Snapshots - #7

TV shows...

Black Sails (♦♦♦♦): in Season 2 there were many revelations, and in the last episode we experienced the mother of all pirate's attacks on the North Carolina colony as payback for its prominent citizens wanting to hang Captain Flint after a summary public trial.

In Season 3, we encounter Captain Flint again at sea, but this man is more at war with the world than he is ever been. John Silver, now his quartermaster, thinks that bad things materialize due to Flint's demons. But if that's the case, this time the crew of The Walrus will look at death in the face several times before they return to Nassau. Even then, nothing is certain, for a British governor, Woodes Rogers, has taken hold of Providence Island without a battle by giving pardons to the pirates who inhabit it. Leave it to Charles Vane and Captain Flint to raise their voices—and swords—in dissent.

After the explosive Season 2, Season 3 feels more subdued, like a transitional state between the bad and the worse to come. Don't get me wrong, plenty of exciting things happen this season, but all seems in preparation to the war between the pirates of Nassau, the British Empire, and perhaps the Spanish too.

Music Concerts...

Jackie Evancho: Awakening - Live in Concert (♦♦♦♦♦): this concert was filmed for a TV special in 2015, runs for about 73 minutes, and it was shot in Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens. Most of the concert takes place in the Longwood Gardens Open Air Theater, while some songs are sung at other venues around the property.

Jackie Evancho's concert features songs from the album Awakening. It draws inspiration from diverse sources, ranging from classical music (Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro, Dormi JesĂș, the Ave Maria, and Rachmaninoff's Vocalisse), Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera (Think of Me), from rock, in a salute to U2 (With or Without You), and from popular culture (A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera's Say Something, Evanescence's My Immortal, and The Rains of Castamere, in a nod to Games of Thrones).

The heavenly voice of Jackie Evancho reminds me a great deal of a younger Charlotte Church, but with lesser voice acrobatics and more understandable phrasing. A commendable aspect of young Evancho, is her skill to choose a repertoire that appeals to operatic connoisseurs and more mainstream pop, while staying away of other singers' material of the same genre.

Il Volo: Live from Pompeii (♦♦♦♦♦): this operatic male trio was formed in 2009. Their 2015 world tour kick-started at Pompeii's Amphitheater, which hadn't been used for a concert since Pink Floyd used it in 1972. Filmed for PBS, this concert runs for 78 minutes and it features hits like Grande Amore, Io che non vivo, Delilah and Volare (in playful performances), Caruso, Unchained Melody, and Anema e Cuore, among others.

I always enjoy Il Volo's live performances because they have great chemistry together. Though, at times, their combined voices are almost drowned by the music, and their individual performances are usually better than as a trio—Gianluca is the more mature voice of the three, a baritone; needless is to remind that he was the winner of the Sanremo competition where all three met and from which they came to be—, they make classics sound fresh and hip.

The movies...

The Martian (♦♦♦♦): I bought this movie last year as soon as it came out. I was unimpressed the first time I watched it. I thought Matt Damon was too stiff for the role, the music didn't go with the topic, and the only thing the filmmakers got right was the cinematography. Oh boy! It happened a few times last year that I had to watch a movie twice to really like it, and that has been the case with The Martian.

This time around I thought Matt Damon was spot on as Mark Watney, because Mark was being funny about life or death situations, and Matt Damon was hysterical but in a wry way, which was the right way to perceive his snarky comments. The disco music, which I loved, was appropriate since that's the only music Watney had available, and since there's no sound in space it would have been a very boring movie without that danceable soundtrack. They got the science right, but it was based on the book, so hopefully there was little room for error there. And the cinematography was outstanding.

Gods of Egypt (♦♦♦½): this production can boast of being visually lavish and of its solid performances. Nickolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister of Game of Thrones fame) plays his role of outcast god Horus to a T, and how could he not when he is more or less reprising his Lannister role? Other two worthy performances are that of Gerard Butler as god Set, the usurper to the throne—in a role cut from 300—, and Geoffrey Rush as the all-powerful Ra. The screenplay—I assume the material was taken from Egyptian mythology, though I don't know if licenses were taken with the story—it’s OK, but not much more.


  1. I am glad you came around on The Martian-:) Have you read the book as well? I haven't yet.

    1. I read the book and loved it. That's probably the reason why I wasn't fond of this movie the first time I saw it. I remembered Mark Watney being so funny and the choice of Matt Damon didn't sit well with me, bus as you said, I came around.
      It's kind of science-y, but I hope you enjoy it.

  2. I'm glad you gave "The Martian" a second chance. I loved the movie as I did the book. In fact, I thought the translation to the screen was very faithful to the book. I've read a lot of good things about "Black Sails" but haven't watched it. Maybe I should.

    1. There were several key plot elements in the book that weren't in the movie, but I thought the result was very good, and as funny as the original was.
      Black Sails is not Game of Thrones, and it is kind of anachronistic, but it is very entertaining. And who doesn't like a good pirate adventure?!

  3. I have just watched The Martian and loved it! I am also currently watching series 2 of Black Sails.

    1. I don't know why I didn't like it as much before, but I enjoyed last night's viewing a great deal.
      Season 2 of Black Sails was the best one yet. Plenty of things happen in Season 3, but it is more introspective than its predecessors.

  4. Yeah I thought The Martian was fun, especially b/c of Damon as Watney. I did enjoy the book too, but it's way more technical & nerdy.

    1. I preferred the book because of its quirkiness, and that's probably why I didn't like Matt Damon in that role the first time I saw him. Luckily I came around.


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