Musings on the Razzies 2011 nominations

Just a day before Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning, the Golden Raspberry Award, best known as the Razzies released their own list of *honorees* 😀 The third Twilight installment The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and M. Night Shyamalan’s fantasy flick The Last Airbender tied for the most nominations with 9 each. I think both of them are shoo-ins for the worst movies, as well as Sex and the City 2 and Vampires Suck (let’s face it, the filmmaker of that vampire spoof flick might actually be dismayed if it weren’t nominated!). Check out the Razzies official site for a full list of nominees (ironically, I think their site should be nominated for the worst web design!)

One name I wish I didn’t see among the nominees is my fave Gerry Butler (nominated for Worst Actor in The Bounty Hunter). Now, I think there are far worse actors that belong in that category (i.e. Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans, Sylvester Stallone or Jason Statham in Expendables), but y’know what, I can’t exactly disagree it was just a terrible role. After all, it prompted me to write this open letter to him. I think he’ll probably just laugh this one off, but I also hope this will motivate him to be involved in much better quality stuff in the future, such as the two of his upcoming roles in Machine Gun Preacher, Coriolanus and hopefully Burns!

I personally think the Razzies is a fun diversion from all the typical award shows, and those who have a sense of humor like Sandra Bullock (who won an Oscar AND a Razzie in the same year) can appreciate and just have fun with it.  My pal and blog contributor Ted explains why he prefers to watch the Razzies over the Oscars:

I’m not a big fan of award shows, especially the Oscars. To me award shows are just pretentious and aren’t entertaining to watch. The Razzies on the other hand is a fun and very engaging show. I mean they nominate the worst of the worst in Hollywood and it’s actually entertaining to watch, well more like read about since no network on TV broadcasts it. I hope someday a network like Comedy Central will pick it up and show it, I’ll definitely tune in but I might be in the minority here.

The last time I watched the Oscars was probably back in 2000 or 2001 season and boy it felt like I was watching a UN Summit or something. I mean come on, why are these entertainers so serious on the show? I mean they’re entertainers, they’re supposed to entertain us the viewers! It’s not like they’re changing the world with their films or anything. I’m a huge film geek, but man, lighten up for once! I believe both Steve Martin and Chris Rock host the show once and never asked to come back to host again because they were criticized for being too funny, right? Someone correct me if I’m wrong since I don’t pay attention to the Oscars much.

Again, I’m probably in the minority since I’m a film geek but don’t care for the Oscars. I mean it’s great that high quality films and filmmakers are getting recognized for their work but why does it have to be so serious, have some fun. You guys are entertainers!

So what do you folks generally think about the Razzies? Thoughts on this year’s nominees and who you think deserves to be on this list?

Weekend Viewing Roundup: House of Flying Daggers, Legend of the Guardians

It’s kind of an uneventful weekend for me… it’s just another super cold January day. And when I say cold, I mean face-numbing, ears-hurtin’, still-freezing-my-@$$-off-despite-wearing-two-thick-layer-under-my-pants type of subzero temp. It’s kinda depressing when someone said on the way home from work that “hey, it’s actually 20 degrees ‘warmer’ than this morning” and it’s barely 3 degrees above zero! As if the freezing temp wasn’t enough to dampen one’s weekend, for Vikings fans it’s really quite a blow to see the Green Bay Packers make it to the Superbowl when we didn’t even make it to the Playoff! 😦

So yeah, it’s another hibernation weekend for me. We were thinking of seeing that Natalie Portman movie, no, no No Strings Attached, sheesh, I was talking about Black Swan. The subject matter of that rom-com just doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever, but clearly I’m in the minority as it was the box office winner, toppling last week’s Green Hornet. In any case, we didn’t make it to the theater but we had been waiting to see House of Flying Daggers, the Zhang Zimou-directed critically-acclaimed romance drama that my friends recommended me a while ago.

Set during 829 AD China as the Tang Dynasty is in decline and political unrest is on the rise, one of the most powerful rebel groups is the House of Flying Daggers. Two local military captains, Leo (Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) are ordered to capture the new leader which brings them to a local brothel where they meet a beautiful and captivating blind dancer, Mei (Zhang Ziyi). What follows is a journey through forests and meadows, with Jin posing as a lone warrior vying to gain Mei’s trust as they set out on their journey to the House’s secret headquarter. The plot thickens the further they go, with love blossoming, danger mounting, and nothing is what it seems.

Though I grew up in Asia, I’m not too familiar with Kung Fu movies, nor am I drawn to them. But this film is visually inventive and just all out dazzling, from the exquisite ‘game of echoes’ dance scene to the spectacular fight scenes in the bamboo forest as well as the blizzard battle at the end are breathtaking and a must-see for anyone who appreciates gorgeous cinematography. Apparently the use of colors is Yimou’s signature — kind of like John Woo is with his doves —  and scene after scene is drenched with dramatic colors that is nothing short of a visual feast.

Acting-wise, I think it’s decent, though I have nothing to compare it to as I’m not familiar with any of the actor’s work. Zhang Ziyi is believable enough as a blind person, and as a woman torn between two lovers. Kaneshiro and Lau also deliver strong performances and I see now what the fuss is about Kaneshiro, who’s massively popular in Asia. He’s got quite a screen presence and that valiant quality perfect for a heroic leading man role (he’s like the Asian version of Legolas in this movie with his archery skill). The main issue for me though is the overly convoluted plot and as the film reaches its climax, one revelation after another just keeps piling on top of each other that not only it’s hard to keep track, but also throws me out on a loop. Overall though, it’s more of a style-over-substance kind of film but still far more unique than most of the formulaic fares Hollywood’s got to offer. Highly recommend this one.

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

The other movie I saw over the weekend is Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians. I was mostly interested to see how the heck does a director known for violent, R-rated action movies handles an animated feature. Snyder’s style isn’t for everyone, but I happen to be a fan of his work which usually have an epic feel to them. This one is no exception. Well, I guess this is like 300 with owls, even the warrior owls have the same helmet as Leonidas… which makes it um, Le-owl-nidas? Sorry, I can’t help myself.

It starts off innocently enough with story of the legendary owls of Ga’Hoole, which are admired greatly by a young owl named Soren. But then he and his brother get kidnapped and brought to an orphanage of sort called St. Aggie to be brainwashed as soldiers. Soren manages to escape and somehow ends up finding out that the legend of the guardians aren’t a myth after all. The noble owls must fight the wicked rulers of St. Aggie and free the young owls.

This film is rated PG and rightly so, it’s dark tone and intense battle scenes would perhaps scare little children. But my husband and I were pleasantly surprised by it and enjoyed it all the way through. The visuals obviously is the main strength, in fact, as I watched it I wish I had seen it in 3D glory. The flying sequences are especially gorgeous to watch and of course, Snyder’s slo-mo signature are ever present in the various battle scenes. The pace is fast moving and once the action starts, it never lets go, which is what you’d expect from Snyder. The narrative doesn’t quite live up to the amazing visuals, so it’s not as memorable or affecting as How to Train Your Dragon. As Andrew @ theFILMblog said in his excellent review, the drama between Soren and his parents could’ve been developed a lot more. But still, it was engaging enough not to derail the entire movie

The all-star cast boast many British & Aussie thespians such as Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish and Richard Roxburgh. Overall, this is a classic story of good versus evil fantasy done in an imaginative & stylish manner.

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

So folks, what movie(s) did you get to see this weekend? Or if you’ve seen either one of these, feel free to add your thoughts.