Friday, October 29, 2010


Okay, I'm going to abandon the Bliss theme because frankly, I've lost count.

Will also take a short break from the holiday posts, because I really want to write about some other good stuff. :)

Here goes.


An assortment of rented DVDs, online versions, and Krisworld fare.

Caught Knight And Day en route from Paris to Singapore. Surprisingly enjoyable! Not a particularly big fan of Cruise or Diaz, but this little caper turned out to be extremely fun, with great chemistry between the leads, a bonus in the form of Peter Sarsgaard ( I LOVE that guy :)), and another bonus - John Powell helming the excellent score ( he also composed for The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Shrek and other blockbuster animated films ).

Robin Hood was a major letdown. Lots of big players in the form of the Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe partnership, and co-stars Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong, but the script was so anti-climactic. Horrible ending! Supposed to set things up for a sequel, but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Prince Of Persia gave me a headache. Was hoping I'd drool over Jake Gyllenhaal the same way a certain female reviewer did, but my heart rate didn't budge one bit. All that supposedly witty / flirtatious verbal sparring between Jake and Gemma Arterton just falls flat. Yawn...

Shrek 4 is another big yawn. But hey, it was the last of a marathon session on the plane, so I guess I should give it a second chance when it hits cable.

Rented DVDs:

It's Complicated - hilarious! I started to appreciate Meryl Streep's acting skills very late in her career, specifically after her perfectly poised turn in The Devil Wears Prada. This rom-com provided an additional draw for me: Steve Martin, whom I absolutely adore.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, who's responsible for The Holiday and Something's Gotta Give, I knew from the get-go that I would love this film, because I've watched the other two multiple times and never tire of them.

The script is smart and realistic, the cast spot-on in terms of characterization and comic timing. I don't fancy the fat-and-hairy Alec Baldwin as a romantic lead, but hey, I thought Jack Nicholson was super-cool in Something's Gotta Give, so I can't explain my preferences.

Everybody's Fine - had me in tears half the time. Yes, I realize that as I grow older, I cry over movies a lot more. And 2010 has been a whopper. Actually, it's the cartoons that really get to me, but for some reason, this Robert de Niro drama was very affecting.

His portrayal of a lonely widower trying to connect with his grown-up offspring is poignant yet understated. All those shots of him travelling solo across the country were just soooo sad. Maybe it's because my own parents are hitting their 70s, and I would be devastated if they ended up like de Niro's character.

Special mention goes to Sam Rockwell, whose sensitive performance as an underachieving son is quite heart-breaking.

Thank goodness there's a happy ending to the whole saga. :)

Jennifer's Body - I know it didn't get the best reviews, but I kinda dig this movie! ( p.s. It helps that the DVD isn't censored. There's some girl-on-girl action which will definitely get snipped in the cable version. )

What saves this horror flick from B-grade hell is Amanda Seyfried, an actress I've never cared for much, but couldn't take my eyes off here. She does the terrified expression very well indeed!

Johnny Simmons steals some of the lead actresses' thunder with his boyish good looks and sweet demeanour. But it's Adam Brody's cameo as a Satan-worshipping rocker that provides the biggest jolt. Guy-liner, anyone? :)

Shutter Island is now my 2nd favourite Leonardo DiCaprio film, after Inception.

Equally trippy in terms of grand concepts, but much easier to understand. Thanks to Martin Scorsese, the overall result is effectively dark and ominous. Have you seen Cape Fear, also directed by Scorsese? Very Alfred Hitchcock-esque. Love it!

Up In The Air - made me think a lot more than I thought I would. Much has been said about lead stars George Clooney and Vera Farmiga, but I feel that supporting actress Anna Kendrick deserves the greatest credit here, for her memorable portrayal of an ambitious young graduate with unexpected weaknesses and complicated character flaws.

Ryan Bingham's comment about the irrelevance of marriage is a hoot - "I just don't see the value in it." ( Clooney is, after all, marriage-phobic in real life ) - yet also full of truth. I should know - I'm relationship-phobic too. And proudly so. :)

On to the animated films, both viewed online. Thank you, Megavideo!

Toy Story 3 - yes, definitely the best of the trilogy, and a fitting conclusion to a delightful franchise ( though deep down, I'm crossing my fingers that Pixar's execs will change their minds and continue this magical journey ). I laughed till my sides hurt and cried my eyes out. The new characters are beautifully fleshed out ( Timothy Dalton's Mr. Pricklepants and Michael Keaton's Ken doll are priceless! ) but never outshine the anchors ( Woody, Buzz, the Potato Heads, Jessie, Rex, Hamm etc ). It's a fine balancing act on the director's and writers' parts. The massive box office earnings are proof that they did everything right.

How To Train Your Dragon is the crowning glory of this list. I didn't have time to see it in the cinema, but watching it on a computer screen proved to be an amazing experience nonetheless.

Sure, I take issue with the accent discrepancies. I mean, the story's about Vikings, and you have an assortment of Scottish and American twangs, which make zero sense.

Still, I found myself completely engrossed in spite of the huge boo-boo, mostly because the cast members do such incredible jobs with their vocal performances.

Gerard Butler is perfect as the brooding, towering Stoick, while America Ferrera ( from Ugly Betty ) is a revelation as the ferocious tomboy, Astrid.

But it is Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, who steals the entire show. He resembles the cartoon character to some extent, and the artists capitalize on that by adding mannerisms which greatly enhance the whole awkward / comic element.

Once again, John Powell's soaring music drives many of the action sequences, especially the ones involving Hiccup zipping through the air with Toothless.

Ultimately, however, I love this film because of its big big heart. Even more than Toy Story 3, believe it or not! There're multiple emotional subplots that somehow manage to avoid stifling each other, and you find yourself rooting for everyone ( dragons included, 'cos they're the good guys too! ).

And being an ardent animal lover, the scenes where Hiccup bonds with the different dragons really got to me, man. There's a little one that curls up under his arm and starts purring. I'm not joking! Made me think of my pet cat, Nemo. Awww.... :)

Last but not least, some juicy TV.

Dexter season 5 is off to a rousing start, as Mr. Morgan indulges his Dark Passenger in an effort to cope after his wife's violent demise. He offs a vicious serial killer early on, but now has to contend with an unexpected witness who's proving to be a tad unhinged. Add to all this baggage the constant attention required by his infant son, Harrison, who's already begun to sink his teeth into fellow playmates. Plus a chain of bloody beheadings committed by a cult-like sect.

Michael C. Hall continues to enthrall, and was cheated of a well-deserved Emmy for season 4, argh! Let's hope he strikes gold with S5.

Julia Stiles provides the Hollywood cred this time round ( following in the footsteps of John Lithgow and Jimmy Smits ), and turns in the best performance of her career as Lumen, the mysterious survivor who may or may not result in Dexter's eventual undoing.

I also recently caught the premiere episode of The Good Wife season 2. Am extremely grateful to the writers for expanding Josh Charles' role in the series. Lots of similarities with his Knox Overstreet character from Dead Poets Society, as Will Gardner declares his love for Alicia Florrick, but is cruelly thwarted by image consultant Eli Gold ( deliciously played by Alan Cumming ). The injustice!!!

Anyway, much as I like Chris Noth, who plays Alicia's straying husband, Peter, I want Will to win this battle.

Yes, I watch waaay too many movies and TV shows for my own good. But they make me very very happy. :D

1 comment:

mumbler said...

i love it's complicated too! alec baldwin was a surprising choice, but i think he had good chemistry with meryl streep. heh heh.