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9/10
Intriguing and amusing just as Machado de Assis works
16 June 2019
Machado de Assis is a writer whose works either being novels or short stories are all foccused on subtle movements and details, and also for being artistic and complex works that is more concerned in providing more questions to readers than actually giving some form of answer. That's a fact that can anger readers or it can make them more intrigued - this device is more present in the novels rather than in the short stories. In "A Missa do Galo" ("Rooster's Mass") everything looks so simple yet it is quite intimidating, subtle, mysterious to the point of making you anxious in knowing what's the real deal and what's gonna happen next. I haven't read the short, only got a brief description about the plot which sort of ruined my view from this short film... but in a way it was better that this happened because it made the film more accessible and I could compare both medias based on the informations I had and what the film presented.

Nelson Pereira dos Santos'film adaptation of the tale has the same basis but it goes in a different way. The teeange Nogueira (Olney São Paulo Jr.) is a country boy visiting his uncle (Nildo Parente) in Brazil's capital during Christmas time. His most expected event of the evening is to watch the mass of which he believes it'll be a spectacular event compared to what he had seen back in his hometown. The movie opens with those characters, along with with the uncle's wife Conceição (Isabel Ribeiro), her mother (Elza Gomes) and a friend of the family (Sergio Otero) who got promoted to work with the uncle. Dinner's over and the master of the house decides to go to the theater on Christmas Eve - quite strange and others get suspicious but as Conceição's mother tells her the man isn't going there, he's gonna visit a mistress.

Everyone's gone from the room except for Nogueira, who anxiously awaits for the midnight hour to go to the mass. He's all alone just reading his book when he is joined by the uncle's wife who is sleepless. That's the core of the film: their lone company in the room which goes from conversations on literature, dreams and what appears to be an incredible sense of desire and love they try to show to one another; there's something in the air they can't exactly quite put their finger on it. Santos film removes the narrator's figure (which is Nogueira as an older man telling about an event from his youth) and makes it all more mysterious in making the audience think what's the real intentions of the main characters. Machado would be proud of this film, and I think he would say it was an improvement from what he wrote since in a final analysis, despite being different medias, the way each artist worked the effect was the same in creating some suspense, some tenderness, presenting a plot twist (it revolves around other character, I won't spoil for you) and at the end we're both asking ourselves about the possibilities and outcomes of that lovely encounter in between aunt and nephew. And bear in mind that the ultimate goal is conquered but the surprise along the way is what changes Nogueira's life and his view of people and the world.

"A Missa do Galo" is also worthy seeing due to its impecable art-direction recreating the early 1890's with great precision despite being a minor production filmed in just one location (and for 1980's standards is really impressive) and the amazing acting of main stars Isabel Ribeiro and the young Olney São Paulo Jr. - who vanished from screen after this, a pity since he had a very captivating and spiritual presence, playing this confident and bright teen, very eloquent and wise for someone with a tender age. Both actors chemistry is fantastic, very delighful and filled with nuances and subtle moves and gestures from the words they say or the things they don't say which makes us imagine what goes on through their heads...but their faces reveal a lot more to the point of leaving viewers anxious for their next act. A fine piece of filmmaking. 9/10
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9/10
A very thoughtful report that almost vanished from view
11 June 2019
João Batista de Andrade's documentary on infamous and dangerous criminal Wilsinho Galiléia is a true finding that managed to survive time and become one of the greatest films ever made in Brazil. It was a TV project for TV in one of many episodes of Globo Repórter - for those who know the show, it was a lot different back in its first years since it allowed a combination of journalism with re-enactments by actors instead of the usual nature/health/social issues topics of our current days, all beautifully filmed and without acting. One broadcast was enough for the military regime confiscate the film and block subsequential views due to its violent nature and its criticism that authorities either were doing anything effective to catch the guy or when they did it was a whole set up that brutally murdered him instead of arresting him - and this was back when the system was slowly rehearsing a return to democracy. It was ressurected in the early 2000's (can't remember if a copy was found by the director or was one was found hidden somewhere; all I know is that many critics hailed it as a masterpiece, a hidden gem that could stand on the same level as many feature films or documentaries that received major releases).

Wilsinho Galiléia was a young cruel murderous car theft that was extremely brutal to his victims. As mentioned earlier, the documentary mixes real actors with testimonies from people who knew the 18 year-old criminal - like neighbours and members of his family (mother and brothers) - and re-enactments of his crimes with actors: Galiléia is played by Paulo Eudes (a weird casting since the actor looks like a 30 year-old then a 18 year-old). And it was filmed on a cinema-verité style that seems highly factual through the whole time because the acting feels convincing for most of the time; though some of the family's testimonies seems staged at times - so it's like the fiction became facts and the facts became fiction. Interesting fusion.

Andrade's film is a tragic trip to the memory lane of a different era and a reminder that the criminal types were few compared with today, they always had their minutes of fame but always paid some price. It reflects about not just issues of criminality, methods of murder, it's also an extended look on poverty and how it all affects - in some cases - the outcome of one person become marginalized. Wilsinho's mother was a figure worthy of pity. Taking care of five boys along, working hard to provide the best she could and with the resources she had and then...seeing one by one become criminals, murderers, jailed either in juvenile facilities or later on prisons. The horror and tragedy of wasted lives, not just that family, but specially their victims who were robbed and deprived of their lives just because the weak social/economical situation of an angry majority is a key factor for the violence a more fortunatue minority suffered. Never a justification, it's always a thought on how things really are. Powerful film. 9/10
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10/10
Remembering Fernando Ramos da Silva
11 June 2019
"Pixote, A Lei do Mais Fraco" is one of the greatest Brazilian films ever made and a true classic that crossed barriers that conquered audiences all around the world, getting widespread acclaim in between critics and awards as well - a Golden Globe nomination as Best Foreign Film was its highest peak - and providing director Hector Babenco with a career in Hollywood with films such as "Kiss of the Spider Woman", "Ironweed" (both received Oscar nominations and William Hurt won an Oscar for the first film). What "Pixote" also gave us was a group of non-professional young actors in the major roles acting next to veterans like Marília Pêra, Jardel Filho and Rubens de Falco; and among those young talents there was Fernando Ramos da Silva playing the leading role of a street kid involved in all sorts of crimes and violent acts. Ramos was a poor kid, so he merely had to recreate things he witnessed, how his life were back in the slums of Diadema but he also got some training to become a great performer. Sadly, after the film he was typecast for criminal roles, and only appeared in handful of films in minor roles and one soap-opera, later on quitting acting and returning to a life of crimes that ultimately claimed his life at age 19 during a shootout with the police.

20 years after his death, "Pixote, In Memoriam" pays a tribute to Fernando, his involvement with the film and also about his tragic last years. Interviews with Babenco, major cast members and even the other three kids - who lived in similar conditions as Fernando - appear in the film (to me, it was the most fascinating aspect of the film even though only the performer of Lilica kept acting on plays while the other two were still living in poverty, but with honest jobs. The encounter between the two was really tearful); and there's also the presence of world fans of "Pixote" such as Spike Lee, Julian Schnabel and Nick Cave - who ] dedicated one of his albums to Fernando. All thoughtufl testimonies and interesting tellings about Babenco's casting process and how Fernando was cast, initially turned down but he managed to conquer Babenco and his casting directors to its impressive eyes and expressions.

This is more about the legacy and the sad ending of Ramos da Silva; this is about a reflection and an examination on how life imitates art and vice-versa. Here we had a child that lived on poverty, didn't have much opportunities in life then one knocked on his door - though playing an initially innocent child that turns into a life of crimes - he succeeds with it but life closed the doors on him after just offering the same kinds of roles when one wants to escape a reality he already lives each day; and he also lost interest in acting, quit studying and performing in community plays and then...he's robbing again. The question one may asks is what kind of turn Fernando could have give to his life? To accept the roles he was offered and see if they'll change? To insist in a career he loved and push harder in order to get different roles? Or one is condemned for life to never get out from one's past? His ultimate death proved the latter but with worst consequences.

We'll always remember him fondly, for his true nature, fine acting and great with improvisations. In the most Neo-Realist classic of Brazilian cinema, it's that final image of him walking down the train tracks that will always stick in our minds.
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8/10
The indifference of the human condition
10 June 2019
Humanity and decency should be what could make us being the better version of ourselves. To have compassion, to be capable of acts of love, sharing, providing for the less fortunate ones, to care about those in pain, suffering or those without having the proper means to sustain their lives. But the more the eras and decades go by, we become more and more careless, becoming more and more indifferent to human suffering by closing ourselves in our little worlds. It's the era of immediatism, the era of intolerance and the struggle of social/economical classes; or worst: the era in we feel pleasure with other people's tragedy. From pre-historical times to Biblical times and going to possible 200 years road ahead, the story was always the same. Written in the late 1800's by famed author Machado de Assis the short story "A Causa Secreta" presents the torments, the lack of decency and morality of a small group of characters who go through an 180-degree in their lives while going from being helpful towards one another to later discover they're capable of acts of cruelty from which they obtain some form of pleasure.

A brief summary from the short story which has its way to become the movie: a medicine student helps out an injured man and they become friends. Both happen to be medical doctors and they join forces to build a clinic. All is fine until the latter presents his wife to his new friend, who falls in love for the woman but only happens to a higher degree when she is revealed to be sick. The injured man turned friend is revealed to be someone who is helpful towards people yet he's also a sadistic man who finds some fulfillment while torturing a poor rat - such fact is seen by his savior. And that is "A Causa Secreta" ("The Secret Cause").

Sérgio Bianchi's film revolves around the short story but goes a little further in adapting the story to the 1990's reality (not much different from our current era). In it, a theatre director (Renato Borghi) decides to make a play based on that story but this time only using the foundations of it, without having a script and asking for his actors to make researches everywhere in order to consolidate an artistic treaty on the human condition and its indifference towards each other. The three leading actors from the play are played by José Rubens Chachá (as the medicine student Garcia), Cláudia Mello (as Maria Luisa) and Rodrigo Santiago (as Fortunato, the sadistic doctor). The other members of the play are background actors; an annoying female art-director and a young property master (Alexandre Patersnot) - the latter being an object of desire from the latter character and from Cláudio (who plays Fortunato).

The story's core comes the laborary experiences faced by the whole theatre group - which also includes the director's incursion in trying to get the play's budget from bureacratic officials in the government. Meanwhile, the actors visit a hospital; an AIDS homecare built for those who don't have access to a better health care; an animal institute; and conversation in between themselves about class struggle, poverty, misery at the same time when it seems that they care about those issues they ignore when it happens in front of them: like when the director sees a man hitting a dog he yells about how mankind turned into a careless place but he's the one who is sarcastically rooting the man without going there to do stop the act; or at the same time poor children ask for food or money to eat, all the actors avoid them. The more the research evolves, the more the group distant themselves from each other with fights after fights and disastrous rehearsals and improvisations.

Now, here's a movie that could be a brilliant, great piece of filmmaking but it only becomes good due to some erratic choices with either the casting or the acting itself from some actors. Most of them overreact, too noisy and I couldn't care about because they were trying to be too passionate about a cause their characters were defending but it all sounded strange. The only ones who made the movie interesting were Rodrigo Santiago, who steals the show as being the most observing of the actors troupe and little by little, he becomes exactly like the character in the play (the scene with the rat is unwatchable. Necessary for the film's development though); and Alexandre Patersnot on his film debut - his character goes through lots of painful ordeals yet he's not an actor in the play; but he's the one who goes through more experiences to become part of the play and one who's only interested in doing his job.

As for the screenplay I think it is one of the finest in Brazilian cinema. It has moments of satire, intertwines its storyline with a dark short story, it has moments of drama and comedy but it's all tragedy. As for the movie's speech it may falter a little bit with some audiences since it may look as if the film isn't revealing anything new about the dark side of the human condition. It opens and almost closes with the very same image that is reflected on the play/short story but with different contexts. All we know is that people just don't care. And why should they? Human decency was made for people with a conscience and that theatre group didn't have any. So how they could succeed in making such a story to get applauded by an audience? "The Secret Cause" is not for the faint of heart or those who avoid in dealing with social issues and the disparity caused by men's cruelty and ignorance. Thoughtful viewers enjoy it and find ways to discuss it afterwards. 8/10
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10/10
Criminally underrated and underseen
31 May 2019
More experienced viewers won't find much enjoyment or surprises in something like "Faca de Dois Gumes" ("Two Edged Knife"), it feels like something you have seen done time and again in countless cheap or even better films than this one. But this one always stuck in my mind as one of the most efficient and thrilling suspense films ever made in Brazil - specially in a time where the Brazilian was at the brink of collapse. After years trying to find it, I finally got another watch and it was a lot better than what I had remembered. In its second film, Murillo Salles turns this adaptation of Fernando Sabino's novel into a spectacle that is almost flawless, edgy and well-acted by the whole cast. You will be glued to the chair, sofa or bed for a long ride that I can assure you, it can beat any Hollywood flick with a similar theme.

The outstanding Paulo José gives another incredible performance, this time as the wealthy lawyer Jorge Bragança, happily married with Vera (Ursula Canto) and living with Cuca (Pedro Vasconcelos), his son and her rebelious stepson. The first turn of events comes when Jorge's business partner at the law firm (Flávio Galvão) arranges him a trip to São Paulo - to later find out the idea is keep him away while he can have an affair with Jorge's wife. An enraged husband would do the obvious, in what old days used to defend his honor: catch them both on bed, kill them and get away with murder. He plans all carefully, succeeds it inventing a robbery but... as complicated plots tend to go he won't have has way because of a) a suspicious detective (José de Abreu, brilliant) is on his way; b) the business partner vanished with a large sum of dollars from dangerous people and they think Jorge has it - so the threat goes back to him; and c) the partner's wife (Marieta Severo) is also receiving threats from those guys and her important rich father (José Lewgoy) doesn't seem to care all that much. To make matters worse it all comes down Jorge needs to get a money he didn't it existed and avoid his son gets involved in such deep waters...which is almost impossible.

What gets me the most is the inner conflict faced by Paulo José's character. He doesn't strike me as the murderous type; it's an impulse, an urge that has to be fulfilled yet he's completely brilliant in doing the killings, no mistakes made and even had alibis for it (though there were some flaws on the way, maybe a script problem.); then he manages to fool the authorities but he fails to plan better his next moves when all goes downhill and he's up against a wall that he cannot climb or find holes to crawl in. But you can sense his torment, his anguish in trying to run against time to solve everything and get away alive and not risk anyone's lives. Gotta love those stories. I felt immersed through it all though after two views I cannot buy the very final scene - it feels half baked. A nice plot twist but far from real, it might upset viewers who went through a rollercoaster of emotions, kidnappings, threats, body counts and then...I won't reveal it. And there was some other resolution that never came and I was let down a little - won't complain much about it because that one felt realistic. However, through the whole experience you won't feel bored, cheated or not impressed. It's heart-pounding, not one wasted moment and it's something to be seen.

As I said, Paulo José makes the film an outstanding piece but gotta say that everyone involved was truly fascinating, without any false note. But I gotta praise the young Pedro Vasconcelos as the rebel/smart Cuca in his very first and only film acting (to date). I remember him from many TV series/miniseries (most notably "O Portador" where he played a drug addict) and he always plays good troublemakers. There's something about him you can't forget him - yes, he goes through a lot of pain in this one - and for a young actor he was truly good. I recently discovered that he doesn't act anymore but he turned out to be a TV director managing many series for TV Globo. His scenes were the most thrilling to see; along with the ones from José Lewgoy, the eternal villain from the 1950's films. He looks frail but always exhales plenty of power and disdain. Abreu as the detective was a delight to see, almost in a funny way but never in an over-the-top way...it was the right measure.

Salles direction and editing were quite balanced; I just found the music quite intrusive at times and unfitting. But he assembled an excellent group of actors, got himself a high quality script that even when it misses the mark you don't feel completely bothered. As for Jorge's revenge and plot, it makes the viewer wonder: was it all worth it? It's more than just a thriller; it's a thought-provoking work, and those hardly ever fail. 10/10
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7/10
A not much nostalgic way to look at the important. But there's evolution
31 May 2019
A traditional Italo-Brazilian neighborhood Bexiga, along with Belém, Brás and Mooca, was an important industrial place that in the earliest years of 20th Century attracted many businesses, an united community and was highly regarded back in those days. Lately, it's the place best remembered for having the best pizza joints of São Paulo. But in the late 1960's and throught out the 1970's Bexiga has fallen down when its most influent residents moved to better places, a government crisis that closed down many companies and what was left was a poor neighborhood, with empty spaces later occupied by poor or homeless people. "Bexiga, Ano Zero" ("Bexiga, Year Zero") brings back (briefly) the importance it had in São Paulo's economy, its evolution and then sad downfall. And as I usually like to do, an update: it's no longer a decadent place as it used to be but it's far from being what used to be in its inception: a place that welcome jobs, nice housing places and a place where neighbors and kids got together to have nice chats on the street and play all the time they wanted.

Despite mentioning about economical and political crisis of its then era (1970's), those films were comissioned by the government itself, yes, the military regime. By those films I mean a trilogy designed to present three neighborhoods depicted in a famous 1930's short stories collection composed by António de Alcântara Machado named "Brás, Bexiga and Barra Funda" (the latter place, if it has a short film made I wasn't available to find. I wrote about "Brás"). And I've found "Bexiga, Year Zero" really sadder and depressive than Brás because unlike that place, Bexiga was downtrodden, emptied out almost like a ghost city while Brás has become a overcrowded place that still offered places to live, plenty of jobs to provide to people from all over the country - lately, even foreigners had small businesses in there. It's a mess to walk and live there but it has something to offer. Bexiga - though I don't know all that much - took some awful time to regain momentum and become a nice place to live or go visit. Seeing those abandoned houses, all objects left or shattered, and people going through those houses and buildings was just a sad reminder of a time when things were at its worst. But that's Brazil, progress and disintegration come hand and hand from time to time. Those are hard times for everyone and that kind of view is most likely to happen whatever place whether being in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or elsewhere...but we'll overcome. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it...that's the lesson I could get from this documentary. It's not a film to like. It's a film to remember the values and life we used to have when communities are united despite its differences, how things can all fall down if we don't take a proper care or if we have the support our powers of be. Watch and learn. 7/10
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7/10
The rise and (slightly) fall of the Martinelli Building
31 May 2019
Ugo Giorgetti's "Rua São Bento, 405" is a lot more than an important and special cultural point of São Paulo's downtown, the heart of the city: it reveals about what is located on that street, the Martinelli building, Brazil's first skyscraper and one of the tallest ones in South America for a long time - it has been surpassed over the years but still remains as one of the most fascinating and most beautiful cultural buildings in São Paulo. It's architecture is jawwdropping considering its time. However, Giorgetti's film is more about a downer phase of the place than its huge importance when of its construction in the 1930's.

One of its owners/designers Ítalo Martinelli briefly appears to reflect about the buildings real intention as having a commercial/banks and stuff and also as the Martinelli's family residence at the very top - and even included other tenants who had some form of high means to live there. But came the 1970's and the city infrastruture and economical crisis forced the government to take over the building and evict its tenants - and by that time, the place wasn't occupied by the wealthy industrials and the banks of São Paulo; they moved to higher and better places. Who stayed there then? It only had people who barely had means to be there but somehow they got there, one can almost say Martinelli building has become a place that was invaded. We have the time to see those folks share their stories, their ways of means without having a proper care since the location was at its worst level.

I don't have much of an opinion on why one should see this movie or not except for curious facts about São Paulo's decade and the poor level that cultural landmark got to; but as an update: the place is still there, it can be visited by anyone during exhibits sponsored by a bank so you go all the way to the top and the see the whole landscape of the city downtown from Paulista Avenue spots to the Sé Square and other places (I used to work near the building, right around the corner but as of 2019, I still haven't find the time to go all the way up...and that's a thrilling view as I could glimpse from a magazine some years ago since it was recently re-opened. It went through some hard times, it took some private investments to save it from being another important place that went downhill (the most famous example here was a huge apartment complex nicknamed Treme Treme, along the line of "Shake Shake", which was so poorly cared over the years that city hall decided to take it down and demolish for good).

Giorgetti is probably the most significant directors to capture São Paulo and its places either doing documentaries or feature films such as "Sábado". He covers with detail the façades of the building and its then decadent interiors. For the curious of hearts in seeing a special location of the city, even though it wasn't on its best ways. 7/10
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Brás (1973)
9/10
An insight on Brás
22 May 2019
António de Alcântara Machado wrote a remarkable book called "Brás, Bexiga e Barra Funda" which dealt with those three important places in São Paulo during the Italian immigration in the early 1900's, some real stories about how people evolved in those places and some funny anedocted as well. In the 1970's the state's government comissioned short films about those exact places in their current state (1970's); and of those I could only find two, the one from Barra Funda I can't say if it was made or not. "Brás, narrated by the great late actor Armando Bógus was the best of its kind and the one I can evaluate better since it's a place I know best and live near (as of now). It tells about its early promising beginnings and the then striking evolution.

Like many major places in São Paulo's downtown, Brás was founded by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century where they brought industries and business that are still present there today - thought not completely in works. Fabrics, steel work and food industry all came from them and the place flourished as one of the best places to create business and find work. By the late 1960's, with many administration changes and government crisis here and there Brás wasn't so appealing to its founders - already established in other places - so, what's left was plenty of abandoned places and the ones who resisted had to count with labor force coming from other Brazilians coming from the Northeast, all people desperate to find a new way of life outside their home. They flocked by the thousands and went on to work on construction sites or the same jobs already existing; difference being that they lived in poor conditions or places they could afford since the price for living there were really cheap - but the old constructions such as the Matarazzo's industries were still there, though not operating fully due to a family dispute when the old baron has died (the film doesn't mention them, I'm just mentioning so you can form a wider view of how places like Brás, Belém had disintegrated very fast). But as the movie states, the outsiders from other states found their way, got their underpaid jobs and managed to keep their culture and traditions thorough parties and events located near Brás train station.

And Brás is a place that always keeps on changing. For the past years, the new arrivals and workers consists of African refugees and other poor Brazilian who sell clothes, objects and stuff occupying whole sidewalks and corners, and everyone who wants to buy things for a cheap price must come down there and face the crowd - which is huge to the point is barely possible to walk down there. So, why this movie is important to me? I got a glimpse of what was the idealist past; then move to a different reality that seems close to the current one and see how some things never change through the years. Obviously the nostalgia factor also hits me in seeing Brás at a time I haven't live and comparing it to how it is now it changed very little: the old constructions are still there; the train station is a matter of shame as being one of the most busiest ever (scary walking around there; the movement never stops) but the multitude of cultures, languages and works never change. I guess one can say Alcântara Machado would feel completely lost with the current Brás (or even Bexiga as well, which got downhill over the years) and probably would write something less humurous than his famous short stories collection. 9/10
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8/10
Rise and fall of Campos Eliseos
22 May 2019
"Campos Elíseos" presents the rise and fall of one of the most important places in downtown São Paulo. It started as a cosmopolitan place in the early 20th century, merging a large place (currently it's divided in several parts ranging from four or more neighborhoods) composed by Italian immigrants or wealthy families and there were several of important locations such as this huge church located on Alameda Glete (still existing and very well conserved), big mansions and historical points. But as São Paulo's population started to grew with the inclusion of migrants from all different states from Brazil the place lost its charm and important to become a place where poverty, abandon, criminality and drugs became a main thing - by the 1970's it was known as Boca do Lixo ("Trash's Mouth") and marginality took over - well, many Brazilian B movies from the late 60's and early 70's where filmed there and it reflected how life was in those bars, streets, brothels and such.

That was then and this is now: a huge chunk of the Campos Elíseos is somewhat highly regarded, there are parts where there's development, fancy apartments and businesses though it still feels undervalued because the other side, there are slums and near the Luz train station has become one of the worst spots to be around: Cracolândia (Crackland) where hundreds of crack or other drug users are gathered in the surroundings of that train station and it's complete mayhem where one cannot walk along there at any hour because you're gonna get mugged or feel scared, fearing some possible threat. I used to work near there, taking a bus that crossed that place and it was a pitiful, frightening sight to see. And don't think for one second authorities and government can move one iota to move them out of there - when they did a couple of years ago, they gathered to a park near there and only caused more trouble with riots, bonfires and blocking streets. For a brief moment, there was a rehabilitation program from city hall to recover those addicts by giving them work and a shelter but few were the ones who accepted it.

For me seeing this film was an opportunity to glimpse a reality that despite being sadder than what Campos Elíseos really intended to be and was, it works as a nostalgic way to see São Paulo in a more organized fashion when criminality wasn't so rampant and it gives me a dreamy sensation that with investment and care things wouldn't become what it is today. Considering the addresses presented there I know that it isn't the whole place that got deteriorated, it's just a chunk; but São Paulo's idealist Champs Elysée (Campos Elíseos means that) never reached its full potential. One of the major points comes from a popular criminal from the place, a guy who knew everyone and everything about the place. He doesn't talk much about his own story (all rambling to me) but from a research I did, he was killed hit by a car in 1984 while trying to contain two friends who were fighting each other. Where did that happened? Right in those streets of Campos Elíseos. 8/10
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Ashe '68 (2018)
7/10
Sports and Activism. Arthur Ashe's important legacy
22 May 2019
1968. The year of the Vietnam era at its peak; MLK and RFK murders; black activism and then...comes this great man creating a mark not only in the world of sports but also in breaking barriers when it comes to racial affairs in America. Tennis player Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win the US Open tennis championship in 1968, trailing a successful career in the following years (beating up Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1975 was another highlight). But where's the feature film about it? Not done but there's this short film which combines animation with real actors to present the events that led to Ashe's ascent - his past before the match and the match itself (though briefly presented).

In terms of seeing what that moment meant to his career, being the only black man in a white man's club and how he never had thought of the black activism back in those early days, was fundamental in seeing his past; and then a brief moment of the match, he wins the game and things turn 180 degrees and now he's more than just a winner; he's a changed man who fought for the cause and in later years an even bigger cause - which isn't depicted in the film - as an AIDS actvist, creating a foundation with his name on it, after finding out he had the disease after a blood transfusion in the 1980's and AIDS claimed his life in 1993. What's important is that many black sportists, black artists or others Ashe was involved in the cause, cemented grounds against discrimination, not necessarily being in the battle front but being as someone who could inspire others like him to overcome their obstacles. He wasn't like O.J., who only made the name and fame but brought almost nothing to the table when it comes to a greater cause (as he said in one interview: "I'm not black, I'm O.J.".).

As for the short film, I think it should go longer and without the animated sequences; and the 1968 winning match should be the main event then focus on the importance on how it was to sports world and to the African-American community - if it was THAT important to them since baseball and basketball are sports were they are more favorable to see and appreciate. But in any case, Arthur Ashe was the one who paved the way for a higher inclusion in the tennis world. A legacy that needs to be remembered. 8/10
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9/10
To indeed be adored
4 May 2019
Don't we all? I guess so, we all want to be adored. Well, some 30 years ago The Stone Roses released their debut album and one of its hit singles was "I Wanna Be Adored", to me one of the earliest moments of Brit Pop movement that took over the 1990's with themselves being a great part of it along with Oasis, The Verve, Radiohead, The Verve and many others. Minor exaggeration of mine but I see it that way, it sounds exactly like the movement would become but fresh, early developments, baby steps. The music video here consists of band performing the song behind dark plains and mountains, slow motion movements and the lead singer lip-synching the song with the microphone way below his mouth - yet it's an iconic image. Lyrics are quite reduced and repetitive but the instruments make it more special.

I wasn't much fan of the group but through the years I started to enjoy them a lot, and this clip exactly, all mysterious and slightly sinister - the song begins in such a dark mode - hooked me up from the beginning and that became my favorite song of theirs (along with "She Bangs the Drums", also from the same album). The video's athmosphere, the visuals, the location and its simplicity conquered me and I never forgot about it. As for the song, it feels like an hymn of a generation that were crossing a decade from another and they wanted some change - enough with alienation, enough with pain and desperation, we want the blessings and joy life can bring us - we need to feel accepted, or in the highest form of praises and to quote a poet "To indeed be a god!" because only gods can be adored. So why can't we? Just my analysis that goes in contrast with the environment presented where The Stone Roses perform in this beautiful yet haunting place where one can interpret as being a heaven or some form of hell - either way, they want to be adored and without selling their souls. It's magical/spiritual stuff that you have to see it and feel it to form a whole image. That's the one I've got, and you're free to form yours. Great stuff. 9/10
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9/10
Minor clip but excellent song about a great noble cause
30 April 2019
"Empty words, empty mouths..." Yes, R.E.M. "Talk About the Passion" is a song about human poverty and famine around the world - though by the end of the clip they present facts about how much a destroyer ship costs and the sum is enough to provide food and shelter to people who don't have the means for it yet they live in the richest country on the globe. It's a powerful song, catchy despite the slight sadnesss, somewhat hopeful (in my view, at least). The video consists of showing the misery and poverty from the great American cities - New York mostly - with beggars lying on benches, people walking around the streets; lonely figures in somewhat peaceful moments.

Nothing to say, nothing to eat...world hasn't changed much since then. This song reminded me of a more hard hitting and critical song that came around the same time, "A Canção do Senhor da Guerra" ("The Lord of War's Song") by Legião Urbana. The lyrics (which came in 1985) makes the same final analysis presented at the clip's conclusion: "Why export food if the guns provide more profit on exportation?". That's the world we live, from tragedy to tragedy but someone has to profit, and it's never the needed ones. Well, as for the clip it isn't one of R.E.M.'s greatest moments - in fact, I only came to know it recently - not a classic, more memorable due to its a reflective and powerful song than for its black and white images or lack of some story. However, it makes you think about life in a different way - that's a plus. And the band does not appear in the video - a rarity. But it's great for the cause, to enlight some hearts and minds, to provide some compassion because it's not everyone who can carry the weight of the world. We must help them to ease the burden. PEACE! 9/10
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8/10
Media, politicians, outsiders from the AIDS cause...they didn't care.
30 April 2019
This one's hard to make a point or a glowing or downer review, and even more difficult to where to begin how to pinpoint the importance this short film has but on the other way how low mankind and politics can go in inhuman levels. Those know who lived the era or came to know in years to come how HIV/AIDS were treated all around the globe knows how tough and shocking it was, people simply didn't care except those who were dying from it. And most of us know how Reagan administration treated the issue back in the early 1980's - a disease that hit people and the news medias in 1981 but Mr. Reagan only mentioned it for the first time in 1985 and by then - the gay disease as it was known - had already claimed the lives of thousands of people. It's too bad this documentary doesn't show that moment the U.S. president said AIDS for the first time (all we know is that September 85 was the period a month before Rock Hudson, one of his best friends die from it and making all the headlines and then the virus became a prominent issue).

Scott Calonico's film presents a dark, sinister, cynical and uncaring part of AIDS history: the earliest press conferences by the White House related to HIV/AIDS topic. In 1982, journalist Lester Kinsolving asked then press secretary Larry Speaks on how this new disease was treated by Reagan administration. The man knew nothing, completely oblivious to the cause and when the gay community was mentioned the attendees of this conference, several reporters, kept laughing on the matter. Everything is presented through audios and images of the figures involved, mostly Speaks and Kinsolving; and the questions rise through the years while a picture of AIDS victims along with the death toll are shown in between those conferences which somehow always brings laughter in that audience: a pivotal moment is when the reporter asks if Reagan had AIDS and Speaks throws to the man "Well, do you have it?". My level of outrage was going through the roof. One simply cannot put AIDS and funny on the same sentence - well, the director used it usely and got away with it, but that was the point. 1) You wanna see what's all about and 2) You have to conclude if it is funny what went there or not. Trust me, it's not. It's enraging the level of mismanagement, indifference and not a positive word on "we're working on it", "we have a budget to cure it" or "we feel sorry about the victims". Nothing! It's all treated as a joke that only the usual status quo (then and now) would find it funny.

The film works in shaking us from our reality, to remember a time when prejudice, death sentence about an unkwnon virus and panic among population were one of the most disastrous things that ever happened in the 1980's and to see how to a minor ridicuous group of people it was the talk of the town but as a funny anedocte. As evidenced in Shilts "And the Band Played On", the level of news reports about AIDS was very limited, never on the front page and usually two or three paragraphs - except in scientific publications or gay communities papers (San Francisco and New York only). And through a research after this film, I came to know that the daring reporter Kinsolving was only interested in asking about the HIV/AIDS topic on those White House meetings just to push the politicians buttons. That man is not dedicated to the gay cause, in fact, it's quite the opposite. But we're thankful for him and his act because it brought light to the issue, it brought those haunting words in that majestic house and then they had to come up with a response...which came years too late. As for the moronic Speaks, a few years later after his press secretary tenure, he revealed that most of the time he had to come up with answers on the spot but things that could reflect Reagan's way of thought. So, there goes to show that old man didn't care about AIDS neither its victims. Come and see it. 8/10
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8/10
Nice soundtrack clip for a great film
29 April 2019
One of the original songs composed for Jim Sheridan master classic "In the Name of the Father", "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" has singer Sinéad O'Connor appearing in similar situations as presented in the film - whose major scenes are presented along with her moments. For those who don't know the picture, it tells the story of a petty thief who is wrongly imprisoned along with his father and other mates, all considered to be part of the IRA and their attack on a British pub that killed several people back in 1974. The character played by Daniel Day-Lewis suffers beatings and torture in order to confess for a crime he didn't commit, so the scenario presented with Sinéad is quite similar: she's thrown in jail then goes to confessional rooms, tied and restrained by officers by the difference is that she dubs her song in an angry and maddening matter, filled with passion. And she knows how to act too...as also demonstrated in her supporting role in Neil Jordan's "The Butcher Boy".

Well, the idea isn't all that new in mixing the song performer with the film clips but it works in a nice way. It sells the picture with great precision - though it's not my favorite song from the movie (I prefer the title track sung by Bono, which opens the movie). It's a protest, powerfully made and it works fine in seeing and remembering the movie while we feel powerless like Sinéad trying to understand the injustices of the world, mostly of that story in particular. Watch both film and clip just to form a whole perspective. 8/10
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8/10
Intense and well-made
24 April 2019
"O Santo Salvador e o Demônio" ("The Saint Savior and the Devil") is truly something special. It's images echo through my mind for a long time and how such a simple story, probably told a thousand times on other short or feature films, yet I was still amazed by it. On director's Daguito Rodrigues net profile (or YouTube, where he posted it), it is said that this film was a film college project...and for what he presented, conquered and showed to us this is one of the most impressive film students ever made. Gotta have some real nerve to film in a crowded place such as a São Paulo centre - crowded, noisy, unexpected and violent just as the situation presented in the story.

It all starts with a robber (Ricardo Leite Agostinho) who after an almost failed assault was chased by the police, entered into a bar and made hostages. When he realizes there's no escape from there since the bar's owner secretly called the cops (and then he noticed it) he takes a girl (Julia Saragoza) as his main hostage and goes into a building. He can kill her at any time but she defies him every single time even when there's a possible chance of this man rapes her. So, they get into this decaying building (the Praça da Sé surroundings has lots of places like that still now) where the elevator breaks; old and loud neighbors keep creeping in but they find an empty apartment. And that's when the story gets crazy and interesting. An old fat man pops in and we get to find that, despite the scenario of a young tormented man with a gun could kill him and the girl, that man is acquainted with the girl and they don't have a good relationship (I won't go into further details, can't spoil the enjoyment). But they hate each other, and in the girl's case more than her kidnapper - who doesn't have a clue about what's going on.

What can I say? It was brilliantly made and the main issue - and that also goes with the title - is that the person who brings you danger and harm might be your guardian angel or savior if you prefer, and the matter of chances of life (coincidences if you understand better) is always around us when we least expect. Well, it's hard to expect. It's the surprise that makes things better even when you thought the worst is yet to come. Here's a frantic, fast, tense, thrilling and reliable film experience, greatly acted by first timers (the robber was really good. Sometimes he sounds far theatrical but he makes the film. Good looking man too who developed a career later on). The thing that bothers is the ultimate scene involving real life figures, a clown doing trick on Catedral da Sé, which was off-putting and too random, I couldn't find a meaning to it. Harmless but really good. Thumbs Up! 8/10
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7/10
Gotta be a Titanic buff or have an open mind to truly enjoy this. I thought it was okay.
23 April 2019
Now here's an once in a lifetime event....just like Titanic's maiden voyage back in April 1912. And here's the kind of thing that only in the lavish and crazy 1980's could ever happen; today, the level of political correctness wouldn't allow such thing to happen, there'd be protests against the possible exhibition or even a huge backlash after its airing. "Back to the Titanic: Live from Paris!" is sort of cringeworthy thing but I gotta admit: I was curious in knowing what would be revealed that we didn't know about the mystery of the mythical ship that went to the bottom of the occean after hitting an iceberg after its innaugural trip to the States in 1912, killing more than 1500 people onboard when everyone, White Star Line, his builder Thomas Andrews said that this was an unsinkable ship - the biggest of its era. As they say in James Cameron's film: "It was the ship of dreams...".

The program broadcast live on 1987, two years after expert Robert Ballard and his team finally find the ship's location and reveal its condition and objects, comes this show that was a stunning case of grave-digging to some, exploitation to others and fascinated findings to a few: a rich French team decided to return to the ship - since then the location was now know by every diver or exploration teams - to collect items that weren't recovered by Ballard's team and present to audiences (I guess lots of rich folks were dying to know what it was and would want to pay lots of cash to have them. If I'm not wrong the first objects like plates and White Star Line material was already in museums or being acquired by collectors). Host Telly Savalas presents Titanic's story with great ellegance and class (except for an hilarious moment after opening a bottle of champagne, he walks in this tiny set, trips to a chair and almost falls. So, if you think the program is tasteless just watch for that moment which is a killer hysterical moment of laughter). The opening moments before Savalas comes to the screen is of security guards, highly armed holding the new Titanic findings in secrecy- an almost kind of "Miami Vice" kind of thing. Laughable as well. And what is revealed is a safe. What's in there? Well, the show keeps going on secret with lots and lots of commercial breaks, backstory of Titanic and the survivors who were still alive back in the day sharing their stories about the tragedy.

I saw this out of sheer curiosity some months ago, don't remember all that much about what was in the safe; so if you're curious go and challenge yourself. But what I do remember was that there was some minor objects; one belonged to a named person whose parents were alive in the 1980's I think; and a bunch of currency money and coins from the 1910's. And it was so bizarre seeing those three or four experts trying to analyze if the objects were authentic or not; carefully handling the wet money at the same time Telly Savalas was able to carry an object without wearing a glove. Those things after more than 70 years below the sea vanish easily without a proper care. Amazing, has to be seen to be believed the level of dumbness. I guess the main succees of this event was that, even if the makers could make things up or present fake objects, they didn't make the imfamous moment of Geraldo Rivera's embarassment in the previous year while opening Al Capone's empty secret vault. David Mamet probably used this in "The Untouchables" when Elliot Ness found those alleged booze boxes filled with umbrellas.

If I sound bitter or contemptous about this show, trust me, I'm not. I liked it because it reminds me of daring, bold and outrageous moments in entertainment that will never happen again and its nostalgic; not to mention that it got me gripped all the way. I wasn't bored, I was stunned and truly curious in knowing about what could possibly be rescued from the Titanic and let's face it, I'm always excited and curious to know more and more stories about that ship - and others as well but we all know that that's THE ONE that made impact in "recent era" - except for the amazing Galeão Santa Rosa (for those who don't know, it's was a Portuguese ship way back in 1700 that exploded or crashed with lots of gold in it and it still hasn't been found). My review is possibly the most enthusiastic ever; the ones released back in 1987 and still can be found on the net are far more damaging, hilarious and critical - I agree with them in some, there was some exploitation with the victims/survivors (there were some dozens still alive and who complained about the show); it surfaced traumas to some and it was much ado about almost nothing. So what? They found money in one of the vaults, and a medallion. It can't be used or traded for current value. They had to stay soaked in special water otherwise they'll vanish away, total disintegration. But, if the TV can show it and the program still exists what only counts is that we were able to visualize relics from a different era. Quite good. Almost like seeing dinosaurs skeletons. It's not great TV but it almost got there for a little while. 7/10
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AIDS: Iceberg (1987)
9/10
An haunting trip back to AIDS memory lane
23 February 2019
Just like the unforgettable and scary "AIDS: Monolith" public announcement ad, director Nicolas Roeg know uses of a more deeper and methaporical imagery to alarm audiences about the dangers of AIDS - one more time is John Hurt's haunting voice behind the PSA. The short compares AIDS and an iceberg, and one may wonder where's the connection. Thought it's only the iceberg who's on screen, the idea formed is to tell about how anyone can carry a deadly and not show it because a) they don't know they have it or b) they know they have it but kept on going with careless unprotected sex activities; and those can mean one thing: that you cannot tell things or a person's health just by what you can see just like an iceberg where you can only visualize the part above the ocean but what's beyond you'll never know the whole dimmension. Just like Hurt quotes, "it's only the tip of the iceberg" and then the camera moves below the ocean. By that, it's reflecting the AIDS casualties and the more it could grow.

"Iceberg" is more open to explore the dangers of AIDS in a more subtle message and imagery, it goes deep in warning people about how to protect yourself from the virus; unlike "Monolith" which was more frightening because it kept telling us that death is on the way and there was no chance of escaping. Still isn't though time has changed things - yet the numbers keep on growing. I guess the problem with this current generation is the lack of advertisements like these. I was born at the time when hearing about having the virus was a death sentence, and lived my early years hearing it on the news on how terribly devastating it was. But lived long enough to see science progress, new medicines on that which made HIV manageable and even one cure case (that was an experiment revolving an HIV positive patient who also had leukemia and got a bone marrow transplant - the cure wasn't all that planned, it just happened). And I lived long enough to see some miracle cases of people who acquired the syndrome back in those darkest years yet they're still keep on living.

So, it's only when one gets exposed and wants to find out if they got it or not that the issue comes to surface. But I guess history repeats itself but in worse ways. Those ads might have helped a lot of people back then because they were important, relevant, chilling to the bone and never shying away from the reality of catching a deadly disease just because of nights of pleasure. Today, we have ads but...they're not on TV anymore (in my country's case they only show them during Carnival season - meaning that social/health systems think people only have sex during that part of the year); those ads are in places where you're getting tested for a negative or a positive. Too late, isn't it? Works as a reflection when you're negative for the virus and to think about your next choices, alarming the anxiety you've been put through when you were about to receive the test results. "Monolith" and "Iceberg" are great yet sad reminders of a dark period, filled with discrimination on people from the then groups of risk and AIDS victims. Those UK's adverts are simply the greatest I've ever seen. Valid then and still valid now..."Don't Die of Ignorance". 9/10
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10/10
Google and Kevin McCallister...what a combo of fun!
18 February 2019
Kevin McCallister is back and home aloned again! Sure, it's only for a Google assistant ad but they brought Macaulay Culkin back to surface with a bright, charming and interesting piece that takes us back to the nostalgia in seeing the "Home Alone" movies which made of Culkin a star.

It's essentially the same plot of the first film, he was left alone by his family on that big lovely house and having the fun of his life...except that now he's a grown up and instead of creating tools to get the bad guys off his territory he has the Google assistant to make him remind of what to do, how to plan schedules and work on them - but when the time comes, he recreates those humored moments paying the pizza guy by using that "old gangster film" to threat the poor guy or the dancing/walking cardboard characters used to give the impression the house is full so the thieves won't get in.

Perfectly made, vivid and entertaining just as "Home Alone" was. I grew up with those movies and never got tired of them. This short project comes with a plus: it surely knows how to sell the product, it feels like an essential tool and the makers of it were genius in mixing their idea with a classic film. It works fantastically, very funny and Culkin hasn't lost his touch all over the years. I was glad to see him way differently than some years ago where he appeared in public with a shockingly skinny appearance. He's in better shape now and we still want him to come back to the movies for good. 10/10
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7/10
A cool Nouvelle Vague wannabe
18 February 2019
"La lumière de la nuit" is an odd and fun case of Americans trying to emulate the French Nouvelle Vague rhythms, language and mechanis. It works but without the same wit and intelligence; this isn't "Breathless" or Truffaut-esque kind of picture though it holds similar things e.g. black-and-white cinematography, fast style, in some classics there was a nice pairing involved in criminal acts. It lacks in philosophicar or deeper moments. Nice film though.

The movie (which can be translated in "The Light of the Night") quickly show what goes for with a rushed/frantic opening presenting the thief Léon (Max Boddorff) escaping from the police after a robbery and breaking into a woman's house (Mary-Alice Farina). There's some talks between until he recognises her as a veteran actress who disappeared from the movies and she tells him that that doesn't interest her anymore, and her new source of income comes from paid sexual services who come to her house. Then there's the movie twist which better left out of here.

Dialogues were written by the actors and the director makes a cameo as the woman's client; a very collaborative effort that has some action, humor, some bits of seduction - that could and should be developed more, I mean, both leads are attractive and there is some sexual tension in the air...but it ends too abruptly to be fully enjoyed or understood. Fun watch but that's it. 7/10
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Station (2010)
5/10
Nicely filmed but a very empty experience
16 February 2019
I was stunned by this picture. Some say it's a good thing, others say it's not and I'm going with the latter. "Estação" ("Station") was one of those surprises that comes on the TV and I was just following along without knowing what it was about and how it was about. To me, the movie experience works best in that way: when there's something on the screen and you go along, just like life when you can't predict a moment from the other or sometimes you do. It's just a short, one must not create expectatives cause you know it'll stop in the moment where you need answers. Problem here was: I was starving for something extra and with the very little the creators showed it was a pointless exercise that has good style, the adequate locations - which is the city I live and love, and it was beautifully filmed - but there's bits of stories, not a full scope and that ruins the experience.

What is said about the film is about - but this one I got to know later on: the story of a girl who's trying to live her dreams in the big city of São Paulo, she wants to be an actress but as she arrives she just keep on sitting or waiting on subway/train/bus stations in late hours. What I saw: just the last part, some bits and pieces where it seems that she's from town, though walks around with plenty of confidence in an unknown and crowded city; the exchange with the lady with the fish bowl had me intrigued and wanted me to know what was about to go down. But I haven't seen a dream of pursuing something since she just keeps on wandering from station to station. When there's this shot of a strange walking right behind her, we expect the worst, robery, rape or maybe killing - a very likely scenario to happen with an alone girl in late hours at night but...it's all thrown on thin air. And when the final credits popped up...I've got nothing. It begins out of nowhere to leave you to nowhere back again. Films and stations aren't meant for that. You have to go somewhere, you have to reach a final destination - might not be one want or you need but it's a conclusion (in the case of films, you can leave a void in the air leaving the audience to fill in the blanks - I actually like that when the experience gets me hooked). With "Estação" I haven't felt a thing except for seeing my city on the screen, accurately portrayed, filmed with grace and style but that's that. The film was selected to the Cannes Film Festival in the short section and I guess they went unimpressed just like me. 5/10
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8/10
Pretty decent job
16 February 2019
With the Cold War in its dying days and a weakened Soviet Union in the final years of the 1980's, a TV company decided to make a film about what brought them to that fate - hey, this isn't a fuly politically charged film, it's a view that I have on it: the Chernobyl disaster. That's what brought USSR down when their weakness was spotted and sensed through the world to a point of no return, technology was sufficient enough in other places know that something bad happened in that facility in 1986, which later became known as the most catastrophic radialogical disaster of all time - later surpassed by Fukushima. The movie? Pretty decent and fair, presenting characters who weren't concerned in political or ideologial fights...this is the story of a group of American doctors led by Dr. Robert Gale (Jon Voight) who understand the situation, the tragedy and want to learn from it and help those affected by the inumerous cases of diseases brought on by radiation. Gale and his team mates will meet and fight the bureacratic and resistant system of a decaying and Communist power in order to save lives. That's a side of the Chernobyl story that is barely told: the willing Americans who arrived early on after the disaster take place - only possible because by then Mr. Gorbachev and his glasnost ("openness") allowed them to become less stricted to the world community.

My quarrels with the movie is with its simplicty, without going further with the thoughts and emotions that came to Gale, the doctor nicely played by Jason Robards and others when it comes to let them imagine such a scenario happening in America. Then, they had Three Mile Island and another small one in the 1970's but everything was fine. But they saw first hand accounts on how devastating the explosion was, it's effects on people and how the Soviet government was conducting everything - it's like let us improvise, we don't have a book of procedures on those things but one thing is certain: the world must not know the level of danger or what really happened. We needed a movie that could express their opinions.

I don't recall if the movie actually mentioned but it was when Switzerland alarms detected heavy polluted air movement coming towards them that was what pressured authorities to demand a position from USSR about what happened and then almost a month later Gorbachev made his speech, condemning Western media from spreading false news about the death toll and such - for those immersed and wanting to go deeper into the Chernobyl topic, search and see the updates of what is really true.

However, for an American film about the tragedy this is a highly commendable one. All that came in the following years were either good documentaries (HBO's "Chernobyl Heart" is powerfully devastating and gripping, and it shows much of the aftermath with the cancer cases on children) or horror spectacles that only explored the dangers in being on that part of Ukraine, dealing with mutations, aliens or creatures attacking those who dared to enter there - since it's surroundings consists of abandoned places with scary levels of radiation. What you see in this "Final Warning" isn't much gore, it feels real, there's panic, several dramatic parts and there's even times when you can glimpse archive footage of the event - mostly the aerial shots of the place and the whole destruction of the facility's core.

What gets me the most being possibly the very first film on the topic back in the day, it's the good performances of Voight (finally a passionate and interesting one of his in a long time); Mr. Robards is always a classy act; and Sammi Davis, who plays the concerned wife of someone involved in the rescue of Chernobyl victims. And there's this old couple who refuses to leave their home, located next to the usine, and they reminded me of that lovely Brit animation "Where the Wind Blows?", which presented a couple who survived a nuclear blast coming from a possible WWIII but were slowly living their final days. The couple here have like three scenes or so, but the final one...is haunting. It's with them you get the most important questions: the finality of technology, nuclear devices that drives us forward in few ways but it's deadly when something goes wrong. What's the point? Researches prove: it's uneffective, harmful, costly yet some nations keep on using it. Not necessairly an eye-opener of a film - maybe to some - but it's good for some debate. Movies are for that too. 8/10
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8/10
The song, the song, the song...Awesome
23 December 2018
Soundtrack clip from the underrated "Over the Top" here's a standard clip that mixes clips from Stallone film along with Kenny Loggins performing the song. When that was a current in the 1980's until the 1990's made better versions and examples on how to mix both medias - e.g. Guns N'Roses "You Could Be Mine" where the band interacts with the main star along with the film clips. So, am I saying there's nothing special in "Meet Me Halfway"? Well, in terms of clips it brings me memories from a childhood movie that was (and is) a favorite of mine and the thing that always stood in my head besides the father/son relation with the sport and stuff was this marvelous song. It just gives me the chills and it was one of Loggins final hits around here. More than the song, there isn't much to be said.

Video has Loggins on bars, walking on desert highways, all 1980's style, looking hot with those shades and then the rest of it it's Stallone and David Mendehall memorable moments from "Over the Top". That's it. Bottom of line: we're only it for the song and here's a pleasant and nice one - slightly dated with its drum echo and appealing guitar solo but it's a nice effort, and it would be interesting if at least they could get an Oscar nomination that year - but the negative press all over the film (or lack of promotion by Golan and Globus team in campaigning for it) prevented its nomination. If curious the "Dirty Dancing" theme was the winner - deserved all the way. It makes more for the film. Anyway, it's an enjoyable video music but almost forgettable. 8/10
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9/10
Outstanding in all ways
23 December 2018
"On My Own" is just one of those perfect music moments that never gets old and it's always relevant about its lyrics about romance, distance, growing apart and trying to remove parts of life that can't be washed away easily: a separation (or to some extent, the distance created by lovers who are distant from each other either physically or emotionally). This amazing duet by Patti La Belle and Michael McDonald is a favorite of mine for life, not just the beautiful song, the matching voices and dialogues their "characters" have but also the video, which to me seemed to inspire years later the poster (and maybe the story setting of "Sleepless in Seattle"). One is in New York, the other is L.A.; but despite their loneliness in beautiful settings, empty houses or nice beaches, they're having one thought in mind: how is it difficult to stay on their own after spending some lifetime together. It's pure poetry in images.

I guess we've all been there on that road the distance thing, the missing out the loved one. Ok, I might sound corny but admit it, it's real. And if you're not invested in the images - beautifully shot by the way with the split screen showing the similarities and differences between La Belle and McDonald's lives apart - you have to give praise for how the song by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager is something out of this world: with perfect, reflective and powerful lyrics that were sung by two great performers filled with heart and soul (and just like the clip, they never met while singing their parts - it was recorded in different parts of the country and times later after the song became a popular hit was that they finally got a live performance together).

Closing arguments: just watch it. It'll melt your heart away with memories of times go by when love meant something. Or just feel the 1980's nostalgia. It's pure class. 9/10
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8/10
They rocked us!
23 December 2018
It took some damned long time but "Bohemian Rhapsody" film finally came to the screens and astoundend audiences. It's not perfect but it really touches your heart and even make you rediscover Queen if you got lost or weren't much enthuasiastic about them. But this here review is about one of their greatest song moments: "We Will Rock You", and I have to go back to the movie because it reminds of how the song was created with May wanting a song to make audiences be part of that with movements and louder sounds that weren't coming from the band's instruments. It's just clapping, stomping of feet as an army march and Freddie Mercury's potent and unforgettable voice chanting words of power. And then a hit was made...

As for clip, considering it was a matter of music videos coming to its infancy back then, it really sells the true idea of using the band members performing the song as its, clapping and stomping, Freddie singing and then finally Brian May rocking that final solo. It's not about the visual, it's all about the sound created. From then on, Queen evolved in making more and more spectacular visual delights such as "A King of Magic", "Under Pressure" and "Breakthrough", just to name a few from his classics or lesser known songs and videos. And gotta admit: the whole routing of "We Will Rock You" is one of the most addictive and interesting ever created. If you ever through school age or some loud event you've probably done the PA-PA-PA with your hands or your feet. The video might look cheap and simple...but we're in it for the music, imagery is secondary and that came from an era where the music was the main thing and not the other way around. Thumbs up for me on "We Will Rock You". 8/10
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8/10
Nice film soundtrack clip
2 December 2018
Here's a nice clip from Thompson Twins while performing the title track from the film "Nothing in Common", a lesser known film starring Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason, and with an almost unknown song by the duo (they were a trio a little before this). I don't recall much of the film neither the song playing in it; but somehow I was curious enough to take a look at the clip and realised that it was a very underrated catchy song that really stays you and you may even want to make revisit the comedy/drama directed by Garry Marshall. Too bad David's Theme "Loving Strangers" by Christopher Cross didn't get a clip because that was a much memorable song - at least for me.

Soundtrack clips were becoming a nice trend in the 1980's due to the fact you could sell the movie, the cast on it and a song that was part of it. "Top Gun" was a perfect example from that same year of 1986 with several themes having heavy rotation in music channels. This one is a little special between besides of going the usual routine of intertwining the band performing the song with clips from the movie it also makes an interesting gathering bewtween both parts: there's this great nice shot with Thompson Twins posing right next to Hanks character from the movie and then they embark on his vehicle - the rest of the video picks scenes from the movie as if in a way to make the main characters interact with the music group performing on a bar. I don't remember seeing much of similar videos before this one but what I know is that many similar (and better developed) ideas came of using the same trick - "You Could Be Mine" by Guns N'Roses is a perfect and fun example.

The presentation was fine, there was even minor bits of dialogues from the movie and all but the song is the one that grabs you by the minute you start listening. One of my favorite yet minor music video experiences of all time. 8/10
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