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2017.07.03

Hacksaw Ridge

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.

Hacksaw ridge

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.

Hacksaw ridge

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.

Hacksaw ridge
My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 71
Rotten Tomatoes: 84
2016.11.10

Mad Max: Fury Road

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.

Mad max fury road

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.

Mad max fury road

I totally recommend you to watch.

My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 90
Rotten Tomatoes: 97
2016.10.03

12 Angry Men

I was looking for quite some time for some stories that used a minimal amount of resources, like scenarios or visual effects, and were mainly focused on characters. I was interested on these kind of story mostly because I was planning to write some stories that would allow me to produce them by my own. Therefore an inexpensive production is a requirement. I needed an inspiration. Some real case examples to put into my wall and see that is a possible feat.

12 angry men

Then I stumble, in a short period of time, in 2 articles (a video from WatchMojo and an article from IGN) that listed a series of movies that features the characteristics. Among both articles, a unanimous praise for a very old movie staring Mr Fonda called 12 Angry Men (the Brazilian Portuguese title is 12 Homens e Uma Sentença, something like 12 Men and a Sentence). So I gave it a shot.

And man! Instant classic. Instant love.

12 angry men

The principle here is simple. The 12 jurymen have to decide, unanimously, if the accused boy is guilty or not guilty. But what seemed to be a very easy and straight forward decision reveals to be more intricate. Because the unanimously condition have to be followed, it forces all the characters to level their beliefs and reasons towards one single point. That is what the whole conflict is placed: they all differs in backstory and value different things.

12 angry men

Fonda (which I cannot recall the name. In fact, I think the characters are never presented by name) is the main star of the film, but there is a very distributed character relevance here. I’m not going to say that the twelve characters are equal, but there are at least five that are constantly relevant throughout the whole story. They control the flux of the story. Fonda is the protagonist because the whole conflict and he is the major force towards one line of the thought. And there are a central antagonist, that opposes Fonda all the way. Yet is one of the most distributed stories I can remember.

12 angry men

All happens into a single room. In a rainy night. All the shots take place from different angles from this tiny room. It is definitively a challenge for cinematography, but they done it. It becomes very personal and intimate. There is not much visual demand here because the lighting and the scenario is very mundane.

12 angry men

The performances are convincing and all characters fell that they have their own personality. From the talkative salesman to the awkward accounting.

Classic. Entered in my personal Best movies of All Time list. A must-see.

My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 96
Rotten Tomatoes: 84
2014.11.17

The Fault in Our Stars

The fault in our stars

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.

The fault in our stars
The fault in our stars
My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 68
Rotten Tomatoes: 81
2014.08.04

Saga

What a great story! What a great universe! What a great art!

Without any further words, I loved Saga.

Saga is a epic space opera, with a rich and VERY weird universe, full of bizarre races and locations. Like Star Wars, there is a galaxy-wide conflict, but unlike the reference, there is no good-and-evil motto.

The main characters (the couple Alana and Marko) are involved, but they are not the center of the conflict. They are fugitives hunted by governments and bounty hunters and they challenge the odds to remain alive. All this with a new born girl Hazel.

The story is incredible, yet believable.

Saga

The overall look is really good. Brian K. Vaughan, the author, mention the amazing art from Fiona Staples several times in the author area over and over and I cannot disagree. It enhances the experience like it should. Comics are a mixed of visual and story and both are covered.

Probably one of the recurrent mentioned feature of the series is the sex references. Sex is part of the story but is not vulgar. It is dealt as a part of the universe.

The liberty given by Image Comics to authors really pays off on Saga. In fact, Brian K. Vaughan is one of my preferred authors of this generation. I liked very much X: The Last Man, at least the first half.

Saga

You have to read it

NOTE: I just read the first 8 issues. I totally want to read the rest.

My Rating: 9
Goodreads: 4.17
2013.07.14

Bastion

I’ve heard about Bastion for quite some time. People love it as a very refined indie game. This review aims to confirm all you heard elsewhere: Bastion is a lovely game and I’m both happy and sad for finishing it.

Core mechanics are the main success factor presented. The fluid gameplay makes it accessible for almost everyone. He combat is satisfying and challenging. There are enough weapons to make you believe there is a variety, but not much to make you think there are just for filling in content. Each weapon requires a different play style

The graphics are great. It was given a lot of work to give Bastion a singular look. Its cartoonish characters and hand maid painted scenarios are richly detailed. You will believe in the universe.

Bastion

The enemies are also nice looking as well animated. They have different tactics and you have to fight them with a strategy, specially in the later levels and the arena.

But the most notable and unique feature of this game is the narrator. The whole story is from the point of view of an old man that follow the trajectory of the Kid to restore the Bastion to its former glory. The uniqueness is: he speaks the whole time! In the middle of the action, the narrator comes with fun comments. Sometimes it might get a bit annoying,  but I personally felt as a amazing immersing technique.

You must try it. It is available on every platform, including browsers, so there is no excuse.

My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 86
2013.04.29

Geralt of Rivia 2

It has been almost 2 years since I bought, at the release date, The Witcher 2. I played it furiously for a whole week. Maybe 40 hours. But one day I went to a 4 day travel and I totally lost the momentum.

I must confess that the review I wrote by 2011 I had not yet finished the game, but very much close to the ending.

Lately, news about the third installment emerge every day. I was caught by a nostalgia and shame. I recommended the game to all people that I talked to. I love the series. I found an inner strength to re-enter it’s universe. Loading an more than a year ago saved game, I was able to finally finish the game. I originally bought from gog.com, the CD Projekt distributing company. I don’t even remember why I got it again from Valve’s Steam, but there it was.

Now I revisit my original review with new insights.

Geralt of rivia 2

How superb are the visuals!  A totally unknown polish company manage to create a top 5 best looking game of all history, imo. The lights and color palette are amazing. The details presented in their 3D models are also incredible. Geralt of Rivia is very richly designed, with nice clothing. The same for the other characters and the scenes. Castles, dungeons, forests. Everything seems to be designed with care.

The story is for adults: strong on politics, sexual interests, loads of anti hero characters. It makes the game stand out among others, but it is not for everyone. However the story is also very confusing. My perception it happens because the game is based in a established book universe. The authors know the geography and history, but the players do not. When they vomit geography details as part of the main plot, I felt like listening mandarin.

Geralt of rivia 2

Once thing I disliked quite much in the game’s design: auto saving just before cut scenes. Generally, after important cut scenes, there is a battle. But if you lose, guess what: you have to see again the cut scene! Holly cow! How many times, specially at the end, I died but I had to see the whole dialogue all over again. Also noting that, but the ending of the game, the among of dialogues sky rocketed. Based on your choices on the dialogues, you will face one of the 16 endings. Almost all of them decided by the very last hour or two.

Re reading this, I fell like i hated the game, judging by the amount of complaining. Do not think this. It is like complaining about your son or girlfriend: it is because you liked them very much that you point the weak points. This Polish company gained my heart. I loved their work. I liked the first one very much. But this one shows how much effort were put into the game. 2 years later, it still seems as fresh as a new release. I feel sorry that i wont play it again for a second ending, but the third game is coming… I cannot wait!

My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 88
2012.01.10

Skyrim

The traditional Elder Scrolls game is now back with Skyrim. This takes place in northern lands. Snows in a lot of places. But the fire of the dragons might warm the players.

tES 5 is the Bethesda masterpiece. Every single aspect was updated and enhanced. Combat is more fun. The story infinitely much better than Oblivion, while still feels very cliche. It’s an improvement. However, it is still very very awkward and worse, totally dull sometimes. It is for me the biggest weakness in the Bethesda Softworks team.

Skyrim

The game so big that you can spend days, weeks and even months without exploring the whole map. It adds an lot of value to the final offer. However, I bet that less than 25% of all players will see the end of this game. It’s so huge than at some point you will be tempted to restart and make different choices. Graphically, it is amazing. With all settings at the max, you will definitively be impressed. I was more shocked when Oblivion was released; it was more ground breaking. But Skyrim is beautiful and you will face some situations in which you will catch yourself with your jaw opened.

Skyrim

The same can be said about he bugs. The programming could not foresee he amount of situations that players put the character into. The result is an YouTube full of funny videos. But it is another Elder Scrools tradition: crazy and sometimes irritating buggy situations. It’s almost a positive asset.

Skyrim

Most of the mini games are now fun. But I still feel that the most of the decisions that we make in the game, in terms of the storytelling aspect, are quite inconsequential. In the gameplay, however, is creates amazing branches based on what gamestyle you prefer.

Skyrim

It is a masterpiece. A bit of the same, if you already played tES game before, but is still amazing. And it have dragons!

Gamespot:

  • Better Than the Sum of Its Parts
  • Get More Than Your Money’s Worth
  • Great Sequel, Great Story
  • Outstanding Visual Design
  • Sucks You In+ Variety
My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 94
2011.06.13

The Witcher 2

You can read my review about The Witcher. I loved the game, mostly because the huge personality that the whole product. Characters with a unique spirit, non conventional story, choices that cannot be placed in the simple black-white gradient, adult theme, and the complements go on… For those that agreed with me, great news! The Witcher 2 is all of that, bigger and better.

The witcher 2

The polish developers Projeckt CD printed a hollywoodian tone to the game. The storytelling element (both in game and cinematics) is superb. You really care about the characters and their motivations. Some characters that in the first installment were not that relevant in the game (but are in the book series that the games are based on), like Zoltan and Triss, in the second game they are relevant and very likable.

The witcher 2

Since Bioware basically imposed the good/evil dynamics, several games were created using the formula. But the witcher universe is nothing like that. Like in the real world, people are moved by complex motives: religion, politics, economics and even the mundane takes place. that, allied with (spoiler alert) the possibility of multiple endings (in fact, more that 1/3 can be different, depending on your decisions), and you will fill quite tempted to play the game a second time, just to see how things play out if you take other choices.

Graphically the game is nothing but true beaty. The same can be said about the sound and music. And all of them are relevant -so there is no filler stuff- and very well done. Textures, models and visual effects are top notch. Famous RPGs like Mass Effect, Dragon Age are not even close.

The witcher 2

But its not perfect. The menus are slow, difficult to select, the game ganerates hundresds saved games automatically and the turorial… the tutorial … the Trial by Fire, as they call it, was a wrong decision. It seems you are facing a boos as the very first contact with the game. I could also talk about the difficulty, that in the first thrid of the game is really hard.

The witcher 2

Have no doubt! The Witcher 2 is problably my favorite RPG game ever. I can go even further? top 10 games ever. Simply that.

My Rating: 9
Metacritic: 88
2010.10.15

The City and The City

The city and the city

Masterpiece. The crazy style of China Miéville is notorious. He specialized into a science fiction sub genre called weird fiction, which mixes the real world with some out-of-the-place elements that are common of the characters, somewhat like Lovecraft. Almost all his books are great. But The City and The City is really really great.

The story is a noir murder investigation. The main character is the detective Tyador Borlú and the story is first person point of view. Borlú is a great character, clever but not a Sherlock and a little sarcastic about his job.

One curious thing is that I “read” the audiobook. At the beginning i was completely lost because the name of the characters and places: Besźel, Ul Qoma, Tyador Borlú are just unusual.. I had to check the names on internet to see how they are written. After some time, they become familiar.

{SPOILER ALERT begin}

It’s basic concept is fascinating: two cities that occupy the same physical space, at the same time. People that live in one have to “ignore” the existence of the other. “Trespass” this is a crime worse than murder. Crazy crazy concept. That is just one element that stick you to the book.

{SPOILER ALERT end}

As of September 2010, the novel only won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, tied with Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, the BSFA Award for Best Novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

The city and the city
The city and the city
The city and the city
The city and the city

My Rating: 9
Goodreads: 3.89