Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hello, 2013!

The new year is upon us! :)

As awards season descends, I've been loading up on the major nominees, among which Zero Dark Thirty sits prominently.

Famously referred to as The Hunt For Osama Bin Laden, the film is one slow cooker, clocking in at 2-plus hours, with numerous scenes of lengthy interrogations and CIA agents huddled in discussion in dim conference rooms.

I found it profoundly difficult to follow at times, no thanks to muffled dialogue and fleeting character development where the terrorists are concerned. The 10-year timeline adds to the rush - how many pages of script can you afford when there's so much material to cover?

Compared to director Kathryn Bigelow's previous offering, The Hurt Locker, ZDT is far less entertaining but also much more important. Ask yourself where you were when you first heard about the 9/11 attacks and I guarantee you will recall every detail without hesitation. A tragedy of such horrific proportions permeates our consciousness whether we allow it to or not. Rest assured that emotions will run high at some point, and that the final 30 minutes are extremely satisfying.

Buoyed by a top-notch cast - Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong - the film features memorable performances, though IMHO, Chastain's best work to date is the sorely overlooked The Debt.

Keep an eye out for a standout scene with Strong bellowing at his colleagues and banging a table. Edgerton, on the other hand, shines every time he's on screen.

Disputes about accuracy aside, ZDT highlights the dedication of America's covert agents and the epic task they undertook to secure justice for the innocent thousands who perished that fateful day.

A top awards contender, this also focuses on a subject which is dear to my heart. Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as America's greatest president, and Steven Spielberg's biopic chooses a key period in his life - i.e. the passing of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States.

Like ZDT ( and many recent movies ranging from Skyfall to The Hobbit ), Lincoln lasts a bladder-bursting 2 hours and 40 minutes, with numerous scenes of subdued conversation. The complexity of Washington politics is lost on me, but again, the illustrious cast makes the journey highly enjoyable.

Daniel Day-Lewis embraces his role wholeheartedly, earning well-deserved accolades from critics and film industry colleagues. However, his tour de force performance thus far was in There Will Be Blood. Lincoln is, without a doubt, a great character, but Daniel Plainview generated much more from the audience - a potent mixture of disgust, pity and admiration.

All bets are on Day-Lewis to win his third Oscar. Do you agree?

Next, a few highly anticipated TV shows which will premiere soon.

The Following airs in the US next Monday.

Hannibal will debut in March.

And the incredibly hot Jonathan Rhys Meyers will play Dracula in a revamped version of Stoker's timeless tale. Do not fret - the story may deviate from the original, but the setting remains in the correct era.

Other exciting events in the near future:

1) Adam Lambert's concert on 8 March
2) Venus In Fur, staged by the Singapore Repertory Theatre
3) Kumar's annual standup gig at the Esplanade
4) Dirty Dancing at the Marina Bay Sands
5) Rabbit Hole, Next To Normal and Gruesome Playground Injuries by Pangdemonium!

Details can be found at Just Watch Lah.

If you previously weren't a big fan of local theatre, 2013 is the year to change that!

Till next time... :)

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