with the bold text in the example below:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Oscars 2013: Reviews

today is not about writing as much as it is about gathering. I hope you watched the Oscars. It was a nice ceremony, with great performances from the whole cast of "Les Miserables" (which I still have to watch, specially for the performance of Anne Hathaway who won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role), Adele for the soundtrack of "James Bond: Skyfall" (which I also have to see, at least for the opening credits, I was told they are almost videoart!), Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey, YES, with "Goldfinger". The host could have not been there, it wouldn't have changed much of the ceremony...
Anyway, going back to where we came from, the gathering. I am putting a list of movies I had the chance to see which won Oscars this year.

Best Picture: Argo
Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio (Argo)
Best Film Editing: William Goldenberg (Argo)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Production Design: Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration) (Lincoln)

Best Actress in a Leading Role (So happy about it): Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Best Writing - Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

coming soon
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
although it could have been Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell (Les Misérables)
Best Sound Mixing: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes (Les Misérables)

Best Animated Feature Film: Brave

Best Directing: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
Best Music - Original Score: Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)
Best Visual Effects (couldn't be more accurate): Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott (Life of Pi)

Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)

coming soon
Best Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour

Best Music - Original Song: "Skyfall" (Skyfall) Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best Sound Editing: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers (Skyfall)

Have fun! And send your feedback on the Oscars...
Isabelle D.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream by Beyoncé Knowles, 2013 (TV-MA)

with Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Solange Knowles, Jay-Z

As director, producer and star, Beyoncé is in charge of the portrait she presents in this film about life at the top of the pop universe. Using on- and off-stage footage -- some shot from her own laptop -- Beyoncé provides a window into her world.

First, I just wanted to quote an article published by : blog.zap2it.com - frominsidethebox
"Beyonce's 'Life Is But a Dream' ratings hit decade high for HBO docs 
Critics were not kind, but Beyonce's directorial debut "Life Is But a Dream" scored the highest ratings in a decade for a HBO documentary. The film -- co-directed, co-written, starring, executive produced and sometimes even shot (on a web cam) by Beyonce Knowles -- drew 1.8 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere on Saturday (Feb. 16). That just beats out the previous champ, Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina chronicle "When the Levees Broke" which drew 1.7 million viewers in 2006. In these days of monster ratings for nontraditional shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Downton Abbey," 1.8 million may not sound like a lot -- but for a HBO documentary it's a big deal. It's also a considerably larger number than the network averages for a first run episode of media zeitgeist show "Girls." And pretty much anything that airs on HBO expands its audience substantially through repeats and video on demand viewing. Beyonce " - editorial@zap2it.com, 19 February 2013

This is exactly how I saw it. Brilliant idea of HBO to get such a huge star in an exclusive documentary, this would definitely draw a lot of attention, from the fans, and from people who are curious like me. It reminds me of the strategy to bring Tim Burton to the MoMA, New York: most successful exhibition of all time. People who don't go to the museum would go because they love his movies, mix of genres. I knew a bit about Beyoncé, not enough to think much about her but had a good impression. I felt that was kind of a tribute to her fans, opening a little door to who she was except an exceptional entertainer and singer. The goal is achieved. In a weird way, she is very much what you would think of her, a strong business woman (who knows where the wind blows, a little like Madonna, and knows how to keep the lead), a great public relation person, smart, and giving a human face to herself, not going for the scandal but to the authenticity. She shows the aspect people can relate to, more universal, like having a child, miscarriage... I had more conflict with what she think as normal as an artist being able to "do her craft". Anyway, interesting mix of self recorded testimonies, the conversations with an interviewer, behind the scene recordings, live performance shows of amazing production value and herself singing in studio (or car) confirming her amazing voice. I was surprised by the amount of music she put in it, but I guess it is because that is what is the most valuable thing she needed to share, her singing.

Watch Trailer:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moneyball by Bennett Miller, 2011 (PG-13)

with Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life), Jonah Hill (How to train A Dragon), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Robin Wright (House of Cards, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Breaking and Entering, The Conspirator), Chris Pratt (The Five-Year Engagement), Stephen Bishop, Reed Diamond, Brent Jennings, Ken Medlock, Tammy Blanchard (Rabbit Hole), Glenn Morshower (The Men Who Stare At Goats), Kathryn Morris
Duration: 133 minutes

An all-star cast brings to life the true story of Billy Beane, a former jock turned general manager who uses unconventional methods to bring the best players to the Oakland A's, a Major League Baseball team struggling against financial hardship.

Moneyball is a very interesting movie, at least it was for me to better understand the rules and strategy of Baseball. I have seen one baseball game in my life, Mets against "?", and watched them loose in the perfect view of the sunset, with flights taking off in the background from La Guardia airport, over an array of time of 5 hours, with enough beer and pop-corn to feed an entire family. Thank god the stadium was full, that made it for a couple of great pictures. But honestly, the game got way above my head, and I thought I knew the rules... Anyway, Moneyball is about the game change that brought analytic into the choice of players for a team, in order to have a solid base and not an all stars team that would cost mountains to gather. Interestingly, the latest movie I saw on Baseball, "Trouble with the Curve" tries to make the opposite point, getting away from an all computer-made team and going back to the basics of watching the players perform. Anyway, the movie is efficient, technical, well-performed... and Jonah Hill is great in something that is not a comedy, he should try more often.

Watch Trailer:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hollywood Ending by Woody Allen, 2002 (PG-13)

with Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Deconstructing Harry, To Rome with Love), Téa Leoni (Tower Heist), Mark Rydell, Debra Messing, Treat Williams (127 Hours, Hair), George Hamilton, Barney Cheng, Tiffani Thiessen, Erica Leerhsen
Duration: 114 minutes

Woody Allen stars as down-on-his-luck film director Val Waxman, who needs just one good picture to restore his once-thriving career. But when he gets an offer to make a big movie, his paranoia causes him to go psychosomatically blind.

I watched this movie again like I needed more chocolate. This movie is absolutely delicious. It is cute, funny, makes fun of French taste for cinema... Definitely one of my favorite Woody Allen. The cast works very well, although I always wonder how Woody Allen always ends up with the most beautiful and smart woman of the film, must be the privilege of acting in a movie written and directed by you!

Watch Trailer:

IMAX: Hubble (Hubble 3D) by Toni Myers, 2010 (G)

with Leonardo DiCaprio (Marvin's Room, Titanic, Shutter Island, J. Edgar), K. Megan McArthur, Scott D. Altman, Michael T. Good, John M. Grunsfeld, Gregory C. Johnson, Michael J. Massimino, Andrew J. Feustel

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this awe-inspiring documentary that takes viewers on a visually stunning IMAX 3-D journey to explore the faraway galaxies viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope in its travels throughout the cosmos. During the mission, astronauts walk in space, contend with successes and setbacks, view nebulae and galaxies, observe the birth of a star, witness a powerful supernova and much more.

Space is fascinating, expanded to such a scale the human mind cannot possibly think we are alone in the universe. Telescope Hubble is the best eye we have to see what lies beyond our own eye limit. The documentary showcase the preparation of the astronauts for the mission, amazing shots of the astronauts replacing the lens to improve the vision of Hubble, their impressions while in the mission, mostly the after-work relieve, the mindset they have to have during the duration of the repairs (no replacement pieces, and extreme sensitivity of the equipment), and finally, the space images collected by Hubble. The beginning is interesting and technical, while they are training. When they go to space, the narration goes through the technical description of what the astronauts are fixing on Hubble, but the visuals are not very good, and if you are not an expert, it is incomprehensible. The parts in the shuttle are more entertaining, because it is about how you live in a confined place, with no gravity. The real moment of the movie is when you finally see the new images collected by Hubble thanks to the upgrades of this last mission. The voice over of DiCaprio is taking this time a more mainstream approach so everyone can really understand, sometimes too simple... it doesn't matter. The images collected are of such a beauty, with such meaningful content (such as the birth of a star, of a solar system, young stars versus dieing stars, the galaxies, dark holes...), that nothing else really matter. This is when you really feel the limits of the universe are beyond are imagination and therefor the possibility of other lifeforms quite realistic. Now the question is: when will we finally achieve travel at a faster paste than what we have so far, to allow ourselves to reach to further limits?

Watch Trailer:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wu Hu Zang Long) by Ang Lee, 2000 (PG-13)

with Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang (House of Flying Daggers), Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-pei Cheng, Fa Zeng Li, Xian Gao, Yan Hai, De Ming Wang, Li Li, Su Ying Huang
Duration: 120 minutes

Ang Lee's articulate direction and Woo-Ping Yuen's balletic martial arts choreography elevate this story about a young woman in ancient China who longs for an adventurous life rather than a dull arranged marriage.

Does it always has to be tragic? Sorry for the spoil, but what a beautiful movie! I saw it such a long time ago, and then again in December. I think I was more emotional the first time, perhaps because I felt so much for the role of Michelle Yeoh. She was so touchingly in love... I just had a revelation, just as Miss Dashwood performed by Emma Thompson, in Sense and Sensibility, directed by... Ang Lee! Anyway, the movie has beautifully choreographed martial arts (although I think I preferred House of Flying Daggers), amazing poetry, intelligent plot and two beautiful love stories.

Watch Trailer:

Friday, February 15, 2013

House of Cards (season 1) by Beau Willimon, 2013 (TV-MA)

Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Breaking and Entering, The Conspirator), Kate Mara (127 hours), Corey Stoll, Michael Kelly (Did you Hear About The Morgans?, The Adjustment Bureau), Sakina Jaffrey, Kristen Connolly, Constance Zimmer

Ruthless and cunning, Congressman Francis Underwood (Oscar® winner Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex, and corruption in modern D.C. Kate Mara (“American Horror Story”) and Corey Stoll (“Midnight in Paris”) costar in the first original series from David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Game) and Beau Willimon (“The Ides of March”). It is an adaptation of a previous BBC miniseries of the same name which is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs.

I don't believe I have ever seen such a troubling movie or series on politics. Francis Underwood is a manipulator, calculator, extremely smart, selfish and a bad looser, therefor dangerous to anyone who stand on his way. Surrounding him are people with ethics that are quite questionable, perhaps slightly more humanized, showing a little bit of their humanity. Overall, you have the feeling that higher power is completely independent from the people's will, and democracy an ideal that was created to comfort people in making them feel important. I felt the brightness of these minds, the wittiness of the dialogues made me enjoy some of the journey, but overall, your level of cynicism just get greater. It is brilliant, and hopefully fictional! The series is composed of three seasons, this is so far the first one, lets see how the cards are played, but the way season 1 ends suggest the game might change for an even more interesting one. What a suspense...

Watch Trailer:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Cinema just for fun" is on top in BlogCatalog, starting a great 2013!

Happy New Year!
This post is not about movies, it is about this blog you've allowed to become bigger than itself. So the result is great feedback, recommendation for other movies, your own reviews...
"Cinema just for fun" just became number one blog on entertainment and movies in BlogCatalog, and ranked #26 of 815,333 blogs listed in BlogCatalog. This is great! Since I doubt I will stop watching movies any time soon, lets continue the adventure together. Of course, the best part being when you comment back with your very own reviews!
Thank you again for reading!
Isabelle D.

Update March 22, 2013: Now ranking #13 with a Blogvalue of 35! Thanks Again!

Update Feb 19, 2013: Now ranking #20 with a Blogvalue of 32! Going up! 

Update February17, 2013: Now ranking #25!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Paperboy by Lee Daniels, 2012 (R)

with Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron (17 again, Charlie St. Cloud), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Lincoln), Macy Gray, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman (Eyes Wide Shut, Margot At The Wedding, Rabbit Hole)
From the director of Precious
duration: 107 minutes

Convinced by a death row inmate's female pen pal that the convict is innocent, a reporter and his brother investigate and discover a case marred by deceit, seduction and betrayal. Meanwhile, one brother falls for the convict's mysterious confidant.

This movie is full of sweat, discomfort, anger, racism, nasty and lost people, on a journey for themselves, digging to the dept of darkness. It is quite stylized, so you would feel as much as possible the layer of nature going against humans. There is also a lot of sexuality refrained, testosterone putting all the men on the edge. If those layers were taken out, it would probably become an ordinary movie about crime. The performances are really intense, John Cusack makes the perfect mad and repulsive convict, Nicole Kidman is of a vulgarity I would never had imagined she was capable of, still with a sensitivity that is fascinating. I guess the movie is not for the taste of everybody, and is absolutely unpleasant to watch (except perhaps the parts where Zac Efron showcases his amazing body), but it definitely makes points. Not an ordinary American movie.

Watch Trailer:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Alex Cross by Rob Cohen, 2012 (PG-13)

with Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox (Lost), Rachel Nichols, Giancarlo Esposito (Rabbit Hole), Jean Reno (Margaret, Leon), Edward Burns (Man on a Ledge), John C. McGinley, Cicely Tyson (The Help), Chad Lindberg, Carmen Ejogo

Detective/psychologist Alex Cross faces off against a disturbing serial killer in this exciting action thriller based on James Patterson's best-selling novels. As the stakes keep getting higher, Cross finds himself facing his own moral boundaries.

I was wondering perhaps for the first half of the movie whether I was watching CSI Detroit, but the movie was getting a bit too long to be an episode, and the death of important characters made me realize this wasn't just an episode. Movies tend to condense the drama quite a lot. Also, I was impressed they would have such a great cast. So I kept watching, in the overhead (vintage) tv of an airplane going from Miami to New York. I guess the most interesting character is the bad guy (Matthew Fox from Lost, completely transformed), the madness of a meticulous man out of the control of money and power. I wouldn't recommend it...

Watch Trailer:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Asterix at the Olympic Games (Astérix aux jeux olympiques) by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann, 2008

with Clovis Cornillac, Gérard Depardieu (Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatre, Life Of Pi), Benoît Poelvoorde, Vanessa Hessler, Stéphane Rousseau, Alain Delon, Franck Dubosc, José Garcia (Trouble Every Day), Jean-Pierre Cassel, Élie Semoun, Alexandre Astier

In their new adventures, Asterix and Obelix come to the aid of their friend Alafolix, who must fight Brutus, Cesar's son, to win both the Olympic Games and the hand of beautiful Irina. But heinous Brutus is determined to beat the Gaul and take his father's place.

This is one of the Asterix I have never read, because it wasn't a comic book but an illustrated book. Therefor I didn't have any expectation for this one, and it was ok. The most impressive part is how many guest stars this film gathered, and that is probably due to the success of Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra. Then Benoît Poelvoorde is quite exuberant, it is funny but not enough to really have a good laugh. Well, easily watched, easily forgotten, I guess.

Watch Trailer: