Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Large Association of Movie Blogs
This month's featured actor on "LAMB Acting School 101" is another one of my personal favs - Don Cheadle. I truly believe he's one of the best current actors, as he always brings an interesting interpretation of various characters. For my entry, I highlight my 3 favourite scenes from his films. Check 'em out below.

N.B. - Youtube wouldn't let me embed some of the links, so you'll just have to click on the links to direct you to the youtube page.

OLDIE GOLDIES: Auntie Mame (1958)

This week on Oldie Goldies I look at a surprisingly hilarious comedy - "Auntie Mame". This film is really a delight, with an infectious performance by Rosalind Russell in the title role and a great supporting cast (especially the females). The film picked up 6 Oscar nominations - Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Art Direction.

Monday, December 26, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Sean Durkin proves to be a skilful director in his chilling debut film “Martha Marcy May Marlene". The film features some really clever editing and cinematography, with some particularly brilliant long takes. The film is propelled by a fantastic breakthrough performance by Elizabeth Olsen, as she even had me feeling nervous at times. Her unnerving performance really had my heart racing in some scenes. At times, she even reminded me of Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married", a major compliment to her talent. Great work by all involved.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is a commendable directorial effort by Tomas Alfredson, as he deals with the difficult source material of John Le Carré's novel. As with the exceptional "Let The Right One In", he excels at creating a grey, brooding atmosphere. The cinematography and music are well suited to the film and the ensemble cast is uniformly outstanding. I must admit, it can initially be hard to follow along as this is a dense script. It truly is a "slow burn". I think this may have hurt the film's Oscar hopes, as it may require multiple viewings to fully appreciate it. As I said before, the entire cast is equally great, so I don't think Gary Oldman stands out enough to gain any awards traction. He gives a solid performance, but it's too cold and restrained. My favourites were actually Tom Hardy and John Hurt. The biggest possibilities in my opinion are Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. I think Alfredson has a slim chance of a Best Director nod as well. This film will likely get lost in the awards season, but I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something challenging to watch during this holiday season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


One of the most difficult Oscar categories to predict is Best Original Song. This is largely due to a nomination system that effectively allows you to vote against a song. In determining the nominees, the Academy members are shown clips of how the songs are used in the film. Alternatively, a lot of songs appear only in the closing credits, which would seem to put them at a disadvantage. Based on the Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations, there seem to be 7 prime contenders for that final Oscar shortlist:

"Hello Hello" by Elton John and Lady Gaga, Gnomeo and Juliet (check out the clip below)
"The Living Proof" by Mary J. Blige, The Help
"Life's A Happy Song" by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter, The Muppets (check out the clip below)
"Man or Muppet" by Jason Segel and Walter, The Muppets
"Pictures In My Head" by the Muppets, The Muppets
"Lay Your Head Down" by Sinead O'Connor, Albert Nobbs
"The Keeper" by Chris Cornell, Machine Gun Preacher

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: The Grapes Of Wrath (1940)

After a week's hiatus, Oldie Goldies is back with a real American classic - "The Grapes Of Wrath". This bleak portrayal of the Depression era can be a tough sit, but there's no denying its brilliance. The acting, script and cinematography are all remarkable. The film was rewarded with 7 Oscar nominations, winning 2 of them (Best Director and Best Supporting Actress).

Monday, December 19, 2011


Delightfully awkward. That’s how I would describe this debut feature by director Richard Ayoade. Up-and-comers Craig Roberts and Yasmin Page, along with veterans Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor, are all magnificent in their roles. Ayoade really has a promising career ahead of him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Golden Globe Nominations

The Golden Globe nominations dropped this morning and they were actually a strong list (especially after the embarrassing Comedy lineup last year). The biggest surprise nominee was "The Ides of March" which evidently played very well with the voters. The film picked up a much needed boost with 4 big nominations (Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay). I'm also really fascinated by the nomination of "In The Land Of Blood And Honey" in the foreign language category. Can't wait to see it. The full list of nominees:

Best Picture (Drama)
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn

Best Actor (Drama)

George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Best Actress (Drama)
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain , The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Director
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: SAG Nominations

Following on from yesterday's Critics Choice nominations, the SAG nominees were announced today. The most interesting inclusion was Demian Bichir in Best Actor for "A Better Life". Melissa McCarthy's campaign seems to really be gaining steam, with "Bridesmaids" also picking up a nod for Best Ensemble! Could a Best Picture nomination be in the works? The biggest snub was Hugo, which was completely shut out of the list (though that film wasn't heralded for its acting). Another surprise was the snub of Albert Brooks, who has been winning quite a few critics awards. Next up, the always amusing Golden Globe nominations! The full list of SAG nominees:

Ensemble (equivalent to the Best Picture Award)
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Critics Choice Nominations

The first group has announced and it seems like "Hugo" and "The Artist" are really gathering momentum. I find it amazing how much inside knowledge the Oscar bloggers really do have! All the nominees were mostly expected. Even the seemingly unrealistic hopes of Melissa McCarthy and Andy Serkis came to fruition.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Best Actor
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actress
Viola Davis, The Help
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Andrew Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Carey Mulligan, Shame
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Director
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

Saturday, December 10, 2011

AWARDS SEASON: The Frontrunners

With the first televised awards groups announcing their nominees from Tuesday onwards (Critics Choice, SAG, Golden Globes) it's time to take stock of the Best Picture race. This is definitely one of the strangest Oscar seasons in recent years. Firstly, we don't know how large the field will be (anywhere between 5-10 nominees). Also, it doesn't seem like there are that many "slam dunk" hits (critically and box-office) like last year (The Social Network, The King's Speech, True Grit, The Fighter, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, Inception). At this point last year we already knew 9 of the nominees, with Winter's Bone and The Town fighting for the 10th slot. Right know, it seems like the following 10 films have the strongest chances for Oscar glory, according to the experts...

1. The Artist
2. Hugo
3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
4. The Descendants
8. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
9. War Horse

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to catch that many of the potential nominees. At the moment, it seems like "The Artist" and "Hugo" will emerge as the consensus favourites. "The Artist" is expected to score well through virtually all the categories, while "Hugo" will certainly earn respect with Scorsese as director and also for its dazzling visuals (Costume Design, Visual Effects, Art Direction). At the end of this week we'll have a much better idea of which films will keep showing up on the awards circuit.


This post is coming slightly early this week as I'm off on holiday in Botswana. "The Ides Of March" is a gripping political thriller by the great talent that is George Clooney. The film succeeds in all aspects. The tight script and editing keeps your eyes glued to the screen. I absolutely loved the dialogue. The casting was perfect and the music give the film a very suspenseful atmosphere. Special mention must be made of Ryan Gosling, who has really transformed himself into a movie star this year with his various roles. He commands the screen, even when he is paired with Clooney. He really grabs you and takes on a journey with this character. I agree that the film doesn’t expose any new truths about the dirty nature of politics, but there is no denying that this is smart, riveting entertainment. The Oscar prospects are difficult to gauge on this one, as it got off to such a shaky start at its Venice premiere (which it never really recovered from). I think the best bets are for Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. If the film makes a strong comeback in the precursor awards, I think it could slip in for Best Picture and Best Editing as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Rebecca (1940)

This week's selection for Oldie Goldies is Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca". What a creepy film! He really knows how to create tension. The film was an Oscar success, taking home the trophies for Best Picture and Best Cinematography. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A ROTTEN TOMATO: Another Earth

It was a promising concept, but the actual film didn’t really work for me. I never really believed the characters. Also, the shaky, out-of-focus camera drove me crazy. Can someone please explain that “wtf” ending to me?!

Monday, December 5, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: After The Wedding

"After The Wedding" is a memorable film by Susanne Bier that touches on issues surrounding family and ideals. The mood and tone created by the cinematography, music and acting are all perfectly suited to this deeply touching story. The film’s main triumph is its incredibly fascinating characters, as I found myself intrigued by even the smallest supporting roles. I don’t know how you can’t be moved by this film.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

"Meet Me in St. Louis" is my ideal movie musical. It delivers memorable songs (which are seamlessly integrated into the story), lots of laughs and charming performances. I loved the subtle wit in many of the line readings, something that is rare in other more bombastic musicals. Judy Garland (Esther) is a treat to watch on screen, as she and Lucille Bremer (Rose) show the sly flirtatiousness of girls living in the more conservative early 1900’s. The film received 4 Oscar nominations – Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, Best Score and Best Screenplay.

Monday, November 28, 2011


In the film, Billy Beane’s daughter sings "just enjoy the show" and that’s exactly what I did with Moneyball. The film is like a glass of fine wine (as opposed to a couple shots of tequila) as it is pleasing and soothing without being overpowering. The film is more akin to an arthouse/indie drama than a riveting blockbuster sports movie. The skill of all involved is plain to see, as the film is artfully done. Brad Pitt gives an effortless, "lived-in" performance as Billy Beane, making you feel like you are watching an authentic live performance. I was also pleasantly surprised by the restrained performance by comedian Jonah Hill. His chemistry with Pitt was a joy to watch and I got the sense that Pitt’s brilliance forced him to step up his game. I also admired the score, as it really helped to create the atmosphere, without being over-manipulative. Last but not least, the highlight of this film was the masterful screenplay. The story captivated me all the way up to the credits.
In terms of Oscar potential, I expect great things. There should definitely be nominations (and possible wins) for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. I also think Jonah Hill is a definite possibility for Best Supporting Actor and the Editing is also deserving of a nod. Although I think the academy will go for more prominent "showy" work, I think nods for Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing could be on the cards as well. I hope the Academy embraces this film as much as I did, as it is my new favourite film of the year.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Margin Call

I saw this film more than a week ago, so it’s not entirely fresh in my mind. I have fond memories though, as “Margin Call” as an excellent film. The film has been picking up some late Oscar buzz following some unexpected success on the video-on-demand medium. Though I think it’s too small to gain any Best Picture traction, I think the entire cast is on their A-game and there are some truly Oscar-worthy performances among the bunch. Its hard to single anyone out, but it seems like Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey will get a push for Best Supporting Actor and I can fully support that. That category still seems wide open (the only “lock” right now is Christopher Plummer), so they definitely have a chance. The tight, thought-provoking screenplay contributes greatly to the film, so it might slip in to the Best Original Screenplay category. Only time will tell if this gets its Oscar story. Even without academy recognition this film deserves to be seen, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Diabolique (1954)

This week's choice for Oldie Goldies is a classic of French cinema. Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Diabolique" is a creepy (especially in the leadup towards the end) Hitchcockian film that really gets under your skin. The black and white cinematography really accentuates the scariness of the dark shadows.

Monday, November 21, 2011


"Charade" is an exciting, well-made film. The editing, acting, music, screenplay and cinematography are all top-notch. The overall design of the film is quintessential 60’s style. The film really makes good use of Grant’s charm and Hepburn’s beauty (costumed in Givenchy!).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner remake!

The LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs) is doing another edition of "LAMB Casting", where you can vote for your favourite fantasy cast of "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner". Head over there to vote (hopefully for my submission!).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: It Happened One Night (1934)

Frank Capra with his Best Director Oscar

This week’s choice for Oldie Goldies is Frank Capra’s "It Happened One Night". As one of the last romantic comedies before the introduction of the MPAA’s production code, the film is underlined by some very subtle sexual undercurrents. To me, the highlight of the film was the slick performance of Clark Gable. The film created history at the Oscars, becoming the first film to win the "Big Five" (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay).

Monday, November 14, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is an entertaining film that captures the essence of 1940’s Hollywood. The acting, sets, costumes etc are all reminiscent of classic film noir. To this day, the special effects are still impressive.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Best of 2004

2004 was one of my favourite years in film, with 6 films making my Top 20 of the Decade! Check out the list below, which starts with my number #1 - Million Dollar Baby.

Million Dollar Baby
Finding Neverland
The Motorcycle Diaries
Hotel Rwanda
Shrek 2
Kill Bill Vol 2
Vera Drake
Team America: World Police

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Mildred Pierce (1945)

Joan Crawford receives her Best Actress Oscar(in bed!)

I wasn't able to find a classic film that I loved last week, but "Oldie Goldies" is back as I check out "Mildred Pierce". In retrospect, I kinda prefer the recent mini-series as it is truer to the book and features a deliciously devious and sensuous performance by Evan Rachel Wood as Veda (Ann Blyth is way too tame in the original version). I did however appreciate the film noir elements of the 1945 version, which gave the story some added tension. The film was nominated for 6 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and 2 nods for Best Supporting Actress) with Joan Crawford getting the win for Best Actress.

Monday, November 7, 2011


"The Karate Kid" is a true 80's gem. I rented this recently and was shocked to realize that I actually hadn't properly watched it before (only the Hilary Swank sequel and the 2010 remake). I was really surprised by how well the story held up over the years. Yes, the soundtrack is often too chessy and "on the nose" but hey, it's the 80's! The story still resonates in contemporary society though, showing the truth about the high school experience. We see a genuinely nice young man being bullied (ugh, don't ya just hate bullies?), forcing him to find a way to fight back. Next-door neighbour Mr. Miyagi steps in and the effortless chemistry between him and "Daniel-san" is a joy to behold. It's truly one of the most endearing friendships ever captured on film. Daniel learns about discipline and never complains as he trains under his new friend and teacher. By the end of the film, you find yourself rooting for him like he's your own brother.

Monday, October 31, 2011


"Contagion" is an intense thriller that lives up to the pedigree of its cast and director. The plot unfolds at a riveting pace that really keeps you glued to the screen. The real possibility of a similar disaster makes this into quite an unsettling film. The virus is as frightening as any monster from a horror movie. It’s really scary to see how quickly a deadly virus can spread. I recently watched Spike Lee’s “When The Levees Broke” and the pandemonium is reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that was captured in that documentary. I like how the film shows the sometimes inefficient nature of bureaucracy that forces our trusted officials to be slow to act during an impending crisis. This film is highly recommended, but if you are already a germophobe, you might want to stay away!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Large Association of Movie Blogs
Over at the LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs), they do a regular feature called - "LAMB Acting School 101". This month they are highlighting one of my favourite actresses - Kate Winslet. She's one of those actors that forces me to watch any film that they are a part of. For my submission to the blog-a-thon, I look at my 3 favourite scenes from her films. Click below to check them out:

Friday, October 28, 2011

COMING SOON: The Muppets

I have no shame in saying that "The Muppets" is one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. As if I wasn't excited enough, the marketing strategy for the film has been absolutely brilliant. Particularly, they have spoofed some of 2011's major films! Check them out below. "The Muppets" hits theatres on November 23.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Dial M For Murder (1954)

This week on Oldie Goldies I choose a classic murder mystery by the master of the genre - Alfred Hitchcock. "Dial M For Murder" tells a brilliant story of deceit that gets just gets better as the plot unfolds.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte are excellent in “Warrior”, a good film that unfortunately suffers from a relatively dull first half. Hardy in particular is a beast in his role, giving a hint to a potentially showstopping performance in “The Dark Knight Rises” next year. As mentioned, the film really picks up after the first half, as the focus shifts towards the big competition at the end. There are some really riveting scenes both in the ring and behind the scenes, where all the family drama plays out. I especially liked the handling of the ending, which is too often obvious and cliché. In this case, it was played just right and left me quite satisfied at the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Modern Times (1936)

On a previous edition of "Oldie Goldies" I looked at Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. This week I am pleased to highlight another gem from the Chaplin collection - "Modern Times". This film is pure entertainment, delivering endless laughs through audacious visual gags.

Monday, October 17, 2011


"On Golden Pond" is an excellent film about love, family and life. The script really delivered some well-developed characters, ably showcased by fine acting from the entire cast. I absolutely loved Henry Fonda, who turns in a true masterclass of acting. He is sharp and witty, with some of his line readings leaving me in fits of laughter. Katherine Hepburn is also delightful as the sweet grandmother archetype. The only thing that could have been better was the music, which leaned a bit too schmaltzy at times.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Goodbye summer, it's Oscar time. Seems like just yesterday that the "The King's Speech" took top honours, but here we are getting ready for another awards season. Expect this Oscar race to be fierce, as the number of Best Picture nominees could be anywhere between 5 and 10. Based on what's been released already, The Help, The Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris seem to be only candidates for end-of-year recognition. I've seen Midnight in Paris and I'm currently on the fence about its chances (as of October 14, I have now also seen The Help, Drive and The Tree of Life). Also, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 got some premature Oscar buzz which has virtually disappeared since its astounding front-loaded box office. Below are the 23 major players for this fall/winter season. The Best Picture nominees will come from this list, you can bet on it. It's gonna be a busy time at the movies, as there are lots more that could have been included in this list. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Here’s another great classic for you on Oldie Goldies, this week is “The Wizard of Oz”. The film is really remarkable for its stunning cinematography, memorable characters and music, and its elaborate sets and costumes. The film got Oscar nods for these technical categories (Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects) and won for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. In addition, the film was also nominated for the big one - Best Picture.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011



Monday, October 10, 2011

A ROTTEN TOMATO: The Outsiders

What a mess. It played like an overlong episode of a bad high school drama series. At least the cast went on to greater things.


Don’t you just love it when a film exceeds your expectations? Some of the snarky critics' reviews led me to think that this film would be lite and cheesy. However, I found it to be quite heartfelt and poignant. The music was pleasantly subdued and the story was very moving. This is a real crowd-pleaser. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry. In my theatre, you almost had to yank people out of their seats during the credits. The film features one of the best female acting ensembles ever. Seriously, I could fill the Supporting Actress category with characters from “The Help” alone (Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek). The biggest revelation was Chastain who really amazed me with her interpretation of her character. I was stunned that she could look so sexy after playing such a normal-looking housewife in "The Tree of Life". She is really her own biggest competitor, as she keeps turning in magnificent performances this year! Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are as good as everyone has been saying, though I am on the fence about whether Davis should be considered supporting or lead. If she can go on to win Best Actress, I would be perfectly happy with that. To me, this is a sure contender for Best Picture. I could also see it getting nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Costume Design. As mentioned before, Davis and Spencer are safe bets for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress and I am also holding out hope for Chastain for another Best Supporting Actress nod. Bridesmaids held strong for a while, but this is now my favourite film of 2011 so far.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Casablanca (1942)

Michael Curtiz receives his Best Director Oscar

This week’s selection for "Oldie Goldies" is one of the most famous moves of all time - Casablanca. Well-known for its romantic aspects, I appreciated it more as an excellent World War II story. This timeless classic also features some of the most famous movie quotes of all time. At the Oscars, the film won for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay in addition to its nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Score.

Monday, October 3, 2011


"Drive" is a slick, cool film by Nicolas Winding Refn that could potentially become a classic. Although the violence was off-putting at times, the film had a great style to it, from the groovy soundtrack to the cinematography to the costuming. This is really a star vehicle (no pun intended) for Ryan Gosling, which seemed to elevate Carey Mulligan’s performance through some insane chemistry. His chilling performance should make him a serious contender for a Best Actor nomination. Mulligan could definitely ride some of his Oscar buzz and earn a nomination, but it’s a long shot. Albert Brooks also shines in a fairly small role timewise and a Best Supporting Actor nomination is a definite possibility. The film was surprisingly short and straightforward (I wanted more!), which may hurt its screenplay chances. Hence, I think the new Oscar rules could benefit this film, as it should definitely land lots of #1 votes. Assuming the score is eligible, the film could be looking at nods for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score. I haven’t seen many notices from the major pundits, but I thought the editing was fantastic, so I think a nod for Best Editing is on the cards too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: The Tree Of Life

"The Tree of Life" is a true Terrence Malick film. It's an excellent showcase of outstanding cinematography. At times however, I felt some of the nature sequences were overkill. It was like they were showing off their visual skills without any real purpose. I also found the film to be too long, as I really began to lose interest in the 2nd half. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened. A bit more editing could have resulted in a more engaging experience.
In terms of Oscar, I think it will be difficult to find a mass number of academy members who will put this as their absolute favourite of the year. It’s just too abstract. Malick commands a lot of respect, but so does Martin Scorcese, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg. The film lacks any real narrative or dialogue, so I can’t see a screenplay nod happening either. I feel the same about the possibilities for acting nominations. The cast really didn’t have much to do (why were movie stars like Penn and Pitt needed?). There really were some absolutely beautiful moments though, largely due to the camerawork, visual effects and music. Hence, I think a nomination for Best Cinematography is a safe bet in addition to a possible nod for Best Visual Effects. Though it didn't completely work for me, the film really is a must-see (preferably on the big screen).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: The Bad Seed (1956)

This week’s pick for "Oldie Goldies" is the 1956 classic "The Bad Seed". The film remarkably manages to be one of the creepiest film experiences without showing any violence. The well-written characters are perfectly played by the superb cast, who say so much with subtle facial expressions. The camera work is also great, setting up some interesting perspectives. The film was honored with 3 truly deserving nominations for actresses Eileen Heckart, Nancy Kelly (Best Supporting Actress) and Patty McCormack (Best Actress). The cinematography also received an Oscar nod.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Kramer vs. Kramer

"Kramer vs Kramer" is a touching film featuring true movie star performances by Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the title roles. The acting really elevated the simple script, with even Justin Henry giving a great performance as the kid caught in the custody battle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Roman Holiday (1953)

Audrey Hepburn with her Best Actress Oscar

It took me a while to find an "Oldie Goldie" for this week, but I finally found one. This week's pick is "Roman Holiday" a delightful little film from director William Wyler. The film features 2 absolutely charming performances from Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. In addition, the Roman architecture is really beautiful. The film did pretty well at the Oscars, winning 3 statues (Best Actress, Best Costume Design and Best Story). It was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Picture and an additional writing nod for Best Screenplay).

Monday, September 19, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: The Untouchables

"The Untouchables" is an impeccably produced film by Brian DePalma. The film is a great homage to the series it is based on. At times, I really felt like I was watching a 50’s action movie. Although this made it seem campy at time, it really emphasized the attention to detail. The film features good music, sets and some well-constructed action set-ups. Even the sound-effects payed tribute to classic actioners. The acting was great too, especially Sean Connery and Robert Deniro (Kevin Costner was a bit cringeworthy at times though).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: The Defiant Ones (1958)

The Defiant Ones is a wonderful film headlined by the great collaboration of Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier as 2 escaped convicts (one black, one white) in the racist south. The 2 men are chained together and are forced to co-operate (interestingly, they had racial prejudices themselves) to avoid re-capture. The film did pretty well at the Oscars, earning 9 nominations (Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Film Editing and of course, Best Picture). In the end, the film walked away with statues for Cinematography and Screenplay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: The Muppets Take Manhattan

This wasn't the best movie I saw this week, but it was perhaps the most memorable. It really put a smile on my face. I love the fully-realized personalities of all the characters. Although it's a children's film, the script was smart enough to be appreciated by adults. The muppets were hilarious, eliciting some huge belly laughs from me. Can't wait for the new installment coming out later this year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Starlets Resurrected!

Ok, this is like the coolest thing ever. Grace Kelly! Marlene Dietrich! Marilyn Monroe! Oh yeah, Charlize Theron is there too.

OLDIE GOLDIES: The Kid (1921)

For this week's "Oldie Goldies" I finally watched my first silent film - The Kid. Having never been exposed to Chaplin before, I was pleasantly surpised by how engaging the film was. It really showed how effective you can be with mere facial expressions and physical comedy.

Monday, September 5, 2011


"Even The Rain" is a scathing reflection on our capitalist global society and the exploitation that still exists around the world. This "film within a film within a film" is well-executed, without being too preachy. I loved that it didn’t blatantly choose sides, exposing how hypocritical we all are. It even got me wondering if the filmmakers also took advantage of the extras for their "cheap labour"! This is another excellent film from Gael García Bernal, who seems to have a knack for chosing great projects.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)

This week's pick for "Oldie Goldies" is "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", based on a Tennessee Williams play. The film features sensational performances all around and a great script. As a result, the film was nominated for 6 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Best of 2005

Here's another year's best list for ya. This was the year before I got Netflix and my tastes have changed a bit since then. Might be completely different list if I watched these movies today. I recently re-watched "Crash" and it wasn't as impressive as I remembered it. I already put it in my top 10 for my "Best of the Decade" list, so for the sake of consistency I have kept it in the #1 spot for 2005. Here are my top 20 films of 20, in order of #1 (Crash) to #20 (Monster-in-Law)

Pride and Prejudice
V for Vendetta
Diary of a Mad Black Woman
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Wedding Crashers
Batman Begins
Sometimes in April
As It Is In Heaven

Monday, August 29, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: The Man From Nowhere

"The Man From Nowhere" is a hidden gem from South Korea that is gripping from start to finish. Like typical South Korean cinema, it is a brutal, violent revenge tale, featuring a stellar performance by Bin Won as the title character. This guy is a true movie star with charisma to spare (see also his performance in “Mother”). I really hope he continues to get good roles and gets noticed in this side of the world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

On this week's "Oldie Goldies" we take a look at a film featuring 2 icons of cinema - Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. "Bringing Up Baby" is a film that in restrospect, seemed to be "ahead of its time" as it was not well-received upon its inital release. Nowadays, it's viewed as a classic. It's truly a fun riot from start to finish.

Monday, August 22, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Midnight In Paris

I finally caught up with "Midnight In Paris" and I am glad to see that Woody is back to his usual witty self (after the atrocity that was "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger"). The film was very charming and definitely possessed that extra Woody Allen quirkiness to it. The film was well-cast, with Owen Wilson fitting well into the lead role. I also thought Rachel McAdams did a good job and I loved seeing Adrien Brody hamming it up as Salvador Dali. In terms of its Oscar chances, I can really only foresee a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The Academy loves Woody and this film really showcases his excellent writing skills. He really is one of the best scripters of romantic comedies. The film is doing well with audiences and critics alike, but I personally felt it was a bit too light to merit a Best Picture nomination. I think it would have been a virtual lock under the old 10-nominee system, but I can't see it getting those 1st place votes required by the new rules. I'm no expert though, as I was way off the mark with "Winter's Bone" last year (it ended up with 4 nominations!).

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (aka the worst film title of the year) is an incredibly fascinating film by director Rupert Wyatt. The script is lean and well organized, as the sequence of the events build up to each other perfectly without any unnecessary plot details. The visual effects work really was exceptional, as we were able to really get into the soul of Cesar and the other apes. As a result, the film was deeply unnerving at times, as the apes were so human-like, but with the frightening beastly power of apes. I really appreciated that the filmmakers choice to be so conservative with the ape attacks (there were no bloody human back-breaking scenes for example) as it really allows you to remain sympathetic with the liberation element of the story.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Hmm, after watching "Blue" (the first in the "Three Colours" trilogy) I was left a bit disappointed. I appreciated its artistic merits, but I just couldn't get into the story.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Ben-Hur (1959)

Charlton Heston with his Best Actor Oscar

This week's pick for "Oldie Goldies" is 1959's Ben-Hur. The production is an epic in every sense of the word - the music, the showy acting, the long runtime, the costumes etc. As a result, the film was nominated for 12 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay), winning 11 of them (everything but Adapted Screenplay).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sabrina remake!

The LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs) is doing a re-casting of 1954's "Sabrina". One of the proposed casts is my submission. Check them out here and vote!

Click here for the poll


Yes, I am embarrassed to admit this. I had never seen "E.T." until this year(if I did, it was when I was very young). Nobody makes a summer blockbuster like Spielberg. This movie was awesome, there’s nothing much else to say. By the time the kids flew above their pursuers on their bikes, I was clapping and hollering. Absolutely loved it. BTW, how freakin adorable is Drew Barrymore in this movie?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: Pinocchio (1940)

This week on "Oldie Goldies", I decided to look at one of Disney's earliest animated films - "Pinocchio". The film just has so much heart and is a great moral lesson for kids. At the Academy Awards, the film took home the prizes for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, for the now-famous Disney theme "When You Wish Upon A Star".

Monday, August 8, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Captain America

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is yet another successful production by the Marvel team. The film was everything you could want from a summer film. A bit campy at times, but I guess it was period-appropriate. The visual effects work on the “skinny” Chris Evans was cool, even though it seemed gimmicky at times. The film actually worked best outside of the action scenes, fueled by a brilliant supporting cast (Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell and Hugo Weaving).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

OLDIE GOLDIES: 12 Angry Men (1957)

On this week's edition of "Oldie Goldies", I decided to look at the Sidney Lumet classic courtroom drama "12 Angry Men". The film is a fascinating look at what goes in a jury room. One of the things I really loved is that it addresses the issue of prejudice based on socio-economic, rather than racial factors. The film was nominated for 3 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Wow, Alejandro González Iñárritu really doesn’t know how to portray happiness, does he? This is yet another solemn film from this great director. I think this is his darkest one yet! This film was really bleak. I kept waiting for a glimmer of hope or joy, but the film just wouldn’t let up. I really respect that about Innaritu, as he decides the tone of the film and has the balls to carry it all the way through (unlike uneven films such as “Love And Other Drugs”). I must say, Javier Bardem’s performance was definitely Oscar worthy. He brought me to tears. The gritty cinematography also added greatly to the dark tone. The film is a great character study (and not just for the lead character) and I think it would be even more rewarding after a second look. I don’t think I can put myself through that depression again though. Don’t watch this film if you are going through a rough patch in your life. It will probably make you feel worse.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

OSCAR WATCH: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Most of the summer blockbusters have been released, so you know what that means. It's time for the Oscar season to begin. The first film in this season's Oscar Watch is - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2". After 10 years, this highly successful film series has finally come to an end...and what a thrilling end it was! I think the quality of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is due to the many years spent perfecting the craft. The acting and the overall production value were first-rate. I definitely enjoyed the film, but I still wanted more. Maybe it's the fanboy in me that wanted this to be longer. Otherwise, I have no complaints. Now, there's some talk around the blogs of a possible Best Picture nomination. I'm not convinced, as I really can't see Academy voters going for this, especially with the new rules. I do think they will honor it with a bunch of nominations (and maybe wins) in the technical categories though. I would say it's a lock for nominations in Art Direction and Visual Effects. It may also get nods for Cinematography, Original Score, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A ROTTEN TOMATO: 2001: A Space Odyssey

This film really tested my patience. The visuals were absolutely stunning, but after a while I got tired of the endless shots of spacecraft floating through space. The opening “Dawn Of Man” section was fascinating and the final sequence was cool. Apart from those parts however, I just couldn't get into it.

OLDIE GOLDIES: Lady and the Tramp (1955)

This is the first edition in a new series called "Oldie Goldies", where I will highlight great films from the pre-1960's era (also known as the "Golden Age of Hollywood") that I love. Each week or so, I will focus on one film and look at the various aspects that make it so special. The world of classic cinema was quite new to me, as my immature young tastes caused me to avoid them. Alas, I have been enlightened! First up is a childhood fave - "Lady and the Tramp".

Monday, July 25, 2011


"The Graduate" is an excellent film that is well-crafted in all aspects. It’s anchored by an impeccable screenplay that really rang true for me (apart from the crazy affairs of course). I’m sure many of us can relate to that post-graduation slump where you just wanna vegetate for the entire summer. Of course, your well-meaning pushy parents are there to constantly pressure you, constantly asking “What are you going to do with your life?”. I loved all the characters, particularly Mrs. Robinson who I both empathized with and loathed through various points of the film. Of course, I must mention the star-making performance by Dustin Hoffman as the title character. He really breathed life into the role. Finally, I liked the camera-work and the eclectic Simon & Garfunkel score which gave it a nice 60's touch.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This film was completely unnecessary (as sequels usually are). The story was just so bland. It lacked the chilling atmosphere and genuine thrills that the first 2 films had in spades. The visual effects were also terrible in some scenes, like unfinished CGI. Really felt like a straight-to-video release to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This week's entry is the season finale of the Hit me with your best shot series and I was introduced to yet another famous film – Rebel Without A Cause. The title couldn’t be more perfect, as the film really got me thinking about my teenage years and the silly things I did just for the sake of rebellion. Seriously, two people ended up dying because someone got called a chicken! I’m sure many of us can remember how melodramatic we were at that age, hating our parents for no reason, and feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders. Yes, the 3 main characters did have some minor problems at home, but they had food, clothes, shelter and loving parents (except for Plato maybe). But teenagers still find a reason to be angry. Like Judy’s mom says “it’s just the age when nothing fits”. The movie also shows how vulnerable we are at this age, as we are so easily influenced by our family and our peers. I was particularly intrigued by the development of the friendship between Jim (James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo) throughout the course of the day. Hence, my favourite shot my focuses on these characters.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Monday, July 18, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Strictly Ballroom

"Strictly Ballroom" is an infectious little film by the colourful Australian director Baz Luhrmann. In his directing debut, Luhrmann already showcases his skill at filming the theme of love and his impeccable ear for music. His love of music and the performance arts in general shines through in every film he makes. I’ve now seen all of his films (there are only 4) and this is actually my favourite one. If you like dance movies, I guarantee you’ll have a great time with this one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


This week on Hit me with your best shot, we checked out James Cameron’s action/horror/sci-fi/thriller classic “Aliens”. However you categorize it, it’s great entertainment. I must confess, I had avoided the Aliens quadrilogy until now (I’m not a big fan of horror films). In preparation for this, I watched “Alien” and was so affected by it that I had nightmares that night! These films were major achievements in visual effects (winning that Oscar for the first 2 films and getting a nod for the 3rd) with some of the ugliest, scariest monsters ever put on screen. Halfway through viewing this 2nd installment, I checked the time and was shocked to realize that there was still more than an hour of frightening thrills left (there are just so many frickin aliens to kill!). In true James Cameron style, the film delivers virtually non-stop action up to the very end. The man is really an expert as this stuff, as there are some really awesome shots throughout, managing to find the beauty amidst all the mayhem.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Monday, July 11, 2011


Absolutely LOVED this movie. One of the most charming films I have ever seen. The chemistry between the 3 main characters (Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette) is amazing. The three of them gave awards-worth performances in my opinion. The script is really brilliant, you can tell that it’s based on a well-written novel. Outrageously witty in the true British style, with some heartfelt, sentimental moments as well. There are so many layers to each of the characters. It was so intriguing to watch. I didn't want this film to end.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Rocco And His Brothers

This week on Hit me with your best shot, we watched a great Italian film called “Rocco and his brothers”. As the title suggests, the film focuses on the Pardoni brothers (Rocco, Simone, Vincenzo, Ciro and Luca) and how their lives are affected by the beautiful prostitute Nadia. To me, Nadia was the most fascinating character. She was also greatly impacted by her relationships with the brothers. I wish she had even more screen time. Hence, my favourite shot highlights her character.

When we first meet Nadia, we are instantly hinted at her man-eating ways. She teases Vincenzo with a kiss, barely a minute into their first conversation. She starts off as a confident seductress, but as she gets involved with the brothers she becomes increasingly vulnerable and fragile, leading to her ultimate demise. As was the case with the similar character of Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire) earlier in this series, this tough outer shell eventually breaks down.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Monday, July 4, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: In The Mood For Love

Kar Wai Wong's “In the mood for love” surprised me greatly. I had seen his other critically-acclaimed film “Chungking Express” and I actually gave it a rotten tomato tag. Interestingly enough, I really liked this one. I was captivated by the story, the characters, the costumes and the music. It was all perfectly assembled. The film as a whole is delicate and restrained. However, when the 2 main characters are together, the camera work and music really project a slow-burning tension. The actors were really tremendous, as they showed that on-screen chemistry doesn't have to be visibly fiery and passionate. Arthouse cinema at its best.

Monday, June 27, 2011

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Bridesmaids

Well, the critics were definitely right on this one. “Bridesmaids” is THAT good. The film is truly hilarious and had me laughing even after I left the theatre. What surprised me the most however, was the more dramatic 2nd half of the film, which was "pitch-perfect". I must single out Kristen Wiig who really gives a star-making performance and I would be surprised if she doesn’t pick up a Golden Globe nomination. My favourite film of the year so far.