Early Oscars Predictions 2015

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.I wasn’t actually planning to write this one yet but because there are already “experts” (they usually get less correct than the users of the site) predictions for some categories in Gold Derby, I got to have a look how it looks at the moment. And about time, the big festival season (Venice-Telluride-Toronto) are about to start in no time.

So, it seems that there are four to seven films this year that the most of the people are predicting to get nominations in several categories. Some of those we (by that I mean some people) have already seen, like The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson. The film have gotten raves all around and is at the moment at number 162 on IMDb’s top-250, so it must be goooood. I haven’t seen it yet as I’m not a big fan of Mr. W. Anderson but I did like his previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, quite a lot. He certainly is unique. So it seem this one is the lock for the Best Picture nomination already. And probably some other nominations too, like writing at least, maybe some acting and so on.

boyhoodThe other one out already is the much talked about Boyhood by Richard Linklater. A film made in 12 years of time, filming a growing of a young boy. Can’t wait to see this one! Hopefully I’ll catch it at Helsinki International Film Festival. Another lock. And assumingly nominations for Linklater as well as Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette for supporting roles. At least.

Then the ones that we have not seen yet. The one that has been on my list for ages: Unbroken. A film directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Coen brothers. Oh, and it’s a true story including WWII. And the man, who story this is, just died this summer. Another much talked about is, of course, new film from Christopher Nolan, Interstellar, starring Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Multiple nominations, I bet.

Damn, that looks good. The first time I saw the latest trailer. Can’t wait! Jessica Chastain is also in that one. As well as she is in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and The Most Violent Year, possible contenders both. Maybe not in the Best Picture race but in others I think. The other actress who is arguably going to have a great year, is Reese Witherspoon. She will probably gain a nomination as a Best Actress for Wild, a film directed by Dallas Buyers Club helmer, Jean-Marc Vallée and scripted by Nick Hornby. I don’t have it in my top-10 best pictures yet but I probably should… Witherspoon is also going to be in The Good Lie and Inherent Vice directed by always good Paul Thomas Anderson. Also starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone and Benicio del Toro. Multiple nominations, I bet. Again.

Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu has also been an early favourite. Trailer looks amazing! Though it might be a bit too weird. But Iñárritu is a genius and if everything goes as hoped, Michael Keaton will also get a nomination and possibly also Emma Stone and Edward Norton for supporting roles. We’ll see but it does look promising, doesn’t it?

foxcatcher-steve-carellBennett Miller won in Cannes for directing Foxcatcher. And it seems that this is also a film that is going to be a lock for the Best Picture. A nom should also go for Steve Carell who apparently plays against the role. It is also said that always reliable Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum are making solid acting jobs in the film. The other one that is quite popular is David Ayer’s Fury. And for some reason, I really hope it delivers. I don’t even like war movies and nobody likes Shia LaBeouf but I still hope it will be as good as I hope. We’ll see.

And then there’s Gone Girl. By David Fincher who also directed The Social Network, Se7en and Fight Club and who also happens to be one of my favourite directors of all time. I like all of his films and some of them I absolutely love. So, it is only natural, that my hopes are high and I also fear the worst. It will be good because it’s Fincher’s but will it be great? I don’t know. Many of those so-called experts think it will deliver. Oh, I so hope so.

The last one in my top-10 at the moment is Into the Woods that surely has a cast that usually nail it: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine and a director that has already been nominated for an Oscar, Rob Marshall. But it’s a family musical that combines different fairytales… And it’s not animated. So… I’m not so sure.

benedict-cumberbatch-hotRight out of my top-10 there’s The Imitation Game, where the-it-man, Benedict Cumberbatch, is playing Alan Turing trying to solve the enigma during the WWII. Good s*it, if you ask me but we don’t actually know yet. The Theory of Everything might be the star vehicle for Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones and I do hope it is good. Men, Women & Children is directed by Jason Reitman and he hasn’t yet done a bad film. The others bubbling under are Exodus: Gods & Kings, Big Eyes (Amy Adams will hopefully finally get her Oscar for this one!), Mr. Turner, Selma, Whiplash, The Homesman, Love Is Strange and American Sniper.

My top-10 for the moment is:

1. Boyhood

2. Unbroken

3.The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Foxcatcher

5. Birdman

6. Gone Girl

7. Interstellar

8. Into the Woods

9. Fury

10. Inherent Vice

True Detective review

truedetectiveTrue Detective (2014)

Created and written by Nic Pizzolatto
Directed by Cary Fugunaka
Starring Matthew McConaughey & Woody Harrelson

It is unbelievable how HBO is mastering itself over and over again. They already gave us Sex & the City, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and of course, Game of Thrones. And countless miniseries. And now True Detective. If I’d be working for that firm, I couldn’t probably stop telling people where I work. I would be so proud. They know how to choose what to produce.

The most of the praise goes to scriptwriter Nic Pizzolatto. Throughout the series the images in front of me kept starting to form a page of a book in my mind. That has never happened before. I imagined a television series to become a novel. And that is the highest praise I can give to screenplay. No matter how much I love films and television, the real art, for me, is to write the way that you move something deep inside of people. Inspire them. And to me there are only that many authors who manage to do that. And to write that way for television, it’s a rare gift. Nic Pizzolatto knows how to do that. (Unfortunately I just read this piece of plagiarism, hopefully it’s not true.)

truedetectiveassTrue Detective is eight time Emmy nominee. Deservedly so. It’s nominated for directing, writing, acting and casting. All of those are top notch. It should be nominated for editing, set decorating, wardrobe etc. Everything. It is HBO quality and some. I appreciate the fact that the director takes his time and gives a lot of time to scenes to set. The atmosphere and people in the story are more important than what happens. But everything that happens, matters. The series should be nominated for its music too. At least it is for the main title design which, again, is classic HBO and T Bone Burnett, too:

I already have acclaimed the writer but without these talented actors, his words would have been lost. Harrelson is again so good; he makes his every man, Marty Hart, very alive. His reactions are so familiar, it doesn’t need words to understand his mind. He is every one of us. And worth of every praise he gets. BUT the real “thing” here, the true detective, is Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle. McConaughey was great in Dallas Buyers Club and deserved his Oscar but in this… I can’t describe it. You have to see it. All these words that are written to him, he truly makes them alive. There are a lot of monologues in HBO series but none like these. And none of them are acted so well. Here is a scene that tells a lot how Rust is and gives nothing away. But I still hope you all watch this series. It makes you search your soul.

Films of the Week Vol. 10

themillersWe’re the Millers (2013)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders & John Morris
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts & Will Poulter

I’m not usually a big fan of these kinds of “guy comedies” where the fun is that someone is hurt to their testicles or where at least one of the women is taking her clothes of at some point. But I have to admit, We’re the Millers was not half bad. It did make me laugh, a couple of times out loud, so that’s a good thing. Then again, I did have this hangover while watching, it might have helped. It kind of lowers your standards, or what you think?

I like Jason Sudeikis quite a lot. He has done some decent comedies earlier too, like What Happens in Vegas, Going the Distance and especially Horrible Bosses (Aniston’s there too!) that was one of the biggest comedy surprises of the recent years. It’s actually very good. I’m glad Sudeikis is able to pull this one of without the help of bigger stars. Well, Aniston is a bigger star but she’s no way near as funny as Sudeikis is. And I didn’t really like her character in this film that much. Okeish supporting role still, I guess. Emma Roberts is bit of a questions mark to me; she keeps getting quite a high profile roles but I don’t know why? She’s never been that good in anything (please, prove me wrong if you can!). Will Poulter is funny in this one; hopefully he’ll have a bright future ahead.nakedjenniferaniston

I can’t really write about the technical aspects of the film, so let’s just say that the story works (it’s over the top and a little bit too sweet in the end) and jokes are not tasteless which is often the case when it comes to me and “guy comedies”. Nice piece of light entertainment and very suitable for hangover day. I recommend.

Stars ***½ (out of 5)

 

dawnoftheplanetoftheapesDawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Toby Kebbell

I was taken by total surprise two years ago when the first “new” Apes film premiered. I didn’t expect anything and it was fantastic. I really liked the message, the CGI and obviously Andy Serkis, who’s the master of motion capture acting and should be awarded for that! Again and again. Because without him both of these Apes movies would be nothing (and that goes for the last two instalments of Lord of the Rings too).

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is better than the first part of the saga. It might be the best Apes film ever done. It has interesting characters that are not purely black or white. The apes themselves have souls and there is this deepness in the story. The message is loud and clear. Hopefully to everyone because it is the most important message ever and it is kind of sad that it takes a war between human and the most closely related species to human to make it clear. And I’m still not sure if everyone gets it. Which is sad.andyserkiscaesareyes

Technical matters in the film work wonderfully. I can’t point out anything that bothered me. And the scale is again a big one. So you should see it in cinema. The story is relevant and the dialogue good, at least in the most parts. The underlining of the message bothered me a bit but like I wrote, it is important to get it clear to the dumbest of us. The spacing at some points is a bit slow but the end gives you the chills and tears (in my case at least), so it makes it up. The whole cast does well but obviously Andy Serkis is the master of them all. He is tremendously good. You really feel if for Caesar.

Stars **** (out of 5)

 

the-conjuring-posterThe Conjuring (2013)

Directed by James Wan
Written by Chad & Carey Hayes
Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lily Taylor & Ron Livingston

I have gained the courage to watch The Conjuring after hearing that it is actually scary. And you know what; it actually is. And that’s a great thing because the most of the horror films are crap. And there are not that many spooks in this one that usually are the scariest thing but in general it’s more about the whole vibe of the film, it works naturally.

The story itself is very much old school, the haunted house with a gloomy history. In this case it’s even a bit stupid, the whole curse thing behind the haunted house but for some reason, it still works. Maybe it’s the cast, maybe the dialogue, the setting, the cinematography or the editing. Or all of them together are perhaps the right answer. For some reason the whole adult cast is superb, they make the most out of their roles. And the kids are good too, no complaints in that category. I don’t really know what else to say; this was a good horror film that scared me that much that I needed to watch some silly Supernatural episodes (The French Mistake, anyone?) to get it out of my head before going to bed. I haven’t had any nightmares related to The Conjuring but they might still come. Again; I recommend.

Stars **** (out of 5)

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P.S. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is basically better than The Conjuring but it’s not as good as X-Men was, so can’t help it, the starring must go like this.

P.P.S I’m  watching True Detective atm. Stay tuned for review of that one! So far; SO good!

Time to Get Excited! (Aka what was going on in Comic Con 2014)

San Diego International Comic-Con is over again and it gave us some treats again! Here are a few that I appreciated.

As a huge Marvel fan, especially The Avengers, I always, always love to see these guys:

The Hollywood Reporter has the highlights of Marvel’s part of Comic-Con.

Obviously some of the most anticipated films of this year and the next were presented in teasers or full trailers. Let’s take a look.

Katniss is going to go to a war in the next installment of Hunger Games saga:

Things are not looking good in the final part of The Hobbit either:

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are looking fierce in Mad Max: Fury Road, out in 2015:

Other semi-interesting news were that there will be more monster movies after the success of Godzilla. I didn’t like that, so I don’t really care of those. Guardians of the Galaxy is going to get a sequel. Haven’t seen the first one yet, so not that excited. Batman vs. Superman revealed Wonder Woman and she’s hot!

The Walking Dead trailer for season five is apparently great. Not following the show due to horrible second season, I can’t tell. But I can tell that Norman Reedus was Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 

A lot of other stuff happened too. Check out this adorable gallery of Entertainment Weekly and also a blooper reel for Game of Thrones:

Some year I will be attending!

 

Begin Again Review

I should probably hop on the board again and what’s the better way to do it than review the film I think is one of the best ever made.

beginagainposterBegin Again (2013)

directed by John Carney
written by John Carney
starring Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley & Adam Levine

John Carney is an Irish musician. Yes, a filmmaker too, but like Begin Again and Once, man’s earlier hit (check it out, it’s alright too and even won an Oscar for the best original song AND was made only with over 100 000 €!) show, he has a passion for music. And while watching Begin Again, you can easily see how much he loves film too. After seeing this film, I actually might love this man.

Begin Again used to be called Can a Song Save Your Life and I think that was much more suitable name for this little gem. Begin Again is just lame. But never mind the name, the film itself is truly beautiful. You probably have to know what it is to have passion for something that over runs everything else to really understand this film but if you do, well, I don’t know, there should be no reason to not to like this. begin-againBegin Again is unbelievably uplifting yet authentic. I didn’t even for once feel this Hollywoodian “gimme a break” -feeling when there is something too much movielike happening on the screen. It was so easy to relate to everything happening on the screen even when there were Cee Lo Green.

Begin Again is about music. And love of the music. The original title says it all. And Keira Knightley sings herself. Not badly, I might add. And the songs. Oh, the songs. I loved the lyrics a lot. The most of the songs are written at least partly by lead singer of New Radicals, Gregg Alexander, a superbly fitting part of this film. Begin Again has same tones as this hit single of New Radicals:

nevergiveupOk, this review seems to be quite a rambling. But what I was trying to say was that the cast is great, especially Mark Ruffalo. The script is so good I couldn’t wait what the characters say next. The ending does not ruin it. The music is perfect. Keira Knightley can sing and play. New York is heaven and hell on earth and this film shows it. I miss that city so much and Begin Again did not make it any easier. I cried and laughed a lot but never because I was sad. I was almost flying when coming out of the cinema. And send sms to my wannabe musician roommate that “I will never ever tell you to stop playing that guitar again.” And I mean it. You should never give up on your passion.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

P.S. I was going to add the trailer here but I don’t want to, it’s not worth of this film. Don’t watch it, just go and see the film.

Films of the Week Vol. 9

I saw a couple of blockbusters this week. Another one was one of the best in genre, the other… not so much. Here are the reviews for X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla. 

x-mendaysoffuturepastX-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

directed by Bryan Singer
written by Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Evan Peters, Shawn Ashmore etc.

I love this film. It has gotten everything right. It’s not perfect, it didn’t bunch me in the face or leave me heartbroken or specially exhilarated. Well, a bit. And a little more. Ok, it did leave me exhilarated. But it’s not perfect.

I know there are people who’ve read the comics and I’ve read that the scriptwriters have taken a quite a lot of liberties with the screenplay but I don’t care. I haven’t read the comics and even though I usually like that films stand on their own, I’m sure the clues in this one will be explained later. I’ve seen all of the previous X-Men movies except Wolverine’s own and I didn’t feel a bit that I was lost at any point. To me it was just good that everything was not explained. There’s a reason to see the previous instalments.

jamesmcavoypatrickstewart

So, firstly, I really liked the sound of it. It rocked my world. And the chairs of the cinema. And I love it! That is what a proper summer blockbuster should do! Take you out of your world and suck you into its. So good. And the beginning of the film is very intensive, no need for too much explanations, just dive in to the deep side of the pool. Cool. Cool is actually good word for this one. The cinematography and the CGI. They blended perfectly together. I’m not usually a big fan of artificial computer generated images but come on! in this one they just look so pretty. There is one scene involving Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender and Peters that just blew my mind. Perfection, especially the song. You have to see it, I don’t want to spoil it. I just realised that the cinematographer is Newton Thomas Sigel who was responsible of cinematography of Drive that is by far the best cinematography I’ve seen. I think I mentioned him already in my post of the best cinematographers. 

jackmanfassbendermcavoyThe acting. Oh, the acting. Well, just look at the cast. That’s 15 Bafta nominations. 21 Primetime Emmy nominations with four wins. Or 22 Golden Globes nominations with five wins. And also ten (!) Oscar nominations with four wins. Quite normal amount of awards for a summer blockbuster, huh? Obviously the talent is there. From McKellen and Stewart to younger guys like Hoult or Peters (who by the way is hilarious!). But the show belongs to the trio of Jackman, McAvoy and Fassbender. It almost makes me cry right now how good those guys are. The scenes involving those three (and there are plenty) just melts the screen. I can’t describe how good especially the latter two are, or how amazing the scenes involving their dialogue are. Go and see it yourself.

And on the unprofessional side; how good-looking those guys are! Wow! There’s also naked Hugh Jackman, that body is inhuman. Dinklage is so charismatic it’s a bit hard to watch. McAvoy wears his long hair with an ease. And there is a scene of Fassbender walking with the hat on, it just made me squirm (in a good way) in my seat. Hothothot. Obviously there’s also Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.

jennifer_lawrence_x_men_days_of_future_past-wide

 

 

P.S. Remember to stay after the credits. It is, after all, a Marvel film.

Rating: ****½ (out of 5)

 

godzilla-posterGodzilla (2014)

directed by Gareth Edwards
written by Max Boremstein & Dave Callaham
starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins & Juliette Binoche

I have to admit, I don’t feel like reviewing this now. Not after X-Men. Then again, I actually saw these two in two days. In this order. So, some of the things I didn’t like in Godzilla might go to the fact that I’ve just seen almost perfect blockbuster that is still, after five days, giving me chills. But in conclusion, Godzilla was not my cup of tea.

Apparently Godzilla bows a lot to the old movies of the subject. I don’t know, I have not seen them. If they do, I don’t want to see them. I’m not big fan of monster movies anyway and I kept comparing Godzilla to Jurassic Park and even though it’s done 20 years later is pales in comparison. Jurassic Park is so much more effective.

Let’s start with the same subject that in last review. The sound. It was bad. How come when there are bombs and huge monsters on the screen, the biggest noise that comes is from tanks? Really? That was just sad. CGI was well done, great monsters, and I did like the cinematography too but I did have a little higher hopes towards it, after all, the cinematographer is Seamus McGarvey, who definitely is one of my favourites of all time. godzilla-2014-2The music sounds like it could be from the older films but then again, I don’t think Desplat does a bad job. I’m very glad that the director, Gareth Edwards, was given this kind of chance, by no means, it’s not crappy job, but it’s not good either. It’s whatever.

The reasons to that it is whatever are the script (well, what can you wait from the guy who scripted all Expendables movies..?) and the total lack of charisma in the lead actor. And Cranston is not the one in the lead even though it might seem like it. Unfortunately. I just started to like Aaron Taylor-Johnson because he was quite good in Anna Karenina ja well, he is going to be in the next Avengers film. But omg, how totally completely blah that man can be. I kind of wished he would have died after five minutes of screen time… That was the main problem with the film, it didn’t feel catastrophic at all because I just didn’t care. And I’m usually fan of big summer catastrophes. I didn’t feel the danger, it would have been fine by me if the whole world would have stop existing. Whatever. I did yawn a lot.

aaron-taylor-johnson-hot

Rating: **½ (out of 5) and only because it does look good

Films of the Week Vol. 8

"only lovers left alive"That headline is a big lie. It should be more like “films of the month and some”. I’ve been horribly lazy to watch movies lately. I’ve been hooked to Friends once again and overly busy in real life. But let’s still review the ones I’ve seen in cinema since last time I reviewed a film.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

directed by Jim Jarmusch
written by Jim Jarmusch
starring Tilda Swinton & Tom Hiddleston

only_lovers_left_alive_ver3_xlgThis is again one of those that I would probably have missed if not Tom Hiddleston (am I starting to sound too much of a fan girl?). But I’m still glad I went to see it. Only Lovers Left Alive is dark, kind of gloomy, very atmospheric and sophisticated looking film. The director, Jim Jarmusch, is by no means my favourite kind of director. Maybe he is too, I don’t know, smart for my taste? I do appreciate his sense of style but I don’t find it very appealing. And this one has the same problem. How do you identify to two ages of old vampires?

Only Lovers Left Alive has some poignant themes about the world and how we treat it but as Adam, our male lead, is annoyingly depressed and all the time longing for his better half, Eve, it gets a bit boring and at least I didn’t really care what happens to them. Their lives seemed irrelevant. Maybe that is the difference between humans and vampires, we thrive to actually live. There’s not exactly anything wrong with the film, it just too much is. Nothing is happening. I did enjoy the mood and if I’d had at least a glass of red wine (and maybe some illegal substances) it would have been more enjoyable. In cinema, I struggled to stay awake. But the mood is still superb. It kind of invites the viewer in. And the music works magic. And it doesn’t harm to see shirtless Hiddleston basically most of the time when he’s on-screen. And I admire Tilda Swinton, she’s so effortless yet somehow awkward at the same time.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Captain-America-2-PosterCaptain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Ed Brubaker, Joe Simon (comic book) & Jack Kirby (comic book)
starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson,  Robert Redford & Sebastian Stan

 

 

First I need to point out couple of things. I don’t do comic books, so all of the movies related to them are news to me. I don’t know what is about to happen and I don’t know how well they are executed from the original source. Secondly, I didn’t like the first part.

I don’t know what it is about the Cap. Or Chris Evans, perhaps. I’ve never actually liked him. I have nothing against him but there is just something missing but it is very hard to point out what. I did like this interview of him, though. I kind of hope they would stop making Captain America movies but because the last one has IMDb score of 8.2 and is in top-250 at #203, so I doubt they will stop. I just have to endure.

The movie is not bad. But it’s not good either. I actually gave it a better grade that I think it deserves now. I don’t remember much of it. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow has much more screen time than in previous films. But I don’t care that much of her character either, so… Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks very good. And it does have some nice gags but the tone in general is quite serious. And the Winter Soldier himself is okeish. I don’t know. It’s alright but nowhere near as entertaining as Iron Men or The Avengers. Or Thors. I need some Stark or Loki on my screen, I guess.

Rating: ***½ 

2615607-captain-america-the-winter-soldierNoah (2014)

directed by Darren Aronofsky
written by Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman & Emma Watson

noah_posterA friend of mine detested this film. Noah made her really angry. I still don’t know why exactly. Guess she thought that Noah, as a character, is very much like those people today that justify their doings because God said so. I kind of understand her point but I didn’t see Noah as that black and white. In the end there is remorse, there is this wider picture of it all.

But as you can see above, Aronofsky has again done something controversial without actually trying too much. Usually when people want to do controversial stuff (Michael Moore, anyone?), it’s obvious but Aronofsky, as a director, just happens to do so. And for that, I admire him. But when it comes to Noah. Well, I don’t know. It goes to the same bunch with the previous ones (and please, don’t get me wrong, they’re totally different kind of films but all of them were quite meh), nothing spectacular here. It does beautiful_emma_watsonlook beautiful and I especially enjoyed the dream sequences. Crowe is good and they just are amazingly good couple with Connelly. Emma Watson has some very annoying mannerisms (check the scene in the end, that gazing…) but she’s very beautiful and I liked her hairstyle throughout the film.

All in all, the whole cast does a solid job. Technical aspects are not that solid though, CGI looks crap at some scenes. Really bad. Story is told like it is told in the Bible which is admirable, I think. So, yeah, watch it if you’re interested in the subject, otherwise you can skip it. Whatever. I don’t recommend it to people with ophidiophobia. I couldn’t put my feet down for the rest of the film.

Rating: ***

Spring Rambling

springGosh, it’s been forever since I posted anything! Over a month! But for my excuse, I’ve been awfully busy and also sick, so basically exhausted. I didn’t think of writing anything today but I read some of my favourite bloggers blogs for the first time for a long time and I realised how much I actually missed this world! So, thanks to all of you who write the best blogs ever. My e-mail is full of mails that reminds me to read your posts but I just haven’t had time to properly read them and I don’t want to do it in a glance. You all deserve proper attention.

I’m just going to ramble about life in general this time. I’ll get back to films the next time I’ll post something. :) As it has been that I’ve watched something like three films during the last month. All of them in cinema, thankfully, but still! THREE. Pathetic. But I’ve watched some “classy” television like The Vampire Diaries, Friends and Pretty Little Liars. Yeah, I know. But that shows how tired I’ve been. All of my energy has basically gone to the school work and actual work too. Too much of both of them. So, nothing educational to me. And that is also the reason why I haven’t started watching new season of Game of Thrones either. It also deserves proper attention. But I will, soon! I promise. gameofthrones

Thankfully, spring is here. Finally. It’s still a bit grey, we don’t have leaves on the trees yet but at least it’s been sunny for the last four days or so. It’s still a bit cold (7 degrees in celsius) but still definitely spring. And it means that the school year is coming to end. We have only two semesters here, so the end of the term is in three weeks. Yay! I just finished this big marketing report that we did for local arthouse cinema today. We started it already in October, so getting it done is a huge thing. I’m so relieved. So, only few more exams, couple of presentations and a lot of essays of international law and I’m done! And quite well, I have to admit, I got a lot more credits that is expected of me. But I need them to get to the exchange school I want to.

partyWork-wise I’ve been bartending a lot lately. My colleagues are taking their holidays and that means I’m filling up for them. A bit too much to think that I still have school. But I can’t wait to get to summer when I only have to think of pouring those beers. I also have a new roommate and even though I’ve known him for 10 years it has taken quite a lot to get our habits to work together. But it’s good now. We even had a party that celebrated his housewarming and my birthday (I’m actually 34 years old now… that’s a lot, huh?).

Yeah, I don’t know if this was interesting to anyone but I’m glad I wrote something. Stay tuned, I’ll wrote short reviews for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Only Lovers Left Alive (I didn’t get Hiddleston himself as a birthday gift but I did get a lot of messages including his pictures :D ) and Noah the next time. Thanks for reading this rambling!

P.S. I also managed to do one thing on my list of 101 Things; bought earrings and wore them for a day. In the spirit of Captain America:earrings

 

The Best of the Best – Cinematographers

As an amateur photographer the visuals of films have high importance to me. I can forgive a lot to a film if it looks great (eg. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug). And when a film looks especially great, I can even forget to follow the story and concentrate on cinematography. When done right, it’s a breath-taking experience. And that’s why I want to celebrate cinematographers on my new The Best of the Best list (previous ones you can find here: Actresses, Actors, TV Shows, Directors, TV characters, Films of 2013 & Future Husbands).

Like always, I want to mention a few bubbling unders; and remember these are my favourites, not the masters that have taken the field necessarily forward or something like that. No, they’re my favourites, so the most of them are guys (unfortunately, only men) that are still working today actively or even guys who have just started gaining reputation. If you’re interested in the masters, here’s list of 50 best by Total Film.

bbc_sherlock_mycroft

Scandal in Belgravia – Sherlock

Ok, so, the bubbling unders. These guys have gotten my attention but they’re lists of accomplishments are just not that long. Yet, I hope. Fabian Wagner has shot television, most notably Game of Thrones and Sherlock Holmes of BBC. Especially the latter has some unbelievably beautiful shots and he was nominated for Emmy for his work in the series. I already mentioned Desolation of Smaug, so I have to mention Andrew Lesnie who’s Peter Jackson’s choice for cinematographer, he has shot all Jackson’s Middle barry_lyndon_1975_7Earth movies. Beautifully. John Alcott was Kubrick’s regular. His best work can be seen in Barry Lyndon where they actually shot a lot of footage in candle light! That must have been a nightmare.

Another legend: Conrad L. Hall has shot eg. American Beauty (amazing work!), Road to Perdition, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and many more. He has been nominated for the Oscar 10 times and he won three of them. He has been mentioned in all of the great cinematographers lists as well. Robert Richardson is one to mention as well. His career has been amazing and it doesn’t look like he is going to slow down anytime soon. Just ask Tarantino, Scorsese or Oliver Stone, his regular collaborators. Him and Janisz Kaminski (Spielberg’s pal; Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln) should probably be on my top-10 but like I said, it’s my favourites and these guys just didn’t make it. But they really should have, they’re amazing. And the last one outside of my top ten, who is my number 11, is Greig Fraser, who seems very much upcoming with works like Zero Dark Thirty, Snow White and the Huntsman and especially Killing Them Softly.

Schindler's List

Schindler’s List

TOP TEN

10)

b_DRIVE_new-DPNewton Thomas Sigel

The most notably to me he is the cinematographer of Drive. And Drive is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. Ever. I was in tears in the cinema while watching it and at the same time it is brutally violent. Such an unbelievably great work. He has done a lot of “whatever” films too but just because of Drive, I love him. And he has shot the new X-Men film; I have quite high hopes for that.

9)

tinkertailorspy

Hoyte Van Hoytema

I just noticed that this sucks. I hadn’t put them in order yet and it’s really hard. He could be upper on the list because even though he hasn’t done a lot yet, what he has done, is impeccable. Låt den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One In), Her and the best so far; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. If you haven’t seen the last one, just see it because of the cinematography. It’s so good. He has also shot Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar. Can’t be bad. I’m also glad he’s totally international, born in Switzerland, origins from The Netherlands and Sweden and studied in Poland.

8)

inside-llewyn-davis-15

Bruno Delbonnel

Here’s the man who inspired me to do this list. Inside Llewyn Davis is a masterpiece when it comes to cinematography. Dark Shadows and Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince also have beautiful cinematography. Delbonnel is specialised in darker subjects, he uses a lot of darkness with a hint of light. Or a lot of colours like in Amélie. Which ever way, he does it superbly.

7) 

Emmanuel Lubezki

A long time collaborator of Alfonso Cuarón just won the Oscar for Gravity. However his best work is in Children of Men (video above, sorry about the quality), it is unbelievably. Well, just see the video. He is also doing a lot of work with Terrence Malick and has gotten a lot of praise from Tree of Life that I have not seen. Lubezki is not exactly my taste but there is no denying his talent.

6) 

slumdogmillionaire
Anthony Dod Mantle

Slumdog Millionaire (for which he won the Oscar), Rush (which he should have been nominated), Trance, Dredd, Antichrist and 127 Hours. This man has his own view and it works. I hated Dredd but I can’t deny that the visuals were stunning. Next up another film with Ron Howard, Heart of the Sea, set in the sea, surprisingly. That’ll be a tough shoot.

5) 

Jeff Cronenweth

Fincher and Cronenweth are the couple here. And as you might know, I’m a big fan of Fincher and I guess that means I’m a big fan of Cronenweth, who in fact is the second generation cinematographer, son of Jordan Cronenweth who was also nominated for the Oscar. He was already part of camera department in Se7en and The Game and heading it in Fight Club (tribute above), The Social Network and The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. Next installment these two are cooking is Gone Girl. Another great one, I suppose.

4)

inception

Wally Pfister

He’s Nolan’s trusted guy. Inception (above), The Prestige, all batmans Nolan made and even Memento. He is not shooting Interstellar because he is making his directorial debut Transcendence which is on quite many film fans “most waited of 2014″ lists. And it’ll be out in a next month, we’ll see if he is as good director as he is as a cinematographer.

3)

Darius Khondji

My top three are all so good that I should not even try to separate them. Iran born Darius Khondji is a genius who can make even films like Wimbledon look cool. He has shot visually shining films like Se7en, Evita, Panic Room (scene in the video above, watch it, it’s marvellous!), Midnight in Paris and Amour (try watch that without flinching; I couldn’t even watch it all the times). Damn, he’s good! Upcoming is Magic in the Moonlight, again with Woody Allen, shot in France. Can’t be ugly.

2) 

Seamus McGarvey

Another video but look at that scene! It’s amazing. It makes me cry every time I see it. (And that remind me of that I should do a list of composers too, Dario Marianelli made brilliant work in that film too). McGarvey is regular collaborator with Joe Wright who is one of my favourite directors. His films are always so  beautiful and beside Atonement McGarvey has shot Anna Karenina, that is staged on the stage. But it works. And McGarvey has also shot We Need to Talk About Kevin that is full of visual storytelling. And The Avengers! Though that one I don’t know, I’m more of a “real” cinematography kind a girl instead of CGI. Next up is Godzilla, 50 Shades of Grey (that is probably rubbish but the name says that there is room for interesting visuals) and Pan with Wright again. Can’t wait!

1)

Roger Deakins

The greatest cinematographer alive. 11 Oscar nominations, no win. He’s basically nominated every year and for a good reason. He’s the best. I though he did the best in Skyfall but take your pick: True Grit, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Prisoners, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Village, Beautiful Mind, Fargo… and so on. Maybe next year he will finally win when his collaboration, Unbroken, with Coen bros and Angelina Jolie will be released.

bond_daniel_craigWhile writing this post and trying to find suitable photos for it, I ran into this great blog of Beautiful Stills from Beautiful Films. Check it out!

Who are your favourites?

Inside Llewyn Davis review

insidellewyndavisInside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Written by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund & Justin Timberlake

No wonder Inside Llewyn Davis got no love from the Academy or in general. Llewyn Davis is quite an asshole. I was unbelievably irritated by his actions in the film. I know people like him. I can’t stand people like him. Not anymore. They tend to ruin everything around them. And they don’t usually think about anyone else except themselves. And so few of them really have that big break especially because they are unable to do compromises. I get all worked up just thinking about people like Llewyn Davis.

Bruno-DelbonnelDon’t get me wrong. Inside Llewyn Davis is again work of an art from always versatile Coen brothers. The cinematography is hauntingly beautiful, the most beautiful of all the films that I’ve seen since Drive. It even inspired me to do a list of my favourite cinematographers which I’ll be posting later this week. Songs of film are also good, especially Hang Me, Oh Hang Me that introduces us the character of Llewyn (and I would be glad to do that!). I’m not a big fan of folk music but for one film it’s tolerable to listen. All of the actors do nice job, especially Oscar Isaac in the lead and to me the character of Johnny Five played by Garrett Hedlund was enjoyable one. hotgarretthedlundBut then again, I’m biased, I like Hedlund quite a lot.

The script again is good one too. Coens still know what they do. It’ll be interesting to see how Unbroken will turn out when they’re the writers and Angelina Jolie is directing. At the moment I see quite a lot of awards potential. But then again, I would have seen some in Inside Llewn Davis too if I’d seen it before the Oscars this year. But I don’t know why Coens wanted to portray him like that; in all of our scriptwriting courses it’s repeated again and again that make your main character likeable. Llewyn Davis surely is not one.

 

Rating: **** (out of 5)