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Binky International Film Festival: Day Ten

Hello and welcome to Day Ten of our first ever “Binky International Film Festival“. We have reached the end of 2011 and also the end of this series, yeay! 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series as much as I have, it has been great, looking back and reviewing the movies I saw this year, and I’m really excited to begin 2012 because it seems like it’s only going to get better, what with the highly anticipated Hunger Games and The Amazing Spider-man premiering in March and May respectively.

And now let’s end this series right with the last genre: “Cool Guy Flicks”. It’s not action hero, but it’s pretty darn close. Cool Guy Flicks are the movies in which the protagonist charms, dazzles, saves the day and gets the girl. There aren’t that many that I saw in 2011 but the ones I did were pretty memorable, so let’s take a look, shall we?

“Cool Guy Flicks”

Limitless

Opening Weekend: March 18, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 105 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Neil Burger & Leslie Dixon
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Abby Cornish, Robert DeNiro, Anna Friel

Haven’t you ever wished there was a drug that could make you not only smarter, faster, stronger but also be as cool as Bradley Cooper? In Limitless, that’s exactly what happens to loser Bradley Cooper when he gets his hands on a drug that turns him into super awesome Bradley Cooper – like all the cool Bradley Cooper characters you love combined. Of course great power comes a great price, but you can’t deny that while he’s on top of the world, it is an awesome wild ride. Bradley Cooper does charming manic really well, and even though I still think he’s  NOT the sexiest man alive, I can see the appeal. One thing I especially love about the movie the unusual ending, something refreshing (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it) that doesn’t usually happen in movies like this. If you want your cool guy flick comes with a dash of intelligence, you definitely should give this one a watch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source Code

Opening Weekend: April 1, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 93 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Duncan Jones & Ben Ripley
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga

Unlike Limitless’ Bradley Cooper, Source Code’s cool guy protagonist isn’t exactly all charming and handsome and powerful. However he does have to save a train full of people from a terrorist attack over and over again, so he’s definitely a real hero. I really like the premise of Source Code, especially when the possibility of alternate realities (universes) existing within the source code is introduced, and Jake Gyllenhaal knows how to carry this movie and plays the hero without being a little too much, but the ending kind of pisses me off a bit because it opts for a romantic happy ending that leaves more questions than answers, at least when it comes to the logic of these alternate universes that exist within the source code. It’s good right up until the end and then it gets kind of lame, which makes it a little frustrating and anti-climactic. Ah well, better luck next time, Gyllenhaal.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Fright Night

Opening Weekend: August 19, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 106 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Craig Gillespie & Marti Noxon. Story by Tom Holland
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots

Remakes haven’t really had a successful run this year, with Footloose being the worst of it all, but sometimes there are some remakes that can be a fun watch. Fright Night is one of them. I’m not saying this vampire flick is good, I’m just saying it’s actually fun to watch. It’s campy, it’s ridiculous and it’s a little stupid but it’s never lacking in fun. Colin Farrell once again shows his comedic chops as the bloodthirsty vampire neighbor, and he’s just awesome in this. After the “emo vampire” trend that has swept the world these last few years with Twilight, Vampire Diaries and to a certain degree True Blood, it’s quite refreshing to see good ol’ fashioned non-brooding, conscience-free, freakishly violent vampires for once. I wonder why vampires became emo in this side of the millennium. Is it because the majority of the population are on some kind of anti-depression lately that vampires, who live on human blood, become so Zoloft-y mellow? I doubt the diabolical, evil yet sexy and delicious vampires of years past will make a comeback anytime soon, but at least it’s nice to relive the good ol’ days with these bloodsuckers for once.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Ten of Binky International Film Festival. I’m all done, you guys, woohoo! It’s a little bittersweet for me to close this year without having seen so many of the highly anticipated 2011 movies such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and especially Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, but I’m hoping I’ll get a hold of them soon. Until then, I wish you a fabulous new year, may 2012 proves to be an amazing one for us all.

Happy New Year, Blogosphere!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

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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

It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World

I know, it’s been a while since I blogged, even though I promised to blog more after I finished writing my book. Sorry about that. Life happens.

Anyway, now that I’m sorta-kinda back, I want to do what I happen to be good at, making lists. After being thoroughly entertained by Kick Ass (watch the movie if you haven’t already, it totally kicks ass!) and after saying goodbye to my favorite action hero in the last eight seasons, Jack Bauer (so long, Jack!), I thought it’d be appropriate to list my top 10 Alpha Males.

Why? Because it is the age of the geek and reluctant heroes now, and the alpha males of our world have been taking a backseat lately. The world is cheering for Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) – the ultimate geek, the two guys that invented Youtube (can’t remember their names for the life of me), even Hollywood is rooting for the underdog. Lee Dewyze, the nervous bumbling paint salesman won American Idol. Kick Ass – the movie about an average loner geek trying to be a superhero – actually did kick ass in the Box Office. And who can ignore the unbelievable success of Glee, a TV show about a group of talented show choir outcasts? Even Chuck, the nerd-turned-super spy dramedy got a fourth season renewal, while 24 with its alpha male Jack Bauer finally bowed out (after eight seasons of counter-terrorizing the world, but still).

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day indeed – it’s the age of the geek and the underdogs and I’m happy about it, but let’s not forget that tough, badass Alpha Males do make for a great entertainment, even if they make lousy husbands/boyfriends (hey, Jack Bauer’s love interests were all either killed or gone batshit crazy).

So, here is my list of the Top 10 Alpha Males, in honor of those ripped, muscular, gun-toting, bad guys killing machine. Without them, my “nighttime fantasy” would be a lot less interesting.

Are you ready? Here we go!

I have killed two people since midnight. I haven’t slept in 24 hours. So maybe you should be a little more afraid of me than you are now.” – Jack Bauer, 24.

1. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24.

Since 24 has decided to end the series with its eighth season, I thought Jack Bauer should get the top honors in this list. And I think he truly deserves it. I mean, let’s face it, Jack Bauer is something more than human. Sure, he was truly human in the first season: he was struggling to understand his rebellious teenage daughter while trying to repair his relationship with his wife in the wake of their separation and his affair. He was also struggling to be the boss of his department at work with a looming crisis and subordinates and superiors who challenged his every decision. On top of all that, he had to stop an assassination and rescue his wife and daughter. When he said, ‘This is the longest day of my life’, we felt for him. But after the second, third and fourth season, Jack has morphed from a mere human to a real action hero/terminator. And by the eighth season, he could kill for the hell of it. Goodbye, Dana Walsh! I hope you won’t miss that ear, Pillar! And this badassness (or is it badassery?) is what makes Jack Bauer totally AWESOME. We’ll miss you, Jack, until we meet again in the big screen!

You know if I had to do it again, I’d be a fucking sniper. One shot, one kill, let me be the faceless enemy.” – Sgt. Steve Shriver, Stop-Loss.

2. Channing Tatum as Sgt. Steve Shriver in Stop Loss, Shawn McArthur in Fighting, Capt. Duke Hauser in GI Joe.

I chose this man, who I also think is God’s gift for mankind (that abs! that washboard abs! And he dances too!), as number two because he seems to love playing Alpha Male roles. Even when he was in a Nicholas Sparks tearjerker flick Dear John, he played a Special Forces guy with anger issues. And when he was in the highly popular but totally laughable dance flick Step Up, he also played an Alpha Male – a juvenile delinquent with a hidden talent for shaking his money-maker. Oh, and to further prove that I practically have seen almost every movie he’s in just so I could take a peek of his beautiful shirtless body (damn you Jenna Dewan, you get to sleep with that every night!), he played a cop in Stuart Townsend’s political drama Battle In Seattle, and another juvenile delinquent in criminally slept-on indie movie A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints. He is the ultimate Alpha Male, and that’s why he’s number two in the list.

Gentlemen, we just seized an airfield. That was pretty fucking ninja.” – Sgt. Brad Colbert, Generation Kill.

3. Alexander Skarsgard as Sgt. Brad Colbert in Generation Kill, Eric Northman in True Blood.

I know, you might scream foul for me putting this man in number 3, he deserves the top honors, that’s true. But despite being a 6’4, blonde, blue-eyed, blood-sucking viking, he’s also a sweetheart in real life, as most Scandinavians are – and he has played a transgender in a Swedish movie and  a gay male supermodel in Zoolander. So because he’s not the typical Alpha Male, he gets the number 3 spot. However, in Hollywood, someone who looks like that will have no choice but to play alpha male roles, at least in the beginning of his career. And he did play those roles well. He was pure awesomeness as Sgt. Brad Colbert in Generation Kill, and I didn’t just say that because we got a shot of his butt in a scene (one word: yum), and everyone knows just how fantastic he is as the soulless bloodsucker/bar owner Eric Northman in True Blood. He may worry about being typecast, but for now I think we’ll continue to enjoy him in his Alpha Male roles.

I know that it’s confusing. It is one thing to question the official story, and another thing entirely to make wild accusations, or insinuate that I’m a superhero.” – Tony Stark, Iron Man.

4. Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man.

Robert Downey, Jr, or RDJ as we love to call him, never really used to be the “Alpha Male”. He got an Oscar nomination playing Charlie Chaplin, for one. And after his descent into the deep dark drug-addicted bottom of the well, he reemerged as this sensitive, character actor with a sardonic side. He even put out a Jazz album! Yeah, I know, we pretty much have forgotten about that. He favored small indie movies where he either played a lovable loser (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), or a man struggling with his past (A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints) over big action hero roles, and he even did a TV stint in Allie McBeal for a brief period of time. But that all changed when he was cast as Iron Man and he truly inhabit the character Tony Stark. Not only did he get buffed for the role, he also made Tony Stark an unforgettable, fashionable, witty and charismatic Alpha Male, endearing the superhero to both men and women alike. And now with the success of Iron Man 2, does anyone even remember the drug-addled RDJ begging for forgiveness in court oh so many years ago?

30 years of karate. Combat experience on five continents. A rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge. Still haven’t found any defense to Mom crying into my shirt.” – Michael Westen, Burn Notice.

5. Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen in Burn Notice.

If Jerry Maguire had Renee Zellweger at “Hello”, then Jeffrey Donovan’s alter-ego in Burn Notice, Michael Westen, had me at “My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy, until…” The great thing about this burned spy Alpha Male is that he does have a softer side that he reluctantly shows every once in a while, but it never throws him off his game. When push comes to a shove, he easily becomes the very embodiment of Alpha Male: gun-toting, high-kicking, knife-wielding, total badass. Yes, I do use that word a lot here, but it’s necessary. But unlike Jack Bauer who with every season turned more and more into a killing machine, Michael Westen, despite being burned and chewed out by the very government he vowed to serve and protect, manages to keep his humanity intact. He doesn’t kill for the hell of it. In fact, the last time he killed a man at point blank was Tom Strickler, agent-to-the-spies, and it wasn’t because he felt like it but because Strickler was endangering the life of the woman he loves. Killing for the honor of a woman? Give me more of that, please!

Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… For tonight, we dine in hell!” – King Leonidas, 300.

6. Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in 300.

Sure, he’s gone soft now and chooses to play romantic leading men in various rom-coms like The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston, but deep down, he’ll always be the Alpha Male that is King Leonidas in 300, the role that made the man a household name. After all, aren’t his characters in The Ugly Truth and even Bounty Hunter for that matter (I am ashamed to admit I’ve seen them both) at the very core alpha males? But, there’s no denying King Leonidas is the king of all Alpha Males, not just because of that magnificently CGI-ed abs, but also because he’s a Spartan, dude. We all know Spartans were raised to be Alpha Males, whether they liked it or not. And anyone who can make lines such as, “Give them nothing! But take from them everything!” or “This… is… SPARTA!” in raspy growling screams sound downright sexy deserves to be in this list. Plus, let’s not forget, it was King Leonidas who taught the world the importance of a good hearty breakfast!

Here’s a third option, we just get to it right here and you die in the car. Any takers? OK, then.” – Raylan Givins, Justified.

7. Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givins in Justified.

I admit, I only checked out Justified at first because of Timothy Olyphant, I have loved him since he played a gay photographer in The Broken Hearts Club oh so many years ago. But as it turns out, Justified is more than just Timothy Olyphant being the handsome little devil that he always is, it’s actually a really good show, with solid writing and interesting characters. And it reignited love for the TV Alpha Male when Burn Notice was on a break. Raylan Givins is that kind of Alpha Male I love; charming, soft-spoken, a true Southern gentleman, but he sure can kill bad guys (with that heartbreaking smile plastered on his face, no less). Not to mention, he loves his cowboy hat. As a self-professed Mad Hatter myself, I do have a soft spot for hat-wearing gentleman. Now that the first season is coming to an end, I think it’s about damn time to honor him with a spot in this list, don’t you?

I know you are all expecting to regroup with the fleet, but I’m ordering a pursuit course of the enemy ship to Earth. I want all departments at battle stations and ready in ten minutes. Either we’re going down… or they are. Kirk out.” – Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek.

8. Chris Pine as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek (2009).

Let me just say first and foremost that I am not a Trekkie. I am a Star Wars fan, and I tried liking the original Star Trek, as well as the Next Generation series, but I couldn’t. After Wil Wheaton left the show, I stopped watching, to be honest. But I was one of those who were excited when JJ Abrams, the man behind Lost, Alias, Felicity and Fringe, decided to restart the franchise. And I went to see the movie and loved it. Mostly because, with all due respect to William Shatner, Chris Pine is way hotter as Capt Kirk than he ever was. I mean, look at those dreamy eyes, and those lips, so kissable, so sexy… aah. Not to mention, he was funny, rebellious and did I mention those dreamy eyes? Never mind. He also rocked that skin-tight uniform way better than Shatner ever did in his prime. Die-hard Trekkies (like my dad) might disagree with me, but when it comes to the ultimate Capt. Kirk, Chris Pine is it. And yes, that’s why he’s in this list.

Guess what? Everyone hates me. But you can’t deny: we were bad ass!” – Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries.

9. Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries.

When I heard there was going to be another vampire show in the wake of all the vampire-craze and it was going to be on the teen channel The CW, I groaned and rolled my eyes. “Great. Another show about stupid whiny sparkly vampires a la Twilight.” But boy, was I wrong about this show! First of all, it’s nothing like Twilight, in the sense that, yes, there’s that forever 17 self-loathing teen vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and is no fun in general, but there’s also his brother, who’s older, wiser and way more violent and therefore, more awesome than any of the Cullen clan in Twilight. And his name is Damon Salvatore, played to perfection by the oh so sexy Ian Somerhalder. Damon is a true vampire: he’s diabolical, devoid of human conscience and has no qualms about killing people. Oh and yes, he is also very very very sexy, and he’s shirtless a lot too, tho not as much as the vamps in True Blood. This is still The CW after all. Sure, he’s gained a bit of humanity by the end of the season, but there’s still enough evil in him to send Edward crying to his mommy. Now this is one nocturnal creature I wish would visit me in the dead of night.

I don’t hit women! I would never hit a woman! I’d hit a woman who was trying to hit me with a bottle! That’s different. That’s self-defense, isn’t it? Or a woman who could do Karate. I’d never hit a woman generally, Chloe. Don’t think that.” – Ray, In Bruges.

10. Colin Farrell as Ray in In Bruges.

There was a time when Colin Farrell’s name was synonymous with Alpha Male. Not only was he in so many action films (The Recruit, SWAT, to name a few), he was also Hollywood’s bad boy, who drank, smoked and cursed on set, during interviews, on the red carpet, and everywhere else you could think of. But then his career took a hit after the bomb that was Alexander, he found out his son had life-threatening disease, and he changed his life. He took on more sensitive roles, starred in art-house flicks, avoided getting drunk and swearing too much in public and soon after, he was no longer Hollywood’s bad boy and beloved Alpha Male. However, he regained his Alpha Male status when he took on the role of an assassin on holiday in Belgium in the indie In Bruges, and he got a Golden Globes for it. Let’s face it, he’s way more believable as a foul-mouthed, fight-picking, drug-addled, trigger-happy Irish assassin anyway! And even though he followed up this funny and extremely violent role with a sensitive one (as a country crooner in Crazy Heart), he still remains an Alpha Male in my book and thus, he’s the man I chose to round off this list.

So there you go. As Quinn Fabray sang in last Tuesday’s episode of Glee, this is a man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl, especially one who would objectify these gorgeous alpha males in a list like this one.

Until next time!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Taking Home The Naked Gold Man

I know I’m a little late with this, but since it’s not March yet, there’s still time for a little Oscar predictions. I did my thing for the Golden Globes and a lot of my predictions came true, including the ones I only hoped and didn’t think will actually win (Robert Downey Jr for Sherlock Holmes, Michael C. Hall for Dexter) and there were a few disappointments (Avatar winning best picture whaaat??, Chloe Sevigny winning Best Supporting Actress for TV Series Comedy instead of Jane Lynch), but it does not deter me from trying to tap into the crystal ball once again and hope that I do better at the Oscars. 🙂

So here are my predictions for the key categories in this year’s Academy Awards, let’s hope that when March comes, every prediction actually comes true. Fat chance of that happening, but hey, who knows?

As with the Golden Globes, I’ll pick two winners for each category: Who I Think Will Win and Who I Want To Win. Sometimes they’re one and the same, so let’s see if the Academy actually agrees with me this time. Oh and what’s slightly different than the Golden Globes list is that I will also pick “The Dark Horse” in each category, the one that no one expects to win (including myself, really) – but as in the case of previous years, sometimes the Academy actually goes for The Dark Horse, so we’ll see!

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture:

Avatar – James Cameron and Jon Landau

The Blind Side – Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson

District 9 – Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham

An Education – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey

The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro

Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender

Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness

A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Up – Jonas Rivera

Up In The Air – Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman

Who I Think Will Win:

The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro

Why? Because this movie was robbed during the Golden Globes, and I think the theme of this movie will resonate more with Academy Members than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. And because I was SO bummed by Avatar winning Best Picture Drama in The Golden Globes that I don’t even want to predict it to win the big honors at the Oscars. Yes, I’m a sore loser 🙂

Who I Want To Win:

Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender

Why? Because this is my favorite film of 2009: it has everything – drama, comedy, war, and Jews with guns. It’s Tarantino at his best and there’s just nothing like it, ever.

The Dark Horse: I think The Dark Horse in this category is Up. Even though it’s a Box Office smash hit and I personally love it, it’s a Disney/Pixar animation flick and I’m not so sure The Academy is going to give the highest honor to a Disney/Pixar sensation.

Actor In A Leading Role:

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

George Clooney – Up In The Air

Colin Firth – A Single Man

Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

Who I Think Will Win:

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

Why? I still haven’t seen the movie so I can’t say for sure why, but he did win Best Actor for Motion Picture Drama in the Golden Globes and every movie critic I know seem to think he’s a sure win for this category. And remember Reese Witherspoon winning the Oscar for Walk The Line a few years ago? The Academy sure love actors playing country singers.

Who I Want To Win:

Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

Why? I have finally seen The Hurt Locker, and aside from the movie being amazing, Jeremy Renner’s performance was also unbelievable. He’s not that new in the Hollywood scene but he hasn’t had his big break yet, and I think winning an Oscar could give his career a boost which he truly deserved. So I’m rooting for him.

The Dark Horse: George Clooney. I know, picking George Clooney as The Dark Horse is a little weird, but if you’ve seen Up In The Air, you’ll see why. He was great in it, don’t get me wrong, but the character is not that much of a stretch for him to play. Ryan Bingham is so much like the real George Clooney that it seems his chances of actually winning this time is slim to none.

Actor In A Supporting Role:

Matt Damon – Invictus

Woody Harrelson – The Messenger

Christopher Palmer – The Last Station

Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Who I Think Will Win & Who I Want To Win:

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Why? If you’ve seen Inglourious Basterds, you’ll know that it’s silly to ask why. Christoph Waltz’ performance as SS Colonel Hans Landa was (pardon my French) abso-fuckin-lutely amazing. And when he won the Golden Globes, everyone seems to be in agreement that he deserved it. From movie critics, fellow actors, film enthusiasts, to the millions of Twitter users who were live-tweeting the Golden Globes last month, everyone is rooting for this German actor who was practically an unknown before Inglourious Basterds.

The Dark Horse: Considering the above reasons, I think pretty much everyone else in the category is The Dark Horse.

Actress In A Leading Role:

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Helen Mirren – The Last Station

Carey Mulligan – An Education

Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

Who I Think Will Win & Who I Want To Win:

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Why? Well, first of all, she won both The Golden Globes and The Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Touhy in this movie, which means her odds of winning the Oscar has gone up significantly. In previous years, winning both the Globes and SAG meant a sure win for the Oscars, as in the case of Jennifer Hudson a few years back. And personally, I think Sandra Bullock deserved to win. She was truly amazing in the role and the movie was so inspirational that it’ll just be awesome if she wins.

The Dark Horse: Carey Mulligan. An Education is funny, smart and a great indie movie, and she was really good in it, but she’s a relative unknown and considering the competition, I don’t think she stands out too much.

Actress In A Supporting Role:

Penelope Cruz – Nine

Vera Farmiga – Up In The Air

Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire

Who I Think Will Win & Who I Want To Win:

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire

Why? Have you seen the movie? The woman was on fire! I didn’t expect her to do such a sensational job in this role, considering she was more known for her work in comedy instead of drama, and this was a difficult role to inhabit as well, but Mo’Nique truly shone and play this hard-to-love character with such heart and humanity that you can’t help but want to give her the highest honor.

The Dark Horse: Vera Farmiga. In all honesty, I don’t really know why she was nominated since even though she was good in Up In The Air, I didn’t think her acting was all that special. Anna Kendrick was fresh, funny and pitch-perfect in her role as Natalie, but Vera Farmiga as Alex was not that impressive in my opinion. She was good, don’t get me wrong, but just not impressive enough for the Oscars.

Animated Feature Film:

Coraline – Henry Selick

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson

The Princess and The Frog – John Musker and Ron Clements

The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore

Up – Pete Docter

Who I Think Will Win & Who I Want To Win:

Up – Pete Docter

Why? It’s the best Disney/Pixar animation since Finding Nemo. The story was touching, beautiful and resonate well for both children and adults. It’s the kind of movie that would make you hold back your tears while muttering, “I can’t believe I’m crying at f–king cartoon!” (because I did that). And considering that this movie is also up for Best Picture, it’s safe to say that the award is already in the bag for this category.

The Dark Horse: The Princess and The Frog. Considering the competition, The Princess and The Frog has zero to little chance of winning. Academy members always vote for animation that is not the typical Disney fairytale concept, so I think they should just be happy they’re nominated.

Costume Design:

Bright Star – Janet Patterson

Coco Before Chanel – Catherine Letterier

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme

Nine – Colleen Atwood

The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

Who I Think Will Win:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme

Why? Fantasy movies always have the best, most creative costumes and this one is no exception. I thought the designs were mind-blowing, imaginative and kooky, perfect for the movie and I think Academy Members are going to appreciate it the most.

Who I Want To Win:

Coco Before Chanel – Catherine Letterier

Why? Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was a true fashion legend, she was responsible for revolutionizing women’s fashion and she basically single-handedly changed the world of fashion forever. And this movie showed who she was, the fierce, fabulous and visionary woman who was not afraid of going against the stream. I think it should win simply because the costume designer Catherine Letterier did a great job recreating early Chanel work in this movie.

The Dark Horse: I’m going to say Janet Patterson for Bright Star. Seeing the competition, I think it’ll be a surprise if she actually does win it.

Directing:

Avatar – James Cameron

The Hurt Locker – Katherine Bigelow

Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino

Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels

Up In The Air – Jason Reitman

Who I Think Will Win:

Avatar – James Cameron

Why? Well, it’s a no-brainer, really. It took James Cameron 20 years to make this movie, and it was groundbreaking film-making, I admit that. The only thing I had a problem with was the mediocre script, I feel like if you take the visual effects away, the story was nothing special. But when it comes to directing, and his vision, I admit it was pretty amazing and I think the Academy will recognize that as well.

Who I Want To Win:

Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino

Why? Well, I’ve been a fan of Quentin Tarantino since I was in High School, so I am biased when it comes to him. But only the mind of one Quentin Tarantino can give birth to such a fantastic, over-the-top, imaginative movie about World War II and Hitler, so in my opinion he deserves to win just as much as James Cameron does.

The Dark Horse: Jason Reitman. I feel sorry for him, since he’s a talented director and I love his movies (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, to name a few) but he’s up against industry veterans in this category and his chances of winning are pretty slim. But he’s young and he’s going to continue making great movies, so I see an Oscar for him in the future.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):

District 9, written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

An Education, screenplay by Nick Hornby

In The Loop, screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire, screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

Up In The Air, screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Who I Think Will Win:

Up In The Air, screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Why? It is a really good movie, and the story is very easy to relate to in today’s economy. Not to mention, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner won the Golden Globes for Best Screenplay, so I think they have the best chance of winning this category.

Who I Want To Win:

District 9, written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

Why? I know the Academy doesn’t usually favor sci-fi movies in general, but I think District 9 is more than just a sci-fi aliens living among us movie. It is deep, original and the story is so amazing. I know it didn’t win at the Golden Globes, but I am really hoping it will win the Oscar.

The Dark Horse: Nick Hornby for An Education. I love Nick Hornby, I think I’ve read all of his books, seen almost all the movie adaptations of his novels (including the poorly adapted Fever Pitch), and I love An Education. But somehow I think it’s not his time to win the Oscar yet, not when he’s up against fan and critics-favorite Up In The Air and District 9.

Writing (Original Screenplay):

The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal

Inglourious Basterds, written by Quentin Tarantino

The Messenger, written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

A Serious Man, written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Up, screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter. Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Who I Think Will Win:

The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal

Why? I usually don’t like war flicks, but this one is different. It’s special, it’s thought-provoking, it’s deep and it asks the all-important question of “why are we in a war anyway?”. I think Academy members will agree that this movie deserves the honor in this category.

Who I Want To Win:

Inglourious Basterds, written by Quentin Tarantino

Why? I told you I’m biased when it comes to Tarantino. 🙂 And in all seriousness, the movie is so different that it requires a genius to write it, and I think Tarantino needs to be acknowledge in this category.

The Dark Horse: The Messenger. Considering the competition, the movie is not that strong of a contender, I think even Up has a better chance of winning.

Who do you think will take home the naked gold man? Any predictions?

Reel Life

It’s almost the end of the year. Time flies! I’m still busy writing my novel, but every now and then I’d take a break to watch a movie just to get my creative juices flowing. So, I figured I’d give my take on these movies to help you choose which flick you want to view on a lazy weekend. Sounds good?

Here are the movies I’ve seen in the past two weeks or so, on DVD or otherwise.

One/ Love and Other Disasters, 2006, Romantic Comedy.

Written and directed by Alek Keshishian, this charming romantic comedy tells the story of a British-born American-raised intern at UK Vogue who spends her life helping her friends find love, while at the same time avoiding to deal with her own commitment issues. If you’re looking for a feel-good comedy to watch with your significant other on Date Night, I recommend looking for this movie in your favorite DVD store. It’s funny, fresh and honest – it deals with the normal, everyday issues of being single: love, career and friendship, without being pretentious and preachy. Brittany Murphy is adorable as Emily “Jacks” Jackson, the main character, but Catherine Tate, who plays her best friend Talullah Riggs-Wentworth definitely steals the scene with her outrageous behavior, and insanely funny “poems”. You will not be sorry in checking this one out.

Two/ Speak, 2004, Drama.

I don’t know if this is an indie movie or a made-for-TV, but in any case, don’t let it turn you off. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson, and it tells the story of a high school freshman Melinda Sordino (played by a pre-Twilight Kristen Stewart) who resorts to selective mutism after being raped by a senior in a party. The issues dealt in the movie are heavy, but a then 13-year-old Kristen Stewart did a really good job portraying the anguish and trauma that her character went through without coming off too teen-angsty. The supporting cast also did a great job; from Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds) who played her busy mother to Steve Zahn who played her teacher who helped her dealt with her rape through art. I recommend watching this movie if you have a teenage daughter, or if you just want to understand the troubles and perils of being a teenager in general.

Three/ Stardust, 2007, Fantasy.

I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this movie, maybe it’s because my non-Neil Gaiman reading friends told me the movie “sucked” when it came out that I kept putting off watching it in fear of disappointment. However, when I finally saw it – it actually did not disappoint. Maybe it’s because I understand that adapting a novel into a movie is hard enough, and the fact that it’s the fantastical world of Neil Gaiman’s imagination surely made it even harder. And other than that understanding, I thought they did a pretty good job of keeping the adaptation as close to the novel as possible, and they even managed to capture Mr. Gaiman’s wonderful sense of humor. Seeing Robert de Niro playing a gay pirate was a little surprising, but he’s Robert de Niro. He can play any role and he was hilarious as the cross-dressing Captain Shakespeare. All in all, it’s a fun movie to watch – especially on a weekend.

Four/ Veronika Decides To Die, 2009, Drama.

This movie is not scheduled to release in the US and UK until 2010, but it already premiered in the film festival circuits for a while and I got the chance to see it last Sunday night. It’s an adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s best-selling novel of the same name and it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jonathan Tucker to name a few. As far as adaptations go, this one sticks pretty close to the novel as well, though it changes the location from Ljubljana, Slovenia to New York City. It’s also not as detailed as the novel, but that’s to be expected. It however retains the intensity and message of the novel and both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jonathan Tucker gave stellar performances as Veronika and Edouard. One thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the fact that the relationship between the patients and the doctors seems disjointed and distant – they hardly interact in the entire movie, except for Mari (Melissa Leo) and Dr. Blake (David Thewlis). But all in all, it was a pretty good, albeit intense, watch. You do need to be in the right mood to see this movie though, so keep that in mind when you decide to see it in theaters when it opens.

Five/ Interview, 2007, Drama.

I’ve wanted to see this movie since it came out, but it was surprisingly hard to find it anywhere and I had to resort to watching it online in the end. As with many of Buscemi’s films, it’s one of those movies you have to be in the mood to watch, but I highly recommend you to give this one a try. It’s also an adaptation, not from a novel but a 2003 Dutch movie of the same name by director Theo Van Gogh, who was assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim after he produced the film Submission, which analyzed the treatment of women in Islam. Steve Buscemi directed and co-wrote the movie as a tribute to his friend Van Gogh. Both he and Sienna Miller were amazing in the film, and I have to give props to Sienna Miller, who lately have been more famous for her exploits in the tabloids than her body of work, who really showed her acting chops in this film. If you’re not convinced of Sienna’s talents, I suggest you give this movie a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Six/ The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, 2009, Drama.

I just realized that most of the movies I’ve seen lately are adaptations. Hmm, what is my subconscious trying to tell me? (Maybe that I should write more and watch less 🙂 ) Anyway, this delightful movie is also adapted from a novel by Rebecca Miller, who also wrote the screenplay and directed it. Talk about a triple threat! The movie chronicles the journey of Pippa Lee, played by Sean Penn’s ex Robin Wright, from the childhood she spent taking care of her pill-popping mother, to her own troubles with drugs until she found a “savior” in Herb Lee (Allan Arkin), a charismatic publisher thirty years her senior that she eventually married and settled down with. The movie goes back and forth between the present and the past, as Pippa examines her life and does a little soul searching as she struggles with her sleep disorder and a growing attraction with a younger man (Keanu Reeves). Robin Wright proved she’s a solid actress in this movie, and Maria Bello will probably get at least a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Pippa’s mother Suky. It’s already opened in limited release since Nov 27,  so I suggest you go check it out – it’s definitely worth watching. Look out for Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively as the younger Pippa Lee, a refreshing change from her usual sulky poor little rich girl role.

Seven/ Funny People, 2009, Comedy/Drama.

If you haven’t seen this one yet, be advised: This movie is a little misleading. From the title “Funny People”, to the stars (Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann and Jason Schwartzman, among others) to the writer/director (Judd Apatow), you might expect a raunchy, fun comedy like Knocked Up or The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I’m not saying it’s not a good movie, I liked it – it’s just not your usual Apatow comedy fix. I will even go as far as saying that this movie is 70% drama and only 30% comedy. Sure, there are typical-Apatow movie laugh-out-loud moments, but the message of the film is a lot more serious than usual. It deals with fame, success, and what it takes to be happy. It’s actually really deep, and if you’re expecting raunchy, fun comedy, you’ll be disappointed. But if you want to see Adam Sandler tackling a complicated, troubled role like he did in Reign Over Me, then you won’t be sorry. This is definitely one movie to watch if you ever dream of achieving a larger-than-life fame and success. It will give you something to think about.

Eight/ The Cake Eaters, 2007, Drama.

This is another Kristen Stewart pre-Twilight indie movie and there’s a reason why she’s been acting since she was a child, she’s actually a really good actress. And in this movie that marked the directing debut of actress Mary Stuart Masterson, Kristen Stewart once again shines as Georgia, a 17-year-old small town girl who suffers from Friedriech’s Ataxia. I know that the description of the film is about how two families lives start to intertwine with the return of one son – but somehow, to me the movie is not really about that. As with most indie movies I watch, I have no idea why it’s called ‘The Cake Eaters’ (not once did they mention cake in the movie, though they do eat steak a lot), but if I have to guess – I think it comes from “having your cake and eating it”. Georgia may have a debilitating illness, but she doesn’t let it hinder her from falling in love and being with a man who truly cares for her. And the same goes for Beagle, the man she falls in love with – who to some may seem like a “white trash loser”, but is actually a gentle, kind and loving man who’s often misunderstood. This movie is not for everyone, but if you’re into slow-paced art flicks, there’s no harm in watching it.

Nine/ Coco Avant Chanel, 2009, Drama/Biography.

I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since I heard that they were going to make a Coco Chanel movie with Audrey Tautou in the lead role, so my expectations were pretty high and I’m happy to say, this movie doesn’t disappoint. If you’ve seen the Coco Chanel TV movie with Shirley McLaine… expect to be confused by the discrepancies in the story. But the writers of both versions are not to be blamed for this, apparently not much is known about Chanel’s early life and she was known to have made up a lot of tales to hide her dark past. Coco Avant Chanel (English: Coco Before Chanel) chronicles the journey of one Gabrielle Chanel before she became the Coco Chanel. From her dreams of becoming a star in Paris, to her affairs with Etienne Balsan, a French millionaire, and Arthur “Boy” Capel, an English businessman, this movie showed us the kind of woman Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was; someone who was tough as nails, driven, ambitious and headstrong. Audrey Tautou portrayed this legendary designer so well, and Alessandro Nivola was charming as Boy Capel. If you’re into fashion (or French films), I highly recommend this movie.

Ten/ The Ramen Girl, 2008, Comedy/Drama.

This is another one of Brittany Murphy’s criminally slept on charming little movie, and I don’t know why she loves playing an American expat so much, but she’s always so adorable I can’t really blame her. The Ramen Girl tells the story about Abby, an American girl who moved to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend, only to be dumped and left all alone in a city where she knows no one and hardly speaks the language. Broken-hearted and alone, she walks into a Ramen shop across her apartment in the rain and has a meltdown. After being comforted by the delicious ramen in the shop, she has the (slightly delusional) idea of training to be a ramen chef and practically forces the grumpy owner of the shop to teach her. The movie then follows Abby as she trains under the tyrannical chef and learns how to grow up and becomes the woman she always longs to be. Watch this movie if you’re looking for something light and charming to entertain you on a rainy day, but make sure you have a bowl of ramen ready, because I guarantee you’ll feel hungry after seeing the many bowls of delicious ramen on screen.

Eleven/ Paper Heart, 2009, Comedy.

Do you believe in love? Have you ever been in love? Well, musician/comedienne Charlyne Yi does not believe in love and has never been in love, so she embarks on a journey across the United States to make a documentary on love to get a better understanding of love. While she’s in the process of making the documentary, she gets a taste of love herself when she meets Michael Cera – and their journey together is captured in the documentary. And before you Google “Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi”, know this: it’s fiction. But not pure fiction. All the actors play themselves and the people being interviewed in the documentary are all real people with real stories – the only fiction part is Yi’s own love story with Cera. Director Nick Jasenovec called it “hybrid documentary” to blend the fiction and non-fiction content in the film. The plot itself is based on Yi’s original idea of a documentary and Nick Jasenovec suggested to be accentuated with a fictional storyline. The result: a quirky, cute and adorable comedy that you’ll fall in love with. And even though Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi are not really dating in real life (though they were rumored to be, which inspired the storyline), you’ll be wishing that they are a real couple at the end of the movie. This is one cute movie you can watch together with your significant other on date night, and it’ll leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

So there you go. Eleven movies you might want to check out in the near future. If you’ve seen any of them, tell me what you think!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Now Playing

I love watching movies, but lately I’ve been too much of a hermit to actually go out to the movies – except for that week in October where I actually managed to see not one but two movies: Inglourious Basterds (awesome!) and Fame (more like, “Lame”) because my mom was in Holland and I got the car and driver all to myself – so mostly I only watch movies on DVD (and sometimes online too).

Now you may have seen these movies, you may not – but here are some of the movies I’ve seen in the past week or so, and my take on them:

One/ The September Issue, 2009, documentary.

If you don’t like or even care about fashion, you may not enjoy this documentary as much as I do, but I live and breathe fashion so I truly enjoyed this one. Anna Wintour has always been such an enigma in the fashion world, what with her being the inspiration for the character Miranda Priestly in the popular book-turned-movie The Devil Wears Prada, and she’s the one woman that can make all those big-named fashion designers tremble at the mention of her name, so it’s a treat to finally see the “real” her in this documentary. And surprisingly enough, she’s not the dictator is 5-inch Louboutin heels as most of us imagined her to be. In “The September Issue” you see her as the true visionary; she was the one who came up with the idea of putting celebrities in the cover of fashion magazines, and she continues to nurture up-and-coming designers (like Thakoon, for example) because she sees something in them that no one can see just yet. She’s ruthless all right, and often times she stressed out and frustrated her subordinates like her Creative Director Grace Coddington who has worked in Vogue for 40 years (yes, four-zero) with her decisions but in the end, if she weren’t that ruthless, Vogue wouldn’t be the number one fashion magazine in the universe. Her decisions may not please everyone, but she can see beyond what most people see and that’s her true strength. I recommend you to watch this movie if you love fashion, work in a magazine or a leader of some kind. The fact that Ms Wintour can have such charisma without having to raise her voice is something all leaders should learn from.

Two/ Julie & Julia, 2009, biography/comedy.

I got this movie especially for my mom, because she loves to cook and to chronicle her adventures in the kitchen in her blog. I didn’t expect to like it too much but surprisingly enough, I do enjoy it. Amy Adams is so endearing as Julie Powell, she’s such an amazing actress and she could very well be the next Merryl Streep. And of course Merryl Streep is Merryl Streep, she’s always amazing in any role and this was no exception. I had no idea who Julia Child was (I’m sometimes unabashedly ignorant when it comes to certain things, and I don’t like to cook) until I heard about this movie, but apparently she was pitch-perfect as the infamous cook. However, make sure you have enough snack to munch on while watching the movie because all the food will surely make you hungry.

Three/ Spread, 2009, drama/romance.

I only watched this movie for Sebastian Stan, because I think he’s a great actor and he’s also really really hot, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. First, he only appeared for about 10 minutes in the whole movie and second, this movie feels more like Ashton Kutcher’s vanity project than anything. I think it tries to be deep but it falls short due to a weak plot and half-baked storyline. American Gigolo it is not. But if you like Ashton Kutcher and want to see him naked, a lot, you can definitely give this movie a try.

Four/ The Hangover, 2009, comedy.

There is a reason why this R-Rated comedy did so well in the box office, it is THAT hilarious. The premise of this movie is simple: four guys went to Vegas for the ultimate bachelor party, and they woke up in the morning with a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, a missing groom and having no recollection whatsoever of the crazy night they just had. What ensued later was a series of hilarious events as they try to locate their missing friend, and remember the night before. Look out for cameos by Mike Tyson and the always funny Ken Jeong. If you’re a fan of Swingers, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Five/ The Ugly Truth, 2009, romantic comedy.

This movie has all the makings of a successful romantic comedy: dashing but womanizing leading man, beautiful but neurotic leading lady, a fake orgasm at the dinner table, and the classic man vs woman debate. But the problem with it is just that. It’s so damn predictable. We know from the get-go that Katherine Heigl’s character will fall in love with Gerard Butler’s character and they’d live happily ever after (sort of), and sorry if I spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet, we get exactly what we expected. However, it is pretty entertaining to see Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler go at it. I’d say watch this movie without any expectations and you’ll be quite entertained. But no, you won’t get more than that.

Six/ The Broken Hearts Club, 2000, romantic comedy.

For an unconventional romantic comedy with a lot of heart and truth, I suggest you scour your favorite DVD store for a copy of this movie. Written and directed by Greg Berlanti, the man behind Everwood and Brothers & Sisters, this movie is about a group of gay men in Los Angeles who tries to deal with being gay, loneliness, commitment-issues and self-image, in other words, being human. This movie is probably the first “gay” movie that depicts them as real people, instead of “noble, suffering AIDS victims, the friends of noble suffering AIDS victims, sex addicts, common street hustlers and stylish confidantes to lovelorn women” as Howie so eloquently puts it. This is like the gay version of Sex and The City with a lot more heart and a lot less cliche. I recommend you give this movie a try, even if it’s only to ogle Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff and Dean Cain in their younger days.

Seven/ Transformers 2: Revenge of The Fallen, 2009, action.

If you haven’t seen both this movie and District 9, do me a favor: watch this first. Not because it’s better, because it’s much worse and if you’ve seen District 9 first then you won’t be able to actually finish watching this movie without falling asleep or dying from boredom. And I’m not exactly exaggerating. District 9 was so amazing that it kinda ruined all other alien-robot type movie for me, and no amount of Shia LaBeouf in all his “LaBeouf”-ness can convince me to continue watching this movie (I gave up after 39 minutes and 20 seconds). I just realized why I had to suffer through screaming children running up and down the cinema steps when I saw the first Transformers movie, this franchise is so not for anyone over 15. Sorry, Shia. You’ll always be a hottie to me, I just can’t watch this one.

Eight/ Twilight, 2008, drama/romance.

Yes, I know I’m aboard the Twilight-bashing bandwagon, but I decided that I have no right to make fun of something if I don’t at least try to watch it first, so after much hesitation, I saw the movie a few days ago. And, I still don’t understand the phenomenon that is Twilight. I haven’t read the book series, so maybe that’s the reason for the fan-demonium, but the movie alone just doesn’t explain why everyone seems to be going insane for these vampires. I thought the plot was weak, the acting was mediocre (I’m so disappointed, Kristen Stewart, I know you’re better than this) and Edward, the one that teen girls all over the world fall madly in love with, is kinda pathetic and whiny. There’s a reason why 17-year-old boys shouldn’t have that kind of superpower, they’ll just whine about it instead of using it to be awesome. And I had a big problem with the sparkling. Call me old school, but I like my vampires to be living in old mansion, sleeping in coffins and burning in sunlight. Give me Gary Oldman or Alexander Skarsgard any day.

Nine/ The Assassination of A High School President, 2008, comedy.

I didn’t expect much from this movie when I bought it, to be honest. It was just another indie movie that I had to buy because I’m a sucker for anything indie. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s funny, smart and it has a lot of good moments. It’s no Charlie Bartlett, but it’s up there in the entertaining department. I thought Mischa Barton was actually good in this role and not annoying or pathetic as she usually is in The OC or her short-lived CW comeback show The Beautiful Life. And Luke Grimes, who we may know better as William Walker’s illegitimate son Ryan in Brothers & Sisters, showed some real good acting. Of course the gem of the movie is Bruce Willis, who is so seriously funny that you can’t help but laugh out loud whenever he enters the scene. No harm in giving this one a try.

So those were the 9 movies that were playing in my DVD player in the past week or so. If you’ve seen them, let me know what you think.

xoxo

Binky Bee

Falling in Love in New York

New York City is a great city to fall in love with and in. At least, according to the movies. But New York City is truly special and whether it’s falling in love or out of love, nothing serves as the perfect backdrop like New York City.

As a tribute to the city that never sleeps, here are my picks for a New York love film marathon, something I usually do when I’m terribly blocked like now:

Always start with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

breakfast_at_tiffanys

The movie is iconic for a reason. And the opening credits alone, with Audrey Hepburn in her Givenchy gown, having a Danish and drinking coffee from a paper cup in front of Tiffany’s, gives me such a warm sensation just like being in love.

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Me: “I think I’m a lot like Holly Golightly.”

The Brit: “What, superficial, materialistic and prone to grandeur illusions about yourself?”

Nothing beats Woody Allen when it comes to New York love stories, so I recommend continuing on with Annie Hall.

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No other movie ever made can truly capture that neurotic, dysfunctional relationship quite like Annie Hall. And with funny lines like,

Hey, don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.”

How can you not love this one?

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Creepy McCreepster: “I think you were supposed to be born as a New York Jew.”

Me: “Why is that?”

Creepy McCreepster: “Well, you’re extremely neurotic, you hate nature and you make complaining sounds like zany one-liners.”

Of course when talking about falling in love in New York, you have to include this one movie, so after wiping your tears of laughter from watching Annie Hall, learn how to fake an orgasm with Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

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This movie catapulted Meg Ryan into super stardom and made her the romantic comedy queen that she was, and it’s a truly fun watch, and I’m not just talking about the fake orgasm at a deli scene. The banter between Harry and Sally, the obvious sexual tension and the transition from platonic friendship to falling in love – all make for a sweet but not saccharine romantic comedy.

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My ‘Android’ Friend: “You’ve seen When Harry Met Sally. Men and women can’t be friends. The sex always gets in the way.”

Me: “It never does with me. You know me, I can have a purely platonic friendship with straight men.”

My ‘Android’ Friend: “That’s because you’re not really a woman.”

After you’ve had your fill of romantic comedies, it’s always a good idea to turn to something deep yet quirky, like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

eternal-sunshine

Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is probably my favorite quirky movies ever. The performances of Jim Carey and Kate Winslet were phenomenal and there’s no other story like it. The idea of wiping out heartbreaking memories, and the reality that even if you could do something like that, chances are you’re bound to repeat whatever you’ve tried to erase – that’s just profound and beautiful.

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Me: “You know, sometimes I wish I could really erase some bad memories from my mind, like in Eternal Sunshine.”

The Man: “You don’t want to do that. Trust me. I forget easily and I wish I could remember some things I’ve forgotten. I think I would’ve learned a lot from those memories, had I remembered them.”

And finally, something light to end the marathon with, like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST

I know, it’s a teen movie but it’s so cute and charming that I bet you’ll love it just as much. Michael Cera is always adorable in everything, but especially in this one – and plus there are so many laugh out loud moments courtesy of supporting actress Ari Graynor and cameos from Jay Baruchel and SNL’s Andy Samberg.

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Me: “That’s it. When I finally make it to New York, I want to have a Nick and Norah’s style first date.”

The Man: “Sure. I’d love to see you putting that gum that has gone in the toilet in your mouth.”

There are a few other New York love stories that I love, despite their obvious cheesiness.

Like Serendipity, for example.

Serendipity

I think Kate Beckinsale is adorable in the movie and of course John Cusack plays romantic leading man so well – Lloyd Dobler anyone? But the best line from the movie comes from SNL alumn Molly Shannon:

You know who plays golf? Men who are too fat to play tennis.”

Look out for Jeremy Piven, aka Ari Gold in Entourage, as John Cusack’s character’s best friend.

Definitely, Maybe is also a cute one to watch.

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Ryan Reynolds, aka Mr. Scarlett Johannson has that unique combination of being extremely hot and funny at the same time, and I love that he plays a devoted dad in this movie. Plus you gotta love Abigail Breslin.

Fun fact: Rachel Weisz sings “I’ve Got A Crush On You” in this movie, and her voice is pretty phenomenal.

Another one that deserves a mention is Ed Burns’ Sidewalks of New York.

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Ed Burns may fall short from becoming the next Woody Allen (probably because he’s tall and dashing, which makes him as a neurotic a bit of a stretch), but I actually really like this one. It’s sweet, thoughtful and quite funny. Plus, stars like Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy and Heather Graham all gave such good performances here.

And finally, I can’t talk about movies of love in New York without mentioning Sex and The City.

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Even though I thought the movie version wasn’t as good as the series, it was still good to see these four fab New Yorkers together again, doing what they do best: donning designer duds and lamenting about men.

Besides, Samantha Jones still churns out lines like this one:

Oh, honey, you know I don’t believe in marriage. Botox on the other hand…”

I love her. I’m not so sure the sequel is such a good idea, but I’ll keep my mind open for now.

There’s one New York movie that I’m waiting with bated breath: New York, I Love You.

It’s a sequel to Paris, Jet’aime, where it’s not really one movie per se, but a compilation of a few short movies all in the same theme: love in Paris, directed by famous international directors. New York, I Love You is basically the same thing, only it’s set in New York – and the project involves a lot of stars we all love like Anton Yelchin and Olivia Thirlby:

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Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson:

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Shia LeBeouf:

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Justin Bartha and Eva Amurri:

nyiloveyou

Ethan Hawke:

nylove

And many others. Despite receiving mixed reviews, I still want to give this one a try just because. It’s New York. How bad can it be?

New York, New York, big city of dreams. But everything in New York, ain’t always what it seems.” – GrandMaster Flash.