Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Award Season begins and thus flame the guestimates for the big-prize, Oscars'12

With the Academy already flipping some rocks (pre-nominated lists for Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short have been made public), major independent Award Season festivals and the associations of critics are fueling up their rumble. As for every year, the decisions by these entities work as a blurry preview of what might happen at the Kodak Theater and stir the boiling oil in the pan for the prophets (I will myself try it).

It begun with the Gotham Awards and the New York Film Critics Awards, which foresee much of which has already been established as plausible or probable all over the Internet.


Best Picture
"The Artist" (Michel Hazanavicius)

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist")

Best Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian ("Moneyball")

Best Actor
Brad Pitt – ("Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life")

Best Actress
Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady")

Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks ("Drive")

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain ("The Tree of Life", "The Help", "Take Shelter")

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki ("The Tree of Life")

Best Nonfiction Film
"Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (Werner Herzog)

Best Foreign Language Film
"A Separation" (Iran)

Best First Feature
"Margin Call" (J. C. Candor)


Best Film
“Beginners" (Mike Mills)
“The Tree of Life” (Terrence Malick)

Breakthrough Director
Dee Rees (“Pariah”)

Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Felicity Jones (“Like Crazy”)

Best Ensemble Performance

Best Documentary
“Better This World” (Kelly Duane and Katie Galloway)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
“Scenes of a Crime” (Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock)

Audience Award
“Girlfriend” (Justin Lerner)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Go to college and major in chocolate pancakes

Fine, so you like movies. Specially if you attend to film school, you may develop your passion about some of your favorite filmmakers, historical periods or stylistic establishments. But how insane would you accuse one to be if one craved to apply for Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion (Durham University), Philosophy and Star Trek (Georgetown University) or Feel the Force: How to Train in a Jedi Force (Queen's University Belfast) ?

Or Zombie Studies (University of Baltimore), where the only thing you had to do was to analyze classic zombie films and comics, shaping your skills into detailed storyboards and horror scripts instead of painful essays on Gilles Deleuze.

No excuses, henceforth.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fado, Património Mundial da Humanidade

Numa altura de receios e crises de credibilidade, um triunfo para a identidade portuguesa.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We Have a Pope (2011)

A newly elected Pope that flees from the S. Peter's Basilica before waving his blessing to the believers and a psychoanalyst who becomes imprisoned inside it until the Holly Priest emerges on the balcony. Melville, the sincere and dense Michel Piccoli, is unexpectedly chosen on the third round and embodies all the doubts and fears the whole Concilium holds prior to the voting, going as far as making "acting" and "rehearsals" a metaphor for the Kingdom of God's best man. Professor Brezzi, the wit optimistic Nanni Moretti, is summoned to help him dealing with the shock but is hindered by the ultra-conservationism of the Cardinals, and stays to become the master of trivialization of the secrecy the priests ritually respect and because of which 100 million people suffer in anxiety. On the one side, the Father of the dogmas that cannot deal with them, withering into the nostalgia and existentialism of the common man, uncertain of what he has done and of what he has to do. On the other side, the bastion of science and progress, an enemy of the dogma, who not only is physically prisoner of the Conclave but who also is a prisoner of himself, his beliefs, his methods, just as his wife was. Two sides of the same coin, two layers of the human being, in an arrangement that, however the final discourse (change for the Church), transcends any religious beliefs. Picturing beautiful scenarios (amazing work at Cinecittá), lilting between fine detail and reactions and unexpected small set-pieces (dramatic: the theater; slapstick: the volleyball game), We Have a Pope is a whimsical but also profound essay on the Church as a system and on mankind as a species of enduring and underling beliefs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset may become part of a trilogy

After the two word-driven romantic solar-watch timed walks through Paris that enchanted the cinematic arena with some new indie love, Before Sunrise, eighteen years ago, and Before Sunset, nine years ago, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater may be preparing to align the planets once again, for in 2012 nine years will have passed, since 2003 (the year "Before Sunset" was shot). I am not conspiring within a hot sequel-paradigm we're dealing with nowadays and thus leave you the most detailed evidence of it:

"Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do but I know the three of us have been talking a lot in the last six months,” Hawke revealed. “All of three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again so we’re really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year.” (Ethan Hawke, Allocine)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TCN Blog Awards 2011

No ano passado, o A Gente Não Vê teve o prazer de figurar na categoria de Melhor Novo Blog, neste prémio organizado pela comunidade blogosférica, nomeadamente pelo Cinema Notebook, e pela revista TAKE, numa tradição já de há alguns anos. Este ano, não figura em nenhuma das categorias mas não posso deixar de manifestar o meu contentamento por a iniciativa seguir para a frente na mesma, bem como congratular todos os nomeados, que muitos são os meus lugares favoritos na blogosfera. Enquanto que o primeiro ano desta casa sofreu da pujança da iniciação, este segundo ano tem sido mais pautado, nomeadamente por razões académicas. Continua a ser um espaço que muito orgulho me dá manter e continuaremos a ver-nos por aí. Pode ser que, para o ano, esteja a adicionar nova claquete ali ao lado direito. Aos bloggers, vemo-nos em Janeiro.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LEFFEST'11: Drive (2011)

The proper way to describe the connection between my mind and body by leaving the room after watching Driver is somewhat close to shattered. This is a film I certainly want to watch a couple of more times before getting into a deeper analysis (oh, the details!), but I must write down some words for the time being. I am as dazzled as one would be after watching a lesson of cinema that wouldn't even let him stand up. A lesson of screenwriting, of directing, of editing, of cinematography, of acting I believe. You've got a pretty rare character, brilliantly written, inspired in Alan Delon's collaborations with Jean Pierre Melville (chiefly The Samurai), and the French filmmaker's influence persists throughout. Ryan Gosling goes into one of the most fantastic performances I've seen (other actors are great too). You've barely got dialog and the lines that remain are short and incisive, reminding us of David Mamet or, and that goes for the premise too, of Walter Hill's The Driver. It also imports the director's fluency in horror film aesthetics (from Mullholand Drive to Cassavetes, he says) and the film noir. Mixing gore (the film is dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowsky), suspense, love story and fabulous action sequences (car chases), this is something like an LA neo-noir action drama, that not only emerges itself into the past but also makes us look at the future, by imagining how will Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice be like. And the songs, and the lettering, everything sounds so appropriate. I don't even remember the last time I've jumped off of the chair in an action sequence. Written by Academy Award winner Hossein Amini, adapted from the homonym book by James Sallis, it guaranteed Nicolas Winding Refn the award for Best Director in Cannes'11, following filmmakers like David Lynch, Iñarritu and Julian Schnabel (2001, 2006, 2007) who even got the Academy nomination, the Coen brothers in the same situation (1996) and other masters like Paul Thomas Anderson, Wong Kar-Wai or Pedro Almodóvar. Digitally shot.

I will make sure I watch the film a couple of more times before writing a longer and more detailed piece on it. It deserves it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LEFFEST'11: Carnage (2011)

Yasmina Reza stepped into the stage a few minutes before the film started and summarized the story of her friendship and collaboration with Roman Polanski, with whom she adapted her play God of Carnage into the script Carnage which we were about to watch. Right there I considered I would probably like her to come back in the end to approach her style, dialog, structure, characters, work. In the end, I only wanted her to step back in order to feel that she was completely aware of the huge applause that burst as soon as the ending credits started rolling.

Many reviewers wrote that this is no more than a play taken to the screen with a brilliant casting in order to allow a massive audience to see it. To some extent, I think so. It is in fact a play, more than a script, for everything comes out of the dialog and the mimics. The conflict travels through the words of each parent, the beats come with reactions to each line, the emotional shifts and the character arch are due to precise words and their continuous lines of interpretation and response.

Polanski doesn't create the destructive feeling of impotence from The Pianist, nor the claustrophobic nausea from Repulsion. But this is a work of huge sensibility on how to put the camera, on how to frame a face and a word and on how and where to insert a reaction. Roman had to engineer a square of people in a room and make use of the great distinction between cinema and theater (the scales - remember how Griffith departed from Mélies and Porter ?) to convey the proper emotional journey of the two couples. Sometimes the framing is slanted, sometimes the camera is shaking. A stage won't give you that. Anyway, what makes this a very good movie is the script and the actors. I laughed all the way long, at each thirty or sixty seconds. Incredibly witty, very believable, extraordinary performances (Winslet was gorgeous). An intelligent satire to middle class and to contemporary politically correctness of human relationships, which specially by the setting reminds us of The Exterminating Angel by Buñuel. The ending, with Desplat's hithereto absent notes, is genios and hilarious.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some news

LinkUniversal released the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, one of the recently announced adaptations of Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (hit the image for the video). I don't walk out of it with much expectation, although Charlize Theron (playing the Queen) looks malevolently gorgeous. As a matter of fact, are the producers seriously expecting Kirsten Stewart's Snow White to surpass the Evil Queen's beauty or even that someone is going to look at her without reminding of the terrible Bella (Twilight) ? Doesn't sound like a fairy tale either, but most like some sold-out medieval knight fantasy story, which the grimaces of Chris Hemsworth (the Huntsman) only contributes to.

George Tillman Jr. is adapting Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis by the musician's son, for the big screen. It will become a biopic of the legendary Jazz player. This may not be that good news for the fans since the helmer's curriculum is not particularly stimulating (take Notorious).

"What do you know about meth ?". Eleven years after showing the world a brutal and crude portrait of a family's destructive spiral along the addictive path of drugs, the piece of film Requiem for a Dream which gathered most respect among the critics and audiences, arrived to television as a series of institutional ads for discouraging the consume of meth. Directed by Darren Aronofsky himself, it completes the hard task of not being blunt morality but scary awarness - check "Deep End", "Desperate", . It's great how the camera departs from ordinary but tense to disrupted and unbearable, as the sound works the senses with emergency.

Warner Brothers launched a "For your consideration" ad for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2, which confirms the emerging thesis that it was a serious candidate for the Oscar'12 Best Film nominee. From what I've seen, I wouldn't put it together with the five to ten best films of the year and while they usually consider the pieces of the saga for some of the technical categories, I hope they won't forget Best Cinematography (the portuguese Eduardo Serra) this time. And yes, I'd still like to see Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) for Best Suporting Actor.

New animation films coming up: MGM bought the rights for Where's Waldo; The Smurf's screenwriters Jay Scherick and David Ronn may be on to adapt Popey; Warner Bros. Looney Tunes stars Tweety and Sylvester come out on a short film on November 18th.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

LEFFEST'11: The Ides of March (2011)

Although The Ides of March may have been sold, at some points, as the typical political drama starring George Clooney, foreseeing a much frayed genre melodramatic picture, you wouldn't have to dig too deep to find a glimpse of freshness. It all departed from the extraordinary poster, which portrayed with clearness the cynicism we would be invited to testify, but in a kind of witty and intelligent way. From there you'd peek at the rising star Ryan Gosling in a promising trailer performance and then at the old captains Philip Seymor Hoffman and Paul Giamatti in parts that could've fell by the hands of role-modeled actors like Clooney. Don't get me wrong, the acting director doesn't do a bad job. He is simply perfect for the character carved for him, and it's something we've seen him doing over and over, and not being great, he carries out well. On the other hand, Gosling draws a really great performance, the best I've watched him do (you will not forget the last shot from the film), backed up by the untouchables Seymor and Giamatti, who insistently make you want them to have more time up on the screen.

I think what makes me want to talk of the actors so much is the stylistic consistency I've tracked from Good Night and Good Luck to here. Yesterday I realized Clooney loves to work in approximate scales, namely the close up and the big close up. You're most of the times traveling on the dialogued contrivances of the plot while at the same time following a character-driven dimension of the film, from expression to expression, reaction to reaction. He does it in a pretty geometrical fashion, whether the shot is a rigorous 3/4 or a perfect profile picture, and just like he did in the film about Edward Murrow, he plays with the shadows on the faces to create a very nice suspense of what one may be thinking, feeling and hiding.

This being the first reason why I think the actors have such a particularly important figure here, now I'd like to add the well-written screenplay to the discussion. The Ides of March comprehends an intricate and in general well driven plot, which even ends up leaving you in the limb that divides the political drama and the political thriller. It opens with a very well paced twenty-minutes, with proper exposition, nicely economical, and finishes in a most fantastic third act. From the end of the first act until some point I'm not going to spoil you about, it may thank the cast for overcoming some common places and by making them yet enveloping. After this middle unexpected point (could've been much more melodramatic than it was), it is great to find that you're always wrong regarding what happens next, providing a successful way to handle the need to awake hypothesis in the mind of the audience. Although I believe in everything I've written so far, in the end I think what we will remember more intensely is not the plot or the twists, but the arch of Goslin's character, especially because of moments like the one in the kitchen, with Clooney's, when the writing (or the producing ?) surprises you by not making the latest the ultimate pretty adamant idealist politician, arising a good inner struggle in our protagonist (and avoiding an expected cliched development of Governor Morris). About the characters, I only have my doubts about the girl and her actions regarding her true situation - does it sound real, coherent ?

"I don't have a religion" and this is not the proper subtle film. Indeed, it works the desire to awake global consciousness, but I wouldn't call it moralist. It is very cynical that is, disenchanted, never letting the idealism by Morris win over the egoism of all the characters. All are good and bad, none is good nor bad. It sends you to the idea of unending circle (the arrival of the new girl) and of the weakness of mind of the engineers of the political campaigns and the political entrepreneurship of the United States, while the temporal track in which the film happens leaves you with the paradoxical assured incertainty of what had been going on till the movie began and what will be going on after it ends - a metaphor for what the worldwide citizens may feel about their society, for we're all assuredly uncertain that shit has been going on and will still be going on before and after we leave the room.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Film is dead

Nearly one month after the historicals ARRI, Panavision and Aaton officially ceased the production of film cameras, in what we could consider the first plot point of a new era, the irreversible lock-up ending the first act, it is time the prestigious magazine Cahiers du Cinema says goodbye to film stock - 35mm, specifically.

After one hundred years of history, the threat for some, the opportunity for others. We certainly have huge things to loose and amounts to win. Darwinism.

Film is dead. Welcome to the digital era.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scarlett will never, ever, fall

Socially hurt by the release of her nude photos by a hacker a few weeks ago, Scarlett Johansson dazzles in a great strike by Dolce & Gabana. A huge astonishing slap in social bitching. Absolutely marvelous, overwhelming, as always. Also, this only makes me more angry about Michelle Williams playing Marylin Monroe in this year's My Week with Marylin - but I'll wait for the true Marylin biopic.