segunda-feira, dezembro 31, 2012

Best of 2012 - From my perspective

And so it is... Another year is coming to an end and as usual I share with you my "best of" list, which consists of my top 10 movies and albums of the year.

For 2012, I've decided to go the extra mile by compiling another top 10... which will consist of my favourite tracks heard over the last 366 days (yes, that's right. It's a leap year).

I have to warn you though... I've struggled to make each of these lists because a lot of the names below didn't appeal to me like other projects in previous years. There was plenty of quality to go around for everyone, regardless of their particular taste, however, it did not fit the standards that I believe to be used to.

Evidence of that is the fact I won't be able to complete my top movies, simply because I don't think there are enough films worthy of making the cut. A vacant spot was left, almost like a sign of protest...
Sure I've enjoyed the likes of The Hobbit, Lawless, Prometheus, Arbitrage, Killing Them Softly, 21 Jump Street... but not enough to be "rewarded" on my top 10 and I missed watching some movies such as Amour, Les Miserables, Flight, Cloud Atlas, Django Unchained, Lincoln, End of Watch, Rust and Bones, among many others (many of these haven't been released in the UK)... therefore, don't be surprised with the absence of some of these names. 

Having said this, please take some time to see my list, which by the way, are not in any particular order.

Top 10 Movies

- vacant spot -

Top 10 Albums

Hot Chip - In Our Heads
Twin Shadow - Confess
The Walkmen - Heaven
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Alabama Shakes - Boys and Girls
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Frank Ocean - Channel orange
Passion Pit - Gossamer

Top 10 Songs

Twin Shadow - Five Seconds
Fanfarlo - Deconstruction
Santigold - Disparate Youth
Hacienda - Don't turn out the lights
Delta Spirit - Money Saves
Clock Opera - Belongings
Alt-J - Breezeblocks
The Walkmen - The Line
 Lotus Plaza - Strangers
Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait

* Bonus tracks *

Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Mystery jets - Someone Purer

sábado, dezembro 22, 2012

2012 Filmography

It's that time of the year where a lot of really cool edits displaying the best movies in 2012 start to surface

Not very accurate as there are a lot of movies from 2011 in the list (such as the crowd favourite "Intouchables")

But still very good to watch...

domingo, dezembro 16, 2012

The One (Live KCWR)

(the song is actually called The One and not The Ones as the YouTube clip suggests)

sexta-feira, dezembro 14, 2012

The Hunt (2012)

Intense, provocative and sometimes emotionally disturbing, this Thomas Vinterberg Danish film called The Hunt (2012) has just guaranteed his spot on my top 10 list of 2012, which I'll soon be releasing.

Mads Mikkelsen gives out an amazing performance - awarded in Cannes for "Best Actor" -  as a kindergarten teacher who's wrongfully accused by a child to have done what "is meant for only adults to do".

I recommend watching it with two or three friends so that you can discuss it by the end of the movie. I'm sure it will lead you to some serious thinking.

quarta-feira, dezembro 12, 2012

Man of Steel - trailer

For personal reasons, probably the movie I'm looking forward to the most in 2013...

domingo, dezembro 09, 2012

On a class of his own

In the day he broke the record for most goals scored in a year...
... I salute you Messi!

quinta-feira, dezembro 06, 2012


Written by Alan Bennett, People is bound to make you laugh and also think... 
A reflection of the most important things in life to the most trivial ones.
It's a great, great play!

The Times

City AM, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Guardian, Independent, Sunday Express, Sunday Times, Time Out

‘Wonderfully funny... a grand evening. Dorothy is Frances de la Tour, in the best part Alan Bennett has written for her.’ The Times

‘Outrageously funny and provocative.' Independent

‘A richly enjoyable evening. Provocative fun... entertaining, funny and touching. Frances de la Tour is on wonderful form. Top notch performances, too, from the splendid Linda Bassett and Selina Cadell.’  
Daily Telegraph

‘Moments of tenderness and droll social insight that show Bennett at his best.’ Independent

domingo, dezembro 02, 2012

Comptine d'un autre ete: La Demarche

Yesterday I heard it about 30 times in a row and I'm still going at it!

Comptine d'un autre ete: La Demarche is one of Yann Tiersen's most beautiful compositions taken from the movie Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) soundtrack. Even though this is one between four bonus tracks on the album, it is certainly one of the main highlights for anyone to hear.

Meanwhile, I couldn't find Yann Tiersen's version online, so had to settle with a cover. With plenty of these available all over YouTube and DailyMotion, I chose this one, not only because it came up first in my search but also because it pretty much sounds like the original.

Hope you enjoy the beauty that is Yann Tiersen's fabulous work.

UPDATE: Actually, I found it... but just under a different name.

sexta-feira, novembro 30, 2012

Argo (2012)

If you thought Gone Baby Gone (2007) was beginners luck and The Town (2010) was a fluke... there is no way you can ignore Ben Affleck's directorial skills after watching Argo (2012).

The Boston actor turned director is easily becoming a serious candidate to one of the best in his field of profession. Yes, he has made some dodgy movies in his career... maybe one too many, but you can't create misguided preconceived ideas based on the little you know - specially in an area that has nothing to do with his achievements behind the camera. I even go far as saying he is a great actor with great creative skills... Just go on iMDB and check his "resume" from 2006 onwards. Either great/likeable movies or great roles. Hollywoodland (2006) is just an example of how great is acting is.

But forget all that and focus on Argo, in my opinion one of 2012 finest.

You get warned from the get go that the film is based "in true events" and somehow I seemed to forget that half way through due to how unbelievable the storyline was and how things progressed. Never-mind the absurd idea... "so crazy that it just might work"... How they were able to put it in to action... it's just mind blowing.
You can take a series of conclusions and anticipate how the end will unfold, but that still doesn't help you to control your levels of anxiety. Argo beholds a killing suspense, with refreshing and superb moments of humor to lighten the mood. The reenact action of what went down back in looks amazing and according to critics it also looks accurate.
Finally, casting was spot on with a list of TV old school talent stepping in. Names that might not ring a bell, but their faces certainly will.

I advise you to watch it asap.

terça-feira, novembro 27, 2012

segunda-feira, novembro 26, 2012

Fanfarlo @ Union Chapel 22.11.12

 As any year, 2009 was populated with great tracks and artists coming up. Fanfarlo with their debut album Reservoir were one of them and Ghosts was by far one of my favorite tracks of that same year. It reminded me a bit of Arcade Fire with traces of folk... and by today its still one of the songs that I take most pleasure listening to.

Fast forward a few years later and in 2012 Rooms Filled With Light came out, having De.con.struc.tion as the single who would introduce their sophomore studio project to the audience. In fact, the song actually came out a year before the album, almost working like a teaser and that certainly did the trick. After hearing that track for the first time, my expectations went sky-high. De.con.struc.tion was - and still is - my top Fanfarlo song and one of 2012's best (or should I just label it as 2011?).

So, obviously, this would be a gig that I would not want to miss out and specially knowing it was on my doorstep. Their live performance took place just around the corner from where I live in Highbury & Islington. The venue is called Union Chapel and as you can guess from the name... its a very old chapel that occasionally throws in a musical show.

It's a magical place I tell you! I've been there before when I was still living in Portugal and came in to London with a group of friends - not even dreaming that one day I would have my life in the English capital. What lead me to go to that chapel back in the day were Au Revoir Simone (if you still haven't heard, please check it out). I remember being highly impressed and surprised that a place like that would be used as a venue. Maybe it was a London thing... I don't know. What I do know is that I was happy just for being part of that whole experience, which is quite different not only because of the environment but also the way the set-up is made. For instances, there are only seated places.

So, back to Fanfarlo...

They started around 9'ish and played for about 1h30m, going through both albums and also introducing some of their newest work, looking to get some feedback from the audience, which they did to certain extent, but for some reason, even though the venue was a lot more intimate - easy enough for the audience to establish an ongoing conversation with the band - people were very shy, despite Fanfarlo's best efforts to engage those present.

All and all it was great show, even baring in mind I was disappointed with the line-up, since it only provided 1 out of my top 3 songs (Ghosts and Shiny Things were left out) and even that one track - De.con.struc.tion didn't exactly reached the level I was expecting live - but still, great to listen to making it's way easy to the list of highlights.

quarta-feira, novembro 21, 2012

Das Leben der Anderen (2006)

No wonder The Lives of Others got the Oscar for best foreign movie in 2006. 

Compelling story about the goodness of mankind in dark times and among bad people

sexta-feira, novembro 16, 2012

The Wire (2002 - 2008)

I was completely oblivious to what The Wire was until I got to university. There, I found teachers who hailed the TV show as one of the best ever made, even though it had fairly modest exposure for something that was critically acclaimed. 
Fast forward a few years later, I’m out of "uni" and in the UK making my living. In my work place, a few more join hands with my former professors, often stating how great The Wire is. 
It became clear to me that I had no choice. I would have to see it and judge for myself.

Started the first season and to my surprise it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Not the content per say, but my reaction to it. I didn’t feel like I was highly entertained or even eager enough to watch the next episodes. This lasted until the 5th or 6th episode of the first season where I found myself completely immersed in the plot and connected to the characters. Be it hero or villain, it’s easy to create some kind of bond with most of the people wondering on Baltimore’s streets.
That's one of the added values of the series. It doesn't revolve around one or two characters, although obviously a few might get highlighted by the audience... However, each person has their own view and favorites in the show. It is hard to be totally unanimous.

From then on, going from mid 1st season to the very end of season 5 – the series’ finale – you cannot be indifferent to what’s happening on screen… “Spot on” (The Wire fans will know the reference) casting, brilliant acting, smart scripts and above all else, a genuine realistic feel to it. David Simon and Ed Burns did a magnificent job with their creation, which is based on their experience as a journalist and police officer respectively. 
I highly recommend watching what is regarded as one of the best cult TV classic shows to ever be broadcasted.

terça-feira, novembro 13, 2012

Metronomy - Nights Out (2008)

For a lot of people, Metronomy only rose to prominence with their last album The English Riviera in 2011, however, before the acclaimed album came out, the English band already had two other projects under their belt:  Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe) in 2006 and Nights Out two years after their debut album.

Their first had too much of an electronic element for my taste... It wasn't really a record that I enjoyed listening to, but Nights Out is definetely a top notch work. And it gets better with time and with each live performance. That's how it worked with me...

I was fortunate enough to see Metronomy in 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was a solid gig, but not spectacular has I envisioned. It was clear to me that my opinion was highly affected by my seats, which even thought being very good (we had a box just for our group of friends), it was far from the action near the centre of the stage. There is were you feel the intensity and you loosen up. You sing, you dance and you feel the contagious environment around you. It's more of a fun party atmosphere, while at the same time you can be focused on the music.

That's what I came to feel a year later when I saw them again, this time at one of Portugal's finest Summer festivals: Optimus Alive.

They started playing at 3:00am on a Sunday (remember, most people had to work the next day). You would think that after 3 days of music and so late at night on a Sunday... it wouldn't be a full house. But against all odds, the place was tearing apart. The band engaged in a 2:30h gig leaving everyone in a state of ecstasy. And it was then and there that Nights Out took over a place in my heart. The beats and melodies from that night still resonate in my head til this day. It's so easy for me to travel back to that special event. I just grab my iPod and let it play... And it just so happens... I'm in that mood right now!

sábado, novembro 03, 2012

Skyfall (2012)

Ian Fleming's secret agent 007 comes to screen once more for the 23rd movie dedicated to the franchise. 

Shortly after being announced that Sam Mendes would take the helms of this project, the hype began to grow, something that is quite understandable. In all these years that I've been following James Bond's "career", not once do I remember having an Academy award winner direct one of his films.

Skyfall (2012) looked promising and if expectations were high, they gained epic proportions has time went by. The advertising campaign was amazing, with a special moment clinging on most people's mind. I'm talking about Daniel Craig's cameo as James Bond during the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics. Quite an original stunt I would say...

By this point we were close to its début... and when the time came for Skyfall to be revealed to a selected audience and critics, the results came in: It was said to be one of the finest Bond movies ever made.

I wasn't surprised. Since they've decided to reboot the series and give it a much darker and serious tone, 007 increased its quality much to credit of screenwriters and directors, but also Daniel Craig's performance, arguably the best MI6 agent since Sean Connery (I can't really decide which of them I like best).

Casino Royale (2006) based on Fleming's first Bond, took the character to early stages and from there we've seen the English spy grow and mature into the James Bond we all know. Quantum of Solace (2008) delivered a different pace and face to the agent, much to dislike of fans worldwide, however, it is my belief that people didn't take into account their new approach but also what happened in the previous film. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (2008) are connected and same was expected - at least by me - for Skyfall. Rather than treating each film as a separate adventure (like they did with the old ones), there is a sense of continuity with the contemporary versions. Here in fact, the new and improved Bond films work as a prequel of sorts, taking the whole series to level one, but always maintaining part of the essence that made this "spy saga". We still get the gadgets and the action sequences - although with a more realistic touch - and the intro generic remains pretty vintage, including the theme songs, which seem to be - regardless of the time and age we are in - all in the same tone. Even in the narrative style adopted, they find ways to fit in tributes to the "oldies", example of such is the Austin Martin used in Skyfall... a clear reference to 1964's Goldfinger. More is to be said, but my point is not to hand out any spoilers. All I can say is that you will be very satisfied with what Mendes has done with the newest Bond, which by the way marks the 50th anniversary of the character.

Be sure to see it!

sexta-feira, novembro 02, 2012

Back Down South

Just in case you didn't know, they are coming to Portugal for next year's Optimus Alive.

segunda-feira, outubro 29, 2012

Shut Up and Play The Hits (2012)

Shut Up and Play The Hits (2012) is a musical documentary directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, that chronicles LCD Soundsystem's last show at Madison Square Garden (New York) on the 2nd of April 2012. 

  (poster for their last gig)

While offering an insight to their last gig, the documentary also reveals - in intersected scenes - LCD's front-man James Murphy, in a 48 hour period after "the end" of one of the most iconic groups of the last decade. During this time we go behind the scenes during an interview conducted by journalist Chuck Klosterman, and we witness how Murphy slowly coops not only with the end of a project, but also a musical era.

This is obviously something very dear to me and you would figure my expectations were high just because of what this feature entailed... But even before I finally undergone this intimate travel, for a long time I was with high hopes for this. The trailer was probably the biggest responsible for that build up. It gave epic proportions to the whole event and having in consideration this would mark the actual end of one of my favourite bands, it was hard not to expect something colossal. Truth be told, the gig itself is amazing and I dare anyone to watch this and not admitting that - even if just for a small moment - they felt bad for not attending what it seemed to be "the best funeral ever". Nonetheless, the more intimate scenes, with Murphy conceding the interview, liaising with his friends and crew and his emotional adjustment, are not spectacular. For you to enjoy it at its fullest, I believe you first need to feel emotionally attached... Meaning, if you are not a big fan, this will come more hard for you to digest. The interview does enlighten you in a lot of things concerning the New York band, but everything else makes this project feel slightly depressing when, at least from what I perceived, the idea was to celebrate their ending. As the tag-line suggests "if this is a funeral, let's make it the best funeral ever".

I still very much recommend it, but rather than suggesting to everyone, I'll just stick to their fans. The gig is superbly well filmed, the music is fantastic and there's pretty good content. Even if you don't know them, you won't feel like you've waster your time, however, if you like LCD Soundsystem... you will take a lot more from the documentary.

sexta-feira, outubro 26, 2012

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune (2010)

Released in 2010, long after "Guitar God" Jimi Hendrix passed away in 1970, Valleys of Neptune was recorded between 1967 - 1970, with most of its songs be worked on in 1969.

It's one of Hendrix's finest works and I recommend anyone who enjoys music - specially if you have a thing for guitars - to listen to.

quinta-feira, outubro 25, 2012

Tom Hanks

Close to making its début on theatres this weekend, Cloud Atlas (2012), the website Rotten Tomatoes just published a post with Tom Hanks's best work. (click here). 
That - and a facebook conversation this week - inspired me to write something about the magnificent Mr. Hanks.

Tom Hanks is by far my favourite actor since I was a little kid. I remember, being about 8/9 years old and watching on a regular basis films such as Big, Turner & Hooch, Splash, The Man With One Red Shoe Joe Versus The Volcano, Punchline, The Burbs, A League of their Own and Sleepless in Seattle. I also remember his guest role as Michael J Fox's uncle in the TV show Family Ties.

I never saw Bosom Buddies, a TV show that launched Hanks into his stardom path... but I went the distance, going back and forward, trying and watch all of his filmography so I could almost feel like an expert in his career, while at the same time, creating sort of a spiritual bond with someone that I felt like I knew.

I was sure he was special. He had a certain charisma, different from anyone else. And yes, even though a lot of what I'd seen was during my childhood, I was already sunk deep in to the cinema world, due to my Mom's influence, therefore, I felt like I was able to "pass judgement" when it came to "the movies". I had something to say.

His dramatic roles came as an exclamation point in his career. I became certain that he was head and shoulders above anyone else. Many of his movies are among my favourites, being two - Philadelphia and Forrest Gump - in my all-time top 5! Keep in mind, both these films granted him two back-to-back Oscars in 1993 and 1994 (click on the links for acceptance speeches).

My list of favourites goes on and includes Big, Apollo 13, Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, Road to Perdition, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal all of which I possess in my precious DVD collection.

Even for what some is an average role or movie, for me resonated in a different way. They are all linked to memories and feelings. I remember laughing hard, being scared or crying like there was no tomorrow...  All to Tom Hank's orchestrated skill. So, before I leave you with the videos below, just want to acknowledge how late this post is. I should have done this a long time ago, but at the same time, I'm sure this man doesn't need any introductions and most of you are fans just like I am. If not, please educate yourselves into watching his body of work. As he puts it in his first Inside The Actors Studio's appearance:

They last forever, you know, these movies.

quarta-feira, outubro 24, 2012

sexta-feira, outubro 19, 2012

When football meets a great song

Not my typical thing to upload a compilation of goals in my blog, but thought the combination of We Were Promised Jetpacks's track It's Thunder and It's Lightning with last week's best goals... was just incredible. Thought the track suited perfectly the pace of the action... but truth be told, maybe in my mind anything would blend in with their songs.

I've easily became a big fan of the Scottish band, after listening their first album These Four Walls - one of my all time favourites.

Anyway, hope you can enjoy - as I did - the following compilation of superb football finishing, as well as the soundtrack.

segunda-feira, outubro 15, 2012

Looper (2012)

In his third directorial effort, Rian Johnson was able to not only keep the same high level of quality film-making, but even improve it... and he did so, by stepping new grounds.  

Looper (2012) comes across like a Sci-Fi movie that allows people to reflect in the art of story-telling and also in it's clear and profound message. It's definitely a project that will sustain itself as one of the greats of 2012 that will certainly be held as a cult classic. It's that good! 

But even thought great part of the success comes from directing and scripting skills, a lot has to be said about the casting.
In my mind, it would be very difficult for Looper to enjoy it's acclaimed status if not for the efforts of Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Willis does what he does best, in a role that looked like it was written with only him in mind. It's pure, classic, vintage Bruce Willis in action... including good acting and terrific lines. Gordon-Levitt, joins Johnson once more, after working with the American director in Brick (2005). Even thought this is not a kind of character that we are used to see JGL portray, it just comes to show how versatile he can be. 

Hopefully we will get to see a growing relationship between both the actor and director since working together is becoming a synonymous of great cinema.   

In conclusion, if you haven't seen it already, please make your best effort to go watch it while it's still in display at your local cinemas and let me know if you agree that it's one of the best features 2012 has to offer.

sábado, outubro 13, 2012

I'm trying Jacques Audiard... I really am!

The posters above are the two latest Audiard's movies that I've seen... Both acclaimed by critics and audiences and both seen under great expectations.

For some reason, I'm unable to "LOVE" Jacques Audiard's movies. Un Prophète (2009) - although good - didn't satisfy my expectations... and now De battre mon cœur s'est arrêté (2005) - which I just saw - followed the same route. I really wanted to love both of them, but they felt short...

Somehow I feel guilty... Like I wasn't able to understand or appreciate the art of one of the best French film-makers around. That's a compliment that I easily concede, even thought I don't come across as a big fan of his work.

Very soon I will see his most recent project De rouille et d'os (2012) featuring Marion Cotillard in the leading role. Let's hope this can help me change my mind about Monsieur Audiard.

terça-feira, outubro 09, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2012) is haunting and suffocating...

Just simply dark and twisted with a terrific performance from lead Elizabeth Olsen

terça-feira, outubro 02, 2012

Les Petits Mouchoirs (2010)

I remember when this film came out in 2010. It was a few months before I came to London. I was in  my local shopping mall looking at the posters while deciding what to see on the cinema. Les Petits Mouchoirs - a.k.a Little White Lies - looked to be a French romantic-comedy. Don't know why, but that's the idea I got from the expressions of the actors on the poster (not the one here on display). 

Fast forward two years later, the movie was long forgot and only by a friend's suggestion did it came to my mind again, but even thought I had it in my computer, it remained unseen for a long period. This was until a week ago, when I brought the name up, a French girl highly recommended it.Adding the suggestions, to my initial curiosity and the rate on iMDB, it was clear I needed to see it. So me and a couple of friends took the time to watch it together, knowing only that the film had it's comedy moments, but also it's share of drama. 

Directed by Guillaume Canet, Les Petits Mouchoirs revolve a group of friends who decided to take their usual summer vacation, even after one of their closest members lies between life in death in the hospital  after having a big accident.

As the story starts to build up, I believe we - the viewers - could all relate to a few characters and moments. If not ourselves, at least we could picture someone close to us in that same spot. That's a good sign, meaning there's a genuine feel to the project, strong enough to drag us into the plot and get involved.

Like we were warned, there were many times of joy and times of sadness, all done with subtlety, charm and a lot of heart. Credit must be given to actor Canet, who seems to have a natural thing behind the cameras, as his few long features are mostly good. But the French director could not have done it all, without the support of a magnificent cast that include the likes of Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet and Jean Dujardin (just to name the most well known actors).

Read somewhere the casting was strange and stereotypical. Don't believe a word! It truly made a difference and I stand by it. Great pleasure to see all of them interact at ease and with such chemistry. The only thing I would point out is maybe it was slightly long... but that becomes almost irrelevant due to the high quality of Les Petits Mouchoirs.

All and all, another win for French cinema, more and more my favourite line of movie production across Europe. 

domingo, setembro 30, 2012

Harder Than You Think

by: Public Enemy

I don't think I will ever be ready to hear this song again, after a huge "overdose" during the Paralympics...
... Nonetheless ...

... It's a great tune!

quinta-feira, setembro 27, 2012

La Faute à Fidel (2006)

La Faute à Fidel (2006)...

... What a wonderful film!

Just one more example - among many others - of how good is international cinema, especially in France. In this last year, I have seen a lot of films produced in the country and most of them were of high quality. In fact, lately I've noticed how my DVD collection has been growing with French cinema. 

Compelling story, terrific acting and a great surprise from a very young actress - who after making her début with a terrific performance - seized to appear in other projects. Did some research - not an extensive one - to find out her whereabouts and came up with nothing. I'm curious to know what led the young actress to give up on acting, considering critics and audience where enchanted by her portrayal of a 9-year-old girl caught in the mist of revolution and high ideals connected to communism, Cuba and Fidel Castro. Too much for anyone at such a young age I would say...

Rotten Tomatoes - my main guide / advisor in times of need - said:
"Blame it on Fidel" is a charming comedy of manners, class, and politics, elevated by a remarkable performance from lead child actor Nina Kervel.

A must!

quarta-feira, setembro 26, 2012

Hot Chip - In Our Heads (2012)

I would say it's very difficult - even almost impossible - for this able to not make my top 10 of 2012. 

Hot Chip did an amazing job with their fifth project In Our Heads (2012), even going the extra mile to impress me, a "not so much" electronic music lover.

Throughout their 11 tunes, each and every one was able to grab me in a unique way... Funny enough, their main single Night and Day was the less convincing, while Let Me Be Him took the number one spot in my favourite tracks.

terça-feira, setembro 25, 2012

Greetings From Tim Buckley - Trailer

If the trailer does not suffice, read this small preview article taken from the magazine NME, on what and what not to expect from the upcoming biopic movie.

segunda-feira, setembro 24, 2012

American Reunion (2012)

This was one of the many films I watched on my way to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). With plenty of time in my hands, I looked through the selection of movies British Airways had and after seeing American Reunion (2012) I had no doubt where I was going to start.

It had been a long time since American Wedding (2003) - the third and last instalment of the series until the "reunion"- a movie which seemed to conclude the story of the group of friends from East Great Falls High. It never occurred to me that a "Reunion" would be a great plot to get them all together once more. Maybe I was too distracted with the mediocre "direct-to-dvd" sequels that came out, only to destroy the American Pie's legacy among my generation. You can say they are very approachable to various generations, but I believe mine was one to be more infatuated with the series.

So there I was. Getting together with all those characters like they were my friends. It almost seemed like I was part of the gang, as I felt more and more nostalgic with each scene. I can honestly say this was a very satisfying finale to the series, and even thought there is still potential to work on future projects, I like to believe everyone involved in American Pie is proud of their achievments and will let this be the "perfect ending" for Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch, Stiffler and many others more, who have contributed so much to my popular culture.

sexta-feira, setembro 21, 2012

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto (2012)

I know this is completely out of date, but bare with me. I only listened the Mylo Xyloto (2012) slightly more than a month ago and even thought the time has passed for me to write something based on a fresh idea, I simply could not just let this one slide.

Since it's release, a lot has been said about Coldplay's latest album. That is too pop, that the British band have drifted away from "their genre", that they have become excessively commercial and - most shockingly - that they have lost what gave their music a "quality stamp", meaning, they lost their edge... they are no longer good.

Well my friends, I beg to differ. I will agree with a few comments...
Yes, in this album their went with a bigger pop approach, making their sound very commercial, however, that's not to say they have made bad music just because Chris Martin and company decided to go with a different route. For some, change can be bad, while for others it can be good... It's exciting to see a group coming together year upon year, trying different elements and melodies. That means they are trying to evolve, to progress... all this leaving their comfort zone. It's easy to get labelled with a specific kind of sound and then - for good or bad - stick with it. Chances are, if you were successful in your first try, you will attract the same audience the next. But I say, to still have success while going for something different... that's the real challenge. I have to admit, sometimes - maybe even most time - I'm not a big fan of big changes. Look what happened to Bloc Party. Their third album even went as far to sound like it was made by another band. Why? Why would they change their tune - which was mostly indie rock - into something more twisted and electronic? In this case, maybe if "it ain't broke, then don't try to fix it".  But then again, if we just settle with what is safe, will we ever see progress? Not just talking about the bands themselves, but the audience itself. 

We could go on and on to talk about this... loads of pros and cons, but the point I was trying to make here is that Coldplay went out of their way to do something different - regardless if they were looking for a change of settings or just to make more money - and it came out good. I myself have given up on pop melodies a long time ago, but every so often, something comes up with the power to lure me into their world. Coldplay achieved just that with another great album.

That's my take...
... for what it's worth!

quinta-feira, setembro 06, 2012

Closed for Holiday

Im guessing you have noticed the blog hasn't had a post for some time now. Worry not... It's just until the 21st of September.

See you soon!

domingo, setembro 02, 2012

Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action At a Distance (2012)

This is an album that brings me closer to Portugal! 

Not because the music was soundtrack to my life there, but because - somehow - it just takes me to summer days, evening at the beach, days out in festivals listening to great bands, having a nice cold Sagres, submersed in interesting and fun conversations... Outdoor barbecues, partying and going out for dinner... bowl of Santini... joking around in the pool... playing some football and after lying around in the grass. I could stay here for ages just naming favorite things to do when I'm back home. 

God, I miss it so much. Miss everything about it...

Any album that is able to do this, to put me in a nostalgic mood, then it must be good!

Thanks Lotus Plaza.

sexta-feira, agosto 31, 2012

The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape (1963) is one of the best movies I've seen recently...
A must see classic that generated a cult following and inspired films from our time.

quarta-feira, agosto 29, 2012


We are the reckless,
We are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures
One day we'll reveal the truth
That one will die before he gets there.

terça-feira, agosto 28, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)

Based on a novel by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (2012) came out under wide critical acclaim and getting big numbers at the box office, reasons that alone make any viewer - at least - be curious about the film. Way before that - even when I was completely oblivious to the fact that is was adapted from a book - I came across the first trailer and thought to myself: "this is going to suck". Why? Because I felt it was too much of a rip-off. The similarities between The Hunger Games storyline and Battle Royale were of gigantic proportions. Nonetheless, after everyone started to rave about the book and the movie adaptation, my expectations then shifted entirely.

So what can I say about The Hunger Games? Well, credit most be given to the author, who even after  drawing lot of inspiration (#plagiarism) from the Japanese action masterpiece, was able to give it a nice, smart twist, approaching various themes and doing it so always leaving dots to connect.

One of the most interesting topics lies on Reality TV and what goes on the backstage/behind-the-scene. You get a overview of what needs to be done to set to turn the wheels of this big marketing machine that lives off ratings and consumption. I guess, most people have an idea of how the system works, but just prefer to close their eyes for the sake of entertainment. What ticks me off, is the fact that most people just act like what's taking place is completely genuine, without a hint of manipulation. The viewer easily believes that are witnessing "history" (corny, dull, cheesy history) in the making.
It's almost like watching Robert Redford's Quiz Show (1994) mixed with American Idol and - again - Battle Royale.

As for the talented cast, my biggest compliments go towards Jennifer Lawrence. It's not by chance that she is becoming one of Hollywood's most in demand actresses. She has great talent as Winter's Bone (2010) - her breakthrough performance - easily shows that.

It's not a movie that will leave you talking about it for a long time... but it sure is well crafted and quite entertaining... and it's good enough to keep you waiting for the next two sequels to see how the story will come to an end.

segunda-feira, agosto 27, 2012

Wrath of The Titans (2012)

I don't understand why, after the first one was so bad, I had hope that the sequel would be any better. It sucks as much or even worse.

What a shame to see talented actors join the bandwagon in such mediocrity. There is no point in watching this movie... Trust me! Nothing to be taken out as positive. It's 1h30m of your life you will not get back!
May this post come as a warning to you...

domingo, agosto 26, 2012

The Expendables 2 (2012)

"The more the merrier", that's what Sylvester Stallone seems to think by betting on The Expendables 2 (2012).

The fans agree! 

Since the first Expendables (2010) came out, people knew right away that for a sequel to make sense they would need to bring in more actions stars. Fortunately for Sly, there's a lot to pick from and some of them are even looking to get some high profile roles to contrast with their "straight-to-dvd" projects.

So if you look at the original lineup that contains names such as Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgreen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis... what other names come up to mind?

I'm sure Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris are probably in that wish-list of yours and so... there you have it! Both actors were included and the hype was once more created. Everyone who grew up with these actors wanted to see them act together and I like to believe even for non-action fans, the opportunity just seemed to good to pass on. What are the chances of you ever getting a similar project with so many cult icons?

I've got to say, even for me - a big action fan and admirer of most these actors for years - was too much. I had trouble watching the movie and reaching the end with a sense of satisfaction. I felt like it was cheesy, over the top, blunt and ludicrous... I wasn't believing most of what I was seeing. And yes, I'm aware that's not the point. They don't take themselves seriously and it's suppose to be an homage almost in the shape of a spoof - at least this is what I assume. However, it still resonate in my head as a waste of my time. I could have easily waited to watch this one at home... No need to spend money and hit the cinemas.

I spoke to a few people and most tend to disagree with my opinion. They loved The Expendables 2, some even more that its predecessor! The trick - they say - is to go with a large group of friends, kick back and enjoy the ride. From what I learned after watching it, I would also suggest people pretend they are seeing a comedy and just be comfortable to laugh of the many idiotic scenes that come up your way.

But let me just clear one thing... As much as it seems like I hated the movie, I didn't. Far from it... Felt it was an unnecessary sequel, providing very little to the previous one. I also believe that critics and audience have been boosting up what I think is a very overrated film. Nonetheless, there are some excellent scenes, especially those that involve Willis, Schwarzenegger and Stallone together. The quirky lines, the 80/90's references, the puns... It just makes you feel "blessed" for the opportunity of getting those guys on-screen.

Oh and the throw down between Sly and JCVD is a nice climax... Good to see that even when you reach 70 you can still kick some ass.

sábado, agosto 25, 2012

Hesher (2010)

Right before I reached the final scenes of Hesher (2010), much to my dislike, I was convinced the movie was a big let down just because it didn't satisfy my level of expectations. These reached a high degree just by knowing Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred on it.
I have been a fan the 31 year old actor since he first came to prominence with 3rd Rock from the Sun - one of my favourite comedy shows - then going through his indie phase, followed by a more mainstream productions. The guy is brilliant in most things he does and being highly pleased with Hesher's trailer I was more than confident this would be one for my collection. 

During most of the film I thought great deal of the action taking place was random, lacking credibility and sometimes even slightly predictable. As the storyline progressed, we were at a stage where it was clear for me, as a viewer, that I was suppose to expect the unexpected and the unusual - classic trademarks of any indie film that wishes to cause an impact and surprise their audience, specially if the approach is meant to be deep/inspirational. 
I get that... but I believed it was a lot to take in, I mean, most of the time I was trying to make sense of everything that was happening.

Here and there, I felt really good about what I was watching and the final scenes really torn me apart, leading me to not know exactly where I stood regarding what I just saw. 

The issue then becomes whether or not my early thoughts have been "manipulated" by some of the reading I did after I saw the film, however, I can honestly say something genuinely shifted with that last scene. Thought it was beautiful and, in a lot of ways, very poetic, offering great contrast to the chaos that gave pace to the entire Spencer Susser (director) project.

Regardless of all this, I came to conclude I was very entertained. Had a lot of trouble liking the main character, a complete crazy anarchist with - what I would believe is safe to say - serious issues. But in is own unbalanced way, Hesher presented himself with some dark and twisted humour that provided the movie with great scenes. Those moments made it much easier to like him... and as he acted like a spiritual guide in time of need, with his deranged and inappropriate metaphors containing hidden messages (life lessons), you actually see the kind of balance that something so dysfunctional can give you. Things aren't as black and white or right or wrong like people think. There are occasions where what makes that special click is something coming from where you less expected, from what you believe to be unconventional and even against your nature. That's sort of what we witness here... In this feature, a troubled Father and Son, still  mourning over the loss of their Wife/Mother needed to be shaken and has the movie tagline says: 

"Sometimes life gives you the finger and sometimes it gives you Hesher" - Promise this will make a lot more sense if you watch it.

Other highlights worthy of mention are Rainn Wilson, in a different role to what we are used to. Troubled and a numbly dark, the actor widely known for Dwight Schrute in the T.V show The Office, gives a surprising and refreshing performance, while Devin Brochu - as the kid going by the name of T.J - delivers a more intense and enraged version of his Dad, due to the constant aggressive handling by Hesher.

Natalie Portman (also a producer), with some very solid acting, portrays a young "nerdy" girl to which T.J becomes very fond - being both misfits something that connects them together - giving him a hint of sanity when it seemed like there was none... Well, except his lovable grandma performed by Piper Laurie in one of the best - and lighter - roles on Hesher.

Having said this - and after giving it some thought - I actually enjoyed myself even after stating how disappointed I was throughout the film. I think all I need was to come to terms with what actually was intended rather than worrying to much on how realistic it is or how crazy it might seem. In the end, I believe Hesher to be a modern yet strange and twisted, fairy tale. 

Worth to watch!

Trailer 1

Trailer 2