Five for the Fifth: April 2013 Edition

fiveforthefifth

Hello folks, welcome to the 4th Five for the Fifth of the year!

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. I had another topic in mind here but I can’t possibly NOT include at least a mini tribute for Roger Ebert... the first movie critic I knew by name and whose reviews I read more than any other critics. It’s a sad day for movie lovers everywhere as a legend has passed away…

RogerEbert

Mr. Ebert died today at the age of 70 after a decade of battling throat cancer. Though I don’t always agree with his reviews, I always enjoy reading them. It’s also fun watching talking and debating movies with his late partner Gene Siskel on the Siskel & Ebert show, as their Roman Gladiator-ial style of ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ become iconic in popular culture. Every time I read his review, I admire Ebert’s amazing breath of knowledge about films and movie history… but more than that, appreciate his honesty in his reviews. Though he’s won the Pulitzer Prize—the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism back in 1975— he was as much a movie fan as he was a critic. As Allan Gregg said in his interview with Ebert I posted below, no matter how many thousands of movies he’s seen, he didn’t become jaded or crusty as other critics who seem to live to hate everything that opened.


Though he’s had more than his share of health problems for some time, his death came as a shock to me when I read the news via twitter, as I had just read about his Tuesday article that he was going to take “a leave of presence” due to the recurrence of cancer. Even in painful times like that, Mr. Ebert didn’t sound gloomy or feeling sorry for himself, in fact, he made it sound like having to slow down was a good thing, “… I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review” and announced plans to continue working on his website Rogerebert.com and Ebertfest, his film festival at his Alma mater, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Alas, he’s no longer with us now, but his rich legacy as a groundbreaking film critic will certainly live on.

Mr. Ebert’s love for movies and the way he popularized movie criticism has inspired me. He not only loves movies, but he also had genuine camaraderie with fellow film fans, perhaps the only major critic who took the time to correspond and encourage movie bloggers. He’ll be sorely missed in the film community, and I definitely would miss reading his reviews.

Thank you Mr. Ebert for your invaluable insights and inspiration. May you rest in peace.

What’s your fondest memory of Mr. Ebert?

……
FindingDori2. I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now. Seems like Pixar’s creativity well is danger of drought as they seem to be recycling their old stuff. First there’s Monsters University, then the Cars spin-off Planes, and now another character is being spun-off from one of their most popular feature Finding Nemo. Now, I’m not dismissing Finding Dori, I’m sure it could still be a good film, after all Dori is one of my top 10 favorite Pixar characters, but really, I’d rather see Pixar do something entirely new.

Now, that said, it made me think of what of my beloved movie characters I’d love to see getting its own film. I don’t know how often this happens. The only one I could think of is Steve Carrell’s hilarious Evan Baxter from Bruce Almighty (though I actually haven’t seen Evan Almighty) and on the TV front, I LOVE Frasier Crane which was spun-off from Cheers.

Now, which character (either in a live action/animated feature) would you like to see getting a spin-off treatment?

……


3. Hope you don’t mind me recycling my question that I posted on Reddit but I figure more of my blog friends/readers might not have seen it. It’s a question that I’ve often pondered in a while and I’d think it’d spark some interesting discussions amongst fellow movie fans.

WhatsAPerfectFilm

Every time I see in a review “[insert title here] is not a perfect movie but…” or “It’s far from perfect, but …,” it makes me wonder… just what exactly constitutes a PERFECT film for you?

There are 47 comments on Reddit so far, and these are some interesting answers I received:

The amount of personal connection with the movie dictates whether it’s a perfect or not, for you.

As with most things, I think there is no such thing as a perfect movie. Just like you cannot write a perfect essay, or a perfect novel. There is absolutely NO common basis to judge movies on, that’s what makes this impossible. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

A perfect movie would most likely be one where not a single second was wasted. Everything had a purpose and helped tell the story the director intended.

I’m curious to hear what you think. Feel free to include YOUR picks of films you consider to be *perfect*.

Remember, there’s really no right/wrong answer as films are so subjective 😀


ByzantiumPoster4. When I first saw the poster of BYZANTIUM, I really like its striking design. My pal Terrence suggested that I featured the trailer on this edition of Five for the Fifth, I was more than happy to oblige. Funny that a couple of editions ago, I featured another unconventional vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

This one comes from Neil Jordan, the director that brought us Interview with the Vampire (and of course, The Crying Game). Here’s the synopsis and trailer:

Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

The reviews from various film festival has been mixed, but I’m curious to check it out as it looks like a deconstruction of the vampire tale mythology, and after the abysmal teen vampire franchise that’s been dominating the box office, it’s nice to see a film that treads new grounds on that genre.

Byzantium_Arterton_Ronan

The mostly-British/Irish cast is certainly promising: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller and Sam Riley. It’s supposed to be released in the US in late June, not sure if it’ll make it to my neck of the woods though.

What do you think of this project? Will you be seeing this one?


5. Ok, last but not least, here’s a brand spankin’ new casting news that piqued my interest. Benedict Cumberbatch joins Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. It’s apparently a haunted house thriller and though plot details are still under wrap, Del Toro described it as… “…very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules.”  [per Collider] Cumberbatch would join Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) who’ve already been cast.

Benedict_CrimsonPeak

Though horror is not my cup of tea, I’m slightly curious about this project, though time will tell if it’s something I’d see on the big screen. I’m just glad the massively talented Brit is getting more and more roles in Hollywood. I can’t wait to see him in Star Trek Into Darkness next month, and looking forward to seeing his portrayal of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. He’s also filming the third season of BBC’s Sherlock, yay!

Well, now my last question to you is two-fold: Are you enthused about this project with this cast? And secondly, which TV-actor would you like to see get his/her big break on the big screen?


For those with a Reddit account, would you be so kind as to submit this post?
I’d sincerely appreciate it folks! 😀


That’s it for the APRIL 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

Top 10 Fave Pixar Characters – Vote for your favorites

With thirteen films so far, Pixar continues to create films with fun, intriguing characters. That includes the latest one, BRAVE, with Princess Merida. So in her honor, I thought I’d expand my list of FIVE Favorite Pixar Characters I did a couple of years ago, and expand it to 10.

The beauty of Pixar movies is how wonderful the characters are. They’re so well-written and tug your heartstrings, it’s amazing how we could ever care so much about a bunch of toys, a waste-eliminator robot, or a one-eyed green monster. Within mere seconds into a Pixar movie, I’ve become so emotionally-invested in them right away that make the viewing experience so worthwhile. They’re even more affecting than a lot of real human characters in a life action feature.

I didn’t rank them on my original list, but after much deliberations, I decided to do so this time. Yes it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it 🙂

Anyway, I’m going from number 10 all the way to my ultimate favorite:

10. Russell (Up)

No matter what mood you’re in, it’d be hard pressed not to be captivated by this 8-year old kid’s endearingly exuberant charm. Determined to obtain his final badge to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer, the chubby munchkin ends up being swept off his feet (literally!), up, up and away with Carl in his balloon-hoisted house. Nothing seems to dampen the kid’s buoyant spirit. He and the gloomy and disillusioned makes an unlikely pairing that’s as odd as they are delightful.

9. Remy (RATATOUILLE)

You’d think that the idea of a little rat in a kitchen to be kind of gross, but leave it to Pixar to make Remy, the rat who dreams of becoming a great chef so endearing. Despite being raised in the slum and eating garbage all his life, Remy likes things gourmet style.

If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.

He somehow ends up in Paris, the city full of celebrated culinary heroes, including Remy’s own, Auguste Gusteau. As fate would have it, he forms an unlikely friendship with Linguine and together they made the most of Remy’s culinary talent. It’s enough to make me wish I have a creature like Remy to help me cook around the house, though preferably not in the form of a rat, ahah.

8. Rex (Toy Story)

The hilariously hysterical t-rex is a minor character but every time he comes on, it’s always a hoot. Remember the Jurassic Park nod in TS2 during the car chase in the toy barn? ‘Object is closer than they appear‘ Ha! He’s supposed to be menacing but Rex is such a wimp that gets agitated by even the slightest hitch, but I love him best when he starts squealing like a little girl.

7. Dory (Finding Nemo)

The blue tang fish that steals every scene she’s in is voiced by the inherently likable and goofy Ellen DeGeneres. From the moment Nemo meets Dory, something is just a little off. Soon we realize she’s suffering from short-term memory loss, which makes for a one riotous scenario after another. Dory delivers the biggest laughs and her compassionate and gentle spirit makes you wish she’s your best friend. There are too many favorite scenes of Dory but when she imitates the whale with that slow, deep voice I just about fell off my chair.

6. Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)

Starting out as a main rival turns BFF, the spaceman action-figure is the perfect complement to Woody even if Buzz’s delusional self sometimes exasperates his more-grounded friend. The Tim Allen-voiced character initially thinks he’s the real Buzz Lightyear, not a mere toy like the rest, which explains his extra gung-ho attitude that’s so fun to watch. I thought the duel scene with Darth Vader-like Zurg at the end of the first sequel was my favorite scene of Buzz, but no, it’s when he’s accidentally reset and becomes the Spanish Buzz that had me in stitches. The pent-up feelings he has for Jesse is now on full display as he’s become unabashedly romantic Don Juan. The tango sequence with Jesse is priceless and sooo much fun. Te quiero señor Buzz!

5. Flik (A Bug’s Life)

Firstly, I love Dave Foley, he’s just so cute and funny in Kids in the Hall and News Radio, so maybe that’s why I took immediate liking to Flik. Foley’s voice just naturally suits the geeky, bumbling, but ever-so-endearing protagonist. The ‘engineering-minded’ ant always wants the best for his colony by trying to come up with his various inventions (i.e. a dew telescope, automatic harvester, etc.), though they often end up with disastrous results. But as his BFF Dot will tell you, he’s really a nice guy  who really is just trying to help. Like Dot says, “you’re weird… but I like you.”

4. Princess Merida (BRAVE)

No, I didn’t put down Merida simply because she’s the first Pixar fairy tale princess. I put her here because I LIKE her. The spunky redhead who rivals Katniss and Robin Hood with her bow and arrow is just sooo much fun to watch. Forget Rapunzel, Merida’s glorious orange-red curly hair should earn her best movie character hair of all time, and not just in animated features.

I like her adorable Scottish accent (natch!), her wide expressive eyes, and most importantly, her personality. Like Katniss, Merida is strong-willed, independent and a capable heroine, she doesn’t need her Prince to define who she is, but at the same time, she’s not an annoying know-it-all. If she were real, I’d LOVE to be her BFF 😀

3. WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class)

In my original list, I put Wall•E in the honorable mentions list but he really should’ve been in my top 5.

I’m not ashamed to admit that this movie not only make me tear up, but I was practically sobbing! The small trash compactor robot that barely said a word is so affecting that within minutes of seeing him on screen, I want to run over there and gives the lonely robot a big hug. In a dismal, silent post-apocalyptic world, Wall-E is a beating heart that gives such hope amidst all the gloom and doom. When he falls for a far more advanced robot Eve, he goes to great length to woo her. Believe it or not, it’s a genuine love story that is as heartfelt as any human connection.

2. Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc.)

Oh, who doesn’t love the one-eyed monster, voiced with wisecrackin’, smarty-pants sensibilities by Billy Crystal. He’s got more expression with his one giant eye than most characters with two. His green round shape is quite possibly the cutest, most adorable Pixar creation yet, not to mention his toothy grin. And he’s charming and smooth, too, just as Celia Mae (Jennifer Tilly), his girlfriend with Medusa-like hair and high-pitched voice. The minute he sang, “you and me… me and you… both of us togethaaa…” I’m done for! LOVE ya Wazowski!!

1. Woody (Toy Story)

The leader of the pack of Andy’s toys and the emotional core of the franchise, Woody the Cowboy is just so darn likable. That’s why you got someone like Tom Hanks to voice him and let his playful personality shine. Woody is funny, caring, optimistic, and wise almost to a fault. And he’s fiercely loyal, too, even as much as he loves his college-bound owner, he’s torn to be separated from his buddies and a trait he’s carried with him from the beginning of the movie until the very end of the franchise. No wonder he’s Andy’s favorite toy, because there ain’t no Toy Story without Woody!

I have to include this video of Tom Hanks explaining the process of doing voice work of Woody in the Graham Norton show. It’s absolutely hilarious and makes you really appreciate his voice work even more.


Special Honorable Mention:

The BRAVE redheaded triplets!

Do I even need to explain? Just look at them! If you have seen Brave, then I’m sure you’ll agree there’s no denying how adorable these three lil’ buggers are. They steal every single scene they’re in, I don’t even mind Pixar doing a spin-off or short movie just with these triplets alone!


Now your turn! Vote below for up to THREE favorite characters. Feel free to select ‘OTHER’ if your pick(s) aren’t listed and let us know which ones they are.