Rodrigo_Amaro

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Reviews

All Time Greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé
(2014)

Very amusing meeting of two legends
A quite amusing and fun TV ad starring soccer legends Pelé and Cristiano Ronaldo sharing the same flight while two fans keep on discussing about if they are really seeing their favorite players on the plane and want to take a selfie with any of them. Emirates Airlines United made an interesting commercial with such idea and it's lots of fun despite its limited time. I was impressed and curious through the whole thing. 9/10.

Ecologia
(1973)

A didatic and interesting piece on our ecological environment
Leon Hirszman's short documentary about ecology is a fine didatic project about ecosystems, nature and the ecological disasters mankind is doing to it, a few decades before the issue of global warming becomes an important and much debated topic in the news and in our lives. It's the first of its kind made in Brazil and a very informative and relevant piece even for today's standards. It loses just a little of its purpose because the world and nature has drastically changed in those almost 50 years of its release.

Greatly narrated by actor Paulo Cesar Peréio, the movie presents the relation of men and society with the environment, going from the powerful ecosystem, its accomplishments and importance in our daily lives then later evolving to harm caused by progress, industrialism and how it all affects plants, trees, animals and the air, polluted by carbon monoxide. The film only presents the causes of tragedy but doesn't give much analysis on how we can save Earth without wasting resources. The lessons for our generation persists now that we know the true enemies of nature, the global warming and the ways nations can make deals and treaties on reducing pollution.

The natural disasters or as the film says the way nature has of taking back what we take it for granted are all there with the advances of progress. We haven't changed but now we can say that we dare try to save the planet with recycling, less gases emission and all. The fight continues. 10/10.

The Fanatic
(2019)

Terribly funny, awkward and unnecessary
Oh boy..."The Fanatic" is one of those strange movies that are so bad it's almost good (for the laughs it brings). Here, down and out John Travolta plays a pathetic film buff who is a huge fan of Hollywood hero Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). All he wants from Hunter is an autograph and he'll whatever it takes to get that, even if it means to invade the movie star's home and using of threats and a little kidnap to satisfy himself in the presence of the actor.

This is an already common thread in the movies and better treated in thriller classics such as "Misery" and Tony Scott's "The Fan". Here, director/writer Fred Durst doesn't show anything new, presenting countless unintentional moments of laughter - it's almost a dark comedy with Travolta and his unusual behavior and mannerisms with just one quick plot twist that if treated fairly it could make this film somewhat interesting. The twist comes when Hunter manages to fool our lead character twisting the whole situation as a favorable thing for him. Had the movie picked up from there and make it a more edgy thriller than we would have a better movie.

I don't see a point or any urge for a movie like this to exist. There's only bits and pieces of a potential good thriller but the majority of moments in here are just dumb, makes us laugh when it shouldn't and becomes a dull project that injects many pointless sequences - Travolta is really pitiful as the stalker addicted to Hunter and his acting is very weak. I think everyone in this movie should be embarassed to be part of this thing. Sure, there are some enjoyable moments where things work (the building suspense, and some of the unexpected funny bits such as Travolta's obsession for ice cream) but it goes to waste our time and our patience. It entertained me, it distracted but it didn't gave me any prosperous feelings of this becoming a good movie. It wasn't.

Can't and won't recommend it, neither for big Travolta fans. This is a whole new level of low in his resume and it makes me wonder why he accepted to act and produce this thing whose terrible script doesn't offer any good for him. 4/10.

Served: Harvey Weinstein
(2020)

An informative piece on Weinstein's downfall
An hour special summarizing the rise and fall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, going from his high-profile production of countless award winning hits such as "Pulp Fiction", "Good Will Hunting" and the major Oscar problematic with the winning of "Shakespeare in Love" against "Saving Private Ryan" (thanks to his immense campaign with Miramax) right to his downfall after many denounces of sexual harrasment and rape coming from several young actresses he had contact with, in what was supposed to be work meetings that went to a erratic behaviors and unwanted advances. The film briefly tells about his power of influence and how for many years he managed to get away with murder with his actions. And thanks to him and his acts, that a widespread movement (MeToo) gained international attention from social media and rose to the streets demanding punishment for the sexual abusers in all kinds of industries, from the entertainment, sports, television and other walks of life.

For the more curious on the whole affair this doesn't provide much, I think there's better out there that I'm yet to see (but I'm hoping for the film version of the story, that I heard was on talks). For those who know little or almost nothing about Weinstein and his trials in 2020, this is a fine and balanced project featuring good interviews with some of Weinstein's victims and others in Hollywood who talk about the importance of the MeToo movement and how the accusations against him and others truly led a new wave of righteousness, fairness and better treatment of women in the industry. It sure changed a lot how we view abuse and harassment, and people were aware that some things shouldn't be tolerable.

If you haven't touched the Hollywood news outside of entertainment in the past couple of years, than you'll be pleased and informed with this nice piece on an outrageous character whose legacy got washed away thanks to his acts behind closed doors. Almost nothing new under the sun, we know this kind of things happened ever since the Golden Era of Hollywood but trouble is that Weinstein, Spacey, Louis CK and many others got caught and exposed. Times change.

7/10.

N'oublie pas que tu vas mourir
(1995)

A dull film about self-destructive habits that leads to nowhere
Have you ever catch a movie with a fine premise going to waste each scene goes by and ultimately turning into a disaster? Well, if not here's a fine example of such and coming from the great French cinema. The upsetting "Don't Forget You're Going to Die" is an exact proof of that, and it lingers in your head with a dreadful taste for days. To make it worse, be aware that Cannes Film Festival even gave a small prize to it (what they were thinking?). Awards get wrong sometimes.

In this crazed fragmented story the young art student Benoit (Xavier Beauvois, also writer and director of this thing) is having fears of having to join the Army when he's called to duty. His life plans consists of graduting in Arts. Before and during the Army service, he keeps thinking of ways to excusing himself from there, going to a doctor's to get psycho-analyzed as a depressed man who can get discharged from work; then while he's there he fills the charts in all the the reasoning why he could not serve (pretending he's gay, or have a mental illness, etc.) than later he attempts suicide and that kind of works. While in recovery he discovers he has AIDS and that news makes him blow out of proportitions leading a life of heavy drug use and wild parties with a new mate. Crazy, huh?

But hey, at least he got out of the Army so he's at peace and can go back to the Arts, right? Not fully though.

For a major portion of the film Benoit's life is filled wtih drugs, sex (which includes an unsimulated sex scene) and misery where he wanders all lost through Paris. But that time, we don't care about the hedonistic manners of Benoit neither his art class where he picks up a tragic paintings and makes it a comparative with his personal life as an AIDS victim, showing how tragical the painting is. We don't care because we know nothing about him before the Army thing, he's erratic for most of the time and we only get fragments of his life that doesn't explain anything. And how in the world did he got infected? No explanation given but one that was needed. It's hard to feel compassion or empathy for the guy. He comes from nothing, whines a lot and goes from nowhere to nowhere (don't even get me started with the final three minutes which is a cycle back to where he started and we must accept that dull ending as being realistic or likely to happen).

But there's a catch: the third act where he travels to Italy and meets a woman (Chiara Mastroianni) who could be the love of his life. They appreciate the architecture and arts of the place, it's all colorful and beautiful, and it feels a complete different film from the previous hour we had. It was actually going good but tragedy strikes and the couple can get fully together. Benoit realizes life is different now that he's sick, sexual relations must be protected but the girl is a step further for going wild and she doesn't understand why the condom use is necessary (since he doesn't open about his HIV status). Will they ever succeed in being together? What life holds out for them? Not gonna tell, even though I'm not making you to watch it, unless if you're into disappointment already knowing how's gonna be.

I perceived this film as being a hurting and damning version of "Les Nuits Fauves" ("Savage Nights") by Cyril Collard which is a controversial but thousand times better than this film.

That one was a dark, brutal and realistic film about a lost man who tries to live his life and have some romance in his life despite his trouble relationship with a male lover and a possible girlfriend/love of his life after knowing he has AIDS. That movie was touching, sad and quite real since it was Collard's own experiences that came to life.

The character he played was despicable, quite erratic but multi-dimensional, we could understand his pain and why he acted in strange ways. Here, Benoit is too crazed for his own good and the fragments of a bizarre life didn't add up to anything. The main character hides himself from everyone, he avoids pain but surrounds himself with misery in tragic comic bits where the disease becomes a background thing with almost no importance. Has to be one of the weakest films dealing with HIV/AIDS, with a character who wants to live but doesn't know how to. He's a coward all the way up until the final minutes I mentioned before. Something happens there and we don't understand why, but we know it doesn't make any sense.

Had to movie being more about the romantic moments in Italy and less with the down and out bits of him in France, with Benoit having a complicated relationship with the girl, we'd have a beautiful film about a man fighting his inner demons to live the life he wants, with restrcitions and care but a life worth living with the one he loves.

The story we got had nothing valuable to show, not a single decent performance and a screenplay that gave too many shots in the dark hoping to hit something deep. Well, it didn't. 4/10.

Himizu
(2011)

Confusing, weak and pointless
I watched "Himizu" blinded by opinions, not knowing about the manga and with just a little information about the story. I believe cinema is a world language that doesn't known barriers and some films are universal stories we can all easily relay on. The little I read about it was convincing enough to make me watch this out of curiosity just to see how good it could be. It turned out this movie was a frustrating and pointless experience, and reading the positive reviews about it didn't make it better. The experience is confusing, long and with some bits and pieces that are rewarding but not great enough to make it a good film.

The background of it all it's interesting. After the Fukushima disaster, the conflicted teenager Sumida (Shôta Sometani) doesn't feel life is worth living or so much rewarding after the disaster, deeply thinking that what he has and the place where he lives and works it's the only possible outcome for his life, and he accepts it with pride of being mediocre. He has lots of encouraging people next to him, who think he'll have a great future outside of the house boat renting place of his mom, at the same time his parents are distant: the father only comes to bash and assault him and the mother leaves after a while.

The other distant figure is Keiko (Fumi Nikaidô), a girl who's deeply in love with him but he doesn't want anything with her, and despite pushing her to stay away she keeps coming back insisting in knowing him better. In several erratic behavior sequences, the movie keeps pushing us too hard in believing this relationship up until the moment it actually works out, but before that they push each other, they slap each other and are ruthless to one another. It's insane.

While dealing with his personal conflicts, later on Sumida discovers that his father is owing money to dangerous people, all of whom are aggressive to the boy who wishes to kill them all and that's where a rampage of murderous desire will inflict after killing his own father. Those are moments of twisted violence with Sumida getting beaten several times again and again. Not only him, but also his best friend, a much older man, gets beaten in cowardly ways.

So here's a story full of melancholy and sadness that tries to present a deep and meaningful work about loneliness and the troubles of a youth facing troubles in the aftermath of a terrible real tragedy. I've seen better than this. Here, all I could think about the characters way of expressing themselves and acting with others was that they were all crazy in the head and that maybe the Fukushima radiation had affected more than the tsunami that left visible scars and desolation.

Nothing was credible and dreams and fantasies all get confused when mixed with reality. I felt lost whenever Sumida had his visions of violence, not knowing exactly if he was dreaming or was it real (it takes some time to actually find out what's real or not).

The parts involving Sumida's friend dealing with the mobsters was interesting; and the heavy use of classical music in the score was amazing even though the images weren't so fulfilling, almost pretentious. I won't say the film was badly acted, the youngsters have the best and the wildest parts but it's a waste they're not in a better project. They're wild and free to make anything here but most of their acts are pointless (except for the "sorrow stones" which Keiko holds her everytime she's mad with Sumida and she keeps on promising when her pockets get filled she'll throw at him - and she does.

I was expecting for more relatable characters who care for each other despite the world they live in being doomed and chaotic. Instead, I was rewarded with a girl forcing herself to love and help a troubled and careless boy who doesn't know where is going with his life - and when he reached some enlightnement I wasn't convinced that everything worked so simple for both of them, and that love was the ultimate force that drove them back to sanity (maybe we accept that kind of thing in melodramas or your typical Hollywood film). The drama was poor, the humored moments weren't funny and almost nothing works. It's too messy.

Thumbs down for this. 4/10.

Kid Abelha E Os Abóboras Selvagens: Grand' Hotel
(1991)

Great song moment for Kid Abelha
Kid Abelha's single "Grand Hotel" is one of the greatest heartbreak songs from the trio and one of their most successful songs as well. It has a nice melancholic melody echoing feelings of sad nostalgia and memories of a relationship that went wrong (Our love has transformed into "good morning") and the acceptance that peace and happiness can only be obtained through loneliness. Deeply sad but not so depressive you can't enjoy it - there's the magnificent guitar solo by George Israel in the middle to prove this is a power rock song.

As for the video it's quite uneventful. It consists of many close up shots of belle lead singer Paula Toller and minor scenes with the two guys from Kid when they're all walking though Venice. The black-and-white cinematography makes a nice paralel with the sadness and the poetry of the music.

It was a difficult period for Brazilian music videos to get and present an interesting material back in the day but this one gets honorable credit for not being corny or awfully dated. It deserves some view since it's a great music moment for the group. Thumbs up. 8/10.

Sonhos e Desejos
(2006)

A curious film about a generation of positive dreamers
Marcelo Santiago's "Sonhos e Desejos" (bizarrely titled in English as "Carnal Utopia" when it should've been "Dreams and Desires") is a nice and involving story that takes place during the early days of the military regime in Brazil. Here, a small group of misfits trapped in a small apartment while fighting for left cause spend their days dreaming of a possible future of freedom and dignity in the nation.

The student Cristiana (Mel Lisboa) and her parter, teacher Saulo (Felipe Camargo) are members of a political group who commits robberies as part of their revolutional and political projects against the military forces. When they move to an apartment the man tells the girl to not leave the premises unless necessary, but when a mysterious injured group member comes to join the girl is told to take care of the man, assist him with his injuries. The strange man is called Nijinsky (Sergio Marone), and he's under a mask of which he cannot remove thanks to superior orders from the group since he's a valuable member.

That fact intrigues Cristiana who spends her days with him in long conversations while her partner is out trying to help the foreign member Roco (Ricardo Pereira), a paranoid man who suspects he's being hunted by everyone. During the many conversations and attempts to see Nijinsky's face, a feeling of love and closeness bring them together but they all know the man will have to leave when his injury heals, and he'll have to go to the southside where an important mission awaits him.

The criticism: a noted filmmaker once said that the best way to criticize a movie is to make another movie. In this case, to write about another movie and see how similar aspects differ and become (or not) better movies. It's enormous similarity with Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" is a constant thing with me.

Both films deal with a trio of characters trapped in the same environment and they all live the free spiritism of the late 1960's/early 1970's - they had the May 68 events, here it's the early 70's that are depicted. And in between wild and fantastic dreams of liberty and free love, there's the junction of characters (brother, sister and one foreign in that movie; a couple and the mystery lover).

And obiovusly lots of moments of eroticism between the characters permeates the story in beautiful and well shot sequences. Too bad that "The Dreamers" quality isn't brought up in here. Maybe because while those charcters dreams are more innocent, less revolutionary (at least until the ending) and more the cinema love that united them, while in this picture the dreams and desires are more for a closeness for each other than a bigger social cause as they claim to fight on the outside.

Their dreams aren't for a social revolution, it's more of a personal and significant change within themselves, wishes for simpler times where they can leave the room and enjoy love and freedom without having to hide themselves from the world. But I can agree that both films deal with the topic of youth wanting and demanding to be the change of culture and ideologies in their places, the generation that would shook the world and make it a better place to live. Those are cliches of many similar themed films but it never fails to work. Here I think it was a little under used since we don't see much progress on that except the free-spirited love that happen between the guys and the girl on bed or on the floor.

The cast is very good in their roles, even though I didn't like the jealous and irritating character played by Camargo. The movie succeed fairly whenever he wasn't on screen and only Cristiana and Nijinsky were having their most intimate moments of closeness and affection. Pereira's minor role was a thankless role, the more he appears the creepier and crazier he gets. He was under-developed by the writing and not because of the acting. A little glimpse of hope this story could present but that was only destined to a handful of characters.

For enthusiasts of the period depicted here, or fans of one scenery/play-like device, this is a must-see. The soundtrack is also good, which brings back many 1970's classics and one original song that fits the film with perfection - if I'm not wrong it's Milton Nascimento who performs it. I'd love to watch it again. 8/10.

Lili, a Estrela do Crime
(1989)

Far from the real life story, here's a fun comedy of errors
"Lili, A Estrela do Crime" ("Lili the Crime Star") tells the story of the infamous criminal and robber Lili Carabina, who commanded a group that made several bank heists in the late 1970's and early 1980's, the movie cannot be seen as the real account of her story thanks to a campy fest device of humored moments and inacurate bits. The basis for the character played by Betty Faria is true to life: her husband was killed by the police and she was left alone to take care of her two children; then she joins a gang of robbers and she decides to avenge the man's death and the robberies attract media attention and also she gets noticed by a chief of police (Reginaldo Faria) who's near retirement. Well, let's just say it's half truth because despite the media coverage of her, the author of two books on her, the soap opera king Aguinaldo Silva has said the woman is figment of his imagination, she never existed despite proven records saying the opposite and many of them even say she got arrested in the late 1980's.

If not taken too much seriously - thanks to a heavy dose of comedy and comical situations presented - the movie works in presenting us the story of a powerful woman who terrorized people and places with her almost infalible plans and schemes, and thanks to her beauty, more accentuated with extravagant costumes, heavy makeup and a blonde wig. Betty Faria is a powerful force behind such character, she dominates the screen with presence and fascination, to the point where she can make her Lili encounters the chief of police and seduce him while pretending to be victim of a shooting - unbelivable part of the story but one that's fun to watch.

Those who take the other direction wanting this to be a real account of events, a biopic of the criminal will walk out shaking their heads in disbelief and pain because there was an opportunity to present the real story and it was waster in a dull commerical film destined to be an empty and soulless project generated to cause confusion in the audience with its excessive humor that isn't all that funny, and it's also confusing due to excessive use of flashbacks that don't improve the story, they just make everything look chaotic. One clear example is when Lili finds the man who killed her husband. We watch them on a hotel room where she tries to kill him with a shotgun but then let's him go, preparing a whole scenario where she throws a greande at him. Cut to some bits later and the man is just kidnapped. It's hard to know if he died or not, or the kidnapping came first (though told later). The sequence of flashbacks also involve her partner in crime and bed (played by Mario Gomes), after he gets arrested. There are several moments of him during the crimes, then in jail and later on his escape. Those moments aren't so damaging as the first but they generate plenty of confusion, it's all messy.

I liked the film as a form of escapism, there are many good action sequences and it was well acted by the cast, which also includes the funny performance of Patricia Travassos, as a member of the group. The soundtrack featuring tracks from Kid Abelha, Lobão and others is pure 1980's, at its best.

I just got my expectation a little bit reduced because I was hoping for a more serious film than the one we got. I wasn't disappointed, but I know for a fact that Lui Farias could have made a better film with the material he got. 7/10.

Night Hunter
(2018)

A Lousy Thriller
"Night Hunter" is a film that starts off so well it's amazing how lost and dreadful it becomes after the story takes off with its crazy twists and turns.

Had it been focused on the ant-hero of the story then we'd have a much better film than we got. This is a very frustrating film that kill all possible expectations, leaves viewers alienated and confused with a story without many thrills and very empty in its core. Don't be fooled with the casting of great actors like Stanley Tucci and Ben Kingsley or great presences such as Alexandra Daddario and Henry Cavill...I guess they're just there to fill space in the void of not getting anything done, it happens sometimes when actors schedule opens and there's no big projects to do in between spaces.

Here's the story of two detectives (Cavill and Daddario) on the pursuit of a women's serial killer on the loose, and paralel to their investigation there's also a retired judge (Kingsley) who uses of a woman acting as a bait to catch sexual predators and when she gets taken by the dangerous man, they join forces to find the man going on different assignments running against the clock. It all gets troubled when Simon (Brendan Fletcher) is arrested, a psychologic disaster who's considered suspect of the crimes but evidences show that he might have a co-conspirator acting outisde of the prison, and now everybody's after this mysterious person.

I wished the film had the focus on Kingsley character then later on it could evolve with the cops going after him, and not the sequences of facts we got when he gets aprehended way earlier and nothing goes on his favor (at times). The vigilante was awesome and more heroic than the police force. I cared a lot about this character.

What ruins the movie it's the excessive drama revolving on Cavill's character personal drama with his ex-wife and his daughter; or the many excessive blurry parts of the story with twists and turns that don't thrill the viewer just make them bored or irritated. The more it got complicated the more I hated this film.

The script wasn't getting better when complicated things, it wasn't so inovative, it was just a first-time director and screenwriter trying to throw many devices into one plot thinking he's creating the most intelligent thriller of the current time. It was painful to see the macho detective of Cavill being obnoxious and not doing things by the book, just throwing punches and wild acts of menace; neither was the other police force members trying to solve the cast were brilliant in their acts - ok the girl was doing her job nicely, making of profile of Simon and trying to uncover things; while poor captain Tucci was there to create an air of suspicion that for most of the time we suspect he's the other killer when in fact he's not.

I was not impressed by this movie, I wasn't moved by it thanks to the countless cliches thrown. And here's a story that could bring some dramatic relevance about kidnappings of young girls and how the police always try to solve their kidnapping and solve the case before time runs out. Has to be one of the weakest films I've ever seen and not even its minor good scenes help make the case for such a waste of time. 2/10.

Pink Floyd: Take It Back
(1994)

Truly impressive
Impressive visuals and cinematography compose this brilliant video for the echological Pink Floyd song "Take it Back". I'm always amazed on how detailed and beautifully tragic this clip is with its images of nature and its eventual destruction by the hands of men with the lyrics always punctuating that one day she will take it back. In the contast fight for progress, we end up destroying the world which we were given and already knowing that global warming, temperatures rising and uncontrolled weather, devastation and pollution are just too much for mother Earth. But one day she'll take it all back all the beauty and sustainability she once provided. 10/10.

Os Amigos
(2013)

A small and nice film about loyal friends
"Os Amigos" ("The Friends") covers a day in the life of a sad architect (Marco Ricca) who is trying to find a meaning for his life after the death of his childhood best friend. In the chaos and confusion of the streets of São Paulo, from the moment he wakes up until he rests, the man has many internal insights about his life, childhood and the encounters and conversations he has with strangers or his friend (Dira Paes), who tries to cheer him up by fixing up a blind date.

The movie is good, charming and quite positive despite the sadness and melancholy from the main character. Our troubled Ulysses from modern times and modern odyssey faces conflicts (like the one with another architect during a school project or the semi-disastrous encounter with a couple who tries to make a project with him - a nice cameo by Alice Braga and Caio Blat), some tender moments when he visits the widow of his best friend; or the amazing and surreal moment where he meets a graceful and helpful boy who helps him find a birthday present for his friend's child, a moment where he discovers important secrets of life that'll shape and change his vision of future.

What's stops "Os Amigos" from achieving greatness its heavy use of cliches of sadness and the huge amount of random little moments that don't cause effect in the story or are just used to impose a ssense of artistic style. Here's some examples: the moment where the man keeps staring the black woman with her amazing hairdo while a Edvard Grieg's famous classic theme plays in the background. There's no effect in there just as the countless bits and pieces at the zoo (except for the eagle story which has a better return when a kid tells the leading man about the middle age crisis). The bits where the circus kids keep on performing on stage telling the story of Odysseus is another element that times an awful lot of time for us to relate with the main character towards the end. It all tries to be too artsy with its sort of abstract elements, which works more in hipster romantic comedies. The film has some bits of humor but it's far from being a romance.

Thankfully, the film is anchored by the great cast and filled with moments of joy, emotion and daily events that makes us feel contemplating life. The female friend of the architect is very helpful with her positive outcomes on the man; the childhood flashbacks show the importance his friend had in his life and we barely get to see the man he became in the future years even though we always know that they were loyal to each other. It takes some time to develop and reach some momentum but the film has many fine elements to compose a beautiful and relevant story.

I'd probably watch again sometime in the future, who knows. But I'm willing to, just to observe things in a different perspective and definitely to watch the lovely toy store sequence. I was blown away by that moment in particular.

Here's a movie about the power and importance of friendship, how it can be more important than love since it can bring to it in a firm and solid way; and how the unpredictable moments of life are always the best and most surprising moments of all; and the good things that defines us who we are, from our childhood to our eventual adulthood. 7/10.

Wallows: I Don't Want to Talk
(2021)

A fun and colorful music video
A colorful clip with a catchy song that wasn't known to me, I just saw an internet post with Dylan Minnette ("Don't Breathe", "13 Reasons Why" star) and I got curious about it. It was very good to watch, very fulfilling and fun. I'll probably be looking around for more tunes from the group. Here, Minnette and The Wallons spend their time having a fun time together doing random things or just showing signs with the song title written on them. There isn't much going around but it's fine anyway. 8/10.

Patrice Rushen: Forget Me Nots
(1982)

Hard to forget
Guess most people remember Will Smith's rendition of this song in the heavily sampled "Men in Black" (1997) and they we all get surprised when we found about this original song released in 1982. Smith's version is more hip while this one by Patrice Rushen is more funky and romantic. As for clips Will gets the award because it's the "MIB" theme soundtrack with an accomplished thematic video; while in here almost nothing happens. Basically it's Rushen performing the song while several couples keep on dancing with style. Amazing song, very memorable and therefore hard to forget once you hear it. Lovely thumbs up to this. 7/10.

Vlado - 30 Anos Depois
(2005)

Good tribute to Vladimir Herzog
João Batista de Andrade's documentary "Vlado - 30 Anos Depois" ("Vlado: Thirty Years Later") is a good tribute to a friend of the director, the journalist Vladimir Herzog, a victim of the brutal repression of the military regime who got killed in 1975 after alleged relations with the Communist Party. His death, told by the military as being a suicide - poorly faked - was the beginning of the end for the regime, prompting to several gatherings, masses and outcry from high members of the Brazilian community of the period, which later on evolved to another protests and public demonstrations from other sources (which was forbidden in the repressive years before 1975) then the opening came in the early 1980's.

Friends, colleagues and others provide great insights on Herzog, and a little is shared about his career on cinema - he directed the short film "Marimbás", of which I also wrote about it, and wrote the initial treatment for the feature "Doramundo", a little gem from the Brazilian cinema yet to be discovered by a wider audience - and everyone bring nice stories about the man and also the events prior to his arrest and death.

Andrade makes a good job but not great. It's easy and flows well with the testimonies and some bits of facts but it's presentation is tiring and poorly done with a digital camera completely out of focus with huge close-ups on the faces of the people being interviewed. The camera is so up high that at times it feels like an amateur is shooting the picture rather than the professional Andrade is, as seen in other documentaries he directed since the 1960's. It was distractive; and the rhythm of everything is sloppy and careless since it depends of presenting its facts and stories with the main figures rather than having recreation of events or archive footage/photos of Herzog and his family.

I liked the stories and the information, specially the ones I didn't know about but I think more could be said of the iconic photography of the fake suicide.

That image hauted a whole generation and it was that brought the regime down, since one could easily see that the body's position could never prove that one could kill himself in such low angle and manner (hanged on his cell from a seated position). I wanted to see the people's shock when remembering that single moment, or discuss it more. Obviously we can't have the people responsible for the picture or people who worked on the DOPS so the facts as presented is just too little.

As a tribute and a reminder on Vladimir Herzog 30 years after his passing this was well done and for those who don't know anything about him, the circumstances of his death and the context of his death and importance during the dictatorship period this film is the best of its kind. Not sure if there are others films about it but I keep on waiting for a dramatic release with actors and recreation of facts. That'd be spectacular if told as it happened. 7/10.

Peter Weir on The Last Wave
(2001)

A great moment with Peter Weir
Here's a nice commentary and bonus material for the movie "The Last Wave" (1977), with its director and co-writer Peter Weir sharing his thoughts about the film and little anedoctes from its making. "The Last Wave" is a highly admirable film, a must-see visual experience which fascinates the viewers with its combination of themes, mysticism, dreams and propechies concerning two different cultures (the aboriginal and the Australian) when those two clash at each other when a murder takes place in Australia and a skeptic lawyer has to defend a group of aboriginal accused of the crime. Weir's third feature film is an excellent experience and a magnificent journey to the senses, and thankfully, Mr. Weir doesn't spend much time talking about important points of the movie, so one can watch it before the movie since nothing's spoiled.

I liked the stories he has to share about how his collaboration with the aboriginal actors David Gulpilil and Nandjiwarra Amagula (on his first and only film acting role) was a key factor for the film's progression and one of the most intriguing lines in the film was actually came from Amagula's, the actor: "The law is more important than the men". I've just came back from the movie and this documentary and can honestly say he stole the show from Richard Chamberlain, the main star (also brilliant).

It's present on the Criterion Collection release of "The Last Wave" and can also be easily found on the internet. Check it out. 9/10.

Dior: Miss Dior
(2011)

A lovely commercial
Nice and elegant TV commercial for Dior starring "Star Wars" alumni Natalie Portman and Alden Ehrenreich as a young couple displaying charm and affection on beautiful locations and also a hotel room. They made a nice couple, displaying plenty of talent and chemistry, good enough to cause some sensation and class to the brand. And they had as master and commander the always effective Sofia Coppola. Thumbs up. 9/10.

Eric Clapton: This Has Gotta Stop
(2021)

Clapton makes his stance but not without some controversy
To provide an insightful take on this music video it'll be a hard task but I promise to be fair, balanced and give the whole possible truth, or at least the way I see it trying to ignore the excessive praise the single got or the amount of negative backlash it got as well.

In divisive times such as ours a protest song like "This Has Gotta Stop" is a hard one to sell. There's no doubt that Eric Clapton is a genius guitarist/composer/singer and there's a whole legacy behind him, as members of super groups such as "The Yardbirds", "Derek and the Dominos", "Blind Faith" and his massive solo career with several singles, videos and concerts through the decades. This newest isn't much of a memorable one, or at least one single the artist will consider important to his career. It's a water divisor with some claiming it's a career ending move and others praising for being a vocal hymn of our times that goes against the norm.

Clapton makes a protest against the COVID-19 vaccination, so here's an anti vax song that is destined to cause some controversy despite its simplicity, catchy ways and the information the artist brings to the table by talking of how wronged the current times are and what the vaccine caused on him - yes, he took it but felt incredibly bad afterwards with many side-effects.

I enjoyed the song, it's nice to see Clapton's back in shape and I truly believe that his freedom of speech is exercised best when he's doing a music about the times we live in rather than many obnoxious speeches and rants we see from politicians and unknowns in the media. He's turning pain into art and that's good and commendable even though he might be contributting to some misinformation and giving voice to the unreasonable in the audience. It's not one of his best moments but it's not a terrible one, far from being the reason why one would destroy his brilliant works just because he's making himself loud and clear against something he doesn't agree; neither it's too good as the YouTube comments section of the video makes out to be. It's just an exercise of his rights and he makes it all too clear and far from being objectionable.

As for the video, it's a nice gathering of animations about brainswashing media, world leaders trying to control the population and a lone soul trying to survive this new environment of sickness and deaths. You can take it as it's shown or go deeper on several levels. The new roaring twenties is a tough decade to live with and we've only just begun in difficult extremes of disease, lousy politics, environmental issues, fake news and the loudest voices on the extremes from left and the right. That's the chaos we live on and that's what Clapton relates in his song that also talks about the negative effects after being vaccinated. His point, his belief.

Definitely not acceptable to some since there's a fight to stop the outbreak and the way to control it, besides the lockdown and isolation at first (of which he was opposed as well) and now the vaccine.

On a final note, does Clapton deserves the backlash or negative reaction he's getting from the crowd, to the point where the man himself has said some personal relationships were broken in between? I don't think so. The cancel culture is trying really hard to cancel him and it's not deserving. His legacy is far more important than this whole debate and that's the real thing that really gotta stop, the reputation killing over one point of view. Sure, he's not helping the cause against the disease but there are far worse people who are doing more damages than just one political/social position as the man is doing. It's a harmless expression, and just ignore the music and the video is enough, even though the video was well made and the song has its minor appeal, the sound at least if the wording is just repetitive.

Well, you be the judge. 8/10.

BTS: Permission to Dance
(2021)

It's catchy, colorful and fun
This is a little out of my depth but I'm going anyway. BTS came to a wider public attention when they made a speech and performed the song "Permission to Dance" on the United Nations headquarter on September 2021 during the annual meeting. Those who knew them loved it; and those who didn't had to research more about them. A nice performance on the empty gathering room and surroundings but the real clip for the music is a more colorful one with the group members dancing along with several amusing extras. A bright colorful we all needed in the darkest of times of restrictions and limited actions.

Not really my cup of tea but I liked the real enthusiasm presented, the folks involved and how natural it all goes with everyone; not to mention the song is incredibly catchy. While the song talks about happy times and to one get lost and let loose while dancing, the group managed to evoke our good times as human beings and to make a speech about sustainability at the UN. It's only when we move towards progress of the world by caring about our environment that we can be united and enjoy the dance. That's important. 6/10.

Silent Rage
(1982)

A multi-genre film that goes nowhere
Wikipedia defines "Silent Rage" as being an action crime neo noir science fiction slasher film. They forgot to add this is a comedy as well with Chuck Norris sidekick character played by Stephen Furst and their involvement with rude bikers in hilarious fights and sequences. I counted six genres crammed into one film and that's the problem on why this movie cannot work in almost any way. Here, Norris plays a sheriff of a small town who fights against a psychotic Frankenstein (Brian Libby) who terrorizes everyone who comes his way. What was once a terminally ill-man was turned into a unstoppable creature (made by crazy scientists) who knows no limits and can heal his wounds in a fast manner. Nothing that some roundhouse kicks in the head can't stop it.

Basically, Norris fights against a Michael Myers/Frankenstein kind of creature. That's the exact description for "Silent Rage".

Had the story focused on a psychotic murdered on the loose, without the science thing, or done in a more convincing way then we'd have a more balanced film.

Norris and supernatural elements just don't work; and the man doing many love scenes don't work neither, it's too funny. The personal relationships, some idiotic background of some of the main characters are poorly done and takes a lot of time to progress ruining the thrilling moments of it all. The only moments that matter are the whole persecution against the bad guy and the fight sequences of Norris fighting the bikers (pointless and dull, just serves to show the sheriff has fighting skills in humored bits).

What starts as a suspense turns into a crazed comedy of sorts to later evolve into an action flick. There's simply too much genres mixed and no possible resolution between them. It was a really mediocre work that even with some nice acting (specially the good doctor played by Ron Silver) and good action sequences does not work as anything. A near fatal waste of time. Chuck's fans did not deserve this. Either he plays a martial arts specialist dealing with his equals or he plays Walker; other than that it just doesn't work. Period. 4/10.

Romance
(1988)

An intriguing and curious film
Sérgio Bianchi's second feature film "Romance" revolves around the mysterious death of Antônio César (Rodrigo Santiago), an important intellctual who was writing an incendiary book about a corrupt politician and the shady scheme he was involved. Three characters who knew Antônio try to solve the puzzle of his complicated life and possibly find the work he was writing. The group of friends and lovers consists of a researcher (Imara Reis) who interviews people who knew the man, trying to make a documentary about the late guy and also tries to find the book he was working on; a sad ex-lover (Isa Kopelman); and his roomate/boyfriend (Hugo Della Santa, on his final film) that thinks he might be responsible for his death, believing he gave him AIDS, and now he commits himself into not having any relationships with other men. Together yet apart (most of the time) they deconstruct the myth of a superior force and uncover hidden truths and secrets which might led them into a life of angry desperation. All we know is that they loved him very much and now they try to live their lives without his presence. Will they ever achieve?

"Romance" is a confusing yet intriguing film that serves to present the social and political situation of Brazil after the dictatorship, with its lack of social inclusion, social economical clashes and the political machine that runs a nation. If the trio of characters are way too crazed and absurd, appearing in awkward situations - the researcher is a victim of unknown stalker who might be connected with the crooked politician (Sérgio Mamberti), a man who even gives to the woman a position in a cultural center dedicated to Antônio - then we must fully concentrate on the deceased man, a emotionally charged figure, imponent and very vocal of his political/social controversial positions. It turns out that all the flashbacks involving him makes of him the most interesting character in the whole thing; it's because of him we keep on going watching it always interested in what he has to say or reveal about sexuality, politics, the social evolution of Brazilians as concerned people who fight against injustices.

Here's a curious film about the forementioned topics, a little disjointed at parts and quite difficult to follow amidst the many random and unusual conventions it brings to the table. It's a movie to watch in subsequent views, it might grow on the viewer on each view even though Mr. Bianchi didn't make an easy experience for such intent. I'd probably have to watch two or three times to actually go deeper into its mystery and give a more detaile analysis.

I liked the performances, specially Santiago, and I could connect with the film's themes and messages despite the extreme and brutal ending. But had the movie be about Antônio César's life rather than his death (sickness or murder, it's never explained but I think his buddy it's right on his conjecture) than we'd have a more interesting film. He's the life of the story, has interesting and valid points and lots of spontaneous rants and meltdown's - such as when he enters an office and throws down all the objects there from a window. He's a mad yet positive character, and I felt myself drawn into his mystique and ideals.

Like the three friends, we don't get to know the man fully well. We can only watch him from a distance realizing that his convictions are deep and hurtful enough to get him killed. Very intriguing. 8/10.

El Clan
(2015)

A missed opportunity, and a disappointment
"The Clan" has an interesting premise coming from a real life story taking place in 1980's Argentine post military regime with a family clan involved in kidnappings and murders. However, its execution is a poor one, sloppy and confusing and overall disappointing. I love films from Argentine, I consider the hermanos better than my Brazilian cinema (I have to give credit to them) but this one marks as the first one I did not like it. It's a techinally cold film that tries to imitate "The Secret in Their Eyes" with its long plan sequences (pretentiously used here time and again), very confusing and there are things from the plot that simply don't get solved. Those more familiar with the Puccio Clan history might find it a good film that represented everything accurately; those who don't know much or anything about them will find this film a very frustrating experience.

The main thing that annoyed me through the whole thing and also the answer I needed the most was the reason, the motive behind a middle-class family commiting several crimes, kidnaps and murders. There's nothing there, no evidence or a reasoning behind all of it. They live well so why they do it? It's because they have perfect plans and can get away with murder? Is it because they like the thrill? What's the point? They have solid backgrounds, they run a small business a shop that it's profitable and somehow they keep kidnapping young sons and daughters from wealthy people who are part of their social circle. They get the money alright but why they keep on killing their hostages when they cannot recognise them at all?

And what about the fact the father (brilliantly played by comedian actor Guillermo Francella) who had worked on the services of intelligence keeps on pretending he's helping the police force?

Too many unanswered questions and too much confusion for one viewer to deal with it. The few good thrilling moments and the nice acting from the cast aren't enough to keep you in full suspense, and I think the writers had an excellent material to work with but it went all under developed, poorly executed and a work that doesn't satisfy you with its complete lack of information. And to think this was the official submission of the country for Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars. Their cinema has so much better than this. That's a fact. 5/10.

The Death of David Cronenberg
(2021)

Cronenberg faces his mortality in a strange and beautiful film
Along with his daughter Caitlin, director David Cronenberg ("The Fly", "Eastern Promises" and many others) presents a philosophical and surrealistic view of a man who faces and embraces mortality by viewing his own corpse on his deathbed. Or better saying how the artist imagines himself watching himself fading away into the undiscovered country of Shakespeare.

As I write about "The Death of David Cronenberg", the man himself is alive and well with an upcoming film to be released. But it's interesting to see this one-minute film about how he'd deal with his final moment of life, watching himself (a very realistic dummy was used) going to the unknown but...he's quite peaceful, tender, gently kissing his face and joining with the body in bed. It's almost as if he's bidding farewell to himself, the life and work is done, mission was accomplish in the earthly plan and now it's time to let go without regrets and feeling sorry for anything. Mr. Cronenberg admires the body, and with his minor expressions (and he's an amazing actor as well) we can sense all of his feelings which cannot be fully expressed with words. It's strange but positively beautiful.

What Cronenberg creates here echoes in our minds and he challenges viewers into questioning themselves about their own fate and eventual mortality. Will we be so loving and caring to our version of selves when dead or near death? How do we look deep into ourselves in our final time as a living being? Are we truly ready to face death, accept it or embrace it? This and lots of other questionings comes to mind despite the very limited short time used for the film.

But the idea presented linger in our heads for quite some time.

It's an artistic expression from Mr. Cronenberg, sensitive and poetic, with a little of the weirdness that are present in his masterpieces. I'd like to see a film of his dealing with such strong and difficult themes but as a feature. Maybe it'll happen when he's about to retire (if ever). Thumbs way to this project. 9/10.

Lição de Esqui
(2013)

A mysterious short film about friendship and its obstacles
"Lição de Esqui" tells the story of the lovely bromance between two friends (Carlos Victor and Sandio Marçal) and their weekend routine of practicing fighting moves that later on will be part of their scheme to present on their job - they are co-workers working on a supermarket. They spend a whole afternoon training and working on their dialogues, which is part of a plan where one will help the other, even if it means to get fired from the job.

The short film is well elaborated, humored and beautifully well acted by the duo, becoming more and more mysterious as the story progresses and we keep on wondering what's the title is all about, those ski lessons but they're there in a way. But I think a lot of its mystery and enigmatic ways could be reduced since at times the film seems to wander and get sidetracked with the unusual sequences that follow one another. It's one of the best Brazilian short films I've ever seen and deserves lots of views. Here's a treaty on friendship, closeness and the importance one man has to another, deeper levels. 6/10.

O.D. Overdose Digital
(2007)

A curious and thrilling experience
"O. D. Overdose Digital" is a strange and thrilling short film about the weird connection made by a frightening drug dealer (Francisco Gaspar) and his addicted costumer (Leonardo Miggiorin) at a fearful night when the latter comes to the dealer house to score more drugs when he starts to feel ill without them. The dealer makes him deal: he can get more without paying but the young guy will have to make a job for him where he'll have to appear in a mysterious photoshoot. Long night ahead and will the dealer's perversion be fulfilled?

Carefully edited and photographed with his split screen capturing the tension and actions of both characters, the film delivers suspense and curiosity with its strange themes and with the dialogues from the characters, specially the menacing drug dealer. Too much mystery involved and we are curious to find out about the kind of photos the young addict will have to provide for the dealer, you can feel the suspense in the air but when the moment comes it takes some time to find out what happened later on when the henchmens appear on the scene.

I liked it and I can recommend it but I'm not so much enthusiastic as some other viewers from the film are. Good job. 7/10.

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