Welcome 2015! What’s the first movie/series you’re watching on the first day of the year?

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2015, hope your first day of the year was a good one. I’ve bid 2014 farewell with this random recap post. Boy it’s been quite a busy year for me in terms of blogging and movie watching.

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According to WordPress’ stats, this blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2014. So THANK YOU for your readership and comments, it’s always so fun discussing movies with all of you 😉

I look forward to what 2015 has in store for us. I’ll be posting my list of most-anticipated movies released this year, one of them I’ll be seeing next week (Selma). I skipped the cinema on the first day of the year however, as I don’t get tomorrow off from work. So earlier today, my hubby and I decided to check out Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond on Netflix.

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It’s a BBC’s four-part miniseries on 007’s author, starring Dominic Cooper as Ian Fleming and Lara Pulver as his love interest, Ann O’Neill. I’ve only seen the first part so far, but it’s definitely a handsome, glamorized version of Fleming’s life. It’s pretty much done in the vein of a Bond movie, down to the exotic locations, sexy girls and plenty of shagging than actual spying. Even the theme song is very John Barry-esque. Cooper looks nothing like Fleming and it seems that the series’ creator took a lot of liberty on the story, but as a Bond fan, it’s still an enjoyable piece of entertainment for me.


So folks, what movie/show did you see on the first day of 2015?

Special Collaborative Post: Recasting Jane Austen AdaptationPart II – Mansfield Park

Today I bring you the second one of our collaborative Austen Recasting Series with a fellow blogger, and fellow British actor aficionado, Anna from Defiant Success blog. The first one we did was Sense & Sensibility, this time we’re tackling the screen adaptation of Mansfield Park. If you haven’t read the book or seen any film adaptation of Mansfield Park, this Sparknotes article gives a good insight about its characters.

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Anna’s Picks

Sophie Turner as Fanny Price

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Admittedly, this choice is the result of watching too much Game of Thrones. Knowing what her character of Sansa Stark goes through on the show (well, at least up to “The Mountain and the Viper”), Turner seems perfect for the role of Fanny. (Then again, what Fanny goes through is practically idyllic compared to Sansa’s ordeal.)

Ben Whishaw as Edmund Bertram

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I was initially considering Whishaw for Edward Ferrars on the Sense and Sensibility casting post, but I realized he was must better suited as Edmund. A few of his roles have him as kindhearted but naive, which easily sums up Edmund.

Rebecca Hall as Mary Crawford

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It was Hall’s work in Parade’s End that made me think she’d be right for this role. Her character of Sylvia Tietjens uses her looks and charms to conceal her more deceitful nature, much like what Mary does throughout the book.

Dominic Cooper as Henry Crawford

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I must thank Andrew from Encore Entertainment for this suggestion because quite frankly it’s almost impossible to cast the men in an Austen adaptation. (Key word: almost.) Cooper could easily play a man who thinks he’s entitled to any woman he fancies, regardless whether they return the affection or not. (It doesn’t hurt that he had previously played another Austen cad.)

Stephen Dillane as Sir Thomas Bertram

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Dillane has done his fair share of authoritative roles (Game of Thrones comes to mind) and often times they’re not that sympathetic. With Sir Thomas, Dillane could continue that role and have the chance to become kinder towards the end (particularly after a “my God, what have I done?” moment).

Natalie Dormer as Maria Bertram


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Okay, last Game of Thrones actor, I promise. Anyway, Dormer could easily play a woman who’s arrogant and thinks she’s entitled to anything (or anyone) that catches her eye. (It would certainly be satisfying to see her comeuppance towards the end.)

Emily Blunt as Julia Bertram

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Similarly, Blunt could play a character like Maria albeit in a less vain manner. (At least Julia gets a happier ending than Maria.)

Emma Thompson as Lady Bertram

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There’s just something about seeing Thompson in a role that would have her being lazy and indifferent most of the time that sounds so appealing. After all, she’s played so many prim and proper roles throughout her career. It would be nice to see her to do a role like Lady Bertram.

Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Norris

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Likewise, most of the roles I’ve seen Staunton in had her as the kind matronly figure. Suffice to say, it would be a bit of a shock to see her being absolutely vile to the main character.

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Ruth’s Picks

Jessica Brown Findlay as Fanny Price

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I LOVED Frances O’Connor as Fanny in the 1999 adaptation so it’ll be hard to top her in my mind. I think of Fanny as a strong young woman who keeps to herself a lot as a result of her circumstances. Growing up in her wealthy uncle’s estate, she often gets belittled and degraded, especially by her aunt Norris, but she remains dutiful and patient. She’s gentle but does NOT mean she’s a feeble character. In fact, her strong moral compass and sound mind makes her indispensable to the Bertram family. After seeing Findlay as Lady Sibyl in Downton Abbey (and the unfortunately dreadful Winter’s Tale), I think she’d make a suitable Fanny. She’s effortlessly likable and sweet, but she’s also steadfast in her will, as evident in her refusing Henry Crawford no matter how hard he tries.

Sam Reid as Edmund Bertram

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After seeing the Belle movie twice the last couple of months, I’ve been quite taken with the 27-year-old Aussie-native. In fact, as I watched his character John Davinier in Belle, I knew immediately he’d make a fine Edmund. In the book, Edmund desires to be a clergyman and Davinier was the son of a vicar. Sam Reid is classically handsome but he has a kindness about him, an earnest demeanor that’s perfect for this character. Edmund is Fanny’s only true friend in Mansfield Park, and it’s easy to see why Fanny would fall for him.

Lara Pulver as Mary Crawford

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I LOVE Lara Pulver in BBC Sherlock and Robin Hood. I think she’s absolutely stunning and is the kind of girl that can make any man fall for her. Mary is charming and bewitching, as she practically steals Edmund’s heart. There’s a certain seductive quality about her as well that Lara would be perfect for.

Tom Hardy as Henry Crawford

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Henry is as equally charming as his sister Mary. He’s what you’d describe as a bad boy, perhaps even more so than Willoughby is in Sense & Sensibility. Tom Hardy simply oozes charisma and sex appeal, plus he has that playful quality that would make him quite an irresistible scoundrel. I think Hardy can display a certain sensitivity for the role for when Henry falls for Fanny and he ardently pursues her.

Iain Glen as Sir Thomas Bertram

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I’ve always liked Iain Glen since he played the villain in the first Lara Croft movie. Yes he even out-shined pre-Bond Daniel Craig in that one. Later on he popped up in the later season of BBC Spooks and now he’s in Game of Thrones. There’s a certain gravitas that commands respect which makes him suitable to play a wealthy landowner who’s tough on his children. His authoritarian style drives away his eldest son Tom, and he’s quite harsh to Fanny when she refuses to do what he says. But in the end he realizes the error of his ways and I think Iain can also display vulnerability when the scenes call for it.

Gemma Arterton as Maria Bertram

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Maria is described as vain and pretentious, and she’s a bit of a bully to Fanny. She’s obviously materialistic as she only marries Rushworth for his money. I could see Gemma play this role. She may look like a sweet English rose but there’s an icy quality about her that could work well for the role.

Rose Byrne as Julia Bertram

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Julia is not as mean nor cocky as Maria and deep down she resents her sister for being so over-indulgent. Seems that Rose has been in a lot of American comedies lately, I’m curious to see her in a period drama like this one.

Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Bertram

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I always see Helena being so feisty all the time, I’d like to see her play a rather lethargic character. Lady Bertram is described as neurotic as she’s dependent on her pills and all she does is lounge around in the house doing absolutely nothing. There’s something childlike about this character that I think Helena can pull off with aplomb.

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Norris

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Having played Mrs. Benett in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, I somehow think it’d be interesting to see her play a mean-spirited character here. I absolutely loathe Mrs. Norris, especially her treatment to Fanny, always reminding her of her *place* in the family in the cruelest way. Blethyn often plays comedic character and sometimes comedic performers often make convincing villains.


Previous Jane Austen Recasting Post:

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Well, those are our picks for the main characters Mansfield Park. Let us know your thoughts and feel free to offer your own picks in the comments!

FlixChatter Review – Need For Speed

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I’m not a gamer, in fact I haven’t played a video game in 2 years. But I have to admit I was a fan of the Need For Speed games back in my college years. So I was bit intrigued when Hollywood announced back in early 2000s that they were going to make a movie version. If I remember correctly, New Line Cinema was going to produce the movie and attached John Woo as the director and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was going to play the lead role. They even made a teaser poser with the release date of summer 2005. Of course that version never got made and the project was stuck in development hell for years. Well now after almost a decade from its original release date, the movie is ready to be seen by millions.

The movie opens in a not-so-speedy pace, we were introduced to a few characters including the hero Tobey Marshall (Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul). He and his pals runs a car shop and also participate in an illegal street racing to earn some extra cash. One night after work, they were at another street race, they ran into Marshall’s ex girlfriend Anita (Dakota Johnson) and her boyfriend Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Apparently Marshall and Brewster had a history and they don’t like each other much. Then we were treated to one of the most boring car racing scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. Marshall of course won the race and the next day Brewster came to his shop and offer him a project he couldn’t refuse. Apparently Marshall owes the bank a lot of money for the car shop and he needs the money badly. Brewster offered Marshall and his team a job of building the fastest car ever made and if the car is sold, he’ll give 25% of the sale to Marshall. With the magic of movie making, they finished the job in just 2 seconds. The new Ford Mustang they built is supposedly can go as fast as 230mph and this drew an interest from a potential buyer Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots). Maddon turns out to be a rep for some very rich person who’s willing to buy the car for $3 mil but she needs to see that the car can go as fast as Marshall promised.

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Well the next day they took the car out for a drive and proved that it can go pretty darn fast. Maddon and her buyer were quite impressed and said they’ll pay $2.7mil for the car. After they closed the deal, Marshall, his good friend Little Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) and Brewster decided to make a friendly wager and went for another street racing. If Brewster wins the race, Marshall will have to give up his 25% percent but if he loses than Marshall will keep the $2.7mil. Fortunately this race scene was much better than the first one and of course tragedy strike and Little Pete was killed during the race. For some strange reason Marshall was blamed for his death and spent two years behind bars. Fast forward two years later, Marshall is out of prison on parole and wants revenge. He wants to enter into a super secret street racing which is being organize by the Monarch (Michael Keaton). The grand prize for this race can be as big as $9 mil. He contacted Maddon and ask her to convince her boss to sponsor him in the race. He also contacted his old crew who were more than willing to help him get to the race. Maddon’s boss agreed to sponsor Marshall but insist that Maddon must tag along with him. The rest of the movie was basically about Marshall and his team trying to reach the big race and win the prize.

I wanted to like this movie and for about 20 minutes, I thought it could be a fun mindless action thriller. But then as the movie progresses, it became more and more annoying. I didn’t care about the plot or any of the characters. The script by George Gatins was full of cliche one dimensional characters and I thought for sure it’s written by a 15 year old. Since I’m a fan of Breaking Bad, every time Aaron Paul is on the screen, I just think of him as Jesse and you know what, he’s basically playing the same character here. Lots of whining, yelling and crying, just like Jesse. Not any better is Dominic Cooper‘s one-note villainy performance, I guess he achieved what the role required, just being a big douche bag. The rest of the characters in the movie were a bunch of fillers and Marshall’s pals are supposed to be comic relief, but all of them were annoying to watch.

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Usually when there’s a bad script, the director can somehow turn it into something watchable. Unfortunately director Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) is not talented enough for the task. I don’t blame him, his background is in stunt coordination and he should’ve stick to doing that. He has no clue how to put together coherent scenes to create dramatic effect. The scene where Little Pete was killed and Jesse er I mean Marshall started bawling, I wanted to burst out laughing because it has this dramatic music cue that just didn’t fit the scene at all. Since his background is in stunt, he did a pretty good job of staging the climatic chase but by then I didn’t care about the movie and just wish it’s over already. For a pretty decent budget, the movie looked like it’s a made for a TV movie. The cinematography was flat and uninspiring, the movie was shot digitally and it looked like it was shot by someone who bought a camcorder at a electronic store.

It’s still early but this movie will definitely make my worst-of-the-year list. The movie has no redeeming quality whatsoever – it’s full of one clichéd scene after another and I didn’t care for any of the characters. I’m the type that loves dumb action movies but this one was just way too dumb for me to enjoy it. Also, at over 2 hours long, it’s way too long for audiences to sit through this mess. At least 40 minutes of the content could’ve been cut out.

If you’re planning to see it in theater, I recommend you wait till it airs on TV so you won’t have to waste your hard-earned money on this trash.

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What do you think of Need For Speed? Did you like it more or less than I did?

Weekend Roundup: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Magic Mike review

This sweltering heat must be doing the cinemas some good as people want to cool off in the air-conditioned movie theaters. Whilst the last two weekends were dominated by movies targeted for kids (Brave, Madagascar 3), this time adults packed theaters to see two R-rated movies: Ted and Magic Mike. The former starring Mark Wahlberg and a foul-mouthed Teddy bear as his BFF earned a whopping $54 mil, which is the highest debut ever for an original R-rated comedy (per Box Office Mojo). With a budget of only $50 mil (half of it probably went to Wahlberg), it’s obviously a very profitable debut for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

Here’s a review of a movie I saw last Friday night, and thanks to my colleague Susan M. for her review of one of her most-anticipated movie, Magic Mike.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I’ve been curious about this movie from the first time I heard about the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith. The author himself is adapting his novel into the movie, which tells the *secret* history of one of America’s most famous presidents, supposedly based on Lincoln’s own diaries of his um, nightly activities.

The story spans 45 years of Lincoln’s life, starting with him as a young boy working at a plantation. It shows that even from a young age, Abe’s got a certain fondness for the axe as he tried to defend his friend Wil who’s being beaten by his master, Jack Barts. This incident leads to Barts to poison Abe’s mother which of course sparks the vengeful spirit in him to kill as many vampires as he could.

Now, how does an ordinary man do that? Well, fortunately for Abe, there’s Henry Sturgess to the rescue when he tried to kill Barts years later and discovers that he’s a vampire. Sturgess not only saves Abe’s life but offers to train him to accomplish his mission, that is to kill as many vampire as he could. We’ll learn of Sturgess’ motivation soon enough, which comes at the same time Abe learns that his best friend too, is a vampire.

The fight training scenes are actually pretty cool and the movie lives up to the name swiftly as the fast-learner Abe soon gets to put that silver-coated axe to good use. Those vampire chopping stuff are done in Timur Bekmambetov’s slo-mo style (as you might’ve seen in Wanted) and they’re very, very bloody. The vampires aren’t sexy or cute like in True Blood or Twilight, they are freakish looking with their long and pointy teeth, just as we imagined these bloodsuckers to be.

Newcomer Benjamin Walker is quite believable in the lead role. The lanky 6’3″ 30-year-old certainly looks the part but he’s also instantly likable which helps the audience to sympathize with his character and his mission. He’s got a nice chemistry with Dominic Cooper as Sturgess and also his best friend Wil (Anthony Mackie), but less so with his love interest Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The romance isn’t convincing at all, but no matter, it’s not that kind of vampire movie. We see Timur’s movie for his spectacular fight choreography and on that note he delivers. Lincoln is portrayed as some sort of superhero battling a dozen of vampires in this Southern mansion and blood splatters and splashes everywhere as he masterfully wields his weapon of choice. As you know I’m not keen on horror or bloody sequences, but when done in such a stylized way, it sort of takes the edge off and it’s actually less scary.

Now, I’ve always thought the tone of the movie should’ve been more tongue-in-cheek just like what the title suggest, instead it’s more of a straight-laced adaptation and they tried to align the scenarios with actual historical events such as the Gettysburg address. Fortunately, it’s not completely devoid of whimsy and I think the movie overall is rather fun. Yes it’s silly and preposterous in more than one occasion but you’ve got to remind yourself that you are seeing a movie with a historical figure combined with ‘vampire hunter’ in the title, so logic-defying scenarios should be expected.

Still, there are scenes that are wildly ludicrous even for a historical fantasy, and the horse stampede scene immediately springs to mind. That scene involves a horse being thrown at Abe, yes you heard it right: A HORSE, in the midst of a huge stampede with dozens of horses charging forcefully and Barts actually throws the horse at him! Now, not only does Abe survives that, he proceeds to mount one of them (not sure if it’s that same one thrown at him or not as things are happening pretty fast) and rides the thing whilst wielding that ax at Barts in the process!! As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also able to jump from horse to horse to capture his nemesis… and wait ’til you see that sensational axe gun. Say what you will about this movie, but that scene alone to me is worth the price of admission!

And finally, the villain. Dashing Brit Rufus Sewell is no stranger for playing a baddie but surprisingly he’s never played a vampire before. A shame really as he’s quite good at it and his dramatic eyes seem almost otherworldly. He brings a certain sophistication and suave-ness to his role of Adam (which was written specifically for the movie). Now, you’ve seen vampires being bloodthirsty or romantic, but politically-inclined? Now that’s an idea. Adam is more of a politically-minded vampire… “It’s time we have a nation of our own,” he declares in that sexy, raspy voice of his. Rufus has this smirk on his face the entire time and he seems to be having the most fun in this movie. I wish he had more screen time here and that his character could’ve been a bit more developed, but still he’s always great to watch.

The always watchable Alan Tudyk also has a brief role as Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic Party nominee for President in the 1860 election who lost out to Lincoln. He was also Lincoln’s romantic rival as he briefly dated Mary Todd.

Final Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this movie more that I thought. The cinematography by Caleb Deschanel looks beautiful and there are some really cool shots of Lincoln with his iconic hat and long coat. The action sequences of the slo-mo vampire chopping scenes did seem excessive though that it became tiresome. But the likable cast certainly helps and somehow the story managed to keep me engrossed from start to finish. I wouldn’t even mind renting this again when it’s out on Blu-ray.

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Magic Mike

If you’re going to see Magic Mike because you want to see a bunch of (mostly) naked men writhing around on a stage, well, you’ll get that. But as a warning, you’ll also get a somewhat uneven portrayal of a lifestyle filled with women, drugs, and desolation.

Let’s start with the good: Channing Tatum saves this movie from being horrible. He’s an excellent movie flirter and a bona fide movie star. Plus, he’s a great dancer (Step Up, anyone?). It’s hard to take your eyes off of him not just because he is ridiculously good looking, but because he makes you sympathize with his character, Mike, an “entrepreneur” who moonlights as a stripper. In Tatum’s limited range, he not only excels, he totally owns it; he knows what he is, he doesn’t try to be more, and he isn’t embarrassed by it.

Alex Pettyfer was also great in the role of Adam, an impulsive lost soul who is living with his sister, going from job to job until he meets Mike at a construction job (one of Mike’s entrepreneurial businesses that we only see or hear mention of once throughout the movie, hence the unevenness mentioned earlier). Mike takes Adam under his wing and soon, “the Kid” as he becomes known, is sucked into the world of Chippendales-style male stripping. But where Pettyfer excels is in portraying the dark side of the business: the lure of money, the drugs, the seedy women.

Then there’s the bad: Matthew McConaughey. He’s probably never been happier since he spent the majority of the movie in leather pants with his shirt off. He appeared so sweaty in almost every scene he was in, you could practically smell the body odor coming off him. And enough with the bongo playing and “all right, all right, all right.” He literally has no range. If you’ve seen one Matthew McConaughey movie, you’ve seen them all. His character, Dallas, is the owner of the club and a former stripper himself. He definitely plays a smarmy strip club owner to perfection, I’ll give him that.

Matt Bomer, as beautiful as he is, is rather unremarkable in the role, unfortunately. And don’t ask me about Joe Manganiello, who is the equivalent to Pamela Anderson, in my book. There is no presence. Sure, he’s fun to look at, but so what?

As for the script, there are several parts of it that don’t make any sense and could have used some serious editing, if not outright trimming completely. The female lead in the film, Cody Horn, who plays Alex Pettyfer’s sister, appears to have the same relationship with her brother as she does with her love interest Channing Tatum. Their opening scene together, at home, is so sexually charged, you feel gross the moment it’s revealed that they’re related. Horn’s character, Brooke, has a bizarre obsession with her brother throughout the film that made me uncomfortable. And her acting was stale and wooden.

It’s also ridiculous when Tatum’s character confronts Olivia Munn, his casual sex partner, and finds out she’s engaged. Her fiancé is sitting beside her. He graciously excuses himself when Tatum shows up at the restaurant. In what world would that actually go down??

That said, it’s not like Magic Mike didn’t have its moments. The depiction of the lifestyle seemed realistic enough. They addressed the drug culture involved in the profession, the desolation, the loneliness that comes from connecting only with people on a purely physical level – these stark realities were indeed portrayed rather honestly, although I’m not really sure if the message actually landed. And the dance scenes were hilarious. I especially loved the Fourth of July tribute when the guys took to the stage in camouflage, and the “It’s Raining Men” routine, complete with umbrellas and rain boots.

Overall, I really liked Magic Mike. But the problem I had with it was not necessarily with the film itself, but more the response to it. There are those who will argue that this is simply the female equivalent of when men hit up strip clubs. No way. When a man goes to see a woman take her clothes off, she’s inferior to his paying power. When a woman goes to see a man take his clothes off, is he inferior to her paying power, or is she still inferior to the power of what’s in his pants? It’s not like she’s leaning back in her chair, controlling the situation. None of those women in the theater or in the club are in control of anything. They are hysterical, horny, and subordinate. Nothing about that suggests assertion. I don’t have anything against a good time. But don’t sell it to me like this is some kind of reversal of misogyny and there’s empowerment to the exercise. You watch those faces and there is nothing empowering about how these women are behaving.

Besides, if this really is about flipping the exploitation over to the other side, how is it that there were multiple long shots of bare breasts and only one shadowed glimpse of a c*ck? This is a movie about male strippers and there’s not one head shot of a free swinging penis? Meanwhile Olivia Munn has her shirt off for an entire scene, and another blond woman, with an ample bosom, romps around a bed for a scene. Doesn’t seem very equal to me.

Final Thoughts: All this being said, I enjoyed Magic Mike for what it was – an entertaining summer movie with a super hot lead character.

– Review by Susan M.

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Have you seen either one of these movies? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Five for the Fifth: 5 Random Questions for the 5th of August

Happy Friday the Fifth, everyone! I haven’t been consistent with this supposedly monthly posting, as the last one was back in May, but I’m going to try to do this once a month (yeah I know, I said that last time, too :D) Well, the gist of the post is that I give five random news item/trailer, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic (you can do all five or just pick a topic). Ok, let’s do it shall we?

1. First thing first… This was all over the news yesterday so granted most of you have seen it, but I just had to post this Man of Steel‘s first look here as I’ve been a longtime fan of Henry Cavill.

Oooo… my initial reaction of course is pure glee… As I’ve said in this post, the first time I saw Henry on screen in The Count of Monte Cristo about a decade ago, I already thought he’d make a good Superman. Now here he is… in his full Man of Steel glory! Yes it’s a publicity pic, not exactly in the midst of a scene as the project hasn’t begun filming yet, but it’s enough to give us a taste of the tone of the film, which judging by that costume alone and Henry’s expression, it’s going to be a lot darker and perhaps even enigmatic.

I think the costume looks awesome, like The Amazing Spiderman‘s suit, I like the darker colors and the textured look, the crotch area is too dark to make out if he’s wearing that red underwear, which I’m guessing he’d still have those on. I hope it’d be in the muted red tone like his boots, or better yet, the suit would look more like this Jim Lee’s illustration. I agree with a lot of people’s comments about the hair though, should go easy with the hair gel! I wish they’d kept it more natural as obviously in real life Henry can definitely sport the iconic Superman curl as you can see in this picture!

Well, now that you’ve seen this first look, does it alter your view about Man of Steel in any way?

• Now switching from the good ‘ol hero to a bad ass prince of darkness… I’ve mentioned before that Rufus Sewell has been cast as the villain in Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, just a reminder, here’s the plot of the movie: “President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.”

You’ve got to be at least intrigued by that right? Well, for one I’m thrilled to see Rufus nab a prominent role in a relatively high profile project. In this interview with the Wall Street Journal blog, he shed a light to what his character called Adam:

WSJ: So you’re a smart vampire then.

RS: Well, yes actually. I’m a 5,000 year old vampire who has seen it all. And the big thing for me was to decide how he was supposed to talk because you can’t do an Aramaic twinge – because if they cut the scene that explains where you came from you just look stupid. So I just picked Old Hollywood – rather, old American, like Roosevelt. He’s a man’s man, cigar room dealmaker who also happens to be the king of the vampires.

Sounds like they’ve got the perfect man for the job. I always thought Rufus is devastatingly handsome in an otherworldly kind of way. And I often vampires as being rather elegant, which suits Rufus well, too. Btw, I found out from the article he was up for the role of Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, that is until Tom Cruise expressed serious interest, that is 😦 In any case, looks like the vampire genre is still going strong even as Twilight is coming to an end (thank goodness!)

So my question to you is… who’s your favorite cinematic vampire?


• Y’know, I wasn’t a big fan of Dominic Cooper, perhaps because I thought he was terrible as Willoughby in the 2008 BBC version of Sense of Sensibility. But I slowly warm up to him after seeing him in An Education and Captain America. Now, he’s got a movie coming out in August called The Devil’s Double that’s likely to show his chops as a serious actor. Check it out:

Cooper is playing a dual role of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and his body double, army lieutenant Latif Yahia. The story is based on Latif’s memoir of the same name. After reading some reviews, including this one by AP, I know this is not my cup of tea at all. Not sure I can endure it even if I’m curious to see Cooper pulling off a dual performance. I haven’t seen too many movies like this, the only ones I can think of right now is Leo DiCaprio in The Man in The Iron Mask.

Which other actor(s) have you seen who played two different roles in the same movie convincingly?

Ok now, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised about this given the name of the franchise, but STILL! According to Deadline, Die Hard 5 (yep there was a 4th movie if some of you missed it, ahah) is in the works and 20th Century Fox is frantically looking for a director after the initial helmer left the project. Apparently Bruce Willis is eager to reprise his role as John McClane which will be set in Russia.

What I’m surprised about is the names being considered: Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Justin Lin (Fast Five), Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising) and John Moore (Max Payne). Now, the first three are pretty talented bunch, but whatever, I’m kind of tired of seeing another Die Hard movie. I like the first 3 but I think it’s time to give it a rest, no?

Well, do you feel the same way I do or are you excited to see Die Hard 5?


• I saw this video a few days ago and was really bowled over by it. It’s called The Beauty of Pixar, created by a law student and a movie buff from Brazil, Leandro Copperfield.  Based on the description on the Youtube page, he apparently spent 11 days re-watching all 11 Pixar feature films and then took 500 hand-selected scenes and made an amazing tribute to the best animation studio on the planet.

Amazing editing, isn’t it? He said that he’s not a professional editor nor has done anything related to movies, which makes this all the more impressive!

So, the question is an easy one (but might be tough to answer)… What’s your all time favorite Pixar movie?


Well, that’s it for this month’s Five for the Fifth. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀

FlixChatter Review – Captain America: The First Avenger

This review is courtesy of Ivan Maramis… a.k.a. ze blogger’s hubby 😀

When it was first announced that Captain America would be made into the big screen, I thought it was such a preposterous proposition. I know of the comic and am familiar enough to sum it up in a :30 second elevator pitch, but never really read the comics growing up. Seriously… the name, the costume — those two alone should be enough to scare sane movie-makers away from even thinking about coming up with a decent plot. And if the previous attempts are any indication, they should pretty much forget about it.Yet as initial promos/trailers were released, the movie actually looked… promising. And guess what, the final product doesn’t disappoint, either.

Here’s the plot summary taken from the official site:
Captain America: The First Avenger will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)
The first thing I noticed was how the movie look resembles that of the Indiana Jones series — and that’s never a bad thing. The sepia tones and the softer, muted color rendition give a stylistic retro feel to the 1940s setting. This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that director Joe Johnson directed the similarly-fashioned The Rocketeer, and was also the visual supervisor for Raiders of the Lost Ark. But incorporating this retro look to a superhero genre is especially refreshing considering most major superhero comics were written in the 40s – 60s.

There is nothing extraordinary about the story, especially if you judge it just as another “superhero” movie. It’s an origin story of our protagonist evolving from a scrawny frail guy into a government-approved-steroid-injected dude. Throw in a megalomaniac villain to fist fight with, add some humor and a pinch of love interest in the mix, and you get a pretty safe (possibly bland) formula for a superhero movie. It’s a simple good vs. evil plot. And that’s not necessarily a bad approach. This is the era where politics was much more black and white than it is today, and you know you just have beat the Nazis to win the war.

Steve Rogers... the amazing transformation

Chris Evans gives a believable portrayal as an earnest guy with a pure heart who simply want to serve and protect the country. You sympathize with the character right away, in the same way that Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) discovered him to be the perfect candidate to receive the super soldier serum. But soon after Rogers got his instant body-building look, the experiment facility was burnt down by one of the Red Skull’s men (played briefly by Richard Armitage).
Realizing that Rogers is such an expensive asset to risk in a war, the government instead use him as a celebrity mascot performing in USO tours to entertain the American troops in Europe. He’s given the costume that’s pretty much an American flag wrapped around his body, with a stage name Captain America. Die hard comic fans will immediately recognize that his stage costume IS the classic Captain America suit depicted in the comic.
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Remember what I said earlier about the two things that could potentially break this movie? The name and costume were half of the major issue in bringing this character to life in a believable way. But Johnston and his team solve the problem brilliantly by making our good ole’ star spangled Cap attire originated from a campy stage show. It gives a witty nod to the comic, but it also creates a sensible transition as to how Steve Rogers get to keep his identity as the Cap, and eventually wear his stage-inspired but a more practical combat suit. He also got an improved & battle-ready shield, thanks to the brilliant inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
Comic fans or not, you might ask why use shield as a weapon of choice? There was a scene earlier in the movie (pre-serum) when Dr. Erskine asked Steve if he is ready to go and kill some Nazis. And Steve responded by saying, “I don’t want to kill anybody. I just don’t like bullies…” Shield is primarily a device to defend and protect, though in more than occasion it served as more than combat armor. It reinforces Steve’s genuine desire to protect the weaklings now that he’s been transformed into a super soldier.

It's not easy being red ...

Hugo Weaving brings in a solid portrayal as the Red Skull. It’s not quite the same caliber as Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning the Joker where he nearly overpowered the film, but Weaving infuses enough authority, pompousness and deranged sensibility to the character (sans the over-dramatic maniacal laugh). I was afraid that his Agent Smith voice from The Matrix would echo heavily here, but his voice actually sounds quite different and his German accent is not over the top or pretentious. Weaving is the epitome of a charismatic leader — whether playing a good guy, or in this case, a bad one.
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The rest of the cast are commendable as well. Atwell’s Peggy Carter brings in a more authoritative and no-nonsense female figure, a refreshing take when compared to the typically-expected damsel in distress. Her relationship with Steve Rogers is convincingly sweet — there’s an palpable chemistry between them yet they it doesn’t move too fast to make it corny. And I can’t ask for a better actor to play Colonel Chester Phillips than Tommy Lee Jones. He’s got the look, the grit and the sarcastic wit and his scenes offer plenty of comic relief. Sebastian Stan’s role as Bucky may be a supporting one, but it plays a critical part in shaping Steve Rogers to become the person that he is. Thus, while the performances perhaps won’t win any major award, the casts work nicely as a strong unit.
Captain America: The First Avengers may not be as mind-bending as the The Dark Knight, but it delivers a satisfying and entertaining fare in the vein of Indiana Jones. The action scenes are engaging enough even without 3D — it’s absolutely unnecessary so if you haven’t seen it, might as well save your money and see it in 2D. Be sure to stay until after the credits to see some special treats from Marvel!
Closing thoughts: The movie is patriotic without being preachy nor overly political, encouraging without being overbearing. It’s simply a good, clean entertainment with a message that the basic trait of a true hero is his or her heart.
4 out of 5 reels

Well, has any of you got a chance to see this movie? I’d love to hear what you think.

Musings on An Education

Jenny, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student has her world turned upside down when she meet a worldly suitor, David, who seduces her with her glamorous lifestyle and charming existence. Set in early 60s London, both Jenny and her parents are in for ‘an education’ when David’s true nature is finally revealed.

  • Though dealing with a disturbing subject matter,  this movie is as charming as the main character, wooing the audience with gorgeous cinematography of London and Paris, stylish clothes, beautiful music and even more splendid performances. It’s a good looking movie that captures the 60s era nicely and presents a stark contrast between the rather stodgy UK and the lively, joie de vivre French sensibilities.
  • It’s an unlikely ‘feel-good’ drama that still feels romantic even though you know there’s something unsettling brimming under the surface. Something that’s too good to be true usually is, and our naive protagonist ends up learning the hard way.
  • Carey Mulligan is sublime. She is in almost every scene and truly carries the movie in her delicate shoulders with her mesmerizing performance as both an innocent and serious schoolgirl and that of an elegant socialite.
  • I have seen Peter Sarsgaard in various things before, but I’ve always remembered him as John Malkovich’s virtuous son in The Man in the Iron Mask. But his performance here is noteworthy not only because he pulls off a believable British accent (he’s from Illinois).
  • The devil comes in attractive packages indeed, disguised as a cultured, charismatic, soft-spoken gentleman by the name of David Goldman. Sarsgaard plays the scoundrel in such a way he comes across like a monster that he is… not because the character is trying so desperately to hide it, more so because he doesn’t think he is a monster. But the fact is, guys who prey on girls half their age are creepy, and the more sophisticated they are, the more reason to beware. Especially one who has the power not to only seduce a teenage girl but her supposedly wise middle-aged parents in the process!
  • An Education is filled with fine performance all around. I just LOVE Alfred Molina! Even playing an infuriatingly strict father of Jenny, he refuses to simply give a one-note portrayal. Dominic Cooper & Rosamund Pike are both effective as David’s friends and partner in crime in his shady business practices. And the always watchable Emma Thompson and Olivia Williams were excellent in their brief appearances, though I feel they’re somewhat underused here.
  • We all know book education is VERY different from life education and there is no shortcuts for either in order to get it right. This isn’t just a moral lesson for the young though, even those who think we’re older and wiser may still may fall prey to deception when they’re not careful.
  • Author/screenwriter Nick Hornby is no stranger to a coming-of-age story, he dealt with that in About A Boy. Though the boy in the title actually helps a 38-year-old man who needs some growing up to do. Just as he did in there, Hornby peppered this movie with witty dialogue and
  • Wonderful story that seems to end too soon, it felt rushed towards the end when the flow had been right up until she found out who David really is. At 1 hour 35 minutes, I wish they spend a bit more time towards the end as Jenny deals with the ramification of her decision. Instead, there are far too many in the Deleted Scenes list that could’ve been incorporated into the movie.

Glad I finally saw this movie, it’s definitely worth watching though hardly a perfect film. As Peter from Magic Lantern Film said in the comments last Monday, it’s a strong film but perhaps not worthy of a Best Picture nominations. I share that sentiment, though after seeing Mulligan’s performance here, I do think she was totally robbed of an Oscar!

Have you seen this movie? Well, what did you think?