Monday, December 31, 2012

Soldier's Girl

By s. Monday, December 31, 2012 , , , , , , , , 13 Comments
I weep for humanity. Occasionally I get to see films that remind me of the fact that we live in cruel world filled with monsters. Monsters who don't recognize the miracle of love - who are too blind and stupid to realize that this miracle doesn't just happen between people of two different genders. If I were to make a list of things that make cry and scream in anger at the same time, homophobia would be at the very top of the list.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Patricia Clarkson Appreciation

By s. Saturday, December 29, 2012 25 Comments
Patricia Davies Clarkson 
December 29, 1959 (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

It makes perfect sense that such an enchanting creature was born in the World's most magical place. Patricia Clarkson is one of my favorite actresses working today. She always brings so much charisma and warmth to her roles. In addition to that, she frequently plays the world's coolest mom - in Easy A, Friends with Benefits and One Day, only to name the few. But the kind of roles I enjoy her most in are the free spirited, artistic types - she played the wonderful character of Sarah O'Connor in acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under. That role brought her two well deserved Emmy awards.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lincoln

By s. Thursday, December 27, 2012 , , , , , , , 22 Comments
Uneven. That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. The film has many moments of cinematic brilliance in it, but it also makes you wonder about how much better it would be if they just stuck to one story. It almost seems, that despite 12 years of research, Spielberg didn't have clear a idea of what he wanted to shoot - the story of the man and the president? Or the story of passing one of the most important amendments to American Constitution? The film is genius when it shows the latter. When it shows the former you keep wishing it would get back to politics as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Performances I Love: Natalie Portman in Cold Mountain

By s. Wednesday, December 26, 2012 , 19 Comments

 If I had my way they'd take metal altogether out of this world. Every blade, every gun. 

While I don't consider Natalie Portman to be an especially gifted actress, occasionally she is capable of giving wonderful performances. She truly shined in Closer and thanks to perfect casting and incredible support from the director Darren Aronofsky, she created mesmerizing work in Black Swan. One of the performances of hers I especially adore is her heartbreaking work in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cloud Atlas

By s. Tuesday, December 25, 2012 , , , , , , , , , 30 Comments
Cloud Atlas is an adaptation of David Mitchell's novel of the same title, that everyone has always labeled “unfilmable”. Having seen the film I must agree with that statement - they might have made a film, but is it truly a film if most of it is boring, unwatchable string of scenes? Not since The Tree of Life had I seen the movie that collapses on itself in such a spectacular matter. Come to think of it, I'd rather sit through The Tree of Life again, which has one thing Cloud Atlas doesn't - subtlety - than watch this mess. Cloud Atlas has ambition and many layers. The problem is that each of those layers is more uninteresting than the previous one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! + Christmas list

By s. Monday, December 24, 2012 , , 30 Comments
Along with Gustav, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thoughtful and awesome Santa, who will determine that you were nice and you deserve all the gifts you wanted to get.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movie Jail Relay Race

By s. Sunday, December 23, 2012 , 34 Comments

Nostra and Terrence came up with great idea for a blogathon:
"It’s time to put some movie people in jail. The object is to give a prosecutor’s argument as to why these movie people belong in “Movie Jail” whether it be for violating the integrity of the content source of one their films, or being a sell-out, just making bad movies overall, getting worse as time goes on or not being in a good movie for many years. The baton will be passed to another blogger who will have to do the following:
In order to free someone from Movie Jail they have to do 2 things
1 – Give a defense attorney argument defending the plaintiff
2 – Pay bail: the cost of which is another case for the court and a prosecutor’s argument against the actor/director of their choice that will replace the one set free.
There must always be 10 people in Movie Jail."
Here are the inmates so far - M. Night Shyamalan, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Michael Cera, Robert De Niro, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Sam Worthington and Kristen Stewart



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ralph Fiennes Appreciation

By s. Saturday, December 22, 2012 29 Comments
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes
December 22, 1962 (Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK)

Today is the 50th (!) birthday of one of my absolute favorite actors - Ralph Fiennes. The only thing longer than his real name is the list of the outstanding performances he has given over the years - it was actually hard to choose only 10. His work as Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List is my number 3 on the finest performances of all time list. In addition, his performance as Harry in In Bruges is one of the funniest things I've seen in my life.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By s. Wednesday, December 19, 2012 , , , , , , , , 40 Comments
Remember high school? Or should I say - hellish nightmare? The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie - young teenager who is just starting high school. Charlie is shy and socially awkward - he doesn't have any real friends and he spends his time writing letters to mysterious person he calls his "friend", who likely doesn't exist. On the first day of school he is bullied and called names but he also catches the eye of his teacher - when his teacher, played by Paul Rudd, who I think is every one's dream teacher, asks who wrote the thing he just quoted no one answers. But he notices that Charlie wrote the correct answer in his notebook. He didn't raise his hand to reveal it, which is, by the way, what I've been doing all the time back in school.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Trouble with the Curve

By s. Monday, December 17, 2012 , , , , , , , 22 Comments
I'm sure all of you out there, at one point or another, saw a very specific kind of a movie - the film that's isn't bad per se but while everything should work in theory, it's just boring and forgettable. The problem with Trouble with the Curve is just that - it's cliche chasing cliche and though the story is sweet and actors well suited for their job, the film is quite simply the most generic movie of 2012. And no matter how hard Eastwood and Adams are trying, they can only do so much with the mediocre script.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday TV Special - AHS: Asylum 2x08 Unholy Night / 2x09 The Coat Hanger

By s. Saturday, December 15, 2012 , , 8 Comments
What would Christmas look like in the asylum? Well, we know it now, thanks to episode 8 of season 2 of American Horror Story. The episode starts with a prologue featuring brilliant Ian McShane as a demented killer - Lee - dressed up like Santa Claus. During one Christmas Eve he massacred 18 people and it results in him ending up in Asylum. But now, when sister Jude is no longer in charge and Sister Mary Eunice aka the Devil calls the shots, he will have the opportunity to determine who was naughty and who was nice yet again. Mary Eunice also gets to decorate the Christmas Tree. Now how would Satan decorate the Christmas Tree? With all sorts of disturbing stuff found in the Asylum, of course.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Les Miserables lead Golden Globe nominations

By s. Thursday, December 13, 2012 , 32 Comments
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Today we found out who the nominees for Golden Globes are and as usual there were some surprises. Let's just forget about TV categories, because as usual they didn't do anything shocking, except for them snubbing American Horror Story (only one nomination - for Jessica Lange). Oh, Girls and Lena Dunham got nominated,  which means she will probably attend the ceremony which will result in me enjoying it a much less than I would without her there. And The Girl got tons of nominations, which is so funny - it just shows how few TV movies are out there and they are literally forced to nominate average ones.

There were many surprising things among nominees - the lack of Johnny Depp, who is nominated for anything he does, the inclusion of Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy, three nominations for Salmon Fishing in Yemen and Richard Gere appearing as if from nowhere. Meryl Streep got in for Hope Springs, because well, how could she not? I'm thrilled to see Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman - some of my favorite actresses - nominated. What saddens me is the lack of love for Seven Psychopaths and lack of nomination for Matthew McConaughey for any of his three wonderful performances.

Here are the nominees:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild

By s. Tuesday, December 11, 2012 , , , , , , , 44 Comments
I was certain I will love Beasts of the Southern Wild - it's set in Louisiana, the place I love, it shows so much nature, which I love as well, and its protagonist is a child - as a sensitive person such movies usually move me to the very core. Unfortunately, even though I shed a tear few times during this movie, it didn't make a lasting impression on me. It's unique and interesting, but it doesn't have enough going for it to make me want to see it again or to leave a lasting memory in my mind, lasting mark on my heart.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Scene of the Week - The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford

By s. Monday, December 10, 2012 , , 16 Comments
What must be done
directed by Andrew Dominik

The scene: In a titular scene of Andrew Dominik's masterful picture, we observe the fear, anxiety and sadness in a form of almost a dance that is happening right before our eyes. With beautiful "What must be done" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis playing in the background, treacherous Robert Ford (Casey Affleck ) and reluctant Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell, in one of his finest performances) prepare to kill Jesse James (Brad Pitt).

James can clearly sense what is about to happen - he looks at his daughter through the window, focusing on every little detail as Robert and Charley try to compose themselves, wordlessly - Robert clearly battles with an idea of killing his friend and mentor, while Charley already shows the signs of immense sadness and despair he will experience after committing the murder, as he raises his armed hand with much resignation, in an apologetic way.

As Jesse says "Don't that picture look dusty?" and approaches the picture of the horse, he sees Robert aiming at him with a gun in its reflection. If Jesse didn't turn his back to him, who knows if Robert would shoot, if he was able to see his face. When the shot is fired, that beautiful, subtle, incredibly orchestrated scene erupts with violence and blood in a matter of seconds as Jesse is shot, hits his head on the picture and dies. He turns from the living hero into cold, lifeless corpse in a matter of seconds and the break the scene provides - from dreamlike, slow and delicate movement prior to the shot to the frenzy after it, only amplifies it.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Making the case for Hans Zimmer's score for The Dark Knight Rises

By s. Sunday, December 9, 2012 , , 23 Comments
Stevee of Cinematic Paradox came up with great idea for a blogathon - since it's Oscar season she proposed that we all make a case for a nomination/win we would like to see happen. Since Anne Hathaway is probably going to win for Les Miserables and I loved her as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, my first instinct was to make a case for her. But there is another part of the movie that is brilliant and very under appreciated - the original score created by Hans Zimmer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quantum of Solace

By s. Wednesday, December 5, 2012 , , , , , , , , 22 Comments

When you are watching a movie that is a revenge story and it's boring, you know it's bad. But when the movie has not one, but two revenge stories and you are fighting to stay awake? Well, that's Quantum of Solace. The follow up to hugely successful Casino Royale is stylish, elegant and beautifully shot, but unfortunately it's one of the worst 007 films ever made. Is it worth seeing? The problem with the film is that it has several great sequences, but it's everything in between that is a problem.

After the loss of his beloved Vesper in Casino Royale, Bond wants to find people responsible. There is also an evil organization Quantum, which is involved in Vesper's death somehow and has spies everywhere. How do we know they are evil? Because they are sneaky people who meet in the opera? Because they have creepy looking members with weird laughter? Yeah, that's pretty much it because throughout the movie all they do is talk apart from one pretty cool murder, but I'll get to that later.

Soundtrack Wednesday - Anna Karenina

By s. , , 4 Comments

Track: Hope Always
Artist: X-Ray Dog
Movie: Anna Karenina (trailer)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Movie of the Month - December - Solaris

By s. Monday, December 3, 2012 , , 26 Comments

You are all I see

For the beautiful and somber month of DecemberII decided to chose Solaris, hugely under appreciated and misunderstood movie directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film, based on brilliant and difficult novel by Stanisław Lem, focuses on just one part of the story - the love the protagonist Chris and his now deceased wife Rheya share.

Some time after Rheya commits suicide, Chris is called by his friend and asked to fly to mysterious ocean-like planet Solaris. The ship that was investigating the planet had some trouble on board and when Chris gets there he finds out the truth - some of the crew members were driven insane because the planet has the mysterious ability to duplicate their loved ones who died. During his first night on the ship, Chris wakes up next to Rheya. Though he gets rid of her first duplicate, when she comes back again he finds himself unable to let go of his love.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday TV Special: AHS: Asylum - 2x06 The Origins of Monstrosity / 2x07 Dark Cousin

By s. Saturday, December 1, 2012 , , 4 Comments
In the last two weeks in American Horror Story we had another series of delightful gore filled scenes and fucked up occurrences. Lana is now the unluckiest character on TV, while people are coming up with new theories each week what could happen to Dr Arden for justice to be served. Being eaten alive by raspers? Getting his dick cut off? Being forced to watch Honey Boo Boo?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Visual Parallels: Rosemary's Baby + Repulsion

By s. Monday, November 26, 2012 , , , 31 Comments
Rosemary's Baby along with Repulsion and The Tenant create Roman Polanski's Apartment Trilogy about the horrors and psychosis that lurk in the ordinary walls, in peepholes, under the carpets and behind the furniture. While The Tenant has a male protagonist who moves in the new apartment and has to deal with bizarre neighbors and creepy occurrences - like finding tooth in the wall - both Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion have delicate, timid blondes as their heroines.

While Rosemary struggles with her pregnancy after she moves in to new building and grows increasingly worried of new neighbors and distant from her husband, Carol is left alone in her apartment after her sister leaves for holiday with her boyfriend. Young repressed girl's sanity starts to collapse in the face of her solitude. Both films are very creepy and subjective - you constantly wonder what is real and what is a hallucination, what's a threat and what's just a distorted perception of the troubled heroine.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lawless

By s. Sunday, November 25, 2012 , , , , , , , 24 Comments
There were many movies this year that were worse than Lawless, but out of the ones I've seen none had worse pacing. It's a shame too, because there are many great moments in this movie but overall it bored the hell out of me. The film has few really amazing sequences only to turn into misguided snooze fest for several following scenes. The third act is a complete mess and all in all the only thing that keeps you watching is the lovely cinematography and the talented ensemble of actors. I shouldn't be that surprised, though - John Hillcoat's movies aren't exactly gripping. While his sullen and apocalyptic The Road was a fascinating watch, getting through this movie was a real challenge.

But let's get back to Lawless - based on real events the film tells the story of three brothers - Howard (Jason Clarke), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Jack (Shia Labeouf) Bondurants, famous for running bootlegging operation during the depression. Howard is a drunk and a muscle, Forrest is the quintessential strong but silent type and Jack, the youngest brother, is a loser and a wannabe gangster. Guess which one of them is protagonist?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rust and Bone

By s. Wednesday, November 21, 2012 , , , , , , , 20 Comments


Rust and Bone is one of those movies that tell the story of two wounded people who find each other. She trains killer whales at the aquarium and performs shows with them. He is an amateur boxer who is a single father without any money, forced to move in with his estranged sister. He takes a job as a bouncer in the bar and one night a woman is punched in the face - it is Stephanie. He offers to drive her to house, on the way there being rude to her, saying that she is dressed like a slut. They get to her house, where her boyfriend argues with her in front of him, after which he leaves, having left his phone number.

Some time after that Stephanie suffers a terrible accident, when the platform at the aquarium collapses - the result is the loss of both of her legs. Helpless and vulnerable, she calls Ali and invites him over. That is how their peculiar relationship begins, as gradually Stephanie learns how to live her life after the terrible loss and Ali becomes more human and aware of other people's feelings. Well, a little bit more human, but still not good enough for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scene of the Week - The Dark Knight Rises

By s. Monday, November 19, 2012 , , 37 Comments

Deshi Basara
directed by Christopher Nolan

The scene: In my absolute favorite moment from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne attempts to climb out of pit - the jail he was thrown into by Bane - without the rope supporting him. He made many attempts to get out before, always with the rope attached to him to save his life in case he failed, but that changes when another inmate tells him the story of a child who managed to escape - while climbing without the rope, the fear of falling and dying made it possible to escape.

Wanting to get out and protect Gotham, Bruce does the same, as fellow inmates chant, encouraging him. At one point Bruce stops as the swarm of bats emerges, which oddly only gives him confidence. He makes the jump and as Hans Zimmer's triumphant "Why do we fall?" stops for a moment we see the inmates freezing in silence too. As the music starts again we see that Bruce managed to make the jump and he gets out of pit, just as Batman theme starts playing in the background.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday TV Special - American Horror Story: Asylum - 2x03, 2x04, 2x05.

By s. Saturday, November 17, 2012 , , 6 Comments
Nor'easter, I am Anne Frank part 1, I am Anne Frank part 2
In the last three weeks on American Horror Story: Asylum we had a lot of craziness - in fact, it seems like with each episode Ryan Murphy is raising the bar of messed up shit - just when you thought things can't possible go worse for the characters, they do. In episode 2x03, which aired just as hurricane Sandy was hitting on Halloween, big storm hit Briarcliff. The very same night it was a movie night in Asylum and Shelley, Lana, Kit and Grace tried to escape.Of course, they failed. And Shelley got the worse of it.

The episode was very good from start to finish - we got to see a glimpse of possessed sister Mary Eunice, who killed a patient with scissors and tried to seduce Dr Arden. Mad and distraught after innocent sister Mary acted like a "whore," Arden wrecked a statue of sister Mary. As all of this was going on, Sister Jude fell of the wagon and got drunk, overwhelmed by everything that was happening in the Asylum. Then, completely drunk she introduced the movie in one of the finest scenes Jessica Lange has given us in the show yet.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

By s. Wednesday, November 14, 2012 , , , , , , , , , 32 Comments

What would you do if you knew that the world will be over in 21 days? Would you have crazy parties where you would do drugs and have a lot of sex? Would you finally go to the places you wanted to see? Would you try to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones? Seeking a Friend for the End of the World shows us the world which is about to end - asteroid Matilda is heading for collision with Earth and it will hit in 21 days.


Soundtrack Wednesday - Skyfall

By s. , , 8 Comments


Track: Komodo Dragon
Artist: Thomas Newman
Movie: Skyfall


Monday, November 12, 2012

Anne Hathaway Appreciation

By s. Monday, November 12, 2012 33 Comments
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway
12 November 1982 (Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA)
"A man told me that for a woman, I was very opinionated. I said, ‘for a man you’re kind of ignorant’"

Today is 30th birthday of the lovely and talented Anne Hathaway. I have only recently became a fan of hers, after seeing her incredible work in The Dark Knight Rises, but she appeared in many memorable films and even went on to achieve her well deserved Academy Award nomination for her work in Rachel Getting Married.

Anne was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Gerald Thomas Hathaway, is a lawyer, and her mother, Kathleen Ann is an actress who inspired Hathaway to follow in her footsteps. The family moved to Millburn, New Jersey, when she was six years old. Hathaway has an older brother, Michael, and a younger brother, Thomas. She is of mostly Irish and French ancestry, with distant Native American and German roots.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Argo

By s. Saturday, November 10, 2012 , , , , , , , , 26 Comments
In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries - 56 Americans were taken hostage. Six others managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.