Augusto Paixão, “hunky movie star and prophet of the sertões,” part of an exhibition of Olinda-style big fat carnival heads in the São Paulo Metrô at the moment. I will explain big fat carnival heads to you sometime. Pretty interesting, actually. Augusto’s shades are made from Chevy hubcaps. The NMMist likes to wander around and snap street art. São Paulo is a fabulous city for this purpose.
At R$15 (US$7) a ticket, it cost us about 4.3% of a monthly minimum salary here in Brazil — 8.6% for the both of us, and 17.2% for the average family of four that the minimum salary is designed to support in decent shape.
The outrageous $10.50 we pay in New York City, as we rapidly mentally calculate, is a little over 1% of the equivalent income in the States. And given that a vast number of Brazilian workers make half a minimum salary …
The print and the projection were about the same quality as those educational films your teacher showed you in elementary school. I am not sure, but I think they stretched the image slightly to fit the non-standard dimensions of the screen.
The mono sound — and this is an auditorium that looked to be ostentatiously rigged up for HyperDolby SuperSurround — was so tubby and booming that I actually had to read the Portuguese subtitles to make out the dialogue. Not that I need to have bothered.
The film itself is basically a feature-length commercial for (1) Sony consumer electronics, most especially Sony Vaio laptops, Sony Ericcson cell phones and some kind of Blackberry-like handheld device with an iPod lookand feel to it, and (2) the latest in military-grade assault weapons.
And the human heart of the film, the acting?
This Steve McQueen lookalike they got to play this “true to the novel,” more “serious” and “emotionally true” Bond story makes the Bond of Pierce Brosnan — who is actually a darn good actor, see his work in The Tailor of Panama and other indy productions — look like Sir Larry’s King Lear.
Steve McQueen had freaking soul.
Watching him bickering with Ali McGraw in the middle of a burning garbage dump in The Getaway gave me a hard-on, spiritually speaking, even though absolutely no sex was involved.
Watching this guy roll around on the floor, locking lips picturesquely, with generic multiethnic gostosa No. 47 made me think of that burning wasteland of garbage after Ali and Steve had left the scene.
Desolation, stink, greedy seagulls, and the grinding of bulldozers.
For a spot report on Sony’s consumer electronics pricing strategy for the Brazilian market, see here.
For a real film in which cellular communications play a key dramatic role in advancing the plot, see Scorsese’s latest, The Departed, which also debuted down here recently.
Just the usual deeply moral genius from one of the most important American artists alive.
The plot in Casino Royale is kind of interesting, or was in the context of the Cold War scenario in which Ian Fleming set its novel, in that it deals most harshly, in the moral economy of the drama, with the arbitrageurs of chaos of this world.
In this case, the financiers of some kind of vaguely defined “global terrorism,” instantiated concretely only in the form of some kind of sinister, cartoonish Ugandan militia, a member of which provides the rabbit in the opening chase sequence, which kicks off in the middle of a crowd of gibbering ethnics wagering on mongoose-cobra confrontation — the only decent sequence in the film, in a technical sense, for its pacing and exuberant athleticism.
But in Brazil, malabarismo is only interesting for about as long as it takes for the traffic light to change.
The Ugandans, by the way, make a slight return later in the film, threatening to cut off the arm of a blond hottie, Hutu-style, then going berserk with machetes in a fight scene that, appropriately, tumbles down the stairwell of the hotel from the presidential suite to a utility closet in the basement, where the mangled (black) corpses can be conveniently stashed.
Somewhat fascistoide, that subplot, as Neuza commented.
Really annoying: Those little tutorials on Texas Hold-Em inserted into the mouth of a minor character as hamfisted asides whispered to the Lily-White Main Hottie.
I believe Bond was more of a baccarat man in the books, right? Did the online poker industry pay for the right to promote its product as well?
Does Sony have any participation in that industry, I wonder?
TV Texas Hold-em is the hot game-show property these days, right?
The “ha ha, you thought I did not know that you knew my tell, so that I did my tell to fool you into thinking I was bluffing when I was not” reversal of fortune moment in the film is not exactly David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner or House of Games, either.
Not by a long shot.
Besides, given its business practices in emerging markets, I am just not that sure that Sony is not one of those self-same arbitrageurs of chaos.
A question I will keep an eye on.
Plus I want to kill my mini-DVD Handycam.
So maybe I am just venting in a general way because of all the hours of footage I have lost on this wobbly, not ready for prime time platform they unleashed on the public whether it worked right or not.
Yet another triumph of marketing over engineering, and art.
Big bucks for cheap crap, badly screened.
But maybe I should just shut the hell up and take what they give me.
But no, probably not.