dimecres, 27 de febrer de 2013

Pending film reviews of 2012 (III)

Let's finish this with the films I watched on DVD. They are listed by genres because why the fuck not? And they appear in chronological order. Be warned, long post.

Films that I watched on DVD
(part 1: comedies/romantic comedies) 

Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason


I love Bridget Jones. The films and the book are some of my guilty pleasures (even though I feel no guilt nor remorse). Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, British humour, a well-built love triangle, a relatable female character. Need I say more? (I like the second part better, by the way. A movie about what happens after the couple ends up together, OMG!).


Love Actually


My Christmas season guilty pleasure. I never get tired of watching this movie because of the little stories that one could only watch when Christmas is all around (otherwise you might have to run to the hospital for insuline shots). I don't like all stories the same, though: the one with Alan Rickman and the one with the little boy are the ones I like the least, and I have mixed feelings with the love triangle involving Keira Knightley.


No Strings Attached


A romantic comedy about "sex buddies" or "friends with benefits" that could have been something innovative, something fresh, something interesting. But, unfortunately, there is no chemistry between the main couple to begin with, and did we really have to go for the typical ending? A shame.


Mean Girls


I didn't see this at the cinema when it was released because I was leaving my teenage years behind and expected something along the lines of every other American Pie-kind of movie out there. But, for what it is, it's not that bad. The ending is way too perfect, though: it would never happen in real life.


Never Been Kissed


This was probably one of the first romantic comedies I ever saw after I started to grow boobs, and I kind of liked the love story, I guess (what, I also went through the "impressionable teenage girl" fase). I somehow ended up seeing this more than ten years later and... No, sorry, I'm not buying any of it.


Shakespeare in Love


A "what-if" story involving William Shakespeare and the writing and premiere of Romeo and Juliet. As they say in Italian, si non è vero, è ben trovato.


Thelma and Louise


A bro-mance with female characters! Why don't we get more of these? (And yes, young Brad Pitt *insert drool here*.  That was a hot guy, not your everyday Edward Cullen).


Brüno




I saw this before Borat, which probably was a bad idea, and knowing that both films are mockumentaries, which took part of the fun away. I was sincerely disappointed, I expected something completely different and actually funny.


Borat


I fell asleep during the second half and, even knowing that it was a mockumentary, I think there's a line between funny and offensive. And I didn't find Borat half as fun as it had been promised to me.


Eine ganz heisse Nummer


A German film! A Bavarian film, actually, in Bavarian dialect for the most part. Thank Saint Jerome that we have audiovisual translators that syncronize subtitles, otherwise I would have missed most of the dialogue (although, in my defense, I must say living in Salzburg helps, as the dialects are not that different). Three women need money to save their little shop in a Bavarian town and the easiest and fastest way they can think of is an erotic hotline. Entertaining and funny for the most part. Also, thank you, director of the movie, for making that ending possible, and not what I'd feared.


Sommer in orange


Another Bavarian film, this time about a group of hippies of a specific "sect" that only wears orange clothing that moves from Berlin to a farm in Bavaria in the 80s. There, they only find that the townsfolk don't accept their way of living. This is not an easy situation for Lili, who decides to start looking "traditional" so that kids at school accept her as a friend. A nice comedy (thanks to subtitlers again).


Rushmore



Watching your first Wes Anderson film is a somewhat difficult to describe experience. Is it because I didn't know what to expect? I was surprized because it is not a conventional film, and I quite liked it, even though it left a strange feeling at the end. 

The Darjeeling Limited


I liked this movie better than Rushmore, probably because the story has more of a plotline, or maybe because I a good road trip. Or maybe because I was slightly reminded of my own on-the-road experiences. 


Moonrise Kingdom


A lovely weird story about first love and how far we're willing to go for it. My only problem is that I would have liked our modern-day Romeo and Juliet to be a slight bit older, but other than that, I have no compaints.


Concurso "Los días que nos separan"

Laia Soler, ganadora del concurso literario de la editorial Plataforma Neo, ahora organiza un sorteo de su obra. En este link tenéis las bases.



dissabte, 16 de febrer de 2013

[Peripècies austríaques] 13. Guia de supervivència a Àustria

Si un dia t'aixeques amb la brillant idea d'emigrar a Àustria, estimat lector de terres mediterrànies, has de tenir en compte aquests punts:

1. A Àustria hi fa fred.

Pot sonar com una obvietat molt gran si tenim en compte que els Alps austríacs no només són una gran atracció turística (sobretot a l'hivern, amb tots els campionats d'esquí, però també a l'estiu), sinó que ocupen pràcticament la meitat del territori. Però quan vens del Mediterrani, ni tan sols les arrels pirinenques compensen. Cal estar ben preparat: la solució passa per unes bones sabates i un bon abric (i, per als més fredolics, com jo mateixa, guants, gorra, bufanda, tres o quatre capes de roba, mitjons gruixuts). I assegurar-te que les sabates siguin bones, no fer el cutre i agarrat i gastar-s'hi poc i trobar-te amb els peus xops si et passes una hora caminant per la neu per tirar-te amb trineu. De totes maneres, un cop sobreviscut el primer hivern i un cop t'has aprovisionat de roba i calçat calents, al final li deixes de donar importància.


2. Els nens austríacs néixen amb els esquís posats.

La qual cosa no deixa de ser problemàtic a l'hora del part, ha de fer un mal de collons quan surten, però no voldria endinsar-me en qüestions biològiques/anatòmiques, sino en el fet que els esports d'hivern són el nostre futbol (més que res que la selecció de futbol és molt dolenta i, en canvi, els esquiadors són molt bons). Per aquest motiu, a partir d'any nou, per la televisió es poden visionar a totes hores campionats d'esquí des de tots els punts de la geografia mundial (només aquest febrer ja he vist parts del de Moscou, d'Innsbruck i de Schladming, i ja m'hi estic aficionant!). Com és natural, els nens (i els no tan nens) prefereixen anar a esquiar, a patinar sobre gel o a tirar-se en trineu quan tenen temps lliure en comptes de quedar-se a casa prenent te i xocolata calenta, com faig jo (quan no m'obliguen a participar de les activitats tradicionals del país). No, no hi ha documents gràfics.

3. Tothom sap ballar el vals

Ja vaig comentar en un episodi anterior que havia anat als balls de les escoles on treballava el curs passat. Els balls escolars tenen un no-sé-què de prom americana, però no us deixeu enganyar: tenen molt més a veure amb els balls de la cort. De fet, només he mencionat els balls escolars, que normalment són una mena de festa de final de curs, però n'hi ha molts més. La culminació de tot plegat és el ball de l'Òpera de Viena. En comptes del Franz Joseph i la Sissi, els convidats són polítics de tots els colors, actors i actrius, cantants i altres personalitats més o menys televisives (o això m'han dit, perquè encara no estic del tot familiaritzada amb la televisió austríaca). A més, les filles d'algunes de la jet-set austríaca són presentades formalment en societat com a debutants tot aprofitant l'ocasió. Hi ha òpera en directe, hi ha ballet en directe (concretament, els estudiants del Ballet de l'Òpera, perquè tot quedi a casa), i tothom, TOTHOM balla el vals. 

El darrer ball al qual vaig anar a Salzburg, era el del Musisches Gymnasium, una escola en la qual l'especialitat (Schwerpunkt) és la música, i els alumnes toquen instruments i canten com professionals (el cor de l'escola em va recordar lleugerament al Cor Jove de l'Orfeó Català, salvant distàncies i uniformes lletjos). He decidit que, quan acabi la carrera de magisteri a Salzburg (sense la qual no puc optar a una plaça de professora en un Gymnasium) vull treballar en aquella escola. Encara que sigui només fer-hi l'any de pràctiques obligatòries.


4. La universitat és (pràcticament) gratis!

Doncs això, que m'he matriculat a la universitat per a poder optar a una plaça de mestra en una escola, perquè no em vull passar la vida vivint d'ensenyar castellà a nivell extraescolar, si m'acabo quedant aquí (que té tota la pinta que em quedo). Potser no ho hauria fet si no fos perquè la matrícula és gratis i l'únic que has de pagar són les taxes universitàries, que han ascendit a l'astronòmica xifra de 17,50€ (cal dir que haurien estat 363,50€ si fos d'un país de fora de la Unió Europea). Ara no només puc anar a la universitat, també gaudeixo d'un descompte important en l'ús del transport públic i en entrades i altres activitats culturals.


5. L'allotjament, en canvi, és una broma de mal gust.

A no ser que estiguis disposat a compartir pis amb 5 persones, l'habitatge és car de collons: una habitació en un pis compartit de dues o tres persones ronda els 400€ (en funció dels metres quadrats del pis i de l'habitació en si, és clar), mentre que si vols viure sol/a en un apartament tipus loft, que és el que una pija de l'Eixample que jo em sé vol (i ha aconseguit), no baixa dels 450€ lo més cutre. I n'hi ha de molt cutres, però cutre cutre, d'allò que si haguessin de posar una foto per a definir "cutre" al diccionari, hi posarien molts dels pisos que he vist a Salzburg (o al ministre Wert-los*). Després d'una experiència quasi-religiosa amb EL pis cutre de Salzburg, a meitats de març entro a viure en un pis nou per a mi sola, de 26 metres quadrats, però molt ben situat. No em puc queixar (sobretot, perquè l'he trobat a través de contactes, que és el que fa falta en aquest país per trobar un pis una mica normal, tant a nivell arquitectònic com econòmic).
 
Seguirem informant. Dra Xodes, TVD, Salzburg.  


*joc de paraules totalment forçat en què "Wert" vol dir "valor" en alemany, mentre que "wertlos" vol dir "sense cap mena de valor".



Ah, per cert! Vaig sortir al diari! El Salzburger Nachrichten em va entrevistar perquè expliqués la meva experiència salzburguesa. Aquí ho teniu, espero que ho pugueu llegir (està en alemany, òbviament).





dissabte, 9 de febrer de 2013

Ho farem tota la nit!

Un dels motius pels quals els one-night stands no funcionen, sobretot quan et ronden durant hores, o fins i tot dies i setmanes i generen expectatives:




diumenge, 3 de febrer de 2013

Pending film reviews of 2012 (II)

Here goes the second half of the pending film reviews of 2012.
 
Films that I watched at the cinema
(april - december 2012)


Our Idiot Brother

I forgot to explain this in the first entry: one Thursday every two weeks, in one of the cinemas in Salzburg we get sneak previews, that is, we get to watch a film that is not yet in cinemas but soon will. It's always a surprise, and so far it's been irregular. The first one I saw was The Iron Lady and, in spite of the disappointment, I went again. Our Idiot Brother was the second sneak preview I went to.
 
Ned lives a hippie life in an organic farm with his girlfriend but is arrested after selling marihuana to an undercover police officer. When he gets out, he is sent to live with his three sisters and ends up "screwing up" their lives, although he doesn't consider it so. A nice, sweet comedy, but that's pretty much it.

Brave

Pixar's first princess is a Scottish teenager who loves to shoot with her bow and arrows and is not willing to undergo an arranged marriage only because she is the princess and the tradition, even if that gets her mother on her nerves. A beautifully designed film with only one problem: I think the story could have been developed differently, with some more content and character development. Still, I obviously cried at the end and liked it a lot.

The Dark Knight Rises

I thought I wouldn't be able to get most of what's going on in this film because I still haven't seen The Dark Knight. (*goes hide from angry mobs*). But I could understand pretty much everything because the main story does not have that much in common with the second part. While it's a good action film and we get to see a more human side of Batman/Bruce Wayne, there are some aspects of the film that arise questions that lead us to a plot hole. Overall, I liked the movie and found it enjoyable, but I guess I expected more.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Another film that I only wanted to watch because of the lead actor but I didn't have great expectations after Beginners. I was surprised, though, and I ended up liking the story. The romance is totally forced and I think it's either because it the book the movie is base on develops that a lot more or because the author felt a need for the characters to fall in love. I'm sorry but in a real-world context that would rarely work. Then again, the film deals with things that would normally not work in a real-world context, so...




Savages

We risked to go to another sneak preview in Salzburg and this is what we got. A thriller (?) about two guys who grow and sell weed in California and are offered to form a business alliance with a Mexican cartel. When they decline the offer, the cartel kidnaps their shared girlfriend Ophelia, also known as O, and thus begins a "war" to get her back and keep the business going. What could have been a really good action thriller is actually a gore-ish thing that doesn't really know what it wants to be. Disappointing, disgusting in certain scenes and with leads that lack the ability to show emotions (especially Blake Lively: once Serena van der Woodsen, always Serena van der Woodsen; and I can't believe Aaron Taylor-Johnson was cast as Vronsky in Anna Karenina).

Looper

Towards the end of the 21st century, time travel will have been invented and forbidden by governments. However, in 2070 a mafia organisation uses it illegally to send people 30 years back, so that loopers can kill them and the bodies and the crime can be hidden. In 2040, the loopers are starting to receive pieces of gold instead of silver as payment, which is the mafia's code for saying they need to retire. Joe discovers that he has to kill himself from the future, but his older self escapes, and thus begins a chase where both Joes want to kill their other selves. This action film was not bad, though for the most part it was confusing and the second part feels like a different movie because all of the sudden the action pretty much stops until the last minutes. 

Pitch Perfect

The last sneak preview to date because we were tired of paying for watching films that we didn't like when we could have picked the film ourselves (our bad). Pitch Perfect is like a long episode of Glee or something like that: there is an all-girl a cappella singers group that desperately needs new members after an unfortunate accident in a contest and a girl who needs to make friends at college and manage to pass the first year so that her father will allow her to go to Los Angeles to become a DJ. And you can guess how it ends. Maybe teenagers will enjoy this jukebox musical because they sing very recent songs, but it's so predictable...


Wreck-it Ralph

After Brave, Pixar took us on a journey to the world of videogames. Wreck-it Ralph is the bad guy of his videogame but he is tired of being the bad guy and feeling underappreciated by the other characters, so he leaves to win a medal with the hope that the other characters will allow him to join them and stop considering him the bad guy.

Before going to see the movie, I read a lot of reviews where people said they were disappointed that they didn't get to see more videogame characters such as Bowser, the ghosts from Pacman, etc., but... what did you expect? That's what cameos are about. I loved how the story develops and I felt bad for Ralph when the other characters in the videogame treat him like an outcast only because he got the job of the bad guy and automatically think he has no feelings. I really liked this film.


dissabte, 2 de febrer de 2013

Pending film reviews of 2012 (I)

These are very short reviews of the films I watched in 2012. In this first part we'll cover the films I watched at the cinema during the first half of the year and a couple pending films from 2011. The next entry will cover the films I watched in summer or after summer, and the third and fourth part will focus on movies I watched at home. Here we go.

Films that I watched at the cinema
(summer of 2011 - winter 2012)


 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - part 2

The long-awaited last part of the Harry Potter series. After what I thought was a very boring first part (both in the book and the movie), part 2 is filled with lots of action, unnecessary deaths, fighting and... that stupid ending. And the prologue. I was overall satisfied with the adaptation and because I'd already read the book I was not disappointed with the ending. Actually, I liked it more on screen as they take more time with the final big battle.

The Adventures of Tintin

As a kid I'd watched the animated TV series based on the comic book that took us around the world next to the most intrepid journalist of the first half of the 20th century. I wasn't the hugest fan but I found them enjoyable. The movie was visually astonishing (at times it felt like you were watching real people in real settings and not a computer-generated world) and the adventures in which Tintin and his friends get involved will not disappoint fans of the series or lovers of adventure movies.


Beginners

I'll admit I watched this film only because Ewan McGregor was in it. A nice film about human relationships but it didn't really have much of an impact on me as a member of the audience: I didn't really feel implicated in the emotional changes that the characters go through. Maybe I'm just insensitive, I don't know.


Fenster zum Sommer

A German film about a woman who leaves Berlin and heads on a journey to Finland with her lover after breaking up with her husband and her best friend has died. On the ferry to Finland, she goes to bed only to wake up in Berlin six months before her journey. She has been given the opportunity to revive the past half year in order to change the way she did things.

We saw this film as part of a German course that I did in Salzburg when I first came here. I liked the film in general, but similarly to Beginners, I was not engaged in the emotional conflicts, even though I liked how they were developed. I also found the ending satisfactory and realistic (in spite of the non-realistic premise that the main character goes back in time). Again, I think I'm not getting these sensitive, alternative movies.


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

A spy story. Oh, and was it confusing. Apparently, people who have read the book on which the movie is inspired will get a lot more of what is going on, but I was lost from the beginning to credits. Don't get me wrong, it's a really interesting story and it had my curiosity the whole time, but I think there's something missing, like we're still missing a piece to complete the puzzle and get what it's all about. Especially when we find out who the "bad guy" is: it's so sudden and rushed that one would need another movie just to explain what had to be cut (because the only logical explanation is that important scenes were cut due to an excessive running time).


Sherlock Holmes 2. A Game of Shadows

I really enjoyed the first part and the "modern" Sherlock Holmes and how different he was to the "classic" picture that we have of him. I liked the first film in spite of certain creative licenses that make you go "WTF?" if you've ever read any of the stories or watched the old movies. Part 2 was ok but it was too similar to the first part and the element of surprise was lost, so it felt like watching the same movie, only in a different setting and with different secondary characters.


The Artist

Oh, I should dedicate a whole entry to my favorite film of 2012 (it's official). I'd never thought I'd like a silent film so much, but everything is perfect: the acting, the music, the setting, the story. The first time I saw it I thought it would be long and boring, and few times have I been more wrong. I never get tired of listening to the soundtrack and I strongly believe that it's a film that people should see at least once (per year).


The Iron Lady

I seriously don't understand how this film won an Oscar. I mean, Meryl Streep offers a wonderful performance and it feels like you're seeing the real Margaret Thatcher on screen, but other than that... I have a feeling that if I'd been more familiar with the subject I might have enjoyed it differently, but I was bored for the most part of the screening time. Also, I'm quite sceptic of what we are shown: is it propaganda? Is it criticism? If so, towards what? Boring. 

 
Join me in part 2 for the film reviews of the second half of 2012.

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