Musings on the final Hobbit trilogy: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Seems like it was ages ago since I saw the first Hobbit film. But in fact it was exactly two years ago that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released. There were – and still are – quibbles about how a 320-page book warrants a three-film adaptation, and I was actually one of those people who didn’t mind it. I LOVED the Middle-Earth universe that J.R.R. Tolkien built, and The Lord of the Rings is perhaps my favorite film trilogy ever and so in my mind it was a worthwhile journey. The second film introduced us to the best CGI-dragon ever conceived on film, and so The Desolation of Smaug was even more exciting second chapter in The Hobbit journey. I listed 10 reasons why I loved that movie, with the wine barrel sequence and of course Smaug himself being the major highlights.

For some odd reason though, the third and final film just didn’t give me as much of a rush as the first two. I mean, I saw the trailer, then the second one, but I wasn’t feverishly anticipating it. In fact I didn’t even post hardly anything about it until I finally saw it early this month at a press screening. Perhaps I’m not the only one who’s feeling meh about the final Hobbit. Per EW, though the film won the box office this weekend with $56 mil, compared to the rest of the Hobbit films, The Battle of the Five Armies didn’t fare as well: The first film in the trilogy made $84.6 million its opening weekend while the second took in $73.6 million. The studio marketing machine emphasized on the phrase “One Last Time” and how one feels about such sentiment depends on how one feels on this franchise. As for me, as much as I’ve enjoyed the excursion to Middle Earth, there and back again as it were, I was ready to bid my farewell to Bilbo & co.

There are a few things that I love about the first two films that I still like this time around, so let’s start with those…

  • I still love Martin Freeman as Bilbo, he’s just so easy to root for. He pretty much is the most selfless character in the whole Middle Earth, and he pretty much risk his neck every time he goes out of his way to prevent war. I’ve always liked his casting and not only he has a believable resemblance to Ian Holm but he has that manic energy and whimsical antics that makes him so fun to watch.TheHobbit3_Bilbo
  • The character arc of Thorin is a strong one here, and Richard Armitage shows that inner conflict convincingly. The role takes advantage of the actor’s specialty of projecting ‘dark, brooding, conflicted’ in a magnetic way. The scenes where he struggles with the dragon sickness is one of the main highlights in the film, though how he recovers from it seems too quick and too easy, and perhaps there’s more of it that’s left in the cutting room floor?
    TheHobbit3_Thorin///
  • The slithery Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, is still awesome to behold. I’d say if there is one thing that makes it worthwhile to see The Hobbit movies in 3D glory, it’d be to see Smaug. Too bad the fire-breathing dragon didn’t quite have much screen time despite that awesome cliffhanger we saw in the second film. The action-packed sequence in Lake Town, involving Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) doing what he does best, is thrilling to watch. The special effects with Dolby Atmos sound is especially incredible in this sequence and I have to admit I wish Smaug had more screen time. But of course, he’s done his duties… that is to lead everyone to the main event: The Battles of the Five Armies.

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Now, people who have been anticipating the battle sequences, this movie certainly delivers. It’s amazing how in the book, the only reference to the battle only amounts to a sentence, but here we’ve got at least a whole hour worth of battle sequences. We’ve got the Dwarves, Laketown people, and the Elves fighting a whole bunch of Orcs and Goblins, including a whole army of the Dol Guldur Orcs that are supposedly VERY scary and powerful.

That brings me to the not-so-good things about this film:

  • You’d think that the battle would be the most exciting part of the film, I mean I was expecting something in the vein of Battle of Helms Deep in LOTR: Two Towers, which was one of the most amazing rain scenes ever filmed, but it’s not even close. Somehow I find the whole sequence to be rather boring and by the end of it, I was getting so battle fatigue I couldn’t care less who wins. It’s hard enough to keep up with the current participants as it is, we’ve got Thorin’s cousin, Dwarves of the Iron Hills, joining in. Led by Billy Connolly whose accent is so distracting it’s hard to concentrate on what the heck is going on. I have to admit that my mind wandered for most of the battle scenes. In fact, I started noticing the strange looking codpiece that Azog, the Orc chief, is wearing. Seriously, I never noticed that before but I couldn’t stop giggling once I noticed that.
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  • I think the battle would’ve held more meaning to me if I had a firm grasp just what’s really at stake here. But even those lovable dwarves in the first two films just aren’t so fun here as they’re barely even in the movie! Even the dramatic tension surrounding the Arkenstone of Thrain, that is THE single most important gem of the whole Erebor’s vast treasure, just wasn’t as compelling as I’d imagine. I get that it’s a family heirloom for generations until it’s lost to Smaug, but somewhere along the way, its significance to the people is dwarfed (pardon the pun) by the overwhelming visual spectacle and action extravaganza. What’s worse is that the two main characters, Bilbo and Gandalf, often end up in the sidelines during most of the action. I don’t know why Peter Jackson would rather give a lot of screen time to Alfrid (Ryan Gage), the conniving servant of the Laketown Master, that doesn’t serve the story much at all. He sort of became a comic relief by the end before he disappeared and never to be seen again.
    … 
  • The unnecessary and uninvolving romance between Tauriel and Kili is once again aggravating because it’s yet additional filler on top of the already piled-up filler to make up the three films. I literally roll my eyes every time they appear on screen and the repeated farewell scenes. No offense to Evangeline Lily and Adrian Turner but really, I feel nothing for their characters and their supposed *relationship.* Meanwhile, Legolas (played by the eternally youthful Orlando Bloom) is reduced to nothing more than a Ninja Elf with his Matrix-like moves. Never mind the character inconsistencies with the follow-up movies, when the fight scene was over, some people actually applauded him in the theater.
    TheHobbit3_TaurielKili
  • Despite all of those thrilling fight and battle sequences, I was left feeling meh and unfazed. Even when one major character perished, followed by yet another seemingly-endless farewell, I still remain emotionally-detached. I mean I cried when Boromir met his end and I still get teary-eyed thinking about that scene. Now, it’s no fault to the actors in The Hobbit as I think they all did a good job in their respective roles, but more of a problem with the script (done by no less than FOUR writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro).
  • The scenes with Gandalf, Galadriel and Saruman as they battle the evil Sauron seems disconnected with the battle of the five armies. I don’t know if it’s the choppy editing or that simply an issue that there are just too much going on. In the Lord of the Rings, it’s clear who the main enemy is, but The Hobbit trilogy overall lacks the focus that gives the quest real meaning.
  • [SPOILER WARNING]
    Towards the end, there’s all these references to The Lord of the Rings. Thranduil (Lee Pace) told Legolas to find Aragorn, even though he didn’t specifically mentioned his name, it’s obvious who he’s referring to. Now, I don’t know how old Aragorn is supposed to be during The Hobbit timeframe, but this scene just feels forced to me. Pretty much every reference to LOTR, whether it’s Bilbo playing with the ring, the appearance of the demon Sauron, feels like nothing more than nostalgia. I suppose the continuity is to be expected, but it just further proves how much The Hobbit as a franchise just won’t hold up on its own and it reinforces the fact that they don’t measure up to LOTR movies.

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In summary, the final Hobbit does have its moments and some of the action sequences are pretty entertaining. The attention to detail is amazing too, there’s really a lot to marvel in terms of visuals, and I remember ooh-aahing Thranduil’s Elven Elk with its majestic antlers. But overall, there are more bad than good here, which is pretty disappointing. I expected something more epic in terms of story, not just visual spectacle. It’s actually the shortest of all the Hobbit movies, only 144 min compared to 169 and 161 min of the previous two films, yet I checked my watch the most often whilst watching this. I’d think that even the most ardent Middle Earth fans should feel relieved that it’s finally over, if only it could’ve ended on a much higher note.

I don’t think I’ll be revisiting the Hobbit movies anytime soon, but for what it’s worth, it does make me want to rewatch my Lord of the Rings extended box-set.

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Well, what did you think of the final Hobbit movie? 

FlixChatter Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

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I have to admit that I wasn’t remotely interested in seeing this one from the moment I first heard about it. For one thing, I was beginning to get bored of yet another Marvel superhero movie, and another reason is I have never even heard of who these characters are. Though it seems that a lot of my fellow bloggers are getting superhero fatigue, clearly the average movie goers are still gung ho about them, as GOTG has proven itself to be another big hit for Marvel. According to Box Office Mojo, by Friday estimates, it already out-earned two of Marvel’s sequels: Captain America 2 and Thor 2 and on its way to make close to $100 mil by the first weekend, wow!

The audience in the packed advanced screening on Tuesday seemed to have a good time with this movie, and I was surprised too how entertaining it was. The protagonist this time isn’t a superhero, he’s a regular boy-next-door human named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who got abducted by a space ship just minutes after his mother died at a hospital. Fas forward twenty six years later, we see Peter on planet Morag stealing an orb that turns out to be a highly-coveted artifact wanted by the master villain Ronan (Lee Pace). The scene is reminiscent of Raiders Of The Lost Ark opening sequence and you could say Peter has the kind of swagger and cheeky attitude of Indiana Jones. Needless to say, Peter then gets embroiled in a manhunt, not just from Ronan but also from a group of space pirates led by Yondu (Michael Rooker) who apparently the same folks that snatched young Peter from earth years ago.

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I think people who read the comics would appreciate this movie more, as they’d be more familiar with the cosmic universe where everything takes place. A lot of the things happening here baffles me but I went along for the ride anyway. Peter suddenly ends up in planet called Xandar and ends up getting arrested by Nova Corps, the space militia led by Glenn Close, sporting similar hairdo as in 101 Dalmatians. It’s in the Xandar prison that Peter meets his would-be teammates: a wisecrackin’, gun-toting, raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a tree-like humanoid named Groot (Vin Diesel), bad-ass assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who has a personal vendetta against Ronan. It’s an unlikely quartet that constantly bicker and fight, but of course they have no choice but to work together.

Guardians of the Galaxy is more of a space action comedy, akin to Galaxy Quest or The Fifth Element. But the irreverent and at times cheesy humor works here and there’s such a fun spirit throughout that is contagious. The one-liners are packed with goofy 80s pop-culture references (Kevin Bacon, John Stamos) to self-satirical ones like “I’m gonna die, surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” Director James Gunn and writer Nicole Perlman (first female writer of a Marvel movie, yay!) are certainly aware of the its inherent silliness and the movie definitely works because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Perhaps this is an antithesis of sort to the standard superhero fare as none of the characters here possess any kind of super powers. But what the characters have in spades is humor, charm and even warmth, as the unlikely group slowly bond together.

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Now for the cast, I have to say that Chris Pratt [now part of the Marvel trifecta of Chris-es w/ Chris Hemsworth & Chris Evans] is a hoot and no doubt this movie will launch him to be a star. There’s a scene where a space henchman calls him Star Lord and Peter quips ‘finally!’ It’s almost art imitating life as Pratt has been in a bunch of major movies in supporting roles, in fact, three of them were nominated for Oscar 3 years in a row: Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball, and Her. But now it’s his moment to shine and he’s such a charming, affable dude you can’t help but root for him. The rest of the cast is pretty good in their roles and I have to say Cooper as the fast-talking raccoon with a chip on his shoulder is quite the scene-stealer! I wonder just what the heck Cooper was thinking taking this job after a two Oscar nominations back to back, as he could easily play Peter Quill as well, but y’know what, I think he did a smashing job as Rocket. Diesel too, surprisingly makes the most of his only one line in the movie, ‘I am Groot’ all the way to the end.

It’s always nice when a movie surprises you in a pleasant way when you have such little expectations about it. But still I’m surprised by the stellar reviews that seem to surpass even Captain America: The Winter Soldier which I think is a better movie. Yes of course GOTG is a lot of fun and I was genuinely entertained, but it’s hardly flawless. Some critics call it edgy but the plot is not exactly fresh, we’ve got a space psychopath hellbent on destroying the world and it’s up to these unlikely heroes to save everyone, nothing new there. It doesn’t help matters that the villains are pretty ho-hum and lacking real menace. Poor Lee Pace is rather wasted here as Ronan is as boring as the villain in Thor 2. Same could be said for his female sidekick Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Thanos (uncredited Josh Brolin), which to me makes more impact in The Avengers‘ post-credit scene than here. I do like Rooker as Yandu, his performance reminds me of Michael Wincott who’s no stranger to playing bad guys.

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So the good guys definitely have more fun, even John C. Reilly is a hoot as a Nova Corpsman, especially in the hilarious finale. For sure the heroes were never in any danger in being upstaged by the villains. Visually speaking it’s as good as I expect from a big-budget Marvel movie, the 3D is pretty good but at the same time I honestly can’t think of an action scene that stand out to me. What’s truly awesome is the soundtrack! As a big fan of 80s music, the retro soundtrack is pure nostalgic fun! The gist is that Peter’s mom made an Awesome Mix Vol. 1 tape for him that he constantly plays on his walkman. Most Millennials probably think of it as some ancient artifact ahah, but hey I definitely remember those and making tapes of songs from the radio [oh boy am I dating myself or what?] The song played in the trailer, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, will be forever associated with this movie, and there are others I definitely recognize even if I can’t remember them by name.

Amidst all the clutter of all the goofy actions, there’s actually a bit of emotional touches here and there. So overall this movie proves to be a pleasant surprise and one I don’t even mind watching again. Not as spectacular as people led you to believe, but still worth a look if you’re initially skeptical. Everyone of all ages should enjoy this, just don’t expect too much in the way of plot and you’ve got yourself two hours of a rollicking good time.

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So what do YOU think of Guardians of the Galaxy? 

A Trio of Casting News I’m Excited About: Viola Davis + Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Lee Pace

Now, if only the three of them would actually be starring in ONE film, that’d be an even more spectacular casting news. But hey, I’m just glad that those three are getting more prominent roles and I’m particularly excited about Viola’s news because it involves one of my favorite directors!

Viola Davis & Chris Hemsworth – Michael Mann’s untitled Cyber Thriller

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Now, the concept of the film itself sounds intriguing and it’s something right up Mr. Mann’s alley. He hasn’t done a feature film since Public Enemies back in 2009. That film was sadly quite disappointing, but I still very much regard him as one of my favorite directors. I’ve seen seven out of ten of his feature films, with Heat, The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider being my all time favorites.

According to the Playlist, the film “…will follow a Balkan hacker operating out of South Asia who has an American and Chinese task force on his tail.” Sounds intriguing and with this cast and filmmaker, I’m so game! Not sure which role Chris Hemsworth will play, but I’ve been reading that the Oscar nominee Viola Davis might play an FBI agent. I do hope she’s got the lead role instead of just a supporting character, she’s certainly a charismatic actress with a chameleon-ability to play just about any kind of roles. The hot and in demand Aussie Hemsworth is always watchable in my book, so yeah, I’ll be keeping an eye on this project!


Now, I didn’t mean this to be a THOR reunion of some kind, ahah, but Hemsworth brotherly nemesis in that film is equally in demand. Btw, check out the latest Thor: The Dark World trailer on Tim’s blog.

Tom Hiddleston in The Crow and Robert Capa biopic?

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Looks like Mr. Hiddleston might be clad in skinny leather pants once again, not that I’m complaining 😉 Truth be told, I wasn’t really paying attention to all the rumors about The Crow reboot, though I’m surprised it’s taken them so long to do so. Surely it’ll be tough to forget Brandon Lee in that role, who was tragically shot during filming, but the concept of The Crow is an intriguing one and with Hiddleston [possibly] on board, naturally I’m intrigued. I certainly would rather see him than Bradley Cooper as Eric Draven!

According to The Wrap, “Hiddleston recently had dinner with producers and sent them a makeup test that he did on his own in London. He will undergo a proper makeup test in the coming days, as the character’s appearance is important to fans of the franchise…”

Fingers crossed this will actually happen!

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Now, this one sounds like a done deal and the concept is more grounded in reality. Hiddleston will play renowned war photographer Robert Capa in the pending biopic, with Paul Andrew Williams directing. Interesting that I had just seen the film by Williams, Unfinished Song. Whilst it’s not a bad film, I sure hope this one would be a lot more compelling.

I’m particularly intrigued by the romantic theme of the film, as the story will focus on Capa’s two-year romance with Spanish war photographer Gerda Taro, which will be played by Hayley Atwell. I really like this casting, Atwell certainly looks the part and no doubt the two would have a nice chemistry together. Funny enough, I actually saw Capa being portrayed on screen not too long ago (by Venezuelan actor Santiago Cabrera) in Hemingway & Gellhorn, and I remember thinking how his life deserved a biopic on his own, ahah.


Lee Pace lands the villain role in The Guardians of the Galaxy

LeePace_GuardiansGalaxyI ‘ve mentioned some casting in this film a while back in the Five for the Fifth post. On that post, I said that I’m not exactly interested in that movie yet, but if Lee Pace ends up being cast, now that’s a different story. Well, talk about dreams come true!! I know a fellow blogger who’s just as enthused about this news.

The Playlist reported that the gorgeous Oklahoma native is indeed going to play the main villain of the Marvel superhero series. Now, I still would prefer that he plays The Flash as he’s my top casting choice and he certainly has the look and personality to pull it off, but hey, just seeing him getting prominent role is always good news to me.

Of course I’m also looking forward to more screen time of him as Thranduil the last two Hobbit films: Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again. So there’s at least two movies I’ll be looking forward to from Pace, wahoo! I’m still hoping that he’d also land a real career breakthrough in the future though, I’d love to see him lead a drama or thriller as he’s definitely got screen charisma, talent AND rugged good looks like his peers Bradley Cooper or Ryan Gosling who’ve made it big. In fact, I’d rather see Pace ten times over than those two!!


Well, which one of these casting news intrigue you? Feel free any other recent casting news that make you jump for joy!

Five for the Fifth: First Edition of 2013!

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Hello folks, welcome to the first 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.

1. Well, since it’s only five days into the new year, some people are perhaps just starting their New Year’s Resolutions or perhaps already forgotten all about it, ahah. I actually haven’t really thought about it, though in terms of blogging and movies, I do want to watch more classic movies this year, which I did right away with The Shop Around the Corner on January 1st. It was pretty sweet, I love James Stewart, I need to do a JS marathon 😀

Anyway, I’m curious if you’ve got any New Year’s resolution. Name one (or more if you choose) movie/blogging resolution for the year.

……
Oscar20132. Can you believe it that only 5 days away until The Academy Awards nominations! On Thursday, January 10, the nominations will be announced at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. I’ll have a reaction post after that but for now, but I feel like I’m not ready to do my 2013 predictions, though last year I was pretty good in my predictions.

Anyway, last year there was only 9 nominees, so who knows how many it’ll be this year. Well, just for the fun of it, I’ll take a stab at my predictions for the 10 Best Picture nominees:

  1. Argo
  2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  3. Django Unchained
  4. Les Miserables
  5. Life of Pi
  6. Lincoln
  7. Moonrise Kingdom
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. The Master
  10. Zero Dark Thirty

Sounds like it’s a really competitive race this year, I’m really curious which one would sweep the Oscars this year with at least five nominations or more.

So what’s YOUR Best Picture predictions, folks? Any hunch which one would take home the most Oscars?

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3. Well, you’ve probably read my goodbye letter to Gerry Butler this past week after seeing the train wreck that is Playing For Keeps. It’s too bad really, but until I see him in much better materials, I can’t simply call myself a GB fan anymore.

ChanningTatumIt’s been quite an interesting year as I actually start to like an actor I previously don’t care for. Now, I’m not exactly a fan of his yet, but at least I’m not going to brush him off so quickly as I did before. I’m referring to Channing Tatum. I first saw him in Haywire and I thought he was just ok, but his performance in Magic Mike was actually pretty good and he was hilarious in 21 Jump Street. So in fairness, I guess I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about him. But no, I’m not about to rent G.I. Joe or [gasp] Dear John.

Btw, the irony is not lost on me that GB and Channing will go mano-a-mano later this year (well not literally) with their White House action flicks. As Terrence has predicted, chances are both are going to be disappointing, ahah.

Anyway, which actor disappointed you this year and/or on the flip side, did you have a change of heart about someone you previously dislike?

4. Switching gears a bit to casting news. For quite a while now, I’ve been reading endless casting reports for yet another Marvel superhero ‘team’ movies in the works, a comic book I’m not familiar about called Guardians of the Galaxy. Just who the heck is that all about?

Even the 31st Century needs heroes, and the call has been answered by the Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of superhuman and extraterrestrial adventurers dedicated to the safeguarding of the Milky Way Galaxy from any force that threatens the security or liberty of its various people. (per Marvel.com)

Apparently James Gunn is going to direct, yet another name I’m not familiar about. But some of the actors who’ve reportedly been tested for the various roles did pique my interest. Here are just some of the names that have been linked to the project:

  • Joel Edgerton
  • Jack Huston
  • Jim Sturgess
  • Lee Pace
  • Eddie Redmayne
  • Zachary Levi
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor in Smallville)

Now, I’m not exactly interested in this movie yet, but if Lee Pace ends up being cast, now that’s a different story 😀

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


5. Lastly, since I haven’t posted a Music Break in a while, I’ve got include a movie music in here somewhere. I don’t know if I’ll be posting my list of favorite soundtracks of 2012, but if I did, The Hobbit would surely make the list. I mean, some soundtracks you listen to later on and appreciate. But this music was an absolutely integral reason why I enjoyed the journey so much. Howard Shore did such an amazing job creating a new theme for The Hobbit, whilst incorporating some parts of The Lord of the Rings theme I’ve come to know and love. From the time Thorin (Richard Armitage) led his band of dwarves sang The Misty Mountains in what sounds like a solemn hymn, that beautiful theme continue to mesmerize and move me throughout the film.

The theme itself wasn’t written by Shore however, but by David Donaldson, David Long, Steve Roche and Janet Roddick, who apparently have worked together as composers/songwriters Wellington New Zealand (Thanks MovieMusicUK). Take a listen below:


So my last question to you is, what’s the most memorable movie music you’ve listened to this year? 😀



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

The Christmas List Blogathon

Hello everyone! I’m back!

Actually I’ve been back since last Saturday but sooo exhausted from our hectic trip and the long layovers so I really had no energy to blog. I did manage to update the layout a bit as my theme got an upgrade to a wider format so I did a little bit of that. Hope you like it 😀

Well, I was doing my rounds around my friends’ blogs when I came across the Christmas list at Sati’s blog which was apparently started by Diana at Aziza’s Picks. Inspired by the gift-giving tradition of the season, she thought about what she would buy for her fellow bloggers. What a nice idea! I actually don’t come from a culture where gift-giving is a must for Christmas, but I couldn’t help but take part in this as I believe it’s just as rewarding–if not more so—to give than to receive.

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Therefore, if time/location/money is no issue, this is what I wish I could give ten of my blog friends. Following Sati’s cue, my list also has a bit of fantasy mixed in (I’m sure the recipient don’t mind if it doesn’t come nicely wrapped underneath the Christmas tree) 😉

First I’d like to start with my contributor Ted Saydavalong. I hope he hasn’t got ’em already but I’d love to ship him the Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. Surely it would look spectacular in his home cinema (hopefully he’d invite me, he..he..)

  • Sati – An open ticket to the next Hobbit film premiere where she’ll be personally escorted by the Elven King Thranduil himself (aka Lee Pace).
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  • Novroz – I know she’s still over the moon watching the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD, so this Noel Fielding t-shirt might put her over the edge, ahah. She might never want to take ’em off!
  • Andina – My fellow Indo blogger loves soundtracks so I’d love to get her the CDs of Life of Pi and Intouchables that she just featured recently.

  • UnforgivenPosterMichael – Since he just listed his top ten Westerns list, I’d love to ship him the Blu-ray for each of those fine selection.

  • Terrence – Now for our TV star amongst us, I’d love to surprise T with a special guest appearance from his beloved Avenger, Black Widow for his Take 2 with Terrence show. Perhaps Scarlett Johansson could drop by around the time Avengers sequel is released 😉

  • Fernando A young man of discriminating taste, perhaps a Pedro Almodóvar marathon is in order? This Viva Pedro collection should fit nicely under the Christmas tree.

  • Mark – I know he’d rather be at home in Glasgow than anywhere else (who could blame him?) but perhaps a pair of tickets to New York City in April to attend the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival might entice him to take a little American vacation? Who knows he might rub elbows with his hero, the film fest founder Robert De Niro.
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  • Paula For an elegant woman with a penchant for classic movies… I’d love to ship her just about every Cary Grant DVD Box Set I could find on TCM, such as this one.

  • Castor – For my fellow Minnesotan blogger who’s been working tirelessly all year long, I just want to somehow give him a month off from work so he could watch movies every single day. I’ll throw in some movie tickets as well to sweeten the deal 😀

  • Josh – For the Oscar expert amongst us, I wish I could somehow score him a ticket to the upcoming Academy Award ceremony on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood!

So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! God’s blessings to you all.

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Five for the Fifth: April 2012 Edition

Hello folks, welcome to the April 2012 edition of Five of the Fifth!

It’s a bit early this year because tomorrow we’ve got a very special tribute post planned 😉 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. So let’s get started, shall we?

1. When I was watching The Hunger Games a couple of weeks ago, I kept wondering just where has Wes Bentley been all these year? He played Seneca Crane, the Panem official who ran the games, y’know the one with the awesome looking beard.

I first saw Bentley in American Beauty, which was back in 1999, and nothing else since. He was 21 then and according to this Reuters article, the Juilliard dropout apparently struggled with his newfound fame with the success of that film, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. The article said ‘he finally overcame his addictions in 2009 and is now happily married again.’  

Well, I’m glad to hear he found his way back, as I thought he’s a pretty good actor and he’s quite good looking, kind of a cross between Jake Gyllenhaal and Christian Bale.

Well, what are your thoughts on Wes Bentley? What movie(s) of his have you seen?


2. Just a few days ago, I read a report that the inevitable movie adaptation of another DC superhero The Flash might be getting closer to production. With Batman and Superman being the two most bankable franchises, surely DC would want to add a third one after Green Lantern tanked. Now, almost two years ago I posted that I actually would love to see The Flash getting a proper feature film. At the time, the writers of Green Lantern were reportedly doing initial concepts for it. I was quite excited to hear that, I even listed my wish list as to who should don the red suit: Lee Pace, Adam Brody, Zachary Levi, Hugh Dancy and Matthew Goode. 

I do think Lee Pace would be awesome in the role. He’s tall, lanky, and has the charisma and comic timing to be able to pull off such a role. Plus, he’s not a household name yet, but a lot of cinephiles probably know who he is and average moviegoers will recognize him from the TV show Pushing Daisies.

What do you think of this particular superhero adaptation? Any thoughts on who should play The Flash?

3. This past Monday, Whitney Houston’s last film Sparkle debuted its first trailer. I mentioned that film in my Houston’s memorial tribute last February.


It’s a remake of the 1976 film by the same name, which centers on three Detroit sisters who form a successful Motown-era singing group, but quickly get swallowed up by drugs, abuse, and other pitfalls of celebrity. Houston, who’s also the film’s executive producer, plays the girls’ mother, a former singer who suffered the same plights. Given what’s happened to the real singer, to hear her say the line “Was my life not a cautionary tale for you?” is utterly heart-wrenching! Sounds like Houston’s part is actually quite small, and that the star is really Jordin Sparks, but surely

What do you think folks? Would you see this on the big screen this August?

……
4. Ok, I just saw the Italian poster of Woody Allen’s latest, To Rome With Love at Impawards.

It’s a decent enough poster I suppose, but what I’m wondering is Woody’s preoccupation with ensemble casts set in European cities. It stars Alec BaldwinPenélope CruzRoberto BenigniJesse EisenbergJudy Davis,  Greta GerwigEllen Page and Alison Pill. Check out the premise:

A story about a number of people in Italy, some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors, and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.

Now, I’m not as familiar with his earlier works but do you think he’s being overly indulgent of late? Or maybe he’s always been that way with his films, after all, he was obsessed with New York City as a setting for most of his earlier films, and now it’s European big cities like London, Paris and now Rome. It also marks his return to acting since Scoop in 2006.

Thoughts on Woody Allen’s latest? Are you looking forward to this film?


5. Ok, last but not least… since tomorrow is Gregory Peck‘s birthday, I thought I’d throw in a GP-related question 😀 Well, I mentioned here that I have seen 28 of his work (out of a possible 57 if we’re counting TV and miniseries). Well, I think that’s a record from just one particular actor, and the time it took (just under 6 months) sets a whole new record in itself, ahah. Check out these DVD cases that this guy Paul Champagne made, apparently he made a ton of these for different actors and directors. I’m so tempted to order a few for my GP collection 🙂

Anyway, I started counting how many films of my other actors I have seen. It’s no surprise that Gerry Butler comes second with 25 films seen, followed by Tom Cruise22 (I guess the only explanation is that the guy is now 50 and I grew up watching a ton of his movies), then Russell Crowe – 20, and Christian Bale19 to round up the top five. As far as actresses go, I think Cate Blanchett is the one actress whose work I’ve seen the most of with 17.

So which actor/actress’ works have you seen the most of? Come on, fess up folks!


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

A superhero movie I’d like to see: The Flash

I know what you’re thinking, we’ve got way too many superhero movies as it is, do we really need another one?? But let’s face it, whether we like it or not, Hollywood isn’t done with ’em anytime soon, and to be fair, some of them are definitely worth seeing. To keep from having superhero flix fatigue though, I’m being more selective in choosing which ones to see. Captain America? Maybe. Green Hornett/Lantern? No/Maybe. Batman 3? Heck, yes!

Well, the past few weeks there were reports (here and here) that the same three writers (Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim) who are writing Green Lantern, have done a ‘treatment’ (I’m guessing it means the initial concept?) for the speedy red guy The Flash, with the possibility of one of those writers penning the script in the future. DC has been quite lacking compared to Marvel in the past few years, with the latter generating a lot of buzz for their upcoming projects: Thor, Capt. America, Spiderman and X-Men: First Class, to name a few. Besides the big two, Batman and Superman, the only other DC comic-book character I’d pay to see the movie version is The Flash.

My hubby and I happen to be a fan of the early 90s TV series of the Barry Allen version (Wikipedia listed three other interpretations of The Flash) with John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays. Not so much because it was such a great show, but more of a fondness for the character itself, who got the extraordinary ability to run at lightning speed as a result of, what else, freak scientific accident. We think it’d make a great origins story because of the simplicity of the character. Unlike Superman, he doesn’t have a gazillion superpowers he has at his disposal; and unlike Batman, he’s not a rich, privileged guy, nor does he have the tragic, complex background to contend with. Now, I have no clue what Guggenheim and co. have in mind for the concept, but I just think that the story of The Flash doesn’t need to tread into philosophical territory or a dark, fierce tale of revenge. Instead, it’d be great if they make this light and funny, taking advantage of Barry’s befuddlement upon his initial discovery of his powers and his lack of control of his powers. Such as in this clip when he ran so fast he ended up running 30+ miles into the ocean with his clothes all torn up, or this clip below that shows his enormous appetite as his powers drained all his blood sugar, and how his speed might not work for house cleaning 😀 So in essence, more Iron Man than Batman Begins.

Over lunch a couple of weeks back, we actually had an extensive discussion about who’d be perfect for the role. Well, even just by watching these old TV clips, we kept thinking Ryan Reynolds (and we’re surely not the only ones). I mean, he kind of resembles the TV actor and he can tackle the goofyl, bumbling stuff as well as the action aspect believably. Too bad he’s already signed on for Green Lantern. Another one we thought of is already taken also, Chris Evans, who’s already playing Captain America. But come to think of it, physically The Flash shouldn’t be too buff, in fact, he should be on the tall and slim side. My hubby also thinks one possibility is going with a youthful cast (under 30), with the character being kind of a juvenile brat of sort, and he has a bit of ‘growing up’ to do as he’s taking on more responsibility as a superhero.

So with that in mind, we think these five actors can look the part, as well as able to pull off the playful, humorous nature of the character.

L-R: Lee, Adam, Zach, Hugh and Matthew


Updated 2/4/2013:

Out of these five, I’m rooting for Lee Pace the most. I mean he’s American-born, 6’3″ tall, lanky and gorgeous! Not to mention he’s talented and can pull off both the heroic and comedic side of the role. How he still hasn’t got a superhero vehicle to this day is beyond me. So yeah, Lee Pace for The Flash please, Hollywood!!


Well, how do you feel about The Flash movie adaptation? Any casting ideas while you’re at it?