You probably saw singer-songwriter and director Woodkid in this Absolut Vodka commercial.
But I need to talk about Woodkid’s most recent album, ‘The Golden Age,’ which was released last year and it’s freaking fantastic.
‘The Golden Age’
This is considered an autobiographical album for Woodkid, who reflects upon his childhood and the journey we go through while discovering the world. Along with orchestrator Bruno Bertoli, ‘The Golden Age’ is an amazing piece of art that brings music to its highest level. It’s one of those rare combinations between popular appeal and high art.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Take a listen:
The competition on TV has never been so tough. From critically acclaimed shows such as ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Downton Abbey,’ to instant hits like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Orange Is The New Black,’ there are no more boundaries to television. And with the end of ‘Breaking Bad,’ one of my favorite shows, I was left wondering which new show would make me fall in love with a character as much as I – and the whole world – fell for Walter White.
Along came Kevin Spacey, David Fincher, Netflix and their own Francis Underwood.
No One Cares About Sex
Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and wife Claire (Robin Wright) have arguably the most modern relationship on TV right now. It’s so modern, it makes ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The New Normal’ seem old-fashioned. The couple’s permissive attitude towards anything related to sex is a huge statement about the future of relationships. What for some might seem like a cold and tactical couple, that feels more like a business partnership, could actually represent one of the most truthful love statements in the current mainstream media. These people place a relentless trust into each other, getting through affairs, threesomes, career commitments, and other issues that concern all lovebirds in real life. Francis and Claire seem to always know exactly what to expect from each other, and respect the space needed at every given situation.
It amazes me (in a great way) how not a lot of people are talking about Francis’ own sexuality. The fact he can engage in such different sexual activities, both with men and women, and that Claire is well aware of it all, speaks volumes about XXI Century concepts of feminism and masculinity. Francis is such a compelling character that audiences react in positive or neutral ways to the fact he had sex with men and Claire is ok with it. No one cares about their sex life, because they are more interested in what Francis is up to next in politics. Even though this sounds simple and plain in writing, let’s keep in mind that a lot of conservatives in Washington DC and beyond watch ‘House of Cards,’ and they’re not necessarily reacting negatively. Francis can be a strong male character who fools around with men, and Claire can be a strong female character who doesn’t mind that her husband does that. When in other circumstances we’d be compelled to feel sorry for Claire when Francis cheated on her, or feel like Francis was weak to forgive Claire’s affair, the rules are different on ‘House of Cards.’
The Fourth Wall
For all of you who don’t know, “Breaking the fourth wall is when a character acknowledges their fictionality, by either indirectly or directly addressing the audience.” (Source). So basically, this is when Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) looks right into the camera and talks straight at us. This isn’t new to Spacey. In ‘American Beauty,’ his character spoiled the end of the movie within the first five minutes. But Francis Underwood doesn’t just break the fourth wall in ‘House of Cards.’ He swings on top of a wrecking ball like Miley Cyrus. We don’t just get an insight of what else Francis wants us to know, but the character seems to deliver to us his whole truth, even things that might be hard for one to admit.
There’s no denial that the tone director David Fincher developed for ‘House of Cards’ will inspire many other shows to reestablish what it means to create an emotional connection with the audience. And although breaking the fourth wall is definitely not set to become a norm, I’m curious to see how anti-heroes will evolve beyond Francis Underwood.
Rest in peace, Walter White. A new breed of badass is on the loose.
I swear I am not about to spoil these movies for you. I’ll definitely spare details that might compromise your enjoyment of these amazing films.
From the nine nominated films for the 2014 Academy Awards’ Best Picture category, I’ve seen six. It’s a very tough year, so there doesn’t seem to be any particular favorite. It’s such a great year for Best Picture that even a masterpiece such ‘August: Osage County,’ with a brilliant performance by Meryl Streep, was left out. As hilarious as Cate Blanchett was in ‘Blue Jasmine,’ and as difficult as Sandra Bullock’s role was in ‘Gravity,’ Meryl deserves that Actress in a Leading Role award.
I’m usually not one to like this type of movie. You know, when a person/group hijacks a certain type of transportation. It just seems like it has been done so many times before, and the execution is generally the same. It’s always about finding out who’s behind the scheme, what his, her or their intentions are, etc. There’s a lot of talking, a lot of waiting, and a lot of pointless moving around.
Well, not on ‘Captain Philips.’ The action literally begins in less than fifteen minutes. Every scene of that movie gets you sucked deeper and deeper into the emotional nightmare that Tom Hanks’ character goes through. And what’s particularly different about this movie (in comparison to the similar ones I’ve mentioned) is that you also feel bad for the villains, who are helpless dirt-poor Somalian pirates who don’t know any better. You are able to truly empathize with both sides and their journeys. The acting is so real that their pain seems palpable. The movie pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end.
I never thought I’d say this, but ‘Gravity’ is a movie with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock that isn’t for everyone. It’s very poetic, slow, artistic. It’s the sort of film you want to watch more than twice, admiring all the details from Sandra’s performance, and the visual effects put together by Alfonso Cuarón and his team. You know how many movies leave you guessing what’s going to happen in the end? Well, this one leaves you wondering what’s about to happen in the next fifteen minutes. I sort of even forgot it would last about one and a half hours, because Cuarón and Bullock were holding my nerves and playing them like a harp.
When you hear that this is a “visual” and “beautiful” film, don’t think people mean it like ‘Avatar.’ The latter had a classic hero’s journey, with similar elements to every single blockbuster to make a billion dollars. That typical beginning, middle, and end. ‘Gravity’ surely isn’t just about face-value, but don’t expect a traditional plot. It’s not complex like Brad Pitt’s ‘The Tree Of Life,’ but it’s multifaceted in its own way. Sandra Bullock’s internal conflicts drive the movie just as much as the external things happening to her.
Dallas Buyers Club
I was sure that I was going to hate this one. Not because it has been done too many times before (like the ‘Captain Philips’ format), but just because it seemed to be one of those ultra-depressing movies that lead nowhere. I’ve always thought that there’s a difference between “drama films” and “depressing films.” The latter usually annoys me.
Well, it didn’t. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ gives us two very driven characters played by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who in the midst of absolute helplessness, fight to find a way to be happy and survive. It’s thought-provoking and entertaining. Matthew, Jared, and Jennifer Garner are all unrecognizable in their roles. Matthew is ultra-skinny, Jared is a perfect transgender woman, and Jennifer made me forget about ‘Elektra.’ To think it was made with a $5 million budget is absolutely nuts!
I can’t tell you it’s a feel good movie, because it isn’t. However, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ gave me just as much downs and just as much ups to keep me entertained. The film ends, but it stays with you for a while. I really like when that happens.
‘Nebraska’ is hilarious! The premise is that 77-year-old Bruce Dern’s character receives a letter saying he has won a million dollars, and then becomes obsessed with the idea of going to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect that jackpot. His son, Will Forte’s character, tries to talk him out of it, but eventually just decides to drive him there to prove his point. This is definitely not ‘Bridesmaids’ humor, but more like ‘The Descendants,’ which is from Alexander Payne, the same director as ‘Nebraska.’
Any ‘Breaking Bad’ fans? Bob Odenkirk (who played Saul in the series) is in it!
I’ve never been a particular fan of Will Forte, but he just killed me on this one. His chemistry with Bruce Dern made ‘Nebraska’ an outrageous and heart-felt comedy that celebrated many elder actors that Hollywood loves to ignore. I have to mention June Squibb, who plays Bruce Dern’s wife, and Angela McEwan, who plays his ex-girlfriend from a distant past. It’s always awesome to watch a well-cast, well-written, and well-directed motion picture like this. No huge names and no exciting locations, just a great story.
Oh, I almost forgot. The movie is all in black-and-white.
Spike Jonze melted my brain and fried my heart. Does that make sense?
Well, a lot of things don’t make sense in ‘Her.’ But somehow, it just really works. Lead actor Joaquin Phoenix and writer-director Spike Jonze made the romantic chemistry between man and operational system very believable, and you’ll probably find yourself cheering for the odd couple many times throughout the movie. It’s packed with awkwardly funny moments, but it can also make you tear up. I’d go as far as saying that this is a very traditional love story, even if the setup seems so unconventional.
I was very impressed by how much emotion Scarlett Johansson, who played the voice of the operational system, conveyed through just voice acting. Her journey has a hint of “Pinocchio,” “A.I,” “I, Robot.” You know, the manmade being who wishes to be human. But ‘Her’ keeps it very fresh, original, and most importantly, realistic. Remember Woody Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona,’ in which you find yourself actually believing that three-way relationship could possibly work out great? This is somewhat of the same. Even if you aren’t able to sympathize, you definitely empathize. It’s a great love story because Spike Jonze makes you believe it can (and probably will) happen.
‘American Hustle’ gives you everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. The chemistry between Christian Bale’s gut, Jennifer Lawrence’s nail polish, Bradley Cooper’s perm and Amy Adams’ British accent is fantastic. This is a movie about hustlers, in every sense and in different ways. The movie keeps you on the edge of your seat, laughing your popcorn off, and wondering how they’re going to pull off the main scheme.
This is an actor-driven movie. It’s this year’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ No wonder all four lead actors were nominated for their respective Oscars. Christian Bale (Lead Actor nominee) is simply unrecognizable, not just physically, but as a whole person. Jennifer Lawrence’s (Supporting Actress nominee) character needs to make a cameo on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as soon as possible. Bradley Cooper (Supporting Actor nominee) takes control of the movie in many instances, and it almost feels like supporting character isn’t necessarily fair. Amy Adams (Lead Actress nominee) completely lost herself in a character that is lost within her own self, making it such an interesting experience. Also part of the cast: Louis CK, Jeremy Renner, and Robert De Niro. It’s just that great of a team.