The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmy Reactions

MODERN FAMILY WONNNN!!!


Ahem. Carry on!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

City Island (2010)

Like most movies about people with secrets, "City Island" was extremely frustrating, accenuated by the fact that neither the script nor the actors gave enough justification to why the characters were refusing to tell each other anything. Additionally, the ridiculous amounts of subplots were not really balanced well at all, especially not helped by the weird editing (the random scenes of the son with the fat women were not integrated well at all, even if they were some of the more interesting in the film). Emily Mortimer's storyline is the most compelling, because she also gives the best performance in the film - and it is a lovely performance. Ezra Miller was also very funny. Everyone else does just fine, not really doing anything original. The movie was entertaining enough for me not to despise it, but it's nothing new or really even successful in the family-dramedy genre and I was really just waiting for it to be over the entire time.

5/10

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Um, okay, so I honestly don't have much to say about this one. Like most movies based on an interesting true story, it makes me really want to find out more about the actual facts. Very Ron Howard, meaning pretty safe and predictable (direction wise). Though he definitely knows how to make tension...tense. The script was very obvious. Everything was just fine. Really, there was nothing wrong with this movie besides that there was nothing really right, either. The score was nice. Jennifer Connelly was...good, if not inconsistent. I give her props for doing so well with that ridiculous histrionic scene that she had. Not a bad movie at all, very interesting, everything was good, okay, whatever.

7/10

Catherine O'Hara Filmography: Best in Show (2000)

This post is the first in my mission to watch all of Catherine O'Hara's movies.

If there's one place that has been proven time and time again to nourish Catherine O'Hara's talents both comedically and even dramatically, it has been the films of Christopher Guest. Ever since "Waiting for Guffman" fans have known of O'Hara's brilliance.

"Best in Show" is Christopher Guest's second mockumentary, which follows a group of odd characters as they and their dogs prepare for the Mayflower Dog Show, a prestigious event that every character wants to win. Catherine plays Cookie Fleck, the owner and trainer of a ridiculously cute terrier. More importantly though (plotwise anyway), Cookie also had a very colorful and prolific sex life in her younger years, much to the dismay of her husband Gerry (Eugene Levy).

Sadly, O'Hara's screentime is rather limited in the movie, and her character just isn't as memorable as some of the others in the film, such as Parker Posey's uber-bitch Meg Swan or Jennifer Coolidge's ditzy Sheri Ann Cabot. The two of them have some of the funniest moments in the film and Posey especially is just phenomenal. However, though this is surely not a quintessential O'Hara performance, it's still really wonderful, because I feel it gives us a bit of everything that makes her brilliant.

First of all, she and Eugene being a couple (that sings!) is a lovely foreshadowing of the wonderful work she was to do in "A Mighty Wind". Secondly, we see Catherine's skills as a physical and over the top comedian when she injures her knee and is hobbling around. Then, she also shows her ability as a subtle, talented actress when she encounters her past lovers, or when she's worried about the credit card, or when her dog is being held hostage on the roof of a shed.

So despite her limited screentime, Catherine O'Hara's role as Cookie Fleck is a loving reminder for all fans of why she is amazing. The movie is hysterical and also features wonderful performances by its entire cast, especially Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jane Lynch (!!!) so if you haven't yet seen it, I highly recommend. :)

The Film: 9/10
Catherine: 9/10
Best in Show: Parker Posey for sure, with Jennifer Coolidge following closely behind

What were your thoughts on Best in Show? How do you like the project so far? Make your voices heard in the comments!

Big Announcement: The Catherine O'Hara Experience!

As you readers should probably have realized by now, I am literally in love with the wonderful Canadian actress Catherine O'Hara. I mean, the little blurb right underneath the blog's banner proudly declares that fact, so yes. 'Tis the truth.

So, after thinking about my lovely Catherine for some time, I realized that it was time to take on an exciting mission - to watch each and every feature-length film in Catherine's filmography. While I've seen much of it already, I am missing several items.

And, while I go on my epic quest, I shall take you readers along with me, as I'll do a little write up for each of her wonderful roles. Starting tonight, with "Best in Show", as I just watched that yesterday. :)

Truth be told, a large part of Catherine O'Hara's work as an actress is made up of television work, which I will not be including in this project. I shall save that for the future. Hehe!

So here's a list of the movies I'm going to be watching...

  • Double Negative (1980)
  • Nothing Personal (1980)
  • Rock and Rule (1983)
  • After Hours (1985)
  • Heartburn (1986)
  • Beetle Juice (1988)
  • Little Vegas (1990)
  • Dick Tracy (1990)
  • Betsy's Wedding (1990)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • There Goes the Neighborhood (1992)
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • The Paper (1994)
  • Wyatt Earp (1994)
  • A Simple Twist of Fate (1994)
  • Tall Tale (1995)
  • Waiting for Guffman (1996)
  • The Last of the High Kings (1996)
  • Pippi Longstocking (1997)
  • Home Fries (1998)
  • The Life Before This (1999)
  • Best in Show (2000)
  • Speaking of Sex (2001)
  • Orange County (2002)
  • A Mighty Wind (2003)
  • Surviving Christmas (2004)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
  • Game 6 (2005)
  • Chicken Little (2005)
  • Over the Hedge (2006)
  • Monster House (2006)
  • Penelope (2006)
  • For Your Consideration (2006)
  • Away We Go (2009)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
  • Killers (2010)
Okay! So this will be quite a hefty project. And, to be honest with you all, there are some movies on this list that I have no idea how I'm going to find...those little obscure Canadian indies and stuff. BUT! I will find a way. Because I am going to complete this project! Muahaha.

So...chime in! I'm starting with Best in Show, what should I watch next? Is this as exciting as I think it is? Am I being really stalkerish? Opinions go down there! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thrilling Announcement!

Okay peeps so I have a really cool thing I'm going to announce tomorrow...well, I think it's cool. Hopefully you guys do as well. So be watching out for that in the manana. :)

Best Score Ranking: 2001

Another great year! Here goes...

5. A Beautiful Mind - James Horner



I quite like the main theme (what you hear above). The rhythmic tension and use of piano and voice are so effective and exciting. It's too bad the rest of the score didn't quite live up to that. It often sounds too much like a made-for-tv movie


4. Artificial Intelligence - John Williams


Wow, JW was having quite a year, eh? Well, anyway, I really love this score as well, very beautiful. Not one of Williams's most memorable by any means but still very good. After all, Science Fiction is the genre in which Williams really knows what he's doing.


3. Monsters Inc. - Randy Newman



I've said it before, I have such a soft spot for Randy Newman. I just love the theme music. It's different, jazzy, and perfect for the movie.


2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - John Williams



Oh, in almost any other year this would have been my choice. This is one of, if not THE best John Williams score besides Star Wars. "Hedwig's Theme" is so memorable, and the instrumentation in this score especially is just perfect. Brings back so many memories!


1. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - Howard Shore


Well, DUH! I mean, really, how much is there to say about this. Shore's work for this movie is one of the best scores of all time - it's beautiful, grand, mischevious when need be, moving...and every moment of it is beautiful. Not a note out of place.


Should Have Been Nominated...

Amelie (Yann Tiersen) comes to mind immediately as having been snubbed. Such good music in that one. I also feel like Shrek (Harry Gregson Williams and John Powell) had a very good, and lasting score that probably deserved at least a nomination. After all, Dreamworks uses it in its opening sequence now and it's all over the Universal Studios Theme Parks.

And check out the full updated ranking!

What was your favorite score of 2001? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Super Exciting Contest Results!

Ah, so life has caused me to be a bit delayed in posting these results, but nonetheless here they are! Though I was sure that this eye-dentification contest was much easier than the last one, there were still a couple of stumpers that I sort of expected.

First of all, nobody was able to identify these...


Which belong to Ryoko Hirosue from the tear-jerking "Departures". She does some nice things with her eyes in that movie!
Nobody identified this pair either...

Which belong to Jeneane Garofalo, in one of my favorite guilty-pleasure comedies "Mystery Men". It's been a while since I saw it, but as I remember Garofalo is wonderful and one of the best in the film.
And surprisingly, nobody was able to get this one...

Which is the eyes of Eugene Levy in "Waiting for Guffman". Since this is a comedic plot point, I'm disappointed that nobody was able to get it! Awww. Ya'll need to rewatch "Waiting for Guffman".

Here is a full list of the eyes, from left to right...

---Ellen Page (Juno), "Secret of Kells", Eugene Levy (Waiting for Guffman), Chloris Leachman (Last Picture Show), William H. Macy (Fargo)---

---Cate Blanchett (The Aviator), Jennifer Aniston (Office Space, a very underrated albeit tiny comic performance), Tippi Hedren (The Birds), Helen Mirren (Gosford Park), "Grave of the Fireflies"---

---Tilda Swinton (Julia), Kristen Stewart (Adventureland), Kevin Spacey (Usual Suspects), Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda)---

---Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Ryoko Hirosue (Departures), "Wall-E", Janeane Garofalo (Mystery Men), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air)---

And the winner is...

Joe Burns, from Oscarfan!!! Congratulations Joe! And thanks to Simon, who also entered. :)

So Joe, you're welcome to do a guest post, or if you have another prize in mind just let me know.

Thanks to everyone, and enjoy your day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am in need of assistance

Hello readers! Okay so I'm in a slump. I need some movie recommendations. Any good ones that are on your mind that I need to see? Or perhaps you have a Best Score Oscar Year that you want me to rank? Please sound off below - just write whatever pops into your head! I love you readers, you know...I want us to have this relationship. :D


(I put this picture of Wall-E here because he is irresistably cute)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tropic Thunder (2008)

This was easily one of the funniest movies I saw in a long time. Also, it was extremely creative - the way that it began with the faux-trailers was just brilliant, and though it's a narrative cop-out it works just perfectly. The entire cast works with each other perfectly, and Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise were definitely worth the buzz. Of course, sometimes I feel like the humor went just a bit too far over the top - when Ben Stiller was messing with the dead director guy's head, for example. I'm also just not the hugest fan of Stiller in general. Nonetheless, though this is no life changing work of cinematic magic, it completely achieved its goals as a crazy comedy with a cinephilic sense of humor.

9/10

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Now Playing: Scott Pilgrim VS The World


"Scott Pilgrim" was probably one of, if not THE film I wanted to see the most this year. Ever since I watched the first trailer, I was engrossed by what looked to be an exciting, funny, and creative movie, one that would fit me perfectly. Well, after finally seeing it, I can say that it lived up to my expectations and so much more.

The film follows the titular Scott (Michael Cera, of course) a 23 year old living in Toronto. He's in a band, he has an awesome gay roommate, and he's dating a high schooler...until he falls in love with the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Little does he know that he will have to fight her seven evil exes in order to truly be able to win her heart. Craziness ensues!

This was truly one of the most fun experiences I've had at the movies in a long time. First of all, "Scott Pilgrim" is extremely well written and it is very, very funny. There are literally dozens of lines that remain quotable even a few days after seeing the movie ("I'm BI FURIOUS!" "I'm in lesbians with you" "YOU PUNCHED THE HIGHLIGHTS OUT OF HER HAIR!" "Don't you know, Todd's VEGAN."), and past that, there are so many visual and auditory gags that just leave you rolling in your seat asking for more.

Of course, this hilarity is helped heavily by the stellar cast. Michael Cera does his best work since "Juno" here, but the supporting cast is truly worth noting. Each of the exes is played perfectly, especially those of Chris Evans, Mae Whitman and Brandon Routh. Kieran Culkin and Anna Kendrick are both scene stealers, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job of giving her character multiple layers. I loved seeing Brie Larson, who was obviously having a ball with her role, and the Sex Bob-ombs and Audrey Plaza were comedic gold. However, if there was a best in show, it would probably be Ellen Wong, whose Knives Chau was both ridiculously cute, hysterically funny, and heart-meltingly sensitive.

Edgar Wright's accomplishments with the style of this film can NOT be understated. The comic book/video game visuals were absolutely marvelous and so unlike anything else. They were seamless and made the movie just that one bit better than most others of its genre. The fight scenes as well benefited from this, as each was so engaging, different from the last, and well put together. Incidentally, I feel this movie succeeds more in the action department than Inception.

Sure, it's not the greatest movie of ALL TIME! Nor is it a movie that everyone will like, or appreciate, or understand, or even want to see. I'm the target generation who grew up with the comics and video games that it's paying homage to. It's not any piece of powerful, thought-provoking cinema but it is sure as heck one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. And to find such a funny, sincere movie with characters that actually mean something is a rare occurrance.

9/10
(I'd give it a 10 because I loved it that much, but it really isn't a 10 movie. Hehe!)

P.S. I'll be first on the bandwagon of campaigning this movie for Oscars in Editing, Art Direction, Sound Editing and Mixing, and Song. I would wishfully think it had a chance at Best Picture and Screenplay but that ain't happenin. :P Anyone else with me on this?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Black Swan" Trailer

OMG THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! So many good trailers lately! Mmmz.


I found myself smiling with satisfaction when I finished watching this trailer. This is absolutely one of my top anticipated movies of the year, and this trailer makes it look SO promising. It looks sensual, stylish, disturbing, dramatic, and with some amazing chances for killer acting. And that shot of Natalie at the end! Oooh! Gah. This needs to come out right now because it looks freaking amazing.

Are you as excited as I about Aronofsky's next outing? Speak up below!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Squeal!


I'm going to see Scott Pilgrim tonight everyone!!! You really have no idea how excited I am for this. Hahahaha.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Long-Delayed Review of Inception


Okay, so I know everyone is SO over Inception. After all, it is very "July", and people have moved on to bigger and better things. But! I've only just now gotten the enthusiasm to organize up my thoughts about it, and so I felt it was worth it to write them down. You all know what Inception is about and who is in it, so let's just dive right in.

"Inception" is a very, very entertaining movie. It's a perfect summer movie - fast paced, action packed but intelligent enough for discerning viewers, and very interesting. Not only that, but it provides a discussion topic for countless conversations post-view. The acting is quite good (more on that in a bit) and, for all the hype, it did not disappoint.

However, Inception is nowhere near the mind-blowing movie that I thought it would be. To be honest, while I know that everyone is disputing what exactly happened (including myself), I feel like the movie was just a bit too up front with all of the information. One viewing is perfectly sufficient to grasp every bit of information needed to propose an interpretation of the film. For a movie about dreams, it was unsatisfyingly grounded.

On that note, I felt that the visuals were restrained. There were some fantastic moments (the slow motion, the exploding stuff with Ariadne, and the rotating hallway for example), but overall, everything was very bland to look at. Perhaps Christopher Nolan was going for a bleak look, but the whites, grays and blacks that permeated the color scheme just got so tedious after a while. Ellen Page's red sweater thing was like a breath of fresh air in the gloomy movie.

And, since the movie is about dreams, one could hope that the dreams were more creatively constructed visually. A dream-centric movie like "Paprika" (which I could not help but compare this to) which is simply visually brilliant, makes even the best visual creations in Inception look unoriginal. On the other hand, I can see why Christopher Nolan did that - it's the human architects who are constructing the dreams, they wouldn't bother to make them look fanciful, right?

On the acting front, Leo DiCaprio was absolutely fine in his role. He actually managed to make this crazy-man different from his Shutter Island persona, which I was quite happy to see. Just having Ellen Page and JGL on screen made me light up, even though they had very little to do. Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy really shined in surprisingly juicy roles. Best in show goes to Marion Cotillard, who simply stole every scene that she was in with a primal, emotional power. My favorite scene in the movie was probably the one where Ariadne and Mal have the showdown in the abandoned hotel room. So intense!

So, okay. I know I just ripped on the movie like crazy but I really did like it, and it's one of the better ones I've seen so far this year. It's still remarkably intelligent and so well layered - I'm still trying to figure out. It's not my favorite Nolan film, and I feel it pales in comparison to The Dark Knight especially, but perhaps the reason I'm being so harsh on this poor movie is because (A) I'm instinctively nonconformist, and (B) I keep comparing it to better films ("Paprika" and "Dark Knight" especially).

Well, there you have it. Great summer movie, very intelligent, though it felt a bit too restrained at times. Marion Cotillard FTW!!!

7/10

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Love and Other Drugs" Trailer


Okay, so this is interesting. I thought from what I'd heard around the water cooler that this was going to be more of a drama? Rather than this romantic dramedy thing. On the other hand, it could just be a marketing technique. I'm still madly wanting to see this - usually a trailer like this wouldn't hook me in, but there's just something about Anne Hathaway crying and being amazing that just draws me in. Plus, Jake looks like he's going to do quite nicely. Curiosity, elevated...

This is a big awards-buzz one to keep an eye on, what are your thoughts on the first trailer?

Contest Reminder...

All right you guys. I sort of forgot about this myself, but the Second Eye-Dentification Contes is currently taking place! And though the dead line is sort of gone, only ONE person has entered. That's really sad, considering how EASY it is this time around. And while that one person (wink) would probably love it if nobody else entered, I really can't declare a winner if there was no competition. So please everyone, GO FOR IT! :P

Oh, and can I say that I'm so happy that Scott Pilgrim is FINALLY out. I will be seeing that this weekend.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Volver (2006)


I'd been waiting so long to see this movie, and I finally got my hands on a copy of it. I am so glad I finally did! I've only seen one other film by Almodovar ("Flor de mi Secreto", appropriately) so I didn't know what to expect. Needless to say, I was blown away by every part of this film.

The blending of the several storylines is flawless, helped immensely by the fabulous acting. This is easily Penelope Cruz's best performance (at least, the best of her Oscar nominated ones). She blazes through the screen without being hammy or over the top, as Raimunda lies and fights to help the ones she loves. It's really a wonderful performance, and her lip syncing scene, though it was lip syncing, hit me in the deepest recesses of my soul.

The other actresses, especially Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, and Blanca Portillo, also give wonderful performances that each add so well in their own way. The music score was beautiful, and worked seamlessly into the movie.

And the writing was perfect. The dialogue was witty, sharp, touching and often funny, and the intertwining of every character's individual story was absolutely fabulous. So, so well written.

I honestly have nothing bad to say about this movie. I loved everything about it. It also solidifies 2006 as probably one of the best "Best Actress" years at the Oscars. Now that I've seen all five of the performances, I can honestly say that it is jam packed with brilliance. So hard to pick a favorite!

Thus, I give "Volver" a rare...

10/10

Monday, August 2, 2010

"The Concert" Trailer

I know this is a few days (weeks? I'm so out of the loop) old, but I just saw it...so in case you're as behind as me, here you go!


So this trailer is pretty poor...it does everything trailers should NOT! Namely, give away so much plot (I hate that). Plus, it makes the movie look a bit sappy. Which it very well may be. But...

I'm REALLY excited for this movie! It looks cute enough, and I love music-themed movies, which are a bit too rare for my taste. Oh, and MELANIE-I-am-amazing-LAURENT. When I heard she would be playing a violinist in a movie I knew I had to get myself over there immediately. Plus, I hear she's getting a bit of Oscar buzz? Seems like a role they would like.

Sorry, I'm rambling! Please comment below. Are you excited or dreading this little foreign piece?