It’s that time again. I don’t think I cared much for the Emmys a few years ago, but I’ve managed to start watching more TV as I get older and more immersed in the entertainment world where now I can’t help it. In fact, I’m reminded that for a lot of entertainment reporters and personalities and the like, it’s part of their job to watch TV almost all the time. It might seem sarcastic in tone, but that’s hard work… seriously. I have so many hours of television backed up on DVR that it terrifies me to even think about sitting around all day watching it all. Okay, I’ll admit, a good maybe 50% of the disc space is Craig Ferguson and Conan, but still… that’s a lot of TV to get through. Congrats to Conan for his nod by the way. Team Coco FTW.
July 15, 2011
March 2, 2011
I don’t know what happened but I felt like I missed a couple of days. Once again, I dropped the ball on my Oscar recap which now seems pointless to talk about other than correctly predicting 14 out of 24 winners. My prediction post left out the short films but I made educated guesses before the telecast and scored a bunch of “points.” I also had my first ever Oscar party with only a couple friends. I also tried to stay on Twitter as much as possible and remain a good host. At least now I know it can be done and where I can make improvements.
The following morning I was reminded about Lady Gaga’s new video premiere “Born This Way” but after viewing it, I didn’t have time to write up my snap judgement due to a meeting about school financing and official enrollment. But even after I got back, I ended up speaking with close friends who are also Little Monsters and both had contrasting views on the song itself but hadn’t seen the video. I find myself in the middle, yet we all agree that it sounds just like Madonna.
As for my thoughts on the video? Typical Gaga I suppose. It was weird and got weirder. There was a story but I wasn’t sure what exactly was going on. I did declare her as taking Michael Jackson’s place when it comes to music videos… but I don’t wanna jump the gun on that since Kanye is still rewriting visual music too. The message is clear and I can definitely hear this being played while drag queens do their thing and it fills the space on gay night at the club. Yeah, I was there once. Not necessarily a highlight of my life but it was an experience. I’m not a fan of clubs at all to be honest. But back to the song, it’s an anthem to be who you are or what you are. I’m all for self empowerment or encouraging songs. I think the only thing, like many others I talked to, it just sounds too much like a song I’ve already heard. But I’ll take it as it is, and I have a feeling the other songs on the album I may like more than this one. I did like the “once upon a time” mythology storyline it started out with. I just wasn’t sure where it was going afterwards.
Besides those events I meant to write about, I had to get all my paperwork together: applying for a scholarship, applying for loans, taxes and unemployment. A lot of the paperwork all needed similar things I couldn’t find like past school loan info and car loan info… then my bank’s website wouldn’t work. Oh yeah, I also had to get some articles done for Patch… but that’s another story for another day even though it’s been related for the past few days. To cap off that story for now: I got my first decline for an interview. In the guy’s defense, he must be really humble.
Added on to the dog pile of work I’ve cut out for myself and a deadline for all of it by Friday, I get attacked with some sort of a cold. My dad had been sick for the past few days so maybe I caught the bug. But if I can’t sleep, what’s the point of staying in bed? So I got up and did what I needed to do which included stopping by my grandmother’s house to deliver a shovel she no longer required. But at least that gave me the chance to stop by Dunkin Donuts to finally try that Big n Tasty sandwich. It was indoob quite tasty. I could make it at home though.
My mom is all about me getting rest, and I would have been doing that but thanks to me being so proactive this morning, I’ve been getting non-stop calls all afternoon. I’m not complaining. The calls were quite welcoming. It was just the dramatic shock of being snapped back into reality and then composing yourself to answer the phone and not sound like I just came back from the dentist. Or perhaps that’s just the effects of the drugs? Or maybe my body just badly needing, no, craving the rest it needs in order to recover from whatever ailment is tormenting my body? Either way, I should take it as a sign and throw up the white flag for the day because I’m not enjoying sneezing so hard that I fart. I don’t foresee getting much more accomplishments done today other than sleeping more than 10 minutes. At least my throat no longer feels like I has swallowed a few Brillo pads.
Plus I’m out of DayQuil. And orange juice. Both are vital to my speedy recovery. Oh, and sleep, of course. (NyQuil is always on stock.)
February 23, 2011
The King’s Speech is a pun. Well, the title is a pun. It’s all about how King George VI came to be in power and how he’s had to deal with his embarrassing speech impediment. All of this being based on a very true story that, my guess, few people knew about. Okay, maybe people knew about it, but I know I didn’t until hearing about this movie. And I want to assume the many Americans may have been ignorant to this fact as well. But I don’t want to get into a discussion about today’s society that can’t be bothered with history or foreign relations so let’s talk about the movie.
I’ve seen Colin Firth in a number of roles but I think I liked him best in this one. He always seems committed to whatever character he plays, but due to having to mimic the stutters and stammers of a royal figure, I’m sure that bumped his acting cred a few notches if not a whole milestone. In other words, I was very impressed and I felt very sympathetic towards his character whenever he had to speak. Especially in front of people. Thousands if not millions of people. I felt his embarrassment. I know what it’s like not wanting to speak or not thinking you have what it takes to speak to a room full of people… and surely you’re thinking “I sound like an idiot and they all know it!” But that was my personal connection to it. I don’t have a speech problem that I’m aware of other than ramming words together and occasionally making a few up. (Indoob.)
Then comes Geoffrey Rush, or Lionel, as he’s called in the movie. He is contacted by the King’s wife to help him speak clearly. Although I’m getting ahead of myself. The King was not yet king at this point… he was a duke. His father was still in power before he died, then it went to his elder brother who was only a king a short while before passing the crown to George. And George was actually Prince Albert, or Bertie, as he was called by those closest to him, including Lionel. Lionel and Bertie had a rocky and stiff relationship at first, but it was inspiring to watch them grow into something more of a friendship.
Something that stood out to me about this film, technically, is the way the film was shot. I found it visually striking how certain shots were composed or the angle at which characters were viewed. It didn’t necessarily take me out of the story, I just liked the perspective of what we were shown on screen. Another scene I enjoyed visually is late in the film when Lionel and Bertie are having a discussion while walking outside. It looks like a cloudy or hazy or foggy day, but the sun is still shining, and at one point, the sun is shining into the camera and giving us silhouettes of our heroes.
Due to this film being based on a true story, I don’t know if there’s a spoiler line or not, so for the sake of not spoiling it, I’ll just say I really enjoyed the last act of the film. Again, the title comes into play as the King needs to make a very important speech regarding WWII, one of the most important speeches of his life. Can he do it? Will his legacy be tarnished? The movie had a satisfying ending and I walked away feeling inspired and even educated on some history. I would say this is possibly one I might want to own. Still debating that.
It is rated R for a couple scenes of some adult language. I heard a debate about if this scene was necessary and could be or should be cut out for a lesser rating. I vote no. There’s a reason for the swearing and it’s actually therapeutic for Bertie’s character, if not a bit humorous as well. Other than that, the film is safe for anyone to watch… But I still wouldn’t recommend it to kids unless they are studying English royalty in high school. I think kids would find this boring as well as many adults I know.
And if you haven’t heard, it’s nominated for 12 Oscars. I don’t foresee a clean sweep, but if it does, kudos for them. It will probably win Best Picture and Best Actor, and Colin Firth deserves that win, indoob.
February 20, 2011
I’m not too crazy about western movies, but I don’t hate them and I’ll watch them over a horror flick any day. Or most days. Plus I’m really starting to admire the talented and versatile actor that is Jeff Bridges. But if this hadn’t been nominated for an Oscar, and Oscar night literally being a week from today, I wouldn’t have watched the film so soon. In fact, out of the 10 best nominees, I’ve seen 6. More on that in another post.
First point I want to make is this: True Grit is first a novel. Everyone is quick to call this 2010 film a remake of a 1969 John Wayne classic, which isn’t exactly correct. It’s sorta like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Facotry vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The latter is closer to the book, so they say. Such is the case with the Coen Brothers’ True Grit. Does that make this version superior to the older one? I can’t say yet. But I am interested in seeing it sooner or later. I already know one difference which I can’t say without spoiling.
I admire the Coens, but I don’t want to call myself a huge fan. People say you can spot one of their films by their style, but I’m not sure I know what that is. Maybe it’s the dialogue? If that’s the case, then that’s one thing I certainly enjoyed.
With that said, if you haven’t seen the film yet and plan to: pay attention to how all the characters speak. Maybe it was a sign of the times or perhaps it was intentional writing, but I loved that they didn’t use contractions. In fact, I think I would find it difficult to go a whole day without using a single contraction. It gave the film a bit of humor when the characters spoke or said certain things. There was also a few lines that were just genuinely amusing, most notably from Jeff Bridges.
And while watching Jeff do his thing, I related him to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow: an anti-hero that loves his liquor. He also shares the love of getting paid and has a strong sense of adventure. But, this is an adult drama not a family adventure so don’t expect a lot of fun to happen.
By that I mean the film, at times, was a little slow. I wasn’t bored but there were moments my eyes wandered off the screen, like to my watch. But these moments didn’t last long. In fact, when people are speaking at great length, it’s best to pay attention. There are a few “shoot ‘em up” scenes, but not enough to qualify as an action movie.
What’s this story about? Well, I’ll put it this way: I kept the title in mind throughout the whole movie and asked myself “What does it meant to have true grit?” And as we meet our main characters, do they show what it means? Especially this 14 year old girl, Hailee Steinfeld, who is also nominated for an Oscar. I’m pulling for her, by the way. Although the story is centered on her and she seems to have the most scenes and dialogue (like the book), she’s considered a supporting actress. Either way, she did an excellent job. You definitely see her growth as a character. Early on, you get the sense she can hold her own in a fight, but I’ll leave it at that…
Matt Damon did very well too. I often forgot Matt Damon was playing his Texan character, a good sign of a good actor, right? Or maybe because of all the facial hair and big hat? I was impressed regardless. He’s another actor whose work I admire.
Overall, this movie was good. Good enough to own? Only if you really love westerns or you have a Coen Brothers collection or love everything Jeff Bridges. This isn’t a movie I’d pick out to watch over and over, but I wouldn’t mind watching it again. It also reminds me that if a 14 year old girl can man up, I better not complain about a paper cut.
January 25, 2011
December 14, 2010
The funny thing about Black Swan is that I didn’t have a strong interest or desire to see it in theaters, especially since learning it would be in limited release. Then with it doing well in the specialized markets, the limit grew, grew once more, and now is in wide release… last I heard, unless my TV lies. Either way, I ended up in the theater this weekend watching this movie that’s getting praises left and right and will undoubtedly be thrown a few Oscar nominations, since it’s already nominated for the Globes.
But just because it’s “Oscar bait” doesn’t mean everyone will enjoy it. This isn’t a movie for everyone, and I’m not saying that because it involves ballet dancers. If psychological thrillers aren’t your cup of tea, then stay away from this. Black Swan is the epitome of the genre “psychological thriller” because the main character has some serious mental issues and it’s rather thrilling as an audience member to watch her.
To sum up the story, the wonderful Natalie Portman plays a young dancer given the chance of a lifetime to play the lead role in Swan Lake. I’ve heard in other mediums as well as my dancer friends that getting such coveted roles are a dream come true. So not only is there pressure to not screw up the opportunity, you’ve got blood thirsty player haters that are eager to take the spot. Enter Mila Kunis, whom I think I’m in love with slightly more than Natalie, playing the newest dancer to the company that the director keeps comparing Portman to. I would say that’s when things get weird, but things started out weird since the first scene (which is a dream) and steadily grow worse as Portman has something like a mental breakdown Patrick Bateman would appreciate.
One of the big talked about scenes is the lesbian scene between Kunis and Portman. It’s not really meant to be tantalizing, but almost how can it not be? And if you haven’t seen it, you may wonder how or why it is necessary, and yeah, it is important to the story. Portman’s character is so wound up that this scene is pretty much her climax (no pun intended). Oh yeah, the director has the hots for her and it’s one of the reasons why she got the part. Her mother is a former dancer and keeps her on a short leash, which does nothing but add to the crazy.
So you’ve seen the trailers, so you know she starts to kinda look like a black swan of sorts. These can probably be the most disturbing scenes. Knowing the condition of her mental state, there are other things happening around her that make you wonder if what you’re seeing is just in her mind. The scene I’m actually referring to is Winona Ryder, who plays another broken character. She’s so damaged that… well… talk to me about it later so I don’t spoil anything.
I might be sounding like I’m not too impressed with the movie, when the truth is I’m not Darren Aronofsky’s biggest fan. The movie is good, very well done, I just don’t think it’s amazingly awesome where I’d want to see it again or want to own it. I don’t wish to see Pi or Requiem for a Dream ever again and The Fountain and The Wrestler made me a little bored and depressed, although the story, acting and cinematography were really well done. The same goes for Black Swan. There are a lot of technical aspects of this film I liked. The painting of the characters, the story (which is an adaptation of Swan Lake itself) and of course the actors. Again, Natalie Portman was brilliant, and did a lot of her own dancing. Another fun thing I enjoyed was the use of mirrors. Just about every scene had one and I’ll bet there were a few tricks played within them. No doubt that was done on purpose. Fun fact: the stage scenes were filmed at my old college–SUNY Purchase.
Overall, see it if you appreciate dance, a good thriller, Natalie Portman, suspense, mind-twisting story (which I do all of the above). Better yet, unless you are an Oscar voter or like to know what other films are up against, wait to see it at home.
September 13, 2010
I’m quite finished with the VMAs for this year, but I feel the need that I must do a review of the show and awards compared to what I predicted (or picked) to win. Clearly, this was Lady Gaga’s show, and a tribute to her video “Bad Romance.” But it was also a concert of a few of the hottest songs of this past year and a who’s who in current pop culture. Oh yeah, and the Swift/West saga. So I will keep it short, okay?
- Best Dance Video - Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (Correctly predicted)
- Best Collaboration - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce, “Telephone” (I knew would win but I wanted Jay-Z/Alicia Keys to win)
- Best Female Video – Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (Correctly predicted)
- Best Rock Video – 30 Seconds to Mars, “Kings and Queens” (Incorrectly predicted, I guessed Florence + the Machine)
- Best Male Video – Eminem, “Not Afraid” (Correctly predicted)
- Best Pop Video – Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (Correctly predicted, but wanted someone else to win)
- Best Hip Hop Video – Eminem, “Not Afraid” (Incorrectly predicted, wanted Jay-Z to win)
- Best New Artist – Justin Bieber (I knew he would win, but I picked someone else)
- Breakthrough Video – The Black Keys, “Tighten Up” (Correctly picked)
- Best Direction - Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (Correctly predicted)
- Best Choreography - Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (Predicted but wanted someone else to win)
- Best Special Effects - Muse “Uprising” (Incorrectly predicted, but not upset)
- Best Art Direction - Florence + the Machine, “Dog Days Are Over” (I actually picked this as a runner up)
- Best Editing - Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (I guess I predicted it, but I wanted someone else to win)
- Best Cinematography - Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind” (Correctly picked)
- Video of the Year - Lady Gaga (Correctly predicted and had a strong feeling almost a year ago, without actually saying “best video winner”)
- Nicki Minaj & will.i.am -strange & stranger… (and scary).
- Hey will.i.am, is this what future black people will look like in your world?
- Eminem – awesome, loved the drums and surprise by Rihanna
- Justin Bieber – pass…
- Usher – possibly best performance? I’m a sucker for SFX and I loved the laser and use of the lighted stage floor
- Florence and the Machine – had I not known who she was or saw the video, I would pass on this performance, but it was well done
- Taylor Swift – great use of the stage but I didn’t care for the song. Why was her drummer “outside“?
- Drake – Hey Mary J! Looked like Casablanca.
- B.o.B/Paramore – not bad, nothing stellar. The light bulbs at the end was a nice touch
- Linkin Park – good show, loved the multiple stages
- Kanye West – typical. Not amazed but definitely not boring either.
- Chelsea Handler had few funny moments, including the house hat, the new artist sketches, and the Jersey Shore hot tub. Other than that, don’t come back next year.
And the other things that happened:
- Oh, hi Lindsay Lohan.
- That’s why Kim Kardashian is famous: fashion icon?
- What happened to fun pairings to present awards… like Busta Rhymes and Martha Stewart?
- When trash bags go to award shows, they wear a Ke$ha.
- Sofia Vergara, I love you.
- Cher brought back an outfit she should’ve left in the past no matter how well she can still fit it.
- Sofia Vergara, I wish I was that Moon Man.
- I was sad there was no handshake/hug between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Not that I am losing sleep over it, but I’d like to see a duet or a skit or something so we can go on to our next controversy… like will.i.am midnight face and hair helmet.
- The stage/set stole the show each and every time it was used to full capacity, most notably with Usher. Most of the performances utilizing the stage were great, visually. I wish that whole stage was a room in my house.
I wish Sofia Vergara was in my house too.
- I also wish I could watch deadmau5′s head and other animations all day too. One of the best parts of the show. Let’s have him host next year.
- Oh yeah, and Lady Gaga’s meat dress.
Other than that, a tame telecast compared to past shows. Sad to say, the VMAs are getting kinda lame. Let’s step it up next year guys. But for a whole lotta bunch more stuff VMA related, head over to MTV.com for pics, videos and even the whole show repeat… Not sure why you would want to watch this particular telecast again, in my opinion, it wasn’t worth it. I would include more stuff that happened but I’m tired and I’m late. But as I said to a friend to sum up this year’s show “Hey MTV, I’m really impressed with your stage and Imma let you finish but last year was one of the best VMAs of all time!”
September 8, 2010
This one is one of those tricky categories I have to remind myself if I’m picking who I think will win or who I want to win. And in this category, we have Beyonce and Lady Gaga having the best chance at winning BEST COLLABORATION because of a phone. And they aren’t bad videos, mind you. Odd, but not bad. Dealing with Lady Gaga, you are gonna delve into the strange and unusual all for the sake of good clean(?) artistic fun.
- Speaking of clean, Ke$ha teams up with 3OH!3 for “My First Kiss” which is a fun song with a fun colorful video. I thought I had unhappy words about it, but it’s not so bad. Still not very fond of this Ke$ha character, and one of the singers of 3OH!3 reminds me of Ben Stiller. But that’s no fault on them.
- B.o.B. seems to be having a good year, and I keep hearing about Hayley Williams with Paramore. I personally don’t think this “Airplanes” video is the best to ever hit the screen, but it keeps the eyes busy and entertained. If this song is as popular as the charts say it is, it could be a surprise upset.
- I’m deciding now that “Vide Phone” will NOT be the winner. Of course, I could be wrong, but I’m going to say that Lady Gaga will probably be the winner with her Telephone.
- I love Jay-Z and Alicia Keys and this video isn’t too bad. It’s quite good, and it’s a great anthem for NYC no doubt, but I doubt it’ll win this award. It would be a welcomed surprise though.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to go forward with these posts and talk about each video, or if I’d even post each video. As a blogger, it would show how dedicated I am to the craft… but c’mon, you can all access YouTube and find these videos I’m speaking of. Most of them are on MTV’s website and I’ll post a link to the category. So will I predict the winner or who I want to win? Well, a little bit of both. Don’t make any bets on my call. Remember what Kanye said, it’s all a popularity contest anyway.
With that out of the way, we have our first category: BEST NEW ARTIST
- The video I like the most out of the five happen to be Broken Bells “The Ghost Inside”. Why? It tells a good, yet sad, story. Now this is a new artist, I have no clue who this artist is, but that’s just fine with me. I hope they win because this song fits the mood of this video very well. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of Daft Punk’s Interstella movie.
- Do I have anything against the other nods? Sorta, yes. I don’t care much for the Ke$ha persona. Some people love it, and I’ll admit it’s a catchy song. But I really don’t like feeling dirty after watching this video.
- Jason Derulo I don’t have a serious quarrel with, other than he’s one of those artists I feel I’ve seen and/or heard before. He reminds me of a Chris Brown type of singer/dancer. Not bad, but not really new to me. And the video is nothing to be excited about, in my opinion.
- I’ve not a Justin Bieber fan, so I’ll leave it at that. For all I know, he could be the winner of this award since he has such a huge, HUGE fan base. With that said, I’d bet on him to win, but I’d rather see the my pick. I was avoiding watching the video, but it isn’t that bad. Not a song for me, but I can see the appeal. Props to Ludacris.
- Lastly is Nicki Minaj… I read that Kanye has said she will be the next big thing. I personally don’t see it, not from this song anyway. Or the video. It reminds me of Lil’ Kim… who hasn’t been around… so I guess it makes sense? I don’t know, I’m not really feeling her or the song. Maybe because she’s new and I haven’t heard anything else from her yet my feelings might change. But for now, I’ll pass.