1. Taking Care of Business
With James Belushi, Charles Grodin and the brilliant Hector Elizondo, this movie is hard to forget. The tagline says Jimmy Dworski [played by Belushi] Finally Got A Life... Somebody Else's! and it sums the story just about perfectly. It's the series of coincidences that create a link between the not-so-sure-of-himself yet absolutely successful Spencer Barnes (Grodin) and the loser criminal who escapes from jail to watch a baseball game. Two words: pure excellence. And two more: impeccably funny.
2. Les Visiteurs
This 1993 masterpiece from France, starring Jean Reno and Christian Clavier, is about an 11th century knight who accidentally takes a travel in time (along with his servant) and arrives to the France of the 1990's. Their way of integrating to the modern society provides more laughs than most American timetravel films, due to the fabulous cast and, of course, the great screenplay.
Rocky Balboa this, Rambo that, Oscar is the best Sylvester Stallone movie on Earth for me (they even managed to make him look attractive!). The gangster who tries hard to become a family man who respects the law, and his family and employees who make it quite hard for him. Not to mention the police and the other gangsters who keep an eye on him 24/7. Ornella, Muti, Marisa Tomei, Linda Gray and you fall from one laugh-attack to another.
1. While You Were Sleeping
It's more than 13 years old and I still can't get enough. I couldn't tell how many times I have seen it but every time I watch it, I love it more and more. With Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher and the impossibly funny Peter Boyle (not to mention the character Joe Jr, who is the spitting image of a guy I know, insinde and out), While You Were Sleeping is THE Christmas movie, with mistletoe kisses and big family reunions, hilarious situations and yes, of course, lots of love. I can't imagine there is anyone in the world who doesn't fall in love after watching it for at least two times (you know, with some movies, love and entertainment gets stronger and greater instead of fading away).
Some Memorable Quotes:
Joe Jr.: O.K., Lucy, it's either me or him!
Joe Jr.: You don't have to answer right away.
Elsie: I like Mass better in Latin. It's nicer when you don't know what they're saying.
Elsie: I don't drink anymore... I don't drink any less, either!
But my favourite is, and I can only translate it from Hungarian since I couldn't find it in English, sound like this:
Peter: You remind me of someone... Probably of yourself!
2. Love Actually
The best of the new century, from Great Britain. Starting with the British humour, through Alan Rickman's more than brilliant performance as the boss who feels a little something for someone not his wife, until Keira Knightley's really nice acting, not to mention Bill Nighy singing "Christmas Is All Around" and the dreamy castlist: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Billy Bob Thornton and others (including Rowan Atkinson's indescribable cameo), and I still haven't said a word about Hugh Grant's unbearably funny dance (that was copied by our very own Prime Minister, but let me say, in a much less entertaining way)! I understand if someone says Love Actually is too romantic, too sweet, to lovey-dovey, but after all, it's a Christmas movie, and when else watch something like this if not on the day we're celebrating love?
My favourite dialogue is...:
Prime Minister: I'm not sure that politics and dating really go together.
The President: Really? I never found that.
Prime Minister: Yeah, well, the difference is you're still sickeningly handsome, whereas I look increasingly like my Aunt Mildred.
(And all my respect to Hugh Grant, but I really can imagine how that Aunt Mildred would look like if she existed...)
3. Mixed Nuts
Last year I had a post about this one, you can read it here.
In the video below Habanera is performed by the magnificent Agnes Baltsa, and every time I look at her in this scene (and in Carmen general), I can't help but smile, because I simply admire and adore how she does Carmen.
It would be a mistake to write about Habanera without mentioning Callas - here she is, singing it in 1962, although not in a theatrical performance. The Habanera starts at 2:10, before there are various themes from the opera, but it's worth the nearly 6 and a half minutes to watch someone so iconic and divine, so beautiful and talented play with her voice, her gestures, her eyes and smile. Priceless.
What good if you exist and I disown you?
What, if I praise you and you don’t exist?
Left-over God. Your wayward fascination
binds me no more. I tired long ago.
Some of my friends have just died of starvation.
You haven’t heard. I thought I’d let you know.
What kind of straw did they last clench their teeth on?
What kind of skulls sank to what kind of dust?
A few odd crumbs might have been within reason,
some small miracles would have been august!
I long to see their lips again in smiling,
their soft, round chins that were ground underfoot;
I long for Rome, - for beautiful, beguiling
gardens and for rich, luxurious food.
The whole poem can be read here: In English and in Hungarian as well, just in case you're interested.
I doubt, I doubt, I doubt
that you'll ever love me
the way I love you.
I doubt, I doubt, I doubt
that you'll find a love as pure
as the love you've found in me.
You'll have thousands of affairs,
but at the end of it all
you'll only have pain.
They will give you mad
but not the sincere feelings
I offered you.
And the videos, first in La Ley del Deseo, and then, Los Panchos
1. La Ley del Deseo
2. Los Panchos...
Anyway, in my head Let It Be and Imagine (one the two most respected songs of pop history) belong together, even if one of them is by The Beatles (and was written by Paul McCartney) and the other is a John Lennon composition. The atmosphere and the emotions it transmits seem very similar to me and I equally like them both. I have never met anyone, regardless to age or gender or social position, who didn't like any of these songs, regardless to their opinion about The Beatles/John Lennon. I think this is the highest sphere of popular music and art.
Someone once said that Imagine is the song every musician wishes was theirs. There's no reason to doubt his right.
Let It Be:
2. The Golden Globes nominations are out and I am glad because the nominees really deserve it (just look at the dreamteam of the Best actor in a drama category) but I have a question: apart from some bittersweet British jokes, since when is In Bruges a "Comedy or musical"???
3. Vanity Fair published an article about The Things Yves Loved, with photos from late designer Yves Saint Laurent's apartment(s). Though it's no surprise that a designer has good taste, I still think YSL is different and it's definitely worth to take a look at the pictures.
My favourite is this one and it really is true:
And please tell me, when you look at such a beautiful animal, do you think "oh, it would look so good in my wardrobe!"? If yes, please stop reading this blog.
Many of the songs are performed by Enrico Caruso and it's not a surprise since he was simply brilliant. The film starts with Una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and though my favourite Una furtiva lagrima is performed by someone else, it doesn't change the fact that this version is magnificent as well. However, my favourite Mi par d'udir ancora (from Bizet's I Pescatori di Perle) is the one that can be heard in the movie - by Caruso, just like Mia Piccirella.
Alan Oke's Un dì felice, eterea from my favourite opera ever, La Traviata is - along with Mi par d'udir ancora - my favourite song from the album and I have never heard it before watching the film (I don't know, maybe it was recorded specifically for Match Point).
Even if you yourself are not an opera lover but happen to know someone who is or simply who likes classical music, it would make a great gift for any occasion - it's more like a bouquet of wonderful arias than a simple soundtrack album.
Back in 2006 it was Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson for Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue and I did like that photo since it was really a quality work, it was really passionate-looking and maybe even painting-like. I have an olda postcard where a man is sitting in the centre and around him there are women pining for him, just like Tom Ford (Rachel McAdams was to be the third in the picture but she didn't want to pose nude. Actually, I think it was way better that Tom Ford popped in since McAdams is not that famous worldwide but Ford is hugely respected all around the globe) does in the photo for Keira Knightley. Plus, Vanity Fair always makes sure the photos are more arty than provocative and they never, ever look cheap (of course, they work with the best photographers).
When I first saw Tatler's cover with "rock babes" (meaning: famous-for-being-famous daughters of legendary rockstars) Leah Wood (Ronnie Wood's girl), Kimberly Stewart (from Rod Stewart's family, of course) and Peaches Geldof (daughter of the wonderful Sir Bob Geldof) I immediately thought of the Vanity Fair cover above. Maybe Tatler wanted these party girls look innocent and angelic, who knows, I don't like this photo that much. Leah Wood poses as of she was posing for any other picture and Kimberley looks just strange, may I say, as always? Probably the best job was done by Peaches but still, I wouldn't say this picture is a piece of art that someday will be the acclaimed part of the history of pop culture. I know Tatler is different from A-list magazin (if there's such a thing) Vanity Fair and that even those I'm-only-doing-this-for-money photoshoots with stars and their newborn child(ren) look beautiful on the pages of Vanity Fair and cheap in other media (just look at the wonderfully shot pictures of the Cruise family) but my heart still belongs to quality and not quantity.
1. Like a Prayer
One of the most beautiful songs of the last decades, there's no need to say anything more.
The dark era - the lyrics, the video, the image, everything is brilliant.
3. Beautiful Stranger
Though I don't like Austin Powers, I love this song. It says what women feel when they would like to seduce that certain Beautiful Stranger...
Vatican media are praising the Beatles' musical legacy and sounding philosophical about John Lennon's boast that the British band was more popular than Jesus.
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano recalls that Lennon's comment outraged many when he made it in 1966.
But it says in its Saturday edition that the remark can be written off now as the bragging of a young man wrestling with unexpected success.
The newspaper as well as Vatican Radio last week noted the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' "White Album."
It said the album demonstrated how creative the Beatles were, compared with what it called the "standardized, stereotypical" songs being produced today.
And the new ad:
I tried to translate the lyrics the best I could but of course the rhymes and the sound is not as beautiful as the original version, performed but well-known artist Gábor Presser and his band LGT and the artists of Vígszínház (a famous and legendary theatre in Budapest).
So, the lyrics:
Someone please tell me what life is like,
Someone please tell me why it's like that,
Someone please tell me why life is nice
Someone please tell me why it's not,
Someone please tell me why people are good,
Someone please tell me why they're not,
Someone please tell me why they become evil,
Someone please tell me why they don't,
Someone please tell me who to believe,
Someone please tell me who not to,
Someone please tell me where can someone get,
What the water of life tastes like.
Someone please tell me the long years
Why seem to be only a moment,
Someone please tell me what it means "gone",
Someone please tell me where it's gone.
Someone please tell me how to live,
My father told me not to hurt others,
Someone could see me hurting you,
Someone could see you hurting me.
Someone please tell me why we're here,
My mother said "be happy, son"
But mother didn't say why not on this world,
My mother didn't say, tell me why.
And the video of the original recording:
(unfortunately I couldn't embed it...)
This is another version I found, performed by other respected artists:
The thing about Benigni is that he is absolutely funny yet he has not made the mistake of many others comics who don't know how to be serious. With the aforementioned La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful) he has proved to anyone who doubted that he is not only a brilliant film maker but he also has a huge soul and is very emotional. This film is different from the other films depicting World War II and the tragic of the Jews and it is also important because many people had stated many times that Italian cinema was dead. With this movie, this statement has lost its value. It's a classic that no-one seems to dislike, a "war film" without the usual tools of a war film, it's entertaining, funny and so touching I can hardly imagine any normally sensitive being who doesn't have tears in his eyes towards the end of film. Even for those who believe European cinema is nothing compared to Hollywood (or maybe especially for them??), it's a must-see.
My other film starring (and written and directed by) the wonderful Benigni is Johnny Stecchino. If there is a kind of humour that is so silly you can't resist it, Johnny Stecchino is on the list. Again, Benigni's character is someone a bit simple but loveable, with a mighty heart and an irresistible adoration for THE woman. This adoration is what turns out to be dangerous many times in the movie and it's not even the greatest challenge "Johnny" has to fight! I know it's a bit hard to get this movie anywhere out of Italy but if you can, I don't think you'll be disappointed. After all the unbearably stupid comedies this one will be refreshingly and surprisingly good.
The style is the same and if you ask me, the face is very recognizable as well.
It's only the hair that's different... Thank God!
Image source: Catwalk Queen
The most famous versions are the original Spanish one, the Cake cover (from 1997) and the Doris Day version.
Gael Garcia Bernal "performing" Quizás, Quizás, Quizás in Bad Education
Below are four videos, the first one performed by Cake, then the one with Doris Day. The third is Nat King Cole's version and last, but definitely not least, the French version.
Carell is an actor who knows how to be serious, it's just that in his movies he prefers not to be too serious.
I hope he will make more and more movies, because he's the only comic actor whose movies I actually want to see because I know he won't let me down. Plus, he has it all to become a comic legend - and let's see where his so- called rivals will be 10 years from now.
1. Ritchie Valens - La Bamba
I have a special story with this one and when I hear this song I always think of it: when I was a kid, my father told me that the singer, Lionel Richie died in a plane crash and for years I thought it was actually Lionel Richie singing this song and I was very sad he died since I loved the song. But then Richie returned to music business (with Angel, if I'm not wrong) and all the radio stations and music TVs were talking about him. And then I was deeply confused! Of course, later I realized my father confused Lionel Richie with Ritchie Valens who actually did die at the very young age of 17 in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly, J. P. Richardson and the also young pilot. The day of the accident (February 3, 1959) is also known as The Day the Music Died. The song itself, La Bamba is a Mexican folk song, probably from around the 17th century. It is also called the hymn of Veracruz. Though Valens immortalized the song, many people think the Los Lobos version is the original and they often mistake them.
2. The Beatles - Twist and Shout
I don't think there is much to say about this song - everyone knows it and even those who dislike The Beatles say it's a great song. There is no need to explain why it is so significant in music history and popular culture and it's enough to listen to it again and again to understand why it is one of my favourite "dance songs".
3. Santana feat. Rob Thomas - Smooth
It is one of the greatest pop songs of the nineties, still loved by radios and retro programmes (you know, being old starts when the songs of your youth/childhood are featured in the "retro" section...), performed by guitar genious Santana and the simply wonderful Rob Thomas. Also, it's a great video. Supernatural.
1. The Illusionist
This is my number one, a great quality work that sends more shivers down your spine than most horrors. Plus, Edward Norton proved his genious again. The movie is ironic, magical and even the love line is great. Another interesting thing is that it was inspired by the Mayerling Incident and the story takes place in Austria-Hungary, i.e. my country.
2. The Prestige
Starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson, this movie turned out to be more known (but not necessarily better) than my nr.1. Though it is interesting to watch how two rival illusionists work out their newest tricks, it somehow isn't as magical as The Illusionist (maybe exactly because of this??). However, it is an entertaining movie about a passion only a limited number of people have access to, and also, it is the clear lesson of "never trust anyone".
Once again, it's Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman, but this time they share the screen with Woody Allen in a way funnier story. The film is more about a modern Jack the Ripper than illusionists but Woody Allen's character (he plays a D-list illusionist) makes sure you don't forget about this tiny detail either. Many say Scoop is a far cry from the director's earlier works and they might by right but I think with Match Point started an era and a series of Woody Allen films that might not become as legendary as Annie Hall, but they surely are interesting, brilliant and, in this case, a proper Woody Allen comedy.
4. House M.D. Season 4, Episode 8 - You Don't Want to Know
As a big House M.D. fan I can say it's a series that gets better with every season. The patient of this particular episode is (what a surprise) an illusionist (played by Steve Valentine) whose heart stops while performing a trick. He finally makes House beg for telling him the secret of a trick (this is something that is very often depicted in illusionist-based movies) but, of course, he keeps it for himself...
One thing is sure: Russian dance company Moiseyev is famous and popular for giving the viewers the impression of authentic Russian folk music and dance, all this in an exceptionally entertaining way.
Sometimes, of course, they bring elements from the traditions of other countries and the result is always the same: miracle. Of course it is best to see them live, but since we have YouTube...
Image source: Catwalk Queen
Video: Canción del Mariachi
1. 3 Men and a Little Lady
It is, without a doubt, the number one. The rare example of the case when the sequel of a movie is better than the first volume (and there will be an other movie like that on this list). Three of the greatest movie stars of the late '80s and '90s, Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg form a family with Nancy Travis and then-six-year-old Robin Weisman (who has stopped filming in 1994 and her most famous performance remained this movie) and when it comes to this family, we can say they are anything but ordinary. Jack (Danson), the "biological father" of Mary (Weisman) is a rather crazy actor who can't get great roles, Peter (Selleck), the "non-biographical father" is madly in love with Mary's mother, Sylvia (Travis) but he is afraid to tell her about it and Mike (Guttenberg), the other "non-biological father" a drawer who created a famous cat figure and still can't get rid of him. The film is the sequel of Three Men and a Baby, a story adapted from a French movie with a very similar title and a very slightly different plot. But 3 Men and a Little Baby is more entertaining, more unique, full of memorable quotes that make it be a movie one will never forget and will always watch with constant laughs.
2. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
One of the most original characters of film history, played by one of the most orginal actors of our time accepts the assignment of investigating the disappearence of a white bat that is the sacred animal of an African tribe. Of course, the pet detective you either love or hate can't stop himself from getting in trouble and other impossible situations but of course, he finally solves the mystery.
Ace Ventura is the childhood hero (or anti-hero) of a whole generation, someone who's lines and outfits (not to mention the hair) will be remembered and invoked for a very long time, if not forever.
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Another cult figure, Ferris Bueller teaches us all the tricks teenagers want to know: how to lie to your parents, how to avoid school without getting caught and how to LIVE with capital letter. An adolescent with a complete philosophy (that is basically against accepted philosophies). Again, the movie and the character brought to life by a very young Matthew Borderick and a whole pop cultural movement: a band named after school director Rooney, an other band named Save Ferris, references in many movies and series and I could go on. He is still brought up in our everyday life, let it be one of the songs from the movie that reminds us of his famous performance on a parade float or a terribly boring class or anything else. The characters of the movie, including Bueller's sister, Jeanie, his friend, Cameron and his girlfriend Sloane, not to mention Rooney and, of course, Ferris himself live and give comfort to desperate teenagers of any time.
The great movie that almost wasn't