WEDNESDAY, 25 JUNE 2014

A tale of babies switched at birth becomes a parable of fatherhood

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Like Father, Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru)       
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda      
Starring Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono       
Japanese, 2013, 120 minutes
   

A Japanese couple, Ryota and Midori, is informed that the six-year-old child they have raised as their own is actually someone else’s son. Six years ago a nurse swapped two babies in their cots for reasons we will discover later. The two families involved, different in walk of life and character, start an uneasy relationship, and the parents begin a journey to discover their "real" son. But other secrets hidden in the past will force Ryota to put his whole life into question ...

What makes you the child of your father? Your blood, your genetic code or the love you have raised him with? Are we really willing to accept the possibility that our child might not meet the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 17 JUNE 2014

The latest X-Men saga delivers great entertainment

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X Men: Days of future past     
Directed by Bryan Singer   
Starring Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, Evan Peters       
131 minutes      

In 2023 the mutants are almost extinct. They are being hunted down by the Sentinels, robots capable of adapting to their powers in order to destroy them. In a last-ditch effort to save his race, Professor X manages to harness the powers of the mutant Kitty Pryde to send Wolverine (or at least his consciousness) into the past, in 1973, to prevent the war between mutants and Sentinels from beginning. The task of Wolverine is complicated by the fact that Charles Xavier (who later becomes Professor X) has lost confidence in his powers; Magneto is locked up in a maximum security prison; and the dangerous Mystica is haunting… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2014

Classic Cinema: Doctor Zhivago

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Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Directed by David Lean

Who’s in it? Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin

What’s it about? Narrowly missing out on the Best Picture Oscar to The Sound of Music, Lawrence of Arabia director David Lean’s multi-Oscar winning adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s Nobel Prize winning novel of love amid the socio-political turmoil of civil war, is another classic from the director’s epic resume. Classy melodrama at its most elegant and affecting, the plot bears witness to the personal impact of Bolshevik Communism leading up to, during and after the Russian Revolution as Sharif’s married poet/physician has an affair with revolutionary's wife Lara (Christie) as the pair come to terms with a frightening new world order.

Memorable Moments? Featuring a Best Original Song Oscar winning main theme, Maurice Jarre’s stirring score for the film mirrors the inner tempests and contextual chaos of the period, tangible in the passionate glances and dialogue… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 29 MAY 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2
***
Directed by Marc Webb
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field and Paul Giamatti
142 minutes

Peter Parker returns to wear the Spiderman’s suit and to try to reconcile his fight against extraordinary crime with fairly ordinary problems: graduation, taking care of his aunt and protecting his girlfriend Gwen. Still recovering from the death of captain George Stacy (which happened in the first movie), Peter decides to break up with Gwen; meanwhile, Harry Osborn is back in Manhattan and has inherited the entire Oscorp empire. However, he is also dying of a hereditary illness, which seems to have no other cure than Spiderman’s blood. Scared of how horrible its side effects could be, Peter refuses to comply. In the midst of all of this, a new terrible enemy threatens the city: Electro… 
 


The Spiderman saga may not be… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2014

Hollywood sticks to the script of ancient Rome

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Take one brooding hunk, enslaved as a gladiator after the brutal slaughter of his family, who seeks revenge against the evil Roman empire. Lay on plenty of set-piece spectacular arena battles through which your hero, and his African rival-turned-comrade, can win fame and the love of the people. Throw in a crazed Roman emperor-figure, with more than a touch of camp, some spectacular sets and costumes, a chariot race or two, a love interest, and ramp up the tension before an explosive finale.

These are the cinematic ingredients that Hollywood throws together, time and again, when it turns to ancient Rome. The recent Pompeii film follows a very similar recipe to Gladiator (2000) – albeit less skilfully executed – while also drawing heavily on more recent films like Centurion (2010) and The Eagle (2011) in its depiction of the northern frontiers of the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 22 MAY 2014

Cinema Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Directed by Robert Mulligan 

Who’s in it? Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Philip Alford

What’s it about? The archetypal courtroom drama, To Kill a Mocking Bird immortalised the character of Atticus Finch (embodied superbly by Gregory Peck) as a bastion of moral integrity, putting his reputation on the line to defend an innocent black man from prejudice in rural, depression-era America. Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the film faithfully recreates the subtle nuances and small town details of the book but it is Peck’s Oscar winning performance which makes this adaptation extraordinary, making the character of Atticus (voted by the American Film Institute the greatest movie hero of the 20th century) warm and relatable, giving the sense that, as Harper Lee herself said of the actor, “Atticus Finch gave him an opportunity to play himself."

Memorable moments? The courtroom drama genre is synonymous with the figure of Peck as Finch… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 12 MAY 2014

Cinema classics: Life is Beautiful

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Life is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella, 1997)

Directed by Roberto Benigni

Who's in it? Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

What's it about? Winner of three Oscars including Best Actor for director Benigni (who also stars) and Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the Grand Prix at Cannes, Life is Beautiful is a charming, funny and moving account of one man's optimistic attitude to life and his courage in passing his joie de vivre to his son, even in the face of unspeakable evil. The film follows the story of happy-go-lucky book shop owner Guido as he and his son find themselves in a concentration camp together and must use their imagination to survive. A powerful and life affirming tale of perseverance, even joy, in adversity, the film is at times sorrowful and sobering but never depressing, fizzing with the irrepressible spirit of its larger than life message of hope… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 30 APRIL 2014

Holy birthday, Batman! Sizing up the Caped Crusader at 75

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Let’s pause to consider the rich mythology of this 75-year-old icon. JamesCC BY-SA

This year the world’s most popular superhero, Batman, celebrates his 75th birthday. From inauspicious beginnings in a six-page comic to the transmedia anchor of one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, Time Warner, the hero has cast his shadow across many forms and entertainments. Such as …

When Superman lifted a carload of criminals above his head on the cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938, the nascent American comic book industry found its defining genre. Young artist Bob Kane hoped to create the next soaring star – with the red unitard and domino mask-wearing Bird-Man.

Fortunately Kane collaborated with writer Bill Finger. The character’s colour scheme shifted to black and his domino mask morphed into a cowl with pointed ears. “Bat-Man”… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 14 APRIL 2014

Noah: provocative but thoughtful

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Noah      
Directed by Darren Aronofsky      
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins      
138 minutes
     

After Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise, Cain committed the first murder and killed his own brother. His descendants have built cities and exhausted creation’s resources, wounding the earth and risking the survival of all animal species. Only a few descendants of Seth, Noah and his family, continue to live according to the Creator’s laws.

One day Noah has a vision of the punishment the Creator plans to unleash upon men: the flood. His task is build an ark to save the innocent animals. So he sets to work with the help of the Guardians (angels who have fallen to earth because of their love for mankind). But Tubal-Cain, a violent descendant of Cain, stands in his way and even… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 11 APRIL 2014

Divergent: another teen trilogy about growing pains

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Divergent     
Directed by Neil Hamburger        
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Jay Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q      
140 minutes      

A dystopian Chicago of the future. The few survivors of a terrible war a hundred years before have created a new society divided into five factions based on their virtues (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite). Each faction has its own role. Every year, all 16-year-olds take an aptitude test that will tell them to which faction they belong.

Beatrice Prior comes from an Abnegant family. Her test, however, reveals that she belongs to a rare and dangerous category called Divergent: people who have not one virtue, but several, making them uncontrollable. She has to choose one faction and she chooses Dauntless. It is the beginning of a dangerous path that will lead her to… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

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Popcorn is MercatorNet's funky blog about what's hot and what's not in the world of cinema. Feel like contributing? Contact us at popcorn@MercatorNet.com. Feel like commenting? Sound off beneath the posts. 


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