Saturday, May 26, 2012

Entertaining intrigue!

I’m baaaaaack!

Sorry for the lack of blog postings the past few months but….sometimes other work just has to take priority! Also, like many of you, I have become addicted to HBO’s Game of Thrones. So much so, that I have also spent the past few months reading the books. When, oh when, will George R.R. Martin give us book six?? For those who don’t have HBO, season one of Game of Thrones is available from our Media Department. And for those that just love 800+ paged books……I couldn’t put them down! But what’s that I hear?? After you have seen all the episodes and read all the books, what then??? Maybe one of these will help you get over running out of Westeros sword play and intrigue:

Willow: It is great to see the talented Peter Dinklage get his due as Tyrion (the Imp) Lannister in Game of Thrones. (Think he is good as The Imp, you should see him in The Station Agent…brilliant!!). But if you want to see another short actor in action, try Warwick Davis as Willow (he is also known as Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films). Written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, Willow follows his adventures as he tries to return a baby to its own people. Along the way he meets up with the warrior Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), discovers the baby is really a princess that was sent away to save her from an evil queen and that even small people can accomplish big things. Although Willow didn’t get great reviews when it came out, I love it none the less.

Ladyhawke: You think Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s love affair has its problems, consider the issues that the stars of Ladyhawke have to deal with! Captain Navarre absolutely loves and adores Isabeau; but unfortunately so does and evil Bishop (who is also a sorcerer). When Navarre runs off with Isabeau, the Bishop places a curse on them that causes Navarre to be a wolf during the night and Isabeau to be a hawk during the day. Hence they can never really be together. With the help of a talented young thief (Matthew Broderick), Navarre attempts to break the curse to be with the love of his life (a Navarre always pays his debts!)

Excalibur: Okay, so what you really love about Game of Thrones is all that medieval intrigue and swordplay. If so, than this film will continue the thrill. Often touted as the best of the Arthurian legend films, Excalibur follows Arthur from his pulling the sword from the stone to become King to the unraveling of Camelot. In between there are love affairs, betrayal of friends and family, and battles (don’t forget to stick ‘em with the pointy end!). John Boorman directed this visually stunning epic which is never less than compelling.

The Mission: Talk about commitment to duty and missions that seem doomed from the start! We could be talking about Brienne of Tarth or the missionaries in this tale of swashbuckling Spanish Jesuits who try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe. Father Gabriel (Jeremy Iron) takes over a mission that is a place of sanctuary and learning for the Guarani tribe. However, due to a change of political views, the church wants him to abandon his mission and leave the Indians to the slavers. He and a recent convert priest (Robert DeNiro – need we say more about the swashbuckling…) decide to stay with the tribe and try and protect them from the coming assault. As the Maid of Tarth finds out, things don’t always go as planned…

Game of Thrones, season two is drawing to a close, only two more episodes left (ending June 3rd with episode 20- "Valar Morghulis”)! Season three is rumored to be coming the end of this year (just like winter, yes “Winter is Coming” – oh I do miss you Eddard Stark!). Until then here are even more films you may want to consider to get you through: Knight’s Tale, Gladiator, Rob Roy, Lion in Winter, Kingdom of Heaven, 13th Warrior and King Arthur (the Clive Owen version that also has our own Stannis Lannister (Stephen Dillane) as Merlin!).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Look into my crystal ball....

...and see this years Oscar picks. For many years I have made an Oscar bet with a friend from high school. We made our picks last night and for the first time since we started betting, we have the EXACT SAME PICKS! We usually have two or three different, but not this year. I hope that this just doubly proves how good these picks are:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin
Best Actress: Viola Davis
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Foreign Language: A Separation
Animated Feature: Rango
Cinematography: Tree of Life
Make-up: The Iron Lady
Art Direction: Hugo
Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Costume Design: Hugo
Editing: The Artist
Sound Mixing: Hugo
Sound Editing: Hugo
Original Score: The Artist
Original Song: “Man or Muppet”

This Sunday night will show whether we have picked wisely or not. Let the games begin.....

Friday, February 03, 2012

They're baaaaaaack!

The Oscar nominations came out last week and overall they didn’t have too many surprises. Sure there were the usual snubs like the final Harry Potter not getting an Oscar nod for Best Film like the final Lord of the Rings. Many thought Albert Brooks should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Drive. Where are Steven Spielberg (War Horse) and Tate Taylor (The Help) for Best Director (especially Taylor as The Help will quite possibly take Best Film)?? Well, since the Academy can only nominate so many, someone is left out every year.
So, who will win?? I have been madly seeing as many nominated films as I can. Fortunately for you (and me!), many of these films are out on DVD and available at the HBPL Media Center!

Films with multiple nominations, currently in the Media Center on DVD:

The Help: I was pleasantly surprised that the book The Help was a charming, moving and thoughtful read. I didn’t expect it to be. I was a bit dubious of the movie but, like the book, it won me over. I am a bit surprised it didn’t get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination but it did receive 4 others: Best Film, Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer and Best Actress for Viola Davis.

Moneyball: Until I saw “The Artist”, Brad Pitt would have been my pick to win Best Actor for his role in Moneyball. At least the Academy had the good sense to nominate him for Best Actor. Moneyball also got Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Sound Mixing nominations. Plaaaaaaaaaaaaay Ball!

Midnight in Paris: I am a fan of Woody Allen’s early work; Annie Hall, Manhattan, Purple Rose of Cairo, Sleepers to mention a few. Lately I have not been his biggest fan but he has certainly redeemed himself in my eyes with Midnight in Paris. Charming! Funny! Totally Entertaining! Loved it! It has been given deserved nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Original Screenplay and Art Direction.

The Tree of Life: Many people walked out of this film and wrote scathing reviews. Others claim it is a visionary piece of art. It will be up to you to decide! Nominated for Best Film, Best Director and Cinematography.

Bridemaids: Really? Bridemaids? Comedies usually don’t fare well at the Oscars, so this one came as a surprise, at least to those that haven’t seen it. As a recent convert, I am happy the Academy saw fit to nominate Melissa McCarthy for Best Supporting Actress and to give it an Original Screenplay nod! You go, girls!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2: Snubbed for bigger things but thrown a bone with Makeup, Art Direction, and Visual Effects nominations.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: I thought the first Transformer film was exciting and big on action. The next two, I didn’t find as compelling however, the latest still got nominations for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Editing.

Films with single nominations, currently in the Media Center on DVD:

Best Actor: A Better Life (Demian Bichir)
Best Supporting Actor: Warrior (Nick Nolte) and Beginners (Christopher Plummer)
Animated Feature: Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango
Adapted Screenplay: The Ides of March
Visual Effects: Reel Steel and Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Costume Design: Jane Eyre and Anonymous (available 2/7)
Sound Editing: Drive

I will be posting my Oscar picks later this month. I have been betting on the Oscars with a high school friend for longer than I care to mention. I need to check all the guild awards and bet with him before I “go public”! Never fear, I will definitely post them sometime the week before the show (February 26th). So, get your popcorn, you have some research to do!