Only a few hours after a rampant (and action-packed) attack on drug gangs in the original film, “The Raid”, the sequel “The Raid 2: Berandal” shows young policeman Rama being coerced into a very dangerous operation: He is supposed to infiltrate Jakarta’s world of organized crime in order to uncover the background of corruption and drug syndicates. Again his assignment results in a fight for survival. Displaying diversified techniques from various martial arts and brutal fight scenes, the film is a genuine action spectacle.
The main topic of „The Grand Seduction“ is, of course, seduction. Or rather the question of how to lure a physician into settling down in an idyllically situated yet economically ruined small harbour town in Newfoundland. Out-of-work and impoverished the residents expect the contract for a factory to improve their financial situation, but having the factory built there requires a resident doctor. To secure their town’s future the villagers go to great lengths in order to woo a plastic surgeon, who by chance happens to be in town for a few weeks, and make him fall in love with the tranquil place.
Knowing, not knowing, un-knowing – our use of language and our interpretations of something that we call “truth” illustrate how we handle information. “The Unknown Known” is more than a filmed interview with former US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Using countless memos that Rumsfeld wrote during his long career in politics, various segments from press conferences and other similar material, many an inconsistency and inconvenient question emerges, countered and dodged by the experienced politician with stunning rhetoric skill and eloquent sophistry.
Not only the poster for “The Amazing Catfish” reminded me of the endearing “Little Miss Sunshine”, but also the way this Mexican family drama presents dysfunctional familial relations in a touching yet laconic manner along with the emotions and personal difficulties of everyone involved. When young and lonely Claudia meets terminally ill Martha and her four kids, she also starts walking that tightrope between loving care and the feeling of belonging on one side and smothering intimacy on the other, while slowly she becomes more and more involved into their lives…
Stage legends are a popular Leo-topic. With “Jersey Boys” Clint Eastwood adapted the story (which was already a successful musical) of four young men from New Jersey, who made their way from New Jersey’s Italo-American community into the spotlights of the world’s greatest stages, gaining international and lasting fame as “The Four Seasons”. In four chapters one band member at a time narrates from his individual perspective the history of their success with all the glamorous and dramatic ups and downs.
There was no “proper” Virgo-movie to be found in July. Yet the essential idea of “The Purge: Anarchy” has quite some Virgo-quality to offer – combined with Scorpio (e.g. as a Virgo-Pluto, under which the generation of the director and some of the producers was born): Here we have a society “cleansing” itself by permitting any crime on one particular day of the year. Rather pragmatically channelling and controlling the potential for violence like that, has lead to an astonishingly low rate of acts of violence during the rest of the year. However, the movie built around this premises is mainly survival-cinema with lots of Aries-action and characteristic Scorpio-like scenarios of menace and fear – the abyss of human nature is never easily controlled by pragmatic reason.
With its amorous entanglements and misunderstandings, the sophisticated schemes and match-makings and all the allusive and witty banter Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” is a classic example for Libra-material. And although the new adaptation by Joss Whedon is given a very modern look, while keeping the original text, it still focuses and ponders the various concepts of love, which are contemplated through the differing desires and ideas of all protagonists.
The Korean movie “The King of Pigs” demonstrates that an animated film can be as brutally disturbing as any depiction of schooldays amidst the nightmarish hell of excessive violence and cruelty can get. After not being in touch for more than 15 years, two former schoolmates meet up again and while they rekindle their memories of being bullied and victimized, it is revealed bit by bit how pent-up rage can change into utter inhumanity and transform traumatized teenagers into traumatizing adults.
“Desert Dancer” is the true story of Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian, who founded a dance company and after secret rehearsals staged a clandestine performance in the desert in a country where dancing has been forbidden since 35 years. The liberal message about free artistic expression and expansion is delivered including a lot of political pathos and contrasted with violent repression by governmental forces. Thus the movie essentially became a cinematic appeal for broad-mindedness and tolerance, emphasizing the importance of (not only) artistic freedom.
The title of the Chinese film “Black Coal, Thin Ice” already suggests the bleak social realism that is characteristic for its tone and colouring. In a sparse coal-mining region, where landscapes are dominated by detritus and hoist frames, a disillusioned, lonesome ex-cop on his own investigates a case that bears similarities to the one which derailed his life some years ago. Images of dirty winter streets, reticence and depression amidst the meagre working class surroundings create the gloomy atmosphere of this neo-noir thriller that won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale festival.
Set against the backdrop of a society which is deeply marked by massive gender-inequality the German-Indian coproduction “Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost" tells an extraordinary story (with some Cancer-elements) about a typically Aquarian reflection: the origin of (social) gender versus (biological) sex. After three “useless” daughters a father wishes so desperately for a son that he ignores the anatomy of his newborn, using his patriarchal position of power to stipulate the child’s gender as male and raise him accordingly…
Colourfully imaginative, with brilliant 3D-imagery and influenced by magical realism "The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet" presents the twee little story about a ten year old prodigy from rural Montana, who invents some kind of a perpetual motion machine after his twin brother had died in an accident. His invention earns him a prize, awarded by the renowned Smithsonian Institute, so the boy runs away from home and, stowing away on a freight train, travels to Washington D.C. to hold his acceptance speech. The journey, of course, is filled with wondrously quirky and cute incidents…
The Cinemascope is meant to give an overview of current movies and their main themes from an astrosemiotical perspective (i.e.: regarding film as semiotic system and translating it into the astrological semiotic system). A well made movie not only has a story and a certain theme, it also provides a special atmosphere, a certain feeling and it draws us into its very own world. This basic quality that is contrived through characters, plot, setting and many other components also translates into one or more astrological principles. Quite simply: a fast-paced action-flick confronts us with plain Aries energy, a horror-movie evokes Scorpio-like abysmal depths and fears etc. We step out of the theatre and – if the film succeeded in sucking us in – find ourselves dwelling on and engaging in that special energetic quality.