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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Night Train to Lisbon (Pascal Mercier, Greg Latter, Ulrich Herrmann)

Directed by Bille August, an ageing Swiss professor quits his job after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman and travels to Lisbon in the hope of discovering the fate of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Tom Courtenay, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Nicolau Breyner, Charlotte Rampling, Helena Afonso, Beatriz Batarda, Sarah Bühlmann, Marco D'Almeida, João Lagarto, Joaquim Leitão, Adriano Luz, Ana Lúcia Palminha, José Wallenstein

My thoughts on this film: I read the book by Pascal Mercier and - with much respect to the author - I found it boring. The story is good, but the way it was written... just not my cup of tea. Therefore, when I went too see the movie, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind and had a wonderful surprise.
The story is a little slow, there is not much action, but I found it interesting in terms of History. This deals with a very important part of Portuguese History, the Portuguese dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar, and uses a fictional Portuguese author to lead us deeply into our past.
I also found it weird that people older than me were so shocked at a scene where the PIDE (Portuguese police at the time) were beating a man's hands. I was not even born then and I know they did much worse things! Maybe a little History lesson would help!
On another chapter, it was fun to see some very famous Portuguese actors and actresses in this film speaking in English, especially Nicolau Breyner (Mr. Silva) - I was very surprised to hear his English accent!
In terms of Jeremy Irons, I always thought he was a very good, meticulous actor, and he proved just that. Mr. Irons was actually the only foreigner who managed to pronounce the Portuguese names correctly.
On a bad note, I did not enjoy the beginning and ending very much; they seemed unnecessary to the script, as well as unfinished.
Overall, I have the feeling that only Portuguese people will enjoy this movie, but it is still worth seeing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The House of Silk (Anthony Horowitz)

It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221B Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks.
Intrigued, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious 'House of Silk'...


Quote: "If I were a philosophical frame of mind I might wonder to what extent any one of us is in control of our own destiny, or if indeed we can ever predict the far-reaching consequences of actions which, at the time, may seem entirely trivial."

Why this book speaks to me: It is yet another case of not being able to put a book down once I started reading it. 'The House of Silk' was so well written, with every aspect, every character, every movement extremely well described... everything was in place. I felt like I was there, or better yet, as Anthony Horowitz writes in the end 'only Sherlock Holmes has the power to bring me back to my childhood'. And for all Sherlock Holmes fans, like me, do not be put off. Mr. Horowitz was approached by the Doyle Estate to write this book, and being a fan himself, he remained true to the original stories depicting Holmes. I was not at all disappointed by how it turned out, but rather surprised in a very good way!
The story itself reminded me of recent events in Portugal, something that made the news, but I will not say more as not to spoil the ending...
I cannot, however, end this post without declaring my love for a type of crime fiction from an Era with no mobile phones, no internet, no DNA. I am talking about the 19th century. The only thing detectives had to work on were their brain - which they must put to good use - and premonitions.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Side Effects (Directed by: Steven Soderbergh; Written by: Scott Z. Burns)

A young woman's world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

Starring: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Polly Draper, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Why I loved this film: First of all, it is not exactly what I would call a 'thriller' - more like 'suspense' fiction; then again, I cannot talk much about this movie without giving the story away so I will only say WOW! 'Side Effects' is better than it seems with a very unexpected twist.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Love Killers (Jackie Collins)


Beth, Lara, and Rio - three exotic women with a common cause and vengeance in their hearts. They are out to avenge a murder and they will go to any lengths.
Their targets are the heirs of the Bassalino crime family.
Their weapon is sex.
The result is a bloodbath of sexual mayhem through the lethal corridors of organised crime.
Three beautiful women set out to prove that when it comes to revenge, the female is far, far deadlier than the male!



Quote: "The man who comes to you with his dick hanging out may want to make it with you, but does he want to work next to you? Does he want to see you get paid the same money for the same job he's doing? Hey - what about the guy in the street who undresses you with his eyes... Is he your equal, baby? Well? WELL?"

My thoughts on this book: On the one hand, it starts in an exciting manner with an unexpected ending; however, there comes a time when this is nothing but a bloodbath.
Overall, it is a fun book to read. With a lot of Girl Power!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

This is 40 (Judd Apatow)

A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie on their 40th birthday.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, John Lithgow, Tatum O'Neal, Ava Sambora, Melissa McCarthy, Billie Joe Armstrong, Ryan Adams

Why I loved this film: Judd Apatow is known for laughs and this is no different. There is not much essence storywise, but you are promised a non-stop laughing fit from beginning to end.
I would call it 'ridiculously crazy', but that is what makes this so much fun to watch!