‘The Favourite’ won big at the BAFTA while ‘Roma’ widen the lead to be the Oscar frontrunner for best picture.


The 72nd British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) was held last evening with the movie ‘The Favourite’ emerged as the biggest winner with 7 wins. This is very much expected due to home advantage. Will it be able to win that many awards in the Academy Awards end of this month? I don’t think so.

Here’s the full list of winners for the 72nd British Academy Film Awards along with my opinions for several categories as usual:

BEST PICTURE
“BlacKkKlansman”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma” – WINNER
“A Star is Born”

Opinion: With this win, ‘Roma’ now is the frontrunner for the Oscar’s best picture race. The best picture competition is very exciting this year as each of the nominated films has their fair share of awards with no clear frontrunner like last year when it is very obvious that only ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri’ are fighting for the best picture title.

BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma” – WINNER
Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”

Opinion: Anyone besides than Alfonso Cuaron winning will be the most shocking news. Cuaron is going to win his second directing Oscars end of this month for sure. He is an excellent craftsman.

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody” – WINNER
Steve Coogan, “Stan & Ollie”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Opinion: I don’t see any more competition from other nominees at this point. Christian Bale is no longer a threat anymore to Rami Malek. Malek should get his Oscar acceptance speech ready after winning the same gong at Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA.

BEST ACTRESS
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite” – WINNER
Viola Davis, “Widows”

Opinion: I’m not surprised that Olivia Colman won and not Glenn Close. Colman has a huge home advantage and she also did a great job in ‘The Favourite’. However, Glenn Close is still the one to beat for best actress in the Oscar end of this month due to the huge overdue factor and she has won more important precursor awards (Golden Globes, SAG, Critics Choice) than Colman. It’s a pity that Close couldn’t make a clean sweep after this loss.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” – WINNER
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”
Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”

Opinion: I would have prefer Richard E. Grant or Timothee Chalamet to win. Now, it is a lock for Mahershala Ali to claim his second Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Claire Foy, “First Man”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite” – WINNER

Opinion: With Regina King and Emily Blunt missing in the nominees here, many are saying that Amy Adams may have a chance. But then, she lost again. Vote splitting isn’t enough to take out Rachel Weisz (as she share same film with Emma Stone who is also nominated here). It’s now Regina King vs. Rachel Weisz for the Oscar.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Janusz Glowacki, Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Deborah Davis, Tony Mcnamara, “The Favourite” – WINNER
Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, “Green Book”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Wilmott, “BlacKkKlansman” – WINNER
Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Josh Singer, “First Man”
Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, Eric Roth, “A Star is Born”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Newton Thomas Sigel, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Lukasz Zal, “Cold War”
Robbie Ryan, “The Favourite”
Linus Sandgren, “First Man”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma” – WINNER

Opinion: Deserving win for ‘Roma’ as the movie is really excellent especially in its technical aspects including cinematography.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite” – WINNER
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Mary Queen of Scots”

Opinion: No surprise here. Actually, no surprise to all the categories of which ‘The Favourite’ is winning. Home advantage it is. I don’t really get the critical love to this movie. I like it but I don’t see it being a spectacular film.

BEST FILM EDITING
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“First Man”
“Roma”
“Vice” – WINNER

Opinion: I like the editing in ‘Vice’ but I still see huge competition in this category from ‘First Man’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

BEST MAKE UP & HAIR
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite” – WINNER
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Stan & Ollie”
“Vice”

Opinion: Another obvious win due to home advantage. ‘Vice’ is definitely better in make up and hair. ‘Vice’ will still win in the Oscar for this category.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
“The Favourite” – WINNER
“First Man”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Roma”

BEST SCORE
“BlacKkKlansman”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“A Star is Born” – WINNER

Opinion: Now this is a joke. While I enjoyed and is very fascinated by the songs in ‘A Star Is Born’, its score doesn’t stood out at all. Poor choice from the voters.

BEST SOUND
“Bohemian Rhapsody” – WINNER
“First Man”
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
“A Quiet Place”
“A Star is Born”

Opinion: Great to see ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ getting win on other category other than just the lead actor. The movie certainly has great sound work in it. Deserving win.

BEST SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Black Panther” – WINNER
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”

Opinion: Another joke! Visual effects in ‘Black Panther’ is just average. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ or ‘Ready Player One’ has much better VFX.

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” – WINNER

Opinion: The clear frontrunner for best animated feature. No more competition. ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ stood out easily among the rest of the animated films last year.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Free Solo” – WINNER
“McQueen”
“RBG”
“They Shall Not Grow Old”
“Three Identical Strangers”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Capernaum”
“Cold War”
“Dogman”
“Roma” – WINNER
“Shoplifters”

BEST BRITISH FILM
“Beast”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite” – WINNER
“McQueen”
“Stan & Ollie”
“You Were Never Really Here”

Opinion: Expected although I prefer ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to win.

BEST DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
Daniel Kokotajlo (writer/director), “Apostasy”
Michael Pearce (writer/director), “Beast” – WINNER
Chris Kelly (writer/director/producer), “A Cambodian Spring”
Leanne Welham (writer/director), Sophie Harman (producer), “Pili”
Richard Billingham (writer/director), Jacquie Davies (producer), “Ray & Liz”

BEST BRITISH ANIMATED SHORT
“I’m OK”
“Marfa”
“Roughhouse” – WINNER

BEST BRITISH LIVE-ACTION SHORT
“73 Cows” – WINNER
“Bachelor”
“The Blue Door”
“The Field”
“Wale”

RISING STAR AWARD
Barry Keoghan
Cynthia Erivo
Jessie Buckley
Lakeith Stanfield
Letitia Wright – WINNER

So now, we are all waiting for the final moment, the final and most important report card for 2018 films; the 91st Academy Awards on 24th February 2019.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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After winning big in Golden Globes last weekend, Bohemian Rhapsody goes home empty handed in Critics Choice.


Here comes the second out of five major Hollywood film awards honouring the best of 2018 films; Critics Choice Awards 2019. After a shocking major win by Bohemian Rhapsody in Golden Globes in the last weekend, the film wins nothing in Critics Choice, cementing the fact that critics (Broadcast Film Critics Association, BFCA) really do not like the movie as much as Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Here below is the full list of winners (only for film categories) for the 24th Critics Choice Awards along with my opinions:

BEST PICTURE

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

The Favourite

First Man

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma (WINNER)

A Star Is Born

Vice

Opinion: Ahhaa…a foreign film wins the top honor and that is very unusual. It means that ‘Roma’ is really an excellent film and is now the strong frontrunner for the Academy Awards next month. Usually, whichever film wins Critics Choice for best picture will win the Oscars for the same. Seeing Bohemian Rhapsody not even nominated for the 10 slot here is a strong sign that the film isn’t appealing to critics. The critics are all wrong. On the other hand, ‘A Star Is Born’ is losing some strength. It will still pose a big risk to Roma for best picture win in the Oscar though.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Glenn Close, The Wife (WINNER)

Toni Collette, Hereditary

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (WINNER)

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Opinion: A tie, seriously?! Just ignore Lady Gaga and hand this to Glenn Close only. Now, it shows that Lady Gaga is still in position to grab the Oscars and it now makes the best actress race much more exciting with a three-way fight (Glenn Close, Lady Gaga and Olivia Colman). Lady Gaga is good in ‘A Star Is Born’ but isn’t impresssive enough for best actress honour. For me, she is just acting as her own self (a person who can sing as required for the film) with some added emotion in to make it work. It’s nothing difficult especially for her whom is a talented singer.

 

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale, Vice (WINNER)

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Ryan Gosling, First Man

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Opinion: Rami Malek is robbed. Best actor should easily goes to Rami Malek for his marvelous performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. No one could top that. Christian Bale is just doing something so similar with Gary Oldman last year (portraying as a fat politician). The exact same formula and you get to win best actor again. The critics just love to see actors transformed literally with huge makeup and gave them best actor honour. Christian Bale is good in Vice but Rami Malek is a step ahead clearly. Now, it depends on SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards) end of this month to determine who will be the frontrunner for the Oscars next month. It’s now between Christian Bale and Rami Malek. Others have all lost their momentum especially Bradley Cooper. He just seems doesn’t have luck for awards every year.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle, First Man

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Opinion: This is a lock in. Alfonso Cuaron had been snatching all the precursor awards for best director for his work in Roma. He will went on to win Oscars, taking that award twice which is an impressive achievement.

 

#SEEHER AWARD

Claire Foy

Opinion: Don’t know what’s this about. It’s something about an award to honour woman in film industry.

 

BEST COMEDY

Crazy Rich Asians (WINNER)

Deadpool 2

The Death of Stalin

The Favourite

Game Night

Sorry to Bother You

Opinion: A good recognition for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. I would have thought that ‘The Favourite’ would win this easily. Looks like ‘The Favourite’ isn’t getting a lot of love here surprisingly.

 

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Christian Bale, Vice (WINNER)

Jason Bateman, Game Night

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2

Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You

Opinion: Christian Bale again. It reminds me of Michael Keaton winning both best actor awards in Critics Choice last time but ended up losing the Oscar to Eddie Redmayne. I hope the same case applies here (Rami Malek is my pick for the Oscar). It all comes to the SAG most likely to determine the eventual Oscar winner.

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Olivia Colman, The Favourite (WINNER)

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Rachel McAdams, Game Night

Charlize Theron, Tully

Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

Opinion: Yes, certainly! Olivia Colman is great in ‘The Favourite’. She still has the momentum to go for the Oscar glory (but now looks more likely that Glenn Close will prevail due to overdue factor for the Oscar).

 

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite (WINNER)

Vice

Widows

Opinion: Agreed. The best thing from ‘The Favourite’ comes from the great chemistry and performances from all the three main female leads in the film; Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

 

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE

Annihilation

Halloween

Hereditary

A Quiet Place (WINNER)

Suspiria

Opinion: Agreed on this too. ‘A Quiet Place’ is an impressive film and it ranks among my top 3 most favourite films last year.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Opinion: Regina King won at the Golden Globe and now at Critics Choice. So is she an Oscar frontrunner? Not so fast. She had been snubbed surprisingly for even nomination at the SAG and BAFTA. It makes the supporting actress race intense this year. All the nominees in this category are incredible by the way.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, Green Book (WINNER)

Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Opinion: Ohh, looks like Mahershala Ali is on his way to his win his second supporting actor win at the Oscar so soon. Many would have thought that this would go to Richard E. Grant. Anyway, Grant still remains the darkhorse for the remaining awards.

 

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (WINNER)

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Ed Oxenbould, Wildlife

Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place

Amandla Stenberg, The Hate U Give

Sunny Suljic, Mid90s

Opinion: Nothing to comment here as I didn’t watch ‘Eighth Grade’.

 

BEST SONG

All the Stars, Black Panther

Girl in the Movies, Dumplin’

I’ll Fight, RBG

The Place Where Lost Things Go, Mary Poppins Returns

Shallow, A Star Is Born (WINNER)

Trip a Little Light Fantastic, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Very much expected. ‘Shallow’ is a powerful and a beautiful song and is going to sweep all ‘best original song’ awards. I personally like this song a lot too.

 

BEST ACTION MOVIE

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Deadpool 2

Mission: Impossible — Fallout (WINNER)

Ready Player One

Widows

Opinion: I disagree to this choice. Fallout is good but it is just like a typical Mission Impossible movie with nothing exceptional. I would have prefer ‘Infinity War’ or even ‘Ready Player One’ to take this one.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Grinch

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (WINNER)

Opinion: Now, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the clear frontrunner for the Oscar next month after winning also at the Golden Globe last week. Incredibles 2 has lost the momentum heavily.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bo Burnham: Eighth Grade

Alfonso Cuarón: Roma

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara: The Favourite

Adam McKay: Vice

Paul Schrader: First Reformed (WINNER)

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly: Green Book

Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski: A Quiet Place

Opinion: No comment as I didn’t watch ‘First Reformed’. This movie jumped out of nowhere and win this. Many didn’t expect ‘First Reformed’ to win anything. Now that is quite surprising.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole: Black Panther

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Barry Jenkins: If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)

Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters: A Star Is Born

Josh Singer: First Man

Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee: BlacKkKlansman

Opinion: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ gain back some momentum after its win here in adapted screenplay. Didn’t watch the movie.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)

James Laxton, If Beale Street Could Talk

Matthew Libatique, A Star Is Born

Rachel Morrison, Black Panther

Robbie Ryan, The Favourite

Linus Sandgren, First Man

Opinion: Didn’t watch Roma but I knew it is a black-and-white film. The film must be really good in capturing lighting even when the final product is just black and white without colours.

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart, Black Panther (WINNER)

Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez, Roma

Nelson Coates and Andrew Baseman, Crazy Rich Asians

Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton, The Favourite

Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas, First Man

John Myhre and Gordon Sim, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Some love for Black Panther. I didn’t enjoy Black Panther like what most critics do but I do felt fine with the film winning best production design.

 

BEST EDITING

Jay Cassidy, A Star Is Born

Hank Corwin, Vice

Tom Cross, First Man (WINNER)

Alfonso Cuarón and Adam Gough, Roma

Yorgos Mavropsaridis, The Favourite

Joe Walker, Widows

Opinion: Good for ‘First Man’. Now, the movie gained back also some strength for contention of some technical awards in next month’s Academy Awards. This is one of them. ‘First Man’ does really have great editing.

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots

Ruth Carter, Black Panther (WINNER)

Julian Day, Bohemian Rhapsody

Sandy Powell, The Favourite

Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Quite surprising for a superhero film to win best costume design. It means that the critics really love Black Panther a lot. I would have picked ‘The Favourite’ or even any other nominees in this list.

 

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Mary Queen of Scots

Suspiria

Vice (WINNER)

Opinion: Expected. The body and face transformation for Christian Bale in Vice alone earns the film the trophy. Same as what ‘Darkest Hour’ had done last year to Gary Oldman face and body. Boring…

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther (WINNER)

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Mission: Impossible — Fallout

Ready Player One

Opinion: Black Panther again. Boring again…I personally think that this award should goes to either Infinity War or Ready Player One.

 

BEST SCORE

Kris Bowers, Green Book

Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk

Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs

Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther

Justin Hurwitz, First Man (WINNER)

Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

Opinion: Yes. The score in ‘First Man’ is the most outstanding aspect of the movie. Period.

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Burning

Capernaum

Cold War

Roma (WINNER)

Shoplifters

Opinion: Wow…Roma taking this as well as the best picture! Roma is the biggest winner. Looks like I have to check out the movie soon to see how great it is.

Right. That’s it for Critics Choice. The next major awards (the third one) will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards to be presented on 27th January 2019 (Sunday).

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Movie review for ‘Aquaman’ and thoughts on the nomination list for Critics Choice and SAG 2019


Let James Wan direct a film and I can almost assure you that it will be a successful film, both critically and commercially. James Wan is a great talent and I’m sure most of you did not realize that he is actually born in Malaysia and is now an Australian residing in United States (involving so many countries). He has directed some hit movies such as Saw, The Conjuring films, Furious 7, first two Insidious films, etc. Aquaman is his latest directorial work and he delivered yet again. The film starred Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, etc.

 

Watching Aquaman is like watching Avatar. The length of the film (quite long; about 2 hour 20 minutes) and the scale of the movie matches that of Avatar. I had a great time and was very engaged through the entire movie (never felt it was long). The plot is fairly straightforward and what mesmerizes me the most are the excellent visual effects (the undersea’s scenes are marvelous), gripping action sequences (some familiar James Wan’s shooting style for the action scenes which is great), and some epic moments (during the battles, emotional dialogue, or even a kiss scene). The production design is awesome too.

DC films are usually associated for being in a darker tone especially when compared to Marvel films. Aquaman stays away from that and goes in a lighter tone instead with colourful and lively graphics. That is good as I’m not really fancy of super fast action scenes with super dark background usually seen in DC films. Most of DC films didn’t do well last time except for only Wonder Woman, and now Aquaman is added in as a great DC film. Out of 10 points, I rate Aquaman a total of 8.3. Truly a highly entertaining, exciting, epic visual and action-packed adventure film of a superhero.

Let James Wan direct the film and it will be well received, critically (gets quite good critics review, and should be better actually) and commercially (looks likely to be the first DC universe film to cross US$1 billion in worldwide box office). Its box office estimate and projection now exceeds than its earlier prediction much higher and that’s good news for DC.

After Golden Globe Awards 2019 had its nomination list released last week, it’s Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) turns for their announcement of nomination list this week. There is not much surprise to Critics Choice’s list as more nominees are included for that one. As for SAG, I’m quite surprised for Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians making it into the five nominees for best cast in a motion picture (highest honor). Bohemian Rhapsody focuses more on effort of acting by a single person (Rami Malek of course as Freddie Mercury, and he also scored best actor nomination as expected) while Crazy Rich Asians is good but not to the level that it could get that nomination though. Critics’ Choice Awards 2019 will be held on January 13, 2019 while Screen Actors Guild Awards 2019 will be held on January 27, 2019.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Movie review for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Gindelwald and thoughts on the nomination list for Golden Globes 2019


I enjoyed the original Harry Potter film series a lot. The film series added magic to my teenage years. When its last film was out back in 2011, I felt sad to bid goodbye to the wizarding world wonderfully created by J.K. Rowling. I was very excited when she decided to write 5 films set in the same wizarding world after that, and till now, 2 films have been released including the recent Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The film follows the adventure of Newt Scamander again as he takes on Grindelwald, a powerful dark wizard who had escaped from prison and is on his quest for worldwide wizard supremacy.

The film is a must watch for Potter fans but is certainly a must miss for ordinary moviegoers. You will not understand most of the plot details if you have not been following the Harry Potter universe in the past. I am not an extreme Potter fans (but I do still know some details of this magical universe) and I find it hard to digest the story. It is too complicated and the movie did no good by introducing so many new characters to make things more confusing. There were a lot of scenes with spells and magic but I can’t feel the charm out of them (I felt a lot of that in Harry Potter films despite much lesser spells cast). It’s certainly not about quantity or visual effects but about the building up of material and atmosphere in this aspect to exude the charm and excitement. Fantastic Beasts film series didn’t quite succeed on that although it has better visuals as expected in the current standard.

It’s nice seeing more of Johnny Depp this time as Grindelwald and the young Albus Dumbledore portrayed by Jude Law. As there are too many characters hanging around now, even Eddie Redmayne portraying as the main character, Newt Scamander is getting much lesser screen time. J.K. Rowling tends to go big and further expand the universe but she does it too quick now and the approach becomes a distraction and confusion for the general audiences. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ a total of 6.8. Anyway, it’s cool to watch scenes of the Hogwarts school on the big screen again in this movie that gave us back all the Harry Potter memories.

The nomination list for the 76th Golden Globe Awards set to take place on January 6, 2019 is out and it marked the beginning of major Hollywood award season. First of all, I’m surprised of some snubs (director Damien Chazelle for First Man, lead actor Ryan Gosling for First Man, A Quiet Place for best motion picture – drama, supporting actress Michelle Yeoh for Crazy Rich Asians, etc). I’m also surprised by Bohemian Rhapsody making the cut to be in the 5 nominees for best motion picture – drama (I’m actually happy in this case as I find it a great movie). I’m also shocked to see Black Panther in the same category (this superhero movie is super overrated…I have to disagree with a lot of people on this one). Although Michelle Yeoh is snubbed, but I’m still glad of some recognition to Crazy Rich Asians elsewhere (for Constance Wu in best lead actress in musical or comedy and best motion picture – musical or comedy).

A Star Is Born looks likely to win best motion picture – drama while Alfonso Cuaron is the guy to beat for best director from his work in Roma (didn’t see that but saw a lot of praise for his directing of that movie). Since Bradley Cooper looks likely to lose best director to Cuaron, I think he will get the best lead actor – drama instead although I prefer Rami Malek to take that one instead.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Fun but costly Saturday at Suntec City and Marina Bay Sands…and movie review for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.


I have been working overtime for the past week and this weekend is the much needed time for me to rest and reduce my stress level. It looks like I’m going to be busy till the end of December and I can feel the pressure is building up to the point that I couldn’t sleep well lately. Fortunately, I have a nice outing with my friend yesterday in the city although it turns out to be quite costly (that’s due to my own fault).

Besides than going for a casual ‘sing k’ and a usual movie session at Suntec City, we have the urge to walk from the mall to the Marina Bay Sands through the popular Helix Bridge that offers amazing view of the city. Since we were already in Marina Bay Sands, it is super convenient to just drop by for a visit to its casino. ‘Itchy hands’ cause me to lost few hundred bucks there. So, what a costly weekend outing.

The highlight of this post is actually a review to the movie that I have watched; ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It is a biographical film about the British rock band Queen, and it follows the life of the band’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury leading to the famous Queen’s Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985. I always enjoy biographical films as they allow me to know more of the person these films are based on who are usually very popular and influential figures (despite some historical inaccuracies usual due to movie dramatization). Before this movie, I didn’t know much about the band and its lead singer, Freddie Mercury who died at age of 45 in 1991 due to complications from AIDS. I only knew the two famous songs the band have produced; ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champion’. He was before my generation.

I enjoyed the film and I was very impressed with Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury. His resemblance to the singer is uncanny. When I was watching the movie, I felt like Rami Malek is no longer there and all I see is the real Freddie Mercury in it. It shows how much Rami Malek had done to get into this iconic character. For me, he totally outshines Bradley Cooper from ‘A Star Is Born’ in the best actor race. I can’t get away from comparing this film with ‘A Star Is Born’ since both are music-centred. To be honest, I even find ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ better than ‘A Star Is Born’. It has higher IMDB score than ‘A Star Is Born’ and yet a much lower score in Rotten Tomatoes. Critics don’t enjoy ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ more but general audiences do. I find that ‘A Star Is Born’ has excessively emphasized on the love storyline that couldn’t hit me although it displays superb acting as well.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ does not attempt or pushing itself hard to be an Oscar film with a very nice flow of story added with strong performances and music sequences. I was very engaged with the storyline (interesting plot with not much of romance and some hilarious moments) that explores on Freddie Mercury’s relationship with the other band members and his former wife, his attitude, his unique style and his sexuality. The ending scene of the Live Aid performance is truly captivating and gave a high-note conclusion to the film. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ a total of 8.2. A dramatic and entertaining biographical film that will tell you more about this legend, Queen’s Freddie Mercury.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

Happy Halloween! What’s the coolest Halloween gift you ever receive?


 

This famous painting of the nun from the ‘Conjuring’ film series would be the perfect Halloween gift for your friends! Give it as a surprise Halloween present for your playful friends! Haha. By the way, the painting seriously looks damn creepy. It would be terrifying if you really have this painting in your bedroom, right on the wall across from your bed. And when you turn off the light, the painting is slightly illuminated to reveal yet another sight of horror. I believe no one will dare to hang that up.

The movie ‘The Nun’ which was just released last month has been doing very well at the box office (it has grossed over US$360 million so far  and is already the highest grossing film in the ‘Conjuring’ film series). It does not perform well to the critics though; earning less than 30% at Rotten Tomatoes. Have you watched the movie? It is a must watch if you are a fan of the ‘Conjuring’ film series. James Wan, a Malaysian born Australian film director is the man behind this. A very talented man (he designed this nun’s appearance as well as the creepy Annabelle doll too).

Anyway, Happy Halloween! Until these days, I’m still confused and curious on why do the Western people (or Christians) ‘happily celebrate’ and ‘enjoy with fun’ a festival that remembers the dead and puts ghosts and scary stuff to the spotlight. It is a norm for them to play trick-or-treat, pranks or other games, watch horror movies, attend costume parties, share horror stories, visit haunted attractions, and just enjoy the fun. Try imagine us, the Chinese celebrating Qing Ming Festival or Hungry Ghost Month Festival with games and laughter like Halloween. We would be grilled by the elders due to being very disrespectful. That’s such a different (totally opposite) practice by different culture. We said ‘Happy Halloween!’, but we will never say ‘Happy Qing Ming!’.

Halloween comes and it means this long month of October is finally coming to an end. I’m looking forward to the next two months (last two months of the year) where many holiday is coming such as Deepavali (next week!), Christmas and New Year celebration.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

‘The Nun’ can be much better but it is still a good addition into the ‘Conjuring’ universe.


I was so looking forward to a full length film for the demonic nun named Valak that first appeared in ‘The Conjuring 2’ movie released 2 years ago. The horrifying doll ‘Annabelle’ that is first introduced from the very first ‘The Conjuring’ film (and is actually based on a real haunted doll of the same name) gets its own 2 movies. After ‘The Conjuring 2’ is released, people couldn’t get their mind off from the haunting visual of the nun and its very own spin-off film is finally released now. I was a little worried before watching it just now as I knew it received mostly negative reviews (scored less than 30% in Rotten Tomatoes). After watching it, I think it deserves more than that rating.

‘The Nun’ is the fifth film in ‘Conjuring’ universe but has a story that acts as a prequel to the whole thing. Sets in 1952 at Romania, the movie revolves on a priest and a novice who are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun at a monastery. They together with a guy who first found the corpse of the nun encounter a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. Many are criticizing the film for having poor story or narrative but I’m in the opposite opinion here. I find that the film has quite a clear plot and an easy to understand flow of story. It is simple and it’s good in a situation where it is not distracting the horror purpose of the movie.

What’s lacking from the film is that it has not much of suspense or building up of fear going on even as it reaches its climax near the end. The previous horror films in this franchise especially the first ‘The Conjuring’ film succeeds because it is extremely good on delivering scenes that build up the tension and intensity to get us to the edge of our seats. This movie relies too much on loud jump scares instead. There are also excessive scenes of the demon lurking and stalking behind the characters without any real frightening content later on besides than those expected jump scares. The film ends up being not as scary as anticipated. The nun appears briefly in ‘The Conjuring 2’ and it scared the hell out from a lot of people. Now, it has its own movie and appeared for a lot of scenes but it already losses its frightening effect. Sometimes (or maybe always) it is good to keep the ghost appearance to be as minimal as possible to make its horror effect much more lasting from various other means.

The production design for the film is brilliant nonetheless. A lot of effort has been put into that to create a creepy ambience that is perfect for a horror story. The setup of the monastery and its interior is worth a praise. The music perfectly fits in and it helps a lot to elevate and magnify the horrifying presence and arrival of the demonic nun. The cast did well on their acting especially Frenchie (the guy who first found the corpse) who are adding some unexpected hilarious content to this horror film. Last but not least, I also like how the first scene and the last scene of the movie link back to the whole ‘Conjuring’ universe. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Nun’ a total of 6.8. It is not that bad actually and it’s a good addition into the ‘Conjuring’ universe. I don’t mind if there is ‘The Nun 2’ since ‘Annabelle’ also has its second film already.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)