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Binky International Film Festival: Day Eight

Hello and welcome to Day Eight of “Binky International Film Festival“! I can’t believe we actually made it to Day Eight, I thought I was going to be done with this in a week. How wrong can I be. 🙂 And I really hope you are enjoying this series as much as I do. I don’t know if I’m going to make this an annual event yet, but I’m considering it. This was so much fun for me to do, even as I’m battling the flu. Didn’t mean that to rhyme.

Anyway. Today we are going to take a look at some great and not-so-great 2011 comedies with the genre “Laugh It Up”. I love drama as much as the next girl, but my first love will always be comedy. Life is no trip for me, and sometimes I just want to forget my troubles and laugh without any inhibition. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Life is far too important a thing to be taken seriously.” That being said, let’s all take a look at this year’s comedies!

Laugh It Up

30 Minutes Or Less

Opening Weekend: August 12, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 83 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Michael Diliberti. Story by Michael Diliberti & Matthew Sullivan
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, etc

I usually love slacker comedies, and I always love Jesse Eisenberg, but for some reason I couldn’t really connect with this one. I don’t know why, I guess it’s just really not that funny. Which is a shame because Aziz Ansari is hilarious in Parks and Recreation – and here he’s just kind of meh. Jesse Eisenberg still plays up the old nervous, neurotic schtick but it doesn’t really work here. He’s funny when he’s neurotic when there’s no reason to be. But having a bomb strapped to his chest kind of defeats the purpose. This falls in the “not-so-great” comedy of 2011 for the unmemorable-ness of it all.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Horrible Bosses

Opening Weekend: July 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 98 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Seth Gordon & Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldberg. Story by Michael Markowitz
Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, etc

Who knew that little Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks who later grew up to be cutie Dr. Sweets in Bones would actually be multi-talented as well as easy on the eyes? He wrote this hilarious summer comedy and judging from the box office earnings, and the fact that my brother-in-law scream giggled his way through the movie, Horrible Bosses definitely falls in the pretty great comedy category. All three leads: Bateman, Sudeikis and Day were simply fantastic, backed by a strong supporting cast (which includes Jennifer Aniston! She’s been in the tabloids so much we’ve forgotten she can be funny. Welcome back, Jen Aniston), and laugh out loud lines – this movie is the 2011 comedy you shouldn’t miss. So get to the DVD store (or Netflix) before the year is over!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Take Me Home Tonight

Opening Weekend: March 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 97 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Michael Dowse & Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo. Story by Topher Grace & Gordon Kaywin
Stars: Topher Grace, Anna Farris, Chris Pratt, Dan Fogler, etc

Critics weren’t so kind with this set-in-the-80s sorta coming of age comedy, but I actually didn’t think it was that bad. It’s not “oh my god this is the greatest thing ever” good but it’s watchable, and it has some really funny parts too. Topher Grace, like Jesse Eisenberg, always nails the nervous, neurotic pasty white guy role, and he’s in his element in this movie. Anna Farris, as always, shows why she’s probably the most underrated comedic actress of the year. And Chris Pratt, her real life husband, plays her jerk (but loving) fiance so perfectly. The story, however, is just so-so and follows the typical “staying up all night” comedy formula, which makes the movie predictable and boring in some parts. But hey, if you have nothing to do on a weekend, there’s no harm in trying this movie out.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Paul

Opening Weekend: March 18, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 104 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Greg Mottola & Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, etc

This is quite possibly, my favorite comedy of 2011 (along with Bridesmaids), and sadly not many people saw this movie. Maybe it’s because the title is just too vague, or maybe because Americans aren’t as familiar with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Brits do, or maybe because of lack of promotion – in any case, it was criminally ignored and I wish to rectify that. Go get Paul on DVD because, even if you’re not a sci-fi geek and you’re not into aliens, it’s still laugh out loud funny. Because Pegg and Frost are always brilliant together, and adding Seth Rogen as the politically incorrect alien, Kristen Wiig as the glass-eyed daughter of Bible-thumpin’ trailer park owner, Jason Bateman and Bill Hader as hapless FBI agents make this movie an insanely funny movie that everyone should watch. So watch Paul. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Arthur

Opening Weekend: April 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 110 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jason Winer, Peter Baynham. Story by Steve Gordon
Stars: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner

Speaking of British imports, Russell Brand may be the one that most international public are familiar with. There’s that whole schtick with the Jonas Brothers a few years ago, and then he married pop star Katy Perry (though rumor has it they’re “having troubles and spending time apart” so who knows how long they’ll last — UPDATE 12/30: Brand just filed for divorce), which made him a household name in both sides of the Atlantic. But that doesn’t mean that all his movies are successful. In fact, in the case of Arthur, it’s kind of a dud. It’s tricky to remake a classic, and it’s even trickier to remake a classic with a comedian like Brandt, who has a polarizing effect on the public. That’s not to say that Arthur is all bad, it has it moments. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of those. However, the soundtrack, produced by Mark Ronson and featuring Ben Gibbard, Daniel Merriwhether and Fitz and The Tantrums, is definitely worth listening to. 😉

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Your Highness

Opening Weekend: April 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 102 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): David Gordon Green & Danny McBride, Ben Best
Stars: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, etc

This movie seems to have sparked only two reactions: love and loathe. For example, David Edelstein, NY Magazine’s resident film critic loves it. But then a lot of people hate it too. I usually don’t agree with Edelstein (he hates The Dark Knight and Inception, and calls Drive “overrated”) but for some weird reason he and I are in agreement about this one movie. I actually like Your Highness. It’s a screwball comedy done right, I think, and Justin Theroux, who is much much more than just Jen Aniston’s boytoy du jour, is simply delicious as the villain. Is this movie crass? Absolutely. Does it have a coherent plot? Not so much. But is it funny? Yes. Both Portman and Deschanel were delightful, McBride was hilarious and James Franco once again is a delight in his clueless Pineapple Express-y comedic way. I thought it was a fun watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Change-Up

Opening Weekend: August 5, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 112 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): David Dobkin & Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Stars: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann, etc

This is another comedy in this list that critics seem to hate, and I don’t exactly fault them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this movie, but I understand completely why they did. The problem isn’t in the premise, tired as it may seem this whole Freaky Friday body-swapping thing, nor the actors – both Bateman and Reynolds know how to bring the funny and Mann and Wilde are great sidekicks, but it’s in the fact that the movie tries just a little too hard to be funny. It’s like watching a stand up comedian who’s nervous and tries too hard to make people laugh that he resorts to slipping on a banana peel, when all he needs to do is just tell the jokes and he might actually get some sincere laughs. That’s kinda how this movie feels. It could’ve been actually enjoyable and funny, but it just tries too hard to be and it ends up being not that funny. Shame, really, because it really does have the potential but it just can’t quite get there.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Eight of Binky International Film Festival. We only have two more days to go, you guys! I really hope I can finish on New Year’s Eve, but you’ll have to blame Downton Abbey if I don’t because I am still busy devouring both seasons right now. 😉 Don’t worry, I kid. Not about Downton Abbey. We’ll get to Day 10 on the 31st, I promise. But check back in tomorrow, on Day Nine we’ll take a look at this new genre I just invented: “Romance That Makes Me Want To Stick A Fork In My Eye”. I know, it’s a mouthful. But it should be fun, so I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Pilot Watch, Week 1: What You Should Watch, and What’s Not Worth Your Time

"I'm on TV" By Patrick J. Adams

It’s official, Fall TV 2011 is here! And this time I am sharing with you my thoughts on the new pilots that are premiering from now to October just so you can decide for yourself if they truly are worth your time and a slot in your DVR. Of course, I’m only human and I can’t possibly watch all of them so the pilots I’m reviewing are only the shows I recommended in my 3rd Annual Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall plus a few others that I find interesting. And I’m only reviewing the pilots, which means I’m not responsible for whatever happens next. Some pilots start out strong and yet the season as a whole turns out to be a giant waste of time (e.g AMC’s Rubicon), so keep that in mind while you’re reading this and the subsequent posts.

Having said that, the first week of Fall TV turns out to be pretty busy because of this new strategy from the networks where they release the pilots early on iTunes or web to generate interests, which means I have seen more pilots this week than I did last year around the same time. The shows that have been released early are Fox’s The New Girl, NBC’s Whitney, Showtime’s Homeland and The CW’s The Secret Circle (though the latter’s only released on iTunes a mere days before the actual premiere so it doesn’t really matter). I’m reviewing all of them plus The CW’s Ringer and NBC’s Up All Night in this post, which means we have a lot to go through and we better get started!

1/ Ringer, The CW, Tuesdays 9/8c.

Sarah Michelle Gellar hasn’t been back on television since Buffy wrapped its seventh and final season, so it’s safe to say a lot of people miss her and are glad to see she’s back. Sadly, I wish she had returned in a much stronger show than Ringer. The premise is already a little shaky, about an addict/former stripper who, after being a witness in a murder trial, decides to assume her twin sister’s identity and discovers all too late that her sister’s life is not all it’s cracked up to be, but I let it slide because let’s face it, it’s The CW. However, it’s not just the premise that is shaky in this pilot, everything else is bordering on the ridiculous too. In fact, one thing I can say about this show is that it’s so bad, it’s good. If you want to watch it ironically, of course.

The problem with Ringer is that it tries a little too hard and takes itself way too seriously. There’s almost no humor the entire hour of the pilot, everyone’s so serious, so angry, so sad, so betrayed and at the end so murderous. The mystery behind the woman that is Siobhan Martin, who has an obsession with mirrors and has no qualms about faking her own suicide and hiding out in Paris where she can lounge in a room full of mirrors and smoke (I assume French) cigarettes while being four-weeks pregnant, is way too convoluted and frankly, not that interesting, really. Her twin, Bridget, who assumes her identity, is also not that interesting of a person for us to want to invest our time in getting to know her for 22-episodes. And don’t even get me started on the infamous boat scene, that actor Ryan Devlin tweeted as “Best New Comedy of The Year” for its sheer ridiculousness and appalling production value. The pilot for Buffy had better production value than that!

The only redeeming factor of this show is British actor Ioan Gruffurd, who plays Siobhan Martin’s husband. Not only is he easy on the eyes, he’s enigmatic on screen too. But will the writers be able to give him the material worthy of his talents? Only time will tell.

Verdict: Not Worth Your Time.

2/ Up All Night, NBC, Wednesdays, 10/9c.

Both Christina Applegate and Will Arnett have had their share of failed TV shows. Applegate’s Jessie and Samantha Who? were both canceled way too early and Arnett’s Arrested Development and Running Wilde suffered the same fate. They’re both really talented, really funny people though and I kept hoping they’d land a hit show so I could see them on my TV regularly. Thankfully their new show Up All Night, from SNL writer Emily Spivey and executive producer Lorne Michaels, seems to have all the making of a hit NBC comedy: great script, great actors and it is laugh-out-loud funny.

Up All Night tells the story of married couple Reagan and Chris, who try to find balance as she goes back to work full-time and he stays at home with the baby. This show can easily go the stereotypical working mom/stay-at-home dad route, where the wife is racked with guilt for going back to work and the husband is resentful for having to go on play dates and change diapers all day long, but to the credit of creator Emily Spivey, it chooses not to go down that road. Instead it tells the hilarious journey that both Reagan and Chris have to take as they try to make parenthood work; whether it’s Reagan having to babysit her boss needy Ava (played by the always hilarious Maya Rudolph) at work or Chris having to navigate the confusing aisles of the giant grocery store. They’re both equally hapless and they’re not exactly what you’d call the perfect parents, but they’re trying and anyone who’s ever been a working parent (or really just a parent) can immediately relate.

Up All Night is charming, sweet, fresh and honest. It doesn’t paint an exaggerated picture of a young family trying to make it work but it doesn’t play down the reality of marriage and parenthood either. And with a solid rating for its premier episode, I have a feeling that this time Christina Applegate and Will Arnett have finally found themselves a hit.

Verdict: Watch It or You’ll Regret It.

3/ The Secret Circle, The CW, Thursdays, 9/8c.

Because The Vampire Diaries was such a success, The CW decided to pick up The Secret Circle, a show based on another young adult novel series by LJ Smith and adapted by the same people behind The Vampire Diaries, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, which I predict guarantees another hit for the network. And after watching the pilot, I have a feeling my prediction will come true because not only is the show a good match to its lead-in, The Vampire Diaries, it is the kind of show tweens and teens – The CW’s target demo – are crazy about. It’s got the supernatural (witches), attractive people (almost the entire cast), catchy soundtrack, and a season-long mystery that is revealed slowly with a lot of intrigues along the way. For the adults however, this show is not as easy to get into as its lead-in The Vampire Diaries.

First of all, even though us adults don’t mind a show about witches so much (we I watched Charmed, didn’t we I?), the thought of a group of teenagers possessing supernatural powers that let them control nature, is a little disconcerting. Teens, with their raging hormones and questionable judgments, shouldn’t have that much power. Second, the bad girl character in the show tries a little too hard to channel those crazy teen witches in The Craft, which makes her painful to watch. And finally, as Emily Nussbaum of NY Magazine said on her twitter, a show about witches without “wit” tends to bum us out. At least those of us over 25.

However, this show does have Gale Harold and he makes an awesome sexy murderous sociopath (I think a cross-over with The Vampire Diaries needs to happen just so his character can go toe-to-toe with psychotic Damon), and The Vampire Diaries didn’t have a strong pilot yet it keeps getting more and more awesome now that it’s in its third season, so don’t count this show out yet. It may very well surprise us all.

Verdict: Give It At Least Half A Season.

4/ The New Girl, Fox, Tuesdays, 9/8c, (starting Sept 20).

Without a doubt, this pilot got the most buzz and praise during the Upfronts, and apparently it’s so good that Fox decided not to reshoot it despite one of the leads, Damon Wayans Jr, quitting the show because of his commitment to Happy Endings that got picked up for a second season over at ABC. And there’s a good reason for it. It’s one of the funniest, most adorable (though Fox would want you to call it “simply adorkable” Really, Fox?) pilots I have ever seen in a long time. I got as excited about this show as I did with Glee two years ago, and as you all know I became a die-hard Gleek ever since (I even watched The Glee Project, so there).

The New Girl, that tells the story of Jess Day, a socially awkward but kindhearted girl who moves in with three guys after getting dumped by her boyfriend, gets it right because it’s just funny right out of the bat. Not to mention, the friendship between Jess and the guys feels natural. We see why those guys don’t want to get in her pants (she spends all day and night crying and watching Dirty Dancing), and we understand why at the end they truly do care about her. Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day is not only adorable, she’s hilarious too. Sure at first it’s hard to believe someone like her can be that unlucky in love, but she sells it well – with Jess making up a theme song for herself or picking up guys at a bar with a “Howdy, cowboy” pick-up line. And at the end, it feels like these four people are our best friends and we just want to hang out with them every night.

Since this show technically hasn’t premiered yet, I can’t tell if the rating’s going to be stellar but considering that its lead-in is the juggernaut that is Glee, I’m sure it’ll be a success. Those who have seen it on iTunes have been quite chatty on Twitter about how funny it is, so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of America catches on.

Verdict:Watch It or You’ll Regret It.

5/ Homeland, Showtime, Sundays, 10/9c (starting Oct 2).

Ever since 24 ended, domestic terrorism on television starts to lose its popularity. Sure, both ABC and NBC tried to put a sci-fi spin to the genre, with FlashForward and The Event, and both have failed spectacularly. When it comes to domestic terrorism, we somehow prefer it to stay as close to reality as possible for some reason. And with Homeland, the genre is finally resurrected post-24 and from the looks of the pilot, this show is every bit as intriguing and interesting as 24, but better because it’s smarter, deeper and a lot more complex, in a good way.

Homeland tells the story of a CIA analyst (Claire Danes) who becomes convinced that a returning MIA Marine (Damian Lewis) has been turned by Al-Qaeda and is planning an attack on US soil. For much of the pilot, we are left to wonder if Danes’ character is right and the whole thing is not just a figment of her paranoia, mostly because she’s taking anti-psychotics, utterly obsessive and well, acting a little nuts, while Damian Lewis’ character makes good speeches and grills burgers for his family. But the show is smart enough to give hints of Lewis’ deception, mostly through flashbacks, and we remain conflicted on who to believe, until about the last five minutes when we are finally convinced that Danes’ character is brilliant albeit a little nuts, and she’s right. A terror is imminent and Damian Lewis’ character is the key.

One thing that makes Homeland interesting is that the show relies heavily on the characters, and they’re all flawed. An unstable CIA analyst, an emotionally-disturbed and possibly brainwashed “hero”, a conflicted wife who doesn’t know if she still loves her returning husband – they make this show more than just a race against time to stop a terror attack. If you want a smarter, better 24, you might want to give this one a try.

Verdict: Watch It or You’ll Regret It.

6/ Whitney, NBC, Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c (Starting Sept 22).

The Fall 2011 season is definitely a women-friendly season, with so many women-centric shows premiering, and Whitney is one of them. Comedienne Whitney Cummings creates, writes and acts in this new NBC comedy that will debut next Thursday along with the return of NBC’s Thursday Night Comedy. And it’s a little tricky reviewing this show because it’s so Whitney-centric, my dislike can be easily misinterpreted as a dislike to her as a person, and it’s not true at all because I like her just fine and I even follow her on Twitter. Her show however, is just not that funny.

The problem with Whitney is that it feels so… old-fashioned compared to the other Thursday night NBC Comedies. First, it’s a multi-camera sitcom, while Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock are all single-camera, second, it’s actually taped live in front of a studio audience, which in this day and age feels dated. But I didn’t mind all that if the show is actually really fresh and funny like in the case of How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory (at least in their earlier seasons). The jokes on Whitney, however, are just as dated as the format. If the show premiered in 1993 pre-Friends, I’d totally get on board, but this is 2011 and it feels a little “been there, Friends has done that”.

It doesn’t mean that Whitney is horrible, it’s actually not. There are some funny, sincere moments that I enjoyed but sadly there aren’t enough of them. Most of the time it just seems like everyone’s trying real hard to get the studio audience to laugh, and it just comes across as sad. There is a possibility that as the season progresses, this show will find its footing and gets better with time, but at this point I’m a little skeptical. With Thursday night being one of the most crowded nights of television, does anyone even have time to give this show a try?

Verdict: Not Worth Your Time.

And that’s all the pilots I’ve watched this past week. I’ll be back next week to review The Playboy Club, Two Broke Girls, Revenge, Person of Interest and maybe even Hart of Dixie (Josh Schwartz tweeted that it’ll be available for early viewing on iTunes starting Sept 22, but we’ll see!).

I shall bid adieu for now and I’ll see you all here next week!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

It’s Just A Little (Girl) Crush

There is a misconception out there in society that women are somehow always competing with other women. That we’re catty and jealous and we turn green when we’re near other women who are more superior, either in looks or intellect or both. I say this is a misconception because I find it to be a load of bullshit. Women are able to build sincere, genuine friendships with other women and instead of turning green with envy when we see someone who’s more beautiful or smarter or both, we actually genuinely admire them and aspire to be like them.

This kind of admiration and/or aspiration is what I like to call having a “girl-crush”. It’s not a sexual thing, it’s just that “oh my god she’s so cool, she’s amazing” feeling that we get whenever we see a certain woman that we admire, whether for her looks, her talents, her intellects, her sense of style, or all of the above. We don’t want to compete with these women and we don’t necessarily want to be exactly like them, we just want to be their best friend.

In my lifetime I have a lot of girl-crushes, some are my own friends, some are celebrities. But this time around I just want to focus on the latter and count down my Top 10 Girl Crushes of The Moment. Why? Because women are awesome and we need to celebrate us. I know International Women’s Day have come and gone but we need more than just one day to celebrate the amazing, wonderful creatures that we are, right? 🙂

So let’s not waste any moment and get straight to the countdown, shall we?

My Top 10 Girl Crushes of The Moment:

10/ Shannon Woodward

The rising star of Raising Hope may not be a household name just yet, but seeing how she can hold her own against the great Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman on a weekly basis, I have a feeling that it’s just a matter of time before she becomes a critics and award shows darling like her longtime boyfriend Andrew Garfield. This gorgeous brunette is absolutely delightful as Sabrina, the quick-witted supermarket clerk that soon stole not only lead character Jimmy’s heart but also yours truly. She’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she’s got an easy coolness about her and she’s dating the new Spiderman. She’s definitely worthy to be in the number ten spot.

9/ Leighton Meester

When Gossip Girl first debuted in the Fall of 2007, producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage clearly thought that Blake Lively’s Serena would be the one character that the show would revolve around. But they didn’t expect how easily and masterfully my number 9 girl-crush stole the show and made Blair Waldorf the character that everyone is obsessed with. Leighton Meester makes the snobby, neurotic and aristocratic Blair Waldorf accessible, funny and endearing and there is no doubt this girl will move on to even greater things after Gossip Girl, which is why she gets to sit pretty right here at number 9.

8/ Olivia Wilde

Just like Leighton Meester, Olivia Wilde got her start thanks to the hit show creating duo Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage when she landed a recurring role in season two of The OC as Seth’s (and a few episodes later, Marissa’s) love interest. Now, her career seems unstoppable, with her starring in the Fox’s hit medical drama House and headlining Jon Favreau’s much anticipated summer blockbuster Cowboys and Aliens. Even though her personal life took a hit recently, this talented beauty is still amazing enough to earn the number 8 spot in this list. Look at her! How can anyone not have a crush on her?

7/ Kristen Bell

The world may only be aware of the beauty and talents of this petite blond after she starred in the blockbuster comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but fans of cult-favorite (and canceled too soon) teen detective show Veronica Mars have known and loved Kristen Bell since she broke into the scene as the titular character that was worshiped by fans everywhere. Now Ms Bell is all grown up and moving to movies, while enjoying a quiet, tabloid-free life with her husband Dax Sheppard. A teen star who grows up to be a functioning adult? You bet yo’ ass she’s girl-crush material!

6/ Emma Stone

We first met her when she starred opposite Jonah Hill in Superbad and subsequently fell in love with her when she totally kicked ass in movies like Zombieland and Easy A. Emma Stone is the girl we all wish we had been when we were younger; beautiful, smart, confident and uber-talented. After nabbing a Golden Globe nomination this year, she’s now busy cozying up to Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman as she takes on the role of his new love interest, Gwen. Do we even need a reason to love this girl more?

5/ Carey Mulligan

She got an Oscar nomination from her breakout role as Jenny in An Education, and she continues to impress critics with her talents to this day. Her recent film Never Let Me Go may have flopped in the box office but critics agree that she gave a tour-de-force performance in the sci-fi drama. Aside from her obvious talent, she’s also quite the style icon, continuing to impress fashion lovers everywhere with her choice of red carpet style. Beautiful, talented and stylish? She’s definitely #5 girl-crush worthy.

4/ Mila Kunis

Another Oscar-nominee in our list, Mila Kunis first became a household name when she starred as the loud and superficial Jackie Burkhart in the hit comedy That 70s Show at the tender age of fifteen. Unlike most of the other cast members whose careers have somewhat stalled after the show was canceled, Kunis went on to bigger and brighter things, from starring opposite our #7 girl-crush in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, to finally landing the role that gave her an Oscar nod in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. Macaulay Culkin may have fallen out of love with her but my girl-crush on this gorgeous brunette is definitely still going strong!

3/ Dianna Agron

This beautiful Gleek first grabbed our attention as the girl we all loved to hate, the bitchy blond head cheerleader whose sole mission in life is to torture those less superior from her. But Agron’s true inner beauty was too bright to conceal, and her Glee character Quinn soon followed suit and became more and more lovable. Now that’s a powerful testament to how amazing this girl is. She’s not only gorgeous and has a sweet voice, she’s also a sensitive artist who loves photography, and her Tumblr blog shows how multi-layered and intelligent she really is. Is it any wonder that she’s in my #3 spot?

2/ Rashida Jones

Our #2 girl seems destined to be in showbiz, after all she’s the daughter of legendary producer Quincy Jones and model Poppy Lipton, and she’s drop dead gorgeous. But unlike most kids with famous parents, she opted to pursue a Harvard education instead of pretending to be famous in Hollywood right after high school. She only became a household name when she joined the cast of The Office in season three as Karen Fillipelli, and after her stint at The Office was over, moved over to the charming and underrated Parks and Recreation, where she plays sensible nurse Ann Perkins. A drop dead gorgeous Harvard graduate with a good head on her shoulders, the lovely miss Jones truly deserves to be the runner up in this countdown.

1/ Zooey Deschanel

For those of you who have been following this blog from the very beginning, the number one girl in this list should come as no surprise. I have mentioned my love of this quirky indie actress/musician many times and let’s just say my girl-crush on her is not something I’ll get over any time soon. How can I? She’s adorable, super stylish, fabulously down-to-earth, funny and sweetly approachable. She’s everything I want to (but could never) be. And the fact that she’s married to the frontman of my favorite band (Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie) just makes me love her more. And that is why, my friends, she’s my number one girl-crush of (probably) all time.

So there you have it, ten amazing women I absolutely admire. Who’s your girl-crush?

Xoxo

Binky Bee

My 12 Days of Christmas Countdown: Eleventh Day

Sorry for the delay, but as you can read in the post below, I really had to get some rest otherwise I’d go completely insane. I love being 31 and all, but sometimes I do miss the stamina of my twenties. You can fool everyone into thinking you’re younger than you actually are but you can’t fool your own body. 🙂

Anyway, since I postponed the eleventh day of this series, I’m going to do Eleventh & Twelfth days back-to-back. I’m all rejuvenated, you see, and I need to start working on my new book. The holidays are over, friends. So here it is:

My Top 10 Style Stars of 2010

1/ Olivia Wilde.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing Thirteen, one of House’s underlings in Fox’s House.

Recently seen in: Tron Legacy.

Why she’s a style star: Aside from being a total knock-out, she also always nails it when it comes to fashion. Whether she glams it up on the red carpet, or toning it down for a coffee run, she knows what works for her, what looks good on her and at the same time, she’s not afraid to experiment and take risks. For someone who is only on her way to super stardom, I think she does a good job at making sure people notice her for all the right reason.

2/ Rachel Bilson.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing Summer Roberts, Seth Cohen’s love interest/soulmate in Fox’s 2003 hit The OC.

Recently seen in: How I Met Your Mother.

Why she’s a style star: She may not be mega famous and considered a serious actress like Natalie Portman, but she is definitely famous for one thing: her style. She is always photographed looking fabulous in various events, and is considered a style icon by many. Teen Vogue just dubbed her the style icon of the year or something, and I have to agree. She always looks good, whether she’s just going to lunch with friends or at a red carpet event. Always so polished, put together and chic. Not to mention, she has the best taste in fashion. I want every single thing she’s ever been photographed in.

3/ Dianna Agron.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing Quinn Fabray in Fox’s mega hit show Glee.

Recently seen in: Glee.

Why she’s a style star: Let’s see, she’s young, beautiful, talented and she always looks amazing. When she walked down the Emmy red carpet last year in that gorgeous Carolina Herrera gown, I literally gasped. She looked so beautiful, elegant and demure, it’s just hard not to love her. Lea Michele usually gets all the attention when it comes to these rising stars o Glee, but she hasn’t always gotten it right like her co-star and real-life BFF has. Dianna Agron just knows what works for her, what kind of image she wants to portray and how she wants to be viewed. It’s rare to see a young star getting it right this early in her career, and Agron may be the only exception.

4/ Carey Mulligan.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing the lead role in the critically-acclaimed British movie An Education, a role that earned her Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.

Recently seen in: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Why she’s a style star: She’s so adorable. I mean, so adorable that you just want to pick her up and put her in your pocket. And aside from being that adorable, she also seems to know how to have fun with fashion. Her choices range from flirty to chic, from quirky to fabulous. No wonder Shia LaBeouf, her co-star in Wall Street, couldn’t help but fall for her while working in that movie, though they’ve since called it quits. I’m sure he’s probably kicking himself for letting this babe go, because I’m pretty sure she’s a keeper.

5/ Emma Watson.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing Hermione Granger in the unstoppable franchise Harry Potter.

Recently seen in: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part One.

Why she’s a style star: She practically grew up on Harry Potter and in the public eye, but she seems to be able to handle it quite well, and it shows in her fashion sense. She always looks amazing, whether in the Brown University campus, in the pages of glossy fashion magazines or on the red carpet. She’s also never afraid of taking fashion risks, as she proves in the London Premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. The pixie cut and that feather dress were surprising, but alas, they were fabulous surprises. There’s really no question as to why she’s chosen as the face of Burberry, is there?

6/ Zooey Deschanel.

Day job: Actress/Musician.

Most famous role: Playing Summer Finn in the sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer.

Recently seen in: Bones.

Why she’s a style star: I love her, she’s my muse and style icon and I just can’t get enough of her quirky, vintage sensibility. Whenever she gets dressed up, whether for the red carpet or performing on stage as one-half of the cutesy retro duo She & Him, she always brings a lot of fun into her choice of outfits. She doesn’t seem to take fashion too seriously, which I love, and she wears what she likes whenever she feels like wearing them, which I love even more. And with those big eyes and adorable bangs, could she be any cuter?

7/ Alexa Chung.

Day job: Model, TV personality.

Most famous role: Presenter in MTV’s It’s On With Alexa Chung.

Recently seen in: Gonzo With Alexa Chung, a show in British channel T4.

Why she’s a style star: Despite denouncing the label “It Girl”, Alexa Chung just can’t help but looking fabulous whenever she hits the town. This former model has an indie sensibility when it comes to fashion, she would be seen wearing the latest IT bag with a top she got from a thrift store. A master in mix-and-match, she’s not afraid to “not look perfect”, with her disheveled hair and minimal makeup, and yet she never fails to impress fashionistas the world over.

8/ Diane Kruger.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing the German actress/spy Bridget Von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Recently seen in: Mark Ronson and The Business Intl’s music video “Somebody To Love Me”.

Why she’s a style star: One thing this actress and Joshua Jackson’s lady love is known for: she’s not afraid to take risks on the red carpet. Sure there are misses as well as hits, but through it all she continues to impress because she’s daring and she’s not afraid to just have fun with fashion. Whether on the Best Dressed or Worst Dressed, she never fails to flash that contagious smile of hers, which makes her unbelievably cool. Plus, having the oh-so-handsome Joshua Jackson on her arms can’t exactly hurt either!

9/ Emily Blunt.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing the fabulously bitchy Emily Carlton, assistant to Merryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in the 2006’s hit The Devil Wears Prada.

Recently seen in: Gulliver’s Travels.

Why she’s a style star: She’s gorgeous and has a bangin’ body, there’s that. And there’s also the fact that she seems to have picked up a few things while working in The Devil Wears Prada because she always nails it on the red carpet (or otherwise) since then. She’s glamorous and sometimes sexy on the red carpet and relaxed, casual and effortlessly chic in real life, a balance that not many women in Hollywood can achieve as easily as she has. And now that she’s Mrs. John Krasinski, I’m betting she’ll look even more perfect standing next to her hunky man on the red carpet.

10/ Zoe Saldana.

Day job: Actress.

Most famous role: Playing one of the blue people (whatever they’re called) Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Recently seen in: Death At A Funeral.

Why she’s a style star: Okay, forget about the fact that she’s drop dead gorgeous and has the kind of body that designers would kill to dress, she’s also instinctively good at making herself look amazing all the time, whether she’s on her downtime, dressing all casual and relaxed with very little makeup or glam-ing it up on the carpet. I think I love her most for her ability to accessorize just right. It’s never too over the top, but it always brings out her best features. Now that is what I call a style star.

And there you have it, ladies and gents, My Top 10 Style Stars of 2010. Who are your favorites of 2010?

Okay, I’m going to grab something to eat and I’ll be back later with the very last “day” of the countdown series. Since it’s the very last countdown, I’ll be listing my top 10 favorite New Year Resolutions.

Till then,

xoxo

Binky Bee

 

Beyond The Yellow Brick Road

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I love The Wizard of Oz.

I’m such a stickler so of course I prefer the book but the movie is beyond adorable too, and thanks to it now I have a soft spot for cute gingham dresses.

A month or so ago, when I was DVD shopping, I found this miniseries based on the beloved Wizard of Oz called “Tin Man”, starring my favorite Zooey Deschanel, so of course I didn’t hesitate to buy it.

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Since this is a miniseries for the Sci-Fi channel (now “SyFy”), their interpretation of The Wizard of Oz is pretty loose – but I kinda like it. It’s the sci-fi take of Wizard of Oz, and I think it’s meant to be like a “sequel” to the classic Wizard of Oz more than anything. Which of course, makes it even better.

Tin Man tells the story of DG (Zooey Deschanel), a waitress and part-time student in a small Kansas town who always feels out of place all her life.

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Her life takes a strange turn when she starts having mysterious dreams and strange men in black over-coats come to her house to capture her. To save her life, her parents throw her into a tornado, and she awakens in a dark magical realm called The O.Z. (Outer Zone). There, as she searches for her parents, she is accompanied in her journey by  Glitch (Alan Cummings), a man who had half his brain taken away because of something he knew, Cain (Neal McDonough), a former policeman or “Tin Man” who seeks revenge for what happened to his family after he joined the resistance against the evil sorceress Azkadellia, and Raw (Raoul Trujillo), a member of a species called “The Viewers” who read emotions and heal.

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The miniseries follows DG as she discovers her past, and searches for the emerald that can help destroy the evil sorceress Azkadellia, played wonderfully by Kathleen Robertson of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame.

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I really quite like this modern re-imagination of The Wizard of Oz, I can’t believe it took me over a month to finally get around to seeing it. So if you like Zooey Deschanel, or if you’re into sci-fi, or if you like The Wizard of Oz – you should check out this miniseries that’s now already out on DVD.

I guarantee you’ll truly enjoy it.

I Heart Quirky Girls

Quirky.

The dictionary defines the word as: a peculiar trait, idiosyncrasy, original, individual, unusual, peculiar, odd, strange, eccentric and unpredictable.

In other words, quirky defines me.

That’s probably why the main characters in my novels are usually quirky, because let’s face it, every writer is narcissistic enough to always insert a piece of themselves into everything they write.

Or maybe it’s just me.

As I’m writing Sara Beth and The Magic Nails, my newest novel with five quirky main characters, I would take a two-hour break everyday from writing to watch my favorite movies featuring quirky girls I love and I can relate with the most.

So I thought today I would share with you my five favorite quirky women (in no particular order) that help inspire me in writing my novel.

1/ Amelie Poulin in Amelie

Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain in Amelie

Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain in Amelie

I love Amelie Poulain because she’s not just quirky, she has such a good heart that just wants to see other people happy. She may be shy, introvert and lives in her own reality but she goes out of her way to touch the lives of the people around her in the most inconspicuous and genius way. She even devises an elaborate plan just to meet the man she’s secretly in love with, the man who is just as much of an oddball as she is. And in turn, the people whose lives she touched help her to be brave and go after her own happiness. The movie just makes me all warm inside and gives me hope, that even oddballs can make a difference in the world, and of course find each other and fall in love.

2/ Summer Finn in 500 Days of Summer

Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn in 500 Days Of Summer

Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn in 500 Days Of Summer

I love Summer Finn not just because she’s played by my girl-crush Zooey Deschanel and because she’s an avid The Smiths fan. I love Summer because she reminds me of myself, and her relationship with Tom Hanson in this movie is the kind of loving but damaged, passionate but heartbreaking relationship that I think we all can relate to, the relationship we thought was the be-all-and-end-all and yet as it turns out, it just wasn’t the one we are willing to settle in. Summer is the kind of girl who does what she wants, says what she feels like and is not afraid to admit failures when she needs to. I love that about her. She makes me feel that it’s okay to not know what you want for a time, life is about the journey and not really about the destination.

3/ Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

I love Claire Colburn not just because she’s outspoken and assertive, but also because she’s very creative, persuasive and she’s willing to take a chance on a total stranger she meets in a flight just because she finds him interesting. I also love her offbeat way of getting to know a man she finds interesting: instead of going the normal first date, they have an all-night phone conversation and finally meeting halfway in the morning to watch the sunrise. But the thing I love most about her is of course the effort she makes in guiding the grieving Drew Baylor home, by creating him a special “map”, complete with mixed CDs and interesting places to see and things to do. She makes me realize that sometimes it’s okay to take a chance in life, with someone you don’t really expect anything from.

4/ Sam in Garden State

Natalie Portman as Sam in Garden State

Natalie Portman as Sam in Garden State

I love Sam because she’s not only quirky, but she’s also a truly amazing girl. First, she admits openly that she likes to lie, even telling Andrew Largeman that she sometimes hears herself say something and thinks, ‘Wow, that wasn’t even remotely true’. Second, she can laugh at herself and her condition. She doesn’t let being epileptic stop her from living her life and enjoying it to the fullest. Third, she actually picks up a guy in the waiting room of a clinic by asking him to listen to The Shins. How is that not amazing? Sam, just like Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown, became the catalyst for change for the man who eventually falls in love with her. The movie inspires me to just laugh at myself and enjoy life, even if it’s filled with challenges

5/ Celine in Before Sunrise

Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Sunrise

Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Sunrise

I love Celine because she is idealistic and romantic, and she dares to take a chance on a romance that she knows isn’t going anywhere. She doesn’t let it stop her, even though she knows a future with the man she meets on the Euro train is wishful thinking and she’s enough of a realist to understand that – she decides to spend one night with him in Vienna anyway, not caring of what comes next, just excited for the adventure that lays ahead of her. I wish sometimes that I was more like her, I’m just too much of a control freak to live in such abandon. This movie of course has amazing conversations between Celine and Jesse, and even though it doesn’t end with the traditional Hollywood happy ending, this is still a cherished love story between two people who just happen to find each other at the right time.

Those are the quirky girls that inspire me as I continue writing Sara Beth and The Magic Nails.

Who are your favorite quirky characters?

xoxo

Binky Bee

Ooh, Zooey…

As much as I appreciate conventional beauty, when it comes to appreciating the beauty of my sex, I always gravitate more towards the unconventional and delightfully quirky.

And this unconventional and delightfully quirky beauty has captured my eyes ever since the first time I saw her in Almost Famous. Since then, I’ve become quite the fan of her work and more importantly, her totally fabulous style.

Zooey Deschanel

Her style is very much like mine. Or, to be more honest, my style very much emulates her. I can’t get away wearing some of the things she has worn in fashion spreads or on the red carpet, but still. I like that she just wears what she wants to wear without really caring about the so-called fashion “rules”. She’s Parisian chic, New York edge and London punk  all rolled into one.

Zooey Deschanel

My current obsession is her style in the Oliver Peoples ad campaign.

Zooey Deschanel for Oliver Peoples

Zooey Deschanel pretty much can make anything look good, but she looks best when she’s all quirky chic, and let’s face it – she can rock the red beret like no one can.

The key to her style is mixing and matching. Stripe tee with tiered skirt. Lanvin purse with Converse sneakers. Don’t forget the red beret and the geek chic glasses.

QUIRKY
QUIRKY by binkybink featuring Lipsy

Most importantly, rock the indie sensibility with a smile and a fun attitude. In no time, you too will be the unconventional and delightfully quirky beauty.

Oh and, don’t forget to sing The Smiths’ “There’s A Light That Will Never Go Out” when you’re sharing an elevator with a cute guy.

xoxo,

Binky Bee