FlixChatter Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

GuardiansOfGalaxyPoster

I have to admit that I wasn’t remotely interested in seeing this one from the moment I first heard about it. For one thing, I was beginning to get bored of yet another Marvel superhero movie, and another reason is I have never even heard of who these characters are. Though it seems that a lot of my fellow bloggers are getting superhero fatigue, clearly the average movie goers are still gung ho about them, as GOTG has proven itself to be another big hit for Marvel. According to Box Office Mojo, by Friday estimates, it already out-earned two of Marvel’s sequels: Captain America 2 and Thor 2 and on its way to make close to $100 mil by the first weekend, wow!

The audience in the packed advanced screening on Tuesday seemed to have a good time with this movie, and I was surprised too how entertaining it was. The protagonist this time isn’t a superhero, he’s a regular boy-next-door human named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who got abducted by a space ship just minutes after his mother died at a hospital. Fas forward twenty six years later, we see Peter on planet Morag stealing an orb that turns out to be a highly-coveted artifact wanted by the master villain Ronan (Lee Pace). The scene is reminiscent of Raiders Of The Lost Ark opening sequence and you could say Peter has the kind of swagger and cheeky attitude of Indiana Jones. Needless to say, Peter then gets embroiled in a manhunt, not just from Ronan but also from a group of space pirates led by Yondu (Michael Rooker) who apparently the same folks that snatched young Peter from earth years ago.

GuardiansOfGalaxyStills1

I think people who read the comics would appreciate this movie more, as they’d be more familiar with the cosmic universe where everything takes place. A lot of the things happening here baffles me but I went along for the ride anyway. Peter suddenly ends up in planet called Xandar and ends up getting arrested by Nova Corps, the space militia led by Glenn Close, sporting similar hairdo as in 101 Dalmatians. It’s in the Xandar prison that Peter meets his would-be teammates: a wisecrackin’, gun-toting, raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a tree-like humanoid named Groot (Vin Diesel), bad-ass assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who has a personal vendetta against Ronan. It’s an unlikely quartet that constantly bicker and fight, but of course they have no choice but to work together.

Guardians of the Galaxy is more of a space action comedy, akin to Galaxy Quest or The Fifth Element. But the irreverent and at times cheesy humor works here and there’s such a fun spirit throughout that is contagious. The one-liners are packed with goofy 80s pop-culture references (Kevin Bacon, John Stamos) to self-satirical ones like “I’m gonna die, surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” Director James Gunn and writer Nicole Perlman (first female writer of a Marvel movie, yay!) are certainly aware of the its inherent silliness and the movie definitely works because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Perhaps this is an antithesis of sort to the standard superhero fare as none of the characters here possess any kind of super powers. But what the characters have in spades is humor, charm and even warmth, as the unlikely group slowly bond together.

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Now for the cast, I have to say that Chris Pratt [now part of the Marvel trifecta of Chris-es w/ Chris Hemsworth & Chris Evans] is a hoot and no doubt this movie will launch him to be a star. There’s a scene where a space henchman calls him Star Lord and Peter quips ‘finally!’ It’s almost art imitating life as Pratt has been in a bunch of major movies in supporting roles, in fact, three of them were nominated for Oscar 3 years in a row: Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball, and Her. But now it’s his moment to shine and he’s such a charming, affable dude you can’t help but root for him. The rest of the cast is pretty good in their roles and I have to say Cooper as the fast-talking raccoon with a chip on his shoulder is quite the scene-stealer! I wonder just what the heck Cooper was thinking taking this job after a two Oscar nominations back to back, as he could easily play Peter Quill as well, but y’know what, I think he did a smashing job as Rocket. Diesel too, surprisingly makes the most of his only one line in the movie, ‘I am Groot’ all the way to the end.

It’s always nice when a movie surprises you in a pleasant way when you have such little expectations about it. But still I’m surprised by the stellar reviews that seem to surpass even Captain America: The Winter Soldier which I think is a better movie. Yes of course GOTG is a lot of fun and I was genuinely entertained, but it’s hardly flawless. Some critics call it edgy but the plot is not exactly fresh, we’ve got a space psychopath hellbent on destroying the world and it’s up to these unlikely heroes to save everyone, nothing new there. It doesn’t help matters that the villains are pretty ho-hum and lacking real menace. Poor Lee Pace is rather wasted here as Ronan is as boring as the villain in Thor 2. Same could be said for his female sidekick Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Thanos (uncredited Josh Brolin), which to me makes more impact in The Avengers‘ post-credit scene than here. I do like Rooker as Yandu, his performance reminds me of Michael Wincott who’s no stranger to playing bad guys.

GuardiansOfGalaxyStills2

So the good guys definitely have more fun, even John C. Reilly is a hoot as a Nova Corpsman, especially in the hilarious finale. For sure the heroes were never in any danger in being upstaged by the villains. Visually speaking it’s as good as I expect from a big-budget Marvel movie, the 3D is pretty good but at the same time I honestly can’t think of an action scene that stand out to me. What’s truly awesome is the soundtrack! As a big fan of 80s music, the retro soundtrack is pure nostalgic fun! The gist is that Peter’s mom made an Awesome Mix Vol. 1 tape for him that he constantly plays on his walkman. Most Millennials probably think of it as some ancient artifact ahah, but hey I definitely remember those and making tapes of songs from the radio [oh boy am I dating myself or what?] The song played in the trailer, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, will be forever associated with this movie, and there are others I definitely recognize even if I can’t remember them by name.

Amidst all the clutter of all the goofy actions, there’s actually a bit of emotional touches here and there. So overall this movie proves to be a pleasant surprise and one I don’t even mind watching again. Not as spectacular as people led you to believe, but still worth a look if you’re initially skeptical. Everyone of all ages should enjoy this, just don’t expect too much in the way of plot and you’ve got yourself two hours of a rollicking good time.

3.5 reels


So what do YOU think of Guardians of the Galaxy? 

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A Trio of Casting News I’m Excited About: Viola Davis + Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Lee Pace

Now, if only the three of them would actually be starring in ONE film, that’d be an even more spectacular casting news. But hey, I’m just glad that those three are getting more prominent roles and I’m particularly excited about Viola’s news because it involves one of my favorite directors!

Viola Davis & Chris Hemsworth – Michael Mann’s untitled Cyber Thriller

DavisHemsworth_Casting

Now, the concept of the film itself sounds intriguing and it’s something right up Mr. Mann’s alley. He hasn’t done a feature film since Public Enemies back in 2009. That film was sadly quite disappointing, but I still very much regard him as one of my favorite directors. I’ve seen seven out of ten of his feature films, with Heat, The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider being my all time favorites.

According to the Playlist, the film “…will follow a Balkan hacker operating out of South Asia who has an American and Chinese task force on his tail.” Sounds intriguing and with this cast and filmmaker, I’m so game! Not sure which role Chris Hemsworth will play, but I’ve been reading that the Oscar nominee Viola Davis might play an FBI agent. I do hope she’s got the lead role instead of just a supporting character, she’s certainly a charismatic actress with a chameleon-ability to play just about any kind of roles. The hot and in demand Aussie Hemsworth is always watchable in my book, so yeah, I’ll be keeping an eye on this project!


Now, I didn’t mean this to be a THOR reunion of some kind, ahah, but Hemsworth brotherly nemesis in that film is equally in demand. Btw, check out the latest Thor: The Dark World trailer on Tim’s blog.

Tom Hiddleston in The Crow and Robert Capa biopic?

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Looks like Mr. Hiddleston might be clad in skinny leather pants once again, not that I’m complaining ;) Truth be told, I wasn’t really paying attention to all the rumors about The Crow reboot, though I’m surprised it’s taken them so long to do so. Surely it’ll be tough to forget Brandon Lee in that role, who was tragically shot during filming, but the concept of The Crow is an intriguing one and with Hiddleston [possibly] on board, naturally I’m intrigued. I certainly would rather see him than Bradley Cooper as Eric Draven!

According to The Wrap, “Hiddleston recently had dinner with producers and sent them a makeup test that he did on his own in London. He will undergo a proper makeup test in the coming days, as the character’s appearance is important to fans of the franchise…”

Fingers crossed this will actually happen!

Hiddleston_Atwell_CapaBiopic

Now, this one sounds like a done deal and the concept is more grounded in reality. Hiddleston will play renowned war photographer Robert Capa in the pending biopic, with Paul Andrew Williams directing. Interesting that I had just seen the film by Williams, Unfinished Song. Whilst it’s not a bad film, I sure hope this one would be a lot more compelling.

I’m particularly intrigued by the romantic theme of the film, as the story will focus on Capa’s two-year romance with Spanish war photographer Gerda Taro, which will be played by Hayley Atwell. I really like this casting, Atwell certainly looks the part and no doubt the two would have a nice chemistry together. Funny enough, I actually saw Capa being portrayed on screen not too long ago (by Venezuelan actor Santiago Cabrera) in Hemingway & Gellhorn, and I remember thinking how his life deserved a biopic on his own, ahah.


Lee Pace lands the villain role in The Guardians of the Galaxy

LeePace_GuardiansGalaxyI ‘ve mentioned some casting in this film a while back in the Five for the Fifth post. On that post, I said that I’m not exactly interested in that movie yet, but if Lee Pace ends up being cast, now that’s a different story. Well, talk about dreams come true!! I know a fellow blogger who’s just as enthused about this news.

The Playlist reported that the gorgeous Oklahoma native is indeed going to play the main villain of the Marvel superhero series. Now, I still would prefer that he plays The Flash as he’s my top casting choice and he certainly has the look and personality to pull it off, but hey, just seeing him getting prominent role is always good news to me.

Of course I’m also looking forward to more screen time of him as Thranduil the last two Hobbit films: Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again. So there’s at least two movies I’ll be looking forward to from Pace, wahoo! I’m still hoping that he’d also land a real career breakthrough in the future though, I’d love to see him lead a drama or thriller as he’s definitely got screen charisma, talent AND rugged good looks like his peers Bradley Cooper or Ryan Gosling who’ve made it big. In fact, I’d rather see Pace ten times over than those two!!


Well, which one of these casting news intrigue you? Feel free any other recent casting news that make you jump for joy!

Five for the Fifth: First Edition of 2013!

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

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. Well, since it’s only five days into the new year, some people are perhaps just starting their New Year’s Resolutions or perhaps already forgotten all about it, ahah. I actually haven’t really thought about it, though in terms of blogging and movies, I do want to watch more classic movies this year, which I did right away with The Shop Around the Corner on January 1st. It was pretty sweet, I love James Stewart, I need to do a JS marathon :D

Anyway, I’m curious if you’ve got any New Year’s resolution. Name one (or more if you choose) movie/blogging resolution for the year.

……
Oscar20132. Can you believe it that only 5 days away until The Academy Awards nominations! On Thursday, January 10, the nominations will be announced at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. I’ll have a reaction post after that but for now, but I feel like I’m not ready to do my 2013 predictions, though last year I was pretty good in my predictions.

Anyway, last year there was only 9 nominees, so who knows how many it’ll be this year. Well, just for the fun of it, I’ll take a stab at my predictions for the 10 Best Picture nominees:

  1. Argo
  2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  3. Django Unchained
  4. Les Miserables
  5. Life of Pi
  6. Lincoln
  7. Moonrise Kingdom
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. The Master
  10. Zero Dark Thirty

Sounds like it’s a really competitive race this year, I’m really curious which one would sweep the Oscars this year with at least five nominations or more.

So what’s YOUR Best Picture predictions, folks? Any hunch which one would take home the most Oscars?

..

3. Well, you’ve probably read my goodbye letter to Gerry Butler this past week after seeing the train wreck that is Playing For Keeps. It’s too bad really, but until I see him in much better materials, I can’t simply call myself a GB fan anymore.

ChanningTatumIt’s been quite an interesting year as I actually start to like an actor I previously don’t care for. Now, I’m not exactly a fan of his yet, but at least I’m not going to brush him off so quickly as I did before. I’m referring to Channing Tatum. I first saw him in Haywire and I thought he was just ok, but his performance in Magic Mike was actually pretty good and he was hilarious in 21 Jump Street. So in fairness, I guess I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about him. But no, I’m not about to rent G.I. Joe or [gasp] Dear John.

Btw, the irony is not lost on me that GB and Channing will go mano-a-mano later this year (well not literally) with their White House action flicks. As Terrence has predicted, chances are both are going to be disappointing, ahah.

Anyway, which actor disappointed you this year and/or on the flip side, did you have a change of heart about someone you previously dislike?

4. Switching gears a bit to casting news. For quite a while now, I’ve been reading endless casting reports for yet another Marvel superhero ‘team’ movies in the works, a comic book I’m not familiar about called Guardians of the Galaxy. Just who the heck is that all about?

Even the 31st Century needs heroes, and the call has been answered by the Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of superhuman and extraterrestrial adventurers dedicated to the safeguarding of the Milky Way Galaxy from any force that threatens the security or liberty of its various people. (per Marvel.com)

Apparently James Gunn is going to direct, yet another name I’m not familiar about. But some of the actors who’ve reportedly been tested for the various roles did pique my interest. Here are just some of the names that have been linked to the project:

  • Joel Edgerton
  • Jack Huston
  • Jim Sturgess
  • Lee Pace
  • Eddie Redmayne
  • Zachary Levi
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor in Smallville)

Now, I’m not exactly interested in this movie yet, but if Lee Pace ends up being cast, now that’s a different story :D

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What do you think of this project? Any particular actor you’d like to see getting cast here?


5. Lastly, since I haven’t posted a Music Break in a while, I’ve got include a movie music in here somewhere. I don’t know if I’ll be posting my list of favorite soundtracks of 2012, but if I did, The Hobbit would surely make the list. I mean, some soundtracks you listen to later on and appreciate. But this music was an absolutely integral reason why I enjoyed the journey so much. Howard Shore did such an amazing job creating a new theme for The Hobbit, whilst incorporating some parts of The Lord of the Rings theme I’ve come to know and love. From the time Thorin (Richard Armitage) led his band of dwarves sang The Misty Mountains in what sounds like a solemn hymn, that beautiful theme continue to mesmerize and move me throughout the film.

The theme itself wasn’t written by Shore however, but by David Donaldson, David Long, Steve Roche and Janet Roddick, who apparently have worked together as composers/songwriters Wellington New Zealand (Thanks MovieMusicUK). Take a listen below:

So my last question to you is, what’s the most memorable movie music you’ve listened to this year? :D



That’s it for the first 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

The Christmas List Blogathon

Hello everyone! I’m back!

Actually I’ve been back since last Saturday but sooo exhausted from our hectic trip and the long layovers so I really had no energy to blog. I did manage to update the layout a bit as my theme got an upgrade to a wider format so I did a little bit of that. Hope you like it :D

Well, I was doing my rounds around my friends’ blogs when I came across the Christmas list at Sati’s blog which was apparently started by Diana at Aziza’s Picks. Inspired by the gift-giving tradition of the season, she thought about what she would buy for her fellow bloggers. What a nice idea! I actually don’t come from a culture where gift-giving is a must for Christmas, but I couldn’t help but take part in this as I believe it’s just as rewarding–if not more so—to give than to receive.

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Therefore, if time/location/money is no issue, this is what I wish I could give ten of my blog friends. Following Sati’s cue, my list also has a bit of fantasy mixed in (I’m sure the recipient don’t mind if it doesn’t come nicely wrapped underneath the Christmas tree) ;)

First I’d like to start with my contributor Ted Saydavalong. I hope he hasn’t got ‘em already but I’d love to ship him the Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. Surely it would look spectacular in his home cinema (hopefully he’d invite me, he..he..)

  • Sati – An open ticket to the next Hobbit film premiere where she’ll be personally escorted by the Elven King Thranduil himself (aka Lee Pace).
    LeePaceHobbitPremiere
  • Novroz – I know she’s still over the moon watching the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD, so this Noel Fielding t-shirt might put her over the edge, ahah. She might never want to take ‘em off!
  • Andina – My fellow Indo blogger loves soundtracks so I’d love to get her the CDs of Life of Pi and Intouchables that she just featured recently.

  • UnforgivenPosterMichael – Since he just listed his top ten Westerns list, I’d love to ship him the Blu-ray for each of those fine selection.

  • Terrence – Now for our TV star amongst us, I’d love to surprise T with a special guest appearance from his beloved Avenger, Black Widow for his Take 2 with Terrence show. Perhaps Scarlett Johansson could drop by around the time Avengers sequel is released ;)

  • Fernando A young man of discriminating taste, perhaps a Pedro Almodóvar marathon is in order? This Viva Pedro collection should fit nicely under the Christmas tree.

  • Mark – I know he’d rather be at home in Glasgow than anywhere else (who could blame him?) but perhaps a pair of tickets to New York City in April to attend the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival might entice him to take a little American vacation? Who knows he might rub elbows with his hero, the film fest founder Robert De Niro.
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  • Paula For an elegant woman with a penchant for classic movies… I’d love to ship her just about every Cary Grant DVD Box Set I could find on TCM, such as this one.

  • Castor – For my fellow Minnesotan blogger who’s been working tirelessly all year long, I just want to somehow give him a month off from work so he could watch movies every single day. I’ll throw in some movie tickets as well to sweeten the deal :D

  • Josh – For the Oscar expert amongst us, I wish I could somehow score him a ticket to the upcoming Academy Award ceremony on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood!

So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! God’s blessings to you all.

ChristmasForUntoUsAChildIsBorn

Five for the Fifth: April 2012 Edition

Hello folks, welcome to the April 2012 edition of Five of the Fifth!

It’s a bit early this year because tomorrow we’ve got a very special tribute post planned ;) 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. So let’s get started, shall we?

1. When I was watching The Hunger Games a couple of weeks ago, I kept wondering just where has Wes Bentley been all these year? He played Seneca Crane, the Panem official who ran the games, y’know the one with the awesome looking beard.

I first saw Bentley in American Beauty, which was back in 1999, and nothing else since. He was 21 then and according to this Reuters article, the Juilliard dropout apparently struggled with his newfound fame with the success of that film, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. The article said ‘he finally overcame his addictions in 2009 and is now happily married again.’  

Well, I’m glad to hear he found his way back, as I thought he’s a pretty good actor and he’s quite good looking, kind of a cross between Jake Gyllenhaal and Christian Bale.

Well, what are your thoughts on Wes Bentley? What movie(s) of his have you seen?


2. Just a few days ago, I read a report that the inevitable movie adaptation of another DC superhero The Flash might be getting closer to production. With Batman and Superman being the two most bankable franchises, surely DC would want to add a third one after Green Lantern tanked. Now, almost two years ago I posted that I actually would love to see The Flash getting a proper feature film. At the time, the writers of Green Lantern were reportedly doing initial concepts for it. I was quite excited to hear that, I even listed my wish list as to who should don the red suit: Lee Pace, Adam Brody, Zachary Levi, Hugh Dancy and Matthew Goode. 

I do think Lee Pace would be awesome in the role. He’s tall, lanky, and has the charisma and comic timing to be able to pull off such a role. Plus, he’s not a household name yet, but a lot of cinephiles probably know who he is and average moviegoers will recognize him from the TV show Pushing Daisies.

What do you think of this particular superhero adaptation? Any thoughts on who should play The Flash?

3. This past Monday, Whitney Houston’s last film Sparkle debuted its first trailer. I mentioned that film in my Houston’s memorial tribute last February.


It’s a remake of the 1976 film by the same name, which centers on three Detroit sisters who form a successful Motown-era singing group, but quickly get swallowed up by drugs, abuse, and other pitfalls of celebrity. Houston, who’s also the film’s executive producer, plays the girls’ mother, a former singer who suffered the same plights. Given what’s happened to the real singer, to hear her say the line “Was my life not a cautionary tale for you?” is utterly heart-wrenching! Sounds like Houston’s part is actually quite small, and that the star is really Jordin Sparks, but surely

What do you think folks? Would you see this on the big screen this August?

……
4. Ok, I just saw the Italian poster of Woody Allen’s latest, To Rome With Love at Impawards.

It’s a decent enough poster I suppose, but what I’m wondering is Woody’s preoccupation with ensemble casts set in European cities. It stars Alec BaldwinPenélope CruzRoberto BenigniJesse EisenbergJudy Davis,  Greta GerwigEllen Page and Alison Pill. Check out the premise:

A story about a number of people in Italy, some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors, and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.

Now, I’m not as familiar with his earlier works but do you think he’s being overly indulgent of late? Or maybe he’s always been that way with his films, after all, he was obsessed with New York City as a setting for most of his earlier films, and now it’s European big cities like London, Paris and now Rome. It also marks his return to acting since Scoop in 2006.

Thoughts on Woody Allen’s latest? Are you looking forward to this film?


5. Ok, last but not least… since tomorrow is Gregory Peck‘s birthday, I thought I’d throw in a GP-related question :D Well, I mentioned here that I have seen 28 of his work (out of a possible 57 if we’re counting TV and miniseries). Well, I think that’s a record from just one particular actor, and the time it took (just under 6 months) sets a whole new record in itself, ahah. Check out these DVD cases that this guy Paul Champagne made, apparently he made a ton of these for different actors and directors. I’m so tempted to order a few for my GP collection :)

Anyway, I started counting how many films of my other actors I have seen. It’s no surprise that Gerry Butler comes second with 25 films seen, followed by Tom Cruise22 (I guess the only explanation is that the guy is now 50 and I grew up watching a ton of his movies), then Russell Crowe – 20, and Christian Bale19 to round up the top five. As far as actresses go, I think Cate Blanchett is the one actress whose work I’ve seen the most of with 17.

So which actor/actress’ works have you seen the most of? Come on, fess up folks!


Well, that’s it for the April edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all!

A superhero movie I’d like to see: The Flash

I know what you’re thinking, we’ve got way too many superhero movies as it is, do we really need another one?? But let’s face it, whether we like it or not, Hollywood isn’t done with ‘em anytime soon, and to be fair, some of them are definitely worth seeing. To keep from having superhero flix fatigue though, I’m being more selective in choosing which ones to see. Captain America? Maybe. Green Hornett/Lantern? No/Maybe. Batman 3? Heck, yes!

Well, the past few weeks there were reports (here and here) that the same three writers (Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim) who are writing Green Lantern, have done a ‘treatment’ (I’m guessing it means the initial concept?) for the speedy red guy The Flash, with the possibility of one of those writers penning the script in the future. DC has been quite lacking compared to Marvel in the past few years, with the latter generating a lot of buzz for their upcoming projects: Thor, Capt. America, Spiderman and X-Men: First Class, to name a few. Besides the big two, Batman and Superman, the only other DC comic-book character I’d pay to see the movie version is The Flash.

My hubby and I happen to be a fan of the early 90s TV series of the Barry Allen version (Wikipedia listed three other interpretations of The Flash) with John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays. Not so much because it was such a great show, but more of a fondness for the character itself, who got the extraordinary ability to run at lightning speed as a result of, what else, freak scientific accident. We think it’d make a great origins story because of the simplicity of the character. Unlike Superman, he doesn’t have a gazillion superpowers he has at his disposal; and unlike Batman, he’s not a rich, privileged guy, nor does he have the tragic, complex background to contend with. Now, I have no clue what Guggenheim and co. have in mind for the concept, but I just think that the story of The Flash doesn’t need to tread into philosophical territory or a dark, fierce tale of revenge. Instead, it’d be great if they make this light and funny, taking advantage of Barry’s befuddlement upon his initial discovery of his powers and his lack of control of his powers. Such as in this clip when he ran so fast he ended up running 30+ miles into the ocean with his clothes all torn up, or this clip below that shows his enormous appetite as his powers drained all his blood sugar, and how his speed might not work for house cleaning :D So in essence, more Iron Man than Batman Begins.

Over lunch a couple of weeks back, we actually had an extensive discussion about who’d be perfect for the role. Well, even just by watching these old TV clips, we kept thinking Ryan Reynolds (and we’re surely not the only ones). I mean, he kind of resembles the TV actor and he can tackle the goofyl, bumbling stuff as well as the action aspect believably. Too bad he’s already signed on for Green Lantern. Another one we thought of is already taken also, Chris Evans, who’s already playing Captain America. But come to think of it, physically The Flash shouldn’t be too buff, in fact, he should be on the tall and slim side. My hubby also thinks one possibility is going with a youthful cast (under 30), with the character being kind of a juvenile brat of sort, and he has a bit of ‘growing up’ to do as he’s taking on more responsibility as a superhero.

So with that in mind, we think these five actors can look the part, as well as able to pull off the playful, humorous nature of the character.

L-R: Lee, Adam, Zach, Hugh and Matthew


Updated 2/4/2013:

Out of these five, I’m rooting for Lee Pace the most. I mean he’s American-born, 6’3″ tall, lanky and gorgeous! Not to mention he’s talented and can pull off both the heroic and comedic side of the role. How he still hasn’t got a superhero vehicle to this day is beyond me. So yeah, Lee Pace for The Flash please, Hollywood!!


Well, how do you feel about The Flash movie adaptation? Any casting ideas while you’re at it?

Hollywood Movie Draft Pitch: Hearts Want

Happy Labor Day, everybody! Well, I finally finished the movie pitch I did as part of a Hollywood Fantasy Draft blog-a-thon project spearheaded by a blogger who sadly is no longer around. It has been quite er, laborious effort but definitely fun and worth every second! I realize it’s a long one, but I would appreciate you taking the time to read it and let me know what you think. Without further ado… I present to you:

Hearts Want. A film by Ridley Scott.

Tagline:
In the crossroads of love and life, the choices are never easy.

Themes:
Past sins, true love, second chances, lawlessness, temptation, forgiveness, and making tough choices under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Setting: London, Scotland, France


Cast of Characters:

(Check out this post for the rationale of why I picked each actor)

RidleyScottMy director pick is British director Ridley Scott. I need someone who can create a solid thriller but with heart. Known for his sweeping landscapes and cinematography, the contemporary European setting would look stunning visually under his direction. He may be known for action adventure films like Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven, but he also did Someone to Watch Over Me years ago so I know he could handle the romance. According to IMDb, Ridley usually casts / works with actors who have a strong theater background and are graduates of drama schools. Hence my choice for a leading man…

HeartsWant_TimDaltonTimothy Dalton as Spencer Wesford: 64-years old, 6’2”, dark haired with green eyes, with a permanent five-o’clock shadow. Still maintain a lean figure as he jogs daily and does boxing workouts in his basement. Smokes pipe occasionally and drinks only Whisky or Scotch. Speaks French and German from his MI-5 training, was one of the best agents until he retires over two decades ago when his wife Maggie died in a car accident. Drives a black 1999 Range Rover, as he’s sworn off German cars as his wife died when he was driving his Audi S4. A man of refined taste, Spencer dresses well, wears tailored suits and Grenson shoes.Though he’s still as dashing as ever, even Darren’s female colleagues have the hots for Spencer, he hasn’t been with a woman ever since Maggie died. He’s still too heartbroken over her death and the loss of relationship with his only son. But Maggie isn’t the only love he’s lost. About five seven years before his wife died, Spencer had a brief but torrid affair with Olivia, which he ended abruptly within a year.

,,.
HeartsWant_HelenMirren
Helen Mirren as Olivia Ferrars. The heir of a billion-dollar empire, the 58-year-old takes over the powerful Ferrars enterprise after her younger brother died of MS. Once married to a man she didn’t love to honor her father’s wishes, but divorced him as soon as her father died. In her 30s had a brief but torrid affair with Spencer, then a young detective who’s assigned to probe into her family’s ties to drug cartels/diamond smugglers. Olivia is a patron of the arts and active in the Ferrars’ philanthropic endeavors and often hosts charity galas and fund-raising efforts for her many charitable foundations. She does all this partly out of guilt as she’s well aware of her enterprise’s carefully-concealed unlawful activities that is now carried on expanded under her ruthless son’s rule.

HeartsWant_JamesMcAvoy
James McAvoy as Dylan Ferrars: 31-year-old youngest son of Olivia and Spencer. Handsomely-boyish looking, soft-spoken and well-mannered, Dylan may seem like the perfect son and role model for any wealthy family. He always excels at school, doesn’t party endlessly or do drugs, and not only diligently working to advance his family business but also have time to accompany his mother to charity events. But deep down Dylan is as merciless and fiercely-ambitious like his grandfather, able to pull off the two-faced trick seamlessly and without remorse. He could be giving a speech at an earthquake benefit one minute, and the next he’d authorize to have someone who gets in his way killed or tortured.

Gerard Butler as Jacob Wesford: Spencer’s 38-year old estranged son who hasn’t spoken to his father pretty much since his mother died. Despite being a college-dropout, his savvy business sense and popularity help him become a successful club owner and restaurateur. He owns five clubs and a few elite restaurants in the UK, which Dylan Ferrars often use for business dealings and to ‘entertain’ their hoodlum guests. He’s always been a rebel, but his Godly mother was somehow able to reign him in. Of course that’s all changed with her passing. He’s constantly angry with God and blames his dad for her death, but when he misses her the most, he’d drive to the local church where she used to go and just sits there for hours. That’s when he meets Alexa.


HeartsWant_CateBlanchettCate Blanchett
as Julienne Ferrars: Olivia’s 37 year-old daughter from her first marriage who doesn’t get along with her mother and brother. She’s never been married as the men she’s been with are either spoiled rich boys, or the opposite, they’re after her family’s money. She’s devastated by the divorce as she was her father’s favorite and sensed that her mother never loved him. She shuns being a member of the Ferrars family for its deceitful nature, and prefers live in an understated condo in the outskirt of London and works as a part-time nurse.

Eva Green as Alexa Noble: 30-year-old French-English girl who’s engaged to Jacob whose disappearance propels a series of events in the movie. She’s a natural beauty, even in her plain clothes of mostly long sweaters and skinny jeans, her black hair against piercing green eyes are striking. Alexa is adopted by a couple of missionaries when she was in her late teens when her parents are killed by a drunk driver. She’s an accomplished pianist who’s a member of the London Community Orchestra but dedicates her spare time volunteering at her church, which happens to be the same small church Jacob’s mother attended. That’s when she met Jacob, who quickly falls for her. Within 4 months of their whirlwind courtship, Jacob proposes to Alexa, as he can’t imagine even a day without her. Alexa would only marry him on one condition; that is if he quits his party-boy lifestyle.

HeartsWant_LeePaceLee Pace
as Sean Leigh: the young detective assigned to the case of Alexa’s disappearance. The bright and spirited young man was one of Spencer’s most gifted student at the University, who now sees Spencer as his father figure and friend. In a way he’s like a son to Spencer who grieves for his own long lost son Jacob. They see each other every weekend playing chess or going to orchestra performances together as they share a love of classical music. Spencer is also Sean’s mentor, as he’d always consult with Spencer because of his extensive MI-5 background and expertise in forensic science.

Daniel Henney as Darren Sun: Sean’s detective partner. An equally gifted and ambitious detective, Darren’s been friends with Sean since they joined the force together. In fact, one of Sean’s sister once dated him in college. The Korean-English looker is a fitness buff and pro-triathlete who makes him extremely popular with the ladies. He’s also a skilled empathic communicator with a deft attention to detail, which makes him a skillful detective. Has just been married recently and is expecting his first child.


Additional Cast (cameos):

  • Michael Gambon: Edgar Ferrars (Olivia’s father)
  • Julia Ormond: Magdalene Wesford (Spencer’s late wife)

Logline

I always like thrillers that have love stories at the heart of it. I like Ridley Scott’s work and this one appeals to his softer side while still incorporate his knack for suspense n action. It’ll be set in his native London with a moody, almost melancholy but gritty atmosphere. The actors I’ve chosen will play roles they’re not normally associated with, for example, I chose McAvoy for this ‘villain’ role BECAUSE of his boyish role. Just because he looks like a non-threatening nice guy doesn’t mean he is, and like Cillian Murphy in Red Eye, that actually makes him a more menacing bad guy. I also like to see a couple of mature thespians at the core of the story, hence my pick of Mirren and Dalton.

Overview

Spencer, a retired MI-5 agent currently working as a forensic professor is reeled back into his old world when his estranged son’s fiancée is suddenly gone missing. Thinking that solving the case might be the key to winning back his son’s trust, he vows to do whatever it takes to help solve the case. The prime suspect of the case is Dylan Ferrars, whose mother is Spencer’s former lover Olivia, owner of the multibillion-dollar Ferrars empire. Dark secrets and past sins are quickly revealed as people’s lives are entangled in ways no one ever expected. As the case reaches a boiling point, everyone involved must make some difficult choices under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Backstory

This movie is more of an ensemble-cast in which the principal performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production. But at the core of the story is Spencer because a lot of the events has to do with a dark past he’s been trying to put behind him. Spencer retired from MI-5 soon after his wife’s death in a car accident 25 years ago, and has taken up a job as a forensic professor in the past 15 years. His quiet life is suddenly turned upside down when his long-estranged son Jacob’s fiancee is suddenly missing. In the hope of regaining his son’s trust, he vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

The case puts him back in the path of his former lover Olivia, whom he had an affair with 30 years ago. The affair lasted nearly a year, but Spencer ended it abruptly out of his conscience. Unbeknownst to Spencer, Olivia became pregnant with Dylan but she decided not to tell Spencer as she found out just as he ended their affair. She never quite get over Spencer and always hope they’d be reconciled one day.

Five years after the affair, Olivia inherited the corporation when her father died (her brother succumbed to MS, which made her the sole heir to her family’s empire). The Ferrars may appear as renowned philanthropists with all the charity and foundations benefiting the poor and the sick, but under wraps they’re a ruthless and nefarious corporation with countless illegal activities. In fact, it was during an investigation into her empire’s alleged dealings with the South American drug cartels as well as ties with Sierra Leone diamond smugglers that Spencer first had an encounter with Olivia. The investigation was fruitless given that the Ferrars had the power to cover up and throw away all kinds of evidence. As the future heir to the Ferrars’ fortune, Dylan is even more ruthless than his grandfather, and even though Olivia had become troubled by her son’s wickedness, she’s powerless to stop it.

In a bizarre turn of events, Jacob and Dylan’s path crossed 30 years later as business partners. Though he was a high school dropout, Jacob managed to work his way up to become a successful club owner and restaurateur. Dylan often uses Jacob’s clubs to entertain his high-powered clients and business associates, and though Jacob isn’t involved in the dealings, he turns a blind eye on the illegal activities.

Julienne is Dylan’s sister who’s sort of the ‘black sheep’ of the family as she not only doesn’t get along with her mother and brother, she never participates in her family’s events and charity functions. Deep down Julienne resents the two-faced nature of her family and finds that money and power is corrupting her family. She has never been married as she never loved the men she had been with, they were all spoiled, rich boys Olivia deemed ‘perfect’ for her daughter. In the past few months, Julienne starts a love affair with a young detective Sean and she’s been feeding tips about the drug cartels and diamond smuggling her own family’s involved in. At first, she was ‘using’ Sean to rebel against everything her mother’s warned her against, knowing that she would never approve of her marrying someone of such a lesser stature and economic level. But then Julienne ends up falling in love with Sean, and for the first time in her life, she finds a real reason for living. Sean happens to be Spencer’s protege who was his former professor at the U and he’s been telling Spencer of his new love, though he cannot reveal her name out of his promise to Julienne. Sean is like a son to Spencer, as he’s pretty much lost Jacob at the same time his wife died.

THE SET UP

Act 1

The first 10-15 minutes of the movie shows a slice of six lives that’s about to collide.

Opening sequence of the movie opens with scenes of a day-in-the-life of Spencer in the outskirts of London with Philip Glass’ score is playing in the background (similar to the one he did for The Hours). The aging widower lives a quiet, regimented life — wakes up in the early hours to jog, followed by boxing in his basement and then breakfast as he reads his paper. His watch beeps; he grabs his jacket and drives to a nearby park. It’s Saturday morning, which means chess game with Sean. Sean buys Spencer coffee and treats, obvious he’s in a good mood. He tells Spencer about this new girl he met and he’s giddy like a schoolboy. He can’t reveal who she is as she made him promise not to because of her famous family.

It’s night time at one of Jacob’s swanky clubs.  Love is in the air also for Spencer’s estranged son, who’s on the brink of a new life. He’s newly engaged to Alexa, ending his stint as London’s ‘most eligible bachelor’. He’s telling one of his buddies that he’s got to be home by midnight, which is unheard of for the ultimate party boy and ladies man who usually goes home with a different girl every night. But tonight is different and he’s a new man now, he says, he’s done sowing his wild oats. Next scene shows them in his bed together but they’re not making love. Alexa refuses to do that until they’re married, and Jacob respects that out of her love for her… something he has never done before given that a rich playboy like him usually sleeps with women within hours of meeting them. But Jacob is tired of frivolous sexual escapades that always leave him empty and lonely, so he’s happy even just kissing and gazing lovingly at Alexa’s beautiful face and just talk to each other until they both fall asleep.

Olivia and Dylan at their elite fund-raising event for MS (the organization Olivia is active at in honor of her dead brother). Shows Olivia giving a speech, toasting her son for her charity effort and generous giving to a recent earthquake victims, etc. Snippets of the guests questioning why the Ferrars’ daughter is nowhere to be found as usual… accusing her of not being as charitable as the rest of her family. Moments later shows Dylan on the phone ordering someone tortured/killed as he refused to do something he asked for.

Julienne is at a camp site with Sean, blissfully happy being in love. They’re talking about going on a week-long road trip together in Sean’s beat up Jeep Cherokee. He’s teasing her about maybe borrowing one of Dylan’s Maseratis and see if he’d even notice and Julienne scoffs at the idea of using any of Dylan’s preposterous ‘toys’. Her disdain for her brother is apparent.

Act 2

Shown in flashback mode: Jacob and Alexa are in a restaurant and Dylan came over to their table. The conversation heated up when Dylan made a remark about Alexa being one of his conquests. In the heat of the moment, Jacob threw his champagne at him and tells him Dylan and his guests are no longer welcome at his club. Dylan’s men almost shoots Jacob before Alexa begs Dylan’s forgiveness as she helps dry him off with a napkin. Dylan wipes off his face and says, ‘you’ll be sorry for this!’ before storming off.

The thing is, when you deal with someone like Dylan and his vicious cohorts, there is no turning back. Dylan and his friends think that Jacob knew to much to simply walk away and so they plan on killing him. One night on his way home from his club Jacob’s car is followed by Dylan’s men. A car chase ensues and Jacob is shot in the shoulder and he hits a median, sending him into intensive care, but he survives. Spencer and Alexa visit him in the hospital but Jacob’s still unconscious.

Fast forward a few days later… Spencer is at the U talking with some students about midterm when his cell rings and he immediately leaves. That’s Jacob, calling his father out of desperation to tell him Alexa is missing. That is the first time in over a decade that Jacob is speaking to his father. As Spencer is driving, Sean calls and tells him he and his partner Darren have been assigned to the case. Because of Jacob’s call to the Police station that Dylan is the perpetrator of Alexa’s disappearance and his car crash , the detectives pay Dylan a visit for questioning but they can’t arrest him as there is no evidence of his involvement.

Two days later Spencer receives a note on his front door with the initial OF, saying “I have to see you and I can help” with an address in a villa south of Scotland. Spencer knows immediately whose name is on the card and the exact location, because that’s the place they’d go for their rendezvous 30 some years ago. Thinking that Olivia is in a position to help, Spencer has no choice but to agree to meet her. Though he had left her, deep down Spencer still have feelings for Olivia, but he’s adamant not to let that affect him. The second they meet, Spencer immediately cuts to the chase and confronts Olivia if her son was indeed involved in this matter and Olivia rebuffs it, saying that they may have done a lot of bad things but kidnapping isn’t one of them. She assures Spencer that if she knows anything, she’d be more than happy to help. The two spend the whole day together—biking in a Scottish moor, strolling in a small town nearby, etc.—reminiscing on the past the shared together, and Spencer’s heart is softened as the wall he’s been building comes down that night. As they hold hands over coffee, Olivia comes close to telling him about Dylan but Spencer has to leave immediately back to the city. Olivia is hopeful that her dreams of rekindling their romance is about to come true.

Jacob regains his consciousness and he is adamant to help with the investigation of the case, even offers to share everything he knows to bring down Dylan and his associates. This puts Jacob in even more danger, and he risks of losing everything he has built as in the course of one week, his clubs have been the subject of arson (done stealthily by Dylan’s men). At this point, all Jacob cares about is finding Alexa alive.

Meanwhile, Julienne confronts her brother and pleads him to release Alexa if he indeed has her. Dylan shoots back at her saying that he knows she has been seeing the same detective assigned to the case and warns her it won’t end well if she continues to do so. Julienne tells him to leave him alone and says that Sean is only doing his job, to which Dylan replies that he’s doing the same thing, and that is to sustain the well-being of their family business. “But at what cost, Dylan?” Julienne responds, and the scene ends with her saying, “I’m sorry to see what you have become.”

Act 3

Spencer visits Jacob at the hospital on the day of his release. The two hardly speak to each other, there is still so much pain between them but this time Jacob doesn’t tell Spencer to leave. Jacob’s friends want to drive him home but Spencer convinces his son to stay with him to ensure his safety. He can protect Jacob because of his MI-5 backgrounds and reluctantly, Jacob agrees, at least until his shoulder heals. Slowly Jacob opens up to his father as the two share a house together. Spencer is ecstatic of this second chance, but he also realizes he can never see Olivia again or risk losing Jacob forever.

It’s day 11 of Alexa’s disappearance and Jacob is losing patience on the way the investigation is going. Despite all the suspicion, there is lack of evidence to pine the case on Dylan. Jacob pleads his father to do go after Dylan as he’s convinced they’re simply so powerful that the authorities can’t touch them. Spencer initially refused, saying that he cannot interfere with police business, but seeing his son’s desperation, he simply cannot refuse him. Besides, they both realize that Dylan is guilty of all kinds of criminal activities he’s been involved in, regardless of whether the Police can link those back to him. Spencer takes Jacob to visit Sean and asks him for help. Sean realizes he’s risking his career and all he’s worked for if he agrees, but at the same time he is loyal to Spencer. Suddenly Julienne shows up, much to Spencer’s shock, but Sean assures them she is not a mole but she is in fact been trying to finally bring her own brother to justice. Julienne tips everyone that every year Dylan hosts a party at one of their mansions in France, which is also one of the location of his money laundering factory. It’ll be the perfect time for a bust as all of Dylan’s powerful associates will also be there.

On the eve of the plan of a shakedown, Spencer receives a call from Olivia. She tells him she has stage 4 breast cancer, and she only have weeks left to live. She pleads for Spencer to visit her at her private clinic. Spencer can’t simply refuse her now, and on her death bed, she finally reveals the truth about Dylan, much to Spencer’s shock and anguish. Olivia asks Spencer to go easy on his son, knowing that sooner or later he will be caught. She also confesses that she knows of all the illegal activities that Dylan is doing, but that there is nothing she can do about it. Spencer says there is and there is only one way to make things right, even if that means making the most difficult decision in their lives.

Act 4

Sean manages to convince his partner Darren, as well as several detectives and special forces to help with the bust. After a brief shootout, they’re able to arrest most of the criminals, but Dylan escapes with his right hand man. Sean is able to shoot Dylan’s protector though he is wounded in the process, but Dylan manages to get into his Maserati and drives off. Jacob grabs Sean’s gun and runs after Dylan in one of the detectives’ car. Within minutes Spencer is on their tail, fearing his worst that his two sons will try to kill each other. As Dylan is not a very experienced driver, having been chauffeured all his life, Jacob has no trouble catching up with him. He hits Dylan’s car and finally able to corner him. Jacob pulls a gun on him, telling him to get out. He threatens to shoot if he doesn’t reveal where Alexa is. Dylan says if he kills him, he will never find Alexa again. Jacob just about to pull the trigger when Spencer yells that Dylan is his brother. As Jacob is distracted, Dylan starts the ignition and drives away.

Final Act

As he arrives in his house, Olivia is waiting for him in her wheelchair. She’s wearing a wig as she’s undergoing chemo. She tells him that her last wish is for his dearest son to do one selfless act before she dies. Dylan’s heartbroken seeing her mother so fragile, and he finally confesses. The night Jacob is in the hospital, Alexa paid him a visit and offered to leave Jacob forever in exchange for his life. She made Dylan promise not to hurt Jacob if she left the country. Dylan reluctantly agreed, but he had one of his men followed her to make sure he knows her whereabouts as he planned on killing Jacob anyway and make it look like an accident.

Unbeknown to his son, Olivia is wearing a wire and Spencer hears the whole thing. Within minutes the whole place is surrounded and Dylan is finally arrested. Jacob is reunited with Alexa in France, whilst Olivia spends her last weeks of her life with the man she loves.

Epilogue

At Olivia’s funeral, Jacob is shown hugging Spencer, with Alexa by his side. Julienne and Sean who’s still in crutches are there as well, and they’re now engaged. It’s a bittersweet moment for Spencer as he’s finally reconciled with his estranged son again, and he hopes that one day he’ll do the same with Dylan.


Well, what do you think, all? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of story and cast? I welcome your feedback.

Hollywood’s Fantasy Draft: My dream cast

Happy Wednesday all! In lieu of my scheduled posts that I have yet to finish, let me just take the time to share the mega blog-a-thon project I’m currently participating in. It’s a fantastic game from the genius mind of my buddy Castor Troy of Anomalous Material (a fantastic blog btw if you don’t already know) called Hollywood Fantasy Draft.  It’s like Fantasy Football for movie lovers, yay!

So we get to be a producer and we could make any movie we want, with the cast we want, one round at a time. Oooh, the inner casting director in me is jumping for joy and I must say I’ve been quite obsessed with this super addictive game. In fact, I’ve been mulling over the plot for my movie day and night. The genre of my choosing is romantic thriller set in the UK, but that’s all I can say for now, the rest of my pitch shall be revealed Sunday, Sept. 5! I must say I’m quite happy that I got all the cast I needed (I had initially wanted Christian Bale before Castor snatched him, but come to think of it, I think James McAvoy actually is a better fit for my story after all. So here they are:

Round 1

My director pick is Ridley Scott. He’s one of the hardest working directors in Hollywood and is so darn prolific it’s hard to imagine he’s in his 70s! Gladiator is one of my fave movies of all time, so naturally he gains my respect, though sci-fi fans will regard Blade Runner or ALIEN as his crowning achievement. Even with his already stunning resume, looks like there are still more great projects in store for us from this British auteur, just check out his extensive possible project list.

Round 2

My first actor pick is Lee Pace! Haven’t seen the show Pushing Daisy but those who have know he’s a funny guy, but I like him from The Fall and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and this talented, handsome, & versatile guy is grossly underused! Well, I hope to change that. Oh, the fact that he can pulls of a convincing British accent is a major plus!

Round 3

Before someone else snatches her, I better pick my fave actress now: Cate Blanchett. The great Cate is without a doubt one of the best actresses of her generation. She really can play anyone believably (even a different gender, i.e. Bob Dylan in I’m Not There) and always shines brightly even in less stellar movies. Since I’m not sure yet what movie genre I’m doing, at least I know it’ll be a good one with Blanchett in it

Round 4

James McAvoy: “McAvoy is quickly becoming one of my fave Brits with his consistently convincing and affecting performances. His role in Atonement won me over and definitely Oscar worthy, and having just seen The Last Station, I’m even more impressed by his immense talent. He’s also proven he can pull off an American action blockbuster with Wanted, and a romantic lead in Becoming Jane. Doesn’t hurt that he kind of resembles Gerry Butler a little, those eyes, man I guess I’ll always have a thing for the Scots :)”

Round 5

Timothy Dalton: The Shakespearean-trained actor has been away from Hollywood for far too long. One of my favorite seasoned thespian, his screen presence and commanding voice are his signature. Most people know him as the gritty Bond, but he’s done plenty of dramatic roles on stage. As he often steal scenes in supporting roles, I’d love to see him in a leading role with a killer script, a great director and equally-brilliant actors.

Round 6

My next pick is Eva Green. The sultry French actress first came to my attention as my fave Bond girl Vesper Lynd. She’s breathtakingly beautiful but definitely not a bimbo. Her flirtatious banter with Daniel Craig on the train was so seductive without either one of them showing much skin! That’s the kind of love interest I need for my movie. There’s something mysterious about her, something unpredictable, which adds to her allure.

Round 7

Ok, my 7th round pick is Dame Helen Mirren. Is an explanation necessary? I think not. The beautiful 65-year-old is one of the best actresses working today (of any age!) I feel like I’ve been seeing her a lot lately: The Queen, State of Play, The Last Station, RED… and I’m constantly amazed by her performance. She’d be a wonderful addition to my cast and a suitable mother figure to 41-year-old Cate Blanchett.

Round 8

Gerard Butler
I know what you think, predictable casting, huh? But I have a good reason, no REALLY :)

If you’ve seen him in BBC miniseries The Jury where he plays a forlorn alcoholic, that’s the type of dramatic performance I’m looking for from him. Besides, as I mentioned here I’ve always wanted top pair GB and Eva Green as a couple, and the fact that he resembles James McAvoy just makes the casting all the more perfect!

Round 9

Daniel Henney
There’s hardly any male heartthrobs of East Asian descent here in Hollywood, but from what I’ve seen so far (Wolverine, CBS canceled show Three Rivers), the Korean-English actor would fill that deficit VERY nicely :) He’d make a fine detective partner to Lee Pace’s character.

I will add a couple of additional cast to play Mirren’s father and Dalton’s late wife: Michael Gambon and Julia Ormond respectively.

Well, what do you think of my picks so far? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of cast?

DVD Picks: Love Stories for Grown-Ups: Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day & Last Chance Harvey

With all the Gen Y and teenybopper flicks out there, how about a couple of poignant love stories for grown-ups?

Both of these films deal with middle-aged people finding love, even though story-wise they can’t be more different.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day (2008)

pettigrewI’ve been wanting to see this for quite some time, particularly after Lee Pace blew me away with his performance in The Fall, which leads me to IMDB him (yes, that’s a word as much as google has become one) and see what else this bloke has done.

Miss Pettigrew… tells the story of a penniless London governess in desperate need of a job who ends up in the house of a glamorous American actress, Delysia Lafosse. It’s a rather fluffy fairytale story but a delightful and entertaining one nonetheless, largely because of Frances McDormand and Amy Adams‘ performance as the title role and miss Lafosse, respectively. It’s an example of how a fairly simplistic story can be so much more with perfect casting, down to the supporting casts that include two of my favorite British character actors Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds (best known as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome).

It’s fitting that fellow blogger M. Carter calls McDormand an actress that’s ‘perfect for every part.’ At first I wasn’t sure what to make of her in this, but she carries her role with aplom and a touch of whimsy, even her British accent is pretty darn good. As Lafosse’s social secretary, Guinevere Pettigrew is suddenly catapulted into London’s glitzy world. The movie shows a nice contrast between her straight-laced character and the unscrupulous Lafosse who pretty much sleeps her way to the top.

The actress lives in a fancy apartment belonging to Nick (Mark Strong), a wealthy nightclub owner, but at the same time she’s fooling around with the young son of a producer of a musical she wishes to star in. That’s not all, her third boyfriend, nightclub pianist Michael (Lee Pace) is also thrown into the mix, which forces the disconcerted Guinevere to be little creative (ok, tricky) in making sure her boss’ dalliance doesn’t cost her the musical role nor the fancy apartment. The overwhelming sequence of events happen within 24-hours (it’s like a whimsical retro episode of 24 without Jack Bauer). In that short period of time, Miss Pettigrew herself ends up finding romance in an unlikely circumstance. Her suitor Joe Bloomfield (Ciaran Hinds) is a lingerie designer from a humble beginning, whose conversation with Guinevere is one of the heartfelt and less frivolous moments of the movie.

Amy Adams is just as bubbly (if not more) here as she was in Enchanted, yet she has that rare gift that makes any character she plays so darn lovable despite her vice. She also looks as if she belongs in pre-WW II era, those teeny-tiny waisted skirts and dresses fit her perfectly. The costume design and cinematography are exquisite, see some of the images from the movie in this interior designer’s blog.

The fairy tale ending is to be expected, wrapped with a pretty red bow even an air raid warning in the brink of war can’t dampen its buoyant spirit. But hey, some movies are made for pure escapism, and on that note, this movie delivers and then some.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Last Chance Harvey (2008)

HarveyI saw this on the plane back from Bali. Although dealing a similar theme of ‘you’re never too old to find love,’ this one is no fairy tale. In fact, what’s great about Last Chance Harvey is its realness and honest-to-goodness quandary most of us can relate. Boasting two top-notch performers who are on top of their game, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson make a delightful and endearing couple.

Set in London, Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a divorced and workaholic jingle-writer on the verge of losing his job. He is in London to attend his estranged daughter’s wedding, only to realize how distant he is from his own family that she decides to ask her stepfather to give her away instead. Heartbroken, Harvey attends the wedding anyway, only to be interrupted by an emergency work call during the ceremony, but he ends up missing his flight and gets fired.

What a double whammy for Harvey, and it all happens within a day! But you never know when life can take an unexpected turn, that’s one of the lessons this movie tells me. It’s when he’s sulking away at an airport bar that he bumps into Kate, who’s dealing with her own bad day the best way she knows how, with a glass of wine and a book. Emma is a wonderful actress whose acting style is so natural it’s as if she’s not acting at all. Her witty, comical yet poignant banter with Dustin is what makes this movie great. No need for fancy camera work, great costumes or any CGI of any kind in this movie, as watching these two act against each other is the best ‘special effect’ there is.

Well, if there is another fantastic element that nearly stole my attention away from these two, it would be the gorgeous London scenery. I’d rent this one again just to ‘take a tour’ around the beautiful city. The location is a perfect backdrop for the love journey they share, as their chance meeting leads to lunch, a walk around the city, even going back to Harvey’s daughter’s reception together. Despite her hapless love life—illustrated brilliantly at her blind date with a younger man that leaves her out of her element—Kate is still optimistic about life, which unwittingly helps Harvey gets his ‘spark’ back as well. Just like any real-life romances, things aren’t always smooth sailing. We often run into disappointment and heartbreak, whether the circumstance is intentional or planned.Yet everyone deserves a second chance, or third or fourth, and that’s what this movie is all about.

This is a slow-paced romantic film and the storyline isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but great performances and well-written dialogue keeps it fresh and far from boring. In fact, it’s a real gem of a flick that shines brilliantly amongst all the big budget & trivial selections lining up your movie rental walls.

4 out of 5 reels


Has anyone seen either one of these? If so, what did you think?

The Flix List: Cure for the Common Flix

I don’t know about you but when I’m at Blockbuster, I often agonize way too long trying to decide what movie to rent. I actually haven’t rented anything for months so hopefully the next time I go there’ll be so many flix to choose from it’ll be a breeze. I know what you’re thinking, what, a flix blogger doesn’t watch a flix daily? Or worse yet, [gasp!] doesn’t have a Netflix account? Yes, yes, I’m aware of that, but the fact of the matter is, I actually read/research about flix a lot more than watching them. I find them not only insightful, but ‘therapeutic’ as well.

Of course there’s nothing like watching something that transcend beyond entertainment – when something touches your heart so much you can’t stop crying, or make you want to go learn a new language or simply be grateful to God you have the sense of sight to behold what you’ve just seen. That’s what inspired me to start this post that’d hopefully serve as an exchange between you the reader and me the blogger, and everyone else who happen to come across this post.

These five flix aren’t exactly masterpieces or even ‘great’ flix necessarily, but what makes each of them worth watching is that they’re daringly different and definitely marched to a different drummer from the Hollywood mainstream.

1. The Fall – Set in the 1920s, an injured stuntman tells a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Visually stunning, albeit rather weird & surreal, almost every shot is like a work of art. The little girl is absolutely adorable you want to reach to your screen to pinch her cheek and Lee Pace (the now canceled Pushing Daisies) is a promising new leading man. I’ll definitely keep an eye on him in future flix.

2. Bella – An unconventional love story based on true events about how one day in New York City three people’s lives are changed forever. Starring a Mexican heartthrob Eduaro Verastequi in a personal project that reflect his new direction in life. This love story is not about romance, but it certainly came from the heart.

3. Water – A moving flix that exposes the unfair fate of a group of widows forced to live in poverty in a small town in India. It focuses on a beautiful young widow who’s trying to escape the social restriction and her heart-wrenching relationship with a man of a higher caste.

4. Paris Je T’aime – A unique film I don’t come across very often. Twenty filmmakers tell their version of love in the City of Love. Each story is distinct yet subtly interwoven with one another. Sometimes poignant, often peculiar, but overall an enchanting flix with great ensemble cast.

5. Angel-A – Thanks to my friend Scott who introduced me to this strange but fascinating flix. Set entirely in black & white, this French flix tells the story of a tall & striking yet mysterious woman who’s seemingly predestined to help an ex-con get his act together. Gorgeous scenery of Paris throughout is a feast of the eyes. The film poster is pretty eye-catching as well.

So what’s on your list of unconventional, even downright bizarre movies you love?