Day 67: City Of God (2002)

city of godFor today’s film, I wanted to go international because sometimes foreign films are more gritty and exciting than American films. A friend of mine had told me about the film City Of God and said it was a must see. The film follows two children from the slums of Rio de Janeiro named Rocket and Lil Dice that take two completely different paths in life. For Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), all he ever wanted to do was to become a photographer as a hope of getting out of the slums known as the City Of God. For Lil Dice (Leandro Firmino) all he ever wanted to do was to become the crime kingpin of the City Of God. The film follows their every move including the triumphs, setbacks, and tragedies associated with their lifestyle choices. The film also stars Phellipe Haagensen (A Thousand Pardons) as Benny, Jonathan Haagensen (City Of Men) as Shaggy, Matheus Nachtergaele (Shades Of Sin) as Carrot, Seu Jorge (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) as Knockout Ted, Alice Braga (Elysium) as Angelica, Maurício Marques (Carandiru) as Melonhead, Darlan Cunha (City Of Men) as Steak And Fries, Karina Falcão as Shorty’s Wife, Gero Camilo (Man On Fire) as Shorty, and the film was directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund.

city of god 2First things first when it comes to talking about this film and that is if you can stand watching a film with subtitles then by all means go for it. If you can’t then turn around because it goes fast. I loved the style of the movie where it starts as a certain point, then it turns back to the beginning, works it’s way back to that point in the beginning of the film. It’s like it gives you a backstory so that you understand how our protagonist got to that point. The film is very gritty and it shows you the desperation that comes from living in the slums and it kind of wakes you up to the madness that happens in other parts of the world. The film goes to show you how appealing power and money are when you come from nothing and are desperate for something like so many people were. The film from what I read is loosely based off of the true story of the gang wars of the suburb of Rio known as the City Of God which is the other factor that made this film so appealing to me. The acting is great and the sets are really fantastic. You really feel like you are plunged into the heart of the slums with the characters like you are in the thick of it.There is a lot of violence and language so viewer discretion is advised. This is as good as it gets for foreign crime dramas so if you’re a fan check it out because it’s on Netlfix right now. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.


Day 54: Oldboy (2003)

oldboyEver since my friends told me about the Korean Cinema masterpiece Oldboy, I have been meaning to check this film out. What better time than now and what better place than here to check it out. Oh Dae-Su (Min-sik Choi) has been kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years after a druken night. He doesn’t know who his captors is and he certainly doesn’t know why he is there. One day after 15 years of imprisonment, he is all of a sudden let go and sent on a journey to figure out who is captors are and why he was imprisoned. with the help of his new love Mi-Do (Hye-jeong Kang), hell try his best to get to the bottom of it within five days before the game is up. The film also stars Ji-tae Yu (Natural City) as Woo-jin Lee, Dae-han Ji (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and …Spring) as No Jo-hwan, Byeong-ok Kim (Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) as Mr. Han, Seung-shin Lee (Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) as Yoo Hyung-ja, Jin-seo Yoon (Voices) as Lee Soo-ah, and the film was directed by the legendary Chan-wook Park (Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance).

oldboy 2There are so many words that could accurately describe this film and some of the most simplest terms will do. Words like mind boggling, messed up, and thrill ride or emotional roller coaster will suffice for now. For a while, you believe that the film is going to be a bad ass revenge movie because as soon as he is released, he goes for revenge, but then it changes. The film all of a sudden becomes a mystery/thriller drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat for almost two hours. There is just so many emotions going through this film that you are surprised that the writing team was able to convey all of those into this one film. There is enough blood, sex, and violence to satisfy anyone and there is enough suspense as well. This is the film that just keeps giving and giving that you understand why Hollywood tried to turn this into an American classic. It should come as no surprise that this film came out of South Korea because they have been making intense films for quite some time now and I have been enjoying them for quite some time too. The film is available for streaming on Netflix and I strongly suggest watching this film if you want something a little different in your life. Plus, you should really watch this before you check out the remake that starred Josh Brolin. I am going to give this film an A for a final grade because it was that good.