Thursday, May 31, 2012

20 Most Anticipated Performances of 2012

Time seems to be going by really quickly isn't it? Cannes is already over and summer is well underway with big blockbusters like "The Avengers". This list is a bit late, but the major Oscar performances are still yet to come anyway. These aren't exactly my Oscar predictions. Rather, these are the performances that I'm most excited to see. For me, good acting and writing are the most essential components for excellence in film-making. Most of these selections are based on good vibes from the trailers I've seen. So without further ado, here are my Top 20 Most Anticipated Acting Performances of 2012:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

OLDIE GOLDIES: Easter Parade (1948)

Hit me with your best shot is on a mid-season break, so in the meantime I'm gonna bring you some more "Oldie Goldies"! I already blogged about "Easter Parade" for "Hit me..." but I really did enjoy it, so I'm featuring it again. Judy Garland and Fred Estaire are just so delightful in this fun musical. The music is in this film is lovely, resulting in an Oscar win at the 1949 ceremony.

Monday, May 28, 2012

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Take This Waltz

This week's "Movie of the Week" is a film that just barely misses excellence. In "Take This Waltz", director Sarah Polley that deals with the complexities of infidelity. It's an interesting take on the subject, as the lead character (played by Michelle Williams) is happily married and vehemently tries to avoid cheating on her husband (played by Seth Rogen). It's yet another mesmerizing performance by Williams who adds many layers to her character. She makes it virtually impossible to not care about how her character ends up. Rogen too, works surprisingly well as the simple, nice guy husband. Also playing slightly against type is Sarah Silverman, in her most affecting work to date. As I indicated before, I do have some issues with the film. I find the "dorky-quirky" banter (particularly between Rogen and Williams) a bit forced at times and I have problems with where the story goes in the end. That being said, there are some really strong scenes in the film. A couple brilliant monologues give each member of the principal cast their time to shine and also give the viewer some food for thought. Overall, this film doesn't match up to the director's previous film "Away From Her", but Williams' fantastic performance makes it worthwhile.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

ACTING SCHOOL: Cate Blanchett

Large Association of Movie Blogs
The LAMB is back with another edition of "LAMB Acting School 101" and I'm delighted that the featured actor is Cate Blanchett. She's one of my absolute favourites. I feel like there is nothing she can't do. Here are my 3 favourite scenes from her filmography:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Hit me with your best shot continues this week with the Joan Crawford starrer "Possessed". The film is aptly named because Crawford’s character (Louise) is consumed by her infatuation for David Sutton (played by Van Heflin) . Her obsession drives her to paranoia and results in unfounded guilt, jealousy and hallucinations. In other words, that b**** was crazy! The film definitely has great camerawork, but it has a certain fluid quality that doesn’t easily lend itself to creating memorable still images. The main takeaway from this film is Crawford’s performance. She was the perfect choice for the role and her Oscar nomination was well-deserved. Hence, my favourite shot focuses on her.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Monday, May 21, 2012

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Mississippi Burning

It was tough to choose a "Movie of the Week", but at the last hour I found a strong film worthy of a review. "Mississippi Burning" is a crime drama surrounding the disappearance of 3 civil rights workers in 1964 Mississippi. This powerful civil rights drama does a good job at showing the atmosphere of hatred during this era in the South. It almost did too good a job for me, as I like my civil rights dramas a bit more sugarcoated (e.g. "The Help"). Call me naive, but depictions of violent racism get me so upset that it often prevents me from appreciating a good film. While this film is indeed tough to sit through, I have to admire it for it's outstanding screenplay. The plot unfolds at a deliberate pace, but with a clear purpose. Futhermore, I must praise the performances of Gene Hackman and Frances McDormand. They both deliver the brilliant dialogue so well and Hackman is just so damn badass. You may think you've seen this before, but this Oscar-nominated film is definitely worth a look. It's well-edited, well-written, well-shot, and deftly directed. It basically has all the qualities of a good film.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Remaking Interiors!

The LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs) is doing another edition of "LAMB Casting" where we propose new casts for older films. This time we are remaking Woody Allen's "Interiors". Head over there and vote for your favourite cast. One of them is mine!

Click here for the poll:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Edward Scissorhands

This week on Hit me with your best shot, we looked at the first Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration – "Edward Scissorhands". This was my 2nd time watching this film and I loved it even more. On my first viewing, I almost dismissed it as a light, quirky film. This time however, I found the story to be incredibly rich and detailed. I won’t get into review-like details since this is about our favourite visuals. As we have come to expect from a Tim Burton production, this film is impeccably designed. The sets, costumes and makeup/hair are perfection and they serve a purpose to the story. This film is definitely a good choice for this series. With regards to the story, I definitely picked up on some very prominent themes throughout. For my favourite shot, I will highlight the theme of friendship.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TOP 10: Best Actresses Relay Race

Earlier this month, Myfilmviews started a fun blogathon called "The Ten: Best Actresses of All Time". It's a relay race where bloggers contribute by removing and adding an actress to maintain a running top 10 list. This race continues by passing it on to another blogger and now it's my turn! Here are the previous legs of the race:

The Velvet Cafe
Martin Teller
The Movie Review Warehouse
Benefits of a Classical Education
Just Another Movie Blog

Now here is the list as I received it from Steve:

Monday, May 14, 2012


I didn't get around to much movie-watching this week, but I did find something that I enjoyed well enough. "Kinky Boots" is a light comedy featuring a stellar performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor. For my money, it's his best performance to date. It may not be the most brilliant screenwriting, but I recommend this film just for him. He plays a drag queen with ease and confidence without resorting to caricature. If you liked "The Full Monty", I'm sure you'll enjoy this as well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This week’s pick for Hit me with your best shot was "The Exorcist". This movie is seriously disturbing and I kinda hate Nathaniel for making me watch it again (not really). The film definitely has lots of shocking images to choose from for a best shot. Apart from the iconic scenes with the possessed Regan, there are some subliminal flashes of the demon throughout that are truly terrifying. What I found most interesting in this viewing was how the characters adamantly refused to believe that she was actually possessed. In a recent interview, director William Friedkin said that he wanted the film to focus on this mystery of faith (rather than the horror aspects). As I watched the film I thought this concept really came across perfectly. In the early part of the film, Regan goes through some really intense tests in an attempt to figure out her illness (they often reminded me of those brain-washing scenes in "A Clockwork Orange"). They just couldn't put their faith in this notion of a demonic presence.

In real life, I think people would freak out if there were such blatantly obvious signs of a supernatural presence (furniture moving on its own, spinning heads etc). In most horror movies the monster initially appears to only a few people, resulting in an understandable "false alarm" situation. This demon however, is one bad mofo and wants the whole world to know it. My favourite shot therefore touches on this innate desire for rationality in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 LAMMY AWARDS: Nominate Me!

Are you a current member of the LAMB (The Large Association of Movie Blogs)? Do you enjoy reading my blog? Then nominate me for the 2012 LAMMY awards! Check out my FYC Poster below to see which categories I am specifically campaigning for. Then click here for the poll:

Monday, May 7, 2012

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Catch Me If You Can

"Catch Me If You Can" is a fun, entertaining movie from Steve Spielberg. It features a fine cast and an amusing plot which seems almost too incredible to be true. At times it's actually "laugh out loud" funny. Leonardo DiCaprio is perfectly cast as con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., putting his charms to good use. It's one of his best performances (although I think he's always great) as he uses clever ways of embodying a teenage spirit even while the character (and he himself) are more mature. As expected from John Williams, the film also boasts a strong score, in addition to some nice period details in the costuming and set design. This is popcorn entertainment done right.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Best of 2003

Normally I wait until I find at least 20 personal 5-star movies to do a "Best of the Year" list, but I guess 2003 was just a weak year for me. However, 2003 does include my favourite film of all time - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". Here are my top 10 films of 2003 (from #1-10):

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Mystic River
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The Last Samurai
Big Fish
School of Rock
Cold Mountain

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Hit me with your best shot is back-to-back this week, as today we look at the Sundance hit – "Pariah". This coming of age tale is an excellent vehicle for the talents of director Dee Rees and a shining breakthrough performance of Adepero Oduye in the lead role. In this study of sexual expression in urban society, the film highlights the concepts of appearances and perceptions.

Click below for my favourite shot...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


"Hit me with your shot" is back again this week showcasing a phenomenal film – "Raise The Red Lantern". If you are reading this and you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. The film tells the story about a wealthy man and his concubines all living under one roof. The story is all about traditions and customs, mainly surrounding the red lantern and foot massages and to a lesser extent, the selection of the dinner menu. These 3 things determine the brief balance of power among the mistresses of the household. To obtain these things, the women play a constant series of mindgames to gain the upper hand. In order to succeed, these women must realize their own unique talents that will please the master. The 2nd mistress gives great massages, Mistress #3 is a former opera singer and the newly arrived Mistress #4 (the lead character played by Gong Li) brings her youthful beauty. The aging Mistress #1 knows she is past her prime and stays in the background. She is very wise however, giving Mistress #4 the most useful advice upon their brief meeting – "Get on well with your sisters. Serve the master well." The other women know this and ensure that a peaceful co-existence is maintained. They know the trick is to engage in subtle sabotage, but Mistress #4 becomes power-hungry and takes it too far.

Click below for my favourite shot...