Sing

Cinema, Review

I was wandering in the giant wasteland of TV shows, changing channels every 15 seconds, when I noticed that animation Sing was about to start. I decided to give it a try, but I had no expectations about it. For me it would be another cashin animation movie.

When it ended I felt super surprised about how good it is. I was crying like a baby, but it something I do often. ūüėõ

The movie is about a theater owner that dreamed about having a great and successful show but got failure after failure. Deeply in debt, he decided to create a singing competition. It attracted hundreds of contestants, which one with a unique style. The narrative is very predictable, but nevertheless very emotional one. The main themes is believe in your dreams. But there is a bit of father-son relationship for some characters. They don’t run away from the typical stereotypes. And there a very few surprises along the way.

Visually stunning, the song selection is very nice (could be great, however) and the characters are very well realized. My personal favorite is the chameleon assistant. ūüėõ The cast is very good here, with solid performances. Some of them I did not noticed who as who. I dont know if the actors actually sang for the movie, but I doubt it.

Very good pop corn time movie to watch with the family.

My grade: 8

Metacritic: 53

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

Queen of Katwe

Cinema, Review

Just after watching a fun and light comedy with Sing, another channel started to show Queen of Katwe. I heard good comments when it was in theaters, so I decided to keep up the marathon.

It tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a real life girl from the village of Katwe, in Uganda, that end up being a very good chess player. It is a very typical against-all-odds and follow-your-dream kinda story. The poor girl have to face all the prejudice for being women and poor (but not about being black, because the whole movie is basically on Uganda, which such thing is non sense) to get a place under the sun.

Her unexpected success transformed the lives of her family and of the many people of her village. She became a celebrity at very young age, which influenced her personality. Year after year, she start to behave as a spoiled kid, believing that she was invincible. With the family support, she realizes the most valuable things in life in the end.

The acting of the protagonist, from Madina Nalwanga, is excellent. The whole media focused the attention to the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o that plays Phiona’s mother, but the real star here is Madina. Phiona is portrayed as a timid, introspective girl, but Madina played in a way that it still makes the character very very likable. You cheer for her. Even being in a chess match!

The other kids are also really good. It is always a challenge to work with children.

My main complain with the story is the sub plot of her older sister. I dont know if the book that was based on uses this character to a greater purpose, but in this motion picture this subplot, while gives hints about the whole situation of Phiona and her mother, does not go anywhere relevant.

The visuals are great. The poverty is displayed in a way that brings emotions but is not there to provoke shock. The African colors and styles gives it a very distinctive and beautiful look.

My Grade: 7.5

Metacritic: 73

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

My Neighbor Totoro

Cinema, Review

This 30 years old cartoon is still a charm.

This Japanese animation showed me the importance of being open to alternative views. The theme and pace of the movie is completely different from the western animations.

The story is about 2 girls (and their dad) moving to a new house. Nearby there are some fantastical creatures that co-exist in this world.

The pace is super slow. But not dragging-type of slow. It is contemplative kinda slow. They present the characters step by step, thru small events. The two kids will slowly conquest your heart. They are so adorable. It was a great pleasure to care about someone, on the contrary of many of the western movies and games, that I could not care a thing about them. I loved  Mei and Satsuki.

The visuals are great. Like watercolor paintings and classic anime style of drawings. The Totoro character is particularly funny! The other creatures are cool, but they are not throughly explored, so I cannot say they are great. The music is a bit sparse, with long moments of silence.

My mainly, maybe only, complain is the abrupt ending. With much spoilers, at a certain point of the story there is a big problem that the characters try to solve. But at any point it as said that is was the major final problem. I was personally expecting to, after solving it, to get to the final major problem. It ends in moment that I was not expecting to happen. It left the story with too many open questions, too many mysteries. When the credits started to roll I was shocked.

It is a short excellent movie. It ends suddenly but the whole ride is a enjoyable one. Totoro (the character) is now among my favorite anime characters ever.

Totally recommend you to watch it.

My Grade: 8

Metacritic: I could not find it (!)

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Hacksaw Ridge

Cinema, Review

I wanted to watch the latest Mel Gibson movie as a director because… it was Mel Gibson. I understand that Gibson plays a nuts role in most peoples minds, but as ¬†a director, he is a quite talented one. I did not know much about the movie, except it was about a war (probably second great war, based on the trailer) and Gibson was the project leader. It was enough to make me curious.

After 30 minutes into the movie, I had to admit that I was hooked. Cool characters, cool story, very nice production.

Now, after seeing it entirely, I have to say: WOW. What a great movie it is! I was not expecting this quality.

Gore

If you have heart problem, have kids with you watching or do not support violence and gore, keep away form this picture. It has it all. Like some super-realistic WWII movies (like the superb Saving Private Ryan), Hacksaw Ridge shows the battles in a visceral way. Gibson is very familiar with this, because Braveheart and Passion of the Christ are also displaying violence in its crudeness.

But for all of these movies, the crude violence is informative. It sets the tone of despair and importance of simple acts. You can see the real courageous and the cowards. The cost of the victory and the burden of the defeat.

Religion

One of the major themes is about religion prejudice. It dedicates half of its time talking about how the military (and society in general) are very prejudicial against religious people, specially those fanatics. It tries to convince that, despite the fanaticism, all people should be respected. Quite bold and powerful message in times that Muslim fanatics are doing so many terrorist acts.

But the political argument was not about muslins, but about Gibson himself. It is well knowing that Mel is a very religious person. In the last past movies, he always touched the subject. Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto address some religions views and practices. I felt that Hacksaw Ridge, sometimes, seems to be made only for the purpose of justification of his own behavior and believes.

But despite the original intention an violent aesthetics, it is a must-see.

My grade: 9

Metacritic: 71

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Mad Max: Fury Road

Cinema, Review

Breath taking.

I just watched and it is really good. Both the visuals and the high intense action are breath taking.

I felt that, if a blink, I lose something important. I miss the experience. I plan to, someday, watch again.

Everything Miller did was right. The cast is excellent. The new Max (which I would bet that he is not the same Mel Gibson’s. Maybe the son?) is likable. The secondary characters are likable. Even the super weird archenemy is likable.

The music is again very good but what makes this movie great are, as said before, its visuals and the unstoppable actions scenes.

The scenes, mostly made using practical effects (real live cars, explosions and doubles) are amazing. And Miller transformed it entirely by post processing it fully, like it was shot against the blue/green screen. The desolation from the desert came not form a Earth’s landscape, but from a computer. However it is not a demerit. In fact, due the correct and artistic way it was employed, the virtual scenery an color correction makes the movie a one-of-a-kind.

I totally recommend you to watch.

My Grade: 9.5

Metacritic: 90

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Cinema, Review

The biggest sensation of 2015, Star Wars РForce Awakens was easily the most anticipated movie of the last few years. A lot of expectation was put into it. It was the revival of a beloved franchise, and the first movie under the Disney umbrella. The direction was under the experienced JJ Abrams, famous for the Lost TV show and the Star Trek film reboot. There are no much people in the world that can claim to have worked in these both famous SciFi universes.

It starts from the ashes of the old Galactic Empire; the First¬†Order rises. Kinda lame, because it is essentially the same enemy, with the same military structure. Just a re branding. In fact, if you start to think more deeply, the film tries so much¬†to¬†be a continuation of the universe, that it borrows several elements from other movies. The deja v√Ļ sensation is very present throughout the whole time. It is not bad or good by definition, but it makes me think about the artificial nature of the script: it was done to be a commercial success, at all costs.

star-wars-the-force-awakens 4

I liked very much the new characters, heroes and villains. Most are well defined. Their motivations are clear, and their actions make sense. They are also mostly funny. It believe that Disney notice that the most beloved characters from the original movies were those that have a sense of humor, like Han Solo and Chewbacca, or R2-D2. Now almost all, even in dire straits, have fun of the danger. One noticeable exception is the main villain, Kylo Ren. The internal is so strong that makes the audience believe that he is not actually any powerful as it tries to imply.

My main overall criticism is that the movie is very focused on the characters and the intrinsic relationships among them, forgetting the major conflict (not going to tell about specifics, for the sake of spoiling the fun). All the problems that are not personal-related is solved in a so easy fashion that removed the credibility. The villains are so incompetent the heroes surpass them all the time, with no relevant drawback. At the end, it seems that everything was a minor headache episode.

Nostalgic and fun. Total recommendation. Sorry to say, but it is already a far better experience than Lucas’ second trilogy.¬†Star Wars is stronger¬†than ever.

My grade: 8,5

Metacritic: 81%

Que Horas Ela Volta?

Brasil, Cinema, Review

Prefiro o t√≠tulo em ingl√™s; Segunda M√£e. Menos forte no ponto de vista do marketing, mas diz mais sobre o que veio. O filme faz uma cr√≠tica ao preconceito contra os pobres e imigrantes que se sujeitam a trabalhar na cidade grande, deixando a fam√≠lia para tr√°s (mas com uma grande ferida no peito causada pela enorme saudade). A fam√≠lia rica mal nota a presen√ßa da criada e faxineira, se comporta como se fossem os melhores amigos e melhores patr√Ķes, mas tudo isso numa m√°scara de hipocrisia.

Regina Cas√©, a criada, √© bem solit√°ria mas aprendeu a lidar com sua posi√ß√£o no mundo. N√£o parece sofrer particularmente com isso todo dia. Com seus pequenos luxos, ela vai levando a vida, dia a dia. Cuida do filho dos patr√Ķes como se fosse uma m√£e. Ela tem enorme carinho por todos, mesmo vivendo numa realidade completamente diferente.

Que Horas Ela Volta 2

S√≥ com a chegada inesperada da filha √© que seus valores com a vida come√ßam a ser questionados. A filha √© rebelde e de personalidade forte, cr√≠tica com tudo que v√™ e ouve e bota em cheque o modo em que a m√£e vive e trabalha. A dom√©stica que sempre teve respeito pelos patr√Ķes come√ßa a questionar se a filha n√£o est√° certa e tudo n√£o poderia ser diferente.

Regina Cas√© mostra que √© uma excelente atriz c√īmica, mesmo em momentos mais dram√°ticos. Os outros personagens s√£o demasiadamente caricatos, mas¬†passam a mensagem.

Minha nota: 8.

The Fault in Our Stars

Cinema, Review

 

I was waiting a moment with my girlfriend to watch what I was expecting to be a silly romance story. The Fault in Our Stars was a best seller book, adapted to the big screen. And it is more than enough to make me shiver. Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades of Grey are recent proof of what book editors are best selling.
But for my surprise, this one is a great movie. Amazing character development, very sad story with a great dosage of first love romance. I cried from start to end.
The actors deliver the characters with nice performances. I cannot remember right now a single actor that was bellow-par. Shailene Woodley is gorgeous and with the make up and different haircut, she is even more beautiful. Great actress too, because she makes you care deeply about her character, the protagonist Hazel.
Her friend and lover Augustus, played by Ansel Ergot, is less believable, but very likable. He is always positive about life and drives the whole dark tone of cancer with much lighter.
The human relations, even on very dare moments of life, is really

I totally recommend this movie.

Metacritic: 68
My grade: 9

Life of Pi

Cinema, Review

Great visuals. That is by far the most commented and notorious quality of this touching movie. This film have several common qualities with Cast Away. The main character, because of an disaster, is isolated to the world. Alone, he enters into a routine in order to maintain sanity. But from external eyes, it seems that they are in fact becoming lunatic.

This piece is beautiful not only for the eyes, but also for the heart. The main message is tolerance. Tolerance specially towards religion choices. It is very linked to religion theme, while not a sermon.

The main problem of the film is the somewhat long sequence of loneliness. While important to give motive to the religion, it is long enough to make some people sleep.
In the end, I recommend you to watch to reflect. Probably the book that inspired the film is more deep, but this piece is strong enough to provoke some thinking about religion, personal choices and differences.
My grade: 7
Metacritic: 79%