Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I must have a touch of something...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


College was the first time I was exposed to Todd Haynes work. My school did a screening of the luscious Far from Heaven and soon after that my friends and I rented the trippily fun Velvet Goldmine. I loved both of those films and so it's a wonder why I never checked out [safe] until it was chosen for this series. Certainly, it's a film that's still quite well-regarded by critics and film lovers alike and any attention being paid to it now is a credit to the increased renowned of its director Haynes and lead star, and now Academy Award winner, Julianne Moore.

The movie, however, is admittedly not for everyone. Its aesthetics are impeccable, but the story is an uncomfortable watch, which is certainly the point. Moore plays Carol White, a suburban and well-to-do housewife who develops a mysterious illness making her incredibly sensitive to chemicals and the environment. We're never given straightforward proof what her illness entails, but be it psychological, physiological, or both, it forces her to change her lifestyle moving to a new-age retreat. In picking my favorite shot then, I first want to talk about that unique ending.


Most movies would show us the protagonist overcoming their illness or completely and hopelessly succumbing to it. [safe] plays it slightly more ambiguously as Carol looks at her sad reflection in the mirror of her equally sad-looking hermetically sealed room. And yet, she finds the strength to declaratively say "I love you" to her reflection, to herself. Rewind to an earlier part of the film when she was still living in her well-kept house and my pick for best shot:

Best Shot

This shot, while relatively dark, is still full of colors and trappings of her suburban homemaker life which provide contrast to that final scene of the film. Here she is turning her back to everything she knew and loved. Her husband, the rest of her house she most likely decorated all by herself, and most especially herself. Notice that the mirror reflects all of this, but she's unable to look at any it, to accept her situation. She has no idea what's happening to her and it's more than frustrating as she utters helplessly to her husband, " I know it's not normal." This film is not "normal" as well and thank goodness for that.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shut Up and Dance!

Happy National Dance Day everyone! Of course if you're not a regular watcher of So You Think You Can Dance, you might be going... huh? National Dance Day was officially launched in 2010 by Nigel Lythgoe, a producer of the show, and got congressional support from Eleanor Holmes Norton to promote dance education and physical fitness. National Dance Day is observed on the last Saturday in July.


In honor of the day, I present to you a video combining a few things that I love: movies, people dancing in movies, movie montages, and Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance," which IMO is the clear Song of the Summer this year.



Such a fun mash-up of movie moments and song. Incidentally, one of my favorite parts of the video is how perfectly timed the music is to Christine Baranski's twirl from Mamma Mia at around the 1:23 mark. But there's so many memorable moments. Maybe next year, I'll do a ranking of my favorite dance moments in film. Let's see, there's Dirty Dancing of course... and Billy Elliot and... hm... what else? Yeah, I'll save it for next year! Find the time to dance today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Curiosity, animosity, high philosophy...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

This week it's not movies, it's music videos, the best of which can seemingly be like short films, in honor of yesterday's announcement of the VMA nominations. We were assigned to pick our favorite shots from the videos that were nominated for Best Cinematography. Onwards...

"Never Catch Me" by Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar


This was probably my favorite video of the bunch, because I just loved the juxtaposition of the kids' joyful dancing with their funeral. The shot of them sitting up out of their coffins is probably the best shot, but my favorite shot is of a close-up of the girl's dress as she's running out of the church. The camera goes in and out of focus a bit, but in those moments of focus, her bright dress is like a light in the dark.

"Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran


I have to admit, that like most couples who are getting married this year probably, this song has been stuck in my head for awhile. It's super cheesy, but in a heart-on-your-sleeves kind of way and I thought the dance routine was quite beautiful and sexy. So with that said, I went with an equally cheesy favorite shot of the the couple on the floor with a heart spotlight on them.

"Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar


There's been so many things written on Taylor Swift already and the hype around this song (any of her songs really) is usually deafening so I kinda just went with my gut on this one and picked an early shot that highlights my feelings of being hit over the head with Swift. Yes, it's her surrounded by broken glass and her name in huge letters.

"Two Weeks" by FKA Twigs


Who is FKA Twigs, because wow? I went from rolling my eyes on the nearly one-shot video to absolutely being mesmerized by it and the song by the end. She's presented as some goddess queen surrounded by her followers and it's all pretty fierce. My pick for favorite shot is of her feeding one of her followers with water coming from her. It's so surreal and perfect.

"Left Hand Free" by Alt-J


I'm still not exactly sure what this song is about. The video is just as non-descript featuring young people just hanging out, swimming, drinking beer, driving around, etc. My pick for favorite shot is a brief moment in the video of two girls. One of them is coming out of the water while the other is recording her. It's random, but it makes me want to know more about them, their relationship.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm ready for my close-up...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


Sunset Blvd. (1950) is one of many films that was on my cinematic bucket list so I'm thrilled it was picked for this week's HMYBS. Of course everyone knows about the iconic last shot of the film, but we were instructed to not pick it.

"I'm ready for my close-up."

Here's the thing about the film though, it's all about getting a close-up look at Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and just what makes her tick. The simple answer of course is herself, her past glory and future comeback, I mean return, is all she can think about. She latches on to out-of-work screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) hoping to find in him something to revive her career. Instead, through him, we delve deep into Norma's self-psychosis with a literal magnifying glass...


Everyone, including Norma, can't help but look at Norma. There are plenty of scenes where director Billy Wilder highlights this inherent self-centeredness by bathing Norma in spotlight, putting her in front of mirrors, and lingering the film's frame on her super expressive face. But there's one shot that was so memorable in this respect, because it really shows Norma at her most narcissistic.

Best Shot

Look at Norma just lounging in her sofa surrounded by a multitude of Normas looking every which way, including straight at us, the audience. We can't help but keep looking at her and that's exactly what she wants, needs. She just wants to be watched.

My Emmy Ballot: TV Series

Tomorrow is nomination day which means today is the last day to hope big. Essentially the personal ballots I've been posting the past few days are nothing more than wishful thinking on my part as well as a way to highlight my favorite shows and performances from the past TV year. If only the TV Academy as a whole would take this exercise as seriously as big TV fans do maybe people would be more excited for the nominations and awards show, but alas.

Disclaimer: This year the Emmys will be picking at a minimum 7 shows per category, so that's what I'm going to do. BTW if you're curious to see why past favorites like Community or Game of Thrones came up empty for me, it's simply because I did not get to see their current seasons fully.


COMEDY SERIES
  • Broad City
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • The Comeback
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I think the only show here guaranteed a nomination tomorrow is Transparent and that fact make me depressed/angry especially since other freshman shows like Jane the Virgin and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are just as deserving. I'd obviously also love to see The Comeback make a comeback after such a brilliant short season. Do the Academy even watch TV because if they did then Broad City and Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be an automatic yes for strong sophomore efforts. Finally, this is Parks and Recreation's final time to get honored. Let's hope the Chris Pratt Hollywood magic is in full force.

Alternates: Fresh Off the Boat, Looking, Silicon Valley, Shameless, and Veep


DRAMA SERIES
  • Agent Carter
  • The Americans
  • Better Call Saul
  • Empire
  • The Leftovers
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black

It doesn't matter that Orange is the New Black was classified as a drama since it deserves all of the Emmy awards regardless and I think it'll do just fine tomorrow. Another show that should do okay is Emmy-favorite Mad Men even in spite of the lack of love they've shown it the past couple of years. The rest are a bit more up in the air. Certainly The Americans should definitely be shortlisted as all the critics have been clamoring, but will they listen? Better Call Saul is the heir apparent to Breaking Bad, so it'll have a slightly easier time to break through. The others... well Agent Carter is too comic book, The Leftovers is too divisive, and Empire is too soapy. Though perhaps the latter is too big to ignore?

Alternates: The Good Wife, How to Get Away with Murder, House of Cards, and Peaky Blinders

Check out my previous ballots for the acting categories:

Below is the tally of nominations I gave out to the various shows (just series and acting nominations of course):
  • Jane the Virgin - 5
  • Parks and Recreation - 5
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - 5
  • Agent Carter - 4
  • The Americans - 4
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine - 4
  • Broad City - 4
  • Empire - 4
  • The Good Wife - 4
  • Mad Men - 4
  • Transparent - 4

I wasn't too shocked to see Jane the Virgin and Parks and Recreation to top my nomination list, but look at Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! The others seem about right. All in all my nominations came from a staggering 39 shows (do people even watch half that number of TV shows?!). More below...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Emmy Ballot: Leading Performances

While it felt like pulling teeth narrowing down my picks for guest and supporting performances, it was much more straightforward coming up with my ballots for the lead categories since there aren't that many people to consider in the first place.

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I don't agree.


Lead Actor, Comedy
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Jonathan Groff, Looking
Chris Messina, The Mindy Project
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Groff, Messina, and Scott were part of my shortlist last year and I couldn't just leave them out this year. For one, Groff's character became even more awkward this year and it was a joy to see whereas Messina and Scott were even funnier in their usually straight-man roles especially in conjunction with their fantastic leading ladies. But speaking of awkward, no one encapsulates this more than Middleditch whose uncomfortableness, so palpable on screen, is pitch perfect for his character and show. Then there's Bernal who plays obnoxious boy genius a little too well. But it's all about Tambor breathtaking performance as a man coming out as transgender to his family and to the world.

Alternates: Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Chris Geere (You're the Worst), Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), William H. Macy (Shameless), and Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)

Lead Actress, Comedy
Ilana Glazer, Broad City
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Contance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat

This was a tough category to narrow down evident by the alternate names below which could've easily been promoted up. Louis-Dreyfus especially is just so good in her award-winning role, but I feel the ladies I did end up picking deserve it just a bit more. Definitely Glazer (and how could I nominate her and not Jacobson as well... so tough) is one of the most refreshing comedic voices out there right now. Kemper is an absolute delight as the titular Kimmy Schmidt while Wu is a scene-stealer through and through on her new show. Poehler I'm honoring for her final season and because KNOPE WE CAN. But this category is all about the 1-2 punch of Rodriguez and Kudrow. One is a breakthrough newcomer in one of the best shows on network TV while the other is a brilliant veteran in one of the most underrated shows ever. If there ever was a year for the Emmys to declare a tie, I would give it to those two.

Alternates: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Aya Cash (You're the Worst), and Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)

Lead Actor, Drama
Charlie Cox, Daredevil
Jamie Dornan, The Fall
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans

I just realized that half the men I nominated are shows I've watched on Netflix. There's Cox in Daredevil who seem to really relish his time as a masked vigilante superhero. There's Murphy who is magnificently cold and calculating as the patriarch of a family of gangsters. And finally, there's Dornan who is just so deliciously creepy as a serial killer that he's almost making me want to check out Fifty Shades of Grey. Rhys took it up a notch this season if that was even possible as did Hamm who keeps delivering award-worthy dramatic work despite the lack of awards. And then there's Odenkirk who magically transformed this previously one-dimensional supporting character into a strong and unquestionable leading one on his own show.

Alternates: Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), David Tennant (Broadchurch), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Travis Fimmell (Vikings), Ben McKenzie (Gotham), and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary)

Lead Actress, Drama
Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Keri Russell, The Americans

Again, looking at the strong names I've relegated to my alternate list shows just how strong this category is, but I had to make the tough decisions! For me I needed to honor the buzz-worthy work that both Davis and Henson delivered on two of the most popular freshman shows this year. Even if their show couldn't keep up, they were both at a super high level. Maslany knows all about this as her show has really fell through a heap of convoluted plots, but her multi-performance master act is probably even better this year. There's of course Moss who didn't get much to do, but she was excellent in what she was given including her cheesy and WONDERFUL final scenes. Russell has perfected her tough-mom/spy role and speaking of spies, Atwell bringing her big screen Agent Carter to the small screens is a blessing to us all.

Alternates: Gillian Anderson (The Fall), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), and Robin Wright (House of Cards)

And there are my acting ballot picks! Tomorrow my picks for comedy and drama shows. And then the day after that, we'll see how AWFUL the TV Academy's picks are.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Emmy Ballot: Supporting Performances

Like every year, narrowing down the supporting categories to just six names each is like pulling teeth. The sheer number of actors to choose from is already staggering, but even narrowing it down to only shows I watch and to those who I think deserve a nomination, it's still a lot of people. I've forced myself to a maximum of two nominations per show per category or else Supporting Actress in a Drama would just be filled with ladies from Orange is the New Black. That said, feel free to check out my alternate lists, because it's an embarrassment of riches.

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I don't agree.

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin
Noel Fisher, Shameless
Hugh Laurie, Veep
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation

Braugher, Offerman, and Fisher had made previous shortlists of mine and they're here again because they're just too damn good. Laurie is back on TV since his House days and was a great addition to an already ridiculously hilarious ensemble. Burgess is the fabulous heart of his show even while singing Pinot Noir songs and dressing up as a lion or a robot. But if I only had one ballot, I would probably give it to new-to-me actor Camil who is an absolute and utter hammy delight with a character that could've easily been one-dimensionally grating. #rogeliomybrogelio

Alternates: Timothy Omundson (Galavant), Andrew Rannells (Girls), Raul Castillo (Looking), Brett Dier (Jane the Virgin), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley), Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) and Lamorne Morris (New Girl)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Yael Grobas, Jane the Virgin
Melora Hardin, Transparent
Marsai Martin, black-ish
Andrea Navedo, Jane the Virgin
Amanda Peet, Togetherness
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Peretti is the only repeat name on my list and it's because there's been a lot of fantastic new shows this season. Peretti is of course back because she's my soul mate obviously. Hardin is pleasantly unrecognizable in a role that plays against type while Grobas, like Camil and MANY of the other characters on the show, really does a lot of a tricky character. Her co-star Navedo is the show's secret weapon as its her relationship with her daughter that's the real heart of the show. Peet has never been better in a naturalistic role that really suits her and finally, Martin is too adorable for words. Literally... too adorable.

Alternates: Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Judith Light (Transparent), Kate McKninnon (Saturday Night Live), Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle), Lauren Weedman (Looking), Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory), Ivonne Coll (Jane the Virgin) and Jane Krawkowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

Supporting Actor, Drama
Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife
James D'Arcy, Agent Carter
Joshua Jackson, The Affair
Allen Leech, Downton Abbey
Conrad Ricamora, How to Get Away with Murder
Jussie Smollett, Empire

Looking at this list, I think I've just come up with my dream orgy, but let's pretend I didn't just write that and move on. Czuchry may not have had to do a lot in the back half of the season, but he was given a lot in the first half including a prison storyline that the actor handled superbly. Leech probably plays the only likable character on that show and a lot of that has to do with his great chemistry with everyone. Jackson is electric as the cuckold husband while Ricamora is just too precious. D'Arcy and his chemistry with leading lady Hayley Atwell is definite highlight of the show and finally Smollett is the epitome of a breakthrough.

Alternates: Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul), George Blagden (Vikings), Vincent Kartheiser and Jay R. Ferguson (Mad Men), Matthew Goode (The Good Wife), Tom Hardy (Peaky Blinders), Jack Falahee (How to Get Away with Murder) and Burn Gorman (TURN: Washington's Spies)

Supporting Actress, Drama
Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers
Molly Parker, House of Cards
Charlotte Rampling, Broadchurch
Lorraine Toussaint, Orange is the New Black
Samira Wiley, Orange is the New Black

As I said above, I had to limit it to just two actors per show per category or else this category would just be full of Orange is the New Black players. I narrowed it down to Toussaint (whose villain dominated the season) and Wiley (whose flashback gave me the most emotion). I also had to double up with The Leftovers because Dowd's character was an absolute scene-stealer and Coon's character was such a badass. Parker in the meantime was able to expertly demand the screen's attention even in the presence of lead Kevin Spacey. Finally, Rampling is just excellent in the role of a barrister with a whole town's expectations on her shoulders. With all of this said, just look at the wonderful names below that missed the cut. I'm especially sad I had to leave off Hendricks/Jones for their final season.

Alternates: Lana Parilla (Once Upon a Time), Christina Hendricks and January Jones (Mad Men), Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead), Hayden Panettiere (Nashville), Kate Mulgrew, Barbara Rosenbalt and Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black) and Holly Taylor (The Americans)

The next couple of posts (leading performances and programs) should be slightly easier compared to this post!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Emmy Ballot: Guest Performances

Seems like every year now the Emmy nominations sneak up on me! Well come this Thursday, we'll see what the TV Academy in all of their wisdom (haha) have chosen to honor with nominations. Before that happens, I just want to quickly put forth the performances and shows I would've put on my personal ballot. First up, the guest acting categories!

Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I don't agree.

Guest Actor, Comedy
Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ki Hong Lee, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Zachary Quinto, Girls
Seth Rogen, The Comeback
Stephen Schneider, Broad City
Bradley Whitford, Transparent

The highlight of my list is certainly Whitford playing a cross-dressing man, a tricky role his infused with a lot of heart and commitment. Speaking of commitment, Hamm hammed it up as a crazy cult leader to perfection while co-star Hong Lee played up his adorability to great effect. Schneider is here simply for one of the best scenes on TV this past year... and yes it involves a strap-on. Rogen played himself and my love for the show made it totally work for me. Finally, Quinto was just too good as a pretentious selfish snob.

Alternates: Jon Glaser, Keegan-Michael Key and Ben Schwartz (Parks & Recreation), Scott Bakula (Looking), J.K. Simmons (Saturday Night Live), and Lee Pace (The Mindy Project)

Guest Actress, Comedy
Christine Baranski, Big Bang Theory
Laura Dern, Drunk History
Susie Essman, Broad City
Kathryn Hahn, Parks & Recreation
Rhea Perlman, The Mindy Project
Kyra Sedgwick, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Drunk History is pretty great and Dern's episode when she plays Nellie Bly is a fun highlight. Essman is perfect casting for Ilana's mom while Baranski's hilarious return as Leonard's cold, clinical mother is always a treat. Hahn's acerbic turn was the perfect foil for Ben/Leslie as was Sedgwick against Captain Ray Holt. Finally, Perlman really made the role of Danny's mom completely her own that I almost can't imagine the show without her at this point.

Alternates: Patricia Clarkson and Kelly Ripa (Broad City), Rita Moreno (Jane the Virgin), Octavia Spencer (Mom), Megan Mullaly (Parks & Recreation), and Laverne Cox (The Mindy Project)

Guest Actor, Drama
Dominic Cooper, Agent Carter
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Ross Marquand, The Walking Dead
Lars Mikkelsen, House of Cards
David Hyde Pierce, The Good Wife
Corey Stoll, Homeland

The Good Wife always has amazing guest stars and this year Fox and Pierce were the MVPs amongst the men proving to be great competition for the leading lady. Mikkelsen was superb as the Russian president making life difficult for American and the Underwoods. Marquand was a refreshing surprise in his normalcy in a show full of insanity. Stoll was a solid presence in a show that needed a reboot while Cooper did well to bring his movie-like charisma to the small screens.

Alternates: Michael Mando (Better Call Saul), Beau Bridges (Masters of Sex), Jefferson Mays (The Americans), Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), and Aaron Stanton (Mad Men)

Guest Actress, Drama
Rosario Dawson, Daredevil
Linda Lavin, The Good Wife
Courtney Love, Empire
Julianne Nicholson, Masters of Sex
Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men
Lois Smith, The Americans

Courtney Love? Yes, she was fantastic essentially playing a version of herself (plus a hired assassin on Revenge!). Dawson didn't have much to do this season, but her scenes made me miss her in scenes without her. Lavin and Smith are revered veterans and rightly so bringing quiet gravitas to their roles. Shipka has been consistently astounding throughout the show's run and in those last few episodes, she shone. And finally, the way Allison Janney broke my heart last season on Masters of Sex was exactly how Julianne Nicholson broke my heart this past season and should be getting the same praises as the former.

Alternates: Allison Janney (Masters of Sex), Carrie Preston (The Good Wife), Gina Torres (Revenge), Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away with Murder), and Alison Brie (Mad Men)

Tomorrow I'll talk about my picks for the supporting categories followed by the leading categories on Tuesday and my picks for Best Comedy and Best Drama on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A faithful heart makes wishes come true...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a film brimming with brilliance--epic story, gorgeous cinematography, captivating action sequences, amazing actors. Which is why it's no surprise that after 15 years, it has held up so incredibly well and is still one of the most popular and well-regarded foreign film in the US.

In terms of MVP though, it's all about Zhang Ziyi. For someone so small, she has immense screen presence and the film took real advantage of this. Just look at her face...



And so while I love the whole film, my favorite part is probably the 10-minute flashback where we learn more about Ziyi's Jen and her lost love Lo (charmingly played by Chang Chen). It's a fantastic sequence that begins with their confrontational meet cute in a stark desert environment leading up to their time in the dark enclosed cave where we finally see Jen let her hair down. My pick for best shot comes toward the end of this flashback...

Best Shot

Like their time in the cave, this shot just feels so romantic in its composition and coloring. But since they're riding off to reunite Jen with her family, it's also bittersweet. It's a beautiful ending to this memorable sequence and is just one of the things that will keep this movie as timeless as it already is.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Halfway Point of 2015

At the halfway point last year, I had seen 24 theatrically released films from that year. I tie that figure this year with a few caveats since A Most Violent Year came out December 31st, Still Alice had a blink-and-miss qualifying run in 2014 and Jane Wants a Boyfriend technically doesn't have an official release date yet. In any case, here are those films I have seen in alphabetical order:

  • A Most Violent Year
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Boy Meets Girl (2015)
  • The Boy Next Door

  • Cake
  • Cinderella (2015)
  • Clouds of Sils Maria
  • The DUFF

  • Ex Machina
  • Furious 7
  • The Last 5 Years
  • Inside Out

  • Jane Wants a Boyfriend
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Jurassic World
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Paddington
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Predestination

  • Spy
  • Still Alice
  • The Wedding Ringer
  • Wild Tales

Lots of boy-meets-girl films so far from the movie actually titled Boy Meets Girl to Jane Wants a Boyfriend and of course the Disney boy-meets-girl film Cinderella. There's a psychotic boy meeting slightly older girl in The Boy Next Door and a mad boy meeting imperator girl in Mad Max: Fury Road. There's a geeky boy meeting a girl robot in Ex Machina and of course a dog-soldier hybrid boy meeting a girl who inherits the universe in Jupiter Ascending.

There's also a lot of Anna Kendrick as she has starred in three films, the most of any actor. A slew of other actors have appeared in two films including Oscar Isaac, Jason Statham, Kristen Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Allison Janney, and Stellan SkarsgÄrd. Channing Tatum will join them after I see Magic Mike XXL in a few days.

In terms of favorites, Mad Max: Fury Road is out ahead by miles though Oscar nominee Wild Tales comes close as do Pixar's latest Inside Out and the hilarious Spy. The latter of which features many of my favorite female performances so far this year in Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, and Miranda Hart. Other noteworthy female performances include Michelle Hendley in Boy Meets Girl, Sarah Snook in Predestination, Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year, Charlize Theron in Mad Max, Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, and finally Kristen Stewart in both of her films with two legendary artists in Julianne Moore and Juliette Binoche. As for the guys... thumbs up for Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, Jason Statham in Spy, Tom Hardy/Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max, and Oscar Isaac in both of his films. Finally, a shout out to the last few minutes of Furious 7 with that touching tribute to Paul Walker.