There is a first for everything.

Although I am a great admirer of the Coen brothers and basically have seen everything they've written/directed, it was only today that I watched True Grit. The thing is, I don't like westerns and not even the strong belief that they could make something beautiful and entertaining in this genre could convince me that it was time for me to sit it through.
However, I was pleasantly disappointed - it not only is your "typical" Coen movie (and in their case, typical means impeccable acting paired with mesmerizing photography, brilliant directing and, of course, that signature wit) but I also happened to enjoy the story. I knew the script would be well-written (after all, it always is) but I never thought I would actually find it so exciting, especially because it is an adaptation.
Film makers like them are the reason I still have faith in modern cinema - they know special effects and cliché stories might be indispensable for blockbusters but their quality ingredients are a recipe for masterpiece. And that, my friends, is priceless.


My Hero.

Finding Larry David and Seinfeld was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. Before them I had thought I stood alone as this socially awkward person who worries about and gets annoyed by things people consider "normal" and won't say anything about because that is what's expected from us.
What started with Seinfeld continued and was developed in Curb your enthusiasm. One of the taglines of the series says "Deep inside you know you're him" and frankly speaking I couldn't agree more.
There is not one day I don't encounter an irritating social situation that was analyzed in one of these series and most of the time I wish I had the guts to pull a Larry David. The man himself said that his character on the show is "[his] version of Superman. The character is really me, but I just couldn't possibly behave like that. If I had my druthers, that would be me all the time, but you can't do that."

So here he is, Larry David, my hero.


Two days in Paris.

I have always found it quite annoying and hard to understand that everyone's obsessedly in love with Paris. Frankly speaking, I have never been a francophile and my visit to the City of Light left me unimpressed. Add my infitie love of neurotic characters and sense of humor to this disinterest and you'll understand why I found 2 Days in Paris so irresistible.

Written and directed by (and starring, of course) the almost-legendary Julie Delpy, at first glance it might seem your typical multilingual indie film but the thing is it is much more than that. Aside from being witty and lifelike, it actually is a beautiful movie filled with emotions we all know very well but presenting and analyzing them so truthfully and closely that the result is something very much like an eye-opening experience.
Adam Goldberg gives his very best and you can't help thinking about Woody Allen while watching him act. I wonder how long until he discovers him and Goldberg will pull a Woody Allen, instead of a Polanski...


The life-saver.

There are certain songs that not only comfort you but give you strength and dare I say, save you when you're at your lowest. I know for many people this song is Sinatra's My Way but for me it is Neil Diamond's Solitary Man.
It reminds you that it doesn't matter how many loves you thought were right broke, you can always have the hope that the real thing will arrive one day. And until then, you can live and be happy as a solitary (wo)man...


Let there be light.

I know a lot of people are anti-Christmas when it comes to the commercial part of it, but I have to admit I kind of like it because it helps me get in the mood and somehow I was never one of those who gets stressed when seeing all the Christmas stuff in stores. Of course there are several things I can not stand either - the Christmas songs are the first ones on my hate-list and I also have difficulties with handling the crowd but my two favourite indispensable Christmas elements make up for it big time: Christmas lights and coconut turrón (which is basically a huge block of coconut with some sugar... and some dark chocolate if you're lucky!).
I really love Christmas lights in Madrid, especially when they are not that obviously for the holiday... for example the ones near my home:


The song of a generation.

Where there is a despot, a system that tries to control basically every aspect of society and the lives of the ones living in it, there are always some individuals who resist - maybe it means helping others, the way Oskar Schindler did during World War II, maybe they decide it's time to get together and start a revolution because they just have to try, just like in Hungary in 1956. Then, of course, there are the artists, who know how to touch people and how to make them realize that together we can do more.
Luis Llach's song L'estaca was translated to many languages and is the symbol of resistance, of not accepting tyranny. It was written in 1968 using metaphors to prevent the censorship from banning it and - like many other songs composed in that era - it still has a meaning and it is still very inspiring.

The lyrics in English would be something like this:

Grandpa Siset spoke with me
early in the morning, in the frontdoor
while we were wainting for the sun
and we saw the cars passing by
Siset, don't you see the stake
where we all are tied?
If we cannot undo it
we won't be able to walk!

If we all pull it, it will fall
and it can't last much time,
surely it falls, falls, falls,
it must be worm-eaten by now.
If I pull hard towards here,
and you pull it towards there,
I'm sure it falls, falls, falls,
and we'll be able to be free!

But it's been a long time, now
My hands are peeling
And when my force goes
it's wider and bigger.
Yes I know it's rotten,
but you know, Siset, it's so heavy,
sometimes force forgets me.
Sing to me again your song:

If we all pull it, it will fall
and it can't last much time,
surely it falls, falls, falls,
it must be worm-eaten by now.
If I pull hard towards here,
and you pull it towards there,
I’m sure it falls, falls, falls,
and we'll be able to be free!

Grandpa Siset doesn't speak anymore
bad wind who took him away
he, who knows where,
and me, here under the door
and when new boys pass by
I strech my neck to sing
Siset's last song,
the last thing he taught me

If we all pull it, it will fall
and it can't last much time,
surely it falls, falls, falls,
it must be worm-eaten by now.
If I pull hard towards here,
and you pull it towards there,
I’m sure it falls, falls, falls,
and we'll be able to be free!


Somewhere between autumn, winter and love.

I think the best seasons to listen to Edith Piaf are autumn and winter - not because they are, in general, sad songs (okay, not only because of this), but because they just warm your heart. It might sound weird, but listening to her makes me feel like sitting near a fireplace when it's cold outside. It comforts me and gives me shelter from whatever's outside. It lets me know I am not alone with my feelings.


Crazy, Stupid, Love.

To tell you the truth, I often feel bad when I think about this blog because I see that I either don't post or all my entries are about movies.
But, after all, cinema is what I love the most, what interests, inspires and entertains me the most, so what the hell.

As you may have guessed, what I wanted to say is that this post is going to be about a movie as well. And not just any movie, it's going to be about my new favourite 21st century comedy.

I wrote in an older post that I found that each decade's comedies have their own style and vibe and that many times I am anything but impressed by that of the new-era comedies. I would say the only movie of this genre that was made in the past few years and that I have seen several times is Something's Gotta Give. Well, at least it used to be the only one, since now I have a new title on my to-go list: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

I really like Steve Carell and I think he is one of the best comics now out there - his works are funny even when they're a bit dumb (Get Smart, I'm looking at you!) and he is such a softspoken guy, I find impossible not to like him. But the thing is, even if Carell by himself is enough reason to watch a movie, this one's cast list is more than amazing: we have the always gorgeous Julianne Moore, the now legendary Kevin Bacon and undoubtedly THE most talented actor who was born in the 80s - Ryan Gosling. We also have rising star Emma Stone, I think it was the first movie I've seen with her and I can assure you there will be a lot more!

In case you need more convincing (I doubt it), I would like to add how funny and interesting this movie is. The story in itself might not be that original but the way the creators approached it is very unique and witty.

Finally, a film I can turn to after a bad day, or after watching yet another disappointingly boring and predictable "comedy".

Must see.


The funny side.

Have you ever had the feeling that there are certain things in life nobody talks about and then you discover them and turns out everyone knew about it but you?
This is how I felt when my friend introduced me to Funny Talking Animals - Walking on the Wild Side. I mean, seriously, how come I've never heard about it before? Am I the only one?
If you are sad, had a bad day or just have two spare minutes, do check out the videos posted on YouTube. They will cheer you up in no time!
Warning: they're addictive.


The new-age poet.

"Mine is not a heart of stone, I am only skin and bone,
And those little pieces are little pieces of my own.

Why don't you give me some love?
I've taken shit-load of drugs.
I'm so tired of never fixing the pain.
Valium said to me,
I'll take you seriously,
And we'll come back as someone else,
Who's better than yourself."


¿De qué color son mis ojos?

I am always a bit worried when everybody sings anthems about a movie because I find that “the most people like it, the worse it is” rule applies far too often. Great films, after all, are not and shouldn’t be for everybody’s taste. However, when it is such a cultic work as Tesis, from now world famous director Alejandro Amenábar, I couldn’t help keeping my fingers crossed.

First of all, I knew nothing about the movie before seeing it, though the tagline (“I am Angela. I am going to be murdered”) gave me an idea. Then the first scene started and I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen. There is not a scene, not a sentence, not a piece of music I would say is unnecessary or bad. I remember thinking, “this movie is quite simply perfect”.

Nothing proves more Amenábar’s genius than the fact that Tesis was his first feature film and I know awards don’t really serve as a proof, but the man collected basically all the important Goya’s for it. In the mid-90s, when Internet was about the begin its conquering tour around the world, when it became easier and easier for people with the weirdest – and often illegal – fetishes to satisfy their needs, Amenábar opted for a topic that sadly is still very current (snuff videos, that is) and managed to adapt it to the screen in a way that not only sends shivers down your spine but also makes you realize that the people who you think you can confide might not be that trustworthy after all.

As someone who’s anything but a fan of thrillers, I am proud to say I not only enjoyed Tesis more than any other movie recently but I also declare it the best of his kind ever made. All this of course is not only due to the undeniable talent of its creator but also to the impeccable actors’ contribution. Eduardo Noriega gives his very best as the mysterious student whose angelical face and calm voice makes him rise above any suspicion and makes you believe he is just an ordinary guy who happened to be surrounded by the wrong people, at the wrong time – and with the wrong camera. Both Noriega's performance and his character are irresistible - just like the movie itself.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


In desperate need of a bowl.

While I am a big fan of art, I have to say there are only a few cartoonists I really like. One of them is, undoubtedly, Charles Barsotti. I especially love his animal/dog cartoons, collected in the book They Moved My Bowl.
Apart from achieving that I actually want to buy a cartoon book, I also respect Mr. Barsotti for depicting animals in a respectul way - he doesn't make fun of them, instead, he expresses their emotions...

....he speaks up for their rights...

...or he places them in human situations, always in a witty way and never considering them inferior.


I just can't stop crying.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


Another animal-lover post. Because it is never enough of them.

"I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her." -Ellen DeGeneres



On worse tides.

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 4 today and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. Of course in this case I am quite sad that I wasn't since I expected something much, much worse than the original trilogy and this fourth episode lived up to my expectations. However, I wouldn't say it was really that bad, it was just mediocre. I was not bored of course, how could you be with so many action scenes? But the truth is, the only things that saved this movie for me were the ones that either referred to - like the little monkey's appearence -, were inherited by - the music is still unbelievable - or simply came naturally from the previous episodes (such as Johnny Depp's and Geoffrey Rush's acting genious).
As for Ms. Cruz, in the first hour and a half she seemed quite uncomfortable in her role that affected her acting but in the last 30 minutes her real self made an appearance (bear in mind that it was her first real blockbuster).
I was delighted to see that - true to form - they still leave a last scene for the ones who, including myself, are patient enough to sit through the endless closing credits and I have to say that this scene was one of the best bits.
Even if it obviously can not be compared to the previous movies, there is still some charm in this story and these characters, even if part of it is nothing else but nostalgia.
And if they happen to make more Pirates films, I can assure you I will not hesitate and go to the cinema to watch them all, even if with always higher and higher expectations of disappointment, but, after all, it also means that I will be even more pleased if they somehow manage to write a great screenplay.


The best era for comedies.

90's US comedies have a certain vibe I can't seem to get enough of. I just watched My Cousin Vinny and couldn't stop laughing. It was witty, ironic, with the happy ending that seemed more just than in any other new-era comedy.
This is what new light movies should be like but unfortunately most of the time sense of humour loses the battle against the sickening romance-glamour-sex triangle. Of course I don't say these three shouldn't be given a leading role, but why is it that what could be done in the 90s with Pretty Woman (that included this triangle and a lot of sense of humour), quite simply doesn't seem to find its way to our present days' comedies?


The beautiful spring.

Nothing better than a sunny day, travelling, looking out the window, observing the landscape/city and listening to Manu Chao.


The charm of the hipster doofus.

I think it's safe to call anyone a liar if they have seen a scene with Kramer on Seinfeld and say Michael Richards isn't the best comical actor of all time (okay, maybe I'll settle with a "one of the" as well).
This performance is legendary and he played the character for 9 years, getting better and better with each episode.
Rewatching the series I still laugh at and with him the way I did for the first time and yes, I even watch certain scenes only for his sake.
While I love the other characters as well and find the series's philosophy extremely interesting, I can't stop thinking that without Michael Richards, it wouldn't have been enough.
Nowadays you can read many things on how new TV series have more quality acting-wise but the truth is, most of the actors on Seinfeld (not only Richards, but Jason Alexander as well and many others) give better performances than any other artist in today's series.
The worst thing about Seinfeld is that sometimes I worry my neighbours are disturbed by my laughter.


Coulda woulda shoulda.

When I see a bad movie, I usually say I didn't like it because it wasn't made the right way - the story was good, but something went wrong in the process. Other times I say it was bad because the story wasn't interesting or witty enough - could have been better. But I don't think I've ever seen a movie before that gave me the impression that it was a mistake even waste money and intellect on it. Sadly, Sofia Coppola's latest, Somewhere, is the first film that makes me feel this way.
The problem with Somewhere is that there are only traces of a story (a full-of-clichés movie star's relationship with his daughter) and since it was too short to make a feature film, the creators decided to show endless sequences about a black Ferrari or just prolong the scenes until they are at least double the lenght of what they should be.

I understand Ms Coppola hadn't made a movie for a long time (maybe she forgot how to do so in the meantime?) but she should have developed this script before shooting something that's nothing more but a stub. Writing more drafts would have given the otherwise great actors not only more time on the screen but also the possibility of creating something as wonderful as Lost in translation.
The style is alright, the story is alright, the actors are more than alright, why couldn't they just wait some more to make it something better? Dear Sofia, what were you thinking?


Pure beauty.

A beautiful song and a beautiful video for today.


...and the tango is over.

Maria Schneider 1952-2011


3 things I don't get about Madrid.

I'm okay with the late meals and I understand why there are so many holidays (after all, who doesn't love them?) but still, there are certain things I just can't get when it comes to the city I live in, Madrid.

1. Why is it that in Lavapiés (a normal size metro station) one of the mechanical stairs never works? It's always one or the other... Couldn't they just work, all of them at the same time?

2. How can it be that it's one of the world's most famous metropolises, yet you always just know you're in a huge city and never actually feel it?

3. What's wrong with Snickers? Why is it a mission almost impossible to find this delicious little candy bar in this city, or, for that matter, in this country? And why is it that once you've found it, it costs more than double what it costs in any other country I know?



I want to travel more. Right now I wanna go to Gibraltar...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...