Archive | May, 2010

The English Patient (Winner, 1996/69th Annual Academy Awards)

27 May

It really seems as though I’m watching nothing but movies with British actors lately! From Shakespeare in Love to Sherlock Holmes, which I saw this weekend on my newfound Robert Downey Jr. kick (more on that later!), and on to The English Patient, which is obviously no exception.

So, watching this after Shakespeare in Love is a capital D downer.  Don’t get me wrong—awesome movie, but no semblance of a happy ending.  Along with be pretty complicated to follow at first, I predict this will not end up as my favorite Oscar winner, but I am going to read the 1992 novel and see how it stacks up having seen the movie first.

So the movie skips back and forth between time; present time, which is the end and just following WWII, we have our main character, Ralph Fiennes (aka older brother of SiL’s Joseph Fiennes and Lord Voldemort) as  Count László de Almásy, a Hungarian map drawer guy (so we’re told, I don’t know how I’d ever identify him as Hungarian of all things). He’s been terribly burned and disfigured and is being cared for by Hana, a French-Canadian nurse.

The more impactful story line in seen in the flashbacks, where the Count recalls his affair with a colleague’s (Poor Colin Firth) wife, Katharine Clifton played by Kristin Scott Thomas. Now, when I say affair, I mean AFFAIR. They’re in the middle of the desert, and rules seem to longer apply in this place and during the war. It take a while for the love connection to be made; the Count seems to be pretty reclusive and strange at first, bordering on misanthropic. Of course, the husband finds out to disastrous consequences, which kind of disturbed me as much as last season’s finale of Private Practice.

So, while I do think this was an excellent movie and probably the most deserving out of the bunch it was nominated with (which apparently included Jerry Maguire, which, though an awesome movie, is hardly Oscar worthy in my opinion), I’m hoping to find a happy ending! Or is that maybe a criteria for winning, no happy resolutions allowed? Let’s hope not, or I’m in for a depressing summer!

Fun facts:

  • From first draft of the screenplay to final cut took four years.
  • Besides the Oscar for best picture, The English Patient won 8 other academy awards, including Best Actress in a Supporting Role for
    Juliette Binoche and best director for Anthony Minghella.
  • Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas were both nominated for best actor and actress (respectively)
  • Was the first digitally-edited film to win an Academy Award for Best Film Editing
  • Gross revenue (worldwide): $231,976,425

Side note on my new Robert Downey Jr. obsession: Ironman AND Ironman 2 were both phenom, and this is currently the background on my computer:

After seeing Ironman 2 this past weekend, I immediately redboxed Sherlock Holmes (with more eye candy in the form of Jude Law) and have plans to rent The Soloist this weekend. Don’t judge me =)

Next up for Oscar winners? Still up in the air, but hopefully something that isn’t super depressing—stay tuned to see if I succeed!

A blog-tastic birthday wish

18 May

Departing from my usual film banter, I want to take a hot minute to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my awesome boyfriend, Nick.  This is the 5th birthday I’ve gotten to spend with Nick, and I must say, it’s been a blast. From his 21st birthday that I was unfortunately too young to celebrate during to today’s 25th, which we celebrated with some friends on Saturday, I think I get more excited about his birthday than he does; but that’s how Nick rolls. He’s laid back and thoughtful, and never complains (much!) when I want to see crappy movies (here’s looking at you, The Other Bolyen Girl). We have the best time together, and ever since moving in together last October, I don’t think I’ve been sick of him once…whether he agrees is a whole different story!  He’s pretty much one of the best parts of my life, and I love him to pieces. Which I showed by getting him a long-asked for Xbox 360 and FIFA World cup this year =)

Happy birthday babe, I love you!

Romantic Oscar Winners

15 May

Boston.com posted the following staff picked list yesterday “just in time for the release of ‘Letters to Juliet’—the  Top 20 most romantic movies.” Though my desire to see Letters to Juliet is only lukewarm (despite having been to Verona, where Juliet’s balcony is!), I decided to peruse the list to see if any of these romantic movies are on my to-be watched list!

Out of the 20, 5 Best Picture winners made the list. From 2008 to 1939, I think all these all these movies are good picks.  They are as follows:

# 16: Slumdog Millionaire

# 13: Shakespeare in Love

# 10: Gone with the Wind

# 7: Titanic

# 5: Casablanca

Other movies on the list that I loved were Love Actually at # 9, The Notebook at #3 and The Princess Bride rounding out the list at # 1.

Do you agree with the list?  The full post can be seen here: http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/gallery/romantic/.

Weekend Watchings

7 May

With an empty weekend in front of me, I have so many movie options!  After wading through my Friday night DVR (V, Modern Family and The Office), I’m going to try to find Ironman, which I’ve never seen.  Mini rant time: speaking of FINDING movies that you’ve never seen, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with getting and watching movies.  For the Oscar winners, most of them aren’t super in demand (except for the last few years’ winners) and are pretty easy to come by on Netflix on demand or at the library.  But for newer movies that aren’t super new, like Ironman, the options are pretty limited.  It’s not at Redbox, it’s not likely to be on TV or cable on demand and I’ll bet I have a hard time finding it at Blockbuster.  Plus, I want to watch it right now, so no waiting on Netflix, and it’s not available to view right away.  The only other options? Buy it from Target or Best Buy, rent it from iTunes or hope someone I know has it and is willing to lend it out.

These options all have their obvious drawbacks.  Even if I were to brave the local Blockbuster (which, according to this article from Bloomburg Businessweek, likely won’t be an option for much longer) what are the chances that a movie who’s sequel is coming out that very day will be available??

Ok, enough of that!  I’ll probably spring the $3.99 and rent it on iTunes.  Hopefully I can find it somewhere, and then see Ironman 2 with the awesome Robert Downey Jr. (Trailer from YouTube)

Also on tap for this weekend, catching Betty White on SNL, booking an October tip for a girl’s weekend in Savannah GA and a blog post on 1996’s Best Picture, The English Patient, starring Ralph Fiennes.  This will be the first of a few Oscar winners starring Ralph (Schindler’s List, The Hurt Locker), and coincidentally, the first movie I watched (Shakespeare in Love) starred the younger Fiennes brother Joseph.  What a fienne start for OscarTini!  Yes, I went there =)

In Theater: Alice in Wonderland

3 May

I admit: I’m a sucker for a novelty. Right now, that means I’m a sucker for 3D movies. I dragged my little sister to Monsters Vs. Aliens and was psyched to see Avatar in theaters, and once Alice came out, it immediately moved to the top of my to-see list. The higher price tag is slightly detrimental, but since I don’t go to the movies that much, I can justify it away.

I had gotten some on the fly reviews from friends, so I knew not to expect the classic  Disney cartoon version’s storyline, which was helpful. My first thoughts when leaving  the theater were primarily in the “that was super weird category.” But after giving it some thought, I can see it was actually really well done. Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter was up to his usual standard of awesome (albeit at times a cross between crazy mad and angry psycho mad), and the visuals were stunning. As for the plot, it’s supposed to resemble both Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, though it changes and combines aspects of each book and straight up invents others.

This was the first 3D movie I’ve seen that I felt the technology was really well used—nothing was obtrusive or over the top, but everything was very seamless.

By combining both live action filming and animation, Tim Burton creates a new AiWL     that’s unlike one I’ve ever seen.

Is Alice Oscar worthy? Maybe, but likely for Visual effects (2009 winner: Avatar) or Makeup (2009 winner: Star Trek). I had first thought Helena Bonham Carter might warrant a best supporting actress nod, but she was her normal level of brilliant (hello, Bellatrix Lestrange!?!)

Fun facts: (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • Dwayne Johnson (one of my favs!) was considered for the role of The Mad Hatter.
  • Anne Hathaway’s White Queen was one of few characters that did not require digital manipulation.
  • Absolem the Caterpillar is voiced by Alan Rickman (AKA Professor Snape to those Harry Potter fans)
  • Budget: $200 million. Gross revenue (as of April 2010) $875 million