2016/02/28

Day 356: Mustang (February, 28)

Commencing countdown: TEN

There's an uncountable ways by which your heart can be broken by a movie. It can be by the overwhelming manner of movies as Son of Saul or Oldboy, that kept you from even breathing in rage, disbelief, staggering sadness. I gave you only two examples, but Omad and life are full of those kind of movies. There's times when our hearts are broken and full of love at the same time, as happened in Room, Short Term 12 (to remain with Bree Larson), Rust and Bone - again, referring just to a few ones.

There's a multitude of ways to have our hearts broken by movies. None better or more important than the other. Just different. On this day, my heart was like it was made of crystal, shattering in a million tiny pieces before the terrible truth of Mustang. At the end, I was quietly crying on my seat on the end of the row, without a clue about what do with my heart.

I know it sounds over dramatic and even cheesy, but this is what happened with me today. We make the same journey of the five main young girls on here going from a happy and easy time, having good laughs, to the awful realization that the world is still punishing girls and women for being females. Deniz Gamze Ergüven chose her feature debut to tell us what means to be a girl in Turkey. And the result is a heartfelt movie about how this world truly sucks most of times regarding human rights.

I'll write about some facts in the movie bellow. So, if you don't want any spoilers (they're not big, though), it is better to stop just now :)

It is really inscrutable how a society can put a great shame over girls just for growing up but only gives a mere slap on the hand of men that abuse their kids at home. Really? When and why that became acceptable in any way?

Mustang talks in a delicate manner about this inadmissible incongruity through the story of five orphan girls living with their grandma and uncle. In Portuguese, it's named Five Graces (grace in a Christian sense) and it is indeed. The girls are a grace that the people raising them don't recognize as such. Lale is who guide us through their story, and she is just amazing. She is the youngest and the most nonconformist by their situation. Through her narrative, we witness the many perverse aspects of their reality. Is there love? Yes, and that's one of the triumphs here. But love cannot prevent the unfairness and violence of raising a girl under such hideous notions.

A movie doesn't need to be relevant to be good. But this one is fundamental for current times. And being like this, it is truly heartbreaking.


This scene reminded so much of  The Virgin Suicides, another amazing
movie about the harmful menace of repression



Mustang. Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven. Cast: Günes Sensoy, Doga
Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan. Writers:
Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocours. France/Germany/Turkey/Qatar,
2015, 97 min., Color (Cinema). 

PS: Oscar night! Yes, we're going to a party, party :)





Day 355: Embrace of the Serpent (February 27)

After spending 5 hour straight inside Cine Brasilia on the day before, it was with a sense of dejá vu that I came back this beloved movie theater to watch Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente). I took my usual seat at the third row, (almost) far from everyone else and prepared myself for an unique experience.

I was right this time. This Colombian production nominated to the Oscar for Best Foreign Film is something else. The black and white nuanced cinematography, by taking out the rich colors of Amazon Forest, creates another dimension entirely. We witness another time and place in a unreal color, and that brings all the conflicts on the screen closer to us and to the reality of Amazon communities nowadays. The extermination, the insane violence, all the madness, torture, invasion, marauding is elevated to a higher octave in this beautifully constructed film.

It is a movie that we see with our body. It is visceral this way. I felt like all my insides were being smashed. There's beauty and transcendental aspects, but there's nausea, horror, discomfort, pain. That's the current story of Amazon until this day, after so many greedy exploration.  Here we see especially the European and US explorers, united by one figure - the Indian that lost everything, clinging strongly to his ancestral links to his place and people. But even that he feels that it's leaving him. Karamakate, presented by a complex manner (worth of such a character), brings the whole story of his native place in him. One person to tell about many exterminated folks, lost traditions, a dying nature.

The complexity by which the subjects are approached here creates a not so easy narrative. I saw many disturbed faces at the end. There's no explanation or redemptive aspects or anything like it, despite the use of a few cliches (I think it is inevitable). But we see what was and what is depicted through mainly by the journey of three characters and those they meet on their way. It is not easy as it is fit to such a theme.

At one scene on an abandoned mission "the horror" quote from Apocalypse Now came to my mind. The horror... the horror. Reading some comments after the movie, I saw the same reference in many of them. I was so shocked by this scene on the movie, as I didn't know about it already. And that's the fundamental importance of daring productions as this one (and, in a distinct way, Son of Saul and Room, to quote recent examples): we cannot forget about such crimes. Ever. Movies can remind us of that. In this case, the reminder comes through a masterpiece, beautiful and pungent.


El abrazo de la serpiente. Directed and written by Ciro Guerra based on the
diaries by Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evan Schultes. Cast:
Nibio Torres, Jan Bijvoet, Antonio Bolivar. Colombia/Venezuela/Argentina,
2015, 125 min., Black and White/Color (Cine Brasília).

2016/02/27

Day 354: Rams + Faust (February, 26)

I'm so glad that I had the chance to watch Rams (Hrútar) on a big screen at a nice and almost empty theater as Cine Brasilia. the more you can isolate yourself during the screening of this film, more sense it will make, I think.  

I've said here before, Iceland is a dream destination for me. I long for the vast scenery, long distances without a soul. Too much land, just a few people, far from any bigger town. However, when this dream comes true, I'll be a tourist just passing by. I can just image what it would be like to live my whole life in such secluded places. 

Rams put us straight  inside this kind of life. We get to see two estranged brothers living side by side in their family farm. They're as stubborn as their beloved sheep. I couldn't avert my eyes, I was so mesmerized by it. We see this world mainly by the eyes of Gummi, one of the brothers. And his quest is not easy, even if showed in a quiet pace among the solitude of the Icelandic scenery. 

I'm no strange to estranged siblings, unfortunately. It is no good, but, as a niece use to say, it is what we have for today. This movie shows how this kind of hurt is at the same time inevitable and extremely futile. But, most of all, it is just painfully sad, as the two brothers tell us here, in this really beautiful and strong movie.  

Rams (Hrútar). Directed and written by Grimur Hákornason. Cast: Sigurôur
Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júliusson, Charlote Boving. Iceland/Denmark/Norway/
Poland, 2015, 93 min., Color (Cine Brasilia).

Sometimes, what gets wrong is the best in the end. That's what happened with me on this day. I was planning see Rams at 5 pm in order to be able to be in the line for tickets to the 8:30 pm screening of Faust, with the original score alive. However, Rams was showing only at 7 pm, just before Faust. Well, what could I do other than wait to see what would happen?

So, I was waiting for Rams to begin when the guy form the box office asked who wanted to see Faust, because he was going to give us tickets as we wouldn't be able to get them after. See? Sometimes we have just to wait (knowing which times are better is the hard part, though). After Rams, I seated at the front row until the auditorium was fully packed. 

The live piano performance was unreal. What a difference the score makes especially on silent movies. The whole theater erupted in praise, applauding happily at the end. Martin Munch, German pianist, played for almost two hours non stop, in a strong and endearing performance, in a fit homage to F. W. Murnau's Faust (Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage). This movie from 1926 is worthy of a live performance. The amazing cinematography composed by the contrast between light and shadow is something else per se. And the story is great - the hell is on earth, and there's no need of an evil influence most of times actually. In a big screen with live music is an out of body experience. If only there wasn't a whole family munching on snacks for a good part of the movie... I hate hate hate crowded cinemas. But even so. Absolutely beautiful.

On the other hand, on the seat near me, there was a father with his 10 years old daughter. They were seated on the same chair, a bigger one for bigger viewers. Her commentaries were so clever, her reactions to the movie at the end, when she was in tears, so sad by what had happened on the story was a cute part of this already amazing experience. 

I imagine you thinking right now: you were paying attention to the movie or to your surroundings? The thing is that I rarely lose sight of where I am, that's why I'd rather seat far from any other attendee in a movie theater. And everything here was a part of watching Faust with live music. Every sense is awake, there's no other way to describe it. 

At the time of silent movies, a story could be different according to the song playing at the theater. Live music was usual for a while, and I just imagine what it was to consider it such an ordinary part of the movie experience. Because, on this day, a very lucky one for me, it was far from ordinary the time i spent in that theater, amazed by the incredible beauty surrounding me in images and sound (except the munching fest, of course).

Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage. Directed by F. W. Murnau. Cast:
Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn. Writers: Gerhart Hauptmann
and Hans Kyser (titles), from the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
German, 1926, 116 min.
(restored version), Silent, Black and White (Cine Brasília). 

Day 353: Room + Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (February, 25)

Room took over my whole heart just in a few seconds into the movie. 

I'm not sure it would be different, as everything here is done in a delicate yet heartbreaking manner through the eyes of Jack, masterfully played by Jacob Trembley (Talking about Oscars' unfariness...). Brie Larson I love, and she is simply perfect here. Direction, writing, actors, images, sounds... everything conveys a world of impossible pain and violence in a respectful, careful, attentive and sensitive view. 

I couldn't stand being in that room for the almost 50 minutes in the movie, imagine 7 years. What makes it possible is Ma's way of creating a heartfelt world of love and learning from her personal hell.We witness evertthing through Jack's eyes. And what he cannot underrstand, but we can, is truly horrid and hurtful. 

And what to say about the world after room? Equally heartbreaking, in a honest approach of such a difficult matter. The idea that no one - no one - could understand what had been and what is for those two people is a strong feature in this story. How the press midia is the most inapt to portray what means to be held captive by a rapist for 7 years, trying to create a safe environment and  more, a whole world, for a son is depicted here in the objective yet delicate way of the entire film. 

This story is not based on true events, but refers to all the horrible cases we read or have heard about. Sexual crimes are still view under a perverse sense that the victims are responsible somehow. That they could have prevented it. It is the same with addiction and mental illness. This kind of idea is so cruel, so hideous, and movies like Room are an importante way to go against such atrocious views.

I was amazed by some things (it would be so amazing if that woman police officer was real), crushed in pieces by others. The last take of room is so masterfully done, truly shocking. But, most, I was amazed at how movies are able to talk so much with less sentimentalism and more delicacy. Room is a staggering example of that. A very precious, incredibly beautiful one. 

Don't be scared away by the difficult subject in here. It is relevant, extremely important, presented in a poetic, honest, fair, competent form. A must see for sure.




Room. Lenny Abrahamson. Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Trembley, Joan Allen.
Writer: Emma Donoghue base on her own novel. Ireland/Canada, 2015,
118 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).



After leaving the movie theater on a kind of sleepwalker state and reading bits of the book Room, by Emma Donoghue, I still felt that I could stick to my initial plan of a double feature and headed to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies instead of going back home.

I love the original Jane Austen story, especially in its 2005 adaptation by Joe Wright. Because of that, I was a bit cautious about this sort of spin-off. There was so much at stake, but I decided to risk it anyway.

And it was a good surprise actually. It is a clever take of the original story, that is there, even if a bit changed. The book by Seth Grahame-Smith is more literal to Austen's work (I read some scenes on the book after the movie). But I thought they were clever changes, relevant to the story. The cast is good too. Lily James is a strong Elizabeth, Sam Riley is a decent Darcy (but I was a bit surprised every time he opened his mouth). And Matt Smith as Mr.Collins is priceless - thanks the heavens he has no shame at all. Plus, the references to the other movies and BBC series where thoughtful and honest, I think.

Seeing Elizabeth and Darcy fighting each other in a fury worth of the original proposal scene was great. I had a silly smile on my face since the first scene till the end. I laughed hard everytime Matt Smith was on the screen and loved the action fights. Not at all what I was expecting. If it is not perfect (it hasn't to be), it is still pretty good.

Funny fact: My beautiful friend Mel was at the theater and send a whatsapp inquiring if I was there. She hadn't seen me, but had recognized my loud laugh. Oh, jeez.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Directed by Burr Steers. Cast: LIly James,
Sam Riley, Matt Smith. USA/UK, 2016, 107 min;, Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).

Day 352: The Revenant (February, 24)

When I told Rodrigo that I've watched The Revenant, his first question was: "And? Is it worthy an Oscar?" I promptly said that yes, it is. It does not mean, though, that the last Iñarittu has no problems, as big as this production is by itself.

First, a little explanation about the Oscars. I've been following the awarding ceremony for about 35 years. it is a big event for me, a festive one. I try to cook something nice, have a good drink, put myself in front of the TV throughout not only the show but the red carpet (a courtesy of E! in Brazil). Lots of friends texts during the ceremony, commenting about awards, dresses, people, performances and so. It is indeed a party, one that I wait for every year.

That doesn't imply that I take the awarding seriously though. Every year is the same, people raging about the injustices and let downs. The thing is that I don't expect any coherency from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. See, if even sports are a matter of trade nowadays, what to say about an industry that revolves around such a big amount of money? It is a market, a matter of who is able to enter it or not. It is not able to determine which film or actor is better in any way. So. I'm usually not mad at all the unfairness, because I expect nothing. I cheer the good surprises, curse at the injustices, but nothing too serious. I'm there to have a fun time with friends and myself, in what has become a traditional festive night for me.

This year, the main controversy is the lack of representativeness in the Oscars regarding racial issues. I've read an good article on NYT about what is like to work on Hollywood when you're not straight and white (and, I must add, when you don't fit the beauty model of this crazy world that is Hollywood). So, how to take such a thing seriously? However, as happens with coca-cola and McDonald's, I'm still there. Every year. 

About The Revenant? Of course I'm rooting for Mad Max - I'm always expecting the impossible. I won't call it underdog because it is not such a thing in any aspect. Room is an amazing movie, Spotlight too - I was crushed by how strongly heartbreaking both are. And The Big Short is amazing - tied with Mad Max for the main award for me. However, technically, as cinematography, The Revenant is a great achievement for the cinema as whole. And in that sense was my answer to Rodrigo.

Nevertheless, there are big buts in here. The biggest one is that the movie could also be named "I want so desperately be Terence Malick that it even hurts". I don't know what came to Iñarritu's mind during the production. He is an enough strong filmmaker to not need to resource to such a thing. Because Malick is unique, he is not just  his cinematography director, Emmanuel Lubezki,  he is a way of telling that cannot be reproduced. His images are not just aesthetic, they tell the story, in a non chronological manner. It is so beautiful, his way of filming thoughts and feelings. So, Iñarritu can put a dead Indian woman flying over her dying love and it will mean nothing without the main aspect of Malick's storytelling. It is just unnecessary and does no good to a story that had no use for it at the first place. 

This film has a raw quality that is outstanding. It doesn't need anything else but that. The resilience of a human being seeking to survival. It even had no need of the vengeance plot actually. Just fighting to be alive in such an environment and it would be just perfect. But no, a "higher" motive had to be shown, and that's when Iñarritu lost me. Or at least a part, because I was continually amazed by how incredible some scenes are. 

A funny fact: I watched it with my mother and niece, in a very comfortable movie theater, with seats that lie down - it is indeed a good way to go through 156 minutes.. The girl was hiding her face with her hair almost the whole time, she thought it was too gross (and was mad about the dead horse). My mother was a bit disappointed. Yes, the scenes are great and so, but she it didn't mean anything to her. That's the problem with a movie that wants to be something else and not only itself: it lacks identity, and the viewers will see it right aways. There's no way to lie in the business, even if there's so many attempts to do that.

Ok, now you are asking: and Dicaprio? He is worth the Oscar? Well, damn the Oscars. He is life and soul in this movie, the truer thing in here. If it is his best performance or not, comparing to other times when he should have won, I don't care. I really don't think that we should measure what he does in this film only by comparison. He carries the movie with him, crawling for survival, seeking revenge against the amazing Tom Hardy (a bit caricatured, but it is a part of his Fitz). How do you measure such an accomplishment with awards? Easy answer: you don't.

In a last note, I hope we'll see more of Domhnall Gleeson, who had an amazing 2015 (with Ex Machina and Star Wars and The Revenant). I just hope that he'll get a role in which he doesn't play neither the good, cute guy or a coward.



The Revenant; Directed by Alejandro G. Iñarritu. Cast: Leonardo
Dicarpio, Tom Hardy, Forrest Goodluck. Writers: Mark L. Smith, Alexandro
G. Iñarritu based in part on the novel by Michael Punk. USA, 2015, 156 min.,
Dolby Digital/Dolby Atmos/Dolby Surround 7.1, Color (Cinema).





2016/02/25

Day 351: The Salvation (February,

The Salvation is a really cool movie. A Danish Western with Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green wouldn't be different. As it is usual with Nordic filmmakers, there's no compromising here - except for a little one at the end. So add up an unforgivable time to a strong view and you can imagine what the outcome is.

The cinematography is stunning. Simply breathtaking. The clichéd soundtrack stands in the way a bit, but obliterates the poetic beauty of each takes. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is stereotyped either - what about that red trench coach? But, again, nothing that can compromise the rest of this very decent Western.

I thought about High Noon (1952) and all the cowardice of that small town. Another reference for me is Blindness (2008) and the reason why bullies are taken so seriously and are given so much power of a majority. Of course, there was Unforgiven (1992), the beautiful Western by Cling Eastwood. At last, the final scene (a subtle reference to what would come ahead for that place and those people), I though about There Will be Blood (2007). Too many thoughts while the final credits rolled down in front of me.

Rodrigo had told me about this movie a couple of months ago. Although he had liked it alot, he was disappointed by the end. I don't know, I was expecting exactly that, actually. Since the beginning, I couldn't see another way (even before some of the characters were presented). I'm not sure if it is an aspect in favor or contrary to the story, though.

The Salvation. Directed by Kristian Levring. Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Eva
Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Cantona
(From Looking from Eric, in a
hideous role). Writers: Anders Thomas Jensen, Kristian Levring. Denmark/
UK/South Africa/Sweden/Belgium, 92 min., Color (DVD).


PS: Anders Thomas Jensen wrote two movies that I absolutly love: After the Wedding (2006) and In a Better World (2010). Jensen also wrote and directed Adam's Apples (2005), another great Nordic movie.    

Day 350: La Messa è Finita (February, 22)

You can read about this 1985's Moretti's movie on Day 

Day 349: Empire Records (February, 21)

Between the two Moretti's movies, I took a break to watch Empire Records on a Sunday night, after a busy and tiring day.

Before seeing it on a Netflix' list, I had no idea this movie even existed, much less that it is a sort of a hit according to some. Anyway, it is an older film with Renee Zellweger and Liv Tyler (and Robin Tunney!!! Hello, Lisbon!), so I thought it would be worth a try. Throughout the whole movie, I couldn't point from where I knew Ethan Embry - his Mark is one of the best features on this movie. Now, writing about it, I saw on imdb.com that he made a cameo in many movies and TV shows in smaller roles. But his face is unmistakable. 

It was indeed, even if this production is so bizarre as the people working at that music store. I'd like to visit some place like that actually. Because, as the movie's main statement, the most legit places were already replaced by chain stores, in a murdering act against what is more interesting in such places as a music or a book store: the people in it and what they tell us about songs and stories and, of course, about themselves. Everything is related on our daily lives, and it shouldn't be different in a store dedicated to music, books and movies. This kind of relationship mediated by art is what make those kind of places so special, a true home. They're rare nowadays, especially in the city where I live.

People and their interations in this movie are great. Weird, as it should. But the thing is, the writing is too weird, nonsense in a not good way, chaotic, sappy, cheesy. However, as I've said, the people in it is worthy it.

Sure, in that sense, we'll always have High Fidelity (2000), as a kind of Paris for music lovers. But a film about the love for music as a way of living is never too much, and that one is nice, if we can excuse some of its not very convincing aspects. 


Empire Records. Directed by Allan Moyle. Cast: Liv Tyler, Anthony
LaPaglia, Rory Cochrane. Writer: Carol Heikkinen. USA,  1995, 95 min.,
SDDS/Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).

Day 348: Bianca (February, 20) + Day 350: The Mass is Ended (February, 22)

The reason why those two days are in the same post is that my experience with both movies are involved by the same feeling of extreme discomfort. They're different stories entirely, but something anguishing put them on the same picture for me.

I wanted to see La Messa è Finita for years - it was, indeed, the movie that called my attention to Nanni Moretti. The first film I watched by the Italian filmmaker was Caro Diario (1993), that I loved at the time, carrying it with me in a fog of delicate memory. When I told a friend that lives in Firenze that I would see it soon, she told me about another of Moretti's movies that I should see.

So, on day 348, I reached Bianca, a 1984 movie. Moretti, as usual, has the main role here. He is so young, it was even funny. And kind of beautiful. However, his Michele Apicella is so terribly annoying that I suffered through this until the surprising end, which transformed this film in an immediate masterpiece. There's a reason for Michele being the way he is, but throughout this story I was trying to make him another persons entirely.

People living their lives by others is not uncommom. They want to know every tiny detail, they judge what they think is wrong, they try to control others while their own lives remain drifting around. Because of that, I was struggling with Michelle the whole time. I had a permanent sense of discomfort even. All that is justified at the end, though, and i couldn't stop to marvel how Moretti managed to present such a simple and modern story about human relations in a really surprising manner

Oh, and that big jar of Nutella was for real. Crazy Moretti, lucky crew. 

Bianca. Directed by Nanni Moretti. Cast: Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante,
Roberto Remotti. Writers: Nanni Moretti, Sandro Petraglia. Italy, 1984,
96 min., Mono, Color (DVD).


Two days after, I finally saw the movie that started my interest in Moretti, La Messa è Finita, from 1985. One year only, but he is different here already. Don Giulio is similar to Michelle at some moments, under different reasons. He is judgmental, nosy, snapping at people that he thinks are wrongful. He is a priest, and his faith doesn't answer to his troubles, preventing him of doing his job. Or even finding some sense on it.

The discomfort was still with me, and I struggled throughout this movie also. It presents a sweeter tone, a sense of losing something in modern days that is more like Moretti's subsequent works, an impending melancholy, a careful look at his surroundings and the changes happening there. It is more delicate and introspective. However, I was still annoyed with Michelle, and Don Giulio could wasn't able to win my affection or understanding. At that point, I was a bit angry with Moretti himself. 

For a simple reason, that apparently insignificant aspect about a movie, the said personal experience, a film is not something objective. There's no way to be an outside object of appreciation and analysis. We can talk about camera movements, long shots, lightning, sound design, performances, directing... But those are not the whole of a movie. And those two Moretti's earlier movies proved that in a very anguishing way.

La Messa è Finita. Directed by Nanni Moretti. Cast: Nanni Moretti, Marco
Messeri, Ferruccio de Ceresa. Writers: Nanni Moretti, Sandro Petraglia.
Italy, 1985, 94 min., Mono, Color (DVD).

Day 347: The Boy (February, 19)

I had planned to see Room on this day, but my 12 years old niece told me it was probably a too sad movie for her (I agree). She really wanted to go to the movies, so what we would see was mainly her choice. Of course she chose the only horror movie showing. It was ok, really, I told myself, because Joe has been telling me about the lack of horror flicks in Omad. And so, The Boy it was.

At first, I thought I would die in here - I enjoy thrillers, but I'm too scared of them at the same time. It is a bit nerve-racking for me. But it was cool, some funny scares at worst. This doesn't mean that the story is not interesting. It is, despite being awfully silly at times, as expected.

However, the whole is more entertaining that I had imagine, and the explanation about the mystery here is even likely. The bigger problem is the actual end, that tries to leave a door open to a sequel - my niece immediately looked at me and said: and here comes The Boy 2! It was a shame, I guess, because without that unnecessary link, the end would live up to the rest of the movie. Again, as the day before, nothing much, but a surprising entertainment.

The Boy. Directed by William Brent Bell. Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert
Evans, James Russel. Writer: Stacey Menear. USA/China/Canada, 2016,
97 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).



2016/02/24

Day 346: It's a Disaster (February, 18)

Yep. It's a Disaster would be a fit name for this day if it was not the nice night with good friends, amazing food and great music to end what was a tiring and boring day. Going back home a bit late, I wasn't sure about what to watch. This small movie with Julia Stiles and America Ferrera looked like a good choice.

It was, actually. Nothing much, but an interesting voyeuristic entertainment about how crazy we humans are, especially among old friends. There's funny, crazy, endearing, sweet moments. The idea of a brunch with old friends, recent boyfriend, weird relations, petty actions is not bad at all. 

There's no way to talk much about it without spoiling important things. But I think it is enough to say that the interactions between people here are heartfelt. We care about those friends who face the impossible. And the ending was a nice solution to something that is actually complicated. Not a disaster at all, I reckon.

By now you can tell that I had a sense of disbelief that accompanied me while choosing this movie on Netflix. I thought it would be really bad, and it wasn't. Actually, the first scene is pretty good, letting me know that there was a bit more ahead than I though at first. 


Beautiful table :)


It's a Disaster. Directed and written by Todd Berger. Cast: Julia Stiles,
America Ferrera, Rachel Boston. USA, 2012, 88 min., Color (Netflix).

PS: Two things you usually find in small indie movies: The director is also the writer and there's no sound specifications. And they're short (three things, I know). Yep, there's a lot of exceptions. Just a thought, though :)

Day 345: The Brand New Testament (February, 17)

Oh my God (sorry the pun, folks).

I never thought I would find such a great look to the current world in The Brand New Testament (Le Tout Nouveau Testament). A smart comedy, yes. This beautiful and quizzical view of humanity was a surprise though. This movie can be so incredibly poetic and unforgivable and funny at the same time.

It is not an easy subject, God. And I've read many outraged comments about this movie. The thing is, if God was a person, for me he would be just as depicted here. Benoit Poelvoorde is great as the biggest SOB in the universe, one that regulates the human race and the world. He is such an evil jerk. But of course a person who has absolute control over all things would be a master nitwit. That's why it is incongruous to think about god as a person. This movie proves how ridiculous and dangerous and unnecessary it is - with the due respect to all the different beliefs. 

God as a pitiful man presents another issue (among infinite others): people think that it's their right to be judgmental. Well, if God as a person is the big judge of humanity, throwing plages and rules and tragedies and personal vendeta and Murphy's Law over our heads, why we shouldn't do the same?

Jaco Van Dormael has no qualms in questioning our views about people, love, life, God (of course). Looks and social status are nothing to him, thanks God (sorry again). What matters is people and their connections, doesn't matter how. Connecting and understanding are true keys to being godlike. And that fact Dormael states in a poetic and funny manner, with the aid of an amazing cast. Pili Groyne is the heart and soul of this film. François Damiens I absolutely love. And Catherine Deneuve is perfect, even if it is a bit bittersweet seeing her so plastified. In here, she is questioning what we could think about her, as a delicate and elegant woman. It is one of the most disturbing and accurate traits in the movie. 

Flavia and why saw ourselves laughing too much again, just two days after Deadpool. A different laugh, punctuated by a beautifull soundtrack, poetic images, a distunbing view of society and people.  




Le Tout Nouveau Testament. Directed by Jaco Van Dormael. Cast: Pili Groyne,
Benoit Poelvoorde, François Damiens. Writers: Thomas Gunzig, Jaco Van
Dormael. Belgium/France/Luxemboug, 2015, 113 min., Color (Cine Brasília).



Day 344: Anomalisa (February, 16)

I usually try not to read abut a movie before seing it. In the case of Anomalisa, by the Always great Charlie Kaufman, it was a smart decision.
I didn’t even know that this is an animation – sorry if I’m spoiling this to you, but with a nomination to an Oscar for better animated feature it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that is not a Martian (as myself). The non human traits of the dolls highlight every tiny detail of humane affairs on screen. It is astounding even. Taking a glass out, putting some liquor in it. Drinking. Seating on the bed, turning on the TV. Breathing. Trying to make sense of a day, a life that lost it in the overwhelming pressure of the daily life.
More than daily life, actually. I think that what is crushing here, making hard even to breath, is the perverse idea of happiness and fulfillment that we can have in front of life. It is so deceiving that we can easily pass away the extraordinary for somthing ordinary.
I was crushed by it. My eyes were a bit bugged, I wasn’t able to avert them from what I was witnessing. As I’ve said, the animated aspects makes it even more heartbreaking.
There’s a book that I love, by one of favorite authors, Geoff Dyer, that tells about how we can be unable to take happiness when it presents in front of ourselves. The story in Paris Trance is a bit more complex than that, but I thought about it when the things went down the gutter in this movie. We can take what is special and simply throw it down the toilet for fear of being anything else than miserable.
There’s other side to this, though, an usual one too: sometimes, we fell in love not for a person, but for the image we create of them. A shadow that is beyond the actual person, as Robert Johnson says in his jungian analysis of romantic love in We. When this fog fades out, what remains is the person, and usually one can choose to pursuit the lost shadow forever, forgetting about it is so much better right by their side.
As I've said, staggering sad.

Anomalisa. Directed by Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman. Cast: David
Thewlis, Jeniffer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
(as everybody else :). USA,
2015, 90 min., Dolby Digital/Datasa, Color (Cinema).











Day 343: Deadpool (February, 15)

Oh, the wonders of not being politically correct (and doing great just because of that).

This was so much fun. Even in a packed movie theater, which I hate, with people asking if we’re seated on their chair, and discussing how to find their place with the cel's light on our eyes, I was able to immediately get into Deadpool at the first scene. Thank you, Ryan Reynolds, for being persistent in bringing this controversial and amazing character to the big screen.

This movie’s pace is so good. The usual formula is inverted here, and we’re first see the super anti-hero already in action before knowing how he got there. Actually, we even forget how we got there ourselves with such a crazy character with crazy antics in an incredibly well constructed script and clever (funy, dirty, ironic) dialogues. There’s no way not to love it.

And finally Morena Baccarin had a role worthy of her. She is so interesting, I was happy to see her as Vanessa. She and Reynolds are simply perfect together.

Do you know that bit about correctness just above? The incredible thing is that through such a sarcastic banter, it is possible to do things extremely right. That’s what happens here, while we have so much fun that my face was even hurting at the end (sure Deadpool would have something to say about it).

At last, I was amazed by all those pop culture’s references. Just amazing and a part of what brings this Marvel superhero so near us. The last one, after the ending credits (Marvel movies are the only ones that make people stay on their seats nowadays), is great. And I was happy to identify right away. I can’t wait for the next (confirmed) one and the other sequels with Deadpool. Great expectations on the making, I'm afraid to say.

An afterthought: of course there's has been a big controversy about this movie. Yesterday I was reading some silly stuff about how more then the half of people that is praising how good the movie is never have heard about this character before. Seriously? When should that be a problem? It was the same regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a lot of posts in social media ironically saying that how cute it was that now (only now, ok?) everybody was becoming a huge fan of Star Wars. My mind is a pretty weird place, but it never ceases to scare me how crazy and incoherent some of this comments can be.



Deadpool. Directed by Tim Miller. Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin,
T.J. Miller. Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick from the character created
by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. USA/Canada, 2016, 108  min., Dolby/
Dolby Atmos/Dolby Surround 7.1, Color (Cinema).


PS: Check out Ryan Reynold's embodying Deadpool in a funny and endearing   way: http://www.dorkly.com/post/74596/ryan-reynolds-deadpool-tweets

2016/02/14

Day 342: The Danish Girl (February, 14)

To say that I was waiting a lot from The Danish Girl is the least. The movie's trailer, all the fuss around Eddie Redmayne performance and all created an atmosphere of expectation around Tom Hopper's movie.

Despite being based on real persons, the story is above all fictional. The alleged focus is on Redmayne's character sexual identity. It is an actual subject, an extremely relevant one, and Hopper treads through it by the delicate cinematography that resembles the painting of the main couple of renowed artists from the 20's. We flow through the beautifull painting on the movie's screen. And, despite understanding the need of a gentle hand while talking about such an important matter, all the poetic images here aren't able to tell the whole story by itself. It was almost as Hopper was scared of telling this tale.

I love Redmayne, but his excessive mannerisms as Lily distance her from the audience. In that sense, for me, Alicia Vikander is the real amazement here (as she is proving to be for a couple of years now). Her Gerda is strong and delicate, faithful, determined, talented, troubled. If I was emotional here, with tears on my eyes, it was mainly because of her. Redmayne's performance didn't tell all that I was expecting at first. He is correct, of course, and a genius in some moments (those in which I could relate to Lily's journey). However, he is simply not enought to tell Lily's story.

The pace is correct, not hurrying to get to the point. The characters have a coherent background, despite of some aspects regarding Lily and Gerda that do not become clear. The relation of the last one with Hans is a mystery at the end. Too much fear in here, I supose. 

I've just read many comments about how this movie is inaccurate historically. As I've said before, even if based in true events, every story is a work of fiction. In this one, the fictional aspects are highlighted. For me, the goal here was not to celebrate Lily Elbes' life, but to create awareness about the transgender reality - the struggling of spend a whole life in a alien body. And I think the audience can relate to that.

We were in a crowded theater on a Sunday afternoon, a vision of hell for me. A guy behind us said, when Redmayne showed us Lily for the first time in the movie: what an ugly trannie. Seriously? I looked at him with an incredulous expression. He was able to restrain his ugly opinions for the rest of the movie. But I was expecting that and more, actually. Beyond that, the movie is very sensuous, explicit even, honest in this way. And so the audience was getting quieter at every development of Lily's story, in a uncomfortable silence - but the whole auditorium reacted strongly against the violence toward the main character.

It was a curious experience, a bit disappointing movie. However, The Danish Girl is a relevant story, a attempt to discuss a subject that shouldn't be this such a taboo anymore.

I forgot to tell you: my mother was with me again! Two winners in a roll <3




The Danish Girl. Directed by Tom Hopper. Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia
Vikander, Amber Heard. Writers: Lucinda Coxon form the novel by David
Ebershoff. UK/USA/Belgium/Denmark/Germany, 2015, 119 min.,
Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).

Day 341: Brooklyn (February, 13)

This was a day planned in hell by a perverted sick mind, I'm sure.

First, in a rare case in my life, my mother accepted my invitation to go to the movies. The film was The Revenant, a story that I'm certain she will enjoy. But I will only know that for sure on another day, because the theater was in its full capacity, a gigantic line in front of the box office. So, my mom, my niece and I decided to try another movie theater. The Danish Girl was showing at 3:10 pm, according to the Cinemark's site. After a 15 minutes car ride, 20 minutes on  The lime, the insensible girl in the box office tells me that the filme had begun 20 before. Sorry by our mistake, but it is your problem as a faithfull user of our services. Goodbye.

It was raining buckets outside, so we decided to have a late lunch. I was trying to convince my mother to go to a later showing, she was adamant about just wanting to go back home. My last argument finaly got through her: I have a dare to fullfil, please help me on this. I know, low trick. But It worked out, despite my niece echoing the insensible girl's chorus: that's your problem, pal (My niece's actual words were: ok, you dare yourself and we are forced to be a part of it, aren't we?).

Tickets on hand, we took our seats in the auditorium only to find out that there was a leak over my head. Only over me. See? I told you, pervert bastard on hell. My mother didn't want to change seats (she is 84, iit is understandable), so the seat under the leaking ceiling it was.

Maybe the sick bastard took a break, because after that everything was pretty ok. Brooklyn is a nice surprise actually. A period movie with a focus on the main character's internal journey instead of the external events.

It is always nice to have your expectations for a stereotypical story broken. Everything that I would expect to happen doesn't, and it was a good surprise. Saoirse Ronan takes us through Eilis' troubles, caused not by a egoistic mother, an envious sister, an evil landlord, a rude employer, an untrustworthy priest, a lousy boyfriend. No, nothing like that, as her surrounding prove to be a better scenario than I was expecting at first. The questions that trouble her are originated in herself - the most difficult kind, I think.

Well, I shouldn't have expected less from Nick Hornby, one of my favorite writers. 

Brooklyn depicts all Eilis' internal doubts and hopes while talking about the changes around her. There's a quote from After Dark, by Haruki Murakami, that reads "In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It's important to combine the two in just the right amount". Brooklyn focuses on the first beautifully, as only a few movies do, while emphasizes the importance of the second. A sight to see, a gem of a movie, a good surprise.

Brooklyn. Directed by John Crowley. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen,
Domhall Gleeson
(this time I recognized him). Writers: Nick Hornby from
the novel by Colm Tóibin. Ireland/UK/Canada, 2015, 111 min., Dolby
Digital, Color (Cinema).

Day 340: Son of Saul (February, 12)


Son of Saul (Saul Fia)is a living proof of what art is capable of. Extreme beauty, outstanding cinematography, an visceral direction, an unbelievably strong performance to tell us about the what should have been something unimaginable, but was in fact one of the most hideous events on human story - and there are many and many and many, once and now. For what reason we have still to be aware of.

Such cruelty. László Nemes tells us about it through the eyes of Saul, masterfully played by Géza Röhrig (this is the debut in feature movies for both director and actor). Nemes takes us through all the horrors of war and the holocaust through Saul's daily life in Auschwitz. Saul is our eyes in through the horror. We get glimpses of what he witness everyday. And despite the fundamental way of empathizing the need of awareness of a violence against humanity that is still on in the world, this movie is most of all a debate about what keep us human among a violence that has the main goal of striping us of our humanity.

The images here are a world of hideous violence, but what put us right inside the terror is the sound. Something we're not able to see, others we perceive by a glimpse... but the sounds tell everything here. 

There's nothing standing at the end. There's nothing standing at the end. I was a wreck, as we must be in front of such stories.  My admiration for Lásló Nemes was mixed with sadness, pain, horror. What he attempts to do here cannot be described by words - not by chance his movie has only a few dialogues. The whole sense of the surroundings resides in Saul and his pursuit of a thread of humanity among an state-sponsored violence that tries constantly to put out all humanity from Earth. One day, I'm sure it will succeed. Until then, being human is still a matter of resistance, as Saul tell us in every single second of this movie.


Son of Saul. Directed by Lásló Nemes. Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár,

Urs Rechn. Writers: Lásló Nemes, Clara Royer. Hungary, 2015, 107 min., 
Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).