Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #353: Female Cinematographers


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Female Cinematographers

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Today's theme is a suggestion from Brittani. Wow, today's theme is hard. I would say I usually never know who the cinematographer of a movie is. They're not usually one of those people who do the press junket to promote the movie, so they almost never end up on those little interview promo clips and often I think not even in the making of feature (when there used to be DVDs and I used to watch the features on them). So I basically had to go through films that I love or like and check if they had a female cinematographer. And even among those movies that I like that had a female cinematographer, I remembered the story or the performance more rather than how the movie actually looked like...so this week was super hard...so much so that I only made two picks.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2018)
Cinematography by Ellen Kuras. Love this movie, the whole movie has this melancholy and trippy manic look to it. This is especially so in the erasure scenes which just captures Joel's desperation to hold on to his memories.

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)
Cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen. While I don't love this movie I did enjoy it and I prefer this adaptation to the 1967 one because I like Mulligan's Bathsheba better, she is less silly, more mature. And of course the movie looks gorgeous. There were a lot of sweeping shots of the country side and the cliffs and the lingering glances between the love interests. One of the most beautiful scenes I thought was the one in the woods; there's a magical dreamy quality to that scene.
 
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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #352: Amateur Sleuths


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Amateur Sleuths

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A few weeks ago we had the theme Police Detective. Then, some bloggers had confuse police detectives with private detectives; they are two different things. Now we have amateur sleuths. To be clear amateur sleuths are not police detectives (who are government employees) and they are also not private detectives (who works in the private sector and are required in most places to have a license issued by some government licensing authority before the can work as a private detective). In short, an amateur sleuth is just a regular person who has taken it upon themselves to investigate or solve something due to circumstance or curiosity. I thought this was going to be quite a hard theme, but I found five picks that I like quite easily.

The Lady Vanishes (1938)
A young bride-to-be, Iris, with the help of a fellow passenger searches for a middle aged woman whom she befriended on the train ride and who has suddenly gone missing; a woman no one else on the train remembers seeing. I saw this quite a long time ago and remember liking it. It's one I would like to see again.

Rear Window (1954)
Bored and home-bound due to a broken leg, a photographer spies on his neighbours from his window and begins to suspect one of them may have killed his wife. Unable to move himself, the photographer enlists his nurse and girlfriend to assist him in his sleuthing. Saw this again recently and I still enjoyed it.
 
Upgrade (2018)
Set in a tech obsessed near-future, Grey a mechanic who becomes a quadriplegic after an attack that also killed his wife, is offered a secret unapproved experimental operation where he receives a chip implant that allows him to regain his mobility. Disappointed that the police investigation of the attack that killed his wife hasn't gotten anywhere, now secretly mobile, he begins his own investigation. What starts of as just Grey trying to find information that he could pass to the police to "properly deal with the case" soon becomes a path of uncontrollable explosive revenge and the action I thought was very good, very sleek. I also really like the story; it is just a very good sci-fi action thriller. If you like dark futuristic Black Mirror-esque type of story, I highly recommend this.

Cold Pursuit (2019)
When a snow plow operator's son is killed by a drug lord, he tracks the gang members from the lowest associate, each time gaining information to get to someone higher up and slowly works his way up to the head for revenge. Neeson has really cornered the older-guy-with-specific-skills-action-thriller movie niche. And while I haven't seen most of his films in that niche...I think I only saw the first Taken...I really enjoyed Cold Pursuit. I came in expecting an action crime thriller but was pleasantly surprised that it is also dark comedy. I recommend this to those who like off-beat snow-filled crime dramas like Fargo and Blow the Man Down.

Enola Holmes (2020)
Sherlock Holmes' teen sister, Enola, sets off on her own to find her missing mother using what she thinks are clues left by her. I've picked this before for previous themes and it is here again because I really enjoyed and it's perfect for this week.
 
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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #351: Oscar Winners Edition: Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Oscar Winners Edition: Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress

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I'm picking the most recent winners that I like and it's a theme within a theme. Can you guess what it is?

 


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
 
Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Rockwell plays the immature, not-that-much-brain-cells and violent police officer who clashed with anyone to do with the billboards.  
 
J. K. Simmons in Whiplash (2014)
Not a fan of the movie; it was over the top and trying way too hard to shock us. Still I thought Simmons was good as the demanding and terrifying instructor.
 
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)
A meaty role and Ledger played it really well. If he had lived, maybe he would have gotten a spinoff movie.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
 
Allison Janney in I, Tonya (2017)
I, Tonya was a surprising gem for me, I really enjoyed it. Janney was great as Tonya Harding's mother, a hard working class woman who was emotionally and physically abusive towards her daughter.
 
Mo'Nique in Precious (2009)
I really like this movie which had a lot of good performances including Monique who also plays a bad abusive mother; another one up for worst mother ever.
 
Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton (2007)
Love this movie. Once again a lot of really great performances here including Swinton who plays the stressed and cold lawyer.

 
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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #350: TMP Television Edition - Opening Title Sequence


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition -  Opening Title Sequence

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I've been really looking forward to this week's theme TV opening title sequence which is more on the visual aspects of the opening (next month's TV TMP will be for theme songs). You know how most streaming platforms like Netflix has an option to "skip intro"? I almost never do that because I love watching opening title sequences (OTS) and appreciate a well made and well thought out one. And if you like opening title sequence too there's this excellent site you might want to check out that has been around for several years https://www.artofthetitle.com/ Today's post is going to be quite long. My picks are going to be the OTS I like and will be based on 5 themes so there will actually be more than 5 TV series here.

A Different Opening Title Sequence for Each Season
 
 
The Politician (2019 - )
The OTS starts off with an opened wooden mannequin. There are compartments in it and we see it is filled with objects that are important to the main character (MC) and story. The objects in season 2 are different from that in season 1. The mannequin is then closed, painted, clothed and ends with it becoming a real man, the MC. It's a great looking OTS and has a catchy song to go along with it.


Deutschland 83 (2015) Deutschland 86 (2018) Deutschland 89 (2020)
OTS has this pop art collage-ish look with scraps of paper pasted together with images from the season. Each new season is a new collage scene with images from the new season. The series is about the cold war so coupled with a great song the OTS has this almost colorful upbeat spiralling sense of doom. 
 

Artsy
 
 
Anne with an E (2017-2019)

The OTS has this really beautiful storybook decoupage diorama-like look. It fits very well with the title character and how imaginative and dreamy she is.
 

Comic Book Inspired
 
 
iZombie (2015-2019)

Unlike the other series I picked today, I don't love this series but I do like it and like the OTS. Loosely based on a comic book, the OTS is presented as comic book panels that shows how the MC becomes a zombie and also introduces the major characters in the series. Subsequent seasons would add new panels introducing new characters important to the season. 
 
 
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020)
Similarly as above, while I don't love this series, I do enjoy it. And I do like the OTS and how it pays tribute to it's comic book roots. The graphics has this very vintagey comic book look to the tune of an eerie Halloweenish music.
 
 
Transforming Images

 
The Night Manager (2016)

Last of my picks that I don't love but do like the OTS. It has this clever sort of playing with the images where when the camera zooms out it transforms the images into something else. A tea set on a round tray from above becomes a barrel of a gun. Moving boats in the ocean from above transforms into missiles in the sky. This is a spy thriller so the OTS is very fitting in that nothing is what it seems.
 
 
Defending Jacob (2020)
OTS here is less sleek than The Night Manager but it still has the same transforming images thing going on. A blade of a knife becomes the light coming from beneath a door. Branches in a dense woods becomes a finger print.
 
 
Each Episode a Slightly Different Opening Title Sequence
 
 
Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
The OTS shows a map of the Game of Thrones world. With each episode highlighting the locations that the story goes to in that particular episode. I absolutely love the OTS here. It is just looks so stunning and has great sound (the sounds of metal clanging, fire burning and gears moving) plus there's also that now iconic theme song.


Home Before Dark (2020 - )
The series is about a young girl looking into the unsolved case of her father's still missing best friend who was abducted as a child. The OTS shows the girl's notebook being flipped open on a desk and each episode highlights new things on the desk or in the notebook reflecting the girl's new findings in that particular episode.
 
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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #349: Fake Identity


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Fake Identity

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There's two ways to go for this theme: Teens using a Fake ID to buy alcohol or get into clubs or someone using a fake identity to conceal their real one. I'm going for the latter. My picks today are recent watches that I like featuring characters that use a fake identity. All of these movies the characters that use a fake identity are only revealed the earliest somewhere in the middle of the movie and the latest ones revealed only at the very end; so I will keep it all spoiler free.

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Strangers descend at a hotel and bad things are about to happen. Everyone here looks shady from the beginning, so I totally thought a few were faking who they were.

The Invisible Guest (2016)
A wealthy businessman meets a lawyer, an expert in witness preparation, to prepare and build a defense for a trial where he is accused of murdering his lover. I really enjoyed this mystery thriller. It has a lot of fun twist and turns and I did not expect the fake identity.

Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
Based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe - A new graduate, the alienist Dr Newgate arrives at Stonehearst Asylum to expand his training. He soon realises something is not quite right in the asylum.
I was already spoiled about some parts of it except for the revelation at the end which was a nice extra twist.

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #348: Movies That Haven't Aged Well


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Movies That Haven't Aged Well

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This week's theme is a suggestion by Getter. This is a great theme. Haven't we all seen a movie and think "this won't age well; 10 years from now it would look terrible". The only problem is I rarely get to rewatch movies so I don't actually get to see if it is true years later, so I am having trouble finding picks today.

Avatar (2009)
I did not see this in IMAX 3D. I saw this on a DVD rental at home a few months after it's theatrical release. Even then I think it's already started to age with its over reliance on visual effects. Without the supposedly stunning visuals of IMAX 3D experience this movie was so meh with its mediocre story. What is it other than a mash up of a Pocahontas and FernGully story. I can't believe Disney is making 4 more Avatar movies. Does Avatar really have a strong fan base? Is anyone really pining for them? 

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
This was quite popular when it came out but I only saw it in 2016 and I didn't like it. I think we're suppose to laugh at these ridiculous sexist male characters in the seventies as if it was a thing of the past and society have progressed to a better inclusive and respectful version. Then of course in 2017 and 2018 #MeToo and #TimesUp movement happened...and duhh...say all women...not quite a thing of the past issit? So yeah Anchorman has not aged well...and is so obviously written by men.
 
Blade (1998)
I saw this in the late 90s on a rental and liked it a lot. In the mid 2000s I rewatched it and yes the visual effects did not aged well. However I still think it's a fun vampire action movie. By the way, Blade is getting a reboot which will be part of phase 5 of the MCU with Mahershala Ali playing the title role and apparently it will be a PG13 movie. Initial thoughts on the reboot: Not sure how old Blade is suppose to look but I had thought they would go for someone younger in the reboot if they were going to have more than one movie. Snipes was in his mid-30s when he was Blade and Ali is now in his mid-40s. And why is a vampire movie PG13? 

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #347: Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress

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This post is coming quite late so I'll be keeping it short. Here are my favourites:

 

 

BEST ACTOR
 
Forest Whitaker in The last King of Scotland (2006)
Whitaker put in a good and terrifying performance as Idi Amin.
 
Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000)
The late 90s and early 2000s was the height of Crowe's acting career, he was nominated back to back Best Actor for three years and won for Gladiator. I don't remember much of The Insider but I didn't much like A Beautiful Mind. Gladiator I like a lot.
 
Peter Finch in Network (1976)
Finch was great as the anchorman who has a meltdown on air, the first of what would be his many rants.
 
Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons (1966)
I've picked this before for Best Picture and Scofield puts in a terrific performance as Thomas More.
 
 

 
BEST ACTRESS
 
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (2013)
Blanchett is great here as a former socialite who is trying hard to hold on to her former life and losing her mind in the process. The story reminds me of A Streetcar Named Desire, but I prefer Blue Jasmine and Blanchett's performance.
 
Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
I thought Portman was really good in this as the ballet dancer spiraling towards insanity.
 
Faye Dunaway in Network (1976)
There's just a lot of outstanding performances in this one including Dunaway's who plays the ambitious TV executive.
 
Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins is one of my childhood favourites and Andrews was just great in it
 
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