quinta-feira, dezembro 29, 2011

Win, Win (2011)

Without extending myself too much and getting into a more personal opinion, I would just like to bring to people's attention this indie feature called Win, Win (2011).

It is another sensational effort by Thomas McCarthy, who after directing The Station Agent (2003) and The Visitor (2007), is still capable of reaching out to the audience with amazingly genuine and beautiful films.

Paul Giamatti leads a cast of other amazing actors such as Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale (with whom McCarthy worked before in The Station Agent), Jeffrey Tambor, (the sort of "resurrected") Burt Young and the newcomer Alex Shaffer.

The trailer alone is enough to get you with a shiver down your spine. It's a big challenge not to like a movie such as this!

One of my picks for the upcoming top 10 list of 2011!

I would also like to take this opportunities to share with you a song by The National (called Think You Can Wait) which was included on the movie's soundtrack. The video assembles some "behind the scenes" footage of Win, Win which - in my opinion - was nicely done to fit the music's persona!

quarta-feira, dezembro 28, 2011

A pele que há em mim (Quando o dia entardeceu)

by: Márcia e JP Simoes

Quando o dia entardeceu
E o teu corpo tocou
Num recanto do meu
Uma dança acordou
E o sol apareceu
De gigante ficou
Num instante apagou
O sereno do céu

E a calma a aguardar lugar em mim
O desejo a contar segundo o fim.
Foi num ar que te deu
E o teu canto mudou
E o teu corpo do meu
Uma trança arrancou
O sangue arrefeceu
E o meu pé aterrou
Minha voz sussurrou
O meu sonho morreu

Dá-me o mar, o meu rio, minha calçada.
Dá-me o quarto vazio da minha casa
Vou deixar-te no fio da tua fala.
Sobre a pele que há em mim
Tu não sabes nada.

(JP Simões)
Quando o amor se acabou
E o meu corpo esqueceu o caminho onde andou
Nos recantos do teu
E o luar se apagou
E a noite emudeceu
O frio fundo do céu
Foi descendo e ficou

Mas a mágoa não mora mais em mim
Já passou, desgastei, p’ra lá do fim
É preciso partir
É o preço do amor
P’ra voltar a viver
Já nem sinto o sabor
A suor e pavor
Do teu colo a ferver
Do teu sangue de flor
Já não quero saber…

(Márcia e JP Simões)
Dá-me o mar, o meu rio, a minha estrada,
O meu barco vazio na madrugada
Vou-te deixar-te no frio da tua fala
Na vertigem da voz quando enfim se cala.

segunda-feira, dezembro 26, 2011

Moneyball (2011)

I don't get it! I really don't!

Why has there been so much hype around Bennett Miller's Moneyball (2011)? Why have been people hailing it as one of 2011 films?

I've seen a few top 10 lists of some renowned critics and the baseball themed movie is featured in most of them as part of the highest five!


I mean... Don't get me wrong! I just saw Moneyball and though it was great! Had great fun watching it and got to learn a lot from it! More interesting stories, background on the sport and trivia information... But I was not even close to sharing the same admiration as most viewers, be it a regular person, a movie buff or a film critic! Maybe I'm out of touch with baseball, as I don't follow it that much... Maybe the hype was too much for me to bear, making it a bigger challenge to the "Oakland A's" (team in which the plot centers) to live up to the expectations that I created, most to the media's influence (and by that I include everything from TV, newspapers, billboards, blogs).

I'm sincerely afraid of tearing down the movie when it's not my intention! At all! I just believe it's not that good enough, considering the massive praise it has been given!

Brad Pitt is good, but Oscar material? Never! (But he's sure to be nominated, I guarantee)
Jonah Hill... the same! And this is actually quite a compliment, just because I wasn't expecting Hill to be qualified for this type of solid acting in a movie of this genre!
Philip Seymour Hoffman... is just completely redundant in this one! Something that comes as a sort of a shock to me since I'm not quite used seeing him in a position where his contribute is almost oblivious to rest of the outline. The guy usually leaves his mark... not the case here!

As for the rest of the cast... all important to Moneyball, but just plain average!

The script is good - another excellent effort by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin - being probably the best thing about the movie... alongside with Miller's direction that made Moneyball both entertaining and insightful like a documentary! That's how I felt most of the times... Like I was watching a documentary portraying how Billy Beane changed the course of the game with his fresh perspective and (risky) new methods!

All I can ask is for you to see it, enjoy it and draw your own conclusions! If you end up thinking like me... don't let it surprise you!

domingo, dezembro 25, 2011

sexta-feira, dezembro 23, 2011

Warrior (2011)

Warrior (2011) is a critically acclaimed action-drama directed by Gavin O'Connor starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte.

Having met the director through the movie Pride & Glory (2008), I must admit I was a bit reluctant due to the fact that I was expecting great things from his 2008 project, with lead actors Edward Norton and Colin Farrel, only to be hugely disappointed. However, even without reading the reviews - thus avoiding getting a sense of what to expect - I knew the response towards Warrior was good!

After watching it two nights ago, it came as no surprise! It's absolutely brilliant and unless something comes up during the remaining days of 2011, Warrior will certainly make its way into this year's podium (my personal one, that is)!

First of all, let me start by advising people to watch this movie with an open mind and to put aside the fact that its around the martial art world.

Forget that!

The first thing I wrote on the social networks was that "more than a good fighting movie, this is a great movie. Period." It truly is an outstanding piece of work that uses, what you would say, an action plot to present the audience a more human and emotional storytelling around two estranged brothers and their father. Between these three, you divide one story into various sub-plots, focusing on the relationship between each others and their individual background outside their family history.

Obviously, you have plenty of (excellent) fighting sequences, but the way it gets you involved with the characters is absolutely remarkable. By witnessing their damaged relationships and how they make emends into reconstructing their family ties, while struggling with their past and (also) present, its just amazing! In fact, while I'm writing this, one of the first compliments that pops into mind is that the movie has a lot of heart! It really does!

Get past the fact it has a few cliches... To certain extant, I would think its fair to say it comes with the territory when you approach a movie of this genre. You might feel like you have seen this before... But think again! It makes you twist and turn, it makes you hold your breath and react to every single fight, gesture or dialog! Even considering you know almost every outcome, at least until the very end which is totally unpredictable... you still can't avoid being disturbed sometimes while experiencing the pain and suffering on-screen or in other times just getting a big kick out of it!

That's what happens when you feel the plot is somehow close to your heart in terms of the emotions that it can bring out from you... It also helps to have very nicely built characters for you to feel for, but, there is something it needs to be said (under my perspective) in terms of how you appreciate both leads.

Prestigious movie critic, Roger Ebert wrote:
"This is a rare fight movie in which we don't want to see either fighter lose".

Although I'm slightly inclined to agreeing with this because I'm very fond of both Tom and Joel's characters, the fact is, from the get go I stood alongside with Brandon (Edgerton), simply because he came out as a standout guy who demonstrates to be the more likable and emotionally balanced of both of them. Put into the mix the fact he's considered to be the underdog and you have my reasons for taking his side and rooting for him. But yes... I would probably say that, whatever the outcome might be, its bound to please the audience!

Between all three of the actors that deserve the most recognition... let me raise a few points or make a few predictions.

Tom Hardy is easily becoming one of Hollywood's brightest stars! Since he took over the role of Bronson, the legendary British prisoner, in Nicolas Winding Refn movie, he then started gaining more attention moving on into having roles in other films such as RockNRolla (2008), Inception (2010), Tinker Taylor Tiny Soldier (2011) or the upcoming Dark Knight Rises (to be released in 2012).
Fantastic method acting, with great presence and charisma, he's turning into a crowd favorite!

Joel Edgerton, I know very little about... Having seen only one of his movies it would be insufficient to make a clear and credible evaluation of his career and skills... But the movie that I saw was no ordinary one! Animal Kingdom (2009) came for me as one of the year's best and gain a spot among my elite collection of DVDs!
Joel Edgerton will increase his star power over the years...

Last, but not least... Nick Nolte!

He came to me as a big surprise since I wasn't expecting him to give such a powerful performance. His acting was absolutely superb, having most of the moving/intense scenes under his command!
Portraying an alcoholic trying hard to overcome his addictions while fighting ghosts living in his conscious, you can not help yourself into sympathizing with him and wishing that he obtains forgiveness from the ones he loves.
Having been let known by the director that he carries a dark past, you still sense he genuinely regrets the mistakes he made both as a Husband and a Father! 

Come to think about some of the scenes that gave him more prominence in this feature, the ones where he shares the screen with each of his sons are clearly the most remarkable. This lead me to think I have a soft spot for Father/Son moments, since some of the most mesmerizing moments in cinema - according to my taste/opinion - are family related. Robert Downey Jr. and Chazz Palminteri in A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006) and Tom Cruise with Jason Robards in Magnolia (1999) are just two (epic) examples of what I'm talking about!

Regarding my predictions around Nolte, I believe he will gain an Oscar nomination for his incredible role! I know this might come as a risky statement since he wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe, but nevertheless, the Academy will surely recognize his work, fully deserving of the highest praise, specially considering some of us (me included) thought his career had no possible comeback! I have no shame admitting this proved me to be incredibly wrong...
I will become terribly disappointed if a spot among the nominees isn't granted to Nick Nolte, something that will eventually will lead me to think that Jury are simply ignorant and blunt!

Having said this, I would like to conclude by reminding all of you to keep in mind the subjects that the film focuses on! Through action (more specifically Martial Arts) you get really deep into themes such as redemption, forgiveness and will power! I could not be more supportive with this truly magnificent feature, that has just set the bar for the action-drama genre!

quinta-feira, dezembro 22, 2011

quarta-feira, dezembro 21, 2011

Yann Tiersen Live @ Black Sessions

I wrote on this blog about the Black Sessions, a popular radio show that came to life in France by the hands of Bernard Lenoir, thus the name "Black" Sessions, as a clear reference to its creators name Lenoir (which is "The Black" in french)!

This musical segment is mostly dedicated to indie music and has gain a major cult following around the world. It has gathered in their studios artists in the likes of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bloc Party, Au Revoir Simone, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Arctic Monkeys, Beirut, Belle & Sebastian, The Cure, Los Campesinos !, Editors, Feist, Franz Ferdinand, The Eels, The National, The Shins, Nick Cave, Smashing Pumpkins,Interpol, Jeff Buckley, Joseph Arthur, Patrick Watson, REM, Yo La Tengo, among many others... 

I want to leave you with Yann Tiersen's performance! Not just with a song, but the entire live act!
Fortunately someone posted the entire thing online... and I'm not just referring to the audio tracks. It actually is the video compilation shot at the scene!

Hope you can enjoy as much as I did when I first heard it on my iPod!

terça-feira, dezembro 20, 2011

segunda-feira, dezembro 19, 2011

Get Low (2009)

It took me ages to get my hands on the movie Get Low (2009), but finally I made it!

It's an independent production, one that went through a long time without major advertising... only spreading its name across mostly due to its involvement on Sundance Festival! I found out of its existence after reading an article on RottenTomatoes making a list of indie movies that were soon to get out. Get Low and Hesher were the two ones to draw more of my attention, mostly because of their cast to which I'm very fond of!

Focusing more on Get Low, it stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Lucas Black and Sissy Spacek. Out of those four names, three I consider to be major legends in the industry!

But it wasn't only the actors who justified watching this movie... The plot was also crucial in my decision!
Basically - and avoiding giving away many details - the story revolves around a man called Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), a man who people tell the most crazy stories about, stories that portray him almost like the devil himself. However, Felix has been very discrete has he's been living isolated in a cabin for over 40 years. He then decides to leave his cabin and show his face in public only so that he can arrange his own funeral!
 Yes... his own funeral! And this while he his still alive!

 "It's time for me to get low" he says.

And who better than Bill Murray to arrange that? It's interesting, as well as moving and with an incredibly brilliant performance from Mr. Duvall, that should have been recognized at least with an Oscar nomination! It's that good, trust me!

Be sure to catch this... It would be part of my 2009 list in case I had seen it in time!

sábado, dezembro 17, 2011

2011 in Movie Trailers

A fan video containing loads of different movie trailers. Don't know the criterion... If it's the editors favourites or not... Still... it's something nice to watch!

sexta-feira, dezembro 16, 2011

New York, New York (Medley)

The other day I was on the tube, listening to my iPod. At the time I was playing a live gig performed by the iconic crooner, Mel Torme alongside with Jazz pianist George Shearing. I've been a fan for some time now
of both these musical legends, mostly due to my father's influence who also loves Mel Torme... calling him the best scat performer of all time!
When almost reaching the end of his live performance, Mel Torme addressed the audience to introduce the upcoming tune... Can't remember if in fact I was highly concentrated listening to the album or if I was distracted doing some other stuff on my iPhone or what not, but the matter of fact is that something caught my attention... I was hanging on every word of Mr. Torme and without expecting... he provoked me to a huge outburst of laughter, making everyone around me to think that I was crazy! 

Trying to control myself, out of instinct I covered my mouth with my hand, knowing if I continued to laugh in that way, I would draw to much attention!
It was really one of those funny moments that I'll carry with me throughout time!

Listen the track below to get a sense of what I'm talking about! One of the great acts of Mel Torme that shows not only how much good of a singer he is, but also how increndibly entertaining he can be! A true artist and one of the best performers all around to set foot on stage!

sexta-feira, dezembro 09, 2011

terça-feira, dezembro 06, 2011