Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Release: August 9, 2013
Distributor: TriStar
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Diego Luna, Alice Braga, William Fichtner, and Sharlto Copley

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Birthday Girl: Lisa Kudrow

Today Lisa Kudrow, my favorite Friends, turns 50 and as much success as she has had, doesn't it always feel like she should have more? Certainly most everyone seems to agree that she should've gotten an Oscar nomination for her great work in The Opposite of Sex and while she has already won an Emmy for Friends, she really deserved more than a sole nomination for The Comeback. I'd just love it if some big-time director crafted a movie role just for her perhaps where she plays Michelle Williams caustic mother/older sister in some dark comedy.

In the meantime, she's not exactly doing nothing. Last week, the two main projects she's been working on recently had their season premieres, her reality show Who Do You Think You Are? and her Showtime series Web Therapy which I briefly talked about a few years ago when it was just a simple web series. Unfortunately, I haven't seen Web Therapy since it moved offline, but from what I've heard the high quality evident in the web series is still very much there. I'll catch up eventually! I also saw her recently on Hollywood Game Night where she was on a team with Martin Short and Alyson Hannigan and competed against her old Friends co-star Matthew Perry.

Speaking of Friends, Kudrow will always have Phoebe Buffay and no one can ever take that away from her. So to celebrate her birthday, everyone should watch this compilation of all the songs Kudrow sang on Friends:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Michelle Williams Striking in Louis Vuitton

The pictures above and below of Michelle Williams made the rounds a few days ago, but I just wanted to share, because I thought they were striking. The three-time Oscar nominee is captured almost like never before by photographer Peter Lindberg in a Louis Vuitton ad for one of their signature bags. I'm not really into fashion ads and all that, but she looks fierce. Her transitioning hair is windswept to great effect and the darker elements of her makeup really highlights a different side to the usually twee Williams.

In a statement, Louis Vuitton said about picking the actress for their campaign:
"Michelle Williams was selected by Louis Vuitton for her independent spirit with which she has forged her path through Hollywood, defined by her outstanding talent, her passion for her craft, and her choice of daring and challenging roles."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Blue Jasmine
Release: July 26, 2013
Distributor: Sony Classics
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K., Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, and Alex Baldwin

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

X-Men Teaser Posters Marks the Spot

Apparently the X-Men panel at Comic Con over the weekend went gangbusters with a first look to next year's film X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as a reunion of the large cast consisting of members from the old and new franchises including Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender (who play the old and young Magneto respectively) and Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy (who play the old and young Professor X respectively).

I have nothing but high hopes and best wishes for the upcoming film and the franchise as a whole despite a couple of seriously regrettable films (X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) which nearly derailed the whole franchise. But if the new teaser posters featuring the four actors I mentioned above are of any indication to the quality of the film, then this will be their best one yet.

I mean, right? The design concept is perfectly executed allowing them to feature the main actors while also giving a nod to the time-travel aspect in the film. Plus those colored Xs are just so damn cool. I'm hoping the rest of their marketing is just as well done.

Monday, July 22, 2013

HIMYM at Comic Con

As lead up to its much-awaited final season, How I Met Your Mother made its first appearance at this weekend Comic Con. It may be weird to some, but it makes sense if you realize that the cast is made up of Willow Rosenberg, Dr. Horrible, and Agent Maria Hill.

Alan Sepinwall did a liveblog of the fairly informative session that should have put some naysayers at ease. Yes, the final season will encompass the wedding of Robin and Barney, but the event is being used more as a "framework" more than anything and the show will have freedom to do their usual narrative tricks such as flashbacks and flash-forwards to, at the very least, get us fans to learn more about the mother played by Cristin Millioti. This pleases me as it pretty much confirms my own thoughts on the show at the end of last season:
Like many people, I was upset when I heard about this news at first, but I've come around to appreciating the daring structure for the season and hope there'll at least be some flashbacks or flash-forwards to fill in some blanks. It may sound like I'm being yet again defensive for this show, but one of the unique elements of this show (and one of the reason why I loved it so) is its willingness to shake up its storytelling structure. So it's quite possible that this final season could very well be a tour de force.

I'm starting to get excited about the new season now! In any case, head over to Sepinwall's site for a lot more information from the panel, but I had to share the video that opened the session of Ted's kids, now all grown up, putting an epic and hilarious smackdown to their long-winded father:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Orlando Bloom Heatwave

We've been suffering an oppressive heatwave here in New York City the past week so I guess you can't really blame Orlando Bloom for walking around shirtless a couple days ago while walking his dog...

I guess there was at least one silver lining to this heat.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Only God Forgives
Release: July 19, 2013
Distributor: Radius-TWC
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm,  Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Gordon Brown, and Tom Burke

My Emmy Ballot: TV Series

Emmy nominations are tomorrow! Are you excited? I'm not really. As much as I love TV and awards shows and am genuinely happy when my favorites are honored, I've become so jaded the past few years. It's not as if there have been many more unworthy repeat nominations and winners the past few years compared to a decade ago, but I wasn't really blogging about it then! But I'll still pore over the nominations tomorrow and maybe even wake up early to see House of Card's Kate Mara and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul announce the nominees. For now, my picks for best TV series...

Disclaimer: Even though they only nominate 5-6 shows, voters are asked to pick "no more than 10" shows they "feel worthy of nomination." So I'll be picking 10, but making sure to highlight the 6 shows making up my top choices.

Arrested Development
Ben and Kate
New Girl
Parks and Recreation

30 Rock
Happy Endings
How I Met Your Mother

I fully expect last year's nominees Veep, Girls, and 30 Rock to make it in again with the latter celebrating its final season. The rest of my list will find it a bit more difficult. I'm hoping my favorite sitcom Parks and Recreation makes it in the short list like it did two years ago, but more likely voters might want to nominate resurrected Arrested Development, which has been nominated for each of its season. The growth of New Girl and the absolute charm of Ben and Kate would get them in if it was a fair playing field, but alas.

Alternates: Big Bang Theory, Cougar Town, Modern Family, Suburgatory

The Americans
Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Orphan Black

Downton Abbey
House of Cards

My drama wishlist is a bit more in line with Emmy's taste than comedy so I'm almost always okay with their selection here. My biggest wish would be for new shows to break through like The Americans or Orphan Black (or even Elementary or House of Cards). I highly doubt they will though (though Cards does have star power and novelty factor in its favor), but even their mainstay Mad Men is one of my favorite shows, so I'm not too bothered. Last year nominees Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Game of Thrones will surely make a return trip, especially the latter which had a higher quality season than last. I do wonder if Downton Abbey will be back or if the last year's snubbed The Good Wife will take its place. It's an embarrassment of riches surely.

Alternates: Dexter, Fringe, Hannibal, Mad Men, Vikings, The Walking Dead

And that's all I wrote before the real nominations disappoint me tomorrow. I just hope there's one or two pleasant surprises in store. For my acting nomination wishlists, click the following: Leading / Supporting / Guest.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Emmy Ballot: Leading Performances

It felt like pulling teeth trying to narrow down my picks for the guest and supporting categories. Fortunately, when it comes to the lead categories, the fact that there are less people in contention makes the whole endeavor just the much easier. Though The Drama categories was particularly difficult as you'll see...

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 think it's ultimately wrong.

Lead Actor, Comedy
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jake Johnson, New Girl
Joel McHale, Community
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Adam Scott, Parks & Recreation
Elijah Wood, Wilfred

I actually haven't finished the latest season of Arrested Development, but after catching up on the series a month ago and seeing a handful of episodes this season, I'll make an exception for Bateman who seems to now play the character much less straight than in previous seasons. Johnson is the show's MVP this season if I had to pick one displaying his penchant for physical comedy and his great chemistry with Zooey in equal measures. Scott, Parsons, McHale, and Wood are past nominees for me and with the relatively small number of people in contention for this category it's not so shocking I picked them again. Scott especially blows the charts chemistry-wise with his co-star Poehler. Shout out to Radnor below who plays a divisive character on a show many people have fell out of love with, but his "scene" with the titular mother last season was a series highlight.

Alternates: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Justin Bartha & Andrew Rannells (The New Normal), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Rob Lowe (Parks & Recreation), Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)

Lead Actress, Comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Dakota Johnson, Ben & Kate
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

I made it a point not to nominate Deschanel and Dunham last year, because their show was too new and I believe the hype for either one was too premature. Glad to say that they really stepped it up for their second seasons with Deschanel playing more of a character and less as the personification of adorkable and Dunham really taking her character in a darker place. Johnson, as is her sadly cancelled show, was just super charming. Then there's the triumvirate of Fey, Poehler, and Louis-Dreyfus. As if I need to say any more about why I picked these three queens of comedy. But as much as I love Fey (last season) or Louis-Dreyfus (Veep is awesome), Poehler needs an Emmy like whoa! Shout out to Kaling below who had a rough start, but did okay towards the end.

Alternates: Courtney Cox (Cougar Town), Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)

Lead Actor, Drama
Andre Braugher, Last Resort
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Dancy, Hannibal
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jonny Lee Miller, Elementary
Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Hamm should have an Emmy by now and my favorites last year (Lewis/Lincoln) did fabulous work this year. So the fact that they didn't end up in my short list shows you how strong this category is this year. Veterans Cranston and Hall doing great work in their penultimate seasons, giving longtime fans new sides to their characters. My other picks are from new shows! Dancy channeled his inner Carrie Mathison to affective results (every episode I wanted to give him a hug) while Rhys surprised me with his range in a role that I first thought he was miscast at. Then there's Braugher who is always good at everything he does, especially when he plays someone of authority. Finally, Miller was my most pleasant surprise this season. I really doubted his ability to put a fresh spin on Sherlock Holmes, but does he ever.

Alternates: Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Joshua Jackson (Fringe), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

Lead Actress, Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Keri Russell, The Americans

First, I'd like to praise every single woman in my honorable mentions list because I love them all. Liu's Watson and Winnick's Lagertha are two of my favorite new characters of the past season. Now that we got that out of the way, can we talk about Maslany? If you haven't seen her show, do it now. She plays about nine or so characters and it's brilliant, shades of Fringe's Torv. Russell, like co-star Rhys, surprised me in a role I never thought I would see her in, but she really is excellent. Danes, Dockery, Moss, and Rossum are past nominees from me and this past season they just re-affirm my love for them. Rossum in particular doesn't get enough attention for career-best work.

Alternates: Connie Britton (Nashville), Lucy Liu (Elementary), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Robin Wright (House of Cards)

And that's it for the actors! How insane am I to leave of Hamm or Marguilies in my short list? Feel free to berate me. And I'm serious about watching Orphan Black. Do it now. Tomorrow, for my final post, I'll post my pics for Best Comedy and Drama Series. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Emmy Ballot: Supporting Performances

The supporting categories are the toughest to narrow down with so many deserving performances in every single category. So much so that I even had to limit myself with my honorable mentions, especially in the Supporting Actor in a Drama category. It just saddens me though that even with bounty the Emmy voters have with these categories, they still find room to reward an unremarkable performance year in and year out.

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 think it's ultimately wrong.

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Adam Driver, Girls
Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation
Lamorne Morris, New Girl
Jim Rash, Community
Reid Scott, Veep
Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings

I said it last year and the year before and I will continue to say it until the end of time, but the fact that Nick Offerman doesn't even have an Emmy nomination yet reflects so poorly on the Emmys. Rash is the one consistently great thing on his show (even doing double duty as writer!) and the same really could be said about Wayans. People might wonder why I chose Morris instead of Greenfield, but I just like his character more this season. Driver was probably better than his breakout year last year and Scott plays such a pompous jerk so deliciously well. Also yes, no one from Modern Family. I still like the show, but seriously now.

Alternates: Donald Glover & Danny Pudi (Community), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Tony Hale & Matt Walsh (Veep), Alex Karpovsky (Girls), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory
Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Aubrey Plaza, Parks & Recreation

Can we just give Krakowski the Emmy already? I mean this is pretty much their last time to honor Jenna Maroney! Do they need her to sing Rural Juror again or something? Likewise, I'm sad that Happy Endings has been cancelled, but it'd be nice if one or two of its cast get the recognition they deserve like Coupe here. Bialik and Plaza never disappoint while McKinnon had a breakout debut. Finally, it'd be nice if Fischer was awarded a nomination for the final season especially since she truly became its heart and soul towards the end (despite that silly Brian storyline). Shoutout to Mamet below, who I love, but the show didn't do much with her as I expected after her breakout year.

Alternates: Alison Brie (Community), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Elisha Cuthbert (Happy Endings), Zosia Mamet (Girls), Retta (Parks & Recreation), Jessica Walter (Arrested Development)

Supporting Actor, Drama
George Blagden, Vikings
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House of Cards

Just look at my honorable mentions to see how ridiculously stacked this category is, because honestly all of the men on that list deserve to be on the shortlist. Certainly, Dinklage and Noble deliver such grounded and beautiful performance giving their shows much needed heart while Czuchry and Kartheiser had their best seasons yet giving their usual prickly characters great nuance. And again, those are just some of the people I didn't pick. As for those I did pick... Patinkin is the MVP of an uneven sophomore season while 2-time Emmy winner Paul did the best for the little material he was given. Stoll manages to steal scenes from the likes for Spacey and Wright and then some while Mikkelsen is every bit as masterful as the title character as Hopkins without ever feeling like a copycat performance. Finally, Blagden and Coster-Waldau are both pretty, pretty men who went through the ringer this past season on their respective shows and did so sometimes in heartbreaking fashion.

Alternates: Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf), John Noble (Fringe), Norman Reedus (Walking Dead), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey)

Supporting Actress, Drama
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Natalie Dormer, Game of Thrones
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Lena Heady, Game of Thrones
Megan Hilty, Smash

People who think Baranski is just coasting have no idea what they're talking about, because she is fabulous and the writers on her show know it and exploit it. The interplay between Dormer and Heady was one of my favorite aspects of this past season and both ladies take full advantage of their skills. Dormer also was great in Elementary this season. Then there's Hilty who seems to really be the only person who got out of that whole show pretty much unscathed. She deserves a nomination alone for giving us the gift of listening to her immaculate voice every week. Finally, I can't even put into words how wonderful Carpenter and Gunn are in portraying women who have been broken and betrayed by the most important man in their lives. They're both just that good. Shout out to Panettiere in my honorable mention who really surprised me this season.

Alternates: Morenna Baccarin (Homeland), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Annet Mahendru (The Americans), Hayden Panettiere (Nashville), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Madeleine Stowe (Revenge)

Whew! This really was the toughest post to write mostly, because it took me a really long time to narrow it down. Feel free to talk about the supporting characters YOU loved this past season. There's definitely a lot of people I missed. Tomorrow, I'll post my picks for the lead categories.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Emmy Ballot: Guest Performances

It seems the Emmy nominations have snuck up on me again this year with them being announced only four days from now. But like last year, that's plenty of time to post my Emmy wishlists with regards to the actors and shows which impressed me the most this past TV season. These will not be predictions, because doing those will probably just make me depressed. I'd rather talk about those who should be honored. First up, guest actors and actresses!

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
Matthew Bomer, The New Normal
Patton Oswalt, Parks & Recreation
Andrew Rannells, Girls
Seth Rogen, Mindy Project
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Patrick Wilson, Girls

Oswalt was the first slam-dunk nominee for me starring in my favorite comedy and delivering a speech that turned into a viral hit. Meanwhile it was great chemistry with the lead actress that got me picking Rogen, Rannells, and Wilson. And say what you will about Timberlake, but no one hosts Saturday Night Live better than him in recent years. Finally, I don't really remember much about Bomer's stint on the New Normal except for him being shirtless and also wearing short shorts. So now that I think more about it, he really should also win an Oscar. Shout out to O'Malley in my honorable mentions since every year, like clockwork, he makes me cry with about 30 seconds of screen time.

Alternates: Mark Duplass (Mindy Project), Ron Howard (Arrested Development), James Marsden (30 Rock), Mike O'Malley (Glee), Martin Short (Saturday Night Live)

Guest Actress, Comedy
Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
Kate Hudson, Glee
Lucy Lawless, Parks & Recreation
Octavia Spencer, 30 Rock
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
Kristen Wig, Saturday Night Live

Not gonna lie, I had a bit of trouble filling up this category, not to say that the names below don't deserve Emmy nominations, but I truly wasn't blown away by any of it. The closest someone came was shockingly Hudson who's tough love schtick really worked on me. I also found Spencer's over-the-top performance as "herself" pretty damn enjoyable. Wiig and Stritch were making return visits and both did solid jobs while I will probably always find an excuse to nominate Banks just because. Finally, I wish the show would give Lawless more to do, but I still love her and the show and thus here she is.

Alternates: Isla Fisher & Liza Minnelli (Arrested Development), Dot-Marie Jones & Sarah Jessica Parker (Glee), Jenny Slate (Parks & Recreation)

Guest Actor, Drama
Rupert Friend, Homeland
Eddie Izzard, Hannibal
Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
Derek Luke, The Americans
Dallas Roberts, The Walking Dead
Ray Stevenson, Dexter

The temptation to just nominate every guest actor in The Good Wife was tempting (see my alternates below), but I picked Lane because his journey this season to me was the most interesting. Izzard was just captivating to watch as a psychotic serial killer while Stevenson's performance was unexpectedly touching and nuanced for an antagonist in that show. Luke didn't have many scenes, but his chemistry with Russell was palpable. Finally, Friend and Robers really did outstanding work in shows that has such a rock solid ensemble. I also had to nominate Roberts since he appeared everywhere this season including, yes, on The Good Wife.

Alternates: Dylan Baker, Michael J. Fox, & TR Knight (The Good Wife), Harry Hamlin (Mad Men/Shameless), Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time)

Guest Actress, Drama
Gillian Anderson, Hannibal
Alison Brie, Mad Men
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Alison Wright, The Americans

Speaking of The Good Wife, I saw someone write about Preston as being the best recurring character in a show full of excellent recurring characters and I also truly believe that. As you can see, I just loved The Americans and some of that had to do with the excellent performances from Martindale and newcomer Wright. Then there's Brie whose ultimatum this season, you know the one, still sends chills down my spine.  Finally, I can't even begin to write how great Anderson and Rigg are as additions to their already great shows. Shout out to Jefferies in my honorable mentions as her journey on the show was all over the place, but the strong acting was always there.

Alternates: Linda Cardellini (Mad Men), Sylvia Jefferies (Nashville), Bernadette Peters (Smash), Martha Plimpton & Jess Weixler (The Good Wife), Gina Torres (Hannibal)

So there you have it. Was there a performance I should've included in my shortlist? I wished my year-end picks Sebastian Stan (Once Upon A Time) and Oona Chaplin (The Hour) submitted themselves, but alas. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to narrow down my picks for supporting actors and actresses, which every year always feels like pulling teeth just because of the sheer number of worthy nominees.

RIP Cory Monteith (1982-2013)

The terrible news coming out of Vancouver very late last night seemed like such a hoax. Cory Monteith, star of Glee as the football quarterback turned lead male vocalist Finn Hudson, was dead at age 31. And yet it was tragically so very true as Vancouver PD made a statement to the media letting them know that they found Monteith in a hotel room after he failed to checkout earlier that day, already deceased, with the cause of death not readily apparent and no sign of foul play.

Earlier this year, he went into rehab for substance addiction, putting into the spotlight an aspect of his life that has plagued him since he was a teenager. The show was forced to write him out in the last couple of episodes this season because of this, but they surely now have a more devastating task of dealing with this permanent loss on the show.

I hadn't always been a fan of his character Finn on Glee, but I never carried those feelings over towards the actor who always seemed so genial and humble. Plus he was one of the reasons why the pilot of Glee worked as well as it did especially with Monteith and the rest of his co-stars singing Don't Stop Believin' to end the pilot. My hearts goes out to his family and friends. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Fruitvale Station
Release: July 12, 2013
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand, Ahna O'Reilly, Ariana Neal, & Chad Michael Murray

Separation can be a terrifying thing...

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.

I had never seen David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers before watching it for this series and it's certainly a fascinating film that explores Cronenberg's fascination with body horror and shifting identities. The film is headlined by a tour de force performance by Jeremy Irons, who plays identical twins Elliot and Beverly Mantle, successful gynecologists who share everything to the point of pathological codependency. We learn very early on that they in fact share women with Elliot, the aggressor of the two, passing off the women he's not interested in to his shy and more passive brother Beverly. This uneasy relationship comes to head when Beverly falls for movie actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) and wants to have her all to herself. Unfortunately, Beverly trades one unhealthy codependent relationship with another as drugs and paranoia tear into his life which in turn infects Elliot as well in the end. It's a nice detail in the film to have this parallel of Beverly's destructive relationship with Elliot and Claire as if almost to say there's no escape. This parallel also features in two of my honorable mention shots:

In both, Beverly is in the subordinate position regardless of the situation. He is just unable to exist as his own person. He probably doesn't even know what that means. Or maybe he does and it scares him. Though it's Elliot who is the more diabolical one, Cronenberg doesn't shy away from Beverly's darker impulses and clearly wants us to fear him as well. How scary (and beautifully composed) is this shot of Beverly draped in red?

But I'm stalling a bit with my best shot. No real reason why except there's not much to say about it other than the slightly hilarious juxtaposition of the two brothers in the scene which perfectly summarizes their respective personalities:

My Best Shot

Again, Beverly is in a passive position, curled up and thinking dark thoughts while Elliot is being his charming and suave self, having the time of his life drinking, dancing, and kissing. It's so like me to gravitate towards this relatively simple and "funny" scene amidst all of the horror imagery throughout the film, but even this particular shot speaks to the burgeoning collapse of the brothers' lives with Elliot's reality becoming something of a living nightmare for Beverly and, unbeknownst to Elliot at this moment, vice versa.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

True Blood and Teen Wolf Bring the Sexy

Sometimes I wonder why I still watch True Blood, but a few times I'm reminded why I suffer through some of the more ridiculous storylines. Mostly, it's for the eye candy and the possibility of some man-on-man action. This past Sunday's episode delivered on both counts as Bon Temps resident man slut Jason Stackhouse (played by the beautiful Ryan Kwanten) has a very unexpected, i.e. super steamy, dream of mysterious new character Ben (played by the sexy Rob Kazinsky). It's super cheesy and downright hilarious, but you can't deny how hot it is...

The show's unwillingness to take it all the way is a little disappointing, but the season is young. There might still be some Jason-Ben action to come, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Then there was this sweet scene in yesterday's Teen Wolf between the show's token gay character Danny Mahealani (played by Keahu Kahuanui) and new student Ethan (played by Charlie Carver). There on an away meet and just had to pair up together at the super sketchy motel they forced to stay in. Unfortunately some supernatural mumbo jumbo interrupts their sexy times, but I'm heartened that the show seems to actually be going forward with this much anticipated storyline...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Pacific Rim
Release: July 12, 2013
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr., Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Diego Klattenhoff, and Burn Gorman

Are you the Wolfman?

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.

American Graffiti was one of those films I would see all the time appear on many best-of lists, but I never really had any desire to see it or even find out what it was about. I'm glad I was finally able to see it for this series though, because at the very least I was able to appreciate a young Richard Dreyfuss who was essentially the heart of the film. Before getting to him and thus my favorite shot, I do want to point out that before I had seen this film, I'd never heard of the the term "cruising" other than its modern usage of looking for a sexual partner. Perhaps it's the non-driver in me, but regardless this activity was quite popular a few decades ago and this film really highlighted that cultural aspect I didn't know.

Set in the summer of 1962, the film follows a group of friends and their misadventures on the last night they're all together before Steve (Ron Howard) and Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) leave town for college. At the beginning of the film, Steve is gung-ho about getting the hell out of town while Curt is a bit more contemplative and reluctant. As I said above, Curt is essentially the heart of the film echoing many of us who have been afraid to leave the familiar trappings of home for a world unknown. Yet it is during his last night in town where he was given a taste of the unknown first by going on a wild goose chase to track down his dream girl in the white T-bird, then by getting involved in some trouble with a local gang, and finally meeting the elusive radio personality Wolfman Jack. It's his first glimpse of Wolfman Jack in the radio station which I picked as my favorite shot:

Curt still can't see Wolfman Jack here (a detail I love) and in fact the man actually lies to him about his identity when they finally meet face to face, but Curt was able to overcome all of those unknowns to reach his ultimate goal of getting his dedication on the air. Curt's reflection being doubled up on the glass also speaks to the great decision he has to make by the end of the film: will he stay or will he go? In the end, he decides to venture out of town, radio in tow and the white T-bird far below.

Didn't have room to talk about the following runner-up shots, but for the most part it speaks well to the slightly surreal and oftentimes hilarious segments containing Charles Martin Smith and Candy Clark:

I just love the look on Clark's face as she threw the match at the rude boy bothering them and Smith combing his hair outside the liquor store made me laugh. That final shot nearly was my "best shot" choice since it pretty much sums up the experience of an unforgettable night like they all experienced.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Halfway Point of 2013

With 2013 halfway done, I'm actually a bit surprised that I managed to see as many movies at this point of the year as I did last year. Of course, I'm only counting those films that had a theatrical release this year. If I count all films I see, the list would be way too long. So without further a due and in alphabetical order...

  • Beautiful Creatures
  • Before Midnight
  • The Great Gatsby (2013)
  • Iron Man 3

  • It's a Disaster
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
  • Now You See Me
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful

  • The Place Beyond the Pines
  • Quartet
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Stoker

  • This is the End
  • Trance
  • Warm Bodies
  • World War Z

Two zombie films, two adaptations of classic literature, two films capping a couple of trilogies, and two three four end of the world films. Usually there are a handful of actors that appear in two or more films, but this year I think that honor only goes to Isla Fisher.

With regards to which films are my favorite, right now that honor goes to two films: Joss Whedon's delightfully charming Shakespeare adaptation and Richard Linklater's nearly two-decade love letter co-written by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Both films will surely factor into my top 10 at the end of the year. How about you? How many films have you seen so far this year? And what was your favorite?