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.