terça-feira, janeiro 22, 2013

Sound City - trailer

Upcoming documentary directed by Dave Grohl.

Makes perfect sense having him involved, if you see what the topic is about...

quinta-feira, janeiro 17, 2013

Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi (2012) is a movie that I was sure I wasn't going to see... The trailer indicated this would be some sort of crappy/cheesy magical tale about human perseverance and some sort of destiny fulfillment.

Then the Oscars nominations came out and I have to admit that stirred up some curiosity, but still not enough to get me to go to the cinema. It was only when a few key people told me the movie was incredible that I had to swallow my pride and give the film a chance. Expectations were built and I had to make plans to see if as soon as possible... and in 3D (something that I'm not a fan of).

So what can I tell you after I saw Piscine's (Pi) adventures yesterday?

Well... the movie visually is brilliant, I can tell you that. Ang Lee did a remarkable job in that aspect, which is without a doubt the main highlight, however, movies don't just live out of special effects, nice sceneries and photography. They need good acting and content... something that keeps you going.

Life of Pi has none of that, at least to the scale that would make it worthy of the reviews it has gotten so far. To certain extent, it felt like I was watching a crossover between Avatar (2009) with Castaway (2000), only you didn't had Tom Hanks as a leading man. When I refer to this mix, I'm obviously making reference to the aesthetics of it alongside the "one man show " concept, performed by the Indian actor, Suraj Sharma. Can't say he's bad on it... in fact, I acknowledge I might be a little unfair considering the position he was placed. It's a great responsibility to carry a film almost on your own. In my (humble) opinion, I believe if you are going to do that, you need to make sure you are betting in the right actor to do that... and there aren't many who would be able to deliver something capable of driving an audience for over two hours.

And yeah... it's too long! Just tooooooooo long!! There is very little content to go around for a movie going more than two hours. Even with plenty of eye candy and a fantastic touch near the end, it is still not sufficient.

Well... we all know how movies are such a subjective theme... You can love it or hate it without being right or wrong (although many, many times it feels like it)... But I really can't understand why people are enthusiastic about this one. 8.3 on iMDB? 89% good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes? 11 Oscar nominations?

No, no, no! At the very best it's a nice movie... nothing more!

terça-feira, janeiro 15, 2013

The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap (2012)

Even thought I didn't consider this album for 2012's finest music projects, The Temper Trap's sophmore - homonymous - album features a few good songs, two of which I would like to share with you.


Rabbit Hole

sábado, janeiro 12, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Let me start by saying I never thought this movie could be that good... like amazing good. I remember watching the trailer and thinking: "there's a nice little flick. Something to watch on a Sunday afternoon". But did I think it was somewhere close to being Oscar material? 

Hell no!! 

So imagine my surprise when I turn on CNN during the Oscar nominations and the name Silver Linings Playbook (2012) keeps dropping...
8 times! I couldn't believe it! This movie was nominated in 8 different categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and all four actors categories (lead and supporting). I was shocked and surprised. For one because I couldn't believe that Robert De Niro had given a performance worthy of such reward. No disrespect intended... the man is one of the finest actors to walk this earth, but during these past few years I can't remember a single movie where he gave out a vintage performance. But most of all, I was baffled with Bradley Cooper's nomination for Best Leading Actor. In my mind there was no chance he was Oscar material. Sure I liked him... I think he's funny, charismatic... I like having him on screen, but there's a huge gap from that into being top notch actor. So you would think my expectations for this would rise... right?

Yes and no... It did lead me to go to a cinema to watch it, however, I still expected myself not to be convinced by any of the nominations or the (great) reviews I read. Almost felt like it was my way of creating a defense so I wouldn't leave the theater room disappointed. I'm aware I shouldn't do this, but you know what? Who cares? It worked! I was very skeptical when I got in, when I was marveled when I got out. 

Hat's off to Mr. Cooper to whom I owe a sincere apology for doubting his skills. Terrific performance, deserving of all the great compliments it has had... I'm sure it won't win the Oscar but that doesn't take away his shine. I'll be sure to give him a great ovation during the ceremony. But Cooper wasn't alone... Jennifer Lawrence was up there with him, proving once again why she is regarded as one of the best actresses coming up in Hollywood. She is likeable, she has skill, she has the looks... and she has been picking her roles wisely.

Together, they've established this crazy chemistry that makes the audience root for them right from the get go. You can almost anticipate the laughter to burst any time Cooper's character goes out for a jog.

I particularly enjoyed the way both characters are outlined as crazy and misfitted, because she does what she wants and he says what he wants. It's just amazing to think both are judged and criticized for things that should almost be addressed as qualities in a world filled with hypocrisy and people just withheld their wishes and/or thoughts. But anyway, I'll leave that to your judgement...

Moving on...

Robert De Niro finally delivered an outstanding performance like he hasn't done in years. It may still not be a vintage role, like the one's in those 80s Scorsese's movies, nonetheless, just fabulous acting. It had some of the most beautiful moments in the film. Perhaps my favorite scene is, curiously enough, a very intimate "Father and Son" sequence. I've said this before and as times goes by I'm more and more convinced that I have a soft spot for these scenes. Nothing in Common, Magnolia, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Warrior (in which I wrote an article making the exact same point I'm making here) are four great examples of  of movies that had me break down in an emotional way. Maybe it's becoming too obvious that I kind of relate to my father, to an extent that I won't comment here for being such a private matter. I can say however, it just makes me think about how much I love him and how I wish I was more around... Movies are magical in so many ways and its beautiful how they can trigger these thoughts almost without even trying.

On the other hand, even though I'm a fan of Jackie Weaver (check out Animal Kingdom) she wasn't able to convince me that she deserved an Oscar nomination, despite delivering very good role. I'm convinced she was a key element in providing the movie the balance it needed and for that she deserves the recognition and praise that go along with it, but I wouldn't stand her out specially against the three people mentioned above. 

Silver Linings Playbook easily bounces from comedy (with raging twisted humor, to just everyday jokes and romantic lines) to drama (without ever being over the top). There's an equilibrium and every time a shift is made, it is applied smoothly, therefore, kudos to David O. Russell for handling this motion picture so well. He his proving to be a headline name for people to consider every time he comes out with something new. 

Each moment was carefully executed with taste and subtlety, even it certain scenes were built to be "too hard to handle" only to then lead to a more "funny and unexpected scene". I saw traces or even some inspiration (I dare say) taken from Little Miss Sunshine  orchestrated with an eclectic range of musical genres, from classical, to White Stripes and beautiful jazz tracks to which I instantly reacted: "This has to be Dave Brubeck" (a musical genius who unfortunately away last year).

It's a crowd favorite, with the ability to please most people regardless of their mood or even their expectations. It goes way beyond a normal sense of satisfaction... In fact, had I seen it before the end of last year, it would definitely be in my top 5.

Oh... and guess what?

The Philadelphia Eagles have just got themselves a new fan!

quinta-feira, janeiro 10, 2013

Cascais Jazz Club - "Jazz Hot"

O Cascais Jazz Club tem vindo a crescer bastante no ultimo ano... Sente-se que com o tempo, o clube  tem-se tornado numa referencia, não só enquanto local para ouvir boa musica ao vivo, mas também enquanto um sitio para descontrair e apreciar boa companhia. O conforto e a simpatia das pessoas que gerem o "Jazz Club" Cascalense tem gerado bastantes elogios não só entre os habitantes locais, mas um pouco por todo o Pais... E não se iludam. Não é apenas entre os fãs de Jazz que o clube tem tido sucesso. Independentemente do género musical favorito, as noites naquele espaço incrivelmente intimo e acolhedor, facilmente agradam qualquer pessoa. Claramente considerado uma mais-valia para a vila de Cascais que assim aumenta o seu leque de opções para um serão bem passado.

Por tudo isto mencionado e muito mais, a prestigiada revista online Jazz Hot decidiu escrever um artigo onde se mostraram completamente rendidos ao clube, ao seu potencial e a gestao feita por parte de Maria Viana e a sua equipa. 

Deixo-vos dois links para a vossa apreciação, sendo um o link original e o outro uma tradução em Português.

Jazz Hot (original)

Jazz Hot (Português)

terça-feira, janeiro 08, 2013

OSS 117

When talking about Jean Dujardin and his performance in The Artist (2011) with a French friend of mine, he told me that I should try and see two of his earliest comedies to get a flavour of his comical performance but also to gather more French comedies, since he knew I'm a big fan of the European approach of the genre.

Those two comedies were OSS 117: Le Caire nid d'espions (2006) and OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (2009), both revolving around a French secret agent (acted by Monsieur Dujardin), who seemingly looks like a European parody of James Bond. If the story interests you, I think it will add up to your curiosity the fact that both features are directed by Michel Hazanavicius, who reached out to the big audience with his most successful movie,  The Artist.

After watching the first, I was completely convinced the Jean Dujardin is probably one of the most funniest and most charismatic guys in showbiz. The movie was really well written in great humorous lines and great slapstick sequences, however, Dujardin alone makes it worth it! Other French friends of mine, including the one who initially made the suggestion, said the sequel was their favorite, however, it was made of a very typical French humor, perhaps not "accessible" for most audience.

After watching it this weekend, I found that to be completely inaccurate. I do agree its better than the first (and that alone is a big accomplishment), but I don't feel like other nationality might not appreciate the same as French. The format is the same, but more edgier... The jokes are more outrageous and they come with a big bang. It will make you laugh really hard, even if you realise seconds later that it might be inappropriate.

All and all, I consider to be one of the best spoofs I've ever seen. And guess what? I thought this was related to Ian Fleming's James Bond, but it turns out OSS 117 was actually a series of novels that began even before Fleming came up with his character. The difference is that the 2006 and 2009 movies came out as direct spoofs to those popular French novels. I did not see that coming...

If you have a sense of humour and are a fan of "The Artist" (the actor, not the movie) I promise you will have a great time following the adventures of OSS 117.

quinta-feira, janeiro 03, 2013

Ultimate Jordan

I was searching for some Jordan gear on Amazon when I came across a Michael Jordan DVD entitled Ultimate Jordan. I've never seen it so, as a big MJ fan, I had to get my hands on it...
Dropped the name on YouTube and there it was... An hour and half special of his best plays, career highlights and many testimonies from fellow colleagues within the sport of Basketball. 

I couldn't help myself to get emotional while watching the video... 
Yes, I can be very sensitive at times, but this is a guy who played a big part in my life. He is not just the biggest basketball icon of all-time, but also one of the most inspirational people who will ever hear about... and keep in mind this is a sports figure who has a tremendous level of influence all over the world. There aren't enough adjectives to describe the legend, a man who I had the privilege of following his early career, all the way to his final game with the Washington Wizards, almost ten years ago. Ten years! That's a long time, but still feels like yesterday...

I guess that's one of the most beautiful things about this... and for sure one of my biggest life highlights... to have watched Michael Jeffrey Jordan going to work and performing what I can say - without even flinching - at the best level I've ever seen, not only in basketball, but  in any sport!

quarta-feira, janeiro 02, 2013

The Drummer

Saw this short movie by Bill Block, after being highly recommended by my dear Mother. It was in fact worthy of my time and I would advise all of you to watch it. It is deep and beautiful, yet very simple and modest...