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Binky International Film Festival: Day Seven

Hello and welcome to Day Seven of the first ever “Binky International Film Festival“! I hope you’ve been enjoying this series so far, and if you’re not… Well, tough. It’s my blog. 😉 Just kidding. I really do hope you’ve been enjoying this series and are willing to continue our journey until we finish with Day 10 on New Year’s Eve.

Today, we are going to take a look at my personal favorites of 2011, the movies that I love so much I can watch over and over again, thus making this a “Repeat Viewing” genre. I can now safely say that 2011 is quite a good year for movies. Sure, there are a lot of crap this year but then again, there are always a lot of crap movies every year. But the good ones are not that few and far between this year, definitely an improvement from 2010. And if the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t end us all, let’s hope this time next year we have an even better list of movies to discuss. 🙂 Now, let’s get right down to business and begin Day Seven!

“Repeat Viewing”

Drive

Release Date: September 16, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Nicolas Winding Refn & Hossein Amini
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston
Defining Song: A Real Hero Feat. Electric Youth by College

Without a doubt, in my opinion, Best Movie of 2011. I didn’t know what to expect going in, I only knew that people were all talking about it and giving it high praise on Twitter. I came for Ryan Gosling, and I got so, so much more. It’s a little hard to talk about this movie without sounding like a crazed fangirl, so bear with me. Drive is amazeballs because 1. Ryan Gosling and his silent acting equals pure brilliance. 2. Albert Brooks in the role of a villain: mind-blowing. 3. The insane violence: puts Tarantino to shame. 4. The music: oh the music! It really sets the mood. Gosling himself described this movie as a “Pretty In Pink with a head smashing” and I don’t know how else to describe it that would do it justice. It’s definitely not to everyone’s taste but if you like indie, offbeat, strange movies (with head smashing) – you will probably LOVE this as much as I do.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friends With Kids

Release Date: September 9, 2011 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jennifer Westfeldt
Stars: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Ed Burns, etc

This movie was highly recommended by NY Magazine’s Vulture blog post-Toronto International Film Festival, and because it has not only half the cast of Bridesmaids but also Adam Scott and Ed Burns, I waited with bated breath until I could finally see it, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Jennifer Westfeldt (some of you may know her as Jon Hamm’s lady love) wrote and directed a charming little movie about friendship, love, parenthood and marriage in very real, non-preachy, non-judgmental way. Five minutes in, you see these characters and you will think, “Oh that reminds me of my own group of friends” (only they’re much, much better looking). The issues discussed were very much what friends in their thirties would discuss: love, marriage, kids – but it’s not desperate or stupid, which is what most romcoms tend to be. Whether you’re single, or married, or divorced, I think you’d be able to enjoy this movie very much. Trust me. I know these things. 🙂 (PS: Couldn’t find the trailer for this movie on Youtube, so I tried embedding it from a different site. Hope it works. If not… well, I tried)

http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/45908

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Hanna

Release Date: April 11, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 111 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Joe Wright & Seth Lochhead, David Farr. Story by Seth Lochhead
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana

Okay by now I do have to admit that I have this fascination with violent movies. My favorite movie of 2011 is Drive and months before I saw Drive, I was raving about how awesome Hanna is, a movie that tells the story of a teenage girl trained by her ex-CIA father to become an effective assassin. Hanna is violent, but it’s also empowering and strangely enough, sweet. The relationship between Hanna and her father is beautiful, how the two would do anything to protect each other. And the way Hanna longs for companionship, and her loyalty to her new friends – there’s a lot of sweetness there to offset the violence. Parents may not be too crazy about the idea of a teen girl fighting for survival and killing without hesitation, but between the infectious score by The Chemical Brothers and the brilliant fight sequences, I’m totally hooked and I’m screaming for more.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s Kind of A Funny Story

Release Date: October 8, 2010
Approx. Running Time: 101 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Stars: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, etc
Defining Song: Blood by The Middle East

Okay I know this movie is not a 2011 release but I decided to put it in this list for the following reasons: 1. I only discovered this movie in 2011 and 2. I love it so much, I have to include it here. At first I thought it was going to be just another depressing coming-of-age movie but as it turns out it’s nothing like I expected. It’s funny. It’s eye-opening. It’s uplifting. It deals with depression in a real way but at the same time doesn’t end it on a nihilistic “there’s no point to all this let’s just wait for a planet to collide with earth and get it over and done with” note (I’m looking at you, Lars Von Trier). Is it a little too positive? Perhaps. But maybe not. Depression is real. As someone with Bipolar Disorder, I’ve experienced it many, many times. But I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can always get help. Happiness is not deprived of you. Life is still worth living after all, and that’s what this movie is about. For that alone, it deserves to be watched over and over again, especially for those who are still battling depression and in need of some perspective.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

HappyThankYouMorePlease

Release Date: March 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Josh Radnor
Stars: Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan

I have to admit, out of the five main characters in How I Met Your Mother, Ted is my least favorite. He is exactly the type of guy I would avoid being friends with, so when my fantasy gay husband Neil Patrick Harris tweeted about this movie that his co-star and friend Josh Radnor wrote, directed and starred in, I was a little skeptical. But then I saw the movie and realized, Radnor is no Ted. Sure, the character he plays in this movie bears some resemblance to Ted, but only if Ted were a depressed, failed writer trying to find meaning in life by (unwisely) taking in a little boy he found abandoned in a subway. It took a while for the movie to win me over but it did. At the end, I can really relate to characters who are just trying to find themselves and each other in a chaotic world, maybe because that’s how I feel most of the time. And I like the way the movie ends in an upbeat, happier tone – what can I say, at the end of a movie I want to be able to say, “I’m happy. Thank you. More please!”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Seven of Binky International Film Festival. We still have three more days to go, so come back tomorrow for Day Eight where we’ll be taking a look at some of the year’s most entertaining comedies in the “Laugh It Up” genre, because life is hard enough without a little laugh every now and then, right? I’ll see you back here tomorow… hopefully same time, but always same place. 🙂 Until then!

xoxo

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

Ten Hottest Men of Fall 2011

It’s the first week of November and you know what that means; Fall TV season is well underway and we are getting ready for November sweeps, all the new and returning Fall shows have premiered and in just a few short weeks, this season will officially wind down to make room for the holidays. But before we start putting the turkey in the oven or decorating the Christmas tree, let’s do what we do best here and continue with tradition: it’s time for another TV Hottest Men list!

When it comes to television, Fall is a really important season. Successful Fall shows usually get a full season pick up some time between their premieres and Christmas break. Failed shows will then get replaced by mid-season replacements come January or Spring. And sometimes a contributing factor to a show’s success can be as easy as a charismatic (and hot) leading man. Call us a superficial society all you want, but there is no denying that we like watching beautiful people on screen. And the ten men in this list definitely helps draw viewers every week.

So sit back, relax and feast your eyes on these beauties! 😉

DISCLAIMER: This list does not contain any man under the age of 25. Because ew. I’m in my early thirties and it feels wrong to objectify men who are way younger than me. :-p Also the list is for “hot men” not boys.

Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire

From the very beginning, the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire has benefited from a stellar cast. There is no mediocre actor in this show, not even the guest stars. From Steve Buscemi to recently promoted Jack Huston, everyone brings their A-game week after week, which makes the first hottie in this list even more impressive because he not only sizzles as gangster-in-training Jimmy Darmody, he also consistently wows us with his range. Michael Pitt has given depths and nuance to ambitious and often violent Darmody, making us believe that deep down he must be a lovely man, even as he tortures and kills in cold blood. And let’s face it, who’s not going to love those deep blue eyes and pouty lips? Even his on-screen mother can’t resist to kiss him on the lips (ew) sometimes!

Dylan McDermott, American Horror Story

Speaking of irresistible men, just as soon as American Horror Story premiered on FX last October, everyone, ghosts and humans alike have found Dylan McDermott and his man-ass utterly irresistible, which explains why his on-screen wife Tami Taylor Connie Britton always has a frown on her face, now five episodes in. Can you blame her? I’d be frowning too if all living and dead things want a piece of my hot husband. And the great thing about this show is that we can so understand why everyone wants to do McDermott’s character Ben Harmon: look at him! Have you ever seen a finer man? I’m tempted to haunt that murder house myself if it means I get to indulge on all that. 😉

Gale Harold, The Secret Circle

The Secret Circle on The CW is really a show about teenage witches but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in eye candy for anyone over 25, because those teen witches have parents and one of them happens to be the delicious Gale Harold, who has charmed our pants off for years in Queer As Folk, followed by a stint in Desperate Housewives and Hellcats. Sure, it’s a little weird (and it makes us feel old) to see him as a parent of a teenage daughter but it doesn’t make him any less desirable somehow. Whether he’s playing doting dad or power-hungry witch, he still makes us want to call him “Daddy” (and then see a shrink about our daddy-issue).

Josh Charles, The Good Wife

I have admitted a few times in this blog that I don’t watch The Good Wife. I know it’s a quality show but for some reason I just can’t get into it. I think it’s the genre, I’ve never been a fan of a legal procedural. But I also have to admit I sometimes would catch an episode or two of this CBS drama just so I can get my Josh Charles fix, because this man is so, so fine! If I were Alicia, I wouldn’t have been so torn between Will and Peter because hey Mr Big is only attractive in Sex and The City. And even then he’s kind of an asshole. But Mr Josh Charles (who I suspect must be a vampire because he doesn’t seem to age) is the total package and I’d choose him over anybody. Too bad he seems very attached to his ballerina. Sigh.

Follow him on Twitter: @MrJoshCharles

Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation

I often say that if I could date one fictional character from one of my favorite TV shows, it would be Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation. Sure he’s not what you’d call smoldering, but I don’t need a six-pack and all the muscles, I’m not Kim Kardashian. I need a man who is smart, sensitive, a little nerdy and oh so sweet. And Ben Wyatt, is all that and more. What bums me out is that his real life counterpart, Adam Scott seems to be exactly like him, only he’s not single. Damn, why are all the good ones taken? 😉 Adam Scott is not only funny, he’s also smart, a little nerdy and oh so sweet. He probably wouldn’t appear shirtless in Men’s Health magazine any time soon, but he’s just the type of guy you can proudly bring home to mama. And that is a rare thing this day and age.

Follow him on Twitter: @mradamscott


Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries

Speaking of good husband material, this next hottie falls into the same category, even if his Vampire Diaries character has gone off the deep end and is now all evil all the time. This brooding handsome gentleman always manages to stay off the gossip sites radar, and he is involved in a number of charities with his wife Pretty Little Liars actress Torrey DeVito in his spare time. In fact, he’s so low-key that most people didn’t even realize that he and DeVito got married earlier this year. A hot young actor who knows how to lead a low-key normal life outside the public eye? Can we clone him?

Follow him on Twitter: @paulwesley

Seth Gabel, Fringe

While we’re still on the subject of married men, here’s another one on this list and he’s not only married, he’s also a father of two even though he still looks too young to be pushing a stroller around. Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s daughter and movie star in her own right, has long made an honest man out of him and let me just say, she’s a lucky bitch. He may not be a movie star yet like his wife but ever since he was cast as Agent Lincoln Lee in Fringe at the end of season 2, he has quickly been a fan favorite and an episode without him just feels a little empty. That naughty grin! Those gorgeous eyes! We love both universes Lincoln Lee and we can only hope that other universe’s Seth Gabel is single and ready to mingle – just as soon as we figure out a way to cross over and bring him back with us. 😉

Wilson Bethel, Hart of Dixie

Everyone loves a good Southern gentleman, at least that’s what people who live in fictional Bluebell, Alabama would say. And guess what? After seeing this one Southern gentleman all wet and shirtless, I think we can all agree that a good Southern gentleman like Wilson Bethel, aka Wade the bartender/temptingly hot neighbor to Dr. Zoe Hart in Hart of Dixie, who can fix us mojitos shirtless while we enjoy the hot southern sun together is pretty easy to love. I know, I keep saying shirtless. I’m not trying to sound redundant, I just want to remind you that this gorgeous creature once made a PSA encouraging all hot men everywhere to go shirtless… for the environment. Now that is a cause I can totally get behind!

John Francis Daley, Bones

Bones has just returned for its seventh season last Thursday night, and all anyone can talk about is how Booth and Brennan are together now. While that is definitely something worthy to talk about, I myself care more for the young, wide-eyed and impressionable FBI psychologist Dr. Lance Sweets, who thanks to Brennan’s pregnancy, gets a lot more screen time now (thank you Emily Deschanel!). Sweets’ alter ego John Francis Daley has been acting since before his voice changed, and we’ve seen him transformed from a tiny, dorky, pasty 15-year-old in Freaks and Geeks to a dashing, charming 26-year-old in Bones. Add the fact that he’s also multi-talented (he’s the lead singer/keyboardist for the indie band Dayplayer and he also wrote this Summer’s hit comedy Horrible Bosses), I think it’s pretty clear that Bones has itself a brand new heartthrob, now that Booth is uhm, taken.

Follow him on Twitter: @JohnFDaley

Zachary Levi, Chuck

First, let us take a moment to properly grieve over the fact that this is Chuck’s fifth and final season. After thirteen episodes, we won’t get any more Chuck ever again. 😦 But if it’s any consolation, at least we get a proper farewell from our friends at Carmichael Industries and Buy More. Still, it’d be hard to say goodbye to these lovable lunatics, especially the star of the show Zachary Levi, who’s just every bit as nerdy and lovely as his alter ego Chuck Bartowski. He may not be a spy-for-hire in real life but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to charm our pants off. He’s hot, funny, smart and a total nerd who can serenade us with love songs (remember that duet with Mandy Moore at the Oscars? Squee!). Now we just need him to be hired in a new mid-season show (maybe NBC’s upcoming musical Smash?) so we’ll always have him to drool over for a very long time.

Follow him on Twitter: @ZacharyLevi

And there you have it, the Ten Hottest Men of Fall 2011. Check back in next week for my Fall 2011 Television Report Card, where we’ll be taking a look at how our returning shows are doing.

Until then!

xoxo

Binky Bee