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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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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