The Tree of Life wins Cannes 2011

May 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm (Festivals, Movies, Posters)

Great list of winners at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and, to my delight, one of my most anticipated movies of 2011 ended up with the Palme d’Or. Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life amazed me a couple of months before with an intriguing trailer and a perfect poster (that you can see above), and now this award can only contribute to the hype.

Other than pissing off Cannes by joking about Hitler, Lars Von Trier went home with an award for his new film Melancholia (best actress for Kirsten Dunst), while Nicolas Winding Refn’s first Hollywood film also impressed the jury, Drive winning the award for Best Director.

You can check out the full list of winners for Cannes 2011 here.

Next up on the awesome festival schedule: TIFF, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania – and only the second time I am not able to attend, in the last 9 years.

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Random thoughts

May 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm (Books, Festivals, Movies, Music, TV shows)

– First post in 3 months, yay!
– The reason for my silence: I recently moved to Canada, and the last couple of months have been hectic. Hopefully now that things have settled down somewhat, I’ll start writing here again.
– Many music releases lately. And So I Watch You From Afar’s new album is amazing, so is the new Explosions in the Sky, so is the new Mogwai. A trio of phenomenal instrumental rock bands. If you don’t know them, check’em out.
– Radiohead, however, released their worst album since Pablo Honey.
– Biggest musical disappointment: the new dredg album.  They turned from art-rock of the highest quality into a bland and boring pop-rock band. I can’t believe how atrocious their new album is. I have decided it’s the last dredg anything I buy, until they start writing music again. And now I’m also stuck with a t-shirt that came in a bundle with their CD that I preordered.
– Fave 5 movies of 2011 so far: Source Code, Hanna, Paul, Insidious and Rango.
– Cannes begins tomorrow – such a great line-up this year. Can’t wait for the first reports.
– Got tickets for Seinfeld this August, front row😉
– “Fringe” ended Season 3 with a bang. And what an amazing season it was.
– “Community” can’t seem to do any wrong. All their episodes feel so fresh and inventive.
– “The Strain”, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

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New Radiohead album. THIS SATURDAY!

February 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm (Music)

Wow, this really came out of nowhere. Radiohead announced TODAY that their highly anticipated new album will be released THIS SATURDAY. That’s just 5 days from now!

Called “The King of Limbs”, the album can be pre-ordered here. It comes as either a digital download, or a “newspaper album”, which means CD + vinyl + 625 pieces of artwork + “many” large sheets of artwork + digital download. That’s perfection, right there. And it’s the second time in a row Radiohead goes all crazy with originality, after letting fans pay what they want for “In Rainbows”. Thank God they became independent and don’t rely on studios releasing their stuff anymore.

Anyway… 5 more days!

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Oscar nominees: no Nolan, WTF?? + 83%

January 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm (Movies)

For every pleasant surprise the Academy had when reading the nominees for this year’s Oscars, there was one big snub that left me scratching my head. Despite this, however, most of the list is okay, and, if I were not to think about the next paragraph, I might actually say they got most nominees spot on.

But they didn’t, because, in what might be the biggest surprise in recent years, they completely ignored Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category. I have no idea how could this happen, because A), Inception still got plenty of love from the Academy, scoring 8 nods, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and B), it’s safe to say the direction is pretty much the number 1 asset the movie has. No disrespect for Aronofsky, the Coens, and even David O. Russell, they all deserved their places, but choosing Hooper over Nolan is insane. After all, Hooper directed a character film that entirely relies on Colin Firth’s role and performance, and not on direction.

Leaving this monster rant aside, many other things are well from my point of view. Here are some pros and cons:

Pros
– I’m very happy with Winter’s Bone performance, which got 4 very deserved nominations, including for the stunning Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, and John Hawkes for Best Supporting Actor.
Black Swan, Aronofsky & Portman
The Social Network and The King’s Speech got tons of nominations, as expected.
Toy Story 3 getting nominated also for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, other than the already-in-the-bag Best Animation award they will win
– The lack of mediocre crap from the important categories (after last year’s The Blind Side, and this year’s Golden Globes debacle, you can never be too certain)
Dogtooth scoring a Best Foreign Film nomination
– Since Clint Mansell couldn’t be nominated for Black Swan, I’m glad Hans Zimmer (Inception) and Reznor & Ross (The Social Network) are in

Cons
The Town not getting anything other than Supporting Actor for Jeremy Renner
– Mila “Sweet Lips” Kunis left out of Best Supporting Actress
Black Swan ignored for Best Script
– other than Best Director, Inception should’ve also been nominated for Best Editing

… and some self-praising, to end this post: I scored 83% at the predictions I wrote earlier, which is my all-time record to date (I missed only 9 nominees, out of 53). And, check this out, I got all the 10 Best Picture nominees correctly!🙂

Here’s the complete list of nominees. Awards take place on February 27th.

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My Oscar predictions

January 25, 2011 at 10:15 am (Movies)

We’re just a few hours away from the announcement of the nominees for the 2010 Academy Awards. So why not try to predict them again? Last year, I forgot to post these, but 2 years ago I got a respectable 74%🙂

Anyway, here are my predictions for this year.

Best Film: The Social Network, King’s Speech, Inception, 127 Hours, Black Swan, True Grit, The Fighter, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are All Right.
Best Director: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle, Darren Aronofsky, The Coen Bros.
Best Actor:  Colin Firth, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Annette Benning, Jennifer Lawrence, Hailee Steinfeld, Julianne Moore.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, Andrew Garfield, Jeremy Renner, John Hawkes, Geoffrey Rush.
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Helena Bonham-Carter, Mila Kunis, Jacki Weaver.
Best Original Script: The King’s Speech, Inception, Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right, The Fighter.
Best Adapted Script: The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, True Grit, The Town, The Ghost Writer.
Best Foreign: Biutiful, In A Better World, Incendies, Even the Rain, Dogtooth.
Best Animated: Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled.

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My most anticipated films of 2011

January 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm (Movies)

As promised, here are my most anticipated movies of 2011. As usual, release dates aren’t certain, and new films might pop up during the year, but, as things stand now, Lars Von Trier‘s “no more happy endings” end-of-the-world project “Melancholia” takes the top spot.

1. Melancholia (dir: Lars Von Trier)

2. Sucker Punch (dir: Zack Snyder)

3. The Tree of Life (dir: Terrence Malick)

4. Super 8 (dir: J.J. Abrams)

5. A Dangerous Method (dir: David Cronenberg)

6. Red State (dir: Kevin Smith)

7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (dir: David Fincher)

8. Source Code (dir: Duncan Jones)

9. Insidious (dir: James Wan)

10. Contagion (dir: Steven Soderbergh)


Honorable mentions (random order):

Hugo Cabret (dir: Martin Scorsese)
The Descendants (dir: Alexander Payne)
11-11-11 (dir: Darren L. Bousman)
Scream 4 (dir: Wes Craven)
We Bought A Zoo (dir: Cameron Crowe)
Your Highness (dir: David Gordon Green)
Deep Red (dir: George A. Romero)
Livide (dir: Alexandre Bustillo)
Rango (dir: Gore Verbinski)
Battle: Los Angeles (dir: Jonathan Liebesman)
Paul (dir: Greg Mottola)
Hanna (dir: Joe Wright)
The Impossible (dir: Juan Antonio Bayona)
Twixt Now and Sunrise (dir: Francis Ford Coppola)
Ted (dir: Seth MacFarlane)

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The Social Network wins 4 Globes

January 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm (Movies)

Last night’s Golden Globe awards were surprisingly decent, not only concerning the winners, but also the gala – Ricky Gervais is one funny dude.

As expected, The Social Network nabbed the most important awards, for Best Film – drama, best director, screenplay and soundtrack (how about that Trent Reznor? Dude makes his first soundtrack and is already winning awards).  Also – as expected, Colin Firth won Best Actor, for The King’s Speech, and, to my delight, Natalie Portman won Best Actress, for a movie I have yet to see, Black Swan.

Good results also in the comedy department. Only one of the 5 nominated films was any good, The Kids Are All Right – and that was the winner. Paul Giamatti and Annette Benning are also worthy winners for Best Actor / Actress. Thank God the other 4 crappy nominated films got nothing. Even Gervais was spot on with some hilarious comments regarding this category (“Everything this year was three-dimensional, except the characters in The Tourist“).

For the complete list of winners and nominees, check out imdb.

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A year in movies: 2010

January 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm (Movies, Tops)

I have to start by apologizing for the long delay in posting the top of my fave movies of 2010. At first, I wanted to wait a few days, in order to maybe catch a couple of more films that I might enjoy; then a nasty bronchitis got the better of me, and made me forget about posting this altogether.

Anyway, at long last, here are my favorite films of 2010, with the very important note that I haven’t yet seen some movies that I might love and that might make the top ten, especially Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit and Animal Kingdom. As soon as I see them, I will post a revised version of this top.

Until then, my favorite film of 2010 is…

Inception (dir: Christopher Nolan)
I wrote about this once it came out, and nothing has changed since. It’s a brilliant heist movie, the perfect popcorn film, a rare smart blockbuster, and the final proof of the complete director Nolan has become.

Rest of the Top Ten:

2. Enter the Void (dir: Gaspar Noe) – another crazy ride from Gaspar Noe, a brilliant film about the last trip of the human mind, right before death, caught between reality and imagination, between memories and dreams. It’s shocking, very hard to watch, but ultimately fabulous.

3. Kick-Ass (dir: Matthew Vaughn) – when I first saw this back in spring, I loved it, but it wasn’t in my top 3. However, I watched it again a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed it even more, clear sign of something memorable. Hit Girl is my new favorite superhero.🙂

4. Toy Story 3 (dir: Lee Unkrich) – the perfect way to end an amazing trilogy. You thought animations can’t be, literally, thrilling? Think again. There’s one scene at the end of this film that kept me on the edge of my seat. Brilliant filmmaking from start to finish.

5. Shutter Island (dir: Martin Scorsese) – a creepy story with a creepy Di Caprio, brilliant cinematography, and an all-around amazing film.

6. The Social Network (dir: David Fincher) – the story of our generation. Who thought a movie about Facebook can be so good? Sorkin’s script is amazing, just as the performances, and the unconventional score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (dir: Edgar Wright) – the most under-rated movie of the year. An audio-visual treat, perfect for arcade game lovers and pop culture fans like myself.

8. The Town (dir: Ben Affleck) – The crime drama of the year. Ben Affleck proves once again he is an extremely talented director.

9. Winter’s Bone (dir: Debra Granik) – A very small, minimalist movie, carried by a solid script and an absolutely breathtaking performance from new star Jennifer Lawrence.

10. 127 Hours (dir: Danny Boyle) – Getting trapped in the mountains for days, and having to cut your own arm off in order to survive, has never been so much fun.

Come back in a couple of days (and this time it will be a couple of days, I promise :P), for my most anticipated movies of 2011.

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A year in TV shows: 2010

December 31, 2010 at 11:48 am (Tops, TV shows)

TV show of the year:

The Walking Dead (season 1)

This one’s a no brainer. AMC did it again, and Frank Darabont’s new series is a lot more than I was expecting. A spectacular, tense, intelligent zombie show, with believable characters, lots of drama, and some zombie action sprinkled throughout. Huge audience success brought an immediate renewal for season 2.

Runner-up:
Dexter (season 5)
Last year’s winner lost its place at the top, but is still going strong. Season 5 hasn’t been as memorable as season 4, maybe because it didn’t feature a character as great as John Lithgow’s was, or a mindblowing finale as last year. But Dexter is still exciting, very witty and very well written. And it has also been renewed for a new season.

Honorable mentions:
Breaking Bad (season 3) – as great as the first two seasons. Bryan Cranston is amazing in the lead role.
Fringe (season 3) – this show gets better every year. Season 3 is really amazing, too bad the audiences aren’t responding properly. I really hope it won’t be cancelled.
Nikita (season 1) – the new version of Nikita is surprisingly well done. It takes a few episodes to settle in, but once it does, you’re hooked for good.
Community (season 1-2) – my favorite new sitcom on tv. Totally hilarious, full of memorable moments, crazy episodes, and lots of movie references.
Justified (season 1) – awesome new show from FX, based on an Elmore Leonard story, with a great performance from Timothy Olyphant in the lead role.
Family Guy (season 8-9) – still the funniest animated show on tv. Although Futurama is really close.

Some other awards:

Best new show: The Walking Dead
Best sitcom: Community
Best animated show: Family Guy
Best crime drama: Southland
Best action: The Walking Dead
Best episode: The Walking Dead pilot.

Don’t forget to come back sometime this weekend, for my Top Ten movies of 2010.

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A year in video games: 2010

December 30, 2010 at 11:58 am (Games, Tops)

Just like last year, everything I’ve played was on PS3 and PC, that’s why there are no XBOX and WII titles in this list.

Game of the year:

Heavy Rain (PS3 exclusive)

The most spectacular, intense and revolutionary game ever, Heavy Rain is a breathtaking cinematic thriller in which every action you take influences the whole progress of the story and its outcome. A great story (that will soon be turned into a movie), and amazing visuals, make this the game of the year.

Runner-up:
Red Dead Redemption (PS3, XBOX360)
Another masterpiece from Rockstar Games, a truly engaging open-world western in the same class as the last GTA entries. Who thought riding horses and catching bad guys can be so much fun?

Honorable mentions:
MLB 10: The Show (PS3 exclusive) – Every year, this is the best MLB game out there. No exception in 2010.
DeathSpank (PS3, PC, XBOX360)  – The most fun (and funny) game of the year.
Hector: Badge of Carnage (iPhone) – First truly awesome iPhone adventure game.

Some other awards:

Biggest surprise: DeathSpank
Biggest disappointment: Gran Turismo 5
Best PS3 exclusive: Heavy Rain
Best sports game: MLB 10: The Show
Best visuals: Heavy Rain
Best scene: the mutilation trial from Heavy Rain (actually, almost any scene from HR is memorable and worth mentioning. This one, at least on an emotional and creepiness level, stood above others).

Most anticipated games of 2011

1. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (01.11)
2. inFamous 2 (TBA 2011)
3. Silent Hill 8 (TBA 2011)
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (TBA 2011)
5. MLB 11: The Show (March)
6. L.A. Noire (TBA Q2)
7. Killzone 3  (22.02)
8. Resistance 3 (06.09)
9. Alice: Madness Returns (TBA 2011)
10. Batman: Arkham City (TBA Q3)

Come back tomorrow, for my fave TV shows, and then during the weekend, for my Top 10 movies of 2010.

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