Five for the Fifth: APRIL 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. April Fools was just four days ago, man it seems like it was ages ago for Unbreakable_Postersome reason. Some of you caught the prank I pulled that day, and surely the interweb was full of fake news. One of them I read was this article listing three fake news stories we wish were real. One of those fake headlines says that M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable 2 Confirmed for 2015.

Per the article, ‘the studio indicated that the sequel will be set well after the events of the original film, and will follow Willis’ character as he learns more about his powers and the responsibility that comes with them.’ Oh man, if only that were true!! I’ve long been awaiting to see Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles, Unbreakable is my favorite M. Night’s film and one I’d wish to see a follow-up on. It’s been 14 years since its release and I still think it’d be worth revisiting the first truly *dark* superhero film.

Did you read any April Fools fake news you wish were real?
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2. Switching gear to a superhero follow-up that’s been breaking box office record [pardon the pun]. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is poised to be the biggest movie of 2014 so far. According to Box Office Mojo, the Friday take of $37 mil would likely wind up to about $110 -$120 mil final weekend tally. I’m glad it’s doing well as I’ve said in my review it’s my favorite Marvel stand-alone movie yet, though I still have a special fondness for the first film.

MarvelStudiosFilms

Surely everyone’s going to have a different opinion on this. So, just for the heck of it, how about we rank 10 Marvel Studios movies from 2000, but only those involving character that appear in The Avengers. That means we’re NOT counting the X-Men movies, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, etc. Here they are alphabetically:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  3. Hulk
  4. The Incredible Hulk
  5. Iron Man
  6. Iron Man 2
  7. Iron Man 3
  8. Thor
  9. Thor: The Dark World
  10. The Avengers

So how would you rank these 10 Marvel movies?

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3. Right now I’ll be watching a bunch of indie films at MSPIFF  2014. One of them I sadly have to miss because of a scheduling conflict is Tom Hardy‘s LOCKE.

LockePoster

A successful construction manager’s life is drastically changed by a series of phone calls while he drives.

Now this film that puts one actor in a confined location, more of a one-man-show for the entire film if we’re to judge from the trailer that I posted here. We’re only seeing Hardy as Ivan Locke as he takes a series of phone calls as he’s driving in a car, but boy is it gripping! I really think that the casting is what make or break this types of films, as that actor would have to be charismatic enough to hold our attention whilst seemingly not much is happening. As I’m a big fan of Hardy, naturally I’m intrigued.

My question is two fold: What do you think of Locke? And which actor would you like to watch in a similar confined setting like this one? 


4. Any casting news involving Chiwetel Ejiofor always makes me smile as I’ve been championing him for some time. Last time he was rumored in Star Wars also made a Five for the Fifth subject, if only that were true! Now as a massive Bond fan, of course this casting news piqued my interest!

ChiwetelEjioforBONDvillain

Seems that lately, or at least since Sam Mendes was on board, the new plan seems to be only to hire Oscar winners/nominees as Bond villain, ahah. In Skyfall we’ve got Oscar winner Javier Bardem, and now, Ejiofor is reportedly the top choice for Bond 24 which is currently in production. I’m definitely stoked if he were cast, though my initial thought was that fellow Black Brit Idris Elba would also make a great choice, given he’s got that devilish charm about him. I’ve never seen Ejiofor’s sinister side on screen before but I’m sure the massively talented actor is more than up for the task! With Ralph Fiennes and Naomi Harris returning, boy this is going to be one heck of a Bond cast. This might be the case where I’d love the villain more than the hero, ahah.

Thoughts on this casting rumor? Who would YOU like to see cast as Bond villain?

5. What a perfect segue to the last topic as we’ve got a former Bond villain in this one. I just backed this Kickstarter project ENEMY OF MAN, starring Sean Bean, Rupert Grint, James D’Arcy, Jason Flemyng and Charles Dance.

EnemyOfManMovie

Enemy of Man is an ambitious feature length retelling of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, Macbeth.

This will be the feature directorial debut of actor Vincent Regan. I really like him in TROY and 300, I thought he gave one of the best performances in 300, as well as the most heart-wrenching. Regan is no stranger to Shakespeare, he’s a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare and National theaters. Sean Bean apparently played Macbeth on London West End and this gave him a chance to revisit the character for a larger audience.

All money raised from this campaign will go towards taking the film into pre-production. You can read the details on the Kickstarter link above as well as a preview to the teaser trailer. Below is Sean Bean talking about his involvement in this project:

This looks pretty promising and the talented British actors involved are quite underrated. I hope they’ll meet their goal and get this film made! As of right now, there is only 15 hours left and they still need about $33K to meet their goal.

Whether or not you choose to back it, what do you think of this project and the cast involved?


Well, that’s it for the APRIL 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

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Five for the Fifth: MARCH 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.

VeronicaMarsPoster1. With March here, it’s the start of Spring movie season. Well, one of the eagerly-anticipated movie this month is Veronica Mars. I never watched a single episode of the show nor do I know how massively popular it was until I read their record-breaking Kickstarter campaign! Per IMDb trivia, it was the fastest project to reach $1 million and then the fastest to reach $2 million! It also got the most project backers (91,585) of any project in Kickstarter history!

The film itself was shot in 23 days, exactly 11 months later after the Kickstarter campaign was launched. Apparently the Kickstarter idea came from the meeting between Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas, who was the executive producer of the series and now directed the film, and Warner Bros. WB gave their blessing to the project and agreed to help distribute the movie, apparently they said, “if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board.” Well, they certainly did with $5,702,153 pledged of the $2,000,000 goal!

I’m curious which TV show’s Kickstarter project would you happily donate to?

……
2.  My hubby and I was catching up with trailers on our Apple TV and came across this indie thriller The Retrieval.

TheRetrievalPoster

On the outskirts of the Civil War, a boy (Ashton Sanders) is sent by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted freedman (Tishuan Scott) and bring him back to the South, but as they begin to form an unexpected bond, the boy must face a gut-wrenching decision.

The trailer looked quite gripping, but I like that it’s not just an action film with shootouts and chase scenes, but there seems to be an emotional story between the boy and the man he’s supposed to retrieve. The film by Chris Eska has won several film festival awards (including the White Sands International Film Festival), and Tishuan Scott won Breakthrough Performance Award at SXSW Film Festival last year. Looks like the young boy also turned in a good performance. Check out Terrence’s review from WSIFF last year.

So what do you think folks, intrigued?

3. I’t been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on Batman vs Superman. To be honest, I kind of tuned it out after Ben Affleck was cast, seems like it was ages ago. The casting sparks one controversy after another. It almost seemed that poor Henry Cavill‘s been all but forgotten in his own project, I mean when was the last time the news actually involved him?? So the latest casting news was Jeremy Irons is cast as Alfred [though I'd have been thrilled to see Timothy Dalton in the role], and we’ve got The Fast & Furious Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and The Social Network‘s Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I read this article that Kevin Spacey, who played Lex in Superman Returns, endorsed Eisenberg’s casting, “I think [Jesse Eisenberg] is a remarkable actor. He’s just going to f**king own it. I think it’s a great idea and I wish him the best with it.” Check out these fan art of the two of them in the role:

WonderWoman_LexLuthor

Now of course we don’t even know if Luthor would actually be bald in this movie, given that Zack Snyder‘s been quoted as saying this movie’s “…not as tied to the mythology” in this recent LA Times interview. In the beginning of the interview, he went all geeky about the Batsuit and the Superman suit, and really who wouldn’t be considering the historical significance that for the first time, Superman and Batman would actually exist in the same frame together in the movies. I know there’ll be a plethora of fan art/posters of this flick, probably more than any other comic-book adaptations out there. This is one of my favorites of the ones I’ve seen:

BatmanVsSupermanFanPoster1

Back to the interview, this is how Snyder responded to the whole casting uproar: “… We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script … I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint.” 

Ok fine, the casting just might work fine, but this next quote is what really worries me: “[The movie] literally takes the “Man of Steel” and “Batman” universes and explodes them. You’re not as tied to the mythology.”

Heh, I sure hope he really does know what he’s talking about as right now, even as a huge Superman fan, I’m far less interested in seeing this flick as I ever was. I sure hope he doesn’t literally mean *exploding universes* the way he destroyed Metropolis to shreds in Man of Steel [face palm]. Apparently filming is supposed to start next month for this, so they’ve got about a year to shoot the film until it opens on May 6, 2016.

So what do you think about Zack’s latest quotes, are you still excited for this project?

4. Now what award season is over, I’ve got just one more *award* to talk about, but no worries this is a fun one that surely EVERYONE would have an opinion on. The 34th RAZZIE “Winners” have been unveiled!

RazzieAward

Fortunately I haven’t seen a single movie from the Worst Picture nominees: After Earth, Grown Ups 2, The Lone Ranger, A Madea Christmas and Movie 43. But still I was aghast to learn that Adam Sandler didn’t *win* a single Razzie, what what??! I’m saddened to see Naomi Watts was one of the nominees for Diana AND Movie 43, oh no!! But y’know what, even without seeing the movie, I’m super glad that Will and Jaden Smith won multiple awards.

AfterEarthPosterJaden was named Worst Lead Actor, and the combination of father & son, described in the ceremony as being “stranded on Planet Nepotism”, took the award for Worst Screen Combo! [per Razzie Press Release]

Are you happy with the Razzie *winners*? Who do you think should have been nominated?

VeronicaRothDivergent5. Now last but not least. Tomorrow I’ll be interviewing Divergent‘s author Veronica Roth, as well as cast member Ansel Elgort, as part of their press tour to promote the film. I’ve never interviewed an author before so I’m very excited.

Who hasn’t dreamed of having their literary work not just published, but being adapted into a movie! It made me think of which other authors I’d love to have the chance to interview about their work. Right of the bat I think of Jane Austen as she’s the one author whose work I’m most familiar with. As far as living authors, perhaps J.K. Rowling or Stephen King just to find out what makes them tick.

Now, my last question is, which author (living or dead) do you wish to interview, and what would your question be?


Well, that’s it for the MARCH 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

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?

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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

Five for the Fifth: First of the Year (2014) Edition

Hello folks, welcome to the FIRST edition of 2014 Five for the Fifth!!

FiveForTheFifth2014

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. As I was thinking for all the questions for this post, I was humming some of the songs from FROZEN so naturally my mind turns to soundtracks. I listen to basically only a couple of genres: classical and soundtracks, with other genres I listen to only when I come across to on the radio. I haven’t decided whether I want to make a top 10 list of favorite soundtracks yet, but if I did, I think these five will surely make the list: The Great Gatsby, The Sapphires, Pacific Rim, Gravity, and of course, FROZEN. That last one is especially addictive, just like a lot of other Disney music, I just can’t get ‘em out of my head! The Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel’s version of The First Time of Forever is my absolute favorite.

So my first question is: What’s your favorite soundtrack/song of 2013?

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2. I’d like to single out an actor/filmmaker whose birthday falls on Five for the Fifth Day. Well today’s Bradley Cooper‘s birthday, and he and I are apparently only a month apart in age [I'll let you Google it yourself how old that is, ahah].

BradleyCooperBday

I haven’t always been fond of Cooper, though with his tall, lean figure, dark hair and beautiful blue eys, you’d think he’d be my type. The thing is, I kind of find him to be a little too pretty, which actually has the opposite effect. In any case, ever since Silver Linings Playbook, and most recently American Hustle, I’ve warmed up to him more. At least he has a pleasant countenance, though not the most charismatic actor in my opinion.

So what do you think of Bradley Cooper? Are you a fan?

3. The trend in Hollywood with film adaptations is they come in twos. And so is this year with two Biblical epics, one for Easter (NOAH – March 28) and the other just before Christmas (EXODUS – December 12). As much as I LOVE stories from the Good Book getting some attention, granted there are a bunch of them that are worth exploring, I’m more curious rather than excited about these two. My hope is that they’d stay true to the source material and that God doesn’t end up simply being an afterthought.

CroweNOAHvsBaleEXODUS

Russell Crowe w/ Jennifer Connelly in NOAH & Bale as Moses

Last week we got a FIRST LOOK of Christian Bale in the role of Moses. So apparently it’s not enough that he’s played the Ultimate Savior of Humanity (as Jesus in the TV movie Mary, Mother of Jesus) back in 1999. Not the greatest casting call ever IMO. Now, as much as I love Bale and he’s a terrific actor, I feel that he’s rather ill-suited for this role as well, it’d be nice to see Hollywood at least attempt to cast someone ethnic looking even if they couldn’t find an actual Jewish actor. I’d think Guatemalan-descent Oscar Isaac would’ve been a better choice and he’s a very good actor in his own right. Yes I know he doesn’t have the star power yet, and something with a huge budget like this is unlikely to get greenlit without a major star.

Anyway, that official photo shows Moses still leading a comfortable life as the adopted member of the Egyptian royal family. But here are some set photos with lookie here… Aussie Joel Edgerton as Ali Baba, er I mean Rhamses! In the photo of Bale with Ridley Scott, the costume look like it’s a recycled version from his Robin Hood film. Mr. Scott hasn’t captured the glory that was Gladiator since its release 14 years ago, we’ll see if he’d finally do so with this one.

EXODUS_setphotos

Well, what do you think folks? Thoughts on the EXODUS film?

4. I heard about A Promise a couple of months ago and being a fan of period dramas, naturally it piqued my interest. But with a cast that include Alan Rickman, Rebecca Hall AND former Game of ThronesRichard Madden (this ultra gorgeous hunk of a man happens to be Scottish, natch!), I definitely want to see this! Check out the trailer:

A romantic drama set in Germany just before WWI and centered on a married woman who falls in love with her husband’s protégé. Separated first by duties and then by the war, they pledge their devotion to one another.

APromise_Stills

Ok so I’ve read some not-so-stellar reviews from Venice Film Festival that mentioned the lack of chemistry. Heh, I guess I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt, I mean, being torn between Rickman and Madden? A girl can only be so darn lucky! Ah well, I doubt this movie will make it to my city anyway, but I’ll be sure to rent it when it comes out.

What do  you think of this one, folks?


5. Now lastly, since the first week of the New Year isn’t over yet, some of you are probably still working on your New Year’s resolution. Some might’ve actually broken one too, am I right? ;) I actually don’t really have one, I just never bothered with it, but this year, as it relates to my blog and my love for movies, my resolution is to catch up on more classic movies. I’ve been saying that a lot in the past but this time, I’ve got a plan! I’ve signed up for the BlindSpot blogathon, as you can see on my list I posted last week, I’d at least hit 12 of them I’ve been meaning to see. Perhaps you have similar goals, i.e. tackle a certain genre/filmmaker or maybe you want to catch all of AFI’s Top 100 Movies, etc.

So, what’s YOUR movie-related goal in 2014?


Well, that’s it for the first-of-the-year edition of Five for the Fifth, folks.

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

Five for the Fifth: DECEMBER 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth_holiday

Hello folks, welcome to the last 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, 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. Today happens to be Walt Disney‘s birthday. He would’ve turned 112. As Disney’s animated feature FROZEN (read Terrence’s review) broke box office record over the five-day Thanksgiving period with $93 mil and I’m going to Saving Mr. Banks screening next week, Mr. Disney is never far from Hollywood and moviegoers.

WaltDisney_Bday

I grew up watching Disney Princess movies and to this day I’m still fond of Disney films, with Tangled being the latest one. Though there are awesome animated features now from Pixar and Dreamworks, I still love watching those classic Disney movies, especially Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and my all time fave: Sleeping Beauty.

What are YOUR favorite Disney (not-counting Pixar) movies?


2. Inspired by my recent viewing of Spike Jonze’s HER, I initially wanted to make this as a Question of the Week post but it works here too. I was blown away by how affected I was by this film. I’ve mentioned in this post that I really dug Joaquin Phoenix’s soulful performance, but I also have to give Scarlett Johansson credit for her voice acting. You can hear her in the trailer below:

HER_VoiceActing


I think most people often associate voice acting in animated films and surely there have been some terrific ones year after year. But in the case of Scarlett as an operating system in HER (as well as Benedict Cumberbatch as the Dragon Smaug in The Hobbit 2), they’re lending an indelible presence in a live-action film with just their voice. I’d think that voice acting is as challenging — if not more — than normal acting. This is what the actress said about the voice acting process per Indiewire:

” … what I thought was going to be four days of recording turned into a really involved process. At times, I would even record with Joaquin, who really made himself available in an amazing way … Then sometimes I would do sessions with Spike where I would act opposite him, or I would act opposite the playback just to see how that was. But it was a very different experience from being on set.”

It made me think that perhaps there should be a separate award category for this as it really takes a special skill to pull this off and it not only enrich a film but it could be a crucial factor in the film’s success.

What do you think about this? Should voice acting be considered by major awards like Oscar?


3. A movie marketing campaign can be relentless in an annoying way but in the case of Anchorman 2, I think it’s fun and hilarious!

RonBurgundy_NorthDakotaTV

Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy joined the KXMB evening newscast in Bismarck, North Dakota in character. I don’t know how the real anchors can keep a straight face throughout, but it was a hoot! Clad in his signature burgundy suit, Ferrell didn’t even crack a smile or giggle in the entire 30-min segment. Check it out:



What do you think about Anchorman 2′s marketing campaign? Are you excited for the movie?


4. I came across a couple of British film projects that piqued my interest this week. One is a short film and the other a period drama set in Cornwall. Both of them feature some of my fave Brits, natch!

OutOfDarkness_Short_PosterOut of Darkness is a short film by Manjinder Virk (check out this interview w/ the director). It won Best Drama & Best of Fest at ASFF2013 and it’s also made Official selection at 57th BFI London Film Festival. Naturally the casting of Tom Hiddleston got my attention, but it’s also got Riz Ahmed who impressed me in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Check out the trailer below:


SummerInFebruaryPoster

A true tale of love, liberty and scandal amongst the Edwardian artists’ colony in Cornwall

I just found out about this project two days ago, but I’m glad I did. It’s SO my kind of movie! I’ve grown to like Dominic Cooper over the years and Dan Stevens is yet another Jane Austen alum I’ve been hoping to see more of. He’s won me over since that chopping-wood-in-the-rain scene in BBC’s Sense & Sensibility [girls you know which one ;) ]. Oh and his co-star Hattie Morahan who played Elinor in that miniseries is in this, too. I’m a sucker for these kinds of films, especially set on location in the UK. This movie is released in January in the US, boy I’d wish that Summer would arrive in February! The only thing is this trailer gives a bit too much away.



Thoughts on either one of the projects above?


LoveActuallyPic5. Now for the last question, I’m going to focus on Holiday movies. To be honest with you, I actually don’t have a movie tradition that I watch during any holiday, whether it’s Christmas, Easter or whatever. I don’t know why but I just never have such a tradition at any point of my life.

I think the only Christmas-themed movie I wouldn’t mind watching once a year is Love, Actually. There are just so many memorable scenes in that movie and the music is lovely. Thankfully it’s on Netflix so maybe this month I might get my hubby to see it with me as he’s never seen it!

Well, now my last question to you is: Favorite holiday-themed movie?


That’s it for the last 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I invite you to take part & answer at least one of the questions above.

Five for the Fifth: NOVEMBER 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth_purple

Hello folks, welcome to the second to last Five for the Fifth of 2013!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, 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. As you know, I have a penchant for the Scots, but it’s not just limited to men. Today’s birthday girl is Tilda Swinton, who still looks youthful at 52. The chameleon thespian is perhaps the most talented Scottish actress working today, and she came from a prestigious Scottish family. In fact, her family is one of the oldest in Scotland. Katherine Matilda Swinton is the daughter of Major-General Sir John Swinton, whose ancestral home has been within the family since the 9th century.

TildaSwintonBdayHere are a couple more interesting trivia you might not know about miss Swinton:

  • Gave birth to twins, a daughter named Honor Byrne and a son named Xavier Byrne, in November 1997. The father of her children, John Byrne, is a Scottish artist and writer.
  • Since 2004, she has been in a relationship with Sandro Kopp, a painter from New Zealand.
  • Spent two years in South Africa and Kenya as a voluntary worker in children’s schools, before studying at Cambridge. Attended West Heath Girls’ School, with Princess Diana as one of her classmates, and later Fettes College.

I still need to see more of her work (esp. We Need to Talk About Kevin, but so far my favorites would be her Oscar-winning performance in Michael Clayton, though she was fantastic playing larger-than-life characters like the White Queen in the Narnia films and the androgynous angel Gabriel in Constantine.

I can’t wait to see Only Lovers Left Alive, which I’ve mentioned in this post a while back. I mean the cast alone is a reason to see this, and I love the pairing of Tilda and rock-star vampire Tom Hiddleston! We finally got a trailer, check it out:


What’s YOUR fave role of Tilda Swinton, and are you looking forward to this film?


2.  A couple of films about racial equality and slavery have been all abuzz this year, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, 12 Years A Slave. But this one comes from a female perspective.

Belle_filmposter
BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.


I don’t know if this one would open anywhere near me but I’d be sure to rent it. I haven’t seen English actress Gugu Mabatha-Raw in anything yet though I have heard of her, and the rest of the cast looks great, esp. Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. Matthew Goode also has a brief role as Belle’s father.

What do you think of this one folks?


3. I know a lot of people are hugely anticipating the upcoming Star Wars movie. I’m not really one of them, I mean I’m just blase about the whole thing, but depending on the cast, my interest level might vary.

ChiwetelEjioforSWcasting

Well, now the rumor mill of Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s casting got started when a Times journalist Rhys Blakely met him on the lobby of Bad Robot production on his way to interview J.J. Abrams for his new book that’s got nothing to do with Star Wars. But of course, since casting has been underway for Episode VII, naturally Blakely couldn’t help inquiring about that to Abrams.

As quoted in SlashFilm, here’s what happened:

He looks at me, dead-eyed. “I can’t discuss casting,” he says. “But he’s a very talented gentleman.”

Not exactly a denial is it, and it’s not like Abrams has another HUGE film he’s working on and I doubt he’d cast the Oscar frontrunner for 12 Years A Slave for a TV project. I sure hope this wouldn’t be just a rumor. I know the casting rumor about Benedict Cumberbatch has been debunked but I still wouldn’t rule it out yet. Boy, how I’d LOVE to see the two of them together again in a movie!

What do you think about this casting rumor folks? Who’s on your wish list to be cast in this movie?


OscarSeason4. Timing is everything the say. It couldn’t be more true when it comes to a film’s release date in terms of its Oscar chance. I’m often baffled about how the whole ‘release date’ strategy work in Hollywood, though every cinephile knows the crucial role it plays for any film that wants to be considered for Best Picture. I guess that explains why the award-contenders often get released after Labor Day. Of course there are always exceptions in everything, but according to whowonOscars.com, more than 1 in 5 nominees is released in December and based on the past few years, winners tend to release around 240 days before the ceremony. Interesting stuff eh?

Well, you might’ve heard of the release date switcheroo for Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. It was supposed to open in November, but then there were reports that it’d get pushed back to next year, perhaps in line with Cannes Film Festival in May. Well, now it’s back in 2013 timetable, Christmas day to be exact, the same time as another Oscar contender American Hustle. Now, it’s George Clooney’s equally-star-studded film The Monuments’s Men that’s getting pushed to 2014. According to L.A. Times, the actor and director said that the special effects wouldn’t be completed in time for its December release. “If any of the effects looked cheesy, the whole movie would look cheesy,” he reasoned.

WolfOfWallStreet_TheMonumentsMen
Well, I should think that Leonardo DiCaprio is probably smiling ear to ear now that The Wolf of Wall Street is back on Oscar race. Though from watching the trailer, I think that it increases more chances that Matthew McConaughey might get double nomination, as he’s got three solid performances in MUD, The Dallas Buyer’s Club and the one with Leo. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets one nomination each in the lead and supporting category.

So what are your thoughts about the two films above and the whole Oscar + film release date strategy?


5. Now for the last film I always like the get in the spirit of movie recommendations (or warning) amongst movie fans. Now that we’ve only got two months to go in 2013, most likely you’ve got an idea at least a few films that might end up in your Best or Worst list. I know for me some of my Movie of the Month inductees like Gravity, 12 Years A Slave might end up on my Best list and Die Hard 5 and Gangster Squad would surely be in my WORST. Fortunately I haven’t seen too many stinkers as I purposely avoid them, ahah.

Well, now my last question to you is: Name at least two films you think would be in either BEST or WORST list, or both.


That’s it for the NOVEMBER 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

Five for the Fifth: OCTOBER 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth

Hello folks, welcome to the 10th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, 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. There are two actors I like who’s having a birthday today: Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce. I’ve dedicated a post to the luminous and massively talented miss Winslet and posted my top five favorite roles, so I’m going to focus my attention here on the Australian thespian.

GuyPearceBday

Mr. Pearce who turns 46 today, I haven’t seen enough of his work to do a top five but I absolutely love him in L.A. Confidential and Memento (in that order), and also his supporting roles in The Hurt Locker, The Count of Monte Cristo, The King’s Speech and Iron Man 3. I still want to see the Aussie drama Animal Kingdom and also Lawless, he’s so unrecognizable in the trailer!

What’s YOUR favorite Guy Pearce roles?


Timberlake_RunnerRunner2.  I just read this article on The Wrap on Justin Timberlake after I saw the trailer for Runner Runner (review coming Monday). Truth be told, I wasn’t fond of the pop star at all, nor do I find him to be remotely attractive. But I’m slowly warming up to him, though I still much prefer him in supporting parts (preferably more comedic than dramatic roles) as he’s just not leading man material to me. Case in point: In Time, which would’ve been a lot more compelling had Cillian Murphy is in the lead instead of him. Granted the Irish actor is perhaps not a ‘marquee name’ (though he SHOULD be) so he’s not as marketable, but he’s certainly a much better actor.

In any case, it’s interesting to see how many films Timberlake has done, but his most successful one is still The Social Network, which I think is still my fave film he’s been in. I guess he’s not as good an actor as he is a singer, and his star power doesn’t exactly translate at the cinematic box office.

Thoughts on Justin Timberlake? I’m also curious if there a musician-turned-actor whose work you admire.


3. Ok, this is one piece of news I find truly mind-boggling.

Earlier this Spring, the crime drama BROADCHURCH aired on ITV in Britain, and then the show was bought by BBC America and it was shown this past August. The show just concluded its first season run on BBC America last week. Former Dr. Who David Tennant and Olivia Colman star as two detectives investigating the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town, which brings a media frenzy that threatens to tear the community apart. My friend Novia (a huge fan of BBC shows) praised the show in her review, and I’ll be posting a guest post on why people should check out this series.

BroadchurchBBC

Well, I just read on BBC America web site that FOX is going to remake it and though Tennant will reprise his role as the lead detective, the show will be “thoroughly Yankified,” as the article says. “The Fox redo will be set in an American small town. The network hasn’t said whether Tennant will play a Scotsman (which he is in real life) who has ended up on this side of the Atlantic or will adopt an American accent for the U.S. version of the series.”

I guess it’ll be similar to the show Elementary on CBS which capitalizes on the popularity on BBC’s Sherlock, and just as pointless. I really don’t get this types of projects but maybe there’s actually people who thinks this remake is a good idea. If so I’d like to know why. I’m also puzzled why Tennant is willing to play two separate versions of the same character [scratch head]

So perhaps one of you smart folks could enlighten me as to WHY Hollywood is doing this??


4. A couple of trailers got me super excited this week:

Before I get to it, watch Thorin er, Richard Armitage introduces the trailer [swoon] :P

… and the trailer itself:

Totally agree with Sati that every woman who sees The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer better has medics waiting for her outside!

ThranduilThorin_Hobbit2

I LOVE that there are more scenes with Thorin this time and also Thranduil (Lee Pace), the two major eye candy by two actors who really should get more roles already. I wish those two were as busy as Benedict Cumberbatch, whose dragon voice sounds awesome. Fun to see Sherlock tormenting Watson again, ahah.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, I just rsvp-ed to see The Fifth Estate this coming Tuesday. Can’t wait to see the controversial film about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It’s got a great cast, too, including Daniel Brühl and Dan Stevens. Check out the latest trailer:

Are you excited for either (or both) of these?


5. Now, the last topic is inspired by my recent review of GRAVITY, which still lingers with me a week and a half after I saw it. Few films have such power to really get under my skin (in a good way). In my review I mentioned about the deep emotional/spiritual aspect of the film, yet another strength of the film on top of its technical and visual spectacle.

Well, now my last question to you is: What’s the most emotionally gratifying film(s) you’ve seen this year?


That’s it for the OCTOBER 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

Five for the Fifth: September 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth

Hello folks, welcome to the first FALL edition of Five for the Fifth!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, 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. I always like to spotlight a filmmaker/actor who’s having a birthday on Five for the Fifth and today happens to be Werner Herzog’s 71st Birthday today.

WernerHerzogI have to admit that I actually have not seen a single film by the German director, though I have seen one that he produced, that is The Act of Killing and saw his acting for the first time in Jack Reacher. My friend Vince and I was just talking about him not too long ago, in which we talked about his interesting love-hate relationship with Klaus Kinski. In fact, he’s going to lend me the documentary My Best Fiend – Klaus Kinski.

Even if you’re not familiar with Mr. Herzog, just reading his IMDb bio would give you a glimpse into his um, enigmatic character. Apparently he saved Joaquin Phoenix once when he was on a car crash, but then vanished after calling an ambulance. Speaking of car accidents, have you seen his PSA on Texting While Driving which was sponsored by AT & T and other phone carrier companies. It’s interesting as according to CNN, Herzog doesn’t even own a cellphone! But the article says, “… he looks at the statistics for texting-while-driving incidents — as well as our smartphone obsession and its cost in simple human contact — and recognizes the necessity of saying something.” Here’s one of the PSA video:

I’m curious what you think of Mr. Herzog and what’s your favorite film that he’s done?

2. Seems that in the movie world at least, the geek shall inherit the earth… with J.J. Abrams as the geek god. Having completed two Star Trek films, now he’s busy working on the Star Wars sequels. I’ve got to admit I didn’t really pay attention to the whole Star Wars VII development… well that is until Benedict Cumberbatch is [rumored] to be cast. Boy, this has been quite a year for crazy casting rumors isn’t it, as I was quite convinced that Bryan Cranston has indeed been cast as Lex Luthor in the Man of Steel sequel and I was rejoicing in that fact! So now Cumberbatch is apparently the latest, shall we say, victim of casting rumor ran amok. Clearly some of his fans had fun making GIFs of Benedict with a lightsaber :D

BenedictLightsaber

Alas, it’s all apparently is JUST a rumor. But I like the first line of the NY Daily News article that debunked it:

Reports that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII” seem to be full of Sith.

Full of Sith, ahah. Ah well, that’s too bad really, as I quite like the idea of him as a Sith Lord. And I think the actor would surely take that on, as he told Total Film early this year that he’s a Star Wars fan: “I was much more connected to [Star Wars] as a kid, in the way that a lot of kids are because it’s immediate storytelling, very simple – a beautifully, outrageously simple narrative in a way – and a wonderful three-act melodrama, opera. And I loved them. I really, really loved those films and I always wanted to be Han Solo…”
 

Well, what’s your thoughts about this casting idea folks? Would you be happy with Benedict Cumberbatch joining the next Star Wars movies?


3. This question is inspired by my recent viewing of MUD, in which two boys end up befriending a drifter with a shady past. I’ve always loved films about unlikely friendships. There are quite a few films with this kind of topic, and it spans multiple genres. A lot of buddy comedies often made up of people who didn’t initially get along but ended up becoming well, buddies. That’s certainly a popular variation of that theme, but I’m focusing mainly on dramatic or thriller genres.

Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman

Richard Jenkins + Haaz Sleiman in The Visitor

Some of my favorites of such films are The Intouchables, The Visitor, The Professionals, Finding Neverland, Mrs. Brown, just to name a few. I also just read Steph’s recent review of My Afternoon with Margueritte, which I might check out.

In the spirit of recommendations, please share YOUR favorite film(s) about unlikely friendships.


GravityPoster_Bullock4. One of the Fall films that’s been generating all kinds of buzz this week is Alfonso Cuarón‘s GRAVITY. The first trailer doesn’t really give us anything other than Sandra Bullock spinning out of control in space whilst her shuttle suddenly breaks apart around her, and George Clooney‘s voice speaking to her.

This second trailer gives more background to her character, Dr. Ryan Stone, described as a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission (per Wikipedia). Clooney plays a veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky, the only one Stone is able to communicate to in her desperate hour. Pretty gut-wrenching stuff.

“Is there somebody down there looking up, thinking about you?” Kowalsky asks.

“I had a daughter,” Stone whispers, “A little girl with brown hair. Tell her that I’m not quitting.”

Check out the latest trailer below:

I’m even more intrigued now, even before James Cameron calling it “the best space film ever done,” which was all over Twitter yesterday. I’ve always liked Sandra Bullock and this is a role I don’t usually associate her with but I know she’s a capable actress. Cuarón‘s a formidable director, whose Children of Men is one of my favorite sci-fi films. Sounds like he might give us another sci-fi classic with this one.

What say you folks? What’s your level of interest on GRAVITY?


5. Last but not least, now here are two films based on TV shows that definitely piqued my interest. Both of them star sexy, crush-worthy Brits of course ;)

IdrisElbaLutherThe first one is the BBC crime drama series LUTHER starring Idris Elba. According to the series creator, Neil Cross, the movie adaptation’s script is already written. Per Total Film, speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, Cross confirmed that a feature film is going ahead, and announced that the plot will take the form of a prequel story following Luther’s early career. Mr. Elba is reportedly set to return as the protagonist. Well I sure hope so, who’s actually going to watch if he’s NOT in it??

Now, the other one is The Man from U.N.C.L.E, which is based on the  movies based on the mid 60s TV series of the same name. I love the cast so far: Two impossibly gorgeous guys, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, are playing CIA and KGB agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, respectively. The movie could’ve been called Superman Twins or something like that as I could totally see the 6’5″ Hammer as Superman as well.

Cavill_Hammer_ManFromUNCLE

So far Hugh Grant (who’ll be playing the head of British Naval Intelligence) and Jared Harris have joined the cast as well. I’m sooo glad Henry got the role, I remember months ago that Tom Cruise was originally cast in his role. I think Henry is a better choice as he’s much closer to Armie’s age (not to mention height).

Set in the early 60s at the height of the Cold War, the film is set to begin production next week in England, with location filming in Rome and Naples (nice!). Scott Z. Burns (a Minnesota native!) who wrote The Bourne Ultimatum, Contagion, Side Effects, etc. is penning the script. I think if Guy Ritchie is making this more like a action-adventure comedy like his Sherlock Holmes films, this could be a lot of fun. 

What are your thoughts on either one of these projects? Or you can also tell me what other TV series you’d like to see being made into a feature film.


That’s it for the September 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now pick one or do them all!

Five for the Fifth: AUGUST 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth

Hello folks, welcome to the 8th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, 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. August 5th is Neil Armstrong‘s birthday. The first man on the moon would’ve been 82 today. When he died almost exactly a year ago on August 25 (see my music-themed tribute here), some articles (like this one) reported on an [inevitable] biopic on his life. Not sure what have become of that project, which is baffling to me as Hollywood LOVES biopics, and Armstrong seems to have a story worth telling, aside from his accomplishments in space engineering.

NeilArmstrong

This Guardian article from 2008 had some casting ideas, but I think some of those might be moot at this point. One name they threw out was Viggo Mortensen, which would be awesome, even if at 54 he’s too old to play Armstrong when he first landed on the moon, which was 38.

Thoughts on this project? Who do you think would be a good fit to play Neil Armstrong?


2.  In my June Five for the Fifth, I mentioned about 2 Guns in my question about Mark Wahlberg. Well, that movie tops box office this weekend with $27 mil. Not bad considering its budget is only $61 mil. I guess both Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg can open a movie on their own, so combine the two together, I’m not surprised the film does well.

2GunsWashingtonWahlberg

The movie is more of a rental to me though. Terrence gave it a 3 out 5 stars, so it’s not horrible, but not something I have to see on the big screen. I quite like buddy action flicks though, that’s a tried-and-true genre that relies on the charm and chemistry of the cast. Some of my fave buddy action/comedy flicks are Lethal Weapons, Tango & Cash, The Other Guys, Hot Fuzz, and most recently, 21 Jump Street.

How about you, what are YOUR favorite buddy action flicks?


3. Some of you who’ve read my July Recap knows that The Act of Killing documentary is my Movie of the Month. I’m still mulling it over after seeing it last week.

JoshuaDirectingTheActofKilling

After chatting with the filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer and attending his Q&A at Walker Art Center this weekend, I have a better appreciation of the filmmaking process, though it’s certainly a film one would be hard pressed to comprehend. I will post my review and interview w/ Joshua later this week, but here’s the trailer:

So far the film has garnered all kinds of accolades and awards from all over the world. It’s Rotten Tomatoes rating is currently 97%, the summary reads like this: Raw, terrifying, and painfully difficult to watch, The Act of Killing offers a haunting testament to the edifying, confrontational power of documentary cinema. Trust me, it’s no hyperbole and it’s easily THE most haunting documentary I’ve ever seen, and I’m not saying that because the subject matter focuses on my homeland Indonesia. I can’t recommend this enough folks, especially if you like history or simply compelling stories that’s told in an inventive way. I certainly hope it’d be nominated for an Academy Awards next year.

Speaking of recommendations, what has been the most memorable documentary you saw in the last 12 months?


ChrisEvans_incar4. Actors venturing into directing films are nothing new. We’ve certainly seen some movie stars garnering accolades for directing AND starring in their films (George Clooney, Ben Affleck, etc.), and now Chris Evans is attempting to do just that. Per SlashFilm, the Captain America star reportedly will direct and star in a romantic drama called 1:30 Train. Here’s the initial plot of the film:

Two strangers who meet in Manhattan and spend one night together as the conflicts in their own lives become the basis for their exploration of each other and themselves.”

Some sites are describing it as being in the vein of Richard Linklaters’ Before Sunrise, which intrigues me, Hollywood needs more compelling romantic dramas instead of rom-coms. Now, I’m warming up to Evans as an actor, I mean he’s not a stellar actor by any means but I like that he tries to mix up different genres. He’s fitting in an apocalypse thriller Snowpiercer (hopefully it’ll get a US release date soon), and now this, in between his Avengers gig. Curious who’d be cast as the love interest, but in any case, I wish him the best of luck on this project!

What do you think of Chris Evans’ directorial debut idea? Does the film appeal to you?


5. Now, I know it’s only August, nominations isn’t going to start for another four months. But hey, since they’ve already announced that Ellen DeGeneres will host the Oscars next year (which is awesome as she’s FUNNY without being mean-spirited!), I think it’s fair game to talk about Oscar predictions… or wish list.

The one film that’s a shoo-in come award season is Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years A Slave. 

12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.  Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.  In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

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The cast is incredible, but I’m especially thrilled to see Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role!! I’ve been championing the talented Brit for years, he was on my list of foreign actors to watch (along with his co-star Michael Fassbender!). I’m sincerely hoping that this film would come to Twin Cities Film Fest in October (ahead of its limited release on December 27), as MN-native Bill Pohlad is one of the film’s producers.

Oh man, I cried just watching the trailer! I better pack a box of tissue when I watch the film. I LOVE that Benedict Cumberbatch is in this as well, this is the second time he’s doing a slavery-themed film, the first one was Amazing Grace, which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen yet.

Our resident Oscar expert Josh @ Classicblanca has put up his Oscar predictions last week, and I’m thrilled to see he’s predicting Ejiofor under the Best Actor noms. I’d love to see Fassy get a nom in Best Supporting Actor category too, since he was overlooked last year, but I REALLY want Ejiofor to finally get his dues after years of memorable, supporting performances. I know that after seeing him in Endgame, he’s definitely a capable leading man.

P.S. In the Best Actress category, I’d love to Cate Blanchett get a nom as well. I mean, just from seeing a trailer and clip of Blue Jasmine, she’s certainly in top form being the chameleon actor that she is!

Well, now my last question to you is: Which actor (or actress) would you love to getting a nomination come award season?


That’s it for the AUGUST 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

Five for the Fifth: April 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth

Hello folks, welcome to the 4th Five for the Fifth of the year!

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. I had another topic in mind here but I can’t possibly NOT include at least a mini tribute for Roger Ebert... the first movie critic I knew by name and whose reviews I read more than any other critics. It’s a sad day for movie lovers everywhere as a legend has passed away…

RogerEbert

Mr. Ebert died today at the age of 70 after a decade of battling throat cancer. Though I don’t always agree with his reviews, I always enjoy reading them. It’s also fun watching talking and debating movies with his late partner Gene Siskel on the Siskel & Ebert show, as their Roman Gladiator-ial style of ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ become iconic in popular culture. Every time I read his review, I admire Ebert’s amazing breath of knowledge about films and movie history… but more than that, appreciate his honesty in his reviews. Though he’s won the Pulitzer Prize—the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism back in 1975— he was as much a movie fan as he was a critic. As Allan Gregg said in his interview with Ebert I posted below, no matter how many thousands of movies he’s seen, he didn’t become jaded or crusty as other critics who seem to live to hate everything that opened.


Though he’s had more than his share of health problems for some time, his death came as a shock to me when I read the news via twitter, as I had just read about his Tuesday article that he was going to take “a leave of presence” due to the recurrence of cancer. Even in painful times like that, Mr. Ebert didn’t sound gloomy or feeling sorry for himself, in fact, he made it sound like having to slow down was a good thing, “… I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review” and announced plans to continue working on his website Rogerebert.com and Ebertfest, his film festival at his Alma mater, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Alas, he’s no longer with us now, but his rich legacy as a groundbreaking film critic will certainly live on.

Mr. Ebert’s love for movies and the way he popularized movie criticism has inspired me. He not only loves movies, but he also had genuine camaraderie with fellow film fans, perhaps the only major critic who took the time to correspond and encourage movie bloggers. He’ll be sorely missed in the film community, and I definitely would miss reading his reviews.

Thank you Mr. Ebert for your invaluable insights and inspiration. May you rest in peace.

What’s your fondest memory of Mr. Ebert?

……
FindingDori2. I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now. Seems like Pixar’s creativity well is danger of drought as they seem to be recycling their old stuff. First there’s Monsters University, then the Cars spin-off Planes, and now another character is being spun-off from one of their most popular feature Finding Nemo. Now, I’m not dismissing Finding Dori, I’m sure it could still be a good film, after all Dori is one of my top 10 favorite Pixar characters, but really, I’d rather see Pixar do something entirely new.

Now, that said, it made me think of what of my beloved movie characters I’d love to see getting its own film. I don’t know how often this happens. The only one I could think of is Steve Carrell’s hilarious Evan Baxter from Bruce Almighty (though I actually haven’t seen Evan Almighty) and on the TV front, I LOVE Frasier Crane which was spun-off from Cheers.

Now, which character (either in a live action/animated feature) would you like to see getting a spin-off treatment?

……


3. Hope you don’t mind me recycling my question that I posted on Reddit but I figure more of my blog friends/readers might not have seen it. It’s a question that I’ve often pondered in a while and I’d think it’d spark some interesting discussions amongst fellow movie fans.

WhatsAPerfectFilm

Every time I see in a review “[insert title here] is not a perfect movie but…” or “It’s far from perfect, but …,” it makes me wonder… just what exactly constitutes a PERFECT film for you?

There are 47 comments on Reddit so far, and these are some interesting answers I received:

The amount of personal connection with the movie dictates whether it’s a perfect or not, for you.

As with most things, I think there is no such thing as a perfect movie. Just like you cannot write a perfect essay, or a perfect novel. There is absolutely NO common basis to judge movies on, that’s what makes this impossible. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

A perfect movie would most likely be one where not a single second was wasted. Everything had a purpose and helped tell the story the director intended.

I’m curious to hear what you think. Feel free to include YOUR picks of films you consider to be *perfect*.

Remember, there’s really no right/wrong answer as films are so subjective :D


ByzantiumPoster4. When I first saw the poster of BYZANTIUM, I really like its striking design. My pal Terrence suggested that I featured the trailer on this edition of Five for the Fifth, I was more than happy to oblige. Funny that a couple of editions ago, I featured another unconventional vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

This one comes from Neil Jordan, the director that brought us Interview with the Vampire (and of course, The Crying Game). Here’s the synopsis and trailer:

Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

The reviews from various film festival has been mixed, but I’m curious to check it out as it looks like a deconstruction of the vampire tale mythology, and after the abysmal teen vampire franchise that’s been dominating the box office, it’s nice to see a film that treads new grounds on that genre.

Byzantium_Arterton_Ronan

The mostly-British/Irish cast is certainly promising: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller and Sam Riley. It’s supposed to be released in the US in late June, not sure if it’ll make it to my neck of the woods though.

What do you think of this project? Will you be seeing this one?


5. Ok, last but not least, here’s a brand spankin’ new casting news that piqued my interest. Benedict Cumberbatch joins Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. It’s apparently a haunted house thriller and though plot details are still under wrap, Del Toro described it as… “…very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules.”  [per Collider] Cumberbatch would join Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) who’ve already been cast.

Benedict_CrimsonPeak

Though horror is not my cup of tea, I’m slightly curious about this project, though time will tell if it’s something I’d see on the big screen. I’m just glad the massively talented Brit is getting more and more roles in Hollywood. I can’t wait to see him in Star Trek Into Darkness next month, and looking forward to seeing his portrayal of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. He’s also filming the third season of BBC’s Sherlock, yay!

Well, now my last question to you is two-fold: Are you enthused about this project with this cast? And secondly, which TV-actor would you like to see get his/her big break on the big screen?


For those with a Reddit account, would you be so kind as to submit this post?
I’d sincerely appreciate it folks! :D


That’s it for the APRIL 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.