Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A new window in the search for Earth-like worlds

Using an armada of telescopes, scientists from the University of Toronto revealed images of what is probably the smallest planet ever detected around a normal star outside our solar system. The Gemini North telescope located in Mauna Kea - Hawaii captured images of the young star 1RXS J160929.1-210524 (which lies about 500 light-years from Earth) and a candidate companion of that star. The extra solar planet is five times as massive as Earth and orbits a red dwarf, a relatively cool star (similar in mass to the Sun, but is much younger), every 10 years. The distance between the planet and its host is around three times greater than that between the Earth and the Sun. The planet's large orbit and its dim parent star make its likely surface temperature a approximately -220ºC. This temperature is similar to that of Pluto, but the newly found planet is about one-tenth closer to its star than Pluto is to the Sun.

Comin soon

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher)
With a release date until the end of this year this seems like it might just be the film to have waited for. With a budget of some odd 150 million USD, director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) along with writer Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich) have finally put together an excellent cast to rekindle the 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born as a feeble old man, and ages in reverse until he becomes a baby at the end of his life. This causes complications when he falls in love with a 30-year-old woman (Cate Blanchett)."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (Sidney Lumet)

First and above all "Before the Devil knows you're Dead" is living proof that, although now into his eighties, Sidney Lumet (12 angry men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Gloria, Night Falls on Manhattan) hasn't lost his edge.

The first five minutes of the gory, dark and twisted tale of greed and betrayal, introduce us to a naked, overweight corporate executive for a large New York real-estate firm, Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in the heat of passion with his high-maintenance trophy wife, Gina (Marisa Tomei). Quickly, we realize that, along with his unflatteringly figure, Andy's life if far from picture perfect: an appreciable portion of his six figure salary goes up his nose, into his arm and into the lavish lifestyle Gina has become accustomed to.

Conveniently, Hank (Ethan Hawke), Andy's younger, good-for-nothing brother has financial troubles of his own, albeit of a more subtle sort (child support, school tuition and probably a considerable liquor bill at Mooney's). So Andy, who's always imagined himself the responsible, successful and smart brother, enlists the assistance of his struggling brother in hatching what's supposed to be the perfect, victimless solution to all their troubles: Hank will rob a “mom and pop” jewellery store — their own mom and pop’s (Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris) jewelry store.

The the title of the film, taken from the end line of an old Irish toast, "May you be in heaven half an hour, before the devil knows you're dead" is spot on and more than appropriate.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Proof that not only Phelps makes a great picture

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I live here

"...Over the past few years, 33-year-old Kirshner has traveled to some of the most desolate and dangerous countries in the world to see and meet some of the most victimized people, in hopes of bringing the world’s attention to their plight...
...Much acclaimed comics journalist Joe Sacco, creator of Palestine, produces a graphic novel that examines war-torn Ingushetia, Chechnya; comics memoirist Phoebe Gloeckner examines the serial killing of women in Juarez, Mexico; French-Algerian artist Kamel Khélif surveys ethnic killing in Burma and Thailand; and finally, there’s a children’s story by author J.B. McKinnon and artist Julie Morstad that tackles the AIDS epidemic the African country of Malawi...
...Kirshner has also founded the I Live Here Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to “telling the stories of silenced and unheard people” through a variety of media projects, as well as establishing writing programs, beginning with a program that will launch in Lilongwe, Malawi..."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gomorra (Matteo Garrone)

Gomorra controls Naples. A cynical fiction based analysis of a criminal organization. The passiveness of corruption is striking and the narrative is fair but a whole two hours and a half tends to somewhat exaggerate certain scenes.

Dynamic London

Taken on a summery night near Piccadilly Circus. There are so many things London is famous for, the black taxis, the underground, the mailboxes (that always remind me of postman Pat), the red telephone booths, the Buckingham palace guards, the queen, the London eye, etc but my personal favourite are the double-decker buses. I've always loved the idea of driving around big cities being just that little bit higher than everybody else. I guess that some things have changed since my first visit to London (some odd 20 years ago) when my very favourite was definitely the underground...and Hameleys of course. Some childhood holidays remain forever.

Something in the air (tonight)

from the talented of friends

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Starbucks in Lisbon - finally

September 30th marks the date... so it has been anounced. The long awaited opening is near.

"...As lonas que tapam o espaço ao lado da Benetton, no 2º piso do shopping Alegro, em Alfragide estão a 13 dias de desaparecer no dia 30 deste mês." in SABADO (18th September 2008)

Some facts:

- 3 minutes is the maximum time you'll be left waiting to get attended
- 10 seconds is the maximum time you'll wait to get your coffee
- a frappuccino can have up to 650 calories


Mamma Mia (Phyllida Lloyd)

Something fun for summer but somewhat disappointing. Meryl Streep is great and Amanda Seyfried (Alpha Dog) can carry a note . Despite having a sound soaring male cast it's sad to see that neither Pierce Brosnan nor Colin Firth could join any junior scouts' choir.

Cat power

"If animals could speak the dog would be a a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much."
- Mark Twain

To start off with: The end