Category Archives: Films

Saoirse Ronan (and Leonardo DiCaprio)

So I went on YouTube to look something up – I think it was a Super Bowl commercial – and these things are never easy.  Even when you find the clip you want, they give you so many related options that are inevitably not relevant to your current video that you get derailed spending an hour watching everything but the original video you wanted to see.

Anyway, I went from watching a Super Bowl commercial to a few interviews with Saoirse (pronounced “sur-sha”) Ronan.  I plopped them below because I found her quite funny, especially when she was trying to teach Stephen Colbert her accent.

Ronan is currently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in Brooklyn.  I actually just watched the trailer and it looks quite good.  It tells the story of a young Irish girl immigrating to America, trying to find her way, and falling in love with an Italian boy.

On an even more random note, when I was getting the videos ready to embed in this post, YouTube popped up with this clip of Leonardo Dicaprio on Ellen, and the story he tells at the end of the plane engine exploding is hilarious…had to add it.

Oscar for Best Actress Prediction

The 2016 Oscar nominations came out today, and it’s all very exciting.  I came up with a hypothesis for figuring out the winners before the show, which I’m testing with the Best Actress category.

First, this years nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

In the past few years, the actor who ended up winning the Oscar tended to win the Golden Globe and/or SAG award.  I went back and looked at the past winners for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a  Drama and Best Actress in a  Comedy, and sure enough the Golden Globe winning actress from either the drama or comedy category ended up winning the Oscar (most often it was the drama category).  The only four exceptions were 1981, 1995, 1996, and 2001 where the winner was a nominee in either category but did not win the Golden Globe.  Still, this pattern held together for the past fifteen years, which makes me conclude the winner is either going to be Brie Larson (who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama) or Jennifer Lawrence (who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy).

Given the fact Larson was nominated for the SAG award and will most likely win it as Lawrence was not nominated, I feel Brie Larson will win the Oscar (which is exciting because I’ve sort of been a fan of hers since the early 2000s…long story).  That’s my early prediction based on logic and spotting patterns in the Academy’s voting history.  The only movie I saw of the five nominees was Joy, which I thought was fantastic and that Jennifer Lawrence totally deserves the Oscar.  I thought she was better in Joy than in Silver Linings Playbook, which she won the Oscar.

Anyway, it’s probably too soon to call it, but I thought it was interesting that the pattern of winners went all the way back to 1980 (it probably went further, but I gave up checking).

 

Prankster

I found this video clip where Jennifer Lawrence pranks her interviewer with the help of Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and a fan.  At first I thought it was quite entertaining because the interviewer was originally planning on pranking Jennifer Lawrence but she got him back.

However,  I started watching it again and, not to ruin it, I started wondering how it was not all staged.  I mean, these two guys (I must admit, I’m not familiar with their work) claim to be YouTube pranksters and they’re posting a video of them getting pranked.  So, how could they film a prank on themselves without them knowing?  What’s more, when she storms out at the end, she has to take out her earpiece that Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth were using to communicate with her.  If the interviewer really didn’t know she was pranking him, wouldn’t he wonder why she was wearing an earpiece?

I guess the moral of the story is not to read into things and just enjoy a comical video.

Trainwreck Not Wrecking My Day

I will admit that going in to see Amy Schumer’s movie Trainwreck I was expecting to regret spending the money.  Ticket prices are so expensive now that if I go to the movies, it has to be for something I know will be worth the cost, and I thought that while Trainwreck may have some funny bits, it, on the whole, would be rather awkward.  And I now will happily admit that I was completely wrong.  While it did have it’s awkward moments, it was a rather sweet love story that overpowered the uncomfortable bits.

The movie starts out showing Schumer in many different sexual relationships.  There’s especially one scene that leaves very little to the imagination.  If you’ve seen the movie…you know exactly what I’m talking about.  While she’s dating around, she works at a magazine where she is assigned an article to write about a sports doctor (Bill Hader).  So, she starts to follow him around and interview him, and they end up getting drunk at dinner one night and sleeping together.  The next day,  she’s shocked with herself for actually enjoying her time with him and not sure what to do, while he is at breakfast with Lebron James (who really stole the show) talking about his new “girlfriend.”  In any event, they start dating, and there’s a point where she’s walking through Central Park with her sister (played by Brie Larson) where she’s hyperventilating/crying because she “really likes him.”  Their relationship goes through ups and downs, and I don’t want to give away anything, but I will say the way the movie ended was so funny and absolutely perfect.

Trainwreck is a rare movie that will make you cry not just because you’re laughing so hard.  Yes it has it’s raunchy moments, but it’s coupled with a lot of heartwarming and endearing moments that make up for it.  It also goes beyond the scope of traditional romantic comedies of two people falling in love in a small town and kissing in the rain.  While there’s some of that in there, Schumer made it more real and different.  For instance, there’s a scene in the beginning where John Cena is telling her he loves her and wants to marry her, and they start to play this soft romantic-comedy-piano music in the background and you half expect her to lean and kiss him and say she wants the same thing.  Instead, she looks at him and goes “I want to leave right now, but I don’t want to make it a thing” (that’s not a direct quote, but it was along those lines).  Like, it’s what we’re all thinking she should do and she does it instead of following a traditional mold.  If you’re on the fence about seeing Trainwreck, I would recommend it.  I mean, keep in mind it is an adult movie and that there is some adult themes in there, but I think it was a great story to watch.

 

Joy

THE TRAILER I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR IS FINALLY HERE!  They finally released the trailer for the new biopic Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, directed by David O. Russell.  Literally, add Amy Adams and we’ve got the cast from American Hustle.  Watch it:

The reason I’m so excited is not just because I’m a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, especially her work with David O. Russell, but this movie was actually filmed right in my neighborhood last winter.  In fact, the weather was so awful at that time (we had three blizzards in one week…tons of snow and no place to put it), they actually had to stop shooting Joy.  There’s actually a picture of Jennifer Lawrence walking around Boston during a blizzard in a huge winter jacket giving the finger, which I’m assuming was towards the paparazzi following her, but somehow my local news station took it as her giving the finger to the snow…Anyway, being in the atmosphere where this film was made on top of being a fan of Jennifer Lawrence has made me really excited to see this movie.  Plus, I heard Lawrence talk previously in interviews for the second Hunger Games movie about how David O. Russell had texted her the night before asking if she wanted to do a movie about the woman who made the miracle mop, and it’s just kind of funny that it has finally happened.

My favorite part of the trailer was at the end how she shot the gun and said “My name is Joy by the way.”

Into the Woods, Into the Woods, Into the Woods

I saw Into the Woods about a week ago and I’m still rather obsessed with it.  I originally saw the musical at my brother’s college a couple years ago.  Back then, I throughly enjoyed the story and the songs, and I’m not really a big musical lover (which is odd because I love music and I love movies, but apparently not together).  When Disney turned it into a movie, I was excited to see it, especially because it stars Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick.

Into the Woods basically combines many of those childhood stories we grew up hearing, like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, Cinderella, etc.  Each of them have a reason to go to the woods – Little Red Riding Hood is visiting her grandmother, Cinderella is going to the Prince’s festival, Jack is selling his cow – and they run into each other.  The plot is driven because a Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are sent into the woods to get items for the Witch (Meryl Streep) so she’ll remove a curse off them.

The whole cast did a fantastic job.  I was especially impressed by Anna Kendrick (Cinderella) who hit incredibly high notes and sang this difficult rhythm in the opening number.  I knew Anna Kendrick had a great voice from Pitch Perfect, but seeing and hearing her in Into the Woods blew my mind and proved that she really can do anything.

I also liked how they chronicled each character and showed how they interacted with each other.  In the beginning, the characters seemed to be in separate stories, like we’re familiar with.  We watch Cinderella with her evil stepmother, Red Riding Hood skipping through the woods to visit her grandmother, Jack and his mother, and they don’t intersect with each other.  Then, they end up running into each other and having to come together and save the whole village.  It was a well developed story.

I do warn you that if you watch this film you will get the music stuck in your head, especially the theme song.  This whole week I’ve been going around singing in my head “into the woods, into the woods, into woods” (if you know the song, you know what I’m talking about).  I also felt the movie ran rather long.  I saw an interview with Meryl Streep where she said most productions of Into the Woods only perform half of the story, and the film did the entirety of it.  I totally got that because I was familiar with the first half from seeing the musical live, but the end was very different than what I thought or expected.  And because of I that, I was just waiting for the movie to end about half way through, but it kept going.  I think if you’re unfamiliar with the abridged production, the movie won’t have that effect.  Regardless, if you’re looking for an entertaining, musical, funny, adventurous, family-friendly film, Into the Woods is definitely worth the watch.

Here’s a clip from the film that showcases just how catchy the music is:

Big Eyes

I just finished watching Big Eyes, and I got to say it was one of the best movies I’ve recently seen.  First of all, let’s establish that Amy Adams is an incredible actor (she won the Golden Globe for this role), and how she hasn’t won an Oscar yet is beyond me, but she’s fantastic in this film.  Her performance is so powerful and moving.

She plays Margaret Keane, the woman who painted the “big eye” paintings and whose husband, Walter (played by Christoph Waltz), took credit for them.  For the majority of the movie you see this woman painting these pictures of children with big eyes day after day so her husband can gain fame and fortune, and see her get frustrated and upset that he so blatantly lies.

She was rather forced into this situation, being threatened by her husband if she didn’t produce the paintings for him or if she told anyone the truth.  She was even forced to lie to her daughter.  Eventually, though (spoiler alert), she stands up and tells the world she was the creator of the paintings and sues him, and wins when the judge requires both Walter and Margaret to create a painting in an hour.  Margaret does so with ease while Walter fakes a shoulder injury.  I thought the film was so great to see a woman go through such a struggle and come out stronger and the winner.  It also had some great parts that made me a laugh…it was mostly how Amy Adams said her lines to Waltz that made it humorous.

The thing I perhaps enjoyed the most was how well done the music was.  Lana Del Rey wrote and performed songs for the soundtrack, including the theme “Big Eyes,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe.  This song so eloquently retails the story of Keane, it’s amazing.  The lyric “To my surprise, my loves demise, was his own greed and lullaby,” is sung during the film at the most perfect time and literally  emphasizes the plot: her love fell apart because of her husband’s greed.  I think the song is so beautiful and ethereal and it matches the movie so well, especially the line “It’s amazing what women in love will do.”

If you’re on the fence about seeing Big Eyes, I would highly recommend it.  It has a great ending, you feel uplifted and happy, and it even features a cameo of Margaret Keane herself.

The Misunderstood Life of Severus Snape

I saw this video where someone put all of Snape’s scenes from the eight Harry Potter films in chronological order of Snape’s life, so it starts off with him as a young child to his death.  And it’s actually pretty clever and shows Snape in a different light.  Instead of seeing him as a bully or arrogant man as we usually do from Harry’s perspective, we see him fall in love with Lily, Harry’s mom, and lose her to Harry’s dad and then death.  Then you see him risk his life trying to protect Harry and his friends.  Tie a rather moving soundtrack that this person added into all of that and the movie is rather moving.  All this perspective is in the books and films, but it’s split across the entire series, so I would overlooked Snape’s actual intentions and believe that he was not truly protecting Harry.

Yellow Flicker Beat

I think I’ve established before that I’m a huge fan of Lorde.  I’ve listened to her music endlessly and I’ve seen her in concert (which you HAVE to do, she’s incredible live).  So, naturally, I was over the moon when her song from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One got nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.  And probably like all the other Lorde fans out there, I was sad that it did not win the Golden Globe last night.

The great thing about this song is that Lorde perfectly captured the essence of Mockingjay Part One.  She sings in the chorus, “This is the start of how it all ends/ They used to shout my name, now they whisper it,” which perfectly resonates where Katniss is at this point in the film series.  The film is the start (part one) of how the whole series ends (there’s a part two coming November 2015).  Further, Katniss was once something revered in the Capitol, but now she’s their enemy and something not be admired, therefore they “whisper” her name.

The song as a whole has these incredible, thought provoking lines that just seamlessly fit to the story of Katniss, which I think means it deserved the Golden Globe, and quite possibly an Academy Award nomination.  I doubt we’ll see Lorde at the Oscars, but I hope I’m wrong!

The Album Curator: Lorde’s MockingJay

Yesterday, Lorde tweeted out that she’d be taking on the responsibility of “curating” the new soundtrack for the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 movie.

She also revealed that she and her producer/co-writer Joel Little would be writing and releasing the first single off the soundtrack (yay!).

Which leads to two very important points: Lorde is making and releasing new music, and what the heck is an album curator? Continue reading