To cover or not to cover...

I think I mentioned in a post a few years ago how I usually don't like covers because it's very rare that it ends up being better than the original. That being said, there are some situations when covers take a song to the next, much more sublime level. One of those cases is when an artist covers themselves (as in, they record and/or perform a song of theirs in a reworked, new style) and the other one is when a musician writes a song, sells it to someone else but records it himself as well.
Though I am not really a fan of her latest work, there are quite a lot of Madonna songs (especially from the 90s) that I like and listen to from time to time (mostly when they're on the radio) and Don't Tell Me has always been one of them. The story behind it is quite interesting: Joe Henry wrote and recorded the song Stop and then sent it to Madonna, who also recorded it (after some alterations, of course). It wasn't after a few weeks ago that I discovered the original version (confession: I was sitting at Starbucks, heard the song and I knew I had to have it...) and I can't get enough of it. But is it really a cover? After all, he wrote it, he recorded it first... but then again, it came out a year after the Madonna version... Does it even matter? This cover/original/call it whatever you want version of Don't Tell Me is much better (or at least according to my musical taste), much more sensual and - as I said before - simply sublime.


Just Apple.

Nowadays it seems there are two kinds of people: the ones who love Apple and the ones who hate it. Needless to say, I belong to the first category. I find the company more youthful, dynamic and witty than any other IT firm out there, not to mention their impeccable design and the fact that their devices can do anything I can dream of (and many other things I don't even think of).
So when I heard they were about to open a new store in Barcelona's Plaza de Catalunya, I was really excited. They already have a store in the city, but it's far from where I live and, since it is situated at a shopping mall, it lacks some of the signature Apple store features (big glass windows and whatnot).

The announcement outside the then opening-soon store made me smile - the classic logo, presented in Barcelona's traditional mosaic style and the tagline: An Apple Store tailored to Barcelona. I knew I just had to take a picture (and so did many others).
However, as I discovered this new store today I had to realize not all inventions of Steve Jobs are for me. Glass stairs for someone with a fear of heights? Thanks but no thanks.


In response to Chavela Vargas's passing.

If you asked me who my favorite male singer was, I would have a rather hard time answering your question - there are so many I love, respect and follow, so many whose words cheer me up, give me hope, make me think or smile. However, if you asked me who my favorite female singer was, I would not hesitate for a second: Chavela Vargas.
She is the only woman whose voice eats itself under my skin, who moves me, makes me think, believe and hope, whose unique way of performing I can not admire enough. Her enormous talent and influence is obvious and she is, without a doubt, one of the most significant artists of the 20th Century. A muse and friend of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera or Pedro Almodóvar, a true icon of Mexican music, she passed away yesterday at age 93.
It goes without saying that she will be greatly missed and never forgotten and her soul will live on forever in her beautiful songs. Because this is why she was so special - if you listen to her, what you hear is not yet another woman singing a love song; it's a soul telling you the story of her life.


Finding perfection in imperfection.

After rewatching all my favorite series I needed something new (for me, anyway), so I asked around a bit and a few friends of mine recommended Dexter. Although I knew what it was about - it's kind of hard to forget a plot consisting of a serial killer killing serial killers -, I have never seen any episode before so I thought I'd give it a try.
I knew it was impossible to live up to the level of Mad Men and The Sopranos, but I was pleasantly surprised. The protagonist is extremely well-written, one of the best characters on TV I think, and this not so tiny detail makes me watch all the episodes one after another. Dexter has a lot of flaws (the other characters are often quite flat and many of the dialogues and scenes are boring, sometimes even annoying), but the leading man's internal monologues, his philosophy, sarcasm and indifference save the show, big time.
As you might know, the show (and especially the first season) was based on a novel called Darkly Dreaming Dexter and it's pure genius. It is sad though that it took the creators another two years to come up with a comparably interesting storyline, but it was worth it - the fourth season is just as good as the first one. Currently I am watching the 5th and have yet to decide whether I like it or not... But for someone who's interested in writing (books, articles and screenplays as well), this series is a great lesson; on the one hand, you can learn how to write a character so that it's perfect, and on the other hand, you can wonder how you could improve those people and scenes that aren't so brilliant.
There is only one thing I cannot understand: how is it possible that one component of a series is one of the best things we've ever seen on TV, while the rest is only a so-so...? How can screenwriters be so right when describing a character, writing scenes and sentences for him and be dead wrong when doing the same for other characters of the same fictional world? Maybe it doesn't matter... Maybe we should just appreciate Dexter for what it is - Dexter himself.


Following the signs.

I've been rewatching a few of my favorite series this past month and that meant I did not really watch any (new) movies - I just get so attached to the story and the characters that I don't feel ready to bond with any other fictional people. However, tonight I felt the need for something else, for a different world with different problems, so I gave a chance to the Duplass brothers' Jeff, Who Lives at Home. I've had this film for a few months now and I forgot what it was about and who the actors were so it was a pleasant surprise to see Jason Segel's in it, because I liked a lot of his other movies and he really seems like a nice guy.
The plot is about a man who believes that we must listen to (and follow) the signs life (or God, maybe) sends us in order to meet our destiny. Now that's a thought I think many of us has had throughout our lives. Just think about it: you get a wrong number, someone's looking for Kevin, and then a few hours later you see a boy with a sweater and the name Kevin on it. Most of us would stop at thinking it's a coincidence, maybe a sign, who knows, it's interesting, but not interesting enough to distract us from our everyday duties. Needless to say, Jeff, our leading man, is not one of us. He is convinced that this is  only the first of signs he must follow to find an answer to his question: who am I, why am I here, what is the meaning and point of it all. So he decides everything else can wait, today he will listen to the signs. This is how he runs into his brother and his wife who may or may not be having an affair, and the rest is a nice independent movie that makes you think, laugh and have a great time.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home has a deeper meaning, an entire philosophy that is omnipresent but never too much, never too forced. Of course we really can't just stop wherever we are and follow something we believe is a sign to maybe get somewhere that is supposed to be our fate but it sure is interesting to contemplate what would happen if we did - and any movie that can help us doing so is worth watching.


The power of sincerity.

I love songs that have a meaning, whatever that is, and this is exactly what is missing from most of today's music (and by this I refer to the young and "new" performers). I know I've said this a lot but that's my opinion. Of course there are many musicians nowadays as well who do actually know that the lyrics are important but sadly they tend to be the less popular ones. I guess I'm just one of those who admires past eras and their representatives a bit too much... But whenever I listen to The Crystals' He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss), I am dumbfounded. Not only because of the lyrics (simple yet shocking) but also because it is written about an issue that is probably more present in the media now than ever before, shows what some of those women who suffer domestic violence might feel. This song, written and recorded fifty years ago, is brutal because it not only justifies such horror but also because The Crystals sing it in such an innocent way and the music itself is great. If you think about it, you discover the romantic side of it and then you are shocked when you realize you find something so violent so beautiful - anything that absorbs you like this is, without a doubt, a masterpiece.


One picture, two legends.

It's no secret that I love photography, especially old black and white pictures of legends and Alfred Hitchcock is definitely one of them. There are numerous funny, creative and beautiful photos of him and the one below is my new favorite. The big cat is another film icon - none other than one of the MGM lions...


The exception makes the rule.

As someone who doesn't watch TV, it is obvious that I hardly know anything about shows like X-Factor and their participants. I generally prefer it this way (if someone is truly talented I'll hear about them anyway), but when I heard that there was a man in Hungary's version of Britain's Got Talent who sang opera and folk songs, I knew I had to see him.
For weeks I followed his performances and couldn't believe what I saw - not only because he has a beautiful voice and an incredibly down to earth character but also because he seemed to be one of the most popular contenders; to achieve this in modern mass media is something to remember.
Of course János Elek Mészáros couldn't avoid the comparisons with Paul Potts (an English tenor who won the first series of Britain's Got Talent), especially since János Elek also finished first in the Hungarian version just a week ago. Below you can see his beautiful interpretation of the Hungarian folk song A Csitári Hegyek Alatt.
As much as I don't believe in contemporary talent shows, if they found just one performer like him in every series, it would be worth it (for the record: in this specific series there was another talented musician who finished fourth).


The end of an era - or two.

Two of the 2000s most successful series ended this month and although they were quite different, I always found they belonged to each other. It's probably because they premiered more or less around the same time and I started watching them both together (back then they were on the same channel every Wednesday in my country): Desperate Housewives and House M.D.
I was just an adolescent when became a follower of these two and now, 8 years later it's like saying goodbye to two old friends. Of course during these years many things have changed not only in my life but also in these series and maybe they weren't as good anymore as they used to be but I never once doubted I will stay with them until the end - and the end came a week ago for Desperate Housewives and yesterday for House.
I believe that a series finale is just as important as a pilot. The latter is supposed to attract viewers and get them interested, while the finale should answer all questions, it should contain a little bit of nostalgia and it should be very careful with the tone since it has a huge influence on the way fans will think about the series itself when looking back.
Desperate Housewives' very last episode was written by creator Marc Cherry and it was everything it had to be and could be - watching it felt like watching those first few seasons that were the best and it was a great conclusion. House, on the other hand, was less impressive. Directed and co-written by its creator, David Shore, it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that I felt its tone changing for the better and it didn't give me that sense of proper farewell. Maybe they mixed up things so badly in the past two or three seasons that there was no other way out, but still, it could have been better (but I have to repeat myself and say that the last scenes were great). However, in House's case I am willing to forgive - his philosophy will always be remember, even when the ending is long forgotten.

I guess that's how it is when you part with old friends- sometimes you feel your goodbye was worthy and other times you feel it could have been more.


Now I get it.

For many years I've been a follower of Franz Ferdinand (the band, of course) but when back in 2009 they came out with the album Tonight, it didn't impress me as much as their previous two albums. I couldn't really tell you the reason, maybe it was too modern disco for me and I was expecting something else. However, a few months ago I decided to leave all my negative feelings behind and listen to it again and boy do I get it now.
Maybe I'm more open to this new kind of indie-ish music now, who knows, I just feel that if this is the direction dance music in the 2010s is going to take, we're still somehow gonna be okay.
Although I normally don't like what we call "modern contemporary" performers but this band (just like Muse) has that certain something that makes them different from the others. I like it when an artist does not only pay attention to one aspect of their performance but all of them and Franz Ferdinand qualifies. Plus, I've known it ever since Alex Kapranos uttered the words "you can feel my lips undress your eyes" that he wrote the sexiest lyrics nowadays (and by this I mean talking about it but not actually saying it) and with No You Girls he once again showed us how it's done.
It is said that they will have a new album out this year and I can't wait. Hopefully I'll like it right away, maybe it will take me a few years again but part of my heart (and my iPod) still belongs to these Scottish boys.


Girl power.

I have to confess that I don't like disco music in general and my opinion about girl power songs is anything but positive. Yet, I have always loved this song, performed by Gloria Gaynor. The reason might be the lyrics that I absolutely love and also the fact that the original version was released almost 35 years ago (yet another proof that even disco was finer a few decades ago). Today, of course, it is an anthem and several newcomers tried to perform it but this one follows the good old rule of "nothing beats the original".


The perfect merger.

It's been almost 10 years since we could first see and hear The White Stripes' version of the Dusty Springfield song I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself and I still can't get enough of it. The lyrics are simple but great, the sound is brilliant and the video is pure perfection. A true 21st century icon (Kate Moss) pole dancing in the beautiful music video of one of best and most interesting performers of our time (too bad they are no longer together) - can you ask for anything more?



I know my last two posts had kind of a sad tone so today I decided to write about a living legend, who happens to have his 75th birthday today.
I don't think there is anyone who doesn't like Jack Nicholson - apart from being probably the most iconic living actor, his personality is also something to write home about; he is the ultimate bachelor and Casanova, a characteristic face with an irresistible charisma, paired with an enormous talent that manifested in classics like The Shining, Easy Rider or, more recently, As Good as it Gets.

I don't remember seeing a Nicholson movie I didn't like (and believe me, I've seen a lot of them) and I am sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Despite his more than 50 years in the business, he hasn't been typecast (unlike Al Pacino or even DeNiro, who most of the time play similar characters) and this is what makes him and everything he's in so exciting.
Sometimes of course it's hard to decide whether it is the movie that's good or simply Nicholson but it hardly ever matters - what he gives us is a superb experience, many hours of entertainment and the hope that maybe not all is lost for modern Hollywood cinema; at least not until he is around.


In memoriam.

This post is dedicated to the 1514 people who fell victims to the megalomania of some powerful men who believed they could defy the laws of nature, to those 710 who survived but could never find their peace afterwards and especially to those, crew members or not, who risked or sacrificed their lives to save others'.


Titanic - the movie, aka my first good experience with 3D

A 100 years ago Titanic left Southampton and the rest is history. As a tribute to this double anniversary (it was 15 years ago that the James Cameron movie Titanic opened in cinemas) a 3D version of the now classic motion picture is in theatres again and I couldn't wait to see it.
I love this movie because while fictional catastrophies leave me unimpressed, Cameron's masterpiece never fails to make me think about human nature and I believe it shows the disaster itself in the most authentic and shocking way ever experienced at the movies.
Probably this is why I was looking forward to see it all again on the big screen and in 3D. Although I was very young when it came out back in 1997, it made me interested in the story of this majestic ship and somehow I always felt sorry for not being able to enjoy it again in such a way (in my humble opinion, movies of this caliber are incomparable when watched at the movies and when watched at home on TV or on a computer).

I am no expert in 3D (mainly because the films that are made in 3D nowadays are the ones I never care for, e.g. Avatar) but I got more than what I expected. Seeing the Titanic collide with an iceberg and then sink in 3D was even more shocking and many times it almost felt like I was there myself.
Now that I know what it's like in 3D and after those 15 years of feeling sorry for not watching it more times in the cinema, I am seriously considering going again. It is experiences like this and motion pictures like Titanic that make me remember why I love going to the movies (and not just watch films at home) and why it is worth it to buy that ticket and sit there in the dark, waiting for something magical to happen. Sometimes you leave disappointed, but the chance of leaving with something more is worth the risk.


Still going strong.

When a successful series starts a new season, the question is always floating in the air: will it be as good as the previous one? This is especially true if we had to wait more than we're used to to see how our beloved characters' lives continue.
I have been an huge Mad Men fan for quite some time now and couldn't wait to see the 5th season. I had my doubts of course - nearly a year and a half without a new episode could have carried in itself a huge failure - but I was more than satisfied with the new episodes and am now wishing the week would go by a little bit faster to see the next ones.
Mad Men is still the best series on air (or could it be that it is the best ever?), most movies could envy the quality, wit, story line and acting talent it represents, not to mention the influence it had on fashion and, of course, on contemporary television; creators see a great potential in the glamorous 60s now (think Pan Am), although we have yet to see anything that is at least nearly as good as the series that made it all happen: Mad Men.


The sound of nostalgia.

I don't think there is anyone (maybe except for some uneducated youngsters) who is unfamiliar with this iconic song recorded by Sonny & Cher. It is one of the signature songs of the 60s and, of course, the hippie counterculture. Also, us movie fans can't help but identify it a little with the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day.
The lyrics obviously remind me of carefree young love - a little naïve, a litte immature and way too romantic in its morals but who's to say a few moments of childishness is harmful in a world that's often so gray and serious?


This to the one who touched my soul

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter, anyhow
An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don’t know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m traveling on
Don’t think twice, it’s all right

It ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
That light I never knowed
An’ it ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
I’m on the dark side of the road
Still I wish there was something you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talking anyway
So don’t think twice, it’s all right

It ain’t no use in calling out my name
Like you never did before
It ain’t no use in calling out my name
I can’t hear you anymore
I’m thinking and wondering all the way down the road
I once loved a man, a child I’m told
I give him my heart but he wanted my soul
But don’t think twice, it’s all right

I’m walking down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
But goodbye’s too good a word
So I’ll just say fare thee well
I ain’t saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kind of wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right*

* Lyrics modified by me, the original is by Bobby Dylan, of course.


The Perfect Valentine. No, not that one.

To tell you the truth, I couldn't care less about Valentine's Day. I am not in favor or against this "holiday", I just simply do not seem to care that much about it, probably because I come from a country where it is much less common than, say, in the US.

However, there is one Valentine I can't seem to get enough of - Chet Baker singing My Funny Valentine, that is (by the way, I have no idea why I prefer this version to the countless other ones). I am madly in love with the lyrics, the lines reflect true obsession and adoration, the best word to describe them is "musings" - and isn't it what we all want, to find our muse in life, who might not be perfect in the classical way but just perfect enough for us, someone so mesmerizing it's sending shivers down our spine, someone we could look at and listen to for eternity and never get bored... just like I never get bored of listening to My Funny Valentine.


The voice that can't be erased.

Whitney Houston was one of the most important voices of the 80s and the 90s who produced, along with many, many other hits, one of the most important songs of music history - I Will Always Love You. This record, along with the movie The Bodyguard, marked the childhood of people my age. I still listen to it quite often and I am always amazed by the voice Whitney had, that enormous talent, that way she could perform, filled with emotions, making you feel uncannily close to what she was singing about and to Whitney herself.
Of course after a few years she started to have problems but the world never ceased to believe she would one day stand up again and give us more and more songs that easen our pain and make our lives better.
Sadly, now we know she will never be able to return to us - she is gone forever, but her voice will stay with us forever.


The Wind of Change.

One of the biggest changes in my life was when 2,5 years ago, at 21, I left my country behind and moved to Spain. I immediately fell in love with Madrid and am proud to have called it home for all this time. But no holiday can last more than 2 years (just to loosely quote Kundera) and although my time here was anything but a standstill (I quickly went from student to working girl and have had three different jobs since then), I did start to feel it was time for something different. It has been my dream for a very long time to once live in Barcelona and as of the 1st of March I will be living that fantasy.

Of course it means I have to step away from many things I love here in Madrid - friends, Gran Vía and the world's best metro network - and I will also have to quit my job but I believe it is worth it. Many people would say I am crazy to give up a great position in this time of crisis and to opt for trying my luck in another city and I can't say all these thoughts haven't passed my mind. They have. Many, many times. But the thing is, I am still very young and have arrived to a point in my life when I know that I won't have this opportunity ever again.

If I don't change now, I might get even more friends who tie me to this city, I might not have my parents to support me if I fail and I might fall into the endless circle of routine where changing everything just sounds too much. I might have grown up in a different country but I definitely became an adult here in Madrid - I learnt how to live alone, how to take care of and stand up for myself and how to work in the adult world. I will always be grateful for this experience and I plan to come back many times to relive a little this short but important period of my life.

However, right now I prefer to look forward. I am excited about moving to the city I have always wanted to live in and to search new opportunities that are more and more related to what I really want to do: writing and/or movies.

Future might look frightening at times, but I'd rather regret something I had the courage to do but failed than not regret doing something I always desired to do but was too scared to. After all, "Losers are people who are so afraid of not winning, they don't even try."


The icon.

I think everyone will agree with me if I say 60 years is a lot of time. Now imagine having the same job for six decades. Today marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession.There is no doubt that the Queen is one of the last 100 years' most famous, most iconic and most influential personalities and it is no wonder that she is one of the most criticized as well, especially now when the Royal Family has to find its way to modernity (with last year's Royal Wedding it seems they are on the good path).

As the press became more and more aggressive all over the world, it was inevitable that they start to follow every step the royals take. However, after surviving the 90s, one of the lowest points of the monarchy's popularity, Elizabeth is now maybe more supported than ever.Her image might not be impeccable, but it is mostly due to the fact that the Royal Family was not ready to share matters they considered private (such as the death of Lady Diana) with the public. Elizabeth is both a discreet person who takes her duties very seriously and the icon of an empire who always has a smile for her people. She was Great Britain's hope after World War II, a few decades later she led them to the new century and she is now a queen everyone respects and though movements in favor of independence will probably never cease to exist, most of her people wish to see her right where she is: on the throne, for many years to come.


In memoriam.

We've spent many years now in this economic crisis and I have seen the damages it caused in various aspects of the life we had considered normal - I saw people lose their jobs, I saw companies I liked close their doors and people close to me ending up in a difficult situation but what happened today was something I have never even considered possible.
The rumors that Hungary's national airline, Malév might go bakrupt have been circulating for quite some time now but I kind of put my head in the sand. Then Spanish airline Spanair ceased its operations and we heard Malév might be next. I remember thinking, "it can't happen. They won't let it happen. It's impossible."
But my fear became reality this morning at 6 a.m. when the airline announces they would no longer fly.

You might wonder why I find all this so shocking but the thing is, Malév was something to be proud of, a respectable airline with a great past and the fact that after 66 years of service it ceased to exist is a big deal for a country that now has no airline it can call its own.
Although I am sure pretty soon another national airline will be born, it will never be the same. Malév started right after World War II - their planes flew through communism and its end, the rare post-communist 90s and the new era and survived it all. And now, all of a sudden, it all had to come to an end - this is what saddens me so much. Losing Malév is like losing a mentor, losing a rock upon which we all could stand to see a little bit of the world, even when the times were rough.



With the uncountable great movies out there, it is always very hard for me to name those few that would qualify as my "favorites". I don't believe in naming only one -after all, it would be, quite simply, impossible. But maybe I could name, say, those five that are on top of my list. And the thing is, I love them all for different reasons.

There is one I do not watch too often but admire for all the emotions it contains, expresses and makes me feel: Last Tango in Paris. Sometimes it makes me smile, other times it makes me sad, and then it makes me think and later, excited - all this in a little more than two hours. Then, after the very last scene, there is that unexplicable silence when I still can't let go of the film's mood, when I don't really think about anything, I don't really feel anything, I just stay there, in front of the screen, absorbing and enjoying the experience. I know I saw a good movie when I want to conserve its ambient (I usually wait until the very end of the closing credits in these occasions).

With The Godfather, an obvious one to make the list, I just can't get over the fact how perfect it is. I must have seen it at least a 100 times (no kidding) and there are still newthings to discover. Then comes The Adventures of Picasso, also a film that I have seen many, many times and that always has a little surprise for me. Girl on the Bridge is one of the most beautiful motion pictures I have ever seen, with an extraordinary story and unforgettable music.

However, there is one movie I probably adore a little bit more than the others: The Man Who Wasn't There. I first saw it many years ago on tv and it was love at first sight. If you read this blog, you might as well know how crazy I am about the Coen brothers.Well, it all started with this one. Aside from representing pure perfection in every aspect and being one of the reasons I love cinema and wish to one day have something to do with it professionally, what makes me have stronger feelings for this one is the leading character, Ed Crane. Brought to life by an impeccable Billy Bob Thornton, this barber is, for me, the unsurpassable, the best, the most important movie personality I have ever had the luck to "know". If I had to choose which fictional character I would like to meet, I would not hesitate to name Mr. Crane. Of course I can't say it's because we would have so much to talk about - none of us is a man/woman of words - but I would enjoy sitting in silence with him more than anything.

Also, The Man Who Wasn't There is, from start to end (and by end, I mean the lastminute of the closing credits), like a symphony. Better said, it's like the combination of a beautiful poem and an amazing painting, with words so perfectly formed and images so astonishing that the result is mesmerizing. Whenever I watch this movie, I feel like I just can't look away. It's like being part of magic, the manifestation of something truly supernatural and sublime.


The therapy and the masterpiece.

I think there is no question about it that R.E.M. is (was) one of the most important performers of the last 30 years. Many of us grew up on their music, loved it and respected it and still get excited when one of their songs are on the radio. Also, they are the ones who gave the world Losing My Religion, a song that not only made them crazy famous at the time but that wrote their name in music history. It might be a cliché to say this is one of my favourite R.E.M. songs ever, but let's face the undeniable: this song, with its brilliant lyrics, eats-itself-under-your-skin sound and amazing video, is perfect.
There are a lot of love songs out there, many of them are about obsession, but none of them describes them the way Losing My Religion does. All that pain, all that longing, all that madness and all those doubts are compiled and densified in this work of art of less than five minutes. No words or explications are needed after listening to Losing My Religion. No need for other love songs that make you feel they're about you. Everything that has to be said is said in this song and all you can do is listen to it, admire it, maybe cry a little, then get yourself together and try to move on. Perfection.


Magic 13th.

Although I am not a science fiction fan, there are some movies of this genre I admire and watch over and over again. One of my favourites is The Thirteenth Floor and I can't understand why it's not a more popular film.

Had it been made with more famous people, it could have become one of the most important Sci-Fis of the turn of the century but for some reason it didn't (I guess the fact that it came out the same year as The Matrix didn't help either).

The Thirteenth Floor has it all: mystery, drama, action and an incredibly interesting story. It raises ethical questions and is extremely entertaining, intriguing and exciting from the first minute to the last.

Filled with beautiful pictures of past, present and future (being the old-fashioned person that I am, I obviously love the 30s scenes the most) and a brilliant idea, it almost makes me pissed at how overlooked this movie is. So the actors are not A-list stars. But do we really need them? The Thirteenth Floor is perfect without them as well. Maybe even better.

It really would have deserved more than what it got - the sad example of how the Hollywood system fails again and again because it only has eyes for money and the stars.


The British Trio.

More and more filmmakers turn to modern British legends when it comes to finding inspiration and so far the results have been more than brilliant. Three movies and three remarkable performances started this new era of - hopefully - quality historic biopics. The leading actors of the first two already won the most important award of their profession and now all eyes are on Ms. Streep as she gets closer and closer to her 17th nomination.

1. The Queen was first in the line. With Helen Mirren's breathtaking acting, this movie managed to show the humane side of a woman so much criticized for not showing her emotions, especially following the death of her ex-daughter-in-law and mother of the future king of Great Britain. However, the film does not try to make you like Queen Elizabeth II more (or less); it tries to be objective, while reminding us all that no situation or person is ever black or white.

2. The King's Speech tells the story of another extremely famous and talked about event of the Royal Family: the abdication of Edward VIII and, most importantly, the battle his brother, now known as King George VI, to overcome his stammer and become the king his country needed: a leader who can speak to his people and can unite and comfort them during the time of war. Once again, Colin Firth is impeccable as the man who had an unwanted date with destiny and became more than he could have ever imagined.

3. The Iron Lady was one of the most anticipated movies of the year and for good reason: Meryl Streep (the only one of the three who is not British) is mesmerizing as Margaret Thatcher (then again, when is she not mesmerizing?) and depicts the life of a great woman who refused to be just another housewife and became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Her performance is sometimes shocking, other times witty and always majestic - if she does not win an Academy Award for this one, I will lose all my faith in the Academy.

Although it is obvious that the success and greatness of these works of art lies in the talent and devotion of their writers, directors and protagonists, we should not forget the amazing contribution of the supporting artists either - James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce and Jim Broadbent, to name the most important ones.


Elvis and the parents.

I fell in love with Elvis Presley's music back in 1997 when there was an Elvis marathon on the radio commemorating his death. Ever since I've been a fan, even if in this case it "only" means I just love listening to his tender voice and sometimes beautiful, other times energetic but always great songs.
However, being born decades after he rose to fame, I never really understood why parents didn't like him, why they thought his music was so sexual and damaging to their adolescent children. That is, until I heard his version of "My Babe" a few years ago. This song, written by Willie Dixon, first released in 1955 and then recorded by Elvis as a live cover in 1969, is filled with sexual energy, not really because of the simple lyrics but the way he performed it.
The original version, sung by Little Walter is less dynamic, less erotic and the lines themselves are given more importance than in the Elvis cover. Presley took the song and transformed it - Little Walter's was a rather innocent recording while the lyrics in the version Elvis performed are, at one point, hardly comprehensible due to his groans. Add to this his signature moves on the stage and the undeniably omnipresent energy and you can perfectly understand exactly what the aforementioned parents' problem was with one of music's greatest icons. Needless to say, it only makes it all the more interesting and entertaining.


New year, new banner.

~Happy New Year Everyone!~

As you can see, the blog now has a new banner. There is a line in one of my beloved songs that says "times change I change just like them". I started this blog nearly four years ago and many things have changed since then both in my life and here on Gonzo About Style as well.
I feel I have become more mature and my posts are a bit different now as well. However, I did like the old banner but I came to think that it might time to refresh it. The style and some of the artists are still the same but now I included those who were missing from the first one.
Of course after finishing it I realized how many of my sources of inspiration I had left out again - Vladimir Nabokov, William Blake, certain philosophers... But it would be a mission impossible to include each and every one of them.
I hope you like the new banner and that you'll come back time after time to read my posts... I promise there will be more of them than last year!
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