Monday, 28 September 2009

Cate as Elizabeth, Part One

Just finished watching Elizabeth, the biopic starring Cate Blanchett, one of my favourite actresses. It was surprising how much i could remember about that period of history (the Tudors), having last studied it about five years ago, and even then not in a great deal of detail. i thought it was very well acted and it never got boring because although it was two hours long, new things kept on happening. Period dramas are not my favourite type of films, and I admittedly only watched this because of Cate, but I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it. Hopefully the next film I watch will be the sequel, and hopefully this will see Cate deliver yet another Oscar-worthy performance!

Films that are kid's films, but not really kid's films!

The title doesn't really make sense, actually. What I mean is, films that are marketed towards children, look like they're for children, usually have more than one child actor and have a child friendly rating. But then when you watch the film you find that actually a child would either get really bored watching it, or it's child friendly for the most part, but there's stuff that no way would a child understand.

For instance, a few months ago I went to the library. I was in a sad mood, can't remember why, and needed cherring up. So I hired The Holiday, a Cameron Diaz/Kate Winslet romcom directed by Nancy Meyers (who is awesome), No Reservations (which, despite the abundance of Catherine Zeta-Jones, was sadly, not too good) and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium. The latter is what part inspired this post. I am a fan of Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, and thought, even though it looked really babyish, I might as well borrow it. Boy was I wrong! It was actually really good, and held my attention throughout. The performances, especially from Zac Mills (the small boy in the film, can't remember the name of the character) were inspiring considering the premise and amount of material they had to work with. It shows how a simple story can work really well with a good cast and good actors. The thing is, though, the average under eight year old (the film is a U) would probably have got very bored.

Moving on from this though. Last night I watched Bridge to Terabithia, the first of the three DVDs I brought yesterday. It was fantastic. The directing was great, the special effects were, for once, subtle (less is more, you know, SFX artists), and the screenplay was the best it could be. I want to read the novel now to see how it was adapted.

The performances from the young cast were all pretty good. Josh Hutcherson had improved a lot from Zathura, and even though AnnaSophia Robb's performance was nothing special in this film, I am looking forward to seeing some of her more grown up films such as Sleepwalking, because I'm sure she has a lot more to give. Bailee Madison was so cute, and if she keeps up actign she could be really good in the future. I love Zooey Deschanal, need to see more of her films other than this, Elf and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. She's the sort of actress that always delivers a cool and quirky performance yet isn't quite famous enough for the really awesome roles.

I knew the ending, but it still made me cry. The film was well paced, because although it happened really quickly, it didn't seem at all sudden. I don't want to spoil the ending, as it was spoiled for me!

The way the film was filmed was clever, because it was like you were seeing it from Jess' own point of view, without the director resorting to the lazy technique of the voiceover! The relationships between the parents and children in the films, and some of the themes would have been too much for me to understand when I was younger and owuld have gone over my head, which is why I thought this wasn't really a children's film. At the same time though, it didn't have the big name casting or the promise of non stop action to attract a mainstream movie audience, nor the storyline to be an arthouse film. Overall, this is a film that you could grow up with and learn to appreciate more as you got older. It really has something for everyone, because parents could watch this with their children without getting bored and wishing they were watchinf The Dark Knight, or whatever they like. I wish there was a film that I had grown up with, and could still watch and really appreciate!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

2008 Oscar line up, only seven months after the ceremony....

So, it is September, and in fact exactly seven months since the 2009 Oscar ceremony was held, which obviously honours the best films from 2008. I could finish it after watching Frost/Nixon for the first time last night. For 2009, I plan to be more organsied and have already started ranking the films that I've seen this year. I still feel like I need to see Frozen River, but apart from that I think I've definitely sampled the best cinema had to offer in 2008.

So, I put Kate Winslet's performance in the Reader as a supporting performance, as opposed to lead like the Academy did. I put Frank Langella's performance in Frost/Nixon in supporting also. I also felt that Lina Leanderson deserved a nomination for her great work in Let the Right One In, so I put her in supporting because even though she had the female lead it's the Tatum O'Neal/Abigail Breslin situation, where if the young actress was pushed in lead they wouldn't garner a deserving nomination, hence why I put her in supporting.

So here is my list, with them ranked in my order of preference. I don't do tech awards by the way!

Best Picture:

1. The Wrestler (WINNER)
2. Milk
3. Wall-e
4. Doubt
5. The Dark Knight

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

1. Clint Eastwood - Gran Torino (WINNER)
2. Sean Penn - Milk
3. Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
4. Michael Sheen - Frost/Nixon
5. Francois Begaudeau - The Class

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

1. Kristin Scott Thomas - I've Loved You So Long (WINNER)
2. Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road
3. Sally Hawkins - Happy go Lucky
4. Cate Blanchett - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Angelina Jolie - Changeling

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

1. Eddie Marsan - Happy Go Lucky (WINNER)
2. Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
4. Aaron Eckhart - The Dark Knight
5. Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

1. Amy Adams - Doubt (WINNER)
2. Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
3. Kate Winslet - The Reader
4. Lina Leanderson - Let the Right One In
5. Rosemary DeWitt - Rachel Getting Married

Best Achievement in Directing:

1. Gus van Sant - Milk (WINNER)
2. Clint Eastwood - Changeling
3. John Patrick Shanley - Milk
4. David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay:

1. The Reader (WINNER)
2. Frost/Nixon
3. Doubt
4. Revolutionary Road
5. The Duchess

Best Writing - Original Screenplay:

1. Happy Go Lucky (WINNER)
2. Milk
3. I've Loved You So Long
4. Rachel Getting Married
5. Gran Torino

So, this is my first ever finished Oscar line up. Enjoy!

Monday, 21 September 2009

My top ten favourite stage musicals, and the Emmys 2009

So, I thought I'd start this blog with a list of my current top ten favourite stage musicals:

1. Sunset Boulevard
2. Chicago
3. Avenue Q
4. Mary Poppins
5. We Will Rock You
6. The Lion King
7. Starlight Express
8. Marguerite
9. Beauty and the Beast
10. Mamma Mia

This will change, bearing in mind I haven't seen Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera or Blood Brothers yet! I do change it quite frequently actually.

I don't really watch much British TV, let alone American, but I was so happy to see Toni Collette win the best leading actress in a comedy series last night! I love her work in films, and she is one of my favourite actresses. As soon as I get a chance I'll be checking out the United States of Tara! Of course she beat Tina Fey. Now, I am a huge 30 Rock and a huge Tina fan, but I won't comment on this because her performances are the only ones i've seen in this category. Of course she won last year and has six Emmys already, so it's not like it was a Kate Winslet situation. Alec Baldwin was a great winner again (Jack is so awesome), and I was pleased to see 30 Rock win best comedy for a third year running! Also, congratulations to Kristin Chenoweth, one of my favourite Broadway actresses. I wish Pushing Daisies didn't get cancelled, but hopefully this Emmy win will get her a lot more fame and work in the future. Long live Olive Snook!

So, that was the Emmys, well my little corner of them anyway. It's times like this I wish I had American TV, but then if I did it would probably annoy me in the same way british TV does. Goodnight for now!