5 Reasons the 2012 Golden Globes Nominations Are A Big Failure

If you, like me, were outraged by how ridiculous the Golden Globes nominations were this year, this is for you. And if you’re not, this is why you – as a movie enthusiast at the very least – should be.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 was nominated… for nothing. Not a single category. Nada. Disregard the fact that it’s the last movie in the series. Disregard the fact that it’s the highest grossing franchise in Hollywood history and disregard the fact that Hollywood owes a huge chunk of its financial well-being to Harry Potter. Leave it all aside. Deathly Hallows Part 2 has an aggregate score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. For reference, the other nominated movies have scores that range from Moneyball’s 95% to The Help’s 75%. And if you thought Moneyball’s 1% difference is irrelevant, it becomes relevant when you notice that Moneyball has this score based on 194 reviews whilst Harry Potter has his based on 257 reviews.

But no matter. For those who think Rotten Tomatoes is not a decent criteria – after all Bridesmaids is truly horrible – I shall refer to Metacritic, which gives movies a certain grade if you want based on the reviews they get. Harry Potter has a grade of 87. Hugo has a grade of 83. Moneyball’s grade is 87 as well. The Help comes in at a measly 62. I’m just saying.

It’s either the reviewers are bipolar or those nominating in these award shows are bipolar. I’m sure there’s a correlation between those reviewing and those nominating, which leads me to think this double bipolar disease they have is truly damaging to the industry. What’s even worse about this is that Warner Bros actually tried to get Harry Potter a nomination. Ah well… elitist snobs always win, I guess.


2) Lebanon’s Where Do We Go Now was not nominated in the foreign movie category but the United States’ In The Land of Blood of Honey was. Apparently the fact that the latter movie had an American production, albeit being filmed in Bosnia, did not deter them from considering it foreign. They consider the language the movie was spoken in apparently. Add to that the fact that the movie has an English version which was submitted to other categories for consideration. But as you know, In The Land of Blood of Honey is Angelina Jolie’s movie and as a friend put it, these award people can sometimes be starwhores. Just look at the other nominated movies in this category: Flowers of War has Christian Bale. The Kid With The Bike and The Skin I Live In were also directed by more famous names than Nadine Labaki.

Perhaps our Oscar hopes are not totally dead now. But Where Do We Go Now‘s chances are now very slim at best.

3) Glee gets nominated for best comedy series but The Big Bang Theory, which is truly a comedy, does not get any nominations except for Johnny Galecki’s (Leonard) nomination for best actor in a comedy. Jim Parsons (Sheldon) was not nominated. I don’t even feel like having to elaborate on this.

4) Nina Dobrev, who plays two characters on the CW’s hit series The Vampire Diaries, doesn’t even get a nomination for drama actress in a TV Show. Her characters have nothing to do with each other to make it at least easier for her to portray them. They’re as different as different go. And yet, she’s snubbed. How could a CW TV show be considered worthy after all, right? It’s not like it’s not better than most TV Shows out there. But I guess you should refer to point #1 for their view on quality. I’m sorry to break it to Nina Dobrev but apparently anything she does won’t be enough to get her an award outside the Teen’s Choice or People’s Choice Awards.

5) House’s Hugh Laurie and Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall are both not nominated for best actor in a drama even though they’re both portraying totally twisted and sick characters that should be eaten up by any award committee. The fact that they’re slowly becoming iconic characters in our generation apparently doesn’t help as well.

I guess the finger given by Hugh Laurie as House is fitting.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Golden Globes For Your Consideration Poster & Video

Warner Bros just shared this poster with me, which they’ve been circulating as part of the award season campaign for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

After being slightly bummed out by Deathly Hallows not receiving almost any award love from Critics so far, this makes me feel slightly better that Warner Bros are not simply letting it slide. Perhaps they’re keeping the big guns for the award shows that matter.

Without further ado, here’s the poster:

There’s also this short but very well-done and emotional video. Ask me, I got goosebumps watching it.

 

Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now, W Halla2 La Wein, Nominated For Critics Choice Award

The nominations for the Critics Choice Awards, seen by many as one of the Oscar indicators, were revealed today and our little movie that could, also known as Where Do We Go Now (read my review), has been nominated in the Foreign Movie category.

The Critics Choice Awards pride themselves on having a greater predictability of the Oscars turn out than most other Award shows, including the Golden Globes. So this is a great sign for Nadine Labaki’s movie that it might get an Oscar nomination. Getting a win, though, is a far different story.

However, the people who vote for the Foreign Movie category at the Oscars are the same type of people who attend the Toronto Film Festival where Where Do We Go Now was voted as best film. I wouldn’t get my hopes way up just yet but I would start getting slightly optimistic that Lebanese cinema, thanks to Nadine Labaki, is slowly but surely getting there.

Back to the Critics Choice Awards, the competitors of Where Do We Go Now are:

In Darkness (Poland)
Le Havre (Finland)
A Separation (Iran)
The Skin I Live In (Spain)

I’d say out of all of these movies, A Separation is Where Do We Go Now‘s main competitor.

I am saddened by the no Deathly Hallows love though. Hopefully that will turn around when the Golden Globes nominations are announced on Thursday.

One thing is clear though, things are looking very good for Nadine Labaki.

Easy A – Movie Review

Easy A. The best comedy of the year, aka the best teen comedy in a long, long time.

The movie tells the story of Olive Penderghast, a high school girl who’s as off the radar as you can go. A rumor starts that she lost her virginity and soon enough, she becomes the most popular girl in school. Inspired by the novel “The Scarlet Letter” from where the letter “A” in the title comes from, it shows how the precocious teenager in Olive got turned due to word-of-mouth alone into something as close to a harlot as you can get – without the sex.

Her fictional one-night with her fictional college boyfriend soon becomes the introduction of many guys asking her to fake sleep with them to improve their reputation. A gay classmate comes up to her and in one hilarious scene, they fake sleeping with each other so well that your ribs would almost crack from laughing. But as with all comedies, soon enough Olive’s world will come crashing down as it all becomes unbearable and things she hasn’t even pretended to do are affixed to her…

Olive’s parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are hilarious. They excel at being the hippies, carefree parents. You can’t help but laugh everytime one of them tries to console or give guidance to Olive. They are so out of place that I thought Olive was adopted at first. They are still so taken by their long-ago sexual and chemical experimentation that they don’t even care about all the turmoil in their daughter’s life. Their advice: Oh but it’s fun! You can’t help but laugh.

You might think the plot is cliched and whatnot – after all, most high school comedies are. But what elevates this movie is the outstanding performance by Emma Stone, who, in my opinion, should have won her category at the Golden Globes. There is no other one who deserved the best actress in a comedy as she did. She spun this movie out of her likeability alone and made it into what it is. Like or hate the movie, you can’t but like her character. She shows such promising talent that how she was a relative unknown before this is mind-boggling.

The movie also stars Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley as Olive’s love interest. Amanda Bynes returns into the movie business as the overzealous Christian who wants to stop all the “sinning” going on in her school. She is really good as well, especially when she’s in one of her prayer sessions.

Easy A may not be groundbreaking. But for once in a long while, Hollywood gives you a comedy that is refreshing, breezy and likeable without going into the comedy of shock-value. And for that, I love it.

 

 

 

The Social Network – Movie Review

Who hasn’t heard of this movie? Or at least what the movie’s about?

Facebook.

A movie about Facebook could easily have been boring. After all, many of Facebook’s users are boring: useless status updates, posey-pictures, pointless comments…

But get an interesting topic, a director who has already given a cult-hit (Fight Club) and a very, very strong screenplay and the result is riveting.

The movie tells the story of Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and how he made Facebook, the details of his invention, all the “dirt” that we don’t know about, the enemies he made along the way and his ingenuity.

It’s ironic that the person who made Facebook – the most active and important social network today – is really, not a douchebag as the movie portrayed him in some instances to be, but mostly socially awkward.

The movie’s screenplay, written by Aaron Sorkin, is snappy, smart, fast and really engaging. The first few moments of the movie: a conversation between Mark and his girlfriend is purely based on that: dialogue. It’s such an intense dialogue that those few minutes draw you in and from there forward, there’s no dull moment. The movie is mainly talk-driven. And it doesn’t get unbearable.

The movie jumps around time periods. It does not follow the order of how everything happened chronologically but it’s very easy to understand what’s happening. I mean, this is David Fincher, the guy who brought the world Fight Club we’re talking about.

Even though, as I said earlier, Zuckerberg is not portrayed in the best of fashions, he makes up for a riveting character portrayed very well by Jesse Eisenberg. This is his breakthrough role no doubt.

And for those who thought Justin Timberlake was not capable of serious acting performances, this movie will prove you somewhat wrong. He’s not brilliant but not atrocious either.

Andrew Garfield, portraying Zuckerberg’s best friend Eduardo, does an immense job at that. The contrast between his character and Einsenberg’s is so obvious that it’s difficult to think how the characters are friends in the first place.

The soundtrack is hypnotic. Not my favorite soundtrack of the year but a pretty great one no doubt by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Several songs in the movie are not featured in the soundtrack, the main one being the song played in the California night club scene. So if you’ve been searching for it, it’s Sound of Violence by Dennis De Laat. The soundtrack has already won the Golden Globe.

The Social Network is up for 8 Academy Awards, including best picture. It has already won the Golden Globe for best motion picture – drama. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year – and it’s a must watch for every Facebook user.

Love And Other Drugs – Review

Love And Other Drugs, aka one of the most hated movies of the year. But unlike the overall opinion regarding this movie, I actually loved it!

Love And Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, an ADD son of a doctor, who doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps, so he gets a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer, the company that later on brought the world Viagra. While trying to sell his company’s drug, he meets Maggie, the character portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Maggie has an early onset of Parkinson’s and this where the story starts.

The movie is very life-like. It’s about commerce (trying to sell drug to doctors who can be bought by gifts and schmoozing), ambition and ultimately love. Aren’t those things what life is all about? You have ambition to basically set a name for yourself. This ambition will lead you to make good money, fall in love and raise a family. This is where the life-like approach comes from.

Each one of the main characters of this movie has their own journey. Jamie’s path is to grow out of the careless womanizer that he is into a man. And Maggie’s growth revolves around trust in people, to let go of her own secure but fragile little world and let go.  Jake Gyllenhaal is heartfelt, engaging in his portrayal of Jamie. He draws you in and makes the character very likable. But the true star here is Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway has very much grown since her The Princess Diaries days. And if the first hour of movie, which is basically sex, is not convincing enough, she blows you away (no pun intended) with the emotions she gets across in the second half. It’s not hard (again no pun intended) to like her in any movie that she does, be it the drug addict in Rachel Getting Married or as the sick woman in this one. Her embodiment of a Parkinson’s patient is very good. The tremors she makes, the way she lives the disease… it is all done with the right touch of credibility. And this is coming from a person who has lived firsthand with someone with Parkinson’s. The struggle to get the drugs, the disappointment when she discovers she forgot to refill her prescription… you live the movie and the character through Maggie’s eyes, predicting what she’ll do next: will she open up to Jamie or will she remain secluded? Will she let herself truly live or will she just keep in going by? It’s a multi-layered character, delivered brilliantly. And I’m not ashamed to say I prefer this performance over Annette Bening’s performance in The Kids Are All Right.

There’s one particular scene involving a vodka bottle that is very haunting. You can’t but feel sorry for her character at that point.

Some say that the nudity is unnecessary, especially with the amount it is in this movie. I disagree. The sex scenes in this movie are the vehicle by which these two characters communicate and get to know each other. Relationships usually start the other way around. This is not the case here. Instead of having their minds do the talking, their bodies do.

Moreover, you feel at times that the plot can be taken to an extra level. Sometimes, it feels as if the script could have used an extra draft to make this movie into one that could have actually been a very strong contender at this year’s award season. Some scenes are dispensable and very Hollywood-like cliche, in a movie that is not very cliche. An extra revision would have probably tied those scenes up and delivered a truly great movie.

To finish this up, I prefer Love And Other Drugs over all the other  movies in the Motion Picture – Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes. It’s not for all tastes. But I loved it.

Black Swan – Movie Review

Black Swan is a new psychological thriller, brought to you by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman as a perfectionist ballerina who lands the main role in a remake of “Swan Lake”.

“Swan Lake” is basically a ballet about a princess who falls in love with a prince, only to be turned into a white swan. To get rid of the curse, she needs to find true love’s kiss. However, the prince she loves is seduced by the black swan and the white swan ends up killing herself. Usually, the swan parts are played by two different actors. But in Black Swan, the director of the struggling ballet institute wanted to have the same person play both roles, possibly to show the dueling sides of humanity. Natalie Portman’s character, Nina, excels at being the White Swan. But her frigid, perfectionist self makes it hard for her to be the Black Swan, seductive and darkly sensual. The movie is her becoming the Black Swan.

As many of you know already, Natalie Portman is getting major award buzz for her role in this. She has won almost every award this season for her role in this movie and deservedly so. She gives an intense, haunting performance of a girl breaking out of her shell on so many levels that she’s not herself anymore. The movie itself can be considered simply as Portman’s vehicle. She is the fragile ballerina who is, for lack of better words, losing it. And she loses it perfectly.

I remember sitting dumbfounded after watching this. I haven’t watched it since. But it’s one of those movies that leave you in shock by the end. You don’t want them to end. You want to see what happens next, what kind of twisted psychological game Aronofsky has up his sleeve. And this is exactly what this movie is. A huge twisted psychological maze that is so open to interpretation that my friends and I cannot even agree on who the villain in this movie is, if there’s a villain in the first place. Some say it’s Nina’s mother – a woman who had to give up her dreams of becoming a ballet icon to raise her daughter and is now trying to live her dream through Nina – or Nina herself, with her Black Swan alter ego.

Others say that it’s Lily, the character portrayed by Mila Kunis. Lily is a newcomer to the ballet institute and she can be the perfect Black Swan. She doesn’t worry about the perfection of her moves, she doesn’t care about anything basically. She just lets go. And soon enough, Nina begins to feel threatened by Lily. Or is she?

Mila Kunis gives a pretty remarkable performance. She did not get an Oscar nomination for her role, although she got a golden globe nod and lost to Melissa Leo.

All in all, this is a movie with acting of extraordinary power. And if the hair on your neck don’t stand up when the last movie of the movie comes up, then there’s something really wrong.