APRIL Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

April Recap

How in the world that May is here already? Honestly April feels like a blur to me. Weather-wise it’s also super weird. We’ve got Spring, Summer and Winter all in the same month, but hey at least there was no major blizzard! In fact, it was nice enough to walk around the lake a few times and I look forward to more of those in May.

Oh, I did get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday, so hoping that I can actually travel again this Summer after I got my full dose later this month! Anyway, here are what I watched in April.

NEW TO ME MOVIES

Godzilla vs Kong (2021)

GodzillavsKong

This dueling monsters flick was the first movie I watched in April. You know what, I didn’t hate it. I mean, I knew going into it that the movie wasn’t going to be about the humans, so can’t complain that the non Godzilla/Kong characters would be under-developed 😀

3/5;

The Truffle Hunters (2020)

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It’s a fascinating subject about a handful of 70-80 year-old Italian men hunting for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle. I had no idea there’s even these types of truffles but they’re huge! I found the film itself a bit too slow and not as exciting as I had thought, but I’m still glad I saw it.

3/5

Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (2021)

MadeYouLook-AnnFriedman

Another fascinating documentary about a subject I’m not familiar with, and what a perfect title! This crime doc focuses on the largest art fraud in American history set in NYC. It’s interesting that the filmmaker was able to get Ann Freeman (AND her attorney), the Knoedler gallery director at the center of the fraud scandal, as one of the talking peoples.

 3/5

Kodachrome (2017)

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Read my full review

Limbo (2021)

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I LOVE this indie film, so I highly recommend this one. Stay tuned for my full review coming soon!

Orlando (1992)

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I wanted to see more female-directed films and this Sally Potter period drama starring Tilda Swinton has been on my to-watch list for ages! Loosely based on Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando: A Biography, it’s a strange, surreal film about a man who live through several centuries, even becoming a woman! Billy Zane seems miscast here though, in fact, it’s perhaps one of the most bizarre thing about this already-peculiar film.

4/5

Betty White – Documentary

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I came across this doc on Netflix and of course I had to watch it. I’ve been curious about this legendary performer with a career spanning eight decades!! What a fascinating life, it just makes me love Betty White even more after watching this.

4/5

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

MaRainey

I finally got around to watching this just before Oscars so I can see Viola Davis’ and Chadwick Boseman’s Oscar-nominated performances. Well, both are truly Oscar-worthy! Oh man, if only Viola won this year, she was incredible! I’m not overly fond of the film itself overall, but that last 10 minutes of Chadwick’s performance was absolutely heartbreaking to watch.

3.5/5 Reels

My Octopus Teacher

MyOctopusTeacher

My hubby and I actually watched this the next day to cleanse the palette after the heavy subject matter of Ma Rainey. What a lovely story featuring one of the most amazing underwater cinematography ever… it made me wish I knew how to snorkel!

4.5/5 stars

Another Round

AnotherRound

I literally saw this the night before the Oscar and it’s perhaps my favorite film from Thomas Vinterberg. His longtime collaborator Mads Mikkelsen is outstanding in the film, which proves how versatile this Danish actor is, able to juggle huge blockbuster franchises and small indie films. I do hope he continue to star in smaller films like this one in the future!

4/5

Wild Mountain Thyme (2021)

Wild-Mountain-Thyme

Ok, I know I’ve been warned via Rotten Tomatoes and Twitter just how weird this rom-com is, but man, nothing prepared me for how bizarre it was! Written/directed by John Patrick Shanley who won an Oscar for writing Moonstruck (and nominated for Doubt), I was scratching my head by the end. The horrible Irish accents by most of the cast (esp. Christopher Walken) wasn’t even the worst thing about it. Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan barely had any chemistry, though I quite like Dornan as a bumbling farmer and I think it suits his persona more than the billionaire Christian Grey (well based on the trailers anyway, as there is no way I’d watch those stinkers, ha!)

2.5/5

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (2021)

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I actually been looking forward to this as I like a few action movies based on Tom Clancy’s books, most recently the Jack Ryan series with John Krasinski. Well unfortunately this one proved to be utterly disappointing despite having the great Michael B. Jordan and other talented actors (Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce). I’m not sure I’ll give a full review yet but this humorless affair’s got a cheesy B-movie vibe all around. Such a total waste of a talented cast!

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TV SERIES

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 

The Nevers

Death Comes To Pemberley – Miniseries


REWATCHES

I re-watched quite a few animated movies this past month. Not sure why but I guess it just happens. One of our friends spent the night in early April and he had never seen a Daniel Craig Bond movie, so of course we had to put on Casino Royale. It still holds us really well though the ball-busting scene is still hilarious and cringe-inducing, ahah.

Vicar of Dibley: Christmas Special

Casino Royale

Roman Holiday 

Tangled

Paddington 2

How To Train Your Dragon


APRIL MOVIE OF THE MONTH

MyOctopusTeacher-MVP

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

If there is one documentary I wouldn’t mind watching again, it would be this one. It’s not only gorgeous and soothing to watch but also inspiring to see the unlikely bond between a human with an elusive underwater creature like an octopus. Craig Foster is such a wonderful storyteller and perhaps one of the best documentary subject I’ve ever seen. Most talking heads are so boring but he shows such passion for his friend/teacher, that is the young octopus, that one can’t help but also get swept off my feet by the creature. I wish he named the octopus! Bravo to Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed for their Best Documentary Oscar win, it’s absolutely well-deserved!!


Well, what did you watch this past month and what’s YOUR favorite film you saw in APRIL?

Thursday Movie Picks – Television Edition: TV Score and/or Theme Song

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… TMP Television Edition: TV Score and/or Theme Song.

Ok since I just posted about my favorite TV opening credits in 2016 and also in this TMP post from March, this time I’m going to pick iconic Theme SONGS instead of TV Scores. Somehow most of the memorable theme songs are from the 80s and 90s, so once again, let’s walk down memory lane!

CHEERS – Where Everybody Knows Your Name

It’s been ages since I watched Cheers but I can still remember this iconic theme song. Where Everybody Knows Your Name is such a perfect theme song for this series. Per Wiki, it written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, and performed by Portnoy in 1982. It was nominated for an Emmy and In 2013, the editors of TV Guide magazine named it the greatest TV theme of all time.

FRASIER – Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs

Ok so I didn’t plan on picking Frasier because it was a spin-off of Cheers, but there you have it. I actually watch Frasier far more regularly than Cheers and it was perhaps my favorite sitcom at the time, yes it even beat Seinfeld for me! It’s rare too that the lead actor actually sang the song and Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs is such an odd title! Per this article, composer Bruce Miller also created the Seattle graphics at the beginning of the show. The general request for the song was something with a jazzy feel, but also eclectic, to reflect the show’s character…so the tossed salads and scrambled eggs was actually metaphor for Frasier’s patients, as in a little “mixed up.” How absolutely perfect and iconic is that!

The Greatest American Hero – Believe it or Not

I actually only watched a few episodes of this 80s superhero comedy series, but it’s my hubby’s favorite! Somehow the theme song still stuck with me and I often still hum it to this day. It’s written by Mike Post, the composer behind other great theme songs such as Law & Order, The A-Team, Magnum P.I., etc and sung by Joey Scarbury.

This song title is perfect for the show about an ordinary school teacher who got a superhero costume from aliens that gives him super powers when he wears it, ahah. But then he lost the instruction manual that comes with it, so hilarity ensues!

Working Girl (TV Series) – Let The River Run

Ok, so I think I only watched a couple of episodes of this series that’s loosely based on the 1988 of the same name. Instead of Melanie Griffith, the series stars Sandra Bullock as Tess McGill. Well, it only ran for one season, well barely as the ratings were so low that it got canceled before all 12 episodes aired in 1990.

Well, the only memorable part for me was the theme song Let The River Run written and sung by Carly Simon, which was also featured in the movie and won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1989. Well, despite the defunct series, Bullock went on to be a major movie star so perhaps the cancelation proved to be a blessing in disguise for her?


So which are YOUR favorite TV theme song?

FlixChatter Review – MORTAL KOMBAT (2021)

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As a teenager back in the 1990s, I was a fan of the video game Mortal Kombat. It was the most popular game in the early 90s, then a film version came out in the summer of 1995 and it was a big success. So much so that the studio fast-tracked a sequel that would come out two years later. Unfortunately, the sequel was so bad and failed at the box office that it killed the film franchise. Now, almost 30 years later a new reboot of the franchise is hitting the big and small screens.

The story kicks off in 17th century Japan, Hanso/Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) is living a quiet life with wife and children. Suddenly, assassins show up and kill his men and family. The man who’s in charge of the attack is Bi-Han/Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim). A brutal fight between Hanso and Bi-Han ensued and unfortunately Hanso was not able to defeat Bi-Han. It’s unclear why Hanso and his family were attacked, the filmmakers somehow assumed that people already know their back stories. That’s one of the many mistakes they made for this reboot.

mortalkombat-hiroyuki

Fast forward to present day and we’re introduced to a has been fighter named Cole Young (Lewis Tan), he’s in an underground fight and got his butt whooped. While getting dinner with his wife and daughter at a restaurant after the fight, Sub-Zero suddenly showed up and started attacking them. Then Jax (Mehcad Brooks) came to their rescue, he instructed Cole to find Sonya (Jessica McNamee) who has the answer as to why suddenly his family’s life is in danger. Once Cole tracked down Sonya, she informed him that he’s one of the chosen fighters to defend earth from the evil lord named Shang Tsung (Chin Han) who lives in an Outworld and wants to rule our world. Sonya tells Cole that they have to find a hidden temple that house the world’s best fighters that can defend our world from the evil fighters from the Outworld. Cole agreed because he wants to save his family from danger. There’s not much else when it comes to the plot, the rest of the movie is full of bloody fights and special effects.

The screenplay is credited to Greg Russo and Dave Callahan, it’s a not bad script but not good either. By making the story more “grounded” and serious, it just took the fun out of it for me. The original 1995 film wasn’t great but at least it knows that it’s silly world they’ve created and just had fun with it. Here they tried to go all Nolan’s Dark Knight route and just didn’t work for me. Also, I thought there’s way too much fan service. I don’t mind if the filmmakers decided to include things from the source material, but this is a different medium and I expected something better from the creatives that are involved in making a film version. First time director Simon McQuoid moved things along by including brutal and bloody fights that fans of the video game will be happy to see. But narratively, he didn’t do a good job here. The movie also suffered from some very sloppy editing.

There’s not much to say when it comes to the performances. Some were cringeworthy and many were just wooden performances by the actors. The lead hero Cole is one of the weakest heroes I’ve seen in an action film. I don’t think it’s Lewis Tan’s fault since the character was so poorly written. The only stand out performance is Josh Lawson’s Kano, he’ basically the comic relief in an otherwise grim story.

Despite the shortcomings of this reboot, I still enjoyed it and of course the movie ended with tease of more sequels. Many fans of this video game are mostly in their 30s and 40s now, so I think some will enjoy it while many of us who expected more will likely be disappointed with this version. Me personally, I prefer the 1995 film version because it didn’t take itself too seriously and I had a lot of fun with it. I still think that original version is the “best” film based on video game.

TedS_post


So have you seen MORTAL KOMBAT? Well, what did you think?

Musings on 2021 Oscars – The Good, The Bad + the WTF

It’s Oscars Sunday and I actually don’t feel as overwhelmed as I had been as year’s past as I actually remember Oscars is on tonight so I had time to prepare and set up my laptop downstairs instead of scrambling to live tweet, ahah. Now, I wish I had timed my laundry on time as I still had to pick up my load during commercials! Nothing like mundanity of real life to go with all the glitz and glamour! 😀

I have to say though that I quite like the more low-key ceremony with tables so people can social distance… it feels more relaxed, cozy and intimate. But unlike the Golden Globes, still no drinks, ha! I also like the fact that the song performances were shown before the actual telecast to cut time, and the fact that they were done outdoors are pretty cool as well. This is actually my favorite song nominated this year… written by the legendary Diane Warren!

 

I love Regina King doing the opening monologue wearing one of my favorite Oscar dresses of the night! I expected Minneapolis would got a mention… wish it were for another reason though. In any case, if you missed it, here’s the video: 

THE GOOD

First Oscar went to a woman, yay!!

Incredible that Emerald Fennell won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for her feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman –  similar to Diablo Cody who won for JUNO in 2008. But she also directed AND produced the film, all while she was pregnant, wow!!

emerald-fennell


Two more women won within the first half hour, both for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom!!

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): Viola Davis as Ma Rainey. Cr. David Lee / Netflix

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson won for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling AND Ann Roth won for Best Achievement in Costume Design!


I’m still kicking myself that I haven’t seen MINARI, yet! But Yuh-Jung Youn didn’t just win for her performance in Minari, but for having the most adorable Oscar speech of the night! Her expression when her name was called is priceless!!


Chloe Zhao is having a moment… the woman is such a force that I know this is just the beginning for her!!


The phenomenally talented Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross are double nominees tonight for MANK and SOUL. I’ve only seen the latter and I absolutely LOVE the score for SOUL, so yeah!!


Nomadland and Chloé Zhao making all kinds of history tonight just made my heart soar!!! One of the only two Best Picture nominees I saw on the big screen before it was actually released. Thanks to Twin Cities Film Fest!!


[Added 4/26] – Since I posted it right after the ceremony ended. I went to bed hoping I’d see a video of Sir Anthony Hopkins‘ Oscar speech. Well here it is… the Welsh thespian is as gracious as ever, even paying tribute to fellow nominee Chadwick Boseman who everyone thought would’ve won this year.


THE BAD

  • What’s with Brad Pitt not helping Yuh-Jung Youn from her podium when the 73 year-old woman clearly could use some help… and even if she didn’t, it would’ve been the chivalrous thing to do.
  • I’m not crazy with the fact that they didn’t show clips of the nominees, only a few categories including Best Picture were shown clips.
  • I didn’t care for the trivia bit, overall it just felt awkward and they could’ve given more time to other things we actually care about.
  • They’re rushing through everything in the final hour… especially during what’s supposed to be a solemn IN MEMORIAM sequence. It’s egregious to rush THAT sequence, but it’s especially terrible given how many people we lost in 2020.
  • What’s with the BEST PICTURE being presented before the Best Actor + Actress announcement?? The Best Picture has always been the last award of the night, that is tradition. I mean WHY?? It doesn’t exactly save time to change the order and it just didn’t feel right. I feel like they also didn’t allow the winning team, in this case NOMADLAND, to bask in this achievement somehow.

THE WTF

Now, this category isn’t automatically bad… they’re just completely out of left field!

Ok so I haven’t got around to seeing Judas and the Black Messiah but happy for the talented Daniel Kaluuya. He was rambling quite a bit in his speech but hey, that made for one of the funniest moments of the night!


Well, expect a new Glenn Close meme coming on Monday, folks!! I guess this is one of the fun things that came out of the whole trivia bit.


Though I was flabbergasted that I did not hear Chadwick Boseman‘s name called in the Best Actor category who deserved the post-humous nomination NOT because he’s gone but because he gave an outstanding, heart-wrenching performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom… but no, I’m not going to complain that Anthony Hopkins won (or worse, getting mad at the actor for winning like some people on Twitter – SMH) I was in awe of his performance depicting a man suffering from dementia in The Father… and the fact that he wasn’t even campaigning at all during award season just showed what a gracious person he is. He didn’t even appoint anyone to accept the award on his behalf!


Last but not least…

Now, I don’t think anyone saw it coming that Frances McDormand would win Best Actress!! I mean, despite my love for Nomadland, I didn’t think Frances’ performance was out of this world the way Viola Davis and Carey Mulligan did in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Promising Young Woman, respectively.


Ok I’m hoping Marvel is listening!!


In conclusion…

Heh, what a night! Despite some historic wins that made me happy, the ceremony itself is bonkers!! There are just too many weird things… some of the speeches went on way too long (wish someone cut off the last bit of Kaluuya’s speech), and some barely got enough time in. Again, the announcement weird switcheroos made no sense at all… and what’s with the abrupt end after they realized Anthony Hopkins weren’t present?? At the very least they could’ve shown a clip of his performance?? Something??

Some were saying that whoever directed the event must have been convinced Chadwick Boseman would win Best Actor, and that’s why they re-arranged so that his category is last. Well if that is the case, that’s just a terrible decision that proves to be a disservice to everyone.


Oh, speaking of my predictions I posted on Saturday, I only got 14/23 categories I predicted correctly. That’s actually pretty good considering I haven’t seen SO many and mostly these are based on gut instincts, ahah.


So did you watch the Oscars? Well, what did YOU think?

2021 Oscars Predictions – Who Will Win, Who Should Win

Ok so it’s one day before Oscars telecast tomorrow night, so I’m obviously kinda late to the party, but what the heck. I suppose, before those envelopes are opened, it’s still fair game, right? 

I actually haven’t seen ALL of the nominees, but hey, that hasn’t stopped me from making predictions in years past, so it’s not going to stop me this year, either 🙂 Also, in case you’re wondering, this prediction is based on gut instinct, so not exactly scientifically based. The SHOULD WIN category is who I would like to win, as in the one I’m rooting for this year (except for in categories where I have not seen ANY of the nominated films).

In any case, here we go:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

WHO WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chadwick Boseman

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

WHO WILL WIN: Carey Mulligan
WHO SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya
WHO SHOULD WIN: Paul Raci

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn
WHO SHOULD WIN: Olivia Colman

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Speak Now
WHO SHOULD WIN: Io Se (Seen)

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: One Night In Miami

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Promising Young Woman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound of Metal

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

WHO WILL WIN: A Love Song for Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

WHO WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

WHO WILL WIN: Another Round

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

WHO WILL WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
WHO SHOULD WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mank

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: The Father

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

WHO WILL WIN: Tenet
WHO SHOULD WIN: Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

WHO WILL WIN: Sound Of Metal
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound Of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”

WHO WILL WIN: If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

WHO WILL WIN: The Letter Room


Ok let’s see how many I get right tomorrow night. HAPPY OSCAR WEEKEND, everyone!!

Thursday Movie Picks: Psychological Thrillers

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… Psychological Thrillers.

This is a very popular sub-genre and I’m actually surprised how many I’ve seen. This time I’m going with a theme-within-a-theme so I’m picking mostly those with a strong female lead, and three out of four leads are nominated for Oscars. Here they are in the order of release:

Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)

sleepingwithenemy-poster

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

I saw this the year it was released with my older brother, my cinema buddy at the time as I was still in high school in Jakarta. Given Indonesia didn’t have regulations like MPAA, kids of any age could pretty much see any R-rated movies. I even saw risqué stuff like Basic Instinct, 9-1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, etc. in the theater, with my brother, no less!

sleepingwithenemy-juliaroberts

In any case, I remember this movie being quite suspenseful. I still remember when Julia Roberts‘ character pretended to drown so she could change her identity from her possessive husband. Just a year after Pretty Woman was released, she’s definitely flexing her dramatic muscle and I think she’s pretty good here. Patrick Bergin made for a pretty scary villain who’d stop at nothing to get his wife back.


Primal Fear (1996)

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An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

I’m breaking my theme-within-a-theme of movies with a female lead, as I really wanted to include this film!

This might have been the first time I saw Edward Norton on screen, which happens to be his feature film debut. The main draw for me was Richard Gere as the Chicago defense attorney who takes on the case pro bono. It’s a role that fits Gere nicely and I think he’s a more versatile actor than people give him credit for. But the star here is definitely Ed Norton who apparently beat out over 2000+ actors who auditioned for the role of Aaron Stampler, including Matt Damon.

primalfear-gere-norton

It turns out to be a career-making role that earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win. I think he was scary good in this role… his shy mannerism, stammer, etc. feels believable and like Gere’s character, you wanted to believe he’s innocent. This movie’s got one of the most chilling ending a la The Usual Suspect.

Interesting Trivia:

Pedro Pascal stated in a 2014 interview that his first ever audition was for the role of Aaron Stampler.


Black Swan (2010)

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A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.

I’m a huge fan of ballet and even took some ballet lessons as a kid. I even remember going to see a Russian Ballet performance of Swan Lake in high school and met some of the male ballerinas backstage. There’s something so alluring and mystical about this graceful dance that takes such an insane amount of rigorous training and unrelenting dedication.

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It’s a perfect subject matter to exploit for Darren Aronofsky, a filmmaker with a predilection for dark, disturbing films. It’s perhaps one of Natalie Portman’s most memorable roles since Léon: The Professional and V For Vendetta. I think her Oscar win is well-deserved, though I think Vincent Cassel‘s haunting performance is also pretty Oscar-worthy. Barbara Hershey as her dominating mother and Mila Kunis as her rival ballerina are also memorable, I particularly remember Kunis being quite the comic relief in an otherwise somber and unsettling affair.

Interesting Trivia:

Natalie Portman met her future husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of this film. Portman herself pointed out the irony that his character in the film scoffs when asked if he’d have sex with Nina, and joked that obviously he was a good actor.

Gone Girl (2014)

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With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

I was already familiar with Rosamund Pike as she’s one of the Bond girls in the godawful Die Another Day, Jane in 2015’s Pride & Prejudice, as well as supporting turns in An Education, Jack Reacher, etc. She’s always been good but she’s exceptional here in an Oscar-worthy role. David Fincher + Gillian Flynn colab is certainly the perfect ingredient for a solid thriller, and Fincher was on a streak as most of the actors kept getting nominated for Oscars under his direction. I was rooting for Amy the whole time, even after the reveal of what she did, which is a testament to Pike’s amazing performance as an antiheroine.

gonegirl-rosamund

The supporting cast is an interesting mix. Ben Affleck‘s casting is perfect here as a handsome, somewhat charming but not-so-bright husband. Then there are Tyler Perry (who I had never seen before on screen at that point) and Neil Patrick Harris. I’m still baffled by Harris’ casting to this day, especially for a scene so sexual and bloody.

Interesting Trivia:

Ben Affleck would constantly sing ’80s songs in between takes. Impressed, Tyler Perry decided to start a game that ended up lasting the entire duration of filming. Perry would start to sing the most random song he could think of to see if Affleck would start singing along. According to Perry, Affleck knew all of the words to every single song Perry threw at him, including Broadway showtunes and songs by Barbra Streisand.


What do you think of my picks? What are YOUR favorite psychological thrillers?

THIS JUST IN! Ted Lasso Season 2 Trailer

tedlasso

It has been a great week so far with a bunch of new trailers being released. I just posted about Shang-Chi yesterday, around the same time as Leos Carax’s musical ANNETTE that I’ll talk about in another week.

Well, thanks to my hubby who brought his laptop down for lunch as he wanted to watch Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ live event, Tim Cook also announced Ted Lasso‘s season 2 teaser, wahoo!!

If there’s one show I’m absolutely in love with this year, it’d be THIS ONE. I’m surprised by that myself as I’m not even into soccer or even sports-type movies/shows. I mean, I have seen a few I enjoy but I’m as clueless about sports as coach Ted is about soccer (or football for UK folks)! 😀

The series follows US American Football coach Ted Lasso heading to the UK to manage a struggling London football team in the top flight of English football.

Though it’s obviously centered around a sport, Ted Lasso is SO much more than just about football. It’s a series that celebrates goodness and wholesomeness. In fact, its tagline says ‘Kindness is making a comeback’ which is so spot on!! It’s sooo refreshing to see a series in 2021 that is so positive and not about being ‘accomplished’ or being at the top of the game. In fact, Ted takes something that’s inherently negative (being hired solely because he does NOT know anything about English football) and turn it around into something positive for everyone because he cares more about people than about winning.

I also adore the fact that it celebrates the underdog as well, not just the team but the people that get overlooked, i.e. Nate whom Ted notice as being quite the team expert that’s key in turning the team around.

Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudekis + Nick Mohammed

I love every single cast member, but of course Jason Sudekis is the star and he’s absolutely wonderful in this role. I’ve only seen him in comedies but none really made a mark for me until this series. He fits the role so well and so believable as a glass-half-full kind of guy. There are also some dramatic moments on the show and Sudekis proved himself to be a versatile actor to tackle those believably as well.

The supporting cast are superb as well… hard to pick a favorite among them: Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Jeremy Swift, Brett Goldstein, Phil Dunster, Toheeb Jimoh and of course James Lance as journalist Trent Crimm.

Ok so now you’ve got some time to catch up on this series before JULY 23 when season 2 premieres!!

Let’s celebrate with some of my favorite Ted Lasso gifs:

I couldn’t find the gif but this ‘be curious, not judgmental’ quote is definitely my favorite… lots of great life lessons from this show!


Just three more months away until season 2! Are you a fan of TED LASSO?