Everybody’s Chattin’ + February Viewing Recap

EverybodysChattin

February is a short month so I’m going to have to combine two posts in one.

Let’s start off with some lists and non-review posts

Wandering Through The Shelves Blog has yet another intriguing topic for this week’s Thursday Movie Picks: Father & Son Movies

Drew has been spotlighting Xavier Dolan, which he concluded with an open letter to the Canadian filmmaker

I love fun top 10 list – Nostra just picked his Top 10 Time Travel Movies!

For his Wedding Anniversary, Michael listed his fabulous 80s music picks for his Soundtrack of My Life series

Now on to reviews!

  • Stu reviewed adventure drama Tracks
  • Mikey reviewed Kingsman: The Secret Service  
  • Mark reviewed indie horror It Follows
  • Margaret reviewed Birdman (which deservedly won Best Picture, yay!)
  • Josh reviewed Jupiter Ascending
  • Rodney reviewed found footage thriller As Above So Below
  • Steven reviewed one of my all time favorites, Ben-Hur
  • Abbi posted her Film Friday reviews, including Selma & Cake


FebruaryRecap2015

It still hasn’t been a very productive month of movie watching for me, but there are lots more movies released in March so hopefully I’ll have a longer list to report at the end of the month 🙂

BLOGATHON:

In with the New: Remakes Better than the Original

Thursday Movie Picks #32: Oscar-Winning Movies

Thursday Movie Picks #33: Movies about Father-Son Relationship

New-to-me Movies:

Jupiter Ascending

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Predestination

Nightcrawler

Theory of Everything

Frank

I’ve written my review of Nightcrawler to post next week. Suffice to say I think Jake Gyllenhaal was robbed! Theory of Everything was quite moving and I’m glad the story is as much about Jane Hawking than Stephen Hawking’s struggle with ALS. It’s definitely a juicy role for any actor, and something that The Academy usually loves, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised Eddie Redmayne won. I’ll update this list tonight after I figure out what to watch after dinner, today’s technically still February 😉

Rewatches:

Belle

Somewhere in Time

Pride & Prejudice

Face/Off

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Phantom of the Opera

Movie of the Month

SunsetBlvdPosterSunset Boulevard

Yet another Blindspot list make my Movie of the Month!
It’s a pretty easy choice though, it’s definitely earned its classic status. As for contemporary films, I’d put Nightcrawler as my pick of February.


Hope you enjoyed today’s post… enjoy your weekend everybody!

Valentine Special – A Dozen Cinematic Romances We LOVE

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

DozenRosesMy blog buddy Cindy Bruchman and I have been thinking about collaborating on a post and since V-day is around the corner, we decided on a topic about cinematic love stories that are dear to our hearts.

We’re talking about films that has a love story that we often revisit again and again because it touches us in a way that no other love stories did. It doesn’t even have to be a romantic film, as love stories can exist within a variety of genres.

So here are six picks from each of us… 

Cindy’s Picks:

The love stories in film which have lodged in my heart bear a similar theme. I have agonized with the characters and felt their pain. Yes, infatuation and adoration is quaint, but love is complicated. Dark. Painful. Unrequited. Denied. Disappointing. A conglomerate of emotions, it brings out the worst and best in you. I salute everyone who has experienced and survived love. It truly is all you need and what the world needs now.

Here are my favorite six films about love:

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, The Age of Innocence, features Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer at their best.  For years, I contemplated why, oh why, didn’t Newland Archer claim Ellen Olenska for his own when he was finally free to do so? It took a couple of decades, but now I understand.

1. He was devoted to convention. Here the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” applies.

2. The beauty of her and their love was pure, avoiding time’s tarnishing power. In his mind, their love lived on in glorious perfection complete with reciprocating passion and submission. To resume would pop that vision he nurtured for decades. Oscar Wilde would have approved the ending.

The Painted Veil (2006)

Another satisfying adaptation, this W. Somerset Maugham’s tale of married couple, Kitty and Walter Fane, who travel great distances emotionally and physically, come together as companions and experience selfless love. It’s a film where feelings go backwards from discontent to liberation. The power of love and their “falling” is as beautiful as the film’s location in rural China.

West Side Story (1961)

This Romeo and Juliet version set in NYC is timeless. Jerome Robbins’s direction/choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s score have never been bested, and I doubt a picture will ever capture the energy and the dark side of love between ethnic rivals, the Jets and Sharks, as did the 1961 film version. Maria comes of age as the Puerto Rican sister whose brother is gang leader of the Sharks. By the film’s end, she is a woman who understands that the merging of two people with all its dimensions create a new entity. With the strength of two, life isn’t so scary anymore. God gives his glowing approval through the cross paneled window at the mock wedding. I love the simple harmony of this duet. And of course, the prophesy, “Only death can part us now.” Where’s my Kleenex?

Notorious (1946)

Oh, poor misunderstood, Frau Lieberman. Devlin, you idiot, taking so long to realize her love for you was true and you loved her back. This is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

I reckon it’s the musical score and the clifftop scene that makes me ache for Lizzie. Two lovers in denial eventually need a walk at dawn’s early light to come face to face and honor each other. Mr. Darcy is perfect. So is Keira Knightley. Did I mention the score?

The Notebook (2004)

Okay, I know it’s sentimental beyond belief, but it’s the James Garner and Gena Rowlands story that has me bawling, for at the end of your life, I predict all that matters is that your true love was there by your side. Even when dementia kicks in. I can’t imagine a more heartbreaking, yet fulfilling ending to a life than knowing one experienced that type of love. How proud one would feel knowing it!

My thanks to Ruth at Flixchatter for pairing up with me on Valentine’s Day. Love, love, love.


Ruth’s Picks

Romance at the movies are perhaps rosier than they are in real life. But the ones that often leave a lasting impression are the ones that love stories that aren’t the happy-ever-after variety. As Cindy said above, love is indeed complicated. But don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not worth it. The struggle these couples go through moved me to tears, more so than a lot of other movie romances I’ve seen over the years. Some stories have such an enduring quality, and will likely be my lifetime favorites. Some of them are my picks of unconventional love stories I posted five years ago, but I had to include two films I saw last year, two VERY different love stories that has to overcome various barriers.

Sense & Sensibility

It’s no surprise to people who read this blog how much I adore this movie. Many of the main characters suffer for love, but none more so than Col. Brandon and Elinor, both are so tormented for their feelings for Edward and Marianne respectively. If there’s a love story that exemplifies 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that’s often-quoted at weddings, it’d be THIS. Neither Brandon nor Elinor wallowed in self pity, and their love is patient, kind and not self-seeking. THIS scene is why Brandon is one of my favorite period drama heroes:

GiveMeAnOccupation_SS

There are many memorable quotes from the film but this one never fails to move me to tears whenever I watch that scene…

“…It is bewitching in the idea of one’s happiness entirely depending on one person”

A Walk in the Clouds

I know most of you probably scoff when you see Keanu Reeves as the lead but then you’d be missing out. Aside from all the bad ass sci-fi and action flicks, Reeves make for a pretty convincing romantic lead, too. Here he plays a soldier on the way home from war to be with his wife when he bumps (literally) into Victoria Aragorn on a bus, a woman who’s pregnant out of wedlock. Paul offers to pose as her husband after she tells him her traditional father would kill her if he knew her condition. There’s a warm chemistry between him and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, and there’s a palpable earnestness in Keanu that sweeps me off my feet. I doesn’t hurt that the film is set in the lush and romantic scenery of the Napa vineyards. Victoria aptly refers to it as ‘the clouds’ as it definitely gets you in head-in-the-clouds frame of mind.

Somewhere in Time

There’s a bit of the hopeless romantic in me and this fantastical time-travel love story gets me every time. It’s always best to have a box of tissue handy whenever I watch this film as it just moves me to my core. He’s most famous for playing Superman, and he shall always be my favorite in that role, but this one shows Christopher Reeve‘s also a capable romantic lead. Reeve’s a playwright who fell in love with a photo of a beautiful actress in the Grand Hotel gallery, he used a self-hypnosis method to transport himself to 1912. The way he looked at Jane Seymour always took my breath away, and you just ache for them to be together. John Barry’s sweeping score is as beautiful as it is haunting, practically woven into the plot that it’s impossible to separate the music from the movie. There’s not many film as unabashedly romantic as this one, its melancholic tone is part of its charm.

Belle

Oh how I love LOVE this film… it’s just sweepingly beautiful. One of the things I love about this film is the heartfelt love story that developed between Belle and her family’s vicar’s son, John Davinier. Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s affecting performance is deeply moving that I long for her to find happiness she deserves. Both Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid have such a scorching chemistry that made for some breathless moments. The strict societal norm was made even more convoluted by the fact that Belle was a Black woman living in an upper class British society under Lord Mansfield’s care, so naturally that was a major hurdle for them.

Belle_Davinier

I love their passionate convictions and their longing for each other is heart-wrenching. That scene when John carefully touched Belle’s hand by the window… and that night when he suddenly pulled her close in the garden… oh be still my heart. At one point, John was so overcome with emotions that he yelled to Mansfield that he loves her, with every breath he breathes… it  I always feel a lump on my throat every time I watched it.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

It’s too bad this film was barely marketed as it’s a beautiful and poignantly-moving look at love and loss. I don’t want to give anything away but what I can say is how the film is grounded in realism and excellently portrayed by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. I could almost feel their heartache. Their agonizing pain was so unbearable that one of them resorted to drastic measures. But it’s also an affecting depiction of not giving up on love and the belief that it could overcome even a seemingly insurmountable grief. There is a scene of McAvoy alone in a long-abandoned apartment that moved me to tears and later joined by Chastain. The way they conveyed such deep emotional heartbreak felt so real and it made me think how I’d react if I were in their shoes. I pictured how my own friends would be in such a situation, that’s how involving the story was.

Roman Holiday

One of the best classic rom-coms ever, Roman Holiday just never gets old. I posted my 59 reasons I love this movie already, I love how it manages to be fluffy & playful but also deep & heart-wrenching. True love is transformative and sacrificial… Joe Bradley went from the rogue-ish, self-serving reporter to the sincere, compassionate, love-stricken man who no longer had it in him to sell the Princess story for his own gain.

A recent Thursday Movie Pick series was on the topic of unrequited love – and this is one of them that sprang up to mind.

RomanHolidayFinale
Source: Pinterest

Oh this finale gets me every single time. It’s absolute perfection in its depiction of unrequited love… Perfect in its elegant simplicity… quiet yet packs such an emotional punch. I don’t think I’ve ever loved Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck more than in this very scene, followed by THAT walk of Peck’s character… alone as everyone else’s left the building, there’s sadness in his eyes but you [hope] there’s a hint of contentment that he’s done the right thing.

 


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Hope you enjoyed our picks of cinematic love stories! Now tell us which movie romances left you breathless 😉

A Birthday Tribute: Top Five Christopher Reeve’s Roles

The New York-born actor passed away eight years ago of heart failure. He would’ve been 60 years old today. Hearing the Superman theme the other day I suddenly thought of the man behind that heroic role. My admiration for Christopher Reeve went as far back as 1978 when I was only a wee girl. It’s no secret that the first movie I saw was Superman: The Movie. And I’ve shared in this post that Mr. Reeve is the ONLY actor I have ever written to in my entire life and from whom I’ve gotten not one but TWO autographed photos from.

He’s also proven to be a hero in real life as well. Following his horseback-riding accident that left him paralyzed in 1995, he became a champion for people suffering from spinal cord injuries through his Christopher and Diana Reeve Foundation. But even before the accident, he had already been involved with many charity organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation and Save the Children.

Just like Sean Connery will always be associated with his James Bond role, Reeve will always be known as Superman. But did you know that he turned down a whole bunch of roles? Here’s a sampling according to WikipediaAmerican Gigolo, The World According to Garp, Splash, Fatal Attraction, Pretty Woman, Romancing the Stone, Lethal Weapon and Body Heat. He also refused to be typecast as an action star by Hollywood, “I found most of the scripts of that genre poorly constructed, and I felt the starring roles could easily be played by anyone with a strong physique.”

Over the years, I’ve seen about a dozen of his films and the Juilliard-trained actor proves that he’s so much more than just Superman. I often think that good looking actors—and standing at 6’4″ with piercing blue eyes, he’s as handsome as they come—they have to work harder to get roles that didn’t merely exploit his good looks. These five roles should show you he’s much more versatile than you think:

Superman (1978 – 1987)

Obviously his physique plays a big part in getting the role, but there were other equally tall, dark and handsome actors who auditioned for this role. So clearly, it takes more than just good genes to pull off such a challenging role, but Christopher Reeve not only did so with charm and grace but he also made it iconic. To me, he shall always be my favorite Superman—no offense to even Henry Cavill whom I like a lot and I think is a terrific pick for Man of Steel—but Mr Reeve had such giant shoes to fill. The key to playing Superman is that he’s got to be convincing as both the hero AND the reporter alter ego, and I think Reeve does that with aplomb. I love his bumbling Clark Kent, the nervous gestures, awkward mannerism, even his voice is such a contrast to the cool and collected Kryptonian demigod.

Now, I’ve already posted my favorite Superman scene of all time, that is the chopper rescue scene. But this time, I’ll post the scene that feature BOTH Supes AND Clark, my favorite scene from Superman III which you could say is the saving grace of the whole movie.


Somewhere in Time (1980)

I had just rewatched this movie not too long ago so it’s still fresh in my mind. Reeve did this the same year as Superman II and the love-lorn Richard Collier is such a far cry from the calm-and-collected superhero. I love his earnest, soulful performance… he strikes a delicate balance of being an annoying lovesick puppy to someone who’s deeply tormented by a mystifying crush he just can’t shake.

His chemistry with Jane Seymour is incredible… but what people didn’t know is, there’s also a lot of humor in this film which displays Reeve’s decent comic skills. Seymour ended up being a personal friend of Reeve’s in real life, she even named one of his sons after him. This is one of the cutest scene in the morning that Reeve’s character traveled back to 1912.

Deathtrap (1982)

For serious thespians, what they dread most is being typecast. Reeve is no different, especially after playing the ultimate superhero do-gooder. This twisty thriller directed by Sidney Lumet is an actor’s dream in which he said “I’ve had a lot of training as an actor, and I want to use it.” [per IMDb]. The film is based on Ira Levin’s play of the same name, it’s a must-see for fans of intriguing whodunnit stories.

I saw this ages ago but I remember Reeve was quite memorable as Clifford Anderson, a student of playwright Sidney Bruhl in a scheme that keep you guessing up until the end. It’s a scene-stealing role for Reeve, and it’s quite a feat considering Bruhl was played by Michael Caine! Too bad Reeve doesn’t get to do this kind of bravura performance again in his relative-short acting career. The dialog is really the best part of this film. Here’s a clip where Sidney gives Clifford a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs.


Street Smart (1987)

I must admit that the only reason I rented this was because of Reeve as the story isn’t my cup of tea. Here Reeve played a reporter who, in attempt not to get fired from his job, fakes a story of a pimp in a hard-hitting story of prostitution. Of course he ends up getting in trouble when his story resembles a real-life pimp wanted for murder.

You could say the real star here is Morgan Freeman as Fast Black, in an Oscar-nominated role not usually associated with the actor later in life as he seems to play mostly heroic, God-like characters nowadays. Reeve was quite good as a journalist who’s driven but nary of a moral compass and well, ‘street smart.’ It proves that Reeve can be quite believable as an unsympathetic character and that he could also hold his own against his more experienced co-star. Check out the trailer below:


The Remains of the Day

This is one of those movies I really need to rewatch again soon as my memory of it is a bit hazy. I like this genre and it’s got sooo many great actors I LOVE, I mean Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, it’s even got my fave Bond villain Drax, er I mean Michael Lonsdale! 🙂 Christopher Reeve had a small part here as a retired US congressman Jack Lewis. It’s not a big part but a crucial one. He’s certainly got the gravitas and sophistication required for the role, the forthright speech he gave at the dinner scene is one of the highlights of his performance.

According to this site, apparently Reeve himself asked James Ivory after the premier of Howard’s End if he could get a part in his next film. It’s a bit sad watching the clip as this is the last role in a major film he did before the horse-riding accident.


Christopher Reeve will always hold a special place in my heart. So now I turn it over to you, what’s your favorite role(s) of his?

Somewhere In Time … Everybody’s Chattin’

Happy Friday everyone!

It’s kind of a short week for me as I took Wednesday off but still it feels hectic so I’m definitely glad the weekend is just around the corner. I found time to re-watch one of my old time favorites last night, I guess I was feeling rather melancholy, but I wanted to watch something with gorgeous music and Somewhere In Time fits the bill perfectly.

I love the Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour match-up… both of them are so ridiculously stunning but it’s Chris’ earnestness that really won me over. It proves that he’s sooo much more than just a Superman actor. This gorgeous film is no doubt one of the most heartbreaking time-travel romances ever made and John Barry’s music is sooo hauntingly beautiful.

Well, it’s time for links! I’ll start with the ladies first of course…

Lesya’s New York City in Genres
I always love a great blog-a-thon and in this one Lesya @ Eternity of Dream invited a bunch of bloggers to share their recommendations of a variety of films set in New York City.
Kristin asks a great question whether comic book films should be serious, or not so serious
As a fan of superhero movies, I certainly think there are room for both interpretation. But what do YOU think?

Lady Sati’s August Movie of the Month EARRINGS
I’m attempting to hit two birds with one stone here… one of my favorite bloggers Lady Sati just posted her review of another talented cinephile and burgeoning filmmaker Alex from And So It Begins blog. Check out his short film debut EARRINGS and its production notes here. Congrats Alex!
Fogs’ Top Ten Comic-Book Superhero Movies
Now this is my kind of list!! I can’t believe I haven’t made one like it yet but I agree w/ a lot of his picks. How about you?
Michael’s review of Field of Dreams
This is perhaps the only movie about baseball that I like. I still have no clue about th sports but I like the story and Kevin Costner’s performance. Plus, a post with an awesome word like felicitous is certainly going to get a link love from me! 🙂
Mark’s gave Gladiator another shot!
Hurray! Most of you know how much I LOVE this film, so I’m so thrilled that my pal Mark was willing to give this film another go despite not being wowed by it the first time. He now has a better appreciation for it, find out why.
Ryan’s review of To Rome With Love
How does Woody Allen’s latest love-story-ensemble-cast-set-in-a-European-city fare? Is it as delectable as the best Gnocchi alla Romana on Thursdays? Ryan investigates.
Nostra summarized the results of the fun-tastic Movie Confessions blog-a-thon
Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks Meryl Streep is a bit overrated and there are others who have not seen anything by Kurosawa.


Now lastly… are you on Facebook? Then so is FlixChatter! 😀


So what are you going to see this weekend? Whatever you do, hope you have a good one!

Music Break: Somewhere in Time – my tribute to John Barry

One of the world’s best composers John Barry died Sunday at the age of 77. The five-time Oscar winner have created some of the most celebrated iconic film scores of all time, with the most famous one being the James Bond theme. Some of his other memorable Bond scores are Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice and The Living Daylights.

Growing up watching Bond films, I guess I’ve always been listening to his work. I’m quite old school when it comes to music, so soundtracks have always been my favorite genre of music to listen to, especially those with more classical-influence. I think the two main composers whose CDs I own are John Williams and John Barry, and to this day I often still listen to their music regularly. In fact, when I made this list of top twenty movie music, two of John Barry’s scores are on my list.

His scores always sound so lush and elegant, with almost a haunting quality about them. I love, love Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, but my all time favorite music score has got to be Somewhere in Time. There’s not a lot of soundtrack that has the power to move me like that unabashedly melancholic, achingly romantic theme that beautifully captures the time-travel love story between Elise McKenna and Richard Collier (played by Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve). The music is not only one of the best part of the film, but is practically woven into the plot that it’s impossible to separate the music from the movie.

I know I’ve posted this clip on my favorite soundtrack meme post, but as a tribute to this great legend, I feel like posting it again. Thank you Mr. Barry, for creating such beautiful music that’s as euphonious as it is timeless.


Well, what is your favorite score(s) by John Barry?

Favorite Unconventionally-Romantic Films

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, readers!
Whether or not you’re spending it with a special someone — be it spending time with friends/family or simply doing something you love — I hope your day’s filled with things that bring you joy.

As I’ve mentioned in my Friday post, below are some of my favorites that don’t exactly follow the conventional formula of courtship. I certainly would rather re-watch these ten times over before I shell out my hard earned $$ to see the ensemble crap cast rom-com Valentine’s Day in the theater (but apparently I’m in the minority as it’s the number movie at the box office this weekend.

Anyhoo, here they are:….

  • Jane Austen’s movies: Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice

    Col. Brandon & Elinor in Sense & Sensibility

    Ok, so all of Austen movies do end happily. But slow-burn romances mixed with a few misunderstandings thrown in seems to be a reliable recipe for irresistible love stories. S & S is one of my all-time favorites of all genres as it’s features not one but two bewitching characters: Elinor Dashwood & Col. Brandon, whose love for Edward Ferrars and Marianne Dashwood respectively seems for a time hopelessly unrequited. But that doesn’t make them bitter or unkind, in fact, their love seems to exemplify this Bible verse: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4 … Though I’ve seen this movie a gazillion times, the scene towards the end where Elinor’s whimpering uncontrollably as she can’t contain her emotion any longer never fails to get me sobbing as well!

    On a related note, I adore Persuasion‘s story of second chance at love, though since the 1995’s version with Ciaran Hinds, there hasn’t been a decent film adaptation. The BBC version left much to be desired, mostly the lack of chemistry between the two leads (though hunky Rupert Penry-Jones makes for a striking leading man) and uninspired direction – having the heroine Anne Elliot running about town is just plain silly. With a ton of trite remakes of flicks that shouldn’t even be made in the first place, I long to see the beguiling love story between Anne and Capt. Wentworth gets a chance to come alive again on the big screen!
    ….

  • BBC’s miniseries North & South
    Mill owner John Thornton and Margaret Hale didn’t meet cute the way most rom-coms start with. In fact, they met under the most brutal of circumstances as she witnessed him beat the living daylight out of his mill employee. But love works in mysterious ways. Evidently nothing – not his possessive mother, initial prejudices, even economic collapse – can keep these two apart. When we saw this on one of our gals’ monthly movie nites, every girl in the room pretty much fell for Richard Armitage’s mesmerizing Mr. Thornton. Thornton and Margaret’s restrained passion definitely gives P&P’s beloved couple Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennett a serious run for their money! If I were to make a list of best movie kisses like Hatter did, this breathtaking one at the end of this miniseries definitely takes the cake.


  • A Walk in the Clouds
    Whaddayaknow, one of my favorites Keanu Reeve’s movies is a chick flick! He isn’t the most expressive actors of the bunch, but he’s quite convincing here as a soldier who finds love when he least expects it. Paul Sutton’s just on the way home from war to be with his wife when he bumps into (literally) Victoria Aragorn on a bus who’s pregnant out of wedlock. Paul offers to pose as her husband after she tells him her traditional father would kill her if he knew her condition. He and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón share a warm chemistry, and the lush and romantic scenery of the Napa vineyards she aptly refers to as ‘the clouds’ definitely gets you in head-in-the-clouds frame of mind.
    ….
  • P.S. I Love You
    I’m still puzzled as to why the critics hate this movie so much. Everyone I talked to, even my guy friends + my hubby, actually enjoyed it, even if they won’t openly admit so. The opening scene of a married couple bickering in their apartment is both funny, sweet and surprisingly real. I also LOVE the catchy tune Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken by Camera Obscura in the beginning credits! At first I thought Hillary Swank is miscast in the role of Holly but given the weighty subject of dealing with the loss of a husband, she actually offers the right balance of pathos and exuberance her character needs. Gerry Butler follows his ultra-machismo role in 300 by playing the goofy but tender-hearted dead husband. The flashback scenes show him at his funniest and most appealing, he’s so darn charming you’ll be more than willing to forgive him for his ghastly Irish accent 🙂 The best part is, I love how this movie leaves the ending open for possibilities, instead of rushing to pair Holly with another soul mate that sweeps her off her feet.

  • Lost in Translation
    Arguably one of Bill Murray’s best roles – and perhaps Scarlett Johansson’s as well – it’s a poignant tale of an unlikely friendship of a jaded movie star and a young neglected newlywed that grew into something more. I know this movie’s kind of an acquired taste as some people actually loathe it, but I though it’s not exactly ‘entertaining’ from start to finish, this movie had me in tears both in laughter and sadness. The ‘lip my stocking’ and other thigh-slapping scenes are obviously hilarious, but they’re not just ‘ha-ha’ funny as they’re tinged with heartache. Their unconsummated May-December romance is heartfelt and beautifully acted, and the unsugar-coated ending is exquisitely touching.
  • Return to Me
    I’ve written a whole post dedicated to this movie for good reason. The relationship of Bob & Grace is as unconventional as they come, and David Duchovny and Minnie Driver definitely deserves a spot in top ten movie couples list..
    ….
  • (500) Days of Summer (full review)
    I don’t think I need to explain this one. Billed as the anti rom-com, it’s a fresh and inventive look at relationship and how expectations hardly ever translate to reality. Great performances, witty script and innovative direction makes this one of the best modern love story of this generation.
  • Roman Holiday
    I absolutely adore this movie! The best love story is the unexpected kind, and neither Princess Anne nor American reporter Joe Bradley ever set out to fall for each other. Two extremely charismatic actors, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, plus the enchanting city of Rome they wander though makes for a lovely, whimsical and downright romantic classic. Despite the dreamy quality, I love how this movie has the good sense of not resorting to some fanciful, far-fetched denouement. In fact, the movie is all the more sweeter and meaningful because of it.
    ….
  • The Painted Veil
    Unlike a lot of romances, this one actually happens after the wedding.
    The story takes place in China in the 1920s, which tells the story of a mid-class doctor (Ed Norton) who marries an upper-class woman (Naomi Watts) and moves to Shanghai. As I said in my full review, it’s a rare gem that tells a wonderful human drama without being too cutesy or overly romantic. Love is more than a bed of roses or candlelit dinner, sometimes it’s mystifying and even thorny, but always worth fighting for.
  • Somewhere in Time
    For the hopeless romantic in all of us, this fantastical time-travel love story gets me every time. It’s an absolute requirement to have a box of tissue handy when you watch this movie. Forget Lois Lane. Christopher Reeve’s most heartbreaking movie romance is with Jane Seymour, as he won’t let the 60-year span between them get in the way.

    After falling in love with a photo of the beautiful actress Elise McKenna, playwright Richard Collier self-hypnotizes and wills himself to be transported back to 1912. He ends up meeting the woman of his dreams and they fall in love, but between Elise’s jealous manager (Christopher Plummer) and the time matter itself, can their love survive? If you’re not moved by John Barry’s lush score and the haunting Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini that runs throughout the film, you ought to check your pulse.

….
I realize with a list like this, I probably commit a ‘sin of omission’ either because my memory fails me, or I simply have not had the pleasure of seeing those you don’t see on this list, as some fellow bloggers have already pointed out last Friday.

So readers, what else have I missed? Please sound off in the comment section.

Favorite movie music – my top twenty list

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixelcrave
Orchestra at Piazza San Marco, Venezia – photo courtesy of Pixelcrave.net

F. Gary Gray, Law Abiding Citizen‘s director recently tweeted, “My mtg with the composer Brian Tyler went really well. He just gets it. Music is so important, it can ruin your movie if it’s not right.”

I couldn’t agree more. Music can make or break a movie. Not only does it create the mood and ambience of a film, it’s also what gives ‘life’ to certain key scenes, or an entire film for that matter. Nothing else has the same power to evoke emotion as music, and some directors know this to heart. Steven Spielberg for one, who frequently works with one of Hollywood’s greatest composers John Williams, skillfully uses music to add more oomphs to a lot of his films. Jurrasic Park, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones, E.T., to name a few, all of those scores create a lasting impression in the audience’s mind.

Some movies and their music score are inseparable, if you leave every scene in a movie the exact same, but swap the music, it’ll be a different film altogether. I can’t imagine watching Somewhere in Time without the lush Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini rendition by John Barry. Even though the piece was written back in the early 1930s, I always think of the movie every time I heard that music! This is also the case where the score is far superior than the film itself. It lingers with you long after I’m done watching it and one I can listen to over and over again.

Soundtracks are getting more common these days, and those can be very effective as well. Instead of hiring a composer to do a custom theme, they’d use pre-recorded songs they deem fitting for a specific movie. I’m going to break down my list to two different categories as theme songs and soundtracks are kind of a different animal. So without further ado, here are my two lists of favorites:

FILM SCORES:
1. Gladiator (Hans Zimmer)
2. Somewhere in Time (John Barry)
3. Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
4. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer)
5. Sabrina (John Williams)
6. Casino Royale (David Arnold)
7. Out of Africa (John Barry)
8. The Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore)
9. Braveheart (James Horner)
10. Sense & Sensibility (Patrick Doyle)

SOUNDTRACKS:
1. P.S. I Love You
2. Sleepless in Seattle
3. Return to Me
4. Notting Hill
5. The Bodyguard
6. Moulin Rouge
7. St. Elmo’s Fire
8. Flashdance
9. Waiting to Exhale
10. Dirty Dancing

Thanks to my friend Scot (with one ‘t’) who suggested this trivia:

Do you know the name of the songs played in the Elephant song medley that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sung in Moulin Rouge!?