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

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Guess what.

Baaab is clearly awesome.

Proof that baaab is awesome

In 50 years THE WAR THAT IS BETWEEN NOT ONE BUT AT THE VERY LEAST TWO WORLDS will be topping those "Sight and the Sound and the Fury" polls, ahead of the Ozu and the Welles. Specially if the aliens arrive in the mean time.*

*or is it meantime.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Is it the terrorists?

(watch out for those spoilers on my war of the worlds comments and also why haven't you seen the movie yet?)

No, it's not the terrorists, I've just been busy (and lazy) with other "more important" stuff than this, like writing a stupid screenplay and arguing with at least 800 people in at least 14 different places that, yes, WAR OF THE WORDLS is awesome -- more like WAR OF THE AWESOME, or, as Vern would say in his beautiful review, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE KIND YOU WOULD SHIT YOUR PANTS(!!!). I've seen it twice so far, first an 80 and now it's like an 83. Yes, I truly believe that this is a Great Movie, one of Spielberg's best, the greatest Evil Aliens Invade Quick Duck And Cover movie.

I feel the critics have been leaning on the 9/11 subtext way too much and possibly ignoring the actual theme, which is "Morality in Wartime" (or something equally definitive-sounding). And there's plenty of proof throughout the movie that Spielberg is actually serious about this. I don't wanna repeat myself, so I'll just copy-and-paste something I said elsewhere:

"I don't get why people are saying WOTW is "empty-minded" or "shallow" ou "mindless roller-coster". Yeah, it is a roller-coster, but you can't ignore how actually brutal and unrelenting it is, specially in terms of "Morality in Wartime". The way the mob reacts towards Cruise and the family in the scene where they're trying to steal the van is already very disturbing (IMO), but lord, when the guy gets the gun from the floor and shoots the one who's stealing the van, it went to a whole new level for me.

The same with the crucial scene where Cruise murders Tim Robbins in the basement, for a little temporary safety. It completely surprised me, and made me realize that Spielberg was actually pushing some boundaries here, for such an "audience-friendly" movie. I think he was trying to comment on "Morality in Wartime", how the survival instinct immediately overcomes any kind of morals. Beginning with Cruise stealing the van, then not giving anyone a ride, the mob trying to steal the car, the guy shooting the thief so he can get in, the ship leaving the harbor with more than enough space for other people, and specially the murder of Tim Robbins.

There's also a balance, how unity and community and altruism can also occur: the Robbie character always wanting to join in on the fight, helping people get on the ship, joining the army, the nurse saying that there's more than enough blood and thanking for the donations, the scene where people get together pull Cruise out of the Tripod's "anus", etc etc.

I'd say the focus on the family dynamics pales compared to the way Spielberg constantly hints on his theme. And I'm not talking about the 9/11 subtext here (which is there, and a little obvious), but a real and powerful theme. In fact, I told my friends how I thought the people vs. people scenes were just as disturbing as the aliens vs people scenes, and everybody pretty much agreed.

I've seen it twice and it worked just as well both times. Love it. This is Spielberg's new Holocaust movie."

There's also complaints that the second half is inferior to the first. Maybe they forgot to watch the scene where the probing tentacle enters the basement, or maybe when the actual aliens come in, or maybe when Cruise kills Robbins, or maybe that beautiful shot of a field covered with red weed, or the electrifying Anal Sabotage scene in which Cruise single-handedly destroys one of the Tripods (boo ya!).

The only actual flaw I found in it were the opening and closing voice-overs by Morgan Wiseman, completely unnecessary and redundant and out of touch with "realism" and "you-are-there" feeling of the movie. The "saccharine" ending had a somber score by Williams, downplaying the triumph, and the anti-climax "solution" actually kind of ties in with the 9/11 subtext which the critics keep bringing up: the superior, more advanced aliens fail in their invasion out of lack of planning (i.e. Vietnam, Iraq, etc).

So I noticed Theo gave it a 69, which is a pretty good Honourable Mention-type grade, but I don't think he's gonna comment any time soon since he's all in the "fun-lovin' summer-mode", which brings up another question:

What does Theo do in the fun-lovin' summer mode?

Khansc has a guess: "He rents an area in a deserted beach and hosts the greatest rave Cyprus has ever known. TROPICAL MALADY plays repeatedly on a huge screen while Mike D'Angelo dances "Sangue Latino" (Latin Blood) from brazillian band Secos e Molhados."

My guess: "He opens up a bakery and cooks summery foods for his neighbors. When people enter the bakery, they greet him: "Theo!", to which he answers "Papalopagus!" (he, of course, knows every costumers' name). That "Zorba the Greek" song plays in the background."

PS: Soon after my first viewing of GUERRA DOS MUNDOS, me and my friends rented a Steven Seagal movie -- OPERATION SUNRISE or something to that affect -- and played a drinking game: everytime a character said "Yakuza", we'd drink a shot of pure vodka. We went through like 5 bottles before the half-way point, to which I can say: I will never drink alcoholic beverages ever again. Of course, I am also lying.