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Monday, January 30, 2012

A Brief Award Post

Last night, the Screen Actors Guild Awards took place. While I did not have the chance to watch it, I do have access to a computer, as well as the Internet. Therefore, I have the ability to review the winners, condensing a two-hour show into a mere five-minute perusal. (Although I do prefer to actually watch the ceremony, see the actors and all. Especially knowing who won.) I simply would like to highlight the most wonderful winner of the evening: Jean Dujardin for The Artist. It goes without further exultation that I absolute adored the film. I've exaggerated that strong feeling enough, don't you agree?

Irresistible, no?
Despite how passionate I feel about the film, primarily Jean Dujardin's marvelous performance, there is a slight chance that he will win the Best Actor award come Oscar night. George Clooney, to my dismay, has been receiving all the acclaim for his turn in The Descendants, and has been named the Oscar Frontrunner by Entertainment Weekly. (Whatever...) Don't mistake my eye-rolling attitude for actual dislike of George Clooney. Up until a while ago, I actually did not mind the fact that he would walk away with an Oscar this year. That is, until I finally watched The Artist. I still admire George Clooney, it's simply that I would much rather have Jean Dujardin win the award this year. I've said that enough already. At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, however, Jean Dujardin triumphed over George Clooney. Do you know what that means? There is hope that the delicious French actor will take home an Oscar. I'm sure you've noticed that I called him "delicious" just then. Well, I have developed loving feelings for the actor, what with his charming good looks and captivating charisma. Not that it's a creepy issue at hand, but I do believe I am in love with him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Artist: A Cinematic Masterpiece

The moment I've been eagerly anticipating all year (since late 2011) has finally arrived. On Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning, I watched The Artist. Is there even a need for a grand introduction? Based on my numerous exuberant outbursts for the sake of the film, I think not. (Exuberant?) Plus, I posted a trailer for the film. How often do I do that? Not often enough. Believe me when I say I literally could not contain myself whilst viewing this work of art. The entire time I was all smiles. Meaning I couldn't stop smiling. What you can expect from the following post is a spirited and gratifying account of the film known simply as The Artist. Allow me to begin by saying that the title of the film is very suitable, for the main character is, indeed, an artist, as well as the many silent film stars, such as the one he portrays. They relied on solely their facial expressions to exhibit marvelous acting, just as Jean Dujardin has brilliantly executed in this film. But we'll get to that later. Of course, per my promise not to reveal any major points in any movie described, especially one so wonderful, I shall not reveal any major points in this film. A given, I'm sure. Therefore, I shall only observe the overall quality of the film. Did I even need to tell you that? What a waste of time. Also, I'll be referring to The Artist as a "film" rather than a movie because a "movie" is like any other, while a "film" is unique in its magnificence. I just gave another introduction, didn't I? Moving on to the film!

What a pair!
The Artist takes place during the late 1920s, when silent films were in its prime, the single source of entertainment, and their stars were the idols of the decade. George Valentin (played superbly by Jean Dujardin) was the biggest star of them all, admired by the entire public, and was henceforth rather arrogant and excessively proud. Following the massive applause of yet another film of the actor's, he is surrounded by adoring fans and classy paparazzi. I call them "classy" because they aren't taking photographs for scandalous purposes. While Valentin is posing for the masses, an attractive, young woman falls into the famous actor, and the two immediately share a cosmic connection. The woman's name, we will later learn, is Peppy Miller (played delightfully by Berenice Bejo), but for now, the public knows her only as the mysterious girl kissing famed George Valentin on the cover of Variety. Peppy is an aspiring actress, and getting jobs was made simple by her cover page on Variety; everyone wants to know "who's that girl"!

Again, I will not be revealing any key points in the film. Enjoy it for yourselves!

Of course, the era of silent films will not last forever, and neither will their stars. Primarily George Valentin. Peppy Miller, however, is a major rising star. From playing Chorus Girl #2 to being the star of her very own film, Peppy is the freshest, brightest star of them all. Valentin, on the other hand, struggles to get roles anywhere, for his pride prevents him from appearing in the "talkies". As time progresses, Valentin falls from society rapidly, accompanied only by his faithful chauffeur, who is the best friend he can ever have. The friendship between the two characters is wonderfully heartwarming and sweet. Again, watch it for yourself! During Valentin's downfall, Peppy Miller, though she is a huge star, is infatuated with him and acts as if she were still an adoring fan among the crowd. Every time she encounters him, she savors the moment, wishing to become closer to him even when he has nothing but his whimsical dog. Her adoration, which can be nothing but true love, for Valentin is affectionately evident throughout the film. He, also, develops passionate feelings for Peppy, growing from curious attraction to genuine, mutual love. Well, I believe that's all I can tell about the film without giving away the entire story.

Well, Academy, we're waiting.
Jean Dujardin proves to be a marvelously talented actor, evident in his remarkable ability to express himself solely through his appearance. From his wide and charismatic grins to his seducing arch of an eyebrow, he is simply irresistible. Plus, I just love his look and manner about him. From the moment I first saw him in the trailer, I simply fell in love with the actor. That just increased my enjoyment of the film, if possible. After watching this film, I am positive in my desire to see him win the Best Actor statuette this year. Why? Only a truly skilled performer can pull off not saying a word in the entire film and still provide one of the greatest performances of the year. It would also be refreshingly delightful if such a decision was made on the Academy's part, for if Jean Dujardin actually won, there would be a whole lot of controversy. Yet another reason to hope for his triumph!

What can I say? She's charming.
Berenice Bejo is absolutely delightful in her role as the ambitious Peppy Miller. (Her name is ideal, as she is super cheerful with a pure heart.) One would believe her to be maliciously competitive, but all she really wants to do is act. Her rising star-status came on its own, she didn't commit any illicit acts to get where she is. (Unlike most actresses nowadays.) Berenice Bejo's on-screen chemistry with Jean Dujardin is immensely absorbing, a perfect cinematic match. (It helped that I watched them in OSS 117 beforehand.) Peppy Miller is undeniably in love with George Valentin, and it is evident through her captivation by him whenever she sees him, even when he's at his lowest. Again, see it for yourself! While I very much enjoyed Bejo's performance, the Oscar belongs to Octavia Spencer this year. Though it truly is an honor to be nominated regardless of her chances.

Typically, I don't notice the director's job in movies. Basically, if the movie is good, the director did a good job. With The Artist, however, I somehow acknowledge the director's work, and applaud his brilliant performance. Michel Hazanavicius did an utterly marvelous job directing this picture, as well as writing the original screenplay for it. Why emphasize "original"? Well, how brilliant is the idea for a black-and-white silent film in our modern era? People may claim anyone could have done it, but would people have watched it if it were done by another? (If it was a high-profile director, such as Woody Allen, most definitely.) But that is not the question here. (Then what is?) The fact that a director, unknown in the United States, could create such a glorious film that everyone wants to watch is the remarkable feat itself. This being said, I would have no problem whatsoever if Michel Hazanavicius won the Best Director prize, as he truly was the greatest director this year. As for Best Original Screenplay, while I wouldn't mind if he won, that award belongs to Woody Allen.


I cried at this scene.
Worth mentioning, I think.
For those skeptics out there, who have trouble believing that a completely silent film can actually be entertaining, think of the advantage that can come from silence. Without any speech, it allows the viewer to interpret the film from their own perspective, analyze the characters by their own judgment, rather than be told all that with direct dialogue. (Yes, you can finally have the chance to think during a film.) Also, a silent film has the ability to display symbolism, and believe me when I say there is an abundance of it to be discovered in The Artist. I, for one, received immense enjoyment from viewing this magnificent film (if I haven't said it enough already), especially the many forms of gorgeous imagery that provides a story, free for subjective perception. (I might make it sound like an English lecture by mentioning personal characterization and symbolism, but I'm exposed to that on a daily basis. Apparently, it's starting to shine through into my private life.) Regardless, Michel Hazanavicius presents these cinematic techniques flawlessly in The Artist.


And the Oscar goes to...
The Artist is an ode to the glory heydays of 1920s Hollywood. It is a magnificent film, worthy of the recognition its getting, as well as the renowned title of Best Picture of 2011, and definitely as one of the greatest films ever created. Beyond the acting and film's story, the cinematography (picture quality, also) and musical score are a wonder as well. The grainy quality of the black-and-white picture is just part of the love letter Michel Hazanavicius composed to the golden age of cinema. Ludovic Bource wrote a delightfully catchy tune to accent the film throughout, providing a pleasurable after taste for long after the film has ended. And yet another act of brilliance reveals itself: I never wanted the film to end. As I was watching, fooling myself into thinking it would last forever, I knew that it wouldn't. And it physically pained to me realize this. However, the film soothed me into acceptance, leaving me completely satisfied with the touching conclusion. Much like the only words spoken in the film, I encourage people of all ages to watch The Artist "with pleasure"! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Nominations Announced

Quite a few surprises lined up for the 2012 Academy Awards. (Note that the movies of 2011 will be honored, obviously. Therefore, I refer to this ceremony as the Academy Awards of 2011. Think of it as the 1900s being referred to as the twentieth century. Do I really have to explain this to you?) Yes, indeed, while many of the nominees were sure-things, there are some that simply astonished. Equally baffling were the several snubs of worthy contestants (particularly Michael Fassbender and Albert Brooks). Shall I continue into the specifics?

Melissa McCarthy - This was the biggest shock of the list. (No pun intended. I'm not an asshole.) While I was aware of the buzz surrounding the actress's performance, I doubted she would get a spot as a nominee. For an Oscar. But the Academy proves to shock and surprise us all. Let's just reflect on McCarthy's performance: she pooped in a sink. I'm sorry to make that the headline of her portrayal in Bridesmaids, but she did. And I'm not condemning her performance as something to be disgusted by or heckle at either. I'm just making the transparent observation that the Academy should not be honoring that. Even at the Golden Globes it would be acceptable, but at a prestigious venue as the Academy Awards, it certainly is no place for inappropriate, butch women. Again, McCarthy was enjoyable in Bridesmaids, but Oscar? I think not.

Midnight in Paris - I was both surprised and delighted to see this marvelous film in four categories, including Best Picture. As much as I adore this film, I was a bit hesitant in being confident it had a spot as Best Picture. However, in this special case, the Academy surprised me in a good way. I wish I could get used to such a pleasant feeling, but based on its choices in the past (seriously, The Hurt Locker?), I very much doubt that. In any case, I am incredibly pleased with Woody Allen's film getting such high esteem.

Talented, and attractive too
Best Actor snubs - Two performances have been wrongfully ignored in this year's leading actor category: Michael Fassbender in Shame and Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar. Of course, the magnificent Leonardo DiCaprio will have many more chances to get a Best Actor statuette in the future, so I'm not as disappointed about his snub. Plus, I've been hearing not-so-great things about Clint Eastwood's biopic, which I honestly expected to be the star of this ceremony. Apparently, there would be no such event. As for breakout star Michael Fassbender, I am overwhelmed by how upset I was at not seeing his name on the Best Actor list. While I haven't seen Shame, I had a some hope he would have been recognized for his shocking, edgy portrayal as a sex-addict. Did you hear he shows full-frontal nudity? Nothing wrong with that. I have, however, seen X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds, where he played a small yet notable part, and am very excited for his rising-star status. He might not have gotten a nod this year, but I'm nearly positive he will get one in the future. Here's hoping for our two terrific actors.
Demian Bichir: Thief
The two actors who stole their spots as a nominee were Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Demian Bichir for A Better Life. I understand Oldman's nomination, as he is a great character actor and deserved that long-awaited first nod. As for this Bichir character...who is he and what is this movie called A Better Life? And, also, has anyone beside the pretentious Academy seen it? I just read the plot summary, and must say that this is so "been there, done that". It sounds like a segment of Crash, and while I love that movie, it was seven years ago. A Better Life is about a Hispanic gardener who tries to keep his son away from the gangs he was exposed to as a teenager. Ergo, give his son "a better life". Get it? Well, while that's all fine and dandy, "a real tearjerker" one would say, it is no place at the Academy. Especially when he's stealing a more-deserving nod from Michael Fassbender. Really, Academy, get it together.

Where's Albert Brooks? - I don't know, you tell me. The actor known as the goofy, whiny dad-type character in corny comedies finally shows potential as a sinister villain, and the Academy snubs his wonderful performance. Really? For once, I agree with what critics are saying about Drive (because I usually don't agree with what they say about the 2011 movie in the past...that was sarcasm, I'm making fun of myself) and the Academy completely ignores him. I'm truly upset by this! The one good thing about Drive was not noticed...okay, I'm just repeating myself. Read the Drive post, and you'll understand.

The Artist and Hugo - The Academy's ultimate winners. With ten and eleven nominations, respectively, they are definitely the highlights of the past year in cinema. I am already certain in declaring The Artist as the greatest film of last year (expect a review in the near future!). If you haven't, watch the glorious silent film that may very well win Best Picture this year! As for Martin Scorsese's Hugo, I am almost definite in my prediction that it will be a cinematic masterpiece, considering who's in the director's chair. Plus that film looks simply astounding. And the Oscars go to....

On the right, we have Marilyn Monroe.
On the left, we have someone who believes she is her because she has a beauty mark and looks sleepy.
Michelle Williams - Hmm. How can I succinctly put this? No.

Nothing for Ryan Gosling - I'm not going t pretend I'm upset by this. Sure, he starred in three big movies last year, but none are worth an Oscar. In Drive, he was difficult to understand and showed no emotion. In Crazy, Stupid, Love. he was actually really good, but definitely not worth a nod. And I didn't see The Ides of March, but it looks a tad too boring for my taste. Plus, he didn't even show up to the Golden Globes, when he was nominated twice. If you ask me, he didn't deserve anything this year. Oh yes, I said it.

I guess that's all I have to say on the matter of Oscar nominations. As for my overall reaction, I'd say it is considerably more cheerful than previous years. This year, there are no Hurt Lockers, no Preciouses, and no Slumdogs. Plus, if the ceremony takes a turn for the absolute worst, Billy Crystal will be there as the host to spice things up. Finally, a host I can actually be entertained by. Until then!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Unnecessary Post

Really, I have absolutely no reason to write anything. If you're reading this now, expect a totally meaningless rant about nothing. When I say "nothing", I'm referring to Seinfeld's definition of the term. If  you don't watch Seinfeld (you should), it means that the discussion, or whatever you would call it, is completely worthless to your existence. By all means, though, read on to witness my eccentricities.
I'd like to be honest with you all right now, I've had a heavy glass of wine with my dinner. Today, however, I drank before I ate, therefore, I became much more tipsy than usual. It's rather inappropriate, me sharing this with you, but that's a side effect of me drinking even the slightest. Then again, I drank before I ate. Forgive me, if I offend anyone in my stupor. (It's rather pathetic, me getting this tipsy after having merely one glass of wine. Nevertheless.) Now, as I listen to David Bowie ("Queen Bitch", to be more specific), I shall jump into a miscellaneous conversation.

There is a deeper reason that I am listening to this particular song, for it is the song playing in the Young Adult trailer, starring a Golden Globe-nominated Charlize Theron. Which reminded meow her unfair loss, and that Michelle Williams stole the award from her. You know my opinion on that wide-faced woman, if you read my previous post anyway, so it must be obvious that I wanted Charlize Theron to win. Did I mention that in the post? Well, I was rooting for Charlize Theron, as she was so irresistibly callous and a queen bitch, if you will. That's why the song fits her character so perfectly. Even though I haven't seen this movie (shocker, considering I've only seen The Help and Midnight in Paris of this year's awards season), I have a strong feeling it will be absolutely delightful, and that Charlize Theron would have deserved the Globe much more than that Michelle Williams character. Sigh. Let's move on.

When I went to "work" this morning, I was starting to feel a bit ill. Then it got worse, to a point where I was embarrassed of how much I sneezed and wheezed. No, I didn't take a sick day. I'm stronger than that, plus I had an important "presentation". Irrelevant. Anyway, I came home and dove into my comfy bed where I rested for about forty-five minutes. When I woke up, I was literally shocked how fast time flies. It's already the end of January, speaking of time. Can you believe it? For some, it might be dragging by excruciatingly, and it's hard to believe that. As I was saying, I woke up and took a refreshingly hot shower that cleared my sniffly nose. (I love mentioning my showers, don't I?) Now, did you enjoy my pointless little tale of how my day went? I'm sure you did.

Earlier today, I was thinking about last year's Oscar race, and how much faster I watched the spotlighted movie then. This year, as I said before, I've watched two or three buzzed-about movies. Pathetic. I'm hoping I'll squeeze in the time to watch at least the movie in competition with one another, such as George Clooney in The Descendants and Brad Pitt in Moneyball. Watching films in that fashion is my goal for the next month. Let us pray that I'll get the chance to do so. Then again, I'm agnostic.

Speaking of Disney World, I have a feeling I'll be going this summer, once again. But is that a surprise, really? Considering how much I utterly adore it, I'd be insulted if I didn't go. Wouldn't you? You may be asking, "Why did you even consider the thought of not going?", and I have a reasonable explanation for it: Europe. Thanks to some peppy, community-serivce-loving organization, I was supposed to go to Europe for three weeks this summer. Sounds like a dream, right? Did you happen to see "community-service-loving" in that sentence? Well, there is a loophole to every seemingly-perfect opportunity. In this case, it's community service. I don't know about other people, but I physically dislike community service. It takes too much effort, and the whole meaning/moral behind it is irritating and even hypocritical. (If I would have gone through with it, I may be considered a hypocrite. And I most certainly am not.) To sum up this little story, I chose the chance of going to Disney World over flying abroad to Europe, where I wouldn't even enjoy myself because I don't know anyone and it's just work. Who wants work in the summer? I don't.

I think I'm going to conclude this pointless post, as I am starting to feel weak and suddenly losing the feeling in my hands. Don't worry about me, though, I'll be fine. (I hope it's clear that I am too tired to even write a decent closing.) I apologize if I disturbed anyone with my stupor. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Surprisingly Joyous Occasion

I'm talking about the Golden Globes here. Dumb ass. (Just kidding, you didn't know. Unless you did.) Anyway, instead of writing several paragraphs about the event, all jumbled together that will look unflattering to the reader's eye (your eye), I will do what I did with the Critics' Choice Awards: point by point. I'd just like to inform you before you read this that this was a cheerful evening. For the most part.

Ricky Gervais - I don't care what the majority of people say, I know this man is absolutely hilarious. The first time he hosted, it was a wonderful portion of the show. When he was asked to hot a second time, I was surprised and delighted, as he can be, shall we say, "taboo", objectively-speaking. Last year, he was denounced by critics everywhere, accused of being too "mean". I'd just like to say, that's a bit juvenile for the critics. After being asked a third time to host, especially after being attacked by critics, Ricky Gervais mocks the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for hiring him again. In his opening monologue, he cites a list they gave him explaining that he's not allowed to curse, talk about Mel Gibson, etc. It's like giving a baby a lighter, having them sear your eyebrows, then returning it to them only as long as they don't do it again. I thought it was a cute analogy. Now, let me say this again: I love Ricky Gervais. This year, however, I was a tad disappointed to see a lot less of him at the ceremony. And when he made an appearance, I'm sad to say his jokes were too Tom Hanks, that they were safe and cheesy-smiley. It was as if he was pleasing the Hollywood Foreign Press. That's the feeling I got anyway. One joke I would like to highlight: asking Johnny Depp if he had seen The Tourist yet.

Joey - Otherwise known as Matt LeBlanc, famous for his role in Friends as Joey Tribbiani. At this year's Golden Globes, the actor was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical Television Series for a show called Episodes. I have watched the first season of the show, and am surprised to say I enjoyed the British, practically starless production, especially Matt LeBlanc, playing himself. What surprised me even more was that he actually won. It was a happy win, in a sort of nostalgic way since he was known for Friends which ended a while ago. Indeed, a pleasant surprise. How you doin'? That didn't fit at all.

Modern Family - Another triumph in the television category, the fantastic comedy hit finally won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series after three nominations. After losing to the freak/teen-magnet, Glee, the true winner received its award, at last. Seriously, Glee has been declining in recent years. Even at the beginning, it didn't hold a candle to Modern Family. But, finally, it has rightfully won its most-deserving award, as it is the Best Comedy we've seen in a while.

The Help - Really? Only one Globe? At least it was for Octavia Spencer, whose performance was undeniably sensational. Honestly, I was surprised the movie was so great. Seriously, it was really good. Did you see it? You should. The movie tells the stories of the lives of colored maids in the South of the 1960s, during the Civil Rights movement. From this description alone, I slightly expected some pro-colored people/anti-racism rant, arguing that white people are evil and colored people are victims. Of course, there were several cruel whites in that time, like Hilly, but there were also several kind ones, like Celia Foote. Also, colored people were victims at that time, but they didn't brag about it. I'm going to stop right there before I go into what-may-sound-like a racist speech. I am not racist. (It's almost scary how afraid people are of being called that, isn't it?) Anyway, The Help is a drama you should definitely watch.

The Artist - I can't even explain how much I love this film. (And I haven't even seen it yet.) Therefore, you can probably assume how thrilled I was to hear its name mentioned as a winner three times: once for Best Original Score (delightful), Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical (charming), and Best Comedy (in your face Bridesmaids). Can't I revel a little in the fact that Bridesmaids won nothing? Well, this is about The Artist, so I won't do it here. As for the black-and-white sure-masterpiece, I am so glad that the Cannes-darling is getting all this acclaim. It most certainly deserves it! Now, even though I haven't actually watched it yet, I am positive that it will be incredible. I won't even mention what-ifs because, well, it's silly to do so. Jean Dujardin is proof enough that the movie is sure to be amazing. Did I mention the trailer made me cry?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - Otherwise known as Hollywood's most in-love couple. Their adorable closeness, captured on camera a few times, was so heartwarming to witness. You just cannot fake love like that. As for those on Jennifer Aniston's team, you all can stuff a sock in your mouth because these two are incredibly romantic and sweet. Plus, it's been about eight years since Jennifer legally left the picture, so it's getting pathetic. Don't deny it. I see it plastered on magazines everyday, titles like "Brad was the only one for Jen". Enough is enough already. Anyway, Brad and Angelina are both gorgeous and adorable.

No.
Marilyn Monroe - The closest thing to Marilyn Monroe in that room was Sidney Poitier, who starred in The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis, who starred in Some Like It Hot with the actress. There might have been something closer, but the farthest from her was Michelle Williams, who portrayed her in My Week with Marilyn. Really, who on earth casted her to play the most recognizably beautiful actress in the history of Hollywood? I mean, really, they look absolutely nothing alike. I can't italicize my emphasis any further. The only thing they have in common is their gender. Marilyn Monroe was voluptuous, sultry, and absolutely stunning; from her sexy voice to her bouncy, curvy walk. Michelle Williams has a wide face, much like that of someone saying cheese in a sort of "duh" manner, and an awkward, stumpy body. Again, nothing like Marilyn Monroe. And the fact that she's getting esteem for her performance, including the award for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical, is just insulting. To Marilyn and true admirers of the great actress. Well, she was beautiful at least. Beating Charlize Theron for her role as a nasty, ex-prom queen bitch in Young Adult was yet another awful factor of Michelle Williams's win. It just makes me want to bite my fingers. (And Best Comedy? Not too sure about that label.)

The Iron Lady - I'm referring to Meryl Streep herself, for she is the iron lady. In all honesty, I wasn't too confident that she would win this award, while Viola Davis was receiving more acclaim and titles like "front-runner". But she secured her timeless title as greatest actress of our modern era. That's right, the absolute greatest of them all. Transforming herself into one of Britain's most well-known Prime Ministers, Margaret Thatcher in case you weren't aware, was a true feat of immense talent. Pulling it off successfully, as an American actress, is all the more impressive. I'm sure even Britain is proud of her portrayal of their iron lady. (I can't say for sure, it's simply a guess.) While I enjoyed The Help (seriously, watch it), and Viola Davis as well, her performance was not all that special. It was certainly good and all, just not Oscar-great, like Meryl Streep. That sounded so passive and apologetic. Let me try something a bit more assertive and factual. Viola Davis was good, Meryl Streep was much better.

Animations - Rather a disappointment this year. No Pixar films? Come on.

The Greats - Two legendary and outstanding directors/writers won a Globe this year: Martin Scorsese for Hugo as Best Director and Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris for Best Screenplay. I was very pleased to hear Woody Allen's name announced, rather than that Sorkin bastard, because his brilliant creation was so wonderful. Speaking of which, I believe it's time to rematch that beauty. As for Scorsese, he is something. At his age, making movies as if he were still in his Goodfellas prime, almost as good as those movies too, is truly an astounding feat. I applaud him uproariously. It's satisfying to know that such wonderful artists can still be recognized for their evident genius and creativity. Very satisfying, indeed.

Gerard Butler - I'd just like to mention his embarrassing attempt at making the crowd laugh with a joke I can't even remember. Hilarious.

Fashion disasters - Seriously? How hard is it to pick out a nice-looking dress?

George Clooney - While I expected this, I was hoping for Brad Pitt to get it. Even though I haven't watched Moneyball yet, I'm more leaning towards him because he never got one before. I was just as shocked as you were. Either him or newcomer Michael Fassbender, whom I enjoyed very much in X-Men: First Class and a few years back in Inglourious Basterds. Plus I hear he was naked in Shame? Interesting. Earlier in the year, I anticipated Leonardo DiCaprio to win everything, as portraying J. Edgar Hoover should have been a sure thing in awards season. Apparently not. Here's hoping for his performance in The Great Gatsby.

I believe that is all worth mentioning at the Golden Globes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Critics' Choice Awards

Considering this is not a high-profile awards event, and that the winners here do not necessarily ensure the Oscar winners, I won't go into too much detail. What I will do is highlight specific parts of the show that hit a nerve, either satisfying or infuriating.

He even looks like a prick.
Aaron Sorkin - Really? Again? Didn't he get enough recognition and prestige for his supposedly "genius" adapted screenplay for The Social Network? I believe he most certainly did. He literally swept every single screenplay category last year for his boring, less-than-captivating adaptation for the movie about Facebook. (That's how the movie is known as, by the way.) Seriously, the movie is a one-time watch. Justin Timberlake was the only enjoyable part. Worth mentioning. Now, Sorkin is back again to steal the award for Best Adpated Screenplay for Moneyball. I use the word "steal" because he was up against the guy who adapted Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Hugo, and I am rooting for Scorsese all the way this year. Him, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and Michel Hazanavicious's The Artist. Everything else is neither here nor there. As for Moneyball, I find myself reluctant to watch it now that I know Sorkin was behind it all. Will it be another boring, one-time watch? Even with Brad Pitt? Time will tell.

Bridesmaids - Believe it or not, I was very disappointed that this won Best Comedy. Yes, as I did not enjoy the movie that is tagged as "the female Hangover". Many resent that title, but it's a tad true. Even if they don't get drunk and retrace their steps in Las Vegas (they didn't even go to Vegas!), it has that Hangover feel. Only less funny. A lot less funny. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Kristen Wiig, and was excited about seeing this movie. Therefore, my expectations were extremely high. Because I didn't laugh as much as I'd like, the movie was a bigger disappointment than it should have been. I thought it was merely okay, nothing awesome or hilarious at all. Melissa McCarthy was pretty darn funny, but not worth the rumors of Oscar buzz. Seriously? Can you imagine her winning? I like her and all, but I like Will Ferrell too. Catch my drift? (Such an amusing saying.) Another upset about Bridesmaids's win is that it beat Horrible Bosses, the darkly hilarious comedy starring the best trio of actors ever (Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman), and Crazy, Stupid, Love., the sweet, funny film with a genuinely surprising twist. And a surprise in films nowadays is truly appreciated. Bridesmaids, however, was unfortunately predictable, awkwardly unfunny, and at times even corny. Sorry, Kristen Wiig.

The Artist - Believe me when I say that I literally jumped off my leather loveseat when The Artist was announced Best Picture. Honestly, I was so incredibly thrilled that the nostalgic black-and-white film received the honor of being deemed the greatest. Of this awards ceremony anyway. Michel Hazanavicious, also, received the honorary title of Best Director. Again, of this particular awards ceremony. Who knows if The Artist will be so lucky at this Sunday's Golden Globes or at the Academy Awards. Either way, their impressive win had me simply tickled pink with happiness.

Other honorable mentions include:

Woody Allen's win for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris - A relieving win, after Sorkin won yet another award for his quasi-brilliance, as well as a sheer delight

George Clooney wins Best Actor for The Descendants - Not necessarily a positive occurrence, as I was rooting for Jean Dujardin for his extraordinary performance in complete silence. Giving such a marvelous performance without saying anything, now that's worth an Oscar. Still, I don't mind Clooney's win one bit.

Viola Davis wins Best Actress for The Help - Again, not much of a cheer. I was rooting for Meryl Streep for her convincing, amazing portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. I'm happy for Davis, regardless, as I'm sure her performance was great, too. Better her than Michelle Williams. She does not look like Marilyn Monroe. At all.

Another tribute for Martin Scorsese - This is greatly appreciated, and in no way tiring (he was honored at the Golden Globes a few years back, as well), since Mr. Scorsese is undeniably a cinematic genius. Plus, montages of the legendary director are always a joy to watch. And Leonardo DiCaprio's introduction for the master of film was truly heart-warming, considering their close friendship.

Short and sweet, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Drive

For some reason, I feel as if I haven't been on here for months, when really, it's only been a mere week. (A mere week?) It's just "work" and I've had a few family crises and...never mind. Anyway, between then and now, I have watched...one Oscar buzz-filled movie. (I had to take a moment to think. That's what the three dots were for.) That movie was the quasi-artistic film Drive, starring a mumbling-smoldering Ryan Gosling as an adrenaline junkie caught in a high-profile crime, with a dash of unnecessary family-oriented moments. Now, I pointed out several things, call them problems, concerning the movie. Allow me to touch them one by one. ("Touch. Don't touch." Oh, Spongebob.)

The poster looks better here
than in the first paragraph.
Quasi-artistic - For those who don't know, the prefix "quasi-" indicates when the following characteristic (in this case, artistic) is evident though unsuccessful. Clearly put, in the particular case of Drive, the movie was desperately trying to be artistic, but, through my eyes, was definitely not. While watching the movie, I noticed many familiar film-tactics, such as displaying blood as beautiful art and slow-motion-drama. These were wonderful executed by the likes of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Nicholas Winding Refn, the director of Drive, attempted to display both of their brilliant talent into his one movie. What happened instead was a muddled and dragging mix of the two, which resulted with long openings, dragged slow-motion scenes, and overly-gory violence. Seriously, a girl's head exploded. Neither masterfully beautiful, like Scorsese, or ragingly shocking, like Tarantino. Just plain, cringe-worthy. Also, the slow-motion scenes. They're a bit played-out, wouldn't you say? Something to ponder over.

Ryan Gosling - I'd like to start out by saying how much I admire Ryan Gosling, and that I think he is a very promising actor. By this point, he has passed promising and entered superstar-status, clearly, but he has the talent to support his fame. Seriously, I really like him. Crazy, Stupid, Love. Honorable mentioning. Anyway, as for his character in Drive: honestly, nothing special. With all this awards buzz he's getting for this movie, I was expecting quite a lot, especially because he shows great talent. In Drive, he displays the same, serious countenance throughout the entire movie. Think of what one looks like when they're on a serious mission to kick some ass. (I meant to sound like a quasi-cool cliche just then. See that? I used quasi again.) Gosling proves he can remain poise in tense situations, rather well too, but that's basically all that's impressive with his performance. And frankly, the majority of good actor possess that ability, yet I don't see John Malkovich with an Oscar. (He's a prime example for such a description.) Another thing I'd like to bring to everyone's attention (and this means you, Academy): mumbling does not indicate an astounding performance. I even have a perfect example to support this statement. Another Oscar nominated performance, Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, spoke in such a muddled manner, I literally could not make out a word he said. (Mind you, I say this only having watched a clip of the movie at the Oscar ceremony. I have never watched the movie, nor will I ever watch it.) Overall, to actors everywhere who wish to attain the public's admiration and esteem: speak clearly, please. With all this being said, it would be logical to believe that I dislike Ryan Gosling. This is not true. In fact, I quite enjoy him, as I said earlier. All I am saying is that he does not deserve the acclaimed attention he's getting. And another thing. He wears the hell out of that satin jacket.

The Driver's Emotional Commentary - When Gosling isn't out making deals with criminals or doing the stunts of actors who "do their own stunts", his character spends time with his neighbor and her child. She's not a single mother either (but she will be), as her husband is in jail for a short amount of time. (When I say short amount of time, I am referring to the long introduction.) The Driver develops feelings for his pretty neighbor, which would push him to get involved with the aforementioned crime deal. (Crazy, stupid love....) Even though Gosling shows no apparent feelings for her, through facial expression, it is evident how much he loves her. No sarcasm intended, he truly loves her. At least that's what I gathered from it. As for her son, this was a touching plot line, always appreciated in most movies. However, in the dark, sinister undertones of Drive, it proves to be an obstacle for both the Driver and the movie itself. Really, it just drags on, almost painfully slow. Again, these are simply objective critiques. If not, then I mean for them to be.

Albert Brooks - This is just an addition to my overall evaluation, and a positive one, too. In most cases, I don't generally like Albert Brooks; in movies such as Muse and The In-Laws, he played a bumbling, whiny fool and I didn't care for him at all. In Drive, however, he provides an exceptional turn into a malicious, sly criminal who executes his responsibilities with composure and swiftness. Considering the first description of his typical character, I'd say his performance here was absolutely grand. He would be the only understandable and deserving win for Drive, should it even get a nod. And it will. Bravo, Mr. Brooks.

I would, once again, like to note that I am not bashing this movie, nor is this a rotten review. I am simply pointing out certain elements of the movie that I found worth mentioning. After finding out that Drive is extremely well-received by critics and audiences (particularly Entertainment Weekly magazine), I decided that I watch it myself, to see what all the buzz is about. Truly, upon starting the movie, I really wanted to enjoy it more than I actually did. The beginning, where Gosling is a getaway driver, it seemed very promising, a great suspense-thriller. Instead, the movie ended leaving me on the brink of yawning again, and concluding that the thriller was merely decent. I'll leave you all with one question: Why the mask?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Mel Gibson!

For some reason, I have a feeling most of you reading this are probably cringing, angry, and/or shutting off your computer to sulk. And, for some reason, I'm increasingly frustrated with Mr. Gibson's new image and how people react towards him. Actually, there is a perfectly reasonable reason for it: I love Mel Gibson. (I hope that introduction made sense.)

Today, the legen--wait for it--dary actor turns fifty-six, and for those of you who cannot read, that reads 56. (About the legendary joke: just to note, I do not watch How I Met Your Mother, nor do I enjoy Neil Patrick Harris in any line of work. But I'm sure you know that already. You should anyway.) Moving on, the actor recently finalized his divorce from his first wife, in which she got half his fortune. Eight-hundred fifty million dollars, $850 million for those who cannot read. That's a whole lot of money, if you ask that guy. (Points to a male.) Since there was no prenuptial agreement, she is entitled to it. Whatever. All I can say is, "Poor Mel." After all this Oksana garbage (I don't even care if I spelled her name wrong), he has gained an infamous status of "Hollywood's Public Enemy Number One". Not to mention that whole drunk-driving incident, and the comments he made toward the Jews, while under the influence I must add. I'm just going to stop right there because explaining all his woes is upsetting me. Let me just get into a list of some of his greatest films:

Payback - While I may not like it as much as my dad does, and that's not a hint that I didn't enjoy this film, I consider this one of Mel's best solely because of its cinematography. For those who don't know, cinematography is how the camera captures each scene, how the picture quality looks and all. In Mel's gritty drama about revenge (or payback...), his character, Porter, is nearly killed by his wife and best friend, then strives to exact vendetta on them. It is an amazing, artistically-made film that should highly be considered for more recognition. If that sentence was a bit jumbled, the movie is highly under-appreciated and definitely deserves more esteem and recognition. I just repeated myself.

Ransom - Another excellent drama, this film follows the situation of a wealthy man whose son has been kidnapped. Unlike the previous film, this is much more heart-wrenching, especially for parents I'm sure, and is more relatable. Therefore, the film hits an emotional level that absorbs the viewers' attention. Gary Sinise co-stars as the sinister (spoiler) kidnapper in a marvelous performance. But he fades in comparison to Mel's outstanding portrayal of a father desperate to get his son back, and does the unthinkable in order to do so. To get his son back. (Thought I wasn't exactly clear there. Then again, when am I ever clear?) Overall, the film was yet another example of Mel's immense talent.

What Women Want - A more comedic turn, Mel plays a womanizer, Nick Marshall, who gains the ability to read the minds of all women. Yes, all women. While unknowing guys may envy him, I understand why it's a hassle for him. I, alone, always have something on my mind. I even talk to myself...in my head. I digress. While Nick encounters many women (including the beautiful Marisa Tomei), he mainly focuses on his new boss, Darcey Maguire, played by Helen Hunt. Their relationship begins in the most typical of ways: boy meets girl, they hate each other, they relate with Nick's special power, they fall in love. Sure, it's cheesy and predictable, but, apparently, it works splendidly. This is perhaps of my preferred romantic comedies, and while the term has recently degraded into meaning something boring and/or cheesy, this most certainly is neither. Witty, sweet, and simply heart-warming to watch, What Women Want is, without a doubt, one of Mel's best. Maybe even all-time best...but that's just my opinion.

The Patriot - I much prefer this over Mel's epic, Oscar-winning epic, Braveheart. (Both epics were intended.) For one, this is not as long, or doesn't feel as long, which is always plus. Unless you enjoy putting yourself through countless War and Peace-epics on a daily basis. The movie takes place during Revolutionary America, when Britain usurped them and whatnot, and centers around Benjamin Martin, a peaceful farmer who's led to establish his own colonial militia after a cruel British officer (spoiler) kills his son. As a whole, the movie is very dramatic and stirring, and definitely captures your attention, which is less than I can say about Braveheart. While I love Mel, truly I do, Braveheart was just not his best. In its time, I'm sure it was "awesome". And, even today, is still remembered as Mel's "only good contribution to cinema". I made that up. But I have a feeling that's what people think.

Lethal Weapon(s) - Basically, all of them. You know me, and my enjoyment of corny films, of any kind, especially those starring a very young and sexy Mel Gibson. That's right, I called him sexy. (He still is. Not young, but sexy.) Anyway, you probably know the plot: bad-boy-funny cop Martin Riggs is paired up with cranky veteran cop Roger "I'm-getting-too-old-for-this-shit" Murtaugh, and they journey on zany, action-packed missions. For some reason, the Beverly Hills Cop theme popped in my head when thinking of this franchise. In its time, oh boy, was it popular. Even today, it still is! It is imprinted on pop culture history, and there's nothing you can do about it. Another incredibly comic element of the franchise, from the second one on, is Joe Pesci, as the fast-talking annoying sidekick Leo Getz. Whatever you want, Leo Getz. Get it? His last name is Getz, like gets? So his name is like an action...Leo gets. Anyway, besides that cheesy pun, he proves to be one of the best parts of the entire franchise. Sure, he got a Razzie nomination (sigh) for the third one, when he went blond, but, you know what they say: Fuck the Razzies.

Maverick - I nearly forgot about this one! Shame on me, for this movie is, without a doubt in my mind, the best western movie. I reckon this is one western where you will not fall asleep from boredom. (Unless you're a huge western fan. Then I just insulted you.) I've recently discovered that this was based on a television show back before, so you might be aware of the plot and characters. If not: Mel Gibson stars as Bret Maverick, who is on a quest for money so he can enter a reputable poker tournament, and along the way he faces various comical mishaps. While that sounds like a cheesy, Three Stooges-type comedy, it is definitely not. He tricks dim-witted cowboys into not beating him for cheating them, encounters a charming little lady with loads of moxie, and has a battle of the wits with an elderly gentleman who has his eyes set on the little lady himself. The little lady in question is Annabelle Bransford, played wonderfully by Jodie Foster in her best performance, in my opinion, as she seduces and cons Bret, who retaliates with witty knowledge. This game they play is simply adorable. The elderly gentleman in question is Marshall Zane Cooper, played by James Garner, who I call elderly because he's significantly older than Bret; but the old man still has tons of charisma and wit when battling Bret. Would you like to know why I used the word "significantly"? I'm sure you would, but it's a spoiler, so I can't. (Hint: Marshall might be Bret's father.) Oh, shoot, I just gave it away. Couldn't you expect that I would? Overall, one of Mel's greatest, for sure.

Well, there you have it. Just a few films that display Mel Gibson's timeless, magnificent talent. While most of you are most likely the majority of the population, your judgment of him probably hasn't changed just because I described some of his movies. Well, that wasn't my intention. (Then why are you even mentioning it...?) Even though (and I know it feels like I can't say it enough) it seems that Mel has been bashed by everyone, I have a strong feeling he couldn't care less what they think. I'd like to provide a brief excerpt of most-probable fact. An anecdote, if you will. (Actually, no it's not.) When The Hangover Part II was still in production, there was talk about bringing Mel in to do a cameo as a tattoo artist. Unfortunately, he was cut out and replaced. Want to know why? Zach Galifianakis. I'm sure I spelled that incorrectly. (Good!) Apparently, Mr. Galifianakis feels "uncomfortable" with Mel around because of his crude comments towards the Jews. I would just like to ask, "Who the hell does he think he is?" Seriously, who are you? Some tubby, assumably-funny-but-really-unfunny clown who won't even be remembered after this Hangover buzz has subsided. (It has already begun. Have you seen Part II? Don't.) Mel Gibson, with or without this ridiculous animosity, is a legend. Plain and simple. And I will still admire him for years to come, and hope he returns to the industry with a sensational, in-your-face comeback. Happy Birthday, Mel!

Note: I actually finished this the day after his birthday, but I wanted to keep his birthday time stamp. So I did.