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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boys Don't Cry (Kimberley Peirce and Andy Bienen)


Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town. He hangs out with the guys and charms the ladies, who have never met a more sensitive and considerate young man. Life is good for Brandon, now that he is one of the guys and dating hometown beauty Lana. However, he forgot to mention one important detail: Brandon Teena was actually born a female named Teena Brandon. When his best friends make this discovery, Brandon's life is teared apart, leading to his assassination in the end.

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson

Why I loved this film: I never thought much of it, until I realised that "Boys don't cry" is actually based on a true story. In 1993, two ignorant guys raped and murdered a teen for the "simple crime" of being different.
Who does that? Well, although times have changed, this atrocity still occurs every now and then.
I may be a little naive, but we are all human, so it seems hard to believe that some people may be as ignorant as John Lotter and Tom Nissen who took away the lives of Brandon Teena and friend Candace. In spite of everything, two lives were taken and that is what really gets to me... How can someone be so cruel?
John was sentenced to death, while Tom is still serving life.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown)

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is at The Capitol Building, in Washington DC, to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of Langdon's arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.
When his mentor, mason and philanthropist Peter Solomon, is kidnapped, the symbologist realises that his only hope of saving Solomon's life is to accept this mysterious summons.
We find Robert Langdon on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar has been changed into a shadowy, mythical world in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth...

Quote: "What would you say if I told you the city of Washington, D.C., has more astrological signs in its architecture than any other city in the world - zodiacs, star charts, cornerstones laid at precise astrological dates and times? More than half of the framers of our Constitution were Masons, men who strongly believed that the stars and fate were intertwined, men who paid close attention to the layout of the heavens as they structured their new world."

Why this book speaks to me: At first I was a bit hesitant because I found all other Robert Langdon books too similar, but I have to say this was a very nice surprise.
In "The lost symbol" Dan Brown takes us through the story of Masonry, their secrets and influence in America, giving out a different perspective on Masons than we are used to, explaining much of the rituals we consider strange or even scary.
However, besides the historical input, here is another exciting story which once you start reading becomes impossible to put down, although I have to say I figured out the killer's motives before he actually explained them, but I still found it thrilling and a must-read.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

R.I.P. Dame Elizabeth Taylor


Film icon Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at the age of 79.
The screen legend died today at her L.A. home due to unknown symptoms. However, rumours state that the actress was being treated for heart failure.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor is best known for roles in films like "Cleopatra", "Cat on a hot tin roof" and "Who's afraid of Virginia Wolf?", having received an Academy Award for the latter.
May she rest in peace!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bryan Adams receives Hollywood Star

The 51-year-old rockstar/photographer/father-to-be Bryan Adams was finally honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony took place yesterday in Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.
The Canadian artist, who lived in Portugal as a kid, seemed thrilled to receive such an honour, remembering how he used to go to Hollywood at the age of 16 and marvel at the stars... Well, little did he know that one day he would be among them!

R.I.P. Artur Agostinho

I would like to take this time to honour a great man who passed away today, at the age of 90.
Artur Agostinho was one of the greatest voices known in the Portuguese media. Mainly recognised for his role in radio, particularly in relation to sports, he was also a TV presenter, journalist, actor and writer.
Today the Portuguese media lost a great part of its history!
May he rest in peace!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques (René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo, Thomas Langmann, Olivier Dazat, Alexandre Charlot and Franck Magnier)



In this film, directed by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann, based on the popular comic books by Goscinny and Uderzo, Astérix and Obélix have to win the Olympic Games in order to help their friend Alafolix marry Greek Princess Irina. However, Brutus, who is also willing to marry the princess, uses every trick in the book to have his own team win the game - as well as getting rid of his father Julius Caesar in the process - but he fails.


Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Clovis Cornillac, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alain Delon, Vanessa Hessler and Franck Dubosc

Why I loved this film: I just love reading Asterix and Obelix books and I could not believe how well they were portrayed on film. The actors are absolutely amazing and the storylines were well adapted onto the big screen, in particularly the love story subplot between Alafolix and Princess Irina, which is not featured in the book. Absolutely hilarious from beginning to end!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (John Boyne)

Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.
Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation... And while exploring what he is unintentionally a part of, Bruno will inevitably become involved in the terrible process.

Quote: "He pushed his two feet together and shot his right arm into the air before clicking his two heels together and saying in as deep and clear voice as possible - as much like Father's as he could manage - the words he said every time he left a soldier's presence.
'Heil Hitler,' he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying, 'Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon.'"

Why this book speaks to me: Every time I explain to someone my interest in WWII I get asked the same question: Are you a Jew?
Well, a lot of people do not realise that the Jews were not the only people killed and they were just an excuse for Hitler to take over the world! His goal was to eliminate all other races, for he believed that the Germans were a different and superior race, leading to Hitler being the sole leader.
Nevertheless, my real interest in the subject, therefore the reason for watching all related documentaries and reading books concerning it, started out in my teens and comes from wanting so badly to understand how someone can be so cruel as to having people killed just like that (I know history repeats itself) and so dumb as to discriminate against others in such a way that, according to him, anyone else is not worthy of a life, or even believe that he could follow through with such a diabolical plan involving the whole world.
But getting back to the book, I thought I was going to read about a different version of History told by a 9-year-old... However, I was surprised to realise it is much more than that. This is about friendship... How a boy remains loyal, even after he realises that he is better off going back home... And how the innocence of two little boys brings them into making future plans, when the adult reader knows that there will be no such thing as a future...
Not wanting to give away the ending, I have to say the author is very clever when he uses sarcasm to indicate that "of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age."

Note: This story was turned into a film in 2008, directed by Mark Herman, starring Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis and Rupert Friend.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Rules of Engagement (Sitcom created by Tom Hertz)

This TV Series takes a look at the various stages of dating and relationships, through the eyes of recently engaged Adam and Jennifer; Jeff and Audrey, who have been married for a long time; and happy singleton, Russell.
As they realise throughout the episodes, relationships are not point-blank, but rather confusing as roller-coasters. Anyone may attempt to define such feelings, but nothing like going for a ride to actually understand them...

Starring: Oliver Hudson, Bianca Kajlich, Patrick Warburton, Megyn Price, David Spade

Why the love for this sitcom: It is a "must" for single people because you really get a feeling of life after marriage and it makes you think twice before embarking on that ship.
This TV series looks at relationships and their ups and downs, in a very funny manner, besides reminding us of the freedom that comes with being a singleton. It really manages to keep my spirits up all the way!