Monday, 29 June 2015

June 2015 Blindspot: Psycho

Psycho, 1960
Directed By Alfred Hitchcock

Somehow, I've been able to get away with never having seen Psycho until this point! I mean, I saw the shower scene in film class, and I've even watched that movie, Hitchcock, about the making of this movie. But somehow, I hadn't seen this movie yet (to the somewhat shock of my in-laws).

Psycho is pretty much the first movie I knew I had to have on my Blindspot list. I mean, it's Psycho! It's Hitchcock! I need to see much more of his films than I've seen (which, before watching this one, consisted only of seeing Rebecca and Rope). So I'm glad I finally got around to seeing this one.

If you don't know already, Psycho is about a young woman who arrives at the Bates Motel after embezzling money from her employer and going on the run. But something isn't quite right about this Motel. (Obviously, spoilers will be following).

As I understand, Psycho was an extremely controversial film to come out. The Hays Production Code had dissolved not too long ago, and Hitchcock made plenty of controversial content decisions. The film itself opens up to Marion Crane and her lover, sharing a bed, and Marion just in her underwear and bra. We also get hints of nudity in the famous shower scene, and even small things like showing a toilet flushing was considered risque. And while this stuff is hardly considered controversial today, it thankfully never feels like any of it was done just for "shock value". Everything seems natural and central to the story.

Anyway, there's so much to love about Psycho. It's a great slasher film, but it doesn't just get caught up in the blood and horror. Once we hit that incredible shower scene about 30 minutes into the film (killing off our, up until then, main character), we go back and forth between people being murdered, but also Marion's lover and her sister trying to figure out what has happened to her, now that she's been missing for a week. The balance between the two different "sides" of the story is done very well.

As well, Anthony Perkins- what a performance he gave! Norman Bates comes off so naive and sincere in the beginning, but then things start to slowly feel off. He gave such a layered performance that it's too bad there wasn't any recognition he received from it. Janet Leigh, who played Marion, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. Fair enough, she was also quite good, but Anthony Perkins really does steal the show. Especially that final scene in which his mind, speaking as his mother, takes over. Thankfully, Alfred Hitchcock himself did get some recognition for this. While it wasn't nominated for Best Picture (probably just a little too divisive at the time?), Hitchcock managed to be nominated for Best Director, which was an incredibly deserved nomination.

Psycho, had it come out today, probably would've been well received, but not received as much acclaim. Pyscho was released with divisive reviews, but it was the most talked about thing of the time. Controversial, scary and somewhat explicit, Hitchcock really had the conversation going, and it really helped in his favour. However, Psycho is fairly, and rightly a classic, and should be on all must-watch lists. Psycho is a perfect thriller and a horror genre film done with class and masterclass. Simple in premise, but done with attention to detail and perfection.

Friday, 19 June 2015

So Fetch Friday: Panic Room

Hey everyone! My week has actually been pretty good. Yesterday, I finally got my full driver's license (because Canada has 3 levels of a driver license... it's stupid). As well, my husband and I are leaving to go camping this afternoon! This is the first time I'll be going camping where it isn't a church thing. It's just me and husband, and I'm looking forward to it!

Yesterday, I continued my endeavor of watching through David Fincher's filmography and watched Panic Room yesterday. I actually did quite like it, though it's almost a little strange to think of as a Fincher film. It just seemed pretty standard and mainstream for Fincher. Especially since this came out after both Fight Club and Seven. It was just pretty straight forward. It still made for a pretty decent film though. As with all of Fincher's films, there are some good performances here. Kristen Stewart was quite good as Jodie Foster's daughter, and Jodie Foster herself was good. She works well with this genre (which is why she must do it so often). Jared Leto was good, as was Forest Whitaker. While the film did do a good job of having smart and strong women (as most Fincher films do), things were still, for the most part, pretty predictable. It was well paced and had some great tense moments, but it's definitely not quite as good as some of his other films.

My husband and I are now on season 5 of Mad Men. It took a while, but I've gotten hooked now. I've been slowly exposed to spoilers, but still looking forward to watching each time we throw an episode on. While I don't really understand why it's as big of a deal as people think it is, it's still an incredibly well done and poignant show.

Also, how cool is it that Canadian Netflix has all four of my top 4 movies of last year? Yes, Canadian Netflix now has Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Gone Girl and the Grand Budapest Hotel. They also have my number 6, Boyhood. Definitely very exciting, especially since these films are just so darn good. Kudos on Canada for acquiring some great films. While I know a lot of people rag on Canada for not having great selection compared to the US, we have been getting some pretty good (and critically acclaimed) recent films, so I really can't complain.

So have you guys heard of the movie Captive starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara? I only mention this because it's another Christian-themed film to come out this September. While the film looks predictable and kind of cheesy (though it is based on a true story), I'm glad some bigger actors and studios involved. While it probably won't be the best movie ever made, it's definitely a step in the right direction to maybe, finally, seeing some Christian representation in film. Check the trailer out

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Most Anticipated Movies for Fall & Winter 2015

So far this year, I haven't actually seen very many good, new movies. I saw Cinderella, which was decent. And I saw Mad Max: Fury Road twice, which was one of the best action movies ever! And as I look over the summer releases to come, none of them look all too interesting. Most of what's coming out the rest of the summer doesn't seem to be like a sure thing (besides Inside Out, which I hear is a Pixas comeback). Ant-Man looks questionable, as does Jurassic World. Fantastic Four is being remade, Terminator gets a "sequel" (or is it a prequel?), as does Mission Impossible and Magic Mike, and we get Jake Gyllenhaal's boxing film (which, according to Harvey Weinstein, will land him an Oscar nod). I just can't really find anything to be that excited about.

So with the slew of new trailers, photos, posters, etc for upcoming films, I thought I would highlight the films I'm looking forward to this Fall/Winter. Fall/Winter seems to be about the best time to get some fantastic movies, and this year definitely looks really exciting (as does every year, around this time). Here is a few films I'm looking forward to.

Triple Nine (September 11)
Why Triple Nine? Mainly the cast. Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Anthony Mackie. It's also a heist film. Directed by John Hillcoat, who brought us Lawless (a film I really didn't care for). It's mainly the cast that has me excited, but heist films can be right up my alley if they're done well. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Aaron Paul, and I hope he gets a better opportunity to finally display his talent on the big screen.

Black Mass (September 18)
I didn't care too much about this film until I saw the trailer. The trailer got me properly hooked. While I haven't cared for really anything Johnny Depp has done in a long time, this movie looks like it could be the comeback Depp needs. While he still is in costume, and looking unrecognizable, it looks like Depp might actually be given a great opportunity and a great character, with the chance to give some depth. Supporting cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple, Joel Edgerton and Adam Scott.

Everest (September 18)
I have this weird obsession with Everest. Similar to my obsession with the Titanic, I will read and watch almost anything if it's set in these locations. Everest is based off Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air, which was a very interesting read. The visual look amazing, and the cast is star-studded. Maybe it won't be an Oscar contender, but it looks to be a great thriller.

99 Homes (September 25th)
I just really, really, really want to see Andrew Garfield in something that isn't Spider-man. I haven't seen a lot about 99 Homes, but the premise sounds mildly interesting (it's about the US housing-market meltdown). But I'm just really looking forward to seeing Andrew Garfield in something where he can flex his acting muscle.

Pan (October 9th)
Actually, I'm very mixed and skeptical when it comes to Pan. I love Joe Wright's films and I think he might do a fantastic job. I think the whole race thing was blown out of proportion, as it looks like this is not so much a "native tribe" as it is some weird, childish, colourful group. The film could be really good, or could just be a flop. I'm interested to find out which.

Trumbo (November 6th)
Another Breaking Bad alum, Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenwriter who is blacklisted for being a Communist. Again, I don't know much about this movie other than that, but I'm excited to see Bryan Cranston finally getting a starring role, and something that could finally, potentially, get him up for a well-deserved Oscar Nod.

Brooklyn (November 6th)
A love story that had gotten strong reviews out of Sundance, it stars Saoirse Ronan and Dohmnall Gleeson. Gleeson I'm particularly excited for as he's an actor I think is quite talented but hasn't really had his big break yet (until Star Wars comes out, that is). But I do enjoy love stories, and both Saoirse Ronan and Dohmnall Gleeson are a good reason to check this out.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (November 20th)
Part 1 of Mockingjay was slightly disappointing, but, having read the books, I do know there is an action-packed finale to come, and I'm eager to see how it is handled.

The Martian (November 25th)
Trailer released only yesterday, it has definitely peaked my interest. While I'm anticipating this with caution, as Ridley Scott hasn't really made that great of a movie in a while, but the cast is strong, and I've heard very good things about the book. Space and being isolated in space seems to be popular these days, so I'm interested to see how this will compare with Gravity and Interstellar (I enjoyed both)

The Danish Girl (November 27th)
While I am a Christian and don't really support the idea of transgender (that doesn't mean I don't love and care for these people!) I am interested to see how this film is handled. It's being directed by Tom Hooper, who seems to be a pretty tame director. So to take this subject on will be interesting. It also stars Eddie Redmayne, who becomes the first transgendered woman, and Alicia Vikander as her wife.

In The Heart of the Sea (December 11th)
Originally supposed to come out in March, but got moved to December, Ron Howard's next movie looks really great, to me. I like that he's using Chris Hemsworth again, as I thought he was very underrated in Rush (Howard's previous film). It's the true story that inspired Moby Dick, and the visuals and the story look great.

Joy (December 25th)
Joy is about the woman who created Miracle Mop, and is directed by David O Russell, and stars Jennifer Lawrence. While the story itself sounds kind of whatever, I'm curious to see what tone Russell will be going for, and what kind of performance Lawrence will give. It also has Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro involved. Hopefully it's better than American Hustle.

The Revenant (December 25th)
Leonardo DiCaprio. Tom Hardy. Alejandro Inarritu. Revenge Western. I've been telling people right now that my early prediction is that DiCaprio will finally win his Oscar with this film. Michael Keaton got darn close last year in Birdman. This film sounds much less baity than a lot of his other recent films, but it still sounds incredibly juicy and meaty. As well, this film better get Tom Hardy up for an Oscar, because, seriously, how does he not have a nomination yet?

Suffragette (TBD)
Finally, finally, finally a film coming out about women trying to get the vote. Early feminist stories like this have basically never been told on film, and this film is particularly exciting. Directed by a woman, written by a woman, and a slew of female stars. Carey Mulligan is an actress I love, so I'm excited to see her in something new, and something that could get her her 2nd Oscar nomination. As well, it's always nice to see Helena Bonham-Carter. Here's hoping this film does it's subject justice.

The Light Between Oceans (TBD)
Again, having read the book, this film could be incredibly baity but also really moving and powerful. Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikaner and Rachel Weisz all have great roles, and I'm excited to see what they do with them. As well, directed by Derek Cianfrance, who did both the heartbreaking Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, this story is also heartbreaking.

Silence (TBD)
I'm not exatly sure if this is coming out in 2015, but I have a feeling it might. It'll get a very last minute push at the end of the year and coudl screw up everyone's Oscar predictions, but it's still one I'm looking forward to. It has Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver playing Porteguese priests who go to Japan to locate their mentor, and spread the Good Word of Christianity. It'll be interesting to see how the violence and Christianity is handled, and again, I'm excited for the performances we'll get to see from both Garfield and Driver, but also Liam Neeson.

Honourable Mentions: Carol, Spotlight, Southpaw, Demolition, I Saw the Light, Money Monster

Looking forward to films is just a lot of fun, and I thought I'd list what I'm looking forward to for the rest of the year. What are you guys looking forward to this year?

Friday, 5 June 2015

So Fetch Friday: Still Alice + Trailers

Here I am for another So Fetch Friday! Seems I only really get around to doing these every other week. Honestly, this week was pretty crappy, but I was able to catch up on a few movies, and take some time out for TV (because honestly, what else do I do?)

I finally saw Still Alice last night. I expected it to be a lot more tear-jerker than it was, so I was actually pretty pleased. It was a lot less depressing (though still sad) than I thought it would be. Julianne Moore was quite good. I'm not sure if it's Oscar good, but I haven't really seen much of her other work. I still really wish Rosamund Pike has won for Gone Girl. (I still don't understand how that film got such little love!) Also, Kristen Stewart was actually quite good in this. I mean, not that her role was all that meaty or anything, but she was convincing and wasn't overly wooden or awkward. Her character's relationship with her mother was actually really beautiful. 

I also watched The Last Five Years with Anna Kendrick. Solidly a musical, pretty much through and through. The first song was actually really good, but the rest of the movie just felt sort of blah to me. It's nice seeing Anna Kendrick doing something a bit more meaty and dramatic, but the movie itself was kind of whatever. 

Also, isn't Gilmore Girls just the best? I had no idea I would get this hooked. And it's not like all that much happens, but I just love all the characters and want to know what keeps happening in their everyday lives. Seriously, I just love it. I'm currently in the middle of the 3rd season, and Jess's father just came to town, and Luke found out he isn't graduating, and so he gets kicked out. He leaves without telling Rory. Also, Dean is getting married?? Can I just state that, as of right now, I'm still solidly Team Dean, and I always feel so bad for Rory who threw away her relationship with such a solid guy, to be with such a little, rude, sullen annoyance. Oh well. 

I also saw Mad Max: Fury Road for the second time, because it was a crappy week and this movie is fantastic. Seriously, so good. Everytime someone mentions their going to see the Avengers (or whatever else is playing right now), I always tell them to see Mad Max instead. This movie deserves to make so much money. I'm just loving the critically feedback it's getting, especially from just people on the internet. Can we start a massive Oscar campaign to have this movie nominated in every single technical category? Because it would actually deserve every single one of those nominations. Please?? Also, get Charlize Theron up for Best Actress! 

Anyway, this weekend I may or may not check out Ryan Gosling's Lost River and the horribly reviewed Mortdecai. We'll see what kind of mood I'm in!

There were some pretty sweet trailers released this week, that I'm pumped about. Have you all seen the trailer for Suffragette? I'm excited we're finally getting a film about the early feminist movement. Because why hasn't there been, like, a single history movie about this? Carey Mulligan looks so great in this. Get her up for Best Actress Oscar too? Check it out: 

Also, the trailer for Everest was released. It's based off of Jon Krakauer's book called Into Thin Air. I read it about a year ago, and I'm excited they're making a film based on the events. The cast is jam-packed and the visuals look stunning.