Day fifty-one: The 7:39 + Seeking a Friend for The End of The World (April, 29)

Day 51 was a meal-and-movie's day. One film at lunch, another at dinner. Simple as that (not futile, though).

The 7:39. Directed byJohn Alexander. With: David
Morrissey, Sheridan Smith, Olivia Colman. Writer:
David Nicholls. UK, 2014, 100 min., Color (Cable TV)

At noon, I reached a movie at cable, The 7:39, a British TV production written by David Nicholls, author of One Day (the book even makes a cameo in the first part of this movie). 

The premise is one ever present in our lives: the routine gets to a point that nothing makes sense anymore, and we live in autopilot, ever unsatisfied, but going on ahead (to nowhere). Until something or someone puts a better picture in front of us, and things begins to make sense again. 

It is a TV movie, and despite TV the increasing quality of TV productions nowadays, it still cannot go far from the usual: a bit of drama, sweet scenes, a definite message at the end, as life could be so easy. Nevertheless, it presents important aspects of everyday life and is a nice company to lunch.

At dinner, the things got a bit more serious, even if still sweet. I've seen the last part of Seeking a Friend for The End of The World already, but this time I decided to see it from the beginning. The movie is the directional debut of Lorene Scafaria, the screenwriter of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a film that I absolute adore. But even so I wasn't sure it would be nice, because I already knew the end, but the end is not the whole story (I usually say that while defending the reason why I use to read the last page of a book most of the times). There are so many nice details in this story that knowing the end didn't even mattered - although it was a peculiar way to relate to this movie. 

The same theme from lunch was present here (suited to a diner made of leftovers from lunch): the moment in life when we meet someone that gives sense to everything, even the nonsense ones - like the end of the world. 

I'm not a super fan of Steven Carrel, but I've enjoyed a lot some of his movies as Dan in Real Life, 2007 (the one that made me look at him more attentively). His demeanor is melancholic and gives a ever sense of inadequacy that is alluring actually. And in Seeking a Friend it is no different. Keira Knightley fits into this scenery (even if she and Carrel make a strange match at first, as told me Joe once), and the two protagonists lead us to a tale of loss, hope, love in the surreal set of the world getting to its end. 

Seeking a Friend to The End of The World. Directed and written by Lorene
Scafaria. With: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Mark Moses. US/Singapore/
Malaysia/Indonesia, 2012, 101 min., Datasat/Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).
PS: Today, reading my current book of choice, I've bumped into some words that fitted perfectly to this day's movies: "I believe," I say slowly, "that everyone you meet leaves an imprint on you. By the end of your life, that imprint has shaped who you are what life you've lived." (Where Sea Meets Sky, an adult novel by Karina Halle - Atria Books, 2015, p. 161 - E-book).

PPS: This post, and also my whole day, had a repeating soundtrack: Psycho, the new song by MUSE, one of my favorite bands. It was unrecognizable for a while, but I thing the band is back on the right tracks, thanks God and the exit of YH. The song is great,  fresh, even if at the third part I started to hum "Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel"... 


Day fifty: The Pillow Book (April, 28)

It is curious - and also kind of scaring - how some ideas get residence on our minds for years and years without reason. 

I don't really know why, but I always thought about Peter Greenaway as a favorite director of mine. I had one of his movies in my waiting-to-see stack of DVDs. But, while watching The Pillow Book, that I had  bought many years ago,  I wasn't able to remember why or when this idea took place in me. 

At first, it was a surreal trip to the 90's. I felt like I was at one of the film clubs, popular at the time in my city, but unfortunately not so anymore. I could smell the stale air of the old air conditioning, and feel the seat bellow me, see the other patrons around. It was eerie. That sense was so familiar to me, however I had lost it along the years without even noticing. 

The movie is certainly beautifully crafted. the plot, captivating: how generations and generations can be imprinted in us. How the pain and obsessions of our parents can be marked on our skins and souls. How injustices and prejudices of others can be perpetuated in our own story. Tales of lost, pain, violence, angst, love, hope. To picture it, Greenaway is a master of intense images and narrative. 

But I must say, Nagiko, the protagonist, is overly annoying - not even a constantly naked young Ewan McGregor is able to soften it It is not possible to relate to her in order to feel her pain and need. I'm not saying that she should be portrayed as weak or sweet or anything. Nevertheless, she was a persistent nuisance, and for me the whole point in this story was lost in it. A story that uses language and words to figure what is permanently imprinted in our stories. 

After the film, I looked at Greenaway's filmography, but couldn't find any other of his productions that would explain my admiration for the Welsh cineast. But the idea that had stayed with me for so long is over now. Maybe it will return after seeing one of this other movies. Maybe, but it is not likely.

The Pillow Book. Directed and written by Peter Greeenaway, from the
book by Sei Shonagon. With: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida.
Netherlands/UK/France/Luxembourg, 1996, 126 min., Dolby/Dolby SR,
Color,/Black and White (DVD).

PS: This post has a lot of more images than usual, but I couldn't choose just one, they are all so beautiful and relevant to the story - and there's many more. 


Day forty-nine: Avengers: Era of Ultron (April, 27)

Joss Whedon was still with me the day after In Your Eyes with the new installment in the Marvel's franchise by Universal: Avengers: Era of Ultron.

Except for the first and last fight scenes, I wasn't overly impressed. It was a nice chapter in a spectacular series of movies, but not overwhelming, as I as expecting. Maybe it was the wrong day to see it. And the wrong screen - I chose one by the movies' time, but I missed a bigger screen in order to really enjoy it. Yeah, maybe it wasn't the right day, because a good action's movie doesn't subordinate itself to those aspects. 

However, as I said: those fight scenes were amazing - they brought a big smile to my face. Some jokes are getting old, though, even if there are some good ones, as always. The relationship between the Black Widow and Hulk looked goo in the trailers, but it flunked big actually, absolutely against the character's nature. At last, the absence of two feminine characters was annoying - due probably to avoiding increasing the the already crazy budget with more payments or cast availability. I understand the practicality of that, but sounded ridiculous all the references to them. But the ever attempt to relate some scenes, as a picture, to the comics was great. And that is a big accomplish, even in the wrong time and place for me. 

Avengers: Era of Ultron. Directed and written by Joss Whedon (Hello, again),
from the comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. With: Robert Downey
Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Rufallo, Paul Betany
(grateful surprise). US, 2015, 
141 min., Dolby Atmos/Dolby Digital/Dolby Surround 7.1/IMAX 6-Track/
12-Track Digital Surround, Color (Cinema). 

PS: I'm really missing Daredevil

Day forty-eight: In Your Eyes (April, 26)

At forty and something days into this, and the One Movie a Day's dare has been a constant surprise. One of them is that, at first, I thought I would prioritize productions that I haven't seen and are waiting in my DVD's chest. Some has even taken residence on the TV rack, waiting for me. I've saw a few of them, but they are not being the body of this dare, at least yet. 

The thing is, and it is the surprise I've talked about, when I'm researching a movie to write about it, I usually encounter others. My favorite movies' researching site is imdb.com. When we look for a movie, some others are listed in relations to the first one. Also, I look for others movies by the directors and actors listed on a film's profile. And this way a movie's net is created, with other movies calling my attention from the ones I've already seen.  

It has been an amazing net.

From What If, I got to others Zoe Kazan's movies, and this way I met In Your Eyes, written and produced by the amazing Joss Whedon. I can say that, compared to Avengers, for example, this is a small production, maybe a pet project. There's no intent in diminishing the value of this film with this kind of say. But In Your Eyes is in fact a small good movie by one of the most prodigious filmmakers of our times.

And it is so adorable.

There's another story associated to the Day forty-eight: I wasn't in the mood for movies on that day. I wasn't feeling too well, and I just wanted to stay in my bed, surrounded by a great amount of covers, reading nonstop. But that's the thing with dares, they're daring. And not easy, usually. So, I got up and put In Your Eyes on the DVD player.

And another surprisingly good film was waiting for me. It is classified as a "romantic SciFi", and it is accurate, for a change in the awful classificatory system. Zoe Kazan doesn't disappoint in a role slightly different from her others, but Michael Stahl-David is a little less consistent (without compromising the good story). Cliches were overused sometimes, but in all I was happy with my increasing movie's net when I got to its end.

Sometimes, we can only really see ourselves out of our own self-deprecating self-doubting ways through other's eyes. Good friends are amazing mirrors. Soul mates can be too, when the love is true, honest, not manipulative. Under this perspective, an (apparently) impossible way to connect to another is presented in the movie, doing what science fiction does in its best: referring with great accuracy to important aspects of life and humans relations. 

In Your Eyes. Directed by Brin Hill. With: Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David,
Mike Feuerstein. Writen by Joss Whedon. US, 2014, 106 min. Color (DVD).


Day forty-seven: Home (April, 25)

Home has been considered one of the worst Dreamworks' animations so far. Well, I don't know about that, only that it was pretty off sometimes, despite cute characters and a story about differences, tolerance and understanding. Few viewers laughed during some jokes (My niece, my nephew and I were the most enthusiastic actually, but not so much either). And, despite missing something, it wasn't a struggle to see; we had a good time, if not unforgettable, and the cow's joke is still with - yes, we are super silly, luckily :) 

Home. Directed by Tim Johnson. With: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin.
 Writers: Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember by the book By Adam Rex,
The True Meaning of Smekday. US, 2015, 94 min., Dolby Digital/Dolby
Surround 7.1, Color - animation (Cinema).

Day forty-six: Daybreakers (April, 24)

Daybreakers. Directed and writen by The Spierig
Brothers. With: Ethan Hawke, Williem Dafoe,
Harriet Minto-Day. Australia/US, 2009, 98 min.,
DTS/SDDS/Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

Searching about Predestination, the movie on day forty, I found a vampire movie by the same director, The Spiereg Brothers, also with Ethan Hawke. Well, I like EH, and usually there isn't a vampire film that passes unnoticed by me... but that one has, and I chose to see it on Friday night.

I'm not sure about Daybreakers, except that I thought it was really bad. But there is a lot of positive comments at imdb.com, so maybe it is just me. The film, for me, was pretty irregular. Sometimes it is a noir film, others is a Horror B movie or it goes into SciFi mode... Even if I'm not usually focused on this sort of classifications about a movie, it is pretty confusing and irregular actually. The characters don't click with each other, despite the good cast, an interesting plot and two innovative directors. Well, as occurs in life, sometimes we have a so so day at the movies too. And that was one of those, unfortunately. 


Day forty-five: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (April, 23)

I had cinema's history classes a while ago, for three months. It was an amazing experience, and some of the movies in this dare will come from that time, when we talked about it in class.

The DVD of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has been in my film's chest for years now, and finally I got to it today. I reminded some of the teacher's words about the 1927's F.W. Murnau's film: the pioneering way of mixing images, the use of sound at a time when sounding movies were a big novelty, and, most of all, the use of light and shadows to tell his story. 

The story, by the way, is awfully moralist, as many of the early cinema's narratives. I could understand better some cinematographic movements that defended a non narrative cinema. At the beginning, seeing how The Woman from The City (the actual character's name) tried to seduce The Man in order to convince him to murder his wife, I actually thought: this perverse decadent woman is terrible, why is she doing this? Wait a minute... WHAT??? That is the effect of such a moral tale. I hated myself for falling into such a trap. And I despised the film from the start for that reason, but I persevered to the end. 

The film is a fickle tale, going from the dark beginning, to a fuzzy and funny middle (the drunk piglet is too good, but it clashes with the darkness of the story), to an emotional and melodramatic end. 

Nevertheless, the images pay off the irregular narrative's structure, and let it clear why Murnau is a strong name among filmmakers. But Nosferatu, 1922is the one that I what to remind me of him, always. 

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Directed by F.W. Murnau. With: George
O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston. Writers: Carlos Mayer et Al.
US, 1927, 94 min., Silent/Mono, Black and White (DVD).

PS: Fragments: Playing for Keeps, 2012, too silly for its own good. 

Day forty-four: Mr. Nobody (April, 22)

On the morning of the 22th of April, I woke up from a floating dream. A couple of days before that, a friend had posted some scenes from his upcoming short film, and it probably had stayed on my mind, to appear again in my dreams. Floating images led me to a floaty wake-up and a dreamy day. And I enjoyed it like that.

The outstanding Jared Leto, that let us dream with
him and Nemo
So, at night, when came the time when to chose a movie for the day, it had to be one that keep me on dreaming... And I made the right choice with Mr. Nobody.

There are many sayings about cinema being a place of dreams... some of them refer to the delusional and fantastic aspects. That's all right, because cinema is a gigantic universe that can be a lot of things. In Mr. Nobody, this saying is more literal.

A dream can be very hard to explain when we woke up... With open eyes, its images became blurry, and what seemed so clear while dreaming, is hard to define in words or rational thinking. However, even if we are not able to understand it rationally or clarify it, dreams usually make a lot of sense to the dreamer, even the apparently absurd ones. Without explanation, our whole life, and even aspects beyond that, are there for us to access it. 

In this sense also a movie can be like a dream. 

Dreaming with the beautiful and heartbreaking images of Mr. Nobody, it is frivolous seek for explanation. We are so many in our own, many possibilities, so much potential, so little time to live them... that life is a dream in itself, all this aspects living in us all together, even if we think some of them are not real.

But they are. Some of aspects in Nemo's life made me cry so sadly - they are so close to life, that there was no way I couldn't get emotional... some had enchanted me... or got me intrigued. And there's love, of course, heartbreaking kinds of love. During the whole movie, I wished that it wouldn't have to end. And I got my wish. Life goes on and on and on and on, despite the final credits in the movie.

In front of the apparently crazy (but actually accurate) story of Nemo Nobody, we must not hold to reason and thinking. We should allow ourselves to just flow with him, in his many possibilities - possibilities that a 9 years old Nemo claims to end when we make a choice. As long as you don't choose, everything remains possible...

There are, by the way, many reasonable "truths" repeated by him in the movie - "we see what exists" is one of them. But there's no popular saying or scientific believes able to reach what life is. Maybe only the narratives carved in dreams can do that. 

And who are we to disagree?

Mr. Nobody. Directed and writen by Jaco Van Dormael. With: Jared Leto,
Diane Kruger, Sarah Polley, Toby Regbo. Belgium/Germany/Canada/France,
2009, 141 min.,  Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

PS: There are many musical references about dreams in Mr. Nobody. One of them are pretty obvious, but a favorite of mine: Eurythmics Sweet dreams are made of this (who am I to disagree?). The first time I met it in a fictional narrative was in Sandman, by Neil Gaiman, in Preludes and Nocturnes, when Morpheus sends not so subtle messages to John Constantine. The song is and probably always will be very evocative of this time. 

PPS: Fragments: Orphan Black season 3, episode 1 (oh, disappointment... I truly hope that the story doesn't get so entangled that there will be nothing left of the good plots presented in the two first ones).


Day forty-three: Danny Collins (April, 21)

As it is said in the black screen at the beggining, the story in Danny Collins is kind of based on a true story a tiny bit. For me, there isn't a better description of a story based on the infamous true facts. 

Put the facts on a script for screen, and we better consider it as fiction, taking from it all the truth about life that fictional stories are capable of express. But it was nice to know that the John Lennon's letter exists somehow and could reach its destination, even if 40 years after. 

 Joseph Campbell describes The Hero's Journey as an archetype for human's life on Earth - spiritualy and materialy. Someday, in a hero's everyday life, there is an event that transports him from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and he became conscious of his actual nature. He becomes aware of the hero that he truly is. There are some obstacles, some adversities on his  way through awareness, but there is also a lot of help. At the end, he comes back to his known world, but changed. End of the story, last page on the book, lights on the movie theater... however, the hero's journey goes on and on, never ending. 

This process is depicted in 99,9% of the movies, if not even in 100% of them. Every protagonist is a sort of hero in his journey, presented in every ficcional or "true" story. 

Danny Collins is no different, but for one fact: the movie ends not in the conclusion of the journey. A lot is yet to come, until Danny (Al Paccino) can call it quits in order to move on to the next adventure, as to say. 

Some aspects on the movie revolve around John Lennon, and was too good to listen again to some of my favorite songs, that was a important part of some time of my life. However, I must say that it wasn't well used in the film - it could have been better, even if Lennon is always amazing on  his own. All the time I opposed the music in Danny Collins to The Beatles's songs in I Am Sam, 2001. I cryed so hard during the last one, but not because of the story. All cover songs were so well placed in the film, they told a story so bigger than the one we saw on the screen, that it makes me emotional still. A shame that it couldn't be the same on the today's movie. 

But the story is sweet, the connections between the characters are good, and the miracle doen't happen all at once... it is still on, in the Danny's life, regardless the place where fictional characters decide to live after the End

Danny is a dear, even if super screwd-up

Danny Collins. Directed and writen by Dan Fogelman. With: Al Paccino,
Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening. US, 2015,
106 min., Dolby Digital, Color (CInema).

PS: Fragments: Odd Thomas, 2013.

Day forty-two: The Lives of Others (April, 20)

At the first 15 minutes into The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), the debut of German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, I thought: thanks God we don't live under the Communist dictatorship anymore... at that exactly moment, I had a counter thought: but this kind of violence is still current, maybe even worse. Abusive governments are so constant as the time itself, and it is probably that we will never cease to live under such excesses of power. 

A increasing silence took hold of me as the film went on and on... first, a silence in my mind, in my whole head. After, a silence wrapped around my heart and, at last, in my soul. 

At the end, I was totally quiet in front of such an accurate story. One of the characters, in the last 15 minutes, looked at the one time minister and said that he couldn't believe how he could had governed his country. We see this everyday, in the whole world. And for that, a 2006 movie about events that occurred at 1984/89 is not obsolete, as many good historical films can be.

Another movie that I took so long to reach, and one that I'm grateful for finally have seen.

The Lives of the Others (Das Leben der Anderen). Directed and writen byFlorian 
Henckel von Donnersmarck. With: Urich Mühe, Martina Gedeck,
Sebastian Koch. Germany, 2006, 137 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).

PS: Martina Gedeck starred in one of my dearest movies, Bella Martha. How good it is became clearer to me when I saw the US remake, No Reservations, with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Brealin. They are all actors that I like, but who couldn't do much for a movie that got a good original story and transformed it in a bunch of syrupy scenes. 


Day forty-one: Chappie (April 19)

When I saw Chappie's trailer at the movie theater, I thought that it would be really bad. But it was ratted 7.3 at imdb.com ... and Mari, my niece, has loved it. So I decided to give it a chance after all.

Argh... I hated the film. Nice idea, cheesy script, awfull performances by actors that I usually enjoy... Boring, tiring, not captivating... Well, I'll stop now. There are a lot more bad adjectives to it, but I think I've said enough, mainly because I've the impression that I'm lonely in thinking that Chappie is the stupidest robot in the human history. 

Chappie. Directed by Neill Blomkamp. With: Dev Patel, Hugh 
Jackman, Sigourney Weaver. Writers: Neill Blomkamp 
and Terry Tatchell. US/Mexico/South Africa, 2015, 120 min., 
Dolby Digital/Datasat/SDDS, Color (Cinema).

PS: Fragments: The last episodes of Daredevil, first season... It was too good, but it could be better, like if there was a second one already :)

Day forty: Predestination (April, 18)

Predestination was indicated to me by Joe, when he read the post about Now You See Me, 2013. So I put on the DVD expecting a good movie, and wasn't disapointed. The opposite happened, actually: I was very surprised. I not just went to Crazy Town and back, I went really deep in human nature. 

There's no way to talk about it and not spoil the story. If you can, read the least possible about before watching it. It will pay off, I promise.

I just want to say that Fantasy, SciFi, Horror stories can reach aspects of human life that facts only are not able to tell. The non attachment that they have to the obligation of making sense according to reality allows them to go deeper into human nature, the meaning of life and being in the world. British actor Ruffus Hound, in an interview about the TV Show Doctor Who, said:

What I think that makes Doctor Who so special is: the ScFi allows you to look at really human problems but with a degree of distance from it. So the Doctors are able to talk to us about life and death and meaning, what is to be a child, what is to grow old, what is to be different. We are able to understand all of those stories without… in a way that seems fantastic, but that is actually able to define those things that are true to the human experience. 
Rufus Hound on the TV special The Next Doctor: live (BBC, London, august, 4th, 2013) 

Predestinatiion is exactly like that: it adresses life, death, meaning, being human, being one and others... and do it in a formidable way, with a good script and amazing performances (Sarah Nook is unbelievably good). 

Predestination. Directed and written by The Spierig Brothers. With: Ethan
Hawke, Sarah Nook, Noah Taylor. Australia, 2014, 97 min., Datasat/Dolby
Digital/SDDS, Color (DVD).

PS: Ethan Hawke also had a part in one of my favorite SciFi movies at all times, Gattaca, 1997. 

Day thirty-nine: Anything Else (April, 17)

In front of a Woody Allen's movie, I'm prepared for both this to happen: or I will delighted or I'll be bored and fairly disapointed. So, on the first, I leave the movie theater or turn off the DVD with a happy heart; in the last ones, I simply hope for the next Allen's film. 

Carrying all the love alone...
Anything Else fits the last of Woody's movies cathegory. I can't get Jason Biggs, his beady eyes and bleaky face. Christina Ricci of course I love since The Addams Family (her Wednesday is absolutely the best), but her character is one that I despise in movies - I blame the script for that. Manipulative characters can also be split in two kinds: the ones that are really good, and we hate them for so much sense they made, and the ones that are silly written, so much that the whole story is comporomised. That got me at Synecdoche, New York and at Anything Else too. It is so anoying, that I only hope the movie ends in order to get rid of this nonsense, and I usually understand nonsense. But, like madness, they also can be divided in two types, and the one that was chosen for Woody's movie spoiled it for me.

And it was a shame, because Biggs and Woody's relationship in the story is sweet and accurate (even if the dreadful performance that Biggs gives us lets the impression that he would like to be anyplace but there). The whole movie could focus just in their friendship and it would be amazing, but the silliness got a hold of it and blurred all the good things. Something that happens in cinema, though. Like anything else. 

(Sorry the pun, it was irresistible).

Anything Else. Directed and written by Woody Allen. With: Jason Biggs, Woody
Allen, Christina Ricci. US/France/UK, 2003, 108 min., DTS, Color (DVD).

PS: There are some huge gaps on my cinematography, and many Woody Allen's movies are on this gigantic hole. One of them was Manhattan, 1979, and I got to see it because of one of my favorite films in life. the Argentinean Medianeras, 2011.The two cute main characters watch it alone, each one in their own flat, crying at the final scene. They share a moment withouth knowing it. It is so devastating beautiful that I rented the DVD, and I was amazed. Some older productions can explain why director as Allen and Scorsese are considered geniuses. Manhattan was one of the most outstanding things that I have seen, and I have the feeling that I'm going to meet many more amazing surprises on my quest to diminish the big movie gap in my life. 


Day thirty-eight: Don Jon (April, 16)

First I must begin saying how much I enjoyed Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directional debut. I've seen the trailer at the movie theater, but missed it at the time. However, I am very happy to have chosen it to be in this One Movie a Day's dare. It has been a couple of days since I saw it, but the film is still with me. 

(Alert: Next I'll refer to some facts in the movie, something that I try to avoid, but they don't actually spoil anything about the story.)

Jon has a relatively good life. As he says himself, he likes his family, his apartment, his body, his church, his friends... and his porn. He goes through life in a careful routine. He works, but it really doesn't matter, because we never got to find out what he does professionally. His weekends, though, we are able to see: he goes out with friends, finds a girl who fits his beauty standards (he only chooses those from 8 up), takes her home, has sex, wakes up, swears a lot on traffic, on his way to church, confesses, gets his penance, has lunch with his family, and finally goes to gym, where he preys his ten Holy Mary's while pumping iron. 

His life sounds so satisfactory for him, but it isn't. And while going through a relationship with one apparently perfect 10 graded girl (It is Scarlet Johanson after all), he becomes  more and more aware how his life is unfulfilled. They make a beautiful couple to look at, but are disastrous when alone. They are together by an agenda, on both sides, like many and many current relationships (I pass by them everyday). It is excruciating and sad. And such a waste.  

But, of course, to acknowledge the dissatisfaction in such a way of living is recognize that his life is not what he and his friends and his family think it is. It is also a way to go against his family's script (just one look at his father and him together at the dinner table when we can see the whole story) And like happens with the majority of the whole human race, it is not acceptable. It would look like an admission of failure (when we must be perfect, right?). When I talk like that, it seems so easy to get free from it, but it is really not. It is, actually, one of the biggest traps in life. 

So he keeps in a bad relationship in order not to admit that he actually wants more of his life, a thing that only porn can give him. Until the finds out the pot at the end of the rainbow. 

I don't like a buff Gordon-Levitt, but even the awareness of his physic is intentional. It is a part of the distressful and joyful journey that we go through with him. And despite being visible that it is a directional debut  (the editing is a clue to that), Gordon-Levitt is very fortunate on the way his picture a living that we see everyday - in us and in others. And how the discover of what is lacking - and admitting it - is a true life-saver. 

For me, a must see movie :)

Don Jon. Directed and written by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. With: Joseph
Gordon Levitti, Tony Danza, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore. US,
2013, Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).


Day thirty-seven: Dans la Cour (April, 15)

During the whole duration of In the Courtyard (Dans la Cour), the thing that most called my attention was Catherine Deneuve's face. I couldn't stop thinking how a plastic surgery can change an actor in ways that are irreversible. Her case is not so drastic as René Zellewegher or Meg Ryan, or even Nicole Kidman and her no moving forehead, but, for me, that woman on the screen was not the beautiful actress that I admire.

The movie's plot sounds perfect: a Parisian courtyard and the life of people that live around it, beginning by the caretaker, a depressed musician that cannot find his place in the world he knows anymore. The people that he meet in his new job are lost in their own ways too, and so new connections are made. That should be heartwarming and inspiring. However, it was not like that for me. 

I think the execution is too heavy, and it does not allow the characters to develop as real. My interaction with them was purely rational; I could think how was sad to live that way, but couldn't feel it. And so, I left the theater almost like I've entered it, only a bit more tired than I was at first. 

In the Courtyard (Dans la Cour). Directed by Pierre Salvadori. With: Catherine
Deneuve, Gustave Kerven, Féodor Atkine. Writers: Pierre Salvadori and
David Léotard. France, 2014, 97 min., Dolby, Color (Cinema). 

PS: Daredevil, 2015 - season 1, episodes 9 and 10. This TV show, about my favorite Marvel character, is a really good adaptation, thanks God. After the silly 2003's movie, Daredevil deserved a good chance in images and sounds :)


Day thirty-six: Les Combattants (April, 14)

Damm all movies with raw fish. 

Love at First Sight (Les Combattants) is too cute. The awarded first movie by the french director Thomas Cailley, it is enjoyable, sweet, funny. The world could benefit from the existence of more Arnaud Labrède, a quiet guy that hides a strong will behind his passive facade. Madeleine Beaulieu is the girl for whom he falls in love. She is ill-mannered, fierce, stubborn, unyielding and, of course, sweet behind all that. And it is her over self-determination that almost made me sick at the theater, in front of everybody.

You see, Madeleine wants to train surviving skills in the army. Before that, she thinks that she must be prepared. Swimming with a back bag full of tiles is one of her practices. Another is blending a raw fish and drinking its gross juice, with the most peaceful face. It was dreadful.

I hate movies with raw fish. I couldn't see any fun in A Fish Called Wanda, 1988. Everybody was laughing so hard around me, and I only wanted to run from the theater. Awful. The Wedding (Svadba), a 2000's Russian movie, is classified as funny and witty, but from the moment a guest arrives at the wedding party with a raw fish with the most bizarre googled eyes it was the end for me. I couldn't see anything else, so sick I was. On a second thought, it is not just raw fish, but all kinds. That dwarf eating a fish's head in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey2012, leads me to close my eyes every time. Go figure, even writing this post has been a torture... but it is really one of my biggest phobias in the world. 

So, I won't be seeing Les Combattants again, but you should. It is not a big movie, but it has a good story and the characters are real, tangible, lovely. A real joy to see (minus the fish). 

I must be a crazy masochist...

Love at First Fight (Les Combattants). Directed by Thomas Cailley. With:
Adèle Haenel, Kévin Azais, Antoine Laurent. Writers: Thomas Cailley and
Claude Le Pape. France, 2014, 98 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).

Day thirty-five: 50/50 (April, 13)

There's a lot of movies about strong and inspired characters strugling against sickness (Hello, Nicholas Sparks).Cancer is one of them, and usually we leave the movie's theater looking to those characters as heroes, as specials. They are, of course they are, but not for the reasons usually depicted in those stories. 

50/50, in the other hand, is about a guy that sees himself in front of a difficult diagnosis: at only twenty-seven years old, Adam has to confront a cancer with an impossible name to pronounce and treatments with more impossible side effects. He's a regular guy, in an ordinary setting, with a big task ahead of him. One that he will mostly face alone.

Based in the true story of Will Reiser, written under the incentive of Seth Rogen, one of 50% actors, the movie has an honest respect for cancer patients and their strugles. There's nothing heartbreakingly inpiring in Adam but himself, his humanity, his life. And is there anything more important than that? I don't think so. 

One thought came to me while acompanying Adam in his everyday life as a cancer patient, the same that I had when I was in his situation (a non life-theatning one though): somethings must be dealt alone. There's not another way. Despite being surrounded by family, amazing and supporting friends and medical team, dealing with such illness is our business only. And when we accept that no one will be abble to deal with it for us, everything becomes differently. And, surrounded by people, we are truely alone, at least for a moment, until things starts to make sense again, and everything around takes another meaning. We begin, then, to see the people and situations near us under other perspective, with a more careful and loving eyes. And that is actually a gift among all the chaos. 

For me, that was one of the big discoveries in llife, one that we can see in Adam's quiet and amazingly beautiful ordinary story. 

50/50. Directed by Jonathan Levine. With: Joseph Gordon-Levvit, Seth Rogen,
Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Houston. Writer: Will Reiser.  US, 2011, 100 min.,
Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS, Color (Netflix).

PS: Daredevil, 2015 - season 1, episodes 5 and 6. 


Day thirty-four: What If (April, 12)

It would be fairly simple to talk about What If. Browsing the Netflix's titles, seeking for a movie to whach, I saw this movie with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. I've missed at the theaters, too afraid to get disapointed (after all, Harry Potter is not a lightly subject). But at sunday, April 12 I took a risk and decided to finally see it. 

I could say a lot of things about this smal sweet romantic comedy. It is previsible in many aspect, surpring in others. There's the awkward kind boy in a horrible moment of his life. There's a nice girl, perfect for him... except she has a living boyfriend of 5 years, which, of course, is a sort of an innocuous douchebag. I'm not breaking any anti-spoilers rules here. This plot is so well known that there's not much to spoil. Except for the little detais that make a the difference. 

But I'm not talking about them. What I want to mention is what turned this small sweet film in something that always will bring a smile to my face. 

Soon after Wallace (Hadcliffe) met Chantry (Kazan - terrible names, I know), he is in his favorite brooding place, the roof of his sister's house. The view is beautiful, it is a place where he can think about his mess of a life and all that. Again, there's not a big spoiler here. At this scene, he is staring at the paper in which Chantry has written her cel number. In its verse, there is the sketch of a kind of a fairy. He stares into it for sometime, until he releases the paper in the air. It floats, floats... until it got stuck in a tree branch, and suddenly it becames another thing. And it is so cute, that it brought a big smile to my face (that one that I'll relive everytime I refere to this movie).

But that is just the first part of my story with this film.  Thereupon, there's a close-up in a movie theater showing... The Princess Bride, one of my favorites films in the universe. Wallace, inside the theater, watching the first scenes of Rob Reiner's movie (one that I've talked about just three days ago) has (can you guess?) a smile on his face. The recognition before a story that brings him so many good memories is the same as mine. 

And from that point What If acquired another sense to me, even if it is sometimes a little slow or there are too many people falling from places (the first fall is too fun, though, and I couldn't stop laughing for a while). 

Ah, the last but not least: Toronto as Toronto itself (and not NY) is always a great set...as is the stunning Dublin. And the soundtrack is also cute, as the movie. 

Adam Driver as weird as ever: always good :)

Whati If (At Canada and England, it is called The F World). Directed by Michael Dowse.
With: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver. Writer: Elan Mastai and from the play by
T.J. Dawe  and Michael Rinaldi. Ireland/Canada, 2013, 98 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).
PS: A Zoe Kazan's movie that I love is Ruby Sparks, 2012, written by Zoe herself. It is an undervalued film, but it is an insightful view of the power of fiction (and dreams) in our lives.

PPS: Fragments: Daredevil, 2015 - season 1, episode 4.


Day thirty-three: Now You See Me (April, 11)

A good action movie is gold. 

When I catch myself glued to the screen, forgetting for times where I am, just getting along with the action in front of me, too excited to think about or to look to anything else, that's a thought that comes to my mind.  

And it was more true in a film that I've already seen some scenes, and even the end. Even knowing the big secret in Louis Leterrier movie couldn't spoil a bit the Saturday fun I had finally watching Now You See Me entirely. That proves how good this movie was - at least for me, of course.

I wish I had seen it in the theater - in that matter, I can take solace in the fact that there will be a second instalment. The cast is too good, Jesse Eisenberg is surely a good first scene, Mélanie Laurent called my attention since Inglorious Basterds, and Mark Ruffalo can assume the character he wants (that's the second movie with him this week, by the way) and we will be convinced. Not everyone think that way, though. 

At last, we can never disdain a movie that has a Phoenix's song in the soundtrack, even if it is during the final credits, that I followed happily after such a good story. And action scenes, lets not forget about them...

Eisenberg could be a comic book's character

Now You See Me. Directed by Louis Letterier. With: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo,
Woody Harrelson, Isla Fischer, Dave Franco  
(that really looks like his brother), Mélanie
Laurent. Writers: Ed Solomon et al from the story by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt.
France/US, 2013, 115 min., Dolby Digital/Datasat, Color (DVD).

PS: Fragments: The new Daredevil's Netflix TV show is pretty good. I've seen 3 episodes, and I only stopped there because I had a movie to watch... 

PPS: The first time I remember thinking how precious a good action movie is was during the screening of The Italian Job, 2003. I was lucky to be aloane at the theater, because my reactions to the scenes were a little bit intense, to say the least. Like shouting uhuuuuu out loud intense. 

Day thirty-two: Heathers (April, 10)

Greetings and salutations!!!

My mind plays some not-so-nice tricks sometimes... I could swear that I've read a book in which the main character's favorite movie was Heathers, and I could also swear that this book was Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell (the author of my super beloved Eleanor & Park). However, when I looked into it to seek the reference, I only found this:

I couldn’t torch Kiley’s dress—not yet, I won’t even get it for 10 to 12 weeks—but I have a whole closet full of dead dresses. Prom dresses. Bridesmaid dresses. I was all prepared to scoop them up in big fluffy armfuls and throw them into the Dumpster outside my building. I was going to light a cigarette in their flames, like I was the cool girl in Heathers …
But I couldn’t. Because I’m not that girl. I’m not the Winona Ryder character in any movie. Jo from Little Women, just for example, never would have started laying all those dresses out on her bed and trying them on, one by one …
Attachments - Rainbow Rowell, p. 27 (Ebook).

Well, that character is somewhere in one of the many books and movies that I've seen the last couple of years... and it led me to seek this 80's cult film that I've never heard of before that. 

And why was that is still a mystery... I liked Winona Ryder a lot during the 80's and 90's... I've seen the majority of today's cultuated 80's movies... So, it was a serious lapse, one that I tryied to correct in the thirty-two day of the One Movie a Day dare.  

Am I becoming too sensitive? Because Heathers is classified as a dark comedy, but it is kind of a horror movie actually. A fierce, sarcastic, funny, smart horror film. Some lines are witty, very inteligent, and some are quoted frequently. It has the irony we use to see in some of most recent Michael Lehmann's works (He is credit as a director in some of the most acid present TV shows as Nurse Jackie, Dexter, True Blood, AHS (that I hate, by the way) House of Lies). Winona in her best, Shannen Doherty is insanely good, and Christian Slater is the every girl's rebel guy dream... until he is not. 

How very :)

Heathers. Directed by Michael Lehmann. With: WInona Ryder, Christian Slater,
Shannen Doherty. Writer: Daniel Waters. US, 1988, 103 min., Mono, Color (DVD).