Archive for the ‘Brasil’ Category

Modo Avião – *(*)

Posted: March 14, 2020 in 2020, Brasil, Comedy, X1/2

Ana is as smartphone addicted influencer who is working for a fashion company that uses her instagram profile to sell their items. The girl is so obsessed about social media that she’s constantly on her phone and causes many accidents with her car. After one of them is almost fatal, her mother arranges her to go stay with her grandpa in rural mountainous inland Brazil. Where there is no wifi.

The synopsis is okay. The start is kinda fun. Mocking the social media and the fashion world. And when the movie takes you to the beautiful Mantigueira Mountains you want to buy a plane ticket to Sao Paulo, rent a car and drive up to Belo Horizonte via the mountain road. The setting is gorgeous. And Sao Paulo looks fabulous as well. Larissa Manoela is doing a fine job as the main lead and it also features Fica Tudo Bem, the most catchy Brazilian indie pop songs of recent years.

But in the end, it’s a silly romcom that has little to no romance, but a fair amount of gentle humor. It’s for teenagers. Or for those who want to watch something that is so far away from the current news stories that it’s a relief.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10731748/

Minha Vida Em Marte – (*)

Posted: February 19, 2020 in 1/2, 2018, Brasil, Comedy

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

Fernanda has a midlife crises when she doesn’t feel attracted to her husband anymore. First she tries to get back her sexual apetite, but when she learns that her husband cheats on her, a divorce is waiting to happen and she needs to get back on track with her life.

She is not alone to go through all these stages. No… she has a gay best friend who ‘supports’ her.

And we see her with the gay best friend in almost every single scene, traveling to all sorts of places and talking nonsense all the time. 

It is terrible….

The gay best friend in Brazilian comedies is always extravagant, single and very effeminate. It is annoying….

But the main problem is that nothing happens. It is a series of very superficial and unfunny conversations between two loud Brazilians.

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8619812

Simonal – *

Posted: February 10, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Brasil, Musical, X

Halfway in this musical biopic of the notorious Brazilian singer Simonal, you start wondering if it is worth watching until the end.

The acting of the main lead is bad. Annoyingly bad. The storytelling is unoriginal, superficial, boring. The music doesn’t particularly sound great either. And the lip-sincing is done terribly. But the setting is interesting (sixties Brazil), the camerawork is fine and the opening scene (set in 1975) promises an interesting reveal.

Then, it turns out there is an interesting story to tell about this ‘Harry Belafonte of Brazil’. He was accused of having had his accountant be kidnapped and tortured. He somehow also worked as a snitch for the dictatorship.

Now this is a different story. An intriguing one.

But alas… again, this part of the story is told so fast and so superficially, it would only make some kind of sense if you have lived through these events.

Sure, it is made for Brazilian audiences who know more about this singer and who know more about the military dictatorship. For any viewer not familiar with the singer and unaware of his importance/deceit it is quite a lame movie.

So this guy sings about how cheerful Brazilians are during a time of dictatorship and gets scolded at for doing so. Then also falls victim to his own success and any financial predator around him. Gets connected to the military investigators who make him lie on record. All material for a good movie.

Unfortunately this one isn’t.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145054

A satire about Jezus returning home after having wandered in the desert for 40 days is making headlines all over the world, because there is a big debate in Brazil wether the movie should be banned or not. A judge in Rio decided it should be banned. The higher court of justice decided against the ban…

Why the fuzz? Jezus comes back from the desert with his boyfriend Orlando…

It’s strange, because that is just a very trivial part of the comedy and the depiction of God is much more offensive (and funnier). Those who petitioned for the ban clearly didn’t see the movie (yet).

The set up is great though. It starts with the three wise men being invited to a surprise welcome home party for Jezus who turns 30 and they have lost their way and didn’t bring presents. Most of the jokes fall flat, but the idea has potential. Then we get to meet Mary and Joseph and God, known to Jezus as Uncle Vittorio. They feel it’s the right moment to tell Jezus the truth about who his dad is and what his purpose in life will be. The jealousy of poor Joseph towards pimp-looking Vittorio is hilarious. Especially the moment when the carpenter gives a self-made pan flute to his son and God tops it with a synthesizer that sounds much cooler. That absurdity is great, but it’s not consistent. Oh, Orlando turns out to be Lucifer. So the lgbt community could see this episode as homophobic as well.

Much better is the satire about Jezus’ last dinner from the same creators. That is really funny. Also not consistent, but it has a lot of absurd ideas that are executed well. The morning after the last supper, the apostles wake up with a huge hangover and can’t find Jezus, so they have to try and figure out Hangover-style, what has happened. You do need to know the biblical story to get the jokes, but some are just really cool. Like the scene with spin the bottle where they ask Petrus which other apostle he would like to have sex with. When he says Thadeus, the others get upset as Thadeus is relatively new to the posse and hasn’t really been important at all. The turn the other cheek slapping round is also fun.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3013322

 

A young lawyer, working for the public prosecutor’s officer, has been living in guilt for many years. As a child, she was the snitch that made her older brother go to jail for drug trafficking. Unwillingly of course. But her father always made her believe she did the right thing.

When she’s working on a case in which her incarcerated brother is involved, she gets drawn into his world. First out of curiosity, later out of necessity. An act of beneficence gets her in trouble. She forges a document to make sure her brother gets a better treatment in jail. But this illegal misstep is the start of one rollercoaster ride of misery and drama. Her entire career is ruined. Unless she helps a detective by infiltrating into the brotherhood gang that her brother is leading…

Though flawed, this is a very enthralling series. It’s a mix of a prison drama and a detective story with a main lead that plays a double part. It’s set in Brazil, so the drama is very dramatic. But it’s also very violent and grim. It deals about police brutality and corruption and a lot of murderous crime. People get beaten, tortured, killed by the dozens. It brings you the exact opposite of the cheerful and colorful image that Brazil has in many ignorant foreigner’s eyes. This is one dark tale. Even Cidade de Deus has characters laughing and dancing at one point. This one has zero joyful smiles.

But it’s worth the watch. Noreen Costa is phenomenal as the main lead. She not only needs to convince the detective that he can trust her. She also needs to convince the brotherhood that they need her. And more important: she needs to convince the audience watching at home that she can pull this off. Hermila Guedes is equally excellent as the wife of the imprisoned brother. In a very macho setting, these two actresses and their characters keep the show from being a total waste of time. Girl power!

The male leads are only slightly less impressive. Danilo Grangheia as the detective is great. So is Seu Jorge as the brother and leader of the prison gang. We just don’t get to know their characters that well. It’s all very superficial and the show fails to create empathy or sympathy for them. Where you believe the women immediately and you understand their actions from start to finish, it’s much harder to understand what these male characters are all about.

The story may be full of inaccuracies and illogical situations, but the storytelling is well done. Each episode ends with a good cliffhanger that make you want to continue watching. And the ideas are quite clever and flow in a constant entertaining pace. The last episode is a bit too much though. It’s inconsistent and feels rushed. It also isn’t conclusive. There’s no end. Not even an open end. A lot of questions remain.

So watch this by the millions so netflix will make the second season. Because we need to know what’s going to happen next !!!

www.imdb.com/title/tt8905964

Samantha! – *(*)

Posted: July 28, 2018 in 2018, Brasil, Comedy, TV series, X1/2

Emanuelle Arujo is excellent in this short netflix sitcom about a former child star who decides it’s time to relive her fame again. She’s extremely ambitious in her attempts to become/remain famous/popular, trying all the strategies that are currently being used.

The series starts when her husband, a famous footballer, is released from prison and decides to come home to her and their two kids. Suddenly there’s rekindled media attention. But the press seems to be more interested in her husband than in her. Wrong!

It’s a good concept. There are some social comments about reality tv, youtube influencers, etc… But the execution isn’t always so good. The children are interesting side characters, but the husband (Douglas Silva) isn’t. He’s really not acting well at all. Which is sad, because he was so good as a kid in Cidade De Deus. Or maybe it’s because all the focus is on Samantha ! (with exclamation mark!) She was a terrible child star (traumatizing everyone that used to work with her) and she doesn’t realize that a new generation thinks of her as passé. Yet, that ambition is so hilarious.

The humor is very Brazilian and not to everyone’s liking. But the idea is very international. Try it. You may like (part of) it.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6626676

Even though the movie has a lot of flaws, especially in its storytelling, you do keep watching until the end. The acting is great. And the direction is good. But it’s the road trip itself that fascinates the most. You hardly ever see movies that take place in rural Brazil. It’s always Rio or Sao Paulo. Or Recife. Or Salvador. But this time around, most scenes are shot outside of the cities.

The story focuses on the search of a father (an excellent Wagner Moura) for his son, who left the house after an argument with both parents and is missing. He apparently bought a horse and took it up north. Along the way, the father – a wealthy doctor – is confronted with himself, the feelings for his family members and the state in which other – less privileged – Brazilians live.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125425

Bruna Surfestinha – *(*)

Posted: January 12, 2018 in 2011, Brasil, Drama, X1/2

Soft porn on Netflix!

Some ten years ago a Brazilian call girl wrote a best seller, recounting her life as an escort. The book was an instant success, as it was based on her already popular blog, an online diary on what happened in her kinky life. She became the most famous prostitute of the country, but also ended up being addicted to drugs.

Her rise to fame and her downfall are also made into a movie, called Bruna Surfestinha in Brazil (her escort name), but relabeled Confessions Of A Brazilian Call Girl for the international market.

It’s not a good movie. Especially the beginning and the end are crap. But strangely enough, the middle part is exciting. The main reason why the beginning doesn’t work is the fact that actress Deborah Secco is way too old to play a 17-year old teenager who runs away from home after being bullied in school. You see an older actress trying to be young. It’s not acting at all. It’s embarrassing. You also don’t really get to learn why she leaves home. Okay, she got bullied in school because her first boyfriend told everyone else that she swallows and now the rest of the guys in school think that’s what she does easily. And she doesn’t feel at home in the house of her adoptive family, of which the brother seems to bully her even more than the kids at school. Yet, all that is not a clear reason why she left her home to go work as a prostitute in Sao Paulo. It just doesn’t make sense to believe that the biggest attention whore (literally) of Brazil started her career after being bullied at home and in school. That’s not a plausible reason.

She’s a nymphomaniac and she’s curious to experiment. Let’s just call it what it is. The young woman is just eager to make money with something she likes: sex.

The story really gets intriguing when she starts writing the blog and the editing theme quickly shows all kinds of clients that come by. That’s the fun part. There’s even a few wtf  sexual fantasy moments. But it’s interesting.

But then she gets addicted to drugs and she becomes a mess. And again, Deborah Secco disappoints. Not sure why she got so many awards. It’s really not good acting at all.

Apparently the book is a quick read and is written like it’s done by a young adult. Maybe the book (however bad it may be) is still better than the movie. It’s intriguing. Sure. But the focus is too much on the glamourous life and not so much on the hardships. There are scenes (especially at the end when she does a sex marathon) where you think: what kind of life is this? But the whole build up to that scene, just doesn’t make you feel sorry. It’s clearly her choice to have sex with several men, for money. And fame.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587828/

Okay, it’s not a must see action cop movie, but it doesn’t bore at all. And the story is set in Brazil, rather than LA or New York. So that’s a plus. It’s about a woman, who does a career switch by getting out of the tourism sector and into the police department. Before she knows it, she needs to participate in a special assignment. In a small town several miles from Rio De Janeiro, two kids get killed during a shoot out between rivaling gangs. The Rio special police force is sent over there to help find the criminals and bring back peace. However, the longer the elite team is there, the more they realize that those rivaling gangs are not the only criminal town and corruption is everywhere. But once they start investigating into it, they get a lot of opposition. The story isn’t original and it’s all very predictable. The presence of the woman (pretty, confident, a bit high maintenance) is first frowned upon by the macho police force, but of course she gets credit at the end. There are few surprises. You see it coming from miles ahead. But it’s entertaining. The acting is good though. That Cleo Pires is a joy to watch !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4058210

 

Jonas – *

Posted: December 27, 2017 in 2015, Brasil, Crime/Detective, X

In the days leading up to Carnival, a young adolescent finally feels confident to share his feelings for the daughter of his mother’s boss. They have known each other since they were kids, but the social class differences made them go separate ways as teenagers. She’s a big flirt though and loves the attention. Not only from him, but from everyone around the block where they live, including a drug dealing criminal.

The first 20 minutes or so, we get introduced to these stereotypical characters. The flirtatious girl, who gets everything she wants.  The confident local criminal. His dumb associates, who compensate not having a brain by shouting loud and aggressively when talking. The hard-working mom, who raises two children from different dads. The cheating husband who’s also an alcoholic. The wealthy parents of the girl, who rely on their housemaids to do everything, from cleaning to raising their spoiled brats. Sigh. Yes, it’s Brazil. Yes all these types exist. Yes, it’s boring to see them every single time.

The story get ridiculous when the main character of the story, Jonas, finds out that the girl of his dreams is secretly having an affair with the drug dealer. He confronts them and in a sudden move takes the gun from the drug dealer (because that’s what drug dealers in Brazil do: walk around with a gun) and shoots him. Dead. He drugs the girl (because sleeping pills are easily available), cleans up the mess, gets rid of the body, leaves the scene of the crime and ties up the girl inside the frame of a huge construction looking like whale, which will be a big attraction in the carnival parade. This happens without any witnesses. At all. In Sao Paulo, the busiest and largest metropole of South America.

Okay, fine. It’s a premise. It doesn’t make you stop watching the movie, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to get any better. However, the acting by Jesuita Barbosa and Laura Nelva is good and somehow you want to know what’s coming next. But the story fails. This young kid holds the girl of his dreams captive. And she kind of likes it. In the mean time of course, the parents are worried and the drug dealing gang starts missing their leader. But their reactions don’t make sense. All of the action from every single character is very implausible.

Next!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2711256