Thursday, 5 March 2015

2015 MTV Movie Awards Nominees and My Predictions :D

MTV Movie Awards 2015 nominations were announced today. Let's take a look at the insanely cheesy categories and listen to my blabber about my predictions :D

Oh, don't think for a second that I am taking this post seriously. MTV Movie Award is most likely one of the cheesiest award shows, possibly a close second after Teen Choice Awards. I usually can't even form any opinions on these awards as I don't watch the material that these shows nominate but looking at MTV Movie Awards nominees this year, well I did watch some of these movies so I can at least make my own predictions!! Yay me! I feel like I just dropped to age 10 from 25 :P In all fairness, finally we've got some solid nominees!

Before we delve into the nominations, just reading the titles of some of these categories is enough to crack me up. Best shirtless moment? Best scared-as-s... performance? Best WTF moment? This is insane!! :D How can I ever take this seriously? :D This has to be my most loose post on this blog, EVER! You would normally never witness me writing like this.

Please note that my predictions are not realistic. I mean I don't actually predict that my candidate will win, I don't have any claims over it. This will be a wish list, I'll simply wish for my nominee to win. But honestly I am rubbish at predicting winners for events such as MTV Movie Award or Teen Choice as, well... I am mature so I've got no idea how people will vote. I'm pretty good at predicting Oscars, BAFTAs, Emmys and Golden Globes. But MTV Movie Awards? I'm lost :) Well, let's get into it, shall we?

 Movie of the Year 
"American Sniper" 
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" 
"Guardians of the Galaxy" 
"Gone Girl" 
"The Fault in Our Stars" 

My thoughts: I suggest you read my Whiplash review. I obviously think Whiplash is the movie of the year. Hell, it is the movie of my life!!! However, I do want to give high praise to Boyhood, Selma and The Fault in Our Stars, especially the last one as it's among the first love stories that I actually enjoyed for once.

Best Female Performance 
Jennifer Lawrence, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" 
Emma Stone, "Birdman" 
Shailene Woodley, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
Scarlett Johansson, "Lucy" 
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild" 

My thoughts: Emma Stone was nominated for an Oscar and she was incredible in Birdman, I will not take that away from her. But after watching The Fault in Our Stars, I think this award should most definitely go to Shailene Woodley, I think her performance was breathtaking and she completely owned the movie!

Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars

Best Male Performance
Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper" 
Chris Pratt, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
Ansel Elgort, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
Miles Teller, "Whiplash" 
Channing Tatum, "Foxcatcher" 

My thoughts: Miles Teller? Obviously!!! Do we even have to talk about this? If Miles doesn't win this I'll go bonkers! :P By the way it is unbelievable that Eddie Redmayne wasn't nominated for this category. I guess Theory of Everything was too "smart" for MTV Movie Awards :D Joke aside, this category will display who the current flavour of the month or let me put it in other words; the current heartthrob is. I am thinking the girls will go for either Channing Tatum or Ansel Elgort... Speaking of Ansel, he was significantly overshadowed by Shailene in The Fault in Our Stars. Was he bad? No!! He gave a commendable performance but he couldn't keep up with Shailene. That girl is a beast!

Miles Teller in Whiplash

Best Scared-as-S--- Performance 
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl" 
Annabelle Wallis, "Annabelle" 
Jennifer Lopez, "The Boy Next Door" 
Dylan O'Brien, "The Maze Runner" 
Zach Gilford, "The Purge: Anarchy" 

My thoughts: What kind of category is that? :P Well, I really enjoyed Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. So I'll go with her. I did watch the other nominees as well but Rosamund Pike scared me as s---!!!

Breakthrough Performance 
Ansel Elgort, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl" 
David Oyelowo, "Selma" 
Dylan O'Brien, "The Maze Runner" 
Ellar Coltrane, "Boyhood" 

My thoughts: I rest my case about Ansel Elgort, he was overshadowed by Shailene Woodley. But, Ellar Coltrane gave the performance of his life, literally, in Boyhood. He should definitely win this category.

Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood

Best Shirtless Performance 
Zac Efron, "Neighbors" 
Chris Pratt, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
Channing Tatum, "Foxcatcher" 
Ansel Elgort, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
Kate Upton, "The Other Woman" 

My thoughts: I am a 25 year old straight female and despite that fact, even thinking about this category makes me want to burp... So I'll pass! :) Sorry... I am too old for this. :D

Best Duo 
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, "22 Jump Street" 
Zac Efron and Dave Franco, "Neighbors" 
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
James Franco and Seth Rogen, "The Interview" 

My thoughts: I will definitely go with Shailene and Ansel in The Fault in Our Stars. I really adored their heartwarming dynamic in the movie.

Best Fight 
Jonah Hill vs. Jillian Bell, "22 Jump Street" 
Chris Evans vs. Sebastian Stan, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" 
Dylan O'Brien vs. Will Poulter, "The Maze Runner" 
Seth Rogen vs. Zac Efron, "Neighbors" 
Edward Norton vs. Michael Keaton, "Birdman" 

My thoughts: This is quite an easy answer for me. Edward Norton <3 (can't resist, sorry) and Michael Keaton!!! I laughed at that scene for ages! Even uploading its picture is enough to crack me up!

Best Kiss
Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley, "The Fault in Our Stars" 
James Franco and Seth Rogen, "The Interview" 
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" 
Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" 
Rose Byrne and Halston Sage, "Neighbors" 

My thoughts: I'll go with Ansel and Shailene in The Fault in Our Stars again. Everything about that movie was heartwarming!

Best WTF Moment 
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, "Neighbors" 
Jonah Hill, "22 Jump Street" 
Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, "Horrible Bosses 2" 
Miles Teller, "Whiplash" 
Rosario Dawson and Anders Holm, "Top Five" 

My thoughts: Considering I literally went "WTF" more than once during Whiplash, I'll go with Miles Teller again! That solo in the finale made me dislocate my jaw... And it wasn't even the only WTF moment throughout the movie. It's filled with them!

Best Villain 
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl" 
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash" 
Jillian Bell, "22 Jump Street" 
Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods" 
Peter Dinklage, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" 

My thoughts: This is tough. I don't consider J.K. Simmons' character in Whiplash a villain, that would mean oversimplifying the character who is actually very deep and complex in nature. If he was a villain though, he'd walk away with this category easily. But as I don't consider him a villain, I'll go with Rosamund Pike. I truly hated her character in Gone Girl :D

Best Musical Moment 
Jennifer Lawrence, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" 
Chris Pratt, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, "Neighbors" 
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, "The Skeleton Twins" 
Miles Teller, "Whiplash" 

My thoughts: Damn! While I heavily stand on Miles Teller's side once again, I can't help but commemorate that beautiful and too-cute-to-handle singing scene with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in The Skeleton Twins. That scene was the very best one in that movie and it made me put on my broadest smile the entire time and I don't smile that easy! But again, this category should be an easy win for Miles Teller in Whiplash.

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in The Skeleton Twins

Best Comedic Performance 
Channing Tatum, "22 Jump Street" 
Chris Pratt, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
Rose Byrne, "Neighbors" 
Chris Rock, "Top Five" 
Kevin Hart, "The Wedding Ringer" 

My thoughts: Uh... None please. I'll pass on this!

Best On-Screen Transformation 
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything" 
Elizabeth Banks, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" 
Zoe Saldana, "Guardians of the Galaxy" 
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher" 
Ellar Coltrane, "Boyhood"

My thoughts: A very easy answer for me: Eddie Redmayne! If Stephen Hawking himself is saying that he felt as if it was him in that movie, then Eddie must have done something right, eh? 

Monday, 2 March 2015

What is Happening to So You Think You Can Dance??

While I'm chuffed to bits that my all time favourite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance, was renewed for its 12th season despite its low ratings (I wonder why as the sheer level of talent significantly improves each year), the new season will bring forth some RADICAL changes!

Season 11 winner Ricky Ubeda who I consider to be THE BEST dancer this show has had OF ALL TIME, completely walked away with the competition last year.

Most important of them all, SYTYCD permanent judge Mary Murphy is being replaced. The reasons behind the decision are a bit shady but we know that her contract wasn't renewed. One can easily speculate that her relationship with Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and also a permanent judge to the show, wasn't as colourful as they seem to display on the show. This whole thing reeks of betrayal to me.

"I'm saddened of course to be released from my contract. I'm very grateful and proud to have been part of such an extraordinary television show, So You Think You Can Dance, for 11 seasons. I'm sure there wasn't a person watching that didn't know I loved what I did!!" said Murphy in a statement confirming rumours circulating that web about the departure of the Hot Tamale Train.

Mary Murphy exists So You Think You Can Dance panel.

Now, I do agree that Mary Murphy is a little on the annoying side. But the last sentence of her statement pretty much sums up her entire goofy and loud persona on the show. She loved what she did and she was just extremely happy and excited to do it...

The once staple, Mary Murphy will be replaced not with 1 name but 2! Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo, who both were guest judges, will be replacing Murphy as permanent judges in Season 12. I find this troubling... While Murphy could be a bit irritating, she always gave good pointers to dancers to improve them. However when Jason Derulo, who has tap background, was a guest judge; he had nothing substantial to say to the dancers. As for Paula Abdul, well... Her mumblings are a bit difficult to understand but she at least has much more experience in dance so I hope she will prove to be useful with her criticisms unlike Derulo. I wish they came up with different names to replace Murphy, though...

Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo will replace Mary Murphy.

Change of judging panel will also bring a change in format. Season 12 will have a completely different format, separating the dancers into 2 groups. Stage Dancers vs Street Dancers: Stage dancers will include classically trained dancers from Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Ballet while Street dancers will be comprised of Hip-hop, Animation, Breaking. So in the top 20, we will have 10 stage and 10 street dancers battling out for the title: "America's Favourite Dancer". 

On a last note, whatever article I read on this new format had nothing to say about gender. Will each group have 5 female and 5 male dancers or will they try to balance out the genders as a whole rather than in individual groups? Like 7 females in stage and 3 females in street? I don't know...

I am not too happy with this news but only time will show if these changes will increase the ratings or keep the entertainment going. I do admit that I will miss the chemistry of Lythgoe and Murphy, though. If the fun factor significantly drops, I'm sure they will have Jesse Tyler Ferguson to fall back on. Now that's a man I'd love to see as a permanent judge!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

We Lost Leonard Nimoy :'(

I am so upset to see that the world has lost another legend. Leonard Nimoy, best known as Spock from Original Star Trek, has passed away at the age of 83 this Friday due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

He lived long and prospered, was among the remarks I thought of at first; but then it fell a little flat to me. I don't think the former argument is true in this case. While he certainly prospered, he didn't live long. I wish he was with us for much longer. But he still managed to squeeze a legendary career and a magnificent personality in his life and left a great legacy in his wake.

I wanted to take this opportunity to pay my own little tribute to him. My deepest and sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and of course to us fans.

You will, and always shall be, our friend, Leonard. You will be missed. Rest in peace. LLAP.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash are the Lead Winners at The 87th Annual Academy Awards

The 87th Annual Academy Awards found their winners yesterday at a ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Before talking about the winners, I'd like to talk a little about my highlights and least favourite moments of the show.

As far as hosting goes I found Neil Patrick Harris not even halfway decent, I found the whole thing pretty terrible actually. I didn't like most of the jokes. Whenever NPH tried to land a joke I felt that my face was unsure of how to act, like was it disgusted, appalled or disappointed? I don't know. I really hated Reese Witherspoon introduction, “This next presenter is so lovely you could eat her up with her spoon: Reese Witherspoon”. It just felt like a 10 year old trying to rhyme random words to write a poem for a girl he likes which is actually cute when you think about it but in that instance it really wasn't! It isn't his fault as he is not the one writing the jokes but the execution of almost everything was still a disaster.

The opening monologue was not something that shook me in excitement and there was only one joke that made me chuckle; "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest — sorry — brightest" said NPH referencing the lack of African American nominees this year, namely Selma, which rightfully made the Academy a prime target for criticism based on racism concerns!

There were great skits that could have been done based on the movies that were nominated for Oscars this year. Like in the video I shared yesterday on my blog about the Independent Spirit Awards, that window of opportunity was taken wonderfully. However when NPH tried to mock Birdman and Whiplash the same way, it just fell flat. It was "sort" of funny (not in a good way) when he stripped down to his underwear to re-enact the iconic scene of Michael Keaton in Birdman but he really couldn't handle the J.K. Simmon's one of notorious quotes "not my tempo" part very well with Miles Teller when the whole thing abruptly ended. The whole thing had me cringing on my seat. However, in Independent Spirit Awards the whole sketch was choreographed and acted beautifully. Also, for once just let Miles keep playing, he's just so brilliant!!! Watch the video of Birdman spoof below:

The best moment for me was when Original Song winners Common and John Legend performed the original song of Selma, Glory, which was a very moving and emotional moment bringing almost everybody at the theatre to tears. I just loved how Chris Pine gave a standing ovation at the end with tears falling down on his face. My second most favourite moment was Best Adapted Screenplay (The Imitation Game) winner Graham Moore's touching acceptance speech where he talked about his suicide attempt at the age of 16, encouraging kids to remain weird and different and that one day they would have their turn to pass along the same message to the next person.

Let's check out the winners now.

Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash were the main winners of the ceremony, the first two winning 4 categories out of 9 nominations while Whiplash scored 3 out of 5! As expected J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette won their Supporting Role categories while Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore won Lead Roles. It is common knowledge that this year the fiercest competition was in Director, Motion Picture and Screenplay categories going back and forth between Birdman and Boyhood; however, Birdman crushed Boyhood in all those categories. To my absolute NO surprise Whiplash won best Sound Mixing and Editing while Birdman took Cinematography. Wes Anderson's brilliant Grand Budapest Hotel knew no competition in Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling. 

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Motion Picture of the Year


Other Nominees:
American Sniper
The Imitation Game 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Theory of Everything

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (2014)

Other Nominees:
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher (2014)
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game (2014)
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (2014)
Michael Keaton for Birdman (2014)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014)

Other Nominees:
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night (2014)
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (2014)
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl (2014)
Reese Witherspoon for Wild (2014)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (2014)

Other Nominees:
Robert Duvall for The Judge (2014)
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood (2014/I)
Edward Norton for Birdman (2014)
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher (2014)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (2014/I)

Other Nominees:
Laura Dern for Wild (2014)
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game (2014)
Emma Stone for Birdman (2014)
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods (2014)

Best Achievement in Directing

Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman (2014)

Other Nominees:
Richard Linklater for Boyhood (2014/I)
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher (2014)
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game (2014)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Birdman (2014): Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo

Other Nominees:
Boyhood (2014/I): Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher (2014): E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler (2014): Dan Gilroy

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Imitation Game (2014): Graham Moore

Other Nominees:
American Sniper (2014): Jason Hall
Inherent Vice (2014): Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything (2014): Anthony McCarten
Whiplash (2014): Damien Chazelle

I urge you to watch Graham Moore's inspirational speech!
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Other Nominees:
The Boxtrolls (2014)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Song of the Sea (2014)
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Ida (2013): Pawel Pawlikowski

Other Nominees:
Tangerines (2013): Zaza Urushadze
Leviathan (2014): Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales (2014): Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu (2014): Abderrahmane Sissako

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Birdman (2014): Emmanuel Lubezki

Other Nominees:
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Robert D. Yeoman
Ida (2013): Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner (2014): Dick Pope
Unbroken (2014/I): Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Editing

Whiplash (2014): Tom Cross

Other Nominees:
Boyhood (2014/I): Sandra Adair
The Imitation Game (2014): William Goldenberg
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Barney Pilling
American Sniper (2014): Joel Cox, Gary Roach

Best Achievement in Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock

Other Nominees:
The Imitation Game (2014): Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar (2014): Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods (2014): Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner (2014): Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

Best Achievement in Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Milena Canonero

Other Nominees:
Inherent Vice (2014): Mark Bridges
Into the Woods (2014): Colleen Atwood
Maleficent (2014): Anna B. Sheppard
Mr. Turner (2014): Jacqueline Durran

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier

Other Nominees:
Foxcatcher (2014): Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Alexandre Desplat

Other Nominees:
The Imitation Game (2014): Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar (2014): Hans Zimmer
The Theory of Everything (2014): Jóhann Jóhannsson
Mr. Turner (2014): Gary Yershon

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Selma (2014): Common, John Legend(Glory)

Other Nominees:
The Lego Movie (2014): Shawn Patterson(Everything is Awesome)
Beyond the Lights (2014): Diane Warren(Grateful)
Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me (2014): Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond(I’m Not Gonna Miss You)
Begin Again (2013/II): Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois(Lost Stars)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Whiplash (2014): Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley

Other Nominees:
American Sniper (2014): John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman (2014): Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar (2014): Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken (2014/I): Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

American Sniper (2014): Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman

Other Nominees:
Birdman (2014): Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar (2014): Richard King
Unbroken (2014/I): Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Interstellar (2014): Paul J. Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R. Fisher

Other Nominees:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

Best Documentary, Feature

Citizenfour (2014): Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Other Nominees:
Finding Vivian Maier (2013): John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam (2014): Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth (2014): Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga (2014): Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013): Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry

Other Nominees:
Joanna (2013/I): Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse (2013): Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (2013): Gabriel Serra
White Earth (2014): Christian Jensen

Best Short Film, Animated

Feast (2014/I): Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed

Other Nominees:
The Bigger Picture (2014): Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper (2014): Robert Kondo, Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi
Me and My Moulton (2014): Torill Kove
A Single Life (2014): Joris Oprins

Best Short Film, Live Action

The Phone Call (2013): Mat Kirkby, James Lucas

Other Nominees:
Aya (2012/I): Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham (2014): Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (2013): Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh (2012): Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell Poke Fun at Birdman and Whiplash at 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards, Birdman Wins Top Honours!

The winners for 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards 2015 were announced yesterday at a ceremony hosted by Fred Armisen and Kirsten Bell.

The show kicked things off with the funniest skit I've ever seen in an award ceremony, mocking top contenders Birdman, Whiplash and Boyhood. At the beginning, we watch Fred Armisen levitating, moving objects and looking down on his life for having to host the Independent Awards, similar to Michael Keaton's character in Birdman, before he moves on to the next room to convince Kristen Bell to co-host the show with him. After much deliberation, furious at the non-stop loud drumming Kristen Bell leaves the room to find the source. Then Armisen and Bell move in to the next room to find Miles Teller jamming on the drum set. As Armisen suddenly changes into the cut-throat Fletcher, by J.K. Simmons in Whiplash, to ask whether Miles was rushing or dragging, this time it is Miles who does the slapping which totally cracked me up! For the finale Armisen wants to cut the scene which ultimately angers their director who happens to be Bill Hader (I just adore him!) dressed as Alejandro González Iñárritu (Director of Birdman). Ps. Thanks to Miles Teller for providing us with yet another music festival throughout the video.

We won't see any opening this funny for who knows how long so I'll share the video here, just enjoy.

After this hilarious opening, let's take a look at the winners.

Birdman took top honours by taking home the Best Feature, Best Male Lead (Michael Keaton) and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), none of which I am sure was surprising, although Alejandro González Iñárritu lost Best Director to Richard Linklater for Boyhood. Julianne Moore deservedly won Best Female Lead while Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons won their Best Supporting Female and Male categories respectively, again no surprise there. Nightcrawler, a very unique movie which I also happened to enjoy thoroughly, won Best First Feature and Best Screenplay categories while Whiplash won Best Editing (/sarcasm on "what a shock!" /sarcasm off). 

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Feature


Other Nominees:
Love Is Strange 

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Director of Birdman
Best First Feature


Other Nominees:
Dear White People 
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 
Obvious Child 
She's Lost Control

Best Director

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Other Nominees:
Damien Chazelle for Whiplash 
Ava DuVernay for Selma 
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman 
David Zellner for Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 

Best Female Lead

Julianne Moore for Still Alice 

Other Nominees:
Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant 
Rinko Kikuchi for Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 
Jenny Slate for Obvious Child 
Tilda Swinton for Only Lovers Left Alive 

Best Male Lead

Michael Keaton for Birdman 

Other Nominees:
André Benjamin for Jimi: All Is by My Side 
Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler 
John Lithgow for Love Is Strange 
David Oyelowo for Selma 

Best Supporting Female

Patricia Arquette for Boyhood 

Other Nominees:
Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo for Selma 
Emma Stone for Birdman 
Andrea Suarez Paz for Stand Clear of the Closing Doors 

Best Supporting Male

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash 

Other Nominees:
Riz Ahmed for Nightcrawler 
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood 
Alfred Molina for Love Is Strange 
Edward Norton for Birdman

Best Screenplay

Nightcrawler (2014): Dan Gilroy

Other Nominees:
Big Eyes (2014/I): Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Love Is Strange (2014): Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
A Most Violent Year (2014): J.C. Chandor
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013): Jim Jarmusch

Best First Screenplay

Dear White People (2014): Justin Simien

Other Nominees:
Appropriate Behavior (2014): Desiree Akhavan
Little Accidents (2014): Sara Colangelo
She's Lost Control (2014): Anja Marquardt
The One I Love (2014): Justin Lader

Best Cinematography

Birdman (2014): Emmanuel Lubezki

Other Nominees:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014): Lyle Vincent
It Felt Like Love (2013): Sean Porter
Selma (2014): Bradford Young
The Immigrant (2013): Darius Khondji

Best International Film

Ida (2013): Pawel Pawlikowski

Other Nominees:
Leviathan (2014): Andrey Zvyagintsev
Mommy (2014/I): Xavier Dolan
Norte, the End of History (2013): Lav Diaz
Force Majeure (2014): Ruben Östlund
Under the Skin (2013/I): Jonathan Glazer

Best Documentary

Citizenfour (2014): Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Other Nominees:
20,000 Days on Earth (2014): Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard, Dan Bowen, James Wilson
Stray Dog (2014): Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
The Salt of the Earth (2014): Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Wim Wenders, David Rosier
Virunga (2014): Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara

John Cassavetes Award

Land Ho! (2014): Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens, Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Other Nominees:
Blue Ruin (2013): Jeremy Saulnier, Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
It Felt Like Love (2013): Eliza Hittman, Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner
Man from Reno (2014): Dave Boyle, Joel Clark, Michael Lerman, Ko Mori
Test (2013/I): Chris Mason Johnson, Chris Martin

Truer Than Fiction Award

The Kill Team (2013): Dan Krauss

Other Nominees:
Approaching the Elephant (2014): Amanda Wilder
Evolution of a Criminal (2014): Darius Clark Monroe
The Last Season (2014): Sara Dosa

Someone to Watch Award

H. (2014): Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia

Other Nominees:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014): Ana Lily Amirpour
The Retrieval (2013): Chris Eska

Producers Award

Chris Ohlson

Other Nominees:
Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm

Robert Altman Award

Inherent Vice (2014): Paul Thomas Anderson, Cassandra Kulukundis, Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon

Best Editing

Whiplash (2014): Tom Cross

Other Nominees:
Boyhood (2014/I): Sandra Adair
Nightcrawler (2014): John Gilroy
A Most Violent Year (2014): Ron Patane
The Guest (2014/I): Adam Wingard

Special Distinction Award

Foxcatcher (2014): Bennett Miller, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik

Friday, 20 February 2015

Whiplash Review: A "Bloody" Masterpiece!

I have watched all the Oscar contenders now from Boyhood to Birdman, all of which definitely impressed me. But there was one gem among these movies, one I have waited for ever since I first saw its trailer when it was first released about 8 months ago, one that affected me beyond my wildest imaginations after finally getting to see it. And that is Whiplash and this is why I stand before you with this review instead of other movies like Theory of Everything or Birdman (which were still incredible!!!).

Whiplash earned its place in my hallmark of masterpieces and it's a movie I can not stop watching so I am begging someone to please make me stop because this can't be good for my health! The movie got me addicted to it...

I  have quite a handful of movie reviews on this blog (still not nearly enough) and I usually write about the movies that I really really like as I sadly don't have enough time to write about everything I watched, so in my reviews you will often come across my usual statements such as "this is my new favourite movie", "this is the best movie I watched in the year blabla". Whiplash made me realise that I am too hasty with these statements.

Now, forget all those remarks I made in my previous reviews and read this: WHIPLASH IS THE BEST MOVIE I SAW IN MY WHOLE LIFE! Just last night after watching the movie for the 3rd time (already in a month) I was thinking so hard about my top 5 list (drama/thriller) and where I should place Whiplash. Why do I even have to think? It's number 1 easy!

After my emotional blabbering about how much I liked and enjoyed Whiplash, how I think it's the best movie ever or how it will always have a special place reserved in my heart and brain and so on and on, let's finally get into detail about the story and the characters.

Whiplash tells the story of an ambitious young drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), who is passionate beyond human capabilities to become one of the "greats" and the struggles he has to go through in order to achieve this goal. He attends fictional Shaffer Conservatory, the best and the most prestigious music school in the country. But he has one obstacle standing in his way or is it an obstacle? You watch the movie and decide for yourself. And this "obstacle" is his ruthless and driven teacher/conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) with rather unconventional teaching methods who would give any student nightmares and make them wish they weren't even born!

The acting in Whiplash is breathtaking. It's even hard to call it "acting". What can you say when an actor doesn't play a part but BECOMES the part? Is it even fair to call it "portraying" when magnificently talented Miles Teller plays the drum all by himself while literally shedding blood and sweat? I mean he actually bled on the drum set... Whiplash Director Damien Chazelle's refusal to cut the scenes also led to Miles thoroughly exhausting himself during takes. So the pain you see on his face from excessive playing is all for real. What else is there to do except take off my hat to him? I mean, is there even a line between "acting" and "being" in Whiplash.

Miles' character Andrew is not your typical protagonist. Yes, you will certainly get angry at his narcissism. He looks down on anyone, he really couldn't care less about what anyone thinks and he is prepared to crush anyone that might stand in his way to stop him from taking what he has earned; yet you can't help but root for him to succeed. Andrew, to me is like a hero for being ready to leave behind anything that would even slightly diminish his chances to reach his goals. In a time when everyone is used to being spoon-fed or spoiled for doing so little, Andrew tries to breach his own limits and go beyond what's expected of him even if it means absolute isolation and personal torture. His passion and ambition will make you question your own capabilities and limits, possibly showing how we set the bar too low for ourselves these days and how we aren't even prepared to do what's necessary to reach that rather low goal.

This role "might" be considered Miles Teller's break-out to finally become the rising star that he deserves so much. I used the word "might" because watching his previous movies and seeing nothing but flawless performances in all of them made me ask myself why he didn't break-out beforehand (obviously it wasn't in his control...). I greatly urge you to watch his other movies like Footloose (he is so adorable and funny in that), The Spectacular Now, Rabbit Hole and his other titles. He's been mesmerizing in everything that had led up to Whiplash. To me his "performance" (let's call it performance for argument sake) in Whiplash was so raw, spectacular and mind boggling that I definitely think he deserved an Oscar nod even though the award of his category will 99.9% go to Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything). But I still strongly believe that he should have been among the nominees. I am a fan of Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch as well but I am of the opinion that Miles gave a run for their money with his role in Whiplash... Oh, well. Hopefully next time Miles!

Though, he is very young and just as his character Andrew in Whiplash has the potential to become one of the greats, Miles Teller has the potential to become on of the most talked-about and sought-after stars of his generation in the very near future. Speaking of Miles Teller, 20th February (today) is his birthday so happy birthday Miles!

Miles Teller became my favourite actor of his generation!
J.K. Simmons' character Fletcher is a brutal and a brilliant conductor who has dog-like ears that can detect a single mistake from a whole orchestra. When he doesn't throw chairs or make ruthless remarks about your families, mothers, fathers; he might come at you with a couple of firm slaps, so beware! And god forbid you don't know whether you are "dragging" or "rushing", better start praying then! He is prepared to ditch anyone who would harm the harmony of the band or risk the win chances during competitions while inflicting endless emotional distress on his students to be perfect. He will not accept "doing your best" either, he will expect you to do THE BEST! While his sole aim is to win competitions and include as many achievements as he can to his reputation, he has one other subtle mission: To discover the next Charlie Parker. The character sounds horrendous right? However, this wonderfully written character will make you flinch and look away from the screen with his borderline psychopathic ruthlessness, yet in the next scene he will captivate you with his elegance and make you gasp in awe. No wonder J.K. Simmons will win his first Oscar this Sunday. It's just a guaranteed win... There isn't even any room for speculation.

The ending may very well leave you in disbelief; even maybe disappointed or perhaps remind you to exhale after holding your breath for so long as you question whether if it was all worth it. There is a small scene in the finale as the sound slowly turns down until reaching to a complete silence while Andrew becomes a monster on his drum kit as we see the facial expressions on each character. Just like all other the scenes involving screams, cries, great music and exhilarating dialogue; this tiny mute small scene actually has just as much to say and its significance can't be ignored.

Andrew bringing it on in his epic final scene!
(SPOILER WARNING) My personal interpretation (I could be wrong :p) of this scene is Andrew losing his humanity and finding his true self he coveted and worked for, his self image that he believed he deserved to have. This scene also gives us a glimpse of Andrew's dad and the bloodcurdling horror in his eyes possibly realising that he just lost his son. Not but not least we see Fletcher's sparkling bright eyes and a smile forming on his grumpy face for the first time in the whole movie while nodding his head in approval. Did he just discover his Charlie Parker? It is up to you to decide! Was it worth it at the cost of Andrew's being and sanity? Maybe or maybe not. These are all up for interpretation.

Whiplash is a very original movie, a hidden gem among all these low quality trash or remakes lying around. It certainly doesn't involve a typical student/teacher relationship either. Whiplash will keep you glued to your seat by building up infinite thrilling suspense, giving your ears a grand festival of stunning Jazz music and introducing performances so flawless that they are out of this world. What's more, it has one of the most jaw-dropping climax/finale of any movie I could think of. It certainly was a ride that could give me a heart attack, one that I will be so glad to take again many times in the future.

Ps. Just writing about the movie made me want to watch it again. STOP... ME.. PLEASE...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Missing Review: My Best Drama of 2015!

After I was done with The Affair (which was ok), I started looking for a new drama. I came across this poster of The Missing which instantly got my attention and I decided to check it out. The plot of the show seemed intriguing as well, not to mention countless positive reviews and on top of it all I really enjoy psychological thrillers. After watching the whole show in one breath, I can safely say that this show is my favourite drama in 2015 so keep on reading to learn more about it!

Before I get into the story and characters, I should warn that there will be spoilers here and there (look for a warning). Also this post will not be an episode review. I will not be talking about what happens in the finale either. I just enjoyed the 8-episodes-long mini series so much that I just wanted to introduce the show, talk about my opinions and heartily recommend it to everyone. 

The Missing follows the story of Tony and Emily Hughes after the disappearance of their 8 year old son Oliver while they were on a family vacation in a fictional town called Chalons Du Bois in France in 2006. Though, it is important to note that The Missing is not just some abduction/murder case solving type of show (Broadchurch is a good example of that). Instead it's much more about the psychological effects this has on the parents, how their lives change and how they cope with this unspeakable thing. 

After the unfortunate failure of the police investigation in 2006, Tony, brilliantly acted by James Nesbitt, becomes obsessed to find his son. However, Tony's wife Emily, played by Frances O'Connor doesn't want to spend her life in grief and she wants to move on. But, as you can imagine she can't really do that as Tony keeps digging for some new lead that makes them relive the whole situation again to no avail. False hopes, more disappointment and endless grief... Eventually Tony's obsession to find Oliver, results in him losing everyone in his life (this is no spoiler by the way).  

Tony, Emily and Oliver Hughes
In The Missing, the story is shown in 3 specific years; 2006, 2009 and present, so as the viewer you need to pay attention to which year you are currently watching because the years will keep changing during episodes (past to present, present to past). First we see what happens in 2006 when Oliver disappears and how the investigation is carried out and then in 2009 when Tony finds a new lead and then finally to present day when Tony finds another, albeit, a very solid lead that ultimately leads them to one of my most favourite finales of a TV show (many people disagree as it was open ended and ambiguous) where they discover Oliver's fate. I just like open ended finales much more than being spoon fed everything. It leaves so much to the imagination.

Tony and Emily Hughes at a press conference.
The Missing is full of really well written and supremely acted characters. I actually found the story of the side characters much more intriguing than the main characters (does that make me a horrible person?). The story and all these characters are so rich in layer that they will glue you to your seat until you binge watch the whole season (Good news is that there is a season 2 coming out soon with a different story!).

There was one character in particular that really captivated me so much that I believe there could be a whole TV show or a movie dedicated to him. This character is Vincent Bourg, supremely acted by Titus De Voogdt who puts all the actors of his generation to shame! Vincent is the primary suspect of Oliver's disappearance in 2006 as he is a registered sex offender (child porn was found on his computer) and he was in the vicinity of the area where Oliver has disappeared. This character is so well written and so incredibly well acted that it makes the viewer feel actual sympathy for a pedophile. His inner turmoil is very well summarised in an episode in which he tries an experimental treatment to kill off his sex drive as he doesn't want to hurt any children (he hasn't actually hurt any). His body reacts badly to this treatment and his health starts to seriously deteriorate. When his doctor tells Vincent to stop using the medication because it is making him sick, he replies: "Without it, I will be sick. My mind will be sick." His fear of hurting anyone innocent eventually results in the only way he knows that would rid him of this sickness as all his other attempts (even support groups) failed. (SPOILER ALERT), In the finale, Vincent loses what seems to be a fruitless self-struggle and ultimately hangs himself. Talk about a very sad ending to a very sad character...

Vincent Bourg played by Titus De Voogdt is definitely my highlight.
It is odd that I wrote about a side character more than the main characters themselves but I feel like Vincent will be a character that I will never forget about and I will remember first when I think of The Missing. 

There are other side characters with really interesting backgrounds, and are really well acted, for example the unlikable and extremely selfish journalist Malik Suri, played so well by Arsher Ali that he already earned his place on my list of "most hated characters ever!" Of course let's not forget the driven and self-sacrificing detective Julien Baptiste, portrayed wonderfully by Tchéky Karyo, who always assisted Tony with his search to find his missing son, even long after he retires. And then there is the rich, powerful and "philanthropist" Ian Garrett, portrayed by Ken Stott, who helps the Hughes family by putting up money prizes for any information on Oliver in addition to aiding the family financially. Ian Garrett is actually another extremely well written character (just like all the others are of course). He is a prime example of irony in that his overly helpful nature to complete strangers is actually balanced by a very dark and disturbing secret.

Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste
The Missing is the type of show that will leave a cliffhanger after every scene, let alone episode. Forget about the next episode, you will be dying to know what happens in the next scene or what comes out of a character's mouth in the next second! It does a marvelous job of building the suspense and captivating the audience with endless turns and twists. 

With great cinematography, a breathtaking story that will keep you awake at night and last but not least performances that give meaning to the word "perfection", The Missing will be a show that I will never forget and will always cherish as it secured a cozy spot in my heart. I would definitely place it among my top 3 best dramas and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a TV show with top notch quality!

Ps, I mentioned that the finale of The Missing is quite ambiguous and open ended, there are tons of different theories out there. If anyone who reads this has seen the finale, I would like to hear your opinions.