Archive for January, 2008

January 24, 2008

>I’m sorry, but it’s been hard to forget it

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“Matilda is adorable, and beautifully observant and wise. Becoming a father exceeds all my expectations. It’s the most remarkable experience I’ve ever had – it’s marvelous.”

“Most of the time you don’t even know they’re there. Now, that’s the scary thing. It’s really strange and invading, but I’m still working it all out. I try to not let it bother me. I really try and find the humour in all of it. And if I want to swim naked in my pool, I’m still going to do it. I certainly don’t want to feel that I have to change everything in my life that I do to cater to them. I just won’t let it happen.” (on the paparazzi)


“She’s my soul mate and we couldn’t love each other any more than we do already. We’re like two peas in a pod.”

I will keep words only to myself this time, as these images speak for themselves, although I’m not feeling any better than yesterday besides the fact life has continued, busier than ever. And as I’m not in the mood for fresh posts, I’ll use the fact I have three days to prepare myself for a danish proficiency mini test whereas students out there have normally three weeks or more; as an excuse for not posting. I might be back on monday or tuesday, or whenever my PC is healthy again (yes, it’s been infected, and I have no idea how to get rid of it – btw, I’m posting from John’s laptop). In the meanwhile, the current weather sucks more than ever: rain, rain and rain. Ah, if at least it snowed…. (Some could start a cheap poem from here).
January 23, 2008

>He’s Gone. Just Like That.

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“I only do this because I’m having fun. The day I stop having fun, I’ll just walk away. (…) I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life….I don’t want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There’s so much I want to discover.” (Heath Ledger, 2000)

It’s true, he’s dead. A 28-year old guy with a wide future right in front of him and a little girl to look after. When I first heard of the news, I could go for the Hollywood cliche and believe it had something to do with drugs. But, drugs? I’m not into reading about celebs’ personal lives and scandals, so if it has ever been something of the sort related to drugs and Ledger in the past, I have never really heard of it. So, then I thought, “it could have been a murder, couldn’t it?”. Desperate for news, I left the comfort of my warm bed and turned on my computer at 01:30am: so there it was, some sort of “medicational” drugs lyed down around the unconscious body. Should I finally conclude everyone famous, from rock stars to movie stars are doing some sort of drugs in at least one point of their lives or during all of it? The difference is there are those we’re pretty aware of what they do (Think of Lindsay, and think how her career could be a lot better as well) and those we just don’t have a clear idea or any idea at all. Why can’t most of them (at least the talented and promising ones) behave like… Natalie Portman? Is Hollywood a playground of drugs and free booze that it makes it impossible for starlets and young actors to refuse it?

In Ledger’s case, it seems like it was something given by his doctor (just like it was with Marilyn Monroe), therefore it’s even weirder for me to realize he was going through a troubled or depressed phase? It just didn’t look like. I saw him twice in the movie theaters last year, first in Candy and more recently in Bob Dylan’s unconventional biopic I’m Not There. And for Christ’s sake, wasn’t he in a new Batman movie that is opening sometime in 2008, as The Joker? I shouldn’t be this naive, as times are so different. We’re not in the early 1960s, Hollywood makes us no longer believe in beautiful, endless young and nevertheless, perfect stars that live perfect lives doing perfect things. Star System is forever dead, and that’s not news. For more shocking Ledger’s death may represent to me, I can only image how harsh it was for movie fans, cinefiles and general people at those times, when the tragic death of James Dean and later on, Marilyn Monroe was announced.

I guess my shock has to do with a River Phoenix (1970-1993) sort of shock, who died from an overdose in a LA night club runned by Johnny Depp, my fav actor and who was also a long term drug user in the past. The question is… Why? At the moment everyone is speculating about it. I don’t even wanna think in a suicide possibility, but then, an accident. And even so, wasn’t it possible dialing 911, fighting back? Did he just give up, closed his eyes and surrended? Heath Ledger made me weep as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, he made me remind of a young Brando in this actor’s best times and he also made me believe of a bright movie career ahead. I have never felt sorry at all over the death of old artists, especially those who no longer work and who dedicated their entire lives to their art; and I can’t avoid thinking how ridiculous it is for people who mourn over such deaths, sometimes artists who they barely knew as concerning the artist’s work (!!!).

Not every death is supposed to be bad, though all deaths are still hard for the ones who suffer the loss (And trust me, I’m not just saying it, I’ve been there). A parent who loses a child will suffer differently from a child who loses a parent. The death of Ingmar Bergman (to name one that also died recently) can’t be compared to this present case right here. First of all, this is a guy I truly know, I’ve seen his films from teenager romantic comedies to the most recent ones, I’ve followed his bad flicks, the great ones, the disposable actings and the breathtaking ones. And the fact he’s abruptly gone… Oh jeez. I can’t even say R.I.P. However, I envy those who truly can.

Photo: Ledger as one of the countless Bob Dylan’s personalities in I’m Not There.

January 22, 2008

>Control + Away from Her

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Control (2007) – The clotheshorse on the kitchen ceiling, the medications in the bathroom, the cigarettes and the booze… Each one of these objects are used to build up Sam Riley‘s Ian Curtis personality in Anton Corbijn’s visual debut as a director. A young boy in a not very rich side of England, Curtis falls in love with the girl next door Debbie (Samantha Morton, in a stunning performance) under the effects of unknown medication and it’s all so innocent. Later on they go to a Sex Pistols concert together, holding eachother still whereas the rest of the audience moves frenetically, and so Curtis mesmerized eyes decides what he wanna do next: to be a singer in a band. The young couple prematurely gets married, and even more abruptly, Ian decides he’s just ready to become a father. These are actions that summed up to all the next happenings in his life will drag him into severe depression.

After joining the band, Ian keeps working in a part time job, that requires no musical poetry or original robotic dance moves, after all he needs to support a wife and child. But he’s not quite happy, and more his band achieves success, the furthest he will keep from his roots and from the family he has made, especially after meeting a belgian journalist wannabe whom he starts an affair with. Ian’s actions and thoughts are hard to digest and to comprehend, and the way he’s portrayed as a very unperfect human being just like one of us was a pretty correct decision. Here there’s not that easy sympathy other biopics possess, no one is trying to make the audience admire or respect this character. Ian goes on, mistake after mistake, doubts and epileptic attacks that drugs won’t help to cease. He’s fragmented between the life he’s always known and the pressure of being a rock star, with all the bad that might bring along the way. We follow Ian’s journey through exquisite monochromatic frames and a penetrating soundtrack.


Away from Her (2007) – This is a movie about the sacrifices one does in order to assure the welfare of the loved being. Fiona (Julie Christie, simple, but intense) and Grant (Gordon Pinsent) are married for 40 years and have lived during great part of their lives in their Ontario home, the place which they first appear in the movie while doing the dishes right after having dinner together. Moments like that may look simple, but director Sarah Polley knows about things, and how sensitive she is to capture each of these moments and make us care for the two characters like if we’ve known them for years. Fiona is showing signs of memory loss, but none of them expect it to be as serious as the Alzheimer’s disease, until the day she goes for her daily snow walk and forgets the way back home. Aware of the fact she has reached “that stage”, Fiona decides to go to a facility, despite the fact she and Grant won’t be able to see each other during the first 30 days of her stay. Their goodbye scene is heartbreaking without being manipulative. Adapted from an Alice Munro’s short story, Away from Her crystallizes Polley’s talent as a cinematic storyteller, one that captured the third age spirit brilliantly and sincerely. Besides, she accomplished a neat film from a story that could easily become a tearful melodrama in the wrong hands.

January 21, 2008

>Gone Baby Gone + Hotel Chevalier + The Darjeeling Limited

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Between the right choice and the moral choice Does the previous sentence sound a little pleonastic? Wait until you see Ben Affleck’s debut as a director to understand my choice of words better and hence Casey Affleck’s character dilemma. In the city of Boston, a little girl has disappeared. The police hasn’t found a single clue that might lead them to the missing child, her mother (Amy Ryan) doesn’t seem to care so much either, but two other relatives can’t stand the situation and decide to hire the private services of detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan). Due to the matter of the investigation and how it turns out in a surprising twist, this particular case will consume the couple both personally and professionally, though it’s Kenzie who is going to suffer deeply from the first to the final step. In this investigational thriller adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel, Ben Affleck shows better skills behind the cameras than in front of them. I’ve been told he knows the city where the story takes place very well, therefore, I can only conclude that was also a great choice of him to adapt the book to the screen. In its first minutes, the camera intimately captures another average day in the neighborhood, not as normal if it wasn’t for the fact several journalists stand in front of the disappeared child’s house. Another great shot is the one which a character wrestles with another on the top of a building, where you can see all the city behind.

Schwartzman with Portman earlier – “Do you wanna see my view of Paris?” and later with Wilson and Brody in a surreal train across India

Leaving all old family problems behind, just like that Director Wes Anderson has pointed his short film Hotel Chevalier interlaces with the story told in The Darjeeling Limited. It actually does, but just superficially and why not say, incompletely. It does tell us about Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman), literally an american man in Paris, for about a year (or more), but what about his two siblings? Living alone in a luxurious room in the hotel from the title, he receives an ex-girlfriend (should I say THE ex-girlfriend) phone call, who has just arrived in Paris. She goes to the hotel, they talk, she brushes her teeth and they make love, despite the fact they could feel emotionally horrible by the next day. The brief film is punctuated by the song Where Do You Go To My Lovely, that fits the happening like a glove, and so does the typical Anderson’s slow camera while filming Natalie Portman in all her nude glory (I wonder what made her strip to Anderson’s camera, as she had better reasons to do it before to Mike Nichols, but refused). And mentioning Closer, I’d disagree on those who have said the actress only replayed her Oscar nominated role here. Besides being equally mysterious, Jack’s ex-lover is far more sophisticated and much less vulnerable than Alice. She’s the kind of lady that hurt one man’s feelings, instead of being hurt herself.

In The Darjeeling Limited, Jack Whitman joins his two older brothers (Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody) on a train trip across India, that according to a recent fatal-accident-survivor Francis (Wilson, the eldest brother) will help them to bond with each other while finding salvation and relief. But the goal is not so easy to be achieved, as in the beggining the brothers don’t even trust each other. Francis has almost died in an motorcycle accident, Peter (Brody) is about to become a father; a very clueless and confused one, and Jason…well, just read the paragraph above. Or maybe I should add a year alone in Paris had a lot to do with the fact he wanted to be as away of his family roots as possible, the contrary that is about to happen in this film, as they remember their father’s funeral (probably a year back) and they try to find their mother (Anjelica Huston), who has become a nun in the Himalayas. Their father’s death is remembered through flash-backs after an accident by the second half of the film, that turns out to be more drama than comedy. TDL’s best qualities are its soundtrack and art direction, that fluctuates between red and yellow in a beautiful harmony. And once again, the slow motion editing is used in its best, especially in one of the last scenes, which the brothers literally get rid off their heavy luggage, as a symbol of the family issues they left behind. After all that, I still felt like the Whitman brothers’ journey was incomplete, though I didn’t take it seriously from the beggining.

January 18, 2008

>Current Fav Movie Soundtracks – The non original ones are usually the best

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Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino… Besides being talented directors who always print their personal styles in a piece of film, they also have in common the fact their films’ soundtracks are not originally composed, but randomly selected from songs written before, and the final material is always first class. I’m not really into music itself, I don’t read specialized music magazines and I don’t go to music stores to buy a specific album I have in mind. Besides a very few musicians or bands, most of the music I know I first listened to in a film. And right now I’m addicted to the entire Joy Division discography, as I left the theater hypnotized by Ian Curtis’ peculiar voice after watching Control. Certain singers’ biopics are always a good way to know good music. Apart from that, I’m also loving The Darjeeling Limited soundtrack, especially the opening and the ending songs by The Kinks, Play With Fire by The Rolling Stones and Hotel Chevalier‘s theme song. And ever since I saw Across the Universe trailer, I knew there would be very few chances for me to dislike it, as The Beatles soundtrack is my number one reason to go for it, though it’s not exactly the four Liverpool boys we’re going to listen to while seeing this musical. Well, if I’m not happy with it, there’s always The Beatles themselves to listen to in the end.

January 10, 2008

>Lynch on Lynch

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“I like to make films because I like to go into another world. I like to get lost in another world. And film to me is a magical medium that makes you dream…allows you to dream in the dark. It’s just a fantastic thing, to get lost inside the world of film.”

It’s better not to know so much about what things mean or how they might be interpreted or you’ll be too afraid to let things keep happening. Psychology destroys the mystery, this kind of magic quality. It can be reduced to certain neuroses or certain things, and since it is now named and defined, it’s lost its mystery and the potential for a vast, infinite experience.”


“It makes me uncomfortable to talk about meanings and things. It’s better not to know so much about what things mean. Because the meaning, it’s a very personal thing, and the meaning for me is different than the meaning for somebody else.”

“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them. That’s what’s so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.”

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Good these quotes came out from his own mouth, as it sort of makes me feel better for not having understood anything beyond the obvious after watching this. Anyone out there smarter (should I say more sensitive?) than me, please share your opinions, thoughts, interpretations…