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Blind Spot Series 2014

I recently stumbled upon Ryan McNeil's site, where he was running a feature called Blind Spot. It's basically listing down 12 films you must see that year, one for each month. I thought it was a great and challenging idea, considering that I barely write much reviews. Also, despite being a fan of motion pictures, I haven't seen a lot of movies. This is a great way to expand my movie horizon, and to finally watch some classics I've been meaning to see. Here is my list, and I hope I get to accomplish this by next year! I'll be updating this as I post my reviews, so feel free to check back once in a while!

Concept Art: Sleeping Beauty

A tad bit late on the holiday greetings but I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas with their family and friends! While I've been away from my screen most of the time, I had been watching a ton of movies with my siblings, starting with holiday themed ones and voting what to watch next. One of the movies we watched was Sleeping Beauty. While I'm still not a fan of the princess, I really liked the art that they used, particularly the color scheme they used on Maleficent and her dark lair. The animated work had a darker tone compared to its predecessors, but its scheme is still quite vivid. While Sleeping Beauty is far from my favorite Disney movie, I really liked the visual arts that went with it, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. 
All stills are taken from here.

Trailer: How To Train Your Dragon 2

I was swept away with How to Train Your Dragon, and how it has a heart at the depth of its story. To this day, this is still one of my favorites. It took for the sequel to come out, but hopefully it lives up to the reputation of the first movie. I like how older Hiccup and his friends are; it's rare that time passes in animated movies (an example of this rare occurrence is the Toy Story franchise, which really symbolized a nostalgic feeling, and at the same time, a representation of who we are in the present, that like Andy, we have grown up, but we still hold the good memories of the past). I'm definitely looking forward for this next year -- and to end my senseless chatter, I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a crowded year, movie wise.

Iron Man 3

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Director: Shane Black

After coming off strong in The Avengers, I was expecting Iron Man to be as epic, or slightly less than epic as the movie. Iron Man was great but I felt a little skeevy about Iron Man 2, so I expected the third to redeem the sequel. The third movie was a good one, albeit it did not live up to any of its predecessors, both the original and the sequel. Nor did it live up to the standards The Avengers already set in, considering that the movies are now slightly angled towards the story for The Avengers 2. To be honest, the plot is a bit surreal as The Avengers (technically thinking about it), but it's the out of the world crisis thinking that may have placed Iron Man 3 on the edge. Despite the seemingly redeeming third act, Iron Man 3 felt a little bit too off-beat, even for the liking of Tony Stark.

Se7en

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: David Fincher

Thrilling is one word to describe the viewing experience. It wasn't like an ordinary crime movie I've seen, with all the bad guys and transactions and revenge plots are usually involved. The movie brings two unlikely personalities together to solve a rather smart and puzzling case that involved literature, preach and a whole lot of tasteful gore (yeah I said it, tasteful gore).

Before Midnight

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Director: Richard Linklater

We meet Jesse and Celine in a train, and watched their connection grow through the streets of Vienna. We witness their reunion at a bookshop in Paris, the two being older and wiser. Years later we encounter Jesse and Celine once more, but this time their indivualities reaching out through the sanctity of their marriage. While its predecessors showered us with their personal ideals and realities, this installment treats us to their growth as a couple, and how their relationship has changed over the years. While it did have the similar charm as the first two films, this one worked a bit differently. At the end of the film, I realized that I know these people. I've seen these people. These people are married couples. It doesn't matter whether they're just reaching a decade of their marriage, or they've been married a long time, but Jesse and Celine painted a picture that most married coupl…

Breaking Emotions: Hate/Love

For instructions, click here. For the emotions, click here
Finishing up the Breaking Emotions blogathon are hate and love, these two emotions rather harder to condense because there are so many choices! This was a fun blogathon, and thanks again to the lovely Mettel Ray for hosting it! 

HATE

Movie 43

That was the worst movie released this year. I chose this scene mainly because it's the only one I remember...and that's not a good thing. I have no idea what the actors were thinking; this was a sad excuse for a movie. Were they blackmailed to do this? I don't think the payday excuse is going to work on this one.
The Great Gatsby
Gatsby as a whole was not that bad, but it's not Oscar material either. Of all the scenes I found ridiculously bad, this was a really bad one. Was that supposed to be for fun? Flirty? Entertaining? Show off new clothes, or to let her feel the material? For whatever reason it might be, the scene was just plain bad. If I were Daisy, I would be weird…

Breaking Emotions: Smiles/Thrills

For instructions click here, for the emotions click here
Mettel Ray has released the last two sets a couple of weeks ago, but it's only now that I'm getting to work on them. Usually I do parts of my blogging at work, but I haven't been able to sit in front of my laptop for weeks, usually just reading blogs over the phone. With the holiday season rolling through, hopefully I'll be able to get some entries in before the holidays completely swallow me whole. For this set of emotions, it's smiles and thrills. 
SMILES
Wall-E Wall-E and Eve reunite in space after the whole self destruction fiasco.
Wall-E is my favorite Pixar movie, and this is my favorite scene. Their love is so simple and yet so beautiful. I love that while Eve is worried for Wall-E, all Wall-E could think about is Eve's mission, and how he wanted her to fulfill it at all cost. This has very minimal dialogue for an animated film, and yet the actions say everything you need to know (and will love) abo…

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth Director: Francis Lawrence
The whole world probably saw Catching Fire the weekend it came out. With the array of young adult adaptations, The Hunger Games franchise has emerged victorious among its competitors, lining up to the success of its fellow franchises, namely Harry Potter and the Twilight franchise. While the franchise has yet to earn its ranks as one of the classics, Catching Fire delivers enough fuel to keep its audiences satisfied, triumphing over its predecessor by miles. However, the movie was still lacking in some perspective, with Mockingjay hopefully filling the void and closing the franchise with a bang.

Breaking Emotions: Surprise

For instructions, click here. For the set of emotions, click here.

It's a new set of emotions for Mettel Ray's Breaking Emotions blogathon! This week's emotions are tears and surprise. I rarely cry at sad parts of movies, so I thought I'd stick with surprise itself. 
Now You See Me The mastermind was Detective Rhodes
This is a one-time surprise, because when you see it again, you get the hints and the clues that it was actually him. I was recently talking about this movie with someone, and when the emotions this week came up, this immediately came to mind. I originally thought it might be Melanie Laurent, considering that she was always talking about magic and its history.

Shutter Island Daniels was Laeddis and he was a patient in the hospital.
I honestly thought that it really was a detective story in a spooky island with mental patients. I was wrong (sort of).  
In Bruges Harry Waters commits suicide; he thought he shot a little boy.
I honestly did not expect that mome…

Don Jon

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Don Jon was the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of the finest actors working in the industry today. It was a good debut for the actor; the film was certainly entertaining. It was geared towards men, but has elements that appeal to female viewers as well. It definitely had its mix of comedy, romance and drama, and did not fail to meet expectations. It has more than what it leads on, and despite the hasty finish, it did have its momentum and an enjoyable cast to go with it.

Breaking Emotions: Fear/Awkward

Mettel Ray is hosting another blogathon! For this week she posted fear and awkward as the emotions. I chose to do both, although the fear-inducing ones are not centered on horror films. For instructions, click here. FEAR
Schindler's List This is one of the film's powerful scenes for me, as this was the only scene where they're shown entering a gas chamber, heightening the horror experienced while watching the film.
We Need to Talk About Kevin Until now I am at awe at this film, but someone like Kevin is quite scary, as you never know what goes on in his little head of his. This scene basically culminates his performance, and the role cements Ezra Miller's career.
Gravity This is just one of the many fear-inducing scenes found in this great work by Alfonso Cuaron. The cinematic experience was amazing, but being in her situation: not so amazing.
AWKWARD
The Way Way Back
Singing on a off-key note wholeheartedly...not knowing that someone else was watching you.
Bridget Jones'…

October Round Up

New Movies Watched: 16 Repeats: 5 Total: 21
I thought I saw more movies this month, but I guess not. The last of the season premieres are starting off this month, and I'm definitely looking forward for Karl Urban's show. I've mostly spent some time binge-watching the first season of The Newsroom and Veep. I am now a converted fan of the former, while I have yet to finish the latter. I'm still catching up on September premieres myself, as I have Hostages, The Crazy Ones, The Blacklist, SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow on my watch list. If you've seen any of them, what did you think?
LINKS
Visual Review of the Films of Joe Wright from A Fistful of Films
Male and Female Sexiest Movie Stars from Empire
The works of Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki from And So It Begins
The Great Gatsby review from Cinematic Paradox
Don Jon review from Mettel Ray
Sarah Silverman's failed NBC pilot from Collider
James Dean photographs from My Modern Met

Stoker

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Director: Chan-wook Park

Stoker is nothing like I've seen before. It certainly is captivating to watch the scenes unfold as viewers get to the bottom of the allure that the family holds. There is some great cinematography in the works, and there are great actors attached to this project. There are also numerous striking scenes, each scene detrimental to the depth and the reason behind the plot. For the English film debut of Korean filmmaker Chan-wook Park, he certainly has a hit in his hands.

In Spirit of Halloween

With Halloween a day away, there are sure plans of hitting parties with the easiest, or craftiest costumes you can get your hands on. However, if you're 1. not so much of a horror movie fan and 2. staying at home that night, or simply having a movie night, here are some movies that stay in the theme of the occasion, without so much of the chills and spooks. 

Trailer: X-Men: Days of Future Past

The first trailer is here! It looks good so far, as everyone who reprised their role was present (I think). I'm worried (to use the term loosely) about the amount of involvement with everyone. Since this is technically a sequel of X-Men: First Class, I'm going to assume that the new batch of heroes will have more screen time. Still I'm willing to bet we won't be getting enough of the other familiar faces, and the team up will eventually lead to a third movie. The tone of the film seems darker, as the future and the past have somehow managed to cross-over together in order to save the world. I think there might be some explanation needed (particularly with the resurrection of Patrick Stewart), but I'm willing to bet that this would be set before the X-Men events, particularly in a direct effect. Still, while it takes a darker tone, the trailer doesn't give much to work with, particularly the extent of the participation between their past and future (present) se…

One Season Wonder: Awake

CAST: Jason Isaacs, Laura Allen, Steve Harris CREATOR: Kyle Killen  PLOT: After a car accident takes the life of a family member, a police detective lives two alternating parallel lives, one with his wife and one with his son. Is one of his "realities" merely a dream?  AIR DATE: 2012
This was a show that shouldn't have gone off-air that fast. Each episode was mind-blowing as the next, and while the cancellation was unexpected (having taped the episodes prior to the announcement), they did have a very good series finale. The show was smart and interesting, and was advanced for its time. It plays with the notion of time and space, as well as adding a little crime drama that gets viewers hooked. Each episode leaves unanswered questions, as well as dives further as to what its inner cause it. Awake was a show that placed its focus more on the scientific/psychological matter rather than the crime aspect of it. When the series unfolded, I thought that the crime part could use som…

Trailer: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The trailer for the new Captain America movie is out. The wait wouldn't be much longer, as they're having an April release (the wait between Iron Man 3 and Thor seems long, but it's probably the same amount of time). This time we see Steve Rogers teaming up with the Black Widow, and there is a more defined presence of SHIELD in this one. The first Captain America movie wasn't really a hit or miss with me, so I'm definitely reserving my judgments until seeing the installment.

Trailer: That Awkward Moment

To be honest, I hardly noticed that Zac Efron went off the radar this year. Now he's back with a couple of comedies, this being one of them. It looks like a light watch, and he has a likable cast backing him up in the form of Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. Not expecting much from it, but considering it for a lighter flare.

Rabbit Hole

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest
Director: John Cameron Mitchell

A child becomes an orphan when his parents die. But what about a parent who just lost his child? Rabbit Hole touches on the subject, the unhappiness and the feeling of not knowing what to do next. I think if one is familiar with the subject, or knew people who have experienced the same fate, one would have expected it to be a film filled with emotion, that the outbursts themselves can relay what these people with experiences have felt. Rabbit Hole may have not given its extent in the area, but has provided much more. It's not a film that will emotionally drain a person, but it gives enough to trigger something in you.