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.