‘Babylon’ (★★), the orgy factory and other releases of the week

These are the movie premieres that hit the screens starting on January 20:

Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jean Smart
Production: USA, 2022. Drama

There are no traces of humility in ‘Babylon’ and yes, instead (and in abundance), an exacerbated, torrential megalomania…

By Jordi Batlle Caminal

It is the most famous phrase of captives of evil, Vincente Minnelli’s masterpiece: “To be a good film director you have to have humility.” To Damien Chazelle, the author of the prodigious la la land, talent comes out of his ears, but he should have an ego X-ray done, which would surely show a noticeable lack of humility. There is no trace of humility in Babylon and yes, instead (and in abundance), an exacerbated, torrential megalomania, which reverts to a blockbuster of three unequal, unbalanced hours, where there are as many moments of good cinema as of gratuitous grandiloquence. Chazelle has made an excessive and baroque historical fresco of the golden Hollywood of the twenties, that factory of dreams that, behind closed doors, was also a factory of orgies. The very long first stretch of Babylon describes that perpetual and massive party of sex, alcohol, music and drugs with a visual monumentality worthy, precisely, of the Babylonian fragment of Intolerancefrom Griffith.

Embellished with insubstantial sequences (the one with the rattlesnake or everything concerning the character played by Tobey Maguire), Babylon focuses its most emotional moments on the stories starring Margot Robbie (extraordinary: Robbie is today the Sharon Stone of thirty years ago and, here, the Sharon of casino: effervescent, impetuous, fragile) and Brad Pitt, an idol of silent cinema that does not fit into sound. Moviegoers with knowledge of this historical period will know how to recognize their real referents in these and other fictional characters.

Damien Chazelle behind the camera giving instructions to ‘Babylon’ cinematographer Linus Sandgren

Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures/AP

The film, in fact, not only comes to tell us the same thing that Singing under the rain (the traumatic transition from silent to spoken film), but explicitly uses Donen and Kelly’s unfading classic to illustrate their speech, which concludes in the same way as they concluded and the world marchesof King Vidor, or Sullivan’s Travels, by Preston Sturges: an epiphany that certifies that, although that was the place of sin and dissipation, the fruits that emerged from Mecca constitute the best therapy to combat the evils of the world and make us happy. A film that exudes so much love for cinema is impossible not to love it a little.

Decision to leave (★★★★)
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Tang Wei, Park Hae-Il, Park Yong-woo, Yoo Seung-mok. Production: South Korea, 2022. 138 m. intrigue and drama

maze of passions

By Salvador Llopart

Like the feeling of emptiness left by a half-assembled puzzle, Decision to leave, by Park Chan-wook, unsettles, confuses and intrigues you in equal measure. We are before a dramatic symphony that advances in search of its main melody, a complex spider web that starts with a policeman obsessed with a woman, an alleged murderer, and a corpse at the foot of a steep, beautiful and lethal mountain, like the same women. It has fallen? Or have you been pushed? Murder?

Thus we enter the known territory of the darkest thriller, confirmed by the appearance of the aforementioned femme fatale by the wonderful Tang Wei, an actress who is surrounded by the same aura of enchantment that surrounded the young Gong Li. She is the (black) widow of the drama, the first suspect, indifferent to death or so it seems. Her power of seduction is worth that basic instinct by Paul Verhoeven, although Wei has no need to cross his legs like Sharon Stone in front of her persistent questioner; she is enough for him and there is plenty, to seduce him, share a plate of sushi with him.

An image of 'Decision to leave'

An image of ‘Decision to leave’

Decision to leave It starts out like a film noir that, as the drama progresses, twitches and clogs, just as the director’s camera twitches in exact correspondence. Increasingly impossible and complex frames, the images overlap, duplicate, blur: they reflect each other. The story, in turn, advances through dichotomies, in a game of mirrors capable of confronting the beauty of the ocean against the greatness of the mountain; desire against duty, and love against hate. Closed spaces are cages and mobiles, together with the smart watch, reach unsuspected heights of dramatic functionality.

And so, to the restlessness of the initial labyrinth, of pure film noir, the paroxysm of love is added and the conventions of the genre explode in a story enraptured around lies and deceit. Like in Vertigoby Hitchcock, a clear reference to the new film by the director of oldboyobsession prevails and, at times, madness. Decision to leave it is pure north face of mystery, not suitable for lazy spectators and spectators. Like a postponed enigma, the first consequence in oneself, after seeing it, you see, is the imperious need to tackle it again.

An inheritance of death (★)
Director: Dean Craig
Cast: Toni Collette, Anna Faris, David Duchovny
Production: USA, 2022. Comedy

death certificates

By J. Batlle

The Spanish title of this comedy is a reminder of the two versions of a death funeral (the original English from 2007 and the American remake from 2010) written by Dean Craig, who now, also taking responsibility for the realization, offers us a similar plot scheme: several members of a family gathered in a large house in a tangle that grows every five minutes, this time fighting over an inheritance.

film frame

film frame

Unfortunately, the wit and cascade of brilliant gags of a death funeral they are conspicuous here by their absence, the funny situations are scarce and the rhythm, non-existent. The most unfortunate thing is to see how respectable actresses and actors (among them, an incredibly pachydermic Kathleen Turner) are shipwrecked in the effort, who in each scene seem to be writing their artistic death certificates.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time (★★)
Directed by: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki
Production: Japan, 2021. 154 m. Animation

Gibberish on a cosmic scale

By S. Llopart

In the same vein as the bombastic dystopias of undeniable Japanese origin, with reference cinematographic works such as Akira Y Ghost in the shellthis last volume of the renewed series is moved evangelionwith a title as cryptic and impenetrable as the proposal itself.

tape frame

tape frame

evangelion It began as a television adaptation of a “mecha”, those stories of giant robots directed by people, à la Mazinger, followed, in cinema, by movies and movies. More than thirty years after its beginning, the series comes to an end with this installment of undeniable visual brilliance -pure hallucinogenic art- although impenetrable, at least for one, dramatic development. Sound and fury on a cosmic scale, where they say that the cabal and mysticism serve as a reference to the drama. Epic clash of metal, always on the brink of hysteria. this frantic evangelion last rather seems the long conclusion of 2001: A Space Odysseyin its impenetrability. Sidereal epic for very fans. Dizziness impressive for the neophyte.

The fred that cream (★)
Address: Santi Trullenque
Performers: Greta Fernández, Roger Casamajor, Adrià Collado
Production: Spain-Andorra, 2022. Drama

Andorra, 1943

By J. Batlle

the fred that cream aspires next Sunday to the Gaudí for the best film spoken in Catalan together with Alcarrás, Suro Y We will not kill with pistols, the four located far from the large urban centers. Here the geographical setting is Andorra, the Andorra of 1943, and the plot revolves around two axes: the passage of Jews fleeing from the Nazi horror and trying to reach Spain and the conflicts of the married couple that welcomes them, which include soap opera family secrets.

An image of 'The Fred Who Creamed'

An image of ‘The Fred Who Creamed’

EDITORIAL / Other sources

Apparently more concerned with the setting and period details than with the credibility of the events narrated (ridiculous when the figure of the German officer appears, who stars in a scene that seems like a parody of the prologue of Damn bastards), the film is in line with the typical TV3 “de qualité” productions, as neat as they are nondescript.

8 years (★)
Address: JD Alcazar
Performers: Carlos Mestanza, Miguel Diosdado, Natalia Rodríguez. Production: Spain, 2021. Drama

two on the island

By S. Llopart

Love in times of anger; the one that awakens this rather clumsy film that follows the reunion of a homosexual couple. The place chosen for reconciliation is the island of Palma, in the Canary Islands. An island road movie that wants to be as physical as it is sentimental and ends up more like an advertising spot. Common places abound in this film that, in an unprecedented way, reaches theaters after months on a domestic platform like Filmin, where it continues. That is, as a film, its greatest uniqueness.

The protagonists of '8 years'

The protagonists of ‘8 years’

José and David, the protagonists, were a couple for seven years. After their breakup, a few months ago, they want to give themselves a new opportunity in La Palma, there where they met. That is the plan and, for this, they go to parties with colorful characters; they visit lost beaches and magnificent forests. They also attend a succession of beautiful sunsets and, out of jealousy, have the occasional alternate between them. And a little more. Love is in the air on the island of La Palma. But the cinema is certainly elsewhere.

‘Babylon’ (★★), the orgy factory and other releases of the week