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

Friday, November 25, 2011

"When Harry Left Hogwarts" Documentary

As the last Harry Potter films were being shot over at Leavesden Studios in England, a documentary crew led by Morgan Matthews filmed the cast and crew as they got ready to wrap up the series and say goodbye to the film franchise.  This documentary is available to see on the blu-ray version of the film but for those of you who don't own it (like me!), this is great viewing.  It's very different from the behind-the-scenes featurettes we are used to seeing from the cast and crew.  In fact, this documentary catches many of the actors at their most reflective moods as they ponder what they will do next especially the youngsters.  Have a look see!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful for this year: Movies Edition

So last year, when I first started my blog, I wrote about what I was thankful for in movies that released that year.  This year, I'd like to continue the tradition; here are a few of the things I'm thankful for this cinematic year!

1) Harry Potter series ending: You'd think I'd be sad about this and while it's true, I am.  I am also thankful that the series saw it through to completion.  There have been many series that didn't see it through to completion (i.e. The Golden Compass) and still others that almost didn't see the end (the Narnia series).  Hats off to Warner Bros. who saw through the series through a whole decade while keeping most of its cast and crew intact.  It is hard to imagine anyone else in the same shoes that the very talented cast of Harry Potter inhabited and even harder to retain the same child cast and watch them grow into adulthood.  Most satisfying though was having JK Rowling's wondrous world and her amazing story of Harry Potter brought to life and being a part of those magical adventures.  It was one goodbye that was hard to say.

2) Christian Bale finally winning an Oscar: If you've read my blog before, you'd know I love the Oscars, the show, the tradition, everything.  What do I like more than anything else is seeing the actors I admire and like winning those same Oscars.  However, it does happen that many of the finest actors haven't yet won Oscar gold.  One such actor overlooked has been Christian Bale.  He has been acting since he was a child, in his debut film, he gave a fearless performance in The Empire of the Sun as young boy left behind in war torn Japan.  This was only the beginning.  Roles such as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho and Bruce Wayne in the Batman series directed by Christopher Nolan have shown us his range.  His extreme weight loss for The Machinist contrasted with the buffed up body for John Connor in Terminator Salvation proves the dedication to any role he is assigned to.  Finally, it was his complete transformation into the character Dicky Eklund in The Fighter was hard to ignore, finally gaining Bale the elusive statuette.  Long overdue, but richly deserved.

3) The Hunger Games trilogy being made into films: As one series ends this year, another one looms over the horizon.  The next big book-to-screen adaptation after Harry Potter and Twilight is The Hunger Games.  It's not as well known in the media as yet but I think that will change once the movie hits theaters next March.  The series is gripping, set in a dystopian world where children fight to the death in a reality show seen by everyone.  The series is off to a great start by picking a good director in Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) and very talented and appealing young cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.  I became a fan of the series just last year and the books were definitely hard to put down to.  Having watched the first trailer, I'm thankful that the books are being made into films.  I have no doubt they will be amazing.

4) Steven Spielberg still making and inspiring great films: Martin Scorsese may be the greatest living American director but Steven Spielberg is not far behind.  He continues to produce, direct and in the case of Super 8, inspire great cinema with a touch that is uniquely his.  Super 8 is like an open fan letter to the Spielberg films of the 80s which have all been a part of a childhoods and nostalgia.  After a long gap in movies, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was in 2008, he comes out this year with two films, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse.  Two more including the Lincoln biopic are on the way.  I love how like fine wine, these group of directors, Scorsese, Spielberg and Clint Eastwood are just getting better with age.  We cannot wait.

5) Funny ladies of Bridesmaids: Kirsten Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy showed us this year that women can bring the funny.  Yes, women can be funny even while poking fun at their own expense.  The group of women from Bridesmaids put bare to the audience their feelings and insecurities all to comic effect.  I can't remember another film where there were so many laugh out moments.  One good thing that has emerged out of the success of the film has been the promise of more comedy gold from these women.  Maya Rudolph is my favorite character on the new show Up All Night while Kirsten Wiig and Melissa McCarthy have lined up more movie roles that will showcase their talent.  So finally this year, I'm thankful to see a comedy, a supposedly chick flick because it has all women in the lead roles, that appealed to both women and men as funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Brave Trailer

There is much to be excited for as the Brave trailer releases as not only is it Pixar's first original (not based on any previous material) film in a while, it also features Pixar's first female lead. Let's have a look at Merida as voiced by Kelly Macdonald (Broadwalk Empire).

Set in Scotland, the trailer doesn't give away too many plot points but it introduces us to all the major characters while giving mysterious glimpses to the bear.  Merida, a skilled archer, seems a typical heroine, wanting to prove her worth to her parents.  Kelly Macdonald now voices Merida which seems the perfect choice.  Reese Witherspoon was to have voiced Merida but I felt her voice would have been too recognizable and too American.  The trailer ends in a perfect tease, "If you had a chance to change your destiny, would you?" I'm curious to find out what secrets Brave holds.  Brave releases in theaters June 22, 2012. 

Snow White vs. Snow White

It seems like it's trailer week here at Life in Technicolor.  This time, it is the case of the dueling Snow White themed feature films.  Up first, we have Snow White and the Huntsman, the darker re-telling of the tale of Snow White.

The tone of the trailer is more violent with dark imagery, birds foreshadowing death and the Evil Queen literally sucking the life energy out of someone.  I can't recall, does Snow White (Kirsten Stewart) even utter a line in the trailer?  She's suited up in armor to fight against the Queen but it seems this trailer belongs to the Queen played by Charlize Theron who seems to be relishing her truly evil role.  The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) seems surly and I don't know yet which side is he supposed to represent...shades of grey?  That said, I think re-telling of classic fairy tales have a lot of potential as Alice in Wonderland showed us last year.  Let's see if this one lives up to the hype.

On the other end of the spectrum is Mirror Mirror.  Here we have a decidedly different look at Snow White.  Since this is a Disney production, there is a possibility of the characters breaking into song.  I feel this movie is more humor-oriented and not quite so dark as the other film.  How do we know this?  Exhibit A: The Queen's (Julia Roberts) scathing put-downs to her sidekick (Nathan Lane).  The Other Evil Queen would not have been so tolerant.  This Evil Queen wears bright colors while Theron's Queen limits her wardrobe to dark colors.  In fact, the whole palette of this film is more colorful with bright costumes and scenery.  I have a feeling this film could be either a hit or a miss.  Julia doesn't seem to be as convincing in her role as Evil Queen, she just seems supremely annoyed with Snow White (Lily Collins) stealing her thunder all the time.  Even Prince Charming (Armie Hammer) doesn't seem to have that much chemistry with Snow White.  Shame, I had high hopes for this film. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hunger Games: First Trailer

It's here...after all that anticipation (and a tease of a first look at the MTV Music Awards), the first trailer for The Hunger Games debuted on Good Morning America this week.  And it is amazing.  The trailer only reveals plot points from the first half of the movie, showing us glimpses of the reaping and Katniss and Peeta's transformations.  Very little is shown from the battles in the arena which I think was a wise movie, keep the good stuff for the actual movie.  Many trailers these days end up spoiling the whole movie.

First impression: wow!!! The trailer has gotten me really interested in the upcoming movie.  Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss is as feisty and kickass from the books and Josh Hutcherson seems perfect as Peeta.  Still not sure about Liam Hemsworth as Gale but I've never felt he was a strong character even in the books.  The trailer gives us little teases of all the major characters: Cinna, Effie Trinket, Rue, President Snow and Caesar Flickman.  Woody Harrelson's Haymitch is not at all how I imagined the character when I read the books, the hair is seriously off putting.  Other than, I got chills when I saw Katniss' three-finger salute from District 12.  This movie is going to be epic.  I realize I like saying that about every trailer I see but it seems fitting for this film. March 2012 cannot come soon enough.  What did you think? Are you looking forward to The Hunger Games trilogy?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

To say that The Adventures of Tintin is a much anticipated movie for the fans of the comic books and Steven Spielberg is an understatement.  The comics are beloved around most of the world except America.  People might be slightly aware of who Tintin is but it doesn't go beyond that.  Therefore, America is one of the last destinations in the worldwide release schedule for the movie.

I, myself, read the comics and watched the TV show when I was a kid and was immediately drawn into the world of adventure and mystery in Tintin and his friends.  They include his faithful and loyal dog, Snowy, Captain Haddock whose Kryptonite is alcohol and the bumbling detective duo of Thompson and Thompson.  It really was a pleasure to see these characters onscreen from a comic book but some people are upset with Spielberg filming the movie in CG environment saying it's not faithful to the comic book.  What is the point then of making a movie adaptation if not to be a bit daring? This film uses both CGI (for example, Snowy) and motion capture using actors (for example, Jamie Bell as Tintin) to introduce us to world of Tintin.

I must say I was quite pleased with what I saw.  The film had echoes of Spielberg's previous Indiana Jones series with the swashbuckling adventures ahead and all but it also gives us a glimpse of what Spielberg is now open to with the technology that is available to him.  There are some shots that are unbelievably framed visually and artistically and there is one particular long chase sequence that wouldn't be possible in a live action world but is made so dramatic and thrilling in the CG world.  And to think this is only the first of the proposed trilogy.

The movies opens with a familiar looking title sequence.  It's very reminiscent of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can with the characters in silhouette but here serves a segue from comic to big screen.  There's even a sly nod to the comic with an artist doing a caricature of what Tintin would like in comic form.  There is no real country named but it seems like the story takes place in Europe, perhaps even Belgium.  Tintin and his dog Snowy are at a market fair where Tintin spots a marvelous replica of ship, The Golden Unicorn.  He buys it and immediately after two separate people want to buy it off him and hint at the danger ahead for him.  Our young boy reporter's curiosity is aroused and he finds out the history behind the ship and the family of Francis Drake, the ship's captain.  For once, it was so refreshing to see a character in a movie actually go to a library to research.  This being set in a non-technological world, characters actually have to work hard to solve a mystery and not get instant updates and help all through their computer.

It turns out that there is a shady man, Sakharine (Daniel Craig), after a scroll hidden in the ship, which promises to lead to treasure that only a true Haddock would recognize.  As this is a origin story movie, we are shown how Tintin meets his friend, Captain Haddock. Tintin assists his new friend Haddock in trying to find the clues hidden in the ships to the treasure promised by Francis Drake.  This takes them across seas and deserts to find what has been hidden for so long.  As mentioned before, this is the first of the Tintin movies and the movie hints of more adventures to come and I couldn't be happier.  I couldn't remember the last time I was enthralled in a movie from start to finish this year. 

A big part of why this movie works is because of the three main characters in this film: Tintin, Haddock and Snowy.  Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock absolutely inhabit their roles.  The motion capture is so realistic and effortless, it puts ALL previous mo-cap movies to shame.  Yes, I'm talking to you, Polar Express and A Christmas Carol.  After awhile, I forgot that Tintin was animated character, it was like I was watching Tintin come to life.  And as for Snowy, I loved his little antics.  Absolutely wonderful animation for Snowy and it was great to see all the little tidbits of how attuned Snowy is to what his master and friend Tintin wants and needs.  I think it's about time that Andy Serkis won himself an Oscar because what he brings alive in certain characters is astounding.  Motion capture may start to be a force at award shows in the coming years. 

After all this gushing, I do have one major peeve in the movie.  For all the wonder characters in the film and there are no strong female characters in the film at all.  Thinking back, only two women in the film have speaking roles and it may even look as if our characters inhabit an all male world.  This oversight can be fixed in the films and I hope they do.  Despite this quibble, I heartily recommend this film as the must-see film for you and your family.

Directed by Steven Spielberg; Written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish; Comic series by Herge; Produced by Peter Jackson; Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski; Music by John Williams; Edited by Michael Kahn.

Additional Voice Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Cary Elwes, Gad Elmaleh, Mackenzie Crook


Billy Crystal is the host of the Oscars!!

It's done! Billy Crystal will be the host of the 84th Academy Awards this February 2012.  While I was looking forward to seeing a female host this time around, it makes sense to have Crystal host.  It portrays a sense of normalcy and nostalgia after the whole controversy with both Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy stepping down.  Don't think it will be all forgotten, trust Crystal how he got the gig into his opening monologue that night.  I can't wait.  He was one of the first people to try the comedy bit of inserting yourself into a movie, now it seems like everyone does it. (Watch the video above!) Trust me, to quote Barney Stintson, it's going to be legen.....wait for it, dary.  Welcome back, Mr. Crystal. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman New Banner

A couple of days ago, Tarsem Singh's Mirror, Mirror released a bunch of production stills displaying colorful sets and elaborate costumes.  Snow White and the Huntsman is continuing the rivalry by releasing the first banner with news that trailer is due to arrive soon.  What does the first banner show?  We see Snow White (Kirsten Stewart) in the middle, the only one emerging from the light.  The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) are both lurking in the shadows, the dark side.  Oh, and Snow White has a knife.  Proof that this is not your ordinary Snow White.  Wait a minute, they all have some kind of weapon, are they all out to get each other?  No mention of the Prince (Sam Claflin) either.  What does it all mean? We'll just have to wait for the trailer to find out. 

For Your Consideration: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Speaking of Oscars, with all the drama surrounding the choice in producers and the host stepping down, don't forget that it's almost the end of the year and the Oscar campaign season will begin in full swing soon.

Up first, Warner Bros. presents us with a lovely For Your Consideration (FYC) video for the end of the Harry Potter saga.  It's absolutely spot-on presenting with affection all the moving and epic moments of the last film as the culmination of a ten year series.  It got me all emotional and I am hoping that for this final time out, the Harry Potter series is rewarded with some Oscar love especially for Stuart Craig, the art designer extraordinaire for his amazing sets and overall look of the films.  All the actors have been solid throughout the series, would Daniel Radcliffe or Alan Rickman be noticed for their work?  I certainly hope so.  I hope this is the first of many, WB, let's see an Oscar added to the shelf for Harry Potter. 

Oscar Shuffle: Brett Ratner out as Show Producer, Eddie Murphy leaves hosting gig!

Brett Ratner has stepped down as show producer of the Oscars after he has been reported making several inappropriate and homophobic comments in the media while promoting his movie Tower Heist which also features former Oscar host Eddie Murphy.  Former? Yes, Eddie Murphy also stepped down as host with this statement:
 “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”
Brett Ratner had picked Murphy as host for his vision of the Oscar telecast and it was also kind of a promotion for their movie, Tower Heist, which is in theaters now.  It's not doing that well.  Thankfully, the show is still 3 months away and the Academy has picked uber-producer Brian Grazer to produce it with Don Mischner.  Question: Who will host now?  Lots of names being thrown out but I like that a lot of female hosts might be up for consideration.  The ladies of comedy from Tina Fey, Kirsten Wiig and Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids are looking like possibilities.  My all-time favorite host is Billy Crystal and I'd be over the moon if he were to come back.  My fondest Oscar memories (and the funniest) are when he hosted.  The next few days, it'll be all speculation as to who hosts.

What did the Academy learn from all this; it was supposed to be an edgy move, hiring Brett Ratner.  But look what happened last year with the younger hosts choice of Anne Hathaway and James Franco.  Widely panned.  Thankfully, this is over with much before the show and could be forgotten once the actual day comes.  I do feel, however, Eddie Murphy would have been hilarious on it.  Don't forget he started his career in stand-up and was once a Saturday Night Live cast member.  A missed opportunity for sure! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

News Update: Hobbit production blog, Star Trek and Carmen Sandiego!

  • Peter Jackson's fourth production video update from the set of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This time, the crew talks in detail about the shooting process of 3D. Fascinating stuff! 
  • Could Benicio Del Toro end up being the new villain in next Star Trek sequel? I can't remember the last movie he starred in, can you?
  • Andy Serkis aka Caesar in The Rise of the Planet of Apes will be back for the sequel.  This bodes well for its success.
  • OMG! There's going to be a movie version of Where is in the World is Carmen Sandiego? to be produced by Jennifer Lopez.  Didn't know that she was a fan.  I loved this show when I was a kid, I hope they keep the quirky song at the part of the show. 

Next Bond Film is Skyfall!

Like Tarsem Singh's new film, now called Mirror Mirror, Bond 23 finally has a name too. It's Skyfall and will feature returning cast members Daniel Craig as James Bond and Judi Dench as M and will be directed by Sam Mendes.  But who will Bond be up against?  Javier Bardem is rumored to play the villain while Ralph Fiennes and Helen McCrory (former Death Eaters from the Harry Potter series) are also joining the cast.  And finally, no Bond announcement would be complete without mentioning the Bond girls.  Naomie Harris (28 Days Later..) and newcomer Berenice Marlohe have the honor for this film.

The cast and crew of Skyfall

Daniel Craig with the new Bond Girls
Javier Bardem with Daniel Craig
Director Sam Mendes

Dame Judi Dench with Daniel Craig

What is the film about? Here's a quick blurb via the @007 twitter feed:

“Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
Hmm, what could this mean? It means more Dame Judi Dench!! I fear my blog is quietly becoming the unofficial Judi Dench fansite but come on, the woman is a delight in whatever role she plays.   Did you guys happen to notice the new title in the background? Skyfall will release in theaters November 9, 2012. 

Tarsem Singh's Snow White film titled 'Mirror Mirror'

In next year's battle of the Snow White films, Tarsem Singh's feature is due to bow first.  The Untitled film now has a name, Mirror Mirror.  Here's a look at some colorful photographs from the film that show off the fantastic costumes as is Singh's style. 

Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen

Snow White (Lily Collins) and the Seven Dwarfs

Armie Hammer as Prince Charming

More photos from Mirror Mirror after the cut...

Road to Oscars: 18 Animated Films Submitted for Consideration

The end of the year always leads to Oscar speculation but it also lead to many confirmations in the other categories not well to the public.  In the Animated Feature category, 18 feature films have been submitted for Oscar consideration, a couple of them surprising as they aren't traditionally all animation.  Here is the complete list:

-The Adventures of Tintin
-Alois Nebel
-Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
-Arthur Christmas
-Cars 2
-A Cat in Paris
-Chico & Rita
-Gnomeo & Juliet
-Happy Feet Two
-Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
-Kung Fu Panda 2
-Mars Needs Moms
-Puss in Boots
-The Smurfs
-Winnie the Pooh

The Adventures of Tinitn is mostly a motion-capture film while The Smurfs contains live action/animation together.  Will the Animation category see some firsts this year?  It will be tricky for sure, but that said, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango are looking like front runners.  I am surprised to see Mars Needs Moms on this, it was a big flop but hey, the grand total comes to 18 films which means there will be five nominees.  It's always a tough race with only three nominees.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Hunger Games : Vanity Fair Spread

The Hunger Games treats keep on rolling.  Fresh off the heels of the 8 new characters posters comes a brand new spread in Vanity Fair on the tributes of the Hunger Games.  At first glance, one might be mistaken for an ad for J Crew or Banana Republic with these smiling, sunny faces but make no mistake, in the movie, this cast will be fighting each the death.  Dramatic enough for you?

Looking at this picture makes me appreciate the casting in this film.  Amandla Sternberg as Rue looks so tiny compared to the rest of them making us realize that yes, children were sent to these vicious arenas.  Alexander Ludwig as Cato looks positively huge, I can't wait to see his interpretation of the final battle at the Cornucopia.  Is this beginning of the big media blitz for the movie? I sure hope so.  What did you think?

PS-Check out the interactive feature over at and get to know the cast before the movie!
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