Five for the Fifth: AUGUST 2014 Edition

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Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. As customary with Five for the Fifth, I’d like to highlight a filmmaker/actor who’s having a birthday today. Well, it so happens that two talented-yet-underrated British actors have a birthday today: Mark Strong and Janet McTeer. They turn 50 and 52 respectively.

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You might not know these two actors by name but surely you have seen them in a film or TV show. I can’t remember where I first saw Mark Strong but he’s been in so many films and he’s always memorable even in small supporting roles. My favorite of his roles would be Rocknrolla, Robin Hood, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Zero Dark Thirty. He’s quite a versatile actor and he has a rather chameleon face where you can’t tell what ethnicity he belongs to. I mean he could play a Jordanian prince as effortlessly as an English lord.

As for Janet McTeer, I really should see more of her work. I’ve only seen the two-time Oscar nominees in the BBC Sense & Sensibility as Mrs. Dashwood. I know my pal Ashley loves her as she’s her favorite actress. The statuesque actress (she’s 6’1″) is a graduate of RADA and can effortlessly juggle TV and film work. She’s starring in The Honourable Woman BBC miniseries with Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Victorian-era thriller Angelica with Jena Malone and Ed Stoppard.

So what’s your favorite from both of these fine actors?
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2. My hubby and I were watching a bunch of new trailers on iTunes on Friday and we came across Into The Woods. For some reason I hadn’t heard of this movie before, either that or I just forgot about it.

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Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel — all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.



As someone who grew up watching Disney fairy tale movies, this immediately intrigues me. The cast is awesome too, boy is there anything Meryl Streep can’t do? Never mind, clearly there is none. I like the Emily Blunt and James Corden pairing, and Anna Kendrick is inspired choice as Cinderella. Though I’m usually not enamored by Chris Pine, I must say he looks mighty dashing as Cinderella’s Prince, yowza!! Ask my hubby, I actually rewound the trailer and paused it a few times when he appeared 😉 Can’t wait to hear Chris’ singing voice, as he’s displayed on Jimmy Kimmel a while back, he actually has a great set of pipes!

I had no idea there’s actually a musical on Broadway featuring music by Stephen Sondheim. Now, Rob Marshall directing is a bit worrisome however, considering what a mess NINE was despite the stellar cast, but hey hopefully this will be good. It’s set to open on Christmas day, competing with Unbroken and Exodus. But considering the subject matter, this should be a hit with the kiddies at least.

Does this one interest you, folks?

3.Ok so this weekend I finally saw the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, thanks to my pal Ted who kindly lends me a bunch of Blu-rays. It’s been ages since I saw this film, I honestly can’t remember a lot of it, so I can’t really say what’s different from the theatrical version.

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Boy I forgot how amazing the cast was, well everyone except for the lead Orlando Bloom. To be fair, I think he’s not as horrible as I thought he was but still the movie would’ve been a heck of a lot better with a stronger lead actor IMO. I mean he looks good here but he barely his face is so expressionless and he barely has any gravitas required for the role. The supporting cast is spectacular though: Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Eva Green, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, and Edward Norton whose face is hidden behind a mask the entire time. Oh I’m quite impressed by Alexander Siddiq who really should be in more films! Did you know his real-life uncle is Malcolm McDowell? Sorry I digress. Watching this makes me think of other Director’s Cut versions out there and how many of them are superior to the theatrical version.

So my question to you is, do you watch Director’s Cuts of a movie if they’re available? If so, which one(s) are your favorite?

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4. Director Colin Trevorrow sure knows how to get fans’ attention and capitalize on the success of The Guardians of the Galaxy. Last week he tweeted a photo of Chris Pratt looking hunky and very Indiana-Jones-y in Jurassic World.

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Now I have completely forgotten about this movie, which apparently is not a reboot [thank goodness] but set about 20 years after the events in the original Jurassic Park. Pratt’s sure to be a bonafide star after this weekend, so I think the movie surely would benefit from having him in the lead. I’m mostly curious as I LOVE the original Steven Spielberg film, but the cast they’ve assembled is pretty good so far. In addition to Pratt, we’ve got Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Nick Robinson (whom I liked in The Kings of Summer), Irrfan Khan, and Vincent D’Onofrio. The film is set to open next Summer, June 12, 2015 to be exact. I hope it’ll live up to the original, but I suppose we’ll have a better idea about it once we see a trailer.

Have you been anticipating Jurassic World?.

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is my pal Fernando from Committed to Celluloid Blog. So here it is in his own words:

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One of my favorite things in the last few months has been following Netflix’s House of Cards and watching Frank and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) being absolutely ruthless and expertly manipulative, so my question is:

What’s your favorite villainous couple (they don’t have to be married to each other) in TV or film?


Well, that’s it for the AUGUST 2014 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀

[Wintry] Weekend Roundup: House of Cards and All About Eve

BaftaStatuetteHello everyone! Happy post-BAFTA Monday, fellow film fans. I’ve only followed it somewhat via Twitter, seeing people’s reactions on the winners. What’s with the hate against ARGO, I think it deserved the Best Film and Best Director win for Ben Affleck. In fact, it’s perhaps one of my favorite Best Picture contenders, but I remember people were grumbling too when The King’s Speech won. Ah well, I don’t always agree with the winners so it’s nice to be on the other side of that spectrum.

Well, we’ve got sleet/freezing rain/snow mix all day Sunday so I never left the house, which rarely happens. To all my friends in the Northeast affected by the monster storm Nemo, I pray that you’re all ok. I’m not gonna complain that we barely half a foot of snow!

I skipped the cinema again as nothing interest me. I had seen Side Effects a couple of weeks ago so check out my review if you haven’t already. Oh apparently Top Gun IMAX 3D re-release still spells ‘ka-ching’ for Paramount as it raked in $1.9 mil this weekend playing in 300 theaters. I wouldn’t mind rewatching that again on Blu-ray, I’ll see if my pal Ted has the BD 😉

So my weekend viewings consist of a brand new made-for-Netflix show House of Cards, a masterpiece classic All About Eve, and Bel Ami, which was so inferior compared to the other two. I don’t even feel like reviewing that last one. Right after I finished it, I couldn’t help but watch the last episode of North & South just to see this scene. Richard Armitage as John Thornton never fails to beguile me and erase my memory of Robert Pattinson as a cunning Frenchman.

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I’ve only seen two episodes in and both are directed by David Fincher so naturally I expect something great. Well, thankfully it didn’t disappoint. Fincher’s directing style with his signature camera work and framing technique works well for this story. It made me wish he had directed the entire episodes though I reserve judgment until I see the entire first season. Kevin Spacey is perfectly cast Frank Underwood, a ruthless and ambitious politician (is there any other kind?) willing to use and betray anyone to get what he wants in Washington. I’m usually not into political shows, but this one is quite entertaining. Spacey’s got this inherent playfulness in portraying a despicable character, you’re repulsed and captivated by him at the same time.

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I just read this interview on Hitfix with Fincher on how the show came about, which was inspired by an early 90s UK TV series of the same name. It’s fascinating to see the casting process as well…

“…One of the responsibilities I put on the cast when we had our first read through is I said, “I want everybody here to know that you represent our first choice – each actor here represents our first choice for these characters. So do not f*** this up.”

The ‘breaking the fourth wall’ style where the character speaks directly at the audience is tricky, but I think it works well here, or at least the filmmaker and actor makes it work. Only Spacey’s character uses this technique though, it gives the feeling that we’re in on it on all of Frank’s schemes. I’m also impressed with the rest of the key players on the show: Robin Wright as Spacey’s equally sly wife, Kate Mara as the ambitious young reporter, and Corey Stoll as a Pennsylvania congressman consumed by his own demons of sex and drug addiction.
I hope the rest of the episodes are as intriguing as the first two, but my hubby and I are definitely hooked for more.
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All About Eve (1950)

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I’m sooo glad I finally saw this film, special thanks to my friend Vince for his help to get this movie! I initially wanted to see this as I’m participating in Paula and Aurora‘s 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon and I’m going to be featuring the famed costume designer Edith Head. So naturally I want to see some of her Oscar-winning work, and I’ve been wanting to see this one for ages. I also promised Andrew when he made this excellent Scene on a Sunday post on All About Eve over a year ago. It’s a bit late, sorry Andrew, but hey I did get to see it on a Sunday 🙂

This film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture. As of today, it remains as the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Bette Davis and Ann Baxter as Best Actress, Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter as Best Supporting Actress). It’s worth noting that out of the four actresses, I’ve only seen Baxter and Holmes in a previous film, thanks to my Gregory Peck marathon. Same with the two male actors Gary Merill and Hugh Marlowe who were excellent in Twelve O’Clock High. George Sanders was excellent as well as the mischievous theater critic.

Andrew said it best on Twitter last night… “… imagine it’s more than half a century old. It’s so (sometimes startlingly) relevant and fresh.” Indeed it was! In fact I was thinking that there are some similarities between House of Cards‘ Frank and Eve Harrington, different end goal but they both used the same conniving, manipulative means to get what they want.

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Andrew also asked me which one is my favorite performance. Oh boy, between Davis, Baxter and Holmes, it’s really hard to say. Having seen Bette Davis’ performance for the first time, I was quite mesmerized by her. Baxter perhaps has the hardest role to convincingly portray an innocent small town ingenue to a devious, scheming b*tch climbing her way to the top. At times her delivery is a bit too over the top When she was wearing a black wig in her dressing room following a performance, I was reminded of her seductive pur in The Ten Commandments as she was trying to seduce Moses, ahah. I guess I like Holmes’ character the most because she’s kindhearted and sees the good in people. She’s a fantastic actress and her scene with Baxter in the powder room is especially memorable. Oh, there was also a brief but interesting cameo of a then unknown starlet by the name of Marilyn Monroe as an aspiring actres, but it was kind of a thankless role for her.

There are much to admire about this film… starting with the bewitching story, brought to life by all the talents involved. What this film also has in abundance is style. Visually, its set direction, cinematography, and of course costume design are superb. The brilliant script also makes this film surprisingly funny. Davis’ Margo Channing not only dresses well, but she seems to have an endless supply of great lines as well. She seems to have the best lines when she’s vexed… “I’ll admit I may have seen better days, but I’m still not to be had for the price of a cocktail like a salted peanut.” And of course her most famous line “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night” is delivered with such a perfect sense of irony.

I feel like I can’t do it justice reviewing this film in my weekend roundup post, so let me just say that the iconic status is absolutely well-deserved. Joseph Leo Mankiewicz‘s film lives up to my already high expectations and captivated me from start to finish. Like Casablanca, I’m glad I finally saw one of Hollywood’s finest, and certainly it wouldn’t be the last.

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Well, that’s my Wintry weekend roundup. How ’bout you folks… seen anything good?

Five for the Fifth: February 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the second 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth!!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

NotebookPoster1. Well, since it’s February and Valentine’s day is just over a week away, I thought I’d make the first topic to be romantic film. Of course a Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation is not far behind as Safe Haven, starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough will be released just in time next Thursday. I have zero interest in seeing that one, I think The Notebook was the only one from Sparks I was remotely interested in and I wasn’t as enamored by it as most people. I was kinda feeling sorry for James Marsden!

I made this list of the kind of romantic films I love. I don’t really remember when the last time I was really swept away by a romantic film, the way Return To Me or Somewhere in Time did that left such a lasting impression on me.

So now I turn it over to you folks, what’s your favorite romantic film of all time? 

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2. Continuing on the romance thread, I made this top ten favorite movie couples list, which includes the likes of Russell Crowe & Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential, Christian Bale & Emily Watson in Equillibrium, and Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles in Ten Things I Hate About You, among others. I proceeded to make a wish list of who I’d like to see on-screen together.

I’m not as keen on some of the pairings as I once was, but I think out of those ten, I’d still love to see Christian Bale & Emily Blunt, Edward Norton & Maggie Gyllenhaal and Timothy Dalton & Emma Thomson (or Helen Mirren) play a romantic couple 😀

I thought the pairing of Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton is very intriguing. Have you seen this photo yet from the upcoming vampire drama Only Lovers Left Alive?

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Only Lovers Left Alive is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, Broken Flowers, and The Limits of Control previously) and stars Hiddleston as Adam, an underground musician who’s deeply depressed by the direction of human activities. He reunites with his centuries-long lover, Eve (Swinton), but their romance is quickly interrupted by Eve’s crazy, tumultuous younger sister Ava.

Updated 11/2013 – Here’s the trailer:

I think we can expect an unconventional vampire romance flick here from Jarmusch. Hiddleston is one of my fave Brits right now and he looks good channeling Sirius Black here as a rock star. Swinton is just so freakishly talented, I’m very curious to see them together. I’ve only seen Broken Flowers out of his filmography, but this one certainly piqued my interest.

Thoughts on this film? Perhaps you could also share your romantic pairing wish list?

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3. SoderberghSwitching gears to a prominent filmmaker who’s been saying for years that he’d retire… Steven Soderbergh. Now, I don’t really know what to make of this Atlanta native. Out of about a dozen of his feature films, I’ve only seen nine (it could’ve been a full 10 movies, but my hubby and I turned off The Good German after about 10 minutes as we were too sleepy a few years ago and we haven’t had the desire to pick it up again). Three of the nine I saw in the last 12 months with mixed reaction, Haywire was good, Contagion ok, and Magic Mike, meh. I’m still finishing up my review of Side Effects which is out this weekend.

His work never scream ‘must see’ to me, though I appreciate his boldness in experimenting with different genres and subject matter, I don’t know that I actually ‘get’ his style. As for his retirement, his comment in Vulture.com caught my eye:

The worst development in filmmaking—particularly in the last five years—is how badly directors are treated. It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly. It’s not just studios—it’s anyone who is ­financing a film. I guess I don’t understand the assumption that the director is presumptively wrong about what the audience wants or needs when they are the first audience, in a way. And probably got into making movies ­because of being in that audience.

What do you think of Soderbergh’s comment and/or his pending retirement? Are you a fan of his work?


4. Back in January, my hubby showed me this short sci-fi film on Vimeo called NOON, directed by Kasra Farahani. Below is the gist from per THR:

Noon is set in two centuries in the future where, due to a shift in the Earth’s axis, the Arctic is one of the only inhabitable lands left, although it is in a perpetual state of day. The scene focuses on a man who facilitates the transfer of illegal immigrants in Noon, the city-state up there.

Additional info from the official website: The short sets up the world’s unique premise and introduces our protagonist, Gray, a coyote numbed to the cruelty of the world and his part in it. We watch Gray struggle to salvage what humanity still exists within him when profit is pitted against morality.

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Watch the 12-minute scene below:

Well, according to THR, Chernin Entertainment, the production company behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Oblivion, has purchased the rights of the film. Apparently Farahani is a concept artist who has worked on movies such as Spider-Man 3, Hancock and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and as an art director on Thor, Men In Black 3 and the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness.

This  looks quite promising, the concept, ambiance and acting are very good, makes me curious to see more. I don’t know if they’d retain some of the actors for the big screen treatment. If that’s unlikely, I’d love to see say, Oscar Isaac in the lead role.

What do you think of this project? Any particular actor you’d like to see getting cast here?


HouseOfCardsPoster5. Twitter and blogs were all abuzz when House of Cards premiered last week on February 1st. It’s kind of a big deal as it’s the first of its kind from Netflix, which released all 13 episodes all at once (Netflix has ordered 26 episodes to air over two seasons). It’s a big gamble from Netflix and whether or not it’ll pay off for the company remains to be seen. Certainly for a streaming subscriber like me, it’s a VERY good thing!

Kevin Spacey sounds perfectly sinister for the part of Francis Underwood, an ambitious Democratic congressman and House Majority Whip with his eye on the top prize in D.C. He has his hands on every secret in politics – and is willing to betray them all to become President. David Fincher has directed a couple of episodes in his TV directorial debut. I’m hoping to catch up on this series next weekend, but the reviews have been positive. The rest of the cast looks pretty good too: Robin Wright, Corey Stoll, and Kate Mara (who apparently got the job thanks to her sister Rooney who worked with Fincher). Kid in the Front Row had an in-depth review and analysis of the show that made me even more intrigued!

Check out the trailer below if you haven’t already:


So my last question to you is, have you seen this show yet? If not, would you be watching?



That’s it for the February 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀