"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top 10 movies of 2010!

As the year winds down, it's time to look back and check back at the movies that made 2010 great.  It should be noted that while this is a top ten list, there are many good movies of 2010 as yet unreleased here in India and therefore I did not get to see them.  So, therefore, this is a list of the top ten movies I saw in 2010.  This is in no random order but I am kind of rating it in order of preference so here goes.  And I'm sure you can guess my all-too-predictable number one film.

1) INCEPTION: How much do I love this movie? Let me count the ways.  This movie has all the requirements that make it great in my book: tortured characters with plenty of angst, a screenplay that delivers, stunning visuals, stellar cast of actors, soundtrack that complements the film and a director whose imagination brings it all together.  And, oh yeah, let's not forget about that ending.  It's the ending that cinches it all for me.  You had me at spinning top!  My vote for best film of the year.

2) THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Another good film that is on the top of every critic's list.  How is it that movie about Facebook become so popular? How could it not? The "origin" story of how the one of the world's most popular social networking sites may not be all factual but it sure is entertaining.  Led by Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg and a young cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Rooney Mara, the film contains some of the best dialogues of the year and is fascinating from start to finish.  Come Oscar night, this is going to be a contender for sure.

The rest of my list under the cut...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Around the World with Posters!-

Been awhile since I put some new posters.  Here are some of upcoming movies next year.  

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are being followed by a mysterious man in a hat.  Run faster!

Vague-ish looking poster for The Battle for LA.  Ominous donut holes in the sky...

More posters of Hop, Rango, The Smurfs and more after the cut.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What I've Been Up to: Not Blogging! But still watching movies...

These end of the year holidays have seriously made me so lazy.  I seem to want to do absolutely nothing...except watch movies that is.  I had a marathon session of movie watching yesterday which was so much fun.  Nothing but back to back movies.  It was in order of movies watched I Could Never Be Your Woman, Memento, Revolutionary Road, Julie & Julia and Dinner for Schmucks.  Yeah, it's an eclectic bunch of films.  It was nice to watch it with a fellow film fan and colleague of mine who watched the films with perfect concentration and attention to detail.  Brava!  Why can't I find more people like her in theater when I go to watch films?  The big downside to theaters usually is the audience.

Anyways, back to the movies, watching Memento after all these years was still exhilarating.  And after seeing so many Christopher Nolan films, it's nice to see the same touches present in his first big film.  He does seem to feature husbands fixated with the memory of their dead wife a lot, no?  First Memento, Prestige and of course, Inception.  I still love the backwards storytelling device.  Still innovative, still deeply layered.  Wouldn't expect anything else from the Nolan brothers.

Revolutionary Road was downright depressing (in a good way) even though I could help but think "Kate and Leo" over and over throughout the movie.  It was so good to see them together after Titanic.  And what fine actors they are, their performances are devastating.  Their last fight was really hard to watch.  I know moaned on about this on Twitter already but I'm really ready to see both Kate and Leo together in a film that has a happy ending this time.  We fans are totally ready for it.  Please? Pretty please?

Finally, I wish I could have ended the movie marathon with just Julie & Julia.  Although I had seen it before, Meryl Streep's joyful performance as Julia Childs is hard to resist.  After that, I ended the day with Dinner for Schmucks a very unfunny remake of a French film, The Dinner Game.  This was one of the first French comedies I seen in college when I was learning French and I loved it.  I could actually understand a few of the jokes without relying on the subtitles all the time.  I hated what the American version did to the original premise.  This was the second mediocre Paul Rudd movie of the day and I didn't like it.  I think I'll have to watch I Love You Man again.  The material simply didn't suit him.  If you get a chance, watch the original French version.  You won't regret it.

Even though, the movie marathon day fizzled at the end of the day.  I had great fun in just devoting a day to only watching movies and definitely plan on doing it again.  Have you done that recently? What movies would you watch?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Top 3 Christmas Movies

Merry Christmas!!! It's the most wonderful time of the year and it's time to be with friends and family and enjoy the holidays.  For me, enjoying the holidays also means watching some good movies.  Every year, if I don't see some holiday movies, I don't quite believe it's Christmas.   Watching them over the years has become a sort of holiday tradition.

1) Home Alone: I can't believe it's been 20 years since this movie came out.  I remember watching this in the theater sometime during Thanksgiving and laughing so hard that tears were falling.  This was the ultimate holiday movie for me back when I was a kid.  There's something really sweet about this film despite all the comedy about a little boy staying home alone and making all his wishes come true.  The scene where he orders the pizza and leaves the money for the delivery boy always makes me laugh.  Macaulay Culkin, no matter how old he might be, I'll forever remember him as Kevin from Home Alone.  It's so comforting to watch this on TV during holiday season and for that reason this is number one of my Christmas movies list.

2) Love Actually: Actually, I just saw this movie yesterday.  This movie had me from the very first
frame.  It's got my requirements for a good movie: great soundtrack, great British actors and great moments onscreen.  From genuine laugh out moments like Rowan Atkinson wrapping up a gift for Alan Rickman to Hugh Grant as Prime Minister bogeying down to the staircase of 10 Downing Street to awww inducing moments of Andrew Lincoln's character Mark holding up the sign "To Me, You are Perfect" for Keira Knightley and finally the grand finale of them all, Thomas Sangster's Samuel doing the mad dash at the airport to get the girl he has been pining for all movie.  Like I said, this movie has it all.  Yes, it's too much sweetness, too much romance for some people.  But at Christmas, it's just right.

3) Elf: I adore this movie.  I think this is one of Will Ferrell's finest roles.  He plays the clueless idiot in so many movies, it gets old.  It was funny this first few times only.  But here, he plays the part of Buddy who believes he's one of Santa's elves and when he realizes he doesn't belong, he goes to New York to find his real father.  This is director Jon Favreau's more family oriented feature since he has now moved on the superhero flicks. Buddy's enthusiasm for Christmas is infectious and is one of the main charms of the movie.  Watch it again this Christmas and remember the joy you felt as a child for Christmas.  Never stop believing, no matter what your age might be.

Honorable mention: Sleepless in Seattle.  This is not a traditional Christmas movie.  But watching this film really reminds me of the holidays and that time between New Year's and Christmas.  The golden couple of 1990s, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, don't even meet for much of the film and yet this is one of those feel-good movies of all time.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Oscars - List of eligible songs for Best Song

I always think the song category for the Oscars is strange, sometimes a popular song wins it or sometimes it's a political song (think An Inconvenient Truth) or something completely off the Academy's radar.

-'Alice' from Alice in Wonderland
-'Forever One Love' from Black Tulip
-'Freedom Song' from Black Tulip
-'Bound to You' from Burlesque
-'Welcome to Burlesque' from Burlesque
-'You Haven't Seen the Last of Me' from Burlesque
-'There's a Place for Us' from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
-'Coming Home' from Country Song
-'Me and Tennessee' from Country Song
-'Despicable Me' from Despicable Me
-'Prettiest Girls' from Despicable Me
-'Dear Laughing Doubters' from Dinner for Schmucks
-'Better Days' from Eat Pray Love
-'If You Run' from Going the Distance
-'Darkness before the Dawn' from Holy Rollers
-'Sticks & Stones' from How to Train Your Dragon
-'Le Gris' from Idiots and Angels
-'Chanson Illusionist' from The Illusionist
-'Never Say Never' from The Karate Kid
-'To the Sky' from Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
-'What If' from Letters to Juliet
-'Life during Wartime' from Life during Wartime
-'Made in Dagenham' from Made in Dagenham
-'Little One' from Mother and Child
-'Be the One' from The Next Three Days
-'If I Rise' from 127 Hours
-'When You See Forever' from The Perfect Game
-'I Remain' from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
-'Dream Big' from Pure Country 2: The Gift
-'How I Love You' from Ramona and Beezus
-'Darling I Do' from Shrek Forever After
-'Noka Oi' from Six Days in Paradise
-'This is a Low' from Tamara Drewe
-'I See the Light' from Tangled
-'Rise' from 3 Billion and Counting
-'We Belong Together from Toy Story 3
-'Eclipse: All Yours' from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
-'Nothing' from Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too
-'A Better Life' from Unbeaten
-'Shine' from Waiting for Superman
-'The Reasons Why' from Wretches & Jabberers

My Pick: Like I said before, you can never really tell with Oscars but if I had to pick I'd go with Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Shine from Waiting from Superman and I See the Light from Tangled as the sure things but I'd say the songs from Burlesque and Country Strong have a great chance to make it onto the list.  Of course, previous Oscars winners A. R. Rahman and Randy Newman have a second opportunity for their movies 127 Hours and Toy Story 3 respectively too.  I can't believe Burlesque could be a potential Oscar nominee.  Are you already thinking ahead to the telecast?

Screen Actors Guild Nominations 2011

Fresh off the heels of the Golden Globe nominations comes the Screen Actors Guild nominations, one of the largest guilds that votes for the Oscars.  Lots of surprises and lots of usual suspects as well.  Here are the complete list of the movie nominees.  (I am not including the television nominees, sorry!)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

JEFF BRIDGES / Rooster Cogburn – “TRUE GRIT” (Paramount Pictures)
ROBERT DUVALL / Felix Bush – “GET LOW” (Sony Pictures Classics)
JESSE EISENBERG / Mark Zuckerberg – “THE SOCIAL NETWORK” (Columbia Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI – “THE KING’S SPEECH” (The Weinstein Company)
JAMES FRANCO / Aron Ralston – “127 HOURS” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
NICOLE KIDMAN / Becca – “RABBIT HOLE” (Lionsgate)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Ree Dolly – “WINTER’S BONE” (Roadside Attractions)
NATALIE PORTMAN / Nina Sayers – “BLACK SWAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
HILARY SWANK / Betty Anne Waters – “CONVICTION” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
CHRISTIAN BALE / Dicky Eklund – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures)
JOHN HAWKES / Teardrop – “WINTER’S BONE” (Roadside Attractions)
JEREMY RENNER / James Coughlin – “THE TOWN” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
GEOFFREY RUSH / Lionel Logue – “THE KING’S SPEECH” (The Weinstein Company)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
AMY ADAMS / Charlene Fleming – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER / Queen Elizabeth – “THE KING’S SPEECH” (The Weinstein Company)
MILA KUNIS / Lily – “BLACK SWAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MELISSA LEO / Alice Ward – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures)
HAILEE STEINFELD / Mattie Ross – “TRUE GRIT” (Paramount Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
WINONA RYDER / Beth Macintyre
THE FIGHTER (Paramount Pictures)
AMY ADAMS / Charlene Fleming
MELISSA LEO / Alice Ward
JACK MCGEE / George Ward
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
ANTHONY ANDREWS / Stanley Baldwin
JENNIFER EHLE / Myrtle Logue
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI
DEREK JACOBI / Archbishop Cosmo Lang
GEOFFREY RUSH / Lionel Logue
TIMOTHY SPALL / Winston Churchill
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Columbia Pictures)
JESSE EISENBERG / Mark Zuckerberg
ANDREW GARFIELD / Eduardo Saverin
ARMIE HAMMER / Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
MAX MINGHELLA / Divya Narendra
JOSH PENCE / Tyler Winklevoss
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
GREEN ZONE (Universal Pictures)
INCEPTION (Warner Bros. Pictures)
ROBIN HOOD (Universal Pictures)
Screen Actors Guild Awards 47th Annual Life Achievement Award
Ernest Borgnine

One of the biggest reasons I like the SAG awards is it is also one of the shortest awards shows.  No technical awards just good old populist acting awards.  For me, I live in Mumbai, India and have to get up at the crack of dawn to watch them, it helps to get straight to the point.  The only thing I am disappointed in is however, the lack of recognition for Leonardo DiCaprio for either Shutter Island (a seriously under appreciated film) or Inception.  I was truly hoping for an ensemble award for the cast of Inception.  Let's hope the Oscars don't forget them.  

New Trailers Time: Water for Elephants, Tree of Life, Rango and Pirates 4

Based on Sara Gruen's best-selling novel, Water for Elephants tells the story of a young man Jacob (Robert Pattinson) wanting to be a veterinarian instead gets involved in a circus and falls in love with the head trainer's (Christoph Waltz) wife Marlena played by Reese Witherspoon.  I liked the tone of this trailer, hope it doesn't end up too fanciful.  Twilight fans, are you confused that Edward is playing Jacob?  It's only a role.

Up next, is the very delayed film, Tree of Life, due to be out for this awards season but instead will release sometime May 2011. From director Terrence Malick, the film stars Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. I have no idea what the story or plot looks like, it seems to be about disappointments and expectations or something like that or else I could be totally wrong. A very dreamlike trailer.

Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp are reunited in this out-there animated flick, Rango, and the only traces of the Pirates series character Jack Sparrow that you'll find is Rango's knack of getting into sticky situations just like Sparrow. This is so different that most animated films in the market that its already eagerly awaiting. The more variety the better for animation, I say. The film also has the voice talents of Abigail Breslin, Timothy Olyphant, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina and Ray Winstone.

AND, finally, we do get to see the Jack Sparrow back in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides where this time the quest is for the lost Fountain of Youth! Or is it? Joining him on this quest is a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), an old frenemy Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and a new captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) will be missed for sure but I have a sneaky feeling that they are adding some new younger characters in the film for further movies. Let us see. Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer below!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Golden Globes 2011 nominations

There are award winners and nominations pouring out of every corner.  Critics are releasing their best of lists from all across America and I promise I'll try to cover as many of them as I can.  But one of the biggest  awards nights of the season for movies and television, the grand party of them all is the Golden Globes and they just announced their nominations for 2011.   Let's have a look at the movie nominations.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Social Network

My Take: All worthy nominees here.  I'm a bit surprised that the critically loved Winter's Bone didn't make it but seeing as it's an independent film, the big awards sometimes don't always acknowledge them.

Best Motion Picture -Comedy/Musical
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
The Tourist

My Take: What in the world is Burlesque doing on this list?  What are they thinking?  In my opinion, the race is between Alice in Wonderland and The Kids are All Right.  The rest should be just happy to be nominated.  
Best Director - Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter

My Take: Now this is a race for best director! Hurray for Nolan, Fincher and Aronofsky who are at their creative best in this year's films.  Who's missing? No Danny Boyle for 127 Hours, or Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right or Debra Granik for Winter's Bone.  I would have hoped that after Kathryn Bigelow's win, we could see more female nominees.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

My Take: Mark Wahlberg made it on to the list edging out Leonardo DiCaprio who had a double chance at making it with his performances in Shutter Island and Inception.  Shame, really!  Both Colin Firth and Jesse Eisenberg have been the top of most critic's lists so it will be interesting to see who gets the big price in January.  Ryan Gosling and James Franco could also be the dark horses if the Globes decide to go another way.  
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

My Take: The lone and sole nominee for Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence's performance couldn't be ignored.  All of the women here are capable nominees but I feel the award already belongs to Natalie Portman.  Could she be one of the youngest Best Actress winners? 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love & Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

My Take: I really don't know what to say in this category.  I'm glad the Golden Globes does divide it according to category but the nominations are usually so random for comedy/musical.  I'm happy for the Johnny Depp double nomination and hurray for Jake Gyllenhaal in Love & Other Drugs (I really want to see this movie!) but this is a wide open category, people.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love & Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone, Easy A

My Take: Sorry to say, but Angelina Jolie is the odd woman out in this category.  I'm sure they could find another worthy performance this year.  I'm truly surprised that Julia Roberts didn't sneak in for Eat Pray Love.  Everyone loves Julia but not the Golden Globes this year, it seems.  I'm really happy to see Emma Stone recognized for Easy A.  Younger actors never usually get noticed and Stone's was really a breakthrough performance for the year.  But seriously, the competition is between Annette Bening and Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right with Bening having the edge here.  

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
My Take:  Christian Bale has been on almost every critic's list for Best Supporting Actor so it's no surprise to see his name here, he's the frontrunner.  Everyone else, be glad for the nomination and smile for the cameras.  Nice to see Michael Douglas recognized for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; he also had another worthy performance in Solitary Man.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

My Take:  Ditto here for Melissa Leo for The Fighter although she's got competition from Amy Adams but do not count out Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech.  Dark Horse of this category could be Jacki Weaver who just won the Australian Film Institute award for the same role.    

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Seidler, The King's Speech
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

My Take: As much I love and am in love with Inception and its deeply complicated screenplay, I know the screenplay award is Aaron Sorkin's to lose.  It's his year.  

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Hans Zimmer, Inception

My Take: Out of all the films, I think the most impact through music shown would be Inception.  It was the soundtrack that everybody was talking about this summer.  However, I haven't hear the soundtrack for 127 Hours or The King's Speech so I can't comment on that.  But kudos to A.R. Rahman to making back on the list again.  Not a one-hit wonder for Slumdog Millionaire.  I would have liked to see How To Train Your Dragon and John Powell make an appearance here.  

Best Original Song - Motion Picture 
"Bound to You," Burlesque
"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," Burlesque
"There's a Place for Us," The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"Coming Home," Country Strong
"I See the Light," Tangled 

My Take: Again, I haven't heard any of these songs here but I've read positive reviews of "I See the Light" from Tangled so I'll go with that.  We'll take your word for it, Golden Globes.   
Best Animated Feature Film 
Despicable Me 
How to Train Your Dragon 
The Illusionist 
Toy Story 3
My Take: I haven't seen Tangled or The Illusionist yet as they haven't released here but I'm hoping to correct that before the big awards.  All worthy nominees here although I'm bummed not to see Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole here.  As usual, Pixar has the edge but I'm hoping to see an upset with How To Train Your Dragon.

Best Foreign Language Film 
Biutiful, Mexico/Spain 
The Concert, France
The Edge, Russia 
I Am Love, Italy
In a Better World, Denmark

My Take: This one is an eclectic bunch.  The Concert from France made the list but I was expecting to see another French film, Of Gods and Men here.  No mention of the critically-acclaimed Mother from Korea or the big winner from Cannes, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives from Thailand.  Surprising!

Monday, December 13, 2010

News Roundup: Emma Watson's new look and Suzanne Collins on The Hunger Games screenplay

  • First Look from The Leaky Cauldron at Emma Watson as a wardrobe assistant on My Week with Marilyn.  Hermione who?

  • DreamWorks is not going to rest on its laurels and only feature sequels in the animation films slated for release in the upcoming years.  They have announced Me and My Shadow, a combination of 2D and 3D animation.  Yay for originality!  Check out the above link for details on the story and crew from Empire Online.
  • Is Zoolander 2 going to happen?  All signs point to an astounding yes.  
  • X-Men: First Class Official Synopsis now released.  From Get the Big Picture:
"X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men."
I love it when they delve into character backstories.

  • Finally, did you know that best-selling author of The Hunger Games trilogy Suzanne Collins is also writing the screenplay?  Did you hear that Jo Rowling? Collins talks about the transition from book to screen and what she has to leave out and keep in.  Keep everything, I say.   

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thor Trailer Debuts

I love this poster, the dominant red and the rest in strong black and white.  Perfect.  

It's finally here, the Thor trailer debuts. From director Kenneth Branagh and strong cast of Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Natalie Portman, and Stellan Skarsgard, the trailer shows how Thor is banished from Asgard and has to live on Earth where he meets Jane, Portman's character. The film is due to release in May 2011 and I am really keen to see how Branagh turns this hero epic into Shakespearean saga. Come on, you know, there will be hidden metaphors in this all over.

Countdown to Oscars - VFX Shortlist Announced!

What's an Oscar shortlist? It's the first cut in a round of auditions.  Every year, in its technical categories, the AMPAS releases a list of films which have been deemed eligible for the big prize.  This time around, the category is Visual Effects.  Here are the films from 2010 which are the best of the bunch so far.

Alice in Wonderland
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Clash of the Titans
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Iron Man 2
The Last Airbender
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Shutter Island
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Tron: Legacy

My Picks: Well, it has to be narrowed down to seven by January but then only five will be up for the Oscar.  My picks are: Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Inception, Tron and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  I'll be highly surprised if either Alice or Inception doesn't make the cut.  The rest depends of how the Visual Effects Society nominations too.

Robots take over Trailers: Real Steel and Transformers: Dark of Moon

This seems like a movie idea from a kid in school and yet here it is a Hollywood film. Real Steel is the story of down on his luck ex-boxer who loses his way of living when robots, yes, ROBOTS!, take over the boxing ring. With the help of his son, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) builds the next big fighting machine that's going to win it all. The movie also stars Evangeline Lilly (Lost) and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker).

Which takes us to the other robot story which in its third installment, Transformers: Dark of Moon new teaser trailer shows the origin story to the ridiculous title. No sign of Shia yet but the whole cast minus Megan Fox (who is now replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) will be back. The movie releases in July 2011 around the world and if you did not know this previously, this is a Michael Bay film. Lot of stuff is going to get blown up.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Movie Reviews Monthly Roundup

Within the last month, I saw a lot of movies and now as the holidays inch closer, I'm feeling a bit lazy to do an individual post on each of them.  Hence, the mega movie review post where I'll talk about all 7 of them.

Salt: There is a reason why Angelina Jolie is the most credible female action star in Hollywood.  She's super dedicated to her task and it shows.  She has acting chops too, having previously won an Oscar for Girl Interrupted but this one's all action.  She plays an CIA agent who after being accused of being a Russian spy has to go on the run to prove her innocence.  This was a fun Saturday night home viewing film that was a bit surprising with the unpredictable twists in the movie.  Jolie took over the role of Salt that was first written for Tom Cruise.  The supporting cast of Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor lend able support to the film.  Directed by Phillip Noyce.


The Kids are All Right: I liked this movie a lot but I'm not so in love with it as most critics are.  There's no doubt that this is one of the best made films on modern families in a long time.  This is definitely an actor's movie with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson all turning in pitch-perfect performances. I especially liked how natural the kids were.  And Ruffalo just makes every movie that much better by being in it.  This is this going to be an awards show staple in the months to come.  Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (who also wrote the script).


Going the Distance: Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play Erin and Garrett respectively who try out a long distance relationship between New York and San Francisco.  This has all the predictability of a rom-com and the twists and turn could be easily guessed by the audience but the chemistry between Drew and Justin raises the film.  There are some funny moments supplied by the supporting cast of Christina Applegate, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis.  And I'll always remember this film for having one of the funniest closing lines of a movie in a long time.  Directed by Nanette Burstein.


The Disappearance of Alice Creed: I watched this based on a recommendation and it was every bit as twisty and shocking as promised.  This movie was very difficult to watch as the exact events that follow a kidnapping are enacted onscreen.  You should watch this movie for yourself to see how the movie turns out but it was hard not to keep watching and find out what eventually happening.  There are only three actors in the film, Gemma Arterton as Alice Creed and Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan as the kidnappers.  Directed by J Blakeson.

Rating:           (because you really can't stop watching this, no matter how much you hate what's going onscreen)

Flipped: Set in the 1960s, Flipped tells the story of two teenagers,  Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (Madeline Carroll), who grow up opposite each other as neighbors and find out how their feelings change towards one another as they grow.  As the title suggests, the perspectives are flipped, certain scenes are told from Juli's viewpoints and then you see it as told by Bryce.  If done well, this is one of my favorite storytelling devices, how things can change depending on people's different perspectives.  This is an old-fashioned type of story where the issues are minor yet seem huge to the characters.  Everyone might not like this kind of tale.  Directed by Rob Reiner.


The Other Guys:  This one was so bad, I wanted to close my eyes and ears to terrible plots and dialogues coming out from this film.  I watched simply because of Mark Wahlberg and I wanted to believe there was a reason why he could be in it.  Well, there's not and sometimes people do things just to get a paycheck.  Will Ferrell and Wahlberg do not make a good duo at all.  Eva Mendes is utterly wasted in this.  Skip this one entirely.  Watch the trailer and you've got the whole movie in a nutshell.  Even the cameos of Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock were terrible.  Directed by Adam McKay.


The Winning Season: I like Sam Rockwell as an actor, he seems to pick up roles that always suit him best and showcase his acting ability.  He adds another one to his repertoire.  Rockwell plays a has-been coach for a varsity girls basketball team who he moulds into winners and to become a team unit that there for each other.  Meanwhile on the side, he battles his own personal demons with alcohol and his distant relationship with his own daughter.  What I really liked about this film was that based on the description above, it could have been melodramatic but instead is real and matter of fact.  Emma Roberts,  Rooney Mara and Shareeka Epps play some of the members of the basketball team.  Directed by James C. Strouse.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rio: New Poster and Trailer

Yay, a whole new story set in Brazil about the last two Blue Macaus in the world, Blu and Jewel, get sent on an amazing adventure when they get birdnapped.  From Blue Sky Studios and director Carlos Saldhana, Rio hits theaters on April 8th, 2011.

First Look: Pirates 4, On Stranger Tides

Our first look at Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as a woman from Jack Sparrow's past and in the second photo, well, Jack's up to no good again.  I couldn't be happier, as Trouble is his middle name.  

First Look On Set: Hugo Cabret

Martin Scorsese, the director comes to the set with a smile.

Chloe Moretz with Asa Butterfield as the titular Hugo Cabret

I don't think I've ever seen Sir Ben Kingsley so happy.  It's infectious.

A very sneak peek at the upcoming 3D feature by Martin Scorsese.  Nothing much to see here except happy people reporting to work.  This is what happens when you love what you do.  Bliss!

More photos can be found at the film's Facebook page.  Go and "like" it!

Cast Additions: J. Edgar Hoover, New Year's Eve, and Life of Pi

  • Armie Hammer (The Social Network) is being considered to join Clint Eastwood's Hoover biopic, J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  He would play the role of Hoover's confidante, advisor and rumored lover, Clyde Tolson.  Charlize Theron is also in talks as Hoover's personal secretary.  This will be the first time that Clint and Leo will be working together and I'm really excited to see the outcome.  This movie is going to have a lot of pretty onscreen.  I'm not complaining.
  • It's time to start thinking about New Year's Eve.  But not about the upcoming holiday but rather the film.  The holiday-centric film's cast now has Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Lea Michele, Hilary Swank, and Michelle Pffeifer.  Sofia Vergara may also join the cast.  Biel and Kutcher, in Garry Marshall's previous holiday film , will not be reprising their characters from Valentine's Day as this is an entirely different film altogether.  Blame it on Love Actually for the catalyst for inter-connected stories with a huge star cast.
  • Like Galadriel, could Legolas also be coming to The Hobbit universe?  Orlando Bloom fans are holding their breath.
  • Harvey Weinstein can rest easy that his film, Blue Valentine, has had a mini-victory.  The harsh NC-17 rating has now been lowered to an R.   This greatly eases Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams chances at an Oscar nomination.  Common sense prevailed, yes but his other film, The King's Speech, wasn't so lucky and retained the R rating for the string of curse words stammered out by Colin Firth.
  • Disney's The Muppets Movie is moving up its release date from Christmas to Thanksgiving.  It will release on November 23, 2011.  My December 2011 viewing schedule is less crowded.
  • Life of Pi has added to its cast Gerard Depardieu and Adil Hussain.  Irrfan Khan will then be playing the adult Pi who tells his story of a most wondrous sea journey.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

News Roundup: The Hobbit and Kung Fu Panda Forever?

  • She'll be back!  Cate Blanchett will be joining The Hobbit as Galadriel again.  Peter Jackson done good.
  • DreamWorks Animation is busy, busy, busy the few years.  Jeffrey Katzenberg announced, the Chief of DreamWorks Animation, that there will be a total of six (whoa!) Kung Fu Panda movies, two more in the Madagascar world and possibly of How To Train Your Dragon too.  That's a whole lotta animated movies!  Here's sincerely hoping the stories don't become stale as the Shrek franchise.  
  • I'm already loving this plot summary about Bob the Musical about a man who, following an accident, can hear the songs in the heads of people around him.  The directors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are in talks to direct.  
  • The Clash of the Titans wasn't enough.  Be prepared for The Wrath of the Titans.  Liam Neeson will be back.  Sorry, can't do it.  That's the most excitement I can fake for this series.  

Arthur Christmas New Teaser Trailer

Just in time for the holidays, Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman shows a tease of next year's Arthur Christmas. And, look, Morgan Freeman is narrating this trailer, I'm sold.

In the News: Emma Stone's new look and Will and Zach Team Up

  • You may think that the Spiderman prequel is ages away and it is.  But that doesn't stop the actors from getting into character.  Emma Stone has been spotted with her actual hair color, blonde, and that somehow makes it all the more real.  It may not have a name yet but this movie is happening.  What do we think about the hair? Yay or nay?
  • Speaking of the Spiderman prequel, the newest addition to the cast, Irrfan Khan is having a stellar week.  As if being named to Spiderman wasn't enough, Khan is also in talks with Ang Lee for The Life of Pi.  Reports are sort of conflicted as to which role he's up for, either Pi's father or the adult Pi.  Either way, it's win win.
  • Last year, no film impressed me as much as District 9.  Truly spectacular.  That's why I'm delighted to see that directer Neil Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley are reuniting for Elysium.  I love it when directors-actors find a good working relationship and pair up again to produce great movies. 
  • A few days ago, I posted that Hans Zimmer was the new composer on Superman: Man of Steel.  That, my friends, is a big fat rumor.  We should wish it were true.  But it's not happening yet.  Zimmer is composing for Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises so, uhm, silver lining.  
  • Somewhere in the world, two guys had a conversation that went a little like this, "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiniakis were in a movie together?" "Yeah, totally awesome!".  That conversation is now a reality.  Warner Bros. will be producing a new political comedy that pits Will and Zach against each other.  I don't know what to say except I'm going to talk about a film in which Leo finally shares the screen with Meryl Streep.  Make it happen, Hollywood, make it happen.  
  • And finally, the two actors who show a lot of promise, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy) are joining Albert Nobbs which is being directed by Rodrigo Garcia.  Michael Gambon, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Janet McTeer and Gleen Close will be starring in the film as well.  In fact, Close will be reprising her award-winning role from the original Broadway play.  
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