

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Michael Fassbender (Ltd Archie Hicox) in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.

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Film Title: Inglourious Basterds

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Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt): “Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew hunting, mass murdering maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That’s why any and every son of a bitch we find wearing a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die”

¡Qué placer ver a los nazis morir! Tarantino hace con su arte lo que la historia no pudo hacer: matar a los malditos nazis.

Inglourious Basterds es una obra maestra. La película es muy violenta (con esa violencia tan característica y bestia de Tarantino que acaba siendo graciosa), pero un poquito de justicia no le hace daño a nadie, ¿verdad? ¡Brindemos por cada alemán y austríaco nazi muerto!

El principio de la película es espectacular. El diálogo entre Christoph Waltz y el campesino francés, interpretado a la perfección por Denis Ménochet, es algo fuera de serie. El diálogo  dura 12 minutos (empieza a los 6’50” y acaba a los 18’50”). Tarantino trabajó en el guión de Inglorious Basterds durante 10 años. La música de la película es buenísima e incluye obras de Ennio Morricone y una canción de David Bowie.

El casting, como en todas las películas de Tarantino, brilla por su genialidad. Waltz nos sorprende hablando a la perfección 4 idiomas, Brad Pitt brilla en su papel de Aldo, Fassbender aparece irresistible en su papel de crítico de cine británico y de espía, con su uniforme de SS. Mélanie Laurent encarna bastante bien a Shosanna, Daniel Brühl aparece macabro y simpático, Diane Kruger es la diva perfecta (su alemán es exquisito) y August Diehl aparece impecable en su rol de cerdo de la Gestapo. Uno de mis basterds preferidos es Hugo Stiglitz, interpretado por Til Schweiger (un actor alemán que siempre se había negado a ponerse un uniforme nazi en una película, pero que aceptó en Inglorious Basterds porque allí se le dio el privilegio de matar a nazis).

Inglorious Basterds obtuvo 8 nominaciones al Oscar (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, y Best Achievement in Sound Editing), y ganó un Oscar (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz).

Inglourious Basterds es la última película de Tarantino editada por Sally Menke, quien editó todas las películas de Tarantino desde Reservoir Dogs (1992) (murió en el 2010).

Así como Saul fia es la mejor película que he visto sobre el Holocausto (impresionantemente real, deprimente y espantosa), Inglourious Basterds es el gran antídoto contra la tristeza, el dolor y la rabia que se sienten al leer sobre el Holocausto y al ver películas sobre la 2ª Guerra Mundial. Un placer para la vista, el oído, la mente y el corazón. Tarantino hace un poco de justicia a la horrenda historia de la humanidad. Una película entretenida, sorprendente, brutal y divertida.

¡Imprescindible verla (como todo el arte del cine) en VO!

Algunas curiosidades: Samuel L. Jackson es el narrador, Tarantino aparece dos veces como cameo (es el primer “scalped Nazi” y un soldado norteamericano en ‘Pride of Nation’), y el comandante norteamericano que habla con Waltz por teléfono hacia el final de la película es Harvey Keitel. Todas estas interpretaciones no aparecen en los créditos.

En Alemania, la esvástica fue eliminada o camuflada en todos los pósters de Inglourious Basterds, puesto que los símbolos nazis están prohibidos por ley en Alemania, salvo en documentos históricos.

Lo mejor: el diálogo entre Waltz y Méchonet, los nombres que Brad Pitt da a los alemanes nazis, Hitler pidiendo un chicle, la sonrisa irresistible de Fassbender, la música, el script, el estilo 100 % Tarantino, y los nazis en llamas.

Lo peor: la pésima actriz francesa de la taverna, algunos “cuts” y algunos anacronismos.

Inglourious Basterds / Trailer

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, 8 de diciembre de 2016

Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt): “Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew hunting, mass murdering maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That’s why any and every son of a bitch we find wearing a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die”.

Such a pleasure watching Nazis being killed! Tarantino uses his art for doing what history couldn’t do: to kill the fucking Nazis.

Inglourious Basterds is a masterpiece. The film is bloody violent (violence which is so characteristic from Tarantino it ends out being funny), but a bit of justice does not hurt, does it? Let’s cheer for every fucking German & Austrian Nazi shot and dead!

The beginning of the movie is spectacular. The dialog between Christoph Waltz and the French farmer, brilliantly performed by Denis Ménochet, is awesome. The dialog lasts for 12 minutes (it starts at 6’50” and ends at 18’50”). Tarantino worked on the script of Inglorious Basterds for 10 years. The music of the film is amazing and includes works by Ennio Morricone and a song by David Bowie.

The casting, like in all Tarantino movies, is breathtaking. Waltz surprises us speaking 4 languages, Brad Pitt glows in his role of Aldo, Fassbender appears irresistible in his role as a British spy cinema critic disguised as an SS officer. Mélanie Laurent plays well enough the role of Shosanna, Daniel Brühl appears both nice and macabre, Diane Kruger is the perfect diva (her German is exquisite), and August Diehl appears impeccable in his role of a Gestapo pig. One of my favourite basterd is Hugo Stiglitz, performed by Til Schweiger (a German actor who always refused to wear a Nazi uniform in a movie, but he accepted it in Inglorious Basterds because there he was given the privilege of killing Nazis).

Inglourious Basterds is the last Tarantino movie edited by Sally Menke, who was the editor of all Tarantino’s movies from Reservoir Dogs (1992) (she died in 2010).

Inglourious Basterds got 8 Academy Award Nominations (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing), and won one Oscar (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz).

Just as Saul fia is the best movie about the Holocaust that I’ve ever seen (it is terribly real, breathtaking and depressing), Inglourious Basterds is the great antidote to all the sadness, pain and anger that one feels when reading about the Holocaust and watching WWII movies. A pleasure for the eye, the ear, the mind and the heart. Tarantino makes justice to the horrible history of humankind. A cool, funny, brutal and surprising film.

Fun facts: Samuel L. Jackson is the narrator, Tarantino appears twice as a cameo (he is the first scalped Nazi and an American soldier in ‘Pride of Nation’), and the OSS American commander who talks to Waltz on the phone at the end of the movie is Harvey Keitel. These performances are uncredited.

In Germany all the swastikas had to be removed or hidden from all movie posters, since Nazi symbols are banned by law in Germany (except for historical documents).

The best: the dialog between Waltz and Méchonet, the names that Brad Pitt gives the German Nazis, Hitler asking for a chewing gum, Fassbender’s irresistible smile, the music, the script, Tarantino’s style, and the dirty Nazis burning in flames.

The worst: the bad French actress at the tavern, some cuts, and some anachronisms.

Inglourious Basterds Trailer

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, December 8, 2016