Childhood heroes - series, part II

Just one word: Magnum. Its original meaning is "great" (in Latin) and there is also an ice-lolly with this name. But for me, and for many this word is actually a name, the name of Thomas Magnum, a private investigator who lives in Hawaii in the luxurious house of a famous writer. He shares this apartment with the major domo, Higgins and the two dogs, Zeus and Apollo. Just like Dallas, Magnum P.I. forms a significant part in my childhood and my memories of it as well and it's also the example of the series that are always funny to rewatch, no matter what.
Witty humour, interesting stories and cases, exciting action, pretty women (of course, it's needed, right? but kudos for the creators for actually using stylish women - most of the time), a red Ferrari, Tom Selleck (who was one of the biggest stars at the time and later in the '90s as well) and the indescribable atmosphere of the series that makes me sit down and watch its episodes over and over again when they're on TV every once in a while.


Childhood heroes - series, part I

When I think of my childhood, I inevitably run into Dallas over and over again. When we wanted to have a family reunion, we could never have it on Firday around 8 p.m. because of Dallas. Then there is the Completa ad saying "Coffee without Completa is like Dallas without Bobby" (this line was later changed to Dallas without Jockey, due to notes made by watchers). Then, there is one of the nation's most important newspaper's headline stating "Bobby's back!", after he had to return to the series, once again, because watchers wanted him to. I could also mention my great-grandmother who, whenever she saw Jockey Ewing on the screen said "abominable" in a very unique tone. All these memories, and a lot more related to the series that is, without a question, the most influential of all times. Also, it was one of the longest (it was on for 13 years!) so I also remember asking my mother as a kid "who's Jock?" and the answer was "oh, I think he died before you were born".
I don't think I have to make any other comments - you either know Dallas or not. If you do, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't (what I strongly doubt), it's impossible to explain it anyway. Dallas is the symbol of an era, and it's also one if the very few series that are good to watch even decades after they were originally on air.


Can't wait.

You might have heard that Pedro Almodóvar's latest movie is already in theatres in Spain but since I don't have the opportunity to simply go there and watch it, it really looks like I'll have to wait until this Fall, when it hits (independent) cinemas in Hungary. Until then, I have nothing else but ever growing excitement, especially after seeing some pictures of the film. They, of course, look very Almodóvar (not to mention that it was influenced by film noir) and knowing this makes the pain of waiting even worse.


La Corde au cou.

My last read was Émile Gaboriau's La corde au cou (it has three different English titles, I think dependgin on the edition: Rope Around His Neck / In Peril of His Life / In Deadly Peril) and I must it was simply brilliant. Even if you have the skills to find out who the murderer is, it is anything but excitement reducing.
Despite being a bit theatrical (but you might as well forgive this since the book was originally published in 1873) the storyline is very dynamical, full of conversations and even the descriptions are easy and nice to read. Even if you know the end can't be bad, you find yourself crossing fingers and your mind is so focused on the events of the book you actually have dreams about it at night. I have read many, many novels written in the same era yet none of them resulted so fresh, so exciting, so modernly written.
There is also a TV miniseries and though I have not seen it, there is a picture from it on the cover of my book and while reading it I usually stopped and stared at it for a long time, all this because the face of the actor who played Jacques de Boiscoran (Bruno Devoldère) was so eye-catiching and mesmerizing (at least for me, and don't ask me why).

The novel might be hard to get but if you happen to run into it somewhere, let it be a new or a secondhand version, I recommend it with all my heart and soul.


Spain, films, nothing more.

When it comes to European cinema, most people think of France, the UK and Italy's golden days. The others think of Eastern European movies and some even mention Germany (but, no offense, apart from The Lives of Others I can't recall any good German film). However, it's not really usual that someone says Spanish cinema is one of the best, unless they think of the great and internationally acclaimed directors, such as Buñuel, Bigas Luna or Almodóvar. But all this doesn't mean that this country should be forgotten when we talk about movies. Actually, in my humble opinion, they are just as good at making films as any aforementioned nation.
Here are three relatively unknown films from Spain that could beat any American creation. All this due to the great lines, the even better actors and the brilliant story.
1. Intacto
This thriller/drama is all about luck and destiny and finding the most fortunate person on Earth. The plot is a bit complicated to tell but the film itself is incredibly exciting and cliché-free. With the acting of Eusebio Poncela and Max von Sydow it, not to mention the impeccable work of the director, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and the indescribable cinematography, Intacto is not only interesting and thought provoking, it is, quite simply, an experience that should not be missed.

2. Cosas que hacen que la vida valga la pena
The English title is 'Things that make life worthwhile' but the tagline - 'A bittersweet comedy' - describes it way better. I love Spanish comedies because they aren't as idiotic as many others and they are something you can never forget (of course I am not talking about all Spanish comedies but about the better ones). This one is about relationships yet not only and the power of the film is that it is very, very realistic yet absolutely funny. Plus, Ana Belén is wonderful!

3. Crimen ferpecto
'The Ferpect Crime' might have a for some people annoyingly silly humour but if you want to laugh out loud, this one is for you. When an employee accidentally kills his boss, everything turns into a horror - but, unlike in any other film, it's not because of the crime itself but because of the eye witness, who not only doesn't want to say anything to the police but also helps to get rid of the body. The 105 minutes of fun is guaranteed!


Love is in the bench.

When I first saw Jenny Holzer's Garden Bench in the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, I thought it was just a regular bench and I even remember thinking "what so special about that"? And then, I saw the carvings.
It's a beautiful poem, not really coherent but while in any other topic it might seem fake, in this topic, that is none other than love, it simply and wonderfully expresses how mad love can be and how disjointed our thoughts are when we truly, madly, deeply (oh yes, Savage Garden!) love someone.


El Che lives on.

It's interesting how the personality and legend of Ernesto "Che" Guevara lives on in the new generation, a generation that, of course, has never experienced the era he spent fighting on the side of Fidel Castro. But, apart from politics, it's a great investigation to see how his most famous portrait is used all over the world - this time in a Converse ad, in a bit altered way...

Image source: adpunch.org


The Lady in the Lake.

I love reading a lot, but not even I could bare reading only serious, hard-to-digest works that have to be thought over and over again. This is why I undecidedly developed a method: one serious book and then one not-so-serious. But not serious here does not mean silly bestsellers but classic bestsellers by writer giants such as Agatha Christie. And, in my opinion, if you like Agatha Christie (and Hungary's very own Jenő Rejtő, also known as P. Howard), it's only a question of time until you take a Raymond Chandler into your hands, unless you start the whole circle with him.
His most famous novel is, without a question, The Lady in the Lake. What I like about detective novels - and Chandler is no exception - is that they are unpredictable. And even if I, trained by Christie, Columbo and other detective stories, suspected a little part of the ending, I must say it was an excellent read with a certain tension in it, not to mention the always growing excitement about how the more and more attached details will finally form a whole in the end.

However, there is an other Chandler work I like, even if it's just the movie version of it: The Big Sleep, this legendary piece of the film noir era, starring Humphrey Bogart and the magnificent Lauren Bacall is not only a great movie, but it also contradicts those who say movies of past times are just boring and slow steps that had to be taken to arrive here.



I know I haven't been blogging for a while and I really don't have a good excuse for it. Last time I made a promise and a nice commenter reminded me that I failed to keep it. I am sorry for it and instead of making new promises (you know that Soul Asylum song: 'one more promise I couldn't keep'), I decided to write about a film I just watched and it left me sad, and all this after really good laughs.
This movie is Marley & Me, with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. First of all, let me tell you how much I love Owen Wilson for his numerous roles, starting from The Royal Tenenbaums through You, Me and Dupree to The Darjeeling Limited. His characters tend to be similarly silly yet adorable and, of course, unbearably funny and this is what makes him good even in movies that are not so good.

As for the film itself, there is one thing I have to confess: I knew I would end up crying like a baby. Onscreen, for me it doesn't matter if the whole cast is killed brutally until the pets get rescued. And with Marley & Me, the dog couldn't be saved. But despite knowing all this before watching the film, I can honestly say I have not laughed out this hard in months - the first two third of the film is impeccably funny and free of all clichés. Then, the last third was so sad I can honestly say I have not cried because of a movie for... well, actually, I have never cried this much. I should be ashamed of it, too but who doesn't have at least a little teardrop in his eyes after watching Marley & Me has no heart.
I would recommend it to everyone, it's a good film, an even better lesson, and you will cry, cry, cry, just to quote Johnny Cash. First you'll cry of laughing, then you'll cry of sadness. MUST SEE!
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