terça-feira, fevereiro 19, 2013

domingo, fevereiro 17, 2013

Happy 50th Birthday Michael Jordan

Forget Kobe and LeBron... Magic, Bird, Isiah... Bill, Oscar, Wilt, Dr. J... Forget anyone who has played the game! No one... and I mean NO ONE will ever be at the same level as Michael Jeffrey Jordan!

He his by far the best basketball player of all-time and arguably the best sportsman of all-time.

For his technical skill, endurance and winning mentality he has inspired millions, including me. I can only feel grateful for being old enough to have watch him play right down to the day where he finally retired from Basketball, after playing with the Washington Wizards. But it goes without saying that his best years (seems harsh to say this since all of his years were beyond amazing) was playing in Chicago for the Bulls. There he won 6 Championship rings and many more individual accolades, from Dunk contest winner, to scoring champion, to defensive player of the year and of course... Regular season and Finals MVP.

On the day of his 50th birthday, I'm looking around and I can only feel proud of what I have in my possession: three of his jerseys (two Bulls and one Dream Team), DVD's with various moments of his career, basketball cards... I even have posters hanging on my wall (time to grow up you would say).

Man, oh man... even today... I still want to "Be Like Mike".

(Check out the NBA website for their homage to his Royal Airness!)

sábado, fevereiro 16, 2013

Flight (2012)

 The wait was long, but worth it! 

After being a few years "out of action", Robert Zemeckis came back to live-action cinema since the making of Cast Away (2000). 

Flight (2012), although not being in the same level of Zemecki's best work achievements (such as Back to The Future or Forrest Gump), it is still a very good film that makes good use of a terrific script - which examines a dark side of the human core - and includes a "tour de force" performance by the ever so good, Denzel Washington. 

I found it most entertaining and genuine, but above all, interesting and by the end moving... The human drama that lies beneth a troubled man facing an achool addiction might not be a new topic, but here, it certainly seemed like it with such a fresh approach.

With an all-star cast with actors like Kellie Reilly, Don Cheadle, John Goodman and Melissa Leo (despite most having small roles), I'm sure this is one for most to enjoy!

segunda-feira, fevereiro 11, 2013

Movies over the weekend

From Friday to Sunday I decided to try and watch as many movies as I possibly could (without interfering too much with the remaining of my social life and of course the on-going viewing of the TV series Breaking Bad)

These are the four films I've seen this weekend:

- A Bronx Tale (1993)
- End of Watch (2012)
- Dredd (2012)
- Mr. Nobody (2009)

I've been wanting to see this movie for years now... and for the most peculiar reason...

Not because it was Robert DeNiro's directorial début, nor because it starred the legendary actor alongside with Chazz Palminteri. The excellent reviews and score on iMDB... I wasn't even aware of that!

No! The reason why I've been wanting to see this is because of a song by American punk-rock band The Ataris. During my adolescence, where I was very fond of this musical genre, there was a track called Your Boyfriend Sucks, which contained a line that for some reason just got my attention. 

Sonny: Alright, listen to me. You pull up right where she lives, right? Before you get outta the car, you lock both doors. Then, get outta the car, you walk over to her. You bring her over to the car. Dig out the key, put it in the lock and open the door for her. Then you let her get in. Then you close the door. Then you walk around the back of the car and look through the rear window. If she doesn't reach over and lift up that button so that you can get in: dump her.

Calogero 'C' Anello: Just like that?

Sonny: Listen to me, kid. If she doesn't reach over and lift up that button so that you can get in, that means she's a selfish broad and all you're seeing is the tip of the iceberg. You dump her and you dump her fast. 

Turns out that line is known as Sonny's test, a fail-proof way of finding out if a girl is "the one". Keep in mind I was hearing this quote since I was 16, making it more than 10 years that I've heard that part of the script without actually watching the movie. But the wait was over and I finally watched it.
Loved DeNiro's performance, as well as Palminteri - although I took more time to engage and sympathize with his character. Script is great, with the dialogues containing quotes that will live on through pop culture and cult cinema. 

So why didn't I love the movie like my expectations lead me to believe I would?

Only reasons I can think of is maybe some scenes were just too old-fashioned for me... Maybe the younger actors came across poorly, since most of their lines were delivered in a way that didn't seem natural.

I don't know... The more I think about it, the more I realize I liked it, even if I don't want to fully acknowladge it. I'm confusing myself, so no wonder but this point you will feel the same.

What a joy to watch! 

Well executed, wonderful - seemingly improvised - dialogues, excellent structure and brilliant performances by their lead actors - Jake Gylenhall and Michael Pena - who reveal a on-camera chemistry that you don't get to see often these days. 

I thought this was pure entertainment, without offering the typical clichés or predictable storytelling. There's nothing "standard" about this film, since it takes one of the oldest genres in cinema (Buddy cop films) and completely innovates it by picking up pieces where and there from previous movies made recently. Some may be slightly tired of the "hand-held camera" approach, whereas others like me, enjoy the way its applied under different circumstances. Chronicles is yet another example of how this style is applied and how it made the whole thing of "overwhelming power and human corruption / super-hero mix" with a different flavour from other projects out there.

Really recommend it!

The trailer for Dredd looked slick, but like most trailers... they all kinda look cool when it comes to hard hitting action. So basically, I just disregarded this movie, until the first reviews came out and the iMDB score started getting some votes. Turns out people were actually pleased with the 2012 remake of 1995 Judge Dredd film, with action superstar Sylvester Stallone, based on a British graphic novel of the same name.

Karl Urban stepped in and delivered an awesome Dredd, in a movie that was praised for its visuals, but that felt to me sometimes to look dirty and unpolished. Nonetheless, it still remained very entertaining, even more so considering the lack of major name stars. Great chance for Urban to raise his profile by taking over a popular comic book character from a franchise with enormous potential in the movie industry. Sequels could and should span over the years, hopefully with the increase of resources in terms of big names and directors... and why not take a chance on the script as well? Maybe develop something with a little more brain rather than just almost sucking out the entire narrative of the "soon to be" cult movie The Raid (2011).

Despite Dredd already delivering a good movie for action lovers, I'm sure they can turn it up a notch for its sequel!

It can been seen as a mix between a dark and profound Sci-Fi movie and a cautionary tale with influences of a philosophy which inspired films such as The Butterfly Effect (2004), all done under a school of European cinema trying to breakthrough America. That's exactly what Jaco Van Dormael did!

Despite its quality, it's not an easy movie. It requires your full attention and you can not lose track of its narrative, otherwise you will miss out on the great things that Mr. Nobody can provide. There's plenty to go around, which doesn't necessarily mean you'll appreciate immediately what happent. It's a lot to take in and you might need time to get a clear vision of the whole experience and its meaning.

Well supported in all departments from its Superb directing and acting, to a fantastic soundtrack and great narrative - despite this being very tricky, but nothing that a second viewing or some reading can't help.

No doubt about it, Mr. Nobody is fresh, unexpected and yes, it will leave you thinking!

quinta-feira, fevereiro 07, 2013

There's No Leaving Now

The fear of your leading light of day 
I'm with you and your heart won't fail 
To see if you'll appeal the sigh 
And all the danger finally goes away