Matheus Nachtergaele

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Birdwatchers Review


Excellent
Beautifully shot and performed with the authenticity of a documentary, this involving drama has a lot to say about human progress in rural Brazil, although its off-handed story and slow pace might alienate some audiences.

Osvaldo (Pedro) is a young Guarani whose dreams seem to be coming true, so he begins his training as a shaman. But a nasty event spurs the leader of the nomadic group, Nadio (Vilhava), to move to a new location on the side of a large farm owned by a man of European descent (Medeiros). This sets the two communities in conflict: the wealthy landowners and the indigenous people who are watching their land and lifestyle disappear.

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Journey To The End Of The Night Review


OK
Despite the killer title (Journey to the End of the Night is the name of a nihilistic Celine book that has nothing to do with this film), this Brendan Fraser sex-and-drugs drama can't live up to its manufactured cool. The complicated relationships have Fraser as the scheming son of a brothel owner (Scott Glenn), who's trying to get out of the Sao Paolo slums via a big drug deal. Unfortunately we never much care for either Glenn or Fraser's characters, leaving the film in the hands of Mos Def, a dishwasher pressed into helping out. Most of the film is shot in the dark, it seems, in keeping with the coal-black mood of the entire affair.

Four Days In September Review


OK
The story may be true, but that doesn't make this tale of four hapless Brazilians who kidnapped the American ambassador in 1969 any better. While the picture wants desperately to be a true version of The Crying Game it isn't much more competent than an installment of The Bad News Bears. Amazingly, the complete idiocy of the young revolutionaries who kidnap the ambassador (Alan Arkin) is matched only by that of the law enforcement officials who try to save him. Dreadfully boring, poorly paced, and acted lackadaisically. Definitely a miss.

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City Of God Review


Very Good
I wouldn't know to complain if you told me we were having coffee in a part of town called "City of God," what with its vague St. Augustine allusions and all. But after watching the Brazilian film of the same name, I think I'm supposed to add it to the list of neighborhoods that represent the combined failures of local government, law & order, and perhaps the human race: South Boston, Trenchtown in the Jamaican capitol of Kingston, East St. Louis, and South Central Los Angeles. We group them on an imagined Most Wanted list of places we'd never go, streets and sidewalks where we think getting killed might be as likely as tripping over the curb.

Rocket, City of God's young protagonist agrees, even though he grew up there. His story spans two decades (as far as I can tell, from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s) in this arid housing project 15 miles outside of Rio De Janeiro, beginning with him as a child looking up to the local hoods as they rob delivery trucks, and ending with him photographing them for the local newspaper as they kill each other. And while there were good times, Rocket's narration indicates that he doesn't miss them much. "This is where the politicians dump their garbage", he says. "Criminals? Homeless families? Pack 'em up and send them to City of God!"

Continue reading: City Of God Review

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Matheus Nachtergaele Movies

Birdwatchers Movie Review

Birdwatchers Movie Review

Beautifully shot and performed with the authenticity of a documentary, this involving drama has a...

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City Of God Movie Review

City Of God Movie Review

I wouldn't know to complain if you told me we were having coffee in a...

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