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70th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2017 honours ‘La La Land’ with best film.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2017 by vincentloy

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, or simply known as BAFTA is held yesterday at Royal Albert Hall, London. It is the fourth of the five major annual awards celebrating the best of Hollywood films. It is also an important precursor award to the coming OSCARS as there is an overlapping of over 500 members voting for the BAFTA and also at the OSCARS. Stephen Fry is hosting the awards ceremony again. Here below is the full nomination list with the winners highlighted alongside with a bit of my thoughts.

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BEST FILM
ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

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Opinion: Deserving win for ‘La La Land’, an energetic and heartfelt musical masterpiece. It looks like this Oscar frontrunner is unstoppable as the momentum of ‘Moonlight’ is going downhill now. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ should be at least getting a nomination here and replace ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Well, British tend to be biased towards their own productions and so there must be at least one British film contending for the top honour here. 

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty – WINNER
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

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Opinion: Since ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is even getting nominated for best film, it is a 100% certainty that it is going to take home this one. 

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer)
The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer)
The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director)
Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers) – WINNER

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos – WINNER
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Opinion: ‘Son of Saul’ won the Oscars last year for best foreign language film  in 2015 but it is only released in UK last year (2016). Hence, it is a year late and that doesn’t take away its position as the best in this category. 

DOCUMENTARY
13th Ava DuVernay – WINNER
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

ANIMATED FILM
FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight – WINNER
MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

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Opinion: Very happy for ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ to win. It is certainly a much better choice than the Oscar frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’ (or called ‘Zootropolis’ here in UK). ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ was better in story, style, and of course in visuals. I hope it will win in the coming Oscars too.

DIRECTOR
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: A very predictable win. Damien Chazelle has been taking all the director awards for his work in ‘La La Land’.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan – WINNER
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

Opinion: Another expected result. Deserving win for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ that has a fantastic script and amazing performances by the cast.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
LION Luke Davies – WINNER
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: Not only that ‘Lion’ is getting a lot of love from the Oscars in their nomination list, but also here with a win in adapted screenplay, beating out all other excellent nominees. 

LEADING ACTOR
ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea – WINNER
JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
RYAN GOSLING La La Land
VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

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Opinion: With Denzel Washington not being nominated here, it is unsurprising for Casey Affleck to take home best actor easily. Well, he deserved it too for his amazingly restrained performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. It will be a battle between Denzel and Casey in the coming Oscars and I still prefer Casey. Denzel has won Oscar twice in the past. 

LEADING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS Arrival
EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
EMMA STONE La La Land – WINNER
MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

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Opinion: It looks like Emma Stone is going to take the Oscar for best actress too. While I love ‘La La Land’, I find that her performance in it was not challenging, not a breakthrough and not an eye-opener. People just voted for her due to her adorable persona and not based on true performances. I’m still hoping for Natalie Portman to win in the coming Oscars for her splendid performance in ‘Jackie’ as the titular character. 

SUPPORTING ACTOR
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
DEV PATEL Lion – WINNER
HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

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Opinion: Mahershala Ali is a frontrunner in this category all along until British Academy decided to award it to someone else. What a surprise. It makes the race in this category very exciting. The winner, Dev Patel deserves this award too for his excellent performance in ‘Lion’.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HAYLEY SQUIRES I, Daniel Blake
MICHELLE WILLIAMS Manchester by the Sea
NAOMIE HARRIS Moonlight
NICOLE KIDMAN Lion
VIOLA DAVIS Fences – WINNER

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Opinion: This is the only acting category that is a lock. Viola Davis all the way. 

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
JACKIE Mica Levi
LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz – WINNER
LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

Opinion: Very much expected. A film that is all about music should win this one easily. ‘La La Land’ presented to us amazing score and songs. Enough said.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
ARRIVAL Bradford Young
HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren – WINNER
LION Greig Fraser
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

Opinion: Yup…’La La Land’ again. Beautiful camera work throughout the whole movie.

EDITING
ARRIVAL Joe Walker
HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert – WINNER
LA LA LAND Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

Opinion: I thought that ‘La La Land’ would win this as well. Fine. I’m glad that British Academy decided to spread the wealth and award something to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ which is also another great film. 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
DOCTOR STRANGE John Bush, Charles Wood
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock – WINNER
HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
LA LA LAND Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, David Wasco
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Opinion: Well, British Academy would want to award ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ at least in one category and this is it. It’s a British film and British Academy would not want it to be completely shut out. 

COSTUME DESIGN
ALLIED Joanna Johnston
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
JACKIE Madeline Fontaine – WINNER
LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

Opinion: ‘Jackie’ presented to the audiences amazing costumes in that period of 1960s in the US, especially the glamorous ones worn by Natalie Portmna as Jackie. A deserving win. 

MAKE UP & HAIR
DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips – WINNER
HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Opinion: Happy for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ to win this. Great make-up and hairstyling works in that movie. I’m surprised this film is not even getting a nomination in the Oscars in this category. BAFTA did it right more than the Oscars here.

SOUND
ARRIVAL Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Sylvain Bellemare – WINNER
DEEPWATER HORIZON Mike Prestwood Smith, Dror Mohar, Wylie Stateman, David Wyman
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

Opinion: Surprised to see ‘La La Land’ losing this one. Still happy for ‘Arrival’ to win with its unique and interesting sound work.

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ARRIVAL Louis Morin
DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez – WINNER
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Opinion: A very deserving win for ‘The Jungle Book’, a movie filled with great scenery, realistic talking animals, and breathtaking visuals overall. 

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
THE ALAN DIMENSION Jac Clinch, Jonathan Harbottle, Millie Marsh
A LOVE STORY Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King – WINNER
TOUGH Jennifer Zheng

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
LAIA COSTA
LUCAS HEDGES
RUTH NEGGA
TOM HOLLAND – WINNER

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Opinion: I knew that Tom Holland will win this eventhough I find that Ruth Negga is more deserving of this recognition. All the British girls will just vote for Tom Holland while the boys also will vote for him, anticipating his upcoming Spiderman role in ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’. He is actually great in ‘The Impossible’, a disaster film few years ago when he was still a child. Now, he is a young adult and there is a bright future for him ahead.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA
CURZON CINEMAS

Opinion: Curzon Cinemas is a chain of cinema that specializes in art house films. Didn’t know anything about it since I’m not living in London. Hence, no comment for its win.

BAFTA FELLOWSHIP (Lifetime Achievement Award)
MEL BROOKS

Opinion: I don’t know who is Mel Brooks and so no comment too.

‘La La Land’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins including taking home the best film prize. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and ‘Moonlight’ are completely empty-handed without any win respectively. But overall, this awards has been spreading the wealth with many nominated films winning at least one award in the evening respectively.

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

Movie review for ‘Jackie’ (2016), and have you heard of Razzies?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Jackie’ is the last Oscar-type films of 2016 that I watched before the announcement for the nomination list of the 89th Academy Awards later on. ‘Jackie’ is a biographical drama film that starred Natalie Portman as the titular character, following her life after the 1963 assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy. John F. Kennedy was famously known to be the fourth and the last President of the United States to be murdered while still in office. And on the other hand, nothing much have been known about his wife, Jackie Kennedy, the First Lady before, during and after the infamous assassination. I’m interested to know more on that, and so, I’m interested to watch this movie.

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The other reason I watched ‘Jackie’ is also because I’m amazed by Natalie Portman’s scenes in the movie trailer alone. She is one great actress and I love her since her award-winning performance in ‘Black Swan’ several years ago. I already sense huge Oscar feel to her performance just by watching the trailer. And after watching the whole movie just now, I have no doubt that her performance here will land her another best actress nomination in the Oscars and I don’t mind her winning it again too. She is phenomenal as Jackie. The whole movie is seriously focusing on her with many close-up scenes of her face (though I find it unnecessarily too much at some point) to show her emotions and expressions in dealing with all the issues after her husband’s shocking death. She not only mastered that, but also nailed the accent and posture that the real Jackie Kennedy had. She put in a lot of effort in this role and she delivered. The only imperfection is that her face didn’t resemble Jackie Kennedy’s face at all.

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Peter Sarsgaard is solid for his supporting role as Robert, the younger brother of John F. Kennedy in this movie. An unknown Danish actor who portrayed John F. Kennedy in this movie shocked me because his face really resembles closely to the late President himself. While watching the movie, it was really as though John F. Kennedy himself was in there. The costumes are great, the production design is excellent, and the way they used old recordings of Jackie’s introduction to the interiors of the White House and putting in the same scenes in the movie with Natalie Portman as replacement is commendable. As for the story and its editing, they are just average. The overall feel is a bit bored and plain (like too many scenes of Natalie walking around in the White House). There is no greatness in this film besides than Natalie Portman. But she faces strong competition from Emma Stone and Isabelle Hupert for the Oscar trophy for best actress next month. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jackie’ a total of 7.1. This kind of movies makes me wanted to do a quick online research on the real information behind such historical events.

On the other hand, have you heard of Razzies? It is a name for the Golden Raspberry Awards, an annual awards presented to honour not the best, but the worst films. It’s like the total opposite of the Oscars. I guess many of you do not know of such existence. It even has its nomination list for the worst for films in 2016 released yesterday. The awards usually took place a day before the Oscars. Among the films with most nominations (hence being regarded the worst movies in 2016) are ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, ‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Zoolander 2’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Dirty Grandpa’, etc. ‘Winners’ will be famous for the other way round. This is the only awards that nobody wants to get nominated or even involved in.

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

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016) cross 1-billion mark, movie review for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ (2016), and final thoughts before Oscars’ nominations announcement tomorrow.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, the latest film in hugely successful Star Wars film franchise has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office intake. This film that was released on December 2016 has a story that sets before the original 1977 Star Wars film (hence a prequel) and it starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, etc. I watched that movie and I did gave a short review for it in my earlier post. As of 23rd January 2017, the film has grossed US$ 1.011 billion. It is now the 28th film in history to cross the 1-billion mark and it is also the 4th film in 2016 that is able to do so. The other three are Captain America: Civil War (US$ 1.153 billion), Finding Dory (US$ 1.027 billion), and Zootopia (US$ 1.023 billion).

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Coincidentally, all the four highest grossing films in 2016 (of which each of them gross over US$ 1 billion) were distributed by Disney. What a huge success for Disney last year then. The 5th film in the list also goes to another movie distributed by Disney, and it is ‘The Jungle Book’, but it could only accumulates US$ 966 million (still a huge box-office hit). Everyone is loving Star Wars (but not me, and I find that the Americans love it very much), hence this box office outcome for ‘Rogue One’ is very much expected. This also comes after the big hit from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015 that managed to gain US$ 2.068 billion, becoming the third movie in history to cross the near-impossible 2-billion mark. The next Star Wars film to be released in cinema is ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ on end of this year and I’m sure it is going to achieve similar success in box office too.

On the other hand, I have watched another new film just now. It’s a 2016 film called ‘Manchester by the Sea’. The reason I watched this movie is because it receives a lot of awards buzz and also overwhelming critical acclaim, with many praising and awarding best actor to the lead of the story, Casey Affleck. I stand with the minority this time. I think this movie is good, but clearly not a masterpiece or a solid top-notch drama as claimed by various critics out there. The movie, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, revolves on an uncle (Casey Affleck) who is tasked to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) after the boy’s father dies.

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What’s good from this movie is the acting. I find that Casey Affleck did well for his performance here. He nailed all the scenes when he has to convey subtle emotions and expressions. It’s not easy to do that and yet he did it. In past years, we always see showy and dramatic performances that got the actors and actresses winning awards. This year, it’s time to recognize subtle performances. This is one great example and it’s not easy to be done. Hence, I have no issue with Casey being nominated for best actor in Academy Awards and even winning it next month. However, I still think that his performance here in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ to be not perfect yet, as I find some of his scenes are a bit over wooden and pale. Lucas Hedges is great as the teenage boy in the movie and he should get a best supporting actor’s nomination. Same goes to Michelle Williams as Casey’s ex-wife in the movie. Her screen-time is very little and yet she manages to conquer those emotional scenes very well. A best supporting actress nomination for her. Other than acting, there is actually nothing else great about this film. It has a plain story, poor editing, and unsuitable background score too. It’s supposed to be a dramatic and a moving film, but in the end, I don’t feel anything. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Manchester by the Sea’ a total of 7.0. And all those points are mostly from acting only. This is one over-rated 2016 film.

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The nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow. Me, as one of the moviegoers who also loves watching Oscar-type movies are quite excited for it. Who will be snubbed this year? Who get to sneak in? Which film gets the most love? And which film gets forgotten? All will be revealed tomorrow.

As for my final thoughts before the nomination list’s announcement tomorrow, I think there would be a few surprises in the nomination list as expected since Academy loves to give us some shock and surprise every year. ‘La La Land’ is expected to get the most nominations, and together with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’, and ‘Arrival’, these 5 films look like they are a lock-in for the best picture nominees. There are 3 or 4 more slots in that category and all the other potential films are trying to squeeze in. Best actor race is not that interesting this year and it looks like Casey Affleck is going to take the Oscar home. On the other hand, best actress race is very competitive this year. It’s like anyone can win it this year with no clear favourite and that makes this category intense and exciting. Alright. I will leave more of my opinions when I published the nomination list in my blog here as soon as it is revealed tomorrow.

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

 

Movie review for ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2017 by vincentloy

My blog especially in this month will be filled with more posts on movie reviews. Why? This is the month when all the remaining Oscar-bait films will be released all together before the awards ceremony next month and I love to review on those films. This is also the month for me to catch up back on some 2016 films that I have missed last year. ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ were released recently in the cinemas here in Malaysia but they are considered 2016 films because they have been released last year in other regions or has opened up in some film festivals. And these two movies are so far my top 2 best films of 2016.

I seldom enjoy a musical movie. This genre isn’t an appeal to me much. However, ‘La La Land’ is a total exception as I enjoyed this film very much. It is a romantic musical comedy-drama film with the plot that follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. A lot of people including myself are curious on why such film’s title? Then, after a bit of research, I discovered that ‘La La Land’ refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality which is very related to the message of the movie. I decided to watch this film eventhough its not my appealing genre because it received overwhelming critical acclaim and that it had just won big in Golden Globe Awards recently.

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I watched it, and I can say it is truly an outstanding contemporary musical film. The opening sequence that shows a continuous shot of unexpected massive musical performance on a congested highway in LA is brilliant and immediately sets the right tone for the audiences on what to expect from the remaining of the movie. The story looks ordinary, but once you mix it with musical numbers, excellent performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and a wonderful ‘alternate-reality’ (what if) ending, then the film becomes extraordinary. The film also excelled in all other technical categories like cinematography, production design, costume design, music (songs and background score), etc. The score may sometimes feel repetitive but the melody is so beautiful and it magically gets you immersed into the story. The ending is sad and moving, and it somehow relates very well to the present reality of Hollywood. Sacrificing all others (including your true love) for career. People who watch this movie without thinking a bit further will see this movie as just a typical musical piece. Once you start digesting the inner message, then you will realize that this movie is awesome. But I can assure you that this movie is not complicated. And also great directing with Damien Chazelle. Looks he is locked to be winning the Oscars next month for his directing work here. This movie is look to get a lot of nominations in Oscars too and it certainly deserves it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘La La Land’ a total of 8.3. And yup…this is my highest-rated film of 2016 so far.

My next movie to review is ‘Patriots Day’. This is an action movie that will appeal to all, including those who doesn’t like to think too much while watching a movie. Well, this movie actually delivered beyond that. The movie is an account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. It is based on the true tragic event of Boston Marathon Bombing in April 2013 that killed 3 civilians and injured 264 others. Its subsequent manhunt activity to capture the two brothers behind the bombing resulted in the death of 2 police officers too. I eventually searched online for more details regarding this tragedy after watching the movie.

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I don’t know exactly how much fictional drama is added to the story to makes it more intense and dramatic but I can see that the film did stays true and accurate to the real events of the bombing and its aftermath including the selection of cast that matches closely to the real persons. It’s also nice to see real footages throughout the movie to give out a more real experience to viewers that this ‘shit’ do really happened. It is sad to watch this film that is actually based on something real and I must say that terrorism should end not only in US but also in all parts of the world. I’m deeply moved by a dialogue spoken by the real surviving victims of the tragedy in the end of the movie that says ‘people are not the victims of violence, but ambassador of peace’ after learning of many terrorist attacks in the past. That is what the movie is trying to deliver besides than the typical explosive and action-packed scenes. The story is engaging, the manhunt and shooting scenes are intense, and the scene showing that the whole Boston city is strong after the attack is touching. Mark Wahlberg did another good job in his main role here as a police officer. This movie reminded me of ‘Deepwater Horizon’, another based-on-real-tragedy movie released last year too that also starred Mark Wahlberg and also with Peter Berg directing (he directed this ‘Patriots Day’ too). ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a good movie but not as good as this ‘Patriots Day’ that stood out with a more engaging and suspenseful plot. It is a solidly crafted tribute to the people who died or affected from the tragedy. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Patriots Day’ a total of 8.0.

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

74th Golden Globe Awards…so who’s winning?

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2017 by vincentloy

The 74th Golden Globe Awards honouring the best of Hollywood films and television series for the past year (2016) was held just now at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California. Produced and with votes determined by members of Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), this is one of the five major annual Hollywood film awards. Jimmy Fallon, a popular comedian hosted the show that lasted for three hours.

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I watched the last two hours of the show because I woke up late. It’s so nice to be able to watch it through live streaming from YouTube from its official Golden Globes channel. The awards ceremony was noted for delivering some shocking result in some categories. Here below is the full result for the 74th Golden Globe Awards with a bit of my personal thoughts on few categories:

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Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award: Meryl Streep

Opinion: I thought she would have got this award long time ago. A talented actress who has dedicated over 40 years of her life in theatre, television series and films. Nominated for 19 Academy Awards and winning three, nominated for 30 Golden Globe Awards and winning eight, are records that no one else has accomplished. I long admired many of her performances in films such as ‘The Iron Lady’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. She truly deserved this honour. The moment when she stood up and walked to stage to receive the award accompanied with standing ovation of all audiences and ‘Mamma Mia’ music playing in the background is emotional.

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Films

Best picture, drama: “Moonlight”

Opinion: With this win, ‘Moonlight’ is racing to the top as another frontrunner to win best picture in Oscars next month. I don’t like to watch this kind movie and I find that Hollywood is now trying too hard to acknowledge back works by the Black after being faced with harsh criticisms in the past for not nominating any Black actors or actresses in the past Oscars.

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Best picture, comedy or musical: “La La Land”

Opinion: An enjoyable movie that received critical acclaim. So no reason for it not to win. 

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Actress, drama: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Opinion: First shock of the winner list. Would prefer the hot favourite Natalie Portman to win for her excellent performance in ‘Jackie’. It’s okay. She has won it before few years ago for ‘Black Swan’. 

Actor, drama: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Opinion: Looks like Casey Affleck is almost 100% lock for the Oscars for best actor. 

Actress, comedy or musical: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Actor, comedy or musical: Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”

Opinion: Looks like Viola Davis is also almost 100% lock for the Oscars for this category.

Supporting actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”

Opinion: Second shock of the list. Many predicted clear favourite Mahershala Ali to win for ‘Moonlight’. And out of sudden, Aaron Taylor-Johnson who didn’t receive any award buzz earlier at all took this.

Director: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Screenplay: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Animated film: “Zootopia”

Opinion: I enjoy watching ‘Zootopia’ but in terms of judging the best, I prefer ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ to win.

Foreign language film: “Elle” (France)

Original score: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”

Original song: “City of Stars,” “La La Land”

Opinion: Very much predictable to have a movie heavily centred on music to win both original score and song. 

Television

Best series, drama: “The Crown,” Netflix

Opinion: This series took down ‘Stranger Things’, earlier favourite to win this honour to surprise of most people. Conclusion is, voters love works that are based on real life people and real life event. This one is based on Queen Elizabeth II.

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Best series, comedy or musical: “Atlanta,” FX

Best television movie or mini-series: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX

Actress, mini-series or television movie: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Actor, mini-series or television movie: Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”

Opinion: It’s great to see Tom Hiddleston being honoured even is on this television category.

Actress, drama: Claire Foy, “The Crown”

Opinion: I haven’t watch the whole series yet. I have only watched some clips from that series and I can already see the strength of her performance in ‘The Crown’. She is one young, beautiful and talented actress.

Actor, drama: Billy Bob Thornton, “Goliath”

Actress, comedy or musical: Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”

Actor, comedy or musical: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

Supporting actress: Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”

Supporting actor: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”

‘La La Land’ is the biggest winner of the evening for film categories with a total of 7 awards. The film breaks the record for the most Golden Globes won by a single film. It looks like ‘La La Land’ is going to win big in Oscars next month too, but I think the film will only take those awards in technical categories, and not the major ones like motion picture, lead actor and lead actress. ‘The Night Manager’ is the biggest winner in television categories by snatching 3 awards while ‘The Crown’ took 2 major wins. What’s bad for the awards ceremony is that the producer heavily cutting off time for acceptance speeches which is disrespectful to make way for excessive advertisement time. So for now, the next major awards to look forward to is the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards to be held on 29th January 2017.

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

Movie reviews for ‘The Great Wall’ and ‘Passengers’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m now still writing movie reviews for 2016 films because there are quite a number of 2016 films that I haven’t watch but eager to do so. So, I’m not done yet with 2016 films especially at this time when I haven’t get to watch any Oscar-bait films in 2016 yet like ‘Arrival’, ‘Jackie’, ‘La La Land’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’, etc. I don’t have the chance to watch them yet and for right now, it’s movie reviews for ‘The Great Wall’ (2016) and ‘Passengers’ (2016) first.

‘The Great Wall’ is a fiction action-adventure monster film about a Western man going to the East in search of black powder. He ended up becoming a hero among the Chinese warriors at the Great Wall of China built as a defense against attacking monster creatures. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the movie starred Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Eddie Peng, etc. The movie received criticism with many complaining why is a Western man interfering into a story of deep Chinese history and legend and the issue of ‘whitewashing’ came out again. Well, I disagree with the criticism. It’s just a movie made for entertainment. Why take it so seriously? It’s meant purely as a fiction. I can do anything to the story as long as it looks good and appeals to all people from East to West. There is nothing wrong having a plot about a Western man coming to China with story to follow. And then there’s another bunch of people saying that this is a joke of having the movie showing the Great Wall built to defend against creatures which is of course against the real history. This is a FICTIONAL story. How many times they need  to be told about this again and again?

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Let’s get back to the movie. Ignore those pointless criticism and you will be enjoying the movie like me. I’m surprised that this movie get down to the business very fast. The pace for the story is quick and you are immediately brought to massive battle scene at the Great Wall. I even felt that the movie is a bit too short. The visual effects are good (those scenery at the Great Wall were breathtaking especially in a scene when many sky lanterns were brought up to the sky) but still there’s room for improvement (still couldn’t match Hollywood level). The costumes are exaggerated and are disturbing. The ending was not bad but I find it a bit rushed to end the movie. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Great Wall’ a total of 7.0. A good effort by Zhang Yimou to break into Western cinemas.

‘Passengers’ is an American science-fiction adventure film about a malfunctioned hibernation pod that has woken up a man 90 years earlier of the trip in a spacecraft of 5000 passengers to a distant colony planet. Feeling alone, he then waken up another passenger, a female he likes, in an action that he felt bad because it will cause the female passenger to die with him before reaching the destined planet. The movie directed by Morten Tyldum, starred Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne. Yes, only four cast to carry the whole movie.

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The story is very interesting. I’m amazed by how they can still create another brilliant story in outer-space setting when in the past, they already did many of them. Very engaging plot and good pacing of the story development. The chemistry between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is awesome, and not to mention excellent performances by both of them. From their expressions, you immediately feel what it is like to be them, trapped in the spacecraft with plenty of space and time but couldn’t do anything else. The visuals are fantastic, and the scores are amazing. The climax is quite intense and heart-stopping and seeing Chris alive after the mission to rescue the spacecraft and Jennifer chose to stay with him is a huge relief and a happy ending. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Passengers’ a total of 7.8. It’s a fun and exciting mix of sci-fi and romance. I don’t get why it gets low critics’ ratings out there. It’s seriously a good movie.

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

Movie review for ‘Spectral’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2016 by vincentloy

This post would be my last movie reviews of the year. In the past week, I have watched three additional new films of which they are all released this year and I have some thoughts to write about each of them. So here it goes.

‘Spectral’ is a military science-fiction film by Netflix about a special-ops team that is dispatched to investigate strange killing of their troops and later found out what they are dealing with is supernatural beings, or is it? This movie is a bit under-rated and it’s a waste that such movie didn’t get a worldwide theatre release. It’s a great movie. It’s full of actions and suspense, and that’s enough for movie of this category. I’m not looking for any deep character development and just a thrilling action ride, and this movie delivered to the best. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Spectral’ a total of 7.8. I don’t even mind for sequels for this film since the story looks like it has a lot of potential to develop, especially on the scientific part of the creation of those ‘supernatural’ beings and the further sinister plots behind it.

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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a must-watch movie for all Star Wars fans. I’m not a fans of this franchise but since it is so popular, I watched this ‘Rogue One’ which is actually a prequel to the earlier films. The story is about the Rebel Alliance which makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. It starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, etc. A very ‘international’ cast indeed. I’m surprised that the Chinese actors in this movie get to play more significant roles this time. Chinese cast are usually just taking very minor roles in big Hollywood productions just to attract Chinese market. The movie is fine. I’m actually feeling bored with the first half of the movie and the movie only got my attention in the last part when ‘Rogue One’ ship started its mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ a total of 6.7. This movie is going to earn a lot in box office as expected (I think will gross over US$ 1 billion in box office). And we are going to see more Star Wars films soon since this film franchise now returns to the big screen, since Hollywood knew how much profit they can make from this franchise.

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‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an animated movie about a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. It is a 3D stop-motion fantasy action-adventure film by Laika which is a famous studio specializing in producing stop-motion animated movies. Their past works are ‘Coraline’ (I love this movie), ‘ParaNorman’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’. Their latest work, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ has a good and moving plot, beautiful visuals and styles, lovely and engaging main and supporting characters, thrilling adventures and hilarious moments. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ a total of 8.0. Another masterpiece by Laika. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is so far the best animated movie of the year. I’m looking forward to more Laika animated films since I enjoyed watching stop-motion style in animation. It’s unique and interesting.

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