Saturday, December 30, 2006

Alright. Magic Banana Awards, 2006.

Seeing as we're ending 2006, I thought I'd do 'em. Enjoy!

Note: Have not seen Babel, The Good Shepherd/German, Flags of Our Feathers, The Pursuit of Happyness, Fur, Running with Scissors, The Blood Diamond

Best Film
District 13
The History Boys
El Laberinto del Fauno
Red Road

Best Director
Pedro Almodóvar, Volver
Andrea Arnold, Red Road
Marc Forster, Stranger Than Fiction
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Guillermo Del Toro, El Laberinto del Fauno
Tom Tykwer, Perfume: The Story of a Murder

Actor, Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Tony Curran, Red Road
Danny Dyer, Severance
James McAvoy, Starter for 10
Cillian Murphy, The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Actress, Leading Role
Ivana Baquero, El Laberinto del Fauno
Penélope Cruz, Volver
Kate Dickie, Red Road
Jennifer Ehle, Alpha Male
Isabelle Huppert, Gabrielle
Helen Mirren, The Queen

Actor, Supporting Role
Samuel Barnett, The History Boys
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mission: Impossible III
James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland
Stephen Campbell Moore, The History Boys
Harry Dean Stanton, Alien Autopsy

Actress, Supporting Role
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
Vera Farmiga, The Departed
Eva Green, Casino Royale
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Trust the Man
Maribel Verdú, El Laberinto Del Fauno
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Writing, Original Screenplay
El Laberinto del Fauno
Red Road

Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Children of Men
The Devil Wears Prada
The History Boys
Little Children
Thank you For Smoking

Michael Giacchino, Mission Impossible: III
Reinhold Heil, Tom Tykwer, Perfume
Alberto Iglesias, Volver
Thomas Newman, Little Children
Stephen Warbeck, Alpha Male
Hans Zimmer, The Da Vinci Code

The Departed
El Laberinto del Fauno
Little Children
The Wind that Shakes the Barley

The Departed
District 13
El Laberinto del Fauno
The Queen

Art Set Décor
The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
El Laberinto del Fauno
Mission Imposible III

You nowby enter the zones for awards that people wouldn’t be so pleased to receive

Biggest Disappointment
The Last Kiss
Miami Vice
Nacho Libre
Over the Hedge
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
United 93

Worst Film of the Year
Alien Autopsy
40 Shades of Blue
Just My Luck
High School Musical
The Last Kiss
Miami Vice
Over the Hedge
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Worst Achievement in Direction
That bloke who directed Pirates of the Caribbean II

Worst Actor in a Leading Role
Ant and/or Dec, Alien Autopsy
Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean II
Daniel Craig, Casino Royale
Colin Farrell, Miami Vice
Jamie Foxx, Miami Vice
Alex Pettyfer, Stormbreaker

Worst Actress in a Leading Role
Jennifer Aniston, The Break-Up
Keisha Castle-Hughes, The Nativity Story
Scarlett Johansson, Scoop
Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean II
Lindsay Lohan, Just My Luck
Amber Tamblyn, The Grudge II

Worst Supporting Performance
Rachel Bilson, The Last Kiss
Blythe Danner, The Last Kiss
Li Gong, Miami Vice
Rachel Hurd-Wood, Perfume
Tom Wilkinson, The Last Kiss
Everyone, United 93

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Year in Retrospect: Best Singles of 2006.

I just felt like it. And I may have said a song’s a single when it wasn’t actually released as one, in which case I’m sorry. But you know.
01. The Heart of the Matter (India.Arie)
It was an extremely difficult choice for first place, but in the end, I went with Arie’s cover of Don Henley’s The Heart of the Matter. Adding layers of depth not even present in the first, this heartbreaking, beautiful song reflects wonderfully on the disintegration of a relationship. Arie’s soulful vocals suit the song beautifully, and the lyrics are some of the best ever written, “I think it’s about forgiveness, even if you don’t love me anymore.” Whether you listen to it in heartbreak or happiness, you’ll still fall in love with this, one of the few songs to reflect on the innermost emotions of humanity regarding love. The instruments are stunning too. A masterful song.

02. Fidelity (Regina Spektor)
03. Thunder on the Mountain (Bob Dylan)
04. Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke)
05. Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis)
06. I Don’t Feel Like Dancing (Scissor Sisters)
07. Cosmia (Joanna Newsom)
08. Fill My Little World (The Feeling)
09. Postcards from Italy (Beirut)
10. The Funeral (Band of Horses)
11. Sexyback (Justin Timberlake)
12. 9 Crimes (Damien Rice)
13. How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live (Bruce Springsteen)
14. Tell Me (P. Diddy ft. Christina Aguilera)
15. I Am Not My Hair (India.Arie ft. Akon)
16. Wolf Like Me (TV on the Radio)
17. When We Were Young (The Killers)
18. Splintering (Arizona)
19. Number 1 - Superchumbo Remix (Goldfrapp)
20. Lolita (Prince)
21. The Long Way Round (The Dixie Chicks)
22. Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
23. Faster Kill Pussy Cat (Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy)
24. Hurt (Christina Aguilera)
25. Pull Shapes (The Pipettes)
26. Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
27. Something Kinda Oooh (Girls Aloud)
28. You Have Killed Me (Morrisey)
29. Easier (Grizzly Bear)
30. Let Me Know (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
31. Wind it Up (Gwen Stefani)
32. Jump (Madonna)
33. Checkin’ it Out (Lil’ Chris)
34. Smiley Faces (Gnarls Barkley)
35. Take Control (Amerie)
36. I was a Lover (TV on the Radio)
37. The Eraser (Thom Yorke)
38. Dress Up In You (Belle & Sebastian)
39. Promiscuous (Nelly Furtado)
40. When The Sun Goes Down (Arctic Monkeys)
41. Strange (The Feeling)
42. Control Myself (LL Cool J ft. J-Lo)
43. Irreplaceable (Beyonce)
44. Empire (Kasabian)
45. Chillout Tent (The Hold Steady)
46. Steady As She Goes (The Raconteurs)
47. I Think I’m in Love (Beck)
48. What You Know (T.I.)
49. Pittsfield (Sufjan Stevens)
50. Suddenly I See (K.T. Tunstell)
51. Emily (Joanna Newsom)
52. My Love (Justin Timberlake)
53. Silent House (The Dixie Chicks)
54. Louisiana (The Walkmen)
55. Maneater (Nelly Furtado)
56. Tent in Your Pants (Peaches)
57. Beanbag Chair (Ya Lo Tengo)
58. Put your Record One (Corinne Bailey-Rae)
59. Paranoid Android (Sia)
60. Hang Me Up to Dry (Cold War Kids)
61. Idlewild Blues (OutKast)
62. Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira)
63. Rudebox (Robbie Williams)
64. Automatic Lover (Teddybears)
65. Is It Any Wonder? (Keane)
66. Over My Head (The Fray)
67. Dance, Dance (Fallout Boy)
68. You Know I’m No Good (Amy Winehouse)
69. Henrietta (The Fratellis)
70. Trouble (Jay-Z)
71. Tony the Beat (The Sounds)
72. Boston (Augustana)
73. Here It Goes Again (Ok Go)
74. Be Easy (Ghostface Killah & Trife Da God)
75. Sympathy (Billy Talent)

And the ones that aren’t as good:

01. Shake Your Money Maker (Ludacris ft. Pharrell)
With a video that shamelessly rips off that of Kanye West’s Goldigger, the only good thing about this “song” is… nope. Can’t think of a single redeeming quality about it. It pretty much says it all in that the man who sings this song is that one in Crash that had that (unintentionally) hilarious monologue of what it means to be a black man. This song is almost as bad as the Oscar-winning film he was in.

02. Love Me Or Hate Me (Lady Sovereign) I'll opt for the latter, luv.
03. Ring the Alarm (Beyonce)
04. London Bridge (Fergie)
05. Welcome To The Black Parade (My Chemical Romance)
06. Buttons (Pussycat Dolls)
07. Little Bit of Shh (Lady Sovereign)
08. The Saints are Coming (Green Day & U2)
09. Fergalicious (Fergie ft. Will. I. Am)
10. LDN (Lily Allen)
How about you?

Tags: , , , , , , .

And to end, some good news: I started writing my first film script in a year today. It's a bit crap, actually. But, you know. At least I'm writing scripts again. Yay!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jake Gyllenhaal is now a year older than Peter Crouch.

Happy Birthday, Jake!

Bask in the beauty of Jake.
Go Jake!

Aww. Click on the photo and you get another one. Yeah, I'm bored.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Harry & Ron are growing up.

So, ITV showed Driving Lessons last night, much to my delight, as I'm a big dan of the film. Anyway, I found it a charming coming-of-age tale, with al eccentric & amusing turn from Julie Walters and Rupert Grint captivating me with his bumbling ways. There weren’t any scenes which made me laugh out loud, however, though there was ONE scene that caused me to raise an eyebrow – Rupert got a kissing scene! That’s right, I’m as jealous as you are, little Ronny Weasley is growing up! Actually the scene was handled pretty tastefully, just a quick shift of camera angle and no complete close-up, to give that scene some artistic romanticness. But ya know, it kind of got me thinking. About the OTHER Harry Potter actor. You know, the one that plays Harry. That git Daniel Radcliffe.

As you may or may not know from reading the books, Harry lusts after Cho Chang from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, wherein he manages to steal a kiss from her at Christmas time. Well, I hear that from filming of HP V, Dan has had to shoot the kissing scene with Cho about 25 times. Sickening. I hate that boy. I hate him so much.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that Rupert Grint has a wonderful, ginger charm, and that Daniel Radcliffe is so repulsive that the only way he can get a snog is by re-shooting a kissing scene over and over again. Just thought you’d like to know.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Year in Restrospect: The Best Albums of the Year.

My 30 Favourite Albums of 2006

My taste in music really is quite varied and diverse. Some of my inclusions on here shouldn’t surprise you, others I know will be certain to raise an eyebrow. Still… I chose them, and I will try to justify my inclusions. If you don’t like it, fine, but I’m so convinced that these 30 CDs are worth your time that I’ll happily send you songs if you request them.

01. Begin to Hope (Regina Spektor)
A woman I discovered around a pivotal point in my life, and even though it’s been a mere 3 months since I found her, I feel like I’ve known her all my life. That probably sounded a little psychopathic and lesbian. OK, let me try again: Regina Spektor is a Goddess. There’s simply no other way to put it, she sings & plays the piano like Shakespeare wrote, like Lean made movies, like I think. I connect with her songs totally. And really, I feel guilty sharing her with you guys, because she’s so wonderful that I just want to steal her songs for me to hear and no-one else, but alas, I guess Christmas is the season to share, and I shall spread the love. Her songs exude a heavenly beauty that has rarely been matched before in music. Her re-recording of the best song of all time Samson, in my opinion, betters it, so that should give you an indication of the eargasm you can expect on this wonderful, wonderful, piece of mastery.
Best songs: Samson, Fidelity, 20 Years of Snow

02. All the Roadrunning (Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris)
I was re-discovering the folksy, country music style this year, and when I came across this album, featuring two of my favourite singers (he, I love from Dire Straits, she I loved from that heartbreaking song in Brokeback Mountain), I just knew that this was meant to be. And I was right, because, amazingly, there isn’t a single weak song on this album. Furthermore, there’s a song to suit every hour of the day. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris have established an amazingly, inimitable chemistry, and their voices gel perfectly. There’s a gem in every song, and the instruments are instrumental to their music making. I really, really, love this album.
Best tracks: Belle star, Love and Happiness, Beachcombing

03. Savane (Ali Farka Toure)
This album was released after the death of Ali Farka Toure, and it serves as a wonderful epitaph to his Ali Farka Toure's recording career. All of his releases have been a joy to listen to and this final album epitomizes this. Last year, when he discovered that he was diagnosed with cancer, and, with that sense of time running out, gives us his best album, expertly nurtured by his long-term producer Nick Gold. Has to be heard to be believed.
Best tracks: Soko, Njarou, Beto

04. Taking the Long Way (The Dixie Chicks)
I keep reminding myself to find out more about these Dixie Chicks, and I keep forgetting too. Prod me next time. Anyway, they were also present in my love for country music. These girls are just great, their songs are catchy without being too artificial, their lyrics are deep but not too confusing, and the violin in the background is great too. I don’t care too much for Lubbock or Leave It because of it’s annoying quickness, but the slower, more chilled out tracks are sublime, in particular Lullaby, one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life. The combination of the soothing guitars and the mellow lead make it a beautiful, mellifluous melody that I really can go to sleep to (in a good way.)
Best tracks: Lullaby, Silent House, So Hard

05. Testimony Vol. 1 (India.Arie)
The opening lyrics in her intro are some of the deepest, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This paves the way for a lot more of her soul, elegance and wisdom that follows, all sung to a sparkly music mix of R&B, jazz, blues and pop. There’s something to admire in practically every song, but The Heart of the Matter is the standout track and the one that holds a special place in my heart. A cover of Don Henley’s song of the same title, she sings wonderfully about love, forgiveness, and redemption. Absolutely wonderful.
Best tracks: the Heart of the Matter, I Am Not My Hair, Private Party

06. Ys (Joanna Newsom)
Only five tracks long, with instruments including violins, oboe, and French horn, this is non-commercial music at its best. Highbrow, obscure, weird, and cool, Newsome sings about all things from birds and death, and her unique voice is beautifully set with a wonderful sparseness which allow it to rise high, but never sound scratchy. If that sounded confusing, you must just buy this CD to understand what I mean. But really, this woman is amazing.
Best tracks: Emily, Monkey & Bear, Cosmia

07. St. Elsewhere (Gnarls Barkley)
Trust me, there’s more to this album than the breakout hit, Crazy. The rest feature many musical styles that have been all over radios before, but here, there’s just something special about it all. Very listenable indeed.
Best tracks: Feng Shui, The Boogie Monster, Crazy

08. Back to Basics (Christina Aguilera)
Someone I’ve never been a huge fan of, Christina surprised me a lot with her modern take on vintage jazz and blues. By going back to basics, she managed to experiment with some styles that really complimented her strong voice. But the lyrics are rather good too, as she sings about things from heartbreak to domestic violence (Oh Mother). Oh Mother is actually the best song of the album, and from the minute I heard the sampling of the French song Vois Sur Ton Chemin, a tune that I simply adore, I knew that I’d end up either loving or hating this album. It was a gamble, but it paid off.
Best tracks: Oh Mother, Hurt, Back to Basics

09. Future Sex/Love Sounds (Justin Timberlake)
*looks sheepish*
Yes, I admit, I like, the many million other girls on the planet, was won over by Justin this year as well. Well… how can you blame us? Sexyback is a VERY cool song, and became “the” song to be playing in gyms this year, for its thudding beats, JT’s confident vocals, and just all them sexyback riffs. They were cool! Anyway, the rest of the album is basically a testimony to the fine female form and how great sex is. It wouldn’t work for most people, but JT got lucky.
Best tracks: sexyback, Summer Love, What Goes Around Comes Around

10. Miami Vice OST (various)
I didn’t care for the movie at all, but the soundtrack was utterly eargasmic, and, truth be told, deserves a higher rank on my list of albums, but the bad memory of Miami Vice the movie just won’t leave. Anyway, I’d only ever heard Nina Simone’s Sinnerman in its entirety before, so hearing the Felix da Housecat Remix certainly threw me off my guard, but I love it. The presence of Goldfrapp’s very sexy Strict Machine is a welcome one, as is the Spanishy track that follows, Pennies in my Pocket, from Emilio Estefan, which makes me want to get up and dance. Generally, the album features all the nightclub anthems in the movie, as well as the ones that reflect the character’s emotional states. And it’s a really good collection.
Best tracks: Strict Machine, Pennies in my Pocket, Ready for Love

11. Loose (Nelly Furtado)
12. Volver score (Alberto Iglesias)
13. Ta-Dah (Scissor Sisters)
14. Sam’s Town (The Killers)
15. Bande a Part (Nouvelle Vague)

16. The Sweet Escape (Gwen Stefani)
Gwen’s follow-up to Love.Angel.Music.Baby is a disappointment in that it never manages to capture the genius of her first solo album, but there’s still a good deal of quality from an insanely talented woman on here. She switches the Harajuku girls and Vivien Westwood referencing for yodelling and sampling A Sound of Music, but, this being Gwen, it pays off. There aren’t any songs which stand out quite as much as those in L.A.M.B, but the sass, style, and soul present in each and every track make Gwen a good deal better than a lot of the female vocalists this year.
Best tracks: Orange County Girl, Wind it Up

17. Rudebox (Robbie Williams)
The Sun rudely slated Rudebox as “the crappest song ever”, but that really should be the song you should pay the least attention to on here. The Actor just took my breath away, and it’s such a shame that it’s not coming out here in the U.K., because THAT is quality music. That aside, I was also touched by Louise, which combines slushiness and story-telling to good effect. Basically, the songs on here are very different from Robbie’s style, and I think audiences found that hard to take, especially when on about 4 of the tracks here, he does fall short rather miserably. The rest, though, is wacky experimentalism.
Best tracks: The Actor, Louise

18. Whatever you Say I am, that’s What I’m Not (Arctic Monkeys)
The Arctic Monkeys did Music Technology for A-level, you know.
Best tracks: I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor, Mardi Bum

19. The Sound of Girls Aloud (Girls Aloud)
I loathe manufactured pop bands from X-Factor/Popstars with a passion, but Girls Aloud surprised me with their a) consistency and b) quality, so they are truly exceptions to this category. Their compilation album featuring their greatest hits features some great tracks, from their debut with the Tomoyasu Hotei-esque bass guitar, Sounds of the Underground, to the toe-tappingly snazzy Biology and No Good Advice, to their recent Something Kinda Ooh, which I still have no idea what it is about, but I enjoy the sound of. The weak points do test your patience, especially when they try to cover a good song (see: I Think We’re Alone Now, I’ll Stand By You), but Girls Aloud, are, refreshingly, a band best at being themselves, and I respect that.
Best tracks: Sounds of the Underground, Cold Inside, Something Kinda Ooh

20. Black Cadillac (Rosanne Cash)
21. Costello Music (The Fratellis)
22. 20 Y.O. (Janet Jackson)
23. Eyes Open (Snow Patrol)

24. The Da Vinci Code score (Hans Zimmer)
The film may not have quite been the masterpiece that us Dan Brown fans were expecting, but I really have no qualms about the score, which feature some excellent vocal choir work, clashing cymbals, orchestral crescendos and the climaxes that we expect from any Hollywood blockbuster. Hans Zimmer may have done very wrong with his terrible work on Pirates of the Caribbean II, but forgive him, because he was being overworked to the limit with his score for this movie. And I think it paid off.

25. Wintersong (Sarah McLachlan)
My favourite “concept” album of the year. McLachlan takes some very well-known Christmas songs, and adds her own personal twists to them, making them very beautiful and listenable.

26. Oral Fixation Vol. 2 (Shakira)
27. Room for Squares (John Mayer)
28. Stadium Arcadium (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
29. Impeach My Bush (Peaches)
30. B’ Day (Beyonce)

Some Advent Calendaring for all those days I forgot.

Why did I forget? I don't know. But I did. And because I'm having some difficulty uploading the soundtrack songs (no idea why), I shall give you some cool songs not from films instead.

I forgot this day.

And this.



So. I've done my bit this Christmas.

Enjoying the pictures, by the way?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Golden Globes!!!

I'll post 'em, with me personal comments. Predictions for the win in red.

Best Picture, Drama
The Departed
Little Children
The Queen

Well, The Departed is an A- grade movie, Little Children a B-grade one and The Queen a B+ one. Not bad. I'm eagerly, eagerly awaiting Babel, but the trailer to Bobby really annoyed me by playing Thomas Newman in it, plus it has Lindsay Hohan.

Best Actor in a Leading Role, Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond Haven't seen, but come on, you know how much I love this man.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed HAVE seen this. Best performance by an actor, 2006.
Peter O'Toole, Venus N/S
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness I saw the trailer to this. Um.
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland Well, James McAvoy's in this movie, so I'll certainly be checking it out.

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Flags of our Fathers As predicted.
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwa Jima Um.
Stephen Frears, The Queen Yay! Get in there, Brits!!
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel As predicted.
Martin Scorcese, The Departed Well, duh!

Best Actor in a Leading Role, Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat He was funny... I guess.
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest Er... no.
Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking This film really irritates me now. It's just not that good.
Will Ferrell, Stranger than Fiction Good.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kinky Boots V. g.

Best Picture, Comedy or Musical
Borat Yes, guys, it was funny. It was also racist, sexist and disturbing. "Meh."
The Devil Wears Prada yep. deserving.
Dreamgirls Er. Haven't seen.
Little Miss Sunshine No thanks.
Thank You For Smoking No thanks. Stranger than Fiction is a million times better. As is The Holiday. And Happy Feet. And Cars. And Severance. Get the picture?

Best Actress in a Leading Role, Drama
Penelope Cruz, Volver Yes! I adore me some Pen.
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal N/S
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby Haven't seen, but Maggie's cool.
Helen Mirren, The Queen Yes, yes. 3rd best lead actress 2006.And a Brit. What's not to love?
Kate WInslet, Little Children Good, good.

Best Actress in a Leading Role, Comedy or Musical
Annette Bening, Running with Scissors N/S
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine Nah to the film, but Collette was excellent
Beyonce Knowles, Dreamgirls I love some of her songs, hate her acting skills.
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada Very good performance.
Renee Zellweger, Miss Potter The poster to this film scares me a little.

Best Supporting Actor
Jack Nicholson, The Departed Meh.
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed Better than Nicholson, but still meh.
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls N/S, but meh
Brad Pitt, Babel Where's Gael?
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland Good performance, but it's blatantly LEAD!!

Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada *orgasms* I adored this performance! seriously, it was comedic paradise. Emily rocks. I've got her as the win. Wishful thinking? Nay! Critical Thinking!
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal N/S
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls Meh
Adriana Barraza, Babel N/S, heard good things
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel Ditto

Best Screenplay
Babel N/S
Little Children I'd disagree with that.
Notes on a Scandal N/S
The Departed Yep.
The Queen Yep.

The Painted Veil
The Fountain
The Da Vinci Code

I'm yet to see Babel but I adored Santaolalla's work in Brokeback Mountain. I'm actually delighted about Hans Zimmer's nomination, it really paves his way for the chance for an Oscar nomination. His score for The Da Vinci Code, was the best thing about the movie, and far, far, better than his horrific score to Pirates of the Caribbean II. Also delighted that the wonderful Alexandre Desplat managed to get in there, but not for his score to The Queen, which I liked, but thought was a little overdone.

A little disappointmented about Iglesias missing out for Volver, my choice for best score of the year. Also, no nod for Giacchino's work on Mission Impossible III, although I knew that was never gonna happen. (sorry I wrote a lot on this category. I'm a musician so I kinda care loads about score.)

Pursuit of Happyness
Happy Feet

Best Foreign Language Film
Laberinto del Fauno, El
Leben der Anderen, Das
Letters from Iwo Jima



Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
"Desperate Housewives" (2004)
"Entourage" (2004)
"The Office" (2005)
"Ugly Betty" (2006)
"Weeds" (2005)

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Patrick Dempsey
Michael C. Hall
Hugh Laurie
Bill Paxton
Kiefer Sutherland

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006)
Zach Braff for "Scrubs" (2001)
Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005)
Jason Lee for "My Name Is Earl" (2005)
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" (2002)

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Patricia Arquette for "Medium" (2005)
Edie Falco for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Evangeline Lilly for "Lost" (2004)
Ellen Pompeo for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Marcia Cross for "Desperate Housewives" (2004)
America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty" (2006)
Felicity Huffman for "Desperate Housewives" (2004)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006)
Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds" (2005)

For Martin!


Told ya.

Pre-Golden Globe Hopes and Golden Globe Nostalgia.

This time last year, the Golden Globe nominations were announced. I remember seeing them on the IMDb forums, printing them off, and reading them all through R.S., where I had just gotten my mock back. What I noticed was that a certain little film called Brokeback Mountain had totally swept the nominations, and I set about wanting to see this film, especially when I saw that Jake Gyllenhaal was it.

The rest, they say is history. I saw the movie. I adored it. And I started this movie blog. So, to commemorate the beginning of a very beautiful friendship, here is a still from my choice for the 6th greatest film of all time, Ang Lee's majestic masterwork, Brokeback Mountain.

So, briefly before I go to my next lesson, Golden Globe hopes:

- Lots of love for Pan's Labyrinth.
- Supporting Actress nomination for Emily Blunt.
- Penélope gets a Best Actress nod & Volver sees love.
- Offside in the Best Foreign Movie category.
- A Best Song category devoid of "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale
- No nominations whatsoever for United 93 and Little Miss Sunshine.

What are yours?

Gimme that, and I'll be content. I'll leave you with the Advent Calendar for today and yesterday:


Saturday, December 09, 2006

My thoughts on the NBR top 10 this year.

Sorry, I realise I'm a bit late, but here the 10 movies.

"Letters From Iwo Jima"
"Blood Diamond"
"The Departed"
"The Devil Wears Prada"
"Flags Of Our Fathers"
"The History Boys"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Notes on a Scandal"
"The Painted Veil"

Of the ones I've seen:

The Departed - good choice. Also a predictable choice.
The Devil Wears Prada - quite surprising, but I'm pleased, because it's also in my top 10 of the year. Highly entertaining, and with a head-turning performance from the wonderful Emily Blunt.
The History Boys - yes, yes, YES!!! Anyone who reads this blog should know how much I adore this movie; it's my number 2 of 2006.
Little Miss Sunshine - clichéd characters; didn't do it for me.

Er... OK. I've seen a lot. I'm disappointed that the majestic Pan's didn't make it, but God, how I thank my lucky stars that that overrated turd United 93 isn't on here. Let's just hope this is one of the many futurecoming "snubs", and that it shan't get anywhere near Oscar glory.

And no, I haven't forgotten your Christmas fix:


Thursday, December 07, 2006

I hear in my mind, all of these voices...


An eargasmic track from the best film score of all time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is it better...

a) To do three things half-arsedly...


b) To do one well, and two others horrifically?

Anyway, I went with the former.

And here is the advent calendar for today:

I'm tired.

I'm really tired.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Fifth of December.


And in case you get confused, the intrumental isn't from Love Actually. Lol. By the way, to all of you Brits, it's on TV this Wednesday! Good stuff.

Anyway, I have to go revise for my 10 billionth test this week.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

And who is this handsome fella?

````````````::.``` `:hdmmmmmmmNNNNNNNNmds:``````````````````

That's right.

December 4th.

Okay, the song today was from a 2006 film that I liked a lot. So... enjoy!

Dum dee Dum.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Goddess Julie turns 46 today.

Get down on your knees and bow to the Goddess!

I don't usually remember birthdays, but I do for God, so, what are your top 5 Julie performances?

01. As Cathy Whitaker in Far from Heaven
02. As Laura Brown in The Hours
03. As Carol White in Safe
04. As Amber Waves in Boogie Nights
05. As Sarah Miles in The End of the Affair

You. Go.

Online Advent Calendar of Movie Soundtracking, Day Three.

Day Three! Yay!

I'm continuing with the Thomas Newmanness. I reckon most of you probably have this tune, because it's just so wonderfully iconic. If not, you're in for a treat.

Butchers, Murderers, and a Whole Lotta Movie Criticism.

This is a review part of a huge, brilliant film criticism blog-o-thon at No More Marriages.

My review of Claude Chabrol's Le Boucher (1970)

Amongst the guests at a wedding are a Helene, a lonely teacher, played by Stephane Audran, and an ex-army butcher (Jean Yanne). Against their differences, the two develop a friendship. However, in the town there lurks a serial killer, and that killer may or may not be the butcher himself. Plagued with feelings of doubt and fear, Helene finds herself constantly at tenterhooks regarding her new friend (of sorts), and surprises and shocks are placed intricately until the very last frames.

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At 90 minutes, this mystery feels longer than it is, and that may be due to some of the stylistic techniques adapted by director Chabrol, such as the languid and very sparse use of camera movement, and shots of the bells to contribute to a sense of time. Content-wise, he borrows from Hitchcock, using themes of shared secrets, obsession and moral ambiguity. These themes are used well, creating appropriate amounts of suspense and anticipation in the viewer, and Chabrol plays with his audience deftly, placing surprises and non-surprises in sequence so that we are every bit as nervy as Audran. He is less concerned with explaining the motives for the killings than just presenting them, and for that, and chilling atmosphere of indifference is created throughout the film.

The two leads are strong in their performances, and the slow, fragile romance between them is as credible as it is integral to the plot. In particular, Stephane Audran shines, as a woman who begins, poised, content and assured, only to finish ruffled and perhaps, as the ending shot shows, a little ruined by the events that she has witnessed. The film is carried along by an eerie, quasi-apocalyptic score by Pierre Janse and Domonique Zardi, which haunts long after the film has ended.

If the ending does feel like somewhat of a copout, that may because we as the audience have viewed one plot twist too many, and the frequency and slightness at which each twist is revealed diminishes its impact somewhat. But for the most part, this is good filmmaking; quite unpretentious, coolly aloof, and the subtle delivery only works to its advantage.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Online Movie Soundtrack Advent Calendar Continues.

Day 2! Yay!

This time, it's a track from my favourite film composer ever, Mr. Thomas Newman. Guess the movie.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Red Road = another excellent movie from 2006.

Sneaked into it today with a friend; very, very creepy film overall. But Katie Dickie and Tony Curran were amazing, and the ending was... Zum. A-/B+

So, Best Actress this year is turning out to be of very high quality. The six best performances this year from a leading actress, then, in alphabetical order...
Ivana Baquero, El Laberinto del Fauno
Penélope Cruz, Volver
Kate Dickie, Red Road
Jennifer Ehle, Alpha Male
Isabelle Huppert, Gabrielle
Helen Mirren, The Queen

Baquero for the win. She's a Goddess.

Online Advent Calendar of Movie Soundtracking.

I have decided to treat the rundown to Christmas in a true giving spirit, by giving away a song from a fantastic movie soundtrack every day. I am so good to you.

Simply click on the picture for the song. Enjoy!

Day 1

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh, and, for you Oscar watchers...

BAFTA released their list (all films they're considering).

12 and Holding
16 Blocks
36 Quai des Orfèvres
37 Uses for a Dead Sheep
Akeelah and the Bee
All the King's Men
Alpha Male
American Dreamz
American Haunting, An
Ant Bully, The
Arthur and the Invisibles
Couple, The
Ask the Dust
Atomised (Elementarteilchen)
Ballad of Jack and Rose, The
Ballets Russes
Be With Me
Being Cyrus
Benchwarmers, The
Big Nothing
Black Book (Zwartboek)
Black Dahlia, The
Black Sun
Blood Diamond
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Break Up, The
Breaking and Entering
Brothers of the Head
Buenos Aires 1977
Casino Royale
Charlotte's Web
Child, The (L'Enfant)
Children of Men
Clerks II
Cockles and Muscles (Crustacés et Coquillages)
Covenant, The
Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul
Curious George
Da Vinci Code, The
Dead Man's Cards
Death of Mr Lazarescu, The (Moartea Domnului Lazarescu)
Deep Water
Departed, The
Devil and Daniel Johnston, The
Devil Wears Prada, The
Diameter of the Bomb
Dirty Sanchez
Don't Come Knocking
Down in the Valley
Driving Lessons
Echo Park L.A.
Eight Below
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Esma's Secret (Grbavica)
Factory Girl
Fanaa (Destroyed in Love)
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,
The Fateless (Sorstalanság)
Flags of Our Fathers
Flushed Away
Fog, The
For Your Consideration
Forest for the Trees (Wald vor lauter Bäumen, Der)
Forty Shades of Blue
Fountain, The
Friends with Money
Frozen Land (Paha Maa)
Fun With Dick and Jane
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Good Year, A
Goya's Ghosts
Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, The
Grizzly Man
Happy Feet
Hard Candy
Harsh Times
Heading South
History Boys, The
Holiday, The
Host, The (Gwoemul)
I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed (J'ai Vu Tuer Ben Barka)
I Was Jonathan Pitt
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
Ice Harvest, The
Imagine Me and You
Inconvenient Truth, An
Inside Man
It's a Boy Girl Thing
It's Winter (Zemastan)
January 2nd
Joy Division
Kabul Express
Lady in the Water
Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan Geumjassi)
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Lake House, The
Last King of Scotland, The
Last Kiss, The
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
Life and Lyrics
Little Children
Little Fish
Little Man
Little Miss Sunshine
Lives of the Saints, The
London to Brighton
Lost Embrace (El Abrazo Partido)
Love + Hate
Man Push Cart
Marie Antoinette
Miami Vice
Mind of Her Own, A
Mischief Night
Miss Potter
Mission Impossible III
Monster House
Mountain Patrol (Kekexili)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
My Angel (Mon Ange)
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Nacho Libre
Nativity Story, The
Never Say Goodbye (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)
Night at the Museum
Night Listener, The
Night People
Notes on a Scandal
Notorious Bettie Page, The
Omen, The
Once in a Lifetime
Open Season
Over the Hedge
Page Turner, The (La Tourneuse de Pages)
Pan's Labyrinth
Paper Clips
Paradise Now
Pavee Lackeen: The Traveller Girl
Perfume - The Story of a Murderer
Pervert's Guide to Cinema, The
Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, The (L' Accordeur de Tremblements de Terre)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Plague, The
Prairie Home Companion, A
Prestige, The
Pretty Persuasion
Pursuit of Happyness
Queen, The
Rabbit Fever
Rang De Basanti (Paint it Yellow)
Red Road
Right at Your Door
Rocket Post
Rocky Balboa
Rollin' with the Nines
Romanzo Criminale
Running with Scissors
Russian Dolls
RV - Runaway Vacation
Scanner Darkly, A
Scenes of a Sexual Nature
Secuestro Express
Seducing Doctor Lewis (Le Grande Séduction)
Shanghai Dreams (Qing Hong)
Silent Hill
Sisters in Law
Snakes on a Plane
Snow Cake
Snuff Movie
Squid and the Whale, The
Starter for Ten
Stranger than Fiction
Stray Dogs (Sag-haye Velgard)
Superman Returns
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Tell Them Who You Are
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
Terkel in Trouble (Terkel i Knibe)
Thank You For Smoking
Thief Lord
This Film is Not Yet Rated
Three Times (Zui Hao Shi Guang)
Time to Leave (Le Temps qui Reste)
Tristan + Isolde
Trust the Man
Truth, The
U.S. vs John Lennon, The
U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha
Unconscious (Inconscientes)
Unfinished Life, An
United 93
Upside of Anger, The
V for Vendetta
Warrior King (Tom Yum Goong)
West Wittering Affair, The
When a Stranger Calls
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Wicker Man, The
Wind that Shakes the Barley, The
Wolf, The (El Lobo)
World Trade Center
X-Men: The Last Stand
Yours, Mine and Ours
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Zidane - A 21st Century Portrait (Zidane, un Portrait du 21e Siécle)

Thoughts? Comments?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wow, Wow, and Wow.

Pan's Labyrinth = best film of 2006. Don't question it, just accept it. A

I also saw Casino Royale today. B

And... I also saw Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny. I'll give it a B-, because it amused me, but it was pretty stupid.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm seeing this tomorrow.

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So excited. (though it means I'm missing Manchester utd vs. Chelsea at Old Trafford so Martin or Sina, text me the score please?)

By the way, is Shortbus appropriate for a 16-year-old? If it's just got sex scenes, I can deal with it, but I don't like it when sex is made all disturbing. OK, that sounded air-heady.
It's just that it's been picking up some great reviews, and I just need to know, come Dec. 1st (when it arrives here), if it's worth sneaking into.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bennett Miller is bungable.

“Bennett Who?”, I hear you ask. Why, that’s Bennett Miller, director of Capote, of course. I don’t generally go for director dudes, but during my obsession with Oscar season this year in an attempt to see my Brokeback see justice (which it didn’t), Bennett Miller was a man who grabbed my attention a surprising lot, sometimes even steering my attention from the beauty of Jake Gyllenhaal. As with his Capote screenwriter and buddy Dan Futterman, it’s quite hard to find pictures of Mr. Miller (though at least Futterman has had a few acting gigs), but if you can, it’s so, so, worth it, because this man is very fine indeed. I don’t know how to describe it, just… enjoy.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

OMG. Robert Altman dies.

(Click on title for newslink.)

Oh. At least he got his Honoury Oscar this year.

Sorry, I'm quite disorientated at learning this.

Reel Fanatic has a great post on the man.


Two FYCs I made.

Offside for Best Picture.

Penélope Cruz for Best Actress.

What do you make of the FYCs, and what do you make of the movies?

Soundtrack Reviews: V.

I think the last time I reviewed soundtracks, I was in China. It’s been that long. (Readem and weep.) So be kind to me if I’m a little ring rusty. I’ll get there eventually.

To redeem my crappy writing, I’ve uploaded some of the songs from the soundtrack (the ones I consider best) for your listening pleasure. So you see, it’s not all bad.

Vanilla Sky (various)
Tom Cruise’s playboy lifestyle gets a hip, eclectic soundtrack with “All the Right Friends” from REM to the melancholic, wistful Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead. Many of the songs here stand out for their random lyrics, and I speak chiefly of Paul McCartney’s Oscar nominated song, Vanilla Sky. But who needs sense when his vocals are so sublime, the guitar so perfect? The tonal modulations that feature in the film echo in the music too, as Salsbury Hill switches to the freaky “I Fall Apart” by Julianna Gianni. Overall, the OST is of high quality, though some of the songs which featured in the film did not really deserve a running time on the CD. That said, Mondo ’77 has a funky beat, Have You Forgotten is a nicely laid-back track and one of my favourites, Jeff Buckley even makes an appearance, with his song Last Goodbye. But, like with Cameron Crowe’s other film, Almost Famous, the song which dominates for me is sung by the incomparable Todd Rundgren, in his rendition of one of my favourite songs of all time, Can We Still Be Friends. Sing along, everyone. B+.

The Virgin Suicides (Air)
Ah, Air. Air, Air, Air. One of the few things I could abide about the cringeworthy Lost in Translation, this French, blissed out dream band is too good to be true, and their score to Sofia Coppola’s debut transforms it from a well-delivered story about alienated schoolgirls to a near-masterpiece, effortlessly cool, and one of the sexiest films of the 90s. The soundtrack opens with Playground Love, an ode to 10CC in its cheesy-slow chords and vocals, but one that sets the tone for the movie, with a tune so hummable that it reoccurs later in the soundtrack, sin vocals, in Highschool Lover. Along the way, there are some oddities that even I can’t endorse (The Word Hurricane and Afternoon Sister come to mind here), but overall, this is coolness in the making. And yes, I realise I’ve said that word too many times already, but it just… is. What other way is there to describe Clouds Up, a melody so, well, cool, that it’s been pinched for the advert to Spooks? :P A-

Volver (Alberto Iglesias)
In my review of the score to The Constant Gardener, I spoke of how that film didn’t feature his best work, and it was Almodovar’s Hable Con Ella that this man’s strength was shown. Well, where Almodovar found his niche in Volver, so has Iglesias. Being a violinist and a guitarist myself, I was obviously highly orgasmic when I heard the pizzicatos in the background, and it resonates throughout the score, because this is actually my sixth favourite film score to feature pizzicato of all time. And whilst it would have been easy for Iglesias to just bung in random plucks for the sake of it, the score here accompanies the film and the mindset of the characters together, crescendos and diminuendos and all. No instrument feels out of place and every note accompanies the other perfectly, and this is accentuated in the lovely Comida Casera, where clarinet, cello and pizzicato dance around beautifully. The reason terms like “eargasm” were created, you just never want it to end. What a pity it is, then, that the album has to end on two non-Iglesias tracks, Las Espigadoras and a Good Thing, the latter sounding so cheap and un-Almodovar that you wonder how the hell it got onto the soundtrack. A-.

Best of these OSTs…

01. Highschool Lover (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
02. Comida Casera (Alberto Iglesias, Volver)
03. Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren, Vanilla Sky OST)
04. Clouds Up (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
05. Vanilla Sky (Paul McCartney, Vanilla Sky OST)
06. Volver (Estrella Morente, Volver)
07. Where Do I Begin (The Chemical Brothers, Vanilla Sky OST)
08. Playground Love (Air, The Virgin Suicides OST)
09. Everything In Its Right Place (Radiohead, Vanilla Sky OST)
10. Las Vecinas – Variacion (Alberto Iglesias, Volver)

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Gael García Bernal...

.... es muy caliente. (and that is all.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ethan Hawke & the Goldplated brothers as we enter the top 10 in search for fineness.

10. Ethan Hawke (actor, Before Sunset, Assault on Precinct 13)

Yes, I know he was a git to Uma, but you must admit, he’s a fit git. Also one of my favourite modern actors despite many describing his style as “pretentious” (and I must say, his books actually are quite psuedo), I think he first came to my attention when Channel 4 showed Gattaca one night and Great Expectations the other, and I was all, “Hey, it’s the same dude.” And the two characters played by Mr. Hawke in these movies were pretty alluring, one of them even making my Top 10 Sexiest Film Characters list. Of all his film appearances, he’s always been a nice one to look at, but I feel his hotness is accentuated whenever he’s working with Thurman, because their chemistry is just so great. Pity about Tarantino. Now, Mr. Hawke is attractive ordinarily, but what makes him even more so is his fantastic ability to work a suit, his classy choice in film roles (let’s not talk Taking Lives Here), and lastly, his portrayal of one of the most “real” movie characters of all time, Jessie in Before Sunset and Before Sunrise. Smart, sensitive, a little insecure, but utterly, utterly, sexy.

09. Darren Tighe and Nicholas Shaw from "Goldplated"

(Like with Theo & JJ, I’m pulling the “They’re the same person, k?” line again.)

I feel really guilty for actually even admitting to watching this show, let alone being attracted to not one, but two of the men on it, but alas, that’s just the way of the world. The two characters/men who I'm endorsing here are both members of a rich but deeply unhappy family, though the two brothers could not be more different. Justin (as played by Nicholas Shaw) is a choice I’m sure at least some teenage girls will agree with me on. With a touch of the ne’er do well, he’s flirtatious, raffishly charming and gives the impression of someone who can get away with murder by simply smiling. Nice. And Darren, which is quite possibly the second most cringeworthy choice of “eye candy” that I have in my top 10, basically just drew my attention in the interesting storyline of the possible infidelity with his daughter’s Art teacher, is just someone who tickles my fancy for reasons I can’t explain. Maybe it’s his blue eyes. Yum.
If you've just joined this blog, then you've missed most of the fun. Everyone else so far: 15 to 11, 20-16, 29-21, 30, 40-31, 50-41, 60-51, 70-61, 80-71, 90-81, the other end.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

I shall be watching this tonight.

Rachel didn't deserve the Oscar.

I’ve seen it a couple of times before, really like it. But, alas, Rachel didn’t deserve her damn Oscar. :(

What did you make of it?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hitchcock is THE master.

He has been hailed the master of suspense. He said that “Drama was just life with the dull bits left out.” And, despite the uber-elitist AFI hailing him one of the best directors of all time, I still greatly enjoy his work. For me to overlook that huge problem (I loathe AFI like I loathe They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?), is a true testament to his good work. I thought I'd revisit the master as part of Pasquish's blogathon.

There was a short space of time before my 14th birthday when I really started noticing Alfred Hitchcock’s genius. I had watched a couple of films before and enjoyed them, but never really loved them. It was around this time that I started getting into classic films, and I thank Hitchcock for introducing me to them.

The first one that I took an immediate shine to was his adaptation of Du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, in which Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine take the leads. Though an early effort from Hitchcock, this masterpiece was every by the sophisticated, glossy audience-manipulator that Hitchcock would later go on to make. Hitchcock has consistently coaxed good performances out of his cast, and here, Joan Fontaine is superb in her jittery twitchiness. Hitchcock personally told everyone on the cast to treat her cruelly so her performance would be more “real,” and though this was somewhat mean, the results are clear.

Slickness ensued with his first colour film, Rope, an ingenious little invention where it has the appearance of all being shot in one long, shot. The acting from the two men/boy was not as great as it possibly could have been (though Farley Granger did great work on Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train), but James Stewart gave one his best performances, thus making the slightly-surreal situation more realistic, and the film a rewarding experience.

Two of Hitchcock’s earliest films, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, are two that I feel are criminally underrated. Both were made in England, before he went to America with plans of taking over. The 39 Steps was an endlessly entertaining thriller-comedy, and whilst it may not have had the big-name casts and expensive locations that would later be present in his work, this film does feature the themes of loss of assumed identity and betrayal, two very Hitchcock-esque themes, and the quick, lively pacing works only to its advantage. The Lady Vanishes, which was made on a very low budget, has effects that were ahead of its time, and featured an extremely charming performance from Margaret Lockwood as the feisty heroine.

An early film of his own that Hitchcock was less pleased with, The Man Who Knew Too Much, would later go on to be remade by himself in Technicolor with James Stewart and Doris Day. The first had been too quick-paced and snappy, with a rather odd performance from Peter Lorre, but this one entertained perfectly, with a nice little song (Que Sera, Sera), thrown in. With a larger scale, the Albert Hall scene truly shone in this film.

Hitchcock is a very consistent director. Like anyone, he makes mistakes (Under Capricorn, Stage Fright and Frenzy didn’t impress me at all), but of all my favourite filmmakers, he has made the most films that I rate 8/10 or more. Sometimes he might resort to use his crowd-pleasing formula, as in Shadow of a Doubt or Suspicion, to produce, atmospheric, jumpy thrillers, but sometimes he’ll fancy a challenge and create a film that sets the standard in cinema.

James Stewart and Cary Grant are Hitch’s two key collaborators. The former uses his “Aww shucks” demeanour perfectly in each of his performances, balancing good-guy innocence with what is relatively rare for Stewart in anything other than Hitch films, intensity. In Rope, he played a very un-Stewartish role, as a cynical intellectual, but witness the passion behind his little monologue in the final act. He would visit this type of on-screen persona again in 58’s Vertigo.

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Cary Grant is in Hitchcock’s films as more of romantic model. In Notorious, he had appropriate coldness as Ingrid Bergman’s heartbreaker, slowly falling in love with her but unwilling to show his feelings. And in the light To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant was basically playing himself. He was twice Grace Kelly’s age at the time, but Hitchcock did the wise thing of pairing the two together, and together, they deliver escapism at its most fun.

1954 was a great year for Hitchcock, where he collaborated with leading lady Gracy Kelly twice. First was smart men-getting-what-they-deserve Dial M for Murder, which sported an excellent premise and a genuinely dislike villain in the scheming husband. Then came Rear Window, which, on top of being completely thrilling, featured some of the best chemistry in a Hitchcock film between Stewart and Kelly, and was also beautifully shot. This time, Hitchcock was not afraid to make his viewers think, and Rear Window has been deemed voyeurism, and poses the question, are all humans, like L.B., just voyeurs into other people’s worlds? Who would have thought that a film set in just one room could be so rousing and intelligent? All the experience from doing this with Rope and Lifeboat came together, and Hitchcock invents his best film, sophisticated, compelling, and the work of a master.

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Two popular Hitchcockian themes are secrets and obsession. These feature heavily in his well-crafted masterpiece, Vertigo, which features the best dream sequence in the history of cinema. Kim Novak plays the mysterious female lead with conviction, and haunts, even though she does not say a word for the first 50 minutes of the film. Being Hitchcock, nothing in the film is as it seems, but all the better for it, as he weaves tension, deliria, human emotion as well as visual style.

As far as the 60s went, Hitchcock wasn’t on his amazing form, but still managed to make two films that I enjoyed – The Birds, and Psycho. The Birds was eerie, quite beautifully, and managed a few scares, and Hitchcock’s influence on cinema is evident even today, if you compare this film to the likes of say, Signs. I’m not as big a fan of Psycho as the AFI are, but it was genuinely creepy, and nobody could make a better Psycho than Anthony Perkins. Though I still maintain that the book was better.

Sadly, the greatest film director to live is no longer with our. But his influences still are. Spielberg, Shyamalan, and various other thieves name him as an influence. But they will never match his masterworks, because I know for a fact that this man, someone who can make you think, be entertained, feel and be afraid all at the same time, is in a class of his own.

Best Films
01. Rear Window
02. Rebecca
03. Dial M For Murder
04. Vertigo
05. Strangers on a Train
06. Spellbound
07. Notorious
08. The 39 Steps
09. I Confess
10. The Lady Vanishes

Best Direction
01. Vertigo
02. Rear Window
03. Psycho
04. North by Northwest
05. Rebecca

Reviews of Hitch's films: Dial M for Murder

Monday, November 13, 2006

Marilyn Monroe, what a class act.

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul.”

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”

“I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.”

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Christmas is Near.

Download this song. Seriously. Excuse the fact that Sarah McLachlan has the same surname as an extremely crappy actor, just enjoy this song. It's beautiful.

Christmas soon.

The History Boys

Sorry I haven't written a decent film review for so long. Blame School. That, and the fact that I just haven't bothered. :)

It’s Sheffield, early 1980s, and eight talented students have achieved top grades at A-level and have Oxbridge in their sights. The problem? “They’re clever but they’re crass.” So along comes Stephen Campbell Moore, a radical History teacher to change their manners, style, and even teach them to change History... Sadly, the boys’ new found adoration for History and the musings of Nietzsche mean that their interest in the lessons of homosexual teacher Hector (Richard Griffiths, excellent) is displaced, and this film, with its many themes lined up, examines the school, its students and learning History.

The History Boys is a film I connect and love for many reasons. The performances are stellar, and Stephen Campbell Moore and Samuel Barnett are standouts in the film, for their portrayals of the creative, innovative teacher and the sweet, sensitive gay teenager respectively. Samuel Barnett especially; he basically owned this movie, and every scene that he was in, I adored. He gives his gawky character such a tenderness of spirit and kind soul that it’s impossible not to love him.

But every member of the cast is a treat to watch; Dominic Cooper embracing the lead with vivacity, charm, and that raffish charm of an 80s teenager. Richard Griffiths is also excellent, and lends some warmth to his potentially disturbing portrayal of a man with an unnatural penchant for groping his students in return for a student-led lesson such as “How to use the present subjunctive in a French brothel”. The cast bind the wonderful Alan Bennett script together beautifully, and the chemistry and rapport between all the characters is unmatched, natural, and a total delight to watch. This by-the-book adaptation of Bennett’s play doesn’t add anything to the play, but that’s simply a good thing, because the genius and vibrancy of the play is fabulous already.

Though depicting a High school in the 80s, I could still connect with this movie with my 21st century ideals. The teacher/student frictions and development of their relationship and respect is well-drawn and intelligent. The wit in which the process of getting into Oxbridge is shown, is reflective of nowadays, and there are one-liners here that are bound to raise a smile (“History? It’s just one f-cking thing after another, isn’t it?). Lastly, a cool 80s soundtrack guides our protagonists through the story with ease and warmth.

A fantastically enjoyable, uplifting experience, The History Boys can be enjoyed by everyone, from a Cambridge-educated boffin to someone who just wants a laugh. You’ll end up being drawn in by each character, hoping for their successes, and being moved by the relationships depicted in the movie. The best film of the year so far; it even makes you remember the good things about History...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'll Empty You.

Your delicious
Slack jawed
Green eyed
Rub my nose in
Icing sugar
Smooth as
When this cold
and deadly
Kissed the fruit
So soft
And gently breathing
Under your skin

Oh I'll empty you
I'll empty you
As empty as a
boy can be
As empty
As a boy can be

Very sexy.

November Has Come!

I completely forgot to mention this!

Anyway, a pretty picture of the season to mark the occasion:


Well you know, november has come
When it´s gone away..

November Blues.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

01. Tim Robbins as Andy in The Shawshank Redemption.

Come on, guys. Don't tell me you didn't expect this. The signs were all there that I was going to choose this dude, the most recent hint being me comparing him to Peter Crouch. It was coming.

My deep, unnatural love for this performance is one of the Jake-over-Heath cases. Everyone prefers the one performance (in this case, Freeman), and, whilst I do realise the power and beauty in that work (Freeman comes third for me, so he must have done something right), my heart still belongs to the other performance. For Jake, many had the nerve to blame it on my hormones, saying I choose Jake as better because he's better looking. But here, they can't do it. Unless they want to accuse me of having a thing for Timmy Robbins (which I actually did after watching this movie). But no. I just... totally connected with this performance. You know how you can watch a movie and connect with it in every possible way? Well, few films strike that chord with me, but The 400 Blows, Not One Less, and this film, my favourite of all time, did. And it is mainly due to Robbins and the character of Andy.

His character, the innocent Andy, is just so interesting and hapless that you’re taken in by him immediately, especially how, like I mentioned with Crouch, he is absolutely gorgeous in how different they are. I always have a soft spot for characters who stand out. And in every scene he does, whether he's reading a book, or playing the Mozart LP, or that masterful, searing, majestic prison break, one of the most powerful movies scenes of all time.

Anyway, Robbins didn’t pick up any major nominations for his work here except an SAG nomination, which in my eyes is one of the biggest crimes known to man. He is perfect. Nuance, subtlety, smarts. In short, he is perfection in a perfect character, in a perfect film, and is really, really, something. Amazing.

So, the series has finished. Hope it was as fun for me as it was for you. If you're interested, browse through my blog for my picks for the other 99 great performances of the 90s. But for now, why not tell me yours?

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Angelina Jolie is a vampire.

“When other little girls wanted to be ballet dancers I kind of wanted to be a vampire.”
Angelina Jolie

I had the worst type of writer’s block for Nathaniel's blog-thon on vampires. I dallied with the idea of writing a review of John Carpenter’s Vampires (totally lame film by the way), or reviewing Interview with a Vampire. But these ideas all seemed a little dull, and I was totally out of ideas until I watched Channel 4’s silly but highly entertaining Star Stories , where the topic of their jokes that week was Jennifer, Brad, and the vampire, Mrs. Angelina Jolie. The little twist at the end of their story was that she was actually a vampire. So it kind of got me thinking. This woman is a vampire. She really is.

From wikipedia'spage on vampires:

Vampirism is the practice of drinking blood from a person/animal. In folklore and popular culture, the term generally refers to a belief that one can gain supernatural powers by drinking human blood.

Woah, woah, there. “Drinking blood,” eh? Remember that vial of blood Jolie used to wear of Billy Bob Thorton’s, around her neck? And what about when she was out with Johnny Lee Miller? At her wedding to Miller she had displayed her husband's name on the back of her shirt painted in her own blood. So I think it’s obvious that this woman has a taste for the red stuff.

Now, this thing about how drinking gives you supernatural powers. Well, obviously, those are the powers she used to lure Brad away from Jen (or maybe that was just being sexier, and willing to have children, unlike Jen.) Here is a woman who reads vampire books, likes every kind of kinky, with an obvious penchant for blood. Oh, and in the Star Stories TV show I saw, kept Billy Bob by a leash and drew Brad in by biting his neck. Teh.

Then we get onto her appearance. The picture right here is one where I consider her highly vampirific. The pallid skin. The white, fanglike teeth. The deep lips. The enticing glare she gives you. VAMPIRE!!!

Basically, my message to all the men out there: If approached by this woman, be careful. I know most of you will be all to eager to get up close to her, but a health warning – bring a stake. This woman wants to suck your blood.

P.S. if there are any other reasons you feel she is a vampire that I have left out, do let me know. k, thanks.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

02. Emily Watson as Bess McNeill in Breaking the Waves.

I can’t say I liked this film. Ok, to be honest, I absolutely, 100% loathed it. I wanted, so often, to shut this pretentious, self-important, demoralizing piece of turd off. Except I didn’t, and for one thing: Watson’s performance. As the unbalanced Bess, a woman deeply devoted to her husband and her religion, she makes one of the most memorable debuts in film history, and breaks my heart completely. Veterans, you should be ashamed that someone so new on the scene could do so, so much, with her eyes, playing the naivety… Her performance is what kept me watching this film, through all the unsettling scenes and sour plot developments. She has all kinds of scenes, including some that are even funny, but throughout, she is the model of sweetness, showing that her pureness is at the core of all her doings (remember the rabbit scene?). Emily’s sincere, gut-wrenching, and utterly transcendent performance will go down in my books as one of the greatest of all times.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

03. Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding in The Shawshank Redemption

Fact: Morgan Freeman is a marvellous actor, capable of turning mediocre roles into good work and making a good role brilliant. So his role as Red in, you’ve got it, my favourite movie of all time, and his powerhouse performance, from the narration to the subtle expressions, is a match made in Heaven. There’s just not enough I can say about his performance, yet I feel that words would be pointless, as we are all familiar with this man’s brilliance. So just revel in the pleasure of his company in this wonderful stills from a masterful, masterful movie.

Pokémon cards!

Went shopping with my 8-year-old brother today. This week, we found a rusty bunch of Pokémon cards in the attic, and it's so cool how they bring back memories of trading the cards in year 6 when I was younger. Come on, guys. You remember, don't you? No-one ever used the Pokémon cards for what they were - playing, and just ended up trading all of them. 10 Diglets for a Sandslash. And so on.
Anyway, we found an entire collection of the cards in this cool little thrift shop. Take a look at a random sample of the sweeties. (Pictures blurry due to having taken them in hurry; click on pictures for enlargements.)

So pretty!

So, my question is to you: what was your favourite Pokémon? My choice: Raichu. Pyroli and Dratini are beautiful too.