Person of the Day – Martin Scorsese

It’s Mr. Scorsese’s birthday today. So, Happy Birthday, Marty!

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It took a while, approximately 25 years for me to understand the art of Scorsese. And I still haven’t watched all of his masterworks but these days he’s definitely one of my very favourite directors. When I explain what I want to do as my work, I always describe it the way that “I want to do something that I really love, that I really don’t want to quit doing ever, I want to be Martin Scorsese, who still at age of 74 keeps doing the most inspiring stuff.” So, I basically want to be Marty.

So, here’s to celebrate his amazing career and all those great things to become, my top-3 Scorsese films:

CAPE FEAR (1991)

I already saw this back in when it was released and I was only something like 12, so probably I shouldn’t have. But I did and I was so scared of Robert DeNiro’s Mad Cady but I also found him awfully attractive, especially when he was seducing this teenage girl played by always a bit dirty Juliette Lewis. Good stuff.

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THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013)

When I reviewed Wolf I’ve never gotten that much comments on any of my reviews. I know the film is still kind of wrong but I absolutely loved it! I don’t think any film that long has gone by so fast. And that drug scene! It is my favourite scene of Leo DiCaprio, who I obviously love, of all time. It is so funny! I need to watch this movie again.

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HUGO (2011)

If you love cinema like I do, or like Marty does, there’s no way you won’t like this film. Or love it, to be exact. It is one of the most heart-felt and the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Truly amazing work and such a love letter to the art of moving images. ❤

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Doctor Strange Review

doctor_strange_posterI should go back to my Oscar predictions but let’s take a look to another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie first.

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill & based on Marvel comics by Steve Ditko

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams,  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen & Benedict Wong

Synopsis: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. (IMDb)

I didn’t know anything about Doctor Strange beforehand. I’m not a fan of comics, I find them kind of silly. I used to find comic films silly as well but Marvel changed it. Since The Avengers I always have high hopes for MCU film and sometimes I’m a bit disappointed (meaning I give a film 8 out of 10 at IMDb) but usually I’m not and Doctor Strange is not exception. It’s a solid film with great visuals, interesting story and well, with that cast, obviously strong performances.

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I kept thinking during Strange that it is quite an achievement from film industry to make these huge blockbusters with actors who have been recently nominated for Oscars or some have even won some like Tilda Swinton in this case. No wonder characters in these kind of films are not bland anymore like they used to be. There is much more depth to them even if scripts are weak. The script of Doctor Strange is probably the simplest thing in it. And for some reason, villains in recent comic movies have been on the weaker side too. And Doctor Strange is no exception. But at least its villains are not black or white. What brings me to the point of Doctor Strange being accused of “white washing”. What? There’s Ejiofor, there’s Wong and there’s a woman as an Ancient One. And internationality more than most of the films.

Marvel Studios Hall H Panel

The best element in Strange is the pace. I was never bored. The story starts right away, you get the feeling who we’re dealing with Dr. Strange and Cumberbatch draws the character perfectly. We see how he deals with others, what kind of a person he is. And we don’t really like him but we get to know him and see him grow and we definitely start to care about him. I also liked a lot of McAdams’ character even though she’s quite on the side. And there are some very, very nice one-liners. As always when it comes to MCU movies.

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In general Doctor Strange is great! It might lose some of its magic (ha haa) when watching it again (and again which I will probably do) and on the first time, I loved it. Is it perfect? No, but it’s entertaining as hell. I recommend. Half of the star in rating is given because I got overly excited because of the first end-credits scene, it sure was the best one so far!

Rating: ****½ (out of 5)

The First Oscar Predictions 2017 – Best Pic #2

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.Let’s continue. In the last post I previewed some of the Best Picture hopefuls that I think have good chances to get nominated. Here are some more.

Fences is a film based on a Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play. It is directed by six-times Oscar-nominee Denzel Washington, who won twice and is also starring in the film. The other lead role belongs to the Oscar-winner Viola Davis. According to Wikipedia Fences “explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations“. The trailer looks like it’s not an easy view. Need I say more?

Lion is one of my own favourites. Obviously I haven’t seen it but I really liked the trailer and I’m a bit of fan of Dev Patel. And it’s also a story that is not American. I kinda like it. Lion is based on a true story and IMDb describes the story: “A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.” Besides Patel, who is playing the main character when he is an adult, the casting includes Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham. Unfortunately Lion hasn’t got that solid reviews and sits at 71% at Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, so it might lose its appeal come January.

Next up is Natalie Portman vehicle, Jackie, that, unsurprisingly, tells a story of former first lady of the United States. But it tells the story after JFK gets shot and how Jackie handled the situation. Apparently Portman is doing her best role so far and that is a lot to say if you think how deeply she went into her role in Black Swan. I have my doubts if Jackie will land on the best pic competition but I have been underestimating these biopic films before, so I try to keep my mind open.

Back to we-need-diversity topic and we have another possible winner in Moonlight. Moonlight tells “a timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.” (IMDb) The director, Barry Jenkins, has been nominated for Moonlight at Toronto, London and New York film festivals. The story is also interestingly told as the main part is played by three apparently very different looking actors. And according to critics who’ve seen the film, it is very beautifully shot. The production company, A24, just scored big the last year with Amy, Ex-Machina and especially Room, so they know what they are doing.

I still haven’t watched Tom Ford’s first outing, A Single Man, that was nominated for an Oscar back in 2010 but Ford is back with a new film that has gained some praise during festival tour. Nocturnal Animals stars big names like Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Laura Linney. I absolutely love the trailer and it sounds a lot like David Fincher -film like Se7en or Gone Girl, brutal but so cool. For sure it will at least look amazing, Ford is always stylish. I might be biased as again there’s Adams and the one of my “future husbands” (see my last post for explanation) but I do hope this succeeds. It did win a Silver Lion at Venice.

Sully has already been to cinemas and has nice average of 7.9 at IMDb and 82% at Rotten Tomatoes. Its hype is basically non-existent at the moment but after all it’s Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks in based-on-a-real-life film of Chesley Sullenberger, the guy who managed to land to Hudson River back in 2009, so I would be an idiot to count it out. It looks like a solid piece but nothing more to me at least. But then again, I don’t like Eastwood and I find Hanks to be quite boring these days.

Stay tuned, one more take on Best Pic hopefuls coming later!

Films of the Week Vol. 12

I’ve been so lazy at watching films. Then again, I’ve been working 7 days in a row and today is one more. But then I have some time off. And the last time I had time off, I watched some TV, read about it here. But during the last week I saw two films; The Hunger Games (again) and a bit newer stuff, Florence Foster Jenkins. Here’s my thoughts on them.

hungergamesposterTHE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Written by Gary Ross, Billy Ray & Suzanne Collins

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley & Lenny Kravitz

Synopsis (IMDb): “Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death”

Yeah, I know, everyone has seen the films already and bla bla bla but as I’ve reviewed three other parts already (here, here and here), then why not do the first one as well. I’ve already mentioned before I liked it, so there’s not much to add but as I still liked it, after seeing it, I don’t know, probably tenth time, I may as well say something about it.

It was a bit surprising that The Hunger Games still works. It was on TV and I watched it “live” with commercial breaks (I know! So weird.) and it took something like three hours but that time flew by. It is that good film. The pace is perfect, the introduction of situation
hot_jennifer_lawrenceis over quickly and in no time Katniss is on her way to the Capitol where they waste no time in introducing more characters and how our heroine works together with others. We even get couple of nice twists and then it’s game time. Even the emotional pace works nicely. So, well done Gary Ross, that’s the way you direct a film based on a youth novel.

And as said 1001 times, Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time but she’s also genuine and manipulative. And a spectator can’t be sure of her motives. Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta is no match to her but I’m still totally Team Peeta. He’s still somewhat endearing. And those youngsters from areas one and two actually feel dangerous.

I also like how the film is set, the production design, make-up, costumes and obviously the music are nice too. The film is a bit one-dimensional and goes on a bit too long and some of the actors are wooden but otherwise; no complaints.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016)

Directed by Stephen Fears

Written by Nicholas Martin

Starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg & Rebecca Ferguson

Synopsis: “The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.”

I have no idea how truthfully Florence Foster Jenkins is told but if it is, it is quite amazing which lengths people would go for their loved ones. That’s beautiful and quite moving.

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First of all, Meryl Streep is still amazing actress. I’m quite sure she again will gain an Oscar nomination for this role. She’s fearless and can, apparently, act anything. I also appreciated Simon Helberg’s work here and I’m so glad he gets recognition from somewhere else too than The Big Bang Theory. And it was refreshing to see Hugh Grant playing something else than single douchebag. I’m not sure how much make-up he has here but he’s old and that’s weird.

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Simon Helberg

I liked the way the film looked, it’s very pretty with all those clothes from 1940s and always fabulous New York and its Carnegie Hall. The film is nicely told, the pace is ok and it made me feel good. But that’s about it. I was a little bit bored, there’s not enough of story to be told, I think, and as the film is not too emotional, it’s a bit bland. I really wanted to like it more but it’s one of those films you will forget you even saw. Streep is great but as she is always, it’s nothing exceptional. Oh, there’s some nice music if you like classical music. There’s not much to say about it. I saw it and I’m quite sure I will never watch it again, it is just not interesting enough. I also wanted to give it 2,5 stars but as everything works, it deserved more.

Rating: *** 

The Best of the Best – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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I was thinking of saving this for later when MCU is ready with its plan but they probably will continue making those films as long as there’s audience for them, so as I really liked new Cap America, let’s list things to celebrate the success of Marvel!  So far there have been 13 films that are part of phases one, two and three. Obviously there are tons of other films that are Marvel branded, e.g. X-Mens but I will only include films surrounding The Avengers.

avengers-age-ultron-hulk-mark-ruffaloUsually I have in my Best of the Best lists some bubbling-unders and will do that this time too. Though there are only three of them. I’m not a big fan of The Incredible Hulk, the whole Hulk-thing didn’t work for me at all until Mark Ruffalo came along. He’s genious. So that is on the bottom of the bunch and next up is Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s way too American for my taste. Plus Cap is kinda boring. And unfortunately I have to leave Ant-Man out of the final Top-10. I love Paul Rudd but that film was just ok.

10)

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Captain America: Winter Soldier

This is really hard as I’m a fan of the whole universe and all these films are entertaining enough and often more. Well, Cap, until the last chapter, has been way too oldie goldie for me and thus this is my number 10 pick.

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Thor

I love, love, love Loki as many of you might know but if you take him away from Thor films, they are not very entertaining. Especially the first one.

8)

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Iron Man 2

Perhaps. I just checked and I’ve given all three Iron Man movies 8/10 at IMDb. So… I don’t know.

7)

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Iron Man

Yeah. Still don’t really know.

6) iron-man-3-poster-ben-kingsley

Iron Man 3

Right now it feels like I enjoyed this one the best, I really liked Ben Kingsley’s character.

5)
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Thor: The Dark World

Loki. And London is a plus. But mainly Loki.

4)
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Avengers: Age of Ultron

It’s a bit messy and too much but I just love it when they’re all together. And Hawkeye’s storyline worked for me. And it was a bit sad too which is usually nice touch to this kind of action films.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

It’s basically tie between this and number two but like said, I love my avengers, so Star Lord and his crew lost. Then again that killer soundtrack gives it an edge. It’s a tie.

2)

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Captain America: Civil War

Like said and like I wrote few days ago, the latest installment to the series is a great one! Go see it! Spidey! Whose side your on?

1) Loki_Empire_header

The Avengers

But it does not beat the original. Josh Whedon is king of this film, the script is absolutely great. And you know; Loki. 😉

What do you think? What’s your favourite?

Captain America: Civil War Review

captainamericaposterCAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)

Directed by Brothers Russo

Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (comics by Mark Millar, characters by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby)

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Daniel Brühl, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Emily VanCamp, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd & Tom Holland

Synopsis (IMDb): “Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.”

First of all, Captain America: Civil War is not really a Captain America movie, it’s The Avengers film. To me that means that I like it better than other Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Or at least it has been that way so far. And you know what, it still stands. New Captain is very good.

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The film is a bit too long but as the ass-kicking still looks good, well, actually, I thought that some fight choreographs were even better than in previous MCU films, it hardly matters. Obviously those scenes need to top each other if you want to place your favourite superheros against each other. Apart from fighting or fleeing, the tone of the film is very sobering as the team ponders what is right and what is wrong and are they too far gone. But it’s still classic MCU and there are great, witty lines written for everyone. Especially for Tom Holland who plays new Spider-Man. He’s absolutely great! I kind
of like to think that he steals the show. And is probably the best Spidey on silver screen ever. Perhaps. I need to see the film again to judge that truly. Just wait for the homage to Star Wars, I couldn’t help to cheer a bit in that scene. Yay!sebastian_stan_hot

Tom Holland might steal the show a bit but everyone involved is great. Obviously. They’ve been playing those characters for some time and some of them really have become them (hint: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans). To me it’s funny how much I like Cap these days as the first Cap film wasn’t my cup of tea. Oh, and all you Sebastian Stan fans; this film is for you. He gets A LOT of screentime. Paul Rudd has great scenes too, I loved that! Ja Hawkeye gets much more time too that I expected, yay for that too, I’m still a big Jeremy Renner fan. On the down side, I’m not sure if I was that into Black Panther and he is going to get his own film… I’m a bit worried about it.

It’s hard to say anything clever of this kind of film. Summer has officially started, popcorn flicks are here (yeah, yeah, there was already one Superman s**t, but who wants to remember that?)! This one is a great one! I recommend to see it. It helps a lot if you’ve seen the other Marvel Cinematic Universe films to keep up. At least the ones with The Avengers. The plot is based on them. Go enjoy! Pure entertainment.

Oscar Winners 2016

 

 

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Most importantly: Leonardo DiCaprio is an Oscar Winner! ❤

Spotlight (yay!) is the best picture and Alejandro G. Iñárritu  is the best director again.

Emmanuel Lubezki won for the third time in a row. Wow. Mad Max won the most and Ex Machina surprised by winning the visual effects Oscar.

The Oscar winners 2016

Picture: Spotlight

Director: The Revenant – Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Actor in a leading role: The Revenant – Leonardo DiCaprio

Actress in a leading role: Room – Brie Larson

Actor in a supporting role: Mark Rylance

alicia_vikander_oscars2016Actress in a supporting role: Alicia Vikander

Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Original Screenplay: Spotlight

Animated Feature Film: Inside Out

Animated Short Subject: Bear Story

Cinematography: The Revenant

Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Makeup & Hair-styling: Mad Max: Fury Road

amyposterDocumentary Feature: Amy

Documentary Short Subject: A Girl in the River: A Price of Forgiveness

Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

Original Score: The Hateful Eight

Original Song: Spectre

Short Film (Live Action): Stutterer

Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Visual Effects: Ex Machina

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