11 days to go: The Taste of Cherry (March, 28)

"Oh can it be
The voices calling me
They get lost 
And out of time
I should've seen it glow
But everybody knows
That a broken heart is blind"

And it cannot even enjoy the taste of Cherry

Ta'm e guilass (translated as Taste of Cherry) was the Kiarostami movie of the day. I was still under the influence of The Wind will Carry Us. I wanted to wander on that melancholic feel of living again. I knew the plot from the imdb.com summary - it would be interesting not knowing anything at all, though. The character's pursuit among all the vastness of a beautiful overwhelming dry scenery, filled even so with small peaces of heaven and full of different people that meet his way, is something to be aware at bits, not all at once. His perception of life and death is stuck in a dark place, and probably no one or anything will be able to take him out of it. 

The quiet, still fierce, contemplation of what makes life worth (or not) of living is here too, as it was in the small village. A character in movement, a passenger in a car (in life?), things that we can almost not perceive, the matter of life passing through the window... That's Kiarostami, who will be terribly missed for sure. With his poetic and peculiar camera, he shoots what is intangible also by choosing no actors to establish many improvised dialogues with the main characters. Some things are said and not understood, others stay with us for a long time.

The end is a sarcastic attempt to skip the Iranian censorship by telling: see, folks?, it's "just" a movie, nothing's real here. Oh, if just it was so simple as that (I'm thankful that it is not).

Ta'm e guilass. Directed and written by Abbas Kiarostami. Cast:
Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Sfshin Khorshid. Iran,/
France, 1997, Stereo, Color, 95 min. 

PS: Little Black Submarines just woke up with me today. A fit company to Kiarostami's movie.


12 days to go: Infinitely Polar Bear (March, 27)

"Strip out your heavy clothes"

Infinitely Polar Bear is a different way of approaching a theme that we usually see as a memory from some characters in film: after growing up, one character realizes that he or she was raised by a parent mentally ill. It's usually an adult awareness of their own childhood. 

Maya Forbes' film is a take of her and her sister's days with her maniac depressive father, the surreal Mark Ruffalo. The kids' view of their parents struggles is a surprise at each scene - they're little girls and very mature at the same time, in a representation of how kids can perceive their surroundings in a special manner

This movie didn't grab me from the first scene.It is beautifully shot since the beginning. There's beauty in each take even in the most anguished ones.  A sweet and strong soundtrack helps to establish the mix atmosphere related to a bittersweet reality. But my view of it was mostly rational until the end, when the last song in the final credits brought the voice of Forbes's little sister, China, continuing the homage to her family and parents that is the reason of this whole movie. And it was there, at the last scenes, mixed with this heartfelt song with the rolling credits, that this story got me really hard. Not only the story, but the song gave me the opportunity to resignify a very difficult time (the last days haven't been easy).

To think how we can transcend the most painful and significant events in our lives through art... Just beautiful. Just right.  

"Strip out your heavy clothes"

This mother... so much love and strength in a very human  character

Infinitely Polar Bear. Directed and written by Maya Forbes. Cast: Mark Ruffalo,
Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky (Maya's daughter), Ashley Aufderheid. USA,
2014, Dolby Digital, Color, 90 min.

PS: Thanks, Joe, for telling me about this movie!

13 days to go: The Wind will Carry Us (March, 26)

At the end of The Wind will Carry us, from the masterful Abbas Kiarostami (who left for other scenarios last year, but will always be present by his  outstanding work), I could only think about something I thought with Pi: the way of identifying universal patterns in the world is to observe nature, to observe life. Simple, but not obvious, because we always tend to complicate things with religion, politics, science. Here, Kiarostami lead us through this simple truth by giving us the privilege of observe the life of a small village in Iran, in an incredibly well woven film. 

It is absolutely beautiful. And it is all there: religion, politics, science... and life. pure and simple this life we live. The main character is us, struggling to keep pace to such a way of living. I'm not sure if he realized all that was around him while driving constantly to a higher place to answer his mobile. He is so preoccupied, as we are, with so many things, that he passes through all the life around him. Untouched? I'd rather think he is a bit sensitive to all that. I was too overwhelmed by it all, ending the movie enchanted by the way of Kiarostami showing the world and living creatures to us. 

It is important to highlight the dialogues here. They're precious, small gems given to us to be treasured. As life itself.

Bad ma ra khahad bord. Directed and written by Abbas Kiarostami. Cast: Behzad
Dorani, Noghre Asadi, Rousham Karam Elmi. Iran/France, 1999, Mono, Color, 118 min.

PS: Kiarostami was present at Omad with Someone in Love, a shocking story about the ways to tell a narrative. My love for him, though, started with Certified Copy, one of the most genius movies I've ever seen. 

14 days to go: Boy (March, 25)

"I'm in the mood for a happy movie!", Joe told me on this day. 

At that moment, we were trying to decide about a film to see together - it is not an easy task, because we talk about movies so much, that when we have the chance to share the experience we don't take it lightly (at least, I don't). 

"I'm always game for a happy film," was my animated answer. 

If only we knew what was ahead of us.

Boy is the second Taika Waititi adventure on features. We're all in love with him here because of Hunt for Wilderpeople - I'm even saving What we do in the Shadows to bring me happiness in a boring day. So, naturally, giving his record of treading difficult matters in a hysterically funny way, we was expecting to be laugh a lot, while having our hearts broken. 

The thing is, this movie is too close to the heart. Too true, too honest, incredibly spot on. I became increasingly depressed at each scene. I felt like I was drowning in myself, without a way out. There are comedy, yes. Some light scenes, endearing characters. However, any of that could take me out from my misery. I'm not complaining, though. Movies like that, and from a culture we barely are aware of, is of great importance. and Waittit is a master in what he does. 

That sort of child's abuse is not criminal - yet. Parents mistreat their offspring constantly, daily, by being selfish, disinterested, behaving as a spoiled child instead of taking care of their own. It is not easy to have kids, so  people, just don't. Simple like that. I'm really extreme on this matter. You're human, your kids are too - please, don't treat them as a convenient toy, even if the pain you feel is too big for this world. 

As it happened in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the kids here are something from other world. Rocky we want to take to home in every scene he is on - he is so quiet and smart, so observant of his surroundings, it is impossible not to fell in love with him. And Boy is every kid who is in the last phases of loving his parents above all the things, just getting to the place where they realize the things are a bit more complicated than their unconditional love and their attempts to fix everything that it's wrong around them, in a crusade that is able to ruin a life.. So overwhelmingly sad and true.

Boy. Directed and written by Taika Waititi. Cast: James Rolleston, Te Aho
Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititi. New Zealand, 2010, Dolby Digital, Color/
Black and White, 87 min.
PS: Hunt for the Wilderpeople came to stay in our lives for good. Yesterday I was so blues, so ugh, the only way to get out of that mood was to reach for the Rick Baker's birthday song, one created on the time of shooting as a way to escape the abusive fees of the happy birthday song. Joe and Rudd were complaining that, hours after I sent the video bellow to them, the song was still in their heads, while they were getting ready to give their classes. Sorry (not really), guys!


15 days to go: Notorious (March, 24)

Half the way! Hey, walker (crutches, walking stick... whatever will help me to be on my foot again!): I'M COMING!!!

Do you doubt there's someone here that is tired of being at home on a wheel chair? I'm not complaining, life is getting better and better, but, come on, walking again will be the best thing :)

After spending an afternoon listening to Notorious on the TV while my mother was watching it, I've finally saw it at night. The second Hitchcock's movie in a roll, which is fortunate. The guy is a master movie maker, and this movie with the most beautiful creature in the universe (Ingrid Bergman) and Cary Grant (one of the funniest, for sure) is outstanding. Who is used to Hitchcock's methods, the rabbits he used to take out of his hat never get old. 

There are two cult scenes in here. First, the (in)famous kissing scene in a balcony at an apartment in Rio de Janeiro. The rule limiting kisses to 3 seconds was burled by Hitchcock with a beautifully woven scene. I didn't know about it before seeing the movie, and at the time of the scene I was thinking how incredible it was. The other one is the trick used by the director to put a coffee cup and Ingrid Bergman on focus at the same time. His intention was to highlight the poison in the coffee. He has resorted to a similar creative alternative in Under Capricorn, also with Bergman, in which he put a bulb inside a cup of milk to call the viewer attention to the glass (also possibly poisoned). 

There are many external scenes in Brazil, and I must say that I seldom saw such care in foreign productions. Yes, there are things out of place - a fur in the terribly hot Rio? Coats? No way, even in the Winter -, but there is also a perfectly Brazilian Portuguese spoken sometimes and great takes of the city. 

The plot is good, suspenseful, and even a bit heavy - what Bergman's character has to go through is dreadful. There's a heaviness here that is characteristic of Hitchcock, but even acknowledging that, I was a bit surprised. 

One thing I detested in this movie: Cary Grant knocking Bergman out in the car scene. Really, Alfred? That was terrible, even if Grant's character atones himself later in some good lines about how Alicia's life is her own (even if there's a pinch of spite in his statement). Bergman's Alicia is strong, thriven, smart, admirable under the most difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, the punch scene is still giving me chills.

Notorious. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant,
Claude Rains. Writer: Ben Hecht. USA, 1946, Mono, Black and White, 101 min.


16 days to go: Rebecca (March, 23)

What a stunning movie. 

This poster is so freaking weird
Rebecca, by Alfred Hichcock, a "picturization of the celebrated novel by Dauphne Du Maurier", is a sight to the eyes. The scenes are so perfectly built, there's no way not to be enchanted. The old bugger gave us a movie lesson in a bit over 2 hours that transcends its time.

I intended to watch Notorious on this day, but my mother asked me to see it with her (she is right at this moment in front of my TV doing just that, while I get things done in the house - and in this blog :). Rebecca sounded as a fit alternative. I've read the book and watched the movie when I was fourteen, and the only memory of that was the masked ball fiasco (a very anguished scene I think).

It is a Gothic tale of love, lost, secret reasons, crazy maids, malevolence, as we expect from the English manors. It is over dramatic, something that invaded all the popular romantic novels for a long while. The mysterious rich guy that gives nothing about himself to the naive young girl he marries in a whim. He expects her to fit his world in a sec - it is not a simple world, filled with madness, lies, secret reasons. 

However, in front of the masterpiece that is this movie in technical terms, all that is secondary, even a bit endearing, a perfect match the whole light and shadows game beautifully. A movie to be revisited from time to time. 

There's a lot of interesting info in the imdb.com trivia. The thing about Lawrence Olivier being awful to the stunning Joan Fontaine was sad, actually. Vivien Leigh didn't need his outrage on her behalf (she was a contender for the role of Mrs. de Winter (a character without a first name, it is very symptomatic). She was a good enough actress to fight her own battles, thank you, Olivier. 

Rebecca. Directed by Alfred Hichcock. Cast: Joan Fontaine, Lawrence Olivier,
George Sanders. Writers: Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison (screen play);
Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan  (adaptation), based on the "celebrated
novel" by Dauphne Du Marier. USA, 1940, Mono, Black and White, 130 min.


17 days to go:I don't feel at home in this world anymore (March, 22)

I don't feel at home in this world anymore is the title of today's movie. It could be something that I'd say during a chat with a friend. This is a true statement - and a peculiar film.

Melanie Lynskey, the main actress here, with her woman-next-door looks and childish voice is not rarely cast in the role of a conformist person, despite never letting us think she can't kick ass in reality. Ruth looks around her and seems to conform to all the small wrongness in her daily life. Don't be led by appearances: she's fed up, as we are, but there's nothing much she can do - just like us again. The first half of this movie is a replica of what we see happening constantly, things that pile up inside us until we say enough, and not always in a good way.

On the other hand, when she starts , as to say, her journey of no conformism, she recognizes what makes sense to her in the most unexpected places and people. That's just how life is also, and this little black comedy, that lead us to some surprising outcomes (Boy, I was terrified at the end :), touches our routine in a bizarre manner.

On this day, I just wanted to see a movie, nothing too deep or difficult, just a film on a quiet Wednesday night. I chose this on Netflix and, despite it not being at all what I'd like at first, it was a fun and enlightening experience. And Elijah Wood is a great perk in a movie at all times (My only question to myself is when I'll stop mistaking Elijah with Tobey Maguire:)..

I don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore. Directed and written by Macon Blair.
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Chris Doubek, Elijah Wood. USA, 2017, Color, 93 min. (Netflic|).

PS: I feel like Ruth a lot, in many moments of my day. At traffic (a place from hell nowadays); the guy from upstairs who calls all his friends to party in a day of water shortage at the building; all the institutions that don't care about the people they are responsible to defend... Well, the list is long. As Ruth says, she just wants to the jerks to stop being jerks. Impossible. One  way out is, like Tony (Elijah, not Tobey) says: do what we think is right and try to get better always... Be attentive to your own mess and demons in order to be able to really help who is in need. 


18 days to go: Frank (March, 21)

What an odd and sweet movie.

On this day, I had a strong need for something meaningful, for a story about people and their struggle in life. Something that would remember me that we're alive and kicking, trying hard to make sense of our lives. Or even simply trying to stay alive. Frank was an perfect answer.

It is a fairly curious little film, starting for its production. Lenny Abrahamson (who, one year after Frank, would be gifting the world with the amazing Room) directs in a very experimental way some great actors as Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson (in frankly Ascension), Maggie Gyllenhaal in a story that is not easy peasy. Initially, it is funny, ironic, and we follow Gleeson's Don in his search for artistic creativity and fame. He thinks that he has found it in Frank's band, but he really understand where he is until later. Not for nothing he is pegged as an outsider. 

Ok, now I have to tell you that there will be a bit of a spoiler ahead. It is nothing that compromise the experience of this movie, we see this trait in one of the characters since the beginning... but I'm giving you, as always, the choice of meeting this film without any spoilers...

This Alex Murdock's song has nothing to do with the
movie per se, but...

Frank moves beautifully and with care in the direction of discussing difficult matters in life. One of them is mental illness. There's a thing about it that is very difficult to understand from the outside, unless you've been dedicating yourself in a careful exercise of empathy. However how advanced are the studies and despite all the information disclosed daily, there's a perverse judgment towards mental ill people, as it was their choice to be sick or not. And there's a way of looking at life that is very particular - I always remember Bradley Cooper's character in Silver Linings Playbook saying that there's something only he and his friends pegged as crazy could understand. Thanks for the movies that put us in the place of experiencing theses views in order to judge no more. 

This way, of course there weirdness in the movie, and it is cleverly applied. The songs are great, and the whole experience of shooting it must have been amazing. Simply outstanding - all the songs are played by the cast while filming. Scotland and Ireland and Texas ("This looks like Paris, Texas" became one of my favorite quotes instantaneously) are stunning backgrounds for the story of kindred souls looking for their place in life through art and relations. The best way to find out what the f* we're doing it, I think.

Thank you, movies; thank you, amazing cinema, for always being there when I need you.

Fassbender being dwarfed by a truly big head :)

Frank. Directed by Lenny Abramhanson. Cast: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall
Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Writers: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan, based on
the paper article by Jon Ronson.UK/Ireland/USA, 2014, Dolby Digital, Color, 95 min.

PS: Paris, Texas, directed by Wim Wenders in 1984, is one of my favorites movies in life. It is a masterpiece, actually, so mesmerazing. And the Ry Cooder score is something from another world. I should revisit it soon  - it has been a long time since I saw it for the last time. 


19 days to go: The Light Between Oceans (March, 20)

All the unusual rain and cold at this time of year in Brasilia leaded me to look for a movie that would fit the night's weather. I wanted a story that would invoke a comfy chair in front of the fire, with a hot cup of tea on the side. For that matter, The Light Between Oceans (other movie I've missed at the theaters last year) was a perfect choice.

The first sounds in the movie are from crashing waves, one of my favorites in life. The pace is quiet, as the characters. Isolation, the search for more peaceful days, the meeting of kindred souls, the amazing scenery... all of that met my expectations. I knew about the story, thanks to those trailers that love to tell the whole plot in just a few minutes. I knew sadness was coming, 

The first half of this movie is endearing, melancholic, sweet during the first beautiful and delicate days of Tom and Isabel's love. Fassbender and Vikander has a lovely chemistry on screen, one that may have been permeate for their feelings out of screen. They work well together, there are beauty and understanding there. 

When the story takes a turn for the worse, we see what this film is mostly about. How many times we take a wrong turn in life, relating small or big things, in order to avoid a conflict or as a sign of love only to discover that the worse is yet to come? It is inevitable. We don't avoid pain with more pain. Maybe this is one of life's biggest lessons. Even if some situations are not black and white, other are very clear, and on these one we know that there's not an acceptable alternative to the sheer truth. 

My biggest but to this movie? The final credits. What a waste of beautiful scenery in a corny attempt to emphasize  the link between the two main characters? It really let a bitter taste on me. Derek Cianfrance was so good in Blue Valentine, so fierce. This tragic story was worthy of the same strength from the first amazing wave sounds to its ending. 

The incredibly beautiful Tasmania

The Light Between Oceans. Directed and written by Derek Cianfrance, based on
the M.L. Stedman's novel. Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel
Weiz. UK/New Zealand/USA, 2016, Dolby Digital, Color, 133min.

20 days to go: Julieta (March, 19)

Hey, Almodóvar, long time no see!

Every meeting with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is a big bet, you never know what you will find, but can be always assured that you'll get out of the theater a bit shaken at least - it doesn't matter much if we love or hate it. His last for features before 2016 were a bullet on the heart: The Skin I Live In (Jeez, what to say about this outstanding film?); Broken Embraces (one of the most intricate homages to cinema). Volver (a little lighter, but just a little) and, finally, Bad Education (another bullet). it is just to quote the last fours... and, yep, letting I'm so Excited (2013) out, if you don't mind. 

So, I was a bit surprised with Julieta, probably the most delicate Almodovar's movie (as Volver). The opening credits are pure Almodóvar, beautiful, pungent, smart, red. The soundtrack, make-up, suspense, those are all Almodóvar too. However, there's something here that was present in all his movies, but in a more hysterical frame: the tragedy and goings of a simple life, of a simple woman. Some expectations are overcame, which is always nice to see, and this movie never disappoints. So beautiful, sad, true, subtle even. The relations are palpable. 

Guilt is one of the more lethal venom in life. It spreads with a dreadful easiness. We all have our own, unfortunately. They live in us, around us, penetrating our surroundings, our loves, our more cherished things in life. That's what Almodovar bring us, taking our hand with such delicacy that it is impossible not to be amazed. Yes, he gave us some bizarre traits - we talking about the incredibly creative Almodóvar, after all. 

I've missed this movie at the theaters precisely because I don't take Almodóvar with an easy heart. I'm always a bit afraid of what I'll find in the cinema, because I know we never leave the theater unscathed. However, times and times this fear of mine has proven to be silly, and with Julieta I had one more proof of that. 

Julieta. Directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar, based on "Silencio", "Destino"
and "Pronto" by Alice Munro. Cast: Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao.
Spain, 2016, SDDS/Dolby Digital/Datasat, Color, 95min.

PS:  A couple of yers ago, I've bought a short stories book by Alice Munro mainly because I thought I had seen a lecture about one of her writings in wich an Spanish tour guide in Scotland meets the Loch Ness Monster. I was mistaken, the writer of fhis story is Rosa Monteiro, a El Pais journalist. However, it was a nice opportunity to get to know Munro, an incredible writer. The book is Dear Life, and I'm taking it in small doses (all of them scathingly strong and sad). 


21 to go: John Wick (March, 18)

Saturday night, action movie time!

Again in a dead end in the choice of a movie, I decided for an old Omad strategy: Saturday nights are fit to action movies. Last year, when I saw that there was a thriller with Keannu Reeves, I found out it was a sequel. So I looked for the first one, and that's how I ended up with John Wick

An action movie directed by a stuntman ;)

It was such a bizarre experience. I thought, at first, that it was based on a HQ or a video game. Somethings are very peculiar, as the special currency of the assassins world, the hotel where the guests are exclusively hired killers. The plot by itself is a bit odd - a hired hit man starts a deadly hunt for the men who stole his car and killed his dog. Not that I think it is not a legit reason, but it is curious and not so common. I was joking about it until I've read on imdb.com that it was loosely base on a true event in Texas. This world...

I really don't know what to say to you about this movie. There are pretty cool stuff in here, but others things sound a bit off. The ratings on imdb.com are good, actually. I'll try the sequel to get a better feeling. For now, I can only say that there are way too many deaths to take  it seriously (it becomes almost a caricature), some good action scenes, characters that are interesting (long tlime no see, Agent Broyles) and Keanu Reeves, of course. It was a fun entertainment after all.

John Wick. Directed by Chad Stahelsk (a stuntman!), David Leitch (uncredit).
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian
McShane. Writer: Derek Kolstad. USA, 2014, Dolby Digital/Auro 11.1, Color, 101 min. 

22 days to go : In a Word... (March, 17)

You'll probably question me, a bit impatiently, about how I could complain of having so much time on my hands in order to read, be with my beloved friends, being catered by a sweet carer, being able to watch movies and all the tennis championships on TV. Well, the truth is, and you probably already know that, staying home is so good for being a kind of transgressions against all the rush in this world. Coming home, locking the door, silencing the phone, being alone or spending the night with a good story...it is heaven. However, when you're obligated to do so, the scenery is entirely different. 

Sorry, I'm not complaining. I'm finding ways to enjoy this kind of house arrest and all the changes in my routine, that has being showing me how I'm not the absolute loner I thought I was. One of the many ways to enjoy this time without putting my feet on the ground is to be real with movies, and in this sense such an addendum is helping me a lot. Take today, for an example: a lazy Sunday morning, a grey sky out there, the Away we Go soundtrack on (Alex Murdock, you're saving my days), seating at the table to write gave a great meaning to my day. So, all is OK, actually. 


But there are days I'm not in the mood for thinking. My head is like immersed in formalin. As had happened during my year with Omad, there's days I want to do anything but watch a movie, or think about choosing one. The difference is that, with painkillers, this disposition is more frequent. 

So, Friday night found me staring at the many and many lists of Netflix, praying for the gods of the magic shuffle for someone delightful, easy, endearing sweet to take me out of a foul mood. The problem is I over abused the lucky browsing during Omad, and I'd probably had watched most movies like that. 

In a Word... seemed to fit the bill, though, and so I'd chose it for this day. 

And it was worthy it? Well, I don't know.I think it was. It is with a bit of aloofness that I think about this movie now. It didn't grab my attention immediately. Lake Bell, an actress who we cannot situate in a specific movie is directing here, and she does an OK job. She is also the writer, and her intentions are clear and solid. The deliver is the problem, I think. There's nothing extremely wrong here except a lack of empathy at first. 

The characters are good, a kind of caricature, but even with that Bell gives a much appreciated lesson on prejudice - we keep expecting things from those persons based on their external image, and we see how prejudiced we are when they don't correspond to our expectations. This is always an amazing feature on a story, Unfortunately, here, it lacked more strenght. It is cute, but not endearing as expected .

There's an intention of a powerful message on feminism, however I'm not sure about that either. A dialogue between Lake Bell and Geena Davis, in a brief cameo, let me a bit uncomfortable. Because I've being noticing how some essential fights in life, as gender and race equality, are being dealt with a lot of manipulation. I'll enter sensible ground here, and I ask your help in order to clarify this for me. Do you remember the Oscars last year and all the controversy about the predominance of white nominees? This speaks directly about the lack of opportunities - with there's no roles for minorities, how they can compete fairly? So, this year it was very different, a lot of nominees and winners were not white - all of them deserving and wonderful. But, for me, it is not an evolution or a change of thinking, despite its unquestionable importance - because in a way or other things must change. 

The Geena Davis dialogue gave me a bad taste, though, when she says that the reason why a woman was chosen to do a voice over on a movie trailer was not because she was the best candidate, but because there's a need for strong female voices in the world. I'm not sure if it was proposital, and I don't know if it is just me, but this double standard worries me. On one hand, it is indisputably the truth, but on the other... Well, I hope real equal times are ahead of us, even if the start is very bumpy. 

In a World.. Directed and written by Lake Bell. Cast: Lake Bell, Tig Notaro,
Michaela Watkins. USA, 2013, Dolby, Color, 95 min. 


23 days to go: Hunt for the Wilderpeople (March, 16)

Holly freaking gods of amazing movies!!!

"I didn't chose the skuxx life, the skuxx life chose me".

A thousand smiles :)

Joe told me about Hunt for the Wilderpeople some days ago, and it looked like a fit choice for me on this day. I could never have imagine that it would go so beyond all my expectations, becoming one of my favorite movies in life.

If ficcional stories allow us to relate to different people and ways of life, in an important exercise of perceiving the other,  different productions take us to many point of views beyond our own culture. New Zealand movies are remarkable in this sense, as the Nordic, with distinguishable ways of talking about life. Many other are too, I know, of course. But these two always surprise me. 

Nothing is pasteurized here, which can lead to some weariness, but it is a feature I usually find amazing. In this movie, it is endearing actually. The story is so heartbreaking, but it is rare the moments we don't laugh hysterically. Julian Dennison as Rick Baker is something from other world entirely - we love him immediately, despite all his apparent unlovable traits. Sam Neil is almost unrecognizable here. 

The soundrack? Amazing. I was really excited during a rendition of Nina Simone's Sinnerman. The dialogues are something else too - amazing references from pop culture. Great scenery, great people, bizarre situations. A funny, sweet, captivating film, a good place to go from time to time. 

At the end, stay with the final credits, you'll have a nice surprise that will make you sing along happily.

What are you waiting for? Go watch it!!! For real, you'll love it, I'm sure.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Directed and writen by Taika Waititi, based on the
book by Barry Crump (with aditional writing by Tearepa Kahi). Cast: Julian
Dennison, Sam Neil, Rima Te Wiata. New Zealand, 2016, Dolby Atmos, Color, 101min.

PS: The first NZ movie that had a strong impact on me was, as I remember, In my Father's Den, a 2004 production with Matthew MacFadyen, my biggest crush in 2005/2006 (Why? Because of Pride & Prejudice, that's why - no need for explanation, actually. He's is an amazing Darcy). This movie is almost claustrophobic as we become aware of all the terrible trappings of that small town. It was the first time I remember hearing a song by Mazzy Star (absolutely heartbreaking).


24 days to go: Onlly God Forgives (March, 15)

If you ask me, I'd say that only a few things in life are absolute. Violence is one of them, and Nicolas Winding Refn takes it to the letter in Only God Forgives.

How to film a kind of violence that are a subject of many narratives, a lot of others movies? Drugs, revenge, abuse, madness, Oedipus complex... we've all seen it before, but rarely through the colors and aesthetic presented by Refn here. 

It is suffocating, as it should. It is not easy, and it couldn't be. There are reports of people leaving the theater during the movie. Reactions in Cannes were very contrary. The choice of interrelating facts with some of the characters' thoughts doesn't let it be too easy to stay with this story. However, if you let it go and simply go with the tide, everything will make great sense - a sad, tragic, terrible one. 

Refn has worked Ryan Gosling in this movie after the perfection that was their work together in Drive. Yes, for me, the 2011 collaboration epitomizes some features that makes a movie perfect to me. The silence, the characters, the right time for every move... I just love it. Few movie makers are so spot on in the debate about violence (Mikael Haneke is one of the masters), and Refn is taking the podium as one of the best nowadays. 

Discussing violence is a necessity, and there's no better media to do so as fictional narratives: movies, games, HQ... Instead of encouraging violent acts, as we usually hear, those narratives provide the opportunity to debate something that are usually a taboo, that we don't discuss during dinner. For that reason alone, movies like Only God Forgives are very important - and they cannot be easy, right? It is not a futile subject. 

I wasn't very sensible to all the violent deaths and all - they are horrible, graphic, with a bit of Tarantino blood. What really shocked me, and made this movie more relevant, was the dynamic between the mother (an unrecognizable and terrific Kristin Scott Thomas) and their sons, specially Ryan Gosling. Man, An absolute horror.

At the end, a bit mesmerized, I looked at Rodrigo (today's carer :), expecting what he would say. And of course he didn't disappoint: 'well,' he said, 'it is a movie about a police officer doing his job'. Who am I to disagree, even if the scenario is so, so much bigger than that?

Only God Forgives. Directed and writen by Nicolas Winding Refn. Cast: Ryan
Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansrigarm. Denmark/France/USA/Sweden,
2013, Dolby Digital, Color, 90 min.

PS:The scenes in Thai weren't translated. The discomfort that such a choice caused reminded me of The Name of The Rose. Umberto Eco said that the quotation in Latin in his book were like the lack of light in a movie: something you just don't see or understand. This feature in the Refn's film makes much sense. There's a lot we just don't know, and there's no way to be different.

25 days to go: The Fall (March, 14)

In another shared time with movies, Flavia and her dear boy came to keep company while watching The Fall, a film that Joe left with me a long time ago. He even told me that, as I was adventuring in another movie dare, I should see it for good. On this day, I could keep my promise. 

So many emotion in amazing images. 

Tarsem Singh is a master of filming the images of the dreams and imagination (as Terence Malick is a genius with picturing thoughts). It is so mesmerizing. Thanks, Joe, for lending me your blue ray, it is truly a film worthy of the technology. 

There are moments in this that we don't know what to do with ourselves, so overwhelming it is. The amazing little Alexandria, with all the wisdom her name implies, despite the young age, take us by the hand that is not in a cast, with a sweet smile that lacks many teeth, showing us why sometimes stories are the realm of childhood. Children take them seriously, as we all should. They let themselves be permeated by all the knowledge and enchantment of what we, so wise adults, passed to attribute as silliness.

It is usual (less and less, fortunately) the thought that entertainment, fiction, fantasy are a matter of escaping reality. How many times we hear someone saying just that referring to a movie, a book that they cannot let go, a song that is on repeat during a certain time of our lives. I always thought that instead of escaping reality, drowning myself in fictional narratives, specially movies, meant just the opposite: to stare our own reality and others (very important) straight in the eye. This way, in times of extreme difficult, we tend to resort to what is at hand in order to make a sense of all the craziness. 

The advent of cinema in the late 19th century, early '1900s, gave to the world a massive form of confronting reality thought an art known above all for its entertainment features. During the '1920s, the cinema was passing through a crazy phase, an extraordinary time of experimentalist and adventures, while consolidating movies as a narrative. And so, side by side with new camera angles, creative shots, fading out, special effects, stories were told, and the human race was forever lost to this new kind of storyteller. 

Joseph Campbell told us about the power of stories in a beautiful and assertive way:

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shaw slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. Joseph Campbell

And so, folks, that's it. Stories are not something to escape, but our true company in life, among all the people and things we love. We don't slay monsters, but ourselves. Stories' primary reason of existence is life itself. They don't refer to anything else than the human journey of living. So, whether for entertainment or because of all that "serious" reasons we're are so fond to brag about, stories are essentially life. The human race living day after day, century after century, looking for the meaning of his existence. 

Thanks, beloved Joe, with all my heart (and happy birthday, beautiful friend!). 

The Fall. Directed by Tarsem Singh (as Tarsem). Cast: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru,
Justine Waddel. Writers: Dan Gilroy at all (based on the screeplay Yo Ho Ho, by
Valery Petrov). USA/South Africa/India, 2006, DTS/Dolby Digital/SDDS, Black
and White/Color, 117min.

PS: Have you've  read my call for books two posts ago? So, at the exact moment I was writing it, without a clue about my desperate call, Flavia was buying me the most amazing gift: Norse Mythology, by the greatest storyteller of our times, Neil Gaiman (I'm not over doing it, I promise. He is the greatest nowadays, among other amazing bards). I'm in heaven. Fla, eternal gratitude, flor!


26 days to go: Barefoot (March, 13)

While searching about Barefoot on imdb.com, one of the comments told me it was a "heart-warming" story, despite being a little clunky. A little, you said? Totally, I'd rather say, to a point that turned what looked like a sweet movie in a very annoying experience. 

Rachel Evan Wood and Scott Speedman (Hello, Ben, you dog)  I like a lot, specially her. This film appeared to be sweet, funny, heartbreaking, dreamy, in the line of Elvis and Anabelle, It's kind of a funny story, Restless. Me, Earl and the dying girl... But it lead me to a place very far from those sweet and endearing movies. I can enjoy nonsense, but not if it is a flaw in the screenplay. Nothing here is real, tangible, as the best fantasy stories are. The scrip has so many holes that we don't even know who those people are. And all those sweet hippie clothes appearing suddenly in a purse that only carried stripper wear before? I just wish my wardrobe was this volatile. 

Evan Wood brings some relief to all the weakness in this, but not even her could save the boat. Not even J. K. Simmons could add anything good to it. It is nice to see Ben, ops, Scott in a movie, but his character could be just a bit more like a person, and not something created only to prove a point. 

Well, there was one good surprise at last: a song by Of Monsters and Men, the Icelandic band that has been a constant in my days. If I wasn't following all the crazy plots in this movie, at least I could sing along one of my current favorite songs :)

Barefoot. Directed by Andrew Fleming. Cast: Rachel Evan Wood, Scott Speedman,
J.K. Simmons. Writer: Stephen Zotnowski. USA, 2014, Dolby Digital, Color,
90 min. (Netflix). 


27 days to go: Lion (March, 12)

Usually, I try to see every Oscar nominated for Best Picture before the awarding ceremony. This year, though, my stupidity prevented me to do so - I broke my leg exactly one week before the Oscars, before having seen Moonlight, Lion and Fences. The winner I've watched the next day, on the little screen of my old TV. Fences is still a no go, but not for a long time. Lion was today's movie. 

Sufice to say that I was crying almost the whole time. A kid lost from his family without the slight idea where his home is? It is a straight bullet to the heart. Sunny Pawar, as the little lost Saroo,  fills the screen, taking us with him in a very heartbreaking journey. His solitary journey in the scary big Calcuta is absolutely heartbreaking. In the right tone assumed by Garth Davis, with scenes built without exagerations, it was really sad. 

During the first half of this film, it reminded me the first 30 minutes of Wall-E - whitch, after, I've read on imdb.com trivia that was the inspiration for Davis.

I didn't know what to do with myself in many scenes. Told in a very eficient and beautiful way, it wasn't the easy sentimental story I thought at first. Even the usual scene at the end featuring the real characters of this story are not cliché. It is a very strong movie, with solid performances and much respect to what is being told. 80,000 kids are lost in India every year. Eighty thousand! Eleven millions are living on the streets... This movie is not just the story of an specific boy, but of thousands of families that struggle terribly to raise their children in a caotic scenery of extrem poverty. This is the dimension Lion takes, while still relating to that little boy who survived and grew up to tell his story to the world. 

Lion. Directed by Garth Davis. Cast: Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman,
Rooney Mara. Writers: Luke Davies from the book 'A long way home" by Saroo
Brierley. Australia/USA/UK, 2016, Color, 118 min.

PS: Someone out there, please, I need an indication for a incredible book. I'm have too many hours free in the day, and not so interesting books in my hand (one day I'll tell you about the other dare I am tangled in). Really, it is a desperate cry for help (and good books :).

28 days to go: Labyrinth (March, 11)

One of the most precious memories from Omad time (and there's many) was my dear niece Flavia calling me to ask if I'd already watched that day's movie, because she would like to see it with me. It shows such a care, that it makes me happy every time I remember it. 

The addendum isn't different, I should have known that. On this day, Flavia called to ask if she could see a movie with me. Of course, was my answer. This time, there was some bonus cameos, her super intelligent and dear boyfriend and his daughter, the amazingly clever and funny Ana - the last one had never watched Labyrinth, so the idea was to introduce her to this incredible production from 1986.

We'd such a great time. Besides the wonderful company, this movie never fails to deliver a good entertainment, even if with a bite of melancholy. The '80s are there, visible, but there are some features in here that never get old. It is just the opposite, actually, even if there are cherished memories always linked to it.

One of them comes from my niece, now the mother of one of my favorite kids in the whole world. She was 5 when I introduced her to the movie, and she loved it so much. She had a big crush on Jareth - David Bowie crushing all hearts, the young and old :) The most incredible, though, was how she could tell the whole movie from its songs - the soundtrack was a constant in my room's stereo. Songs that, it's important to add, I could remember from heart, even 30 years after seeing Labyrinth for the first time. 

An older production brings the time of its production, of course. It is one of the beauties of such icons. However, we watch it always in the present time. Surrounded by memories as we are, immerse in diverse layers of time and feelings, we're still in the present moment. Each time we see a movie again, it is very particular. This one was happy, filled of laughter, memories, shared experiences and the joy of introducing a dear film to a lovely smart young girl. 

Not bad at all <3

An afterthought: Today I was thinking in something that came to my mind during this movie's ending. Labyrinth is a coming of age tale, the passage from child to woman experienced by the young Sarah. However, there's an interesting idea in it. While we grow up and leave some of our child's treasures behind, that not means necessarily given up all the fantasy. There's that idea of being a grown up as something that prioritizes mostly responsibility and so, excluding dreams and fantasy. Well, a life without fantasy is no living at all. And this ending sent me to the beautiful realization that Sarah would grow up surrounded by her dreams.

Labyrinth Directed by Jim Henson. Cast: David Bowie, Jennifer Connely, Toby
Froud. Writers: Dennis Lee and Jim Henson (story); Terry Jones (screenplay).
UK/US, 1986, Dolby Stereo/70mm 6 Track, Color, 101 min.

PS: In January, 2016, I talked about Bowie at the time of his shocking death. He is a true idol for me, even more for mixing two passions, songs and movies - some of his cinematographic productions figure between my favorite films in life. While we're talking memories, there's one very dear to me. When I was 20, I went to a trip to a hot water station near my city with two of my beloved friends until today. Returning home, I was on the bus, by the window, listening to Bowie in my new Walkman, feeling like the world was mine. Good memories, lovely experiences, treasured times.


29 days to go: Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (March, 10)


Finally I found courage to revisit a movie that resided in my memory as one of the funniest films I've ever seen; I remember that the whole theater trembled with hysteric laughter during Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (Rajio no Jikan), a 1997 Japanese production. 

I was a bit wary at the beginning, thinking that maybe the whole cinema was a bit wrong about this. I was the wrong one, of course. This movie is hysterical,even while keeping the tenderness. The characters are crazy and lovely, everyone involved in the same task of putting on radio a corny love story written by a shy woman, produced by clumsily radio workers, with the impromptu help of a security guard and the not so welcomed help of the writer's glutton husband. And the Japanese cowboy trucker? Precious. 

Man, I laughed, Neighbors must have thought I was having a nervous breakdown. The comedy is a well oiled story about making art with low budget and experience, but a lot of will and creative solutions. It is sweet, extremely funny, endearing. I shouldn't have been afraid of disappointment at all.

The best sound designer in the whole world :)

Welcome back, Mr McDonald (Rajio no Jikan). Directed and written by Kôki Mitani,
based on the play by Mitani and Tokyo Sunshine Boys. Cast: Toshiaki Karasawa,
Kyôka Suzuki, Masahiko Nishimura.  Japan, 1997, Dolby SR, Color, 103 min.

PS:On the afternoon, I was surfing the cable when I saw Erased just beginning. I tried really hard to see it, I like Aaron Eckhart, but I couldn't. Even for me somethings are in fact too predictable.

Addendum: 30 days to walk again - a new challenge (March, 9)

Hello again!

The One Movie a Day dare has ended exactly one year ago. It has been missed, despite the fact that for a while I wasn't able to get myself involved with movies as before. That's the thing with challenges: sometimes we need a decompression, even from happy chores. 

The thing is, 20 days ago I had an unfortunate event at home, entirely at my fault. I know that people living alone must not climb stairs, chairs or anything else in order to change a bulb in the kitchen. At the time I was climbing the stairs, I thought how I was asking to fall from it and break a leg. Damn pigheadedness that didn't prevent me to hear my intuitive thought. It was just like that: I fell from the stairs, breaking my knee (the tibia). It was scary as hell, to say the truth. One surgery after, the verdict: 45 days without putting my feet on the ground.

The last days has been a mix of pain, perplexity, anger toward myself, a cry for patience, but, mostly, a lot of lot of love and help from my absolute amazing friends.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to give back what they gave me even if I take 5 life times. 

My salvation lies in my friends and family's love <3

Not being Pollyanna, but it is a undeniable truth that we can find such beauty in a time of difficulty. Loved ones, I'm eternally grateful for you all in my life. I love you very much. And I'll be always grateful.

Inhale love. Exhale gratitude.

After the fog from the painkillers evaporated, one idea came to mind, supported by the two special readers of Omad, Joe and Rudd: an addendum to the former dare, a way to have a goal during this sort of house arrest that I'm in.

So,  the last 30 days of recovering will be filled with movies, friends, writing. I hope will be with me again. 

For the 30rd day, the movie was a indication from Joe (to keep the tradition on). Equals has a very unfair rating on imdb, I think. I was curious about this movie, that skipped the theaters here, going straight to DVD. Two of former productions direct by Drake Doremus are in Omad. Like Crazy didn't grab me as Breath In, despite the fact that I could understand his intentions in the first one. 

Equals was a good surprise. I love SciFi, you know that. And I'm not prejudiced against Kirsten Stewart (it is admirable how she has been putting herself out there these last months). She is just right as Nia, and a fit counterpart to the Nicholas Hoult (a long time from About a Boy). Secondary characters are fundamental in the design of a near future where all emotions are institutionally banned. 

It is a common theme, the social control of emotions as a way to prevent disorder. And it is frequent the idea that it is impossible to repress human nature. The very attempt to do so is a violence so unjustifiable as the violence this kind of norm tries to prevent. And love, seriously? How to evade love? Give up, future. We'll continue to be a messy bunch of confused and lovely humans, thank you very much. 

Visual here is great. The pace is a little low at first, but almost claustrophobic at the end. The very Romeu&Juliet plot at one point was a bit too much, but nothing that compromised the whole thing. 

This movie reminded me a little of Warm Bodies: love is contagious. And it spreads itself, sorry folks, nothing can be done to stop it. Love is a cure, the only way to live by in this crazy world. The image of a future that tries to suppress it is a true image of what we're experiencing right now: economic and political issues are takes as a priority over humanity. They're not. There's no justification for not helping millions of homeless humans because it is not lucrative. There's no way of stop paying attention to others or the surrounding for work's demands or the famous "lack of time". Attention, care, love... that's the way. Movies like Equals are here to remember us of that. 

Equals. Directed by Drake Doremus. Cast: Kirsten Stewart, Nicholas Hoult,
Guy Pearce. Writers: Drake Doremus (story); Nathan Parker (Screeplay). USA,
2015, 101 min., Color (DVD).

PS: On TV, the hit has been This is Us - almost at the end of its beautiful first season. I just love all those people, so real that they feel as family already. The news is Big Little Lies, an ambitious series by HBO (reduntant put ambicious and HBO together, I know). It's really scary in how real lit looks. The cast is outstanding, and the story is leading to an assured wow end (one of the secrets I've alredy guessed). Homeland is back for its 6th season, and it has been heartbreaking. I had to alternate it with the always amazing Mozart in the Jungle (3rd season), a sigh for the eyes and ears <3