Reasons to See “Pacific Rim”

Now I must admit that initially my interest in seeing Pacific Rim was not high at all. Initially I found the trailer a little bit confounding. Sure I knew that it was a Guillermo del Toro film that featured big robots and monsters, but I was uncertain as to whether that would be enough to pique my interest and part with my hard-earned cash. Add to that my general ignorance as to the plot. So, as the release date for this film approached, the most I knew in the lead up was that this is the film delToro did INSTEAD of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

However as 2013 rolled forward and summer blockbuster season drew nearer, I became more and more curious about Pacific Rim if for no other reason that I kept seeing the trailer in the preview of other movies I was seeing. Besides, seeing more of Idris Elba did not hurt matters. Taken in its whole, each step of the way gleaned a much clearer sense of what the film’s storyline.


If any of you still have not seen this film and/or generally have no clue what it is about, let me borrow the movie’s official synopsis:

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

Sounds like fun, eh? So you must be wondering by now what I thought (or maybe not) of it. Well, either way, here you go – all I can say is that I am glad that I bought the hype because what I saw earlier this month was one of the best movies not only for the summer, but for the year as well. My reasoning? Take a look down below for a couple of my thoughts.


The Ensemble Cast

This cast is an eclectic mix of performers that really work well together and leave you invested in their mission to move the plot forward. Guillermo delToro has the talent for assembling an interesting collection of people who work well as an ensemble.


Shout-out to An Awesome Heroine

Maybe I am biased because I am a girl but I love when women take care of business on the big screen. Mako (Kikuchi) is equally strong and lithe.  She clearly holds her own.



Pacific Rim Knows What is Was & Still Executes it With Aplomb

I will not bother to mention the numerous variations of huge monsters and machines banging about genre of action picture that have graced the silver screen, but let’s say that at best, they are a hodgepodge of loud, spectacular audio and visuals and really not much else. For what it is worth in the case of Pacific Rim there were actually characters that were relevant and that you had some attachment to. Credit where credit is due; see note on cast (above).

Also, I think that for many folks (consciously or not), just because a film’s subject is not what one would consider award-winning cinema (at least on the surface), that thoughtful, deliberate execution should not be applied. As I stated above, just throwing a bunch of stuff at the screen that has people go OOH and AAH is not enough; a lot of movie audiences are smarter than that. Again, credit to the overseer of this endeavor, Guillermo delToro for making an actioner with a little more weight to it.

I know his vision and imagination may not be suited for everyone’s taste (heck, I am still wrapping my head around Pan’s Labyrinth), but he does have a way of blending moments of action, suspense, and emotion with the right amount of humor just for good measure. Here the humor is marked by the presence of  1) the mad scientists (Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, recalling for me classic duos like Charters and Caldicott) and 2) Hellboy himself, Ron Perlmann.


One side note – this is yet another of those rare cases, where I really am glad that I saw the film in IMAX 3D.



In what has thus far been a rather disappointing summer at the multiplex, Pacific Rim was a fun and refreshing addition. This is one that definitely deserves to be seen.

Weekend Vieiwing Recap

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend – especially my countrymen, many of whom most likely are recovering from a rather long holiday break. I for one loved mine. I stuffed myself silly, got to see the Wimbledon fortnight to draw to a resounding close (especially on the gentlemen’s side – GO ANDY MURRAY!!), went to the cinema and caught up on some must-see TV. So, without further ado, let me recap on the latter half of my weekend activities.


ORPHAN BLACK – Season One (BBC America)
I must admit I was always intrigued by this series ever since I saw the adverts for it. But unfortunately for me I have the TV viewing attention of a gnat and can only focus on about one or two first-run shows in a given a season. Well with the summer in full swing and no new epis coming up, I was able to turn my attentions to this captivating sci-fi drama. Lead by the talented Tatiana Maslany who assumes many characters, the show will and leave you convinced that these are all totally different people (I smell an Emmy in her future). I do not want to divulge too much of the plot (although some clever folks may be able to read between the lines), but all I can say is that this ten-episode arc is must-see TV, leaving the stage set for what is sure to be an equally exciting sophomore season.



THE HEAT (in Cinemas)
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock
This is one film that did not immediately fall on my radar but I had heard good things about it so I said what the heck – might as well go for it! I am glad I did. Granted, there were some problems I had with the film (moments of narrative unevenness, etc.), these were minor problems at that. When you take the film for what it is worth – a buddy cop comedy – it delivers and most assuredly past the all-important “laugh test.” Also, it was great fun for a change to see Sandra Bullock in a comedic role that is straight up meant to make us laugh with only the slightest hint of a romantic interest. But again, McCarthy takes the cake with her rapid-fire delivery and funny one-liners.


What did you watch this weekend?

“I’m So Excited”, or Am I?

I dunno. First, I must admit that I while I am familiar with the work of Pedro Almodovar, his are not films I clamor to see on the regular. I mean my intention is always to venture off into his whimsical world, but some how or other, the universe deems it not to be the case.

Well that is until now. As my personal entree into the cinematic sensibilities of the highly acclaimed director, I am not sure what to make of I’m So Excited. One thing is certain: I left the screening a bit confused by what I saw.


But to be fair, confusion, as a state of mind, is not always a bad thing. As a result, I went all Pollyanna and decided to turn my bewilderment on its head and make this a ‘teachable moment’ for myself. In order to do this, I made it mandatory that I ground my understanding the film’s purpose and its place in the oeuvre of Almodovar. I did this in two steps:

1. Review the Film’s Synopsis

A technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death. © Sony Classics

Sure I probably should have read this BEFORE attending the screening, but I didn’t. No going back now. That said, while this scenario leaves out several plot points (mainly as to the state of the passengers on-board), I think you get where this is going. Fair enough, the interlocking themes of sex and death are glaringly obvious, so at least on paper, this has the potential to be an interesting story to tell cinematically.

2. Reviewing Almodovar’s Bio- and Filmography

Well, well, Pedro’s CV is quite impressive (DUH) and, as I said at the open, includes several films that remain on my ‘must-see’ list in spite of the fact that I never actually get around to seeing them. These include Talk to Her, Volver (which I actually own but am too lazy to put in the DVD Player), and The Skin I Live In. With all of the praise heaped on these films, one could only expect a ‘return’ to his earlier days of offbeat comedy to be warmly greeted by long time admirers, while at the same time offering a wonderful point of entry for newbies such as me.

I should also state for the record, that I’m So Excited definitely tested by ability not to be affected by the general buzz I hear surrounding a film. So even before I entered the screening, my expectations were dampened by the grumblings of “not a return to form” and other such sayings. I tried in earnest to dismiss these proclamations and go in with an open mind. Yet, taking all of these factors into account and having some distance from the film, I still find myself scratching my head on this one. Sure, I chuckled a few times at its absolute ridiculousness, but after all is said and done …

… my final take on I’m So Excited is that while it is a certainly campy romp (again not a bad thing as a concept), it travels quite far into the absurd. Overall, it felt like a bit of a jumble, with plot strands that are (apparently) intended to be intertwined and central to the whole narrative, instead feeling like they were arbitrarily thrown on the screen.  The set pieces pop and many of principal characters are lovely to look at, but ultimately it all fell a little flat for me.

I think I will pop in that Volver DVD this weekend.

Much Ado About Nothing: ILC’s Take on Whedon’s Take on Shakespeare


It is often said that Shakespeare’s words are indestructible. In general I abide by this rule. But in the world of cinema, there have definitely been those films Shakespearian adaptations that I not responded so well to. For me, a lot of this sentiment boils down to whether or not I actually LIKE the play. For everyone, all Shakespeare material is not created equal.

Some go for the high drama of his tragedies. I myself am a lightweight and prefer the comedies, my favorite being the subject of today’s post. As I mentioned on Tuesday the 1993 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is the high water mark for what I want in a filmed Shakespearean adaptation. So when I heard that Whedon was treating audiences to his modern telling of the story, where I thought I would give pause, almost immediately excited and intrigued me. Ever since its premier at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, I have been eagerly awaiting its wider, theatrical release. After a brief and limited run in NY and LA today, the rest of the nation will finally get to see the wonders of Whedon in this film.

If you need for me to make it any clearer, I LOVED it. Even dresses up in a contemporary setting, the tale and the emotions wrought by the Bard’s words are for all time. And this film is a fine example of that.


Of course it does take some talent to convey this to the audience – credit where credit is due and all. Aside from the direction, which has a wonderful lightness of touch (so appropriate for the source material), the black and cinematography (shot at the Whedon house, no less) definitely lends an interesting, breezy air to the proceedings. You can tell that this was a passion project and it was planned, created and played with a great deal of heart.

Much Ado About Nothing could not and would not work without the aid of some very capable acting. Whedon goes to his roster of Angel/Buffy/Firefly/Dollhouse alumni for many of the principle roles.

All of the little verbal tweaks made (including changing the gender of Don John’s villainous conspirators) was not at all jarring and only to make the film that much more interesting.

Overall, I say this is time well spent in the cinema and I encourage all to seek it out and enjoy. Oh yeah and it will make you laugh too! Check out the trailer, with music courtesy of Joss Whedon below:


My Thoughts on “Man of Steel”

So, I am not a master of properly putting my ‘reviews’ (I use the term advisedly) into prose form; the write ups usually turn into a muddle of random thoughts and ramblings about a given cinematic experience. I say this as a means of forewarning you that this post, my ‘review’ of Man of Steel will probably meet this threshold.

Immediately after the screening I attended yesterday and going into today, there are an overabundance of thoughts, feelings and words, plenty of words circling my brain as I search for a way to coherently describe all that I feel about Man of Steel. Without further ado, I am going to jump right into it. Again bear with me as this is not going to have the most logical of flows.


So Much Story, So Little Time

There were a lot of things going on in this film and maybe they could have pared it down a bit, but who I am to judge? It feels like a case of one (or many) set pieces too many. I particularly felt that the “battle royale” between Superman and his nemeses dragged on a bit.

But it is likely that I am over critiquing this aspect because as we all know Nolan and Goyer are masters at creating cinematic puzzles. We are barely at the assembly stage – with Man of Steel the puzzle box has been opened and all the pieces dumped on the table. How it all comes together is something that we will have the pleasure of watching over the next several years.


Symbolism Everywhere

Tying into what I mentioned above, between the allusions to immigration, Jesus Christ, eugenics and fate/destiny (to name a few), my senses were on symbolism overload. Just wanted to put that out there.


The Darkness and the Light

From the outset, the lasting impression from Man of Steel was the weightiness of the material. This most certainly was not the Superman tale of my youth.  At times I was worried that the gravity with which the material was presented would was going to really drag the movie down. One especially dark turn took place during a shocking, unexpected denouement, at least by Superman standards. Yet in the end I felt there were enough moments of levity to balance this out.


Getting to Know You

This is a theme that you will notice I stick with throughout this post but I think that it is worth mentioning that Man of Steel, if nothing else focused heavily on character development. Of course at the center of it is Clark Kent/ Kal El/ Superman and his struggle for identity, understanding who he is and his purpose. The search easily parallels that struggle we all face in our own lives, but it clearly takes on a different tone in a universe where Krypton and Metropolis exist. One aspect of the character and relationship development that did not work for me as well was the relationship between Clark and Lois Lane. After some long thought on this subject I have come up with the following theory – that story-wise, the relationship is such because the filmmakers were attempting to solve the age-old “inside joke” concerning people’s knowledge/ignorance of our superhero’s true identity.



Which Leads Me to the Acting …

In particular, I think that Cavill did a very good job in his portrayal; he was able to convey someone who was both foreign and still in touch with an earthly humanity (a stranger in a strange land).

Bye, bye camp villain – Michael Shannon is so menacing as a screen presence; I found myself equally exhilarated and frightened his portrayal as General Zod.

I do not know what it is about the Lois Lane character, but it seems as equally difficult to cast as Superman himself. You need someone who can hold their own with the Man of Steel as a believably spunky, rebel of a reporter. Amy Adams does not knock it out of the park but hers is such an affable screen presence that I can go with it.

Equal props to Russell Crowe and a sagacious Kevin Costner as Clark’s / Kal’s two dads – very good performances, gentlemen. Heck, solid performances all around. I suspect that in future installments a couple of characters (looking to you Perry White) will be a little more fleshed out.



But I Feel for Those Folks Who Were Less Than Enthusiastic About MoS, Too

I can totally empathize with the detractors and those who were a bit disappointed by the film. I do not think there is any denying that this is a very well made film. But what it boils down to in my opinion, is expectation. As I have chronicled on this blog since the first teasers for this film were released, my anticipation for the film has gone from zero to a moderate level of excitement. Even with that growing eagerness to see the film, my expectations were still managed so that in the end, I think I could be no less that satisfied with what I would eventually see. I know that for many fans of Superman and the overall comic genre, a lot was riding on this film to deliver in a way that some other superhero predecessors have done. As I have learned, the game of expectation comes is high stakes for the moviegoer. Go back almost 12 months to the day to see what I mean.

Another mark against the film that I have heard or read about is that many people were looking for a little more balance in the portrayal of Clark and his alter ego. My response to that is:  Man of Steel is CLEARLY the opening act in a three part story, so there is no need to introduce all aspects of the character(s) just yet. Think of this first installment as Superman 101. In other words, do not fret dear viewer, let’s just wait and see what is to come. On a side note: one does not have to be a complete dork to be a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper; trust me, it can work.


In the End …

I could go on, but I won’t. Let me finish by saying the more I think about Man of Steel, the more I like it and what its creators were setting out to accomplish. It was an ambitious exercise to set about doing – taking a well loved set of characters and altering their universe in a way that may not be to everyone’s liking. Yes, there are pieces of the story and its delivery that work better than others, but in the end I can do nothing but recommend you see this film and judge for yourself.



Have you seen it? What do you think? Hit the comments section below.




42 (2013)

There is something about baseball that translates so well to the silver screen – especially when it is a story well told. Sure, as I have gotten older, my interest in the national pastime as a spectator sport has been supplanted by the tennis and international football (soccer), but when it comes to sports on film, I would say nothing beats a good, nostalgic baseball tale.


Last week, I attended a special screening of the Jackie Robinson biopic 42.

For even the most casual of sports fan, the story of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier transcends the realm of sports history and is now woven into the fabric of the larger American story. But for the sake of context, it may help to go into a little more detail –

42 chronicles Robinson’s (played here by newcomer Chadwick Boseman) early years as he works his way from the Negro Leagues, to the minors and finally spans his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The film also examines Robinson’s relationship with his wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie), his Dodgers teammates and Dodger General Manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).

What resonated for me was watching a man who understood what his presence meant at this particular place and time in history; the burden he shouldered with an almost unconscionable, dare I say, “superhuman” amount of resolve is something I could not even imagine.


I have read where some suggest that the sentimentality spin and old fashioned structure of the film will not work for everyone. My retort? Au, contraire! I think given the setting and central story being told, this style of the film is just right.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the performances – across the board, they were good. I would like to serve special notice to Chadwick Boseman filling the shoes of a legend.

So you may be wondering what made this screening special? Well, in attendance was no other than fellow Mount Vernon-ite and Robinson teammate Ralph Branca, who participated in a post-screening question and answer session in which he talked about growing up in Mount Vernon, NY and his remembrances of playing with and being in the locker room with Jackie Robinson.

This story (and all that surrounds it) holds a special place in my heart – it is yet another cinematic reference that brings to mind my beloved dad. Raised along the eastern seaboard in cities like Baltimore and New York, he spent his formative years Brooklyn, attending Boys High School and being a die hard Dodgers fan. Even when the Dodgers “betrayed” their fans and fled to the greener pastures of Chavez Ravine (Los Angeles, CA), pops continued to follow the team from a distance. As a teacher and lover of African American history Jackie Robinson’s story had immeasurable impact (I imagine) on his life and that was passed on to us.

Have you seen it? Let me know what you think by posting your comments below.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)


As I mentioned in an earlier post upon seeing the trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness, I was a bit concerned that the film would be too earnest for its own good. The trailer came off as dark and menacing. Not that these elements in of themselves are enough to turn me away from the movie theater doors, I was fearful that the sequel would lose some of the charm and whimsy that made the first movie a wonderful surprise.

I have no idea why I doubted JJ Abrams’ ability to make a sequel that is equal parts entertaining, funny and dramatic. In summary, Star Trek Into Darkness did NOT disappoint.

The action starts off with the USS Enterprise going on a mission that does not go quite as expected; the result being the demotion of our fearless/reckless Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine). At the same time, there appears to be an imminent threat to the Star Fleet and it resources. The suspect is an enigmatic figure, one Jon Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). His actions set into motion circumstances that place the newly re-appointed Captain Kirk and his crew on a mission that has many twists and turns.

At the center of all the amazing action sequences and set pieces continues to be the relationships – principally the one between Kirk and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto). While Kirk is all emotion, Spock seems to fight against his human nature for his own self-preservation, as he tells Kirk and Uhura (Zoë Saldana) in a very moving sequence. What you are left with is an intriguing picture of a friendship forged from the most unlikely duo. Even though most of us are familiar with the Kirk/Spock relationship from the TV series, Abrams’ take is so very touching.

Now to the principal villain. I do not want to spoil ANYTHING (I actually was blissfully ignorant as to who was what in the film), but the main villain that everyone is aware of is the always delightful to watch Benedict Cumberbatch. Let’s face it – that man has a face marked for villainy, especially of the urbane variety. That said what is haunting is the cold way in which he delivers his brutality.

Yeah I know I mentioned in my Iron Man 3 interview I bellyached about the IMAX 3D experience, so chances were I would not want to relive that experience a second time. But call me a glutton for punishment I went ahead and paid for the privilege. To add to my enjoyment for the evening, this was not a bad 3D experience. So while I may not 100% sold on 3D for cinema-going yet, it does seem like for those who are willing to part with a few extra dollars, you may want to part with it here.

In discussing the film after the fact – someone brought up an interesting point to me – while the Star Trek films have been fun to watch, the ‘campy’ references to the legendary TV show run the risk of wearing thin as future installments of the franchise are released. We know that the Star Trek universe has limitless story possibilities, so this is a great time to explore those narrative opportunities. I am SO here for all of that!

Have you seen Star Trek Into Darkness? Hit up the Comments section of my post!


Just a Few Questions Concerning Iron Man 3 (Contains Spoilers)

These are just a few thoughts/open-ended questions that have been swirling in my mind since I saw Iron Man 3 yesterday (yeah yeah I know suspension of disbelief and all but for reals, this stuff was kinda sorta nagging me, so bear with).

  1. Will Happy slip back into a coma after watching season 3 of Downton Abbey?
  2. How did Tony Stark pay for all of that hardware when he was in exile in Tennessee? ILCs Theory: emergency stash of cash in the Iron Man suit.
  3. Speaking of Tennessee, that little kid – precocious or just plain annoying?
  4. Why didn’t they have the Thermal Soldiers [copyright ME ;)] guarding the ‘hideaway’? Side Note: bullet to the kneecap ALWAYS looks so painful.
  5. Rebecca Hall’s appearance, a bit of a letdown?
  6. Why is Miguel Ferrer always playing a bit of a creep?
  7. Exactly how does one reverse making someone a thermal person? I see you Pepper Potts …
  8. Guy Pearce + Don Cheadle two actors I am glad to see on the screen and collecting (what I imagine is) a nice paycheck. Well done boys.
  9. 3D AND IMAX, really?
  10. Why did I stay until the end credits?

In spite of these asinine questions and observations I have just presented, I really did enjoy the film – more than the second (well except for this bit):

and not nearly as much as the first one.

Robert Downey Jr. always sells the role enough to keep me interested in seeing where the character is going. The ‘peripheral’ characters (a term used advisedly) did not hold as much sway for me.


A lot of the charm in the Iron Man canon was the levity and humor that was here, mainly in the form of Sir Ben Kingsley (spoilers), was patchy at best. Frankly I was expecting a little more since Shane Black was affiliated with the film but then I remembered this was a PG-13 film whose goal was to shoot straight down the middle and fill as many theater seats possible (still salty about the whole 3D/IMAX ‘experience’ but I digress – really is my own fault).

Let me know what you think in the Comments section below.




The Central Park Five (2012)


As a child bought up in the greater New York City area during the 1980s, I was privy to the highly charged racial politics of that era. It seemed like every week, there was a media account of a crime that had a racial dynamic – they involved people such as Bernie Goetz, Eleanor Bumpurs, and Michael Stewart; to this day, this moment in New York history continues to fascinate me. Although I was in the ‘burbs, the climate generated from cases such as the subject of this post, the Ken Burns directed documentary, The Central Park Five (based on the book written by his daughter, Sarah) reverberated and left a lasting impression on me, which to this day – even in the midst of a revitalized and thriving city, dampens my spirits. For readers who may not know too much detail about NYC during this time, let me put my perspective in the simplest of terms: as a child, I was not too keen on venturing out into the city.  No one place encapsulated my fear more than Central Park, the scene of this particular crime. I remember when a friend of the family went to the park in 1983 to see Diana Ross perform; I was so worried for her personal safety. But I digress.


For the details of the case in particular, I refer you to case history on the Innocence Project website. This case also brought the term wilding into the common vernacular. Unfortunately for the young men, the media scrutiny that accompanied the trial did not see its way to the re-examination of their case. The film illuminates many details that I was unaware of at the time, often told from the perspective of each of the Central Park Five and reporters, etc. who were covering the stories of the time. While watching the film, I felt equal parts anger, abject sadness (had the tears to prove it), and joy and exultation.


As a fan of Burns’ other works, the pace and tone was definitely a departure of form, but that does not make the storytelling any less effective. It just proves that Burns is one of the finer authors of the many facets to the American experience.


During my screening back in February at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a question and answer session was held with two of the five exonerated men (Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam). It was at points heartbreaking but ultimately, like the documentary itself, an inspiring display of what persistence and grace can deliver. I especially appreciated the care and consideration given not only to their plight, but also to the plight of the victim, then and now.


While the film received a cinematic release in late 2012, it is now available on video and TOMORROW it will premier on PBS at 9PM EST! So check your local public television station for more broadcast details.



Everybody Has a Plan (Todos Tenemos Un Plan) Argentina, 2012

First off – sorry this review is posted so late; but as the following passage in the Robert Burns poem, To a Mouse states:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

I so had the best of intentions last week and while I had bits of my commentary written out, I just could not manage to finish and refine it on time. ANYWAYS, I am finally there and so, here we are.

Normally when I am posting a review/response to a film, I do not look at what others say. This time however and for this film in particular, I was a bit curious. When I read the IMDB rating and the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate, as well as read some of the corresponding reviews, I was a bit surprised. While I would not put this film up there with the great thrillers of this or any other era, it is not the as bad as some would characterize it.

Indeed the film is held together for the most part on the strength of its lead, Viggo Mortensen; but there is another element that captured my notice – the environmental setting, known in Argentina as the Tigre Delta. It seems the perfect location and backdrop for a story shrouded in mystery; one that relies on the revelations of the unknown.


Directed and written by filmmaker Ana Piterbarg, Everybody Has a Plan (Todos Tenemos Un Plan) tells the story of brothers Agustin and Pedro (Mortensen in a dual role), who could not be any different. By all accounts, Agustin is respectable doctor who lives with his wife in Buenos Aires. Eventually the audience is made privy to the uneasiness that Agustin has with his staid life and is seeking life’s ‘next big adventure.’

His identical twin brother, Pedro, lives in the aforementioned Delta of their childhood. Early on, it was not totally apparent to me what he was involved in, but it definitely looked a little shady. Almost immediately, my suspicions were confirmed.


At the moment of Pedro’s untimely (?) death Agustin decides to put action to his thoughts about pursuing that adventure, assuming his brother’s identity and returning to the Tigre Delta. Upon his arrival ‘home,’ he soon discovers the many layers of his brother’s less-than-noble activities.


So what did I think about the film? Off the bat, I must admit, that yes, some of the criticism (and praise) I have read was reasonable. On the plus side thee was the already referred to performance of Viggo Mortensen.

On the negative side, on more than one occasion, I was not sure what this film was trying to be – was it a straightforward crime thriller? an intense family relationship drama? a taught mystery?

Now, this is not to say a film cannot have ALL of these elements but rather that at its most effective, a film more or less follows an identifiable narrative path. The process of moving beyond this convention to surprise and shock an audience is usually left to the most artistically adventurous of filmmakers.

For Mortensen’s part, I can totally see why he would take on this project (he is also credited one of the film’s Producers). Having spent his early years in Argentina, this marks a homecoming of sorts. It is obvious in his portrayal that he is comfortable and at ease with the material and the language.

So to recap, not a great film but definitely a terrible one either (at least in my opinion).

Filmed in Spanish with English subtitles; total running time of 118 minutes.