Five for the Fifth: February 2014 Edition

FiveForTheFifth2014

Welcome to FlixChatter’s one and only blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Whether you like it or not folks, movie franchise is a trend that’s here to stay in Hollywood, especially when it comes to the young adult demographic. As soon as a YA novel hits it big, you can bet a movie, no franchise is in the works.

So, let’s start this month’s edition with a trailer of another young adult franchise hopeful. In case you’ve never heard of this before, DIVERGENT is the first of a trilogy of books by a New York author Veronica Roth. Here’s the premise:

Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.

Check out the new trailer just released yesterday:


Now, I barely remember what being a young adult feels like, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this genre, i.e. The Hunger Games. I must say I’m more intrigued the more I hear about this dystopian actioner, looks like it has potential and I think that has a lot to do with the actress playing the young protagonist.

DivergentStills

I’ve only seen Shailene Woodley as George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants, in which she impressed me. I’ve also been reading rave reviews of her performance in The Spectacular Now, and she also has another indie drama in the works called The Fault of Our Stars. The 22-year-old seems to be *groomed* to be one of Hollywood’s next leading lady, and I think she has the chops. But what this film will attest is whether she can be a box-office draw. Kate Winslet lends some sophisticated menace as the film’s antagonist, whilst Theo James (another Brit who’s easy on the eyes) plays Woodley’s mentor/love interest.

Thoughts on DIVERGENT and/or Shailene Woodley as a leading actress?

……
2.  Switching gears to one of cinema’s biggest leading man Russell Crowe who’s trying his hand at directing his first feature.

CroweDirectorialDebut

Per Variety, we’ve got the first look of The Water Diviner, which is filming in Australia and later in Turkey. Here’s the premise:

The film is set four years after the devastating battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. Australian farmer Connor (Crowe) travels to Istanbul to discover the fate of his sons, reported missing in action, where he forges a relationship with the beautiful Turkish woman (Olga Kurylenko) who owns the hotel in which he stays. Holding on to hope, and with the help of a Turkish officer, Connor embarks on a journey across the country to find the truth about the fate of his sons.

Some of the supporting casts include Turkish actors and some relatively well-known Aussie actors like Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard) and Isabel Lucas (Immortals), hmmm not exactly screaming quality ensemble at this point, plus the executive producer is… Brett Ratner?? But y’know, I’d be willing to give Crowe the benefit of the doubt. If his directing skills is even half as good as his acting, it’d still be a decent film, ahah.

So what do you think of Crowe’s debut?

3. A pair of actor and director named Michael is having a birthday today.

Director Michael Mann turns 70 & British actor Michael Sheen turns 44.

Michael_Mann_Sheen

Some of you might know Michael Mann is one of my favorite living directors. He may not be the most prolific, having only done less than a dozen feature films, but he’s certainly one of the best. Heat, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans and Collateral are some of my absolute favorite films. I’m looking forward to his mystery thriller Cyber starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis about what else, computer hacking. Apparently some of the filming locations include my native hometown Jakarta, according to this Indonesian article. Can’t wait to see that!

As for Michael Sheen, it’s interesting but two of the roles I remember him most are Tony Blair in The Queen and as a vampire breed Lucian in the Underworld franchise with his former wife Kate Beckinsale. He’s also memorable even in supporting roles like in TRON Legacy and Midnight in Paris. I still need to see Frost/Nixon, but I’ve heard he’s excellent in that one. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Far from the Madding Crowd, a drama directed by The Hunt‘s director Thomas Vinterberg.

What’s your favorite film[s] from each birthday fellow?

NicCage_pondering4. Good ol’ Nic Cage is always making the rounds in casting news. Hopefully his mountains of debts is getting shorter that he can finally make some decent films again. He’s reportedly in talks to do a heist thriller called Men with No Fear [per Deadline] Well it sounds right up his alley as Nic seems like the kind of *fearless* actor in that he doesn’t seem to care what people think, ahah. Here’s what it’s about:

The movie centers on Marty ‘The Mule,’ newly released from prison after being set up by his former boss Frank, a small-time neighborhood crook. While Mule was locked up, Frank went big time and became a ruthless drug kingpin. But Frank also took Mule’s most precious item — his son, raising him like his own. But now Mule is back on the streets and ready for revenge.

Bryan Singer is apparently producing this through his production company Bad Hat Harry. It doesn’t strike me as a challenging or career-making kind of role for Nic, but at this point, we can only hope anything is better than Stolen [facepalm]

What do you think of this casting news… or better yet, what role would YOU suggest Nic Cage to take on?


5. Now lastly, since Oscar is less than a month away… Morgan compiled a whole bunch of interesting Oscarama stats about what kinds of films get nominated by the Academy.

  • OSCARBestPictureEnvelopeComedy only makes 7% of the nominees
  • Romantic dramas really do seem to be popular with the Academy
  • Only eight foreign films have been nominated for Best Picture [Wish this year’s one of them as The Hunt deserves to be in the main Best Picture category]
  • Once in a while, sequels do make it to the Oscars. These are the eight movie sequels that were nominated for Best Picture:
    Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)
    The Bells of St. Mary’s
    The Godfather Part II
    The Godfather Part III
    The Silence of the Lambs
    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Toy Story 3
  • This is quite startling to me… 60 (or 11 %) of Best Picture nominees have been remakes.

Morgan came to an astute conclusion… The Academy doesn’t just like to keep nominating the same type of film, it likes to keep nominating versions of the same film.

Now, my last question to you are two-fold: Do you think Oscar should nominate more comedic films? If so, which ones do you think deserve to be nominated for Best Picture?


Well, that’s it for the FEBRUARY 2014 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks.

Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

93 thoughts on “Five for the Fifth: February 2014 Edition

  1. Thanks for linking to my post, Ruth. It’s greatly appreciated. :)

    Divergent looks like it could be interesting. Could wind up hackneyed, too, but I’m remaining optimistic. Shailene Woodley does seem to be getting groomed to be the next big thing. Hopefully this is sufficiently different from The Hunger Games that she doesn’t just get pigeonholed as “Jennifer Lawrence Lite”. (Side note: Remember a few months back when she was up for Mary Jane in Spider-Man and some twits said she didn’t look good enough? Hope they see that trailer.)

    Crowe’s directorial debut… doesn’t sound all that interesting. But oh well. Good luck to him.

    Favorite Michael Mann film has to be Heat; brilliant heist film. Michael Sheen I have to say hasn’t made much of an impression on me as an actor; I saw Underworld, and he was certainly one of the better parts of it, but it was just sort of an “OK” film.

    Nic Cage doing another heist film is fine by me. He’s all right at those, most of the time.

    • No THANK YOU for such an amazing post, when I saw that I knew I had to use that as one of my topics :D

      Yeah, it could end up being cliched but I hope it’s at least on par w/ Hunger Games. Hmmm, I don’t see Woodley as “Jennifer Lawrence Lite” though I can see people comparing the two as they’re of the same age and very attractive. That’s ludicrous that ppl think she doesn’t look good enough to be Mary Jane, I mean she’s ten times prettier than Kristen Dunst!

      I LOVE Michael Mann’s HEAT, that ranks as one of my all time favorite films, though I also love the more understated The Insider. Oh Underworld is by no means a good flick, I just think he’s memorable even in bad movies, i.e. TRON Legacy and Twilight, ahah.

      Yeah, I think Nic Cage fits the heist movie genre. I just hope the script/direction is actually good!

    • “Side note: Remember a few months back when she was up for Mary Jane in Spider-Man and some twits said she didn’t look good enough?”

      Unfortunately her scenes in the new Spiderman has been completely cut out of the movie. Apparently the studio didn’t want to make the fanboys angry because many of them said she’s not pretty enough to play Marie Jane and the funniest thing about this is that most of these fanboys could never get a girl like her to got out with them, LOL!

      • Reportedly, it wasn’t a matter of cutting her specifically, but the scenes themselves — they were cut right out of the script and moved to part 3. So probably the fanboys had nothing to do with it. Frankly, if the fanboys had that level of power, I doubt Andrew Garfield would have made it into the franchise. Of course, the aftermath of this is that it’s unknown whether Woodley will be involved in the franchise at all, as Divergent may lead to too many scheduling conflicts.

        • It would be very interesting to know why her scenes were cut out completely, she sounded disappointed when news broke out that her scenes didn’t make the cut. Maybe they’ll explain it when the movie hits bluray later this year.

  2. First, Divergent. At this point, I might be a bit in love with Shailene Woodley (her characters The Spectacular Now and The Descendants are about as different from each other as they could possibly be ), so I can’t wait to see that one. I’m even on the waiting list to check out the e-book. Next year should be a very good year for Woodley. Two leading lady roles in adaptations of highly popular books in a single year.

    Crowe’s debut. My curiosity is piqued, but I’m reserving judgement until or unless I see it.

    And those Oscar stats were surprising. More comedies should absolutely be nominated, generally speaking, but I’m not sure this year has seen many that deserve the honor. The dramas this year have just been too good. Last year I think Moonrise Kingdom deserved more recognition, though. Safety Not Guaranteed, as well.

    And I can’t wait to see Vinterburg’s new one. The Hunt is so very impressive.

    • Hi there Josh! Ha..ha.. in love w/ Shailene Woodley eh? Well she is gorgeous and quite talented. I still need to see Spectacular Now though. I’m glad the girls are front & center in young adult adaptations! :D

      Yeah, I’m waiting to see at least a trailer on Crowe’s debut, but curious to check it out.

      Moonrise Kingdom wasn’t nominated right? Yeah that one deserves to be on Best Picture list!

      I’m so stoked to see what Vinterberg does next, interesting that he’s working on a drama this time, based on a popular novel no less.

      • The Spectacular Now is pretty close to exceptional, and Woodley is great. I think you’ll be very impressed by her range, the way she captures an entirely different character from the one in The Descendants.

        And amen on the fact that so many YA novels feature strong female characters.

        • Sounds good Josh! I will definitely check that out. That’s nice to see another young actress who has the chops instead of just a pretty face.

  3. 1. I like Shailene Woodley and think she has potential as a lead. I’m just not into this premise, but my daughter loves this book series.

    2. We shall see, won’t we? ;-)

    3. Michael Mann’s HEAT still intrigues, even after all the years after its debut. Michael Sheen’s Tony Blair in the Queen is probably my favorite role — although I enjoyed his Lucian in Underworld and despised him royally in his brief supporting role for Kingdom of Heaven.

    4. Nic Cage always does something interesting no matter the quality of the production. He’s a guilty pleasure of mine.

    5. Yes. Two were nominated 1965 and in 1982, Dr. Strangelove and Tootsie, respectively. And two won for 1960 and 1977, The Apartment and Annie Hall (though I’m not a fan of the latter). For 2013, none. From years past, Arsenic and Old Lace, Some Like It Hot, Young Frankstein, His Girl Friday, The Princess Bride, and This Is Spinal Tap.

    Always fun to participate, Ruth. Thanks.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for taking part!

      I’m a bit more intrigued this time around about this premise, but nice to see a talented actress like Woodley instead of someone like Kristen Stewart!

      I really need to rewatch HEAT again, I think it’s a modern masterpiece thriller. Still need to see the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven as well, totally forgot Sheen is in that.

      Ahah, yes Nic Cage is my guilty pleasure of mine too, tho I haven’t seen a lot of his latest stinkers, erm I mean work :D

      All those sounds like GREAT comedies Michael, thanks for the recommendations. The Apartment is on my BlindSpot after all.

  4. Hi Ruth, fun post. I admire Russell Crowe a lot and love period pieces. When was the last time a commercial film about Turkey/Australia was made? I’m all for it. I am looking forward to The Water Diviner. Like Michael, Cage is a guilty pleasure for me, too. He’s just too cool to admonish for long. Ever since Moonlight and Raising AZ, the man is gifted. I have a hard time balancing my checkbook, too, so I forgive!

    • I admire Crowe as well, he’s my crush before Butler y’see ;) I’m intrigued about his debut, that is rare to see the Turkey/Australia cultural connection there.

      I think people love Cage, that’s why he’s still getting cast in so many films!

      Ha..ha.. I know you meant Moonstruck, though I LOVE the Moonlight tv series about vampires as well, ahah.

  5. Hey Ruth! Here are my thoughts:

    1. Divergent doesn’t just blow me away. Some good names attached to it though so I’ll probably check it out.

    2. As you may know I’m a huge Russell Crowe fan so I’m interested in seeing what he brings to the other side of the camera. Interesting cast too.

    3. The Michaels! You mentioned both of my favorites of theirs. “The Last of the Mohicans” is one of my all-time favorite films. Beautiful and thrilling. Love that film. As for Sheen, how can you not love him in “Midnight in Paris” is such a jerk but he is a hilarious one!

    4. Oh Nic Cage. He desperately needs a good movie to get him on track.

    5. Do I think more comedies need to be nominated for Best Picture? NOOO! Here’s why: comedies absolutely stink these days. I’m probably too outspoken on it but most of them are either raunchy nonsense or the Adam Sandler type crap. If more comedies were like Moonrise Kingdom then I would say absolutely. I mean there are some good movies that have comedy elements. But as a whole straight comedies are the same thing over and over these days.

    • Hi Keith! I wasn’t too enthused about it initially, but this latest trailer grabbed me a bit more so I’ll see it for sure.

      Yeah, good actors don’t always translate to decent directors but I’m willing to give Crowe a shot as he’s a stellar actor.

      Mann’s filmography ranges from decent to masterpiece quality, even his not-so-good ones is still not bad (I.e. Public Enemies). I love “The Last of the Mohicans” too, that’s one of my brother’s all time faves, and great soundtrack too. Yes Sheen is still fun to watch as a jerk in Midnight in Paris!

      ‘Oh Nic Cage’ seems to be the sentiment that often comes out of people’s mouth, even his fans! I really hope he comes out of his rut soon.

      Oh of course not every comedy is created equal, but like you said, Moonrise Kingdom is very deserving. I do agree w/ you thought that today’s comedies sadly often resort to raunchiness and oversexed content, which I hardly find funny at all.

      • It’s funny though, while I was ranting against modern comedies, one of my most anticipated movies of this year is a comedy. Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opens in March. I can’t wait!

        • Ahah well there’s comedy and there’s Wes Anderson’s comedy, they happen to be quite different ;) Just saw the screening date in a couple of weeks, can’t wait!!

  6. I wouldn’t want to see comedy films get Best Pic Oscar nods just for the sake of diversity in the lineup. I think the acting and screenplay categories offer better opportunities for comedies to pop up on a more regular basis, but comedies should be evaluated the same way as films in other genres – by their awards campaigns. :-p

    • Hi Rich! Oh I agree, it should be based on merit, whatever genre it is. I just think that the Academy should pay more attention to them as I feel that the tendency is to brush it off if they see that a film genre is comedy. Ahah, a sarcastic nod there about award campaign, I’m not a big fan of those either, or just campaigning in general really.

  7. Great post here, Ruth!

    1. Even as a big fan of Hunger Games, the Divergent trailers I’ve seen so far do nothing for me. That said, I really liked Woodley in The Descendants and I’m a huge fan of Kate Winslet, so I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.

    2. Can’t say I’m excited for the story or the cast assembled so far, but I’m curious as to how Crowe would fare behind the camera.

    3. I don’t think I can call a favorite Mann film. I think I’ve only seen Collateral and it was looong ago. With Sheen, my favorite performance would be the one he gave in Frost/Nixon and my favorite movie he’s been in has to be Midnight in Paris.

    4. I don’t really care about Cage but that plot synopsis sounds intriguing. Hopefully he does a great job with that role.

    5. Very interesting stats. I think the Academy should be more open to nominating comedies and other genres, but not just to cover a quota but because some of them really do deserve the nomination. Can’t think of an example form this year, though.

    • Thanks Fernando!

      I have to admit I was more excited about Hunger Games when it came out but I’m warming up towards this one. We shall see.

      Yeah, the cast doesn’t excite me either but the main draw is Crowe as director.

      Have you seen The Insider and Heat? Those are two of his best work, oh and of course The Last of the Mohicans. I still need to see Frost/Nixon, I think I’d like that one.

  8. Hi, Ruth:

    Intriguing ‘Five for the Fifth':

    #1: Hollywood seems to have a thing for “authoritarian governments” Going back to Colossus: The Forbin Project’ and earlier. Kind od the end result of what most are seeing every day here in the US. Though much more incremental. Though ‘Colossus’ and the later, ‘Nineteen Eight Four’ did it so much better!

    #2: Hell, I’d give Mr. Crowe’s directoral debut a shot.

    #3: Favorite Michael Mann: ‘Thief’.

    Best Michael Mann: Split between ‘Heat’ and ‘Manhunter’.

    #4: Favorite Nick Cage: ‘Vampire’s Kiss’. Absolutely fearless lunacy on Cage’s part!

    #5: Hollywood has been bending over backwards to have another “Message movie” like ‘The China Syndrome’ for decades. Since its message panicked lawmakers and destroyed a completely safe form of energy. Their later attempt to create panic over “fracking” failed miserably. But the left and Hollywood proceed, undeterred.

    Similar failures include ‘Bowling for Columbine (Gun Control).
    ‘In the Valley of Elah’ An Anti-War film that looks great. Bores to tears. And makes absolutely no sense!
    ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Blatant, unadulterated 2012 pre-election cheer leading for Obama in particular and Democrats in general.

    So, yeah. The idea of “The Same Thing… Only Different” and “Making the same film over and over again holds water.

    • Hi Jack, always happy to see you take part here man!

      – “Hollywood seems to have a thing for “authoritarian governments” ha..ha.. well rightly so, right?
      – Now THAT’s the spirit! :)
      – Interesting that you have a favorite and a best pick. I REALLY need to see Thief soon, as you’ve recommended that to me a while back
      – Ahahaha, I think I saw a clip of Nic in ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ I have to see it just for the absolute lunacy of it all
      – Interesting thoughts there about Hollywood’s “Same Thing… Only Different” syndrome.

  9. 1. I can’t say I’m that interested in DIVERGENT, everytime I see the trailer it just reminds me of The Hunger Games and that’s what the studio is hoping it would become. And how the heck did James Franco make himself look so young and got the male lead in this movie. :)

    2. Didn’t know Crowe is going to direct a film until now, thanks for the info. I’m always open to see what kind of a director some of these actors can be, I mean nobody thought Ben Affleck can be so talented behind the cameras. Tom Hanks seems to enjoy directing but his work aren’t as well received as Affleck’s or Mel Gibson’s. But I’m looking forward to see what Crowe can do behind the cameras, he’ll learn that there’s a lot of work being the director. You’re in charge of the whole crew and have to deal with financiers, studio bosses and of course the actors. I remember Matt Damon said in an interview that he tried to shadow Steven Spielberg during the filming of Saving Private Ryan and he said he just couldn’t keep up with that man.

    3. Mann’s last movie (Public Enemies) left a sour taste in my mouth so hopefully his new one will be a lot better, but since the studio is planning to release it next January, I’m not going to have high expectations for it. Heat, The Last of the Mohicans and Collateral are the films of his I can watch over and over again. I really liked The Insider but I haven’t seen it in years, I have to revisit his earlier work such as Thief and Manhunter, it’s been a long time since I watch those films.

    As for Sheen, I mostly remember him from being Tina Fey’s “love” interest on her show “30 Rocks”, I hardly remember him in movies.

    4. Let’s hop Cage can somehow make a comeback, heck Disney is still gearing up to do another National Treasures movie, I’m surprise that the third film never got made since the first two made so much money.

    5. You know how I feel about the Oscar voters and when they invited Beyonce and Russell Brand to become members, I just think they’re a joke now.

    Always fun to participate on this post Ruth!

    • Mwahahahaha, too funny Ted!! I thought the same thing, Theo James does look like a younger, taller and British version of James Franco.

      I heard about Crowe’s directing effort a while back but totally forgot until now. Yep, I have the same notion about it in that I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. Esp someone as talented as Crowe. He’s done so many great work w/ stellar directors so I’m sure he’s learned quite a bit.

      I didn’t like Public Enemies either but I feel that any director is allowed one bad apple or two, esp. if he’s consistently delivered amazing films before. I’m still hoping Cyber would be in the vein of Collateral or The Insider. I wish he had hired someone other than Chris Hemsworth though.

      Goodness, ANOTHER National Treasures movie? I stopped watching after the first one.

      Ahah, you are consistent in your aversion towards the Academy Ted, but can’t say I blame you.

      • I thought maybe he’s Franco’s brother but then I realized he’s British and their last names are different.

        Yeah that’s true, Crowe has worked with some of the top directors in Hollywood, so I’m sure he’d learned a few things from them.

        I’m actually a fan of the National Treasures films, they’re quite fun and I’m a sucker for that kind of films. I’m still surprised that the third one took forever to get made, now that Jerry Bruckheimer’s no longer with Disney, not sure if the movie will happen anytime soon. I just remember that Disney executives kept saying the third movie is happening.

        I think the last time I watched the Oscars was back in 1998 when two of the films I really liked were nominated for best picture, Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. When Shakespeare in Love won, I thought it’s a joke and never care for the Oscars again.

      • Whoa! I forgot to add Heat as one of Mann’s films I can watch over and over again, in fact I think it’s one of the best films of the 90s and one I would consider timeless. I might list films I consider timeless, might have to think which ones belongs on the list besides Heat.

  10. OMG! You have my afternoon, I promise! I will have this up before the end of the day.

    Any excuse to talk about Crowe and repost the amazing picture you posted is enough motivation in my book to not work at all and just compile my post for this!!!

    PS…still so sorry about missing it last month. I was so stacked at work and I swear I had half of it done and then got burried and then it was not even the 5th or the 6th or the 7th and it just felt like it was too late. I like to post it on the same day :-D

  11. 1: I loved Woodley in The Descendants and even though, in bit particularly drawn to this film, I still think she’ll go far. Can’t beat some Kate Winslet either so I’ll probably still give it a go.

    2: Crowe as director? Yes please! His choice of roles haven’t been the greatest lately but I have confidence in him to call the shots.

    3: Love me some Michael Mann. His best has got to be Heat or The Insider. That being said, I loved The Last of The Mohicans too. It’s a hard call.

    Sheen was great in Frost/Nixon. Even though I despise Ron Howard, I’d still say this is Sheen’s best film.

    4: Ive completely lost confidence in Cage. I wouldn’t cast him in anything right now but this does sounds quite good. Here’s hoping he can get back on track!

    5: Comedy is a hard but to crack and most tend to fail in my eyes. They’re entertaining for sure but very few seem to really be something exceptional. That being said, my favourite film is a comedy and one that was thoroughly deserving of an Oscar nom for best picture: THE BIG LEBOWSKI. I just love every second of it.

    • Ahahaha! I love that typo, Mark, that’s awesome ;)

      Hey, glad to see you’d give Divergent a shot. Yeah, nice to see Winslet on there, that’s a good sign.

      Yeah, I’m very curious how he’d do. Nice that he pick an intriguing story as well, and gives his homecountry Australia some love too!

      I don’t think I can pick just one fave of Mr. Mann, I think right now it’s between Heat and The Insider.

      For some reason I can’t completely dismiss Cage though he has made so many disappointing choices of late. Yeah, hope he gets back in the game soon.

      Are you saying THE BIG LEBOWSKI wasn’t nominated? Somehow I thought it was. Well for sure it’s become a cult favorite.

    • Thanks Mikey! Yes I will definitely watch Frost/Nixon, hopefully soon.

      Ha..ha.. you didn’t know? I thought I’ve mentioned that a few times here. Well now you know ;)

  12. Michael Mann’s best movie for me would be Heat. As for Nic Cage, I think he should work with a talented director again like Scorsese, Lynch, or Jonze.

  13. Sorry this is a bit late, Ruth!
    1) Shailene is vastly becoming one of my favorite actresses. I thought her role as Alex in The Descendants was versatile, and her career is building up well with indie projects and franchise movies. Harry Potter + Hunger Games = Divergent, which was not my favorite book at all last year, and I wish she was actually playing Katniss instead of Jennifer…but I think she and Kate Winslet will make the series interesting. And, I’ll watch it for that. The Fault In Our Stars looks like an amazing adaptation.

    2) Russell seems to have a 50/50 impact with movies. He’s a huge star but many of his movies aren’t big successes. I’m interested to see what he’ll do behind the camera. He’s often underrated in front of it.

    3) Haven’t seen much work of either Michaels, so my picks are pretty limited. I’d say Collateral for Mann, and Midnight In Paris for Sheen.

    4) I’d like to see Cage return to something like Adaptation. He takes on too many fluffy blockbusters that aren’t directed well enough. His career needs a shake-up!

    5) I’d love to see more comedic films nominated, if they are well-constructed. Many of the ones made today just aren’t funny to me; they’re very crude, the improvisation creates many funniless scenes, and the stories don’t offer much. I much prefer humor in Classic Hollywood like Neil Simon. His characters, scripts, and situations were funny but they weren’t outlandish. Comedies with well-crafted wit seem to be too understated for the Academy to understand, or too crude to be nominated. :/

    • Oh not late at all Katy, you’re just in time :D

      Shailene is so pretty and quite likable and not as overrated as others, not gonna name names but I think we all know who. I think she’d make an excellent Katniss but Beatrice is kind of similar in a way, hopefully this series will do well for her career. The Fault In Our Stars looks great, too.

      I hear ya about Crowe, but hopefully he’s got as much chops as director than he is an actor. Good thing he starts with something small for his project.

      Those two films from each Michaels are great, I’m a big fan of both.

      Amen about Nic Cage, hopefully his financial situation is sorted out so he can actually go back to real acting again, ahah.

      I’m in agreement w/ you that most comedies these days are NOT funny but more crude and gross. Yes, I think comedies were better in the Hollywood Golden Days and has more wit and charm instead of relying on vulgarity and mean-spirited stuff.

  14. 1. Based on what I’ve seen from Shailene so far and the projects that she’s doing. I think she’s got a chance to be a really solid actress. I hope the film is good as I’m not really into YA film adaptations.

    2. I’m just indifferent as I do think Crowe is an excellent actor but I don’t think he’s got the patience to be a filmmaker. Plus, I think he’s a fucking asshole.

    3. My favorite film by Michael Mann is Last of the Mohicans and my favorite thing from Michael Sheen so far is Masters of Sex.

    4. This new project Nic Cage in sounds like another of his Nicolas Cage derp-de-derp films that he’s been doing for the past few years. I hope he returns to do smaller things though I have heard great things about Joe.

    5. I think it depends on the film. The idea of a film like The Hangover nominated for Best Picture is pretty stupid as it’s a very overrated film.

    • I’m not into YA adaptations either, I mean I’m not the targeted demographic. But w/ a good script and cast it can still be very watchable.

      I don’t share your views about Crowe being a terrible person, sometimes the media just likes to publish the negative stuff. Seems that he works well w/ a lot of the actors/directors he’s collaborated with in the past.

      I’ve heard great things about Masters of Sex, might check that out when it’s out on Netflix.

      Seems that for every small film Nic does, he’d have to do like 3-4 horrible stuff that pays him well.

      I don’t care for The Hangover and probably will never watch it.

  15. Divergent trailer looks okay but it’s not a movie I’m highly anticipating. I still have to see Spectacular Now and Descendants so maybe Shailene’s movie performances will impress me in a way that her TV show didn’t.

  16. Would love to see more comedies in the best picture category. The Academy also doesn’t seem to like blockbusters too much, i.e why The Dark Knight was snubbed in 2009. I’d also like to see a change in mentality towards animation. I know quite a few have been nominated but almost always are not taken seriously. Early Pixar films and some from Ghibli are some of the films to come out during their respective year!

    • Hi Asrap! Yeah, very few blockbusters have been nominated which is not fair. TDK is certainly worthy to be included as it’s one of the best of the year even compared to art house films.

  17. This is a bit random and OT, but I thought I recognised the cinema in your top banner for the post. I’ve been there lol! It’s in London! :D

    1. Divergent is doing nothing for me. Barely know much about it, but ever since Twilight there’s been some sort of weird influx of the next set of Young Adult fiction turned to films. Eh.

    2. Crowe always gets my BOD. He is Maximus after all.

    3. Hmm, from Michael Mann it’s probably Collateral. Michael Sheen – Frost/Nixon. Though I am really enjoying him on Masters of Sex.

    4. Nicolas Cage needs to return to things like Lord of War or heck even The Rock. He’s a good actor, but … I guess, we all need to pay the bills.

    5. Comedies are more miss than hit these days. It’s rare that an all out comedy is a staggeringly well made and crafted film. Personally, I think the genre lines are getting so blurred these days – which is good. Who cares about genre, it should be about the film!

    • Hi Jaina! You’ve been to that theater in London? VERY cool! I chose that as it looks so darn classy.

      Ahah, well Twilight sort of ruin the rep for YA adaptation but this one seems to have potential to be more like Hunger Games though, which is pretty darn good.

      “He is Maximus after all.” Hear hear!

      I’m real curious about Masters of Sex, hope Netflix will carry that soon.

      I LOVE The Rock, yeah he should do even decent action flicks instead of stuff like STOLEN, I mean come on!!

      I think some dark comedies are pretty good, even things like (500) Days of Summer is as good as any drama out that year.

      • Good point about 500 days. Love that film. But again, not sure I’d call it a comedy.

        Wasn’t a big fan of Hunger Games. Not bothered with the next one either. *shrug*

        And that’s Electric Cinema in London. Lovely place!

        • I think that was billed as a rom-com of sort? I think even 50/50 deserves to be nominated, it’s more of a dark comedy about a guy diagnosed with cancer.

          Ha..ha.. well, fair enough, we can’t like everything I suppose. I couldn’t care less about most YA adaptations, esp the likes of 50 Shades of Grey, ugh!

          I’d love to visit that cinema one day!

  18. Hooray. I ALWAYS love this segment Ruth. You’ve got blog-gold here! :)

    1. Shailene Woodley did impress me in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now and almost makes me recant on my thoughts about her being Mary Jane Watson (which now she may not be at all with Divergent series commitments). I am looking forward to her in The Fault of Our Stars and Divergent is one of my anticipated films of 2014. I am excited to see it.

    2. Interesting about Crowe and I like the fact that with his debut he focuses on something not very well known. It’s bold and I like that. I am curious about it and interested in seeing it. Not too many people (on this continent anyways) tend to think of WWI’s effect on other countries such as Turkey and Australia and this perspective is intriguing to me.

    3. Mann- Definitely Last of the Mohicans…although I do like Heat.
    Sheen- Midnight in Paris :-) followed by Underworld series…man, what a good job he did there…and then, I gotta throw Tron: Legacy into the mix!

    4. Hadn’t heard of this project. Thanks for sharing. I think Nic can do it and will be fine. I am curious about some of his upcoming projects including Left Behind. I’d like to see him do another good sequel to National Treasure. But I’ve always wanted to see him as Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. haha. That would be fun.

    5. I think that if more comedies would be deserving and be of better quality…then yes, they should be nominated more often. But too many of them are the same or not funny or just plain ridiculous that I don’t have an issue with the amount of them that have been nominated. I think that films with an element of comedy are always nominated though and think this to be a moot point to a degree. I mean, Silver Linings Playbook, Midnight in Paris, The Artist, etc all had several comedic elements and were nominated. I don’t know that the categorization as “Comedy” is as cut and defined as we’d like to think.

    Great discussion points and questions this month, Ruth! Thanks. This was fun as always!

    • Hello T!! Always thrilled to have you take part, man.

      I didn’t pay attention to all the news about her as Mary Jane Watson, maybe ’cause I’m lukewarm about Spidey movies now. I do like Woodley though, let’s hope Divergent is a good one!

      Yeah, I’m glad Crowe chooses a story that’s rarely seen in Hollywood, definitely an interesting perspective that makes me even more intrigued.

      Sheen is the kind of actor who’s still fun to watch even in bad movies. Underworld is more of a guilty pleasure for me, can’t say it’s a GOOD film but Sheen is great in it. He’s still watchable even as a jerk like Midnight in Paris and TRON Legacy, ahah.

      Oh, Nic Cage will be chewing all kinds of scenery if he were to play Captain Ahab in Moby Dick! Oh my, I forgot he’s also involved in the LEFT BEHIND movie, unbelievable!

      You’re right, the Comedy category doesn’t seem as clean cut. Funny as I just saw The Monuments Men and at times it feels like a comedy which I don’t think it should’ve been.

  19. 1. i don’t know what this movie is and I’m not to inclined to find out :)

    2. I’m not very interested in this one, to be honest Crowe’s latest projects seem so dull. Even Noah – why on Earth is Aronofsky wasting his time with this?

    3. I love Heat and Insider. As for Sheen – he is my favorite actor, I had no idea he is doing a movie with Vinterberg, that’s awesome! My favorite role of his is Dirty Filthy Love where he played an architect suffering from OCD.

    4. It looks like pretty usual gig for Cage. But I saw a poster for the movie with him and that kid from Mud that looks more ambitious than his usual work.

    5. Oh, absolutely. It’s an absolute travesty that comedies are so undervalued. And it shouldn’t be like separate category either – why is it that those people believe dramas are somehow more important than comedies? Seriously whenever an actor sneaks in for comedy I’m ecstatic – RDJ for Tropic Thunder, McCarthy for Bridesmaids – such great work. If it wasn’t for his work in Wolf, Hill would be my win this year for This is the End.

    • Ha..ha.. How about if it’s got Hiddles or McConaughey in it? ;)

      To be honest I’m not super enthusiastic about Noah either but unlike you, I don’t think very highly of Mr. Aronofsky.

      Yay! Those two films are not only my two faves from Mann but just my faves in general. Yeah, I didn’t realize it was Vinterberg directing so it made me even more psyched about Far of the Madding Crowd! Oh I haven’t seen Dirty Filthy Love, gotta check that out!

      Oh are you referring to Tye Sheridan from MUD? I’ve been curious what that kid would do next.

      Oh no, it shouldn’t be a separate category. I mean there are like 9 Best Picture which is quite a lot. It seems that comedic performances get more nominations than the films themselves. RDJ was an absolute cracker in Tropic Thunder, though I could see Cruise getting a nod there also as it’s so different from anything else he’s done.

  20. Shailene Woodley is awesome! I loved her in The Descendants, just as you did, and Spectacular Now blew my mind. She looks damn perfect for Hazel Grace in TFiOS and though I know next to nothing about Divergent, she alone makes me excited for it. If she does become our next sweetheart but won’t get as overhyped as Lawrence is now… oh, how great would that be? ;)

    Also, I do love Crowe, so can’t wait to see what he’s like behind the camera. ;)

    • Hi Elina! I have yet to see Spectacular Now but very keen on doing so. I sure hope Shailene Woodley won’t be over-hyped but it seems like she’s much more reserved which is refreshing to see.

      Glad you love Crowe too! You’re a girl of excellent taste :D

  21. 1. I’ll probably see Divergent for Woodley and Winslet, but I’m kind of indifferent on the film. Hopefully, it will surprise me. :)

    2. I can’t wait for The Water Diviner! It’d be near the top of my most anticipated of 2014 list, but I don’t think it will come out until next year.

    3. Favorite Mann film: Heat, favorite Sheen one: Midnight in Paris (though, my favorite Sheen performance is in The Queen)

    4. I want to see Nicolas Cage in a quirky dark comedy again. Maybe he should work with someone like Martin McDonagh, Noah Baumbach or Alexander Payne.

    5. Yes, the Oscars should nominate more comedic films. I would’ve loved to see newer films like In Bruges, Moonrise Kingdom, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Pride and Prejudice, Adaptation, and Almost Famous get nominated for Best Picture.

    • Sorry for my tardiness in answering comments Josh :D

      I hope Divergent will surprise me too, in a good way I mean.

      I sure hope Crowe’s debut is better than Akiva Goldsman w/ Winters Tale. Boy that was awful.

      Oooh Cage is great in comedies, I’d love to see him working w/ all those 3 directors!

      Oh I think In Bruges is a good one, the Academy should just be more open-minded generally.

  22. Hey Ruth!

    1. Hmmmm, can’t say it’s one I’ll be keeping too close an eye on in all honesty. These ‘young adult’ films can normally go one of two ways. Woodley isn’t a name I’m all to familiar with to be honest, I haven’t seen The Descendants, but it seems there’s some love for her on here!

    2. I’m kinda indifferent towards Crowe in all honesty. Having nothing against the guy but can’t say he’s a favourite of mine either. The premise of this one sounds interesting though, I like the setting, it could potentially looks amazing. I’m reasonably interested!

    3. Collateral is a great film and really underrated, love that one! I’m a big fan of Michael Sheen, such an eclectic actor. He was brilliantly horrible in Midnight in Paris but I love him in The Damned United.

    4. I’m torn about Cage. He’s become a bit of a parody of himself recently so part of me wants him to just embrace that, but I’d like to see him take on something really dark and serious, or maybe some dark comedy, something where he’s not the centre of attention for the whole film.

    5. The Oscars should definitely recognise more comedy films (and horror), but I wonder if the fact that they don’t could be down to comedy being such a personal thing. I think it divides people more than any other type of film. I would like to have seen In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths nominated, if just for original screenplay.

    • Hi Chris, sorry for the tardy reply.

      I hear ya about YA adaptation, I’m not really anticipating it either but having Woodley did pique my interest. The Descendants is a good one though, worth a rent.

      I like Crowe so I’m curious how he’d fare as a director, and yeah the unusual premise is a good start I think.

      I LOVE Collateral and it’s so beautifully-shot. Oooh I still need to see The Damned United, a co-worker recommended it to me ages ago.

      I think dark comedies would suit him best. You’re right he’s become a self parody which is a shame.

      I really think they shouldn’t even worry too much about genres but judge a film based on its merit, as like you said, there are some horror films that are way better than the typical drama or biopic.

  23. Excellent Ruth! I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Divergent, I really enjoyed the books and the trailers look like they are sticking to the source material really well!

    Yep, gonna see what is cracking with the Nic Cage thing, I can still have fun with his roles.

    • Hello Zoë! I sure hope Divergent lives up to your expectations and at least as good as the book.

      What’s your fave Nic Cage role? I actually like him in both action AND drama.

      • I really hope that it is that good, something in line of The Hunger Games accurate, you know?

        Hmmm… I enjoyed him in Face/Off, Gone in 60 Seconds… I am with you there, he can do both well!

  24. Oh no, I’m a week late! I can’t miss a Five for the Fifth!

    1) Can’t say I’m all that interested in Divergent, but I am becoming a fan of Woodley’s work. She was quite good in The Spectacular Now, an otherwise ho-hum film.

    2) I’m not sure what to make of Crowe’s debut. Could be something worth keeping an eye on at least.

    3) Sadly, I have only seen two of Mann’s films — Heat and Public Enemies — and Heat is certainly the better of the two. I’m not sure I have a favorite Michael Sheen role. I did enjoy his work in 30 Rock though.

    4) Poor Nic Cage.

    5) I would love to see more comedies get nominated, but that would also mean we would need to get some *good* comedies. They are few and far in between these days, unfortunately.

    • Hi Eric! Oh not a problem man, I’m late in answering comments myself, so you’re just in time :D

      I hear ya, YA adaptation is not your thing I take it?

      I guess we’ll get a better idea when at least a trailer of Crowe’s debut is released, but I’m very curious about it.

      Oh you haven’t seen Collateral and The Insider? You MUST get to that pronto, not sure if that’s on your 50 Film Project list but maybe for next year? They’re both excellent, oh and The Last of the Mohicans as well.

      Ha..ha.. well he brought it on himself!

      I think some dark comedies people have mentioned above are worthy to be nominated, I think In Bruges and Adaptation are both excellent.

  25. I just saw the Divergent’s new trailer the other day and started thinking that it did look good. I’m thinking of checking out the books, maybe…
    As for Crowe, I’m not really a fan so the premise looks interesting and well, the talent seems a bit lacking but hey, sometimes it turns out that he can be the one to really shine through, right? I’d like to stay objective :)
    Opposite of Nicolas Cage, I like the man even when everyone says a lot of his recent films suck, some I agree, some I don’t. I remain hopeful in his acting abilities and he’ll wow us once someone gives him an outstanding role again and this is a heist thriller, right? Right up my alley :)

    • Hi there Kim!

      I don’t think I’ll be into the books but I’ll be willing to check out the movie.

      Yeah, let’s hope the script is strong on Crowe’s film.

      I’m still hopeful about Cage too, he’s sort of a guilty pleasure of mine even in so-so movies.

      • Yeah, thats it for Divergent. My friend had read the books and she says its not really good, that was why I was a bit skeptical but hmm…the trailer looks like some nice fun :) But I have this thing about book/movie adaptation so I don’t know, thinking about it…

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