Monday, January 28, 2008


Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG)
I love watching Awards show. Unfortunately, the Golden Globes was a low key affair due to the still ongoing writers union strike. But thankfully they reached some sort of agreement and allowed the SAG awards to push through. So we had our fill of watching actress all glamed up in their designer gowns, actors all polished in their designer suits and the awards night itself was a welcome change from all those silly reality shows which abound on TV nowadays. The good thing about the SAG awards is that like the Golden Globes they hand out THE ACTOR to deserving stars for motion pictures as well as TV shows.

Here is the complete list of winners for this year: (with added comments from me)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Other Nominees:
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
American Gangster (2007)
Hairspray (2007)
Into the Wild (2007)
I'm still debating whether to watch "American Gangster". I'm not into musicals so I passed on "Hairspray". The other films haven't reached this part of the globe yet.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis for "There Will Be Blood" (2007)
Other Nominees:
George Clooney for "Michael Clayton" (2007)
Ryan Gosling for "Lars and the Real Girl" (2007)
Emile Hirsch for "Into the Wild" (2007)
Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promises" (2007)
Aside from "Eastern Promises" which I somehow missed when it was showing here a couple of months ago because I was too caught up with wedding preparations, I cannot really comment on the actors performances since those films haven't been shown here yet. But Daniel Day Lewis paying tribute to Heath Ledger during his acceptance speech was mind blowing. I mean he is Daniel Day Lewis for God's sake! Wow such a humbling experience.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Julie Christie for "Away from Her" (2006)
Other Nominees:
Cate Blanchett for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (2007)
Marion Cotillard for "Môme, La" (2007)
Angelina Jolie for "A Mighty Heart" (2007)
Ellen Page for "Juno" (2007)
I love Julie Christie in any role but unfortunately I doubt if I will ever get to see "Away from Her" at a local theater. I would probably just search for the DVD since I'm quite fond of Sarah Polley both as an actress and a director. Again I missed "ELizabeth: The Golden Age" during its run here. I was hoping that they would show "La Mome" during one of the foreign film festivals last year but they didn't. The rest well you know the standard line by now, not yet showing in this part of the globe!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Javier Bardem for "No Country for Old Men" (2007)
Other Nominees:
Casey Affleck for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007)
Hal Holbrook for "Into the Wild" (2007)
Tommy Lee Jones for "No Country for Old Men" (2007)
Tom Wilkinson for "Michael Clayton" (2007)
There is no doubt that Javier Bardem is a brilliant actor both in Spanish and English movies so I look forward to seeing him as this maniacal killer in this movie.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Ruby Dee for "American Gangster" (2007)
Other Nominees:
Cate Blanchett for "I'm Not There" (2007)
Catherine Keener for "Into the Wild" (2007)
Amy Ryan for "Gone Baby Gone" (2007)
Tilda Swinton for "Michael Clayton" (2007)
I blinked and poof "Gone Baby Gone" Ben Affleck's directorial debut was gone from the theaters. As I mentioned above, I'm still debating whether to see "American Gangster"

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
"The Office" (2005)
Other Nominees:
"Desperate Housewives" (2004)
"Entourage" (2004)
"30 Rock" (2006)
"Ugly Betty" (2006)
I believe I am one of the few people on earth who doesn't express an need to watch "The Office" for the simple reason that I can't stand that Raine fellow! Aside for glimpsing a few episodes of "Desperate Housewives", I can't bear to watch the other nominees in this category.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
"The Sopranos" (1999)
Other Nominees:
"Boston Legal" (2004)
"The Closer" (2005)
"Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
"Mad Men" (2007)
I went through a phase where all I did was watch the complete DVD box collection of all the seasons of "The Sopranos". I love(d) this show! I'm glad they won even after their final season ended months ago. I do watch "Grey's Anatomy" but no way can they compete with the winner. I can't stand James Spader in "Boston Legal" and for that matter Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer". Enough said!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006)
Other Nominees:
Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005)
Ricky Gervais for "Extras" (2005)
Jeremy Piven for "Entourage" (2004)
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" (2002)
Only Tony Shalhoub's performance won't elicit an loud and resounding Ewww from me! The rest are all equally irritatingly yucky!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)

Other Nominees:
Christina Applegate for "Samantha Who?" (2007)
America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty" (2006)
Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds" (2005)
Vanessa Williams for "Ugly Betty" (2006)
I find Mary Louise Parker's character in "Weeds" quite hilarious in a witty way! Too bad she lost.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
James Gandolfini for "The Sopranos" (1999)

Other Nominees:
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" (2006)
Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" (2007)
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)
James Spader for "Boston Legal" (2004)
Hugh Laurie as Gregory House, M.D is a hoot to watch but of course Tony Soprano
deserves to win or else you might get whacked!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Edie Falco for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Other Nominees:
Glenn Close for "Damages" (2007)
Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006)
Holly Hunter for "Saving Grace" (2007)
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)
Glenn Close has been typecast as this ferociously menacing woman, unfortunately. Sally Field is so endearing to watch as Norah Walker. But no doubt about it Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano truly deserves to bag the grand prize!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Kevin Kline for "As You Like It" (2006)
Other Nominees:
Michael Keaton for "The Company" (2007) (mini)
Oliver Platt for "The Bronx Is Burning" (2007)
Sam Shepard for "Ruffian" (2007) (TV)
John Turturro for "The Bronx Is Burning" (2007)
No comment since I barely know any of these miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Queen Latifah for "Life Support" (2007) (TV)
Other Nominees:
Ellen Burstyn for Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's "For One More Day" (2007) (TV)
Debra Messing for "The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)
Anna Paquin for "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (2007) (TV)
Vanessa Redgrave for "The Fever" (2004)
Gena Rowlands for "What If God Were the Sun?" (2007) (TV)
Same as the above category.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Academy Award (Oscar) nominations
The Oscar nominations are out! Frankly I haven't seen most of them. Unfortunately, they take their own sweet time getting to this part of the globe. Oh well for what it is worth, I'm sure they (the people in the Hollywood film industry) deserve some due recognition and the accolades for churning out movies, roles and scripts year after year.

Here are the nominees for the major categories:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
Julie Christie (Away from Her)
Marion Cotillard (Môme, La)
Laura Linney (The Savages)
Ellen Page (Juno)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War)
Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There)
Ruby Dee (American Gangster)
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Best Achievement in Directing
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
Jason Reitman (Juno)
Julian Schnabel (Scaphandre et le papillon, Le)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Persepolis: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Ratatouille: Brad Bird
Surf's Up: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Fälscher, Die (Austria)
Beaufort (Israel)
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
Katyn (Poland)
12 (Russia)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer

Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex

"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride!"

Light rom com (romantic comedy) with a good cast, a predictable plot but oh so amusingly enjoyable to watch. Especially for a bride to be like myself. Not that my wedding will be as elaborate as the ones portrayed in the film but it was a delight to watch.

Jane (Katherine Heigl) as the title implies has worn 27 dresses as a bridesmaid. The woman is adept at being the ever reliable bridesmaid who does everything! She goes to the fitting of the bridal gown because she is the same size as the bride. She can order a wedding cake in just 3 weeks flat. She even multitasks by attending two weddings simultaneously! I'm surprised she didn't just get a job as a wedding planner.

But Jane has her own job as the personal assistant of some Richard Branson type executive. You know the sort of guy who can balance his thriving career with his philantrophic duties like sponsoring young kids at baseball camp. George (Edward Burns) aside from being Jane's boss is also the guy whom Jane is secretly in love with. To make things worse, Jane's younger and more attractive sister, Tess (Malin Akerman) suddenly breezes into town and sweeps George off his feet. He is so smitten, he immediately proposes to Tess. Thus Jane must now help plan the wedding of her own sister to the man she has been pining for since time immemorial.

As predictable love stories go, they introduce a potential love interest for our main character. He comes in the person of Kevin (James Marsden). A reporter who writes about weddings of the week in the commitments section of the New York Journal. Yet he himself has a rather cynical and sarcastic view about weddings. Longing for the day when he graduates from the commitments section to longer feature articles for the newspaper.

Does Jane get to wear her 28th dress as a bridesmaid to her sister's wedding? Or does she end up finally becoming a bride? We all probably can guess or know for sure the answer to the latter. Happy endings do abound in light romantic comedies, after all. It is up to the story line and I'd say the cast to keep us sustained until the very (happy) end.

The formula works due to the presence of Katherine Heigl who in all her towering frame glory still looks radiant as a bridesmaid even when she gets to wear the most hideous looking gowns ever made for bridesmaids. Her love hate relationship with James Marsden is convincing because of their chemistry and correct comedic timing. Although he seems to be losing his boyish charm which can't be a good thing especially if he stars as a romantic lead in rom coms. Malin Akerman who I have never heard of before makes a believable dumb blond spoiled brat younger sister because of her blond, well scrubbed appearance. A bit hard to believe that a somewhat heavier looking Edward Burns as George is a gung ho entrepreneur. At least he doesn't whine at all in this movie as he has a tendency to do in his other roles. But whether he is plausible or not in this movie, I still love the guy!

The film is cohesively edited, with some funny dialogue and authentic wedding preparation scenarios. Although expectantly predictable, it has its required conflict moments where the lead character must hurdle some challenges before being triumphant. It also tackles sibling rivalry, betrayal of trust issues, unrequited love and finally the discovery of one's true self.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Ed Harris, Helen Mirren, Bruce Greenwood, Harvey Keitel

Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex

Ok so yes I've been busy (my wedding arrangements) and had no time or rather couldn't find the time to head over to the cinemas and catch a film. So my first movie for 2008 fell on treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) to entertain me. He didn't disappoint. It was a good welcome back from my movies hiatus, I'd say.

There are certain films I watch purely for entertainment purposes. Any movie with Nicholas Cage in it qualifies in that category. They are mostly full of action scenes with an easy to figure out plot coupled with some romantic involvement with the leading lady sort of material.

Now back to Ben Gates, this time he embarks on another wild goose chase to several historical places to redeem his ancestor's name. Apparently his great grandfather was involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He of course brings along his reliable (comic) side kick Riley (Justin Bartha), his estranged girlfriend Abigail (Diane Kruger) who I thought was already his wife but it seems they never got married. His separated parents Peter and Emily (Jon Voight, Helen Mirren) and the token bad guy Mitch (Ed Harris) hot on his trail.

The treasure dates all the way back to the Lincoln assassination with the discovery of certain clues hidden with a page in the diary of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. Or wait I might have gotten that wrong, the treasure dates all the way back to the colonization of Americas by Spanish conquerors. Something about a city of gold full of treasures amassed during that long forgotten era. They travel around the world and find clues in famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the original statue of Liberty in Paris, Mt Rushmore and even the Oval Office in the White House.

So whereas the original National Treasure had some innovative aspects to offer the audience mostly through the ingenious techie Riley. Its sequel more or less banked on a rehashed formula. The implausible plot lines like kidnapping the President of the US so you can go hunting for clues together seemed rather preposterous. It also relied on comic side kick to draw in the few laughs, the ala Indiana Jones escapades into a decrepit cave/tunnel which falls apart, the antagonist suddenly turning into an ally to help find the treasure. All the cliches possible in a treasure hunt movie were present. The only added 'attraction' would be the rather brief yet significant role of Helen Mirren as Ben Gates's mother. She has a commanding screen presence with an eloquent manner of delivering her dialogue.

Well as I mentioned earlier, it is best not to take any of Nicholas Cage's movie too seriously. I mean that in a good way not as an insult. But if you do have a thing for treasure hunting escapades then I suggest you are better off watching the reality show "Treasure Hunters". This show pitted teams of 3 members each against each other for a chance to win a loot of treasure. They were given clues on their cellphone, got to travel all over the world, did arduous tasks in a race, learned important historical facts on each leg. That was an interesting reality show. National Treasure was after all just a movie!

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