terça-feira, novembro 29, 2011

50/50 (2011)

Such a great movie!

Don't even know how or where to start, however, I will try to begin this post by approaching it's genre...

50/50 (2011), directed by Jonathan Levine and based on it's own script writer’s life experience (Will Reiser) is a movie that presents itself as having the best of two worlds, due to the ability of fitting well in a sub-genre known as "dramedy"- which, as you can probably tell by it's name, its a mix between both drama and comedy!

It approaches a very sensitive subject in a humorous way with plenty of funny dialogues or hilarious moments, something that easily covers the intense nature of the leading character's problem: His cancer illness!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays Adam Lerner, a 27 year old man who finds out that he has cancer. While receiving the news from his doctor, he becomes first shocked and then numb. His first reaction is with great surprise because, as he says, he "doesn't smoke, doesn't drink" and even "recycles".

This is, in my opinion, a key dialogue on making people aware that such situations don't only occur to others or at the very least, to people who enjoy a more alternative or unhealthy lifestyle. It doesn't pick age, race or creed... It's something that could happen to anyone, at any time!

As the movie's narrative progresses, we see Adam and the people around him make big adjustments in their lives, most of these with the purpose of making it easier to deal with Adam's illness, something that himself from the outside, seems to take lightly or with no seeming care, but from within, you can tell he's almost out-bursting with a lot of different emotions.

In some ways, even though it's hard for someone to imagine what it feels like, it's hard not to try and put yourself in Adam's shoes. You always get the sense that if it was you, you would experience that situation almost in the same way. First through a stage of denial, coming eventually to a phase in which you succumb to what's really happening, driving you to react abruptly... While the lead actor struggles to deal with his condition and at the same time with the consequences that derivate from that (his break-up and his Mom reaction), the audience tries to find comfort in the laughter provoking scenes!

It's hard to tell which genre comes out stronger... if comedy or drama...

Seth Rogen takes care of most of the funny bits with his rude, but honest portrayal of Adam's best friend, while most of the moving moments come by the hand of Gordon-Levitt, but also Anjelica Huston. She gives a very good performance as Adam's mother, who by nature is very protective and seemingly always worried. I think you get on her side from the beginning as you realize she also takes care of her husband who has alzheimer's disease. She looks out for him without any kind of help, something that she doesn't ask for, but instead prefers her son to give her some attention, as any mother would like to hear and be heard by her son!

Afraid that she would freak out and get "all Mom" with him, he only tells her about his condition a few days later and avoids keeping in touch with her. Much to his own selfishness, he makes it hard on the one person who didn't deserve that sort of treatment... realizing after, that in certain times, other people have been victims as well and obviously coming to the conclusion that cancer hasn't only brought grief and troubles to him, but also to those who love him!

For many this might not be the core relationship of the movie... Obviously Rogen and Gordon-Levitt partnership assume most of the movies expenses, but I have to say the Mother/Son scenes were definitely the ones who brought me closer to myself, as I related Anjelica Huston's character to my own Mother, for the love she feels towards me, for the times that I might have neglected her needs of attention and for her everyday struggles that inspire me on becoming a better man. In all fairness, it comes as obvious to me that its the same between Adam and his Mother.

Won't get more personal than this, but felt like I had to justify why those particular scenes standout in a feature made of many more excellent moments.

Also worth mentioning:
- Rachel, the girlfriend, soon to turn Ex (this isn't qualified as a spoiler since it's obvious by the trailer) played by Bryce Dallas Howard, a very talented actress, that I consider to be underrated!

- The young and inexperienced therapist Katie McKay, portrayed by Anna Kendrick. She takes part in some pure sweet moments and, sometimes, awkward - but funny - situations.

- Philip Baker Hall, a veteran actor with loads of great movies under his belt, who portrays Alan, an old man with cancer that Adam meets at the hospital during his chemotherapy sessions. Baker Hall adds up to the comedy formula, being almost an elderly version of Seth Rogen's Kyle.

- The soundtrack! Not a perfect one according to my personal taste, but I got to say... the tracks smoothly suited every scene to which they were demanded to step in and work it out! Loved especially the song for the opening and ending scene!
Overall, the movie is bound to be an Oscar candidate this year! An outstanding script, top notch performances and good directing say so... and so does the audience and critics worldwide!

Be sure to watch it on the cinema!

quinta-feira, novembro 24, 2011

Once (2006)

A few years ago (can't really remember when exactly), I was sitting in my living room watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. If I recall correctly, the show wasn't being that entertaining but something made me watch it until the very end.

When approaching it's final minutes, it came down to the "usual" guest musical act...

Already on stage, a duo that was unknown to me at the time, would instantly grow to be a major revelation!
After Leno introduced both  man and woman, who's names I did not memorize,  they started to play their music making use of a piano and acoustic guitar. Soon I realized that enduring that specific episode, without having a clear reason to do so, actually paid off!

As the first keys of the piano made their presence felt, the guitar gave it the right pace and rhythm, and we were off in a musical trip, floating through this enchanting and at the same time, suffering voice, of a middle-age Irish man!

The song is all about experiencing love in all of it's forms and dimensions, in my opinion, avoiding the clichés (even though it's highly commercial).

With the end of the show, I did my homework on finding out who they were and how could I get my hands on that Leno episode. Unfortunately there wasn't anything available on YouTube, due to NBC's copyright policy, however, I was able to get a copy of that show, under means that I will not disclose.
Meanwhile, while everything was looking great for me to advertise this particular musical piece, my hard disk managed to get damaged... and the way that I got the file in the first place, wasn't available any more. So, years went by and I never saw that specific performance again!

That doesn't mean I stopped doing some research and listening to some of their work...

Turns out Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (those are their names) are known as The Swell Season, a musical project that gained more attention after the Irish and Czech collaborated in a movie called Once (2006).

With the movie "came" their most famous single, Falling Slowly (an Oscar winner for best song), Hansard's creation with another group called The Frames, that was reinstituted to The Swell Season under new and improved arrangements, going mostly over changes which gave prominence to Irglova's piano and backing vocals. It was only then when that track started to win a great deal of popularity...

Unfortunately there is not much more that I can say, due to little information available online, but let that no stop you of getting to learn more about them and especially on getting acquainted with the movie, which is a wonderful piece of indie musical art. Even thought the leads are not professional actors, they managed to convince audiences worldwide of their passion for music and their love for each other, bringing out the most sincere and warm-felt emotions.

You actually get involved with both characters, who struggle to achieve their goal on pursuing a career in music.

From it's opening scene, to the first time the leads share the same scene together, to its very end... everything looks like it was made with a lot of heart and depth!

I tell you...When the introduction generic showed up with the name of the feature and Glen Hansard was pouring out his soul with such passion - almost looking like rage and despair - it was a sign that I was in for something great!

With an award-winning soundtrack, Once will go beyond it's musical offers, and indulge in a story about friendship, sacrifice and going after your dreams.

quarta-feira, novembro 23, 2011

terça-feira, novembro 22, 2011

Rampart - trailer

Looks brilliant!!

Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing "the people's dirty work" and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an ageing mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretence, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man?

segunda-feira, novembro 21, 2011

domingo, novembro 20, 2011

To Be Cool like...

... Steve McQueen

... James Dean

... Marlon Brando

... Paul Newman

quinta-feira, novembro 17, 2011

Latest that I saw in the Cinema...

... that I recommend!

Already left my comment on a previous post, but it doesn't harm to say it again: Visually Perfect!

Impressive performances from Tilda Swinton and - a surprising - Ezra Miller, a young kid with a bright future!
This movie stroke me as a horror flick without being graphic. On a physiological level, it is very dark and intense. Aesthetically it is rich and superbly well executed, like it was directly pulled out from the book of which it was based upon.

Ides of March (2011)

A great ensemble cast lead by one of Hollywood's hottest stars, Ryan Gosling, in another fantastic directorial effort by George Clooney. Don't miss it!

terça-feira, novembro 15, 2011

ENUI MAG - DeVotchKa

Para os que nao sabem, bem recentemente comecei a contribuir para um site de moda, projeto este levado a cabo por alguns amigos meus, entre os quais consta a Ana Rosado, minha antiga colega de curso na Universidade Católica e Colégio Amor de Deus. 

A Ana, vocacionada para este meio que é a Fashion Industry e o jornalismo, lidera um grupo de jovens autores, com formação nas mais diversas áreas de forma a acrescentar diversidade e alguma disparidade no conteúdo.

Com já alguns artigos em exibição (WWPJ, Yann Tiersen, entre outros) a partir de hoje farei essa mesma partilha dos meus trabalhos pela EnuiMag aqui no blog.

Cliquem aqui para terem acesso ao mais recente sobre o grupo DeVotchKa

Hold your grandmother's bible to your breast
Gonna put it to the test
You wanted to be blessed

And in your heart you know it to be true
You know what you gotta do
They all depend on you

And you already know
Yeah, you already know how this will end

There is no escape from the slave catcher's songs
For all of the loved ones gone
Forever's not so long

And in your soul they poked a million holes
But you never let em show
Come on, it's time to go

And you already know
Yeah, you already know how this will end

Now you've seen his face
And you know that there's a place in the sun
For all that you've done
For you and your children

No longer shall you need
You always wanted to believe
Just ask and you'll receive
Beyond your wildest dreams

And you already know
Yeah, you already know how this will end

domingo, novembro 13, 2011


This is again one of those times in which most of the post will be written in Portuguese. This time for two different reasons:

1º Since the short movie is spoken in Portuguese, I doubt that foreigners who read the blog will have any interest on this.

2º Because I want to write this post like I was sending it as a message to a very close friend of mine, who plays a part in this project. So basically, by writing in our language, makes it seem more personal.
Durante muitos anos tenho acompanhado a carreira do Luís Filipe D'Almeida, nome que assumiu como seu cartão de visita, mas que apesar de tudo, permanece eternamente conhecido entre os amigos (especialmente os mais chegados) por Eusébio.

Por entre todos os projectos em que esteve envolvido, fosse teatro ou televisão, procurei sempre ser o mais critico possível, fazendo referência ao positivo mas em algumas alturas dando maior ênfase ao negativo porque é isso que o Luís muitas vezes quer ouvir! Sendo a boa pessoa que é e exigente consigo mesmo, apesar de dar imenso valor aos elogios, sempre procurou ouvir e analisar os aspectos que as pessoas insistem que tem que trabalhar mais. 
Muitas foram as coisas boas que apanhei e em tantas outras ocasiões, as coisas más... embora diga muito sinceramente, que era frequente o ver envolvido em projectos de baixo calibre, mas onde ele era sempre o elemento de destaque a meu ver! Certo que a minha opinião pode ser suspeita, com muitos acusando-me de  não ser totalmente imparcial dada a minha proximidade com ele... mas quem me conhece sabe que sou por vezes implacavelmente duro, particularmente com aqueles que gosto... pois mais que ninguém merecem a verdade, ou no mínimo, a minha opinião sincera!

Seja como for... estando eu a falar dos seus inúmeros projectos (bons e maus), posso afirmar aqui que este foi sem dúvida aquele que mais me agradou em bastante tempo! Tendo em conta que esta curta-metragem foi feita em apenas 48 horas (para um festival/concurso que exigia - naturalmente - os filmes em dois dias) o resultado final é facilmente condecorado com mérito pela forma como foi filmado (esteticamente está fabuloso com destaque para os contrastes de luz e grande parte das cenas na estação de comboios) e com um argumento sólido, que por muito usado e gasto que seja, em poucas palavras procura contribuir com uma mensagem de alguma subsistência. 

No entanto, na minha humilde opinião, a prestação do nosso menino Luís Eusébio é claramente um elemento acima de tudo o resto. Obviamente, tenho plena consciência que grande parte do seu sucesso não seria possível sem intervenção das actrizes com quem partilha a tela e todos os  outros elementos cinematográficos (onde incluo igualmente a banda-sonora que acompanha a cena final, capaz de dar maior emotividade à poderosa frase proferida nos instantes finais), mas dou-lhe bastante mérito sabendo sem qualquer tipo de dúvidas, que mesmo no pouco tempo presencial à frente da câmara, foi capaz de dar um contributo de grande magnitude. A forma como eu reagi perto do fim é claro sinal do quão bom foi o nível de expressão... fosse no tom e colocação que emprega nos seus diálogos ou na linguagem gestual/facial, tão genuinamente sentida que torna fácil ao espectador de testemunhar todo o desenlace com interesse.

Ciente estou que que toda esta conversa provavelmente vos está a cansar e que eventualmente possa estar a colocar as expectativas bastante altas... aumentando assim o risco de desiludir os corajosos que se deram ao trabalho de ler este "testamento". Se me disserem que isto não é uma obra-prima, não vou certamente discutir isso (sabendo que "têm razão")... mas só pelo simples facto que mexeu tanto comigo (principalmente aquele momento que considero ser o clímax desta curta de quase quatro minutos), merece inquestionavelmente uma menção honrosa! Tal menção ainda tem maior razão de ser ao ter um amigo como o Luís envolvido e responsável pelo meu desequilibro emocional de 10 segundos, provocado com excelência e qualidade artística... porque sim: Está representado de forma eximia!
- "Que fiques com noção Luís... do quão bonito eu achei este momento que me proporcionaste meu amigo!"

quinta-feira, novembro 10, 2011

Ultraviolet (Light my Way)

(Original by U2)

In celebration of U2's album "Achtung Baby" 20th anniversary, a new edition was released followed by an album full of covers by artists in the likes of Jack White, Patti Smith, Snow Patrol or Fray (among others).

This is probably my favourite cover of them all...

quarta-feira, novembro 09, 2011

sábado, novembro 05, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) has to be one of the best animation movies that I've seen in my life! Visually it's perfect, something that really surprised me due to the fact that its something unusual of Spielberg's part (the animation genre I mean).

Combining forces with Peter Jackson (who produced this feature), Mr. Spielberg brings us the adventures of Hergé's creation and masterpiece, the young and restless journalist, Tintin! 
Voiced by English actor Jamie Bell, it has some of Hergé's most well known supporting characters give their contribution through the voices of actors like Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost or Toby Jones.

Based on the book "The Secret of the Unicorn" this movie has all the necessary ingredients to entertain a crowd. Action and adventure in the likes of Indiana Jones, many twists and turns and plenty of humour make this first successful instalment of what it looks like to be a potential massive cinematic franchise. There's plenty of excellent source material and if cast and crew stick to the working formula of this first movie, then we can wait for a few more to come.
I would only say that the film was a bit too long, with sequences that could easily be left out (sequences that don't even are in the original book). There are a few things that aren't "right" (if we even can say that), according to the book. Like for example, in the movie Hadock and Tintin have their first encounter, but originally, by the time the books get to this adventure, they were already close friends. Maybe it's not that big of a deal, but you have to understand that I grew up reading these books and I was a major fan, so every little change that I was able to perceive, had some sort of influence. There were a few more, but don't want to point out every single detail as it doesn't make any sense me doing so and obviously I do not want to reveal different lairs of the plot by discriminating the differences. First and foremost, this is an adaptation, so obviously the material is subject to some changes!

Regardless of that, I absolutely recommend everyone to see this in the cinema while they can. It makes a huge difference to watch it on a big screen and even the 3D plays a big part... Doesn't make you feel like the action is taking place in the room, but adds up in terms of aesthetic quality! Like I said, in terms of animation (visually) is probably the best I've seen so far.

As for the rest, its well worth seeing it, but maybe a bit more depth should have been given to the characters... but oh well... I guess it's not what the mass audience requested in a movie such as this! Only the real Tintin fans will know what I'm talking about I suppose...

sexta-feira, novembro 04, 2011

Your Sweet Voice

Your sweet voice
Lets me know there is a choice
Plays me slow
Oh, Much more slowly than that

And when we danced
We danced warm cheek to cold cheek
A sideways glance
I knew you were looking at him

I can't call you a friend
Cause when you left me here
You left me here to die
Don't worry I wont call you again
Cause when I take a hint
I take it pretty hard
And when you broke my heart
you broke it into shards of glass

The telephone yells out
At me to wake
I won't be blamed
For someone else's mistakes
It's your sweet voice
Sounding cheery and warm
It breaks my heart
But I summon up all my charm

Can I call you my friend?
Cause it's been so long
Since we've talked
and I miss you
Don't worry I'm over you right now
So my feelings wont get in the way of it
Oh, I miss the way we talked
about the little things

quarta-feira, novembro 02, 2011

Fast Five (2011)

Ok... So... I saw this movie some weeks ago and I must admit I was very lazy to write about it back then, as I am lazy right now... But there's no way in hell I'm leaving this one behind!

Had such a great time watching this!

And I want to say "Who would have known?" like I was greatly surprised by the increasing quality of Fast Five (2011) compared to the other movies of the franchise. But I can't!
I was already aware that this last instalment was by far the best one of the Fast and Furious saga! The reviews were great, the box office results were the best from all five... all of which came with no surprise after seeing it for myself!

The direction was actually pretty good... Really nice shots from Rio de Janeiro, plenty of well executed action sequences and fast paced car chases, "F&F" style.

The cast reunion was an excellent idea to begin with... Getting to see the essential characters work out together was a good call indeed, plus adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, was like adding a secret/special ingredient. His performance was outstanding, easily outshining the rest of the gang. Was great to see him on solo scenes or alongside some of the main characters, especially when sharing the screen with Vin Diesel, having their fight scene come as a display of the most anticipated moment of the feature, hitting its climax in a very intense way!

Being an action fan and admirer of both Johnson and Diesel, it's hard to resist the combination of these two names, who with the help of a very nice script, made everything far more interesting!

But the success of this film goes beyond the efforts of the director and the influence of their cast... It's the plot and change of genre that strikes me as the most significant component of Fast 5. Going from being labelled  as a car movie, to a Heist movie is a big change, one that has probably contributed to the extension of this franchise by incrementing new elements and making it more diversified within it's universe.

Well worth seeing it!