Archive for February, 2009

February 21, 2009

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Tomorrow is the Academy Awards, and as many of you know, I want Kate Winslet to win best actress. I just watched a short interview that shows how great she is not only as an actress, but as a person too. Btw, sorry for the lack of posts this week, but I’ve been really sick with the flu<!– pneumonia. I hope I’ll be back soon. Have a nice weekend, and for those of you in Brazil, bom carnaval! ^.^
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February 10, 2009

>Kate

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Photo: Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum for The New York Times

“Winslet’s apparently universal appeal isn’t unique, but it is mysterious. After all, everybody loves Tom Hanks and Will Smith, too, but that’s by design — those guys want us to love them. Everything they do, on-screen and off, cements their reputations as likable everymen, latter-day Jimmy Stewarts. They play war heroes and superheroes and selfless dads and little boys trapped in the bodies of grown men. Winslet, on the other hand, gravitates toward troubling roles in smaller films — a teenage murderer (“Heavenly Creatures”), a prickly novelist who succumbs to Alzheimer’s (“Iris”), the Marquis de Sade’s chambermaid (“Quills”). If we love Hanks and Smith because of the characters they play, we love Winslet in spite of them. Some of her choices may be dictated by necessity — there aren’t a whole lot of heroic parts available to women in Hollywood — but it’s hard to ignore a certain perverse streak in her decision making. Who else would have followed a breakout role in America’s biggest blockbuster ever with a starring turn in a tiny film called “Hideous Kinky”?” (Tom Perrotta, for The NY Times magazine).

I warn those of you who haven’t yet seen Rev. Road to not read the entire text on the link above. It might contain spoilers.

February 8, 2009

>Revolutionary Road

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“Look at us. We’re just like everyone else. We’ve bought into the same, ridiculous delusion.”
About a year ago I discussed contemporary cinema with a blogger who no longer blogs and who described today’s movies as “boring to death”. Although critical, but still hopeful, I couldn’t disagree more with her observation, naming filmmakers and movies that were definitely worth the visit in the dark room. The list was very limited, which later made me think: she’s gotten a point. I’m not going further in this complex matter, but were the movies that turned worse or perhaps was it me who became more demanding? I have no answer, but the fact is, along the entire year I go through movie festivals, summer blockbusters and a bunch of different films, which rarely make me feel the urge to hold my breath and later sigh in relief: Wow. Until this moment.

“Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.”

Revolutionary Road is a triumph of form and content, an universal and timeless cinematic tale of human angst, hopes and expectations, an astonishing experience! And I could go on forever with countless adjectives because (excuse me) I can’t be objective while being so passionate about it… But, let me try it. A triumph of form and content because no camera move, no unexpected editing cut and no musical sound acts without a purpose. Every little technical bit is there to serve the narrative’s purpose, in fact, every little detail in the film speaks to the audience somehow, nothing is there for granted, everything has a defined role. And the best of all, these signs are transparent. I’m so tired of films that try so hard to be intellectual by making them hard to be understood, or by being pretentious while playing with “sophisticated” editing, and worse, those filmmakers who add a shaking effect or endless close-ups while filming, but narratively speaking, they’re communicating pretty much nothing!
“No one forgets the truth, they just get better at lying.”
Sam Mendes is simple and minimalistic, but what he achieves, is nevertheless majestic. It’s timeless because the story could be told in 2009, over 30 years after the first birth control pill hit the pharmacies or in the nostalgic 1950s, when families with five or more children were perfectly normal. The decade issue and all the cliches commonly associated with it are nothing but a macguffin in the center of the story. Films with a similar theme have been done before, but the question is not how original a film is, since you can be original and lack substance, it’s about adding new layers and giving a different approach to a subject visited in the past. It’s universal, because the story could take place in the quietness of a north american suburb, in a neo-yuppie metropolitan city surrounding, in your hometown: you pick it. All these elements, however, wouldn’t be complete without consistent and genuine acting, and fortunately in this case, every single performance, from the leading couple to those with the smallest parts, helps to instil a sense of reality.

Revolutionary Road (USA, UK, 2008). Directed by Sam Mendes. Written by Justin Haythe. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Richard Easton, David Harbour, Kathryn Hahn.

February 7, 2009

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No Oscar nominations for best picture, director, adapted screenplay and above all, actress and actor in a leading role. INSANE.
February 5, 2009

>It could even be a dream – part 2

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – the sirens

Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don’t need no other lovin’ baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Come and lay your bones on the alabaster stones / And be my ever lovin’ baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Your momma’s gone away and your daddy’s gone to stay / Didn’t leave nobody but the baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Everybody’s gone in the cotton and the corn / Didn’t leave nobody but the baby // You’re a sweet little baby / You’re a sweet little baby / Honey in the rock and the sugar don’t stop / Gonna bring a bottle to the baby // Don’t you weep pretty baby / Don’t you weep pretty baby / She’s long gone with the red shoes on / Gonna meet another lovin’ baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don’t need no other lovin’ baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don’t need no other lovin’ baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Your momma’s gone away and your daddy’s gone to stay / Didn’t leave nobody but the baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Come and lay your bones on the alabaster stones / And be my ever lovin’ baby.

February 2, 2009

>Young Liv

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Back in 1996 when I saw Stealing Beauty, I neither liked it nor disliked it, there was really nothing special about the story, but Liv Tyler looked stunning, actually one of the most beautiful newcomers I had seen at that point. Bernardo Bertolucci’s camera is in love with her Lolita-esque features, capturing every one of her moves, that he almost forgets the lovely and summery tuscan countryside.
Liv plays Lucy Harmon, a 19-year old american who travels to Italy after her mother commits suicide. She hopes to solve the mystery behind her mother’s diary, enigmatic words that suggest Lucy might have been conceived under the tuscan sun. She also wants to find love, to meet the italian boy she kissed four years ago, and whom she’s been in love with during all this time…
In short, a film about a young woman trying to find herself, not very original, we could all agree, and there’s nothing really catching or inspiring about the script. No offense to Bertolucci (a director I never truly admired), but the story lacks sensibility. The director seems more interested in revealing Liv’s every single piece, not in emotional terms, though… But she’s indeed beautiful, and the gorgeous landscape makes me dream of summer, because it’s so cold, still dark, and God, it winds and winds.

Curious, somehow? Watch it here.
February 1, 2009

>Chéri

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“A romantic drama set in 1920s Paris, where the son of a courtesan retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman who educated him in the ways of love.” (imdb)
Looking forward to see Michelle Pfeiffer in this, 15 years after The Age of Innocence.
Photos found here.