Day 262: 5 to 7 (November, 26)

I will promise you this. Your favorite story, whatever it might be was written for one reader.

I could describe 5 to 7 as a fable. A beautiful, heartbreaking, adorable tale about love. Its scenario is very unlikely, and I'm sure it provokes contrary reactions on the viewers. After all, as the main character says at one point, judgement is what defines our society.

In me, it only brought a big sense of enchantment and admiration.

I couldn't stop smiling, crying a bit, laughing so hard. I was hooked since the first scene. The dialogues are witty, every bit of it would make a good quote for many situations in life. The characters are amazing - they are sweet, kind, smart, honest. I fell in love with them while they're were falling for each other. The main couple gentleness is so endearing, it was not a surprise that I couldn't hold my smile. Jane is another amazing character, a force of nature. This whole movie is a incontrolable force, by the way. A bursting dam disguised as a delicate jewel. Every bit of it is on display to be cherished, there's such incredible detais in it. It is a sight to behold.

It there's something in this world that goes against rules and conforming ways of living is love. I'm guessing here, but I think that Victor Levin doesn't believe marriage is a place of love - understanding, cohabitation, respect... ok. But love? No. Love is way too big to be enclosured inside such a social institution. Yes, there's amazing exceptions, and I'm very fortunate to know a few.As I am lucky to reach movies like this one. 

5 to 7. Directed and writter by Victor Levin. With: Anton Yelchin, Bérénice
Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Glen Close, Frank Langella, Lambert Wilson, Eric
Stoltz (<3). USA,  2014, 95 min., Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

PS: Jessica Jones, season 1, episodes 11 e 12.


Day 261: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (November, 25)

Long before the movies were announced, in the middle of the night, I finished the last book on The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. I was absolutely heartbroken. Don't give me that but-it-is-just-a-dystopic-book-for-young-adults look. I was inconsolable. So, I went to the comments about the book on amazon to see if I could get a hold of myself. There was one comment that was addressing my exact feeling, and so I could understand better why I was so staggering sad (apparently, other people felt the same, because 3,221 people found it helpful too).

Warning: there's a bit of spoiler ahead, but nothing serious, I promise (especially if you've read the books).

I suspected that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, the final instalment of this series on movies, would not reach such a high note. And I was right. But I never thought it would fail so miserably to convey what the books are about. Loss, that's the word here. Not only loss by death, but by growing apart from someone that was your a main part of your world in the past. A loss that nothing can surpass, even happy and better days. Even a big head cartoon baby or an awful housewife hairstyle (what was that, by the way?).

The last dialogue between Katnip and Gale is so overwhelming in the book... only to becomes nothing but a shallow and tearful nonsense. She is cold, he is a weak full. All that made the book so unbearably sad was absent here. Not a big surprise, actually. Movie adaptations from YA books seem to avoid intensity as death itself. Even if the story is about loss, and death and destruction. Go figure.

The movie is action packed, of course - and surely it is good. The production on the series spares no visual effects to make it astounding. But that's it. The rest is only a slight reminder of what broke my heart on words. Fairly disappointing for a franchising that was doing so well until now.

An afterthought: for a moment, I could forget that Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't really there. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Directed by Francis Lawrence.
With: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip
Seymour Hoffman. Writers: Peter Craig, Danny Strong from the novel
by Suzanne Collins. USA, 2015, 137 min., Auro 11.1/Dolby Digital/Dolby
Atmos/Dolby Surround 7.1/Datasat/DTS, Color (Cinema).

PS: Thanks to Woody Harrelson, this movie has a good surprising unscripted scene :)

PPS: Fragments: Jessica Jones Season 1, episodes 5 and 6 (and maybe 7, let's see).

Day 260: The Road (November, 24)

A nervous feeling was constant during The Road, so much that I had to stop the movie, do other things (update my lists on imdb.com per example) to be able to get back to this movie.

I don't think I've ever seen a end-of-the-world story with less concessions or something like that - except for one aspect, and that I won't tell, of course. The whole world is ransacked, and there's no abundance of empty houses and leftover food or other stuff, as we usually see in other apocalyptic productions. Human kind, as it seems, faded slowly after the apocalypse. There's no resources left, and the few people around struggle terribly to survive. There's only a few ways to find food: insects, cannibalism or sheer lucky.  

That a father is trying to keep his son alive was the harder here for me. It is despairing, there's not much he can do... and, after years of living hell, his mind is not so clear anymore.Viggo Mortensen conveys so much, all what was lost and the despair of keep going despite that. The kid breaks our hearts a million times until the very end. The desolate scenery, the lack of hope, everything is suffocating. There's no way out. I can only imagine what it would be for me to see this film on the movies.

The Road. Directed by John Hillcoat. With: Vigo Mortensen, Charlize Theron,
Kodi Smit-McFee. Writers: Joe Penahall from the novel by Cormac McCarthy.
USA, 2009,  111 min., DTS/Dolby Digital/SDDS, Color (DVD).

PS: Fragment: Jessica Jones, Season 1, episode 4. 


Day 259: Taxi (November, 23)

I wasn't aware that the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi had been banned from making movies on his country. But he was, and Taxi is his attempt to keep his calling alive, even if under a state prohibition. 

According his own words, "Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge". He has other two productions after the ban, This is Not a Movie (2011) and Closed Curtain (2013), filmed in "the secrecy of his home". Taxi Tehran is a more daring journey, on the streets of Tehran, inside a taxi. He is exposed, as it is the movie mechanism. It is incredible and heartbreaking. 

Films and filming are discussed through apparently daily and common dialogues. The difficult access to art is there too. And the part about what would make a movie valid to the eyes of Iran is sad and revolting, but never in a caricatured way. It is what makes this movie so endearing: its quiet and visceral honesty. 

What was still with me after I left the theater was a tuned feeling with my surroundings, as if I was still in front of the screen. Every sound, the people around, my own steps on the red earth, my car, the sky, the air. During the whole movie, I could feel the air on that taxi, on that city, around the people on screen. This tuned sense remained with me for a while after the non-final credits. 

Now, I'm thinking how Panahi and Miguel Gomes established a great dialogue through their amazing resilient way of making cinema. Admirable. 

Taxi. Directed, written and starred by Jafar Panahi
(Uncredited cast and crew). Iran, 2015, 82 min., Color (Cinema).

PS: Today, I finally reached Jessica Jones season 1. Wow. The noir atmosphere, Krysten Ritter as the protagonist, the secondary characters and, of course, one of the most (or the most) terrifying villain makes wow a very accurate statement. I was a wreck at the end of the first episode. Loss of control is not something to take lightly, and David Tennant's Kilgrave brings it with full force. I was a bit scared to keep on, actually. But I saw three episodes on a whole, granting a night of weird dreams. But it was worth it, no doubt. I just wished it was a 8 episode season... or 4 maybe. 

Day 258: Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (November, 22)

And how can we win
When Fools can be kings?

This question summarizes the actual state of the world. The past too, I must say. This perverse endless gear that disregards life, humanity, justice, compassion.

I was expecting a very different movie when I got into the movie theater on this day. The title Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (As Mil e Uma Noites: Volume 1 - O Inquieto) evokes poetry and dreamy tales. And that's what Miguel Gomes would like to do, he says at first. Timeless poetic stories in movies. But his country is on shambles, a financial crisis that undermines its people way of living. 

From the closing of a shipyard in Viana do Castelo to a wasp plague at the same region, Gomes shows his despair. I've been at Viana do Castelo some years ago, and the shipyard was a very strong presence. I was a bit lost, walking around it by night, before I found out the small enchanting village and its charming inhabitants. There was a religious procession, and it was so alive, contrasting with the dormant shipyard. The next day, the village was still partying, and I spent all morning wandering its old and beautiful streets, breathing the unusual atmosphere around me. I'm sure that it was what Miguel Gomes would like to tell about on his movie, but how to turn his back to the crisis around him? To people loosing their jobs? To a cinema that has no money to even be? To an art that cannot ignore what is actually happening?

Apparently, as the Portuguese people, Gomes is absolutely resilient. And taking hold of other tales of despair - the struggle of Sherazade to end the ongoing horror on her village caused by a despot power - he is immensely and fiercely poetic. Strong, Ironic, uncomfortable and, of course, as always, hopeful. It is not an easy movie, and it shouldn't be, because we're not living easy times (is there such a thing by the way?). IT is absolutely brilliant, though. Human lives has been treated as a commodity since... well, always. Stories have the same age of such absurd, though. They tell us that we are absolutely not alone on this. Never. 

Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (As Mil e uma Noites: Volume 1-
O Inquieto).
Directed by Miguel Gomes. With: Miguel Gomes, Carloto Cotta,
Adriano Luz. Writers: Miguel Gomes, Telmo Churro, Mariana Ricardo.
Portugal/France/Germany/Switzerland, 2015, Color (Cinema). 


Day 257: Enemy (November, 21)

I don't know when I'll be able to finally reach Denis Villeneuve's Incendies. As I'm a bit afraid of it, actually, on this day I ended up with another of his films, Enemy. Joe has being telling me a lot about it, and I was in the mood for tension today. So Enemy it was. 

It is, first of all, a beautiful movie. The atmosphere is tense, suspenseful, almost claustrophobic sometimes, even with a lot of empty spaces. The art design is great and very thoughtful.  The city around Jake Gyllenhaal is big, but it seems to enclosure him. Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gaudon are cool  contrasts to Gyllenhaal tormented characters. We know all the time that we are being led - to where, we're not sure, even at the wow end. 

Joe sent me a link to a video explaining a bit about the movie. I haven't seen it yet, I wanted to write this post without other opinions. But I've read some of the comments on imdb, and all of them are full of spoilers. I've seen the making off right after the movie, though. The movie is an adaptation form a Saramago's movie, but Villeuneuve says from the beginning that, as a way to respect the story, there's a lot of changes on it. I couldn't agree more. But I'm already saying too much. I suggest that you see this movie with a open mind, enjoying the great atmosphere, not trying to solve the mystery right away. After all, it is Villeneuve, and the unexpected is the only certainty. 

Enemy. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. With:Jake Gyllenhaal, MÉlani
Laurent, Sarah Gaudon. Writers: Javier Gullón from the novel by
José Saramago. Canada/Spain/France, 2013, Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

Day 256: You Again (November, 20)

My baby girl is growing up. Almost 12, she's been telling me about the movies that she's enjoying most on these days. From Coraline, Wall-E and Despicable Me, films that we've watched for more than 4 times on the movies, she went to more teenage productions. Her most recent favorite is You Again.

A very odd movie, I think. With a good cast for this kind of production - Sigourney Weaver, Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Victor Garber - the story is the same old same old, but with a few nice surprises. There's the expected clown stunts, but the generational approach to bullying is honest and real. It talks about how we have in ourselves both sides of the history: we have our issues about judging others through unilateral lens and being judged by the same way. That's a nice treat in such a simple film.

My niece loves it, and all the time she would call my attention for "the best" scene :) She was happy that I would see it with her and could enjoy it too. We've being watching movies together since she was a baby. Her first movie at a theater was The Polar Express when she was almost one years old. The guy on the box office let us get inside the theater for a while, popcorn in hand. The place was packed and we seated on the first row. A boy near us wouldn't stop coughing, and she looked at him very suspiciously. And after that, she would try to touch the screen with her little hands. It was so cute, and the beginning of a long partnership with films. We usually share a good time on the movies - laughing, crying, commenting... it is always amazing, even if the movie is not so good (more laughs then). 

And on this day, it wasn't different. I was asking her a lot of questions about the plot, and she would look at me with all her knowledge and say: wait and see. In this scenario, the film turns out not mattering much... but this one wasn't the worst, and ended up having a really good time before her final exams. 

You Again. Andy Fickman. With: Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie
Lee Curtis. Writers: Moe Jelline. USA, 2010, Dolby Digital/STS/SDDS,
Color (Netflix).

PS: Talking about Wall-E, I remembered that, on the first half of the movie, when we see Wall-E alone in the world, I was laughing about something, and a very serious 4 years old girl looked at me and said (low, as I've told her was better on a movie theater): what are you laughing about? Can't you see he is all alone? Haven't I said? Cute.

Day 255: Hawaii,Oslo (November, 19)

Rodrigo and me were looking forward to see Hawai-Oslo for a while. We were finally able to watch on this day, under circumstances so confused as the film itself.

It was late at night, we both were dead on our feet, and the beginning wouldn't make sense. The actors are too much alike for us, the story is intentionally confusing. At some point, we decided it was game over and went to sleep. The next day, early on the morning, the film started to make more sense. But for sure it is not its main intention.

I had an impending deadline, so I was at the table working. Rodrigo would exclaim his surprise to the movie out loud. When I finally could see the end, I thought that he was not exaggerating at all. It is really surprising. And beautiful. And a punch.

For me it is a mix between other of Pope's heartfelt human puzzles, Troubled Water, and Adam's Apples, from Anders Thomas Jensen. Two Nordic filmmakers, peculiar views of life and human relations - both not solely dependent on the man's will. By chance, destiny, bad or good luck... it doesn't matter. There's no such thing as strangers, only human beings that are one part of a incredible whole, composed by actions, events, will, faith and what we cannot rationally explain, but it is for sure a essential part of our lives. A true and crazy kaleidoscope.

At last, I must say how amazing the kids are on this movie. They outstanding, actually.

Hawaii, Osloa. Directed by Erik Pope. With: Trond Espen Selm, Jan Gunnar
Roise,  Evy Kasset Rosten. Writers: Erik Pope et al. Denmark/Sweden/Norway,
20104, 125 min., Dolby SR, Color (DVD).

Day 254: Olmo & the Seagul (November, 18)

So much beauty...

I've already said here about the amazing feeling of floating on water, under the sun, a light breeze on my face. That was what I felt with Olmo and The Seagull. That and amazement, enchantment, surprise, an immense gratitude for films like this. A gratitude for life, love, art.

The cinematography is so poetic, fit to the main theme on this movie. The creative process is amazing, and it bares itself at some point on the narrative. I couldn't believe. There's things (most things, actually) that seems to build in us until a point when everything makes sense.

At the beginning of this years, I was reading about the creative process in theater by an artist from Brasilia, Rodrigo Fischer, and how contradiction is an essential part of it. After that, I would look attentively to the performances on a movie, thinking about the process that involves creating a history and its characters. It is rather amazing. One movie that called my attention on this matter at the time was Birdman.

After a while, a had the opportunity to see a play by Fischer, with a beloved friend as one of the actors. The process that I've read about was there, incredibly performed, before my eyes. I cried all the time, a bit shy for being in such a small place with too strong feelings. And less than a week later, there I was, crying profusely again. I could feel the same amazement, this time on the movies with Olmo & The Seagull.

The thing is, my views about the performing and writing process changed a lot from these different experiences, that point in the same direction, though. Today's film presented a surprising climax to that perception. Simply outstanding, beautifully done, incredibly alive and honest. As art can be.

Olmo & the Seagull. Directed by Petra Costa, Lea Glob. With: Olivia Corsini,
Serge Nicolai, Pancho Garcia. Writers: Petra Costa et al. Denmark/Brazil/
France/Portugal/Sweden, 2015, 87 min. Color (Cinema).

Day 253: Me and You (November, 17)

Long time no see, Bertolucci!

Two of my favorite movies in the world are directed by Bernardo Bertolucci Besieged (1998) and Stealing Beauty. If you have not watched them, stop right now and go! Go!!! What are you waiting for? :)

I knew that Me and You (Io e Te) was nothing like those two above, but the relatively low rating on imdb didn't prevent me to see this movie. And it is great, actually, even if it is a less pretentious production by a brilliant filmmaker. I could relate to a kid that would rather stay hidden on the attic then go to a ski trip with his class.

What got me from the start here, though, was the music. Lorenzo has his headphones on all the time. The Cure, Muse and Bowie were the key to me here. Space Oddity in two versions was great (I always die a little with Major Tom odyssey). Arcade Fire was also a nice surprise (Pan had talked to me about this band only a few days ago).

Bertolucci is usually very honest and straightforward about life - love, sex, fears, hope, expectation, awareness - but never, never forgetting the the beauty and poetry in all that. Maybe it is what make his films so beautifull and overwhelming, even smaller productions as this one.

Io e Te.Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. With: Tea Falco, Jiacomo Olmo
Antimori, Sonia Bergamasco. Writers: Bernardo Bertolucci et al. from
the novel by Niccolò Ammaniti. Italy, 2012, Dolby Digital, Color (DVD). 

PS: I have a surreal story with Stealing Beauty. The first (of many) times I've seen this movie, I was getting some rest at my mother's after I undergone an appendectomy. I rented the VHS at a video store near her house. The owner was a friend from college, and he was seldom there. After watching it twice times, I was heading to the store to take it back. And this scenario came to my mind in the short distance to the store: I would arrive and my friend would be there. He would retrieve the movie from my hands and say that it was a wonderful film. I would agree and reply: yep, especially the soundtrack. And, finally he would say: yes! it is! I have it here, do you wanna borrow it? So. You already know what happened next :) And until this day, it is in fact one of my favorite soundtracks in life.


Day 252: The Snow Queen 2 (November, 16)

I entered the movie theater on this day with the absolute certainty that I would not enjoy The Snow Queen 2. The first movie was blah, and this one couldn't be too different. It was the only animated feature showing, though. And the star here was not the film at all, but the fact that my youngest and super cute nephew was going with me tho the movies for the first time. His big brother was with us, and us three bought a big bucket of popcorn, minions candy and took our places, too happy to be there together. The oldest kid loved the movie; the youngest fell asleep almost immediately, and I just stayed there, with a cute toddler on my arms, having fun also with all the good time the kid near me was having.

The movie is indeed awful, too lecturer for my taste. A story that aims mainly to sustain a thesis is locked on a very small box - there's no room to the story and characters and views to live it. Even if the message is true, as happens here, it is too shackled to a previous idea. It is so claustrophobic, there's no space to dive on the story. However, as I've said above, that really didn't matter on this day. I was too happy to be even annoyed by the awful movie in front of me.

The Snow Queen 2 (Snezhnaya Koroleva 2). Directed by AlekseyTsitsilin.
With: Anna Schurochkina, Okhlobystin, Anna Kilkevich. Russia, 2014,
78 min., Color/Animation (Cinema).

Day 251: The Pretty One (November, 15)

Since Ruby Sparks, I try to follow Zoe Kazan's career, and usually her movies are a nice surprise. She has an awkwardness that is captivating even, and I guess The Pretty One tried just to emphasize it in one of her roles on this movie. But it wasn't successful enough, I'm sad to say.

Zoe Kazan and Jack Johnson together would be too good to be true, but it is not. There's something lacking in this film, I guess, that not even those two can prevent. Or it is just that I simply cannot stand overly emotional needy people, in fiction or real life. For me, it is like nothing really matters but to be loved - by whom, when, how... it doesn't matter. I'm not sure I'll be able to really explain it. Everybody has something lacking on their lives, I know, especially from an emotional point of view. I know and I empathize with that, even with needs so different of my own. Zoe Kazan's Laurel is a sweet nice girl, but so needy, she becomes stupid actually. It is annoying. And so this movie was tainted for me, since the beginning, and despite the casting of two actors that I usually enjoy.

The Pretty One. Directed and written by Jenée LaMarque. With: Zoe Kazan,
Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston. USA, 2013, 90 min, Color (Netflix).

Day 250: Stuck in Love (November, 14)

At the time I finally stationed myself in front of the TV to see today's movie, I was so, so tired that any movie would have to do. I was lucky that the first thing I saw on the screen was Stuck in Love.

I'm very partial to this film. I've already had watched it a few times when I discovered the reason why it is so good, yet unpretentious: it's directed by Josh Boone, the same from The Fault in our Stars - he has a way to told strong stories by a delicate manner that I find endearing.. I love those characters, they make so much sense to me, specially Lily Collins (she's amazing here) and Logan Lerman. Even the smallest role here is great, actually (Hello, Kristen Bell). We navigate through their lives like they are near us, a neighbor family struggling to surpass their troubles and fears in order to achieve a little bit of happiness sometime. I'm very fond of them actually.

This way, I could forget all the fatigue and had a good time out with some good friends. That most characters are writers is not a bad trait at all - a good story about those who write them and find in fiction a way of be aware of life. The only thing that I'm not able to comprehend is that "my favorite book" talk. I try to figure which book I like most, and I don't think it is possible. 

Stuck in Love. Directed and written by Josh Boone. With: Greg Kinear,
Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Nat Wolff. USA, 2012, 97 min., Color (Cable).  

Ps: Of course the soundtrack is good too. Usually, the best stories are among great songs :) 

Day 249: Scouts Guide to The Zombie Apocalypse (November, Friday, 13th)

Moving chair, the biggest bucket of popcorn in the whole world, tons of soda, the company of my beloved niece... and zombies. Fun guaranteed, isn't it? And it was, with Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

When all the old cliches are well applied, this kind of trashy movie can work well. And if you're not expecting much, certainly you'll have fun. Don't be too picky, though. We weren't and, at the end, we were actually surprised.

The dead d*ck scene is funny and gross (as we would expect from a zombie movie that lives up to its name), and it is impossible not to have fun with this inofensive zombie film. Maybe the adjective is a bit derisive, and that was my intention. Because this filme doesn't go far, it is a nice entertainment and a good time at the movies, specially in a week overloaded with work and deadlines. An advice? Don't get out the theater immediately, there's a funny scene at the credits. At the end, we were still laughing, enjoying our good time. 

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Directed by Christopher Landon.
With: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan. Writers: Carrie Lee et al.
EUA, 2015, 93 min., Dolby Digital/Datasat, Color (Cinema. 


Day 248: Lars and The Real Girl (November, 12)

Joe, my dear friend, asked me about which Ryan Gosling film I would watch on this day (the actor's Bday), and I had any shadow of doubt on my answer: Lars and The Real Girl, a movie that I simply adore. 

It is not easy to the people of the small town where Lars lives to accept when he introduces his doll girlfriend. It is so beautiful seeing how their love for Lars leads to the understanding of what he is passing through. The characters here are surreal, so lovely, especially Emily Mortimer as the tenacious sister-in-law. Patricia Clarkson is also great, so honest (she conveys so much in a subltle way).  Actually, all the characters here are amazing. They are real, almost palpable in their interactions. There's not enough words to say how I admire that a movie is capable of such delicate approach of matters that we cannot easily identify in our lives. 

The cinematography here helps a lot to create the scenario of solitude and inadequacy. The quietness of this movie on the first scenes is something out worldly. Lars small gestures while trying to hide from his lovely sister-in- law reveal how this film is a caring look at life.  Absolutely outstanding. 

Lars and The Real Girl. Directed by Craig Gillespie. With: Ryan Gosling,
Emily Mortmer, Paul Schneider, Patricia Clarkson. Writer: Nancy Oliver.
USA/Canada, 2007, 106 min., SDDS/Dolby Digital/DTS, Color (Netflix).

Day 247: The Suicide Shop (November, 11)

I've seen a short version of The Suicide Shop (Le magasin des Suicides) in a class, at college, during a presentation about suicide. So, when I saw it on Netflix as a feature, I decided to watch it (kind of) again.

Its title can keep people way, for sure. But it is curious how a movie about death, despair, suffering is so full of life. It is all because of Alan, one of the cutest character ever. He dares to challenge his family's script, and it is great to witness. The big but here are the songs, though. The drawings are great, bizarre, strong... but the songs. Not so good. But I was glad to see it in full. It is a nice story about the familiar curse that we can carry for ages without noticing, until an amazing kid as Alan show us that there's in fact other ways. 

Le Magasin des Suicides. Directed by Patrice Leconte. With: Bernard Alane,
Kacey Mottet Klein, Isabelle Giami. Writers: Patrice Leconte from the
novel by Jean Telé. France/Canada/Belgium, 2012, 79 min., Dolby Digital,
Color/Animation (Netlix).

Day 246: Turning Tide (November, 10)

Ok, so I really love adventure movies. I wasn't exactly aware of that before omad, but now it is pretty clear. And it was clearer when, during breakfast, I wasn't able to turn of Turning Tide (En Solitaire) even if I had a lot to do.

It was nice seeing Fraçois Cluzet, from The Intouchable, in a different role. His Yann Kermadec sounds so real, it is amazing - irascible as only a french can be. The round the world race on a yacht, alone, is beautiful, suspenseful, we cannot wait for him to reach his destination. It reminded me the time I used to be enthralled by Amyr Klink books. And I'm not sure why. 

It helps that the human relations here are also beautifully depicted. Yann and the many expectations around him during the Vendée Globe makes a good plot and a nice and heartfelt story.

En Solitaire. Directed by Christophe Offenstein. With\: François Cluzet,
Samy Seghir, Guillaume Canet
(always a bonus :). Writer: Christophe
Offestein et al. France, 2013, 101 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Cable).

Eight months... I ain't got nothin but love, babe

It's Kind of a Funny Story, 2010

Day 215: Ain't Them Bodies Saints, 2013
Day 216: The Intern, 2015
Day 217: Le Prénom, 2012
Day 218: Words and Pictures, 2013
Day 219: Elsa & Fred, 2014
Day 220: It's Kind of a Funny Story, 2010
Day 221: The Walk, 2015
Day 222: Best Man Down, 2012
Day 223: Heat, 1995
Day 224: Crimson Peak, 2015
Day 225: Tomboy, 2011
Day 226: Back to The Future, 1985 + Back to The Future Part II, 1989
Day 227: La Vénus à la Fourrure, 2013
Day 228: Back to The Future Part III, 1990
Day 229: The Rewrite, 2014
Day 230: Hideous Kinky, 1998
Day 231: Sicario, 2015
Day 232: Vivir és Facil con Los Ojos Cerrados, 2013
Day 233: Blue Ruin, 2013
Day 234: You Can Count on Me, 2000
Day 235: Runaway Bride, 1999
Day 236: The Last Witch Hunter, 2015
Day 237: 101 Reykjavik, 2000
Day 238: St. Vincent, 2014
Day 239: Wadjda, 2012
Day 240: Cairo Time, 2009
Day 241: Spectre, 2015
Day 242: Goosebumps, 2015
Day 243: Zombieland, 2009
Day 244: High Noon, 2009
Day 245: Sweet and Lowdown, 1999

Wadjda, 2012


Day 245: Sweet and Lowdown (November, 9)

Sweet and Lowdown is an odd Woody Allen movie. On the '90s, my favorite from Allen is Shadows and Fog (1991), that I love (that scene around the table is amazing), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), that is also great, and, of course, Mighty Aphrodite (1995). From there, the next high was Vicky Christina BarcelonaWhatever Works (2009) and, of course again, Midnight in Paris (2011). Between those favorites, there are some good films too, as Match Point (2005). And there's others that I've never heard before, as Sweet and Lowdown. 

Sean Penn's character is insufferable. He is a genius musician, but a lousy human being. From the first scene, I remembered something that Neil Gaiman wrote at the time of Lou Reed's death: "I'd been around long enough to know that the person isn't the art". It is sad but extremely true. One that doubly applies here - at the time I've read this, there was a big polemic statement by Mia Farrow about  Allen. 

It is agonising seeing how a talent musician, as Penn's Emmet Ray can be such a terrible person. His good and sweet counterpart is the girl he loves, but rejects with full force, played by the great Samantha Morton (she always presents strong performances). 

The (fake) documentary narrative is the most interesting aspect in this movie, though. it highlights how the usual testimonials can be a moot point. There's a formula that insists to prevail on documentary production, and Allen talks about that here. He also discussed the fictional aspects of documentary features with the brilliant Zelig (1983). In today's movie, the debate was a bit subdued for some reason that I can point clearly. It was a bit disappointing, actually, even if I've learned not to raise my expectation with Allen's movies - they can be brilliant,, very good or something in the order of "I don't know" - Sweet and Lowdown is the last choice for sure.

Sweet and Lowdown. Directed and written by Woody Allen. With: Sean Penn,
Samantha Morton, Woody Allen. USA, 1999, 95 min., Dolby Digital, Color (Cable).

PS: There's one part on Neil Gaiman's piece about Lou Reed that I specially love: 

I named my daughter Holly after Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn, who I'd discovered in Walk on the Wild Side. When Holly was 19, I made her a playlist of more songs she had loved as a small girl, the ones she'd remembered and the ones she'd forgotten, which led to our having the Conversation.. I dragged songs from her childhood over to the playlist (...) and then came Walk on the Wild Side. "You named me from this song, didn't you?" daid Holly as the first bass notes sang. "Yup," I said. Reed started singing. 
Holly listened to the first verse, and for the first time, actually, heard the words "Shaved her legs and then he was a she...? He?"
"That's right," I said, aand bit the bullet. We were having the Conversation. "You were named after a drag queen in a Lour Reed song."
She grinned like a light going on, "Oh, Dad. I do love you". She said. Then she wrote what I'd said down on the back of an envelope, in case she forgot it. I'm not sure that I'd ever expected the Conversation to go like that. 

Isn't that great? <3 For my part, I've hear Walk on the Wild Side for the first time in a movie, of course (The Ages of Lulu, 1990). Impossible to forget.

Day 244: High Noon (November, 8)

On this day, things were a bit difficult. A deadline  didn't allowed me to watch a movie properly. This way, it was late at night when, in front a lot of work still waiting for me to get it done, I had no other way than to see a film  while doing mindless work on a proofreading. In this scenario, a new movie wouldn't do. 

Netflix came to my rescue once more. There, in of o their odd lists (who creates that criteria I don't know), I saw a series of adaptations of Nora Roberts books produced by Showtime for television. I've saw them years ago, on Cable, but wasn't sure about High Noon. So, laptop living up to its name, a topics list to check, I had the company of this film for a while. I'm aware that it is not the way to watch a movie, but, hey... there's no strict rule here except that I would see a film per day... And I'm not ready to give up to omad yet, even on days that I'm super tired and swamped by work. 

A few days ago, I was surfing channels on cable  when I decided to stop in front of Begin Again, a dear movie to me. The scene was the one in which Keira Kneightley and Mark Rufallo share their play lists on the phone. At first, she is horrified by that: but there's many guilty pleasures in here, she cries. Well, that's one concept that I don't understand. 

Nora Roberts was first published by Harlequin, with a profusion of popular romances in the newsstands near us. She was among the eclectic party of authors that were around when I started non-stopping reading at the age of 11/12. After, her romances became NY Times best sellers (not a difficulty, I know). My friends could roll their eyes to me about Roberts (except the few that enjoyed her books too). But the truth is, despite all the nonsense aspects of her stories, some of them make a lot of sense to me. This way, when English pocket books started to be available on the biggest bookstores in my square-on-the-map town (as Fnac, for example), I decided to read her not yet translated to Portuguese books in English - even with an insufficient knowledge of the language. That was ok, actually, because all her books are pretty much the same in fact.... And that's why I'm here, talking to you in a language that is not my own (any complaints, you should blame Roberts... and Friends :). 

She was a reference in popular romantic novels until few years ago, but that has being changing from some time now, as I've said here before. Another difference is that Roberts is an old lady now, and her books have being more about remodeling houses than their romantic characters anymore. What is expected and even welcome, if I think about it carefully. It is nice to see this change. But the main fact here is that, from her books, other English stories became precious to me. And that's one of the reasons why I cannot relate do the "guilty pleasure" concept.  

The other is: one day, I was in the departures bookstore at the airport, waiting for boarding, when I found a Nora  book that I haven't had read at the time. Despite being the fourth instalment on a saga that I also haven't read, I decided to buy it. During the flight, I was a bit overwhelmed actually. A story that most people could consider silly was speaking directly to me. 

And that's why I love fiction. It reaches my soul in a way that only people are able to. And as happens with friends that are a big part of my life, or even strangers that pass by my way, I don't judge a story by its surface. They come to me, we met, and despite what people use to say about them, we can have a nice time together or the relationship of a lifetime. 

That Nora Roberts' book I've told you about? It is on a shelf at home, reminding me of difficult aspects of my life and how I can look them in the eye through fictional narratives. High Noon was a brief and forgettable acquaintance, though. But at the first minutes on the movie, I remembered the story. The point here is, what is bearable on the books, is unbelievable cheesy on the movie (that usually happens when a story first know by words is told by images and sound and mediocre performances). 

I think that, in order to really adapt a Nora Roberts story on movies it would be necessary to embrace all its corny aspects without fear. The attempt to compromise is no good at all, and in this movie this failure is evident. There's a good cast of well known faces - Emilie de Ravin, Cybill Shepherd - shackled to a script and production that doesn't want to risk much. So, it was not a surprise that I didn't remember seeing it. Overall, I must say that it was a nice company to the mindless work I wasn't able to to do without some distraction.  

High Noon. Directed by Peter Markle. With: Emilie de Ravin, Ivan Sergei,
Cubill Shephard. Writers: Terri Kopp from a Nora Robert's book. USA/
Canada/Germany, 2009, 90 min., Dolby SR, Color (Netflix).


Day 243: Zombieland (November, 7)

Surfing the Netflix lists, I found out about a movie that for sure I've heard about, but to which I didn't give enough credit before. However, during the whole duration of Zombieland, I was surprised that it took me to long to reach this film.

It is so, so, so much fun. It is amazing, actually. And part of it is because of its cast. At the first line, on the voice of Jesse Eisenberg (his voice could be a character on a comic book too :), I was sure that it would be entertaining, sarcastic, clever, funny. Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson were great companions to Eisenberg. They are a match made in heaven - or, according to an inevitable pun, in the zombie's hell. The script is smart, and the many references to pop culture are not for nothing. They make this movie, granting it a place between the best comedy/horror movies I've seen. It is not a small feature, I guess.

And the bit about Bill Murray is, no doubt, already a classic. 

Zombieland. Directed by Ruben Fleischer. With: Jesse
Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin.
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick. USA, 2009, 88 min.,
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS, Color (Netflix).

PS: Earlier on this day, I'd have seen a scene from Scouts Guide to The Zombie Apocalypse (which, by the way, I've watched today - yep, I'm really behind, sorry. Too much work, not enough time to post about the movies this week). So, it was fit that I would find Zombieland later, at night. Theme of the day: zombies. Gross, but not bad at all. 


Day 242: Goosebumps (November, 6)

It wasn't until after I've watched Goosebumps that I was finally aware that it is based on a famous book series. I passed by those books many times on various book stores, but never looked at them more attentively. There's a TV show too, but the same way I wasn't aware of it until after this film.

On this day, I was finally able to convince my niece and nephew to see it with me- it looked really good.  And it is. This film reminded me a lot the '80s atmosphere, in productions like The Goonies and Gremlins. It is sweet, funny, entertaining and even scary - my younger nephew was really scared, actually. During the movie, he would look at me and ask: can we go, please? Of course we didn't leave before the end, but we spend the whole movie with our hands linked, too scared by the story. My older niece, from the top of her wise eleven years, would nod in disbelief, as we were too silly for her sake. Still, after the movie, she told me that she will buy the DVD for sure :)

R. L. Stein, author of the series, makes a cameo on the movie - it is brief, but funny. At the end, I had great time, with two of my favorite persons on the whole world and tons of popcorn, soda and candy. One of the definitions of a happy day for me.

Just like that :)
Goosebumps. Directed by Rob Letterman. With: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette,
Odeya Rush. Writers: Darren Lemke et al. from the Goosebumps books by
R.L.Stine. USA, 2015, Dolby Digital, 

Day 241: Spectre (November, 5)

Well, I reckon I don't have to tell you how I love the double O seven movies since I was a child. It took me a while to understand why there were different Bonds, but by the time I reached my first 007 film on a movie theater, I already was versed on its dynamics. But nothing had prepared me for how much I enjoy the new series with Daniel Craig. 

I was mesmerized in Casino Royale, 2006 (It has been almost ten years since then,  unbelievable). The now famous parkour chasing first scene blew my mind. Quantum Solace, 2008, was not that good, but as Rodrigo reminded me yesterday, it is a sort of sequel. Skyfall, 2012,  however, was absolutely over the charts, making me even like an Adele's song (no, I'm not a big fan). By the way, I'm hearing Skyfall right now, writing this post.

And why not listen to Writing's On the Wall, Sam Smith's theme for Spectre, today's movie and the last Bond on the theaters? Well again, because it sucks, actually. For real. I've read that it made UK chart history, becoming the first Bond theme on history to reach number onei in UK.  Maybe I'm being contrary as ever, and you should be used to it by now. Yet, it didn't captivate as Bond themes use to do. And neither did the movie, for that effect. Of course, it is insanely good, and I love Craig's Bond - he's somber, intense, damaged.

But the thing is, I think that what this movie tried to do Casino Royale and skyfall already have done, and better. So much better. I was crushed by those two movies, really. They are a roller coaster of impressions about the character, in a way that was never done before for me. Bond falling in love for real, having to face up his origins only to lose everything... it's there already, crumbled on the character's feet.

Still, Sam Mendes and John Logan decided to present a new plot, not based on a Fleming's book or short story (although based on his writings and the general feeling of the character's story, of course). And I'm sad to say that I think they over forced their hand to  create a sense of closure and redemption that didn't sound true. As I've said, it had been already done in the previous three films. Ideally, the events in this movie are perfect, however they look shallow in comparison to what we've seen before. And it doesn't help that the movie's trailer had already spoiled all the interesting aspects in here, spoiling even how strong a villain Christoph Waltz can be. 

Womanizing Bond looked equally too much. That he will have mindless sex with a number of different women is a given. But the scene in which he is with Monica Bellucci is so forced (this word will make constant cameo here) that it reminded me a Friend's scene from an episode in which Joe and Chandler have free access to the porn channel. At some point, Chandler is surprised that the pizza girl didn't have sex with while delivering the food. He realizes then that they had enough porn for the time being. So, Bond hooking with Lucia came from nowhere, it was incredibly dreadful and it gave me one more sense of things being a bit unfit. One among many, I'm sad to say. 

Monica Bellucci and Léa Sedoux are in fact amazing and unusual Bond girls. It's the plot around them that didn't work for me. The love scenes were weird, even the love story was lacking its more endearing and redemptive features. A total shame. 

Ok, I'm saying this, but I must clarify that I loved this movie, really. I couldn't avert my eyes from the screen. The action is  absolutely overwhelming, in the sense of a classic Bond, what brought a constant smile to my face. The title sequence is also classic 007, and I've read on imdb.com that it is the first Craig's traditional opening gun-barrel walk in the start of a 007 movie.  The "shaken, not stirred" line is there (thanks, David, for telling me about it just last week, otherwise I wouldn't recognize its importance :), as the more cynical Bond's traits. It is visible how they tried to relate to this character as a whole. 

The first chasing scene is sheer Bond too, in a crazy helicopter stunt. So good. Yet, I had this ongoing sense that something was in fact missing there. We wait and wait and wait, but the story never really ignites. it was like the producers urged the view to follow through a pavement that it is not finished. It was presented in the other movies, but not here. Still, it is worthy a visit to the biggest screen near you, for sure. 

Spectre. Directed by Sam Mendes. With: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Léa
Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz.  Writer: John Logan et al., from
the characters created by Ian Fleming. UK/USA, 2015, 148 min., Dolby Digital/
12-Track Digital Sound, Color (Cinema).