chani: (Default)
I just re-watched Des Hommes et des Dieux which was showed on French tv tonight. I had not watched that film since I saw it at the cinema in September 2010 (and consequently wrote this review on that old blog of mine I haven't updated for 13 months!).

A beautiful film whose awards were well-deserved. The monks' last supper scene still moved me to tears.

Snowed in

Jan. 19th, 2013 12:26 am
chani: (Default)
Just got back from the cinema, walking the streets in a very white Paris, for we've got snow tonight! As usual when it happens, it's a big event.

I saw Django Unchained and I loved it ! It's probably my favourite film by Quentin Tarantino. Yes I said it.

Now bed's calling.

chani: (Default)
I enjoyed Anna Karenina tonight, despite having little patience for Keira Knightley's overacting and simpering airs (and don't get me started on her skinnyness, that is painful to watch!) , because the mise-en-scène was interesting and bold, because Jude Law had gravitas and was a convincing Karenine, and because Kostia was played by this incredibly beautiful redhaired Irishman named Domhnall Gleeson!

Vronski mostly looked ridiculous, as if to point out how crazy first Kitty and, above all, Anna were, but Kostia was beautiful, especially in the countryside scenes.

I mean, really, this redhead is a treat on the eyes!


chani: (Deawood Sol Star)
Soylent Green is on ARTE. It's been years since the last time I saw it, and I'm too tired to mark papers, so I'm watching it. Kinda fitting for a pseudo End of the World's Eve!

And suddenly I realise that some of my favourite fictional characters are named Sol (or Saul), or rather that a character whose name is Sol is usually a terrific character.

In Soylent Green the old librarian who works with Charlton Heston's character is named Sol Roth.

And of course there's my beloved Sol Star in Deadwood, and there's Saul Tigh in Battlestar Galactica, a character whom I came to love throughout the series, and lately one of the most redeeming qualities in Homeland has been Saul Berenson whose scenes are always terrific!*

I wonder whether writers deliberately use that name as a lucky charm.

Anyway, one day to go, and I'll be on (very much needed) holidays.Now back to Soylent Green in which Charlton Heston just fucked "the furniture"...

*ETA: And Of course Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad! "Better Call Saul!" must be a Hollywood motto for writers actually.

chani: (Default)
It is an old question in art and literature. Are we what we think we are or are we being fooled and actually living a farce?

Do we really exist just because we are aware of our own existence? Are we sentient beings or the figments of someone else's imagination?

My favourite author, Jorge Luis Borges, once wrote a short story that deals with the issue. The title is "Las Ruinas Circulares" and if you don't know it you can read it online in English HERE.

I remember an old episode from The Twilight Zone in which the characters thought they were real but turned out to be toys "living" within a dollhouse. Not "real people" but the playthings of a giant and merciless child-god.

Borrowing a lot from previous films but also from books, especially Lewis Carroll's wonderful Alice In Wonderland, The Matrix told us that although people think they are living they might be asleep and used as batteries while the world they think they live in is a mere simulation generated by machines. The illusion is perfect, except for a few déjà-vu moments that give away glitches.

Battlestar Galactica, the miniseries, started with a Six asking a human "are you real?" and later Caprica showed us that there are many ways of being real, including the one in the V-world or in the game New Caprica City when you put the holoband on.

And now, a scientist, a NASA guy, is about to release a book based on the idea that we might be living in a simulated world that some future person would have built thanks to future super-computers...out of boredom. Interview with Rich Terrile, here. In the end, he says:

"And our simulated beings could also create simulations. What I find intriguing is, if there is a creator, and there will be a creator in the future and it will be us, this also means if there’s a creator for our world, here, it’s also us. This means we are both God and servants of God, and that we made it all. What I find inspiring is that, even if we are in a simulation or many orders of magnitude down in levels of simulation, somewhere along the line something escaped the primordial ooze to become us and to result in simulations that made us. And that’s cool."

Borges, who was blind and a poet, saw it all, before science men even started dreaming of it.

chani: (Default)
Today I went and saw Alexandr Sokurov 's Faust, which won the Gold Lion at the Mostra in Venice but is beyond weird and not easy at all to understand-- at the end of the film P-H had a look on his face that said "what did just happen?"--, and afterwards I went shopping and bought three Summer dresses...

Now if Summer could be there, that would be nice.

chani: (Default)
Cannes festival is coming to an end, we'll know tomorrow which film gets the Palme d'Or.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends, inspired by the Presidential candidates, made a list of her favourite films, and asked me mine. I couldn't come up with a top 5 so I gave her my top 20...actually I provided two lists, my top 20 favourite films and my top 20 best movies (not the same!).

- -

My top 20 favourite films )

As for my top 20 of best films:

- Oc

Read more... )



chani: (Default)
But I went and saw The Avengers...and I didn't like it.

Read more... )

chani: (Default)
Apparently, according to British researcher both Jeremy Irons and Alan Rickman are the best male voices, almost perfect voices, and Irons actually came the closest to the ideal voice.

And a few years ago a woman was diganosed with a very rare pathology that made her unable to recognize any voice but Sean Connery's!!!!!

James Earl Jones who is one of the most memorable voices in movies thought that indeed, the thing with Sean was his "tremendous voice"(among other tremendous things, to which I'd add a tremendous body and tremendous eyes, smile and dimples too!):

Of course in Sean Connery's case it's everything in him that is best male!

Even when he plays a monk:

chani: (Deawood Sol Star)
Since it's been established that I can be obsessed, here is a sample of John Hawkes' range, especially for kick_galvanic (would you have recognized Sol in that extract from From dusk till down?) and[personal profile] tx_cronopio .

I've seen him excel in many films as an actor, and he's a good musician, singer and song-writer too, but Sol Star from Deadwood and Teardrop from Winter's Bone will always be the first reasons I love John Hawkes so much.

But yes, if I can, I will go and see him play a poet with an iron lung in The Surrogate, and also The Playroom in which Sol and Alma are married and have four kids!

chani: (Default)
A French movies website has asked our 10 candidates their top 5 movies, their take on Hadopi (a bill against downloading) and their program concerning culture

The film choices are interesting. Some of them might be genuine, others probably belong to political calculation regarding to what their voters like, what the candidates themselves are supposed to like (and in some case it's an opportunity to shatter an image), or what they would like the citizens to think they enjoy!

Some of you may remember that in 2007 I decided to post and parse the candidates' official campaign poster. I won't do that for this election, but I think that the top 5 movies list is interesting to study.

Their picks and my analysis, under the cut.

Ten politicians and their favourite movies )
chani: (Christine de Pisan)
I am not as "highbrow" as some people might think...tonight I went and saw The Hunger Games and it was my idea!

It isn't the best film ever but I had low expectations anyway. The actors were rather good, it was effective and entertaining, and even though this isn't the kind of material that makes an actor shine, Jennifer Lawrence still has that incredible screen presence and is – to quote P-H: "une belle plante" (not sure she can play teenagers that long though)

But above all, I was so happy to see Paula Malcomson play her mother! John Hawkes was her uncle in Winter's Bone, and now Paula is her mother!!!!! Sol and Trixie are connected again through her. :- )

BTWKatniss' family is very similar to Ree's. I don't know if it was in the book, but it's obvious now why Jennifer has been picked for the part after her unforgettable performance in Winter's Bone.

PS: Just realised, by checking  a thread on someone' s else journal that I don't receive comments notification from LJ anymore.

chani: (Default)
On Friday, before the Césars evening, I went to the movies and saw a low-budget Russian film, Twilight Portrait,  Portret v sumerkakh , directed (and co-written) by Angelina Nikonova. It's the kind of films that probably very few people will see (it was showed in only 4 theatres in Paris) either here or in Russia, although it received several awards in various festivals, and it's a shame because it's very good.

It isn't an easy film, it's even rather disturbing, as it explores the most violent and unpleasant sides of modern day Russia, but it has more subtletly and generosity than darkness. The lead is a posh woman from the upper middle-class, unhappily married to a businessman, who starts the film being unable to connect to people around her but goes on  a journey after a traumatizing event, but the film also shows how corrupted the police is, how two worlds meet and clash, how the lumpen people live...and how love might save people, even those who firstly looked like feelingless monsters. It's the story of a woman who could have sought revenge but instead bring a man back to humanity, saving herself in doing so.

It's very Russian and yet it made me think of films directed by other women: Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank , Keily Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff, or Debra Grabik's Winter's Bones.

Those women don't rely on formula and dare to go where male filmamkers don't seem to go anymore.

Maybe the future of cinema lies in the women's eye.

PS: No Oscars post from me, too many films on the list I didn't see, and some of them I heard were terrible (The Help, The War Horse) and as for those I actually saw, I didn't find them that good, except for The Artist – and I am not saying that because it's a French film. Many critics commented on the mediocrity of the Oscars batch this year and I think they are right...Yet there were some good films (American or not) this year but the Oscars people left them out.

chani: (Default)
Remember my choices for the Césars?

I got it right about Michel Blanc  for Meilleur Acteur Dans Un Second Rôle in L'Exercice de l'Etat, and Michel Hazanavicius for Meilleur Réalisateur !

A Separation got it instead of Incendies which I had picked, but it also deserved the award so it's fine by me.

For best actress, they chose Bérénice Béjo for The Artist...Béjo wasn't bad but I still think that Marina Foïs owned that one.

For best actor, they picked Omar Sy, for Intouchables the film that was a blockbuster in France (and I didn't see), which I believe was all about political correctness...and about cronyism since Omar works for CanalPlus.

As for, best film, they gave it to The Artist. I do think that L'Exercice de l'Etat was the best French film of the year and Olivier Gourmet the best actor on the Césars list.

Oh well...

chani: (Default)
I rewatched Jules et Jim that was shown on ARTE tonight. I hadn't seen in ages and it's funny but I had forgotten about the first half of the film, before the actual ménage-à-trois happens, and yet it's easily the best half.

Watching it tonight, I had several thoughts.

- the film aged well because it was so unrealistic and because it was in white & black which always makes stunning visuals.
- the voice-over narration was sometimes a bit too much but it fits in the literary side of the whole thing. It was a book before being a movie after all.
- if Jules et Jim were released nowadays, everybody would be talking about the slash!

chani: (justified)
I still have reservations about Quarles aka Carpetbagger, but I really really enjoyed "The Devil you Know". It was pure Justified :

Read more... )

chani: (Default)

The ceremony will take place on the 24th of February but here's my take on the main categories(and those for which I saw several movies).

Under the lj-cut, the nominations and my pick if I were to vote:

And the winner is... )
chani: (Default)
Still in Marking Hell. 21 History papers to go and then I'll have left only 30 Geography papers (quicker to mark as it was just a test not essays).

If the sore throat is any clue, I'm coming down with a cold. Not really surprising given how tired I've been feeling lately. I must have worn a red sign to all the viruses and bugs around saying "welcome guys!".

I watched the finale of Homeland yesterday in the evening, and was torn about it for there are things that I loved and others that were just hugely convenient, contrived and clichesque plot devices. Might post about it later, when I have time...maybe next week.

I got warm and fuzzy feelings from reading this interview with Aaron Paul, especially when he said about Jesse and Walter: "I’m sad seeing it from the character’s point of view, because you know they both have love for each other. But they don’t trust one another sometimes, and they really should".

I haven't been to the cinema for a couple of weeks (M. and I were supposed to go and see J. Edgar last week but it fell through)so despite feeling like I could spend the rest of the day in bed, I'm going to see The Descendants.

Speaking of movies, looks like John Hawkes stroke again in Sundance Festival with The Surrogate. And I have yet to see playing that cult leader in Martha Marcy May Marlene -- that will be released at the end of February over here--, in which everybody says he's also excellent to the point that he should have been nominated again for best supporting role (btw he totally should have won last year for his work as Teardrop in Winter's Bone).

Leaving both Michael Fassbender and John Hawkes out of a nomination list, these days is a just ridiculous, period.

On holiday

Dec. 20th, 2011 10:50 am
chani: (Default)
Still waiting for the bloody parcel! It'd better arrive soon for I'm off to the library in the afternoon.

This holiday is going to be very sudious. I have to, otherwise my thesis will never progress. I rested for the last two days because I was truly exhausted. Also went to the opera on Saturday evening and saw Verdi's La Forza del Destino. The production was rather average and the singers weren't great, but Philippe Jordan was, as usual, terrific at directing the orchestra. He is an amazing conductor.

I have some free cable channels until January 7, including TCM, so apart from my Deadwood sessions I also watched or re-watched a few films.

I re-watched Cold Hand Luke, It's A Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington (they're having a Capra week!), and watched two French films that I didn't bother to see at the cinema when they were released: Demain Dès L'Aube and Le Concert. The latter was a big success in France at the time. It's one of those popular feel-good movies  that aren't actually very good.

I'm also catching up on Downton Abbey's second series (only the first one has been showed on French tv). The strings are obvious and it's super melodramatical, but it's well-filmed, the dialogues are well done and the actors are good...I must admit that the characters have grown on me(I'm quite fond of his Lordship and Mr Bates). It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, like Merlin (well to be fair, it's better written than Merlin). By the way I can't wait for the finale of Merlin on Sunday!!!!! :- )

I've given up on Hell on Wheels (AMC has been so disappointing when it comes to new shows *sigh*) and I'm dropping Dexter for good. this season was an ordeal. I watched until the last episode because I hate to quit, but it was just awful. I don't think I have felt that embarrassed for the writers and the actors, especially during terrible episodes like "Get Gellar" (worst episode ever!!) or "Talk to the Hand". It's a sad thing to see a promising show (in its first two seasons at least, after that it mostly relied on the lead's acting skills and good villains played by great actors) turn into something so ridiculous, badly executed and poorly written (the supposed twist that everybody and their uncle saw coming from the first episode! *eyes roll*). It's actually become worse than House yet House jumped the shark a while back!

So now I'm waiting for the third season of Justified, Sherlock's second series and the return of The Good Wife and FRINGE. Not really looking forward to watching any other show (except for the final season of Breaking Bad of course, but there's still a long wait until that) but I know myself, I will probably watch The Waking Dead when it comes back (because you know...Daryl!) and, mostly out of curiosity, Game of Thrones' second season.

I realise that I haven't tried or liked many "new shows", but yes I'm picky, watching tv shows online isn't as easier as turning the telly on and using the remote control and I usually can guess what I will like or not. My best "finds" in 2011 were definitely Justified (thanks to shadowkat67), Boardwalk Empire and The Shadow Line (thanks to [personal profile] elisi ).

Still mourning Caprica, Terriers and Rubicon....

chani: (Default)

I'm this close to start watching the season 3 of Deadwood right now, just to spend some time with Sol Starr! But i have work to do, so I'll be a good girl and wait for next week when I'm actually on holidays.


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July 2013

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