You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” is a bitter, ironic, realistic, not so funny, but with a profound understanding of the human soul and human relationships as ever, Woody Allen film. One might fall into the trap and say that everything has been said before in many and different ways. Yes, the style is the same but … there is something more.

“if you wish upon a star, doesn’t matter who you are…your dream will come through”, says the little song from the old days, when the film begins, but this is just an irony about the things that the people wish for. Because, let us face it: most of the times, we humans do not know what our wishes really mean, not even for ourselves. And when we do realize that, it is too late.

The movie is also a comment on the things that Woody Allen deals with, in almost all his movies, in one or another way, i.e. death and the way people react when they face the reality. Sometimes, illusions work better than drugs as he says 🙂

Excellent cast and performances, not one of his best movies, but a worth seeing one.

My rating: 06/10

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (Black God, White Devil) (1964)

This is the 2nd film in the trilogy of Glauber Rocha presented in the 23rd european film festival. I am afraid that there is no courage to see the 3rd one!

In Black God, White Devil, up to a certain point, things were pretty clear and well portrayed. After that, there was too much symbolism to be digested (at least by me). It was a tiring film that the black-and-white and the sound of guns firing all the time made very difficult to follow what the director wanted to say.

Entranced Earth was a much, much better film.

My rating: 04/10

Terra em Transe (Entranced Earth) (1967)

Entranced Earth by Glauber Rocha is a film about a fictitious country. Nowhere the things said about politics, their forces, the role of the church, multinational companies, the syndicates, the people, the media, the ‘enlightened’ artists and finally the power that every one is after, were said in a better way.

The film is in back and white. Sometimes it is tiring, especially because of its soundtrack. You may want to see it twice, since there is so much said that one ‘reading’ may not be enough.

My rating: 08/10

il funerino – from ‘L’oro di Napoli’ (1954)

During one of the seminars, I am currently attending, for cinema and photography by Platon Rivellis, I saw one of the six independent episodes of ‘L’oro di Napoli’ by Vittorio De Sica, called ‘il funerino’ (hope I remember correctly the italian title), meaning ‘the little funeral’.

It is one of these films that you do not want to say anything about: it would seem a sacrilege  doing so. If you want to see a sensitive, moving movie, try to see it. It is worth it even for this one sixth.

My rating: 10/10

PS. After seeing at a later date the entire movie, the rating remains! A must see!

A birthday!

Well, it’s been a year since the creation of this blog 🙂 More than ninety movie reviews… I was not expecting it to last that long, but it did. Not all the movies I’ve seen have a review here, but most of them do. A lot of thoughts, ideas, wishes, memories during a year and some good movies too. A full year in short. Wanted to do something fancy to celebrate it but there is no time: writing the reviews is all there is time for! So, if what you read here is close to what you think/like, that is great for me:) Take care.

Machete (2010)

Machete: Splater, bad taste, naive, extreme and utterly insulting for the spectator.

My rating: 01/10

PS. Was intended to be a parody of the “revenge-like” type of films? If this was its intention, it might take a 02/10.

Stone (2010)

It was one of these days that you get off work when movie theaters have changed what they are playing but you did not have the time to review anything. Tragic! But you need to go in, see yet another film… and you take the decision to see it, despite the fact you know nothing about it and its stupidly-intriguing title. The director, John Curran, did not ring a bell, although I had seen in the past “The Painted Veil” (which was not bad, but not impressive either).

Stone is a rectangle of characters. Acting is superb (ok, Milla Jovovich is not the best of the four but you may give her a break!), direction is great, but what is most of all impressive and important is the plot. What could I say that would maintain the surprise and plot turns that take place and give one the initiative to go and see it? It is really hard. It is a comment about religion, the role it plays in people’s lives, the way penitentiary institutions work, what one values in life and what not. It is surprising, to say the least, that such a play was filmed in the States.

One final thing: forget the trailer, it is a different thing.

My rating: 08/10

9 Songs (2004)

What is impressive how many different kind of films Michael Winterbottom made. Ok, till now, I have seen only three, but they are three totally different themes / views / approaches / whatever … Just hit on the side-bar his name under film directors to see what I mean. Anyway.

9 songs. The songs are not (for me) what was intriguing. They do not represent my favorite kind of music (apart from Michael Nyman whose music I adore) and “love burns” of BRMC (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) – which I really liked. Looking for the last one, I listened once more to a couple of others and they seemed …. better. Who knows, if I listen more, I may like them more, but the idea is not to review songs here, but the movie 🙂

So, there is a … triangle of themes.

  • The ice, the vast space, the cold, the way nature works, the solitude and agoraphobia (oxymoron as it may seem) in Antarctica, a place that was almost unknown till a few decades ago
  • The music, liberating, exhilarating, thrilling, creating contradictory feelings like “feeling lonely among another 5.000 people!” (how true, really, as if this is the only case!
  • Love, carnal love, with no boundaries, no inhibitions, in a “take it as it comes” tune

There are so many things in common between these three (seemingly) different themes: the solitude one may feel in any of the three, the exploration of the unknown, the thrill of the discovery, the things each one hides at a first level…May be more.

It is a film, which despite its hard-core erotic scenes, is not a porn. Contradiction in terms? May be so. For some it may be offending. Not for me.

My rating: 07/10

Hero (2002)

After seeing the previous film, I decided to watch again Hero of Zhang Yimou. There are so many things that play brought back in memory. But the way memory works as well as the things tied up with this film, are a subject of another blog to say the least.So, I’ll stick  to the film.

It is a rare thing to find so many breath-taking aspects in one movie. To start with, the script is a story that its surprises, cleverness and the way flash-backs are blended in the present do keep the spectator on its toes.

Photography looks like a succession of paintings evolving in time, frame after frame. The colors chosen and special effects intensify the feeling. Finally the music chosen, builds the emotions one has in an epic, thrilling movie.

Above all, that movie has so many things to tell, that leaves one stunned. “Everything is under the same sky”. A phrase to be remembered, but understood by few.Despite its few melodramatic moments, this is one of the most complete films ever made. One of my favorites 🙂

My rating: 10/10

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

Chinese have a culture that is difficult to be understood by Westerners. So, one has only to judge by what is presented. Why would Zhang Yimou choose to make a film based on “Blood Simple” of  Ethan and Joel Coen?  An answer may be found here.

Apart from that, although it is not one of his best films (I prefer Hero and House of Flying Daggers a lot more) it is a film with good qualities. It is funny and makes one laugh in several points during the play. The photography is really amazing. The chosen landscapes bring an extraordinary flavor to the film, the angle and distance from where the shots are taken are impressive, but the most impressive of them all is the way the change between day and night takes place, the rate the change is presented and the colours displayed. On top of that, the scene where the noodle dough is created is really amazing, especially for someone who likes to … cook 🙂

In A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (or A Simple Noodle Story) the six main characters are well-played and presented. Most of all, the movie is a sarcastic comment on the human motives, the jealousy, revenge, greed, hopes and the way these interact to spread death and create hell in no time, in such a small human circle.

My rating: 07/10