Binky International Film Festival: Day Four

Hello and welcome to Day Four of the first ever “Binky International Film Festival”! In the last three days, we have revisited quite a few 2011 movies from three different genres: “Big Budget Awesomeness”, “Sundance Darlings” and “Chick Flicks”. And now in Day Four, we are going to take a look at the movies that are doing well and reaping nominations this award season. As I have mentioned in the Introduction post, I don’t live in the United States so there are a few critically acclaimed and award nominated movies that I haven’t gotten a chance to see, so obviously this list is incomplete. But even so, we have quite a few movies to get through today, so let’s get straight to it!

Note: Even though I have seen We Need To Talk About Kevin and Tilda Swinton is nominated both for SAG and Golden Globes for that movie, I’ve decided not to put the movie in this category and instead it’ll be in the “Depression-Inducing” category on Day 6.

“Award Worthy”

The Help

Opening Weekend: August 10, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 146 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Tate Taylor
Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, etc
Nominations: Black Reel Awards, Critics Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Satellite Awards, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, Golden Globes Awards, etc

I read the book before I watched the movie, so I was a little worried that they were going to ruin my love for the book when I decided to give this movie a watch, and I’m glad to report that this adaptation pretty much stick close to the book, sure they made little changes here and there but they weren’t too detrimental to the plot, and they didn’t bother me too much. And Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard truly rocked my world in this movie, so much so that I didn’t even pay that much attention to Emma Stone’s performance. Those three women plus Jessica Chastain gave such incredible performances that you want to cry, laugh and set that bitch Hilly (played perfectly by Howard) on fire for some of the things she said. The only actor I had a problem with is Chris Lowell, who I feel is a little miscast here, but then again he only appeared a total of 10 minutes in the movie so it didn’t bother me that much.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

50/50

Opening Weekend: September 30, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jonathan Levine & Will Reiser
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Gordon, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, etc
Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes Awards, Hollywood Film Festival, National Board of Reviews, etc

Cancer is no laughing matter. But in the case of this brilliantly-written and wonderfully-acted movie, cancer doesn’t have to be all sad and depressing. Sometimes you can always find comedy in the shittiest situation, even if that shitty situation is cancer. Screenwriter Will Reiser wrote this movie as a fictionalized account of his own battle with cancer, and the result is a poignant movie both sad and funny, that will tug on your heartstrings, and make you chuckle through your tears, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is heartbreaking as Adam, the quiet, ordinary guy whose life is suddenly turned upside down, but surprisingly enough, it’s Seth Rogen’s turn as the insensitive best friend that steals the scenes, a role that he had to play in real life as Reiser’s best friend. If you know someone who has cancer, or even if you’re just a regular human being and nothing bad ever happens to you, I would recommend you check out this movie to celebrate life. Yes, it can be shitty. But it’s worth being thankful for.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Ides of March

Opening Weekend: October 7, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 110 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): George Clooney & Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Stars: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, etc
Nominations: Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes Awards, Venice Film Festival, etc

This is the only movie in this list that I watched expecting to be disappointed, mostly because people have told me how much they hated it and how it wasn’t worth my  time. And these are people whose judgment I trust, so I set the bar really low going in, knowing that I might end up thinking the movie sucked. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t hate it. In fact, I quite enjoy the movie, I thought Ryan Gosling once again did a superb job here, and I wasn’t bored the whole time. There are a few reasons why I seem to like this movie, that got panned by critics as well, as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations members did even though the rest of the world hated it: 1. Just like the financial market, my knowledge of politics is something to laugh about. I just don’t care enough to even read the newspaper about anything political. 2. My love and devotion for both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling made me bias, and I couldn’t see the movie for what it was because I was blinded by their combined sexiness. In conclusion, if you’re not into politics and you  love both Clooney and Gosling, I think you need to give this movie a try. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it immensely like I did (and not afraid to admit it).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Warrior

 Opening Weekend: September 9, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 140 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Gavin O’Connor & Athony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman. Story by Gavin O’Connor & Cliff Dorfman
Stars: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison
Nominations: Satellite Awards, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards SAG Awards, etc

When I first heard about this movie, I knew I wanted to see it just so I could see Tom Hardy kicking ass. After Inception, you’d be hard press to find a woman on earth who’s not at least a little bit infatuated with this British actor. But when I finally saw the movie, it wasn’t Tom Hardy being a bad-ass that reeled me in. It was Tom Hardy as a broken man, looking for redemption, it was Nick Nolte as his alcoholic, abusive father looking for atonement, it was Joel Edgerton as a beloved teacher and family man just looking for a way to provide for his family – it was a family, all broken apart and coming together in the least likely of events: the mixed martial arts “Sparta” championship. Despite the blood and the fights, you will cry so hard you’ll almost wail (like I did) watching this movie, because it is never about the fights, it’s about love – complicated but redeeming love, the kind that we all crave in this life. And if I could only recommend one movie out of all that I watched in 2011, it’d be this one. Don’t go through life without watching this movie. Trust me.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Moneyball

 Opening Weekend: September 23, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 133 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Bennett Miller & Steve Zailian, Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin & Michael Lewis
Stars: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, etc
Nominations: New York Film Critics Circle Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Satellite Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globes Awards

Also in the list of things I am clueless and can’t give a shit about, aside from the financial market and politics: sports. I don’t do sports, I don’t watch sports, I have never even been attracted to any athlete, no matter how incredibly beautiful they are. David Beckham? Meh. Tom Brady? Yeah, not my type. Derek Jeter? You’ve got to be kidding me, right? However, one of my favorite TV shows of all time is Friday Night Lights, a show centered on football, so I figured after 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights (and actually learning a thing or two about the game), I can watch Moneyball and not be confused by the baseball of it all. And I’m not wrong, but I’m not right either. The premise of the movie doesn’t confuse me, and I think both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill were good in the movie (though I don’t find Pitt’s performance all that amazing, to be honest. If I had to pick between nominating him or Tom Hardy for Best Actor, I’d go with Hardy), but I don’t find the movie as the most inspiring movie of all time like some reviews said. It’s just a baseball movie. Some guy reinvented the game.. and? At least Warrior at the heart is about love and redemption. Moneyball is just about… some guy who reinvented the game. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not exactly that inspiring either. But, what do I know? I don’t even like baseball.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Bridesmaids

Opening Weekend: May 13, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 125 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Paul Feig & Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Stars: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, etc
Nominations: Critics Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globes Awards, etc

Those who say that women aren’t funny are just pissed off when women refuse to laugh at their stupid jokes. Because if this movie doesn’t prove to you that a group of women can make you ROTFLMAO – then you’re just bitter and cruel. Bridesmaids, while technically a romantic comedy, is so much more than just a bunch of women obsessing about weddings. It’s about friendship – and the insane (or as Maya Rudolph would say, “Insahn”) things we do in the name of friendship, which sometimes includes getting food poisoning and crapping all over a wedding dress. Bridesmaids is a female comedy that guys can watch and enjoy and these fabulous funny ladies prove that hey, women are funny and we can be funny without having to rag on the men in our lives. Hear that, Adam Sandler?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Beginners

Opening Weekend: June 3, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 105 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Mike Mills
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, Christopher Plummer
Nominations: Independent Spirits Awards, Satellite Awards, National Board of Review, Hollywood Film Festival, SAG Awards

I didn’t discover this little gem of a movie until earlier this month when it started getting nominated left and right, and also winning a few accolades here and there. But I’m glad I finally did, late though I am, because I would’ve regretted missing this movie. A story about a man coping with the death of his father, who had come out of the closet in his old age and discovered a new leash on life only to have it taken away by cancer a few years later, Beginners may as well be called ‘The History of Sadness and What One Does To Overcome It”. It’s sad, yes, but it’s also hopeful – and Christopher Plummer was truly magnificent here. If you too, like me, have only heard of this movie lately, I suggest you look for the DVD or look out for it on Netflix. It’s definitely worth the watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Midnight In Paris

Opening Weekend: June 10, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 94 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen
Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates etc
Nominations: independent Spirit Awards, Satellite Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globes Awards, etc

Since I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, it’s a little hard to praise this movie without sounding bias, but I can tell you, even if you’re not a fan of his work – you have to check out this movie. It’s the best Woody Allen movie since Annie Hall, and I think it’s also Allen’s most successful movie to date. Set in Paris and introduces a new plot element that Allen hasn’t used before (time travel), Midnight In Paris is like taking a vacation with our favorite people on earth, provided those people are Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and even Salvador Dali. It’s funny and delightful, it’s hopeful but still neurotic, it’s truly the best of Allen’s European series. And Owen Wilson channeling Woody Allen is really something to watch. I hope this movie wins every award it’s nominated because it truly deserves it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Carnage

Opening Weekend: December 16, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 79 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Roman Polanski & Yasmine Reza,
Stars: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz
Nominations: Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, Satellite Awards, Venice Film Festival, Golden Globes Awards, etc

Thanks to my flu, I actually get the chance to see this movie, because I’m forced to just lie in bed and not do anything but watch movies after movies after movies. And I’m glad I did because this movie is fantastic. First of all, I never thought Roman Polanski can do comedy. I mean, he was the director of Rosemary’s Baby and he made Oliver Twist kinda dark… I didn’t expect him to direct something that is just straight up hilarious. But he did. And obviously the actors are all wonderful too – Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly and my favorite Christoph Waltz – without them, this movie wouldn’t have worked so beautifully. No matter what you feel about Polanski as a person, you should not miss this film. It’s definitely one of his better works.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And there you have it, Day Four of Binky International Film Festival. Sorry for the delay in posting this, but my flu really got the better of me last night. 🙂 To make up for this, I will still post Day Five and Day 6 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I’ll be able to get everything done before New Years Eve. Thanks for tuning in so far and I’ll see you tomorrow for Day Five: “Across The Pond”. Till then!

Binky Bee

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Binky International Film Festival: Day Three

Hello and welcome to Day Three of “Binky International Film Festival“. Over the past two days, we have reviewed some “Big Budget Awesomeness” and “Sundance Darlings” and today, we are going to concentrate on a genre that is as old as time itself: “Chick Flicks”. Despite being a cynic and a feminist, I have loved romantic comedies since I first saw When Harry Met Sally for the first time back in the sixth grade, and I’m not ashamed of it. 😉 Sure, this genre has declined rapidly over the last decade (where’s Meg Ryan when you need her?) but this year I have seen some improvements. There’s hope for this genre yet. So without further ado, grab your tub of Ben & Jerry’s and let’s dive straight in!

Note: Two of the movies in this post (Country Strong and Waiting For Forever) are not romantic comedies, but since these are the kind of movies that appeal more to women than men, I decided to put them in this category. Also: technically Bridesmaids needs to be in this category as well but since it receives quite a bit of nominations this award season, it’ll be in tomorrow’s “Award Worthy” genre.

“Chick Flicks”

Crazy Stupid Love

 Opening Weekend: July 29, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 118 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Glenn Ficara, John Requa & Dan Fogelman
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, etc

2011 is a great year for one Ryan Gosling. Sure he lost the “Sexiest Man Alive” title to Bradley Cooper (which caused an uproar) but there is no denying that about 99% of women (plus about the same percentage of gay men) on earth want to have sex with him. Myself included. And this movie gives us about 50% of the reason why we all want him (the other 50% is divided between Drive and The Ides of March): he’s a confident, self-assured hottie with a body so perfect Emma Stone’s character accused his abs of being photoshopped. We all want to leave the bar and get straight to bed with him. But enough about Gosling! I think this movie is the best romcom of 2011. Carell is so hilarious, and he and Gosling play off each other so well. If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy while at the same time laugh so hard you nearly pee, you might want to give this movie a try if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.


Rating: 4 Out of 5 stars

Country Strong

Opening Weekend: January 7, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 117 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Shana Feste
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garret Hedlund, Leighton Meester

Two things I learned from watching this movie: one, I totally understand the Gwyneth Paltrow backlash and why people can’t stand her, and two, Leighton Meester can actually sing, you guys, provided that she wises up and embrace the country pop genre for real. No more of those pop dance-y singles, Leighton, stick with what you’re good at. Other than those two things, this movie is kind of meh. It feels more like Gwyneth Paltrow trying to prove she can do it all (act, sing country, act drunk etc), and the best part of the movie is when her character (spoiler alert) dies, and some sweet Hedlund/Meester scenes. The movie is just not that good, period. Color me unimpressed.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

No Strings Attached

Opening Weekend: January 21, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 108 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Ivan Reitman & Elizabeth Merriwhether. Story by Elizabeth Merriwhether & Michael Samonek.
Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Jake Johnson, Kevin Kline, Mindy Kaling, etc

Just so you know I’m not exactly a fan of Ashton Kutcher and I always assume that a movie with him in the lead would suck. But luckily, I love Natalie Portman so I gave this romcom a chance and I didn’t regret it. The movie is quite funny, Natalie Portman is just so delightful in it. But then again, after her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan, did we expect anything less? I also love that even though it followed a certain predictable romcom formula, it doesn’t rely too heavily on the cliches. The scene with Natalie Portman in the car, cry-singing “Bleeding Love” and binging on donut holes – that’s genuinely non-cliche funny. And we women can relate! It has happened to us once or twice, right? So even if you can’t stand Kutcher, I still recommend you check out this flick. It’ll put a smile on your face, seriously.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Friends With Benefits

Opening Weekend: July 22, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 109 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Will Gluck & Keith Merryman, David A. Newman. Story by Harley Peyton, Keith Merryman & David A. Newman.
Stars: Mila Kunis, Jason Timberlake, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, Patricia Clarkson etc

2011 is a pretty good year for movies, but someone somewhere in Hollywood must’ve screwed up because in the space of less than 6 months, two romcoms with identical premises came out, both with attractive leads and both with the same fast-talking zany humor. And who came out on top? Sorry Mila Kunis, but your Black Swan co-star beats you this time around. Out of the two movies, I like No Strings Attached better, maybe because Friends With Benefits tries a little too hard to be tongue-in-cheek and funny. And by the time the movie came out, flash mobs are so two years ago, no matter how cute Mila Kunis tries to convince you of otherwise.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Waiting For Forever

Opening Weekend: February 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 95 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): James Keach & Steve Adams
Stars: Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner

I think I’m the only one who saw this little seen Rachel Bilson movie, and even though it wasn’t the best romantic film of the year, I actually didn’t hate it. Sure at first I thought Tom Sturridge’s character has mental disabilities or something, especially the way he pines for Rachel Bilson’s character but never once dares to make a move, but then I realized that he’s not, he just chooses to deal with the world in his own childlike way. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may be naïve but it’s not idiotic. I also like Bilson taking on a more complicated role for once, and she’s pretty good in this movie too. But obviously Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom, Blythe Danner steals the scene. She’s just heartbreaking in this movie and if nothing else, she should be the reason to check out this movie. Trust me.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I Don’t Know How She Does It

Opening Weekend: September 16, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 89 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Douglas McGrath & Aline Brosh Mckenna
Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, etc

Do you ever wonder why, if a woman is successful at her career, and at the same time is successful at being a wife and mother, people ask “How does she do it?” as if women are expected to just be good at one thing and fail miserably at the other? Well this movie attempts to address this way of thinking, and I think it’s pretty successful in presenting the case that women can in fact do it all and we don’t have to apologize for wanting to be a good mother and a career woman, while not downplaying the hardships than are bound to come from wanting to have it all. The good thing about this movie: it deals with the real issues that working mothers actually deal with. The bad thing about this movie: Sarah Jessica Parker can be grating at times. I would have liked to see Christina Hendricks in the lead role instead of SJP, but that’s just me. All in all, it’s not the best, most inspiring movie about women (0r even the most accurate one, to be honest) but it’s pretty enjoyable nonetheless. And what do you know, Olivia Munn can act after all! She’s actually funny! We do learn something from this movie. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

And there you have it, Day Three of Binky International Film Festival! I hope you’ve enjoyed all the chick flicks we’ve revisited today and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day Four, where we’ll be taking a look at this year’s “Award Worthy” movies. Until then!

Binky Bee

Binky International Film Festival: Day Two

Hello and welcome back to the first ever “Binky International Film Festival”! 🙂 Day Two officially begins and this time around we are going to take a look at a few movies that got indie lovers buzzing during the Sundance Film Festival, and I will call this genre “Sundance Darlings”.

As you know, Sundance Film Festival has grown from a little indie film festival in Park City, Utah to the place to scout out the most promising movies of the year. And this year, there are quite a few gems that I highly recommend you to watch, if you haven’t already. What are these promising indie movies? Let’s take a look!

NOTE: (Dec 21, 2011) As promised, now updated with Margin Call.

“Sundance Darlings”

Our Idiot Brother

Release Date: August 26, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 90 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jesse Peretz & Evgenia Peretz, David Schisgall. Story by Jesse Peretz, Evgenia Peretz & David Schisgall.
Stars: Paul Rudd, Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott etc

Possibly one of the most successful movies to come out at Sundance this year, this lighthearted sibling comedy was the first one bought by a major distributor (the Weinstein Company, no less) and is probably the easiest to market to mass audience. Our Idiot Brother tells the story of a sweet, loving idealist (Paul Rudd) who, after a brief stint in jail for selling pot to a cop, reunites with his three sisters only to accidentally wreak havoc in their already complicated lives. It’s funny but not idiotic (despite the title) and even though halfway through the movie you’d feel like strangling each and every one of the three self-absorbed sister, they manage to redeem themselves by finally banding together as a family and help their “idiot brother” the way he has helped them all along. It’s a family movie for those who can’t stand family movies, and if you love Paul Rudd (and Adam Scott!) as much as I do, I recommend giving this movie a watch. Especially during this time of the year.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Art of Getting By

Release Date: June 17, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 83 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Gavin Wiesen
Stars: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elisabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, etc

Spoiler alert: that adorable Charlie from Tim Burton’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is no longer that adorable kid who charmed the pants out of Johnny Depp (and all of us). He’s now a tall, lanky teenager who wears a long black coat, refuses to do his coursework, and waxes philosophical debates about life and death and what it means to be a kooky and depressed teenager in The Art of Getting By. If this movie doesn’t make you feel old, then you’re probably still a teenager. The Art of Getting By is a coming of age movie for a generation who has seen too many coming of age movies, and is now lost and wondering if there really is a meaning to all this shit. Life is complicated, and even more so when you’re a teenager and you have no idea what you’re doing. That isn’t to say this movie isn’t enjoyable, it is very much so. It ends in a hopeful note, and at the very least it makes you appreciate being an adult. It’s not perfect, but then again, neither is life. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Like Crazy

Release Date: October 28, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 90 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Drake Doremus & Ben York Jones
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence

I was a little scared watching this movie, not because it’s a thriller (it’s not), but because I was all too familiar with the story: I know what it’s like to be separated geographically from the one I love, and not being able to do anything about it. I know the frustration, the loneliness, that overwhelming feeling of sadness from missing that person too much and not knowing what to do about it. In short, I have been where the couple in Like Crazy has been and it was not a fun experience. But I’m glad I didn’t chicken out and decide to watch this movie, because aside from Felicity Jones’ phenomenal acting, this movie gave me a glimpse of what would happen if my ex and I had insisted to stay together against all odds. There are relationships that are only meant to last a season, and Like Crazy shows us what happens if we try to stretch out that season to a lifetime. It can still work out, but you may have to sacrifice your own happiness in the process. So if you’re pining for the one that could have been, maybe this is the movie for you this holiday season, to put things into perspective.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Release Date: October 21, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 102 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Sean Durkin
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the other Olsen sister, the one who didn’t start out as a child star and become a millionaire before she’s even old enough to drive, the one who hasn’t parlayed her fame into a billion dollar merchandising (and now fashion) industry, and the only one who can actually act: Elizabeth Olsen. At only 20, the younger Olsen sister stunned the world in her breakout role as a traumatized, troubled young woman who has just returned to her family after years living in an abusive Charles Manson-like cult. Her raw yet understated performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene made her the talk of Hollywood post-Sundance, and I hope she’ll be the one Olsen girl that we’ll be taking seriously in the years to come, because she is just that good. But aside from Olsen, this movie is worth checking out for the sublime performances of her co-stars, especially John Hawkes who is even more creepy and unsettling in this movie than I’ve seen him before. It can be a little hard to watch in a couple of scenes, but it gives good insight to the psyche of a cult, and it leaves you with something to think (and talk) about.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Another Happy Day

Release Date: November 18, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 119 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Sam Levinson
Stars: Ellen Barkin, Ezra Miller, Kate Bosworth, Thomas Haden Church, Demi Moore, etc

This is the only one of this year’s Sundance movies that I didn’t hear about until I followed Ellen Barkin on twitter (you should all follow her, she’s a riot – @ellenbarkin) and it’s a shame since everyone is so amazing in this movie, from Ellen Barkin all the way to young Ezra Miller, who you may know as Tucker, Hank’s hemophiliac patient in Royal Pains, or as creepy teen psychopath Kevin in We Need To Talk About Kevin. In Another Happy Day, Miller also plays a complex, troubled teen who makes his mom’s life even harder – and seeing this relative newcomer and seasoned actor Ellen Barkin go toe-to-toe onscreen is just a delight. They both give incredible performances, and surprisingly enough so did Demi Moore and Kate Bosworth (but more surprisingly, Bosworth! She has depth after all!). This family reunion movie may be more depressing than uplifting, but that doesn’t mean you should pass on this Sam Levinson movie, if only to wonder why no one seems to notice how good Ellen Barkin is in it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Margin Call

Release Date: October 21, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 107 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): JC Chandor
Stars: Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci etc

This movie is definitely fresh in my mind since I just saw it a few hours ago, but that doesn’t mean I actually get it. 🙂 Not the movie’s fault, I’m just totally clueless when it comes to the financial market. I failed Economics twice in college, and then I had to change my major from Mass Communications because apparently, I had to at least get a D in Economics to be able to survive – and I couldn’t even get that. So, I’m probably the wrong person to judge the movie since I do not understand what the hell is going on half the time. BUT. I do know my pop culture and I know a good movie when I see it, even if I’m a little hazy on the core dilemma that the characters are facing. It’s a very relevant movie in these times, and yet it doesn’t point the finger and play the blame game. Sure, these Wall Street people screwed up. But when they did their job well, we enjoyed the benefits too (at least that’s what I got from Paul Bettany’s monologue). Please don’t argue with me on this, like I said, I am so so dumb when it comes to the financial market, so I may be getting the message of the movie all wrong. Bottom line, what I get is that behind of every crisis, whether it be financial or otherwise, there are individuals who have screwed up and now are trying to cover their asses. And that is human. Doesn’t make it right, but that’s the way it is. See the movie if my review confuses you. 🙂

And that concludes Day Two of Binky International Film Festival, now updated with Margin Call. Also, check back in tomorrow for Day Three, where we will be taking a look at this year’s “Chick Flicks”. There are quite a few to get through so I’ll see you then!

Binky Bee

Binky International Film Festival: Day One

Hello and welcome to the first ever (and maybe even the first and the last, we’ll see about that next year) Binky International Film Festival! As I have explained in my previous post, this year I’m doing something different to end 2011 with, instead of just making a list, I’m actually going to revisit all the movies I’ve seen in this past year (well, not all, just the ones released in 2011, though there are one or two that were released in 2010 but I never got around to watching them until 2011) and share my thoughts about them with all of you fabulous people of the blogosphere. Why? Why not, it’s the holidays, isn’t it? 😉

Today, our genre is “Big Budget Awesomeness” (note: “special effects-heavy” falls into the category even if the budget isn’t astronomical) and there are quite a few to get through so let’s not delay this any longer! Binky International Film Festival officially opens!

“Big Budget Awesomeness”

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2

Opening Weekend: November 19, 2010(part 1), July 15, 2011 (part 2)
Approx. Running Time: 146 min (part 1), 130 min (part 2)
Director & Screenwriter(s): David Yates & Steve Kloves (parts 1 & 2)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.
Budget: £150,000,000 (part 1), $125,000,000 (part 2)

Okay, first I would like to formally apologize to all you Harry Potter fans out there for not actually liking the movie franchise that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the book series. But I was so disappointed by the first two movies and Daniel Radcliffe that I just couldn’t get into it. But two years ago I got bored and had nothing to watch during the holidays so I decided to catch up on the movies. And as it turns out, even though I’ll never like them as much as the book, they were alright. And Radcliffe’s acting improved greatly as he and the rest of the cast grew up right before our eyes. But still, I wasn’t crazy about the movie franchise, so when Part 1 and 2 of the final Potter installment came out I didn’t rush to the cinema to see them, instead I waited for the DVDs. But even so, I actually quite like both movies.

First of all, this time around everyone can act. The actors all brought their A-game and the three stars; Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson all have become seasoned actors. Second, the adaptation stayed pretty close to the book, so no complaints there. Third, the special effects got even more amazing, obviously. And finally, I never expected that I would get choked up watching the very last movie, but I did. I guess these crazy wizards have become more than just characters from my favorite book series but have felt like my best friends and family. I will miss this franchise, and sorry Twilight fans, but there is NO greater series than Harry Potter. Even Stephen King thought so too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

X-Men: First Class

Opening Weekend: June 3, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 132 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Matthew Vaughn & Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. Story by Sheldon Turner & Bryan Singer
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, etc
Budget: $160,000,000

This was one of the most anticipated blockbuster release of 2011 and I’m happy to announce it did not disappoint. At all. Not even the slightest. In fact, X-Men: First Class was so good it made me forget about the disappointment that is X-Men 3 or X-3 or whatever it was called. A lot of what made this prequel awesome came courtesy of one Michael Fassbender, who was beyond amazing as young Magneto. But James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence were pretty great too, not to mention Nicholas Hoult, who you probably know as little chubby Marcus in About A Boy who grew up to be the sexy, diabolical Tony in UK’s hit teen series Skins. This installment of X-Men opted for great writing and acting instead of relying on special effects – and it made the movie more than just a comic book adaptation that only fanboys can appreciate. If you’re not big on comic books and superheroes, I still recommend you check out this movie, because it is more than just a superhero movie. It’s about the choices we all make as humans (and mutants) that in the end will determine where we end up in life.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sucker Punch

Opening Weekend: March 25, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 110 min (127 min extended cut)
Director & Screenwriter(s): Zack Snyder, screenplay by Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya, story by Zack Snyder
Stars: Emily Browning, Abby Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone
Budget: $82,000,000

The public’s reaction to this movie’s a bit polarizing and most critics hate it but I happen to enjoy this movie very much. After Inception, I am game for any movie that deals with the subconscious mind, and Sucker Punch is really about that – but without the clever high concept of Inception, instead it chooses simpler route to explain the fantastical elements of the mind: mental illness. And sure, I too have a problem with all the girls dressing like warrior strippers half the time. I mean, If the imagination sequences come from the mind of a resilient girl being subjected to some horrendous electroshock therapy, why do the girls look like they are created in some geeky guy’s wet dreams? Nonetheless, the core message of the movie stuck with me and despite it all, it does have good self-empowering message. Zack Snyder did a great job creating the dark, sinister but ultimately hopeful world of the subconscious and if you get past the whole fanboy objectification of the female characters, it’s actually a pretty decent, if a bit sad and dark, movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Super 8

Opening Weekend: June 10, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 112 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): JJ Abrams
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning
Budget: $50,000,000

Super 8 was also among the most highly anticipated blockbuster of 2011 and I waited with bated breath for this movie to be released, only to be sorely disappointed by it, about Cloverfield-size of disappointment to be exact. JJ Abrams, I think you’re kind of a genius, but you can’t keep pulling this kind of shit on us impressionable movie junkies, you know! The next time your movie is shrouded in mystery and is overly hyped up, I’m going to assume it’s a hybrid of Cloverfield and Super 8 disaster. You should be ashamed of yourself, Abrams! Seriously though, I think the hype was what made the movie a disappointment, mostly because it was nothing more than Transformers but with pre-teen kids in the Shia LaBeouf/Megan Fox roles. I feel bad for Kyle Chandler, he can do no wrong in my eyes after Friday Night Lights, but this was a serious mistake. He should’ve waited for Star Trek. Shame on you, JJ Abrams!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I Am Number Four

Opening Weekend: February 18, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 109 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): DJ Caruso & Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Marti Noxon
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Timothy Olyphant
Budget: $60,000,000

Let’s put it this way, 2011 is not a good year for aliens, well, except for the Transformers kind. But when you’re wedged in between a beloved boy wizard and sparkling vampires, do you even have a chance? In the case of the aliens in I Am Number Four, also adapted from a popular young adult book series, the answer is not a chance in hell. And neither Harry Potter nor Twilight is to blame this time. Who is to blame? Everyone but Timothy Olyphant, who is sublime, as he usually is in everything he’s in (I may be bias). Alex Pettyfer may know how to woo his co-stars, but he’s not a good actor. Period. And I don’t really see the appeal, frankly. Dianna Agron plays Dianna Agron in this movie, which is not necessarily bad, but we need more from a leading lady. Halfway through the movie, she doesn’t seem like she cares that much anymore, and neither do I. Or anyone, for that matter.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Cowboys and Aliens

Release Date: July 29, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 118 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jon Favreau & Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof,  Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby. Story by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby & Steve Oedekerk.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde
Budget: $163,000,000

Talk about a major blockbuster bummer, we can’t escape this highly overrated sci-fi adventure movie from Jon Favreau, Cowboys and Aliens. It’s almost as bad as Super 8, but not quite. It’s not that bad but it’s definitely not good either. It’s just pretty damn mediocre, despite boasting the acting greats of both Indiana Jones and James Bond. Jon Favreau clearly isn’t a Firefly/Serenity geek because if he were, he would’ve known how to make this space western genre a lot more interesting. As it were, Cowboys and Aliens is nothing more than a 2 hour yawn-fest. The only thing I’m grateful of is not actually seeing this in the cinema and pay good money for it.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Immortals

Release Date: November 11, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 110 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Tarsem Singh & Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Stars: Henry Cavill, Frieda Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, etc.
Budget: $75,000,000

If X-Men: First Class is my favorite blockbuster of 2011, then Tarsem Singh’s Immortals is a close second, and I’m not just bias because I’m a huge fan of his first incredible movie The Fall. Immortals is amazing for so many reasons, not only the brilliant, artistic, fantastic, dream-like special effects, but also for Henry Cavill’s beautiful… body. And acting. But mostly his body. Mickey Rourke plays the villain beautifully here, and once again, just like The Fall, Tarsem takes us to a fantasy world that is like nothing you’ve seen before. And the best part of the movie: Stephen Dorff is cool again. Immortals has resurrected Dorff’s image and career and that is all right by me.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day One of Binky International Film Festival. Check back in for Day Two tomorrow, where we will be watching a few “Sundance darlings” of 2011.

See you then!

Binky Bee

Binky International Film Festival: An Introduction

It’s almost Christmas again, and around this time last year I decided to celebrate the holidays by doing my “12 Days of Christmas Countdowns”, where I do what I do best, make a list of all my favorite things. This year, I plan on doing almost but not quite the same thing because hey, it’s the holidays, I got nothing else to do! 🙂 However, instead of another 12 Days Of Christmas Countdowns like last year, this year I’m going to treat you all to my first ever “Binky International Film Festival”.

You see, to say that I’m a pop culture junkie would be a gross understatement, because I devour pop culture like an obese kid devours big macs. Not only am I TV-obsessed and I watch more television than is humanly possible, I just discovered that in 2011 I have watched A LOT of movies, almost as many as Roger Ebert and all those other high and mighty movie critics. So in the next… I don’t know, week or so, I’m going to basically be your guide to the movies that I’ve seen all throughout 2011. Note that some are so unmemorable that I don’t even bother mentioning them, and some are old movies I’ve seen a million times but still love and watch over and over again (i.e The Princess Bride) that I have to omit from this “film festival” series.

Just like most film festivals, I’m going to divvy up the movies according to genres, however, unlike most film festivals, I don’t stick with the traditional “drama”, “comedy”, “thriller” genres, instead I pretty much come up with my own names for them. Such as, “big budget awesomeness” “indie darlings” “romance that makes you want to stick a fork in your eye”, etc. I’ll start with “Big Budget Awesomeness” (because there aren’t many) tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll be done before the new year’s. 🙂

Also: I don’t live in the United States so there are a few gems that people rave about but I haven’t seen, not because I’m not aware of their greatness but because they’re not available to me yet. So I would really appreciate it if you don’t leave comments such as “I can’t believe you didn’t see The Artist. It’s like, the best movie of 2011.” You know, that sort of a thing. 😉

Alright, now that I’ve explained what it’s all about, I hope you’ll join me as we review 2011 in movies with the first ever Binky International Film Festival.

See you tomorrow for day one!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Golden Globes Nominations: Stars In Their Eyes

The Golden Globes nominations are in, and it’s a doozy, you guys. On one hand, there are some categories that are so great, I can’t even choose my favorite. On the other, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association continues to be crazy by snubbing the greats such as Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation and Melissa McCarthy and continuing to nominate Glee (do they even watch this season, or are they stuck in season 1?) and nominating Ryan Gosling twice but neither for Drive. Not to mention, they’re continuing the tradition of what NY Magazine’s Vulture blog calls “Random Piper Perabo Nomination”, in which a random actress starring in a new USA Network show somehow gets a Best Actress Drama nod. This year the honor goes to Callie Thorne. I’m guessing Gabrielle Anwar’s agent forgot to get on that?

But despite the doozy-ness of this year’s nominations, the HFPA does assure us of two things: it’ll be an interesting red carpet what with the hottest stars in Hollywood all getting nominated (Clooney, Gosling, Pitt, Jolie, Theron, DiCaprio…) and we’ll have an even more interesting ceremony what with Ricky Gervais hosting (again!) and ready to insult and offend those glittering A-listers. So in a way, I can’t hate on them for their glaring snubs. Good job, HFPA!

Alright. Now let’s get straight to the nominees. This year, I’ll only be picking My Favorites (see the SAG Nominations post below) instead of the usual “Who I Think Will Win” and “Who I Want To Win” because the old format is just too much work. 🙂 Besides, my predictions tend to be wrong anyway. I’d make the worst psychic in the world.

Well let’s not waste any more time and dive in!

MOTION PICTURE

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical:

The Artist
Bridesmaids
Midnight in Paris

My Week with Marilyn
50/50

My Favorite: Now this is one of those categories that I mentioned above, that almost all the nominees are so great and so well deserving of the nods that I can’t choose a favorite! I haven’t seen The Artist and My Week With Marilyn (that’s a “Comedy”?) but Bridesmaids, Midnight In Paris and 50/50 were all so amazing in different ways and choosing between them is like choosing which one of my imaginary children is my favorite. It’s impossible! So I’m not going to choose, and instead just hope that The Artist isn’t going to beat them all (though it probably will).

Winner: The Artist

Best Picture, Drama:

The Help
The Descendants
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Warhorse

My Favorite: Okay, this is hard because out of all the movies nominated, I’ve only seen The Help and The Ides of March. So I can’t really make an objective assessment. And I know a lot of people hate The Ides of March, but I actually like it. Maybe it’s the Clooney/Gosling of it all, or maybe it’s because of my lack of understanding of politics in general, but I enjoyed that movie very much. Since I’m not sure which to choose, I decided to go with the movie I haven’t seen but critics raved about and written by the Dean of my favorite fictional Community college Dean Pelton Jim Rash, The Descendants. And if it wins, Clooney will get up on stage too, so win-win, right?

Winner: The Descendants

Best Actress, Comedy:

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Jodie Foster, Carnage

My Favorite: This category is the worst for me because I’ve only seen Bridesmaids and thus can only choose Kristen Wiig because I don’t know how good everyone else was in their respective movies. I have a feeling that it’ll go to Charlize Theron though, she’s always been a go-to choice for HFPA.

Winner: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor, Comedy

Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love

My Favorite: The HFPA is so cruel for making me choose between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling. They’re my imaginary boyfriends, I love them equally! However, despite enjoying Gosling’s performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love (and that glorious, glorious abs), I was crying and laughing the whole time during 50/50, and it’s all because of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s heartbreaking performance, so I’m sorry, Gosling, but I’m going to give it to Gordon-Levitt. Hey, it rhymes! (Also, Jean Dujardin will probably best them both)

Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress, Drama:

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

My Favorite: Well, this is easy. I’ve chosen  Viola Davis as my favorite to win the SAG Awards, so I guess now I’m going to choose Tilda Swinton. Though seeing that both are up against Merryl Streep, I’m guessing it wouldn’t matter. That woman almost never loses, the HFPA LOVES them some Streep!

Winner: Merryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Actor, Drama:

George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Michael Fassbender, Shame

My Favorite: Okay, this is also the category that leaves me torn because you know my love and devotion to both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. I can’t choose between them. I want to be wedged between them. And add some Michael Fassbender in that sexy man-sandwich while I’m at it. No, seriously though, I heard Clooney was all shades of amazing in The Descendants, I thought Ryan Gosling was great in The Ides of March and practically every critic I know raved about Fassbender’s raw and naked (both figuratively and literally) performance in Shame. So really. How can a girl choose? I’ll be happy if it goes to either one of them. Sorry Pitt and Leo!

Winner: My perennial fantasy boyfriend George Clooney for The Descendants, of course!

Best Director:

Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
George Clooney, Ides of March
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

My Favorite: I’ve been a huge fan of Woody Allen movies since I first saw Annie Hall a million years ago so despite the incredible lineup, he’s my favorite to win. And that is all.

Winner: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Supporting Actress:

Octavia Spencer, The Help
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

My Favorite: I really need to see The Descendants one of these days because that girl from that awfulsome ABC Family show Secret Life Of An American Teenager, Shailene Woodley, actually got nominated here and from what I read in various blogs and publications, it was well-deserved. It really makes me curious because she wasn’t at all impressive in American Teenager, but I guess it’s because the materials she had to work with weren’t all that great to begin with. Anyway! The only movie I’ve seen in this category is The Help so I guess Octavia Spencer is my favorite. Chastain was great too, but Spencer is pretty amazing!

Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

My Favorite: Duh, Albert Brooks, simply because Drive is my favorite movie of 2011. And he was pretty awesome in it!

WINNER: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

TELEVISION

TV Series, Drama:

American Horror Story
Boardwalk Empire
Boss
Game of Thrones
Homeland

My Favorite: No doubt, Homeland. I love American Horror Story like Tate Langdon loves his gimp suit, but Homeland has all the makings of an award-winning show. It is so well-written and brilliantly acted, it’s the best new show this year.

Winner: Homeland

TV Series, Comedy:

Enlightened
Episodes
Glee
Modern Family
New Girl

My Favorite: Despite not loving the fact that Glee is nominated again even though they so don’t deserve it this year, I have to praise the HFPA for nominating the brilliant but highly underrated Laura Dern comedy Enlightened. It’s about time that little show gets some love! And so, even though it may probably lose to Modern Family, or even worse, Glee, it’s still my favorite to win.

Winner: Modern Family

TV Actress, Comedy:

Laura Dern, Enlightened
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

My Favorite: I’m like so in love with Amy Poehler right now and ecstatic that even though Parks and Recreation got snubbed again, she got the nomination she so rightly deserved. So yeah, Poehler FTW! However, considering the mass (but polarizing, I admit) appeal of Zooey Deschanel, she may actually take home the Globe this year!

WINNER: Laura Dern, Enlightened

TV Actress, Drama:

Claire Danes, Homeland
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Madeleine Stowe, Revenge
Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness

My Favorite: Claire Danes, of course! She’s just phenomenal as Bipolar but brilliant CIA analyst Carrie Mathison and she deserves all the accolades she can get her hands on!

Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland

TV Actor, Drama:

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Kelsey Grammar, Boss
Jeremy Irons, The Borgias
Damian Lewis, Homeland

My Favorite: Oooh I want to say Bryan Cranston so bad because he is amazing in Breaking Bad and the show was so unjustly snubbed, I feel like he needs to win to make it alright. However, at the end of the day my heart is with Damian Lewis, whose portrayal of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, returning POW turned terrorist, gave a whole new meaning to the word brilliant. But if either of them wins, I’m a happy camper.

Winner: Kelsey Grammar, Boss

TV Actor, Comedy

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
David Duchovny, Californication
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

My Favorite: Matt LeBlanc. He was really funny in Episodes, his character is like Joey Tribbiani playing Matt LeBlanc. And I always love actors who are game at making fun of themselves, so I say give him the award!

Winner: Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Best Supporting Actor, TV

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Tim Robbins, Cinema Verite
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

My Favorite: Eric Stonestreet. It’s not like I watch the others in the list. Though seeing that Guy Pierce won the Emmys last September for Mildred Pierce, he may actually win this one.

Winner: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Best Supporting Actress, TV

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce

My Favorite: Jessica Lange, no question about it. Especially after last Wednesday night’s episode. Who knew that a Ryan Murphy horror show would actually boast some of the most incredible acting that I’ve ever seen on television? It’s not just Lange who is excellent, even the relative newcomers like Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga (who’s only ever acted in one movie prior to this show) are incredible. And that goes for the slew of guest stars too such as the incomparable Zachary Quinto, Frances Conroy, Kate Mara and Lily Rabe. Mark my words, American Horror Story will be the one to watch at next year’s Emmys!

Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story

And there you have it, this year’s Golden Globes nominees. Who do you think will bring home the top honors? Whose nominations are you most excited about? Whose snubs are you most bummed about? I’ll be updating this list next month after the Awards Show telecast so check back in then!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

SAG Awards Nominations: The Actors Have Spoken

The Screen Actors Guild nominations were just announced on Wednesday morning and I feel like it’s my duty as a pop culture junkie to weigh in on the list, because it’s almost the holidays and I’m getting bored. So humor me, will ya? 🙂 This is also the first year that I’ve actually weighed in on the Screen Actors Guild nominations, so instead of my usual award nominations blog template of “Who I Think Will Win” and “Who I Want To Win”, I’m not going to attempt to predict the winners this time around and just pick my favorites out of the lot. Who knows? Maybe this time I’ll get lucky.

Alright, without any delay, let’s get straight to the nominations!

MOTION PICTURE

Best ensemble cast

The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

My Favorite: Kind of a toss-up between Bridesmaids and Midnight In Paris, simply because both have such amazing ensemble cast. But ultimately I pick Midnight In Paris because duh, Hemingway and Dali. However, please note I haven’t seen The Descendants yet and might change my mind after I finally see it.

Biggest Snub: Drive. Sure, some people think it’s overrated. Some even try to sue the producers. But let’s face it, it’s the movie that got everyone talking and it deserves some love.

Best actor

Demián Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

My Favorite: George Clooney, even though I haven’t seen The Descendants yet. He’s Clooney! Of course I’m gonna pick him. And if the SAG voters think the way I do, he’ll probably actually win this.

Biggest Snub: Ryan Gosling. As most women on this planet, I am madly in love with him. It’s bad enough Bradley Cooper beat him as Sexiest Man Alive! Also, Michael Fassbender. I haven’t seen Shame, but critics were blown away by his raw, intense performance and I tend to believe them.

Best actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

My Favorite: This is also a toss-up between Viola Davis and Tilda Swinton. Seriously, I can’t choose! Okay since Swinton has won an Oscar before and everything, I think I’ll go with Davis.

Biggest Snub: I thought Ellen Barkin was all kinds of fantastic in Another Happy Day, and everyone raved about Carey Mulligan’s performance in Shame (which I haven’t seen). Would have liked to see either of these amazing ladies nominated. Also, I have just seen Martha Marcy May Marlene and Elizabeth Olsen definitely deserves a nomination too. Finally, an Olsen sister who can act!

Best supporting actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

My Favorite: Nick Nolte was surprisingly amazing on Warrior, probably the most underrated movie of 2011. But then again Armie Hammer is… Armie Hammer. No. Must stay strong. Nick Nolte it is!

Biggest Snub: Hmm. Would have liked to see Ezra Miller up there for his chilling performance in We Need To Talk About Kevin, but I suppose he just didn’t get enough screen time in that movie. But, I think the true crime is passing on Seth Rogen who was all shades of amazeballs on 50/50. Sure he still plays a version of himself, but this is the best version of him I’ve seen in years!

Best supporting actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

My Favorite: Even though both Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer gave amazing performances in The Help, I gotta give this one to Melissa McCarthy, simply because she made me laugh so hard I nearly peed a few times during Bridesmaids. True story.

Biggest Snub: Bryce Dallas Howard. Her portrayal of Hilly Holbrook in The Help was just so dead on. I read the book before I watched the movie, and she was just pitch perfect. I wanted to set her on fire, she was such a nightmare in that movie! Considering that she seems to be a lovely person in real life, that is some great acting right there!

TELEVISION

Best ensemble cast in a comedy

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office

My Favorite: Okay, let’s talk about how BORING this list is. Like NY Mag’s Vulture noted in their SAG Nominations post, it looks like a list from two years ago. The Office hasn’t had a particularly strong season post-Carell and I’m not even sure what The Big Bang Theory is doing there. I would’ve loved to see some of the newer, better comedies get the nod; like the very excellent Happy Endings, or, if it’s just a tad too kooky, how ’bout the always heartwarming Parks and Recreation? And Glee doesn’t even deserve to be nominated. I’m sorry. This year that show has been on a fast decline, culminating in last Tuesday’s insufferable Christmas episode. I’d be happier if it were New Girl that got the nod. So my favorite? Uhm… I guess that just leaves Modern Family?

Biggest Snub: Parks and Recreation, without question. Season 3 was perfection and 4 has been amazing so far, and they chose Glee? Seriously??

Best ensemble cast in a drama

Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Dexter
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife

My Favorite: Breaking Bad, without question. I don’t watch The Good Wife and Game of Thrones. Boardwalk Empire’s second season isn’t half as good as anyone thinks it is (think about it!) and Dexter is a goner.

Biggest Snub: Homeland. I mean, hands down, best new drama. It’s so good that even President Obama is a fan. Is it because it only just premiered last October? I don’t get it. Also, Sons of Anarchy has had a hell of a season, who does Kurt Sutter have to blow to get a nomination around here, like seriously?

Best actress in a comedy

Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland

My Favorite: Sofia Vergara, still. But if the Emmys were any indication, Julie Bowen would end up the big winner.

Biggest Snub: Where is Amy Poehler? Martha Plimpton? I mean, come on now!

Best actor in a comedy

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Steve Carell, The Office
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

My Favorite: Ty Burrell, but wouldn’t it be cool if Steve Carell wins it for The Office? Maybe he’ll decide to return and we can get rid of awful Robert California forever!

Biggest Snub: I was surprised that Jim Parsons wasn’t nominated, especially after winning back-to-back Emmys.

Best actress in a drama

Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

My Favorite: Jessica Lange, obviously. Crazy Constance is the best thing about American Horror Story, I think.

Biggest Snub: Claire Danes. I mean, after last Sunday’s episode she should’ve had this in the bag. I really don’t get the Homeland snub, I thought actors love this show! Oh and Connie Britton. If you nominate her TV husband (sorry, Dylan McDermott, but she’ll always be Mrs Coach to me), you better nominate her too!

Best actor in a drama

Patrick J. Adams, Suits
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

My Favorite: First, I just wanna talk about how cool it is that Patrick J. Adams got nominated for Suits. I mean, USA Network shows are usually ignored come awards season, no matter how good the acting or the material can be. It’s almost like the CW in a way. Sure there are exceptions. Sharon Gless got an Emmy nomination for Burn Notice once, and Piper Perabo last year got a nomination for Covert Affairs at the Golden Globes (though the latter felt so random and weird because she wasn’t even that impressive!), but both actresses are pretty established, Gless was in Cagney & Lacey and Perabo was in Coyote Ugly. Adams on the other hand, despite having an extensive resume, hasn’t quite hit the big time yet. He mostly starred in little-seen indie flicks and Suits was his first successful TV show. So for the SAG voters to take notice of this relative unknown who starred in a USA Network show and gave him a nomination is a big deal. Especially since he gets to see his name alongside giants like Brian Cranston, Steve Buscemi and Michael C. Hall. I’ve liked this guy since I saw him in the sweet indie Weather Girl, so I’m really happy for his nomination. My favorite to win remains Kyle Chandler, because it’d just be bittersweet now that Friday Night Lights has ended, the show FINALLY gets the recognition and love it deserves, but a part of me wants Patrick J. Adams to win, not only because it’s a long shot, but because he truly is talented and needs more exposure.

Biggest Snub: Would have loved to see Damian Lewis in the list, his performance in Homeland is just sublime. Seriously, why is this show snubbed? I mean, it premiered earlier than American Horror Story and Jessica Lange got nominated!

And there you go. My take on the Screen Actors Guild nominations. Who do you think will be the big winner? Who are your favorites to win? I guess we’ll see come January whether the SAG voters agree with us. Until then, stay tuned – my Golden Globes Nominations post will be ready soon (tomorrow)!

Xoxo

Binky Bee