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Archive for the ‘Movies’

Melancholy, happiness, Miyazaki: the music of Joe Hisaishi

April 21, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music No Comments →


One Summer’s Day from Spirited Away

The 17th edition of the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy opens on 23 April with a concert by the great Joe Hisaishi, who will perform his music for films by Hadao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra.


Tonari no Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro

Even if we have committed the crime of not having seen every single film by Miyazaki, hearing the music of Joe Hisaishi elicits a powerful reaction.


Ashitaka sekki from Princess Mononoke

Melancholy and happiness distilled into notes.


Main theme from Howl’s Moving Castle

And cats, lots of cats.

Manage your Star Wars expectations

April 20, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music No Comments →

Of course we have a Pavlovian reaction to the new trailer, because of the John Williams music and the sight of Han Solo and Chewbacca. But it is best to view all matters pertaining to the new Star Wars movies with extreme caution. Remember what happened last time: basically they took our childhood and turned it into compost.

True, the three prequels whose titles we won’t even mention set the bar so low that any new Star Wars movie that is Not Terrible will get rave reviews. Cheer for mediocrity, we must not. Prove himself, J.J. Abrams must. Diverting entertainments he has made but thus far greatness has eluded him. “Visionary”, he has not yet earned.

Do it brilliantly, or do not. There is no try.

People in midlife, watch While We’re Young with your 25-year-old friends

April 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music No Comments →

We found out that While We’re Young is showing in cinemas and we have no memory of a Noah Baumbach movie ever showing at the mall so we rushed to see it and were very glad because it’s about people our age.

“People our age” being those who, when filling out forms, hesitate at the blank for “age”, subtract the year of their birth from the current year, then re-compute because that can’t be right, that’s too high.

Being in your 40s feels strange because you’re not young anymore, and suddenly things you mocked when they first came out—the entire Lionel Richie discography, Sylvester Stallone movie themes—are adored by people in their 20s, except that their adoration is ironic so you’re not sure exactly where they stand or whether they stand for anything at all, but you know you still loathe “Hello” and “Eye of the Tiger”. But David Bowie, even minor David Bowie, is cool forever.

You don’t want to hang out with your older friends because they’re bitter or depressing or openly disapprove of your refusal to “settle down” or you’ve already heard all their stories, which were boring when you first heard them 20 years ago, or you’re not prepared to live in eternal nostalgia just yet, or you just don’t have anything in common anymore.

You are flattered because your 25-year-old friends seem to look up to you and want what you have, but they want it now, fast-tracked, and they don’t realize that your failures have a greater impact on how you turn out than your successes do. Early success is particularly tricky because when people have too much to lose they stop taking risks and get fossilized prematurely.

Rating: Highly recommended.

And yay, Adam Horovitz!

Things we will miss while we’re away

April 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Television No Comments →

We’re off to Udine for the film festival next week, then Vienna and Budapest. We’re always thrilled to be travelling, but we will miss some things we’d been looking forward to.

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Blast. But it’ll still be showing when we get back, or we can watch it there, where it opens later than it does here.

avengers-age-of-ultron-costumes1

Who does the Avengers’ laundry? Iron Man could just fly through a car wash, but the other costumes look dry clean-only. If they put them in the washing machine, they would shrink…

Toss them in the washer! Toss them in the washer!

2. The start of Game of Thrones Season 5

Game-of-Thrones-Season-4-Episode-4-Grey-Worm

Would the showrunners have made Grey Worm a more prominent character if Jacob Anderson, who plays him, weren’t so cute? They actually cooked up a relationship angle for an Unsullied. Not that we mind. Also we hear he’s the most fluent at the Valyrian language.

We have fond memories of the Tyrion and Bronn show on the road from Season 1 and are looking forward to the Jaime and Bronn/Tyrion and Jorah shows on the road this season.

3. Marvel’s Daredevil

Daredevil-

Promises to erase memory of the movie. We’re glad Marvel’s TV arm got its act together after the Agents of SHIELD debacle. Loved Marvel’s Agent Carter, hope they do another series with Peggy in the 1950s-60s.

By the way we loved the pilot of The Cosmopolitans, Whit Stillman’s Amazon series which could be a sequel to his movies. (Apparently its continued existence is in doubt, which is not surprising but is still dispiriting.) Chloe Sevigny could be playing the same character from Last Days of Disco, Adam Brody could be reprising his role from Damsels in Distress, and we expect Christopher Eigeman to turn up any minute. Back to repeat viewings of Metropolitan and Barcelona.

4. The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Specifically, the 28 Days Later emptiness of Manila’s streets while the boxing is on. Then again, you just know there will be a rematch.

See you at the Far East Film Festival 17 in Udine

April 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Places No Comments →

FEFF, now on its 17th year, is the largest showcase of Asian pop cinema in Europe. Film festivals tend to be hectic and impersonal—endless jockeying for tickets and interviews, watching ponderous movies until you end up in a waking coma—but FEFF is fun. The focus is on popular entertainment, the spectators are unabashed movie fans, and the atmosphere is convivial. You can actually hang out with the filmmakers without having to beat your head against a solid wall of press agents and suits.

This year the festival opens with a concert by Joe Hisaishi, composer of the music for Hadao Miyazaki’s films including Nausicaa, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises. Finally we’re getting our hands on those soundtracks!

Udine is a charming city in northeastern Italy which dates back to the medieval ages—festival banquets are held in the ancient castle. The food is fantastic. And the Friulian wines! If you need to decompress after watcing ten movies straight, walk around the city or hop a train to Trieste or Venice, just an hour away.

Quotable movies: Mahinhin Vs. Mahinhin

April 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 1 Comment →

Mahinhin-vs-Mahinhin

Noel is having a Danny Zialcita retrospective. The video copies are of poor quality, but the dialogue is crisp enough to make one endure the faded or browning visuals. If you like quotable movies, the Zialcita oeuvre provides enough zingers to keep you reciting for days. His movies are really screwball comedies disguised as melodramas.

Scenes from Mahinhin Vs Mahinhin starring Dindo Fernando and Ronaldo Valdez as two gay men who realize that they’ve been keeping the same man, played by Edu Manzano.

At the restaurant where Dindo and Ronaldo face off for the first time upon learning of their sharing arrangement.

Dindo: (to waiter) Bigyan mo ako ng inumin ng tunay na lalake.

Ronaldo: Waiter, cancel that order. Baka magasgas ang lalamunan ng aking bisita. Make that a margarita instead.

Dindo: (to waiter) Bigyan mo tuloy ako ng bibingka—yung maraming itlog na maalat, ha?

Ronaldo: Waiter, ‘yung itlog, by all means ibigay sa kanya. Pero yung bibingka! Jusko! Hindi sanay ang tiyan! Baka magkalat yan dito! Give him a hotdog instead. Yung jumbo ha? (waving off waiter) O sige na, evaporate! I want to have a full view of Miss Billy de Gracia.

After the confrontation, Ronaldo instructs his lawyer.
Ronaldo: I want this Billy de Gracia exterminated, eradicated, mutilated, erased!

Next confrontation:
Ronaldo: Sukdulang isasangla ko ang kaluluwa ko sa impiyerno!
Dindo: Bakit?
Ronaldo: Nandoon ang Misis mo, di ba? Pwes, kakausapin ko si Mephistopheles!
Dindo: Sino naman yon?
Ronaldo: Ang demonyo! Ignoranta! Pababalikin ko ang Misis mo!

That’s it, we’re going to start saying “Ignoranta!”