About Louis Maurati

Louis Maurati was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Toronto and has worked for several years in the software development industry. In addition, he has completed an Independent Filmmaking Certification at George Brown College and has made 3 independent short films. His love for film has also transpired into several years of volunteer work at film festivals in Canada and the creation of a personal film review blog. He is most excited to join the City Connect writing team.

Film Review – The Vow

This week, film critic Louis Maurati reviews “The Vow”.

The Vow follows the story of Paige (Rachel McAdams), a young woman who is drawn into a coma after a freak car accident with her husband Leo (Channing Tatum). Upon awakening, she is left with amnesia of the last years of her life, including any recollections of her life with Leo.

Having remembered most of her life before Leo, Paige regroups and clings to those who she thinks that were most dear to her – her family and old friends. All the while, she attempts to find some clarity in her relationship with Leo, but frustration on both ends lead to a demise in their relationship.

Leo’s love for Paige is pure and undying and he eventually lets her go to find her way back to him. Tatum’s performance is quiet and powerful. McAdams conveys her usual subtle loveliness that audiences adore her for.  The onscreen chemistry between McAdams and Tatum is quite strong, reminiscent of McAdams chemistry with Ryan Gosling in the critically acclaimed film The Notebook. On the downside, this film does have several flaws.

It’s attempt at humour comes up dry in several places and some of the secondary characters in the film are painfully underdeveloped. Overall, the film gets the job done and will draw in viewers with it’s attractive cast and story, but it won’t be receiving any accolades by critics abroad. If you are looking for a fun night in the cinema and are the emotional type that likes to shed a tear or two, The Vow is worth the outing.

Watch the full trailer here:

Jane Eyre Deserves Respect

City Connect has caught up with resident film critic Louis Maurati to give you a sneak preview of Jane Eyre which is released in the UK on Friday 9 September 2011. We have included the official trailer to whet your appetite and look forward to your comments once you have seen the film.

In the meantime, Louis’ comments are as follows:-

The 19th big screen adaptation of Jane Eyre is anything but first rate. The film is an amazing achievement for Director Cary Fukunaga’s, especially considering this is only her second feature film following Sin Nombre, a 2009 drama about illegal Mexican immigrants seeking entry to the U.S.

The two main protagonists have been given small but significant personality makeovers from the critically acclaimed novel: Jane is less pious and Rochester is less verbose. Mia Wasikowska, the Australian actress who recently portrayed Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, takes on her most challenging role as Jane. Mia’s performance as the young heroine both shakes and stirs. The chemistry between Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, who portrays Jane’s mysterious swain Edward Rochester, is superb. Fassbender’s portrayal of Rochester, a figure who is both menacing and vulnerable, is spot on. Despite the many years between the two costars, the emotional connection shines through the screen.

The film is a darker adaptation than many of the films that come before, being more true to the classic novel. With the help of some gorgeous cinematography by Adriano Goldman, who fills each frame in a canvas of blue, black, grey and brown, the audience is literally visually engulfed by Jane’s inner torture and isolation. The film begins with a young orphan Jane (Amelia Clarkson), first living with her cruel aunt Mrs. Reed (Sally Hawkins) and quickly being sent off to a scornful girls boarding school. Jane’s relocation to Thornfield Hall, where she secures employment as a governess under Mrs. Fairfax’s steady gaze, brings her into the warmer company of Rochester, the estate’s capricious owner. By the time Jane arrives at the Thornfield estate to work as a governess under Mr. Rochester, love of any kind has eluded Jane for so long that she has learned to live without it. Soon enough, however, her growing curiosity about Mr. Rochester and the special bond that manifests between them arise something within her, human connection and affection, that frightens her very being. Jane’s words “I must respect myself” reverberate over and over and it is this very sound belief that sticks with her on her journey and with the audience.

This film is a must see for anyone who appreciates the novel or who loves a melodramatic English love story. Unfortunately, being released so early in the year, it will likely be forgotten at award season. On the up side, it may live on as one the best renditions of Jane Eyre ever made.

Image courtesy of fergieinfife.blogspot.com

Video reproduced from ClevverMovies / YouTube

Incendies Fires Up an Uncomfortable Storm

Our City Connect film critic, Louis Maurati, has previewed Incendies which comes out in the UK on 24 June 2011. He gives us a taster of the film without giving too much away and also addresses its accolades which, after hearing him talk about the film, it truly deserves.

Incendies, a French Canadian film, struck a strong chord with the American Oscar Awards Academy when it was officially nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The film didn’t end taking home the prize, but it did rack up eight awards at Canada’s Genie Film awards, including Best Picture and has garnered international acclaim.

Denis Villeneuve, the film’s director, is known for taking risks with his filmmaking. His last film, Polytechnique, told the very controversial story of the true events of the Montreal Massacre in 1989. This time around, with Incendies, Villeneuve adapts a story from stage to film. The stage play was Wajdi Mouawad’s epic 2003 play.

The film is centred around Montreal Arab-Canadian twins who have learned through their mother’s will that their father is still alive and that they have a brother that they never knew existed. The mother leaves them with clues as to how to locate both, but they must travel to their mother’s homeland, only to learn about their mother’s darkest secrets. The performances are magnificent and the story’s timing between past and present is spot on. The cinematography is also quite beautiful.

Like many films that garnered critical acclaim in 2010, this film is far from uplifting and fluffy. Instead, it is emotionally charged and uncomfortable to watch at times, but you will not soon forget it.

Image reproduced from filmdates.co.uk
Video reproduced from YouTube / eOnefilms

Water For Elephants Runs Dry

City Connect: “Our resident film critic, Louis Maurati, reviews Water for Elephants for City Connect with current beau of the moment Robert Pattinson and his leading lady Reese Witherspoon – will their on-screen chemistry beat Bella & Edward’s? Although this film was released in late April, it is still catching audiences eyes and continuing to be shown in cinemas across the UK including Empire Leicester Square, The Apollo Piccadilly, select Odeon cinemas and some Arts Picturehouses. This film is not due for release on DVD until late September, so we therefore urge you to catch it now on the big screen while you still can. To whet your appetite, please read our resident film critic’s review below and/or watch the trailer.”

Director Francis Lawrence has some achievements and also some flaws in this film. The age of the Great Depression is accurately and quickly presented to the audience, although some of the characters may look a bit too lavish to be living on a circus train. The best performances come not from the stars, but the supporting players in the film. Robert Pattinson plays the film’s lead role, Jacob, quite accurately, but there is a lack of credibility at time with his character. Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal as Marlena, Jacob’s love interest, may be the biggest disappointment of the film. Her performance is flat, unbelievable, and there is all but no chemistry between the two actors on screen. Credit, however, must be given to Christoph Waltz, portraying Marlena’s husband August. August is the owner, ringleader, and most feared man in the circus troupe. Waltz puts together the perfect combination of psychotic jealousy, snake charm, and desperation to pull off the role quite remarkably.

The film, Water for Elephants, is based on the highly acclaimed novel by Sara Gruen. The screenplay, written by Richard LaGravenese, sees changes in some of the key characters and plotline – the story is portrayed as an extended flashback inside a present day frame. The flashback takes the audience back to 1931, where Jacob, played by Robert Pattinson, is a veterinary student at Cornell University when his parents tragically die in a car accident and leave him suddenly homeless, orphaned and broke. On a whim, he decides to leave his whole life behind him, including the last semester of his schooling, and hitches a ride on a train out of town. Little does he know that the ride that he has hitched is far from ordinary – he has accidently run away with the circus, the Benzini Brothers Circus. The story quickly takes off and soon Jacob finds himself working as the Circus’ Vetrinarian. He develops a close and unusual relationship to the circus’ owner and wife, August and Marlena and soons finds himself lusting Marlena.

Images reproduced from franklinsrow.com, waterforelephantsfanblog.blogspot.com and ok.co.uk
Video reproduced from YouTube / clevverTV

Source Code’s 8 Minutes Won’t Last Too Long

In 2009, British filmmaker Duncan Jones burst onto the scene with his highly acclaimed sci-fi drama Moon. His current film, Source Code, is another sci-fi thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Captain Stevens, an Afghan helicopter pilot who inexplicably wakes up on a combat mission in the body of another man on a commuter train heading to Chicago.

Soon enough, he discovers that he is part of a government experiment known as Source Code, that allows someone to cross over to a dead person’s body to relive the last 8 minutes of their life – the exact amount of short term memory still intact when a person first dies. The commuter train explodes at the end of the 8 minutes and the mission involves finding out who planted the bomb and who is responsible. Consequently, Captain Stevens is sent back into the 8-minute memory sequence until all the mysteries are unravelled. Each jump to the train allows Stevens to take a slightly different approach to the mission – creating moments of subtle humour, tense drama, and surprisingly believable sympathy.

The film’s lead, Jake Gyllenhaal, gives an adequate performance as Captain Stevens and shares a fresh, comedic chemistry with his female commuter train counterpart, Michelle Monaghan. Gyllenhaal portrays his character’s confusion, mission, and personal story effectively. That said, for a character that’s written as a master of details (and memory) – the script fails Stevens by routinely showing the Captain’s difficulty at understanding the most basic elements of the Source Code premise.

Despite an over-complicated premise, Source Code succeeds at being an above average sci-fi thriller. The audience will definitely enjoy the film with it’s fast moving story beats, but the film falls short of being as smart as it aims to be and the ending may leave the audience a bit disappointed with the director’s approach. Overall, the film is thoroughly entertaining and just the right length, but the film is a better candidate for a rainy night of DVD watching than a trip to the cinema.

Image courtesy of celebritywonder.ugo.com
Video reproduced from YouTube / MovieManiacsDE

Insidious Creeps from Somewhere Unfamiliar

Director James Wan makes a nice contribution to the haunted house genre (or what appears to be the haunted house genre – you’ll have to see the film to fully understand). In recent years, he has become a polarizing figure amongst horror geeks. He co-wrote and directed the first Saw film, a low budget, immensely successful independent horror flick, and has made two mediocre follow-ups in Death Sentence and Dead Silent.  With Insidious, though, Wan seems to have gotten his groove back.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2010 in the festival’s Midnight Madness series. Being one of the lowest budget films that Wan has worked on hasn’t stopped this film from getting some great critic reviews or from being picked up by Sony Pictures.

Insidious is a film that will crawl right under your skin. It has the perfect recipe for what horror movie junkies are looking for today – unpredictable frightening moments, a unique plot, and a new insight to the concept of a parallel ghost realm. The fact that Insidious is able to accomplish all this without spilling a single drop of blood is even more impressive.

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the married couple in the film and both give good performances, along with Barbara Hershey who is now becoming a household name in the scary movie genre after this film and the widely successful Black Swan of 2010. If this film could speak a single phrase, it would blurt out something like “Hold the blood and guts, let’s get straight to the haunting”.

Image adapted from: http://www.daemonsmovies.com