Monthly Archives: February 2012
Sacha Baron Cohen dumping faux ashes of late dictator Kim Jong II on Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet of the 84th Academy Awards went viral Sunday night, as the video and animated GIF showed up on Twitter and various Tumblr sites.
Baron Cohen — who was dressed in character as General Aladeen to plug his upcoming film The Dictator, a parody about a Middle Eastern dictator — arrived at the Oscars in a white stretch limo and an urn he said contained the ashes of the former Korean dictator Kim Jong II, who passed away in December.
During a red carpet interview with Seacrest, Baron Cohen said it was a longtime wish of Jong Il’s to be sprinkled over the red carpet and “over Halle Berry’s chest.” When Seacrest turned his head, Baron Cohen “accidentally” dumped the ashes on his tuxedo.
“I had a feeling something was coming,” said Seacrest, as he brushed the ashes off. Seacrest took sullying of his tux in good spirits.
It was rumored that Baron Cohen would attend the awards in character. Baron Cohen was dressed in a military uniform designed by John Galliano and was accompanied by two flower girls who served as sidekicks.
This isn’t the first time that Baron Cohen has wreaked havoc at an awards show. In 2009, he lampooned Eminem in character as “Bruno.”
The Dictator will debut in theaters in May.
What do you think of Baron Cohen’s red carpet stunt?
Original Article : http://mashable.com
In just about a few hours from now, the who’s who of the movie business, attired magnificently, will take their seats inside the LA Kodak Theatre for the night celebrating the 84th Oscar Awards. Billy Crystal is going to host the glittery event that will be watched through TV broadcasts, internet streaming apart from the elite few who are invited to partake. Besides the awkward jokes, tongue in cheek moments, songs, there will be “Thank You” speeches. Most of which will be guaranteed yawn inducers after a while but we hope one or two would stand out. Before all that though there will be an elaborate red carpet as the stars and demi gods make their walk into the venue, almost deafened by screaming fans and frisked by countless media men, who’ll start with their proverbial rubbish “what are you wearing ?”. But all in all, the one bit that we all will be tuned in for is, who will walk away with the honours ? Here’s my predictions for the popular categories :
- The Artist Thomas Langmann, Producer (WINNER)
- The Descendants Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Scott Rudin, Producer
- The Help Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
- Hugo Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
- Midnight in Paris Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
- Moneyball Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
- The Tree of Life Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill, Producers
- War Horse Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
- Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”
- George Clooney in “The Descendants”
- Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” (WINNER)
- Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
- Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”
- Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” (WINNER)
- Viola Davis in “The Help”
- Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
- Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
- Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”
- “The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman
- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth
- “Hugo” Robert Richardson (WINNER)
- “The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki
- “War Horse” Janusz Kaminski
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- “The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (WINNER)
- “Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan
- “The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
- “Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin
- “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- “The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius
- “Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
- “Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor
- “Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen (WINNER)
- “A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi
- “The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
- “The Descendants” Alexander Payne
- “Hugo” Martin Scorsese
- “Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen
- “The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick
Max von Sydow & Bérénice Bejo will win Best Supporting Actor & Actress respectively for their work in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” & “The Artist”.”Rango” will take best animated feature film, non deservedly so if I may add. “Tintin” which did not even get a nomination is a far better film. Foreign language film will be bagged by “The Separation” from Iran.
All will all, it will be a big night for French filmmaker Michel and the team of “The Artist”, that has a fair chance of winning in all categories it has been nominated for. From the above, the 2 predictions that I am not 100% sure are Actress in a leading role (which I think is a 3 way race) and Writing (original screenplay) as it’s a tie between “The Artist” & “Midnight In Paris”.
So all eyes on the red carpet now. Let’s hope it’s an event to remember !!!
Two very good looking, swashbuckling, nut kicking, trigger happy CIA agents who are best buddies in the likes of “the latest find” Tom Hardy & Chris Pine, vying for the attention of “Academy Award Winner” Reese Witherspoon, abundantly mixed with romantic – chick flick undertones. I mean there were so many positive factors that were going for this movie, that its almost impossible to ignore the glaring shortcomings and despise it for a what a lackluster product it turned out to be. Please do not get me wrong. I consider myself a sucker, when it comes to “no brainers” and can stake a claim at having a romp of time polishing my pack of popcorn laughing my A** off at some of the lamest products that have ever come out from Hollywood. But bad writing, nah that just can’t go unnoticed.
WHAT WORKED : Nothing. Clothes maybe ???
WHAT DID’NT: Story, characterization or rather the inconsistency in development,sloppy action sequences, 3rd rate sub plots, soundtrack (yawn fest),embarrassing lead villain, dialogues, ridiculous climax or whatever that was.
FINAL WORD : The movie transcends so many genres (spy, thriller, romantic comedy, bromance) without doing justice to any of them in either form or shape, that its baffling and should be considered as an achievement of sorts. I find it hard to believe, 20th Century Fox produced this and Tom Hardy who is so bloody new to the circuit decided to work for this, after back to back breakthrough performances in his last few appearances. I usually tend to dig trivia when the odds are these stark, but some part of me just does not want to go back to such memories. Not worth downloading or even picking it up to break a note in your grocery / sundry store when it comes out for 99 cents. It’ll be sooner than You’d expect. After sitting through all the pain in the theater as I walked out, I looked hard at the poster looking for an asterix (*) near the title. The distributors did a good job hiding it but I am sure somewhere it read “This Means War” *also means stay away at all costs.
After waiting for about 2 months since I first watched the trailer and more than 5 since I first heard about it, I finally managed to watch “The Artist”. Between then and the night before last, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing only the superlatives and most glorious adjectives in reference to the movie. Although none from my close friends, I am referring to my favourite pastimes like Facebook, Twitter, American Cinematography Magazine, Total Film, Time Magazine to just name a few. Apart from setting unimaginable expectations in the sub conscious, it did generate a sense of delirious excitement in me, while I sat down for the experience. Here’s what I think, how it fared.
The Artist is an accomplished piece of work that should / would appeal to a wide spectrum of cine goers across the world. But “a lump in the throat” is reserved for the absolute fanatic of the craft. In my books, I consider myself a member of such a make belief club. Before I indulge in the sparkles and the fireworks, the movie managed to create while watching it and right after, let me get into some of the facts.This is as much as some may hate to accept, is a French production shot on location in Los Angeles and includes various craftsmen from both French cinema and Hollywood. But in true heart and soul this is an American story of the industry that sells dreams and most successfully so.There have been many stories about it in the past and so will be in future; that may have or will manage to tell it successfully and some not so much. The Artist, I perceive will have a special place amongst them all, a first among equals if You’d like. At a time, where the advent and renaissance of “Social Media” has brought fans of cinema and the ones who don the grease paints to unbelievable and sometimes unacceptable proximities, the process has inadvertently led to considerable degeneration of the mist that surrounds them and their lives outside the spot light, between “cut” and “action”. And at such times, “The Artist” is a breath of fresh air and works as a reminiscent of what movies right after its conception, stood for. A celebration of one such art form, from one such factory that has outlived itself in many ways in the past millennium.
The story itself is about an indispensable act of nature, “change” and how it affects the one’s who take success and in this case fame and admiration for permanency or as some would call it, granted. In life as much as in the world of glamour, nothing is constant. The protagonist’s fights with his inner demons about accepting change is projected in the simplest of manners which is why it works. Research of how it worked in the 1920′s and technical excellence in achieving the feel of those times more than the costume, make up and body language which we have come to expect of movies these days, makes it a product par excellence. The fact that the makers shot it at 22 fps as opposed to the standard 24 fps, helped them achieve what they did and is a serious case in point. Although its USP, “a silent film” will manage to draw the crowds and more so with all the nominations it has been getting, what would make them savour the experience is, how good it is, at it. Michel Hazanavicius who held this dream / passion project close to his heart for long before it came true chose his confidants for the lead roles, Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo (who also happens to be his better half). They have achieved major success in the OSS 117 series in France before this. Along with that some very familiar faces that constitutes the important players list includes the likes of John Goodman & James Cromwell who by the way pull off excellent character roles pivotal to the story line. Special mention to Uggy the Dog, who by the way has his own IMDB page now. But by and large Jean Dujardin with his impeccable sense of timing besides an affable charm, the original score produced by Lodovic Bource and performed by Brussels Philharmonic and most of all, Michel Hazanavicius who did not have to depend only on intertiles to tell a silent story, should be held high, very high in respect to what they have given us, the fans.
Come February 26th, people who watch movies and follow them for what it is worth, will wait to see if “The Artist” stakes claims at the 10 Oscar categories it has been nominated for (including BEST Picture). My only concern is, people should not give it a miss if it does not get some of them “Gold Statuettes” in the bag because for once, let’s not make The Academy the yardstick of its excellence and achievements. Martin Scorsese for all I care should have earned it long before for far better works than “The Departed”, for which he did. Lets for once, stand up and applaud “The Artist” wherever You are, until it deafens the ears that have grown accustomed to appreciation of the mediocre, because this one is not it. It is quiet truly and literally if I may, in a league of its own.
Watch this. One of the many scenes from an accomplished screenplay that will cast a magic spell on You. Enjoy
Continuing my trend of the Oscar mania, I review Stephen Spielberg’s “War Horse”. First of all for the one’s who are not aware, the movie is based on a children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo, published in 1982. And as some reports suggest, the film also uses elements of the critically acclaimed, award-winning stage adaptation that opened in London in 2007.
WHAT WORKS : Beautiful, absolutely ravishing imagery of country sides, with lush green wide spreads punctuated with abundant dosage of emotional overdrive. A war ravaged gloom dawns upon, better part of the second half but not as much to elaborate on the gore of such acts, but as a tool to tell a story that constitutes the plight of animals of such times. And obviously a beautiful beast, the thoroughbred, the horse, who as the name suggests is the protagonist of the show. The movie works on many levels, with special mention to the look of it. Every frame is a carefully manicured garden, both posh in colour and rich in content. The camera work, much like any Spielberg production is compelling and shouts out loud that a lot of work has gone into achieving what they have. More so, when You consider an animal carrying the narrative through to the end. Not the first time and wont be the last. But as I have always believed, its the manner that determines the outcome. & in this instance, the journey of one Joey (the horse), is a story well told. Some of the negative reviews to a certain degree is justified but one should understand that a movie based on a celebrated children’s book means its aimed at such viewers or by and large – the family. And as such, does a wonderful job with its straight forward linear, easy to comprehend story line. Pretty much sums up the reasons why A.I. did not fare as much as half of what E.T. did. On that front alone Spielberg’s work should be given its due, for as many great thinkers and directors there maybe in contemporary cinema, his clarity of objective and the means to achieve them, is second to none.
WHAT DOESN’T : As I must have mentioned above, War Horse has all the ingredients to be a critic’s delight specially for the naysayers. As it has everything that can be debated when looked through a cynic’s eyes. It is the beautifully grilled turkey on Your table at “thanks giving”, the one that in all fairness cannot be enjoyed without using a knife and a fork on it. But it should be remembered for what it stands for : an epitome of the occasion. Nevertheless, I always try to treat a movie as someone who loves the art for what it is before anything else, and I say there are a few points that could be reviewed under a darker light. The beginning could have been more compelling with sometime spent on Albert’s fascination for the horse. & the ending could have done without a fairy tale conclusion. No I am not saying a positive end is debatable, its the string that connects the culmination with the climax that I have a problem with. You ought to watch it to understand what I am referring to. But having said all that, these are extremely minor glitches.
FINAL WORD : It is without a shred of doubt one of the year’s best. The 3rd act before the climax will have You tears so be prepared for it. Steven Spielberg should be lauded for his efforts for staying away from the blood and the gore in his quest at achieving parallel acceptance. But then considering that was not his aim and the reason why this movie will not win the Best Picture is what makes this a fantastic palpable experience. Watch it for the breath taking frames of a stark disposition it offers through an abundant harvest that is “life”, on one side and what we make of it through mistakes like “war”, on the other.
Nominated for 6 oscars ( Best Sound Editing / Best Cinematography / Best Art Direction / Best Music / Best Sound Mixing / Best Picture)
The trailer :
Yeah it was only a T20 and yeah we know AUS has better players of the version. But we did not get them to choose the final XI. So yeah we beat them, fair and square, putting an end to a 16 match drought. This is Sidharth Monga’s report (funny read) from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Finally. After 10 Tests (eight lost, two drawn), four ODIs and two T20Is. India have finally won an international on the road. It is just a Twenty20, but try telling India that. This was a win they desperately needed. You need to actually win to reassure yourself you can win. Losing can be self-perpetuating. And you start to wonder where that elusive win will come from. You start blaming luck, you start blaming pitches, you start hating the crowds, you start detesting the press, but until you finally are the second captain asked to come for the post-match interview, you find yourself in that rut.
The interesting part is – it was a completely un-Indian win. It happened in the field. It was a complete transformation from – forget the Tests – the first T20 in Sydney. It was as if a magic switch had been flicked on. India were on tonight. There were direct hits, there were diving saves, there were people backing throws up, there was the MS Dhoni stumping without any reverse follow-through, there were clever bowling changes, there was an impetus on getting wickets to slow runs down. It was like it was all coming back to someone who had lost his memory in the first half of a Bollywood film. Simple things but somehow forgotten.
Dhoni called this the best fielding side he has played with. He said before the start of the limited-overs leg of the tour that the young fielders will bring a different energy to the team, and the turnaround finally came through the fielding. It was led by Ravindra Jadeja, a man much hated by Indian fans, always the fall guy, until he was dropped in 2010. He missed the 2011 World Cup too. He came back in England, and was one of the shining lights on the tour where India didn’t win a single game.
Rest of the story here. Courtesy : Cricinfo
George Clooney seems to appear everywhere. On award shows, TV shows, wooing the ladies, looking suave, directing, acting, producing. Well OK, agreed that’s a long list. Precisely the reason why I took it upon me to watch his movies first to kick off my Oscar marathon and be the judge of why “Ides Of March” & “The Descendants” are being garnered with as much praise as it has. Here’s my take on the latter.
WHAT WORKs : The Descendants just like Alexander Payne’s earlier Oscar vehicle”Sideways”, is a completely director led story telling experience. You can witness the control executed in the narrative and the immense ease of the characters involved in it, while executing a gamut of emotions. Apart from that, there is absolutely no comparison of the two and the fact that Sideways has been one of my top 10 from the decade, this one had had some ginormous shoes to fill. The brilliant thing is “The Descendants” to me turned out to be as good as Payne’s earlier work of praise, if not better. Mr. Clooney has provided us the audience with a riveting performance leading from the front in the “I know I haven’t been a good father or a son-in-law or a brother, but am willing to be better” role which has been done to death in the past. What works here, is the solemn manner he worked his body language languidly telling a tale of a clueless person slowing coming to grips with what’s happening around him, a far cry from his real life “assured” self. The other person who deserves all the accolades She’s been heaped with is Shailene Woodley playing the elder daughter. Sharing space with her father on screen and on quite a few occasions, actually managing all the attention on herself in the most positive of ways, calls for truck loads of potential and even more confidence. Apart from these 2 names, everyone in the movie puts in 100% of what was demanded of them and fit the part to the T. The beautiful Hawaii in all its natural and a few man made splendour as the back drop of a very tragic story of a family and its awakening make for stark revelations and works extremely well. With all these reasons, we can justify this to be a director’s movie. Take a bow Mr. Payne & Mr. George Clooney.
WHAT DOES’NT : Apart from the fact that it had to end I don’t see how it could have been better. I’d like to hear what do You think though
FINAL WORD : If You haven’t watched this one yet, go and do Yourself a favour now. As for me; until I manage to watch “The Artist” (which I have sky high expectations of, after everything that I’ve read and seen), “The Descendants” is the best movie of 2011. Recommended to anyone who likes a solid, good structured, brilliantly narrated, beautifully acted and shot movie.
5 / 5 stars for me. NOMINATED for 5 oscars (and I see 2 wins minimum): 1)Leading Role Male 2)Best Writing : Adapted Screenplay 3)Best Editing 4)Best Directing 5)Best Picture
The trailer for the ones who have no ideas what I am talking about :