March 20th, 2023

The Quiet Girl: At a time when a number of the Oscar nominees were depressing and down, like The Whale or EO, along comes this Oscar nominated entry from Ireland for Best International Picture. It is mostly in Gaelic with subtitles. It is based upon the book named “Foster” from Claire Keegan who is also a writer in the film.

Cait, is a young girl who lives in a family of modest to poor means in the early 1980s. As the movie begins, Cait is hiding from the family in the field as they search for her. You soon learn to know why. Young Mom is pregnant again, although there are already plenty of mouths to feed in the house. Dad is not exactly father of the year nor husband of the year material, if you know what I mean. Cait doesn’t say much and her actions reveal the inner turmoil that she is experiencing at home and in school. Cait’s Dad and Mom decide to send her off to spend some extended time with Mom’s cousin, who has presently no children of her own. The cousin and her husband run a dairy farm a lengthy drive away. Cait arrives and there is an awkward first meeting as she seemingly hasn’t been told what is happening. Dad absentmindedly even drives away with her suitcase. The young girl settles in and the rest of the movie is about her and her relationship with this couple.

As the title implies, much in this movie goes unsaid. Not just from the girl, but from the adults too. Everyone, as in life, has their issues to get over. Some have just had those issues longer to address. Silence can mean acceptance, but it can also be someone deep in thought or even processing how they feel at the moment. Actions say a great deal. Caring isn’t always isn’t about words, but the small acts of life. From a cookie left on a kitchen table to signify being sorry and seeking apology, to changing bedsheets or sweeping out a barn. Together it means connection. Despite what others might say or think, kindness is offering your home, your skills and resources to a virtual complete stranger, knowing that it likely won’t be welcome. I really liked this. It is a simple story well told. The ending I think is right. In a year where Best International Film is pretty much sewn up with All Quiet on the Western Front, this nevertheless is an effective story and entertaining revealing the story of this quiet, brown-haired girl.

The Last of UsSeason 1 round up: Welcome to HBO’s response to the completion of Game of Thrones with all those viewers and also those from House of the Dragon. Without repeating my introduction to the series, and how I was very reluctant to watch a series with zombies, I continue to be impressed how they overcome the zombie aspects. They are there of course, but much more of it is about human interaction, rather than humans and zombies. Our two heroes, Ellie and Joel are on a quest to find people who can help with trying to find a cure for this fungus-pandemic. What I can say is that this series builds and builds. Knowing that there will be more seasons to come, I had to wonder how they would address it.

People and their motivations stand in the way of the heroes meeting their goals. The series has nine episodes with the last one released last Sunday.

Those of you who haven’t watched so far, I would NOT recommend that you click on this back story for episode 8. I hadn’t seen these before, but I like the explanations for the episode. I have to keep reminding myself that this series is a video game with a story and scenes unto itself. Some of these are in this show, but others are not and others still are changed. In short, you don’t know what you are going to get! I am going in blind, with fresh eyes on every episode. It’s fun to watch and see where it turns. To say that the Final Episode was a surprise is an understatement. I won’t get into details here, except to say that it puts the overall story arc of being re-written or at least re-directed. I welcome it, because it means that there are many possibilities. With this series ending for a break, it is just in time for Succession to begin the last season. Kudos to HBO for keeping us entertained with good quality series back to back.

Oscars Recap: First of all, kudos for the second consecutive year for my brother to win the Oscar pool. This year he won by 1 point over Alison. Well done and really good picking. I came fourth. I think that he should be betting on his ability to predict the winners. Obviously my skills are lacking.

It wasn’t inaccurate of me to state that I felt Everything, Everywhere All At Once would have a good night at the Oscars. I just didn’t expect it to be as good as night as what eventually transpired. I had predicted Best Picture, Director and Best Supporting Actor. I called Best Supporting Actor one of the easiest calls of the night, along with All Quiet as Best International Film. I hadn’t expected Best Supporting Actress for surprised Jame Lee Curtis. Incidentally, both Best Supporting Actors gave heartfelt speeches.

There were some great outfits from people like Salma Hayek, Cara Delevigne, Jessica Chastain or Emily Blunt.

The musical performances were good generally, I missed the earlier performances by Lady Gaga gave a good live performance. She has so much talent, and dressed down decidedly for the time on stage (torn jeans and comfy top).

All Quiet on the Western Front also did very well at the Oscars. I think that the two directors from Everything, Everywhere would be fun to work with. For those of you who have actually seen the movie, we’ll see if you think it is Best Picture worthy. As I said earlier, time in my view will move on from this Best Picture which was an extravaganza for the senses, on multiple plains but hard to follow if you didn’t pay attention, and certainly not for all viewers. There were some laughs, but it is difficult to compare this type of film to others. Time will tell. I think that Jimmy Kimmel did a decent job. I always like the Matt Damon jokes.


March 28 2022

Oscars 2022: So the Oscars were last night and no one who watched from the beginning can complain that it was a boring affair. For those of you who didn’t watch, there was an altercation between Best Actor Will Smith and comedien Chris Rock on stage during the performance. Chris Rock was making a joke about GI Jane and Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith about her shaved head, and Will Smith laughed at first and then reversed and took exception going onstage, slapping with an open hand Rock and then telling Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his act.

Will Smith initially laughs and then slaps Chris Rock

I will leave it to the reader to decide whether this was put on or whether it was real. And for those who stayed to watch the rambling tearful acceptance speech from Smith himself when he won for Best Actor, you can decide. For an Award show that has lost viewership in droves, and has been called irrelevant, this type of stunt would not be beyond Hollywood! A couple of questions though: would Smith have done the same thing if one of the MCs like Amy Schumer or Wanda Sykes had done the same thing? What message about violence in our society are we giving when two men have to resort to physical violence to look to resolve their differences. For a comedian himself, Smith doesn’t have much of a sense of humour. It has been well publicized his marital issues at home. This seems to be much ado about nothing. From the still shot above, it would appear that Rock still had a smile on his face after it was slapped.

As for the rest of the night it had a few surprises in the selections. Do I think that CODA was the best film of the year? In a weak year when not much of substance was released, this was a feel-good story well told, but no I don’t. I think the movie that will be remembered from this year will be Dune. Still, perhaps the voters feel that we need more movies like CODA which is fair. Will Smith wins for Best Actor, and from the fireworks earlier in the night perhaps some voters might have wanted to change their votes. For me, I think that Andrew Garfield was robbed in his triple threat role in Tick, Tick, BOOM! Talk about taking a role outside your comfort zone, Garfield claimed to never be a singer. He was amazing. Jessica Chastain wins for portraying Tammy Faye Bakker in an award that for me was for her body of work rather than this particular role. Chastain has been doing quality work on many projects for years. She is one of the actors that I will seek out in projects. The Oscar for her work and efforts, especially in obtaining gender pay equality and having more positive roles for females in films is commendable. She worked on getting Tammy Faye made for over a decade. She made it happen, and it won two Oscars (for her and makeup). Well done Jess! Dune won many of the technical awards, and it shows that the time spent by Denis Villeneuve on making his epic look amazing was well spent. I cannot agree with Best Director in Jane Campion, but then again I didn’t like her movie, even a little bit. So I think that Kenneth Branuagh deserved this award for Belfast, and it was also my selection for Best Picture. It was good to see a much thinner Francis Ford Coppola on stage with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro to celebrate 50 years since The Godfather was released. It is a masterpiece and was followed up with a sequel that rivals any sequel as the best of its kind. Also on stage we had John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Samuel L Jackson who allowed Will Smith to use up all the profanity allowed on the forecast, but came together 28 years since Pulp Fiction was released. The effort looked forced I have to admit with the dancing, and the opening of the suitcase. Here’s hoping that the coming year has more theatre-worthy films that have more quality performances and memorable stories.

Oscar Short Films: Alison was kind enough to send along this link for me to find the Oscar short films. I did see a few of them including Robin, Robin which was cute, The Queen of Basketball, which was eye opening, and sadly reaffirmed what Cheryl Miller showed us all in the lack of pro basketball options for women in Women of Troy and the USC team there. A fine documentary.

I will say I also watched Audible, which was interesting as a young deaf football player deals with the death of a close friend and closing out his high school playing days. He is from a hearing family. So he understands the isolation and loneliness that CODA speaks about. Affairs of the Art was simply weird. There are some good drawings, but the content was strikingly different. Three Songs for Benazir was only 20 mins with dubbed in English, set in Afghanistan. It shows me just how little I know about this country and that part of the world. We are so fortunate that we have a safe, stable and secure country in which to grow and have life choices. For this young man, married and with a pregnant wife with a grade 3 education, he has the choice of joining the army or working the opium fields. Nasty. Short films generally can be hit and miss, and I would like to think that the Oscars find more hits than misses. It seems the only time of the year I will find such films is for the Oscars or in September at TIFF.

Fast and the Furious 9: Amazingly and remarkably there have been nine of these movies made in this franchise. From humble beginnings on the streets of LA where Paul Walker was asked to infiltrate a group of teens street racing, this has grown into a worldwide undertaking. It seems that the stunts and stories have become almost comical, to the point that the actors themselves call it out in the movie. “We have gone on all these crazy missions, and we don’t have a scratch on us. What does it say about us?” No kidding! There are stunts with cars in this movie that are just simply too ridiculous to believe. One involves using a bridge rope to pendulum a car from one side of a cliff to another. The other involves a Fiero going someplace that a car would not and should not ever go, or try to go. But this is really the point in many ways. They have jumped, drifted, raced, crashed a car in every way possible in this series and so what can possibly be next? I cannot recommend this. It is too Ludicrous (pun intended) to be entertaining. Thank goodness that I didn’t need to pay for it.

Not a scratch!!

Oscars Pool Link 2022

As I have done in the past, I am running an Oscar pick pool. Best Picture nominees include: “Belfast”; “CODA”; “Don’t Look Up”; “Drive My Car”; “Dune”; “King Richard”; “Licorice Pizza”; “Nightmare Alley”; “The Power of the Dog”; “West Side Story.”

I have not seen only Drive My Car, which will be remedied this week.

Oscars are on Sunday

Please feel free to participate and share! Best of luck to those involved. Alison and my brother have done very well in past years.

May 3, 2021

Oscars 2021: I will admit that I get excited around Oscar time, which for me usually starts around the time that TIFF gets going in September. Seems the Oscar-worthy films come out for TIFF. I run an Oscar pool over the past few years for fun, and will acknowledge that my brother won last year breaking a string of victories by Alison in the process. I make a point of seeing all the nominated Best Picture nominees and many of the Best Actor and Actresses Award nominees as well. I want to be able to form my own opinion about the Films and choose my own preferred winner. This year, while I did see all nominated films, I didn’t have the energy (or enthusiasm) for the Awards. All along it felt that the best films to be released were being pushed back. No studios wanted to lose on the in-theatre revenue for these expensive films, and that is completely understandable. Money talks in this business, and after all that is why they are produced. This year’s nominees struck me, as I mentioned a few weeks back as the Plan B movies, that in most other years wouldn’t be nominated. Like a sports league, we had the minors on display, with the best players on the sidelines. Having watched most of the Best Picture nominees I was agreeing with the sentiment that overall they were down in tone. While 2020 sucked in the outside world with the pandemic, death, masks, lock downs, a bizarre election season, a riot, a police killing of a black man etc all the news was dark, dreary and depressing. In a time when we could all use a little entertainment, some fun, we didn’t get it. Where was La La Land this year? Where was Singin In The Rain, A Star is Born, Wizard of Oz or the like? There wasn’t any buzz or excitement. Sure there were some quality performances, like Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Father, for which I was thrilled that he took home the prize. But even then, it is a depressing story of an older man losing his marbles. I didn’t come away from it energized, more like thinking “this is what I potentially have to look forward to”…! I watched briefly and saw the Best Director award being given, early in the evening, a surprise in the placement since Best Director is usually one of the latest awards given out. I didn’t watch any more. I was able to watch a quick highlight reel, where I learned that as much as I like Frances McDormand and her performances, much like Jacquin Phoenix, I don’t ever want her over for dinner and a chat. (Incidentally I re-watched Fargo the other night and she is brilliant. So much fun capturing the essence of the people of Minnesota, and her own particular situation as a pregnant woman dealing with a bizarre set of circumstances. But I digress. I read about who won. I was pleased about Soul, and Hopkins as well as Daniel Kaluuya as Best Supporting Actor. Was Nomadland the Best Picture of the year? Nope. Not for me anyway. But I will turn the page and hope that at some point I can get to a theatre. I went once last year and saw Tenet in the small window we had to see films there. As we sit in the first week of May, with more Covid-19 cases than a year ago, I am not overly optimistic that we will get to a theatre this year. But I remain positive. The US is opening up, and doing a much better job with vaccines than the rest of the world. Still with over half a million dead, this makes sense. I hope we can all catch up and get back to the theatres to see the real A-list movies once again!

Justice League: Full disclosure, and those who know me know that I am generally NOT a superhero movie guy. The high water mark was the Nolan Batman trilogy for me, where Christian Bale is my Batman. No other. Not even close. I hadn’t watched Batman vs Superman which in some ways is unfortunate, since this movie follows along from that one. But you see, Ben Affleck isn’t my Batman. And the concept of a human (Batman) taking on supernatural, untouchable alien (Superman) was just ludicrous, and don’t get me started about Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor (or anything else for that matter – dude really needs to be punched in the face, and wipe off the smirk). It is a pretty short fight, all things considered. Being rich isn’t a superpower. Anyway, the rest of these movies like Ant Man, Aquaman, Doctor Strange, Iron Man et el just don’t do it for me. Cities get leveled, with goodness knows how many innocents getting crushed with no thought. The CGI computers work overtime to create the images, which in many cases don’t have the weight behind them, meaning that it doesn’t seem real. So with this background, I sat down to watch Justice League. Zach Snyder has put together a story of the formation of this “league” which brings me memories of 1970s cartoon Superfriends, and was just missing the Wonder Twins (and Robin of course)!

Super Friends - Wikipedia

This movie has Batman looking to gather forces for an epic battle to come, as a cosmic bad guy and his henchman are looking to bring together three thinking rubix cubes and terrorize the world with it. You need all three in order to have the full impact. It’s about at this point as I try to distill the major plot points that one realizes just how silly it all is. Is it sillier than The Matrix, a movie and series that I genuinely like and seek out if it is on? No. That franchise has just as much or more CGI associated with it too. But it was fun and compelling and the heroes wore cooler outfits. Anyway, I managed to get through this, and still don’t see the value in Amy Adams as Lois Lane on any level. Then again, the Flash as comic relief didn’t really work much either, and I don’t need to see him again (the actor was in Trainwreck with Amy Schumer and I couldn’t help think about the bedroom scene with him and Schumer as he wants to be hit by her). I didn’t need to see this. It is 3+ hours of my life that I won’t get back. It filled a space of time. It brings more laughs honestly than anything else as my Level of Disbelief Meter goes off the charts! All this to say, if you like this genre, and need to see every superhero movie, you can likely do worse. For those with only a passing interest, then take it or leave it. As for me, there is the Robert Pattinson Batman that was delayed from the pandemic, and should hit theatres at some point when things open up. He likely will be better than Affleck (can’t really be much worse) and maybe will bring his own spin to it. Apparently, Christian Bale is perhaps going to make a guest appearance as Batman. We will see….

In 2014, there was a documentary about the Pamela Smart murder trial. Entitled Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, it talks to the main issue on whether Smart was able to actually get a fair trial in this first-of-its-kind media circus. In summary, Smart was a young, pretty school teacher who manipulated three students to corner and kill her new husband. The boys were 16 and 17, and she had a sexual relationship with the one. The trial was broadcast and had detailed coverage from 1990 standards with not only mainstream news but Donaghue, Geraldo, Hard Copy etc. There have been two movies about it; a made-for-TV movie starring Helen Hunt and then the film with Nicole Kidman and Jacquin Phoenix (To Die For from 1995). When this was released, the puller of the trigger (husband was shot rather than knifed as allegedly Smart instructed to save her carpet) was not eligible for parole until 2015. Smart herself was convicted of First Degree murder and a sentence of life imprisonment with no eligibility of parole. Ironically, the boys who had copped a plea for a lesser charge of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder are able to get parole but she is not, as she became the target for the prosecution. She maintains her innocence, and some of the evidence provided supports part of her contention. An example would include that jurors were not sequestered, each night they went home with their families. They also should watch the news and the media coverage. To think that this wouldn’t impact their view is unrealistic I would contend. Others included the transcript of a garbled hidden microphone of a conversation with Smart and another woman. It was very damning, but it became a creative writing/listening exercise. In the end, it was interesting and made me want to better understand what has happened since 2014. She still remains behind bars. She has exhausted all forms of appeal. Now she appeals to the same media attention that helped convict her in the first place.

Note, Billy Flynn was granted parole after 25 years in prison.

Post Oscar musings (March 4th 2019)

First off, congratulations go out to Alison once again as our Three-peat Officepool winner of the pool.   She consistently can out pick and guess the rest of us.   I thank everyone who took the time to join and have (hopefully) some fun with the choices.

On to the awards itself, I have to say that I liked that there wasn’t a host.   From the beginning we had a good start with no hosts and just presenters.  I honestly didn’t see a great deal of the presentations live as I was out with hockey.  So I saw Best Supporting Actress given out (Regina King) which I felt was very deserving, even though I had not see the film.   I picked it up with Best Actress and like the rest of the world, and winner Olivia Colman herself, was the most shocked and surprised with Glenn Close clapping along with everyone else for The Favourite performance.   Wow!

I really felt Richard E Grant should have won, but I am not upset with two-time winner, Mahershala Ali.   I was thrilled Roma didn’t win Best Picture.   I shrugged my shoulders at Best Director and was pleased with The Green Book.   The Green book was the TIFF People’s Choice Award this year, and it was a feel-good story.  It is a little campy.   But it had good performances and a good message.   So that’s fine.   There are other years that I cannot believe what was selected.   In the end, it doesn’t matter.  The public will decide which films endure and which they want to see year after year.   So while a Winner like Shakespeare in Love is a footnote to the Harvey Weinstein story, Saving Private Ryan lives on and is remembered as the true gem.   As an artist, isn’t that really what you want out of your art?

Generally the fashion was okay, with some notable surprises like Rachel Weisz wearing some ridiculous rubber piece around her shoulders.   Others were looking very frumpy, say Maya Rudolph.   The men tend to wear these suits that all look a size or two too small.  Whatever.   But we move along and hope that the 2019 films provide a greater pool from which to decide.   Happy movie viewing.   In short 2018 were no where as good as 2017.

Oscar Week Begins

Things are getting ramped up in LA in preparation for the Oscars on Sunday night.   I can’t think of a year where I have struggled so mightily with the Best Picture as this year.  For certain I have had questions about the ultimate selection of which film was selected in years past, but in my own head I had a pretty good idea of the Best Film (last year I felt that Dunkirk was best and Three Billboards was a close second).    Incidentally having recently watched the Extras in the Blu-Ray for Dunkirk, and what they did to get this on film, I reaffirm my conviction on that.

RDM Oscar

Here is me at Warner Bros Studios Tour with an actual Oscar in my hand (it’s heavier than you think).

As for those those Best Picture nominees, the only film at this point I have not seen is Vice.   That needs to be done this week.   It also addresses Best Actor (Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Rockwell) and Supporting Actress nominations (Adams).   If I do that, I have seen all Best Actor nominees (save Willem Dafoe which I dearly want to see) and all Best Actress nominees, plus Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (save Regina King).    I will set up my OfficePools Oscar contest and send out to those who received last year.   If you didn’t receive and want to participate, send me a line.    It costs nothing, and you only get respect from those who you better (Alison is our reigning Queen of the Oscars for back to back years).   Can she three-peat??    We’ll find out on Sunday, or perhaps not if she doesn’t find a wifi spot on the beach!!   Stay tuned.   Enjoy the Oscars and happy picking!!

Or if you choose to be proactive and participate on your own, you can join here:



March 5th, 2018 – Post Oscars

First off, The Shape of Water was not the best film of 2017.  It just wasn’t.  But this is becoming a familiar pattern with the Academy it seems and political considerations likely are at work more than they should be for deciding on which was the best film of the year.

For me, this year was Dunkirk’s year with Three Bllboards in a close second.  Three Billboards is a very American-centric fim, but the writing and performances across the board were excellent.  It likely loses votes from non-US Academy members.   Dunkirk isn’t a US film at all – it is about a British and French event before the US was involved.  It is the turning point in the Second World War.   The companion piece, just as exhilarating is Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman playing Winston.  They are both set in May 1940.  Together they portray the days brilliantly.  I will say more about the Oscars later.   I tip my cap to Alison who wins the pool for the second straight year.   Well done, and picking Shape of Water as Best Picture.   That and Get Out for screenplay quite simply just shocked me.
On Friday I went out and saw my second last remaining Best Picture nomination with Phantom Thread.  It stays with me still.  It is a period piece around 1950ish, but no specific period.   It revolves the story of three main protagonists.  He (Daniel Day Lewis) an older, persnickety clothing maker perfectionist and then his colleague sister and then his latest muse, who he found while eating breakfast by the sea as she served him his substantial meal.   Together they buzz around in initially common ways and then more unique and strange ways.  The acting by each (two of the three – sister and man) got Oscar nods.   The third likely deserved one for supporting rather than Mary J Blige (but I digress).   This is a dysfunctional lot, with those surrounding the male lead as enablers and also challengers at times.  I was shaken and confused by the ending and the whole scenario as it played out, but it is a film that can’t win a Best Picture.   It is just too “British”, I think.   American audiences just don’t have the patience for it.   In the end it can be seen on Netflix and be just as satisfying.  We saw in 70mm, and even received the companion catalog of pictures as a bonus.   Honestly, I need to see Dunkirk in 70mm (and I did) but not this.
For Documentaries I saw Icarus on Saturday night.  It swayed my vote away from Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.   In it, there is the tale of an athlete trying to showing the prevalence of doping in cycling, but going so far as doping himself and trying to defeat the tests.   But it makes a turn as the Russian Director who ended up assisting him gets into political hot water as they Sochi Olympic scandal meltdown occurred.   The Director was the main facilitator keeping the State-sponsored program of doping secret.   He left in exile for the US.  He is a wanted man in Russia.   This real life spy caper is very interesting and shows just how far the Russian government was prepared to go to succeed in Sochi.   It makes you wonder what they are doing for the World Cup in June!!   According to this documentary, the Russians have never ceased using steroids.  Period.

February 29, 2016 – Oscar musings, Post Script

I had mixed feelings while watching the Oscars last night.  I only saw the beginning and end due to a hockey conflict.   I saw up to Alicia Vikander winning (much to my delight) and then re-joined when Best Actress was being handed out, and beyond.    I missed Best Supporting Actor but actually quite liked the choice with Bridge of Spies actor here, Mark Rylance.

I was elated with Brie Larson and Alicia.   I was despondent about the Best Picture choice of Spotlight.  It is a rare occasion indeed where Best Director and Best Picture are split.  More rare when Best Actor and Best Director and Picture are split.  Giving the main prize to Spotlight, which was a simple story with a great cast, where no one was particularly put through their acting paces, smacked of attacks against the Catholic church.  It has been done before, but it is sad when politics and religion can from one perspective cloud one’s mind over a great films.  Spotlight was NOT the best film of the year.   Not even close.   It may not have been a banner year, but it was not it.  For me, The Martian and The Revenant were more impactful.  I am distressed that The Martian didn’t get any Oscar love.
While I am happy (relatively) that Leo won his award, it was for a body of work.   This performance had not enough dialogue and too much crawling around on the snow covered ground.   It was an endurance test. had a good piece on why giving him an Oscar for that performance was bad for acting.   I agree with the perspective.   Basically he argues that losing weight, or punishing ones body for your craft shouldn’t be enough.   So for this I am smiling for Leo, but sorry for the message that it sends out.
I liked Chris Rock.   He identified the elephant in the room early about the White Oscars, but rightfully used humour and parody to diffuse the issue and bring it back into perspective (not many non-white nominees in the 60s either, but they were too busy worrying about grandma swinging from a tree, or being lynched or raped).   And I liked the laugh about quitting the gig – “only those without jobs tell you to quit a job”.   Funny.   Tattooed Whoopi was front and centre because she worked on the parody clips.   Okay.
Overall some cheers and smiles.   I still think that Ridley Scott gets snubbed far too often.  I am glad that Alicia won a well-deserved award.   The more I see Rooney Mara, the more she creeps me out.
As far as the dresses are concerned, Sairose Ronan was amazing, along with Olivia Wilde, and Alicia Vikander herself.   Plenty of plunging necklines and side boobage action!   I was thankful for a hockey break in between.
On to next year!

February 11th, 2013

This past snowy Friday when I couldn’t get out to a movie, I ended up
hunkered down and doing a movie on demand.  I know, I paid for it, as
opposed to pirating it over the internet, but I like movies.   Anyway
I rented Premium Rush and I was glad that I did!  I had heard many
positive things about this movie but had not a chance to go see it
yet.   Arbitrage will be next on the On Demand hit parade.

To borrow Roger Ebert’s assessment of Speed when he reviewed that for
At the Movies; “…this was fun!”.  And it was.  Not only is there the
rush (no pun intended) of seeing this guy, and people like him, ride
bikes like maniacs around the city of New York, there is a compelling
story here.   I like the time travel done to put things in context and
fill in the holes.   The real treat for me here was the role of the
gambling addicted cop.  He is funny, and he can’t seem to buy a break
and has one bad thing after another happen.  Still like the Energizer
bunny, he keeps coming back and finding new and ingenious ways to
bring the slip of paper back to himself.  I also like the little duel
between the policeman on bike along with our hero.    He certainly
goes through a LOT for a $30 payment!!   There are some great chase
scenes and some good thinking that had some funny moments (I laughed a
few times with the cop) and the predicaments of the hero that he is
put in.

A fun ride.  I recommend if you haven’t seen already.  The acting
talents of JGL are not really challenged here, but the physical
aspects of the role are.  Yes, there are stunt riders I am certain,
but it was believable and a good use of my time on a snowy Friday

Well here are the Ebert picks for the Oscars.

We can have our own little side bet if you so choose.  Despite his
protests, I do not believe that he got them “all right”.  Quite the
contrary, I think that he missed out in the Best Supporting Category
entirely.  I also believe that Best Director may fall elsewhere as
well.   Just how many Non-Americans are part of the Academy?   Because
to me, Lincoln speaks to Americans and Americans only.   No one else
cares.    Despite all that Daniel Day Lewis wins, just simply because
he IS the Best Actor these days (where the heck did Edward Norton fall

[Alison disagreed entirely on Premium Rush and found it silly and sophomoric]

I laughed at the over-the-top cop with an addiction and laughed out
loud a couple of times.  It was a mood I was in perhaps.  I wasn’t
looking for great acting, and what I got was a fun story.  It moved
along well.  Discarded the crap, and put a simple bike rider in a life
changing situation all for the fee of $30.   He is a much better
actor, and deserves better scripts, and he will get them from Looper
and Dark Knight Rises and other films he makes with Christopher Nolan.

Argo did a fabulous job at creating tension for sure.  A great job all
around and shocking on the snub for Affleck here on the Directing.
He isn’t a great actor.  He is becoming a very good director with The
Town and Argo under his belt.

I did rent On Demand Arbitrage last night and enjoyed that.  It was an
interesting view of how one can manipulate and use people and then in
end smell like a rose with all smiles and bliss.   Good performances
and Gere was in good form.

February 27th, 2012 – Oscar musings

This past week I managed to get to see a couple of films.  One not-so-well known the Canadian Best Foreign Film nominee Monsieur Lazhar.  The other J Edgar.  No luck seeing the Best Picture of the year.  Seems that the Director is rather chummy with his leading lady from the telecast last night.

First comments about the show last night Oscar night.   I enjoyed it.  I had a few laugh out loud moments and I thought that Billy Crystal is a fine host.  He’s funny, he does really good bits with the existing films and he pokes fun without being nasty about it.  The presentation reminded me that I need to see again Bridesmaids.  The clips made me laugh out loud every time.  It was good to see Christopher Plummer win in what was really a Lifetime Achievement Award.   I liked Jonah Hill in Moneyball but had no issue with Plummer (the Canadian) winning!    Early technical awards given to Hugo but the big prizes went to The Artist.  Guess I need to see it.  Meryl won and gave a memorable speech I thought.  17 nominations and yet only 3 wins now from the greatest living actor.  Good to see her acknowledge her husband as she says “you have brought everything WE value into our lives and made them happen” with tears.  Well done.  I also liked the acknowledgement by Plummer to his Wife about the Nobel Peace Prize.  Excellent.  In years when some spouses get forgotten, these are made to shine and Meryl said hers first!   A nice classy touch.
Back to the movies.  Friday was Lazhar at the Bell Lightbox Theatre that I have never been to.  Very nice digs, more adult.  A bar and some restaurants at street level and then theatres more like a viewing than cement bunker.  The movie, unknown to me before my law school friend suggested seeing it was set in a Montreal classroom.  During recess one Winter’s day a female teacher hangs herself and a student finds her.  There is scrambling to hide this from the rest of the class (Grade 6).  The rest of the movie introduces us to the substitute teacher who is from Algeria and seeking asylum in Canada.  There are really good performances from the students here, and couple notably.  Plenty of emotion and some parents getting upset, and then the kids’ perspective and take on the whole thing.   This is a good story, well told.  Sorry that it did not win last night, but I had heard good things about The Separation as well.
Yesterday I watched J Edgar on DVD with my brother and his girlfriend.  This of course is the tale of the head of the FBI.  Funny that my mind always jumps back to Agent Starling in Silence of the Lambs and her desire to work work for the Bureau, and her ambition.  Here is the guy who started it all.   This movie jumps around a lot from end of life, to middle to early days.  Watch Leo’s hair and make up to keep track.  There are flashbacks and forward shots sometimes in the same sequence (like going up and down and elevator or sitting at the race track).  There is background into his relationship with his Mother, the heavy handed and opinionated Mother that shaped his life.  Another strong female influence again much like Howard Hughes played earlier by Leo in The Aviator.  I think that the movie makes some excellent points about the life of this man, with both his personal life and his professional life.  Without a doubt, he is a well accomplished man creating a bureau from nothing.  But some of the foundations and how he wishes to be remembered are shaky.  There is much that lies beneath the surface and that is not shown here but hinted.  The relationship with Tolson was not a focal point.  In truth I would think that the real book about Hoover that could be written would be by his assistant, played by Naomi Watts.   She was with him for virtually his entire career.  A good movie.  I enjoyed it and even had a couple chuckles with my brother.  If you think about the FBI and investigating crimes and subversive behaviour and anti-American activities, you wonder how the assassinations of both Kennedys and MLK take place under his watch.  Violent times I suppose.   No hint here about whether the FBI knew or was involved.  Knowledge of the FBI of the extra marital affairs for sure, including wire taps in Kennedy’s suite for a tryst.
Two good films that I am glad that I saw.