2011 FILM FAVOURITES: #17 – Paul

jgkjhfdgjsd. First of all, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. My boys Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. As I have mentioned countless times before in my life, no matter what, I will always have these boys and their films on my favourites list of everything. They’ve earned that right over the years. Also, this is their first film they’ve written together and that deserves a big “aww, boys, congratulations!” So proud. I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for ages.

Okay, bias aside, Paul is any sci-fi nerd’s dream. I like to play a fun game called “spot the homage” that takes place in nearly every frame of this film. Director Greg Mottola has done a spectacular job at translating their humour to the screen and I’d love to see the three of them work together again soon. Except after the boys reunite with Edgar Wright for The World’s End. I want that movie, damnit.

The laughs in this film are neverending and the actors they’ve cast are all in competition with each other for the movie’s biggest scene-stealer. Honestly, I’m still not sure who I think is the funniest person in this movie because everyone at some point has stolen the scene. I think I’m going to give that honour to Joe Lo Truglio though, because that man does not get cast in enough things. Congrats, Joe. You’re the MVP of Paul.

Such a feel-good movie for me. I love how the narrative changes from focusing on nerd culture and being alienated as a nerd to moving straight on to ACTUAL aliens running around. That’s the sense of humour we’re going for here and I just love it.

Oh, and I have this movie to thank for one giving me this line to quote on nearly a daily basis whenever my family/friends ask me why I drink tea the way I do: “Tea is weird in America, they leave the tea bag in…” A throwaway line that I still think is so much funnier than most people.


2011 FILM FAVOURITES: #18 – Certified Copy

The film that allowed me to REALLY fall in love with the Tuscan landscape. Certified Copy is famed-director Abbas Kiarostami’s most recent effort and it shines. Juliette Binoche and William Shimell give flawless performances, captivating you from beginning till end. The film takes place in a day and follows the relationship the develops between Shimell’s British writer character and Binoche’s unnamed Italian dealer character. The story is so simplistic, but the amount of thought that goes into each frame is so apparent. Kiarostami’s attention to mis-en-scene and particularly the gorgeous scenery that comes with shooting a film in Tuscany gives Certified Copy a new layer of depth.

I just can’t gush enough about how well shot this film is. So well thought out and brilliantly performed. It doesn’t take much to make this film a winner. Beautiful.

Lucky for you, this film is available on Netflix instant right now. If you had a brain in that head of yours, you’d close this tab and open a new one and watch this RIGHT NOW.

2011 FILM FAVOURITES: #19 – Win Win

Oh, how I love Thomas McCarthy. For those who are fans of The Visitor or The Station Agent, you’ll know what to expect of his films. Lots of laughing through tears. Win Win is his third film and my personal favorite so far. It’s terribly sweet and is after your heart. This is one of those films that is just ‘human condition’ all over. The cast here is top-notch, led by the exquisite Paul Giamatti. Bobby Cannavale and Amy Ryan are particularly delightful and too funny for their own good.

Everyone needs their feel-good, heart felt movies of the year, and this was one of mine. It’s an absolute joy.

2011 FILM FAVOURITES: #20 – Mission: Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol

This movie? This movie?! YEAH, THIS MOVIE, GUYS. I’m going to get this said at the outset – I’ve never been that crazy about this franchise. I liked the first one, don’t remember the second one, and thought JJ Abrams did a good job with the third one (and yet if you asked me, I couldn’t even remember what the plot for that one was). Yet somehow, I still had some high expectations for this fourth installment because of the involvement of a few major players.

First of all, Brad Bird was taking on the reigns as the director and all Pixar alumni are incapable of doing anything less than absolutely extraordinary. That’s just a fact, it’s written in textbooks, moving on. Bird, previously known for directing gems The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007), is trying something new here, taking on his first live-action film. Still, the film has a very distinct look to it that I credit entirely to Bird and the vision he’s created over the years. It’s not animation, but I feel like I could still be able to recognize that style anywhere. MI4, I believe, will fit quite well with the rest of Bird’s filmography.

The choreographed action sequences are UNTOUCHABLE and I’m willing to bet that they won’t be matched for years. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I felt I was going to pass out due to nerves because the tension in this film is insurmountable. It could be cut with a knife – like even a cheap one with a worn-out blade. It’s THAT intense. Scenes like Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and chasing Michael Nyqvist in a stylized finale of epic proportions in futuristic parking garage are going to stick with me for years. Those are some great moments in filmmaking. All hail Bird and Tom Cruise.

Which, btw, speaking of. I will not tolerate any Tom Cruise hate ever. I know he can be slightly cuckoo sometimes, but my god, hardest working man in show business or what?! THIS movie is a prime example of what a committed actor he is. He might not be the best dramatic actor, but the physicality he embodies in his roles is unmatched. BY FAR.

The rest of the cast is stellar. Jeremy Renner is astounding and gets big laughs. Paula Patton is revelatory and definitely manages to hold her own against the boys. But most importantly, fucking Simon Pegg, guys. For those who know me, Simon Pegg… hugely important to me. Influential is too weak a word to describe what he and his projects have done for me over the years. Let’s just say that he’s a part of a group of people that I credit for making me realize that film/writing is the only thing I could possibly do in my life that would bring me any semblance of happiness. Therefore, my love for him puts me in an extremely biased position where I am required to say that he was the best part of this movie, but damn you, HE WAS. He’s fucking hilarious and brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. “Masks!”


2011 FILM FAVOURITES: Honourable Mentions

It’s time to reveal my most important list of the year. The one that I take the most seriously and spend more time editing than any research paper I have ever written in my entire academic life. The following five films just barely missed the cut-off, but still deserve some serious recognition. Listed in alphabetic order.

Fright Night (dir. Craig Gillespie)
The wonderful Craig Gillespie released his adaptation of the 1980s vampire cult classic this year and essentially proved that 1) remakes are doable 2) horror movies are awesome and 3) Colin Farrell is legit awesome and you can go fuu yourself if you don’t agree. On a serious note, the cinematography in this film is to die for (see what I did there), the performances truly kill (omg I can’t be stopped) and for those who went all out and saw the film in 3D in theaters, they can also back me up in saying that it was worth every penny. Rarely do so many things that normally NOT work (remakes, horror films, 3D, etc), work SO WELL all in the same film. Fright Night is loads of good fun, do check it out. Also for you Doctor Who fans out there, David Tennant. David Tennant. David Tennant is in this. It’s inspired casting. You’re already drooling, I know.

Submarine (dir. Richard Ayoade)
This film has thoroughly convinced me that Richard Ayoade can do no wrong. You may recognize Ayoade from his acting work (IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) or directing that cool music video by Vampire Weekend/Arctic Monkeys/Kasabian that you like so much. For me personally, Richard Ayoade is the genius that brought me the short lived, high-concept 2004 series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, which btw, go check out and thank me later. Submarine is his directorial debut and it is absolutely stunning. With a tight script and a blatant love for the art of film, Submarine has lots of little goodies for everyone. A coming-of-age tale, Ayoade manages to deal with the tenderness of adolesence with remarkable ease. It’s a lovely story, do recommend.

Trollhunter (dir. Andre Ovredal)
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit I am a sucker for found-footage films. This is not bias when I say this movie is a shitload of fun. This Norwegian fantasy-thriller is bursting with originality and a bristling sense of humour. Also I’m personally just in favor of more trolls being in movies in general, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that. Trolls are cool. This movie, somehow, manages to make trolls scary and that’s something I appreciate. Equal parts hilarious and thrilling. And yes, this was my ringtone for basically the entire month of June:

Weekend (dir. Andrew Haigh)
This movie is painfully beautiful. Excellent performances by both Chris New and Tom Cullen (particularly Tom, holy crap). I only wish I could talk about it without turning into a sobbing mess. Instead, look below to have a look at the trailer to get a feel for the film. It’s so lovely, please do check it out. It’s currently available on Netflix instant, if that makes it easier for some to view.

X-Men: First Class (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
The movie that keeps on giving. What’s there not to like about the newest X-Men installment? An ensemble of lovable, fully-fleshed out characters played by fantastic actors, electrifying action sequences and then some and a story to really sink your teeth into. Origin stories can also provide many answers or give you a clue into understanding something more about what’s happening with these characters. That was the real star of First Class for me. Backstories are key and this movie did a wonderful job with it. Oh, and guys, “peace was never an option.”

Favourite Music of 2011

Why not kick things off with some end-of-the-year lists, hmm? I’ve had this one finalized for awhile, so expect no changes in the future. It’s been a wonderful year for new music, but you know what? It’s been a fantastic year for me as far as live performances go, bloody hell. I’ve had the pleasure of going to loads of brilliant concerts, a few of which I would consider some of the highlights of my life:

  • I was fortunate enough to see Duran Duran perform twice in a year and both times I had to surgically re-apply my face due to extreme face-meltage. I broke my Center Stage cherry in April at that Duran Duran show and it immediately cemented my love for that venue. Oh, and I kinda made contact with John Taylor and Nick Rhodes. So that was nice. Chastain show only made me realize that middle-age fangirl/fanboys are way more terrifying and dangerous than any tween with a pair of fake vampire teeth.
  • Tim Minchin. I heard Tim….sing “Hallelujah”… That happened? That was a thing? Not only was that a thing, not only did I sob like an infant at a comedy show because of it, not only did I get an audio recording of it…but I got to meet the man himself and tell him to his face how much his rendition of it means to me. And fuck, I will be a fangirl about this: he gave me a hug because of it. (Way to go, Paris, being the super serious teenager. uuugh, emotions, don’t get at me. Get AWAY from me.)
  • I am not fit to formulate words on my experience seeing my musical hero, Elvis Costello, play with Pete, Steve and Davey (his band, the Imposters, for those unawares). It wasn’t just the perfect line-up, but it was in the form of the newly-revived Spinning Songbook tour format. A format I believed was long-dead. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d ever see that big wheel on stage but I did…and, boy, was that wheel good to me. It landed on “Town Cryer.” Right away. Second or third spin, I don’t remember, I just remember it happened. I died then and there and I don’t remember ever recovering from it. I can’t go on discussing this show because my heart hurts just thinking about it, but I can’t imagine any concert in my life ever beating that one. I mean, maybe if I got to see Paul McCartney play. That’s the only scenario I can think of.
  • Team Starkid. Twice, bitches! My wonderful friend Brittany introduced me to this bunch earlier in the summer, but it only took a live concert experience for me to understand how brilliant this lot truly are. Babies were had at that Atlanta concert, I’m sure of it. Just check back in in nine months time and I’ll confirm it. I really lucked out in deciding to buying those VIP tickets on a whim, because I got to get a bunch of free swag and meet everybody. It was so great. And no, we did not go on a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Charlotte, NC, so we could see them again. No, we did not stand in the freezing cold afterwards just so we could say hi and get pictures. You’re so crazy if you think we did that. Ha, ha, ha. (shifty eyes) I can’t recommend them enough, check out their YouTube channel for lots of music, fun and laughs. You won’t regret it.

*sigh* I’m so grateful for it all.

Let’s get back to some records, shall we? I had some lists I was talking about earlier, and I’m sure that’s the only thing some of you care about.

Top 15 Albums:

  1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  2. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
  3. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
  4. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
  5. Adele – 21
  6. Nightlands – Nightlands
  7. Nick Lowe – The Old Magic
  8. Laura Marling – A Creature I Do Not Know
  9. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
  10. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
  11. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  12. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
  13. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
  14. Example – Playing in the Shadows
  15. Cults – Cults

Top 5 Cast Recordings/Soundtracks:

  1. The Book of Mormon (original cast recording)
  2. Drive (soundtrack)
  3. Matilda the Musical (original cast recording)
  4. Anything Goes (original revival cast recording)
  5. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (soundtrack)

Top 3 acts I enjoyed in 2011 that have their debut albums coming out in 2012 (lol, a legit category):

  1. Walk the Moon
  2. Milo Greene
  3. Charlene Kaye (not a debut, but a full-length!)

Hey and stuff.

Quick, make a post in your new blog before 2011 is over!

EDIT 1: Phew, that’s done.

EDIT 2: Oh, hi. This is my new blog for updating and things in 2012.

EDIT 3: It’s a personal blog. So it’ll be highly informal – much like my life. Lots of exclamation marks and on-off caps locking.

Enough of the edits, so hello everyone! I intend on using this blog for my ranting/raving/reviewing of films, albums, television episodes, etc.

I really just want to write again. I never have the time to do it anymore and it makes very, very sad. Even if it’s non-fiction/review-type crap. Just word vomit will do. I really just need to be able to be more productive in the coming year. Oh, and I guess another reason why I made this was so I could be able to direct friends to one handy place rather than blowing up their cell phones with texts or piling it all on with endless Facebook notifications. I feel like this is a healthier approach, no? /humour

Now all that’s settled with here’s a picture of some cats in a barrel.


Bye, bye, bye, byeeeeeeeeee!

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