miércoles, 30 de enero de 2013

J. J. Abrams, seriously? And what else, huh?

Nowadays, Star Wars is a recognized brand, a sign of identity, some kind of cult that many millions of people follow with passion all over the planet. The mythic first thrilogy and the weak and spectacular second one are still watched fervorly. The fact that George Lucas and his company, Lucas Arts, announced some time ago that the whole two thrilogies were going to be shown in theatres again but now, remastered and in 3D. Fans are devotely waiting to see A New Hope with this new cinematographic technology and the other titles, that's for sure.

The thing is that not everything are good news or almost, news that everybody is pleased to hear. Last summer, the announcement of Disney buying Lucas Arts Inc. burst all over the Internet and all over the planet, the fans received this news shocked and intrigued... Nobody knows what is going to turn out of this weird association...

As well, the rumours of J. J. Abrams as the person in charge of directing the new episode were getting bigger -he's also directing the new Star Trek movie-. The disappointing director and creator of series such as Lost or Alcatraz denied everything, arguing that he had projects of his own and that he didn't care about Star Wars at all. Fans were relieved. Nobody wanted him to turn Star Wars into a fiasco such his shows, all of them very promising but afterwards really disappointing.

The surprise was huge when last week in the Arts Briefly section of The New York Times Arts they gave the news: J. J. Abrams was for good the director of the new Star Wars episode. Also, the Internet was full with fans blessing or complaining about the decission made by Disney. Waiting is the key but the fear is big, because J. J. Abrams is not 100% trustworthy. Anyways, hope is the last thing to lose... May the force be with us!

[Edited] Breaking news!! Disney just cancelled the release of episodes II and III on theatres in 3D justto give priority to the new episode... Intriguing, huh?

martes, 29 de enero de 2013

The Queen of a House of Cards

Documentaries have no script. They are based on filming and interviewing and then, editing the material. It is difficult for directors imagine how a project will end up.

It was unimagined that the story Lauren Greenfield was using for her second long documentary as a director would turn into something like The Queen of Versailles turned out to be by chance.

David Siegel (73), president of the largest timeshare corporation in the country, his wife Jackie (43) and his family are the main characters of Greenfield’s new documentary, which seems to be a TV reality show that illustrates the nouveau riche way of life.

The stock market crash on 2008 was what made this movie become something remarkable. The economic collapse gave Greenfield the turn of the screw she needed to make a pretty compelling ‘rags to riches to rags’ story.

Only the story is outstanding here. The camera seems amateur, out of focus sometimes. The characters, vain and self-centered, are usually overacted as they are perfectly aware that a camera is following their steps, especially Jackie, Siegel’s trophy wife, all fake and plastic.

Therefore, the story of this couple will drive the audience from laughter and irritation to some kind of Schadenfreude, the pleasure experimented by the disgrace of others.

The main issues during the first part of the movie are the construction of their Versailles à la Americaine, as well as the emptiness of their lifestyle and the hypothetical strength of their marriage.

However, when everything collapses due to the burst of the economic bubble, is when the plot becomes truly gripping as it shows the Siegels’ miseries. They define themselves as “normal people” but cannot endure living without servants or enough money to spend irresponsibly.

The marriage of Jackie and David becomes problematic and everything starts to fall apart, as if the whole reality the Siegels were living in was nothing but a huge house of cards. “Nothing is really normal about this life”, claims one of the Siegel’s kids.

Greenfield rejects to resort to the easy criticism on how everybody contributed to the crisis and gives an insider’s perspective of how many individuals fell into the trap of easy and cheap money and could not get out of it. And in the end, that’s what makes The Queen of Versailles a really clever and free of prejudices documentary: it lets the true go out by itself.

Image taken from Google Images.

miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013

Lena Dunham is back in town

Everybody knows Lena Dunham already. Pretty much, actually. Since her debut movie Tiny Furniture that starts many of her fellow friends as well as herself, her hugest success has been HBO's show Girls.

Yet the first season was nothing wonderful, it was entertaining yet moving and even, most of the young people in front of the TV or the computer felt some kind of identification with the four girls -maybe not the weird Jessa- and the rest of their group.

Two weeks ago, it was the premiere of the second season. The HBO was proud of the success of its girls, and many of their followers were waiting more from them.

What Dunham offered new? Nothing. The same stuff she showed last season. Strange relationships, explicit sex, hilarious situations, parties and the same messed up heads: Hannah's, Shoshanna's and Marnie's.

The thing is that many of the people won't care at all. Girls is good because of that. It's not pretentious at all and shows real lives -kind of- of real people, with quite real problems. All of that with a strong humoristic point of view.

The audience was looking for that and we'll be looking for that the next one and the following ones. There is no place anymore for Carrie Bradshaws: très demodé. Now, Lena Dunham and her Girls are the ones who rock.

martes, 22 de enero de 2013

Passion Pit's Magic Powders

Habemus new Passion Pit clip! Gossamer, probably one of the best albums of the last 2012 and the second one in the Massachusetts' band career, now give us a new clip of Carried Away that comes with a remix and a funny clip. Special effects and magic powders are mixed with Dj Tiësto in order to transform thee protagonists of the clip.

It's obvious that the version included in the album has nothing to do with the remix that now sees the light, but the clip is worthy enough to forget about Dj Tiësto, enjoy the song and get carried away.

Christian Dior Couture Spring 2013 au le merveilleux jardin du Raf Simons

The skills of Raf Simons as a pattern designer are widely kwon, specially if we take a look at the latest colections for Jil Sander were the pure lines and the simplicity of every piece were enogh avoiding color and patterned fabrics.

That is something that Simons shares with monsieur Dior: the pattern-making skills. But, does he also has the exquisite taste of the French couturière? The first collection was too short and came too fast that was difficult to judge accurately and wisely.

However, the spring has arrived to the chilly Paris and the fashionshows are on again! Christian Dior HC has opened the series of events in the Couture Fashion Week of the French capital with a lot of embroidered flowers and pastels colors.

After taking a first look, it is impossible not to tell that Dior is there. The correction of the patterns is the master key of this dull but correct collection. Plain and soft colors mixed with shocking bright tights. A lot of black and a lots of pants and suits. Asymmetry and superpositions are also present.

Some of the dresses seem to be specially designed for red carpets and celebrities, specially those that have a slight but clear Valentino-ish scent...

Arguing Raf Simon did it bad wouldn't be admisible, he did it good. Perfectly correct. His couture has its feet well setted in the ground as he himself declared at some point. Is this what was expected from him after Galliano? Probably. Correct and beautiful collections. Tha fact is that the haute couture has to be more than beauty, has to be astounding... Haute couture has to be dream, not just perfectly wearable clothes at parties. Somebody said -scared of- crisis? 

All the images were taken from Style.com

Django blurs Tarantino (Revisited)

The expectations on Tarantino are always high. His movies have always certain symbols of identity very powerful and present in all of his masterpieces from Reservoir Dogs to Inglorious Basterds (and that many others have followed, as Robert Rodríguez).

The thing about Django is that it’s probably the less tarantinian movie of all his cinematography. However, it’s easy to find many of those identity symbols of his style.

For instance, in Tarantino’s movies blood and violence are absolutely mandatory. And Django has it –plenty, actually- Irrational and exaggerated, as always. Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill more violent sequences should be green on envy.

Catchy and witty lines in the dialogues -bordering on the absurd- are also expected. Django have them. The shaking-hands argument between Calvin Candie and Dr. King Shultz demonstrates it, as well as the several sequences with Dr. Schultz playing the bounty hunter (ironical wink on classic Westerns). Though the dialogue during the funny Ku Kux Klan scene will make everyone burst in laughter.

Characters to remember as well as great acting are also a must. In Django, it’s Waltz who shines with his hilarious lines and the empathy we feel for him (especially, taking into account the hideous colonel Hans Landa he played in Inglorious Basterds). Also, DiCaprio takes a turn in his career to be the villain and, surprisingly, he does it quiet well.

The problem is the story: too lineal, too easy, too predictable… what ends up being too boring (as well as too long). The end is expected, though spectacular. And that’s not Tarantino.

Probably, Django is the main problem here. Foxx overacts Django in many sequences. He looks pretentious (wait for the blue custom) and it’s difficult to classify him as the classical Tarantino hero looking for revenge, much more authentic (Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, for instance).

In some sequences, Tarantino’s voice is lost in behalf of Django’s. After all, the entire Western and slavery background is a vague excuse for the hackneyed story of the damsel in distress (Broomhilda) that Django and Schultz want to save from Candy. Actually, the whole movie is an excuse for that.

Nevertheless, the magnificent photography and a powerful soundtrack (including Ennio Morricone and rap) are still in, as well as Tarantino himself, with his longest cameo ever. But Tarantino is no longer “the –only- trouble maker”. Django is now. Because Django is in town.

domingo, 13 de enero de 2013

Django blurs Tarantino

When I go to the cinema to watch a Quentin Tarantino movie I know what to expect from it. He has developed very strong symbols of identity that are present in every single movie he has directed and that has many other has followed (Robert Rodríguez, for instance). But what do we expect from a Tarantino movie?

We expect violence: irrational, exaggerated and bloody violence. We have that in Django, plenty of it, actually. The sequence in the hall of Candieland is Tarantino at his best (I can’t help finding resemblances with Kill Bill’s sequence with the Crazy 88 and Gogo Yubari).

We also expect catchy and witty lines in the dialogues that sometimes borders on the absurd. We also have that in Django. The shaking-hands argument between Calvin Candie and Dr. King Shultz demonstrates it, as well as the several sequences in which Dr. Schultz ends up the problems with his bounty hunter side, that clearly shows some kind of irony about classic Westerns. Though my favorite dialogue is the one during the funny Ku Kux Klan scene (Tarantino couldn’t make it seem more ridiculous).

Finally, we expect characters to remember, as well as great acting too. Christoph Waltz is magnificent and it is incredible the empathy we can feel for his character (especially if we take into account the hideous colonel Hans Landa he played in Inglorious Bastards). But if there is a role we have to remark is the one that Samuel L. Jackson plays as Stephen, a double-faced butler black outside, white inside.

The problem with this movie is that there’s too much Django in Django Unchained. I found it a more conventional and less transgressor movie that the ones before it. Tarantino’s seal blurs gradually and, by the half of the movie, Django is already doing all the talking of the film. Probably, the classic tale that lies beneath (lady who needs to be saved by the brave knight) that happens to end happily is so not Tarantino that makes the movie predictable and boring.

Nevertheless, the photography, that is awesome (as always), and the soundtrack (it includes Ennio Morricone, making another wink to classic Westerns), that matches every scene, offsets the bad acting of DiCaprio and Foxx as well as the dull story. The pitty is that, though Tarantino makes Django a nigger in a thousand, he lets him be the only trouble maker.

viernes, 11 de enero de 2013

Music tagging issues: Tame Impala's sound

I love Spotify and the main reason is because through it, I can discover new artists that I can start adoring. Actually, it happens to me all the time. A few weeks ago, I found out a band that I have never heard of. I googled its name and I reached their official web page (in order to know more about them). My surprise arrived when, reading a wonderful 'About', they described themselves as a psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock band. My poker face was kind of epic at that point.

I do not like tagging. I hate tagging, in fact, And this is why. Tags are useless and totally confusing.  Tame Impala is a great band. From Perth (Australia), like many other cool bands that cool kids listen to. I'd describer their sound like kind of The Beatles in their last stage -when they were getting a more psychedelic vibe, like in Tomorrow Never Knows- but without sitar and more electronic rythms. Gotta say that the fact that the leading singer has a really McCartney-ish  voice helps to make this association. 

Elephant is the song that made me give them a chance. Lonerism is the album that made me believe in them. They have a new fan. I hope they don't screw it up with the albums to come.

P.S.: Please, dear bands, avoid tagging yourselves. It is not necessary at all.