Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best Films of 2015 - Festival in LA

The Best Films of 2015
By Jose Alberto Hermosillo,

1.               Anomalisa

2.               The Revenant

3.               Room

4.               Youth

5.               A War

6.               Amy

7.               Ixcanul

8.               Dope

9.               Mustang
10.             What We Do in the Shadows          


Special mentions:

“Joy, “Out of My Hand,” “Trumbo,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Chronic,” “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” "Four Corners," “Brooklyn,” "99 Homes,"“Me, Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Number One Fan,” “Desde Allá/From Far,” “The New Girlfriend,” "Rams," "The Martian," "The Fencer," “The Vanished Elephant/El Elefante desaparecido,” "Contrapelo (Short)."


The Best Film Festival Posters of 2015           

Can “The Revenant” Be a Good Oscar® Contender?   

The Top Ten Mexican Movies in Hola Mexico 2015  

10 Must-See French Films at COLCOA 2015

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Flies High For Accomplishment and Awards

“Güeros” A Lyrical Love Letter to Mexico City

Copyright © 2015 Festival in LA

Monday, December 21, 2015

Concussion: Or Mr. Will Smith Goes to Washington

By José Alberto Hermosillo
 Poster design by Cold Open Copyright Sony Studios  
"Concussion" is a powerful biopic of a man of color who took the world of football by storm on an “Any Given Sunday.” It reflects the man's struggles and accomplishments flawlessly. 

Will Smith shines on the screen. The script of this heartfelt story was tailor-made for the actor to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance.
 Poster design by Cold Open Copyright Sony Studios
"Concussion" is based on the life of the Nigerian immigrant, Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic specialist in the Science of Death who discovered the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a traumatic brain injury better known as a concussion.
Copyright Sony Studios 2015
Doing his studies, Dr. Omalu follows the paths of the bizarre and tragic deaths of former NFL players, who were considered untouchable Gods by fans and the sports authorities. It's not normal to die at fifty active and famous.  

Omalu’s character is faithful to the truth and is not afraid of engaging in an epic battle between David vs. Goliath. 

The football players were suffering from a progressive, degenerative brain disease, a trauma resulting from the constant bumps in the heads from playing America’s favorite sport known as football. 

Copyright Sony Studios 2015
The Nigerian character is a Doctor who came from outside, and who had the vision to understand the true nature of the sport without fanaticism or infatuation. He delivers a significant report using some animals that have their skull a natural shock-absorbent protecting their brains from being damaged. For example, woodpeckers. It is something humans don’t have. 
 Poster design by Cold Open Copyright Sony Studios
During Dr. Omalu's research, he makes some enemies, including the high NFL administrators and also the FBI. 

With determination, he is risking all his savings to investigate the disease.

He also makes a few allies, including a supportive boss Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks), and Dr. Julian Bailer (Alec Baldwin), who believes in Omalu's honesty. 

As a forensic, he is so immersed in his work with the dead bodies that his own boss tells him: “You need a girlfriend; you need to touch someone alive.” 

As an immigrant in America, the doctor has the advantage of being an educated person, and that helps him sometimes to open some doors to continue his studies. And some other times is a stigma working against him, even by people of his own.

Mr. Smith nails the Nigerian accent to perfection, it took him more than three months to master the English/Nigerian accent. 

The script of “Concussion” has some circumstances falling together too quickly, some additional sugar-coated dialogs that sacrifice the symbolism and the subtext, making the information in the speaking parts way too explicable.
 Copyright Sony Studios 2015
For instance, the conversation of Will Smith with his unborn child could be made with images or camera movements rather than words. 

Gugu Mbathka-Raw plays his wife, Prema Mutiso, also an African immigrant who is supportive, but she is not a participant in her husband's challenges.

“Concussion” misses the energy of a starving supporting character, someone like Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry Maguire” who can jump up and down with his famous saying: “Show me the money! Show me the money!”
Photo by Jose A. Hermosillo Copyright FestivalinLA 2015
The opening scene of “Concussion” was not impressive, a montage of the Doctor’s close-ups working with the microscope is much more powerful and meaningful to introduce the story. 

Another reference is the Best Picture Oscar winner “A Beautiful Mind,” where we can see the character’s real struggle and the supportive student who withstand the blows (Jennifer Connelly). We will never forget her famous quote: "I need to believe, that something extraordinary is possible."

Photo by Jose Alberto Hermosillo Copyright © 2015 Festival in LA

Director Peter Landsman’s artistic background helped him to illustrate progressive cinematography and perfect use of colors the characters’ evolution, setting the emotional tones in the right mode. 

For example, while the doctor is working in the morgue, everything is in a dark gray tone, and towards the end, right when “Mr. Will Smith Goes to Washington” to speak to the committee, we can see the warm light at the end of the tunnel. 

“Concussion” is a story of perseverance and struggle for tolerance and understanding, a drama with nationalistic rhetoric where all of us can relate to, and learn something valuable about football and human nature. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Moomins on the Riviera: A Sophisticated Animated Feature with Social Satire

By José Alberto Hermosillo,

Glamorous, affectionate and funny. 
The new flick from Finland “Moomins on the Riviera” is a delightful animation for children of all ages and for grownups too.

The Moomins are a singular family of cute white living things (non-related to the hippopotamus) but look alike.

The Moomins live on a deserted island with a tall lighthouse and palm trees, and nothing else. 

The Moomins are a family of eclectic and intellectual beings who like to live an existentialist life.

After a massive storm, the Moomins see an opportunity to travel for the first time out of the island and accomplish their long-awaited dream: a vacation in the French Riviera. 

Being from a small island, they don’t know much about the sophistication, good manners and fancy of the French people.
In their amazing adventure, they think they are welcome as “guest” at the Riviera's elegant hotel. They don't know they have to pay for such a luxurious service.  

This hand-drawn animation is based on the Tove Jansson’s original comic strips published in a British newspaper since 1955. From then on, the Moomins are very popular in Europe.

When the worlds collide, the Moomins start the fun. 
©Handle Productions
The story is more about friendship and love. 

The Moomins have no money or a high level of education; but they are charming, sweet and loving. 

Others with money and class have an attitude problem, they are snobby and sometimes, no nice.
©Hokandle Productions
The idea of showing the social differences in a cartoon with so much cleverness and humor is fascinating.
©Handle Productions

“Moomins on the Riviera” is a social satire with a good sense of humor. 

"Moomins" is fun and worthy to watch. 

We must forget the existing differences between them and others (like us), because after all, they are only Moomins. 

Related Articles: 
The Best Film Festival Posters of 2014   
15 Latino Submissions for the Academy Awards® 2016 
16 Latino Submissions for the Academy Awards® 2015
Can “The Revenant” Be a Good Oscar® Contender? 
“Ixcanul” Pursuits Guatemala’s First Oscar® Nomination 

Copyright © 2015 Festival in LA