Friday, January 14, 2011

Party Time in Hollywood

Woo hoo! If I ever become famous I will beg for a ticket to the Golden Globes which I hear is quite the party. Of course I want the glitz and glam of the Oscars, but the Globes are all about fun. But they also hand out trophies and here are my predictions (and a bit of blabbering) for this year's Golden Globes.

Let's start with an easy one:
Best Animated Picture - Toy Story 3
I will confess, but only to you my friends, that I actually liked How To Train Your Dragon more than Toy Story 3 but the toys melted my icy heart and made me cry and wish for the days when we were young and innocent. Goodbye Woody and Buzz and to those little aliens *sniff*.

Best Screenplay - Inception by Christopher Nolan
Really? Did you witness a more unique idea all year long? No! Plus the guy has been working on this script for 10 years, give him something since it obviously won't be the Best Movie award.

Best Director - Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Or Christopher Nolan for Inception. But no, we will probably see David Fincher take the award which is well-deserved because to make a movie about a geeky guy going through two lawsuits interesting is no easy feat. But Aronofsky's work was stunning and Nolan was just damn great and c'mon, the guy has turned the Batman movies into classics. Don't believe me? Ask the Oscar people why we have 10 nominations instead of 5, because The Dark Knight got screwed! It's the man (or woman, but none are nominated this year) with the vision who deserves the award, and my vote goes for either of these two.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Christian Bale in The Fighter
I haven't seen The Fighter but apparently the performances to see are Bale and Melissa Leo (who plays his mom).

Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech
It's only because I love Helena, she's awesome. She's like a British version of Angelina Jolie if you think about it. Both are really good actresses but they also have some performances that are out there. Also, she's Bellatrix and unless you know a magical curse you best move out the way.

Best Actor (Comedy) - Kevin Spacey in Casino Jack
I haven't seen any of the actors except for Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland which was just whatever. I'm going for Spacey through a very complicated process of elimination. I'm also a bit angry at Jake Gyllenhaal for not returning my phone calls. I hope Taylor Swift writes a great song about you Jake!

Best Actress (Comedy) - Julianne Moore in The Kids are All Right
Why do I have to push for a Julianne Moore win every year? She will likely lose to her on-screen wife Annette Benning (love her too) but the question remains: When will Julianne Moore get some effing respect in this town? Btw, you should all watch The Kids are All Right.

Best Actor (Drama) - Colin Firth in The King's Speech
Colin was "robbed" last year (no disrespect to The Dude) so this year we're all gonna play nice and make it up to him. Personally, my heart belongs to Gosling and Franco. Gosling is so good in Blue Valentine and he does a very good physical transformation. The only thing that bothers me about him is that he always seems to be chewing something when he's onscreen (??). And James Franco, Mr. I-can-Act/Write/Teach/Etc., as a guy stuck by a rock over his hand. I mean, who wants to watch that unless you have an actor that can hold your attention? There's always next year boys ;)

Best Actress (Drama) - Natalie Portman in Black Swan
This is Portman's to lose and if she does I hope it's to Williams because I can't stress enough how effing good she is in Blue Valentine. I mean it's like a performance you watch in acting class or something (I'd also suggest watching Charlize Theron in Monster). But the beauty of Williams is there is no "transformation", no bells and whistles, she's just THERE! Nicole Kidman I hear/read is good but she's already got awards, let the new kids play. Oh and Jennifer Lawrence is also very good and deserves an Oscar nomination for a quiet but strong performance. Go away Halle Berry!

Best Motion Picture (Comedy) - The Kids are All Right
Ok so I've told you to see it but I haven't told you what it's about. It's about a family that kind of gets turned upside down and has to find it's balance again. The family is comprised of moms Annette Benning and Julianne Moore who have two teenagers. Each child was conceived by one of the mothers using the same sperm donor... enter Mark Ruffalo aka a whole lotta trouble (though, to be fair, the couple were already going downhill before he appeared on the scene).

Best Motion Picture (Drama) - The Social Network
I'm not even going to get into the fact that they didn't nominate Blue Valentine. I'm not. Let's analyze this, shall we? What makes a great film? Basic elements: good script, good director, good actors, and likeability. Then you get into these elements and it gets complicated. Of the five films nominated (I've only not seen The Fighter) my vote goes to The Social Network. Yes, I will tell you why (glad you asked). Because you have smart, quick dialogue from Aaron Sorkin; a good actor that is capable of carrying the film (Jessie Eisenberg, nominated); a director (David Fincher) that keeps the flow nice and interesting; and the story (semi-fictional) of the birth of Facebook. All of the other films have a weakness in them, tiny cracks in their foundation. The Fighter has a weak script, but is carried by strong performances; the opposite is true for Inception: strong script, some weak acting (Not you Leo! Never you my love). Of course that leaves Black Swan and The King's Speech. Black Swan, is a psychological thriller (darker than Inception) and doesn't play well for all audiences but luckily it played well enough to get Portman in the running. The King's Speech is the only picture that can stand a chance against The Social Network (boy am I gonna feel stupid on Monday if I'm wrong). Why? Well it has all of the elements and even a bit of the same fame that has carried its opponent. The king in the film is Prince William's great-grandfather, even his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II is played by a young actress in the film. It's the kind of thing that makes voters pay attention. Just ask Helen Mirren ;)

No TV predictions because I don't watch that much television. Right now I'm catching up on The Tudors (hey, royalty again!) and apparently that show's been off the air for a bit. By the time I get to my Mad Men dvds John Hamm will have moved into a retirement home. Also, I'm still pissed Buffy was never recognized for a major award except an Emmy here and there for makeup. Grrr... arrgghh...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Movie Reveiw - Blue Valentine

So to start off the new year I am going to review every movie I watch at the theater (if I reviewed every movie I watched then that would take forever since I watch at least one a day). I was going to start a completely new blog for reviews but c'mon, movies are my life so they deserve to be in the blog with my life.
It is also time-consuming and almost pointless to start a new blog since I only have like 6 readers.
Ok, some stuff to get out of the way:
- I will not reveal any more than what you can see in the movie's trailer or anything that can be read in another review. However, trailers and review reveal a lot so don't get mad at me for "spoiling" the movie.
- I will very likely go off on a random monologue once in a while. I'm just saying.
- This is my opinion. You are free to go and pay $10, watch the movie yourself, and form your own opinion.

Let's begin.
First movie of the year is Blue Valentine starring Academy Award nominees Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain). Now, I've learned a thing or two from a really good teacher that I've had for about three semesters now and one of the most important things is this: A story is about one person, everyone else is a supporting character. Or the antagonist. So Blue Valentine is not the story of a couple whose marriage is falling apart, it's about Dean and the realization that his marriage is falling apart.
Dean is a balding house painter with no ambition. His wife,Cindy, is a nurse who no longer loves him. That's a fact. Why doesn't she love him? Who knows. Maybe because he's going bald. Maybe because he paints houses for a living and starts drinking beer at eight in the morning. Maybe because he has no ambition.
Maybe because she's selfish? (Blame it on the woman)
So to save his marriage Dean checks them in to a hotel where the rooms all have a theme. They have a choice between Cupid's Cove and The Future Room. The fact that Cindy chooses The Future Room should be a big fat sign of what's about to happen. From here we go back and forth between the present depressing day and the past where love was fresh and new and people believed in love at first sight. We see that Dean was once a young, handsome and Caring guy (yeah, I mean that with a capital C). And we meet Cindy, studying to be a doctor and dating a douchebag wrestler. During one family dinner, as her father belittles her mother, she wonders if they were ever in love.
That's the setting and if I say more then I'll give away the film (which I promise to never do). But I love the contrast between how these people met, fell in love, and became a couple and how they are now. In terms of the film and how it's shot most of the camera either focuses on Williams or Gosling and I do mean focus. We are right in their face during arguments, trying to read their reactions and expressions. You can't do this with just any random actors. Nope, you have to have people that are good and Williams and Gosling are effing perfect. In fact, Williams is so damn good that if I had a vote I'd give it to her over Natalie Portman. And I'm a Portman fan! But I'm a true believer in less is more and while Portman went all out and worked her ass off for months to do ballet training and whatnot, Williams just delivers. I can't wait to see her as Marylin Monroe.
The movie as a whole is good and sad and sweet. Originally it received an NC-17 rating which going in I thought I'd catch a glimpse of little Ryan but no such luck. In fact, the movie's pretty tame compared to other films I've seen. I can't quite understand the reasoning behind it and neither could Harvey Weinstein. That's why he got a team of lawyers and threatened to sue if they didn't change it to an R, which they did. Just so that you are not surprised I think there are three or four "love scenes" in the film and one joke involving a child molester and a little boy.
If you're a pessimist in terms of love and marriage then, well, this is the movie for you. If you're an optimist, well, let me recommend ANOTHER movie for you: The Kids are All Right. It's with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo. It's fun, funny, and all that stuff put together. There are also about three or four scenes in that one too. So no matter which one you pick you get to see some action.