January 26th, 2015

Oscar season is upon us, and to that end there are a number of films for me to catch up on.   I saw for a second time Imitation Game this weekend and re-confirmed what I had been thinking; that this is one of the Best Films of the Year.  So far it is my pick.  And although it is a biopic, and agreed on my part with Alison, that it isn’t as much of a stretch for an actor (here we have a man, Turing who has been dead since 1954).    I like the various themes here, and the notion that it was women (not only Joan Clark but the receiver of messages on the wires) as well as this gay man who solved Enigma and shortened the war effort by a couple years.

I saw Birdman and also Cake this weekend.

Birdman was really good on a number of levels.   Michael Keaton was really good and so was Edward Norton.    I typically am not an Emma Stone fan, but she was also very good in a supporting role.    It is an interesting view on fame, relevance, the theatre and critics.   All at the same time.   It is well acted, with some extraordinary interactions.  It is beautifully filmed in NYC, and in a theatre with great use of lighting and colour.   The music too adds much to the whole feel of the picture.    Here we have a tortured narcissist and actor who had been a great comic book movie star, but has done little since.   He is looking to become relevant by creating an original play for Broadway (writing, acting and directing).   Norton re-affirms what I already knew about him; he is a great actor and needs to work more on quality projects.    The interaction among the characters is its strength and it has great writing.    Worthy of its’ many nominations (Best Film, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Actress).

Cake was okay.  A rather simple story really of a woman in chronic pain after an accident of some kind.   A fellow woman in pain therapy had taken her own life (Anna Kendrick) and that leaves this woman trying to understand herself and this other woman’s motivations.   Can’t say that this was an Oscar performance, and Aniston was not nominated (although she got a Golden Globe nomination).   It was a bit slow, and I can’t say that the acting (beyond showing pain) was over the top excellent.  Here like Birdman is a protagonist who has internal voices, or those who speak to them that are not necessarily there.

Guess I need to see The Theory of Everything at some point.


January 5th, 2015

Welcome to the first edition in 2015 for Mondays.   It was a great holiday break is year filled with many movies.   Great times.   And some time away from the office.   For movies there was a lot of quality that was seen.

First and foremost we start with the most recent film watched.  Last Friday at VIP cinema.   The Imitation Game simply needs to be seen.   It is, I think, and also predict the best film of the year.  It won the TIFF prize.  It is also a first rate story with quality performances.   Benedict Cumberbatch is superb and plays this quirky role with aplomb.  Keira Knightly brought more to her role than I would have expected.   This movie is a human story but also deals with deeper issues like how do you keep the knowledge of cracking an uncrackable encryption from the enemy, thereby keeping him using it.   First rate.  Highest rating.
Into the Woods was a musical that girlfriend and her theatre friends were eager to see put on film with the assembled cast including Meryl Streep.   Emily Blunt has a golden globe nomination.  Anna Kendrick is also here.   I knew nothing of the story.   Youngest son came as well.  He was bored.   I found the story slow.   There were no songs to leave humming but clever song writing.   The two princes song was funny and good.   The Cinderella song very clever.   Sondheim does multiple voices well.  Still it was a story that did not entreat.   Girlfriend enjoyed more as it was a trip down memory lane.  She had played the Baker’s Wife role (Blunt) and knew every word of the performances.  For her it was true to the play but good not great.   A fair evaluation to me.  A rental.
A Good Lie.   Saw this Christmas Eve on video and enjoyed it thoroughly.  An engaging story well told of Sudanese refugees.   Don’t fool yourself about Reese Witherspoon.    This is not her film.  It is about these young men and their struggle.   Their resilience.   Overcoming obstacles.  Staying true to themselves and persevering.  I liked them.  I respected their choices and their desire to follow through with their family.   The human spirit can be a remarkable thing.   I think that Unbroken will show this as well.   To be seen and reviewed by me (I just finished reading the book and enjoyed it).
Equalizer.   Denzel as you had pointed out and disappointing.   It becomes formulaic.  And there is the nasty Russian mob who bullies a helpless hooker and Denzel rides in to make it right.  But it becomes ridiculous when he flies to Russia to take out the “big boss”.   (Cough) bullshit!!!   Just sayin.
More to come as Selma beckons me as well as American Sniper.  Likely Foxcatcher too.   But the nominations will come out soon and there will be much still to see.   Oscar is on the horizon.

The Giver.  Please, take it back.

Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges (in Bridge’s best marble-in-the-mouth voice)….here is a movie that Meryl has no business making.  It is a Divergent rip off.   It is not done as well.   It is forgettable, utterly and completely.   It was a FREE movie Thursday (note: every thursday you use Promo Code THURSDAY and get a free movie in a Red Box).    This was not a good movie.   Cannot recommend.
Boyhood is now on the Red Box and I need to see it.   All 3.5 hours of it, but still need to see.
I am still trying to figure out all the love for The Theory of Everything.   Redmayne wins the Best Actor.   I had heard from the reviews that it was simply average.
I am disappointed to read about American Sniper.   Eastwood usually puts forth good work.
I was pleasantly surprised to see JK Simmonds win.   Grand Budapest simply makes me shake my head, and Lego movie losing to Dragon 2??!!?  Huh?!!

Here was the joke from The Aristocrats that got me going:

A pianist and composer walking down the street sees a sign outside of a piano bar that reads, “Pianist wanted. Inquire within.” So he goes inside, speaks to the bartender, and sets up an audition.

For his audition, the pianist plays the most amazing jazz piece ever. The bartender is just floored. He sees that this pianist is going to triple his business. So the bartender asks, “Who wrote that?”

“I did,” says the pianist.

“Wow!” says the bartender. “What’s it called?”

“I fuck goats on Sunday,” replies the pianist.

The bartender does a double take, and almost throws the pianist out of the bar, but instead asks to hear another piece. So the pianist plays a magnificent classical piece that is sexy and suave at the same time.

“Wow,” says the bartender. “Who was that? Fuckin’ Mozart or something?”

“No,” says the pianist. “I wrote it! It’s called ‘Your mother is a two-bit whore but she gave me half off!'”

“Hey, man,” says the bartender. “Your stuff is awesome, but do you have anything without an obscene title?”

The pianist thinks for a minute, and then says, “Nope.”

The bartender thinks for a minute himself, then agrees to hire the pianist as long as he *never* tells anyone the title of his songs. The pianist agrees, and thus begins a wonderful relationship. The bar is packed, the pianist gets quite a following, it becomes one of the most happening places in town.

One day, the pianist is playing one of his particularly sexy pieces, and he sees an attractive girl at the bar eyeing him quite suggestively. So after finishing the piece, the pianist winks at her and heads to the bathroom. She follows him in, and gives him a blowjob. He finishes up, she gets up, leaves. A minute later, he heads back out to start playing again.

Everyone in the bar is staring at him. He thinks it’s because they all realize that he just hooked up with a really attractive woman in the bathroom. But then one of the patrons shouts out, “Hey, Piano Man, you know your zipper’s open, your dick’s hanging out, and there’s jism on it!?!”

The pianist grins widely and says, “Do I know it? I wrote it!”