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FRITZ THE CAT
1972 | Ralph Bakshi

Criticize the Hobbit film trilogy all you want, but seeing the tension of the “What’s in my pocket?” scene on screen is something I’m never going to forget.

Charlie’s Angels (2000)
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The idea of seeing Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz energetically jumping around in a variety of outfits solving crime initially had me… pretty excited, but Chalie’s Angels left me with weird, maybe even icky feelings. This is a movie that would have had me drooling back in 2000 when it was first released. I suspect many a 12 to 18-year olds will be very enthused by it. For everyone else, this hasn’t much appeal. 

“Once upon a time, there were three very different little girls who grew up to be three very different women. Now they work for me. My name is Charlie.“ Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore), and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) are the "Angels” who, under the supervision of Charlie’s assistant, Bosley (Bill Murray) are assigned to find Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), a software genius kidnapped by Roger Corwin (Tim Curry).

Everything about this movie screams “early 2000s, made for teenagers”. The soundtrack by Destiny’s child, the casting of Bill Murray as Bosley, the endless stream of innuendos, the ridiculous action… it’s a blast from the past. I can see the appeal to the recently pubescent. For the guys, there’s non-stop titillation, with Alex, Natalie, and Dylan have to seduce their way through many situations in cleavage-heavy outfits. There’s plenty of martial arts action. For the ladies, we have “strong female characters”, basically costume and fashion porn, and a romantic subplot for every Angel.

“But I’m not 16, what’s here for me?”

For everyone else, I’d compare Charlie’s Angels to a wish granted by an evil genie who takes advantage of poorly-worded statements. The idea of Cameron Diaz jumping around, shaking her ass and smiling at the camera in her underwear sounds awesome. Not so much when her character acts like a teenage girl. I felt like a father watching his barely legal daughter do a strip-tease for her boyfriend. The angels are beautiful, but they’re ditzy little girls stuck inside the body of grown women with the fighting and detective abilities of Batman. It would have worked if my brain was still full of raging and contradicting hormones, but not anymore. There are funny moments and I have this weird image of Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz dressed as male business executives burned into my mind that I’m not sure what to do with. Those are fun moments but there aren’t enough to balance overall tone. It’s too juvenile, too obvious. The endless parade of innuendos, piled onto the obvious fan service of seeing these women jump around in sexy outfits and beating up legions of incompetent bad guys, it’s not for me.

Regardless of your age, this movie is a mixed bag. The jokes are so-so, the action is fun. The plot? it stinks. This is one of those films where the bad guys only have guns at convenient times, people who should be killed are instead imprisoned, consequences and repercussions don’t exist, and where security systems are needlessly intricate, but not quite secure enough to allow our heroes to whip up some nonsensical way to get around whatever obstacles are placed around them. Why have a vault who’s alarm is triggered when you set foot on the floor for more than a fraction of a second… instead of just never at all?

I don’t blame anyone under the age of even 18 for liking this movie, I’d even encourage them to check it. I had a good time more than I didn’t but by the time I saw Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu pretending to be Swiss milkmaids dancing around and spanking each other at the tone of some silly music, I’d had enough. Charlie’s Angels is dumb fun and I’m not criticizing it for that, I’m saying that at a certain point your maturity kicks in and you’ll leave it far behind. (Fullscreen version on DVD, November 11, 2014)

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