It won’t be a stretch to say Jennifer Aniston was the focus of Cake, so I’ll cut to the chase – She did what she could with a weak script. As Claire, an ex-lawyer suffering from severe chronic pain after an accident, Aniston de-glammed herself (complete with facial scars) and tried to evoke the desperation of an painkiller addict and the bitterness of someone who had pretty much given up on life.
The stage was alive with The Sound Of Music.
Like many in the audience, I knew the many songs in the musical by heart. The West End production tells the uplifting true story of Maria, the fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music, culminating in the family’s escape across the Austrian mountains.
Having watched the original movie (starring Julie Andrews) only a few weeks before made me appreciate just how much thoughts and effort went into this Hong Kong production. The Sound of Music on stage was much more fast-paced, with wonderful yet simple stage sets changing effortlessly and the orchestra rousing the audience with hits after hits.
Pride is a below-the-radar UK film exploring an interesting period in the 1980s: A group of London gay activists, in an unusual display of solidarity, supported miners on strike in small Welsh town by collecting donations and organising the “Pits and Perverts” fundraising concert (talk about reality being stranger than fiction).
“Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners” (LGSM) felt a kinship with the miners, who were also a marginalised minority facing public humiliation and police violence. Director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford emphasised the dichotomy through comedy (expectedly, some of miners were homophobic and befriending “the gays” seemed ridiculous to them), resulting in a lighthearted atmosphere, which has greater general appeal.
Full disclosure: I’m a HUGE fan of Julianne Moore, one of the most fearless and versatile actresses around. Her most accomplished roles were those with characters who were not “perfect”, or even likable. Moore has the ability to humanise them, making them more relatable.
In Still Alice – a simple but effective film – Moore gave her all to portray a linguistics professor who was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Instead of overplaying the effects of the debilitating disease, Moore chose a more subtle approach where her transformation was felt rather than seen, and hysterics were kept to a minimum.
The Imitation Game is an important film because more people, other than historians and WWII enthusiasts, will learn about Alan Turing and understand his immeasurable contributions that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Turing’s invention of the machine that cracked the German’s Enigma code not only cut the war short, thereby saving millions of lives, but also laid the foundation for modern computing. In fact, we have Turing to thank for many of the conveniences we enjoy as a result of technological advances.
Once in a long while, a film comes along that completely blows me away, and I am reminded why I love cinema. Birdman was one of those moments, when what’s on screen echoed life in a way that transcended definition.
Yes, the uninterrupted one-shot scenes that lasted more than 10 minutes each were impressive from a technical and logistical standpoint (in fact, the whole film was made to look as if it was done in a single shot – brilliant work by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki!), but for me, it was the performances that took my breath away.
What a cast! Edward Norton as the egotistical star threatening to steal the show; Naomi Watts as the nervous actress making her Broadway debut; Emma Stone as a fresh-out-of-rehab daughter struggling to find her footing (Keep an eye out for her incredible monologue. You have a new fan Emma!);
Directed by Korean enfant terrible Bong Joon Ho (“The Host”, “Mother”), Snowpiercer is imaginative science fiction film was adapted from a French graphic novel, “Le Transperceneige”.
Set in a future where mankind has inadvertently turned Earth into a frozen wasteland (the result of the botched plan to counter global warming by releasing a cooling agent into the atmosphere), and a high speed train carried survivors on an endless loop around the world.
I graduated with an engineering degree but decided that a nerdy, geeky path wasn’t for me. I realised a life deciphering formulas and equations while handling grease and fume wasn’t one that I fancy. As I took on my first job, I left all those technical knowledge and brain for numbers behind.
Today, I watched the documentary behind the episodes on The Big Bang Theory where they sent Howard Wolowitz into space. All that talk about once-in-a-life-time experience and trips into space have reigniting something inside me that was long forgotten.
You know what would be one cool thing I should do before I die? To train for a trip into space and actually step onto the moon. There were twelve persons whom have done that in history, and that number is big enough for me to be a plausible opportunity.
The “good lie” was right there on the movie poster. Reese Witherspoon’s involvement was at best a glorified cameo, but I guess one can’t fault Warner Bros. for using her star power to draw audiences into the theatre.
The bigger problem was with the film itself. I do not doubt the filmmaker’s (Director Philippe Falardeau and writer Margaret Nagle) sincerity in shedding light on the plight of Sudanese refugees (often refered to as the “Lost Boys of Sudan”), who fled civil war (1983-2005) and was allowed to enter America through a special immigration program.
For someone who cries at the movies all the time (the slightest swell in the soundtrack can set me off), I was surprisingly unmoved by The Theory Of Everything. Based on the second memoir by Jane Wilde Hawking (Stephen Hawking’s first wife), “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen”, it told the story of the famed scientist, played by a determined Eddie Redmayne.
Hawking’s battle with the debilitating motor neuron disease (a version of ALS, which was thrust into the limelight last year by the “Ice Bucket Challenge”) was inspiring. There was no doubt that Redmayne put in a great deal of effort into the physicality of the role, and he nailed it. Redmayne also embodied Hawking’s self-deprecating homour in the most endearing way.