Weekend Roundup: Golden Globes 2012, Henry’s Crime, Water for Elephants

Hope y’all had a fine weekend. I skipped the Golden Globes telecast this Sunday, I only tuned in every once in a while when the winner I was rooting for did get the trophy. So I updated this Golden Globes nominees list with the winners.

Incidentally I only got two of my predictions right:

  • Best Supporting Actor in Comedy/Musical: Jean Dujardin for The Artist Love that last part of his acceptance speech when he gave a silent nod to Douglas Fairbanks. Classy!
  • Best Supporting Actress in Comedy/Musical: Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn

But Michel Hazanavicius is definitely snubbed that he didn’t win Best Director! I like Hugo but really, but let’s face it, The Artist is a far better film out of the two. I was also rooting for Viola Davis to win for The Help, but as I said, it’s really a tough call when you’re in the same category as Meryl Streep!!  Her win for The Iron Lady marks for her EIGHTH Golden Globe wins, WOW! A few of my friends have posted their predictions as well, Anomalous Material, The Focused Filmographer, or Impassioned Cinema … you can check out their posts and see how they fared.

Ok so that’s my two cents about the Golden Globes… now we can begin to speculate on the Oscar picks 🙂 The Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time.


Anyway, here are my mini reviews from this weekend:

Henry’s Crime

Since I’ve done the time, I might as well do the time. That’s pretty much the plot of this film. Henry (Keanu Reeves, in his usual stoic performance) is a lethargic toll booth attendant who somehow got sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Interestingly enough, during and after his prison time is when his new life begins, prompted by meeting his cellmate Max (the inimitable James Caan) and being ran over (literally!) by Julie (Vera Farmiga).

I only rented this ’cause I like the cast and the trailer looked pretty funny. Plus, it got pretty good review from TIFF. Well you know what, it’s actually pretty enjoyable. The tie in between the bank heist and Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard play is quite amusing, not to mention the presence of awesome character actor Peter Stormare as the stage director. The scene where he’s teaching Henry (or Keanu?) how to act is hilarious. Caan’s effortlessly adds comic relief and he’s got quite a nice rapport with Keanu. Judy Greer is kind of wasted here as Keanu’s straying wife though, which is a pity as I know she’s capable of more.

As for the romance, Reeves and Farmiga actually works well together. Even playing a supposedly cold character, Farmiga still radiates warmth, she’s always a joy to watch and playing a stage actress, I could almost picture her on stage performing in such a play! Now Keanu is as stoic as ever, there’s little insight into what’s really going on inside Henry’s head as Keanu didn’t really display any kind of emotion (save for the finale when he’s dressed as Lopakhin, one of the play’s protagonists). But it’s sort of what one would expect from this seemingly ageless actor (could you believe he’s 47 years old?!), and somehow his brand of acting works out just fine here.

Definitely not a bad movie to rent on a Friday night, especially if you’re a fan of one of the cast.

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

Water for Elephants

I posted the trailer ages ago but haven’t got around to watching it. The thing that appealed to me most is the setting, there’s something beguiling about the world of the Circus. Told from the point of view of a 90-something year-old Jacob Jankowski (Hal Holbrook), similar to how Rose in the movie Titanic reminisces on his life aboard the doomed ship, Jacob is nostalgic about the time he spent as a circus veterinarian during the Great Depression.

Following a tragic accident that killed his parents, the young Jacob (Robert Pattinson) ended up working for the brilliant but brutal head animal trainer August and his wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), the star performer. It won’t be long before Jacob falls for Marlena as they bond over their love for the adorable elephant Rosie.

Pattinson is pretty compelling here as a romantic leading man, though there are times his melancholic look reminds me a bit of Twilight‘s Edward at times. Fortunately there’s the fabulous Christoph Watlz to remind me here that it isn’t a dreadful teen vampire flick (thank goodness!) and he naturally steals the show with his performance, teetering between charming and terrorizing, both with the animals and the people around him. In a way not too different from his role as Col. Landa in Inglourious Basterds.

Reese looks the part as a circus star, which is no mean feat, but overall her performance is serviceable. She’s not bad, but not great either. Even her chemistry with Pattinson isn’t all too convincing. I could see how Jacob and Marlena would fall for each other given the circumstances, but the actors didn’t really sell the romance as well as they could. In fact, Holbrook did a better job conveying his love for Marlena in his brief scenes of telling the story about her in the present day.

Water for Elephants is a rather conventional drama, it could’ve been a great film but the way it is now, it’s enjoyable but in the end pretty forgettable. It looks beautiful but somehow the circus world created here lacks the magic and that certain charm that made me go ‘wow!’ the way Moulin Rouge! did the first time I saw it. It’s a pity as the novel by Sara Gruen is so celebrated. Given the intriguing subject matter, this movie could’ve been a classic.

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


I also saw another one of Gregory Peck’s films called Mirage (1965) which is an excellent noir thriller. But instead of doing a mini review here, I’d save that for one of my classic flix reviews.


So what did you watch this weekend folks? Feel free to share your favorite part of the Globes if you’d be so inclined.