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…
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?
2. 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.
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
4. 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.
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.
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!