Thursday, August 29, 2013

Awesomeness At Its Peak!

It's been a most eventful few weeks since my last entry, but I've picked the following to wax lyrical about. :)

First, I watched a an excellent indie(?) film named Lovelace, based on a true story about a porn star who was forced into the industry for 17 days, thanks to an abusive, greedy husband who exploited her abominably.

Only 90 minutes long but really packs a wallop, thanks to a truly exceptional cast, script and directors.

Check out the leads - Amanda Seyfriend ( Linda Lovelace ), Peter Sarsgaard ( her a-hole husband ) - plus a stellar lineup of supporting actors including Sharon Stone, Chris Noth, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, James Franco, Robert Patrick and Wes Bentley.

Never mind the star power - another feature I greatly appreciate is how unexpected the casting choices are. E.g. Franco as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, wholesome Brody ( remember The O.C.? ) as a well-endowed porn stud, Stone and Patrick as a boring, dowdy couple ( Linda's parents! ).

Bentley also has a few very memorable moments as a photographer who gets Linda to loosen up during a shoot. I've known about him since American Beauty, and he's hardly aged a day since that film, despite a hard-core drug habit which almost killed him ( he's been to rehab, so here's wishing him a successful recovery ). I mention him specifically because even though the movie is jam-packed with famous faces and explosive performances, Bentley's mere minutes on screen are hypnotic. I'll let you experience this for yourself. Even my mum - who isn't the sort to comment unless she's REALLY impressed ( or disgusted, haha ) - couldn't help blurting something about his sheer gorgeousness. If he'd been 5-10 years younger, I think he'd be perfect as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades. :)

I'm a huge fan of many of the cast members' work, but Peter Sarsgaard blew my mind! He'd already wowed me in Shattered Glass, Jarhead, An Education, Orphan and The Killing season 3 ( freaking amazing, that series ), but Lovelace is the current pinnacle of his career ( and I have no doubt he will surpass it again soon ). He's always excelled at playing flawed, complex characters, and although Chuck in Lovelace is obviously evil, Sarsgaard conveys his pathological paranoia and insecurity brilliantly, with a few comical scenes thrown in for good measure.

I am most eager to get my hands on Blue Jasmine, in which he stars with Cate Blanchett, and Woody Allen directs!

Another fantastic series I need to mention is The Fall, starring The X-Files' Gillian Anderson as a top detective on the hunt for a serial killer. A BBC adaptation of a European (?Swedish ?Danish) show, season 1 only has 5 episodes, but every single one is absolutely amazing.

I've included this variation of the poster because I want to highlight the male lead, Jamie Dornan, who plays the killer. He's remained far below the radar all these years, and I missed his turn in Once Upon A Time ( because I can't understand it ). Imagine my surprise when he surfaced in The Fall and blew me away with quite possibly one of the best serial killer portrayals ever ( aside from Michael C. Hall's Dexter Morgan ).

Again, I don't want to ruin your viewing, so I'm going to keep things vague. Suffice to say, there're numerous shocking moments, and episodes 4 and 5 are positively chilling. Be prepared for the major cliffhanger ( same goes for The Killing season 3 ), which will keep you going till the show returns ( no date announced yet ).

Breaking Bad is currently in its 5th and final season in the U.S., but I only caught on last month, so I'm now at season 2 episode 2.

I'd always wondered what everyone was raving about, but never felt the urge to find out for myself until recently, when I succumbed to multiple friends' repeated prodding.

I happily concede defeat, and am hopelessly hooked! :)

I've added various posters for your examination - if you follow the series, you'll realize that this sequence tells Walter White's story chronologically, i.e. a tale of gradual but alarming transformation, and a riveting study on how extenuating circumstances can drive decent, peaceful people to extremes.

The best part, however, isn't the sheer nastiness or intermittent spurts of psychopathic violence. As season 2 episode 2 ingeniously illustrates, even the simplest prop can elevate satire to the highest level.

Stroke patient in a wheelchair + counter bell. Watch and tell me you laughed your guts out too. :D

I'm taking my time getting the online episodes. Definitely one of my top 3 faves right now. A huge thank you to everyone who recommended this to me. :)

Will sign off with a photo of my next holiday destination next spring. Didn't take any big trips this year, so I can afford to splurge a little. The flights will be tough, but I expect a lot of R&R downtime. Beautiful, isn't it? :D

More reviews and updates in September...

No comments: