domingo, maio 27, 2012

Sure Thing

A class chill out song taking inspiration through Blues legend John Lee Hooker (from which a sample is taken)

sexta-feira, maio 25, 2012

domingo, maio 20, 2012

Chelsea FC - Champions League Winners 2011/2012

And so it is... Chelsea are the new European Champions after winning a dramatic Champions League final against the Germans of Bayern Munich. 

Many would say the "Gods of football" had planned this unbelievable outcome all along. 
I am now a converted believer to this idea.

Since Roman Abramovich took over the London club in 2003, he was able to win everything at his reach, except for that coveted trophy to which all of Europe have their eyes set on. I'm talking of course of the Champions League trophy. 

The Russian owner has then put a lot of effort to win that cup and they came close a couple of times.In 2007/2008 they reached the final, only to be beaten in the penalty round by English rivals, Manchester United. A day that skipper John Terry will never forget, being the one to miss the crucial kick from the spot. One year later, against Barcelona, they were knocked out of the final in one of the most controversial games that I remember watching in the elite competition.

Nonetheless, Chelsea were still restless and eager to complete their trophy shelve. The bringing of AVB was a sign of that desire, but with a new approach. The idea was to remodel, restructure, reorganize, however, that idea never came to full practice as it was not applied in the right way. AVB was soon sacked and assistant manager Di Matteo was left to try and minimize damages. 
He did much more than that... He transformed what seemed to be the worst season of the club after the billionaire owner took over, to one that will go down in history as their first big European accomplishment.

Little skill or technique was applied to this formula of success, but a lot of heart and luck seemed to do the trick. We all know these are vital ingredients that can change the course of any game... If football has taught us anything is that nothing is to be taken for granted. Even the most unpredictable events take place every so often... and you must be ready to react when they come.

After their miraculous come back from a 3-1 result against Napole, Chelsea were still considered to be a doomed team. No flair, no skill... no chances! Their next opponents were the Portuguese side Benfica, a team that on paper seemed like quite an easy challenge for the Blues, but ended up being the opposite. The giants from Lisbon played better than the Englishmen, with more possession, more shots on target and if not for the referee's big mistake at the Stadium of Light (Estádio da Luz), Chelsea wouldn't live to tell the tale. But again, luck and other unpredictable details make football the sport it is. 
Chelsea won both legs and proceeded to the next round were they would find arguably the best team to ever play the game: FC Barcelona. 

Again, the crowd were everything but optimistic. There was no way a team so average throughout the season could go head to toe against such a powerhouse of talent.
But to much big surprise and against all odds, Chelsea won the Catalans with less one man, in one of the most exciting matches of their history, putting a "V in Vendetta" for that semi-final to which they were highly damaged by a poor refereeing. For this match a solid defence, big  heart and of course, Ramires... were all the Blues needed to overcome the Spanish powerhouse. An ironic sense of justice came to play I guess...

And so comes the Final, in Munich... The town of Chelsea's opposition: Bayern.

With a better team and playing in front of their home crowd, Bayern were favourites. Chelsea were said by most to be an easy target. Specially because the likes of John Terry, Ramires and Raúl Meireles couldn't play due to being suspended. It almost seemed too easy.
But when you reach a stage such as the final... there are no favourites. It's anyone's game!

Like a movie script about any underdog, you see the hero take a lot of hits and blows. You see them go down over and over again, only to then see them rise powerful and levelling the balance. And by the end, when you actually don't know who will win, everything is left to that one big finale.

A lot of twists and turns take place before unveiling what you feel you should have seen it coming from the beginning...

Chelsea were Champions!

Didier Drogba was the main character with his decisive goal (what a finish!) and penalty - although I must say, Ashley Cole was the best player on the pitch.

The final outcome - and not how the game's action took place - immediately lead me to remember what happened in 2004 , when Greece won the Euro. 
It wasn't even considered to be a possibility, but Greece worked their way up into the final where they faced the favourites Portugal, who were playing in their home ground. (See any similarities?)
The difference is that, as long as Roman is around and they maintain the high level structure and the "big bucks" flying around... They are likely to repeat this in years to come. That is my belief!

terça-feira, maio 08, 2012

21 Jump Street (2012)

When 21 Jump Street (2012) was given a green light and announced, I was extremely excited with the idea, after all, this was a popular show that I enjoyed during my teenage years. For those of you struggling to remember what it was, its probably known to most as being the vehicle for Johnny Deep's mainstream success. There he rose to stardom after showcasing his talents in the 80's police drama television series.

As I got deep into knowing who was directing and starring, I came across Jonah Hill's name as being the lead alongside Channing Tatum - of which I'm fond of. This was a major upset as I felt that Jonah didn't had the right profile for the part. I wondered why he would get such a role, but didn't took long to find out why. He was executive producer and one of the screenwriters. That instantly became a major turn off for me, but regardless of that, I still gave the movie the benefit of the doubt and waited patiently for more updates.

The trailer became available (can't remember when) and it caught me by surprise. It seemed nothing like the source material, however, it had various moments to which I reacted with laughter. It seemed like a comedy that went against the genre/concept of the original show. Nonetheless, I was still curious to see what kind of references would they make and what comedy style would be inflected throughout the film. 

Meanwhile, the reviews started to come out and they were pretty good. I knew without going into detail reading them, avoiding any chances of getting disclosed information.

So finally, I got a chance to watch it... and let me tell you this: It's hilarious!
If any doubts remained, they were immediately dissipated... The film had very little to do with the show. It was sort of a spoof adaptation, having part of the original concept mixed with a high level of outrageous and, some times, candid humor. This is essentially a satire of the 80's with nice references visual references, a few excellent lines and surprising cameos. 

There is one particular dialogue - in my opinion - that says it all, not only about the reviving concept this film is approaching but also the kind "critique" they try to establish :

Deputy Chief Hardy: Fortunately for you two, we're reviving a cancelled undercover police programme from the eighties, and revamping it for modern times. You see the guys in charge of this stuff lack creativity and are completely out of ideas. So all they do now is recycle shit from the past and expect us all not to notice.

Having said that, one thing that I related a lot was the relationship between the two leads and the good times they seem to have among other people. It brought me back my high-school and college days in a very nostalgic way. For that and more, it was a pleasure to watch 21 Jump Street, an intoxicating comedy with a good cast, where Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are definitely the highlights, such is their big chemistry and charisma.

I would also advise watching this hilarious interview with both lead stars.
Pretty much sets the mood for the movie.


quinta-feira, maio 03, 2012

The Avengers (2012)

If you are a comic book fan and you’ve been following Marvel movie productions over the last years, you are probably eager to watch The Avengers (2012).

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Avengers is a comic book strip that combines a group of Marvel’s finest, including the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, among many others.

Between 2008 and now, a series of movies have been coming out with hints that The Avengers would ultimately get produced. From Hulk, to Iron Man and more recently Captain America, in every film - after the credits roll - there is a scene handing out little, but precious detail on what is coming up next.
This generated a lot of buzz, even more so with "San Diego Comic Con" International and a few other interviews that came along the way, promoting the upcoming “Super Hero” elite production.  The hype was increasing by the day, but fans worldwide, although waiting in anticipation; couldn’t avoid looking at this in a reluctant way.
Because this was a major challenge! Some would say it was quite risky, with so many egos possibly colliding. Having many great characters and actors portraying them, giving them equal spotlight would definitely be a hard task. But not to worry! Joss Whedon was up for it!
He assembled a great crew of actors, screenwriters and special effects specialists and made what is Marvel’s greatest production yet. Every scene is handed out perfectly, matching the main demand for such a blockbuster.
The ability to entertain at such a high level!

With a mix of state of the art FX, fast paced action sequences, great (humorous) lines and nice script – capable of focusing equally on each hero while never neglecting the storyline – The Avengers is a smash hit.
Having to pick my individual highlights in this all star team, Robert Downey Jr. delivers another “joyful to watch” Tony Stark and "The Hulk" finally becomes consistent and appealing. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, although being a villain that I’m not that familiar with, proved himself to be a great match to the Marvel squad. Also, for some reason, I believe him to do the most theatrical performance (in a good way) of them all. His skills came out as a fusion between old and new school acting which for me is rather unusual.

However, having said all these nice compliments, there is one thing that I don’t agree with… and that is the iMDB score. 8.9 seems somewhat over the top. Yes, it’s a great movie but not one to be alongside some of the great classics. I’m not even sure it’s the best Marvel feature that I’ve seen. Iron Man (2008) and X-Men: First Class (2011) are probably still my top choices, but again, their practically “shoulder to shoulder”. Its a great one to watch at the cinemas!