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Oscars 2012: Why Jean Dujardin Should Win

Perhaps he just did.  I think they’re doing Best Actor soon?

Good luck to him, in any case.  Here is more proof of his awesomeness.

Jean Dujardin’s Villain Auditions*

Personally, I think I am most excited for Albert Nobbs 2: The Nobbening.

* I can’t handle embedding right at this second. It’s not working.

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Oscars 2012: Happening Now, Without Me

I am sad to say that I cannot watch the Oscars tonight. I need to be writing a script, and, in fact, should not even be doing this post right now. I am a procrastinating QUEEN (arghhhh! damn you, deadlinessssss! What a world, what a world.).

That said, I also have to admit that I am not so invested in the Oscars this year. I have only seen one of the films up for Best Picture  (The Artist), and besides that I’m rooting for Bridesmaids for Original Screenplay and for Harry Potter 7 Part 2 to win SOMETHING and…that’s about it. I’m invested in those not just because I’ve seen them, but because I think they are awesome.

My lack of preparation wasn’t really intentional. I meant to see Hugo. And The Descendants. And a lot of things. The Help is the next thing that will be delivered to me when I finally watch and return The Social Network.* It just didn’t quite happen. And the fact that movies in NYC are so damn expensive did not help much.

I am very curious how Billy does and plan to watch his opening number in fifteen minutes (how could I not?). I’m excited he is returning and I think going with a classic, who everyone always loves and enjoys and, most importantly, who knows how to improvise and roll with every high and low and crazy moment, is the right choice. Why didn’t they do that sooner?

Sidebar: I think they should stop comparing him to Ricky Gervais and hosts being mean. That’s not the issue here. They need someone who can handle this place and the comparison is to last year.

And I’ve been watching five minutes of the red carpet every so often just for the heck of it.

Sidebar: um…why is Sandra Bullock talking about “sexytimes?”

But besides that, I don’t know how much I’ll get to see tonight. And while I actually do enjoy watching the Oscars, even for the hilariously bad moments, I don’t have a frame of reference for very much this year, so I think it would be hard to feel engaged. If The Artist wins things, I will rejoice for it, but I don’t know if I’m exactly rooting for it since I don’t quite know what it’s up against.

Except for Uggie. Uggie should win everything.

It took me pretty much the whole time left to write this…Oscars 2012, here we goooooooo!

* I finally just watched and loved True Grit. So maybe in a year and a half I’ll be ready for the show.

LIVE UPDATES:

I do not appreciate Billy Crystal as Tin Tin, and why did he quote the Men’s Wearhouse guy???

Did not love Billy’s song. And the music was too loud, he had to compete with it. In fact, ABC is being really loud in general.

Also, I love Carl Suebo, the seat-filler…except now I am confused since Tom Hanks said he’s just a guy…so what was the point of that? That was a lot of time on nothing if he isn’t actually that guy. But whoever he is, he was very happy and appreciative looking and wearing a baby blue tux. Hell yeah, that guy.

Emma Stone wins out of all of the presenters so far, Crystal included.

And Christopher Plummer is the best.

I clearly watched too much of this…must go now…

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Link Round-Up: Star Wars Edition

Recurring feature attempt #1!

I can’t help it. Some of the movie and entertainment links that I’ve been seeing around the interwebs are just too awesome, hilarious, and/or horrifying not to share. Here’s your first “weekly” link round-up! 

In honor of the recent re-release of The Phantom Menace in 3D and George Lucas’s ongoing mission to alienate all Star Wars fans everywhere, I present for your viewing pleasure… some not crappy stuff about Star Wars.

#1 – This awesome mashup, illustrated by Steven Anderson via flickr.com

Red leader standing by...

#2 – This rather hilarious awkwardness

To be fair, the interviewer is pretty much just as awkward as Lloyd.

And I salute the fact that Jake Lloyd went to school and is pursuing things other than his own fame… but, man, is he not happy about giving this interview. Sure, the interviewer is pushing for the answers he wants (and can we all give a giant “Eesh!” to that last “question?”), but Lloyd is giving him NOTHING.

Dude, this is what you’re known for. You gotta make peace with it. Or don’t show up to the conference. In that shirt.

#3 – GREAT SHOWDOWNS, welcome to the amazing art of Scott C.

His Great Showdowns series, each with their own perfectly chosen quote, are some of my favorite movie art…of…all the movie art I’ve seen.*  But seriously. He’s awesome. Go to his website and check him out.

“I warn you not to underestimate my powers.”

“And now, Your Highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden Rebel base.”

“Well, what have we got here? Will you look at her? Those flashing eyes, those flushed cheeks, those trembling lips. You know something Princess? You are ugly when you’re angry.”

Have a great long weekend!

*

Had to. It’s automatic. I can’t help myself.

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Trailer Round Up, The Second

HUNGER GAMES IS HERE!

The Hunger Games

Well, the first real trailer is here!

Let’s be real, people – I was always going to go see this in theaters no matter what the trailer looked like.  Sure, I don’t want the film to get it wrong, but I am a huge fan of the series.  I read the second and third books in something like a day and a half.  Straight.

BUT it is really nice to see that it doesn’t look like they’ve gotten it wrong at all.  In fact, it looks very very right.  The internet is buzzing with excited people right now and you can officially count me among their ranks.  Yup, I’m one of those people.  This looks freakin’ awesome.

Verdict:  Opening Day

Snow White and the Huntsman

I am a little surprised by how interested I am, mostly based on the rather cool imagery presented in this trailer.  Versus the few over-the-top-colorful, perfectly coifed photos I have seen for the “other” Snow White movie, I am definitely more curious where this one will take the story.  The tone of the trailer fits with what I’d already heard… darker, fight-ier, real-er (as much as a fairy tale turned epic fantasy war story is real).  And so far, Kristen Stewart hasn’t spoken, which is maybe a good thing?, so I’m not sure how that will work out.  I don’t really want her to be Joan of Arc, but based on what I have seen so far, this looks like it could be kind of badass.  Though I am not convinced by Charlize Theron as a narrator at all.

Verdict: Intrigued

Young Adult

More Charlize Theron (she’s also the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman).  I don’t know about this one; I get that she’s an unlikeable character and, well, that didn’t exactly make me want to go watch the movie.  I like the people in it, love the director, will probably be interested, but my first impression is that I don’t want to shell out the money to see it in theaters.  She was a bit too successful at being unlikeable.

Then again, I have a cold and the fact that my face is all stuffy doesn’t make me feel like going outside for anything.  And this doesn’t exist in theaters yet, so it’s a moot point.

Side Note: I really like that the poster looks like a book cover (particularly effective as a smaller image icon). They* should do that more.

Verdict: Netflix

My Week with Marilyn

I had certainly heard of this movie, but I now realize I had no idea what week we were going to be seeing and somehow I was not expecting it to be one in England.  There are some great people in this cast.  I’ve been hearing good things about Michelle Williams and based on the trailer, she certainly seems to be embodying Marilyn quite well.  I saw Eddie Redmayne on Broadway in Red and he’s good.  And oh, look, there’s Kenneth Branagh, and Judi Dench, and Hermione Granger!  Don’t worry, I know that’s Emma Watson and no, I don’t think she’s pigeonholed forever at all.  I just didn’t expect to see her in this.  I’m guessing…jealous regular** non-movie star girlfriend-type character?

I have difficulty getting excited for biopics sometimes (J. Edgar anyone?).  The lure of knowing what that person was really like or really going through is not always enough for me.  Especially if their life included something really difficult; something that might, say, make them the subject of a movie.  Sometimes that’s just hard towant to go see.  But based on this trailer, I am more interested that I expected to be.

Verdict: Potential Theatre/On-Demand

The Lorax

What to do here?  I LOVE The Lorax, by which I mean the original book and original cartoon from 1972.  I was not looking for a remake.  I think some people like the human remake of The Grinch and I’ve seen pieces of it, but no matter how good it might be, it could never replace the cartoon for me.  I have a feeling The Lorax will go the same way.  I don’t need a new cartoon.

Certain parts of this trailer surprised me in that I like the idea there – he starts his journey for a tree because of a girl? But I was not feeling Danny DeVito as the voice of the main man, the Lorax himself.  I’m sorry, but no.  I recently rewatched Matilda, which the boyfriend had never seen, and he was surprised to hear that DeVito was the narrator.  He has a unique growl of a voice and it seemed an unusual choice.  It relatively works in Matilda, though I think he overemphasizes a lot of his words, falling into the trap of trying to be clear because it’s a CHILDREN’S movie.  It is yet to be seen how his signature voice will work for the Lorax (clearly, this is a trailer, the whole point is it’s not out yet), but it felt a bit corny to me.

Verdict: Skeptical but not Written Off

And to throw in one I’ve never even heard of til now… (what?  I KNOW!)

ParaNorman

This looks SO AWESOME.  It’s an animated movie from the makers of Coraline (yay), with what looks like an exploration of the cannon of horror movie tropes from the perspective of a boy who loves zombies (my friends will all be happy).  This looks like a really cool off-beat kid’s movie.  The trailer only has a soundtrack, no dialogue, so I’m not very clear on things like plot, but that makes me even happier.  I don’t want it all given away in the trailer; I want to see a taste of something that makes me excited enough to run to the theatre but still be surprised and have a unique experience when I get there (trailer-makers TAKE NOTE).  Also, stellar use of music.  I almost hope there is no dialogue, just music and sound effects, a la The Triplets of Belleville.  I would be totally down with that.

I am the first to admit that I’m not great with scary movies, but I’ve learned that i can really enjoy anything you might call comedy horror and anything spooky and weird in the realm of “appropriate for younger audiences” (i.e. Coraline).  So I think this is right in my wheelhouse.

Also, best tagline EVER: You don’t become a hero by being normal.

YES.

Verdict: Hell Yeah!***

*Hollywood in general?

**I was refraining from writing “mousy.”  She’s clearly not mousy, she’s just not Marilyn Monroe, or that’s what I’m guessing this movie might be implying.

***As you can see, this is a clearly defined grading rubric.

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Happy Halloween! or Jurassic Park is REAL

Hello again!  Yes, I’ve been gone a long time.  This is due to some combination of the following reasons:

a. Crazy wedding season that included lots of flying around the country and/or choreographing dance routines for people

b. Going to Africa (!!!)

c. Being a no good very bad blogger.

I will be posting soon about some of the above reasons (can you guess which?).  But first, it’s Halloween and I love my costume.

And it has to do with movies.  So here we go.

Saturday night I attended a party with the theme of Classic Movies (“classic” to be interpreted as you saw fit), which was particularly perfect for someone who, y’know, likes movies or something.

The boyfriend and I were pretty darn excited when we came up with our idea, and so I thought I would share.

"Oh, Mr Arnold..."

No! Samuel L. Jackson! Ack, wait, a raptor!

They can't see you if you don't move...

It’s all in the props. And I must say, I really enjoyed carrying around Sammy J.’s arm all night.*

Pretty close, right?**

But my reenactments of Jurassic Park scenes don’t end there…

Last year, we went on a trip to Kauai and I was very excited to see some of the sites used in the filming of this “Classic” film.  I meant to post about it all last year, and that clearly didn’t happen, but it’s applicable once again so just go with it.

We were lucky enough to take a helicopter ride around the island and got to see the waterfall where they landed…in a helicopter! (this is my own video)

And we went on a tour of the Allerton Garden, which, #1, is beautiful and if you are ever in Kauai you should visit it, and #2, includes the giant Moreton Bay Fig Trees featured in the film.  These are the trees up which Dr. Grant and the two kids spend the night (where the brachiosaurus…es…- um, brachiosauri? – say hi in the morning and one sneezes on Lex) and between whose GIANT roots Alan finds the eggs proving that the dinosaurs are breeding.

Where's Waldo?

They're breeding!

The moral of this story?  I dunno.  I like Jurassic Park?  I AM Laura Dern? Um…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

*In case you’re curious – yes, we found that severed arm AS IS at the Halloween Store.

** Yes, I know she was wearing shorts and that was the plan… until it started SNOWING.

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My Big Blue (SUPREMELY BELATED) Movie Review, or the Inevitable, aka AVATAR

Reaching back into my Saved Posts that I never actually posted, I came across this one and thought I would share it.  I only meant to post it…oh…I don’t know…in 2009?  February 2010?  Whatever.  Here you go!

Welcome back, dear reader(s).  I have returned from my journies both across the country and into foreign lands.

The holidays and my varied travels also meant that I did not see Avatar until last week.   What did I think, you ask?  I really really liked it.  I’d tried to mainly only read articles about technical and technological aspects beforehand (and not reviews) so as to have as clear a head as possible.  But I had also heard from friends and the general consensus seemed to be that it was beautiful, but that the story was exactly what you would expect.  By this, I believe they all meant that it was predictable.  They weren’t bowled over.  They weren’t in love.

I have to say that I don’t agree.  I found the story epic and wonderfully so.  I am hesitant to use that word, “epic;” the implications that come to mind are…well, it seems to set up unfair expectations (as well as possibly sound a little pompous and too full of itself) so maybe actually it’s perfect.  I think that Avatar‘s critics have been holding it up to an unbelievable standard, based on all of the hype of the new CG technology, the amount of time James Cameron spent preparing this movie, the fact that it’s James Cameron at all, etc…  They want it to be so mind-blowing that pretty much nothing would be good enough.  On that front, seeing the movie a month after everyone else has huge advantages.

As to epic, I think it was epic storytelling and that we don’t have enough good epic storytelling anymore.  It’s what the new Star Wars movies were trying to do (and they failed miserably).  And when you have such a sweeping story, when it still has a ways to go to complete the arc at two hours in, and when it deals with the possible downfall of an entire civilization, well then, my friends, that is when you are in the realm of the Epic.

And I loved the epic storytelling.  I thought it was so well done.  It went where I would have wanted it to, but I wasn’t predicting things hours before they happened and getting annoyed that I was right.  I think it introduced things in good time so that we were ready for them.  I thought it was great.

When you get into the realm of the Epic**, then I think you are tapping into ancient archetypes – these things keep coming up in our collective stories and are satisfying for a reason.  Good vs. evil.  Technology/machines vs. nature.  Colonizers vs. Indigenous peoples.  Finding your place in a new world.  Learning to belong.  Finding something worth fighting for.  It may feel familiar but that’s because these are themes that will always come up for humans, and if someone can tell an engaging story about these ideas in a beautiful way, then I think that is worth something.

But like I said, I’m also of the opinion that we don’t get enough stories like that “nowadays” (harumph harumph, I’m shaking a cane at all the whipper-snappers…).  I certainly don’t mean that every film has to be that way, but so many big blockbuster/expensive/massive studio movies are sequels, remakes, based on a toy from the 80s, or simply pandering to the lowest common denominator within the audience and don’t necessarily take the time to develop the story within the franchise.  Or just plain leave it out.  What?  The audience might want a story with their popcorn?  What tosh!

And an original story?  Pish posh!

We need good storytelling and if it is a good story told well, then sign me up.*

Then again, I never saw Dances with Wolves. 🙂

*Extra points for pretty things to look at.  Like things that look like flying jellyfish.  That was my other main point about Avatar, back when I started this review.  How much I loved the FLYING JELLYFISH SEEDPODS!

**Okay, I’ve used this phrase twice now, I think it’s time to coin it.

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