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31 reviews in total 
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As David Patrick Stearn Put It, Met Tries Conceptual Approach in a Rich, Confounding Igor, 1 March 2014

Great music, wonderful singing (soloists and chorus), superb conductor, the Met orchestra at their best. As usual, everything fabulous. Only top pros could produce such euphonious beauty... amidst such conceptualized travesty! I am still trying, for example, to verify the relevance of the opening quote displayed on the screen: "Starting a war is the shortest way to combat internal distress" How this applies to Igor, whose country was invaded by Mongolian hordes, or to his enemy, whose megalomaniac imperialism motivated the attacks, there is no clue. The disconnection also applies to the haphazard, inconsistent melange of styles. "Prince Igor" is an opera more talked about than seen. It hadn't been staged since the days of Toscanini. For the benefit of those who are lucky enough to see it, I only wish it were "played straight". The Overture wasn't played at all. It was composed by Glazunov and, for that reason, omitted. This production starts with the Prologue, which is followed by Act II. Act I is omitted entirely. Acts III and IV were also subject to a heavy editorial process. I wish that this gem of an opera were presented without further conceptuality. I am increasingly frustrated by those "auteur" directors (e.g. Baz Luhrman, Gerald Thomas) ignorant of, or worse, regardless of style, costumes and period, perverting the composers' intentions by putting their egos far above Art. For the fans of the bizarre and the inchoate, however, this show was gratifying, the more so for including an hallucinogenic spectacle of the Polovetsian Dances: the whole thing read as the fantasy of a wounded warrior. Given that some of it WAS fantasy - the visit of Igor's wife, for instance - it makes sense that all of it MIGHT BE so, including the dancers who sprang up from the poppies. But these weird poppies get in the way of a lot of things, and spoil the dance while they're at it. Which is a Fokine classic, and in no way fits the subject matter. In the last scene, characters sing about going back to Russia, but from the set it appears they already ARE in Russia, so it's very confusing. Overall, a very mixed bag. The anti-war sentiment must ring especially true to modern day Russians living under the Putin administration. But the Met production, although obviously designed for the HD broadcast, makes dubious, or rather devious sense.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Dangerous liaisons and stolen loves, 20 January 2014

The original text, entitled "The Nova St. Girl Who Was Walled-Off," which served as an argument, would probably have provided a much superior material. It was written by Carneiro Vilela (1846-1913) of northeastern Brazil. Like Edgar Allan Poe's "The cask of Amontillado," it also contains a character called Fortunato. And alike Poe's Fortunato, who was lured into an underground crypt and bricked alive, the protagonist, a bourgeois young impregnated by her boyfriend is incarcerated in her own room at the behest of her father, the wealthy merchant Jaime, in order to cover up the shame and preserve the family honor. The story is still shrouded in mystery . In real life, the crime was supposedly committed in a loft sited on #200 Rua Nova (Nova St.) in Recife. Vilela's work was published, duly serialized, from 1909 to 1912 , then converted into a novel. Is this a true case, or a product from the imagination of an indefatigable writer? Anyhow the novel vividly portrayed the society of late nineteenth century , while the 2014 TV series chose to focus on a story of passion , sex , betrayal and vengeance, based on the old stereotypes of narrow-minded, sexist Colonels for whom the paramount honor of the mighty had to be washed with blood and everything should be solved through oppression or bullets, with the aid of thugs. I'll praise the photography by Walter Carvalho , full of inclined shots and super close-ups, revealing stunning backdrops that present the backwoods of Northeast Brazil's wine region. I'll reject, however, the commercial appeal of erotic scenes which abuse of slow motion and redundant flashback fillers without any other purpose than, say, in-caliente, ad- nauseam repetition.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Rather disorderly than angry, 25 September 2013

The inflamed comments are probably Pavlovian responses to the movie's politically correct quotient. Quality performers meet deep message. The most obvious flaw in this supposed classic, one of the most super-estimated films in history was as follows: real juries are allowed neither to carry their own experiences nor to consider evidence not presented at trial. If the jury had acted in accordance with the correct legal procedure, there would have been no basis for the plot, therefore no drama, therefore no catharsis. An intriguing theme doesn't always result in a good production. What shall I call a movie including clichéd, implausible characters, and a foreseeable twist (a 11-to-1 vote changing into 0-to-12)? Juries exist in order to allow the cold letter of the law to be broken, or temporarily suspended. That's what they're all about. That's their raison d'être. A judge can acquit a suspicious defendant for lack of evidence. A jury may convict him or her for "feeling his or her" guilt. The institution of the jury was thus an historical way to "humanize" lawsuits. If jurors were so one-dimensional, mindless and easy to persuade, courts should certainly keep them afar.

Fun is the name of the game, 18 September 2013

'Pirate TV' was inspired by sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and Monty Python's Flying Circus plus a no-nonsense approach mixing elements of Brazilian culture such as football, politics, pop culture, soaps, economics and celebrities. The premise was a TV studio being invaded by pirates who took over the programming department and put a tape on the air with some "unusual" programming. The idea of a fresh new comedy style settled among the audience, who was very accustomed to the sketch comedy style from vaudeville and old- time programs such as Faça Humor Não Faça a Guerra & Planeta dos Homens, former cultural phenomena. The program has been released on DVD. Some of its videos are also available through YouTube.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Soap versus Scams & Ruses, 18 September 2013

"What Kinda King Am I?" mixes The Prince and the Pauper with The Prisoner of Zenda to tell the story of the Avilan country, plagued by an absolutist, degenerate tyranny. As pop-star Abel Chacrinha used to state, within the television community, nothing is created, whilst everything is copied. The phrase continues to ring a bell and adhere to almost everything done by TV Globo along the last quarter century, including this satire against (ugh)... Corruption. (By the way, the latter phenomenon, incidentally, seems to have grown 5000 percent in this quarter century alone) (and nowadays Avilan is even more corrupt than, say, rotten Denmark used to be in more princely times.)

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
what is absolutely true here is the name of the slum "Cidade De Deus", 18 September 2013

Many consider a movie outstanding just because it shows tragic poverty and violence. Subconsciously, people feel "politically correct" for liking it. Praise becomes a form of self- elevation, whilst the mere, unnecessary styling offends the topic's intrinsic seriousness. The ideological showcase overcomes an honest presentation. Mixing tragic elements to create a shocking, poignant movie is easy. But somehow the whole thing becomes a farce too pretentious to be positively assessed. An unpunished, 10 year old killer runs around, kills everyone and then bursts into evil laughs. The horrifying situation exists in reality. But a film approach ought to be different. This film has been sold as a kind of triumph of the human spirit, yet it's no more than a typical mobster movie sited at Jacarepaguá. Scene after scene, someone is killed and the deaths have the same depth or significance of a video game. The protagonist does nothing to improve himself. He is a social victim, period. He features the moral character of a robot. And banditry, to the Brazilians' 'delight,' recruits untouchable children as hoods. A Guy Ritchie-like gang plot has its moments of shock: non stop bloodbaths & revolting human filth. For those fond of Grand Guignol, this is a perfect movie. Horrible and cheap in all aspects, including pain and suffering. Simply pathetic, filmed as an elegant commercial edited with rather annoying camera movements. City of God was just another product from the Third World that dazzled the radical chic community of the First World.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful high culture with a touch of slapstick, 27 April 2013

Haendel's most popular opera remains characteristic of the melodramatic style of his era, with an integration between love and politics, jealousy and heroism, revenge and appetite of glory. The music is Italian-inspired, with recitatives and arias that alternate harmoniously and enhance the dramatic impact. Areas of great beauty, off contemporary conventions, give the whole an admirable scenic and stylistic unit. McVicker, a highly original metteur en scène, transposed the action to the 1920s. Rome became the British Empire and so on. It's as divine a contemporary production of Handel as one can get. Wonderful staging, superb cast. This is the opera that conquered London in Handel's times (1724 to be precise) David McVicar's inventive production triumphed in Glyndebourne at its premiere in 2005. McVicar's witty, sexy, and tragic post-colonial framing of Handel's Caesar and Cleopatra tale incorporates elements of Baroque theater and 20th-century British imperialism to illuminate ideas of love, war, and empire building. The world's leading countertenor, David Daniels, sang the title role opposite Natalie Dessay as an irresistibly exotic Cleopatra. Do take note of: (i) the audacity of the choreography, with pop resonances reminiscent of current phenomenon (e.g. the Korean Psy); (ii) the costumes, which never compromise with traditional historical fidelity, and (iii) the sheer amount of glorious Baroque (almost Rococo) coloratura singing is most thrilling, inviting singers to improvise - which they do masterfully.

2 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
More leftist propaganda, 12 April 2013

Year left year, leftists have been repeating ad nauseam that the backlash of 1964 was held by the CIA through so-called "Operation Thomas Mann" (a reference to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs of the Lyndon Johnson Administration. It just happens that these nonexistent documents were forged by a Czech spy who, in 1964, operated in Brazil via KGB: Mr. Ladislav Bittman, who assembled such lies on behalf of Czechoslovakia's Service of Disinformation, and later told them in his book "The KGB And Soviet Disinformation." Bittman wrote: "We wanted to create the impression that the U.S. were forcing the OAS to take an anticommunist position as the CIA planned coups d'état against the regimes of Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba (...) The operation was designed to create vis-à-vis the Latin American audience a preventive policy against hard-line America, to incite demonstrations of intense anti-American sentiments and to label the CIA as a notorious perpetrator of undemocratic intrigue". "While Ladislav Bittman's revelations were given to the public in 1985, the Brazilian press never published anything about it, either through ignorance or perhaps for not wanting the public to be aware of long-standing lies. Anyway, the basic scenario was told in the 70s by American historian Phyllis Parker, in her book "The Role of the United States in the 3/31 Coup " Phyllis interviewed the main characters of the episode and had access to most of the secret correspondence, coming to the conclusion that the 1964 coup was staged by Brazilians, not by Americans. Nowadays this sounds obvious, but at that time, the leftist version insisted that the takeover by the military had been planned in Washington and included an invasion of Brazil by U.S. Marines. Phyllis shows that the United States actually monitored the situation closely, lobbied with the usual aggressiveness and had a plan B just in case Brazil suffered a civil war. In the words of that historian, there is no evidence that the United States instigated, planned, directed or participated in the execution of the 1964 coup. The rest is sheer conspiracy theory'" In a nutshell, the almost unknown "Operation Brother Sam" denounced by this film did start, but it was aborted as redundant. Democracy initially prevailed. All interviewees in this film take on a predictably politically correct, anti-American to the core stance. The film would be less unbalanced and less sectarian if it didactically described the big picture, that is, in the broader context of the Cold War, the Domino Theory then inspired by Foggy Bottom, the all too recent establishment of communism in Cuba, the assassination of JFK etc. I suspect that the next film in this new wave of janguista propaganda will seek to 'prove' that Goulart did not die of a heart attack in 1976, but, (like Hugo Chavez?!) he was poisoned by the spy agency which preceded ABIN - or perhaps by CIA.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Peter's nick already incarnates the spirit of Prague's unique Black Theatre, 11 September 2011

this movie evokes to perfection a time, a spirit, even a country (Czechoslovakia) that no longer exist. It's perhaps the most Godardian film among those not directed by the then innovative French movie maker Jean-Luc Godard. It is full of abrupt cuts, hand-held shots, dialog obviously improvised, and so forth. But Forman's humorous tone is quite far away from Une Femme est Une Femme, or Bande À Part. His background is the neo-realist heritage of everyday topics, non-professional actors, and social concern. (Godard, let me remind you, went from rightist anarchist to Maoist wannabe sharkopath, from pioneering cinematic language to self- indulgent mimic.) Forman's subsequent comedies - namely Loves of a Blonde and Taking Off, were better structured - but Peter & Pavla, almost half a century later, turned into a cute retrospective cameo.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Much suspension to little disbelief, 19 January 2009

Belonging to a new generation of soap opera scriptwriters, the author João Emanuel Carneiro has emphasized the mystery aspect of the plot, but he did not effectively abandon those traditional ingredients of melodrama. as the series ended, Flora, the leading lady ("The favorite one"), had then become the most famous, charismatic serial killer of the entire Brazilian TV literature. The visual treatment of the show is certainly commendable. TV Globo has for a long time guaranteed a regular, high degree of lavishness. The chromatic key has been richly studied, with predominance of tan and pastel hues. But, as far as drama is concerned, there was much to want. Carneiro over-abused of his prerogative to tell a dramatic 'lie.' Of course, any piece of fiction at all may rely on the suspension of disbelief to a certain point, but Carneiro was here more concerned with manipulating his huge audience than eliciting implausibility and - dramatically speaking - handling the true nature of drama in order to convince us of his 'lies,' or, to quote Hitch, impinge us his 'McGivers.'

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