Monday, February 27, 2012

And the OSCAR goes to...

The 84th Academy Awards just wrapped up. Awards were handed and movie history was made for the books. The good news is, my acting bets bagged the Golden Guy. The French silent-film 'The Artist' won 5 awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius. Being a Francophile I'm more than happy for their success. "Hugo" Scorsese's love letter to the cinema also won 5 OSCARs. All in all this year's Academy Awards truly lived up to my expectations and painted a happy smile on my face.

Meryl Streep won her 3rd acting OSCAR for her stellar performance as Britain's PM Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady". With 17 nominations, Streep is the most nominated actor in Academy Award history. Meryl joins the company of Jack Nicholson and Ingrid Bergman for having won 3 acting OSCARs. She is definitely the best in the biz.

French Actor Jean Dujardin received his first acting OSCAR in the silent film "The Artist" as George Valentin, making him the first Frenchman to win an Academy Award. Forget Clooney, Dujardin is the man of the hour. 

Acting legend Christopher Plummer finally won his first (and long overdue) OSCAR for his performance in Mike Mills' independent film "Beginners", making him the oldest actor to win an Academy Award at the age of 82. I grew up watching "The Sound of Music" and I have watched him act in several films that to see him finally get awarded is truly a moment of inspiration. I knew the first time I saw "Beginners" that that movie and his performance is special, and indeed I'm right. A well deserved win! 

Octavia Spencer's portrayal as Minny Jackson - a domestic help - during the early 1960s is both moving and funny that I put her name right away on my acting bets alongside Jean Dujardin and Christopher Plummer. So far, so good, she won every nominations. Let her win remind every one of us that true talent sees or knows no color. 

It is hard not to root for Michel Hazanavicius in spite of Martin Scorsese's presence and excellent film. In the times of 3D (and 4D) technology a man who can think of making a film entirely in black and white and a silent one at that could be considered crazy, but hey, Hazanavicious made it irresistibly luscious and universally renewing. Genius!

Asghar Farhadi received the award for Best Foreign Language Film for "A Separation", the first Iranian movie to do so.

"The Artist" is the big winner of the night! Viva France! 

All photos are copyright property of 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My 2011 Year End Roundup

Blogging about movies is one of those things that I've always wanted to do. It all started with my blog on Multiply, but unfortunately, with the innumerable things that took space on my mind and my job that robbed me off of my strength and ideas, it became impossible for me to write and keep up with my first blogsite. Needless to say, creative juices were squeezed out of my system, rendering me unable to produced anything. The transfer to Blogger is an utmost decision that, in my opinion, would help me refuel my interest to write.

As I turned the chapter of 2011 into a closure, I looked back to the movies that I have seen for the past year, and I've compiled them down into a list. With all honesty, in terms of my movie watching, I believe I could have done better. But of course that is what the New Year is for -- to be done with the past. So I will do what I can to outdo the number of films I watched (and re-watched).

Here are the movies I've seen in 2011 in alphabetical order. Re-watched are not included.

  1. 5 Centimeters Per Second
  2. 50/50
  3. 127 Hours
  4. A Dangerous Method
  5. A Fish Called Wanda
  6. A Place in the Sun
  7. A Single Man
  8. A Star is Born
  9. The Adjustment Bureau
  10. Anastasia (1956)
  11. Another Year
  12. The Aviator
  13. Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank
  14. The Bad and the Beautiful
  15. Bad Teacher
  16. The Barefoot Contessa
  17. Barney's Version
  18. Beautiful Boy
  19. Beginners
  20. Belle De Jour
  21. Black Swan
  22. Blade Runner
  23. Blue Valentine
  24. Blood Diamond
  25. Bolt
  26. Bon Appetit
  27. Boogie Nights
  28. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  29. Bridesmaids
  30. Buried
  31. Burlesque
  32. The Cable Guy
  33. Captain America
  34. The Change-Up
  35. Contagion
  36. Crank
  37. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
  38. Devil
  39. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
  40. Drive
  41. Eat, Pray, Love
  42. The Edge of Love
  43. El secreto de sus ojos
  44. Enthiran
  45. Father of the Bride (1950)
  46. The Fighter
  47. Final Destination 5
  48. The Fountain
  49. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  50. Friends with Benefits
  51. Fright Night (2011)
  52. Gangster No. 1
  53. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
  54. The Good Night
  55. Half Nelson
  56. Hannah
  57. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  58. The Help
  59. Hereafter
  60. Here Comes the Bride
  61. Hesher
  62. Hop
  63. Horrible Bosses
  64. How to Steal a Million
  65. I Am Love
  66. I Am Number Four
  67. I'll Be There
  68. Immortals
  69. In Time
  70. The Informant
  71. Insidious
  72. Jane Eyre
  73. Julia's Eyes
  74. The Kids are All Right
  75. Killer Elite
  76. The King's Speech
  77. Kung-Fu Panda
  78. Kung-Fu Panda 2
  79. The Company Men
  80. The Lady Eve
  81. The Last Airbender
  82. Legion
  83. Life As We Know It
  84. Love & Other Drugs
  85. Made in Dagenham
  86. Mademoiselle Chambon
  87. Me and Orson Welles
  88. Melancholia
  89. Midnight in Paris
  90. Morning Glory
  91. Mother of Tears
  92. Never Let Me Go
  93. Network
  94. No Other Woman
  95. No Strings Attached
  96. One Million Yen Girl
  97. Ordinary People
  98. The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  99. Point Break
  100. Pollock
  101. Les Poupées russes
  102. The Queen
  103. Rabbit Hole
  104. The Red Shoes
  105. Remember Me
  106. Revolver
  107. Rio
  108. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  109. The Romantics
  110. The Roundup
  111. Run Lola Run
  112. Sawdust and Tinsel
  113. Serpico
  114. Sex and the City 2
  115. Scream 4
  116. Somewhere
  117. Something Borrowed
  118. Source Code
  119. Sucker Punch
  120. Suspiria
  121. Sullivan's Travels
  122. Submarine
  123. Super 8
  124. Swinging with the Finkels
  125. Syriana
  126. Takers
  127. Tamara Drewe
  128. Tangled
  129. Taxi
  130. Temptation Island
  131. Thor
  132. To Have and Have Not
  133. The Tourist
  134. The Town
  135. Toy Story 3
  136. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  137. The Tree
  138. The Tree of Life
  139. True Legend
  140. Trust
  141. Wait Until Dark
  142. War and Peace
  143. The Ward
  144. Water for Elephants
  145. What's Your Number
  146. Whip It
  147. The White Ribbon
  148. Who's That Girl?
  149. Winter's Bone
  150. Womb
  151. X-Men First Class
  152. You Again
  153. You Don't Know Jack
  154. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
  155. Zombieland

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady (2011)
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Rating= C+

Meryl Streep played a gripping performance as Margaret Thatcher. Having her presence graced this film, with an equally famous subject, nonetheless, should make this motion picture work, however for some describable reasons – it just didn’t. Told in a nonlinear fashion, if “The Iron Lady” had the same interesting script and editing such as “La Vie En Rose” it would become a wonderful picture. However, the story played around on an older Thatcher, just giving the viewer some glimpses of her life as a PM. The writer should have focused on her career as Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, how she gained and lose power, her contributions, her errors, and how she rally her country during the cold war, her involvement in the 1981 issues in the Northern Ireland,  what changed in her life after stepping down as PM. This could have become an interesting biopic of the woman also known as “The Iron Lady” if they made an effort not to edit out the interesting and essential meaty-parts of her career, a Thatcher who triumphs against the odds, rather than to show the viewers her declining health and hallucinations of her late-husband. In spite of that, Streep deserves an acting award. I just hope the script could have been better to make it memorable.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: The Descendants

The Descendants (2011)
Directed by Alexander Payne

Rating= A-

If you have been acquainted with the works of Alexander Payne, The Descendants shares the same quality of his earlier films. They take you to a journey – towards discovering people, ascertaining their emotions, confronting their fears, while creating a bond and a strong relationship with their friends and family, with faulty lead characters – that are usually insulted by their shortcomings. The Descendants is a movie that doesn’t charges you to cry but it melts your heart and challenges you to observe your (own) life.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Directed by David Fincher

Rating = B

Good, but not necessary. This American, David Fincher directed adaptation is inferior to the Swedish version, in spite of all its marketing hullaballoo and Rooney Mara’s makeover. This movie is tad too long that my eyes drooped in some scenes I find unnecessary.  And because it was too dragging the suspense part lack the power to shock me. However, acting kudos goes to Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer for not putting on a fake Swedish accent. My apologies for the fans of this version, but Noomi Rapace kicked Rooney Mara’s ass. In entirety, this movie just didn’t work for me, but I will be looking forward to their reworking of ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ because I was jaded with the Swedish version. 

Film Roundup - Feb 2012 : White Fang

White Fang  (1991)
Directed by Randal Kleiser
Rating = B+

Disney’s movie rendition of this Jack London’s classic novel paints a touching portrait of man-animal-and nature’s relationship although not lacking in realistic depiction of human’s cruelty over the wild. A must-see family flick for everyone.
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