1.30.2011

Blue Valentine - Whoa.

Last night I saw Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple during the disintegration of their relationship.  The story of how they first fell in love is told through flashbacks and is done so tenderly that you really care about the characters and hope they can work through their difficulties.   The movie is very realistic and as I was watching, I couldn't help but think of my own life and a particularly painful breakup that I experienced.  I dealt with, and got over, those emotions so long ago, yet last night as I left the theater, I felt like I was right back at that time.  That took me by surprise, and I think it's a testament to both the writing and the superb performances in the movie.  And can I just say that Ryan Gosling is becoming one of my favorite actors?  He reminds me of Robert DeNiro back in the day.  (LOOOONNNNNG before Meet the Fockers--ugh.)

*****

In other news, I've had Charlie Chaplin's City Lights from Netflix for longer than I care to admit, and I finally watched it tonight.  What was I waiting for?  I absolutely loved it, especially the last ten minutes or so.  Such a lovely ending.  I put this in my queue as part of my effort to tackle AFI's Top 100 List.  Next up is Lawrence of Arabia, which I've also had for quite some time.

*****

And last but not least, I've finally decided to give up on Brothers and Sisters.  When Tommy came back a couple weeks ago, I thought, oh lord...here we go.  I haven't really cared about the Walkers for a while and was just watching to watch, but now I'm finally over it.  Now it frees up my Sunday nights to watch Shameless when it's on.

1.29.2011

Oscar nominations

Ok, now the Oscar nominations are out and I can really plot out what movies I still need to see.  There actually aren't that many left.  Here are the major categories, with movies I've already seen in bold.


Performance by an actor in a leading role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours” 

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech” 

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Adapted screenplay
“127 Hours” - Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
“The Social Network” - Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
“Toy Story 3” - Screenplay by Michael Arndt Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
“True Grit” - Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Winter's Bone” - Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini 

Original screenplay
“Another Year” - Written by Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” - Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
“Inception” - Written by Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” - Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“The King's Speech” - Screenplay by David Seidler

Achievement in directing
“Black Swan” - Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” - David O. Russell
“The King's Speech” - Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” - David Fincher
“True Grit” - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen


Best motion picture of the year [note that all of these movies made up the first 10 movies of Entertainment Weekly's list of the 25 movies to see before Oscar night.  Guess EW really knew what they were talking about this year.]
“Black Swan” 
“The Fighter” 
“Inception” 
“The Kids Are All Right” 
“The King's Speech” 
“127 Hours” 
“The Social Network” 
“Toy Story 3”
“True Grit” 
“Winter's Bone”

So, by my calculations, I still need to see:

Biutiful
Winter's Bone
Rabbit Hole
Blue Valentine
Animal Kingdom
Another Year
Toy Story 3


Not too shabby, and completely doable.  I'm looking forward to making my way through the list.

*******

So, I saw 127 Hours today.  Whew...that was tough--I closed my eyes through most of The Scene.  I read Aron Ralston's book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, a couple years ago, and that was hard enough.  If you don't know the story, he was out hiking when his hand got jammed by a huge stone.   In order to survive, he ended up amputating his arm.  It's an amazing story of survival, and though I had my eyes closed during the big scene, I could still sense the agony and pain just from listening to the score.  I felt tense and hot.  Crazy.  Anyway, James Franco did an outstanding job in this movie and is completely deserving of his nomination.

1.24.2011

It's almost Oscar time!

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. I've already been working on the movies I need to see based on a list of recommendations from Entertainment Weekly, "25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night." They recommended starting at the top of the list and working your way down. I've marked the movies I've already seen in bold--only 10 out of the 25. I better get crackin'.

  • The Social Network (now on DVD)
  • The King's Speech
  • Inception (now on DVD)
  • The Fighter
  • Toy Story 3 (now on DVD)
  • True Grit
  • Black Swan
  • The Kids Are All Right (now on DVD)
  • 127 Hours
  • Winter's Bone (now on DVD)
  • The Town (now on DVD)
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Another Year (goes wide in January)
  • Get Low (on DVD Feb. 22)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (now on DVD)
  • Blue Valentine (goes wide in January)
  • Biutiful (goes wide Jan. 28)
  • Animal Kingdom (now on DVD)
  • Waiting for "Superman" (on DVD in February)
  • Alice in Wonderland (now on DVD)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (now on DVD)
  • Inside Job (goes wide Jan. 28)
  • The Illusionist (goes wide Feb. 4)
  • Tangled
  • Burlesque
It'll be interesting to see tomorrow how this list compares to the actual nominations.  I'm ready to stream Toy Story 3 some time this week through Netflix/Tivo, and the others that are listed as "now on DVD" are already in my queue.  Now, someone please bring me some popcorn--no butter.

1.23.2011

My curiosity got the best of me

Do I dare declare, here and now, that this is it for my American Idol updates? I'm afraid so, people. I'm just not interested in the show without Simon. The only caveat would be if they suddenly announced that Harry Connick, Jr. will be the new judge.
That was me on May 26, 2010. And at that time, that's honestly how I felt. But then I heard about Steven Tyler and J-Lo coming on board, and Ellen and, more importantly, Kara leaving. Then I heard about adjustments to the competition and about the record-producer mentor. I still figured it wasn't enough to get me watching. Then I saw Randy, Ryan, J-Lo and Steven Tyler on Jay Leno, and gosh darnit--they were fun. They seemed to have great chemistry together, and then the thought started to creep into my head. Hmm...well maybe I'll watch the first couple of shows and see how it is. And then this completely won me over.



How can I not tune in to watch Steven Tyler on AI?

I recorded the first two shows and watched them this weekend, and dagnabbit...I might be hooked. Again. And I gotta say, while I loved Simon, I didn't really miss him during these first two shows. J-Lo is very sweet, and Steven Tyler is a stitch. He sings along, or provides accompaniment while drumming on the table. He's just fun to watch. It's like a breath of fresh air.

I was thinking about how different it must be for contestants now versus the very first season of AI. The first season, the contestants may have known who Paula Abdul, but I'm sure they didn't know Randy and Simon. Now, imagine the kids coming in to perform for Steven Tyler and J-Lo! That must be so intimidating and thrilling. Two bona-fide superstars are there to hear them sing. That's kinda cool.

So, I'm eating my words from last year, and I'm in, for now. We'll see how it goes when we get to the actual competition. (See how I left myself a little out there, just in case?)

1.21.2011

Community

I don't know if anyone besides me watches this show, but I have to say, it just cracks me up.

I'm watching Thursday's episode now, and first there's this conversation about one of the character's, Annie, who's around 20 years old, who's got a crush on an older guy.



My 40-year-old self just made a comment the other day about how I'll always say "album" instead of "CD."

And then there was this. It's Theo from the Cosby Show!



That clip is exactly why I like this show so much. I didn't care for it much when it first began, but as it developed I realized how clever the writing really is. Love it.

1.20.2011

Fun with Wordle

My friend Mark told me about Wordle--a site where you can create a word cloud from text you provide. I did it for this blog, and it's kind of cool.

I expected "TV" to be front and center, but I guess since I talk about award shows so frequently, the word "Best" appeared the most. This picture is pretty small, but if you click on it, you'll see the full image. I like it.

Wordle: Entertainment Blog

1.17.2011

Sing, Celebrate!


King Dream Chorus & Holiday Crew

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

1.16.2011

And the Winners Are...

  • Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture - Christian Bale. Yay! (Is he playing Jesus soon? Long hair, full beard and mustache. Just wondering.) Christian Bale yelled something out to Robert DeNiro as the music was playing him out, but it was all censored. Wonder what he said?!

  • Best Actress, TV Series - Drama - Katey Sagal - (Sons of Anarchy)

  • Best Mini Series or TV Movie - Carlos

  • Best Supporting Actor, TV series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie - Chris Colfer (Kurt on Glee). He seemed completely stunned. I'm so happy for him!! He dedicated the award to kids who are constantly told "no" or that they can't be who they are, or have what they want because of who they are. He told them, "Screw that, kids!"

  • Best Actor, TV Series - Drama - Steve Buscemi. Alright!

  • Best TV Series, Drama - Boardwalk Empire. Woo-hoo!!

  • Best Original Song, Motion Picture - Diane Warren - "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from (Burlesque)

  • Best Original Score, Motion Picture - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Social Network)
  • Best Animated Feature Film - Toy Story 3

  • Best Actress, Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical - Annette Bening (The Kids Are Alright).

  • Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie - Al Pacino (You Don't Know Jack)

  • Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie - Claire Danes (Temple Grandin). Claire won the Emmy for this too. Temple's there in the audience--good to see her.

  • Best Screenplay, Motion Picture - Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

  • Best Supporting Actress, TV Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie - Jane Lynch (Sue from Glee)

  • Best Foreign Language Film - In a Better World (Denmark) -

  • Best Actress, TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Laura Linney (The Big C). I'm really happy to see her win, but just like Nurse Jackie and The United States of Tara, also nominated in this category, I have a problem with the show being called a "comedy." I cried my eyes out during the season finale.

  • Best Actor, TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

  • Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture - Melissa Leo (The Fighter). Very well deserved! Also, can I just say that I still love Jeremy Irons voice. (That wasn't a random thought...he presented the award.)

  • Cecil B. DeMille Award - Robert DeNiro

  • Best Director, Motion Picture - David Fincher (The Social Network)

  • Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Glee - OK, so Modern Family didn't win. I'm still happy for this win. I love Glee! And thank goodness it wasn't 30 Rock.

  • Best Actor, Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical - Paul Giamatti (Barney's Version)

  • Best Actress, Motion Picture, Drama - Natalie Portman

  • Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical - The Kids Are Alright. Yay!

  • Best Actor, Motion Picture, Drama - Colin Firth (The King's Speech) - another well-deserved win.

  • Best Motion Picture, Drama - The Social Network. This was presented by Michael Douglas, who recently announced his cancer is gone. He got a huge standing ovation, and said, "there's got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation."

Just a quick note about the show...I was a bit disappointed in Ricky Gervais. This best sums it up:

When he was introducing Robert Downey, Jr., he listed several of RDJ's movies, but said perhaps many in the room know RDJ best from The Betty Ford Clinic and the Los Angeles County jail. Ouch. RDJ came out and said, "Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far, wouldn't you?" Touché. It was just a bit uncomfortable throughout.

Beyond that, I'm happy with winners and look forward to the Oscars.

Golden Globes

I'm sitting here watching the oh-so-painful red carpet coverage before the Golden Globes. The questions are so awkward and Carson Daly and some British chick named Alexa, that I don't know, have no command over their interviews. It's just AWKWARD. What I am appreciating are the snarky responses from some of the celebrities. Talking about her dress, Carson asked Sandra Bullock, "What is this? This is lovely." Sandra's response: "It's a dress...."

Ugh.

Anyway, tonight, I'm mainly pulling for Christian Bale to win Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter and Modern Family to win Best TV Comedy, and Boardwalk Empire as Best TV Drama. Also looking forward to watching Ricky Gervais as host.

Speaking of whom, he really dinged The Tourist. He said, "It was a big year for 3-D movies: Toy Story, Depsicable Me, Tron...it seems like everything this year was three dimensional. Except the characters in The Tourist." Uncomfortable!

Anyway, on with the show. I'll post results later on.

1.14.2011

It's a little late now...

...but I'd really like to recommend Men of a Certain Age. I say it's a little late, because I just finished watching the season finale, but I'm going to recommend it anyway. I'm sure you can probably find the first season on DVD. The show stars Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula as three friends in their 50s. I love the camaraderie and friendships, great performances, and great writing. It makes me laugh out loud every week, and occasionally, it brings a tear, too. I love this show, and can't wait for season three.

1.10.2011

New on Showtime

I watched William H. Macy's new show, Shameless, on Showtime last night, and love it already. Here's the plot summary that I pulled from IMDb:
Meet the fabulously dysfunctional Gallagher family. Dad's a drunk, Mom split long ago, eldest daughter Fiona tries to hold the family together. Eldest son Philip (Lip) trades his physics tutoring skills for sexual favors from neighborhood girls. Middle son Ian is gay. Youngest daughter Debbie is stealing money from her UNICEF collection. Ten-year-old Carl is a budding sociopath and an arsonist, and toddler Liam is - well, he might actually be black, but nobody has a clue how.
The family is so crazy, but what I love is that the show has so much heart. Each night, William H. Macy comes home drunk and passes out on the floor, and each night, his young daughter Debbie comes and puts a pillow under his head. It's kind of sad, but it's also sweet. When the older brother Lip figures out that the middle brother is gay, he just tries to get him to talk about it, which in its own way, lets Ian know that it's okay. Even though it's sad to see that the kids are growing up with a drunk father, it's also heartwarming to see how the eldest daugther take care of them all. The show is very well-written and the actors are great. I'll definitely be sticking with it.

Now, Matt LeBlanc's Episodes is another story. My dad told me about a terrible review he read about the show, but I decided to watch anyway to form my own opinion. I couldn't stay awake. Granted, it was 1 a.m. on a school night, but I figure if the show was any good, it would've kept my attention and kept me up for a half hour more. Don't worry--I'm not making my final decision based on that--it' just an observation. I'll try watching again tonight, at a normal hour, but if I fall asleep again, that's it!

1.09.2011

Shoulda gone with my gut.

I've been reluctant to see The Tourist. For one thing, I don't really care for Angeline Jolie, and for another, the previews just didn't look that interesting. I do like Johnny Depp though. I saw that both Johnny and Angelina were nominated for Golden Globes, and since I like to see as many nominees as I can, I figured, fine, I'll go see it.

Big mistake.

Man...talk about phoning it in. I do not understand why these two were nominated for this movie. I predicted the ending of the movie within the first ten minutes and then it just dragged and dragged. There was absolutely no chemistry between Angelina and Johnny. Angelina looked plastic like a mannequin much of the time, and Johnny Depp was just dull. Big disappointment.

Entertainment Weekly has a list of 25 movies to see before the Oscars, and I'm making my way through it. Here's the list...I've asterisked the movies that I've seen. (See how I turned asterisk into a verb?) EW says to start at the top and work your way down:

  1. The Social Network*
  2. The King's Speech*
  3. Inception
  4. The Fighter*
  5. Toy Story 3
  6. True Grit
  7. Black Swan*
  8. The Kids Are All Right*
  9. 127 Hours
  10. Winter's Bone
  11. The Town*
  12. Rabbit Hole
  13. Another Year
  14. Get Low*
  15. How to Train Your Dragon
  16. Blue Valentine
  17. Biutiful
  18. Animal Kingdom
  19. Waiting for "Superman"
  20. Alice in Wonderland
  21. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*
  22. Inside Job
  23. The Illusionist
  24. Tangled
  25. Burlesque

Inception just arrived from Netflix, so I'll watch that soon. Tomorrow I'll see either 127 Hours or True Grit. Moving right along....

For what it's worth, I highly recommend The King's Speech and The Fighter. Loved them both.