Sunday, July 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II (2011)

I have not more than a few simple words to link my thoughts to the page after the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.

A cycle has come to an end. Since I was nine years old, age when I first stepped into Hogwarts, reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, there has always been something coming up, sooner or later. In units of time that sprawled between one to two years and a half or so, I was always awaiting for the next book, for the next movie.

Yes, I would forget about it during those days, weeks, months. With time, my brain started to get acquainted with the cliches, the otherwise annoying flawless characters, the melodramatic impulses in the sometimes sloppy dialog (still, Severus Snape is one of my all-time favorite characters). But you see, it was too late, anyway. I was hooked and I've been since. And it didn't prevent me from reading the classics, Hemingway, Huxley, Kafka.

This time, and I not interested in the concept of Pottermore, there's nothing coming up. And it feels kind of nostalgic, can't avoid it. That's why this pseudo-sentimental statement that suddenly completely drifted me from my observations on the film.

Fact is, I really liked it. It was a dignifying finalle. Great photography (proud when "Eduardo Serra" faded in, giant golden lettering, only after the director, screenwriter and producers), huge soundtrack by Desplat, some incredible shots, awesome VFX. Yes it had a couple of what-the-fuck stupid comic reliefs and pseudo-emotion triggers (the kisses) but in the end I couldn't care less. Maybe some months from now, when I watch it cold-hearted.

Now, like it has always happened with the eight movies (and a bunch of trailers), I am just going to manage this whistle in my head, tuned on the the main theme of Harry Potter, the boy who lived.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kaufman is directing again

While preparing a new collaboration with director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) in a so far secret comedy/satire project about a gathering of the world's most powerful leaders, Charlie Kaufman is also setting up the pieces for his 2nd directorial work. The first was Synecdoche, New York in 2009, a utter commercial flop staring Philip Seymor Hoffman and Catherine Keener - maybe due to its limited theatrical release, for Roger Ebert elected it best film of the year. Frank or Francis, also written by himself, is a musical piece about a filmmaker and the blogger who constantly shreds his movies apart. Nicholas Cage (Adaptation), Jack Black and Steve Carrel are already in talks for some parts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great dialogue: No Country for Old Men (2007)

Chigurh stands at the counter across from the elderly proprietor. He
holds up a bag of cashews.

How much?

Sixty-nine cent.

This. And the gas.

Y'all getting any rain up your way?

What way would that be?

I seen you was from Dallas.

Chigurh tears open the bag of cashews and pours a few into his hand.

What business is it of yours where I'm
from, friendo?

I didn't mean nothin by it.

Didn't mean nothin.

I was just passin the time.

I guess that passes for manners in your
cracker view of things.

A beat.

Well sir I apologize. If you don't wanna
accept that I don't know what else I can
do for you.

Chigurh stands chewing cashews, staring while the old man works the
register and puts change on the counter.

...Will there be somethin else?

I don't know. Will there?


The proprietor turns and coughs. Chigurh stares.

Is somethin wrong?

With what?

With anything?

Is that what you're asking me? Is there
something wrong with anything?

The proprietor looks at him, uncomfortable, looks away.

Will there be anything else?

You already asked me that.

Well... I need to see about closin.

See about closing.


What time do you close?

Now. We close now.

Now is not a time. What time do you

Generally around dark. At dark.

Chigurh stares, slowly chewing.

You don't know what you're talking
about, do you?


I said you don't know what you're
talking about.

Chigurh chews.

...What time do you go to bed.


You're a bit deaf, aren't you? I said
what time do you go to bed.


A pause.

...I'd say around nine-thirty. Somewhere
around nine-thirty.

I could come back then.

Why would you be comin back? We'll be

You said that.

He continues to stare, chewing.

Well... I need to close now -

You live in that house behind the store?

Yes I do.

You've lived here all your life?

A beat.

This was my wife's father's place. Originally.

You married into it.

We lived on Temple Texas for many years.
Raised a family there. In Temple. We
come out here about four years ago.

You married into it.

...If that's the way you wanna put it.

I don't have some way to put it. That's
the way it is.

He finishes the cashews and wads the packet and sets in on the counter
where it begins to slowly unkink. The proprietor's eyes have tracked
the packet. Chigurh's eyes stay on the proprietor.

...What's the lost you've ever lost on
a coin toss?


The most. You ever lost. On a coin toss.

I don't know. I couldn't say.

Chigurh is digging in his pocket. A quarter: he tosses it. He slaps it
onto his forearm but keeps it covered.

Call it.

Call it?


For what?

Just call it.

Well - we need to know what it is we're
callin for here.

You need to call it. I can't call it
for you. It wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't
even be right.

I didn't put nothin up.

Yes you did. You been putting it up your
whole life. You just didn't know it. You
know what date is on this coin?


Nineteen fifty-eight. It's been traveling
twenty-eight years to get here. And
now it's here. And it's either heads or
tails, and you have to say. Call it.

A long beat.

Look... I got to know what I stand to


How's that?

You stand to win everything. Call it.

All right. Heads then.

Chigurh takes his hand away from the coin and turns his arm to look at

Well done.

He hands it across.

...Don't put it in your pocket.


Don't put it in your pocket. It's your
lucky quarter.

...Where you want me to put it?

Anywhere not in your pocket. Or it'll
get mixed in with the others and become
just a coin. Which it is.

He turns and goes.

The proprietor watches him.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HP star joins Del Toro; Tarantino tries Costner

After the live action version of Disney classic Alice in Wonderland, the big studios have geared the pre-production of several other adaptations: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Damme, Pinocchio, The Sleeping Beauty, more than one version of The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and even the evil-side of Cinderella, Malificent (abandoned by Tim Burton a few months ago).

Beyond those, seems like Guillermo Del Toro and Denise de Novi are writing the The Beauty and the Beast, a cheery news because both of them have showed they know how to handle the merge of a world of fairy-tale fantasy with the deep human pain and sorrow - Del Toro wrote and directed The Pan's Labyrinth and Novi produced Edward Scissorhands (itself a modern version of the classic). And now Harry Potter star Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) may be joining the cast as the Beauty. We will be waiting for further developments.

Still about the summer transfers news, Kevin Costner is in talks for Tarantino's Django Unchained, to play Ace Woody, a bastard that trains the slaves in order to prepare them for fights that amuse Calvie Candie (Leo Di Caprio).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kaufman, Phoenix and other news

Warner Bros. and Annapurna Pictures bought the still untitled project from Being John Malkovich and Adaptation's tag team Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze. The whole thing is religiously being kept in secret and so far it is only known that it will be about a gathering of political world leaders to discuss the course of the world: oil, prices, environment. Because we'll have Kaufman wheeling the typewriter, it is coming out as a surreal and satirical piece of story and HELL YEAH, Dr. Strangelove of the modern times (screenplay related, at least). I'd still rather see another director lifting the visuals, maybe Charlie himself, after Synedoche NY. A couple of days ago it has been advanced that Joaquin Phoenix, currently working with Paul Thomas Anderson in The Master, may be staring as main character.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II shattered the midnight record with 43 million and the opening day record with 92 million. It has been getting very positive reviews.

Battle: Los Angeles' director Jonathan Liebesman was approached by Warner Bros. to direct an epic on Julius Caesar rise to the throne of Rome, leaving the door open for a sequel on the Egypt invasions and his assassination.

Finally available the trailer of Hugo, by Martin Scorsese, staring Chloe Moretz, Asa Butterfield, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer and Jude Law. It opens December 9th and even without reading heads like "this Thanksgiving", we shall realize this is going to be a feel good family movie. Such comic moments, such lettering. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Miguel Guilherme, sobre os subsídios

«A cultura tem de deixar de ser tão mariquinhas. Eu não gosto de choramingões, e há trinta anos que vejo gajos a choramingar e a traírem-se uns aos outros, a andar de punho cerrado e por trás a lamber o cu ao ministro ou ao secretário de Estado. Por isso, sabes o que te digo, eu caguei. Podes mesmo escrever, eu caguei para isso, cago para a política cultural. [...] Há coisas que não deviam ser subsidiadas, pura e simplesmente, ponto. Estão a tirar o lugar a outros. Os critérios não existem: são do compadrio [...] Cá temos pouco dinheiro e pouca atenção. Historicamente, o PSD sempre teve muito pouca sensibilidade cultural, o que é curioso porque o Durão Barroso sempre gostou das artes performativas. Vi-o muitas vezes, tal como ao Paulo Portas, em espectáculos, mas nunca vi gente de esquerda.»

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Miguel Mendes lifts the ambitions

Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, whose intention of adapting José Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ was officially revealed yesterday, maybe be down to something trully ambitious, within a cinematic culture smeared by wails of poverty and arty films.

As far as the boat threatens to go, I still don't know if we can speak of a Portuguese film. We're talking of big budget with international co-production, an international screenwriter to go for the rewriting and a major international cast and crew, just like Blindness, by the Brazilian Fernando Meirelles, got Don McKellar (writer), Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Keep following us for more updates.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Miguel G. Mendes takes the wheel of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

Miguel Gonçalves Mendes spent four years with Nobel Prize for Literature winner José Saramago and his wife, Pilar del Rio, times out of which he shaped one of the most beautiful, complete and sensitive films the Portuguese cinema has ever seen. That is José and Pilar, a 125-minute documentary that strewed all over the world in film festivals and that has recently inspired a popular movement asking the Portuguese Institute of Cinema to pick it up for the country's submission for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Movie categorie.

Although in film one shall never consider the closing of a cycle, for each film sprawls itself throughout the history, this project is actually coming to a point of recognized accomplishment and well deserved sense of fulfillment. And within the next months, because we still have to wait to see how it goes (if it goes) in the other side of the Atlantic, it is time for new adventures.

"It is the most cinematic of José Saramago's novels, the one with the adequate structure for film." states Miguel seconds after announcing he's preparing the adaptation of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ in a production with an international cast and crew, still unannounced.

"This film is about how cruel the mankind can reach, whether it is because of power, money, relationships or some god.". Among the other homonyms adaptations of the writers work we count George Sluizer's La Balsa de Piedra (2002), Meirelles' Blindness (2008) and António Ferreira's Embargo (2010).

Kubrick admired Bergman

This letter was written by Stanley Kubrick in 1960 to the filmmaker he admired the most at the time, the Swedish Ingmar Bergman. By this time, Kubrick was yet to create his greatest masterpieces, such as 2001: Space Odyssey (came two years later), The Clockwork Orange or Barry Lyndon. Read the transcript down below the photo.


February 9, 1960

Dear Mr. Bergman,

You have most certainly received enough acclaim and success throughout the world to make this note quite unnecessary. But for whatever it’s worth, I should like to add my praise and gratitude as a fellow director for the unearthly and brilliant contribution you have made to the world by your films (I have never been in Sweden and have therefore never had the pleasure of seeing your theater work). Your vision of life has moved me deeply, much more deeply than I have ever been moved by any films. I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfullness and completeness of characterization. To this one must also add everything else that goes into the making of a film. I believe you are blessed with wonderfull actors. Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin live vividly in my memory, and there are many others in your acting company whose names escape me. I wish you and all of them the very best of luck, and I shall look forward with eagerness to each of your films.

Best Regards,

Signature: Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jamie Foxx confirms Django's cast

Jamie Foxx talked to CNN in the last couple of days and confirmed the rumors that put him in Django's clothes, the main character of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming western spaghetti. He ended up not sparing any news for later as he also revealed that the last months' word-to-mouth cast build up had turned out to be true. Therefore we'll have Christoph Waltz as a hunter of rewards and Django's partner; Samuel L. Jackson as a wrecked and manipulative slave at the service of the villain, the farmer Calvie Candie represented by Leonardo Di Caprio.
Excellent news, I must say. We know what Tarantino is able to pull out from Waltz and Jackson and I'm figuring it'll be particularly refreshing to watch Leo as the bad guy this time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A petição de José e Pilar

Retirado do blog oficial da petição para levar José e Pilar aos Óscares, iniciativa do blog Split Screen.

Embora a petição esteja neste momento desactivada temporariamente, estamos a trabalhar para que a Petição Pública «José e Pilar aos Óscares» esteja novamente activa e a receber assinaturas. Provavelmente hoje não conseguiremos chegar à marca das 600 assinaturas, ao contrário do que esperávamos, devido a esse imprevisto. Mas esperamos retomar a velocidade cruzeiro amanhã.

Cinco perguntas a Diogo Figueira

A mim mesmo. O convite foi feito por Flávio Gonçalves, d'O Sétimo Continente. Volto a agradecer-lhe imenso e congratula-lo pela refrescante e dinâmica iniciativa. Aqui.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Querem "José e Pilar" nos Óscares ?

José e Pilar, de Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, foi o documentário português mais visto de sempre e o filme português mais visto do ano. A isto se junta a boa recepção junto da crítica nacional e internacional e do público, sempre afável e carinhoso para com o filme. Pessoalmente, considero-o uma das melhores peças já produzidas pelo nosso cinema.

Portugal detém o recorde de maior número de submissões ao Óscar de Melhor Filme Estrangeiro sem qualquer nomeação. Nos últimos anos, a Academia de Artes e Ciências Cinematográficas norte-americana tem revelado uma abertura maior a nível internacional, pelo que achamos que José e Pilar seria a escolha ideal: co-produção entre a JumpCut, a O2 (de Fernando Meirelles) e a El Deseo (de Pedro Almodóvar), com uma figura internacional reconhecida e acarinhada - José Saramago, o primeiro Nobel da Literatura português - teve muito sucesso na bilheteira e crítica do nosso país, recebeu nomeações na Academia Brasileira de Cinema, em festivais internacionais e recebeu excelentes críticas da Variety, Cahiers du Cinema, entre outras.

Foi hoje mesmo lançada uma petição online que tem o objectivo de recolher o máximo número de assinaturas possível para ser apresentada ao ICA (Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual), que deverá escolher qual o filme português a ser candidato a uma nomeação para Óscar de Melhor Filme Estrangeiro.

Apoiem esta iniciativa assinando AQUI e quem sabe estejam a assinar o vosso nome naquele que pode vir a ser um marco histórico para o cinema português. E depois não deixem de acompanhar o estado de coisas no blog oficial do projecto José e Pilar nos Óscares,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hanna (2011)

I didn't watch Peter Weir's The Way Back last year and so I was waiting for Saoirse since the failed Lovely Bones. Plus the trailer got me the impression of a Wright's typical finesse in building a scenario, this time in a very different genre, and the fact that the script had been written in a school writing program (Seth Lockhead, Vancouver Film School) aroused my curiosity. I had heard some positive reviews (Variety; Roger Ebert) and some very bad ones from my closest circle of colleagues. Well, I tried it and I can't say I am disappointed. I guess I tuned my expectations just fine.

Hanna respects and doesn't ever try to skirt the conventions of a typical American action thriller which obviously gets us talking about its clichés, its well known plot devices and the plain and predictable impersonation and arc of the characters. The girl's incredible skills are deceitfully backed up by the visual rhythm in order to get her performing impossible last second escapes, as for when the trucks blanket past the hole in the desert or when she strikes Blanchett with an arrow out of nowhere. You almost predict the killings when they're about to happen and the whole CIA-whipping-self-past thing takes us to obvious plot points, such as the kidnapping of Sophie's family, the revelation of the truth in a poor dialogged moment or Erik's death. You know, the inciting incident and even the background story are never convincing enough. The characters, whether it's Hanna, Erick or Marissa, they're all archetypes and don't fleet from that. Even if Saoirse Ronan says in an interview that Hanna may not have physical weaknesses but compensates with psychological depth, it is still not as humanly profound as I believe it could be. It doesn't ever surprise you, despite one or two very good moments, like when Grimm is dancing, or the action scenes.

But then Joe Wright grabs this piece with such a sensitiveness and departs from such beautiful but at the same time assassin icy-white scenario, traveling along a very well craftet pace with a fast strong spiky editing, with the amazing The Chemical Brothers soundtrack, constantly building a crazy, childishly dangerous and hallucinating atmosphere, bringing a compensating freshness to the film. Joe actually states he was major influenced by David Lynch.

This is certainly not a great film. But it still made me want to go through it, still made me take a position with the characters and still surprised me with the psychedelic-cold action scenes. And I enjoyed the final foreshadowing punch line.