Archive for February, 2011

The 83rd Oscar ceremony aired last night.  Anne Hathaway and James Franco were bad, the presenters were tepid, and a good movie was snubbed.  There were good moments–most involving The King’s Speech winning awards.  But I’ll go into more detail about why you were better off not watching.

Hathaway and Franco as hosts brought an immaturity to the event that was disheartening.  Not only were they not funny, they seemed to get increasingly more intoxicated as the night went on.  At least Hathaway did.  Franco looked more bored or high, or both.  I’m assuming they were paid quite well to be hosts, so I wish they’d taken it seriously or put a modicum of thought into the proceedings.

The presenters, who ranged from Jennifer Hudson to Oprah Winfrey, were generally stale as well.  Cate Blanchett was good, but then it seems hard for her not to be.  The only real spark was when Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law came out together to present the awards for Editing and Visual Effects.  They played off each other and were genuinely funny.

What annoyed me most about the evening was that True Grit did not win a single award.  The Social Network stole most of the awards True Grit should have won.  The Social Network is one of those movies that the critics love–for whatever unknown reason–but is really not worth the recognition it received.  True Grit, on the other hand, was a wonderful movie.

The two best speeches of the night both come from people involved with The King’s Speech.  The first was from David Seidler, who won for Best Original Screenplay.  Seidler, who is apparently the oldest person to receive this Oscar, stepped to the microphone and said, “My father always said I’d be a late bloomer.”  The rest of his speech was heart-felt and concise.  The other best speech came from Colin Firth who won Best Actor for The King’s Speech.  He joked about how his career has now probably peaked (doubtful, Mr. Firth).  He also said he felt the urge to dance, but he’d try to leave the stage before the feeling reached his legs.  He kept his speech light-hearted, but looked on the verge of tears.  He is a classy guy.

Except for the few nice moments I mentioned, this year’s Oscars fell flat.  And as usual, I was about half right on my predictions.  The documentaries and foreign films throw me off.  I did, however, get eight of the nine major categories right.  The one I missed was the surprise win by Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress.

The winning team is back, at last!

There has been a lot of talk about the making of The Hobbit, ever since the box-office-busting popularity of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  First it was going to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, which could have been interesting.  Disturbing, maybe, but interesting as well.  Then the news came out that Peter Jackson was going to direct The Hobbit. That made me very happy.

Today I was doing a little more research on the topic and found out that Howard Shore is doing the music again.  Oh, glorious day!  And Leonard Nimoy is Smaug!  Can this enterprise (pun intended) get any better?

The only bad thing is that we apparently have to wait until next year until the first installment is released.  Oh, well.  It will be worth the wait, I’m sure!

1.  “You are a murderer of love!” – Cara, Dan in Real Life

2.  “I would be happy to, sir.  I just *love* scanning for life forms!  Life forms! You tiny little life forms! You precious little life forms! Where are you?” – Data, Star Trek: Generations

3.  “ADRIAN!” – Rocky, Rocky

4.  “Can you keep a secret? I’m trying to organize a prison break. I’m looking for, like, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?” – Bob Harris, Lost in Translation

5.  “Nobody’s looking for a puppeteer in today’s wintry economic climate.” – Craig, Being John Malkovich

Ms. Berry, what were you thinking?

Halle Berry apparently said, in an interview, that her daughter is black because Halle believes in the “one-drop rule.”  I hope she didn’t know that “rule” was created by slaveholders and other such people as a way to suppress African-Americans.

Joe Hicks has a good comment on that in this video.  He also talks about why he dislikes Black History Month.

Downton Abbey

I watched the first season of Downton Abbey.  I thought it was quite fabulous.  My main objection was the cliffhanger ending, but that should be resolved in the next installment.  I hope.

Downton Abbey is a historical drama, set in England from 1912 and on.  The cliffhanger ending is the announcement of war.  This is not a spoiler for anyone who knows a modicum of history.

The acting is good, the characters are interesting, and the scenery is quite lovely.  It’s worth checking out, that’s for sure.

Royal Yawn

Am I the only one that’s getting a wee bit tired of hearing all about the upcoming Royal wedding?

Do I care who’s invited?  No, I don’t, so please stop telling me.

I hope that can manage a happy life together, under such constant scrutiny.

In the Name of the Rose

I finally finished watching In the Name of the Rose.  It’s a little strange, to be honest, and definitely has overtones of 80s movies.

Sean Connery and Christian Slater are both good, though.  The story is interesting, if a little slow-moving at times.

An interesting note: Sean Connery had gray hair, even in the 80s.  Not much has changed!

Quote Quiz 2.18.11

1.  “Stern, if this factory ever produces a shell that can actually be fired, I’ll be very unhappy.” – Oskar Schindler, Schindler’s List

2.  “And so we throw him back into the sea to swim where he naturally swims, to learn what he naturally learns. We’ll see how long he remembers my benevolence.” – Hani, Body of Lies

3.  “Yes well, you are my tenth Prime Minister Mr Blair. My first of course was Winston Churchill, he sat in your chair in a frock coat and top hat. And he was kind enough to give a shy young girl like me quite an education.” – Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen

4.  “Yeah. It’s just we’re putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that’d be great. All right!” – Bill Lumbergh, Office Space

5.  “First I’m going to use you as a human shield. Then I’m going to kill this guard over here with the Patterson trocar on the table. And then I was thinking about breaking your neck.” – Harry Tasker, True Lies


Thrillers have to tread the line between using action to drive the story and relying on a unique plot to captivate viewers.  Unknown, the new movie with Liam Neeson, fell somewhere in no-man’s-land between these two points.  That doesn’t mean it was a bad movie.  I actually quite enjoyed it.

Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, who wakes up after a four-day coma to find out that someone has stolen his identity and that even his wife won’t acknowledge him.  His wife, perhaps not surprisingly, is played by January Jones.  I agree with a critic who compared Jones to a Hitchcock actress–she is beautiful and cold as ice.

Unknown is predictable in many respects, but there are some plot points that may surprise some viewers.  It was refreshing to me, because it seemed more realistic than many other thrillers.  It also had a message of learning from the past and taking a second chance to change one’s life.

In the name of Umberto Eco

I started watching The Name of the Rose last night, but went to bed before I saw much of it.  I hope to finish it tonight.

Not only is Sean Connery in the movie, a very young Christian Slater is, too.  He’s rather cute, ya’ll!  And about sixteen when the movie was filmed.

I will have a review when I finish the movie.