czwartek, 28 marca 2013

We need to talk about Kevin ...

            Some time ago I saw a gripping and chilling to the bone film: "We need to talk about Kevin".

I will not say anything about the plot so as not to spoil the fun for someone who did't watch the movie yet. The story may be a bit difficult to follow at first. We watch a woman - Eva (spectacular Tilda Swinton), who is struggling to live when constantly met with open hostility from random - it seems - people. Untill the mistery of this behaviour is cleared, we wonder about the heroines story. What happened to her, or maybe, what did she do to deserve this?

The movie is basically carried by one actress - Tilda Swinton - who gives a magnificent performance. As I mentioned in the second post I love "one actor" movies. Swinton is no ordinary artist with a unique face, who made Eva a real person. She was not afraid to look ugly or dreadful in the movie, with unwashed hair and a very tired and old looking face. I found her acting inspiring and thanks to it I felt true sorrow for her character.

Worth mentioning are also two boys - Jasper Newell - and - Ezra Miller - who play Kevin.

Jasper is a young Kevin (6-8 years old) and he almost immediatelly made me dislike his character. He is obstinate, resentful and downright cruel. I could almost feel the hate emanating from him through the screen. And this look that gave me the chills. A wonderful performance from such a young actor.

Ezra portrays a teenage Kevin and he is equally creepy as Jasper. You could actually assume that this is the same boy. There is something disturbing in his performance and it suits the Kevin character perfectly.

If you ever wondered "WHY" about somebody's behavior, I recommend this movie wholeheartedly.

czwartek, 21 marca 2013

Fushimi Inari-taisha - 伏見稲荷大社

          Sometimes, while travelling you make a lot of plans of the places you want to see. However, there is always something that comes up when you least expect it. And more often than not, the unexpected turnes out to be great :)

One time, when I went to admire the Kyoto Tower and the views from it, I noticed something orange among the dense trees. "What is that?" - I kept thinking and finally went to ask the person who worked at the top of the Kyoto Tower. He informed me that it's Fushimi Inari-taisha and he directed me (more or less) how to get there.

Surprisingly, the shrine was not on my "must see" list, but there was something mysterious and wonderful in that place so I decided to visit it. It was a sunny and very warm day so I was looking forward to going into the shade and cooling of a bit.

First, I encountered a big torii gate, which is sort of an entrance to the whole shrine. The torii can be build from wood or stones, but there are also concrete, steel or copper gates. They can be left in their natural colors or painted, usually black and vermilion (or orange for those who are less able to distinguish colors - like me :).

After going a bit further there is a special place to wash your hands, still further there are first big torii gates. The further you walk, the more torris you see and finally you find yourself in long, orange tunnels surrounded by 100 of Japanese characters on both sides to admire and read ;). Inari (the god of rice) is a patron of buisiness, so that's why many buisnesses in Japan donated new torii gates and inscripted their names on them (and there are still more coming).

Till this day I'm under great impression of the Fushimi Inari-taisha. It was simply wonderful to walk under the torii gates, among trees, breath fresh air and enjoy the quiet (which in Japan is a rare thing). It will always remain one of my favorite places in Japan.

Fushimi Inari seen from the Kyoto Tower

The first torii gate

The inside

Start of the torii tunnel

Smaller gates

In between

The surreal site

Going downhill

Foxes -  the messengers

The place to wash your hands before you enter the shrine

czwartek, 14 marca 2013

"Serbuan maut" or RAID

          I read or heard somewhere some time ago about a new, excellent action movie - The Raid: Redemption. I have to admit that I'm not an action films fan, but after reading the description of the plot I decided to risk it and see it.

And I can hardly say how surprised I was upon learning that it wasn't an American movie - but Indonesian!! I guess it only means how well I can do the research that after reading what the movie was about I failed to find out the origin of the production. But, ohhh well .... what can I say.

However, as I mentioned here before in Polish television we don't often have a chance to see any other productions than American or sometimes European. So I decided to use the opportunity to watch something different, and I must say that it wasn't a dissapointment.

Raid is a story of a police invasion on an apartment building, which is inhabited by a dangerous criminal and a drug dealer - Tama. He made the building his headquarters and a true fortress. The police is determined to make the arrest, but there is a very important piece of information which is unknown to the officers who take part in this action. The raid was not scheduled by the police but by Lieutenant Wahyu, who is planning his personal gain from it. From the moment of entry the officers are sentenced to certain death.

There is one man however, who will not give up and get himself killed so easily. This man is Rama (played by Iko Uwais), who is excellently trained and determined not only to survive but also to exercise justice.

The movie is so full of action, fighting scenes and action twists that it can make your head spin practically from minute three. All the fight sequences were made with excellence and precision. I appreciated them even more when I found out that the leading male actor is in fact a martial artist. It makes the fight choreography much more believable and enjoyable.

I can hardly wait for the sequel "Berandal" or "The Raid: Retaliation" which is currently in the filming phase. Uwais comes back here not only as a main hero but also as a fight choreographer again (with collaboration with Yayan Ruhian). I just hope that the second part will be as entertaining as the first one.

Film's official blog:

czwartek, 7 marca 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey

             I believe that books are to be read and discussed. And I guess that no other book in recent time has generated so much discussion as "50 shades of Gray" by a British writer E. L. James.

The books tell a story of a young student Anastasia Steele who, to help her sick friend, is forced to do an interview with a young and very successful entrepreneur - Christian Grey. Ana finds Mr. Grey attractive, but also a bit arrogant and very intimidating. After the interview is over she hopes she will never see him again. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately in the end) Mr. Gray has other plans for her and he is not willing to let go of Ana so easily. He persues her and proposes a very special and exciting arragement. Ana hesitates but in the end consents to the proposal and so a totaly new and dark, at times, chapter in her life begins.

I had very mixed feelings while reading the series. It made me often wonder how I would behave in Ana's situation (and I don't mean the sexual relationship, but the emotional one). How I would feel if my "boyfriend" ordered me around, decided everything for me, demended certain behavior. And yet I would feel such attachment to him, that it would be impossible to back out from it all. I must say that I wouldn't like to be in Ana's shoes.

The language of the book and the idea itself are not the most original ones. Yet, I'm thrilled in a way that somebody decided to approach the subject of pure sex (with no love) and the BDSM relations (although I'm not sure wether people who participate in such practice enjoyed the books at all). My appreaciation of the book lies only in the fact that it stirred the public and made us discuss women's sexuality, guilt and sex without love.

I think that popularity of the book proves that the final word about those subjects was not yet said.

All three books covers