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O Pátio das Cantigas (2015)
Completely pointless remake
First of all let me clarify one thing: I am not a big fan of the original film or of the whole genre. That being said, there is something seriously wrong when something made on a low budget in a poor country in 1942 under an authoritarian regime (which had a strong Censorship Board - that was not an issue for films like the 1942 original as most of the people involved were strong supporters of said regime) still manages to amuse and entertain here and there while the 2015 loosely based remake has descended to the lowest for of humor and looks like a soap opera, mostly because all those involved in making it have know experience of making movies or if one or two do they show a complete disregard to the medium.Not all films appealing to the masses are this crass. Most do treat the audience as a bunch of teenagers which is tells us more about society in general than about any specific studio, producer or actor. This "film" is on a different scale of disaster. It's not funny, it's offensively unfunny. I might add racist and misogynist and homophobic but those "isms" are there as background social context so that Lisbon (and Portugal in general) appears to have been stuck in the first half of the last century only with product- placement and gadgetry. I have not seen anything quite so dumb in my life so the announcement that as soon as this runs its course big screen-wise it'll be shown as a TV miniseries is no surprise but even for TV this simply too bad. I have no doubt many people will like it. Much as many.. well, some people like Vietnamese soap operas and Nazi-era German musicals (both of which have better production values and at least some kind of plot - they also, like the 1942 original of this have some ideological agenda subtle or blunt, the only agenda I see here is.. none). I'd give this 2 if I had fond memories of the 1942 film. I don't.
Great premise, awesome potential, kind of peters o..
Love the premise! Love the inventive way the first episodes set it up and love Colin & most of the cast. Was sorely disappointed at how it kept failing to deliver on that amazing beginning. I still have high hopes of reconciling myself with the est of the show but it's only Colin that's keeping me watching it and Superb as he is in this (though even more superb in "More Tales of the City") I think it is very risky to start up with a great concept and clever dialogue and then go on to rely solely on the actors' performances. Sometimes you can get away with it, sometime it turns ugly. In this case it just turns predictable, run-of-the-mill and more than often boring. 9 out of 10 for what it might have been, 3 out of 10 for the last episodes I've seen so.. 6/10
Growing Up Gotti (2004)
Truly Grotesque (in the worst possible sense)
I admit that some notorious criminals may hold a certain fascination to viewers of reality shows. I am even sufficiently endowed with a huge circle of friends of many 'preferences in entertainment' to grant you that even minor criminals (still murderous but less stylish, say) can grab your attention for a few episodes. I am far more dubious about people whose only claim to notoriety is being the wife / daughter / grandson of some petty hit-man. It's not their ignorance, cursing, rudeness or immense self-indulgence that puts me off. I can endure that if the people in question display ANY kind of talent, interesting quirkiness or even clinical schizophrenia. I cannot endure it for more than the 15 minutes I was exposed to by a not-all-that-well-meaning friend when it's a case of "Watch us! See how brainless AND rich we are. Look how it's possible to live on Blood Money and no talent whatsoever in modern America". It is idiotic but not in a funny way. And creepy but in a way that diminishes the humanity of the God knows how many victims these people founded their money, vulgarity and tastelessness upon. As a half-Italian good old fashioned communist girl I took particular offense at the implied witless remarks suggesting Italy is still ruled by the Mafia. That is only the South, so kudos for getting Naples right and Tuscany wrong. And general shame on you as to the cable A&E or "Bio." channel I saw this on. You used to be better. Not by any means good (except when borrowing British whodunits) but so much better than this purposeless, offensive yet somewhat strangely impossible-to-make-compelling farce.
Housewife, 49 (2006)
Nella Last's story deserved to be told even if in adapted guise long since. My greatest praise goes to Victoria Wood. As a comedian I always understood and was revived by her humour, wit and writing. But as a "so called serious actress" I was totally blown away by her performance in this. Far more so than in the delightful "Pat and Margaret". Stephanie Cole is up to her standard of excellency on this one, too and then some. The period art direction is almost flwaless. For a non-Britain it actually feels flawless...
Also: I simply adore the NOT-Hollywoodesque-nonsense ending.
Definitely 10 out of 10 for this one
Whole New Kind Of Diva - Yes, still 20 years later!
Bette Midler is again Divine! Raunchily humorous. In love with Burlesque. Capable of bringing you down to tears either with old jokes with new dresses or merely with old songs with more power & punch than ever. All in All Singing new ballads, power-singing the good old/perennial ones such as "The Rose"; "Stay With Me" and yes, even "Wind Beneath My Wings". The best way to appreciate the Divine Miss M has always been libe - since this is the next best thing to it, I strongly recommended to all with a mixture of adult wide-eyed enchantment and appreciation and a child's mischievous wish for pushing all boundaries!
The Art of Amália (2000)
Wonderful abridged documentary for DVD release
Reading some of the other comments, I must agree that some of the (very few) shortcomings found in this brilliant documentary about one of the 20th century's divas (up there with Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith, Edith Piaf, Judy Garland and Mercedes de Sosa) are justified. Because initially this was a 6-hours-plus TV documentary about her career("ESTRANHA FORMA DE VIDA" (V) 1995/1999). Far more encompassing and with greater insight into Amália's inner world. As for the subtitling her songs, I'm all for it! Though the music, the voice and the performance may be - are! - universal, there is so much poetry in the words just begging to be translated. I think this was a conscious choice by the producers. They were aiming at the 200 million Portuguese speakers in Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, France, East Timor, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Canada, the US, South Africa, St. Tome and Principe, Goa, Daman, Diu, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Germany and the rest of the Portuguese-speaking diaspora worldwide. As for the Lady herself, she did not live to see this particular shortened DVD version of the documentary, but she was given a preview of "Estranha Forma de Vida". And it seems to have been to her liking. Very much so.
Divine Madness (1980)
Yes I was a very naughty girl to watch this at age 12 - but come on, it was on network television where I lived and starting at 10 pm...
I fell in love with her here. Her comedy flare, her emotional rendering of some songs, her sheer mad-rock ones of others. It made me want to see "The Rose" (which I did) sing "Shiver Me Timbers" all day long and expect ever grander things from her Live (which eventually I got). She seems to exude so much emotion one minute, then so much raunchy humor the other. I just loved the fact that the concert/performance was introduced the way it was. And her hairdo has never quite been the same again, has it? Though myself, ultimate 80s girl-fashion victim went to the altar of sacrifice in that respect, too - just because on top of everything she did so damned well, she just looked so gorgeous.
Perfect intro to her many talents!
Igor Stravinsky: Composer (2005)
An extraordinary documentary that follows up the great Igor Stravinsky himself in his later years, drawing from several archive sources. It also contextualizes his earlier years in Paris with the Ballets Russes and Diaghilev - arguably following up his masterpiece "Le Sacré du Printemps" as well as "Petroushkha" and "Firebird" (forgive the orthography...) - which we later see him revive both as a maestro/director and as he traces back his steps to the villa in Switzerland where he composed them. A long life and filled with contacts with many other major writers, painters, sculptors and fellow composers. If I am not mistaken he was a naturalized US citizen and his mortal remains repose at Venice, Italy. But I think Paris was his city and this documentary/film bears this out. Touching/ironic moments: his returns to Moscow and Berlin...
The Mother (2003)
'The Mother' is that extraordinary piece of film making - it gets you thinking, it pulls no punches - and ultimately it leaves you thinking. Very much open-ended as to the lead character's fate. Anne Reid (which I only knew briefly from her appearances in some Victoria Wood-led projects and thought a fine comedienne) is truly superb here. Not the stereotypical widowed housewife that was perfect in marriage and motherhood at all. And not all that free-spirited and adventurous at first. She plays her character just with the right note that rings true (well, it did to me). Powerful cast. Great script. Renaissance of European cinema indeed ;)
I just got hit by this show on Fox Portugal and have yet to research on Christopher Titus the person behind most of what's so witty, urbane, universal, hallucinatory and yet basically a healthy self-look at america as it enters/entered the 21st century - but I can already say this has got to be one of my favorite comedies ever. Did it got canceled, did it just come to a natural death(much doubt it)? The network is on a continuous loop of re-runs here, so it could have gotten frustrating. But hey, it's Titus! So - to paraphrase somebody else - put the damned thing on DVD now and with plenty of extras please! And keep region 2 in mind, OK?
I Capture the Castle (2003)
Charming romantic film
The book (by Dodie Smith) is better. It's usually so, as it has the space to develop the characters, set the setting (as it were) and be more satisfying.
But the movie for me ranks 8/10. Adaptations are always difficult, but here an harmonious compromise has been reached.
The acting is not uniformly good, but each performer gives the best of itself. Particularly Tara Fitzgerald, Romola Garai, Henry Thomas and, yes, Marc Blucas(if you've only seen him on 'Buffy' you're in for a treat).
All in all a wonderful, old-fashioned with the odd touch of XXIst century romantic comedy.
I've just recently seen on a cable tv channel (yes, there is still intelligent life out there) a documentary about the german(and unfortunately for him also jewish)actor and director Kurt Gerron. His life's history impressed me so much that I couldn't help going back to the Holocaust and the open wounds it has left all across Europe even today. "Theresienstadt" (a concentration camp by any other name in what is now the Czech Republic) was a Faust-like bargain. Gerron hadn't directed a film in seven years - since the dutch "Three Wishes". He achieved the impossible portraying a concentration camp that could pass for a normal and much improved jewish ghetto. Some of his inmates proscribed him for it. Others, who have survived, aren't entirely sure they would have done different if faced with the prospect of immediate death for themselves and their families. In any case, the "cast" (mostly children) of this surreal exercise were transported to Auschwitz shortly after completion of the film. As were Kurt Gerron and his family. They were murdered on arrival. This has got to be, with the benefit of hindsight, one of the most disturbing pieces of film ever shot. And quite impossibly to vote for on a scale of 1 to 10. It is still too soon, too fresh, utterly unpardonable.
The Search (1948)
Extremely Moving Near-Epic
I first saw this film when I was 16. My country(Portugal)having escaped he horrors and devastation of WWII but not the ravages of long-enduring fascism, I immediately related to all the main characters in it - particularly the little boy in search of his mother. I think it is also one of the finest (and earliest) of Montgomery Clift's performances. A bit of an unknown gem nowadays. If you get the chance to watch it, catch it - some may think it too sentimental, but it's more than worth the effortlessness of seeing it. For the Pity of War alone...(Wilfred Owen dixit - WWI)