Wet Blogathon: Jane Austen’s Beautiful Rain Scenes

Andrew at EncoreEntertainment is conducting yet another movie meme blog-a-thon and the topic is an irresistible one: Great rain scenes!

I love rain scenes… not only are they usually beguiling and beautiful, rain undeniably adds drama/romance/terror/suspense to any given scene, depending on how the director frames the scene. One thing for sure, as Andrew said, movie rain is just plain lovely.

Well, since the first thing that came to mind was from 2005 Pride & Prejudice, I decided to list three of my favorite rain scenes from three other Jane Austen movies:

Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice — The proposal in the rain

Beautifully-filmed, the mood right from the minute Elizabeth Bennett crosses the bridge is just perfect. I wasn’t quite sold on Matthew MacFayden initially, but by this point I thought he captured Darcy’s brooding nature believably. All the angst, repressed feelings and sexual tension reached a pivotal point in this ravishing scene, both MacFayden and Keira Knightley couldn’t have looked more alluring framed by the damp surrounding. Never has the sight of cold rain been so smokin’ hot!

Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility — Brandon rescues Marianne in the rain

Oh how I love Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon! Forget the young ‘uns Willoughby (Greg Wise) and Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), Brandon is without a doubt my hero in this movie. The scene in the clip of the heartbroken Marianne (the astounding Kate Winslet) watching Willoughby’s estate from a distance is downright heart-wrenching, but the scene that follows is one of my favorites from the movie. Brandon’s profound love for Marianne is all the more evident in his face as he carries her lifeless body back into the house. It’s such a dramatic contrast from the first ‘rescue’ scene of her by Willoughby in the beginning of the movie. Instead of two people being smitten with each other, they are now both tormented souls stricken by a lost love.

BBC Version of Sense & Sensibility — Edward’s chopping wood scene

Unfortunately the previous clip has been removed but you can see a glimpse of that very scene in this fan-made video:

The latest BBC adaptation certainly is no match to Ang Lee’s award-winning masterpiece. However, I was quite moved by the performance of Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens as Elinor and Edward. Stevens might share the same haircut as Hugh Grant, but his less stuttering portrayal of the principled Edward trying to repress his feelings towards Elinor is much more poignant. In this scene, Edward is relieving his frustration by getting a bit of a sweat in the rain, it’s a bit reminiscent of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy’s famous lake scene. From the way Elinor looks at him, I think she’s quite um, taken by the sight of Mr. Ferrars with his drenched white shirt and flyaway hair. Well, she’s not the only one 😉

So what’s YOUR favorite rain/wet scenes, Austen-related or otherwise?

Everybody’s Chattin’: Five Blog Links Worth Your Time

Happy Friday, everyone! Time to highlight some great posts I think you ought to check out:

  • My buddy Castor over at Anomalous Material has concocted an über fun and addictive game called The Hollywood Fantasy Draft. It’s kinda like Fantasy Football for movie lovers! We get to play movie producers and cast our director and an ensemble of actors. Check out what a bunch of movie bloggers have picked so far, including yours truly. I will reveal my story and concept for my movie sometime next week.
  • Have you ever felt duped by a movie poster? Well, the guys over at Cynicritics examine Five Misleading Movie Posters with a less-than-true representation of what we’re about to see.
  • Andrew from Encore Entertainment is the blogger that got me started on the 31 Days Movie Meme. Well, his Day 19 meme of Best Movie Cast include a period piece I really like, starring two dashing Brits Clive Owen and Jeremy Northam, as well as a slew of great British actresses.
  • Marc from Go-See-Talk has a cool series called the FourScores, as he finds film scores are sometimes more thrilling and memorable than the film itself (totally agree!, Marc :)) This week he examined those from inspirational sports movies that are less about the that championship game/match/season/event, but more about gaining personal pride.
  • Steve of the duo of The Film Cynics Canada’s CFAX 1070 radio personalities recently caught onto the comic books of Scott Pilgrim. So naturally he was looking forward to the movie. Did he enjoy it? Well, you’d have to check out his review for yourself.


31 Days Movie Meme Day #13: Favorite animated movie

I grew up watching Disney Princesses flicks, so to this day I always have a fondness for animated movies. Well, as I mentioned in my Films That Define Us post, one of the movies that left a lasting impression on me is Sleeping Beauty. But I’ve grown out of the fairy tale love story stuff and have since embraced pretty much everything Pixar has to offer, hence my top five Pixar characters list.

Suffice to say, it’s virtually impossible to pick just ONE favorite animated flick. As rules are meant to be broken, I’m going to list FIVE of them instead, as I shared in Peter’s Gimme 5 post series:

  1. Sleeping Beauty
    Gorgeous visuals, beautiful music (I still hum Once Upon a Dream from time to time), enchanting story, memorable villain. What else would you ask for? Briar Rose remains my favorite Princess to this day. The quintessential Disney masterpiece I can enjoy for years to come.
  2. Chicken Run
    It’s technically a stop-motion animation using clay figures, I adore the look of the movie. Based on the movie The Great Escape set in WWII POW camp, Ginger and her friends are imprisoned in the Tweedys chicken farm. Well-written and witty, this movie is pure fun and heartwarming. It even makes me feel a bit guilty eating a chicken sandwich afterward 🙂
  3. The Little Mermaid
    I LOVE Ariel! As far as princesses go, she’s by far one of the most relatable as she is like a typical teenager, giggly and naive… and who hasn’t had a major crush on a guy so much you’re willing to give up everything to be with him? I actually had a bit of a crush on Eric, too. Yeah I know he’s a cartoon but that’s how good this movie is! 🙂 Plus, there’s that adorable lobster friend Sebastian. Oh, and the music, especially Kiss the Girl and Under the Sea, absolute classic and downright entertaining!
  4. Beauty & The Beast
    A classic story with a timeless appeal. Disney REALLY upped the ante with this movie, too. The production quality and the dramatic camera movement, especially in the dance sequence in the chandelier-ed ballroom, was at the time, quite innovative and breathtaking to behold. As with any Disney flicks, the supporting characters are fun to watch, but never distracts us from the heart of the love story.
  5. Wall-E
    I never would’ve thought I’d enjoy a story about a mute little robot working in the trash department in a post-apocalyptic world. But Pixar’s genius is in creating such a sympathetic character that my eyes were hardly dry throughout the entire movie. I don’t just like this movie, I LOVE it. There’s a believable and sweet love story in this, too. Trust me, it’s even more affecting than the human version in a lot of those banal rom-coms!

    Honorable mentions:
    Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 3, The Lion King, A Bug’s Life, and all Disney Princesses movies! 🙂

So, what about you? What are some animated movies that tickle your fancy?

Flix Poster of the Week: You Will Meet a Tall, Dark, Stranger

Another year, another Woody Allen’s ensemble-cast movie. I’m not one to rush to see his movies, in fact, I can count with one hand how many of his films I have seen. But these posters of his upcoming rom-com just spell lovely. I love, love these! The illustrated silhouettes are so simple yet sooo romantic, seductive and makes me want to see the movie, which is the idea right? I don’t know which one I like best, probably the right one with the creative use of negative space and just a dash of spicy red against the black and white.

The trailer’s out on Apple‘s trailer page, and here’s the synopsis:

After Alfie leaves Helena to pursue his lost youth and a free-spirited call girl named Charmaine (Lucy Punch), Helena abandons rationality and surrenders her life to the loopy advice of a charlatan fortune teller. Unhappy in her marriage, Sally develops a crush on her handsome art gallery owner boss, Greg (Antonio Banderas), while Roy, a novelist nervously awaiting the response to his latest manuscript, becomes moonstruck over Dia (Freida Pinto), a mystery woman who catches his gaze through a nearby window. Despite these characters’ attempts to dodge their problems with pipe dreams and impracticable plans, their efforts lead only to heartache, irrationality, and perilous hot water.

You Will Meet a Tall, Dark, Stranger also stars Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts and Anna Friel. Now, the movie would have been VERY appealing to with an entirely different cast [perhaps with Matthew Goode or my new crush Karl Urban :)]. But Josh Brolin?? Major meh! I hope he ain’t the tall dark stranger, ’cause he definitely doesn’t come to mind when I think about such a man. Banderas maybe, if you’re into the heavy-accented, latin lover type. The way it is now, the only interesting part of this movie is just the posters. Oh, and perhaps the title, too. It’s long, but catchy.

Random assortment of movie musings and news: August Edition

Happy Wednesday everyone! Well, I’ve got a few things to blog about so let’s just get to ’em shall we?

  • I got a free advanced screening to see RED yesterday, thanks to my hubby’s co-worker. It’s either this or The Last Exorcism, hiiih no way I’d see that one even if someone paid me! I’ve only been to a free screening twice in my life, and with those things you’ve got to arrive early. Good thing I did as the place was quite packed, but luckily I got a pretty good seat. Well anyway, the movie itself was pretty good, from the trailer I expected it to be bombastic, mischievous and fun. Well, that’s exactly what I got. I’ll review it later this week, but for now let me just confess that I think I’ve got a crush on Karl Urban!
  • I first noticed the tall, dark and handsome New Zealander in The Lord of the Rings 2 & 3 as Eomer. He also impressed me as Jason Bourne’s nemesis in Bourne Supremacy (that car chase was killer!), and also as McCoy in the latest film version of Star Trek. So he’s been on my radar for a while but man, he looks absolutely dashing and dynamic as a CIA officer in RED. Every scene frames his face and his moves perfectly. As he’s running around in his suit and tie, even when he’s all bloodied up from his fight with Bruce Willis, my brain kept thinking: Bond! I know I’ve suggested a few Brits for the role, but scrap that, Urban is my top choice now. He’s got the height (6’1″), the looks and the moves to play the super spy, and at 38, he’s the right age, too! Oh, and as Willis’ character pointed out, he’s got cute hair, too. I know that’s not a necessity by any means, but hey it can’t hurt. I mean, I love Craig’s Bond, but when he emerged from the water in his Speedo in Casino Royale, I wasn’t looking at his buff physique so much as I was distracted by counting how many strands protruding from his head 😀

    Urban recently nabbed a lead role in the superhero flick Judge Dredd. I didn’t know anything about it, but from what I’ve read it sounds like it’s going to be a big departure from Stallone’s version. The producers told Empire that it’ll be “… a very hard, R-rated, gritty, realistic movie… it’s being directed by Pete Travis, we’re shooting with the people who did District 9…” It all sounds well and good, but too bad Urban’s gorgeous mug will be covered by that ginormous helmet 😦 It’s a good start though, hopefully we get to see more of this awesome actor in leading roles of various genres.
  • Butler as Italian-American goalie Frank Borghi

    Speaking of awesome, Gerry Butler is starring in a soccer movie Slide that was originally meant to be a baseball movie. The LA Times blog (via Castor’s weekly news) stated that the project “… which was originally titled Confessions of a Little League Coach, is a character comedy that centers on a troubled father trying to make up for lost time by coaching his son’s team — but who finds himself in hot water after some of the local mothers take a little too much of a shine to him (and he to them).” Italian director Gabriele Muccino (Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness) is to helm the project and Butler will once again produce the movie under his production company Evil Twins.
    I quite like the premise, sounds like he’ll have the chance to show both his dramatic and comedic side, and his soccer skills, too I might add. This isn’t the the first time Butler’s been in a soccer flick. He was in a small indie Miracle Match (or The Game of Their Lives), which was based on a true story of how the US soccer team beat England 1 – 0 against all odds in 1950. I also think GB is good at playing a parent, despite having no family of his own in real life. The last time he played a father figure to a young son was in the wonderful gem Dear Frankie. I love the fact that he continues to mix things up: he’s playing a Shakespeare nemesis in Coriolanus and an American preacher in Machine Gun Preacher next, so it’ll be nice to see his funny side again in this one.

  • Last but not least, the movie I’m excited about The Tourist just got moved up from February 2011 to December 10th of this year. You can read more details about the Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp’s project in this post.
    This article suggests that it might boost its chances in the Oscar race. Be that as it may, I’m just excited to see two of my favorite under-appreciated Brits Rufus Sewell and Timothy Dalton. I’m still not sure what roles they’re playing, but no matter, I know they’ll be terrific. The date change means that the film’s main competition will now be The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Fighter starring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg. I’m looking forward to the latter even though I’m not a boxing fan. I’m more curious to see Bale’s performance, which has been buzzed as being Oscar-worthy. Well, he’s certainly delivered that many times before, it’s just a matter of finally getting the recognition he deserves!

Well there you go, peeps. Any thoughts about any of this topic (especially curious about what you think about Urban as Bond), please chime in below.

Random Thoughts: The Chameleon vs. Perpetually-Typecast Actors

Well, clearly we have winner on the movie battle of the muscled men vs. Julia + her men vs. a nerd boy hero. The Expendables exploded at the box office with $35 million, with Eat, Pray, Love came out in a distant second with about 10 million less. I guess Sly’s gamble paid off, it could’ve easily gone completely the other way. Well, whilst Sly and Julia are going ka-ching, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim only came up at 5th place with a dismal $10 million. That’s a long ways away from its $60+ production budget, yikes!

The movie’s not on my radar until its marketing was kicked into high gear and suddenly it’s everywhere. Sounds like an original concept and even the critics embraced it, but why did it tank despite all the hype at ComicCon? HitFix had a long analysis as to what possibly went wrong, and at the top of the list is the lead actor: Michael Cera. Perhaps he just wasn’t ‘likable’ enough to audiences or as Julian observed from an Entertainment Weekly’s article comments section, it’s that perhaps people are tired of seeing him in a string of repetitive roles (as this article also suggests). Now, I haven’t seen enough any of his movies to offer an insight on that topic, but it brings up an interesting notion. This morning a local radio DJ mentioned a list of Terminally Typecast Actors, she didn’t say where the list is from, but it sounds a whole lot like this one. Well, guess who’s at the top of that list?

Ciaran Hinds as Julius Caesar in HBO's ROME

Obviously such lists are extremely debatable, I mean this one from ScreenJunkies even included beloved thespians the likes of Pacino and De Niro. I for one wouldn’t dispute such picks, but I know a bunch of people would. I guess when it comes to actors, consistency isn’t always such a virtue. It’s not like a restaurant where we expect our favorite food to be cooked the same way every time we go there. We don’t want our Pad Thai or what have you to suddenly be super spicy one day and utterly bland the next. But with actors, though we expect a consistent quality of performance, we generally want to see Actor A brings out a different set of characteristics from role to role. We want to see him/her be all bad ass in one movie, but then vulnerable and despondent the next. My friend Becky were talking about Irish character actor Ciaran Hinds the other day as she has just seen Persuasion. I bet most of you have seen the Irish actor in several movies, but don’t realize right away who he is. Those are the chameleons who ‘disappear’ into any roles. For me, those that fit into such category are Gary Oldman, Cate Blanchett, Edward Norton, Sam Rockwell, the list goes on…

Mark Strong as a Jordanian Prince in Body of Lies

Yet, there are actors who consistently deliver great performances playing a certain type of roles. One thing that came to mind right now is Mark Strong. He’s a great actor, but he’s become everyone’s favorite villain and by his own admission, he actually likes playing bad guys. When someone asked him, “Are you stuck in the villain roles?” He said, “Absolutely not. Swap the word ‘stuck’ for ‘enjoying.’ I’m enjoying them because they give me leeway to make them all different.” And it doesn’t even have to be a certain role category, it could be more of the essence of a character, i.e. tortured soul type or the brooding anti-hero. There are a certain set of actors that we prefer playing such roles because they do them very, very well. To me that would be Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Day-Lewis, etc. Just to clarify, by no means do I suggest that these three actors are in the same category as those who play ‘repetitive’ roles. In fact, they’re proven to be adept at showcasing their range even if some of the roles they play share similar personalities.

So in that sense, ‘typecast’ doesn’t sound so bad. There’s nothing wrong with putting a fresh spin to a ‘classic’ role. I think as long as Actor A can still bring something new to the table even if the character is essentially the same, I don’t mind it so much.

Well, what do y’all think? Would love to hear your take on the topic… or perhaps you have your own theory why Scott Pilgrim bombed.

31 Days Movie Meme Day #12: Best Soundtrack

I wrote a post around the same time last year called Favorite Movie Music, where I made two different list of my favorite movie soundtrack and scores. Well, I’m going to highlight one from each list that I never grow tired of listening to:

Fave film score: Somewhere in Time
An unabashedly romantic film about love that travels through time starring a young Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The music by composer John Barry truly makes the movie with it’s haunting and melancholic theme, it moves me to my core every time I hear it. They say it the best love story is the unrequited ones, and it doesn’t get any more heart-wrenching-ly tragic than this.

Fave soundtrack: Moulin Rouge
I love the inventive way the songs are used throughout this movie, and the soundtrack truly complement the Bohemian and vibrant sensibilities of the movie. It makes old songs sound and feel new again, and make me prefer them over the original on some songs. Baz Luhrmann let the main actors Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor sang their hearts out in this movie, and boy did they deliver! It’s hard to pick which scenes of their duet are my favorite, but this wonderful Elephant Medley is definitely one of them. I fell for McGregor’s brazen charm and gorgeous voice!