Archive for ‘in a theater near you’

February 19, 2013

All the CIA ladies

the human spies are women

Having recently finished my prep for the Academy Awards — I have already watched all of the Best Picture nominees, which covers a lot of other categories as well — I did notice the divide between the two trends of favorites — American slavery versus the CIA. While I did have a hard time deciding between Argo, Django Unchained, Amour, Silver Linings and Zero Dark Thirty, in the end, what I truly hear my heart singing is Argo fuck yourself.

That, however, is just a practically unrelated introduction to the matter of CIA ladies. If teenage vampires and the revamping of Snow White (and as of later, Grimm princesses in general) have been ruling the world of television and cinema for a few years now, the women at the Company have been given their fair share amount of spotlight without me particularly noticing it until now: Homeland, of course, Covert Affairs, Zero Dark Thirty.

I guess there has been no relevant tale of female spies since Mata Hari, who is, by the way, not a fictional character (but perhaps I’m just not knowledgeable on this particular subject, female spies, and it is just I who have not heard of the others). That of course until now that we have Claire Danes, Jessica Chastain and in a lighter mood, Piper Perabo representing for us the true personal hardship that is endured by the good covert people gathering intelligence for America at the Agency.

Argo — like I said, my favorite movie this year (except for Intouchables, which in fact was my favorite movie this year, but it’s just not running for the Oscars) — is a (true, or almost) tale of bravery and patriotism, spiced up with a delicious dose of nonsense and of course, success, and I do love a happy ending. The main character played by Ben Affleck is a flawless man — in fact, his flaws are those of others, such as his wife, who has left him for not being able to cope with the secrecy that came with his job. His thoughts and actions are all mission and country, plus he’s the coolest CIA agent ever, with some amazing Hollywood connections. This, I repeat, is the portrayal of a real man, not a James Bond or a Jack Ryan (though he does remind me of the latter).

The CIA ladies, however, are problematic. Annie Walker from Covert Affairs is the one with the least problems — she falls in love with some very wrong dudes (such as an FSB spy or a rogue ex-CIA agent) and sees her relationship with her sister become a very difficult one from the moment she joins the Agency. Carrie Mathison from Homeland is on the verge of lunacy, having bipolar and borderline personality disorder and falling in love with even more wrong dudes such as an American (cough British) soldier turned by the TV series’ resident Bin Laden. Maya from Zero Dark Thirty has no love life — no personal life at all — and no particular issues with promoting torture. As the years go by and she sees many of her friends die in the hands of Muslim terrorists, the quest for Bin Laden (the real one in this case) becomes a personal matter to her.

What they all have in common is that they have deep personal issues (even if due to the complete absence of a personal life) and that they follow their instincts almost irrationally, or at least that is how their colleagues often perceive their initiatives. Brilliance is eventually conceded to those women, but always at the great cost of being on the verge of losing all credibility. On the other hand, the male spies we have come to know are creatures of distinct rationality and perceived audacity, not lunacy (we should perhaps nod to the construction of the new kind of fucked-up James Bond, who is, however, at least how I understand it, on a carefully crafted path to becoming the good old proper one), who do not have any particular concern about their family and friends that are worthy to be portrayed for longer than five minutes per episode, if that much.

Basically, the women were chosen to portray frailty — an angle rather absent from the espionage thematic until our recent times. The question remains — what lies behind the media choosing the female to represent the human side to anything? Something of which to be aware.

January 20, 2013

Academy enslaved

Django Unchained

This year, two of the movies running for the Best Picture Academy Award are about American slavery. This may or may not be a coincidence, considering there would be some political interest in such thematic in 2012, but the fact is, in spite of any other reason for it to be done as it was, Django Unchained is a hell of an interesting movie — I am not sure I can say the same for Lincoln, and when I say I am not sure, I actually mean it, because I couldn’t put up with it for more than 20 minutes. Back then, when I tried to watch it, I didn’t know there would be such a buzz about it, and now I am trying to commit to see the entire thing and maybe change my mind, but I remain unsuccessful in achieving that commitment.

Tarantino is a master of tasteful lack of taste. He doesn’t take his time to grab his viewer’s attention, going for our guts immediately as his movies starts showing on the screen: awesome (and loud) opening music, brilliantly designed credits, clashing colors and great photography are made available right from the beginning, as if to win you over without even a fight, or maybe, before you feel like putting up one when he starts doing the repulsive things he likes to pair up with his quirky, cheesy, and at the same time somewhat genius offers of sound and vision.

All in all, Django Unchained lacks somewhat in taste, as all of Tarantino’s work does, but that lack of taste is lovingly enveloped in some excellent acting, good screenplay, and some subtle reminders of the beauty of America which I have rather enjoyed (note to readers, I was not made in the U.S. of A.), particularly of it’s beauty — there is one scene in which the sandy desert and the mighty Rockies covered in snow appear side by side and that made me wonder, why did American filmmakers forget the amazing landscapes their country offers? — and the fact that it actually does harbor actors. Tarantino has understandably fallen under the spell of Christopher’s Waltz amazing acting talent and language skills (the man has no noticeable accent in any of the languages he speaks, and that is a rare gift), but at least the man has so far always played German characters in his movies, and the Americans are Americans. Now tell me, on a side note, why, oh why, is a British actor playing Abraham Lincoln? In fact, why are all American actors actually NOT Americans? I have been fooled so many times, now. I mean, Dr. House was a great shock for me, but I believe NOTHING compares to how hurt I felt when I discovered Sergeant Brody was a child of England too (an AMERICAN soldier has been turned, you know!?).

I have nothing against actors with U.K. citizenship — in fact, I share everyone’s enthusiasm about them — but I also believe it is kind of strange that American actors have become so irrelevant to a point that Meryl Streep is nominated to the Oscars every year she stars on any movie just because if she doesn’t, all contestants will be from the other side of the pond (or eventually from across the borders) and you know, the Academy just doesn’t dig that. Not to say Meryl is not a great actress, because she is, plus I’d much rather they’d chosen her for Lincoln’s wife instead of digging Sally Fields up from wherever she has been rightfully hiding. The fact remains, however, that there are not many other fellow ladies that share the birthplace of those two women and are having the opportunity to up their games.

Back to Django Unchained, well, it is beautiful and distasteful and somewhat erratic, but I truly believe that a movie such as this needs no commitment to taste: it can be as ruthless as it was, as crazy and violent and filled with dark good humor as it was, because honestly: slavery needs not be treated with seriousness anymore. The subject is beyond that. What it deserves is what it got here: strong mockery against the vile groups that perpetrated that unspeakable cruelty against mankind and that still have their distorted and disgusting beliefs echoing in the society of our days, disguised into something else, or not, but either way disturbingly present.

I have a radically different opinion of Inglorious Basterds, a movie that also mocks of unspeakable cruelty, but in a distasteful distasteful way — I must say I actually wouldn’t be surprised if calling on Waltz to play a German abolitionist in 1850s America was Tarantino’s way of saying he too believes Germans can be nice people. I confess, however, to having had a lot of fun watching that movie; what changed my mind towards my present opinion was an episode when a young German friend of mine looked genuinely sad when I mentioned it; that is when I realized how much those past events still impact and cause a lot of suffering on many good, innocent people, and here, mockery does not apply.

Having said that, I am not, as of this moment, rooting for Django, nor Lincoln. My favorite here is Argo fuck yourself (you need to watch the movie to understand why I, for no apparent reason, have just told you to fuck yourself) but I still haven’t watched Amour (very much admire the work of Michel Haneke), Les Misérables (love a good musical and Victor Hugo is definitely a plus here), Life of Pi (tiger and kid on a life saver boat? could be very good) or Silver Linings (enjoyed the trailer very much) so, basically, my opinion is worthless here. What is worthy, however, is Django Unchained of being watched by an immense crowd and nominated for a lot of awards, because if maybe it’s not good enough to win the prize, it is definitely ballsy enough to get a lot of credit. And well, if blood is not your thing, just close your eyes, and listen to the music.

January 9, 2013

truly undone

 

Goudurix – the done undone teenage nightmare from Lutèce in Londinium

Even in old Lutèce — the ancient Gallo-Roman city that once was where today lies Paris — the allegedly French “done undone” look was a must among true hipsters, or so are we led to believe when watching the adorable movie Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia, starred again by the excellent Russian actor Gérard Dépardieu.

In my opinion, the current obsession with “done undone” looks suggests control issues have become epidemic and psychologists are probably earning huge amounts of money originating from the wallets of highly disturbed fashionistas. Why, oh, why, would one carefully pretend not to care about how they look?

Care, or care not; done undone is madness, friends. Why the need to look like you did not put a lot of effort in your self-image? I know you are not perfect, my friend. I know you do not sleep on heels and that your manicure chips. So why should you hide from me that you also did something to your hair… by striving to make it look like you did nothing?

On the other hand, truly undone is something rather relaxing and honest, meaning — I truly do not have waxed legs underneath my leather and velour leopard print pants; I truly did not wash my hair today and also decided not to comb it; the results of either grooming strategies needing not be offensive and certainly being the kernel of French coolness. One gives oneself a break and instead of compulsively manicuring, just puts the nail file to a quick work; instead of blow-drying the manes to perfection, twists the hair into a simple high bun; instead of a leg shaving update, maxi-skirt.

At this point, honesty again must prevail, and there is no truer fact than this: if you feel good, smell nicely (this is of utmost importance) and look clean, well, you are clean as far as society is concerned. And isn´t this far more interesting that striving for squeaky cleanliness and looking messy? You tell me.

October 8, 2012

Edinburgh and Rio de Janeiro — a tale of two international film festivals

So, being in Edinburgh on vacation was really not something I would have had planned about a year ago. I had a somewhat professionally related matter that would take me there, and from that incentive resulted a very, very nice time off.

While in Paris a few days before reaching Scotland, I had dinner with a chatty couple from the UK who kindly informed me the correct – native, say – way of pronouncing Edinburgh is actually Edinbourough, with a very strong “r”. And so it is indeed, and that´s how I think of this word´s pronounciation when I´m writing it.

I stayed at a great spot — the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket area were really close by — and could enjoy a lot of the city during my time off, including the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The Royal Mile

I don´t remember having seen any red carpet appearences from celebrities attending this festival, although I saw a large bunch of very exquisitely dressed people leaving the exclusive Opening Gala session for what would probably be a cool party. I myself attended the  public Opening Gala session — Killer Joe — which was very organized (specially when Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, which is still going on as I write, springs to mind in all it´s chaos), but did not feature any real gala item (such as booze and food) except for candid opening speeches by the artistic director of the Festival Chris Fujiwara, the main star Gina Gershon and the director of the movie, William Friedkin. People were randomly dressed — from black leather pants, gray silk tank, Stella open toe translucid sandals and a olive green wool blazer (me) to, you know, Converse, ugly jeans and t-shirt, to actual party wear.

I couldn´t buy my ticket for the premiere online, which sort of upset me — the online box office simply did not work — but it was possible to do it over the phone. I didn´t enjoy sharing my credit card information on such old fashioned basis, but alas — I could make a seat reservation in advance and that´s the most important thing, I believe. Had to grab my ticket on the ticket office over Lothian Road, which was a little far (not a lot, though — nothing is very far if we are talking of Edinburgh´s city center) from where I was staying and from where the film would show — the Festival Theater, a beautiful glass building equipped with state of the art screening equipment and an amazing, vintage showroom that takes you back to the early 20th century.

The Festival took place by the end of June, so, supposedly, the weather in Edinburgh should have been warm(er), but it was actually rather… weird — cold and then not and mostly windy and rainy. Well, I believe weather has been weird almost anywhere on Earth, throughout the whole year (in Edinburgh´s defense). I must say it mattered little: the fact is that medieval-turned-contemporary-and-friendly vibe of the city even gains in scenic appeal when the day is foggy and Carlton Hill is partially covered in mist. The camera never finds a reason to stop working in there — beautiful images can be produced from every corner, from magnificent ruin-like monuments on top of the green mountains to the amazing Edinburgh Castle and the thrilling Holyroodhouse Palace, to the lovely stone buildings from many centuries ago and the beautiful contrast between the gray walls and the wooden doors painted red.

visit – you should not, in any circumstance, not walk the entire Royal Mile up and down, and enter the domains both of the mighty Edinburgh Castle and the fantastically charged with history Holyroodhouse Palace. While you´re at it, just forget where your patriotic allegiances lie and allow the scottish pride to take over your heart. Let the unstopable bagpipes under your skin and allow the Stone of Scone enthrance you with its amazing story that runs back almost for a millenia — it was stolen by the English in the 11th century and placed under the cerimonial throne where all the Kings and Queens of England and later of the UK were coronated — UNTIL OUR DAYS. After years being kept at Westminster Abbey — by years, I mean, until 1950, that is, around six centuries  — the Stone was finally returned to the Scotts, and is kept at the Castle with the scottish Jewels of the Crown, with one condition: it must be temporarily returned to London when the next King or Queen is coronated, maintaining the centuries old tradition of having it under the ceremonial throne.

The green hills, the castle and the mist

Unusual view of Edinburgh, from the Castle

On your way down the Royal Mile, heading for the Holyroodhouse Palace, do visit the lovely Saint Giles Cathedral, with its beautiful blue ceilings, vitrals, stone halls, flags, and the Chapel of the Order of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s great order of chivalry.

The Holyroodhouse Palace, on the other hand, is just really thrilling with the fact the Queen still lives there for a part of the year and that so much palatial intrigue — culminating of course with the story of Mary Stuart, to whom the Scotts are more gentle than others usually are — was lived in that same environment. I guess the most fantastic of the place are the ruins of the Holyroodhouse Abbey — it is just so amazing to be faced with such a powerfully old structure, even if it has fallen apart.

Holyroodhouse Abbey

eat – go to pubs and have fish and chips. Fish and chips at a good pub with good beer is a must in the UK. Oh, just go anywhere it´s not crazy full, and that´s basically it. The place that stuck to my heart was not about fish and chips, though, but mussels and steak instead. Literally, it is called the Mussels and Steak Bar, and it´s in Grassmarket, a corner away from the Royal Mile. I stayed true to the mussels everytime I went there. Absolutely delicious. A three course meal (including half a kilo of delicious mussels and fries) will set you back in around 21 USDs (13 pounds).

art galleries – do hot dismiss Edinburgh´s fine art collections at the National Museum on the Mound — live music session among Italian Renaissance Masters included in the free visit, in my case, a very good jazz singer accompanied by violin, piano and harp — or at the Galleries of Modern Art. Good temporary exhibitions pair with great permanent ones and aside the great samples of representative European works, this is a chance at exploring the good art produced in Scotland.

glasgow – if you have enough time, just stop by Glasgow for a day — it´s about one hour by train from Edinburgh, and it´s a much larger city. Go visit the GoMA – Gallery of Modern Art: it´s really close to Queens Station (where you arrive from Edinburgh) and it´s both a beautiful building and a fine collection. Next, head for architecture, lunch, tea and some delicious dessert at the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street, designed by the great (and most beloved) Charles Mackintosh. The art decó interiors speak much more loudly than the exteriors (a little too battered perhaps) and are definitely worth the visit. And have dessert. Indulge.

Second floor @ The Willow Tea Room

Especially if you have kids with you, try the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It´s not very far and its very oriented towards bringing art and history to your child´s attention (adults will enjoy it too). There´s more Mackintosh there as well, by the way.

Moving on across the pond and the Ecuator, Rio de Janeiro´s International Film Festival is still happening as I publish this. It’s spring in there and an unusually warm one, although temperatures are still delighful — just a tad warmer then they should be at this time of the year, enough for a beach in the morning (stay in Copacabana or Ipanema; Leblon is very nice but a bit too far from the rest) without having your skin melting in sweat as you work in actual clothes as the sun peaks up during the day. As usual, I was working, but again I find time for leisure (I swear I don´t run from my professional commitments to play the tourist).

About the festival — good selection of movies, but truly disorganized and upsetting. I gave a try at Moonrise Kingdom (later learned it was already available online and watched it: very candid and lovely) just to find myself not being able to purchase a ticket and choosing sort of impromptu the next available movie showing nearby: Quelques Heures de Printemps, a vastly different sort of experience (although I did enjoy the movie — a study on how our family relations are about what our own maturity make of them, and will only change by means of our wills to change them, and not due to external dramatic events that should supposedly bind all together in chants of love and joy in being in each other´s company). Seats could not be purchased in advance, nor were marked, which implied in huge lines at the ticket offices and then, at the showing room´s door (that if seating with your friends and with a comfortable view of the screen are listed among your cinematographic concerns). Sessions were often late and I had to get my money back for Monty Python: A Liar´s Autobiography  because there were no seats available anymore when I made my way to the room (they were overbooking the theater!). I then fled to try to catch Argo, the new Ben Affleck spionage venture in the early 1980s Middle East with a kitschy spin and the plus of being a true story — a very nice choice, I might add. Go watch it too. The movie theaters at the Botafogo neighborhood were by far the most chaotic and crowded, and the restaurants in the area (not many) were coping sufferably with the long hours of work due to the unusual masses of hungry people around (do try however the café at Livraria Prefácio, nearby the theater at Voluntários da Pátria street — nice food, cheap but interesting choices, the fried fish fillets with mustard sauce is honestly delicious and serves up to two very hungry people. Dessert is also nice, and their cacao cake is extremely relevant. Be patient with their service though).

Rio is still a chaotic city if compared to other large European or American metropolitan centers, but is has definitely improved both in matters of public transportation and overal citizen safety throughout the years. Do not expect time tables on subway stations or bus stops — when it comes to the latter, it may be actually quite hard to even find out which bus you´re supposed to take to get to where you need to go. The streets are still too dirty for my liking (but passable on most of the interesting spots), and so can the beaches be by the end of the day, which might be rather frustrating. These are the city downsides — from here, we only go up now.

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most beautiful large city in the world when it comes to the interaction between human intervention and nature. The location of the city is blessed, between green hills and a lovely shore, with an amazing park — the Aterro do Flamengo — and a lovely Lagoon to raise the bar even higher.

If this is your first time in Rio de Janeiro, you might be both curious about the local gastronomy and afraid of choosing “touristic” (meaning “poor quality, ostensively priced”) places out of your own lack of knowledge. Here goes a list for all sorts of foodie moods: from unforgettable (though drammatically expensive) experiences to some smart and more casual choices, here is a list of places where you will get a nice taste of Brazil in this wonderfully chaotic city:

where to spend heavily – I would say your first choice must be Le Pré Catelan, the finest French choice in Rio, I dare say. French? Do not be fooled by this title — this is Brazilian-French, my mate, specially if you get what you should: one of the special menus the chef Rolland Villard prepares based upon local ingredients, such as the unforgettable Amazonian menu or the more recent Rice and Beans menu (an entire 10 course meal prepared with dishes containing both ingredients presented in a variety of forms). Brief introduction to Brazilian food so you will understand this menu´s brilliance: rice and beans are a must on a daily basis and will go with mostly anything in a dish, but preferrably fries and a nice steak. Chef Villard, however, turns the combination into snacks, entrées and even desserts, entirely different among themselves in flavor and texture, by combining the local combination of ingredients with techniques and traditions from around the world to create a complete dining experience. You might spend at least 300 USD per person if you choose such menu, so be prepared. Le Pré Catelan is also furnished with an unfair trick under its sleeve, or, more specifically, outside its windows: a breathtaking view of Copacabana beach.

Deconstructed, mollecular feijoada @ Oro.

One option second to Le Pré Catelan should be the restaurant Oro, by chef Felipe Bronze. A five-course menu including the exquisite wine pairing by attentive argentinian sommelière Cecilia Aldaz should cost you around 150 USD per guest and will also not disappoint. Ask for the crayfish with pistacchio cream, hearts of palm and artichokes paired with the most dreamy Gewursträminer from Alsace — tears of happiness may burst from your eyes. On our right, check out their deconstructed, and even poetic approach to the classic feijoada (sort of a Brazilian version of French cassoulet, but with black beans instead of the lighter variety and sometimes enriched with some of the obscurest cuts of pork, such as the ear, as well as the most popular ones). Decoration and attention to detail are at very high levels at the Oro.

Rua Dias Ferreira: you will find many cool (and crowded) restaurants in this lovely street at the Leblon neighborhood (the most upscale in Rio). Head for Sushi Leblon for great japanese, Sawasdee or Mekong for a blend of Asian flavors or Quadrucci for nice italian food. If you are into a very heavily crowded environment and a typical carioca bar experience, head for Chico and Adelaide on the corner of Bartolomeu Mitre and indulge in fried manioc and shrimp dumplings with cold beer.

where to eat downtown – weather your visit is business or leisure, you should come accross the difficult issue of eating downtown Rio de Janeiro. The majority of the most important companies in Rio have their headquarters there, and most of the city´s greatest museums are there as well.

Downtown Rio de Janeiro is filled with OK-but-overpriced choices (this is of course a personal opinion) such as the Eça, charmingly (and meaningfully) situated underground below (and inside) an H. Stern jewelry shop at Avenida Rio Branco, next to Rua da Assembléia, or the Giuseppe Grill — look for it at Rua da Quitanda, near the corner from 7 de Setembro. Those are fine if someone is paying your bill, but if you are on your own, perhaps you will prefer some other ideas:

Firstly, there is the Ateliê Culinário @ Odeon Cinema. This is your go-to place if you are attending the Film Festival, as the Odeon is where most of the gala events are held. This is a fully preserved early 20th century movie theater, façade and all. A few international celebrity shots were taken on the red carpet there, such as this one of Kylie Minogue published on the Red Carpet Fashion Awards blog. The tigelinha de moqueca — a bowl of light white fish stew cooked with local spices, bananas, ground coconut and a choice of whole or white rice — is quite heavenly, and so are all the salads (fresh greens, gorgonzola, pears and walnuts with balsamic vinegar or shrimp, sweet tomatoes, lettuce and mango with guacamole are my favorites) and the deserts (please do order the warm dulce de leche with cheese ice cream, freshly ground parmesan cheese and smashed peanuts).

Bistrot The Line @ Maison France-Brésil: this is a great choice if you are visiting the museums on the other side of Rio Branco Avenue: the Paço Imperial, the CCBB and the gallery at the Maison France-Brésil itself. There is also an antiques fair held nearby on saturdays (at Praça XV). It´s not expensive and the food is varied and honest. A nice feijoada (again, the feijoada) is served on fridays, saturdays and sundays for about 13 USDs (25 Reais).

do not miss – a nice stroll at the Aterro do Flamengo park, ending in a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), a beautiful building with an amazing garden by Brazilian architect Burle Marx, great views from Guanabara Bay and an interesting permanent collection of local artists, plus great temporary exhibitions such as a recent one of Giacometti;

Burle Marx’s garden @ MAM Rio

…the CCBB, on the other end of the downtown area, might also be having a nice temporary exhibition — it is worth checking before dismissing, and also checking out the other previously mentioned art galleries in the Candelária area: the Paço Imperial, the Casa dos Correios and the Maison France-Brésil (really nearby, mere two to five minutes away from each other by foot); a walk in the early morning from Leme all the way to the Fort at Copacabana, where you should arrive about a quarter to 10 AM in order to get a table for breakfast with an amazing view of the beach and the cityscape surrounding it;

Breakfast is only commencing at the Forte de Copacabana

…a walk at Pista Claudio Coutinho at the Urca neighborhood, where you should definitely try (if you have an able guide — could be a local friend) climbing the trail that gets you to the top of the first, lower hill that comprises the Sugar Loaf — you can get the bondinho from there to the higher hilltop and then back all the way down, or just take in the view from righ there and descend through the same trail for free; delicious caipirinhas made of intriguing fruits and combinations (try cocoa and rosemary) at the Palaphita Kitsch, a bar with breathtaking views of the Lagoon.

Palaphita Kitsch – didn´t have any good picture of mine, so click to find the source of this one

Robert Morris and the Theatro Municipal

So there it is, a tale of two very distinct cities — the misty Avalon Edinburgh Edinbourough and the sunny chaotic lovely Rio de Janeiro, bound by my own very personal experiences of not so red carpet popular but locally relevant international film festivals. I could have thrown in this post a third city by narrating my experience of Sundance Film Festival as well (and that would be it, in what international film festivals are concerned), but that was too long ago, when I was still a poor student working at the chairlifts of a ski resort in Park City in order to ski for free in my days off (eventually, on workdays as well) while at a long winter break. Well, aside from holding a chair for Robert Redford, there was not much more to it, really. Also, a third city would spoil the Dickens reference, and how cool IS a Dickens reference, ahn? A lot, right? A lot.

P.S.: A few more pictures of Rio are on the way. Stay tuned.

P.P.S.: Kept my promise — nice Rio de Janeiro pictures were added to this post. Hope you enjoy.

June 4, 2012

Snow White x Snow White

The recent Snow White obsession is probably the strangest to hit Hollywood during my lifetime. I remember learning about one of the movies for the first time when its trailer played previously to the beginning of the picture I was going to actually watch, don´t remember which one right now: It was two or three months ago, I think. Sort of like a dream, I had this foggy memory of Julia Roberts playing the evil Queen and kept wondering why the f…hell they had a Chinese girl playing Snow White — I know Lilly Collins actually has big eyes, but for some reason that´s how I perceived her at that point.

Later on I downloaded some episodes of Top Chef of the most recent season available at the time and to my surprise, Charlize Theron was invited to be a guest judge in a challenge inspired by her new,  soon to be released blockbuster… Snow White. I was like… I couldn´t have confused Julia Roberts with Charlize Theron — they are vastly different human beings. It got worst when I also learned Charlize´s co-star was Kristen Stewart: I couldn´t possibly have mistaken her for a Chinese girl! Finally I figured out that there were actually two Snow White motion pictures being released at the same time, and that no Chinese person was involved in any of them — at least not in the main cast (however, while doing research to find images for this post, I learned that there was a third Snow White movie project — this one done by Disney — which was finally cancelled, quite recently in fact, after ten years in the oven, and THAT project included Chinese people, although not specifically Snow White, who was to be a British lady heading to Hong Kong in the 19th century for her father´s funeral and then I don´t know how the Chinese warriors would have entered the story, but apparently, they would, had the movie gone ahead).

Well, one thing that struck me as another bizarre coincidence was the fact that both cast directors made heavy bets on the spectator´s good will in accepting their respective Snow Whites as beauties greater than their evil stepmothers: Lilly Collins is a strange choice when it comes to thinking of the fairest young lady of the land — she´s just cute, you know, and her father is a cool musician — and to compare Charlize Theron to Kristen Stewart is just mean in my humble opinion. Well, maybe they just wanted us to focus on the beauty inside or something.

Having said that, it is somewhat expected that the story was updated in the sense of incorporating more girl power to it, more specifically: both young ladies are at some point trained to kick ass and end up leading armies that storm into the evil Queen´s castle and take over the throne in the name of the fair and generous princess, who is also the rightful heiress to the deceased king.

I guess it´s funny that Snow White — the most boring Grimm story EVER in my opinion — has suddenly gotten all that attention from the entertainment industry. I thought the Green Lantern was a venture unexpected enough, but this is truly a more meaningful surprise brought to us by Hollywood: it is almost as if the studios decided to challenge themselves by turning the girlier, sissier heroin there ever was into a warrior.

Mirror, Mirror, to my surprise, is the winner in the competition. Not because the distance between the beauties of Charlize and Kristen is too large to be bared, but because I just was not sold on the Lord of The Rings vibe — that sort of dark and beautiful land, with magical sanctuaries and surprises — nor the combination of Frodo and Bella that surrounds the Snow White that pairs with the Huntsman was very appealing to me. Finally, I also blame Charlize for not being able to convince me of her immense cruelty — she kind of did a “dark voice” that was a little too much in my opinion and reminded me of the House Bunny movie with Anna Faris — her character would repeat anything she needed to remember, like someone´s name, in a truly grave tone, in order to memorize it. Lilly Collins did the naive, charming and strong thing in a much more convincing fashion, appropriately limiting the drama, and Julia Roberts was a very great surprise with her almost drag-queen like villain.

So, which Snow White movie do you prefer (if any)? And are you upset you will not be catered anymore to a third one with a Chinese spin on it?

Charlize kicks Kristen´s ass onscreen…

 

…and on the red carpet too.

 

P.S.: I also hated the way both movies reconstructed the magic mirror part of the story. Why couldn´t they do with a simple mirror talking back to ya?

P.P.S.: Chris Hemsworth should participate in all movies there are. I mean, seriously.

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

IT GIRL

MODA, MAQUIAGEM E BELEZA

Dully Pepper24H

Arte pelo Amor, Arte pelo Mundo, Arte pela Paz!

She's got the Mood

Whatever your mood is you"ll find the vibe

Amigas de Panela

A rotina e as ideias das amigas gastrólogas com receitas fáceis e deliciosas. Compartilhem todos que como nós são amantes da cozinha!

Eat, Sleep, Television

Watch as I amaze and astound with opinions about what TV shows I like!

The Para-Noir

We drive our deathcrush diamond Jaguar Limousines.

Afashiontale

A fashion and lifestyle blog with a little of what I love

for the love of nike

for the love of nike

Ja'dore By Design

" I Don't Do Fashion, I am Fashion." - Coco Chanel

FrameWorthyWears

A fashion retrospective from two average gals

#the fashion recipes

styles for all types of women by Claudia

Purple Literature

All things random.

JustinaWei

The Fashion/Make up/Lifestyle Blog

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.