Second best (1994)

Second, best is a touching and moving masterpiece directed by Chris Menges. The plot reminded me of another great British movie – “Dear Frankie. “I guess it is that father–son relationship that makes movies like these two so special. The loyalty of the son, both in the characters of Jimmy, played by Nathan Yapp and Graham Holt (William Hurt), is touching, and I am not ashamed to admit that there were moments of this movie that truly brought tears to my eyes.

One other reviewer wrote:

“Chris Cleary Miles’ apparently initial screen performance as the troubled youth is nearly amazing.”

And I couldn’t agree more with that – the acting of Chris Cleary Miles, William Hurt and for that matter, all the other actors in this movie is first class – their gestures, the words they say, the way they say them – you have to watch it to experience the movie – because that is what you are going to get an unforgettable experience.

The flashbacks moments (the memories of the little Jimmy) were very carefully chosen, and I felt really weird watching them, knowing that there is something more hidden there. This feeling stayed with me until the final scenes in which these flashbacks became more revealing …

They’re also a lot of symbolism in Second Best –the scene in which the boy looks at the man who wants to adopt him through a broken window is just one example, and if you watch it more than once, you will surely notice many other symbols – the letter, the scars … etc.

You couldn’t watch the movie without noticing how much the music contributes to it – piano or guitars. It fits the scenes really well – making the emotional impact on the viewer’s powerful and overwhelming.

Thank You – The new album from Declan – Review

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declanI just got the new album of Declan ” Thank you ” and decided to write a short review of my first impressions of it. Starting from the covers – the artwork looks quite cool, and the pictures are chosen very carefully. But then again, the music is far more important than them. Let me say a few words about each song from the album :

“An angel” – video clip-originally performed by Kelly Family. Excellent performance of Declan – while listening to his angelic voice, you most likely will feel the song, especially if there is a person in your life who is like an angel to you. I enjoy singing along while listening to that song and am hoping to see a Karaoke version of it shortly. An Angel – lyrics

Love of my life “ – originally performed by Freddie Mercury. Very calm and romantic song. Since Queen is one of my favourite bands and Freddie Mercury is someone I admire with all my heart – I was wondering if Declan will be able to sing that song good enough as not to make me angry with someone attempting to sing Freddie`s songs like on these stupid remixes so popular these days. Declan did good! Love of life – Lyrics Video clip

Nights in White Satin– video clip- originally performed by The Moody Blues. In my favourite song of ” Thank you, ” Declan clearly demonstrated his voice’s capability to perform this song. I agree with an opinion I saw at SongFacts that the song’s ending is the coolest part of it. Nights in White Satin Lyrics

Tears in Heaven originally performed by Eric Clapton. The track is a very touching new arrangement of this wonderful song. The guitars and especially the back vocals sound amazing. Tears in Heaven Lyrics

BrightEyes composed by Mike Batt. Personally, I wouldn’t say I liked this song much – but you may think otherwise. In any case: Bright eyes – Lyrics

House Of The Rising Sun – originally performed by Bob Dylan I can write just one word for this song: classy! The lyrics are outstanding too. House Of The Rising Sun – Lyrics

Saved By The Bell

A nice ballad – originally performed by Bee Gees. Thanks to Blue, you can now find its lyrics in the comments below this post.

David’s Song (Who’ll Come With Me) – video clip

Yet another song originally performed by the Kelly Family. I am glad that Declan brings back such wonderful vibes -the spoken words in this song sound very nice, and overall this song is one of my favourite ones from the new album of Declan. The lyrics can be seen here.

All Out Of Love

Originally performed by Air Supplylyricsvery calm song, I did not know about Air Supply before hearing this song but now will find some more song of this group. Declan performs the song quite well as well.

How Could An Angel Break My Heart

Originally performed by Toni Braxton. Trough I like the music of Toni Braxton, I feel that song much more personal once I heard it performed by Declan. It may just be because of my taste for treble music ( and yes, I think that the Declan`s voice is still treble ). This song is just perfect for dancing with the girl you love. And the lyrics – see them here.

Related posts: Declan Galbraith is back Declan Galbraith

I am curious to know what do you think about the new album of Declan – if you happen to write your own review – send me the link, and I will put it here.

An update: I found one new blog post about Declan – read what Daniel from China has to say – here

I just noticed that as of today ( 20.12.2006), this post had been seen by more than 700 people – and that may mean only one thing -Declan really has many fans.

Declan has some really great fans in China – see this page.

A German review with video clips ( link)

Lyrics of Declan Galbraith`s songs

Vienna Boys Choir Goes Pop

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Vienna Boys Choir Goes PopRight now, my multimedia player is busy entertaining me with the ” Vienna Boys Choir Goes Pop album. ” Trough I am into tremble music, I guess my taste is still not refined enough, or on the opposite, it is just very personal as I prefer to listen to more pop and rock sound than classy choir music – which is probably one of the reasons for me to like this specific album of the Vienna Boys Choir more than the other their releases and performances I have heard until now. My opinion is that the choir music would have been much more popular if there were more modern sound projects – not like disco and techno ( actually why not ), but combined with some other style – as Libera did. It is hard to choose a favourite song – favourites will be easier: Supreme, All you need is love, Nothing else matters and Get down!


Update 16.11.2009 I had a chance to attend a concert of WSK

Click here for details

Trevor (1994)

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Trevor (1994)Trevor is the first short movie I watched – I mean the first one. That type of movie – which lasted for only about twenty minutes- was unfamiliar to me. The initial announcement was excellent at the movie’s beginning – actually as good as the movie itself. I think that many people do need such positive encouragement more often. Here is the place to mention that  Ellen DeGeneres introduces the film by saying that understanding what this film is about will help the viewer understand what it feels like not to be a part of everything. She explains that the film is for everyone who felt awkward or embarrassed at being excluded.

The movie itself was well made as well – especially its soundtrack – mainly Diana Ross – but there is so much more to the film than just that. The storyline follows a young 14-year-old boy called Trevor (Brett Barsky) who tries to make sense of his life and surroundings. He feels different than the rest of his life – not really fitting into the picture – living with his inattentive folks in suburbia. The story is told in Trevor’s first-person – as he narrates the words he writes in his personal journal. Trevor has a charming personality – he is artistic, smart – like his life and wonders why anyone would think he is strange. After all, what’s so strange about being himself?

The viewer can quickly associate with the young Trevor and get a glimpse of the world through his eyes due to how the story is told. Trevor is a film for each of us – a film for youthful confusion, for acceptance and individualism. If you have 20 minutes to spare – they will be best spent watching this excellent short film.

The short film Trevor, directed by Peggy Rajski, won several awards. Among them: an Oscar in 1994 for Best Short Film, Live Action, and received first place at the Berlin International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival.

 

Trevor Trailer

 

If you liked the Trevor review —  or have seen the film and would like to see a similarly themed short film, but with a different twist —  theskykid.com highly recommends the short feature  James, starring Connor Clements. You can find a review of that film and a short interview with its director on theskykid.com by following the link below:

James-a coming of age film by Connor Clements

Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco (1981)

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pixoteI liked the movie. It started as a documentary as some guy was talking about the harsh conditions in Brazil. What impressed me was that, as the guy mentioned, all the kid actors, including the main character Pixote played by Fernando Ramos Da Silva, were coming from the real world – from the poorest neighborhoods, with one mission in life – to survive.

Drugs, murder – Pixote has seen them all, and after reading the actor’s biography, I am inclined to think that he has seen this thing much before the idea of creating that movie came up. You could sense that in his acting.

Not only the horrors of street life are shown, the cruelty of the police and people who are in theory, responsible for people for problems who have found themselves arrested for some stupid crime – do they deserve to die for it ?!? And why does no one cares – but instead, the police and the director of the brothel in which Pixote is taken are trying to cover everything up – to avoid any responsibility, blaming everything upon the people they are supposed to help. In the movie, when a boy asked his mother to take him out of the place where he was locked up – she said, ” what could happen to you here ” – only she didn’t know, and he did not want to tell her – to describe the dimensions of the hell surrounding him – invisible to the outside world but existing. And I have to tell you that this is just as things are in real life – but no one cares…

Mandragora (1997)

mandragoraThis movie seemed harsh to me. One of the reasons for that is that Marek’s main character looks like a person I used to know, someone I have lost actually. I won’t get into any details. There were quite a few moments in this movie which were astonishing how they portrayed reality out there. The reality exists, but many are not ready to accept it as fact. To me, Marek is an ordinary teenage boy who needs his own space. He is tired of hearing from people who think they know what is best for him. Unfortunately, he should have listened to his dad, a person who indeed loved him, though somehow the link between them was lost.

There is emptiness in the boy’s heart, caused by the absence of his mother. I did not get if she died or just left them, but somehow the fact she was not there was affecting Marek in a way that made me think that he was much closer to her than to his father.

I can not blame him for running away. I have considered this possibility several times. Even after seeing movies like this, it could be hard to survive couldn’t quell my thoughts that someday, I may do it. The difference between Marek and me is that he is braver than I am. He made a decision and acted on it. It is another matter of whether his decision was silly or not.

The first sex scene is alarming. I felt sorry for the boy. I was watching the screen thinking, “Now you have to go back.” But at the same time, I realized that for him, this was not an option. When he announced for the first time his new profession, the scene at the bar is where you see the way he deals with it. I could hardly forget how he spoke as he approached the American tourist, the way he looked at him. It seemed oddly professional. I don’t really know what term to use to describe it.

At the same time, we see the other types of characters. The pimps, boys, and clients are portrayed in greater detail. Somehow even their facial expressions talked about their personalities, or at least it did to me.

I passed by a very similar place to this bar where the pimp approached Marek for the first time. And you know, as I thought about it, the similarities between the movie and reality were unbelievable. The only difference the prostitutes were girls, but nothing more. When school is over, I have to pass that area again. 8 pm doesn’t seem like the right time to do it, but I have no choice. After seeing this movie, it freaks me out a bit.

But on to the movie, it is the masterpiece of Wiktor Grodecki. Of this, there is no doubt. I highly recommend that you watch it at least once. And maybe someday, you will be able to make a difference for a boy who may be living like the boys shown in this movie. You may be his only way out of this hell he is living through. Even though it is hard, the boys seemed destined to be doomed.

Pianese Nunzio, Fourteen in May (1996)

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sacred silence

Sacred Silence is shot uniquely as many characters talk directly to the viewer. It almost seems that as if nothing else is happening around them – and only you want to share their troughs with. This method adds a documentary atmosphere to the movie, which I believe will be appreciated by everyone who likes serious European cinema.

Sacred Silence is a movie about society and how it can be blinded by its own perceptions or by people who want others to see the world through their eyes and refuse to accept that there are other ways to think about an issue than their own… That is why the priest is fighting with Camorra (the mafia ) – it is just that sometimes in life, there is more to lose than to win.

Traditional Italian songs are used for Sacred Silence’s soundtrack; most of them are performed by the 13-year-old Nunzio. I appreciate this music as it is evident that he feels the music – look at his facial expression while singing.

The movie focuses on a whole range of moral issues. The relationship between the priest and Nunzio is only one of them – at first, I thought that I could understand the priest – his love for Nunzio, but at the same time, his past is flashing through the eyes of the other boy who comes to visit him – and this past seems to be disturbing. Another issue is to decide for yourself who is committing the biggest crime in this movie – it is the priest or the mafia, or maybe as often happens these days, the crime committed is the policy itself?

Dear Frankie

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dear-frankie-1I just watched the UK movie, Dear Frankie – gosh, a sure thing – this movie is full of emotions. I think that everyone who sees it – would feel them. The movie’s main character is Frankie – 9 and half years old boy who is deaf – but that isn’t that much important as he does have a great personality.

You should see him writing the A in Deaf when one of his classmates tries to bring him down. Frankie misses his father terribly and writes to him often – only his dad who writes back, but his mom – I don’t want to include any spoilers – so I would highly recommend this movie to you.

At first, I was heaving a bit of trouble picking up the English accent, but in a few minutes getting used to it – the movie did not have subtitles, which was fine by me as, generally, I’m not too fond of movies with subtitles anyway (except for anime movies – most of which are in Japanese as you know ). The moments which Frankie shared with his “dad “( you will see for yourself why I am using the quotes here ) reminded me of my dad – who is away now – and I am pretty much in the situation of Frankie – writing to him, only am using yahoo messenger – rather than mails. There were quite some moments in the movie I could relate to myself.

Dear Frankie

Scene from Dear Frankie (2004)

The music is well-chosen and adds to the overall atmosphere – I do not know why, but UK movies seem to be much better made than any else – on a psychological base, if you want to call it that way. Like Billy Elliot, Dear Frankie would make you feel.

 

STEKLOVATA – Glass wool

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Interview with the music producer and composer Sergey Kuznechov

Steklovata - Denis and ArthurTonight I decided to blog about one of my favorite music groups. It may surprise you, but it is a Russian one – Steklovata (Стекловата). There are two principal soloists -Denis Belikin and Arthur Yeremeyev. The group’s lyrics are written by the composer of the music, who is also a producer of SteklovataSergey Kuznetsov. Thanks to his studio, we all have the chance to experience truly touching and moving Russian music. For their first album, Sergey wrote the music first – then he worked on the vocals – first the leading one and then the supportive. Artur and Denis’s incredible voice ranges are like a trademark for the music of Steklovata – and probably the reason why many treble music fans know about the group. The songs are different – you can hear great ballads and fast-up beating vibes. Simultaneously, the lyrics are written very well, which is not surprising since Sergey Kuznechov is a composer and a poet.

There is a lot of information about Steklovata out there – enough for a whole book, as their producers mention on his official page. However, the majority of this information is available only in Russian. These days thanks to fans from all over the world – we could expect more details to be either translated or written in other languages.

steklovataI found out about that group from a friend of mine- once, he gave me a CD with video clips and a couple of songs. The first album of the Steklovata. Soon, I got addicted to the music, and after searching on Google, I found the group’s official site. Besides, you can see the album covers and even purchase them here

denis

You may think – sounds nice – but what did you say – a Russian band – and I do not know Russian. Well, I am not very well at it either (which is a shame since I have studied it for 3 years) – and I still enjoy the music of Steklovata. I found out that Steklovata as a band is just one of the projects of Sergey Kuznetsov. There are many others – and each is as good as Steklovata is – as a quality of the music. Almost all songs are free (non – commercial use) from the studio’s website. However, if you like the music, a donation will be highly appreciated.

 

This is the homepage of the producer of the band. The site has had a new design from few months – and now it looks better, and the navigation is easier. A variety of information is available – through you will need to know Russian or use some of the online web translators such as world-lingo to use it.

According to the official web page, there is a CD that includes some of the most popular studio Sergey Kuznetsov projects. The CD features music, video clips, photo sessions, and midi files.All you have to do to get it is send an e-mail and ask for details about its price and delivery method. This is the only way for you to have the complete set in your collection and, most importantly, to support future projects of Sergey.

 

A bit of history :

 

 

In 1999 the talented poet and composer, creator of the groups “Tender May, “Mama,” and “Chernila for fifth grade, “found the 13 years old vocalist Denis Belikin for his new project. One year later, studio “Monolit “issues the first song – which becomes part of the group’s disk “Chernila for fifth grade. “

Soon after that, another singer joins the Group (Artur Eremeev), and jointly they issue their first album, although unofficially under the name “Pieces of ice.” In 2002 the group again unofficially released another album, “Ostorozhno – Hrupkoe – 2003.”

The new group’s main problem is the absence of sponsors – which was a real problem as the group was never given a chance to present its music to the public at large. The group was able to gain popularity mainly through participation in music fests across the country. In 2002 the group was able to take first place in the hid parade of the Russian radio in Estonia.

Read about the other projects from the producer of Steklovata.

Hanson – Back in my Life!

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HansonFor those of you who do not know – I was (and still am) a fan of Hanson. It has been already eight years since I first heard their hit single MMMBOP and got instantly addicted. I could not get the words of the song out of my mind, and soon I was a proud owner of their first album, Middle of Nowhere. It actually was my first ever CD, as a few days before, I had gotten a Sony Play Station console from my mother, so I finally had something to play games and listen to music.

I can definitely say that the music of Hanson enchanted my life. I made a lot of new friends (mostly girls, but that is understandable). Because of Hanson, I developed an interest in English and even learned how to use the Internet. And Hanson was pretty much the reason for my decision to attend a high school in the USA. I could fill many pages just describing the impact their music had on my life.

For about five years, I must mention that I was mostly listening to techno music and, like many teenagers, got a taste of the rave culture with all the pluses and minuses of it. During the past two to three years, I was not listening to the music of Hanson frequently.  Actually, the occasions that I did listen to were pretty rare.

Recently, I got their new album Live and Electric – the Best of Hanson. When I heard it, I felt shocked.  It is a bit hard to explain, but somehow their music refreshed so many of my memories. Time has passed, and many things are different now.   Taylor is married, and he even has children. The band has its own independent label and encourages people to believe that music can be made without the demanding huge corporations.

Check out this interview, Hanson, and you will see how serious they are about making their music — for their fans. Also, check out their official site to learn some more about the band.

 

For more on Hanson, check the following articles :

Hanson – Rocking the world since 1994, Hanson – The Walk