Friday, November 30, 2012

November in Movies

Just a public service reminder that tomorrow will be December. Which is the last month of the year. And when Christmas happens. Seriously, this sounds like a cliche but it literally does feel like just last week that we were hitting the 2011 festive season. I'm still getting over last year's Christmas to even think out about this year's.

Anyway, November has been a wild month. I've completed three exams, with one pesky Drama exam which decided to be the ONLY one in December in Dannevirke to go. All of this extra time from study leave has left me a little bored now, but at least next month I'll hopefully be able to earn some cash so I won't be so bored. These past couple of days have been a bit of a blur, with an article in the paper about the site, along with a radio appearance. And then yesterday I went to JB Hi-Fi and they were having a huge sale. Why, hello, special edition of The Dark Knight Rises with a Bane and Batman figurine for $40 and Downton Abbey season one for only $16. Speaking of Downton Abbey, that show broke my heart this month. Still haven't got over that. Alas...

Movies I hadn't seen until the month of November...

Gone in 60 Seconds - Where last year's Christmas felt like a week ago, watching this movie seemed like ten years ago.
Lord of War - Same with this one. I keep forgetting that I watched eight Nicolas Cage movies this month.
Snow White and the Huntsman - Mirror Mirror is better. Unpopular opinion but at least Mirror Mirror knows where its target audience is at. And Lily Collins is a lot more charismatic than Kristen Stewart.
Friends with Kids - I liked this movie, but what I didn't like was that it tried too hard to have songs which went exactly with what was happening on screen. It was snowing, so there was a song about snow. That's also the reason I can't give We Need to Talk About Kevin top marks.
Annie Hall - Continuing to get into more Woody Allen films. I really liked this one.
A Royal Affair - One of the few previews that we get that I have actually heard of. I really like Mads Mikklesen.
Ghost Rider -
Game Change - Instead of watching The Shawshank Redemption again for my English exam, I watched this. Responsible, I know. Still, I loved Julianne Moore's performance in this.
Arthur Christmas - So cute. Although I hate how they waited a year to release it on DVD.
Adaptation. - One of the few Nicolas Cage movies which is still fresh in my mind.
Killer Joe - Couldn't watch Magic Mike happily after seeing this film. Plus, I thought it was funny because I managed to watch this and Arthur Christmas in one night. Arthur was a G-rated, Joe was the worst of the worst R18 rated. LOL.
Dodsworth - My classic movie Friday's are making a reappearance. I have been looking for this one for ages, so I was really happy when I saw it on YouTube. I adored the script.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - Still don't get the reptile bits.
Face/Off - This was an extremely good movie.
Lola Versus - One of those movies where I just wanted everyone to shut up. I like Greta Gerwig, but she was so whiny and horrible in this movie.
Ted - So overrated by everyone my age. This eight year old came in and was like "ow we should get Ted out! It is SO crack-up gee!" I literally gave him the death stare. Then he realised it was an R16 so his Dad got it out for him. 
Inside Man - My brain was so full of Biology knowledge that I couldn't comprehend this entire film, but it was so different to what I was expecting.
The End of the Affair - Just for Ralph Fiennes. It was nice enough, but it didn't really go anywhere.
The Heiress - Half because it was classic movie Friday, and half because I wanted to see it since Jessica Chastain is performing it on Broadway. It was really good. Olivia De Havilland is amazing.
Rent - I like musicals. This one was very different.
Wild at Heart - I'm still LOL'n at Nicolas Cage 'singing' 'Love Me Tender' at the end.
Magic Mike - I liked it. I loved Matthew McConaughey's performance even though I couldn't watch it because of Killer Joe. I'll get more in-depth whenever I find time to post my review.
Bel Ami - I just didn't even care about this movie. All it was was Robert Pattinson having sex all of the time. Which isn't really my idea of fun.
Skyfall - My review will be up tomorrow, but wow, how beautiful was this film? That scene in Shanghai brought tears to my eyes.

Movies I've seen before but felt the need to watch again because I'm cool like that...

Our Idiot Brother - Coz I felt like I needed to show it to my friends. It just tends to make you feel better about life.
Goodfellas - You know you've had a good day when you get the Blu-Ray of this for $5 and a two-disc special edition of Raging Bull for $3.
A Streetcar Named Desire - I still love this film dearly. Vivien Leigh is beyond great in it. Though it is so sad because this was basically her in real life, and in her voice you can hear the tuberculosis taking over. 
Crazy, Stupid, Love. - Watched it with a friend. It is always funny to watch people react to the big 'twist'.
Mean Girls - Life is just generally better after seeing this movie for the billionth time.
Brave - I will vouch for this movie until the end of time. It is so good, but so few people realise that.
Mask - I found it for Mum's birthday, and she insisted on watching it. This movie still depresses me to this very day.
The Dark Knight Rises - I'm finding it harder and harder to vouch for this movie because so very few people like it. Oh well, I'll just sit here in my angry little corner alone. 

What about you? Have you seen anything good this month?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nic November: Wild at Heart and The Wicker Man

Well, here we are at the end of an interesting month of devouring a whole bunch of Nicolas Cage movies. I can't really say I'm thinking that he is now a great actor, but this experience has definitely opened my eyes to his...wide array of talents. Especially this week, as I left Wild at Heart and The Wicker Man until last.

The Hairstyle: The Carefree 90s Punk-Rock/Boy Band Cross-Over

One of the main reasons why I added Wild at Heart to the list - and why I left it until last - was because it is a David Lynch film. And I thought that Lynch + Nicolas = more craziness than you could imagine. And I was right. Wild at Heart is one of the strangest movies I've ever seen, even though I suppose it is more sane and easy to follow than some of Lynch's other stuff. To be honest, there's just a whole lot of sex. Like...a lot. Honestly, it was just the basis for the entire film. There was a story of Sailor (Cage) and his 20 year old girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) getting chased down by a gang that Lula's mother (Diane Ladd) assembled because she doesn't approve of Sailor. The gang itself is pretty crazy, mainly because it involves Willem Dafoe being crazy. But at any rate, this is just an interesting take on a road trip movie melded with a love story.

AAN: Early Awards Forecast - The Gotham Winners and the Indie Spirit Noms

Awards season has officially kicked off now, with yesterday's Gotham Awards winners and today's Independent Spirit Nominations being announced. For those wondering if I'm going to unveil the new 'Happy Fassy', 'Lowkey Loki' and 'Overwhelmed Owen' for this year, you'll have to wait until the Golden Globes nominations roll around next month. For now, this is just a forecast to see how awards season could swing. Because, after all, awards season is a season of the year. Who knows if we'll have a storm on our hands or we can blitz through it with only sunshine?

Gotham Awards winners (winners in bold, nominees in italics)

Best Film: Bernie, The Loneliest Planet, The Master, Middle of Nowhere, Moonrise Kingdom
Breakthrough Director: Zal Batmanglij - Sound of My Voice, Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatsky - Francine, Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperlin - Now Forager, Antonio Mendez Esparza - Here and There, Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Breakthrough Actor: Mike Birbiglia - Sleepwalk with Me, Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere, Thure Lindhardt - Keep the Lights On, Melanie Lynskey - Hello I Must Be Going, Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Ensemble Perofrmance: Bernie, Moonrise Kingdom, Safety Not Guaranteed, Silver Linings Playbook, Your Sister's Sister
Best Documentary: Detropia, How to Survive a Plague, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, Room 237, The Waiting Room
Best Film Not Playing in a Theatre Near You: Kid-Thing, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Red Flag, Sun Don't Shine, Tiger Tail in Blue

What kind of forecast this brings for awards season: I think a whole lot of people were expecting the Gotham Awards to give an early boost to The Master, but it didn't happen. They swung the way of Moonrise Kingdom - but I'm not entirely sure that that movie will end up sustaining enough energy for the rest of the season. A few other notes, though:
-Quvenzhane Wallis missed out for Beasts of the Southern Wild - which begs the question, will this be the indie hit in awards season still? Or will her place go to another older actress?
-This Middle of Nowhere seemed to be quite a hit. Could be a dark horse.
-Bernie is getting a whole lot of loving, too. I doubt it could carry on into the heart of awards season, but it seems that we should be a whole lot more aware of it.
-And I've gotta say, since when was Melanie Lynskey a breakthrough actor? She had her breakthrough before I was born. Still, I'm happy to see her getting some recognition.

Independent Spirit nominations

Best Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, Keep the Lights On, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Director: Wes Anderson - Moonrise Kingdom, Julia Loktev - The Loneliest Planet, David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook, Ira Sachs - Keep the Lights On, Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Female Lead: Linda Cardellini - Return, Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere, Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook, Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild, Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed
Best Male Lead: Jack Black - Bernie, Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook, John Hawkes - The Sessions, Thure Lindhardt - Keep the Lights On, Matthew McConaughey - Killer Joe, Wendell Pierce - Four
Best Supporting Female: Rosemarie DeWitt - Your Sister's Sister, Ann Dowd - Compliance, Helen Hunt - The Sessions, Brit Marling - Sound of My Voice, Lorraine Toussaint - Middle of Nowhere
Best Supporting Male: Matthew McConaughey - Magic Mike, David Oyelowo - Middle of Nowhere, Michael Pena - End of Watch, Sam Rockwell - Seven Psychopaths, Bruce Willis - Moonrise Kingdom
Best Screenplay: Keep The Lights On (Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola), Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
Best First Screenplay: Celeste & Jesse Forever (Rashida Jones and Will McCormack), Fill the Void (Rama Burshtein), Gayby (Jonathan Lisecki), Robot & Frank (Christopher Ford), Safety Not Guaranteed (Derek Connolly)
Best First Feature: Fill the Void, Gimme the Loot, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Safety Not Guaranteed, Sound of My Voice
The John Cassavetes Award: Breakfast with Curtis, The Color Wheel, Middle of Nowhere, Mosquito Y Mari, Starlet
Best Cinematography: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Ben Richardson), End of Watch (Roman Vasyanov), Here (Lol Crawley), Moonrise Kingdom (Robert Yeoman), Valley of Saints (Yoni Brook)
Best International Film: Amour, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Rust and Bone, Sister, War Witch
Best Documentary: The Central Park Five, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, The Waiting Room
The Robert Altman Award: Starlet

What kind of forecast this brings for awards season: Quite an interesting one, I must say.
-YAY for Matthew McConaughey's double nod. I saw Magic Mike last night and I can totally see him getting an Oscar nomination. However, I'm extra happy that his work in Killer Joe got recognised. I wasn't sure if it was eligible, since it technically first surfaced in 2011, but if it is, I'm starting a campaign. It is kinda funny, because I never used to like McConaughey, but now he has given my two favourite male performances of the year. You go, Glen Coco.
-So basically, Silver Linings Playbook will sweep these awards. Just like it might sweep the Oscars. Interesting Robert De Niro snub, as I thought he had a better chance of getting a nomination than Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Lawrence will probably end up winning her category, though.
-Looks as if Ann Dowd got the push she needed for a Compliance nomination. I wouldn't take your chips down just yet - as I said, we could have a Jacki Weaver nomination this year.
-Bernie is still ever-present.
-I'm happy for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, even though I haven't seen Smashed. This could give her a big push, but there's not a lot of air in that Best Actress race.
-Yay for Zoe Kazan, too. I haven't seen Ruby Sparks, but I adore her.
-Beasts of the Southern Wild is prominently featured. I do think it will get the indie nomination in the Best Picture category.
-There's no Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone, which could really hurt her chances.
-I was hoping that these awards would picks up The Perks of Being a Wallflower a lot more and maybe send a nomination in the way of Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller. Alas, it only got 'Best First Feature', which seems like a bit of a consolation prize more than anything.

These two awards give us the outlook on how some of the smaller films will fare for the rest of awards season. The future is looking mostly bright for films like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook, and Matthew McConaughey is coming into this race a lot stronger than we once thought he would. What do you think will happen to the awards race now?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #41

What I'm watching tonight...

Well, I watched The Dark Knight Rises again last night, and it was still as bloody amazing as I remember it to be. Plus, it looks stunning on Blu-Ray. It was cool to watch it alone at home because I could let my ugly crying all out. Seriously, I was pretty much screaming and then I was doing this thing where I was crying but smiling at the same time - I looked like the Joker. So anyway, with that all cleared up for now (until I buy it on Blu-Ray and watch it over and over again for the rest of the week), the only releases for this week I have left to watch are Magic Mike and Bel Ami.  And I should probably watch The Wicker Man, but I might leave that Cage Rage for tomorrow.

Video of the week...

Just because I'm beyond excited for Les Miserables. So excited that I can't even live life without seeing it.

A little bit of randomness...

You may have seen this already but for the Christmas parade last weekend I dressed up as Princess Merida, kind of to promote Brave, and because I don't have the figure for a Catwoman outfit. And here was the result. My hair isn't naturally that colour, but I do have ringlets like Merida's...they just aren't as wild.

A little more randomness...
If you're interested, there was an article about me in the paper (not the local one - a city one, which is kind of a big deal in good old NZ). My Killer Joe review was quoted and everything. Plus, I've obviously got more than 50,000 hits (nine times that, in fact), but hey, this was some good exposure!

Awards Daily has some early praise for Zero Dark Thirty, which points towards the possibility of Jessica Chastain winning Best Actress. That would make me the happiest person on Earth.

Speaking of Jess, Sati has a review of Lawless. I've given up caring about this movie - which comes out in cinemas here in February, for heaven's sake - and her review reminds me of why I feel that way.

Bonjour Tristesse sheds some light on Laurence Anyways, a movie which I have a little bit of interest in. Especially because this is Xavier Dolan's third film, and he is only 23.

I've officially named The Perks of Being a Wallflower my "favourite movie that I haven't seen" - and Andy's review tells me that there's no way that I'm not going to adore it.

Jessica writes a wonderful post on why it is okay to go to the theatre alone. On the odd occasion that I do get the opportunity to go to the cinemas, I usually prefer going alone. That means I get to cry alone.

Alex made a list of his favourite movie character introductions, and Nikhat followed suit. I feel a blogathon coming on!

Mettel loved Brave, which I think will end up being one of the most underrated mainstream films of the year. It is so darn brilliant.

Final word...
Do you have a 'favourite movie you haven't seen yet'?

Monday, November 26, 2012

My 15 Favourite Films Filled with Colour

Down here in NZ, Summer is just around the corner, and there's no better way of getting Summer into my system than by injecting some colour into my life. And you know one way that colour is used better than it is anywhere else? In films. So I decided to compile a list of films that use all of the colours of the rainbow extremely well. There are some films - like Shame or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - that use blue hues well, but there are other films that just go all out. And here they are (in alphabetical order):

(500) Days of Summer (2009), Dir. Marc Webb - Despite its summery title, (500) Days of Summer spends most of its time with warm autumn tones. However, thanks to Zooey Deschanel's beautiful blue eyes, Webb decided to dedicate some of the film's palette to the colour blue - as evident in the dance sequence. Plus, a good bit of the film's colour comes from the awesome clothes that Summer wears.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Annual Awards Nerdism is Back! + Oscar Predictions

The madness is just around the corner. Dashing to the cinemas every five seconds to see the latest awards-worthy movies (lol, I don't go to the cinema any more). Getting up at weird hours to watch nominations being announced. Trying every website on the universe to see who will stream the awards ceremonies. But that's all part of awards season, which is definitely my favourite season of the year.

This year will be a little bit different, though. As I am going to Japan in January, I'm going to miss the Critics Choice Awards, the Oscar nominations and the Golden Globes - which are kind of the biggest things. However, I will get to them a few days later, so I hope some people will still be around! My awards coverage will officially start this week with the Indie Spirit nominations, where you will see the new 'Happy Fassy', 'Lowkey Loki' and 'Overwhelmed Owen'. As always, when we get to Oscar time, I will definitely be doing prediction poetry. If you want to know what you have to look forward to, here's my coverage from last year/earlier this year.

For now, though, here are my early predictions. I'm proud of the design work that I put into them - hopefully that will overshadow the fact that I've been awful at watching the right films this year.

So, who's with me in this crazy season? And what do you think of my predictions?

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Movie Alphabet

Mettel is hosting a blogathon asking bloggers to create their alphabet out of all things movie related. I did something like this back in the dark ages, but then it was restricted to just movie titles. Here, we're going for anything and everything. So without further ado, here's the alphabet I abide by in my life:

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: 50/50, 28 Days Later..., 127 Hours,
(500) Days of Summer is a film which I constantly go back to, because it makes me laugh and cry and feel happy and feel sad all at once. It is so beautifully made, too. I mean, it has a dance sequence in it, and there's that expectations/reality scene. It makes me a little angry that Marc Webb went on to direct The Amazing Spider-Man after this. I mean, I'm happy that he's deservedly moving onto bigger things, but I don't think blockbusters are really his forte. Indie films like these are. And I'll love Joseph Gordon-Levitt forever.

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: All About Eve, An Education, American Psycho, American Beauty, Animal Kingdom, Anne Hathaway, Alfred Hitchcock
Amy Adams is probably my favourite modern actress. I've seen her in just about everything, and moreso, I've never been disappointed in her work. She's just so bright and bubbly, and she always brings that loveliness to whatever she's in. While she's built her career on being squeaky clean and innocent (mostly thanks to her Oscar worthy turn as a real-life Disney princess in Enchanted), she's not really afraid of much. She just keeps getting better and better.

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: Black Swan, Bette Davis, Brit Marling, Before Sunrise/Sunset, Beginners, Blue Valentine, Boogie Nights
Admittedly, Batman's inclusion in this list is because I would have ended up putting all of Nolan's Bat trilogy in here somehow, so I thought sticking it under 'B' was the best. I did like the previous versions of Batman's story (Batman & Robin is a masterpiece, hahahaha), but Christopher Nolan's reworkings are among my favourite things ever. I love The Dark Knight the most, but I have a feeling that a few more watches of The Dark Knight Rises might alter that. Batman Begins was exceptional too, but something has to come last.

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: Cillian Murphy, Carrie, Cate Blanchett, Casablanca, City Lights, Colin Firth, Christian McKay
This one is an obvious choice. I may not be the kind of fangirl who sends critics death threats because they don't like one of Christopher Nolan's films, but I do love him more than most things on this Earth. He's just so awesome. Like, he just walks around, as cool as a cucumber, wearing his suits even though it's the middle of Summer. And when he talks about films and stuff, he's so articulate. Plus, his voice is so interesting to listen to because it wavers between a British and American accent. And he doesn't have a mobile phone or an email address because he's just that cool. Seriously, all I want to do is be a part of his family. That's my life goal.

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: Darren Aronofsky, Downton Abbey, Days of Heaven, Daniel Craig, The Devil Wears Prada, Drive, Danny Boyle
David Fincher is just a classy guy. He makes all kinds of movies - usually the kinds that have really sadistic themes - and he makes them with class. He just exudes class in a way that is different to everyone else. His filmography is fantastic, with my favourite of his being The Social Network (I never knew that a movie about Facebook could be that good), but that's followed closely behind by the likes of Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I thought of adding these, but I didn't: Emma Stone, Emily Blunt, Enchanted, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ewan McGregor
Ezra Miller hasn't exactly been around for very long - with his debut, Afterschool, originating in 2008 - but with a small filmography he has easily solidified himself as one of tomorrow's biggest talents. His most famous role is probably as Kevin in We Need to Talk About Kevin, a role he played with such terrifying intensity that I still can't shake the film. Now I've seen the large majority of his films I only have The Perks of Being a Wallflower to look forward to, and I'm sure he'll rock in that. Plus, Ezra is an extremely interesting person who generally doesn't give a crap about what Hollywood wants him to be, and I admire that.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nic November: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and Face/Off

First of all, my apologies. I've been away from the blog for the past few days to focus on studying, and now those exams are all over. I did put a status up on Facebook, but because they've brought in those retarded new things so only 10% of my 'likers' can see my stuff pop up on their newsfeed, I doubt anyone saw it. Yay Facebook. Alas, Nic November is a day later, but I think Nicolas Cage films are just what I need to empty my brain out of all the biology stuff I've taught myself in the past three days. Now, aside from my Drama exam which won't take a lot of effort, I can run around the streets shouting out that "I'm a vampire!", reciting the alphabet in a very angry way and generally yelling and tearing stuff down. People underestimate the awesomeness in which Vampire's Kiss has bestowed upon people who no longer have to remember a whole lot of foreign terms.

Alas, we ain't talking about Vampire's Kiss here. We're talking about one of Nic's 'last good roles' in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and one of everyone's favourite 90s action films Face/Off. Which I apparently should have seen ages ago. Oops.

The Hairstyle: The Carefree Wind Sweeping

So anyway, I suppose that The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans was the last real meaty Cage Rage role. Seeking Justice, Trespass and Stolen all kind of melded into one, no-one remembers that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exists, Drive Angry, Season of the Witch and The Sorcerer's Apprentice were all fairly muted and apart from the "now SWIIIIIIITCH, to KRYPTONIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITE!" scene in Kick-Ass, there wasn't a lot of Cage Rage to be had over the poorly chosen places to put emphasis on his words. So yes, Werner Herzog's non-remake Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans it is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Scorsese's 70th Birthday, and How Much I Love Goodfellas.

Today is Martin Scorsese's 70th birthday - again highlighting how in the past two weeks November has come to be the best month for birthdays. I would be doing my usual "best of" list here, but the truth is, I haven't seen all that many of his films. I did love Hugo, Shutter Island, The Departed, The Aviator, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, but one film of his sticks out in my mind more than any other: Goodfellas.

Goodfellas wasn't a film which I loved right from the very beginning. I first saw it around three months ago, and I felt a little underwhelmed by how long it was. However, I managed to buy the Blu-Ray a couple of weeks back and I gave it another spin, which gave the film a whole new lease on life. If there's any film that shows Scorsese's distinctive style, or any film that future film-lovers should opt for first when getting their dose of Scorsese, it is Goodfellas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Where's the Morality in Liking a Film Like Killer Joe?

Killer Joe (2011) / US / Out on DVD now in NZ - Dec. 21st in US / Directed by William Friedkin / Written by Tracy Letts, adapted from his play of the same name / Starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon / 98 mins

Many times I've said "oh, I like this (insert weird arthouse movie that is probably rated R18 and has a whole lot of sex and drugs and violence)". I'll get a funny look, and the person I'm talking to will reply, "why do you like that movie?" with a tone of concern. I'll scramble for words as I wonder how in hell I'm going to explain to them why I like the movie without making myself sound perverted or sadistic or whatever. I'm only a 17 year old girl, so this is quite a hard task.

Then again, everyone around my age is supposed to love sadistic horror movies. So I really am not so perverted and sadistic for liking the movies I like.

Killer Joe poses quite a difficult challenge. Today, I had to tell one of my friends why I can no longer eat KFC chicken (ironically, I had some a few hours before I saw the movie) - which obviously meant explaining the infamous scene towards the end. I just trailed off when I tried to justify why it was that I loved this movie, because it is a losing battle. Killer Joe is as sick as you feel if you eat a whole 20 piece bucket of KFC chicken in one sitting - after you've seen that infamous scene. It is as insane as Michael Bay making an independent character study, infused with arthouse technicalities and wins the Palme D'Or at Cannes. It is all out as someone blinded by how much alcohol they've consumed, so all of their morals have left their body with the last time they spewed on the freshly mown grass. And you know what? It is the most fun you can have watching a movie through your fingers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nic November: Ghost Rider and Adaptation

Here we are, back with some Nicolas Cage movies. I think I've already come to realise that the majority of his films aren't that bad - but then again, I am mixing the good with the bad: last week with Gone in 60 Seconds and the considerably better Lord of War, and this week with the awful Ghost Rider and the brilliant Adaptation. We can still have faith in good old Nicolas!

The Hairstyle: Get Me in a Boy Band/The Intense Ginger

I think that Nic should stay away from films that have him spending prolonged amounts of time in/on a vehicle. Gone in 60 Seconds was terrible. Ghost Rider was even worse. Basically, Nic is Johnny Blaze, a stunt man who likes to ride his motorcycle in dangerous ways and everyone resents him for it but he does it anyway. Oh, and he sold his soul to the devil. Mhm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #40

What I'm watching tonight...

Well, my English exam is done and dusted. I think the essays went beyond well, as long as I answered the questions the way they were supposed to be answered (I have huge issues with that...I guess that's because I write well without any purpose, which kind of defeats the purpose of writing). And now, I'll never have to think of The Shawshank Redemption or World War One poems ever again. Since it is a week until my next exam, I can hunker down tonight and watch a few movies. I only really have Arthur Christmas and Killer Joe on tap, but I do have to watch another Nicolas Cage movie before tomorrow so that will fill in the night.

Video of the week...

Warm Bodies looks like so much fun. Even if my boy Nicholas Hoult is a zombie...he makes a pretty cute one. And yeah, that's all I have to say about that one.

Just a random picture to get you into the Christmas spirit...

I was made to put up Christmas decorations at work in the weekend, and all I could think about was making the entire window The Dark Knight Rises themed. Because The Dark Knight Rises comes out at the end of this month and I don't know about you, but I love that film. So that's the tinsel Batman I made, and I just need to make a sign and some other stuff. To all you people who didn't like The Dark Knight Rises, just know that Blockbuster Dannevirke will have a cool Christmas window because of it. Boom.

Josh has his early Oscar predictions up, which reminds me...I should probably get onto mine. But I literally don't know anything because I haven't seen anything.

Sarah reviews the criminally underrated Tyrannosaur, which is one film that I could never sit through again.

Steven reviews Jack and Diane, a movie starring Riley Keough and Juno Temple which looks extremely odd, but in a slightly intriguing way.

Mettel has made her Movie Alphabet into a blogathon. Go submit your entries  and keep an eye out for mine, coming later this week!

Also sharing the love for Anne Hathaway on her birthday was Sati. Plus, this most comes complete with gorgeous pictures.

It seems that Alex was rather overwhelmed by Rust and sure to check out his enthusiastic review on one of my most anticipated films.

Candice lists down five black actors who could take on the role of James Bond. We all know that Idris Elba is headed for the 007, though.

It seems that Ryan quite loved Lincoln. I'm always excited for anything Spielberg, but it has taken me a while to get excited for this one...but I totally am now.

Final word...
What is your favourite 'limited release' movie of 2012 so far?

Monday, November 12, 2012

12 Performances from 3 People Born on November 12th: Grace Kelly, Ryan Gosling and Anne Hathaway

TThis is my third birthday post in the past week, and that's not because I'm running out of things to talk about. It just seems that November was a good time to have talented babies, and it would also seem that the 12th was an especially good day to have talented babies. On this day in 1929, Grace Kelly, later known as Princess Grace of Monaco, was born. On this day in 1980, Ryan 'Hey Girl' Gosling was born. On this day in 1982, Anne Hathaway, a.k.a. the sweetest person on Earth, was born. And I didn't know who to focus on, considering they're all my favourite people, so I just decided I'd focus on them all. What follows is my four favourite performances from the three of them, which adds up to 12 performances because, y'know, it is the 12th. And because doing ten performances from each would have been extremely tiring.

Grace Kelly is a woman who I know a lot about - much like I did with Vivien Leigh, I got obsessed and read a whole lot of biographies because I used to have a lot of spare time. Grace did live an interesting, somewhat short life. She rose to fame as a movie star after her debut in 1951's Fourteen Hours. Her breakthrough, however, was the western High Noon, which she co-starred in with Gary Cooper. In terms of her film career, she is best known for being a Hitchcock blonde - Hitchcock himself said that she was her favourite - in Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. In 1956 she left Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco. She was going to return to acting in 1982, but unfortunately she died in a car accident that year. She was only 52 years old. My favourite performances of hers, in chronological order, are:

In High Noon, Grace plays Amy Fowler Kane, the young Quaker wife of Gary Cooper. The role isn't an extremely demanding one as the film mainly follows Gary Cooper, but when she shows up, she brings such intense vulnerability and youth to her role. And it's impossible to take your eyes off her. Interestingly enough, even though I wasn't so hot on westerns when I watched this one four and a half years ago, I was particularly taken by this tale of the rise and fall of a village. Now it is known as one of the best westerns ever made, but back in the day, the reception wasn't so great. I think it has survived pretty darn well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

10 Favourite Leonardo DiCaprio Performances

Today is Leonardo DiCaprio's 38th birthday. Even though he is a bit too "give me an Oscar" these days, he is still my favourite actor. I've seen most of his films, especially since I started my infatuation with him in 2009. Even though I wasn't around during Leo Mania (well, I was, but I was like two so that doesn't count), Leo has been plastered over my schoolbooks and walls and everywhere I could fit a piece of him. So I suppose that it is time for me to share a little love for my favourite performances of his, which I've whittled down to ten. Which was actually harder than I thought it would be. Here they are, ranked. And there's not Titanic.

The Basketball Diaries is a film I saw long ago, right in the throes of my obsession, and one which I haven't really thought about since I saw it. It stars a 20 year old Leo (and Mark Wahlberg, back in his Marky Mark days) as poet Jim Carroll, in his early years as a drug addicted teen. The film isn't all that fantastic - nor is it very memorable - but young Leo totally commands the screen as he stands on the precipice of becoming the next big teen thing. Which is why I adore him: he was quite a talented teen sensation.

Even though Inception is probably my favourite film of Leo's, I admit that this isn't really an actors film. There are a few scene-stealers, namingly Cillian Murphy's blue eyes and the teasing between Eames and Arthur, but Leo commands the screen from start to finish. It isn't his best "dead wife" performance, but it is damn good. Plus, his appearance in this spawned quite a few memes (where would life be without the Strutting Leo?!) and everyone started realising how unlucky he was when he wasn't one of the thousand Inception cast members called back for The Dark Knight Rises. Don't worry Leo, I still love you.

I remember when I first saw Blood Diamond - I was so shocked by how brutal it was. Time has passed since then and I've seen a lot more brutality on screen, but I still remember Leo's performance, which was also his last Oscar-nominated turn. As a person from NZ who already stakes a claim on having the worst accent in the world, I didn't know how authentic Leo's African accent was, but he tried. And he tries a lot during this movie, too. That's not to say that he doesn't succeed, because he's pretty badass in this.

You know how everyone my age goes on about people having "swag"? The ultimate swag-meister was Frank Abagnale, a guy who managed to pull off a whole lot of cons. Leo plays Abagnale in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, bringing swag to a whole new level. He's having just as much fun as Abagnale did before he got, well, caught. One of the funniest things about this movie, however, stems from that whole "Bad Luck Leo" thing - he stars in a movie called Catch Me If You Can. Gets caught.

No, J. Edgar wasn't a good movie. Not even close. I saw the trailer and thought that this would be Leo's Oscar time. Then the reviews came in. Then I realised that Gary Oldman wouldn't get a nomination if Leo did (that was also when I thought Michael Fassbender would get nominated...good times). Then I started realising what a shameless Oscar campaign J. Edgar was. Then I started mocking the trailer at work. Then I saw the film. Leo should've got an Oscar nomination, but only if Michael Fassbender was in there too. Leo's work was actually pretty good, and definitely showed how serious this guy can get. Maybe he gets a little too serious, though...

Martin Scorsese's The Departed is a damn fantastic movie, featuring damn fantastic performances from one of the best ensembles we've had recently. It is hard to say who is the stand out (but I do have a soft spot for Mark Wahlberg in this movie), but Leo's performance as the on-edge Billy Costigan is wonderful. He's just got so much angst inside of him. And then there's that ending...

Leo's latest collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island, was met with a pretty lukewarm reception, but I've seen love for his psychological horror grow. And I admit, I was one of those people who gave it a lukewarm reception in the beginning, but I absolutely adore it now. Leo's performance in this ended up getting overshadowed by the box office prowess of his other 2010 "dead wife" movie Inception and the fact that it was released so early in the year, but it deserved to be in contention in the 2010/2011 Oscar season. He plays Teddy Daniels beautifully, playing out all of the confusion that we feel as an audience.

Leo's performance in Revolutionary Road needs only to be summed up by one moment: the look he has at the end *SPOILER* when April dies. *SPOILER ENDS* Seriously, that devastated me more than anything I've ever seen in my life. While Kate Winslet seems to have got all the acclaim for her performance in this film, but Leo is just as good - if not better. It is a subtle performance, which ends up exploding at the end. It is actually quite frightening to watch, and it was definitely not the Titanic follow-up that people were hoping for.

I have loved The Aviator ever since I first saw it. Howard Hughes was a fascinating man, and this slick biopic was just as fascinating. What was even more fascinating was Leo's performance, which is so precise, slick and all encompassing. Leo totally immersed himself in the role, to the point that I could no longer see any trace of Leo in him. It was such a shame that he didn't get any more than that Golden Globe. But hey, in Leo terms, that's better than nothing.

My favourite performance of Leo's is one of his first ones. I've talked about it so much before, but his work in What's Eating Gilbert Grape is just amazing. Every positive adjective in the world wouldn't be enough to describe how great it is. He deserved that Oscar. Even if Ralph Fiennes also deserved it. That's like, the hardest match-up ever...then again, I see why they chose Tommy Lee Jones, because then they didn't need to choose between either of them.

Happy Birthday, Leo! Maybe an Oscar will be coming your way if you're extra amazing in Django Unchained? What are your favourite Leo performances?

Just coz that makes me LOL. Leo don't have time for your shit.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear Hollywood: Snow White and the Huntsman

It has been a while since I've done with of these (let's file this under reasons why I'm useless at keeping up features), but since I saw Snow White and the Huntsman this week, I thought I may as well give it the Dear Hollywood treatment. Especially since I gave the same treatment to the other Snow White movie Mirror Mirror a while back. Just the preface this post: in all honesty, I think I may have enjoyed Mirror Mirror's silly colourful fun a little bit more. Perhaps I should have a Snow White night to look at them both equally, but I think that Lily Collins' "I don't need a man" Snow was better than Kristen Stewart's blank-faced "let's just get Chris Hemsworth to do the work" Snow. Mind you, Charlize Theron was on FIRE (literally).

Dear Hollywood,
You know what seems pretty 'in' at the moment? Making things darker than they actually are. You take something that isn't really that dark, take all of the shits and giggles out of it, and make it really really really dark and depressing because it is so close to real life. However, with the comic book adaptation section gone, what else could I possibly make dark? I toyed with the idea of making a dark Adam Sandler movie, but then I saw That's My Boy. Please help.
Yours sincerely,
Joy-Less Bleaker

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nic November: Gone in 60 Seconds and Lord of War

Just in case you didn't get the message in my last "Dipping My Toes" post, November will be dedicated to the work of everyone's favourite actor, Nicolas Cage. Throughout the month, I will be subjecting myself willingly watching eight Nicolas Cage movies, so I can figure out whether I love him or I hate him. Starting off the month I have 2000's Gone in 60 Seconds and 2005's Lord of War. Brace yourself, this is going to be an interesting month...

Also, while we're at it, this month I'll be giving all of the Nic November movies their own specialised ratings. They're called the "Cage Rage" scales, which I used a long time ago, but am bringing back for this. You'll see them below, but the more on the Cage Rage scale, the more raged it is. It isn't a reflection on how good the movie is, just how crazy Cage is.

The Hairstyle: Yes, Peroxide Makes Me Look More Badass.

Gone in 60 Seconds is exactly the kind of movie that they play thousands of times on TV, pretending like it is a "Premiere Movie" when in reality, it has been a "Premiere Movie" the first 13 times they played it on a Saturday night. But that doesn't matter, because it is so forgettable that people will go on thinking that it is a "Premiere Movie" until the Friends reruns stop being aired at 6.30pm every weeknight.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #39

What I'm watching tonight...

Yuss...tomorrow is our last day of school before exam leave. I'm kinda scared though, because it is our last year of school that we'll have another year of school waiting for us, if you know what I mean. Oh well, the study leave is welcomed as I plan to ace (some) exams and watch a whole lot of movies. And this will be my last Tuesday Movie Night on a school night until February. I'll be watching Snow White and the Huntsman and Friends with Kids, which will kick off the best month of DVD releases ever apart from July. I would have liked to have caught up with The Cabin in the Woods again, but I don't have the time at the moment. But hey, soon I'll have nothing but time.

Video of the week...

What are we all thinking about the Side Effects trailer? Apparently this is Steven Soderbergh's last film, which is a great shame (even though I've never been the biggest fan of it). I'm just excited to see Rooney Mara, because she's awesome.

Blog of the month...

With a new month comes a bit of a sidebar mix around, and also the blog of the month. This month, the blog that gets to adorn my sidebar is Defiant Success, run by the lovely Anna. There's reviews aplenty here, so if you're looking for something, no doubt Anna has it covered.

Sharing Vivien Leigh's birthday is the awesome Sam Rockwell, who Sati does an awesome appreciation post for.

SDG shares his list of the best examples of actors directing themselves. Major kudos for Charlie Chaplin's work in City Lights.

Bonjour Tristesse has a review up of Rust & Bone, a film I'm very much looking forward to seeing.

To celebrate her 400th post, Mettel Ray has put together her movie alphabet. It is definitely awesome!

Speaking of celebrations, the LAMB had its 5th birthday last week, with a new design to go with it. Check it out!

Tyler shares the scariest movies he has ever seen. We share the same number one.

Another person celebrating a blog birthday was Mette over at Lime Reviews, who shared her views on the blogging world/world in general. Very inspiring stuff.

Sam was completely blind-sided by The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and sings its praises here. While I wait for the film, I'm going to read the book a few thousand times.

Final word...
What is the scariest movie you've ever seen?


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