Monthly Roundup: November Movie Watching Recap

NovMonthlyViewing

Bye November! Wow, just a month left of 2012.
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Wow, almost an entire year has gone by. I feel like November flew by especially fast, perhaps because it’s a pretty busy one, what with Thanksgiving and I’m also preparing for my 2-week vacation to my home country Indonesia and Hawaii coming up in a week. So a lot of shopping for family members, etc. and also researching for our trip. As a blogger I also hit a couple of milestones this month: FlixChatter hitting its 1000th post in early November and I’ve finally got advanced screening privileges courtesy of Allied Marketing Group as I’m now on their Press List. Wahoo!

Well, here are some of the posts you might’ve missed from November:

Well, what did I manage to watch this month?

The month following TCFF where I watched the most movies in a month all year, this is actually the slowest month in terms of cinema trip. I’ve only gone to the cinema to see Skyfall and an advanced screening of Hitchcock, that’s it!

Movies I haven’t seen before:

My hubby and I also have been catching up on some TV shows: BBC’s Sherlock Season 2, Once Upon a Time and Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Re-watch:

Overall it’s been kind of a slow month for movie-watching and December perhaps won’t be much better either with our two-weeks vacation. I do have a few advanced screenings of movies I’ve been hugely anticipating, it’s just the reviews will come after my vacation at the end of the month.

Favorite November Movie:

Kinda hard to beat this one… it’s always nice when the one movie you highly anticipated did not disappoint!

SkyfallQuadPoster2


So, what movies did you get to see last month and which one is your favorite?

Happy 43rd Birthday Gerard Butler!

I can’t believe I almost forgot that today’s Gerry Butler’s birthday! I actually remembered it last month as I knew the date falls on the 13th. Alas, my fourth tribute to my long-time crush comes a little late. Ger, if you’re reading this, I hope you don’t mind! (yeah, dream on girl)

Well, this marks my FOURTH tribute to the 43-year-old actor since I fell for him back in 2005 right after I saw Phantom of the Opera for the second time on the big screen. But I didn’t have a blog back then until about 5 years later. So if you do the math, that means I’ve been a fan of his for the last seven years. I’m pretty loyal I guess when it comes to my crush. Though I was spellbound by Gregory Peck for a time (I’m sure y’all remember), I never really forget about my beloved Scot. I mean how could I? He’s my only cinematic crush I’ve ever been blessed to meet, as you’ve probably read in my TIFF nostalgia post.

Seems that I have created all kinds of lists in Gerry’s honor. On my first tribute on this blog, I actually shared an excerpt from my work-in-progress temporarily abandoned Whirlwind novel where the male protagonist is pretty much inspired by GB. I mean his name is Eric Sheridan, I think GB’s fans would know where that comes from 😉

Here are a few other tributes for GB over the years:

One of the 42 reasons Becky and I agree on is how versatile GB is as an actor.

He’s played a brother to a confidant of Queen Victoria, Dracula, a young, out-of-work, scheming cad, Attila the Hun, a lonely alcoholic juror who finds love in the wrong place, a time traveling archaeologist, a temporary father to a young deaf boy, Beowulf, a Spartan king, a very loving, charming husband who dies much too soon, an amateur gangster, the voice of a father to an animated boy who ends up taming dragons, a reformed drug addict turned preacher, who in turn gives back life and hope to impoverished children in Africa, a soccer coach, a surfing coach, and a lot more. Whew!

The many faces of GB in the movies

Now, the Top Five Favorite GB Roles post is not a birthday tribute but I’m re-posting that list again here as three years later, even though I have seen six more of his films, I still don’t know which ones I’d swap out and I’m not quite ready to make a top 10 list yet (save that for next year perhaps). So let’s just say I’m putting his roles in Rocknrolla, Machine Gun Preacher, Coriolanus, Timeline and Chasing Mavericks in honorable mentions for now.

The Phantom/Erik (Phantom of the Opera)

The moment I went ‘who’s THAT guy?’

This one is obviously going to be the top of the list, being the role that won me over. Some critics trashed his singing, comparing it to Michael Crawford’s voice — the original Phantom on Broadway — which is unfair as he had no vocal training prior to doing this role. Besides, Gerry’s rock ‘n roll voice was what Andrew Llyod Webber wanted for the film and I could see why. The way he imbued each song with such genuine heart-felt emotion was beautiful and devastating to watch. In fact, he sort of ruined the stage version for me as I’d much prefer Gerry’s dazzling performance. Plus, he could swing that cape like nobody’s business, and even with a half deformed face, he was as sexy as ever.

Johnnie Donne  (BBC miniseries The Jury)

Every time people tell me he can’t act, I almost always tell them to catch a glimpse of this little-seen legal drama. Gerry played a recovering alcoholic juror who’s trying to get his life back on track in the midst of a grueling murder trial. Even early in his career, I was impressed with his intense dramatic chops. It’s all in the eyes with Gerry, and all the close-up shots throughout this series truly captured the inner struggle of his character. My favorite scene is when he learned the truth about the woman he’s in love with. I can’t watch that scene without tearing up. He made brokenness and heartbreak so utterly bewitching.

King Leonidas (300)

The world finally learns who Gerry is because of this role. It’s not one of my fave GB movies because of the genre, but the movie worked because the audience believed in him as the King. Gerry transformed himself physically which definitely helped the role, but his regal yet severe demeanor gave Leonidas that commanding presence. If you see GB in any interview or talk-show, we know he’s a gregarious and goofy guy, but there’s no trace of that in this role.

The Stranger (Dear Frankie)

This tiny gem of a movie won many festival film awards and remains one of my all-time favorites. GB’s only in it for merely 20 minutes or so, but every single scenes he’s in packs an emotional wallop. There’s probably only a page of dialog written for his character, which is why it calls for a very restrained and measured kind of acting. There’s a scene where the Stranger reacted to something Frankie’s mother Lizzie said. I can’t forget that look on his face: it was a mix of disgust, pity, anger and deep sympathy all rolled into one.

Gerry (P.S. I Love You)

GB’s new fans from 300 was flabbergasted to see his soft side right after such a bad @$$ role, but that’s exactly what I expect from him. He’s said in interviews that he shared some of the gregariousness of his ‘Gerry’ character and it shows. He plays him with such ease and is as convincing as a softie, goofy dude — complete with the shamrock-boxer-clad striptease — as he was as a tough-as-nail King of Sparta. Having to act opposite two-time Oscar winner must’ve been daunting but lots of people who’ve seen this actually thought it’s Hillary Swank who could be better cast here.


Quick Thoughts on GB’s Career

I know he’s had a share of flops the past couple of years, though certainly no fault of his. Machine Gun Preacher was marketed poorly — actually barely is the more fitting word here — and Chasing Mavericks seems to suffer a similar fate. He was excellent in Coriolanus but the Shakespearean dialog naturally deters a lot of people from seeing it in its brief theatrical run (it never even made it to some states like here in MN). But I give GB props for constantly trying something new and challenging himself. He’s not afraid to try something new, I mean he learned how to surf at 41, that’s really quite something! He seems to often suffer for his art, too, something I’ve always admired about him. From sitting in the makeup chair for over 5 hours for Phantom, working out until his muscles are gone for 300, and nearly drowning to death in Chasing Mavericks. GB seems to live his life to the fullest… albeit too close to the edge at times.

Despite being a longtime fan, I have skipped a couple of GB movies, such as Gamer. I’ve also detested two of his rom-coms (The Ugly Truth and The Bounty Hunter) as they’re both so badly-written. I’m hoping Playing For Keeps would fare a bit better the fact that it’s more of a soccer dramedy as his character is a former Celtic football player. Plus he gets to keep his native Scottish accent, hurray! I’m looking forward to Olympus Has Fallen, yes it’s that Die Hard in the White House flick, but I’d love to see GB in a full-throttle action again and it’s nice to see him being surrounded by the likes of Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhart, and Melissa Leo, amongst others. Hopefully we see a trailer soon and also a much, much better poster than this one, preferably with his name actually listed on the darn thing (seriously!)

If I have one wish for him is that he’d choose his next project wisely. Hollywood is fickle and with three flops back-to-back, a lot of people might think his career is over by now. I’d love to see him take on some supporting roles in high-profile projects and work with top notch filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, what have you. Perhaps the pressure is on for him to always be the lead but I think taking on supporting roles like he did in Coriolanus might actually broaden his horizon so to speak. He’s a versatile and capable actor but I feel that his talent has been either wasted on sub-par movies or that his good performances get grossly overlooked. I sure hope better years lie ahead for him… oh and that he’d FINALLY do the Robert Burns biopic that he’d be perfect for!

So, Happy Birthday, Gerry! Here’s to good health, joyful days and a long lasting cinematic career!


So that’s my belated tribute, folks. Thoughts you want to share on Gerry Butler?

A Birthday Tribute – 42 Reasons We Love Gerry Butler

The sexy Scot Gerry Butler turns 42 today!

This is my third birthday tribute for the actor… well, since he stole my heart back in December 2004, this marked the 6th year of me crushing over him, ahah. As I told you in my Case of Being Spellbound post the other day, I’m fiercely loyal when it comes to certain crushes, and Gerry managed to keep my interest despite some questionable movie choices. Let’s be fair, folks, what actor hasn’t made a bad move in their entire career, right? So no, I’m definitely not gonna hold it against him for doing The Ugly Truth, he’s redeemed himself in other performances since, and I’m looking forward to his upcoming roles in Shakespearean thriller Coriolanus, soccer comedy Playing the Field and surfer biopic Of Men and Mavericks.

So anyway, as I did with the Rufus Sewell b’day post, I’ve asked Becky, my partner in crime when it comes to cinematic crushes to come up with half of the reasons… so here’s the list starting with hers until #21:

1. OK, let’s face facts. He’s tall, dark, handsome and oozing with sex appeal. ‘Nuf said.

2. He makes an intimidating and ruthless character simmering and sensual as The Phantom of the Opera (2004).

3. And on top of that, he has a deep, resounding singing voice to boot.

4. He’s very friendly and generous with autographs and pictures for his fans, but to the paparazzi, not so much.

5. Because he’s bared his lovely bum three (official) times: His first film, Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown (1997), 300 (2006) and Law Abiding Citizen (2009). There’s also quite an infamous “unofficial” occasion too, but it shall remain unnamed. (Hint: it starts with a G) 😀

6. He can be a total goofball, especially anywhere near the vicinity of fellow Scot and late night talk show host, Craig Ferguson.

7. Talk about versatile. He’s played a brother to a confidant of Queen Victoria, Dracula, a young, out-of-work, scheming cad, Attila the Hun, a lonely alcoholic juror who finds love in the wrong place, a time traveling archaeologist, a temporary father to a young deaf boy, Beowulf, a Spartan king, a very loving, charming husband who dies much too soon, an amateur gangster, the voice of a father to an animated boy who ends up taming dragons, a reformed drug addict turned preacher, who in turn gives back life and hope to impoverished children in Africa, a soccer coach, a surfing coach, and a lot more. Whew!

8. Is he an actor, or is he a model? Hard to tell sometimes especially when you see some his (sizzling ;)) photo shoots.

9. Because he performs the most touching, evocative song ever: No One Would Listen. It was shamelessly, and erroneously cut from Phantom of the Opera.

10. He is a real-life hero. He once saved a young boy from drowning in the River Tay in Scotland while filming Mrs. Brown, and received a Certificate of Bravery from the Royale Humane Society.

11. He is the only man I’ve ever seen doing pull ups in a muscle shirt (oh yeah!) UPSIDE DOWN from the bars ON TOP of his jail cell in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. How’s that for macho?!

12. He has steely, but playful green/gray eyes.

13. Because I really believe his performance and being a producer of Machine Gun Preacher will create awareness of the terrible conditions in Sudan, and many, many people who otherwise wouldn’t will be moved, provoked to help; his hopes are high.

14. He played two characters in the wonderful children’s film Nim’s Island: the caring father and the action hero.

15. He readily admits he can shed a tear, sometimes a little too easily.

16. He doesn’t take himself too seriously.

17. He won the role of Phantom over Hollywood heavyweights Antonio Banderas and John Travolta. Impressive! (Oh, no, there I go, the Phantom, again!)

18. He quit drinking AND smoking.

19. He has one of the most memorable kisses ever in Dear Frankie.20. He did many of his own stunts in 300.

21. He’s one of two of the most famous and best actors ever to come out of Scotland (of course, Sean Connery is the other one) 😀

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22. Looks is one thing, but screen presence is everything for an actor, and Gerry has both in spades. He’s one of those actor that’s quite challenging to ‘steal’ scenes from.

23. He’s so ridiculously entertaining in interviews, there are too many memorable ones to mention, but this Phantom interview by Japanese TV still takes the cake. It’s such a hoot to watch him indulging the fawning female interviewer with her dream of doing a duet with him:


Another memorable interview is this one with Canadian’s Tribute magazine where he unknowingly serenaded Bonnie the interviewer. Lucky gal!


24. I like an actor with a deprecating sense of humor. Gerry definitely has that as he didn’t mind poking fun at himself during his SNL hosting stint. The Beauty & The Beast skit is my favorite!

25. I have no shame in admitting I adore P.S. I Love You. Gerry playing Gerry, the dead husband who helped his wife with her grief is precious and really gets my heart aflutter. He’s so believably goofy but loving, and there are tons of memorable scenes (i.e. the Karaoke scene) in it that lets him relish on his gregarious side.

26. He always mix things up in his career, playing a different character from one movie to the next. People always just remember him in the rom-coms, but he’s played a variety of different roles post 300. A family man-turned-vigilante in Law Abiding Citizen, a dual role of scientist dad/Indiana Jones-y adventurer Nim’s Island, and a futuristic prisoner in Gamer, just to name a few.

27. I like the fact that he doesn’t seem like a vain actor when it comes to his physique. Post 300, everyone expected him to still have his ridiculous 12-pack abs, but he didn’t mind looking a bit pudgy in Nim’s Island, which makes me love him more!

28. It’s a shame this film went straight to DVD, but Shattered is actually a pretty decent thriller with a twist. Butler outshone Pierce Brosnan as the baddie, though it’s a bit hard to believe that him with his still buff physique won’t just take Brosnan out in some of the scenes. Watch the trailer below

29. I love Butler’s strength as King Leonidas, as well as his tender scenes with his wife Queen Gorgo.

30. In the October issue of L.A. Confidential magazine, the cover article says ‘Hollywood’s Last Bad Boy’ and he’s certainly got that swagger and untamed persona both on and off screen.

31. In that same magazine, he’s quoted in saying … “That’s the most exciting thing for me as an actor: Nobody can ever define you. They go, ‘Oh, he’s the action guy.’ ‘Oh, he’s the comedy guy.’ I’m not any of those things, and I never want to be categorized like that. People shouldn’t know what to expect from me.” I totally agree and his versatility is part of what I like most about him.

32. It’s all about the eyes… and his piercing greenish-gray pair are so hypnotically expressive.

33. Oh, and don’t forget the hair… he’s one of those rare actors who look fantastic in any kind of haircut… from a buzz cut in Lara Croft II to the shaggy long mane as a Mongolian in Attila. I’m lovin’ his long-ish style he’s sporting now for a role as a surfing instructor in Curtis Hanson’s upcoming movie.

The many faces... and hairstyles of Gerry Butler

34. Intelligence is sexy. His wit is evident in every interview he’s done. He’s got a law degree at Glasgow University and even served as President of Law Society, but yet he followed his heart to be an actor.

35. I read somewhere that he ‘…connect[s] with people who have a lot of pain…’ It’s that tortured-soul quality in some of the roles he’s played (The Phantom, Sam Childers in Machine Gun Preacher) that gets me every time.

36. I love the fact that he’s not ‘perfect’ looking nor too well-groomed. This Telegraph interviewer described him perfectly “…his face has a bruised, lived-in quality. There are laughter lines around his eyes and, with his beard and curly ringlets, he’s just starting to grey at the temples.” 

37. A guy who loves his mom is always a major plus in my book. Despite his success and being away from home, he’s still close to his mother Margaret.

38. His sense of adventure is admirable. He’s always game to try something different for a role or as a hobby… he recently took up surfing and told Craig Ferguson on his Late, Late Show that he’s been learning to fly a helicopter.

39. His comic timing is as great to watch as his action stuff, i.e. as One-Two Rocknrolla.

40. A sexy man looks and sounds good… he’s certainly got both with his irresistible Scottish brogue [sigh]

41. I respect an actor who’s dedicated to his craft and is dedicated to every role he plays. Butler’s willingness to take a massive pay cut to do Machine Gun Preacher and his killer training for 300 proves that he’s suffered for his art.

42. And lastly… he’s got that slightly crooked smile that can light up a room!

I’ll always be thankful to him that he didn’t push me away when I abruptly grabbed his hand back at TIFF 2005. Come to think of it, some actors might not be as gracious. And what’s more, he even remembered me when I saw him outside Elgin Theater and was kind enough to sign my picture!


So please join me in wishing the great Scot a happy birthday… and do share what’s your favorite Gerard Butler role.

A Birthday Tribute: Top Five Fave Gerry Butler Scenes


Gerard James Butler – or simply Gerry to his fans – turns 41 today!
It’s been nearly five years since I first fell for the Scot, perhaps the longest I’ve ever had a crush on any actor. I’ve written my ‘origins’ story of how he first captured me in my first B’day tribute to him, it’s a role that still bewitches me every time I watch it. He’s also the only actor I love whom I have actually met (at TIFF 2005), an experience I shall never forget and wish I could relive it again one day (I promise I will ask first before I shake your hands, Gerry! ;))

Ever since I started this blog back in June 2009, Butler is the first actor I blog about with my review of Dear Frankie (which I originally wrote for Friendster, boy have I dated myself or what?), as well as post this riveting short film called Please! he did back in 1999 (he’s shown his dramatic range even then, and boy do I love that super thick Scottish accent!). Since then I’ve constantly featured him on FC: I’ve given you various GB news and commentaries, why he’s my pick for People’s sexiest man alive, and my open letter pleading that he’d ditch sub-par scripts (and vapid rom-coms) but keep doing the genre-jumping that he’s been known to do.

I’ve also posted my top five Gerry Butler roles … which interestingly enough hasn’t changed since a year ago. This versatile actor sure likes to genre-jump, portraying contrasting characters one after another (playing an American pastor vs. a Roman general in next year’s Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus). I sure hope he’d never stop mixing things up!

The Many Faces of Gerard Butler

Well, I think I’ve said enough about this fine actor, and why write it if you can show it, right? So with that said, I present to you five favorite clips from five of my favorite Gerry Butler movies:

Phantom (Phantom of the Opera) – The sultry Point of No Return scene

Johnny Donne  (BBC miniseries The Jury) – Johnny heartbroken over Rose’s confession

King Leonidas (300) –  A King’s last words… “My Queen, My Wife, My Love..”

The Stranger (Dear Frankie) – The beguiling and irresistible doorway kiss

Gerry (P.S. I Love You) – The gregarious and lively karaoke scene


May the years continue to be good to you. Happy Birthday, Gerry!

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This is PART 1 of the GB Birthday post, view PART 2: GB Tribute from FlixChatter’s Friends.

Happy 40th Birthday, Gerry Butler!

Happy birthday to my favorite Scot! The big 4-0, woo hoo, what a milestone! Oh, where do I begin? I’ve liked you for so long and there’s so much to say. Yet when it comes down to it, words fail me. Well, I’m going to try anyway, so here’s my tribute, straight from the heart.

It was December 2004 when I first laid eyes on you — though I probably have seen you before but didn’t realize who you were — when you showed up with half of your face covered in the titular white mask as the Phantom. You infused the quintessentially ‘ugly’ figure with such sultriness and magnetism, seducing not only Christine but also every female audience member in theaters across the world. Countless interviews/talk show appearances later, your charming personality truly got me hooked. Hollywood’s full of hunky actors, but none has mesmerized me on and off screen the way you do and the more. Your interviews are always a hoot, peppered with your wicked sense of humor and such refreshing openness that’s so fun to watch. Looks, talent, intelligence, sense of humor, you’ve got it all, Gerry. But yet, you’re by no means a ‘perfect’ guy nor do you ever claim to be, and that real-ness is what I love most about you. The more I learn about you, the more I realize that you’re much, much more than a pretty face or a hard body.

Gerry_Phantom
The Phantom takes Christine to his lair ... the moment I went 'who's THAT guy?'

You inspire me by pursuing your desire for acting with such passion and tenacity, even risking your law career you’ve worked so hard for. But you are made to perform with such chameleon-like flair to believably portray all kinds of diverse roles, and I’m sure glad you haven’t stopped mixing things up. It’s been fun following your career, you’ve certainly come a long way, though I wish you hadn’t been such a tabloid fodder with your increasing fame. Much congrats for realizing your dreams, and for venturing into new territory as a producer with Evil Twins. Here’s wishing for more dreams come true for you and more great acting projects in store (please, please, please do the Burns biopic!) I know I will always enjoy watching you on-screen for years to come.

Well, those who know me well are aware I’ve been writing my first ‘chick lit’ for the few years. I started writing it shortly after my chance ‘encounter’ with Gerry at TIFF — an experience I will always remember fondly and bring a gleeful smile to my face. It’s been left in the back burner as my blog took a life of its own, but I may pick it up again in the future. Well, as a tribute to him and fellow Gerry’s fans, I finally muster up the courage to share an excerpt from my work-in-progress Whirlwind novel. What a coincidence that he’s soon going back to his roots in Coriolanus soon, as the chapter involves the Shakespearean play where my main character Eric Sheridan is playing the title role. My story’s protagonist is Maggie Davies, a Chicago journalist and aspiring writer, who gets embroiled in an unexpected romance with the budding actor, and her life is never the same again. This chapter is where she, along with her BFF Max, meets Eric for the first after the play. No doubt you know whom I based the character Eric on and the significance of his name =)

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