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
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, October 10, 2011
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
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
"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).