The week that was… [slowly] back blogging again

Hello everyone! Remember me? 😉 I’ve been back since very late Friday but after 30+ hour trip, I was still pretty exhausted that I didn’t have any energy to blog right away. Hope everyone’s doing well whilst I was off the blogosphere, well I was practically off-line entirely as I barely got time to even check Twitter in the past week and a half. Btw, it’s gonna be a slow return to blogging as I’m actually going to be away this Wednesday to San Diego (our planned vacation) for at least five days.

Nyekar
So long my dear brother… ’til we meet again

Anyway, this has been quite a whirlwind trip for me, but despite the sadness of losing my dear brother Peter so suddenly, I was very blessed to be able to spend some quality time with my one and only remaining sibling Paul (his twin), his wonderful wife and their three girls. It was a blast spending time with my three beautiful nieces (ages 9, 11 and 13) who happen to be all into movies, ahah, so we’d excitedly talk about movies they’re anticipating Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, not surprisingly both are based on young adult novels and feature a female protagonist 😉

Well, suffice to say I didn’t see a single new movie the past couple of weeks. I had to miss a few screenings (The Lone Ranger, World War Z), so the last screening I saw was Monsters University (review coming next week). I was really at the mercy of cable TV at my hotel and the [very] limited selections on the plane, but y’know, it’s actually not that bad. Here are the movies I happen to catch in the past 10 days:

CABLE:

  • Con Air (1997) – rewatch
    ConAir
    I actually saw this one twice in 2 days believe it or not, the first time on my own and the second time when my brother Paul came to visit me on my hotel and we ended up watching this again (with my nieces too) the second time around. Perhaps one of my fave Nic Cage movies, and he actually looks pretty bad ass in that wife beater, ahah.
  • The Avengers (2012) – rewatch
    Avengers
    I almost watched this one twice as well if I hadn’t fallen asleep, ahah. What can I say, it’s still as fun as the first time I saw it, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) still stole the show 😀
  • The Grey (2011)TheGrey
    I’ve been curious about this movie for a while but I missed the first 20 minute or so by the time I switched the TV on. Some of the parts were quite boring but overall it’s actually a decent – albeit predictable thriller. Worth renting I suppose but probably not worth seeing on the big screen, even with the gorgeous cinematography. Liam ‘special set of skills’ Neeson is perhaps the only reason to watch this one, unless you’re a wolves enthusiast, ahah.

I also saw half an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the one with the late Andy Whitfield. It actually looked pretty good though I had to switch the channels during the violent battle stuff so I don’t think I can actually watch this show in its entirety.

IN FLIGHT:

  • Monsters, Inc. (2001) – rewatch
    MonstersInc
    Though the prequel was fun and exceeded my expectations, this one is still tough to beat. The scenes with Boo when Sulley & Mike first encounter her always had me in stitches!
  • Jane Eyre (2011) – rewatch
    JaneEyre2011
    I’ve got to admit I had a renewed appreciation for this Cary Fukunaga version. I wasn’t bowled over when I first saw it (read my review) but I think Michael Fassbender made for a soulful & magnetic Rochester (though Timothy Dalton’s portrayal is still my all-time fave) and Mia Wasikowska is superb in the title role.
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005) – rewatch
    PridePrejudice2005
    I always felt the urge to watch this every time it’s available. I think this Joe Wright’s film has become my favorite P&P version now, yes it even beat the Colin Firth one for me. I love Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy and Keira Knightley’s more than all right as Lizzy Bennett.
  • Big Fish (2001)
    BigFish
    I’ve been curious about this one for some time so I’m glad this was shown on the plane. It’s perhaps the most un-Tim Burton-like from the eccentric director. It’s a surprisingly moving fantasy film centered on father-son relationship. I quite like the cast, esp. Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor playing the old/young version of the character, and Billy Crudup as his son. It’s a bit confusing at times but it might be one of the most emotionally-charged Tim Burton film I’ve seen so far.

I actually almost watched Les Miserables on the plane but for some reason my earphone only worked on one ear, and I really can’t imagine listening to 2.5 hours of all that singing just from one ear!

Now, when I got back, I only watched a couple of things from Netflix streaming:

WhatToExpect

Though I initially shrugged this one off, but I’m glad I gave this a shot as it ended up being quite funny. The dudes support group is definitely the highlight, though I find Joe Manganiello (the actor & the character) so incredibly repulsive, ugh. I actually quite like J-Lo in this one though, but Elizabeth Banks is the most hilarious one of all the girls.

AllStarSuperman

I might’ve seen parts of this before but my hubby and I started watching this on his iPad and we ended up watching the whole thing on our TV. It’s interesting how there are some things here that seem to echo Man of Steel, well I guess the other way around as this animated feature was already released in 2011. I like that Superman is dying of radiation poisoning and making the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. Even the soundtrack is pretty good. Definitely a must for Superman fans!


Well, that’s my week so far, folks. What have you been watching? Anything good?

Everybody’s Chattin: It’s Friday link love time!

Happy Friday all! It’s the first Friday of Spring this year, though here in the Land of 10,000 lakes, temps are still hovering in the low 30s F, about 15 degrees cooler than average! 😦

But why be gloomy right? After all, it’s link love time! Check out these links for your reading enjoyment:

  • Zack Snyder’s fantasy thriller Sucker Punch is out today. Should you see it? Well, your friendly neighbor ScarletSp1der‘s already got his review out: Sucker Punch Knocks Itself Out.

    I personally have zero interest in seeing this in the theater. Fortunately, neither does my husband. Though we generally dig Snyder’s work (even the one with the owls was pretty cool), this one just looks too bizarre and silly to be taken seriously.
  • Dezzy the ever so busy Hollywood Spy is always hard at work in bringing us the latest tv/movie news. Well yesterday he reported an intriguing (or preposterous, depending how you look at it) upcoming project called War of the Ages, the premise of this 3D swords and sandals flick is certainly a head-scratching one, but if they can pull it off, wow… that’d be one not to be missed!
  • The always discerning Univarn @ Life in Equinox never fails to compel us to get our thinking cap on. This week he asked the question: Is everyone a critic? A must read for every blogger and moviegoer who’s been asked ‘what do you think of [such and such] movie?’ at least once in their life.
  • Darren from themOvieblog cogitated on the power of a tagline upon seeing Terrence Stamp’s poster The Limey. He’s right, I immediately picture General Zod er.. Stamp uttering ‘Tell Them I’m Coming’ in the only way he could. Btw, Darren also recently won Best Pop Culture award at the Irish Blog awards… woot! woot! Go on and congratulate him if you haven’t already.
  • Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at the age of 79. Fandango Groover paid tribute to the screen legend with images from her classic roles.
  • Last but not least, check out the various contributions of this edition of LAMB Acting School featuring Gary Oldman. Thanks to CS from Big Thoughts From a Small Mind for organizing this event. This is the first time I took part on it, so if you haven’t already, check out my tribute to one of the finest actor working today.

Anyway, I’m sure glad the weekend is upon us. I’m tickled pink that I’ll finally be watching Jane Eyre tomorrow with my pal Prairiegirl. I also have the classic Thomas Crown Affair I didn’t get around to watching last week, and the Keanu Reeves sort of movie marathon continues with the action horror flick Constantine.

So before you click away to these fine posts, first tell me, what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

FlixChatter’s Most Anticipated 2011 Movies – Part I

This post has been in my draft folder for a while… originally I wanted to post right after award season is over. Now Oscar is already behind us for nearly a month (boy, I kinda forgot about it already), so I better not procrastinate any longer.


This post will be divided into two parts, Part I is from March – July and Part II consist of movies released in the later half of 2011. I only list those that I’d most likely be seeing in the cinema, based on the release date information from Movie Insider as of last night. As dates get shuffled and more movies are added, I will update this list accordingly. Anyway, here they are in order of release:

MARCH

March 11 (limited) – Jane Eyre
Synopsis:
The Gothic story of a lowly governess who captures the heart of her employer Mr. Rochester, only to discover that he’s hiding a terrible secret.


I’ve blogged enough about this topic that I don’t think I need to explain further why this is on the list. Check out the
trailer and stills from the movie. I can’t wait to finally see this in two weeks and find out how Michael Fassbender fares as Rochester compared to my all-time favorite.

APRIL

April 22 Water for Elephants
Synopsis: A 90-year-old man reminisces about his life during the Depression, when he found work at a B-level circus taking care of the animals. He sees the brutality of circus life while falling for the wife of an abusive animal trainer.

There’s something about the world of the circus that intrigues me, it certainly adds a layer of mystique to the love story. Amongst a sea of comic-book superhero flicks, it’s nice to see a romantic drama to break things up. The trailer looks pretty promising with gorgeous setting and lovely music. Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon seem to have a decent chemistry and having Christoph Waltz here is a big plus. I’m ready to be swept away 🙂

Maybes:

  • Hanna – Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett in one movie… how bad can it be? The premise of a child assassin isn’t very appealing to me, but still I might be curious enough to check it out because of the cast. Plus I like director Joe Wright’s previous work.

MAY

May 27 Tree of Life
Synopsis: The story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Click image for more photos at Collider.com

I’m more intrigued about this more for its director, Terrence Malick (who also wrote the screenplay), than for the cast (Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain). Malick’s last feature film The New World was back in 2005, which is a relatively short gap compared to the 20-year span his fans had to wait between Days of Heaven (1978) and the Thin Red Line (1998). The premise is intriguing and promises to be thought-provoking, and judging from the poetic trailer below, a sweeping visual vista is to be expected. This is certainly on the list of virtually every movie sites/blogs out there. I know it’s highly unlikely but it’d be nice if for once a movie like this beats a franchise film like Pirates at the box office.


Maybes:

  • Thor – Though initially I was anticipating this, the two trailers have been underwhelming. I’ll wait for the reviews before deciding whether to see it in the cinema or rent this one.
  • The Beaver – Yes, I don’t mind seeing a Mel Gibson movie. It actually looks pretty amusing from the trailer and the script made the top of the 2008 Black List (a list of yet-unproduced top screenplays picked by about 250 Hollywood execs).


JUNE

June 3 – X-Men: First Class
Synopsis:
Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together with other Mutants, to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift happens that propels the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.


This one is probably in my top five anticipated movie of the whole year. If you still don’t know anything about this movie, check out the
trailer and the gorgeous character posters. I think Matthew Vaughn has picked a wonderful cast for the main characters, especially James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles and Eric respectively. The dynamic relationship between these two are what I’m looking forward to the most.

June 10 – Super 8
Synopsis: In 1979, after the Air Force closes a section of Area 51, all materials are transported to a secure facility in Ohio. A train carrying some of the materials derails during an accident and something escapes from one of the cargo cars. A group of kids making movies with their Super 8 cameras accidentally capture what escapes on film.

The teaser that came out a few weeks ago was intriguing, but it wasn’t until the full trailer came out that I’m actually excited about this one. It’s a throwback to the classic Spielberg sci-fi movies like ET and the kids-cast kind have that Stand by Me vibe to it. The auteur is teaming up with JJ Abrams who wrote and directed the movie. The creator popular TV show Alias, Lost and Fringe, Abrams proved his directing chops in Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek, so I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. Kyle Chandler is a likable actor who finally gets to shine in a leading man role, good for him.

JULY

July 15 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
Synopsis: The final adventure of Harry Potter as he attempts to bring an end to his nemesis, Lord Voldemort.

This is the event all Potter fans been waiting for. No matter how you feel about the first installment (read my review), one thing we can all agree on is it made us look forward to this final film all the more. One of my favorite parts of this franchise is watching all those British thespians in various roles, both good and evil, and we’ll finally learn which side he/she really is on (I’m looking at you Professor Snape).

July 22 – Captain America
Synopsis: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

I’m not as familiar about Capt. America amongst other Marvel superheroes. But the two main reasons I’m anticipating this are Aussie thespian Hugo Weaving as the main villain Red Skull and the retro look and feel of the movie, which director Joe Johnston has done before with Rocketeer. One thing for sure, Johnston has a knack for casting great actors in the role of villains (as he did in the role of fabulous baddie Neville Sinclair). Plus, one of my fave British actor Richard Armitage also has a small part as Nazi officer Heinz Kruger. The trailer looks pretty decent, so at the very least this could be the perfect popcorn entertainment of the Summer.


……

July 29 – Cowboys & Aliens
Synopsis: Set in 1800s Arizona, a battle between cowboys and Apaches is interrupted by the crash landing of a space ship. The alien commander plans to tame the Old West and enslave everyone, but the cowboys and Native Americans turn their six-guns against the alien invaders.

Initially I was a bit disappointed that Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t going to re-team with his Iron Man director Jon Favreau for this, so it kinda fell off my radar. But then I saw the trailer and went ‘whoa!’ It’s got to be one of the most memorable trailers I’ve seen for upcoming movies, it’s bizarre in an exciting kind of way. I mean, it’s hard not to be intrigued even just reading the title! Gritty Bond Daniel Craig looks all bad ass in his cowboy outfit and whatever it is on his wrist certainly looks cool. Add curmudgeon Harrison Ford into the bargain (and sexy Olivia Wilde for the boys), then this just might be the one to beat at the box office this year.
///…

PART II will be posted later this week. For a full listing of ALL movies released in 2011, visit the-numbers site.


Well, any of your anticipated movies make the list? What movie(s) are you anticipating this Summer?

Reminiscing on my favorite Rochester – Jane Eyre’s 1983 BBC miniseries

The 2011 Jane Eyre’s film adaptation I’ve been waiting for quite a while opens today… alas, only in limited release. So that means I have to wait another two weeks before it finally opens in my neck of the woods.

My love for Jane Eyre started out perhaps five or six years ago when I came across this YouTube fan-made music video of the BBC 1983 version set to a Hoobastank’s song The Reason, an odd choice of song I thought but it kinda works for the story. In any case, it prompted me to rent this miniseries from Netflix, as well as bought the book (though I’ve only read the later half). I’ve also since seen two additional TV adaptations, the 1997 one with Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds and the most recent BBC adaptation with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens in 2006, but neither one ever came close to replacing the 1983 version. The reason? Well, isn’t it obvious? Timothy Dalton as Rochester, of course!

Yes, the production quality is far from perfect — poor lighting, uninspired costumes and sets and the totally dull, almost irksome music leave much to be desired. But once Dalton appears on-screen, you won’t notice ’em … or anything else for that matter. I love how faithful this miniseries is to Charlotte Brontë‘s vision, much of the dialog are taken from the book and the actors did a remarkable job delivering them convincingly. Zelah Clarke as Jane looks like a midget next to the 6’2″ Dalton and sometimes it’s a bit distracting, but her performance was strong and full of conviction which creates a powerful dynamic between the two.

Dalton is absolutely astounding as the ultimate Byronic hero. With that voice and screen presence, he’s born to play this role. I initially thought he’s far too handsome for a character that’s described in the book as someone ‘not possessing of a classic good looks.’ Though I’d be hard pressed to find a woman who thinks Dalton is ugly, we must remember that this was written in the 1800 where the standard beauty is fair hair, fair skin, with some kind of Greek statue-like features. So with that in mind, Dalton with his square jaw, dark hair and rugged, masculine features fits the physical description of the role nicely. But more importantly, he captures the essence of Rochester’s persona, the flawed hero with mercurial mood, ill temper, and a torrid past that still haunts him and ravages him with guilt.

Dalton imbues the complex character with such fire that makes other actors’ interpretation pales in comparison. Some plays the character way too angry who’s practically yelling the entire time (Hinds) or too romantic and a bit oversexed (Stephens). I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for saying that as that adaptation and specifically Stephens have a massive following, but hey, it is what it is. I really think Dalton’s interpretation is superior as he’s got a nice balance of danger, passion and longing, all the while retaining that mysterious and unpredictable aura about him that makes him so unnerving but yet so darn attractive. Rochester is the quintessential tortured soul and in Dalton’s eyes, that pain and forlorn-ness is apparent, especially in the scene where Jane was about to leave him for good, you could see his desperation and fear of losing her. There’s that frailty in him as he hits that breaking point and THAT scene to me is what sets Jane Eyre apart from other period romance. Dalton himself has said this role is one of his best works, and I absolutely concur. He totally sets the bar for the performance for me, or as my friend Prairiegirl said to me when I lent her my dvd recently, ‘Dalton spoiled it for me. I doubt anyone else will ever come close…’

Well, I’ve been going on and on about how terrific Dalton’s Rochester is. But why don’t you just check it out for yourself in some of my favorite scenes:

The ‘fire’ scene:

I knew you would do me good in some way, at sometime… I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you…


Farewell, Mr. Rochester:

And how do people perform that ceremony of parting, Jane? Teach me; I’m not quite up to it.


The Proposal:

Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain, little that I am soulless and heartless?


I must leave you (in two parts):

Mr. Rochester, I no more assign this fate to you than I grasp at it for myself. We were born to strive and endure–you as well as I: do so. You will forget me before I forget you.




Now that the 2011 version is out, here’s my review on the film and how Michael Fassbender’s performance as Rochester fare against Dalton’s.


Now that I’ve shared mine, tell me who is your favorite Rochester and why?