Merry Christmas to you all!!

What a year 2012 has been!  One thing is for sure, it has gone by too quickly and a lot has happened.

I wanted to send out Christmas wishes and good will to all of my blog-sphere friends.  Thank you all for checking out my site and contributing to my on-going love of film.  It has been a cool experience to get to know all of you and I hope it is just the beginning.

Here is one of the best speeches from one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, Scrooged!  Bill Murray is a genius.  Just sayin’…  😀

Frances Xavier Cross–Ending speech…

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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I loved The Hobbit! Now, I am ready for the new adventure…

I was nervous.  For many reasons.  How could Peter Jackson recapture the magic of the seminal LOTR trilogy?  Why three segments?  How can a children’s adventure story (because that is what The Hobbit is…) captivate as well as the dark, emotional journey of LOTR?  Why were some folks upset and disappointed?  So, obviously I was a bit worried.  Well, damn!  What was I worried about?  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is wonderful! (And fyi–I watched it in good-old-fashioned 2-D, just like I enjoyed the others.)

As someone who watches the LOTR trilogy on a yearly basis, I can not express how lovely it was to visit Middle Earth again.  The vistas–the colors–the music–the Orcs–Gandalf…**happy sigh**…and now we had new faces, places and creatures.  The cinematography is still gorgeous and the new score, which incorporates some LOTR themes, is beautiful.  Nothing about this film disappointed me.  I felt like I had returned to a familiar world and was being shown whole new parts of it.  How cool is that?

Jackson was the right choice.  Although the tone is more lighthearted and fun, he knows this world and its characters and his love for them shines through.  And to answer the pacing issues (I’ve heard folks complaining about)–it is necessary to set up the characters first.  You need time to absorb the atmosphere and, like Bilbo, get yourself ready.  When Bilbo cries, “I’m going on an adventure!”  You are with him–ready.  And the adventure does not leave you wanting–Orcs, Goblins, Wolf-like doggies, awesome Rock Giants! Yeah…it’s incredible.

But, the adventure would be less if not for the amazing characters that have embarked on it.  Now, I have to say that I am a huge Martin Freeman fan (hello? He is Watson!) and knew he was the perfect choice to be Bilbo Baggins.  I was 100% correct.  Freeman is Bilbo Baggins.  He is everything Bilbo should be.  Nervous, scared, curious, brave, smart, funny and kind.  It is really a treat to watch his performance.  I am sure the world will fall in love with Freeman now, too.

Sir Ian McKellen is Gandalf, the Grey and always a pleasure to watch.  Unlike the LOTR, here we get The Grey all the time and honestly, for me, I like him more than when evolves into The White, who is way more serious.  McKellen was made to play this role.  He is awesome.

And while this time around we do not get “hotness” overload in the boy department (sorry, Dwarves!) that we did for LOTR–I do find myself having a crush on Richard Armitage‘s Thorin.  Yeah…he’s hot.  😀  (Had to go there!)  But, he is also perfect in his performance.  All the Dwarves are.  At this point, you get a bit on everyone and they all fit.

Now, I must mention the best performance and one of my most anticipated returns to the screen–Gollum!  Andy Serkis is a motion-capture genius!  He needs to get a special Oscar already, because what he can do is amazing!  The team at WETA has many reasons to be proud–Gollum in the LOTR was pretty realistic and yet, here he is 100% better.  It is creepy how real he looks.  And the riddle scene is absolutely perfect.  My favorite scene.

At the end, I found myself audibly saying, “Aw, man!  That’s it?”  I immediately remembered saying the same thing after The Fellowship and thought, well done, Mr. Jackson.  Again, I am anxiously awaiting the next installment–especially to see Smaug, the Dragon! (insert happy dance)  We were already looking forward to ALL 6 films back to back!  Yes, we’re those people.   🙂

So, I hope I have given you reason not to worry.  Go see The Hobbit.  I think it’s pretty awesome and I hope you will find plenty to love about it, too!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Compilation Post: Catching up at home…

Recently I have tried to catch up on several films that I missed at the theater and they are stacking up–so again, I resort to another compilation post.  I was actually disappointed in most, so this should be quick.  😀

Arthur Christmas

I LOVED IT!!  Why didn’t I see this last year?  I do not know, but I missed out.  I am a huge fan of Aardman Studios and they do not disappoint.  This is an original take on Santa and the North Pole with a wonderful, heartfelt story in the center.  It has quickly become a new traditional Christmas film to watch every year!   The voice talent is awesome and you will find yourself laughing and tearing up a bit.  This was the treasure in the bunch!

 

Sound of My Voice

I was very excited about this one!  I loved Brit Marling‘s Another Earth and thought the premise was very creative and intriguing.  Well I loved 95% of this film–all the way up to the last 3 minutes!! What a bummer.  Not many films can ruin an entire narrative in the closing moments…but SOMV does it.  I can not even like the rest of it because the ending is SO unsatisfying.  I am truly getting tired of indie films constant use of ambiguous endings.  Guess what guys?  It is not creative and inventive…it is LAZY screenwriting!  A good story should have a good ENDING!  Geez.  **Deep sigh**

 

Your Sister’s Sister

Another one I was looking forward to–I am a big fan of Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass–and although this one was not as frustrating (still had the “leave you hanging” ending **eye roll**) as SOMV, it just did not quite capture me.  I did not really care for any of these characters and when you do not care it is not all that interesting.  I enjoyed the chemistry between Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt, as sisters, but overall it rates a “meh”.

 

Savages

BOO!! This was soooo bad!  This was a total waste of talent–all the way around!  Oliver Stone has lost his touch.   Avoid this trash.  It does not even merit any more of my words.

 

 

Lawless

**Deep sigh**  Again.  I have to really think hard to remember this film.  Yup.  It is forgettable.  And you would think with this amazing cast that would not be the case.  Well, we were wrong.   Yes, there are fine performances, but nothing works here.  The characters are shallow and no one has any chemistry with each other–the narrative  just seems to wander and even the action is lackluster.  The ending?  Dumb. Oh, well.

 

That’s it.  Told you it would be quick.  Pretty disappointing set of films, but right now I am in the middle of my annual Christmas viewings and having a jolly good time.  Thinking I might put up a post with a list of all my seasonal favorites…that would be fun!   Happy Holidays!

 

Ruby Sparks–A wonderful Rom-Com, that you’ve never heard of…

A block of text with a blank space forming the outline of a woman. A man carrying a woman over his shoulder.

Ruby Sparks has everything I want in a Romantic Comedy–creativity, originality and realism–all the while being funny, romantic and clever.  It’s a tall order, I know, but Ruby Sparks meets it and exceeds.

The biggest credit must be given to screenwriter and star Zoe Kazan (I am truly impressed with her–will keep an eye on her star :)).  What she brings to the screen is a unique, interesting look at falling in love with the “idea” of someone and all the expectations we place on others.   It’s layered beautifully with all the assumptions we place on “love” and how they’re bound to fall short and disappoint.  The directing duo that brought us the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are the perfect match for this quirky love story and allow the characters to evolve organically.

Kazan stars as the principal Ruby Sparks and is charming and wonderfully funny.  Paul Dano fits the socially awkward “genius” of a writer, Calvin Weir-Fields, perfectly and together they have great chemistry (as they should since they are a real couple).   One of my “on the rise” actors is awesome in this, too–Chris Messina, (as the skeptical brother).  There is also so brief appearance by Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas, which is pretty fun.

As you all know–I do not want to give too much away…so, if you like your rom-com to be intelligent and thought-provoking, Ruby Sparks is the film for you.  It is still sweet and romantic, but the edge is what I love the most.  Well done, Ms. Kazan–well done, indeed.

Ruby Sparks Trailer

Rise of the Guardians is a beautiful family film–perfect for the Holidays!

Rise of the Guardians is cool, family fun!  ROTG is not as good as a film as some of its counterparts (this year it would be Wreck-It Ralph) but it is a satisfying, enjoyable holiday tale.  It is not too kiddie for adults and yet, not too adult for kiddos.

The most impressive aspect of ROTG is the incredible character design and beautiful cinematography.  Each legend is uniquely created–there was a Santa concept I’ve never seen before and works great (love the tats!)–an Easter Bunny so badass I couldn’t help but want one :D–a gorgeous Tooth Fairy that had hummingbird feathers–a Sandman that was brilliantly made entirely of sand–a Boogie Man that was all smoke and shadow (so cool!)–and then there was Jack Frost, who although just a young man had some pretty awesome frost powers.  It earns high scores for creativity and originality.

The voice cast is wonderful.  Alec Baldwin is unrecognizable as Santa (North)–Chris Pine suits Jack Frost perfectly–Isla Fisher captures the Tooth Fairy’s sweetness–Sandman does not have a voice, but is awesome–Jude Law‘s Pitch Black (aka Bogey Man) is menacing and a highlight of the film and my favorite is Hugh Jackman‘s Bunnymund, who is like no Easter Bunny you’ve ever seen or heard!

It may be a bit scary for younger kids, but for 8 and up–it is solid fun.  I loved how it just made me feel good.  I laughed a lot (the elves and yetis are golden)  and even got choked up a bit.  You will emerge with the Holiday spirit amped-up and ready to spread good will and cheer to all!  Not too shabby for a kids movie, especially one that helps you remember the wonder, hope and fun each season can offer and how important it is to cherish those memories.

Rise of the Guardians Trailer