Feb 29, 2012

February recap

Honestly, as you will see below, my February has been rather dull and uneventful, especially when it comes to movies. Why, might you ask? Well, because, most of the time

Projects, dissertation proposal, flu + birthday= no time for movies :((

Luckly enough, my March is looking way better, so hopefully I will catch up on my To See list! Here's what I was up to this month:

Tyrannosaur[2011]+Q&A with P.Considine and O.Colman
Pretty woman[1990]
Thor [2011]
Captain America [2011]
The Deep Blue Sea [2011]
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [1998]
Elite Squad [2007] brazilian movie
Before Sunrise [1995]
Before Sunset[2004]
Wizard of Oz[1939]

Oh, yeah, the Oscars happened and yes, I did sit up all night to watch the show! Can we get over the whole awards thing now and get back to our lives? :) Thank you!

Books: 1

Guest blogging
-on LAMB- Devour the Oscars: Best Foreign Language Film http://largeassmovieblogs.blogspot.com/2012/02/lamb-devours-oscars-best-foreign.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
- on Impassioned Cinema (thanks Max)- Romance February-Pretty woman

Blog posts you should be reading right now

A very well-written, complex, informative post on Spike Lee, courtesy of Alex from And so it begins

Tyler's list of 50 Essential Arthouse movies is fantastic- check it out and be ready to add some titles to your To See list, I know I did!

If you read Sati's blog, you know she LOVES Jean Dujardin, so here are two of her many articles regarding the Oscar-winning, charismatic, French superstar: the Oscar recap and some Uggie talk

Stevee's predictions of this year's big awards, aka Annual Awards Nerdism, are just hilarious and I love the use the Fassy, Loki and Owen and, sometimes, even poetry

Nikhat's top 10 of 2011 are pretty cool: shots, performances or villains- check them out, they're fun!

Here's to hoping everyone has an even better March, including me! Have a nice day!

Feb 27, 2012

The Oscars 2012- "live-blogging"

Hello, hello, it's time to face the red carpet and the 1.2 billion people watching at home! No pressure!

Red Carpet observations (including fashion)

-Berenice Bejo- her green dress made her breasts look horrible; also, in the same category you can add Rooney Mara, who has the same problem
-Milla Jovovich- beautiful woman in a stunning dress

-George Clooney walked the Red Carpet with a female Oscar in hand, you know, just in case he didn't win an actual one
-Maya Rudolph kept it nice and simple, fashion-wise
-Nick Nolte seemed so awkward and humble to be on the red carpet, he said "I don't know these people, they are not my friends"- poor guy
-Jessica Chastain looks so beautiful, one of the best dressed tonight

-Pharell is music director or what? 120 different pieces of music? good job man, he's lucky!
-Michelle Williams- I love her dress, it reminds me of her style at a previous Oscar ceremony, when she was accompanied by the late Heath Ledger. Also, a big plus for bringing her best friend, Busy Phillips, as her +1

-I have to give it up to Josh Horowitz, the presenter of MTV- usually, he is a very funny, sweet, sometimes crazy, guy who gets the best interviews. Now, on the red carpet, the guy cannot stop talking about the nominees, the movies, the guests, and he never makes a mistake, he knows everyone and everything(with some few exceptions, and those are just because of the speed of the things happening)- he must be so tired, I hope he is getting a huge paycheck for it!
-I heard The Dictator spilled the ashes on Ryan Seacrest- really? I have to Youtube this later! FUNNY and I haven't even seen it, apparently Seacrest is pissed!
-Octavia Spencer looks amazing and her dress fits her perfectly! I also loved Emma Stone, Sandra Bullock and Kristen Wiig!

-People are saying bad things about Gwyneth Paltrow's dress and cape, but I liked it- simple and effective and the one shoulder things is nice! It fits her beautifully!
-Angelina Jolie can wear a black carpet with a string holding it across her body and still look stunning- oh, wait, she is doing that! Come on, how is that possible? The woman has 6 kids, 3 of which naturally born.

Overall, fashion-wise, I was a little bit dissapointed- the highlights here Milla Jokovich and Penelope Cruz and that says a lot about the fashion sense of the 2012 generation! But special mentions go to Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain!

The show


The ceremony started with Morgan Freeman introducing the show (and the reason for that was?!- but I like him, so I guess it was fine)

Cue to montage of this year's movies- I actually thought it was nice and the transition between each one was ok
The bad part came with the singinging, Billy Crystal should have done something else, like....a MONOLOGUE?!?!? seriously, there was no monologue? that was the most exciting part for me :( I am dissapointed

First two awards - Cinematography and Art Design, go to Hugo- predictable for the second one, but I was surprised to see it win the first award!
We continue with an ode to the cinema and the experience of seeing films!
Costume design- The Artist
Cameron Diaz and J Lo try to be cool and original- big fail- than they present the award to 
Make-up- Iron Lady

"I remember seeing a movie when I was 6" montage- running themes of the night - (1.love for the cinema and 2.montages)

Foreign Film- A separation- very happy about it plus the speech was beautiful
Supporting Actress- Octavia Spencer, as expected- it was so nice to see everyone stand up and give her an ovation. Quick question- I keep seeing Tate Taylor with her at every award ceremony- are they really good friends or is there somthing more? or is that not Tate Taylor? handsome guy, anyway!

Test Group scene for Wizard of Oz- Funny, nice try to do something new
We can always count on Tina Fey to be funny
Film Editing- Girl with the dragon tattoo surprising for everyone, even the recepients
Sound editing- Hugo- best speeches ever, I loved it "You go, no, Hugo." plus "I would like to thank everyone who was very born, or who will be born...."
Sound mixing- Hugo- by now I am so happy because The Artist is NOT getting all of the awards!

Kermit and Miss Piggy introduce a mini-show by Cirque du Soleil- it looks very good, too bad that my livestream was so bad, I will have to see it again afterwards

Robert Downey Jr just stole the show with his documentary "The Presenter", Paltrow was nice to have around (love her dress)- the winner for best Documentary is Undefeated- is it a surprise? I haven't even heard of it, must be good, right?

Chris Rock talks about how easy it is to do an animation- spot on speech, one of the best parts of the night, he should host again soon- Animation- Rango, as expected

Visual Effects- Emma Stone was so precious and adorable that no one can really compete with her (although, I must admit that, for a second, I thought she was drunk)- winner- Hugo and the movie continues to sweep the technical awards

Supporting Actor- C. Plummer, as expected, but still one of the best speeches of the night! He is the oldest actor to ever receive an Oscar!

What are they thinking? scene- I actually liked it very much, it was funny, most of it, anyways!

Best Original Score- The Artist, of course, and it is deserved
Will Ferell and Zach G. try to be funny, and they succeed for about 40% of the time
Best song- Man or a Muppet, YEY, I love that song

Angelina Jolie comes on stage to present the Screenplay awards with a fierce attitude
Adapted Screenplay- The Descendants
Original Screenplay- Midnight In Paris

The AMPAS had the brilliant idea of inviting the cast of Bridesmaids to hand out some boring awards- smart
Live action short- The shore
Documentary- Saving Face
Animated Short Feature- Fantastic Flying Books....

Michael Douglas presents Best Director- Michel Hazanavicius
Short clip about the honorary Oscar recepients: Dick Smith, James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey (really?)

Best Actor- Jean Dujardin - I was wishing any of the other 4 nominees would get this, but I am happy that Dujardin won after all, he is a very charming and sweet man!

Best Actress- Mery Streep- it was a surprise for the majority- I am fine with it, she deserves it, for God's sake, she's had 17 nominations, it was about time to get the 3rd Oscar! Her speech was adorable and I like the fact that she started by thanking her husband!

Best Picture- The Artist- expected and deserved....I guess?!?! yeah, ok, it was very good!

Best parts of the night
-Emma Stone being adorable
-RDJ presenting Best Documentary
- Sound Editing speeches
- The Artist NOT getting all the awards
- Jean Dujardin and Meryl Streep speeches
- Bridesmaids presenting

Surprises?- For me: the technical sweep of Hugo, editing for Girl with the dragon tattoo and Meryl Streep, although I am happy for her.

Best Dressed:  Emma Stone, Penelope Cruz, Mila Jokovich, Jessica Chastain, Michelle Williams, Kristen Wiig and Angelina Jolie!

Overall, I actually enjoyed myself. It was funny and entertaining for most of the time, it didn't seem too long, the speeches were held in point and Crystal tried his best! But let's hope they get someone else next year! I know: Robert Downey Jr? Chris Rock? Emma Stone? :D

Thank you and good night!

What did you think of the Oscars?

Feb 25, 2012

The 25th of February

Ever since I remember, the weeks prior to this day would be spent eagerly anticipating it, waiting to see what I would get or who will call or text me. When I was little, I only cared about the presents and the attention, but as I grew older, I just wanted to see that people remember and love me, and that they wouldn't forget my birthday, that I meant something to them. It's been years since I have counted down the days to the 25th, because I no longer think it's the best day of the year, but it's always a very nice one.

You see, I was born on the 25th of February 1989 in an Eastern European country. I was raised in a big, beautiful, loving family who always supported me and made me feel comfortable. They mean a great deal to me, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to leave them in September 2011, when I decided to move to London to earn a Masters degree. I was so scared before I left, constantly wondering if I will adapt, if I will make friends, if if if...and I am happy to say that London experience has been wonderful, so far, and I like it so much, that I am seriously considering staying here, if only I get a job by the time I finish my studies. 

I really don't know how to celebrate this day on my blog, what to do exactly, so I just decided this should be an opportunity for you guys to know me better and ask questions, if you have any. 

A few random things about myself
- as the my zodiac sign predicts, I am a sensible, calm person; I rarely get angry
- I love chocolate and no one could ever keep me away from it
- growing up, if you would have made me watch Dirty Dancing and Cry Baby, one after the other, non stop, I wouldn't have complained
- my friends say I am a little too serious and responsible and that I should dare to do more
- that being said, I am the biggest day dreamer, you have no idea what goes on in my mind :) I just have a problem of making my dreams come true
- the 6 year old Diana would have said to you that she wanted to be a dancer- case in point, I used to organize talent shows with my cousins for my parents and relatives and charge around 1 pound/1 dollar for entrance
- speaking of kids, I love them, but I hate animals. I do not get all gooey and soft when I see a puppy, but I do like to cuddle children- yes, I already have baby names in mind
- I develop what I like to call short-term obsessions (they usually last weeks, sometimes months), of certain actors, musicians, films or TV shows. Right now, I have Tom Hiddleston, American Idol and Lana del Rey/Florence and the Machine on my mind. 
- yes, I am not ashamed (ok, maybe a little) to admit that I watch American Idol (and X factor and The Voice) and I like it- usually, it's very exciting until they reach the live shows (I am talking about the auditions, boot camp, last performances, decisions), so sometimes I phase out by that time if I don't have a favorite in the competition
- this is going to sound crazy, but have you ever had that moment when you are suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty and sexiness of an individual? Mine happened about a year ago, when I saw A Streetcar named Desire- really now, Marlon Brando was ridiculous in that movie!
- but seriously, let's get back to reality, I am pretty hard on myself and expect a lot, but in the same time, I could easily win a Procrastination/ Laziness award- quite contradictory
...and last, but not least, NEW YORK- I have to see this town as soon as possible! One of my long-lasting obsessions and desires

That's a little about me, hope you liked it!

As for the Big Day tomorrow(aka The OSCARS), I don't plan to post any predictions, but I will do a "live-blog" thing (aka write my thoughts about the show as it progresses and post it after it ends). Funny how the Oscars are always happening around my birthday!

So, lovely readers, do you any questions for me? any curiosities I can clarify? 

Feb 23, 2012

Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live(SNL) is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels (courtesy of Wikipedia). Running as a TV show, with about 25 episodes per year, it is one of the oldest in American television, with over 37 seasons. It has featured the best actors and musicians from the last three decades and it is considered to be one of the best and sought-after TV gig by the entertainment industry.

SNL has its own type of humour and if you have to like it and get it or else you will find it stupid. If you liked Bridesmaids, you might like SNL, as the style is similar in some points.

Some interesting facts about SNL:
-It has helped launch careers for Dan Aykroyd, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Will Ferrel, Tina Fey and now, Kristen Wiig.

-Some of their most popular sketches were developed into movies, two clear examples being The Blues Brothers (1980) with Aykroyd and Belushi, and Wayne's World(1992) with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.

-Andy Samberg launched his "musical" career by forming a group with best friends and SNL writers, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, called The Lonely Island; their skits/musical numbers are used at least 3 or 4 times during the season. Examples: Dick in a Box,

The structure
Every show starts with what is called a COLD OPENING, a segment with no introductions, just a 5 minute sketch to get loose; it's usually a monologue and most of the times political, and very rarely the best part of the night.

After the main character finishes by saying: "...and live, from New York, it's SATURDAY NIGHT!", it's time for the host monologue, which almost always involves a song in one form or another. There are few funny, memorable ones that I remember, but at least it's a way of getting to know the person better, as most of the time they mock themselves or a recent situation they have been through.

Then you watch 3 or 4 sketches, with some short fake commercials inbetween, and after the first performance of the musical guest, we get to the Weekend Update, a regular part of the show where Seth Meyers (the head writer and once regular player/actor of SNL) talks about the week's main stories (mocking them, of course). Now, I love this part of the show not only for mister Meyeres, who I think is great, but also for some great guests that appear from time to time, like the fantastic Stefon (Bil Hader).

2 or 3 more sketches, the second musical guest performance and we finish with 1(sometimes 2) final ones, the last shot having the host thanking the musical guests, special pop-ups throughout the show and the cast&crew.

The players

My favorites: Jason Sudeikis, Nasim Pedrad, Taran Killam, Kristen Wiig (most of the time), Seth Meyers

Now: Fred Armisen, Abby Elliot, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Bobby Moynihan, Nasim Pedrad, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Wiig, Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah

In the past: Billy Crystal, Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jr(85-86), Rachel Dratch, Will Ferrel, Will Forte, Janeane Garofalo, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tracy Morgan, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Randy Quaid (85-86), Chris Rock, Molly Shannon, David Spade.

As I said, there have been at least 37 seasons of SNL, so obviously I haven't seen all of the shows, but from the last 3-4 years, amongst the best (in my opinion) were: Emma Stone, Justin Timberlake, Jon Hamm, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Seigel, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph (previous players of SNL always make great shows when they are invited as hosts).

Favorite recurring sketches

-What up with that?- Kenen Thompson plays a soulfull presenter of a TV show with a catchy tune (I always sing it with him), great dancers (Jason Sudeikis kills it everytime), 3 guests- Lindsay included (the man who always shows up, but never gets to talk) and impromtu, weird appereance by characters that shouldn't be there. Some don't like it, I think it's funny

-Stefon talks about the coolest place in New York! Just watch it- it's hilarious!

-Bronx Beat- a daytime talk show with Beety (Amy Poehler) and Judi (Maya Rudolph) just bitchin' about life- the latest one got me laughing many times!

-J-Pop America Fun Time Now- this is a rather new one, just started this year, but I love both Taran Killam and Vanessa Byer, and I think it's funny, most of the times!

-Jeunes in Paris- the first one had Emma Stone and Taran Killam (last season) dancing and fighting on a cool, catchy tune in a French bar, and it was the best out of the 4 shown so far, although the 4th one, with Jean Dujardin, is very close to overcoming it!

Memorable (and some of my favorite) sketches

-Justin Timberlake, Kristen Wiig and Lady Gaga- Liqourville

-Being quirky with Zooey Deschanel- The Michael Cera and Mary-Kate Olsen impressions are funny!

-Eminem and Lil Wayne- Valentine's Day on Weekend Update

-Nicolas Cage x 2 on Weekend Update (this is a recurring part/guest of W.U, but this time it has the actual Nicolas Cage)-- Couldn't find a video, sorry

- The Charlie Sheen show- with special guests John Galiano, Moammar Gadhafi, Lindsay Lohan - if interested, here's a link- not the best, but the guests are interesting http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81358349/   

- Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Again, the fake interview between her and Katie Couric (Amy Poehler) was better, but no video!

-Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg- Dick in a box

- Jeunes in Paris- I personally love the first with Emma Stone, but I couldn't find a full-length one, so here is just a 30 seconds preview.

BONUS- Taran Killam got bored one night and decided to do this

There are a lot more, but these came up in my mind when I wrote this, plus I couldn't videos for some! Sorry for the bad quality, Youtube is the only source!

It's not always good, and some jokes are horrible, but for me, it's pure entertainment; when I need something simple, normal, relaxing to watch, just to unwind from university and problems, I watch this or 30 rock or How I met your mother.

Do you watch SNL? what are your favorite sketches? Let me know!

Feb 21, 2012

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

Before Sunrise [1995]

Jesse and Celine meet on a train, have a quick chat and then decide to spend the rest of the day and night in Vienna- this without even knowing each other's names.

It may seem strange and maybe, a little bit stupid or dangerous, but it isn't, not in this case, anyway. Their stories, adventures, conversations, the way the look at each other, how they kiss and laugh- everything is realistic, mostly believable and you can't help falling for them and their story.

Jesse is an American, a rather pragmatic, simple, yet very introspective guy, who wants to get away from his problems and himself, whilst Celine is a beautiful French woman, a dreamer, but a fighter, a seeker (like the palm reader says), who looks at the world with different eyes, and always surprises you. You don't instantly see the connection or the attraction, but it is there and, while they are somehow opposite from one another, they still find a way to relate, more easily then you can imagine. It's so interesting and nice to see a relationship form and evolve, and their interaction is so sweet.

One of my favorite things about this movie was the dialogue or the conversations Jesse and Celine had. Some where funny, some were very serious, others were just a way of getting to know each other better (come on, the first thing you ask a girl when you want to know more about her is "What were your first sexual feelings?").

Top 3 scenes of Before Sunrise
1. The fake phone call to their respective best friends
2. Sound booth at the record store- I just loved the tension between them , the way they awkwardly look at each other, not knowing what to do
3. The good bye- the slight desperation of both of them at the thought of not seeing one another; it was sweet and endearing

Overall, Before Sunrise is a very good romantic film that you should see. Now, I am very curious to see how their relationship will evolve in Before Sunset and how will they react when they see each other after a long time.

Before Sunset [2004]

This one wasn't as romantic as the first one- they have matured, they have changed, in some predictable ways (Celine is now an activist for environmental rights), or rather interesting ways (Jesse is a writer, married with a kid).

The focus of the film is no longer on the romance or the first-time aspect of a relationship, but on love, loss, time, feelings and desires. They are not discovering each other, they are trying to reconnect and see if the flame is still there- and it is.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have the same chemistry, but of course, more relaxed and subdued, as time and wisdom do that to most people. They talk about life, the world around them, but most importantly, they talk about their past and their present, and that is the most interesting part of the story.

You, as a viewer, don't reconnect with the characters that easily, at the beginning; maybe it's the changes they have gone through, maybe it's the awkwardness between them, so it takes a little time to adjust. I, personally, thought Celine was a little bit neurotic and whinny at some points, but that's just the way she is.

By the end, you realise that they have two things in common: they never forgot that night in Vienna, and the present doesn't bring them happiness. The movie takes you through different stages, up and down, like a rollercoaster.

At first, you see the obvious changes in both of them: Celine is more outgoing, more pragmatic and fierce, while Jesse is more relaxed and more optimistic, trying to find the good in everything- it seems like that night changed them forever, each one getting the other's main quality or dominant feature. But, as time passes, you can see that Celine still dreams of passion and love, while Jesse is still very much aware of the world around him and what is good or bad- they just chose to bury it and focus on more important things- Celine, on her job, Jesse, on his responsibility for his son.

At first, it seems like Celine has put that night behind her and moved on, even forgetting details of their encounter, just trying to minimize the effect he had on her. But, yet again, it is proven otherwise: she still longs for the way Jesse made her feel that night, she has never forgotten him, nor will she.

Top 3 scenes of Before Sunrise
1. The discussion in the car, especially the last part, where Jesse talks about his dreams
2. The song Celine performs for Jesse
3. "Baby, you are gonna miss that plane" "I know"

The second one does not have the charm or sweetness of the first one, but it excels in some ways the first one didn't, digging more into the characters and their motivations. There are many layers and feelings that should be shared, but I don't want to give out too much. You really do need to see both of them, one after the other, to appreciate the whole story. I really enjoyed it, and I think you will, too!

Feb 18, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea [2011]

The Deep Blue Sea is a character-driven movie, more or less. It doesn't focus on story development or action, it just takes us through the life of a couple and its complicated relationship, told mostly from the perspective of the woman, Hester Miller, the wife of a British judge, who starts an affair with Freddie Paige, a Royal Air Force pilot.

It begins with a 10 minute, orchestra music-fulled sequence, back and forth between the present day, where Hester, wonderfully played by Rachel Weisz, tries to comitt suicide, and the old days, when her relationship with Freddie was still fresh and lustful. From the beginning, the viewers can easily observe the beauty and darkness of the cinematography of Florian Hoffmeister, and the intricate, yet dreamy and classic direction of Terence Davies. I still remember a stunning scene which shows the lovers sharing a sweet moment in bed- the music, the way their arms and legs were intertwined, the movement of the camera-it all felt a little sureal and dramatic, and I loved it. I also liked the fact that the movie wasn't very predictable: I thought it was going somewhere, and then it completely changes, moving towards a different direction, and I am instantly intrigued (a good example is the subway scene).

She fails her attempt of taking her life, but still goes back from time to time to her past, her new, exciting, full of love past, that she now longs for. It all started with the need of a better life, one in which she wasn't bored or treated so insensitively, and Freddie just happened to be there to sweep her off her feet; it didn't hurt the fact that he was closer to her age than William, her husband, more than 20 years her senior.

But in the end, nothing in life comes easy and that is what the movie is about. She knew what she was getting into, she knew he couldn't offer what she really wanted, but Hester can't stay away, and chooses to be miserable for some time, in order to have at least a few moments of pure happiness and excitement with Freddie. She does have a chance at tranquility and love, not with Freddie, but with someone who will care for her, but she refuses, all just to hang on for a little while longer of the inexplicable connection and love to Freddie.There are clear differences between them and they both know their relationship is messed up and it probably won't last, but they still come back to each other. Case in point, after he finds her suicide letter, he leaves, but still agrees to come back to pick up his things, after she pleads to him numerous times.

The last morning spent together is awkward, but civilised; you can see and feel there is so much more to be said, but neither one takes the initiative- there is so much meaning behind their words.

The performances were good and higly comandable, but not extraordinary. Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston are great individually, but I didn't buy their connection 100%- but still, the effort is there and the acting is good, especially for what the script requires. That, plus the music, editing, directing, cinematography, costumes, sets- everything fit the genre and the topic very well. It's clean!

I will be honest with you and say most will probably not like this- they will find it boring and useless. But for the few who like character-driven movies, romance, complicated relationships- this is a movie for you to see! I thought it was beautiful!

Feb 16, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [1998]

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a movie under the influence of drugs- from beginning to end, the large quantity of addictive substances influence not only the characters, but also the story, the visuals, the sound and so on. It's absolutely crazy and I still don't know what to think of it- do I like it, do I hate it or is it too messed up to form an opinion?

Either way, I have to acknowledge the talent and courage(?) of Terry Gilliam and, of course, of both Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro- yes, they are just playing a part, but the extent to which they went through to showcase their characters is commendable.

The story is set in the 1970s and it's about the days Duke, a "Doctor in Journalism", spends in Las Vegas with Gonzo, his lawyer and friend, covering two different events; the script is adapted from a book by Hunter S.Thompson. Now I have never taken drugs, so I have to ask: do people really go bat-crazy like that? Do they hallucinate worms, monsters and do they react like Duke and Gonzo or is it an exaggeration? The scenes in the hotel room (Gonzo in the bathtub, the morning after the Andrenichrome binge) plus the ethereal scene in the carrousel, are all pure madness, showing a level of creativity and craziness that you would never think about, unless you were under the influence of drugs.

Of course, not all of the movie was like that. We do get moments of slight lucidity, where Duke or Gonzo try to act normal, or be the voice the reason- they support and take care of each other when the other is high....well, they're both high all the time, so when one is hallucinating and the other is not, to put it more clearly. The film doesn't have a clear direction and it is random, in most aspects- I actually don't even remember the ending...weird.

The way Terry Gilliam approached the book and made the film was very interesting and crazy, yes, but appropriate and close to the reality (I presume), while still making it funny and entertaining. He uses bright colors, psychedelic music and weird angle shots to portray a wild era in America.

I loved the random cameos throughout the film, like Tobey Maguire as the hitchhiker, Cameron Diaz as a reporter, Mark Harmon, Craig Bierko as Lacerda (where did this guy disappear, I used to see him in a lot of movies growing up), Flea- FLEA from the RHCP :), Christopher Meloni, Christina Ricci and a gorgeous Ellen Barkin. 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is pretty special- from the characters, to the cinematography and editing, to the story and feeling of it- everything is a little bit surprising. It is definitely a memorable movie and you should see it!

Feb 14, 2012

Valentine's Day special: Romantic scenes

I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, mostly because the last few years, coincidently, I have spend it without a significant half, so the single people can understand how irritating, yet a little bit sad Valentine's Day can be.

But, I can't pass out an opportunity to show some of the greatest, sweetest, heart warming and romantic scenes from movies, that make me dream. Here are my choices:

Pride and Prejudice- field scene

I love the cinematography, the music, Macfadyen and the way he says "...and I, I, I love you" *sigh*

Dirty Dancing- nobody puts Baby in a corner

When I was little, my parents would use to put VCRs on to shut me up, call me down, so they can do some thing around the house. I had 3 videos that I loved and I could watch non-stop: Beauty and The Beast-Disney movie, Dirty Dancing and Cry Baby (the Johnny Depp). You'll probably wonder about the last two, but I was so little that I couldn't understand the love stories or specific jokes, so I just focused on the actors and the music and dancing- that made me happy. Dirty Dancing and this final part will always be a part of my memories, I love it, no matter what people say.

Country Strong- give into me

I don't usually go for country, but this movie is pretty good, and the song starting at the 1 minute mark is very cool. Plus, it has Garrett Hedlund, which I very much like, and the chemistry between them is believeable.

Reality bites- end scene
Oh, young Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder- what can I say more?

Bonus- the My Sharona scene is so fun!

Sixteen candles- church scene

Classic, no need for explanation! The guy is very cute! (sorry for the bad quality, couldn't find another one)

Romeo+Juliet- First meeting, first kiss

One of the most romantic scenes out there, I could watch this non-stop. The song, the story, the two young lovers- lovely, just lovely!

A walk to remember- the song

You probably don't like this movie and consider it to be a cheep romcom, but I like it. The story was new to me then (now, it appears to be the theme of the moment, as many movies and books have the subject of "Girl has cancer/leukemia, boy falls in love with her", with the obligatory sad ending), and I always liked Mandy Moore's sweetness and her beautiful voice. Plus, Shane West- yes :)

10 things I hate about you- HL singing+poem

Two iconic scenes which I am sure you know and love!

...and the poem

Jane Eyre 2011- Mr Rochester admits

It's not the full scene, but if you haven't seen it, I hope it makes you do, because it's a wonderful film!

p.s. If you're wondering why Titanic is not on the list, it's just because I never really liked it as much as the others, and I never cried during the water/wood scene.
p.s.2. If you are sick of romance, and just want sex, go check out Sati's post- 15 most memorable sex scenes

Which one is your favorite?
Do you have any plans for V day? With BF/GF, out with friends, or movie at home? Let me know!

Feb 12, 2012

The BAFTAs 2012

For me, the BAFTAs are better than the Oscars. Why?

The reasons, in no particular order are
- the show is in London ( although I am not at the Covent Gardem Royal Opera, I'm still technically within an 50 mile radius from the stars )
- everything involving this particular ceremony is stylish, with a lot of class and elegance and gratitude. People don't show up for the glamour or the gossip, they are trully honouring the work- well, most of them anyway
- the BAFTAs usually get it right when it comes to nominations, and the winners are much more appreciated and agreed upon than the Oscars in most cases- LATER EDIT: no, they don't, this year they drooled at the feet of Artist!
- The ceremony is short and very well timed (short speeches, no breaks?)
- I simply love the British accent and 99% of the people, plus the British actors are not only immensly talented, but also very attractive.

LATER EDIT: I maybe be wrong! But it's still one spot ahead of the Oscars in my book, just for sentimental value! :)

Of course the Oscars have their charm, but it's not 26th of February yet, so let's focus on tonight, shall we?


Special Visual Effects – Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows II   Well deserved and a nice way to pay tribute to one of the best and most loved films&franchise out there

Short FilmPitch Black Heist  It apparently features Michael Fassbender, so I guess I am happy?!

Short AnimationA Morning Stroll  No idea what so ever here, sorry!

Original MusicThe Artist (Ludovic Bource)  No surprise here!


EditingSenna (Gregers Sall, Chris King)  Some say it is a surprise, but maybe it's because they haven't seen Senna! If they had, they would have known it is deserving of its award.

CinematographyThe Artist (Guillaume Schiffman)  A little bit dissapointed, there were better options there, but still a good choice!

Costume DesignThe Artist (Mark Bridges)  why would you give an award to a Black&White movie set in the 1920s, an era from which you can easily get costumes in every thrift store? I would have given this to superhero movies, or Harry Potter or period movies, someone who created and innovated, not to the Artist!

Make Up & HairThe Iron Lady (Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland, Marese Langan)  Again, seriously? for putting on make up on one woman? what about the other nominees, surely we can find better? They are starting to piss me off!

Film Not in the English LanguageThe Skin I Live In   And with that, my faith is restored! I know it's a snub for A Separation and most will be shocked, but I am pleasantly surprised!

Outstanding Debut – Tyrannosaur Very happy with this one, as well, the movie is fantastic and it features the best performances I have seen in a while! See it if you have a chance!

Production Design – Hugo (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo)  Another rightful winner, Hugo was visually beautiful

Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer (Beginners)  That was, probably, the most predictable award of the night, and I am glad he won, although I haven't seen the film! He is such a charming, elegant, nice man!

Outstanding British Film – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy   Good choice- I would liked to see Shame get something, but TTSS is a fantastic movie, with great performances, so I approve! :)

Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer (The Help)   I would have loved a surprise here, but no, still Octavia Spencer!

Original Screenplay – The Artist   Are you fucking kidding me? Best Original Screenplay? For a classic romantic comedy, but set in the 1920s, without words or serious plot or character development???? seriously? This is just crazy, I cannot understand it! Yes, The Artist is original in music, or production design, or for the fact it is black and white and silent, but for screenplay? Come on!

Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema- John Hurt   Congratulations Mister Hunt and thank you for everything!

Orange Rising Star – Adam Deacon  Ok,so I have never seen Adam Deacon act, so maybe I am wrong and he is brilliant, but how dare you snub Loki, the wonderful Tom Hiddleston? Aghh...this is getting frustrating! Who is this guy and how many fans can he possibly have?

Documentary – Senna This ceremony is going up and down, I feel worn out! Now it's up for Senna and special mention to Paul Bettany presenting!

Adapted Screenplay – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Interesting choice, but I have to agree!

Animated Film – Rango

Director – Michel Hazanavicius  Tom Hooper all over again! His directing wasn't nearly as exciting as Hugo or Shame or Drive, but hey, it's The Artist!

Leading Actress – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) Love the Cinderella moment, and she is always was funny and sweet!

Leading Actor – Jean Dujardin (The Artist)   Wow, I really thought a Brit will get this! I'm so sorry for Fassbender and Oldman! That kinda means he is getting the Oscar, which I am not happy about! 

Best Film – The Artist   That was a shocker...not! AM I THE ONLY ONE SICK OF THE ARTIST?

Academy Fellowship- Martin Scorsese  Deserved, indeed, very happy for him!

Best line of the night: "I would just like to thank the Artist for not being adapted from a book!"-Peter Straughan receiving the award for Best Adapted Screenplay---you and me, both, Peter!

Most overused, overappreciated, cocky bastard of the night: Michel Hazanavicius! These awards are getting to his head, I think I saw him on stage 4 or 5 times, if not more, and always with a slightly cocky attitude! 

Overall, I am dissapointed in most of the winners, as Artist easily wins the big categories (I am already getting sick of it and all that involves or mentions the word Artist), so should I be even watching the Oscars? We all know what will happen! 

It was a nice evening, rather boring, but interesting! Stephen Fry was very reserved and gratious, the opposite of Ricky Gervais, but I liked him!

What do you guys think of the winners? 

Feb 11, 2012

Superhero Double Bill: Thor and Captain America [2011]

After seeing the SuperBowl trailer of Avengers, I got interested in the movie, so I decided to check out the two movies I didn't get to see last year in order to welcome Avengers with open arms and good knowledge of the characters and story.

What I can say about both movies is that they are both entertaining and clearly popcorn movies, without serious story or character development (the closest to that was Loki, but more on him later). It was fun to watch, and I was surprised to notice how easily I relaxed and just enjoyed myself- I also felt like my mind was somehow shrunken and all I could say was Cool, wow or Awesome- call it the Superhero effect!

Overall, I do feel Thor was much better than Captain America, and I am now excited to see The Avengers.

First up to watch was


Directed by Kenneth Branagh (surprisingly, considering his classic and Shakespeare background) and with a script penned by Ashley Miller, Zach Stentz and Don Payne, the story is based on the comic books about Thor, the god of thunder. The powerful, but arrogant Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, after acting foolishly. His younger brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes advantage of the situation and through lies and devious actions, he becomes the king of Asgard. The story follows not only the growth in character of Thor (in a too-fast paced development of it), but also Loki, who casts aside his insecurities and his jealousy of his brother for the moment and sets out to do greater things.

Maybe it was the fact that I have a soft spot for Brits or maybe because I usually find more interesting the villains of a story, but for me, Loki was superior in every way- his character was stronger and more fascinating, but I think it was Tom Hiddleston who made it stand out. I could really see and understand the changes he was going through, and most importantly, I empathised and still felt the connection with Loki, although he was set out to be a villain. His character was approachable, likeable and although I didn't approve of his actions, especially when it came to his brother, I knew where he was coming from. Also, his powers are very cool- I would have shape-shifting, astral projection, telepathy and teleportation over Thor's magic hammer anytime. I love Hiddleston and I can't wait to see him in Avengers.

Chris Hemsworth definitely had the look and the attitude of Thor, but I wasn't impressed or touched by his performance. I don't think Natalie Portman was right for the job and maybe it was just me, but I felt she over-acted, if that is a word, in most of the scenes. Kat Dennings was great and she brought a much needed fun factor to the movie, and everything Stellan Skarsgard does is good and on the mark, so I was convinced.

As any superhero movie, I had plenty of special effects and fight scenes to sink my teeth in and I wasn't dissapointed. They were visually attractive and dynamic and I was surprised to see how good the directing was, considering Branagh's background, but he did something different, yet very beautiful.

For a popcorn movie, it's one of the best I've seen in a long time and I think you will enjoy it, as well!

Second in line was

Captain America

Directed by Joe Johnston, with a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Captain America: The First Avenger tells the story of Steve Rogers, a man who, after being deemed unfit for military service, volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into the Captain, a superhero dedicated to defending the USA's ideals.

This one doesn't have too much going for it, but I do have to applaud the casting. Chris Evans is perfect as The First Avenger, and I love Hayley Atwell much more than Natalie Portman, as a character and an actress. Other great supporting roles are filled by people like Stanley Tucci (this man is in almost every big movie in Hollywood every year, but doesn't get half the credit he deserves), Sebastian Stan (as the sidekick), Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper and, of course, Hugo Weaving, as the main villain, Red Skull.

I'm not saying it is a bad movie or that it isn't entertaining, it's just not as good as the other Marvel movies. Maybe it's the over the top action sequences and fights, maybe it's the clicheeic and predictable script and dialogue, or just the usual combination of superhero elements that the viewer is already getting tired of. Either way, I wasn't that impressed.

I do think that Captain America will get more interesting in Avengers, because of the team dynamic and it's superior director, screenplay and so on, that's why I am willing to give it a shot.

Like I said before, Thor beats Captain America by a mile in a superhero duel, but I can't wait to see all of the Avengers on screen in May- now that's a Superhero/Popcorn movie!

Did you see these two movies? Which one did you enjoy most? Let me know in the comments!

Feb 9, 2012

Muppets [2011]

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing The Muppets at the Prince Charles Cinema (yet again, I am becoming a regular), with the help of Den Of Geek- I won a pair of tickets by Twitter (it is fast becoming my best friend and an obsession). Short version of the story: I LOVED IT!

Long version: The viewing started with probably the funniest animated movie/clip/episode/? I have seen in a while- Toy Story: Poultry Palace. Me and the rest of 299 people in the cinema theatre laughed out loud like crazy and it was a great start for the next one hour and a half.

The film is about 3 Muppet fans who learn that Tex Richman wants to drill under the muppet theater for oil, and so Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the muppets who have been split up for years- it is the story of a reunion of one of the greatest shows in America. James Bobin directed a script written by Jason Seigel (also starring) and Nicholas Stoller.

The film has so sweet and endearing and entertaining, that I walked out of there in a such a good mood, not to mention that I had a smile on my face for 90% of the movie. The script is funny and includes some unexpected moments of reality check ("well, this movie is going to be short", "wow, that was such an expensive looking explosion! I can't believe we had that in the budget" or "I thought my storyline was very intriguing"), that raised laughs from the viewers. The ocassional cameos were a nice touch and helped the storyline (Dave Grohl, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Zack Galifiniakis, Jack Black, Selena Gomez and a very cool scene with Jim Parsons), plus the unbelieveable Gary Cooper musical moment will blow your mind away.

After seeing this movie, I have an even greater respect for Jason Seigel (known for his stint in How I met Your Mother); I recently saw an interview with him talking about the movie and saying that it is his passion project and that he has been trying to get it done for a long time. For me, he seems like a kid in a grown man's body- he is sweet, energetic, fun to be around, just a nice guy and this movie is a great way to showcase that. He managed to make the Muppets story and characters fresh and appealing to everyone, adding so many distinctive elements that make the film even more special and memorable.

Honestly, you may think: "Oh, a Muppets movie? it's for kids, neah, I wont go" but trust me, it's a wonderful film, for all ages and it will make your day! Please give it a shot, it is worth it! It was a great experience for me!

Feb 7, 2012

Hey, guess what? I received an award!

You love me, you really do love me!

I was very happy to wake me to a lovely comment from Chip Lary at Tips from Chip announcing that he has honoured my blog with the Liebster Blog Award! So, what is it, you might ask? It's an award bestowed by fellow bloggers to give special recognition to notable blogs with fewer than 200 followers. I was very surprised by it, but happy and a little bit proud, if that makes sense, of my tiny, tiny blog. Thank you Chip for thinking of me!

Now, the winners have to pay forward to other people whose sites are worth the recognition. If they accept the award, they should: thank the person who nominated them; nominate five other favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and copy/paste the Liebster Blog Icon into their post.

It was hard to choose my five spots, but here they are (they might be familliar to you, but take a look again):

1. Ruth from "..let's be splendid about this" is a great girl and a good writer; special mention for her Classic Trailer series :)
2. Anna from Defiant Success - close to 200 followers, but still a great blogger- she alwasy surprises me with the number of classic she sees and reviews; plus, her Twitter and Tumblr accounts are fantastic, you should check them, too!
3. Sati from Cinematic Corner has one of the most beautiful blogs out there- I love the design and outline of it and her posts vary from movie reviews, to special Saturday TV shows and film scores. Please do check it out!
4. Nikhat from Being Norma Jean has only 59 followers? why? why aren't you following her? go do it now!
5.Now, I don't know how many followers A Cultured Lad has, but his blog is very good- I like the mix of reviews for films, books, music, plays and so on! Please do drop by! Plus, he loves Sherlock, so we know he's a great guy :)

Interesting stuff, I have never heard of this award before, but hey, who am I who decline one, right? :) I suggest you check out the blog of the person that nominated me and the one who nominated him and so on- you'll find some great new blogs!

Have a nice day!

Feb 6, 2012

Tyrannosaur[2011] + Q&A w/ Director and Actress

A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Tyrannosaur, the directorial debut of Paddy Considine, a talented British actor, known for his In America role. After the screening we were lucky enough to have Paddy and Olivia Colman, the lead actress, for a Q&A, but more about that later.

This film is considered to be one of, if not the best feature of British cinema in 2011. It tells the story of Joseph(Peter Mullan), a lonely and angry man who crosses paths with Hanna (Olivia Colman), a religious woman who suffers from domestic abuse (her husband, James, is played by Eddie Marsan).

We first see Joseph getting out of a bar/club, swearing and kicking evrything in his way, including his dog. He continues displaying his anger throughout the movie, going in and out of it, but we can always see a hint of regret, a flicker of humanity in him; he is a tormented man, who needs affection- he is constantly looking for a companion, even if it's his dying father, his much younger neighbour or the lady from the charity shop.

When Hanna comes into the his life, not judging or asking weird inappropriate questions, he feels relieved, but is also strangely attracted to the kindness of the woman. They both are, after all, messed up souls, looking for love, attention and safety. As expected, the two grow closer, but it isn't because of love- their connection is formed based on tragic events. I won't go into details, I 'll just say that, later on, the movie had one of the most dramatic and disturbing scenes I've seen lately, and it "hit" me, and probably others, as well, so hard, because of the sense of reality it displayed. It was sad, but you knew that it could happen to anyone, and it is, actually, happening right now to women all around the world.

Performance-wise, it is fantastic- Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan are both forces of nature and deliver gut-wrenching performances (especially Eddie Marsan), but Olivia Colman is the one who shines. Her vulnerability, her desperation, everything about her portrayal of Hanna is spot on and very touching, giving a lasting impression on the audience.

Paddy Considine did a proper job with the directing and writing, especially the latter, as the movie script is one of its strong points. It had a very realistic feel to it and set a dark mood, starting with the lighting, sets and costumes, all the way through the dialogue and scenes. Special mention to the music and sound editing part, as it was remarcable and very good.

Tyrannosaur is a wonderful dramatic movie, that I highly recommend!

The Q&A after the screening started with roaring applause for the director, and especially for Olivia Colman, the lead actress. It was very informative and entertaining. Considine is a great guy, a straight-forward, no-bullshit kind of guy, who didn't have a problem saying "Fuck you Cameron" in response to a question regarding the prime minister's latest declarations. He talked about the idea for the script, his interaction with domestic abuse and how it all started, the fact that it was cronologically filmed in order to help the actors and so on. Olivia Colman is one of the sweetest, nicest women in the business and talked about the way she prepared for the role, how she got it, the time spent on set and gave us more details about the dramatic scene I was telling you about earlier. She even gracefully said a few words about her Bafta snub, although she didn't seem to upset about it at all.

Overall, it was a great experience- thank you Prince Charles Cinema! No publicity, I still had to pay for my ticket, but the cinema really is something else, I suggest you go there sometime!

p.s. The DVD/Blu-Ray is out today, go get it now!

Feb 4, 2012

The Descendants [2011/2012]

I had low expectations going in to see The Descendants- the trailer and the synopsis suggested an Oscar bait (like others noticed), George Clooney kept winning awards for a role that didn't seem that complicated (and taking away recognition that should have been for Michael Fassbender's performance in Shame) and its general heavy coverage just set me off, I wasn't keen on seeing it.

But I did and I was wrong- The Descendants is a fantastic movie. Although I still do think it is an Oscar bait, I have to say that I was impressed and moved by the story and the performances. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley shine in this Hawaiian drama about a broken up family coming together after the mother's accident. 

I really liked the metaphor that Matt used at the beginning: "My family seems like an archipelago. We are part of the same group, but we are still islands- separate and alone. And we're slowly drifting apart." He is right and that is the perfect way to describe the situation at the beginning of the story. Certain details emerge as we move along and new complications stir up the quiet life of the island, but overall, what is so appealing about this movie, is the fact that it's realistic- this can happen to anyone; what makes it even better is the character development and the storyline: nothing is forced or too dramatised; you can believe it. 

There's one moment in the film where Alex tells Matt that her mother was cheating on him- that specific scene and his genuine reaction to the news made me realise that the awards coming Clooney's way are not for nothing- I loved his performance, not only in that part, but overall- sometimes, like I said before, playing a real, normal, simple character is harder then portraying a crazy man. Better than Fassbender in Shame? Not really, but I wouldn't mind if George did won!

The Descendants has some beautiful, yet very simple filmmaking elements that make the movie even better: the use of hawaiian music, the cinematography, the clear, steady shots, the scenes where they capture the human expressions, letting us know and understand how the characters are really feeling (Alex crying in the pool, Matt realising the truth in the restaurant, Elizabeth's father saying his last goodbye and so on). The script was very good and it had some wonderful, touching scenes, like the one where Sid talks to Matt about his family, or the moment where the three of them say goodbye to Elizabeth and so on. 

You will find some discrepancies in the storyline: where did Elizabeth's best friends go? How did the cousins react to Matt's decision regarding the land- and what was the purpose of this part of this storyline, anyway? Plus, the sudden mood swings for dramatic effect are a little out of line in some points, but then again, I didn't think they dramatised the story or the characters too much, it is mostly realistic. 

Yes, overall, The Descendants is a good movie, a drama that you will find touching and learn to love as the story progresses. Watch it on video-on-demand or buy the DVD, I think it's worth it!