Flixchatter Weekend Roundup

Hello readers, happy Monday!

Whew, what a weekend. The weather’s gorgeous here in the upper Midwest (albeit in the cool side, I mean mid 60s for high in August!!) so I’ve been outside most of the time, even spending time of the MN State Fair all Saturday, though I’m no fair-goer by a long shot! We gotta make the most of our Summer now that the brrrr-free days are numbered. They say a cool Summer means a mild Winter, I sincerely hope that’s true!!

Anyhoo, glad to be in front of my laptop again bloggin’ away. I’ve never done this before but it’s my blog so I get to make my own rules =) Here’s my weekend roundup, flicks -related of course, no worries, I wasn’t going to start bloggin’ about what kind of chores I did Saturday morning ….

  • First of all, thanks to CBS Three Rivers show fans, particularly Alex O’Loughlin’s and Daniel Henney’s who’ve visited my blog. I’m psyched to see the show’s premiere come October, but given there’s a plethora of medical dramas out there, I hope that this one has the edge over those. The organ donor/patient plot sounds intriguing, as long as they don’t get overly melodramatic a la Grey’s Anatomy. Acting-wise, Alex looks pretty convincing as the lead surgeon, and apparently Daniel has won Best New Actor award in South Korea so he’s not such a novice in the acting department after all. But without a well-written script, even their gorgeous mugs can only it so far, so I truly hope the writers do a good job here. Oh speaking of Mr. Henney, I had no idea he did commercials with Gwyneth Paltrow for a Korean clothing line. Well I suppose he was a model, which is always a good stepping stone to an acting career. Check out the clip below, ladies, let’s welcome his foray into TV. I sure hope he’ll be a mainstay.
  • Rented Duplicity Friday nite. I won’t bother writing an entire review on it, let’s just say it’s pretty much ho-hum until about the last 15 minutes. Even the star power of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen couldn’t keep me interested, my hubby Ivan darn nearly fell asleep! Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti are pretty much wasted in a nearly incomprehensible plot and colorless characters. The flashback sequences  in various locations is just plain distracting, Tony Gilroy is no Chris Nolan, who’s capable to utilize similar technique to perfection in Memento. Owen’s in still watchable though, and man, he moves and walks like a secret agent, which is why he’s still my top pick as Bond (I know, get over it lass, even the guy is not interested!) But overall the movie itself is downright vapid.
  • Love Walked In novel
    A must-read novel

    One of my favorite weekend past time is frequenting my local Barnes & Noble, sipping my iced chai whilst browsing film magazines (I’m a film geek don’tchaknow). I passed by a table of books that’s been adapted to movies, A Time Traveler’s Wife, the Twilight series, My Sister’s Keeper, etc. Now I’m not a voracious reader (as much as I’d like to be), but the one book that I’m curious to see on the big screen is Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos I read about a year ago. It tells the story of a Philadelphia cafe manager Cornelia Brown and eleven-year-old Clare, who happens to be the daughter of  Cornelia’s lover, told in the first person of both characters alternatively. It’s a charming and unconventional love story, and the de lost Santos’ writing is just awe-inspiring, both humorous and dramatic at the same time. If you haven’t read it, run, don’t walk to the nearest book store. The rights of the novel has been bought by Sarah Jessica Parker, I personally don’t see her in the role of Cornelia, but whatever. Now, the casting agent in me wonders who should play the impeccably dressed, Cary-Grant-like Martin Grace. I immediately think Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm! I mean the guy screams ‘refined and classy,’ and we all know he wears those period suits well. Now, how about the half-Filipino, golden-brown-skinned and green-eyed Teo Sandoval? He rivals Capt. Wentworth of Jane Austen’s Persuasion as a literary character I’m smitten with. Casting him would be tricky, I don’t think we have anybody in Hollywood that’d look right physically. I’m thinkin’ a male version of Aishwarya Rai (Bride & Prejudice). 

    What do you think, folks? What book would you like to see on the big screen and who should play the character(s)?

Art&Copy Documentary – Creativity can solve anything

artcopy_film

Hate advertising? Make better ads. – that’s director Doug Pray’s statement on its official site.

As an interface designer who once yearned to be in advertising, this is absolutely fascinating. Lee Clow, George Lois, Hal Riney, these are advertising rock-stars whose career everybody in my mass comm class drool over. It’s been said that Lois is one of the original “Mad Men” with his in-your-face celebrity advertising, but my advertising hero has always been Lee Clow, the brain behind the Apple Computer‘s famous 1984 Super Bowl spot and Taco Bell‘s talking Chihuahua. I used to compete with my hubby in college collecting those imaginative Absolut Vodka ads, another brainchild of Clow. But you don’t have to be in creative field to appreciate the work of the people featured in this documentary. In fact, it’s very likely that you’ve bought stuff because of the advertising behind whatever that stuff is.

Synopsis: ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry. Exploding forth from advertising’s “creative revolution” of the 1960s, these artists and writers all brought a surprisingly rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation: George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Hal Riney and others featured in ART & COPY were responsible for “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different,” and brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents. They managed to grab the attention of millions and truly move them. Visually interwoven with their stories, TV satellites are launched, billboards are erected, and the social and cultural impact of their ads are brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion.

So if you’re like me who watch the Superbowl just for the ads, this is a movie for you.

Dr Horrible Sing A Long – Funny stuff from Joss Whedon

TGIF, peeps!

Hubby found this on Hulu the other day and we laughed our heads off watching this.

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before. I had to google it to find out what this is all about, and here’s what I found from their official fan site:

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is the story of a “low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.” says Whedon. “Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, Felicia Day as Penny and a cast of dozens.”

During the WGA strike in 2007 Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly) started writing a three part musical series for the internet after deciding it was time to “change the face of Show Business as we know it”. Co-writers for the internet feature were Joss’ brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s Fiancé Maurissa Tancharoen. The writing and shooting were completed early in 2008 and the series was released online in three acts and was free for viewers around the world for a limited time.

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly and Castle) are not only hilarious, they’re great singers as well. We all know Harris is a talented comic, but it’s great to see Fillion really let his funny bones shine in this. I was floored how entertaining these videos were — the songs were amazing, the writing clever & cheeky, basically an all around great fun. No wonder it’s won a plethora of awards since it premiered in Summer 2008, including Time magazine named it #15 in Time’s Top 50 Inventions of 2008 and People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Online Sensation.”

Do yourself a favor and watch all three acts in Hulu. Seriously funny stuff!

The show I’ll be watching this Fall: THREE RIVERS

ThreeRiversBanner

I haven’t been a TV watcher much, if at all, lately. I can count with my hands how many times per month I turn it on to watch a scheduled program. When I do, it’s either to watch the news, weather, or whatever happens to be on when I get on my elliptical machine. Somehow it’s almost always Two-and-a-half Men reruns, which is fine, I’d rather watch a sitcom over some stupid reality show any day. In any case, there’s finally a show I’m looking forward to this Fall with the debut of Alex O’Loughlin’s new drama since his Moonlight show on CBS got canceled.

Wow, come to think of it, Moonlight‘s the last show I regularly watched. Yes, I know, it’s not one of the best-written ones out there I got to admit. I mean, it’s not The Office or Mad Men, but hey isn’t that what guilty pleasure is? We all got one, and for a while, it was vampire detective Mick St. John and his love interest Beth (played by the very talented British actress Sophia Myles). It’s rather ironic that CBS yanked it off just as vampire fever began to hit thanks to Twilight, but you know the phrase ‘when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window?’ Well, that seems to be the case for Alex. CBS apparently has a soft spot for the Aussie actor, and having a loyal fan base from his Moonlight stint certainly can’t hurt. So they cast him as the lead in this Fall’s medical drama Three Rivers. So instead of  sucking people’s blood, he’d be saving ’em. Here’s the synopsis from the CBS site:

THREE RIVERS is a medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country where every moment counts. However, dealing with donor families in their darkest hour and managing the fears and concerns of apprehensive recipients takes much more than just a sharp scalpel. Leading the elite team is Dr. Andy Yablonski (Alex O’Loughlin), the highly-skilled workaholic lead organ transplant surgeon, whose good-natured personality and sarcastic wit makes him popular with his patients and colleagues. His colleagues include Dr. Miranda Foster (Katherine Moennig), a surgical fellow with a rebellious streak and fiery temper who strives to live up to her deceased father’s excellent surgical reputation; Dr. David Lee (Daniel Henney), a womanizing surgical resident who’s broken as many hearts as he’s replaced; Ryan Abbott (Christopher J. Hanke), the inexperienced new transplant coordinator who arranges the intricately choreographed process of quickly and carefully transporting organs from donor to patient; Dr. Sophia Jordan, the head of surgery and a dedicated medical professional; and Pam Acosta (Justina Machado), Andy’s no-nonsense operating assistant and best friend. In this high stakes arena, in which every case is a race against the clock, these tenacious surgeons and medical professionals are the last hope for their patients.

Three Rivers stills

From the teaser clips, this one actually looks pretty decent and seems much less campy than the vampire show. I can’t judge the writing at this point, but it’s got the dignified Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, so it can’t be that bad, right? Alex looks a heck of a lot better here without Mick’s ridiculously perfect mane only Zoolander could match. He seems more natural and at ease with his character Andy, sans the obligatory angst-y pout and stop-you-dead-in-your-track-with-my-sexy-glare pose. Well, an 85 year-old hopeless romantic vampire might be able to get away with it, but a surgeon? Not so much. So, bring on the scruff Alex, and easy on the hair gel!

Another reason to watch the show is the tall and hunky Korean-English actor Daniel Henney. I’ve only seen him in Wolverine which wasn’t exactly an ‘acting’ role, so I’m looking forward to see what he’s got to offer. I thought his role was pretty minimal—typical for Asian actors on American TV—but he’s on the marquee banners and other promos that CBS put out there, so I’m hoping he gets a pretty good amount of screen time. Who knows, maybe he’ll be such a scene-stealer he’d get his own spin-off show? One can only hope =)

Here’s the promo clip of the show:

Three Rivers launches on Sunday, October 4th. What a fabulous way to end every weekend!

What A-list Actors Can Learn from Sharlto Copley

Copley at Comic Con

District 9 is one of those powerful movies that stays with me long after I saw it (check out my review of the movie). For the most part, it’s Copley’s performance that makes the film work for me. Sure, the documentary style technique and all that technical stuff blew me away at first, but once I started watching, it’s the actor’s performance that get me immersed in the film. When I relate to the character or get affected by it—whether you love it or hate it—that’s when a movie becomes an ‘experience’ instead of a mere spectacle.

Which brings me to newbie Sharlto Copley, the South African actor who’s never acted in a movie before other than the blink-and-you-miss-it involvement in Neill Blomkamp’s Alive in Jo’burg’s short film. I just watched several interviews with this guy where he’s still pretty much coming to grasp with his new-found fame. The fascinating part is that he never intended to be famous, he just happen to be thrust in front of the camera because the his friend Blomkamp thought he could do the part of Wikus Van De Merwe. Blomkamp might as well be a casting agent ’cause he was right on the money. I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing that role, from the dweeb-ish bureaucrat to the desperate hunted man trying to survive, Sharlto was downright convincing. Put someone like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Will Smith and this movie just won’t work as well, as it frequently becomes more about them the ‘celebrity’ instead of the story they’re telling. In fact, these A-listers can learn a thing or two from this novice actor.

Here are three random things that came to my mind:

1. He acted from the heart
The fact that this project is a labor of love between him and his director friend Blomkamp, Sharlto’s involvement in the whole film making process is from the heart. He wants the film to succeed not for his reputation’s sake but because he cares about the project. His immersion goes beyond what the script requires him to do, but he breathed all the nitty-gritty of the movie in and out that he becomes that character. In fact, instead of simply delivering lines, most of his acting was ‘improv,’ as he intuitively followed what he said ‘the beat that Neill wanted to capture for a particular scene,’ which makes for a real and authentic performance unlike anything I’ve seen in a long while.

But the acting side of the work—because it’s improv, I’m not sitting there the night before going, “Okay, so should I say this scene like this? Should I say the line this way?” and trying to work at it. I’d just show up and go. So that’s very stress-free, in a sense.— A.V. Club Interview

“I just am that character, to be honest, in that situation. And with a film like this that was done so realistically, it often felt like we were shooting a documentary. It felt so ridiculously realistic that it was easy. I just found it a very natural thing. I don’t have any technique or thing I’m thinking about. It’s like, ‘Well, either that is the character, or no, it’s not.” — A.V. Club Interview

2. He wasn’t in it for fame
Unlike most actors, Sharlto’s been a successful producer and businessman before getting this gig. His performance is almost devoid of ego or self-consciousness because he has nothing to prove, he was simply serving the vision that Blomkamp has for the film. He’s not worried if he’d ever get another job again after this, which makes for a refreshingly unaffected, almost uninhibited performance that’s captivating to behold.

I do have the advantage in that I don’t really mind what happens. If I don’t act again, then it’s okay, fine. — A.V. Club Interview

That side of the business doesn’t really interest me, like getting attention or stroking my ego or whatever, like I’m a real filmmaker-at-heart kind of a person. I normally am behind the camera actually, so I didn’t have aspirations of “I want to be a famous,” but I’ve always done characters my whole life just for fun. — Ain’t It Cool Interview

3. He is no primadonna
It’s nice to hear when an actor isn’t complaining about doing his job. A lot of movie stars got (over)paid millions of dollars and then whine in interviews about the grueling shoot, how stressful it was, blah blah blah. Isn’t that why you got paid the big bucks for? The crew members’ jobs are most likely just as strenuous, but they make a fraction of their salary. I haven’t seen this much dedication from an actor. Even among seasoned thespians, I could only think of a couple of people with equal passion: Christian Bale for the Machinist and Daniel Day-Lewis in just about everything. It’s as if he applied JFK’s famous line with his ‘it’s not what the movie can do for me, but what I can do for the movie‘ attitude. He plays a huge part in the movie’s success, yet nary of self-importance in sight in all of his interviews I’ve read/watched. It’s cool to hear that an actor acknowledge that his craft also depends on the people he works with on set, and how some way they help him nail a great scene.

“…when as an actor, everybody is just doing everything for you to make that space for you to bring that moment…” — ScreenCrave.com interview on YouTube

Here’s wishing for a lasting acting career for Mr. Copley. I’m sure he’ll be around for more District 9 follow-ups, but I hope he’d try other things, too. IMO, he’d be great in a drama or comedy, just so long as he keeps it real and not be buoyed by doing pedestrian blockbusters (whatever you do, just stay away from Michael Bay!). If he continues to turn out even half of what he brought in his debut, I’d surely keep watching.


Copley and Blomkamp are teaming up again in another sci-fi movie Elysium, also starring Jodie Foster and Matt Damon, scheduled for release in 2013. This time he’s playing the villain.


So what are your thoughts on District 9 or Sharlto Copley? Let’s hear it!

Daniel Day Lewis’ new musical NINE

Daniel Day Lewis and his band of babes
Daniel Day Lewis and his band of babes (click on the image to see a larger version)

Nine seems to be the lucky number in Hollywood this year. There’s that recent sci-fi indie-blockbuster set in South Africa, the animated feature film voiced by Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly set in post-apocalyptic world, and just in time for Thanksgiving, there’s NINE the musical!

The description on Apple trailers’ page says: NINE is a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion, while balancing the numerous women in his life including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren).

Rob Marshall, who got an Oscar nomination for Chicago, directed and co-choreographed  the film, and the late Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) co-wrote the screenplay. The story is based on Arthur Kopit’s book of the same name, which was derived from an Italian play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film . The original 1982 Broadway production with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Taking over from fellow Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), who dropped out of the project, this looks like every actor’s dream role. I don’t think I’ve seen this many famous actresses involved in one movie, many of which have bagged at least one Oscar. Judging from the trailer, it looks mah-velous! It’s the kind of movie to escape to and just be lost in the music and dancing. Daniel looks great as usual, you can throw this guy into pretty much any genre and he’ll dazzle you, that’s just how talented this guy is. I’m not a huge musical fan per se, but with a cast like this, it’s definitely a must-see for me!

This Just In: INCEPTION teaser trailer

Goodness, I’m getting buzz-overload here with all these sci-fi stuff…  but hey I’m not complaining =) First there’s District 9, then Avatar, and now, all the mystery surrounding Christopher Nolan’s Inception just got a potent boost thanks to the awesome teaser trailer that’s just released about an hour ago. The bootleg got leaked over the weekend but why settle for a low-res,grainy version when you can see it in its kick-@$$ HD glory!
 

All I can say is WOW! I don’t think Chris Nolan has done a bad movie in his short career and looks like he’s kicked it up a notch here. I’d think The Dark Knight is a pretty tough act to follow, but apparently not to Nolan. I respect the guy for refusing to be boxed into one type of genre. Composer extraordinaire Hans Zimmer once again collaborates with Nolan on the score and the bit that I hear seems to capture that dark and shadowy mood of the film

Billed as a mind-bending contemporary sci-fi thriller, the synopsis sounds mystifyingly fascinating: A thriller set within the architecture of the mind about a CEO who is involved in a blackmailing scandal. Looks like David Fincher’s The Game with Michael Douglas meet The Matrix. It’s an oversimplification on my part, as I’m sure Nolan can do better than those two flicks combined! Leo DiCaprio looks intense here as the CEO, and all that matrix-like moves in the hallway with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, way cool!  The movie also stars Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, and sir Michael Caine. What an impressive cast, wouldn’t you say? The NolanFans site has some on-set pictures in Paris.

This is definitely at the top of my must-see list for next year. Man, Summer 2010 can’t come soon enough!