Double Reviews: Passing + The Forty-Year-Old Version

Passing and The Forty-Year Old Version are two Netflix films I saw recently that share some similarities. Both are feature film debuts of two female filmmakers, Rebecca Hall and Radha Blank, respectively, and both deal with racial inequality, albeit set in two different periods and dealt with in very different ways.

PASSING (2021)

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“Passing” follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.

The term ‘passing’ refers the practice of members of minority or oppressed races, religions, ethnic groups, etc., pretending to be members of the majority culture (in this case white) to escape prejudice. Apparently it’s a personal topic for actress-turned-filmmaker Rebecca Hall as her own biracial mother and grandfather both passed themselves off as white.

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The film is beautifully shot in black and white, which is a fitting artistic choice given the subject matter. At the center of the story is Irene (a sublime Tessa Thompson) whose chance encounter with a childhood friend Claire (Ruth Negga) at an upscale NYC cafe. Thompson is mesmerizing in the first 10 minutes… as she treads carefully in the way she appears in public, completely aware of her status as a black woman living in New York in the 20s. Hall shows the details of the surrounding as well as the costumes the women are wearing, as those help tell a story as well as being gorgeous to look at.

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I think Passing is an admirable directorial debut that’s both intriguing but also a bit frustrating at times. It’s not so much that it’s slow (I actually enjoy slow-burn movies), but everything is so polished that it’s emotionally-distant. The depiction of Irene’s family life with her wealthy doctor husband Brian (André Holland) and their two boys give a glimpse of the affluent lifestyle (they even have a maid) in a two-story Brookstone Apartment. They are keenly aware that most black people suffer terrible racial injustices elsewhere as they discuss people getting lynched and brutally killed in the South, a subject Irene doesn’t want to dwell on.

There’s not much exploration about Claire’s home life with her white husband John (Alexander Skarsgård) who’s an unapologetic racist. The moment he proclaimed that fact right in front of Irene definitely makes your skin crawl. There’s a really interesting buildup between Irene and Claire, but the fascination wears off rather quickly as I find myself having trouble connecting with either of them, as both are hiding under a veil to conceal their true emotions, even from each other.

Obsession, envy, jealousy are all themes explored throughout, but despite its provocative finale, it doesn’t quite mask its superficiality. The ambiguous ending actually makes me gasp as seems to come out of nowhere. It’s perhaps the boldest move of the entire film, a savage, violent end to an otherwise graceful, even delicate film. But then again, as Irene says to her friend Hugh (Bill Camp) at one point, people–and in this case films–aren’t always what they seem.

3/5 stars


The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)

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Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.

I had missed this film last year, but thanks to my friend’s insistence that I finally got around to seeing it. I’m still kicking myself why it took me so long to watch this!

It’s rare to find a film that has such an authentic voice, so it’s so refreshing to see one that has it in abundance. FYOV… the acronym of the title is the same as its mantra… Find Your Own Voice, an inspiring and fitting theme for the film that lives up to it and then some! Radha Blank tells her own personal story so brilliantly! Basically playing herself, I was completely absorbed by her realness and sense of humor, navigating life as a high school drama teacher and fulfilling her dream as a playwright. Nothing is more motivating, as well as burdensome, to an artist than an early accolade, as Radha was one of the recipient of 30-under-30 award for one of her plays. It’s apparent she is struggling to live up to that early kudos, while her longtime friend/agent Archie (Peter Kim) never stops believing in her.

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I love the documentary shooting style by DP Eric Branco, which suits the narrative Radha is telling. The IMDb trivia page describes the story as a reference to the ‘Hollywood Shuffle,’ about a Black artist confronting the white gatekeepers on who gets to tell a Black story and how. I wasn’t aware of that term but as a non-white, immigrant writer, I definitely can relate to that struggle. White gaze’s eroticism on the pain of people of color’ is nothing new, but seeing it realized in this film in the form of powerful theatre producer J. Whitman (Reed Birney) is so damning and revolting. He only wanted to produce Radha’s play if she’s willing to modify it to appeal to more white audiences, and they changes so much of it she could barely recognize her own work in it.

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I enjoy the warm-yet-testy relationship between Radha and Archie. He means well but it’s obvious his ‘creative push’ for her is self-serving. When Radha finally got a possible big break on her play, Archie said ‘This is the major production you wanted’... Her reply was: ‘Do I want it this way?’ Just that conversation alone strikes a chord with me, which makes me root for Radha even more.

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The moment Radha finally did find her own voice in the form of rap is so cool and filled with a real, raw emotion. I really enjoy her rapping style and most of all her evocative lyrics, and I’m usually not a fan of rap music at all. She finds a young DJ named D (Oswin Benjamin) who she thinks might be able to help her. Despite a bit of a rough start, D actually appreciates that she’s got something to say (‘I make the beats but sometimes I need some storytelling’) and becomes more than just an artistic ally. The tentative romance also feels real and not forced, as Radha begins to open up a bit and let someone in who sees her for who she is.

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I absolutely adore this movie as it presents an artist struggle in such a real way, warts and all… even her relationship with her students is fun to watch despite the vulgar and raunchy language. This movie made me laugh and cry, it’s thought-provoking, funny, relatable and emotional, just what every movie should be! The real star is Radha herself who refuses to be put in a box and be told what kind of art she should make. That final defiant moment at the close of her opening night play makes me get up and cheer.

This movie was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance where Radha won a Best Directing prize. It’s a phenomenal debut and it stands as one of my favorite films directed by women so far! I sure hope to see more of Radha Blank’s work in the future, both in front and behind the camera.

4.5/5 stars


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This post is part of Dell On MoviesGIRL WEEK 2021 Blogathon – It’s that time of year when Dell invited his fellow bloggers to focus on women in movies. You can join the fun by posting or talking about films with females in the lead, directed by women, or feature women in some other prominent role.


So have you seen Passing or The Forty-Year-Old Version? Let me know what you think!

Five new Netflix movies to watch in November

As we enter into Novemberrrrr … with temps dipping into the 30s (Fahrenheit), I know I’m looking forward to staying in more until the rest of the year. Thankfully streaming services have a ton of new content… I know I’m anticipating WHEEL OF TIME series that’ll hit Amazon Prime on Nov. 19. Well, with Netflix, there’s never a shortage of content that sometimes it actually takes time to figure out just what to watch. So here are five movies I’m looking forward to this month (you’re welcome!) 😀

The Harder They Fall

Nov 3 (tonight!)

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When an outlaw discovers his enemy is being released from prison, he reunites his gang to seek revenge in this Western.

I’ve been wanting to blog about this but somehow I thought it’s coming out later this year. Well, it’s out tonight, and I can’t wait to watch! I’m not the biggest Western fan but with Idris Elba as a cowboy? Heck yeah!! He obviously can rock a Cowboy get-up, as he’s the only redeeming factor of The Dark Tower, ahah.

The ensemble cast here is amazing: Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, Zazie Beetz, Jonathan Majors, love it! The trailer promises something cool and stylish unconventional Western.

Passing

November 10

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“Passing” follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.

I’ve been wanting to see this Rebecca Hall‘s directorial debut for some time as I read that she was inspired by her own family history. The term “passing” refers to the practice of members of minority or oppressed races, religions, ethnic groups, etc., pretending to be white (or otherwise members of the majority culture) to escape prejudice. Hall’s own mother, opera singer Maria Ewing and grandfather who were both biracial and had ‘passed’ themselves off as white so she wanted to explore that history that she never really had access to. I LOVE this evocative trailer and anything with Tessa Thompson is great in my book!

Red Notice

November 12

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An Interpol agent tracks the world’s most wanted art thief.

Ok I have to admit there’s really not much to recommend this one other than to just ‘check one’s brain at the door’ and enjoy the ride! None of these actors are known for their dramatic acting skills but they are fun to watch. I read on IMDb Trivia that Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot are each getting $20 million payday for their roles, dayum!! With a $200 million budget, it’s apparently Netflix’s biggest budget yet for a feature film. Man, frivolous fun sure is expensive, no wonder Reynolds can happily retire after this1

tick, tick…BOOM!

November 19

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On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.

Lin Manuel Miranda is one busy guy and he continues to stretch his creative muscles. This amusingly-titled movie is his directorial debut which stars another Tony award winner, Andrew Garfield. I love that Garfield has grown to be even more of a versatile actor since I first saw him in Boy A in 2007. I remember seeing him up close at Comic-Con back in 2011 when he introduced himself as Spider-man, standing mere inches from me. He’s obviously SO much more than a pretty face. As for the subject matter, I wasn’t too fond of RENT when I saw it on stage years ago, so I’m mostly curious to see the film for Garfield’s performance.

Bruised

November 24

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A disgraced MMA fighter finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, well I read on IMDb that his wife Blake Lively was going to star in it under Nick Cassavetes’ direction. I haven’t seen anything with Halle Berry as the lead in ages, I think the last movie I saw her in was John Wick 3. This one is also happens to be her directorial debut. Apparently Berry is a huge UFC fan and two of the actors in this film are actually real MMA fighters!


What do you think of this Novemner lineup? Which one are you looking forward to the most?

FlixChatter: The Night House (2021)

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Directed by: David Bruckner
Written by: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski

In The Night House, Beth (Rebecca Hall) begins to experience unusual things in her secluded lake home following the tragic death of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). As she digs for answers, she begins to discover his dark secrets.

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This isn’t a traditional haunted house movie, which I love. While it does lean toward the more supernatural side, it has its own unique lore and way of conveying it. I’m a sucker for a classic ghost story, but I appreciate that this movie is a supernatural horror movie that doesn’t feel like any other I’ve seen (while still managing to scare me several times). This is mostly achieved through creative camera work and lighting; there might have been some CGI, but if there was, it was so subtle that I couldn’t tell if I was looking at a special effect or a cleverly composed shot. 

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The cast feels just as sparse as the special effects, but it’s still strong, especially its lead. Rebecca Hall is often the only one on screen throughout the movie, but she’s so engaging, and she does some truly impressive physical acting. The other stand-out performance comes from Vondie Curtis-Hall as Mel, Beth’s kindly old neighbor; he comes across as genuinely warm and likable while still showing hints of something potentially dark just below the surface.

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My only gripe with The Night House is about the ending. Firstly, it feels a little heavy-handed. The evil entity throughout the movie is clearly a metaphor for Beth’s depression, and while this is handled well throughout most of the movie, the last five-ish minutes hit the audience over the head with it a little too hard, which is extra noticeable when it was fairly subtle up until the end. Secondly, the ending is very abrupt. I generally don’t have a problem with open-ended movies, but after how tense most of this one was, the ending felt, for lack of a better word, deflated.

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Overall though, I would absolutely recommend The Night House, especially if you want to watch something scary that’s not bloody or gory. The cinematography is beautiful, the performances are excellent, and the suspense is high throughout the whole movie. It’s a shame there hasn’t been a ton of advertising for this one, because it’s definitely worth checking out.

4/5 stars

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Have you seen THE NIGHT HOUSE? Well, what did you think?

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Everybody’s Chattin’ + ‘Professor Mars & The Wonder Women’ Teaser Trailer

Hello folks! What’s happening in your world? As you can imagine my life is still pretty much consumed by my short film… and will be so for at least the next year.

Hearts Want is currently on post production now, specifically in editing… where most of the magic of filmmaking happens. In the meantime, I’ve been busy working on getting the page up on IMDb, as well as planning our Kickstarter campaign that would hopefully launch sometime in mid June.

We need to get the word out about our film, and I do believe social media is a big part of that. So would you be so kind as to LIKE our FB page…

… and follow us on Instagram, too! 

Well, suffice to say I haven’t got much time for anything else. So pardon my lack of visit and comments to your blogs folks. But I do miss doing the community blogging thing on here, so I think this is as good a time as any.

So let’s get to those fine links now shall we?

I’m so thrilled that Wonder Woman is resonating in a big way w/ both critics and audiences alike. Over $100mil box office take, people, woot woot!!

Well, I’ve reviewed it earlier this week. Read on what Margaret, Chris, Brittani and Steven say about it.

Mark wrote about 12 Angry Men (1957) for the Decades Blogathon

Cindy‘s posted some gorgeous pics of cacti blooming in her hometown of Arizona

In honor of Roger Moore’s passing, Alex posted anecdotes from the late 007 actor

Nostra reviewed one of my fave films from last year, Hidden Figures

Last but not least…

Michael has a new entry of his ‘Same Song Different Movie’ series featuring Sinnerman by Nina Simone

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Teaser

Well, talk about perfect timing. A few days after Wonder Woman opened with a box office smash, Annapurna Pictures, which unsurprisingly is founded by a woman (Megan Ellison) released this teaser…

Per SlashFilm, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a biopic about the three people responsible for creating DC’s most famous female hero.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women is the story behind the creator of Wonder Woman and his unusual relationships that inspired the iconic super heroine. In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, this is the true story of 1940s Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), the inventor of the lie detector and creator of the iconic Wonder Woman, who defends his feminist superhero against charges of ‘sexual perversity’ while at the same time maintaining a secret that could have destroyed him. Unknown to others, Marston’s inspiration for Wonder Woman was his wife Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), two empowered women in the field of psychology who defied convention, building a secret life together with Marston that rivaled the greatest of superhero disguises.

I’m really curious about this one, and I quite like the cast too. Check out the awesome teaser poster!

 


What do you think of this teaser trailer?

Guest Review: CHRISTINE (2016)

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Written/Directed By: Antonio Campos
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tracy Letts, J. Smith-Cameron, Michael C. Hall
Runtime: 1 hr 59 minutes

Depression and suicide do not make pretty subjects for a film. It is easy to produce a voyeuristic essay that exploits someone’s despair and self-destruction, but portraying tragedy without sensationalising or trivialising it is as tough as it gets for directors and actors. While most suicides are silent and private, TV journalist Christine Chubbuck chose the most public stage available when in July 1974 she shot herself in the head, live and on-camera. Christine (2016) is her story.

At 29 years of age, anxiety-ridden over a career that stalled, still a virgin and living with her mum, Christine (Rebecca Hall) faces a daily struggle with herself and everyone around her. She is a serious journalist who believes her main role is to tell the truth about important issues but she is also a very difficult person to be near. Hyper self-critical, she needs constant stroking and clashes frequently with her TV station boss who is under pressure to improve ratings. He wants sensationalist coverage of human interest stories, so she is side-lined while others get the breaks. She has long had a crush on another announcer, but he is wary of getting involved with someone so intense. When she finds out he is dating someone it adds another layer of despair; her divorcee mother brings home a date and it feels as if life could not rub enough salt into her wounds.

The tension across this story rises incrementally, with each episode triggering another outburst but not serious enough to push her over the edge. While the episodes subside they do not disperse, and their cumulative effect is to store increasingly volatile fuel that slowly approaches flashpoint. The storytelling imparts a sense of us intimately knowing Christine, seeing what she is going through, feeling her waves of emotion and knowing that she cannot take much more of this. Whether its empathy, curiosity or voyeurism, there is no mistaking our proximity to her when, in the film’s closing moments, she looks straight down the camera lens and says “bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and living colour, you are going to see another first”, and then shoots herself.

This film is not for viewers who are looking for action-based drama. It offers little of that, but loads of dialogue and characterisation. Rebecca Hall is brilliant as Christine, tip-toeing the fine line between appearance of normality and deep despair. It is extraordinary that in her final minutes we can almost feel what it is like to have no hope and see no other way out. This is one of the most high-voltage female lead performances of the year, and begs the question why Christine (2016) was overlooked at the Academy Awards.

Everything in this film leads inexorably towards what we know is going to happen. One effect of this is that we readily interpret all that we see as causally linked symptoms of acute depression. It would be easy to say that now, more than four decades later, this could not happen again because we know so much more about the causes and treatment of this debilitating condition. But of course, this is not true; and that is why this is such an important film.

cinemuseRichard Alaba, PhD
CineMuse Films
Member, Australian Film Critics Association
Sydney, Australia


Have you seen ‘CHRISTINE’? Well, what did you think? 

Five for the Fifth: First of the Year (2014) Edition

Hello folks, welcome to the FIRST edition of 2014 Five for the Fifth!!

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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 I was thinking for all the questions for this post, I was humming some of the songs from FROZEN so naturally my mind turns to soundtracks. I listen to basically only a couple of genres: classical and soundtracks, with other genres I listen to only when I come across to on the radio. I haven’t decided whether I want to make a top 10 list of favorite soundtracks yet, but if I did, I think these five will surely make the list: The Great Gatsby, The Sapphires, Pacific Rim, Gravity, and of course, FROZEN. That last one is especially addictive, just like a lot of other Disney music, I just can’t get ’em out of my head! The Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel’s version of The First Time of Forever is my absolute favorite.

So my first question is: What’s your favorite soundtrack/song of 2013?

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2. I’d like to single out an actor/filmmaker whose birthday falls on Five for the Fifth Day. Well today’s Bradley Cooper‘s birthday, and he and I are apparently only a month apart in age [I’ll let you Google it yourself how old that is, ahah].

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I haven’t always been fond of Cooper, though with his tall, lean figure, dark hair and beautiful blue eys, you’d think he’d be my type. The thing is, I kind of find him to be a little too pretty, which actually has the opposite effect. In any case, ever since Silver Linings Playbook, and most recently American Hustle, I’ve warmed up to him more. At least he has a pleasant countenance, though not the most charismatic actor in my opinion.

So what do you think of Bradley Cooper? Are you a fan?

3. The trend in Hollywood with film adaptations is they come in twos. And so is this year with two Biblical epics, one for Easter (NOAH – March 28) and the other just before Christmas (EXODUS – December 12). As much as I LOVE stories from the Good Book getting some attention, granted there are a bunch of them that are worth exploring, I’m more curious rather than excited about these two. My hope is that they’d stay true to the source material and that God doesn’t end up simply being an afterthought.

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Russell Crowe w/ Jennifer Connelly in NOAH & Bale as Moses

Last week we got a FIRST LOOK of Christian Bale in the role of Moses. So apparently it’s not enough that he’s played the Ultimate Savior of Humanity (as Jesus in the TV movie Mary, Mother of Jesus) back in 1999. Not the greatest casting call ever IMO. Now, as much as I love Bale and he’s a terrific actor, I feel that he’s rather ill-suited for this role as well, it’d be nice to see Hollywood at least attempt to cast someone ethnic looking even if they couldn’t find an actual Jewish actor. I’d think Guatemalan-descent Oscar Isaac would’ve been a better choice and he’s a very good actor in his own right. Yes I know he doesn’t have the star power yet, and something with a huge budget like this is unlikely to get greenlit without a major star.

Anyway, that official photo shows Moses still leading a comfortable life as the adopted member of the Egyptian royal family. But here are some set photos with lookie here… Aussie Joel Edgerton as Ali Baba, er I mean Rhamses! In the photo of Bale with Ridley Scott, the costume look like it’s a recycled version from his Robin Hood film. Mr. Scott hasn’t captured the glory that was Gladiator since its release 14 years ago, we’ll see if he’d finally do so with this one.

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Well, what do you think folks? Thoughts on the EXODUS film?

4. I heard about A Promise a couple of months ago and being a fan of period dramas, naturally it piqued my interest. But with a cast that include Alan Rickman, Rebecca Hall AND former Game of ThronesRichard Madden (this ultra gorgeous hunk of a man happens to be Scottish, natch!), I definitely want to see this! Check out the trailer:

A romantic drama set in Germany just before WWI and centered on a married woman who falls in love with her husband’s protégé. Separated first by duties and then by the war, they pledge their devotion to one another.

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Ok so I’ve read some not-so-stellar reviews from Venice Film Festival that mentioned the lack of chemistry. Heh, I guess I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt, I mean, being torn between Rickman and Madden? A girl can only be so darn lucky! Ah well, I doubt this movie will make it to my city anyway, but I’ll be sure to rent it when it comes out.

What do  you think of this one, folks?


5. Now lastly, since the first week of the New Year isn’t over yet, some of you are probably still working on your New Year’s resolution. Some might’ve actually broken one too, am I right? 😉 I actually don’t really have one, I just never bothered with it, but this year, as it relates to my blog and my love for movies, my resolution is to catch up on more classic movies. I’ve been saying that a lot in the past but this time, I’ve got a plan! I’ve signed up for the BlindSpot blogathon, as you can see on my list I posted last week, I’d at least hit 12 of them I’ve been meaning to see. Perhaps you have similar goals, i.e. tackle a certain genre/filmmaker or maybe you want to catch all of AFI’s Top 100 Movies, etc.

So, what’s YOUR movie-related goal in 2014?


Well, that’s it for the first-of-the-year edition of Five for the Fifth, folks.

Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀

Five for the Fifth: JUNE 2013 edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the 6th 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.

Wahlberg_2Guns1. Today Mark Wahlberg turns 42! It’s funny how I first noticed this Boston-native when he was still Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Well, he’s certainly has come a long way from that as he’s now been quite a force to be reckoned with as a movie star, even garnering critical reception with not one but TWO Oscar nominations for The Departed and The Fighter.

Now, I haven’t seen any of his latest films, I mean Broken City and Pain & Gain just didn’t appeal to me. I might rent the later as it looks pretty hilarious. Interestingly enough, Wahlberg’s latest films have consist of him being paired with another movie star. Russell Crowe in Broken City, Dwayne Johnson in Pain & Gain, and now he’s paired up with Denzel Washington in what appears to be an action comedy where he & Denzel played A DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer being set up by the mob.

Check out the trailer:

Looks like it’s more of a rental for me. I’ve only seen about 10 of Wahlberg’s movies so far, and I think my favorites are The Fighter and The Other Guys, yes I know, it couldn’t be more different from each other, but I actually think Wahlberg’s quite fun to watch in comedies, though generally he doesn’t really have much range, ahah.

So what’s YOUR favorite Mark Wahlberg’s movie? Will you be watching 2 Guns?

……


2. Now, for my second question, I’m actually borrowing from the Twitter #MTOS series (Movie Talks on Sunday) which you should absolutely follow if you haven’t already. This past weekend, the focus was on Christopher Nolan, hosted by @Pandadeer. I particularly like this question:

Nolan is known for returning to the same pool of actors; who would you like to see added to it?

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Nolan with his Batman posse

I like Andrew’s answer below, esp. one about Lazenby:

Recently Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain have joined Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film Interstellar. Though of course he still has his regular go-to actor Michael Caine in his cast. Now these would be my top 5 wishlist for Nolan to consider: Richard Armitage, Clive Owen, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch and Helen Mirren.

What about you? Which actors would you like to see working with Chris Nolan?


3. It’s been a while since I talk about Bond on this blog! Well, there have been some developments on Bond 24. As you might’ve read on Terrence’s Movie News Monday, Sam Mendes is expected to return in the director’s chair for both Bond 24 and Bond 25, so probably until the end of Daniel Craig’s reign as Bond.

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Now, we’ve also got news that Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz has been cast as Bond girl! Wow, so they’re upping the ante as far as getting more quality performers in Bond movies. I mean, Cruz is an Oscar winner for Vicky Cristina Barcelona and has been nominated three times for an Academy Award. Funny that Daniel Craig is probably the first Bond ever to be seduced by a team of husband and wife, ahah. Cruz’s real-life hubby Javier Bardem sort of put the moves on Bond in Skyfall, remember? 😀

Well, most of you might not know this, but this won’t be Cruz’ first time appearing with a Bond actor. As a Timothy Dalton fanatic, I also noticed her brief appearance as Dalton’s girl in the British miniseries FRAMED back in 1992. As Lola Del Moreno, her character name is almost Bond Girl-ish too, no? It’s a great crime/thriller series if you haven’t seen it, fantastic performance by Dalton and David Morrissey.

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In any case, what’s your thoughts on Mendes coming back and Cruz as the next Bond girl?


4. Now this is a film that wasn’t on my radar previously but boy, I love the pairing of Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall in this intriguing crime drama CLOSED CIRCUIT.

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Martin and Claudia are lawyers — and ex-lovers — who find themselves put at risk after they join the defense team for an international terrorist’s trial.

I was quite impressed with director John Crowley, who did this great indie Boy A with Andrew Garfield (which could be his breakthrough role) and Peter Mullan. We’ve also got the script by Steve Knight (Amazing Grace, Eastern Promises) and a slew of great character actors Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Anne-Marie Duff, Julia Stiles and Jim Broadbent. I was VERY impressed by Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in another film.

What do you think of this  movie? Does it appeal to you?


5. Now, last but not least. Time for some TV updates. Yes, I know I’m quite terrible with keeping up with TV shows, but with Karl Urban, this just might be the new show I’d be [trying] to watch regularly this Fall.

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We’ve got some detailed synopsis from Teaser-trailer.com:

The year is 2048. John Kennes (Urban), a cop who survived one of the most catastrophic attacks ever made against the police department, wakes up from a 17-month coma, he can’t remember much – except that his partner was killed. Because of the attack he lost one of his legs and is now outfitted with a highly sophisticated synthetic appendage.

Now by mandate, every cop must partner with a robot. And despite his passionate aversion to androids, John is paired up with Dorian (Michael Ealy), a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses. Although such responses were deemed flaws, it is in these ‘flaws’ that John relates to Dorian most. After all, John is part-machine now, and Dorian is part-human. John and Dorian’s understanding of each other not only complements them, it connects them.


This definitely looks very promising and the set pieces looks pretty sleek. I do realize that with a lot of these shows, the premise and promo seems to be more compelling right off the bat. The show’s created by the same folks behind the popular FOX sci-fi Fringe, J.H. Wyman & J.J. Abrams.

I’ll definitely give this one a shot. I mean a futuristic sci-fi + Karl Urban already sounds like a winner to me 😀

Well, now my last question to you is two-fold: Are you excited about this show? Otherwise, what’s the TV show you’re looking forward to most this coming Fall season?


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