Friday, February 21, 2014

What I've Been Watching #2

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (2006) » This is a documentary film about Stephen Fry's bipolar disorder. I think it was incredibly brave that he talked openly about his condition, mentioning his suicide attempts and making the whole thing public. He was diagnosed at 37 as being a manic depressive and started to investigate and reasearch everything about it, meeting others who suffer from the same mental illness. Hopefully, this documentary will contribute to raise public awereness of bipolar affective disorder and erase the stigma associated with it.

The Air I Breathe (2007) » This drama is based on a Chinese proverb which states that life consists of four emotions: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. The cast ranges from Brendan Fraser and Sarah Michelle Gellar to Forest Withaker and Kevin Bacon (I love him!). For some reason, I really think this film could have been much better executed. The plot line is a bit cheap and cliché, even though the concept is interesting, and so is the interaction between all the characters.

Lizzy Borden Took an Ax (2014) » Here's a TV Movie I couldn't possibly miss! If Christina Ricci is in it, I shall watch it! I don't even care if it wasn't accurate enough. Lizzie Borden was a young woman from Massachusetts tried in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother. Yup, true story. Among all the multiple suspects in town, evidence kept pointing back to the Borden's youngest daughter, a Sunday school teacher. The period costumes are perfect and Christina Ricci is flawless in her acting, playing the role of a psychopathic girl with some weird issues. The soundtrack was awesome - mainly blues and rock n' roll - but many viewers hated the paradox of modern music featured in a 19th century setting.

American Hustle (2013) » This film was pretty good and nothing more. Definitely NOT the best film of the year, by far. Or maybe my expectations were too high. There is something Scorsese-esque about American Hustle, with all that American 70s sleaze and the groovy soundtrack that sort of saves the film. Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale do a solid, remarkable job and the gorgeously talented Jennifer Lawrence steals the show! Amy Adams, well... I still don't think she's award worthy. She's a bit dull.

Killing Kennedy (2013) » This is just another take on the assassination of President Kennedy, based on this book, which I haven't read. The film is no big deal but it helped me having an idea of Lee Harvey Oswald's sociopathic delusions of grandeur and communist obsessive ideologies. Apparently, he used to be a marine who got disappointed at America. And yeah, that's it. We all know what happens next.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) » What I love the most about this film was the acting. Both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto delight the audience with brilliantly raw performances! Their acting skills are outstanding and the best of their career in this drama, which tells the story about Ron Woodruff, a HIV diagnosed hick from Dallas, struggling to survive at a time when the AIDS epidemic (and stigma) was at its worst. The homophobic redneck whose source of fun is cocaine and sex, soon bonds with Rayon, another patient who is also a junkie tranny with a heart of gold. The two start their own club where Ray treats people with AIDS, selling unapproved meds to other citizens with the virus. In a nutshell: a must-watch.

Jin líng shí san chai (2011) » Such a beautifully, emotionally powerful masterpiece! I applaud this film passionately. Zhang Yimou has created a wonderfully shot wartime true story set in 1937 China, during the barbaric Nanking Massacre. Witnessing the cruel horrors of war is harsh but the violence is not gratuitous, it's just realistic, and the brutality is beyond belief. An American mortician seeks refuge in a catholic church and ends up playing priest, finding himself among the convent girl students and some prostitutes of the red light district. Oh and trust me in this one: you will all be smitten with Yu Mo, played by Ni Ni (google her, she's exquisitely beautiful!). This touching film, based on real events, will stay in my head for a while... and it also broke my heart. It truly is a great movie about sacrifice, honour, hope and survival. Ravishing!

Filth (2013) » There is a twisted brilliance in this film, making him one of the best of 2013. In this adaptation of novelist Irvine Welsh's Filth (I haven't read the book and shame on me, as Welsh is one of my favourite authors!), we enter Detective Sargent Bruce Robertson's world, a playground of sex, violence, revenge, evil, family issues, debauchery, corruption, immorality, cocaine, booze, manipulation, ego, self-obsession, delirium, scottish accent and insanity. The protagonist is also obsessing over his possible promotion and not taking his meds. James McAvoy is a revelation as anti-hero Bruce Robertson, I was blown away by his accomplished performance. What's not to love about a bad cop with a bitter past engaging in fucked up activities? I really enjoyed this film, it's one of the most screwed up stories I've came across in years and now I look forward to read the book. Desperately.

Withnail & I (1987) » I know it's a shame I've only watched this cult film recently. My friend Danielle watched it 46 times and I have just watched it for the very first time. Whitnail and I is a delirious ride back to the late 60s, set in a squalid flat in Camden Town, where two unemployed actors live. Withnail and Marwood, fed up with their own intoxicated lives, leave for a holiday in the countryside... which turns out to be a drunken disaster fueled by English humour and depravity. There are so many surrealistic scenes in this comedy/drama, all of them embellished by the fantastic soundtrack. This film is one of the best ever made about friendship and vice, and I salute that.


  1. Excelente! Dallas Buyers Club , Jin ling sí san shai e Filth.

  2. You watched lots of good stuff. I haven't seen any of these yet and I feel like I'm missing out! I'm adding them to my watchlist and watching them asap. By the way I really enjoyed reading the reviews, you wrote well :)

  3. Em relação ao Dallas Buyers Club concordo contigo em todos os aspectos. a must watch, for sure! As performance fazem com que todo o filme valha a pena.
    Em relação ao Filth, está na minha lista de filmes a ver, especialmente depois de me ter sido bem recomendado por outra pessoa.
    Ah e o sangue na minha foto? Sou muito desastrada e parti um copo ao lavar loiça! Infelizmente, cortei-me também e sangrou um bocadinho, mas como o sangue me fascina tive que tirar uma foto.

  4. O tema do ''Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive'' chamou-me tanto a atenção, nem sabia que havia! E a seguir o ''Jin líng shí san chai '', li um livro há alguns anos da mesma época, com uma história semelhante e este filme chamou-me imenso à atenção!

  5. duddeeee, i love kevin bacon aswell <3
    i have to see the ricci movie, and about the soundtrack, people also bitched about the movie marie antoniette and such. screw people! hah

    i wanna see american hustler and filth too! dallas was amazing. the acting, heartbreaking <3

  6. I did enjoy American Hustle, but I agree with your criticism, though I loved the soundtrack. I need to see Dallas Buyers club though! Thanks for the recommendations xx

  7. Yah, Christina rules big time, a musica do filme estava top 5, mas o filme em si... meeeeehhhhhh. POdiam ter ido TÃOOOOOO mais longe. Mas não foram. Contiveram-se. Com a Christina Ricci á mão e contiveram-se. Palhaços. Tens de ver mais filmes do Zhang Yimou, se é que ainda não viste looool

  8. A good selection of choices here. I really loved american hustle, which is unfortunately the only film i have seen on this list. but the good news is that now I have an arsenel of films to watch! Thanks for the reviews/tips.

    rae of lovefromberlin