Dec 31, 2011

A look back at 2011

Although I always try, I can never do a top 5, or top 10; I mean, I can not put them in order, decide which one is better or worse. That's why, this year, for my tiny blog, I decided just to showcase my movies of 2011: the ones I loved, the ones that shocked me, my favorite stars, the best directors, the coolest soundtracks and my regret of not seeing some movies I know would definitely make the cut for this year!

So, without further ado, here are my picks (in no particular order):

Midnight in Paris- for the simple, yet endearing script, the best references used in a movie, for its hidden treasures, the direction and lovely sight of Paris that it is showcased throught the film

Warrior- for being my surprise of 2011, for the amazing performances delivered by Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy, for making me bite my nails during the fighting scenes and for the emotional script

Melancholia- 1 of the 2 most controversial movies for me this year; it had its ups and downs, but I have to appreciate it for what it is and the performances delivered by Dunst and Gainsborough. Plus, for its grand ending

We need to talk about Kevin- for its darkness and the shocking finale

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2- for its beautiful end of series and all of its achievements

Fast and Furious 5- you might find it funny, but I am big FF fan and I love the reunion put together for this movie(especially Paul Walker and Vin Diesel)- the franchise is still delivering great action; plus the Don Omar song at the end was the running joke for me and my sister during the summer, so it will be forever stuck in my head

Jane Eyre- for re-inventing, yet at the same time, honouring, a classic; and for great performances by Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowsa

Hugo- one of the most flawless movies I have ever seen; beautifully captures the 1930s Paris and the birth of cinema

50/50- for a fantastic script and a enjoyable mix of drama and comedy

Restless- simply put, the movie that got the strongest and weirdest reaction from me this year. Check my review from October if interested

Drive- one of the best soundtracks ever, interesting first scene, memorable direction (Nicholas Refn), and two great performances (Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling)

Tree Of Life- second of the 2 most controversial movies for me this year; like Melancholia, with a lot of ups and downs for me, but I have to appreciate Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and its cinematography

Horrible Bosses, Crazy, stupid, love and Bridesmaids- for showing Hollywood that there are funny, sweet, great script out there for comedy; for good performances that make you laugh

Last minute add:
Great Expectations- it's perfect in so many ways- if you have the chance, please see it!

Special mentions: Take Shelter(for Michael Shannon's performance), Martha Marcy May Marlene (great director and great first part for Elizabeth Olsen), The Help (strong characters, strong women, strong performances), Senna (one of the best and most innovative documentaries I have seen), Michael Fassbender (for three amazing performances he delivered this year- Jane Eyre, X Men, Shame and especially for the breakout role in Hunger, which I only saw this year), My Week with Marilyn (all rise for the lovely Michelle Williams), Life in a day documentary (innovative idea and well-edited), Carnage (best use of space in 90 minutes plus 4 amazing actors put together)

2011 movies I haven't seen, but are probably great/would have loved them: Shame, Weekend, The Artist, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, A separation, The skin I live in, Dangerous Method, Albert Nobbs, Into the Abyss, The Descendants, maybe War Horse

...and probably I have missed some things, but honestly, my whole film memory goes back to September, because that is when I started this blog, that's when I started to pay more attention to movies and its meaning and I analysed more. These last months have been fantastic and I am eager to continue my journey through the film experience in 2012 on this blog you helped grow and grow each day more and more. Thank you!

Hope you enjoyed it!

Have a great 2012! I love you all!

Dec 30, 2011

Bridesmaids [2011]

Christmas is not a good time to watch a war movie, or horror or anything too dramatic. You should see something light, funny, interesting. My choice for the 26th of December? Bridesmaids! How was it? I loved it!

The movie, a comedy, had all the right elements: funky, a little bit excentric protagonist, a best friend, weird roommates and, of course, a funny situation that moves along the plot. But still, it exceled in many ways.

First of all, say what you want, Kristen Wiig is funny. Kristen is funny in her own special way, in the SNL way that made her famous and the jokes and style of the famous tv show transcend to the big screen, as well (obvious example, Annie vs Helen speech at the engagement party). The script, co-written by her, has some very funny lines and scenes and doesn't go over the top very often (exception being the very end, with the Megan & Air Marshall video).

3 key moments that had laughing out loud: (1)the last part of the airplane scene ("there's a woman on a wing..."), (2)Annie, in the car with Helen, trying to get Rhodes attention and (3)Lillian, showing up in her designer dress in her apartment, to show Annie. Funny for me, at least.(p.s. I love SNL, as well, some sketches are hilarious, and they have so many talented people in the cast: Kristen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Taran Killam and so on).

Second of all, the story was simple, endearing, and of course, had the classic outline of a comedy (perfect friends, big situation, friends break up, they hit bottom, they reunite, they are both happy bla bla). You know the drill- but Bridesmaids had a little bit more. I don't know what- maybe it was Kristen Wiig, maybe it was Mellissa McCarthy or Rose Byrne (both fantastic from my point of view), maybe it was the chemistry between the women, or the lovely surprise provided by Chris O'Dowd (cool Brit, did you see him present the BIFAs? hilarious), or the funny script- I can't really say exactly, but it worked for me.

Other mentionable elements that I observed during the viewing: ..and the winners for the weirdest roommates in history are Gil and Brynn; did I ever tell you how much I love cupcakes?; Jon Hamm can play a very convincing jackass- maybe he is one in real life?; Megan is right by saying "you're your problem Annie, and you're also your solution!"- we should all learn from that one and stop complaining.

In the end, it was a great, smart comedy! I liked it! You should see it when you have the chance!

Dec 28, 2011

Moneyball [2011]

Moneyball is a drama set in 2001 about a baseball general manager who decides to change the game by relying on something completely different from what it is used on a regular basis- mathematical, or rather statistical methods that technically guarantee you a win. At first, as expected, nobody believes in him, but people start changing their minds after the team starts winning game after game, reaching a ground-breaking record of 20 wins in a row.

A few hours have gone by and I can't really say if I loved it or liked it or if I am indiferent to it. It is a very good movie- the direction is on point, the soundtrack, appropriate, the cinematography is beautiful and suitable for the atmosphere, the script is great, the acting is superb, but.....BUT it just doesn't seem perfect, something is missing. Maybe it is the fact that you don't actually have a maximum point that can be reached or a cliffhanger (the 20th game could classify as one, but wasn't fully explored, as it should have been), or maybe it's the fact that none of the characters really stand out, except Billy Beane. Everything is in place, but the passion is missing, that extra touch that everyone wants, it's not there. In the end I just couldn't get emotionally attached to it.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are clear standouts; both characters are not that interesting, they don't develop as you would imagine, but that's the beauty of it, in a way. Their performance truly explores the sense of realness and relatability that most people try to put on screen. Mister Pitt delivers, and showcases his talent by portraying an interesting man in a convincing way, perfect on the details and never giving too much or too little (maybe on the throwing things around scenes- why do people do that in movies? it always seems overracted). I can definitely see the reason behind the river of nominations going his way, but is it better then Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Or Tree of Life? or Fight Club? or many other of his movies? Not quite, but hey, he needs to be recognized for his talent sometime, right?

Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised by Jonah Hill; considering the boring part he was giving, he still managed to make it more human and interesting. Philip Seymour Hoffman was underused and faded into the lines, and the same can be said by Chris Pratt.

I guess I just have to conclude that Moneyball didn't quite make it to the finish line, to say so, from my point of view. It didn't stretch as much as it could and should have; a good try, but not the best! Rent it, you are not losing anything mind blowing by waiting for a couple of months!

Dec 26, 2011

Mission: Impossible 4- Ghost Protocol[2011]

I went into this movie screening expecting a big, action-based movie with great scenes, guns, cars, and the infamous MI song; I wasn't dissapointed. It was a good movie, great for entertaining, lacking in other, more important aspects.

Plot-wise, nothing spectacular. Ethan Hunt must save the world, yet again. Tom Cruise is great in this part and has mastered the look, pose, stare, and manners of the super agent. Because Ethan Hunt is fantastic- never gets seriously injured, always lands on his feet, sexy in any situation, smarter than the 190 IQ guy and, oh, yeah, he can speak Russian.

The most appropriate scene to showcase mister secret agent in all his splendor is the sandstorm scene. Because, honestly, let's face it, NOTHING can stop Ethan Hunt, not even a fucking sandstorm.

The movie follows the classic action storyline: fast, eye-catching opening scene that triggers the biggest problem of the planet (you know, the usual: alien invasion, global distruction, mass massacre etc); for the next 1h and a half, the super guy tries to save it, going through at least 4 or 5 nail bitting sequences; classic example: Brandt(Jeremy Renner) holds THE suitcase out the window, while Hunt tries to convince him not to, whilst Benji (Simon Pegg) counts down the seconds to "death". Of course he didn't throw the suitcase, then the movie wouldn't have had the normal storyline and we can't have that, right?

All is well at the end, as expected, Hunt saves the world and you get your "all the heroes around one table, reflecting on how cool they are and what they will do next".

Character-wise, the shining star for me was Simon Pegg as the funny, quirky, computer-man Benji; in a world of cool stares and exploding machines, he lightened the mood and gave us a few laughs. I loved him! Paula Patton as Jane was nothing out of the ordinary- beautiful girl, did her job, said her lines, looked sexy and that is about it. Now, about Jeremy Renner- he is a little bit of an enigma for me: I can see the potential of a star, of a frontman, but I still don't have that immediate attraction to him- filling up the Jason Bourne part is going to be tough! You're probably expecting me to talk about the villain, but, as some already said, I didn't really consider him to be one- he was just a pawn in Ethan Hunt's plan to rescue everyone. Maybe he should have been portrayed more devilish, with more substance. The actor was fine, the part wasn't.

I have to mention the song, the MI song that kept popping up during the screening- I thought it was great and suitable for those scenes; usually you hear it during the crucial part of the movie, but this time, it was more frequent. The soundtrack was, also, very good!

As a wrap-up, I must say it is a rather good, entertaining movie, perfect for the holidays or going out with friends who you normally wouldn't bring to an indie, foreign or art-type movie. Everyone can enjoy this one!

p.s. I should warn some of you- I got a terrible headache afterwards- maybe it was the high volume in the cinema theatre, maybe it was too visual, but still, it can be tiring to the eyes. Don't sit too close to the screen (I didn't, and still...)!

Dec 24, 2011

Christmas Eve


Oh, Christmas, I just love this time of year! For my family, the 24th of December is the most important day! We get ready, set up a nice table, put on some carols and then, in the evening, exchange gifts, all followed by A LOT of great food prepared by my mom (sometimes I help, I try to do my best). It reunites us and makes us happy!

Anyway, I just wanted to wish you all Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope Santa brings whatever you wished for! Just relax and enjoy your time spent with the family; next year is going to be crazy good, busy, and yet amazing, I can feel it!

You can still find me online, if you need someone to talk to (I know a lot of people dissappear during the vacation), and if you are interested in my top 10 for 2011, come back on the 30th or 31st of December- I still have to watch some movies I think might crack my top 10 wide open!

Merry Christmas!
Aziza, but you can call me Diana- we're friends, right? :)

Dec 23, 2011

New Year's Eve[2011] and a bad cinema experience

So, a couple of days ago I left cold London to go to an even colder home town somewhere in Eastern Europe. I missed my friends so we decided to go watch a movie. Since you can only find action, family or comedies ones in the cinema, my friend asked to go see New Year's Eve with her, and I, being the great girl that I am, said yes.

First of all, let me just say, actually, vent about a 2 horrendous people who I met there. Before going in, I waited 5 minutes outside, reading a magazine. Next to me was a couple- normal, right? Think again- they were laughing and talking aloud whilst looking around and probably gossiping(including me); they were being simply put- jerks. After my friend arrived, we went inside and guess next to whom my seat was? The douchebag and his girlfriend. And the laughter continued and I was starting to wonder if I had something on my face or did something wrong!Anyway, I ignored them....that was until the movie started and they were talking during it, not only to each other and for most of the time, but also on the phone- yes, you read it right, on the phone! And for the most important part of the movie, during the great, intentionally inspiring speech Hillary Swank gave, they were laughing yet again!Ahhh!I just wanted to punch them so badly!

Anyway, back to the movie! As you can imagine, it wasn't a masterpiece and there were so many bad things to it, so I am just going to write down some notes I mentally took during the screening:

- Wow, this poster just gave Photoshop a new definition! So unnatural!
- This script is horrible! So many cheesy lines and predictable stories!
- Michelle Pfeifer looks rather old- it's sad!IBut I still like her!
- Zac Efron is older....and fatter....and uglier! I knew I had a good reason not to like him since the beginning!
- Seriously, how many celebrities can you fit into one movie?
- Is it just me or is Jon Bon Jovi a pretty decent actor?
- Oh yes, Seth Meyers is on screen- that is where my money went to! Thank you! (did I ever tell you I love SNL?)
- If only I had a hot (well, ZE isn't, but you get my point) delivery guy who would be willing to make my dreams come true....
- Even Ryan Seacrest showed up; I like him, you got to admit the guy is charming- perfect TV host
- Oh my goodness, Sofia Vergara is so adorable and sexy...and pretty funny!
- Why is Lea Michele's character named Elise? she is obviously Rachel from Glee!
- Ok, can we skip the De Niro, Swank, Dushmel parts? 
- Oh yes, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel and the magical vagina are back on screen- and are making me laugh! Thank you!
- This fast paced, storyline mixing situation is getting weird. It doesn't have consistency, I get confused sometimes, especially when they start connecting the characters, always trying to figure out who was with who! Let's just get it over with!

And then, after a great, extremely predictable ending scene with Raise your glass on the background, New Year's Eve was over!

The End!

Final thought- recommend or not?
The boys will probably hate it or think it's too cheesy for them!
The girls- hmm, well, it's funny in some parts+ you have a lot of celebrities! Give it a try on DVD!

Dec 21, 2011

The Reader[2008]

When I see a movie, one of the things I always watch intensly or try to figure out are the characters: who are they? How do they feel? What is their story? What drives them? Everytime a film starts and the story plays itself out, questions pop into my head; most of them get answered, but there are always few that remain, and they stick in my head for a long time, after the film is over. And although it bothers me, it is that unfinished business that keeps the film in my heart and head for a long time.

Seeing The Reader is a true example of that. I loved the movie: it had a beautiful, sad story, soothing music and great sets, but yet again my mind comes back to the characters.

Hanna, played fantastically by Kate Winslet, is a simple, straight-forwarded woman who lives a normal life, until she meets young Michael, played by David Kross (the old Michael is played by Ralph Fiennes). The affair starts rather oddly and continues throughout the summer, with moments of love making and reading, as he reads to the older woman every book he can get his hands on. It ends the same way, Hanna leaving without saying goodbye to heart-broken Michael. 

That sudden disappereance changes Michael forever, stealing away all of his youth and passion.  After a few years, at a trial that he attends during his Law School years, he encounters Hana in a different, horrifing way, as the defendant in that case; she was a guard during Auswitchz. Since that moment on, the questions start popping in my head and they bother, actually ennoy me, as I can’t, just simply can’t, understand what is going through Michael’s head: is it sadness, shock and horror for the things she has done, loneliness, love and concern for her? Why didn’t he visit Hana in the prison? Why didn’t he save her by admitting to the court that she couldn’t read? Is the love he was for her stopping him? Or is it disgust?

I know the book has all the answers, or at least better explains part of the story, but it does surprise me. I wish it was more clearer...or maybe it is and the problem is me. Or maybe that’s the whole idea of the movie...

All I know is that The Reader is a great work of art and you should see it: for Kate Winslet and her well diserved Oscar, for the director’s view of things, for the music, for the fantastic young David Kross and for the intensity that Ralph Fiennes shows. 

Dec 19, 2011


Senna is a 2011 documentary about the life of race car driver Ayrton Senna, one of the best and the most famous people in Formula 1 history.

The story follows the Brazilian from the beginning of his career to his tragic ending. The script takes you through all of the important steps who took in order to become the man he is known to be. From the race which he started in the 13th place, but finished in the 2nd one, to his first World Championship win in 1988, his controversy with Alain Prost in 1989, all the way through his last season at Williams, the company who was responsible for his tragic death during one of the races. Extra bit for Formula 1 lovers or, at least, for those who follow the sport from time to time: you do see the beginning of Rubens Barichello and Michael Schumacher's careers.

I must say I didn't knew too much about him beforehand, so I think the documentary showed a beautiful side of the driver and it all worked out well. Ayrton was a very strong, competitive man, but also, with a lot of faith in him. He once said "If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver" and he is right; plus, you can apply that saying in more then one context, can't you? He understood the sport, he loved it, he was the best at it and he fought for what he believed in. Anyone can appreciate that.

His unavoidable death was sad, but for me, personally, wasn't properly explained or expressed in the right way. You build up a movie like this one, you know everyone is expecting the shocking part, but when you get to it, you use 1 minute and then straight to the funeral; I was a little underwhelmed by it. The saddest moment was the funeral, when we get to see people from his life saying goodbye, his before and after relationships- it got to me.

Senna is probably one of the best documentaries I have seen. I absolutely loved the fact that they used ONLY footage of him and didn't add unnecessary shots, just background voices explaining the situation and how Senna reacted to it. The music suited the vibe perfectly and the editing was superb. I think that even for non-Formula 1 people, this can be entertaining.

Overall, it is a film worth seeing and you should watch it when you have the chance!

Dec 15, 2011

We need to talk about Kevin[2011]

We need to talk about Kevin is a film based on a novel written by Lionel Shriver and directed by Lynne Ramsay. It tells the story of the mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree and her attempt at dealing with her grief.

This movie is not your typical drama, you can't just watch it and not think things over at the end. It does have an impact on anyone, I presume, and it is shocking.

I haven't read the book, but I can tell you this movie is disturbing. One of the main ideas it gives you is the love a mother can/should have for her child, regardless his/her action. The innability of a mother to connect with her son in any level must be one of the most difficult, heartbreaking, frustrating feelings in the world. She must feel so useless, always blaming herself for not doing something right, for not trying enough. And I know some will rise and say "hey, she was so mean to him, so unpatient", but those persons don't really consider the mothers' point of view: why don't you try living with a child who doesn't listen, or just doesn't try to survive, a child who is so uncarring, and angry and just unreachable as Kevin. Any human being will be sick of it after a couple of weeks, months, so consider living with someone like this for years.

Also, seeing this movie would make you think "why is everyone blaming the mother, it's not her fault, she tried", but then again, think about from their perspective: they don't know how he was, what he put his family through; they would just see a weak mother who didn't raise her child right, who didn't educate him and, most importantly, a mother who didn't see this coming and didn't do anything to prevent it.

Kevin is...well, how can I describe him? A maniac?sociopath?pshycopath? I don't know the clinical term, but I can say that he doesn't have and he doesn't show affection to anyone; he is moody, angry and he seems bored of life, in general. He is the kind of boy you can't please- with the exception of bows and arrows- he seems to love that.

His relationships with others are strange and uncomfortable. A curious shift happens when the little sister is born- he is obviously jealous, although you can't help wondering why, since he hates his mother, but then again you have the scene of Kevin getting sick and you start wondering if there is something there, something hiding, since that night he showed the one flicker of affection he has for Eva- it troubled me and left me confused. Why? Why would act like that and then change back to his old self afterwards? Another peculiar incident is the one where he breaks his arm, but goes home and lies to this father, covering up the fact Eva threw him. The book probably explains those scene and I will try to read it soon!

The last scene revelead the shocking part, in my opinion. As Eva walks into her house, screaming her husband's name, I can't help saying "Please, tell me they are gone, that he decide to leave or something like that"- I really wasn't prepared mentally for the image of the garden, I couldn't believe that would happen. Even when I saw it, I refused to think that Kevin did it, I thought it was the other kids or other parents trying to revenge their loss. But unfortunately, the truth is sick, shocking, dramatic and heartbreaking- I admit I cried afterwards, as it doesn't hit you right way, as it didn't hit Eva either- you start feeling that true desperation when she goes inside and lies down on her bed, full of blood.

It is a kind of movie (and probably book) based on character development, not plot, which I like and enjoy more, sometimes. You can see, feel, understand and sympathize with them and so the story seems more real. It might get boring, if you don't like these types of movies, be warned.

Moving on to the film making part, I can say there are some beautiful, well-crafted moments in the movie that made it even more special. The abundance of the colour RED, from the opening scene, or the paint on her house, or constant bottle of wine sitting on the table, to the blood at the end. The sound effects and editing who create the dramatic feeling throughout the piece- from small noises(xerox machine, radio) to the sound of the girl singing- everything fits in perfectly and multiplies the effect. The directing is interesting, a little confusing at times, but still offers some memorable scenes. The Halloween moment when you actually see and understand the contrast between Eva and others, between what they are doing and feeling and what she is going through.

Performance-wise, I guess there is no need to say it, but I will anyway, just to inforce the fact that Tilda Swinton truly is fantastic in We need to talk about Kevin. She is a very interesting person off-screen, so I can understand the casting, but nonetheless, she delivers a moving, sincere performance and deserves all of the credit she is getting lately. Another stand out was, of course, Ezra Miller; his appereance helps make 80% of the job seem easier, as he has the look of a dangerous, deranged boy. John C.Reilly, always the  overlooked, underappreciated man of the Hollywood scene, has good chemistry with the two leads, but, as usual, never really shines.

Overall, it is a disturbing, yet amazing film that you should see!

Dec 13, 2011

Search for reviews/opinions

Hey guys,

Quick post today!

Lately I have been thinking of some of my favorite movies or just those who still remain memorable for me, for one reason or another. I am just curious to see what others think of them and or have actually reviewed them for the blog.

So, if you know, have seen, liked/disliked or, even better, reviewed the next movies, please do let me know in the comments:
Legends of the Fall
Dangerous Beauty 
Cruel Intentions
Cry Baby
Four Brothers
English Patient

Thank you and have a nice day/evening/night!

Dec 12, 2011

No clear frontrunners for the awards madness in 2011/12?

Is it just me or this year is shaping up to be a very interesting one, full of surprises? Usually by this time you already have some clear favourites, especially in the acting department (like Natalie Portman and Colin Firth in 2010/11), but for this season I really don't see anything clear in front of me!Ok, I am exaggerating....maybe Albert Brooks for Supporting Actor and MAYBE the Artist for Best Picture, but the others are pretty open!

Let's take some examples!
Best Actor: In my opinion, this is the one to watch- there are so many good performances that you can't really know which way it can go! Brad Pitt in Moneyball or Tree of Life, Ryan Gosling in Drive, George Clooney in The Descendants, Michael Fassbender in Shame, Jean Dujardin in the Artist, Michael Shannon in Take Shelter, Joseph Gordon Levitt in 50/50, Leonardo Dicaprio as J.Edgar Hoover and so on! For me, and from what I have seen, they all have an equal chance of getting those big statues (Golden Globes, SAG, Oscar), but no one is a frontrunner yet and I like it! I, persoanlly, am rooting for either Fassbender or Pitt(he deserves one).

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- Brad Pitt for both Moneyball and Tree of Life
National Board of Review- George Clooney in The Descendants
BIFA- Michael Fassbender in Shame
WAFCA- George Clooney in the Descendants
BSFC- Brad Pitt, runner ups George Clooney and Michael Fassbender
NYFCO2011- Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, runners up Michael Fassbender(Shame) and Gary Oldman(TTSS)
LAFilmCritics- Michael Fassbender for everything this year, runner up Michael Shannon for Take Shelter
San Francisco- Gary Oldman for TTSS

Best actress: Again, another strong category! Some say Meryl Streep has it in the bag with The Iron Lady, but when you are in a category with the superb Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, or the loveable Viola Davis in The Help, not to mention the stunning Tilda Swinton(We need to talk about Kevin), you can't be sure of anything. Other notable performances that can surprise are Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) or Elizabeth Olsen in MMMM. Oh, and Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs looks fantastic, maybe she will get nominated as well, although I don't know its release date. I can't bet on anything here, either, although I am hoping for either Williams or Swinton or maybe Viola Davis, but I don't think so. You need an incredible strong performance if you are a lesser known actress to be considered above women like Streep or Swinton, and, although I loved Viola in the movie, I don't think it's strong enough.

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
National Board of Review- Tilda Swinton for We need to talk about Kevin
WAFCA- Michelle Williams in My week with Marilyn
BSFC- Michelle Williams for My week with Marilyn
NYFCO- Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, runner up Viola Davis for The Help
LAFilmCritics- Yun Lung-hee for Poetry(WTF?), runner up Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia
San Francisco- Tilda Swinton for We need to talk about Kevin

Best Supporting Actor: I thought this one would be easier, as many of the raves went to Albert Brooks(Drive) early on into the awards season, but Christopher Plummer (Beginners) still has a shot, and I wouldn't count out John Hawkes(MMMM), either. I am hoping for some Nick Nolte appreciation in the following months, as his part in Warrior was amazing.

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- Albert Brooks for Drive
National Board of Review- Christopher Plummer in Beginners
WAFCA- Albert Brooks in Drive
BSFC- Albert Brooks in Drive
NYFCO2011- Albert Brooks in Drive
LAFilmCritics- Christopher Plummer in Beginners
San Francisco- Albert Brooks for Drive

Best Supporting Actress: Similar to the category above, there are 2 or 3 clear frontrunners that are battling for the statue- Jessica Chastain(in The Help or Tree of Life of Take Shelter), Octavia Spencer in The Help and suprisingly, Shailene Woodley is starting to raise up her stakes for her role in The Descendants. I don't think she will win(the age sometimes is an issue, as they think the younger actors have enough time to collect awards), but she is a contender. Both Chastain and Spencer are wonderful and I will be happy either way.

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- Jessica Chastain for The Help, Tree of Life and Take Shelter
National Board of Review- Shailene Woodley for The Descendants
WAFCA- Octavia Spencer in The Help
BSFC- Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
LAFilmCritics: Jessica Chastain for basically everything she has done this year
NYFCO2011: Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
San Francisco- Vanessa Redgrave for Coriolanus

Best Director: This race is tricky, as most of time features the best, world-wide known directors, and the debutans rarely get more then one spot at the table. And it's a pity, since this year has been fantastic in this department. I am especially excited and am rooting for Sean Durkin(MMMM), Nicholas W Refn(Drive) and Steve McQueen(Shame). These 3 have blown me away with their new, fresh, interesting, unusual, yet fascinating and beautiful style- I love them all and I can't wait to see more films made by them. But you really can't count out people like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, David Fincher or Michel Hazanavicius. If it would be me, I would choose anyone of the first three, obviously.

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
National Board of Review- Martin Scorsese for Hugo
WAFCA- Martin Scorsese for Hugo
BSFC- Martin Scorsese for Hugo
NYFCO 2011- Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
LAFilmCritics: Terence Mallick for Tree of Life, runner up Martin Scorses for Hugo
San Francisco- Terrence Malick for Tree of Life

Best Picture: This is the category where you almost every year get surprised! I didn't expect The King's Speech to win last year, or Hurt Locker before that and I didn't expect Lord of the Rings to win in his year(nor did I want it in every situation), so this year's winner is going in the same direction. Potential surprises: Hugo, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Drive, Margin Call, Beginners, The Descendants, Tree of Life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2(call me crazy, but I wish this would win, just to celebrate their glorious path), War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and so on.

Who are the winners so far?
NYCC- The Artist
National Board of Review- Hugo
WAFCA- The Artist
BSFC- The Artist
NYFCO- The Artist
LAFilmCritics: The Descendants, runner up Tree of Life
San Francisco- The Tree of Life

And now some smaller, less important, but still great categories- they are my favorites!
Some have the Ensemble Award, which I always like and from what I've seen, Margin Call and The Help are ahead, although Beginners got it at the NYCC and Bridesmaids(surprise there) in WAFCA and NYFCO, Carnage won the BSFC one. That's an interesting one, as well!

I also enjoy the Breakthrough award- it usually adds some more pressure on the main acting categories. This year there was some great talent
Gotham: Felicity Jones(Like Crazy)
National Board of Reviews: Felicity Jones(Like Crazy) and Rooney Mara(Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
PSIFFF- Octavia Spencer in the Help
NYFCO2011: Jessica Chastain

And let's not forget Best Debut Director
Gotham: Dee Rees for Pariah
National Board of Reviews: J.C. Chandor for Margin Call
NYFCO2011: Joe Cornish for Attack the block
BSFC: Sean Durkin for MMMM

The real game begins with the Golden Globes! When we see the nominations for that, we will know what to expect for this awards season! I think they are released in December, right?

What do you guys think? Do you have any favourites? Any "God, I hope X doesn't win, I hate him/her/it"? Let me know in the comments!

Dec 11, 2011


It's Sunday morning and I should really study, but there's always something else to do :)

Music has been a big part of my life every since I was little and it always helps me to calm down, or get fired up for an ocassion, or just work- there a song for every feeling in the world and I love how it can express that!

Below you have some songs that I am currently listening, but also some that are constantly in my playlist! Hope you enjoy!

Florence+The Machine- No light, no light

Dec 10, 2011

The Ledge[2011]

The Ledge is a movie I stumbled upon a couple of days ago! While looking on IMDb for different actors, I got to Charlie Hunman's profile and then discovered this film.

The premise is interesting, although not very original. A man(CH) gets involved with a sweet, shy, unsure woman(Liv Tyler), as her husband(Patrick Wilson) distances more and more every day. Terence Howard stars as the cop who tries to convince Gavin(CH) to get off the ledge.

The script was very good. I appreciated the dialogue and the topics Matthew Chapman, the director and scriptwriter, attacked for this movie, most especially religion, spirituality, purpose and so on. The scene between Joe and Gavin talking about religion is fantastic and holds a lot of truth in it; personally, I was leaning more to the non believer's side, although it was taking to the extremes in some points. The interaction between the two actors was also memorable on one of the last scenes, where Joe, the husband, delivers more of a monologue about the adultery and faith- brilliant.

With that I must acknowledge Patrick Wilson, who is amazing in the part of the god-loving, obsessive, scary husband who controls his wife and ultimately pushes the limit that his god gave him. This man does not dissapoint every time I see him on screen- never a bad performance, never a dull moment (maybe in some parts of Watchmen, but I still liked it). Blew me away in Hard Candy, blew me away in The Ledge. He is one of my favourite actors out there, and I hope to see more of him soon.

Charlie Hunman, the star of the movie, was good, but didn't reach the maximum- I still think he could have done more for his characters. I do love him in Sons of Anarchy and I think he has a bright future in front of him- now, if only he could get some decent parts in movies, not TV shows, that would be great. Apparently, he has a few projects lined up for the next years, including Pacific Rim(by del Torro), so remember his name.

What can I say about Liv Tyler?- always beautiful, always plays the part and I always love her, no matter what she does. Very interesting role for her, as Shana is a controled, constrained, shy and obedient woman who listens to her husband, but longs for something more, for someone who can set her free. And there comes Gavin and it works...for a while. The chemistry is definitely there and there were even rumors of an off-screen relationship.

I won't spoil the end, but what I can say about the movie, in general, is that it had some cliches and, in some points, it was predictable and overly dramatical, but overall, I liked it! Not the best, as it had its ups and downs and I am sure most of you would not like it, but maybe you should give it a try next time you see the DVD or have it on Netflix/LoveFilm! Let me know what you think about it!

I leave you with a nice quote from a Shockya review "Hunnam and Tyler have a nice chemistry, and the latter in particular captures how feminine vulnerability can sometimes slowly melt into attraction if met with the warmth of an honest and respectful embrace.

Read more:"

Dec 9, 2011

My week with Marilyn[2011]

I have read mixed reviews about this movie- some hate it and consider it to be foolish and with obvious flaws, some were delighted by it! It all comes down to perspective and expectations; from what point of view are you reviewing it and what were your expectations going in? Here's my take on it!

My week with Marilyn is a good movie- not the best, not a sure bet for Best Picture Oscar 2012 or anything similar, but I enjoyed it. It was simple, catchy, flashy, with a great story and it had its funny moments. I can, and hopefully you, too, enjoy a movie without considering it for awards or examining it from every angle, trying to find its flaws. Maybe the guys won't enjoy it, because, again, like in The Help's case, it is more addressed to women, but there are some beautiful parts to it.

First of all, and the most important one, Michelle Williams is fantastic. She doesn't really look like Monroe, but anyone can appreciate the effort she put into transforming for this part- in every way. I am not very familiar to all of Norma Jean's work, but I do think she was a fascinating character and this movie made me reconsider some points and learn more about her. MW delivers a great performance, perfectly portraying different traits and flaws, emotions and gestures of the famous starlet, adding new layers to her.

Her chemistry with Eddie Redmayne is visible, but not very convincing. All of the time she seemed to consider him as a boy, as a toy, while Colin(ER character) looked up to her like she was a goddess. He was good, but just a supporting act for the great MW and KB(Kenneth Branagh). His lovely, dreamy, "oh, how I adore her" stare is beautiful, but it starts to feel old and annoying by the end. Judi Dench has a wonderful supporting part and you can also find Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper and Emily Watson there, but with no greater significance.

The film seemed to be shot paparazzi style, with a fast movement of the camera, but I liked that aspect, it fitted the whole Hollywood (actually Pinewood) scenery. The sets and costumes appropriately created the atmosphere of the 1950s and the soundtrack was also, fantastic.

Like I said, it wasn't the perfect film and I didn't think it aimed for that. My week with Marilyn was easy, fun, entertaining and glamorous. Sometimes that is enough- I think you should see it!

Dec 7, 2011

Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the Clive Owen Appreciation post

Elizabeth: The Golden Age follows the story of the Virgin Queen in the 1500s trying to resist the Spanish Armada, and the love and attraction she has for sir Walter Raleigh, a handsome sailor/pirate who just conquered a part of the New World. Things don't run smoothly, as her lady in waiting, Bess becames involved with the gentleman.

Before reaching the maximum point, for me at least, let's first discuss the obvious. As to be expected, Cate Blanchett is wonderful and delivers a very interesting performance of a strange, rather peculiar woman who must save her country and act in a given way, although she wants different things, like going in adventures or having relations with simple, normal sailors. That's why she pushes Bess towards Raleigh, so the girl can experience what the queen wants to, but can't, because of her status.  Abbie Cornish, as the lovely girl, is also a pleasant presence, but doesn't really surprise us. Other mentionable characters include Samantha Morton(10+ for the Traitor and Hanging scene), as Mary Stuart and Eddie Redmayne, a very young, foolish Redmayne. The costume design is beautiful and it rightfully won the Oscar, and the direction is suitable for this kind of period drama. Shekhar Kapur? Never heard of him before, I must do some research about him.

Moving on to the most important thing- the star; as always, for me, it's Clive Owen. I must confess a long lasting crush I have for him; what is not to love? Tall, dark, handsome, with green eyes, British, fantastic actor, sober, misterious, a man- a real man, in the right sense of the word. He is just perfect! Whenever he smirks, I melt a little bit more; whenever he speaks, I listen and could continue to listen for hours (like Elizabeth in one scene of the movie)- his charm is undeniable, at least for me it is. In this movie he has an interesting chemistry with Cate, palpable, but not your regular one, maybe because she is such a peculiar character. One of the great scenes to prove it is the confruntation between the two regarding his departure to the new world- "You cannot leave England", a vulnerable Elizabeth says.

All in all, the movie is good, but not outstanding. If you like period drama, you should give it a try!

p.s. If you want more of that special British charm, I leave you with a picture, an 8 minute clip of a BWM commercial (please ignore Madonna, she is horrible in it) and a scene of one of his movies- maybe then you will approve! :)

BMW commercial Star
Clip from Inside Man- great movie, I should really see it again, it's been ages

Dec 5, 2011


Warrior was an extremely pleasant surprise for me! I knew it would be good and I have read so great reviews about it, but only today I realised its greatness!

The film is a drama about two brothers separated at a young age by the tumultous relationship of their parents, who reunite after many years at an MMA tournament.

Nick Nolte plays Paddy Conlon, the sad, miserable, remorseful father, who was to cope with the thought of losing both of his sons and his wife because of his drinking problem. During the film, he is constantly trying to reconnect, to show his boys that he has changed, in any way that he can, but most of the times, the pain he caused it's too big for it to be penetrated by love.

At the beginning, where we see him sober for 1000 days, he finds Tommy, the younger brother, at his door, and soon enough starts training him for the MMA contest, while Brandon, the older brother, prepares with the help of his friend, Frank.

Tom Hardy, as Tommy, is a secluded, grumpy, tough young man, recently returned from the war, who becomes an internet sensation for his fighting skills on the ring, but most importantly, for his bravery on the field. He is messed up, permantly affected by the separation of his brother, but a fighter, and he uses that anger and will in all that he does, on and off the fight ring. He is a man of action, not words. His stubborness and the wall he build up during the war doesn't let him connect to the people around him, especially the other two men in his life, but in the end he manages to find that in a very touching, brutal way.

Joel Edgerton, as Brandon, the older brother, is a grown-up, kind man, a teacher with a beautiful wife and two daughters, trying to make a living, but failing with the bank rates; he rarely fights and only gets into the tournament just because of the money. He was the revelation of the movie for me and I think he delivered a great performance, I can't wait to see him in other movies, especially The Great Gatsby!

Observing the dysfunctional family, you end up rooting for Brandon, feeling sympathetic towards Paddy, as you wish for him to reunite with his sons, and you understand and admire Tommy. It's a messed up family, but with a good heart, one that needs a second chance. And we get our happy ending, after all, as usual!

All in all, the film delivers big time! I have to mention something that I always love and look after in movies- the Realness factor! If the story and the characters, the dialogue and sets and costumes seem real and believeable, if it is something that you can see and hear on the streets, than it's done its job, from my point of view. I connect more easily and I care more for these kind of movies, and Warrior is no exception! The direction is beautiful, the performances are just fantastic- especially Nick Nolte, who deserves a Supporting Actor nomination, and I love the soundtrack! It also had, what I call, the nail bitting factor, as I was bitting my nails so hard during the fights of the MMA tournament, hoping for a win! The action/fighting sequences are great, entertaining and well-executed!

Warrior is a great movie and it might have just creeped up in my top 10 of 2011! You should see it when you have the chance!

Dec 2, 2011


Hugo is magical! Yes, that is the right word to describe it- magical! I was mesmerised by it and I hope to share with you what I've experienced during the viewing!

The film, based on a book, tells the story of a young orphan boy who lives in the walls of the central train station of Paris, fixing clocks and constantly trying to solve the mistery of the automaton left by his father. It's a wonderful story of hope, love, adventure, passion, choices, purpose and love for film.

I must say if I would have gone into the theater not knowing who directed it, I wouldn't have said Martin Scorsese afterwards; it's not his style, yet this movie is absolutely fantastic, especially direction-wise. The 3D aspect and the cinematography are outstanding- never has Paris looked so beautiful and breath-taking.

Asa Butterfield as Hugo perfectly portrays the young man desperate to fulfill his fathers' last wish and, most importantly, to find a purpose in life. That is his journey and the movie takes you into that fantastic adventure and then some. He is not overacting, he is not too dramatic or gimmicky, he's just acting like a boy, and he delivers big time.

Chloe Moretz, another lovely surprise, is Isabel, his companion and I just love her- she is sweet, smart, approachable and still has that child's naive sense, and I hope she keeps it a little longer. Her face when she says "Is it a secret?" is just adorable. Other mentionable performances, of course, include Ben Kingsley, Sasha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer and the stunning Helen McCrory.

I admired and loved the fact Scorsese and the scripwriters formed this movie as an ode to cinema, to early cinema, to the Meliers years and the beauty and joy that it should transmit. It was an original, visually stunning and interesting omage to it and it fitted perfectly into the film, alongside the other plot.

It is not a film only for children, it is a film for everyone, for every age, and I am sure it will be loved and admired by most of them! It's a simple, yet very approachable story, that you can relate to, but it also allows you to enter a magical world, a dream that can make you happy- Hugo does that to the T.

All in all, it is one of the best films I've seen this year- I cannot find something wrong with it! I left the cinema with such a pleasant feeling of happiness and joy, but most importantly, with the idea that I have just seen a masterpiece, something tryly beautiful; I just loved it! After a couple hours, the magic goes away, but the impression stays the same- Hugo is a very good movie!

Please go see it, especially now, around Christmas!

p.s. I do think it has big chances for this awards season, especially for director, cinematography, even best picture!

Dec 1, 2011

Christmas Wish List

December has come and you know what that means: it's getting cold outside, 24 more days until Christmas, free time, lots of candy, snow, Christmas decorations, and PRESENTS! :)

So I thought, why not start the month, my 4th month blogging, by making a wish list! Now, I know I'll probably never get all of them, but it's nice and useful to make one- who knows who might see it and get me what I want, right? And maybe it's an inspiration for you, as well!

In no particular order, here are some of my choices:
The Book thief- Markus Zusak
Franny and Zooey- J.D. Sallinger
Rules of Attraction and Less than Zero- Bret Easton Ellis
The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex- Mark Kermode
Life Itself- Roger Ebert
1Q84- Haruki Murakami
The beautiful and the damned- F.Scott Fitzgerald

DVDs (most of them already seen, some waiting to be put for the first time in the DVD player)
Fight Club
500 days of summer
Fanny and Alexander (Criterion would be nice :) )
A clockwork orange
Inglorious Basterds
2001: Space Odyssey
Exit through the gift shop
Three colours trilogy
The entire Harry Potter collection

Michael Bubble- Christmas
Florence and the Machine- Ceremonials
500 days of summer Soundtrack
Chicago Soundtrack
Birdy album
Coldplay album

The New Yorker
Vanity Fair
Entertainment Weekly

Movies and trailers
Can I please have a closer release date for Superman: Man of Steel, an East of Eden miniseries or movie and maybe that Five Brothers film that Hollywood is talking about with Garrett Hedlund in it somehow?
If possible, I would love to see Shame and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo about NOW! why wait until January?
Also, the new On The Road trailer before Christmas? Maybe some pictures and a release date? That would be nice, thank you Santa!

Ultimate wish: a way to get into press screenings or film events!

There you have it! Hope you like it!

I'm really curious to see what you want for Christmas! Please let me know in the comments or make a similar post and I will update mine with your link (don't forget to send it)! BLOGATHON!

Nikhat from Being Norma Jean wrote her Christmas Wishlist here- check it out

Nov 30, 2011

November recap

This past month has been very interesting, as I had the pleasure of experiencing different cultural activities- some for the first time, some not, but still wonderful! That, mixed with hard work for the media course I am taking, I can call it a full month! But still, my movie count is embarrasingly low, and yet again, I will promise to work harder in December- I will have the time for it!

So here is what I did this November! Let the counting begin!

Firsts: RHCP concert-a dream came true, it was fantastic and did not dissapoint; musical (Mamma Mia); Chinatown all-you-can-eat buffet-- random, I know, but still great

Movies: Thin Red Line, Passion of Christ, V for Vendetta, Melancholia, Persona, Capote, Infamous, Chicago, The Help, Breaking Dawn, Remember me, Warrior, My week with Marilyn

Documentaries: Life in a Day

Books: 2 (no classics, nothing interesting) P.S. I am planning to attack Les Miserables during Christmas break, wish me luck!

TV shows: finished 2 seasons of Friday Night Lights and watched a bunch of new episodes of different shows

Concerts: 2- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
                 - Emil Kusturica and the No Smoking Band

Musical: Mamma Mia

And I couldn't end without some special mentions for posts and articles

Charles Taylor wrote a very interesting article about film criticism in the Dissent Magazine

Andy's epic post on Thin Red Line vs Saving Private Ryan- wonderful analysis of both movies

A beginner's guide to Ingmar Bergman, courtesy of Tyler

Alex gives a beautiful, moving review to Hugo

Very interesting post about the Blogger Syndrome -courtesy of Ticker Talks Film

Scott talks about his big weekend and 3 great films

Being Norma Jeans had a grea recap of this years' best posters

Movienut14 is one of my favourite persons on Twitter, but her blog is even better. She recently wrote about a film I have been dying to see for the last year

Max has a great website, not only of reviews, but film news and trailers. I always check it and you should, too. The descendants review is great, as usual

Ruth from Flix Chatter is as confused as I was when I saw Tree of Life

December is going to be a good month- more time to watch movies, finally going home for Christmas, plus some great posts I have planned for the blog, the first one dropping tomorrow! Thank you! Stay tunned!

p.s 3 months of blogging- you know what that means, right? LAMB, get ready for my application!

Nov 28, 2011

Just in case you haven't, you should...

..check out this movies!

Both are freshly taken from the movie jar, as I have seen them a long time ago, but I just wanted to remind you of some great films!  I am curious to see which one you like!

Boogie Nights

5 minutes in and I already recognize 98% of the cast: Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, John C.Reilly, William Macy.,Don Cheadle and, of course Mark Whalberg. The sweet, chilled out, respectful, dorky haircut Mark Whalberg...and then he takes his clothes off and I’m already in love with this movie (hey, don’t judge, i’m a girl, he’s hot, what can I do?).

He shows off his acting chops right from the beginning, starting with the loud and brutal discussion he has with his mother, and then decides to change his life. Oh, and what a life he is going to have...for about 5 years....and then things go down.

I have got to mention some random characters that I just loved and giggled over. Don Cheadle as a very loveale, confused guy, always changing his style. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as an unrecognizable very sweet, cool and gentle gay guy. Julianne Moore as the motherly type to all the misfits in the house.

Seeing this movie you get everything: cool music, attrative guys and girls, sex scenes, OMG moments (the first movie Dirk shot, the 80s new years eve party), action. I enjoyed this movie and I think you will, too!

And in the end, they finally showed us what the big deal was all about! J

American Beauty
Listen up, all you folks who like to make To-See movie lists.

Add American Beauty to your list right now, if you haven't seen it! Reasons? Well, let’s see:  great performances from Kevin Spacey, Wes Bentley or Tory Burch, the story is simple, yet very intriguing in some parts, you will get some OMG moments, the direction is amazing and stands out in so many ways (the way it was shot, the angles- it's Sam Mendes in all its glory) and it did win some awards in his days! Try it!

I am sure most of you have seen these films, so which one do you like most? Why?

Nov 27, 2011

Life in a Day[2011]

Life in a Day is a wonderful documentary about humans, about life, about love and loss and fear. Youtube and the Scott brothers asked the world to document one day, the 24th of July 2010 and then send the videos. After 80.000 submissions, 4.500 hours of footage was obtained from 190 countries all around the world and made into a 90 minutes documentary.

It basically takes you through normal day to day activities and occurances: breakfast, work, babies, love, relationships and so on!

Random moments that I loved: "between 3 am and 4am the veil between the this world and the next is the thinnest"; people going to work before sunrise; "alpha male traped in"; the rooster singing; the cute wake-up faces; people peeing; first shave; babies; the man who travels around the world; the woman with the chicken bag and canadian flag; the guy with the Lamborgini; "But we are still alive"; the slaughtering; "I actually love my refrigerator, it's such a cool place"; 4 men on a bycicle; jumping in the pool; the woman flying etc etc.

Two special mentions: 1. there is a scene where a guy is in a subway and films a girl in the next compartment reading; she looks up, he shies away, with camera down- a lovely moment! 2. kid in the pool: "I fear growing up"- oh, you are so right, kiddo!

They end the documentary with a testimonial from a normal girl, with a normal life, who wants more, who wants to feel part of something! Don't we all want the same?

90 minutes of footage showing us life as it happens in every part of the world- same feelings, same relationships, same fears. What do we all have in common? We all try to live our lives the best way we can and survive another day! Wonderful!

Did you see it? Any other documentary recommendations for me? I am intrigued!

Nov 23, 2011

The Help[2011]

The Help is a wonderful story of a young woman who decides to write the story from the help's perspective during the civil rights movement in the 1960s Mississippi.

Before seeing it, I heard some great things about the cast, but that's it; most of male bloggers didn't particularly enjoyed. After the two and a half hours, I can understand it, as it has a more feminist aproach to it.As you can imagine, I loved the movie; I thought it had everything: amazing performances, beautiful sets and costumes, entertaining story, but with an emotional aspect to it, and a great ending.

The female characters are very well built and the performances are just spectacular, especially Viola Davis as Aibileen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook- they were the two standouts for me, who carried out this sad, but true story, in a beautiful, affectionate, yet powerful way. Emma Stone has a slightly different role then usual, but she delivers;  Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote is a pleasant surprise and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson is adorable and she will probably receive a Supporting actress nomination.

The movie is not action oriented, it does not have a fast pace- what you get is an analysis of this particular situation in Mississippi; you see and understand what was it like for coloured women in the 1960s to work in an environment full of people like Hilly Hilbrook. You will encounter sad stories, you will have your share of fun (Minny's famous pie), even some romance (hello, Chris Lowell), and you will love the characters.

It had a little bit of everything and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The ladies will love it, the men...well, I guess they can appreciate the performances! You should check it out- I think the Golden Globes&co will hand out some nominations for it!

Nov 21, 2011

Double post: Margin call&Let me in

Margin Call

Margin Call premiered last winter in Sundance, but is suddenly gaining momentum during awards season and is apparently aiming for some of them, mostly in the acting department; and they should, because it delivers big time.

I would call this movie a performance one. The actors feel like giants in a world of finance, and you barely notice the other details- music, direction, sets, script- nothing, just them. Everyone, from Zachary Quinto and Penn Badgely (the newbies) to Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey, is perfect and play the part in a realistic, no bullshit way. The last two stand out and are in the race for supporting nods, which they rightly deserve. Special mention to Paul Bettany who is great, not amazing, in this movie, but I love him to death, he is one of my favourites.

All in all, an enjoyable movie that you should give it a try!

Let me in

Let me in is a remake after a Swedish film, about a young boy who starts an unlikely friendship with a young  female vampire.

I especially liked the two leads, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz. There is just something special about him; maybe it's his face, his fizonomy and gestures, his awkwardness, but I think he will grow up to be a very good actor. Owen, the character, is sweet, smart, but lonely and missunderstood. That is when Chloe Moretz's character comes in and develops the strange friendship. Their conversations are slow and  sweet, but what else can you expect from 12 year olds? I love the scene when he asks, without actually knowing what it means "will you go steady with me?".

I can't really say the horror element has there, as I wasn't scared in any moment, but it had some dark moments. Over all, it is a good movie, although it wasn't mind-blowing.

Nov 18, 2011

Fridays are the best: Hard Candy[2005]

I saw Hard Candy about 6 months ago(or even more) and had to write something down immediately after, so here is my "review" from back then! Fresh out from the movie jar! :)

Hard Candy is one of the best, weirdest, fascinating movies I have ever seen! It really had an impact the first time I watched it!

Let’s start with the beginning. The first 10 minutes I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing: the conversation, the situation, all were so wrong and sick, but I couldn’t stop being fascinated by it. It was thrilling and interesting.  Although the discussion between the two characters seemed so natural and normal, the words and the flirtation was hard to digest.

Once they arrive at the house, that’s when things get real. The level of craziness and the guts that Ellen Page pulled off for this part is stunning. It started off kinda of weak, not very credible, but after 5 minutes you could tell she got into character. Patrick Wilson is absolutely perfect...his acting is flawless and not for a second did I believe he was an actor.

Their interaction was very well written and interpreted: both trying to overanalyze each other. I liked the fact that she knew exactly what to say and do to trigger him, to get his attention and to make him react. For a minute there, during one scene, you think „Oh, Jeff figured her out, that’s who she is”, but in a second she transforms and shows how sick she really is!

I could go on and on about this movie, but I will just say that it is bold, smart, weird but fascinating! You should definately see it!

Nov 16, 2011

Kramer vs Kramer

Kramer vs Kramer is a very good movie. Behind the great acting performances, the direction, the cinematograpy, the music etc, there lies an important story, beautifully told, that raises up questions, it makes you think, it moves you and it makes you analyze the life we live in. I loved Ted’s testimony, when he said something like “Why are women automatically thought to be better parents then the men?”, just summarising the film in one line and raising an important issue to be discussed in America. He argues that he loves his son very much, but also agrees that it was his fault that their marriage had fallen apart. He grows so much during the development of the story that you start understanding him and rooting for him and his son.

Actually, I never really knew or fully understood that Dustin Hoffman was such an amazing actor until this movie. As far as technique, movement, expression, seriousness, he is perfect, just perfect. And in the part of a father trying to raise his 6 year son, he rightfully deserved his Oscar, because his interpretation was that good, that I believed and felt everything he said and done.  Merryl Streep, as amazingly talented and beautiful she is, in the movie, for me, at least, was pretty good, as well, but not in the same level as Hoffman.

It’s a classic and you should watch it! I enjoyed it! 

What do you usually like or what does it interest you most in a movie? The plot development or the character one? 

Nov 14, 2011

Passion of Christ[2004]

Where do I begin talking about this film? It is about religion, about the story of Jesus Christ and what he went through. It is directed by Mel Gibson and it stars James Caviezel, Monica Belluci, Maia Morgenstern and others. It is a very special film.

Mel Gibson decided to write, produce and direct a movie about a delicate subject! How can you properly explain this story in motion picture without being too Hollywood or exagerated in some parts? You can't, because you don't actually know what happened, you have only the Bible to guide you. It had its flaws, I am sure some hated it and at certain times the violence was too much, but you can't not be touched by it, by the way it was portrayed.

Religion is not something I talk about because I do not consider myself a religious person, but I can say about me that when something moves me, when I can relate or feel or understand the emotions it is trying to transmit, it can have a great impact over me. I cried during Passion of Christ two times: first, when Mary gets close to Jesus in his way to the crucification point, after John takes her there, and the second time, when he arrives and they pint him to the cross. It is one of the most disturbing, moving scenes I have ever seen. Sometimes I wonder: am I that easy to manipulate? am I weak? I hope I am not, because that scene should raise some emotions in everyone's heart.

I don't want to get into details and say Mel Gibson didn't follow the exact Testament or that he got something wrong, after all it is a movie. I found it interesting, but appropriate, that he used the original language for it- that must have been an extra point of pressure for the actors. If we should start discussing and disecting this movie, it would take ages and this is not a place for it- I don't think we have enough knowledge or wisdom to do it!

What we can do is enjoy a great movie and be impressed by its actors. James Caviezel is fantastic- I can't even begin to imagine the pressure of the role and how demanding it must have been to play that part. Just think about the emotional conection and the pain he had to portray for it; I respect him just for that, just for trying. Sure, it wasn't perfect, sometimes it looked overacted, by I understand him.

Another amazing performance is Mary, played by Maia Morgenstern. Now, I can proudly say that this wonderful woman is a known and loved Romanian actress and I had the chance to meet her at a local event. She is so elegant, kind and inspiring and has a special aura about her that attracts people. I thought she delivered a great performance.

Now it's time to see what IMDb has to say!The Oscars nominated it just for Make-up and Sound?Really?Why?I mean, why not acknowledge the passion and commitment of James Caviezel, if not Maia Morgenstern? Is it because of Mel Gibson?

Anyway, as you can see, I was touched by it and I loved it!

Did you see it?What did it do for you?

Nov 11, 2011

Capote vs Infamous

Capote and Infamous, two wonderful films about Truman Capote and his process of writing In Cold Blood, were released very close one to another, in 2005 and 2006. The first was based on the book of Gerald Clarke, the second on George Plimpton's novel. Capote had Philip Seymour Hoffman(PSH) playing Truman Capote, while Infamous casted Toby Jones(TJ). Harper Lee, an important character and friend to the author was portrayed by both Catherine Keener and Sandra Bullock. Although the story and the main ideas of the film are almost identical, the movies are different in many ways.

First of all, Infamous is visibly more colourful, with a larger array of characters, more celebrities, full of life, extravagant, noisy, vibrant in many ways. The film is lighter and shows the relationship between the novelist and the prisoner in a much violent, daring, in-your-face way. Capote is quiet, somber, with mixed emotions of fear, melancholia, sadness, betrayal, love and others; the relationship is displayed in a discrete way and you can sense there is more to them then meets the eye.

Second of all, in the 2006 adaptation, you learn more about the killers and their background from the actual individuals, you see, hear, clearly understand their motivation and drive. They seem simple, you can either love them or hate them, there is nothing to hide. In the 2005 one, you get to know the two men, especially Perry Smith through the eyes of Truman Capote. He is the backbone, he is the voice of reason, he tells you what happened; you feel what he feels.

Third of all, the performances are rather opposite. While Toby Jones is exuberant, excentric, full of life, sometimes caricaturistic, PSH portrays Truman Capote in a much more natural, interesting, complex way; his performance has layers, in-depth aspects to it that gives the movie more drama, more passion, intrigue and emotion. He does deserve the Oscar for this role. As Harper Lee, the two ladies have a different approach to it, as well. Catherine Keener seems borned in this role, it is natural, but with Sandra Bullock you can feel the artistry there, you can see the acting, but it'a beautiful thing to watch- I think she gave a wonderful performance.

Infamous is above, bubblying on the surface, whilst Capote is much more subtile and complex. Overall, I'd probably choose Capote, although Infamous has many strong points as well.

Did you watch them?Which one would you choose?

Nov 10, 2011


Having heard so much about Ingmar Bergman recently, I decided to watch one of his movies, just to see what the hype was all about. My first try was Persona and I must say I really liked it.

The beginning is creepy, yet interesting and strangely fascinating- it's artistic, yet it is different, in a good way; maybe it's the way it was shot, the language, maybe it's because it's black and white, I don't know, but it works.  Also, I liked the way he showed the credits, interwining them with pictures of the characters.

The story follows two women: Elisabet Volger, an actress who, after a meltdown, is committed to a hospital and giving into the care of Alma, a nurse. After the doctor sees that Elisabet still won't talk, she sends both her and Alma to her summer house on the coast. The movies follows the development of their relationship and the downfall of Alma, influenced by the constant silence of mrs Volger.

There were some amazing scenes that I have to mention. The one in which the doctor tells Elisabet what's wrong with her-clear and simple-"Your hiding place is not impenetrable. Life sweeps in through everywhere and you are obliged to react.", perfectly concluding her state of mind; she prefers to hide behind her silence then face the real world.The scenes in the house where Alma confides in her silent patient are wonderful, simple, and we get to know more about the nurse. As the movie progresses, Alma lets go of her fears and gives in, leading to a personal crisis that it's not so easy to explain. One of the scenes in particular was strangely appealing and exciting, and by that I mean the story of her day on the beach with Katarina- it was so interesting to see the way she describes it, her gestures, Elisabet's gestures and reactions.

Two other scenes stand out and are exceptionally done in all points of view (direction, camera movement, performance, music etc)- Alma running to say sorry on the beach and the discussion between  the two women about mrs Volger's son. The latter one was very special and innovative and I liked the fact that we can see both of the women reacting to the words and story. It is something that I have never seen before. The two leading ladies,Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann, are stunning and give beautiful, complex performances.

I must admit that I loved the film. Yes, it is artistic and it deals with existential themes (just like Tree of Life or Melancholia), but Bergman portrays it  in a very appealing manner, in a smart and interesting way and it captures your attention. I also have to admit that the last part, the actual meltdown of Alma, was not very clear to me, I didn't quite understand every nuance of it. Like someone said, maybe this was not the best Bergman film to start with. I will give it another try after a few more.

Persona might have just turned me into a Bergman fan. I will definitely try more of his films! Please do check it out if you have the chance!