Feb 28, 2011

The Academy just doesn't get it

One of these days the Academy will get it right. Sooner or later there will be a year when everyone agrees with me and I won't have to moan about anything. Meanwhile, I won't be holding my breath, and instead  just give a quick account of my last night.

On Saturday I put my 'grand plan' on action and stayed up until four in the morning, thinking it'd then help me survive the following night. Well, as wondefully clever the plan was, it fell flat as I was up and ready to go at ten the next morning. So, with a poor night of sleep behind me and my inexplicable inability to take a nap preventing me from properly preparing myself, I swigged down a can of energydrink and hoped the Oscar ceremony would once again prove to be the best drug. It did! After the shortest six hours of the year were over, sleeping felt like the worst idea ever. I was even hoping for an early lecture to attend to. There weren't any, unfortunately.

So I had to force myself to sleep a few restless hours. But only a few. Which is why I won't be writing a proper post about the ceremony and the results today. I'm simply not capable. Only thing I'm capable of is staring at the clock and hoping it'd be ten already, so that it'd be okay to go to bed. The post will have to wait until the weekend, I'm afraid. There is just too much of everything right now. And not only too much time before bedtime. (I realised today it the last day of February. Which means that, according to my New Year Resolution, I should see Mulholland Drive today. However, I'm not stupid enough to do that, so I excuse myself for violating my own rules and see the film some day when my head isn't so hazy to begin with.)

One or two words about the Oscars, however. I was quite happy about the results, and felt the great minds were really thinking alike this year. Then two of the most important awards went where they shouldn't have gone, so that's that, the Academy clearly doesn't have enough great minds in their midst. Unlike majority of people, I liked both Anne and James. There were quite a few funny moments and I'm still giggling thinking about Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin's "You just got INCEPTIONED!" and Twilight the Musical. There we some really nice dresses, I think Scarlett Johansson and Hailee Steinfield's were my favourites. It was an awesome night, and next year is way too far away.

Oooh, not long before ten o'clock, now. I will sleep so well you won't believe it.

Photos from dailymail.com.

Feb 27, 2011

Some pre-Oscar sentiments

Tonight's the night! And I figured this might me a good time for me to wake the blog up from its sudden hibernation. Life's been a bit of a roller-coaster recently... February was a bit weird from the beginning, and as if my poor head wasn't already spinning badly enough after the news that I'll be spending the fall in the U.S., the next day my grandfather passed away and my spirits were hurled from extreme high to extreme low in a split second. So I took a little break from blogging. But life resumes. And so does blogging.

Now, the Oscars. I don't feel as well prepared for the big night as I sometimes have been, and as I should be. I hadn't even had the time or the mood to feel excited until yesterday, when I was planning tonight with a friend and I realised how cool and awesome it will be once again. I haven't seen as many of the Best Picture nominees as I was supposed to, as I've only seen six instead of the possible eight: didn't go see True Grit because of all the recent mayhem and Black Swan won't come to my local cinema until next week, damn it. Winter's Bone will probably never even make it this far and frankly, I don't give a damn about The Fighter. I haven't seen many boxing movies but I've seen enough to know they're not for me.

I also forgot to print the Oscar ballot from IMDb, so I scribbled my predictions down on a piece of paper. And no, I will not share them with you, at least not yet. I think this year my goal with the predictions is to get none right. I mean, of course Toy Story 3 will win every single category it's nominated in, right? (Well, it'll win some. But not all. Though it damn well should, says I.)

Some positive things. 1) Due the said lack of time and mood, I also haven't been following the experts' predictions as much as usually. Which I've found quite nice! Maybe some of the results will even surprise me a little. 2) RDJ will present! 3) Tonight I get to stuff myself with food until I bloat, because that's a significant part of the Oscars. 4) I was able to stay up late last night, so tonight should be a piece of cake. Not that it's ever been particularly challenging. As soon as the show begings, sleeping is the last thing on your mind.

Aw, it'll be awesome. I just hope The King's Speech won't win the Best Picture.

Feb 18, 2011

I'm coming, Dorothy!

Howdy, folks. It's been a bit quiet here in my blog for some days now. Actually, the whole month has been a bit unusual. I have seen so few films I'm a bit ashamed of myself! And though some of them have been very good ones, I haven't managed to write posts about them. There's been school and stuff and school and other, um, distractions. So, with a promise that this blog will NOT turn into a personal diary anytime soon, here is one more post about everything besides movies. Please bear with me.

So, today I learned that I will be spending next autumn term (well, I guess I should now learn to say 'fall term') in the Emporia State University. In Kansas. In the United States. Of America. Oh my! I've never been in the States (in fact, I've never been outside Europe), so I'm more excited than I can even say. Though I'm still waiting for the news to really sink in. That'll take some time. Meanwhile, I'll keep randomly freaking out, and continue the failed attempts to study for an approaching exam and to finish the essay that was due a week ago.

But yeah. Kansas, baby. I promised a friend I'll read Wizard of Oz in the plane. Maybe that'll help me survive that painfully long flight.

Feb 15, 2011

Two James McAvoy trailers

... Honestly, I'm not too excited about either of these films. But I will pretend that I am, for my darling James. Glad to see him back in business. (Still, I have no idea what's going on in the X-Men trailer.)

Feb 14, 2011

Saturday in three pictures and thirty seven words

Learn the art of Kyykkä. Three games played. Three games lost.

Have a break from drinking. Enjoy Kurt and Burt.

Dance Macarena so that your muscles are still sore on Monday. Go to sleep in the morning.

Feb 10, 2011

Movie Moment: waking up in Vegas (...or Tampere?)

The Movie Moment of the Week can be found under this link. It involves a promise of a night to remember, a tiger, a chicken, a missing tooth... It's the worst morning-after ever!

(... And it is hopefully NOT what my Sunday morning will look and feel like.) This weekend I'm going to be frolicing around Tampere in red overalls, so I'll therefore be silenced until next week, when I'm back in blogging business. Assuming I'm in a good enough shape to sit up in front of a laptop, I mean.

Feb 7, 2011

Mad Men Season 2 (and why do I even like this show?)


I've now finished watching the second season of Mad Men (post about season 1 here), which continues to follow the adventures of our dear friend Donald Draper. I very much enjoyed season 2, but it's difficult to say whether I enjoyed it more than season 1, because it's been a while since I watched it. Yet, I dare say I did enjoy it a wee bit more. Maybe because returning back to the characters felt like seeing old friends again and I was more invested in what happened to them. And guess what, I even began to like Don Draper a bit! Haha, progress. I'll return to the topic later on.

I guess I could now say that Mad Men is one of my favourite shows. Sure, I'm not nearly as passionate about it as I've known to be about other shows I kind of like (Lost and Glee, if someone didn't get my drift), but it's a very good show and I've, if not loved, then at least very much liked the first two seasons, and there's no way I stop watching now.

What is it about about Mad Men that I like, then? That's a surprisingly tricky question, actually. With my other favourite shows the answer is clearer and more obvious: with Lost it's the suspense and the cliffhangers that always left you wanting more, and with Glee it's the simple fact that it always manages to make me happy. With Mad Men, then... It's far more difficult to put a finger on it. Sure, the writing is top-notch, but that can't be the main factor, because that alone seldom makes me like something.

The characters? Well, someone as character-oriented as me wouldn't watch a show with characters they don't like. The characters of Mad Men are skilfully structured and multidimensional, each holding a certain kind of mystery (some more than others). The moments when they bare they soul or actually give some explicit hints about what's going on inside their head are rare, and thus must be cherished. Most times the viewer just has to read between the lines. Which is kind of awesome, as too often the character's feelings are theatrically underlined to make sure that even the stupidest member of the audience understands that Mary is feeling a bit sad now.

So maybe it's the characters? Quite possibly, yes. Though it must be noted, that even though I have my favourite characters, I don't think I LIKE like any of them, as people, I mean, because, let's face it, they're all kind of shady and dark and twisted. So there are no kurthummels or desmondhumes (or georgeo'malleys... Have I mentioned I don't watch Grey's Anatomy anymore?) in Mad Men, but that's okay. That's not how they roll. The characters are not meant to be likable. (Luckily there are other shows for people like me, who need to fantasize about being friends with fictional characters. I'd hate to know a Donald Draper. I'd be intimidated to death by someone like him.)

I think this is a good time to look at the characters more closely. First, Don. Oh, Don Don Don... Is it really that hard to be faithful to your wife? Is it really that hard to resist the tempations behind every other corner? Or do you sleep around just because you can? Oh, Donny...Well, anyway, just as I said before, I liked the season 2 Don more than season 1 Don. Maybe because he began to show more signs of humanity. I mean, there's something wrong with his health, which means he must be only a human after all! Yay! And it was kind of refreshing to see him as the underdog for once, crawling before his wife after she found out the truth about his adventures (not the whole truth, though... Some of the beans are yet to be spilled). But yes, I also began to like the determined, confident, endlessly creative office-Don, who gets cocky, because, with that brain, he's entitled to.

If Don was my target of dislike in season 1, season 2 gave that role to his wife, Betty. I can't really say why. I wasn't really a fan of hers before, either, but this season she really began to annoy me. Maybe it's the role of the pretty little wife she's learned to play. I don't know. She just leaves me cold.

Moving on to favourites. Peggy was my season 1 favourite, and remained so throughout the second season, too. It's great to follow how she gradually ascends in the company and how she tries to gain the respect of her collegues, who mostly still see her only as a woman rather than an equal. And there's the business with Pete. All season, everytime the two of them were in the same room, I sensed (or imagined?) the tension between them, caused by all those unsaid things. All season I expected one of them to open their mouth. So you can imagine how satisfying the scene in the final episode felt to me. I'm not expecting the love story of the century (not in a show like Mad Men (in a Glee universe they'd totally get to together and have a million babies and live happily ever after (which is why I adore that show so much)), but I'm excited to see what happens next.

As for the rest of the characters, Joan is still the hottest, toughest babe on the block, Sterling is still a sad old man, but the old man Cooper is awesome with his socks and all. There's also some interesting stories and personalities arising from amidst of the men of the office, to whom I paid hardly any attention during the first season.

Now I'm actively looking for a cut-price season 3 box set... Though I'll soon give up and buy the full-priced one, because meanwhile I'm forced to watch the second season of True Blood, which I'm not very excited about right now. There's not nearly enough of unge herr Skarsgård.

Feb 6, 2011

Total Eclipse of the Heart, literal version (best served when tired)

 "The gayest man on Earth would call this over the top."

Hahahahahahahaa... Okay, not that funny. Okay, it is. But seriously, that music video was asking for it. Begging for it, even!

A friend showed this to me yesterday after we'd watched the episode of Glee which features this song. That was probably the last time ever I was able to watch the number without my lips twitching... I can't take that song seriously anymore. "I'll pose like Rocky tonight!" Hahahaha... People are so funny.

Feb 5, 2011

127 Hours (2010) - the longest five days and seven hours ever

directed by Danny Boyle / starring James Franco

I just had a sip a cool, fresh water, and man, did it taste good! My mouth was getting a bit dry in the cinema and I noticed that thirst becomes much more intense when you know there's no water near you. I'm sure Aron Ralston would agree with me here! Not that I'm comparing my experience to his. I doubt anyone would want to see a movie about me sitting in a cinema and dreaming about water.

In April 2003 Aron Ralston got his arm trapped under a huge rock while hicking alone in the Utah canyons. He was low on water and food, and, as it happens, he'd informed no one about where he was going. The phrase commonly used in situations like this is: oops.

I love when good movies are made of topics that sound deadly dull on paper. A king tries to overcome his stammer. A guy creates a webpage. A man is stuck in one place for five days. Actually, all of these films are based on real people, actual events, which once again proves that sometimes the best stories can't be made up - sometimes they come from real life. (We have the proverb for that in Finnish, but I'm not bothered enough to look for English equivalent. Pardon me. (I'm too engaged in finding split ends. Seriously, everytime I stop to think I begin to examine my hair and won't stop until I find a split end. And I always find one. Which means I should probably go cut off some of the poor thing. Anyway.))

I almost already ordered the book (Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston himself) from Play.com, but restained myself for now, as I've donated so much of my student grants for them lately. And I wouldn't have time to read it right away, anuway, as there's about half a million books already waiting in line. BUT, it is a must read book, and don't worry Play.com, I will continue keeping you alive soon enough.

(Oh, god, this split end obsession is far too distracting. I'll continue tomorrow... Now, the morning after! No worries, today my hair is up in a bun, far out of my reach, so none of that split end business today. Let's get on with the post. (...Had to hide my nail scissors, too, as I began to examine my nail beds in the lack of split ends. Now, seriously, get on with it, woman.))

Danny Boyle is one great director! Though I don't like Trainspotting quite as much I would like to (that baby gave me lifelong traumas) and Life Less Ordinary I found absolutely terrible (I've been trying to get rid of my DVD by putting in on sale in flea market, twice, but no one seems to want it). I guess I'm more mainstream kind of girl, as Slumdog Millionaire I really enjoyed, all the way to the supercheesy Bollywood-ish ending and the suberb dance during the credits. And that Dev Ratel is such a sweetheart! Anyway, I think it's safe to say 127 Hours hurtled right to the top of my (undeniebly shortish) list of favourite Boyle films.

James Franco just rocked (no pun intended, really). Previously I hadn't seen much proof of his extraordinary talents (liked him in Milk, though), but now I don't think anyone could've portrayed Aron Ralston quite like him, which usually indicates a nailed performance. He was just utterly awesome. I think I would turn my back on Colin Firth and start campaigning James Franco for the win, if Mr Firth wasn't the most darling man ever. We'll see whom I place my loyalties to in the end... There's still Mr Eisenberg as well to stir up my mind.

127 Hours was a great movie. The cinematography was appropriately shaky and imaginative, contributing to the atmosphere and whatever feeling Aron was going through at the moment. The music was excellent (A.R. Rahman did it again!). Before The King's Speech there was the trailer of 127 Hours. Before 127 Hours there was the trailer of True Grit. I take the hint... Let's hope history will repeat itself and my next cinema experience will be as awesome as the last.

"The minute I was born, every breath that I've taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface."

Feb 4, 2011

Trailer for Jane Eyre

This interests me for two reasons:

1) I'm currently reading the novel fror my English Classics course, and even though classics always give me some allergic reactions, wading it through isn't nearly as painful as I expected. (And not nearly as agonized as the project next in line, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, will surely be.) Even though I'm not even half way through yet, I know the story is good and the characters interesting. And it'll be nice to see a good costume drama again.

2) It has Jamie Bell in it. With a beard! I guess Billy Elliot has really grown up. He plays John Rivers, and I don't know how big part he has in the story, because so far his been hardly mentioned, but I'm hoping for loads of screentime.

As for Mia Wasikowska, I'm still undetermined whether I like her or not. We'll see. And Judi Dench is always a big plus.

 Now, let's see if I can get one or two chapters over and done with before 127 Hours tonight...

Feb 3, 2011

Movie Moment: reheasing the Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me company musical

This week's Movie Moment comes with tidings of joy! The awesomeness also known as Monsters, Inc is getting a sequal! Though apparently there's a chance it might be a prequel. Even better! Just think Mike Wasowski and James P. Sullivan studying in the University of Fear! Nothing can go wrong with a plot like that. Even though prequel would mean the absence of Boo, the cutest kid in the history of animated children. She's even more adorable than Bonnie from Toy Story 3!


Feb 2, 2011

What I also saw in January

Broken Flowers (2005)

When I picture the face of Bill Murray in my head, it always has the same expression on it: absent, solemn, almost bored. This is the expression he sports for the whole running time of Broken Flowers, which is kind of a road movie, except that the road doesn't really lead anywhere, does it? I did kind of enjoy the film while watching, but it left me feeling empty and not in the good way. I felt they had tricked me into spending two precious hours of my life into following this story, but in the end they left me with nothing. Damn you, people.

Black Death (2010)

Sean Bean, who looks just like Boromir because of that hair and that medieval look, is one of the few good things about this little movie. It had the ingridients to be so much better (who isn't at least slightly intrigued by the darkness of the Middle Ages and the horrifying plague?), but ended up being a poor attempt of a medieval thiller, and despite a few nice and shocking moments it left me quite cold. I want more cheery movies about the Middle Ages, because it can't have been pure suffering and hopeless moping all the way.
Taking Woodstock (2009)

On the other hand, do you know what was cheery all the way? The summer of '69!  I think I would've fitted quite well in the Hippie era. Peace and love, my sisters, my brothers! This movie was very nice to watch, indeed. Not much happened, really, but it was a very cool and chill-out watching experience. It also featured the awesome performance by Imelda Staunton (had to stop the film in the middle and consult IMDb, because the resemblance to the horrible Umbrigde cow was so minimal) and Jonathan Groff of Glee, sporting a very distracting hairdo.
Clueless (1995)

Oh, to be be a teenage girl! I'm actually happy I only saw this movie now, instead of at fourteen... I might have gotten some ideas. Alright, well, the main character played by Alicia Silverstone is not that bad, really. You'd expect her to be a true bitch (because in movies, there are only two kinds of high school girls when is comes to main characters: bitches and geeks who become bitches), but she's actually quite meek. Only a bit, well, clueless. Anyway, I still think that ending was a bit shady. Blood relation or no blood relation, brother is still a brother...
Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Talk about traumatic experiences! This movie was absolutely horrible. I saw this with my flatmate, and we were squealing like babies the whole time and afterwards we had to watch some Kumman Kaa before going to bed swearing we'd really just rent a lousy romcom next time. We all know children can be creepy, but who knew old little ladies can scare the crap out of you if they try! Oh dear, I'm getting jumpy and beginning to glance over my shoulder just thinking about it. If you rate scary movies by their level of frightfulness, this was one of the best ever. Don't you ever make me see it again.
Flickan Som Lekte Med Elden (2009)

The second instalmet of the Swedish Millenium trilogy brings us more mystery, more shady flashes from the past, more graphical sex and violence (that surely will be toned down in the American remake, right, Mr Fincher?), more of that huggybear-like, distinctively Scandinavian charisma of Michael Nyqvist and more of the awesomeness also known as Noomi Rapace. I didn't like this second film quite as much as the first one, but it was still very good, and I'm looking forward to seeing the third and final part of the series.
Karate Kid (2010)

As I said some posts ago, the best bits about this movie were Jackie Chan's "Rock 'n' roll" and the 'Alright Wall of China'. But hey, that Jaden Smith dude! He's got in going on. Already at the age of ten: here's his interview in the Ellen show. Haha, gotta love the attitude, yo. Somewhere in a big ass house in Miami (or where ever he lives) there is one very proud father.
The Kids Are All Right (2010)

I really should've written a proper post about this movie, but I didn't have time right after seeing it, and I don't know how to write about a movie I've seen more than a day or two ago. But anyway, it was a very good movie, realistic in a very nice and touching way. When the characters feel real, their pain also does. The two leading ladies did such a good job and Mark Ruffalo, whom I always like, was great as a man who messes everything up. Nice to have a film about women that everyone takes seriously.

Feb 1, 2011

The King's Speech (2010) - your ma-majesty has a pr-problem

directed by Tom Hooper / starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce

Whenever I see a British film, I for some reason automatically keep an eye on Harry Potter actors. It's fun, because half of British actors have been in a Harry Potter movie. If you count more than one, it's worth mentioning. If they have any scenes together, it's extra fun. Then you can compare them to their Potter characters and see if it's odd that they're interacting. In The King's Speech, Bellatrix and Pettigrew were definitely on the same side again, but Dumbledore was a bit of a douche.

...Oh, what do you know, I'm being a dork again! Let us now discuss the film in a civilized manner.

The King's Speech tells the story of King George VI. And his speech. As one might conclude. The title of the film is, of course, quite clever, as it refers to the King's speech, as in an ability to talk, as well as to his speech that he is to give as a king. There are some severe problems with him giving speeches, because the poor man's speech is not one of a charismatic leader. In other words, he stammers, a lot. His wonderful, lovely wife keeps taking him from a speech terapist to another, but his condition remains seemingly uncured until they find Lionel Logue, whose approach to the problem seems somewhat different. For one, he calls the King (well, the Duke, at first) Bernie.

The cast was what I liked the most about The King's Speech. They didn't get that SAG award for nothing! The utterly lovely Colin Firth may have his Oscar, as far as I'm concerned. I would happily allow him to have it (even though I'm still secretly holding my thumbs up for Jesse Eisenberg, and I'd also like James Franco to get some awards, judging by the latest trailer of 127 Hours (the actual movie on Friday, hooray! The awards season is getting expensive for me)), just for being such a sweetheart. And because it actually hurt a bit to watch him try and force all those words out of his mouth. You wanted him to succeed as much as he did himself.

I love Helena Bonham Carter, whatever she does (especially when she wears odd pair of heels in award ceremonies). She is wonderful as the wife who always stands by her husband. I loved the little scene with her and Lionel's wife. Geoffrey Rush rocks, too. And Guy Pearce, he plays a douche very well ("I've been busy... kinging!")! The girl who played Princess Margaret bothered me by looking so familiar, but I just couldn't place her. (Turns out she's in a little TV show called Outnumbered, of which I've seen a few random episodes, and it seems so hilarious. Those kids, they kill me... I need to try and catch more episodes. I think they show it on one of the YLE channels...)

Overall, the film was... Well, I liked it, yes, I think it was quite charming and presented a kind of male bonding in a very nice way. It had genuinely funny moments (the cursing... the best part of the film. And when during Bernie's big speech Lionel is mouthing him the F word, hahaha...) and the parallels to historical events gave it more depth. A very good film it is. But I don't wish February 27th to be its day. There are other films that have striked me as more memorable and deserving and, well, striking. Let dear Colin take home his golden statue, but I don't think The King's Speech should be remembered as the best film of 2010. (It WOULD deserve an award for the best usage of curse words, though...)

"Long pauses are good. They add solemnity to great occasions."
"Then I must the solemnest king who ever lived."