Thursday, December 29, 2011

Entertainers of the Year 2011

Ryan Gosling
Smoldering hot and fantastic in Crazy Stupid Love, paired with the drama of Ides of March, 2011 was Gosling's year. Stylish, well acted, hot Gosling. Much improved from the depressing drivel that was Blue Valentine in last year's award season. Though the Canadian mouseketeer was an executive producer and plays a mean ukulele. His starring role in Drive was also well reviewed. I have yet to see Drive but it will be on DVD January 31st.
Emma Stone
Also strong in Crazy Stupid Love, Stone was incredible as Skeeter in the Help. She seemed natural in the role while maintaining the book's spirit. Stone also hosted SNL and had a quick scene in Friends With Benefits. Stone certainly built on her momentum of quality roles from last year (Easy A, her first time hosting SNL came in 2010). I plan on forgiving her for the Amazing Spiderman in 2012.
Kristen Wiig
Star of Bridesmaids and countless SNL sketches, Wiig is hilarious and thanks to the success of Bridesmaids many more people realized that in 2011. Wiig will reteam with Maya Rudolph and Jon Hamm in Friends With Kids in June. The movie was written and directed by Hamm's longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt. "Approved!" -- think Target lady!
honorable mention: comedy
The Sitcom Renaissance - returning favs Modern Family and Parks and Rec, new gems like 2 Broke Girls, Up All Night, Happy Endings and New Girl. Quality SNL and Jimmy Fallon. Movies --Bridesmaids, Crazy Stupid Love, Midnight in Paris. 2011 was a good year for my preferred genre.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Golden Globe nominations

Finally getting to the discussion of this year's Golden Globe nominations. The drama movie categories may not always provide predictions for the Oscars, but they are good indicators and fun homework. I do love me some good tv and the Globes also recognize television. The tv drama categories are not appealing or favorites of mine, we are enjoying the Sitcom Renaissance after all.
Below is the full list of nominees:

The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Comedy or musical
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week With Marilyn

Actor, drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Actress, drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Actor, comedy or musical
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Actress, comedy or musical
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage

Supporting actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Supporting actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Animated film
The Adventures of Tintin
Puss in Boots
Winnie the Pooh
Arthur Christmas

Foreign-language film
The Flowers of War
In the Land of Blood and Honey
The Kid with a Bike
A Separation
The Skin I Live In

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxwon, Jim Rash, The Descendants
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball

Original song
Hello Hello (music by Elton John, lyrics by Bernie Taupin), Gnomeo & Juliet
The Keeper (music and lyrics by Chris Cornell), Machine Gun Preacher
Lay Your Head Down (music by Brian Byrne, lyrics by Glenn Close), Albert Nobbs
The Living Proof (music by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason Jr., lyrics by Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason Jr., Damon Thomas), The Help
Masterpiece (music and lyrics by Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry), W.E.

Original score
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Abel Korzeniowski, W.E.
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Howard Shore, Hugo
John Williams, War Horse

American Horror Story (FX)
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Boss (Starz)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Homeland (Showtime)

Comedy or musical
Enlightened (HBO)
Episodes (Showtime)
Glee (Fox)
Modern Family (ABC)
New Girl (Fox)

Actor, drama series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Kelsey Grammer, Boss (Starz)
Jeremy Irons, The Borgias (Showtime)
Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime)

Actress, drama series
Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Mireille Enos, The Killing (AMC)
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS)
Madeleine Stowe, Revenge (ABC)
Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness (USA)

Actor, comedy or musical series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
David Duchovny, Californication (Showtime)
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Thomas Jane, Hung (HBO)
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)

Actress, comedy or musical series
Laura Dern, Enlightened (HBO)
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl (Fox)
Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
Laura Linney, The Big C (Showtime)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Supporting actor
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail (HBO)
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Tim Robbins, Cinema Verité (HBO)
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family (ABC)

Supporting actress
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story (FX)
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family (ABC)
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce (HBO)

Miniseries or TV movie
Cinema Verité (HBO)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
The Hour (BBC America)
Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Too Big to Fail (HBO)

Actor, miniseries or TV movie
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Idris Elba, Luther (BBC America)
William Hurt, Too Big to Fail (HBO)
Bill Nighy, Page Eight (PBS)
Dominic West, The Hour (BBC America)

Actress, miniseries or TV movie
Romola Garai, The Hour (BBC America)
Diane Lane, Cinema Verité (HBO)
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Emily Watson, Appropriate Adult (ITV)
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce (HBO)

The Artist

This week the Artist remains at the top of the list for most likely to be nominated for Best Picture, increasing the fun factor that I was able to see it early in the season and not at Fox Tower. Emily scored screening passes for the Artist before Christmas last week and I am now getting around to blogging about the experience. While not movie specific but of note: Emily ran into to traffic and was not going to be able to join me in line prior to seating. As soon as I knew this was the case, I asked the couple in front of me in line if they would save my spot, they agreed and I mentioned that I was leaving my lunch bag in line. I hurried to the ladies and then to get my popcorn. As I was grabbing napkins, I noticed that the line was moving and they were seating earlier than usually. Well the nice strangers in front of me in line, not only carried my lunch bag in for me, but they saved me and Emily seats! They were not sure if I had someone coming or not, so they saved two spots. I had made my peace with loosing my place in line and it was such a wonderful surprise to have these sweet people be so kind. Now back to the movie...
The Artist is a silent film about two actors in the late twenties as the transition from the silent film era to talkies begins. The music in the film is excellent, which really is a necessity for a silent film. There are subtitle cards of dialogue. The story is simple and sweet with its fair share of drama but certainly not the darkness that can occupy many Oscar contenders. To quote Owen Gleiberman who I rarely agree with but here he perfectly sums up: "The Artist is delightfully old-fashioned, but it's also poppingly contemporary, with a puckish spark of self-awareness."

The director-writer of the movie and the two leads are French. Both the lead actors, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, seem to be of the era, their looks so fitting with the style and cinematography that you have to remind yourself, this film was made in 2011. Dujardin resembles Gene Kelly and the beginning of the story calls to mind the opening plot points of Singin' In the Rain. Dujardin is also near the top of the list of those most likely to be nominated for Best Actor.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly list to Best Picture nominees

I have not been obsessing on Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly's online list ranking which movies are most likely to be nominated for Best Picture as I was last year, but I certainly am excited about the most recent list from December 13th. Two reasons; one, The Artist is number 1 on the list and I am seeing a screening Wednesday with the woman who rocks all screening passes -- Emily. Second of all, I have already seen six of the movies: the Help, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, Harry Potter, Ides of March and J Edgar (and it will be seven after Wednesday).
Hugo -- Martin Scorsese's adventure about an orphaned boy in 1930s Paris
1. The Artist (last week: 1)
2. The Descendants (last week: 2)
3. War Horse (last week: 3)
4. Hugo (last week: 7)
5. The Help (last week: 6)
6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (last week: 4)
7. Midnight in Paris (last week: 5)
8. The Tree of Life (last week: 10)
9. Moneyball (last week: 8 )
10. Drive (last week: 14)
11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (last week: 12)
12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (last week: 13)
13. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (last week: 11)
14. The Ides of March (last week: 9)
15. J. Edgar (last week: 15)

Here is the link to the full article and lists. They include all the top categories, Best Director and all four acting categories.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Young Adult

Or "YA, that's industry speak for young adult." I scored passes to a screening of director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking) and Diablo Cody (Juno)'s new movie and of course my number one sneak peek buddy Emily joined me.
Charlize Theron is in the lead role as a stunted author of a young adult book series. She makes the abrupt decision to return to the small town where she is from where she shined in her high school days.
The movie is very funny, has heart and I enjoyed routing for the fabulous antihero that Theron cultivated. Reitman and Cody rejoined forces nicely, this time focusing on what happens after high school. You know that the Breeders tv shirt worn by one character was as carefully chosen as was the Twilight joke in the same scene. The 90s inspired music and the supporting cast were strong. Patton Oswald is excellent has a former classmate of Theron's Mavis. In her few scenes, Collette Wolfe is brilliant as Oswald's sister. I had to consult imdb but I believe I recognize Wolfe most from Cougar Town. Or possibly Hot Tub Time Machine (fun trivia, the first movie ever watched at movie night was Hot Tub Time Machine).
I really enjoy this alternate YA book cover style poster. 
For my coworkers, you will note a familiar name mentioned as one of the characters in the series Mavis Gary writes...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Ides of March

My kick-off week to Oscar season continued by seeing the Clooney/Gosling political drama this Sunday afternoon. Anyone who knows me would probably have thought that I would have rushed to see this movie when it came out the first week of October because of the subject matter, the actors and the related Oscar possibilities. I was surprised at my lack of motivation to see the Ides of March but that did not get me to the theater. I am glad that Katy and I were talking about how attractive Ryan Gosling is and pondered why we had not see it yet last night.

Clooney directed a thoroughly well written film. The trailers were skillfully crafted to lead the audience in one direction. I honestly had no predictions for what was going to happen or how the movie would end. There is also an excellent score and randomly Leonardo DiCaprio was an executive producer.

Thus far the rumored Oscar movies are still very much a part of early buzz; how the nominations will fall is not yet predictable. This usually prevents me from starting too early but for whatever serendipitous reason I have already seen a few. I aim to start earlier each year and do something new. Maybe seeing more movies sooner is my way of doing both this year.

Happy 31st birthday weekend to Mr Gosling. Man can wear a coat like no other.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Best Animated Feature 2012

So the list for consideration is already in for the Best Animated Feature category. There are 18 films, which means that the category will have five nominated films. This is somewhat surprising considering that the top contenders are the Smurfs, Tintin and Rango. No Pixar? Oh yeah, they are on the list but it is for the sequel Cars 2.

Alois Nebel
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Gnomeo & Juliet
Happy Feet Two
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Kung Fu Panda 2
Mars Needs Moms
Puss in Boots
Winnie the Pooh

my source:

Billy Crystal hosting the 84th Annual Academy Awards

Fan-freakin-tastic. Best news yet. What a week in Oscar headlines.
Laura said it first during last year's telecast "bring back Billy Crystal." I agreed wholeheartedly. Then he appeared as if by magic to present. We have continued to say that he should host again. When Eddie Murphy was announced, it was interesting. When Murphy stepped down after the producer Brett Radner resigned, I was very curious about who would host. Laura teased me that Regis would be hosting via facebook today. When I was working out I realized that we should start some internet requests ala Betty White hosting SNL to get Billy Crystal the mc spot at the 2012 Oscar show. Well NO NEED. Yes. So. Excellent.
Here's some proof of the good news (not like the buzz for Regis): -- the current homepage features this quote "Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage. I am thrilled to be back there." -- Billy Crystal -- the official press release announcing Billy Crystal as the host.
And I am now following him on twitter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

J Edgar

To quote Cup from earlier in the day of Monday's screening of J Edgar, "Who is his agent?" Leonardo DiCaprio only does high caliber work. Only Oscar bait with acclaimed directors (in the bio pic genre see also Scorsese's The Aviator and Leo's Howard Hughes). My response was, can you imagine what would happen if he did a rom com?! Everyone would lose their minds.

Even if I had not known ahead of time that Clint Eastwood was the director, after the first two notes of the title credits played over the WB studio logo I knew from the score. The movie has Eastwood's consistent quality with excellent storytelling and direction. The costumes, make-up and set design are very well executed and are a necessity for this type of movie.

Bio pics, are tricky. The history major in me wants to start Googling immediately to verify information. I have to force myself to stay focused on watching the movie. In J Edgar, multiple eras are shown and the film details Hoover's life from 1919 until his death in 1972. All these different times in US History certainly make me think of AM studies movie reviews. My all-time favorite school assignment from my favorite class and teacher in high school. J Edgar would end up being an option for multiple units.
I was eager to see Leo's Hoover interact with Nixon. Wow, the paranoia there. No shock, according to the movie they were on each other's lists. Though Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger was not critically acclaimed nor did it score major box office, I rooted for Johnny much more than I did for Leo as Hoover. There were at least three scenes that were depicted in both films. It almost lends credibility to both projects. Maybe both just reinforce mythology and misinformation. I have not finished my Googling.

My take away was that Hoover was a very sad, pathetic man, paralysed and motivated by fear. He certainly built the FBI into the modern institution that it is today. Hoover relentlessly lobbied for the centralization of finger printing. The movie also hints that modern counter terrorism tactics had their start with Hoover. Regarding his personal life, I couldn't help but wonder about how the stereotypical things we've all heard about J Edgar Hoover end up in the movie. Was the movie accurate, what sort of evidence to those details being true exists or how watered-downed was the portrayal? An Armie Hammer-Leo hook up, not to be found. I won't be specific about what is in the film, but I was disappointed.

When I saw written by Dustin Lance Black in the end credits I knew instantly that he won an Oscar three ceremonies ago and I was in a full fledged Oscar flashback to 2009: I could remember that Hugh Jackman hosted. Laura's cake was the clock in Benjamin Button (and she was pregnant -- much like she will be this year). Kelva, Cup, Emily, my mom, Kate, Anne, Marla, Kim, Tina and Jerre were also in attendance. Unfortunately I did have to resort to imdb to recall what movie Dustin Lance Black won his Best Original Screenplay Oscar for -- Milk. Interestingly enough, another bio pic with political and gay issues. Seeing J Edgar before the release date already felt a bit like an official beginning to my Oscar season. All the Oscar trivia and memories that came to mind and then the announcements of the change in producers of the telecast this week cemented it. The last movie I reviewed was Tower Heist. It was directed by Brett Ratner who was going to produce the Oscars in 2012 and starred Eddie Murphy who was going to host. Both have since resigned and the show is without a host. Ratner resigned after using a gay slur and speaking about his own sex life. Brian Grazer is the new producer of the show and he produced J Edgar with Eastwood and Ron Howard. Very interesting indeed.

Jeffery Donovan was a great Robert Kennedy. Certainly no characterture or impression. Christopher Shyer who portrayed Nixon was also impression free, more so than I would even say the Nixon in Nixon/Frost -- also Oscar season in 2009. Donovan's work on Burn Notice does showcase his ability to master all accents and styles. Donovan must be an Eastwood go to supporting player as he was also the dislikable detective in Changeling. Another film that was part of 2009's Oscar season.

Public Enemies with Johnny Depp was released in 2009 but did not have any Oscar nods in 2010. Someday Leo and Johnny will get their Oscars. It will be interesting to see what role J Edgar has in this year's Oscar race.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tower Heist

This comedy with Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe and Eddie Murphy is good popcorn fair, good for some laughs.
I like much of the cast and that usually leads to built in positive feedback. I have read that the director intentionally included actors with strong dramatic chops to ground the comedy and did not go for jokes but rather strong characters. The reviews that I have seen and heard by critics have all commented that Eddie Murphy does not show up soon enough, that there is not enough of him in the movie, and that it is his big return to what he does best. I agree that it is great to be entertained by Eddie Murphy in a classic Eddie Murphy way. That said, he is in the first scene of the movie. It may be the very fact that he is not in every scene that leaves one wanting more. If he were in the movie more, maybe it would not have been such a triumphant return for Murphy. I am much less confused by the announcement that he is hosting the Oscars now, that is forsure.

I saw the movie with Katy and she was no longer able to suspend her disbelief a few scenes before me. There came a point when I too was taken out of the movie because I could no longer shrug it off as believable. That said, there were lots of laughs, it is topical to our times and very entertaining. The point of a fall matinee pre-Oscar season, right? That said, up next, J Edgar on Monday courtesy of another screening pass the lovely Miss Ficker has obtained.

Movie Night 11/4/11 Something Borrowed

If asked if I would rewatch Something Borrowed before Friday I believe my answer would have been an overconfident no. Well it was the movie selection at this week's movie night.

Primed by my non-endorsement of the movie I am confident that the other members of the movie night crew enjoyed it much more. Hearing what someone else thinks about a movie before watching it can shift your expectations. We even discussed how someone saying that they do not like a movie, can make you want to like it. I also enjoyed my second viewing much more than my first. Like my first, Kate Hudson and John Krasinski are the best parts of the flick.

I am also intrigued by discussions I have had with two friends who have read the book the movie is based on. It is actually a series of books. On that note, be sure to watch the entire credits if you watch Something Borrowed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Movie Night 10/14/11 -- High Fidelity

I had been trying to quote High Fidelity all week and was glad when Marla agreed that it should be our movie night selection for this week.

I was surprised this week that a majority of those under age 25, have not seen High Fidelity. I think this was particularly surprising because my 24 year old sister, watched it dozen of times to my knowledge, quotes it and read/owns Cash by Johnny Cash.

It holds up, it is still a great flick. It is based on a Nick Hornby novel (About a Boy with Hugh Grant is also based on a Hornby novel). One startling thing, there was a Charlie Sheen like quality to John Cusack's character Rob that was definitely not noticeable in the pre-Two and a Half Men years. I love Jack Black in his breakout role as Barry and the movie remains SO quotable. I really did try not to quote the whole movie while it played, I tried...

- Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
- It would be nice to think that since I was 14, times have changed. Relationships have become more sophisticated. Females less cruel. Skins thicker. Instincts more developed. But there seems to be an element of that afternoon in everything that's happened to me since. All my romantic stories are a scrambled version of that first one.
- It was like trying to borrow a dollar, getting turned down, and asking for 50 grand instead.
- Rob, I'm telling you this for your own good, that's the worst f8ckin' sweater I've ever seen, that's a Cosby sweater. A Cosssssssby sweater. Did Laura let you leave the house like that?
- I can't fire them. I hired these guys for three days a week and they just started showing up every day. That was four years ago.
- OK, buddy, uh, I was just tryin' to cheer us up so go ahead. Put on some old sad bastard music, see if I care.
I don't wanna hear old sad bastard music, Barry, I just want something I can ignore.
Here's the thing. I made that tape special for today. My special Monday morning for you...special.
Well, it's f8ckin' Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!
- Oh, is she in a coma?
- Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or fade away?
- I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?
Not alphabetical...
No f8cking way.
- Only people of a certain disposition are frightened of being alone for the rest of their lives at the age of 26.
- Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Love in the Time of Cholera", and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash.
- John Dillinger was killed behind that theater in a hale of FBI gunfire. And do you know who tipped them off? His f8cking girlfriend. All he wanted to do was go to the movies.
- I want more, I wanna see the others on the big top-five. I want to see Penny and Charlie and Sarah, all of them. You know? Just see 'em and talk to 'em. You know, like a Bruce Springsteen song.
- Why'd you have to tell her about the store?
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know it was classified information. I mean, I know we don't have any customers, but I thought that was a bad thing, not like, a business strategy
- It's not what you are like but what you like.
- How does an average guy like me become the number one lover-man in his particular postal district? He's grumpy, he's broke, he hangs out with the musical moron twins...
- Do you have Soul?
That all depends.
- Marvin Gaye is dead. His father shot him.
- That is shocking. That is shocking.

And I could go on...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Movie Catch-Up

For the last several weeks I have been very busy and have had little free time. I have maximized that time and continued to see movies. I just have not continued to have the time to blog about them. I was sad to see that for the first time in months, views of my blog in September dipped below 300. If I don't write there is nothing to read so here's to remedying that. I also still struggle with not wanting to give away the details of movies. Writing about a month's worth of movie watching affords the luxury of being brief and still being able to write something of any significant length that is more than captions to photos.

I was fortunate enough to, in one week, be treated to two screenings with Emily in September. Tuesday September 13th was 50/50 -- excellent. Very funny handling of a serious subject matter that touches everyone's life at some point or another. There certainly were tears but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are phenomenal in it. Strong cast with Anjelica Huston and Anna Kendrick. Takes place in Seattle and is based on the real life experiences of the writer of the film and his friendship with Rogen.

Thursday the 15th was a sneak peak at Moneyball. It was supposed to be I Don't Know How She Does It but I went to get in line at the wrong Tigard theater. We ended up better for the mistake. Brad Pitt is delightful as general manager of the Oakland As. This is a movie I could not help but think my father would love. Maybe because I am his daughter, maybe because of all those times the family watched Field of Dreams and A League of Their Own, but I love a good baseball movie.
Movie night of that week was also significant. We watched the Time Traveler's Wife, a movie none of us (Marla, Laura or myself) had seen. We had fun posing for photos that tied in with the movie and the theme.
The Saturday after my two mid week movie bonanza, I enjoyed a tasty meal of Thai food with Laura in Sellwood and then a treat of Our Idiot Brother. Paul Rudd is a comic genius. He can almost do no wrong (Over Her Dead Body -- ironically the first screener I saw with Emily and the worst). The ensemble cast of Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn and Hugh Dancy are excellent. Great, fun, offbeat flick.
The last Friday in September, movie night was an expanded edition with a Back to the Future viewing at the Zahm's. They projected the movie onto the white wall at the back of their tv room, it was very cool. All who attended got nostalgic about when they watched the movie as kids and it was cool to learn that we all thought that the mall was the mall closest to where we lived (Lisa, Clackamas Town Center, Eric and me, Washington Square).

This past Saturday I saw What's Your Number with Katy at Cedar Hills. Anna Faris is a delight in it and much like 50/50, the jokes in the trailer are expanded in the movie and are even better. I am always so pleased when this is the case. Nothing more disappointing in a new movie than when seeing the trailer is as good as it gets. When I first saw the trailer for What's Your Number I thought, I'll probably see that. If its good will all depend on the delivery. As the September 30th release date came close I became increasingly more enthused and the flick delivered. Chris Evans was a good guy and excellent eye candy. I enjoy him in roles like these (see also The Nanny Diaries).

Tuesday Emily had passes to see the Way. It was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starred Martin Sheen (Estevez briefly acts in the film). It was pretty good. I had not heard of it before Emily got the passes but the trailer made me cry and I wanted to see it. Where did Charlie come from?! So the black sheep. It is a drama with a lot of humor about a father whose son has just died as he walks the "El camino de Santiago" from France to Spain.

Last night at movie night, the return to the Igoe's house from the summer hiatus to the West Side, we watched the Wedding Singer. I have seen the Wedding Singer probably a hundred times. It is so good. Made the comment that it would be fun to have an 80s wedding. Trademarked, my idea. Anyone I know that beats me to the punch, I said it here first, you copied me. Marla smiled tolerantly as Laura and I sang many of the key moments in the film. We also discussed how Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore were really at their best and in their prime in the Wedding Singer. As Laura said, it was when Drew was at a healthy weight and I added, and a regular shade, not the scary orange she sports in Cover Girl ads. Sandler's last few movies have been sub par and will certainly continue along the downward spiral with Jack and Jill. Wedding Singer also carried the theme from time travel, Glenn drives a delorean.

All in all, I have had a really good run at the movies lately! Bring on Oscar season baby~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emmys 2011

Jane Lynch did a solid job hosting. Her sketches were pretty good and she had some excellent cameos in her opening stroll through the sets of many of today's television shows.

Married tv couple Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell (Claire and Phil Dunphy) each won for Best Supporting Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series for Modern Family. Charlie Sheen was a class act as he presented the award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. I was waiting for the punch line that did not come. So much so it took me a minute to realize that Steve Carell lost. I like Big Bang a whole bunch and Jim Parsons is fantastic as Sheldon. Steve Carell was amazing beyond words in his final appearance on the Office. It is a true shame that he was not recognized.

Beginning with Amy Poehler all of the women nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series went up on stage pageant style when their names were announced for their category. Melissa McCarthy won for Mike & Molly (you probably saw her in Bridesmaids this summer). The other nominees placed a tiara on her head and gave her a bouquet of roses. This display improved my mood greatly after Carell's inexplicable loss. Poehler and McCarthy did a hilarious job presenting for Lead Actor and Best Directing in a miniseries later in the show.

The Office sketch was delightful and funny. The Office regulars talking about what they liked least about their jobs peppered with characters from other shows. Fantastic.

I completely fast forwarded through the Reality section. Not my bag.

Margo Martindale won Best Supporting Actress for Justified. I have never watched the FX show but all of you will recognize her. She had a great arch on Dexter and is great in the Sandra Bullock flick 28 Days. Then things were a bit less dramatic. Martin Scorsese won Best Director. Duh. Kate Winslet won for Best Actress in a miniseries for Mildred Pierce. Well yeah. I did not have to see that to predict that. She is my generation's Meryl Streep.

I very much enjoyed the cast of Entourage presenting several miniseries awards. Mad Men won again and when Best Comedy Series was announced at the end, Modern Family won again. Repeat winners and truly excellent television.

Here is a complete list of the night’s winners:
Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Outstanding drama series: Mad Men
Outstanding miniseries or movie:
Downton Abbey
Outstanding lead actress, miniseries or movie: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie:
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special: Brian Percival, Downton Abbey
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Outstanding supporting actress, miniseries or movie: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie:
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
Outstanding lead actor, drama:
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Outstanding lead actress, drama:
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Outstanding supporting actor, drama: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Outstanding directing, drama:
Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding supporting actress, drama:
Margo Martindale, Justified
Outstanding writing, drama series:
Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights
Outstanding variety, music or comedy series:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding directing for a variety, music or comedy series: Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live (host: Justin Timberlake)
Outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding reality competition: The Amazing Race
Outstanding lead actress, comedy:
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Outstanding lead actor, comedy series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding writing for a comedy: Steve Levitan, Jeffrey Richman (“Caught in the Act”), Modern Family
Outstanding director, comedy:
Michael Alan Spiller (“Halloween”), Modern Family
Outstanding supporting actor, comedy:
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Outstanding supporting actress, comedy: Julie Bowen (Modern Family)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crazy Stupid Love

I finally saw Crazy Stupid Love with Emily on Labor Day. A week ago. It was an excellent movie. The press I had read after it premiered was what prompted my Rom Com list a few weeks back. Crazy Stupid Love is beyond the mold/genre/stereotype of what a romantic comedy is. 

In less adept hands, with sub par writing and a different execution, this movie would not be as heartfelt, hilarious or believable. I will not spoil with details but I was impressed with America for keeping some surprises a secret.

I am not a fan of the main poster, but I very much enjoy this series of promotions.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Movie Night 9/2/11 A River Runs Through It

Shockingly I was the only one who had seen this Brad Pitt classic. It is a great flick with beautiful Montana landscapes, Robert Redford narrations and a look at life in the 1920s. The story centers around the lives of two brothers whose father is a minister.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Movie Night 8/26/11 Ceremony

I had never seen the trailer for Ceremony before seeing it, I only read about it in Entertainment Weekly. I thought it was a romantic comedy with Uma Thurman. It was a much quirkier flick. It started with a decidedly Royal Tenenbaums vibe. Sidenote: I love that any of my friends who do not like Royal Tenenbaums, also admit it apologetically. So cute and cool of my peeps. It is one of my all-time favorite movies but I understand that it is not for everyone. In Ceremony, the main character Sam Davis, is portrayed by Michael Angarano. Angarano was most recognizable to me as Jack's son on Will and Grace (Rosie O'Donell was his mom, just sharing trivia here). In the opening scenes I was struck by the way the main character seemed to be channelling some mix of Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton. Lee Pace, delightful and dreamy as the piemaker on the short lived tv show Pushing Daisies, plays an actor who reminded me of a clean cut, less endearing Russell Brand type. The movie was not the best but it was interesting and ended well. The end definitely redeemed it. My opinion on the movie would have been downright negative if not for the ending. Watch the trailer. If you are interested, it is available at Redbox.

Marie provided the lastest movie night trend, sugarfree Jell-o, with a playful twist, served in martini glasses!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ultimate Romantic Comedy lists

I have not had a chance to see Crazy Stupid Love yet, but anticipation for it and all the rom coms that I have seen this summer movie season led me to contemplate the best, the worst, and those that fall somewhere in the middle. The middle is a loose concept. Some in the middle are considered the best by others and even though I know that they are well liked. Others are ones I love that I know other people do not. Some are highly regarded by the masses but to me have fatal flaws. Immorality and unethical behavior tends to be a mark against in my book. The cheese factor and overwrought cliches also play into judging a rom com.

My favorites:
When Harry Met Sally
The Wedding Singer
50 First Dates
The Object of My Affection
Sleepless in Seattle
French Kiss
You’ve Got Mail
Bridget Jones’ Diary
Love Actually

Friends With Benefits and Going the Distance have not yet stood the test of time, but so far are strong contenders for favorite status.

Are they technically rom coms? Maybe not, but they are really good:
It’s Complicated
Something’s Got to Give
Where the Heart Is
In Her Shoes
Funny People
Knocked Up
40 Year Old Virgin
About a Boy
Sex and the City
Away We Go
Sunshine Cleaners
Circle of Friends
Fried Green Tomatoes
Morning Glory

Maid in Manhattan
Just Go With It
Bride Wars
Something Borrowed
The Ugly Truth
The Back-Up Plan
Sex and the City 2
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Runaway Bride

Bad but good, fun to watch:
The Wedding Date
Must Love Dogs
Kate and Leopold
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
My Best Friend's Girl

Somewhere in the middle. Entertaining and not fatally flawed, just not the very best. Some of these I love very much, many I own. For one or more reasons they are not what I consider to be the ultimate, best of the genre. There are also varying degrees here. I starred my top five of the "middle."
Good but not ultimate:
Pretty Woman
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Return to Me
Picture Perfect
10 Things I Hate About You
Someone Like You
Four Weddings and A Funeral
Keeping the Faith
The Proposal
While You Were Sleeping
Hope Floats
Bye Bye Love
Forget Paris
The Holiday*
Practical Magic*
No Strings Attached
Leap Year
Jumping the Broom
Maid of Honor
The Switch
How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days
Valentine's Day
He's Just Not That Into You
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Life As We Know It*
Sweet Home Alabama*
The Jane Austen Book Club*
Two Weeks Notice

The AFI Top Ten:
1) City Lights
2) Annie Hall
3) It Happened One Night
4) Roman Holiday
5) The Philadelphia Story
6) When Harry Met Sally
7) Adam’s Rib
8) Moonstruck
9) Harold and Maude
10) Sleepless in Seattle
Contemporary movies are in short supply on the top ten, for what is a contemporary genre. When the Top Ten of Ten Genres lists came out in 2008, my confusion and disagreement with the list was immediate. One of which is Moonstruck. It is a great movie. Not what I would categorize as a rom com, nor do I think it was marketed as such. My most significant compliant is that When Harry Met Sally is without a doubt the best Romantic Comedy of all time. It is the mold from which all other Romantic Comedies are built from but rarely live up to.

Upcoming releases:
What's Your Number? looks funny, though depending on the delivery, might be headed to the average list. Could be cute.

Apparently there is going to be a third Bridget Jones movie. The first was true to the spirit of the book and even though it took some liberties it was a great movie. The sequel was so different from the second book, much to its detriment. There is no third Bridget Jones book, so this could be troubling.

The trailer for New Years Eve looks Ah-Mazing. It was announced after the successful box office draw of Valentine's Day in February 2010. NYE is directed by Garry Marshall like VD and features at least two of the same actors with a whole new slew of them, including Sarah Jessica Parker. And thankfully, it would appear, no Taylors. The movie releases on December 9th of this year. It is also significant that I think the trailer looks so promising because I did not want to see Valentine's Day originally (Laura convinced me). Even though I enjoyed Valentine's Day, I was cautious when the production of NYE was announced when VD was still in its theatrical release. Not a rom com but SJP's new flick I Don't Know How Does She It.

My lists were completed in no particular order. I tried to keep the movies in the order in which I thought of them. I worked on the lists over several days. Of course, these are my opinions and I fully realized that some I have said were the worst or not the best, will be the opposite for others. Please take no offense, but do please comment your opinions!

Midnight in Paris

As the first scene or two unfolded I became concerned, was this going to be an overly talkie movie with unlikeable characters with dialogue that does not remotely reflect reality? Luckily the plot started off and the movie became enchanting and excellent. I can not wait to re-watch at home and google all the referenced artists and writers from the 1920s that I may not have caught on first viewing. Owen Wilson is stellar though one warning, the usually likable Rachel McAdams, is not in this film. I still like her because she is fabulous, her character just is not.
As Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's highest grossing picture to date and the movie has been well reviewed, some Oscar attention seems fairly definite.
Seeing this movie was an experience thanks to the Parlor Room at Cinetopia Progress Ridge. Jennica and I arrived early and were first to the theater. We took the opportunity to try out every seat and each of the four rows in the space. The room has framed LED screens that tie into the movie currently playing. The screens featured the Eiffel Tower flashing between day and night, a Paris street scene, and works of Monet and Picasso. Before the movie began, the main screen alternated between a poster shot of Owen Wilson in a Van Gogh like stroll through Paris at night and old Woody Allen trailers. The room also has a fireplace and being as it is brand new smelled like new upholstery. The trays with cup-holders were built into the armchairs we sat in. Primo-lux movie viewing. I am so glad that my first experience there was with Jennica. I went with her to my first and all but one of the movies I saw at the original Vancouver Cinetopia.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Help

I had my concerns before watching the film adaptation of the book I loved reading. Movies based on books is a reoccurring topic in my posts. I am happy to report to those who have read the much beloved novel that this is one of the best movie adaptions that I have seen. The trailer does seem to have a light mood but the movie is as serious as the book and most certainly captures the tone of the novel. The movie is also true to the spirit of the characters. There are a few minor detail changes and some backstories are absent from the movie. Overall it was clear that spectacular care was taken to be faithful to the source material. See my book blog for the filmmakers history with the author of the book.

Big thanks to Emily for having such extraordinary luck in obtaining the screener passes for the Help. I second her statement that this was the best movie we have seen at a screener. It was also the movie that I was most excited to see. Pretty slick of me to be first in line as well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Singin' in the Rain at the Venetian

Last Friday night, the movie night girls took a field trip to Hillsboro to see Singin' in the Rain. The Venetian's website encourages costumes for their summer classic movie series. All in all the whole experience was a good one, however, the man working the ticket booth grouchily told us to put our umbrellas down. Laura had the perfect polite retort, "We were following instructions." And she was the one who found the ponchos, decorated them and presented each of us with personalized mister bottles.

Inside, the man at the concessions was much more cheerful. Much more in keeping of what the true mood of the place should be. He even took a picture of three people in the group with his iPhone! The location is beautiful and very fitting for enjoying a classic film. We seized the opportunity to sit in the balcony. There was an interesting odor but it became less potent or I just got used to it. Food can be ordered from the bistro and there is beer and wine. If in the balcony, alcohol is not allowed and you have to go downstairs to pick up your food. In the main theater seating, food is delivered to you.

I have been lucky enough to experience movies in some very fun ways this summer. I hope that movie night can make another field trip this month to Flicks at the Bricks.
Marla and Marie had not seen Singin' in the Rain before and very much enjoyed it. Sarah, Laura and I enjoyed it again. Such a great musical (there is a purpose for their singing) and as someone pointed out after, it remains one of the best movies about Hollywood.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friends With Benefits

Bottom line, FWB more than passes my rom com test. The movie successfully takes jabs at the cliches romantic comedies are often saturated with. The raunch of the language and obvious subject matter works because there is humanity behind it. The characters are well developed and have back-stories and families. Plus, the two leads live glamorous bi-coastal lives that they work hard for so they still seem attainable and relatable. And they are hot.

Though I appreciate the Black Swan/That 70s Show connection that binds them beyond their subject matter no end, there is no contest, Friends With Benefits is far superior to No Strings Attached. When the time comes for a cliched moment in FWB, it does so by winking at the audience. You get your cake and to eat it too.

Rom coms get a bad rap but they are among my favorites. When done right. Unfortunately for every stellar one, there are dozens of bad ones. Something Borrowed is the worst one I have seen in recent memory. Not every one can be When Harry Met Sally.

Many lines and elements have remained memorable in the days since I saw the flick Saturday. Not specific to FWB, to all movie marketing, some of the best lines are ruined because I had heard them repeatedly beforehand. I even fast forward through the clips shown when actors are on talk shows, I do what I can to keep it fresh. I refuse to go to movies less or not arrive in time to the trailers. There were a couple of jokes I was surprised to hear laughter after, merely because I knew them so well by the time I saw the movie. Hollywood really needs to take notes from JJ Abrams and Super 8, less is more people, less is more. In this summer movie season, I can not wait to re-watch Bridesmaids and Friends With Benefits.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Larry Crowne

The word of mouth I had heard prior to seeing Larry Crowne was split 50/50 favorably and against. The premise of the movie has been well marketed. Heck I blogged about the first time I saw the trailer. How could a movie with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts not be good? Well after the feedback I received Thursday, Friday I noticed that the movie was about to disappear from theaters with only one showing at most theaters. I saw it at Tigard Cinemas in trusty theater number seven. I honestly could not tell you how many Oscar homework movies I have seen in that theater. I do think hearing the less than stellar conclusions some had helped improve my experience by completely resetting my expectations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. My one criticism involves one significant scene and it was not aided by the overuse of music. Despite the heavily scored moment, the soundtrack is excellent. Two Tom Petty songs. I loved that the trailer set-up of the premise was over within the first few minutes. I had no idea how the third act would progress which pleased me greatly. I also did not know that actors Ian Gomez, Pam Grier, Bryan Cranston, Wilmer Valderrama and George Takei had roles in the movie. I enjoy being surprised. I should have known before the movie started that the great trailer for The Descendants, a George Clooney movie I had never even read about, was a good omen. That and the obnoxious girls in the theater miraculously stopped talking when the movie began.

I knew Tom Hanks starred and directed but I was not aware of Nia Vardalos and Hanks co-writing the script. You all know that the production company of Hanks and wife Rita Wilson is called Playtone after the record label Hanks' character reps in his first directorial effort, That Thing You Do! and that both Wilson and Hanks were producers on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Of course you do. Playtone produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding after Wilson, who is Greek, saw Vardalos' one woman show for which the movie is based. I leave it to you to spot the not yet famous daughter of one of, if not the, greatest living actresses of our times but will tell you that one of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's sons, has a brief role in the movie, "thanks, you're a babe."  Thus concludes the trivia portion of this post.

Tom Hanks is my favorite. My list of "one of my favorites" is a longer list but Tom Hanks has been my hands down favorite for years. My mom can confirm this. On a trip to Southern California in the nineties Patty and Mom convinced me that they had seen Tom Hanks while picking up breakfast. My exasperation at missing out on the chance to see him was so severe that they cut short what had been planned as a day long prank because I would not let it go. Hanks' character of Larry is the everyman, definition of a good guy that he plays best. He looked like a regular, real person. His house was not perfect and looked like a real house, in a real neighborhood. I really liked Julia Roberts in the flick as well. I have always liked her movies but struggled to like her. I think after Eat Pray Love and now Larry Crowne I officially do.

I will remain true to my no spoiler policy and say in my best effort at code that I liked one scene better in Larry Crowne "with an e" than the similar scene in You've Got Mail. That may be so veiled that only my mom or sisters could decipher it. Maybe not even them.

The closing credits of the movie are original and fun, the cherry on top of my movie going experience.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two

The final film in the Harry Potter series was everything it should be. It was epic, it was fantastic. It was thrilling and emotionally wrenching. And that is pretty much all I am going to say.

I had the pleasure of seeing the last installment at Cinetopia with a group organized by Emily. Needless to say, this was one movie going experience where I did not have to try and remember to take a picture for my blog (as already evidenced by my previous post). We saw Harry in 3D. Not necessary but we saw the movie in the lap of every luxury available. What other way could there be to send off such a great movie series.
There are video movie posters. So the Daily Prophet, moved liked the Daily Prophet would.

I have read much about how well reviewed this entry in the Potter story and what its chances for Oscar glory are. While any acting nods and a Best Picture win is a stretch, a nomination for Best Picture and many wins in technical categories are hopefully likely.


A large part of why my experience seeing Harry Potter was so magical, was because of the location. If you have never been to a Cinetopia, treat yourself. The Vancouver location is great, way beyond the typical multiplex. The new location in Beaverton, is even more beyond amazing. In the ultra Living Room theater, servers walk down the aisles taking your order. Standard movie theater fare, popcorn, soda and treats like cheesecake and bottles of wine.

There is art, the Batman piece was my favorite. It was the most movie themed item. There are also multiple seating areas including a living room with fireplace. The outside glows with a stain glass look and water features. All this luxury does come at a price but it is a dream for this movie lover. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Emmy Nominations

Yes, this is a movie blog, not a television blog. I am known for my love of film but I also enjoy good tv. DVR is a must have for me. And let's face facts, many film actors appear on tv. We are going to see overlap at the Golden Globes anyway. Have I justified myself?!

I have just recently concluded that Showtime has surpassed HBO in volume of qualify programming (Dexter, the Big C, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and United States of Tara). With the final season of Entourage about to premier and Curb Your Enthusiasm a little long in the tooth, all that is left for me is True Blood (neither Broadwalk Empire or Games of Thrones interests me). Of course HBO makes a mini-series/movie better than anyone else out there. With no real competition, that's why they take home so many awards. Are Hallmark or Lifetime really going to crank out anything remotely on HBO's level, no.

Mad Men and Modern Family are the most nominated shows with 19 and 17 respectively. Both are favorites of mine and I highly recommend each. You can catch up with Mad Men on DVD; you have a year until its next season starts. The first season of Modern Family is also on DVD with the second soon to arrive September 20th. All six of the adult actors on the mockumentary style sitcom, are nominated in the supporting comedy acting categories. The Emmys are on Sunday, September 18th.
Now, without further ado, the nominees.

Best drama series: Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Mad Men.

Best comedy series: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Glee, The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation.

Drama actress: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law; Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights and Mireille Enos, The Killing.

Comedy actor: Steve Carell, The Office; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Louis C.K., Louie; Johnny Galecki, Big Bang Theory.

Drama actor: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Hugh Laurie, House; Timothy Olyphant, Justified.

Comedy actress: Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Laura Linney, The Big C; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly.

Supporting drama actor: Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age; John Slattery, Mad Men; Alan Cumming, The Good Wife; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Josh Charles, The Good Wife; Walton Goggins, Justified.

Supporting comedy actor: Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Chris Colfer, Glee.

Supporting comedy actress: Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Jane Lynch, Glee; Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock.

Supporting drama actress: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife; Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Michelle Forbes, The Killing; Margo Martindale, Justified; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men.

Movie or miniseries
Mildred Pierce, HBO; Downtown Abbey, PBS; The Kennedys, ReelzChannel; Cinema Verite, HBO; Too Big To Fail, HBO; Pillars of the Earth, Starz.

Reality competition: So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway.

Reality host: Jeff Probst, Survivor; Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance; Phil Keoghan, Amazing Race; Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars; Ryan Seacrest, American Idol.

Variety, music or comedy series: The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Conan, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The full nominations are 66 pages of a Word doc long. These are the main categories that are awarded during the televised event.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Looking forward to...

Just caught the trailer for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It looks good! The Bad Robot logo was the first strong sign (JJ Abrams' production company). I liked seeing Simon Pegg (who also popped up as Scotty in Abrams' Star Trek), Josh Halloway, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner. The Lost full-circle-ness of it all is still blowing my mind; Evangeline Lilly was Renner's wife in the Oscar winning Hurt Locker, and we all know her as Kate. Abrams is producing this installment and Brad Bird is directing. Bird is best known for his work in animation (the Iron Giant, the Incredibles).
Guess I need to see the third one from 2006. That was at the height of Tom Cruise's craziness and I was relishing in it. I almost saw if for JJ's direction and Felicity, I mean Keri Russell's role in the flick.
Tom Cruise is the true work of some modern PR genius.

The new movie arrives in theaters December 16th. Even at the height of the summer movie season and knowing that mid-December is when the Oscar race gets going, I love it when I am energized and excited by a trailer.

Laura's cousin Mary was an extra in Salvation Boulevard. She is third from the left at the 1:44 mark, the girl with dark hair during the protesting, angry crowd scene. Movie is out July 15th. Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly and Marisa Tomei are all in it. Looks wacky fantastic. I had actually never heard or read of it. Love new stuff.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flicks on the Bricks 2011

Every summer in Portland for five Fridays, you can watch movies at Pioneer Square. The event starts at dusk and the first 2,000 guests receive free popcorn. Other food and beverage vendors are also at the event. Blankets, low back chairs and bean bags are the recommended seating.

Here is this year's schedule:

July 22nd Top Gun
July 29th Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
August 5th Westside Story
August 12th Despicable Me
August 19th Stand By Me
The Pioneer Square site does not have too many details, but it is the official source for the schedule each summer.

I have never attended but maybe this will be the year. After seeing Super 8, Stand By Me sounds great.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad Teacher

Movie night takes a field trip to the theater. I am extremely tickled to say that all four of my teacher friends made it to see Bad Teacher this afternoon -- Dana, Kari, Laura and Marla. The group was rounded out by the Kates -- me and Katy.
Me with the good teachers - Kari, Laura, Marla and Dana
The movie is funny, clips right along and thankful has a plot. I was a little concerned that it would just be the trailer or that all the good parts were in the trailer. Poor Justin Timberlake, his character is just sad (will have to see him in Friends With Benefits with Mila Kunas next month). My favorite scenes were those in which Cameron Diaz' character and Jason Segel's interact. Though brief, Eric Stonestreet (Cameron on Modern Family) is odd and funny as Diaz' Craiglist roommate. Not a new favorite, but all in all a fun flick. I am fairly certain that I laughed more during Super 8. Sounds odd, but that movie is really funny. Yes, I am still singing its praises. I do love summer movie season though. Looking forward to FWB, Larry Crowne, The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, and of course, the last Harry Potter. September 30th is going to be a funny weekend too, 50/50 and What's Your Number? both come out that day. A nice way to bridge summer to fall. Do I have you on imdb or youtube yet watching trailers?

My review of Split is not as kind. The cocktail menu on their website, not current. The new one is being printed, so in the meantime, they do not have one. The mojitos Dana, Katy and I had before the movie were not the best or as Katy so kindly put it, they were "different." It is so conveniently located to the Bridgeport movie theater, I have a hunch I will give it a second try.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Company Men -- movie night 6/18/11

I am a sucker for any Ben Affleck movie and particularly one that takes place in Boston. In my great over thinking about which movie to watch my first time hosting movie night, Marla made the final call to go with Ben. Boston is the city that the characters just happen to live in. There is no Green Monster and no Harvard bar. It is a pretty serious flick, but a good one. The topic is the recession and unemployment. Brought the George Clooney movie Up in the Air to mind. The Jason Reitman directed flick deals with the same difficult topic but with much more humor throughout.

There is an excellent cast of Men, Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Craig T Nelson and Chris Cooper. Rosemarie DeWitt and Maria Bello also portray strong female characters. John Wells wrote and directed the movie. He is best know for his writing and producing work on ER and West Wing.
The couch was a hit
Laura resisted not having a prop in the first photo. She more than made up for it here.
A decent, well done movie but probably not one I will rewatch. I did not watch it a second time even as two day rental on Demand.

Fun fact, The Company Men was filmed before The Town. Affleck convinced Chris Cooper to portray his criminal father in the Town, on the set of The Company Men.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Oscar Rules

Yesterday the governors of the Academy voted some new rules into effect for the 2011 movie year. Today the changes were published. It seems that more excitement and surprise will exist in this award season.

The most exciting of these, is that we will not know how many Best Picture nominees there are, until the nominees are announced in January. I find this exhilarating. Basically, movies have to be favored by enough of the Academy to be honored, so if more than five movies are stellar, than those six or eight movies will be the nominees. It also means that there does not have to be ten, so only quality gets recognized, no rounding out the category to fill ten slots.

The other changes are in the Animated Feature category and Documentary Feature and Short. The number of movies nominated for Best Animated Feature, will directly correlate to how many animated movies are released. The Best Animated Feature will no longer have to be approved every year by the board. The documentary period of eligibility will now match the other categories. For the 2011 film season, documentaries released September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 will be eligible. Going forward, it will be the calendar year.

My source material, the official press release.

Coincidentally, Natalie Portman had her baby boy today.
Here's what my Oscar guru Dave Karger has to say about the changes:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Super 8

In the spirit of the filmmakers' (writer/director JJ Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg) efforts to keep details of this project to a minimum, my comments will be brief.

This is the best movie that I have seen in I do not know how long. Go. See. It.

The film takes place in 1979, the music, the fashions, the sets, the sense of the 70s meeting the 80s, it's all there. There is humor, it is constantly laugh out loud hilarious, even in the tensest of moments.

To quote Miss Emily Ficker, who so graciously shared her passes for this sneak peek with me, "It's ET meets Stand by Me for the 21st Century." And might I add, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, with some serious dashes of Goonies. We also agreed that this will go down as the best movie we ever see with passes. This movie is MINT! There are classic Spielbergian elements and the strength of Abrams directing and writing are evident. Any Lostie can tell you the man is genius.

I would like to stand on a limb and say this will be the best movie of the summer. I should hope that America makes this movie number one at the box office for the next several weeks. Heck, this may be the best movie of the year. It is everything a movie should be. I just hope it is recognized for technical awards at the very least come Oscar season. Throughout the experience of watching this film, I kept marveling at how good it is.


As Katy Hagert lent me her copy of the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett, she expressed her concerns about the movie adaptation that opens in theaters August 12th. Being familiar with the trailer, as I began to read the book, the same concerns crossed my mind. My thoughts became cyclical when I considered the following jumble of facts: Octavia Spencer, who portrays Minny, one of the three main characters, is friends with both Stockett and Taylor Tate, writer and director of the movie. Actress Spencer met Stockett, the author via their friendships with Tate. Stockett has been quoted as saying Spencer "is Minny" and thanked Octavia Spencer in the acknowledgement in the book. Tate secured the movie rights before the book was published. Tate and Stockett grew up together in Jackson, Miss, where the story takes place.

I read this book in about a week's time, I loved it. I stayed up too late several nights reading and any time I had a spare moment got in as much time with the book as I could. I am also really sad that Oprah never did a show about the book and is off the air to feature one with the cast, filmaker and author of the book (a la Eat Pray Love this time last year).

Now that I have finished the novel, I have viewed the imdb listing of the cast, curious as to whom is portraying all the characters. Some moments featured in the preview and the presence of some characters or absence of others, cast serious doubts on the translation from print to film. Despite that, I look forward to August.

Alas, I may have just committed a cardinal rule for movie watching enjoyment, see the movie first, read the book after!!