Random Flix/Life Moment: Mithril

I’m working on a post that takes me a while to finish, but I thought I share this funny story that happened after dinner last night.

You see, I was wearing this sequin tank to work today, which is a see-through blouse with itsy-bitsy golden sequins all over. It’s kinda festive so I tone in down with a white tank underneath and a cream jacket. Anyhoo, by dinner time I already took it off and as I held it in my hand, my husband exclaimed: “Mithril!” as he’s eating his ice cream.

I don’t know why but we both started laughing so hard. I thought he’d make some remarks along the lines of disco ball or Abba’s Dancing Queen, like some people at work did, but mithril?? That’s what happens when you watch Lord of the Rings once too many times! :D

Bilbo: “Here’s a pretty thing: Mithril. As light as a feather, and as hard as dragon-scales.”

Gandalf says the value of this mithril-coat (or mail shirt) was “greater than the value of the whole Shire and everything in it.”

Speaking of LOTR, that scene where Bilbo Baggins gave his precious magic Ring, his mithril shirt and sword “Sting” to his favorite nephew Frodo is the one scene out of the entire trilogy where it literally jumped out of my seat, it scared the s*** out of me. Seriously, don’t watch this clip with your mouth full or if you have some kind of heart condition!

Oh, that expression on poor Frodo’s face is priceless. Boy, I LOVE those movies, makes me glad that Peter Jackson just might be back directing The Hobbit after all. Last I heard, he’s currently in talks with Warner Bros and New Line studios now that the project’s been in limbo for quite a while since Guillermo del Toro left. We’ll see if the two movies are on track for 2012 and 2013 release.

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Flix Character Spotlight: Fiona – Four Weddings & A Funeral

It’s time for another character spotlight since I slacked off last week. The first one in the series was on the amazing-yet-under-appreciated British actor Rufus Sewell, and this time I’m featuring another Brit, actress Kristin Scott Thomas.

Please note: this post may contain spoilers

This fabulous British rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral pretty much launched Hugh Grant’s Hollywood career. The floppy-haired, stuttering Londoner became an instant heartthrob and the movie itself garnered critical acclaim, including two Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and was a hit with audiences the world over. In fact, according to IMDb, it was the highest-grossing British film in cinema history with worldwide box office in excess of $260 million.

I’m not surprised it was such a hit as it really a charming film with the wittiest script and great performances. It’s an unconventional love story between a commitment-phobe Charles and an American woman Carrie (Andie MacDowell) that spans through… well, what the title says. Throughout their journey, Charles is always surrounded by closest group of friends, who – with the exception of the happy gay couple Matthew and Gareth – are all looking for love of their own. Amongst them, one really stood out to me is the quietly-suffering girl with a massive crush: Fiona. Before I get to the character, let me just say that I’ve always admired Kristin Scott Thomas, the 50-year-old actress always delivers top-notch performances in everything I’ve seen her in: The English Patient, The Horse Whisperer, Life as A House, Gosford Park, and Easy Virtue, among others. Most recently she garnered a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations in the drama I’ve Loved You So Long.

Though the story is focused on the somewhat topsy-turvey romantic journey of Charles and Carrie, it’s the side story of Charles and Fiona that leaves a lasting impression on me. Sure it’s great to see the two main leads finally hooking up, and so Carrie finally gets her man in the end, la di da. But the witty, well-dressed and loyal Fiona only gets to watch the love of her life gets wrapped up in one romantic endeavor after another. Yet, it’s a testament of how great the script is that they never painted her as a victim, in fact, one doesn’t feel sorry for Fiona so much as deep empathy, as we’ve all been there before, you know, who hasn’t had an unrequited love once in their lifetime? The character also has the most memorable lines, especially the one where she had a naughty chat with the bumbling priest Father Gerald (played brilliantly by Rowan Atkinson) when discussing what it feels like to do weddings for the first time.

This scene below is one of my favorites from the movie, it’s not completely unpredictable but it still pinches your heart when you hear Fiona answers his best friend’s question with “You, Charlie.” Just as soon as she said it, she stops, perhaps regretting what she just did but knew there’s no turning back. It’s an exquisite scene, well-directed, well-written and superbly-acted by both Hugh and Kristin. In the middle of a festive, boisterous party, the mood completely shifts into something so quiet and heart-wrenching-ly real that you could almost feel Fiona’s pain and Charles’ astonishment, yet Fiona never loses her cool even as she bares her soul knowing there is no chance they could be together. What a refreshingly un-sugarcoated portrayal of the reality of love.

(Special thanks to Becky a.k.a Prairiegirl for capturing the clip for me)

If there is ever a moment where you want to scream at Charles for: one, being so darn oblivious and two, for not choosing someone as awesome as Fiona, who’s not only wealthy and beautiful but also knows him inside and out and loves him just the same, it’s this scene. But of course, love ain’t that simple, isn’t it? And perhaps, happy ending is overrated. This movie offers such a wonderful study of relationship that the best love story doesn’t always end up the way you expect it to be.

Random assortment of movie musings and news

Hope everyone’s had a nice weekend, it’s first weekend of Summer for us here in the States. I didn’t see any new flicks this weekend, but my girlfriends and I had our monthly movie night this Friday and saw Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1995). I still love it the second time around, though from the comments my friends made during and after the movie, some of them don’t share my sentiment. Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds might not be as stunning as other Austen’s movie couple, but I thought that their subtle-yet-heartfelt love story is one that leaves a lasting impression on me than the more famous Pride & Prejudice. Oh well, maybe I’ll let them pick the movie next time around.

Anyway, moving on. Here are just some random stuff I noticed this past week:

  • Christoph as Green Hornet's villain

    Christoph as Green Hornet's villain

    Is it just me or lately we see more and more talented actors who gets noticed in a certain role sort of ‘graduate’ to being cast in superhero/comic book movies? What I mean is, it’s almost a given that previously ‘unknown’ actors whose certain performance garnered rave reviews(even major awards), immediately got offers in a comic book genre. Is it supposed to be a ‘sign’ that they’ve made it? The people that came to mind are Christoph Waltz (Green Hornett), Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex, X-Men: First Class), Mark Strong (Kick-Ass). Now A-Team isn’t a comic-book genre, but it’s sort of superhero-ish, and we see Sharlto Copley who made a splash in the critically-acclaimed District 9 as one of the four main leads.

  • Where's your mega-watt smile now, Tom?

    Tom Cruise must not be having a very happy weekend. His action comedy Knight & Day opened to a paltry $20.5 mil, which is terrible for a megastar such as him. But really, can he still even live up to that moniker? Methinks the ‘megastar’ days are behind him now. This Yahoo! article asked whether  the Cruister can re-establish himself as ‘the guy,’  you know, the owner of what the article called billion-dollar grin that have a lifetime worldwide box office gross of nearly $3 billion (per BoxOfficeMojo). Well, based on this weekend’s K&D b.o. results, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘NO.’
    ….
    Even when CS Monitor declared that the movie’s bomb means this is the official “fall from grace” of Hollywood stars (which Castor @ Anomalous Material already discussed back in March), I don’t think that’s completely true. I think there are still actors out there who still have the ‘it’ factor that can still open a movie on their own name alone. Here are ten 80s/90s movie stars who I think are still pretty bankable:

    1. Adam Sandler
    2. Bruce Willis
    3. Robert Downey Jr.
    4. Leonardo DiCaprio
    5. Harrison Ford
    6. Clint Eastwood
    7. Tom Hanks
    8. Wil Smith
    9. Keanu Reeves
    10. Ben Stiller
  • The jury is still out whether M. Night Shyamalan can still get his mojo back and whether his next movie The Last Airbender is poised to be his “comeback” flick (as Marc from Go-See-Talk pondered last April), but I can’t help but getting a bit excited to hear this Total Film news that he might be reuniting with Bruce Willis in his next movie. The last time he and the A-lister worked together, the result was the awesome comic-book-themed thriller Unbreakable, which could very well be my favorite M. Night’s movies that warrants much repeated viewings that the crowd’s fave The Sixth Sense. Not sure what he’ll tackle next, though I must say I’d welcome the idea of an Unbreakable sequel, as a few commenters in the article suggested.
  • Last week, we’ve got a couple new stills from Johnny Depp’s long-in-limbo project Rum Diary. Can’t believe it’s almost a year ago that I posted pics from the set in Puerto Rico, courtesy of my colleague Dave who took the shots on his family vacation. Heh, you’d think we’d get a trailer by now, but instead we only got these first official photos below:

    Boy, what fountain has he been drinking to still look this good? The eternal youthful actor is 47 but looks forever ‘stuck’ in mid 30s. And the mind-boggling part is the guy is a chain smoker!
  • On a related note, now that A-Team is out, another TV-show based series is not far behind. 21 Jump Street, the cop show that made the Deppster famous is getting the big screen treatment courtesy of Jonah Hill. Despite being reportedly interested in a cameo role, his involvement hasn’t been confirmed. Not sure how I feel about this, it’s probably worth only a rental only if Depp is on board.

Well anyways, happy Monday folks. Any thoughts about any of this topic, please chime in below.

DVD Review: Nine

Style is the new content,” Kate Hudson’s character Stephanie, an American fashion journalist working for Vogue told Guido Contini. Well, that’s about sums up the sensibility of this movie, which is nothing short of style over substance.

Based on Frederico Fellini’s 8-1/2 (reviewed by guest blogger Rockerdad), it centers on the renowned Italian director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) who’s having a serious writer’s block and personal crisis right in the middle of filming of his new movie. Apparently Guido is so highly regarded that when any project he sets his sights on will get green-lit even without so much as a script. So the million dollar set is built, costumes are designed and sown, famous movie stars are cast… but, nobody knows what the story is all about. All the constant attention, pressures from the media, and the producers anxious to hear what he’ll do next all caving in on him like a landslide and Guido is trapped underneath, gasping for air.

At the center of it all is the women that encircles him, both from the past and the future: his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer Lilli (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist Stephanie (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth Saraghina (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren). Each of these women and their encounter with the director offers a glimpse of Guido’s eccentricity and reveals what a flawed ‘hero’ he is.

When I first heard about this movie last Summer, I thought ‘Wow, this is going to be a massive hit when it’s released during the holiday season!’ Just looking at the impressive cast and Rob Marshall’s cred as the director of the Oscar’s Best Picture winner Chicago, it seemed that this one is destined for success. Alas, this was perhaps one of the biggest flops of last year. Its domestic total barely made up a quarter of the $80 million budget! (per Box Office Mojo) and it bombed critically too, earning a paltry 36% on RottenTomatoes. The consensus on RT says: It has a game, great-looking cast, led by the always worthwhile Daniel Day-Lewis, but Rob Marshall’s Nine is chaotic and curiously distant. I concur.

Nine_GuidoLouisaNow, I’m not saying the movie is a complete waste of time. It’s sort of the case where the parts are actually greater than the whole, as some of the song/dance scenes are quite memorable, though when put together as a movie it’s all a bit… disconcerted. Before I get to the scenes, let me just talk about the performances. Now, Day-Lewis is a maestro in acting, so even in a not-so-great movies, this guy still delivers a solid rendition of the main character. So he didn’t really shine like a new penny, as he spends most of the time sulking and all discombobulated, but that is what Guido is all about and Day-Lewis captures it perfectly.

But among the female cast, my favorite has got to be Luisa, Guido’s former-film-star wife. Luisa gave up acting when she marries Guido, but she’s constantly abandoned by her husband. She laments about her pain in the musical sequence ‘My husband makes movies,’  it was sung beautifully by the sublime Marion Cotillard. I love the melody of the song, but especially the words and the way she sings them. No wonder she won an Oscar for her performance as French singer Edith Piaf in La vie en rose. In her IMDb trivia, it’s said that ‘if she had not been an actress, she would have liked to become a singer’ No doubt she would have a flourishing career in that as well. Cotillard is also the only cast member who has two musical numbers in the movie, Take it all is much more spirited and wildly sensuous but still kind of sad when you listen to the lyrics.

I love these two songs much more than the robust Cinema Italiano, performed with radiance and vigor by Kate Hudson. It’s obviously the more marketable as it’s used in the trailer. It’s enjoyable but just like the movie, it’s highly superficial. I think I like Luisa’s songs better because they’re much more poignant and heart-rending. The other memorable numbers are Penelope Cruz’s sexually-charged performing the ironically-named “A Call from the Vatican,” and the sentimental Unusual Way by Nicole Kidman.

Overall, I enjoyed it and the songs are quite memorable. For sure I won’t buy the dvd, but I just might order the soundtrack!

2.5 out of 5 reels

What do you think of NINE?

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: RED

I normally post this on a Friday, but you know what, I can’t wait for y’all to see it (if you haven’t already). Whaddayaknow, another flick about spies? Seems like this is an endless recurring theme, but it’s not like Hollywood to pump out a working formula until there’s nothing left. But with a cast of Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox, and John Malkovich, I’m so there!

I first heard about this movie back in January when it was reported that Willis and Mirren are playing former black ops agent who discovers that a group of younger, better-equipped assassins are out to off them both. Now we’ve got the official plot:

RED tells the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former CIA assassin who has been doing nothing in an attempt to fit into the very real, very boring world that lurked beyond his days at the Agency. That is until his painfully peaceful retirement is interrupted by an Agency hit squad. With a target on his back and everyone he ever cared about in danger, Frank must take to the road and fight back against the Company that made him what he is. (FilmSchoolRejects)

The trailer also reveal that Mary Louise-Parker and Karl Urban are on board as well. Man, these are some real thespians we’re talking about here, but looks like they’re having fun playing these bad-ass roles. Dame Helen goes from a Martha Stewart-like persona who makes tea and floral arrangements to drilling holes into a bunch of cars with her huge machine gun, and Willis pretty much reprises his wisecracking tough guy John McClane role which he can do in his sleep by now. Morgan Freeman proves he’s got comedic chops in stuff like The Bucket List and Maiden Heist, so I always welcome his wacky side. And who can play an endearing loony better than John Malkovich? He’s kinda scary-looking anyway even without a bomb strapped to his chest!

FSR posted an in-depth comparison between the comic and this movie, which basically says that while the DC comic it’s based on is dark and violent, the tone of the movie is much lighter. It’s definitely in the action/comedy genre, pretty much like The A-Team. The movie will also expand the focus from solely on Frank (or Paul in the comic) to include Freeman’s, Mirren’s and Malkovich’s characters.

The movie opens October 15. Well, who says Fall movies are supposed to be ‘quieter’ than Summer flicks? Just because they’ve got their AARP cards doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun, right? And DC must be hoping it would amend the abominable failure that was Jonah Hex!

Rental Pick: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

I saw Cinema Paradiso a few months ago during our monthly gals’ movie nite, but haven’t got a chance to write a review on it. Since I just watched Nine recently which share a ‘cinema italiano’ theme, why not do the review back to back (the Nine review will be up tomorrow). But the the theme and filming location are where the similarities end, because these are completely different movies, as far as the east is from the west in terms of style and quality.

CINEMA PARADISO (Director’s Cut)

I first heard about this movie when I heard the gorgeous soundtrack by the renowned Ennio Morricone years ago. The instrumental version is obviously magnificent, but when I heard Monica Mancini (Henry Mancini’s daughter) sang the English version of the song, I fell in love with that, too. It turns out the movie is really is as charming as the music.

It’s a touching tale of unlikely friendship between a theater’s projectionist Alfredo and a young boy Toto (Salvatore). Directed by Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso won all kinds of awards when in came out in 1988, including Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Film, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about it is so enchanting and the story is rich with themes of friendship, love, loyalty and of course, a celebration of the world of cinema. The movie is divided into three major sections, marked by the three different actors playing Salvatore. All of the Italian actors did very well to capture the adventurous yet melancholy spirit of the main character smoothly from one to the next.


Section one focuses primarily on the friendship between Alfredo and Toto. It begins with a middle-aged man living in a luxurious condo in Rome, who just learned about the death of a loved one. We’re not told who this ‘Alfredo’ person, but we know from the man’s reaction that he means a lot to him. Then the movie switches to flashback mode, we’re transported to a small town in Southern Italy during post WWII era. We watched the mischievous Toto growing up with a natural fondness for the world of film, constantly sneaking into the movie theater and hassling Alfredo. The strict Catholic customs means censorship is controlled by the town’s priest, whose task is to make sure the movies are stripped off any romantic/sexual scenes. Toto are persistent to get his hands on those very splices of films, and he eventually does, which somehow leads to a fire accident that gets him banned from going to the theater. Despite his initial reluctance, the two form a father-son bond and friendship and Toto becomes the only other person besides Alfredo who knows how to run the projector in the whole town. The ending of this part is one of the most memorable part of the movie, where Alfredo treats the whole town to a free movie right in the piazza, as he projects the film onto a wall of a house from the window of the theater. But tragedy strikes, followed by a momentous rescue that changes both of their lives forever.

Years passed and in the second section Toto has grown into a handsome young man, ready to fall in love. The subject of his affection is Elena, whom he falls for at first sight. Elena doesn’t immediately return his advances, but the hopeless romantic Toto waits, literally, outside her bedroom window every night until she responds (a la Freddy waiting for Eliza on the street where she lives in My Fair Lady). The romance is sweet, but it doesn’t quite eclipse the friendship part of the story, as we slowly learn that Alfredo plays an integral part in how Toto ends up being a successful filmmaker that we see in the beginning of the movie.

The last section pretty much picks up where the beginning scenes left off, where the older Salvatore first heard of Alfredo’s death in Rome. He returns to his hometown after years of being away, and makes good of his promise to never come back until his dream to be a filmmaker is fulfilled. The ending of Salvatore alone in a private theater watching a very special montage given by his beloved friend is a real tearjerker. It provides a significant and sentimental finale to Alfredo-Toto’s relationship.

Now, I definitely will try to see the original 154-minute version that has a different ending involving his long lost love Elena. The way it’s described in Wikipedia, I think would bring closure to the budding romance that ended so abruptly, but turns out it was driven by love after all. It’s hard to imagine that its original release in its native country was actually a flop, it wasn’t until it was shortened to 123 minutes for international release that it achieved a great deal of success.

I absolutely LOVE this movie, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to see it again. The fact that it’s set in Italian with subtitles adds to its charm as well, and the gorgeous cinematography and setting makes it feel real and authentic. It’s really a must for anyone who loves films or even those who appreciate a classic drama where the beautiful story is the STAR of the movie. Bravo!

four and a half stars out of five
4.5 out of 5 reels


Have you seen this film? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

X-Men: First Class – The prequel I’m actually excited about!

In a world where there seems to be no cure for Hollywood’s sequelitis and remakitis, there is one prequel I’m hugely excited about! It’s definitely the one to beat in the box office come next Summer 2011 (June 3rd, 2011 to be exact, according to SuperHeroHype). I know perhaps it’s too soon to predict such a thing, but judging from the never-ending popularity of comic-book adaptation and the kind of buzz this one’s been getting, it’s not that far off.

I love the first and second installment of the movie (until Brett Ratner screwed it up), so I’m naturally drawn to this project and the idea of making a young version of the franchise is definitely appealing. But what gets me leaping out of my seat yesterday was learning about Michael Fassbender joining the cast as Magneto, the former BFF-turned-powerful-foe of Professor X and the X-Men. Earlier this month, it was widely reported that he was to choose between the powerful mutant and a yet-to-be-named villain role in the Spider-man reboot. Glad to see he has chosen wisely.

The casting of James McAvoy as Professor X instantly adds some considerable cred to this project. The 31-year-old Scot has proven his acting chops time and time again in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, and The Last Station. But he’s also got his feet wet in full-throttle actioner like Wanted alongside Angelina Jolie, so this isn’t his first foray in comic-book adaptations. Patrick Stewart is a tough act to follow as the wise and cultured founder of the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (Xavier Institute) and leader of the pack, but I have faith that McAvoy will do well in that role. The SuperheroHype site offered a clue into the plot of this prequel on the auction info page that offers an exclusive tour of the set:

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.

I can’t think of a more talented and winsome actors facing off each other, exploring their initial friendship and the unfortunate incidents that lead to them choosing opposite paths. So far, the other cast members that have been announced include Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice), Amber Heard (Pineapple Express), Benjamin Walker (who’s currently starring in the play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in his debut film role), and Kick Ass‘ Aaron Johnson rumored to play Cyclops.

I just re-watched the trailer of the first X-Men movie with my hubby and he recalled how excited we were to see it. Remember, this was back in 2000, before a throng of superhero movies popping up faster than you actually have time to watch them. The only comic-book movies were the circus-y and farcical Batman movies, topped by the abominable that was Batman & Robin [shakes head]. So to see a comic adaptation with real actors with gravitas such as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and treat it like a serious action drama was a welcome change.

Bryan Singer isn’t returning to direct but will act as producer to X-Men: First Class. The directorial duty will fall on London-born producer/director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust), fresh out of his pretty decent success with Kick-Ass. According to IMDb, he was set to direct X-Men: The Last Stand but dropped out due to family conflicts. Pity, that might’ve turned out to be a much better movie.

FlixChatter Review: The A-Team

I originally wanted to post this as my weekend roundup, but haven’t got around to finishing it. Anyway, last weekend was a busy one but I managed to watch two movies that couldn’t be more different from each other: the action-packed The A-Team and Rob Marshall’s musical NINE (review forthcoming). Well in a way they have something in common, neither of them are ‘great’ movies by any means, but you know what, I quite enjoyed both and they met my expectations to some degree.

I was expecting a bombastic, loud, popcorn blockbuster and I got exactly what I asked for, nothing more, nothing less. I went in to see the movie for pure nostalgia sake as I watched the TV show as a youngster and the trailer just looked so darn entertaining. Now, the trailer is still far better than the movie, as is often the case, but fortunately the movie captured the whimsical and jovial spirit of the TV show. Every time the theme song comes on, I instinctively start grinning ear to ear.

The A-Team is a nickname for Operational Detachments Alpha (ODA), which they used to be a part of, but these four guys are now on the run from the military for being accused of a war crime they didn’t commit. The movie is an origins story of sort, as it shows how Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith finds the other three to form his team of four bad-asses. Each of the story is pretty amusing, but my favorite part is when he found Murdock in the mental institution.

The original A-Team: Dirk Benedict, George Peppard, Dwight Schultz, and Mr. T

Which brings me to the excellent casting. Each actor did their best in the role and work well together, which is key to the whole ensemble. I do agree with Novroz’s review that UFC champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as B.A. is probably the weakest of the four, but then again the highly charismatic Mr. T really was a tough act to follow. But even so, he’s actually pretty good. It’s nice to see Liam Neeson having fun in the role of Hannibal, he takes it more than simply impersonating George Peppard with his cigar smoking smugness. I guess since his last actioner Taken, Neeson now adds ‘bonafide action star’ to his stellar resume.

Pretty boy Bradley Cooper fits the bill as the wise-cracking ladiesman Face, though he’s borderline afflicted with a Matthew McConaughey syndrome with his tendency to take his shirt off! I’ve talked about Quinton, now last but not least, Sharlto Copley‘s fantastic performance as the mischief maker Murdock. I initially frown that he chose this movie as his post District 9 role, but you know what, I’m glad he did. He’s the perfect comic relief and steals every scene he’s in. He’s proven to be quite a versatile actor and obviously has a knack for physical comedy.

This blinking contest leave Jessica & Bradley breathless

Besides the cast, all the movie is about is action, action, and more action. From start to finish, the fast pace hardly ever let up and we’re served with one overblown, logic-defying sequence after another. Director Joe Carnahan never takes the time to explain anything, so the plot always takes a back seat over the explosions and gunfights. It’s kind of mind-numbing after a while, but to complain that there’s too much action here is like going to a buffet and grumbles there’s too much food. The ending is shamelessly set up for a sequel with Jon Hamm in an uncredited role. It leaves the audience wondering who’s this Lynch character, the fishy CIA agent initially played by Patrick Wilson. Oh, Jessica Biel also stars as the lone female character in the testosterone-heavy flick. I’ve never been impressed by her acting but she doesn’t have to do much here than to appear breathless opposite hunky Mr. Cooper.

In any case, despite its flaws and absurdity, it was fun to switch off Saturday afternoon and just enjoy the brainless thrill ride.

Scene Spotlight: Superman Returns – Taking Lois Up

Happy Friday all! Haven’t done a scene spotlight for a while, and guess what, I just realized the last scene spotlight I did was from the original  Superman movie!

But the reason I feature Superman Returns today is because my sister in-law who lives in Seattle called over the weekend and said she sat next to Brandon Routh during a movie premiere. She was attending the Seattle International Film Festival and the movie was an indie dark comedy Miss Nobody, where Routh is part of the cast that include Leslie Bibb and Adam Goldberg . I’m so jealous! Not only I’m a huge Superman fan, but Mr. Routh is muy caliente! :)

Routh at Miss Nobody’s Q&A

Too bad she didn’t get to have a photo taken with Mr. Routh, obviously she has much more restraint than I would, ha..ha..! A bit of info from the SIFF official site, “From May 20-June 13, SIFF presented 408 films in 25 days, with 73 premieres and more than 600 screenings and special events…” One of the festival highlights include a tribute to Edward Norton where the Oscar winning actor received the 2010 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting and he also screened his latest film, dark comedy Leaves of Grass.

Anyway, back to the scene in question, this is one of my favorites from the movie. Sure the plot leaves much to be desired and Kevin Spacey makes for a lame Lex Luthor, but most of the movie’s flaws aren’t about Routh’s casting. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Christopher Reeve will always be the greatest Superman ever, yet considering the massive shoes to fill, Routh pulled off the role quite well. He’s got a nice combination of strength and vulnerability, with the perfect dorky-ness as the bumbling Clark Kent. Alas, chances are he won’t reprise his role as Supes. Oh btw, my sister in-law said that during the Q&A after the movie, someone asked Routh what role he’d like to do next. He paused for a moment before answering “Superman.” Boy, I hope he’s just being sarcastic.

This flying sequence – albeit not as iconic as the ‘Can you read my mind’ of the original – is still quite romantic. A bitter Lois confronts Superman for leaving her so abruptly, but it’s clear the two still have strong feelings for each other… “I forgot how warm you are…” Yeah, I’d think the temperature goes up a few notches when Supes is around ;) The flying sequence is brimming with sexual tension up until the romantic near-kiss at the end.

Thanks to Prairiegirl for capturing the clip for me. I always dig flying sequences in Superman flicks. One can’t help wishing I could switch places with Lois Lane just for a day… [sigh]

Versatile Blogger Award

Last week, Novia at Novroz’s Favorite Things kindly tagged me for this lovely award. Thanks for thinking of me, Nov!

The Rules for the Award are:

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reasons! (in no particular order)
  4. Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

So…here are 7 things about me:
(Nov, since I didn’t get to do the  previous meme, I’m going to answer some of the questions here, so hit two birds with one stone, right?)

  1. My first movie-going experience is actually the same as Novroz, Superman II. I was also a toddler but I had an immediate crush on Christopher Reeve, never too young to spot a cutie, eh? :)
  2. I don’t own many dvds, and I pretty much stopped buying them a year ago as we’re shopping for a Blu-Ray player later this year. I do have quite a few boxed sets: Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, X-Men, Ben Hur, Gone with the Wind, among others.
  3. I have a bunch of guilty pleasure movies, a few of which have been highlighted in this blog (here and here)
  4. This is probably no secret to most of you, but I have a penchant British or Aussie actors. If I see a movie and spot an unfamiliar face that caught my eye, most likely they hail from either one of those regions. Perhaps having Brit/Aussie ESL teachers growing up have something to do with it??
  5. Two Qs in One:
    You’ve compiled a list of your top 100 movies. Which one didn’t make the cut? I haven’t compiled my list of Top 100 movies, but I might do that before year’s end. What movie posters are hanging in your room? Don’t have one now, but if I had to pick just one, I’d probably go with this German version of the Phantom of the Opera poster. Oh la la!
  6. The movies I compulsively watch over and over? My Desert Island DVDs post pretty much cover that.
  7. Though I’m from Indonesia, I never follow my home country’s film industry. In fact, I’ve only seen a handful of Indo movies (less than 10 in my entire life), and the best one of those is Ada Apa Dengan Cinta. The high school scene reminded me of the good ‘ol days, plus Nicholas Saputra is pretty cute :)

Now, I’m passing this along to 15 other fab bloggers who I think are lovely (some are newly discovered, some are old friends):

  1. Castor @ Anomalous Material Blog
  2. Marc @ Go-See-Talk
  3. Meredith @ M. Carter @ the Movies
  4. Ronan @ Filmplicity
  5. Dan @ Top 10 Films UK
  6. The gal @ Addicted to Films
  7. Heather @ Movie Mobsters
  8. Aiden @ Cut The Crap Movie Reviews
  9. Dan Dreher @ Where the Buffalo Roam
  10. Univarn @ A Life in Equinox
  11. Andy @ Fandango Groovers
  12. MadHatter @ The Dark of the Matinee
  13. Steve @ The Film Cynics Blog
  14. Dezmond @ Hollywood Spy
  15. Darren @ The Movie Blog

Thanks again Novroz for this lovely award!