Only Theo Panayides Has Wings

This is a blog about Theo Panayides, the cyprustician online critic that writes reviews of movies old and new on his website ( He is very good. In fact, he is awesome. It is also an exercise for my english-writing abilities, as I'm from Brazil.

Location: Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil

Monday, May 30, 2005


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Friday, May 27, 2005

Deep Thoughts

*Apparently, on this Website, you can actually download great stuff like "His Girl Friday", "Charade", "D.O.A.", etc, legally, and at pretty high speeds. Thank you, GreenCine Daily, with all my heart, for showing me The Path. Anyone know if there's any other movies I should consider watching on that site? Recommendations, please, thanks.

*Apparently, Cannes was "solid", but not "great!". That may well be true, but with stuff like "Hidden", "Last Days", "Manderlay", "The Child", "Broken Flowers", "Tale of Cinema", "The Wayward Cloud" and etc, I can't help but get excited for the next Sao Paulo Film Festival in November (yeah, I live in a Third World country, we get stuff here after everyone else does, thanks for the sympathy), even though it's not dead set that all of these are gonna be showing. Hell, if we get "Hidden", I'm satisfied -- the trailer for this is so badass it's almost disgusting.

*Apparently, Theo gave Primer a 71. I wonder what he did with the rest of the 86 points it deserves. Maybe he'll add them later, after further consideration (ok, I'll wait for the review). He also smashed (THEO SMASH!) some obscure german (or is it?) movie with a vicious 10. Poor "MIN FEVGEIS" director. (Maybe in the future I'll actually make an interesting comment on Theo's site and criticism. Maybe)

*Apparently, Ryan Wu's recent postings on his blog about the subject of "Helper Guys", and the subsequent comments, are awesome. Hey, how about Peter Parker in "Spider-Man" and the sequel? It's a very clear case of Helper Guy-ness. Sam Shepard in "Days of Heaven"? Etc.

*Apparently, This is very useful. Props to the Jasonmeister Overbeckster.

*Apparently, Mike D'Angelo graded compatriot Fernando Meirelles' "The Constant Gardener" a 46. I read the entire shooting diary that Fernando kept on a brazillian site and had some hopes that it would turn out good (though it never really sounded particularly good), but I wuz wrong, or so it seems. Bummer.

*Apparently, I have seen only seven movies this month so far, while April was much more productive with a healthy mark of 23. What's happening to me? Am I getting sick of movies? Where have my movie-cravings gone? Is this a yearly-"vacation"-thing that cinephiles go through that I haven't gotten used to yet? Last movie I saw was a rewatch of "Far From Heaven" (which is very good, a 70). Maybe things will pick up again once I see another masterpiece or something.

*Apparently, a friend, at this exact moment, just gave me an idea for a possibly brilliant sci-fi comedy/drama. Thanks, friend.

*Apparently, no word yet on the possible Secret Movie Geek Chat Group location. Why I should be invited: I'll bring the "latin-american flavour" the SMGCG surely needs. And I promise not to invite anyone else (unless I'm bribed).

*This post is over (apparently).

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Revenge of the Shit

After you recover from the sheer idiocy of my pun on the title of this post, I ask you to explain why the hell is everybody enjoying this thing anyway. I like the old trilogy, and I like The Phantom Menace (I do), and Attack of the Clones was mediocre but watchable. Now, this piece of work is special. It sucked beyond any expectations.

Theo: 68? I have got to see your review of this one. I got home after the theater and went to Theo's site looking for updates and guess what? 68! What in the fuck. I kinda felt bad for disliking it so much, and probably will give it a second chance (after re-watching the entire saga again), but I don't see much hope.

Well, I wrote a review of it, and the review kinda sucks (as I suck in english), but I feel like I have to give my thoughts on this thing:


Off to a bad start: the first 20 minutes feel exactly like a videogame -- heroes invading enemy ship, destroying droids, saving Palpatine, killing the big boss Dooku; if Lucas had put a third-person following camera on the characters and released it for X-Box, this would’ve been the most realistic-looking game ever -- with very few actually dazzling moments (like the beautiful opening shot), which is bad for what is basically a prolonged action scene. Still, slightly enjoyable in an emotionally detached way, until the action stops and the characters start talking. Then it gets ugly.

The dialogue and acting are basically “third-grade school play” level, if the writer and actors of the third-grade school play were all retarded. Simplistic, boring, raw, mechanical lines and line-readings, a bunch of one-on-one conversations with crappy pacing and hardly any sense of movement and impulse, directed in a stale and rigid manner. And these go on for the entire second act. Not only is it badly written, directed and acted (a lethal combination), the characters are basically talking and trying to sort out a problem that we know the results and conclusions, which makes it even more frustrating, to the point where I couldn’t even stand looking at the screen for long periods of time. Good thing these conversation scenes are all shot with large windows in the background so you can look at the pretty cityscapes and skies and flying cars, as if Lucas was saying “Hey, if you don’t want to listen to Christensen working through the crap I wrote, check out those awesome ships in the background! Now, that’s technology!”.

Also, Lucas includes so many light saber battles that they lost any importance and anticipation. Remember when somebody turned on their light saber in the old trilogy and you knew Something Important was gonna happen? Well, that’s over now. And not only repetitive, they’re all boring. The Obi-Wan vs. Grievous thing is specially infuriating, cause Lucas introduces a robot with four arms and cuts off most of them in 15 seconds. Like, what the fuck? Also, why did Yoda lose that battle with Palpatine in the end if Palpatine had been easily beaten by Mace Windu? Is Mace Windu > Yoda? Or is Palpatine > Screenwriters? Also, didn’t it feel like a Super Mario adventure videogame when Obi-Wan and Anakin were fighting on those platforms over the lava? Like you had to get Mario to jump from platform to platform so he didn’t fall on the lava and die? Remember that?

Unnecessary scenes drag the movie down (what was the point of the battle at the Wookie planet?), the political subtext progressively sinks amidst the crap, the Ridley Scott moment -- with Padme and Anakin looking out their respective windows, shots of futuristic cities, faux-arabian music playing – doesn’t really work (although it could have, which makes it even more disappointing), etc. Only Ian McDiarmid and Samuel L. Jackson get a decent handle of the dialogue (making it seem slightly less atrocious), the first with classical grandiosity and the latter with restraint. The birth of Luke and Vader is unsatisfactory – good idea with the intercutting, but badly executed – when it should have been an intense, arresting, epic moment. Only the Yoda scenes save the movie – his “badassness” is unshakable, really – and he feels more alive than any other character (which is sad since he’s a computer program: Philip K. Dick was right after all).

I read somewhere an interesting analogy comparing the old trilogy with a debut album from a 70’s punk band and the new trilogy with a Creed album, and it makes sense. The old ones have an energy and naiveté that’s charming and captivating. The new ones feel artificial, formulaic. Compare the last shot of “Sith” (which was great, in theory) with Luke’s new parents in the desert watching the sunrise, and the shot it echoes, from “A New Hope” with Luke also watching the sunrise. Which one feels more alive?

(and I liked The Phantom Menace...)

Anyway, about a week ago I got a cool e-mail from Theo, which was flattering and all. I answered him, and re-read my e-mail like eight times after and sent it cause I got all self-conscious and kept wondering if I said anything stupid. Anyway, Theo's badass. He's like Yoda, in a way: wise and peaceful and charming, but he can kick your ass (when talking about movies). Although Theo wouldn't have lost the light saber battle to Palpatine at the end of "Sith". No way. Also, his short "Malgaat" got like a second place award at the Houston Film Festival, which is something Yoda couldn't say for himself. I bet Yoda wouldn't even get a third place.

I started reading "Catcher in the Rye", which is not popular in Brazil, but I wanted to see what the big deal is. Well, I read the first five chapters and it IS a lot of fun, the idiossyncratic first-person narration and Holden's accent remind me of Linda Manz's voice over in "Days of Heaven". Anyway, I gotta finish it. Also, "Black and White Town" from The Doves' new album is absolutely the best single of the year so far. Thanks for your time.

Theo-Related Quote of the Day
"Things to do while high: 1) read Theo's reviews (I laugh a lot and it's funny cause it makes TOTAL sense)..."
- Khansc

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Theodorus Back In Action

"Finally, Voice of Law demanded that Malgaat’s womb become
barren as a broken field. Tearfully, she agreed, and the
first females were born among the bulls and oxen.

Although her children did, Malgaat never served humanity.

She broke her oath, not just refusing to serve humanity,
but also continuing to eat the flesh of humans." (WTF)

So, Theo, how did it go? Did you win anything? Did people like completely drool over it and then applaud with their hands dripping of drool and sperm and were like "It's Cyprus' response to Citizen Kane" and you were all "I'd rather not talk about the complex thematic implications of my work" in the Q&A? Did you meet Richard Linklater? Did you meet Shane Carruth? Did you get the "Primer"* DVD which you need to rewatch immediately? Did you meet producers and executives and distributors and pitched your idea on "expanding Malgaat to a full-blown Vampire-Mom-That-Continues-To-Eat-Human-Flesh-While-Her-Children-Try-To-Cope-With-It-And-Have-A-Normal-Childhood, set in 30's Houston with a Tindersticks score and photography by Harris Savides? If you didn't, then why the hell not?

Also, I trust you know we Panayidettes (yes, that is a term now) are hoping for a complete report on your trip and details on your movie (and where can I buy it) and idiosyncratic musings on life and culture in Houston and funny anecdotes about homeless people singing "Like a Rolling Stone" and Jonathan Rosenbaum saying your hotdog was both a masterpiece and a mannered curiosity, etc, stuff like that.

Btw, I'm having a rhinitis crisis (hope this is the correct term) today, so it has not been fun at all. Sneezing, my eyes are all teary (I lost some of you now), running nose, extremely unconfortable. I was hoping I would finish Philip K. Dick's "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said"** -- which is fantastic so far, I'm almost finishing -- but that did not work cause I did not want to stain the book with mucus. I've been listening to Daft Punk's new album "Human After All", which is pretty minimalist and repetitive and kinda cheesy-80's-throwback-thing (even the video for "Robot Rock" is like that). These can be either good or bad things, depending on taste. I'm somewhere in the middle. Also, "Red River" is pretty freaking great. It's like a 79. Don't you love when Hawks pulls a 360°-pan showing all the cattle, and he stops it on John Wayne, who looks towards the camera and says "Take'em to Missouri, Matt!" and Montgomery Clift yells "Yeeeee-Haaaw!"? That was fucking Cinema, in my opinion. So, now you know a little more about me. Don't you see? I'm humanizing myself. I am Human After All.

*I can send you a downloaded .avi copy of Primer with very good image and sound, Theo. It's illegal, but hey, Primer will only be released in Brazil when the next solar eclipse hits (I'm making a wild guess here and seriously hope it won't hit soon, so that my analogy stands true). Do you want it?

**I can picture a pretty freaking awesome movie being made "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said", but it would have to have been made in early 70's, with an early 70's Jack Nicholson as Jason Taverner and a dark Robert Altman doing it. Or maybe ir can be done now, with whatever equivalent of an early 70's Nicholson they can find (or maybe a Campbell Scott) and a Naked-like Mike Leigh doing it (or maybe an uncommonly loose David Fincher). It's an awesome book, really.

PS: I've been exhibiting my link on Theo's page to my friends, though most of the responses are of the "What the fuck is wrong with you, dude?"-variety.