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143 reviews in total 
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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
No good, 6 May 2016

Netflix seems going to the wrong way. Their last original productions lack of the quality the first ones had. I think that they are right to give space and to believe on productions that not necessarily need to be commercial. But what happened to be an interesting thing now seems that everything that is trashy and no one wants to produce is actually landing on their desks. If no one wants to produce, Netflix will... And what I mean by that is what's not commercial doesn't need to be trashy, but they are not paying attention to that.

This movie could be good, but is a completely waste of time instead. The very first minute is everything you could expect: Is predictable, cliché, unfunny, pointless. Gervais and Bana have no chemistry at all, and supporting characters deliberately have no plot purposes, like the Mexican couple. Their dumbness is so over the top to the unbearable and barely unwatchable because their ingenuity excess gets offensive sometimes. Farmiga's character also have no plot purposes. So, to be honest, all characters are developed to be funny and deliver witty dialogs or cringe moments all the time, but none of them does it effectively.

Seems that Gervais tried to play with all this hostage situations and be ironic about the media sensationalism over it, making media becomes what they they are supposed to be all the time, the main character, while the victims become the supporting ones of a huge spectacle.

But the fact is that none of that works, maybe because the commitment of it all was to take things to the limit, getting lost on its own purposes.

Watch it was like running in the desert. At the end I was tired, thirsty, with no objectives ahead and my brain was like fried eggs.

8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Netflix and Chelsea, great partnership..., 8 February 2016

Chelsea Does is a completely standout escape from what she is known to do. When compared to Uganda Be Kidding Me (2014), also produced by Netflix, Chelsea Does is a major breakthrough in a career of someone who now states to be more mature and aware of her position in the world than before, someone who is now "thinking globally and acting globally".

She takes some issues to discuss them using informality and also self analysis with a great "in between" development. That's why every episode begins in a dinner table with friends and goes thru a more introspective feeling with her personal therapist.

In fact, Chelsea herself does not have much to say. She takes those issues for self-knowledge also clarifying the audience about them by different point of views. Who actually have things to say are the people she invites to debate those themes using the democratic principle, which is: they are free to promote their own ideas or counteract her openly. That principle avoids her from personal judgments most of the times, giving people opportunity to state their opinions the same way she is able to do, confronting them healthily and respectfully even when sometimes seems impossible.

When developing the marriage theme - the first episode - she makes clear to have never cared for it and find difficulty understanding why is it so important in our modern society. At the same time she cannot hide her frustration to be single at her 40's because we have this strong cultural pressure around making us conditioned to accept marriage and fidelity as a goal and a true commitment even when sometimes it's not. It doesn't mean that every marriage is faded to fail and she does not analyze it that way. She knows that there are difficulties in the process and that they can do work, as it did with her parents. What she wants to know is why people are so obsessed by it.

The same tone is approached about technology, wondering all the time how is the relationship between a generation born with few resources and those ones who are born within electronic gadgets.

But undoubtedly the highlights are the last two episodes, which manages the difficult task of balancing both themes between seriousness and humor without turning them into tools for clichéd jokes, as it usually happens.

Chelsea confronts some disgusting individuals about racist matters respectfully. What she does do with those people is let them state their thoughts because their position neglecting any human rights existence becomes a huge rope around their own necks.

She realizes that the more they say the worse it gets and more embarrassing is for no one but themselves. The man who supports the barrier between United States and Mexico, comparing Mexicans to burglars and thieves (especially after claiming to have Mexican people in his family), or listening another one comparing black people to tractors, or a woman stating that there were good consequences with slavery, it's atrocious. At these moments Chelsea uses her sarcasm like knives cutting their throats and they don't even notice that. That's subtle, and that's what she does best.

When talking about drugs, that may sound apologetic, but on the contrary, she proves to be a person who is fully aware of what they are and how her body reacts to them. Her intention is to enlighten its use in the matter of recreational or experimental purposes. That's what she does when undergoing a spiritual session with ayahuaska, or when mixing some other drugs under professional supervision. She wants her reactions to be recorded so we can witness that the indiscriminate and uninformed use of drugs is extremely dangerous.

The episodes have an interesting progression. At first seems that she is just a self centered celebrity who likes to talk about her achievements to preserve the identity of a wealthy influential successful woman who suddenly decided to take herself seriously.

The series starts with themes that seems unimportant but suddenly it proves to be completely the opposite when socio-cultural complexities comes to surface. It becomes obvious how her consciousness about things and herself also changes and improves during the process, like when she is with a group of social representatives in the third episode, and one states that her jokes can be racist even when she believes it's not. Their point makes her finally understand how unaware she was about it and that those jokes actually can still hurt people, races and cultures when analyzed through a wider scope. That is truly the turning point of the series, because from that on Chelsea goes away from her celebrity persona and approaches herself closer to an ordinary human being that lives in a culture so absorbed by racism and prejudice that cannot even notice when it happens. And that's when her perception about things change. That's when our first impression of the show becomes an incredible part of her whole maturity process.

And with the last episode she ends this important modifying path with perfection, finally expressing her fragility, undressing herself emotionally in a way she has never done before and never allowed herself to. For several moments we laugh a lot, but we also feel extremely moved. Chelsea knew how to choose the right people to talk about important issues by the easiest and most affordable way as possible. Either with humor or without it, above all with balance and focus.

It's not a documentary per excellence because it's clear that it is divided between situations created to help an entertainment development at the same it uses real situations to clearly justify the proposed themes. Regardless, it's an important show, especially in a time when instead of moving forward, we are going backwards on ideas and collective thoughts. Chelsea actually becomes a projection of ourselves, of those ones who need to analyze their relationship with the world.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
How to get away with so awful elements..., 13 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Really? This is not a good show.

Some people may like it, may enjoy it... it can be entertaining sometimes, but it's far away from being a good show.

It all starts from the fact that it is a very bad copy of Damages (2007- 2012) which its first and last season were amazing. Except quality, Murder has all the elements that made Damages a very interesting thing at that time. Put Annalise in Patty's role, divide Ellen Parsons into peaces then you have Annalise's five protégées. Maintain a main crime as a background element on the story, put some personal dramas and... boom. Even the flashback and flashfoward storytelling is the same.

But in Murder the quality is very poor. A classic ABC pattern to attract as much audience as they can. It's a very adult story, but constructed to attract young adults around the globe when filling the show with young actors, superficial story, dynamic edition, sex and modern pop music. By the way, the soundtrack is very invasive, playing all the time to distract people of flaws.

Annalise is a very interesting character, and Viola knows how to do it perfectly, but the actress is bigger than the show and sometimes seems that she is misplaced there because everything else does not have the same level of quality. Also, the character development may seems frustrating and sometimes you cannot believe that she is crying in the corner/bed/table/dark again. And it gets boring because every time she turns, her eyes are red and teared and then you think "HERE SHE GOES AGAIN". Get over it, Annalise!

Then you have the story itself, which is one of the worst things.

A bunch of future criminal lawyers face a self defense crime scene. 5 people that would have problems to testify that but they could surely prove their innocence during 13 episodes. But instead, they prefer burn the body, rip it into peaces and trash it, and from a self defense crime, it comes to be a nonsense premeditated murder scene. That is insanely awful. Then you have Annalise that freaks out when she discovers that her husband was having an affair. She judges his moral attitudes forgetting that in the very first episode she was having an affair too. Then she suffers with the loss of her husband, but she also decides to help the five students.

The entire development is so poor and confusing that it's hard to believe that people are claiming it an amazing show. If you watch Damages you can check that even its worst seasons can be better than Murder.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Interesting, but lost in its own ideas, 24 November 2014

The show is based on an original British series of the same name that Kim Cattrall had interest in producing an American remake since a long time. Seems that while in agreements with HBO to perform Samantha Jones in Sex And The City movies, one of Cattrall's requirements was HBO to help her produce the show. HBO found the show unviable to their American schedule, but could make it thru its Canadian subsidiary.

The 6 episodes series is about a former model and actress in a middle age crisis that works in a art gallery and is married to a writer. She is always putting herself under constantly physical self analysis when she faces that time is passing thru her eyes. That's kinda ironic because Kim Cattrall is an actress and former ex-model in her 50's and also considered one of the most beautiful actresses of her generation.

In the very beginning of the first episode, Davina is being advised about the consequences of the use of hormones. The camera angle and the character's position makes Davina looks quite fragile, very different from what we usually see about Cattrall's natural exuberance. Her last lines before the show uses its own scenes for the opening sequence is quite interesting, giving the one and only resemblance of what we so used to see about Samantha Jones, a character that is far away from any references in this show after that. At first the aspects of the show would lead us to understand it as a drama, but in fact it has a very slight dark and cringe humor, but few of them are delivered by Davina. Most of its humor is delivered by Don Mackellar's instead and other supporting ones that make some guest appearances during the episodes. Mackellar's presence makes the show itself get lost in its primary idea, and the story about a middle age woman then becomes about her and also her husband instead. The story wastes much of its time with parallel situations reducing its potentials and overshadowing Cattrall's character. Seems that Davina does not have strength to lead the show, but that's not because she is uninteresting, but because writers couldn't make her life and personal crisis interesting enough.

Takes some time to get caught by the show. In 6 episodes, more than half of it makes its supporting characters stronger than its main character, giving the impression that we are watching 2 different shows in one: one about Davina and the other one about her pathetic husband's misadventures, which is a shame, because Davina has an incredible underused depth.

It is beautifully filmed. Kim Cattrall is amazing as always, but as I said, she is overshadowed by elements that definitely should not be used to fade her, but to support. Unfortunately the show does not deliver what it promises in the very beginning of its first episode, which is the opportunity to make Kim Cattrall shines and make her character the center of a very interesting discussion about the difficulties of dealing with the pressures of society and the media about aging.

Interesting show, but lost in its own ideas.

Gone Girl (2014)
2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Not that effective..., 20 October 2014

The problem lies in the fact that Gillian Flynn tried to be extremely faithful to her own book, giving much attention to the facts and the story development rather than the layered personality of the main characters. Ben Affleck was never praised by his acting skills, and his natural apathy fits well to the character because in the book Nick is described as a guy unable to express his feelings and emotions. The movie doesn't make his personality clear enough as in the book, giving the feeling that Affleck is just delivering a bad performance, which he is not. Only those who did read the book will understand that no matter how low skilled Ben Affleck is as an actor, the character is exactly like that.

Rosamund Pike does an incredible job mainly in the moments when those ones who did read the book will understand the real meanings of her looks and actions. In other words, the actress knew well the original material and exactly what she was doing, but the movie doesn't succeed or matters to explain her magnificent intelligence as described in the book. When Flynn and Fincher finally try to come to terms with it, it is too late and ineffective.

The film editing never achieves the same magnificence of some of Fincher's latest movies. The dialogs and the conflicts between characters aren't fluid as in the book. Fincher cuts it all the time like a soap opera discussion, making a table tennis with the cameras for meaningless and unnatural reasons. The same about the music. Although Reznor and Ross composed an amazing score that sounds naive, relaxing and at the same time creepy, for sure it is used effectively to distinguish the different times set, but it doesn't quite intensifies some dreadful moments, sometimes sounding more invasive rather than an important scene composition.

I did like the story development, which is the same as in the book, and the other characters are pretty interesting. Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Margo (Carrie Con) steal most of the scenes. The amazing thing for me is that the actors chosen, the scenography and locations are mostly exactly as I imagined when reading the book and that makes clear how rich is Flynn's description even being a 1st person narrative.

It's a fair adaptation, but far away to be one of Fincher's best movies. For me he is so desperate to make another huge thriller that he is not making movies for fun and pleasure anymore. He did not find yet a material to make him passionate to work on like he did with Se7en or Fight Club. He is obvious unfocused, shooting everywhere to eventually hit the target and accomplish his mission. All the acclaimed reception are mainly because Fincher is always overestimated. They did the same with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and people later discovered that his adaptation wasn't that good at all when compared to the Swedish version. Even being well developed Gone Girl lacks of important subtle details that make the main characters so rich and full of tricky personalities (they also forgot, for example, Nick's sarcasm and self depreciation). A book so rich in words and description that were underused in the movie. When compared to Fight Club and the impressive way Fincher reveals what was obviously clear but we could not see, we know that he could have used different and more elaborated ways to reveal important facts. That doesn't happen even in the most important turning moment of the story, a moment that in the book is shocking because it is unexpected and the movie delivers it in the most ordinary and unsurprising way.

Maybe all the few things that keeps the movie away from its glory is about Flynn's inexperience as a movie writer since this is her first movie writing work, but also feels like Fincher wasn't passionate for it anyway and he just delivered an ordinary hired work.

"Stalker" (2014)
18 out of 59 people found the following review useful:
Scream disguised, 7 October 2014

Few years ago rumors popped everywhere stating that Scream franchise would have its own TV show. The pilot episode would be written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. The pilot in fact was announced but it never came true.

Now we have a new TV show also created by Kevin Williamson and the pilot episode starts as a classic Scream movie. Pretty girl arriving home, phone rings for the first time, phone rings for the second time. Some scares here and there and then the criminal shows itself masked and then pretty girl is brutally killed. Yeah... a classic horror moment that Williamson reinvented in the 90's, but it doesn't work anymore.

As another reviewer said, the show mistakes stalkers with serial killers in another regular crime scene drama show that never delivers something fresh or special. Bringing Dylan McDermont to an unsympathetic character that all the time makes awful jokes wasn't quite what I was expecting and Maggie Q gives a performance as average as entire show. Also, the pilot episode makes clear that each episode will have an individual story and that is boring as hell because most of the shows are like that.

Stalker is a Scream series disguised. If the show was called Scream, at least we would know exactly what to expect. Awful.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Caught by surprise, 9 September 2014

I can assure you that I'm the last person on earth to watch a Michael Bay movie and for that I don't need to go any further about how much I love him. So, when I saw his name in the first minutes of the pilot credits I almost turned it off. I gave it a try because he is the producer, and not the director.

I was caught by surprise. I just watched the show because I'm a huge fan of Rhona Mitra and I've been following her career since when she was an official Lara Croft model back in the 90's. I was again surprised when after watching a few episodes I discovered that the show became a summer hit for TNT channel. Rhona deserves that and also the show.

Even being considered by all specialized media one of the worst directors alive (and I totally agree) we can't deny Bay's experiences with massive audiences, and of course that as a producer he would know when to reuse the same formula he's been using for decades to conquer his audience. All his famous elements are there: heroic attitudes, empowering characters, overstated patriotism, abuse of emotional score during dramatic/patriotic/heroic scenes, great explosions/chasing/fighting and huge threats that can extinguish an entire place/city/continent/humanity.

Putting aside all the Michal-Bay-factor, the show is very good by itself. The acting is average, but that is not a problem because they are very well developed, and the way that each one of them relates to the others is very interesting and believable. The great thing about the show lays on its technical qualities like production design, sound mixing, editing and writing. Every single episode has at least two thrilling moments and the story only grows as it unfolds. The writers did a nice job making the facts happen at the right times without rolling too long. But for me, the best thing was its grand finale, revealing the real villains and heroes out there and that the disease itself means nothing when compared to human interests. And I'm not spoiling anything by that.

For sure the show was able to captivate a huge audience that is now excited about its future and eager for the second season that promises (and I hope) to be better than the first.

17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Poorly developed, 7 September 2014

Hossein is the same writer of amazing films such as "Wings Of The Dove" (1999) and "Drive" (2011), but at the same time he contributed to some not so amazing ones like "Snow White and The Huntsman" (2012) and the weak "47 Ronin" (2013). So chances were quite good that the production qualities would be somewhat uncertain, even being based on Patricia Highsmith's novel, the same author of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999), amazingly adapted by Anthony Minghella and one of the finest movies of his career.

After Minghella's adaptation, which was praised by everyone for its outstanding visual and technical qualities, and his skills to develop the story as a captivating and progressive dramatic thriller, also including a character that does not exist in the book that instead of negatively change the course of the story only increased the hitchcockian tone he gave to the plot, Hollywood didn't produced anything like that since then.

When people watch the trailer of "The Two Faces of January" some honorable resemblances to Minghella's adaptation of Highsmith's Ripley will pop, and strong comparisons will be inevitable. That's what I felt, so my expectations were high. The attempts to repeat the same successful formula were so evident that one of the executive producers is Max Minghella, son of the late director.

Really, the comparisons cannot be avoided, but rather to become nostalgic references or even an excellent opportunity to honor Minghella and his merits achieved by one of his greatest works, "Two Faces Of January" becomes a very frustrating experience in many aspects.

The condensed narrative, the thrilling moments involving the unknown past of each one of the characters and some key events that occur within the first half hour conducted by Alberto Iglesias music (with great references to Bernard Herrmann's in Psycho) clearly lead and prepare the viewer to a thrilling expected atmosphere. But unfortunately the robustness presented loses strength when the story achieves a shallow plateau that forgets to explore the past of each one of the characters as well as never taking truly advantage of their personal psychological conflicts as happen in the book, especially Rydal, the main character.

The title is a reference to Janus, a roman god with two faces, guardian of the transitions, doors, decisions and the beginning. One face looks to the past and the other to the future. This mythical figure represents the reckoning that Rydal is about to face and the dangerous decisions he will have to take. Also, the story take place in early January, which also means a new beginning in popular culture. In the book Highsmith makes clear those associations with the title when Rydal feels a strange and painful resemblance between Chester and his late father, and between Colette and a girl he was madly in love when a teenager. The transference he makes of these two strong figures of his life to Chester and Colette is what leads Rydal keeps himself close to them in the unconscious quest to solve his traumatic relationship with his hateful father and also try to continue an interrupted love interest he had in the past.

But in the movie, none of this fundamental matters are explored the way it should. There are only brief moments that loosely make clear Chester's resemblances to Rydal's late father but no major developments about that is given to clarify the reasons why the love-hate relationship grows so strong between them. Hossein makes it feels like all the love-hate relationship is because they share the same love interest: Colette. On the contrary of the psychological thriller that the book is, the movie makes it all a common passion crime flick, with silly police chasings, love triangle in the simplest possible way exploiting a naive Colette that does not exist, since the book makes reference to her recurring infidelity. The result is an empty movie with a trite ending that makes entire plot feels redundant rather than being Rydal's final journey in search for absolution over his most inner conflicts.

Even developing an excellent job, Viggo Mortensen has his talent wasted here because of the forgettable film that it strikingly is. Kirsten Dunst seems to not yet have learned how to be sophisticated without always look like a college student, and as always, her best moments are when her character is under pressure. Wasted are also the locations in Greece and Turkey instead of doing the same thing Minghella did when making all the exuberance within the Italian landscapes an extra mix of beauty and soft cruelty in "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Oscar Isaac has impressive moments, perhaps because he did know the original work and also that his character is much more complex than the script provided, but for the viewer that is poorly cleared thru the 96 minutes, the attitudes of his character will feel just like an empty and romantically misplaced fixation without any coherent foundation.

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A turning point in Brazilian soap operas, 9 August 2014

"Rebu" is a jargon in Brazilian Portuguese language that defines a popular commotion, a confusion within a bunch of people that may happen at indoor or outdoor places. This is a remake based on a successful original soap opera of the same name originally aired and produced in 1974 by Globo channel, the major television company in Brazil. Although called a remake, this is a completely different production updated to our present time.

The story is about a crime committed in a private party hosted by Angela Mahler, one of the richest and most important women of the country (in the original production the host was a man, Conrad Mahler) and it takes place in her isolated mansion in Rio de Janeiro city. The body is found floating in the pool at dawn and everybody in the party is a suspect because everyone knew the murdered and each of them had personal reasons and interests to be the murderer.

The original story development was a revolution and also an evolution in soap operas because it happens in a 24 hour time set that is now divided into 36 episodes (the original production had 112 episodes). It was a daring project because the main question was how to keep the audience alive for months without losing interest during a story set in a so short time with characters always in the same place and wearing the same outfits. Though a recurring format in foreign TV shows nowadays, the plot was innovative at that time and it never happened to be redone in further Brazilian soap operas since then. The story unfolds gradually, giving time to audience get to know each one of the characters and their personal stories. The tension grows as the clues lead to unveil other crimes, lies and the real nature of each one, making the title a meaningful word throughout the plot development.

For sure the remake is one of the most refined soap operas produced by Globo channel. The top notch ensemble cast and the mesmerizing production are the highlights and also a welcome breath of fresh air to the current and mature audience tired of lame stories and average productions. The entire production has been filmed with 4k technology and the director was not afraid to abuse of wide angles and long tracking shots, a bold cinematography method used by the most perfectionist directors in the world, but never used before to improve the cheap look of Brazilian ordinary soap operas. Despite the 25 minutes episodes and some clichéd acting, there are a lot of unusual great qualities that makes it a turning point to the Brazilian television dramaturgy and elevates it to a cinematic level.

Patricia Pillar (as Angela Mahler), Cassia Kis Magro (as Gilda Rezende, Angela's best friend and confident) and some of the supporting cast like Tony Ramos (as Carlos Braga, the main antagonist ), Jose de Abreu (as Bernardo Rezende, Gilda's husband), Vera Holtz (as socialite Vic Garcez), Camila Morgado (as Maria Angelica, Vic's daughter) and Mariana Lima (as Roberta Camargo, the party promoter) are the wheels of the entire plot and the most experienced actors. Unfortunately there are those ones who pull the quality back like Dira Paes (as police officer Rosa Nolasco), who is a good actress but unfortunately lacks of an effective direction, surprisingly giving a lame performance full of clichéd mannerisms to appear tough and reasonable, but never achieving the excellence of the already mentioned great cast.

Anyway, as said before, for so many great qualities, this makes "O Rebu" one of the most noticeable soap operas to date and also a turning point in Brazilian television dramaturgy that needs to be taken as primary example in further productions by Globo channel.

"Looking" (2014)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Another relevant HBO original, 5 June 2014

Most of the shows that tell stories about gay men usually are abusive with the clichés. Of course that HBO's "Looking" couldn't be different, but what saves the entire show is that it isn't appellative at any moment like the ostentatious and unrealistic porn-ish Queer As Folk, a show that unfortunately dictated somehow the gay culture because they used stereotyped characters as examples of what an utopian gay world should be in the future... and that future for the show is: countless friends with benefits, party at Babylon every night, drugs, riped muscles and six pack abs. All of that became reality when audience itself did start acting and pretending to be as those awful under constructed characters and their surreal fantasies. And if you are claiming right now that I am wrong, look around you for yourself.

HBO takes its philosophy serious again taking real interests, facts and situations and placing them properly into a show. So even Looking be dealing with clichéd situations so far, the acting is real as well as the situations and the interests. You are not forced to believe on what is happening, you just take it as believable because the tone is coherent to what the characters are living at that moment and place.

Of course that the three main characters are stereotypes of what we usually see in gay culture: the nerd and naive one that is single and looking hopelessly for someone; the beard one that has an open relationship and is looking for a true meaning in life; and the narcissistic metrosexual that is worried about his 40's and looking to be a successful chief... Which means that, unlike most people might think, this show isn't about people looking for encounters, this is all about looking for something in a very competitive place as San Francisco, from encounters to epiphanies.

We never know how this three different characters became long time friends, as well as we never knew how Carrie Bradshaw became friends with her gals in the original Sex And The City series, but we stop caring about that when the show starts to get its way, growing gradually among the episodes. Once again the best thing of the show is that it never forces the audience to accept their friendship because they are not inseparable, and what holds the episodes is their lives individually.

Eight episodes isn't enough to give a fair review about the show, but what is fair to say is that its few episodes gave it opportunity to conquer its place and become a high level one promising more relevant and interesting issues for next season more than casual sex and workout tips that we use to see everywhere. The ensemble cast calls its audience's attention because they know exactly what they are doing and they clearly are doing it to make it right.

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