Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Fosters

This woman is making me laugh! And you know when someone makes you laugh…

Teri Polo…it’s like someone heard my thoughts and probably from many others. I don’t remember when was the first time I watched Teri Polo but it is very likely that it was in Beyond Borders playing Angelina Jolie’s sister. Then we all saw her in the family franchise Meet the Parents, then Meet the Fockers. I never saw Little Fockers. I actually don’t remember ever seeing the entire films, from beginning to end. Anyway, I always saw Teri Polo’s presence as something completely far away from these films. Like something completely apart from the movie itself, like she wasn’t even part of the story and in a way, she kind of isn’t. She’s just there, being the anchor to Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve seen anything else from her, but consciously I always kept sort of asking and waiting for someone to give Teri Polo a leading role, something to show us this actress in all her form, with a rich set of emotions. I wasn’t even thinking of gay, but hey...maybe I was. The hot Teri Polo is finally in a leading role, quite the interesting one actually, and I can finally see her and see her amusing presence winning me over. Not that her partner in crime, Sherry Saum, isn’t too.

See at the way she smiles because of Stef?
She's making me smile too.

I guess I loved The Fosters, starting with a really interesting, really consistent Pilot. I’ll be following it, pretty faithfully every week.
Like my friend one time described The Walking Dead as we finished seeing the entire first season – the united colors of Benetton – not only we both agreed on how ordinary and not new this show was we also went further about the stereotyped characters and also their ethnicity, therefore the United Colors of Benetton. Let’s throw in the Hispanic, the white bully, the hot blond, the black, the smart Japanese with a great hand for cars, and you know the rest, oh and obviously, the white protagonists.  And with this I wanted to create the bridge to The Fosters. While watching the pilot, I remembered the united colors of Benetton sentence my friend used, but whereas The Walking Dead seems to use it only as a mere agenda with no particular attention and care, with The Fosters it matters. And how does it matter? They just are who they are, there seems to be no particular agenda and more importantly because they care. These characters live their lives and they deal with their heritage and their inherited luggage. And whether you’re white or Hispanic or black, people still have to deal with who they are, where they come from and eventually, it is also discussed. They’re certainly not walking clichés because they have a personality, which makes them unique in the most universal way, because they’re treated as people not as stereotypes. This is about a family, two mothers, a biological son from one of them, who adopted a pair of Hispanic twins and by being who they are they deal with their daily lives and if they need to confront their ethnicity they do it, if they’re confronted with insinuations there’s a reliable dialogue and action. And so on.

Obviously when a show with a plot line that interests you you hope for something sober. But with these types of plot lines, you know, that includes the gay and racial themes, it can be tricky. The thought that the show can turn out to be a fail, or crap, is also part of the options. On this line, another curious aspect of this show is that it is created by two gentlemen. The story of a multi-ethnic story of foster (white), adopted (Hispanic), and biological kids being raised by two moms, finely written by two men with female writers involved too.

"I know."

One of the aspects I like about The Fosters is that it doesn’t bring easy issues but they’re not heavy handed, with deep dramatic bursts. I’m not saying they take it lightly either. They rather take it quite soberly. This show is also about the little moments, and they’re the most satisfying. Like in this last fourth episode, Mama Lena is struggling after having a fight with her mother about being biracial and Stef looking at her companion heartbroken instantly makes her smile. In this line, the characters are pretty consistent too. From the first moment Stef walks in her house, that first entrance, where she’s straightforward, open and pretty rational, and she just says “And who’s this?”, she keeps being pretty rational, straightforward and gentle. And the creators keep stepping over stereotypes. Even though Stef is the cop doesn’t mean she’s the coldest one. Just because she’s the cop, it doesn’t mean she’s not the one wearing a nice dress, because she is. Stef Foster is a great character and Teri Polo is really fantastic and loveable. She always has the ‘awkward’ conversations and she always makes them amusing and naturally authentic. Then there are other moments she brings solid acts without even saying anything. Even in a wide shot or in the background she’s present, looking proud, laughing, being Stef. Lena is pretty irresistible too. Oh god she’s irresistible. Just listening to her speak melts your heart.

Then the teenagers arrive. The annoying teenagers! They are also an interesting case, because for teenagers they’re not that annoying, at least for now. Brandon is the good kid, Jesus is also the good kid but towards the sporty, Mariana plays a spoiled kid that at the end of the day acknowledges her flaws. They’re good kids because they had a pleasant upbringing. It will be interesting how the situation with the foster kids will evolve too. They have their legitimate struggles and I’m sure more will come to the surface. I’m still trying to figure it out if it is about the acting or more about the character, but I feel like Jake T. Austin isn't very natural. Sometimes I think he’ll look at the camera. I probably need to give it some time. Maybe the other teenagers are doing a pretty good job. The scenes always feel natural, at least most of them. It’s an honest show so it feels authentic.

“Thanks…I mean, as a feminist I’m totally offended and everything but, as her wife, you know, thanks.”

So indeed, there are plenty of things I like about this show. Being about foster kids, being about adopted kids, being about family dynamics, this show never feels pedantic and by not being pedantic it becomes quite essential and entertaining! I really love the whole thing. The fact that it is a show that people watch in their homes, the idea that the mundane is as natural in gay families, if you could call that, as it is in the traditional families, if you could call that. When so many still think it’s against God, or you know, some gay propaganda.

Resuming The Fosters: so far, so interesting. Teri Polo shines, looks beautiful, reminds you of Jodie Foster at times, and finally, finally someone answered my “prayers” (I don’t pray). Her co-star called Sherri Saum is the cutest thing on earth, with her sweet sweet gentle voice. The kids are so and so. The story is unfolding and…what is up with LIAM?

Black Wednesday

I don’t know who named this past Wednesday as BLACKWINBLEDONWENESDAY – but they’re absolutely accurate. John McEnroe called “One of the all-time craziest days in Wimbledon history”. Here’s my response: WHAT’S HAPPENING?? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!!

A couple of weeks ago something extraordinary happened in the world of sports. It was so grand and emotional I had big tears crawling down my face. Rafael Nadal, by winning his eight Grand Slam title became the first tennis ever to win eight grand slam titles for the same Slam in the history of the sport, era open and otherwise. What Rafael Nadal did this year it’s something to look in the future, something to appreciate and take note of someone with an unbelievable relentless passion for competition and sweat. Every aspiring athlete should study him, get to know him and his capacity to fight.
Now with another Wimbledon edition, one was hoping a different tennis player to achieve the same performance, I mean for Roger Federer to win his eighth Wimbledon.

Wimbledon results: Nadal looses in the first round. Azarenka withdraws and so does Tsonga and Cilic and Isner. Hewitt looses to a cool Rastafari. Sharapova loses to a qualifier in the second round. But the bigger one - Roger Federer loses in the second round and suddenly this huge, I mean, STAGGERING record – the 36 quarter finals - is now forever stopped.  It was nine years – nine. He had not lost this earliest in a grand slam since 2003. First and foremost, this record is inconceivable. Can you imagine, this level of competition and no sickness, no injury ever stopped him from keep going year after year? I don’t think this record will ever be broken and obviously one day it would be stopped and that day was yesterday. I wouldn’t be sadder whether if he had lost against a number 116 or 12, I don’t care about that. What’s sad is the feeling that maybe, just maybe, things are starting to change for this king. And sooner or later, he will be playing less and less games, until the inevitable will happen. Now when that day comes it will be a huge black shadow. It hurts just the thought, worst than the loss from yesterday. I don’t doubt though that he will be playing for some good years, at least until the next Olympic Games, he loves tennis, oh if he does. And what else can we ask for? Watching Roger Federer playing is something exceptional, beautiful. It’s Federer and no one plays like him. No one. He’s the king. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In Pride land

Congratulations to the dudes and girls who are probably either getting drunk right now or proposing to their loved ones! 

"Keep Calm and Pride On"
Small steps, big steps, small steps, fighting every day...

Meanwhile, in another land...

So this happened today. A lunch I guess hosted by the French President Hollande receiving the Palme d'Or winners, the director Abdellatif Kechiche and the actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. Cannes' Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux were also present. 

Here's a short video.
French Minister for Culture and Communication Aurelie Filippetti.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nine for IX

Venus VS.

“If you’re strong and confident, you’re considered bitchy. If you cry because you fell over and your all dream since you were twelve go down the toilet you’re a cry baby.”

Ever since I saw this trailer earlier this year I’ve been patiently waiting to see this set of documentaries. You can probably tell I’m a sports fan. I would post many other sports’ related issues, but I always end up not doing so because my blog is supposed to be about films. Also, I would be posting a lot of women’s soccer, United States squad in particular…it wouldn’t be healthy!
Anyway, there are a great number of docs to follow. You can watch Coach right here. This is a short film about a great woman with great strength and willingness.
We have Venus VS. directed by the one and only Ava DuVernay, which premiered in the LA Film Fest. This will be the first film to air on television on July the second. You can see the line up for the other eight films on ESPN. They will be airing throughout July and August. If you’re a sports fan, stay tuned.

Chad Beard

Yo Chad, what's up?

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I thought this one was about achoolics. Turns about, it's pretty much a romantic comedy.

Will this film be The Perks of this year? A quality teenage drama?

Coming from Reality

The End of Love
Written and Directed by Mark Webber.

Mark Webber decides to create a self portrait of his parenthood. This is fiction, a narrative about a newly single parent trying to cope with the loss of the mother of his child. Even though he’s a patient father, he’s also a bit absent, not physically absent but in the mind. No one’s perfect.
I wonder how Mark considered his character’s self pity. Because there’s a fine line between the self pity rasping annoyance and being compassionate with this man’s current life status. It’s reaching self pity when he finally explains to his new female friend about the tragedy that hit him recently. Then there are other moments that don’t feel credible. Like his other female acquaintance he meets in Michael Cera’s party. It is just a tool with no depth to give the story the ingredients to move forward. Now that I mentioned this, I feel like for long periods of time this story doesn’t really moves forward. I also wanted to know more about this father’s life. 
The End of Love feels like a pretty lonely place sometimes and that’s maybe the hard part you have to accept about this story. Because this also may be very real. The moments between father and son always feel authentic and caring. Sometimes the moments of Mark by himself feel like acting. Sometimes it’s not easy to balance these nuances. But overall, it’s a respectful effort. And you will certainly be melting with the baby's big blue eyes.

Save the Date
Directed by Michael Mohan, co-written with Jeffrey Brown and Egan Reich.

This film feels sincere; it feels quite authentic, especially the moments between lovers Lizzy Caplan and Mark Webber, but also the other couple Allison Brie and Martin Starr. The actors are really good here. It is also clear and hard to deny how funny Allison Brie is. “We’re too busy crying to have an abortion.” The End of Love is an honest and heartwarming film but it doesn’t really bring anything new…except for being honest and not being about superheroes. That should probably count as something unique these days.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I Am Not A Hipster

Written and Directed by Destin Cretton.

"What’s a hipster?"
Here’s my quick history with the word. A couple of years ago I googled the word, and then I read the page on Wikipedia, like when you want to know/understand a word you go to the dictionary. A couple of years later I kind of get it. Kind of. Like every new trend in society, you know, sometimes like fashion trends, in this case mostly in the younger generation, are hard to be figured it out, or to be described. To me it is a bunch of people that dresses all the same, among other stuff. In other words, I don’t really get it and I also feel like it is utterly pointless. Ok, I guess I’m getting a bit off topic which is concerning to the film.
Let me talk a little bit about I Am Not A Hipster – isn’t it just great when you don’t know anything about the movie, haven’t seen any footage and then when you’re finally watching it you are presented with this really interesting and surprisingly touching film?

This is the story of a very talented musician coping with the loss of his dead mother. This film isn’t really about hipsters, but I shouldn't probably say this because I don't really know about the whole thing, but what I do know is that the film is something personal and universal and you slowly forget about the word as you care more and more about the people.
What you are compelled by in this film is the group of people presented to us. They’re alive, they’re genuine and frank. They’re authentic. They’re sober characters with flaws. Through them we are presented with certain aspects or ideas of being creative, the meaning of doing what one likes and the consequent exterior interpretations, that many times feel foreigner but other times revealing. Sometimes you don’t have to be an artist, or let’s just say someone who likes to create stuff; artist can be a strong word, to feel the need to reset, or a start over. Like you lost track, you lost the pure scent of your feelings. That’s what the protagonist of this story is going through I guess. There’s nothing Hipster about it.
In this story there’s also the idea of the artist itself. So what’s that? What makes an artist and what kind of person is entitled to call something art? It is the true artist someone that cares? Is it the meaning with which one is creating that matters above all? I'm sure everyone rolls their eyes to these tiring and cliched questions. Here’s a short observation from day to day, nothing pretentious nothing demeaning. If you ever heard Anna Calvi singing, more than being an absolute treat, you enter in a world. It’s her world, her words. Her music and her words are deep and complex. They are evocative, they are emotional. Her lyrics are so much more than what she’s saying. When I heard Anna Calvi for days and days, suddenly the popular songs on the radio sounded so trivial and superficial; when a Taylor Swift song played there’s that feel of vomiting in your mouth a bit with such an unexceptional material. Canines is like Anna Calvi. A craftsman works his material as he pleases, as the talent rides along. These two bands scream uniqueness and hearing them is a cluster of emotions and something that touches you deeply. It’s like an event on its own. Is that what an artist does?

The hipster director certainly feels like he’s dominating his art too. His film is an odd to just that, to all of that. From creating something within your interior conflicts which may include hundred of things, from society issues to personal, with which will reciprocate in the society - in you and in me. Like this film touched me and can touch you. That takes craftsmanship. 

"Treat yourself".

Bert Macklin

Macklin you son of a bitch, Happy Birthday DUDE!

More Parks! Because why not?

She gives an air dreamy abstraction

Photo taken by Helena Christensen.
"She gives an air dreamy abstraction, with just a hint of the melancholy that sometimes attends great beauties, as if she alone had seen through a trick that still entrances the rest of the world. She talks about herself the way men talk about their cars. It’s just mechanics, maintenance. “I do have quiet an old-fashioned body, the shape of it,” she says.  “Corsetted, pulled in, little waist, pointy boobs — that look actually really suits me, because there’s some construction to them. I always go back to the classic images — I can’t help but be influenced by Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn and Paul Newman and Steve McQueen and the Kennedys. I find myself inspired all the time by my mother and my grandmother and their innate natural elegance, more than the fashion or trends that are hot right now. It’s strange. I’m very independent and quite modern as a woman in many ways but I’m also quite old-fashioned.” For all her onscreen ethereality, Tyler, now 35, registers a surprising substantiality, with her broad shoulders (“like a linebacker”) and penetrating gaze, her familiar breathy cadence seasoned, these days, with the unimpeachable wisdom of the newly divorced."
Tom Shone for Net-a-Porter.

My Liv will also make her TV debut, as she just got cast for a pilot,
in the premium cable network's adaptation of The Leftovers, The Hollywood Reporter.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Twelve Years a Slave - First Photos

I didn't know all these actors were in the film.
Let's wait and see what Steve McQueen is preparing for us this time.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Jackie Relief


Thanks to Peter Knegt from IndieWire this is the first time I heard of Laurie Metcalf and Jackie from Roseanne. Obviously, after going over to imdb I saw at least four films with her but anyway, I end up watching these videos and I've been laughing for half an hour. It's been a comic relief.

SUPER Duper Shit

According to HitFix, 'Man of Steel' already got over 'The Avengers' in making more money from midnight screenings. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

P.S. Did I mentioned Before Midnight is perfect?
Before Midnight is perfect.

Before Midnight

 Directed by Richard Linklater.
Written by Linklater, Hawke and Deply.

Before Sunrise - Before Sunset - Before Midnight.
Is this really the last one? Is it really?

Watching Before Midnight my feeling is I simply don’t want it to end, not at all. I want every scene to be an endless one. Here’s why:
Every single sequence of this film feels like a perfect universe, each one is as good as the previous, for many reasons, like for instance, they’re fluid and balanced. They’re perfectly consistent with everything else - the consistency in the continuity of the films and their story; the consistency of Jesse and Celine; the consistency of this chapter alone, on his own a really good storytelling.
The story of Jesse and Celine has almost twenty years. In this film, you see a father saying goodbye to his son in the airport after the successful summer vacations. Then he comes back to his other children and his partner. And through a long sequence, they present their current lives to us. Jesse and Celine are together and they share children with each other, twins. Not only we become aware of their familiar interaction but we are also presented to their current problem, which will be the main conflict for the rest of the story. Then there’s also the introduction to the space, their surroundings and their friends.

Before Midnight, always running through the veins of its previous roads brings an intimate and authentic depth about spending a life together and having kids. Of course in the middle, there is plenty of space for the discussions of the current states of love and friendship and relationships. Through their time spent with us, we listen both the male and the female perspectives. So in the morning we are divided between the men and the female spaces, with the men talking and the women doing lunch. At lunch the perceptions on relationships and love takes its natural and honest course, both with the female and male versions, but also from the youth and from the elderly. They’re practical, authentic and heartbreaking in their own distinctive ways. In the afternoon, through a walk between the roads of the Greek island, we are presented to this couple in his early forties looking back to what their lives as been made of so far. Like a look back and a resume of what they are today, but also touching some notions of how they’re presenting themselves to the future. While they discuss, they never stop informing us, but it’s always so subtle, so balanced and natural. Like the fact that they’re not a married couple. It is always so well written. Late in the night comes what might be considered the painful truth.
One of the reasons why this is such an accomplished tale, and compelling at all times, is that you’re never tired of hearing them; even if it’s a drama, you have a huge smile on your face throughout the entire time, including laughs. Jesse and Celine are real. This film never stops being charming, never stops being relevant and truthful. At times goofy, at times philosophical, at times romantic, at all times entertaining.
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are vivid, sometimes even heartbreaking, but always amusing. The film has beautiful locations, beautiful images. It’s everything I would hope for, except I could never imagine it would be this way - this beautifully compelling way.
And then when Before Midnight ended it was nearly midnight!